By JoAnn Dolberg
About thirty-five years ago, a friend introduced me to a Bible study by a teacher named Col. R.B. Thieme, Jr. After hearing the third taped lesson of his earliest “Basics” series, I was saved. I was thirty-two years old at the time. This military instructor taught me several principles necessary for proper study:
I came to really respect that “ole hard-nose”! I learned a lot! And the learning continues!
Over the past fifteen years, both Pastor Gary Whipple and Arlen Chitwood have developed my understanding regarding God’s purpose for me beyond just my spiritual birth. God wants me to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18), in order that Christ be formed in me (Galatians 4:19) to the extent that through my faithful study and application of the Word, I might be a co-heir with Him in the coming literal, physical Kingdom of God on earth!
Jesus, Himself, says in Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” If He has saved me, it will be an affront to Him if I turn my nose up at all He wants to give me! These men opened my understanding to the typology in the Word. For instance, 1 Corinthians 10:11, states: “Now all these things happened to them (the Israelites), as examples (Greek: tupos, types), and they were written for our admonition (our warning, information), upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” Arlen Chitwood’s books are absolutely indispensable study-guides for the serious Bible student. From Arlen, I clearly understand that it is altogether possible “to be overthrown on the right side of the blood, but on the wrong side of the goal of my calling!”
A number of others have also opened my eyes to spiritual truth: Ed Vallowe, a mathematician and evangelist, showed me the meaning and the reason behind God’s use of each of the numbers in the Word. Watchman Nee, Oswald Chambers, Charles Spurgeon, and A.E. Wilson all just made so much sense!
I have found that on occasion one needs different instructors for the purpose of fully developing different aspects of one’s understanding. It’s the same way in medicine: there are many specialties, but all have one goal — the total healing of the entire person. At first, the prospect of actually living the Christian life was overwhelming! Becoming a Christian was easy! All I had to do was believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again; thereby, eternal life is a gift! But, being a Christian — actually living that life, running that race in such a way as to obtain the prize of reward and actual life in the physical, literal kingdom of God on earth — was huge!!
There are many people — believers — who think that all they need to do is believe, one time, in Jesus Christ and open their Bibles on occasion and go to church on Sundays; or, just ignore the afore-mentioned altogether. They figure they’ll “be in heaven” and that’s all there is to it! Sadly, if they refuse to open their eyes to all that the Word has to say concerning this gift that they now possess, they’ll miss the whole purpose for why they were saved in the first place. And this sort of attitude pains me greatly.
There is so much more that God wants us to have! Shouldn’t we want everything He wants to give us? Perseverance in the daily study of the Word and obedience in the application of the doctrines learned, are key! It is continuous faith (believing) in all of God’s words — the continuous clinging to the hope (of reward — and that, as the result of pleasing Him in all that you think, say, or do). It is a life lived in obedience and gratitude to and worship of the living, loving, God, that reaps eternal rewards.
Our Lord is a God of love. But He reveals Himself in the book of Revelation to also be a God of wrath and judgment against unrighteousness, which He hates! Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness . . . .,” which He directed to His disciples, His followers; He was not speaking to unbelievers!
I’m still learning and, on occasion, failing. I understand that absolute perfection cannot be obtained in this present body. But my thinking can change, and that, even more easily now that I clearly understand the goal!
My vocational background is nursing — critical care was my love! I tend to look at things from a medical perspective; and in dissecting life into the little pieces of which it is made, I find that a lot of it is “broke.” And all of that needs to be fixed!
Reflections was born out of this concept. There are healing words of encouragement, from God’s Word; and like the balm of Gilead, these can be applied, with soothing relief, to all of life’s painful circumstances. It takes time. Healing, as physical and spiritual growth, together with living, is a process. We all get “bogged down” along the way, even though it is a well-worn path, having been traveled by many before us. Sometimes, it just helps to reach for the hand of someone who’s “been there, done that! And so, dear reader, I’m offering my hand — please take it — let’s follow Him together.
Word Study — COME
To move forward, to move from one place to another; to move toward, to draw near, to approach, to join.
