Monday, March 12, 2012

Churchy Words

 As I read my devotion yesterday from Jesus Calling, it challenged me to walk by faith and not by sight.  That is something that our church is challenged with each Sunday as we are about to end the service.  So as I read the devotion, I began to think on the word faith.  We say it so often.  I decided to do a word study on it.

American Heritage dictionary says it is a confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea or thing.  2. Belief that doesn't rest on logical proof or material evidence.  3. Loyalty to a person or thing: allegiance 4. a.Belief in and trust in God. b. religious conviction  5. a system of religious beliefs

Then looking at those definitions, I began to wonder about the word believe or belief.

Belief is the mental act, condition or habit of placing trust or confidence in a person or thing. 2. Mental acceptance of or conviction in the truth or actuality of something.  3. Something believed or accepted as true

Believe is to accept as true or real. 2. to credit with veracity.

Websters: faith is belief especially in a revealed religion: trust or reliance ; a system of religious doctrines believed in ; loyalty ; pledged word

Belief in Websters is full acceptance of a thing as true and believe is to regard as true; to trust.

So as you look at what we are being asked to do, when we are asked to walk by faith and not by sight; we are being asked to trust God even when it looks like all is falling apart.   Even when it looks as if you have everything in life going your way, to trust Him and what He says as true.

Basically we need to not trust what we see with our eyes.  For that which is before us can be misleading whether good or bad.

So if we are going to be people of faith, we need to stand behind what the word says to be true which is what God says is true.  It was faith that caused God to count Abraham as righteous.  It was doubting God that caused Adam and Eve to be cast out of Eden and into unrighteousness.

We must learn to trust God and all that He says to be able to stand up to all the accusations, temptations and attacks that come from the enemy and our own EVIL DESIRES that cause us to be enticed and dragged away according to James 1:14.

Friday, March 9, 2012

More Churchy Words

In light of the previous posts, I wanted to continue down this road with the churchy words we often use and may not fully comprehend their meaning.  there are a multitude of them and I may continue down this path, but for now, here are a few that just encouraged me to look at.  also, some of the words I just didn't get until I started researching them.

Emmanuel - God with us!!!!

He promises never to leave us nor to forsake us.    I find that so incredibly comforting.

Mount - the verb - to rise or ascend
           to get up on something above the level of the ground
           to go up:  climb
This brings to my mind the verse from Isaiah that references the "mount up on wings as eagles."  The verse that inspired this blog.  Also, the definitions remind me of two songs.  "You Raise Me Up" by Selah,    and "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin.

Grace - Receiving something you can never deserve or earn.  Unearned favor

Mercy - Where there is guilt yet not receiving a punishment you deserve

"I Lift My Hands" by Chris Tomlin

Fetter - chain or shackle for the feet; something that confines; restraint

Fount - fountain or source

Ebenezer - Stone of Help. The name Eben-Ezer also means "God has led us thus far" or "Thus far God has helped us" according to 1 Samuel 7:12. 

Look at the words in the old hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" which uses some of these words in the lyrics.  Over the years the song went through changes.  See below the various versions.  Click on this link and scroll down to see all the lyrics.

How Big is God

If we want to take take some time to reflect on just how big God is (I mean just trying to get some sort of perspective) and reflect on how small we are in comparison, take the time to watch these clips.  This is just a simple reality check on the absolute vastness of God.  This should humble us all.

How big is God part 1 by Louis Giglio

Part 2 Take a look at the size of the planets in relation to earth 

Earth's Size Compared to Some of the Planets

The Planets in Perspective

Our Star Compared to Several Others

Our Sun in Perspective with some other Stars

Drum roll....

Doesn't that make you feel small?

But wait:  Check this out! Take a look at yourself.

Part 3: You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  

Quote by St. Augustine:  Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.

Part 4  This is the one regarding Laminin

Hang in there, this is Part 5 and the end

He will strengthen you and hold you in his righteous right hand.

We are held together
Col 1:13-20 The Incomparable Christ
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation16 For by Him all things were createdboth in the heavens and on earthvisible and invisiblewhether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together18 He is also head of the body, the church ; and He is the beginningthe firstborn from the deadso that He Himself will come to have first place in everything19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross ; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

"How Great is Our God" by Chris Tomlin

The "CHURCHY" Words We Use - Hallelujah

I remember when it occurred to me that Hallelujah is one of those churchy words that I would blindly sing.  Since I had heard it all of my life, I just used it as all of us have.  But it was one of those words that I would sing without REALLY comprehending what I was truly saying.  So I stopped singing it until I could really grasp its meaning.  I began to research it.  I remember when I was doing a study by Beth Moore called "Stepping Up".  In Week 5 day 1 she talked about this word Hallelujah.

This is a quote from that day.  "The Hebrew reference "Yah" is also spelled "Jah".  this shortened form of the covenant name "Yaweh" is employed many times in the Hebrew Old Testament.  You say it every time you use the word, Hallelujah, meaning "Praise ye Jah".  Here is the part I find most intriguing: "JAH is a shortened form of Jehovah..Pronounced "ya", this name signifies, HE IS, and can be made to correspond to I AM, just as Jehovah corresponds to the fuller expression I AM THAT I AM.

This is what I found in reference to the definition of Hallelujah:
Hallelujah meaning "Praise Yah". The last syllable is from the first two letters of the name of God, YHWH.  the word is used a great deal in the Psalms in part of the Hallel prayers. Psalms, e.g. 111–117145–150, and four times in Revelation.
"hallelujah" means more than simply "praise Yah", as the word hallel in Hebrew means a joyous praise in song, to boast in God. Hallel could also refer to someone who acts madly or foolishly.
The second part, Yah, is a shortened form of YHWH, the name for the Creator. This name is not pronounced by Jews, as they do not permit the speaking of the name of God, and in any case the correct pronunciation is not known.
The word hallelujah occurring in Psalms is therefore a request for a congregation to join in praise toward God. It can be translated as "Praise God" or "Praise Yahweh, you people", and is usually worded in English contexts as "Praise the LORD".
"Hallelujah" appears in Revelation 19, the great song of praise to God for his triumph over the Whore of Babylon.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hosanna! What does it mean?

I often sing great songs in worship along with other believers in church.  I am occasionally troubled in my soul when I am singing words I really am not sure of its meaning.  Some of the older songs that use words like "fetter" "fount" and even "hallelujah".   I remember several years ago I sensed that I wanted to be authentic and truly sing the words in worship from my heart to the Lord.  I began noticing there were many CHURCHY words that I really had sang for years that I really couldn't get my heart around.  So I would not sing them.  I would go home and research the words and once I could grasp the meaning I could them sing the song unto the Lord!  You could not believe how much deeper and richer my time of praise to the Lord became.  It brought life to my personal time of praise with the body of Christ.

So I was singing a song in church one Sunday and I began to try to remember EXACTLY what I had learned about the true meaning of the word Hosanna.  That morning I looked it up in various places and came across these sermon notes.  I wanted to share it.  I was so encouraged.  I hope you find encouragement as well. 

March 27, 1983
(Palm Sunday Evening)
Bethlehem Baptist Church
John Piper, Pastor


I know one of the concerns of the children's music ministry is that the children understand what they are singing and that they mean it. And I share that concern for our people. In a moment the choir will sing a song called, "Hosanna, Hosanna!" And after that we all will sing a song which begins: "Hosanna in the highest!" So I want to give a little lesson in Greek and Hebrew to make sure we all know what the New Testament means when it says in three different places, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" (Mt. 21:9,15), or "Hosanna in the highest!" (Mk. 11:9,10), or simply, "Hosanna!" (John 12:13).
You all know that the New Testament was first written in Greek and the Old Testament was first written in Hebrew. Wherever the word "hosanna" occurs in the New Testament do you know what the Greek word is? Right! It's "hosanna." All the English translators did was use English letters (h-o-s-a-n-n-a) to make the sound of a Greek word.
But if you look in a Greek dictionary to find what it means, you know what you find? You find that it is really not originally a Greek word after all. The men who wrote the New Testament in Greek did the same thing to a Hebrew word that our English translators did to the Greek word: they just used Greek letters (UNABLE TO DISPLAY GREEK CHARACTERS ) to make the sound of a Hebrew phrase ( UNABLE TO DISPLAY HEBREW CHARACTERS ). I know this sounds sort of complicated. But it's really not. Our English word "hosanna" comes from a Greek word "hosanna" which comes from a Hebrew phrase hoshiya na.
And that Hebrew phrase is found one solitary place in the whole Old Testament, Psalm 118:25, where it means, "Save, please!" It is a cry to God for help. Like when somebody pushes out off the diving board before you can swim and you come up hollering: "Help, save me" … "Hoshiya na!"
But something happened to that phrase, hoshiya na. The meaning changed over the years. In the psalm it was immediately followed by the exclamation: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" The cry for help, hoshiya na, was answered almost before it came out of the psalmist's mouth. And over the centuries the phrase hoshiya na stopped being a cry for help in the ordinary language of the Jews. Instead it became a shout of hope and exultation. It used to mean, "Save, please!" But gradually it came to mean, "Salvation! Salvation! Salvation has come!" It used to be what you would say when you fell off the diving board. But it came to be what you would say when you see the lifeguard coming to save you! It is the bubbling over of a heart that sees hope and joy and salvation on the way and can't keep it in.
So "Hosanna!" means, "Hooray for salvation! It's coming! It's here! Salvation! Salvation!"
And "Hosanna to the Son of David!" means, "The Son of David is our salvation! Hooray for the king! Salvation belongs to the king!"
And "Hosanna in the highest!" means, "Let all the angels in heaven join the song of praise. Salvation! Salvation! Let the highest heaven sing the song!"
Picture a super bowl game, and (believe it or not) the Vikings are three points ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are on their own 35 and have no more time outs. There are two seconds remaining on the clock. The Vikings' fans are going wild. The Steelers line up, fake a pass to the receivers on the left field line and run a wide sweep around the right end and the quarterback breaks into the open and heads down the right sideline -- 40 - 45 - 50 - 45. The only hope for the Vikings is Willie Teal, the safety, cutting a diagonal across the field. And out of the Vikings' grandstand come two kinds of Hosannas, the old kind and the new kind. One part of the crowd is yelling: "Catch him! Catch him, Willie!" (That's the old Hosanna.) The other part of the crowd is yelling, "You got him! You got him, Willie!" (That's the new Hosanna.) The word moved from plea to praise; from cry to confidence.
So when we sing "Hosanna" now, let's make it very personal. Let's make it our praise and our confidence. The Son of David has come. He has saved us from guilt and fear and hopelessness. Salvation! Salvation belongs to our God and to the Son! Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!

Adding to this later:  Also, in a Beth Moore study, "Stepping Up", Beth describes this term as  - Oh Lord, save us, Save now and send Messiah. Which was sung in the Psalms of Accent.  These were the Psalms 113-118 that the Israelites would sing on their way to celebrate Passover as they journeyed to the tabernacle.  She noted that it shifted to Hosanna in the Highest, saving is happening NOW!

Balancing our lives

I have so much going on right now.  There is so much in my heart and head.  I don't know what to say these days.  I am processing it all and not sure what to say about any of it.

I have really been looking at the life and ministry of an individual and that of a corporate ministry.  I wonder why we find it so difficult to find balance.  We either eat too much or not enough.  We either exercise too much or too little.  Well, we can get that way in any area.  In the church environment, we can get to saturated in fellowship and ignore other aspects, we can get overly immersed in bible study that we neglect our prayer time, and we can get so prayer focused that we forget the actual physical needs of those around us.  So when we are doing anything in our lives, lets pray for balance.