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First Thoughts Blog

Day 32, Wednesday (April 10) - Living into His Name

NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

First Born and Heir
Day 32   Wednesday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

COLOSSIANS 1: 15b, 18
He is the firstborn of all creation. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 
 
REVELATION 1: 4b-5a
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
 
HEBREWS 1: 2
 . . . Whom he appointed the heir of all things.
 
CONSIDER
In ancient Israel, the firstborn son was the principle heir in a family, inheriting a double portion from his father. The firstborn had privileges and responsibilities related to carrying on the family, the land and the well-being of his people. 
 
Today we see that Jesus is the Father’s heir (even though, of course, the Father will never die!). This means the Father loves the Son and has given him all he has. 
 
As we have seen, the eternal Son was not a creation. But when he entered our world in flesh and blood as a man, he became the firstborn of all creation, the preeminent one. When he rose from the dead as a resurrected man, he became the firstborn of all those who would rise to eternal life in him. Jesus has first place in glory. Jesus the God/man is first in all creation and first in life out of death.
 
The Father even gave us to his Son as a love gift. And the Son has returned us, now redeemed, to his Father as a love gift in return! (John 17: 6-9). So we are swept up in glory when we participate in letting Jesus be first, of all.

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PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, First Born from the dead, Heir of all things,
unite me to you, that I might die to self and live to you.  

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7).

TITUS 3: 3-8
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
 
CONSIDER
We adopted children have been written into the will! We will share all that the firstborn, begotten Son of God has in eternity. When the day of consummation comes, Christ Jesus will be hailed as the heir and firstborn. And he will share that glory with brothers and sisters. We are called to live now not with an orphan mentality but as privileged heirs. To live not fearing scarcity but assured of abundance. To face suffering confident of the future he has promised. To engage loss not in despair but in trust of restoration and resurrection. To live not deceived by the world’s vainglory but faithfully entrusting ourselves to the path of the savior through suffering to eternal glory in God. 
 
Close in prayer using words from this hymn by Martin Luther:
 
Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands, for our offenses given;
But now at God’s right hand he stands and brings us life from heaven;
Therefore let us joyful be and sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of hallelujah. Hallelujah!
 
It was a strange and dreadful strife when life and death contended;
The victory remained with life, the reign of death was ended;
Holy Scripture plainly saith that death is swallowed up by death,
His sting is lost forever. Hallelujah!
 
Martin Luther. Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands, adapting
the medieval prayer called Exultet. 1524. 

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

Day 31, Tuesday (April 9) - Living into His Name

NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

Radiance of Glory
Day 31   Tuesday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

HEBREWS 1: 1-3
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
 
COLOSSIANS 1: 15a, 19
He is the image of the invisible God. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
 
JOHN 5: 19-20
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.
 
CONSIDER
Jesus told Phillip, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 14: 9). We see the invisible God made visible in Jesus. To look directly upon God would be to die (Exodus 33: 20). For we would be incinerated with a glory that dwarfs the sun. But in taking up our human form, Jesus showed the glory and truth of God in a way we could bear to see. Jesus radiated the glory of God truly. God is none other than what he is to us in Jesus Christ. But Jesus represented God’s reality in a way we could apprehend.
 
Paul said that Jesus is the icon, the very image, of God. The fullness of God dwells in Jesus in bodily form.
 
This great mystery is meant to inspire our worship and assure us that we may trust wholeheartedly that all we need to know about the eternal Triune God can be found in Jesus Christ.

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PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, perfect Radiance of your Father,
shine on me and shine in me, that I may reflect your glory. 

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7).

2 CORINTHIANS 3: 16-18
But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
 
CONSIDER
It takes a miraculous work of the Spirit to open the eyes of our heart to see that Jesus is indeed God come among us. But once we do, gazing on the glory of God in Jesus transforms us to be like him. We become like that which we look steadily upon. That’s why we’re doing this study! So we can look daily upon Jesus in his majesty. 
 
Are there any places you gaze too much, which deflect you from looking at Jesus: The mirror? Internet sites? The success of others? Turn your eyes upon Jesus this day. Look full in his wonderful face!
 
Close by praying this hymn:
 
Jesus, you are the radiance
Of the Father’s glory.
You are the Son, the appointed heir,
Through whom all things are made.
You are the one who sustains all things
By your powerful word.
You have purified us from sin,
You are exalted, O Lord,
To the right hand of God.
Crowned with glory,
Crowned with honour
We worship you.
 
Scriptural words adapted by David Fellingham. Jesus You Are the Radiance. 1985.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

Day 30, Monday (April 8) - Living into His Name

NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

Only Begotten Son
Day 30   Monday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

JOHN 1: 14, 18 (NEW KING JAMES VERSION) 
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 
 
No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him. 
 
JOHN 3: 16 (NEW KING JAMES VERSION)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
 
ROMANS 8:32
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
 
CONSIDER
In the Apostles’ Creed we affirm that we believe “in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son our Lord.” Jesus is the Son of God in a unique way. He is eternally the Son. We are created beings. Once we were not in existence, now we are. Once we were not God’s children, but then he recreated us in Christ. But Jesus has always been God’s Son.  
 
The Son was not created. He was, as the Nicene Creed declares, “begotten not made.” We humans make objects by using our intelligence and craft to bring forth instruments, art, stories or houses. But these are not us. However, we “beget” children. Because what comes from the union of man and woman is human; the child is literally one of us. 
 
The mystery of our God is that from before time he was ever a God in relationship. He was, and is, and always will be love. Love means relationship and always there was the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in loving glory.
 
In the fullness of time, God sent forth the eternal Son into our world. The Son of God became as well a son of Adam. Jesus is uniquely God’s Son. And so Jesus alone can truly show us who the invisible God really is.  
 
When we consider the unique intimacy of the relationship between the Father and the Son, we stagger to consider that the Father spared not his own Son for us. As T. F. Torrance has said, “In Jesus we see that God loves us more even than he loves himself!” 

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PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, only Begotten Son of the Father,
cause me to be born again in you, from the despair of sin to a living hope.

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7).

JOHN 1: 12-13
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
 
1 PETER 1: 22-23
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.
 
CONSIDER
By the gift of the only begotten Son, we can be adopted as children of God. And it’s more than a legal adoption: we receive the Spirit of sonship in our hearts (Rom. 8: 15). We get made new, taken into the eternal relationship of love that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
 
This makes Christianity so much more than an ethic for living. And Jesus is so much more than a teacher to follow. We proclaim a mystic union between Christ and his people, by which we are born anew as sons and daughters in Christ. 
 
Close by singing two more verses from “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,”
 
O ye heights of heaven adore him; angel hosts his praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before him, and extol our God and king;
Let no tongue on earth be silent, every voice in concert ring,
Evermore and evermore!
 
Christ, to thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to thee,
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion, and eternal victory.
Evermore and evermore!
 
Aurelius Prudentius, AD 400, trans. John Mason Neale. Of the Father’s 
Love Begotten. 1854.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

Day 29, Sunday (April 7) - Living into His Name

NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

Unique among religions, we worship a God who emptied himself of all privilege and power to come among us an ordinary man. Paul says he “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant . . . becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2: 7-8). Jesus was abused and abased for our sake. But the Father did not leave him in such a state: “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Phil. 2: 9). So now Jesus is the Lord of all the cosmos. The infant in the manger, the man tortured on the cross, is revealed as the Ruler of all things. He is exalted on high. 
 
This week’s mosaic depicts Christ as Pantocrator, the ruler of all things, things “in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Phil. 2: 10). Often in Christian art, a painting of Christ Pantocrator is found in the center of the high ceiling or dome of a church. The congregation feels how Jesus is ruling over all. 
 
Our image, however, is from the side of the long sanctuary of S. Apollinare Nuovo. It faces the image of the infant Jesus on Mary’s lap that we studied in week one. The incarnate God and the reigning King look across to each other. Jesus’ beginning among us and his final destiny embrace the congregation. We live contained in the story between Jesus’ birth and his exaltation. 
 
The row of mosaics on this side of the church depict those who gave their life in martyrdom making their way to cast their crowns before the true King. Each one streams to the throne to acknowledge the Name above all names.
 
This week we explore the most exalted titles for Jesus given to him in the New Testament. Taking these names on our lips, reaching upward with them in our minds, and letting them take root deep in our hearts will lift us up as we exalt Jesus.
 

My God!
Day 29   Sunday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

JOHN 20: 24-29
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 
 
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
 
2 PETER 1: 1
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. . . . 
 
CONSIDER
We call him “Doubting Thomas,” but that does him a disservice. Thomas, once he saw the resurrected Jesus, spoke the most exultant words of faith yet uttered about Jesus: “My Lord and my God!” Thomas got down to the heart of it. The man who got up from the dead is Lord of all. The man who defeated death and the devil is God.
 
The earliest Christians worshiped Jesus as divine. Though it would have been blasphemy for Jews to give such devotion to a mere man, they felt compelled. Though it would have seemed absurd to the Greek culture around them that flesh and blood could be given the place of exaltation, Jesus’ disciples could not withhold their worship.   
 
Thomas said it as clearly and passionately as any ever could. Peter echoed it in the opening of his letter, too. This is our bottom line affirmation. Beholding Jesus crucified and risen we cry out, “My Lord and my God!”
 
__________________________________________________

PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God, I am yours, and yours alone.

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7). 

TITUS 2: 11-14
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
 
CONSIDER
Paul also heartily affirmed that Jesus is God. He rejoiced that “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” appeared in the world. He showed up on the world stage.
 
To redeem us from the old life and start in us a new life as a people passionate to do good works for God in thanksgiving for his salvation. How will you live this passion of new life today?
 
Close by singing these verses from this beloved hymn, 
 
Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O thou of God and Man the Son: Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honor, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.
 
Beautiful Savior! Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man! Glory and honor,
Praise, adoration, now and forever more be thine.
 
Anonymous. Fairest Lord Jesus. 17th c. German Hymn.
 
 
 

Day 28, Saturday (April 6) - Living into His Name

A PRESENT AND ACTIVE SAVIOR

The Last Adam
Day 28   Saturday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

ROMANS 5: 15-17
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
 
1 CORINTHIANS 15: 20-26; 45-49; 58
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
 
Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
 
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
 
CONSIDER
Jesus is the new Adam. He is the re-start of the human race. He is a new kind of human. No longer subject to death. Outfitted for an eternal embodied life in the presence of his Father. The new Adam is not weighed down by sin and mortal frailty.  
 
So when we are in Christ, we are new creations (2 Cor. 5: 17). We participate in his renewed humanity. We get transferred from being identified solely by the old Adam, prone to sin and condemned to die. We find our identity in the new Adam, Jesus, humanity perfected.

__________________________________________________

PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, Last Adam, clasp me by the heart’s hand, 
and join me to humanity made new in you. 

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7).

EPHESIANS 4: 21-24 (NEW KING JAMES VERSION)
If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
 
CONSIDER
Jesus is the new Adam. We are in Christ. Our task now is to choose daily, hourly, to live from the new man, to draw from the One who renews us in himself. This involves consciously dying to the lusts of the old man and deliberately choosing to live both from and for the last Adam, even Jesus.
 
Close by singing these verses from Isaac Watts’ classic hymn, 
 
Jesus shall reign, where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
 
Where he displays his healing power,
Death and the curse are known no more;
In him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost.
 
Let every creature rise and bring
Peculiar honors to our King,
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen!
 
Isaac Watts. Jesus Shall Reign. 1719.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

Day 27, Friday (April 5) - Living into His Name

A PRESENT AND ACTIVE SAVIOR

Founder and Perfecter of Faith
Day 27   Friday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

HEBREWS 12: 1-4
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 
 
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 
 
HEBREWS 12: 7-8
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
 
CONSIDER
Another great title for Jesus from Hebrews is the “founder and perfecter” of our faith. Jesus is the author and completion, the initiator and the finisher, the start and the goal, the first one out of the blocks and the last one to kick the race home. His work encompasses our lives. 
 
Jesus has already run the course of faithful human living. He plowed through suffering, temptation and even unjust rejection and ultimate condemnation, never losing faith.  
 
Whatever stage of the human “race” we are in, we know that Jesus has gone before us. We draw from his victory. We trust that he will get us safely home. In the meantime, we can view our trials as creating maturity and deepening faith in us. We can see them as the necessary training, or discipline, that a loving parent provides a beloved son.

__________________________________________________

PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, Founder and Perfecter of faith, you began human 
faithfulness by your obedience, now perfect your salvation in me. 

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7).

HEBREWS 12: 11-15
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble. 
 
CONSIDER
Take some time to consider the difficulties you face in this stage of your life’s course. Consider Jesus who endured suffering and powered faithfully through even the cross. Ask him to strengthen your weary soul and body for the day ahead. Ask him to make even this seemingly senseless suffering become the discipline that deepens your sense of sonship. Draw strength as well from those faithful Christians who have gone before you and run their race to the finish.
 
Close by singing these verses from an ancient hymn,
 
Christ is made the sure foundation, Christ the head and cornerstone,
Chosen of the Lord and precious, binding all the church in one, 
Holy Zion’s help forever, and her confidence alone.
 
Laud and honor to the Father, laud and honor to the Son,
Laud and honor to the Spirit, ever three and ever One,
One in might, and One in glory, while unending ages run.
 
Anonymous. Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation. 7th c. Latin prayer,
trans. John Mason Neale. 1851.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

Day 26, Thursday (April 4) - Living into His Name

A PRESENT AND ACTIVE SAVIOR

Our High Priest
Day 26   Thursday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

HEBREWS 2: 17-18
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
 
HEBREWS 4: 14-16
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
 
HEBREWS 10: 11-14
And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
 
CONSIDER
The role of the high priest in ancient Israel was to offer the sacrifice of atonement. Wearing a breastplate on which was engraved the names of the 12 tribes of Israel, he entered the Holy of holies representing all the people. The sacrifice had to be offered once a year, for it was only symbolic of the hope of God’s mercy. Jesus made a perfect sacrifice that needs never to be repeated. He acted as both the priest and the offering, sacrificing his own blood for our sins.
 
Jesus’ priesthood continues as he prays for us, ever applying his forgiveness to our sins and ever offering us, by the Spirit, his righteousness to transform us.  
 
Hebrews notes that because of his humanity, and the temptations he faced throughout his days with us, Jesus is not aloof, but sympathetic to the trials we face.

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PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, great High Priest, 
who offered yourself a perfect sacrifice, intercede for me even now.

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LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7).

HEBREWS 10: 19-25
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
 
CONSIDER
Hebrews urges us to draw near to God with full assurance. Our great high priest has provided a new and living way to God. He stands as our guarantee of acceptance before God. Thus we take courage and give courage to one another.
 
Explore this assurance as you close by singing this verse, 
 
Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong and perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is love,
Whoever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on his hands;
My name is written on his heart.
I know that while in heaven he stands,
No tongue can bid me thence depart. 
 
Charitie L. Bancroft. Before the Throne of God Above. 1863.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

Day 25, Wednesday (April 3) - Living into His Name

A PRESENT AND ACTIVE SAVIOR

Advocate
Day 25   Wednesday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

1 JOHN 2: 1-2
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
 
ROMANS 8: 31-35
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
 
CONSIDER
An advocate comes alongside us in court to plead our cause. As we study again this passage from 1 John, we see how Jesus addresses not only our past sins but our present ones. He argues our case when we sin, based not on excusing us for any merit we have earned, but based on the sufficiency of his propitiation. He made a complete atonement for us. So he advocates before the Throne based on his righteousness applied to us.
 
In the Romans passage, we see that Jesus even now intercedes for us. He prays for us. For he made atonement, peace between God and humanity, within himself. He ever lives as the God who is man and the man who is God. His very existence advocates for us. When we are in him, we have all that he is. Thus, nothing, not even our own sin, can separate us from the love of God in Christ!

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PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, Advocate at the Father’s right hand, 
ever plead your righteousness on my behalf.

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LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7).

1 TIMOTHY 1: 12-17
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
 
CONSIDER
Paul had once persecuted Christ’s people. Even years later, he considered himself the foremost of sinners. But his very awareness of his sinfulness led him constantly to an exalted view of the one who came to save such sinners. 
Offer to Christ Jesus today the sins he has already bought and paid for. Release them to Jesus and ask him to be your continuing advocate. 
Close by singing these verses from “The Solid Rock.”
 
My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
 
Refrain: On Christ, the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand.
 
His oath, his covenant, his blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay. (Refrain)
 
When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found;
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne. (Refrain)
 
Edward Mote. The Solid Rock. 1834.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

Day 24, Tuesday (April 2) - Living into His Name

A PRESENT AND ACTIVE SAVIOR

Atonement and Propitiation
Day 24   Tuesday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

ROMANS 3: 23-25
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
 
1 JOHN 2: 1-2
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world.
 
EPHESIANS 2: 13-19
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
 
CONSIDER
Propitiate is not a word we use very often. But we actually all do it! When a husband brings home flowers after he has disappointed his wife, he’s making propitiation: turning aside anger and making peace. 
 
God has wrath against sin. Because sin destroys, diminishes, maims and kills the creation he loves. Our sin has caused incalculable harm to one another. And God takes that personally. Not because he is over-sensitive like some bully.
But because he is eternally invested in his creation. 
 
The kindling of wrath goes with making a free creation that could, and did, choose against God’s good will. The turning aside of that wrath was also part of the eternal plan of the Triune God. God planned a way to make peace without overlooking or ignoring just wrath caused by the harm of sin.
 
The eternal Son of God, Jesus, stepped into the world ultimately to bear wrath against sin on the cross, and in so doing to make an atonement, an at-one-ment, between God and humanity. He created reconciliation in himself.
 
How would you feel if God simply let Hitler, Gosnell, Stalin and Hussein get away with their harm? If there were no accounting for our evil, would the new creation seem just?
 
How can we fathom the cost of taking the accumulated just wrath against humanity’s collective sins upon one person? Only a divine person could bear it. God paid the price himself to create a future world of justice and mercy, a world that begins now in faith.

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PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, Atoning Sacrifice, who interposed your precious blood between my sin and God’s holiness, wash me anew. 

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LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7).

ROMANS 12: 1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
 
CONSIDER
Because Jesus has offered himself as a propitiating sacrifice, we need no longer make sacrifices (animal or otherwise) to attain God’s favor. Yet we are called to offer ourselves to God in grateful response. How does Paul describe the qualities of being a living sacrifice?
 
Close by praying in song these verses from “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” 
 
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by thy help I’ve come;
And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God.
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed his precious blood. 
 
O to grace how great a debtor,
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace now, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to thee!
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it,
Prone to leave thy precious love,
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for the courts above. 
 
Robert Robinson. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. 1758.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN

Day 23, Monday (April 1) - Living into His Name

A PRESENT AND ACTIVE SAVIOR

Mediator
Day 23   Monday

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EXPLORE THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8: 6).

1 TIMOTHY 2: 5-7
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
 
HEBREWS 9: 15
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
 
CONSIDER
A mediator brings two parties together. The mediator seeks to reconcile conflict and restore harmony. Jesus as our mediator is closely related to his being the new covenant. He “mediates” this covenant, this new agreement, because he has paid the ransom for our sins so that the way is clear for us to be reconnected to the Father. 
 
Often people in conflict cannot even speak directly to one another. They speak through a mediator. Jesus our Mediator came to speak the Father’s words and will to us. And he speaks back to his Father our need, our longing and our faith. He offers God to us and offers us to God. We meet through the one true Mediator.
 
Though sin has been atoned through Christ’s reconciling work, we will yet always meet the Father through the mediator. For Jesus remains fully God and fully human into eternity. He holds God and humanity together in himself forever.
 
As you pray today, remember that you do so because Jesus takes our feeble prayers and makes them his own, cleansing them, and offering them to the Father who delights to answer his Son.

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PRAY THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Begin with the Jesus Prayer. Pray it reflectively several times, for yourself or on behalf of another. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then pray the day’s prayer slowly and repeatedly for at least a minute (that’s about seven times). Allow the prayer to take you into the meaning of the day’s facet of Jesus’ name. Pray it for yourself and/or on behalf of another. Take your time and trust this process!

Lord Jesus Christ, true Mediator, ever bridge the chasm between eternal God and my stained, frail humanity.  

__________________________________________________

LIVE INTO THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

He has granted to us his precious and very great promises, 
so that through them you might become partakers of his divine
nature . . . For this very reason, supplement your faith with
virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness,
brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1: 4-7).

HEBREWS 12: 22-25
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 
 
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.
 
CONSIDER
This vision in Hebrews points us to the great day of Judgment and Reconciliation when God calls this life in this world to a halt and makes all things new. Our survival of that day is based on the mediating work of Jesus. And we will discover that it is much, much more than getting through divine scrutiny. It will be a day of high beauty and inexpressible joy as we join angelic beings in glorifying the God who saves. The final warning reminds us that joy is serious business. We dare not refuse the terms of the Mediator.  
 
Close in prayer this day, accepting freshly the terms of peace he has established for us! Explore this assurance by singing these verses from Wesley’s great hymn:
 
Arise, my soul, arise, shake off your guilty fears;
The bleeding Sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my Surety stands, 
My name is written on his hands.
 
He ever lives above, for me to intercede,
His all redeeming love, his precious blood to plead:
His blood atoned for every race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.
 
Five bleeding wounds he bears, received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers, they strongly plead for me.
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”
 
My God is reconciled; his pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for his child, I can no longer fear;
With confidence I now draw nigh, 
And “Father, Abba, Father!” cry.
 
Charles Wesley. Arise, My Soul, Arise. 1742.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S HYMN