Tag Archives: church

Names

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.”

Isaiah 43:1 (NLT)

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I have one of those kinds of names that is not especially difficult to spell but there are different options. I’m named after my aunt, Gerry, so I followed her leading as to the spelling but my family added my middle name, Rae, to distinguish between the two of us. Gerry can also by a man’s name. I know when a caller asks to speak to Mr. Blumberg that they don’t know me. And the spelling of my name is important because if misspelled, it’s not me (a personal point of order.)

Many names are chosen for their meaning but I don’t think mine was since it was a family name. Geraldine has French background, the feminine of Gerald, and means to rule with a spear. Many Biblical names have special meaning — Sarah means princess, Esther means star, Issac means laughter. Sometimes God changed the names of His followers to reflect a new purpose such as Abram to Abraham, Saul to Paul, or Simon to Peter.

Mark is one of three boys and as the years passed and his mother entered that phase when memory begins to fail, she would run through all three names until she got to the right one. “Just callin’ the roll,” she would say.

We have recently changed churches which is always a bit disconcerting and disquieting. Last Sunday, as I walked up the aisle to my seat, the Pastor walked by and said, “Hi, Gerry.” We have only been there a month but the fact that he knew my name made the connection to this church real, warm, and comfortable.

On those days when the clouds are threatening, the joy is missing, the future unknown, remember that our Heavenly Father knows each of us by name. He knows what is ahead. Nothing is a surprise to Him and we are safe in His keeping. And not only is our name special to the Father, but there is something about the name, Jesus;

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus;
There’s just something about that name!
Master, Savior, Jesus,
Like the fragrance after the rain;
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Let all heaven and earth proclaim;
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
But there’s something about that name!
W. and G. Gaither

 

 

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Persecuted Church

The Lord is known for his justice.
    The wicked are trapped by their own deeds. 

The wicked will go down to the grave.
    This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.

But the needy will not be ignored forever;
    the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed.

Psalm 9:16-18 (NLT)7108900292ff0ab22fd6658c4846f856

My email and FaceBook accounts are filled with the stories and images of the horrors of persecution and murder of Christians in Iraq. This little, supposedly inconsequential country, has had more news written about it in the last 13 years.

Being so far away, it’s easy to pass it off as NIMBY – not in my back yard – but the stakes are so high, we can’t afford to ignore the evil and destruction that is going on. It could easily be on our doorstep at any time.

I’ve read about persecution of Christians from the stories in the Bible of Saul/Paul and many of the other apostles. But I am struck that Christians are living today and being persecuted. They are willing to give up everything they own and flee to a safe place with only what they can carry, rather than to deny their faith in Jesus.

How do they do it? Would I be able to stand up and declare my faith when confronted with death? Persecution?

I know we all have the same Word of God that promises hope and safety, along with justice and death for those who ignore God. For them it is real, as real as running for your life. I want it to be just as real to me.

God will not forget. He will be there to lift us all to safety.

Pray for the persecuted church.

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