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August 18, 2019, 8:08 PM

God's Presence Changes Everything


Where are you right now? What are you facing?

 

Those questions are intensely personal and point us deep within. Allow yourself to answer those questions honestly. Review those struggles, heartaches, and worries that trouble you in the night. In today’s blog I will encourage you to see those truths through a different lens.

 

God has an enduring answer to your need found in Isaiah 30:21. He wants you to know where He is. The prophet writes:

 

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

 

God promises you that wherever you are, whatever you are facing He is right behind you every step of the way. I picture this passage with Him putting His hand gently on our shoulder while helping us understand which way we should go.

 

The promise is that no matter how foggy our thinking. Regardless how confused our emotions He is there, always helping us see which way to go. We don’t have to be able to see for miles ahead, just listen for His gentle, assuring voice. This way-walk this way.

 

It makes all the difference. When we hear God speak, we are never the same. He speaks, sweetly directing our paths.

 

This truth would be reassuring enough, but God has more to reveal to us about His presence with us. In Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost He reminds us of David’s knowledge of God’s presence. Peter said:

25 David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope,

 

The life changing realities of how David walked with God will guide us through every dark valley, will direct us through every struggle.

 

David says that he saw the Lord always before him. Picture it this way. Hold your hand out between six inches and a foot in front of your face with your fingers spread apart. Now with your hand in front of your face focus on the object across the way.

 

What do you see? Do you see your hand? Of course! Your fingers are there. Do you also see the object you have focused on? Yes, you see that too.

 

David was not advocating that we look at God as is doing so would eliminate the problems or struggles. A quick perusal of the Psalms will reveal that David was not in any way advocating that we bury our heads in spiritual sand. No, the problems still there, but we see them through the lens of God’s presence. We look at our problems through Him.

 

Doing so is possible because of two realities and yields four results. The two realities expand on the previous passage indicating that God is right behind us. Understand what David sees about God. He is not only behind us He is in front of us. On the other side of your struggle He is there. He is directly in front of you, leading you forward.

 

He knows which way to go and directs us, but also goes ahead of us. He knows what is around that corner. He sees through the fog. He is in the middle of every pain.

 

Not only does David show us God in front of us, but also that he is beside us.

 

Picture it this way. A few weeks ago, we had a gentleman begin to feel very ill during worship service. He made it through service but when it was time to go home, he didn’t have much strength. He felt so weak that even standing was difficult. He took some time to gather himself and then decided that he didn’t want to go to the hospital but wanted to just get home.

 

He was surrounded in the pew by our good folks who were encouraging him to get some medical attention. When he resisted, we determined that number one he would not walk out by himself and number two we would follow him home and make sure he got in his house ok.


As he stood up and made a few faltering steps he was surrounded in front, back and on both sides by some of our men. There was no way that this man was going to hit the floor. We were on both sides holding his weight in ours. He was relying on us for strength.

That, my friends, is what God is doing for you. Feeling weak? Rely on His strength. No longer know if you can stand? You don’t have to stand in your strength. Stand in His.

 

As an aside. Our gentleman did not walk very far before we realized he would not be able to make it on his own. We got him a chair and rolled him out and then went with him to the hospital. In God’s grace he is doing much better!

 

Where are you? Take a moment to review. God is behind you. God is in front of you. God is beside you on either side. Where are you? Right in the middle of God. Yes, right now, where you are you are completely enveloped in His majesty. His power is all around you making you stronger. His wisdom encompasses you providing direction. His love seals you off. His grace fences you in.

 

Because of God’s presence all around you there are four results. We have:

o Stability: “I will not be shaken”

The world around you may be shaking but God will hold you solid. You may be weak in the knees, but He is not. He will hold you up. He will make you strong.

 

o Joy Within: “My heart is glad”

He will give you a joy within your heart. This is not a jumping up and down giddiness which ignores the pain of the day. It is not skipping rope in the presence of uncertainty. No, it is an assurance in our spirit that we are surrounded by God. We have a settled join in our hearts.

 

o Joy Expressed in Worship: “My tongue rejoices”

The joy in our heart finds inevitable expression on our tongue. Worship bursts from within us because God is around us. Praise comes from His reassurance. The joy in us cannot be contained.

