Thursdays With Spurgeon—Talking Back To Your Old Family

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.

Talking Back To Your Old Family

     When a man is adopted into a family and comes thereby under the regime of his new father, he has nothing whatever to do with the old family he has left behind and he is released from subjection to those whom he has left. And so, the moment I am taken out of the family of satan, the prince of this world has nothing to do with me as my father and he is no more my father. I am not a son of satan; I am not a child of wrath. 

     …When the law comes to a Christian with all its terrible threats and horrible denunciations, the Christian says, ‘Law! Why do you threaten me? I have nothing to do with you. I follow you as my rule, but I will not have you to be my ruler. I take you to be my pattern and mold, because I cannot find a better code of morality and of life, but I am not under you as my condemning curse.’ …  

     If one man adopts another child into his family, he cannot give it his own nature as his own child would have had. And if that child whom he will adopt should have been a fool, it may still remain so. He cannot make it a child worthy of him. But our heavenly Father, when He comes to carry out adoption, gives us not only the name of children, but the nature of children, too. He gives us a nature like His well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

From Adoption

Charles Spurgeon was called “the prince of preachers” for good reason! His word pictures are so biblically-accurate and so easy to recall, that anyone can grasp the concepts he shares from the Scripture. I have two takeaways from this portion of his sermon: 

First, we need to talk back to our old family. The name “satan” means accuser: he accuses, condemns, slanders, and does his best to separate. When a Christian has been adopted into God’s family, there is no condemnation for the one who now calls God, “Abba Father” (see Romans 8:1-17). 

This is where we need to call out satan’s lies. I mean literally call them out. We need to talk back to the devil and tell him the truth, just as Spurgeon said in his example of talking back to the Law. Let me say it again: literally speak the truth out loud. The devil needs to hear it and your own ears need to hear it too: “I am no longer subject to your jurisdiction. You have no say over me any longer. I am a child of God. My sins have been forgiven and forgotten; therefore, there are no grounds left for any condemnation!” 

Second, we need to talk back to our old nature. After being adopted into God’s family, the Holy Spirit undertakes a process to conform us to the image of Jesus. This process is called sanctification, but I like to call it saint-ification. 

This is where we call out what we used to be. And, again, I challenge to literally speak these words out loud. Don’t say, “I’m so impatient,” but tell yourself (out loud!), “I am becoming the patient saint Jesus wants me to be.” Don’t say, “I’ll never get this right,” but tell yourself, “I am learning more and more about Christ’s nature with each attempt.” Talk back to these old habits from your old family, and tell them about the new saintly habits the Holy Spirit is developing in you. 

The book of Revelation tells us that the saints overcame the slanderous devil by the blood of Jesus and by the words of their testimony. Speak out those life-affirming words every time that slanderer tries to make you forget into whose family you have been adopted!

Thursdays With Spurgeon—Adopted By God

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.

Adopted By God

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. (Ephesians 1:3-5) 

     It is at once a doctrine of Scripture and of common sense that whatever God does in time, He predestined to do in eternity. …  

     Adoption is that act of God whereby men who were by nature the children of wrath, even as others, and were of the lost and ruined family of Adam, are from no reason in themselves, but entirely of the pure grace of God, translated out of the evil and dark family of satan and brought actually and virtually into the family of God. … This is an act of pure grace. …  

     [God] found a rebellious child, a filthy, frightful, ugly child. He took him to His bosom and said, ‘Evil though you are, you are comely in my eyes through my Son Jesus. Unworthy though you are, yet I cover you with His robe, and in your Brother’s garments I accept you.’ …  

     His only begotten and well-beloved Son was quite enough for Him. … And His own omnipotence was adequate enough to have created a race of beings far superior to us. He stood in no need whatever of any to be His darlings. It was, then, an act of simple, pure, gratuitous grace—and of nothing else—because He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and because He delights to show the marvelous character of His condescension.

From Adoption

I love that thought that “whatever God does in time, He predestined to do in eternity.” When Adam and Eve sinned, God wasn’t scrambling to fix the sin problem. When He said that a remedy for sin was coming (Genesis 3:15), He was talking about a plan that was already in place. 

When John the Baptist said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29), he was only announcing what was a fact from before time began, where the apostle John described Jesus as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 5:12, 13:8)! And the apostle Paul said God “chose us in [Jesus] before the foundation of the world”! 

Friends, think of what this means: God saw a relationship with you—saw you adopted into His family—before you were born, even before the universe was created! What indescribable love! What amazing grace! 

Do you realize your value in God’s eyes? He didn’t have to send Jesus, but He did. He didn’t have to lavish His love on you, but He does. He didn’t have to adopt you into His family, but what He has done in time, He predestined to do in eternity—from before He even said, “Let there be light” at the moment of creation. 

