Tag Archives: God’s Word

Same Thing, Just Different

15 Nov

There’s a saying in my family, created by my Daddy. Okay, so he invented many sayings in our home, but the one I’m thinking of today is, “Same thing, just different.” It’s one of my personal favorites. Both my husband and I have used it in our own household on many occasions over the years, particularly when the kids were splitting hairs on an issue. Now, they, too, pipe in with the phrase sometimes. I’m thinking of making some t-shirts to sell.  

Earlier this week on the blog for girls, we began a study on the names/descriptions of Jesus found in the gospel of John. The first name is Word. (See John 1:1-2, John 1:14 and Rev 19:13). In these verses, the original Greek is “logos” which can be described as the entirety of God’s declaration. I think of it as all encompassing.

But, the Greeks had lots of words which we often translate into the same English word.  One example is the “word” Jesus quoted  (originally from Deuteronomy) during his temptation by the devil in the desert.

“…Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”  (Matthew 4:4 NIV).

The original Greek for “word” Jesus spoke in the desert is not logos but “rhema.” Vines defines it as an utterance, a speech, a discourse. I think of it as a specific utterance rather than the entirety of God’s word.

Obviously, God’s word is his word, whether it be a smaller passage or the scriptures as a whole.  

So why are the original words different in the Greek?

Have you ever been in a desperate place, with a terrific need for a specific word of encouragement or hope from God? Something that would keep you going?

You had faith. You knew Christ as your Saviour, yet you needed something specific to get through a storm?

That’s rhema. We live on the very word of God. We need it daily, in digestible pieces. It sustains us, grows us. We don’t need only the knowledge of the gospel and the salvation Christ offers for the end of our lives, we need the Word to live — day by day. 

So, my favorite Daddy phrase applies. “Same thing, just different” — and all good!

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Get Real or Stay Stuck – Series Post #4

21 Oct
Know how when you’re on a diet–ahem, or making a lifestyle change–you’re often advised to list everything you eat? It makes you get real about what you are putting into your body.
My food journal often looks great the first half of the day. Boiled egg whites, whole wheat bread, grapefuit. Perhaps there’s grilled chicken over salad or tuna at lunch. Early afternoon snack is  an apple and light cheesestick. 
But, around 4:00 o’clock, things often take a turn. And the food journal stays incomplete the rest of the day.     Who wants to put they ate 3 cookies and a stack of Pringles in their diet log?
A food journal also shows you what you aren’t eating. Enough fruits, veggies, fiber — the good stuff.
On my good girl to God’s girl journey, I had to get real about my diet. Eating great on Sunday morning church and being spoon-fed on a weekday morning study group was about like my food log. I wasn’t getting anywhere, my spiritual diet had me stuck in the same place for years.
This is when I got real and prayed to God. “Make me want to read your word on my own. Make it jump off the page at me, teach me what you want me to learn, show me what you want me to see. Give me a craving for it!”
Maturity requires a healthy diet. Maturity brings rewards and responsibilities
Take a few minutes to read this great blog post by Waylon Bailey, a pastor in Louisiana.  What’s your diet missing?
http://waylonbailey.com/2011/08/a-checklist-for-taking-the-next-step/

Linking up with

Life: Unmasked

Too Much Rain

2 Sep
Please welcome my guest blogger, Katharine Trauger. 

 

TOO MUCH RAIN!  by Katharine Trauger

 

 
 
No.
We have not received too much rain. 
But once, we did. And this is the story of how it went. 
It had rained and rained and rained. People were griping about too much rain. People were whining and wailing about too much rain. 
And then it happened. 
A guy was working under his car with it propped up only on the cheap jack that comes with the car. Dangerous. As was his custom. To top that off, he did not have the chocks by the wheels as he should have. 
You guessed it. The car slipped and came crashing down directly on this man’s forehead. 
And did not kill him. 
No, because we’d had too much rain, the frame of the car merely pushed his head down into the sodden earth and gave him a grisly gash on his brow. His wife was able to visit him in the hospital, where they kept him for observation, instead of at the funeral home for visitation. 
And SHE thought we’d had just the right amount of rain.
Don’t we always?
________________________________
Bio:  Katharine is a Writer, Speaker, and Professional Mom. She and her husband recently retired from managing a home and school for children who would otherwise be homeless. Currently, she spends her time blogging almost daily and counseling younger women to be more than conquerors through Him Who loves us. Watch for her brand new Website, currently in progress and soon to be published, at: TheConqueringMom.com.
Thank you, Katharine for illustrating how we often aren’t aware of our true needs, or how God is already providing for them!

True Hunger = Empty Hands

30 Aug
We’ve made it to Matthew 5:6 in our focus on the beatitudes.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; for they will be filled.”
I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, a couple of words in this verse likely evoke different thoughts in today’s culture than when originally spoken. “Hunger” and “righteousness.” 
Have you ever experienced a desperate state of hunger? I haven’t, not to a point of entering starvation. It’s always been within my ability to satisfy my need (or to be real, more often my desired craving.)
What about righteousness? Outside of scripture, the most common form I hear of this word is “self-righteous.”  What a negative connotation that brings, and the opposite of what the verse addresses.
Matthew 5:6 is saying those who recognize their own emptiness and inability to satisfy a true hunger for right standing before the holy God, they will be filled. Not the ones who only want the benefits of a mighty God. Not ones who want to compare themselves to others and be called righteous. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness recognize a crucial need for knowing God and being close to Him, and understand they must rely on God to fill that need.
I’m reminded of a song, part of the lyrics say, “Blessed are the ones who understand, we’ve nothing to bring but empty hands.” The song is Fall Apart by Josh Wilson.
Here the entire song here, with lyrics posted.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKISYTwnn0A
God, here are my empty hands.

