Name and Voice Recognition!

26 01 2017

Isaiah 43:1 (ESV)  “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”

sbts-annual-1972-3 I find that one of my strengths lies in my ability to recall the names of people, whom I know and/or have met on occasion, even in a very chance meeting.  While this is a strength this is also my biggest weakness.  Why, you might ask?  Because, when I meet a person, specially as I am getting older, I don’t have the “instant recall”, that I prided myself in, and so this produces a lot of negative feelings inside of me.

Recently, I met a gentleman whom I had attended a class with at the local YMCA. I remembered many things about him and his wife from the conversations we had had in class and outside, but I could not remember his name!  I even introduced him to my wife (without mentioning his name)!  It was almost two hours afterwards, hundred and twenty minutes of agonizing thinking, that I finally remembered, “Bill”!

This has triggered some thoughts that make me to study some people in the Bible, who I am sure that we will meet in heaven as we walk the streets of gold, and we will definitely recognize them, but will we be unfamiliar with their name?  I know we will not agonize as to who they are … maybe we will all wear name tags in heaven … ya, betcha!

So I am going to study “Facebook Friends on Streets of Gold”, people whom I want to find as much as I can in the days ahead, before I meet them on the streets of gold.  Just like on Facebook, many times it will be a very short profile of a few things that I know about them, and through the years as my friendship with them grows, I want to add to their page!

I would very much enjoy having you join me in my journey, and add your own knowledge of what you know about this friend, because, I hope and trust that they are also your friends, and that you will want to get to know them too!

I would also enjoy getting to know some of your friends, whom you have met in your journey through the Bible, and that you will introduce them to me too!  Some of them might be “no name friends”, but are very important in our story and in God’s Story!

So, I trust that we will enjoy our time in getting to know and enjoying the friends we will spend eternity with on the “Streets of Gold”!

Name Recognition:  (A few of many)

Isaiah 43:1 –  “…Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.”

Isaiah 45:3-4  And I will …so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name…  Why did I call you by name when you did not know me?

Isaiah 49:1   Listen to me, all you in distant lands!  Pay attention, you who are far away!
The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.

Voice Recognition:  (A few of many)

John 10:3-5 –  “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

John 10: 27 – “ My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. “


My Full Name is Theodore Samuel Nalin Senapatiratne






Heaven: Place where BFFs (Best Friends Forever) live

9 01 2017

Leadership Training of Youth at Lakshman’s Tea Plantation in Dyraba in 1984

“Grandpa, don’t you know?  That’s my BFF!” said my seven year old grandson one day in his incredulous tone.  How could I have missed such an obvious fact?

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to think about, “BFFs”.  Do guys even have BFFs, let alone BFs?   That is a different story!  But I heard of the home going of my friend, Lakshman Perera, and some thoughts ran through my mind.

I don’t even remember the time I first met him, even though it was sometime when I was in my early 40’s when my wife and I and our two sons, were serving as missionaries in Sri Lanka.  But since then it seems like his family and ours were like close friends, who had known each other forever.

Lakshman and Sunil had the ability to make people feel welcome in their home, in their church and wherever, with great ease.  Their love for the Lord Jesus and their desire to make Him known and introduced to everyone they knew was contagious.  Many are the stories, and the incidents that flashed through my mind.

The hours going into the night of looking at a particular passage of scripture, or discussing a situation related to the church were numerous.  Lakshman’s passion for people was evidenced in his desire to plant a church in every place that he was employed in.  He was a manager of tea plantations, and he would be assigned to different places, and yet where ever he was, this was his burning desire.

He started a small church plant on this one tea plantation, where he invited me to come and train some young leaders to be the core of the church, and to train them to be “disciple makers”.  He would also arrange for me to lead Bible studies in the homes of his friends, who managed other tea plantations, so that these managers would come into a personal knowledge of Jesus, and also so that they also would catch the vision of starting a church in their own plantations.

Great is the reward that Lakshman (and Sunil) will be presented with as he is with Jesus, enjoying the presence of the Lord that he loved.

But I digress a little, or do I?  Because, Jesus was Lakshman’s Best Friend.   Jesus had another friend in whose home, Jesus spent time with whenever he was in town.  His name was Lazarus!

But one day, Jesus got a message from Lazarus’ two sisters, Mary and Martha, that Lazarus was very sick, to the point of death.  Would Jesus please come?  But Jesus delayed till four days after his friend had passed, and he arrives at their home.  (The details are in John chapter 11, well worth the time reading this amazing story)

Jesus comes and we see the emotions of Jesus, very Man and very God, as he confronts the death of his “Best Friend”.  Walk through that passage very slowly and capture the details … Wow!  What a story, and then we see the friends restored in fellowship again.

But we know the story does not end here, even though we do not know the details.  Jesus dies and is resurrected and he goes to heaven, and he leaves the words he spoke to Mary and Martha … and Lazarus … “I am the Resurrection and the Life” … for us all to believe in and to have HOPE in, when we face death.  Yes, if we believe in Jesus, we will be “Best Friends Forever”, because He promised us Eternal Life!

This is the Hope that we can have, and this is the challenge that faces us, which drove my friend, Lakshman to desire to see all his friends be ‘best friends forever’!  Do we desire that for our friends, that they believe in Christ Jesus, and would be our BFFs because they will live forever, through their faith in Jesus?