Saturday, January 2, 2016

Name Above All Names--Bread of Life

Name Above All Names Alphabet by Krista Hamrick




Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art print, Name Above All Names Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 individual Names she has identified are so special, as Krista has intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows, each one with its Scripture reference. Krista said, “This is probably the painting that I have most enjoyed researching, designing, redesigning and painting. Beth Willis Miller has expanded upon each name with devotional word studies. By knowing, believing and trusting who God says He is, we can be confident in who He has created us to be.” I so agree with Krista! 


My heart has been drawn to do a word study for each of the names included in her art print. Krista and I felt led to publish our Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ available now on Amazon as a softcover book and as a Kindle book at this link.


Combining the beauty of Krista's artistic excellence with these word study devotionals is perfect for individual quiet reflection or small group Bible studies focusing on the Name Above All Names—Jesus Christ—and His attributes and characteristics.

Review by Michele Morin: “The infinite variety in nature, the curious complexity of human behavior, the synchronicity of multiple systems in our own anatomy — and in the solar system — all point, through general revelation, to the nature of God: multi-faceted, magnificent, and yet mysterious. Special revelation in Scripture picks up where creation leaves off, and Beth Willis Miller has teamed up with artist Krista Hamrick to focus on twenty-six pieces of evidence in Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ. The result is an alphabetical collection that resembles a twenty-six sided gem, each facet reflecting a slightly different hue of the nature of God the Son. From Alpha and Omega to King of Zion, each devotional highlights the Scriptural basis for the name in multiple translations and then provides commentary on the verses. Beth applies the truth and then invites her readers to join her in a prayer that turns the truth into a paean of praise. No mere academic exercise, the point of Name Above All Names Devotional is threefold:


Look up – Meditate on the name and what it reveals about the character of God.

Look in – I am propelled to ask galvanizing questions about my discoveries: “Because God is ___________________, I should therefore _______________.”


Look out – Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


With full-color art work and space for notes, Name Above All Names Devotional is a treasure for devotional reading, a resource for serious study, and a thoughtful and inspiring gift for loved ones.” (review by Michele Morin)
 

I was so inspired while listening to this anointed hymn I Then Shall Live which culminates with these powerful lyrics, The Bread of Life, O may I share with honor, and may You feed a hungry world through me, amen while studying John 6:48

NASB: I am the bread of life.
Amplified: I am the Bread of Life [the Living Bread which gives and sustains life].

Expanded Bible: I am the ·bread that gives life [bread of life].

Living Bible: Yes, I am the Bread of Life!

The Voice: I am the bread that gives life.

Bread was the primary food of people in Bible times. It was made from a variety of grains, often mixed with lentils or beans. The “loaves” were baked flat, about a half inch thick. In the Bible, bread is symbolic as the sustainer of physical life.

Theologian Haddon W. Robinson writes: “Years ago my wife and I took our children to an amusement park in Texas. By day’s end, Vicki and Torrey were tired and hungry. As we were leaving, we passed a concession stand and Vicki asked for some cotton candy. I told her we would get some real food in a few minutes, but she wouldn’t hear of it. So I decided to invest $1.50 to teach her a lesson. Vicki got the cotton candy she begged for. But as she bit into it, she discovered there was nothing to it. Finally she handed it back to me and said, “Daddy, it’s not real!” She knew she was hungry, and she learned that cotton candy promises something it can’t deliver. There is a deep hunger within all of us. Sigmund Freud believed people are hungry for love. Karl Jung insisted that we crave security. Alfred Adler maintained that significance is what we are after. But Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life” John 6:48. Jesus was saying that if we want the deepest hunger of our life satisfied, we need to go to Him to be filled. He knew that our hunger and thirst are really for Him. Don’t settle for spiritual cotton candy when Christ can fill the emptiness in your life. Only the Bread of Life can satisfy our spiritual hunger.”

