Accepted as God’s Child

IMG_3243Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

Jenny looked at her birth certificate. For some reason, her father’s name was not on it. She decided to ask her mother about it.

For three days, Jenny’s mom avoided the conversation but then one morning, she sat down at the kitchen table just as Jenny was about to leave for work. “Your father and I were never married. He was just a date, someone I hardly knew. He got drunk and… I never saw him again.” Jenny’s mom hung her head. A lone tear trickled down her cheek. “Nine months later you were born.”

Jenny’s insides felt as if she were on the downward ride on a rollercoaster. She searched her mother’s face looking for some sign that she’d heard wrong but her mom’s expression said it all. My mom was raped, Women who are raped today, are pressured to abort their babies.

Before Jenny could say anything, her mother stood. She wrapped her arms around her only daughter and said, “You were a gift to me from God Himself. I have loved you since the moment I saw you. When I met your father, he fell in love with the two of us. When we married, he adopted you right away.”

Being adopted, for Jenny, meant she had a family. She had a father who loved her and two younger brothers who teased relentlessly but were fun to be around anyway. The fact that her father had adopted her as a baby never made her relationship with him any different than the one he had with her brothers. Jenny was taken care of as if she had been born to her dad.

If you have asked Jesus to be the center of your life, you have the privilege of being adopted by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You have a Father who loves you, who cares about your deepest desires and who always has time to listen when you talk to Him. You can call Him “Abba” just as if He were your very own daddy.

Hold your head up this day. No matter what your circumstances are, you have a Father who loves you. Under difficult circumstances, or when you are challenged to step out of your comfort zone, He walks beside you and gives you the power to overcome whatever tries to defeat you or mess you up.

If you have never asked Jesus to be the center of your life, you have the opportunity to receive Him now. Pray this simple prayer acknowledging your need for a Savior, and your need for a Father who will love you unconditionally.

Father God, thank you for loving me. I am so sorry I have acted independently from you. Please come into my life and make me your child. Adopt me into your family, Lord. AMEN.

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Preamble to Freedom

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified… 

I Thess. 4:3

Sanctified, sanctification – that’s a big word. For many, it’s hard to understand and yet so important for us to know since it is God’s will for us. Sanctification, the move toward Holiness or Christ-likeness, is a process, something that begins when we become a new person in Jesus Christ but something that doesn’t occur overnight.

Let me explain. Jodie just gave birth to her first child, a sweet little IMG_3251girl complete with blonde fuzz covering her head. Her innocent expression hid the independent rebellious streak that would one day erupt when her parents least expected it. Was Jodie a mother? She was as far as birthing a child but her journey toward motherhood had just begun.

Over the years, she learned from friends, family members, and books, as well as from The Book – the Bible, how to be the mother that God intended her to be. Did it happen overnight? Not so. In fact, if you asked Jodie today, as a grandmother, she would say she’s still learning to parent.

It’s the same with sanctification. It’s a process. Our walk with the Lord as we study His Word and get to know Him and His will for our lives, takes all the years He gives us in our earthly suits. He allows trials, temptations, events, times of joy and times of sorrow, to refine us into the Christ-like child that He sent His Son to die for. He knows what’s in our hearts and He knows just what we need to become sanctified.

What’s our part? Study, prayer, and confession. Immediate and consistent confession is so important to our journey for sanctification as the Holy Spirit convicts us of the sin in our lives, the garbage that we hold onto that gives Satan a foothold. God has already forgiven us but we need to acknowledge it in order for forgiveness to heal us from the inside out. We need to pray in the Spirit, asking God a question and then listening for the answer. As we seek God, listen to His answers and the Holy Spirit’s promptings, we move closer toward being the Holy person that was created in the image of our Holy God.

Dear Lord, Search me and tell me what unclean thing is within me. Father I acknowledge that I have sinned against You. My desire is to be sanctified now and forevermore. AMEN.

 

In Two Up, Riding With The Lord, Barbara Ann Derksen creatively illustrates the importance of what it means to be God’s adopted child… Accepted, Secure,

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Significant, and Free… through faith in God’s one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. You will discover the privileges of being a child of God, your strength as a believer, and the power given to you by God’s Holy Spirit as you spent time in His Word through these daily readings.

