We Are God’s Adopted Children

UNICEF-the United Nations Children’s Fund-estimates that 353,000 babies are born every day-just over four babies each second. Birth begins a life of 70-100 years and impacts those whose lives overlap with the child’s. Every generation relates most profoundly with those who share their time in history. Jesus is the exception to that statement.Many people wonder why Jesus didn’t come sooner and why mankind didn’t have the benefit of His birth, death and resurrection immediately after Adam and Eve sinned. The answer is that the time which was predicted in the Old Testament, and when it was proper that He should come, was complete. The exact period had arrived when all things were ready. It was the time when all prophecies centered in Jesus were fulfilled. It was proper that the world should be brought to see its need of a Saviour, and that a fair and satisfactory opportunity should be given to all men to try other ways of salvation and that they might be prepared to welcome Him.It was also a time when the world was at peace. There was order under Roman rule. Because of roads built by the Romans, communication between various parts of the Roman Empire was faster and more secure than at any other time in history. The Jews were scattered throughout the Empire. They were familiar with the promises and were looking for a Messiah. They had synagogues where the Gospel could be preached. Thanks to the conquests of Alexander the Great, the same language (Greek) was spoken and understood throughout the Empire.Figuratively speaking, God’s calendar had a day with a big star on it-then the time was right for Christ to be sent forth into the world. It was the proper time to make God’s plan of salvation known. It was the appropriate time for the people to be freed from the bondage of sin. The fullness of time was the fullness of God’s time to fulfill His promise to Abraham. That fulfillment was Christ’s birth. He accomplished His purpose of providing the way for all of us to become children of God. He came from God to stand beside us as we face evil. He became our brother so He could suffer the punishment we deserve for our sins. Jesus was born under the law so that He could fulfill every claim and demand of the law on our behalf. He fulfilled the moral law in His life and the ceremonial law in His death. Jesus had to be fully God for His sacrifice to be of the infinite worth needed to atone for sin. He also had to be fully human so He could pay the penalty for our sins.

From a human perspective, Jesus’ birth and life on earth were not confined to His own generation. Simeon declared in Luke 2:31 that Jesus appeared “before the face of all peoples.”-old people like Simeon and the very young. Because Jesus is the eternal Son of God, He is alive for every generation following His own.God, the Creator of the universe, submitted to the rule of others so we could claim His holiness as if it was our own. Talk of being a child of God is common in Christian circles, but how often do we stop and take time to consider what a privilege being a child of God is and what that really means not only to us but to God? When we are heirs because of adoption by God, it means that God is well pleased when we become children of God, exercise our authority and enjoy the fullness of our inheritance.In New Testament times, some 60 million slaves lived in the Roman Empire. When someone bought a slave, the buyer could either own and use the slave or set the slave free. When God purchases or redeems people through Christ, He does so to set them free. Because we are not natural children of God, we can become sons and daughters only by divine adoption. Because we have been adopted as God’s children, we have the spirit of Jesus-the Holy Spirit, which is in our hearts and reassures us of our relationship with God. He encourages us to speak with love and trust and total openness to God our loving Father, just like a child on his or her father’s lap.When we receive Christ, His Spirit takes up residence in the core of our being, giving us an internal power that we never had before and transforming our hearts from hateful and rebellion to loving and obedient. Our hearts control our words and actions. It isn’t easy for us to accept ourselves; to love and be loved, to feel worthwhile to ourselves and others. It is a time of overwhelming grace when we accept the fact that God knows us thoroughly and loves us thoroughly.When God adopts us, his reaction is similar to that of a little girl named Olivia. Olivia had always liked to hear how her parents loved her from the time they first saw her at the adoption agency. But as she approached her twelfth birthday, the fact that she was adopted didn’t seem so entertaining any more. “I don’t really belong to anybody,” she thought one day as she picked wild berries in a field near her home. “Sure, Mom and Dad took care of me since I was six weeks old, but I’m not a blood relative, so I’m not really a member of their family.”As Olivia started home, a rather dirty, skinny little dog timidly approached her. “Hi, little guy,” Olivia said gently. “Did someone dump you along the road? Why don’t you come live with me?” It didn’t take much coaxing to get the hungry puppy to follow her home. I wonder if Mom will let me keep him, she thought. Nice word–Mom. I wish it were really true.Olivia’s mother saw them coming and went out to meet them. “Did you bring company for supper?” she asked, dropping to her knees and stroking the little dog. “I wonder if he has a name? He doesn’t look like he’s got a home.”"Can I keep him?” Olivia asked eagerly. “We need to find out if he has an owner,” Mom replied. “If not… we’ll see.” No owner was found, and Olivia’s parents decided she could keep the dog. She called him Bingo.”Well,” said Dad one morning, “it looks as if your adopted dog is happy here with you, Olivia.”"Adopted!” Olivia exclaimed. “Dad, he’s not adopted. He’s my very own dog!”"Of course he is,” replied Dad, “but he wasn’t always your dog.”A slow smile crossed Olivia’s face as the truth sank in. That’s right! she thought. Bingo and I really belong together, even if it wasn’t always that way–and Mom and Dad and I belong together, too. Bingo wouldn’t want to be any other place in the world, and neither would I!”Being adopted isn’t a bad thing, you know,” continued Dad. “In fact, all of us who are Christians are adopted, too. We’re adopted into God’s family.”Olivia giggled and gave her dad a big hug, “We’re one big, happy family of adoptees–even Bingo,” she said.For God, adoption matters more than blood. Whatever family race or religion we inherited by blood, our real Parent isn’t finally the one to whom we’re genetically related, but the one who adopts us and makes us heirs to the greatest of estates-the heavenly Kingdom.Although a human father cannot give his own nature to an adopted child, God can. The Holy Spirit, whom God places within us at the moment of salvation, confirms us as God’s children and stirs us to cry, “Abba, Father!” This term is found only two other times in the New Testament, and means “Dearest Father.” It is the Bible’s greatest argument against legalism.God’s family includes second-class people, those who are never quite good enough to be members of a church, never included in the social elite, never with enough money to quite fit the mold. Some potential church members might be considered second-class people by church leaders, but God has no second-class children. God’s love reaches down, forgives us and accepts us freely and without reservation.

The bondage of the Law had to precede the telling of the Gospel. It was like the period of development by which children are trained for adulthood. The child is subject to the terms of a will by a loving parent. Eventually the child will be free, but for now the child is restricted by the parent’s rules. The child is no different from a slave.Through this bondage children learn to trust their parents. Similarly, through the bondage of the Law we learn to trust God. It allows us to pray “Abba, Father” as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane because we know the joy of being not a servant but a child of God. Before we can receive our inheritance from God, we must respond in faith to His promise.When a person is saved, the law moves to the side and love moves to the centre. The believer is no longer enslaved to the harsh master of sin, but becomes a mature son or daughter of God. This shift in a person’s essence from slave to child with full rights as an heir of God is immediate, although believers often do not understand it until later in their Christian experience.When we have a relationship with God, things change for the better. We feel different about our time, money and gifts. We realize that they belong to God, and He allows us to be stewards of them. We can experience His love in each situation. That changes everything. How many Christians today have received Christ’s forgiveness but miss out on living in the freedom they have? We don’t have to live under the impression that we have to earn our salvation.God is our redeemer and liberator. The goal is freedom-not a freewheeling looseness without purpose and direction, but the kind of freedom where we can be what we are created to be, where we can reach the goals from whose glory we have fallen short. There is no reason for us to return to a life of slavery. We can live in the freedom that Christ has brought us-and that is the best gift we can receive at Christmas or at any time in the year.

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Top 8 Open House Mistakes a Seller Can Make

When you’re ready to sell your house, you will need to get it in its best possible condition, especially in today’s competitive environment. An open house presents an opportunity to showcase the best features of your home and allows the potential buyers to get a feel for the property. If you ‘re a fist time home seller, you may think of the open house as the point at which your Realtor waits until you leave, turns into a magician and with a flick of his/her wrist, completely transforms your home into something out of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing.

But here is the truth of it

Your real estate agent is not practicing wizardry on the side. And you aren’t completely free of responsibility when it comes to the open house. In fact, although you aren’t present for the open house (and you never, ever should be, if you want to sell the home), there are still quite a few ways that you can mess it up and drive away potential buyers.

These eight things could very negatively impact your chances of having a successful open house-and, potentially, the house sale.

Leaving your pets at home/Open house mistakes

Pets bring a lot of joy into our lives. Nevertheless, they can be a real problem when you’re showing your home. This is true for several reasons. Logistically pets make things difficult because you will have to keep them separate from the potential buyers, who might not like pets and certainly cannot picture themselves living in a house that once housed cats or dogs. This means that you will have to block off areas of your home, a real no-no in an open house. Pets also behave unpredictably. The last thing you want is your pet leaving his/her “mark” on the floor right in front of the viewers or even scaring the potential buyers. Which could also prevent them from viewing rooms and prove to be a distraction overall.

Take your pets to a friend’s for the day when you’re showing your house. You should also do your best to eliminate any signs of pet habitation, including bedding, toys, smells and stains. Selling a house with pets takes extra consideration and care. There are some home buyers who will see any signs of pets as a complete turnoff. This is definitely one of the top open house mistakes you should avoid.

Ignoring your kitchen needs/Open house mistakes

You may be surprised by how many home owners ignore their kitchens when selling their house. Putting the dirty dishes in the sink doesn’t make them invisible. Even if the rest of your house is staged to perfection, a repugnant kitchen will turn off the potential buyers-and that goes for the dishwasher too. The potential buyers will most likely want to investigate the fridge and open the dishwasher during the open house, hence it’s vital that you prepare your home accordingly: Clean and store the dishes, and remove any smelly food from your fridge. You should consider removing any kitchen appliance that can be neatly stored instead of being left on counter tops. The less clutter, the more spacious and inviting your kitchen will feel. If it’s an appliance that is used daily, such as a toaster or coffeepot, be sure to wipe it clean after each use. Open house mistakes made because of the Kitchen not showing well, can kill just about any deal.

You should also ensure that you check out and clean the other rooms in your home, even those that you think the potential buyers will not bother checking out, such as the closets garage or laundry room. Because guess what? They totally will.

You aren’t selling part of your home; you are selling your entire home; hence you should ensure that everything the potential buyers will see during the open house is in showcase condition.

Not hiding your dirty bath towels/Open house mistakes

Keeping the bath towels you have used (and intend to use again) tucked away in a closet benefit’s you two-fold: Not only does it make the bathroom look well staged, but it also keeps them free of germs and dirt from the day’s parade of viewers. Instead, swap in a clean set of decorative hand and bath towels for each open house. You do not want (people) wiping their dirty hands on the bath towels you wipe your body with.

Cleaning solo/Open house mistakes

When you think about how much money a house actually costs, it’s easy to understand why people expect cleanliness in an open house. Surprisingly, not everybody meets the mark when it comes to a clean house. If you have to hire a cleaning service to get the job done, do so.

Professional cleaners will scrub all the hidden spots you may miss (think switch plates and base-boards), they can also help eliminate messes and odors that go back years. Preparing for showings is particularly important when there are potentially a large number of visitors dropping by for a look. Showing dirty, messy homes to potential buyers is by far the greatest mistake most sellers make when holding an open house.

Not getting a second opinion/Open house mistakes

After you have cleaned and staged your house, a blunt tongued neighbor can be a blessing. Over time, you can easily get used to odors and smells that may linger in your home, even after a thorough cleaning. You need a neutral third-party who’ll tell you like it’s, not what you would like to hear. So do not be offended if the third-party tells you that your place stinks- literally or figuratively. You aren’t in a position to be all ego, you are trying to sell your home – and that is what you should focus on to avoid simple open house mistakes.

Not maintaining the yard/Open house mistakes

The front yard is the first thing the guests see, so ensure it is spotless. You want the potential buyers to focus on the curb appeal of your home – not your collection of yard tools. Additionally, objects strewed every which way can also be dangerous. You should also make sure that the grass is trimmed nicely and any bushes or flowers are in good shape. And unless it’s trash day, keep your bins out of sight. Nothing turns potential buyer off faster than a pile of trash and the thought of potential yard work.

Dirty exterior/Open house mistakes

Depending on where you live, the exterior of your house may gather a significant amount of grime as the seasons turn. You might not have noticed it if it occurred gradually, but visitors to the open house are sure to see the mildew and mold on the siding, the dingy windows and the clogged gutters. Like the home’s interior, the exterior should be fresh and clean-looking if you want to impress the potential buyers. Don’t make these simple to fix, open house mistakes.

Photos, religious art, drugs and politics need to go/Open house mistakes

When the potential buyers walk into your home, they should picture their family living in the house, not yours. They do not need to see your family photos or be able to tell your religious or political views as they walk through the house. These are huge open house mistakes.

There is a reason home staggers de-personalize your house. Certainly, they want the buyers to visualize themselves living within its walls-but they also want to remove any ammunition that may be used against you during the negotiating process. One of the places to look is the medicine cabinet, which should be emptied during the open house.

The same goes for family photos and things such as canes and walkers: For instance, if you are elderly, they may consider underbid your price under the assumption that you can no longer be able to take care of your house. Keeping the potential buyers from learning your personal details is not just good staging.