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We Must Believe

Scripture: 19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. 22 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him. 23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us. [1 John 3:19-24 NLT] As the story goes … my paternal grandmother had eight grandchildren and every one of them was a girl. This count included my older sister and seven of my cousins. When my parents became pregnant with yours truly there was an assumption made, it would be a girl. My parents assumed that the long streak of girls in the family would continue when I was born. They believed this so much so that they had not even picked out a name for their soon to be child. My dad says that when the doctor came to the waiting room and indicated that he had a son, he didn’t believe him. It was true, however, that my dad had a son. The long list of names of grandchildren would now include a boy name. Again, there was only the small problem, my parents had not picked a name. I mention the story above to tell you that there is power in a name. A name gives us part of our identity. Along with our DNA, our family of origin, and where we were born, our name helps shape us and our identity. Whether you like your name or not, it is a part of what identifies you as you. As my parents prepared for their new child almost 52 years ago, they had picked out a girl’s name only. So when the doctor told them it was a boy they had some work to do. As they deliberated on a boy’s name they decided to name me after my father. So for almost 52 years I have been named Paul Timothy Machtel, Jr., after my father. While the name may not have been planned out months in advance, there is something special about that name. I am very proud to be named after my dad and hope to continue living into the example and legacy he has been in my life. Our Scripture for today is all about a name. John writes to the original readers that they must believe in the name of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. There is power in that name. Jesus Christ is the name to which every knee will bow and every tongue confess. The name of Jesus is the name that when we ask for something it will be given. Jesus is the name that angels cheer and demons despise. There is power in that name. When John says we must believe in the name of Jesus he is saying we must believe in all that Jesus is. The name represents who Jesus is and what he has done and will continue to do. We must believe in the name of Jesus Christ who gave sight to the blind, made the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and raised Lazarus from the dead. There is power in the name of Jesus. John also says that we should believe in the name of Jesus AND love one another as Jesus commanded. As the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 power without love amounts to nothing. We must believe in the name of Jesus in order to release the power to love one another. We cannot say we believe in the name of Jesus and not love each other, they are incompatible. We must believe in the name of Jesus AND love one another in order to truly follow Jesus. Today believe in the name of Jesus. Believe that Jesus was who he said he was, that Jesus did what he said he would do, and that Jesus will complete what he promised to complete. Place all of your trust in the name of Jesus today. As you do this today you will be freed to love the “one anothers” in your life. Invite God to release the power of Jesus' name to love the people around you and to fall more deeply in love with God. Repeat this mantra throughout the day. When you lay your head on the pillow tonight, take inventory of all the ways that God allowed you to love more deeply because you intentionally believed in the name of Jesus. Prayer: God of love, help be to believe in the name of Jesus completely. I desire to place all of my trust in you. May I love the way Jesus does and release the power of his name. May you receive all honor, glory, and praise through my life today. Amen.

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