Sunday, December 27, 2020


“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Acts 2:21

I’m a very literal person and I’ve pondered at this one for quite some time. But today God opened my mind to the answer. 

“Trust in the name of Jesus” is just one of many phrases that give value to Jesus’ name.  Yes, His name was declared by the angel who came to Mary announcing his upcoming birth (Luke 20:21).  Yes, it is a special name.  But why is it so special that trusting in it would grant you salvation?  It seems I understood this all along but never applied it to the name of Jesus.

Think of the words below for just a few seconds each:




I guarantee you we all have different thoughts towards those words. 

When thinking of turquoise, did you think about the stone, or the color, or perhaps the ocean water that is that color?

When you think of dog, is it of a pet you had? Did you feel sad remember a pet that died?  Perhaps was it a fearful feeling? Or perhaps you related it to the odor of a wet dog and dog hair all over furniture?

When you heard Hot, did you think of a stove top, a campfire, or a sporty hot rod car?  Or maybe, like me, you thought a sun scorching day at the beach.

When I named my children, I didn’t want them to have common names.  I was adamant about it.  With common names come connotations of those you’ve known in the past with that name, much like how you feel about the word’s turquoise, dog, and hot.  I wanted my children to be known only for who they are.  I saw that as a wide-open door for them to chart their own life without a tainting of someone else’s deeds, personality, or skills. 

I named my son Levingston Mauries.  His first name is from my great-grandfather, a man I loved and admired.  His middle name was from his father’s grandfather, whom he cherished.  But those two people were gone, and with them most of the memories of who they were.  There would not be another “Lev” in his life, and that was what I wanted for him.  And true to the path I desired, he has made the name his.  When we think of that name, we think of nothing else.  We think of his humor, his heart, his skills, and the love he has given us.

My daughter came 7 years later.  I had picked out three names for her: Madeline, Gabriella, and Isabella.  They were beautiful names that – at that time - were not popular.  Her middle name would be Grace, because I desired the grace God to be part of her life.  But we could not decide so I told Lev he could pick which one would be her name. 

When he first saw her, he chose Isabella.  But a few hours later he came to me in my hospital bed and quietly said “Mom, I don’t want to call her Isabella.  I want to call her Gabriella.”  And there you have it! Her name is Gabriella Grace.  She’s been known as Gabby since she was a toddler.  Is she a talker as the name implies? Not at all.  Gabby is somewhat reserved.  Has she made the name hers? Yes indeed!  The name Gabby now refers to her strong character, which is graceful, loving, somewhat quiet, full of thoughts and ambitions, and empathetic to others – especially old people and children. Yes, I can see God’s grace on her!

Even thought I wanted my children to have unique names that they could “fill”, I didn’t understand that the name Jesus was made precious in the same way.

Jesus came into this world special.  The name may or may not have belonged to others at that time.  But throughout His life, the name Jesus became many things. He “moved” into His name through his deeds towards others as a healer, and a savior.  He showed the name Jesus to be righteous indignation when throwing the money changers out of the temple.  He brought compassion to the name of Jesus when he shed tears at the tomb of Lazarus.  On the cross, and many times before He filled his name with mercy.  And at His death, he became the cornerstone of our faith, and a stumbling block to those who do not believe. His name is great, powerful, precious, divine, and so many other things because it is the title given to who He is. 

The word NAME as used in the Greek text of Acts 2:21 is based on the word onoma.  Strong’s defines it as “the name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, for one's rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds etc.”

The name Jesus isn’t a magical incantation, wizardly letters placed in a formula that causes miracles, healing, salvation, and inflicts fear on demons.  Taking it onto your prayer “in Jesus name” does not turn the wheels of heaven.  Instead, it is the BEING of Jesus Christ, all His works, all His feelings, all His love, and all His deeds.  Jesus, the name above every other name – because He has lived above all of us and sacrificed His life to free us.  

What a beautiful name!

Friday, December 18, 2020

Keep Calm and Walk through the Fire


My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  – James 1: 2-4

This is a testimonial.

A few months ago I posted two pieces of paper to the top of my monitors.  One says Wisdom, and the other says Patience.  They were to be reminders for me during the day to pray for both of these spiritual qualities. 

I should preface this by confessing that I have what a cook would call a “scant” of patience.  That’s why I’m praying for it.  Being impatient is hard! There’s no peace to be found when your patience is gone. 

The worst is the grocery store. If I’m in the grocery line, I’m internally panting like a dog for water in the summer heat for the person in front of me to just move along!  Walking through the isles marked “enter here” and “do not enter”? Oh for Pete’s sake! That takes too long when you’re not going through each isle and I must confess…I did not keep with the rules of the isles! And if you’ve parked your buggy up against the isle where I need something, I’ll let you know by pushing your buggy and saying, “excuse me”.  I don’t wait.

It’s also a problem at work.  If meetings go on and on about something I feel is important, I’ll multitask my way through the boredom.  If I’m waiting for someone to join a call, it’s all I can bare to wait 3 minutes past start time!  I prefer my conversations to go like this:  I ask a question, I get an immediate answer, the end.  I used to be much different, wanting small talk and friendliness.  But something has changed even in my communication skills, and I do believe it’s my patience.

When I posted the word Patience on top of my monitor I truly desired to pray and receive more patience.  Yes, I know that many of you will warn NOT to pray for patience because God will work you through tests to get it.  Yes, I know that even James 1 begins discussion on patience by noting “various trials”.

Here’s what I can tell you first had about praying for patience.  Yes, the trials did come.  I can only remember the big ones but there were many little ones too.  In July, I broke my leg and sprained the other.  Talk about having to have patience for yourself to be able to do what you normally do – that was a test.  Having to ask for help…what a test! But I did!

Then in October, the internet stopped working and two months later I have been to technical hell and back with three different carriers, and 4 different internet plans.  I now have four routers: 1 that is working, 2 that became too expensive to use, and one that won’t work no matter what I’m told to do, and an expensive smart mesh network that won’t work with three of those routers. (I’ve not had time to try it on the latest).

Small things happened along the way just to break open the scab on my healing frustrations, such as the microwave door not closing and therefore working.  I did remain “somewhat” patience in that one and fixed it myself with a paper clip!  I had a glass storm door I ordered to make letting our dog out easier delivered in August but could not find anyone to install it till November!  Also in August, I began having work done on the back yard which turned into a five-month fiasco.  We had to walk across an old door to get from patio to yard for several months and live with a muddy trench around our patio.  And just like the Egyptians, there were frogs! 

Then came a root canal in November, which was followed by COVID!  Covid I’m sure was to shake me up and try to scare me.  Friends, at this point my patience had grown callouses on top of callouses from being worked over!  I didn’t fear it because I know my God, and I know His love for me.  But…losing my taste buds…OH FATHER! Can I cry uncle now?

I can’t taste anything – sweet, sour, bitter, umami, nothing.  It’s either wet, dry, cold, warm, hot, chewy, smooth, or crunchy.  That’s all I taste – and I’m GRATEFUL even for that.  But I cannot cook without tasting what I’m cooking, and cooking is my go-to in the evenings to shed the work stress and get creative. 

So how did my patience grow?  SLOWLY like a stone being beaten by river water.  Am I there yet?  On no, not yet.  Will I know when I am full of patience?  That remains to be seen. 

But yesterday I had an incident, another trial, and I was very happy with how I responded.  Our heating unit (one of two) went out overnight Wednesday night.  I had to call yesterday morning to see when the service man could get here.  I was truly hoping for yesterday morning before I had to leave for a COVID retest (it was NEGATIVE!).  You know – I wanted it to fit within my plans because that’s how us control freaks like it.  But when I was told he could not get to it till today….hold on to your chair….I was calm!  I WAS PATIENT! I went to the store after testing and got a couple of heaters and we’re warm and toasty. 

The underlying question I’m sure everyone has is: Is it worth it to go through the trials to gain patience?  Oh Lord, I would say YES.  There is such a peace to be found in being patience with others and with situations that are out of your control.  Friends, the frustrations of this life are there to refine us, like fire to silver.  But a lack of patience spiritually will throw water on that fire. 

James 1:4 says “But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” By lacking nothing we’re not talking about material things, we’re talking about something greater, something eternal.  You’ll be lacking nothing in your spiritual warfare, your spiritual fiber, your Christlike character.  Jesus is our peace (Ephesians 2:14).  When you grow patience, you open the door to allow that peace to overcome your frustrations and the chaos of this life.

Does that one incident, one spark of patience, mean I’ve arrived?  One does not proclaim victory in a war by winning a single battle!  But I will tell you this.  I’ll keep praying for patience and I’ll keep walking through the fire until my maker either takes me home or I meet his requirements for patience.  Why? Because I seek peace in this world. And I know those around me will have more peace when I am at peace.

Love to you all!