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My Own Name

I’ll give the sacred manna to every conqueror; I’ll also give a clear, smooth stone inscribed with your new name, your secret new name. Rev. 2:17, Message.

My maiden name was Dick, which leads to a lot of confusion. For instance, I once got assigned to the men’s dorm when I was in college; but to make things worse, my husband is Richard, usually called Dick. When we were dating people used to ask if we knew that we both had the same name. Yes, we knew. What amazes me now is that people frequently ask me why I have my husband’s name on my books, such as this devotional book. I tell them his name is not on the book, and that I had the name first.

Having our own name is so important. The first time I tried to rent a car I presented the credit card I had used all the time. But it was my husband’s name on the card, not mine. And they would not rent a car to me. I hastily applied for a credit card in my own name.

There are so many customs for using one’s name. Here in the United States a woman has to decide if she will take her husband’s name, keep her maiden name, or hyphenate the two. And there are even variations of these options. Many countries have other customs: is the surname first or last? And Hispanic names are a total bewilderment to me, such as which name to use when listing the names in alphabetical order. Names—so important to each of us—and we want our own name listed and spelled correctly

God’s name is important, too, but not as some people make it, insisting that the name must be spelled or pronounced a certain way. The Bible is full of references to God’s name, so we need to understand that His name refers to His character—what He represents, what He is. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we say, “Hallowed be thy name.” And then there is Acts 4:12: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved” (NRSV).  We are baptized in His name, His character. Miracles are performed in this name, and martyrs have died for this name.

Revelation 3:5 is incredible. It promises,I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels” (NRSV). Not only will we receive a new name, but our Father confesses our name. Praise His name!

Ardis Dick Stenbakken

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