It’s A Win-Win

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The Dr Pepper Cross

 

Whether to promote and sell a product or in a sincere effort to share the gospel story in a unique way.  I tip my hat and applaud the managers and owners of the Brookshire’s Brothers Grocers in Forney, Texas for allowing this display in their store.  As I see it, it’s a win-win situation. True, they may profit from it financially, but equally true, the church may profit spiritually when a few new faces show up Easter Sunday because of it. Scoffers and questioning Christians alike should consider the apostle Paul’s spin on such ideas when he wrote:

“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.”

Philippians 1:15-18 NIV

Beauty For Ashes

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Today’s Devotional

by Lauren Battle
April 05, 2019

Have you ever experienced the weight of shame and guilt so heavily that you felt the only option was to run and hide? Growing up in a Christian home, equipped with God’s word, you would think it would’ve been easy to brush off negative criticism and turn to the word of God for affirmation, but at the time, it wasn’t.

I have struggled with insecurity and self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember. I was the chunky kid in school. I remember being oinked at while at lunch and picked last in group games because I wasn’t as fast or athletic as everyone else. In middle school, it became painfully obvious to me that I was one of the few girls that no boy had any interest in whatsoever. It might seem insignificant now, but my self-esteem issues starting at such a young age really shaped my actions in the years that followed.

I was determined to lose weight and gain attention, and I didn’t care what it took to get there. Sure enough, male attention started flooding in for the first time in my life, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I became almost addicted to it. Although I had solid, biblical truths sewn into me from as early as I can remember, the attention I was seeking seemed more fulfilling than anything else. (Spoiler alert: I was very, very wrong!) For so many years, I thought my name was outcast, overweight and unwanted, and now I had a new name: desirable.

I thought my self-esteem had greatly improved, but truthfully, it was shattered. My sense of self-worth was fully dependent upon my acceptance by men and their desire for me. I was broken, ashamed and empty, trying to hide my sins from my family and God, and keeping my relationship with God at arm’s length.

Years passed, and I found myself at the end of college, pregnant, unmarried and terrified. Now I carried a scarlet letter everywhere I went. I was at an all-time low. The shame, guilt and sadness were overwhelming. It was my rock bottom. It was at this time that I felt God tugging at my heart so tightly that I could not resist him anymore. I began to lean into the godly wisdom that I had always been taught, but had been suppressing and avoiding. God took my sin and my shame, and he gave me a new name. It didn’t happen all at once, but since the birth of the greatest blessing in my life, God has revealed to me time and time again that I am forgiven, and I am worthy, and I am redeemed, and I am valuable.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
— Ephesians 2:4–7

Because of his love for me, I am no longer bound to the restraints of the person I used to be. I have been made new in Him. I know who I am because I know whose I am. I am a daughter of the King and I have a new name. There is nothing more freeing than knowing I no longer depend on the acceptance or approval of others. It is so comforting to know that I am forgiven and redeemed and worthy of everything that he has in store for me. Because of this, I no longer have to live under the weight of my sin and shame, and neither do you. You are his. You are loved. You are worthy. You are forgiven. You are an heir of the kingdom. It’s time to start believing it and living it out.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Is Your Name a Gift or a Problem?

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Today’s Devotional

by Andrew Knight
April 03, 2019

His name was Mavuto. I met him the first year I attended Camp Life in Zambia in 2009. Like so many of the children at camp, he was quiet, a bit withdrawn, and blended in with the hundreds of other children who were at camp that week. But since he was in my small group of 10 boys, I had the opportunity to get to know him and to find out more about his story. Although I don’t remember most of the details, I’ll never forget the meaning of his name: problem.

Literally, his name meant problem.

What would it be like to grow up as a Problem? What would it be like to be reminded of this every time your name was called?

