What’s In A Name, Part 2

What are names, really? A word, or words, to try to identify ourselves or others. One dictionary defines ‘name’ –

noun
a word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to: “my name is Bond, James Bond.”

Names can be descriptive, and a name can be a noun or a verb. We all carry many names. Some we are born into, some that others call us, and those we use to identify ourselves. What names have you given yourself?

I have been given names, some good, some ugly, and some just mean: daughter, sister, mother, wife; aunt, niece, cousin, friend; coworker, boss; victim, survivor. I have been called cheater, liar, adulterer, thief; bitch, pretender; ugly, stupid, no good, back stabbed and deceiver. I have been some, and probably all, of those at some point in my life. These are my favorite names for myself: Forgiven, Blessed, Daughter of The Most High God, Follower of The Christ, Transformed, and Redeemed.

There are many names in the Bible. Adam = Man. Jacob means Heel grabber and Deceiver, and God changed his name to Israel, which means ‘God fights’, because he wrestled with the LORD. These are just two examples of names, but here are the most beautiful names I know:

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” – Matthew 1:23 NLT

The name JESUS means ‘The LORD Saves’ (Matthew 1:21 NLT). He was – and is – called ‘Son of the Most High’ (Luke 1:32 NLT), ‘Savior’, ‘Messiah’, ‘Lord’ (Luke 2:11 NLT). He is called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6b NLT)

Jesus is the ‘LORD of Heaven’s Armies’. He is the Lamb of God, He is the Word of God, and He is KING of all kings and LORD of all lords (The Revelations of John). “And He [Jesus] also said, “It is finished! I Am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To ALL who are thirsty I will give freely from the Springs of the Water of LIFE.” (Revelation 21:6 NLT)

What are your names? I pray that your names include these names: Forgiven, Blessed, Child of The Most High God, Follower of The Christ, Transformed, and Redeemed!

Thanks go to John Lawton, my fabulous Edmond friend, for the cross.

What’s In A Name?

What name do you have? Daughter, son, sister, brother; Mother, Father, aunt, uncle; spouse, friend, enemy, boss, employee… there are many names to choose from, and many – most – of us have multiple names. There’s the name we were born with, and for some, there is the name, or names, we changed to later. I am a daughter and a sister; aunt, friend, partner. I have been a wife and a mother (although I think that any woman who has carried a child, even for a few days, is always thereafter a mother); I have been homeless; I have been an employee; and I have been a business owner and partner.

I have been a thorn in the side to many people, sometimes with deliberation and sometimes inadvertently. I am one of “THOSE” people.

Some of the names we carry will always stick with us. I will always be my parent’s daughter, and I will always be a sister. Being an employee, or even a friend, can change. We can lose the name of wife or husband through death or divorce. We can be disinherited by our earthly My favorite name is one that will never – got that, NEVER – change. I am a child of God, daughter of the Most High LORD. Despite the bad choices I made throughout my life, I made some good ones. The best was when I accepted the salvation of Jesus Christ. At that moment, I became the daughter of The King, and that will never change. Even though I turned my back on my earthly family, and my heavenly Father, I remained a daughter. God did not let go of me, ever. In the depths of my misery, deep in my heart I knew my Savior was there. The darkest nights, the deepest black you can imagine, there was a tiny flicker of hope that came through the darkness. No matter had hard the enemy tried to extinguish it, no matter how suffocating, that tiny flicker remained. It was difficult to see, but I knew it was there. Somewhere.

In recovery, we say you have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired before you will make a change. I like the way Billy Graham says it, too:

“In God’s economy, you must go down into the valley of grief before you can scale the heights of spiritual glory. You must become tired and weary of living alone before you seek and find the fellowship of Christ. You must come to the end of “self” before you can begin to live. The happiest day of my life was when I realized that my own ability, my own goodness, and my own morality were insufficient in the sight of God. I am not exaggerating when I say that my mourning was turned to joy, and my sighing into singing. Happy are they that mourn for the inadequacy of self, for they shall be comforted with the sufficiency of God. Lord Jesus, I know that apart from You I can do nothing of lasting value. Help me to come to the end of self and allow You to control the reins of my life.”

Psalms 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

All we have to do is ask… Jesus said: “ANYONE who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare,Rivers of living water will flow from His Heart.’” John 7:38

Are YOU sick and tired of your situation? There is only ONE answer, and ONE Healer. His Name is JESUS. Choose the Name above all names. Become a daughter or son of God. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light, and it is only Him Who can dispel that darkness. I pray we’ll see you in the Light!

