What’s your name?

imageLord you are more precious than silver
Lord you are more costly than gold
Lord you are more beautiful than diamonds
And nothing I desire compares with you. 
(Lynne deShazo)

This blast from the past popped into my head this morning and got me thinking …

Thank you God for who you ARE. You’re the great I AM.

You are always present tense, always PRESENT.
NOT the
I WAS … but that was in the past until your past messed up
I USED TO BE … but you can no longer depend on me to be like that
I WILL BE … but only someday when you get yourself sorted
I COULD BE … but it all depends on your faith levels
I MIGHT BE … but only if the circumstances are right

WHO HE IS
– is not limited to your past or by your past
– is always the same, today, yesterday and forever
– is not conditional
– is not dependent on your faith or feelings
– is not dictated by your character or circumstances

As the Psalms constantly remind us of WHO HE IS, for example
Our refuge and strength (Ps 46)
Our ever present help in trouble (Ps 46)
Our hiding place (Ps 32)
Our strength and shield (Ps 28)
Our rock and fortress (Ps 31)

When I introduce myself, I say “I’m Shirley”. Today I feel more like sleepy Shirley! Some days I feel like strong Shirley, shy Shirley, secure Shirley, successful Shirley, smiley Shirley, shouty Shirley – with joy or frustration!!! How I feel may change but my name doesn’t! I may be Shirley, the wife, mum, daughter, sister, aunt, friend etc but I am always Shirley.

Similarly, even though my emotions and circumstances may change, His name doesn’t.

He is JEHOVAH – I AM WHO I AM but He is also
Jehovah Rapha – The Lord our Healer
Jehovah Shalom – The Lord our Peace
Jehovah Raah – The Lord our Shepherd
Jehovah Nissi – The Lord our Banner
Jehovah Shammah – The Lord is there
Jehovah Jireh – The Lord will provide

Introduce Him by name to the emotions and circumstances you may be struggling with today.

Remind them and yourself of I AM – who He is and what His names are.

He is EL SHADDAI, the Lord God Almighty.

Today. Yesterday. Tomorrow. Always. Forever.

“Why am I discouraged?”

imageI’m on a journey through the Psalms at the minute. I’m going at a very gentle pace but discovering much along the way. I still read the Psalm I wake at but I’ve been focussing on a Psalm of the day. I started last month with Psalms 1-30, so this month it’s Psalms 31-60.

I’ve been able to relate to the emotions and honesty of the psalms and the fluctuations between despair and hope especially in Psalm 42. It was my reading on Saturday and seemed a very relevant end to a week when I felt discouraged by the F word (fatigue!) yet encouraged by the fruitfulness of walks with Tess.

On Tuesday and Friday I got to pray with two lovely elderly gentlemen on the beach and by the river; on Wednesday I bumped into a lady in the forest I had prayed for before (in the exact same spot!); and on Thursday I had a walk with another lady I had prayed for one day in the forest and she was telling me she had been sharing that with her cell group and been encouraging them to reach out to others too. So encouraging!

Like the psalmist in Psalm 42 it is often tempting to focus on the despair and listen to the doubts about God’s presence. “My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”” Psalm 42:3 NIV

“These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.” Psalm 42:4 NIV

The Psalmist makes a choice to pour out the bad and remember the good, not in a way that leaves him stuck in those memories with no way forward to new experiences of God but as a reminder that His God is way bigger than his situation; that His hope is not dependent on His circumstances but on his God.

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Saviour and my God!” Psalms 42:5-6 NLT

As I walked in the forest this week, I felt God remind me He is my hope when I heard my head singing the old hymn My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness”.

Yet sometimes in spite of these encouraging reminders of who God is and what He is doing, along comes another wave of overwhelming discouragement. The psalmist also writes,“Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you— even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar.” Psalms 42:6 NLT

He describes his situation with realism but again makes a choice to keep remembering not what He is going through but to remember Who can bring Him through. He can choose to look inwards or look upwards.

As he does he is hit with the realisation that God is not distant and has not deserted him, He is always there. “But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.” Psalms 42:8 NLT

The psalmist shows it is not wrong to give vent to your feelings, but it’s not good to give in to them and so he concludes not with his own hopelessness but with His hope in God

He allows what he knows in His heart to speak to what is going on in his head.

You too may be feeling overwhelmed by wave after wave of discouragement, wondering “Why have you forgotten me?” (v9) or “Where is this God of yours?” (v10)

Like the psalmist, speak to the doubt and discouragement, don’t allow them to dictate to you!!

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!” Psalms 42:11 NLT

O COME LET US ADORE HIM

imageRecently I’ve been thinking about prayer or should I say I’ve been trying to actually pray more rather than just thinking about it!! A wee book called ‘Confessions of a Prayer Slacker’ has given me a much needed kick start 🙂

One of the things the author shares is the ACTS guideline for prayer times:

Adoration: giving glory to God for who He is
Confession: asking forgiveness for our sins
Thanksgiving: expressing appreciation for the many things He has done for us
Supplication: praying for needs in our own lives and those of others

I know this is a guideline not a rigid format but if I’m truly honest I’ve been going about things the opposite way! I would probably focus more on the Thanksgiving and Supplication. That is not wrong but I realise I’ve not given the Adoration part the first place He deserves.

As I’ve tried to make this more of priority, He has filled my head and heart with reasons to adore Him.

HE IS … the King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of peace, Strong deliverer, Saviour of the world, Father of lights, Light of the world, Fountain of life, Resurrected King, Mighty Overcomer, Beautiful Redeemer.

HE IS … Creator God and yet He’s My Father, My Shepherd, My Friend, My Hope, My Strength, My Shield, My Righteousness, My Provider, My Healer, My Delight, the Lover of my soul and closer than a brother.

HE IS … a strong and mighty tower, faithful in all His ways. His steadfast love never changes and His mercy never comes to an end. He is lavish with forgiveness, rich in mercy and slow to anger. GREAT is His faithfulness!

HE IS … majestic, sovereign; magnificent, splendid, glorious, wonderful; constant, unchanging, steadfast; boundless, limitless, immeasurable; bountiful; trustworthy; compassionate, kind, gentle, and so loving.

HE IS … wonderful in all His ways so COME LET US ADORE HIM.

Honour the LORD, you heavenly beings (Hebrew=sons of God);
Honour the LORD for his glory and strength.
Honour the LORD for the glory of his name.
Worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness.” Psalms 29:1-2 NLT

“I will praise the LORD at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.” Ps 34:1-3 NLT

I know this not a definitive list, so I would love to hear your words of adoration too.