Jehovah Raah…the Lord is my Shepherd.

As common as it sounds, The Lord being our shepherd is actually very comforting, when we consider the cultural and social implications, when David and others wrote it.

It seems the Israelites always had someone who was a shepherd. Abel kept watch over the flocks. Abraham, Lot, Isaac and Jacob kept sheep. When Joseph went down to Eygpt as a slave, and then found favour with Pharoh, his family came down with the famine, he asked them to say that they were shepherds, ( they were), and so had Goshen assigned to them, away from the Eygptians. Moses was a prince for 40 years, a shepherd for 40 years ( where he found his wife, Zipporah and heard God from a burning bush), and a leader for the next 40 years. David was a shepherd, whom the family don’t think much of, before he killed Goliath and later became a king. Jeremiah and Ezekial warned about false shepherds, and also gave the Israelites hope about the coming of a true Shepherd, who would never abandon His sheep. When Jesus spoke to the people, He called Himself the Good Shepherd on multiple occasions. He said His sheep would recognize His voice. He had other sheep that He needed to reach, who would be part of the fold.

There’s the famous psalm, 23, that most people know and have heard. While I was reading up on this psalm, I found several commentaries, so I’m going to write down a little from the one I really liked, with bits and pieces from others.

Jehovah Raah is derived from Ro’eh ( which means Shepherd). Jehovah Raah can mean The Lord is my Shepherd or the The Lord Shepherds me. It can even mean The Lord is my friend or The Lord my companion. It means that He is near. He is very close. He watches over me. He hears me when I call. He listens to me and understands me. He is my caregiver. He provides for me. He cares for me.

Let me let you about sheep, though. They are dumb. They follow each other, with no thought, they’ve been known to jump off a cliff following the herd. They need protection, they don’t have claws, or hooves or powerful jaws to fend off predators. They are generally frightened of everything, they can’t or won’t drink from running water, shepherds have to dam up the water, to get them to drink from still, calm water. Sheep are basically helpless creatures who cannot survive long without a shepherd, upon whose care they are totally dependent.

Now , comparing ourselves to sheep, and God to the Good Shepherd, we are dumb ( we really are!), we fall into the same trap of sin and sinning , over and over again. We follow the crowd, and want to fit in ( peer pressure anyone?). We can’t defend ourselves against the powers of darkness and the evil one. We need the Lord of angel armies, His angels , and the shepherds He’s placed over us to fight for us and with us to win the war that we’re in, the war for our souls. Sometimes we (I ) are frightened over everything. The rushing waters ( our storms, our troubles, our valleys of sorrow)  that we need The Shepherd to dam up the waters for us ( give us a way out of our temptations, bring us to a mountain , fight off our accuser ). We are basically helpless, needing to be dependent completely on Him.

Him, on the other hand, is the Good Shepherd, the True Shepherd. He watches over us intently. He leads us lovingly and gently. His voice is one we can trust.  When one of us strays, He chases after us to bring us back to safety, His fold. He fights off predators, and destroys the enemy. He places shepherds over us ( pastors, preachers, teachers, mentors) who are true to Him. He gives us food to eat (His Word), and refreshes us in His Spirit. He has sheep all over the world. He gave His life for the sheep.

So I’m going to break down Psalm 23. Please go back to His Word, and discover what The Shepherd/ this Friend and Companion means to you personally. This is just a guide.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, (Relationship…. I am His daughter)  I lack nothing. (Supply…He provides for me, materially, relationally, spiritually)

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, (Rest….In the midst of a weary life, He makes me calm and peaceful)
he leads me beside quiet waters, (Refreshment…In the midst of the same things happening over and over, He makes me new and gives me new joy)

3 he refreshes my soul. (Healing…There’s nothing that affects me or my loved ones that He can’t or won’t cure, either in this world or in Heaven)
He guides me along the right paths (Guidance….He shows me what to do, when I am confused)
for his name’s sake. (Purpose…I’m called to glorify Him, I’m meant to praise Him)

4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a] (Testing….to refine me and strengthen me, to use me for His glory)
I will fear no evil, (Protection…I’m not alone, He’s always by my side)
for you are with me; (Faithfulness…He can be trusted, all His promises are true) 
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. (Discipline…to bring me back to the path of life, when I stray )

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.  (Hope…He lifts me up, even with my shame, He gives me honour)
You anoint my head with oil; (Consecration…He makes me holy , like Him)
my cup overflows. (Abundance…I can’t contain or count His many blessings, I don’t mean material blessings) 

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life, (Blessing…He cares for me enough to give me a personal blessing)
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord (Security…I have a place where I belong)
for ever. (Eternity… and I will never move from there or be asked to leave).

 

These are just a few verses that I found that talk about the Shepherd, and the shepherds that He has placed over us.

