Thursday, October 6, 2016


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 ofInspiration & 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.

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 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, selfgiving, 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.”

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.

* 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


  1. It is awesome to think that Jesus calls us His friends. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Debbie. It is such a blessing to know Jesus as Friend. Many blessings to you!

  2. I don't think we ever fully grasp how amazing it is that he calls us "friend"! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on!

    1. Tina, I so appreciate you stopping by from Booknificent Thursday...truly amazing, amazing grace of our Friend of sinners, Jesus...many blessings to you!


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