What's in a name?

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

As most of you know, we are expecting baby #5 at our home. And, the conversation of late has been in choosing a name- especially a name that Brian and I can agree upon without the kids breaking out in groans! When we first had Andrew, we had no intention of naming all of our kids with a beginning letter of "A." We loved "Andrew" and always had "Ashley" picked out for a girl's name. Well, when Ashley came, we knew exactly what we would name her. (I don't even remember IF we had a boy's name picked out!) When Aly came, both Brian and I loved the name "Alyssa," so she joined the ranks with an "A" name, too. By baby #4, we knew we had to keep the A theme rolling, or else the child could have a complex- being the only child without an "A" name. So, we choose Aaron. Needless to say, we have pretty much depleted our inventory of "A" names that everyone likes!

And, choosing a baby name is hard work! There is so much to think about when you are deciding a name that will follow the child around for the rest of his/her life... We have lots of ideas for girl's names. It is the possibility that the the baby is a boy that is "throwing" us. Is that name masculine enough for a boy (Brian's concern!) And, with all the girls today "stealing" boys names, every suggestion I have makes Brian think "girl," and he says, I like that for a girl. And, since I was a school teacher, there are a few names I can't use because I had a "___" in my class- no way! So, here is our dilemma. I have said we may have to name a boy Brian Jr. and Brian says we may just pick out a different lettered name, place an A in front and tell everyone the A is silent. Hmmmmmmm....

All of this pondering made me think of the names of Jesus. And, as we focus on our precious Lord at Christmas, I thought it would be wonderful to ponder upon a few of His names.

Isaiah prophesied, "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 Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

When Job was devastated and in a place of destitution, when his "breath was offensive to his wife, when he was loathsome to his brothers, ridiculed and detested," he said, "I know my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth, and after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes." No matter what we are going through, we have a Redeemer who LIVES. He will redeem our lives from the pit. He will place us on level ground. He will wipe away every tear. He will redeem our lives from the ashes.

John said in the beginning of His gospel, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through Him all things were made." Jesus is the Living Word- the Word to trust upon, to believe in.

Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End- Do you need a new beginning? Are you worried about the end, how it will all turn out? Jesus is the Beginning- He makes all things new. He is the "fresh start" you are looking for. He is the End. He is the confidence, the security, the "final word" we need. And, because He knows the Beginning from the End, and understands the End from the Beginning, we can completely trust in Him. We can lay everything aside, resting in Him.

Ponder with me, especially over these next several days other names given to Jesus:
Immanuel- God with us
King of Kings
Light of the World
Morning Star
Lamb of God
Savior
Good Shepherd
The Way
Lord of Lords
Anointed One
Bread of Life
Chief Cornerstone
Great High Priest
Holy One
Righteous One
Lord of Glory
Messiah
Teacher
Truth
Friend

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that 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." (Philippians 2:5-11)

Amen and Amen and Amen!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus- what a beautiful name!

Give a “little Jesus”

This Christmas, give a “little Jesus” everywhere you go!
Shine the light of the Savior to everyone you know!
Tell everyone about this incredible Gift and His amazing love,
Share the Light, the Hope, the Joy and the Peace
that only comes from Above.

Greetings, all! May you be experiencing the excitement of Advent as we are preparing our hearts and lives for the celebration of Christmas!

I was talking with Andrew recently. He is such a little evangelist- wanting to share Jesus with everyone and desperately wanting everyone he knows to be saved. I have watched him grow so much this year, as he is realizing he can’t “push” Jesus onto people, but has to “shine” Jesus, lighting the way to Jesus by his love, his actions, his words to others.

We have been praying for one boy at Andrew’s school for two years now, for his salvation, that he would come to know Christ. Andrew learned the hard way that he can’t just tell this boy, “You need Jesus or else you are going to hell!” (That was his approach in the beginning! Things are so simple to a child!) But, he has learned that he needs to build a relationship with this boy, showing him what it means to be a Christian. Andrew has been so surprised to see this boy opening up to him as Andrew shows him kindness. On Fridays, they have “Friday Fun” and can bring fun snacks and drinks for a fun time. Andrew brought this boy a Propel drink and shared his snack with him and you would have thought that Andrew gave him a million dollars! Andrew told about how the boy just couldn’t understand WHY Andrew was being kind to him. (The boy doesn’t have many friends.) Andrew is understanding- he shared with me that he knows he has to build a relationship with the boy, asking God to open doors for him and give him opportunities to share Jesus and Christian love with him.

But, what I have been explaining to Andrew, and thinking about myself, is that we need to give people the “whole picture!” You see, Andrew is in a place of “I want people to know Jesus because I don’t want them to go to hell!” But, what I am trying to help him understand is that is only part of our faith! Yes, as Christians, we have this wonderful hope of the glory to come- we have the promise of Heaven and living eternity with our awesome God! Hallelujah! But, that is not the “whole story!” When we have a relationship with Jesus, we experience this incredible hope, joy, and peace NOW, here on earth, no matter what our circumstances are! When we have a relationship with the Savior, we get a glimpse of eternity right here and now! When we are walking with the Lord, we experience true LIFE right now, and it is amazing, wonderful, incredible, and wild! What I am trying to teach Andrew is to tell people THAT, too! When they accept the Savior, they will not only “escape hell,” but they will experience never ending hope, unfailing love, abounding joy in any circumstance, and indescribable peace. Jesus is an incredible gift to share with all the world!