He is Mine

woman reading Bible - lightstock_112728_medium_user_8104670When you read a Bible verse, how do you decide which words to focus on?

For example, which would you say are the important words in the following verses:

“Blessed be the LORD, my rock…
My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My stronghold and my deliverer;
My shield and He in whom I take refuge.” Psalm 144:1-2 (NASB)

The first time I read these verses, my attention was drawn to the various attributes and names of God listed there: LORD, lovingkindness, fortress, stronghold, deliverer, shield, refuge.

But the last time I studied the same verses, my attention was drawn to a word I had previously overlooked: my. Each name and attribute David listed was preceded by personal ownership. David didn’t just know about God, he had experienced these attributes in a personal way.

The author, David, was the second king of the unified nation of Israel, but he wasn’t born into a royal family. David was a shepherd and with that experience, God prepared him to shepherd a nation. Still, before he became a king, David was also a fugitive. For his own survival, he had to question the faithfulness of supposed friends even as he strove for godly responses to those who declared themselves his enemies.

The one constant throughout all his experiences, from shepherd to fugitive to king, was David’s relationship with the Lord. So when David wrote his psalms, he wrote out of personal experience. My rock. My lovingkindness. My fortress. My stronghold. My deliverer. My shield.

David didn’t just take someone else’s word for it. This was personal. He understood who God is because he had experienced who God is. David was able to say of God, “He is mine.”

Can the same be said of you and me?

Daily Reflections on the Names of God

 


Daily Reflections

Most of us love the excitement one-time events bring. College graduation, wedding, the birth of a baby, milestone anniversaries – we await their arrival with eager anticipation, don’t we?

The dailiness of life rarely holds the same fascination, at least in my own experience. When I lived and worked in New York, my weekday schedule looked something like this:

Wake up, clean up, dress up

Commute to work before sunrise

Work

Commute home in the dark (especially during winter)

Dress down, eat dinner, sleep.

Repeat.

Not very exciting. Not even very interesting. Yet, out of that routine came the first story I wrote that was commercially published ten years ago: “Not Just Another Rat,” in Chicken Soup for the Working Women’s Soul.

Daily Reflections on the Names of God - lo-res Many stories, devotions, magazine articles, and a few books later, I’m happy to announce my first devotional, One Year Alone with God, has been reprinted as a softcover under a new title:
Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional.

Which brings me back to the dailiness of life. The spiritual life of a Christian includes exciting milestones. These events include the decision to trust Christ as Savior, baptism, or special times of healing or teaching. But most of our spiritual growth doesn’t occur during those mountaintop experiences. Most of our growth happens in the valleys – in the daily routines of life.

Persevering when we’re tired.

Trusting when we’re fearful.

Loving the unlovable.

Daily Reflections on the Names of God was written for application to the dailiness of life. It’s a daily devotional that explores the names and attributes of God, focusing on who He is, who we are in relationship to Him, and how this changes the way we relate to each other.

I hope you’ll use this devotional for yourself and perhaps obtain it for Christmas gifts, too. 🙂
For those who used it under the original title, would you be willing to write a short review under the new title (Daily Reflections on the Names of God) for websites such as AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, and CHRISTIANBOOK?

(And feel free to share this post! 😉 )

May this devotional be a blessing to you, your friends, and your family!


A Child…A Son

Is Jesus the Son of God? Some say that such a thing is a “New Testament” idea. Yet 700 years before the birth of Jesus, the Old Testament prophet Isaiah made it clear this baby was more than an ordinary child…

For the past four weeks, I’ve been looking at the four names Isaiah used to describe the Messiah: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. But the beginning of Isaiah 9:6 speaks volumes in a few familiar words:

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Did you catch it? The reference to One who would be fully human and fully God? No?
Look again…

“For to us a child is born…”
A child born of a woman. Formed in the womb. Fully human. One who understands what it means to be hungry and thirsty and tired. One who experienced temptation and betrayal first-hand.

“To us a son is given…”
Not just born, but given, as well. A son given by God Himself. A son who is God. Given to be sacrificed as an atonement for sin. Given to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. Given to provide salvation – restoration to the God of all creation.

Fully human and fully God. The only one qualified to bridge the gap between man and his Creator. Jesus. The Messiah. The Christ. The baby whose birth we celebrate.

May your Christmas be merry with the wonder and joy of knowing Him personally!


How Well Are You Known?

 

Twelve years ago, I moved from New York City to a much smaller city in Florida. More of a small town, actually. I welcomed the fresh air, the slower pace, and the improved quality of life.

 
But I also needed to make some adjustments…

About a week after our move, after a particularly long day unpacking boxes, we tried getting a pizza delivered. Several phone calls later, we discovered that nothing remained open after 10pm.

The satellite post office near our home closed for lunch each day.

I was late for church one morning because a cow stood in the road and a sheriff’s deputy blocked the road with his car while we waited for the cow to move.

One of the biggest adjustments I had to make was in realizing I could not leave the house without running into someone I knew. Someone from church or from our neighborhood. Someone from the interdenominational Bible study I attended or from the non-profit agency where I volunteered. The anonymity of living in a big city disappeared faster than a bag of M&Ms® at a chocoholic’s convention.

But that was nothing compared to what I’ve experienced lately on the Internet. Facebook seems to know exactly what ads fit my interests. One order on the Barnes & Noble website resulted in emails touting products geared to my interests. The website Spokeo.com contained detailed information about me and anyone for whom I might be searching.

Total strangers seem to know me very well.

To know and be known – truly known – is our deepest desire. Even the apostle Paul noted, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (I Corinthians 13:12).

God created us to know and be known. He created us to be intimately related to Him. He revealed Himself in His Word using a variety of names and attributes to help us know who He is and how He works. We learn from His Word that He is perfectly righteous and just, absolutely faithful and merciful, and truly trustworthy and holy. And because He is who He is, we can trust the most intimate details of our life to Him. In fact, nothing surprises Him – He knows the ugliest details and loves us anyway.

When we’re in a right relationship with the Lord, we’ll have the confidence to be vulnerable and transparent in our relationships with others. To know and be known is a gift, not just with God, but with fellow travelers on the road of life.

With whom is your most intimate relationship?
If you’re not as intimate with the Lord as you would like, what will you do about it?


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