Tag Archives: The Lord’s Table

What’s in a Name? Jesus, Jesus, bo Bes…

Okay, the name of this post was totally just to get your attention. I wasn’t really going to sing the “name game” song with Jesus. I do have boundaries, sometimes.

It does, however bring my straight to the point. There is power in a name. Most of you (and myself) would have been completely shocked and appalled if I finished out the phrase with “bo besus.” Admit it, you would have. That is utter disrespect of the name of the one who left heaven, lived on Earth in a human body, suffered on the cross, bore our sins (which he had lived formerly in eternity separated from and did not even take part in while he was here), died, was buried, and the raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit. In our spirit, we know we can’t treat his name that way. There is power in his name. There is holiness in his name. There is an unspoken need to give the name respect, honor, and glory. “Bo besus” would be a slap in the face to all that Jesus’ name calls for.

That said, now matter how much power and glory is called for in a name, over use and similar use can detract from the strength of a name.  This is what has led to a struggle I have been having and will explain how God, as usual for me, flipped everything around and brought glory back to himself in my life.

If you haven’t read My Time Travel Testimony, go read it first and then come back.  This all takes place in the time after my timeline-shifting life change.

After God showed my that my Christian faith was all in his hands and not the story I thought it was, his love for me drew me closer to him.  The same week as my perspective adjustment, I started reading a book by David Platt called Radical (if you haven’t read it, read it, but I warn you it will change your life and your relationship with God) and I started a study through Setting Captives Free called The Lord’s Table (fat or skinny, if you know your relationship with food is out of whack, you need to check this out…it slowly stopped being about me and food and more about me and God).  Doing both of these at the same time really did completely transform my mind and change my relationship to God.  Both were quite difficult to go through, especially at together, but good.  I have not been the same since.

The Lord’s Table was a daily look in the spiritual mirror.  It really helped me to view Jesus sacrafice and a relationship with him as vital to my every day life.  Radical made me question my motives in my daily lives and asked the question, “Am I seeking the American Dream or Jesus?”  It made me wonder what I was doing for the Kingdom of God.

I finished both of these at about the same time.  When it was over, I was, to use the them of the book, radically changed…but now there was a vaccuum.  What do I do now to keep this fire going?

There are a series of challenges at the end of Radical.  One of these is to read the Bible through in one year.  I figured that is a great place to start.  I had been reading the Bible every day…and after Romans I went to Genesis and started from the beginning.  I found a One Year Bible for my ereader and started where I was in Genesis.  I was behind in the pacing for the year, but that is not what was important.  I just needed to read God’s word, and I wanted to try to do it in a year.

I have struggled every other time I have tried this.  I get a month or two in, get bogged down in Leviticus, skip a day, then another, then another, until I am just not reading anymore.  But this time was different.  It is like I can not get enough of it somedays.  I will write about this another day.  God’s word truly is amazing.

I loved it through Deuturonomy, Leviticus, and even Numbers.  1st and 2nd Kings rocked my socks off.  God taught me so much.  This time, though, it was the the books of Chronicles and the second trip the Psalms that did me in.  It was really hard to get through all of the names for the third time in 1st and 2nd Chronicles, and it was basically a rehashing of the books of Kings, but in a less exciting way.  I made it through Psalms great the first time, but this second time it has been harder to keep my attention through it.  I think one of the major things that got to me was the repetition of “The LORD” over and over through both of them.  The Bible started to become impersonal again.  It felt like I was disconnected from the words.

God must have known this, because a peculiar set of events began just when I about had enough…I was starting to “accidently” skip a day here and there.  And it all started with someone making a statement about God on Facebook, but using the name Yahweh.

I don’t know why I have been bothered by this.  I guess I always felt like when people called God “Yahweh” or even “Daddy” it was more to impress other people than to show honor and depth of relationship with God.  I will probably talk about my “Daddy” issues later (calling God that, that is), but this one is about Yahweh.

It stuck with me, seeing that on FB.  I knew it was none of my business to worry about what other people called God, but I wanted it to be.  I know that I needed to deal with this, so I prayed and asked the Spirit to help me let it go.  He did not do that.  He had another idea.

The message to my heart was, “That is my name.”  Wait, I know that.  That is the name you told Moses to tell the Israelites when they ask who sent him.  “And there is a reason for that, because it is my name.”  I know.  That is why I need you to help me deal with it when people call you that.  “My name is Yahweh.”

I kind of ended with that.  That is until when I came back to reading the Bible that night or the next morning (I don’t remember which).  When I started to read and had glazed eyes with all of “the LORDs” I was reading, I felt the overwelming urge to change them all (in the Old Testament readings) to “Yahweh”.  I wasn’t sure why, outside of the Yahweh conversation he and I just had.  So I did.

I totally changed the direction of Bible reading for me.  Suddenly verses, especially the Psalms, burst to life.  It was personal again.  When people cried out to God, they used his real name.  He is, afterall, a very personal God.  It was (and still is) awesome.  Even the books of Chronicles became lively and interactive.  It became about a God who decided to lavish his love on a group of people in a personal way, how they kept turning away from him, how he left them to their own devices, how they came to a place where they needed him, they turned back, cried out, and trusted him again…and then the cycle would begin again.  It reminded me of my relationship with God.  Call me Israel…call me Judah…we have the same story!

I am know theologian or Bible scholar, so don’t quote me here. but I did a little research.  Apparently, whenever “the LORD” is said in the Old Testament, it is usually in place of Yahweh or Adonai (which I found out that some people think was a replacement for the word Yahweh).  The Spirit led me to do something that goes back to the Hebrew text.  “The LORD” is “Yaweh”!!  How cool!

Just because I have this new practice, does that mean the Bible was not personal before…of course not!  For me, though, over the years and the common use of the word in church and elsewhere, “the LORD” is a word the lost power to me.  I did not see “the LORD” as a personal and intimate reference to God, but a word that made him more distant from me and the world.  I needed “Yahweh” take back the power, glory, and majesty of his name back in my life!  And, boy, did he.

I have not come to the point to using the name Yahweh in prayers, but I think that transformation may be coming.  Think about it.  What other “god” has told us his name?

This is more than a story about a name.  It is about how God, or Yahweh, is a personal and loving God.  He gave us his name.  His name holds power, but more than that, it shows us that he truly cares about us.  He did not tell Moses to tell the Israelites to say “Mr. God” sent him.  No, he told him his name.  All power and glory and honor to the name of Yahweh!

What about you?  Has the name of God lost power for you?  Has God become impersonal?  How has Yahweh become more real and personal to you in your life?

I do challenge you to read something in the Old Testamen and change the “LORDs” to “Yahweh”.  The Psalms are a great place to try this.  Psalm 135.  I hope it is as life changing for you as it was for me.

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The Chronicles of OneCupOfJoe: The Lion, The Snake, and The Crawl Space

I will start by telling you about my mixed relationship with snakes.  When I was young, like most boys, I thought snakes were awesome.  I loved them.  They were right up there with dinosaurs.

That was until my first brush with an actual snake on my own.  We lived in upstate South Carolina at the time (my dad was a Marine and we moved around a bit).  I was in our downstairs area looking through some boxes and…a small dead snake.  My older brother convinced me it was a baby copperhead (one of the few poisonous snakes in the area).  Suddenly I was scarred with reguards to snakes.  I no longer felt the same way.  From that point on, I was a bit freaked out by them, or at least the idea of encountering them in the “wild.”  Sidenote: I have come to realize that the snake I found was actually a ring-neck snake.  They are small non-venomous snakes.

This was only compounded several years later when I was in late middle school/early high school.  We were living in Northern Virginia and Mr. Paul, who worked with the youth at our church, took the boys for a nature hike in the woods.  He told us to look out for animals, and specifically snakes.  I was, of course, on high alert.  We broke off into groups, and as the oldest one there I lead one of the groups.  We were walking around and saw something towards the pond.  As we were walking, a couple of the guys said, “Look out!”

SNAP!  Right at my heal was the snapping jaws of a black snake that barely missed me.  Though I know now it is the wrong idea and potentially dangerous if the snake were poisonous, we ran away.  The snake did not persue, but my fear did.  I was now even more afraid.

A few months later, almost the same exact thing happened again as my brother and I walked home from the pool.  The side walk went partially through the woods.  We stopped to pick some honeysuckles, and TD (my brother) yelled.  SNAP!!  Jaws of a black snake next to my leg barely missing.  Only this time we did the proper thing and backed away slowly (our dad had talked to us about what to do when we encounter snakes).

Anyway, these experiences have lead me to an unhealthy fear of snakes.  I hated the idea of them.  I love hiking, but was always uneasy about the snakes I knew were out to get me and usually anxious about the prospect of coming across one.

