A Life Contrary

living a life out of the ordinary

Archive for the category “Frivolity”

In Which We Discuss All The Books

Well, I didn’t exactly get a book report done for March.  There’s a good reason for that.  I didn’t read anything other than Scripture in March.  One of my Lenten goals was to read through the gospels.  I decided to take that and read nothing but the gospels for most of Lent.

So, since I don’t have much to report of what I have read, I thought I’d give a quick update of what I’ve been reading.

I know that I should be reading things off my 2016 book list, but there are just so many books and so little time!  I5 Habits have decided to give audiobooks a try for more than just long distance trips.  I’m currently listening to 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit by Nicki Koziarz.  It was picked to be a bit of an experiment and see how well I would retain the information with only listening in bits and pieces.

I’ve learned two things:  I retain more than I thought and I find myself listening more often that just when I’m commuting or in the car.  It may only work for certain books, but I am definitely going to try to keep up on the audiobook thing and see if I can double my reading.  I’ve even started a list on Hoopla of books that I want to listen to.

Loving My Actual Life

I’ve been picked for two new launch teams and I can’t wait to share more about each of those books.  The first is Loving my Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall.  I’ve just downloaded it and hope to get it done soon.  The second I’ll be writing about soon.

Love DoesWhen I Don't Desire GodI also bought Love Does by Bob Goff and When I Don’t Desire God by John Piper.  I haven’t gotten started on these yet (see above), but we’re going to have Chas start Love Does soon and I’ll probably read it with him.

 

I also picked up a copy of Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs at work the other Present Over PerfectLooking for Lovelyday and started to thumb through it.  I got through the introduction and realized that I must read this soon.  Shauna Neiquist’s Present Over Perfect will also be released soon, so chances are, I’ll be grabbing a copy of that, too.

None of the books above were on my 2016 list, but if you’ll remember my list was pretty light for just this reason.  I don’t know that I’ll get to all of these or even those on my list soon, but a girl can dream, right?

So, what are you reading?  What have you read this year that has really stuck with you?  What must I add to my ever growing list?

Quieting the Noise and Listening for Answers

Confession time:  I both love to pray and simultaneously don’t do it nearly often enough.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like to talk to God while driving or when washing dishes, etc.  Talking is easy.  I do it all.  The.  Time.  That’s why I love it.  I can vent to God.  I can tell him all my troubles.  I can share whatever it on my heart without fear.

That isn’t what’s hard.  No, I have much more of a problem with the listening aspect of prayer.  I have trouble being silent and letting God get a word in from time to time.  Did you know that the word translated as prayer in the bible is overwhelming more of a listening than a talking type of prayer?  Around 75% of the time, it is used as listening rather than talking.

Listening.

Sitting still.

Being silent.

These are things that don’t come naturally to me.  Even as I sit here typing away, I keep thinking that I need to turn on some music or have an audiobook or podcast playing in the background.  But this is what God wants.  He wants us to be silent so that we can hear His voice.  Now certainly He can make himself known over the sound of all the noise, but why should He have to do this?  Why can’t I take a little time each day and listen for Him, listen to Him?  Because it is amazing what He has to say.

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

Often times, we think of God speaking to us in prayer as a call to action.  We pray that He will tell us what to do in a certain situation or give us direction on major life events.  Sometimes we pray for others who are going through something, an illness or loss.  We pray for healing and comfort.  We pray for all kinds of things.  But do we listen, too?  Do we wait to hear what God has to say?

God answers our prayers in a great many ways.  Sometimes He uses signs.  For example, my pastor was trying to discern whether or not to start a sermon series on Philippians when several things began to come together culminating with a guy coming into the bank where he worked had on a Philippians 4:4 tee shirt:  Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, Rejoice!

Sometimes God answers our prayer with Scripture.  A friend shared last week that she’d been praying for God to show her how to work through a grieving process when she was shown Romans 12:1-2 and knew immediately that she needed to start renewing her mind and begin to change her thoughts so she’d be more in line with God than with her grief.

Other times, God can answer prayers by simply having a friend send a cookie through the mail.  And you receive it just after having the worst day ever and needing a pick-me-up.  (This happened to me a couple weeks ago).

And sometimes, God doesn’t answer our prayers.  At least not immediately or in the way we were expecting.  Sometimes the answer is ‘No’ and we simply don’t recognize it at the time.  It’s hard for us to realize that the God of all Creation may not actually give us the desire of our heart.  It’s even harder for us to realize that sometimes that desire of our heart, isn’t actually what we need.

Regardless of how God shows us the answer to our prayers, or what the answer is, we still have to acknowledge that God does answer prayer.  We just have to be willing to listen to it and listen for it.

 Want to hear more about prayer, or more specifically answered prayer?  Check out the link up at Mrs. Disciple and hear what others are saying.

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Houston, We Have Kittens…

Right, so I know that this blog is supposed to have purpose and meaning. I understand that I’m supposed to mainly discuss health and wholeness. But occasionally on this long and twisted journey, something so beautiful happens and I can’t help but want to share.

Our little blind, one-ear runt of a cat, named Bartimaeus had kittens last week!

She’s been preggers for what seems like forever and we’ve honestly been on baby watch for the past 2 weeks. And then last Thursday, our cat that doesn’t know she’s a cat, didn’t come when my husband called. This was so odd that after the third time, he went to search for her.

He was pretty sure he knew where she’d go to give birth and sure enough on the coldest night of the spring, she had holed up in the broken down little shed in our backyard. We’ve actually been waiting to tear it down thinking this might be her birth plan.

Sure enough, she was there. She had given birth to an unknown number and was hiding them and keeping them safe and warm. Nathan went and got a heater and a tarp and covered all the large holes and made sure they’d all have adequate warmth as she took care of them.

Today, he found out that whereas she’d indeed given birth to 3 kittens, only two made it. So, now we’re the proud owners of our little tortie, Bartimaeus, as well as two little gray kittens, who’re still yet unnamed. Though it’s looking more likely that they’ll be called Patience and Defiance (or, Sebastian. We’re still deciding).

What’s going on with you all today? How are you finding your joy?

Five Friday Favorites: Audibles

 

I don’t claim to be a big football fan.  There was a time when I really enjoyed all sports and watched most of them.  Hockey and baseball were always my favorite, but I would watch football with my dad (basketball was never an option).  However, I do have a basic understanding of the audible.

Audible

So, when Mrs. Disciple posted that this week’s linkup would be discussing 5 audibles, I really began to think about my life and times when we have been headed in one direction, ready to execute the play, but before we knew it, an audible had been called and we were heading in a completely different direction.

So, without further ado, here are 5 audibles that have been called in our life:

1.)  Due to several circumstances, it took my husband 10 years to achieve the goal of being a Navy chaplain.  He was called to this work and then had to complete seminary, work through endorsement by a government-recognized entity, and various other hoops that took a decade.  But back in the fall of 2006, he made it and shipped off to the Navy’s Chaplain School in January of 2007.

We embarked on that journey and spent 6 years in that ministry believing that this was the end goal.  We had no clue that God had other plans.  At the end of those 6 years, my husband told me that he believed that God was leading him to leave the chaplaincy.  Stubborn to a fault, I said no.  But after much prayer, I knew this is what God wanted.  It took us a year to put things in place so after 7 years, we left the ministry that took 10 years to get into.  Definitely a change in the play.

 

2.)  The April that our son turned 5, we began to talk about where he would go to school the coming fall.  I knew that my husband’s desire was for us to homeschool, but I also knew that I was no teacher and had no more than a high school education and couple semesters of college.  So once again, I said no (don’t worry this isn’t a theme).  It took a lot of grace from my husband, but we decided to put him in a small church run school.  We were blessed to find amazing schools each place we moved with the military and the discussion never really came up again.

However, toward the end of our time with the Navy, Chas was in a school that was less than ideal.  God used this to break my heart of its hardness and stubbornness toward homeschooling.  Even though we found a great school to finish out our time there, He had planted a seed so that once we left the military; I knew that we were supposed to homeschool our son.  It has been challenging and difficult, but I can’t deny that this change in the play wasn’t just necessary, it was blessed.

 

3.)  I never really had an answer to the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  I wanted to be a great many things but never enough to actually follow through and do them.  So I did what most 18-year olds do – I went to college without a clue and an undecided major.  I had thought about journalism or mass media as a safe bet, but criminal justice was what I was actually working toward when this audible was called in the form of a young sailor that entered my life during my first semester of college.

