Tag Archives: adoption

On thinking that God only has one begotten son – the rest of us are children by adoption – and that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers…This is pretty long, and it’s worth the read.

Our church is doing "Adoption month."  Yes, an entire month on the topic of adoption - and I had the following story a few months ago...it's great.

 PROOF” by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones - is a reworking of TULIP - I like the book.

“Because I’m Yours”

I never dreamed that taking a child to Disney World could be so difficult – or that such a trip could teach me so much about God’s outrageous grace.

Our middle daughter had been previously adopted by another family.  I [Timothy] am sure this couple had the best of intentions, but they never quite integrated the adopted child into their family of biological children.  After a couple of rough years, they dissolved the adoption and we ended up welcoming an eight-year-old daughter into our home.

For one reason or another, whenever our daughter’s previous family vacationed at Disney World, they took their biological children with them, but they left their adopted daughter behind with a family friend. Usually – at least in the child’s mind, this happened because she did something wrong that precluded her presence on the trip.

And so, by the time we adopted our daughter, she had seen many pictures of Disney World and she had heard about the rides and the characters and the parades.  But when it came to passing through the gates of the Magic Kingdom, she had always been the one left on the outside.  Once I found out about this history, I made plans to take her to Disney World the next time a speaking engagement took our family to the south-eastern United States.

I thought I had mastered the Disney World drill.  I knew from previous experiences that the prospect of seeing cast members in freakishly oversized mouse and duck costumes somehow turns children into squirming bundles of emotional insecurity.  What I didn’t expect was that the prospect of visiting this dreamworld would produce a stream of downright devilish behavior in our newest daughter.  In the month leading up to our trip to the Magic Kingdom, she stole food when a simple request would have gained her  a snack.  She lied when it would have been easier to tell the truth. She whispered insults that were carefully crafted to hurt her older sister as deeply as possible — and as the days on the calendar moved closer to the trip, her mutinies multiplied.

A couple of days before our family headed to Florida, I pulled our daughter into my lap to talk about her latest escapade. :I know what you’re going to do," she stated flatly.  “You’re not going to take me to Disney World, are you?”  The thought actually hadn’t crossed my mind, but her downward spiral suddenly started to make some sense.  She knew she couldn’t earn her way into the Magic Kingdom — she had tried and failed that test several times before — so she was living in a way that placed her as far as possible from the most magical place on earth.

In retrospect, I’m embarrassed to admit that, in that moment, I was tempted to turn her fear to my own advantage.  The easiest response would have been “If you don’t start behaving better, you’re right, we won’t take you”  But by God’s grace, I didn’t.  Instead I asked her, “Is this trip something we’re doing as a family?”

She nodded, brown eyes wide and tear-rimmed.

“Are you part of this family?”

She nodded again.

“Then you’re going with us.  Sure, there may be some consequences to help you remember what’s right and what’s wrong — but you’re part of our family and we’re not leaving you behind.

I’d like to say that her behaviors grew better after that moment.  They didn’t.  Her choices pretty much spiraled out of control at every hotel and every rest stop all the way to Lake Buena Vista.  Still, we headed to Disney World on the day we promised, and it was a typical Disney day.  Overpriced tickets, overpriced meals, and lots of lines, mingled with just enough manufactured magic to consider maybe going again someday.

In our hotel room that evening, a very different child emerged.  She was exhausted, pensive, and a little weepy at times, but her month-long facade of rebellion had faded.  When bedtime rolled around, I prayed with her, held her, and asked, “So, how was your first day at Disney World?”

She closed her eyes and snuggled down into her stuffed unicorn.  After a few moments, she opened her eyes every so slightly.  “Daddy,” she said, “I finally got to go to Disney World.  But it wasn’t because I was good.  It’s because I’m yours.”

It wasn’t because I was good…it’s because I’m yours.

That’s the message of outrageous grace.

Outrageous grace isn’t a favor your can achieve by being good; it’s the gift your receive by being God’s.

This is the second perm Lindsey has done for me.  She's slow (OCD about rolling), but without a doubt, she's done the best perm in my memory.  I asked for her on Friday and I'll ask for her again.

Lindsey is a young woman who comes from a family with six children, (2 from her dad's previous marriage, the youngest 4 are adopted).

She's very open about her life so I asked her about being adopted (she's from Korea).  It's pretty obvious that her parents have a grasp on eternity - I asked and they are Reformed.

She said, "I have friends that have asked me if I want to find my "real" family.  I tell them [she used Scripture], I was thirsty and they gave me drink, I was hungry and they fed me.  I was homeless and they put me into a family.  What's not "real" about that?"

I think that Reformed people have a different view of adoption than other "flavors" of Christianity - the right definition of "covenant" counts.  (by the way...when I get back from  vacation - I just don't have time or desire right now - I'm ordering a new keyboard.  The keys are taking turns not working...a few days ago it was "x", now it's "v".  I need to reach for the laptop keyboard each time that letter comes up.  I had no idea how many words I use contain the letter "v")

Then she talked about all of her "guy buddies" and wanting to go back to college but not being able to get a loan because her dad's a business owner.

It took 2 hours to roll my hair - she's that thorough.

I got this CD in the mail yesterday...I cried much of the way through. Very few CDs have I come across with the depth of the nature of who God is and His adoption of us as His own children.

For everybody who would rather have the death, burial and ressurection of Christ, the Son for the remission of sin - over "Jesus is my girlfriend" songs...

Try this.

The Prodigal

You held out your arms, I walked away
Insolent, I spurned your face
Squandering the gifts you gave to me
Holding close forbidden things...
Destitute, a rebel still, a fool in all my pride
The world I once enjoyed is death to me
No joy, no hope, no life.

Where now are the friends that I had bought
Gone with every penny lost
What hope could there be for such as I
Sold out to a world of lies
Oh! to see your face again, it seems so distant now
Could it be that you would take me back
A servant in your house


“If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.

For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. “Father” is the Christian name for God. Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.”

—J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: 1993), 201-202

HT:  Between Two Worlds

Unconditional election...AKA predestination.  It is my second least TULIP doctrine to try to explain.

Based on the premise that "God is sovereign and He gets to pick - not only how, but who."

This builds on the "T" - total depravity.  Not that each peson is as totally depraved as they could be, but rather every part of each person's will is touched by Adam's nature (original sin).

How many people seek God?

The answer (as well as in other places, is answered in Romans 3:

"None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one."

If we don't seek God, how do we find Him?

Ephesians 1:3-6. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.”

Christ told His disciples,

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide...(John 15:16)

But what about my will?

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy (Romans 9:16)

But that isn't fair

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:20-24)


The "T" matters because all have sinned and there are none that seek the face of the Lord.

If there are none that seek the face of the Lord, how do we find Him? The answer is a hard one - for me it was the most difficult of "TULIP".

If we, in our sin, do not have the ability to seek after God, then it must be God that seeks after us.

That is the "U" - unconditional election. Predestination.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved (Eph 1:3-6 ESV)

Logic tells us that if we are steeping in the "T", we cannot seek God.  We are chosen in Christ.


Our election is not based on the good that we have done - it is unconditional upon our behavior.

It is the very idea of our salvation NOT being rooted in ourselves that points to the glory of God.  Our salvation is not of ourselves, it is by grace; faith is the vehicle that God has chosen.

It is not of works.  We are chosen.