Tag Archives: God’s plan

“The Name of Jesus” by Mel Lawrenz

Sometimes a name is just a name, and sometimes a name captures someone perfectly. The ancients inclined to choose names carefully, so as to make a lifelong statement about a person’s identity. “Jesus” is a name so familiar to us today that we easily forget it was a name with extraordinary significance. The name an angel announced should be given to Mary and Joseph’s new child. And what a name! “Jesus” means “the Lord saves.”

He does indeed.

“Call him Jesus,” the angel said, “because he will save his people from their sins.” None of us can save ourselves anymore than a person sinking in a rowboat can save himself by pulling up on the side of the boat. We need a savior, and not just a theoretical savior, but one who really has the power of God to separate us from the tyranny and the guilt of sin.
But there wouldn’t have been a saving sacrifice if there hadn’t been an incarnation. Bethlehem was the start of the mission. We don’t need to wait until Good Friday and Easter Sunday to celebrate the Savior. The saving started at the birth of Jesus.

Mary and Joseph could not have understood all of this, of course. They were obedient and named the newborn Jesus, “the Lord saves,” but how and when the Lord would save them was still a mystery to them. Not so for us. This side of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, we know the extent of the saving love of God.

Prayer for today:

Lord, make me more aware of my sins today and help me know that they shrink before the powerful person of Jesus.

 

Mel Lawrenz is minister at large for Elmbrook Church and the author of Prayers for Our LivesSpiritual Leadership Today, and more.

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A New Year’s Wish

New Year Candle

I called a good friend of mine for his birthday. Life is busy for him, as for many of us. He works 14-to-16-hour days and has very little downtime or off-time.

I jokingly told him, “Well, I hope you at least enjoy your work.”

“I hate it,” he answered, perhaps also somewhat jokingly. But his statement fell like a rock into my heart. Because there are few things I would wish more for him than to find a meaningful vocation, something he loves and looks forward to, a place he feels a sense of purpose thrilling him … perhaps not every day but most days.

It’s something I wish for so many people in my life. For you, who are reading this now. For my family. My friends. My children, even though they are still young. For everyone, actually, if it’s not too strange to extend a wish to the world.

That everyone had something of purpose and meaning to devote their time too. Maybe not a vocation. Maybe a hobby. Or a mission. Maybe a child. Or a dream.

That points you forward and directs your sails, like the Morning Star.

In this New Year, may you find purpose. And may it carry you through each day into a life of meaning. A life of love. Because when it comes down to it, that’s what it’s all about anyway.

As I mentioned in my other blog, I will not be blogging for a while or getting on Facebook. Disconnecting in order to reconnect. A friend of mine might be posting some quotes on the theme of purpose here every now and again. Otherwise, I look forward to connecting with you again in about 40 days.

Happy New Year!

Mercies in Disguise

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy

What if trials of this life
The rain

The storms

The hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise