Monday, March 18, 2013

Adopted


Chuckle:  "Adolescence is that period when a boy refuses to believe that someday he will be as ignorant as his parents."
 
Good Quote:  "Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven." --Henry Ward Beecher
 
ADOPTED 
 
    "In Love He (God) predestined (chose) us to be adopted as his sons (children), through (faith in) Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will . . . . " (Ephesians 1:5 NIV).
 
To adopt means to choose and take someone into one's family by a legal procedure.  There's something about the word "adopted" that stirs a warm feeling within us.  When a child is adopted, we know he or she is accepted, loved, and wanted as part of a family.  Being adopted denotes a special bond between the adopters and adoptee.  Listen to this touching story.
 
    A new mother stayed with her parents for several days after the birth of her first child. One afternoon she remarked to her mother that it was surprising that the baby had dark hair, since both her husband and she were fair. The grandmother said, "Well, your daddy has black hair." To which the daughter replied, "But Mama, that doesn't matter, because I'm adopted." With an embarrassed smile, that mother said the most wonderful words her daughter had ever heard: "I always forget."
    
Can you imagine how much her mother's expression of love and acceptance meant to this daughter?  Similarly, God has expressed his love for us, and says, "I always forget" that sin once kept you from being my child.  All Christians are adopted children of God and are accepted by God with the same unconditional love that this mother had for her daughter.  In Scripture, adoption is a relationship conferred by God's act of free grace which redeems each of us from the bondage of sin.
 
    ". . . God sent his Son, born of woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (children) . . . So you are no longer a slave, but a son (child); and since you are a son (child), God has made you also and heir" (Galatians 4:5-7 NIV). "Now if we are children, then we are heirs -- heirs of God and co-heirs (of God's kingdom) with Christ. . ." (Romans 8:17 NIV).
 
Adoption is the legal proceeding whereby a person who is not a child's natural parent becomes the child's legal parent.  Adopted children enjoy all the same rights and privileges as biological children.  In a similar spiritual way, we, as adopted children of God, enjoy God's favor as does His one and only Son, Jesus.
       
God's intention, and the result of our adoption as his children, is to give us a change in status, which was planned from eternity and brought about by Jesus Christ.  The presence of the Spirit of God in our lives is both the instrument and the result of this relationship.  Our being chosen as the adopted children of God is solely dependent upon the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and our personal saving relationship with Christ through faith.
 
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Friday, March 1, 2013

Trinkets or Treasures


Chuckle:  A woman remarked to a man at a party, "You know . . . you look like my third husband."  "How man times have you been married?" asked the man.  "Twice," replied the lady!"

Good Quote: "Unless we place our religion and our treasure in the same thing, religion will always be sacrificed." --Epictetus

TRINKETS OR TREASURES

    "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be"  (Matthew 6:19-21 NLT).

As a child, I enjoyed watching the old western movies.  I remember how the settlers moving west would try to trade worthless trinkets to the Native Americans for things of much greater value like land, horses, food, etc.  The Indians were intrigued by the uniqueness of things they had never seen and were confused about their real value.  Today, I believe many people are confused about the difference between trinkets and treasures.  All the glitzy, enticing, and empty things valued by the world can easily confuse even Christians as to what is really important in life.

Jesus was keenly aware that material needs are a reality of life that all people face.  He took those needs very seriously and had much to say about them.  Material things are not bad in and of themselves.  They become bad when we place more importance on them than our relationship with God. Jesus said, "But seek first his (God's) kingdom and his righteousness and all these (material) things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

Here, Jesus is teaching us that the most valuable treasure is found as we become Christians and focus our energy and attention on the things of his kingdom -- things important to God.  Everything else is worthless in comparison.  However, notice Jesus' promise to provide for our physical needs when we place God first in our lives.

As Jesus taught his followers, in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew, chapters 5 - 7, one of His major objectives was to teach us the difference between worthless trinkets and real treasures that will endure.  Things of this world, regardless of their attractiveness, are mere worthless trinkets when compared with the eternal spiritual truths of God.  No matter how much wealth we accumulate or how many possessions we have, they are utterly worthless compared to knowing Christ as Savior and Lord.  In God's grand scheme of things, only our relationships with him through faith in Jesus Christ will be of eternal value.

Once we know Christ as Savior, He expects us to begin storing up treasures in heaven by our acts of love and kindness.  We seek to please God by our living, giving, and fulfilling God's purpose for our lives.  As you mature as a Christian, the Holy Spirit will give you the ability to discern what is a worthless trinket and what is a priceless treasure.

Love, Jerry & Dotse