Day 3 Names of God

Day 3 Names of God

Day 3

 

Scripture

Exodus 20:7 TLV

“You must not take the Name of Adonai your God in vain, for Adonai will not hold him guiltless that takes His Name in vain.

Heart Thoughts

There is a close identity between ourselves and our names. When someone laughs at your name, or mispronounces it, you often feel slighted. This is even more true of our name in the broader sense of “reputation.” To injure my good name is to injure me; to revere my name is to revere me.

There is a similar identity between God’s Name and God himself. To praise his Name is to praise him. To despise his Name is to despise him. To take His Name in vain is to treat God like a vain thing. The Name has all of God’s attributes and performs all of His acts. His Name is his presence in the world.

 In Muslim theology, God’s highest and truest Name is unrevealed, and, some theologians in the Christian tradition have agreed with their Muslim contemporaries and said that God is nameless. I am sure these statements are intended to protect God’s sovereignty. But they do not agree with Scripture, in which God freely reveals his Names to us.

God reveals His Name to us and expects us to treat His Name with the same honor we would treat His person. God does not wish to remain nameless like the Muslims believe and some Christians. God delights in us knowing His Name and calling on His Name with respect, honor and glory. Yes, He takes a great risk by revealing His Name but it is a risk He is willing and desires to take.

Brachah

May the Holy One of Israel give you a revelation of the glory of His Name. May you encounter the rich fulness of all He is and at the same all His Name means. May His name be like a sweet aroma that is ever adored by you.

For the Feed

There is a similar identity between God’s Name and God himself. To praise his Name is to praise him. To despise his Name is to despise him. To take His Name in vain is to treat God like a vain thing. The Name has all of God’s attributes and performs all of His acts. His Name is his presence in the world.

Day 22

Day 22

Day 22

 

The Scripture

One gives freely, yet gains even more. Another withholds unjustly, and comes to poverty.” (Proverbs 11:24, TLV)

 

Heart Thoughts

It is common in Western culture that greedy and selfish people are hated by the masses while generous people gain love and respect. What the hoarder fails to realize, however, is that in the economy of God the greedy ultimately lose even the material things they try so hard to keep while the benevolent only prosper more and more.

When I was working as an accountant I saw this principle more than I want to recount. One time, I was managing the books for a certain flower company.  They had overbilled a gentleman on a funeral arrangement he purchased. I brought the discrepancy to the store owner. I just knew the store owner would do the right thing and reimburse the overcharge. I was wrong. Not only did he not reimburse the overcharge, he justified keeping the money with this line, “the arrangement was really worth that much.” Today, this company no longer remains and filed bankruptcy.

Over the years, I have seen individuals, families and companies give with an open hand.  These individuals, families and companies have encountered first-hand the economy of God. They have given freely and generously, and they have watched God bless their financial portfolio in a way that does not make sense in the natural but in the supernatural it does.

 

Prayer

May the Lord God of Israel rain down blessings on you. May you experience the amazing economy of God. The economy where the generous experience the mighty hand of God’s blessing on their life.

For the Feed

Over the years, I have seen individuals, families and companies give with an open hand.  These individuals, families and companies have encountered first-hand the economy of God. They have given freely and generously, and they have watched God bless their financial portfolio in a way that does not make sense in the natural but in the supernatural it does.

Day 21

Day 21

Day 21

 

The Scripture

The wicked earn deceptive wages, but a sower of righteousness reaps a true reward.” (Proverbs 11:18, TLV)

 

Heart Thoughts

I often tell my kids, “the choices are now, the rewards or consequences are later.”  In the morning, my children all know I expect them to make their bed.  The bottom sheet pulled tight and folded at the top. The comforter equal on both sides and folded at the top. The pillow(s) in the middle of their headboard.  They know if they make their bed then at night they will reap the reward of ice-cream.  On the other hand, from time-to-time, one of my children will try to either skip part of the bed making ritual or forget all together and try pull a fast one on me and make it up just before dinner. This practice defeats the purpose and they always get caught. When they do they reap the consequences of a night without ice-cream. Yet, if they make their bed when they get up they reap ice-cream after dinner.

