The Art of Celebrating

“Mom, can we have a milkshake because  it’s Tuesday?”

We do celebrations in our family.  We celebrate first days and last days, pick-me-up treats on the hardest days, victory treats when we have a big win and  even sometimes just for trying.because we know trying requires courage.

My daughter has a competition this weekend, but I’ve already let her request her “celebration dinner,” whether she comes home with first place or last place.  We’re not saluting the prize, we’re saluting the effort, the time, the commitment, and being done, of course.

Our celebrations aren’t elaborate or Pinterest-worthy.  We make a special batch of cookies or stop in at 7-11 for a Slurpie, cook up a special dinner or maybe even get milkshakes for a “big” treat.  We “party” with family movie night and a bowl of popcorn or head to  a beach or a playground for some afternoon fun after a week of testing at school.  I’ve even been known to happy  dance in the kitchen occasionally, (which is instantly embarrassing to my children).

But that day, my daughter  climbed in the minivan after school and asked for a treat because it was Tuesday.

I finally gave in and asked, “Why are we celebrating Tuesday?”

“Oh, it’s just that Tuesdays are really busy days for  us and I think we just need a treat because it’s Tuesday and that’s all.”

Well, maybe we’re stretching our rejoicing habits a bit too far if we’re now celebrating specific days of the week just because they exist on the calendar.

I tease my daughter gently and call her the “queen of treats.”

Can we celebrate because we had  a good day?  Can we have a treat because we had a bad day?   Can we have a treat because…it’s Tuesday?

We all have a good laugh because this is who we are:  We’re celebrators and rejoicers.  We’re joy-seekers.

I love that God gives reason to rejoice.  Not just that, He compels us to rejoice.

In Romans, Paul tells us that we have peace with God because of Jesus. We’re justified by His blood and saved from  the wrath of God.  He reminds us we were God’s enemies and yet, because of Jesus’s death, we’re now reconciled with this perfect, holy  God.

But Paul tells us what is the greater thing.  We recognize His holiness and our need for  reconciliation.  We recognize we were enemies of God and yet now we have peace with God.  We recognize all of that….

and then…

we rejoice.

He says:

More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:11 ESV).

We rejoice because Jesus has done the work.  We believe in Him as our Savior, we place our faith in Him as our Lord, and He has reconciled us to the Father.

So, we don’t need to drag around shame; we can lift up praise.    We focus more on our Savior than we focus on our sin.

We are saved.

The note in my Bible says, “Christians GO BEYOND avoiding God’s wrath and actually rejoice in the same God who would pour out wrath on them were it not for Christ” (ESV Study Bible).

So, let’s go beyond. 

Our faith is about more than just avoiding the wrath of God; it’s celebrating the good news:  Jesus made us righteous by covering us with His righteousness.

And, God Himself rejoices.  Maybe recapturing the image of God and all of His joy reminds us to have joy, too.

 

He rejoices over His people:

I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and be glad in my people.
The sound of weeping and crying
will no longer be heard in her (Isaiah 65:19)

and He sings over us with gladness:

The Lord your God is among you,
a warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will be quiet in his love.
He will delight in you with singing.”  (Zephaniah 3:17 CSB). 

We are unworthy, and yet He loves us.  He finds joy and takes delight in us.

And it is His joy, His deep-hearted gladness, that we can cling to when we’re overwhelmed by our own sin.

In the book of Nehemiah, the people were moved to mourn when they heard Ezra the priest read from the law.  They saw all of their unworthiness and all the reasons for their exile.

Nehemiah and the other leaders redirected them:

This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep…today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:9, 10). 

Rejoice today.  Celebrate.  Praise Him.

He loves you.   He died to save you.  Her rejoices over you. Such love deserves a celebration.

Bible Verses on Redemption

  • Job 19:25 NIV
    I know that my redeemer lives,
        and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
  • Psalm 107:2 NIV
    Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
        those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
  • Psalm 111:9 NIV
    He provided redemption for his people;
        he ordained his covenant forever—
        holy and awesome is his name.
  • Psalm 130:7 NIV
    Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
        for with the Lord is unfailing love
        and with him is full redemption.
  • Isaiah 43:1-2 NIV
    But now, this is what the Lord says—
        he who created you, Jacob,
        he who formed you, Israel:
    “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
        I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
    When you pass through the waters,
        I will be with you;
    and when you pass through the rivers,
        they will not sweep over you.
    When you walk through the fire,
        you will not be burned;
        the flames will not set you ablaze.
  • Isaiah 44:22 NIV
    I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
        your sins like the morning mist.
    Return to me,
        for I have redeemed you.”
  • Isaiah 52:3 NIV
    For this is what the Lord says:
    “You were sold for nothing,
        and without money you will be redeemed.
  • Lamentations 3:57-58 NIV
    You came near when I called you,
    and you said, “Do not fear.”
     You, Lord, took up my case;
      you redeemed my life.
  • Mark 10:45 ESV
    For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  • Luke 1:68 NIV
    Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
        because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
  • Luke 21:28 NIV
    When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
  • Romans 3:23-25 NIV
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
  • Romans 8:23 NIV
    Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV
    And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
  • 1 Corinthians 6:20 ESV
    for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:23 ESV
    You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants[a] of men.
  • Galatians 3:13 ESV
     Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
  • Galatians 4:4-5 NIV
    But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
  • Ephesians 1:7 ESV
    In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace
  • Ephesians 1:14 NIV
    who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
  • Ephesians 4:30 NIV
    And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
  • Colossians 1:13-14 NIV
    For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
  • 1 Timothy 2:6 ESV
    who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
  • Titus 2:14 ESV
    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.
  • Hebrews 9:12 NIV
     He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
  • Hebrews 9:15 NIV
    For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
  • 1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV
     For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
  • Revelation 1:5-6 NIV
     and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
  • To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
  • Revelation 5:9 NIV
    And they sang a new song, saying:
    “You are worthy to take the scroll
     and to open its seals,
    because you were slain
     and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

30 Bible Verses on Redemption

verses-on-redemption

  1. Job 19:25 NIV
    I know that my redeemer lives,
        and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
  2. Psalm 107:2 NIV
    Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
        those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
  3. Psalm 111:9 NIV
    He provided redemption for his people;
        he ordained his covenant forever—
        holy and awesome is his name.
  4. Psalm 130:7 NIV
    Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
        for with the Lord is unfailing love
        and with him is full redemption.
  5. Isaiah 43:1-2 NIV
    But now, this is what the Lord says—
        he who created you, Jacob,
        he who formed you, Israel:
    “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
        I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
    When you pass through the waters,
        I will be with you;
    and when you pass through the rivers,
        they will not sweep over you.
    When you walk through the fire,
        you will not be burned;
        the flames will not set you ablaze.
  6. Isaiah 44:22 NIV
    I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
        your sins like the morning mist.
    Return to me,
        for I have redeemed you.”
  7. Isaiah 52:3 NIV
    For this is what the Lord says:
    “You were sold for nothing,
        and without money you will be redeemed.
  8. Lamentations 3:57-58 NIV
    You came near when I called you,
    and you said, “Do not fear.”
     You, Lord, took up my case;
      you redeemed my life.
  9. Mark 10:45 ESV
    For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  10. Luke 1:68 NIV
    Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
        because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
  11. Luke 21:28 NIV
    When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
  12. Romans 3:23-25 NIV
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
  13. Romans 8:23 NIV
    Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
  14. 1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV
    And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
  15. 1 Corinthians 6:20 ESV
    for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
  16. 1 Corinthians 7:23 ESV
    You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants[a] of men.
  17. Galatians 3:13 ESV
     Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
  18. Galatians 4:4-5 NIV
    But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
  19. Ephesians 1:7 ESV
    In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace
  20. Ephesians 1:14 NIV
    who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
  21. Ephesians 4:30 NIV
    And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
  22. Colossians 1:13-14 NIV
    For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
  23. 1 Timothy 2:6 ESV
    who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
  24. Titus 2:14 ESV
    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.
  25. Hebrews 9:12 NIV
     He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
  26. Hebrews 9:15 NIV
    For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
  27. 1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV
     For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
  28. Revelation 1:5-6 NIV
     and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
  29. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
  30. Revelation 5:9 NIV
    And they sang a new song, saying:
    “You are worthy to take the scroll
     and to open its seals,
    because you were slain
     and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

Epic Failures; Epic Grace

Mom Failures.

I’ve had them, had some doozies actually.

Anyone else?

There was the year my oldest daughter had been pestering me all week with her chattery excitement about an upcoming birthday party for a friend.  The day of the party, I told her it was time to go and double-checked the invitation on the way out the door.  That’s when I found out that the party actually ended at 2:00, not began at 2:00.  She had missed it completely.  We drove anyway just to bring our present and apologize, but everyone was already gone.psalm145

I had one tearful extrovert of a 5-year-old that day.

And it was my  fault.  My own failure that had ruined her super-exciting day.

I apologized a million times and it still didn’t feel like enough.  I took her to one of those play places with a million bouncy inflatables and she had the most fun jumping herself into exhaustion, but I still knew the truth—I had failed.

Bad moments don’t make bad mamas!”  That’s what Lysa TerKeurst says.

She’s right, of course.  One missed birthday party doesn’t define me, doesn’t stuff me into a box of rejection or label me as a Failure-With-a-Capital-F.

But in that moment, it’s so hard to soak in any grace when your soul is rock-hard with shame.

