Luke 12:6-7, Jesus reassured His disciples with these words, “What is the price of five sparrows – two
copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs
on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God
than a whole flock of sparrows.” These coins were worth about
half-an-hour’s work for a labourer back then. Of all God’s creation, mankind is
most precious to God.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God…”
the writer of Hebrews says.[ii] He is “El Roi”,
the “God who sees”. In Genesis 16 we find the complex story of a barren woman,
Sarai, who despite knowing God’s promise of a son could wait no longer. She
took matters into her own hands and gave her maidservant, Hagar, to her husband
so she might bear a son thus providing an heir for Sarai. When Hagar became
pregnant, she taunted Sarai relentlessly and, in turn, Sarai mistreated her
servant. Hagar fled into the desert where the angel of the Lord found her. He
confirmed she was carrying a son whom she was to call “Ishmael” meaning “God
hears”. Indeed He had heard Hagar’s misery. “Shegave this name to the
Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now
seen the One who sees me.’”[iii]
places great emphasis on this very personal aspect of God’s nature. In the Old
Testament He saw…the depravity of man in the days of Noah…the cruel treatment
of the Israelites in Egypt…Judah’s unfaithfulness to God…the proud who needed
to be brought to their knees…those whose hearts are fully committed to God…the
temple being rebuilt.[iv]
the New Testament, Jesus Christ extended His divine nature through tangible
contact with everyone He met. He saw …the faith of the paralyzed man’s
friends…Levi, a tax collector, and called him to be His disciple…the widow
whose son had died and comforted her with “Don’t cry”… …a crippled woman and
said “You are set free from your infirmity” …ten lepers whom He healed…Zaccheus
in a tree…a poor widow offering all she had …the crowds and began to teach them…the
large crowds on which He had compassion and healed their sick …the little
children whom He held and blessed …Mary weeping after the death of Lazarus…His
mother at the foot of His cross.[v]
even “saw mebefore I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”[vi]As Job testified, God sees everything I do and every step I take.[vii]
this past couple weeks I’m so grateful I know El Roi personally. He sees
my friend as she grieves the loss of her pet cat of seventeen years…my
daughter-in-law as she visits relatives a few hours away…my son as he received
his engineering iron ring…my parents as they move forward together following a difficult
decision…another friend as she awaits cancer surgery…my neighbours as they
travelled to Florida for March break…a grieving community as they mourn five
lost fishermen…a couple from our church hovering anxiously over their little son
in the hospital…God sees and cares deeply for each and every situation in which
we find ourselves. How comforting it is to know this truth!!
sees my pain when no one else can or when I try to hide it from them. He knows
all that lies before me and sees what way I should go. He sees why I am going
through my current challenge and how frustrating it is for me. He sees dangers
in my way and sends angels to protect me. He sees when I need encouragement
from a specific Bible verse or lyrics of a song.
myEl Roi !
[i]Maria Straub, Solomon W.
This week a thrift store in my area moved to a much bigger location. I thought it would be supportive of me to "help them celebrate" their grand opening *wink*. I took a quick run in one afternoon. What a celebration. The very spacious parking lot was full, and both sides of the four lane highway were lined with cars (including mine!) I hurried inside and grabbed a shopping cart. This little "before and after" is one of my finds from that day.
I spotted this cute little Easter topiary just as another lady picked it up off the shelf. So I just waited patiently and she finally decided to put it back! Swoosh!!!! (That was me grabbing it quickly!) ;) This topiary was too "bright" for my taste. I was looking for a more muted look. So the first thing I did was tear out all the bright green moss and silk flowers.
That's better...but the pot was too bright as well. I took it outside on the weekend. It was -1 and sunny. Too cold really for spray painting outside. But I spray painted it anyway and took it back into the warm house to dry. The pot looks white in this picture but it is actually a warmer ivory color.
I'm getting there! Then I took the glue gun and Spanish moss. I just broke off small bunches of the moss and glued it in between the eggs, and at the base of the topiary branch.
Oh, so much better! Are you doing some Easter/Spring decorating? I'm working on it now. It makes my heart sing! Such a very fun time to decorate. Wishing everyone a very Happy Spring! Tanya Joining: Seasonal Sunday
On Thursday, my parents came along with me and my husband
to a maple sugar camp. Hubby and I had visited there in the fall of 2011(see my
October 22, 2011 post). We couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful day for such
an outing as we enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine after such a long winter. As
we drove along, however, we soon saw evidence of the power of nature following
a night of heavy rain and wind. Flood waters covered baseball fields, parking lots,
farmer’s fields, and roads. We negotiated one country road very carefully as
potholes and washed-away shoulders made driving tricky. All of us kept
remarking, “Look at all that water!” It brought home how quickly the forces of
what God has created can unleash their fury and change our lives.