Many of us would prefer sticks and stones over some of the names we have been given throughout the years. But the power of a name is not so much in the name itself. The power lies in our belief in the name and our response to it. Being called a loser is not nearly as painful as believing you are one. Being labeled a failure is not nearly as debilitating as living out that identity. And being named a problem is only a problem if you assume it to be true.

Names can destroy us, but they can also give us insight into our true identities, which is why we have to give careful pause when we read passages in the Bible like these (emphasis added):

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
— Ephesians 5:1

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
— Romans 8:16–17

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
— 1 Peter 2:9

Do we believe these things? Do we believe that we are beloved children of God, heirs with Christ, and a holy nation chosen by him? But perhaps even more important are the names we believe about God:

  • Father (Matthew 6:9)
  • Daddy (Abba) (Galatians 4:6)
  • King (Psalm 24:8)
  • Lord (Psalm 8:1)
  • Redeemer (Psalm 19:14)

If we truly believe that God is our Father, our Daddy, our King, and our Lord, and that he has redeemed us and made us heirs with him, we will have a very different outlook on life and on ourselves. The names that the world may throw at us will still sting, but they will be much less penetrating. In the end, they will find the soil of our heart already occupied with the truth of God’s word. During camp, we decided to give Mavuto a new name to reflect the blessing he was to our group: Gift. Now that he has been given a new name, my prayer is that Gift will believe it from this moment forward.

What about you? Which names do you believe? Do you believe the ones you have been given as a child of God? Or are you still clinging to names that no longer have meaning — but may still have power — now that you have placed your faith in Christ?

Receive and believe your new identity in him. It will be the greatest gift you can give yourself, no matter what your name may be.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

The Right Name

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Today’s Devotional

by Pat Cooper
April 02, 2019

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.
— Ephesians 2:4–5

Before his up-front and personal encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road (Acts 9), the apostle Paul, aka Saul of Tarsus, was a virtuous servant of God. Or so he thought.

Circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless
— Philippians 3:5–6

Saul was a man on a mission, a devout adherent to the Torat Moshe (Law of Moses), known for getting the job done and doing whatever it takes. Having come up a student under the tutelage of Gamaliel, perhaps the most renown teacher of Jewish law in all Israel, Paul quickly rose through the ranks to become a member of the Sanhedrin, taking a seat of prominence on Israel’s high court.

Having warrants from the high priest in hand that gave him authority to extradite Judean fugitives, he headed northeast towards the Syrian city of Damascus. Drawing near, he came upon an unexpected detour of divine origin that would reroute his life in a most dramatic way. Once a feared persecutor of the Church, Saul would become her champion, preaching the gospel and pleading her case to Jews and Gentiles throughout the known world. Although he was totally unaware of the new direction his life would take that day, there are no surprises to God. In Galatians, Paul writes:

… he who had set me apart [from my mother’s womb] before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles…
— Galatians 1:15–16

Might a change be in your future? A new name perhaps? Like Paul, a new and purposed life? You may not think so at the moment. You may see yourself as unfit and certainly unusable, hopeless, useless, stuck in the misery of poor choices, bad decisions, mistakes you can never correct, and wrong turns you cannot make right. I understand. I felt that way once. I had come to a place where I thought God would just have to suck it up and take a loss on his investment in me. But he knew things I didn’t. In plain sight to him was a life I could not see. A purposeful and well-planned detour was in my future, just like the one I feel he has for you.

Like Paul, you probably won’t need a new name, you only need to identify with the right name. The name he gave the day you believed: redeemed. Go ahead, try it on. I am certain it will be the perfect fit.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

A Reliable Source

Today’s Devotional

by Pat Cooper
March 30, 2019

Now to the eternal king, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen.       — 1 Timothy 1:17 NET Bible

Which do you believe most reliable, a crystal ball or a Bible? As a kid, I was fascinated with the Magic 8 Ball. Did you have one too? On a rainy day, I could sit amused for hours playing with it and sometimes be awestruck by what seemed an uncanny accuracy. Of course, I was a kid and believed in the tooth fairy too.

