We got back from our little getaway to Florida late Saturday night and enjoyed catching up on things around here yesterday.
While I started laundry, Russ mowed and then there was rest and a long bike ride and we have launched back into real life.
As I look at the calendar, I realize it is now or never for our annual adult VBS series and so even though I had great hopes to have it all mapped out and ready to go…we will, as usual…just diving in with it and let God lead us!
If you are new to the Journey, I decided several summers ago that I miss Vacation Bible School.
I loved it as a child and I continued to love it as a volunteer when our kids were young.
So I developed my own little AVBS series and had enough people say they liked it that I have continued the tradition. In the past I have told you to bring your own snack and craft, but this year I have decided to add a recipe for a yummy snack we like at the end of each session.
Before we start, full disclosure:
- Having a recipe with a devotion is a concept I found in Kelly Minter’s studies and I love it and I am blatantly copying her good idea so I give her full credit for combining the feeding of our spirits with the feeding of our tummy’s.
- I loved VBS with our kids because it gave me a chance to meet other adults at our church and wore all of us out so that we felt like we had done something besides be couch potatoes and validated us going to the pool or watching a movie when we got home.
- In addition to the benefits of #2, I actually learned more about Jesus by sitting with my group of little kids at the teaching times and it made me hungry to study God’s Word as an adult.
- I did not love running the craft table. Ever. Kids never do what you tell them to do when you have copious amounts of glue, foam craft shapes and paper plates. It refined me. Greatly.
- By “enough people” I mean one or two people. Seriously. It takes that few people to affirm me and I am all in. So this is for both of you…and any others who enjoyed from afar. You know who you are.
Ok. With that out on the table…here we go….
AVBS (hold the glitter) has official opened for the summer and our theme this year is Psalm 91.
Our Key Verse for the week is the opening portion:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”Psalm 91:1-2
Today I just want to focus on the names of God in these two verses.
There are four names for Him in this passage:
Each of these is referring to the one and only God, but they are different names for Him.
I think of how I have many names and they have different meanings attached to those who use them…
Laura is the name I am called by most commonly but other people call me by different names and these express relationship…
Pearl…was the name my family called me when I was little. There is a whole story behind it involving a doll named Pitiful Pearl and my grandma soothing me when I was fussy…and how it stuck and all the neighbors until I was probably in early grade school thought that was my given name.
Mom…momhead…momma…mommy…bubba….the various names our children have called me by. These represent a relationship that happened when God began to weave them together inside of me. The name has gained meaning as we have grown up together and walked through seasons of joy and laughter, sorrow and tears. Russ calls me this when he is talking to them about me. And a very few children of the soul have adopted that name for me and it is a great blessing.
Lola…our grandchildren and now even our children and friends of family call me this because I have gained the status of a grandmother. This name means I am the parent of the parents of four children who think I was never their age, never their mother’s age. Who think I have a never ending supply of coins to throw in fountains and will share my drink despite the fact that I cannot tolerate spit back in water bottle. I am the one who belongs to them as in ‘my Lola’ and I have added a derivation to it as Caroline has dubbed me “WO-WEE” said loud and with a big wide grin because she knows I will drop whatever I am doing and pick her up when she calls me.
Mrs. Reimer…a term of respect from well-mannered children who are now adults and yet continue to call me by this name because it represents that I was the mom of a friend, or a teacher, or coach or whatever and they cannot bring themselves to call me by my first name even though we are long past those days.
You get the point.
We all have names that represent relationships and character and history and this is true of God’s names.
So let’s look at them today:
Most High = Elyon
Almighty = Shaddai
LORD = Yahweh
God = Elohim
and what do THESE mean….
Elyon – This is more a descriptive word…it is used to describe people or things to indicate their elevated position. For instance an “upper pool” or in this case … The Exalted One. It points to His position as being higher than anyone or anything.
Shaddai – All-powerful; the name of God known by the patriarchs. Related to the word for “mountain” in Akkadian. It indicates God’s greatness, strength, ever-lasting nature. All sufficient, eternally capable of being all that His people need.
Yahweh – The distinctive name of “the God of Israel” even though the name did exist in the writings and names of other nations [Babylonian inscriptions, and Ammonite, Arabic and Egyptian names appear to contain it] It is the name God gave Moses to be known as: I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE … say I WILL BE has sent me. Or as we know it often…I am that I am…I am has sent you. This is the personal name of God.
Elohim – Most frequently used name for God in the Old Testament. It’s form is plural…but the construction is uniformly singular. So it is a “they” who acts in unity as a single entity. Think of the Trinity here. The origin is unknown because the derivation of the name is prehistory. The meaning is of “might” or “power” although this is only a conclusion because the beginning source of this name is unknown.
I kind of like that, how about you? That the Name of God existed before it was ever recorded?
So here is where we start today.
Your activity is to meditate on those four names and ask God to reveal more of Himself to us as we practice calling Him by each name.
I am choosing one to use in our closing prayer and then we will adjourn for snacks <3
Elohim, I bow before You today and I marvel that You have existed before time. You know better than anyone how time confounds me. I lose all concept of it and yet I must function within it. I disrespect others by not honoring appointments and I disrespect you by not valuing the gift of it. I wish it away when seasons are hard and difficult. I beg it to linger and I make it an idol when seasons are good and full of the things I love.
But You are not bound by time. Your Name reminds me that while I and all I know here on earth has a beginning and an end…You do not. And in You I am joined to eternity.
I bless Your Name today, Elohim. My God…my LORD…my Life <3
Bread Hors D’oeuvres
This recipe was given to our family by a dear woman named Audrey Hrbek who lived down the street a few houses from us after we moved back to Decatur after six months in Galesburg. John had just been born and we were in a new neighborhood, trying to adjust to several moves and a pregnancy and an overwhelmed mother of three. Many an afternoon I would wander down to her house with the troops and she would make me tea and let the kids play with her grandchildren’s toys. She was a kind of mom to me that I did not have locally and this delicious treat is not heart healthy nor low calorie, but it will feed your soul like nothing else <3
You make ahead and have in freezer, ready to pop in the oven for a family movie night or a surprise house guest who needs some love and company and encouragement.
Thank you Audrey for loving me and teaching me about hospitality <3
- 3 sticks of margarine
- 2-3 loaves thin slice sandwich “Pepperidge Farm Bread” – a mix of white and wheat is good
- 12 oz. shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp onion salt
Cream the margarine, cheese and seasonings together
Cut crust off bread. Use one white/one wheat. Spread with the creamed mixture (not too thick…nor too thin…)
Cut in bite size squares.
When needed, bake at 350 degrees about 10 minutes or until brown.