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Dear Friends,

Life is hard. This is a truth I was reminded of this morning after visiting with one of the folks from the neighborhood where our church is. This young woman has gone through a series of very difficult loses and challenges lately, and so she came to the church early this morning to have me pray with her.

I have to admit that I left our time together heavy-hearted because of all that I had heard. And that wasn't a good thing because today is an unusually full day of ministry - and so I knew I was going to need more joy to keep me going. So on the way back to my office, I asked God to give me the encouragement I needed to continue serving Him. Almost immediately He reminded me of an even greater truth about life: He is Yahweh.

Now, for those of you who aren't sure what I'm talking about, "Yahweh" is one of the Hebrew names for God - and it means "I am". Whenever you see the word "LORD" in all capital letters in your Bible, it’s the English translation for the name "Yahweh". The Jewish people considered it to be the most sacred of all their names for God, but it's also a name that describes the personal nature of God. Here's what I mean: Yahweh is the name God uses for Himself in Exodus 3:7, when He says to Moses, "I have seen the oppression of my people. I have heard their cries of distress, and I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them, and lead them into their own land." In this passage God reveals to Moses that He is a God who knows about the suffering of His people, and wants to help.

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad to know that the almighty, all powerful, and holy God - the God who is the Eternal Creator and Lord of All - is also a God who sees our suffering and is moved to help. So He’s not just this powerful being that sits in the heavens ignoring what’s going on in our little corner of the world. Instead, He hears, He cares, and He wants to personally be involved in what’s going on in our lives.

But of course, this dimension of God's nature shouldn’t be a surprise to us because, from the very beginning, God created us to be in personal fellowship with Him. In Genesis 2:18 we read that when God saw it was "not good for man to be alone", His heart was moved by Adam's loneliness and He created Eve - a companion and helper for Adam. That shows us that, from the beginning, God has cared about us and wants to be personally involved in our lives. And it begins with our personal relationship with Him.

Of course, the key for us is to not only remember Who our God is, but to take that knowledge and respond to it. We can't simply believe that He is near to us, we must also draw near to Him. We need to open ourselves up to His loving care, and allow the most-powerful, almighty God to truly minister to us like only He can do. So today, as we face the difficult things of life, let's remember that our God is "Yahweh". Let's focus on the fact that He is a personal God Who is near, Who is powerful, and Who wants to help us. And then, let's take time to draw near to Him, and allow Him to lift our burdens and restore our joy.



PS: I will be on a missions trip next week - so there will be no Plan B's until the week of July 25th!

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