Callling on His Name

November 24, 2012

While meditating on the Name of the Lord I began to realize that I really had no clue (biblically speaking) what it really means to “Call upon the Name of the Lord” – which we are told is an act that results in salvation…and as we are soon to discover…SO MUCH MORE!

In Biblical Hebrew, to trust in Someone’s SHEM means to trust Him because of Who He is. To bless Someone’s SHEM means to bless Him because of Who He is.

When Abram perceived the Lord, he had an encounter which changed his very SHEM…the essence of who Abram (and Sarai) was – their “shem” –  was transformed and they “became” Abraham and Sarah – in essence new creations (II Cor. 5:17).  It is significant to note that the letters added to their names are letters from the Name (SHEM) of God.  Image, the Lord of all the universe married parts of His SHEM with their shem to create in Abram and Sarai what was lacking in them to fulfill their purpose.

Now, re-read Gen. 17:3-8…only this time place yourself in the Presence of the God of the Universe – imagine, if you can, that you too are truly perceiving God, having an encounter in which your very essence is being merged with Him…Every “and God said” and every “I will…” is not a simple promise, but a prophetic proclamation backed by the creative force of the Godhead.  Each word, resounding with the same power that created the known universe, is God declaring what IS and what Abraham WILL experience – to God (who lives outside of time) these things already are!  To Abraham, these things are now moving from the realm of the spirit and into the natural through a process that he gets to be intimately involved in.

Gal. 3:29 refers back to this moment and tells us that if we are Christ’s then we are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.  He is making OUR shem great!

When we “Call upon the Name of the Lord” we are prophesying the essential reality of who He is into our existence!  We are not simply saying His name as one might “wish upon a star”.  We are engaging the Spiritual reality and starting a process that will cause a crossing over of the dimensions…as an act of our faith we are manifesting His presence, His essential reality, His shem in the earth…

Selah!

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Spiritual Identity

November 10, 2012

The next couple blogs I’ll be writing are based on a study and class I taught on finding your spiritual identity.  Many believers and church-goers are going about life unaware that there is a deeper meaning to life and purpose for their existence.  Part of the prophetic ministry is to recognize that potential, hidden seed, and speak life to it.  The prophetic ministry “sees” and brings to light the hidden potential within individuals and groups, watering the seeds the Spirit of God has planted, and encouraging those pregnant with purpose during their labor and delivery.  Often the prophetic gifts will play the role of dula or midwife to the people of God offering support, encouragement, and assistance when needed during labor and delivery.  We are…the friends of the bride and her groom.

While meditating on the Name of the Lord I began to realize that I really had no clue (biblically speaking) what it really means to “Call upon the Name of the Lord” – which we are told is an act that results in salvation…and as we are soon to discover…SO MUCH MORE!

 
Following is an introduction that will hopefully lay the foundation for the meat of my study:

Text Gen. 12:1-2 and Gen 17:1-9

Name changes: (Biblical Examples) In the ancient near east, when a person underwent some life-changing event, it was common to take a new name. In Ruth, for example, we find that Naomi (whose name meant ‘My Pleasant One’) changed her name to Marah (‘Bitter’) after her troubles. It was also common for people in that culture to have double names, for example, Matthew Levi and Reuel Jethro. When God called Jacob Israel, that name change resulted in a double name. Israel was called by both names afterwards.

Abram to Abraham:

The first calling-out of Abram in Gen. 12:1-3 (1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed).Note that the same promise that was stated to Abram in Gen 12 is restated in Gen. 17:1-9 but Abram did not fall on his face until Gen 17 – he was obedient, but did not have an “encounter” until Chapter 17.  What changed? 

Verse 1 says: And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” The Word appeared (H7200) means to see or perceive.  The difference between chapter 12 and chapter 17 is that Abram actually “saw” or “perceived” the Lord – he had a life changing encounter that opened his eyes and caused him to “see” in a way he had not “seen” or perceived previously…as a result he received a new “shem” (the Hebrew word for “name”)….more on this later….

