What’s in a Name?

This past Wednesday night in our Bible study we were studying the letter to the church at Philadelphia. We spent a pretty good amount of time talking about verse 12 where Jesus is commending the saints at Philadelphia for their faith and perseverance in the midst of persecution. As a reward, He promises not only to strengthen them and make them “pillars in the temple of My God” but also to write on them “the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.” The writing of these names on the saints by the Lord is a means of marking and identifying them as belonging to Him. As we discussed this verse and what it means to receive the “new name” of the Lord my mind hearkened back to my childhood.

When I was a kid we used to visit some people. I remember getting in the car when I was really young, maybe even 3 or 4 to go over to “Kay and Louis’s.” I was so young that I thought “Kay and Louis’s” was one word with a lot of “esses” on the end of it. All I knew was we were going someplace where a lady and her husband and their kids were nice to us. We played and had a good time, usually ate something and I was always ready to go back. Over the years I learned more about who they were; it was Aunt Kay and Uncle Louis. They were always good to me. They even let me live with them when I moved to Austin to go to college. Yes, have they been good to me. They have been good to a lot of people. Sure do love that “KayandLouis.” I remember being surprised at one point to learn that Uncle Louis was really named George. He doesn’t look like a George, I guess that’s why he goes by G.L. to some people. What I am trying to say is that over the years, I have come to know them better and more fully. What I have called them has changed as our relationship has grown. And I think that is what the Lord is trying to convey in Revelation 3:12. By the time we have known Him for a while, grown in our faith, endured and allowed Him to strengthen us, we will be rewarded by having a fuller understanding of who He is. We shall know His new name. What a reward that shall be. Until next time stay strong in the faith.

Posted in A New Name, Christianity, Church, faith, God, God's Love, God's Strength, Revelation 3:12, The Church of Philadelphia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to Fly

I took this first picture when we were visiting the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. They have a lot of great things to see and one of my favorite exhibits was the Aquarium’s Butterfly Garden. They had several different types of butterflies and many would land on your hands. It was so cool. This large butterfly resting on some unknown gentleman’s hand is known as a Blue Morpho. The name comes from the blue color that is seen on the top of their wings (that photo courtesy of the Aquarium’s website). The brown underside helps them stay camouflaged while they eat fruit from the forest floor.
butterfly-at-rest blue-morpho-pic
When that butterfly took off and flew away from the man’s hand, you could see its bright vivid colors. My wife Marta pointed out that as impressive as that butterfly was while it was at rest, its true beauty is only apparent when it opens up its wings and flies. And so it is with us. God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us. He has unique gifts and abilities with which He has blessed us all. We are at our best when we use our gifts and put God’s handiwork on display. As Paul said in Romans 12:6 “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly…” When we do, it is truly a beautiful thing.

Posted in Christianity, Church, faith, God, God has a plan for you, religion, Romans 12:6, spiritual gifts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make the Call

A couple of weeks ago I had to get a new phone. Unfortunately as a result I lost all the phone numbers of friends and family members that I had collected over the years. I am slowly rebuilding them. If you haven’t heard from me lately and think you might want to at some point in time, send me a private message with your phone number or email me at pastorpstephens@aol.com and I will gladly add your number back to my list of contacts.

Sorry to trouble you, I just don’t remember phone numbers like I used to. I do remember one from the Bible…Jeremiah 33:3. I was always heard that verse described as God’s phone number. The prophet Jeremiah finds himself held captive in the enemy’s court. It is not only a troubled time for Jeremiah but also for the nation. During this time, God encourages Jeremiah to call upon Him, to seek His face, His counsel, and His comfort. The Lord says, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” The Lord goes on to tell Jeremiah of a time that is coming when He will bring health and healing to His people; a time when they will know peace and truth and He will pardon all their iniquities. Yes. Call on Me says the Lord. Jeremiah 33:3. That is one number that I do not think I will ever forget.

Posted in Church, God's Mercy, God's Phone Number, Jeremiah 33:3, prayer, religion, Talk to God | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Old Junk Drawer

It was just an old junk drawer
Full of pictures, cards and files.
I decided to go through it,
I hadn’t looked at it in such a long while.

I read kind words from family and friends
And saw old photos of people I love
Every item reminded me
How I’ve been blessed by God above

I spent all afternoon going through that junk drawer
I laughed and smiled at the good times I recalled
By the time I had gone through it I realized,
It wasn’t a junk drawer after all.

Posted in God has blessed me, God Loves Me, Good memories, I am blessed, Junk Drawer, poetry | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The other day I found myself reading once again the words that the Lord gives to Joshua as he is about to take over the leadership of God’s people after the death of Moses. Although Joshua was mentored by Moses and has been groomed for this new role, he is no doubt a bit anxious. God takes Joshua aside for instructions and a pep talk.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

As God is giving Joshua his commission He takes the time to encourage Joshua and exhorts him to go forward knowing that he will be equipped and empowered for the task set before him. Joshua will not walk alone or work alone for God will be with him. I know those words strengthened and encouraged Joshua and I can attest that those same words have also served to strengthen and encourage me at various times in my life. I am certain they have benefited many others as well. As I was reflecting on these words the other day I was reminded by looking at the previous verse of the major way we can acquire the strength and courage that is promised and provided by God. In verse 8 God tells Joshua that he should not let God’s word depart from his mouth. God instructs Joshua to meditate on it day and night and do according to all that is written in it “for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

Knowing God’s word helps us to know His will. And doing His will helps keep us close to Him. And when we are close to Him, we have no need to tremble or be dismayed. I pray that you will have a good week. I pray that you will be able to spend time with the Lord in His word and that you will know His will. And as you carry out His will I pray that you will be assured that He is with you. I pray that you will be strong and courageous.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Don't give up, faith, God, God's Strength, Joshua 1:9, Joshua takes over for Moses, prayer, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Heart of God

Some people know the word of God but not the heart of God.

I was thinking the other day how that would be a good phrase to just put on Facebook and leave for contemplation. Eh, not my style. It is great to know God’s word. It tells us of God’s nature and our nature. It tells us how we have separated ourselves from a holy God by our sin but how a holy God is also merciful and in His love has offered us forgiveness and redemption through His Son Jesus Christ. His word instructs us on all these things and tells us how we can live with Him for eternity and how we should live for Him now.

We are to reflect God’s heart of God and His love should be present in all of our interactions. The Bible says in 1 John 4:20 “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”

Yes, God’s word tells us to walk in love. Period. No need to try and qualify it. We are to walk in love when we minister, when we work and when we play; whenever we do anything. Walking in love does not mean we have to walk in compromise; it simply means we walk in kindness and compassion even when we disagree. “By this will all men know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”

We can do our best to follow God’s word and do many things in His name but Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13 if we don’t have love “it profits nothing.” And there are things that God has for all of us to do. There are callings He has placed on our lives no matter what our different vocations may be. There is a manner in which He desires for us to live. And certainly He wants us to know His word and live by His word to the best of our ability. And most certainly He wants us to walk in love because that reflects His heart. It just seems to me that knowing His word and knowing His heart should always go hand in hand.

Posted in 1 Corinthians 13:3, 1 John 4:20, Christianity, Church, faith, God, God's Love, God's Word, Just God, Love your brother, religion, Walk in Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment