Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blundering Believers

In our old house in Tennessee we had a mudroom between the kitchen and the door to the garage.  If you were going from the kitchen to the garage the light switch to the mudroom was on the left.  For fifteen years we reached left to turn on the light.

The house we live in now has the reverse set up.  From the kitchen to the mudroom the light switch is on the right.  No big deal, right?

Well, if I had a dollar for every time I have reached left instead of right to turn on the switch, I think our mortgage could be paid off!

For the first six months we lived here it was a constant wrong wall blunder.  Hubs and I would hear each other growling to ourselves as we heard each other reach for the left wall instead of the right wall to turn on the light.

At first it was funny when we caught ourselves reaching to something that wasn't where our minds were programmed to find it.  But after a couple months it became annoying and I wondered if our minds would ever get reprogrammed to reach right instead of left.

After almost a year living here I am happy to report that I am reaching more right and less left and periodically realize that it's been quite sometime since I fell back on my old ways.  It's not perfect, but it's better.

When a person sticks one toe in the waters of faith and begins to look around and say, "ok, how does this Jesus thing work?  What do I need to do?  Who do I need to be?", they can sometimes get overwhelmed quickly by thinking of all the BAD things they do that need to be stopped immediately. Some habits, some sins, some behaviors need to stop NOW, just like Jesus told the prostitute.

But a lot of who we are and what we think and do that is out of sync with God's best for us takes time getting used to doing, like hitting the wrong side of the wall expecting to find the light switch.

When Christ is in us we have the ability to find  and do the right things, but because Christ wasn't in us before we became believers, old habits sometimes die hard.  Walking with Christ takes getting used to, you need to get your sea legs and sometimes that takes periods of slipping and sliding and holding tightly to His hand as you walk out your salvation and your new life in Him.

One of the biggest tricks of God's enemies are to get us defeated from the get go when we can't stop doing the things we think we should stop doing immediately.  Lots of thoughts can come in our minds at those times.  Thoughts like:  you're not really saved; you should know better; you should try harder; you should just give up.

Anyone have those thoughts, or is it just me?

One thing, the most important thing you have to hang onto so you don't have to waste time anymore battling a won battle is to tell yourself this:

I am God's child.  I am not perfect, but He is.  I may continue to sin and pamper old habits, but Christ in me gives me the ability to practice not pampering them.  I will mess up.  But that's ok.  I will fall back on old choices.  But that doesn't mean I'm not God's child.  It just means I'm stuck.

And when God's child is stuck, God reaches down and pulls you out.

You'll reach for the wrong side of the wall from time to time.  But after awhile.....you'll realize you haven't reached for the old habits in a really, really long time.

So, give yourself a break.  Don't expect to have it all figured out tomorrow or next week or next year or in 2035.  It's a walk of faith.  Trust Him to reprogram your mind and body to reach for His best for you.  Expect nothing less.  Don't settle for believing you're a sinner and the New Life is for heaven.  No, the New Life is for now.  Today.

Stick that big fat toe of yours in and get moving.  Pretty soon you'll find the water is warm and refreshing and you'll be wading in up to your belly button and then before you know it you'll be diving in off the high dive and God will be there hands held up waiting to catch you when you jump in the pools of faith walking.  (yes, I said poolS.  You can't stay in the kiddie pool forever.  Well you can, but that's not a lot of fun.)

Love you and praying for you, Friends.

Peace,
Ronda

2 Chronicles 26:5; Psalm 28:2; Psalm 30:2; Psalm 29:11; Psalm 91:14-16; Psalm 94:18-19;

Micah 6:8; Luke 24:45; Colossians 1:21-23; Philippians 1:9-11; Ephesians 6:10;

Hebrews 10:35; 1 Peter 1:13-16; 1 Peter 2:2; 1 John 1:7-10; 1 John 3:1, 21-24; 1 John 5:1-5,18;

Jude 24


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Divinely Reasonable

So how does it work?  How do we walk out our faith and convictions and the truth that has been placed inside of us?  What does it look like?  Is it surrendering to the mission field because that's the Great Commission?  Is it surrendering to being a pastor or teacher?  How does the ordinary, everyday average Joe and Josephine walk the talk?

