HaShem – the Name

In my last study notes, I was looking at the various names we see given, received and used for God by various individuals. This was initiated because of the difference in the names Hagar and Abraham had for God in Genesis chapters 16 & 17. But now we come to chapter 18, and we see the tetragammon יְהֹוָה in use to describe God in this chapter.

What is quite interesting about the tetragammon יְהֹוָה is that while modern Christian Bibles will simply translate it as LORD, this particular proper name for God is a bit unique. The original Hebrew for this proper name of God was just consonants — and didn’t even include vowels to help one understand from its being written how it might be properly pronounced.

And some Jewish translations wouldn’t even write or speak the tetragammon יְהֹוָה, for fear of violating the third commandment to not take the Lord’s name in vain. They might use the word HaShem השם‎ instead as a less formal description, which simply means “the Name”. Common substitutions in Hebrew for this proper name are Adonai (“My Lord”) or Elohim (literally “gods” but treated as singular when meaning “God”) in prayer, or HaShem (“The Name”) in everyday speech.

You can get an idea of the use of HaShem from this Jewish translation to English that you might compare side by side with your own English translation that probably uses LORD: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/bereishit-genesis-chapter-18

While there is plenty of public disagreement today over whether יְהֹוָה should be pronounced “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” (or many other variations) — the original people given this name were so respectful of it that they hesitated to even consider writing or saying it. This is something that I fear many of us today might overlook or not rightly understand today — that deep awe and reverence towards the proper use and handling of the name of God. (In a world filled with “MF this” and “GD that” commonly tolerated in public, on television, and all over the Internet — it may be best that we don’t hear the tetragammon יְהֹוָה being dropped in pop music just to gain some notoriety and make a little more money.)

We will find all kinds of names in the Bible for God if we keep looking. And if you look to each person and their need, you will see God’s unique and personal name associated with them and their stories. And while it is good to know someone else’s story and get introduced to God through their faith secondhand — I would say that there is a greater value in knowing personally and closely the intimate and personal name that your betrothed would share with you firsthand.

There is no argument that the world is given only one name by which salvation is given, and only one name above all names — Jesus:

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9‭-‬11 NLT

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].”
Acts 4:12 AMP

But the world knows my wife by her name Mandee and me by my name Harold — but when we are away from the world and together in private, we have our pet names — we have our close, personal nicknames. Even with our close friends, we have our names for each other that are closer and more personal than our formal names.

When you rest in the Lord, when you spend sweet time in the garden with your teacher and your comforter, what sweet and personal name do you have for the Lord and who He is for you personally?

If you don’t know Him that close and personally yet, you can. Just slow down, step away from the staterooms and temptations of this world to draw close to Him, to seek Him. He is here with you, very close and not far away. May you know Him and He know you — that changes everything. Amen.

Remembering Accurately

Associated reading:

  • Genesis 8 & 9
  • Psalm 8 & 9
  • Joshua 8 & 9
  • “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling

As I read the chapters yesterday and today, they helped remind me of the the importance of remembering accurately. It also helps that I’m listening to another book on the subject of accuracy vs misconception on Audible (“Factfulness” by Hans Rosling), that was given high praise on LinkedIn by a co-worker.

When we are given instructions on how to do something — as Noah was with his instructions concerning the Ark, as Joshua was with his instructions concerning the town of Ai, and as the Israelites were in receiving their instructions for life through Moses — it is important that we remember accurately those instructions, so that we can follow them accurately. And this is critically important in the short term. Like daily manna, if we rise from our slumber and go out into God’s Word each day to gather our daily bread, and if we meet with Him in the garden for intimate time alone with Him, and on the seashore for time of restoration, and even at the cross for reflection and repentance — we will remember Him more accurately through our day’s plans, tasks, circumstances and surprises.

We also do not want to forget what He has done for us in the past or remember wrongly the history of our lives, of our family’s history, and the history of the world. Relying upon our own memory alone can be tricky — as we have a tendency to forget, to embellish, or to be selective in our long term memories of things. We are not perfect in our memories like God, even though God has favored us so undeservedly as David describes, “What are mere mortals that you should think about them… You made them only a little lower than the heavenly beings”. Humankind not only has our individual memories, but we have our spoken and written and recorded history as well. We have all that we speak amongst our families, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and strangers during our waking lives. And we have all that might be read, listened to, or watched that we have done that might even exceed that short span of our breath- filled lungs.

