What’s in a name?

 

Last time we considered who God says he is, I wonder how many of us scrolled through the scriptures to find out?

Maybe you thought it really doesn’t matter that much or you thought it was just a waste of your time and energy!

When studying the bible, you get the impression that names are important to God, we see him giving people names and sometimes changing their names too. He even gives different names for himself at different times.  Why is this?  What can we learn from the names that God uses in the bible?

Let’s turn to the bible and see if we can unravel a bit of this mystery of why names are important to God and maybe should be important to us too.

In the first verse of the bible God introduces himself to us using the name Elohim in our modern-day translations it simply says ‘God’ however, in the Hebrew God’s first introduction to us is ‘Elohim’, it is not a singular name it has a plural meaning here we see God introduce us to the Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How can we come to this assumption because in Genesis Chapter 1:26 it says ‘Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ NIV.

God refers to himself as ‘us’ so we can deduce from these two references that God introduces himself in terms of a relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit therefore we now know that our existence stems from the purpose and means of a relationship.

Just this small amount of information demonstrates the plans God has for his creation and confirms that relationships are God’s ultimate purpose for us all; in fact, we were created out of a relationship for a relationship with God.  This truth is well worth pondering and considering how this can and should impact on our lives.

I don’t plan on unravelling every term God introduces himself as but I will continue with a couple more examples of the importance of names.

In Genesis 17:4 God changes Abram’s name to Abraham why, why would God change his name after all Abram is what he is called why is it important for God to change his name? The Hebrew meaning of Abram is ‘high father or exalted father’ however Abraham means ‘father of a multitude’ here God demonstrates Abraham’s change of status from being a promised father to the fulfilment of becoming the ‘father of a multitude’ God changed Abraham’s name as a fulfilment that God would carry through his promise to make him into a great nation.  This was also true for Sarai his wife her name originally meant ‘princess’ but by changing her name to Sarah God was declaring that she would become ‘mother of nations’.

Therefore, we see in the example of Abraham that God uses names to describe who the person is or will become.  The ultimate example of this is Jesus himself, God told Mary and Joseph that their baby must be called Jesus which means ‘God saves’ which is the promise to God’s creation that he plans to rescue them however further on in the New Testament he is referred to as ‘Christ Jesus’ this is a means to explain that he not only saves but was the promised ‘annointed’ one from God therefore fully explaining that Jesus has come from God to save /redeem his creation.

In Isaiah 9:6 we are told ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’. NIV

In Isaiah, we learn more about who Jesus is and what he came to do approximately 700 years before he did it; in this passage of the bible we see that Jesus takes on the image of the Godhead Father, Son and Holy Spirit he is a complete representative of all three aspects of God.  Jesus declares himself to be fully human and completely God therefore he is the only one who has the right to be called ‘The Christ’ because he is the only one who came from God to be fully human and was God therefore is also completely holy.  This demonstrates to us that he is the only one who has the both the weakness of flesh and power of holiness to take on the sin of the whole of creation, pay for the debt of our sin and have the ability to overcome death therefore showing us the way to eternal life.

Spend sometime reading through Isaiah and wonder at the detail God shares with us so that we can understand and respond to his purposes for our lives.

The greatest impact of Jesus’ name for me came a few years ago, when I was suffering from an emotional breakdown, life felt completely out of my control and I felt I was losing my mind.  Nothing made sense, my relationships were messy and my marriage seemed to be falling apart.

However, it was in the midst of this mess that Jesus challenged my thinking and challenged me to consider who He really was, not who I thought He was.  He showed me that I had been treating him as some sort of lucky charm turning to him when things were difficult but not fully giving my whole heart to him.  Over a period of a couple of months he showed me, through passages in the bible, that I was holding back my emotions from him and trying to present myself to him complete and in control.

The phrase ‘Do you believe I am who I say I am’ kept coming to my mind.  It took me awhile to turn to Jesus and say ‘OK then who do you say you are’ then the passage of Isaiah 9:6 kept repeating in my mind particularly ‘Wonderful Counsellor’ it was then that I realised that there was someone who could deal with my unruly, demanding emotions, Jesus himself.  He wanted me to stop expecting my husband or other people to be the solution to my demands expecting them to meet the needs that seemed to want to burst out of my heart.

Jesus himself wanted me to be honest with how I felt and in that declaration of honesty he showed me the healing I needed, he showed me that he was the only source that could provide me with emotional stability.  It took a lot of soul searching and a willingness to trust Jesus with every emotion going including; anger, bitterness, rage, jealousy the list seemed endless and painful. In time, he showed me the people I needed to forgive, those I needed to apologise to and those I needed to serve.

Today I can declare that I have emotional stability that I no longer demand my husband meets the needs I have, I no longer expect another human being to come along to solve my problems, my first port of call is Jesus himself; now I know what it is to make Jesus number one in my life and I am continually learning day by day how to do this.

This has resulted in an ability to trust others, to see their hurts and have a desire that others know Jesus the way I do, so they too can know of Jesus’ desire to care, ability to transform and provision for our eternal life.

The apostle Paul declared in 1 Timothy 1:15-17 ‘Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen’.

Not that I am comparing myself with Paul’s standing with Jesus but I understand his motivation; that the reason I want others to know Jesus is that I know the power of Jesus’ forgiveness.

So what’s in a name? Our identity, the very essence of who we are.

One more bite!

Have you ever thought what life would be like if you could just have everything you wanted when you wanted it?

Worded like that it seems silly; to have everything we ever wanted, deep down we know to have everything we ever wanted doesn’t bring any sense of achievement or satisfaction. However, If we stop to consider what drives us we realise this is exactly what many of us pursue.

It has a real childish sound to it, doesn’t it?  We are quick to discipline our children when they demonstrate this kind of behaviour so why as adults do we have these same demands and expectations?

Some of you may be aware that there is an increasing obesity epidemic. Everywhere we go there are advertisements encouraging us to lose weight or join a gym.  In our schools our children are being taught about healthy eating and how too much sugar is bad for us. Health officials are even going round schools weighing our children and advising parents that their children are obese.  Governments around the world are investing huge amounts of money to encourage more people to lose weight as they believe this will save the country medical funds later down the line.

However, what if our focus is in the wrong place, what if our focus on healthy eating and exercise isn’t the starting point, what if our maker has already shown us the problem and has the solution available but we just can’t see it?

In the bible, we are made aware that our core problem is sin, what if the solution to the epidemic of obesity is recognising that we are sinners and are in need of a saviour?

Sounds too simplistic?

For 25 years I have been seeking Jesus solution for my addiction to overeating; the problem was I wasn’t ready for the answer that came back.

In the book of Colossians Chapter 3 verse 5 we read ‘ Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry’.

Here I came face to face with my problem; the source of my overeating was self-satisfaction in other words greed and the source of my greed was idolatry.  In other words food had become my God. How did this happen? How can I, a grown woman, be caught out like this and use food to medicate myself, use food to encourage myself, use food as a means of celebration, use food as a relationship replacement!

All these years of trying to lose weight, trying to exercise when I didn’t have the energy or the inclination, the lost years of trying to deal with internal issues by focusing on external solutions.

But this is what we do as human beings we try and fix the problem ourselves, we think if only I was size 10, if only I had more time to myself, if only people liked me……the list is endless.

The problem of my overeating was the age-old problem of sin and the only solution was to submit my whole life to the only one who could rescue me, the only one who knows me completely, the only one who willingly went to the cross to pay for my debt of sin.

Jesus Christ is our Saviour for a reason, because we needed him to be.

 

Where to start?

Here we go my first every blog! The beginning is always a great place to start….mmm no plagiarism here!

In recent times family and friends have started to notice a change in me, not quite being able to put their finger on the source of the change.

These are the same people who have seen the yo-yo dieter, the depression that hits from the constant feelings of failure, the obsession with counting calories to the refusal to exercise.  But this time something is different, this time there is something to know….

Is it the hair?  Aah it’s the weight; you’ve lost weight!  No there is something else; what is it?

The bible encourages us to give an answer when we are asked where our hope comes from; this blog is the response to that question.

I want to share with those of you who are interested in knowing the difference Jesus has made to my life, many of my family and friends have shared in some of the heartaches and some of the joys and others have come along at the very moment of change.  However I want to bring encouragement and hope to everyone to say that whatever situation you are in, Jesus has something to say.

As a 52 year old woman who has battled with eating issues, for what seems like forever, I also want other sufferers to know that there is hope.  Overeating is under estimated by many, we are judged for our outward appearance without considering what is happening on the inside. Many people will think that I am over playing the situation after all doesn’t dieting sort out all our eating problems; it’s just a matter of getting on with it!

For those of you who have been seeking a solution that lasts longer than the latest fad or health claim, one that outlasts the false hope that thinness promises; I hope this blog will bring you a change of direction; another avenue to consider.

As a Christian I always knew it would be at the foot of the cross where I would find the solution to my struggle with overeating.

However, I needed to move from head knowledge to heartfelt submission and it is this process that these pages will describe.

What I have learnt along the way is that my desire to be thin, to conform, to be valued were too narrow, and too limiting.  What Jesus brought to my life was far richer, far more purposeful and far beyond what I anticipated.

Ephesians Chapter 1 verse 17 says ‘I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better’.  This is the Apostle Paul’s desire for those early Christians, but the message takes us to the very heart of God.   That we not only meet Jesus in his word but that we would take the time and guidance of the Holy Spirit to get to know him more intimately.

This is the hope all Christian’s have at their disposal.

My overall desire is to introduce you to Jesus and encourage you to get to know him better.

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