The more we walk with God and immerse ourselves in His love, the more our nature is transformed “from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Our thoughts, emotions, and internal drives conform to the nature of God, which is the image of Christ. The image of Christ is the perfected blueprint of humankind which was in the mind of God before the world was created. The more that the image of Christ is restored within us, the more light of God’s love can saturate every area of our lives.
Category: Meditations of the Word Page 1 of 4
Over the years, I’ve gained some powerful insights into the Hebraic perspectives of luck and blessing that have forever shifted the way I perceive God’s love and goodness toward us.
You may have heard the Jewish phrase “mazal tov.” It’s often translated as “good luck” or “good fortune.” The Hebrew word “mazal” is derived from the Hebrew root word nazal, which means “to flow,” while the word “tov” means “good” or “pleasing.” “Mazal tov” is often spoken at times of great celebration and joy, such as a bar or bat mitzvah or a wedding. In those circumstances, the phrase is more of an acknowledgment of the flow of good fortune in someone’s life rather than a wish for it. God’s goodness is evident in times of celebration because we can see it with our eyes.
John 6:10-13 (TPT) … So on the vast grassy slope, more than five thousand hungry people sat down. Jesus then took the barley loaves and the fish and gave thanks to God. He then gave it to the disciples to distribute to the people. Miraculously, the food multiplied, with everyone eating as much as they wanted. When everyone was satisfied, Jesus told his disciples, “Now go back and gather up the pieces left over so that nothing will be wasted.” The disciples filled up twelve baskets of fragments, a basket of leftovers for each disciple.
The keys to multiplication in ministry is remembering that there is always more than enough. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. You do not have to beg for your portion because you have Christ, and Christ is the very Bread from Heaven and the Word of Life.
Like the loaves of bread and fishes, what you have to give to others will always come from of the overflow of your relationship with God. Your daily portion of His life and your daily portion of His Word are first and foremost for you. When the time comes to minister to others, seek God’s face and He will bless and multiply your portion.
Matthew 6:22-23 (RSV) “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
I once heard a wise saying that goes something like this, “Whenever you’re feeling negative emotions, it is because you have stopped loving.” Or, as I have come to interpret it, whenever we are in a negative state of mind, it is because we have inadvertently disconnected from the source of love—the heart of God.
We don’t always disconnect from God’s love out of willful sin and rebellion. In fact, I often find my disconnects occur in the subtlest of ways. Usually, I’m going along in life, some minor or major event occurs, and suddenly, my perception of life and God has subconsciously shifted. It often takes me a while to recognize that I’m no longer looking at my life and experiences through the lens of God’s infinite love. Little by little, feelings like fear, shame, guilt, condemnation, and worthlessness begin to creep in and darken my inner man. All in all: I have forgotten that I am loved.
Mercy is a central part of God’s nature—in fact, His name is mercy. In Exodus 34, God responded to Moses’ desire to see His glory. And as He passed before Moses, verse 5 says that He “proclaimed the name of the LORD.” And the proclamation that rolled forth was: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
I don’t know about anyone else, but many times when I would read this Scripture, I would find myself quite focused on the latter half of the verse! I trembled at the God who punished the guilty and allowed iniquity to be a generational inheritance! Due to my own woundings in life, I found it hard to see the other side of God’s character—His overwhelming heart of mercy. And I think my struggles with perceiving (and receiving) mercy have been due, in part, to how I learned to interpret much of Scripture.
There is a Jewish teaching that speaks of how, in the beginning, God filled all things. In order to begin the process of creation, He had to “contract” Himself to make space for the universe. This is why one of God’s names is “Ha-Makom” or “The Place,” as God is the place of all creation. This concept has alway made me think of how women “make space” within themselves for the conception and growth of new life.
The beauty in our relationship with God is that we are designed to reflect His nature. We too can “contract” or empty ourselves through the attribute of humility. Humility isn’t about stripping ourselves of our intrinsic, godly value. If anything, having a healthy sense of our self-worth helps us to recognize the value of others. From this place, we can joyfully step back and give someone else a chance to shine. Even more, we can “take a step” back in our hearts, thoughts, and daily activities so that God might shine through. You could say we have the opportunity to return the favor to Ha-Makom by making space for Him in this world.
In my personal experience, I’ve watched how powerfully the Holy Spirit moves when I intentionally make space for Him in my life. “Making space” often requires me to pause and lay down my own thoughts, motives, schedule, and agenda before taking action in a matter. It means making space for God in my day, my home, and my business. I invite His thoughts and motives to take up residence in my heart and mind.
When it comes to prayer, I try to remember that it doesn’t have to be a lonely, one-way conversation; God is faithful to respond when I give Him room to speak. And when I feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do in a situation, I know that it’s time for me to realign; I pause, choose to become an empty vessel, and I invite Holy Spirit to have His way. He will move mightily when we step back and invite Him into any situation.
Humility can be a joyful place to live from. Just as God didn’t cease to exist when He contracted and brought about creation, neither do we lose our value or purpose when we humble ourselves. If anything, our purpose and value is filled to overflowing when it is filled with the Presence of the Almighty God.
John 3:30 (ESV) He must become greater; I must become less.