Since God is of utmost importance in the story of the life of one who “walks in The Way”, shouldn’t He be the ever present salt that flavors our shared remembrance, and the testimony of our trials be the pepper and herbs, and our profession of Christ risen from the dead be our life giving drink? Just as Joshua sat the people down to hear the whole of God’s commands then, shouldn’t we gather together to read and hear the whole of His Word amongst ourselves?

As I am going through this “Old Testament” reading plan ( http://bible.com/r/H ), I don’t look at this example and pat myself on the back for making it 9 days in faithfully — because I remember accurately how many times I have started and never finished such an undertaking. And I’m not ashamed or in despair either about it. Nor am I flippant about my wanting to make it through to the end consistently this time. It reminds me accurately that but for the grace of God, I would be those people drowned outside the Ark, I would be those enemies appointed for judgement, I would be like Achan who stole from the Lord and deserved to be set up as an example of “what not to do”.

But for the grace of God, what would be remembered accurately about our lives?

What history would be left in the wake of our selfish, prideful, foolish, wicked, sinful lives if a better way (even the best and only way) hasn’t been revealed to us?

As I sat down for lunch with a leader yesterday, we talked about how our “default setting” is not that best way and that we both rely on God’s grace and power daily to strengthen us and carry us through. That too often, we make the same foolish mistakes as all the other characters in the Bible, save the one perfect Lamb of God who “got it right”. It is so refreshing and encouraging to sit with friends over a meal and just experience friendship and fellowship together!

As for me and my house, I want us to remember accurately all that the Lord has done for us. I’m not exactly sure what that looks like or how we live it out consistently, day by day — for our own benefit, for the world to see, but most importantly for the glory of God — but I’m eager to see what the Lord has in store, and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. Amen.

The Contrast

There is a great contrast between the grace and mercies found in intimate closeness to God — versus the harsh reality of death, darkness, and destruction that comes to those separated from and opposed to God.

Genesis 2 lays out for Adam and Eve an explanation of the consequences of “choosing the wrong side” when they are told “If you eat its fruit, you will surely die.” And Psalm 2 contrasts those who do not submit as “you will be destroyed in the midst of all of your activities” to “what joy for all who take refuge in Him!” And even Joshua 2 lays out a choice and consequences for Rahab the prostitute, who helped them.

In each of these situations, we see kind advice communicated — like a good father would warn his children about not touching a hot stove top — but we also see the opportunity for submission or opposition. And even more importantly, we see that the ones giving advice and extending grace have the wisdom and insight to indicate the “If you choose X, your consequences will be X — our If you choose Y, your consequences will be Y.” It would be foolish for a father to not warn his child about the consequences of a hot stove — just as it would be foolish of a child not to heed his father’s advice about the hot stove.

But we have all at times in our lives ignored the advice of our heavenly Father and traded what is best for a different set of consequences. In fact, being a slave to sin is having our joy and our greatest blessings stolen from us repeatedly, day after day, as we are tricked into giving up willingly what is best — in trade it for the momentary pleasures of “sin”.

Instead of seeing sin as “getting to do what I want instead of having to follow God’s rules” — we must understand that sin is always us “giving up what is best for us in trade for something less”.

A good father knows that his child might be foolish, and isn’t telling him “don’t touch the hot stovetop” to keep him from enjoying exploring some new areas of the kitchen — but to protect him from the hurt that he knows will be the inevitable consequence. In fact, a good father isn’t waiting eagerly to beat the foolish child for touching the hot stove and getting burnt — he longs to share wisdom and good advice for the benefit of the child.

Unfortunately, I fear that much of what extreme evangelical teaching has used (seemingly as a shortcut for denomination centered religious “conversions” not Christ centered life-altering “salvations”) — by scaring people with an emphasis upon hell and eternal torment and a wrathful, vengeful Father God, with Jesus as a “get out of hell free card” if they can explain the “Roman road” and recite a “sinner’s prayer” — has completely skewed the common understanding of God as Heavenly Father and how “sin” is understood. I know that I personally misunderstood this for decades of my young church going life.

To look at “sin” from a “do this and don’t do that” perspective alone is having information but not knowing how to truly understand it. This is what is meant by “the letter of the law kills”. That is the religious, judgemental, hypocritical perspective that would enjoy and take pleasure in repeatedly beating a child for placing their hand on a stovetop that wasn’t even hot — while using the excuse “it’s for his own good” to justify their perverse pleasure in doing harm to the child. That is not how God operates, and those who act as if it is — not only do not know Him personally — but clearly know very little “about Him” as well.

