Nuggets from Noah: The Perks of Living in an Ark

This reflection was written July 8, 2016 in one of my journals. Today I was reminded of it. I was encouraged all over again. I pray it encourages you:

Today I felt led to read the story of Noah (Genesis 7:9-17). While reading, I tried to rush through it assuming I knew everything there was about Noah. The Holy Spirit, said “slow down and read all of it.”  As I started to take my time to read, I recognized the time it took for Noah’s world to return to its regularly scheduled programming (i.e. no animals, no living in an ark, and etc.). It took well over a year for things to return to “normal.” It took 40 days to flood the earth and over a year to restore the land.

As I read this story, I started to see my life. I too have been in an ark, a place of protection during the flood of life.  It is as if all that was good, honest, and true were permitted to remain while every lie, deception, past mistake, and negative mindset were left out of my ark. The world as I knew it was being destroyed around me; and I was forced to be by myself as things from my past were being drowned by the torrential rains of God’s love, truth, forgiveness, and grace. It was cold and dark, but I was never alone. Being in similar situations, I assumed it would not take as long to get out the ark. However almost 7 ½ months later, I am still in the ark. Things are slowly returning to normal, and the sun is starting to shine again. It is not quite time to come out, but I have more hope that the doors will be opening soon.

I must retract my statement about Noah’s life returning to normal. Nothing was normal about Noah’s life after leaving the ark. In the beginning of the story, he had just a piece of land to call his own. Now, he had the world as his possession. He already had authority as the patriarch of his family; but he obtained dominion over the earth upon leaving the ark. His family had been entrusted with replenishing the earth for the glory of God. He went into the ark as a servant, and he left it as a Ruler. He went into the ark following commands, but he left it free to do what his heart desired.  Noah was a completely different man a year or so later after being in the ark. He had become wiser; skilled at taming animals; and a great strategist dealing with the issues that arouse on the ark. Noah’s patience was perfected while waiting to be released from the ark. He became a master at caring for creation. He developed a deeper understanding of God while enduring the flood. Building the ark proved God to be a provider. Living in the ark proved God to be a protector and sustainer of His creation.

 Today you may be in what appears to be the greatest storm of your life. Having gone through a few storms, you assumed God would have responded by now. However, you do not know what is being prepared beyond your limited view of the situation. God is developing a place where you can thrive, have dominion, and enjoy His creation. Take a lesson from Noah and wait on God. Allow God to handle what is outside of your power, and you tend to what you can fix. Allow this time to perfect your love and skills. Let the truth of God’s love for you assure you that this time will not last forever.

Noah received new instructions upon leaving the ark, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:2) Initially, he was restricted by what could go into the ark. Once Noah was released, he was given permission to produce as much as he could for as long as he could. Authority is given to those who submit themselves to God’s will during the time of a storm. I pray you will be found submitting yourself to God’s will while in your storm. There is something God is working inside of you and outside of the ark. Yield to the process and watch God keep his promise of protection and provision. You’ll be released from the ark at the perfect time. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

 

 

 

 

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Getting to Know God: Adonai

Adonai: My Great Lord, Master

The most important component to the idea of Love Lives Free is the fact that we must spend time getting to know God in order to live in the freedom His love provides. I find it somewhat disheartening that many Christians  have accepted Christ but have little to no understanding of who God is. So for the next few months, I am going to devote my Sunday devotions to blogging on the Names of God. I will warn all the scholars now that it will not be a comprehensive study of His names; but my hope is that it will encourage all of us to go a little deeper in learning about who He is now that we  have accepted the priceless gift of Salvation. It is my hope for the unbeliever that reads this that something will be written that compels you to get to know this amazing God that I am talking about.

There are many names that describe God in the Bible, and I will not spoil the fun for you in discovering those beautiful treasures, but today we will discuss Adonai which means “my great lord or master.” In the Old Testament Adonai occurs 434 times.There are heavy uses of Adonai in Isaiah (e.g., Adonai Jehovah). It occurs 200 times in Ezekiel alone and appears 11 times in Daniel Chapter 9.   Adonai is first used in Gen 15:2.  However it is in Psalm 8 we discover the beautiful writings of  one in awe of the supremacy of God and his willingness to entrust us with His creation:

1 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!Your glory is higher than the heavens. 2 You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. 3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,human beings that you should care for them? 5 Yet you made them only a little lower than angels and crowned them with glory and honor. 6 You gave them charge of everything you made,putting all things under their authority—7 the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, 8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. 9 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Barnes Notes on the Bible suggest “Our Lord – The word used here – אדני ‘âdônay – means properly master, lord, ruler, owner, and is such a title as is given to an owner of land or of slaves, to kings, or to rulers, and is applied to God as being the ruler or governor of the universe. The meaning here is, that the psalmist acknowledged Yahweh to be the rightful ruler, king, or master of himself and of all others. He comes before him with the feeling that Yahweh is the universal ruler – the king and proprietor of all things.” Just like the psalmist we too must see God as Lord of our lives in order to serve him properly.We must see him as the Master of our souls and the Ruler of our lives if we plan on pleasing him on earth. We do not have to fear that he will mistreat us or take advantage of us like history has taught about human masters. His love keeps him from abusing us.