A passage was in my mind this morning "in view of God's mercy" so I looked it up and found it in Romans 12:1-2.  In the NIV it goes like this:  "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then  you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."

When I traveled over to Biblehub.com I found the literal Greek translation which reads like this:

I exhort therefore you brothers by the compassions of God to present the bodies of you a sacrifice living holy to God well-pleasing which is [the] divinely reasonable service of you.  And not be conformed to the age this but be transformed by the renewing of the mind for to prove by you what [is] will of God the good and well-pleasing and perfect.

Here are a few various translations of this passage:

From The Message:

So here's what I want you do, God helping you:  Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You'll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

From The New Living Translation:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you.  Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind he will find acceptable.  This is truly the way to worship him.  Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Among many interesting words that jump out at me, the one that has me smiling from ear to ear this morning is the Greek word for "[the] divinely reasonable."

It is the Greek word logikos which means reasonable, rational.  Biblehub says "properly, logical because divinely reasonable, i.e. "what is logical to God" (logic working through the divine reasoning known through faith)....Logikos is constantly necessary in making acceptable offerings to the Lord - each of which is equally profound to eternity when done in faith ("divine persuasion").  These produce a "seamless" life in which every decision (action) can have profound, eternal meaning, even in earthly "setbacks" or suffering."

So, are you totally confused or a little intrigued?

Here's the punchline for me:  God views your life, every opportunity, your career, your trade, your
J-O-B as a way to offer it for Him as a reflection of worship.  You may think flipping hamburgers or collecting tolls or  cleaning up after people is not a true spiritual act of worship.  You may think a true spiritual act of worship is going to church, singing a hymn, raising hands, reading your Bible is the only way worship looks. But I think this "divinely reasonable" logical to God way of looking at your life as a sacrifice of worship is the way to go.

It's not logical that a mechanic, when He becomes a believer should pack up and go to Africa.  I'm sure there are some who have been called to do so, but most aren't!  It's not logical that God would pull you out of situations where He in fact has placed you to be light, to tread through the Amazon jungle.

Divine logic, and Lord forgive me for even trying to make sense of this big concept, works with logic.

You are called to be who you are, where you are.

You are called to live a life pleasing to God as a paper pusher, as a carpenter, as a burger flipper, as a CNA, as a stay at home mom, as a work outside the home mom, as a ditch digger, as a plumber, as a security guard.  If you are any of those things, God has called you to give those duties to Him and for Him to use in his good and pleasing and perfect will.

Don't conform to those around you, be transformed by God living in you.

If you conform, God can't transform.

If you conform to the patterns of the world you won't know what God's will is for your life.  But if you are transformed - metamorphoo:  to change, transform, transfigure after being with - you will be able to test and approve what God's will is.

You won't be jumping from job to job, career to career, and looking for a "sign" from God that you are not in the right place because surely he has a better purpose for you, you will find contentment and joy being right where He placed you.  Maybe someday His will is to take you out of that place you think is not the right fit, but maybe what He is trying to do in you is something that can only be done by you staying put.

Maybe?

Worship does have external actions like singing and raising hands and studying your Bible and praying.  Those really "holy" looking signs of worship.  But it seems to me that real worship is the kind that sees God in everything you are facing and accepting that this too is for Him.

God has you where you are today because that's where He wants you.  He wants to transform you in and amongst your circumstances.  He's there to keep you from being conformed to the world and instead to bring light to the hurting, most of all your hurting heart first.

Stay where you are.  Live your spiritual act of worship right where you are.  When it's time to move, God will pick you up and move you.  Just hang on, metamorphosis is a complete change, like the cocoon holding the butterfly, beauty lies hidden within and has to go through the process to come out beautiful.

Praying for you, friends.

Peace,
Ronda








Friday, May 16, 2014

Letting Go is the Hardest Part

But once you let go something happens to the soul.  Something settles over the spirit and the mind.  Something allows you to take a deep breath and say, "ahhhhhhhhh."

There's a new freedom that comes with letting go of the deceit of who you really are.  It's a freedom you will taste and begin to hunger for.  It's a freedom that will get shot at, it will get made fun of, it will get criticized.  The first taste of freedom will forever be on your spiritual heart and you will remember the moment forever when the fingers let loose of controlling everything and everyone around you and you just let go, free falling into the arms of mercy.

I wish we could all be alcoholics and go to meetings and stand up and say, "I'm Ronda, and I'm......."  The peace and community and comfort and safety they have to be able to let go and let God is something we all need.  It's something we all crave.

It takes a lot of energy to lie to yourself, doesn't it?

Like an alcoholic needing a drink to calm him or herself is the liar needing to lie to cover up who they are or what they've done or who they want the world to think they are.

Letting go.  Leaving.  Going away from what or who you were to become who you are meant to be is the hardest part.

Your problems won't go away.  People will still think you are the old you and look for evidence of the same, but they'll see less and less of that person as you face your problems in a new way, with a new purpose, with a new King on the throne of your heart.

And that taste of freedom will never leave your tongue.  It will be the force that keeps you going.

I remember the day, the moment, the second I truly felt free and I've never forgotten it.

It beats in my heart when I'm battling the list of sins that plague my mind and soul.  When I want to give in and say, "you're right, I am that person, who am I trying to kid?"

But then, I remember what it felt like to let go and I stand up and shout, "NO!  Not again!  You won't win!  Jesus, help me!"

And there He is, all along, just waiting to be asked for help.  He's got an apron on and a kettle with a big ladle in his hand and  He pours on a bigger helping of freedom on my plate and says to me, with a smile and a wink, "there's more where that came from."

It's not over till it's over.  The battles will rage, the harassment of my soul and your soul will continue, but He's there through them all.  Filling me with freedom.  Filling you with freedom, heaping YOUR plates, OUR plates with FREEDOM.

Get your forks ready!  Dinner is served!

Now.

Peace,
Ronda


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Now means..... Now

There's a story in the Bible about Jesus and a woman.  This woman was a prostitute.  This woman was a pawn.  This woman was used by the religiously elite of Jesus' day to trap this man Jesus who was making them feel very threatened and uncomfortable.

You can read this story in John 8: 2-11.  It's the story where the non-religious, the unrepentant, those who point their fingers at believers and say, when they are feeling uncomfortable in their own sin, "he who is without sin throw the first stone."

It's taken out of context many ways, by many people, for many situations and behaviors.  But what is  often overlooked, what is almost always avoided in the following lines of the story are Jesus' words, after the stones are laid down and the religiously elite start walking away.

It's not his words,  "Then neither do I condemn you".  No, those words get used a lot too.  Those words serve as a crutch for the unrepentant too.  See, if Jesus doesn't condemn me, neither should you, they shout.

It's the next words, His next words that pack the biggest punch and leave me wondering and a little off balance.

"Go now and leave your life of sin."

Go.  NOW.

Not tomorrow, not when you've got your act together, not when you've found an honest job making honest money.

Not when you've cleaned up your act.  Not when you've found a better place to live.

Now.

Leave your life of sin, NOW.

Seriously, Jesus?  How can you expect someone like her to just quit the only way of life she's ever known?

Can you imagine if this story was played out in 2014 in America?  Maybe there are shelters for her to go to in her small town making it a little easier.  Maybe not.

Maybe she could call up a family member.  Can you  hear the conversation:  "Mom, yeah, this Jesus guy says I need to leave my life of sin and he said I need to leave it now.  Can I come home?"

Can you hear her religiously pious mom?  "Glory hallelujah!  Praise the Lord you saw the light" as  her friend sits close by, hanging on every word so she can take the news to her prayer circle and "pray" for the girl after gossiping about her.

Ok, so the point of this is not for prostitutes alone.  The point of this story is that Jesus said to leave your life of sin NOW.

So you're not a prostitute?  Ok, are you a drunk?  Are you an addict?  Are you a gossiper or a glutton?  Are you living a promiscuous life?  Giving your body and your heart to someone outside God's covenant of marriage?  Are you arrogant or prideful?  Are you religiously pious?

Stop.  Now!

But, Ronda, alcoholism is a disease, addiction is a disease, gossiping isn't hurting anyone, it's not gossiping when we're only bringing a need to the prayer circle, neither is an extra five helpings of dessert, and we really love each other, and I'm only thankful God has shown me the truth so I can wear it on the outside but be a poser on the inside so the gospel is not maligned.

Ok.  If that's how you want to stay trapped in your behavior and thinking then go on.  Keep on doing what you're doing.

It's not easy to leave a life of sin.  I ginosko that it isn't.  Living a life of sin is comfortable.  You get used to the lies you tell yourself because imagining the alternative is really, really scary.  I'm sure it wasn't easy for that prostitute and I hope to meet her in heaven and ask her about her life after she left.  I'm sure she'll confirm that a magic curtain didn't open and her new life without pain and suffering didn't start with the snap of His holy fingers.  Jesus didn't say, go and leave your life of sin because immediately everything will be better.

He just said, "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Now.  Leave now.  Separate yourself from this sin, now.

Take the first step for leaving.  Do it now.  Not tomorrow, not Monday, not when you have enough money saved, not when you have a better place to live, do it now.

Stop.  Now.

Ok, so what in the world can this mean for me and you today?

The same thing.

You know your sins.  You know the things which plague you and you deny exist and you coddle and make excuses for.  You know because this little post is bugging you, even maybe making you angry and upset and promising NEVER to read this blog again!

It's ok if you don't.

Now means....NOW.  At the present time, in the next moment, very soon.

NOW.

It's not going to be easy and I don't know how it will all shake out, but it will all work out.  Your body will probably be a little upset with you for not drinking, for not getting the high.  You may have to find something to talk about besides other people, but hey, there's a lot of interesting things to read and study and think about that don't include hurtful gossip.  You may just have to pray alone for someone rather than as a group.  You may have to reexamine your attitudes towards others less enlightened than you.  You may have to start being real, at least with yourself, about your deep struggles with depression and anxiety and feelings of unworthiness that plague you.  It's scary to consider leaving all those behind, isn't it?

You see, Jesus wouldn't have said "Now" to the prostitute if he meant next month.

He doesn't say "next month" to us when He knows that Now will bring the blessings.

He loves you so much that He wants you living in freedom NOW!  He died for you for NOW!  Not just for heaven tomorrow or next week or next month or in twenty years or whenever you die.

NOW.

The time is now.  It's the moment you're living in Now.  This afternoon's moments aren't here yet.  Neither are tomorrow's.  Only now's moment is here.

You may have to restart your now when tomorrow's moment comes.  That's ok.

But set your heart and your mind on leaving your life of sin NOW.

He's got your back.  He'll get you through.  Lean in close, snuggle up on His lap and watch him carry you out of your life of sin starting.......NOW!

Peace,
Ronda

Remember Peter, the one who denied Jesus?  See what he wrote about this subject.   2 Peter 1:3-10.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

When a wish is a prayer your heart makes



Desire:  to want or wish for something

When I was a young girl studying American history in school I remember wishing I could see the places of history I was studying about.  I remember when we learned about the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pa and wondering what it looked like and how big it was and if it really had that crack in it.

I remember wishing when I was a girl I could see the Statue of Liberty.  I wished I could look up and see what color that blue really was and if the crown really had windows in it and if the torch really lit up.

I remember wishing when I was a girl I could see where the Boston Tea Party took place because it didn't make sense to me that a Tea Party could take place in water.

I remember wishing when I was a girl that I could ride the Staten Island Ferry into New York City and walk the streets of New York like I saw on TV.

I remember wishing those things, but I don't remember praying for those things.

Yet, I got my wish to all of the above.

Were my wishes really disguised prayers that God was listening to?  Were my wishes seen by God as prayers of faith?

I don't know.

I don't understand how prayer works.

I don't understand how God answers prayers.

When I was a girl my prayers consisted of "please God, bless..."  "Please God, help me pass this test."    The prayers I prayed then did not have much substance or belief or relationship value attached to the one I was begging.  The communication on my side of the fence was very limiting of God.  I found more power in my wishes than in my prayers.

But I wonder now, did God see my wishes as prayers?

I don't know.

