No Seeums

For we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

“Yuck!” I muttered as I stepped down from my son’s bed.

“What mom?”

“Oh…the dog was licking the carpet and it’s all wet.”

“Can I see?”

“No, there’s nothing to see.”

My reply was all it took to set off an overly tired 5-year-old who desperately wanted to SEE the wet spot on his carpet.  Deciding to pick my battles, I relented and he climbed down to feel what could not be seen.

“Why didn’t you believe me?” I asked.

“Because you wouldn’t let me see it.”

2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us we are to walk by faith, not by sight.  Our inability to see what God has deliberately kept from our vision is not without purpose. Besides the fact that knowing everything isn’t always good for us, seeing is also not always necessary to believe.

"No Seeum" Photo Courtesy www.activerain.com

“No Seeum” Photo Courtesy www.activerain.com

For example, if you’ve ever spent much time around mountain or coastal water, chances are you’ve been attacked by “No Seeums.” They are annoying, biting flies, small enough to easily pass through window screens.  You may never see it land on your skin, but the resulting bite is unmistakable.

Similarly, I can’t “see” God, but I notice his fingerprints all over creation, hear His whispers in my heart and observe evidence of his involvement in my life through answered prayers.

No Seeums.

These kinds of “no seeums” build my faith so that I may confidently say that, though I can’t “see” the future, I confidently trust my God who holds the future in his hand.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Faith. It all comes down to this simple question – do you believe – even when you “no seeum?” What’s holding you back?

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, too often find myself in the mindset of my 5-year-old…wanting to see the “unseeable” to believe.  Help me to overcome my unbelief in these moments so that I fully trust you.  Thank you for the perfect plans you have for my life.  Today, Lord, I open my heart and my mind to your ways and desire to seek you fully with a heart of faith. Amen.

Ironing it out:

Do you remember a time when God’s “no seeum” work in your life – or the lives of those around you – became incredibly obvious?  How did that impact you and your faith?

Remembering that fear does not come from the Lord, what are you having trouble trusting God for today?  Prayerfully ask him today to help you overcome both your unbelief and any fear you may be experiencing.

And, one last thing…if you have a favorite verse about faith, will you share it here?

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Looks can deceive

Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

A former neighbor had an absolutely stunning garden.  From my upstairs deck I often enjoyed the variety of foliage, colors and wildlife. She worked non-stop — planting, pruning, weeding, and watering.

"Iris" (c) Duwe 2010All rights Reserved

“Iris” (c) Duwe 2010
All rights Reserved

A few years later, she moved, and we enjoyed the friendship of new neighbors.  I was stunned, however when they told me about the condition of the inside of the home when they moved in.

What I’d observed outside did not extend indoors. 

As a mother, I’m concerned with the external appearance of my children. From personal experience, I know appearances make an important first impression on others. But while milk mustaches, ripped jeans, and jelly stained shirts are important to address, it would be a great disservice to my children if I spent all my efforts training my boys on external appearance, but not on their heart.

In 1 Samuel 16: 7,  the Lord tells Samuel:

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

The heart is critically important.  But what exactly, is God looking for?

The Bible says we are to:

Look for the Lord with all your heart (Deut. 4:29).

Serve the Lord with all your heart (1 Samuel 12:24).

Love the Lord with all your heart (Matthew 22:37).

Trust in the Lord with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5).

Seek the Lord with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

Return to the Lord with all your heart (Joel 2:12).

Work with all your heart as though unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

Rejoice with all your heart (Zephaniah 3:14).

Know with all your heart that God’s promises do not fail (Joshua 23:14).

Walk in all his ways, obey His Commands, serve Him, and hold fast to the Lord with all your heart (Joshua 22:5).

Obey the Lord with all your heart (Deut. 30:2).

It’s serious business to train our own heart – let alone the heart of a child!

