Summary: A short Devotional to encourage those who have been put down by others and to help them understand the value that God places on them.

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Are You A Branded Person?

When they let me out of prison, I held my head up high

Determined i would rise above the shame

But no matter where I'm living, the black mark follows me

I'm branded with a number on my name

I’d like to hold my head up and be proud of who I am

But they won’t let my secret go untold

I paid the debt I owed them, but they’re still not satisfied,

Now, I’m a branded man, out in the cold

The above lyrics, the reflections of a former prisoner, were taken off a hit-song recorded by Country star Merle Haggard, titled ‘Branded Man’. Merle certainly knew what it was like to be a ‘Branded Man’, since he spent time in prison, including the dreaded San Quentin Prison.

I don’t know what it is about humans, but we seem to thrive on placing ‘brands’ on people. We hear terms like loser, failure, cheat, addict, gossip, prison bird, fat, ugly and more being used on people. Partners use insulting names on each other, with much regret later. And, parents sometimes use brands like fool, idiot and stupid on their children, snuffing out the light inside them in the process. Sadly, many times we accept the branding put on us by others and live our lives believing that lie!

Here are some challenges I went through in my personal life:

1) I was very sick and a chronic asthmatic for most of my childhood and teenage years. In our society, I’m sure some people would have branded me as a child who has brought bad luck to the family. Thankfully, my parents didn’t think so.

2) I struggled with exams in my schooling days and many times, either my parents or I were at the receiving end of branding (jokes cracked), about such failures.

3) I married late in life and sometimes had to hear unkind remarks people made in fun over this; especially at weddings. Believe me, it wasn’t funny!

The good news however, is that whatever people say or think of us, what really matters is what God thinks of us. Thankfully, the scriptures show us time and time again that God never brands us, but instead, places great value on us. So much value in fact, that He gave His only Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, to die for us as individuals. The Bible also says that God knows us by name, our real name, and not the branded names others have placed on us. Here are some powerful scriptures.

“You (God) knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13)

“I (God) have summoned you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1)

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)

"You will forget the shame of your youth" (Isaiah 54:4)

“I have called you friends” (said by Jesus in John 15:15)

“Yet to all who received Him (Jesus), to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become the children of God”. (John 1:12)

Yes, in Jesus, you are a child of God! So, today, stop believing the names others have branded you with and believe the truth of what God thinks of you. It will change your entire outlook on life and give you new courage to fulfill your God-given destiny!

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