Inspirational Articles. Stories to help you everyday.
Coming Down From The Mountain
Can You Come Down From the Mountain?
From: My Utmost For Highest Highest
While you have the light, believe in the light . . . —John 12:36
We all have moments when we feel better than ever before, and we say, “I feel fit for anything; if only I could always be like this!” We are not meant to be. Those moments are moments of insight which we have to live up to even when we do not feel like it. Many of us are no good for the everyday world when we are not on the mountaintop. Yet we must bring our everyday life up to the standard revealed to us on the mountaintop when we were there.
Never allow a feeling that was awakened in you on the mountaintop to evaporate. Don’t place yourself on the shelf by thinking, “How great to be in such a wonderful state of mind!” Act immediately— do something, even if your only reason to act is that you would rather not. If, during a prayer meeting, God shows you something to do, don’t say, “I’ll do it”— just doit! Pick yourself up by the back of the neck and shake off your fleshly laziness. Laziness can always be seen in our cravings for a mountaintop experience; all we talk about is our planning for our time on the mountain. We must learn to live in the ordinary “gray” day according to what we saw on the mountain.
Don’t give up because you have been blocked and confused once— go after it again. Burn your bridges behind you, and stand committed to God by an act of your own will. Never change your decisions, but be sure to make your decisions in the light of what you saw and learned on the mountain.
Genesis 37:5-11, Genesis 42:1-6
Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling grain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came. When they arrived, they bowed before him with their faces to the ground (Genesis 42:6).
When have you felt that God didn’t come through for you in fulfilling one of your dreams? How might God have been at work even in this seeming failure?
A group of us were sharing dinner and then we gave testimonies about a God who loves His people enough to speak His dreams into their hearts. We heard of an apartment complex for single mothers. A wedding barn and a Christian campground. A new local church being established. Common to all was the desire that God’s name would be made great through each respective leap of faith.
Uncertain about believing in a God who can’t be seen with physical eyes, listening to a voice we can’t record, and following a hand we cannot tangibly touch, we can make faith nothing more than a collection of dry terms as we hunker down in a predictable life. More than something we know or talk about, however, faith must be lived out.
Consider the hall of faith in Hebrews 11:1-40. They built, conceived, offered, promised, blessed, spoke, refused, chose, left, went, overthrew, ruled, received, shut, quenched, escaped, suffered, died. Refusing safety, those who truly believed in God moved in incredible ways—following God to points beyond whatever felt safe and comfortable.
Stepping out into the unknown isn’t easy. Some days it’s downright frightening. Scripture doesn’t give us an exact reason for Joseph’s forthrightness in sharing the dream God had given him. It only details the outcome: rejection, isolation, and injustice. But for Joseph—and for us—the cost of faith pales in comparison to the fulfillment of God’s promise (Genesis 46:5-7; Joshua 24:32; Psalm 105:19).
Believing what God has spoken doesn’t guarantee an easy journey, but it does give us a front-row seat to watch Him at work. For “God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished” (Philippians 1:6).
What’s In The Name?
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:7
There are a lot of fun events associated with being a pastor. And while great food at church dinners and getting invited to cool events with people in your church are near the top of the list, there may be nothing that quite compares to sharing some great moments with people — like the birth of babies. But in the joy of it all, there is a problem.
When you arrive at the hospital, you encounter a weary, but thrilled, couple who hand you this tightly wrapped little bundle and then impose on you a serious ethical dilemma. Of course, you are supposed to say, “Oh, my goodness, what a pretty little girl,” or “What a handsome little boy!” The reality is that I’ve never seen a child fresh out that looks anything like handsome or pretty. (Come to think of it, I have seenthree really beautiful babies.)
But once I get past the ethical dilemma by saying something like, “My, isn’t she precious,” the conversation ultimately morphs into an easier realm of interaction regarding the child’s name: “What’s the baby’s name?” . . . “That’s a great name. What does it mean?” The answers vary:
“Oh, it’s his grandfather’s name.”
“Her name means ‘Father’s delight’” or,
“We have no idea; we just chose it from a baby book!”
For most of us, names are relatively insignificant. They are easily changed into nicknames and serve basically to distinguish us from Bob or Ted. But if we look at God’s view of names in the same way, we may have trouble understanding what the big deal is about God’s name. Why would He include the importance of His name in His top-10 list of “Thou Shalt Nots”? How could diminishing His name rank up there with murder, stealing, and adultery?
It doesn’t take much digging through the Bible to realize that names are important to God. Think about Genesis, when God was often giving new names to the main characters—Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob became Israel. Each change signaled a statement from God about that individual’s character and his or her place in His plan. It wasn’t about God giving a nickname, it was about God assigning identity and worth to these individuals through the meaning of their name.
Most importantly, names are one of God’s key means of revealing His own identity and worth. He reveals His identity when He tells Moses that He is named “Yahweh,” which means, “I Am.” It means that He is eternally existent. He also identifies Himself as “Elohim,” the Almighty God, the God of great power. His names are who He is, not just what we call Him.
God’s names also describe His worth. You may be familiar with names like “Jehovah-Jireh,” meaning that He is the God who will provide. Or “El-Shaddai,” which means that He is completely sufficient. There are, in fact, 210 different names of God throughout Scripture, adding incredible richness and depth to our understanding of God’s identity, worth, and character.
Which is exactly why He takes it so seriously when we degrade His name by using it as though it weren’t sacred and lowering it to mere casual conversation as though it were ordinary. The exclamation, “Oh my God” should be an urgent prayer, not a verbal exclamation point. When we lower the name of God to drag it through a moment of anger or to use it to intimidate or manipulate, we have taken God Himself and lowered Him from His holy position. His name is intrinsically locked into who He is and what He is like. To put it simply, when we hit on His name, we have hit on Him. No wonder He is offended.
So, what’s in a name? If you’re talking about God, the answer is everything!