Tag: Hebrew

Sept 17 Shalom Shalom

“You will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”

beach-2479493_640

I have always loved  this wonderful promise and beautiful picture of Your provision.  There is also an accountability piece that reminds me that I have a responsibility if I desire that promised perfect peace: to keep my mind focused on You.

I do forget, especially during times of trouble and hardship, to keep focused on You.  I get distracted by worrying over things I cannot control.  Negative emotions draw me deeper into fear and discouragement, the opposite of peace.  But the realization that I am not feeling Your peace pulls me back into this verse, reminding me to refocus my attention.

“You” – the Creator of the universe.  You, who created my mind and who gave me the ability to know You and to trust You.  You: Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, who holds everything together by Your Word.

“will” – absolutely resolve by the force and power of who You are

“keep” – the Hebrew word “natsar” meaning to guard with fidelity, watch over, preserve, maintain, guard from dangers

“peace” – wholeness, wellness, purposeful living in joy, with abundant provision, harmony, safety, security summed up in the Hebrew word “shalom.”

“in perfect peace” – the Hebrew doesn’t say perfect peace.  It says “shalom shalom” or peace peace.  This is a concept of peace upon peace.  It is illustrated by the waves of the Mediterranean Sea that lap up onto the coast of Israel.  It signifies an unending peace like the waves at the shore.

A wave will move up on the sand and crash, spilling out it’s water, stretching up the beach.  It begins to recede back to the water’s edge, but before it reaches the low point, another wave overtakes it and brings it back up onto the beach, covering the sand afresh with the spreading water; one after another, wave upon wave, endlessly.

Your perfect peace is like that.  When I turn away from being consumed with whatever problem I have, and focus on You, You bring a wave of calmness, wholeness, healing to me.  It covers the situation and creates in me that sense of security.

And just when it seems that I may be losing it, exposing my fears again, You send another wave of Your “shalom” over me, to cover me anew.  This continuing ‘re-covering’ is the perfect peace You promise.

Father, thank You for Your wonderful provision.  It doesn’t mean the problem goes away.  But it does mean that You are with me, and that the problem doesn’t get the better of me.  And because my mind is focused on You, I can see more from Your perspective; things, solutions I wouldn’t have thought of.  “I will trust in You forever, for You, The Lord, are the Rock eternal.”  Amen

Isaiah 26:3-4

Apr 9 God bless you

Lord, I believe everyone desires to be blessed.  I truly do.  But many people did not grow up receiving a blessing.

Blessings

One result is that very few people know how to give a blessing to others.  The overused “Bless you”when someone sneezes carries little meaning.

Culturally, Jewish parents recite a blessing over their children every Shabbat (Sabbath) at Friday dinner.   In Old Testament times, before they died, Hebrew fathers spoke blessings over their sons as a way of passing on the leadership and possessions of the family.  Both of these have a prophetic piece to them, as well as words of favor resting on the receiver.

Even before that, You blessed Your creation of man and woman.  It was an empowerment for them to be all You created them to be.

In this empowerment there is a release from any and all restrictions or limitations preventing them from reaching their potential to participate in their divine purpose.

In Hebrew, the verb form “to bless” means “to kneel;” while the noun for “blessing” means “a gift or present.”  So the concept is to bring or receive a gift or present, something of value, while kneeling out of respect.

The one who receives a blessing is changed, energized, empowered and enabled by the gift or the words of blessing.

Lord God, would You bless me right now, and bless every reader as they speak this prayer, based on the definition and the full meaning of the Hebrew word for bless:

Heavenly Father, infuse us, fill us, permeate us, saturate us with unlimited potential to achieve all You would invite us to do that will glorify You and bring honor to Your Name.

Release us from any restriction or limitation, whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological, social, financial or personal that would prevent us or hold us back from becoming all You created us to be.

Empower, energize and enable us to reach the fullness of our divine purpose.  We kneel before You to receive this divine blessing.  Amen

Deuteronomy 33:1-29

 

Mar 5 All I am, All the time

hsmsweb

 

Your greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  That is a mouthful!

 

The Greek words from this scripture where You quote the Hebrew words don’t have the exact meanings of the English translated words that are used today.  But the idea is that I need to use all that I have to adore, worship, spend time with and follow You, my Lord.  There is no element of my life that is to be without Your influence.

For my heart, I think my emotions need to be measured by You, so I don’t get overly carried away or swept up into something without thinking.  I need to be aware of where my passions are leading me and find a place of balance.

When discouraged or depressed, I need to fight back against that inner voice berating me with negativity, by speaking Your truth in scriptures about my identity in You:

  “I am a child of God” John 1:12

“I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.”  Colossians 3:12

“I am forever free from condemnation” Romans 8:1

I heard once that people spend the first half of their lives trying to satisfy body and mind and the second half trying to satisfy their soul.  That inner part of me that seeks peace and wholeness gains it by recognizing the truth of Your Word.  So I will learn the real peace and wholeness that comes from You, not the world’s counterfeit found in popular philosophies.

My mind needs to seek “godly wisdom, which is pure, peaceable, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  The wisdom of the world is based on the logic of the mind, and the weight of pros and cons are only understood by a limited human viewpoint.

Godly wisdom is what must guide my choices and decisions.  As I seek this wisdom, protect my mind from thoughts that do not come from You.

I dedicate my strength to Your purposes: the strength of my body, of my will, my self-determination.  Help me realize when my strength is enough, and rely on Your strength to work through my weakness.

And I need to do this all the time?!  It is obvious that I can never achieve this on my own.  I will never be able to love You this perfectly.

Fortunately, “with God, all things are possible!”  So I rely on You, Lord, to guard and guide my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength; and to use them for Your glory.  This is how I desire to be obedient.  Amen

Mark 12:29-30; James 3:17; Mark 10:27

Oct 30 Great is Your faithfulness

Father, Jeremiah continues here, not only beginning each stanza with successive letters of the Hebrew alephbet, but each verse within the stanza begins with the same letter!

Still, the outpouring of the description of all this suffering continues.  There are vivid word pictures and comparisons that describe personal devastation.

hai-hoa-beach-2162144_640Yet, in the middle of all of this, come the words fashioned into a famous hymn.  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

Even in the midst of this harsh punishment, Jeremiah reflects on Your goodness.  And instructs the people:  “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.  Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say; ‘We have sinned and rebelled…’.”   It’s the same today.  Father, You seek the lost and the rebellious.  You still hold out salvation for them.  They need only come to You.

But there will be a time when it is too late.  When You will surely punish.

O Father, turn the hardened hearts back to You before it is too late!

In Jeremiah’s day, You spoke through prophets.  But now You speak through Yourself.  You walked the earth as Jesus Christ.  There are people who are heavy on my heart now, who need You.  Speak to these who need You in their lives.  Show me how to encourage them toward You without being harassing or pushy.

Bring someone into their lives who they will listen to.  Use circumstances in their lives to get their attention directed to You.  Convict their hearts that they need a Savior.  Draw back the veil of lies and deceit they have been believing.  Or they will “walk in darkness rather than the light”…they will be “dragged from the path and mangled and left without help”. 

Your love for them is clear.  Your compassion is renown.  Your faithfulness is great.  I rely on all these Lord, and totally trust in You!  Amen

Lamentations 3:1-66; Hebrews 1:1-4

Oct 29 in Pain, in Praise, in Prophecy fulfilled

Father, as the first two chapters of Lamentations are acrostic poems, each new verse begins with the successive letters of the Hebrew alephbet.

Hebrew_alphabetWhat an interesting and challenging way for Jeremiah to organize his thoughts!

As I read the English translation, part of the beauty of this exercise is lost on me.  Yet I wonder if I could write twenty-six thoughts aligned with the English alphabet.

I have made alphabetical lists of Your characteristics, Your names, and of things I am thankful for.  That in itself is a challenge, especially when it comes to j, q and x.  And yet Jeremiah has so much pain and sorrow, that he was able to pour it out through the alephbet twice!

Besides the organization of thoughts that I am drawn to, one part of one verse stands out to me: ”…pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.”

There have been times when I too am filled with concern and overwhelmed by life.  And my words to You, my pleas to You, spill out of me without any effort at all – kind of the opposite of thoughtfully putting together an acrostic of prayer.  And yet, I sense that you honor each way of connecting with You.

Before I speak, before a word is on my lips, You already know it.  Thank You that You listen, and answer.  Thank You that You have the power and the love to answer, not like some piece of wood or stone which cannot.   And yet it was to these pieces of wood and stone the Israelites turned to for worship!  They did not believe You would truly make good on Your Word to punish according to the covenant You had made with them.

Not surprising.  There are many today who do not believe there will be a time of judgment.  They do not believe the prophecies of Daniel, and Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John.  And certainly do not believe a god known for His love, would ever be party to judgment.

But I believe Your Word, Father.  I believe there will be a time of reckoning.  And then, there will be enough of Your justice to fill volumes of alphabetical lamentations; when people realize the righteousness of Your judgment.  Maranatha!  Translation: Come Lord Jesus!  Amen

Lamentations 1:1-2:22

Oct 19 God Speaks

person-woman-smartphone-calling

Father, You invite me to “Call to You and You will tell me great and unsearchable things I do not know.”  Lord, I do call on You.  For there is so much I do not know!