When we look at the love of a father who warns us of the dangers, yet allows us to learn — either by being his advice and enjoying the fruit of wisdom — or by ignoring his advice and experiencing the consequences of the prodigal — that grace available for both the wise and the foolish, will either have us grateful like the prodigal son, or confused and mad like the jealous older son in that story. This is the gospel, and it sees things from a spiritual perspective.

Related reading:

  • Genesis 2
  • Psalm 2
  • Joshua 2

The Lights Are On

The story of creation is also our story, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Just as He spoke light into the darkness of creation, He has spoken light into the darkness of our lives, friends. We who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit are alive within a world of dry bones, shining like a lighthouse high on a hill to warm others of the dangers of the darkness and issue them into the light where it is good.

3 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.
Genesis 1:3‭-‬5 NLT

Are your lights burning brightly this morning, or do you fear that your light may only remain a small, flickering flame. I’m here to encourage you, friends, because if that flame were our own striving, our own sinlessness, our own perfection, our own works — it would be doomed to be stamped out by the onslaught of circumstances, of trial, of temptation, of suffering. But this fire that we carry is not one of our own forging — but is given to us as a gift from God, a spoken and written and demonstrated in the flesh promise:

15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.
John 14:15‭-‬17 NLT

Do you love Him?

Will you seek Him and His will?

We have an advocate in Christ Jesus Himself, who asks on our behalf for this gift of the Holy Spirit “who will never leave” us.

Has He sought you and bought you from darkness and into light, friend?

If so, celebrate! Rejoice! Dance! Shout! Sing!

Let His light shine bright, for “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” is a child’s song not about a fragile flickers that might go out of not protected — but a roaring fire ordained by God that cannot be extinguished.

God bless you, children of God. And peace is with you, and always will be, because His Word is true and never fails. Go and take this light with you. Amen.

Old Testament: http://bible.com/r/H

  • Genesis 1
  • Psalms 1
  • Joshua 1

Why am I wrestling and broken right now?

If you have been struggling and you don’t know why, I want to introduce you to two times in Jacob’s life.

At Bethel, Jacob saw a ladder going up into heaven… but at Jabbok, he wrestles with the Lord, he is broken, and he sees the Lord “face to face”.

So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”
Genesis 32:30 ESV

Every believer needs a Bethel experience to get to heaven, but every believer also needs a Jabbok experience to make us fit for use here and now.

And God can’t use you until He breaks you.

The two names made me think about how in the south, I’ve seen many “Bethel Baptist Church” in different towns — but I get the feeling that if there was ever a church named “Jabbok”, it might be more likely to be a revival, a service ministry, or a Pentecostal church because the focus isn’t on evangelism/salvation, but on service.

That isn’t a dig at my beloved Baptist brethren — it just points out a difference in purpose like a hand is different than a foot, but both are necessary for the whole purpose and proper working of ther body.

At Bethel, Jacob saw a ladder going up into heaven… but at Jabbok, he sees the Lord face to face.

“Some people can’t praise God and give Him glory because they haven’t been broken. They can’t shout and lift their hands and glorify the Lord. They are still too full of their pride. You still got good health. You still got enough money. You still got enough friends… God hasn’t broken you yet… and that’s why you can’t shout with enthusiasm. But just like you need a Bethel, you need a Jabbok.” – from the Youtube sermon I’ve linked below

Thank you, Jesus!

The smell of death lingers, but not for long… (yes, there’s a poop joke)

Lol. Check this out.
I come back in from my morning run,  my stomach telling me that it is time to shed some weight…

I walk into the master bathroom and hear the fan running in the water closet, so I ask my wife,  “Did you just use the bathroom?” To which she replies, “It’s not bad, just give it a…” — I didn’t hear the rest and went straight to the hall bathroom.

You know —

Eve said, “It’s not bad, just give it a…” too — and Adam died because he listened to her. 
Love you, but I’ll just use the hall bathroom. Death is lingering in that other bathroom, and I’ll wait until it has departed. Love you, honey!