We are told that Eli, a priest in the Lord’s tabernacle, had two sons who were “wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:12).  Eli’s apparent lack of involvement to properly train his boys’ hearts leveled great consequences, according to 1 Samuel 3:13.  The Lord said:

For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible and he failed to restrain them.  I Samuel 3:13

Eli’s line was forever cursed because he did not correct his children who did evil in the sight of the Lord.  While God may or may not choose to similarly curse a family line today, one thing is certain: our sinful choices today impact untold generations. We only have the power to stop the chain reaction when we ask for God’s help through prayer.  Only God can give us the strength to first correct our own hearts – and then train our children.

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, I know you expect us to take care of ourselves on the outside because this is an act of stewardship. However, how much more you expect us to tend what is on the inside!  Show me the areas in my own heart that need attention today, and help me train my children in a way that honors you.  May our hearts turn toward you in all facets of our lives. Amen

Ironing it Out:

It’s the last day of 2012.  Perhaps you have written or mentally made note of things you’d like to change, adjust or improve about yourself this year.  Will you consider adding this one?  “Heart Work.”   

When we work on our own hearts and tuning them with God, our families will notice.  The list above is a lot to bite off in one year,  so pick just one or two to focus on and go after it — with all your heart: 

  • Begin your own bible study journey to seek and understand what it means to… return…rejoice…serve…work…etc. Using great (free!) resources like Blue Letter Bible, do a word study, search for it in different versions and read commentaries. 
  • Tell a friend (or your spouse) about your personal area of conviction and ask her/him to hold you accountable. 
  • Talk to your children about it, teach them what you are learning and correct them you see behavior contrary to what you know the Lord expects. 

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Filed under Heart, parenting, Personal Reflection, Seeking God, Surrender, Transformation

An extraORDINARY gift

What did you open today?  A small fuzzy box with beautiful jewels tucked inside?  Maybe a larger box with more bells and whistles than you know what to do with?  Or, an envelope with promises of a warm destination to steal away the winter blues?  No matter how much you love that present,  there’s one more.  Did you find it?

Amid the piles of torn wrapping paper and glittery bows, a gift more expensive, exceptional and exquisite than any other waits for you.  It fits you perfectly – was tailor-made.

Photo credit: Duwe, 2012 (copyright 2012)

Photo credit: Duwe, 2012 (copyright 2012)

Don’t be fooled by the ordinary wrapping of linen strips…nothing compares to this extraordinary gift…no, nothing.

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger…”
Luke 2:7

Ever wonder why Luke included this detail of “swaddling cloths” in his account of the Christmas story? Certainly, we can make a “feel-good” connection to our tradition of the beautifully wrapped presents we give one another at Christmas.   But I don’t think that’s exactly what God had in mind when he inspired the Gospel writer to include it.  No, this simple story element foreshadows Jesus’ ultimate life-mission – and the greatest historical event in all history.

“Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen.” John 19:40a

After Jesus died on the cross, his body was literally swaddled in grave cloths.

Jesus entered this world as God’s greatest gift to us, was bound in swaddling cloths by man, and unwrapped by God himself – for us.

“Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves…” Luke 24:12a

Hallelujah!   A child was born this day!

Hallelujah! Christ is risen!

Let’s Pray:
Oh Father!  Thank you for your gift today!  It’s perfect.  I know I’m completely unworthy of such an extraordinary gift, but in complete humility, I both accept it and give thanks.  Jesus, help me to live a life worthy of such a gift – never taking for granted the tremendous price you paid, for me.  Amen

Ironing it out:

Have you ever received an extravagant gift you had difficulty accepting? Or, perhaps you’ve been on the other side as the giver of a heartfelt gift that someone flat out refused (or tried to refuse) to accept.  Maybe you were left with a gift you had to return feeling ashamed or deeply disappointed. 

God’s gift in Jesus is more than extravagant, exquisite, and extraordinary, but before you try to refuse this one, there is no return policy available.  The gift was paid in full, swaddled at birth – for you. 

