When God Calls You Names

God knew that Gideon needed to hear God-authored words regarding who he genuinely was and the amazing things he could accomplish with His help.

I can’t imagine anything casual about an angel making an appearance in the Old Testament, but the angel account recorded in the 6th chapter of Judges begins pretty nonchalantly. God’s messenger was patiently sitting under an oak tree, as Gideon was threshing wheat nearby. He was assumedly waiting for an opportune time to approach Gideon and deliver life-altering news.

Judges chapter 6:12 says, “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “the Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior.” Other Bible translations record equally distinguished titles such as Mighty Man of Valor, Powerful Soldier, and Valiant Warrior. Perhaps Gideon momentarily thought the angel had appeared to the wrong man because he did not feel like he lived up to any of those names. He quickly reminded the angel that he was the youngest child from the weakest clan in Manasseh. 

The next thing Gideon knew, the angel charged him with a seemingly impossible assignment: to lead a group of men to conquer a large, powerful Midianite army of more than 100,000 men. (In a fascinating aspect of the story, God was about to thin the Gideon-led army down from 32,000 to 300 men.)

Gideon took some time to ask for a sign that God sent the angel, and he received it. Eventually, his doubts about the message and the messenger vanished, and he realized he was going to be an integral component in a remarkable victory – a victory that could only be orchestrated by God. 

Do you ever have a little bit of Gideonish doubt about yourself? Do you ever see yourself as less-than or unworthy? Do you ever doubt your ability to carry out the tasks God has assigned to you? If you answered yes to those questions, then your impression of yourself is different from His opinion of you. Allow me to boldly suggest that you promptly silence all other views and align yourself with His. 

God knew that Gideon needed to hear God-authored words regarding who he genuinely was and the amazing things he could accomplish with His help.

Our perception of ourselves is affected by past experiences, opinions of other people, and our inferiority complexes. God bases His perception of us on the fact that He, the Creator and King, created us on purpose and with a purpose. 

May we allow God to work on our hearts, so that eventually, like Gideon, we accept what God wants us to know about our identity. May the truth of our identity always win out over the perception we have of ourselves.

Prayer: Lord, whenever I see myself differently than You see me, may I accept the truth of my identity in You. And may I live according to Your truth rather than my opinion. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Prayers for Your Husband (Based on Ephesians 3)

I firmly believe that when wives pray for their husbands, those prayers will play a part in strengthening those marriages. It’s been more than a year since I shared “Prayers for Your Husband” based on Ephesians 1 and 2, (here are the links for the free printables!) Prayers for your husband based on Ephesians 1 and Prayers for your husband based on Ephesians 2 and now I would like to share prayers based on the 3rd chapter of Ephesians. You will find them below.

Also, there is a free printable of these verses and corresponding prayers. Cut them out, put them on your mirror, use them as a bookmark etc. and faithfully lift your husband up in prayer! Click here for the link: Prayers for Your Husband Ephesians 3

Here’s what the download looks like:

I pray that your marriage will be blessed and encouraged by these prayers!

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery,which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. Ephesians 3:7-9 (NIV)

Dear Lord, bless my husband with a servant’s heart that recognizes and responds to other people’s needs with Christlike mercy and humility. Pour Your grace into his life, and give him an eagerness to extend that grace freely to others. Increase His faith in Your perfect promises, and intensify His belief in Your unmatched authority. May he be entirely attentive and obedient to Your voice as You guide him in using his God-given gifts to impact our world for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. Ephesians 3:12-15 (NIV)

Dear Lord, we appreciate that Your Word assures us that we can approach You with freedom and confidence. Energize my husband’s prayer life. Reawaken in him a longing for consistent, intimate communication with You. I pray the close relationship You share will empower him to go to You with the boldness, reverence, and awe You are worthy of. Encourage him to be fully transparent with You. Reassure him that You always welcome him with open arms. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:17b-21 (NIV)

Dear Lord, embolden my husband’s belief that he is loved by You with a love that is deeper, wider, and stronger than can even be described. May that love spill into every facet of his life and leave a meaningful mark on everyone he comes into contact with. I pray that his security will forever be based on being a cherished son of his Heavenly Father. Remind him that You are capable of more than he can imagine, and that You are continuously working in our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Masterpiece

Ephesians 2:10a says, “For we are God’s masterpiece…” Since God considers us to be His masterpiece, we don’t ever have to wrestle with thoughts of whether we are special or if we have anything to offer that’s different from what other people can offer.

Perhaps it’s a stretch to compare people to sunrises and sunsets, but bear with me…I suppose I could hold a “you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” attitude toward sunrises and sunsets, but I still get excited every time one is within view. Each one is uniquely beautiful. The various colors in the sky, the different ways the sun reflects upon the water, the clouds, trees, and other scenic features all combine to display a stunning example of God’s handiwork. And our unique gifts, personality traits, and perspectives – all of which are valuable – all point to God’s brilliance. 

God equipped all of us differently to be an equally significant part of His world.

Let your unique light shine today! 

But What Does God Say?

Quick thought for today:

“It’s time to care a lot less about people agreeing with what we say and a lot more about us agreeing with what God says.”

There’s a part of me that likes to preface conversations or social media posts with, “I think,” or “In my opinion,” and then hope that whoever hears or reads my words agrees with me…

I’m working on this.

