Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wonderful Names

I did this Bible study by Kay Arthur called "Lord I Want to Know You". It was an amazing study. I would love to do it again in a group setting for differing perspectives and insights. I was supposed to do this one with some peeps but I got ditched. That is neither here nor there so I digress, let's move on.

It was a wonderful study on the names of God. Unlike our culture today, where people take names for their children from TV shows, books, or songs they love (nothing wrong with this I am just making a point), names held true significance in Bible times. Names were meaningful. They were descriptive and you could learn something about the person from their name. For example; it identified them, their family of origin, and/or a specific characteristic.

Our heavenly Father has many names. I find them beautiful and can't say I pronounce them well but I do try. At it says the names of God are like "miniature portraits and promises'. I love that! It goes on to talk about how God reveals His names to His people, that we don't name him. This is.a very important point to remember. We don't get to define God; who He is, His character, or what He does. Also God often changed the name of his people: Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, Peter to the rock are a few examples.

God has so many beautiful names I wish I could list them all for you. I would suggest if you are going through something then look for His specific name that addresses your issue/problem. I just know that meant something special to me. For example, in my sickness I pray to him as Jehovah Raphe which means the Lord who Heals. His name holds power.

I was inspired so I penned the following about the names of Jesus:

Awesome Creator, who knit me in the womb
I cannot fathom your power.
Yeshua God, whom shall I fear
I take refuge in your strong tower.

El Shaddai, Emanuel,
I desire to boast in your name.
You know time from beginning to end
and yet for me you still came.

Adonai, my master and Lord
the God who sees, El Roi.
Do I, your creation, who often stumbles
do I bring you pleasure and joy?

Your names are beautiful, descriptive and true
each is special to me.
My favorite part is that I am blessed
to call you my Abba Daddy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Look Through The Right Mirror

I was in line at the grocery store the other day when I overheard some ladies talking. What caught my attention was their topic of conversation. They were discussing scars. Actually, they were downing some lady who dared to exit her home without making sure her scars were well concealed. In this day and age of beauty products that exist to hide those unsightly things, I mean really how could she.

I do hope you get my SARCASM...I was livid. it just hit me wrong.

I wonder if these ladies can even begin to fathom the story behind this lady's scars. Her struggles. Her pain. Her battles won.

They could, very well, have been talking about me.

I know about scars. I am a virtual road map of zig-zaggady lines that form a hodge-podge quilt of sorts across my entire body. Having had 20+ surgeries over my lifetime thus far, (not to mention all the tests and procedures) well there is not an inch of me where a story is not imbedded. A story of victory. A story of survival. A story of God's grace and healing.

Those of you who sit back with your perfectly manicured nails, sculpted bodies (that, by the way, have never had the likes of a knife slicing through it) and not a hair out of place - shame on you.

Shame on you for being critical of her. Do you know her struggle? Scars are proof of battles hard fought. Of strength and survival. If you only knew her story, my story. If you only cared enough to get to know the woman behind the scar, I guarantee you she has a story. It's definitely worth hearing too. She is a survivor!

I use to try and hide my scars. I've felt embarrassed. I am still self-conscious at times. I have seen people stare. I've tried so many scar removal remedies; lotions and creams, it's ridiculous. By the way, they are are a rip-off. Yes, I tried them. Cause I bought into the worldly lie of what beauty is supposed to look like. Of what my standard of beauty should be. That my scars are unsightly. I still do at times, if I'm not careful. The desire to be just the right size, a more flattering shape, thicker hair, longer lashes, fewer wrinkles, a clear complextion, straighter nose, flatter belly, smaller ears, just a wee bit taller, the list goes on and on...and on. I guarantee, every lady that is reading this is also doing a mental check-off of her own list of identified imperfections.

We are critical of ourselves and of each other as we base our judgement on what the world tells us is beautiful, lovely, attractive, wonderful. And guess what? we pass it on to our kids as they start obsessing about being thin, cute, accepted...

