As I child I so desperately wanted a cool nickname to symbolise acceptance and friendship.  The only ones I got was 'Big Bully' and 'Billy'.

Mark 3:1-35

Reference:  v.16-17  These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whoom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder)… (NIV Bible)

Explore:  Linda is not really a name you can abbreviate or easily change into a nickname.  As I child I so desperately wanted a cool nickname to symbolise acceptance and friendship.  The only ones I got was 'Big Bully' and 'Billy'.  The former was created by old family friends who must have witnessed my selfishness over toys.  The latter was used by my cousins due to the fact that they thought I was more boy than girl!!  Not really the friendly, accepting names I was hoping for.  As an adult I can't say that my nicknames have got any better.  One of my friends and her family will only address me as 'Poo'.  This started as a joke when we were running a children's holiday program,  but it has now turned into an affectionate term.  I like to think that it is more along the lines of 'Pooh', like in Pooh Bear, because when my friends say it they are giving me a title that is special just in our friendship group.  While this name may not mean anything to a random on-looker, it is now a part of our friendship and said with much love and acceptance.

Application:  Jesus gave some of his disciples different names.  They were similar to nicknames in that they represented Jesus' acceptance of them and meant that He knew something deeper about them.  However these names were more powerful and meaningful than nicknames because they were filled with purpose and destiny.  I wonder what nickname Jesus would give us today.  He would call each of us 'my child' but I'm sure he could come up with other names as well.  While I often think that 'Big Bully' and 'Poo' are the only names I would be worthy of I'm reminded of the story of Gideon.  Gideon was petrified for his life and hiding away from his enemies but God had a new nickname for him.  It wasn't 'scaredy cat' or 'namby pamby'.  It was 'mighty warrior'.  God sees the best in us and gives us names that show our purpose and destiny.

Prayer:  Lord, we often see the worst in ourselves.  Help us to see each other the way that you do, with purpose and destiny.  Amen.

What nickname would God give to you?  What is your God-given purpose and destiny?

This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.