 

o Peace: “I rest in hope”

Through all the uncertainty God gives us a sense of peace. We can rest in His presence. We are reassured by His nearness. We are comforted by His presence.

 

 

Wherever you are, friend, know that God desires nothing more than to offer you Himself. He is right here, right now. Trust Him. And if today is not a day of struggle. If this moment is one free of doubt store these truths within you for the coming day of struggle. May God strengthen you.




August 11, 2019, 6:32 PM

RELATING TO GOD AS FATHER (PART 3)


Your Father in heaven deeply longs for you to understand who He is and relate to Him as Abba, Daddy! He has shown Himself through Scripture. He loves the name Father and has done everything necessary to help you experience Him.

The key word as we have studied in the previous weeks is adoption. Adoption speaks of three things:

Choice! He picked you and called you to Himself. Before you were in your mother’s womb, He knew you. He has planned for your life, knowing every single day you have lived.

Effort! In order to provide for you to be adopted God had to act proactively. No parent accidently adopts a child. They plan for months, even years for the adoption. They go through myriad steps, wrestling paperwork ad nauseum. In the same way God prepared for you! He willingly went through the agony of watching His Son suffer and die, allowing Jesus to pay the price needed for our adoption.

Certainty! Just like the Roman adoption laws do not allow for an adopted child to be set aside the price Jesus paid for us cannot be undone. Once adopted into His family we are permanently part of the family.

The Father wants you to know that there are six things He is doing for you right now. Your daddy is doing each of these for you every day of your life. Last week’s blog called attention to the first three of these.

The Father Seeks (Psalm 103:13-14)

The Father Saves (Ephesians 1:3-5)

The Father Satisfies (Matthew 7:7-10, 1 Timothy 6:17

 

Today let’s review the final three actions of the Father:

The Father Strengthens (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Do you feel tired? Worn down? Ready to give up? Life can be exhausting. We get to the end of ourselves. In those moments God wants you to know that He is there to provide strength for your journey.

Paul prays for you.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Paul kneels before his father, and yours, praying for all those who bear name of the Father. A small hint: that’s you! You have been adopted into His family and given His name.

Paul prays that you would know that He strengthens with power in your inner being. He does this not by any power you bring but by the riches of His grace. He gives you enough strength for today.

Your daddy wants to give you a knowledge that His love is wide, long, high and deep. How far have you gotten from God? Not far enough that He can’t reach you. He will reach you no matter where you are.

He works in your heart right now to provide you the full knowledge you need to understand Him. He wants to fill you up with Himself.

 

The Father Sanctifies (Hebrews 12:7-11)

Your Father loves you right now wherever you are. Whatever your faults and failures, your struggles and doubts. He loves you and strengthens you. BUT Daddy loves you far too much to leave you in the place where you are. He simply will not let you stay there.

Both in the spiritual realm and in the earthly realm Fathers have a responsibility to provide discipline for the children.

The author of Hebrews speaks of this discipline in Hebrews 12:7-11.

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Daddy wants you to know that His discipline is

o Positive. It is motivated by love and by a desire to help you grow. Earthly fathers may sometimes discipline out of a wrong motive, but our Heavenly Father never does.

o Consistent. I love that the author of Hebrews points out that the earthly daddy does what he things best at the time. None of us provide discipline that is always consistent. We are flawed in our reasoning and our emotions, but He never is.

o Purposeful. He has a plan and a purpose for our discipline. He sees where you are but also sees where He will help you be. He is guiding you forward, always.

Trust your daddy to provide for your discipline in a way that is best. He’s got the plan even when you don’t see it. He will help be holy and righteous in His grace.

 

The Father Secures

Your relationship with your daddy is permanent. He doesn’t depend on you to provide one ounce of energy to keep you saved. He saved you by His grace and keeps you saved by His power. place in His family is guaranteed.

 

FOUR SUMMARY CHALLENGES

Ensure that your place in His family is settled. Have you been adopted into the Father’s family? If you are not absolutely certain repeat this prayer,

Dear God, I understand that you want a relationship with me. I understand that because of my sin problem it is impossible for me to do anything to build that relationship. I believe that Jesus paid the price for me to walk with you by His death. I also believe that He conquered death and Satan by raising from the dead. Please come into my heart right now and save me. Thank you for saving me, daddy. Thank you for adopting me as your child. I pray this in the name of my Savior, Jesus!

 

Do the hard work of forgiveness. Yes, this is the toughest part of my message. If have read this far into my messages, you know that I freely acknowledge the pain that some who read these words have because of wounds your father (or mother) left on you. It’s time to deal with those wounds.

Allow me to give a few other thoughts on this difficult subject.

Take serious stock of the wounds you have. Acknowledge them. Don’t sweep them away, pretending they are not there. The hurt is real and healing only comes as we acknowledge it.

Can you acknowledge the truth that just as God has paid for all the sins you committed in allowing you into His family, He has paid for those sins your dad committed? God has transferred all our wrongs and all your dad’s wrongs onto the blameless life of His Son. They are all paid for. You could simply not pay for the sins you committed, and neither can your dad.

This is not a free pass. It is not ignoring the treacherous wrongs committed in the past. If there are criminal actions in the past they must be paid for. If you are scarred those hurts are real. But at some point, we simply must release the hurt and the wrongs to the Father.

 

Allow Him to bring healing which only comes from the cross. Let your Daddy have that hurt. Give it to Him now. He loves you so much. He wants to heal you.

 

Finally come real close and listen to your Father’s heart. I know you can’t close your eyes and listen to these words but meditate on the following statements. Just hear His heart. He wants you to know that:

o I have never given up on you.

o Before I ever asked you anything from you, I gave you everything in the gift of my son.

o You matter to me.

o I have given you gifts.

o You are a somebody to me.

o I have given you a destiny.

o You are not the center of creation, but you are dearly loved by the One who is!

o I want you to come to the throne freely.

o You have a seat at my table in heaven.

o Call me any time. I really like when you call me Abba or daddy.

o I am so delighted to call you my daughter or son.

 

He loves you and treasures you.

I finish this blog with the words of a great new worship song by Cody Carnes. Relish His love as you hear this promise. Run to Him again and again!

“RUN OT THE FATHER”

I’ve carried a burden for too long on my own.

I wasn’t created to bear it alone

I hear Your invitation to let it all go

I see it now; I’m laying it down
I know that I need You

 

I run to the Father, I fall into grace, I’m done with the hiding. No reason to wait.

My heart needs a surgeon. My soul needs a friend

So, I’ll run to the Father, again and again. (And again, and again)

 

You saw my condition had a plan from the start.

Your Son for redemption, the price for my heart.

I don’t have a context for that kind of love.

I don’t understand, I can’t comprehend. All I know is I need You.

 

My heart has been in Your sights. Long before my first breath.

Running into Your arms Is running to life from death.

I feel this rush deep in my chest. Your mercy is calling out

Just as I am, You pull me in. I know I need You now

 

Chorus 2

I run to the Father, I fall into grace, I’m done with the hiding. No reason to wait

My heart found a surgeon, my soul found a friend.

So, I’ll run to the Father, again and again (And again and again)




August 4, 2019, 10:00 PM

Experiencing God as Father-Part 2


Once upon a time there was a land where every child was raised in a home where they were consistently and deeply loved by both their mother and their father.

 

For so many these words are nothing but a fairy tale for so many. Children grow up without a father, or perhaps would be better off if that father would not have been there. Their experience of father makes it so very difficult for them to come to an understanding of God as Father.

 

Fathers come in several types.

  • Absent Fathers. They may be absent through divorce, distance, or disinterest. Either way they are not there.
  • Abusive Fathers. They may be abusive in emotions (killing words, cutting words, defaming words, debilitating words. You felt the blunt of emotional abuse), physical abuse, or sexual abuse.
  • Passive Fathers. They refused to take up the mantle of leadership in your family. They offered no responsibility, no guidance, no action.
  • Performance Based Fathers. These fathers offered approval with strings attached. Achieving, succeeding, and winning brought ample praise. Failure to do so brought condemnation and withholding of love and or encouragement. Children with such father figures live in fear of failure.
  • Antagonistic Fathers. These dads are hostile in their presence. They are adversaries, pointing out failure any time you attempt something new.
  • Empowering Fathers. These fathers enable success through love and encouragement.

 

Most of us would have fathers who were a combination of these traits. Few would identify their fathers as empowering in every situation. If your experience of a father has left scars deep within your heart hear two things. First, I am sorry for that pain. Second, God wants you to know that He wants to give you the experience of Father that will replace that pain.

 

The problem with viewing God through the lens of our pain is that we think God is like our flawed dad. Louie Giglio stated the problem this way, “With a wrong view of God we spend our lives running from the true God, or hiding from God, or angry at God, or disappointed with God, or feeling rejected by God, or ambivalent toward God, or worried we’re on the wrong side of God’s scorecard.” (Book Not Forsaken)

 

Don’t confuse your heavenly Father with your earthly Father. He never tires. He doesn’t have a bad temper. He doesn’t play games. This week and next we will examine six things we can count on Him doing in our lives every time. Hear the promise of the Father who loves you.

 

The Father Seeks

He knows who you are and has sought you. Psalm 103:13–14 says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

 

He knows you and wants a deep relationship with you. He has drawn you. He sought you from the beginning. He designed you and pulled you to Himself. That deep cry you have in your heart was created by Him. Your heavenly Abba says, “I am here.”

The Father Saves

He planned for your adoption long ago. Paul says it so well.

Long ago, before God made the world, God chose us to be his very own, through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault we who stand before him covered in his love. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to. (Ephesians 1:3-5)

 

Read that again. He sees us how? As holy and without fault. He sees us when? Now! Why does He see us this way? Because we have been adopted into the very family of God. Why did He do it? Because He wanted to.

 

Your daddy chose you. He picked you because He wanted to. It has nothing to do with anything you have done or will do. You can not earn His love. He chose to adopt you because He wants to. Because He has adopted you into His family His love for you is unconditional.

 

The Father Satisfies

God is interested in every part of your life. He cares about your every need. He will be there to help you. Jesus showed us the heart of the Father toward you in a simple and powerful way.

7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?

11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)

 

Today something happened that happens every day in my family. Josiah came to me and expected breakfast. A few hours later guess what I heard. You got it, “Daddy, I’m hungry, what’s for lunch?” Sure enough the same thing happened a few hours later as he looked for dinner. It happens every day!

 

I am far from a perfect father, but you can be sure that I have yet to respond to his request with a stone. Jesus’ teaching is obvious. If we, flawed daddies provide for our children, what more will God do for those that have been adopted into His family.

 

Not only does He provide the basics for His children He delights to do so. He gives you great blessings for your enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17 says, “17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”

 

Your earthly father may have flaws but your daddy in Heaven seeks you, saves you, and satisfies you. He wants you to know that He is always there.

 

He will never FORSAKE you. No matter where things are with your earthly dad, you have a perfect Father in heaven who loves you and wants to pour out His blessing on you. He won’t stop. He won’t leave you. He won’t stop.

 

You are His special treasure. You are His unique creation. God made you, you are incredibly important, valuable, and prized. You are the apple of his eye. You have been loved since before there was time.




July 29, 2019, 1:17 PM

How Does Jesus Respond to the Guilty


Caught. Guilty. Judged. Condemned. Waiting to die.

The woman we read about in John 8 has experienced each of these emotions in the minutes from the moment she woke up until she finds herself violently thrown at the feet of Jesus.

The morning started quietly enough. Jesus arose early and went to the temple to teach. This was a normal morning for Him. He quietly taught the crowd. That is until the violent interruption found in this chapter.

A riotous crowd can be heard coming toward Jesus. From the distance everyone can hear the shouting. “Stone her. Kill her!” As they come into view the religious leaders can be seen violently shoving a woman towards Jesus. They shout every angry word they can think of at her.

They believe they have Jesus trapped by asking Him to decide her fate. With hatred dripping from their tongues they announce that she has been caught in the very act of adultery. They remind Jesus that the law declares she should die for her sin. Angrily they demand that Jesus tell them what should happen next.

Feel the tension in that moment. The crowd, the religious leaders and the woman all wait His response. John, the author of our text, reminds us that this was an attempt to trap Jesus. If Jesus announces that she is to be stoned they know that the crowd will see him as only an extension of their corrupt religious system. Her condemnation would be negative not a message of grace and forgiveness.

As an aside, their corruption is evident by the fact that only one person is brought forward to be judged. Where is the man? If they were truly concerned about adultery both perpetrators would have been brought forward. No, it is not concern for righteousness that drives them. It is an effort to rid themselves of this carpenter from Nazareth.

On the other hand, if Jesus doesn’t hold her accountable for her sin, he risks offending those who genuinely try to follow the law. She is guilty and if she were judged it would be deserved. They know that Jesus dare not blatantly ignore the law.

They believe they have Jesus trapped. How will He respond? The tension mounts as Jesus does the unexpected. He bends down and begins to write in the dirt. Write in the dirt! Can you feel the tension rise as these self-important religious bigots wait for Him to respond? They must have been about to blow a proverbial gasket as He apparently ignores them.

Jesus waits until just the right moment to stand and speak a simple sentence. “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Not the answer they expected. Now the spotlight turns completely from Jesus to those who brought her there. In a movie this would be called a “pregnant pause.” What will happen next? The crowd is so quiet.

The next noise heard was the thud of a rock hitting the ground. It had been in the hand of her primary accuser. With his head down in disgust he walks slowly away. He dares not throw that stone because everyone knows him.

Then thud, thud, thud, thud, thud. One by one from the oldest to the youngest they walk off.

After the last accuser leaves, Jesus walks over to the woman. She has been almost forgotten in the drama of the previous few moments. She has fully expected that at any moment rocks would begin to hit her until she would fall unconscious and die.

He asks her a simple question. “Where are your accusers?” For the first time since they cast her on the ground she dares to look around. She is not looking up for the condemning faces of her accusers but looks for their feet first.

Now she looks up to see, not the feet of her accusers, but the feet of a simple man. There are no fancy robes adorning religious leaders. Looking up higher, she doesn’t see the tassels on their arms announcing their self-importance. Instead she looks up further to see the compassionate eyes of Jesus.

Wiping the tears from her own eyes she says, “No one is condemning me.” She cannot believe the turn of events. This is the last thing she would expect.

Jesus challenges her with a final exhortation, “Neither do I condemn you, now go and leave your life of sin.” The Redeemer didn’t then and doesn’t now condone a lifestyle of doing whatever we want to do. Genuine faith in Jesus should result in a changed lifestyle. He expects all who experience His grace to be different after this experience.

A simple question demands our attention: “Who are we in the story?”

Are we the woman? Yes, we are. We are guilty of sin. If we got what we deserved, we would all find ourselves justly condemned for a lifetime of sin. The same Jesus looks at us and tenderly says, “I don’t condemn you.” Paul writes, “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) No condemnation! Read it again, “No condemnation!” We are her, but Jesus offers us grace.

Are we in the crowd of the accusers? Certainly, some who read these words fall into that group. It becomes so easy, unfortunately, for those who are religious to stand at a distance from “those sinners.” We look at the faults of others and forget the flaws in ourselves. Its easier to see that speck in another person’s eye than to acknowledge the log in our own. It would be well for us to ask the Lord to help us humbly acknowledge our faults and extend grace to others.

Are we in the crowd watching? Yes. With them all of us are forced to make some decision for ourselves about who Jesus is. What will we do with Him? Will we accept the grace that comes from his eyes? Will we stood aloof and simply watch? Every person must decide for themselves. Choose to respond to the Savior who died to take away the sins of every guilty person.




July 21, 2019, 10:10 PM

Knowing God By Experience: Relating to Him as Father


Go to any busy park and listen long enough. You will hear it: Daddy, Watch Me…” Sliding, swinging, running, jumping…it doesn’t really matter. The cry is universal. See what I am doing. Pay attention to me. Notice.

 

So many have repeated a familiar refrain, “All I ever wanted was to hear my daddy say he loved me, he was proud of me. In a day when 1 in 4 children are raised in a home with no father and many others have marginal fathers the need for the approval and affection of a father is so very real.

 

This week’s blog is the first of three about relating to God as Father. For some this will be an incredibly comforting journey. You will be reminded of God’s relationship with you and reflect very easily on the love you knew from your earthly father. You have a model, though imperfect, of a Father’s love. You can easily move from the image of his love to that of your Father in heaven.

 

For others these messages will be very challenging. Hearing about the Father brings up memories of your father. Your father may have been gone in your early childhood years. Perhaps he passed away, or maybe he just went away. others your dad stayed but his presence was far less than pleasant. you I pray that you will come to experience God in such a way that His presence eases the pain of your past.

 

The Fatherhood of God is at the heart of the New Testament. When Jesus taught us how to relate to the Father in prayer, He began with the words “Our Father.” By saying this he reminds us we are welcome to pray because we have been adopted by the owner.

 

If anyone can teach us how God would like to relate to us and how we relate to Him Jesus can do so. Jesus called God “Father” over two hundred times. In fact, His first recorded words were, “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). On the cross Jesus final words were also about the Father. He said, “Father, I give you my life” (Luke 23:46).

 

God equally delights to call you His son or daughter. The Father spoke of Jesus as son, “This is my beloved son.” Today it may sound like, “That’s my kid, I am so proud.” God delights in you. He treasures you as His child.

 

The name of God has changed throughout Biblical times. The Old Testament word for God is “Ab.” It is most often used for the male parent or ancestor. It was also used for the head of a people, tribe, or other institution. It was used infrequently (seven times) of God as Father.

 

The New Testament uses the name “Pater.” This is the distinguishing title for God. Jesus used the term to express the special relationship He has with God. The Gospel of John emphasizes the Father-Son relationship between Jesus and God the Father, mentioning it about eighty times.

 

Jesus gave us the gift of another name, “Abba.” This was the Aramaic translation of the Old Testament Abba. It would likely have been Jesus’ first word. According to the Jewish Talmud, when a child is weaned, “it learns to say Abba [daddy] and imma [mommy]”

 

Jesus taught us that we can use this word as a term of affection. This term is not used anywhere in the Old Testament to refer to God. Jesus referred to the Father by this term, modeling for us the ability to talk to God intimately in every situation, “‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will’” (Mark 14:36). The word unashamedly and joyfully expresses endearment born of love.

 

Paul powerfully states the case for us using this title in Romans 8:15-16.

 

15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

 

Consider three statements of Paul.

First, we don’t have a spirit of BONDAGE. The relationship of terrified slave is replaced with loving child. Slaves cringe before their master, but children serve with joy and without fear. Legalism leads to a spirit of slavery. We don’t cringe in fear in the face of our father.

 

Second, have been adopted and have a spirt of sonship. We are guaranteed the eternal relationship with God. Paul used the familiar image of adoption to speak of our relationship. Roman adoption laws were very restrictive. Adoption was verified only in the presence of seven witnesses. While a natural born child could be disinherited, an adopted child could never be banished.

 

God adopted us, purposely choosing us as His children. With that adoption He gives us His name and His future. We are every bit His child as Jesus is. We become heirs with Jesus to the entire heavenly realm. We are elevated from the position of slave and given the title of son.

 

Finally, we have a witness within us. The Spirit testifies within us that we are God’s child. Listen carefully right now and you will hear it. The Spirit lives inside of us. The Spirit of God whispers in your heart, “You are mine, and I am proud to call you child.” If you doubt who you are, listen to Him carefully. He will speak to you.

 

An important set of questions. Have you become His child today? Have you confessed your sin to the Father, expressing your belief that Jesus is the Son who died for you and rose from the dead? Have you asked Him to receive you into His family? If you have done that you can rest assured that you are His child.

 

Allow me to finish this week’s blog by asking you to trust Him. I am writing specifically to those who have had a less than stellar Father. Trust Him to take care of your past and give you a greater understanding of who He is. Louis Giglio in a book called “Not Forsaken” said If:

  • If God can overwhelm the grave and rise from the dead

  • If He can cancel the debt of sin you owe

  • If He can make peace between you and a holy God,

  • If He has the power to free you from death and raise you up to eternal life.

  • If He can recreate you by the Spirit and make you a child

  • He can certainly give you power over your past.


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