What is Your Name?

Have you heard gospel singer, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard’s song, You know My Name? Do you believe it?

It’s true. It’s scriptural.

God knows the names of all who are His.

Early this morning as I read John 10, I saw verse 3 in a different light. It says: “To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.”



What was revealed to me was, he not only knows my government name – that name my parents registered me in – but he knows me by the name, “Christian.” That, is also my name.

I started thinking and questioning myself: Am I living up to my name? You see, once we are covered in the blood of Jesus and have a personal relationship with God, then are we truly Christians. Christian is not simply saying we believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit or we are Christian because we attend church and are affiliated with the Christian faith. It’s living out the Christian life in word and in deed from the way we speak to people to how we handle them, to whether we are putting God first…do we love Him and love our neighbours as ourselves?

Don’t they look similar? You can barely tell the difference.



Further, Exodus 20:7 speaks to not taking the name of the Lord our God in vain. That’s not only casually dropping His name as a swear word or in a joke. When we say we are Christian, but don’t live as Christians, that’s also taking His name in vain. It’s like pretending to be a part of the royal family, but not being blue-blooded. It’s easy to dress the part, speak the language and blend in. But when Jesus looks upon us, can He call us by the name, “Christian”?

Just as there is fake news, there are fake Christians. The sad thing is there are those who are tares, growing among the wheat, but the time will come for there to be separation. Let us ensure we are not among those who say in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” However, God responds: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23). Lord, God have mercy! For people to believe they are Christians…saved…but in the end, He never even knew them…this is sobering.

So are we living up to the name the Good Shepherd calls us? Let us examine ourselves to see that we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).




Growing in Christ,
Hadassah

My TV Blunder: The System-Shifting God!

When I worked as a television reporter, my worst on air experience was reporting live one evening during a week-long conference.

I don’t know what happened, but as I was speaking, suddenly my train of thought was derailed. I was on national tv and I didn’t remember what I was supposed to be saying. I got stuck. Trepidation set in. It was unbelievable! Yes, thousands of people watching live and I went silent. I wanted to walk away from the camera on live tv. And I can tell you that in broadcasting, silence for a few seconds could feel like a few minutes. It was an AWFUL experience.

Thank God I was able to recalibrate and finish the report, but I felt so badly that I went home, threw myself in bed and sulked. I was so embarrassed. I beat myself up badly.

I remember entering the newsroom the next day and being told by the main news anchor that she knew how I felt. She then gave me good advice: “Dassah, get straight to the point!” I took that and ran with it. This was my career at stake.

Interestingly, despite my public blunder, I wasn’t pulled from reporting live in the evening lineup the next day. That evening and for the rest of the week, I nailed it!

In fact, I was later told that when I was struggling in those moments the evening of the gaffe, the News Director was in the control room saying, “Come on Hadassah. Regroup!” I couldn’t hear her. I couldn’t see her. And I imagine that is just how God is rooting for us to get back on our feet when we make mistakes and fall.



In fact – and this is the amazing part – the next year when that same conference was held, I was bumped up from being the floor reporter to actually being the HOST of the live evening broadcast. And guess what? It was successful with no embarrassing moments. I went on to LOVE live broadcasts! As I now reminisce, all I could say is what has become my favourite quote: ‘Looka God!


I brought up this scenario in my life to prove that just as you are sitting there thinking you might not be worthy of that promotion, you don’t have sufficient experience to chair that committee, you don’t have the best grades to intern at that company, you’re not in the click, you’re too dark, you have no degree, you are the least worthy to represent the department, you are too old, too young, you just got hired, when you see UNWORTHY, God sees WORTHY. When man sees you as unqualified, God has already stamped QUALIFIED!



Let me give you three Biblical examples:

When Gideon was told that he would deliver Israel out of the hands of the Midianites, he said, “My family is poor in Manessah and I am the least in my father’s house (Judges 6:15).” But didn’t God qualify him and MIRACULOUSLY delivered his people?

When Sarah was told she would bear a child in her twilight years, she said, “After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? (Genesis 8:12).” But didn’t God raise up seed for this couple?

When Moses was told he was to go to Egypt and lead God’s people out of bondage, he said, “I am not eloquent…I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue (Exodus 4:10). Didn’t God make a way?

I am one who believes in people being worthy, but I am reminded that our version of worthy sometimes differs from God’s. Let’s not forget in 1 Samuel 16, the Lord “refused” SEVEN of Jesse’s sons before choosing David because “…man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (7). OKAY!

We serve a God who sees differently and is a system-shifting God. Ecclesiastes 10:7 is amazing and is proof as well! Solomon said, “I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.” Wouldn’t God shift the system JUST FOR YOU?

What are you doubting God can do? Don’t box Him in.

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

Still Waiting

Have you prayed over and repeatedly for something and still have yet to see it come to past?

Are you tired of praying about that situation, that problem…that desire…that longing?

Are you ready to throw in the towel?

Perhaps one of our issues is we are too focused on what WE want. We are humans and often, it’s all about us and what we desire. But what about what God wants?

My friend, who is a priest, once told me that God is more interested in who we become during the journey as opposed to just getting us to the destination.