Like our English word ‘name’, SHEM has several meanings besides the most common and literal one. SHEM sometimes means ‘fame’, as in “Noah had three sons whom he named SHEM (Fame), Good-looks (Ham), and Warm-heart (Japheth).” Thirty-something years after David’s parents named him, the Lord said, “I’ll give you SHEM, like the greatest kings of history.” God gave David a new SHEM, but not a new name. In a contrary circumstance, to damage someone’s SHEM is to defame them.

A more common meaning of SHEM in the Bible is ‘the essential reality of who someone is’, as in Proverbs 21:24. “A proud and haughty person’s SHEM is scorner.” In Exodus 34:14 we read, “The Lord, Whose SHEM is jealous, is a jealous God.”  This will be the definition of “shem” or “name” that we focus on in our study (unless otherwise noted).

In a more famous example, the prophet Isaiah gave Messiah’s SHEM as being:

                                         i.    “Wonderful,

                                        ii.    Counselor,

                                      iii.    the Mighty God,

                                      iv.    the Eternal Father,

                                       v.    the Ruler of Shalom.” (Isaiah 9:5-6)

He certainly is all of those, and they are some of His royal titles, but none of them are His Name (His entire essential reality). The plural form of SHEM is SHMOT. The Bible has many SHMOT for God which are royal titles and revelations of the reality of Who He is, but not names as such.
Let’s pause here, because it is easy to just breeze over these changes in definition because even though we just read that in Hebrew “name” means “the essential reality of who someone is”, we often (because of habit and cultural conditioning) still read points i-v as names in the western sense…therefore, let me just add some words here to underscore what is being said when Isaiah tells us His Name (shem) is:
i.  Wonderful – He does not just have wonderful qualities – His essence, who He is, what He breaths, thinks, does, results in is WONDERFUL!
ii.  Counselor – He doesn’t just counsel us – He IS counselor, it is His essence, everything about Him counsels…
Your turn – take a moment and consider the ramifications of Mighty God, Eternal Father, Ruler of Shalom…That’s right!  Mull it over, fight your greek/western training and allow this “new definition” and all that it implies sink in – More to come on what this means.

 

Thirst No More

October 6, 2012

John 4:5-36 relays a dialogue between Jesus and an unnamed Samaritan woman.   The evangelistic aplications of this passage are numerous, however while meditating on these verses something jumped at me that I had never put to words before.  An idea, picture, and principle tickled the edges of my concious mind as a concept began to take shape…she drank from Jacob’s well, worshipped under a different (some say polluted) version of Judaism, and lived a permiscuous life style and Jesus lumped her in with the Jews and made no distinction between their religious practices and her’s…

Many years back a friend of mine preached about the wells that we drink from.  A well is a source of refreshing and life.  She referenced the Samaritan woman and how in spite of all her lovers she was still so thirsty.  She was soul-thirsty, and her pursuit of a solution left her stuck in a cycle much like a dog returning to its vommit.  In fact, although the word used to name the “well” in verse 6 is fountain or source, when the Samaritan woman tells Jesus he has nothing to draw water with she uses the Greek word for “pit, abyss, prison” (vs 11).  You see, her source of refreshing had become a prison emotionally and a drudgery naturally – she was soul-thirsty.
Just as physical waters only provided a tempory solution to her body’s needs, her adulteries and lovers could only temporarily quench her soul-thirst.  Yet, she was trapped in the abyss, pit, or prison of continually returning to both.  When Jesus addressed her, he was not speaking of physical water and physical dehydration, but of the soul-thirst that was consuming this woman’s life.  He made a bold statement when he said:

…Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.  John 4:13-14 (KJV)

When she percieved He was speaking on spiritual terms she responded from her religious paradigm of right and wrong, good and evil:

Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 
John 4:19-20 (KJV)

