Monday’s Musings — He’s AWESOME!

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Did you know that God is described as “awesome” in the Bible?
Yes, the actual word is used.

Psalm 47:2 declares:

“For the Lord Most High is awesome,
the great King over all
the earth.”

It was last week in my once-a-week morning study with a great group of women where I realized that God was described as “awesome.” It was in our lesson on Nehemiah, which referred us to Nehemiah 1:5:

“Then I said: ‘Lord, the God of heaven,
the great and awesome God,
who keeps his covenant of love
with those who love him and keep his commandments,…’ “

I’ve read these passages before, but–obviously–I had not read them slow enough or conscientiously enough to see the word “awesome” in the way I do now. (I need to work on having “eyes to see” and “ears to hear.”)  That particular word takes me back 30+ years to my teens.

You see, I am an ’80s teen. “Awesome” was a big part of our vocabulary, and it was another way of saying things like “wow,” “REALLY cool,” “pretty fantastic,” or “spazzy good.” In case we struggled with spelling, the cheerleaders at our high school (and yours, too, I’m sure) had a cheer that went:

“A-W-E,  (!!)
S-O-M-E;  (!!!)
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome are we!”  (!!!!)

“Awesome,” in my mind, was more of a teeny-bopper word…until last week.

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During the ’80s, I don’t think I EVER attributed “awesome” to God.

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I use a New International Version (NIV’84) of the Bible for my regular study, and my exhaustive concordance is the same version. It lists “awesome” as being used 34 times in the NIV Bible. For comparison’s sake, the New King James Version (NKJV) uses “awesome” 39 times, the New American Standard Bible (NASB) uses it 32 times, and the English Standard Version (ESV) references “awesome” 33 times.

As a part of my homework for this post, I committed to read all 34 entries from the NIV.

I am in awe.

I knew and I know God is awesome, but after reading these 34 references to the word in the Word, I AM just IN AWE of who He is and how my still-’80s perspective of “awesome” falls SO far short of the real meaning of the word.

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If you go to Blue Letter Bible , and you type in “awesome” and ask to see it in various versions (I pulled it up in the NASB for this particular example), and then you click the box beside STRONG’S (you can only do that on the NASB and the King James Version on this website; that’s why I used NASB…), you’ll see the word “awesome” come up in red. Just to the right of the word, you’ll see a tiny reference number. If you right-click this and open it in a new tab, you’ll see the same page I linked to above and here.

Scan down this page you just opened, and you’ll see the word broken down, defined and outlined. You can see there are some references to “fear” and “dread,” but you’ll also see references to verses and usages where “awesome” is used to mean, “to stand in awe of, be awed, to honour, to respect, to cause astonishment, and to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe.”

My takeaway — from the verse in Nehemiah we were going over last week and also after reading the 34 NIV references — brings me to seeing God in an even more astonishing and reverent, awe-filled way! He’s majestic, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, and…AWESOME! I knew all of that, but I never deeply tied who He was to the Biblical definition and understanding of “awesome” like I do now. My ’80s idea of the word just can’t match how I see it now.

I just love reading His Word. He never ceases to amaze me. Never. He knows me SO well, and even after many years of studying Him in His Word, I still get excited to learn more about Him…and also about words which describe Him.

 

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Using His Talents Wisely

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I want to say a huge “thank you” to those of you who have commented, emailed or messaged me about my last post. Your grace and support is truly appreciated!

I’ve been reminded of the importance of using the resources I’ve been given.

The Amplified Version of the Bible in Matthew 25:29 says:

“For to everyone who has will more be given,
and he will be furnished richly so that he will have an abundance;
but from the one who does not have,
even what he does have will be taken away.”

I don’t want to even think of the possibility of wasting something the Lord would desire for me to do, yet any one of us could easily come up with a quick list in how we’ve done just that. If I have the ability to produce something good in His name (fruit), it is because He has given it to me to use for His glory (vine); if I don’t have the ability, but He has called me to it, I can trust in Him to provide me with the resources and abilities. Just as in the parable of the talents in Matthew, chapter 25, I need to invest in the “talents,” responsibilities and blessings I’ve been given, and I need to be pursuing them wisely — or there will be a cost.

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Part of me is struggling with whether or not to make this site about my daily goings-on in the way I handle the challenges, conflicts, blessings and smile moments that happen in my normal days. There are a lot of bloggers out there who do this. My life isn’t necessarily one that would be labeled by others as fascinating or exciting, AND, I definitely don’t have all the answers, so I’m not sure that’s the way for me to go. However, I am reflective, and that character trait could be a benefit in sharing my perspectives on these pages.

The other part of me is wondering if maybe I just need to focus less on longer posts with pictures and more on what really captures my heart and helps my path to be lit by Him.

I have a lot of these little moments.

I’m not sure how meaningful they’d be to all of you, but they certainly are meaningful to me — they serve as a reminder of His constant presence. There’s a lot of joy, peace and comfort in that for me, and if I could give you a bit of that, then it could make a difference in your life and in mine.

Maybe I need to do a little of each? If you have any thoughts, I’m open to them!

Well…I have just realized that I’ve done all the above in this post! For now, I’ll be working on some of the started-but-not-finished posts I mentioned the other day. I’m praying about them, and I’m keeping my eyes and heart open to some new ideas, too.

 

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Finding Hope in Obedience to His Calling

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Yes. I know. There has been another lull in my posting.

Perhaps I should apologize. Not necessarily to you, though.
I need to apologize to Him.
Repent, if you will.

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I’m a good starter, but I’m not always a good finisher. I enjoy the creative process and what follows to get ideas off the ground, but I’ve had to learn to be the type of person who submits the final report or finishes the project to the end. I don’t have an issue with this when it comes to doing a project for another person, for a group or for a supervisor; my issue shows itself when I do something for me. I guess you could call me a “procrastinator” of sorts — when it comes to my own projects, ideas, tasks or to-do list. I have a theory as to why I am this way … and perhaps I’ll share that with you some time in the future!

(My husband, many years ago, bought me a book about overcoming procrastination. I had every intention of reading it. Years after that, he found it, saw I had never read it, and tried to give it away to a book drive for charity. I pulled it out of the box with every intention of finally reading it. Surprise! I never did. It’s on my “list” of “I’ll get to it” items.)

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So why the lull…again? I wrote about this once before. This time, it’s not about listening to my calling; it’s about being obedient to my calling.

I’m struggling with baring my soul.

It was easier to write when my audience only knew me via the web. Now my audience is a mix of friends, family, acquaintances, strangers AND those who found me on the web. Sometimes it’s easier to be more open with those who don’t really know you. It can be tough to be open and reflective with those who see you at the post office, sit beside you in Bible studies, live over the mountain, catch a status, read a tweet or remember you when you wore your hair in piggy tails.

My calling hasn’t changed. I still feel as though He is leading me to share how I’ve surrendered my own hopes to Him in an effort to seek His will, strengthen my walk and live out the life He has planted within me. My audience, however, has changed.

Some of you are reading these posts…
…because you are on your own hope-filled journey
…because you want to follow my journey.
…because you know me.
…because a friend recommended you to me.
…because you want to support me as He’s called (thank you!!).
…because you want to see my cracks.

Additionally, some of you are reading these posts…
…because you are cheering for me through life’s challenges.
…to hold something over me.
…to take credit for something in my life.
…to see if I’m genuine.
Some of you are reading to see if I’ll crumble.

And then, there are some out there who aren’t reading these posts at all…some of whom I wish would be reading them.

These things are all a part of putting oneself out there. I know that. I’m just being really honest when I say that it makes it tough to write sometimes. Rather than write, I procrastinate. I start a lot of posts, but I am challenged to finish them.

So why SHOULD I bare a part of my seeking soul here on the web? Some of the reasons to choose to do so have been of my own doing, and some have not. The answer could be for many of the reasons listed above. If I were to find a hypothetical, big, ol’ glass bottle, and if I were to insert the mish-mash of reasons into it, and if I were to shake it all up and see which reason would rise to the top, well…

His calling for me would be the reason that would rise to the top.

The method of our calling does sometimes change, but, as believers, our purpose for being called does not.

We’re called to live our lives in such as a way as to point back toward Him.

No, we don’t all have to write a blog as a part of the process. I could live my life more quietly by picking and choosing who knows some or any of the details. I could walk a fine line to be seen but not heard. I just feel I’ve been led to reach out to others by sharing parts of how I find my hope, which, every now and then, leads others to reach back to me for prayer, confirmation, guidance and God-honoring input. Maybe, just maybe, some of you are finding a kind of hope in your own life by reading and pondering what I share.

Ann Voskamp, author of the book One Thousand Gifts (which you can find at DaySpring or Amazon), wrote in her five-session Study Guide to the book (which you can also find at DaySpring or Amazon),

“When we receive gifts, grace, and joy, and give them to others, we are fresh and filled with life. And when we receive, take and hold on to the good gifts of God and never pour out for others, we become bitter and toxic.”

So, even if all of those other reasons I listed above challenge me and cause me to occasionally feel as though I’m under a magnifying glass, and if being obedient to His calling points back toward Him, honors Him, honors His blessings in my life and honors others, then I need to move forward. I feel “fresh and filled with life” when I follow His calling in obedience, and I don’t want to become “bitter and toxic” by failing to recognize or share the grace, gifts and joy I’ve received from Him in abundance.

…which means I should be obedient to His calling on this season of my life.

It also means I’ll seek to write more…for your sake, for my sake and for His glory.

 

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