My adopted son was born with a heart murmur. After a thorough evaluation he was given a guarded report and there was high optimism that through prayer and determination he would grow out of it. That was thirty plus years ago!
Several months after the hospital visit, it was time to finalize the adoption in family court. The judge explained the laws regarding adoption and said that there would never be another opportunity to change what was about to take place. The papers were signed and my son’s name was officially, Daniel Thomas Harrison.
Adoption is a blessed event in the family of God. It happens because we are chosen, hand picked, loved and nurtured. It can never be undone. Even if we disappoint our Father to the point of tears and frustration, we are still His, because adoption is final.
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will." Ephesians 1:5
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I was an orphan ten years old when You looked into eternity and picked me to become Your child, to enjoy all the privileges that go with being in Your family. You could have chosen someone more handsome, more talented, and less stubborn, but you didn't… You chose me! You make me feel so special. Thank you, Lord. Amen and amen.
"God has shown us how kind he is by coming to save all people. He taught us to give up our wicked ways and our worldly desires and to live decent and honest lives in this world. We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. He gave himself to rescue us from everything that is evil and to make our hearts pure. He wanted us to be his own people and to be eager to do right." (Titus 2:11-14 - CEV)
A year ago, Houstonians opened their arms and hearts to displaced residents of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. We provided housing, food and medical care.
Many evacuees lost every worldly possession – their families, their homes and their livelihood. While some lost their spirit, others found more opportunity here and have risen above their brokenness. They have persevered despite the worst of circumstances.
Many Christians are a broken people, too, due to our poor choices, our disobedience to God’s Word and our selfish, sinful nature. We can overcome our bondage to our sin by confessing to God and thanking Him for His gift of salvation.
We, too, can rise above our brokenness by surrendering all to Him and He WILL see us through. No matter how many times we’ve failed in the past, ALL things are possible through Christ who strengthens us!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I ask that YOU open up my eyes and my heart and show me the right thing to do in all circumstances. I do not question YOU, Lord, for I know YOU work miracles in our lives daily.
We also know that sometimes we're led astray and in our moments of weakness, we do and say things that aren't for the good of all, but only for our selfish interests. Help me see the big picture and grow more in YOUR wisdom to begin life anew.
As I reached to place my tax form in the mail box I realized that I was breaking with tradition. It’s April 15th, and for many years I have joined the ranks of thousands waiting in line at the last minute to hand my 1040 to the mail person for proper stamping. It has almost become a ritual, honking at the same people at the same post office on April 15th for the past several years, smiling at nameless faces of people I would not meet again for twelve more months. Breaking with tradition can be traumatic. I wonder if my fellow-procrastinators will miss me this year?
Tradition impacts us in many ways. When I became an adult, I evaluated my theology to determine how much was developed from tradition or if my beliefs were truly Biblically based. Whether born of procrastination, heritage, denominationalism or God's Holy Word, what we believe should easily stand up to such an introspective test. What is the basis for your beliefs?
GospeLines Prayer:Father, make me fearless in my search for Truth. Let your Word be the only source of doctrine for me. Amen and amen.
"Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked." Psalm 5:2-4 (NLT)
Have you waited for a phone call to come or a package to arrive, only to find that it doesn’t come when you expect it or in the way anticipated? We’ve all been anxious for things to be a certain way. In fact, we probably have planned our lives and responses based on certain “expectations.” We are disappointed with the results and have set ourselves up for the worst possible scenario.
I’m sure the parents of Patrick Henry Hughes had a different expectation at the birth of their son 18 years ago. This young man was recently featured on ABC’s World News Tonight.
What’s unique about this freshman at the University of Louisville is the fact he can’t see or walk. Yet, he is a college student and in the marching band!
When interviewed, he was such a joyous young man. While God didn’t give him the ability to see or walk, he said “God gave me the talent to play the piano, the trumpet and all that good stuff!”
If you didn’t see the segment, you may wonder how he’s able to accomplish these feats. You see, God gave him another gift, his family, but especially his devoted father, Patrick John Hughes.
His father works the night shift so that he can function as his son’s eyes in the classroom and his legs on the field. His father has to learn all of the band’s routines and you should see him maneuver that wheelchair – truly a sight to behold. In all things, he’s got his son’s back!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank You for reminding us that we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.
When we are having our own pity party, let us look to this story and other miracles You perform daily. May we always realize we are where You want us to be to learn “the lesson.”
Lord, I’m thankful you’ve got my back and may I expect the unexpected!!!
Finding something we enjoyed doing together became more difficult as my sixteen year old son grew older and became more independent; however, fishing was one sport we both enjoyed and found common ground with a rod in our hands.
A few years ago we stood on a man made jetty on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico near Freeport, TX fishing for whatever would bite the hook. The school holiday resulted in crowded conditions but the large groups of fellow-anglers were catching only a few small fish, but nothing to brag about. In Texas, bragging is as much a part of this sport as catching fish.
Miraculously, something nibbled on my line and I patiently waited to set the hook. Then the battle began with my light tackle straining to the maximum. A small crowd gathered to watch the action as it was plain by the bend of the rod that something good was about to happen.
At the base of the jetty, there are huge boulders jutting out into the water. Catching the fish would prove to be lot easier than landing it....without a net! After several minutes, the fish tired as I muscled it closer, and waited for a wave to lift it higher so it could be tugged upon a nearby rock. I turned to hand my son the rod while I pulled the fish in by hand. Together we successfully landed a large sheep head and received kudos from the spectators for our expertise.
The response of the crowd to the biggest fish of the day was gratifying, but the proud look I saw on the face of my son was priceless. For a few moments, the gap narrowed between teenager and middle-age dad. We did something together that neither of us could have successfully accomplished alone.
Bridging gaps is a lifetime opportunity. Setting aside our own pride and handing the rod to someone else is not a sign of weakness, but of inclusion. If the task you have been given seems overwhelming, it could be God's way of saying "Bridge the gap." Serve as mentor to a child or a co-worker and let them share in the joy of being needed. A Christian doesn't live on an island of seclusion. We thrive in a sea of individuals, to whom we are obligated to become divinely connected.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I really need help with this. It is so much easier to just do it myself, that I forget how I learned to serve you at the feet of some very special, very patient tutors. Open my eyes to see the value of asking help from others. Thank you for my son's willingness to take the rod when it was handed it to him. Amen and amen.