Daily Discovering the Blessing

Archive for the ‘God’s Character’ Category

How Well Do You Know Him?

I often think of a quote from Smith Wigglesworth when I am in conversation with the Lord, seeking wisdom and understanding on a certain subject – “God wants to answer even more than you want to ask!” One of the most encouraging and productive aspects of our spiritual life is a true understanding of our Father’s heart. He is for our success (Joshua 1:8). He is the Blesser (Proverbs 10:22) – He wants to provide for us abundantly (John 10:10). He loves us with a great and wonderful and intense love. (Ephesians 2:4) And it is that loving relationship that we are meant to share with the lost, dead ones in the world. They are meant to observe, in our daily lives, what God in a life looks like; what our loving God is all about on behalf of the children of men! Our Lord Jesus made this a very simple equation:

I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves]. (John 13:34-35)

And, Jesus Christ, we know, is the direct representation of God the Father:

He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3)

And as “the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature” He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s influence (Acts 10:38). He brought light into the devil’s darkness. In love He paid the penalty we deserved and restored us to all of the benefits and blessings of life in our Father’s kingdom. As His disciples, as the believing Church, that is our calling as well. We are to deeply and correctly know God so that our lives reflect His goodness and so that all may look and see that God is good!

...For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, (Ephesians 1:17) (Emphasis mine)

We are to “spread and make evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14). The only way we can correctly reveal the character of God to the lost ones is to know and understand Him correctly and intimately ourselves. Is that possible? God’s Word says that it is.

And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent. (John 17:3) (Emphasis mine)

And he said, The God of our forefathers has destined and appointed you to come progressively to know His will [to perceive, to recognize more strongly and clearly, and to become better and more intimately acquainted with His will], and to see the Righteous One (Jesus Christ, the Messiah), and to hear a voice from His [own] mouth and a message from His [own] lips; (Acts 22:14) (Emphasis mine)

That is what we have to offer the lost world – not judgment, harsh criticism, or self-righteous condemnation. Just love. We are safe within the care of our Father. It is a care-free place, this realm of knowing God; of understanding our Father’s heart. Safe and secure in the care of the Lord, guided and taught daily by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, we understand that in Jesus we are worthy of the Father’s intimacy and love:

But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him]. (1 Corinthians 8:3)

So the fundamental question for each born-again child of God is “How well do you know Him?” Are you growing daily in “the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord?” (2 Peter 1:2) Does Scripture – God’s holy, unchanging, uncompromising Truth – inform your expectations in life. Trust and unwavering reliance on God’s Word relies upon your relationship with your Creator. In the book of Romans Paul speaks to the compromised faith walk of many:

I bear them witness that they have a [certain] zeal and enthusiasm for God, but it is not enlightened and according to [correct and vital] knowledge. (Romans 10:2)

Look at this wonderful promise from God:

[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:19)

Allow the Truth of God’s Word to give you a hunger to daily become more intimately acquainted with your Father. There are wonders to understand about what being a child of God means. There are privileges and blessings that God extends to His own. And it pleases His heart when His children take Him at His Word (Hebrews 10:38).

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Moment by Moment

We often overlook, or leave unpondered, the beauty of our moments. In truth, every second of our life holds the opportunity to reflect God, honor Him with our choices and our thoughts, and determine that His love will guide our outlook. In contrast, every moment that is colored by the world’s ways and the enemy’s attempts to diminish or redirect or disfigure and compromise the life the Lord has given us robs us, to a degree, of our heavenly identity.

But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One). He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)

      “In order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loves us“! Now that’s an understanding to carry into and to inform our moments. In Christ, you are loved by your Father with a great and wonderful and intense love. Before any other understanding in our relationship with God, this is paramount. It is defining. This colors our moments. It settles our hearts into peace when we fully embrace and own this Truth.

The first thing [is] wisdom — get wisdom, And with all thy getting get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7) {Young’s Literal Translation}

The heart that understands this Truth operates in the peace and joy which define God in a life (Romans 14:17). “Get understanding” about who the Word tells you you are. And let that understanding about what a life hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3) looks like fuel your moments. The Word is filled with God’s covenant promises with His people. We are to search God’s Word for that wisdom (Proverbs 2:4). And we are to stand uncompromisingly on those promises. But even before gathering to ourselves and owning the wonderful promises that are ours through Jesus, we are to know the Person and the love of our Father. He not only tells us Who He is through His Word, He graciously lives in us to allow that knowing to grow and flourish (2 Timothy 1:14, 1 John 3:24). Knowing God and desiring to please Him with our moments is the calling of every child of His. This takes resolved practice. Thoughts will come, issues will arise, opportunities to fall away from peace and joy will attempt to color your moments with the dreary “less-than” often experienced by those “In the world without God”  (Ephesians 2:12). But our Father’s Word says that, safe in His care, those issues will not hinder us.

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Only a spectator shall you be [yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High] as you witness the reward of the wicked. (Psalm 91:7-8)

And these moments build upon one another. Once you’ve settled the matter and have insisted that as far as you’re concerned this moment will honor God and receive the peace and joy that is yours in His care, the very next moment will follow in the same manner. For when peace rules as umpire in your heart (Colossians 3:15), you will recognize when you fall away from that secure place. As I said, it takes concerted, purposeful practice to both recognize who you are in Christ and to also recognize when that identity is being compromised.

[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), (2 Corinthians 10:5)

When our moments honor God and His Word to us we are pleasing our Father (Hebrews 10:38). When moment-by-moment we determine that the Word defines us and not the world, we reflect Heaven’s standards (Luke 12:32). Safe in our Father’s care (Psalm 91:14-16), we are a powerful witness to those around us of what God in a life looks like (Joel 2:27).

The Process of Receiving

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Power, ability, efficiency, and might“. How many of us would recognize themselves in that description? Receiving anything from the Lord is a faith proposition and our faith walk is entirely informed by our knowledge of what the Word says and our understanding of Who our Father is. Look at this wonderful picture of Who the Lord wants to be in our lives:

And I thought how [gloriously and honorably] I would set you among My children and give you a pleasant land, a goodly heritage, the most beautiful and best [inheritance] among all nations! And I thought you would call Me My Father and would not turn away from following Me. (Jeremiah 3:19) 

What a beautiful expression of our Father’s heart toward us; His desire for each of His children to occupy the Promised Land. For so many of His children, though, their vision of what the Promised Land looks like is misinformed or diminished through lack of understanding, incorrect teaching, or an unwillingness to fully accept the wonder of it all! When we daily operate from the vantage point of, the safe place of, our Father’s love for us, we are at the receiving post of every promise that is ours through Jesus:

But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, (Ephesians 2:4)

How good is our Father! How much goodness from God will your faith accommodate today? Let the Word redirect your outlook today. Let it transform you through the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:2); let it establish new and correct attitudes concerning what this walk of faith is all about. When you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are loved by God with a wonderful, great and intense love. When we receive that Truth in our hearts and let it direct and inform our daily outlook and expectation, our faith in His goodness and faithfulness receives the promises.

How does His loving-kindness manifest in our lives? He came Himself to die on our behalf, to fulfill the demands of justice, to satisfy His expectation that sin would not overcome His creation. But there was an inability in His creation to overcome the sin nature – only He could do that on our behalf. Jesus won back our redemption, our restored placement within the relationship God desires with men. And then, still knowing that even with all that Jesus accomplished we would fall short of the glory He desires for us, He equipped us with His Holy Spirit. He calls us to excellence and holiness and then provides us with the ability to accomplish that expectation by coming to live within each believer.

For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). (2 Peter 1:3)

We are responsible for how much we receive from the unending supply of our Father’s love and goodness. Faith receives God’s favor, His grace (Romans 5:2). Faith in His Word, belief that what He says He also means, is how His blessings are received in a life. Faith grows. It’s a spiritual muscle to be flexed and strengthened. As born again believers we are all given “the measure of faith”(Romans 12:3 – KJV) What we do with that measure of faith determines our outcome. How we grow our faith determines our ability to accept and receive the great plans and purposes of God for each of our lives:

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] (Ephesians 3:20)

That superlative description of life in the Spirit seems beyond the reach of so many, and yet it is God’s will for all of His children. Continuous faith in God’s Word is a powerful force that most believers seldom tap into. According to the Word of God, mustard seed sized faith moves mountains (Matthew 17:20). Jesus spoke of Peter’s inability to continue walking on water as having “little faith”(Matthew 14:31).

How good is our Father? What are you expecting and excited about today? Is He a “just-enough-to-get-by God or a God of abundant overflowing life (John 10:10)? How big is God in your life today? Is He a help-me-get-through-this-illness-with-grace God or your Healer? Taking the faith step to believe God’s Word uncompromisingly is the path to “infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams”.

