See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
1 John 3:1
Beloved, family was on God’s heart from the beginning. When He sent His son to earth, he intentionally put Him in a family. Although He was the Son of God, God saw to it that His Son was raised with a mother, father, and siblings in an ordinary family.
Childhood is something to be guarded. It’s our time to learn, grow, mature in a protected environment…safe, secured by unconditional love and acceptance.
Jesus had this time; His heavenly Father saw to it. God put no premature demands on His Son. Childhood was just that — childhood, opportunity to grow, as the Scripture says, “in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). Jesus developed horizontal and vertical relationships. It was the vertical one with His true Father that enabled Him to handle relationships with others and kept Him on track toward His purpose to be the Redeemer of mankind.
This was rarely easy. His own rejected Him, (John 1:11) but it was bearable. He was secure in His Father’s love. Jesus had a strong beginning, so strong that when it was finally time to begin His public ministry, the Spirit of God descended on Him from above while the Father shouted through the clouds of heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
The Kinsman Redeemer of mankind, the One who was not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters was about to begin His ministry of rescuing the lost — those orphaned by sin and harbored in the world’s orphanages, living under the cruel dominion of the dark prince of this world, the serpent of old who murdered our very first parents, deceiving them through the consummate lie: “God doesn’t mean what He says. He’s withholding good from you; you can be your own god!” (See the implications of the serpent’s words for yourself in Genesis 3:4-5.)
This, Beloved, was the purpose for which Jesus was born and put into a family — so that He might taste death for every one of us. Through the shedding of His blood, He would pay the price of our eternal redemption in order to bring us into the eternal family of God.
His resurrection from the dead is God’s testimony, His documented proof that Jesus’ mission was accomplished. This, Beloved, is what Easter is all about.
Dear One, I don’t know what your childhood was like, what longing, pain or joy these words have evoked, but I can tell you that whatever you’ve been through, God can “kiss it and make it better.”
He will bring you into His family if you’ll let Him. If you do, you can rest assured that you will never be rejected, cast out, put up for adoption. Once you tell God you want Him to be your Father and you accept His Son as your Savior, your God, then you, precious one, become part of God’s forever family (Ephesians 2:13-22). What you missed — if anything — will be more than compensated for in eternity to come (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
What do you do until then? Follow God’s example. If you’re a parent, carry out your responsibility in a way pleasing to God (Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Ephesians 6:4). Follow His example. Give your children the opportunity to have the childhood God wants them to have.
If you’re not a parent, consider adopting a child, or find children to minister to — this is a desperate need in our single-parent society. Give them a foretaste of heaven. Either way, let children be children. Help them grow intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually. Protect them from the world that would seek to rob them of innocence, purity, and security, with your love, your time, your example, your parenting.
And finally, join with God in seeking and saving those who are lost. Share the good news that they can be born again into God’s forever family (John 3:1-36). Let this be your quiet, Spirit-led mission as you move through life: to serve on God’s adoption team, seeking the lost and telling them about the love of God and His forever family (Romans 1:14-16).
It’s not your responsibility to effect the adoption — God will do that (John 6:44). You are simply to let them know God longs to have them in the family. He doesn’t want them to perish without ever experiencing His love (Revelation 20:6,11-15, contrasted with Revelation 21:1-7).
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Study God's take down of Saul, His promotion of David through a string of victories over Israel's enemies, and His establishment of Israel's glorious monarchy - its best ever years. For believers, this is a dual lesson in what attitudes to avoid and what attitudes to have as believers.
(The "I Samuel, Part 1 Study Guide" is available as a Free Download if you would like to study the Series on your own. The Study Companion and CD Set are also available for purchase.)
Beloved, we’ve talked about two kinds of love: Storge, meaning natural affection, and Eros—erotic love. Both of these are based on our own self interests. But today we’ll look at two more words for love; one that describes the love of friends and another that has its origins in God Himself! Remember, love is a choice! How will you choose to love?
It was late. She was in bed, reading, and waiting for him to come home. When he walked into the room she looked up and smiled. She opened her mouth to say something, but he walked past her without a word.
I’ll never forget his face—the gravity of words haltingly spoken from one so young. He was just a child, yet shouldering the blame of being unaccepted, unwanted, rejected by both his birth parents and numerous foster parents who kept sending him back. “It was my fault they didn’t want me. I guess I just didn’t know how to be good.”
I will never forget my first Christmas as a Christian. I was 29 years old. Before then I was hopelessly lost. Raised in the church, I had a religion but not a relationship. Raised to be moral, in my disillusionment and loneliness I became immoral. I actually raised my fist, cursed God and said, “I am going to find someone to love me.”