Today's Bible Readings
     II Samuel 24
     Galatians 4
     Ezekiel 31
     Psalms 79
      “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, 
God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father '.” (Galatians 4:4-6)
      Paul continues to attack legalism and a system of works for salvation. In his writings, Paul makes it clear there are three ways to enter a family. One way is by birth and another is by marriage, but now he adds a third - that of adoption. This one seems to be most special to Paul, and particularly so as he attacks legalism. Our family understands adoption. Our family has given a child up for adoption, and we have adopted two children into our larger family, which includes our grandchildren.
      Lila Shelbourn wrote a book entitled When Evil Strikes,the bittersweet story of when our youngest daughter was raped at 15 years of age and was pregnant because of that rape. Abortion was not an option for her, but she was unselfish enough to know the child needed two mature parents. The child was adopted through a Christian adoption agency.  When Evil Strikes is the miracle story of how that closed adoption became an open adoption, and that family has joined our larger family in many ways.
      Our story was different, less than three years later, when our oldest daughter and son-in-law adopted a child. Prior to the birth, the mother had traveled to a large city to have an abortion, but financial restraints prevented her from carrying out her plans. Meanwhile, someone persuaded her to allow the child to be adopted. The joyful side of adoption is that Emily Alice is accepted into our family as if she had been born there.
      Only a few years later, a missionary who had read the book When Evil Strikes, called us from Puerto Rico. Their daughter was pregnant and they wanted to know if our daughter would be willing to adopt that child. She was, and that gave them two adopted children.
      Now, we have nine grandchildren, three whom are adopted, and six who are biologically and naturally born into their families. Sometimes it is hard to remember which is which, because they are all the same as far as our love and acceptance is concerned. Have you considered what parents are saying when they adopt a child?
1.     Of all the children on this earth, we have chosen you. You have not chosen us, but we have chosen you.
2.     This cost us a great deal - the physician, the lawyer, all the expenses represent a great sacrifice, but it is worth it to receive you.
3.     We can provide for you. Our home is now your home.
4.     You have all the rights and privileges in this family just as any child born to us would have.      That includes a full inheritance.
      Having a full inheritance is exactly what it means to be spiritually adopted into God's wonderful family. The Bible tells us about adoption. ''For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba Father'." (Romans 8:15) Paul emphasizes this again in Galatians 4:5 and Ephesians 1:5.
      You've been adopted into the Family of God. That means you've been made a joint heir with Jesus. Because you've been adopted into the family of the King, you can cry out, ''Abba, Father." The King has become your loving Father through the Spirit of Adoption. What a blessed relationship - the authority and possessions of a King, joined with the compassion and concern of a father.  No wonder we cry, ''Abba, Father."
Pray today for the Institutes training pastors, church planters  and evangelists conducted by R.H.E.M.A. International throughout the world. Especially pray for the Institutes and graduates in Asia where they are currently facing intense persecution and hostility. Pray for more than 2500 graduatess who serve in very difficult places in Asia. Pray for their protection and anointing. These men are the hope of their nations. They represent the Third Wave of world missions. They are the right color, culture and language to reach their people. They are indeed on the front lines. 
''He that does good, for goods sake, seeks neither praise nor reward; though sure of both at last."
Wm. Penn