And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. ~ Exodus 33:17 

The other day, I was doing research for an educational brief that I’m writing. I came across many good resources and practices. However, one practice stood out. It spoke to the inclusive power of greeting students by their names. Research affirmed the benefits of asking students for the correct pronunciation of their names—if needed—then correctly saying it when talking to them.

Wow! What a simple act—that means so much. Calling someone by their name explicitly avow… I see you. I know you exist. And I respect you.

This reminded me of a young woman who spoke passionately about how important her name was to her. She shared that her name had been changed when she was adopted as a child. As an adult, she now had her birth name tattooed on her body, in honor of her identity… her ethnicity… her heritage. It reminded me of a physics professor, who called me Amelia for an entire semester… instead of by my name. It reminded me of a friend, who claims that when her husband calls her name, she feels giddy, happy and loved.

In John 10:3, Jesus said, “…and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.”  Jesus also told His disciples, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine” (John 10:14). What an amazingly wonderful precious comforting thought? Jesus knows my name!

We’re not a number, a symbol or an abstract idea… out there… somewhere. We’re the King’s kids—embraced within His glorious loving fellowship and protection.

As one of His own… we can agree with the Psalmist. We know our God’s name (Psalm 91:14). We know His name… Elohim… Jehovah… El Shaddai… He is Omniscient… Omnipresent… Wonderful Counselor… Provider… We know He’s Holy… Just… and True. We need not feel insignificant or afraid… if someone forgets to call us by our names. Cause in victory… we hear His voice. Tenderly… He calls to us by name. We are His and He is Ours.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. ~ Ephesians 4:29

Words can communicate infinite meanings. Whether through sign language, written, or in braille… But especially when spoken—words have spiritual energy. Words are powerful! Isaiah 55:11 states, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (NIV).

Words can encourage or discourage. Words can cause fear, anger, sadness, joy, disgust, shock, trust, hope, peace, comfort or anticipation. Words can teach, heal, harm, inspire, help, hinder, humiliate, destroy, guide or restore. Words can validate dreams or disrupt hopes. Words can break a heart or cause it to rejoice. Life and death is in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

So, use words with caution. Choose words courageously, intentionally and wisely. Speak in love. Speak life. Speak hope. Speak faith. Speak healing. Speak good—positive, uplifting, and reassuring words. Being careful… not to limit… or hurt yourself and others with words.

Use your words to affirm that you’re who God says you are! Speak into existence your inheritance.  I am blessed. I am favored. I am healed. I am beautiful. I am wealthy. I am an overcomer. I am _____. You complete the sentence with the word(s) of your choice. Remember everything began with a word (Genesis 1:1-31).

With words, our thoughts become reality. So, choose the very best words to create the very best reality. Know the power of your words. Acknowledge misfortunes and problems… but speak less of them. Speak more of God’s goodness, favor, and grace. Speak of your heart’s desire. Give thanks for things that have yet to come to past… as though they were. Speak spiritual wondrous words in your life and in the lives of others…. and watch God change things.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s Granddaughter.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. ~ Matthew 28:6

A simple object—the nail—shows just how powerful Jesus’ death on the cross was for us.  Crucifixion is one of the most painful and excruciating forms of punishment leading to death ever contrived. Jesus’ arms were stretched wide and His feet crossed. Nails… Made of heavy, tapered, square shaped iron about 5-9 inches long were used. One nail was driven in each of His wrists (not as most paintings portray in the hands) and one nail through His feet. In agony Jesus hung His head and died for us.

Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins through three massive rugged nails! Nails that spiritually meant the difference between heaven or hell, sin or forgiveness, sorrow or joy, life or death. In the Old Testament, Jesus is represented as a unique nail fastened by God in a sure place for a glorious throne (Isaiah 22:20-25). In the New Testament, Jesus wasn’t overcome by men… but laid down His life (1 John 3:16). Everything that matters was made or broken by the will of God on the cross through the nail.

  • The nail of sin (Isaiah 53:4-5; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • The nail pierced (Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37)
  • The nail fastened (Isaiah 41:7; Jeremiah 10:4)
  • The nail freed (Hebrew 9:12-14; Colossians 2:14)
  • The nail of forgiveness (Luke 23:34)
  • The nail of loyalty (Luke 22:42; Matthew 16:24)
  • The nail of love (John 18:37)
  • The nail of proof (John 20:25)
  • The nail of freedom (Exodus 21:2-6; Colossians 2:13-16)
  • The nail of holiness (Zechariah 14:20)
  • The nail of faith (Judges 4:17-24)
  • The nail of righteousness (Ecclesiastes 12:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Jesus saw beyond the painful nails piercing His flesh to the hammer-holding hands yet un-cleansed (Luke 23:34). He saw those He came to save—who were yet in sin. So, He transformed the nails… into everything that we need. When we surrender… we know that Jesus is able to keep us (2 Timothy 1:12) … He has risen! Therefore… we can live because of His nails.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. ~ Psalm 23:1

One of my favorite books, God is More Than Enough by Dr. Tony Evans, describes explicitly why we need not be afraid… when we trust God. The scriptures referenced below are from Psalm 23:1-6 (NIV).

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. In this verse… David, the Psalmist, uses the Hebrew word for Lord, which is Yahweh—God’s formal name. Declaring that God is right now present as his shepherd… the One who cares for him and provides everything that he needs.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. This describes the normal nature of David as a member of Yahweh’s flock. Safe and protected in His care, forgiven from all anxieties. David is confident of the freedom to enjoy all the simple pleasures that makes up his life—the freshness of the meadow, the coolness of the stream—he feels satisfied beyond his own capacity.

He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. When David is exhausted and weary, Yahweh renews his strength and leads him in the paths of righteousness, pleasantness and peace. So that David can magnify Yahweh’s name as a gracious and merciful God.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  When in the midst of dangers, deep as a valley, dark as a shadow, and dreadful as death itself, David will not give way to his fears. He will trustingly rely upon the Word and promises of God… persuaded that His grace shall comfort him.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Yahweh supplies David with plenty, and a variety of provisions and comforts. While his enemies seeing, envying, and fretting over it—cannot hinder it. With aromatic ointments, David enjoys an abundant portion—signified by his cup overflowing.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. David has God’s favor. And due to the blessed and comfortable effects of it, justifiably concludes that God would continue to show him favor. Thus, David rest assured that he shall constantly enjoy the loving commune of worshipping and praising God in his sanctuary—now and in the future. For the divine goodness and mercy that has been following David all the days of his life… would surely follow him into the house of his heavenly Father forever.

As sheeps in the care of Jesus Christ, we know that He will seek and protect those that belong to Him—no matter where they may stray (Luke 15:1-7).

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. ~ Deuteronomy 10:17 (NIV)

February is Black History Month or National African American History Month. A time to emphasize the wealth of knowledge passed from generation to generation. An occasion to remember the men and women, who are worthy of celebration. Some whose contributions were ultimate sacrifices—because they had a dreamed. Others who continue the dream—who promote the legacy. Working for a better life for African Americans… for all Americans… for humankind.

As a child of about seven, I remember reading with misty eyes. A story about a little boy who would sneak beside the chimney’s fire—late at night with a tattered primer—because he wasn’t allowed to learn to read. Back then… I couldn’t comprehend why a child was denied the right to read. I was a child and I loved to read. That’s one of my earliest memories of African American history.

So, I feel the passion of Frederick Douglass’ words, “I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read” (Douglas, 1845, p.29). For a long time… I thought about those words every time I would read something. I understand “an expression of feeling…found its way down my cheek” (p.12) because I feel empathy every time I read Douglass’ autobiography. His words move me with compassion, understanding, and gratefulness.

Frederick Douglass wrote with clarity—eloquent, discerning and expressive—a testament to God’s grace. Hope that took a slave to freedom. Faith that turned illiteracy to literacy. And God’s favor, which flowed in the harshest of circumstances. A remarkable man who experienced an extraordinary journey. A man determined, courageous and inspiring—unapologetically who God created him to be.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.