Thursday, February 17, 2011

With Just a Name

by Susanne Dietze

Welcome to the first-ever meeting of Lazy Praisers Anonymous. My name is Susanne, and I’m a Christian who struggles with praising my savior.

It’s not that I don’t love Him, that I’m not grateful for all He's done for me. But sometimes life is busy and I do little more in my prayers than quickly check in. Other times, I feel too broken to approach our Holy God, too shamed or weary to place my hand in His or gaze into His face.All Praise Belongs to YouImage by kelsey_lovefusionphoto via Flickr

Each excuse for not praising God is, to put it mildly, ridiculous. God sent His only Son to live and die for all of humankind, that we might be saved and cleansed and freed, and live with Him forever. And I take such a gift – and such a God – for granted.

Plus, praising God is never supposed to be about me. It's all about Him, and He deserves my praise simply because of Who He Is. I was created to give Him glory no matter how I feel (Is. 43:7, Mt. 21:15). Praise is an essential part of Christian discipleship, an act of will that flows out of reverence for God, gives Him glory, and turns our attention from ourselves onto our Lord.

Sometimes our circumstances hinder our ability to praise, but I have found a trick that helps me focus on praising. I let go of circumstances and think about God, even just one part of Him, like one of His many names.

God is described in almost a thousand ways in the Bible, some titles, and others descriptive. But contemplating God's names can help us worship Him. For instance, the name God, or El, means mighty, strong. How often do I forget that God’s name means strong?
I AmImage by CJeppson via Flickr
Or Elohim, a plural noun, which refers to God as creator. Or Adonai, translated in modern Bibles as Lord (lowercase), which means master. LORD in all capital letters in our Bibles is a translation of Yahweh, the Covenant name of God, the “I AM WHO I AM” in the burning bush in Exodus 3, used over 6000 times in the Old Testament.

As for the other 900+ names of God in the Bible? I’ll offer you a mere twenty-five. Over the next 25 days, my plan is to go through this list and praise God for the glimpse of His character He’s revealed to us in Scripture by that particular name. I'll consider the richness of His love, evidenced by that particular trait or gift mentioned in His name, and I'll praise Him for His qualities. Such a habit may not be the rich praise that He deserves, but it’s a start to help me focus and get out of Lazy Praisers Anonymous.
I know He’ll be faithful to help me live a life of greater praise for the One who Was and Is and Is To Come.

1. El-Olam- Everlasting God (Gen. 21:33)
2. Advocate (1 John 2:1)
3. Emmanuel, God with us ( Mt. 1:20-23) (Is. 7:14)
4. Jehovah-Rapha - The Lord that Heals (Ex. 15:26)
5. King of Glory (Ps. 24:7-10)
6. Alpha and Omega, The First and the Last, The Beginning and The End (Rev. 1:8, 11, 21:16, 22:13)
7. A sun and shield (Psa. 84:11)
8. A very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1)
9. Bread of Life (John 6:26-35; 47-48)
10. My portion forever (Psa. 73:26)
11. Wonderful (Is. 9:6)
12. Counselor (Is. 9:6)
13. Prince of Peace ( Is. 9:6)
14. Bright and morning star (Rev. 22:16)
15. Creator ( Is. 40:28; John 1:3; Rom. 1:25)
16. Everlasting King (Jer. 10:10; 1 Tim. 1:16-17)
17. Father of the fatherless (Ps. 68:5)
18. Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14-15
19. Light of the world (John 8:12, 9:5)
20. Merciful and faithful high priest (Heb. 2:17)
21. Mighty God (Is. 9:6)
22. Refuge in times of trouble (Ps. 9:9)
23. Jehovah-jireh - The LORD will provide (Gen. 22:13-14)
24. Jehovah-Qanna- Jealous for His people (Exodus 20:5)
25. The way, the truth, and the life (John 14:5-6)

What's your favorite name of God?

Come visit me over on Romance Writers on the Journey this week, where I'm giving away a Starbucks card and talking tea, romance, and being rendered speechless.

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  1. This week at church one of our elders preached on praising God with our whole being and pointed out that the word used for "heart" in Hebrew should more likely be translated "guts" or "bowels." In our modern culture we tend to reduce worshipping God to something cerebral, but it should be much more. He also talked about dance as an expression of praise with our whole being.

    I like "El-Shaddai" which can be translated "the multi-breated one" of the "all sufficient one." I love that the Bible offers a nurturing mothering image for God.

  2. Oh Dina, I got goosebumps at your last line. "El Shaddai" communicates so much about who God is and how much He loves and nurtures us. There's a verse about Him covering us with His wings...I love that. And I love that He loves us with such care. (Praise going on, right here, right now!)

    Thanks for pointing out that praise shouldn't be limited to our thoughts or words. Our bodies were made to praise Him, too!

    Ps 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of His people. Praise is such a vital thing to our relationship with Him, yet so many people struggle with it. Like me!

    Thanks, Dina.

  3. I wanted to integrate a story into the post, but decided against it for the sake of time. Y'all may remember my little affection for Christian singer Jeremy Camp? His first wife died of cancer very young -- early 20's -- and immediately following her death, Jeremy and her family gathered around her bed and worshipped God.

    He says it was the hardest thing he's ever done, praising at such a time, but that praising reminded him that God was still God -- powerful, mighty, loving, wise, everlasting -- and He was still active in their lives. Not only did praising center them, but it blessed them through the difficult days ahead.

  4. Wonderful post, Susie. The Jeremy Camp story is just heart-wrenching and that he was and family were able to worship God at such a time shows me HIS supernatural power. My pick is: The way, the truth, and the life (John 14:5-6). It says it all.

  5. Good morning, Jilly! Thanks so much for coming by.

    Jeremy's story is absolutely heartbreaking, that's for sure, but what a witness to God's love and power.

    The way, the truth, the're right. What authority, joy and comfort in those 6 words.

  6. My favourite name for God? I never thought about it, although I really like Amy Grant's song, El-Shaddai.

    And then at Christmas one year I was introduced to the song, Emmanuel. Hearing Lori sing it made me forget where I was and concentrate on the words and His names.

    But I think of all His names, Father means the most to me. You see, I had 2 earthly fathers and both of them let me down as a child. Through their actions, they showed they didn't want or love me. And none of my earthly parents showed up even on my wedding day. A buddy of Nelson's 'gave me away'.
    But my heavenly Father was there with me, always. He taught me to survive. And he taught me to forgive. Everything I am today is because He held my hand and wouldn't let go.

    Someone once said you should praise God every time you think of Him. Not just one 'Praise God', but 20 times in a row.
    I find the days that I follow this path, I'm more aware of His presence. And although I never count and probably never make it to the 20, I feel peaceful during my attempt.

    Wonderful post Susie. Thank you.

    Anita Mae.

  7. I like Bright Morning Star, at least today. This always makes me think about how he's constant and there and always watching over us. While we sleep and then when we wake, He's waiting, never changing, whether we stumble or forget, or remember to praise him.

    When I get up early enough to see that star, it's even more precious--its like the way the ocean reminds me of his power.

  8. Susie, this is just beautiful. It makes me wish I wasn't at work today so I could spend my day pondering this. A few weeks ago, in Bible study, we received a large card with several of God's names and their meanings. I love it.

    Jeremy Camp's story is so powerful and inspiring to me. I think it clealy demonstrates why God tells us to praise Him in our times of sorrow.

    Thank you for this lovely blessing today, Susie.

  9. Oh Anita, your story just breaks my heart. I praise God for being our eternal Father, whose unconditional love knows no bounds. What a blessing that He never lets us down or abandons us.

    Even good fathers (and spouses and friends) let us down, but He's the perfect Father, Bridegroom, and Friend. He's always there.

    I'm so glad you put your hand in His! Thanks, Anita. ((hugs!))

  10. Isn't God good to give us tangible reminders of His faithfulness, like stars? Jesus is our light, unshakable and fixed, shining through our waking and our sleeping... Thank you, Deb.

  11. Suzie, in college I had a poster with names of God on it. It's long gone, but it was awesome to wake up and look at it, first thing. I think a card would be pretty handy!

    Jeremy Camp's wife Melissa prayed for others to be drawn to God through His victory over her illness and death, and I believe God has honored that request. God has certainly used that testimony to bless and teach me.

    Thanks, Suzie.

  12. Thanks for your post, Susie - what a good reminder to focus on the beauty of who God is. I can't help but think of the popular song lyric, "when all of the sudden, I am unaware of all these afflictions eclipsed by glory; I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me..." While different names strike me at different times, one that consistently amazes me is Emmanuel. That the Almighty has chosen, of His own grace and mercy, to be with any of us is enough to leave me on my knees all day. And to think that He is not only with us, but in us... Thanks for getting me thinking!

  13. One of my favorite names for God is Jehovah Jireh-God our provider. Not that I just want physical things from him, but because I need him for everything. I fail miserably when I strike out on my own. I want to stay tucked close to Him and allow him to be my all in all.

  14. Hi Karl. You got that awesome David Crowder song in my head! Love it.

    Emmanuel, God with us, beside us...that's pretty amazing, you're right. Beyond amazing. Enough to bring tears to my eyes.

    Thanks for coming by today.

  15. Great reminder, Lisa. God provides for us, not just materially, but in every way. Every gift we receive, the air we breathe, every growth spurt in our spiritual lives or our kids' bones comes from HIM. He is generous and gracious and good.


  16. Sometimes I struggle with letting Jesus be my friend, Gina. I don't know why I have this personal problem. It's not like I don't talk to Him all day, or believe that he loves me. Perhaps it's that I trust in His love but don't necessarily believe that he LIKES me. Does that make sense? Why don't I believe that? I need to allow myself to truly call Him friend, in my heart as well as my head.

  17. Love this, Suzanne.
    When I'm walking Pearl, I love to go throught the alphabet and think of scriptures that start or just have that letter in them, and meditate upon them.

    Great list. I'm going to let this be another theme for our walks!


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