Happy New Year! Let us commit to pray for one another this year, with so many of us in need of hope. For me,
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” 1
Another Amazing Response…
An 18-year-old named Jeffrey from Wyoming wrote:
“I learned of your story through an assignment I received on the 60s.
As I researched, I became very interested in you and the redemption you have found. I won’t ask you anything about what happened, because you don’t know me and don’t owe me or any stranger your story. I write because I am in a place where I could follow a simpler path.
“I have been in the system since I was 3 years old; multiple foster homes and juvenile detentions – 14 times. I have 4 felonies that can be expunged if I make some changes. Needless to say, I have an anger problem. Too many foster homes that only wanted money and not the kid. Too many sexually deprived men who look for at-risk boys. I won’t bore you with my trauma. My current foster family took me in when I was 16. Technically, I have already aged out, but they want me to stay. It says a lot about them that they are not giving up on me.
“My foster family has been dragging me to church since I came to live with them. I have fought them tooth and nail. I attend an anger management group at church. At the meeting, I met William, who is 62 years old. He has the face of a 70-year-old, but the body of a 20-year-old man. This man changed my thinking. I’ve always found religion to be weak and those who follow religion to be weaker. I could not have been more wrong. William has shown me that ‘it is a strong man who truly wishes to change his heart.’ I don’t feel I would have listened had I not had great respect for him.
“The church is beginning to be the place I go to find peace. Most people I meet there have made terrible mistakes, but have a tremendous amount of knowledge to pass on. My job is to listen. I would be honored to hear yours. Jeffrey, WY.”
An Amazing Testimony…
I’m always amazed how the Spirit leads people to write, and how He leads me to share their testimonies at specific times. As I was sharing Jeffrey’s testimony with you, a young lady was on the news, telling how she was adopted in her 20s, now a college graduate promoting adoption. I don’t think it was a coincidence, adoptuskids.org.
Jeffrey’s testimony shows how important the church is to adoption services. The world system failed Jeffrey until a Christian foster family took him to church. It was where he found a true friend in Christ named William, who shared much more than religion. He shared the spirit of adoption, perhaps without even realizing it.
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ, this is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” 2
An Amazing Friend…
I receive letters almost daily from friends in Christ like William, who share the Gospel of grace with those around them. Without Jeffrey’s letter, we would have never heard about William. He would have been content living in the shadows. Many of us know folks like him, who have ministered to us over the years. Someone told us about the love of Jesus for sinners, being led by the Spirit.
Jesus said He sent the Holy Spirit to “…convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness and of coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” 3
Most of us knew that we were sinners before we received Christ, because of the condemnation we felt from now living up to the law. “For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.” 4
The apostle Paul taught that we were slaves to the law as children of our father, “…slaves to the basic spiritual powers of this world. But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him, to buy our freedom for us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba Father.’” 5
An Amazing Father…
When we entrust our lives to our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, we become His forgiven children, regardless of our past. We have a place in God’s family, no matter what our past sins, no matter our past family conditions, and no matter our past hurts, frustrations or anger problems. As His adopted children, He has a plan for our life through faith in God’s grace. “For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”6
Our Father’s plan doesn’t end here on earth but continues in eternal glory. As the apostle Paul wrote: “…we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.” 7
Won’t you receive your adoption today?
A Prayer for You…
Heavenly Father, I thank you for making this the best New Year of my life. I confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in my heart that You raised Jesus from the dead. I receive Your free gift of eternal life. I thank You that when You died for me, Your blood cleansed me from all unrighteousness and the sins of my entire life; past, present, and even future sins I have not yet committed. In all my trials, I give you thanks, knowing that giving thanks for Your love and grace notifies the devil of his defeat at the cross. I commit my life to you 100% this day forward. In the Name of Jesus, Amen!
Scripture References (NLT):
1) Rom. 15:13
2) Eph. 1:5
3) John 16:8,9
4) 1 Cor. 15:56
5) Gal. 4:3c-6
6) Rom. 8:16,17
7) Rom. 8:23