The Name of the Lord

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My Name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].  – Psalm 91:14

All throughout Psalm 91 we are assured of God’s care and protection. Here at the beginning of verse 14 it is summed up very effectively: because we set our love on Him He delivers us. All of the previous verses are very specific about what that care and deliverance looks like. Here in verse 14 our covenant relationship with our Father is simply put  – “if you…then I”.  If we, through faith in His Word to us and His loving-kindness, purposefully place ourselves in His care, then He accomplishes all that He has promised on our behalf.

And our faith and trust in Him is entirely informed by our understanding of His character; His great desire for a loving, intimate relationship with us (Ephesians 2:4), and how He has revealed Himself throughout His Word. Our Father leaves us in no doubt as to His intentions in the lives of men. He expects, in fact delights in, His children taking Him at His Word; He requires that of us (Hebrews 10:38). When He reveals Himself to us through the names He calls Himself, we are to know and understand Him in the light of that revelation.  We are to daily rely on Him to fulfill those roles in our lives, for they reveal His very nature, His desire to be known and understood in those ways.

We are told concerning the Name of God:

…Your Name is near and they who invoke Your Name rehearse Your wonders. (Psalm 75:1){Emphasis mine}

And they who know Your Name {who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy} will lean on and confidently put their trust in You… (Psalm 9:10) {Emphasis mine}

The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the {consistently} righteous man {upright and in right standing with God} runs into it and is safe, high {above evil} and strong. (Proverbs 18:10)

As our Father lovingly reveals Himself to us through His Names, our firm expectation is that He will indeed be Who He says He is and be faithful to that revelation. That is the faith that receives each and every one of these promises.

He is Jehovah, meaning the Lord Who reveals Himself. Each compound Name of Jehovah is the rock we securely stand on, the tower of safety we daily inhabit.

Jehovah-Jirah – The Lord Who reveals Himself as our Provider (Genesis 22:14)

Jehovah-Rapha – The Lord Who reveals Himself as our Healer (Exodus 15:26)

Jehovah-Nissi – The Lord Who reveals Himself as our banner, our protection, our deliverance, the One Who causes us to win (Exodus 17:5)

Jehovah-Shammah – The Lord is there (Ezekiel 48:35)

Jehovah-Raah – The Lord Who reveals Himself as my Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)

Jehovah-Tsidkenu – The Lord is my Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6; Romans 3:22)

Jehovah-M’Kaddesh – The Lord Who sanctifies you (Leviticus 20:7-8; 1 Peter 1:15-16)

 

  So, because you are in Christ, because you trust in God’s Word to you, you are a winner – provided for, healed, protected and delivered from harm, shepherded through life by the loving hand of the Lord, sanctified and made righteous because the Lord is there for you in every area of your walk before Him. Now that is worthy of praise!

Here is where your personal knowledge of His mercy, love, and kindness begins. By taking Him at His Word and by expecting that He is Who He says He is.

[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:19)

 And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. (1 John 4:16)

 

 

 

Tender Mercies

It is easily observable that children thrive when raised in a family whose parents have demonstrated to them from the moment of their birth that they are greatly loved.  How a person’s heart, their spirit, their sense of self-worth, is powerfully shaped by this enabling understanding of being greatly loved!  The personal sense of being cherished, of being of great value, when instilled in the heart of a child is an enabling force.  A complete understanding that they are truly and unconditionally loved establishes a peace that welcomes in possibility, and a strength to overcome any attack on their self-worth.

As with everything in this world we live in, there is a parallel spiritual truth.  When we truly know the heart of God toward us, when we believe His Word, trust and rely on His loving intentions toward us, we thrive.  Nothing can shake that peace He has given to us (John 14:27).  Nothing can overwhelm or defeat us.

For this to be reality we must settle some Gospel Truths beyond any doubt in our hearts.  Throughout His Word our Father speaks of His tender mercies and loving-kindness toward us (Psalm 103:4, Psalm 145:9, Luke 1:78).  He is love (1 John 4:16), and that love sent our Lord Jesus to the cross (John 3:16, Galatians 2:20). We are of great value to Him.

You were bought with a price, {purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own}… (1 Corinthians 6:20)

He has given us the safety and shelter of His Word to stand on in faith and He has given us His Holy Spirit to guide, counsel and encourage us (John 14:16).  Allow these truths to recreate you (2 Corinthians 5:17); to renew your thinking ( Romans 12:2).  When you look out upon your day established in God’s Truth, identified through His love, trusting in His tender mercies, relying solely on His affectionate and watchful care of you ( Peter 5:7), then you are “safe in His inaccessible place” ( Psalm 91:8).

