BLESSING #21 – Jesus’ disciples are adopted by God

Adoption is a beautiful picture of God’s diverse family.

Ephesians 1:5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…

Galatians 4:4–5 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

John 1:12 But to all who did receive him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…

God has adopted each and every believer into His own family! We were estranged from God, but through Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, we have been reconciled… not only in relationship with God, but adopted and brought right into the family of God. What an amazing blessing to be called children of God – it is so easy to say those three words without thinking about the implications. We are not outsiders, we are not alienated, we are no longer estranged, but we have been adopted into – engrafted into, made a part of – God’s own family. Be blessed as you ponder that incredible reality!

BLESSING #20 – We are servants of God

In our modern global culture, terms like slaves and servants have a certain repulsive element – and rightfully so. As we see in various biblical passages, in the New Testament era, many servants or slaves were more like we would view employees – not identical, but similar.

Romans 6:17–18 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

Most of us work for someone – even when we are self-employed, there is a sense in which we conduct ourselves to meet the expectations of those around us. In those terms, we are either employed by Satan and sin or we switch jobs and become employed by God for righteousness. We are employed by one or the other. Today, take a moment to consider the blessing of being a servant of God instead of servant of Satan.

BLESSING #19 – Christ followers will have their needs supplied

As we were reminded on Sunday, believers have the promise that God will supply each and every need we will ever have. One of the biggest challenges is differentiating between our wants and our needs.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

This blessing is given in the context of the generosity of the Philippian believers. Their generous expressions of giving demonstrated an active faith in God to provide. When we believe we have accumulated the resources to take care of our own perceived needs, we limit God’s ability to supply for us from His limitless storehouse. We don’t know what we will face in the future, but we do know that God will give us what we need when the time comes! What a blessing!

BLESSING #18 – Disciples of Jesus are His saints

The term ‘saints’ is one rarely heard or used in the 21st century outside the context of Roman Catholicism. As such, the common perception is drastically skewed from how it is used in Scripture.

1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

1 Thessalonians 3:13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

In early Christianity, saint was another term for believer or disciple of Jesus. The saints in Corinth were no super-Christians, but believers being sanctified. The saints are those “who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Being called a saint does bring a sense of responsibility and privilege lacking from today’s label of believer or Christian. Let’s embrace the blessing of our calling to be saints in the Kingdom of God!

BLESSING #17 – We are fruit-bearing branches

This is the season of fresh, juicy strawberries. Few things are as tasty as vine-ripened fresh fruit.

John 15:1–5 “I [Jesus] am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Jesus used the analogy of the vine, branches, and fruit (grapes) in describing what a life of following Christ is like. Several things are quite clear from this simple analogy. First, branches get their life from the vine. If unconnected to the vine, there is no life and no fruit. Second, the fruit is the natural result of the branch being connected to the vine – not because the branch is so amazing. The secret lies in being connected to the vine – the Source of life, Jesus Christ. When we stay connected to the Source of life, it flows through us and produces sweet fruit that will bless and be enjoyed by others.

BLESSING #16 – Jesus’ disciples are the temple of God

Solomon’s temple was a magnificent building. At the dedication service, the shekinah glory of God visibly occupied the temple – but specifically the holy of holies.

1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Today, there is no need to travel to Jerusalem and go to a specific building to be in the presence of God. We have the incredible blessing of being the dwelling place of God. Every believer on the planet is an active temple of God – observed by unbelievers. How does the reality of God occupying our lives and our bodies appear to those who see us? We have the incredible privilege and blessing to host – to be the dwelling place – God Almighty!

BLESSING #15 – Blessing of being reconciled with God

After the fall of Adam & Eve, mankind’s relationship with God was severed. What had been a perfect relationship was now broken.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Without a perfect sinless sacrifice, that relationship could never be restored. While animal sacrifices and the law provided some degree of temporary relationship for God’s chosen people, it was woefully inadequate. Only through Jesus sinless life and sacrificial death – the perfect Lamb of God – was it possible for all mankind to be reconciled to God permanently. As sinful mankind, we deserve eternal separation from God. Instead, because of Jesus death, we have the privilege to have peace with God and reconciled to Him!

BLESSING #14 – No need to fear

Fear is a natural reaction when we find ourselves in situation with an uncertain or unknown outcome.

2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Hebrews 13:6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

1 John 4:18 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.

When we surrender our lives to Jesus, it is as if we slide from behind the steering wheel and allow Him to take control. As a result, there is no longer a need to fear what we do not know. Fear is a tool of Satan to manipulate us to focus on ourselves and our inadequacies rather than focusing our eyes on our Redeemer and the one whom we absolutely trust regardless of the situation we face. Be blessed that we do not have to be bound and controlled by the spirit of fear!

BLESSING #13 – Names written in the Book of Life

Followers of Jesus are known by their names… in fact, their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life!

Revelation 21:27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Luke 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Not only did Jesus die on the cross to restore our broken relationship, He knows us. Jesus knows each one of us by name. He cares for each one of us individually. Those who have committed their lives to be disciples, also have the names recorded in heaven. God has a keen interest about each one of us, so much, that He personally records each person’s name in the book of life when they follow Jesus. Some people want their names on a New York Times best-seller. I will gladly settle for my name being written in the book of life in glory!