All My Adoration

June 29, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon Series on “All My Day: A Summer of Prayer”

By Marcia McFee

Sermon 2 of series-

“Adoration”

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/adoration

Psalm 105:1-6 Common English Bible

Exodus 15:1-3 The Living Bible

Psalm 89:1-18 The Message Bible

 

“All My Adoration…!”

 

Let us pray…(pray for God’s illumination…)

 

A reading from the book of Exodus, chapter 15, verses 1-3…listen for a word from God to you and me the people of God…

15 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord:

I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;

He has thrown both horse and rider into the sea.

2 The Lord is my strength, my song, and my salvation.

He is my God, and I will praise him.

He is my father’s God—I will exalt him.

3 The Lord is a warrior—

Yes, Jehovah is his name.

 

Adoration:

ad·o·ra·tion  [ad-uh-rey-shuhn]  noun

1. the act of paying honor, as to a divine being; worship.

2. reverent homage.

3. fervent and devoted love.

adoration  (ˌædəˈreɪʃən)

— n

1.       deep love or esteem

2.       the act of worshipping

 

 

 

I love reading the Psalms. They help me in my times of trouble because they remind me of God’s goodness and mercy even through those rough spots in life. One of my favorites is Psalm 105 verses 1-6. It reads:

Psalm 105

105 Give thanks to the Lord;

    call upon his name;

    make his deeds known to all people!

2 Sing to God;

    sing praises to the Lord;

    dwell on all his wondrous works!

3 Give praise to God’s holy name!

    Let the hearts rejoice of all those seeking the Lord!

4 Pursue the Lord and his strength;

    seek his face always!

5 Remember the wondrous works he has done,

    all his marvelous works, and the justice he declared—

6     you who are the offspring of Abraham, his servant,

        and the children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

I love how it talks about God and how awesome He is. It is right to give God the praise for all He has done…is doing or will ever do in our lives. But…I have a question for each of us. How many times do we begin our prayer time in adoration to God? Do we take time to address God for who He is and what He has done in our lives or do we just get right down to the “nitty gritty” of why we are there? Do we stop and think of how wonderfully awesome our God is or do we just skip that part and get right to our request from Him?

 

I have found in my own prayer time that when I take the time to stop and thank God for who He is my whole prayer time is transformed. I feel that connection with God because I have brought to mind who He is. I feel even stronger that my prayer will be answered because I have reminded myself of how God has answered in the past. It is at these times when I feel am sitting at His feet having a personal conversation with Him…a heart to heart so to speak…from my heart to His…

 

So how do we approach the throne of grace in such a way? For what or how do we really pray so that we can build a closer relationship with God. We want to have that “living-room conversation” with God. This summer, we are going to try and do just that. We have begun learning about prayer and what it is and how to pray. We have all had those times when we have gone to God and not known what to say…what to pray for. My hope is that our Summer Sermon Series “All My Days: A Summer of Prayer” will help us do just that…learn a way of prayer that will bring us closer to the maker of all we survey. But we are going to do it in a very tangible way.

 

This morning you were all given a set of prayer beads that Jessica, Ray and myself have made. Now the tradition of using a string of beads or rope knots is an ancient tradition as well as being a ritual action shared by many faith traditions around the globe. The common connection is the ability to give structure to personal prayer devotion. It offers a way to remind and revisit various areas of focus and concern. Repeated rituals can be powerful as they help shape our habits. This summer, we are invited to pray “All My Days” and to make a habit of prayer wherever you are. Each Sunday in worship we will focus on one of the steps of the prayer beads but you are encouraged to pray these categories all summer long. Now I want you to bring your beads with you to church as we spend the summer sitting at the feet of God spending time in prayer.

 

Last week Ms. Sally started us off by explaining what prayer is…it is a conversation between the created and the Creator. This week I would like to talk about a little thing…OK a BIG thing…called adoration. Now I have given you the definition of adoration at the beginning of my sermon this morning.

 

After reading the definition I really had to rethink how I use this word. For instance…“I really adore these shoes…they fit just right…they are my favorites” or “I adore how much you care for me Ray…”…“ I adore my cat Fiona”…adoration of things and people in my life. Now I “love” people and things but do I really “adore” them…do I really show “adoration” to them and if I do…am replacing God as I do it? Do I worship my things…my cat… or my husband? Do I look to these things instead of God? Well my cat seems to think so but my answer to that is no. But… I need to think more about how I use this word and what I really mean when I use it.

 

Prayer…it begins with adoration of God. Our God is so awesome how could we not want to spend time thanking Him and adoring Him? As we begin with adoration our whole perspective is changed. As a matter of fact, we can give god adoration any time, not just during prayer time and it will change our perspective on life. Case in point…”My life is so filled with pain and anguish, how can I keep going on?” … “God…thank you that you are so awesome and powerful and that you are always with me. Even in the desert parts you are there. Thank you for helping me to get up out of bed today and move about. I trust that you will get me through whatever I need today by Your grace and mercy…” “My life is so tough, I never have the money I need to do what I want…” “Thank you God for how You provide what I need and some of my wants. I know that I have been in this spot before with low funds and I look forward with expectation for how you will help me through this. You are so wonderful and loving to Your children making sure we never go without.” Makes a difference doesn’t it?! As we begin to rethink our lives we begin to see the blessings all around us. Adoration…it makes a life good…

 

Let us pray…pray in adoration of who God is…

 

Amen

Advertisements

The Conversation of PRAYER

Hillsong: 40 Days of Revival

1 John 5:14-15

Ephesians 3:12

 

WHAT CAN WE PRAY FOR?

It is obviously a great privilege for us to pray, bringing our needs and requests before an omnipotent God. Yet amazingly, Jesus has made it possible for us to approach God with confidence and to come before Him boldly. God hears us when we pray and it is His will that prayer would allow us to know Him more and receive His grace.

Perhaps you haven’t always prayed with the confidence that 1 John 5:14-15 and Ephesians 3:12 speak of. Consider why that is and allow the truth of God’s Word to replace the old mindsets you may have had about prayer.

During this time as we seek God to see a change in our lives and the world around us, let’s be united in prayer for:

1. Salvations – for loved ones in our world who are yet to know Jesus.

2. Our city and nation – let’s believe for our leaders and authorities to lead with Godly wisdom and counsel.

3. Revival – let’s believe together for people to awaken to the things of God and for Him to move mightily across the earth.

 

Let us approach the throne of grace not as aliens to the kingdom but as friends…as beloved sons and daughters of the Most High God! He is Abba Father and is waiting, Day and night, to hear from His children. Let us stand in the gap for others as we pray for God’s Kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven…

Prayer…it does the body good!

Matthew 6:9-13

There are times when we just don’t know what to pray. We have so much that we want to pray for but we just can’t get all our thoughts together. The prayer that Jesus taught is a great place to start. As we continue in prayer, our Spirits will tells us what to pray for. Our Spirit is aligned with God’s purpose and it will help us in intercessory prayer for others…

Pushing Through

Galatians 6:9

 

I Love the way Joyce Meyers puts it about what to do during our desert times…in our times of trouble…She simply states:

 

“Keep in mind that in the heat of our struggles, the Holy Spirit is probably doing His greatest work within us. He is not moved by the circumstances. If you and I really trust Him, we shouldn’t be either! He’s not in our lives for good times only, but for the difficult times as well.

 

He will lead us through anything if we’ll just hang in there and follow Him. This means being diligent in prayer, relentless in our resolve, unwavering in faith, and determined to stand firmly on God’s Word and His promises to us.”

 

If we persevere through the tough times we will come out in the end a changed person…better than we were before. It is within these rocky places that we grow in our faith and trust in God. 

 

Instead of giving up we need to have a different perspective…a different view…of the problem. “How can I grow through this? How is God using this situation to help me grow? What is God trying to tell me about myself in the midst of this struggle?” It is when we have a different perspective that the struggle looks different. Instead of fear, we can face it head on knowing that what ever happens, God will make good come out of it…

Put On Love

1 John 4:8

 

Each day we have a choice. Will we love others as Christ loved and still loves us. If we are to follow Jesus’ example, we need to love unconditionally. This can be hard at times. There are those around us that seem “unlovable”. They may have rough spots about them that we just don’t want to deal with. But in order to help them smooth out the rough spots we need to set an example for them to follow. Love is not just a verb…it is also a noun. Sometimes we need to just love others into changing. It is when we decide to put on love each day that we can make a change in our world and in the lives of others. We need to “suit up” each morning with the love and compassion of Christ. You never know…it may be our lives that are changed…

“Hello My Name Is…Abba”

June 8, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Peace with Justice Sunday/Fathers Day

Sermon Series on “The Names of God”

Sermon 23 of series-

“The Sacred Names of God: Abba”

Luke 15:11-24 Common English Bible

Romans 8:14-17 Common English Bible

Galatians 4:4-7 NIV

    Names of God Bible (with direct verse lookup), The Baker Publishing Group

Spangler, Ann, Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide

 

“Hello My Name Is…Abba”

 

Let us pray… (Pray for God’s illumination of our hearts, minds and souls.)

Creator, Sustainer, Almighty God, you who created all that we see. We have come into your house to worship you this morning and hear the word you would have for us this day. We pray for your presence and your Spirit here with us as we listen to your word. May we leave this place today understanding more about you and your will for our lives. May the meditations of our hearts and the words of our mouths be pleasing to you oh Lord, our Rock and Redeemer. Speak Lord; your children are waiting to hear your voice…

 

Today is Fathers Day. It is a day that we, as society, have set apart to honor our earthly fathers.

It is a day that we think of those who have been like fathers to us…mentoring us and loving us as if we were their own. You know…it is only fitting that not only is it Fathers Day today but it is also Trinity Sunday…the day that we celebrate and give thanks to our Heavenly Father…the day that we think about the “3-Faces of God”…The Father, Son and Spirit that together make up our God.

 

As we continue our journey of learning about and praying in the Sacred Names of God, we have heard many names for God on our journey thus far. How fitting it is that today we talk about our Father in heaven…the Father of all fathers.  The name Abba…Father is the name that has so many images attached to it. It is a name that for many brings to mind the love and mercy of our Father…which art in heaven…our Abba Father…

 

The Names of God Bible states:

The Hebrew Scriptures normally depict God, not as the Father of individuals but as Father to his people Israel. Pious Jews, aware of the gap between a holy God and sinful human beings, would never have dared address God as Ab (Hebrew) or Abba, the Aramaic word for “Daddy,” which gradually came to mean “dear father.” Jesus shocked and offended the religious leaders of his day by claiming that he had a Father-Son relationship with the God whose name they feared even to pronounce outside of the temple. Rather than depicting God as a typical Middle Eastern patriarch who wielded considerable power within the family, he depicted him primarily as a tender and compassionate father who extends grace to both the sinner and the self-righteous.

 

Though the Old Testament provides many rich names and titles for God, the New Testament reveals him most fully. Jesus, in fact, shocked and offended the religious leaders of his day by claiming that he had a Father/ Son relationship with the God whose name they feared even to pronounce. Also, by inviting his followers to call God “Father,” he made this the primary name by which God is to be known to his followers. That’s why we can boldly pray the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, “Our Father who art in heaven….”

 

One of my most favorite stories of a father and son relationship is the one found in the scripture I read this morning…the Prodigal Son. Most of us have heard the story of the prodigal son numerous times. But have you ever noticed that Luke 15:20 states that the father saw his son while he was still at a distance? The New International Version says that his father spotted him while he was still a long way off. This detail is there for a reason. It implies that the heartbroken father had been eagerly looking for his son, longing for him to come home.

 

 I like to think of God this way, as an eager father searching for his child. We may think we have strayed too far for God to take us back, but he is beckoning us home, watching for us even while we are still a long way off. How comforting and hope=giving is the fact that our God…Abba…our Daddy is there waiting for us to reach out our hand to His as He leads us in the path of righteousness for His namesake…

So…with this information…with this knowledge of God and the relationship He desires…no He longs for…from His children, how should we act and feel? Well…let we read a couple of scriptures that might give us a clue to not only who we are but whose we are…

Romans 8:14-17 Common English Bible (CEB)

14 All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15 You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17 But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.

We are given the right to call God Abba and we are co-heirs with Christ. Now think about that for a moment. We can call the Maker of Heaven and Earth Daddy and not only that but we are adopted as His children… The Spirit within us tells us…reassures us that we are children of God… How awe inspiring is that? It gives us hope when we feel hopeless knowing that God has adopted us as His children…even though we are flawed and imperfect. You see…God signed the adoption papers for us in the blood of His son and our Brother Jesus Christ at the foot of the cross so long ago…and like our earthly fathers He protects us…even unto death.

 

Galatians 4:4-7 New International Version (NIV)

4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to son-ship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

We are no longer a slave to sin and death. God purchased our freedom through His Son Jesus Christ. Our Spirit within us calls out to Him because we are children of the Most High God. God…in His time set us free so that we could be adopted into the Family of God. We no longer are enemies of God but we are called friends of Jesus who for the sheer joy of it, went to the cross for us so that we too can have a relationship with our Father…Abba Father in Heaven.

 

Knowing that the Father will keep our souls safe…Abba Father is there watching over us… means we can put our energy not into building up our sense of self but into building up his kingdom. Secure in his arms, we can learn to take the risks that faith requires. If we have been playing it safe, resisting some new direction in our life that we know to be right, maybe…just maybe we need to take some time today to meditate on God’s faithfulness. Tell him you want his will more than you want your own. Then go ahead and do whatever the Father asks! Just saying…

 

Today is Fathers Day and we celebrate those men in our lives that have loved us and mentored us. Scripture tells us that we…being human and flawed…know how to give good things to our children, how much more will our Father in Heaven…the perfect in all His ways Father…give to those who love Him and are called by His name. Is there someone you may know who needs the love of a good and perfect Father who will never leave them or forsake them? Perhaps it is time that we, as Christians help them find the ultimate Father figure found in our heavenly through the blood of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Maybe…just maybe we could reach out our hand and lead them to life everlasting. Perhaps then there will be a shift in the tide of despair and hopelessness. Let us celebrate our fathers here on earth as well as Abba Father and honor them with our lives. You see Abba Father loved and still loves the world so much, that’s you and me…all of humanity that He sent His only Son and everyone one who believes in Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life. What an awesome privilege we have…what a daunting task we have at hand. But perhaps that’s the whole reason why we are here…to make a change in others lives. Maybe…just maybe if we reach out to the lost…just maybe…

