Black Friday meet Red Sea Rules

Not exactly a red and green Christmas title leading into December, right?  I've been studying with a group of ladies through the book, The Red Sea Rules, by Robert Morgan.  Mr. Morgan, using the passage from Exodus 14 as the Israelites were saved from the pursuing Egyptians by crossing the Red Sea on dry land, describes ten rules that he learned during a difficult time of decision in his life.

Front Cover

This week we are discussing rule 7 - "Envisioning God's enveloping presence".  This thought is based on Exodus 14:19-20:

 Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night. (Exodus 14:19-20 ESV)

The angel of God who had been leading them moved behind them to protect them.  Morgan noted that the Lord is both a guide and a guard for His children.  

We did get out just a bit on Black Friday... there was quite a crowd.  I have to say... I wasn't exactly envisioning God's Enveloping presence around me.  I was seeing the crowd closing in on me several times...

Go with me just a minute - what if... we tried that... just for the month of December.  Wherever we are, whoever we are with, whatever happens... in the midst  of it - to imagine God's Enveloping presence.  So, when you walk into the Mall or any store, your thoughts, your actions, your reactions would be determined by God's enveloping presence - His thoughts... His perspective.

So, let's get practical... 
When you walk into the grocery store, look for someone to encourage. Better than that, ask God to show you someone to encourage.  

When you make a phone call that might be hard, ask God to direct your conversation.  

When you drive down the road, ask God to remind you of someone who needs your prayers.

When you walk into your job, ask God to give you purpose not only in your work, but with your coworkers.

When you rush into the store for that one more thing, ask God to slow you down enough to really see those around you.  

Your presence in our lives is a gift that we can share so readily.  Give us this week, this month... an awareness of Your presence enveloping us  so that we "act like people of the Light and make our light shine..."  (Ephesians 5:8-9), and that someone else's day may be just a little bit brighter.

Just change your name

Really, would you?  Change your name, I mean... you can, you know.  Susan means lily, that's what I've always been told.  I did a little google search, and, among other information, found this:

This name limits imagination and vision.

Well, that's great...I knew I wasn't creative... I've been telling people that for years... no wonder I'm not a Pinterest enthusiast.  Just maybe, that website I googled doesn't really define me.

My husband, Frank, is the 3rd in a line of Franks.  That shocking ultrasound in 1997 confirmed, that we would be adding a boy to our family of 3 girls.  As we begin to think about names, Frank was adamant about two things... 
1. He must have a one-syllable strong name.  (Remember our girls are Katie, Kellie and Mollie - all two-syllable names - not exactly sure who one-syllable is "stronger"... but I agreed to his request.)
2.  He was reasonably sure that his name would not be Frank IV.

So I agreed, and after much discussion, we determined Clay.  On August 4th, 1997 Clay was born and named Clay Ellis Wilder - all was very well.  About 3 months later, I began questioning that decision.  We should have named him after his dad, and his grandpa, and grandpa's dad.  What were we thinking?  This just isn't right.  In order to see how the name would actually fit, we began calling Clay - Frank or Frankie to determine if we could change his name.  We even spent that holiday season asking some of our family and friends to join us in the name switch.  With again... much discussion, much thinking and much prayer, we affirmed our decision to leave his name - Clay.  Thankfully, he was young enough that we didn't create an identity crisis as far as we know.

Naomi carried through her idea of name change.  She was Ruth's mother-in-law from the Old Testament.  
There was a famine in Bethlehem (where Naomi and her husband, Elimeleck - his parents weren't concerned about syllables...)
So they took their 2 sons and moved to Moab to live.
Elimelich died
Their two sons married Ruth and Orpah.
Their two sons died.
Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem.
Oprah stayed in Moab; Ruth traveled with Naomi.
Naomi changed her name from Naomi (pleasant) to Mara (bitter).

None of us would discredit her decision - she had experienced such loss, such difficulty, such grief.

Some days I'd like to change my name based on how I felt that day or on circumstances.

 Hey, ya'll, today, call me...

Tired... not much sleep last night.
Fearful... not sure how all "this" is going to work out
Joyful... those grand boys spent the night last night!   (maybe Joyful Tired)
Uncertain... which decision is best
Discouraged... that didn't go the way I had hoped
Overwhelmed... its just too much to process
Thankful... so very cared for

The rest of that story... Ruth married Boaz who was a gracious man - he took care of both Ruth and Naomi.  Ruth and Boaz had a son... they named him Obed... giving Naomi a grandson.  Now just let me tell you about grandsons - they bring joy, delight, pleasure, enjoyment... and so did Obed to Naomi.  "Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him."  

We know the rest of the story... Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the father of David... in the line headed to the birth of Jesus.  God's plan and God's timing are always His to determine and are always perfect.  My prayer today for you ... for me... is that we will be much more concerned about our obedience to His word than to our uncertainty in our circumstances.

So, for today... call me simply Trusting... and I will do my best, with prayer and petition, to wear that name well.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.  Proverbs 3:5-6.