Faith in these truths establishes their reality in your life.  That’s our Father’s expectation – that you believe Him (Hebrews 10:38).  Faith believes that it receives all of these wonderful promises at God’s hand (Mark 11:22-24).  It is as simple as that (and in its simplicity it becomes quite difficult for some!)  When asked what the greatest Bible Truth he knew was, one pastor said, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”.  “Have faith in God constantly” (Mark 11:22) seems to be a challenge for many believers.

It is the child of God who understands and receives His love and tender mercies that walks out every day in a peace that profoundly colors every moment, defines their days, and overcomes the world (1 John 4:4).

 

Our First and Vital Necessity

1 Chronicles 28:9 speaks of the life-altering decision, the foundational imperative, the divine mandate to know God:

…{have personal knowledge of Him, be acquainted with and understand Him, appreciate, heed, and cherish Him} and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind…If you seek Him {inquiring for and of Him} as you first and vital necessity you will find Him…

Within Scriptural context this is David exhorting Solomon, but within biblical, spiritual understanding, this is our Father instructing us. Paul exhorts the Ephesians (and us too!):

…try to learn {in your experience} what is pleasing to the Lord {let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him} (Ephesians 5:10)

The expectations that we encounter in God’s Word are our road map to successful living before Him. This is our instruction manual! And through the loving guidance of the Holy Spirit, understanding and appreciating and firmly grasping and accomplishing God’s will (His plan and purpose for each of our lives) is not only possible, it is God ordained, and, yielded to Him, it will be!

God does not reveal Himself as wanting to be intimately known if we could not achieve it. He does not, like an unfair, unjust taskmaster, develop a long list of unreasonable requirements which we could never fulfill. That’s Satan’s misrepresentation of Him! Like a loving parent raising up children, our Abba shows us the right path to take, the correct way to think, speak, and act, and the manner in which He is to be known and understood. With extraordinary love He grants to us:

…a spirit of wisdom and revelation {of insight into mysteries and secrets} in the {deep and intimate} knowledge of Him. (Ephesians 1:17)

Because being intimately known, and therefore honored and cherished, by His children is the desire of God’s heart, the enemy has thrown many roadblocks in our way. Satan’s aim is to distort Truth, disrupt progress, and diminish God’s standards and revealed will in our lives. When you entertain the idea that God is unknowable and unreachable, that we can never truly interact with Him and hold conversation with Him, you are listening to the enemy’s lies and not attending to God’s Word or His Spirit. When we explain away Scriptural Truth as “not for today” or really only spiritual concepts not valid in this physical realm, we give away His established blessings and reject the full life Jesus accomplished on our behalf.

There are obviously some who are troubling and disturbing and bewildering you {with a different kind of teaching which they offer as a gospel} and want to pervert and distort the Gospel of Christ (the Messiah) {into something which it absolutely is not!} (Galatians 1:7)

From Genesis to Revelation God extends to mankind the Truth that He wants to be known, and known intimately. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that ability has been given. Our part in this relationship with our Creator is to seek after Him as our “first and vital necessity”; to give Him, His Word (Jesus), and His Spirit first place in our lives; to cherish Him as our very reason for being; to love His Word as our most precious possession; to daily honor Him with time spent in His Presence (getting to know Him and to recognize His voice); to imitate Him:

{copy Him and follow His example}, as well-beloved children {imitate their father} (Ephesians 5:1)

Then no false gospel, no teaching contrary to His Word, no thoughts contrary to Gospel Truth will compromise or diminish your faith walk. The blood of Jesus which won our salvation and our testimony of our Father’s goodness and loving-kindness will define our days.

Faith in our Faithful God

So I intend always to remind you about these things, although, indeed, you know them and are firm in the truth that {you} now {hold}. I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle (tent, body), to stir you up by way of remembrance.(2 Peter 1:12-13)

The most valuable, effective, and life-changing gift we can offer each other is the reminder of the Truth concerning the faithfulness of God, and of the love He cherishes for us.

…so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us… (Ephesians 2:4)

Faith receives that Truth and is built up and strengthened. This is God, through Paul (2 Timothy 3:16), revealing Himself to His children. This is our Father providing us with a firm foundation for our faith. How revealing of our Abba’s character and His affectionate and watchful care of us (1 Peter 5:7) that He expects faith from us (Hebrews 10:38) and then gives to us everything we need to please Him and accomplish this faith. Through His Word, His indwelling Holy Spirit, and the fellowship and encouragement of the Body of Christ, we are equipped to operate in mountain-moving faith. That is His expectation, but it is also His enablement.

