Names of God | Adonai

If there has ever been a time that the spirit of antichrist is evident in the world it is certainly now. The Bible speaks of the increase of these things as the day of the Lord comes closer and closer. Opposition to God is no longer a hidden agenda but an outright open assault. Nonetheless, God’s word always has a timely revelation for every season of life. James 4:7 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Did I just a quote a passage of scripture that had the word “submit” in it? Absolutely. God’s word is full of life and freedom and even through submission is victory over the enemy found. This leads us to another revelation of God through his name, Adonai, which means Lord and Master.

Our story is found in Genesis 15:1-2 “After these things the word of the LORD (Jehovah) came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “Lord (Adonai) God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”

Little nugget for you, the first LORD is all capitalized, which represents Jehovah (to be discussed on another day). The second Lord is capital “L” and lowercase letters which represents Adonai. This is the same situation as in Exodus 4:10 Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” In both these situations God is present and the speaker acknowledges God as “Adonai” meaning Lord and Master. Adonai is another way of saying “Owner” of all things. So, when we use the phrase Adonai, we are saying, I submit to you as my Lord, Master and Owner. This is an act of obedience, sacrifice and surrender to another. What I find interesting in both of these passages and the stories that follow, is that the response of Adonai to God from man acted like a password for the unveiling of Jehovah in their lives. The miraculous power of God was released after both of them spoke of their surrender to Him as Master.

In Romans 10:9-10 we see a well known scripture concerning what one does to become a Christian. It reads, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”. This verse very clearly identifies something important that many omit when speaking of Jesus of in their lives. That of Lordship. One doesn’t simply make Jesus their Saviour, without making Him their Lord. All to often, we want a God to save us, we want a Saviour, but we don’t want to surrender to his Lordship. 

Even Jesus surrendered to His heavenly father in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). His prayer is basically saying to the Father, Adonai, I surrender to you all that I am. I submit to you as my Lord, Master and Owner. This is an act of obedience, sacrifice and surrender to another. Jesus took his intimate relationship, love and respect for his Father in ABBA and followed it up with his submission to his Father as Lord all in one. This is essentially exactly what Jesus did. He surrendered his will, mind, emotions, body and spirit to his Father as his Master. We all know the fullness of the release of power of God that followed with the cross.

This surrender to Adonai is precisely what God is looking for from us. He is the good master, He wants the best for you, to provide for you, protect you and see you flourish. Will you surrender to God this day, or be lead by your own desires and yourself on the throne of your heart. I’m going with my Adonai.

Sample Prayer: I thank you that you are my Adonai. I surrender this day my will, my mind and my emotions to you. I give you my finances, gifts and talents for your purpose. I trust you with my life, for you are good. I submit to your lordship this day.

Names of God | Jehovah Keren-Yish’I

Have you ever noticed how often characters in art and media possess horns? They are everywhere. There are the little ones with Sully (Monster’s Inc.), or the Beast (Beauty and the Beast). Then you have Dark, Powerful and Mysterious ones like Maleficient. Some characters have them protrude from their skulls while others are adorned with a helmet reflecting their majesty. Horns all through the centuries and still evident today. Many of my favourite characters in games and movies are dressed with the latest fashion of horns. So why all the fascination with horns? It’s because they are awesome. You know who else is awesome? God. And you guessed it, he has a horn in one of his names. Let’s take a look at Jehovah Keren-Yish’I “Horn of my Salvation”.

To look at this. Let’s start with a horn. Horns are used for fighting, protection, and securing dominance. They are symbols of strength, power, and victory. Often, Scripture’s mention of a “horn” is as a literary symbol representing potency and power. We could stop here and you would already get the point of the significance of the horn, but that is just the beginning.

Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was inspired to prophesy about the physical and spiritual deliverance that Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of David and Son of God, would bring. We see the symbolism of a horn—in this case representing the victorious power of God:

Luke 1:68-69 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David,”. The Bible uses many examples of horns as power, like in Psalm 75:10, God says, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.” In other words, the righteous will prevail, no matter how strong the wicked seem to be. In Jeremiah 48:25, “Moab’s horn is cut off and his arm is broken, says the LORD” means that the strength of Moab is gone.

