Hallowed Be Thy Name {Thoughts on Halloween}

He’s nose deep in his children’s dictionary.  The one his grandmother gave him. I can almost see his inner wheels spinning wildly as he stares long at the page in front of him.

I’ve learned not to interrupt; to speed the lesson along. And I savor the gifts my Savior often brings as a result. Today was no exception.

“Mom, what is so holy about Halloween?
And what does ‘holy’ mean, anyway?
Why don’t they show that word here?”

The towel goes limp mid-fold as I scramble to slow the room down. Clearly I missed something.

“What do you mean ‘holy about Halloween’?
Where does it say that?
Can I see your dictionary, please?”

His defenses rise as he tries to explain his train of thought. How he knows you can put two words together sometimes. And there they are, together in the dictionary…like they used hallowed to make Halloween…

“Don’t ‘hallowed’ and ‘Halloween’
look like they go together?

Hallowed…or holy…Halloween”

My eyes won’t leave the page. I can’t get over it and have no idea how to respond. Patience thins and he bends inward to search my hazels for a clue. His eyes twinkle when our gaze finally meets and I see Christ right then and there.

I can barely breathe. And feel like I’m nearing the word that follows…

Out of words, I tell him honestly: I have never thought about this before. These words have never been connected to me. Until now. And I will never look at Halloween the same.

So I remind my four year-old what I’ve told him all along:
Holidays are what you make them to be.
And I will do everything I can to
make Halloween hallowed for him.
Why, we might even integrate the word listed above…

His excitement grows as I show him where to find holy. A few pages following and in his heart. I could burst as he begins to mention every name of God he knows. And catch myself doing the same.

Knee deep in laundry…nose deep in books…my boy and I…we find holy.

A Hallowed Halloween.

It’s then I hear His whisper. The lesson He had for me.

You see, I used to think God showed up where and when you least expected Him to. As if His presence was a random event. Like today.

That’s not true.

He’s been here all along.

Intertwined in every moment.

He’ll prove His name Hallowed any day of the year.

Even on Halloween.

On earth as it is in Heaven…

I just need to invite Him in.

Click to Pin

Friends, this is the day the Lord has given.
Let’s not forget. Let’s live it out.

No matter the celebration plans, let’s invite Him in.

I can feel it already. It’s going to be a Hallowed Halloween.

How about you, friend? How will you honor His Hallowed Name today? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Photo Credit

Linking With:

Prepared for the Journey {Jehovah Raah}

She asked me how I’ve been and waited for an honest answer. Right then and there I knew I had been given a gift:

An open invitation to spill my heart.

There was a time I would have shrugged this gift aside, but not today. Not after all He has done for me. Not with her and all she means to me. No. This I must do.

I must crack open my heart and invite her in.

I dug deep into my sack of emotions and looked for the common thread. There I saw anguish, mourning, worry, stress, even fear. But none of them were repeat offenders and the realization of that made me stop in my pacing tracks. I was stunned to see what was most common.

There, laced throughout the hurt, was peace. Joy. The realization of redemption.

“I’m honestly doing well. Sure it hurts and it’s not what I would have wanted, but nothing’s changed: I’m His. He’s overcome. I’m well on my way Home. And I get to be a part of His glory. Friend, I’m beyond fine  — I’m blessed. For I’ve found the peace that passes understanding.

The receiver turns silent and how I wished we had skyped instead. Then I hear her exhale of relief and reply:

“So you’re under The Shepherd’s arm…I’m so relieved to hear!”

Later that night as I dwelled on this discovery, I thought of her words…I’m under the Shepherd’s arm…and quoted out loud, slowly, the chapter in Psalm we all associate with our Jehovah Raah — Our Shepherd.

Friends, I’ve had it memorized for decades and have missed it all these years. And now that I know, I can’t get over it.

Oh how He loves me.


I couldn’t go on. My heart was stuck on

He makes me lie down…He restores my soul. 

And I saw it. Again and again.

Oh how He loves me.

You see, this last month has found me fearing, worrying, grieving, losing, aching, and just down right begging for Him to call us all Home.

It was more than I could handle alone. But I didn’t have to. For He knew this was coming for me. He knew every obstacle I’d have to climb over to get to where I am today. Friends, He knew and took action.

He saw my road ahead
and prepared my heart for it.

He made me ready for the journey.

That’s My Jehovah Raah…My Shepherd.

When I think of the month previous, I see all the moments He let me rest and soak Him in. He truly did restore my soul before it was tried once again…

Oh how He loves me. 