1 Chronicles 21:17 David said to God, ‘Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.’

Psalm 23:1  The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Psalm 78:71 from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance.

Psalm 78:72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skilful hands he led them.

Psalm 80:1 [ Psalm 80 ] [ For the director of music. To the tune of ‘The Lilies of the Covenant’. Of Asaph. A psalm. ] Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth

Isaiah 40:11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 44:28 who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, ‘Let it be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Let its foundations be laid.’”

Isaiah 61:5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.

Jeremiah 17:16 I have not run away from being your shepherd; you know I have not desired the day of despair. What passes my lips is open before you.

Jeremiah 23:4  I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,’ declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 3:15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

Jeremiah 31:10 ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: “He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.”

Jeremiah 33:12 ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In this place, desolate and without people or animals – in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks.

Jeremiah 34:1 [ The Lord will be Israel’s shepherd ] The word of the Lord came to me:

Ezekiel 34:7 ‘“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:

Micah 5:4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.

Zechariah 9:16The Lord their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.

John 10:11 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:14 ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me

Hebrews 13:20 [ Benediction and final greetings ] Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,

Finally, the shepherd cares for the sheep because he loves them and wants to maintain his own good reputation as a faithful shepherd. As we’ve seen in Psalm 23, the analogy of the Lord as the Good Shepherd was also applied by Jesus in John chapter 10. In declaring that He is the shepherd of the sheep, Jesus is confirming that He is God. The Eternal God is our Shepherd. And we would not want it any other way.

He’s fighting my battles.

Lord of Hosts.

Jehovah Sabaoth or Tsebao’th, or Yahweh Sabaoth .

Mighty warrior.

God of angel armies.

God Almighty or Lord Almighty.

Elohim .

Why do I assume that I can understand God enough to explain Him to you? Sometimes I do (assume I can understand Him), and sometimes I’m humbled or overwhelmed by what I learn, that I just want to put down a little bit of what He’s revealed to me, knowing all the time that it’ll never be enough. Both of these happened these last few weeks, while I’ve been reading up and studying The LORD of Hosts. I assumed , I, a mortal made of dirt, can explain, an all-powerful God. And I as studied more and more, I was by turns, humbled and overwhelmed. I can’t do it. He is too much for me to explain, but He is never far from me. While it has been much to take in, He has been gracious and kind and gentle to me. He’s taken me in, and loved me . He will reveal Himself to me, when He knows I’m ready, which I’m not now. So, very briefly, knowing it’ll never cover everything worth knowing. I’ll attempt to write what The LORD of Hosts means to me.

If you look above at the list of names, you’ll see more than just The LORD of Hosts. In the Names of God (NOG) Bible version, you’ll see this name , ie, Yahweh or Jehovah Sabaoth. In the Message (MSG) Bible version, you’ll see this name often translated as God of Angel Armies. In the English versions (NIV) , you’ll often it translated LORD or God Almighty. In the Amplified (AMP) version, you’ll see it rendered as The LORD of hosts. That doesn’t mean that every time you see LORD Almighty or God Almighty, in the English versions, that in the Hebrew or Greek versions, it’s always Yahweh or Jehovah Sabaoth. Some of those times, it’s  El Shaddai or Shadday ( God Almighty)!

So…….. Now that I’ve attempted to confuse you as much as possible, let’s dive in 🙂

These are different names. These have slightly different meanings. They are different manifestations of the same One True God, but translated differently according to the root word . This study , among other things, opened my eyes up to how spectacular and majestic God is, and also to how diverse and complicated languages are. English for all its beauty, is limited. Hebrew and Greek for all its wonder, is hard to translate. And the same God understands all these languages, and can be understood in all of them. He is known more, when people seek to comprehend Him , in what is known to them. I am eminently grateful to all those who have undertaken the difficult process of translating the Bible, from Latin to Greek and English and Tamil and Mandarin and Swahili and French and German and all the languages of the world. How beautiful to read about the Saviour, in your heart’s language.

Getting back to The LORD of Hosts. LORD almost, always denotes Yahweh (Jehovah in Greek). The God who exists, the I AM, the One who needs no one to complete Him. Hosts, used in the Bible, generally is associated with warfare: weapons, war, armies, battles etc. The LORD of Hosts, like mentioned earlier, is translated as God of Angel Armies, or sometimes Mighty Warrior. He commands the armies of heaven, the angels, and all created beings. The animals , birds, sea creatures and all races of people are under His dominion and His to call, to match to war, against His enemy. We owe Him our reverence, our worship, our obeisance and our souls. We owe Him everything.

Imagine, if you will, Aragon at the end of the Lord of the Rings ( The Return of the King), standing firm, and leading his small band of warriors against the forces of Sauron. Brandishing his weapon, and running into battle, with a cry on his lips. Imagine all the stories you’ve read, and the movies you’ve watched, about good vs evil , where the last battle is the turning point , and where our brave, good warriors and heroes lead the charge.  Always there’s someone at the forefront who is willing to risk his or her life for the many.

Imagine, God at the head of His army, a hundred times more splendid, a thousand times more awe-inspiring, a million times more frightening to His enemies. And all the time, He knows and everyone with Him and against Him know, that He will be victorious. He has already entered into the depths of hades and has taken the keys to death and hell. He has already won, it is written so in the Good Book, and He cannot lie. There is no shadow of turning in Him. All His promises are “Yes” and “Amen” . Imagine a glorious day, when every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that He is LORD. This is Yahweh Sabaoth, the LORD of Hosts.

For behold, He Who forms mountains & creates the wind and declares to man what are His thoughts, He Who makes dawn into darkness and treads on the high places of the earth, the LORD God of hosts (Sabaoth) is His name.  (Amos 4:13

Is 44:6 “Thus says Jehovah, the King of Israel & his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first & I am the last & there is no God besides Me.” Comparing Scripture with Scripture we find that in Re 22:13 Jesus identifies Himself as “I am the Alpha & the Omega, the first & the last, the beginning & the end.” which clearly parallels the Isaiah passage. So Jesus is our Jehovah Sabaoth (similar affirmation by Jesus are found in Rev 1:17 , Rev 2:18)

In the Bible, these names or combination of names ( Elohim, Yahweh or Jehovah Sabaoth, El Shaddai, Mighty Warrior) occur 261 times. They are concentrated in Isaiah and Jeremeiah, with a verse in Amos that really defines The LORD of Hosts. Psalm 46 and Psalm 84 have a lot of mentions ( plus a few other psalms). In 1st Samuel though, do we see this name first mentioned. Below is a favourite psalm  of mine in three versions, followed by a brief description of The LORD of Hosts in a few verses.

Psalm 46The Message (MSG)

A Song of the Sons of Korah

46 1-3 God is a safe place to hide,

    ready to help when we need him.

We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,

    courageous in seastorm and earthquake,

Before the rush and roar of oceans,

    the tremors that shift mountains.

Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,

    God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.

4-6 River fountains splash joy, cooling God’s city,

    this sacred haunt of the Most High.

God lives here, the streets are safe,

    God at your service from crack of dawn.

Godless nations rant and rave, kings and kingdoms threaten,

    but Earth does anything he says.

Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,

    God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.

8-10 Attention, all! See the marvels of God!

    He plants flowers and trees all over the earth,

Bans war from pole to pole,

    breaks all the weapons across his knee.

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,

    loving look at me, your High God,

    above politics, above everything.”

11 Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,

    God-of-Angel-Armies protects us

Psalm 46Names of God Bible (NOG)

Psalm 46

For the choir director; a song by the descendants of Korah; according to alamoth.[a]

Elohim is our Machseh and strength,

    an ever-present help in times of trouble.

That is why we are not afraid

    even when the earth quakes

        or the mountains topple into the depths of the sea.

            Water roars and foams,

                and mountains shake at the surging waves. Selah

There is a river

    whose streams bring joy to the city of Elohim,

        the holy place where Elyon lives.

Elohim is in that city.

    It cannot fall.

        Elohim will help it at the break of dawn.

Nations are in turmoil, and kingdoms topple.

    The earth melts at the sound of God’s voice.

Yahweh Tsebaoth is with us.

    The Elohim of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah

Come, see the works of Yahweh,

    the devastation he has brought to the earth.

        He puts an end to wars all over the earth.

            He breaks an archer’s bow.

            He cuts spears in two.

            He burns chariots.

10 Let go of your concerns!

    Then you will know that I am Elohim.

        I rule the nations.

        I rule the earth.

11 Yahweh Tsebaoth is with us.

    The Elohim of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah

 

Psalm 46Amplified Bible (AMP)

God the Refuge of His People.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to soprano voices. A Song.

46 God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable],

A very present and well-proved help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change

And though the mountains be shaken and slip into the heart of the seas,

Though its waters roar and foam,

Though the mountains tremble at its roaring. Selah.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

The holy dwelling places of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her [His city], she will not be moved;

God will help her when the morning dawns.

The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered and were moved;

He raised His voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our stronghold [our refuge, our high tower]. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the Lord,

Who has wrought desolations and wonders in the earth.

He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;

He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two;

He burns the chariots with fire.

10 

“Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 

The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our stronghold [our refuge, our high tower]. Selah.

 

thy-maker-is-thine-husband-lord-of-hosts-his-name

First mentioned in 1 Samuel 1:3, we find Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, making annual trips to the temple to sacrifice to the LORD of Hosts. Just a few short verses later we find a barren and heartbroken Hannah making a covenant with the LORD of Hosts as she cried out for Him to hear her prayer and give her a child. (1 Samuel 1:11)

Hannah may have longed for her womb as well as her arms to be filled with a sweet little bundle of joy, but the previous verses (1 Samuel 1:6-7) give us a better idea of why she prayed such a desperate prayer. She not only wanted to experience the joy of being a mother but she also wanted to be able to silence the persistent mocking of Peninnah. So she called on the LORD of Hosts to win a war she could not win on her own.

