But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children—children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God. John 1.12-13

Nobody is born, physically, as a child of God. It is not by human parents that someone is his child. We are not his children automatically. It’s a lie to say that we are all children of God.

This shocking truth ought to cause us to learn how to become children of God. If we are not, God gives us the right to become his children.

In order to become a son or daughter, it’s necessary to be born into the family. Jesus explained that birth into God’s family comes through immersion in water, John 3.3, 5. Since it is an act of faith, it is described in the above verses as being an act of receiving or believing in the name of Jesus. His name is confessed at the moment of immersion by the person being baptized. His name is pronounced over him during the act of immersion, Acts 2.38; 8.37.

We live in a world which rejects Jesus, John 1.10-11. The very word “world” means, in many biblical contexts, humanity in rebellion against God. Even the religions and denominations are a part of this rebellion, for they have invented their own system against God’s will.

The verse above begins with the word “but.” It means that although the world rejects Jesus, there will be some people who receive him.

Let us be certain that we are among the number of those who receive and obey him.

Creator God, I want you to be Father to me. I want to be an obedient child of yours. I want to be part of your family.


Translated from our Portuguese-language devotional, Deus Conosco. For more information about becoming a child of God, see Richard Mansel’s book, The Most Important Question.

In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it. John 1.4-5

On earth, the sun makes life possible. Without it, everything would soon die. So we see the connection between light and life. In a similar way, as the light of God, Jesus brings life to man. This life is not physical, but spiritual and eternal.

Jesus as light shines in darkness. His light has the capacity of scattering the densest darkness. No person is unrecoverable. Jesus can save all. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. NRSV translates the phrase, “of mankind,” as “of all people.” Nobody needs remain outside, excluded. Continue reading

Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. —Col 3.1

When we obey the Good News, God places us together with Christ. In immersion, we are raised with Christ and he gives us life. In the verse above, Paul wants us to live up to the life which we’ve been given. This level is where Christ is, the level of God.

How do we seek the things above? The two chapters that follow develop the answer to this question. It requires a vigorous mind control, an unrestricted killing of all that belongs to the earthly nature. It is necessary to clothe oneself with Christ’s qualities, love above all. Continue reading

Human beings disappoint, so we become wary and find it hard to trust. Politicians aren’t the only ones who fail to carry through with promises. Friends, colleagues, and family members also let us down.

For the latter groups, we need large doses of forgiveness and, sometimes, confrontation about their perfidy, in order to give them opportunity to change.

Looking inward, we discover we ourselves have also made promises that we couldn’t keep or that we decided to disregard.

So the following truth about God and his word provides us hope. Continue reading

Don’t be alarmed at prophets of doom, be they political, social, or environmental. Politics has always been dirty and dishonest. Social movements have grown and died. Environmentalists are not dispassionate scientists reading objective data.

Observers have divided the generations into baby boomers, generations X and Y, and new tags are invented every few years. The upcoming generation causes concern, and always has. The human being is a worrier at heart. Continue reading

The proclamation of the Good News of Christ should have convinced the Jews, since they were waiting for the Messiah, possessed the Holy Scriptures which spoke of him, and witnessed the Lord’s miracles. But no! They killed him and would have done the same with the apostles. The members of the Sanhedrin “became furious and wanted to execute them” Acts 5.33.

They did not kill them only because God acted. Do you want to see what he did to save the Twelve? Continue reading

A good brother wrote that we must “move beyond the hypothetical and create the reality.” No what-ifs.

Take action. Do something. (Actually, do the will of God.)

Discard the hypotheticals and the possibilities and the fears and the imagined blowback.

Read and discover the truth.

Act upon it.

Use it.

Take it live.

Plunge into the grace of God.

Declare all the things that God has done, Psa 73.28.

Depend on the power of God’s Spirit. Launch yourself out into the deep, Lk 5.4.

Dare to believe that God will keep his promise to perform great things through you.

Speak. Touch. Serve. Live to die for Jesus, and die to self for God.

Take hold of God’s hand.

Strap his shield upon your arm. Wield the spiritual sword. March forward to win a soul, to rescue a life for all eternity.

And in so doing, save yourself. Faith-only potatoes rot. God preserves forever the moving, breathing, serving follower of Christ.

Be one of his.

Exert every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to” Lk 13.24.

Here is Zerr‘s comment on Pro 15.13, “A joyful heart makes the face cheerful, but by a painful heart the spirit is broken.”

“This verse is a statement of facts known to almost everyone. It may be asked why take up space in the Bible with something everyone knows. It is for the implied advice it contains. It should always be our desire to be pleasant in mingling with other people, and to that end we should cultivate a cheerful mind. If we imagine there is nothing about which to be cheerful, just “count your many blessings” and you may be surprised at what the Lord has done for you, and change your mind.”

NET Bible notes C.H Toy’s observation that “a cheerful face shows a courageous spirit.”

It takes courage in the Lord to have a joyful heart as one surveys the ruin that man has made of this present world.