Today I look to and believe in the accuracy and reliability of God’s word. Regardless of what might be said, nothing and no one trumps what God has to say about me, about you, and about all others. Now almost every follower of Jesus reading this will quickly nod their head in agreement with that statement. Why then do so very many believers choose to buy into the enemies’ propaganda and believe his lies concerning who and what God says concerning us? “Has he said, and will he not do it?” Numbers 28:19 reads. “Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is where Jesus and his disciples are caught out on the Sea of Galilee in a horrendous storm (Mark 4:35-41). Jesus is sleeping soundly on a pillow when suddenly the skies turn deathly grey, and a howling wind begins tossing their small fishing vessel about like a toy in a playful child’s bath. Wave after frightening wave, the swelling seas crash into the boat faster than the disciples can bail them out. Surely, they are taking their last breaths before the boat capsizes and their lungs fill with water, or so they think.

Did they forget? Had fear stolen their memories?  Hadn’t Jesus said before leaving shore a little earlier: “Let us go across to the other side?” Yes, I believe he did. He said nothing about smooth sailing, but he did say “Let us go across to the other side,” and they did.

Listen up, the same savior whose word was reliable then has not changed (see Malachi 3:6). He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). As his children, we can take comfort knowing his words are reliable still. We can follow him confident of all he has said concerning us knowing it is true, every last word.

Dear Friend, the story of your life may read like a Jekyll and Hyde, or a Lady Macbeth. But according to scripture, in Jesus you are much more than your personal assessment may lead you to believe.  No longer is your identity defined by your past or what others think or say. The old man is dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). You are an overcomer, more than a conqueror, a man, a woman, a boy or girl who can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Romans 8:28).

How do I know these things to be true? I got it from a reliable source.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

A Reliable Source

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Today’s Devotional

by Pat Cooper
March 30, 2019

“Now to the eternal king, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17 NET Bible

Which do you believe most reliable, a crystal ball or a Bible? As a kid, I was fascinated with the Magic 8 Ball. Did you have one too? On a rainy day, I could sit amused for hours playing with it and sometimes be awestruck by what seemed an uncanny accuracy. Of course, I was a kid and believed in the tooth fairy too.

Today I look to and believe in the accuracy and reliability of God’s word. Regardless of what might be said, nothing and no one trumps what God has to say about me. Now almost every follower of Jesus reading this will quickly nod their head in agreement with that statement. Why then do so very many believers choose to buy into the enemies’ propaganda and believe his lies concerning who and what God says concerning us? “Has he said, and will he not do it?” Numbers 28:19 reads. “Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is where Jesus and his disciples are caught out on the Sea of Galilee in a horrendous storm (Mark 4:35-41). Jesus is sleeping soundly on a pillow when suddenly the skies turn deathly grey, and a howling wind begins tossing their small fishing vessel about like a toy in a playful child’s bath. Wave after wave, the swelling seas come crashing into the boat faster than the disciples can bail them out. Surely, they are taking their last breaths before the boat capsizes and their lungs fill with water, or so they think.

Did they forget? Had fear stolen their memories? As they prepared to shove off hadn’t Jesus said, “Let us go across to the other side?” Yes, I believe he had. He said nothing about smooth sailing, but he did say “Let us go across to the other side,” and they did.

Listen up, the same savior whose word was reliable then has not changed (see Malachi 3:6). He, according to Hebrews 13:8, is the same yesterday and today and forever, and as his children, we can take comfort knowing his words are reliable still. We can follow him confident all he has said concerning us is true, every last word.