Clearly this woman was no stranger to “religion”, and she was truly seeking to know what she must do to quench this soul thirst that had driven her into the arms of many lovers.  Just like her lovers, religion had used her up and thrown her out.  Perhaps, if she worshipped as the Jews did, in the right place, saying the right words?  So she keeps returning to her paradigm of death.  This is the nature of religion.  Religion states that unless you do things a certain way, belong to our group, look, talk, and behave as the rules demand you will not have your thirst quenched.  Religions says: “give, give, perform, perform…and don’t mess up!”  Religion, however, promises what it cannot deliver: living, self-sustaning, life-giving water.  See, the Jews had to keep going back to their rituals again and again just as the Samaritan woman had to go back to her lovers again and again – Jesus makes no distinction between her promiscuity and the religious practices of the Jew or the Samaritan’s religion.  He does not condemn her pursuit of pleasure – in fact the word for fountain means:

probably from <G4078> (pegnumi) (through the idea of gushing plumply); a fount (literal or figurative), i.e. source or supply (of water, blood, enjoyment) (not necessarily the original spring) :- fountain, well.—Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary

Her question was not all that different than the one posed by the Rich Young Ruler:
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? Matt 19:16 (KJV)
Jesus went straight for this man’s well:
If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Matt 19:21-22 (KJV)

I bet He’d make no difference between Christian religious practices and the Rich Young Ruler who kept all the Law, but still felt like he was lacking something (thirsty yet?)…
Jesus answers both the Rich and the Samaritan with the same premise:

16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. John 4:16 (KJV)
Just like the Rich Young Ruler and his possessions, Jesus went right for the juggler – her sexual relationships – The Rich Young Ruler went away sad…I wonder what would have happened if he had taken Jesus up on the offer?  

…Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth  John 4:21-24 (KJV)

…let go of your religious perceptions and come to Me, drink of Me, follow Me…Learn from Me!  See, whether Jew or Samaritan both had rules that had to be kept in order to worship, serve, and be watered by God.  Now, you may say “I’m not under the Law!  I don’t have any rules or religious beliefs keeping me from God!”  Really?  What if tomorrow you were to fall into a homosexual lifestyle, murder someone, or get kicked out of your church…you fill in the blank?  Trust me, we all have “lines in the sand” that challenge grace and demand that we perform in order to stay connected to God.

So, what did Jesus promise to this tortured soul?  What exactly was it that He was offering to her?

Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life  John 4:13-14 (KJV)

He promised her a “well within”…in essence, search no more!  Not just a well, but a springing (with everlasting life) well! Drink whenever you like free from obligation to man, his rules, and condemnation…and more!  Not only drink, but become a source to quench the thirst of others!  Oh divine purpose!  Oh meaning in life!  Oh to be more than a throw-away and object of shame and ridicule!  This, the realization of what she was being given, when it finally sank in…after all her religious questions were answered…this is the message she spread to all who would hear her…this is the message that turned a whole city…Thankfully, after a short discussion, she does go to the village and tells “the men”, word spread fast and “many” believed because of her words

28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,
29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.   John 4:28-30 (KJV)

So, to what well do you continue to return to over and over to momentarily quench your soul-thirst?  Do you find it hard to make it through the week – so dependent on a religious gathering (like the Jews), is it drug abuse, promiscuity, an unhealthy relationship, or some other source that momentarily numbs the pain but leaves you always thirsting and coming back for more imprisoning you in unsatisfying pseudo-fulfilment?

I pray you also can lay your religious rules and paradigms aside and receive the water that becomes a well within so that you will never thirst for another source again!

The Importance of Process Standards in the Classroom

June 10, 2012

The NCTM process standards are important in the mathematics classroom today because they serve as a guide to teachers.  The process standards indicate what students need to know so that teacher can plan lessons and assess or benchmark their students.  Teachers use the process standards to ensure that the lessons they are teaching and the materials they are using are aligned with national standards.  The process standards help teachers ensure that their students will do well on standardized tests by teaching the concepts and skills necessary for student success.

A Revolution in Process Standards

June 10, 2012

The main emphasis in process standards when I was in school was problem solving followed closely by reasoning and proof.  The bottom line was to ensure students memorized formulas, knew when to use them, and came to the correct solutions for both equations and word problems.  Little emphasis was placed upon communication, connections, and representation.  In today’s technological society, less emphasis is placed on exactness in calculations (that’s why we have scientific and graphing calculators) and more emphasis is placed on deeper thinking, applying principles to solve real-world problems, and making connections between the processes.

