Adopt or Adapt?

It’s amazing how one letter can change the meaning of things. It’s easy to mix up words like affect and effect, alter and altar, compliment and complement, desert and dessert. But we probably don’t have trouble keeping straight adopt and adapt. Or do we?

Have you been adopted into God’s family? Or are you just trying to adapt to the church environment around you?

God went to great lengths to make available to us salvation. It cost him a great deal. But with Christ’s sacrifice and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling upon our acceptance of this free and priceless gift, God sealed the deal.

God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. Galatians 4:5 NLT

As adopted children, we’ve been given the important command of loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves. And Christ called us to go and make disciples of all nations.

Of course, the Apostle Paul made it a point to find common ground with everyone. But why? To fit in? To be popular? No. He did it so that he could save some. (read 1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

Now even within the family of God, there is a need to adapt. There are times when someone is in need. There are times when we mourn and rejoice along with our brothers and sisters. There are times when we disappoint each other. But again, Paul calls us to something else.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NLT

As we serve alongside each other, let us be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19). We will do well to humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts (adapt), for it has the power to save your souls (adopt). Then we may become adept at living for Christ.

Looking Forward?

If you’re like me, there’s probably something you’re looking forward to. Maybe it’s the premiere of a long-awaited sequel to your favorite movie franchise. How about a family reunion where “everyone” will be there. Or it could be an appointment where the doctor says the tests are “clear”.

We’re looking forward to a family vacation. We’ve made many plans, bought the tickets, kept (and finally revealed) great secrets, packed the bags. Our departure is soon. So soon, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else. It’s been a little consuming and I’ve become a little anxious about it. Of course there are great expectations. And hopes that there are no disappointments.

Memories will be made. There’s no doubt about that. Even if there be problems or trials. Romans 5 reminds us that even though those problem and trials WILL happen. But they lead us to something else, then something else, and finally…

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5 NLT

God is fashioning us, molding us (if we let Him) to be more and more like His glorious Son. And that certainly will NEVER disappoint and is the greatest thing we could EVER look forward to.

How Long?

“Are we there yet?” — The mantra of the summer road trip.

I know I’m guilty of showing my impatience. Wishing the time away for that special moment I’ve been waiting for. But what have I missed? What has passed me by while looking so far ahead?

I’m sure you’ve also heard this motto: “Life’s a journey, not a destination”. Yes, but how do you deal with the potholes and detours and “check engine” light?

Psalm 13 speaks of another kind of waiting, longing. Four times in the first two verses Davids asks, “How long?” Pleading for God’s help. Agonizing over what seems to be abandonment. Then it’s amazing how quickly David gets to verse 5: “But…” He quickly turns to trust, rejoice, and have hope.

He knows his God will answer. He is loved by God with an everlasting love. You are loved. Our soul needs to know we are loved. Matthew Henry says it so well:

“Nothing is more killing to a soul than the want of God’s favor; nothing more reviving than the return of it.”

To be heard by God, and answered, is (should be) very humbling. The creator of all that is, listens. To me, to you. What a cause for great rejoicing! But for how long? The well-known band U2 recorded a song 40, which is loosely based on the following verses:

“I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.” Psalms 40:1–3 NLT

The end of the song repeats the question “how long, to sing this song?” Yes, how long?

“I will sing of the LORD’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.” Psalms 89:1 NLT