God's new name for you.
9/29/2017 11:04:49 AM
Starts with a "B"

God's new name for you.
podcast: http://www.pastorwoman.com/podcasts/1a1bdcdd-da23-4246-961e-e144e44623f1.m4a
Gideon saw himself as fearful and less than, but God came to him and called him a Mighty Warrior.  God called him out from the cave and into his purpose for him . . . he gave him a new name.  
You may have been called names in grade school, you may have been 'talked down to' all your life ... but not by God.  God sees you as his dear creation, Friend. You are the "Beloved". That is to say,                                 you are much loved by God.
What are the implications of that?  Well, being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.  
I am putting this so directly and so simply because, though the experience of being the Beloved has never been completely absent from my life, I never claimed it as my core truth.  I kept running around it in large or small circles, always looking for someone or something able to convince me of my Belovedness.  It was as if I kept refusing to hear the voice that speaks from the very depth of my being and says: "You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests."  
That voice has always been there, but it seems that I was much more eager to listen to other, louder voices saying: "Prove that you are worth something; do something relevant, spectacular, or powerful, and then you will earn the love you so desire."  Meanwhile, the soft, gentle voice that speaks in the silence and solitude of my heart remained unheard or, at least, unconvincing.
I think you understand what I am talking about.  Aren't you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire?  Don't you often hope:  "May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country, or relationship fulfill my deepest desire."  But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied.  You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run.  
You and I don't have to kill ourselves.  We are the Beloved.  We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children, and friends loved or wounded us.  That's the truth of our lives.  That's the truth I want you to claim for yourself.  That's the truth spoken by the voice that says, "You are my Beloved."
Listening to that voice with great inner attentiveness, I hear at my center words that say: "I have called you by name, from the very beginningYou are mine and I am yours2.  You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests.  I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother's womb3.  I have carved you in the palms of my hands4 and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace.  I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child.5  I have counted every hair on your head6 and guided you at every step7.  Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch9.  I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst.  I will not hide my face from you10.  You know me as your own as I know you as my own.  You belong to me.  
Nothing will ever separate us.                                                                                    You are my Beloved: a much loved person.                                              Beloved, that is my name for you!
Paul said it so completely:  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8.38-39
As I close today, this means so much to me-to know in my head-and feel in my heart, the love of God. "Beloved", that is God's name for me, for you.
Heavily influenced by The Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen.
1    from Isaiah 43
2    Song of Solomon 6.3
3    from Psalm 139
4    Isaiah 49.16
5    1 Thessalonians 2.7
6    Matthew 10.30
7    Proverbs 16.9
8    Psalm 121.4
9    Psalm 81.10, 16
10   Psalm 27