What’s in a Name?

    In Shakespeare’s famous love story Juliet asks why she and Romeo cannot be friends just because of the name of their families. “What’s in a name,” she asks. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” But the tragedy unfolds simply because, for better or worse a name really is filled with meaning.
In Proverbs 22:1 Solomon advises us that “A good name is to be chosen over great riches.”
    Because names are so important we find that even God gets involved in what someone will be named.

In Genesis we find that Abram (Mighty father) gets his name changed by God to Abraham (Father of nations). Later  God meets with Abraham and tells him he will have a son and his name will be Issac (Laughter)
    One of the most famous name changes happens when Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, meets with an angel who wrestles all night with him. As the dawn begins to break the angel tells him, Genesis 32:26 “Let me go, for the day has broken,” but Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” and he said to him, “What is your name?”…
    How strange that the angel has to know Jacob’s name before he can give him his blessing. All Jacob’s life he had struggled for blessings. Jacob had tricked Esau, his older twin brother into selling him the right of the first born (Quite a significant financial advantage in his day). Later when their father had decided to give Esau the family blessing, Jacob ran in ahead of Esau and fooled his blind father into giving him that blessing instead. When news of Jacob’s deceit got to Esau there was murder in his heart and Jacob fled far away to his mother’s family.Instead of getting his own father’s blessings he spent 20 years working hard trying to get blessings from his uncle Laban. Finally after an entire life struggling to get blessings, God sent someone stronger than Jacob to confront him and wrestle with him until dawn.
    Imagine the scene. Jacob must have been entirely out of physical strength, yet something in him hung on to his attacker and refused to let him go. Jacob had gotten so much along the way. He was already rich, he had married the girl of his dreams and had many sons and daughters. He had only one great obstacle and that was the fact that in the morning his brother Esau was coming to meet him, and Esau had 400 friends with him! Yet in spite of all that was going on in Jacob’s mind and the crisis that he faced, the angel of God was most of all interested in Jacob’s name. …verse 28 … “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him, ” from now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”
    Won? What a strange description for what had happened. Yet Jacob’s “victory” changed the course of history. One man met face to face with God and came away with a new name, a new future and a new hope. When we choose a name it can be changed. But when God changes a name it stays changed for ever. There in the very last chapter of the Bible we find again after so many thousands of years, the name of the children of “Israel” written on the foundation stones of God’s city.
    The name God is prepared to give each of us can be our greatest blessing. It is what we will leave behind to our children, both physical and spiritual. The name God wants to give us is the one he has written down in Heaven. Our new name is something only God can give us. It is the name that Jesus will call out to us when we find him and hold on to him in faith and refuse to let go until he blesses us. Listen to God’s question to your heart today, “What is your name?”

Every Prayer Answered!

This morning as I was beginning to pray I realized I didn’t need to pray for my father any longer. I remembered my first prayer for my Dad, that was answered when he came forward and received Christ as his Savior. Then as years went by I prayed for him to be guided by your will and to be closer to you. As Dad grew older I often asked for him to be healed and strengthened. when my step-mom; the love of his life slipped into eternity, I prayed for your comfort. As he lived out those last 6 years alone I prayed for him to experience your companionship. Now this morning, I see that every prayer has been answered. Dad is closer to you! Dad is healed completely and more than I ever thought to pray, he is young again! He is not ever lonely, or confused or tired. God has really heard every prayer!
Today as you look to God in prayer, it may give you greater strength, knowing that, one day, all your prayers will be answered. Orphans will find their Father in heaven, the poorest will be so rich, the hungry will eat to their heart’s content at God’s table. Nations that are now dark and closed will be openly worshiping Jesus on the streets of heaven. The weak and the abused will be rejoicing and fully restored. There will be no sadness, no pain, no separation, no rejection.
The Bible tells us to persevere, keep going, don’t give up, and be strong.

Hebrews 12:12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.

God’s Word also tells us that: The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn which shines ever brighter until the full light of day..Proverbs 4:18

We see the hope of answered prayer in our own hearts. God himself has put the longings there for a world that reflects His purposes. Be faithful. Don’t ever give up on any prayer. Prayers are like little birds that fly up to heaven into the presence of the King. We pray and sometimes even we forget what we have asked, but God who never forgets will hear. One day when we least expect it He will come and let us look through heaven’s window. Then we will know that every one of our prayers have been answered: And more!

Waiting has rewards!

It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God, we have waited for Him that He might save us, This is the Lord we have waited for Him. Let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation. Isaiah 25:9

Worship is the moment when praise lingers, we wait in God’s presence and He begins to show Himself to us. At the moment that He draws close it is as if we have been asleep and God unexpectedly shakes us awake. He is present..it is really him! It is just like the disciples on the Emmaus road. Jesus walked and talked with them for all day, but when he suddenly revealed himself they were astonished and they remembered how their hearts burned when he spoke.

                                                                                    Or it is like Peter seeing his nets filling with fish

and suddenly realizing that it is Jesus who filled the nets and he jumped in the water and swam to be with Him. That moment of worship is the disciples hushed and fearful after Jesus calmed the storm. “What kind of man is this, even the wind and the waves obey him?” they said and then they worshiped.

Do you feel worn down by life’s constant demands? Don’t give up, keep waiting on God: He will come at just the right time.  Are you hungry and thirsty to know Him better? Remember that He has counted every one of the hairs on your head. Jesus has been walking and talking with you all along but your eyes have been closed and you have hurried on, and forgot to wait for Him. When we find our strength is gone and we finally stop to rest then Jesus will come. He has been waiting on us to stop and wait for Him!