Spend time thanking God today for this gift of love and life.  What can you adjust in your life to demonstrate your deep gratitude?

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Please note…

First, I want to thank each one of you for journeying with me on the extraORDINARY Christmas journey this year.  It’s been a meaningful trip for me, and I hope and pray you have also received a special blessing from it!

Second, I’m delaying the last installment in the series by one day and will post it on Christmas.  I look forward to connecting with you soon.  Until then, have a very Merry Christmas!

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extraORDINARY cost

 And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn.   Luke 2:7 (NIV)

Photo Credit: www.visualbiblealive.com"A stone manger from Solomon's stables."

Photo Credit: www.visualbiblealive.com
“A stone manger from Solomon’s stables.”

“And (she) laid him in a manger…”  Mary and Joseph were resourceful people.  The stable conditions were hardly their first, second or third choice given their situation, but it would have to do.  Joseph looked around for a good place to lay the baby so they both could rest.

That’s when he saw it.  He hated that it was a feeding trough for donkeys – the ultimate unclean animal according to their Jewish faith.  It was so dirty, but he had little choice.

Using an old rag, Joseph quietly scraped off some rodent excrement and cleaned out the manger.  Covering the base with clean, fresh hay, he wondered why God would allow this.

Watching Mary place the baby in the manger, Joseph wondered if he’d done something wrong. None of this made sense.

As puzzling as the scene appeared to the human eye, the tapestry God was weaving made perfect sense from above.

The filthy conditions of that manger accurately reflect our sin-filled hearts without Christ. Soiled, beyond reproach.  

But nothing is beyond the redemptive reach of God.  When we open our hearts to Jesus, hope enters in as his glorious light illuminates and cleanses us with his grace and forgiveness.  This was the Good News the angel spoke of when he told the shepherds:

“…for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!” Luke 2:10-11 (AMP)

Leaving the comforts of heaven, Jesus held nothing back when he arrived in that grimy, smelly, and yes, ordinary manger.  He came, giving of his whole self, only to be rejected by the people he came to save and nailed to a Roman cross 33 years later.  The cost was enormous…it was…extraordinary.

Let’s pray:

Lord Jesus, we can sanitize the image of that manger all we want, but the true reflection of its filthy condition is only as far away as my own heart. The manger is a humbling reminder of where I’ve come from, and the tremendous price you paid for my life.  Thank you. Amen

Ironing it out:

At Christmas we look for ways to give of ourselves to others.  We help and bless friends, family and the less fortunate through donations of money, time and gifts which represent only a small portion of us or our resources.  We then return to our comfortable homes with over-stocked kitchens; soft, warm beds; clean running water; and televisions.

Jesus’ gift to us at Christmas couldn’t be more opposite.  He gave us everything, holding back nothing, when he exchanged heaven for a manger.

Spend time today considering Jesus’ enormous sacrifice.  There was no going back until the ultimate price – his life – had been paid.  He loves you that much! 

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Filed under advent, Christmas, Generosity, Gifts, Salvation

An extraORDINARY moment

Photo Courtesy of Corel<br /><br /> (Israel)<br /><br /> (from Bible Photos of the Holy Land - Biblesoft)

Photo Courtesy of Bible Photos of the Holy Land – Biblesoft

ONE-thousand years before Jesus’ birth, a young boy tended sheep in the hills outside a small, practically unknown town called Bethlehem.  He was brave and courageous.  Reputed to have killed lions and bears with his own hands in an effort to protect his flock, David would do anything for those sheep – often putting his own life in harm’s way for them.

It was a typical afternoon, nothing special.  Keeping a keen eye on the sheep, David sat on a rock singing praises and playing his harp.  Suddenly, he heard a frantic voice calling him.

“David! David! Your father needs you to go home immediately.  I’ll watch the sheep for you. You must hurry!”

Without delay, David hustled home, where earlier that afternoon, his father Jesse had paraded his seven older brothers in front of an old prophet named Samuel.  Once the last of the seven was presented, Samuel asked:

“Is this it? Are there no more sons?”

“Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.”

Samuel ordered Jesse, “Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.” 1 Samuel 16:11 (The Message)

When David arrived, out of breath, smelling of sheep mixed with sweat and in need of a bath, he found his father, seven brothers and Samuel anxiously awaiting him.

He was brought in, the very picture of health—bright-eyed, good-looking.

God said, “Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.”

 Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching…         1 Samuel 16:12-13 (The Message)

From ordinary hills, outside an ordinary little town, God called an insignificant young shepherd boy – who had been passed over by his own father – to become Israel’s most extraordinary king.

One-thousand years later, God chose these same hills to reveal his most extraordinary good news, this time to a group of ordinary shepherds.

 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened.

But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.

For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!         Luke 2: 9-11 (Amplified)

Perhaps for the first time in their career, these diligent shepherds determined to leave their flock alone, in God’s care.  Following the angel’s instructions they left their posts.

In darkness, they walked through the city gates of Bethlehem in search of the true light of the world.

Let’s Pray:

Most gracious heavenly Father, these passages today remind me how life changes in mere moments.  Life can seem so ordinary and boring, but little do we know you are just waiting for that exact moment to take us on the ride of our life!  Lord, help me today run – not walk – when you call.  Help me to earnestly seek after you – even when it may come with great risk. Amen

Ironing in out:

David ran. The shepherds sought. When God calls us out of the ordinary, to experience the extraordinary, it always requires a response and action.

If God is calling you to something today, what’s stopping you?  What risk frightens the socks off your toes? 

Are you willing to trust him?  David and the shepherds learned first-hand God offers great reward when we submit in humble obedience. What are you missing?

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Filed under advent, Christmas, Hope, Surrender, Trust

extraORDINARY vacancy

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.

Isaiah 53:1-3 (The Message version)

Mary and Joseph were very likely among the last of the pilgrims to arrive in Bethlehem for Caesar Augustus’ census. The trip had been long and tedious.   The donkey was helpful, but the ride was anything but smooth.  Between the bumpy road and the baby putting pressure on Mary’s bladder, the stops and starts were frequent.
no-vacancy-wtb-sign

Expecting the sudden housing crisis the census would bring, the people of Bethlehem made as many preparations as possible for weary travelers.  Even so, there simply were not enough beds and makeshift shelters in the tiny town to accommodate everyone.

Imagine the stress this young teenage couple experienced when they arrived, only to be told there wasn’t any space left.  Tired, exhausted and sore from the long trip, Mary longed for a bed and a pillow where she could rest.

But it wasn’t just that there wasn’t a bed left…nobody sacrificially offered their bed to Mary either.   Though some may have felt pity for the young couple, nobody acted on it. Not one.

One look at them and many turned away.

I wonder, how many whispered behind closed doors about this girl, pregnant with a child belonging to someone other than her husband.  How many, having this knowledge, placed themselves on a holy pedestal?  How many spoke unkind words, mentally or verbally?

In such extraordinary circumstances, the best anyone could offer was lodging in a stable. An ordinary, dirty, smelly, noisy old stable full of animals belonging to other out of town guests.  Hardly their best.

I wonder, are we any different?

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, my heart is pierced today by the areas of my life that show “No Vacancy” in blinking neon lights. When life is busy I don’t want to be inconvenienced and not only do I not make room, but I also don’t put others first. The true joy of Christmas isn’t found in this attitude.  Help me today to consider the needs of others before my own. Amen.

Ironing it Out:

When God asks you to give (your time, kindness, love, talents, money, self, etc.), what do you give?  If you give him a stable, instead of your heart, you may miss the joy he intended for you.  Think of how many, who turned them away, missed the joy of new life?  Missed the witness the birth of the Savior? Their Savior.

Are you missing the JOY of Christmas today?  Try this:

J = Jesus First

O = Others Second

Y = Yourself Last

Follow this prescription today and be surprised by the JOY restored to your heart.

