Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Name Above All Names--Friend


artwork 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)

available on Amazon at this link.


I was inspired by listening to the anointed Casting Crowns hymn, Jesus,Friend of Sinners, while studying  John 15:13
NASB: Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Amplified: No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.

Expanded: The greatest love a person can show is to die for his friends [No one has greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends;Jesus’ death is the ultimate expression of this principle].

J. B. Phillips: There is no greater love than this—that a man should lay down his life for his friends.

Living Bible: And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends;


Pastor John MacArthur writes: “As Christians, when we talk about something like friendship with Jesus, when we speak about something that intimate, it's absolutely thrilling to realize that the Son of God, who is responsible for the creation and the upholding of the Universe, is literally a personal intimate friend of those who are his own. It's an overwhelming thing when you really grasp that truth…what it means is to really be a friend of Jesus Christ. Friendship with Jesus Christ is intimacy with God. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Jesus says, "I want you to love as I loved you." Now you say, well, I can't love in a substitutionary way. That's right; you can't. But you don't have to put too much into this verse. You can't love to a point of redeeming the whole world, we know that. And you can't love with the pure undefiled total agape that Christ can love with, but you can love in character as he loves, and that is, you can love with a sacrificial giving kind of love, and that's what he's saying. He's not expecting you to love in an eternal divine dimension of love equal to Christ. He is expecting you to love as Christ loves. And how does he love? He loves with a sacrificial, self
giving, kind of love. The disciples are not merely to attach themselves to one another externally and be devoted and helpful to each other. They are to agape. They are to love like Jesus loved. They are to love with total selfgiving. You are to look at your brother in Christ, not as somebody who's to be kind of your external acquaintance, not some kind of a superficial relationship. You're to look at your brother in Christ and to see him like Jesus would see him. You're to see him in terms of his soul's need. You're to see him in terms of eternal interests. You're to see him in terms of what is his deep heart cry and the anguish of his soul. You're to see him in terms of a selfgiving, comforting, spiritually instructing, and burdeningbearing kind of love. And I think sometimes, we substitute this kind of superficial, very much superficial, really on the surface, relationship, for something that is deep and that is really soultosoul love, where we care about the intimate needs of the man and the woman who is around us, who is our brother in Christ. And our love like that is going to be our testimony."


Pastor MacArthur continues: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." The world over, for all of history, the world has always acknowledged the supreme evidence of love, is when a person would die for the one he loved. And that's exactly what Jesus is about to do. He loves these disciples. If he doesn't die, they'll spend forever in hell, and so would you and so would I and so would everybody else, who ever lived, because there would be no sacrifice for sin. Jesus knows his death is only a few hours away. He's not dying for himself. He bore our sins in his own body on the tree. He became sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He was dying a substitutionary death, and we are the beneficiaries. We're not just witnesses of Calvary. We're the recipients of what was accomplished there. We reap the benefits of his life and his free surrender in death.”


The story is told of the mother who loved her child, in Scotland in the highland country, and was taking the baby from one place to another and a snowstorm came. The baby was cold and the mother took off all of her clothes to keep the baby warm, tucked the baby in a place by a tree and naked the mother died. They found her frozen the next day and the baby was warm and alive.

Charles Dickens, in his classic, The Tale of Two Cities, records for us the story of Charles Darney, who caught up in the swirl of the French Revolution, was innocently found guilty. He was really blameless and it was unjust. He was put into prison to await the guillotine. He had a friend, Sidney Carton, who came to the prison, drugged him, took his clothes and because he was so close resembling Darney, took the guillotine for him the next morning, while friends took the 'body' of Darney out. His life was spared because his friend died for him.


Pastor Ray Stedman writes: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Love lays down its life for another. We all know how fully Jesus Himself exemplified this. His is the greatest love that anyone can demonstrate toward friends. Obviously, this means more than simply dying physically for them. If it meant only that, there would be very few of us who could or would ever fulfill this, largely because we would lack the opportunity to do so. And, of course, one could do so only once! But our Lord is commanding us to do this repeatedly. So He means by this that we are to give ourselves up for one another. When you go out of your way to meet a friend's need, when you are willing to spend time with someone who is a Christian just because that one is a Christian--not necessarily because you are drawn to that person--and you are willing to go out of your way and to give yourself up for him or her, you are laying down your life, a part of it at least, for that person. This is what Jesus had in mind.”


There are times when we may feel as if a vast distance separates us from God. There are moments, even days, when it seems as if we are standing outside, watching as others embrace spiritual intimacy with God. Yet the good news is that we don’t need to find a special place to share our hearts or use special words to communicate our thoughts, needs, even our fears to God. Our sacred place of meeting is as close as a whisper because Christ lives in us. He invites you to come freely to Him and to sit in His presence, talk with Him as you would with a friend, and continue that dialogue as you work, live, and walk through your day.

Lord Jesus, thank You for being my Friend. It is when I am in Your presence that You reveal Your love for me. In those quiet moments, I can express my thoughts, fears, and longings to walk with You through joyous times and times when I am in the valley of the shadow of death. I am so thankful that You are as close as my heartbeat. Thank You for the privilege of daily being able to meet with You. Thank You for the free gift of salvation, that we are justified on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Thank You that, right now, we are under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Because we have placed our trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we are redeemed by His precious blood. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. Knowing that God’s love for us and approval of us will never be determined by our performance is the most encouraging promise to which we cling. Oh what a Savior! In Your mighty Name Above All Names—Jesus, Friend of sinners, we pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on
John 15:13

Look In
—as you meditate on
John 15:13 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.

Look Out—as you meditate on
John 15:13 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…

 

5 comments:

  1. There are no words to express how wonderful it is to be loved by Him!!
    But you and John MacArthur have done a pretty good job, as does your illustration of the Scottish woman and the friends saving their friend from the guillotine.
    To love as He loves us is a mighty goal to have !

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    1. Thank you, Mary, I so appreciate your encouraging words! The more we are Christ-occupied instead of self-occupied we experience His peace and His presence, and the fruit of the Spirit just supernaturally flow through us to others...truly all is grace...many blessings to you ❤️

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  2. This is wonderful! Jesus is my closest friend, my love, and I would destroy myself without God's love and help.

    Thank you for this reminder.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by, Tammy. I so agree with you...many blessings to you ❤️

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  3. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop

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