Saturday, December 24, 2016

What is in a name?

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 357: Today I am grateful for the gift of a name.

We just returned home from Christmas Eve service. The devotional was on "a name".  

Names have meaning.Many come from family members, relatives or the fact that your son was born in a car (Car Son... Carson...that is a wink to my friend Darla). 

My parents grew up very "churched". They were in services regularly, played the organ and held service roles, but it was really more of a club that they took very seriously, as they did the Masons and Eastern Star. It wasn't until Rev. Francis Lovell came and challenged them to a deeper understanding and relationship with Christ that things changed in our home. I was born before they knew true salvation... before it clicked that it wasn't about a "religion" but a "relationship."  Thus, my name is most interesting me. 

When Mama was pregnant, Grandma Mabel decided my name should be Melvina... after my Uncle Melvin. Mom resisted. Aunt Mary didn't name either of my female cousins "Melvina" and Mama wasn't going to either. She rarely bucked Grandma's demands, but a name is a commitment for a lifetime. Mama thought "Christine Marie" would please her, but Great Grandma Lindgren was a Christine Palm and it was "bad luck" to name me after a dead relative.  Mom and Grandma were butting heads. I have no idea where Dad was in this story... probably hiding in the barn like any smart man whose wife and mother are at odds. 

My birth was going to happen whether they had a name or not. When all was said and done, I was christened "Valerie Christine", not Melvina. This is evidence of my Mother's quiet strength of character. Grandma could be a little intimidating.  

So... back to the name... "Valerie Christine" means "Strong follower of Christ". Now, there are many days that I feel like a complete failure in the service of my Lord, but I love that my name speaks otherwise... and He greets me each morning with new mercies and grace. Every day, I get to try again.

Tonight, we reflected on some of Jesus names. Immanuel means "God with us" and Jesus is a form of Yeshua or Joshua. It is from the Hebrew root that means "rescue or deliver". He is our rescuer and our Deliverer. He is "God with us." He came to set us free and to deliver us from our sins... that we could be reconciled with the God who breathed into us our soul breath. 

Jesus came, not to bind us to certain rules and behaviors but to set us free. The heart that wants to know him with more intimacy finds that the things of this world become less appealing as the inexplainable peace and joy of the Holy Spirit whispers "I AM with you." "Be Still". "Peace, be still." 

On this night, over 2000 years ago... a first time mother and her unprepared new husband were about to experience the miracle of birth. Not just the birth of a child... but a God-child... and they would call his name Jesus as they had been instructed to do. 

But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:20-21

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.-Luke 1: 30-31

God sent an angel to each of them. He did not stutter as to what they would name the baby. The child would save his people from their sins. Jesus was the perfect name for this perfect son of God and man. He came to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament. He came to rescue those perishing in sin. He came to bring healing, hope, light, love and truth. He came gently the first time... the second coming will be different. 

HaMashiach Yeshua... Jesus the Messiah...Jesus the Christ... The Lion and the Lamb, all in one. 

This past week, a student from the past shared his art with me... phenomenal art. He drew a lion that reminds me a Aslan form CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan is a Turkish word for Lion. If I were to add a quote to the art, it would be this... "He isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."  - The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis

God raised a star in the sky to light the way to the manger. He came as a baby. He lived with us as a servant leader and teacher... until he took our place on an old rugged Roman Cross designed for the worst criminals and societies biggest failures.  He took my place... on my cross... and yours. Once and for all, he conquered death. He isn't safe... but he is good. He is the King, I tell you. 

His name is Jesus and he came to deliver us. He purchased our ransom and returns us to relationship with the Father... if we seek his face, confess our sins and ask him to be our King. 

There is power in the name of Jesus.  

Today I am grateful for the gift of a name.

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