Article 5

Parasol of True Worship: Your Divine Covering

Parasol of True Worship: Your Divine Covering

We’ve talked about the center of our worship being the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how this is represented as the tube of our “parasol of true worship.” We have also discussed how the Holy Spirit is represented by the stretchers and runner, Worship Umbrella 6e because only He can expand our acts of worship to full capacity and allow us to experience real, godly worship as a natural and normal part of our daily lives.

The ribs of our “parasol of true worship” are representative of our attitude, or spirit, of worship, and the canopy is symbolic of our actual acts of worship. But what we have not yet looked into — what we must take time to contemplate and understand — is that humanity could not be restored to God, nor could we even begin to worship Him, if it were not for the grace of God the Father.

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His [the Father’s] grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:20-24)

The truth of God’s incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, could not have been revealed to us without the grace of the Father. The divine Counselor and Helper (John 14:16-17a; Romans 8:26); the promised One of God the Son (Luke 24:49; Ephesians 1:13), could not have been given to us were it not for the grace of God the Father. We could not have been offered salvation from sin, nor could we experience godly worship, if it were not made possible by the benevolent grace of the Father. Nothing — not our physical life, not our mental capabilities, nor our spiritual life — literally nothing about humanity or creation could exist but for the grace of God the Father (Psalm 147:15-18).

So as we gaze upon that easily overlooked top portion of our “parasol of true worship,” let us take note that the top tube is a part of the main tube of this divine tool. In fact, just as the tube is merely an extension of the top tube, so too is the truth of God’s incarnate Word (Jesus Christ) an extension of the grace of God the Father. And you should note that every stationary or movable part that makes this godly implement function is all connected in some way to the tube — top, main, or bottom. Read with me this Scripture from John, chapter ten:

Christ 2 “The Jews gathered around Him [Jesus], saying, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in My Father’s name speak for Me, but you do not believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’” (John 10:24-30)

And look over these Scriptures, with me, from Genesis, chapter one, and John, chapter one:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth . . . and God [the Father] said [the Word], ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:1&3; you can read this entire account of creation in Genesis, chapter one.)

“In the beginning was the Word [Jesus Christ], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him [Jesus Christ] all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light [God’s truth] shines in the darkness, but the darkness [self-worshiping humanity] has not understood it . . . the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-5&14)

Our gracious, heavenly Father created the heavens, the earth, all the necessities of life, and all living things by speaking His divine Word. And it’s because of His benevolent grace, extended to mankind after we chose to worship ourselves over Him, that a way was made to restore us to His righteousness (Romans 3:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21). This divine grace was revealed to us when God the Father spoke His truth to the world, by way of His divine, incarnate Word — His only begotten Son — Jesus Christ.

What a majestic and marvelous gift the Father’s grace is to humanity, and how important is the top tube to our “parasol of true worship.” I’ll close with one last Scripture reference, found in Ephesians’ second chapter:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Praise be to God the Father for His benevolent grace!

Parasol of True Worship: Your Divine Covering by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jsnmin.org/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

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Article 11

Living Your True Purpose (Header)

Living Your True Purpose (Article 11)Give It Away, by CCM artist Michael W. Smith was released on his Change Your World project in 1992. Giving 2 Smitty’s song is an incredible testimony of God’s call to humanity to love one another, as Christ loves us. Love simply isn’t love until we give it away.

An additional CCM artist, David Meece, recorded another song about giving some twelve years earlier, entitled We Are The Reason. It was released in 1980, on his project entitled: Are You Ready?

In the first verse of We Are The Reason, the listener is drawn back to his/her childhood and the anxiously awaited gifts all children hoped they would be receiving on Christmas morning. Then just before the chorus, the listeners are reminded of God’s gift to humanity — the Christ Child.

As the lyrics to the chorus are heard, David explains so beautifully just what God’s gift really was, and why it was given. Disclosing to his listeners that God’s gift, the Christ Child, was given to make right our wrongs and to show us our purpose for living.

In verse two, we are reminded that as we grew up we began to learn that gift giving was more than just commercialism at Christmastime. That real gift giving requires something sacrificial; something much more costly than money. Then again, just prior to the chorus, David unwraps God’s gift to humanity. The holy present hidden within the Christ Child — God’s grace.

As the hope of Christ swells from the music and lyrics of the chorus into the majesty of God’s truth, revealed in the bridge, we hear the song exclaim:

“I finally found the reason for living. It’s in giving every part of my heart to Him. In all that I do, every word that I say, I’ll be giving my all just for Him — for Him!”

