Bright Light, Bright Light

LightThis morning I woke up much too early, but alas, I was awake. In the darkness I felt around on my night stand for my iPad to do some reading. Yeeouch!!! Bright light! Bright light! The light radiating off the screen was too much for my tired darkened eyes to handle. It took several minutes of warming up before I could stop squinting at the screen with one eye closed and the other half open.

When we live in sin, it is like living in darkness. The light actually hurts so we stay away from it. Consider things you are doing “in the dark” and if light were shed on them how would you feel. Consider re-adjusting the “eyes of your soul” and do whatever it takes to live in the light. It is much harder to do as all our wrinkles and defects then show, however I promise, once you get used to it you will never want to go back. Jesus is the light and the one who takes away the sins of the world.

Maranatha!

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What’s in a Name?

Your name is the most important word you know. It is the first word you fully understood and continues to be an integral part of who you are. When people call us by another name or mispronounce our name or misspell our name it is offensive to us. My son’s name is Jacob Timothy O’Sullivan. He goes by Jacob. Some people choose to call him Jake even though we have never told them that is his name. He gets angry and a bit sad when he tells them his name is Jacob and not Jake and yet they continue to call him Jake. Because his middle name is Timothy, we sometimes call him JT. That also upsets him to no end. These are variations on pretty much the same name. The word God is not even close to Yahweh’s real name.

Imagine, for a minute, how Yahweh feels when we call him God. It is a translated name but the origin is a bit obscure. Did you know that the English word for יהוה (which is the tetragrammaton of YHVH) is Yahweh, which is what most feel the pronunciation might be? Yahweh is the actual transliterated name of God. Did you also know that the word God comes from pagan origins as noted in the Bible? It’s root is actually found in the Bible in Hebrew text as GD or “gimel dalet” (גד). Vowel pointers in Joshua 11:17, 12:7, 13:5 create the word to sound like “Gawd” or our present day “God.” You can see more on this topic HERE or see below for more links to interesting studies. Why do we assume that God is not offended by what we call him if we are so vehemently offended when others mess up our name?

So, is this a real issue? That is up to you and your own walk with Yahweh. The argument could be made that if YHVH/Yahwey/God were upset he would have done something about it. Instead he has allowed millions of Bibles to be printed without his original name spelling. We live in a fallen world, however my goal for my walk with Yahweh is to do all I can to honor Him so I have been practicing and slowly but surely changing my verbiage in my mind and prayers and writings over to YHVH (Yahweh). Please share your comments on this topic as it can get a bit controversial and I know you have an opinion. I encourage you to take a look at some of the writings below.

Yahweh

Other Relevant Studies

Knowing the Bible: The Meaning of Yahweh
Truth of Yahweh
Scriptural Truth 101: Origin of the Name God
Eliyah: Importance of using Yahweh’s Name
Kosher Messiah: What’s in a Name (drop down to page 19 to get the commentary.)

Modern Parable ~ The Judge

I was driving down the freeway last year going along with the speed of traffic when a highway patrol officer came up behind me and put on his lights. You know the feeling: instant panic with ensuing heart palpitations. I looked at the odometer, 79, then quickly took my foot of the accelerator. Surely he’s not pulling me over for 79? I’ve been told that anything under 80 they don’t bother with and besides my cousin is a CHP and I have one of those nifty star stickers on my license to show them I am “one of them”, “part of the family” so to speak and my insurance is military insurance. That will be the clincher. They don’t ticket their own.

The officer came up to my window, asked plainly for my license, registration, and proof of insurance. He walked back to his car, came back, and handed me my speeding ticket. No small talk, all business. I was busted. My “get out of jail free cards” did not work. I broke the law, the officer was just. It did not matter that everyone else on the freeway was going 79. It did not matter that normally they don’t pull you over at that speed. It did not matter that I have a sticker or insurance to prove I am one of them. The fact of the matter is I was speeding. The speed limit is 65. I was going 79… Judged and Convicted.

How often do you justify your actions to a holy impartial Judge. How often do you think “I’m on the good guy’s team, He will let it slide this time.” How often do you think “I’m not as bad as that other guy over there. He must judge based on a curve.” There could be nothing further from the truth. Check out this verse in 1 Peter:

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, (1 Peter 1:17, ESV)

Let’s unpack this verse a bit…

The word epikaleō means to “call on” or to “appeal to” or to “call for help”. It is meant here to suggest that this is a regular occurrence, that we are to habitually call on the Father for help. Peter is assuming his readers are Christians and that they pray regularly. The idea that God is someone we have an intimate relationship with as well as the fact that he is the ultimate judge who always judges fairly and without partiality are all within the same sentence, the readers understand that just because they are part of God’s family does not mean they will get special treatment. This is the true fear of God when one understands this concept to its fullest.