He stands in front of me, powerful, majestic, ramrod straight! Facing Him, I suddenly become weak and acutely aware of my smallness, my shortcomings, my utter inadequacy. And yet, the piercing kindness of His gloriously beautiful eyes and the radiant warmth emanating from the grandeur of His Presence sound peace and love! He opens His mouth to speak and the music takes my breath away! It’s the Israel, Vienna, New York and London Philharmonics all in one word: Come.
Come to the stable, the animal shelter in Bethlehem, the “House of Bread.” Into the manger, the animal’s feeding trough, His mother gently laid the Bread of Life (John 6:35). She had wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, the same sort of wrap that would cover Him in death. The stark humility of His birth, the abject poverty of His material existence, would mask His true identity from all who would reject His plea to Come.
This Child, born during “tax time,” issued forth from both the legal and the royal lines of King David (Matthew 1:1-16, Luke 3:24-38). He was BORN a KING! The Angel had said, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32-33).
Jesus would later state before Pontius Pilate, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37). Born a King, yet His first visitors would be social outcasts — the lowly shepherds who tended the Passover Lamb!
Come to Golgotha, the “Place of a Skull” (Matthew 27:33). How fitting that it should be here where God would plant His Word, suspended from a cross, and crucified between two criminals — positive volition on one side of Him, and negative volition on the other — criminals both! The Son of the (heavenly) Father, taking the place of Barabbas, (the son of the earthly father)! Israel’s rejected King and the world’s rejected Savior, “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7). The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Come to the empty tomb —“He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6-7)! Jesus, Himself, had said, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17-18). Jesus purchased us with His own blood! (Acts 20:28) And the empty tomb signals the Father’s acceptance of the purchase price! “We’ve been bought with a price! We are not our own!! (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Come to your senses. It is Christ who died for our sins and rose again! (1 Corinthians 15:3) It is He who stands, asking each one of us, individually, “Who do you say that I Am?” Unlock the gates inside your mind, and the King of Glory will come in! Believe!
Come and magnify the Lord. “Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3). We find that all of His names are contained in this one name: “His name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:13). And He has magnified His Word above all His name (Psalm 138:2).
Come to the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14). Coming to the Word, we come to Jesus, for “we have the mind of Christ”— the written Word! (1 Corinthians 2:16).
The Word calls “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). The Word instructs to “learn of Me”(Matthew 11:29). “Come!” His arms are reaching out to you. Look — the nail prints in His hands!
This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Is not this the Christ (the Messiah)?” (John 4:29).
Over the years there have been many people who have touched my life with their own greatness. They say things that unveil true integrity of soul. The things they do, speak even louder, causing me to sit up and take notice! Some of my heroes, I’ve only met by way of news reports, or I’ve seen the results of their work. Others, I have known personally, observing first-hand their grace and courage under pressure. It’s their way of “being” that defines their competence in “doing.” Many are disabled vets, or mouth and foot artists, or incorruptible policemen, or the man in Detroit, who lost his job, his home, his retirement, and is starting over. There’s a “light” inside of these people that shines through to me with such a force as to make me say, WOW! I want to be like that!
My own list of heroes includes:
A Rabbi from Chicago, who, out of great love and concern for his people, formed an international organization that provides food, shelter, clothing, medicines and friendship to thousands all over the world.
A Pope, who during his thirty-three days in office in Rome, not only taught, but also showed his flock the true meaning of sacrifice.
A Mother, living in California, who, without a college education, was able to find work and rear her three children without any help from their father or the government.
A young soldier in uniform, during Auburn’s Fourth of July parade, standing at attention as the Boy Scout troop carrying The Colors, marches past him.
A medical doctor in Kansas City, who, in spite of pressure from professional malcontents, continues to effect significant health changes, even healing, in his patients through the use of intravenous chelation and nutritional therapy.
An Omaha woman who , unhesitatingly, placed herself between a young boy and an untrained, hungry, angry, fighting dog, subsequently, losing her own limb, but saving the child’s life.
And then there’s the pilot, who, after total engine failure, set his plane down in a picture-perfect landing — on the Hudson River!
There are many, many, many others. In fact, you probably have a list of your own!
Maybe one of the reasons we love our heroes is because they demonstrate a higher character; a nobler cause to which we would aspire. Or maybe it’s because we see in them a reflection of the light and glory of our ultimate Hero, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps we find ourselves in need of reminders to re-focus our attention on the more important matters of life — things such as integrity, honor, the ability to think under pressure in order to avert danger by the selfless acts that place the welfare of others above our own. Our heroes always show us that we really are what we think! We come to see that thoughts are reflected in words, which culminate in work
The ability to think under pressure is a key element in heroism. Look at the relationship between thoughts and actions. Consider Jesus Christ, the Word of God! (John 1:1&14, Revelation 19:13). Consider His works! God’s own thoughts toward us are clearly reflected in the deeds of His Word!
Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe and all that’s in it took on the likeness of sinful flesh — eternal God and now, also eternally, sinless man! A king who owned the world and everything in it was born into material poverty and lived a life of the same. Lied about, He told the truth — He is truth! Eternal God, served by angels, became a man who chose to serve! When reviled (verbally abused), He did not revile — even when, to His face, He was called a bastard! He, the sinless Son of God, died the death of a criminal! And though He died, yet now, and forever, He lives!
The wonder of it all is that He wants to share His eternal life with the likes of us! It’s a life of inner happiness, peace, truth, and love! It begins with simple faith (belief, acceptance, trust) in the Word’s declaration: that Christ died for our sins and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). Believe that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). ETERNAL LIFE IS IN THE WORD OF GOD (John 6:63)! “He who believes in the Son (the Word) has everlasting life” (John 3:36). Believe that He is Almighty God, fully revealed in the light — the Word of Truth (John 1:1-4).
It is Jesus who says this life is a gift! Why would anyone want to argue with Him about that?
He says: I paid for it! Just believe me! I’m giving it to you! You do not pay for the gift that is given to you! You cannot earn it, and no matter how good you think you’ve been, you don’t deserve it. I’m giving it to you, based on who I AM!
He says: You don’t have to do anything with it; although, I’d much rather you’d open it up and begin to enjoy the living of it now! Your Bible (the mind of Christ [1Corinthians 2:16]), is your instruction manual. It would please Me greatly to watch over you as you do this. Believe the words you read and follow the instructions. Every word is true (John 17:17), and these words are your life (Deuteronomy 32:47 & John 6:63). Talk to Me as you go! It will be difficult because you’ll have an unseen spiritual battle to fight, but do not worry!
He says: Just put on the armor; (it’s all connected first and foremost to your mind [Ephesians 6:10-18]), and then, stand still! The battle is mine, anyway! I will be with you every step of the way! Your inner sense of calm and peace will be a shining light to others. “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). And because of this, you will find it easy to share this gift with those around you! In fact, I wish you would! So go ahead and open it — don’t be afraid — you’ll be very glad you did, because when you get home, My beloved child, I’m going to reward you for living My gift and for loving Me so much that you were not willing to displease Me even though you had to go through intense trouble, temptations, sufferings, and ridicule.
He says By your faithfulness, you will have demonstrated to men and angels alike that you want My life — that you would rather live My life, a life of peace and love! You will have shown them that even sinful man may make a choice for God! By living this life now, you show them that you love Me and that you trust Me! Also, in this way, you will bring many more children to our Father! My gift to you is Myself, My life! I AM the Gift and the Giver! I want you to have My life because I love you. My life is peace.
He says: Remember that if you will just live this gift now, I will reward you for your time and effort — your work — your faithfulness to Me, the Word of God. This I will do at My judgment seat when it will be manifested to all, the true relationship between My Word, your thoughts, and your deeds. Then it will be seen that you really did belong to Me — I in you and you in Me. Because the things you will have done were motivated by My Word and your deeds — your works — will actually have been accomplished by Me. I am the Word! And since we were together in the “doing”, we will also be together in the “being” and in the sharing of rewards! And “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things that God has (already) prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9, Isaiah 64:4-5). Believe Me, My child, it will be worth it!
This Man — God in the flesh — tops my list of heroes! Through consistency and persistence in the study and application of the Word of God, the mind of Christ, (1 Corinthians 2:16), we can become more like Him (Galatians 4:19). And in that process, we can learn to become heroes to others! It is the thinking — the being — that’s important! The doing follows the being! And besides, a hero isn’t such a bad thing to be! I enjoy the company, or even the thoughts of heroes! They inspire me!
I’m not at all afraid to fly, but believe me, if I could choose my pilot, it would be Captain Sullenberger — or someone exactly like him!
A friend of mine complained to me one day that she never hears from her grandchildren unless they need something! On the one hand, I guess you could say that at least they know where to go for help. On the other hand, it’s a very sad observation that she made. She’s all alone and very much desires to be a part of her family’s life. She wants to hear about their day-to-day experiences. She would enjoy hearing about their interests, the things that are happening in their lives, how their work and their studies are progressing, and how the grand-babies are doing. These are rather simple things really — maybe considered “little things.” But these “simple things” are the fabric of our lives! She would love to have them just pick up the phone and call and let her know they’re thinking about her. Trouble is, they probably aren’t. She continues to express her love for them — cards, gifts, phone calls — that they don’t return. It’s a heart-breaking story, and one that needs to be resolved!
Grandmas will keep on giving; that’s just how they are. But I keep thinking how like those grandkids we are with regard to our heavenly Father. He wants to hear from us, on a daily basis. He already knows all about our day, but it’s us from whom He wants to hear. And He wants to talk to us, from His Word. He wants us to be interested in listening to what He has to say about our lives. Every problem we could ever have in our day-to-day existence, HE has already solved! Do we care what His opinions may be? His advice — warnings and promises — are 100% trustworthy, 100% of the time! I guess that in a way, you could say that He’s doing things similar to what our grandmas are doing. He keeps on loving us, providing evidences of that love, and patiently waiting for us to call Him, even when we’re not in a jam!
How long has it been since you’ve connected with someone who cares about you? You know, the ones who are always there for you? They’re the ones you keep meaning to call, but you never get around to it. Why not pick up the phone right now, and let someone know that you’re really glad they’re there? Tell them you’ve been thinking about them and you’re wondering how they are doing. Send a card, or write a letter (That’s an art that needs revival!). Remember the “circle of life” — “What goes around, comes around.” And while we’re at it, we definitely need to quit ignoring God! He wants to talk to us through His Word, and He wants us to talk to Him in prayer. He has said, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3, 4). “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
We need to be very careful that we don’t discard others as worthless scraps. And we need to be even more careful in our attitudes toward our heavenly Father. He loves us! And by our doing what He asks of us, we show our love for Him. This relationship is so much more peaceful, more comfortable, than if we merely run to Him from time to time, just picking out the “parts and pieces” that we can use at any given moment! So, talk to Him. Open His Word. Ask Him to show you all His great and mighty things. He’s waiting. Oh, and don’t forget to call your grandma. She’s waiting too.
Gathering Dust or Gathering Interest
The vaults inside our memory banks contain all our life’s experiences. Some are lovely; enjoyable to bring and polish over and over again in the re-living. But others are not so pleasant and we care not to behold them ever again! We repress them — or — suppress them. And then someone else brings them up, or something else happens — words spoken, deeds committed — another pain, another stabbing wound, and out they pop!
Once again, we’re engulfed. I despise the feeling, but lately I’ve discovered that rather than stuffing the “monsters” back down into the chamber’s depths, I need to hold onto them for a moment; examine them, first this way and then that way!
By careful observation, and though I may be upside down, there suddenly comes the moment when I can say, “Aha! I’ve got it!” This doesn’t mean the memory will disappear. And it doesn’t even mean the present situation will change for the better, or for that matter, that it will change at all. No! In fact, any particular part of the creature will undoubtedly resurface, maybe taking on a slightly different form, or springing from an unexpected direction! Same worthless event! This is the same haunting type of trouble. But I can recognize it now for what it is. “Oh, it’s just you again. Well, do as you will. I have help now. And guess what? I’m going to use you. Because of you, someone else is going to find peace because I’m going to share mine.
My Savior is the Prince of Peace! He has told me that He will keep me in perfect peace if I’ll just keep my mind on Him (Isaiah 9:6; 26:3). You keep trying to get me to fix my eyes on people. But my Savior, my Prince of Peace, my Advocate, who, by the way, is also my Father, says that my real battle isn’t with people. He says it’s with the “prince of darkness” and his unseen forces of spiritual wickedness (Ephesians 6:12). They use people, and people don’t even know they’re being used!
I believe my Father! So excuse me, I have to run. I’m running to the Court of Heaven. The pain you’ve caused for me by your reappearance will be healed by my Advocate, my Judge, who is also my Physician. I’ve learned to run to Him immediately — every time you trouble me with your accusatory presence! Yes, He heals me with His Word!
Healing and rebuilding — that’s what my Physician does! He’s the Son of a carpenter, you know, and every time He puts me back together, I am stronger than before. Now, when I think of you, you don’t trouble me so much. I can reach into the vault, pick you out, and think about you in terms of the wonderful things the Lord has been able to bring about inside of me, in my life, in my circumstances, because of you. Oh, the wonder of God’s Word and His promises! Without you, I could not have known!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, [distress, affliction, grief], that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the same comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted by God.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)
It is my hope, that in some measure, this can be of help to you. I work for the Great Physician.
Broken contracts, broken promises, broken relationships, broken hearts! When does it all end? The pain piles up, higher and higher, until the weight of the distress becomes unbearable! Dear soul, why are you trying to carry all of this alone? The heaviness will destroy you. There is Someone who loves you and cares about your well-being, more-so than any other person in the entire universe! His name is Jesus. I know that you may question that He’s even there; but don’t! You must start somewhere, and this is where you need to begin! Believe that He is there — with you — now.
This is what faith is all about! You’ve already placed your faith in another person, and now you’re hurting. Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all done it! The place to start recovery though, is on your knees. Talk to Him. We are told to “body-slam” our troubles onto Him. He wants to carry our burdens for us (1 Peter 5:6-7, Psalm 55:22). Next, be silent and rest before Him. Listen, as He quietly instructs you: “Give Me your hand; I’ll walk through this with you; I’ve been through this before — I can lead you — I know the way; rest assured, I know the way.”
First of all, He’ll lead you to a place of safety. This is your most important need. Once you are in a place of physical safety, (emotional and mental safety will follow), then your mind can be at rest. This is here where you enter into the cleft of the Rock — into the Word. This is where the Lord will hold you in the nail print of one hand, while He covers you with the other. (John 10:28-29). From this high and secure vantage point, He’ll allow you to look outward. You’ll be able to see the situation as it really is, in its entirety; although the picture may be a little clouded by your tears! And all the while, He’ll be whispering in your ear: “Do not be afraid, and do not worry; before you called to Me, I answered and I’ve got this handled; just be patient and watch; I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 and Psalm 118:6).
Get used to this truth, dear soul. You are very precious to the Lord. He loves you. He died for you because He loves you. He is 100% love! He doesn’t love you with a fraction of Himself. He gives all of Himself all of the time. Think of that. Most everyone else we know loves us on the basis of who we are, what we have, and what we can do for them. Well, don’t be too critical of them; we have surely done the same ourselves. People just are what they are. We cannot change them, nor can we change this past unpleasant event. Whatever happened is just there, that’s all.
But it’s effect on you — that can be changed! “The Lord is my Helper. Why should I be afraid? What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6). You see, from your perch, high up in this Rock, you can learn to feel the peace that comes with trusting Him. This is where one can bask in His unchanging love. Let it flood your very being. He is intensely interested in you! Talk to Him. Explain your difficulties. Not only will He provide your answers, but He is your answer. You see, He is the One who is holding you now. Look around. Observe. As you are talking to Him, everything is slowly, progressively, being sorted out and moved into place!
I remember a man named Hezekiah, a righteous king of Judah. He received a threatening letter from the king of Assyria, blaspheming God and stating his intention to wipe Judah off the face of the map.” Hezekiah simply took this letter into the House of the Lord and spread it out before the God of Israel. Then he asked the Lord to read it and supply deliverance. And the Lord sent an answer to Hezekiah by means of another person, the prophet, Isaiah. He said, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Because you have prayed to Me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard.’” Because he had prayed, Judah would be delivered (2 Kings 18:1-19:37).
