We all wear name tags.

You may not be wearing one of those sticky paper, red bordered, name tags on the top left corner your shirt right now, but I know there are names that have been assigned to you. Good or bad. Maybe both.

Before I was born, while my mother was pregnant, she was told, "Don't tell anyone you're pregnant, you haven't been married long enough and people might get ideas." Shame was the name assigned to me before I was even born. What was supposed to be an occasion for joy, was covered in shame and fear. What names have you been tagged with?

In Babylon (modern day Iraq), thousands of years ago, a group of young Israelite captives were undergoing cultural indoctrination, and as part of that inclusion into Babylonian society and service, they were assigned alternate names. They already had names given to them by their Hebrew parents; names that reflected who they were and who the God they trusted in was. But that didn't stop the king of Babylon (Neb…
I'm excited to share these words from my guest blogger, Hannah Grace Furcinitti - 
Honestly, these past two years have been filled with the most intense suffering I have ever endured. Living away from home, coming down with random illness after illness, learning how to disagree with fellow believers whom I love deeply. It has been plain hard, and I am eternally grateful to my gracious God who works this suffering for the good of His saints and the glory of His name. 
I often tell my family that Dengue was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I mean that. It opened my eyes in a new way. God grabbed my attention and turned me to Himself. I lay on a hospital bed, doubting whether I’d survive this, doubting that I’d see my family again in this life, feeling afraid and alone. And how kind God was to put me exactly there! Where else did I have to go but to Him? The best place to be is where you recognize God as your only hope and treasure. How kind that, as our loving Father, He car…
Hidden Promises

Sometimes the promises of God are hidden away, out of view until the time is right.

Jeremiah saw this principle at work when the Lord told him to purchase (redeem) some land in the Promised Land. It was a risky venture; nonsensical. The nation was under attack, the land would likely be overtaken and possessed by the enemy. But Jeremiah made the purchase anyways, according to the word of the Lord.

He took the deed for the land and hid it away; sealed it up in a clay jar. Dark, sealed, hidden. And that is where the deed remained until the opportune time. Talk about casting your bread on the water and waiting for its return!

But Jeremiah was OK with that, for God had made a promise. “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.'”
(‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭32:15‬)

And the Lord would bring His people out of captivity. He would give them a heart to serve Him and He would be their God and they would be His peo…
God, misrepresented

God gets very serious about what people say about Him. Sentences that start with, "God thinks," or "God says," or "God is," carry a lot of weight behind them; especially when spoken by those considered to be representatives of the faith. But why is God so serious about being accurately represented? Why is an authentic and pure portrayal of who He is so important?

Because God misrepresented is simply an idol. 

When God is said to be "like this" and He really isn't "like that", we form an idol in our thoughts through our words and into our doctrines and either drive people away from Him or draw people into idol worship. And this isn't a rare happening. God is misrepresented far too often. In one way or another, at one time or another, we've all fallen short and offered to those around us a poor reflection of who He truly is. I know I have. I confess that I have. And in one way or another, and at one time or a…
When God goes shopping

For Father's Day, my wife got me a shirt that has the words, "bought with a price" written in Biblical Greek on it. I've been attempting to learn Greek, so it was an appropriate gift. My neighbor, who is Greek read the shirt. I asked her if she knew what it meant. She was having a difficult time trying to put into English what the words meant in Greek. She finally made an attempt, "something like shopping." Funny, we were heading into the grocery store as we were having this discussion.

What a way to look at this act of God, I thought to myself. God went shopping and He bought us. The scripture says that He chose us, sought us out, not the other way around. You could say, the patron bought the bagel of his choice, the bagel didn't choose the patron. So God, in a sense, went shopping and He purchased us - at the very high cost of His Son's blood. 

This speaks to His great commitment and to His unfathomable wisdom and ways. It spea…
That annoying person you're going to spend the rest of eternity with
I can remember a preacher (or two) saying in church something to the effect of, "you'd better love the person sitting next to you because you're going to spend the rest of eternity with them." In one sense, I agree - we will spend eternity with our fellow believers. But in another sense, (I'd say the truly important sense), I strongly disagree with the implication of that statement. 

John, the apostle of Jesus, the one close to His heart, wrote, "But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." The believer you are sitting next to in church is nothing like the person you will spend eternity next to worshiping God with. We shall be like Him; all of us. Think about it. 

All of the things in us and about us, broken by sin - our annoying idiosyncrasies, our nasty habits, our rotten attitudes will be blown off of us as we are transformed into His …
It's OK to be honest.

In fact, honest words spoken with an attitude of trust show real faith. Confessing the truth does not make one without faith - 

I believed, even when I spoke: "I am greatly afflicted" 

or as the Amplified version puts it, 

I believed [and clung to my God] when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.”

Paul echoed these words in regards to his own sufferings - 

Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak ...

We despair, we are perplexed. Paul confessed these things in the spirit of faith. I have a cold, I'm feeling depressed, I'm afraid. Those who are honest among us will admit to these things, not because we lack faith, but because our faith rests not in our words or declarations, but in the God who raised Jesus from the dead. That is where our faith must rest.

I was visiting with a sweet, elderly believer recently. She's often said to me, "I just don…