Our passage says, the wicked earn deceptive wages. It is deceptive because it vanishes as quick as it comes. In early 2000, one of the most successful companies was Napster. It made its fortune by pirating music and allowing users to download it and share it as much as they wanted. They were sued in court and a federal judge blocked a $94 million deal and Napster was then forced to file for Chapter 7 and liquidate its assets. They earned deceptive wages and deceptive wages vanished before their eyes. This principle is as timeless as gravity itself: the wages of the wicked vanish as quick as they appear.

On the other hand, a sower of righteousness reaps a true reward. I can’t help but think of the countless stories I have heard from families who have sowed their tithes and their offerings and have seen God supersize their reward. David Green of Hobby Lobby has gone on public record that their company Hobby Lobby gives away 50% of its revenue every single year. He and his wife also give their personal tithes and offerings.  What are the results of this righteous sowing? Today, Hobby Lobby is one of the most prosperous companies in the world. Ranked #94 on Forbes list of top companies. Hobby Lobby faced down the supreme court and won against the Obamacare Act and remains a leader in its pay to employees and benefits. They have reaped a true reward.

 

Prayer

May the Lord God of Israel empower you to turn away from deceptive wages. May it be like a stench in your nostril. May the sowing of the righteous be your daily bread. May the Lord God empower you to sow righteous seeds with your words, actions, thoughts and finances. May He cause you to experience a true reward as a result of your righteous. sowing.

 

For the Feed

I often tell my kids, “the choices are now, the rewards or consequences are later.”  In the morning, my children all know I expect them to make their bed.  The bottom sheet pulled tight and folded at the top. The comforter equal on both sides and folded at the top. The pillow(s) in the middle of their headboard.  They know if they make their bed then at night they will reap the reward of ice-cream.  On the other hand, from time-to-time, one of my children will try to either skip part of the bed making ritual or forget all together and try pull a fast one on me and make it up just before dinner. This practice defeats the purpose and they always get caught. When they do they reap the consequences of a night without ice-cream. Yet, if they make their bed when they get up they reap ice-cream after dinner.

Day 20

Day 20

Day 20

 

The Scripture

Then He said to them, “Therefore every Torah scholar discipled for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure both new things and old.” (Matthew 13:52, TLV)

 

Heart Thoughts

Oscar could not restrain himself. After Shabbat service he rushed to the front and sizzled with enthusiasm, “Rabbi Michael, why does the Torah remain unearthed in the church. I feel my spirit leaping with joy at the whole counsel of God’s word.”  I met his sizzle with a generous and equally joy and said, “Yeshua expects his disciples to uncover the riches of the Hebrew Bible and the beauty of His message. He commands both the old and new to complement one another. He wants these two to pilot the hearts of His disciples!”

This story is repeated almost every Shabbat Beth Messiah. The reality is that the whole of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation are given to us for life, godliness and instruction. How do you rear a child, so they can go further faster? You direct them with the book of Proverbs. How do you treat immigrants? The book of Ruth sets a high standard. Why is it so hard to follow Yeshua? The sermon on the mount in Matthew.  Why do followers of Yeshua never loose hope? Isaiah and the Revelation of John supersize the future kingdom of God. From start to finish, the whole of the council of God stands as a mighty bulwark for us to run into and build our lives behind its sturdy walls.

Our Master Yeshua wants us to clutch and unearth His teachings and all of the TaNaK (aka, the old testament). When it comes to generating wealth and giving our tithes and offerings the same is true. Over the last four weeks, we peered into the Scriptures learning of God’s faithfulness in our finances, and the testimonies keep gleaming in.  For the first time, a young couple tithed, and they experienced unexpected promotion.  Another small business owner made a decision to give 50% of all their revenue each year and almost immediately God blessed their business with more revenue than they ever had before.  Every time, in every situation, in every case, the whole council of Scripture always produces the results it promises.

 

Prayer

May the Lord God of Israel give you a heart to love and cherish every Word of the Scriptures. May God’s Spirit pilot you through the Word to give you the courage to apply it to your life and the perseverance to see the rewards it promises. May today be the day that you clutch tightly all the promises of God and never let go.