Philippians 2: 5-8 (NASB) Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross.
Just before Purim this spring, God reminded me of the importance of looking for His “hidden hand” in our lives. In the whole book of Esther, God isn’t mentioned. There’s also no record of God speaking directly to His people or prophets. However, this doesn’t mean that He wasn’t present, moving, and speaking throughout the events that transpired. In fact, we can see how God strategically moved through different individuals to protect His people from genocide.
One day, I was meditating on how rest can be a powerful weapon in the spiritual realm, and Isaiah 30:15 came to mind, “For this is what Adonai Elohim, the Holy One of Isra’el, says: “Returning and resting is what will save you; calmness and confidence will make you strong —but you want none of this!” I often hear people quoting another translation of this Scripture, “in quietness and confidence is your strength.” While these words are a needed reminder, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the last part of that verse—God’s people resisted the call to return (repent) and rest.
Psalm 46:10 (VOICE) “Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.
When we are yoked with our Creator, there are moments when we’re not going at the same speed that He is. When we are out of alignment with Him, we can feel it as tug upon our soul. Sometimes that tug is gentle, and at other times—when we are insistent in our striving—that tug is much more firm. “Stop striving,” He beckons. “Stop pulling against My yoke. It’s time to come and sit at My feet and just rest. It’s time to remind yourself of Who is leading.”
This call is reminiscent of Psalm 46:10, where God tells us to “be still and know” that He is God. When we dig deeper into the Hebrew of this text, there is beautiful insight into what God is asking us to do in the moments when we feel that tug upon our souls. The command “be still” in Hebrew is raphah (Strong’s H7503), which means “to sink, relax, sink down, let drop, be disheartened.” One definition according to the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon is “to leave off anything, e.g. a work begun, Neh. 6:8… Psalm 46:11 ‘leave off your own attempts and know.’”
Think of a field hand diligently working the soil in a field. His supervisor suddenly calls out to stop work and take a break. So the field hand immediately stops, lets go of the tool in his hand, and walks away to take that break. In much the same way, when God tells us to “be still,” He’s calling us to stop striving over a matter in our lives and come into a place of rest.
Yet there’s a second layer to this call. God asks us to “be still and know” that He is God. Not only must we stop striving, but we must also be intentional to realign our focus on God. In Psalm 46:10, the Hebrew word for “know” is yada (H3045). Yada alludes to a type of knowledge that involves an intimate perception of something. Yada is also used euphemistically for the intimacy between spouses. (Genesis 4:1 says that Adam “knew” his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore their son Cain.) When we really comprehend a person or matter, we obtain intimate knowledge. We gain a unique clarity of perception.
In 1 Corinthians 13:11-12, Paul says, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (NKJV). When we feel the call to “be still and know,” God is calling us to realign our focus in that moment. This is a precious gift, an opportunity for us to enter the Holy of Holies and have a “face to face” moment with Him. This is a call to reconnect with the Source of Love.
When we are striving, there is a misalignment in our spiritual vision and our misperception of love concerning a particular matter. Clarity can only be found when we’re seeing the matters of life the way that God sees them. By the flesh, we have a cloudy, distant perception of life, but with God, we have access to a full level of disclosure.
Are you anxious and afraid over a matter? Do you feel alone and without answers or help? Or perhaps, you feel exhausted and weak, facing a challenge in your life to which you feel at a disadvantage. It’s time to “be still and know.” It’s time to reconnect with your Creator and remember that He has everything under control. Let His love and peace wash over you, and allow Him to give you fresh revelation for the road ahead.
A few years ago, I was reading an article about the human soul from a Jewish perspective, and I was struck by the following phrase, “The root of the soul is God.” These words resonated within me as truth, particularly in light of the creation account. The Word says that God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). While the rest of creation was formed through God’s speech, God bestowed humanity with a little piece of Himself in order to bring us to life.
Yet to have a little piece of the Eternal One isn’t such a little thing when we really stop to think about it. Our humanity enshrouds a potent drop of the Divine. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit maintains the connection between the human soul and God, enabling us to be extensions of Him in the earth. How amazing!
Although we cannot see our souls, it is much like the idea of a seed that is planted, sprouts roots, and steadily grows into a tree. A tree’s origins as a small seed can often seem like a distant memory. However, that seed is still a present reality in the life of the tree. The small seed contained all of the genetic information necessary to bring the full-grown tree into existence. Essentially, the tree is an extension of a tiny yet mighty seed.
In the midst of a fallen world, this truth can embolden us if we’re able to grasp ahold of it. We may more frequently focus on our human fragility and failings, but the miracle in the midst of our imperfections is that a small seed of the Divine resides within us. When we are willing to tap into our connection with God through the Holy Spirit, He is able to strengthen our inner being with His power (Ephesians 3:14).
I often tap into this overcoming power when I choose to view my circumstances through the lens of my identity as an extension or child of God. How does the all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving God view my current problems? Of course, my problems quickly dwarf in size when I remember who I’m seated in heavenly places with (Ephesians 2:6). To know that I was created by and am held by perfect love is empowering, for it opens my heart to receive the character, wisdom, knowledge—the very fullness—of God.
Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV) For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 2:6-7 (NIV) And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.