The leaves are changing into beautiful oranges, yellows, and reds even here in Texas. Fall has blown in and that means that the holidays are just around the corner! And I bet that reading those words just stirred up either excitement and anticipation, dread and anxiety, or maybe a little of both in your soul. I get it!
So, I wanted to share something with you- an early Christmas gift of sorts. The Name of Jesus is a Christmas devotional I wrote to help me FOCUS on one name of Jesus each day during the month of December. I wrote these little thoughts first in text messages last year to a group of my friends. I was amazed at how much it spoke PEACE to my heart…not just then, but up to this day. I wanted to share it with you this season in hopes that it will bring you some of the same!
If you’d like a FREE PDF Version of the Name of Jesus Devotional to print out, it’s in the Book Store.
I know that many of you are also homeschooling families.
Homeschooling through the holidays can add a WHOLE other level of stress. You can read about how to teach, using the holiday as the lesson in this post –>Homeschooling Through the Holidays.
I also have created a Name of Jesus Kid’s Companion- Christmas Unit Study and PRINTABLE Power Pack that goes along with each day of this devotional! Or just get -> ‘The Name of Jesus’ Christmas Bundle
If you dream about baking cookies, making handmade gifts and ornaments, and keeping Jesus the center of it all, but haven’t been able to balance that and “getting school done”, it’s totally possible!
I’m SUPER excited about this unit study! You’ll find daily kids devotions (same Name as in this devotional each day), ideas for homemade ornaments for each Name, recipes to make and share that tie into the lesson, suggested reading, Christmas carols, science experiments, and lots more! You can find the ULTIMATE Christmas Book List (that is made to go with this unit too). I hope it will create memories for your family that will last a lifetime!
The Name of Jesus Devotional-
Prayers & Ponderings For the Season
I’m so glad you’re here, joining me for some quiet time during this busy season!
I am praying that as we pick a Name of Jesus each day to think on, our hearts will be filled with true Peace. Each day, I’ll be right here with you, hoping to meet with Jesus and know Him a little more…not because I have anything amazing to say in these quick devotions, but because together, we are taking a moment, a pause from the world, just to sit at His feet.
Since most likely we’ve never met, I’m not sure if you’re like me… but some days I wake up chatting with Jesus, worshipping, and in tune with what He’s doing. I’m energized and enthusiastic, and looking forward to what the day will hold.
And some days…I just totally miss it.
I can usually tell (after awhile) it’s one of those “missed it” kind of days, because I find myself distracted, feeling grumpy, rushed, frustrated, annoyed, out of sync, and generally BLAH.
Please tell me you have these days too!
This devotional began on one of those “missed it” days.
Having made a mess of a brand new day before 8am, I sat down to read a few Scriptures hoping that it might help improve things. I didn’t get very far. I read one sentence, and it struck my knotted up heart-
“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” ~John 6:35
All day, I kept thinking about this Name- the Bread of Life. And bit by bit my heart and mind began to untangle themselves. I felt like I might even be breathing again. It was like I had been starving to death with the Bread of Life standing right before me, just waiting for me to eat. I was so excited, I texted a few of my friends about what was happening. I wanted to live like this EVERY DAY!
And so the next morning, I found another Scripture that highlighted a new name of Jesus. I wrote it on a card and taped it to my fridge. I was determined not only to see and know this Name, but to take it in, chew it up, and digest it- letting all it’s little pieces nourish my soul! I didn’t want to stand there hungry all day- I wanted that Bread of Life!
And can I tell you?
There is power in the Name of Jesus!
So, I kept writing…and eating and drinking in the names of Jesus.
I’m so grateful you’ve decided to join me.
(And just in case you want to keep those names on your fridge too, I included a page to print out in the FREE PDF Version… You will also find pages to write your own prayers and ponderings as well!)
May He bless you and keep you near His heart. May He lead you to green pastures, and still waters where you can drink deep until your thirst is quenched and your dry bones revived!
♥️Jesus, King of Kings♥️
This past year I’ve been very slowly reading through the book of John with a group of friends. Through these ancient words, I feel like I’m meeting Jesus all over again. At weddings and wells, in the wilderness and on the stormy waters, in dusty streets and in green pastures, Jesus invites people to know Him uniquely and personally by revealing His name to them right where they are.
The Living Water. The Lamb of God. The Good Shepherd. The Way.
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” ~John 20:31
So as we begin this journey together, let’s not only learn His names, but let’s set our hearts to BELIEVE these names as well!
Jesus, the King of kings.
This is an easy name to digest, right? I mean of course He is the King of kings!
We know the story…and we LOVE the story!
Jesus came as the King of kings to establish His Kingdom and to rule over all the earth. He didn’t come to be the King over only the Jewish people under Roman rule, or just for that short period in history. As the King of kings, He came to set EVERY person free from the worst kind of rule- sin. And because there is no equal, He therefore will reign as our King for the rest of ETERNITY!
Best news ever right? (Insert waving palm branches and cheers!)
Oh yes! We understand this- but oh those Jews, they just didn’t get it! But have you ever wondered why? Think about it… what kind of king is born in a stable, then picks a bunch of uneducated fishermen for his highest ranking officials, frequently dines at common tables full of the most “unsavory” folks, washes people’s feet like a slave (gasp!), or DIES like a common criminal? Jesus definitely didn’t come in the way they expected Him to. He didn’t fit the bill for the KIND of King of kings they were looking for! And so they rejected Him.
And we are incensed and incredulous at their blindness! How could they miss the King?
Well, just like I miss the King I think. I look for MY own idea of a king too. A right now, have it my way, earthly kind of a king… a king who will give me what I want, how I want it, and when I want it.
I get frustrated when He doesn’t come the way I EXPECT Him to.
But today, I will put my expectations aside, lay my flesh at His feet, and know Him simply as the King of kings!
How could there ever be one better?!
The foundation of His throne is justice and righteousness, and though I don’t always understand His ways, I know He rules well.
“…He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” ~Revelation 17:14
♥️Jesus, Lord of Lords♥️
So I watched the morning news today.
If you haven’t already, you might want to skip it. The whole world seems way off kilter. Mercy!
We have a lot of serious problems in our society, and not so many agreeable answers evidently. There are divisions and schisms and hatred; violence, wars, poverty, addiction, homelessness and hopelessness. Every single news story I saw fit into one of those boxes.
People are looking for answers. And they are depending on the government to help.
There is a huge amount of hope placed in these men and women to fix the broken things. We desire peace, prosperity, and the freedom to enjoy our lives…they make promises, new laws, and provisions. But the problems continue…and seem to worsen every day.
As I was thinking on what to write today, I heard some familiar words of a Christmas song playing in the background- “and the government will be on His shoulders”.
Wow! How beautifully the truths of all His names fit together!
What does a King of kings and Lord of lords do? He GOVERNS of course! This work rests squarely on Christ’s shoulders.
“Of the greatness of HIS government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.”
There actually IS a government that is in operation today that has the answers to the problems in this world!
Talk about a MUCH better news report! I should’ve started my morning right here!
Even with the most honest & humble presidents, parliament, or kings, there will always be trouble and failures. Kind of depressing, right? But there’s an alternative! Jesus on the throne.
“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” ~Deut. 10:17
No more politics, broken campaign promises, corruption, greed, disunity, failed fixes, wars, or striving under the efforts of mere man!
Christ’s rule is Greatness. Peace. Justice. Righteousness. FOREVER.
How can this be?
Because the government is upon His shoulders!
Because He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords!
Because He is Lord of all!
Because He was born and given to us, and all authority to rule was given to Him!
“That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.“ ~Ephesians 1:19-21
Did you catch that? In the PRESENT AGE !!
All the chaos and confusion, fraud and filth, vitriol and violence is sadly part of the kingdom of this world. But as believers we can watch the news without dismay, fear, or hopelessness!
Jesus is RULING! The government is upon His shoulders!
He is working all things for our good and HIs glory!
He is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords!
While we may only see this in part here on earth today through the lives of His people, ONE DAY SOON we will see it fully come to pass!
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
~Isaiah 9: 6-7
♥️Jesus, Author and Perfecter of Our Faith ♥️
Are there any other perfectionists out there?
Strivers maybe? Strugglers? Faith walking wannabes?
Do you ever find yourself feeling like you are constantly failing to measure up to God’s standards?
Today’s name of Jesus is for us!
Let’s break it down.
Jesus – yep, that is not your name or mine (Actually, it could be, but we know who we mean)
Author- this word literally means the creator, founder or leader
Perfecter- finisher, completer, one who makes perfect
Faith- “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”
Jesus (not US!) is the One who has from it’s very beginning, created our faith.
Jesus (not US!) is the One who will grow and complete our faith, until it is perfected.
Have we struggled to work our way into the heart of God?
Or tried to gain His approval by our good works, or our determination to do better?
I don’t know about you, but my law loving mind likes to whisper, “you need to have more faith!”, as if I could summon it up out of sheer will power!
But this verse reminds us –
“LOOK UNTO JESUS”! HE alone is the creator and the perfecter of your faith!
On the day we first believed, He was there…the founder of our first glimpse of faith. And each day since, He has been tending to our faith like a master gardener. Pruning and weeding and nurturing it. And one day, we will stand before Him, and He will have finished, having made that faith He created in us absolutely perfect!
So to all of you who think you aren’t enough…
Those who know that you don’t measure up…and those of you who just can’t seem to get it right-
You are correct.
HOWEVER, “…in Him you have been made complete (1 Colossians 2:10), and “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), for “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6)!
“…looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”
♥️Jesus, the Shepherd & Overseer of Our Souls♥️
Today’s name of Jesus brings us even more AMAZING news!
Did you know that your soul has a Shepherd!?
The inner most part of what makes you, YOU, is never alone.
There is One who is CONSTANTLY watching over and protecting your soul, feeding it, directing it, and fully caring for it.
But there’s more…your soul has an Overseer too!
Day and night, He is looking intently into all the complicated matters of your inner most workings. When you can’t untangle all the mess in there, He is confidently arranging and ordering all things!
Let the TRUTH of this name of Jesus soak in DEEP for a moment!
We by design, were created to be fully known. This is why we crave intimate love on earth. Sometimes something will come close to this in our lifetime, but it will always fall just short. Believe it or not, this is a good thing. This empty place in our hearts causes us to long for the deepest kind of relationship, the one God breathed into us when He gave us life. He knows our souls through and through, and He tends them like the Good Shepherd that He is. THAT is unconditional love! Think about it…the One who spoke the whole world into existence, who raised the dead, who is the King of kings & Lord of lords, and God Himself, cares to know each one of us in the most intimate way possible.
It’s kind of shocking to imagine really. All your most private thoughts, your mannerisms, quirks, and glitches…the stuff nobody but you knows about… that’s where He is…standing right in the middle of YOU (and me)! Shepherding and overseeing. And in all His perfection and power, fully knowing us, He loves us! So when life is spinning out of control, and you’re feeling alone in the chaos, take a deep breath and return to this Name!
Blessed be the name of Our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Shepherd and Overseer of Our Souls!
“For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to
the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
~1 Peter 2:25
♥️Jesus, Our Sabbath Rest♥️
Is anyone else TIRED today?!
The tired train must’ve rolled right over top of me last night. How can you wake up exhausted?
Ain’t nobody got time for that! It’s December for Pete’s sake!
So, today I am looking desperately to this name…Jesus, Our Sabbath Rest !
We all get tired.
Our minds get tired, our bodies get tired, and sometimes the tired goes all the way deep into our souls. Life has a way of pulling us in a hundred different directions at once. Stress adds up. Our focus gets off. Life doesn’t live up to our expectations. Tragedy happens.
But God knows.
In the beginning, when everything was fresh and new and perfect, God sat down on that 7th day and rested. We know He wasn’t tired. Probably wasn’t a rough day at work. He wasn’t stressed out. But we know He sat…and He looked over all He had created, enjoying it, and calling it good. And in that perfection, He rested. It’s hard for our minds to picture a world like the earth was in that moment. Everything was in order. Life was exactly like it was supposed to be.
Fast forward a few thousand years when the earth wasn’t as new, and it groaned and cried out for relief. Life surely wasn’t as it was supposed to be. Things were not in order.
A renewing of life was needed, and once again, God knew and had a plan. REST!
But God didn’t do things like men expected (see a theme?). This rest wasn’t like a good nap or a sunny vacation at the beach. This rest came in the form of a person…a spiritual Sabbath Rest for all of mankind, Jesus! He sent Him to be the REST for us once and for all. Rest not just for the Hebrew people, but for all God’s people… rest not just for our bodies, but rest for our souls…rest not just one day a week, not just one day in Heaven…but every day, right here on this old earth, right now- REST!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” ~Matthew 11:28
So when we’re at the end of our own energy, done trying our best to keep on going, and we are hanging on by a thread, we can stop…and sit… and call out to Jesus, OUR SABBATH REST! And as we look around as He did, the circumstances may not change, but we will! Stop and look at HIS perfection and I promise it will refresh you better than any nap or vacation you could ever take!
Sit at His feet. Breathe in His presence.
Refresh your body through the power of the One who created it.
Renew your mind with His thoughts.
Know He is working all things out for your good and His glory.
“For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
♥️Jesus, The Holy One♥️
“They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other,
“What is this? A new teaching— and with authority!” ~Mark 1:21-27
I felt like God just thumped me in the head (lovingly of course) when I read these words!
My first instinct in reading Scriptures such as the one above is to excitedly notice and be in awe of WHAT Jesus does. I mean this passage is all about the awesome miracle, right? Well, sort of…
No doubt, the miracle itself is an important part of the story…but the Holy Spirit flick I just got was about the name of Jesus that I had just skimmed right over!
How about you? Did you catch the WHO or the WHAT when you read those verses?
Mark’s narrative should be sobering- it is the impure spirit(s) that cries out the name of Jesus first, and not the crowds in the synagogue! Upon witnessing the whole incredible event, the people cry out, “Wow! Super cool new teaching with authority!”. Instead of looking into the face of the One who freed their neighbor from some pretty powerful possession, all the crowd wanted to know was what the new enlightenment was all about! “They were amazed at His teaching….and they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching- and with authority?” They were pretty much only interested in the WHO because of the WHAT.
It’s not an intentional thing we do…but maybe it should be an intentional thing that we don’t do!
I realized (thanks to that little plunk in my spirit), that all too often I pray and quite eagerly receive the WHATS… and then happily run ahead forgetting that I have just encountered THE HOLY ONE OF GOD! He’s Holy! He’s the One! He’s God! And He just intervened on my behalf!
“What is man that you are mindful of him?” ~Psalm 8:4
When our prayers are answered, do we recognize that THE HOLY ONE OF GOD has heard?
When our hearts are kindled by the Word, do we realize that THE HOLY ONE OF GOD has spoken? When we feel His peace, do we realize that THE HOLY ONE OF GOD has come near to us?
The impure spirit recognized Him immediately… do we?
Too many times, I miss Him, the Holy One of God, with us.
Admittedly, like those folks in Capernaum, I love a good teaching! I can listen for hours to gifted Bible teachers who can so articulately dig out the details in the stories of the Scriptures, and bring them to life. But today I am aware of something else…in all the excitement of the “whats”, it’s quite easy to fail to give glory to the Who.
So today I’m resting. I’m breathing.
I’m quieting my heart and mind.
I’m allowing Jesus oversight of my soul.
I’m trusting Him to perfect my faith, and shoulder the weight of this world.
I’m not asking, or complaining, or working my way through a list, or even giving thanks.
Today, I’m just LOOKING at Jesus, the Holy One of God.
Together let us see Him more clearly than ever… in every place!
“May “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”
“We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”
Every year we make all kinds of preparations to celebrate Christmas.
The whole world pretty much does. We take off from work, we travel to be with family, we cook special foods, we give gifts to friends, and family, and strangers even. We sing Christmas songs, and we decorate our homes and yards with so many lights you can see them from outer space!
And we celebrate BIG the day that marks Immanuel’s coming … Truly, it was a pretty amazing day.
But Immanuel is more than a name.
Something changed forever with the declaration of that Name.
IMMANUEL, GOD WITH US!
Those were some shocking, earth shaking, eternity altering words being announced!
God hadn’t ever dwelt with man in this way before.
Not surprisingly, this took most off guard.
It happened in an unexpected way, in an unexpected place, and through an unexpected person.
But all of a sudden… in one breath, God was WITH US!
Have you ever seen the movie “Groundhog Day”?
It’s a classic. A man wakes up to the same exact day over and over again until he has a change of heart. If you haven’t seen it, you should! Sorry, it’s been a long day, and my thoughts are all over the place. Bear with me. There really is a point. I hope 🙂
I was just thinking that this is the REALITY of Immanuel!
Ever since that day in the manger, EVERY SINGLE DAY,
the world has woken up and it’s been CHRISTMAS!
And there is Immanuel.
There for every single one of us to spend the rest of an eternity of days with.
The absolute best gift ever!
Immanuel… yesterday, today, and FOREVER!
“She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel, which means “God with us”.
♥️Jesus, God of Hope, Hope of Glory♥️
Have you felt a twinge of it this week? Tucked into the mysteries of Christmas is this odd kind of stirring- a hopefulness that seems to rise up during this season in spite of all the stress and busyness. And it’s more than the hope of little children waiting for their gifts. I’m talking about that obscure glimmer of expectancy and optimism, even among those who don’t know Our Joy quite yet. It seems to be everywhere, filling every thing this time of year. Have you ever wondered where this hope comes from?
The Oxford dictionary defines ‘hope’ as this- “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen”.
What exactly are we expecting? What exactly could we be desiring to happen?
Both are very good questions to ponder this week, however, I think this definition of hope, when you compare it to the kind of HOPE that God came offering, is a bit lacking.
So what is the better definition? True hope is much more than a feeling or desire inside you! It is more accurately, a person IN you!
The God of Hope, the Hope of Glory, DWELLS IN YOU!
This is what we were/are/will be expecting and desiring to happen!
This is where our hope comes from!
Christ IN us, the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27)
As we celebrate the coming of Jesus the Christ, the Hope of Israel, the Hope of the Gentiles, the Hope of the World, it does makes sense that HOPE should be an integral part of our celebrations. Today I am giving more space in my heart, and mind, and my being for Hope…
“May the God of Hope
with all JOY and PEACE
as you trust in Him,
You may OVERFLOW with HOPE
by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
♥️Jesus, Our Rock♥️
Did you read the name of Jesus today and immediately hear this children’s song-
“The wise man built his house upon the Rock, the wise man built his house upon the Rock…and the rains came tumbling down!” Well if those words didn’t immediately pop into your brain, now they’ll probably be stuck there all day- you’re welcome! 😀
The imagery of a solid, immovable rock is clear, and the Scripture from Matthew is quite familiar-
Jesus is the Rock. Build your house on Him. If you choose to be foolish and build on anything else, life’s storms will eventually wash your house away.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” ~Matthew 7:24-27
But what does it mean to call Jesus Our Rock?
You might be surprised that we can see the answer nearly from the beginning of the Scriptures. Just as Our Sabbath Rest, has been pointing to Jesus since the beginning, the Rock stands as one more vivid reminder to us of God’s faithfulness and long-suffering with His children!
In Genesis He is the Rock in Jacob’s blessing (Genesis 49:24)
In Exodus, He was struck to bring relief and salvation to a thirsty and stubborn People (Exodus 17:6)
In Deuteronomy, He is the Perfect Rock of Moses’ praise before Israel was finally ushered into the Promised Land-
“I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” ~Deuteronomy 32:3-4
In the Psalms, He lifts David up and sets his feet firmly on the Rock, his Fortress & Refuge!
In Isaiah, He is the Only Eternal Rock, and the One from which we were hewn. (Isaiah 26; 44:8; 51:1)
And if there were any doubt…
In 1 Corinthians, He is the Rock, Jesus the Messiah, the One who follows His People! And “He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever”!
God’s sure foundation is the Rock, Jesus Christ, from the beginning, who has stood constant, solid, immovable, and steadfast in the lives of the family of God!
What a sure Rock we have to stand on!
“There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You,
nor is there any rock like our God.”
~1 Samuel 2:2
♥️Jesus, Wonderful Counselor♥️
There has been a lot of loss in our community this week. And to be honest, I’m kind of reeling from it. Deaths, brokenness, grief, and just the awareness that all is not as it should be. There is something about this time of year that makes these events even more heartbreaking.
Grief and sorrow mixed with all the joys of Christmas just feels wrong.
It’s too big a contradiction to settle in our hearts sometimes. This conflict of joy and sorrow, hope and suffering, life and death, is one aspect of Christmas I don’t often think about. But I’m realizing that it is not a small part of these holy days actually.
The birth of Christ, meant the beginning of the road to His death. The Holy, Righteous, Son of God in all His marvelous glory, leaving heaven to become the Son of Man, to suffer injustice, and carry the weight of all the world’s sins. An enormous incongruity.
“He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief…”
The incredible gift of everlasting life to us, the greatest joy to the world, meant a mother watching the horrific death of her son, and the excruciating death on a cross for Jesus. Hope and suffering.
But God…Oh those 2 simple words!
Our world is so often shaken by pain, but God, El Roi, the God Who SEES, has given us,
The WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, whose ear never tires, whose wisdom never leads us wrong, One who knows all things, even the end…from the beginning.
He is the Mighty God who is over all circumstances, and strong enough to hold us up when we can’t stand on our own anymore, an Everlasting Father, whose arms we can forever run to and be held.
No counsel on earth can give rest to our souls like the Prince of Peace, in whom there are no limits to the well of hope. He sees, He knows, He cares. Because He’s borne it all Himself.
And so we can lay our troubled heads against His chest and come to Him for help…remembering that the days in which we are living are ALL holy-days in Him. The most vicious, hurt-filled ones and the most placid, beauty filled ones. We don’t look to a god who has no understanding- we look to Jesus, who is acutely acquainted with our sorrows, and has borne our griefs…
He is the most WONDERFUL COUNSELOR!
“And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
♥️Jesus, The Bright Morning Star♥️
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.
I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright Morning Star.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!”
Have you ever been up at the crack of dawn and spied the “morning star”?
It’s actually just Venus you’re seeing, but it’s a great reminder of Jesus, the certain and first light of every brand new day. The context of the Scripture above speaks of another certainty, Jesus’ return for His Bride. Jesus, the Morning Star, a present reminder to us that the Church belongs to Him, and one day just as sure as there is dawn to each day, He will come for us, His Bride.
There is another time God chose to use a star to remind us of Christ’s coming. Before you even read these words, I’m sure it popped into your head-
“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
This is a familiar story, and the star, a familiar star…especially during Christmas.
God set this bright star in the sky and showed it to some men who were seeking. The star miraculously shone above where the infant Christ cooed and cried and played, until the “Wise Men” were able to follow its light to the Messiah’s exact location. And there, they bowed down and worshipped Him and brought Him GIFTS! Do you remember what they were ?
Yep. Gold. Frankincense. And myrrh.
These were the kinds of special, precious, costly gifts presented to kings and royalty. This act showed that the travelers recognized the One they had found beneath the star.
So what does the Bethlehem star have to do with the Bright Morning Star?
The Bethlehem star was set in the sky to mark His coming, and just as the rock in the wilderness, and the sabbath rest at creation were set in place to point us to BELIEVE in the coming One, so is this name of Jesus, the Bright Morning Star! The travelers brought gifts to The Christ who had come…but did you know that gold, frankincense, and myrrh were also the gifts customarily given to a bride by her groom when he came to take her to their wedding feast according to the customs of the ancient Hebrews?
Hey beautiful Bride! He’s coming for you (and for me)!
The People of God waited a very long time for Messiah to come. Waiting is hard, and it makes us forgetful…but God has placed these stars as reminders that He will do just as He said. As WE wait, let’s look for that Bright Morning Star in the sky each morning, and know that His promise is sure! He came once exactly as He said He would down to the most minute detail, and we can be sure He is going to do it again!
“We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. “
~2 Peter 1:19
♥️Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life♥️
“Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” ~John 11:23-26
In praying about which Name of Jesus to meditate on today, I settled on Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life. And surely there aren’t enough pages of words to write all you could say about this beautiful name, but what really struck me today, is that Jesus doesn’t just have power over resurrection and over life, He IS the Resurrection and the Life!
I’ve read the story of Lazarus many times. Lazarus dies and is buried. Jesus wept, but didn’t come right away. Mary doesn’t understand why, and sits in her grief. But Martha hearing that Jesus is finally coming, runs out to meet Him. She believes that if Jesus had been there, her brother wouldn’t have died. She knows Jesus well. She knows His great affection and love for her family. Perhaps she’s seen His healing miracles with her own eyes before. She believes.
So much so, that she tells Jesus, that even at this point, 4 days after Lazarus’ death, whatever Jesus asks of God, she knows that God will do it! She nearly asks Him directly to raise Lazarus from the dead. Her abundant faith inspires me so much!
Her brother was DEAD AND BURIED!
Yet she’s STILL asking for life.
But what is even more AWESOME (and what really struck me today) is Jesus’ response to Martha.
Martha believes in the resurrection and in eternal life, at a FUTURE point.
BUT JESUS tells her,
He IS, right at that moment (and forever),
The Resurrection and the Life!
The resurrection and the life is not a future event !
It is a person!
It is Jesus Christ !
It is RIGHT NOW!
The Resurrection and the Life was standing face to face with Martha!
In the hours, and the days to come, this truth was getting ready to explode in glory and rock her world, and it should shake us AWAKE too! Death has been defeated! Life has been given.
An astounding VICTORY has been won!
A few days ago, as we opened our hearts to Jesus, the Rock, one part of His admonition stuck out, but I didn’t address it in the devotion. Now seems like an even better time.
Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” ~Matthew 7:24
Are we hearing His words today? Are we acting on them? Are we building on the Rock?
Because He IS the Resurrection- He can call dead things back to life! Because He IS the Life- He can breathe His own breath into what is dead, and cause LIFE to flow again! We don’t have to wait some day to die and be resurrected…we ARE resurrected and we have life both now and forever!
But just as Jesus asked Martha…”Do you believe this?”
As Believers, we are called to BELIEVE!
So I’m asking myself-
Have I heard His words?
Do I really believe Jesus IS the Resurrection and the Life…right now?
Am I acting on this? How?
John 11 tells us that Jesus waited to go to Mary and Martha, not because He didn’t care about Lazarus’ life, or because He wasn’t concerned with their loss and grief, but so that He could SHOW them His great love, and His great Name, and through it all, glorify God.
And so He did just that.
He indeed raised a dead man from the grave back to life.
And to all those living, those who saw and believed, He offered life without death.
Not just life like the world offers us either… “
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~John 10:10
Not just that one time.
Not just someday.
If we have Jesus, we have resurrection. If we have Jesus, we have life.
And we have it abundantly!
He asked Martha this question…and I can hear Him asking me too-
“Do you believe this?”
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
~1 John 5:11-12
♥️Jesus, The Way, the Truth, and the Life♥️
Though there is truly “nothing new under the sun”, 2020 will go down in history as giving those words a run for their money! So far, we’ve had a pandemic, several major natural disasters, rioting, racial tensions, and don’t forget the killer bees. And that’s just in the US!
The list could go on and on. But Solomon’s words remain true- there’s “nothing new under the sun”.
For in the midst of all these events, the enemy, seeking whom he may devour, has done a fantastic job of causing chaos…distracting, dividing, and confusing. Stirring fear and anxiety, creating distrust and depression. People are falling prey by the masses!
Each day we carefully consider and compare charts of daily deaths, jobless rates, political polls, and debate the effectiveness of masks. We are swallowed up in endless amounts of passionately conflicting information about the”truth”, the “right way”, and the new kind of “life” we now all must figure out. It’s enough to make anyone feel unsettled and uncertain. Like the very foundation of your house is being shaken by a giant earthquake (let’s keep this off our 2020 list!).
What does this have to do with name of Jesus today?
A lot, actually. When Jesus spoke these words to His beloved friends, He was going away. Not only was He going away, but He was leaving them, going to the cross, and then going to a place where they could not yet follow Him. These men had entrusted all they had to Jesus..all their earthly goods, their hopes, their futures, and their very lives. I’m sure they thought that the world and all they knew had already been pretty well shaken at this point, but they had no idea what the next year would bring. There would be temptations, trials, and hardships like they had never known before. And the enemy would predictably use his age old tactics- he’d cause chaos…sow doubt, divide, distract, dishearten, and confuse. He did it then, he does it now.
See the pattern?
But Jesus knew.
This is another pattern. Jesus knew that His disciples’ hearts were going to be troubled. So He left them (and us) with these simple (yet deeply profound) words-
“Let your hearts not be troubled…
Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.
No one comes to the Father except through me. “
When madness and mayhem threaten to cause our own hearts to quake, remember the patterns- satan’s and God’s. Satan will sow all the usual confusion, but Jesus KNOWS!
And He has been given power over ALL things.
So when we like Thomas want to shout, “how can we know the way?”…
We do not know what this next year will bring.
We do not know what any year will bring.
What should we do? Look for the Way…He Himself is the WAY.
What should we believe? Seek the Truth…He Himself is the TRUTH.
What will happen to us? Rest in the giver of Life…He Himself is LIFE.
Hang on to His words…Believe them.
Hang onto these NAMES of His, each one salvation, a comfort, a shelter, and a promise.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32
♥️Jesus, the Alpha and Omega♥️
He is Jesus, the Alpha, the Beginning.
There is nothing in all of creation that began without Him.
And He is the Omega, the fulfillment or conclusion of it all.
There is nothing in all of creation that will stand the way of His final purpose.
He was before all things, He is now, and He will be forever.
He is supreme!
“For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.” ~ Colossians 1:16-18
And do you know that He has DECLARED the end, from the very beginning!
Not only has He KNOWN, it, but He has DECLARED it!
“I declare the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’” ~ Isaiah 46:10
What a comfort this Name is to me today.
Throughout all the history of this earth, there is not ONE SINGLE person, event, or thing that has escaped His knowledge or care. And before any of it came to pass, He knew.
We can rest safely in His hand, whatever may come. And when the end of the history of this earth as we know it arrives, He, the OMEGA, will make ALL CREATION complete as was His purpose and plan from the beginning.
Imagine what THAT will look like!
Imagine what WE will look like!
Imagine what LIFE will look like!
“Look, I am coming soon!
My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
~ Revelation 22:12-13
♥️Jesus, The Word♥️
The expression. The declaration. The standard. The revelation.
Can you imagine with me for a moment?
He spoke everything that has been made into existence…
At the Word, all things that have breath were filled with life…
And Light shone in the darkness…
Humble and full of mercy He declared it finished…
Soon, He will return with the armies of Heaven…
What is His Name?
“His name is called The Word Of God” ~ Revelation 19:13
This Name I could dwell on forever. Dream about. Awake to.
Without the Word there is nothing. With the Word, everything is possible!
One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis imagined it this way in his book, “The Magician’s Nephew”.
I wish I could have included the whole chapter!
“In the darkness, something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it . . . Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale; cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one as on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out . . . If you had seen and heard it, as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing…The lion was pacing to and fro about that empty land and singing his new song. It was softer and more lilting than the song by which he had called up the stars and the sun; a gentle rippling music. And as he walked and sang the valley grew green with grass. It spread out from the Lion like a pool. It ran up the sides of the little hills like a wave…
Polly was finding the song more and more interesting because she thought she was beginning to see the connection between the music and the things that were happening. When a line of dark firs sprang up on a ridge about a hundred yards away she felt that they were connected with a series of deep, prolonged notes which the Lion had sung a second before. And when he burst into a rapid series of lighter notes she was not surprised to see primroses suddenly appearing in every direction. Thus, with an unspeakable thrill, she felt quite certain that all the things were coming (as she said) “out of the Lion’s head.” When you listened to his song you heard the things he was making up: when you looked round you, you saw them. This was so exciting that she had no time to be afraid. Everyone was stirred and shaken by the song, yet their exact responses varied.”
May the Word continue to SPEAK…
May LIFE and LIGHT and REVELATION and VICTORY spring up within your lives today!
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made;
without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
♥️Jesus, The Door♥️
What kind of Christmas tree person are you?
I’m feeling a little chatty this morning. And since I have no idea what your answer was to the question above, I’ll just keep right on talking to myself. Don’t mind me.
Oh yes, the question.
Some people are decorator Christmas tree people. Their trees are gorgeous- all color coordinated, with perfectly curled ribbons, no black hole spaces, and themed ornaments. My mom is this kind of Christmas tree person. Every year I WANT to be this kind of Christmas tree person, but somehow I always end up in the second category.
The second category are the memory Christmas tree people. Their trees are…well…homespun- every color of the rainbow can be found, popsicle stick reindeer, ballerinas with only one leg left, an odd assortment of homemade ornaments, and usually some tinsel to cover those blank spots (or is that just me)?
Anyway, this really does have something to do with today’s Name of Jesus… the Door.
You see, mixed in with my messy eclectic display of tree baubles, is one of my most prized ornaments, a little brown door made out of paper. It came as part of a toddler’s Christmas devotional. That was a very long time ago in our family (my youngest child is 23 now), and the other little pieces of the story have long since disappeared. But the door remains!
I unwrap it every single year, carefully and joyfully. And every single year, I get all teary eyed and flooded with all those sweet mama memories. Why do I cry at a brown paper door?
Because after my littles had all gone to bed one night in December long ago, one small, sweet girl with messy hair came tip toeing out of her room, and sat on the floor beside the Christmas tree. She had been thinking about that little door herself.
She wanted to be able to go in…to walk with Jesus and talk with Him.
She didn’t want to stand on the outside anymore.
And we prayed together.
And Heaven rejoiced with me!
And so this Name of Jesus fills my heart with incredible gratefulness.
He saw my baby girl, called her by her name to come in, and swung that Door open wide!
He did it for me. He did it for you. He’ll do it for your children too.
And for your family and neighbors, and every single person until He comes again.
So maybe add a little brown paper door to your tree this year- yes even you decorator tree people!
Just a little reminder this season of the WONDERS inside the DOOR!
“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
~ John 10:9
♥️Jesus, the Son of God♥️
Perhaps you glanced at the name this morning and are thinking (like me) that this is a good name, but one you’re already quite familiar with, so you’re going to just skim on by… please don’t!
There’s a BIG blessing in this Name for us, and a challenge too!
“Who is it that overcomes the world?
Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God…
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
Whoever has the Son has life;
whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
~ 1 John 5: 1, 11-13
Jesus, the Son of God !
It is by THIS Name, we overcome the world!
It is by THIS Name that we have life!
It is by THIS Name we have that life eternally!
It is by THIS Name that we have assurance!
WOW! Pretty awesome, right?!
We could stop right here with this for the morning, right? We could, but we might miss out on one more important word if we did.
Did you catch that?
And herein lies the challenge of dwelling on today’s (and EVERY day’s) name of Jesus.
It isn’t enough to just know these names. We must believe these names!
And the Son of God, is perhaps the most important one. If we know Jesus, we know God.
This is the crux of our faith-
In some of Jesus’ last words while on this earth (which makes them pretty important), He CRIED OUT to the crowds. What was He imploring them to do? You guessed it!
BELIEVE in His Name-
“Jesus cried out, ‘Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.
The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness’.”
The essence of those words “cried out” is heartbreaking, but they highlight the deep emotion and consequence of what Jesus said. The word used is krazó– to scream, to make a piercing sound like a raven; cry out loudly with an urgent scream, using “inarticulate shouts that express deep emotion”. And with those words up to this day, Jesus is URGENTLY EXHORTING every single soul- if you believe in ME, you are believing in God!
If you are looking at ME, you are seeing the very face of God!
BELIEVE GOD! BELIEVE ME!
Jesus, the Son of God.
Are we believing His Name?!
“regarding His Son…who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God
by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”
♥️Jesus, the Son of Man♥️
Jesus, the Son of Man.
Did you know that this is the name Jesus calls Himself the most- more than 80 times in the Gospels!
Didn’t we just learn yesterday that Jesus was the Son of God? Yep.
And today, His name is the Son of Man? Yep.
It’s not a contradiction. It’s a completion.
Read on… there’s good news, and GREAT news in this name!
Jesus is the Son of Man. We see the image of this name everywhere. Jesus, the sweet, little baby lying peacefully in a stable surrounded by the happy animals that witnessed His birth.
But have you ever wondered WHY He came this way?
Why in human form?
And what does this mean for us?
Keep imagining ahead from the stable scene…Jesus the son of Mary, and Joseph the carpenter.
He played in the streets with the neighbor kids. He probably skinned his knees, got hungry, caught a cold, and felt sad. Does it feel kind of uncomfortable to think of Jesus as the Son of Man?
GOD got hurt and GOD felt sad?
Almost feels a little blasphemous to say that He was so much like…gulp! US!
But it’s true, and this is actually really GOOD news!
If you’ve ever struggled with guilt, remember these words…
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses…”
He lived in this crazy world just like us, fully human, fully vulnerable to temptations and sin, and He “empathizes with our weaknesses”. Because He is the “Son of Man”!
See?!? GOOD NEWS!
While it’s comforting to know that Jesus understands what we are feeling and struggling with, there is even GREATER news ahead! Hang with me… it’s REALLY great news!
So, did He just come to earth as the Son of Man so He could relate to us better? Not at all actually.
The answer goes way back…all the way back to the Book of Genesis. All the way back to the Garden of Eden. I told you I meant WAY back! Here it is in a nut shell. God created man in His own image to be His family on the earth, with the work of ruling over all of creation (including ruling over themselves and their desires)! God walked with man and enjoyed the intimate relationship He had with His children. But we know the story- satan entered in and tempted man to trust in something other than God. After Adam and Eve had believed the lie and sinned, God called for them and asked what they had done…did Adam or Eve come running to this One whom had only showed them love? Nope. They hid. They blamed each other. They even blamed God Himself for their bad choice! Does this sound familiar?
And so the very first humans lost that perfect environment.
But God …He loved His children.
Even though they had to suffer through the consequences of their sin, God promised to send someone one day to redeem humanity and defeat the enemy who led His family astray.
Who could possibly redeem mankind?
Only another man who was able to do the very thing God had asked the first people to do- have dominion over all of creation, without giving in to sin. For a very, very long time, everyone failed.
Now come back to the stable… there in the middle of a very messy world, the Son of God and the Son of Man was born! He grew, and ate, and learned, and loved. He was tempted as the Son of God, and tempted as the Son of Man. He lived in our world, and He mastered it…all the way to the cross. And the enemy was defeated, and humanity redeemed. Just as God had promised.
Though no one else was able to do it, Jesus, the Son of Man was able! And so there’s hope for US! Jesus, the Son of Man has overcome the world! We can now have that intimate relationship with our Creator restored. We can have the consequences of sin removed from our lives. We can experience life without death!
And THAT is GREAT news!
“…but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” ~Hebrews 4:15-16
Jesus, the Son of Man.
He is completely God. He is completely Man. There is no contradiction.
He empathizes with our weaknesses, but more so, He has DELIVERED us from their bondage!
Both of these names must be taken in, consumed, and digested- like the Bread and the Wine.
And the more we soak in these names, the greater our JOY!
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
~ Luke 19:10
♥️Jesus, The Light of the World♥️
Jesus came brilliantly as the Light of the World!
When we flip a switch and the light comes on in a dark room, we are then able to SEE! Jesus came into the dark room of the world so that all mankind would be able to SEE!
To see what? To see God!
To see the way out of the darkness of this world, and come into the Light of their salvation!
This name of Christ is so much bigger than just a name. It is all we’ve been learning wrapped up into one beautiful package!
First He gives us another of His beautiful, precious names…
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
He reminds us to BELIEVE! We are called “believers” after all, right?
“Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”
He calls US, by HIS own name!
“You are the light of the world…” ~Matthew 5:14
And He tells us what to do with all this Light that we’ve been given.
“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:14-16
“Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going”. ~John 12:35
May our hearts burst with the Light of the World this year!
May we be bold and shine that Light like a city on a hill!
May those who do not know where they are going SEE the Light in us, and follow Him!
“I have come into the world as light,
so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”
~ John 12:46
♥️Jesus, the Firstborn of All Creation♥️
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
It’s acorn season here.
This is Texas and we don’t have typical seasons. Mostly we have summer, second summer, sort of like summer, and acorn season. Every year at this time the little oak tree in my front yard produces a zillion acorns.
I’m tempted to be annoyed at the mess it makes, but I know this tree is just fulfilling it’s purpose. And as it drops all 1,298,938,398,377 acorns, each of those acorns also attempt to fulfill their purpose as well.
What is their purpose?
The purpose of each seed (acorn) is to fall to the ground and die.
Sounds kinda of depressing, right?!?
But they were created to do this in order that they can live again and then reproduce. This is why there are little baby oak trees trying to grow everywhere all over my yard presently.
Jesus told a story like this to a curious crowd the week before His own death. “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
Why did Jesus tell this story to explain His death, and what does it have to do with His name, the Firstborn of All Creation?
Jesus came down from the Father, the Firstborn of all Creation…
And through His DEATH- like the acorn, resurrection LIFE sprung forth- like the oak tree!
And from that life, He, the Firstborn From Among the Dead, REPRODUCED reconciled sons and daughters of God- a brand new seed containing the potential to grow into it’s own tree!
Redeeming and restoring God’s purpose from the beginning, to go be fruitful and multiply and FILL THE EARTH and have DOMINION over it.
”…Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins
by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—
to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”
~Revelation 1: 5-6
♥️Jesus, The Righteous One♥️
Do you ever feel unworthy? Tired of all your failures?
Frustrated that you just can’t seem to get your act together?
Do you do what you don’t want to do…and not do what you want to do?
I really hope it’s not just me!
Once again, the name of Jesus brings us GOOD NEWS this morning!
We have an advocate; One who is for us and not against us!
Jesus Christ, the Righteous One!
Contemplating this name made me just want to fall on my face in worship today.
It touched something way down deep in my heart. As I was thinking about why this was, a picture came to mind. Here’s what I saw-
Standing in front of Jesus was a little girl wearing a coat…a very heavy, oversized, shaggy looking coat. It was covered in splashes of mud, caked on dirt, bits of grass, sticks, and all sorts of grunge. It looked like the child had literally rolled in a garbage heap. The girl seemed ashamed. But Jesus wasn’t phased by this. He smiled at her…He touched the heavy coat and lifted it from her shoulders. She looked so relieved. She knew somehow with Him saying a word, that He was glad that she had come. As she stood there shaking, completely vulnerable and bare before Him, He did something extraordinary. He tore a piece of His robe and covered her with it. He told the girl how beautiful she was- it was like He didn’t even notice all the filth she had brought into HIS Holy Place! And they sat and talked. And He listened. He nodded. He smiled again. He laughed.
And for a long time she was silent and just rested her head on Him.
This precious image has burned in my heart all day.
And I realized the truth of these words,
” We love Him, because He first loved us”. Our worship of Him doesn’t flow out of our own love for Him, but true worship flows out of His incredible love for us realized!
We fail. We mess up. We fall short.
We get covered in the yuck of this world.
And it’s a heavy, rotten burden we pile up on our shoulders.
We ARE unworthy, our worship is unworthy, our love is unworthy that’s true!
But there is One who is worthy!
He’s Jesus, the Righteous One!
Dare to come into His Holy Place today with all your dirt today! He’s there waiting for you!
(Still need reassurance? Go read John 13:1-17)
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice
for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
~1 John 2:1-2
♥️Jesus, Our Bridegroom♥️
Imagine yourself at a wedding.
All the guests are seated and everyone is anxious for the big moment. The music starts and all eyes turn to the back of the church. And there in all splendor and beauty appears…the GROOM!?
Here comes the groom? Were you expecting the bride?
With this name of Jesus (and others too), we tend to see only through the lens of our own experience and culture. However, many years ago while planning for my own wedding, I read a history of what an ancient Jewish wedding would have looked like. It is quite different than what we are accustomed to, but I think it brings this name, Jesus, Our Bridegroom, into such an EXCITING REALITY for us today!
“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged [betrothed] to be married to Joseph…” ~Matthew 1:18
We read these words every year at Christmas, but have you ever wondered what “betrothed” meant exactly?
Did you know a Hebrew wedding consisted of two parts? The betrothal and the feast. The betrothal was similar to our engagement period. It was a legally binding agreement, and for all intensive purposes, the couple were considered married. However, the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be did not live together quite yet. There was a span of time, usually somewhere around a year, between the betrothal day, and the wedding feast day, when the relationship would be consummated and the whole town would come together to celebrate. During this interval, the bride-to-be would wait…and wait. Every day she’d awake and make herself ready, making sure her clothes were clean, and her lamp was ready, filled with oil in case the groom came at night.
No one knew for sure what day or hour the Groom would come for her.
As the bride-to-be was preparing for the groom’s coming, the groom-to-be was preparing for the Bride. He was preparing a home for them, putting everything in order and planning all the details for the big wedding feast!
Just when the bride-to-be must have been so fatigued from all the waiting, it would happen!
And there was no missing it when the moment arrived! The groom would finally come down the street along with a large procession of excited friends announcing his arrival with loud blasts from a shofar (a horn made out of a ram’s horn), and cries from his friends for the bride to come out and meet her groom!
It was time for the marriage feast!
The groom would then carry his bride all the way to the celebration, which usually went on for an entire week!
And the whole community rejoiced together.
Are you ready for your Groom to come?!?
He’s preparing a place for you! And the whole community is waiting to celebrate!
“For your Maker is your husband—
the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.”
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.”
♥️Jesus, The Bread of Life♥️
Do you ever feel like you don’t have “enough”?
Enough time, enough money, enough energy, enough patience, enough YOU ?!
Well you’re correct! You probably don’t have enough.
Yes, I know…these are supposed to be uplifting and encouraging devotions to start your day off right! But to be honest, I’m right there in the same boat with you! And so I can’t help you with this problem very much.
It is “reality”…and our failure to have enough is GLARING this time of year, isn’t it?
I do have a suggestion though. And this morning’s name of Jesus is it.
Jesus, the Bread of Life.
In the account of the incredible miracle Jesus did in feeding over 5,000 very hungry people with just a few fish and loaves of bread, there are a few sentences you may have skimmed over a bit quickly, but I think they are pivotal in this story- and therefore, to our lives as well!
“When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”
He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Philip clearly sees the immensity of the PROBLEM and his own lack of “enough”.
Jesus wants Philip to SEE that! Why?
So He can show Philip (and everyone else who will ever read this story) that we ALL are incapable of being/having ENOUGH! Life’s impossibilities are REAL when we are looking to OURSELVES for the answers. Jesus wasn’t disturbed by the insurmountable need, or by Philip’s inability to meet that need!! It is soon after this exchange between Philip and Jesus, that another disciple, Andrew, brings the little boy who comes to offer what he has to Jesus. It seems a bit sweet and silly… like the child who comes to their parents offering their piggy bank, or to help the family by earning money doing chores around the house for them. But the child brings what he has, and looks to Jesus. And what Jesus did with it should cause our hearts to OVERFLOW WITH HOPE!!
“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
“When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” ~John 6:11-13
So as we find ourselves coming up short day after day, call out to the Bread of Life!
HE IS ENOUGH!
Bring your piggy bank, bring your 20 minutes, bring whatever you’ve got!
Give thanks for it!
Then offer it all to Him and watch Him multiply it to meet ALL your needs!
Shalom dear friends!
“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
♥️Jesus, The Indescribable Gift♥️
What is the most amazing gift you’ve ever been given?
Can you describe it?
I’m guessing the answer is a resounding yes! It might have been an extravagant gesture such as a vacation…or the most simple, hand-drawn card from the chubby little hand of your toddler. Either way, the gift has been etched into your mind and heart, and if we were together this morning, you could happily relate why this gift was so special to you.
This month, I’ve been so humbled and grateful for each name of Jesus- a new gift every day!
We’ve awoken to the Bright Morning Star, been fed by the Bread of Life, walked through the day with the Shepherd of Our Souls, and when the holiday hustle was wearing us thin, we were refreshed by Our Sabbath Rest!
But these names don’t even scratch the surface!
Jesus is the INDESCRIBABLE GIFT!
He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Author and Perfecter of Our Faith!
The Holy One, Immanuel, the God of Hope and the Hope of Glory!
He is Our Rock!
He’s the Wonderful Counselor, the Resurrection and the Life! The Way…the Truth… and the Life! He is the Alpha and He is the Omega! The Word, the Door, and The Light of the World!
The Son of God and the Son of Man! The Righteous One, and the Firstborn of All Creation.
He is Our Bridegroom, and He’s coming for us soon! He is Jesus!
He is the most extraordinary gift ever given in the history of all creation… and I can’t even begin to describe Him.
May He continue to show us more and more of Himself each day, that we might be able to comprehend how wide and long and high and deep His love is for us, and share that Gift with the whole world!
And together with all God’s beloved family we say,
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
~2 Corinthians 9:15
Merry Christmas !
I hope that you have been filled, and calmed, and excited, and encouraged, and challenged by the Name of Jesus this month. I am praying that every single one of you will know how deeply loved and valuable you are to Him. If you would like to email me with your own thoughts, comments, or even prayer requests, I’d love to hear from you! [email protected]