Married at 19, baby at 20, and moving from Missouri to California was not the play that I had set up, but God changed it up and I can’t imagine things being any different now.  It’s been a wild ride, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

 

4.)  As stated in #3, I left college to follow my sailor around the country.  This required me to leave college, which wasn’t a very big sacrifice considering I had no clue what I really wanted to do anyway.  I was pretty happy with the wife and mother gig so I saw no real rush to go back to school.  Even though the hubs made a promise that I would go back at some point.  But life, right?

So, at 30, I kind of figured that that ship had sailed and I was okay with that.  So imagine my surprise when a random email comes through about an online opportunity and before you know it the play is changed yet again and I’m applying at age 35 to go back to school and finish my bachelor’s degree!

 

5.)  I grew up in a rural, farming area, but we lived in town (of 325 people!) and my father had left farming long before I was born, so even though to most I seemed like a country girl, I was actually more “city.”  At 18, I left rural Missouri and headed to the city for college and never really looked back.  After marrying Nathan, we traversed most of the major cities of the country living in, or just outside, Corpus Christi, TX, Lexington, KY, Nashville, TN, Providence, RI, etc.  The closest we got to country living was the Mojave Desert, but even then we were an hour from Palm Springs, 2-3 hours from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

So imagine my surprise to currently be living on a 5-acre farm in Middle Tennessee… and LOVING it!  I will admit that there are several things about country living that I’m still averse to (bugs!), but I’m learning and counting down the days until our little farm is functioning the way we intend.  Who would’ve thought that such a change in the play would actually be so great!

 

What about you?  What audibles have been called in your life?  How has the change in the play affected it for the better or worse?  Head over to Mrs. Disciple to hear what others are saying about the audibles in their life.

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Five Friday Favorites: Laugh Out Loud

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Life has been super heavy lately.  Perhaps it was the observance of Lent.  Perhaps it was the death throes of winter.  Perhaps it was the abundant stress that seems to be following us around like a dark cloud over our heads.  Regardless of the reason, I will say that it is beyond time for a little bit of levity.

With that in mind, I’m joining up with Mrs. Disciple to bring a few laughs this April Fool’s Day because who couldn’t use a laugh or two?

 

1.)  Jimmy Fallon – Games with Guests

Can I just say that this man consistently brings the funny?  I watched him a little on SNL and caught his previous talk show in bits, but I’d say that he has definitely found his stride on the Tonight Show.  I don’t watch regularly and I rarely watch the guests or performances, but the games!  Seriously, I’ll wait a bit and then hit up You Tube and just binge watch all the games with guests.  A few tend to fall flat depending on the guest (like, Whisper Challenge with Blake Shelton or anything with Kristen Stewart) but there are others (like Nonsense Karaoke with Chris Pratt, Catchphrase with anyone, Egg Russian Roulette) that I will watch over and over.  Perhaps I just have the sense of humor of a 12-year old, but I can’t help it.  He gets me EVERY. TIME.

 

2.) Relevant Magazine – Relevant Podcast

Okay, I’ll admit that I’m more of an “Oh, that’s funny,” type person rather than a Laugh Out Loud person.  It takes a LOT to actually make me laugh.  This podcast does it on the reg.  I cannot think of a time when I have not just cracked a smile, but actually laughed, loudly and often.  Cameron Strang, Eddie Kaufholz, Jesse Carey, Jeremiah Dunlap, and a steady rotation of Shauna Niequest, Joy Eggerichs Reed, and Tiffany Brunson deliver every week.  True to form, there are some weeks that are funnier than others, but after having listened for over a year (and binge listening older episodes), I can say that there hasn’t been a show yet that hasn’t garnered a chuckle or guffaw.  Bonus:  Interesting and informative interviews with authors, musicians, theologians, actors, and more (but we know what’s really up).

3.)  This Knock-Knock Joke (best if read out loud or used on another person):

Knock-Knock

Who’s there?

A Little Old Lady

A Little Old Lady who?

I didn’t know you could yodel?

 

4.) Puns and Dad jokes

Yeah, I can’t help it.  I love a good pun.  There’s something about the more intellectual ones that just send me over the edge. And I feel that Dad jokes just fall into the same category.  There are so many good ones out there and with the ability to search for funny things on the internet, it’s hard to find new ones, but they are out there.  Here’s a great way to stay on top of all things punny:

Pun of the Day

 

5.)  Cat Videos.