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Wise and Foolish

These last three attitudes that Jesus spoke about in His Sermon on the Mount seem to have a related theme. Wisdom. Jesus wants us to be wise in our choices, wise when listening to a teacher, wise when discerning truth from fiction, and wise when making decisions that affect our life.

Long ago, Solomon asked God for wisdom. God granted his request and to this day, Solomon is still considered one of the wisest men who ever lived. Today we have access to wisdom all the time. All we have to do is listen to Jesus. He said in Matthew 7, verses 24-27, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and IMG_3251follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

We don’t have to go to university to become wise. In fact, there is more foolishness coming out of universities these days than ever before. A few years ago, a friend’s husband went to seminary to become a pastor. He went into those first classes loving the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind, and came out, after four years, a non-believer. They had taught the belief right out of him.

Teens graduate from high school professing their faith in Jesus Christ. After a year or two of college, all they have is questions and very little faith. Now granted, some of them were not grounded in Jesus Christ as Christ asks them to be in these verses. He tells us to listen to His teachings, and follow them, do what He says. The people who listen, have listened all their life, but have not made His teachings a part of their life because they’ve ignored them; they are the ones who are susceptible to losing their faith when they head to college with all the distractions that phase of their life involves.

Our wisdom comes from the Lord, nowhere else. If we lean on the wisdom He’s taught us, our faith will be strong enough to withstand the prowling lion, whose main goal is to seek, kill, and destroy. The philosophies of this world will not produce a crack in our belief system because they do not pass the test that comes from Biblical scrutiny.

Seek God’s truth. Immerse yourself in His word, and watch how strong, how wise, and how fruitful you will become in the face of adversity. The adversity is a given. It’s all around us. Wisdom, God’s wisdom, can protect and our foundation will hold.

For further study: Prov. 9:10; Luke 6:46-49; James 1:5; James 3:13-18

If you like these devotions:

The book of Matthew, Chapter five, begins the greatest sermon ever preafront cover design with title copy smalllerched. In this chapter and all the way to the end of chapter seven, God gives us clear direction on how we are to live our lives as 

Christians. He covers a host of topics leaving no doubt that He loves us and wants only the best for us. Road Trip is an easy to read study of those principles to encourage you in your daily walk.

Purchase at Amazon: http://amzn.to/15ypTJp 

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Fruitful Actions

When was the last time you had any business dealings with someone who you knew went to church on Sunday, yet dealt with you in a shady manner? These are the kind of people who have two sets of standards, one for themselves and another for anyone else. They judge people way more harshly than they judge themselves. In fact, they think they’re perfectly alright and see no reason not to separate their business life from their church life.

It doesn’t matter what comes out of a person’s mouth, his actions will display his true character. There are so many people who tell you what they think you want to hear but then act in a way that totally contradicts the words they say. Have you met someone like that? When we minister in the biking community, or in any other setting where non-believers congregate, our words better match our walk, or our actions. If they don’t, the term hypocrite will fill the air around us.

Jesus warns us again that judgment needs to be based on fruiIMG_3190t. In Matthew 7 verses 15-20, He says, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”

The fruit, or actions, that a person displays will show clearly what is in their heart. If nothing that honors Christ comes from that person, then you know that Christ is not their number one priority. A man, who swindles another in a business transaction, has not taken Christ into his consideration at all. His belief system is self-serving, not Christ serving. Jesus says that this person, this tree, needs to be chopped down and thrown into the fire.

The actions of a person who has Christ sitting at the center of his life, will point others toward Christ. They will treat people as Christ wanted them to be treated while the actions of one who is self-serving will draw people away from Jesus. Out of a grateful hear, we are to be fruitful, magnifying the love that Jesus had for all, loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Do you know someone whose walk does not match his talk? He spouts and guffaws and carry’s on but then helps himself to a candy bar as he walks past the checkout counter of the local convenience store. He says he loves the Lord but as soon as he becomes passionate about an issue, his language reflects the gutter instead of the Christ he says he serves. Take heed that no one has cause to question your talk because your actions don’t bear witness favorably.

