Tag Archives: fidelity

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“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1, NIV)

Today’s verse brings to mind a certain company that changed its name in hopes of outrunning its deservedly poor reputation. The only problem was that whenever this company was mentioned in the media after its name change, the reference always went something like, “the company formerly known as. . .”

Call it a “handle,” a “flag,” a “label,” or a “tag,” it’s still a name.  Everyone has a name; but not everyone has a good name.

The Bible says that a good name is more desirable than great wealth.  Indeed, a good name is the confidence you see looking back at you in the mirror; a good name blesses our children; a good name is the fragrance of righteousness.

Guard your good name (or rehabilitate it, if you’ve allowed it to founder) by being faithful and truthful in all of your dealings with others.  – Luther

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“And it came to pass in our going on to prayer, a certain maid, having a spirit of Python, did meet us, who brought much employment to her masters by soothsaying, she having followed Paul and us, was crying, saying, `These men are servants of the Most High God, who declare to us a way of salvation;’ and this she was doing for many days, but Paul having been grieved, and having turned, said to the spirit, `I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come forth from her;’ and it came forth the same hour.” (Acts 16:16-18, Young’s Literal Translation)

A single word can, sometimes, make a world of difference.

The young girl in today’s scripture passage “dogged” Paul and his companions as they proclaimed the Good News, saying: “These men are servants of the Most High God (TRUE), who declare to us a way of salvation (FALSE).”

Here, it can get confusing because except for a literal, word-for-word, translation of the Greek New Testament one will probably find the word “the” instead of the word “a” in other New Testament translations to English of the girl’s characterization of the disciple’s message.

Paul and the others were not announcing one way of many ways; they lived to proclaim the way of salvation. It was this mis-characterization of their message that annoyed Paul and provoked him to “call out” the demon within the girl that was the true source of the half-truths.

As disciples of Jesus, our message today is the same as the message of Paul and the other disciples in the Acts: “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, New Living Translation)

If we believe that to be true, we, too, should be annoyed at any attempt to mis-characterize or to alter the whole truth of God’s word — and use whatever tools at our disposal to set-straight the record. Words do matter.  – Luther

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