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to  be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall  be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” – Genesis 3:1‭-‬19 NKJV

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 5:12‭-‬21 NLT


“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.” – Revelation 3:10 NLT

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.  You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.  This is my command: Love each other.” – John 15:4‭-‬17 NLT

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.  The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.  Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.  They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.  They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.” – John 15:18‭-‬22 NLT

From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.” But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you. So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. Stay there with him until your brother cools off. When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?” – Genesis 27:41‭-‬45 NLT

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” – 1 Peter 5:6‭-‬10 NLT

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” – Exodus 14:13‭-‬14 NLT

“So follow the steps of the good, and stay on the paths of the righteous. For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it. But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted.” – Proverbs 2:20‭-‬22 NLT

Don’t Withhold

​When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. – Genesis 50:15‭-‬21 ESV
Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.  Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” – Luke 7:44‭-‬48 ESV
Pray then like this:  “Our Father in heaven,  hallowed be  your name.    Your kingdom come,  your will be done,   on earth as it is in heaven.   Give us  this day our daily bread,    and forgive us our debts,  as we also have forgiven our debtors.   And  lead us not into temptation,  but  deliver us from  evil.    For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,  but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:9‭-‬15 ESV

Ultra- High Lumen Tactical Lighting

Good, Reliable, Tactical Lighting that will consistently perform in live fire situations isn’t common, cheap, or widely available. In fact, you won’t find what Seal Team 7 uses at your neighborhood Dollar General store because it has a specific purpose and is meant for a select set of particular buyers. That “other stuff” at Dollar General or Walmart is good enough for “the rest of the world”, but they need purpose driven tools for their trade. 

Christian, you are not just part of “the rest of the world” — you are called — you are set apart —  you are Children of God — you are Sons of light — you walk a new way different from the world. Come, let’s walk together in His Word.

​And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. – Genesis 1:4 ESV

It isn’t surprising that light is good  –since it sprang up from the command of our Good Good Father speaking, “Let there be light.” 

And can we agree that even those of us who enjoy the light should probably be more grateful for it than we sometimes are — and we should  probably want to see even more of God in it and by it than we have so far.

So let’s dig in together. 

Lord, open our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts to receive what you have to reveal to us today through your Word. Amen.

Physical light is said by Solomon to be sweet:

Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. – Ecclesiastes 11:7 ESV

But gospel light is infinitely more precious and valuable, because it reveals eternal things unseen and it ministers to our immortal natures, our deceitful hearts, our very character and innermost desires.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” – John 3:19‭-‬21 ESV

When the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual light and opens our eyes to witness the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, we recognize sin in its true colors, and ourselves in our real position;  

And He [the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, our Helper], when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness, and about judgment:  about sin [and the true nature of it], because they do not believe in Me [and My message];  about righteousness [personal integrity and godly character], because I am going to My Father and you will no longer see Me;  about judgment [the certainty of it], because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged and condemned. – JOHN 16:8‭-‬11 AMP

In this pure spiritual light we see the One True God, the Most Holy God, without blemish or spot. Almighty God who is never changing, who has no deceit in Him, in Whom there is no darkness at all, as He reveals Himself, 

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. – Romans 1:18‭-‬20 ESV

In the blinding clarity of this spiritual light shining in the darkness,  we see His plan of mercy – as He whispers it to us in His still quiet voice – for us to consider:

Now, the way to receive God’s approval has been made plain in a way other than the laws in the Scriptures. Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets tell us this. Everyone who believes has God’s approval through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no difference between people. Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory. They receive God’s approval freely by an act of his kindness through the price Christ Jesus paid to set us free ⌊from sin⌋. – Romans 3:21‭-‬24 GW

And this revealing spiritual light shows us the Truth of the “world to come” as this Word of God commands in the same way what is coming as it has what is finished:

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light. – Luke 8:17 GW

The day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day heaven will pass away with a roaring sound. Everything that makes up the universe will burn and be destroyed. The earth and everything that people have done on it will be exposed. – 2 Peter 3:10 GW

Spiritual light has so many beams like eyes searching in every direction for a heart that is fully committed to Him so that He may shine His light upon them — for His glory and honor and mercy and power to be revealed in the midst of this dark world through the faith of His people working through godly love poured out upon an undeserving world. 

And all the varied colors and tones of the rainbow can be found in these rays of this spiritual light — whether they are knowledge, joy, holiness, or life — all are divinely good because they come from the divine. 

So if the light received is good, what must the essence and source of that light be, and how glorious is the place where it comes from, that place where He reveals Himself?

Oh, Lord, since your light is so good, give us more of it,  and more of yourself,  the true light. Amen.

Sons of light – you who have ears to hear – listen:

As soon as there is a good thing in the world, a division is necessary. There is no time for hesitation, no time for contemplation, no profit in delaying:

​And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. – Genesis 1:4 ESV

And God separated the light from the darkness.

Light and darkness have no communion;  God has divided them — let’s not confuse them or foolishly, selfishly and pridefully believe that any mere man could bind together what God has set apart. 

Sons of light must not have fellowship with the deeds and actions, doctrines and heresies, or deceits and trickeries of darkness. 

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,  and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14‭-‬18 ESV

The children of the day, those who walk in the light —  must be sober, honest, and bold in their Lord’s work — leaving the works of darkness to those who will dwell in it forever. 

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:13‭-‬16 ESV

Our churches, these bodies of true believers, should by discipline and discernment —

Yes, by self-discipline —

And by discerning what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1‭-‬2 ESV

We the followers of the way, 

The sons of light, 

The children of God,

The true children of Abraham by Faith,

We train and equip ourselves to rightly divide the light from the darkness –

And if we have that inward, spiritually distinct separation of Spirit from Flesh that can’t be seen by the eyes of mere men, 

Our outwardly visible lives will manifest that same distinct separation from the way of the world — because we walk a different path, a narrow way that doesn’t lead to destruction. 

In our life’s testimony to what truly lies within –

In right judgement, 

in loving action, 

in patient hearing, 

in sound teaching, 

in brotherly association,  

we must discern between what is precious and what is vile,  

A believer strives to maintain that same great distinction that the Lord made on this world’s first day between light and dark  —

This same border, 



and guardrail —

should be drawn in our own lives so that His light might shine brightly and distinctly against the darkness of this fallen world.  

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24 ESV

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:17‭-‬32 ESV

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. – Galatians 5:16‭-‬26 ESV

Oh, Lord Jesus,  be our light throughout the whole day, because your light is the light of men. Amen.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. – Proverbs 14:12 ESV

I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.  How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. – Psalms 119:102‭-‬105 ESV

I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.  You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.  Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God.  Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!  Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!  You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain.  All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies.  My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments. – Psalms 119:113‭-‬120 ESV

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7 ESV

My son, do not despise the Lord ’s discipline or be weary of his reproof,  for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. – Proverbs 3:11‭-‬12 ESV

The Lord ’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous. – Proverbs 3:33 ESV

And God Blessed Them

​So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:27‭-‬28 ESV

#InHis Image #Blessed
And God blessed them.


In Hebrew,  the word is:


If we were to sound it out ourselves,  it would be spelled like barak (bä·rak). What is interesting about this word is its meaning and usage in Hebrew. It means to kneel – and interestingly enough it is translated as blessing 302 times in the old testament,  but it is also translated as curse or blaspheme 6 times. How odd for blessing and cursing to come from the same word. I just find that so interesting! 

And the reason is because the Word is about relationship and position with respect to God. You see,  we were created to kneel,  to submit,  to yield to God. And if we understand who God really is, we would be honored to worship Almighty God, Heavenly Father. But if we’ve made some imperfect image of God in our heads that is more like ourselves, there’s no reason some might ask,  “Why do I have to worship God, that just isn’t right.”

For example,  let’s say the person we’ve lobbied for and campaigned for the whole year to get elected into office wins, and we are offered the opportunity to formally present them at their inauguration – wouldn’t we be excited?  But what if that other person won and we are faced with the same opportunity? Isn’t is clear that how we see God affects whether we see kneeling to Him, worshiping Him, obeying Him as either a blessing or a curse? 

And how this word for “kneeling” has gotten twisted into the worldliness of having an abundance of things – that’s not blessing! That’s responsibility to be a good steward lest the stones and beams in our own houses cry out and testify against us about the poor and the hungry and the afflicted at judgement! 

I’m talking about real blessing – a life surrendered to Christ,  not just in a confessed sinner’s prayer,  but in a believing heart that bears the burdens of his fellow men and that shares this Good News to the ends of the earth. Yes, a life anointed and flowing in the Spirit,  bearing fruit, renewing their mind, bringing Hope into the dark places, encouraging others in faithfulness, and leading one another in the holiness that is loving one another.

That is blessed. Blessing is kneeling surrendered humbly at the foot of the cross, not rich and proud at the edge of the cliff of worldliness and sinfulness. 

May we all be blessed by the reading of, and the meditating upon, the Word of God today. Thanks be to God! Amen!