Pastor John MacArthur states: “I want to draw your attention to John 6:32-59 where our Lord gives this great sermon on, I Am the Bread of Life. He repeats that several times. “I am the Bread of Life.” It is interesting to note also that the word “Bethlehem” in Hebrew means “house of bread.” This sermon is a shocking day toward the end of the Galilean ministry of Jesus as He taught the Jewish people in the synagogue at Capernaum. The most compelling statement around which all of this is built is the repeated statement, “I am the Bread of life.”  That’s His claim, verse 32, verse 33, verse 48. This is the first of seven “I AMs” in the Gospel of John, in which our Lord takes the verb “to be” in Hebrew, the name of God who is the “I AM that I AM,” and applies it to Himself and adds a metaphor. “I am the Bread of life. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Vine. I am the Way. I am the Truth. I am the Life. I am the Resurrection and the Life.”  All of those I AMs are efforts on the part of our Lord to make clear that He is one in the same as God. This is the first of those seven I AMs, in which He takes the name of God, and in this case applies as He does on several of those occasions, a metaphor to explain something about His nature and His work.  Now, you have to understand how monumental this sermon was given in the Capernaum synagogue.  He’s talking to Jewish people, and He presents this powerful claim that He has come down from heaven.  Jesus is saying, “I AM the means by which eternal life can become yours.” To say that He is bread is to use really a metonym for food, nourishing food that gives life and sustenance. Bread, then, was simply a word that encompassed all nutritious food.  Jesus is saying that, “I am your food. I am your true soul food.” Eating is necessary. Eating is in response to hunger. Eating is personal and eating is transformational. If you don’t eat physically, you will die. If you eat, the food you take in transforms you, and that’s what Christ does. We are praying for those who have come, looked, or are looking, but haven’t believed, received, eaten, accepting Christ, not only as the bread that nourishes the soul, but the blood that cleanses the soul.”

Theologian Richard L. Pratt, Jr. writes, “In chapter 6, John employs a chiastic structure (a writing style that uses a unique repetition pattern for clarification and emphasis) focusing upon unbelief…”
         
A. I am the bread of life (6:35)
B. whoever believes (6:35)

C. seen (6:36)

D. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out (6:37)

E. sent me…raise it up on the last day…I will raise him up on the last day (6:38-40)

F. grumbled (6:41)

G. Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, I have come down from heaven (6:42)

F. grumble (6:43)

E. sent me…I will raise him up on the last day (6:44)

D. And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me (6:45)

C. seen…seen (6:46)

B. whoever believes (6:47)

A. I am the bread of life (6:48)


Jesus is the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, our Counselor, our Good Shepherd. Prayerfully studying and meditating on the character traits and names of God is one of the most faith-building, encouraging things you can do for your spiritual life. It will dispel your anxiety and boost your faith. It will enable you to trust God more. Knowing the true character of God will renew and transform your mind with the truth, dissolve doubt, and breathe life into your soul. Saying aloud the attributes of the Lord and thinking about how you’ve experienced different aspects of His character can be a powerful act of worship. Ask God to reveal Himself to you in greater clarity than you’ve ever experienced before.

Lord Jesus, my Bread of Life, thank You that You have put within each of us a spiritual hunger that only You can fill. Cause me to hunger and thirst for You and Your life today. I want to join You in what You are doing to rescue those who are perishing, to feed those who are hungry and thirsty with your Bread of Life and Living Water. Help me to hear and obey when You call on me. Empower me to be Your hands and Your feet in the place where I live. In Jesus’ mighty Name Above All Names—Bread of Life, we pray, amen.


Look Up—meditate on John 6:48

Look In
—as you meditate on John 6:48 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.

Look Out—as you meditate on John 6:48 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.

Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

Weekly LinkUps…

36 comments:

  1. What a beautiful art and powerful post with so much of the Word of God. Great read! Blessings

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    1. Thank you, Tayrina. Many blessings to you!

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  2. Love the artwork and knowing that Christ continues to transform me! Blessings!

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    1. Carrie, I so agree with you. Many blessings to you!

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  3. Beth, this is powerful art work and wonderful truth affirmed in the words you share from Scripture and from those reflecting on it. Good food for thought! Blessed to be your neighbour at #WeekendWhispers :)

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    1. Joy, thank you for stopping by. Many blessings to you!

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  4. Thank you for this. The cotton candy illustration really spoke to me tonight. I appreciate your thoughtful words on these words of Jesus.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! It is a blessing to share with others what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has used to encourage me...many blessings to you ❤️

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  5. I always look forward to these posts, and especially love this one -- I'm a bread maker and my kids love it. Something so satisfying about bread -- what a great metaphor for our Lord.

