The Name Change

7 09 2011

“I have changed my name,” our four-year-old friend announced. He explained that he had decided that a new name would better represent his super powers. He had adventures to explore, evil to destroy, and villains to fight so a new name was in order. For the rest of the day, he refused to be called anything else.

He was serious about his new identity. He didn’t come unless we called him by his new name. When he phoned his big friend at college, he patiently explained his new identification. He rolled his eyes when someone forgot and slipped back into old habits. Nothing but his new designation would do.

In my little friend’s insistence, God taught me a lesson. Buried in Christ, claimed by His blood, I too have a new name. Where once I was sinner, now I am saint. Once I was darkness, but now I am light. Once I stood outside of God’s household. Now I am a part of His family, the child of His heart, His beloved.

Too many times, however, I try to hang on to my old identity. I let the world lure me back by responding to my old name. I don’t hang onto my new identity as tightly as I should. I let the world tell me that I can go back and forth, playing with the old while walking in the new.

I need to follow my little’s friend’s example. He was insistent and persistent about his new name. He refused to respond to the old. He took the time to explain his new identity to those not in the know. He understood that his new name represented a new power at work in his story. I need to understand the same thing.

My Jesus Resolution today is live according to my new identity in Christ. I have a new name because of Jesus. It holds within it new possibilities, new purpose, and new beginnings. I don’t want to get drawn back into all the baggage that is attached to my old name. I am going to gently explain to those that don’t know how I came to get my new name. I am not going to settle for anything less than the name given to me by my Father.

Labor Day

5 09 2011

Labor Day is an interesting holiday. We all love taking this Monday off of work to celebrate one more summer weekend before the fall moves us towards the end of the year.

According to the United States Department of Labor, Labor Day was first celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882. It became a national legal holiday in 1894 as the idea of dedicating a day to celebrating the creativity, industriousness, and economic achievements of the American worker took deep root in our country.

Usually, we don’t spend much time on Labor Day thinking about work. We sleep in, have picnics, do some chores, and spend time with friends. This year, I want to challenge you to incorporate a new tradition into your Labor Day routine. Let’s take a few minutes to celebrate the work of God in our lives.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

God did all of the work of salvation because we couldn’t. He lifted the load. He carried the cross. He paid the price. He sacrificed His heart. He faced death. He rolled back the stone. He created a way into His presence and offers it to us as a gift.

We are His workmanship. We are the products of His handiwork, the creative conclusion to His efforts, the ones for whom He took on this monumental task. His work in our lives unleashes His power. His effort infuses us with purpose and promise. His labor gives us an opportunity for new birth and new life.

My Jesus Resolution today is to celebrate God’s work in me and for me. God is at work all around me. He is moving on my behalf, preparing the way, straightening the path, and calling me closer to His heart. As I enjoy the day, I am going to find joy in the way He is making me more like Jesus.

Where Are the Mountains?

2 09 2011

My friend just got back from vacation. Returning from a trip to the mountains, she looked out her window at home and missed the view of soaring peaks and snow-capped summits. She posted a message on Facebook – Where are the mountains?

The answers started pouring in. I laughed and smiled my way through the postings as person after person described their own personal mountains – the laundry, the inbox, the pile of toys, and the dishes in the sink. It didn’t take long for me, however, to understand that her question was more profound than I had first realized.

We all have mountains. Big, towering, unmovable mounds that cast shadows and shape the landscapes of our hearts. Our mountains define us. They set limits on our potential. They are the boundary markers for what we think is possible.

What kind of mountains do you see? Mountains of guilt, shame, and sin? Mountains of problems and struggles that echo with failure and looming disappointment? Mountains of loneliness, busyness, or emptiness? Mountains of regret from the past or mountains of fear for the future?

“For truly I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

God has a plan for your mountain. Too often we let the size of our mountain determine our perspective and priorities. Instead, your mountain is meant to lift your eyes to the fullness of God’s faithfulness. God is in the mountain moving business. All you have to invest is a tiny, tiny amount of faith. He does the rest. What He doesn’t move, He will give you the strength to

My Jesus Resolution today is to look at my mountains differently. My mountains do not have to be a permanent part of the landscape of my heart. Instead of seeing my mountains as barriers, I am going to look at them as places of blessing. On the mountain, I can anticipate His presence. My mountains are places where I am going to be able to see God at work in my life, places where He is going to reveal His glory, places that will call for deep surrender and where He will work even deeper transformation. The physics of moving a mountain seem impossible to me. But not to God.