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Filed under advent, Christmas, Joy, Surrender

An extraORDINARY little town

BethlehemChristmas Day, 1898

Bethlehem
Christmas Day, 1898

But you, Bethlehem, David’s country,
the runt of the litter—
From you will come the leader
who will shepherd-rule Israel.
He’ll be no upstart, no pretender.
His family tree is ancient and distinguished.

(Micah 5:2 The Message Version)

Some 500 years before Christ, Bethlehem was home to a scant 123 people, according to Ezra 2:21. That’s smaller than my neighborhood! It took a full five full centuries for this little hill town’s population to grow by just a few hundred more.  So, by the time Mary and Joseph arrived on the scene, scholars estimate the population at 300-1,000 people.

Little.

Bethlehem has a significant Old Testament history as the burial-place of Jacob’s beloved wife, Rachel (Gen. 35:19), and the town from which Israel’s greatest king, David, came. But it never really “grew up.”

The Hebrew word translated as “runt of the litter” in the Message translation of Micah 5:2, see above, (“little” in most other translations) is tsa`iyr. It means:

tsa`iyr:

1) little, insignificant, young

a) little, insignificant

b) insignificant, mean

c) young, younger, youngest

Bethlehem was not just an ordinary small townit was considered insignificant.  Nobody expected much from Bethlehem, and that is what made it the perfect place for the most extraordinary person to begin life on earth!

God did not choose Bethlehem because of its wealth or success.  He did not choose Bethlehem because of its “booming” population or cultural achievements.

No.

He chose Bethlehem because it was ordinary.  He chose it because it would magnify his great mercy, grace and love.

He chose Bethlehem for us.

Let’s Pray:

Father, centuries before Jesus’ birth, Bethlehem almost missed another great leader in a shepherd boy named David.  That young man went on to become Israel’s greatest king.  Our world is not conditioned to look for greatness in insignificant places. I’m humbled to be called your child, but my heart also aches today for others who have not yet opened their hearts to you.  Lord, today I specifically pray for _______________.  Help me to be a light of your love, mercy and grace to him/her.  Perhaps this Christmas he/she will see the true meaning of Bethlehem and experience the depth of your love for them. Amen

Ironing it out:

Bethlehem literally means “House of Bread” in the Hebrew.  In John 6:32-33, Jesus said “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

In John 6:48, Jesus reveals “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger…”

How can you make your ordinary home a “house of bread” this Christmas, where all who come will have the opportunity to meet our King Jesus, the bread of life?

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Filed under advent, Average, Christmas, redemption, Salvation, Seeking God, Sovereignty of God

An extraORDINARY ride

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”  Luke 2:1-5

Although it’s reasonable to assume, the Bible does not specifically say Mary rode from Nazareth to Bethlehem on a donkey.  It simply states that they went.  The 80-mile trip would have taken them anywhere from four days to a week, depending on how fast they were able to travel.

Donkeys were the common “car” of Joseph and Mary’s day.  They were also employed in the fields because they were hard-working.  However, according to Jewish law, the donkey is the considered the “ultimate impure animal” because it is both non-ruminant (stomachs have only one compartment) and has non-cloven hooves.

Making matters worse for the donkey, the animal was also the symbol of Ra, the Egyptian sun god.greek_donkey

In Israel, you truly can’t get much lower than a donkey.

But a closer look at donkeys in the Bible reveals a fascinating fact.  Donkeys are the only impure animal subject to the consecration laws relating to the first born.

 “After the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you, as he promised on oath to you and your ancestors, you are to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the Lord. Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons.” Exodus 13:11-13

Why is the unclean donkey specifically redeemed by the blood of a lamb?

To gain a better understanding, we have to travel back to Israel’s Exodus from Egypt.

Read what Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene writes on the subject:

“The promiscuous climate of Egypt is synonymous with that of the donkey…The [Hebrew] word chamor [donkey] is the symbol of chomor, materialism, of unbridled indulgence in animalistic, physical desires unchecked or governed by the intellect to give it direction form and purpose.”