In 1 Samuel 17:45, we find just prior to pegging Goliath with a pebble, David boldly proclaimed, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

And in 2 Samuel 5:10, we find – “And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.”

In Psalm 24:10, The LORD of Hosts is the King of glory and in Psalm 46:7 He is our Fortress.
In Psalm 59:5, He is called upon to vindicate His people.
In Isaiah 51:15 we see He controls the sea and the waves.
In Isaiah 54:5 He is our husband and in Zechariah 4:6, He declares that He alone wins our battles when He tells Zerubbabel, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.”
And in Isaiah’s life-altering, mouth-shutting vision of the Lord, he heard the Seraphim speaking to one another, crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)

Throughout Scripture we find this LORD of Hosts as our ever-present defender, the Sovereign and Holy God over all the universe who sees us, loves us and moves mountains on our behalf. He fights our battles, wins our wars and is the refuge we can run to in time of need. He is Jehovah-Sabaoth!

Remember it forgiven.

Jehovah Rapha. One of the most common and beloved names of our Lord.

‘Jehovah’ means -The Eternal One, The Ever-Living One, and The Self-Existing One. Rapha (râpâ’) or Ropheka means “to restore”, “to heal” or “to make healthful” in Hebrew. Therefore, “Jehovah-Rapha” can be translated as “I am The Lord your physician”, or “I am the Lord your Healer.” (cf. Jer 30:17Jer 3:22Isa 30:26Isa 61:1Psa 103:3).Jehovah is the Great Physician who heals the physical and emotional needs of His people.

We, as a people, individually and collectively, have never been more broken. Our families are broken. We are broken inside. Our nations and countries are broken too. Don’t believe me? Look around you. Hate and racism and anger and bitterness and resentment and superiority blind us to the truth. We are made in the image of the ONE TRUE GOD, and so in Him, it shouldn’t matter. Not gender or color of skin or faith or culture or lifestyle  or….or……

But it does. It’s true, everyone has a choice to accept Him as saviour, and that’s the only way to heaven, but that doesn’t mean we react to what is different with hate and anger and resentment. Anger over someone worshipping differently. Hate for a lifestyle that’s different from us. Resentment over what we perceive to be ours, given to another gender, or skin colour. I say this, looking at the model that Jesus lived. He frequently went to homes of known “sinners” tax collectors and pagans. He spoke to and ministered to and healed the very poor, the very rich, the in between, the prostitutes, the commanders and centurions, the priests, the lowly shepherds and fishermen. He spoke to everyone, and extended an invitation to all. What they did with it, was their choice. Oddly enough, the people He chastised most were the priests, but who were actually hypocrites. White washed sepulchers. Good on the outside, rotten where it counts.

So , why in the midst of what is going on in this world, am I bringing up Jehovah Rapha? Because He is our Healer. The Great Mender. The One who makes us whole. The One who makes all things new. He takes the old and turns it around. He loves us where we are, but loves us too much to leave us the way we are. He has plans for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and future.

But…………..

He needs to heal us first. We are fallen and sinful. We ,left to our own devices, will go the way of death. So, He shows us the way. He binds the broken pieces, and uses the new person, for His glory. The process He takes us through, is usually painful, but He places us where we will bring most glory to His name. Where we can give most hope to others struggling with the same things we went through. He is our Great Physician.

The bible says in Proverbs 4:20, ” My son, attend to my Words, incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life to those that finds them, and Health (or medicine) to all their flesh.” 

Recently a friend M (I’m going to call her M) shared with a group of us women, her journey to healing. She had something that happened to her when she was 5 years old that had affected several relationships around her. When as a 30 year old, wife and mother of two, M accepted Christ, He led her through a journey of healing and forgiveness, so that now in her fifties and a grandmother, she has peace sharing her journey with the others. And M’s reasons are to glorify the Healer through it all, to give hope and advice and direction to those who are presently struggling, to give them validation ,  to hear them out. M gave us 10 ways to practically start the healing process,  and I’ve added them word for word at the end of this blog. I found it very helpful to me,( even though I’m still in the process of working a lot of those out, and am just getting it started on some others), and I hope it blesses you as well.

I’m going to talk about generational healing ( that was M’s subject) and its impact on us. We’ve had things that happen to us through no fault of our own, we’ve done things that we’re not proud of, we’ve paid the price for something someone else did that caught us in its ripples. So where does it stop ? Do we continue to hurt others because we’ve been hurt ( hurting people hurt others)?  Do we let our children, our nieces and nephews, those we mentor suffer because of things we do? Does the cycle have no end?