We must be mindful that our lives are no longer our own. Whatever our Lord requires we must be willing to surrender, do, and yield to without questions. This takes practice, and everyday we are presented with the opportunity to allow Him to be Lord of our lives. It is important that if we are going to be representatives of the Kingdom on the earth, we must yield to the Supreme Lord and Ruler of Heaven which is God. Today my prayer is that we will allow God to be Adonai in our lives. I pray we surrender our lives completely over to His lordship, and that we will give him total access to the thrones of our hearts. We will never be able to receive his love if we refuse to yield our hearts to His control. I pray we will. Have a wonderful Sunday!-Charity Israel

Photo Credit:  https://continuingindaba.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/0-adonai.jpg

Goodbye Thirty, Hello Freedom!!!

So be strong and courageous all you who put your hope in the Lord!-Psalm 31:24

Six months before I turned 30, I went on the pursuit of finding out what the decade would entail for me. I talked to women who were in their early thirties, late thirties, and well into their sixties. I made it my mission to come up with a plan to prepare myself for this monumental shift from being a “young” adult to just an ADULT! I read books, blogs, and anything that would give me a glimpse into my future; but NOTHING prepared me for what I would describe as the most painfully liberating year of my life.

Thirty was pure hell, darkness, chaos, and confusion. It started with my birthday plans for the year. A friend and I planned to watch a play on Broadway. However, I ended up spending my day alone in Manhattan sipping a glass of Riesling and contemplating the meaning of life. LOL  Eleven days after the worst birthday ever my grandmother on my father side passed away, and six days after her my mother’s mom passed away. Two of the most loveliest souls on the planet left without my permission. Life has not been the same without them.

September was spent trying to cope with the events of August, and trying to convince myself that I was happy when in fact I was hurting. The hardest truth for me to admit was that I was starting to despise the two things that meant so much to me, my job and living in the city of my dreams, New York.  I suppose this discontentment with my life was God’s way of preparing me to do what he requested of me in June, which was to stop being a Flight Attendant and move back to Atlanta. However the 401k, great health insurance, and the steady income made that request hard to comply with until December 2015. Between continuously getting sick and the anxiety attacks I was having, it became quite apparent it was time to let it go and I did.

By March my savings had dwindled, and all I had left was my knight in shining armor that I was planning to marry in August 2016. As fate would have it March 5, we decided it was best to go our separate ways due to the chaos that both of us was experiencing. I cannot express the pain that comes with saying “Goodbye” to the person you were ready to share the rest of your life with. Everything that I was so certain of in 2015 had slipped through my fingers by March 2016. I was jobless, super single AGAIN, and found myself embarking upon the darkest night of my soul to date.

It was during this time of chaos, confusion, and loneliness that something beautiful was being formed. I was stripped of everything that I allowed to define me throughout my years, and I was left at the mercies of God. I had to admit to my idol worship of marriage, success, fame, and prestige. I had to find purpose outside of my possessions or the lack thereof. I had to clean out the skeletons in my closet, and I had to confront the insecurities within me that were sabotaging my future. As I sat in the dark room of my life, I was forced to deal with the truth of my self-image. I had to wrestle on a few occasions with the demons of my past that were doing all they could to keep me in fear. It was here I became content with my own being and confident in the God who created me.

It was in my weakness that I found God’s strength to be perfect. It was in choosing to receive His love that fear had to flee. It was sitting in darkness that I discovered the beauty of His marvelous light of Truth. Thirty was the year that my pride was crucified; my selfishness was exposed; and my greatest fears were realized. It was also the year I learned what it meant to live free, strong, and courageous. I literally have nothing to lose in this life, and it puts me in a place to gain all that God has in store for me. I say goodbye to 30 joyously, and I tell it thank you for introducing me to myself!

Thirty-one will be an amazing year for me because it is the first time, I will actually be living unapologetically as Charity. The freedom that becomes available on the other side of facing your fears and confronting the lies you have lived for so long is indescribable. It expels all the shame, and it leaves you confident in who God has created you to be. I embrace 31 as a completely different person; and I look forward to the lessons it will teach me and the opportunities it will present me as I have decided to let go of fear and live in God’s love for me. Happy Birthday Charity Israel!!! Freedom looks good on you!!!!!!!!

P.S. The book is coming soon. I had to live it before I could write it!!!