Monday, February 28, 2011

30 days of gratitude in the home...

In I John 3, John says, "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children and God, and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know him."

That is a love to be thankful for! It's only in one sense that everyone is born a child of God and that is in the sense that we are all children of Adam. Yet, sin makes of us estranged children. We are not part of God's family until God restores that relationship.

John 1 says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." To those who accept Christ, Jesus gives the right to become children of God. Accepting Him opens our hearts to hear how we might become so.

Ephesians 1 says of Christians that "God predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will". Ephesians 2:10 tells us "Go then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and are of God's households."

I Peter 1:14 gives this as a motivation for godly living: "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior.

In I John, John goes on to say that if we are children of God, the world will not know it. This is because they do not know the Father.

In the movie "An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving, a young widow struggled to keep her family together. She and her children were treated poorly by the wife of their landlord. Likewise, few people in the town saw anything special about them.

Then, one day, the young woman's mother arrives in town. Through this event, the townspeople learn that the widow is the daughter of a wealthy and famous industrialist who died and left her mother a fortune.

Once the people learn who the woman's father is, their treatment of her changes. In particular, the landlady now is eager to be friends with her tenant. Nothing about the daughter changed to make people respond to her with more kindness. It was the people who changed when they learned who her father was. She displayed a fine character before people knew her position and a fine character after people knew her position.

In the same way, if we are children of God, the world will not recognize it. In fact, we may be mistreated. However, children of God do not lose their confidence in the face of mistreatment from the world. The true child of God knows that he or she has been called to make the Father known to as many as will listen and become children of God, themselves. The child of God knows that the Father, "is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9. We are also called to be made more like Christ and to purify our character in readiness for the day we are called to stand before the Father.

For the child of God, knowing God the Father brings security and humility, but not pride. The child of God understands that it's only because of God's magnificent love that he or she is adopted by Him. The child of God is ever-grateful for this gift made possible only through Christ's blood.

So, if we are truly children of God, we can live with gratitude in this world, even if, in this world, we face temptations, trials, and persecution. We know that our standing before God is not changed by whether or not people recognize us. We can be happy and content in all situations, as Paul says in Philippians that he learned to be. We can also choose to love others as Christ loved us.

Children of God rejoice with John when he says, "Beloved, now we are chlidren of God, and it has not appeared as what we will be. We know that when he appears, we shall be like HIm, because we will see Him just as He is." I John 3:2


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