And when you mess it all up, all those other mistakes come crashing right back down on your head from the places you’ve shelved them.  Pretty soon, you’re covered in the trash of remembered failure.

You always….You never…..

We hear the absolute declarations that we simply are not good enough, our own voice of condemnation echoing in our own head and heart.

You always make a mess of things.

You never get it right.

You’re always so stupid, so flaky, so forgetful, so short-tempered….

You’ll never be as good as she is…

God can’t use you.

Chris Tiegreen writes:

We are apt to think that failure disqualifies us from serving God well.  To the contrary, sometimes it is the only thing that does qualify us.  It removes any pretense of self-reliance.  Like a phoenix rising, we ascend from the ashes of our own undoing, testifying to the resurrecting power of God.  From failure to forgiveness, weakness to strength, death to life—it’s God’s way.  Remember that the next time you despair over your failures (365 Pocket Devotions).

We’re mess-ups, all of us.  Somehow, some way, at some time, we’re going to fail.

That’s why we need grace, after all.  That’s why we needed a Savior: because on our own, we’ll never be perfect, never good enough, never all right.

But there’s Jesus, not just ready to pour out forgiveness afterward; He prays for us in advance.

Jesus looked right at Simon Peter sitting at the Passover Meal, that Last Supper, and said:

But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32  NIV).

What grace is this?

Before Peter ever denied Christ, Jesus had been praying for him.

Before Peter’s sin, Jesus already assured him of restoration, promising not just that he would “turn back,” but that Peter could be the one to “strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus promised Peter, “After you’ve failed and you’ve returned to me, I can still use you. More than that, that’s WHEN I can use you.”

Sometimes our own failure makes us most useful to God.

When we receive grace, we learn to give grace.

When we are at our weakest, we learn to rely on His strength and not our own (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Maybe we don’t see the hope right away, not with the mess lying fresh all around us.  It’s hard to see beauty in all those ashes.  Hard to see grace in the hard and mercy in the difficult.

But the Psalmist wrote:

The Lord helps the fallen
and lifts those bent beneath their loads
(Psalm 145:114 NLT).

Have you tripped up?  Have you fallen?  Have you crashed headlong into that dark pit?

Do you feel weighed down by the load of shame and guilt and condemnation?

The Lord is there to help you and to hold you up.

Give what’s broken to Him and let Him bring you to something new, something beautiful, and something for your good.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

I Bring Mess; He Brings Beauty

“But you remain the same, and your years will never end” (Psalm 102:27).

“Mom, I know how to spell the word ‘kissing.’”Photo by Viktor Hanacek

That’s what my daughter told me when she was in first grade.

I wonder how to answer.  Marvel over her accomplishment?  Ask to see her spelling list?

Finally, I decide to stick with Classic Mom: “Wow, that’s a pretty big word.  Spell it for me.”

Immediately, my first grader breaks out into the full-voiced sing-songy chant:

 “K-I-S-S-I-N-G
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.”

Some things never change.

The same chants, the same games, the same tears, the same laughs, the same hand-claps and rhymes and teasing from generation right on to the next.

Some things never seem to change with me either.

The truth is I need a Savior.  I can make 50 resolutions a day not to lose my temper with my kids, but the moment my poky child pits herself against this super-speed mom, I fail.

In my own, the holding it together and the being perfect don’t happen. I find myself sitting in the pupil’s chair again, learning the same lesson from God that He taught me last year, and the year before that, and year after year after perpetual year.

In lessons of patience, grace, love and flexibility, I learn so slow.

But there’s something else that never changes.

God.

He’s immutable, unchanging, “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), who doesn’t alter “like shifting shadows” (James 1:17)

In all of my wayward sameness, I choose to go back to the beginning.

That same God, who stared at the dark shapeless mess and saw the potential beauty of the created earth sees beauty in me, as well.  He sees it in you.

No one but God could have seen the potential in that pre-Creation space. Genesis 1:2 tells us, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”treasure

Formless, empty and dark.

And God said, “Let there be light.”

Our God can make glorious possibilities out of nothingness, painting the sky onto a blank canvas.

He is original and uniquely imaginative, designing solutions that our finite minds could never have achieved.  That means when I am hopeless with no possibility of salvation, I know my God can create a solution that is beyond my comprehension.

And I know He can bring order to the most disordered and messy aspects of my life just as He shaped the earth out of what was “formless and void.”

So when it comes to the things that just don’t seem to change in me, it’s best for me to “let go, and let God.”  I struggle and strive to do the work of self-improvement, only to fail at the first sign of stress.

But when I call on the name of Jesus and bring the messy disorder of it all to Him, He sifts through the mud and mire and brings forth treasure.

It takes honesty, though, the heart-felt, soul-bearing truth when we finally just say, “God, this is a mess.  I can’t do it.  I’ve tried.  I’m a failure at this.  I’ve done it again.  I’ve fallen into the pit.”