For further study: Matt 25:24-30; Luke 6:43-45; Col. 1:9-11; John 15:5; Rev 14:13

If you like these devotions:

The book of Matthew, Chapter five, begins the greatest sermon ever preafront cover design with title copy smalllerched. In this chapter and all the way to the end of chapter seven, God gives us clear direction on how we are to live our lives as 

Christians. He covers a host of topics leaving no doubt that He loves us and wants only the best for us. Road Trip is an easy to read study of those principles to encourage you in your daily walk.

Purchase at Amazon: http://amzn.to/15ypTJp 

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True or False

As a writer, I would never want to lead someone down a wrong path and away from their faith in Jesus Christ. In order to make sure that what I write here in this devotional is Biblically IMG_3242accurate, I’ve enlisted the help of a well reputed professor who teaches Biblical truth. But aside from these writings, I strongly believe that the true source of truth is the Bible itself. Everything you hear or read needs to be scrutinized side by side with the Bible and I invite you to do that with this little book.

However there are many out there today who teach something other than Biblical truth. Their teachings alter the direction of their hearers focus from Jesus to themselves. In today’s society, they teach that the Bible is not accurate from cover to cover, that it is not applicable in today’s world, and that there are many ways to believe in God. These people are called false teachers.

Jesus, in Matthew 7 verses 15-20 says, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”

Jesus gave us a clear warning about false prophets or false teachers. I had a pastor once who taught us that whatever he preached on Sunday, we were to test it with the scriptures. He taught that the Bible was our ultimate authority and no matter what anyone said, if it contradicted the Bible, they were wrong. Jesus tells us to look at their fruit. Are they producing any? Are they pointing people toward a saving relationship with Jesus Christ or are they building a following for themselves?

Jesus goes on to talk about true disciples. He said, in Matthew 7 verses 21-23, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”

We are to be discerning. That is, we are to identify them by their fruit, and watch to see if they are actually doing the will of God. If they are not, then we need to remove ourselves from their false teaching, seek truth in the Word of God, and follow where God leads and nowhere else. Jesus is the cornerstone and no teaching should change that for us. Make sure you check out what you read, and who you listen to. Make sure they aren’t false teachers.

For further study: Col 2:19; 1 Tim 4:1-2; 2 Pet 2:1; 1 John 4:1-5; Jude 1:10

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Narrow and Wide gates

I was recently interviewed on an internet radio program from Los Angeles. The host made a comment about some friends who were not ‘religious’ but who were very good people. She also talked about her own faith in a higher power. Now whether she was just being judicious about using the word Jesus or God, I don’t know, but so many people seem to think they are alright if IMG_3250they believe in something or anything.

Others preach tolerance…tolerance of ideas, tolerance of faith choices, and tolerance of lifestyles. Their attempt at making heaven on earth is lauded as commendable and yet…their very tolerance ensures that the people they are tolerant of will spend a far greater space of time in utter torment. Their eternity will consist of burning fires, chronic sores and unimaginable pain.

Christians know a better way. Jesus explains in Matthew 7, verses 13 and 14, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Jesus did not ask us to be tolerant. He did ask us to be non-judgmental and to love unconditionally. But He was clear about the pathway to eternal life as opposed to eternal torment.

He said that many walk a wide path. They choose lifestyles that are destructive, all in the guise of personal freedom. They avoid confrontation and chose to accept everyone’s ideas and interpretations of any and all philosophies. At the back of their minds, they really don’t care what happens to friends or foes as long as it doesn’t infringe on their reason for being.

Jesus asks us to consider the eternal eventuality of everyone we meet. He has given us just enough information so that the idea of anyone burning for eternity is unthinkable. He wants us to bring them to heaven with us and the path He has chosen, the one He walked before us, is narrow. There is only one way to heaven…not many, as some wish to believe.

Have you heard anyone refer to you as opinionated, narrow minded, hate monger, bigot, or any such terms that are used nowadays for Christians who dare to speak the truth. Jesus knew that because of Him we would be persecuted. Persecution in many third world countries is commonplace and yet people continue to reach out to others with the gospel of Jesus Christ, even if it is unpopular to do so.

