Well, my youngest child has been sick again, and last night she and Travis kept me up until 1 am. I don't know what they thought they were missing, but I definately missed sleep! I'm getting this started late, so we'll just get right to it.
How have you experienced each of these things and do you exhibit more of the old life or new?
Like I said last week, I usually jump into something with both feet. So, when I decided to become a believer, I made a distinct 180 degree change. I was newly married with a newborn baby so I was already done with many of the old ways (although Satan did try to creep the old ways back in). I stopped listening to secular music and reading secular books. I poured myself into the Bible and read anything I could get my hands on explaining what this new life was all about. I really became a new creature in Christ. Now, all of my problems and difficulties weren't over, but now I had a new way to deal with them-through strength in Christ. Over all these years God has continued to pour new life into me.
I've known since then that I was a child of God, but it just hit me very recently that I am his child. You know how you can know something, but then it hits you and then you really know it? It just hit me in a new and real way that whenever I look at my children, that's exactly how God looks at me. He loves me regardless. I don't have to try to earn His love. He is my Daddy. He adores me and does because He wants to. So many people pray to God as "Father" and I admit, I was one of those. "Father" to me shows relationship, but at the same time feels distant, you know? I have never called another earthly man "daddy". I've never met my earthly father. God revealed to me that I'm special to him because He's the only "Daddy" I will have ever known. I have some other important father figures in my life, but God let me know that He is my "Daddy". I just love, love when God reveals things about Himself in a new and intimate way like that.
I think of unconditional love. God loves us enough to pick us up out of brokenness and restore us as His own. sons and daughters. Because He loves us. Eartly adoptive parents do the same thing. They pick up a child out of a broken situation-that they themselves could otherwise not get out of- and make them their own children. Adoption is so expensive that for many parents it is a sacrifice to pay the expenses for that child. But they love that child equally as if they were naturaly born to them. An exact, perfect picture of what God does for us.
If we are walking in the Spirit of God (if we've received His Son as our Savior) then we are His sons and daughters. He is our Daddy. And, we are His heirs. We ARE His heirs. Our Daddy is the King of everything and we already have, right now, everything that is His. Wow.
As adopted children of God, we can rest assured in knowing that we have been given a permanent place in the family of God.
I think Ephesians 1:13-14 really solidifies that we do have a permanent place in Him-that we can't "lose" our salvation and inheritance.
Ephesians 1: 13-14 "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession to the praise of His glory."
Epheisans 5:8 and Hebrews 12:7, how should we conduct ourselves in this world?
We are sons and daughters of the King of Glory. We should act like it!
Romans 8: 28 and James 1:2-4
God, just like an earthly daddy, wants the best for his children. God is not some genie in a bottle waiting for us to "claim His power" for whatever whim we decide. We may want something, genuninely want something, but God may not think that's the best for us. He is a perfect God. PERFECT. So, whatever He wants for us is perfect, too. And, He chooses what is perfect for us to mature and complete us so that we can be whole and glorifying to Him.
God, sought us and bought us as slaves, and because of His perfect love for us, adopted us into His family as His own children. Following Christ means that you are part of that redemption. You have been paid for by Jesus's blood on the cross, that now, because of that purchase, you are God's child.
Points from Romans 8
There is no condemnation for those in Jesus, because we are set free from the law of sin and death.
In Jesus, we receive adoption as sons of God, and are fellow heirs to His kingdom.
God causes all things to work together for our good and His purposes.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
"we are now and forever the slaves of Christ, the citizens of heaven, the children of God- such is the joy and wonder of Salvation."
Wow. How deep is the love of God. I just want to sit and repeat those words over and over. I think that just sums up everthing the gospel says right there. And, to think that I have those things. Humbling. And exciting!
I think so many times we get caught up in other aspects of God- His judgement, anger and wrath. How could God allow things to happen, or why didn't he do this or that for me. But, when you really focus on the amount of love He has for us, what He went through to adopt us as His children, and how He unconditionally loves us, it's overwhelming. I think even as a parent it's still hard to compare, becasue as much as I love my children and would do anything for them, I still love with a finite love. God loves us with an infinite love. Only His love has no boundaries, no conditions. And, that's what He pours out on us. It's not complicated. But, we want to make it complicated, because we want to hold on kicking and screaming to our own sinful flesh and desires. We want to do what we want to do, when all God wants to do is pour out His love for us and give us everything.
How to better reflect unconditional love...
Honestly, I think overall Christians do a terrible job at reflecting God's love. But Christians certainly do a great job of reflecting hate and judgement. For example, why does everyone think that Christians "hate gay people"? I've heard that about a billion times in the last year over the "marriage equality" issue. Maybe Christians are perceived that way because they are acting hateful and judgemental. And, unfortunately many, many who are acting this way in the name of God are really not Christians at all. The true, real followers of Christ are reflecting God's love. And, I also don't mean that simply taking a stand for God is being hateful and judgemental. As followers of Christ, we need to stand firm in God's truth.
But, regardless of the type of sin, Christians are called to love people. Jesus said the greatest commandment is love. God is love. People won't be won over to Jesus through hate and judgement, but through love. You don't have to accept someone's sin to love them. You love them and introduce them to Jesus and let Him convict them of their sin. Beating someone over the head with a Bible won't change someone's heart, but introducing them to God's love will.
I think needs are the basics in order to live and when it comes right down to it, there is very little we really need. Not to say God sometimes can't or doesn't want to give us what we want because I know for a fact He does. But, I think many times God allows us to get down to a place where we really see that all we truly need is Him. I've been there many times. Eventually I think we change what we think we want into whatever God wants for us instead. The goal is to transform our wants and desires to be the desires that God has for us. "Even if I don't get _______, I still want what God has for me."
So, what are your thoughts?