Article 6

Living Your True Purpose (Header)

Living Your True Purpose (Article 6)Friend Of A Wounded Heart, by CCM artist Wayne Watson, is in my opinion one of the most powerful songs ever recorded, not only by Wayne, but in the history of CCM. Suffering 5 The melody flowing through the verses is both sorrowful and beautiful. As the melody transitions into the chorus it becomes a majestic sound of hope and assurance.

Lyrically this song is packed full of sympathetic understanding, as each verse connects with it’s listener in such a way that you believe the writer experienced your own pain — your own experience with suffering. Then as the verses reach the chorus, the lyrics emphasize the melody’s sounds of hope and assurance. The words of the chorus tell us that we are not alone in our pain. There is one who has experienced our suffering. It’s Jesus! The friend of a wounded heart. I really need this reminder.

In this season of life, I have been reminded that I am not exempt from suffering. Not that I ever really thought that I was, but we do tend to get complacent in the “good times.” We do occasionally believe that maybe we are not going to have to suffer as others do, but the reality is we all do endure hardships from time-to-time. Many do so more than others.

For me, my season of suffering was realized back in late September of this year when I was diagnosed with stage three, possibly even stage four, colon cancer. As so many who have been diagnosed with cancer (or any other type of terminal disease) can attest to, when you are given such a diagnosis your mind races, your stress levels increase. You almost immediately begin asking the typical types of questions like, “Why me, God?” or “Can this really be happening?” or “When will this pain end?”

We humans are so predictable in so many areas of our lives, especially when we endure hardship. Those of us who claim to be followers of Christ tend to be more predictable than most, as we act surprised, and shocked that God would allow such a thing as pain and suffering. It’s almost as if we believe that as a Christian we shouldn’t have to suffer; we shouldn’t have to experience anything that isn’t pleasant. That just can’t be any farther from the truth.

Satan has “sold” the followers of Christ on this lie for far too long. Why the Devil even has preachers building entire theologies and doctrines around this ideology. But in spite of what these “Prosperity Gospel” doctrines teach, God makes it very clear in Scripture that we all — especially those of us who follow the true teaching of Jesus Christ — will endure suffering. Read with me this verse from 1 Peter, chapter four:

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Did you get that? “Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering;” our suffering is normal. Our times of plenty, our times of happiness, our times of pleasure are the times that we are to be surprised about. Our distress is commonplace, especially if we serve Christ, because this world is broken. This world is not only broken, but it hates God. As a Christian we should expect hard times — painful times — times of suffering. After all, Christ calls those of us who follow Him to follow Him in His suffering. Read with me these words from Matthew, chapter sixteen:

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.’ ” (Matthew 16:24)

What is a cross, but an instrument of torture? I know most of us think of it as a logo for Christianity, or a cool piece of jewelry, but the reality of the cross is not religion or beauty at all — it’s suffering, pain, and death. Life in a broken world is hard, it is painful, and it will reap all manner of distress. Especially if we serve the Creator of the world, whom the world hates. We may not endure it for long, and we may endure suffering multiple times, in multiple ways, but whether we suffer for a moment or for a physical lifetime is beside the point. The fact remains that humanity will endure hardship, and when we do God’s grace is available to help us through it (2 Corinthians 12:9).

God also promises we won’t have to suffer alone. Not only are the followers of Christ called to help each other through the hard times (Galatians 6:2), but we are also given the very Spirit of Christ — the Holy Spirit — as a helper and mediator (John 14:15-17; Romans 8:22-27). It’s because of the Holy Spirit, and the hope of the Gospel message, that we can endure hardship and find joy in it. Yes, you can be joyful in your suffering.

Again, let’s review what Simon Peter said, “Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” You see, our suffering allows us to become one with Christ; it grows in us His characteristics (Romans 5:1-5). Suffering allows us to really know Jesus in a special way, and our temporary pain brings glory to Him eternally.

My suffering and your suffering (whether past, present, or future) exists not just because of our broken world or because of Satan’s evil ways, but because it will grow us into true worshipers and ultimately bring glory to God, our Creator. Let’s close with the words of James, the half brother of Jesus:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything . . . Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:2-4, 12)

J.Scott 1J.Scott Harden appreciates all prayers during this season of life. If you would like to help J.Scott focus more on healing, and less on financials, then please consider donating generously to help bring peace and healing back into his life.

J.Scott Harden is the main provider to a family of six (three teenage boys, one teenage girl, his wife of twenty years, and himself).

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.

Friend Of A Wounded Heart lyrics and music written by Claire D. Cloninger and Wayne Watson. Copyright © 1987 Word Entertainment LLC, a Warner/Curb Company.

Video made available by Jason Ministries, Word Entertainment LLC, a Warner/Curb Company, and Dayspring; Copyright © 1987 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.

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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.