We — all of mankind — are the reason that Christ gave of Himself. Humanity’s sin is the reason that Jesus came to suffer and die (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galations 1:3b-4, 3:13). For an unholy world that was condemned to death, because of sin, God gave all that He could — His perfect and blameless, unbegotten Son — to show us our purpose for living and to reveal to us just how much our Creator loves us (John 3:16-17; Romans 5:6-10).

I know we have already discussed Christ’s sacrifice, in this series, and what that means to us. We have even discussed our expected sacrifices, in order for us to serve Christ and each other as we should. But what we haven’t really stressed is the giving portion of Christ’s sacrifice; the giving part of our service to Jesus. The giving of ourselves, wholly to God, as we embrace the gift of salvation and begin to live as servants of Jesus Christ; as we grow and become true worshipers of God (Matthew 20:25-28).

Giving is more than tithing to your local church, which you are called by God to do (Deuteronomy 14:22; Leviticus 27:30; Proverbs 3:9). Giving is more than donating money to a good cause, which we are also called by God to do (Exodus 25:2; Proverbs 28:27; Acts 4:34-35; Galatians 6:9). Giving is more than feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, providing for the poor, befriending the lonely, or showing kindness to the unloved. Giving is pouring out your own life into another (Isaiah 58:10). Giving is allowing yourself to be vulnerable to someone who may or may not take advantage of your humble state.

Giving should open us up to potential pain, and suffering. Why? Because it’s only in this state of weakness that we can relate to Christ’s sacrificial giving, and shine His light of grace and love to the rest of mankind (Matthew 5:14-16; 1 John 1:7). Recall with me the words of Christ at the last supper:

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is My body.’ Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” (Matthew 26:26-28)

In the last supper of Christ, we have the perfect picture of what God’s gift entails. The bread, which represents the physical body of Jesus, is passed from Christ to His followers. Each one tearing away at Christ’s physical proxy and consuming it. It was the same for the cup of wine that Jesus shared. Each disciple took the cup from Christ and drank the liquid that represented His sacrificial blood. God gave humanity His most prized possession — His only begotten Son, Jesus — and it cost Christ His very life (Hebrews 9:12; 1Peter 3:18).

Today, we still tear away at God’s holy gift. Whenever we observe the Lord’s supper, and break the bread, we tear into the flesh of Christ and reveal the gift of God’s grace that was hidden inside. The present of salvation, which can only be received by those who consume the perfect blood of Christ (John 6:50-59; 1 Peter 2:24). But be aware, this holy gift can’t be rejected without cost, and it certainly can’t ever be exchanged (John 14:6, 17:3). For it’s only by accepting the present of God’s grace — the consuming of Christ’s blood — that humanity can be cleansed from all evil and saved from eternal death (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:13-14; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

So each time you are given an opportunity to give, consider what it cost God to give His gift of grace to you. And each time you receive a gift, and tear it open, remember Who was torn open when all of humanity opened God’s present on the cross. Then as you choose to embrace your gift, or not, consider whether you have truly accepted the present of God’s grace. I pray that you have, and I pray that you will always give as Christ gave. For Jesus gave not only until it hurt, but He gave all of Himself unto death (Philippians 2:1-11). After all, a gift — even the gift of eternal life — isn’t a gift until it’s given away.

Pic 1

Living Your True Purpose by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jsnmin.org.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Give It Away lyrics and music written by Wayne Kirkpatrick, Amy Grant Gill, and Michael W. Smith. Copyright © 1992 Reunion Records, a division of Provident Label Group.

Video made available by Jason Ministries and Reunion Records, a division of Provident Label Group; Copyright © 1993 All Rights Reserved.

We Are The Reason lyrics and music written by Tamara Savage, Warryn Campbell, Trecina Atkins-Campbell, Erica Monique Atkins-Campbell, and John T. Smith. Copyright © 1980 Myrrh Records, a division of Word Entertainment.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article 1

Living Your True Purpose (Header)

Living Your True Purpose (Article 1)The Coloring Song, by the CCM group Petra, appeared on their 1981 album Never Say Die. It marked a turning point towards success for Petra, Gospel Glove 1 as all singles and albums prior had only performed less than moderately.

Part of the success of The Coloring Song is the appeal of the music. Its simple melody, coupled with the childlike explanation of the Gospel message in its lyrics, makes this song a near instant classic for all to enjoy.

The premise behind Petra’s song is not new. People have been using colors to explain the Gospel story for several decades. In fact, its origin dates back to 1866.

History credits Charles Haddon Spurgeon, pastor of the New Park Street Chapel (which later became the Metropolitan Tabernacle) in London, England, with the creation of what was then called The Wordless Book.

