Conviction or Opinion?

Taking the right stand for the wrong reason does not give glory to God, and it can place us in a precarious position.  We live in a very vocal world that tends to elevate opinions far above their value.  The current cultural controversies generate a tremendous amount of debate, and God’s Name is often invoked to prove a point.  It is dangerous ground to elevate one’s opinions to the level of Scripture.  Our opinions should be the same as God’s–but we don’t get to pick and choose which of His opinions we support. As Christian’s the glory of God must always be our highest priority.

When we are defending our opinions, we must take great care not to trample the prohibition of Exodus 20:7, ‘Do not take the Lord’s Name in vain.’ Taking the Lord’s name in vain is much more than uttering cuss words. The word ‘vain’ refers to the hasty, deceptive and empty use of His Name.  The ‘stamping’ of an opinion with Scripture is not a new thing.  God has been dragged into many unholy opinions and actions since the beginning of time.  In both the spiritual and earthly courts, this is treacherous ground.

The Christian Law Association provides free legal services to Christians facing legal battles because of their faith.  They stand firmly on the side of God’s righteousness in the courts of America.  They also plead for Christians to know what they believe.

“…We are coming to a day when people are being put on trial for their faith.  How much of the Bible are you living by?  The courts are gearing up like never before to put your faith on trial.  Are you ready?  do you hold Biblical convictions–unmoveable decisions based on Scripture–that live by on a daily basis?”

It is an interesting paradox that the unholy climate we live in will push us to purify our faith–and bring us into greater alignment with God.  It is a paradox revealed in Scripture and history:  persecution purifies.

CLA explains that the American Courts demand that individuals being tried for their faith must be able to verbalize their beliefs.  They must also be able to explain what they believe and not simply mouth phrases or opinions.  The  Courts do not accept a religious defense based on:  “It seems to me…” or “I think…” because thoughts change.  It also does not accept descriptive terms or pat phrases.  Defendants must be able to explain what it means to believe what they say they believe.  Convictions are required to be supportable by Scripture and evidenced in life.

One cannot go into an American Court and give empty words to defend a conviction.

One cannot go before God and give empty words either. 

America was founded on Christian principles, but maintaining integrity to the foundation is a necessity.  What is vital for our nation begins in individual lives.  As Christians, the very glory of God is ours to protect.  It is a high and holy privelege.  Developing convictions instead of opinions will help us build lives of integrity–and may deliver our nation. Perhaps the moral decline of our nation will even deliver some from the horror of Matthew 7:21:

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”

In all things, we can give thanks to God…because giving thanks is His will for us. We are not to be troubled or dismayed as we go through this life–but we are to give God glory in all things…even American 2016.

As CLA says, “Faithful Christians might as well become accustomed to the courtroom because they are going to spend increased amounts of time there defending things that they have always taken for granted.”  May we be ready for the opportunity as Paul was when taken to Rome…may God be glorified in us, not used by us.

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

For a great article on the dangers of false faith, check out this piece from John Piper, “You Can Believe the Promises of God and Still Be Lost.”

Confidence in the Battles of Life

Today, our journey through names of our Triune God provides us a glimpse from the angelic perspective.  Found in both the Old and New Testaments, Christ’s title of Captain opens new vistas for the believer!

We first encounter the name with Joshua.  As he prepared for the battle of Jericho, Joshua encountered the pre-incarnate Christ:

And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.  Joshua 5:14-15

Earthly battles can cause us to wonder if God is for us or against us.   The Captain’s message to Joshua is important for us to hear:  our battles are actually the holy ground of eternal purposes.  Scripture continually reiterates that God is for us—there is no doubt of that.  Recognizing that Jesus is the Captain of the Angel Armies will not only bolster our courage for life’s battles, it places those battles back in their proper realm.  God’s purposes are the focus of the Captain.  Lining up under the authority of the Captain assures victory!

