God Calls Us His Children

Bible Journaling page was traced from a Pinterest post from Carmen Ramirez.

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from I John 3:1-3, “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.” (NLT) God loves us so much that He calls us His children! What an awesome thought!

God refers to Believers in different ways. He says we are His children; He says we are lambs; He says we are His bride! I love that He calls us His children! That makes Him my Abba Father! I can go to Him with everything that concerns me. Joys, sorrows, victories, defeats…anything that I experience, I can tell Him about it. His love is never ending. His love is more than I can comprehend.

There is one requirement for a person to be considered God’s child. Each person must decide in their heart what they will do with Jesus. Will He be accepted into that person’s life or rejected? To be God’s child, we must accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, ask forgiveness for our sins, and promise to live for Him. From that moment on, our lives must be lived for Him in everything we do and say. We must exhibit a pure life that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. When we do this, the Bible says we are Born-Again. (John 3)

There are several references in the Bible where Born-Again Believers are called children of God. The Apostle Paul states in Galatians 3:26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (KJV) Jesus said as much in Luke 20:36, “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” (KJV)

As His children, we are required to keep ourselves pure (verse 3), and as human beings, that can be difficult at times. But we must stay close to Him to accomplish purity in our lives. Once we wander away from Him, it makes it more difficult to stay pure. Obedience to God is needed in every area of our lives. We realize that we are not perfect, and God knows that also, after all, He created us. But He requires that we persevere in living holy, pure lives for Him. Daily Bible Study and prayer, fellowshipping with other Christians, church attendance…all these things help us to live holy lives before Him. We often stray and get off the pathway He has laid out for us, and when that happens, God, as our Father, disciplines us. He disciplines out of love, not as an overbearing task master, but He gently leads us back to where we belong. The writer of Hebrews explains, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:11 KJV) Job 36:10 (NASB) says, “He opens their ear to instruction, And commands that they return from evil.” As a loving Father, He disciplines us so that we overcome our rebellion, our mistakes, and our sin.

He knows what is best for us, just as earthly fathers know what is best for their children, and desire to keep their children safe and happy. God wants us to experience the best in life that He has to offer us. He loves us and wants our obedience and a close relationship with His children. He wants us to talk to Him every day, He wants to shower us with His blessings. He wants us to get to know who He is and enjoy His presence with us. I am so glad He loves me enough to discipline my rebellious ways. It is then that I can truly enjoy a life of peace and joy with God as my Abba Father!

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God Provides

 

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Acts 17:24-25, “The God who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.” (NASB) As we continue to look at God’s provision for us, today’s Scripture reminds us that it is God who gives us all things, even our breath and life!

This passage comes from Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill in Athens, Greece. The Greeks worshipped many gods, and were, as Paul states, “very religious” (verse 22). They erected altars to all the gods they worshipped, including one to “AN UNKNOWN GOD”. Paul preaches to them and explains just who that UNKNOWN GOD is. The climate in that day was full of idols and as Paul was teaching about God and His love for us, the philosophers of the day became curious and encouraged Paul to teach them about the One True God. He explained that it was God who created heaven, earth, and us, and provided life and breath to us. It is to Him we must worship! It was God who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the sacrifice for our sins, who died, was buried, and rose again, and it is through His shed blood that we are forgiven.

Sometimes, I think we lose track of the fact that our very life is because of God’s love for us. He created us, He loves us, and He wants us to live lives that are fruitful, full, rich, and blessed. He provides everything we have, right down to the very air we breathe. He loves us so much that He provided a way of escape from our sins, and a pathway for eternal life. For that I am eternally grateful!

When we come to those times when we begin to worry and fret over our needs, God reminds us in His Word. Jesus Himself told His disciples, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ’What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:31-32 ESV) Jesus states that God, the Father, already knows what we need, and He provides those things for us.

Why do we worry so? Why don’t we rest in the knowledge that God knows our needs and He will provide? I think it is because of our impatience sometimes. We want it now, not tomorrow, not next year, but now! How like a 2-year old throwing a temper tantrum we can become! It is during those times of waiting on God’s provision that we must learn to trust His plan and His purpose for our lives. Circumstances may not be in place for the thing that we desire to come to pass. Maybe we are not able to handle what it is that we ask for, even though God wants to give it to us. Sometimes, when other people are involved, it could be that they are not in a place they need to be for the provision to come about. The song, “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller, comes to mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6X71sXagUY

As you listen to the song, think about what it is that you are waiting for from God. If you are impatient in waiting for God’s provision, ask Him to help you wait. If it seems like God’s provision isn’t coming anytime soon, do as the song states, “worship while I wait.” You will find that He is faithful. Philippians 1:6 says, “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (CSB) That includes His provision for you.

God Knows Us

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (NASB) What an awesome thought, that God knew us before we were born, and He knows us intimately now! Every part of us He knows, not just our physical appearance, but He knows our very thoughts, the intentions of our hearts, our sorrows, our joys, our failings, our victories; He knows it all! And why shouldn’t He, for He is the One who created us!

Because of this, He desires an intimate relationship with us. That should also be the desire of every Believer’s heart. It is God that we can go to when we are at the end of our rope, or when we don’t know where to put the next footstep, when we are feeling fearful, or depressed. It is to Him we can share our joys, victories, and overwhelming love of His care for us. We can rely on His leading, for He has planned our lives, beginning to end. Jeremiah 29:11 says, ‘“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” (NASB) We can gain strength from knowing that He has planned for us to have “a future and a hope.”

I’m glad that He is in control of my life, for He can do a much better job of running my life than I can. All I can do is mess things up. I let the little things in this life ruin things. I let my will get in the way, and in the end, I’ve made a royal mess of things. It’s then that I must go to Him, ask forgiveness, and listen to His will for my life and follow the path He has laid out for me. He sees my journey from beginning to end, and I can see just a little part of the pathway.

What I love is that He knows us intimately! I love that I can tell Him anything and know He won’t reject me or condemn me, but He, with understanding, will love me, correct me when I am in the wrong, rejoice in my victories, and cry with me in my sorrows. My favorite verse, my life verse if you will, is Hebrews 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (NASB) In my mind’s eye, I see, not a cold and austere throne, but I see my Heavenly Father sitting in an overstuffed, comfortable chair, bidding me to come sit in His lap and tell Him all about my problems – my joys, my feelings, my plans…everything! Then He wraps His arms around me and says, “My daughter, I love you!” He is my Abba Father, my Daddy!

Only our Creator can know us so fully. He knows how He put us together. He knows the emotions and desires of our hearts, because He put them there. He knows how we will react to situations, and He knows whether we will follow His leading or go our own way. He knows whether we will accept His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Lord and Savior or reject Him.

If you desire an intimate relationship with God, I encourage you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior today. It will be the best decision you ever made. He will walk with you through every situation. You can know that you are not alone, and that He knows you and loves you.

A Father’s Love

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Matthew 3:16-17, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” (KJV) In this month of celebrating fathers, we look at our Heavenly Father.

God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us more than we can ever imagine. As I was thinking about this and looking at our Scripture passage I began to do my art journaling and ended up doing something other than I wanted to do, and I think God wanted me to go in a different direction than what I had intended. What I had intended was a pretty, speckled background overlaid with pretty roses. However, it didn’t come out that way and looked a little more like a mess. Then I got to thinking. God meets us in the middle of our mess and loves us just like we are. That spoke volumes to me!

In our Scripture today we see Jesus, God’s Son, beginning His ministry by setting an example for us, and God, the Father, and God, the Holy Spirit, are both giving their approval. We see here, in picture form, the Trinity. Even though the Bible never uses the actual word, “Trinity”, the concept is shown in so many instances throughout Scripture. Jesus, God the Son, is being obedient to God, the Father; and God, the Holy Spirit, is sealing the Father’s approval upon Jesus. This is God’s love shown, not only for Jesus, but also His love is shown for us.

The Heavenly Father loves us so much that He sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins. He shows us His love by providing a means for us to escape the penalty of death that is required as atonement for our sins. Jesus shows us His obedience to His Father as an example. Water Baptism is an outward showing of what has happened to us on the inside when we ask Jesus to be our Savior and to live in us. When we are plunged under the water, it signifies the washing of our sins by Jesus’ blood, we are, in essence, under the blood. When we come up from under the water we are washed, cleansed from all our sin, completely clean, just as Jesus’ blood has cleansed us from all our sin.

God loves us even when we don’t love Him. (I John 4:19) He doesn’t require that we get ourselves all cleaned up before we approach Him. He meets us in the middle of our mess – dirty, confused, unlovable, rejected, sinful, and feeling worthless. There is nothing we can do to keep God from loving us. No act, no thought, no attitude, can keep God from showering us with His love.

God is my Heavenly Father, my Best Friend, my Anchor in the storm, the Rock upon whom I can stand for a firm foundation in my faith. He is the One who will love me unconditionally. I don’t deserve it, but He loves me. There is nothing I can do to earn His love, yet He loves me anyway.

My responsibility is to show Him how much I love Him by living in a manner that gives Him glory and honor. I am to live in obedience to His will and follow His law of love, and He showers me with His love!

What an amazing, awesome God we serve! He loves us no matter what!

The Word Full of Grace and Truth

Today’s Bible Journaling is from John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (KJV)

The amazing part of this verse for me is the whole idea that God’s Son became human, walked on the face of this earth, and became our avenue for salvation. John says in the very first verse of this book that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (KJV) The study Bible I looked at said that “the idea behind the title embodied God’s revelation of Himself to humanity.” Jesus is the Word! In order for Him to help us relate to Him, He needed to become human, experience the things we experience, and that helps us know that He understands the things we deal with on a daily basis. He also had to become man in order to provide the perfect sacrifice for our sin.

Our verse says that He is also full of grace and truth. He embodies grace and truth. If you are looking for a definition of grace or truth, look to Jesus. Grace is what God extends to us in forgiveness and in healing (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). Because of His great love for us, He made a way for our salvation and He brings healing. Our verse says also that He is full of truth. When Jesus says He will do something, or when He says something, we can fully rely on it. He does not lie, He IS truth. He IS grace.

How awesome to think that everything He endured here on earth was for our benefit! He desires a relationship with us, one that is close and everlasting. He wants us to rely on Him for everything. He wants us to come to Him in every situation…in pain, in sorrow, in confusion, in a steadfast certainty that He will be with us, in joy and exhilaration, in peace! He wants to rejoice when we are rejoicing, and He wants to cry with us and bring comfort when we are in pain and agony. He wants us to tell Him everything! When life is bringing us joy and it seems like nothing could go wrong…He wants to hear about how awesome it is! When we are grieving and feel like we are in a dark pit, He wants us to tell Him how we feel. He even wants us to question…yes, question…why? It’s ok to ask why. He’s right there to provide the answer and to comfort us.

God’s grace has been described as unmerited favor. He offers us grace for salvation when we do not deserve it. But I think grace can be more than that. Grace is God’s way of showering us with His love. Whether it’s blessings that fall on us and cause us to be grateful for His provision, or His holding back on punishment we deserve, He extends grace to us daily. He is truly full of grace and truth, and we can trust Him for everything. There is nothing in our lives that He does not already know about and has control over. That is a comfort…to know He holds the reins of our lives and is in control, even when life seems to be spinning out of control. We can rest in Him.

Saved By Grace

Today’s Bible Journaling is from Acts 15:11, “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” (NASB)

To give a little background on this verse, the Apostle Paul and Barnabas had been ministering to the Gentiles and many were being saved through their preaching. Acts 15:1 says, “Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’” (NASB) This brought confusion and arguing among the congregation, some saying circumcision was not required and some saying that it was. Paul and Barnabas were commissioned by the congregation to go to Jerusalem to talk to the elders of the church concerning this issue. As Paul is explaining, he appeals to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (NASB)

There were some in the church who wanted to require a strict adherence to the law in addition to being saved by grace. They advocated a grace plus works salvation. God never placed that upon us as Believers, and I for one am grateful. We can do nothing to obtain our salvation, it is given as a free gift from God with no strings attached. If someone gave you a present and then required something of you in order to receive that gift, then it would not be freely given, there would be strings attached…something you would have to do to receive it. In my book, that’s not a gift, that is a duty, something to be earned by your actions.

I have been in churches that required a strict adherence to their denomination’s book of laws as a requirement for salvation. Trust me when I say, I’ve never seen such unhappy, joyless people. They were under a yoke, a burden, that they were unable to bear. Regulations on outward appearance, requirements of things that must be done to appear holy. Perfection was the goal…I am here to tell you that no one is perfect, and God most certainly does not expect us to be perfect. We are not required to clean ourselves up before coming to Jesus and asking for forgiveness and salvation.

I am so thankful that my salvation comes freely by grace. Oh, how much God loves us! Because of His great love for us, salvation is free! We can live our lives for Him without worrying about whether we are measuring up to a set of laws that are impossible to keep. Does He require us to live a holy life? Absolutely! But we do the works because of our love for Him, and as proof of what God has done in our lives. (James 2:17) We are not bound by man-made laws demanding us to live a life that is impossible and brings no joy or peace. His salvation to us is offered freely. His grace is extended to us because of His love for us.

Grace – God’s Gift

Today our Bible Journaling takes us to Titus 3:4-7, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.” (CSB) As I was doing the journaling in my Bible, I was drawn to the little mouse band. They are so full of joy and thoroughly enjoying making music! I can relate! I play my flute on the Worship team at our church, and sometimes I will sing. My heart is so full of gratefulness for God and His goodness that it must come out in my music!

Our Scripture today explains why we as Believers are filled with gratefulness and joy. His grace to us in saving us from our sins is a gift to us. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, nothing we can do to secure a place in Heaven, nothing! The Apostle Paul writes to Titus that we are justified by God’s grace. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines justification as “the declaring of a person to be just or righteous. It is a legal term signifying acquittal …” I have heard justification defined as “just as if we had never sinned.” This is God’s gift to us. We are washed clean, totally transformed (regenerated), and made an heir of Jesus…we are brothers and sisters of Christ. My little mouse band is playing it’s heart out for the joy of knowing our sins are forgiven by God’s gift of Grace.

God showered His mercy upon us by offering a perfect sacrifice for our sin! That is the most awesome gift He could ever give us. So, how do we show our gratitude toward God for what He has done for us? Must I do works to ensure that I maintain that place in God’s family? No, the works I do are an offering of gratefulness and love for everything He has done for me. Works also show others our faith. James tells us that we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. (James 1:22) Our works are not to show off to others how good or holy we are, but to reveal the love for God in our hearts. We must be careful however; because we can slip into the trap of deceiving ourselves in thinking we are righteous before God because of our works, when in fact, we are just showing off to others, and we end up playing at religion and not exhibiting a faithful walk with the Lord.

Our works should be a show of what has happened inside. It should reveal the work God has done in our hearts. I think there should be a time for us to stop and take an account of why we are doing what we do. Are we doing work for God to look good to others or are we working to bring others to know Jesus because of our gratefulness to Him for what He has done for us? All the good works we can do, things like feeding the poor, helping the sick and afflicted, visiting those in prison, etc., must be an expression of our love for Christ, and used as a tool to draw others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.