This “book” was simply three sheets of colored paper. The first page was black, and represented the sinful condition of mankind’s soul. The second page was red, which represented the blood of Christ. And the third page was white. White represented the purified condition of mankind’s soul, which God made available to all who would believe in the atoning sacrifice of His only begotten Son — Jesus Christ.

Almost ten years after C.H. Spurgeon introduced The Wordless Book to the world, Dwight L. Moody (American evangelist and publisher) adds another page to it. This fourth page is gold in color and represents eternal life in Heaven.

Today we no longer use The Wordless Book in this form. In fact, most Christian denominations are unfamiliar with it all together, but mention the Gospel Glove (pictured above) and you will evoke instant memories of someone’s early years in Sunday School.

So why the history lesson regarding these colorful forms of God’s Gospel message? Well, for this very simple reason. If you are going to live the life of a true worshiper, you must understand the importance of having a relationship with Christ. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, then you will not be able to become the true worshiper of God that you were meant to be.

If for any reason you are unsure of your relationship with God’s only begotten Son, then take the time now and contemplate the message that the following colors represent:

Black Square The soul of humanity is against God (sinful) by nature (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23). This is because Adam and Eve rejected God’s purpose for mankind, back in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-24).

Red Square God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, came to live as a human-being, and become the ultimate blood-sacrifice for us all (Hebrews 9:22, 10:9-10). Christ was able to live among sinful people without becoming sinful Himself, and thus was able to shed His perfectly sinless blood for our sake (2 Corinthians 5:21).

White Square When people surrender their lives back to God, through a relationship with His only begotten Son, then all of their sins (wrong doings) are removed from their souls. They become as pure, perfect, and sinless as the Lord, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2-3; 1 John 1:7).

Blue Square Once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord, and embraced His message of salvation, we must act on our newly found faith by being baptized in water (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16). This act of worship is the new believer’s first public profession of Christ’s message of hope.

Green Square For all who believe in the hope of God’s Son, they must continue to act out their faith through various acts of worship (Bible study, gathering for corporate worship, giving of resources, individual worship, prayer, praise, preaching, serving humanity, teaching, etc.), and grow into the true worshiper that they were intended to be (James 2:14-26; 2 Peter 1:5-11).

Gold Square Once God has grown us into the true worshipers that He has called us to be, then our Creator will beckon us to Himself. Allowing us to live in His glorious presence for all of eternity (John 14:1-3; Revelation 14:13-15).

There you have it. The hope for mankind laid out in six easy colors. I pray you have embraced it, and are growing as a true worshiper. If you haven’t . . . I pray that God will keep “knocking” on the door of your soul until you answer His call:

“Here I am! I [Jesus Christ] stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

Living Your True Purpose by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jsnmin.org.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

The Coloring Song lyrics and music written by Dave Eden. Copyright © 1981 StarSong Records.

Video made available by Jason Ministries, and StarSong Records; Copyright © 2013 All Rights Reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article II, part 2

Truth or Dare (Article 2)

In Article II, part one, we began looking into the choice we have in life to embrace the chalice of power or the cup of Christ. In this introductory article we saw how power, apart from God’s intent, is raw, roguish, and destructive; very much like a cancer cell is to a healthy cell. Grace 1 We also ended the article by naming the cure for this cancerous force, and that cure is God’s grace. But, what is grace, really?

The word “grace” holds a variety of meanings. Sometimes grace is an attitude of refinement, politeness, and other times it’s a reference to ones apparent flawless muscular coordination. From a financial perspective it’s a time in which a delinquent payment can be paid without penalties being accrued; politically it can become a title. From a perspective of spirituality the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines grace as both a noun and a verb:

(noun) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings//a divinely given talent or blessing: the graces of the Holy Spirit//the condition or fact of being favored by someone: he fell from grace because of drug use at the Olympics.

(verb) do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence: she bowed out from the sport she has graced for two decades.

In the book entitled Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine, by Max Lucado, the word “grace” get’s this description:

Grace is simply another word for God’s reservoir of strength and protection. Not occasionally or miserly but constantly and aggressively, wave upon wave. We barely regain our balance from one breaker, and then, bam, here comes another!”

Grace, real godly grace, is strength. God’s grace is power! That is why grace is both a noun (person, place, or thing) and a verb (being and doing). Grace is free, and can only be acquired from God. Grace is a divine blessing from God and mankind can honor Him, and others, with godly grace just as He has honored us with it. Grace truly is God’s chemotherapy for Satan’s cancerous perversion of power.

I have discovered that humanity will meet with three types of power, while living here on earth. These three types of power are very closely connected, and are as follows:

– Physical: anything involving the human body, its senses, and its sexuality.
– Mental: anything involving the human mind.
– Spiritual: anything involving the human spirit/soul; things of a religious nature.

