Above Every Name

And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death -even death on a cross. Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name. Philippians 2:8-9

Jesus was given a name above every other on the day He humbled himself. In our own lives sometimes we may behave more luke the old testament patriarch Jacob. He felt certain that he would never be blessed unless he pretended to be someone he was not. He lied to his father telling him that he was Esau. But 20 years later Jacob found himself in the wrestling match of his life as he tried to cross the Jabok brook. There the angel of God held onto him till he answered the question, “what is your name?”

“My name is Jacob.” He replied.

When Jacob finally humbled himself and confessed who he truly was then God came along side (maybe with a quiet smile) and said.

“From now on you will be called Israel…”

Are you going through a battle tonight? Does it often feel like you could never be accepted for who you are? The solution can never be pretending but rather in trusting in God’s own heart. He already knows is and has already planned to bless us beyond anything we could even imagine. But God will never give us a new name till we admit to him who we really are!

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Praise the Name of Jesus

Praise the name of Jesus

He’s my rock! He’s my fortress!

He’s my deliverer

In Him will I trust!

Praise the name of Jesus!

God’s Amazing Job!

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How many times have you just taken others for granted? If the meal at the restaurant was good, did you ever thank the chef? When the pastor or worship leaders lifted you up by their ministry, did you take time later to thank them and then remember them in your prayers? How many of us feel lonely and unappreciated because no one has thanked us for as long as we can remember?

Yet how often have we ever paused to turn that same line of reasoning towards God? When there is a flood, a storm or an avalanche the insurance companies are quick to point out that they may not cover all the damages because it was an “act of God”.  Today I was so struck by the beauty that I had to pull over and take several photos. Saint Francis is often quoted as saying, “Preach the gospel always, and when all else fails, use words.” God must be a disciple of Francis because He speaks always though rarely with words to me. He instead shouts with the bold brush stokes of skies too big for any lens to capture. He dips his brush into a palette of a thousands hues to texture every field of hay. He is an artist who revels in but is never entirely satisfied with His work. Every day he splashes across ten thousand horizons a brand new day and each night while we are snuggling down into our covers He stays up late and silently caresses the forests with a  breeze.

And in the midst of all that our God is busily doing and creating ask yourself: “When was the last time I reached up, tugged on His sleeve and said, ‘Wow that was an amazing job today!’ ”

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Psalms 9:1

Here is Love – English /Portuguese version

In our church, bilingual worship is the norm. Our congregation is primarily from Brazil with a few from the Cape Verde Islands sprinkled in. We sing alternately in Portuguese and English in most of the services. Here is just a simple example of how things went last night during the offering. Love to hear from anyone who would like to share on their own experiences. Blessings

God is a Rewarder – Part One

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And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him  Hebrews 11:6 ESV

Imagine the conversations between Abel and Cain about God. Though Cain was the first-born but he became bitter and distant from God in his heart. The scene could have sounded a bit like this:

Abel: Hey Cain, what’s going on?  You seem really different lately.

Cain: It’s just really hitting home to me that God will never let us go back to where Mom and Dad came from

Abel: Listen, I know how you feel but I just know that God will work things out!

Cain: God! Hah! He doesn’t care a bit about what we do! He’s only concerned that we remember to bring our sacrifice at the end of the harvest.

Abel: You can say what you want Cain, you’re the older brother. But for me, I believe God still has a plan and I’ll do whatever He asks to learn more about it!

This is the first of a three-part series on prayer. The imagined conversation is meant to help us put into perspective that what we believe about God influences everything even before we begin to pray. The author of Hebrews tells us that this faith in who God is precedes any reward we could expect from Him. Cain surely had heard about God from Adam and Eve. He knew about the creation, the gift of Eve to Adam, the dominion given to them and about the garden of Eden. Yet, with the passing of years something changed inside of Cain and he became cold and hardened towards God and towards his brother.

The fact that God rejected Cain’s sacrifice had less to do with the kind of sacrifice that Cain offered and everything to do with the faith that Cain offered it with. Cain had come to God out of requirement and though he offered his first fruits – the best of his harvest, he didn’t offer with the pure faith that his brother Abel had. Something in Cain was already far from God long before his rejection and subsequent jealousy and hatred of Abel. God had lifted up a mirror to Cain and he could not accept the reflection that he saw.

Just believing in God’s existence is not the same as believing in the existence of a good God who cares for us and watches over us. Before you go to pray today, first go to God simply recognizing and resting in His goodness. Go like Abel did, trusting that even though we can not see the solution for our situation, that there is nothing better we could do but to bring our sacrifice of praise to Him!

Lost in God’s House

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Sometimes I am struggling to get out the door when suddenly I realize that  my wallet is nowhere to be found. I search the house checking every conceivable nook and cranny till finally I discover the secret location. Breathing a huge sigh of relief I delightedly head out the door.

In the Bible Jesus tells us of just such a story.

Luke 15:8 Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me: I have found my lost coin. In the same way I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Some of God’s people are wandering far away from home but some of us are lost right inside God’s house. We simply have fallen between the cracks. God gets some one out of bed and sends them with a strong light to find us. The good news is  that no matter where we are lost, that God still places eternal vaue on our hearts. He comes looking for us because we belong to him. He has no greater joy than to find us when we are lost in His house.