Let’s just be honest, there’s a reason why cats rule the internet.  They are funny.  Look!  That cat just fell off a table!  This one is walking like Nosferatu.  That one was scared by a dog!  Seriously a friend posted a video of a cat attacking green apples on a bed.  I watched it 3 times.  There’s just something about those silly felines that get me and I think most of humanity.  It may be the best test on how to tell if someone is a sociopath.

What about you?  What makes you laugh out loud?  Head over to Mrs. Disciple to get a few laughs today.

Five Friday Favorites: Bible Stories

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I love a good story.  My beginning as a writer started with me writing down the stories that I would create.  It’s always been a favorite pastime to lose myself in a really good story.  I think everyone yearns for this a little bit.  It’s why a good book or movie or tv show will draw us in.

I think this is one of the reasons why God chose to reveal Himself in stories.  Even though the Bible is full of real accounts of real people, they are still sometimes told in narrative format.

My favorite stories are always changing, usually based on what attribute of God I need that day.  However, I do have a few steady candidates that hold special places in my heart.  Here are just a few of the ones that I wanted to share today:

1.)  The Seven Sons of Sceva, Acts 19:11-20 – Never heard of this one?  Well, you’re probably not alone and it probably won’t make many people’s lists of top bible stories, but it’s a notable one in our house.  When my son was little and adults at church asked for the kids favorite bible stories, most children would say Noah or Jonah, but not our little one.  No, he preferred this exorcism-laced story from Acts.  To paraphrase the story, there were 7 sons of a high priest named Sceva who were casting out demons.  Unfortunately, one day they happen upon a demon that talks back.  After they command the demon out “in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches,”  the demon replied, “Jesus I know and Paul I recognize, but who are you?”  Then the demon leaps on them and bad things happen.  Not exactly a heart-warming children’s tale, but I think the combination of the strong admonition of not invoking the Lord’s name in vain and the Hubs using his vocal skills made it a favorite for our little guy.

2.)  Mary Anoints Jesus, John 12:1-8 – This is a favorite among many.  There are songs and stories about it.  There may even be a movie about it.  I haven’t felt a particular affinity for it until my pastor recently preached from this text last Sunday leading into Holy Week.  Though other gospels tell the story, too; this one is especially sweet to me.  Pastor spoke on the different types of worship (there are 4 in this passage).  But I love the beauty that is shown in Mary’s worship as she smashes the bottle containing the most expensive, important thing she owns and pours it onto our Lord, wiping the excess with her hair.  I cannot imagine this scene and do it justice, but when I think on it, I am greatly moved by this act and can only hope that I am following in this example.

3.)  The Commander of the Lord’s Army, Joshua 5:13-15 – It’s a short story, just a few verses, really.  But it is one that I have come back to time and again.  Joshua has just led the people into Canaan.  They have just been circumcised and observed the first Passover in Canaan.  They were about to take Jericho when Joshua sees someone with his sword drawn.  We don’t know if Joshua was scared, but we do know he was bold as he asks, “Are you for us, or for our enemies?”  And I LOVE the answer.  The commander simply says, “No.”  The commander was for the Lord.  Shouldn’t that be our answer for everything?  What is your opinion on this hot-button political issue?  No, I’m for the Lord.  What is your opinion on this divisive cultural issue?  No, I’m for the Lord.  Is the dress blue and black or white and gold? No. No. No.

4.) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Daniel 3:8-30 – This is another common Sunday School story of standing up against idolatry, right?  If you’re into the VeggieTales version, it’s about standing up against the Bunny.  And I do love this aspect of it.  We live in a world of idols; indeed, John Calvin said that our very hearts are idol factories.  However, there’s a little piece to this story that is often overlooked.  Specifically verses 16-18.  Nebuchadnezzar has just asked the young men about their failure to bow down and worship.  Then they answer.  “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Italics added)  They are facing a king (little ‘k’) and they flat out tell him that they don’t have to answer.  Furthermore, the King they do serve, well, He is able, but that’s not what’s important.  No, what is important to them is that they are going to serve Him regardless.  Whew!  It doesn’t get much better than that.

5.)  Jesus, the WHOLE of Scripture – You can call this a copout, but I can’t help it.  It’s something I’m learning, even more, every day.  There is not one single part of this entire work where I can’t see Jesus.  How amazing is that?  How amazing is our God?  I love the fact that He asks us to meet Him and learn about Him in this way.  Jesus called His followers disciples, students, and gave us a book to learn about Him.  For a book nut, life-long learner, and word nerd like me, that is the most awesome thing ever!  If we don’t look at the Bible as a whole, then we will often miss things like this.  And that would be a real tragedy.

So, what about you?  What is God showing you through Scripture?  Don’t forget to head over to Mrs. Disciple to check out what others are sharing as their favorite bible stories/characters.

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Five Friday Favorites: Obstacles

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“You seek a great fortune, you three who are now in chains.  You will find a fortune though it will not be the one you seek.  But first… first you must travel a long and difficult road, a road fraught with peril.  Mmm-hmmm.  You shall see thangs, wonderful to tell.  You shall see a… a cow… on the roof of a cotton house… ha.  And, oh, so many startlements.  I cannot tell you how long the road shall be… but fear not the obstacles in your pathfor fate has vouchsafed your reward.  Though the road may wind, yes, your hearts gone weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation.”

– Seer’s speech, O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)

 

I’ll admit.  This is one of my favorite movies.  Also, I can’t think of obstacles without thinking of this speech from the beginning of this interpretation of Homer’s Odyssey.  As the seer tells the travelers that they will face “ob-sta-cles.”

It’s pretty much a given that we’ll face obstacles.  Just as we clear one, another gets moved into our path.  It’s enough to knock us down on the regular and if we aren’t careful, then those obstacles can actually keep us stuck in the same place.

So, the question then becomes how do you overcome these obstacles?  As a part of this week’s linkup at Mrs. Disciple, I’d like to spend a little time talking about 5 Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles:

1.) Being Self-Aware and Introspective – There are times when we are encountering obstacles and we don’t even realize it.  We’re so busy battling other things that we don’t even notice what is right in front of us.  The best way to deal with that is to know yourself.  After all, that is who you spend most of your time with.  It’s not always easy to be introspective; sometimes there are hurts that run deep and make it difficult to really be open.  However, if you can’t be honest with yourself, who can you be honest with?

2.) Know Your Enemy and their strategies – Not all of our obstacles are of the natural variety.  Sometimes they are custom variety, made especially to knock us down.  The adversary and our natural flesh will seek to destroy us if we aren’t careful.  I love the part of the Armor of God Bible study by Priscilla Shirer where she encourages you to gain “actionable intel” on the enemy.  That is the best way we can battle.  We must be aware of ourselves, but we must also know what is going on outside of us.

3.)  Pray – This one is pretty obvious, but it is still one that is worth mentioning.  The best way we can gain strength is by calling on the one who is our strength.  Prayer is great for changing our hearts, but it also lets us tap into strategies #1 and #2.  Through prayer, we are able to know ourselves better and we are able to gain knowledge and help to defeat those obstacles that are put in our path by our adversary.

4.)  Ask for help – It is tempting when we see an obstacle in our path to believe the lie that we must overcome it on our own.  I’ll admit that this is one that I especially struggle with.  I hate asking for help.  But God has continually been working on me and helping me to see that He has put people directly in my life to help with certain obstacles that are popping up around me.  And when all else fails, we know that He is our biggest help in times of need.

5.)  Persevere – It’s easy to get knocked down in this life.  It’s even easier to stay knocked down.  That isn’t what we’re called to, however.  We are called to run our race with endurance.  We can’t let getting knocked down from time to time (because that will happen) shut us down.  We also can’t grow weary in running.  If we weary running with men, how will we run with horses? (Jeremiah 12:5)  We have to be diligent and intentional so that we can persevere to the end.

By way of accountability and also in the vein of obstacles, the hubs and I are considering signing up for a mud run, which is basically a 5K full of muddy obstacles.  It doesn’t just work like a normal 5K though, you aren’t just trying to get a phenomenal time, you are working through the obstacles in a quick pace.  The idea is that you get a team together and your work together to overcome these obstacles.

There are some mud runs that are so tough that all of the participants work together to overcome them.  If this works out and we are able to compete, I will be employing these strategies to help because they don’t just work with spiritual obstacles, they also work with the real physicals ones, too.

What obstacles are you facing?  How are you coping with them?  Make sure to stop into the linkup at Mrs. Disciple and read what others are saying about obstacles.

  

Recipe Corner: Roasting a Whole Chicken

I will be completely honest.  I have struggle with whether or not I want to share this particular recipe/trick.  It’s a favorite of mine and I love being able to wow people when you pull out a whole roasted chicken that looks and smells amazing.

However, it is such a simple thing to do, I just can’t resist.  It seems quite daunting when you see that entire bird at the grocery store.  I think it evokes ideas of Thanksgiving turkeys and an enormous day of slaving over a stove or in a kitchen.

But it really isn’t that at all.  Roasting a chicken is one of the simplest preparations ever!  Cutting it up after you’ve roasted it is really the hardest part and there’s really not a lot to it.

The first time I got a whole chicken and brought it home, I really had no clue what to do.  I just knew that it was on sale and I could really get my money’s worth from it (or so I thought.  Turns out that it was SO yummy that my boys ate almost the whole thing in one meal).  I did what most the women of my generation do when they are saddled with tough culinary tasks – I looked on Pinterest (points are given for googling it, too).

When I came across this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, I was dumbfounded.  Could it really be that easy?  Yes.  Yes, it can.  Since that first day, I have roasted many a chicken.  Sometimes I still follow that recipe and sometimes I just go with whatever I have around the house.  Usually when I have a recipe, I like to follow it closely the first time I prepare a dish, but after that, all bets are off.

Here’s the basic gist (for the actual recipe, go here):

3-4lb Whole Chicken

Something to stuff inside (apples, onion, citrus fruit, carrots, celery, other root veg, garlic, etc)

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Herbs (fresh or dried)

 

Preheat oven to 450*

Stuff the chicken (you won’t be eating this part so you don’t have to worry about peelings or precious knife skills

Pat the chicken dry (this ensures a nice browning and crust)

Mix herbs, salt, pepper, and oil together and rub all over the bird (if using fresh, make sure you remove the stems before chopping)

Cook for 1 hour 15 minutes – 1 hour 30 minutes, until brown and cooked through

Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting (this keeps the juices in the chicken and off your cutting board)

 

Yes, it really is that easy and yes, it really is that impressive.  Seriously, you should do this.  Probably tonight.  Check out the Pioneer Woman’s blog for extra tips on roasting a chicken and go here to learn how to cut it up once it’s cooked.

Five Friday Favorites: Names of God

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Honey.  Mom.  Stac.  Friend.  Ed.  Sister. These are a few of the names that I answer to on a regular basis.  There are several more.  Some are used daily and some are used only on special occasions.  Each one is used in specific circumstances or by specific people to denote a certain aspect of my character – what makes me, me.

The same is true for God.  As we get to know more and more about Him, we learn different parts of His character.  As we learn these, we learn different names to call Him in different situations, what to call out when we have a specific need.  Today, as part of the linkup with mrsdisciple.com I want to explore a few of the many names of God.

Here are 5 Names of God and what they mean to me:

1.) El Roi – This name is used in Genesis when Hagar is mistreated by Sarah and runs away.  As Hagar takes her son and flees, completely distraught, God comes to her.  The name she uses is El Roi, which means “The God who Sees.”  I love this name because just like Hagar, there  are times when I feel like I am all alone.  I feel like my afflictions are completely mine alone to deal with, but they aren’t.  I’m not alone.  I have a God who sees me.  I have a God who sees what is going on with me and knows what I am going through in every detail.

2.) Jehovah Jireh – “God provides” is one of the more known names of God.  I find it especially comforting.  God knows my need and he provides for each and every one of them.  It doesn’t matter what is going on in my life, God will provide.

3.)  Adonai – a name that usually denotes the OT name for Jesus.  It translates to Lord and Master.  It is special for me because you have to know Jesus as Lord before you can really know Him as anything else.  You must let Him have complete rule and reign of your life.

4.) El Elyon – God Most High.  One of the most majestic names for our God.  I love the imagery that this name evokes.  I love the perspective that it gives me when I acknowledge my God as Most High.  It helps me to know my place and trust Him more and more.

5.)  Jehovah Nissi – The Lord is my Banner.  When all seems lost and I’m not feeling very victorious I like to think of this name.  In battle, each army have their banners that they fly acknowledging their force.  When I feel like I am failing, I just need to look at Jehovah Nissi and know that the Lord is my banner and flies over me.  He is my victory.

There are many resources to learn about the names of God, first and foremost is just by reading your Bible.  Most will have the names of God highlighted or you can get a really great study Bible to help.  Also make sure you head over to the linkup at mrsdisciple.com to see what everyone else is saying about the Names of God.

5 Names of God

Five Friday Favorites: Love

Five

Today, we’re talking about love, which is great since my favorite holiday is coming up:  Discount chocolate day, aka the day after Valentines Day.  However, since Valentines does have to happen for the chocolate to be discounted, I thought it would be fun to spend a little time on the main way we celebrate that holiday.

So, for those of you who didn’t know, in the ancient Greek, there are several words used for love.  How awesome is that?  Because really I hate that I have to use the same word – love- to describe my enjoyment of Mexican food, my husband, and my God.  And really I do love all those things.  It’s just a different kind.  I’m definitely no expert in ancient Greece or love, but I thought it’d be fun to look the bare basics of a few forms of love.  Here are a few of the more common usages:

  1. Éros – This is one of the most common forms of love and the general one we think of when we think of love.  It’s the romantic/physical type of love.  Think of any romantic comedy you’ve ever seen… that’s generally what’s considered eros.  However, eros is SO much more.  Plato redefined eros as an appreciation of the beauty within a person (this is how we get the term “platonic”).  Can you imagine?  Look at your spouse, with whom you share the most intimate affection, and see the beauty within that person.  Not married?  No worries.  Think of Jesus.  Spend a little bit of time meditating on the beauty within Jesus.
  1. Philia, or philos – This should look pretty familiar.  Philia is the term for affectionate regard, or friendship.  Having trouble remembering that one?  Think of the city in Pennsylvania:  Philadelphia – the city of brotherly love!  This is one that generally comes pretty naturally to us.  It is pretty easy to show love to our friends and family.  Aristotle, however, stated that philos requires virtue, equality, and familiarity.  Try to look at your friends and family in this way.  Treat them with virtue, equality, and familiarity.
  1. Storge (pronounced stor-gay) – This is most often linked with empathy, specifically of that within families and most often parent and child.  This is extremely relational.  How complex is familial love!  Whether it is your parents, children, or a family of your own choosing, family relationships are among some of the most difficult to navigate.  However, I really like this idea of empathy in relation to your familial relationships.  Loving family can be really difficult at times, but try to realize that they probably feel the same about loving you.
  1. Xenia – This is “love of stranger.”  Today we would think xenia comparable to hospitality.  It’s fun to hang out with our friends and go to a restaurant or spend time at church.  But how often do you invite people over to your home?  I think that hospitality is a lost art.  I think we often think we have to spend a crazy amount of money or time making everything perfect and we don’t realize that expressing xenia isn’t about any of that.  It’s merely treating those outside your family as if they are a part of it.  Warts and all.  Don’t be scared, just reach out and love.
  1. Agape – I deliberately saved this one for last.  Probably the most well-known and the most misused form of love.  Agape is rightly defined as a “Godly love.”  This is not only the love that God has for us, but also the love that we are to have for one another.  It isn’t just a feeling, like eros or philia.  Agape is much more akin to a choosing of love, or a mental assent.  Sometimes we have to make a deliberate choice to love someone, even if we aren’t particularly feeling it at the time.  This is what is spoken of when we are called to love our enemies.  We aren’t asked to have an intimate feeling, or even to have a friendly feeling, merely the idea that we are choosing to love this person because God loves us and He is love and enables us to love others.

Sometimes loving is difficult.  Sometimes we can only make a choice to regard and respect that person and that’s okay.  The main thing to remember is that God is love and it is through Him that loving is possible at all.  I challenge you to pick one of these forms of love and express it this Valentine’s Day.  Bonus points if you can find a way to express all FIVE!

Need a few more ideas on sharing and showing love?  Check out these other blogs as a part of the linkup with mrsdisciple.com.

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