As we consider Christ’s role as Captain of the Angel Armies, our hearts will sing with the angels as we ‘look’ at the birth of Christ.  The incomprehensible truth of the leader of angels accepting the vulnerability and limitations of a helpless human infant awes my mind!  No wonder the angels ‘long to look into’ this matter of salvation—their holy, all-powerful leader submitting Himself to save fallen humanity is breathtaking, is it not?

With the New Testament context of the title of Captain, the picture of Christ as grows even richer:

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  Hebrews 2:10

The Captain of the Angel Armies is Captain of our Salvation!  The all-powerful leader of the angels, the Creator and Sustainer of all, submitted to sufferings that He would fulfill the purposes of God: bringing fallen humanity to glory.  The reality of the Captain’s humble submission to suffering to bring salvation to me reveals the love of God in a special way.  As Captain, Jesus commands the powers of heaven to assure the victorious completion of the perfect will of God.  May the Spirit of God illumine new facets of Christ’s beauty to each reader’s heart.

This is an excerpt from Fixing Our Eyes on God.  If you would like a free PDF list of names of God, visit this page and complete the form.

The Heart of God

One of my favorite song choruses leads us in these words:

“Just to know You and to make You known”

Being known in all of His fullness is the heart of God.  Jesus tells those who listen that knowing the Father and Himself is eternal life.  We cannot know God without the Holy Spirit.  Our natural minds are simply not able to grasp His greatness.  Humbly accepting that opens the door to the help of the Helper.  The Father, Son and Spirit always work together to give life to God’s favorite creation:  humanity!

The Word of God reveals the heart of God.  There is no way to know God without digging into it.  This morning I watched God seeking to reveal Himself to Moses, the people of Israel and Pharaoh.  All through the passages of the Exodus, God says “that you will know that I am God.”  It wasn’t that the Israelites didn’t know of God–they didn’t know Him in His fullness.  Pharaoh did not know God, but he saw God work in the lives of those God pulled into relationship with Himself.  The life of faith is about getting to know God intimately AND fully–and in so doing making Him known to others.

Abundant life is knowing God as He is revealed in the Word.  Jesus Christ ‘became the Word’ – meaning He walked the earth to reveal what God in human flesh looks like.  We can be changed into His likeness only by the work of God.  The Spirit dwells in us to teach us of God and strengthen us in our walk.  Together as believers, we reveal God to a world that does not know Him.  Just like Moses and the Israelites, that walk of faith involves doubts, deafness and amazing deliverance.  Jesus also said that believing His Words walks hand-in-hand with believing the words of the prophets (the Old Testament).

Don’t settle for a one-dimensional God…press in to know Him in His fullness.  

One way to do that is to search out the Names of God and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you more of who God is.  If you would like a list to get you started, click here.

For a beautiful look at Jesus Christ, visit the Desiring God site and enjoy their insights!

By the way, the picture you clicked to come to this page…it is a picture of a molecule within your own body.  The ‘cell adhesion molecule’ – the molecule that holds you us together.  God reveals Himself in the most amazing ways.  LOOK FOR HIM!


Total sufficiency – El Shaddai

Serving faithfully and living blamelessly only happens when we know the One who is All-Sufficient!

Photo by shioshvili via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo by shioshvili via Flickr 

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai–‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.  Genesis 17:1

I’ve been digging into the occurrences of words like ‘desire’ and ‘contentment.’  God really cares about what we want–even to the point of protecting us by saying, ‘No” when necessary.  I was sort of surprised to learn that contentment implies completeness and sufficiency.  Our only hope of sufficiency is God Himself.  He revealed Himself as El Shaddai to Abraham in Genesis 17:1.  The scholars say Shaddai is a combination of words meaning ‘who’ and ‘enough.’  Now, how cool is that?!  Our God is Enough.

Worship Him for who He is and all else falls into place.  

Godliness (aka reverence for Him) with contentment (His sufficiency) is great gain!

Writer of My Story

Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our Faith.  That’s a title sweet to anyone who loves words and books!

God alone can write my story of faith because He alone knows the things about me that need His touch.  He knows my strengths, myweaknesses, my wounds and the ways that will work best to transform me!

He knows all that about you too.14310069428_097f9b6e18_z

Trust His authorship.  Let Him write without interference and rejoice at the storyline of your life.

He is the hero; you are His focus.

Health of My Countenance

You can usually tell when someone feels good–or not–simply by looking at their face.  Tucked away in Psalm 43:5 is an interesting look at a ‘name of God.’  The Psalmist says ‘I will praise the health of my countenance and my God.’

Kate Ter HaarI find it fun to explore the roots of words and the tools of technology make that fairly easy.  Here is the place I played with this verse.  Here’s what I see–keeping in mind I am not a Bible Scholar, simply a lover of God.

Health in this verse is a name we know well:  Yeshua.  Our salvation.  Face speaks to me of our direction, our future.  And God is the beautiful name Elohim.

When our soul roars within us–when everything seems out of whack and not what we want, quiet peace comes to our heart and our face when we remember what Jesus already provided because it was the will of God.  Let Him be the health of your countenance today!

Nothing quite captures the concept like this hymn–and the story behind it:

King of Heaven–and of Earth


Most everyone knows the title “King of Kings” but we don’t often live it.  What a privilege we have when the King rules our lives: we get to bring His Kingdom to this broken world!  We get to be used as the answer to our prayer:  “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done!”

Jesus told Peter the Keys of Heaven belong to those whom the Father reveals the Truth of Christ’s identity.  The keys of heaven are not ours so we can determine what is right and wrong for the world–what is bound and loosed.  That has been, is and will continue to be determined by God alone.

The King’s keys allow us to bring His view of Right and Wrong to a broken world in captivity to error.   And as we look at this, a reminder from My Utmost helps me focus.  Jesus also said don’t worry about the blind guides of the blind…they’ll fall into a ditch together.  Just focus on walking toward Jesus, trust His goodness and power to guide not your ability to walk well :).

Seeking God as a Treasure

Another concept name to feast upon today…In speaking of the Kingdom of Heaven–the dwelling place of our Savior and the Father, He (Jesus) said,

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.  Matthew 13:45,46

Just prior to that teaching is another equating the kingdom with a pearl.  Isaiah used ‘diadem of great beauty’–a crown.  Scripture abounds with references treasuring God.  Here’s another favorite of mine:

And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness–secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.  Isaiah 45:3

Miner, BiblioArchives

Miner, BiblioArchives

Diamonds and pearls (all precious ores) are created in the dark, either under great pressure or in response to an irritant.

Seeking God as our treasure requires us to press through the darkness, endure great pressure, get dirty and go through hard times.

He is worth it!  Press in.  Press on!!

Refuge of Rock

Paul spoke of his limits–his humble human-ness–with great eloquence in Romans 7.  Our desires, our hopes, our knowledge are limited–but Jesus Christ is not.  When He is our focus, our desired destination, we live in His refuge.  Enjoy the courage to live that comes with knowing Jesus by the Name of REFUGE!

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  Psalms 18:2

Another Name you know well: LIFE

Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father but through me.”  John 14:6

Nature Walk, Marla Reyes-McDavis (

Nature Walk, Marla Reyes-McDavis (

As LIFE, Jesus is the way we find God.  From conception to the death bed, there is LIFE.  Jesus Christ is life.  Faith sees HIM in every detail of life.

Oswald Chambers says the “natural becomes spiritual through obedience.”  A life of faith does not mean we live in a wacky, spiritualized version of ‘real life’–it means we seek reality–LIFE–Jesus–in the midst of our days.  Faith is the substance of things not seen but faith is lived out in the nitty-gritty of every day.

Look at Life.  Enjoy Life.  Celebrate Life.  And remember, Life is Jesus Christ, the way to the Father.