Sunday, January 12, 2014

Chapter 2: What Is In A Name?

       I know that I said that I was going to call Chapter 2 "The Work We Have, Can, and Should Do," but the other night God spoke to me about the title of the blog/book overall. As anyone who is reading this knows, the name is Making God Look Bad and I have made many points on the names that God has been called by unbelievers. I thought on this point for a while and God brought to my mind the names He already has. Now I know in western culture, unlike the majority of the rest of the world, that a name has little to no value or meaning, but at one time to take pride in your name meant a lot. Most people, unless they have done their own research, do not know what their name means at all, but at one time your name carried some kind of weight.

       Let us first think on the time we live in now. We carry a last name that most of us can use to trace back our heritage, but is it important to us and do we do that name justice compared to our forefathers? In other cultures, to disgrace your family (the last name you carry) is one of the highest offenses that someone can do. Some cultures to disgrace your last name may even bring you death, but compared to the western world it is of little consequence. We have lost the value of a name. Most people think that doing something bad only brings shame to them and thinks little to nothing of the resounding effects it has on their family as a whole. Let me ask you if you met someone with the last name Hitler, wouldn't that bring you pause at first?
       Okay, so our name means something but big deal right? No. See as followers of Christ we carry more than just our name – we carry the name of our God also. We must realize how great a name is first to understand that we carry the greatest name with us when we call ourselves "Christians." I thought on this for a while and wanted to give a little parable to make it easier to understand.
       Long ago there was a man with two sons. When his sons turned eighteen he gave both of them a little golden box which was locked. The first son took great care of this box. He would bring the box out every once and a while to polish it. He kept it wrapped up in a cloth and put away for safe keeping. The first son's house got broken into one day while he was away, and before worrying about anything else, he made sure that the box was not gone. The first son took great pride in the gift he had been given. Now the second son was not so diligent. He was a wild person, enjoying any kind of pleasures he could find. He spent his money on anything that would bring him happiness with no worries about tomorrow. The second son, due to his lifestyle, found himself in need of money and sold the box. As years past the father fell ill and knew his days where coming to an end. So he called his sons to come. When the sons came, the father gave both of them a key. Bewildered the sons asked the father, "What is this key for?" The father answered them, "It is to the box I gave you when you turned eighteen." "See,” the father said, "Inside that box is my will and with it all the wealth I have gained through my life." The first son left overjoyed while the second son left broken with a heavy heart.
      If you did not understand let me explain.  We have been given a great gift to carry our Savior’s name with us, and with this gift come many promises. If we take care of this gift, God is more than happy to give these promises to us, but when we misuse his name some of these promises will be withheld from us. Jesus told us in Matt. 18:19 that if two or more are gathered together in HIS NAME he will be there, and again in John 14:13, if we ask anything in HIS NAME it will be given. So why do we not feel him and why do we not see our prayers answered at times? There are many different reasons I believe (not making sure it is His will first is one for sure) but I believe one reason is because we do not carry HIS NAME properly.
       So let’s go into some of the names of God that we find in the Bible and look at how we are making them look bad. 1) Jehovah-Jireh (Gen 22:44): As most believers have heard, this means “God the provider.” Now what does that have to do with us? Well I know that we cannot provide like God, but we are told that we meant to be providers to others. In James 2:15-17 we are told that if we see someone in need and do not provide for them that our faith is dead. Also in Matt 25:40-45 we are told if we do to the least of these that we have done it to the Lord. So we carry the name of a provider with us. 2) Jehovah-Shalom (Jdg 6:24): “God is Peace.” Okay this one is a little simpler. We all have heard the sermon on the mound but let us look at one part closer. Matt 5:9 tells us that the peace makers will be called SONS OF GOD. I don't know that I could make that point any clearer. What an honor to be called a son of God, but again, do we do that name justice? 3) Jehovah-Ro'i (Ps23:1): “The Lord is my shepherd.” In Ephesians 4:11, what most people call the five-fold ministry, there is a part where we are called to be pastors. I know that most believers think that this is a title or office held by just the clergy, but in reality if you are helping anyone grow in the faith, which all believers are called to do (Matt 28:16-20), we are being shepherds. This is an important role that I believe most followers of Christ overlook and act like it is not a role that they must be a part of, but if you read the Bible, it is a role that is assumed we all will do. 4) Jehovah-Tsidkenu (Jer 23:6): “The Lord is our righteousness.” We all know that our righteousness is as filthy rags (Romans 3:10) but we are also told that His righteousness was given to us through the one who knows no sin and becomes sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). We have become His righteousness and we must not shame that name that has been wonderfully given to us.
       We as believers must fall in love with our Father again, and remember that because the death of His son we now are carrying His name anywhere we go. We must do our utmost to make sure that the name we carry means something to us. We can no longer act as if our actions have no effect on the name we carry, and cling to it for our very eternal salvation. We must strive to make the name we carry famous and to make sure we take away any reason for someone to mock it. We indeed may have our work cut out for us, but we can and will make it great again in all the nations. Let me end like I have before by asking questions. Do you carry these names with pride (not the sinful type)? Which son are you? How can you do better to make sure you do not bring shame to the family name that you now carry?  

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