 

For the Feed

Our Master Yeshua wants us to clutch and unearth His teachings and all of the TaNaK (aka, the old testament). When it comes to generating wealth and giving our tithes and offerings the same is true. Over the last four weeks, we peered into the Scriptures learning of God’s faithfulness in our finances, and the testimonies keep gleaming in.  For the first time, a young couple tithed, and they experienced unexpected promotion.  Another small business owner made a decision to give 50% of all their revenue each year and almost immediately God blessed their business with more revenue than they ever had before.  Every time, in every situation, in every case, the whole council of Scripture always produces the results it promises.

Day 19

Day 19

Day 19

 

The Scripture

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. Upon finding a pearl of great value, he went out and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45–46, TLV)

Heart Thoughts

After telling how a peasant discovered a treasure in a field, Yeshua tells of a more prosperous merchant seeking pearls. In contrast to the tenant worker, the protagonist of this story is a merchant, a man with capital, hence a person of greater means. A person who knew who what it was like to invest wisely. A person who knew when a product had passed from “proof of concept” into highly valuable.

Don’t miss something else that is important. Yeshua was using a common Jewish metaphor “a pearl” to talk about piety, sacrifice and genuine faith.

Jewish people from ancient times fished for pearls in the Red Sea. The pearls were highly valuable and sold for wealthy women’s necklaces, and ancient reports tell of pearls worth tens of millions of dollars in modern currency. This merchant, uniquely sensitive to the value of the pearl, wisely invests all he has to purchase it. Other Jewish accounts of finding expensive pearls typically emphasized the finder’s piety. There is a story about a Jewish tailor who paid an outlandish price for a fish because he needed it to keep the Sabbath yet found in it a pearl that supplied his needs the rest of his life (Pesiq. R. 23:6).

Yeshua, probably, was emphasizing the same idea but adds that having this pearl brings great joy. He is alluding to Proverbs 10:22 where it says that the Lord’s blessing creates joy and not pain. What is more, the Jewish sages used the pearl as a parable of Torah teaching and stressed material sacrifices made to study Torah. Yeshua applies these images to the value of the message of the kingdom. One who was unwilling to sacrifice everything else for the kingdom, who did not believe its reality sufficiently to stake all one’s future on it, was unworthy of it (Matthew 19:21).

 

Prayer

May the Lord God of Israel show the surpassing great value in the Kingdom of God.  May he give you the courage and perseverance to hold onto this treasure. May He pour out on you great joy all the days of your life.

 

For the Feed

Jewish people from ancient times fished for pearls in the Red Sea. The pearls were highly valuable and sold for wealthy women’s necklaces, and ancient reports tell of pearls worth tens of millions of dollars in modern currency. This merchant, uniquely sensitive to the value of the pearl, wisely invests all he has to purchase it. Other Jewish accounts of finding expensive pearls typically emphasized the finder’s piety. There is a story about a Jewish tailor who paid an outlandish price for a fish because he needed it to keep the Sabbath yet found in it a pearl that supplied his needs the rest of his life (Pesiq. R. 23:6).

 

Day 18

Day 18

Day 18

 

The Scripture

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid. And because of his joy, he goes out and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44, TLV)

Heart Thoughts

What is Messiah’s kingdom worth to you? This was the question a friend of mine posed to me about 15 years ago. My friend encouraged me to imagine what it would be like sell “all” that I had to buy “that field” with that “treasure” in it. I told my friend, of course I would sell my home, car, material goods for that treasure.  He challenged me further. He said to me, “Michael, what else do you have?” I said all I have after that are my savings, my 401k, the clothes on my back, and my family. He said, “You have to sell that also. It is part of the ‘all’ that you have.”

I will ever forget this challenge. I thought long and hard about it. I really weighed out what this meant in the real world. After, a couple of weeks my friend came back and asked me, “So, where are you on the ‘all’ you have for his kingdom?” I said to him, I trust in His mercy and grace. I would give “all” I have to have his kingdom.  My friend said good but here is what you need to know. When you sell “all” you are really giving it all to God. He then gives “all” back to you. Now, he wants you to orient “all” that you have around the treasure of His kingdom. He wants you to steward “all” you have as a gift He is giving back to you with this treasure, in that field.

My friend told me that stewardship is doing what God says with the resources He has given back to you. Has he given you income, honor him according to His Word and tither. Has He given you wealth, act generously and start bringing extra offerings. Has He given you influence and a name, then use it for the benefit of His kingdom and helping others. Has He given you a wife and children, then love them as Messiah loves His body and care for your children as God cares for His. This was a transformational lesson for me. Yes, God wanted my “all” but He was giving me His “all” in return. He wanted me to steward “all” that was His for the sake of His kingdom.

Prayer

May you release your “all” today to the Heavenly Father. May you take great joy in giving your all so that you can cay a treasure that can never be taken from you. Today, may the Lord God of Israel bless you with wisdom and confidence to steward well “all” the resources He has bestowed back upon you.

For the Feed

My friend told me that stewardship is doing what God says with the resources He has given back to you. Has he given you income, honor him according to His Word and tither. Has He given you wealth, act generously and start bringing extra offerings. Has He given you influence and a name, then use it for the benefit of His kingdom and helping others. Has He given you a wife and children, then love them as Messiah loves His body and care for your children as God cares for His. This was a transformational lesson for me. Yes, God wanted my “all” but He was giving me His “all” in return. He wanted me to steward “all” that was His for the sake of His kingdom

Day 17

Day 17

Day 17

 

The Scripture

Direct those who are rich in this present age not to be proud or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God—who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  – 1 Timothy 6:17

Heart Thoughts

I will never forget the opening paragraph to a little but important book by Tim Keller that says:

Most people spend their lives trying to make their heart’s fondest dreams come true. Isn’t that what life is all about, “the pursuit of happiness”? We search endlessly for ways to acquire the things we desire, and we are willing to sacrifice much to achieve them. We never imagine that getting our heart’s deepest desires might be the worst thing that can ever happen to us. - Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (p. 1).

After 20 years of walking with the Lord, I have learned to thank God for His “no’s” just as much as His “yes’s.”  I can’t tell you how grateful I am for God stopping me from getting what I wanted. Often what I wanted would have eventually moved me and my family further and further from God’s purpose for my life.

Rabbi Paul says in this passage that the real problem with having lots of success with money is that it gives you a big head.  You think that because you have been successful with money you are competent to speak on any number of issues that you may or may not be qualified to speak on. Just because you can use “the Google” does not make you an expert.  More than that, Rabbi Paul says that if your dream is just an endless amount of money, if that is your deepest desire then you are standing on shifting sand, uncertain terrain.

The greatest goal of our, the most satisfying dream should be God himself. When He is the greatest desire of your life it is easy to not get a big head, it is easy to let His “yes” be your “yes” and His “no” your “no.”  When Lauren and moved from Chicago to Dallas in 2005 we had put a deposit down on our soon-to-be dream home. It was the perfect lot. The perfect home builder. The perfect location. We were building from the ground up. We were so happy, and we could not wait to see the house get built. Yet, something happened that caused me to have some red flags. Things avalanched from there and looked like we would lose the home. My wife and I prayed, quoted the Bible and rebuked every demon you could imagine. Nothing changed, we lost the home.

We had our eyes on the wrong thing. As that home was lost, God opened another house. It was an older home, in an older neighborhood, cost significantly less but had more square footage, a pool and a sunroom we could change into a study. We will never forget that house. It was our dream house. It was right near my work, my wife’s work, my Master’s degree and the neighborhood was amazing.  On the other hand, that other neighborhood where we were going to by that other house got overran with crime. One time a Nazi symbol was spray-painted on the garage next to the house we were going to build. People lost lots of money on the homes in that area.

God humbled us. Took us back to relying on Him. Relying on His “yes” and His “no.” Learning to accept that He knows perfectly well what will help us and what might hurt us.

Prayer

May the Lord God of Israel give you the courage to abandon the uncertainty of riches and cleave closely to the Messiah. May you experience both the blessing of His “yes” and of His “no.”

For the Feed

God humbled us. Took us back to relying on Him. Relying on His “yes” and His “no.” Learning to accept that He knows perfectly well what will help us and what might hurt us.