What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name?  I think we could say, most everything important is ‘named.’  A name identifies each of us apart from the other, it unites us a family, it signals us to stay away from someone or something, it signifies worth as well as uselessness.

I still remember how I felt the first time my husband (then boyfriend), Tony, said my name; the first time he said my name followed by “I love you.” ~ complete bliss I tell ya!!  *It was on December 23, 1988 around 6pm to be exact.* The memory of that moment still gives me chills and 25 years of marriage later, I am still thrilled every time I hear him say my name.  I am blessed to have shared his name for all these years.  There have been many other “firsts” when it comes to names: naming our children, claiming Jesus as my Savior, praying for friends by name, even having nicknames for our kids, and the list goes on and on.

Oh, there is just so much in a name!  Can you tell this excites me?!

One of the sweetest names I’ve been called is “mother.”  Literally…all three of our girls, at some point in their life, went through a phase of calling me ‘mother’ ~ it totally freaked Tony out but I thought it was cute.  I cherished their sweet little voices as they called me, Mother, while they were still saying it in a reverent way.  Our youngest Sierra threw us all a curve ball, when she decided to call Tony and I “da-ma” ~ short for “Dad & Mom” ~ basically meaning, “whoever hears me first, come get me!”

Whenever any of our three daughters’ have gone out of the house with friends or when we drop them off for an event, we remind them of their name: “Remember that you’re a Bancroft. Remember who you are and WHO you belong to.  Make wise choices!”  We started this a long time ago, and at 22, almost 20, and 16 ~ we still say it!

Isaiah 43:1b is one of my favorite portions of scripture because it specifically talks about “my name.”  It says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine.”

God calls me by name….MY name….and I am HIS!!

 Talk about shivers!

As we have the privilege of God calling us by name, we can do the same with Him. This verse in Isaiah (above) is just one of numerous places found in scripture where the Lord acknowledges us.  He knows YOUR name and loves to call you to Him and sing praises over you.  Do you know that He does that?

Zephaniah 3:17“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Sit here for a moment and let those words melt over your heart and mind.  Whatever it is that you are in the midst of right at this very moment, I am praying that you will call upon the MIGHTY NAME of the Lord and ask Him to bring your peace and comfort.  It may be with tears streaming down your face, or it may with a loud triumphant voice….speak this verse out loud and receive the truth of God’s Word.  HE is here for you and He knows your name!

The Lord’s name carries power and authority and is to be honored, and certainly not to be taken for granted.  It is most assuredly not to be taken in vain.  We forget so many times that we have the power within us, the strength in the name of Jesus living inside of us as believers in Him.  But there is a difference in just believing in God, and in calling Him our Savior.

Philippians 2:9-11 gives this promise, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is 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.”

It is crystal clear the power and authority the name of Jesus carries.  Because His name can be fully and completely trusted, His Word can be fully and completely trusted!

Let’s look at a few more verses ~

Psalm 9:10 “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Psalm 91:14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”

Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

His promises can be believed!  When the lord says that He WILL do something ~ he WILL do it!  It may not always look like we want it to, but it will come to pass in His direct promise, timing, and command.  We have seen over and over in the Old Testament scriptures telling us about the life of King David.  David called on the name of the Lord with an immediacy and with a deep sense of integrity for all that he accomplished and all that he was given.  Because David’s priorities were in order, the Lord gave David victory wherever he went and whatever he did.  2 Samuel 8:15 says, “David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.”  David knew WHO had the right to be honored and he gave the name of the Lord all the credit.  King David recognized that God prepares us for things that many times only He knows will come about.  Even later in his life, in the transgressions that took place with Bathsheba, the Lord was still present and David knew he could call on the name of God to forgive him and restore him to right relationship with HIM.  That gift wasn’t just for the O.T. King David..it’s for you and I in today’s world.

I love the story in Genesis of how God interacted with Hagar after being cast out of her home by a jealous Sarai.  Hagar is the only woman in scripture who was given the privilege of GIVING God a name, El Roi ~ The God Who Sees Me.

Genesis 16:13“So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
I have read this story and heard the story told more times than I can count.  Yet today, the living word of God has once again come alive to me in a brand new way.  I believe God revealed something to me so I could share it with you today.
What is one of the deepest desires we have as women?  To be seen and to be known….truly known and valued for who we are created to be.  And what did God do ~ He chose a woman to give HIM the name, El Roi.  The impact of this honor is hitting me so freshly today that it’s completely taken me off guard.  God doesn’t just peek into my life every now and then, He is SEEING me every day and looks after me.  He sees YOU even (and I think, especially when) you don’t realize He’s there.  He knows my name and I can call on His name at any moment of the night or day.
I remember one day when I picked up our oldest, Caitlin, from a day at Kindergarten.  She immediately burst into tears when she got in the car.  She proceeded to tell me that while they were playing ‘house’ during recess she got to be ‘the mom’ but the other kids told her that she had to have a different last name to match ‘the dad.’  I was really trying hard not to giggle during this conversation because it was clear that Caitlin was taking this very seriously.  Well, this interaction at school quickly turned into a conversation on being married someday ~ oh how I wished I could’ve heard the exchange between this group of 5 year-olds!  However, I still wasn’t understanding why Caitlin was crying so hard.
By this time we were home and she was still sniffling a bit.  I sat down on the couch with her, she looked up to me with these big blue weepy eyes and said, “I don’t want to stop being a Bancroft.”  Oh my sweet girl!  We talked about how she will always be a Bancroft but that someday God would bless her with a husband and she would get a new name.  She would never stop being a part of our family, but she would be blessed with a new family.  Now that she’s 22, I should ask her again what she feels about this whole “last name” business.
When we call Jesus our SAVIOR, we are taking His name above all others.  He gives us new names too: Child of God, Royal Priesthood, Daughter, Son, Adopted, Holy & Righteous, Precious Child…and so many more!
There are a lot of worship & praise songs I love to sing, but the verse in one of them makes my heart swell…“He knows my name, He knows my every thought, He sees each tear that falls and hears me when I call.”  There is not one part of my life, my heart, or my mind that God doesn’t know and see.  There is nothing I can hide from Him.  He wants a true and transparent relationship with us.
He has a plan for us to use the gifts and talents that He’s given us in order to glorify His name!  We can call on His powerful Name in times of rejoicing and in times of strife ~ and He will call us by our name!  Allow Him to remind you that you ARE fearfully and wonderfully made!  He loves you and He cherishes you.
My prayer for you today, is that you will send away those lies from the enemy about who he tricks you into believing your are.  Send them to the pit where they belong!!  Reclaim your name as a Daughter of the King and trust that He has a perfect plan tailored specifically to you and your uniqueness.
El Roi sees you…He loves you….and He knows your name!
Blessings,
  Rene’

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