The Name II

"Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name." Acts 22:16

Paul's testimony to the mob that had been attacking him, and seeking to kill him contains an essential key to the opening up of a life-changing relationship with Jesus. It requires a rapid response to any love-initiated encounter with the Risen Christ.

Early this morning I was awakened by a call that my father, Don Miller was taken, by ambulance to the ER at the Baylor University/All Saints hospital in Ft. Worth, Texas. This has been the scene of many family gatherings over the years. They have become more and more frequent since early August. Dad's chronic condition, congestive heart-failure, triggered by high blood pressure, leads to painful and frightening breathlessness. One day the final call from Heaven will come, and he will gladly answer. For now, the crisis has passed. Thank you for praying.

As I was leaving the hospital this morning, I was taking a picture of Dad to send to my sister Joy. She is in Orlando, and at times like this she feels the separation from her Dad. She is his only daughter, a rose among the three thorns, and she wishes she could be by his side, when the crisis is at its worst.

I asked Dad if I could take a picture, and send it to Joy to let her know he was alright. He recognized me, and could understand what I was saying, but the lines of communication with him were just a little blurry. It had been a rough fight to get his breath back.

I had some prayer with Dad, and then before I took the picture, I asked, "Can you say, Jesus?" His eyes lit up and he said the name that turned his life around, and has made all the difference in his life since he first called upon Jesus to save him. I am attaching the picture.

One day, in Monroe, Louisiana, Dad was seated on the steps of a tar-paper covered barracks at Selmon Field. It was a training base for squadrons being prepared to bomb Germany during World War 2. Dad was a cadet, being trained as a navigator. He would guide the bombers to their correct location, in the face of a relentless enemy.

A young man from Alabama sat down next to Dad. Their conversation turned to the sermon that they had both heard that morning at the First Baptist Church of Monroe. Dr. L.T. Hasting preached a simple salvation message, and it had reached a tender place in both of their hearts.

Though they had never met before that moment in time, as they shared together what they had sensed God saying to them that Sunday morning, they agreed to respond to His voice. They didn't know exactly how to to it, but Dad said to his new friend, "Would you think it would be alright if we just shook hands and agreed to accept what the preacher said is true, and receive Jesus as our Savior?"

The two of them shook hands, and Jesus took over Dad's life, through The Person of the Holy Spirit. From that very moment in time, The Name of Jesus lit a fire in his heart. Dad's life has been a life-long passion of letting The Name of Jesus shine through his life to a dark world.

Thanks Dad! You may have volunteered to be a navigator in one war, but God called you to be a navigator in a spiritual war. Your life still lights the way, as you call on The Name of Jesus, and lead others to do the same. Thank you for responding to Jesus when He called your name, and for continuing to call on The Name of Jesus as a man of prayer. The world is a better place for all the light you have shed into it, by calling on The Name.

For the moment, the crisis has passed and the journey continues. Like Paul's, Dad's plans were interrupted, when he responded to Jesus. They were also improved. Through Paul's turn around, millions have found new life through Jesus. Through Dad's turnaround, thousands have found their way to Jesus.

Dad, you have been a great navigator! You have never stopped, "Calling on His name." v. 16

When Paul got up, he could not have known where he was going, but his dependency upon the voice of God intensified every step he took on the journey with the Risen Christ. This is true of all of us. The joy is rarely found in the destination. The joy is found in the journey.

Absolute availability, consistent companionship, daily dependence, or however it may be expressed are all expressions of the one thing that matters. A living, breathing rapid response relationship with Jesus is birthed in prayer, that is marked by "calling on His name." Persistent prayer breathes new life into the relationship on a moment by moment basis.

Note to self: Jesus has never stopped calling your name. Never stop, "Calling on His name." TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!