Physical power can be manifested in several ways, but these three particular forms are most prevalent. First, it can appear to us as political power (governmental affairs of a given country), second is monetary power (financial affairs involving currency), and third is emotional or sexual power (affairs relating to the most basic of human instincts, physiological processes, and activities connected with physical attraction or intimate physical contact).

Mental power is exhibited when someone manages to gain influence or control over someone else’s thought processes. Advertisers use mental influences to sell products. Politicians use aspects of mental control to gain your support. Men and women, alike, use this type of sway to connect with one another and mate. Psychologists utilize this type of power to help heal their patients. Hypnotherapists do the same, all be it in a more invasive way.

Spiritual power, just as these other two-forms of power, are used for the soul purpose of controlling the unseen. Satan attempts to stay in power over mankind by influencing our spirits to rebel against following God’s statutes. Religious leaders make use of this power to attract people to their churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues, and to promote their belief systems. God uses His powers over the unseen to restore humanity to Himself, through the gift of His divine grace, and to make us the true worshipers that He originally created us to be.

Power, both perverse and pure, exists all around us. No one form of power is ever initiated without the use of the other forms. Though we see ourselves as physical beings we still use mental and spiritual powers, either for good or for bad. Though we conceive ourselves as mentally superior, we still tap into the body and soul to achieve virtue or malice. Whether you believe in the power of the spirit of mankind, or not, the mind and body play a part in the power of the righteous spirit or the evil spirit. Power is everywhere, but apart from God’s purpose it becomes rogue — out of control — cancerous.

The world received yet another horrible display of this rogue power, all too recently, in Newtown, Connecticut, USA. For what ever reason, a deranged young man decided to go on a killing spree and attempt to destroy countless lives. Newton-CT 1 This wasn’t just physical brutality on display, or mental issues too long undealt with. This was a cold reminder of what can happen when God’s power is removed from the spirit of humanity.

All too often, when a tragedy like the Sandy Hook massacre occurs, people want to analyze the symptoms they think are at the core of the incident without really diagnosing the problem. They want to attack the tools used during the offense, and help promote some political agenda, while yet again avoiding to understand the real issue involved. It’s only when we open ourselves up to understanding why power has become so corrupt that we can hope to overcome such tragedies as this one in Connecticut, USA.

Mankind has to embrace an understanding of its fallen nature, and in turn give its corrupt nature to its Creator to correct. Only through God’s grace can we ever hope in a brighter tomorrow. Without embracing God’s grace in our lives, we can never overcome Satan and his demonic power. Only by returning our lives to God’s holy influence can humanity escape being nothing more than puppets in the hand of an evil puppet master.

Even Jesus, the very begotten Son of God, had to overcome the powers of Satan before He could become our pure and holy sacrifice. Look with me at Matthew, chapter 4, verses 1-11: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’’ Then the devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’’ Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’’ Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him.”

Did you pay attention to the process that Satan followed to draw God the Son away from God the Father? The Devil first attacks Jesus’ humanity. This is an attempt to split the flesh away from the spirit. Mental power is being used by Satan to get Jesus to focus on the fleshly things (namely Christ’s physical need for nourishment) in order to remove His focus from His purpose. Christ quotes a Scripture verse (Deuteronomy 8:3) and Satan loses this first attempt to dethrone the Prince of heaven.

The next temptation confronts Christ’s spirituality. Satan couldn’t get Jesus to focus on the flesh, so he tries to use Christ’s deity against Himself, even quoting Scripture (Psalm 91:11-12) to the incarnate Word of God. In doing this, the devil is wanting Jesus to use His godly powers for His own personal gain. After all, Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, and the Father would never let anything bad happen to His own child. This attack didn’t work either, and after Jesus completes another Scripture quote (Deuteronomy 6:16), Satan has to attempt a third attack.

The final temptation, was a last ditch effort to lure Christ from His Father’s purpose. Satan offers Jesus all of creation. Yes — all of creation! The Devil couldn’t get Jesus to focus on His physical needs. Satan couldn’t get Jesus to abuse His spiritual powers, so now he offers Christ the only thing he had left to bargain with — the very thing he stole from humanity — the rule of creation.

Oh, the audacity of this demon king. Satan lost out on being God’s most cherished cherub just because he thought he could rule over God and the heavens. Losing at that, the silly serpent then steals the dominion of earth from mankind and turns around and offers it up to Jesus, but only if Christ will bow down and worship him. Satan was willing to give up his last chance at ruling something God created for the chance at having God’s own Son worship him — it was all about the power he longed for from the beginning. If Satan couldn’t be over the entire triune God, then at least he could rule over the second of the three — Immanuel.

