Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When the Enemy Tries to Change your Name.

A few years ago, I started to wonder why we always call those famous Hebrew fellas by the names "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego."  Heck, I even named a few steers after them. 

The problem is, that wasn't their true names.

Their given names were actually Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

So, where do we get these other names? 

During the Babylonian captivity, certain Jewish young men were taken in to be trained in the Babylonian culture and literature.  Nebuchadnezzar (the King of Babylon) wanted to erase their former customs and assimilate them into Babylonian ways.  He wanted to brainwash them.  In this process, the King renamed the young men, Daniel included, therefore stripping them of their Jewish roots.

Daniel "God is my Judge" became Belteshazzar "Bel's Prince"

Hananiah "Yahweh is Gracious" became Shadrach "I am the command of the moon god Aku"

Mishael "Who is what God is?" became Meshach "Who is like Aku?"

Azariah "Yahweh is a Helper" became Abednego "Servant of the shining one Nebo"

(Bel, Aku, and Nebo were all Babylonian false gods.)

Let's don't skip over this and pretend it wasn't the most devastating thing to these Hebrew young men!  Names were a huge part of who they were.  It was as if Nebuchadnezzar stripped away their very identities.  Nebuchadnezzar wanted them to depend on his royal courts and forget about the royal court of Yahweh.  {Sounds like the enemy to me.}

Amazing, these young men! They refused to assimilate!  They resolved that they would not defile themselves and they continued to call one another by their real names.  By refusing rich Babylonian foods, they daily reminded themselves that they were a people set apart and that their God was worthy of worship.

The Babylonian King could change their names but he couldn't change their hearts and their allegiance to the true King.  The Babylonian King could change their names but he couldn't change the nature and actions of the God they worshipped!

God alone is Judge.
God alone is Gracious.
God alone is God and there is no one like Him.
God alone is Helper.

All other gods come up short.

{Read the fiery furnace passage with those meanings in mind and it will just come alive! Daniel 3}

I've thought a lot about names and how Satan can twist up their meanings just enough to confuse us about our identities in Christ.  Sometimes, he takes our very name's meanings and wreaks warfare around that one thing.

My name is Rebekah.  It can mean "to bind or tie...secured."  Wouldn't you know that I have battled insecurity all my days? But I can rest in the truth...I am secure in Christ's salvation.

I have a friend whose name means "close to God."  Don't you know Satan will try to do anything to keep her from having intimacy and sweet times with Him? But, the truth lies in this...she is close to God.

I have another of the meanings of her name is "industrious."  And she is, in a beautiful way.  But, I have seen the enemy try and consume her with work to the point of burnout and bitterness. The truth is that she is industrious for the kingdom but she must guard against unnecessary work.

God has a name for you that only He knows.  In one single word, it encompasses who He created you to be and who He is still forming you to be.  It is a word that is sacred because He whispered it while knitting you together in your mother's womb and He will whisper it again when He embraces you in heaven.

It is a name that the Enemy can never snatch away from you.

You can rest in that truth.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Kingdom of Heaven, Hand in Hand

Sobs broke through the iphone.  My mother in law, Barbara, was crying and that couldn't be good.  "Get over here guys will want to see this." I threw the casserole in the oven and we all bundled up to head over there for a God-moment.

Cars lined the street.  A half sob escaped as I realized what was occurring.  Droves of people had come out to pray over Herb and this thing called cancer.  They stood, hand in hand, in a huge circle that covered the whole front yard.  There had to be close to 50.

It was maybe 40 degrees and already starting to spit some sort of misty precipitation, but here they were.

The pastor who married us, a friend who lost her Daddy last year, a doctor who not just administers medicine but prays for God's healing, a friend for Cade, a friend for Eli, photography clients, couples whose marriages were saved due to sound counsel, women who have joyful marriages thanks to Biblical wisdom offered, a best friend to Barbara, and little children bundled up living in the reality of this one thing:  prayer is important enough to sacrifice for.

Each person was there, begging at God's throne, asking for one simple thing:  take away the cancer because we aren't ready to lose our friend, husband, mentor, Dad, Papa, teacher, counselor, brother, son. He means too much...please not yet, Lord.

It was August that God called me back to "school" to learn about prayer.  He has taught me that I should set aside my own selfish comforts and pray for His glory and majesty in all things.  He has told me it is ok to ask for big things.  He has comforted me with the fact that even when I don't know what to pray, He is interceding on my behalf. How profound...a God who prays for me.

But, last night, He gave me such a sweet visual.  The body of Christ was encircled on soggy ground, shivering from the cold, offering sweet incense to the One above. We were many souls and yet one in Christ.  The Spirit of the Living God resided in each person.  It was the Kingdom of Heaven hand in hand.

I was undone.

Undone in His love for each one of us.  Undone in this thing called cancer and how it strips one bare. Undone in how He administers care and grace towards us, often through other people.

{We await the majesty and glory of the Lord.  We welcome Him and pray for eyes to see.  We praise God for His beautiful story that is unfolding in grace by grace moments. We breathe in our holy God because that is our only breath.}

If you have prayed on the soggy grass or in your comfy chair or as you have drifted off to sleep, we thank you and believe your prayers are effectual and sustaining us. God bless you for blessing us...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Asher {18 months}

Be still my heart.  He just makes me grin.  Except when he runs off with the remote or yanks all the Kleenex out of the box or puts his hand in his poop when I change his diaper.  I don't grin at those times...but the rest of the time he makes me smile all over myself.

Things I want to remember:

1.  Little pursed lips...instead of breaking into a smile, he gives us little pursed up lips like in the above photo.
2.  Sleeping from 7-7 plus a good 2 hour nap.
3.  Eating...a little more picky.  Meat is still tricky.  Loves to feed himself...especially sweet potatoes and French toast.
4.  Starting to "sing" a little bit...or must think I am crazy and he just tries to copy me.
5.  Gosh loves those brothers...loves to play "soccer" in the house with them.  (In the house, mind you!)
6. Braved his first all weekend soccer tournament in a different state...exhaustion but pure fun and good memory making.
7.  Starting to LOVE television.  Yep, he belongs to his daddy.
8. Still would rather read books than anything else.
9.  Bath time is the best time.  Sits there and plays til his lips are blue.
10.Says a lot of words:  dog, Ah-yah (Eli), Momma, Dada, birds (has some strange fetish for birds), book, drink (except it sounds like corn???), night night, bear, shoes, gocks (socks)...
11.  Really fast runner.  (or maybe I am getting slower?)
12. Loves Cade's overly huge stuffed panda bear "Jim"...likes to run full speed at him and jump on top of him.
13. Likes toddler least it keeps him happy in the car during pick up.
14.  Starting to give kisses on his own when we leave.
15.  Loves to steal Kleenex to blow his nose.
16.  Tries to put his hand down there when I change his poopy diaper...I am pretty sure he is trying to get a reaction out of me. It works.
17.  Uses sign language for simple things like all done and please.
18.  Loves to go bye bye and seems to enjoy being out and about. He likes Target. I am keeping him.
19.  A bit of a heart melter.
20. Really brings us joy and makes our family feel complete.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


I've never done that, ya'll!  I blogged for 31 days straight.  In seven whole years of blogging, that is a first.  I now have equal parts "I need a vacation" and "Oh my, I must keep blogging!" So, today, I want to show you my cute baby.  Cause that's what Mommas do:  show off their babies. Tomorrow, I am taking a break...which may stretch out into the whole month of November, ha!

Love our little double portion of joy.