Dear Friend, the story of your life may read like a Jekyll and Hyde, or a Lady Macbeth. But according to scripture, in Jesus you are much more than your personal assessment may lead you to believe. No longer is your identity defined by your past or what others think or say. The old man is dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). You are an overcomer, more than a conqueror, a man, a woman, boy or girl who can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

How do I know these things to be true? I got it from a reliable source.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

We Have Help

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Today’s Devotional

by Steve Glenn
March 29, 2019

A man was out of town on a business trip. As he was coming back to his hotel after eating dinner, he saw a baseball field where there was a little league game going on, so he decided he would go over and watch some of the action. As he got to the field, he noticed the players going into their dugouts between innings. The man went up to a young player who was now in the dugout and asked him, “What’s the score?” The first-grade player looked back and, with a big smile on his face, he said, “We are behind 14–0!” To which the man replied, “You do not seem very upset by that.” “Up set?” the player responded, “why should I be upset? We have not even come up to bat yet!” The player could have named the situation as a loss in the first inning. But instead, he simply focused on his upcoming turn at bat. And, who knows? His team might score 15 in the bottom of the first!

Do you know some Christians who have the God given ability to live their lives in this way? Things happen. Even to good people, things happen. Some of those things are hard. Some are not good. But God’s people have the ability to overcome those disappointments through the power of God that lives within them.

In John 16 we read the words of Jesus, “When I go away, I will send the Helper to you.”

As a child of God, have you ever had a thought of thanksgiving come to you, even on a sad day? Then, you have been blessed by the Helper. That is a God-given gift.

Have you ever read a scripture for the 1,000th time and learned a brand new truth you had never seen before? That was the Holy Spirit teaching.

Have you ever felt God using you to encourage, help and heal others? That is the Helper empowering you to do what you were called to do. It is a God-given gift.

What is the score right now in your game of life? Are you ahead, or are you down by 14 runs? The good news is that if you are a child of the King, you know that your final victory is sure. The final score will be in your favor because of what was accomplished for you on the cross. God will help you through the tough times as you finish this race. Aren’t you glad we have the God-given power to help us through this life and on into the next?

If you have not accepted Christ as your savior, make that decision today. You need the Savior and the Comforter he will send to you. If you have questions on how to move forward with this, ask a Christian friend or contact one of our Community Life Church pastors. (Visit clifec.com/staff for contact info.)


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Acceptance

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Today’s Devotional

by Becca Spence
March 28, 2019

Have you ever known someone who changed their name? It comes in many forms. Perhaps someone asked you to call them by their nickname, an honor signifying friendship and affection. Though unspoken, in the request is an extension of love and deepening trust. Perhaps they changed their name legally, an action almost always born out of trauma associated with their original name. Or they got married, giving another their last name or assuming the last name of another, signifying commitment, seriousness and longevity. Not only is a name change an acceptance of something new, it is a rejection of something no longer wanted or relevant.

Changing one’s name is always born of sorrow or joy, never a product of lukewarm nonchalance. It occupies the extremes of emotion, the extremes of change. Our names do not define us, they reflect us. They are an attempt to show others who we are.

One of the most powerful messages of renaming we find in the Bible is the story of God renaming Jacob. Jacob loosely means “he cheats”. Jacob had been a cheater and deceiver, stealing his older brother’s lawful birthright through deception and betrayal. But Jacob paid dearly for his treachery and caused his family and himself great turmoil and sorrow, as always is the case when we violate God’s will for us. His brother sought to kill him, his parents sent him away from his land and family, he was repeatedly deceived by his father-in-law, causing Jacob to marry someone he did not wish to marry and to work for his father-in-law well beyond the agreed-upon time. Due to the unwanted marriage, there was strife between his wives, each vying to give him more sons than the other and fighting amongst each other for his love and respect. His brother pursued him, with an army of 400 men, bent on killing him for his deception. Jacob was so terrified that he plotted to potentially sacrifice half of his wives and children so that he may escape harm, or so that at least half of his family would survive.