At some point, I don’t remember when, I decided to try to learn all that I can about them.  As watching G.I.Joe taught me, “Knowing is half the battle.  Yo Joe!”  It seemed that the more I learned about the creatures, the less I worried about them.  I even got to the point during one of my college summers working at a camp that I found a ring-neck snake and played with it instead of running.  I knew it would not hurt me.  The fear was going away.  I started to not even be afraid of the poisonous kind.

That was until recently.  Two years ago this month, my wife, son, and I moved into a house with a pond out back and woods near by.  Snakes were not on my radar at this point until one day when we were getting ready to go to our church small group.  I was holding a cake in one hand and my son’s infant car seat (with him in it) in the other.  As I was walking up the steps to our upper driveway, I heard the familiar SNAP!  I looked down to see a coiled snake just out of reach from my leg.  I bounded up the steps and called out to LA not to come up.  Our neighbor heard me yell.  He came out and was we were both looking at the snake, it went under the steps.  He told me that he was pretty sure that it was a copper head.  My old fear returned.  It was not about me this time, but it was about my family.  It was my job to protect them.

I was freaked out about the prospect of snakes living around our house.  I started to encourage the neighborhood cats to hang out in our yard by putting out treats for them!  I was told that they discourage snakes.  And I guess it worked.  It was almost a year of peace before the issue came up again.

When we move into the house, the door to the crawl space (the space under your house) was warped.  This caused huge gaps.  I knew that this allowed a potential for things to make a home under the house.  It made our list of things to work on, but there were so many other things that got higher priority (it was a foreclosed house and needed a bit of work…still does), so I put it off.  I all but forgot about it, until I had to mow (I kept the mower down there).

Late last summer or early fall, I decided to make one last attempt at mowing and hoped it was the end of the mowing season.  When I opened the door to the crawl space, my old “snake sense” was at high alert (as it usually was when I opened that door).  This time, I was glad…because this time there were beady little eyes staring at me!

I tried not to freak out.  I tried to keep my wits.  I looked at the snake.  It did not move much or coil up.  It was alive, but it was still enough to let me get a good look.  I looked it over and was pretty sure it was not a copper head or any other kind of poisonous snake (thanks to my self-taught snake expertise).  I went and got my shovel anyway (something I bought after the last close encounter of the snake kind).  I poked it with the shovel.  Nothing.  I tried again.  It just looked at me.  Definitely not an agressive snake.  I probably should have left it alone.  I didn’t.  I know my wife.  She would not be jazzed about knowing about a snake living under our house.  I killed it.

Becuase of this experience, and my wanting to protect my family from snakes, the crawl space door gained some priority points.  My dad and I, mostly my dad, replaced the door.  No gaps anymore!  Something that I should have done a long time ago.

Which brings me to my point.  Earlier this year, I went through a study called The Lord’s Table (a really awesome study about our relationship with food…check it out if this is an issue for you).  As a part of it, you reflect on the teaching and Bible passages.  One day in March, I was reminded of me and the snakes, and it is the perfect analogy for sin.  Here are the verses that brought this to mind:

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it”. Genesis 4:7

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9

For me, a lion prowling does not evoke fear.  That is not a part of my reality.  I have never experienced a lion outside of a zoo.  I need something more real.  Something like snakes.

You see, to me, throughout my life snakes have been something out to get me.  Always lurking.  Always waiting.  I need to be on the look out.  I need to take serious steps to protect my family.  I need to study them.  I need to understand them.  I need to “know my enemy.”

Why don’t I take sin this seriously?  I need to view sin like I view snakes.  I need to view the devil (and his desire for me to give into sin) like a snake.  Out to get me.  Something to take seriously.  Something to take steps in order to protect my family.

Why do I let sin live in my house?  Why do I invite it in through the TV through the internet.  And I am not talking about the major obvious stuff, I am talking about the stuff that we take lightly, like primetime network TV.  I do not take the steps to make sure there are “no gaps” that let the devil, the snake, into my life and family.

I need to wake up and take this seriously.  Sure “Glee” is a great show, but do I need those thoughts and ideas in my mind and in my house?  “House” is great, but the same thing applies.  Even my favorite, “The Office.”  Should I be so inviting?

It is more than just TV, but it is a great one to think about.  I take it so lightly.

I know it is a constant struggle for us all.  What do you think?  What are your snakes?

Lord, please help me.  I can’t do this on my own!  Help me to view the things you hate as snakes that I need to protect myself and my family from.  Please help me, Father, to “replace the crawl space door” of my heart so I stop leaving room for the snakes to come in.  Please, Jesus.  Help me.  Amen.

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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Sin


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