Category Archives: Christians/Christianity

Hallowed Be Thy Name: Part 1 – El Shaddai

In recent days, seeking to pray more effectively, I have been asking the Lord to teach me His Name

Think of what is attached to the Name. In the 10 Commandments, we are commanded to never take His Name lightly. In Pslam 91:14 we read, “I will protect him for he acknowledges (or has known) My Name.

#1 – El Shaddai

All-Sufficient One, Lord God Almighty

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament El Shaddai occurs 7 times. El Shaddai is first used in Gen 17:1.

Meaning and Derivation: El is another name that is translated as “God” and can be used in conjunction with other words to designate various aspects of God’s character. Another word much like Shaddai, and from which many believe it derived, is shad meaning “breast” in Hebrew (some other scholars believe that the name is derived from an Akkadian word Šadu, meaning “mountain,” suggesting strength and power). This refers to God completely nourishing, satisfying, and supplying His people with all their needs as a mother would her child. Connected with the word for God, El, this denotes a God who freely gives nourishment and blessing, He is our sustainer. 

Our Father who art in Heaven,
hallowed be thy Name (El Shaddai)


The descriptive covenant names of God in this series:

  1. El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
  2. El Elyon (The Most High God)
  3. Adonai (Lord, Master)
  4. Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)
  5. Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
  6. Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
  7. Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
  8. Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)
  9. Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)
  10. Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)
  11. El Olam (The Everlasting God)
  12. Elohim (God)
  13. Qanna (Jealous)
  14. Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)
  15. Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)
  16. Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts)

Taken from the Blue Letter Bible:  https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/misc/name_god.cfm

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Sunday Devotional: The wedding feast invitation

Matthew 22:1-10

Jesus again in reply
spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people
in parables, saying,
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants
to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited:
“Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”‘
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.”

Today’s reading continues the theme of last Sunday — of God’s warning to the people of Israel that if they reject His Son, God would make a new covenant with other peoples, i.e., Gentiles. As Matthew 21:43  puts it:

“Therefore, I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

And, “In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete.”  Hebrews 8:13) For “God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:35)

Jesus again and again warned “the chief priests and elders of the [Jewish] people” of the dire consequences of rejecting Him, to the end of torturing and killing Him. But they refused to heed His warnings.

How their spurning of Him must hurt . . . .

And the last warning to the Jews — that they can’t worship Yahweh by separating the Son from the Father, and that the Father would not tolerate the rejection of His only Son:

“Whoever hates me also hates my Father.” –John 15:23

And to think Pope Francis actually concealed the cross by stuffing it into his fascia or waist sash, so as not to offend Jews:

Pope Francis hides the Crucifix meeting Israeli rabbis

As with the Jewish élites, God also warns us when we go astray.

Not once, but again and again.

We just have to listen — to that still small voice we call our “conscience” . . . .

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

Saturday Funny: Peyton Manning in retirement

Are you sick of the NFL “take-a-knee” hypocrites?

Here’s some comic relief from Peyton Manning!

For those, like I, who are not into football:

Peyton Williams Manning, 41, is a former quarterback who played 18 seasons in the NFL, primarily with the Indianapolis Colts. Considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he led the Colts to 8 division championships, two AFC championships, and one Super Bowl title, and later led the Denver Broncos to a victory in Super Bowl 50.

With a wife and three kids, Manning is a Christian. He said he committed his life to Christ when he was 13 years old, and that “faith has been most important to me ever since.” His priorities ranked in order are “faith, family, friends, and football.” He said he prays every night and before games and that:

“I hope (and pray) I don’t do too many things that displease Him before I get to Heaven myself. I believe, too, that life is much better and freer when you’re committed to God in that way.”

Shortly after beginning his NFL career, Manning started his own charity called the Peyback Foundation to help disadvantaged kids. For his work with this foundation, Manning received the Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.

Manning, along with his brother Eli, a New York Giants quarterback, volunteered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, helping to deliver 30,000 pounds of water, Gatorade, baby formula, diapers, and pillows to the people of New Orleans.

In September 2007, St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis renamed its children’s hospital to “Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent” after Manning and his wife made a donation of an undisclosed amount.

H/t FOTM‘s CP

~Eowyn

#LoveTrumpsHate: Homosexual coffee shop owner shouts obscenities at pro-life group, kicks them out

Video NSFW.

From Breitbart (by Katherine Rodgriguez): A gay coffee shop owner in Seattle kicked a Christian pro-life group out of his coffee shop because he felt offended by their presence, according to video footage of the incident.

The Washington Times reports that the group, called Abolish Human Abortion, decided to order drinks at Seattle’s Bedlam Coffee after passing out pro-life pamphlets in the area when the owner angrily asked the group to leave.

“I’m gay. You have to leave,” owner Ben Borgman said in the Facebook video.

“Are you denying us service?” activist Caytie Davis asked. “I am. Yeah,” Borgman replied.

The group had been handing out pamphlets about the Bible, sin, and abortion to Seattle residents and one of the baristas let Borgman know what he was doing, according to the Blaze.

Borgman did not take the news well, and further confronted the group. “This is offensive to me. I own the place. I have the right to be offended,” he said.

The group tried to explain to him that they did not leave any pamphlets in the cafe, but Borgman continued to berate the group. “There’s nothing you can say. This is you and I don’t want these people in this place,” he said.

Borgman then asked activist Jonathan Sutherland whether he would “tolerate” a sex act between two men.

“Can you tolerate my presence? Really?” the owner asked. “If I go get my boyfriend and fk him in the a right here you’re going to tolerate that? Are you going to tolerate it?”

“That would be your choice,” Sutherland replied.

“Answer my fing question!” Borgman yelled back. “No, you’re going to sit right here and fing watch it! Leave, all of you! Tell all your f**king friends don’t come here!”

As the group prepared to leave, one of the women in the group told Borgman, “Just know that Christ can save you from that lifestyle.”

“Yeah, I like a,” the owner spat. “I’m not going to be saved by anything. I’d fk Christ in the a**. Okay? He’s hot.”

Another woman then told him that she would pray for him.

The group’s Facebook video has gone viral, racking up 447,000 views and nearly 3,000 shares.

DCG

Sunday Devotional: How is your vineyard?

They were warned by the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 5:1-2, 4-7

My friend had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside;
he spaded it, cleared it of stones,
and planted the choicest vines;
within it he built a watchtower,
and hewed out a wine press.
Then he looked for the crop of grapes,
but what it yielded was wild grapes.
What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I had not done?
Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes,
did it bring forth wild grapes?
Now, I will let you know
what I mean to do with my vineyard:
take away its hedge, give it to grazing,
break through its wall, let it be trampled!
Yes, I will make it a ruin:
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
but overgrown with thorns and briers;
I will command the clouds
not to send rain upon it.
The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah are his cherished plant;
he looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed!
for justice, but hark, the outcry!

But they did not heed Isaiah’s warning.

Nor did they heed a last warning, from the Son of God Himself.

Matthew 21:33-43

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking,
‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.

And so, God’s covenant passed from the Jews to the Gentiles.

Luke 22:19-20

Then He took a loaf of bread,
and when He had given thanks,
He broke it and gave it to them, saying,
“This is my body, which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
And He did the same with the cup after supper saying,
“This cup that is poured out for you
is the new covenant in my Blood,
which will be shed for you.

And, “In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete.” (Hebrews 8:13)

For “God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:35)

But we followers of Christ, with whom a new Covenant is made, are also forewarned. If we, singly or as a people, neglect and abuse the “vineyard” given to us by God, we also will be trampled on and abandoned.

A sobering thought . . . .

What to do?

St. Paul has the answer (Philippians 4:8, 7). We are to fix our eyes, minds and hearts on:

whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure . . . .
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

May the peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: It is not who you are, but what you do

Matthew 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘
but afterwards changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir, ‘but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

Today’s reading continues the theme of  a week ago, that it’s never too late to change.

And when we change, there will be great joy in Heaven.

Luke 15:1-7

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them he addressed this parable.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep
and losing one of them

would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and,
upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”

Psalms 25:6-7

Remember your compassion and your mercy, O LORD,
for they are ages old.
Remember no more the sins of my youth;
remember me according to your mercy,
because of your goodness, LORD.

May the peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

Today is the Archangels’ feast day!

September 29 traditionally was set aside as the Feast Day of St. Michael the Archangel. Then the Church made it the feast day of all the Archangels.

Note: The word “saint” simply means “holy’ — as indeed are the Angels who choose to be true to God instead of, like Lucifer and the other fallen angels, pride in themselves.

my angels2

The word angel, in Greek, is angelos; in Hebrew, malach; in Arabic, mala’ika — which all mean “messenger.”

Angels are incorporeal (without body, material form or substance) spiritual beings who act as messengers and intermediaries between God and humanity. St. Augustine said that although Angels are defined by their function as messengers or message-bearers, their activities are not limited to just this function. Created by God to serve Him, Angels fulfill any and all tasks assigned to them.

In other words, being an Angel or messenger simply denotes one of their functions, not their nature. St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that each Angel is unique, a species unto itself — truly a mind-boggling idea.

Major philosophers — such as Thomas Aquinas, René Descartes, John Locke, and most recently, the American philosopher Mortimer Adler — had put forth compelling reasons for the existence of Angels. (For the conversion of Adler, a Jew, to the Catholic faith, see A Philosopher-Pagan Comes Home.)

Theologians maintain there is a hierarchy of Angels, due to the fact that in Genesis 3:24, Isaiah 6:1-7, Ezekiel 1, 10, Romans 8:38, Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12, Colossians 1:16, 2:10, 2:15, allusions are made to “seraphim,” “cherubim,” “thrones,” “dominions,” “mights,” “powers” and “principalities” in the “heavenly places.”

Dionysius the Areopagite and St. Thomas Aquinas delineated three hierarchies of Angels, with each hierarchy comprised of three orders:

  • 1st hierarchy: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones.
  • 2nd hierarchy: Dominions, Virtues, Powers.
  • 3rd hierarchy: Principalities, Archangels, Angels.

Of the nine angelic orders, five are sent by God for external ministry among bodily creatures, as indicated by their names of Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels—all of which refer to some kind of administrative or executive office. Of these five orders, only the last three minister to human beings:

  • Principalities are in charge of the whole of humanity.
  • Archangels minister to nations — their leaders and those persons whom God tasks with special work to do on Earth.
  • Angels, the last order, are God’s messengers to and guardians of individual human beings.

That leaves the orders of Virtues and Powers who, by logical inference, minister to other bodily but nonhuman creatures. The latter would include the non-human animals, such as our pets, whom St. Bonaventure called “creatures without sin” — which is a happy thought indeed!

Three Angels are named in the Bible:

  1. Michael: in Hebrew, the name means “Who is like God?”.
  2. Gabriel: “God is my might”.
  3. Raphael: “God has healed”.

Notice that all three names end with “El” — which means God, in Hebrew. Thus, each Archangel’s name ending in “el” means they are “of God.”

St. Gabriel, the Archangel

Archangel Gabriel appears to Mary. The Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli, 1485.

Gabriel’s name means “God is great.” The angel Gabriel appears to at least three people in the Bible:

  • To the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:16).
  • To the priest Zechariah to foretell and announce the miraculous birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19).
  • To the Virgin Mary to tell her that she would conceive and bear a son (Luke 1:26–38). As the angel of the Annunciation, Gabriel is the one who revealed that the Savior was to be called “Jesus” (Luke 1:31).

St. Gabriel is recognized as the patron saint of messengers, telecommunication workers, and postal workers.

St. Raphael, the Archangel

st-raphael1The angel Raphael‘s name means “God heals.” This identity came about because of the biblical story that Raphael “healed” the earth when it was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels in the apocryphal Book of Enoch.

Raphael appears by name only in the Book of Tobit where, disguised as a human named “Azarias the son of the great Ananias,” he accompanies Tobiah, the son of Tobit, in travels. When Raphael returns from his journey with Tobiah, he declares to Tobit that he was sent by the Lord to heal his blindness and deliver Sarah, Tobiah’s future wife, from the demon Asmodeus. It is then that the Raphael makes himself known as “the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord” (Tobit 12:15).

Although only the archangels Gabriel and Michael are mentioned by name in the New Testament, the Gospel of John 5:1-4 speaks of a healing pool at Bethesda where “An angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under.” This passage is generally associated with St. Raphael, the Archangel.

St. Raphael is the patron saint of travelers, the blind, bodily ills, happy meetings, nurses, physicians and medical workers. He is often pictured holding a staff and either holding or standing on a fish.

St. Michael, the Archangel

StMichaelTheArchangel

The name “Lucifer” means “morning star,” “son of the dawn,” or “light carrier.” For that reason, theologians believe that Lucifer was a high-order Angel, most likely the highest order — a Seraphim. Aquinas thought him to be “probably the highest of all the angels.” But Lucifer admires and loves himself more than his Creator and thinks himself to be “as God.” And so, swollen with narcissism and grandiosity, Lucifer rebelled, taking a third of the angelic beings with him.

A lower-order Angel, full of courage and love of God, rallied together two-thirds of the angelic ranks against Lucifer and the other apostates, in the First War that began the enduring conflict between good and evil. As related in Revelation 12:7-9:

Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.

That braveheart’s name is Micha-el, which means “Who is like God?” — Michael‘s battle cry.

St. Michael the Archangel is the prince of the heavenly armies and the most beloved of all the angels. He is mentioned in Daniel 10:13,31; 12:1 (where he is said to be the prince of the people of Israel); in Jude 9 (where he disputed with the devil about the body of Moses); and in Revelation 12:7 (where he led the heavenly armies against those of the “great dragon”).

Described in Revelation 10:1 as a “mighty angel…with a halo around his head; his face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire,” St. Michael is generally portrayed by artists as wearing full armor and carrying a sword or lance, with his foot on the neck of a dragon. (Pictures of the martyred St. George are often similar, but only Michael has wings.)

Michael has four main titles or offices. He is:

  • Patron of the Chosen People in the Old Testament.
  • Patron saint and defender of the Church.
  • The Angel of death, who assists Jesus in the final judgment (thus, Michael is sometimes depicted with a scale).
  • Leading the good Angels against the fallen angels or demons. For that reason, Christians consider St. Michael the most powerful defender of God’s people against evil. As such, Michael is also the patron saint of soldiers and policemen. (For the Prayer to St. Michael, go here.)

All of which is why St. Michael, the Braveheart of Angels, is my most favorite saint, whom I admire and love with all my heart. He is my commander in chief. As you can see from this blog’s masthead, he is also the patron and protector of Fellowship of the Minds.

Happy Feast Day, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael!

Thank you for inspiring us with your humility, courage, goodness, and love for God.

Thank you, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, for creating the marvelous Angels!

~Eowyn

For a fascinating account of one man’s experience with the Archangel Michael, click here. Check out FOTM‘s other angel posts here!

Sources:

  1. Mortimer J. Adler, The Angels and Us (New York: Macmillan, 1982).
  2. Matthew Bunson, Angels A to Z: A Who’s Who of the Heavenly Host (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1996), pp. 181-184.
  3. Michael H. Brown, Prayer of the Warrior (Goleta, CA: Queenship Publishing Co., 1993), p. 34.
  4. René Descartes, Meditations On First Philosophy, trans. by Donald A. Cress (Indianapolis & Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1979).
  5. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, edited with an introduction by A. D. Woozley (Cleveland & New York: Meridian Books, 1968),
  6. Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, Volume One (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1947).