When you are tempted to keep quiet, to tolerate the things that happen and the ideas that are spoken around you, think about what Jesus would have you do. He’s never asked you to enter into a debate with anyone but if someone is truly seeking to know truth, then speak up. You may be the only person in that seeker’s life who knows it.

For further study: Joshua 24:15; Matt 9:9; Matt 16:26; Rom 1:32

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Not a Fan

What comes to mind when you hear a person say, “I am not a fan of Jesus Christ.” In a recent book, written by Pastor Kyle Idleman, the author asks the question, “Are you a fan or a winter in a graveyardfollower?”

A fan, according to my favorite online dictionary, is a person with a liking and enthusiasm for something. They may show their enthusiasm by being a member of a fan club, holding fan conventions, or by promoting the object of their interest and attention.

So a fan of Jesus Christ may join the church (fan club), attend church on Sunday (hold fan conventions), and talk to people about their love for Jesus (promote the object of their interest and attention). So what is wrong with being a fan of Jesus Christ?

Let’s consider. Wikipedia defines a follower as one who subscribes to the teachings or methods of another. They imitate or copy the one they follow. A fan walks out of church on Sunday and leaves Jesus sitting in the pew. A follower brings Jesus home with them, talks to him when making major, or not so major, decisions. They do what Jesus did, treat people as Jesus did, and love as Jesus loved.

“You may be just a fan who admires Jesus but isn’t ready to let him cramp your style. Then again, maybe you’re not into Jesus, period. In any case, don’t take the question, “Are you a follower of Jesus?” lightly. Some people don’t know what they’ve said yes to and other people don’t realize what they’ve said no to,” says Idleman.

Jesus said in Luke 9: verse 23-24, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” Jesus is calling us to be followers, not just fans. He wants us to make Him the most significant part of our life, not just a stress reliever.

Do you walk out the door of your church on Sunday and live life just like your non-Christian neighbor? Do you keep your church attendance to yourself, afraid to discuss your faith in public? Jesus said, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person…” It takes a follower to abide by the attitudes for life that Jesus laid down on the Sermon on the Mount. Are you a fan, or a follower?

For further study: Ex.13:6-9; Num.16:13-14; Deut.27:9-10; John 1:38; Mk.8:35

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Paula Rose Michaelson’s “No Other Choice”

cover

No Other Choice: The Naomi Chronicles, Book One
By Paula Rose Michelson

About the Book:

Naomi will be sent back! She left her family and all she held dear, traveled half way around the word while accompanying a blind, old grandmother because they promised to help her enter America and find her uncle. Instead they handed her over to immigration.

What she does now, she does because there is no other choice!

This is Naomi’s journey from adolescence to womanhood, from frightened isolation and captivity to the noble status of heiress. Trapped in a life where all who know her think her a saint, saddled with a mission and responsibility many would shirk from placed upon her shoulders, Naomi agrees to marry because that seems to be the easiest way to sidestep more issues.

As timely as the immigration debate of today is, author, William Struse’s endorsement says, “Duty, sacrifice, and faith are carried in the arms of love by a courageous young woman, who rises above her own flaws to help others.”

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Paula Rose Michelson0011Paula Rose Michelson
As a Messianic Jew, Paula Rose Michelson wanted to write about life, love, choices, and forgiveness. She researched what befell the Jews baptized into the Catholic faith to survive the Inquisition, and when she began to write The Naomi Chronicles, Naomi told her the story you are about to read.

Because of her extensive background in recovery as a Chemical Dependency – Lifestyle Disorder Councilor, her work with The Rubicon Center, and as the founded LAMB Ministries in 1988, where she continues to mentor women suffering from trauma and abuse the way God mentored her, the author knows that though her heroine’s story is unique, Naomi’s issues of fear and hiding are universal, for they are seen in anyone who is masking their real pain.

Paula Rose Michelson is the wife of Lutheran Pastor and Chosen People Field Missionary, Ron Michelson. The mother of two married daughters, and grandmother of seven grandchildren, when not involved in ministry, writing, speaking, or teaching the effective use of scripture, you will find Paula researching her next book or meeting with friends.

 

Follow Paula Rose Michelson

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Ask, Seek, and Knock

 

Some of the first words out of a young child’s mouth are “Why, What’s at, or How come.” Questions abound. They want to know everything about their world in one day. Sometimes it drives a parent nuts. You want to shut the door on any and all questions forever.

Jesus was not so inclined. In fact, in Matthew 7, verse 7, He says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. IMG_3125_013Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Jesus wants our persistence…our continued communication with Him.

He uses parents as an example. In verse 9, He adds, “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him?”

The Lord wants our attention to be focused on Him, whatever the circumstances in our life. He wants us to know that God loves us more than a parent loves a child and will provide accordingly. All we need do is ask. We seek His face, His comfort, His provision. And when we knock on the door of our Lord’s heart, He will open it to us.

Do you keep a journal? Sometimes it might be important to keep track of all the times God has answered your prayers, so you can build trust that God means what He says. A journal allows us to look back, see where He visited us, and see what He has done. God does answer the prayer of a fervent heart, one that persists, and implores on a regular basis.

For further study: 1John 5:14-15; James 4:3

If you like these devotions:

The book of Matthew, Chapter five, begins the greatest sermon ever preafront cover design with title copy smalllerched. In this chapter and all the way to the end of chapter seven, God gives us clear direction on how we are to live our lives as 

Christians. He covers a host of topics leaving no doubt that He loves us and wants only the best for us. Road Trip is an easy to read study of those principles to encourage you in your daily walk.

Purchase at Amazon: http://amzn.to/15ypTJp 

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Judging Others

 Have you ever walked through a crowd and formed an opinion about someone based on their activity, their appearance, or their language? Maybe you’ve heard something about someone and formed an opinion based on second hand information. Maybe you’ve watched two men friends walking down the street IMG_3201side by side, or two women, and decided that they were of a different sexual orientation than you.

Unfortunately, we judge others all the time. Sometimes the judgment is correct but most often, it isn’t. Our treatment of them is based on that judgment. We look at a person’s skin color and lump them in with everyone else who has the same skin color and judge accordingly. We make assumptions based on where a person lives and who they hang out with, the length of their hair, the number of body piercings, and the number of tattoos.

In Matthew 7, verses 1-5, Jesus says, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

Judgment places a wall between you and the person you are judging. They recognize the censure whether you say anything to them or not. Your body language can be most telling, but your quick glance in another direction says a bunch. Jesus wants to be their only judge, but in order for Him to reach their heart, He uses you to reflect Him to that person. If all they see is criticism, they’ll turn their back on what you and the Lord have to offer.

As Jesus said, by whatever standard you judge another, you will also be judged. Consider the advantages we’ve had as a Christian, the teaching we’ve been privileged to hear and learn from, the great examples you walked with, and the Bible at your fingertips. You expect the same behavior from someone who’s never had those options, or at least has never taken advantage of the opportunities if he did have them.

Before God, the only person we are responsible for, the only person whose behavior we can control, is ourselves. We need to make sure we are walking as Jesus would have us walk, complying with His attitudes and beatitudes for our lives, and then love everyone else, unconditionally. Judgment places conditions on a relationship. And it closes doors.

Check your judgment eyes at the door. Leave them on the front seat of your vehicle and walk into a room planning to love anyone and everyone you meet. Make sure the log in your own eyes is taken care of before you expect a person to remove the speck in his. Jesus will trust you with more people for you to reflect His love to, if you are faithful with the few He’s already given you.

For further study: Isa. 11:3; Luke 6:37-42; John 8:7; Cor. 4:5; 1 Cor. 5:12-13; James 4:11

If you like these devotions:

The book of Matthew, Chapter five, begins the greatest sermon ever preafront cover design with title copy smalllerched. In this chapter and all the way to the end of chapter seven, God gives us clear direction on how we are to live our lives as 

Christians. He covers a host of topics leaving no doubt that He loves us and wants only the best for us. Road Trip is an easy to read study of those principles to encourage you in your daily walk.

Purchase at Amazon: http://amzn.to/15ypTJp 

Support this blog by sharing with others.
Pin It
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