 

Let us pray…

Father, thank you for loving me even when I was “still a long way off.” You showed your gracious, fatherly love even when I bore little resemblance to you. Strengthen my identity as your child and help me to glorify your name by reflecting your character. Help us to be Your image to the lost and hurting of this world as we live out the Great commission, “Go into the world and make disciples of all nations…baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”Amen.

Adapted from: Spangler, Ann, Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide

“Hello My Name is…Yahweh Ropheka… (The Lord Who Heals)”

May 25, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon Series on “The Names of God”

Sermon 20 of series-

“The Sacred Names of God: Yahweh Ropheka”

1 Peter 3:13-22 Common English Bible (CEB)

Acts 17:22-31 Common English Bible (CEB)

Sirach 34:19-20 Common English Bible (CEB)

  (2011-09-01). Names of God Bible (with direct verse lookup),

The (p. 100). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

“Hello My Name is…Yahweh Ropheka… (The Lord Who Heals)

Let us pray… (Pray for God’s illumination of our hearts, minds and souls.)

The Lord’s eyes

are upon those who love him.

    The Lord is a powerful shield,

    a strong support,

    a shelter from the heat,

    a shade from the midday sun,

    a guard against stumbling,

    and a help against falling;

one who lifts up the spirit,

    one who gives light to the eyes,

    and one who gives healing

    for life and blessing.

(Sirach 34:19-20)

As we continue our journey of learning about and praying in the Sacred Names of God, we have come to a name we, as people of God, have prayed in so many situations throughout time and space. This name is close to the “broken hearted”. It is a name that gives you another glimpse of who our Multi-Faceted God is. It is the name Yahweh Ropheka…the Lord who Heals…

 

The Names of God Bible tells us that:

“The Hebrew word rophe means “heal,”“cure,”“restore,” or “make whole.” Shortly after his people left Egypt for the Promised Land, God revealed himself as Yahweh Ropheka, the LORD Who Heals. The Hebrew Scriptures indicate that God is the source of all healing.

The verb from which rophe is derived occurs sixty-seven times in the Old Testament. Though it often refers to physical healing, it usually has a larger meaning as well, involving the entire person. Rather than merely healing the body, Yahweh Ropheka (yah-WEH ro-FEH-ka) heals the mind and soul as well.

The New Testament reveals Jesus as the Great Physician, the healer of body and soul, whose miracles point to the kingdom of God. According to Jesus, sickness is not necessarily caused by sin on the part of the person who is ill. Rather, it can result from living in a sinful, fallen world.”

Throughout the bible we hear of God’s healing power of both body and soul. The LORD Provided Manna and Quails for the Israelites to Eat soul that their hungry bodies would be healed of that hunger… The LORD Provides Water for the Israelites from a Rock so that their thirst could be healed by cool water in the desert…The LORD Provides Healing for all of humanity through His Son, Lord Jesus Christ so that humanity’s body and soul would be fed and healed of sin… It is this healing from God that we proclaim to the world. Yahweh Ropheka is the healer of all of our ailments…He is the healer of what we cannot go to a physician to be healed of…we need the Great Physician to heal us from our sin. It is in the name of Jesus Christ that we are healed. So…what do we do with this joyous news? What do we do now that we have been prescribed with the right medication for our souls? 

 

The 1st Peter I read this morning gives us a view of what we should do with this information. It tells us how we can obtain the prescription and how others can do the same. This healing not only heals us from sin but also brings us closer to God than we can do on our own. It tells us that we should share this Good News with others, especially when they ask about the joy we have. But it also tells us that we shouldn’t try to “beat them over the head with the truth” as some do but to do so in respectful humility. We need to share the truth in love. There may also be times when we suffer because we are so “on fire for the Lord”. You know those times when our family may not talk to us because they think we are “holy rollers”…those times when people may call us “Jesus freaks”…those times when people may talk bad about us because we are so dedicated to the Gospel of truth, God and our Savior… We can’t let that stop us. We need to even be glad about it. God cared so much about humanity’s health that Jesus even went and preached the Gospel to those in prison…in Sheol.

 

We need to make God known to all those around us. Paul spent his life devoted to making God…Yahweh Ropheka…the Great Physician… known after his conversion on the road to Damascus. Let me read one of those account to you. It is found in Acts 17 verses 22-31. Paul was a very bold and wise speaker. Listen to what he had to say to the people of Athens…

Acts 17:22-31 Common English Bible (CEB)

“22 Paul stood up in the middle of the council on Mars Hill and said, “People of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. 23 As I was walking through town and carefully observing your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown God.’ What you worship as unknown, I now proclaim to you. 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in temples made with human hands. 25 Nor is God served by human hands, as though he needed something, since he is the one who gives life, breath, and everything else. 26 From one person God created every human nation to live on the whole earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God made the nations so they would seek him, perhaps even reach out to him and find him. In fact, God isn’t far away from any of us. 28 In God we live, move, and exist. As some of your own poets said, ‘We are his offspring.’

 

29 “Therefore, as God’s offspring, we have no need to imagine that the divine being is like a gold, silver, or stone image made by human skill and thought. 30 God overlooks ignorance of these things in times past, but now directs everyone everywhere to change their hearts and lives. 31 This is because God has set a day when he intends to judge the world justly by a man he has appointed. God has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.””

 

The altar to an unknown God that Paul saw in Athens shows the plight of the pagans…and some people who call themselves Christians today. They have an idea of who God is but they have no experience of who God is. We, as a church, need to reveal the way that the world might come to a personal relationship…to personally come to know God, through His Son, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

You see the world…the non-Christian…humanity…worships some unknown god. It may be power and position that they worship. It may be possessions that they worship. It is anything other than the God of our salvation. Yet within our hearts we really we want to know God. We want to be healed of our infirmities that our worldly god just can’t heal us from. It is within and through our risen Lord that we come to know the unknown God. The prescription that we need is to repent of our sins and trust in the Living Christ.

 

We live in a world that is broken and torn. We live in a world that is full of open wounds that need to be healed. God uses us to be that healing balm that the world needs. But in order to be that conduit of healing we need to be willing to be and to go where God wants us to be and go. Yahweh Ropheka is looking for a few good men and women who are bold enough to take on the task of healing and restoration in His name. Yahweh Ropheka…our Great Physician…wants us to share our witness to those who are hurting and need a healing in their lives…to tell them that their unknown god is revealed in Christ. Yahweh Ropheka…our Great Physician…wants us to make Him known through our words and actions, giving healing and restoration to those who are in need. Yahweh Ropheka…our Great Physician…wants us to understand that Christ will make himself known to us through the Holy Spirit…giving us the boldness of Paul to share the Good News…the power of Peter to proclaim the gospel of peace.

 

How will you answer the call to action and healing? How will we become that healing balm? Where is there a need for healing in our lives and in the lives of those around us? Perhaps…as we look inside…we can find healing and restoration for our souls. Maybe, just maybe, as we are healed we can spread that healing save with those around us. Then…maybe then…we will have healing and wholeness as a people and as a nation. But it begins with you and me…

Let us pray…

Yahweh Ropheka, the LORD who heals me, the Great Physician, we want to experience your healing grace in our body and our soul. Please work in us and through us. As you heal us, please let us glorify you by bringing the knowledge of your healing power to those in need. Increase our faith and show us how to pray. Embolden us, by Your Spirit, to put our faith to work by praying for others so that they have healing in their souls and body’s. May your name be lifted up throughout the world as people come to know Your love and healing power by our prayers of healing.

Amen!

 

“Hello My Name is…El Shadday”

June 1, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon Series on “The Names of God”

Sermon 21 of series-

“The Sacred Names of God: El Shadday”

Genesis 17:1-2 Names of God Bible

1 Samuel 17:45-47 Names of God Bible

Ephesians 1:15-23 Common English Bible

  Spangler, Ann Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide

 

 

 

Let us pray… (Pray for God’s illumination of our hearts, minds and souls.)

1 Samuel 17:45-47 Names of God Bible

45 David told the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Yahweh Tsebaoth, the Elohim of the army of Israel, whom you have insulted. 46 Today Yahweh will hand you over to me. I will strike you down and cut off your head. And this day I will give the dead bodies of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals. The whole world will know that Israel has an Elohim. 47 Then everyone gathered here will know that Yahweh can save without sword or spear, because Yahweh determines every battle’s outcome. He will hand all of you over to us.”

 

As we continue our journey of learning about and praying in the Sacred Names of God, we have heard many names for God…names of strength, names of compassion, names of hope and of peace. There are a couple of names of God that make me think of His vast power. These names talk about how unsurpassed our God is. We have even sung to one of those names this morning. 

The other was said by David as he battled with the giant Goliath. These two names are El Shadday and Yahweh Tsebaoth…God Almighty and Lord of Host… How awesome it is that our God is both of these and so much more.

 

Ann Spangle in the Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide states that:

“The Lord of Hosts is a title that emphasizes God’s rule over every of “the host of heaven,” it is usually speaking of celestial bodies, though the phrase can also refer to angelic beings. The word “host” can also refer to human beings and to nature itself. When you pray to Yahweh Tsebaoth, you are praying to a God so magnificent that all creation serves his purposes.