You see, Lucifer couldn’t defeat the triune God, all at once, for the rule of the heavens. Maybe though, Satan could defeat God the Son, alone, and get Him to worship him. Are you following this? Satan was still sulking over his loss of station and power. Sure he was ruler here, but he knew (and knows) that rule was (and still is) temporal, and only because the triune God had allowed it. Satan also knew he was offering up stolen goods to the very one who created it and who technically still owned it, and yet that did not detour him from trying. “Oh to have at the very least, Jesus — the Son of God — worship me,” the Devil must have thought. Satan thought wrong, for with a final quote of Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:13) the battle was lost, and upon Christ’s final rejection of the Devil, Satan left Him and angels came to attend to His needs. Righteous power will always win over the forces of unrighteousness.

Did you happen to notice how Satan was so quickly defeated? Scripture. God’s Word really is a mighty two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), and even though Satan knows of God’s Word he cannot wield it as a weapon against us, or God, because he doesn’t know God’s Word personally. Only we can, because God’s grace has allowed us to have a personal relationship with His very Word made into flesh. That godly Word, come to life, is Jesus. Jesus is the weapon we can wield against Satan. Jesus is the power of God’s grace, come to life.

I will leave you with a simple lyric about great power. It’s from a simple children’s song, that most of you will know. The words are as follows:

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong; they are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me; yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

Selah (Pause/Reflect).

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine © 2012 by Max Lucado

All rights reserved. The brief information quoted from this book appears in this article with the permission granted per the copyright statement which appears in the first edition publication, September 2012.

Published by Thomas Nelson, 501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 — (615) 889-9000; www.thomasnelson.com/.

Jesus Loves Me, words by Anna Bartlett Warner and William Batchelder Bradbury and music by William Batchelder Bradbury, pub.: Unknown, Copyright: Public Domain

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article 4

The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, and John Derek, is a 1956 epic film that tells the story of the Hebrew’s exodus from Egypt.

The Ten Commandments, which was the last film that famed director Cecil B. DeMille presided over, is one of the most financially successful films ever made, grossing over $65 million at the US box office. If you adjust for inflation, this makes it the sixth highest-grossing movie domestically, with an adjusted total of $1,025,730,000 in 2012.

The film received seven Academy Award nominations including “Best Picture,” and won the award for “Best Visual Effects.” The American Film Institute (a.k.a. AFI) later voted The Ten Commandments as the tenth best film in the epic genre.

As epic as this film is in cinematic history, so too is this story’s monumental affect on man’s history and future. For it’s in this saga of the Hebrew’s exodus from Egypt that we see the formal beginning of God’s salvation and redemption of humanity on display, and where we see a subtle visual of one of God’s earliest of names — El Shaddai.

I realize that for most the name “El Shaddai” is more closely connected in our thoughts and minds to the very popular song written by Michael Card and more famously performed by Amy Grant, rather than the story of the Exodus, but grant (no pun intended) me just a moment and I’ll explain the association.

“God of the mountains” or “el shaddai,” was a Mesopotamian term that was used in reference of a divine mountain. This name was but one of the patriarchal names for the tribal god of the Mesopotamians. Now in Exodus 6:3, “El Shaddai” is seen identified solely with the Creator — the God of Abraham — and with His name, Yahweh, which is why this particular name of God (El Shaddai) could be derived from the Hebrews experience of seeing God’s fire atop Mount Sinai and from hearing God’s thunder from the Israelite camp at the base of the mountain. It could also explain, in part, the more popular interpretation of the name “El Shaddai” as meaning “God Almighty,” but linguistically this interpretation comes many years later from the English translators of the Septuagint (i.e. the Greek translators of the Old Testament).

These English translators determined that “Shaddai” came from “shad-ad,” a root verb that means “to over power” or “to destroy.” It’s also seen translated in the Latin Vulgate as “omnipotens,” which is where our English word “omnipotent” comes from. Yes, God is everywhere. Yes, God is all-knowing, and all-powerful, therefore God is Almighty. But while this is very true of God, I don’t think this quite reveals the essence of what this name really means. Also, long before Moses and the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, God makes use of this very name when introducing Himself to the Hebrew patriarch, Abram.

In Genesis 17:1, our Creator used the name “El Shaddai” when He confirmed His covenant with Abram, and his descendants, and renames Abram to Abraham. The more popular name of “God Almighty” certainly could apply here, as God is mighty enough to make this promise and fulfill it, but there appears to be more implied here. Especially if “Shaddai” is seen as a compound word within a compound name.

“El Shaddai” is one of 27 compound names known as “El constructs.” The names are formed by combining a shortened form of the name “Elohim,” meaning “Deity,” with some other name or title, in this case the name “Shaddai.” Split apart “Shaddai” and we get two smaller words: “sha,” which means “who,” and “dai,” which means “enough.” So, a closer look at the Hebraic practice of shortening a name of God (El from Elohim), and combining that shortened name with a descriptive attribute (i.e. Shaddai), and we begin to see that “El Shaddai” could translate as “God who IS Enough.” Pause and ponder that name for a moment (selah) — God who IS Enough!

What an amazing revelation of God to Abraham, and to us. Yahweh wasn’t just making us aware of His might in this covenant. God was saying He was, is, and always will be sufficient to fulfill His promises to us, in us, and through us. Yahweh, is mighty! Yahweh, is enough!

We see another example of El Shaddai as being all sufficient in Genesis 49:22-26, as Jacob (Israel) is blessing his son Joseph. In this verse Israel says:

“Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One [El Shaddai] of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father’s [Israel’s] God, who helps you, because of the Almighty [El Shaddai], who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb. Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.”

See how God is described by Israel to be the mighty provider of Joseph’s blessings? God is shown to be Joseph’s strength to endure hardships. God is shown to be Joseph’s strong moral and spiritual foundation. God is shown to be Joseph’s sustenance and nourishment; not just to him, but to his children too. All in all, El Shaddai is Joseph’s “God who IS enough.”

So, how about you? Is God your strength in hard times, your foundation of truth, your sustainer in all you need, both physically as well as spiritually? Is God enough?

Do you allow God access to all areas of your life? Do you really have a deep enough relationship with God; one in which you can call upon El Shaddai in confidence? Do you really know “God who IS enough”?

Selah (Pause/Reflect).

I’ll leave you with this word from God to the Apostle Paul. It comes as a response to a painful plea that Paul made to our Creator to have a “thorn” removed from his life. God’s answer to Paul was not to remove the torment from his life, but to reveal Himself to Paul through the affliction. In this answer came an understanding; Paul came to know El Shaddai even more upon hearing and accepting these divine words:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Cecil B. DeMille‘s The Ten Commandments Copyright © 1956 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. TM ® & Copyright © 1999 by Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article 3

Robert “Bob” Hartman, is possibly one of the greatest songwriters to have graced Contemporary Christian Music over the last 40 + years. His ability to take a passage of Scripture from the Bible, or to take a strong lyrical story based on biblical content, and apply that to a melody that is both enjoyable and awe inspiring is uncanny.

Robert’s songs are rarely so simple that you can disconnect your mind from what your ears are hearing, as a parent would be able to do with their child’s nursery music. No, Bob’s music commands your ears to take heed and listen. If music can make human ears stand at attention, then that is what takes place when one hears a Bob Hartman song. If you are unfamiliar with Bob Hartman’s name, you will most likely recognize his band’s — Petra!

Hartman originally was a member of the Christian rock band known as Rapture, but after the band’s break up in the early ‘70s and a move to Fort Wayne, IN, to attend classes at the Christian Training Center, Robert began to form the Christian rock band we know today as Petra.

Of all the songs that Hartman has penned, I think it is Adonai that stands as my all time favorite. It’s from Petra’s 1985 album Beat the System, and it helped to make that project one of the biggest Christian rock albums recorded at that time and the third-biggest Christian album of the 1980s (trailing only Amy Grant’s Age to Age and Sandi Patti’s Songs From the Heart). Allow me to share the lyrics of this Christian rock masterpiece with you:

Verse 1:
This thirsting within my soul
Won’t cease ‘till I’ve been made whole.
To know You; to walk with You.
To please You in all I do.
You uphold the righteous,
And Your faithfulness shall endure.
Chorus:
Adonai, Master of the earth and sky.
You, alone, are worthy — Adonai!
Adonai, let creation testify;
Let Your majesty be magnified in me.
Adonai, You are an endless mystery — Adonai!
Verse 2:
Unchanging, consuming fire;
Lift me up from mud and mire.
Set my feet upon Your rock;
Let me dwell in Your righteousness (repeat chorus).
Bridge:
When the storms surround me,
Speak the word and they will be still.
And, this thirst and hunger
Is a longing only You can fill — Adonai (repeat chorus).

Words escape me, as I try to describe how these lyrics call my soul to worship the Creator of heaven and earth. Hear them sung, and you will be hard pressed to deny your spirit’s desire to leap for joy and shout, “Praise Adonai!” But, why? What is it about this song — this lyric — that makes it so special? I believe it’s power to move the human spirit lays in the name “Adonai.”

“Adonai” is a Hebraic name for God (Elohim/Deity), and is the emphatic plural of the title “Adon.” Adon, which means “Lord” or “Master,” is generally the title given to men of authority or angels but at times was also used when referring to Yahweh. So, since Adonai is the plural form of Adon, its meaning is interpreted as “Lords” or “Masters.” When the emphatic plural is formed in Hebrew using a singular possessive ending (example: “my Lords” or “my Masters”), it always refers to God. Our Creator, the triune God, was recognized by the Hebrews as the “Lord of Lords” (Adonei ha’adonim) or Lord Yahweh — Adonai Adonai!

I personally get emotional — spiritually moved — over this particular name of God, but I also realize that most Americans, really most contemporaries of the western hemisphere, don’t quite grasp just how powerful a title like “Lord” or “Master” is, due to our democratic societies. So very quickly, I want to help you grasp just what this truly means. We’ll begin by defining “Lord.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “Lord” as:

(noun) someone or something having power, authority, or influence: lord of the sea | lords of the jungle. A master or ruler: our lord the king.

(verb) act in a superior and domineering manner toward someone (lord it over).

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “Master” as:

(noun) 1 – a man who has people working for him, esp. servants or slaves: he acceded to his master’s wishes. A person who has dominance or control of something: he was master of the situation. 2 – a skilled practitioner of a particular art or activity: I’m a master of disguise. A great artist, esp. one belonging to the accepted canon: the work of the great masters is spread around the art galleries of the world.

(adjective) 1 – having or showing very great skill or proficiency: a master painter. Denoting a person skilled in a particular trade and able to teach others: a master bricklayer. 2 – main; principal: the master bedroom.

Here, in these two definitions for “Lord” and “Master,” we see four key attributes to understanding why God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is Adonai.

First, our Lords, our Creator has power (Deuteronomy 8:17-18), authority (Matthew 28:18), and influence (Psalm 2:7-9; Jeremiah 28:14) over all of His/Their creation (Psalm 89:7-11). Yahweh is the ruler over all of it. Whether we accept His authority, or not, doesn’t matter — God is our Lord — Adoneinu!

Second, God is sovereign, superior, and does dominate over all (2 Chronicles 20:5-6; Psalm 89; Proverbs 8:15-17). Just because we are in a time of grace, and are not seeing God’s righteous wrath displayed in the way mankind saw it displayed in the Old Testament, does not mean that Jehovah isn’t in control. It doesn’t mean He is inferior, or weak — God is the Lord of Lords — Adonei ha’adonim! Which brings us to our third attribute, we are called by the triune God to serve Him.

Almighty God’s mercy allows us to choose to serve Him (Joshua 24:14-15; 1 Peter 4:1-11), for now, but make no mistake — there is coming a day — Yahweh will reveal the truth of His dominance, His control, and all of His majesty will be revealed (Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 20:11-15) to all of His creation! It’s on that day that every man, woman, and child will bow before their Creator and proclaim Him/Them as Lords, Masters — Adonai!

Lastly, our fourth attribute, God has great skill and proficiency over all people, places, and things. Creation is our Creator’s testimony of this fact (Genesis 1-2; Psalms 19, 40:7-11, 139:13), as is man’s ability to learn and improve his physical state (Exodus 4:10-12; Leviticus 1-27). For it is by Jehovah’s skill in creating and His ability to teach that empowers the creativity and ingenuity of humanity — God is the Lord Yahweh — Adonai Adonai!

Selah (Pause/Reflect).

Praise, Almighty God — Adoneinu — You are the master of the earth and sky. Only You, Lord God, are worthy of being called “Master.” Devine Creator — Adonei ha’adonim — let all of creation testify, and let Your majesty be magnified in the spirit of humanity; be magnified, especially, in me. Lords, Masters — Adonai — You are an awesome, majestic, endless mystery. Adonai Adonai!

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Adonai lyrics and music written by Robert “Bob” Hartman. Lyrics based on Genesis 15:2, Matthew 5:6, Hebrews 12:29, Psalms 40:2. Copyright © 1985 Star Song Records/A&M Records.

If you want to use these lyrics, please contact the authors, artists or labs.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article 2

Have you ever met someone, for the first time, and upon hearing their name found yourself in a state of disbelief or confusion? Maybe they looked a certain way and the name they bore didn’t quite match your mind’s expectations. Maybe an acquaintance you’d met on more than one occasion began to become a more familiar friend and upon your getting more accustomed to their personality you catch yourself thinking, “He/She doesn’t act much like a Herald/Samantha.”

