Names of Jesus reposted from Chief of the Least

Hey, gang. I’m taking today to repost something from fellow blogger Bryan Daniels at Chief of the Least. It fits well with our affirmations, and I love that Bryan included the Scripture reference for each name.

Take a few minutes today to look up some of these verses, then confess the truth out loud. And check out Chief of the Least for more fantastic insights.

AND HE SHALL BE CALLED:

God (Hebrews 1:8)

Son of God (John 1:34)

Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)

Immanuel (Matthew 1:23)

Lord of Glory (1 Cor 2:8)

I AM (John 8:58)

Savior (2 Peter 1:1)

Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16)

Upholder of all things (Hebrews 1:3)

Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8)

The Word (John 1:1)

The Image of the Invisible God (Col 1:15)

The Brightness of God’s glory (Hebrew 1:15)

The Wisdom and Power of God (1 Cor 1:24)

The Lord from Heaven (1 Cor 15:47)

Son of Man (Mark 10:33)

The Great Prophet (Luke 7:16)

The Great Apostle (Hebrews 2:1)

Righteous Servant (Isaiah 53:11)

Messiah (John 4:25)

Anointed (Psalm 2:2)

Lamb Of God (John 1:29)

The Bridegroom (Matt 9:15)

Jehovah’s Shepherd (Zechariah 13:7)

The Door of the Sheep (John 10:7)

Branch of the Lord (Isaiah 4:2)

True Vine (John 15:1)

Tree of Life (Rev 2:7)

Bread of God (John 6:33)

Light of the world (John 8:12)

Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2)

Horn of Salvation (Luke1:69)

The Rock (1 Cor 10:4)

The Foundation (1 Cor 3:11)

The Temple (Rev 21:22)

The Altar (Heb 13:10)

Great High Priest (Heb 4:14)

Mediator (1 Tim 2:5)

Intercessor (Hebrews 7:25)

The Resurrection (John 11:25)

Last Adam (1 Cor 15:45)

Holy One (Acts 2:27)

Captain of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10)

Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

Righteous Judge (2 Tim 4:8)

King of Kings (Revelation 17:14)

Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14)

The Way, The Truth and The Life (John 14:6)

Jesus Christ

Does one of Jesus’ names speak more to you than the others? Why?

His faithful love endures forever

Someone asked me this weekend if I could find the word ‘unconditional’ in the Bible. As in, God’s love is unconditional. Salvation is unconditional. Mercy and grace are unconditional. Of course I can find it! It’s everywhere, I said. And then I went to my Bible and tried to find it.

…Looking, looking. (You may begin humming the tune from Jeopardy as I search.)

Well, so it’s not everywhere. Actually, I couldn’t find the word ‘unconditional’ anywhere. But that’s okay. The Bible doesn’t have the word ‘trinity’ in it, either. Or ‘rapture.’ But that doesn’t make those concepts any less true or relevant. God’s unconditional love is defined and demonstrated through the lives of people in Scripture:

Abraham, who tried to rush God’s covenant blessing with Hagar.

Sarah, who laughed in disbelief when she heard the covenant blessing.

Jacob, who lied about his identity and essentially stole the birthright from his older brother.

David and Bathsheba, who committed adultery and then tried to cover it up with murder.

God’s love and blessing stayed with these people (with me!) in spite of bad decisions and faithlessness. Jesus’ life and death is proof of unconditional love, and these examples speak to my heart when I fear I’ve messed up so badly He must turn His face in shame. In 1 Chronicles 16, King David teaches the priests and the people to sing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Remembering this truth also gives me strength to keep going when I’m so tired I can only imagine falling face-first in the dirt and passing out for days.

His faithful love endures forever.

When I remember all He has done for me and the power that lives inside me, I feel compelled to get up out of the dirt and take another step. Praying for direction with each footfall, I take another step. And without realizing it, His faithful love has guided me through the fear and doubt. I rest safely on the other side, encouraging others with the truth. His faithful love endures forever.

What does His faithfulness help you accomplish?

God is almighty

I found a very cool post last week where the writer made an alphabet of affirmations. Check it out here. I liked it so much, I thought I’d love to do one myself. It’s the ultimate craft that will serve everyone. And I can make more than one, using each for a month and rotating or turning them into calendar gifts.

With that thought, I’ve been pondering an ‘A’ affirmation. There are many. Authority. Abundant joy. Ask anything in Jesus’ name. Anything is possible if you believe. Then I landed on the one that spoke volumes to my spirit: Almighty.

I began this blog to confess the truth about my power in Christ. Only by focusing on Him can I move past these fears. His authority over all creation and His love for me determines how I live my life. The truth is that Jesus is truth. All He is, all He did and does for me, all His love for me; it’s truth that transforms. So today’s truth and the beginning of my alphabet affirmations focuses on His nature.

You are El-Shaddai, God Almighty.

By confessing the truth about who He is, I remove myself from the situation. Fear becomes irrelevant. This Hebrew name for God comes from Genesis 17:1, where God makes a covenant with Abraham and promises countless descendants. In doing so, He declares His awesome power and love. Who but the Creator of the universe could turn a ninety-nine-year-old man and a ninety-year-old woman into parents? And who but God Almighty could make them happy about it?

If He could do that, He can surely transform my life. He can take these fears, as big as they seem to me, and replace them with peace and assurance. He can make my life into something that pleases Him. And He can do it for you too.

Does it change your outlook to focus on God’s character?

He sets my feet on solid ground

When I was pregnant with the biggest little, I worked for a publishing company. It was nearly my dream job (not counting the best-selling author dream), and I knew everything would change when the baby came. Would I go back to work after maternity leave? Would I work full-time? How could I manage work AND a baby?

God continued to reassure me in those days. I remember walking up the stairs to my department floor and looking down at my growing belly. I felt Him telling me to trust Him, that He would plant my footsteps even if I didn’t know what I was doing. What a relief! And after the baby was born, I did indeed need Him to plant my footsteps. As if everything else wasn’t enough, postpartum depression hit hard. I turned to my Bible and prayer to get through those frightening, bittersweet days. This is just one of the pieces of Scripture I relied on:

“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” Psalm 40:1-2

What comfort to read that the Lord turned to me. I picture a loving, compassionate Savior opening His arms, offering solace and rest from the confusion. For months, I imagined Him actually planting my feet on solid ground and keeping me steady. I still picture that, especially when life looks a little too chaotic for my comfort. (That would be almost an hourly basis!)

This weekend I began chipping away at my fear issues, which brings back the need to realize how He sets my feet on solid ground. Even when I don’t know where I’m stepping or where I’m going, He knows.

He sets my feet on solid ground.

As I pursue potential leads and opportunities, I will come up against all manner of opposition. Fear is just the beginning. But He sets my feet on solid ground. Isn’t that what He’s been trying to tell me all along?

Where are your feet planted?

God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace

I love this grace thing so much I’m going to do another post or two about it. It just takes that much hitting me over the head to get it to sink in. 😉

If you haven’t already looked through your Bible for the frequency of the word ‘grace’, I encourage you to do it. I like to use BibleGateway.com because I can look through any translation and it gives the verses as well as surrounding text. Pretty handy when I don’t have a concordance laying around. Click here for a keyword search on grace in the New Living Translation.

What I find when I look for grace is the incredible number of times it’s there:

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace (Romans 1:7).

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you (Romans 16:20, 1 Corinthians 16:23, 1 Thessalonians 5:28).

Even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace (Galatians 1:15).

I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless (Galatians 2:21).

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most (Hebrews 4:16).

Choose any of these to confess daily, but today I choose Galatians 1:15.

Even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace.

Remember the first post this week on grace? It broke down the meaning of the word. If I want to know that my life has value and meaning, if I want to live empowered and free of fear, I need only to realize how much the God of the universe loves me and how He desires to see me live in Him. Even before I was born, He chose me and called me by His marvelous unmerited, unearned, unconditional favor. Pair that with yesterday’s truth: His grace, or His favor, is all I need. It’s beginning to take hold, this idea that I don’t need to fear all these things. That I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Say it with me today, and let it take hold in your mind: God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace.

Is it sinking in for you? Do you believe that God’s grace is the sweetest, most powerful force in your life?

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with my spirit

I love words. Originations, definitions, variations. Little wonder I’m a writer, because I could spend hours lost in the depths of a good dictionary. The older the dictionary, the better, and a concordance… Well, I think I might have died and gone to heaven when I get my hands on a good concordance and a few hours to spare.

