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Archive for the ‘God's Love’ Category

Adoption is certainly not a contentious issue, yet it is viewed very differently within Islam and Christianity. The rightness and beauty of adoption is so obvious to me, not only because it is clearly a biblical concept, but because it so wonderfully demonstrates the love of God for his people.

I am amazed to think that God would actually adopt sinful creatures into his family so that by faith in Jesus Christ we become sons and daughters. Here are a few verses that demonstrate this reality.

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” – Romans 8:14-16

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:12-13

1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. – 1 John 3:1

Many of our friends have adopted. We have seen them bring children into their families that do not look like them, children that were unwanted and even uncared for. But now everything has changed for these children. They are wanted. They are cared for. They have a mom and a dad who will do anything for them. Many of them have brothers and sisters who love them. These parents made a choice. They chose to bring a child not their own into their families. They chose to love these children as their own. This is a picture of God’s choice. He too chose those who were not his, those who were in fact unlovely and disobedient to him. “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God'” (Romans 9:25-26, quoting the prophet Hosea).

Watch the video below and see this beautiful picture of God’s love for us lived out in the love of these parents for their son Isaiah.

HT: Vitamin Z

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Just the Way I Am

When our son Owen was born prematurely we knew that his chance of survival was low and that if he did survive it was likely that he would have significant life long disabilities. He only lived for 20 minutes. We had both Muslim friends and Christian friends imply that it was good he died so that he didn’t have to suffer life with these disabilities. I hated it when people said this, for it implied that living with disabilities was worse than death.

I’ve seen people with disabilities looked down upon in both cultures I’ve lived in: Arab and American. It seems that both “Muslim” and “Christian” cultures don’t do well in understanding that God has made us all and that he has a plan for each of us. He has made each of us, whether we have a disability or not, just the way we are.

When I saw that Krista Horning, a member of our church, wrote a book about disability I knew that I wanted to read it. When I did I had tears in my eyes as I saw the beauty and faith and hope of those with disabilities (Krista has Apert syndrome). Krista writes with profound simplicity, “God loves me just the way I am.” She adds this verse from the Psalms (Zabur), “The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made (Psalm 145:13).

I encourage you all to get a copy of Just the Way I Am: God’s Design in Disability and see the hope that God offers everyone through Jesus Christ.

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Tomorrow is Good Friday, the day when Christians from all over the world remember the death of Jesus Christ. Here is a link to a video that describes what happened on that day. The video is in Arabic and honors the beliefs of Muslims by not showing the face of our master Jesus (Muslims don’t believe we should have any pictures or likenesses of prophets).

You can download a very literal English translation of the video: S14 THE CRUCIFIXION

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Go in Peace

25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:25-34

In the gospel we read about a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years and yet no matter how many doctors she went to she got worse and became poorer.

Her life would have been a lonely life. According to the Tawrat (the law of Moses) this flow of blood made her perpetually unclean and therefore she was not to be touched or touch others, lest they too be made unclean (see Leviticus 15:19-31). She had probably all but given up hope, being resigned to live as an unclean woman, with an incurable flow of blood. Could she ever be made clean?

Somehow she had heard about Jesus Christ. And she had heard enough to be filled with hope once more so that she sought to touch him. She had heard about the great things he had done and thought that if she could just touch him she would be healed. This unclean woman started making her way through the crowd (a dangerous task since those around her would have been very angry if she made them unclean). After finally making her way through the crowd she touched Jesus’ cloak and immediately she was healed.

Jesus knew that power had gone out from him and he asked, “Who touched my garments?” The woman must have been terrified. Would this great man be angry that an unclean woman had touched him? She “came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth” (v. 33).

The woman believed that Jesus Christ could heal, but she didn’t believe that he would accept her. Therefore, she just wanted to touch his cloak and then get away before she was rejected. After all, Jesus was a respected teacher and by touching him she would make him ritually unclean. So even in the midst of her great faith, she was full of fear.

But rather than making our Lord Jesus unclean by touching him, she was made clean by him. Not only was she made clean, but she also received mercy. Jesus the Messiah called her, “Daughter.” She was not merely an unclean woman to him. She was a woman made in the image of God, a woman loved by God.

Jesus didn’t want the woman to leave thinking that the touch was the real reason she was made well. Certainly it was important and she wouldn’t have been healed if she hadn’t touched him. But at the bottom of her healing was her faith. It was her faith that made her well, the kind of faith that acts and reaches out and lays hold of Christ.

Jesus then told the woman to go in peace. Here Jesus was pronouncing a benediction, so to speak, on her. He was saying that her faith has made her well in more ways than just stopping the flow of blood. Her soul has been made well and therefore she can go in peace with God. Through faith in Jesus she had been healed of her disease and she had received the thing which she was feared she would never get—acceptance with God.


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From Doug Wolter:

As I look at the Psalms, I’m amazed at how little we do and how much He does.  For example:

Psalm 23:1-3

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me besides still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and [he] heard my cry
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog,
and [he] set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.

Psalm 55:22

Cast your burden on the LORD,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 91:14-16

Because he holds fast to me in loveI will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to meI will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and [I will] honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and [I will] show him my salvation.

In summary, all I need to do is come poor and needy because He comes to me rich in mercy. Hallelujah!

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Does God Hate Haiti

Justin Taylor posted some helpful remarks from Albert Mohler on the tragedy in Haiti. Too often people are quick to assume that massive disasters like the earthquake in Haiti is a sign of God’s displeasure or that God has nothing to do with such things. Yes, such things are a sign of judgment, but Mohler is right that Haitians are not unique in their sin to merit judgment that the rest of us don’t also deserve. Here is what he wrote:

Albert Mohler’s comments are worth quoting at length:

Does God hate Haiti? That is the conclusion reached by many, who point to the earthquake as a sign of God’s direct and observable judgment.

God does judge the nations — all of them — and God will judge the nations. His judgment is perfect and his justice is sure. He rules over all the nations and his sovereign will is demonstrated in the rising and falling of nations and empires and peoples. Every molecule of matter obeys his command, and the earthquakes reveal his reign — as do the tides of relief and assistance flowing into Haiti right now.

A faithful Christian cannot accept the claim that God is a bystander in world events. The Bible clearly claims the sovereign rule of God over all his creation, all of the time. We have no right to claim that God was surprised by the earthquake in Haiti, or to allow that God could not have prevented it from happening.

God’s rule over creation involves both direct and indirect acts, but his rule is constant. The universe, even after the consequences of the Fall, still demonstrates the character of God in all its dimensions, objects, and occurrences. And yet, we have no right to claim that we know why a disaster like the earthquake in Haiti happened at just that place and at just that moment.

The arrogance of human presumption is a real and present danger. We can trace the effects of a drunk driver to a car accident, but we cannot trace the effects of voodoo to an earthquake — at least not so directly. Will God judge Haiti for its spiritual darkness? Of course. Is the judgment of God something we can claim to understand in this sense — in the present? No, we are not given that knowledge. Jesus himself warned his disciples against this kind of presumption.

Why did no earthquake shake Nazi Germany? Why did no tsunami swallow up the killing fields of Cambodia? Why did Hurricane Katrina destroy far more evangelical churches than casinos? Why do so many murderous dictators live to old age while many missionaries die young?

Does God hate Haiti? God hates sin, and will punish both individual sinners and nations. But that means that every individual and every nation will be found guilty when measured by the standard of God’s perfect righteousness. God does hate sin, but if God merely hated Haiti, there would be no missionaries there; there would be no aid streaming to the nation; there would be no rescue efforts — there would be no hope.

The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that creation groans under the weight of sin and the judgment of God. This is true for every cell in our bodies, even as it is for the crust of the earth at every point on the globe. The entire cosmos awaits the revelation of the glory of the coming Lord. Creation cries out for the hope of the New Creation.

In other words, the earthquake reminds us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only real message of hope. The cross of Christ declares that Jesus loves Haiti — and the Haitian people are the objects of his love. Christ would have us show the Haitian nation his love, and share his Gospel. In the midst of this unspeakable tragedy, Christ would have us rush to aid the suffering people of Haiti, and rush to tell the Haitian people of his love, his cross, and salvation in his name alone.

Everything about the tragedy in Haiti points to our need for redemption. This tragedy may lead to a new openness to the Gospel among the Haitian people. That will be to the glory of God. In the meantime, Christ’s people must do everything we can to alleviate the suffering, bind up the wounded, and comfort the grieving. If Christ’s people are called to do this, how can we say that God hates Haiti?

If you have any doubts about this, take your Bible and turn to John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. That is God’s message to Haiti.

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