Comments from yesterday’s blogpost have been stuck in my head. Most of us are similar. We know that freedom in Christ is ours to be had, but often living it and remembering it 24/7 is a different story. The message Free From the Past was inspired by the sermon I heard on Sunday by Pastor Derwin Gray. That was not the first time Derwin inspired me. I pray you are encouraged by this devotion written quite a few years ago, also inspired by a real life encounter between Derwin and my son, Hayden. May you leave this blog today feeling, receiving, and knowing that the Lord knows you by name and loves you very much.
My son Hayden loves football. Sometimes I think it’s his reason for living. He reads, plays, and studies the game. His moods are often affected by how a game turns out, and he looks up to many of the athletes who have played the game well. One such athlete is Derwin Gray. Derwin and his family attended our church for years. He played for the Indianapolis Colts and the Carolina Panthers. He is also a great man of God who has devoted his life to spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. Hayden has great memories of passing the football with Derwin in the hallways of our church. He also had the pleasure of accompanying him in leading the Miami Dolphins’ chapel service before a game. How it brought joy to my heart to hear Hayden talk about meeting professional football players, especially those who loved God. This man, though he probably doesn’t know it, has had a profound impact on my son’s life. Derwin Gray invested in my son.
Hayden collects football cards. Each time I go to Wal-Mart, I pick up a pack, hoping we will get a few new ones and maybe even the prestigious “Peyton Manning” card. Well, it finally happened! After buying many, many packs of cards, Peyton was finally ours! Hayden placed him on the page of honor, the front page of his book. There was still one space left and I asked Hayden who he was saving it for. Derwin Gray, he replied.
A few days later, Hayden’s best friend, Hunter came over with his football cards. Hunter had three Derwin Gray cards, so Hayden asked him for one. Being the smart business man he is, Hunter said, “Sure, if I can have your Peyton Manning card.” Hayden gladly handed it over and was thrilled to receive his hero’s card. I, on the other hand, thought, Do you know how much money I spent to find that thing? What are you thinking?
Later I asked Hayden why he traded that card we worked so hard to get. Hayden’s answer blew me away. “Mom,” he explained, “Derwin knows me. He knows my name.” It meant a lot to Hayden that someone he looked up to knew his name. Peyton Manning was special, but he did not know his name.
Do you know there is someone incredible who knows your name? He is the Almighty God, Creator of this Universe and Creator of you. He not only knows your name, but the Bible tells us He knows every hair on your head. He also knows every detail of your life. He loves you and wants to spend time with you. God wants to be a part of your life. You don’t even have to make a trade for Him. He’s yours just for the asking. Oddly enough, a Derwin Gray football card could’ve been Hayden’s just for the asking too.
This story got back to Derwin. On the day of Hayden’s First Communion, Derwin came to church with something greater than a football card. It was an 8×10 picture of him when he played for the Panthers. He signed it with a personal message and Bible verse for Hayden. He also handed Hayden five of his football cards to give to friends. Even when Hayden is mad at the outcome of a Panthers game and removes all of the Panther stuff from his room in protest, the Derwin Gray picture remains, because, “Mom, he knows my name.”
Dear Lord, Wow! You know my name! I praise You for Your unfailing and unconditional love in my life. I am grateful that I do not have to do anything to earn Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Do you know Him?
Take the time to read Jesus’ very own words in John 10:1-16. Celebrate the fact that Jesus knows your name.
Now that you know that Jesus knows your name, who do you say that He is?
Do you recognize God’s voice when He is speaking to you?
Matthew, 10:30, “And even the very hairs on your head are numbered.” (NIV)
Luke 9:20, “’But what about you?’ Jesus asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’” (NIV)
Psalm 16:3, “The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!” (NLT)