When we finally stop pretending to be perfect, then and only then, can Jesus get busy creating, forming, cleaning, and ordering the mess we’ve brought to His feet.

Lisa Harper wrote,

Our Redeemer will carefully help us sort the treasures from the trash.  If we’ll just be honest about the emotional boxes we’ve squirreled away, Jesus will take charge of the cleaning process (Stumbling Into Grace).

Our honesty allows God to do the dirty work of changing us.  So, even when it’s painful, and even when it’s slow, and even when it’s hard, we know that we really aren’t staying the same.  The lessons may be the same-old, same-old, and yet our never-changing, immutable God teaches us a bit more and goes a little bit deeper.

We’re growing.  Sometimes in shoots and spurts.  Sometimes in painful inches.

Sometimes we can’t see the change at all, but our roots far below the surface are digging deeper down, planting us firm into the soil so that God can do the visible work later without toppling us right on over.

We’re changing.  But, praise God, He’s not.  He’s what really never changes.  With all His patience, and all His grace, with the love that manages to see beauty in our mess, He’s the Ever-Faithful Creator and we His beloved creation.

What messes do you need to hand over to our Creator God today?

Originally posted 11/4/2011

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Create Beauty’?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Naming, Name Changes, and Being Made New

Her name suits her.

She asks us about it all the time and we’ve told her the story over and over.

Why is she named Victoria Eileen and what does it mean anyway?

You’re named after your grandmothers, we tell her, Godly women who are strong in their faith. We prayed over our first baby, prayed about naming her just right— a name that was clearly feminine and clearly strong, a name for an overcomer, a fighter, a stand-up-for-what-is-right kind of woman of God.

Victoria—“Victorious One.”

It fits this feisty little person, the perfect name from the first day I held her in my arms in the hospital and she screamed and screamed, trying desperately hard in her newborn way of making her needs known. She befuddled nurses and her first-time momma.

Yet, submitted to God, believing in Jesus, with His Spirit in her, she’s a mighty force to be reckoned with underneath her princess exterior of swirly skirts and long blonde hair.

When she asks us about her name, we tell her the whole story of what it means, and why we picked it and what we hope it says about her future and her character.

I can’t imagine how that conversation went in Hosea’s house.

God told the prophet Hosea to marry a “promiscuous woman.”  His marriage was to be a living testimony of how the long-suffering God remained faithful to His people Israel, despite their ongoing adultery with foreign gods and idols.

That sounds hard enough.  Yet, in obedience, he married Gomer, a frequent runaway lover.

Then God told Hosea to have children with this faithless wife.

When she had a daughter, God told them to name her “Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them” (Hosea 1:6 NIV).

Then she had a son and God said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God” (Hosea 1:9 NIV)

The Message translates these names as “No-Mercy” and “Nobody.”

Every time moms in the marketplace cooed over these precious babies and asked, “What’s the baby’s name?” the answer came back as a label and message from God.

No-Mercy.

Nobody.

Have you ever felt labeled and even condemned by your name, your heritage, a nickname, a curse, the hurtful words of others that you can’t seem to erase from memory?

Has your past held you captive?

Surely these two children could relate to your pain.

But the beautiful thing about Jesus is that He doesn’t leave us untouched by His presence.  He’s a Creator God, making things new, making US new.

He changes us and renames us, giving us a new identity in Him.  Paul tells us:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).

In Hosea 2:1, God tells the prophet:

Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’

Or as the Message says:“Rename your brothers ‘God’s Somebody.’  Rename your sisters ‘All Mercy.’”

Eugene Peterson asks: Under what circumstances have you seen “No Mercy” turned into “All Mercy?”  How about “Nobody” changed to “God’s Somebody?”

That’s our story, yours and mine!  Our story of redemption and transformation, how we’re shedding who we used to be and stepping into new clothes of righteousness—new names, new lives.

Hosea’s kids probably had to fight for their new identity.  Townsfolk likely slipped up time after time.  “No-Mercy,” they’d say, and she’d reply, “That’s not my name anymore!  Haven’t you heard the good news?  My name is “All Mercy” now.  God changed it!”

And her brother, “Nobody,” likely had to correct friends and neighbors and the school teacher who always treated him like a fool: “God says I’m no longer, “Nobody!”  I’m “God’s Somebody” now!”

God says that about you, too.  He says, “You’re mine.  I’ve given you my name and called you my child.  You are a sign of my mercy, you are loved, you are important to me.”

Yet, just like Hosea’s poor children, who likely had to stand up for their name change time and time and time again . . . so we must continually refuse Satan the prerogative of defining us by our past.

Instead, those names from our past, those identities are just part of our testimony now, a reminder of how God redeems, renews, and recreates, how He makes “beautiful things out of us.”

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King