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Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Horses along Trout Run Road
Horses along Trout Run Road that runs adjacent to Kraybill Church Road. Those white vinyl fences are pretty but sure are prone to mildew, especially on the north side!

"Abba, Father!"

Message summary: 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 His extravagant act of grace in adopting us into His family.Today let us heartily express thanks for His love toward us and acting on that love by adopting us, and receiving us as His sons and daughters!

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"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). I find it helpful to change the pronouns to personalize this text, "For I did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but I received the Spirit of adoption by whom I cry out, 'Abba, Father'."

I'm no longer a slave to fear
Oh, I am a child of God

Years ago Brooksyne watched a TV program about international adoptions that was very touching. Ester, who is adopted from Guatemala, watched the program with her. I was working in my home office at the time and when the program was over Ester came into the room where I was working. She had that serious look, indicating she wanted to receive a hug. When I did so she said, "Thank you for adopting me."

That sure stirred my heartstrings and is something that is of great value which I store in my emotional storehouse many years later. This expression of thankfulness meant a lot to me and I draw strength from it whenever I consider 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 act of grace of being adopted into God's family.

We likely did this often during the days following our adoption (new birth) in the early years, when the striking contrast of our life before Christ was fresh in our memory. However the longer we walk with Christ the distance grows greater from our former way of life and we may simply take this marvelous act of mercy for granted.

The daily Scripture portion tells us what we have and have not received:

1) We did not receive "the spirit of bondage again to fear".  Paul is saying in essence…The Holy Spirit, whom we have received, does not produce a slavish and anxious state of mind, such as those experience who are under the law, but He produces feelings of affection, reverence, and confidence and enables us, out of the fullness of our hearts, to call God our Father. (Precept Online Commentary)

2) We did receive "the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father'".  Elsewhere Paul writes of our previous condition and what happens at our spiritual adoption, "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!

The apostle Peter describes this adoption 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).

As a result of receiving this "Spirit of adoption" "we cry out 'Abba Father.'" It's very hard to convey the powerful way this would have impacted the initial recipients of the letter. The Amplified version words it like this: "in the bliss of which we cry. Abba! Father!"

There are three references to "Abba Father" in the Bible (standard translations). Two of them are in Paul's letters (today's text and Galatians 4:6). But only one of them is from the gospels and 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).

"Abba" is a direct transliteration. In other words in the Greek New Testament the word is "Abba". Most Greek words are translated and look entirely different in the Greek. (see here for Greek interlinear of Romans 8:15).

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" although when referring to him to others I did. Perhaps "father" sounded too formal while "daddy" was a more intimate, personal and yet still respectful title. (Brooksyne's note: It was the same with my father, I always called him Daddy. In our age group in Lancaster County several we know address their parents as “Mother” and “Father”.)

Let us heartily express thanks today to our heavenly Father for His love for us and acting on that love in adopting us and making us His sons and daughters.

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, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man 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 as His redeeming blood flows through our veins. 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 believer as we represent the name of Christ in our words, thoughts and actions. Amen.

 Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Jesus Does"  Watch on Youtube  We The Kingdom

When I was a sinner
He saved me
From who I was
Oh I know, that's what Jesus does
That's what Jesus does

"No Longer Slaves"   Watch on Youtube    Zach Williams

"He Knows My Name"  Watch on Youtube  Maranatha Singers

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version and a variety of other versions.

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