Having faith in God constantly (Mark 11:22) is our kingdom mandate, and throughout His Word, His expression of covenant with us, we are reminded of His character, we are encouraged concerning our value to Him; our relationship with Him. Loving parents, in so many ways, express and extend love and provision and protection and guidance to their children. That care flows out of hearts so filled with loving attention to their well-being, and each child responds with absolute trust in their understanding of their importance to their parents.

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with her mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me {ceased from fretting}. (Psalm 131:2)

“Ceased from fretting” is a wonderful description of faith based on trust, and that absolute trust is reliant upon the understood and unchanging character of God.

…He remains true (faithful to His Word and to His righteous character) for He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)

God is not a man that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man that He should feel repentance or compunction {for what He has promised}. Has he said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)

Our daily walk of faith before Him is entirely defined and fashioned and strengthened by “the faithfulness of God and His fidelity to His Word” (Romans 3:3). We are to establish our lives on our understanding, our acknowledgment, and our absolute trust in His power, wisdom, and goodness. We are to daily, moment-by-moment if need be, renew our minds with His Word.

…Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind {having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude} (Ephesians 4:23)

Speak and think the Truth in your heart” (Psalm 15:2). When you do, when that becomes your “default position”, you will overcome every obstacle, counter every thought contrary to His Truth, and quickly recognize and diffuse any situation that sets itself up against the Word of God. The attitudes of the world and the tactics of the enemy are ever active “inventing errors to mislead” (Ephesians 4:14). But they are easily overcome from the vantage point of our faith in our faithful Lord, and uncompromised reliance on His alive, active, and powerful Word. (Hebrews 4:12)

Faithful is He Who is calling you {to Himself} and utterly trustworthy and He will also do it {fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you}. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Yet the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen {you} and set you on a firm foundation and guard you from the evil {one}. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Love – The First Cause (Part Two)

Mark 11:25 – And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in Heaven may also forgive you your own failings and shortcomings and let them drop.

Mark 11:25 is an important addendum to Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom reality of answered prayer. In the previous verses He was responding to the disciples’ amazement at the withering of the fig tree. He taught that if we have faith in God constantly, and believe that what we ask will take place, it will be done for us. Faith operating in love; when you ask in faith, be sure you hold no ill feelings toward others- make sure that you are “debt-free” in the area of harboring negative feelings for anyone.

Love is meant to be our identifier as believers – as faith-filled children of God. We are the spiritual offspring of the God of love (1 John 4:16). When our motivation in all things is love we are operating in kingdom rhythm, we are pleasing our Father, we are energizing our faith (Galatians 5:6), we are warding off fear and concern and anxiety(1 John 4:18), and we are strengthening and establishing our spirits.

There is only one commandment in the New Testament. The Old Testament is filled with commandments – the Ten Commandments from God through Moses (Exodus 20:1-17), dietary commandments, laws and regulations concerning sacrifices, holy days, family obligations, etc. God was indicating to His people that He was meant to be pre-eminent in the lives of men; the best and safest place for them to be was in obedience to His commands. In fact, curses (well documented, itemized and realized) would be the result of rebellious hearts.

Deuteronomy 28:47 – Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness of {mind and} heart {in gratitude} for the abundance of all {with which He had blessed you.

And then, in love, because of love, He sent Jesus to us. And Jesus taught us that all of those laws and regulations and commandments could be summed up and successfully accomplished by us if we truly love God and love each other.

Matthew 22:37-40 – You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect) (Deuteronomy 6:5). This is the great (most important, principle) and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as {you do} yourself (Leviticus 19:18). These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the law and the Prophets.

There is only one commandment throughout the New Testament –

John 14:34 – I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you should love one another {John 15:12; John 15:17; 2 John 1:5-6}

When we walk in love we are walking in His light, we are following after His guiding principle, and in the Light there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin (1 John2:10).

1 Corinthians 8:1 – …Mere knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud) but love (affection and good will and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow (to his full stature).

