What’s in a name?

But Jesus gave nicknames

Mark 3:16-17 These are the twelve Jesus chose: Simon (whom he named Peter), James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them ‘Sons of Thunder’).

Isaiah 49:1, 15-16 The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name. … Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.

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John 10:3 The sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name.

1 Peter 1:2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago.

Some nicknames are affectionate and delightful. Others carry a sting. And others represent a change in language or culture or context. Saul, for example, began calling himself Paul on his first missionary journey, switching from a Hebrew name to a Greco-Roman name as he reached out to non-Jewish people.

A prayer warrior name Leanne Payne (now in heaven) used to say, “Listen to the words of love God is always saying to you.” Think about it: the sovereign Lord of the universe always speaking words of love to YOU. We miss them because we’re so focused on or distracted by everything else in our lives. But if we’re quiet before him and ask him to open our ears, we can hear his voice centering, calming, nourishing, and encouraging us with his love.

I meet weekly on Zoom with a group of women from several different South American countries. We rotate leadership of our meetings. A few weeks ago, our leader surprised us by giving each of us a nickname which had come to her as she prayed for us. It felt like a glimpse into God’s heart of love for each of us individually; we felt “seen” for something special about who we are. The gals have referred to this in later meetings. It clearly had deep impact for each of us.

So, I invite you to ask the Lord for his special name for you. Don’t overthink this. Simply set aside a few minutes be still, ask him, and listen to his response. If you’d like to share with me, I would love to hear what happens. If it’s hard for you to hear him, you might want to ask someone else to pray and listen with you.

My prayer is that you find this experience so rewarding you can’t wait to do it again. Maybe every day!

Next time we’ll think about the names we use for God.

2 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

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