Saturday, October 1, 2016

Alpha and Omega

artwork by Krista Hamrick
It is so energizing and exciting to participate in #Write31days, an online writing challenge where writers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in the month of October. Within the #Write31days category of Inspiration & Faith, I chose to focus on the topic of the Name Above All Names every day for 31 days. You can view each of my daily posts at this landing page.

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 has 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 inspired while listening to this anointed hymn Alpha and Omega from Revelation 1:8

NASB: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Amplified: “I am the Alpha and the Omega [the Beginning and the End],” says the Lord God, “Who is [existing forever] and Who was [continually existing in the past] and Who is to come, the Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all].”

Expanded Bible: The Lord God says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega [the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet; 21:6; 22:13]. I am the One who is and [the One who] was and [the One who] is coming [see 1:4]. I am the ·Almighty [All-powerful].”

NLT:  “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”

The Message: The Master declares, “I’m A to Z. I’m The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive. I’m the Sovereign-Strong.”

Young’s Literal: `I am the Alpha and the Omega, beginning and end, saith the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is coming -- the Almighty.'

Pastor Henry Allen "Harry" Ironside has said: “In Revelation 1:8 we read the words of the Son who declared Himself to be Jehovah also, One eternally with the Father. He is the Alpha and Omega—the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet—the beginning and the ending. He created all things; He will wind up all things and bring in the new heavens and the new earth. He is, and was, and is the coming One. He is El Shaddai—the Almighty—who of old appeared to Abraham. May our hearts be occupied with Him and His return be our “blessed Hope!”

Pastor J. Hampton Keathley III writes: “I Am the Alpha and Omega.” These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. It is equivalent to our A and Z. This does not relate so much to time but to truth. It expressed the extent of God’s knowledge and wisdom (
Col. 2:3). It stresses Christ’s or the Godhead’s omniscience or infinite knowledge and wisdom. This stands then as a strong authentication of the book of Revelation because it comes from the Alpha and Omega. In life, we understand these concepts. Things begin…things end. Jobs start…jobs stop. Decades come…decades go. Birth…death. But there is something special and unique about the words Alpha and Omega as they appear in Revelation 1:8. Jesus Christ used those terms to describe Himself—terms that refer to His deity. When used in Scripture, the words have an almost unfathomable meaning. Jesus, the Alpha, had no beginning. He existed before time, before the creation of the universe. Jesus cannot be limited by the word Alpha. As the Omega, He is not the "end" as we know it. He will continue to exist into the everlasting, never-ending future. It's mind-boggling and awe-inspiring—this view of our Lord. He's the one "who is and who was and who is to come.”

Pastor John MacArthur states: In
Revelation 1:8, “The Lord God says, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” God is saying, if you think this may not happen, I just want to affirm who is in charge of this event and who He is. So, “the Lord God says.” The speaker is Jehovah. This, by the way, is His signature on the certainty of the second coming. This is absolutely magnificent. God puts His signature on this prophecy by emphasizing three of His attributes: (1) His omniscience: “I am the Alpha and the Omega.”  What are “alpha” and “omega”? The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Why is God saying, “I am Alpha and Omega?”  He is saying, “I am the supreme, sovereign alphabet in which is contained all knowledge.” That’s what He’s saying. “I am alpha to omega, I am A to Z. I contain all knowledge. There is no information, there is no knowledge, there is no truth, there is no understanding, there is no wisdom outside of what I know. When I say Christ is coming, I’m telling you there won’t be any surprises because there’s nothing outside My knowledge. I am Alpha to Omega. I know everything.  And since I have all knowledge, there is nothing I don’t know about. There is nothing that exists or could happen to ever foil this plan because there’s nothing I don’t know about.  There are no unknown factors that could sabotage the second coming.” (2) His omnipresence: He identifies Himself as the One “who is and who was and who is to come.”  This is really an astounding statement. He doesn’t say, “I am the One who was there, who is here, and who will be over there.” He just says, “I was, I am and I will be.” And it is open ended. Here God is affirming His eternal presence. He is everywhere at all times. He always has been. He always will be. And He is. His presence is not bounded. His presence is not limited by time or by space. God is saying, “I am everywhere all the time at all times, and so there’s nothing outside of where I am. There’s nothing that can happen before I’m around and there’s nothing that can happen after I leave because there’s never a before I’m there and there’s never a time when I’m gone. And when I say Jesus is coming, it is settled because all matters, all issues, all persons, all events, all places, and all realities for all eternity are visible to Me.” (3) His omnipotence: At the end of Revelation 1:8, He says I’m “the Almighty.” He is the supreme power. Yes, He has all knowledge. Yes, He is ever and everywhere present.  And yes, He is in absolute, sovereign, complete, control of every single thing.  When John says He’s coming, He’s coming. And God is going to guarantee it.  And He’s going to come in a glory cloud and the whole world is going to see Him. God guarantees it by His person in Revelation 1:8.”

As we look at the state of the world around us, at what has happened in the past and what we may face in the future, there is much to fear: Will a sniper terrorize our community as has happened in other areas? Will the bottom fall out of the economy? Will my job be jeopardized? Will there be violence at my child’s school? Fear about possibilities like these can consume us, producing increased stress and even illness. But Revelation 1:8 tells us that there is only one thing to fear—God Himself. This fear is not an unhealthy fear that leads to cringing and hiding as Adam and Eve did after they had disobeyed God. Rather, it is a humble and honest recognition of God’s beauty, sovereignty, and preeminence so that worshiping and serving him take first place in our lives. It is a healthy reverence that leads to intimacy and an understanding that the power of God residing in us by his Spirit is greater than the power of our fears or of our enemy Satan. A deep sense of awe about who God is leads to the true knowledge and wisdom we desperately need for our lives today and in the future. No matter how out of control things may appear, God’s plan remains in place. He is running the show and knows the end from the beginning. No one is higher or mightier than the Lord! He governs our world, His kingdom will come, and His sovereign will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven! God’s intentions can never be shaken, and His plans stand firm forever. His amazing power is at work in the world, and He will carry out His eternal purpose to the last detail.

Lord Jesus, thank You that You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, Who is, Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty. Develop in me a deep reverence of You that leads to life, wisdom, and greater intimacy with You. Open my heart to be teachable and to receive correction and discipline willingly. Grant that I would fear You, and not my circumstances in the present or the what-ifs of the future. May I be so filled with Your love that faith would replace my fear. Let it be forever settled in my heart that You are returning. Help me to share Your life with others who yearn to know more about You. Open my eyes to the signs that are all around me so that I might prepare for and anticipate Your return. Because You have all authority on earth and in heaven, I can rest in You. You are God, without beginning or end. I am thankful that wherever I go, I don’t have to feel insecure or anxious because You are there! Thank You for Your faithfulness and loving-kindness that follows me all the days of my life. Help me to trust You, knowing that You are in control and that You are using everything that happens in my life to show me that in You I am complete and lack nothing. In Jesus’ mighty Name Above All Names--Alpha and Omega, we pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on
Revelation 1:8

Look In
—as you meditate on Revelation 1:8 pray to see how you might apply it to your life.

Look Out—as you meditate on
Revelation 1:8
pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others.

* If you liked this post, you'll love this page -- 31 days focusing on the Name Above All Names

* If you liked this post you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive