and gave him the name that is above every name,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
to the glory of God the Father.
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:21
“Gip” Hardin, a Methodist preacher, named his son after the famous preacher John Wesley, reflecting Gip’s hopes and aspirations for his baby boy. John Wesley Hardin, however, tragically chose a different path than his ministry-minded namesake. Claiming to have killed forty-two men, Hardin became one of the most notorious gunfighters and outlaws of the American West of the late 1800s.
In the Bible, as in many cultures today, names hold special significance. Announcing the birth of God’s Son, an angel instructed Joseph to name Mary’s child “Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The meaning of Jesus’s name—“Jehovah saves”—confirmed His mission to save from sin.
Unlike Hardin, Jesus completely and thoroughly lived up to His name. Through His death and resurrection, He accomplished His mission of rescue. John affirmed the life-giving power of Jesus’s name, saying, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). The book of Acts invites everyone to trust Him, for, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
All who call on Jesus’s matchless name in faith can experience for themselves the forgiveness and hope He provides. Have you called on His name?
Thank You, Father, for providing salvation through Your Son, Jesus. I love You.
Jesus’s name is also His mission—to seek and to save that which was lost.
True surrender is not simply surrender of our external life but surrender of our will— and once that is done, surrender is complete. The greatest crisis we ever face is the surrender of our will. Yet God never forces a person’s will into surrender, and He never begs. He patiently waits until that person willingly yields to Him. And once that battle has been fought, it never needs to be fought again.
Surrender for Deliverance. “Come to Me…and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). It is only after we have begun to experience what salvation really means that we surrender our will to Jesus for rest. Whatever is causing us a sense of uncertainty is actually a call to our will— “Come to Me.” And it is a voluntary coming.
Surrender for Devotion. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…” (Matthew 16:24). The surrender here is of my self to Jesus, with His rest at the heart of my being. He says, “If you want to be My disciple, you must give up your right to yourself to Me.” And once this is done, the remainder of your life will exhibit nothing but the evidence of this surrender, and you never need to be concerned again with what the future may hold for you. Whatever your circumstances may be, Jesus is totally sufficient (see 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Philippians 4:19).
Surrender for Death. “…another will gird you…” (John 21:18; also see John 21:19). Have you learned what it means to be girded for death? Beware of some surrender that you make to God in an ecstatic moment in your life, because you are apt to take it back again. True surrender is a matter of being “united together [with Jesus] in the likeness of His death” (Romans 6:5) until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to Him.
And after you surrender— then what? Your entire life should be characterized by an eagerness to maintain unbroken fellowship and oneness with God.
I Need to Be by Myself
By: Bob Segress, Author
“A man who isolates Himself seeks his own desire.” Proverbs 18:1
My loving wife told me: “Honey, you are cutting yourself off from the Holy Spirit’s comfort and healing hands. Our friends at church miss you and want to hug you and share their love with you.”
I thought, “Look at me, I should be by myself.”
Tears came to my eyes because I was different. But, my gentle, tender wife still looked at me through the eyes of love.
I had been home from the hospital for a few weeks after a two-month sequence that included: blood spitting pneumonia, a massive stroke and then extensive pulmonary embolisms in both lungs. Two of my attending physicians told me that I had been given: “a Divine reprieve to a death sentence, enjoy it”; “a miracle”.
I wasn’t doing much enjoying. I felt more like a damaged vegetable and looked like something you wouldn’t take home from the market.
My wife felt I was isolating myself too much as I felt better being alone and just passively watching T.V. Without knowing it, I was falling into one of the devil’s schemes, but my angel wouldn’t give up. She came to me and laid my head on her lap. Then, I felt Jesus’ warm presence as I had in the Valley of Death. I felt Him say: “It is alright my son, I cried too.” As my wife kissed my face, His love filled my broken heart with peace and gratitude.
The story behind this tender moment between my wife, myself and my Lord happened after she had watched me for several weeks after coming home from the hospital.
It is a surprisingly new experience when your heart, lungs, and hearing stop and you discover how quiet things really are without your heart and lung sounds anymore. I discovered a beauty, silence, and peace that I didn’t want to leave.
I’m glad my Shepherd brought me back from the Valley of Death where I went blank. He brought me back so that my dear wife and my children didn’t have to grieve yet. I feel another reason He brought me back is so I can tell His children what it is like to die. In death we are blank and can’t think, pray, quote verses, or move a muscle. We only feel the presence of our Shepherd and that’s enough.
I began to lose my blankness after a few days in the hospital. Miraculously, I’m back to my writing ministry, which is a miracle in itself, as after my stroke I couldn’t put two sentences together. I learned that death is nothing to fear as He has conquered death. “Oh, death where is your sting? O grave where is your victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)
God’s injured children need different degrees of isolation as a part of recovering from trauma. Whether it be divorce, death, or disease — time to heal is necessary.
However, I learned that isolation that cuts a person off from our Lord’s healing hands is a scheme of the devil. Jesus told His sheep to “Come unto Me you who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28. We need the Holy Spirit’s healing love that flows through the touch and prayers of God’s children and the words found in the bread of life.
Bring your broken and lonely heart to Jesus and His children and allow them to touch you, as I did. You will find the love and confidence you have lost. Thankfully, pro-active Love imparts the cure to desiring “isolation” and “seeking our own desire.”