|artwork by Krista Hamrick|
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 -- Name Above All Names: Devotions for Lent
How this book came to be...
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)