Yahweh Tsebaoth (yah-WEH tse-ba-OATH) is a title of great power. It occurs more than 240 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, reminding us that all of creation, even in its fallen condition, is under God’s rule and reign. At times Scripture speaks of the Lord of Hosts leading a great army. Cherubim and seraphim; sun and moon; stars and sky; rivers and mountains; hail and snow; men and women; animals, wild and tame— all these worship the Lord and are at times called to fight on his behalf.”

Wow…everything…everything…in Heaven and on earth bows down to the Lord of Hosts to our powerful and mighty God. Nothing can  stand beneath His power. What a mighty God we truly do serve…

 

And we have the name El Shadday…God almighty! (I personally love this name of God. It reminds me of the Great and Awesomeness of the God I serve. It gives me hope when It seems as if there is no way out. It  gives me peace on those nights when I may be worrying about the next day. It gives me joy in knowing that my God bring me through whatever comes my way and we will have victory together…)

Ann Spangler talks about El Shadday in stating that:

“God revealed himself as El Shadday, God Almighty, to Abram and told him of the everlasting covenant he was establishing with him and with his descendants. Until the time of Moses, when another divine name was revealed, the patriarchs considered El Shadday the covenant name of God. When we pray to El Shadday, we invoke the name of the one for whom nothing is impossible.

The Hebrew El Shadday (EL shad-DAI), often translated “God Almighty,” may literally be translated “God, the Mountain One.” Since many of the gods of the ancient Near East were associated with mountains, early translators may have made an educated guess regarding its meaning. Like the mountains themselves, God is seen as strong and unchanging. El Shadday reveals God not only as the one who creates and maintains the universe but who initiates and maintains a covenant with his people.”

Our awesome, strong, God maintains His covenant…He stands strong…even if we do not at times, even if we turn away, even if we are frail and weak, our God is as strong as the mountains in which He created…

 

I would like to read to you another piece of Scripture that talks about…tells how…awesomely powerful our God is. The scripture talks about his powerfully of God’s power…so to speak. It is found in Ephesians chapter 1 verse 15-23. Listen to how Paul explains God’s power to the people of Ephesus…

“Ephesians 1:15-23 Common English Bible (CEB)…

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians

15 Since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, this is the reason that 16 I don’t stop giving thanks to God for you when I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, will give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation that makes God known to you. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart will have enough light to see what is the hope of God’s call, what is the richness of God’s glorious inheritance among believers, 19 and what is the overwhelming greatness of God’s power that is working among us believers. This power is conferred by the energy of God’s powerful strength. 20 God’s power was at work in Christ when God raised him from the dead and sat him at God’s right side in the heavens, 21 far above every ruler and authority and power and angelic power, any power that might be named not only now but in the future. 22 God put everything under Christ’s feet and made him head of everything in the church, 23 which is his body. His body, the church, is the fullness of Christ, who fills everything in every way.”

 

Our God is all powerful…but what kind of power is it?

  1. It is power above every earthly or heavenly power – There is nothing that is above His power and grace…no situation…no battle we fight…no worry we have…no addiction…no…fill in the blank… is above Him. He is El Shadday…He is  Yahweh Tsebaoth and nothing or no one can change that fact…
  2. It is power in us who believe – verse 19 tells us that God’s power is work among and in us…the power of that piece of the divine in us that works in and through the Spirit that God has gifted us with. What power and might God could work in us and through us if we would believe…trust and obey.
  3. It is power for us who trust in Him – What mighty things God has in store for His children if we would but open the gift of the cross and all that comes along with it. Some people have accepted the gift and never open it…others may have accepted the gift and opened it but have just put it aside…while others have opened the gift and hold on to it so tight and are afraid that if they share it they will lose it. This power from God is a gift that never stops giving…never runs out…think about that…maybe we, as Christians, need to release God’s power in order to see God’s glory…just saying…
  4. It is power channeled through and for the church – verse 22 and 23 kind of says it all. It is power given to the church to “go out and make disciples”…given to be the hands and feet of Christ..given to be that healing for the broken, batter and torn…it is given to be that light in the dark chaos of the world in which we live… It is not something that is squandered or hidden away. So many people seem to forget that fact. Think about it. A candle cannot be put in a box and be expected to continue to burn. After a while it will go out…lack of oxygen. It is the same with the gift of power of the Holy Spirit. If we keep it in a box…if we keep it in our church building…if we keep it to ourselves…eventually is will go out for the lack of air. This gift from God is a moving and breath thing (the breath of God) and it needs air…it needs to be set free to flow where God needs it to flow…to those who have been stifled by the breath of sin and death. It is the power of God within us…maybe…as Christians…we should not be so power hungry….maybe we shouldn’t be asking for more power within the church if we don’t plan to use it…then again perhaps if we decide to use our power for good and not ….

 

Beloved church of Christ, body of Christ, you who are the fullness of Christ, we have a mighty and strong God who created all things…is within all things and is above all things. How awesome is that…but even more awesome is the fact that this same Almighty God El Shadday… is the same as He was yesterday…is today and will be in the days to come…and is full of power that He wants to share with us today. How will you use the power that is given to all who believe? We serve Yahweh Tsebaoth…the Lord of Hosts,  how will we honor His call on our lives? Will we be the “powerhouse” church or will be the “powered down” church for God? Only you and I can answer that question but perhaps if we, as the body of Christ, would work together to blow a gale force wind of God’s power, maybe then we would see all those false gods…those false temples that humanity has erected, come tumbling down…Maybe…just maybe…perhaps we would…

 

Let us pray…

El Shadday, God Almighty, thank you for your great and awesome power. You never grow weary, You never give up, and You always do what you promise no matter what. Help us today to stop running after the security that the world offers, and to start running after your kingdom instead. Reign over us. Use us. Make us single-hearted, intent on one thing, pursuing your will. Yahweh Tsebaoth, LORD of Armies, please calm our fear and anxiety. You know everything that is going on in our lives right now. Please stretch out your hands to save us, and help us to rest in the knowledge that you are with us even in the most frightening of circumstances so that we may move forward in your power and might.

( (2011-09-01). Names of God Bible (with direct verse lookup), The (p. 30). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)

Amen!

 

 

“Hello My Name is…Ruach”

June 8, 2014

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Pentecost Sunday

Sermon Series on “The Names of God”

Sermon 22 of series-

“The Sacred Names of God: Ruach”

Joel 2:28-29 Names of God Bible

Genesis 2:7 Names of God Bible

Acts 2:1-18 Gods Word Translation

    Names of God Bible (with direct verse lookup), The Baker Publishing Group

 

 

Let us pray… (Pray for God’s illumination of our hearts, minds and souls.)

As we continue our journey of learning about and praying in the Sacred Names of God, we have heard many names for God on our journey thus far. But one of the most important to the church is the name that started the church. It is why we are celebrating today Pentecost Sunday. It is the name that began all of creation itself. The name is Ruach…(well…it is more of a thing than a name…) the breath…the Spirit…the wind. Ruach Yahweh…the Lord’s Spirit, Ruach…Spirit, Ruach El…God’s Spirit, Ruach Elohim…Spirit of God (breathe), Ruach Qodesh…Holy Spirit…on that day of Pentecost the church was transformed by the very breathe…the Ruach of God…

The Names of God Bible tells us that:

The Spirit offers wisdom, ability, guidance, power, and revelation. So powerful is the breath of the Spirit that it can even bring the dead to life. Though Ruach when used in connection with God in the Hebrew Scriptures may simply refer to his power or his will, more often it signifies that God is present by his Spirit. The New Testament speaks of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Ruach Qodesh) is given to the body of Christ so that together we can do the will of God on earth. The Holy Spirit is the One with the power to re-create the life of God within us.

Today, as we celebrate the power of the Spirit in the church, the scriptures remind us that the

Spirit is a social Spirit – a Spirit that leads us to certain solidarity with each other, the whole world, and all its people. The Spirit does more than make individuals feel good or different.

 

Let me read to you the account of when the Spirit of God…the Ruach of God…became a reality to the church…the body…the Disciples of Christ from Acts chapter 2, verses 1-21. Now when Christ left He told His disciples that He was going back to heaven but the Spirit…the Advocate would be sent to help them. They had been waiting and praying for days until that fateful day. (I am reading from the God’s Word Translation this morning)

The Believers Are Filled with the Holy Spirit

“2 When Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Passover, came, all the believers were together in one place. 2 Suddenly, a sound like a violently blowing wind came from the sky and filled the whole house where they were staying. 3 Tongues that looked like fire appeared to them. The tongues arranged themselves so that one came to rest on each believer. 4 All the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.

5 Devout Jewish men from every nation were living in Jerusalem. 6 They gathered when they heard the wind. Each person was startled to recognize his own dialect when the disciples spoke.

7 Stunned and amazed, the people in the crowd said, “All of these men who are speaking are Galileans. 8 Why do we hear them speaking in our native dialects? 9 We’re Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. We’re people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the country near Cyrene in Libya. We’re Jewish people, converts to Judaism, and visitors from Rome, 11 Crete, and Arabia. We hear these men in our own languages as they tell about the miracles that God has done.”

12 All of these devout men were stunned and puzzled. They asked each other, “What can this mean?” 13 Others said jokingly, “They’re drunk on sweet wine.”

Peter Talks to the Crowd

14 Then Peter stood up with the eleven apostles. In a loud voice he said to them, “Men of Judea and everyone living in Jerusalem! You must understand this, so pay attention to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning. 16 Rather, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:

17 ‘In the last days, God says,

    I will pour my Spirit on everyone.

        Your sons and daughters will speak what God has revealed.

        Your young men will see visions.

        Your old men will dream dreams.

18 In those days

    I will pour my Spirit on my servants, on both men and women.

        They will speak what God has revealed.”

There are 4 P’s that we receive from this Ruach Qodesh…the Holy Spirit.:

  1. Power – it came upon the believers in power. As I said that one of the words for Ruachis wind. Now we have all seen the power of wind. It can turn windmills. It can be devastating as in a hurricane. A tornado can pulverize a house. In the account I read we hear how the Holy Spirit…Ruach Qodesh… came as a mighty wind.  When the church is filled with the Holy Spirit, barriers come tumbling down, lives are healed and transformed by that same Spirit. But…but…this power is not to be used to manipulate believers through guilt and fear but to free people from the paralyzing grip of sin in their lives.
  2. Presence – As Jesus came into that upper room where the frightened disciples were after His death, He lifted their spirits by His presence, we can be fearless because we are promised that we will have the presence of the Holy Spirit with us. If we know that God is with us and that His love and grace can reach us at our lowest, darkest point, we can face almost anything.
  3. Peace – We can have peace because of the Ruach Qodesh. As the disciples were offered peace when Jesus entered the locked upper room we too are offered that same peace through the Spirit.
  4. Prophecy – The Acts scripture tells us that those who witnessed the “download” of the Spirit were perplexed. They didn’t know what to make of it. They even thought that the disciples were drunk on wine. Peter boldly, through the Spirit, stood up and told them that they weren’t drunk but it was the fulfillment of what the prophet Joel had prophesized. The word “prophecy” means to speak forth or declare. As a matter of fact that is what Peter did so that they could make sense of the signs and wonders.
  5. Now I said there were only 4 P’s but there actually is a 5th one. The 5th one is purpose. The Spirit acts with purpose. It gives strength and power so that the disciples of Christ can make known the forgiveness of sins…so that others can also receive the gift of the Spirit. There is a purpose for why we stand here today. There is a purpose for the Spirit that is within you and within me…to enable us to preach, teach, to share the gospel of Good News.
  6. OK…let me add one more…personal. The Holy Spirit is not an idea but a person. It is the third part of the Trinity…Father, Son and Spirit. Our job is not to understand but to receive the Holy Spirit into our lives. The Spirit is given to all who know, trust and walk with Jesus.

The Spirit changes behavior and moves us into community.

  • The coming of the Spirit transformed the early Christian community
  1. Locked doors were opened.
  2. Fear was replaced by courage
  3. Peace was proclaimed.
  4. The power to forgive sins was present
  5. Those who were afraid spoke boldly

Thousands heard the message in their own language.

  • The coming of the Spirit today is reflected in our social values.
  1. In a world of racism and prejudice, the Spirit speaks to people of every nation under heaven.
  2. In a world of fear and doubt, the Spirit inspires people to open doors and to speak out.
  3. In a world of selfishness, competition, and control, the Spirit gives out gifts that are shared for the benefit of all.
  4. In a world where too many people lack basic freedoms, the Spirit invites us to work for honesty and freedom for all.
  5. In a world with war and violence, the Spirit proclaims a message of peace to all.
  6. In a world of with great wealth and affluence, the Spirit calls us again to a special concern for the poor.

The gifts of the Spirit are for liberation. We might say that the Spirit is an inclusive spirit who

desires to set everyone free.

Today is Pentecost Sunday and we have a lot to celebrate. We are give a Spirit of power and might. We are given a Spirit of presence…we do not travel alone in our faith journey. We are given a Spirit of peace in knowing that fact. We are given a Spirit of prophecy as we proclaim the truth of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ from our own door to the ends of the earth. We are given a Spirit of purpose as we have boldness and strength as we share the Gospel of Peace. And we have a Spirit within us that is not just some ones thought or invention but is living and breathing within us as we walk this journey of faith. It may be hard to grasp this fact but it still remains and we understand by faith what the world cannot ever understand. Let us then go forth and prophesize that Jesus is Lord through the Spirit and have peace in knowing we never walk alone.

Let us pray…

Spirit of the Living God, Ruach, breathe your life into us. Purify, counsel, encourage, convict, and enable us. Give us your gifts that we may use them wisely in your service as we step out in faith and trust in you. Ruach Qodesh, fall down upon us again, give us boldness,  as we share the Good News of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. Fill us again with Your salvations power. May we stand in the gap for those who cannot stand…transform us and make us anew.

 ( Adapted from – (2011-09-01). Names of God Bible (with direct verse lookup), The (p. 30). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.)

Amen!