Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's in a Name?

I was doing some bible reading and wanted to share a verse that shouted out at me. It is found in Acts 3 just after Peter and John had spoken to the lame man saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." When the man jumped to his feet and started walking, jumping and praising God, the people were amazed at what had happened to him for they knew he was the same man who had begged at the temple gate. Peter's words to them were interesting. Starting in verse 12 Peter says to them. "Men of Israel, Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus." Now this is where the verse started to shout at me...."YOU handed him over to be killed, and YOU disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. YOU disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. YOU killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the NAME of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. IT IS JESUS' NAME and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see." Later in Chapter 4 verse 10 it also states, "It is by the NAME of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you completely healed." And in verse 12: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other NAME under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
From the moment of His birth in a stable, HIS NAME, was different. Matthew 1:21 the angel tells Joseph, "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
Philippians 2:9-11: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the NAME that is above every NAME, that at the NAME of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."
Even if you have never read the bible or know any of the verses above, it still seems like people recognize something different about that name. His name creates interesting responses in people.
Some find the need to use His name as a curse word. It spews from their mouths as a bad habit. We don't say your name as a curse word....but His name has become one.
People have no problem believing in God. After all...God can be any thing to anybody. If we say we believe in God....it can mean a big something in the cosmic universe, or we can all think we have something in common....Muslims believe in God, Buddhists have their gods...(So let's all embrace this universal god and sing Kumbayah).
But nothing stirs up debate and anger like the name Jesus Christ. A blood shedding God who died on a cross for sins that no one even believes that they have. A Jesus who is so brazen He claims to BE GOD. No, Jesus is a controversial God and people don't know how to respond to it. So we murdered him....just like Peter said.
The NAME of Jesus caused the crowd to shout, "Crucify Him. Release Barabbas to us. We have no King!"
We are free to talk religion with others....just don't bring up the NAME of JESUS. Jesus, Jesus....there is just something about that NAME.
Proverbs 22:1 says "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."
If you claim to be a "Christian" you are carrying the name of Jesus with you everywhere you go. You married yourself to Him and have taken His NAME.
Don't think for once, that people will be impressed that you identify yourself with HIM. They despise HIS name.
2 Timothy 3: 12 states, "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."
Are you willing to have your name linked with HIS NAME????
Jesus himself says in Revelation 22: 12: "Behold! I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
So.....What's in a NAME???? If the NAME is JESUS......Everything!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Gregg

Today is my husband's 53rd birthday! It passed without any fanfare, celebration or good wishes. I gave him a card and wished him happy birthday the minute I woke up, but in the business of life....that's it...Later, after supper, I realized that none of the kids had called....I asked him if it bothered him and he said, "Life is too short to get worked up about something like that." But it bothered ME. Let me explain...
My husband has always had to share his birthday. Gregg was born on his dad's birthday. When he was little, it was probably a nice thing. Two birthday cakes, shared parties, happy times.
But, I guess, I've always thought birthdays should be a little special. You deserve one day a year to feel like a king. I always felt sorry for kids whose birthdays landed on holidays...Christmas, Thanksgiving, even Valentine's Day when everyone else got to celebrate, too. I was always really glad that I had my day to myself. I like being the center of attention. Gregg, on the other hand, doesn't seem to mind. I guess it makes it easier to just pass through the day without giving some love, thought and attention to him. But it doesn't make it right.
Then in 1978, he married me....and guess what? My mom's birthday is on the day before his. Yeah! Now the attention is spent on her the day before, and again...no special day for Gregg! And because he doesn't seem to care, we always celebrate her birthday....with his as an afterthought.
Tonight, as I thought about the injustice of shared birthdays (okay, injustice sounds a bit harsh, however, any way you look at it, it still sucks) it made me really sad. I had made birthday cake last night, invited all the family over for supper, and celebrated mom's 72nd birthday. Jordan had also brought Gregg a tie, which he opened AFTER mom had opened her gifts....AND....not even on HIS birthday, but hers. I think he might have gotten one birthday card and a couple of, "Oh, yeah, happy birthday to you, too, Gregg's". And I thought....man, that really bites!
I know love isn't determined by whether or not someone remembers your birthday, but, maybe...just maybe....we all get a little lax about putting ourselves out a little bit and thinking of others a little more than ourselves. Gregg deserves a birthday of his own and at the very least a birthday call from his own children would have been nice. I shed a couple of tears for this invisible, selfless, giving man, who everyone takes for granted and nobody much notices. I didn't even make him a peanut butter pie.
I guess what I am really spouting about is that maybe we should try harder to appreciate and love the people in our lives that do so much for us. Maybe it didn't hurt him as much as it hurt me.....and thank God life is too short to get upset over forgotten phone calls and birthday wishes....
But, I want you to know, Gregg, that I love you and think you deserve to be treated like a king....Happy Birthday, Gregg! Next year will be different!