The word I find myself interested in lately is ‘grace.’ We use it so easily sometimes, but do we really understand what it means? What the Bible says about it? It’s a powerful foundation for our belief, and it carries incredible freedom when we grasp it.

My Bible (Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation Second Edition, copyright 2007) says grace is God’s free and unmerited favor toward sinful humanity. Did you get that? Free and unmerited. From the creator of the universe. We can’t earn it. We can’t deserve it. We can’t stop it.

As if that’s not heavy enough, it points me toward the word ‘favor.’ “Gracious kindness, approval from a superior, a special privilege or right granted or conceded.” Another definition says, “to show partiality toward.”

God shows gracious kindness, approval, and partiality toward you and you can’t earn it, deserve it, or stop it. Take a minute to let that soak in. How does it feel?

I’m completely humbled.

The reason I’m so interested in grace right now is that I feel like I’ve ignored it. I’ve trivialized it and made it something I can earn with well-behaved children or a clean home. Healthy dinners, folded laundry, bills paid on time, good books, and a solid marketing plan for those books will surely make me good enough. If I can just fit all that in, plus Bible reading and daily prayer (and don’t forget pleasing everyone in sight while I’m at it), no one can find fault with me. I’ll be a good Christian, worthy of God’s favor.

But that’s ridiculous. I know the Bible says I can’t earn His favor. It’s a gift. Today’s truth, taken from Philippians 4:23, is to simply rest in that gift. To begin believing that God bestows His grace on me and I can accept it and relax in it.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with my spirit.

May it be with your spirit, and may we take a few minutes today to recognize its significance and simply accept it as we would a beautiful bouquet from a loved one. This is the best smelling flower we could ever receive.

What is your challenge in accepting God’s grace?

A different kind of confession

Happy Friday, Confess-ers. Today I’m doing something different. Instead of posting a ‘Fraidy Cat Confession, I’m attaching the blog of another writer below. This is Bryan Daniels, and his blog is Chief of the Least. He makes very good arguments about watering down the potency of the Word of God. As I read it, I can’t help but wonder if I’m guilty of this when I write a confession. I apply God’s word to my situation and my life and it gives me strength, but am I diluting the milk of the bride?

Read on:

Sometimes our eagerness for practical bible application becomes woefully misguided. When we hastily push a text into our own respective situation we may blunt its force. This is a sad exercise, because the word is a sword that slices our soul, not a butter knife that scrapes our skin. Take Jesus’ words:

Whoever wants to be my disciple must take up his cross daily and follow me Luke 9:23

It’s not a terribly bad interpretation to say this verse applies to harvesting an habitual practice of self-sacrifice and self-denial. But when we accept such vague terms before long such “sacrifice” begins to look like fasting for a day or being nice to mean people. Pretty soon we’ve decided we are almost martyrs for enduring such “crosses” as headaches and past due mortgage notes.

At times we can be so ego-centric in our eisegesis we begin to sound like the deacon who said to his counseling pastor, “Pastor, I guess my anger is just the cross I’ll have to bear the rest of my life.” The pastor replied, “No, your anger is the cross your wife will have to bear the rest of your life.”

Application of a text means nothing if the meaning of a text is not unearthed first. Diluted milk is bad for the body, especially the bride’s.

The shocking force of the words would not be lost on Jesus’ first century audience. What they heard was, “Follow me, and you will be signing your own death sentence in your own blood.” Or in more contemporary speech, “Follow me and you will be tying the hangman’s noose around your own neck everyday of your life.”

This heavy rhetoric is no way to grow a religion or church. I’m sure our modern church growth experts could school the Son of God in “proper contextualization.”

In the Roman Empire, the cross was the beam condemned criminals carried to their place of execution. These words had haunting applications for a first century audience that we miss in our daily grind of skinny lattes, gas prices, and Facebook drama. Jesus was not metaphorically calling his disciples to daily tidy acts of servanthood and patience, though we should do those.

The proper response to Jesus’s strict call would sound a lot like Paul when he says “I count my life as nothing….”(Acts 20:24)

Everything in my old nature rails against the clear penetrating words of Jesus. That’s why God gives us the grace to present ourselves again and again as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:2)

Jesus was enlisting men and women in an impossible undertaking that would defy all odds and likely leave them dead by way of excruciating means. This could happen any moment. Under Roman and Jewish persecution it was a given to the early Christians that they would have to prepare literally “daily” for their own trial and funeral arrangements. To follow in Christ’s footsteps means to set one’s face like flint to Jerusalem, and to count it as an honor to die outside the gates like a street dog. He is our reward, and as long as we are with Him it is more than worth it.

I love the words of GK Chesterton: “Jesus promised the disciples three things-that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.”

Completely fearless because Christ was with them. Absurdly happy because Christ loved them. In constant trouble because Christ called them to fight for a different Kingdom.

Bryan Daniels

***

Sound off, Confess-ers. This is a shameless plug for reassurance and a chance for you to tell me what you think. Am I diluting the meaning of the Word in these confessions? Would something else speak to you and spur you to confess your power in Christ more?

Check out more of Bryan’s blog, and tell him I sent you!

I have great joy

My littles think there’s a Spanish-speaking lady living in the back of our car.

I’ve developed the habit of keeping a bag of donation items in the car, and this particular bag has an electronic device that must be set on Spanish. As we round a corner, the lady pipes up. “Hola!” and she uses a lot of words I used to know but now can only guess at. They gasp and look at each other, eyes wide and mouths open, and my biggest little begins mimicking her in words I’ve never known. Then belly laughs fill the space around me, and my face splits in a wide grin because of the great joy God has given me.

Psalm 4:7 says, “You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.” While this piece of Scripture isn’t speaking directly about children, it’s the perfect confession because our children ARE from God. When we let them, they are an endless source of joy that is more satisfying than food or drink. (Er, yes. There are times we prefer food and lots of drink, such as previously mentioned screaming and water incidents. But that’s not the point here.)

I have great joy.

And if you don’t have children, God has done something different to give you great joy. Look around. Sunshine, friends, freedom, good food, a Savior.

Sometimes a good belly laugh is the only cure for life. (Well, that and dancing to Harry Connick, jr.) My littles have perfected this, and I’m learning how right they are. I’m learning to slow my mad dashing and take a few minutes to enjoy the simple things. Like a Spanish lady in the back of my car.

What brings you great joy?

I will be kind

Mornings are not my best times, but they’re hard to avoid with two small children. Children who are A.W.A.K.E. before 7am. Children who jump and scream and turn on all the water faucets as soon as their eyes open. Children who want to eat immediately. Mornings – in the best of circumstances – make me grumpy.

Today’s confession is probably a repeat, but I find it necessary in some cases. Mornings being one of them.

I will be kind.

Lots of people know the part of scripture that says, “Love is patient and kind, love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude” (1 Corinthians 13:4). And a lot of people correctly substitute Jesus’ name in place of the word ‘love.’ Jesus is patient and kind. Jesus is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. But how often do we associate these words with our own actions?

Today, when my littles spray water on the dog and on each other, when they refuse to eat what I’ve prepared for them (what they’ve ASKED for), and when they run from me with something I desperately need, I will say today’s confession in my head. Then I will say it out loud. I will be kind because love is kind, because Jesus is kind, and because it’s good for my spirit. And after I say it out loud, I will chase my littles down and…

I will hug them.

What will you do today?

I am God’s masterpiece

I am God’s masterpiece.

No, that’s not an arrogant statement. It’s not language I would normally use. It is not something I would choose to say about myself. But I should, and so should all Jesus followers.

It comes straight from Ephesians 2:10. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

I love how God’s word has layers upon layers of meaning and importance as we read it. I can read a piece of Scripture and it speaks to me so deeply that tears fall down my cheeks. This one for instance. “I am God’s masterpiece.” The value attached to that word “masterpiece” contrasts with what I’ve always thought of myself. And that it would be said of me, attaching me to GOD – as in the Almighty one, the one who created angels and light and dark, the Alpha and Omega – really gives me pause. Then I go back and read it again.

Created anew in Christ Jesus.

And I read it again.

So I can do the good things he planned for me long ago.

It brings me back to today’s truth with a stronger grasp of it. Can you speak this confession out loud today? You are God’s masterpiece. He created you anew in Christ Jesus, and He empowers you to do the good things He planned for you long ago. That’s right. God planned long ago for you to do good things. I don’t know about anyone else, but that’s motivation for me to get busy!

After all, I am God’s masterpiece.

What word would you use to describe yourself in God’s eyes?