The term “judges” is used in the Greek  “ton krinonta” which is a present participle. This means the judgement Peter is talking about is active and current for their lifetime. He is not talking about final judgement. The Father is actively and presently disciplining his children. That is what this type of fear means.

The Greek word for fear is “phobos” and is where we get the word phobia from. However the phobos of God and his discipline is actually a good thing because its outcome should be a right response to God’s law that will result in growth, sanctification, and blessings.

Peter also reminds his readers that they are exiles, sojourners hear on earth. That means they must continually remember to show foreigners (those of this world) what it means to be a child of God.

Therefor, we are to have an active and intimate relationship with the Father while maintaining a high view of him knowing he is the perfect impartial judge even to us. Because of this we must live our lives in light of fear of his judgement as well as the fact that this world is not our true home and we must be examples to others by bringing honor to our true family name.

Modern Parable ~ The Enlightened Teacher

The young first year High School teacher eagerly awaited her first “Back to School Night” where she would finally get to meet the parents of her very first students. She made sure her classroom was just right and her dress was perfect. She wanted to make a great first impression. One by one as the parents came into her classroom, one by one the pieces started to fall into place. Every question she had about each student in her class was answered after the brief encounters she had with their parents. Her students mirrored their parents. The apple truly did not fall far from the tree. Astonishing! How could that be? Sure enough as the year went on and more interactions were had, it showed her just how much influence a home, good or bad, can have on a child.

but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV

God calls us to be like Him. We are his children and He expects us to bring honor and not shame to His name. We are to act in a manner that mirrors and honors our Father in Heaven.

Today we hope to instill that kind of respect and honor in our children when it comes to our family name. I often tell Jacob “An O’Sullivan does things this way.” Or, “We O’Sullivans don’t do things like that.” In today’s world people are more concerned with raising children who win the most competitions and get the highest grades than they are with true family honor. However, in keeping with that idea, when a child makes great grades or wins a competition, who is the first to exclaim, “That’s my child!” We want our children to imitate us on the good stuff and look the other way on the bad stuff. Sadly, they tend to pick up our bad habits more than our good ones. “Do as I say, not as I do.” Parent teacher conference day is the most enlightening day for most teachers. If you are a teacher you know what I am thing about. About 90% of the time when a teacher meets the parents it explains pretty much all the good and the bad in respect to the in-class behavior of the student. I want to be known by the way I imitate my Dad. And guess what, he’s perfect. He says “Do what I say, and do what I do.” It’s that simple. There are no mixed signals. What an honor to be part of the family I am in. I want to make Him proud. I want him to say “That’s My child!”

Modern Parable ~ Blind Obedience

jenosullivan_20131031_0002_webSometimes I need my 5 year old to just simply obey something I ask him to do: Don’t cross the street yet… Eat your veggies… Go to bed… Don’t eat the entire bag of Halloween candy at once. While his little 5 year old mind cannot fathom any good reason to follow any of these ridiculous rules, he does. Why? Somehow in his 5 long years of life he has figured out that going against what I say as a direct command usually goes badly… sometimes very badly. So, here I sit. Almost 40 years old, still whining to God about this rule and that rule. “Why can’t I just…” on this command and that command. In my bible study today, I was reading and dissecting one verse in 1 Peter. Yes, sometimes it is important to dig into the Bible one verse at a time and digest it fully before moving on. So, here is what I studied this morning:

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, (1 Peter 1:14, ESV)

God is commanding me to not be conformed to all the things of this world that are sin and that are against His law. But get this, the first part of that sentence is “as obedient children.” This context is like a child is obedient to his father. Like my child is obedient to me. Blind obedience at times. Kicking and screaming but still obedient obedience. I hung my head low this morning as I reflected on my desire to mature in this one point. With the help of the LORD I will prevail!

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

Monday Modern Parable ~ The Plant

Plant ParableI recently moved a plant to a new location near a sunny window. Of course I wanted to see the beautiful leaves so I turned it toward me. After a day I noticed the leaves had all turned toward the light. So, I turned it back. I sat there for about 10 minutes watching it. Nothing. I left and came back after several hours. Sure enough the leaves were all turned again.

Sometimes in our walks with God we cannot see our sanctification. We want instant gratification. We want to see change before our eyes. Yes, occasionally we get to see change that smacks us in the face, but more often than not, our sanctification, our growth and turning towards God’s light is gradual to us. Ask a friend or a family member if you are changing and growing in Christ (our light). They will have a better perspective.

Paraphrased thought provided by Corinne Congelliere.

Monday Modern Parable ~ The Glass of Water

How heavy does something have to be, to be too heavy?

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued:

“The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early … as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29, ESV).

Author: Unknown
Contributor: Illustration Exchange

www.HolyJustLove.com

Monday Modern Parable ~ The Abundant Life by Wayne Rice

A little boy who lived far out in the country in the late 1800s had reached the age of twelve and had never in all his life seen a circus. You can imagine his excitement, when one day a poster went up at school announcing that on the next Saturday a traveling circus was coming to the nearby town.

He ran home with the glad news and the question, “Daddy, can I go?” Although the family was poor, the father sensed how important this was to the lad. “If you do your Saturday chores ahead of time,” he said, “I’ll see to it that you have the money to go.”‘

Come Saturday morning, the chores were done and the little boy stood by the breakfast table, dressed in his Sunday best. His father reached down into the pocket of his overalls and pulled out a dollar bill-the most money the little boy had possessed at one time in all his life. The father cautioned him to be careful and then sent him on his way to town.

The boy was so excited, his feet hardly seemed to touch the ground all the way. As he neared the outskirts of the village, he noticed people lining the streets, and he worked his way through the crowd until he could see what was happening. Lo and behold, it was the approaching spectacle of a circus parade! The parade was the grandest thing this lad had ever seen. Caged animals snarled as they passed, bands beat their rhythms and sounded shining horns, midgets performed acrobatics while flags and ribbons swirled overhead. Finally, after everything had passed where he was standing, the traditional circus clown, with floppy shoes, baggy pants, and a brightly painted face, brought up the rear. As the clown passed by, the little boy reached into his pocket and took out that precious dollar bill. Handing the money to the clown, the boy turned around and went home. What had happened? The boy thought he had seen the circus when he had only seen the parade!

Are you experiencing all that God has for you? The Christian life is a marvelous adventure, an exciting journey. Many people-including Christians-seem to be content to float in a sea of mediocrity, settling for second best. Do you want the abundant life that Jesus promised? Do you want to live life to its fullest? Then aim higher. Don’t set your sights too low. Determine to become all that God created you to be. Give yourself to Christ, follow Him completely, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and through you. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

~ Wayne Rice

Monday Modern Parable ~ The Muddy River by Charles Stanley

Picture a muddy river, swollen with rain and rushing over rocks. You’ve fallen into that dirty water and cannot fight the current for long. Your head goes under once, then twice, and both times you come up sputtering after swallowing some of the filth. A third dunking might kill you. Suddenly, from the shore, someone throws a life preserver, which floats past your chest. Will you grab it?

The answer seems obvious—of course you would! But too often people drowning in the world’s fast-moving current refuse to grab onto the spiritual life preserver: Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for all of humanity, but individuals have a responsibility in salvation. A person must recognize his or her own helplessness and acknowledge the need for Christ. That means the new Christian accepts Jesus’ sacrifice as true and personal, believing that there is no other way to be rescued.

It isn’t necessary to understand everything about faith and the Bible in order to be saved—God will ensure that His children learn whatever they need from the Holy Spirit. However, it is critical to realize that we cannot save ourselves.

Can you point to a time in your life when you received Jesus Christ as your Savior? God is calling, longing for you to recognize your need for Him and to pray for rescue from sin. He is faithful to answer by saving you and making you blameless before Him.

God is offering you a life preserver and waiting to pull you to eternal safety. The choice is yours. Will you choose Christ and live?

by Charles Stanley

Monday Modern Parable ~ The Pole

cross trails ministry pole jumpHave you ever done a ropes course in the air? They are usually about 20 feet off the ground and terrifying. The very last thing you must accomplish before jumping to the ground is something that most fail to complete. They chicken out. You must shimmy up a telephone pole about 10 feet high. Remember you are 20 feet off the ground to begin with. Once at the top of the 12 inch in diameter pole you have to gingerly try to stand upright on it. It is almost impossible to do so especially with the blood pounding away in your ears. Once balanced precariously on top of the pole you have to reach out and jump to the bar swing that is your only safe way to the ground. If you fall, your harness will catch you, it may hurt a bit, and will definitely bruise your ego, an idol of sorts.

So, maybe you don’t have a golden calf in your house or a tiki god that you pray to each morning. Or, maybe you do. In any event, the majority of people today think we are without household idols that were so prevalent in Old Testament times. We could not be further from the truth.

My alter is high. My alter is only built with enough room for one person like that ropes course pole. I have placed myself so high on my own alter that I cling to it with all my life fearing that if I let go I will fall to my death. If I fall off balance for just a split second my ego will be damaged and slammed to the ground in despair. Father forgive the sin of myself. I have placed myself on my own alter and have created an inescapable idol of myself.

But there is hope. Swap spots with Jesus. He took your place on that pole. He holds you firm with three nails firmly driven into the wood of that pole. Jesus has overcome the fear of the pole. He rose above it and has perfect balance and perfect reach to God the Father. He will lift you up to reach the impossibly high bar set forth that is the glory of God himself. Only through Christ is there true safety and true grounding life.

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)
Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com