The next thing of significance was animal horns were also used as receptacles for oil. This is very significant. 1 Samuel 16:1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve for Saul, when I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have chosen a king for Myself among his sons.”

Oil is a symbol of the anointing of God. Anointing speaks to being set apart or consecrated. God’s grace falls upon the individual who is anointing with oil. The horn is a representing of power and combined with the oil within it is a powerful anointing that is produced. I once heard it described that God is the one who unplugs the oil in the horn during anointing. Such was the case of David’s anointing. God was the one who unplugged Samuel’s horn for the oil to pour out upon David. The horn was the vessel by which the anointing oil was carried.

So as we continue, the Horn of Salvation speaks to the power of God bringing salvation to mankind on multiple levels. Salvation by means of power, strength and victory. This is who God is, Jehovah Keren Yish’I. That being said, we can never capture the multiple facets of who God is, and the Bible speaks of another significant instance of the word horn in the Old Testament as God told Moses to build the altar for sacrifices with four hornlike projections on the four corners of it. (Exodus 27:2; 29:12; Revelation 9:13).

In worship, the horns of the altar were dabbed with blood to purify them and make atonement for sin (Leviticus 8:154:6). How is that for a foreshadowing of Jesus’ atoning blood on the cross for our sins. The horns of the altar speak of the power of God’s salvation. It gets better too, that part of the altar also became a place of refuge, sanctuary and salvation for a fugitive At the time of Solomon, taking hold of the horns of the altar was seen as a way to seek mercy and protection, as both Adonijah and Joab did this (1 Kings 1:50 & 2:28 ).

So here we have it, God reveals to us more of his character in his name Jehovah Keren Yish’I. As we call upon him in our daily prayers, he is sure to bring the powerful salvation we all need in our lives.

Names of God | Jehovah Nissi

As I continue to learn about the names of God and the revelations of what they tell me about His nature, I’m constantly finding myself with deeper understanding of who my Saviour is. Today’s name has really grown on me the past few months. So let’s talk about Jehovah Nissi, the LORD our Banner.

There are a few examples of this name in God’s Word that we can discuss, but I want to start with Exodus 17:8-16:

Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner (Jehovah Nissi); 16 for he said, “Because the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

A banner is “a flag, military ensign, the principal standard of a prince or state”. They honor champions, and commemorate heroes. They are meant to be seen and not ignored. On the battle field they even have more significance, the banner summons and calls people to it. It is a rallying point. The impact of this never really clicked with me until recently when I watched an old favourite movie of mine, called The Patriot. There’s this epic battle at the end of the movie, the enemy was advancing on them, the front line was faltering. The Flag Bearer fell, and the troops began to retreat.

You see in battle opposing nations would fly their own flag on a pole at each of their respective front lines. This was to give their soldiers a feeling of hope and a focal point. The battle field is often chaotic, stressful, noisy and even worst filled with smoke and debris. So, I’m watching this movie, and all of a sudden Mel Gibson stops what he is doing, grabs this flag off the ground and starts waving it around. He’s screaming like a mad man with the banner. And then it happened, the troops see it, hope surges, courage rises, passion pushes them forward. In that moment your own heart surged, it like “Let me in the fight”. It’s all over, there was no stopping this army now.

This is what was happening with Moses on top of that hill. The banner of God was being raised with his hands towards heaven. When lifting high, the enemy was routed. When let down, the enemy would advance. So they supported the hands to prevail.

This is what God is to us: a banner of encouragement to give us hope and a focal point. Jehovah Nissi is always visible on the battlefield because he is above the chaos. I told my son, who likes to play Apex Legends, that even when Bangalore drops their smoke on the field, when we look up above the smoke, it’s still clear.

Another important thing about banners is that they act as an anchor in times of uncertainty. When we are lost, hopeless and confused that banner reminds us that not only is Jehovah present but He is our standard to tell us what is real and what’s not. Jehovah Nissi is solid anchor of truth that can always be depended on.