But it does.

He is our Healer, our Mender. He can rescue us. He can end the vicious cycle, and give us what we need to start a needed and fruitful one. He doesn’t excuse what was done to us, but the same God who is filled with mercy and compassion ,  is righteous too. He’ll see justice done. He’ll avenge us. We need to trust Him though, with the timing and the method and the person responsible and the people. We also need to rest in Him, and give Him full access to our hurts and scars and wounds and secrets and past. He’ll walk with us, in the present. He’ll give us a foundation for our future.

In the Bible, Jehovah Rapha is mentioned in Exodus 15: 26. I’ve copied this extract from the Names of God (NOG Bible version), a version I like to read, when I want to see the names of God in Hebrew.

22 Moses led Israel away from the Red Sea into the desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they couldn’t drink the water because it tasted bitter. That’s why the place was called Marah [Bitter Place]. 24 The people complained about Moses by asking, “What are we supposed to drink?” 25 Moses cried out to Yahweh, and Yahweh showed[a] him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There Yahweh set down laws and rules for them to live by, and there he tested them. 26 He said, “If you will listen carefully to Yahweh your Elohim and do what he considers right, if you pay attention to his commands and obey all his laws, I will never make you suffer any of the diseases I made the Egyptians suffer, because I am Yahweh Ropheka.” 27 Next, they went to Elim, where there were 12 springs and 70 palm trees. They camped there by the water. 

First , the Israelites were on a high, after God’s stunning display after the Red Sea, then they take three days to reach a place of water, only to find it bitter. Here in the desert, they turn to Moses,  and complain about what to do. Moses prays to God, and is shown a branch that he throws into the water, to make it drinkable, to make it sweet. At this time, God reminds them , that if they listen to Him, and follow His commands ,  He won’t make them suffer the diseases that the Egyptians suffered, because He is the Lord their Healer  .

What’s interesting to note, is that God set down laws and rules for them to live by, then tested them and then gave them a conditional promise( do what God considers right, then He won’t let them be afflicted by the diseases that He sent on the Egyptians ), and then revealed His character ,  it seems to all the Israelites, not just an individual. Some of the other times when He’s revealed Himself to others, it has been to a person or very few people at a time. ( Jehovah Jireh ;to Abraham and Isaac: Jehovah Shalom; to Gideon: El Roi {the God who sees}; to Hagar)  Right after a place of bitter waters, He leads them to a place of abundant water and a fertile region (Elim, which had 12 springs and 70 palm trees). Don’t you love His timing 🙂

Going back to generational healing again for a few moments, this is something, we can do to break a vicious cycle. To give our children and the generations after them hope and a different future. To give glory to the Healer and be a witness of His amazing power and grace and love. He can make us new and bind the broken pieces, if we but let Him.           Eph 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

These are some practical ways to start that process, it’s all M’s words, and since they say everything needed, I’ve not altered them. I pray that you will ask the Healer in to your hurts and let Him heal, help and guide you.

jesus-healing

What are practical ways to take the first step towards healing.

  • Give yourself grace through the process of healing and forgiveness. Choosing to forgive is just the first step. Trust God with the particulars and be patient with yourself as you work through it. Healing takes time.
  • Check your heart. When working through the process of healing and forgiveness, ask yourself these questions,

Am I judging and condemning a family member?                                                                            Am I holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness?

  • Forgive offenses quickly. Someone told me, “When the Lord first calls you to do something, is when you have the most power to obey”, and I find this to be true.
  • Do not nurse and rehearse when you’ve been hurt. Take it to the Lord immediately and tell Him everything. He knows already, but speaking it out to Him brings Him in to our circumstances and takes our eyes off of the offense or the hurt and puts our focus on God, who is our Healer.
  • If after praying you need to talk it through , go to a trusted friend who you know will pray and help keep your focus on the Lord rather than dwelling on the issue. Do not take it to the one who will say , “poor you” and ” they are so awful”. That only serves to drive the splinter of offense deeper in to your heart and hinders healing.
  • Remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean that what they did was okay.
  • Don’t rush in to try to restore a relationship. Keep the offense between you and the Lord until you have peace. He may or may not lead you to restore the relationship. Forgiveness can be complete, without opening up to certain relationships again. Never put yourself back in to a situation where you do not feel safe, physically or emotionally.
  • Do not compare your healing process to someone else’s.
  • Remember , forgiving sets you free and it puts the one who hurt you in the hands of the same Father who has brought about your healing
  • “Remember it forgiven”. We don’t necessarily feel forgiveness. We do however choose to forgive. When the thought or image comes back, determine to remember that you have forgiven, either yourself for things you’ve done, or someone else for what they’ve done. Remember that walking in forgiveness affects your generations……… your children, your grandchildren, your extended family and even generations yet to be born.