(Sugar Moon Farm, Nova Scotia)
I was soon reminded of what God had already led me to
write about this week and how what we had seen is a good illustration. No
matter how much power and might nature possesses, it pales in comparison to the
sovereignty of God.
His name is “El Elyon” – "God Most High" - "uppermost". This title distinguishes
Him as the sovereign ruler over all. Because He created all, He is superior to
all. He is the Supreme Being above all beings. He is above all authorities
whether appointed by God or selected by man. He deserves our utmost attention,
honor, and worship.
The first instance in Scripture of this name is in
Genesis14:19-20, “Melchizedek blessed
Abram with this blessing: ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven
and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you...’”
Abram had just returned from defeating four Mesopotamian kings who had captured
his nephew, Lot, among others. Melchizedek was the King of Salem (Jerusalem) as
well as a priest of God. Abram, great as he was to become, acknowledged
Melchizedek’s superior spiritual position by giving him a tenth of the plunder
(this practice would become a significant requirement under Mosaic Law
providing for the needs of future Levitic priests). Soon after this event, God
made His formal covenant with Abram promising him an heir and a land for his
Melchizedek’s birth and death is unexplained; we know
little of him beyond this passage. Yet, he became an archetype of Christ, the
Messiah portrayed in Psalm 110:4, “…You
are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” The fulfillment of this
prophecy was realized in the life of Christ and was sanctioned by God
Himself. Hebrews 5:5-6 makes this clear, “And
no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor. He must
be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was. That is why Christ did not
honor Himself by assuming He could become High Priest. No, He was chosen by
God, who said to Him, ‘You are my Son, Today I have become your Father’...‘You
are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.’” Chapter 6:20 confirms
that, “He has become our eternal High
Priest in the order of Melchizedek.” The whole of chapters 5-8 are devoted
to explaining the significance of this fulfillment. It’s a fascinating study!
Personally, I am most blessed by knowing that Christ is “able, once and forever, to save those who
come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their
behalf. He is the kind of high priest we need because He is holy and blameless,
unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the
highest place of honor in heaven…Jesus did this once for all when He offered
Himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.” (Chapter 7:25-27) It upsets me when I see a humanly-appointed person
receiving all the recognition and glory instead of the God they have been
called to serve.
I am so glad I have direct access to God, the Father,
through Jesus Christ. Since He is my High Priest forever, there is no need to
go through anyone else for atonement and forgiveness of my sins. What an
amazing truth to believe and appropriate! It provides a security and freedom
that cannot be found in anything or anyone else, no matter how good or
righteous they may appear. He is Most
High – higher than Melchizedek, Abraham, the priests with their mortality and
inability to atone for their own sins, Moses and Aaron, King David, modern-day
spiritual leaders – He is above all.
As John the Baptist testified of Christ, “The One who comes from above is above all…”[i]
We are soon approaching my favourite time of year –
Spring! Since childhood I have always loved seeing and experiencing the first
signs that winter was coming to an end and warmer weather was around the
…tiny green shoots poking up through a snow-bare patch of
…water trickling merrily from under the snow on our roof
…catching a whiff of that “earthy” aroma in the late
…delighting in the cheery babble of a bubbling brook beneath
…hearing that first twittering of songbirds returning
from southern climates
…observing emerging insects anxious to spread their wings
…marveling at jagged fissures formed by thinning lake ice
…seeing fresh buds bursting from tips of branches
When these evidences of spring appear in our cold
northern environment it is truly a time for celebration! Like a bear venturing
forth from hibernation my senses awaken with fresh energy and my spirit rejoices
in my Creator who makes all things new.
He is my “Elohim”,
the Creator God. This is a primary Hebrew
word for God in the Old Testament and it represents His power and preeminence.
Genesis 1:1&26 says, “In the
beginning God created the heavens and the earth…Then God said, ‘Let us make man
in our image, in our likeness…’” It is significant to note that the second
part of this title, “him”,
is in the plural form referring to the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit. As they are one God, all three were present at creation.
The apostle Paul testifies to this in Colossians 1:15-16,
“Christ is the visible image of the
invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all
creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on
earth… everything was created through Him and for Him.”