All throughout the Old Testament God continuously called Israel back to Himself – to follow His commandments for their own benefit and blessing. We, in this new dispensation, are to faithfully resolve to follow God’s commandment to love – Him and each other – for our benefit and blessing. Under the banner of love we have confidence that our daily walk is pleasing to Him. No negative influences can exist in the light of love. We are carefree in love to serve God and each other. He knows our frame so well – He made us! Love is the balm, the healing ointment that relieves and refreshes and eases and recreates us daily (Matthew 11:29) And what a wonderful promise and blessing comes with obedience to the commandment:

John 14:23 – Jesus answered, If a person {really} loves Me, he will keep My Word {obey My teaching}; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him.

Jehovah – Rohi

After teaching us (comforting us) in John 10:10 that He came so we may “have and enjoy life and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows), Jesus speaks of His role as the Good Shepherd Who lays down His own life for the sheep (verses 11 and 15). We see the first reference for God as our Shepherd in Genesis 48:15:

…God {Himself} Who has {been my Shepherd and has led and } fed me from the time I came into being until this day

After this He refers to Himself as Shepherd 80 more times throughout the Word.

As a shepherd tends his sheep, our Abba guides us, leads and feeds us, protects us from harm and comforts us. Jehovah-Rohi (also seen as Jehovah- Ra’ah) is the Self-Existent One Who reveals Himself as my Friend, my Shepherd Who demonstrates a tender caring, a watchful protection.

Strong’s Concordance gives the extended definition of “Shepherd” as “to tend a flock, to pasture it, to rule, to associate with (as with a friend, a companion)”. The definitive explanation and demonstration of all that God’s shepherding provides for is found in Psalm 23. His all-encompassing care for the sheep includes the parameters – the characteristics, the promises – which all of His Self-identifying Names offer to us.

Verse 1 – The Lord is my Shepherd (Jehovah – Rohi)
I shall not want (Jehovah – Jireh)
(You provide mw with all that I need)

verse 2 – He leads me beside quiet waters (Jehovah – Shalom)
(You are my Peace)

Verse 3 – He refreshes and restores my life (Jehovah – Rapha)
(You are my Healer)

Verse 3 – He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake (Jehovah-Tsidkenu)
(You are my righteousness)

Verse 4 – I will fear or dread no evil for You are with me (Jehovah-Shammah)
(You are ever present)

Verse 5 – You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies (Jehovah-Nissi)
(You are the banner of protection I stand under)

Verse 5 – You anoint my head with oil(Jehovah-M’Kaddesh)
(You sanctify me)

Fully understanding His Names unveils all that our Abba wants to provide for us. We have a good and wonderful Father Whose extraordinary love for His kids is discovered through the Names He calls Himself. And those Names address all of life’s contingencies. Let your faith rest on the promises that His Names reveal.

Jehovah – Rapha

Immediately after the Lord led Israel through the parted Red Sea and then caused the death of their pursuers – the Egyptians, their horses and chariots (Exodus 14:28) – He established covenant with His people, revealing Himself as our Physician:

Exodus 15:26 – …If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God and will do what is right in His sight, and will listen to and obey His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord Who heals you.

I AM the Lord Who heals you {Jehovah-Rapha – the Self-Existent One Who reveals Himself as our Healer}. As with all of His Names – His Self-identifying Names – our Father reveals here yet another aspect of His character, His covenant with His people, His purpose in our lives. When He speaks to us through each of these Names He is promising that we can absolutely rely on the manner in which He identifies Himself to us. He does not lie (Numbers 23:19), He does not fabricate, He does not exaggerate. To His children who, through faith, stand and rely on His Word, He is the Great Physician Who heals the physical and emotional needs of His people. He is our healing.

Strongs Concordance explains Jehovah-Rapha as “to mend by stitching, to cure, to cause to heal, physician, repair, thoroughly make whole, restore, to make healthful, to bring back to baby fresh”. When He promises:

You shall serve the Lord your God; He shall bless your bread and water, and I will take sickness from your midst. {Exodus 23:25}

…Who heals each one of all your diseases…{Psalm 103:3},

are you “fully persuaded and assured” that He is “able and mighty to keep His Word and to do what He has promised” {Romans 4:21}?

We receive by faith what God has promised. Each one of His identifying Names reveals to us what we are able to stand in faith for. It is His revealed will. As we understand the scope and full implications of what He extends to His children, we can walk in the fullness of the freedom that each of His Names provide. Since He has revealed Himself as Jehovah-Rapha our Healer, sickness and disease is viewed in an entirely different light. When you allow this paradigm shift to happen in your spirit, when you recognize the author of the sickness (the author of the storm), and when you fully own your rights as a child of God and citizen of the heavenly kingdom (Philippians 3:20) – daily walking in divine health will be your result.