How Assessment Has Changed

June 10, 2012

In all my years of taking mathematics in school I only encountered one kind or genre of assessment.  Tests, quizzes, and homework were the staple of math assessments.  It seemed that the only options teachers had to assess students were formal assessments which lined up with the standardized tests the students were to take.  The up-side to this assessment process was that I was well prepared to perform on standardized tests.  The down side was that I had very little opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge to apply mathematical concepts to the real world.  Today’s math classrooms look very different and assessments include math based projects, team work, and informal assessments designed by the instructor.  Follow this link to see just one example of a project based math lesson: http://www.mathprojects.com/Downloads/Pre-Algebra/MMCountAndCrunch.pdf .

Algebra, Really?!

June 10, 2012

Although math was far from my favorite subject I do recall enjoying learning algebra.  According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: “Instructional programs from prekindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to understand patterns, relations, and functions; represent and analyze mathematical situations and structures using algebraic symbols; use mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships; and analyze change in various contexts” (NCTM.org, p. 1 2012).  I enjoyed learning algebra and algebraic concepts because I find patterns beautiful and enjoy seeing how things are connected and work together.  I love solving problems logically and assembling puzzles as well.

Reference:

NCTM. (2012). Retrieved from http://nctm.org

Why NCTM

June 10, 2012

According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards, students will be applying mathematics to real-world problems and developing strategies to solve more complex mathematics problems (“Nctm”, 2012). They will be interacting with one another and using other resources along with textbooks (nctm.org. 2012).  The NCTM standards require that all students have access to an excellent and equitable mathematics instruction program (NTCM.org, 2012).  These standards, and societal needs for individuals with workable math skills, have motivated teachers to make adjustments and tailor their mathematics instruction toward students’ needs.  Thanks to the standards in NCTM, my children are in classrooms that are engaging, relevant, and unlike the ones that I endured as referenced in my previous blog: “How I was taught mathematics”.

Reference:

NCTM. (2012). Retrieved from http://nctm.org

How I was taught mathematics throughout my school years…

June 10, 2012

My earliest recollections of math class are third grade.  I remember working on sheet after sheet of addition and subtraction problems.  BORING!  Needless to say, I did not enjoy math in the third grade and things really did not change much in high school either.  Math was one of those classes where more often than not the teachers would just tell me “You just have to memorize and accept it as fact, you don’t have to understand why.  It just works!”  Other than getting my work done early, the one thing I looked forward to was a game we used to play where the teacher would call out a long equation for us to solve in our heads (10+8×2/4-3+8-7×4/2…) and whoever got the right answer would move on tournament style until we crowned a king or queen of the numbers game.  I never won the tournament, in fact it was almost always a boy who won, but it was a nice break from boring times tables and endless word problems that I was convinced I would never use after my school career was over.

Building the Kingdom…within

May 15, 2012

Building in the Kingdom

A Pattern For Creation/Building in Genesis:

Stage 1 (part one)

Gen. 1:1-28

Vs 1 – Everything God created in your life started out good, alive and productive.  Realize that you are building upon the foundations laid by holy men of old.

Vs 2 – The enemy, people, and life circumstances can come in and create voids and darkness.  Just as the fall of Lucifer caused the earth to become “tohoo vabohoo” literally lying waste and empty.  There are many lives both within and without the Kingdom lying waste and empty for reasons as unique as the individuals themselves.  Scripture does not give us the specific details of what took place to cause the earth to become “tohoo-vabohoo”.  We only know that the devil and his minions were cast down to the earth and Gen. 1:1 shows us the results of his rule without restraint.

Without Form means vain, confusion, wilderness, nothing, waste, empty place, naught, or nothing.

Void deals with content, meaning.  It gives us the impression of a vacuum or something lying in total ruin.

Without form deals with lost purpose, lost passion, no direction, no meaning

Darkness deals with the state resulted from being a formless void.  The Hebrew word means obscurity and figuratively misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness.  Darkness is the atmosphere produced by “tohoo-vabohoo”.

These conditions came upon the already created earth and emptied it of its purpose meaning and functionality, and stripped away the Earth’s identity so that no “good”, purpose or meaning could be perceived.  The result?  Darkness.  The earth became this way (according to Jewish tradition) after Lucifer was cast out of Heaven down to the earth.  The presence of sin, selfishness, and all manner of unrestrained evil ruined, stripped and devastated the entire planet.  Satan is still up to the same business of killing, stealing and destroying today.  He cannot destroy the entire planet for he is restrained or limited by the power of the cross, so he attempts to wreak havoc in the lives of men & women especially the children of God through deceit, manipulation, and influence.