The battle with Amalek was not just a physical battle but a spiritual one. Jehovah Nissi is our source of power, hope, courage and deliverance. God gave us other examples of Jehovah Nissi in Numbers 21:8-9 when the bronze serpent was lifted up on a pole and those who looked upon it were healed. How much more was that a foreshadowing of John 3:14-15 when Jesus, God Himself, was lifted up on a Cross for the Salvation of the world! Nissi is powerful! God is rallying the troops together in these last days. He’s calling us to pray. The sleeping giants are awakening and his Banner calls us to arise and conquer. It’s a day to advance and take the territory. 

Names of God | Jehovah Tsaba

When I was growing up, I remember hearing about the many different names of God. People would use them in our Christian clichés with regularity, but they never really clicked in my understanding the purpose of what those names were really for. It’s like having knowledge, but without knowing how to apply that knowledge, we lack wisdom.

In the New Testament there are two Greek words that are used to communicate the English of “word”. This is “logos” meaning spoken word, and “rhema” often translated as revealed word or illuminated word. Rhema is the word that is translated in Luke 5:5 “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” It was this revealed word that enlightening Peter to let his net down.

My father attended Rhema Bible Institute when I was a child and later he had a license plate with word “RHEMA” on it. I can remember sitting in the car with my parents and someone reading our license plate and my parent saying “Yes, the Rhema word, get ahold of it”. Not sure why, but that moment always stuck with me. Fast forward to the future now, and those names of God starting coming back to me while in prayer. It started being illuminated to me how God’s character is revealed in his name and that all we need from him is captured in his name. God’s name is powerful, intentional, and provisional for every circumstance we can experience in this life. So today we are going to continue on our journey of prayer and the names of God. This one is one of my favourites (I have a lot of favourites), Jehovah Tsaba.

Jehovah Tsaba (Lord of Hosts or Lord our Warrior)

Our story is found in 1 Samuel 17:42-51

42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. 43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts (Jehovah Tsaba), the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.

I always loved this story, I mean who doesn’t. There is so much to take from it. The Philistine cursed David and disdained him, having full confidence in his abilities and weapons of war to conquer this ruddy shepherd boy. But David was bold and knew who his God was. He identifies all the weapons that his enemy is carrying with him, a sword, a spear and a javelin. They didn’t phase him. He didn’t respond with “Oh ya, I got a slingshot”. He declared what he already knew, that all that he needed was Jehovah Tsaba.

It says “I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts”. He went into battle with the name of God, Tsaba! He didn’t go in with the name of David, or Saul or the name of a nation, but simply Tsaba. His proclamation was that the Leader of the armies of God was with him in battle. It is his strength that carries us in battle. The Lord of the Hosts in the best of the best. The champion of champions. He is the general of the armies of heaven and when you fall this day, all the earth will know He is God. For Tsaba doesn’t save by swords and spears, these are his battles and his name alone brings victory.

What battle are you in? What weapons has your enemy brought to destroy you? Rise up this day and remind your enemy that Jehovah Tsaba is with you, the Lord of the Hosts, the mighty warrior, and by his name you enter battle. Thank you, Jesus, that you are my Tsaba and today I enter battle with your name. You are everything I need as my enemy seeks my destruction…

Names of God | Jehovah Shammah

We are living in an increasingly strange world. In the midst of voluntary and involuntary isolation, we find ourselves often feeling alone. We not only ask where everyone is when we look outside, but also even ask “Where is the Lord?”in all this? I’ve been doing some blogs on the praying through the names of God because each of God’s names reveal to us more of His character. As we know more of His character than we can have more revelation of His nature. This revelation helps us as we pray to the all powerful God. Today we are going to discuss His name of Jehovah Shammah.

With all this Covid-19 taken place all around us, it’s stirred up lots of conversation about end times and the book of Revelations. The Bible does speak about many adventures coming as we get closer to Christ’s return, but the main point of all these things leads us to the return of Jesus. That brings us to the name of God, Jehovah Shammah, which means The Lord is There.

