Daily Archives: December 4, 2022

A Mom For Christmas

 

A Mom for Christmas

mom and daughter hugging

 

Carolyn B. Frasier – cbn.com

“Can I call you Mom?”

I never experienced the joy of having my own children. But one Christmas, I stared deep into the eyes of a young teenager I met at an orphanage in Russia as she asked this question. Her eyes pleaded with me to say, “Yes.”

I had spent much of my adult life single with no children. I devoted my time to working in ministry and traveling overseas on mission trips, believing that motherhood would be something I would never experience. But God had other plans.

The girl’s question weighed heavily on my heart. An orphan, she had no family—at least, no family who still claimed her. She could have clung to the hope that they would one day change their minds, but she eagerly reached out for something more, something better.

I paused. I, too, was imperfect. I wasn’t able to officially adopt her, but could I love her the way she needed to be loved? Or would I fail her like everyone else? I wasn’t sure I was up to the task, but I knew the One who was.

We are all born into a world that is broken. We yearn for something more, something better. But when we approach God, He does not hesitate. He is ready to adopt us and become our Father, a perfect Father.

First John 3 reminds us that we now belong a new family—God’s family.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! (1 John 3:1, NLT, italics added)

We did not begin as God’s children, but when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we were not just forgiven. We joined His family!

As His children, God desires that we draw close to Him.

You have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15 NLT)

We don’t have to be afraid of Him. We can call Him our “Daddy!”

Because we are part of God’s family, we have the opportunity to start over again. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us, anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! God invites us to become more like Him. Throughout the remainder of 1 John 3, we read what that means: leaving the world of sin behind and doing what is right. But over and over again, He gently reminds us that we are His “children.”

That day in Russia, I said “Yes” to that young orphan girl. She jumped into my arms and said, “I love you, Mom.” I would only be at that orphanage for a few more days and had no idea what would come next. But that Christmas, we started a relationship. Today, we are still in touch, even across the globe.

I am thankful that we serve a God who says, “Yes” to us! May we leap into His arms with the same joy and excitement when He invites us to join His family as His children.

Dilemma and deliverance

“Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” Psalm 9:10

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 23

If we could but once believe the doctrine that the child of God might fall from grace and perish everlastingly, we might, indeed, shut up our Bible in despair. To what purpose would my preaching be—the preaching of a rickety gospel like that? To what purpose your faith—a faith in a God that cannot and would not carry on to the end? To what use the blood of Christ, if it were shed in vain, and did not bring the blood-bought ones securely home? To what purpose the Spirit, if he were not omnipotent enough to overcome our wandering, to arrest our sins and make us perfect, and present us faultless before the throne of God at last? That doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints is, I believe, as thoroughly bound up with the standing or falling of the gospel, as is the article of justification by faith. Give that up and I see no gospel left; I see no beauty in religion that is worthy of my acceptance, or that deserves my admiration. An unchanging God, an everlasting covenant, a sure mercy, these are the things that my soul delights in, and I know your hearts love to feed upon them. But take these away, and what have we? We have a foundation of wood, hay, straw, and stubble. We have nothing solid. We have a fort of earthworks, a mud hovel through which the thief may break and steal away our treasures. No, this foundation stands sure —“The Lord knoweth them that are his;” and he will certainly bring them all to his right hand at last in glory everlasting.

For meditation: If the truly converted man can be lost, Jesus must have meant “lend” when he said “give”, “temporary” when he said “eternal” and “perhaps” when he said “never” (John 10:28). Uncertainty is the hallmark of man-made religion.

The Danger of Making Assumptions

DECEMBER 2, 2022,  Proverbs 31, com

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5 (NIV)

God, do You even care about my husband’s health? Why the delay, God?

I didn’t voice the thoughts out loud, but I may as well have. My attitude about the situation my family faced was bleak at best.

For months, we’d prayed for a resolution to my husband’s health issue. Friends around the globe prayed, too, and each time my husband and I spoke with them, we updated them with any progress.

Although the solution was simple, the equipment needed to address the problem was in short supply. A long waitlist of other patients was ahead of my husband, and each day we hoped for a miracle.

Sometimes it’s easy for me to see God working through hardships in others’ lives, but when it comes to my own life or my family members’, I make assumptions about His intentions. If it appears as though He’s not answering on my timeline or not listening, I may question whether or not He wants to help.

Have you ever been there? You pray with persistence, and you believe God will deliver you or a loved one, but when the answer doesn’t come, you wonder whether or not God sees the hurt and the weariness. Or perhaps you think your troubles are somehow part of God’s judgment and you stop coming to Him altogether.

It can be difficult to open up about our heartache when we feel as though God has already made up His mind about the situation. But God warns us, in His Word, against this type of limited thinking.

Recently, I studied the book of Job, and God’s response to Job’s friends captured my attention: “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:7, NIV).

In this passage, Job had just lost everything, and his friends assumed his suffering was due to his own sin. But whereas Job spoke directly to God about his heartache and frustrations, his friends merely spoke about God. They thought that Job’s afflictions were a sign of punishment or that God was acting out of judgment.

In our key verse, Job speaks from a place that can only be found when we encounter God personally:

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5).

Even though Job suffered as much as anyone in Scripture, he never made assumptions about God based on his circumstances. He questioned God, but he did not say false things about God’s character. Instead, Job spoke to God in his anguish, with an honest heart, and God answered. Although God didn’t give Job a reason for his suffering, Job’s one-on-one conversation with Him helped Job realize God was still there in the midst of it.

What if we decide to do the same thing? What if the next time we encounter a situation where it appears as though God is absent, we come to Him and have an honest conversation?

And what if God answers in ways we never expected?

This is what I finally did in my frustration over my husband’s health issue. And somehow, God helped me see His presence right there in the middle of the weariness and waiting.

When we continue to come to God with our hurts despite the lack of an answer, He shifts our perspective. Our circumstances may not change, but His peace reigns as He shows us who He truly is. Like Job, we can encounter God in a new way. And because of this fresh encounter, our assumptions can be replaced by awe and worship.