Father, help me understand more of Your Word.  I have studied long and hard to answer the questions:  What does scripture say?  What does it mean?  What does it mean to me?  These are the three main questions scholars study to understand what is also called Observation, Interpretation, and Application.

I have looked up definitions of words used in the original Hebrew and Greek languages.  And made lists of key words, comparisons and contrasts, people, places, events to make things clear in my mind.  I have examined cross-references to see where words, phrases and concepts are used elsewhere in scripture to understand better.

I have read about cultural, political, geographical, and literary contexts to get a better sense of background for scriptures.  And read the same passage in different translations to shed more light on meaning.  And looked for and assessed where symbolism is used in addition to the literal meaning.

These studies have brought me much understanding and clarity.  It has changed the way I look at and value and am amazed by Your precious Word.

Other times I have simply read Your Word, and feel as if You are speaking just to me, so clearly, and so intimately.  Father, keep speaking!  Use it all to make clear Your love for me, Your purpose for me, Your plan for my life.  Let me see where You are working, and how I can join in with You.

I feel close to You when I get in touch with Your creation.  When I see the colors of the leaves change, I marvel at the beauty, and how You make seasons for me that each have an attraction that I love.  When I see the mountains I envision Your grandeur and strength.

As I watch the ocean, I am awed by You immenseness.  And by the absolute endless nature of one wave after another.  It is mesmerizing, comforting.  Floating on the waves, I feel the surge and power of the water, and the unseen forces that pull me out to sea.

Your power is often unseen, but strong and mighty.  All I experience, seen and unseen teaches me more about You.  Continue to speak to me through Your marvelous creation.

Colors, sounds, wind, smells – all these things and more draw me to You and Your creative character.  It all makes me wonder: what would this awesome, amazing, majestic God, want with me?

Father, show me how to use the gifts and talents and traits You have placed in me to glorify You.  Show me how to overcome the obstacles of my flesh and the world and the evil one to honor You.

Teach me to not let my temper and irritability get the better of me.  Show me how to be loving and compassionate when annoyed and frustrated.  These are some of the things that I do not know that hamper my everyday living to honor You.

I call to You.  As You answer me, reveal more great and unsearchable things to me.  Amen

Jeremiah 33:3

Sept 17 Shalom Shalom

beach-2479493_640

“You will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”

I have always loved this wonderful promise and beautiful picture of Your provision.

There is also an accountability piece that reminds me that I have a responsibility if I desire that promised perfect peace: to keep my mind focused on You.

I do forget, especially during times of trouble and hardship like this cancer, to keep focused on You. I get distracted by worrying over things I cannot control. Negative emotions draw me deeper into fear and discouragement, the opposite of peace.

But the realization that I am not feeling Your peace pulls me back into this verse, reminding me to refocus my attention.

“You” – the Creator of the universe. You, who created my mind and who gave me the ability to know You and to trust You. You: Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, who holds everything together by Your Word.

“will” – absolutely resolve by the force and power of who You are

“keep” – the Hebrew word “natsar” meaning to guard with fidelity, watch over, preserve, maintain, guard from dangers

“peace” – wholeness, wellness, purposeful living in joy, with abundant provision, harmony, safety, security summed up in the Hebrew word “shalom.”

“in perfect peace” – the Hebrew doesn’t say perfect peace. It says “shalom shalom” or peace peace. This is a concept of peace upon peace. It is illustrated by the waves of the Mediterranean Sea that lap up onto the coast of Israel. It signifies an unending peace like the waves at the shore.

A wave will move up on the sand and crash, spilling out it’s water, stretching up the beach. It begins to recede back to the waters’ edge, but before it reaches the low point, another wave overtakes it and brings it back up onto the beach, covering the sand afresh with the spreading water; one after another, wave upon wave, endlessly.

Your perfect peace is like that. When I turn away from being consumed with whatever problem I have, and focus on You, You bring a wave of calmness, wholeness, healing to me.

It covers the situation and creates in me that sense of security. And just when it seems that I may be losing it, exposing my fears again, You send another wave of Your “shalom” over me, to cover me anew. This continuing “re-covering” is the perfect peace You promise.

Father, thank You for Your wonderful provision.

It doesn’t mean the problem goes away. But it does mean that You are with me, and that the problem doesn’t get the better of me. And because my mind is focused on You, I can see more from Your perspective; things, solutions I wouldn’t have thought of.

“I will trust in You forever, for You, The Lord, are the Rock eternal.” Amen

Isaiah 26:3-4