As I think about this, it reminds me of a graduation. It’s such a big deal. Lots of bells and whistles. It’s an exciting day…but it’s ONE day. It’s that one day which culminates years of schooling in some instances. And trust me, I love graduations! They are worth celebrating. However, it’s the challenges we overcome, the victories, the failures, the late nights, early mornings, the tears, the difficult professors, perhaps the sitting out a semester for whatever reason…the journey of mountaintop and valley experiences, which all make the tassel worth the hassle. It’s all we have been through to get to that cap and gown, cross the stage, family-cheering moment.

So as you wait on what you have so earnestly prayed for, begin to take your focus off the destination and begin contemplating what God is doing in you during the journey. Is He trying to get you to be more patient? Is He desiring to strengthen your faith in Him? Is He saying, ‘You’re not ready. You want this more than you want me’? Is He saying, ‘My grace is sufficient’?

The reality is waiting can be hard (I know). Waiting can be lonely (I know). Waiting can be frustrating, particularly when we’ve been waiting long AND we see others – including those who do not serve the Lord – receiving some of the same requests we have been praying for (I know that too!). It might be weeks, months, years of prayer for healing, deliverance from low self esteem, a house, that new job, the husband, the baby, the salvation of your son, that scholarship, restoration of your marriage, that financial breakthrough etc. If God were to give us everything we want – and immediately at that – we would have no need to trust in Him. We would see Him as a magician.

So during these early morning hours, as I think about what I am waiting for, I encourage you – while I am encouraging myself in the Lord – to fix your eyes upon Jesus. Do not desire anything or anyone more than Him. Do not compare yourself to others. What God has for you…for me, we will get. Wait patiently. Wait on His timing. Wait faithfully. Worship while you wait. Get busy doing the work of the Lord, while you wait. Don’t waste your wait. Grow through it.


Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. ~ Psalm 27:14

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

Are you a lukewarm Christian?

You remember how it was when you started dating someone you were interested in? The butterflies in your stomach on that first, official outing or the racing heart when that number showed up on your phone…the long hours of phone conversations.

Then at some point, that excitement wanes. The mountaintop experiences might be fewer and farther between. And if you are not intentional about reassessing your WHY and pushing the reset button, you can end up just being two people who seem obligated to stay with each other. Those flames become really low and in some cases, only the embers remain of a once burning love.

The reality is, no relationship is on a high at all times. No relationship is perfect. But just as we humans might have – or maybe not – done all we could to revive and save a natural relationship, how much more should we strive to bring in alignment our spiritual relationship with our heavenly Father?

Are you lukewarm in your relationship with God? Have you lost your first love?


Recently, my mind has been on Revelation 2:4-5. It is a message to the church of Ephesus and to many of us today. God told them they had “left (their) first love” (4). What’s interesting here is that God did not leave them; they left Him. He continues to want to be in relationship with us.

This state is similar to the church of the Laodiceans in chapter 3, of whom he told in verses 15 and 16 that they were neither hot nor cold – and He would rather them be one or the other – but instead, they were lukewarm. In that case, he would spue them out of his mouth. Very strong, serious language here.

Look, I know what it feels like to be dry in my relationship with God. I recognize that this has happened at times when I am distracted. I get so busy with life. I put God on my to-do list, but He’s not first. I squeeze Him in, but don’t give Him the attention He deserves. And I can tell you that when I’m not getting in the Word in a very intentional way and spending time with God in a meaningful way, I feel empty. I could tell the difference. I become spiritually malnourished. I need food and water. Once I recognize this, I confess where I am and am intentional about getting back on track. Staying in that condition is spiritually dangerous.


Like a natural relationship, sometimes we have to regroup. Revitilization might be necessary. Here are a few tips:

1) Confess to God how you are feeling.

2) Ask God’s guidance on the way forward.

3) Study the Bible in a different way. Instead of trying to get through a whole book right now, perhaps study a particular character. Can you identify with that character? Can you learn from that character’s mistakes and/or triumphs? How about studying who God says you are in Christ Jesus? Maybe study the miracles of Jesus or study all events leading up to Christ crucifixion, comparing and contrasting the details in the gospels.

4) Begin studying with a Christian friend or a small group for new, fresh insight into the Word. Pick a day and time, and stick to it. You might be surprised at what others outside of your regular study crew might reveal through the Holy Spirit.

5) Make it a point to literally stop what you are doing and pray throughout the day. Connect with God, not only when you need Him or during morning and night devotion. For example, I LITERALLY pray audibly when driving. I sometimes have church all by myself! I sometimes intentionally stop what I’m doing at my desk and pray. You can even decide on lunch time prayer meetings with a friend, family member or colleague. It doesn’t have to be in person. Use WhatsApp to voice or video call, or hey, there’s Zoom too! Walk outside, go to your car…whatever is convenient.

5) Play worship music when you can, throughout the day – whenever possible. If not, quietly sing songs or hymns.

6) On your lunch break, listen to a short sermon by one of your favourite pastors.

7) Fast. It’s a way to draw closer to God, as you seek His face. And it’s not just about not eating; it’s more about hungering after God and doing His will. After a focused fast, we should feel revived in our spirits. After all, dry bones can live again.

So just some thoughts worth sharing as I know all too well that there could be some dry spells during this Christian journey. However, there’s an oasis right in front of you. Drink. It’s a well that NEVER runs dry.

Growing in Christ,


Hadassah