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What’s in a Name?

December 30th, 2015

“That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you.” 2 Thessalonians 1:12 NKJV.

Your past is forever forgiven and your future is eternal.

My thoughts and comments today ask, “what’s in a name?”

A secure sense of identity is important. Names have significance. My first name distinguishes me from others in my family. My middle name honors my Dad. My last name identifies me with generations that preceded me and will follow me. Your name identifies you, connects you to your history, and differentiates you from others. I have friends who have legally changed their names to honor their cultural heritage or to better reflect their new life in Christ. In Scripture, God considers names important. When God chose to send His Son into our world, His name was not left to whim or chance, but deliberately chosen by God.

To Nazareth, an angel was sent to the young virgin, Mary, as well as Joseph, “You shall call His name Jesus . . for He shall save His people from their sins.” Read Luke 1:26-35/Matthew 1:20-21 NKJV. Jesus’ name, “Jehovah Saves,” perfectly describes His purpose on earth. “Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.” Acts 10:43 NIV. All who call upon the name of Jesus find forgiveness and release from the power of their sins. Jesus came with singular purpose: to do the will of His Father, to reveal the heart of God, to declare the power of the Kingdom of God on earth, and to bring redemption from sin. “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every name . . and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Read Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV.

Gratitude and pleasant memories accompany names of family and friends dear to me. Yet there is no name more loved and gratefully recalled than the name of Jesus. What’s in a name? Everything, when it is His name. Be clear about this; “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 NIV. See Acts 2:21 NKJV. “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 NLT.

I know of no greater declaration and assurance than the unchanging nature of Jesus and His power to save. Romans 5:1-2. There is a wonderful promise of redemption and renewal in Christ, “To him who overcomes I will give him a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” Revelation 2:17 NKJV. Awaiting you is a name that only God knows, that will perfectly describe who you have become because of His abundant grace. Your past is forever forgiven and your future is eternal. “That the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:12 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to hold the name of Jesus in the highest regard and reverence.

Christian Communications

Brass Stamp

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Seeing Is Believing

April 30th, 2010

“Abraham looked up and saw .  .” Genesis 22:4 NIV

“If you’re not looking, you’re likely not seeing what you need to see.”

My thoughts today are about “seeing is believing.”

Sight is an incredible gift, not always given much thought and often taken for granted, until something threatens or lessens your ability. Think about it. So much of your everyday life depends upon and is enhanced by the simple ability to see. I suggest that is also true of your spiritual life. For the Christians at Ephesus, Paul prayed that the “eyes of your heart may be enlightened that you may know . .” Ephesians 1:18 NIV. It has been said that the eyes are the window of the soul.

Today’s verse suggests something that is interesting to consider. I know that the phrase “looked up and saw” could be merely an idiom of Hebrew or Elizabethan English for emphasis. Yet it intrigues me for this reason: too much of life is spent looking without really seeing with understanding.

I think that would describe me in an art gallery or museum. I have wandered through art museums in San Antonio, London, Berlin, Turkey, and the world famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay in Paris (how’s that for name dropping!). In every instance, I was a tourist rather than art-lover. I remember watching a young art student sitting, studying, and sketching a painting I had glanced at for a few moments, admired, and then moved on. I looked; that student of art looked and saw what I did not! I looked at the painting; I just had not seen the artist’s genius to fully appreciate the masterpiece at which I was looking.

Maybe this is true in life and love; until you look with your heart, you cannot fully see with your eyes. I’ve heard it said, “Love is blind!” Instead, I would suggest that love sees what another’s more casual observation cannot. Some look at the Bible, and the God it reveals, and see only His holy standards without seeing His selfless compassion, sacrificial gift, and sufficient grace. Until you look with your heart, you will not see what is plainly there to see – God loves you; He really does!

I have also found this to be true: if you’re not looking at all, you’re likely not seeing what you need to see. Look for God in your everyday life; look around you for His goodness in and from yourself and others. Today’s simple verse describes a bit of Abraham’s recurring experience of God. Abraham “looked up and saw” God appear at the moment he needed assurance of his future. Genesis 18:1-3 NIV. Are you at one of those moments? He is there; open your heart.

Abraham “looked up and saw” the place and price of being a disciple – the place of sacrifice. Genesis 22:4-8 NIV. The truly spiritual life is no casual walk in the park. There is discipline and commitment; that’s where you meet and know God. A friend of mine has often reminded me, and himself, “If it doesn’t cost you something, it is not ministry.” Abraham “looked up and saw” God’s provision that comes through obedience. Genesis 22:13-14 NIV. You will see what you most need to see when you are where God wants you to be. God invites you to meet Him in a place where you can know Him more fully, love Him sincerely, and enjoy Him completely. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is: have a heart to look for God, and eyes to see Him as He is.

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