How about we get together and watch some old movies, you know the classic kind, not the profanity-filled, non-stop action, violence laced pictures of today. You know the one's that take you back to the days gone by. Films that feature Frederick Austerlitz dancing or how about a picture staring that great duo of Harry Lillis and Leslie Townes Hope. Productions with real stars like: David Kaminski, Issur Danielovitch Demsky, Bernard Schwartz, Doris Kappelhoff and Natasha Nikoleavna Gurdin. How about a western with the great Leonard Franklin Slye a.k.a. Dick Weston? Are you having trouble recognizing the preceding stars? Perhaps you have figured out that I am using their real names. You would know the preceding by these names (in order of appearance): Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Doris Day, Natalie Wood, and Portsmouth's own Roy Rogers. It is not only the stars of the past who play this name-game. Would it surprise you to discover that Jane Seymour is really, Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg or that Elton John, is really, Reginald Dwight or that Alan Alda is known to his mother as, Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo? I suppose in the entertainment business there are many reasons to change one's name. One would look for a name that's easy to remember, one that would look good on a theater marquee. No doubt the main reason to change one's name is to alter one's image. If a want-a-be star wants to ascend to the top they must have the right image and the right name can help establish that image, I mean would John Wayne have become a national hero if we knew him as Marion Michael Morrison?
We know that changing one's name might change our appearance before others but it does not change the real us and it certainly doesn't change our standing before God. While we may not play the name game there is a whole host of other tricks to change our appearance both literally and figuratively. But what we all need is not a change on the outside we need a change on the inside. But how is this change made? In His prayer for us Jesus prayed these words: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." ( John 17:17). The word "sanctify" refers to the process of a believer's change into what God desires us to be. While we might try to clean up our act, or even paste on a veneer of religious emotionalism we need the Word of God to change us. In fact, with all of the emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit these days it is important to remember that the one of the Holy Spirits key roles is to guide us to understand the Word of God (John 16:13). We cannot change without encountering God's Word.
There are several implications of needing God's word. I guess I could say this like Jack Webb (real name) --"that's where I come in -- I carry a Bible." There is no substitute for being in church where a gifted pastor can regularly teach you the Word of God. If you are not there -- get there! Secondly you need the daily discipline of daily devotions. If you are not daily in the Word of God you are retarding the process of sanctification. Thirdly the Word of God must be obediently put into practice (see James 1:22-25). We must with an act of our will decide to practice what we know of the Bible instructions.
Before our maker we cannot play the name game or any other game we must get back to the only book that God has written.
Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church
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