I’ve noticed since I’ve been in Israel that Jews avoid saying or writing the name of God. They call him HaShem (the name) or Elohim. When writing in Hebrew, they use השם, אלהים. In English, G-d. I understand that they do this out of respect. However, I have a different way of showing respect. First of all, I don’t shy away from using God’s many names in praise and worship. Second of all, I capitalize pronouns related to God. For example, He, Him, You, Who. I do this as a way of setting Him apart and showing respect. You may think that both the Jewish and Christian way of saying and writing God’s name are correct. However, I find the Jewish way offensive. Consider how curse words are censored. Symbols are used in place of letters in an attempt to make the word more appropriate. Why would anyone censor God’s name the way cuss words are censored? Since when is censoring showing respect for the word? Additionally, people use words in place of cuss words so they don’t seem as bad. Some people argue that using these words is as bad as cursing because they use them to have the same meaning as the curse words. Thus, how is saying HaShem different from saying God, when you are referring to God? Conversely, capitalization is a sign of respect. Important words are often capitalized for emphasis and out of reverence. Capital pronouns were even used for royalty. Also, saying God’s name is a form of praise and worship, not blasphemy and disrespect. One way I show respect for God is by using His many names when I sing to Him. In doing so, I am recognizing His sovereignty and His character. In conclusion, why would anyone treat God’s good name like a bad word? Like good words, God’s name should be used and glorified.
Today’s challenge was to pray for myself. I understand that sounds selfish, but it’s really not. See, I have trouble praying for myself. I feel like I don’t deserve to ask God for anything. After all, I’m a sinner who doesn’t deserve anything He does for me.
The reason I made this a challenge is because I want to learn that it is not bad to pray for myself. I want to feel comfortable bringing my worries, requests, and feelings to him. I want to believe that He cares.
Usually when I pray, I put myself last. I thank God, I confess my sins, I pray for others, and then I pray for myself. Since I do my biggest prayer at night, sometimes I fall asleep before I get to myself.
Today was a great day to have this challenge because it was the first day of my semester. I had a lot to pray about! One of the biggest things is adjusting to school starting, and being in a different country where things are so much different than in America. Also, there are some things weighing on me emotionally, that it felt good to bring to God.
There’s a quote that I really like that I often need to remind myself of. It goes like this:
God is not bothered by our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all.
I was going to post this yesterday, but I ended up not doing the challenge until I went to bed.
Yesterday’s challenge was to pray for opportunities to share my faith. That was fitting because I started my semester today, which should give me plenty of opportunities to share my faith.
I took it a step further, and asked God to help me to see the opportunities He gives me, and to give me the courage to start spiritual conversations.
A lot of the friends I’ve made here claim to be Christians, but I intend to have conversations with them so I can discover what being a Christian means to them. Then I can tell them what it means to me. That’s another way to share my faith.
This challenge reminded me of the importance of seeking out opportunities to share my faith.
I know I just posted the Prayer J.A.R. post, but I actually wrote it a couple days ago. I was just having some technical difficulties.
Like I said in that post, I’m going to share how my challenge went each day. Since I’m on my second day, I’ll be posting twice today to catch up.
My challenge the first day was to pray in the morning instead of at night.
The reason I wrote that one is because I am a stickler for praying at night, and I thought it could be good to switch up my routine.
I drew that slip in the morning, and since I had prayed the night before, I decided to not pray that night and then pray the next morning.
When it came time for me to go to bed last night, I felt like I really needed to talk to God. I realized that’s it’s never a bad thing to pray, so I’d pray both at night and in the morning. However, when I prayed last night it wasn’t how I usually pray. It was more like venting to God. This morning, I prayed how I usually pray at night. It felt weird.
I did it while lying in bed because that’s what I’m used to, but I couldn’t focus. I kept wanting to get up and start my day. Plus, it was confusing to pray about yesterday and today at the same time. Usually when I pray at night, I talk about the day I just had.
I probably won’t switch my prayer time from night to morning, but I will definitely try to pray more consistently throughout the day.
The time has come to tell you about my extraordinary plans for this fall. I will be studying abroad on mission in Jerusalem, Israel for four months. This is an exciting opportunity for me and I wanted to share some details with you. My study abroad program is through my university. However, I am partnering with Cru Study Abroad so I can live missionally while I’m in Israel.
The main reason I chose to study abroad in Israel is that I am minoring in Hebrew. Of course there are so many benefits to studying in Israel. It is the Holy Land, and I look forward to experiencing the land where Jesus walked and taught.
I recently received my Missions Toolbox from Cru Study Abroad, and I was thrilled by what was inside. I’m going to give you a peek inside to help you understand what I’ll be doing in Israel. If you are familiar with Cru, you know that they have a lot of resources for starting spiritual conversations and sharing the gospel. Among these are Soularium, Perspective Cards, Knowing God Personally, and Satisfied. (To learn more about these, visit crupress.com) I have had at least a little practice with all these tools, and I look forward to putting them to use in Israel.
Another tool in my Missions Toolbox is my Study Abroad Playbook. With help from my coach, I will be able to take advantage of all the information in it. My coach is going to lead me through the book and help me learn how to live on mission while abroad. They will be my sounding board, my encouragement, and my kick in the pants. As much as I want to share the gospel while I’m in Israel, I know it won’t be easy. I will need some accountability.
God has blessed me with the financial means necessary to live comfortably in Israel for 4 months. I would love it if you would consider supporting me prayerfully. Opportunites like these come with inherent risks and obstacles, so I can use all the prayer I can get.
I will try my best to keep up with this blog while I’m in Israel. I know I am going to have so many adventures and stories to tell, so stay tuned. I leave for Israel in about a month and a half, and there is still so much to do. I ask that you please start praying for me now. I trust that God will provide for me once I am in Israel, and that he will get me there safe and sound.
If you would like to talk with me about my trip, you can email me at email@example.com.
Yours in Christ,
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Disclaimer: This post may be offensive to some people. Viewer discretion is advised.
There’s this problem that I’ve had for a while that I didn’t recognize as a problem until recently. The problem is that when a person says or does something that reveals that they aren’t a Christian, I think to myself, “Well, they’re going to Hell.” The problem is not that it’s not true. The problem is that it’s not nice. I shouldn’t think like that. I should feel bad for those people and want to help them change the fate of their eternity. Instead, I feel a twisted sense of pride, as if I’m better than them because I’m going to Heaven, and their stupidity and ignorance are being rightfully punished by them going to Hell. It’s basically like, “What they believe is wrong, so they’re going to Hell. Good, it’s what they deserve.” See? Not nice. That’s definitely not how God thinks, and it’s certainly not how He wants me to think. Because the truth is, I deserve to go to Hell, too. I’m not any better than those people who have it wrong just because I got it right. I’m no more righteous or deserving of Heaven than they are. God sees me as righteous not because I am, but because Jesus in me is. It’s true that I’m going to Heaven because I believe in God and have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It’s not true that that gives me the right to consider myself better than anyone else, because I’m not. My sin killed Jesus just as much as theirs did. Their sin didn’t make him any more dead than mine did. God sees all sin the same. And he loves all sinners the same.
“Give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see everything that I keep missing. Give me your love for humanity. Give me your arms for the broken-hearted. The ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me your eyes so I can see.” ~Give Me Your Eyes, Brandon Heath