Mourning – Beatitude Study

17 Aug

As I write this post, we’re only five days from a new school year beginning. For my youngest child, that creates some mourning of summer. His flexible schedule, inviting neighbor friends to play, swimming, playing legos, sneaking into the pantry for a snack…ah, how he will miss you summer!

This week, I’ve read posts on Facebook and blogs of mothers sending their first child off to college, and others sending their last. Lots of red eyes and wet cheeks can be found on those campuses. And I bet they’ll continue behind the walls of homes for weeks ahead.

Still others are mourning a more lasting loss, that of a friend, a parent, a spouse, even a child. I read another update about a wife who held her husband in her arms practically two days straight after leaving the hospital for home.  She cradled him as he left this earth.

Mourning meets every one of our lives. Mostly, it is out of our control to hide from it. However, there is a type of mourning that we can actually choose.  Let’s consider the next verse in the beatitudes since our last post.

Matthew 5:4  Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.

In this verse, the original Greek word for ‘mourn’ is ‘pentheo’.  It refers  to a general mourning, or lament. Other Greek words specifically tie mourning to death and suffering. According to my Bible dictionary, ‘pentheo’ can encompass death, sorrow for sin, grief over condoned sin, grief for a church, sorrow over Babylonian system- it is an encompassing use of the word mourn. 

So, if we read this verse from Matthew and extend our thoughts of mourning beyond death of a loved one to include the examples above, we might see a heart condition behind the word ‘mourn’.  If  we mourn over sin in our own lives, if we mourn for the lack of God in our own actions, in an alive joy for His word in our churches, in the disregard for our God’s ways in our world – that is a heart condition. A heart condition that exalts God and His Ways to the point of grieving (as opposed to shaking our heads and rolling or eyes).

But what about the mourning we choose?

There is a personal mourning we can willingly take on when we give up something we dearly want, solely because we know God is telling us to. I’ve done that on some occassions and He has truly comforted me and made me happier on the other side of it. By choosing to be obedient in giving up something I desired to chase (mourning it), I experienced pain and heartache, and some consequences. But in that place (weak, yet obedient) I clung to my God and He comforted me, and gave me a bright joy after the hurt.

It reminds me of a song lyric that uses ‘morning’ (get it, a homophone to ‘mourning’ – okay so maybe it’s a

word-nerd thing).

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

A great song by Darrell Evans. Here’s a video of the song with all the lyrics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KsfwvpcQhY

Beggars and the Kingdom

10 Aug

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:3  NIV

This is the first in the vereses we refer to as “The Beatitudes.”

We already established that “blessed” in these verses is from the Greek word “makarios.”  This means “happy.”

Happy are the poor in spirit. Hmmm, this seems to make no sense. If someone is poor in spirit, I think of them as being upset, depressed, sad. Happy are the sad? 

What does poor in spirit really mean?  The original word for poor really translates poor. Not sad, but poor, meaning in need, as a beggar. The original word for spirit comes from the Greek  “pneuma.”  The Vines translation explains it as the element in which a man perceives, reflects, feels, desires.

If we use additional words to relay the meaning, the verse might read something like “Blessed with happiness are those who are needy beggars in their own hearts and minds, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

To use fewer words, it might say, ” Happy are those who aren’t full of pride and entitlement, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

We don’t like to think of ourselves as prideful, but it creeps into our thinking all the time.

I’ve been a good wife, mother, employee – surely God could do this one thing for me. An entitled, deserving way of thinking.

At least I haven’t acted like him/her – comparing yourself to others again thinks your behavior has earned something.

Least we think God is harsh in saying we must recognize our beggar state before Him, remember His desire is to reward us with the kingdom of heaven. 

An unfair trade, in our favor.

 

Are You Blessed?

2 Aug

“Blessed.” What does this word bring to mind?

Most people feel it infers something received from God.

When a family moves to a new house, sometimes they’ll say,           “We’re very blessed.” Or, if everyone’s healthy, we’ll say, “We’re so blessed.”  That’s how I usually hear this word, in reference to  something that’s profitable, either materially or emotionally.

I don’t think this is incorrect. It’s right to thank God and acknolwedge him as the giver of wonderful things in our lives.

We read this in Genesis 12: 1 – 3. God tells Abraham he will bless him, and that he will bless all the people on the earth through him.

The Greek translation of the word “bless” in this passage is “barak,” a verb that literally means “to bless.”  One definition in Webster’s dictionary defines this as “to favor divinely.”

However, if that’s where we stop with the word “blessed,” we are missing another meaning. Blessed can infer something that God gives which is not of the tangible variety.

The Greek translation of “blessed” in many verses is “makarios.”  This means “happy.”

Happiness is an internal gift from the Lord, which should not be dependent upon circumstances. In fact, one of the most studied pieces of scripture in the entire Bible uses this form of “blessed” nine times. And the circumstances the word “blessed” is coupled with in these verses don’t necessarily make us think “happy!” At least not in our way of understanding.

I’m referring to The Beatitudes, also known as The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5: 3 – 12.  I’ll be studying and blogging on these verses in coming posts. I hope you’ll begin studying them and praying over them with me. Let’s see what God will reveal to us.

In the meantime, thank God for all of the ways he has blessed you in the “barak” meaning. Be specific with your praises and thanksgiving!

 

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