Tag Archives: christian

Whose name do you wear?

Several months ago the church I serve began urging members to wear name tags. Each time we gather I’m careful to pin my name tag onto my jacket so others will be able to identify me. But I’ve been wearing that name since shortly after my birth. I’m glad to tell others that the meaning of Timothy is “honoring God”.

We don’t often consider the meaning of the names we give our children. Perhaps we should. A story carried by Reuters on November 17, 2009 tells about a company in London, England that will help parents-to-be avoid hanging undesirable monikers on their children. One example given was the name Suri, given by a celebrity couple to their newborn daughter. Would they have named her that if they had known it means “pickpocket” in Japanese, or “turned sour” in French? (For a hefty price, the company will give you the meaning of a name in 100 languages.)

To an extent we already avoid giving our children names that stir up negative images. When was the last time you heard of a girl being named Jezebel, or of a son named Judas? There are many such names that most people would never dream of calling their little ones. We also tend to avoid names that point to the opposite gender. Johnny Cash’s popular song, “A Boy Named Sue”, reminded us that such names can lead to unfortunate consequences.

In the Bible we commonly find names being given because of some quality seen in that child. Esau, the older twin born to Isaac and Rebekah, was so named because he was hairy (Genesis 25:25). God chose the names for each of the prophet Hosea’s three children, with each name saying something about the future of God’s people (Hosea 1:3-11).

Another prophet, Isaiah, spoke of a new name that God would bestow upon His people: “The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name” (Isaiah 62:2). The immediate application of that promise was to Israel. God would restore the fortunes of His people after a time of punishment. But was there another meaning, a more enduring one, behind that prophecy?

Many point to Acts 11:26 as the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “… And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” It may be, as some suggest, that “Christian” was first meant as a slur by the enemies of Christ’s followers. Nonetheless, the name certainly caught on. Years later Peter would acknowledge the nobility of this name: “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter” (1 Peter 4:16).

I’m glad to have been given the name Timothy. But I’m far more joyful for the privilege of being called “Christian”. No one lived a more compassionate, powerful and victorious life than Jesus Christ. By wearing His name, I and millions of others have dedicated ourselves to being more like the Master. More than just wearing the name, it is incentive to rise above what we have been to become a blessing as He is.

The Preacher long ago observed that “A good name is better than precious ointment.” You’ll find no better name than that of Christ. Will you take His name as your own and become a blessing to others?

–Timothy D. Hall

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How can you bear to slaughter those cute little lambs?

NAMING THE SHEEP

The following story comes from Julie Helms in Christian Reader, “Lite
Fare”:

My husband and I, with our two daughters, operate a small sheep farm.  One day a non-farming friend asked, “How can you bear to slaughter those cute little lambs?”

My husband explained, “We don’t want to get emotionally attached to the ones we plan to eat, so we don’t give them names.”

Not satisfied, the friend probed, “What about your kids?”

Her husband quickly replied, “Oh, we name them!”

While very few of us are personally familiar with sheep and shepherds, the relationship between the two is one of the most powerful images in the Bible used to describe the relationship between Christ and his followers.  The loving care shown by shepherds to their flock, and the willingness of sheep to utterly depend on what the shepherd can provide offer a glimpse of our personal relationship with the good shepherd.   While it may seem to be a small thing, our name plays a significant role in that relationship.

“He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:2-3)

“He calls his own sheep by name.”  Though there are many disciples of Christ around the world, we are not just “one of the masses”, not just a number.  We are intimately known and loved by the good shepherd.  He knows us by name.   It tells us not only that he cares about us, but that he plans
for his relationship with us to be a lasting one.

May the fact that your shepherd knows your name give you comfort this
day.

Alan Smith

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Two VERY different ways to live

A typical life for many unbelievers

Age 1 to 10:  Jack’s parents do not love Jesus.  They are not concerned about teaching Jack to know the Lord.  They spoil him with lots of toys.  He becomes a selfish, undisciplined child.
Age 11 to 20:  Jack dresses in the latest style.  He is interested primarily in sports and girls.  He also turns his attention to money, something he will need if he will support the lifestyle he has in mind.
Age 21 to 30:  Jack starts a very successful business.  He marries Jill, the most popular cheerleader in college.  They go deeply into debt to build a beautiful house in an elite subdivision.  They drive expensive cars.
Age 31 to 40: Jack and Jill decide to have one child.  Jack’s business thrives.  Their friends are of high society.
Age 41 to 50:  Jack needs to get away from the pressures of business.  He buys a yacht.  He begins to think seriously of early retirement.  Jack Jr. is causing problems in school.  Jill is threatening to break up their marriage.  Jack’s hair is flecked with gray.
Age 51 to 60:  Jack is retired.  Jill is gone.  Jack Jr. is in prison on drug related charges.  Money is no problem.  Jack’s hair has turned gray.  There are dark circles under his eyes.
Age 61 to 70:  Jack is diagnosed with an incurable disease.  He is devastated.  A pitiful, stoop—shouldered man looks at him from the mirror.  There is not a trace of the dashing youth of half a century ago.  Where did time go?
Age 71 to 80:  Jack lies awake at night, staring wide-eyed at the black ceiling.  When will the end come?  Where will he go?  What does the future hold for one who is so old?

The other choice:

Age 1 to 10:  John’s parents love Jesus.  They are concerned about teaching John to know the Lord.  He learns the disciplines of holding still in church, sharing his toys, and doing chores.
Age 11 to 20:  John dresses simply and modestly.  He is diligent in school and an eager student of God’s Word.  He lends a steady hand to farm work.
Age 21 to 30:  John marries Jane, a godly woman who feels a strong desire to take the Gospel to a foreign culture.  They live frugally and start a family.
Age 31 to 40:  John and Jane answer the call to serve on a foreign mission.  Finances are tight.  Their friends are the poor people of another culture.
Age 41 to 50:  John sometimes feels weary in the toil of the church, but Jane encourages him at every turn. He sells some property to help a needy family.  the children love their school and fluently speak a second language.  John’s hair is flecked with gray.
Age 51 to 60:  John is tireless.  Jane is gone; cancer took her.  Money is a problem.  John’s hair has turned gray.  John Jr. is also involved in mission outreach.  Money is a problem.  John’s hair has turned gray.  There are dark circles under his eyes.
Age 61 to 70:  John is diagnosed with an incurable disease.  He is resigned.  A pitiful, stoop-shouldered man looks at him from the mirror.  There is not a trace of the strong youth of half a century ago.  Where did time go?
Age 71 to 80:  John lies awake at night, staring thoughtfully at the black ceiling.  “Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” he murmurs.  When can he go?  Oh, when will he step on the streets of Gold?
Gary Miller, Pantego, NC
Used with permission

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The Azerbaijani, Basque, Armenian, Haitian Creole,

Georgian, and Urdu languages now have a study on “how to become a Christian” in their native tongues. 

At the present time the study on how to be a “New Testament Christian” is in 58 different languages.

Matt 28:18-20:  And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.  19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:  20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

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How to become a Christian

The free translation service from Google seems to work pretty well.  If you are a preacher or Bible class teacher, you can easily make your sermons and classes available to just under 60 different languages for free.

My study on “how to become a Christian” and the information on “New Testament Christianity” has now been put into every language Google currently supports.  This information is available using the links below or my  “how to become a Christian” page.

Afrikaans
Albanian

Arabic –  كيف تصبح مسيحياً

 

Belarusian
Bulgarian
Catalan
Simple Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
English
Estonian
Filipino
Finnish
French
Galician
German
Greek
Hebrew  
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Indonesian
Irish
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Latvian
Lithuanian
Macedonian
Malay
Maltese
Norwegian
Persian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Serbian
Slovak
Slovenian
Spanish
Swahili
Swedish
Thai
Turkish
Ukrainian
Vietnamese
Welsh
Yiddish



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SHARING WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU

What is the most important thing to you in your life? Normally, after spending just a few minutes with someone you will know the answer to that question. You will hear about their children or grand children. Perhaps they will tell you about their club or social network group. It could be that you will learn very quickly about their love for or involvement with some sport. The point is that we are anxious to share what is of real interest to us or of real importance. It’s not a problem for us to learn the rules to the games, to learn the player’s names, the type of crocheted patterns you like or the hunting or fishing technique you especially like. We share what is important to us!

Think about this: Some years ago a commuter on the Long Island Railroad was know to every regular rider of the 5 p.m. local run. He was a well dressed, soft spoken young man who lived at Jamaica. Every evening after the train left the subway; he would stand up and go to the front of the car. He would speak to every passenger, saying, “Excuse me; but if any of your family or friends are blind, tell them to consult Dr. Garl. He restored my sight.”

You see, he was sharing what was really important to him with courage and confidence. He didn’t argue or try to persuade anyone he was right. He told each person about the one who had opened his eyes. He had good news and he shared it with everyone he could.

Each of us who profess to be Christians have good news even more important to share! Why don’t we do more of it? After Jesus healed the man possessed with many demons in Mark 5 notice what took place: “When Jesus got back into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go, too. But Jesus said, ‘No, go home to your friends, and tell them what wonderful things the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been’.” (V. 18-19)

How often do we remember what wonderful things the Lord has done for us or how merciful he has been to us? Far too often we take it for granted, it seems it is normal for us as humans to forget, even when great things are done for us. Could it be time to recommitting yourself today, to begin sharing the Good News with others around you whenever you have the opportunity?

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