It is originally referenced in Ezekiel 48:35 “The distance around the entire city will be 6 miles. And from that day the name of the city will be ‘The Lord Is There (Shammah).” In this passage, it speaks of the New Jerusalem and that the Lord will be there. After all things are said and done, God will establish a new heaven here on earth with the New Jerusalem. This verse in Ezekiel reveals that God’s physical presence will dwell among us in the New Jerusalem. How amazing will that be? You see throughout time, we have seen God be there with us and even live amongst us with the life of Jesus, but now it will be established forever.

Let’s discuss a few times where God was there in our midst in Biblical times. In Genesis 39:2 “The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.” And further, Genesis 39:21 “But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”

In these verses, Joseph was in difficult times as a slave and prisoner. Life was not easy for him but these verses show that God was there in the midst of his adverse situations and it makes a difference. How would Joseph survived the slavery and pit without God being there with him? We don’t always realize he is there but God is there making a difference.

Another way of describing this is with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were thrown into a fiery furnace for not worshipping anyone but Jehovah. What happens, though, is that three men were thrown into the fire but a 4th showed up (the son of God) and was there in the midst of the fire with them walking about. How exciting is that to be in the worst trial of your life, literally thrown into burning blaze to have the son of God walk around with you in the midst of it.

So these were examples of Jehovah Shammah in the Old Testament but now in the new covenant, His presence is constantly with us when Christ accomplished the work of the cross. Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” And in Ephesians 3:17 is just one of many scriptures that reveals Christ resides in us “That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith”. Jehovah Shammah feels very much like Immanuel (God is with us), this is because it would be difficult for God to be there and not be with us. So the two are really tied together. I believe there is still yet another revelation of Jehovah Shammah. I’ve shown you one perspective of what Shammah means, and it’s one thing to know that God is with you, but it’s another thing for your enemies to know that God is there by your side.

Let’s read in 1 Samuel 4:5-8

“5 And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before. Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.”

What does this say to our enemies when Jehovah Shammah is there in our midst. What confidence does it give us, to know that daddy God’s presence is there amongst us. Shammah is not only a confidence that God is here but is a reminder to your enemies who they are up against. So just know as you go forth this day that Jehovah Shammah is not only there with you, but that your enemies also know it too, and that’s a scary thing for them. Shammah’s got your back.

Names of God | Elohim

God.

I hear that name all the time. It carries a variety of meanings and certainly is expressed contextually many different ways. My friend was speaking of Thor, god of thunder, as possibly being the most powerful character in the marvel universe. I mean, Thor duel wielding Mjolnir and Stormbreaker is like an unstoppable force. Norse and Greek mythology are full of gods and demi-gods. Brian talks about studying them in high school, venturing through things like Homer’s Odessey. (Fun fact, I never learned Greek Mythology as I went to a Christian high school) Very fascinating stuff, especially how these lores of old have continued to blend into our culture century after century. Yet no matter how many gods are discussed in literature, there is only one with a capital “G”, God.

God is defined by Webster’s dictionary as: The Supreme Being; Jehovah; the eternal and infinite spirit, the creator, and the sovereign of the universe. Supreme ruler of power, dominion and authority. Superior to all others.

That’s a pretty solid definition right there. Think about how many comic book characters have been created to replicate the magnitude of this being. We have the Beyonder, the Phoenix Force, Living Tribunal, the One-Above-All and yes, even Deadpool. Each and every one continues to fall short of God. Why? It is because as a created being we could never fully describe an indescribable God. So God reveals himself to us in his nearly 1,000 names to help us out a little.

Today, let’s discuss the Hebrew word for God, Elohim.

Elohim אֱלֹהִים ʼĕlôhîym, el-o-heem (God, Judge, Creator)

Genesis 1:1 is the 1st time God reveals himself as Elohim. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” That word for God is Elohim and is used over 2,000 times in the Bible. It is in the plural form and used specifically in reference of the Supreme God. This is how God introduces himself in the Bible as our Creator.

He is Transcendent

As our Creator, Elohim introduces us to a Transcendent God. This means that he exists apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe that he has created. Romans 1:20 states “Since the creation of the world his invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Revelations 1:8 sums this up “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, says the Lord God who is and was and is to come, the Almighty.” This revelation of God operating outside of time, means he is not limited to time. He is timeless. Time is part of a creation that he transcends.