Nationality, Not Race

Peter, a disciple of Jesus and who was raised a law-abiding Jew, knew Jewish religion made it illegal for him to go into a Gentile’s house, so when Cornelius, who was a Gentile came and kneeled in front of him, said, “Stand up! I’m a human being just like you!” Then they went inside Cornelius’ house, and he told Cornelius and the others who were gathered there,

“I see very clearly that GOD shows no favoritism. In every nation He accepts those who fear Him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel – that there is Peace with GOD through Jesus Christ, who is LORD of all. And He ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the One appointed by GOD to be the Judge of ALL – the living and the dead. He is the One all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in Him will have their sins forgiven through His Name.” – Acts of the Apostles 10:26, 34‭-‬36‭, ‬42‭-‬43 NLT

Are you ready? Are you in the Light? Are you really? I believe that to honestly be in GOD’S Light, we have to let go of the prejudices that drive us. Jew or Gentile, black skin or red or brown or yellow or white or pink; Eastern European or South American or Aboriginal Australian; cowboy, redneck, or genteel southerner, we are all one in GOD’S Light. Peter said it perfectly when he said “I’m a human being just like you!” No one gets to pretend they are better than another person, regardless of color or circumstance.

“The One who is the True Light, who gives Light to everyone, is coming into the world.” John 1:9 NLT

Billy Graham said: “The world is stumbling in darkness from one crisis to another. The crises are getting worse and worse, and are coming closer and closer to home. Inflation, population explosion, hunger, dominate vast areas of the world. Jesus said, “I AM the Light of the world. Follow Me and give your life to Me and I will take you out of the darkness of this world, out of this confusion, out of this mess that you’re in, and I will give you peace and joy. A light will burn in your heart and mind that you never had before. I will command the Light to come on in your life.” ” (November 20, 2013)

“And let the Peace that comes from CHRIST rule in your hearts. For as members of ONE BODY you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15 NLT

I ask again, are you ready to really live for Christ?

Discouragement

Discouragement weighs heavy on my shoulders. I am weary of this earthly battle with the enemy. My body aches; my emotions are spent; I am spiritually dry. LORD, O LORD, have Mercy on Your child.

I am not alone in this.

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in GOD! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my GOD!” – Psalms 42:5; 42:11; 43:5 NLT

Moses cried out to God in frustration. King David was discouraged and afraid, and cried out for deliverance and safety from his enemies. King Saul disobeyed the LORD. The phrophet Samuel cried out the the LORD in frustration.

“What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His Voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, He has rejected you as king.” – 1 Samuel 15:22‭-‬23 NLT

The LORD GOD has no patience for disobedience in His children, but He is faithful to comfort us and protect us. He answers every cry of pain, every prayer of anger and hurt and dismay. He hears us.

“But you, O LORD, are a Shield around me; You are my Glory, the ONE who holds my head high. I cried out to the LORD, and He answered me from His holy mountain.” – Psalms 3:3‭-‬4 NLT

Even Paul, who may be be the most well known Apostle, struggled with disappointment and discouragement at times. He suffered from an unknown physical condition, and asked the LORD to take it away. Jesus cried in the garden, begging His Father to take away the punishment He was about to receive. His disciples who were with Him disappointed Him, falling asleep instead of praying as He had asked them. Every human who has ever lived, from Adam and Eve to the newest newborns, has, or will, fave discouragement and disappointment. When we try to handle it on our own, we fail dismally. Financial stability won’t keep you from being discouraged. A partner, a family, or children, won’t keep disappointment at bay.

Why am I so discouraged? Why am I so sad? I blame it ALL on the enemy of everything good, the father of lies, and the originator of everything wrong and evil in the world. There is one solution to this, and His Name is Jesus. In the words of Paul,

“And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of Salvation. And this Hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly GOD Loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His Love.” – Romans 5:4‭-‬5 NLT

Take the discouragement and move into encouragement today.

“Don’t be afraid, for I AM with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I AM your GOD. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My Victorious Right Hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 NLT

AMEN.

Annoyed

“And let the Peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of One Body you are called to live in peace. And ALWAYS be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15 NLT

What a PERFECT Word for today.

Think about the news we have going on right now: Beheadings, shootings, stabbings, perversions and cruelty to our children; wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, famines, landslides, cave-ins….. What more can go wrong with our world, and how in God’s Name can I be THANKFUL in the midst of this chaos?

Exactly that: In GOD’S Name. Peace amidst chaos is only possible through Jesus.

I admit that these things I have listed above are not circumstances I am dealing with personally right now, and it is easy for me to say “Oh, just trust in the LORD for your strength.” Sometimes the chaos we are dealing with isn’t something others can see. It can be hidden physical or mental abuse; it can be physical issues that cause constant pain or unrelenting fatigue. It could be the worry of how the bills will be paid this month, and the choice of buying groceries or needed medicines.