He goes on to explain:

“…the Jewish nation in Egypt descended to a spiritual low – down to the forty-ninth level of spiritual impurity.  Almost at the point of no return, nevertheless they were not ‘irredeemable.’”

“…Their sanctity came to the fore in their ‘redemption’ from Egypt wherein they revoked their ‘materialistic’ donkey-like status upon becoming the chosen nation…”

(Click here for full text.)

Did you catch that? The donkey serves as a reminder of our utter depravity (uncleanness) and redemption.  We are never beyond God’s reach!

With this extraordinary historical reference, it’s certainly an interesting thought to consider this ordinary animal transporting Mary and her unborn son, Jesus, the Lamb of God, to Bethlehem.

Equally – if not more remarkable – is this fact:  Some 33 years later, the humble donkey would again play an integral role, as Jesus’ chosen mode of transportation through the streets of Jerusalem just prior to his crucifixion on a Roman cross.  On that  cross, Christ’s final redemptive work would be done – redeeming us when we were “almost at the point of no return.”

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world…donkeys and all!

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, I am utterly stunned.  You leave little love notes for us all over creation if we are willing to look a little deeper.  Although Matthew and Luke did not write it into the Christmas story, thank you for the redemptive message of the donkey this Christmas.  It is the perfect reminder today – for me – of the true purpose of Christmas. Amen.

Ironing it Out:

The Rabbi’s description of what the donkey represented sure hits close to home at this time of year when we over-indulge and focus more on the material things than Jesus.  Take a moment today to ask for – and receive – God’s forgiveness, and thank him for his ultimate mission on earth – our redemption.

What are some ways your family has found to reduce focus on the material and refocus on the eternal significance of Christmas?

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An extraORDINARY Name

Wordle: Jesus

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:20-21

Baby naming can be one of among the most challenging tasks in parenting.  It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or tenth child, most parents care a great deal about “the name!”  We look for names we hope the child will (someday) like.  Names that exude strength.  Names that are pretty.  Names that sound good. Names not easily made fun of.  A special name that will set the child apart.

Two-thousand years ago, if you were going for unique, the name “Jesus” would not be on your list.  It was a fine Jewish name, but common none-the-less.

Imagine Joseph and Mary’s surprise when the angel Gabriel instructed each of them individually to name their child – conceived under anything-but-ordinary circumstances – one of the most common names in town.   I wonder if God had Gabriel reiterate the name to Joseph, in part, because Mary wondered if she heard that part right. Certainly God wouldn’t choose such a run-of-the-mill name for the Savior of his people!

But what man had made ordinary was about to be redeemed.

Until his earthly ministry began, the Son of God would live an ordinary life, working an ordinary job, identifying with ordinary people who knew him by an ordinary name: Jesus!

Identifying with us all – on common earthly terms – Jesus demonstrated his gift of salvation was not just for the elite.  It was not just for the poorest of poor.  It was – and is – a gift for us all: common man.

Ἰησοῦς 

               Iēsous: Jesus = “Jehovah is salvation”

Jesus came to save the very people he created!  Jehovah is salvation! 

God intentionally chose an ordinary name for his extraordinary Son, so he could fulfill it unlike any other – in the common skin of mankind.  

Let’s Pray:

Oh my Lord! You spare no details, puzzling as they may be at  the time.  No, not one element is missed!  I will never be able to wrap my head around the fact that you gave up heaven – with all its glory, beauty and imperfections – to wear the common skin of mankind and save us from our sins.  Your love is limitless.  Thank you! Amen.

Ironing it Out:

It’s ironic, isn’t it?  What was once a common name has become uncommon today because it is so highly esteemed!  

Take a moment and soak in the details of an extraordinary life lived through the ordinary. Then, spend some time in prayer and thanksgiving, praising the Lord for his remarkable love for you yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

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