Psalm 116: A Rescued Child

by Carolyn Hope

It’s dark. Cold. Damp. I try to look around, but it’s too dark to see. So I feel instead; my bare feet perceive cold, earthy stones. My hands touch walls of dirt. I find myself in a circular grave, waiting to die.

Tears begin to fall as I realize there’s no escape. I am young; I’m but a child. I don’t want to die!

Frantically, I cry out for help, “Is anyone there? Can anyone save me? Help! Help!” I keep screaming until my voice is hoarse and my mouth is dry. When I can no longer croak out a call of distress, I sink to the ground. It’s over.

Then suddenly, unexpectedly, finally, I hear a voice: “Hello! Is someone down there?”

I jump up to respond, but my voice breaks. I clear my throat and try again, “Yes!” All that comes out is a faint whisper. Will whoever this is even hear?

I am quickly reassured when my would-be-rescuer responds, “Don’t worry! I’ll get you out!” I hear something thunk! against the ground, and the voice tells me, “Grab hold of the rope and I’ll pull you up!”

I crawl around for a few minutes until my hand finds something coarse and thick. I grab it with both hands and tug on it slightly. Swiftly, miraculously, I am lifted out of the darkness and drawn into a shockingly pleasant light. Once my eyes have adjusted, I observe my savior. Instantly, I’m smitten. This is a man of kindness, goodness, and strength. This is a man with love in his strikingly blue eyes. This is a father.

He looks me over, making sure I have no injuries. He wipes my tears and gathers me in his arms. Then he whispers, “Let’s go home.”

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Transformation

by Carolyn Hope

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Another way to say this verse could be, ‘As dearly loved children, imitate God and live in love, just like Christ loved us.’ When you love someone, you’ll naturally start to become more like him. You’ll want to spend time with him, and as you do, you’ll begin to behave, speak, look, and sound more and more like him. You may not even realize it’s happening; it is simply part of the process of love.

John tells us that one day, we will be fully transformed into the likeness of Christ (1 John 3:2); for now, we are being transformed daily (Romans 12:2), following after the Spirit and modeling ourselves after our Father.

I have a brother, Jonathan. He is the spitting image of my Dad. It’s so interesting to watch him grow up and to observe how he has modeled my father. They started out physically alike, but now in my brother’s mannerisms, speech, thinking, reasoning, sense of humor, etc. he resembles my father amazingly. Even the way he stands and walks is exactly like my Dad! The likeness between my brother and my father is unmistakable and striking, and has only grown with time.

You were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Though once lost in sin and shame, you have been saved, redeemed, and brought back into the loving arms of your Father. As you seek Him, reading His Word, learning His heart, and spending time in His presence, you are becoming more and more like Him. You may not notice the change that is taking place, but others will. You are being transformed; it’s a process that takes time, so be patient with yourself. Do not fear that becoming more like Jesus means losing your individuality. You will always be uniquely you, but the more you resemble Christ, the closer you are to who you were originally designed to be. You are His son or daughter. When you act like Him, speak like Him, laugh like Him, and think like Him, the world cannot deny you are His.

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Access

by Carolyn Hope

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:15-17)

In the first portion of Romans 8, Paul discusses the difference between living according to the Spirit and living according to our sinful nature. Those who live by the Spirit, he says, are children of God. He then tells us some of what being a child of God means for us in the verses above. As children, we call God our Abba, our Father. In addition, being God’s children makes us His heirs who will share in the glory of Jesus.

Something happens when we transition from slave to son. Not only are we given freedom and an inheritance, but we enter into a newfound intimacy with our Father. We can approach Him with confidence, knowing that He loves us, and we can go deeper into our love for Him each day.

In one of my college classes, I experienced such a shift in relationship with my professor. Throughout the class, I could feel him watching me and I didn’t know why. We had very little interaction, though I much respected him and gratefully learned from him. Our final test was an in-person lab in which we had to put into practice all we had learned. My test date came, and it went extremely well, better than I had even hoped. After that day, something changed in my relationship with that teacher. From that point on, when he looked at me, it was with pride. It was as if he knew all along I would do well, and I had proved him right. A door had been opened, and I could freely approach him knowing that he would fully accept me. I began attending the church he pastors, and he has become a father figure to me that I am very grateful for. My relationship with him has touched my heart in ways I never expected.

When you believed on Jesus, you became the son or daughter God created you to be. You are His child, and nothing can change that. He views you with great love, joy, and pride. He has deep confidence in you and in all that you will do. You have access to your Father, a freedom to approach Him without hesitation, and an intimacy that is unprecedented and incredible. Draw close to your Father today; His arms and His heart are wide open to you.

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Confidence of Sonship

by Carolyn Hope

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. (Romans 8:15-17)

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. (Romans 8:38)

There is no greater security than being a child with loving parents. When I was little, I used to pretend to fall asleep in the car so my Dad would carry me to my room when we got home. I loved the way it felt to be held in his strong arms. There, I knew I was safe and protected. In his arms, nothing could harm me. In his arms, nothing else mattered.

You have a perfect Father who loves you, protects you, and holds you. He adopted you into His family, and His arms are always open to you. Nothing can take you from His embrace. In His arms, nothing and no one can harm you. You can rest in the love of your Father. He’s for you. He’s with you and He loves you for all eternity.

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A Faithful Father

by Carolyn Hope

One of the greatest ways God has shown Himself to me is through His faithfulness. He has never once failed or faltered in His steadfast love. To say that God is faithful means He keeps His word. You can depend on Him to come through for you.

There are many demonstrations of God’s faithful character. I’d like to share some of these with you this week. God is faithful to forgive, set free, and provide. He takes good care of His children, without exception.

Whatever you need right now, God is the answer. Let Him be the One that you seek. He will give you everything that you need. Trust in the Lord; He won’t fail you.

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