I do know that as I've grown older and gotten to know God not only as my Savior, but as my friend, I am getting glimpses of how interested he is in the smallest details of my heart's desires and I've learned to make my every wish into a prayer to Him.

Only He could have orchestrated the circumstances that caused me to see the wishes of my heart.  I saw the crack in the Liberty Bell, I saw the harbor of Boston where the tea was dumped, I saw the color of Lady Liberty's dress and walked part way up to her crown.  I rode the ferry multiple times and walked the streets of New York City and each time felt the thrill of having the privilege to do so.

I married a Navy guy and he managed to get me to all those places and many in-between while we pulled up roots every year or two for his career.  The How of getting my wishes wasn't easy, but I got my wishes.

I believe God created the desire in me to see and experience those wishes of my youth because he already knew who I would marry, where marriage would take me and my husband and family.  I believe my wishes were seeds planted by Him in my heart.

A few years ago I came across a verse that was one of THOSE verses.  You know, the ones that shout loudly to you and make you a little or a lot uncomfortable and as quickly as you try to move past it and find one that speaks more softly and pleasantly to you, you can't quit hearing THAT verse.

But this one echoed.

And echoed.

And echoed.

And wouldn't let me rest.

Just fifteen words that kept ringing in my head, reminding me, cajoling me, coaxing me, persuading me to sit back and think hard about the words they were speaking to me.

Its ringing didn't let up until I finally gave up and said, "Ok!  OK!  I hear you.  I hear what you're trying to tell me."

I kept wishing for things and experiences that were always an arm's length away from touching until this verse started invading my heart and my mind.

He said:

Delight yourself in me and I will give you the desires of your heart.

That's it.  Those few words were the catalyst to making my wishes prayers, to making my short "please Gods" into conversation, into telling him everything sometimes and other times just sitting there not talking or pleading or begging or wishing but simply listening to Him in silence sometimes, reading and reflecting on His words.  Reveling in the fact that He was there, knowing He knew my heart's desires as He molded my heart to seek and delight in Him alone.

A relationship blossomed then bloomed.  What once were wishes are now blanketed with, "I'd rather know you better than have any of my wishes come true."

I didn't make my heart desire Him.  He did.

And He did so in unique ways tailored to my ears, my eyes, my heart, my senses.

There isn't a magic formula and a step by step program to follow.  There isn't a creed to profess or a tradition to uphold that will bring you closer to him.  Those things serve as good reminders of Him but can't fulfill the need for a personal viable relational delight in Him that bring us peace and fulfills our deepest desires.  It's delighting in him.  It's taking pleasure in Him, finding satisfaction in Him, feeling gratified by Him, finding joy in Him and Him alone.

He's made it possible for us to delight ourselves in Him.  We can't do it on our own.  We can only want to want to delight in him.  He does the rest.  When we give up our ideas of what is best or what we need or wish we had and surrender to what His purposes are for our lives, what He says is best for us (even the hard stuff), that's when we really have peace.

The chasing after the wind is stopped.  Our wants become "what do you want for me?"  Our difficulties and afflictions are faced with, "help me see you in this," instead of "why, me?"

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this path of faith is not easy.  Leaning on the object of our faith, Jesus, instead of our fickle faith alone is what makes life doable.  If we lean on our faith and not on the object of our faith, our faith will fail us when we it is weak.  Our strong faith doesn't make our circumstances easier, it's our strong Jesus and leaning on Him that get us through.  And our weak faith doesn't make Jesus weaker.  (Thank God!)

Our faith sometimes can be as fickle as our feelings and sometimes we get them confused.  Sometimes what we think is faith is really only our feelings.  And sometimes our feelings are faith in action.

But Jesus, the object of our desires, is never weak, never fickle, never stronger one day more than the other.  He is our heart's true desire.  Our faith may weaken, but He never will.

Some of my wishes came true while I was holding him at arm's length, before I delighted in him.  But looking back I see how he gave me what I wished for long before I knew they came from him.  And all along the journey and in between the tourist sites, He taught me how to delight myself in him.

Peace,
Ronda

Psalm 37:4

        My first ride on the ferry!  1991


My children with Independence hall in background and the building which houses the cracked Liberty bell to the right. (Not seen in picture, you couldn't take pictures of the bell with flash and the cameras weren't as high tech as they are today! Ha).







Tuesday, May 6, 2014

When the New was the Old

Long before Christianity was defined as a religion, like Buddhism or Hinduism, it was simply a group of people who gave up the way their old religion told them to behave and do and think, and they started following a God who was man, Jesus, who opened the doors and raised the rafters on what religion does to a heart, and caused ordinary people to leave their old ways behind and follow His way of living life.

The history of Christianity has some really high points and some really low points. There are some things that make us followers of Christ cringe to know what was done for the sake of Christianity, and then there are other things that have happened throughout history which make one honored to be called a follower of Christ.

One of the many things which humbles me to know is that Christianity started among Jewish people. I won't get into those differences here, but for the followers of Christ who aren't Jewish, who don't have Jewish ancestry in our blood, who are what the Bible calls Gentiles, it's pretty amazing to me that God has included us in his story.

What does all this mean?  Well, to me it means that the God of the Torah, the Old Testament, the Psalm writers, the Kings, the prophets, this God is now my God.  It means to me as I read the Old Testament that if God spoke comfort to His ancient people then, because I am His child now, the words of the Old Testament speak comfort to me.

I'm not simply a New Testament Christian with no need for the words of the Old Testament.  I am a follower of Christ who now has the full story - both the back story and the finished work - to take into consideration as I come to know Christ and His relevance for my life.

Christ fulfilled the law of the Old Testament and left us free, including, and not limiting to or excluding of, the Jewish people.  AND the character of God and His love for all people, not simply the Jewish line, is described and painted in brilliant colors all across the Old Testament.  The New Testament simply washes out the dividing lines Christ erased and fulfilled by living a perfect life no one on earth can live and dying the death the Hebrews or us Gentiles could never give.

It's fascinating really, simply fascinating.

Have you read the Old Testament?  Do you realize what Christ put an end to?

Once He died, once He was the ultimate sacrifice, there were no more sacrifices necessary.  The Jewish people, history records this, had to sacrifice animals and birds to make peace with God.   Not only did they have to do their own sacrificing, but they had to do it multiple times over and over each time they broke a command of God.

We don't have to do that anymore.  The Jewish people don't have to do that anymore, because Jesus Christ was the ultimate sacrifice.

So, you say "the Old Testament is so hard to understand, so hard to grasp."  Well, then you haven't read it with fresh eyes lately.  Open it up.  Right now, get your Bible or open up your App or open up your browser and type in the book of Joshua.  Start reading it.  Go ahead, I'll wait.

If you want to try something in smaller bites open up the book of Proverbs or Ecclesiastes. (now there's a good book for today's trying times.)

Want an adventure story with wars and sex and heroes and villains?  Start reading the books of Samuel and the Kings and Chronicles.

Want a woman's liberation story?  Read Esther.

You see, if you don't know about any of those types of stories then you really haven't bitten into the Old Testament.  And if you haven't taken a bite of the Old Testament then you really haven't fully come to understand all that Christ has done for you.  You can read the New Testament version of the story and believe it, but long before He became a man and lived on this planet, He was a warrior and a king and a gentle breeze and sea and river divider.

His story didn't just start on December 25th.  His story started long before any of us and our descendent's descendant's descendants ever walked the earth.

You want scandal and revenge and resurrection?  Turn off your TV and open up the Old Testament!  There's your show.

God isn't who you've been told He is.  He's more!  Even to the believer He's more than we can ever imagine Him to be.

And if you read the Old Testament and think as you read, "this God is the God who ended up dying for me," your world and your view of Him in it, is going to be changed radically.

Open it up, do you have Joshua opened?  As you read it, tell yourself this:  This God who is speaking to Joshua is the same God who is speaking to me as I face_______________.  The circumstances may be a lot different, but it's the same God.

Do the same when you read Esther, or Ecclesiastes or Samuel.  This God, this OLD Testament God, is my God.  He went by Jesus when He walked the planet, but He was Yahweh through and through.

And He loves you.  Yes, you!

Peace,
Ronda