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    1. Thank you, Michele! I look forward to your kind and encouraging comments...I appreciate you taking time to reflect with me...many blessings to you ❤️

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  6. Beth, thank you for unpacking this verse so beautifully for us! Hope you have a wonderful week. Blessings :)

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Lyli! I so appreciate your encouraging comments. Many blessings to you!

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  7. Beautiful, Beth. Your words always fill me with thanksgiving for the heart behind them.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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    1. Thank you, Dawn...your words warm my heart ❤️ All glory and honor to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...truly, all we have is because of His Grace. Many blessings to you!

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  8. That is a beautiful art page. Thank you, Beth, for reminding us that Jesus is the only one who can fill the hunger within us. Praise His Holy Name! I'm visiting from #IntentionalTuesday.

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    1. Gayl, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such an encouraging comment. Many blessings to you!

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  9. Beth, I was first drawn the picture. I loved it!! And then before even reading I said to myself, "I hope Beth is going to do a post on each one of the names of God!" And indeed you are! And a word study at that!

    I found Haddon Robinson's analogy perfect!

    I did not know that Bethlehem meant the "House of Bread".

    I just love how even every word in the Bible, God designed with special intent.

    Thanks so much for sharing such an edifying post!

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    1. Karen, you always have the most delightfully specific and encouraging comments! I so enjoy going to your blog, too, because I always know you will have heart-felt and thought-provoking reflections on God's Word. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  10. Beth, I like your Look up, Look in, and Look out. Thanks so much for sharing your encouraging Bible study with us. He IS the bread of life! He satisfies.

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    1. Thank you so much, Betsy! I appreciate your encouraging comments. It is so true that when we keep Jesus--the Word made flesh, the Bread of Life--at the center, as we Look up, Look in, and Look out, His Light will reveal everything to us! Many blessings to you!

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  11. What an awesome way to study God's character! Loved meditating this morning on Jesus as the Bread of Life. Thank you!

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    1. Jordan, thank you for stopping by...I so agree with you...many blessings to you ❤️

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  12. Thanks for mapping the verse out with the chiastic structure--I've heard of it before, but it was good to see it laid out like that!

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    1. I so appreciate your comments! I, too, love learning new insights about the Truth of God's Word...we will never reach the heighth, width, depth, and breadth of this amazing Living Word...the only book that when we open it, the Author shows up! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  13. Thanks, Beth, for this instructive post. It was more impactful as I connected it with our pastor's meditation at the Ash Wednesday service where he spoke about unleavened bread and the history and connection with its meaning for us all as we come into relationship with the Bread of Life. Visiting as your neighbor on the linkup at #FaithBarista today.

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    1. Pam, thank you so much for your encouraging words...it is such a joy for me to share what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has used to encourage me. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  14. Thank you Beth for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! Such meaning is found in one sentence!!!

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    1. I appreciate your encouraging words so much. Thanks for stopping by! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  15. This Truth is so beautiful, Beth, because we are often physically hungry. No matter what time of day that need occurs, Jesus is there to fill us up, nourish us, provide for our needs. Should I ever be one who cannot get food for days on end, (Heaven forbid, but if it should happen) I would pray that I will reach our to the Bread of Life for all I need. And the beauty of it all is that even when I have a full belly, I still will reach for Him.

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    1. Linda, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I so agree with you...our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ meets us at the point of our need--He is our everything...what a Savior! Many blessings to you!

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  16. Beth, I just love this: "Don’t settle for spiritual cotton candy when Christ can fill the emptiness in your life. Only the Bread of Life can satisfy our spiritual hunger." It reminds me that we can hear a lot of good "spiritual" messages out in the world, but ultimately, Jesus - HIS words, HIS life in us - is the only message we need, that is truly life transforming.

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    1. Linda, thank you for your encouraging comments. I so agree with you! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  17. What a lovely way to learn. Spiritual hunger effects us in a varity of ways and we often don't recognize it for what it is.

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    1. Ginger, thank you for your positive comments. I agree with you that Krista's beautiful artwork is so inspiring and makes you want to know our Savior better! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  18. I love how you draw us into the Word of God with such a powerful post and beautiful images. Thanks for linking up with us the #LMMLinkup last week.

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary, for stopping by with such encouraging comments. Many blessings to you!

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