We all need healing at various times in our lives. Physical, emotional, moral or relationship healing.He longs to heal us of resentfulness, bitterness and pride if we will but trust Him and walk before Him in obedience. If you need healing in any area of your life today, listen carefully to God by reading the Bible, by communicating with him in prayer and by seeking godly counsel. Commit to pleasing the Lord, doing things his way. Trust Jesus. Let’s allow Him to examine our hearts and heal us of the diseases that sin inflicts upon us. God is Jehovah-rapha, the Lord who heals you.

 

 

 

Unto the Lord.

Recently the church we attend held a technology seminar for women. They had talks on how to get started. How to glorify God with our giftings. How to stay safe. I chose to go, because I wanted help bringing this blog to the next level. While I’m glad , for the most part , that I went. I was also intimated. I still am.

There was a lady, Sherry,  who after having three biological children, adopted triplets domestically, then twins from overseas, found out she was pregnant again, and that child had health issues that would make life difficult, so she adopted another child from overseas with the same disease.  I say she, but it was really she and her husband. They were so overwhelmed with the different issues that the various children faced, that she started making and selling necklaces , giving back $5 from each sale to one of those causes.  Were you counting as I mentoned her children? They have 10! And she makes necklaces! !!! And sells them. And is a wife . And a mother.  The takeaway message I got from her was, start somewhere. But make sure the glory is all for God.  And Oh! You, I , no one can have it all. Somewhere sacrifices are made and are costly. ( That I loved!, I can barely a blog post out with any consistency )

Read more about Sherry’s work here.)

Another lady, Lindsey,  had felt God’s calling to start a blog , describing God’s goodness and the worry and beauty of each person, but had delayed for 4 years. She had recently been obedient and started it.  Right around the time I did. When I came home, I checked it out. It’s beautiful ! Lovely puctures. Good word from God.  Consistently put out. She’s a wife and mother too. I was so disappointed in myself.

(Read Lindsey’s blog here)

Another lady, Nicole, started re decorating her home, and with the advice and constant pestering of her then 11 year old daughter, started an instagram account, showcasing her decorating skills. It’s now 10 months old and really pulling people in. When I got to meet her later at her table, I told her that I felt , for the last one year, that God has been calling me out of active ministry , to wait on Him. She told me that she had felt that call too, hadn’t heeded it at first, but circumstances forced her to pull out of the things she was involved in at church for over a year. It was at that time thar her husband came to the Lord.  She went back to minstry , and now recently had been called out of it again, which she described as her winter season . ( I was so excited , I told her that’s what I’d been feeling too! I’m in winter as well), when she gently and lovingly let me know that God had given her a confirmation just that morning, that her spring had started. I , on the other hand , hadn’t received any such confirmation.

Like I said, I was mostly glad I went. I loved seeing successful women give the glory completely to God. On the other hand, I was and so some extent , still am, overwhelmed. I kept repeating to myself, I can’t raise 10 children and run a business. I’m not a good enough blogger. My photos are stock images from the internet. I have no talent in interior design. I gave no idea what to do with Instagram. Ad nauseatum.

But ……..

Then I remember the other things they said. Don’t compare yourself to others. Start something. Start small. But not for yourself. To give God the glory. No body can have it all. Being obedient costs something. A lot. I also remember what a friend wrote to me, to encourage me. I’m a patient mother, a beautiful and kind wife , and most important of all, a priceless child of the One True King. I’m choosing to believe that. I’m choosing to let that be enough. I’m choosing to remember that the giftings I have are part of His divine plan. I have enough. I am enough. And everything I do , I will do unto the Lord.

I’ll write a blog post, my style, unto the Lord.

I’ll load the dishes and unload them uncountable times in my life , unto the Lord.

I’ll deal with a tantrum every 10 minutes, every day, 24×7, 52 weeks a year, unto the Lord.

I’ll make love with my husband, as many times as he wants, as often as I want, when we want , unto the Lord.

I’ll cook , and constantly turn the stove off, to deal with aforementioned tantrum, as unto the Lord.

I’ll take the kids to the park, and look up when I hear the “look at me Mama, look what I can do ” , as unto the lord.

I’ll go to church, and worship, with my heart completely focused on Him, and not on the myriad things that need my attention, as unto the Lord.

I’ll wait for the school buses , as unto the Lord.

I’ll do the groceries , as unto the Lord.

I’ll heat up leftovers when i don’t have time to cook, as unto the Lord.

I’ll clean up toys, again and again, as unto the Lord.

I’ll do the mountains of laundry, that never end, as unto the Lord.

I’ll be a wife , as unto the Lord.

I’ll be a mother , as unto the Lord.

I’ll be a daughter, as unto the Lord.

I’ll be  a sister, as unto the Lord.

I’ll be a niece, as unto the Lord.

I’ll be a granddaughter, as unto the Lord.

I’ll be  a friend willing to listen, as unto the Lord.

I’ll be a student of the Word, as unto the Lord.

I’ll be His child, as unto the Lord.

Will you join me? Let us magnify His name together, for He is worthy to be praised.

An on time God.

 

God is good. All the time. And all the time. God is good. If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you’ve heard this , or said it yourself. Usually as a Christian feel-good-holy-sounding phrase. But what if He is really ? Good, I mean. ALL.THE.TIME? Even when you have a surprise pregnancy after a complicated one? Even if your husband’s start date on a new job gets delayed and delayed and delayed and you have no income for months? Even if your child is diagnosed with something that changes your life? Even if your (young) friend’s mother dies too early ( is there ever a good time to die?) ? Even if your family member goes through umpteen health scares? Even if you feel rejected by your close friends? Even if you move (a move to a different city or state or country) for the fourth time in your 7 year marriage? Is He? Good. He is. Though sometimes it takes me forever to realise that.

With our first child, our daughter, we went through a complicated pregnancy, with my doctor asking me to come in three times a week so she could monitor her ( from my fifth month of pregnancy itself). I was given steroids early at 32 weeks to develop her lungs . I went in for a routine ( by that time, it had become routine!) checkup at 38 weeks and they found her heart rate decelerating , not enough for alarm, but enough for admission. We had one car at that point, (which I’d taken to the hospital after my husband came back from an overnight shift at the same hospital where he worked, and went to sleep). My husband got a ride with another resident and came over. While they hooked me up and were going to wait for labour, the baby’s heart rate plummeted , causing us to be rushed for a C-Section. Christina was born 20 minutes later , at 4 lb 7 oz. Miraculously she returned home with us after three days. No NICU. No need for any interventions.

We decided to wait before going through that again. We took measures. We used 3 contraceptive methods. At Christina’s 4 month visit with her pediatrician, I found out I was pregnant. Absolutely. Totally. Undeniably. Not our plan, but God had planned this child. Even so, my husband and I were shocked, very surprised, lost and not sure what we wanted to do. My husband was devastated. Only then did I realise how much of a toll Christina’s pregnancy took on him. It took us several weeks to decide we were going to keep the baby. It took us several months to be all right with that decision and wait eagerly for his arrival. ( From the time I found out I was pregnant again, my doctor asked me to come and see her twice a week). I was given steroids again, early in case they needed to take him out. My amniotic fluid started dropping to dangerous levels, when they took Adam out at 37 weeks. He was 4 lb 5 oz. He needed a bilirubin blanket and UV light. They day we were leaving home, his body temperature dropped, and he needed to be in the incubator. He spent 4 days in NICU and then came home. He is now 4 1/2 years old, healthy, vibrant and active. Christina now 5 1/2 loves pink, colouring and painting ,dancing and pretending things. Where was God , good, in all this, you may ask?

He was good . All. That. Time. While we were getting used to keeping Adam, He brought me in contact with random people who had similar stories. An ophthalmologist who had children 15 months apart, who told me about her life, with no prompting. A friend who had a surprise baby while on contraception. Several articles about Irish twins, ( I hadn’t started to research anything at that point).  Friends at church , who without knowing my situation, would come up to me, and tell me of God’s faithfulness . On the other hand, I came to know several friends at church had gone through massive struggles with infertility. Again no prompting, They felt led to share with me, their pain. Through those few months, I felt God telling me, He’s got it. He’s in control. He’s faithful. Raj and I were encouraged and started to hope.

God was good, and He was faithful, and He showed that to me practically. While I was going to the doctor so frequently, my 4, then 5, then 6 month old daughter would come along as well. After a particularly rough appointment, when Christina screamed her head off, and the technician was so distraught, I mentioned to a group of bible study friends that I was lost. They rallied together and offered to watch Christina during those appointments. We still had only one car. I would drop my husband at the hospital, go to Dortie or Joy Or Ann or Lisa or April or Marie or LeKeshia ‘s home and drop off Christina. Then go back to the same hospital. Then pick C up. Then pick up my husband in the evening ( or afternoon if he had an overnight shift). None of them were blood. All of them became my family. Dortie kept her dog away from the baby. Joy dint let Christina eat crackers off the floor ( and dint do any household chores). Ann watched two children 5 months apart ( her own son is a couple of months older than C). Lisa had her hands full with a toddler (hers), a baby ( mine) and a dog who wanted attention. April recruited her college age daughter without her knowledge! and she dint get to do homework while Christina was there. Marie dealt with a diaper rash, which made Christina fussy the whole time she was there . Keshia walked , walked, for 45 minutes and rocked Christina, because C dint want her to sit down! These people loved a family from another country and so became God’s hands around a new mother, who was feeling overwhelmed.

