Listen for your Name!

         What is the most precious thing about us? It is our name. From the time we are tiny, we listen for our name. We were usually named after a grandparent, or aunt or uncle.  When did naming begin?  Names began in the beginning.  God gave the job of naming animals and plants to Adam and Eve. God named the stars.  Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.  Isaiah 40:27. 
         Who we are to others is often determined by our words we use and our actions, propelled by our thoughts.  The tone of feeling colors our words with negative or positive attitudes. 
         When we hear our whole name from our parents, we fear the worst. We search our memory for what we may have done wrong.  We respond to kind and loving words, for this means acceptance and unconditional love – this is God-Love.
         When our eleven-year-old son made a basketball goal unknowingly for the other team, he waited for cheers as he turned around.  He did not expect the laughter that poured out from the stands.  Confused, he asked his friend what happened.  The coach motioned him to play on with a wave in an act of forgiveness.  Our son learned about forgiveness that day. Love and Forgiveness walk holding hands in our lives.
         During childhood, I remember Mom calling us in at dusk for supper – in those days, it wasn’t called dinner for us.  There was anticipation in that calling – not only to eat – but being where we were loved and belonging – with our family around the supper table.
         Whenever our friends turned away from us, we felt lost.  We felt as if we had lost our place in the world. Being gracious by walking in someone else’s shoes and not placing ourselves first is a big lesson.  Our culture praises the #One winner and winning no matter what!  Who receives the most credibility? The one who helps another person win. 
         When our name is used in a derogatory manner, do we consider what it is like for someone else to have the same treatment?  Have you been in a group when you hear God’s name misused?  Once, as my sixth graders were lining up to go to lunch, someone used God’s Name as a cuss word.  I looked at the boy, and asked, “He is listening, what would you like to tell Him?”
         When anyone says our name in a thoughtless manner, we are devastated. We want to be thought of as ‘good’, a champion in our own minds. We think nothing is too difficult to achieve, no mountain is too high to climb or an idea too complex idea to understand.  Then reality sets in – without holding to God’s hand – we can not be good.
         How important is a name?  In the eyes of our Creator – it is most important.  That is why He has names for everything, even the stars that light up the darkness are reminders of Light and Love.  Jesus was born in a chorus of praise from the angels. Why did this praise-worthy Son of God end his earthly life on the cross, wearing a crown of thorns on his head and a mocking sign proclaiming Him to be the King of the Jews?  He was raised from the dead – in John 3 is written his purpose in life.  The One who was, is, and will ever be.  There is no end to His faithfulness. His Name is above all names!       For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
         Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. Philippians 2:9-10
         “What is in a name?” wrote Shakespeare long ago.  The name of utmost importance is described in God’s Holy Word and leaves us much to ponder.
         But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” God replied to Moses, “I am who I am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:13-14
         Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7
         He said, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. Daniel 2:20
         For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. ’There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12
         For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea, causing its waves to roar. My name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Isaiah 51:15
         Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.  2 Thessalonians 1:12
         Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.  I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.  And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.  I John 5:12-14
         And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:20-21
         When all you hold onto, Is slipping through your hands.  When there’s no one to turn to,And no one understands, That’s when God whispers your name. He’s never ashamed – To call you His own. That’s when God whispers your name – In your darkest night, You’ll never be alone…When God whispers your name!  (Matthew West).

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