Goodbye 2011 and Hello 2012….


The following are letters to the year 2011…..and 2012….

Dear 2011,

I hope you have enjoyed yourself.  You have been granted 365 days and your time has come to an end.  I would like to take this time and let you know how our relationship grew over the past 365 days.  First, we started out making goals.  They seemed almost impossible, but as time went on, it appeared we were going to make them.  Second, God has used you in so many ways.  He allowed you to show me that patience is key when going after things that are important.  He also allowed you to show me that laziness is not part of your plan.  It appears that God made you exactly as you should be made.  This is why I would like to thank you for your time.  You have given your time as a gift.  You didn’t require anything from me.  You didn’t beg me to show you how much I love you.  All you did was have compassion on me when I needed it.  You allowed me to grow in every way. I know you don’t desire the credit, but you deserve it.  You have shown the love of Christ in the way you lived.  Patient.  Compassionate.  Loving.  Living.  These are only some of the ways God has shown Himself through you.  As your journey has come to an end, you will be remembered as a good year.  Thank you.

J.D.

Dear 2012,

Your predecessor, 2011, was a good year.  I hope that you will be the same.  However, I understand that God will use you for whatever He desires.  He will mold your time as He sees fit.  You will have good times and bad times.  You will have sick times and healthy times.  Some of your days will seem long and some short.  You will have 24 hours to do what you have set out to do that day.  We will have to work together, as I did with 2011.  That is why I share my goals with you.  Don’t be too hard on me, just enough that I remember that God made us and He is watching over us.  Whatever, you have planned, do as 2011 did.  Teach us to be more patient.  Teach us to go after what we want to achieve.  Allow us the proper time to share our lives with the one’s we love, and the one’s we don’t even know yet.  Even though there are rumors that your time will be short, we all know that God is in control and will give to you the days He has ordained.  You have one advantage.  You have 366 days this year.  You have been given one extra day to achieve with us what we agree upon.  Let us both make the time we need to accomplish all we set out to do.

Sincerely,

J.D.

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Most people would find it strange that I wrote to both 2011 and 2012.  However, there is a deeper meaning to all of this.  Time has been created by God.  He created day and night to show us that time is not forever.  We only have a certain period of time before He calls us home.  May we all take time to serve others, love others and listen to others before we do anything for ourselves.

As you do your search for meaning this coming year, please take some time to talk with God.  Just look up and say, “God please let me know You are real.  Show me what You want from me.”  Then pick up a Bible and read the book of John.  You will discover God is real.  God is looking for you.  God is wanting you to open your heart to Him.  You can’t change on your own.  You need Him.  Only God can change your heart.  Only God can change your DNA.  Only God can bring you to the place where you want to be.

God is not a vending machine.  Only when you search for Him will He show you what He desires from you.  Only when you search for Him will you find satisfaction and joy.  You will start to find that your goals are really His goals.  You will be so happy to do what He wants.  Joy will fill your life.  Happiness will complete your soul.  Satisfaction and contentment will serve you in ways you never discovered before.

Say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012.  Search for true meaning in life through God this year.  Make your goals, give them to God and allow Him to work in your life.  God bless and encourage someone today.

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Resolutions Are For Wimps


It’s that time of the year again.  A time for sharing special moments with family and friends.  A time to look back at what we were able to accomplish this past year.  A time to make the typical, never kept, New Year’s Resolution.  However, what if I told you resolutions are for wimps?

Every year, millions of people make New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight, take economic risks or just “love more”.  Aw, how sweet.  Unfortunately, 55%+ of all New Year’s Resolutions are broken within the first week.  Almost 100% of the resolutions made are forgotten and broken within a few short months.  Why is this so prevalent in our society?  Why do we focus on what we seemingly cannot accomplish?

For many years now, we continually hear the rush of disappointing waters running over the cliff of despair.  We have been taught to make promises to ourselves at the beginning of the year.  However, as human beings, we also have a tendency to break these same promises.  Look at politicians.  They make hundreds of promises only to break those promises within the first week of their office.  We see big business promise that this year will be better than last year.  Then we watch the stock market only to see our lifetime investments dropping, losing what little we had.  In essence, we are all taught to make promises to ourselves and to others, but if we break those promises, it’s okay.  Or is it?

Jesus addressed this problem by saying the following:

Matthew 5:36-37 (New International Version 1984 (NIV1984))

And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.  Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Here, Jesus was addressing a crowd, teaching them principles that seemed to fly in the face of leadership of His day.  The Jewish leaders had taught the people that making vows (promises) to God was okay and was extremely important to fulfill.  However, Jesus, knowing the heart of mankind, told the crowd not to worry about making promises.  He simply wanted people to keep their word.  If I had to re-write what Jesus taught in today’s language, it would probably read something like this:
“Why do you keep promises you cannot keep?  You aren’t in control of everything?  You can’t control life or death, so instead of making empty promises, time after time, just keep your word.  Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.”
I know, Jesus said it better (and shorter), but here is a principle we need to start adhering to.  When we make commitments, we need to keep those commitments.  If we cannot do something, we should not feel guilty because we can’t fulfill other’s expectations.  We should simply keep our word.
In this season of making resolutions, I believe that if you and I make New Year’s Resolutions, we are wimps.  We cannot obtain something that we have no motivation for.  We cannot complete what we do not enjoy.  A wimp is someone who “crawls back into their shell”, who let’s others abuse them and who doesn’t keep their word.  Instead there is an alternative to a New Year’s Resolution – goal making.
Goal making is quite different.  When we make a goal, we are saying, “I really believe that I can do this” and “I really believe that God wants me to do this.”  What we are doing is making a commitment to do something that is obtainable and won’t make us depressed when we don’t fully accomplish it.  Goals look at the positive, while resolutions look at the negative.
A goal says, “Look at what you did.  It was awesome!”  A resolution says, “Look at what you did!  It was horrible.  You should have done more.”
Most very successful people will tell you, set a goal, track a goal, complete a goal and then set another goal.  It doesn’t have to happen once a year.  It is continuous.  It is traceable.  It is obtainable.  It is successful.  This has been proven time and time again.
As we look forward to 2012, we need to make goals that are obtainable, reasonable and have been prayerfully considered.  Every year, I look at what I did the previous year and adjust these goals to the new year.  Let me share with you one of these goals.  In 2011 I wanted to read 6-12 books.  However, I only read 4 books.  Did I reach my goal?  No.  Was I depressed because I didn’t reach it?  No.  In fact, I was proud of what I had read.  For some reading 6-12 books a year is easy, but for me it is difficult due to my personal circumstances.  So what did I do for 2012?  I simply set a goal for reading 6 books this year.  Not 6-12, not 15-30, just 6.  It is a small reach to read 2 extra books this year.  It would have been an impossibility to read 10+ books this year.
For the new year, let’s all make a decision to make reachable, obtainable goals.  Then write them down and place them somewhere you will read them every day.  Maybe start off with one goal.  When that is completed, then set another goal.  Don’t overwhelm yourself with lots of goals, just one or two.  And when you set your goal, let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’.
Remember, resolutions are for wimps, while goal setting is for champions.
Enjoy the new year, God bless and encourage someone today.

The Island of Misfits


Do you remember the claymation of the classic song “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”?  Do you remember the “Island of Misfit Toys” in the story?  Well, Rudolph and Hermey (the elf who wants to be a dentist) feel that because of their strange and unusual abilities, they were considered misfits.  The venture on a journey where they encounter Yukon Cornelius (a gold digger who licks his metal tool), they run away from the beastly character “The Abominable Monster” and sing sad songs of how out of place they are in their society.

After some time, they find this island filled with toys.  However, these toys are what children called “misfits”.  They had obvious problems because their builder wasn’t careful. There was a polka-doted elephant, a train with square wheels and who could ever forget Charlie-in-the-box.  All of these toys felt that they were not ever going to be loved because of their defects.  Both sets of characters are just like you and I.

Many people today feel there is something wrong with them.  Maybe they aren’t as pretty as the another or maybe we aren’t as rich as our friends.  Possibly we have physical defects or mental problems.  No matter what our problems are, we consider ourselves misfits.  Unfortunately, we think that society won’t like us because of our defects.  Maybe they will see them and make fun of us just like all the other reindeer did with Rudolph.  Life doesn’t have to be this way.

We are all wired for love.  We are all wired for acceptance.  We are all wired to understand there is something greater than ourselves.  It is completely natural to feel anxiety, sadness and jealously because we think that someone else doesn’t understand what is wrong with us.  However, let me ensure you that we may want to look at life a bit differently.

First, God wants us to experience His love.  The Greek word for this is ‘agape’.  It means to be accepted and loved without reservation and limitless.  John 3:16 shares this when John says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that who ever believes in Him shall have eternal life.”  This means that no matter what we think of ourselves, God loves us.  No matter what we have done, God loves us.  No matter if we think we are unlovable, God loves us.  You and I are loved no matter who we are or what we do.

Next, God wants us to experience intimate love with our spouses.  A Greek word for this is ‘eros’.  However, in Ephesians 5:25, we see “Husbands love (agape) your wives as Christ loves (agape) the church”.  Eros is a sexual love between a man and a woman in marriage.  This is expressed throughout the Bible.  We see in Genesis “A man is to be united with his wife and the two shall become one flesh”.  We see this in Song of Solomon.  We see this when Paul talks about marriage between a man and a woman.

Men we are not only to desire our wives sexually but we are to have a love that is unconditional and limitless.  We are to love our wives as Christ loves His church.

Finally, God wants us to experience ‘philia’ or brotherly love.  This means a mutual love for each other as if we are brothers and sisters.  We are to care for each other in this regard. Throughout Paul’s letters to the churches and Timothy (Paul’s apprentice), Paul expresses this type of love when He says, “There is one body and one Spirit…”  Paul also says, “Greet each other with brotherly love”.  Without this type of love our lives are purposeless.  Without this type of love, we have no sense of why we are here.  Without this type of love, we cannot experience the fullness of what God desires for us.

We all need love.  The misfits wanted love (agape).  All the misfits wanted was for Santa to find children that would love them without condition.  We all desire this love.  We can be content with this type of love from God, however, God will place another desire in our hearts, brotherly love.  We may not all experience ‘eros’ but we should all experience ‘agape’ and ‘philia’.  If we feel that our lives are filled with problems, sickness and error, we need to accept the fact that we are loved by God.

Not only does God love you, but I do as well.  If you want prayer for this, contact me and let me know.  I will not make these requests public, but I want you to know that I love you so much that I am willing to speak to God with you and for you.  My heart’s desire is to show the love of Christ to people.  If you don’t have a request, then just pray for the next 30 days and say, “God show me you love me”.  Then pick up a Bible and read the book of John.  It is the fourth book in the New Testament.  It shows us how much God loves us and what love Jesus had when He gave His life for us.

Don’t waste time wondering about who loves you and why.  Just accept the realization that God and I love you.  I look forward to hearing from you.  God Bless and encourage someone today.

An Innocent Question Filled with Truth


This evening my older son had to go for a routine checkup.  Nothing major, just routine.  After he was taken into the office with my wife, my younger son and I started joking around.  It was then that he started to act silly.  Noises, funny words and contorted faces were part of our routine.  In the middle of this, he asked the most interesting of questions.  My son asked, “Dad, wasn’t Jesus a Christian?”

What a question!  It was apparent he was thinking about Christ, but to ask this question from such a young mind allowed me to see how deep his thinking really is.  I told him, “No, Jesus was Jewish.”

“Jesus was Jewish?” he asked.

I started to explain that Jesus grew up in Israel and was raised in a Jewish home.  I didn’t get into the high level of theological discussions as he would have been completely lost.  I just told him the truth.  Simply yet powerfully.

A short time later, we were in a store looking for last minute Christmas items.  We gathered everything we wanted and started to checkout.  The gentleman behind the counter totaled up our “savings” and I paid him what was necessary.  It was then that my son did something wonderful.

He turned to the man behind the counter with a penny in his hand and said, “Sir.  I found this on the floor.”  That was when he handed it over to the man.  Both the man and I were shocked.  A penny?  Yes.  It wasn’t the amount of money that shocked us, it was the fact that he felt compelled to tell the truth.  It didn’t matter to him that there was no influence on the amount of money found.  He just decided to tell the truth.  Innocently yet powerfully.

Tonight I had a lesson from an 8yr old.  Truth is necessary for living.  If we decide not to live truthfully, we decide that Christ doesn’t matter.  However, when we live completely truthfully and ask the right questions, we discover a life of power.  We discover that only through the working of the Holy Spirit can we be totally honest, gentle and patient.

The end result of both of what happened this evening was the discovery that the Truth is powerful.  Live in innocence.  Ask the right questions.  Discover the truth and you life will be filled with joy as mine was tonight.  God Bless and go encourage someone today.

A Call to Patriotism


Riddled in history are stories of patriotism.  People who go out of their way to stand up for what is right and good.  In the early days of the United States, we hear of stories where ordinary people stand up to the oppression that was encompassing them.  Even today, we hear of uprisings that can be considered patriotic.

Look at the news today.  There are a lot of people standing up for what they believe is right and good.  They march and cry out, “Freedom from oppression!”  The stand and sit for days and weeks hoping to convince their government to change their ways for the betterment of the people.  Every year there are marches against homosexuality and for homosexuality.  We see marches against banking and investment firms.  We see marches against abortion and for women’s rights to choose.  But are all marches and protests patriotic.  To discover this, let’s take a look at what the real definition of patriotism is:

Patriotism is a “love for or devotion to one’s country”.  That’s it.  If you have a love or are devoted to your country then congratulations, you are a patriot.  Or does it?  A patriot is “one who loves his country and supports its authority and interests.”  Hmmm….now we are getting a little deeper.  So if we are to be considered patriots, we need to actually consider supporting our government’s authority and interests.  But does that mean we should agree with everything our government supports?

There is one story in the Bible that can help place into perspective how we should look at our government’s authority and interests.  Let’s take a look at what happened to Jesus when He was confronted to pay taxes.  During the first century, the Roman government imposed taxes to the common people.  The Roman governors would employ Jewish “tax collectors” who would add more to the tax than what the Roman government required.

Matthew, the man who has a book of the Bible named after him, was one of those tax collectors.  In his account, Jesus had been teaching by way of a parable.  At the end of one specific parable, the Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus so they sent their ‘disciples’ to question Jesus regarding paying taxes.  Knowing Jesus didn’t side with the rest of normal Jewish society, He asks the Pharisee disciples to show him a coin.  He asks, “Who is pictured there?”  They replied, “Caesar”.  Jesus then makes a very profound statement, “Then render to Caesar to what is Caesars; and render to God what is God’s.”  AMAZING!

Jesus made a statement that, for the common man, would have resulted in beatings and abuse.  However, because of the way He responded, the Pharisee disciples were amazed and just left.  They couldn’t say anything.  Why?  Well if Christ said not to pay taxes, then He would have been considered a zealot against Rome, which would have resulted in his immediate death.  It would also have meant that He sinned.  Sinned?  If Jesus had defied the official government of his day for something as simple as paying taxes, then He would have been defying the order God intended.

Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God shows us that we are to submit to the authority over us.  We are required to obey in all areas except when our government says not to pray, read the Bible or share God’s word.  Daniel defied his governors and prayed anyway.  So Jesus did not sin by taking His stance.  He basically said, “Listen to those who rule over you and pay your taxes.”

What amazed the people was that he then turned to those disciples of the Pharisees and said, “…and also give to God what is His.”  What does God require?  You.  All of you.  All of who you are and what you do.  He requires perfection which can only be obtained through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, God looks at us through Jesus’ eyes, where He sees what you will become one day, perfect like Christ.  What a wonderful outcome.

Another lesson taught in Scripture is to submit to the authorities that govern over us.

Romans 13:1 (NASB)
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

Does it say some people?  No.  It says everyone.  All of us should understand that all authority over us has been allowed by God.  All current rulers, whether we like them or not, have been established by God Himself.  Does this mean that we need to do everything they say?  The problem is in the word “submit”.

Submission is not a passive, wimpy, whiney word.  In fact, this word is active and positive.  All that submission means is to respect the authority over us and listen to them according to God’s word.  It doesn’t mean they are better than us.  It doesn’t mean that what they do is all from God.  It doesn’t mean that we have to do everything they say just because they say so.  It does mean that we understand who they are; Who appointed them and what they ask us to do (most times) we should obey.

The only time Scripture excuses us from listening to our rulers is in cases when it interrupts our relationship with God and His message going out into the world.  As I stated earlier, did not Daniel disobey the rulers when told not to pray?  Did not the disciples disobey the rulers when they were told not to share the Gospel?

Nowhere in Scripture did anyone, who loves God and does what He says, stand up for political or economic reasons.  You won’t find anyone fighting the rulers just because they don’t agree with the speed limit.  However, we do see civil disobedience done with love.  That is what sets us apart than the rest of the world.  We are to obey those over us.  We are to listen and trust those over us.  Why?  Because God placed them there and if God placed them there, don’t you think He is still in control?

We can stand up for what we believe in, but we should never show anger or hatred.  We are called to show love.  If those around us don’t agree with us, then that’s okay.  However, if you look around, most times these marches turn to hateful words and forceful disobedience.  This is sinful.

Although our leaders can’t get along these days and don’t agree on most platforms, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to them.  In fact, we should pray for them and if possible counsel them.  There is an old saying that goes, “No one care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  This is true and right.  If we show our leaders we love them, they will start to have a tendency to listen to us.  Then and only then can we be considered patriotic.  Be a patriot and pray for our leaders.  They need all the prayers we can offer.

Today’s Turmoil, Destruction and Hope


This morning, I was reading in Isaiah.  This book is filled with references to Christ, but is also filled with references to destruction and grace.  In the section I have been reading lately, a whole lot of destruction was going to come on nations that had committed sin, which God had had enough of.  However, this morning’s reading was different.  Yes there was the typical destruction and judgement passage, but today there were references to grace.

In the same breath that Isaiah was proclaiming destruction, God was proclaiming grace.  In fact, in Isaiah 19, God is about to bring judgement on Egypt, but then suddenly the tables turn and references grace.

“I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 19:4 – NIV 1984).  Then we see this later on, “In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border.  It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt.  When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them.” (Isaiah 19:19-20 – NIV 1984).

What a drastic change.  On one hand, God is allowing Egypt to wither away at the hands of its ruler, yet He will hear their cries and will save them.  However, with today’s political upheaval and weather related tragedies, is it that far fetched?

Is it possible that God is allowing the rulers of this day to oppress people to the point that they have no choice but to turn to the one and only true God and cry for help?  Is it such a stretch to see that these strange weather related problems may be God’s way of placing us in situations that we have no choice but to cry to Him for help?

The story doesn’t end there.  In Isaiah 21, the destruction of Babylon was foretold.  In this chapter there is a watchmen that cries out, “Babylon has fallen, has fallen.”  I wasn’t sure why this stuck out so I asked for clarification.  I was led to Revelation 14.  In this passage, we three different areas.  First, we see the 144,000 witnesses singing to the Lord as the firstfruits.  They are a special bunch.  They did not defile themselves with women.  In today’s terms, this could be a reference to those men who do not have a lust problem like so many men struggle with.  Then they are considered pure.  Finally, they follow Christ wherever He goes.  They were and are completely devoted to Christ.

Next, we see three angels that have very specific function.  The first angel was told to proclaim the “eternal gospel”.  This seems to be a reference to a time when the message of Christ is proclaimed throughout the earth.  This is what is happening today!  We are witnessing the event as it is happening.  Now this specific event can be considered a 2000 year work in progress, but today we hear and see people proclaiming Christ in virtually every country on the Earth.

Then we see something even more interesting.  We see the second angel proclaiming, “Fallen!  Fallen! is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”  This is the same message spoken in Isaiah 21.  I believe this may be occurring today as well.  It is a time when God will allow the rulers of the earth to be an oppression to the people.  A time when people will cry out to God because of the disaster that is falling upon them.  We will have no choice but to cry out to God.  (For those who study prophecy concerning the end times, this is not a reference to the wrath of God.  That comes later in Revelation 14).

Finally, we see the third angel making a distinction between those who follow Christ and those who don’t.  There will come a time when Christians will need patient endurance because of the destruction around them.  There will come a time when people will be wondering why all this is happening.  Remember at this point, the wrath of God has not even been poured out yet.  Christians won’t be here for that.  However, that doesn’t mean we won’t be part of the oppression and earthly disasters.  It means that when this happens, we need to cry out to God on others behalf.  It is our responsibility to pray for those who persecute and try to destroy us.  It is our responsibility to shelter those who need a place to stay.  It is our responsibility to feed those who are hungry.  We cannot leave that up to other people who don’t know Christ.  It is our responsibility.

I want this to be an encouragement to you today.  So I asked what does this all mean?  I think the message is very clear.  We need to turn from our own wicked ways and turn to God.  Why?  First, He is the only One who can save us.  Second, He is the One we need to cry out to.  Third, He has commanded us to pray and support others who need help.  Lastly, He is coming back soon.  The last part of Revelation 14 shows us that Christ Himself will take us home.  He will, one day, come back for us.  I came across this passage, “And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.” (Philippians 2:24 – NIV 1984).  Although this is from Paul to a specific church, it is also a message from Christ today.  He is coming soon.  We should not be surprised at that.  He is coming back and that should encourage us to share His good news with someone today.

Be encouraged and God Bless.

What is Your Identity?


A person walks up to you and stops.  They look deeply into your eyes.  Their arm moves forward and they extend their hand and say, “I’m _______, who are you?”  What do you say?  How do you respond?

In today’s business world, I see a lot of different people.  Sometimes, my company asks me to travel overseas.  Most times, when I travel, it is domestically.  I have to introduce myself to many types of people.  Usually, I identify myself by my title and company.  Not so strange…..or is it?

Think about this for a second.  When we introduce ourselves to people, we are inputting a distinct and specific identity on ourselves.  Typically in business, people identify you with what you do.  In my case, most people identify me as a technical support engineer.  So they assume that I can fix or support anything technical.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  There are many times people think I know a lot about cameras, but I only know how to turn them on, take the pictures and download them to my computer.  You are probably asking yourself, “J.D. where are you going with this?”

Our identity is extremely important.  It tells others who we are, what we stand for and what we are willing to do.  In ancient times, people’s names were extremely important in society.  An example would be a woman called Mara.  In the Bible, she was named that because she was a very bitter woman.  Another example was Jacob.  He was named that because he was a deceiver.  He deceived his brother and father when he was 40 years old.  Have you ever asked yourself what your name means?

My name means “He shall add, Grace the Angel of Peace”.  What is interesting is that my father is named the same thing and yet there are things about us that are very different.  One thing is sure, my parents weren’t thinking about who I was but rather named me in love of my father and grandfather.

In recent days, what we believe in identifies us.  Tim Tebow is identified as a Christian who loves to share Christ.  Bill Gates is identified as the genius who created Microsoft.  The late Steve Jobs is identified as the “Apple guy”.  You see all three of these men believe(d) in something.  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs believed that people wanted convenience and fast technology.  However, notice Tim Tebow has not recently been identified as a football player.  The media has labeled him a Christ follower who loves to share his faith.

Do you know the story of man who had a precious jewel?  If not, here it is.  A man had a very special gemstone.  It meant a whole lot to him.  Instead of placing it in a bank, he took the stone, buried it in a field and then bought the field with rest of the money he had.

Why would someone do this?  Well this story was told by Jesus to his disciples.  In this story he is giving a “heavenly” meaning using “earthly” examples.  When I read this story, I liken it to the joy that Christ has when He finds us.  Wait, didn’t I mean when we find Christ?  No.  I sincerely meant when Christ finds us.  According to Scripture, we don’t even look for God.

“There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God” – Romans 3:11 (NASB)

You see we don’t seek for God.  If we are truthful with ourselves, we want nothing to do with God.  We want our own ways.  This is the sin of Adam and Satan.  We want to be like God.  However, Christ didn’t think of life in this fashion.  He thought of His life as a shepherd.

John 10:16 (NIV 1984) – “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

Christ looks for us.  Time and time again, Christ looked at people as his sheep.  He looked at us and said, “I love my sheep and would do anything for them.”  He took a very loving and devoted stance.  How saddened should we be when we stop listening to His voice?

Christ died for the ‘sin’ of Adam.  He died to set us free from bondage to sin.  He died to save us and allow us to have a real, intimate relationship with the Father.  Christ died because He really loves you.  He is real.  He is calling.

Tim Tebow and many others like to identify themselves as a Christ follower.  I think it is time that all Christians stop labeling themselves by their work, family or ministry.  If we lost everything we hold dear in this life, how would we identify ourselves?  The only way to really keep your true identity is to say you are a “_____ follower”.  For me, I am proud to say that Jesus is my Savior and I am a Christ follower.  Hopefully, you can say the same thing as well.

Don’t identify yourself with things.  Identify yourself with the One who is eternal and is calling you into an intimate relationship with Him.  Be an encouragement to someone today.