I’m trying to shift my perspective. My new goals: 1. Strive to express thoughts and opinions that are in alignment with the authoritative Word of God (In other words, before I form an opinion and rush to share it, check if it is Christlike.) and 2. Be less concerned with the reactions of people and more concerned with being obedient to God. (In other words, double-check my priorities. At the end of the day, I want my words to honor God.)

There will be times when I fail, but I am determined to prayerfully pursue those goals. It’s hard for a person who doesn’t just walk away from controversy…I’m more of a sprint-away-from-disagreement kind of gal. And it’s hard for a person who likes to please people. But I’m renewing my resolve to be a Jesus-pleasing gal above all else.

Maybe this sounds like an opinion,😉 but wouldn’t you agree that this world doesn’t need more opinions, and it could sure use more truth spoken in love instead? Ephesians 4:15 says, “But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.” 

If we ask God, He will help us care less about the approval of others and more about lovingly expressing His truth in this world – a world desperate for Him.

Where is the Unity?

We aren’t required to share the same opinions in order to have unity, but we can agree that our shared love for Jesus will dictate how we handle differing views.

Have you noticed that the discussion about practically every headline-making topic in our world today (COVID, racism, statues, masks, opening schools vs. distance learning, to name just a few) creates bitter disagreement, anger, and sometimes even violence? Not just among believers and non-believers – that’s to be expected, because we form our opinions upon very different foundations. I’m talking about ugly division among believers. 

Where is the unity?

In John 17:20-26, Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father about unity. He prayed for future believers to be unified, so that people would be inspired to believe in His Heavenly Father. When we sit with that for a moment, it hits hard. We all have a purpose on this earth: pointing people toward Jesus, and that purpose is benefitted by being a unifying presence. If the beauty of unity shows people who God is and makes Him known, then it’s time to put unifying behavior on the top of our priority list!  Continue reading “Where is the Unity?”

Let God Have the Final Say (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 3 of 3)

We have a choice to make. We can believe the false identity created by the world’s negative opinions of us, or we can read about, reflect upon, and ultimately receive the identity God bestowed upon us. It takes increased patience and intentional prayer to decide we are going to embrace our God-Authored identity, but we are capable of it with His help.

Philippians 2:5 says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” That verse and others with the same message make it clear that before we were born, God placed a calling on our lives: to be like Jesus. Continue reading “Let God Have the Final Say (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 3 of 3)”

Let the Writer of Our Story be the Author of Our Identity (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 2 of 3)

If there are times when we question who we are in the sight of God, it is important to remember He has made the answer available to us. Diving into the Bible is the ideal way to discover how He defines us.

The following truths are directly from the Word of God, and therefore directly from the heart of God!

Continue reading “Let the Writer of Our Story be the Author of Our Identity (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 2 of 3)”

What They Say is Irrelevant (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 1 of 3)

Day 1

Words can sure sting, can’t they? A few years ago, when I read some hurtful words on a screen, the stinging was instant. So were the tears. 

When someone describes us in an unflattering manner, or when we feel rejected by someone significant to us, or even when an unfavorable comment finds its Continue reading “What They Say is Irrelevant (Our Identity in Christ ~ Day 1 of 3)”

What Can We Do?

When disagreement or controversy arises, I am usually a “Hey, I can see it from both sides,” person because A. I detest conflict lol and B. because I honestly can usually see both sides, or at least see valid points from both perspectives.

With this Covid-19 situation, we’ve heard numerous people say things to the effect of, “I don’t know what/who to believe,” and many of us have been forced to make difficult decisions and feel like we are “picking a side,” based on biased sources, differing views, and incomplete data.

What can we do?

1. Ask God for wisdom. There is a verse that flat-out says that we can ask God for wisdom and He will give it to us. Maybe you knew that already, but I finally discovered that verse existed when I was well into my 40’s, and now I sometimes wonder how I got this far in life not knowing it! James 1:5 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  Wow – If we ask Him, He doesn’t just give us wisdom, He gives it generously!

If we took time to ask God for His wisdom while sifting through the information we are being bombarded with, what might happen? We may feel compelled to research something further, we may decide to reserve judgment on other news, and/or we may feel led to share some information with others. Whatever the case may be, God is willing to give us His wisdom on how to process and deal with it. He is also willing to pour His peace into our lives even in the midst of the conflict and division surrounding these circumstances. This crazy time in our world would be a perfect time to consider taking advantage of Godly wisdom and “beyond-anything-we’ve-ever-felt-before” brand of peace.

2. “And let all that you do be done in love,” 1 Corinthians 16:14.  Sometimes we need reminders that the love this verse is referring to is the Christlike,  sacrificial, genuine love that God created and personifies. It’s deciding if the way we treat others, the words we speak to others, and the tone we post on social media with follows that Christlike kind of love example. Side note: calling people idiots or uneducated or saying that they have no compassion aren’t words that fit in the “Let all that you do be done in love” category.  Friends, all of it….how we present ourselves to the world, and Who we represent to the world…all of it should be done in love. I know we can get through this without questioning people’s hearts and intelligence.

I hope and pray that we can all choose to believe the best about everyone’s motives. And if you see me failing at that, please call me out – in a kind, considerate manner, of course. 😉

Dear Lord, help us to take a deep breath and put forth a genuine effort to see where people with differing views are coming from. Please give us Your wisdom to help us discern truth. Lord, help our actions and our words to be dictated by our relationship with You instead of fear, resentment or negativity. Grant us Your perspective as we navigate through this time and show us how to display Your love to others. In Your name we pray, Amen.