Each time I open my IPad to write, a fresh new blank page faces me.  However, the header reads: “Rename”.  This causes me to focus on what idea, subject, or thing on my heart that I trust God to provide.  Today, when I read “rename” again, for probably the thousandth time or more, it stopped me.  Immediately I am reminded of the many stories throughout the Bible describing encounters with God.  As God is revealed, often as not, the person is renamed by God.

Renaming is a significant signpost in biblical life.  It signifies an encounter that is life-changing.  Not just for the message given, the new land provided, an anointed position of priest or leader, but a change in spirit.  A new understanding of who they are in community is couched in the name that gets attention.  Others, in speaking their new name, essentially confirm the formation of someone now called and set apart for a God-given task or role.  The renamed begins to see God at work in their life, fulfilling promises, being assured of God’s presence, with name providing constant reminders to who they are in the eyes of God. 

Abram’s story in Genesis has followed God, leaving family and familiar country, waiting on Sarai to provide him with heirs, God comes.  Abram was 99 years old as God says,

“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.

I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.”  Genesis 16: 4-8.  Abram, meaning “high father” became Abraham, “father of multitudes”, and not to be left out, Sarai was renamed Sarah, “mother of nations”.

Jesus renamed Simon, to Peter, meaning “rock”.  Peter was the strong disciple who would provide a foundation for the church to be established. There are other indications that Jesus called Levi, Matthew; the brothers James and John, Sons of Thunder.  That sounds more like a nickname.  A description of their way of being a disciple.  Where they went, there was increased activity, commanding teachings.  There must have been a personality that influenced the changes in name.  

I was happy to read that Abram was renamed at the ripe age of 99.  It says to me that age is no barrier to God reshaping our understanding of who we are spiritually.  We seem to have the idea that aging means slowing down, letting others step up to active serving, and being a disciple.  In God’s economy, there is no difference in how one can be of service to God.  Age or location are not barriers to fresh spiritual directions.  As we find ourselves in a new place, God will not only speak but show purpose for the new location.  Location in this sense may not mean a physical move, but a spiritual and emotional relocation.  

I suspect that we are all wondering how God is at work in this new land we are living in.  New decisions about going, doing, serving.  God is with us, even though there is no map or written word for how we go forward.  We. Like Abram or Sarai, may not become “all-new” but find God is building on who we are for new understandings of how to be more in the will of God.  

That is big. Being in the will of God requires that we listen, be open to what is being put before us, considering how God is intending us to move forward for the building of the kingdom.  Spiritual discernment is listening to the ‘more of God and the less of self’.  It is trusting the Word and assessing the truth.  It is walking humbly and serving with faith.  

These days are turning points for us all.  Are you gaining an awareness of the movement of God in your life?  Are you hearing a fresh understanding of how to live out your discipline life?  If not a new, expanded role, is there a nickname that Jesus is reminding you of?  Is it one that will strengthen you and give you charge to act and do more for Jesus?

Being uprooted from the familiar is the start of discernment.  Take time in these days of change to listen for God.  Mark the awakenings of insight and guidance the Lord is revealing.  Speak of it with a trusted believer, have your understandings be confirmed by others. Make it real by speaking and then, live in the promise of God with you.  

I love you, am praying for you and listening for God with you.  God is with us!

Pastor Lisa

“He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?”  Mark 8: 34-36

Laren Daigle “You Say”.  Discovering who we are as we listen….

Leave a Reply