Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Given His Name

Given His Name
While working in a Pregnancy Resource Center,  I discovered that there were three possible decisions that every woman must make. Will the client carry the baby, adopt, or abort? The decision to adopt seems to be the hardest concept for some women to accept. The statements I personally have heard are: “I could never do that!” “No, I have heard such terrible stories about children that have been adopted.” “No, I don’t want anyone to know that I was pregnant.” “My parents will disown me.” “No, I would rather abort than adopt, I have things I want to do with my life.”

Life or death is the final option here. What will the young woman’s verdict be for this innocent human life? Why is adoption viewed as a stigma with dishonor, disgrace, and reproach credited to it?  The definition for the word adoption: “the giving to anyone the name and place and privileges of a son/daughter who is not a son/daughter by birth.”  There is no stigma in adoption. It is the banner of love over their life. Adoption means that they were loved with a special love that few people will ever experience.

To those of you who have been adopted, your mom and dad cherished the idea of having a baby and loved, you before they knew you existed. If there is any shame in the word “adopted” – it has been covered in the gift of giving you their name. 

SPIRITUAL ADOPTION: An act of God's grace by which He brings men into the number of His redeemed family, and makes them partakers of all the blessings He has provided for them. He has granted to them His precious promises, and through them, they may become partakers of the divine nature––having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1:3,4). Clearly, adoption is conveyed in a favorable light through God’s Word. Those that have been adopted physically have received a tremendous blessing, a privilege exemplified by our adoption into God’s family.


Lord, thank You for giving me Your name.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Is Parenting Easy?

Is Parenting Easy?
Proverbs 23:26 
My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.

When you received the news that you were expecting your first child, your heart was most likely giddy with excitement. Your enthusiasm grew more and more with each day and a multitude of questions fill your mind. Can I be a good parent to this child that God has so graciously given me? Will I be someone my child can and will trust? How will I ever do this? God, will You please help me?

To set your mind at ease, there are no perfect parents that have ever existed or will at any time exist. If you think you must be that perfect parent, then you won’t need a perfect Savior to redeem you from your sins. As a parent, you will make plenty of mistakes in pursuing the role of Mother or Father. You must remember that you have the Holy Spirit to guide, direct and comfort you through this life long journey. 

Living the Gospel daily as you “parent,” will encourage you and strengthen your faith in Christ. The power of the Gospel is not to be set aside after salvation, but to be lived out daily before young eyes to see and follow. The Gospel is the “good news” that you do not have to earn your salvation. God’s work of redemption has already been completed through the shedding of Christ’s precious blood and death on the cross. He was buried and rose again the third day ascending into Heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. 

Gospel parenting is preparing your child to believe in what Jesus has done for them and to put their faith and trust in Christ, and in Christ alone. Effective parents do not center their lives around their children but center their children around God’s dear Son. You, as a parent, must realize that you are utterly dependent upon God for parenting and responsible to Him as a parent.


Lord, may I center my life around You.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs

Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs
 1 Corinthians 13:4,5 
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

Throughout the Word of God, accounting terms are used to describe the forgiving work of Christ. When you were saved He did not impute, count, reckon, or consider your sins against you.  “How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity. . .” (Psalm 32:2).  The pardoning work of God doesn’t credit or assign sin to you. It doesn’t produce long-term resentment but rather, it produces love and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

In I Corinthians 13, Paul is showing the model for love. Love doesn’t hold others accountable for wrong deeds or keep any kind of record. It doesn’t recite all the sinful things done because love never makes memories out of offenses. It never rehearses the injustices executed until they’re so embedded that you can’t live your life in freedom. Love is unable to do this.

To think no evil (I Corinthians 13:5 KJV) means we don’t take into account wrong or evil we have suffered at the hands of someone or hold it against them indefinitely. While suffering on the cross, Jesus spoke these words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Holding no grudges and keeping no record of wrong is what Paul is trying to encourage believers to do.

“. . . Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and. . . God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (I Corinthians 5:17-19).  As God has forgiven us and does not count our sins against us, we too, are to forgive and be reconciled to those who have sinned against us.


Lord, thank You for the love that reconciles sinners to God and keeps no record of wrongs.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Conditional or Grace

Conditional or Grace
Ephesians 2:1-10
“. . .by grace you have been saved. . .”

Have you ever felt that most of your relationships were overlaid with conditions? If you love me,  then will I love you. If you give to me, then I will give to you. When you serve me, then I will serve you. Will you ever find the right conditions to meet their needs? Because, then your happiness would be secure, or maybe not. Must I do something for you in order for you to accept me? Is the underlying message always the same; accomplishments and/or performance precedes approval?

Everyone knows what it’s like not to measure up to someone’s expectations. This oppressive conditionality is quite real in our society today and exhausting to live under. Not only do we see conditions, prerequisites, and requirements placed upon people in the world, but also in the life of many Christians. What about Grace? Grace is the outpouring of love that seeks you out when you have absolutely nothing to give in return. This love is not about preconditions that have requirements and accomplishments and need approval. It is about being loved when you are undeserving of that love, a gift of God’s grace, pure and simple.

The relationship where you continuously feel like you’re being evaluated and falling short of someone’s acceptance is an unhappy relationship. The Gospel liberates you from the judgment of God and of mankind. You’ll never measure up to the demands that are placed upon you and are therefore in need of a Savior.

It is an unconditional love that relieves the pressure of demands, forgives all our failures, and replaces our unrelenting fears with faith. Jesus Christ came to set us free from the tireless effort of justifying ourselves and finding approval in the eyes of men. The Bible is saturated with the message of Grace and the love that God lavishes upon us. Even though we may try to insist on paying our sin debt, the balance has been settled, paid in full, by His Grace! 



Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Life's Disappointments

                                   
                             
~Life’s Disappointments~


I Samuel 22:1-5; II Samuel 22:1-5

David anointed King is running from King Saul’s attempts to kill him and hides in the cave of Adullam. His brethren and all his father’s house hear of his plight and come to the cave to join up with David. All that were distressed, in debt, and discontented, congregated in the cave with David. Would you, being in the situation that David was in, discouraged and fearful for his life, want a crowd of disgruntled, frustrated, irritated, restless, annoyed, and broke people in your cave? Four hundred men take up a great deal of space and given their circumstances could be quite discouraging to have around.

Can God take the most troublesome circumstances and turn them for our good? Were the years David spent battling hardship and disappointment all in vain or did God take these trials and turn them into tremendous times of growth and preparation for what God had in store for him?

What is it that will bring you to the point of disappointment and discouragement in your life? Will you turn away from God or will you let Him embrace you with His wondrous love and mercy. If you can identify the source of discouragement and trust in Christ (Matthew 11:28-29), you will find rest unto your souls.

Satan wants us to focus on those areas of weakness in our lives such as gossip, unforgiveness, anger, and feelings of bitterness. We can’t think clearly when we’re focused on the lies of Satan. His lies divide our minds and cause us to blame God and others. If we continue to live in this harmful condition, we will eventually suffer the consequences of them.

How do we emerge from our disappointment and find contentment? We must realize that God is aware of our circumstances and nothing catches Him off guard. Our understanding of Scripture is essential, and through the various testings of our faith, it will produce steadfastness in our lives (James 1:2-4).


Lord, thank You for Your Word that encourages my weary soul.

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Crucifixion of Christ

The Crucifixion of Christ

                                Matthew 27:27-37
The story of the crucifixion of Christ is the high point of redemptive history and the center of God's purpose for salvation. On the cross, is where the Lord bears the sins of the world and provides salvation to all who believe in Him. The cross demonstrates the grace, mercy, goodness, and love like no other event in history can. Jesus was willing to suffer for sinners, to suffer not only the death on the cross but everything that comes with it. The agony was beyond belief. Christ, without rest or sleep, endures the trials, the beatings, and the scourging without saying a word. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep, before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7 KJV).

Let us never pass over the meaning of the death of Christ on the cross on the way to celebrating His glorious Resurrection (which is worthy of our celebrating). It is the cross that gives meaning to the resurrected Christ and why “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2) is so important and the very essence of the gospel message. The longing of every believer should be as Paul stated; “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11 KJV). 

If you don't know the Savior and have not believed in Him, or what He has done for you, today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). He has been lifted up before you this day, see Him as the Son of God, the Savior of the world who died for your sins. Accept Him by faith and trust Him as your Savior today.



Lord, thank You for the cross, and the suffering You endured that I may have salvation.

Friday, April 12, 2019

"But for the Glory of God"

“But for the Glory of God”

John 11:l-4 KJV
Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha... This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

Have you ever considered that your suffering is a gift from God to you? I knew the suffering of Jesus was a gift to me, but I hadn’t thought that my suffering was gifted to me by God. It is hard to think that suffering is a gift when you are in the midst of the suffering.

Mary and Martha had sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was very sick. In that message, they included an important word to us who suffer, “he whom thou lovest is sick.” The sister’s of Lazarus were hurting for their brother and wanted Jesus to be there for him. Jesus did not come to Bethany immediately but waited a while before coming to them. Mary and Martha both said to Jesus, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”

Jesus knew Lazarus was sick and that he had already died before He even came to Bethany. What was His purpose in waiting to come to Lazarus and to Mary and Martha? “But for the glory of God” is what Jesus told His disciples. Jesus allowed Lazarus to die so that God would be glorified in Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead.

Suffering for Jesus’ sake comes from a Greek word meaning, gracious gift of God (Philippians 1:29). What an extraordinary gift the Lord gave to Mary and Martha in their time of grief. He showed His deep love for them and raised Lazarus from the grave. We may never be healed in this lifetime from our suffering, but will it be said of you, “They suffered, ‘but for the glory of God’  in their lives  here on earth and in their death?”


Lord, I know I am loved in my suffering, may I glorify You in my life and in my death.