Don’t ever buy into the lies of satan that you’re nothing special, when, in fact, you mean more to God than you can possibly comprehend!

Mom, We Remember You

I shared this with my congregation this morning…

MomsTo those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you.

To those who lost a child this year—we mourn with you.

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains—we appreciate you.

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you.

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment—we walk with you. …

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms—we need you.

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children—we celebrate with you.

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children—we sit with you.

To those who lost their mothers this year—we grieve with you.

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother—we acknowledge your experience.

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood—we are better for having you in our midst.

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children—we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be.

To those who step-parent—we walk with you on these complex paths.

To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to be—we grieve with you.

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year—we grieve and we rejoice with you.

To those who placed children up for adoption—we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart.

To those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising—we anticipate with you.

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you.

Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst.

We remember you. —Amy Young

Links & Quotes

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“That which astonishes, astonishes once; but whatever is admirable become more and more admired.” —Joseph Joubert

“Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God.” —Westminster Confession

“Adversity is the first path to trust.” —Lord Byron

“Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters.” —Victor Hugo

“God’s corrections are our instructions; His lashes our lessons, and His scourges our schoolmasters.” —John H. Aughey

“Am I getting nobler, better, more helpful, more humble, as I get older? Am I exhibiting the life that men take knowledge of as having been with Jesus, or am I getting more self-assertive, more deliberately determined to have my own way? It is a great thing to tell yourself the truth.” —Oswald Chambers

“Press into God’s promises. When fears surface, respond with this thought: But God said … And when doubts arise, but God said… And when guilt overwhelms you, but God said…  Search the Scriptures like a miner digging for gold and trust the promises you find.” —Max Lucado

John Hendryx points out several similarities between Islamic and secular fundamentalism.

Josh McDowell reminds us that just teaching someone biblical truth is not enough.

If you would like to check out some devotional readings for Advent, click here.

The importance of belief in God for Issac Newton’s scientific discoveries.

[VIDEO] One of the most beautiful arrangements of Amazing Grace I’ve heard—

Links & Quotes (video edition)

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A short biography on the richest American who ever lived—

Brett Kunkle and Bobby Conway talk about exposing our children to atheistic ideas—

John Maxwell looks at Christopher Columbus through the lens of leadership development—

Murray Vassar rips apart Joel Osteen’s attempt to re-write and/or twist Scripture to fit his “prosperity gospel”—

WOOD TV8 has a feature on the ArtPrize exhibit out together by Adam Bird and Heart of West Michigan United Way, highlighting some of the Champions of Change in West Michigan.

[Tear-jerker warning!!] A mother has a special note for her adopted daughter on her wedding day—

Links & Quotes

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“The Son of God suffered (really suffered!) to deliver me from sinning. I cannot believe He suffered to make me miserable. Therefore, what He died to purchase must be more wonderful than the pleasures of sin.” —John Piper

“They who are Christ’s are kings. Take care that you wear your crown, by reigning over your lusts.” ―Charles Spurgeon

“Human beings are story-making engines, and when we’re confronted with randomness, we make up an egocentric version of what happened, and it involves us. So when things randomly go well, we give ourselves a pat on the back, a reminder of why we deserved it. And when they don’t, we seek out the ghost in whatever machine did us wrong and come up with a reason. … All the time we spend inventing reasons is probably better spent responding to what occurs.” —Seth Godin

Helpful medical health information: 9 Signs Of Improper Blood Circulation.

Here is another good reason to quit smoking.

[VIDEO] A heart-touching story of a family who adopted a beautiful girl names Sunflower―

Links & Quotes

link quoteThese are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

I was saddened to hear of World Vision’s cultural cave-in to homosexuality (despite their denial that they caved). Here is John Piper’s great response: Adultery No, Homosexual Practice Yes.

David Wilkerson challenges us to be less self-centered in our prayers in The Focus Of Prayer.

And this reminder from Charles Spurgeon about prayerlessness−“Prayerless souls are Christless souls; for you can have no real fellowship with Christ, no communion with the Father, unless you approach His mercy-seat, and be often there.”

“There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him. And the higher and mightier it is in the natural order, the more demoniac it will be if it rebels. It’s not out of bad mice or bad fleas you make demons, but out of bad archangels.” —C.S. Lewis

I love how vocal and active Tim Tebow is for life!

And on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, this murdering doctor makes me ill!

Adopted By God

Adopted By GodWe have been working through our series on the Book of Ephesians, and I am so excited to share the speaking responsibilities with Tom Kaastra. Tom pastored a church in the Detroit area for nearly 40 years, and he is bringing such a richness of knowledge to this series!

“If you had one son in whom you found unspeakable delight, would it not be normal as a father to want many more? It is exactly so with the Eternal Father, Who by nature and choice, has desired and purposed to have a vast family of human-divine sons who are just like His Only Begotten Son.” —DeVern Fromke

The opening section of Ephesians 1 is just loaded with words of God’s delight:

  • …it gave Him great pleasure… (v. 5)
  • …the glorious grace He has poured out on us… (v. 6)
  • …He is so rich in kindness and grace… (v. 7)
  • …He has showered His kindness on us… (v. 8)
  • …His own good pleasure… (v. 9)

Not only is God’s delight so ample in this section, but so is be the praise toward God which should be bursting out from us:

  • …all praise to God… (v. 3)
  • …so we praise God… (v. 6)
  • …we bring praise and glory to God… (v. 12)
  • …we would praise and glorify Him… (v. 14)

What is this thing in which God is so delighted, and for which we should be so filled with praise?

It is quite simply this: God has revealed Himself to us as a loving Father, His Son has made it possible for us to come into God’s family, and the Holy Spirit has given us the assurance that we have been adopted by our Heavenly Father.

That’s right … God’s plan was to adopt you into His family. When did He come up with this idea?

  • …before He made the world… (v. 4)
  • …God decided in advance to adopt us… (v. 5)
  • …a plan to fulfill His own good pleasure… (v. 9)
  • …He choose us in advance and He makes everything work out according to His plan… (v. 11)
  • …He promised long ago… (v. 13)

God loves YOU so much that He had a plan from before the beginning of time to adopt YOU into His family. That’s what Jesus made possible through His death on the Cross, and what the Holy Spirit is constantly trying to reveal to YOU!! WOW!!

Please join us next Sunday as we continue our study on this amazing book in the Bible.

Sunday Recap

In remembering Sanctity of Human Life Sunday we looked at some sobering, heart-breaking stats—

Planned Parenthood reported:

  • They performed 327,166 abortions in the course of one year and only 2,197 adoption referrals.
  • That’s 149 abortions for each adoption referral (149:1).
  • In order to hit this astronomical number they had to perform approximately one abortion every 96 seconds.
  • That means they killed more than the population of Grand Rapids AND Lansing. Combined!
  • They did all of this while receiving over $540 million in government grants and reimbursements.

But we also learned some happier stats from Alpha Family Center of Cedar Springs

  • Alpha has been providing pro-life, pro-family services in Cedar Springs for 22 years.
  • 11,300 baby and toddler related items were given out in 2013. That includes 1000+ packs of diapers, 214 cans of formula, 900 jars of baby food & baby cereal, and nearly 5200 articles of clothing for babies, toddlers and pregnant women.
  • Alpha’s counselors provided over 1000 peer counseling sessions, taught 850 parenting classes, and gave 70 free pregnancy tests.
  • And they did all of this without one cent of government aid! 

Please support Alpha with your prayers and financial support.

In our series on prayer, I shared this great quote from Charles Spurgeon:

“Why do I not call on God’s Name? Why do I run to this neighbor and that when God is so near and will hear my faintest call? Why do I sit down and devise schemes and invent plans? Why not at once roll my self and my burden on the Lord?”

Great questions! In answering those we learned this great truth: How we pray is how we will live!

Pray = Live

Thursdays With Oswald—Our Father

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald ChambersOur Father

     Think for one minute, have you behaved today as though God were your Father or have you to hang your head in absolute shame before Him for the miserable, mean, unworthy thoughts you have had about your life? 

     It all springs from one thing, you have lost hold of the idea that God is your Father. Some of us are such fussy, busy people, refusing to look up and realize the tremendous revelation in Jesus Christ’s words—“Your heavenly Father knows what you need….” 

From He Shall Glorify Me 

What an amazing thought that when Jesus taught us to pray, He said we could address Almighty God with the affectionate title of “Our Father.” In his book Who Do You Think You Are?, Mark Driscoll points out—

“In the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament, God is referred to only as Father roughly fourteen times—and each time it’s impersonally, in reference to the nation of Israel, not to individuals. Everything radically changed with Jesus. He spoke of God as Father more than sixty times in the New Testament.

Your heavenly Father loves you more than you can possibly imagine! Let that truth sink in. Don’t give in to the thoughts that your life is not very valuable, or even that God doesn’t like you very much.

God loves you as if you were the only person on earth to love! And He sent Jesus to earth to make it possible for you to be adopted into His family, to call Him Father. Even more than that, to call Him “Daddy God” (see Romans 8:15-17).

Live in your heavenly Father’s love today.

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