Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

A New Name July 19, 2013

stone-black-and-whiteI know a woman who was once married then divorced and now remarried to a different man. She retained her first husband’s last name and then hyphenated her new husbands last name. I will not use the woman’s real name but an example might be: Mary Smith-Jones.

What I find intriguing is she hates her ex-husband. She is very bitter and has not forgiven him for many things he did.

So I wondered why did she keep his last name when she remarried? I am sure she has her reasons but I’m not bold enough to ask.

As I thought about this I realized I have done the same thing throughout my life. Not literally with last names, but with names I labeled myself with.

Before I knew Christ, I was Melissa Abused.

When I became a Christian I thought I was completely and totally healed from my past abuse, yet I never sought God’s healing. Even though I was a child of God and was given a new name I held on to my old name.

I became Melissa Abused-Saved. Not very encouraging, is it?

The Lover of my soul must have been jealous. I wonder how many times He tried to tell me I no longer needed to retain that name. Why would I want to hold on to it? Maybe so I would have a reason to be bitter, angry and to complain?

Because I never dealt with my abuse and the wounds that my abuse caused in my life, I traveled a deadly path, one that lead to an adulterous affair.

Not until I hit rock bottom did I realize I was clinging to my old name and just tagged “saved” at the end.

I now had a choice to make as I clawed my way out of the darkness that threatened to take over my life. Would I now become Melissa Abused-Saved-Adulteress-Forgiven, but never really allow God to forgive me and carry around the weight of the name adulteress?

After a lot of counseling I realized I have been renamed in Christ.

Revelation 2:17 tells us, “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”

I get so excited at the thought that my Savior has a new name picked out for me, one that only I will understand. I can almost feel the white stone in my hand, the smoothness slipping between my fingers.

I suppose I do still hyphenate my name but the names are much different.

I am now Melissa Saved-Forgiven-Redeemed-Loved-Daughter of the King.

What about you? What is your hyphenated name? Do you have any names you need to shed? Release them into your Father’s care, He has a new name waiting just for you.

Here’s a great song by Matthew West that goes beautifully with this post, click here.  If you haven’t seen the video it is awesome.

Are you willing to share your name(s) with us? What was your name before knowing Christ or having the relationship with Him you  have now? What is your name now? Embrace the truth of this new name. Share it in the comments.


Forgiveness Part 3 March 22, 2013

We are back with part three of Jolene’s Genesis 5020. If y0u missed the first two parts click here for part one and here for part two.

hands-with-heartsI continued to cry out to God. I was trying to be in His Word more, to find comfort in the scriptures. 

I remember reading a passage in Daniel for a Bible Study, it talked about the sacred articles of the temple being carried away and used for unsacred purposes.  I felt like that was what was happening to our church.  Our precious members, my friends and family, were being carried away. 

I literally and physically cried out to God!  I did not understand!  I didn’t even know what or how to pray!  How could we be going through this?  How could it be beneficial to growing the kingdom of God?  Why?  Why?  Why? 

To God, I probably looked like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum when they don’t get their way.  And that is probably more accurate than I would care to admit!  Because in reality I just didn’t see the bigger picture God had planned.

God was slowly changing and growing my personal faith, while He was doing the same for my church.  I was being forced to rely more on Him and my personal relationship with Him.  Just as our church was being forced to do the same. 

Deep faith and trust were beginning to take root.  Our human efforts were failing , what was left except to fall back on God?  Why did we have to fall so far to do that?

  I remember another conversation with an elder’s wife.  She suggested that our church was going through this time because we had become prideful.  Prideful?  Ouch!  That hurt!  Yet I could see truth in the words she spoke.  I had become prideful in my church being the “it church” in town.  My perspective on what makes a church successful had become pretty warped and was in desperate need of adjustment by God.

At the end of the summer of 2011 we had a church body update, the first of many to come.  But this one was significant.  In my opinion it was the beginning of our healing and growth as a church body.  

There was a request for forgiveness for mistakes made in the past and hurt that had been caused to people along the path we had chosen as a body.  Acknowledging the hurt we had been through together was like turning a corner.  We admitted mistakes, made apologies and began the journey of forgiveness and healing.

This topic of forgiveness is one that has come before me many times over the last year.  After that church meeting we began a prayer emphasis – praying individually for each member of our body.  And we intentionally included those who had left our church family. 

That convicted me, because I hadn’t realized I harbored some feelings of resentment toward those who had moved on.  I realized this was wrong and prayed God would bless those who had left and the churches they were a part of. 

I also began to realize the power of prayer, not just as a way to present our requests to God, but as a two-way communication that He uses to speak truth back into our lives.

Forgiveness came up again this past summer as I listened to a song on the radio by Matthew West called “Forgiveness”. 

It has such powerful words that speak of forgiving even when we don’t feel like it or we feel the person doesn’t deserve it. 

I had just ended a long phone conversation with a friend.  During that conversation I realized again that I was harboring resentment toward individuals that had caused strife in our church before leaving and had also caused pain to some of my immediate family. 

As I was stripping wallpaper in my kitchen, that song came on the radio and I wept at the way God planned that moment.  He was speaking so loudly to me and stripping away unforgiveness in my heart just like the paper coming off the walls in my kitchen. 

I had to forgive in order to move forward with what He had planned for me and for our church family.

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. Matthew 6:14-15 The Message

Examine your heart as I examine mine. Is there any unforgiveness that needs to be stripped away from you today?