Get the name right

The Missus was miffed recently when a popular brotherhood effort reprinted a post of mine and misspelled both my names. I’m used to it by now. We’ll let the guilty go unnamed, because they’re good people and it’s an innocent and harmless mistake.

Normally careful people have their moments of inattention. I have mine; you, yours, right? Some moments of distraction can burn the house down or drown the baby in the swimming pool (for those who have such luxuries). We pray those moments are few and far between.

Other moments might let the water boil out of the kettle, or the tea steep too long, or the toast burn in the pan. Inconvenience, for sure, but nothing much more than that.

Authors are usually persnickety about their names. In the past I’ve been, also. Maybe the Missus’s annoyance at this latest publisher’s error drained mine away.

Maybe I should consider a pseudonym, reckon? Something easier to spell. John Smith? Sam Jones? Or something exotic that demands so much attention it won’t get misspelled?

I happen to like my name. My mom did a good job of it. (She tells me she was the namer of their firstborn.) Even for living in Brazil, the spelling of Randal, with one “l,” is an advantage, since Portuguese is a very phonetic language. It’s spelled like it sounds, using the local pronunciation.

Parents often agonize over the process of naming their children. They want to provide a unique and appropriate name for their progeny. Names are important.

That’s why we ought to get the names right in spiritual things, first, by speaking about biblical things in biblical terms. This principle is fast losing ground among us. We don’t even realize what we’re doing. We’ve adopted language from the religions around us, thinking all this terminology shows us to be serious folk. All it shows is that we’re losing the ability to distinguish between what’s a biblical faith and what’s a popular belief.

Second, we ought to get the names right in spiritual things by using them in a proper way, especially the names that refer to God. Jesus condemned the religious people of his day when they spoke of God (or euphemisms for his name) in their oaths, but used him to wriggle out of their responsibilities as his people. Corban meant gift of God and was used to avoid taking care of one’s parents, Mk 7.8-13.

We are to pray that God’s name be respected and kept holy, Lk 11.2. We pray like Jesus, “Father, glorify your name” Jn 12.28. And, like Jesus, we go to the Cross, to permit God to fulfill that prayer in us.

We ought to do what Jesus did with his Father’s name, when he fulfilled the scripture, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise” Heb 2.12. Love should be shown in his name, Heb 6.10. Paul worked, as do all Christians, to “bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” Rom 1.5. Making disciples means “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Mat 28.19.

We need to get Jesus’ name right, for “the name he has inherited is more excellent than” that of the angels, Heb 1.4. What good does it do to call his name and do works supposedly in his name but not do his will? Mat 7.21-23. None! To praise God, let us live up to his name.

“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” Heb 13.15. Let us “fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord [our] God” by our obedience to his commands, Deut 28.58.


¶ Another family visited us last night because of our website at They’d sent us an email months ago, and I added their email to a group in my personal email account. Once or twice a week I send out an invitation to non-Christian contacts talking about what we’re studying or reading. So after months they finally made it for one of our Bible readings. They seemed to enjoy, so we hope they’ll keep coming.

Tuesday morning we had a third Bible study with a young couple who also found us several months ago through our website. The husband was looking for a church that would please them both, since they were from different religious backgrounds. He said he came to realize that what they needed to do was to look for a church that pleased God.

¶ Friends are probably tired of hearing us talk about our recent love of the gym. “Let me tell you where it hurts today.” “A new personal record for the clean and jerk.” Humor the old folk.

A few days ago I wrote this as a part of a prayer on the Believing Prayer website:

For all that people talk of quality of life, they have no idea that it means knowing and loving you. The body can be in top shape, the bank account can be overflowing, but without openness to your love, willingness to bask in your glory, there is no quality, no joy, no meaning. Let us make ourselves increasingly fit for relationship in your fullness.

#corollaries, #evangelism, #exercise, #gods-name, #internet-ministry