He knows what I need and how to deliver it. He sees my path ahead and determines the best way to conquer it. What’s more — He walks along side me and encourages me. Pushing me along when I’m being stretched. Picking me up when I’m too hurt to continue. Holding my hand when I need to linger long in the moment…

Thank You, Jehovah Raah. I’d be a fool not to join Your flock and follow. For I was once lost…and now I’m found. Rescued. Redeemed…Never alone. David was right. I don’t need a thing when I have You…

I pull open The Message to read this Psalm with a new voice…and I pray:

God, my Shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
You find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to Your word,
You let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when You walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

Psalm 23

How about you, friend? How has Jehovah Raah shepherded you lately? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,,

Nikki

Note: This is a part of my Names of God Series. You may find others HERE.

He’s Here…And He’s Got This {Jehovah Shammah}

The mighty maple sways valiantly as it dances with sun’s rays. It’s branches give way to chorus as remaining leaves join the sparrow’s serenade. With each crescendo, a vibrant leaf descends and finds rest among its fallen comrades.

We’ve met countless times, this tree and I. With each visit, my vision is drawn upwards, looking for the story this maple brings. And no matter how many times I see it’s tale, it always feels new. There’s no other way to describe it — this tree embraces each day. With each season, stretches tall, pointing towards the One who never changes.

It’s as if the maple understands. Knows his Creator is right here. Always here…delighting in its performance.

The tree praises no matter what comes its way.

And as I walk among the vibrant aftermath of autumn, I feel His presence and know. Life has many seasons but one thing will always be present. One thing will always remain the same:

Jehovah Shammah…The LORD is HERE.

I’ve researched the origin of this Name of God and discovered it first rolled off of Ezekiel’s lips. He was naming the new city, their Jerusalem, and named it after Jehovah Shammah (reference HERE). Zechariah prophecies the transition this Name would take as he uses it to describe Jesus’ coming (HERE). And it is used a few times in the New Testament to remind believers that Jesus’ death extended God’s presence to live among us today through the body of Christ.

My mind’s eye sees the circle of life this Name of God took. First naming what would have been the church for Ezekiel all the way around to Jesus extending this promise to me. By His death ensuring this same God will be here for me as I claim my presence as one of His children.

Yes, Jehovah Shammah permeates the body of Christ.

God permeates me. To think:

Friends, He’s got me covered. This Season I’m in? He’s got this.

And as I stand in the shade this mighty maple brings, my hands instinctively mimic its branches. Both heels raise as I emulate its posture of praise. And I join the church I find myself in today and worship. Thank You, Father…for never leaving me. You’re always here…Jehovah Shammah.

Branches part, allowing the sun to touch my face.
And I am warmed by the very thought of Him.

It’s no secret the season I’m in now has left me aching. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve pleaded for Jesus to come quickly. But as I’ve shared before, I still can’t deny it: He’s never left my side.

That’s my Jehovah Shammah.

I curl into my favorite resting place, a cup of hot nutella chocolate in hand, and open up my studies of this very Name. A reference in Psalm catches my eye and I scurry to read what it has to say.

Friends, if I didn’t have proof before, I do now as He extends Himself to me through His Word. Reminding me once again:
He’s got this. He’s got me. He’s here.

click to pin

Father, I see You here. And I can’t think of a greater gift than to be surrounded with Your grace every day. Thank You doesn’t seem enough, but here I stand, offering what I have to You. My Jehovah Shammah. May this humble life I lead point others to You in whatever season I find myself in. And no matter what comes my way, may I dig my heels into Your promises clinging to You with every breath. For then I’ll know…You’re not going anywhere without me. And this thing I can’t see beyond? You’ve got it covered. To You be all glory and honor. Forever and ever…my Jehovah Shammah.

How about you, friend? How have you seen Jehovah Shammah lately? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

NOTE: This post is a part of my Names of God Series. You may read others by CLICKING HERE.

Linking up with:

He Knew I’d Need a Savior

He knows my name down to how many hairs are on my head. He can distinguish my tells, quirks, fears, hurts.

He knows what makes my heart sing and what breaks it apart.

He knows what I’m custom-made for. The plans written just for me.

He knew I’d need a Savior.

Friends, He knows me. And loves me anyway.
So I can’t think of any reason I wouldn’t want to know and love Him right back.

Yahweh. Adonai. El Shaddai. Wonderful Counselor. Most High God.
Hosanna!  Emmanuel.
Jehovah Jireh, The Lord my Provider.
Jehovah Raah, The Lord my Shepherd.
Jehovah Shalom, The Lord of Peace.
Jehovah Shammah, The Lord who is Present.
Jehovah Qanna, The Lord who is Jealous.
Lion of Judah. Alpha and Omega. The Great I Am.
Redeemer. Savior. Messiah.
Abba. Father.
Jesus.
Friend.

I know His Name down to what lengths He would go to save me. I’m cognizant of His capabilities. I’ve seen His handiwork firsthand. I’d recognize His artwork anywhere.

I know what makes His heart sing and what breaks it apart.

I realize I was made to fall in love with Him. To praise Him well on my journey Home.

I know enough to realize I wanna know more.

So I spend time with Him. Reading His Collection of Letters. Digging deep to find the message written just for me.

We converse daily. I talk to Him like He’s my best friend. And listen like He’s my Counselor.

Knowing how far His grace covers gives me peace to face tomorrow. No matter what may come my way.

Believing He’s got a hold on me and will never let me go is all I need to make it through.

And I realize this life I live submerged in a scandalous love affair
with the One who saved my life
is far better than any fairy tale I could conjure up
in my feeble imagination.

My friend Susan gifted me with this song awhile back (in the comments of this post – by the way, the comments of this post are amazing and filled with tremendous songs!) Susan didn’t know how much I’d need this song right now, but HE did.

Because He knows me…

He knows me enough to know I’d need a Savior. And I know Him enough to realize He’s just what I need.

Friend, do you? Do you know Him? 

Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen to this fabulous song.

I’d Need a Savior ~ Among the Thirsty

How many names
can I use to explain
the love of my Jesus
the life that He gave

And so many times
will I praise You today
I lift up my life
cause You’re always the same

And my offering
to You I bring

Your name is Jesus
Your name is Jesus
You’re the wonderful
Counselor, my friend

You’re what I hold on to
I know that You’ve brought me through
All the days of loss
to the cross
you knew
That I’d need a Savior

How many songs
can I sing to proclaim
Your wondrous love
oh, and beauty so great

Oh, and what would I say
If You brought down the rain
oh, and every day
I walked through the pain
my heart would still say
Your name is Jesus

I need a savior
You’re what I hold on to
I know that You’ve brought, me through!
all the days of loss
to the cross
You knew
that I’d need a Savior

I’d need a Savior
I’d need YOU, Savior

Friends, I was thinking about sharing what I’m discovering as I dig deeper into knowing Him. I’ve started at the very basics…His Name.  So through the rest of the year, scattered throughout when time allows, I plan on sharing something about each one listed. You can see above I’ve already begun.

How about you, friend? What do you know about Him? What Name of God has resonated with you lately? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Hosanna! Indefinitely.

©iStockphoto.com/Steven Allan

“They brought the donkey and the colt
and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.
Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road,
and others cut (palm) branches from the trees
and spread them on the road.
And the crowds that went before him and that followed him

were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!
Matthew 21:7-9 ESV

~~~~~~~~~~

He came to us as predicted.

~~~~~~~~~~

“This took place to fulfill  what was spoken
by the prophet, saying,“Say to the daughter of Zion,

‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
     humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
Matthew 21:4-5 ESV

And still we did not see. For our hopes were not set high enough. We were simply asking for a new political leader. One to overthrow the Romans.

When we shouted “Hosanna,” we were taking it literally. “Save us now.” Now. From the Romans. Not from forever. Not the world. Just us from the now.

But God knew. God saw our need. And He promised to fulfill it.

We covered the path for our savior, a makeshift red carpet. We sacrificed more laundry and used branches signified for goodness and victory. We set the stage and anticipated. Yes. This man, this underdog from Nazareth, Galilee. He will be the answer to our pleas. He will know how to turn our country around.

Hosanna in the highest! Save us now!

God saw our need. God promised to fulfill it.
And Jesus did just that. Not His will. But thine.

He took ‘Hosanna’ to a whole new level.

No longer will Hosanna be used to save us from the now.
Today, when I call my Savior ‘Hosanna’,
I can know He’s saved us from ourselves. Indefinitely.

And as I gather with my family in Christ this weekend. To remember the day of the palms this Passion Sunday. I will do just that. I will call Him Hosanna. I will proclaim Him in the highest.

And I will worship the One who saved me from now and forevermore. Not just from the Romans. But from my very own sin-soaked self. Indefinitely.

The time is coming…Can you feel it?

How about you? How will you worship this weekend? How will you make your journey to the cross? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

I’ve missed my time over at:

Stop on by and be encouraged!

Love Like This {Jehovah Qanna}

Photo Credit: Johntex

Happy Valentines Day!

I trust you have found a special way to celebrate the Greatest Commandment today — to love.
Please, share your traditions with me! I’d love to hear.

I’d also love it if you’d join me over at My Freshly Brewed Life today.

~~~~~~~~~~

I started reading My Freshly Brewed Life long before I started blogging myself. Barbie’s blog has always been an encouragement to me.

Shortly after I started blogging, I mentioned Barbie in This Post. I’m so glad I finally got brave enough to contact her and let her know I did so for it began a friendship I value greatly.

Barbie is a tremendous, encouraging friend
who has a selfless heart fueled by His glory.

It humbles me to have Simplystriving featured on her blog this month. She’s selfless like that. And today I have the privilege of sharing a post with her readers which I’ll admit, I’m a tad nervous about.

Friends, it would mean the world to me if you’d join me over there today.

I’m sharing about love.
Jealous love.

Here’s a sneak peek:

The full moon hangs heavy on the horizon. It burns amber, gleaming through the thin clouds trying to conceal its beauty. My breath escapes me as I wind around the lake, its reflection setting the water’s surface ablaze. I’m completely captivated as I realize

The very God that hung this moon
Whose hand spun it into orbit
is jealous for me.

Click on the button below to read more:

So, will you join me? Would you even be willing to let me know you did?

You’d make my Valentine’s Day. As I would certainly feel loved. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me us.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Worship by Name

…At that time people first began
to worship the Lord by name.

Genesis 4:26b NLT

I read this verse my first day of reading the Bible through in 90 days and I’ve contemplated it ever since. It caught me off guard particularly because of the paragraph it was included in. The verses before were mentioning how Adam and Eve gave birth to Seth (after Abel was killed) who later had a son named Enosh.

These verses didn’t lead my thinking into worship
and yet these verses had everything to do with worship.

The book of Genesis was written to account the beginning of history. To share to the people of Israel how everyone in history has faced trials. And yet, God always shows a way out. (note: I’m not a theologian, this is my opinion based on basic observations)

The author Moses, in the process of explaining their lineage, thought it was worth mentioning how worship had turned into an intimate affair. Right then and there. Almost as an after-thought, yet entirely worthy of mentioning.

Friends, I see it now. In the midst of Eve mourning the loss of her son, Abel, to death. In the midst of the pain from having to turn away their other son, Cain, they were blessed with a 3rd son. Who was later blessed with another son, Enosh.

But the most important thing worth mentioning? They were blessed with the invitation to worship The One who made it all possible. The One they had sinned against was still offering grace. For proof, God invited them to dwell in His presence and worship. By Name.

And thousands of years later I stand amazed.
That I, a simple housewife,
can worship the Lord by name.

No formalities.
No requirements.
No appointment necessary.

I can stand in His presence and address Him by name.

My Creator
El Shaddai (Gen 17:1)
Jehovah Jireh — My Lord that provides. (Gen 22:13-14)
Jehovah Shammah — The Lord who is present (Ez 48:35)
Abba Father
Emmanuel
Redeemer
The Great I Am

I can call Him by name and praise Him. In the midst of my pain, mourning, anguish and joy, I can call upon God Almighty by name.

May I never take that for granted.

How about you? What name do you like to call Him while worshiping? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

And join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Simply striving,

Nikki

I’m linking this post up with Barbie at:

And please stop by and visit Joan’s beautiful blog:

And Word Filled Wednesdays @ The Internet Cafe Devotions

My Emmanuel

When I am striving to Behold my King, See my Redeemer, get to Know my Savior more, I like to reflect upon the names of Him. We talked about this some in this post (mainly in comments).

And my favorite name we hear often around Christmas is:

Emmanuel.
Meaning God is with us.

You may see it as Immanuel — when it’s translated from Hebrew (Old Testament).

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son,
and will call him Immanuel. (NIV)

Since I’m saved by the grace provided through the events of the New Testament (one of them being the event foretold in that passage), I will use the Greek translation.

Emmanuel.
God is with us. With me. With you.

I’ve been reflecting on what this name means to me. What is says about my God. And I keep going back to something I say all. the. time.

Oh how He loves us.

So much so that He wanted to be with us.
Right there in the trenches. With me. With you.
Just as He’s always promised.

And I can’t help but wonder,
Do I live my life like He is right here with me?
Just me and my Emmanuel?

I’m striving.
And you know what? He’s right here helping me along the way.
That’s my Emmanuel.
I pray He’s yours as well.

If you’d like to take some time to contemplate your Emmanuel, here are some songs to help you along your journey.

My friend Amy @ Making a Joyful Home has a post about this very thing,
including a great Sojourn song I had never heard.
You may find that post HERE.

  • I’ve already mentioned my favorite instrumental rendition of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” in THIS POST.

But here is my favorite vocal rendition.

  • Hillsong’s Emmanuel
  • I’m going to show my age with this one, but I still love it. Emmanuel by Amy Grant (and Micheal W. Smith)

How about you? How do you live your life like He is with you? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki