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A. Todd Coget
[How Godís Children Change, Citation: Craig Barnes, author and pastor of National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.; from sermon "The Blessed Trinity" (5-30-99)]
When I was a child, my minister father brought home a 12-year-old boy named Roger, whose parents had died from a drug overdose.
There was no one to care for Roger, so my folks decided theyíd just raise him as if he were one of their own sons.
At first it was quite difficult for Roger to adjust to his new homeóan environment free of heroine-addicted adults!
Every day, several times a day, I heard my parents saying to Roger:
"No, no. Thatís not how we behave in this family."
"No, no. You donít have to scream or fight or hurt other people to get what you want."
"No, no, Roger, we expect you to show respect in this family."
And in time Roger began to change.
Now, did Roger have to make all those changes in order to become a part of the family?
No. He was made a part of the family simply by the grace of my father.
But did he then have to do a lot of hard work because he was in the family?
You bet he did.
It was tough for him to change, and he had to work at it.
But he was motivated by gratitude for the incredible love he had received.
Do you have a lot of hard work to do now that the Spirit has adopted you into Godís family?
Certainly. But not in order to become a son or a daughter of the heavenly Father.
No, you make those changes because you are a son or daughter.
And every time you start to revert back to the old addictions to sin, the Holy Spirit will say to you, "No, no. Thatís not how we act in this family."
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He Said What ?!?
Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, while walking on this earth, said some things that we must understand and accept if we will be His followers. Here are some challenging quotes recorded in The Bible, His perfect Word. Jesus said...
"If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."
"...If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!"
"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his own soul?"
"He who is not with Me is against Me."
"...Men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it."
"If anyone is ashamed of Me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in his glory."
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven."
"If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching."
"I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."
"Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
" tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again."
NOW FOR THE REALLY GREAT NEWS! John 1: 12 --
"et to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."
Will you believe in Jesus? Will you repent of sin? Will you receive His forgiveness?
WHO'S YOUR DADDY?
"A seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. One morning they were eating breakfast in a little restaurant, hoping to enjoy a quiet, family meal. While waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white haired man moving from table to table, visiting with the guests. The professor leaned over and whispered to his wife, "I hope he doesn't come over here."
But sure enough, the man came over to their table. "Where are you folks from?" he asked in a friendly voice.
"Oklahoma," they answered.
"Great to have you here in Tennessee," the stranger said. "What do you do for a living?"
"I teach at a seminary," he replied.
"Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you? Well, I've got a really good story for you." And with that, the gentleman pulled up a chair and sat down. The professor groaned and thought to himself, "Great. Just what I need -- another preacher story!
"The man started, "See that mountain over there?" He pointed out the restaurant window. "Not far from the base of that mountain, there was a boy born to an unwed mother. He had a hard time growing up because every place he went, he was always asked the same question: 'Hey, boy, who's your daddy?' Whether he was at school, in the grocery store or drug store, people would ask the same question: 'Who's your daddy?' He would hide at recess and lunch time from other students. He would avoid going into stores because that question hurt him so bad.
"When he was about 12 years old, a new preacher came to his church. He would always go in late and slip out early to avoid hearing the question, 'Who's your daddy?' But one day, the new preacher said the benediction so fast, he got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. Just about the time he got to the back door, the new preacher, not knowing anything about him, put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, 'Son, who's your daddy?' The whole church got deathly quiet. He could feel every eye in the church looking at him. Now everyone would finally know the answer to the question, 'Who's your daddy?' The new preacher, though, sensed the situation around him and using discernment that only the Holy Spirit could give, said the following to the scared little boy: 'Wait a minute! I know who you are. I see the family resemblance now. You are a child of God.' With that, he patted the boy on his shoulder and said, 'Boy, you've got a great inheritance -- go and claim it. 'With that, the boy smiled for the first time in a long time a...