On the surface, Jacob had it all: many wives, many children and livestock, all the wealth of the time. But underneath he had fear, jealousy, strife and struggle driving his life. All of this terrible fallenness — all resulting from Jacob’s original deceit — culminated at the point where Jacob was about to meet the fate of Esau’s army. It was at this point that Jacob wrestled with an angel of the Lord emboldened by the Lord himself. And at the end of the fight, Jacob, physically and emotionally exhausted, pleaded with the Lord for his blessing.

Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”

But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

“What is your name?” the man asked.

He replied, “Jacob.”

“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”

“Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.

“Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. — Genesis 32:26–29 NLT

When Jacob wrestled with God, he was granted the name Israel, but only after the Lord asked Jacob to verify his old name. Don’t miss the significance of this. God asked Jacob to recognize who he was before his reckoning. Jacob knew that by answering “Jacob,” he was conceding that, without God, he was “one who cheats.” Jacob had come to a place of utter physical and emotional brokenness, ready and willing to give up his old, godless ways in order to accept an identity in the Lord and to honor his name.

It is only when we wrestle with the Lord that we begin to understand who we are without him. Without God’s identifying mark, we are deceitful, selfish, treacherous people, bent on personal gain and marked for the death this selfish march inevitably leads us toward. As Christians, we have accepted the name God has given us through acceptance of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.

My life was once marked for death and had all of the signs of this marking hidden underneath the beautiful, superficial facade of health, wealth and happiness. Now, as a daughter of the Lord, the fragile, false surface has been broken, and the foundation underneath has been established and grows stronger every day. Like Jacob, I had only to acknowledge my old name, reject its identity and accept the new. May we never forget our old names so that we may always remember who brought us here and gave us hope and everlasting life.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. — 1 Peter 1:3–5


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

We Are Who God Calls Us To Be

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Today’s Devotional

by Valerie Williams
March 27, 2019

I remember my first day of class at Dallas Baptist University, listening to my professor do his best to pronounce a student’s name, only to hear a voice respond, “Just call me Harry.” The professor continued through a few more names until he paused to struggle through another pronunciation, followed by the response, “You can call me Betty.” I was taken back more by the names the people chose to be called than anything else that happened in the first 10 minutes of class. Yes, I am easily entertained, and yes, I do have ADHD. I was captivated by their choice in names. I couldn’t help but wonder, why Harry? Why Betty?

Fast-forward to the day I received my first class rosters as a teacher. I made a point only to say the last name of a student when calling roll if I thought I would in any way butcher his or her first name. Instead, I would simply ask, “How do you say your first name?” I wanted each student to feel valued and important. I didn’t want to give the opportunity for anyone to laugh or giggle during roll call. Even if the laughter might have been at me, kids don’t necessarily see it that way. I thought that empowering them to say their names allowed me the best opportunity not only to learn how to say their names, but to get my first glimpse into each of them as a person.

Our names distinguish us. They are how we are known. Our parents likely took great pride in our names, and there’s often a story behind how a name was chosen. That being said, we have all heard some names that made our heads tilt. You know what I am talking about. Those names that just make you pause. For those of you that really know me, you know that I keep a list of names that fit into this category. To make my list, the name has to be totally unique or totally unbelievable, but the person with the name has to exist. What I find to always be true is that people have the ability to be defined by their names or the ability to define their names. In Genesis 35, I believe Jacob knew this with his whole heart. He saw the potential burden of the name Leah chose for their child, so he instead chose a name that would be defined by the life his son would live.

How incredible is it that God has chosen a new name for us! An identity that can never by taken away! Truth to walk in every day! We are sons and daughters of the Most High. We are redeemed. We are no longer defined by our choices or circumstances, but by who we are in Christ. He makes all things new, including us! He loves us without limit or condition. We are empowered to be who God calls us to be. We are never alone. He is always with us. He meets us right where we are, where our need begins. He goes before us. He fights our battles. He rewrites our story.

There are days that won’t be good, but God steps in every time to reveal that he is always faithful. There will be times that I just can’t get through what lies ahead, but God will always be there to carry me, shoulder my burdens and see me through.

God works for our good. He will always make a way. Just lean in and allow him to be God. Watch him work, and never count him out because he will always have the victory!


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.

Renaming Circumstances

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Today’s Devotional

by Kaitlyn Bray
March 26, 2019

I attended Sunday school regularly while growing up, went to private school for 11 years, and was heavily involved in youth group activities. I know many a Bible story. I’ve read them multiple times, studied them, dissected them, tested over them, memorized them, even watched them portrayed by friendly vegetables, but it wasn’t until after getting married and having kids of my own that I actually started to feel and empathize with the stories of the Bible. What felt like fairy tales or fiction for years suddenly became real, with real characters and real raw emotions. I don’t actually know what changed in me. Maybe it’s because I’m about to turn 30 and, scientifically, that makes me a real adult now. Or maybe it’s the kids and husband, and now every decision I make is no longer about self preservation and happiness, but selfless love and sacrifices. Maybe God just got tired of me skimming the subject matter and said, “Here, try reading with your eyes and heart open for once.” All I know is that I’ve heard the story in Genesis 35:17–18 — Rachel and the birth of Benjamin — countless times, and it never really registered before now. Before, it was just a timeline story on how Benjamin became the 12th tribe. (I hope that’s correct, I promise I went to a Christian school, but don’t forget I also mentioned I’m 30 and a mom, so there’s that)

Reexamining the story this past Sunday brought on a new wave of emotions. The story was no longer “that time Benjamin was born,” but the story of a tormented mother who wanted more than anything in the world to have another precious baby boy. How happy she must have been knowing that her baby was coming. What joy to hear his first cries, and then what insurmountable pain she must have felt to slowly realize that her time was coming to an end, she was dying, and all those visualizations of raising her son were disappearing. In agony with her last moments she named him Ben-oni, “son of my sorrow”.

Now I don’t like to judge people’s name choices but Rachel, dear, that’s a bit harsh. Reading the story from the outside, it’s easy to think, “It’s a bit cruel to give your child an identity of sorrow, what sort of destiny would that allow for him?”

Now that we are all judging Rachel, let’s take a quick step back. How often do the circumstances we find ourselves in become our identities? We are having a bad day, so we become a gruff, short-tempered coworker who can’t catch a break. We lose our job, then we become a hopeless, depressed and vacant family member who can’t get ahead. We are perhaps riddled with addiction, adultery, alcoholism, pornography and we think to ourselves, “That’s just the way the cards were dealt, to live lives of sorrow because that’s the circumstances that surround us.” Rachel’s 10-second decision is a decision some of us make every day.

Jumping back into the story, we find the love of Jacob’s life, Rachel, has died shortly after childbirth. Jacob’s dreams of a long life with mother and child are over. He holds his newborn son in his arms. Like Rachel, he too has suffered great loss in these moments, but he looks into the eyes of that healthy newborn son, and I can only imagine life stops for a second. He’s completely consumed with the precious gift of life he holds in his arms. Though this sweet child is surrounded by sorrowful circumstances, this child is a blessing from God. Jacob recognizes this, looks down at his new child and calls him Benjamin, “son of blessing.” And like a wave, the circumstances shift.

Like Jacob and Rachel, many of us are surrounded by sorrowful, tough, lonely and desperate circumstances, but we must remember that, just like Jacob, we also hold in our arms, the gift of life. A blessing that goes beyond what the broken world can take from us. Like Jacob you have the power to rename your circumstances and live the blessed life you have been given. Through your toughest days, you’re surrounded by the love of Christ and his promises of hope. You have life and you have an endless future. Be a son of blessing.


We pray that God has used this devotional to encourage and challenge you. If you would like to speak to someone about a spiritual decision or engage in a spiritual discussion, please click here. If you would like to support the ministry of Community Life Church, please click here.