Welcome to His Name, My Purpose, a site dedicated to showcasing the incredible names of our Maker. Each name of God in the Old Testament is a revelation of God's attributes. As we are exposed to them, they broaden our kingdom view and modify our thinking and behavior. Even a small glimpse of God’s character can wash our ordinary routines with new motivation, and bathe our agendas with fresh vision. Enjoy your walk through the names of God.

March 1, 2014

The Faithfulness of a Present-Tense God

When I was young, Dad rocked my world. I tagged along on many a farm round—to check on the herds, to unleash water into fields of sprouting crops, or simply to jump in trailers of freshly picked cotton. He taught me how to catch, bridle, and discipline a feisty horse seventeen times my weight, and to snow ski by descending the slopes with my tiny skis inside his larger protective ones. He introduced me to the thrill of floating the currents down the irrigation canals.
I never lacked for adventure with Dad. He would conjure up new ways to scare the daylights out of us every Halloween. And every summer, he would set up clues for a “bear” hunt which always ended with him roaring out from behind a tree.
Dad was heroic and responsible. We often pulled to the side of the road so he could assist in the birth of a new calf. He jumped into emergency efforts when a neighbor ran through a sliding glass door. He even rescued a wounded coyote and brought him home to mend in the empty chicken pen.
Dad spent months building me a playhouse, and tumbled and tickled with me nightly in the living room while Mom finished in the kitchen. I cannot recall a harsh word he ever spoke to me.
Near the end of my third grade year, this stopped forever. Dad placed his personal belongings in the back of his truck and drove away. He fell out of love with his family and decided to quit. During the rest of my growing up years through college, I saw him twice. Other than that, no regular visitation, no shared custody, no child support, no calls, no letters. He severed his life from mine as completely as death would have. He changed and he left.
But I have a father who never changes and never abandons—my heavenly Father. He remains forever present in my life. His very name reflects His stability. He calls Himself I am, and He is always. This is Jehovah. Other names describe God’s works. The name Jehovah describes His substance, His permanent and unchanging existence. He never leaves.
Both Jah and havah, mean ‘to be.’ Thus, the name, Jehovah, repeats the fact of God’s faithful presence twice—I AM, I AM.
Long before Moses lived, God made a promise to deliver Israel out of a 400-year captivity in Egypt. Generations later, at the conclusion of the 400 years, Moses asked God what divine name he should speak to the Israelites to convince them to risk escape from Egypt. God responded, “I Am Who I Am… say to the sons of Israel, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14, John 8:24, 56-59, 10:27-33). This name, Jehovah, served to remind Israel that the same God who made the promise of deliverance years earlier was still present to uphold it—constant, immutable, eternal, faithful (Exodus 6:4-8).
God’s “being” is fixed. His character is permanent. We can bank on His sovereignty, justice, mercy, and goodness. He does not tire, hunger, need protection, lose control, or go through mood swings. He does not change or quit (James 1:17, Malachi 3:6).
In our world, everything changes. Even our closest friends and family will disappoint us—but not Jehovah. Everything about our Jehovah is forever.
He is the Alpha and the Omega, the One who was, is, and is to come (Revelation 1:8). Though the heavens will perish and wear out like old clothes, God will endure and remain the same (Psalm 102:25-27, Hebrews 13:8).
No one can bring promises to fruition as He can. No one is more faithful in shaping our character for His glory. He does not walk away, abandon, or let down because His nature does not allow for it. He is the fixed, constant, Absolute One that will never be out of time or out of character—the fully permanent and fully present Jehovah.

November 2, 2013

Part of the Family

My stomach flip-flopped and churned as we waited at my new in-law’s house. Did I really think this would be easy? One by one, my husband's siblings arrived and chatted excitedly. We met to carpool to a wedding—something we had all enjoyed before. But this occasion was different. We had been invited to the wedding of my husband’s wonderful former sweetheart—someone His whole family adored. How could anyone help but like her? She was pretty and sweet and bubbly and fun, and despite how hard I fought against it, insecurity agitated inside like sour milk.
Yes, my husband had deliberately chosen to break up with her, and had purposefully chosen to pursue and marry me. But that kind of logic did little to chase away my intimidation. We were about to celebrate an incredible person who had been special to my husband and his family in an earlier episode of life. Would they secretly wish she was still part of their family instead of me? Would I ever measure up in their eyes to this beloved former girlfriend? 
My mother-in-law was a woman of few words, but much love. She studied us, especially eying me, before sending us off. With a simple comment, “It just might get cold tonight,” she turned and left the room. A moment later, she returned with her best garment, the most prized possession in her closet, a stunning mink coat. She strode purposefully past her oldest daughter, past her youngest daughter, past her other daughter-in-law and stopped in front of me. Opening the mink, she wrapped the coat around my shoulders. Her eyes bore into mine with a knowing twinkle. As she adjusted the lapel around my neck, she leaned in close and whispered, “You just show everyone at the wedding who’s family you belong to now.” Then, with a smile and sweet hug, she pushed me out the door.
In one simple act, she claimed me as her own. She wanted me as family. I was not an outsider.
It was not until years later, that I came to see the beautiful picture of Christ she so aptly portrayed that day. Like my dear mother-in-law, Jesus also took something of His own and wrapped it around my shoulders—something utterly stunning, something that would identify me forever with His own family. He bundled me up in nothing less than His righteousness. He is Jehovah-tsidkenu, The Lord Our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6, 33:14-16).
Having carried my filthy garments to the cross, He re-clothed me with garments of salvation, wrapping me in His own holy robe (Isaiah 64:6, 61:10). His just nature can now accept me as family, as an heir (Romans 8:16-17). My clothes are white and clean because they are his pure garments, the precise clothing necessary to go into the very presence of my King (Revelation 19:14).
In one deliberate and costly act, Christ embraced me as family. He wants me. I am not an outsider.
 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

July 6, 2013

A Bigger Someone

Oh no. Not “the look.” This was serious.
That threatening face had surfaced on many a parent as they silently willed their child into obedience. Brows furrowed, mouth crimped, eyes narrowed. And like some stealth Ninja code, it communicated the message loud and clear.
That is until now.
Two-year-old Jude had donned his best parental face to no avail. His most dramatic efforts could not cow his eight-month-old brother into obedience. He had maneuvered his head six inches in front of Daniel’s so the little tyke could not miss the hardened grimace fixed on his mug. But Daniel’s determined crawl had simply detoured sideways, not in the least ruffled, not even slowing.
The rug rat had trekked into the danger zone of Tweety’s cage. Jude had to stop him or someone would surely die. Whether Jude worked to protect Tweety or Daniel remained unclear.
In a panic, Jude jerked back to draw a new line in the sand. This time he would use a body block. He squared into position, soundly crouching on small knees with arms outstretched. But Daniel’s little body energetically shifted as easily as a sports car weaving in and out of traffic, never deterred.
Jude’s horror at the second evasion erupted into a high-pitched scream. “Nana, he’s almost at Tweety!” Traveling two steps, I placed Tweety’s cage onto the counter—rescue complete, problem solved.  
Why couldn’t my hassles be fixed that easily?
Reactions to my own problems have frequently resembled Jude’s. All too often, they overwhelm me, panicking me into sleepless nights, before they even occur. I expend great energy on tactic after tactic to ensure their demise. In the end, my strivings fail.
Luckily, I am learning that I, too, have a Bigger Someone nearby, even closer than two steps away. My Almighty God stands so near that I actually partake of His Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) He resides in my heart and mind, granting me access to His very character. What an amazing truth! Each attribute or name that describes God is personal to me.
El Elyon, the Most High God, is sovereign, not just over the nations, but over my freaky circumstances. Jehovah-raah, the Lord my Shepherd, leads me through the messes in life. The calming presence of Jehovah-shalom, Lord of Peace, chases away the fear in my own hyperventilating experiences.
In like manner, El Shaddai, the all-sufficient, Almighty God, pours strength onto my pitiful weaknesses. Jehovah-rapha, my Healer, removes the bitter sting from suffering. El Roi, the God who compassionately sees, keeps an eye on every situation I get myself into.
I have full access to the Living God. He has planted Himself within my very soul. Reliance on Him beats a “look” or body block to my problems any day.

January 5, 2013

Iron Will

We arrived home from summer vacation, back into the oven of Arizona’s 114 degree temperature. I desired nothing more than to head back out of town. My marathon-running daughter, however, wanted to jog and took off down the molten asphalt in her track shoes at four in the afternoon. She needed to tackle seventeen miles according to her training schedule.
I also run, in the loosest sense of the word. Unlike my daughter, I never commit to distance or pace. I go by feel. If the temperature and my joints feel right, I run. At the first tinge of discomfort, when I no longer feel like running, I quit. Her iron will puts mine to shame.
I look at the discrepancy between us and rejoice that God’s own commitment to His plans resembles my daughter’s faithfulness more than mine. Although imperfect, her steadfast commitment provides a glimpse into His perfect faithfulness toward His own will. He promises us, “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand” (Isaiah 14:24).
God is the present tense I AM, who always and continuously exists to fulfill His purposes. Whether or not we realize it, we count on His steadfastness to His will. In the face of death, we cling to the promise of heaven. As we listen to horrors on the evening news, we draw comfort from His pledge to bring justice. We dare to live for Christ now, knowing that one day every knee will bend to His supreme rule. If these truths varied simply because God changed His mind or didn’t feel like it, it would deeply affect our peace and kingdom efforts.
But God’s determination to accomplish His plan remains as constant and lasting as He is. His wonders were planned long ago and have perfect faithfulness attached to them (Isaiah 25:1). The cross stands as our most compelling proof of this faithfulness. Christ never quit.
Though He was fully human—hungering, crying for a dead friend, becoming weary, feeling every blow from the whip, fully experiencing the pain of the cross—He stayed.
Though He was fully God—working miracles, commanding nature, banishing demons, possessing complete power to stop the crucifixion—He stayed.  His will was to redeem us, so He continued, as scheduled.
My daughter’s willingness to suffer through seventeen miles in 114 degree temperatures indicates that she will probably not sleep in on race day. She invests in her plans because she intends to complete them. Likewise, Christ’s faithfulness on the cross proves He will be faithful to the rest of His will. If He remained committed to His purposes in the most difficult circumstance possible, He will stay true to the completion of His mission.
           “The Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it?” (Isaiah 14:27).

August 4, 2012

A Bigger Story

His brothers hated him. Some even plotted to kill him. But they settled on throwing him into a pit while they ate their lunch. When a more lucrative option came into view, Joseph’s brothers sold their own flesh and blood to passing slave traders, who in turn sold him to an Egyptian master.  The master’s wife continually harassed Joseph and finally accused him of rape, which landed him in the dungeon. His cell mate swore to remember his plight and put in a good word for him upon release, but completely forgot about him for two full years. Who would envy the life of Joseph?

But that’s only half the story. Amidst all the turmoil in Joseph’s life, God was at work. The Bible says God stayed with Joseph, caused him to become a successful man, made all his endeavors prosper, blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of him, extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer (Genesis 39). Finally Pharaoh, himself, recognized Joseph’s wisdom and positioned him over all the land of Egypt (41:39-44).

Joseph came to know God as El Elyon, the Most High God, who reigned over both his trials and his successes. He saw El Elyon weaving these outcomes in and out of history to accomplish His purposes. Although Joseph’s brothers tried to determine his future, ultimate control did not belong to them. Joseph told them, “Do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life” (45:5-8).

Like Joseph, we are never merely a victim of our circumstances, or of our personality, or of our family, or even our failures. There is always a bigger story of what El Elyon is doing. We are not responsible for the end product. We are just called to obey. God asks us to be diligent workers in His kingdom. We plan, we organize, and we implement the very best we can. But El Elyon has ultimate control, not us. He tweaks our plans. He reshapes our organized piles. And He most definitely determines the outcomes according to that which best serves His purposes.

March 3, 2012

Vitamin C Generosity

We looked so normal. Like any other family in our nice suburban neighborhood—large home, two cars, brood of kids, days filled with happy chaos. Despite appearances, months without an income had made our world quite different. A constant brainstorming of how to earn, what to sell, ways to eke by had beaten us down. As we fell deeper into the grips of our monetary losses, we began praying for groceries to feed our children.

My husband left early one morning to finish closing out one of his family’s restaurants in a city two hours away. He was surprised to find the walk-in freezer still running and full of meat. He also found a pantry full of staples. When he arrived home, my jaw simply dropped. Lavish meals, for months to come, lay before my eyes. Who knew God’s generosity would be so immediate and tangible.

As ecstatic as we were, we still lacked something. I was a trained dietitian, plagued to see each savory morsel of food in terms of its vitamin and mineral content. My grown children still tease me about packing their lunch boxes according to nutritional elements.  So, yes, we prayed for fruit. We gratefully thanked God for the abundance of protein and B-vitamin staples, then sheepishly asked for the vitamin C we still lacked.

Early the next evening, the doorbell sounded. As we pulled open the front door, a barrel of grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, and apples stared back at us—the doorbell ringer nowhere in sight. We ran into the yard trying to catch the one who had made the “delivery mistake.” It did not cross our mind that the gift may have been left intentionally for us.

My husband and I stepped back into the house discussing aloud how to find the rightful recipients of this bounty. That is when our five-year-old spied the goods. She danced around the house screaming, “Look what Jesus brought, look what Jesus brought!” The truth of her words melted our hearts and led us to marvel at our open-handed Lord through teary eyes.

The God who Provides, Jehovah-jireh, supplies food for the birds of the air, and He arrays the lilies of the field. We are worth much more than either of these to our heavenly Father (Matthew 6:26-30). The cross proves this lavish generosity. If God provided for our greatest need at the cost of His dearest love, is there anything He sees we need and won’t provide? Even the trivial, like Vitamin C?

Over the years, I have watched the Living God pour out His vast riches again and again in ways that shout of His deep and personal love for us. I cannot help but gratefully remain on my knees before this lavish Father.

            “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

September 3, 2011

Into The Battle

The fighting was intense—four mighty powers against five. The fierce four-king alliance, which had dominated the land for so long, held their ground. Although their opposition consisted of the military muscle of five kings and their armies, the four-king alliance soon overpowered the rebels. Realizing their victory, the massive armies began their ruthless plunder. But they made one huge mistake when they included Abram’s nephew, Lot, as part of their spoils. As soon as the news reached Abram, he took off on a rescue effort with 318 of his men.

At this point, any rational thinker would say, “What in the world was Abram thinking—pitting his measly 300 plus men against the vast armies of four ferocious kings?” If the combined armies of five kings failed to overthrow this commanding force, what gave Abram and his crew the confidence to enter the arena? Why was he so daring?

We find the answer in Genesis 14:22 where Abram acknowledged God as El Elyon, “God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth.” Abram’s faith rested in the One who reigned supreme over all earthly kings, the One elevated over every army. He recognized that El Elyon was the Possessor or Framer of every outcome in heaven and on earth. And it was El Elyon, indeed, who was credited with delivering Abram’s enemies into his hands (Genesis 14:20).

Like Abram, doing the right thing often forces us into battles that are over our heads. These battle outcomes are in the hands of our King, El Elyon, who is higher than anyone or anything in the secular or spiritual world, on and off the battle field. And He is on our side.

No matter how intense the fighting gets, El Elyon remains supreme. He is higher than our circumstances, higher than our past, higher than any trial. He is above our temptations, our sufferings, our successes, and our failures. He is greater than all of these. And that is exactly why He can cause “all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). El Elyon governs every ending.

“For You are the LORD Most High over all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods” (Psalm 97:9).