Month: June 2019

You Look Like Your Dad

Ephesians 1:3-6
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Written by: Sarah Gauer

From the day I was born, people have said that I look like my dad. I have his eyes, dark brown hair, and olive skin tone. I carry with me clear evidence that we are father and daughter. As a follower of Jesus, I am not only a daughter of an earthly father but of the Heavenly Father as well. Sometimes, though, without a physical resemblance as evidence, it can be easy to forget this spiritual heredity. I can find myself operating as an employee, trying to earn His love, grace, and favor rather than as a daughter who has already been given these things.

The verses above teach us that God predestined our adoption into His family as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. This means that before He ever created the world, before we bore any resemblance to Him, or had the ability to even try to earn His acceptance, our loving Father chose us to be in a parent-child relationship with Him, through Jesus.

As we make the decision to follow Him, we are blessed with “every spiritual blessing in Christ.” This includes the pouring out of His Holy Spirit on us. We may not always feel as though we belong to God, but Romans 8:16 tells us that “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” The inward presence of the Holy Spirit reminds us of who we are, of Whose we are, and, as we allow ourselves to be led by Him whispers to us, “You look just like your Dad.”

More Devo 6.21Thought of the day: The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is like a mirror showing us the evidence of our heritage in God’s family. If you struggle to see yourself as a child of God or to believe His love for you personally, ask the Holy Spirit to help you connect with Him.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for choosing me to be Your child, and for extending all of the spiritual blessings to me that come with that. Holy Spirit, guide me today and help me to recognize God’s love for me as an individual child of His. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Imperfect Dads

James 1:16-17
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Written by: Matt Swartz

I am a father of three adult kids. They will tell you I am not perfect. A couple of Christmases ago, we were sitting around as a family. My son had just gotten married earlier that year and my kids were all sharing the highlights of my not-so-finest moments as a dad. It was hilarious and we were all laughing so hard that it was actually painful. I wasn’t offended by these stories because I am sober minded enough to know they were all true.

My father wasn’t perfect either. I know he loved Jesus, but he was pretty emotionally distant with my brothers and me. I can tell you he was a seismic shift better than his father. I pray my son will be a seismic shift better than me.

Here is the difficulty: We tend to project onto God our imperfect fathers. We struggle and wrestle with God because our natural human tendency is to take what we have experienced and assume that’s how God deals with us. And that is not true.

God isn’t like our human dads. James 1 says we have a different type of father in God. He is the type of father who only gives perfect gifts and never changes. He loves us with a perfect love. He can be trusted.

More Devo 6.20Thought of the day: You may have come from an absolutely horrible background and have wounds from your father that are far deeper than my wounds from my dad. If so, God wants you to open your eyes to see in Him the father you have always longed for.

Prayer: God, thank you for being different than my human father. Help me to see in You the Father in which I have always longed. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Call Him by Name

Romans 8:15-16
The Spirit you received, does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him, we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Written by: Shannon Swenson

We are God’s children. We get to call the Creator of the universe our Dad. Abba is translated from the Aramaic as “daddy” or “papa.” Through our adoption into the family of God, we get to have an emotionally intimate relationship with God.

How do you view God? Do you see Him as your Daddy, or is He someone who is unreachable? Is He loving, caring, generous, available, protective, and interested in you? Or do you have a filter that says otherwise? Maybe your earthly father was anything but those things, and you have an image of God that is anything but who He says He is.

I think about Him as my Daddy. If I am honest, that felt a bit irreverent and weird at first. When I started to feel His presence within me and saw Him doing things and placing me in opportunities I could never have chosen for myself, my heart changed. My view of Him changed. I knew it was Him living inside of me as my advocate and my confidant. He was guiding me, encouraging me, and taking care of my wounds when I fell flat on my face.

Our design is to know Him on an intimate level. Even when we don’t do that well, He loves us too much to simply let us run away. Like the loving Father He is, He will pursue and love us even when we don’t love Him back or when we don’t allow Him to love us based on our experiences with our earthly father. He wants us to know He meets us right where we are. We can trust Him.

Our problem isn’t we don’t love Him enough; Our problem is we don’t understand how much He loves us! He delights in hearing us call out, “Daddy, Father.” Scripture tells us we don’t have to be a slave to fear. The chains of past experiences and hurts are broken and replaced with the loving arms of our Daddy who wants to love us more than we will ever really know. He is for us and not against us. He is waiting for you to run into His arms and call Him by name: Daddy, Father.

More Devo 6.19Thought of the day: What’s holding you back from a deeper intimate relationship with Him? Do you need help with a hurt, habit, or hang up? Joins us at Celebrate Recovery.

Prayer: Daddy, thank You for wanting more for me. You know everything about me. Help me to run to You in times of need, as well as times of joy. I am Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

He Has Overcome the World

John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Written by: Gina Rock

Long summer road trips have become somewhat of a tradition in our family. We pack the car tight with snacks and suitcases and hit the open road. Our destinations have covered the beaches of California, the mountains of Colorado, and visiting extended family in Texas. Usually, just as we leave our zip code, the questions from the back seat start up. “Are we there yet? How much longer? Are we still in Arizona?” The questions can be relentless, but it’s only natural to anticipate the joy ahead. They know something really good is coming if they can just get through the long-suffering of the trip itself. 

In a similar light, our life on earth will produce troubles, hardships, and will certainly require patience, but as a believer in Jesus, there is such joy and peace beyond this life. As excited as we might be to reach a road trip destination or for any earthly thing, how much more should we eagerly await our inheritance as heirs to God’s kingdom?

More Devo 6.18Thought of the day: With faith in Jesus comes the promise of eternal life in heaven. How does knowing this truth encourage you in your daily struggles? Are there areas in your life where you need to experience the peace that comes from knowing God and His promises? 

Prayer: God, thank You for the peace that comes from knowing You and being Your child. Help me to lean on You every day. Thank You that none of my struggles are too big for You. Amen. 

Trust Him with Everything

2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Written by: Danielle Morgan

To be part of the literal family of God is an astounding thing to consider. This past weekend, we studied Galatians 4:6-7 and it’s in these verses that we learn of our place in the family of God.

When we say “Yes” to Jesus, we receive His Holy Spirit, which means we are no longer slaves. God calls us His and we are now heirs in His family line. What a blessing it is to have that promise.

Not only does God promise incredible eternal glory for His children, but He also encourages us to live a life after Him here on earth; and when we seek after Him with all of our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our steps, we will experience more of the goodness He has to offer. We will experience freedom in Christ that is unmatched to anything this world can offer us.

True Christianity is a lifelong journey. It starts with our decision to say “Yes” to the free gift given to us in and through the person of Jesus. Once we’ve made that decision, we receive the Spirit of the Lord and, in turn, true and eternal freedom.

But, as we all know, life on earth is not easy. In fact, Jesus promises that we will have trouble (John 16:33). Receiving Him doesn’t offer an easy life, but it offers a free life that is full of the Holy Spirit, which is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave!

That means we have access to the very essence of God—all of the fruit of the Spirit, which is His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Regardless of the troubles we face, we can take heart in knowing that Jesus has overcome the world and offered us His Spirit, which will guide and direct our steps when we choose to let go and trust Him with everything.

More Devo 6.17Thought of the day: Have you walked a hard road and still felt freedom because you chose to trust God and seek the Holy Spirit to lead you through difficult circumstances? Perhaps you are walking through a rough season currently. Are there areas you need to surrender? Consider what it would look like to take time to quiet your heart before the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Teach me how to pray and listen to Your Spirit’s voice as I lean on You to guide and direct my every step. Help me to listen for Your still, small voice so I may know what You have for me today and every day. It’s in Your name I pray, amen.