The Name that Speaks, “You’re Known!”

     I was given a name with several nickname possibilities. I answer to Susan, Susie, Suz, and Sue. Even my grandkids use a variety of names: Grandma Susie, Granny, or Grandma Su-Su. All names belong to the same person, but each relays a slightly different meaning.

     Names are significant!

     I participated in a meaningful Bible study several years ago that examined various names of God. During this study, understanding expanded, and devotion deepened as I learned each name reflects an aspect of God’s character.

     Gathered weekly around my dining room table, our small group included a grieving woman who had discovered her husband’s betrayal a few months earlier. Since then, her longtime marriage dissolved. Her two wounded children struggled. Her financial stability was toppled. And, Sandra [1] was confused about where God was in her situation.

     One evening we explored the name El Roi, from Hebrew translated, “The-God-Who-Sees.” God’s kind character was revealed to an Egyptian slave, named, Hagar, a woman, who also had been betrayed.[2] Listening, mesmerized by Hagar’s encounter with God, the significance of the name El-Roi penetrated Sandra’s hurting heart. That encounter with A NAME changed her life forever.

     A couple years later, I bumped into Sandra at the grocery store. We caught up in the produce section. Life was going well. Her future felt hopeful. The kids were thriving. Her reduced-income housing was now a comfortable home. She was leading a small group of women from her church.

     Sandra told me she recalled often that night, sitting at my dining room, table when she realized El-Roi saw her.

     God’s names are not only significant, but they have the power to heal a heart and change the course of a life!

Prayer:

God of Mercy, Grace, and Love,

In my moments of confusion,

or days filled with darkness;

When my heart loses hope,

and I feel unloved or unlovable;

Remind me You are El Roi, The-God-Who-Sees-Me!

Amen

May you be assured God sees YOU

Sue Reeve

  • Sandra is a pseudonym
  • Story is in Genesis 16.
  • A Lesson in Simplicity…

         Late last year I chose three words to guide me through 2020.

              Serenity

                   Stillness

                        Simplicity

         I then selected one of my husband’s photos to represent each word. This lone sandpiper wading on a Pacific Ocean seashore spoke to me of simplicity.

         Most days, it feels like the world in which we live is pretty complex, and complexity doesn’t seem to cohabitate well with simplicity.

         I have no profound insight to offer on the matter of simplicity, but the past few days, a little wounded chickadee in our backyard is teaching me a thing or two.

    Meet Abby. (This is what our granddaughter named the bird, although ‘she’ may be a ‘he’ more aptly named Abe!)

         Over the years, I’ve grown fond of chickadees, loving the sweet tune they whistle. They are skittish little birds, flitting from tree to tree, never landing for long. Even though my husband takes plenty of bird pictures, he rarely captures a chickadee.

         When Ron first told me about Abby, I said, “God cares about that little bird.” This thought was based on words spoken by Jesus:

    Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God….Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
    (Luke 12:6 & 7 NIV)

         For over a week now, we’ve been watching Abby hop around. Ron scattered seeds on the ground since she’s unable to cling to the birdfeeder. We’ve seen her fly short distances, but just in case she’s unable to fly to the bird bath, we’ve set out a shallow dish of water.

         We speak gently to our little feathered friend. Sometimes, she squawks in protest at Ron’s deep voice, but my softer granny tone doesn’t seem to frighten her.

         Simple acts. Simple caring.

         Each evening before going to bed, I follow an Ignatian prayer practice called The Examen. There are many different interpretations, but this is my favorite:

    Prayer of Examen
    1) Give Thanks.
    2) Ask God to reveal your sins.
    3) Examine how you lived this day (thoughts, words, deeds).
    4) Ask forgiveness.
    5) Ask God for the grace to amend your ways.

    Ask these 2 Key Questions:
    Where did I experience God’s love today?
    How did God’s love impact the way I lived my life?

         I appreciate the simplicity of The Examen. For the past few evenings, one of my thanks has been that little Abby made it through another day.

    Abby’s injured wing is evident in this photo.

         As I said earlier, I have no profound insights concerning simplicity, but one I’m learning from Abby is:

    simplicity is not complex.

    And, perhaps that’s the point Jesus was trying to make!

    Prayer:
    Jesus, Teacher on our Journey,
    You used the simple story of a little bird to illustrate the certainty of God’s love
    Enable me, despite life’s complexities, to welcome and walk into the simplicity of this profound truth.
    Amen

    Blessings as we consider complexity and step into simplicity,

    Sue Reeve

    Freedom to Live Freely…

         This week began with thankful remembrance. Memorial Day, a day to remember those who gave their lives, fighting and defeating threatening forces, to preserve our nation’s freedom.

         What a debt of gratitude we owe to these men and women!

         Sunday, May 31, is Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost marks the coming of the promised Holy Spirit on followers of Jesus. When the Holy Spirit descended on them in the Upper Room, they were transformed. No longer frightened and confused, his disciples were empowered to preach and teach the message of the risen Christ.

         Ten of Jesus’ disciples, and undoubtedly many others in that room, would die a martyr’s death. They gave their lives to declare and preserve the spiritual freedom for which Jesus came.

         What a debt of gratitude we owe to these men, women, and above all, Jesus!

         Speeches have been orated; poems have been written; and sermons have been preached concerning these four words:

    Freedom is not Free!

         Today, I ask myself, and wonder if you’d like to join me in asking:

    • Where the rubber of my faith meets the road of my everyday life, what do these four words mean for me?
    • How will I be a good steward of freedom, both as a citizen and a Christ-follower?

    Prayer:

    Heavenly Father,
    You made us in Your image.
    Thank You for implanting a desire for freedom into the human heart.

    Jesus Christ,
    You paid the ultimate price for freedom.
    Thank You for giving Your life willingly
    to free us from the entanglement of sin and the fear of death.

    Holy Spirit,
    Thank You for giving wisdom,
    for showing us how to best live out God-honoring freedom
    that reflects the character of Jesus.

    Amen

    Blessings on your journey of freedom…

    Sue Reeve