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John Bressler - A rose by any other name ...
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What's in a name? Read Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" to get his very long and involved answer. Anyway, a Tennessee judge told some parent that she could not use the name she had given her child on his birth certificate.

"The name?" you ask. How about Messiah?

I believe I understand the judge's hesitation as she is a strongly convinced Christian that to name a child "Messiah" would be trivial at best and somewhat blasphemous at worst. She stated that the only one worthy of the title Messiah would be Jesus. While I do not disagree with her on the remarkable uniqueness of the "Anointed One," she may not be aware that God calls Cyrus the Great His Messiah in Isaiah 45:1. (This statement is used only once in the O.T.)

When we begin to name our newborn children — and these are truly gifts from God — we spend a lot of serious time deciding what his or her name has to be. I say, "Has to be" because not only do we want the name to be unique and special but an announcement to the world about his or her future.

Some parents seem to take the process of naming their offspring as a game and a way to shock the public or get some notoriety rather than a serious endeavor.

I have read such names as Paavo, Toyota, Corrvossier, Zeppelin, Jaxx and Moxie Crime Fighter. I personally wished my folks had named me Spike, Rambo, Knuckles, Cool Breeze, Kirk, Mongo or perhaps Swede. I really liked my name, John, until I found out that folks used the name John as a euphemism for an outhouse. Why didn't people name those privies after the inventor? Well, they did, but his name has fallen by the wayside, so to speak.

If history is correct, most children were known by the family name. Few, if any, children would simply reply that his or her name was Fred or Shirley. They would say, "I am the son of, or the daughter of," and then would give the surname and perhaps add an occupation like, "I am Byron, son of Brown, the mason."

When identified in this way, the individual was actually letting everyone know that he or she represented the honor and reputation of the family. Children would hold that honor with the deepest respect and act accordingly. A name was more than just a word. It was an announcement of integrity and responsibility and very few would dishonor that privilege.

I still remember the time in North Carolina when I worked for my grandfather and he sent me to the hardware store for some supplies. I had picked up several pounds of various nails he needed for a job and had been told to have the cost put on his account.

The owner asked, "Who's getting this?"

I said, "I'm getting these nails for my grandfather, Bryant Brown."

He smiled and said, "It's done. You tell Dad Brown that I said he's always welcome at my store."

He didn't just give those nails to me. He gave them to Dad Brown and Dad Brown always paid his bills on time. I'll never forget that moment and the trust between those two men.

Remember when Moses asked God, "Who shall I say sent me? What's the name of the God who speaks to me?"

To know the name of a god was to have power over that god. "What's His name?"

God's answer was to the point. "Tell them that 'I Am' sent you!"

"I Am" is an etymology or history of the usage of God's name YHWH, which is not to be translated lightly. It's almost like God said, "Tell these Yahoos that, 'The One who causes everything to be,' sent you. My name is not magic and no one controls Me. You need to know nothing more!"

Yes, Jesus has been called, "The Lamb of God," "The Messiah," "Teacher," "Rabbi," "Wonderful," "Counselor," "King of Kings," "Lord of Lords" and "The Carpenter's Son," and "Son of David." Above all names, He is called by the disciples, "Truly, You are the Son of God!"

Simon Peter said, "You are God's Anointed One, the Son of the living God!"

I believe it is the parent's responsibility to name their children wisely. Every child carries his or her name with pride forever. I can't wait until the moment when God says to me, "John, enter the joy which has been prepared for you!"

Thanks, God.


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