Part 1 of an Interview with Sheryl Giesbrecht,
Author of Experiencing God Through His Names
What’s in a name? Names are more than groups of letters that represent a person or identify objects. Names are powerful. A person’s character and destiny can be influenced by his or her name. When it comes to God, His attributes and personality support His unique and distinct names. In Experiencing God Through His Names (Bold Vision Books), author Sheryl Giesbrecht leads readers in a study to discover truths about God’s character by a study of His various titles and names.
Q: You wrote Experiencing God Through His Names after some very personal encounters. Please share what led you to explore the different names for God.
I was a stressed-out pastor’s wife, working a full-time job outside of our home, mothering a preschooler and kindergartener, exhausted from the demands of family and ministry. I was full of fear with one child in a public school and the other with a daycare provider. I needed the connection of women friendships but was afraid of rejection and how I might fit in since I was a working mother. I wanted to learn how to trust God in a practical way. I joined a Moms in Touch group (now known as Moms In Prayer International) to pray for my child in school. Through this amazing group of women, I learned how to pray specifically for my own needs and the needs of my family by understanding the names of God. Added bonuses were learning to worship using the names of God and drawing near to God by calling on His specific names.
Q: The book takes an in-depth look at 31 names for God. Are these all of the names for God found in the Bible?
No, these 31 names of God are not an all-inclusive list. Of course, some of the names of God are listed more times in the Bible than others. The name “Father” is a distinguishing title used more than 390 times in the New International Version of the New Testament. The name of God, “Elohim” (Creator), is used more than 2,500 times in the Old Testament. Other names such as “El Bethel” is used only once in the entire Bible. There are many more names of God, and this study is just an entry point for an exciting new way to experience God.
Q: Describe the imagery you use when comparing the study of the names of God to looking at a postcard of the Grand Canyon.
Postcards are single, small photographs of an expansive, panoramic view. In the same way, studying the names of God one at a time is like stopping to examine intricately the beauty and detail of a solo shot of a single postcard one at a time. When we observe one individual name of God at a time and consider the cross-section of His personality traits associated with it, we can access strength, wisdom, patience, grace, love and much more of God’s presence for our needs and the needs of others. We can understand the reality of His presence and apply the capability of His character.
Each of the names of God is my favorite — depending on how He wants me to praise Him or submit my needs or the needs of others to Him. Some that come immediately to mind are: “El Shaddai” (the God who is almighty and all-sufficient), “Jehovah Rohi” (the Lord my shepherd) and “El Roi” (the God who sees).
Q: How has getting to know God more through His names helped the focus of your own ministry?
Before the ministry was launched in 1996, I learned to trust God and began to understand how to let go of my emotional, relational and physical brokenness. I found complete independence when I traded my bondage for spiritual breakthrough. Through the process of standing firm in my identity in Christ and understanding His character through studying His names, I was able to move from captivity to freedom by believing God and taking Him at His Word.
God has fashioned my personal walk with Him by graciously revealing more of His character to me through studying His names. The habit of studying His names and praying His names has helped me to pray more effectively for myself and my family. I use the same method to pray for others efficiently. The practice has deepened my prayer life as I seek actively to trust our Almighty God and let Him lead the ministry He has called me to.
The same breakthrough freedom is possible for anyone who chooses to dedicate themselves to find out what God thinks. When we seek to find Him by examining His names, we are able to understand His character further. God helps us untangle the knots of deception so we can walk intentionally in our identity in Christ. The result will be transformation into the best version of ourselves we can be. This complete makeover is what gives God glory. “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” says John 8:32.
Learn more about more about Experiencing God Through His Names and Sheryl Giesbrecht at www.FromAshesToBeauty.com, or follow her on Facebook (AuthorSherylGiesbrecht) and Twitter (SGiesbrecht).