God was still good, when I went in for my second C-Section in two years, Christina stayed with Kristie and Dorothy and Ann, three different homes, three consecutive nights , and they spoilt her rotten. Dorothy brought her to the hospital , just because Raj and I were dying to see her!

Remember the part where Adam needed to stay back at the hospital for 4 days?????

It was still part of God’s plan. Raj was flying out to another city for an interview, the day after coming home from the hospital. I was coming home from a surgery. I would have had 2 babies then. So God allowed Adam to stay at the NICU, where the nurses are exceptional, and the care , fantastic and round the clock. 11 month Christina who had been in three other homes, the previous nights, could cuddle with her mama. She needed that time , alone, without a new baby.

God allowed me to heal well from both surgeries. He gave us friends of different colours who were our family through it all. He showed us His faithfulness and His goodness, through small and big, seen and felt, practical, physical and spiritual ways. These two miracle babies are now strong, have barely been ill since, and have reached most of their milestones on time.

It is only in hindsight, have I seen His faithfulness and goodness. And so I can say God is Good. All the time. And mean it. And be thankful. So thankful. His plans are not mine. But they work out better every time.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Till the day I die.

Recently we heard a sermon from Matthew  (16:24-27  Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.) A passage that is infinitely familiar and has been quoted and misquoted often. This pastor taught this , in such a way , to make me think, and to really try to understand.

He told us to remember the meaning that was meant when this passage was written, in the original languages. Much of its import, and urgency has been lost with our modern usage of language. Sometimes familiarity does breed contempt.

What this pastor asked us to realize was ,that the above passage is a series of steps for the believer to follow.

From Desire ( whoever wants to be my disciple) ,

to Denial (must deny themselves),

to Death ( and take up their cross) ,

to Devotion ( and follow me),

to Destiny (What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.)

Our Desire must be to accept Christ as our savior, and then we must Deny our selfish living, our pride, our will, and chose willingly to Die to our self and with utmost Devotion, chose to follow Him.

He challenged us to remember that “for the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross”. It was a form of a cruel death, but He chose to go through that so that we could have eternal life, I could have eternal life. He did it to glorify the Father. He did it so that , He could go and prepare a place for us, for me, to live with Him forever.

But,

I need to be willing to let my will go and be subject to Another’s. I need to let my personal ambition, my job, my desire to live somewhere, live a certain way, go and be willing to accept what He has planned for me.

I need to be willing to accept that in the same way, Christ went towards His literal death, there may be a literal death in my future (but whoever loses their life for Me will find it) in the service of the Maker. Will I still be willing, knowing all this?

Our family is now in the midst of a very long season of sorrow and weeping. All the plans we had so far have come to naught. Everything we set our hope on has crumbled away.  At this time I can’t see the end. But I’m choosing to trust that Joy will come after mourning, that there will be a crown of beauty after the ashes we’re in . But, right now , the sorrow seems unending, the weeping hasn’t ended, and I don’t know what we are doing. Many people have prayed over us, and still continue to do so, that we will know that God is in control, that He is sovereign, that all things will work together for good. Sometimes I believe it. Sometimes I need others to continue to remind me of His truth.

He remains true in spite of my sorrow, my doubt, my unbelief, my fear, my worry, my grief. His words cannot be changed. He will walk beside me. He will never forsake me. He will be with me through the waters and the fire and I will not be harmed (I’ll still go through it, I can’t escape from it). He sees my tears and collects them. He weeps when I weep, even though He knows How He’ll bring good out of it.

And so, I’ll try. I’ll continue to walk with Him, I’ll continue to read His word. I’ll remember how He rescued me in the past. I’ll try not to pull away from Him. I will continue to die to my self, and look forward to the only place where there’ll be no tears, no sorrow, and no sin. I’ll look forward to my eternal home, and know that He who is with me, is greater than He who is in the world.

May I challenge you as well? Will you die to yourself today, and live for Him?

 

 

When God answers prayers

What happens when God answers your prayers? Do you jump for joy? Do you throw a celebration because you received the desires of your heart? Do you go around, insanely giggling and laughing, sharing your happiness with those around you?

Or………..

Are you broken? Are you sure that He is sovereign, He is good, He knows what is best for you , even if you don’t want it? Are you shocked? Do you wonder if you phased your request correctly ? ( or did God misunderstand your accent, the variations and nuances with a different language?) .

The bible says in James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ” But what if you dint want that gift you’ve been given. Does that still count as God answering prayers? Do you accept it from His hand, and then thank Him for it?

Hi, I’m Vanessa. Our family and I are in the midst of turmoil. We dint ask for any of this specifically but in ways we can’t imagine, God has answered several prayers. Join us as I tell you of who He is, and how He’s become more real to us than ever before.

In the eye of the storm, He remains in control,

And in the middle of the war, He guards my soul,

He alone is the anchor, when my sails are torn,

His love surrounds me in the eye of the storm.