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Listen while you read: "Standing By A Purpose True"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 139:1,13,16 – O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (NLT)

For the first two weeks of my life, I was not called Alice, my present name. My parents were trying out the name Helen. They must not have been sure about it, because there was no definite mention of a name in the early letters to my grandmother back in Czechoslovakia. I discovered this interesting fact only recently after reading these letters myself.

As a newborn, I didn't adapt well to the prescribed feeding hours of the day, which were too far apart for my liking. In the middle of the night, my dad would walk me back and forth until I was finally allowed to feed and could go back to sleep. My dad longed to change my destiny from a fretful, crying baby to something more positive. He consulted his big dictionary, where there was a section called Most Common English Christian Names, with names for boys and girls, and their meanings and origins. He chose the name Alice, meaning "noble cheer", and Ida, meaning "happy". He hoped that I would live up to my new names. He hoped that I would become the embodiment of cheer, giving joy and gladness, and become happy. He blessed me with these wonderful names. After I settled down to a better schedule, my name was official — Alice Ida — and it was registered two months after my birth.

Even though at first my parents didn't know my real name, I'm glad that God did. He knew all about me. He even knew me before I was born, because He is not bound by time or space. He knew my personality, and what I would look like. He knew everything that would happen to me. He was with me every moment of my life, even when I hadn't yet acknowledged Him.

My father wanted me to behave in a different way, so he gave me a new name. God had a plan for me as well. He wanted me in His family. He wanted me as a daughter. Within the framework of my life, and through Jesus' death and resurrection, I came to understand how I could have my sins forgiven and be born again. By a conscious decision, I became a child of God and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. I had a new identity.

Just as my new name, Alice Ida, was registered where I was born in Singapore, when I was born again, I was registered in The Lamb's Book of Life, the registry of the kingdom of God. I'm now a citizen of Canada, but more importantly, a citizen of heaven, which endures for all eternity.

Have I lived up to my name, communicating gladness, comfort, and encouragement to others? Am I always happy? Well, that's a work in progress! The big question that we all need to ask ourselves is "Am I communicating to others my status as a member of the family of God?" Everyone needs to know that God knows their name and wants them to belong to Him, too.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You know us and everything about us. You know us so intimately, that even before we were born, You knew what we would become. Help us to share this truth with others, so that they, too, may become Your children, and belong to Your family. Amen.

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About the author:

Alice Burnett <>
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen sister!

    Comforting words, Alice.

    Thank you so much for the brilliant reminder today!

    Thank you, Alice, for sharing your naming and its meaning. Blessings.

    Thanks, Alice for a wonderful devotion today. We look forward to hearing from you again.

    Thank you, Alice. Nice that you got to read those old letters and put the details into the story.
    God bless you.

    Beautiful devotion and a perfect reminder of God’s perfect love poured out on each of us.
    Thank you and God bless you.

    Hello Alice
    That is very interesting about your name and meanings. A lot of time and thought went into it for sure.
    It is comforting to know God knows us from the beginning and He is there always.
    God bless.

    Dear Alice,
    Isn’t it nice to know the thought that your dad put into naming you. I hope you like your name. It is true that we need to remember that God knows all about us in the past, present and future. He has a plan for us, and it includes helping others to know about God and the importance of him in our life by sharing our story with others. Thank you for sharing some of yours and for the insight it has given you. Blessings.

    Thank you, Alice, for your meaningful story/message today.
    After I was married my husband found a little book full of names and meanings. Our names are oh so right as they show the lives we were given together for 60 years to serve the Lord.
    Continue to share your gifted stories, Alice, and may you be blessed in many special and surprising ways.
    God bless you as you share Him.

    WHAT A WONDERFUL STORY! Since I was six months old, I have been called by my nickname. My aunt was the only person who ever called me by my name! We moved four times while I was growing up and everywhere we moved, my parents introduced me by my nickname. HOWEVER, when we lived in a suburb of New York City, there was a large Jewish population. I helped with their babies in the park by strolling them in their baby buggies, etc. Those ladies called me “Sarah”. I thought that was strange (I was about 9 or 10) but my mother explained how important the name “Sarah” was to the Jewish people and that it didn’t really matter to God what my name was, I was his.
    Thank you for writing today.

    Hi Alice:
    I just wanted to tell you that your devotional “He Knew my Name” really struck a chord with me. With this Covid business in its second year, the last bit has been a really rough patch. While I watch my old Pastor on YouTube every Sunday, I have not been inside a church for as long as Covid has raised its ugly head. I haven’t seen my 90+ year-old sister in a year or brother in almost 3. It’s been hard, because we are a closely knit family and we have been in lock down for so long. I thank God that my son and daughter-in-law have done most of my shopping for me.
    I have been re-reading my Bible and I had always thought that Job was such a sad book, but this time through, I realized the strength of Job’s belief, in spite of what he had gone through.
    Talk about reinforcing that There IS a God! And He is my strength, my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer. I know I can go to Him whenever I feel down or need help – because I know He is there all the time because I am the apple of His eye and He is delighted in me!! Also, I’m His daughter!
    I just wanted you to know that your devotional was yet another reinforcement that God loves us and cares for us even down to what we are named.

    Dear Alice,
    What an intriguing experience with your name. And, how sobering to know that God knows our name before the beginning.

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