Monday, June 19, 2017

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Karen and I had some of the most exciting summers of our life spending a lot of time on Indian res¬ervations and making some wonderful friends in Native America. Some have even honored us with Indian names. My friend, Joe, gave me the Lakota name for "traveler". That figures. I re¬member the night Karen got into a snowball fight with some junior high girls that she'd met on the Lakota reservation. I think they were surprised that a mature woman would take them on in a snow battle in which she was outnumbered 4 to 1. Actually, Karen started it to break the ice. Of course, I would never intend to pun. Later, she called it the Little Bighorn II. But those girls were so im¬pressed, they gave Karen a name, which they still called her years later - Snowball. Then there was the night Karen picked up a mop handle to try to bring down the bat that was flying all over the dining hall where our mission team girls were trying to sleep. At breakfast the next morning one Native team leader gave Karen another Indian name - Kills With One Swing. Our experiences mirror what has long happened among Native Americans on a much more serious level, having experiences with a person and then celebrating it by giving them a name.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Names That Tell the Story."

Among another tribal people, God's ancient people the Jews, names were important there, too. Especially the ones they gave God based on how they had experienced His love and power and holiness. The psalmist talked about it in our word for today from the Word of God, Psalm 89:15-16, "Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in Your name all day long; they exalt in Your glory and strength. For You are their glory and strength." He's talking here about people who walked with God through life situations and they learned to celebrate what God has meant to them there by "rejoicing in Your name."

But like our Indian friends, they often gave God a name that captured their experiences with Him. Think about the 23rd Psalm, after years of being led by the Lord and provided for faithfully, David says, "The Lord is my Shepherd." When Moses watched the Lord defeat a dreaded enemy army, he called the Lord "The Lord is my Banner." An army's banner was the standard under which they fought their battles. For Moses from that day on, the banner was Jehovah God.

What if you were to summarize and celebrate your daily walk with God by giving Him a name that sums up how you've experienced Him that day, or maybe you can use one of the many names He already has in the Bible. It's a powerful way to praise Him, to draw close to Him, to bring some life into your worship of your great Savior.

For example, the other day in a team prayer time, I asked some of our team members this question, "If you were to give God a name based on how you saw Him in your life yesterday, what name would you give Him?" One said, "The 'Way-Maker" and explained how God had gone ahead of him and opened doors. Another said, "Divine Matchmaker" because of how God had connected some people to get His work done. My administrative assistant said, "My Protector" because of the way the Lord had protected her in a near-accident.

What about you? If you were to sum up in a name how God worked in your life yesterday, what name would you give Him? Think about it, tell Him about it, and worship Him for how He has been that for you.

Walk in His presence, acclaim Him for how you experience Him and rejoice in your name for Him all day long. When Native Americans want to honor a person and capture their character in a word, they honor them with a name. Our Lord deserves no less.

Praise God each day with a Name that tells how He was God for you today.