“Because you have prayed . . . .” Dwell on those words! The Lord wants to deliver His children from the clutches of the oppressor. But if we try to find the answers on our own, He will not interfere. God is a Gentleman. He generally doesn’t butt into our affairs, uninvited. Although He’ll always provide a measure of protection, we may never be aware of His hand — especially if we never ask for Him to show it. It’s best if you don’t hesitate! Lay it all before His throne of grace, and leave it there. He says, “Call on Me in your day of trouble and I will answer you.” Then, patiently wait and listen. Your answer may come through another person. Notice that Hezekiah didn’t tell his problem to Isaiah. He told it to the One who could supply the solution. And the Word, who is the Lord, sent His answer through the one who carried His Word. Your answer will always come from the Word.
I remember my first pastor telling me that “all events of history are inter-related and inter-dependant.” And another pastor pointed out to me that all the things that happened to Israel, in the Old Testament, happened as types, or examples, for us now (1 Corinthians 10:11). So, pray! Sometimes your answer will come quickly! But, more often than not, there will be other things needing to be moved into place first. This is where your patient trust becomes important. Everything will be worked out according to the Lord’s time-frame.
Remember: you are in your place of safety — your place of rest. Stay there! He will answer, and you will know the answer when it comes. It will come with a sense of peace. There will be no questions. All you need to do is trust Him. You have no idea right now, of all the things that need to be aligned. Besides, right now, He is also protecting you from circumstances you don’t even see coming. Don’t muddle it up!
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
The title and/or description by which one is known. One’s reputation, produced by quality of style and the mannerisms of one’s character. The title and/or description by which one is known. One’s reputation, produced by quality of style and the mannerisms of one’s character, including temperament and customary frame of mind. Denotes worth or value.
I’ve seen young people labor for hours over endless lists of names in order to find just the right one for their soon-to appear child. In many cases, selecting the right one takes a great deal of time and effort. But, even more critical, is the love and training that will go onto the building of that child’s character — the essence, the meaning, that will be attached to that name. There are still many parents who understand a name’s value. We can hear it in an admonishment such as, “Don’t bring disrespect on this family!”
I’ve seen young people labor for hours over endless lists of names in order. Names are important to our Father, too. In the Jewish tradition, the father was the one who named the children. And this is a biblical principle. Just as the first wife was named by her husband (although at the beginning, God called them both “Adam,” meaning mankind, Genesis 5:2), so also, Christ will later, name His bride! The man was also charged with the responsibility of naming the entire animal creation, all the pets, (Genesis 2:19-20 & 3:20). Then, we read that Adam named Seth, and Abraham named Isaac; but God by means of His angel named John and Jesus, (Luke 1:13 & Matthew 1:21). It is interesting to note that when Abram was ninety-nine years old, after God had established His covenant with him, He changed his name to Abraham. He also changed the name of Jacob to Israel, prince of God, the nation becoming a firstborn son (besides Jesus, and the Church of the firstborn). There’ a great deal of significance attached to a name change. Especially if it’s changed by God! To the overcomer of the Church age, the LORD says He will give him “a new name” and, “I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Revelation 2:17; 3:5).
The names of the Bible all have meaning attached to them. The names of Jesus and Joshua mean “Savior.” John, who announced the arrival of Israel’s Messiah, means “Jehovah is gracious.” Nicodemus means “ruler of the people.” Joseph means, “Jehovah will add.” What a story within a story! Look at John 19:38-42, where Jesus, the One who will save His people from their sins, is both cared for and carried by two people whose combined names mean “Ruler of the people who God will add.” Wow! The body of the Savior, the Ruler of the people that God will add! You get the idea.
The work and the essence of the individual determine the weight of the meaning of his name. Think about the essence of God, the concentration of His fundamental, basic substance, the essential Being of His character, His inner nature. The entirety of His Being is intrinsic; naturally, inherently real. The qualities making up the nature of God are His identity. These include the following:
Righteousness---God is upright, wise, genuine, true, correct. All of His actions are in accordance with law, justice.
Justice — God is honest and impartial with regard to everything, including law. His justice is always right, correct, and of sound reason, based on truth. He always administers law by dispensing merited reward or punishment. The justice of God continually executes whatever the righteousness of God demands, whether blessing or cursing.
Veracity — truth — God is habitually, 100% accurate. Truth is verified fact. It is honesty, certainty, genuineness of the quality of being. The Person of God is Truth. Jesus said, “I Am Truth.” His Word is Truth. All of His thoughts, standards, and actions are Truth. He, alone, is the absolute standard. He bore witness to truth with His life, His death and His resurrection. Even if we believe Truth to be relative, we will always be faced with this absolute: the Word of God is Truth!
Love — God Is love. This is a strong, passionate affection, devotion to, and benevolent concern for persons, places, things, and it is unmerited favor, grace, willingly and eagerly provided for the sake of the same. Since love is God’s nature, and righteousness and justice and truth are also His nature, it shouldn’t be too difficult to understand that God hates sin and the lies and evil works that go with it. God’s hatred of all the things He says that He hates — lists are to be found in various places of the Word — is much more than attributing human feelings and passions to God. His hatred of unrighteousness is absolutely compatible with His righteousness and His justice and His love. We understand that Christ died for our sins; God loved His Son, but He hated sin. That’s why He sent Jesus. Righteous Jesus is the exact antithesis of sin, unrighteousness. We understand that we need to confess sin when we realize what we have done, but if we don’t turn away from the sins we‘ve confessed, if we just keep right on practicing them, then, they become our unrighteous works and are subject to judgment because we didn’t take care of business!
We cannot continue to commit sin as a practice, thinking that all we have to do each time is confess, and everything will be fine; it won’t be. The Father does not take the Son’s finished work lightly. And our liberty in Christ is not a license to keep on sinning. If we continue in the sins that we’ve confessed, then, in essence, we are trampling the name of Jesus under foot! We are to learn to hate that which sent Jesus to the cross in the first place! In fact, knowing that God loves justice, and that He hates sin, we should be able to understand His dealings with us at the judgment seat, with the issuance or the taking away of reward!
We were declared righteous at the moment we believed in Christ. At the judgment seat, it is our works that will be judged. Did we act as though we possessed God’s righteousness? Or not! All of our works, done in the power of the Spirit, motivated by the Scripture, will be judged to be worthy of reward. They were done by mouths, hands, feet, the “body” of Christ, of which He is the head. They are His works, accomplished by us, at His direction, His instruction.
Omniscience — God has an unbounded, universal knowledge of everything, everywhere at all times and at the same time. He knows the end from the beginning and will never be caught off-guard or by surprise.
Omnipresence — God is everywhere at the same time and at all times.
Omnipotence — God is Almighty, great, enormous, astonishing, fearsome, possessing ultimate power at all times.
Immutability — God is unchangeable. He never varies, and He is not capable of changing. In fact, He never needs to change. He is perfect! And He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
Eternal life — God is life; He is absolute existence, without beginning or end. Furthermore He has declared that His Words are life (John 6:63), and that His Words are our life (Deuteronomy 32:47). We have life in His WORD, Jesus, who is the embodiment and fulfillment of His Law, and in the written Word, the mind of Christ, (1Corinthians 2:16).
Sovereignty — God, alone, sets the standards, the rules. GOD rules! We enter into His plan, or not. We “play by His rules” or not. In either case, He will deal with us according to His fixed, unchangeable plan and His fixed, unchangeable nature. God is never confused, and He can never be compromised. He doesn’t “make deals.”
God’s essence is the structure of God’s Name. All three members of the Trinity possess the same characteristics. At all times, everything God does is based on the entirety of who He is (although different aspects of His character will be revealed to us at any given time, based on our own activity). Since all three members of the Trinity are of the same nature, the Word declares that “God is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4). And because of the nature of His being, God says, “I AM!” This is the name by which He first revealed Himself, (Exodus 3:14).
If I am called a Christian, then God’s Name has become my name! And by possessing His mind as my own, as I grow up into spiritual maturity, I will begin to bear a strong family resemblance. He has instructed me to find out what is acceptable to the LORD, (Ephesians 5:10). So the things that He hates, I will hate. What He wants me to do, that I will do. Am I walking worthy of the vocation to which I have been called, (Ephesians 4:1)? Although it will be impossible for me to achieve perfection in this life, I have to wonder, am I representing the Person of Jesus Christ with a character compatible with His own? Or am I bringing shame and disrespect to the family name? I must change! My LORD cannot!