WHAT DO YOU SEE: The Power of a Name

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“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.

19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.

Genesis 2:1, 19

When my husband and I were preparing for the birth of our children, we went through great lengths to find names for both these precious people. We went on the internet to find names that described what we were feeling in our hearts about them. For the firstborn, we were based our decision on the fact that firstborns in the old testament bible times were dedicated to God. Hence, Lemuel– Hebrew name meaning ‘Dedicated to God’. Then came the second child. As we pondered on what she would be called, friends of ours visited us and jokingly mentioned that since both parents are worship leaders, this child should be named Worship. And boom!!! The idea settled in our hearts and she got to be named Sinza – Luganda word meaning ‘Worship’. In the years that have followed, I see a continuous fulfillment of their names daily. At the age of 11, Lemuel is serving as an instrumentalist on the church worship team, he is mindful of people, justice is important, volunteers once in a while with children’s church, is innovative, has never broken a bone (even when they say boys will be boys, they will break bones)and many other things.  At 8, Sinza is singing soprano on the music team, writing songs, does vocal and lyrical practice independently, and is leading people older than herself.

God invites us to co-create with Him. He did not need Adam to do the naming because after all, the work of creation had been completed. But then, He goes ahead and brings each living creature to Adam ‘to see what he would call them’! It almost feels like a test of sorts to me. It seems as if God is checking what Adam’s perspective and thinking is concerning the creature. The last part of verse 19, confirms that He (God) is posing a question to Adam, ‘What do you see?’;

‘And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.’

A name is a powerful thing; a declaration of what someone, something or situation will be. When we receive children at birth, adoption or otherwise, God gives us a clean slate. Everything is else is set for the child – limbs, eyes, ears, nose, internal organs, etc. Only the name is missing! He is waiting to see what we shall name them; what we shall choose to declare over this child for the rest of their lives. Whatever we choose to name them is what they will be!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 18:21

God has given us the privilege of co-creating with Him in naming. Whether it is a child, an event, a health condition, or a situation; whatever you call it, it shall be.

 

STOP! He needs you

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This morning, I knocked at the children’s door. It was 6:10am – Five minutes to departure time!

“Quick! Quick! We have only five minutes left. You need to get ready for school”, I literally commanded.

He was wrapped in his towel, still dripping from his early morning bath. “Mum, I have a surprise for you”, he said with a twinkle in his eyes.

“What is it?”  I quickly shot back trying to keep a calm tone but quite jittery at the ticking clock. In my mind I was thinking, Lord, no! Not now. We need to beat the slow traffic on the way to school. There is no time for surprises and lingering extended conversation.

He pulled out an old CD my friends and I recorded while at the university over 15 years ago

“It doesn’t have a scratch!” he proudly declared.

“Oh! Where did you get this?” I asked in surprise. He smiled back at me refusing to reveal his secret. Then, just as quickly, I took another quick look at the CD, put it away and switched back to what we referred to as “Quick! March!!” while we were growing up.  Within 15 minutes I managed to ship him along with his sister out of the house, sending them off to school.

I carried on with my work and started on what was supposed to be a bible study but the scene played over and over again in my mind.

“I should have stopped! I should have stopped!”, I went on to scold myself quietly. Why on earth did I do that? I could see it was important to him. Why on earth didn’t I stop? So what if we are a few minutes late? Okay, even if we were an hour late because of the slow traffic, so what? The earth will make one full rotation around the sun every 24 hours and still spin about it’s axis 365 times a year. In other words, nothing earth shattering will happen.

I felt like I had missed a moment to connect with him and it wasn’t going to return. I set aside the bible and said a quiet prayer, “Lord, I know I have missed that moment. It was important to him. Please give me another opportunity. Amen.”

And the opportunity came. Before he left with the shuttle at the end of his school day, I asked to talk to him.

“How are you?” I asked.

“I am fine”, he responded.

“Did you like the CD?” he inquired. This time, I stopped. And with as much heart as possible, told him how surprised and happy I was. Also, given he is spending the weekend away from home I told him how much I would miss him. He walked away with a smile that beautifully wormed it’s way into my heart.

I was glad that this time, I STOPPED.

STOP! He needs you.

 

 

Words of Peace

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Genesis 41:15-16

“And Pharoah said to Joseph, ‘I have had a dream, and there is no one to interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream to interpret it.’ So Joseph answered Pharoah, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give an answer of peace.’”

Before Joseph got to hear the details of the dream which bothered Pharoah, he made a profound statement; “God will give an answer of peace!” Joseph’s experience of God in times of turmoil was peace. Pharaoh’s dream had thrown the whole nation into a state of panic; a catastrophic famine was inevitable. God’s answer indeed helped Egypt to collect one fifth of the produce of the land in the seven years of plenty.

At the heart of every prophecy (by way of dreams, visions, words of wisdom and knowledge, etc) should be always be words of peace.

 “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” 1 Cor 14:1,3

In John 7:11b, Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery; ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’  God said to Abram, ‘Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them for four hundred years. But in the fourth generation they will return here.’ Gen 15: 13, 16a

However difficult a message is, there ought to be peace and healing at the heart of every prophecy. Declare words of peace as you prophesy.