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Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Classy outhouse
A peaceful respite off the beaten path

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"Abba, Father!"

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15).

Several years ago Brooksyne watched a TV program about international adoptions that was very touching. Since our daughter, Ester, is adopted from Guatemala she invited her to watch the program with her. I was working in my home office and when the program was over Ester came into the room where I was working and had that serious look in her eye, indicating she wanted to sit on my lap and receive a hug. When I gladly obliged she hugged me back and said warmly, "Thank you for adopting me."

That sure stirred the heartstrings and is something that is of great value in my emotional storehouse. She's an older teenager now and the spiritual battle is raging in her life. Sometimes she can be, well… rather difficult. So this expression of thankfulness meant a lot to me and to this day I draw strength from it.

But I consider another lesson from this. How often do we express thanks to our heavenly Father for our spiritual adoption? I am not merely speaking of general thankfulness but rather a specific thanksgiving for this wondrous act of grace. We did this often during the days following our spiritual adoption and the early years, when the striking contrast of our life before Christ was fresh in our memory.  The longer we walk with Christ our former bondage to sin fades in our memories and we may simply take this marvelous act of mercy for granted.

The daily Scripture portion tells us that we have received the "Spirit of adoption." The apostle Peter describes it so succinctly, "Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" (1 Peter 2:10). The apostle Paul writes of our previous condition when we were far away from God and then our spiritual adoption that bridged the gap.  We were a people "without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:12,13). The word for adoption indicates a new family relation with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities. Hallelujah!

As a result of this adoption "we cry out 'Abba Father.'" As I study and ponder this portion of the text today it's very hard to convey the powerful way this title would have impacted the initial recipients of the letter. The Amplified version words it this way, "in the bliss of which we cry. Abba! Father!"

"Abba" is an Aramaic expression that was used in the family like "Daddy" or "Papa" is used today. Until the day of my father's death in 1998 I always called him "Daddy" even though I was in my mid-forties. I don't believe I ever addressed him directly as "Father."  Perhaps "father" sounded too formal while "daddy" was a more intimate, personal and yet respectful title.

Let us heartily express thanks today to our heavenly Father for His love for us. And most especially let us thank Him for acting on His selfless love in adopting us!

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, once we were slaves to sin, but because of Your all consuming love for us, we are now children of the Most High.  We shed the former way of life when we lived unto ourselves and allowed the malignancy of sin to spread like cancer.  Now we walk in newness of life and gratefully bear the name of Christ and identify ourselves as Christians.  We are renewed daily by the power of Your Spirit that is within our new nature.  Our hearts are now predisposed to loathe sin and love righteousness because we are children of the Heavenly Father.  May we bring honor to our identity as a Christian as we represent the name of Christ in our words and actions.  Amen.

Brooksyne's note: The program on television was the story of four children adopted from the Ukraine.  The camera zoomed in on the heartbreaking expressions of the children left behind in the orphanage.  Ester and I hugged as we wept together for the poor orphans who said "good-bye" to their friends who were being adopted into families.  That prompted her to make a little visit to her daddy.

Stephen's note: In my study this morning I observed that there are three references to "Abba Father" in the Bible (in all standard translations
.) Two of them are in Paul letters (today's text and Galatians 4:6.) But only one of them is from the gospels and are the direct words of Jesus.  In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus said "Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will" (Mark 14:36).

Classy outhouse
Last evening we met with a group of people who have been very supportive in Ester's life since we moved here nearly seven years ago. In Ester's School to Work class she has been meeting with two Millersville University students, Kim and Heather, who are helping her to accomplish her present and future goals for work and independent living.  Stan and Deb, her youth leaders, along with Renee', her best friend, contributed to our meeting by voicing their support and suggestions as to how we can further help Ester in this big endeavor.

We are so grateful for those who come alongside us upholding Ester in prayer and accountability.   They cheer her on and encourage us as well.  As we often say, "What would we do without our Christian brothers and sisters?"

Update: Yesterday I shared about my experience with Roxie (our dog) getting caught in a fox trap when we were out on a country walk Monday night in the fields. Today she is not limping and my arm (which she bit when we removed the trap) is still sore and bruised from the clamping action of her jaws. The actual teeth punctures were very small and I didn't need stitches.

Today's suggested music:
"He Knows My Name" (Audio)
"He Knows My Name" (Video)
"This Is My Father's World" (Video)
"Your Favorite Name Is Father" (Audio)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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