Random Ramblings

Just a few of my thoughts on the world around me

What’s in a Name?

What does your name mean? Do you know? Do you think about it often or only when weirdos like me ask you about it? My given name comes from the Hebrew and means “God is Gracious.” I think about this all the time, and am very thankful my parents gave me a name with that meaning. As I’ve mentioned before, on my post Sola Gratia, God’s grace is one of my favorite aspects of Him. I’m blessed to be reminded of this whenever I hear or see my name. In Bible times, your name meant a lot. Hebrew and later the early Christian families named their children with purpose. Isaac meant “laughter,” Nimrod meant “mighty hunter,” Danial meant “God is my judge,” Peter meant “stone,” Timothy meant “honoring God,” and Paul meant “small” or “humble.”

As I was thinking about names I thought about some names of God. My old youth group had a poster similar to this that I always thought was interesting. It has some names given to God in the Old Testament as well as where they are found and what they mean. My favorite has always been from when Moses was at the burning bush and asked who he should say had sent him. God’s response is “I Am That I Am.” I love how the Amplified Bible puts it: “I Am Who I Am and What I Amand I Will Be What I Will Be.” God is unlike anything else we can imagine, though we may try to describe Him, we always fall short. He is also unchanging, as you can see from the AMP translation.

I used to have this poster in my room (it’s in my brother’s room now) and it lists names of Christ from both the Old Testament prophecies and New Testament passages along with the references.

Finally, in my thoughts on the subject of names, I thought about references to God’s name in general.

Philippians 2:10 “That in (at) thenameofJesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,”

Psalm 8:1 “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent (majestic and glorious) is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory on [or above] the heavens.”

Ephesians 1:21 “Far aboveall rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.”

Philippians 2:9 “Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,”

Anyways, sorry this is late and a little random, but I promise I will be sharing some more of my thoughts from my devotions this summer. Thanks for reading!

~jojo

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Encouraging Words

Hey guys!

Sorry I haven’t been one for posting lately. I feel like all I’ve done the past few weeks is reblog or post videos! Well I’m in the writing mood now!

Something I do a lot is post my thoughts on facebook or twitter from my devotions of the day, whether a song that comes to mind or a set of verses that have been encouraging or even a rebuke to me. If it’s a blessing or challenge in another persons life, awesome! However, I feel like most of it is me just wanting to share whats going on in my spiritual life since I’m not real great about actually bringing it up in conversations. I’ve never had a accountability partner or someone like that who you share what you’ve learned everyday with either, so maybe this is my way of doing that too. Some days my posts go unnoticed and other days they get a few likes or even some comments. And you know what? I’m okay with that! I’ve long come to terms with my reasons for sharing God’s Word with others. It should never be for my own glory, but rather to lift up and edify the saints (my fellow believers) and to further Christ’s kingdom by sharing the Gospel with the lost.

Unfortunately it is very easy for believers to do the right thing for the wrong reason. It’s so tempting to only do something for other’s to see us and praise us instead of being content with only God seeing what we do. Jesus addresses this in Matthew 6 just before he gives the Lord’s Prayer.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Matthew 6:1-6

This topic was also addressed in a blog post on She Worships, and it really made me think about it. One of my favorite youtube channels is Blimey Cow and a lot of the times they use sarcasm and humor to point out the faults of the church. One video I remember dealt with feeling “good” and had one of the characters feeling bad so he posted something spiritual to make himself look good and also get compliments to boost his self-esteem. After watching this video I was scared to ever post anything again. If you have seen it, you may come away thinking the same thing too. But please, don’t be afraid to share the Bible with others!! God can use you to be a real blessing to someone! Just last week a friend posted to lyrics to a song and I read that and was blessed at the time but it was much later that this song had its impact on me. Yesterday was rough but I still had those words floating around in my head, “Bow the knee; Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see. Bow the knee; Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity. And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan, In the presence of the King, bow the knee.” And to be honest, those words running through my head over and over really helped me get through my rotten day because they helped me focus on God instead of worrying or having a pity party. I guess I say all this to say, don’t be afraid to share what the Lord has laid on your heart with others, but be sure to examine your heart to see if your motive for sharing is right!

~jojo

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What’s Your Excuse?

Okay, so it’s a little old and cheesy, but it brings up a good point. Are you afraid to share Christ? Do you make excuses, are you afraid? Are you ashamed of the Gospel?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” -Romans 1:16

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

~jojo

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Sola Gratia

“Grace Alone”

Grace is a topic I’ve been meditating on the past few weeks. It is one of the most important factors in our Christian lives and it such an amazing concept! It is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings, or simply, being given something we don’t deserve. That something is salvation through Christ. We are all sinners and because of our sin there is no way we could ever be with a holy God unless a sacrifice is made. Miraculously, He choose to come to Earth in the form of a man to take on our sins and the punishment of death on the cross. One of the most well-known verses in the Bible illustrates this:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”   John 3:16

Even then, our sin nature prevents us from seeking Him. 

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”   Romans 3:10-11

Yet in His mercy and grace He seeks us and draws us to Him. Isn’t that amazing?! But His grace doesn’t not stop there; as we go through life, He is there giving us grace to come through trials and glorify Him. In fact, we can’t even do anything without Him!

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”   John 15:5

“And he said unto me, My graceis sufficient for thee: for my strength ismade perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”                       2 Corinthians 12:8-10

I think my favorite part about grace (and mercy) is no matter how many times we mess up, we cannot lose this Salvation that has been so freely given to us. We never deserved it in the first place! Hebrews 6:4-6 tells us it is impossible for “those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,” or have received our Salvation in Christ to fall away from that Salvation!

For the past few weeks the Sunday School class I’m in has started studying the book of Galatians. As Paul is writing this, he starts off dealing with some problems the  churches he’d planted were having. After he’d plant the churches others would come in and they’d basically tell the people “okay you’re saved now, but to keep your salvation, you need to follow all the laws of the Old Testament.” Okay, so I guess they’d call it the Book of the Law or the Torah, but you know what I mean. Paul addresses this in some of the first few verses.

” I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”  Galatians 1:6-9

By the way, he wasn’t saying the Gospel he was preaching was true because, but because it was received from God.

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”   Galatians 1:11-12

Anyways, let’s go back to the “grace of Christ” and the gospel in verses 6 and 7. By teaching that it wasn’t grace that brought salvation, the false teachers were perverting the gospel of Christ and were in a sense preaching another gospel, though it wasn’t gospel, but a false religion. Remember, Ephesians tells we are saved only by grace, not works.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”   Ephesians 2:8-9

Okay, so this post has gotten rather long. I spent all this time in Galatians to show that not only is grace an amazing thing, but an important to our faith as well. I’d like to wrap this post up with a recording one of my favorite hymns about grace but I couldn’t find one so I’ll put the lyrics at the end. Sorry for the length, but I hope taking some time to meditate on God’s grace was as much a blessing for you to read as it was for me to write. 🙂

~jojo

Grace! ‘Tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to the ear,
Heaven with the echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.

‘Twas grace that wrote my name
In life’s eternal book;
‘Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.

Saved by grace alone!
This is all my plea;
Jesus died for all mankind,
And Jesus died for me.

Grace taught my wandering feet
To tread the heavenly road,
And new supplies each hour I meet,
While pressing up to God.

Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made mine eyes o’erflow;
‘Tis grace has kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.

Oh, let Thy grace inspire
My soul with grace divine!
May all my powers to Thee aspire,
And all my days be Thine.
May all my powers to Thee aspire,
And all my days be Thine.

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Thoughts on Love

I am constantly amazed by how often something I’ve read in devotions one day and been convicted by turns up in other places. The video I put in here later on is one I came across today and the subject it’s under was one that I’ve been thinking about for the last few days

In my Sunday School class we are going through the book Biblical Leadership by Matt Williams and Ken Collier. The chapter we went over this week dealt with the love we must have as Christians so naturally, the main passage was 1 Corinthians 13. I like to read ahead for the coming Sunday so I was reading this chapter last week. I don’t know about you, but this is one of those passages that I usually approach with the attitude of “Oh, I’ve read this before.” You’d think I’d learn by now! I was really hit by a few of the verses as well as the commentary Ken Collier had on them.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love envieth not.

“I cannot be envious of someone, because his success cannot work against my success in God’s plan.” If someone else is living a successful life in God’s will, why should that make me upset?

Love vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up.

“A person who loves God will not be impressed with himself.” This can be a big one for me. I tend to look at all the “good” I’ve done and think that I’m a good person or at least a better Christian than someone else. The truth is, I can’t do anything without God, and all that I can even attempt is filthy compared to God (John 15:5; Isaiah 64:6)

Love thinketh no evil.

“I am not allowed to attempt to read someone’s motive’s. To do so is unloving. I cannot know for a certainty why he says what he says, nor why he does what he does.”  Only God knows what is going on in a person’s heart (1 Samuel 16:7). This was the biggest one for me. I tend to judge people’s actions and manners without anyone knowing. I just sit there and think of all the bad things they’re probably doing and that is very wrong of me. If I judge others, I am in more danger to be judged myself and that can bring about many more problems (Matthew 7: 1-5).

Love rejoices in truth.

“True love loves what God loves as well as hates what God hates.” I don’t think I have much to add to this one. Showing love to someone involves caring about them as a person. Therefore, because the things that God hates are sinful and will lead to painful consequences (Romans 6:23), we cannot allow those we love to follow that path. We must in love pray for them and perhaps even approach them when we fear they are sinning.

Love bears all things.

“Love covers all it can rigteously cover. It doesn’t ignore sin; it simply refers it back to the ones who can solve the problem . . . While a sin problem is being handled, I must love the person by covering hime, protecting him from ridicule, exposure, and harm as much as I possibly can.” Often we like to spread bad news by gossiping about it. Christians like to hide this by using “prayer requests” that have all the juicy details of the scandel. While I think it is okay to ask others to be praying for a fellow believer, others do not have to know all the details in order for them to pray for the situation. Telling people who are not part of the problem or solution to the problem is useless and often blows a small offense way out of proportion.

Love believeth all things.

“Love does not rush to judgement of others without evidence.” This applies to several of the previous statements as well. Another danger here is that a person who has done no wrong may have their testimony ruined by someone who began spreading rumors about them. This is damaging because the person may lose credibility when sharing the Gospel with an unbeliever. Even if the rumor has no basis to be founded on, it can be very difficult to convince people otherwise (Job 27:4).

Love hopeth all things.

“I must persevere in my love for someone, always hoping, never giving up!” No matter how difficult it may be, we must love others. It is a command and though we may fail at times, we know that Christ can give us the strength to succeed (Matthew 22:35-40; Philipians 4:13; Hebrews 6:19)

I hope this was an encouraging post for you, as it has been for me. Have a lovely day!

~jojo

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35

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TT!- Search Me, Oh God.

This is a song we used to sing a lot in Sunday School. It’s been going through my mind a lot lately. I love songs that allow me to focus directly on Scripture!

This is another song that is based off the same scripture and I really like this one as well.

These songs as well as many others are taken from Psalm 139, one of my favorite passages:

Psalm 139

1 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.

20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.

21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

~jojo

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You Are What You Think!

Last Sunday the pastor of my church had a really great point in his message on Philippians 4:8-9. He said, “You are what you think.”

It’s such a simple phrase, but it is so true!

You can think negative or sinful things and soon they will overcome you.

You can dwell on positive, God-honoring things, and I guarantee your mood will improve no matter the circumstances surrounding you!

This message prompted me to look up some Bible verses about what we think. Here are some:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

“For as [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he:” Proverbs 23:7a

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; ” 2 Corinthians 10:5

 

I started this post a week ago and it’s just now getting posted. And it’s really short, but it’s easier to meditate on that way I guess. Oh well. Anyways, good thing I waited, cos now I can add a link to Christy’s blog post on the same subject from yesterday. Ha!

~jojo

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Atheists Hear the Gospel

Taken from LivingWaters.com

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Easter Sunday!

1 Corinthians 15:1-29

15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

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Think on These Things…

So I have a Pinterest account (who doesn’t nowadays?) and my board with all my verses or biblical quotes or hymns on it is called “Think On These Things.” Anyways, I noticed that several pins on it are quoting stuff that makes me feel good. Like about how God knows me and other “sweet” or “feel-good” verses. It got me to thinking: Why do we always tend to meditate on these verses that tell us how great we are and not how great our God is?

Well, first off, they really don’t, it’s just that they are often taken out of context and therefore seem that way (at least to me). Everything in the Bible is there for the ultimate purpose of glorifying God.  Second, we are commanded to think on good things in Philipians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” I asked my smart friend what she thought and this is what she had to say:

“First of all, all scripture is given by inspiration of God. So meditating on scripture is a good thing no matter what verse it is, as long as you aren’t proof-texting it, or manipulating it. I also believe that those “feel good verses” have their place in our thoughts, and can be an encouragement when we feel lonely or discouraged. However, I do agree that many people spend too much time on the “sweet verses” and have a tendency to forget that God doesn’t only love them and think about them, but that he loves them enough to bring the trial, and to correct us and to teach us lessons. Personally, most of the time the verses I choose to meditate on have something to do with what God is teaching me, a new verse I’m learning, or an old one that I’m thinking about in a new way. Today in Bible class I heard a great thought that I had never thought about before. He said that when we read Phil 4:8 and all of the “whatsoevers,” there is really one thing that fits all of those categories and that is the Word of God. So summarizing I think that there is a place for the feel good verses, just so long as you don’t forget about the Scriptures as a whole and focus just on what makes you happy instead of focusing on the truth.”

I still think it’s pretty amazing that the God who made the universe just by speaking cares for me personally. But I will be focusing on glorifying Him more throughout my days. This is kinda where I was coming from in my Life Verse post, I just didn’t know what exactly it would come to. 🙂

What Scriptures do you like to meditate on? I’d love to hear from you! (Hint, hint, I feel like no one reads this blog!)

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