He is Immanent

The second thing that is revealed of Elohim is that He is Immanent, permanently pervading and sustaining the universe. God, in his immanence, is the source of everything in the universe.

He is Omni-Present

A third attribute of Elohim is that He is omni-present. God is everywhere, Jeremiah 23:23-24 describes this, “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.” Elohim fills the heavens and earth with his presence. God is a omni-present God.

He is a Triune God

The last thing we learn from this introduction to him is that Elohim is a triune God. Elohim is the plural form God, captured as Gods. He follows up his opening statement in Genesis 1:1 with Genesis 1:26-27, “Let Us make man in Our image and Our likeness…in the image of God he created them; male and female.” On a side, I find that passage interesting because it denotes that there is a feminine part of the Godhead that is represented when they created females in their image. Countless scriptures dive into the details of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What does this mean? Quite simply, that there are 3 distinct people in one being known as Elohim. All three of them are God for us. So here they are representing a family which we are a part of.

The God of all that exists reveals himself as the Creator. What a way to introduce yourself. That’s my God, good ol’ Elohim.

40 Day Fast & Pray | Free Download

Many Christians around the world are taking time to fast and pray. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that allows you to petition God in a powerful, yet intimate way. It focuses on depriving yourself of things that are of value to you (such as food, drinks, social media, etc.) so that you can cry out to God in desperation.

To illustrate, I want to tell you a story.

Imagine that you’re a young, vibrant woman who has been through more than your fair share of things. Your parents have both died and your selfless uncle has graciously taken you under his wing as his own. You are all he has and he is all you have.

Then one day, the king calls for all the single, young women to be gathered together. You fit the description they’re looking for. The queen has been banished and the king needs a new queen.

Sounds exciting, right?

Except, this isn’t really your home. You live here because of circumstances beyond your control, but your heart longs for your home, your own people. Your heart longs for the Jews.

All the women vying for the limelight undergo a serious regimen of beauty preparations. Somehow, some way, you find favour among those running the show. You find yourself with more beauty options than the other girls. You’re assigned 7 choice maidservants from the palace. You get the best of the best accommodations.

No one knows who you really are. That’s the way you want it.

Everyone loves you – except the other women. They wish they were you.

They say you’ll never have a second chance at creating a good first impression. That’s especially true in your situation. You have one chance to meet the king; one chance to make a lasting impression.

The results are in. The king is enthralled. The royal crown is placed on your head. You are now the queen.

One day, you find out that there is an evil plot against the Jews. A plan to eliminate your own people – a plan to eliminate you.

Still, no one knows who you really are.

Your beloved king agrees to annihilate your people. He has no idea that you are the target.

What do you do? Desperate times call for desperate measures. You must go before the king to reveal your true identity. You know this is what you must do, but it is certain death if you do. It is forbidden.

The king has proven to be ruthless, banishing his previous queen only to prove a point. There’s no reason why he wouldn’t shower the full extent of the law on you.

You look back on your life and resolve that you were made for such a time as this.

You will go before the king. You will petition for your people. You will expose the evil schemes at work within the kingdom.

If you die, you die.

In desperation, you ask your uncle to gather all the Jews.

“Fast for me.” You say. “Fast with me.”

The time has come. You put on your royal gown. You stand in the inner court of the king’s palace. Your head drops as you silently whisper one last prayer.

The king sees you. This is the moment. When you lift your eyes, you catch a shimmer of the golden sceptre.

You will not die. You will live. For such a time as this.

When you expose the atrocities, the king reverses the plot.

Your people are saved. You are saved.

If you want to read the full account of this story, check out the book of Esther in the Bible.

Through fasting, Esther was able to not only endure a stressful situation, but to overcome it as well. Fasting was a key part of this ordeal.

We can also incorporate fasting into our lives and enjoy the benefits that come along with this type of discipline.

If you’re interested in fasting, let me know in the comments. I’ve put together this Fasting Guide 2020 for you to use.

Enjoy fasting.

Remember, you were made for such a time as this.

The Day My Life Changed

It’s Valentine’s Day, but I probably didn’t need to tell you that. We usually don’t view Valentine’s Day as anything overly special in our house, besides the opportunity for deals on chocolate the next day. That’s something to celebrate.

However, I thought it would be fun to share our love story in the world of bloggers.

Before I start, I want to give a shout out to my friend Sarah Quinlan. She is one of my favourite people and definitely one of my favourite artists, so when I saw that she was branching out and marketing some of her artistic talents, I wanted in. She did a Valentine’s promo where she offered a cartoon sketch for couples – so I immediately messaged her and ordered one of Brian and me. It turned out so perfect, right down to some of the little details that describe us to a T! Check out her Etsy store for some of her latest artwork for sale.

Valentines_1

Ok, now for our story. (check out this post to catch a glimpse of our crazy life together)

It was Sunday, a beautiful August morning a long time ago…1998 to be exact. I thought it was going to be like any other Sunday – get up, get dressed, go to church, then home to nap. Instead, it was the day that changed my entire life.

After church, I tried to sneak out quickly without anyone noticing. As I exited the Sanctuary and turned down the hall, I felt like I could hear my name being called. I turned around to see Brian facing me. There was no way he was calling me, I thought. I had been going to the church for 10 years and he never indicated he even knew my name. I had only ever seen him from afar, so the idea of him stealing my heart never presented itself – until now.

Brian’s strong jaw and stunning eyes captivated my attention for what seemed like an eternity! All of a sudden, I realized that I wasn’t paying attention to his words, but only to the hook that he knowingly threw my way.

He asked me who I hung out with. His suave was uncanny. Me, on the other hand, knew nothing about how to be suave. I awkwardly told him I was a lonely homebody with no friends. Real smooth. He asked me if we could hang out sometime, to which I said yes. Somehow, he responded, he misplaced my number. Funny, I had never given him my number before. Sly, Brian. Real sly.

We exchanged numbers. My heart fluttered more than I had ever felt before. I was captivated, weak in the knees and so nervous. Thoughts of what was happening were rushing through my head at the speed of light. How could this be? How could this happen? Brian was interested in me? Hmmm…

I raced home and literally sat by the phone, willing it to ring. Sure enough, it did and Brian was on the line, asking me if I knew how to rollerblade and if I would like to go down to the Ganatchio Trail the next evening after he was finished work.

For the record, this would officially be our first date. Not to be confused with Brian’s idea of our first date which came 2.5 years later.

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I barely slept on Sunday night, but just like clockwork, Monday morning rolled around without giving any sympathy to my sleepless night. On the bright side, the lack of sleep wasn’t unsolicited. Thoughts of change had crept into my mind and I spent almost the entirety of the night on my knees petitioning God to show me who would be my knight in shining armour.

The day couldn’t pass fast enough! However, though as slow as it may have been, I made it to the end of my work day. Sure enough, my phone rang shortly after five o’clock. There was no question in my mind as to who I would hear on the other end of the line.

After the call, I let out the biggest scream of excitement I had ever let escape my lips. Brian Ciaramitaro was taking me out on a date!

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I wish I could end it here and say that the rest was history – and it was, but just not the fairytale kind. That would come 2.5 years later.

When Brian picked me up, my eyes met his and my heart took a leap inside my chest. The way the sun was hitting his striking eyes was enough to make me weak in the knees.

The next few hours flew by. The sun was starting to set and the picturesque view from the trail was simply breathtaking. As we skated back to his car, I couldn’t help but think about how idyllic my life would be with this amazing man.

We got in the car and I assumed this was the end of the date. When he turned the opposite way out of the parking lot, I couldn’t help but wonder where he was taking me.

“Want to split a strawberry sundae?” the words came off his lips like a sweet melody. Once again, I was completely mesmerized.

My awkward reply? “Uh, yeah. I mean, if that’s what you want.”

He pulled the car into a spot at Dairy Queen. I slid into a booth while Brian ordered a sundae. I watched him intently with a twinkle in my eye. This very well was the start of an amazing adventure.

The next year and a half was a rocky ‘on-again-off-again’ ‘interested-not interested’ ‘are we dating or not’ ‘Sheri’s madly in love with Brian, but Brian could take her or leave her’ kind of adventure. We parted ways for a full year, during which time it appeared that Brain was moving on. I didn’t think I could ever move on – he was all I wanted. Little did I know that he spent that time doing some praying and soul-searching, which brought him right back to me.

Cue Brian’s version of our first date.

No games, no nonsense. If we were going to date, it was going to be with the intent to marry each other. He gave me his knight in shining armour ring.

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We were married 1 year and 3 weeks later.

The rest, my friends, is a dream come true.

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Names of God | El Shaddai

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous run into it, and is safe.
Proverbs 18:10

Brian and I recently preached on the Names of God. Many people are unaware of the resources and power we have available at our fingertips. All throughout the Bible, God constantly reveals himself and his character.

One of the things that we like to do as a family is to pray together. There are so many important elements to having a regular time of prayer with your family. So, this morning, like many other days, we prayed. My daughter had friends over, so we asked if they would like to be included in this time, which they were good with. Brian presented them with some options of the different names of God that we could use in our prayer time. After realizing that God has about 1000 names that describe his character, the name El Shaddai was selected. Knowing absolutely nothing about what El Shaddai meant, it was chosen as a powerful force that rhymed with “The Jedi”. So we embarked on learning about, El Shaddai the Jedi. It’s strange, right, like anyone ever watches a Star Wars movie in modern culture?  I mean, have you ever seen someone dressed up as stormtrooper, set your alarm for 3am to ride “Rise of the Resistance” or tote a purse with your favourite character, like baby Yoda?

Nonetheless, El Shaddai, was selected as the choice name of God.

Names tell a story and speak the future hope over people. My name means ‘beauty , grace, favour, slender and fair.’ My husband’s name, Brian, means ‘strength, virtue or strong one.’

The fact of the matter is names mean something to people. It’s special and unique to you, no matter who else bears it. They not only influence us, but those around us and their attitudes towards others.

The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Every time we say a name, we are making a confession over someone’s life. Our identity is attached to it.

In the Bible, a name stood for a person’s reputation, character, desires and future hopes.

The Hebrew word “Shem” translated “name” in the Old Testament literally means “A mark or a brand.” It reveals personality, character and purpose. For example, Nabal, whose name means “fool,” is referenced in 1 Samuel 25:25 “For as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him:” Other examples include, David (beloved), Isaac (laughter), Satan (adversary).

Names are so important to God that he will even change your name to line it up with his destiny for you. Jacob (deceiver) was changed to Israel (God contends) or Abram (Exalted father) to Abraham (Father of a multitude).

When God reveals to us a name about himself, he is describing his character so we can know him better and he can be to us exactly who he is. Prayer is an excellent way for us to develop an intimacy with God. Knowing his names helps in this process.

Matthew 6:9 “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

Jesus is teaching us how to pray in this passage. He starts off by addressing God as our Father. This establishes a relationship with Him. He is our dad and we are his family.

He follows this up with the “hallowed be your name”. Hallowed means consecrated to a sacred use, reverenced, holy. Isaiah 6:3 states that there are angels who just speak of the holiness of God by just repeating over and over “Holy, Holy, holy is the Lord God almighty”.

God takes his name very seriously and so should we. In Exodus 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” This literally means empty or without meaning, conveying an idea that something is without substance.

Our culture has developed a disdain and lack of honour for God. This stems from a lack of the Fear of God. Psalms 86:11 “Teach me Your way, O’ Lord; I will walk in Your Truth; Unite my heart to Fear your name.”.  The Fear of the Lord is a foundation stone in the life of a believer as it connects us to the reverence, honour and respect that we have for our Saviour.

You see, everything that we will ever need in life is in God. He is our father and we can go to Him when we pray and He will give us what we need. As we learn about the names of God, we can activate those revelations of him in our daily lives through PRAYER.

Let’s jump back to El Shaddai, which means Lord God Almighty and All-Sufficient One. It’s first referenced in Genesis 17:1 “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.”

These reveal to us not only the supreme eternal nature of God, but that he is also our sufficient source in time of need. This is important, for we need to understand that when we go to the source we will be sustained.

Let me further clarify.

Isaiah 60:16 “You shall drink the milk of the Gentiles, And milk the breast (shad) of kings; You shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” and Isaiah 66:10-11 “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her; Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her; that you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom (shad), that you may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.”

Shaddai comes from the root word shad, which is literally translated breast. These passages are used to describe the supply of nourishment, like a woman to her baby. So when God says He is El Shaddai, He is basically saying I’m the breasty one who supplies the nourishment needed to sustain your life.

What a revelation, God is the complete nourishment that we need to live every day. I’m pretty sure we need God in this capacity daily, so praying to El Shaddai is a great way to start the day off, and that is exactly what we did.

El Shaddai, the Jedi gave us nourishment for the day.

Garnier Bio Facial Oil | Review

Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? If you think about it, your skin endures so much – from harsh elements like wind and uv rays down to the effects of products we subject it to in the name of beauty and skin care.

In recent years, I have started to care more and more about the health of my skin, particularly the skin on my face. Maybe it has something to do with the wrinkles I’m getting as I’m growing older or even the bags and dark circles I see developing under my eyes from exhaustion. Either way, I’m beginning to see the true need for skin care.

That being said, I love trying new products. Influenster recently sent me a complimentary bottle of Garnier Bio Facial Oil. I had never heard of it before, so I wanted to try it out and let you in on my thoughts.

First, let’s talk a bit about facial oils. Oil has been something that most people want to steer away from when it comes to their face. There are products on store shelves everywhere that state ‘oil-free.’ I admit, I’m usually one of those who shys away from putting oil on my face. After all, I don’t want my face to be oily. I’ve tried the oil cleansing method (washing your face with oil), which has pros and cons (leave me a comment below if you want me to do a post on it). However, using oil as a moisturizer of sorts has never made its way into my skin care routine.

Let’s jump into the review.

I’ll start off by saying that I tried this oil on two different occasions, 1 week apart. My first impression was slightly different than my second try, but the end result was the same for both.

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Garnier Bio Organic Lavandin Smooth and Glow Facial Oil sells for $19.99 (CDN) on Amazon. It claims to be non-greasy and provides regenerating hydration for your skin. It claims to be 100% natural-origin fragrance. It also states that it is for all skin types, even specifiying use for sensitive skin. Garnier states that the oil is certified organic and vegan. They also utilize 100% recyclable cardboard in the packaging.

My Thoughts:

Purpose

There was no clear information on what this oil was meant to be used for. I assumed it should be used as a moisturizer, but I had a difficult time finding out why I should add oil to my routine. After posting on social media, I realized that a lot of people use similar oils in their skin care routines, so maybe I’m just behind the times on this.

Scent

The scent had an essential oil smell, but not distinctly lavender. Before I tried it for the second time, I did a bit of research on Lavandin. I found that it is a cross between a few varieties of lavender, but it has a sweeter scent. I did find this to be true. It’s also not only lavandin, but has other oils in it. I found the scent to be very relaxing, soothing and calming.

Non-Greasy Formula

The oil was not greasy, didn’t leave a film or greasy feeling on my skin the first time I used it. The second try, my face didn’t feel greasy on my face, but I did have to wash a slight film off my hands after applying a drop to my face.

Skin Sensitivity

In regards to the claim that it is for sensitive skin, the first time I used it, my face felt agitated, rashy and itchy. This is the reason why I waited a week and then tried it again. When I tried it the second time, I put a timer on just in case it happened again. Sure enough, within 7 minutes of applying 1 drop to my face, my skin became itchy and agitated. I did find this strange since I don’t have extremely sensitive skin. However, I react that way to Jojoba Oil and after googling the ingredient list, I found that Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil is in fact Jojoba Seed Oil.

Aside from my reaction to the Jojoba Oil, I did like this product. Although, the reaction is kind of a big deal. It means I won’t be able to utilize this particular oil in my skin care regime. If you have any suggestions for me on another oil that doesn’t have Jojoba Oil in it, let me know in the comments.