Whether we wish to admit it or not, our names get linked in with our mind’s stereotyping of people. Why is that, you may ask? I believe that it’s due to the fact that names have meanings. They aren’t just empty sounds; devoid of significance. You see, in spite of all the attempts being made to make western culture “politically correct,” many cultures still name their children based on either the child’s perceived personality or based on the character they hope to see in the child later on in life. As we have read in Article 1, God’s Hebrew names all have deep significance. However, the name “Jehovah” has revealed its self as an enigma. Allow me to explain.

It has always been my understanding that the names “Jehovah” and “Yahweh” were both the same. Each has been understood by many to be Hebrew for the name God disclosed to Moses in Exodus 3:13-14, the name “I AM,” but that may not be so true after all.

Recall, if you will, that Hebrew names are sentences of sorts. “Yah” would be literally translated into English as the pronoun “He,” and “weh” would translate as “being.” So, literally the name Yahweh means “He Being” or the more familiar “I AM.” Now, where the name “Jehovah” becomes a puzzlement is in the fact that the letter “j” doesn’t exist in the Hebrew language. In fact, it didn’t even exist in the English language officially until about 500 years ago. Crazy stuff, this whole study of languages.

So, how did we come to add the letter “j” into our alphabet? Well, it began with the Germans making the Hebraic “ya” sound as a Germanic “ja” sound. We would say today that the “y” was transliterated into a “j,” but the actual letter came about when English scribes began to morph the Latin letters “i” and “y” into one character. The letter “i,” in both Latin and Old English, was a consonant and a vowel and when it was coupled with the letters “a” or “e” it created the sound we now recognize as the soft “g” sound or phonetic “ja” sound. As I understand it, the letter “j” was the last character added to the English alphabet, and was used officially in an English publication in the year 1634.

You see, this one letter — the letter “j” — affects the meaning of Jehovah’s name, because there is no letter “j” in the Hebrew language. So, since there is no letter “j” in the Hebrew language, it stands to reason that a mispronunciation seems to have taken place concerning Elohim’s most commonly used name. And if “Jehovah” has been mistranslated, then this name in English would appear to rightly mean “He Ruins,” or “He Destroys,” but we know from Scripture that God doesn’t cause ruin or destruction to anyone but Satan and his followers (Psalms 9:6, 52:5; Proverbs 10:29, 21:12), and God’s characteristics listed in Galations chapter 5, verses 22-23, record neither of these traits.

So, does “Jehovah” mean something negative about God or does it mean “I AM”? Is the name “Jehovah” appropriate for us to use when calling upon the Almighty, or not? I honestly can’t say one way or the other, at this point, as there are legitimate arguments for both views, but I will pose this thought.

Say you meet someone from a foreign country who has a very complicated pronunciation connected to his or her name. You want so badly to do this person a service, and show them respect, by correctly saying their name and yet time-and-time again you botch it up. Maybe their name has a marvelous meaning behind it and yet every time you say their name your phonetic bumbling transliterates that majestic name into something silly or maybe even disrespectful. You feel horrible for having done so, and expect this foreign acquaintance to chastise you at any moment for your mistake. Instead, however, he or she graciously smiles — possibly gives you a tender correction — and proceeds to offer you a more simplistic way to say his or her name. I believe this is what God does with us.

God knows what is in our hearts and knows how difficult foreign languages are for most of us who aren’t the scholarly type. Our Creator understands about mistranslating one word from one language into the next. God understands about varying alphabets and characters. The Father understands how easy it is for our imperfect minds to make an incorrect transliteration of a sound, or a letter, or a word.

I also believe that when we make these mistakes God smiles down at us and responds to us just as if we had called out His name in perfect Hebrew; just as if we spoke with a keen understanding of what we were saying. You see, God is not as concerned with us uttering correct phonetic sounds or pronouncing words perfectly. No, the Father’s concerned over whether or not our heart is right in its intention; whether or not our attitude of worship towards Him is pure. The Holy Spirit, God’s special intercessor, takes our imperfect sounds/words and makes them perfectly clear to the Father of life (Romans 8:26-27) and also interprets for us God’s own words.

Dr. Michael J. Svigel (Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary), in a recent conversation with Jason Ministries, said this about the controversy surrounding the name “Jehovah.” Dr. Svigel said, “I wouldn’t worry about it too much. ‘Jehovah’ was originally pronounced ‘Yahova.’ It means ‘the One who IS’ or ‘the self-existing One,’ related to the verb ‘to be,’ hence, ‘I AM’ or ‘I AM the One who IS.’” Ponder that meaning for a moment — “I AM the One who IS.” Now there’s a name worthy of our praise — selah!

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Dallas Theological Seminary is located in Dallas, Texas, at 3909 Swiss Ave. (75204). For more information please visit them online at: http://www.dts.edu/

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.