You will recognize that line if you've ever watched the television sitcom "Cheers." If not, then it's just a true statement about human nature. It's nice to belong. It's nice to fit in. It's nice not to have to work at conversation and know that the people around you love you, warts and all. We're having some friends over to ring in the New Year tonight. A fire in our fire pit, S'mores, snacks and fun are on the menu. To me, that's a perfect evening, mainly because everyone there is considered "family" even if they're not related to us.
But I got a clear picture of God's family on Christmas Day. About what it means to really, truly belong. And it's funny that it was the ten people gathered around my own table that showed it to me. All ten of us share the last name Shocklee. But as I looked around the table, I noticed something interesting:
- Only five of us were born Shocklee's.
- Three of us are Shocklee's through marriage.
- And two of us are Shocklee's through adoption.
But make no mistake. We are ONE family.
Isn't that exactly how the family of God works too? Not all of us are born Jewish, whom the Bible makes clear are God's chosen people. Jesus was a Jew. That ought to tell us how important the Jew's are to God.
But if we aren't born Jewish, does that leave us out of God's family?
No way! And I'll tell you why.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 NIV
There are no racial limits on who God loves. There aren't even any bloodline limits. He will accept everyone into His family!
"Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ." Ephesians 1:5 The Message
God wants us to be part of his family! In fact, Jesus died so you could be! He wants us to be with him forever! And just like the folks on Cheers, God definitely knows your name and will welcome you into heaven.
But though God loved the entire world enough to send Jesus as the final sacrifice for our sins, only those who believe in Jesus Christ and accept him as their Savior are in God's family. Both the above verses---plus a lot more!---make that crystal clear. Some people have a real problem with this truth. They call it "exclusionary." But God is not being exclusionary. He simply wants people in his family who really want to be there and are happy and excited to be part of it.
If you haven't done so already, make it a priority to become part of God's family in 2012! If you aren't sure how, shoot me an email through my website "Contact Me" page. I'd be honored to share the experience with you!
HAPPY NEW YEAR, Y'ALL!!
This week's Prayer Shout Out countries are:
USA, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Lithuania, China, India, Latvia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines