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Thursday, 01 July 2021 14:55

My name is Victory!

Ephesians 1:13 (ESV) In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,Sealed with the promise

Destiny was born to a drug addicted teen and left at the hospital to be placed in foster care. Her little, puffy body struggled as she, too, craved the drugs she received during her prenatal development.

Cindy and her husband were looking to adopt another child. Cindy heard about little Destiny through a chance meeting, but their lawyer said it was unlikely because the baby was born in a different county and the birth mom had given up custody. They left the courthouse downcast and uncertain of the future of their little family. 

Cindy questioned the promise she heard from God; did He indeed have a plan?

Against the odds, they received the call informing them the judge ruled in their favor. They could pick up their baby immediately! Destiny, renamed Victoria, became a permanent member of their family, sealed through the legal action of adoption. Now, 10 years later, she recognizes her own name in Scripture. With great joy she exclaims, “There, that’s me, Victory!”

We, too, can rest assured that God has adopted us into His family. Ephesians 1:11-14 assures that God chose us; Jesus invited us into the family and the Holy Spirit keeps an impenetrable bond. This Holy Spirit’s seal protects us from rejection from God’s family; the adoption is permanent (2 Corinthians 1:19-23). The Trinity guarantees our place in the family. What a delightful assurance for each of us that we have a place within God’s Kingdom — a right to be called God’s child (John 1:12).

Paul knew Roman adoption erased all history of the son when he became a member of their new family. The child did not choose the family, the family chose the child. Often quite wealthy, they chose a child to bear the family name. Forgiven all past debt, the child gained the rights of adopted family. This guaranteed their inheritance and place in Roman society.

The same is true for God's children. God chose us, we accept this adoption through a relationship with Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit inside of us bears witness to this (Romans 8:16). Our debts are forgiven by the promise of the new covenant through the death and resurrection of Jesus (Mark 26-29). Holy Spirit Himself seals us permanently, becoming our guarantee (2 Corinthians 1:22).

Paul’s goal in the book of Ephesians is to explain the principles of the gospel. The promise held in place by the Holy Spirit’s seal secures us from Satan. It proves our authentic identity in Christ as we stand before God (John 5:24). It confirms our testimony that we truly belong to God (1 John 4:6), for the Spirit of truth resides in us. This is where our confidence lies, in the deep understanding that nothing breaks this guarantee. This seal is permanent, a mark identifying us as a child of God.

Like Victoria’s name changed, so does ours. We are a symbol of God’s victory over sin and death. My name is Victory!

Prayer: God, we praise You and thank You that You made a way for us to join Your family. Forgive us when we forget that Your adoption is permanent. Thank You for eagerly receiving us when we turn back to You. Thank You for the promise fulfilled by Jesus, and we delight in knowing the seal of the Holy Spirit is on each of us, changing our life course to victory. In the name of Jesus, amen.

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Published in Devotionals
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 19:19

Assurance of Hope

Believing for things not seen

I clenched my hands in my lap as my daughter slipped into last place after swimming a difficult race. Once out of the pool, she sunk to the floor, her body heaving as she struggled to catch her breath. Come on girl, it wasn’t that bad. Teammates gathered around her. Should I go down there? I’ve never seen this in her before.

I’d just witnessed my child having the first of many panic attacks. It was a surreal experience, and it reminded me that as a parent, my ability to control my child’s world is an illusion. We could not fix this for her. Seeing my child spiral in her own mental health magnifies my own temptation to worry. As we escorted her back to health, she saw doctors and counselors and gained tools to battle this beast.

As a senior in high school, fear of the future fed her anxiety. Feeling pressured to determine a lifelong career, she struggled to balance her current responsibilities with the best choice to continue her education. We watched as her battle ebbed and flowed, her triggers unpredictable. Unbeknownst to us, this inner conflict had been brewing under the surface for years.

As senior year progressed, her growth in health and faith complemented one another. She took control of her diet and exercise. She questioned promises in Scripture, pressing into the One who created her. She began to understand the Holy Spirit guided her daily through this difficult journey.

She left for college one year into the healing process. Far from us, I cried myself to sleep. Could she do this without our daily support?

As her parents, we prayed and determined to trust Jesus. On particularly bad nights, I lay in bed and repeated “I trust you. I trust you,” until my own fears quieted and I drifted to sleep. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us our “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Our hope rested in Jesus: Even when we did not see her healing, we knew Jesus was at work.

Our faith rested in Jesus.

Our faith hoped for healing.

Our hearts knew Jesus was present even when we didn’t see the evidence.

His presence brought peace when our world seemed so dark.

Today, she is a thriving college junior. Her battle continues, but she wins most days. The healing we hoped for is gradually occurring. Her struggle developed her independence and growth in her own faith.

Our current world circumstances push at our faith to anger and fear but our faith doesn’t rest in what we see. Trust Jesus in the waiting. He brings peace and hope when circumstances feel out of our control.

Published in Devotionals
Friday, 19 April 2019 00:29

She thought she could but

She thought she could so she did. But it was harder than she thought. Who does she think she is? She tried, so why keep trying? Did she hear God correctly? Was it even God? Or was it some silly dream not work her time? There is fruit but not what she was expecting. Could she have misunderstood? Then quietly she hears the whisper. “Dear one, true it is not way you saw it. But I did implant the dream. Let it play out the way I want it. Don’t force it. You will impact others to grow my Kingdom.” As she walks down the path Jesus has set before her she sees the seeds He has asked her to scatter. She misses sometimes. Some days her imperfections seem larger than the talents He has clothed her in.

Still she walks. She doesn’t know what opportunities or barriers are before her. She just knows the goal. One day she will be with her Savior and each step will make sense. Until then, She will serve because He served. She will sacrifice because He sacrificed. She loves because He loved. She thought she could but she couldn’t. However, Jesus knew she could. He restores her unbelief with faith.

He fills her with joy. He extends His gentleness through her. He supplies her with self-control. He pours out patience so she too can give it. His peace overwhelms her. His kindness emanates from her. His goodness directs her. His love propels her to love like Him. He supplied the power she needs and through Him she will. This is each of our stories. Yes, that is right, this is each of us. We cannot forget we are His workmanship. Keep walking.

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