Elevate 28 - A 28 Day Challenge to Intentionally Engage with God's Word
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world
does not know us is that it did not know him."
1 John 3:1
You Are Your Father's Child
By James McDonald
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. —1 John 3:1-2
There are very few places in the Old Testament where God is referred to as Father. Jesus radically changed that practice by speaking of God as “My Father,” “Our Father,” and “Your heavenly Father.” When He entered human history, Jesus revealed God’s willingness to have a father-child connection with us.
The apostle John wrote, “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). Note how the verse says we can see our Father’s love for us as well as what kind of love it is. Both ideas are wrapped up in the privilege of being “called children of God; and so we are”—a statement of amazing description and awesome reality. The love He gives brings us into His family.
As happens in human families, adopted children take time to settle into what it means to be part of a family. They are called children of their adopted parents before they feel like children. God calls us and makes us His children and then patiently grows us into people who can wholeheartedly call Him Father.
Some may struggle with the father-child language in the Bible. This can help: We are not all fathers, but every one of us is a child. We all know the disappointments and delights of having or being a human father. Sooner or later we discover that as great as fathers can be, they are never perfect. And sometimes they fail disastrously. Those of us who are fathers often feel deeply the shame of knowing that not only did we not live up to our children’s hopes and needs, sometimes we didn’t even try. Repentance before God not only causes us to own our shortcomings as dads, it also directs us to point our children to the one Father who will never disappoint. Many human fathers would benefit from realizing just how desperately they need to have God be their Abba, Father, too. Fathers who are authentically living with God as their Father will help their children do the same.
Christmas is a great time to work at cleaning up messy relationships under God’s forgiveness. You can celebrate the joy of being part of an earthly family as well as rejoice in knowing you have been adopted into God’s eternal family. If you’re still not certain of God’s love, you can be—today.
Enjoy Jesus’ birthday this year with gratefulness to God, who not only loves you deeply but has also done everything necessary to make you His child. And ask God to send someone across your path with whom you can share the love that only He can give.
Lord, thank You for all You are to me. I realize that I only understand a little of all that You are, and that the reality of You goes way beyond my understanding. I cannot comprehend Your love for me and yet I can’t deny its reality in Your Son Jesus. Thank you that I can celebrate His coming at Christmas. Thank You I can be called Your child. Thank You for these moments to reflect on more of all You are to me and to be drawn into deeper intimacy with You. Thank You for making it all possible through Jesus, in whose great name we also pray, amen.
James MacDonald is a Canadian-born evangelical Christian pastor, Bible teacher, and author. He was the co-founder and senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and was the Bible teacher for the former broadcast ministry, Walk in the Word.
REFLECT & RESPOND
MAKE A WORD CLOUD
Adults or teens will need to guide this activity.
Go to https://www.jasondavies.com/wordcloud/ to access a Word Cloud generator.
In the text box type in Bible verses and words that your family and/or group think refer to being loved as God’s child.
Here are some examples that you can use:
· For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
· Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.
· Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
· There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
The Word Cloud generator will create a cloud for you - you can adjust the fonts, shape, and colors with the generator.
NOTE: The more frequently used words come out the largest in the Word Cloud.
Print your family/group Word Cloud and post them around your house to remind each person they are a Loved Child of God!
This activity was provided by the Teacher Love Project - a Why Not Charleston community education initiative. The Teacher Love Project aims to provide love and encouragement to teachers that will elevate their wellness and care and therefore, enhance student achievement. We must care for those who care for our children - we must love each other because God loved us first.
"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19
”Child Of God”
by Taraea L. Griffith
Lord because I am led by the Spirit of God I am a son/daughter of God. I am no longer a slave to fear because I have received the so ship by which I cry ABBA FATHER and the Spirit testifies with my spirit that i am God's child, an heir of God and a co-heir with Jesus Christ and so I share in his sufferings in order to share in his glory. Thank you Lord for such great love you have lavished on me allowing me to be called a child of God, I know that is who I am and I will do what is right loving my brothers and sister the heirs of the promise. Amen
1 John 3:1, 10
1 John 5:19
Taraea L. Griffith lives in Charleston with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She is a poet and writer, and making an offering of her special gifts and talents as a Why Not Charleston 2020 contributor.
THRU THE LENS - FINDING YOURSELF IN GOD'S WORD
A blog by regular men and women about finding themselves in God's world
He Created Me
By: Candice Hilse
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
How would we be changed if we walked around feeling truly Loved? How would we Love others if we understood the fullness of the Love described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13?
I am, how should I say this, a Firestarter. I have three kids, and my two girls, are Firestarters. My husband and my son are just patient (thank you Lord), but I am a woman raising two women who will need to have direction or they could take someone out!
I remember feeling outcast a lot in life because of this. I didn't fit the mold of the sweet southern girl. I felt sometimes like I had to choose between being honest and being accepted, and many times, I chose acceptance. Then I got over acceptance, and fled from my faith to throw myself into the strong-willed, harsh corporate world and even further, an entrepreneurial adventure with no authority, because I didn't understand who I was.
When I did start to run back to my father, I felt those same feelings of needing to bottle up the strong will, the passion he would lay on my heart for change, for healing, for everything!
I was dead wrong, though. I remember attending a women's conference two years ago. I went in yearning for revelation about how to manage my team and run my business better (because that's totally why women go to Christian women's conferences, right? #weirdo). As I sat, I found myself completely wrecked by God, instead, for the me He created. For two days, the scripture of His message of Love for His creation poured over me.
Psalm 139:13 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."
God told me that day that no matter what the world had done to cover me up, that beautiful little creation was still in me. It was my choice to fight aimlessly for all the wrong things in the wrong ways, or to be true to His creation and plan for me in it and let Him work some magic!<