God Himself verified His role as Creator when He said, “I am the One who made the earth and created
people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars
are at my command.”[i]
At the very essence of God is creativity. The
diversity with which He fashioned the universe, the animal kingdom, and
humanity never ceases to amaze my finite mind. It brings my spirit to its knees
in worship as I acknowledge with the apostle John, “You are worthy, O Lord our God to receive glory and honor and power.
For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.”[ii]
Chris Tomlin’s beautiful song, “Indescribable”, often comes to my mind:
From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation’s revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
You placed the stars in the sky
And You know them by name
You are amazing, God
All powerful, untamable
Awestruck we fall to our knees
As we humbly proclaim
You are amazing, God
Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet, conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
God’s purpose in creation is to bring glory
and pleasure to His name.
my Elohim, thank you for being our Creator God. It is amazing to think of all
you have brought into being. Thank you for creating me to be the person I am.
My heart is filled with gratitude for giving me the gifts, abilities, and
personality that you have. Forgive me for times I have complained about myself
or for times I longed to possess qualities I saw in someone else. Thank you for
continuing to develop character in me that will accomplish Your purposes and
bring glory to You. May I be faithful in daily obeying the truths of Your Word.
May others know You better because they saw Jesus reflected in me. Amen.”
The catch phrase, “by any other name”, originated with
Shakespeare’s Juliet who lamented to Romeo, “What’s
in a name?That which we call a rose by
any other name would smell as sweet.”[i] Oh, if his family name had
not been Montague perhaps these love-torn hearts could have lived happily ever after!
Juliet reasoned that the character of a person matters more than what they are
This is true, however many people and cultures place
great worth in the meaning of a person’s name. Like so many moms-to-be I
consulted baby-name books while waiting for our child. I wanted to ensure he or
she had a name with spiritual depth. So, we chose one which comes from the
Hebrew meaning “God will uplift”. It is also a favourite of mine! Because my
husband’s heritage is Chinese, it was customary for his parents to decide on a
name as well. The one they chose represents “bright” and “handsome”.
Two weeks ago I took up the challenge to explore the
Hebrew names for God. But instead of only researching the meanings behind these
names, I wanted to go “beyond” and see what impact they have on my own life.
What difference do they make in my understanding of God? Do they influence me
to change in some way? How can they contribute to a deeper relationship with
Over the next few weeks I invite you to come along on
this journey with me. I’m excited to know God better and see how my daily walk
is transformed as a result!
In the Bible, the primary word for God, or a god, is“El”signifying “might, strength, or power”. It was
the most common title for any deity in the ancient Near East including Almighty
God. It can be used on its own, but is usually combined with another word to
clarify the nature or role of a god in some way. This is especially true when distinguishing
the one true God from false gods. There are many combinations of this name but
I will choose a few for further reflection.
is found in Deuteronomy
10:17, “For the Lord your God is God of
gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome…” This title
speaks of the greatness and awesome nature of God. After Moses had received the
Ten Commandments, he descended from Mount Sinai to discover the Israelites had
turned away from worship of God to bowing before a golden calf. He was so angry
and distraught he smashed the stone tablets, ground the idol into powder and
made them drink it. To Moses, it was unthinkable that anyone could treat God
with such disdain and disregard for the consequences. After God had written His
laws on new tablets, Moses recounted to the people the goodness and mercy of
God and encouraged them to “Fear the Lord
your God and serve Him. Hold fast to Him…He is your God, who performed for you
those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” (v.20-21)
During my travels to many Asian and European countries, I’m
always fascinated with visiting various cathedrals, temples, and other places
of worship. While their architecture is captivating, the spiritual overtones are
what move me most deeply. I have watched people burning candles and incense,
offering food to the gods, falling prostrate on the ground before manmade idols,
consulting fortune tellers, and buying paper money to burn for their deceased
loved ones. Hubby and I have hundreds of photos of tiny idols, golden idols,
wooden idols, the largest Buddha statue in the world, simple and ornate crucifixes,
and altars of every description. It makes me sad to see these people so
devotedly going through the rituals they believe will please their unseeing
gods and earn them a better afterlife.
However, their devotion always inspires me to gaze inward
and examine how deeply I am committed to the One whom I know is the God of all
gods and the Lord of all lords. How often do I pause and openly, without embarrassment,
give thanks to God before eating my meal in a restaurant? Do my neighbors see
me unashamedly carrying my Bible as I go to church? Have I become desensitized
at all to the blatant misuse of God’s name on TV or in the workplace, stores
and recreation areas? Why am I shy about sharing my God and what He means to
I know and serve the One Great and Awesome God! I have no
reason to fear!
Until next Sunday,
P.S. I welcome your comments and input as we grow together!