Archive for April 27th, 2007

One of the Family

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Please read Romans 8:15-17 (NRSV) (The Message) out loud if possible.

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (David Squire):

AveryAbout a year ago, my partner Dave and I adopted two dogs from rescue organizations. There’s Chester, a beagle/border collie/something mix, who made himself at home almost from day one. Then there’s Avery, the pit bull mix. Contrary to the breed’s reputation, she’s the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet. And she was wary coming into our household — fearful, kind of nervous. We don’t know much about Avery’s life before we adopted her — but her fear leads us to believe that it wasn’t very good.

When they were adopted, Chester and Avery hit the puppy jackpot. They’ve got everything they could ever need or want — good food and “cookies”, rope toys and rawhide chews, a yard to chase rabbits in, and dads who provide pets and tummy rubs and don’t mind (much) wiping their muddy paws.

Dave and I have both noticed that in just the last couple of months, Avery has been wagging her tail more, and is noticeably more at ease. It’s taken her a while to let down her guard and feel “at home”, but she’s starting to understand — she’s been adopted, and she’s safe here. Memories of cages and animal shelters and whatever came before are fading — she’ll never have to go there, ever again.

I see Christians who live as Avery was, and my heart grieves. We often live in such fear — fear that God is watching, waiting for us to slip up, so that we can be whipped and put in a cage for being “bad dogs”. But we should be full of joy because we live in God’s presence — as The Message puts it, we can say with adventurous expectation, “What’s next, Papa?” We “behave” not because we fear punishment — but because we don’t want to interrupt the joy that comes from abiding close to the One who has adopted us.

We don’t disown our dear puppies when they have muddy paws, and God doesn’t toss us aside, either. God will gently wipe away the dirt, all the while reassuring us that we’re still part of the family. We’ve been adopted — we’re here to stay.

Thought for the day: Does it feel “improper” to call God daddy? What am I afraid of?

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: The new group of Oasis coaches. They’ll be a resource and helper for the lay leaders of our Oasis Groups.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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