Genesis 28: 16-17 +19: Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven! He named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although it was previously called Luz.

In the book of Genesis we read how a man named Jacob changed the name of a place in the Middle East from “Luz” to “Bethel”.  This was based on a personal experience he had with God at this particular place. Before he returned to Bethel God would change his name from “Jacob” to “Israel”. Names have a meaning – names of people, as well as names of places where history is written. When something extraordinary happens on any given day it will have a profound impact on our thinking, on our career, on our relationships, on every area of our lives; and it’s good to remember these crucial moments, because it reminds us where we are going, and it also reminds us who we are.

Life challenges will bring out either the best or the worst of us.  Let’s latch onto the best of us: the seed of faith God has planted in our hearts – and we will experience a name change of our own!  There will always be a noticeable difference between how the world views us and how God views us. We rather want to embrace God’s viewpoint, because He has great plans for us, as opposed to the world’s viewpoint which at best is holding us back or at worst is holding us down. Take Jacob’s parents for instance who named one of their sons Jacob, which translates to: “Heel-grabber”. – Now compare this to the name God gave him: Israel, which translates to “Strong Man of God” and you will get the picture! It’s so much better to base our self-image on how God views us than allowing people to define us.

There’s a circle of trust we want to be part of: We believe in God, and God believes in us. “In God We Trust” is written on our dollar bills, so we’re familiar with us believing in God; but does God really believe in us? – Well, let’s think about it: Why else would God invest the life of His only Son? If there was nothing else to bank on in this crazy and ever-changing world, there’s still this one thing that will never go away: We can bank on God’s love – today, tomorrow, and forever.

John 3:16: “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.”

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