April 21, 2004

Encouragement for Today

 

“And then came Tony”

Micca Campbell - Assistant Director of certified speakers, Certified Speaker/Writer

 

Key Verse:

 

“But to all who received him, he gave the right to become the children of God.” (John 1: 12b, NIV)

 

Devotion:

 

A few months ago, the stork, better known as American Airlines, brought us a surprise all the way from Texas to Tennessee. After the birth of our third child, my husband and I had decided our quiver was full. We were content being a family of five, except God had other plans. And then came Tony.

 

Because of chemical dependence, Tony’s parents are unable to care for him. My husband and I felt God calling us to become Tony’s caregivers. Since he is my brother’s child, our hearts couldn’t allow Tony to go to foster care. We invited him to be part of our family, and Tony agreed.

 

We knew that the only way we could care for this child was to depend on God and love him like our own. That meant when he needed to be disciplined, we would not look the other way in fear that he would not like us. Instead, we would commit to guide him in the way he should go regardless of how happy or sad it made him.  Caring for Tony meant that we would have to be approachable and accepting of him and the things he liked. We would have to step into his world and support his schoolwork, hobbies and activities. We would have to listen to his goals, dreams and adventures with excitement and interest. It meant we would have to be there for him in the good and in the bad. Although we were only Tony’s guardians, we knew for his sake it meant we must accept him as our own.

 

As adopted children of God, we have been given full rights as His sons and daughters. That’s exactly what the word “adoption” means—to be given the rights of a son. For all who will receive Him, He gave the right to be children of God. Just as our actions towards Tony confirm to him our loving commitment, God’s actions assure us that we belong in His family.

 

We don’t have to wait until heaven to know that we are part of God’s forever family. It is a present reality through our relationship with the Father.

 

First, we know that we belong to God by His loving discipline. Our heavenly Father gently corrects us and brings us back in line with His standard and shows us how to live.

 

Second, we know that we belong to God by His loving care. God is not some far off God. He is near to us and approachable for our needs. Our Father wants to be involved in every detail of our lives. He wants to know our joys and our pains. The word “Father” is translated “papa” or “daddy.” Perhaps you’ve never had an earthly father to turn to in times of celebration or sorrow. But as a child of God you have a heavenly Father to whom you can cry out “daddy” any time, any place, anywhere.

 

Finally, we can know that we belong to God by faith. We may not always feel God’s presence or see Him at work in our lives, but He is there. Feelings come and go, but trust believes in God’s promises. God’s Word doesn’t say we can feel that we have eternal life. It says we can know we have eternal life. And we know by faith. (1John 5:13)

 

Just as Tony has been given a new start and a new family, he has to trust he belongs. If you have placed your trust in Christ, then be assured that you are part of a new family as well—God’s forever family. And it comes with all the love, support and inheritance your heavenly Father has to offer.

 

My prayer for today:

 

Dear God, thank you for choosing me and making me a part of your forever family. Thank you for all the rights and privileges you have given me as your child. Help me to walk worthy of the name I carry. In Jesus’ name. A-men

 

Application Steps:

 

In a quiet place, take time today to reflect on what it means to be God’s child. Make a list of all He has given and provide for you. Then thank Him through prayer, song, a written letter, or anyway your spirit desires. It will fill your heart with joy and your love for God will grow.

 

Reflection Points:

 

Do you rely on your heavenly Father to provide your needs, or do you take control of that area of your life?

 

When God disciplines you, do you think He is mad at you or mad about you?

 

How often you to spend time with your brothers and sisters in Christ?

 

Do you believe your heavenly Father cares about the small details in your life? What’s the evidence of that belief?

 

Are you living, by faith, as a child of God?

 

Power Verses:

 

Romans 8:15, So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into his family – calling him "Father, dear Father." (NLT)

 

Psalm 84:11, For the Lord God is a sun and shield; and Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (KJV)

 

For who so finds me finds life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord. Proverbs 8:35 (NKJ)

 

2 Corinthians 4:15, For all things are for your sakes that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. (NKJ)

 

Luke 1:47, For the Son of God comes to seek and save that which is lost. (NKJ)

 

Additional Resources:

 

The Ultimate Makeover by Sharon Jaynes

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/makeover.html

 

Who Holds the Key to your Heart by Lysa Terkeurst

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/key.html