We see in Genesis chapter one verse two that in the midst of what must be a depressing and likely vile atmosphere that the Holy Spirit is found moving upon the face of the waters. 

That word “moved” means to shake, move or flutter.  I love the figurative and descriptive language of the Bible.  The word “face” means surface, countenance, and it is that which reflects or represents the identity of the individual or thing it is attached to.

When there is emptiness and obscurity in our lives the Spirit of God (who, if you belong to Him, dwells in you) begins to shake, move and flutter over the “face of the waters”.  I believe as “born again” believers we can participate in this moving and shaking by praying in other tongues:  With stammering lips and another tongue He promises to teach His people (Isa. 28:11) to enter into rest and refreshing. The word rest in Isa. 28:11 means a settling down and refreshing.  These are restorative works of the Holy Spirit and evidence of His presence in our lives.  The Holy Spirit is about the business of shaking up the dark places in our lives and speaking to our identity in Him.

In Vs 3 we see that before dealing with the emptiness and chaos that was Planet Earth, the darkness (obscurity) must be cast out.  Identity must be restored.  Darkness is merely the result of absence of light…and so, God spoke: “let there be light…”  Scientists tell us that light is ever expanding in the universe.  I believe when spiritual light is released it never stops expanding either!  Light deals with illumination/revelation.  When God’s light shines in our hearts hope arises feeding our faith and casting out all darkness (2 Cor. 4:4-6).  First and foremost as believers we must know that we are children of the light.  We were created to shine.

Just as in creation or “recreation” the first thing the Holy Spirit does is speak to identity by shedding “light” on your “face”.  As believers our face (identity) is in Christ.  This is the “light” which we must reflect and shine upon the dark world we live in (Ro. 2:19).

Stage 1 (part 2)

Vs 4 – We must learn “good” from evil and dark from light (Heb. 5:14; 1Pet. 3:11).  To clarify good and evil in Hebrew has nothing to do with “right and wrong” and everything to do with functionality.  Good is that which is operating according to design.  In contrast, evil is not operating according to design.  So the next work is to begin to “separate” in our lives light from darkness and name them as such (Isa. 5:20).  Grace has freed us from the law of sin and death.  Now, by the power of the Spirit we get to live from our heavenly seated position.  It is not a matter of never having to deal with the flesh and carnal desires.  Now it is a matter of making those desires submit to the will of God, and as they “bow” He receives true worship and glory and we reflect His image to the world.  When light and darkness are in their place according to the seasons of God and under His control darkness becomes “night” and ceases to be “evil”, now it has a place in the overall purposes of God.  Here is where we must willingly and prayerfully submit to His sovereignty.  The word “night” means “a twist” (away of the light) and figuratively refers to adversity.  When darkness “rules” it is evil and contrary to the will of God; however, when darkness is limited to a “season” it becomes adversity and is used by God to mold, temper and grow His people into His image and His likeness.  Jesus stated it this way:  “In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  Devoid of the night (naturally speaking) plants and animals could not thrive and grow appropriately.  Did you know that obscurity and adversity (tribulation or trouble) in their proper place and seasons are necessary for your spiritual growth and development?  We, like children who “fight sleep”, often do not like the “night” and curse it as evil.  We despise it and even some of us relegate it to the presence of sin or ungodliness in our lives.  With condemning tones we declare that “something must have been done wrong”, “some unrighteousness lingering in the dark corners of our hearts” has brought upon us this “discomfort”. I propose that in His infinite wisdom the Godhead knew that mankind needs the “night”: be it the insecurities surfaced by obscurity or the “dark night of the soul” which tempers, molds, and hones our character deepens our compassion and expands our hearts to love.  The “night” or darkness reminds us of how much we need the light, stirs our desire, and compels us to seek Him more earnestly; but also provides us with the appropriate atmosphere for rest, introspection, healing, and restoration.  In the “night seasons” is also when young ones grow the most.