My anger turns to sadness.

I remember...the Lord's standard. Luke 12:7 says that the very hairs of my head are numbered, that we are not to be afraid as we are worth more than sparrows. I'd say that's pretty important. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Elohim means Creator. He is our Creator. What He creates is beautiful.

Psalm 139:13-17 says "for You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!"

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Are you a bit in awe right now, I am.

I don't say that sister friend, God does. He made me. He knew the path my life would take. He calls me beautifully made. Who am I or who are you to say differently!

We need to remind each other of our beauty. We need to build each other up. Isn't there enough negative messages in the world today?

Scars tell a story.

Jesus has scars. He also has a story of victory. He bore those scars for you and for me. I can't wait to see him one day face to face. To hold the precious hand that bore a nail for me. To see the brow that once bore a crown of thorns replaced with a crown of glory. To look into the eyes of the one who truly knows, who is the definition of  unconditional love. To hear the story of His scars straight from his own lips. See I think Jesus loves us in our scars. He knows each one. He was there with us, holding us through each painful piercing cut that formed the scar. Let Him heal your scars. Let Him heal your view of yourself.

We need to re-define our view of ourselves and look in the mirror through the eyes of Jesus.

I'm going to wear my scars proud...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Poison Darts

What we say matters. The little ditty we learn as kids that says "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is a lie straight from the pits of hell. Words cut deep. Words once spoken, cannot be taken back. They leave invisible scars. Scars that can be re-opened unintentionally, carelessly, at the whim of a mean-spirited person. They last forever, running over and over in our brains until we begin to believe the awful words that were spoken.

As a counselor I've worked with people that have been abused. Horrible cases of severe beatings, emotional torment and sexual assault. Would it surprise you that I've also heard from these same people that they would rather take a physical beating than the emotional/verbal abuse any day.

Shocking huh?

Think about can see the results of a physical assault. Bruises, cuts, wounds that ooze and fester. We go to the doctor, get medicine and put bandages on those. You see that hurt and you feel for the person, perhaps you even want to comfort them. You can continue to treat the wound and watch the process of healing. In a verbal assault, the emotional trauma is internal.

You cannot see the scars of the verbal dart to the soul. The bleeding, oozing, festering is deep and it grows deeper and redder with each swift slice of the tongue. Psalm 64:3 says "they sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows." It goes on in Proverbs 12:18 to say the "words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Wounds left by our own words can be re-opened and no one is the wiser while the victim is left writhing in pain and completely broken.

You may not think of yourself as an abuser, but if you've ever landed a punch to the gut with a string of sarcastic prattle, then my friend join the club. You committed verbal abuse. We are all guilty. 

Our words, yours and mine, can be a poisonous venom that works its way throughout a person's system until they are completely and utterly destroyed OR our words can be a blessed note of praise that works its way throughout the person's system adding a note to the melody of their life song. Psalm 19:14 says "let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer".

So remember your words matter. Guard your tongue. Think before you speak. Psalm 141:3 says "set a guard over my mouth, Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips." Also Proverbs 21:23 says "those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity." 

The spoken word is powerful. James 3:5 & 6 says "likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." In 1 Peter 3:10 it says "for, whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech." 

A harsh word spoken in anger. A frustrated insult. A sarcastic comment. Colossians 3:8 says "but now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these; anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips."

Parents your words can be a huge boost to your child's self esteem. Proverbs 15:4 says "the soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit." 

Husbands/wives your words can help your spouse feel valued. Colossians 4:6 says "let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone."

Employee your kind words can diffuse an irate customer. Proverbs 15:1 & 2 says that "a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. the tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly."  

Teacher your words can be an encouragement to inspire a generation. Ephesians 4:29 says to "not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen."

You can go through life shooting poison darts and spreading venom or you can add notes to the symphony of someone's life song. I don't know about you but I want to make music!

This is one of my favorite songs by Aaron Shust. I thought it was appropriate.