As Christians, too many times we are quick to judge be appearances. That “bum” you just passed on the corner could be a recipient of the Silver Star for bravery in battle, or the Purple Heart for being wounded in service, who came home to realize that he (or she) no longer fits into society. It can be any of us, through the loss of our income or because of violence in the home. There are many, many reasons. But for the Grace of God, Who has provided me with a home, a caring family, and financial assistance, I could be the person living on the street. (Been there, even though it was years ago and only for a short time. It’s a short trip to end up there.) We can look pulled together on the outside, and be a complete mess on the inside. We can appear healthy, and be dying physically or spiritually. Don’t judge; it isn’t okay.

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really LOVE them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” – Romans 12:9‭-‬10 NLT

Another verse that is easy to say, and, many times and for most of us, difficult to live. All I can tell you is to look to Jesus. He is the ONLY Way I have survived my life and my bad choices. He is ready and willing to do the same for you, anytime you want Him. All you have to do is ask Him. I’m not saying you will be miraculously be healed physically, although it can certainly happen. You may still be unemployed, or unemployable, or wondering which bills to pay and which to let slide this month. Even here, you can have the Peace that comes from Jesus. I may never have financial security in this life; in fact, I doubt that I will. I know I will never be without pain, or to do everything I think I should be capable of physically. I put my trust in the LORD, and count on Him. Best choice I EVER made. Amen!

Thank you, John Lawton, for the beautiful painting!

Stormy Times!

I am not Paul; I do not have his eloquence, but I can relate to him. My prayer, though, is that a little of what I have learned from my earthly Father and from my heavenly Father is worth sharing and reading.

1 Corinthians 2:1-10 “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about GOD. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s Power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on GOD’S Power.
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare GOD’S Wisdom, a Mystery that has been hidden and that GOD destined for our glory before time began.
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the LORD of Glory. However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things GOD has prepared for those who love Him – these are the things GOD has revealed to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches ALL things, even the deep things of God.”

My testimony is not about me, but rather about Jesus and His healing power, just as Paul’s is. The hurt, the broken, the addicted, the hopeless. We have the power of healing at our fingertips. Jesus said in Luke 17:6 “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”

I don’t even have that much faith!

Even though my faith is miniscule, it is enough. My God is enough. He is bigger than my faith, and He is bigger than my doubt! He is able to answer and He provides for my needs. Always.

He is here for YOU, too. Jesus. He is more powerful, more fierce, and more loving than anything we can imagine. Right here, right now, let Him have the battle with your demons. I cannot defeat mine, and you cannot defeat yours…. Not on your own and in your own strength. Only Jesus. ONLY JESUS.

Just say Jesus.

Love God, Hate Evil

I love that when I go to Facebook to put my thoughts out there, it always asks “What’s on your mind?” This is on my mind: Loving God, Hating evil; Living as God would have me to. Put another way: Love God, Love people, Love yourself…. Hate evil.

“As I learn Your Righteous regulations, I will thank You by living as I should!” – Psalms 119:7 NLT

How does that translate into our lives today?

“Jesus replied, “My Light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the Light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the Light while there is still time; then you will become children of the Light.” After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.” – John 12:35‭-‬36 NLT

But, WHERE is the Light? How do we find it? It is so simple, many people can’t accept it. They want to make it complicated, but here is the simple, unadorned Truth: There is ONE source for the Truth; one source for the Light. That source is made available to anyone – ANYONE – who wants it. That source, the Handbook for life, is called the Bible. God-breathed, God inspired, God given. Paul gives us great instructions on sharing the Light of Jesus.:

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” – Romans 12:9‭-‬10‭, ‬13 NLT

It’s all about Love, Light, and freedom from an eternity in hell – and yes, Virginia, there IS a hell, an actual physical place that bleeds over into the world. I have seen glimpses, and it literally almost destroyed me, physically, mentally, and especially spiritually. Just as that evil still tries to destroy me, Satan, who embodies pure evil, strives to destroy us all. “HATE what is wrong.” (verse 9b)

The ONE thing that God is adamant about is the LOVE Him; to accept Jesus Christ as the One Way, the ONLY Way, to true contentment. If we love Him, and give HIM the priority in our lives, we are more likely to recognize evil. If we read His Instruction Manual, we are more likely to recognize the “wrongs” in our life.

Are you willing to turn your back on the things the world deems acceptable? Are you ready to have friends and family tell you that what they are doing is all in fun, and not at all sinful, in order to justify their actions?

Loving God and following His Word is often difficult because of the people around us, but the joy and contentment He provides is well worth it! Jesus taught His disciples and entrusted them with His profound message, which they shared with the world through their teaching and preaching. Most importantly, they wrote it all down, so that all further generations would have the Words of Jesus to follow, too. We have heard the Gospel; now, what will we do with it, in light of the current state of the world?

“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of My Name, for they do not know the One who sent Me.
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.
If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both Me and My Father.
But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated Me without reason.’
When the Advocate comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of Truth Who goes out from the Father – He will testify about Me.
And you also must testify, for you have been with Me from the beginning.” — John 15:20‭-‬27

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Pretty powerful stuff…….