Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
In an instant, I felt the burden being lifted from my shoulders... My life has been transformed dramatically since that day. .... Read More...

Seeds of the Kingdom

Adopted Not Fostered

by Dean Gardner

‘How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?’
Hosea 11:8, NIVUK

After our dog Sid had to be put to sleep last November, we left his bed and cushion in their usual places, our way perhaps of dealing with our loss, but also because we hoped that eventually we might have another dog. In February we welcomed a rescue dog called Bobby into our home. The rescue charity he came from advised us to foster him rather than adopt him straight away, because he came with a history of failed adoption attempts and a reputation for extremes of behaviour. I now bear the scars of two bites from his sharp teeth when he reacted in panic to other dogs while out for walks.

After Bobby had been with us for six weeks, we had to decide whether to adopt him or return him to the rescue charity. We had experienced enough difficulties and stress in those six weeks to know that the sensible and logical decision was to give him back into their care, so we arranged to return him to them after the weekend. The problem was, though, that in those six weeks Bobby had found a place in both our hearts. We had grown to love him. Before the weekend was over, we contacted the charity again to say that we had changed our minds and would adopt him after all.

As Gemma and I wrestled with our emotions over whether to keep or return Bobby that weekend, I thought of the verse in our Seed today. God’s people Israel deserved to be given up by Him for their repeated waywardness and rebellion, but His love for them held Him back from doing so. Out of all the nations He had chosen and adopted them as His very own.

We’ve now paid the required fee to officially adopt Bobby. The amount we paid to adopt him fades into insignificance compared to the price paid by God to adopt those of us who know Him as our Heavenly Father - the precious blood of Jesus. Gemma and I were allowed a trial period to discover Bobby’s bad behaviour and hang-ups before choosing to adopt him, but God adopted us knowing the worst about us beforehand. He took us as we are with all our mess. Our adoption of Bobby is for the rest of his life, as far as our health and circumstances allow. Our adoption as God’s children is unshakably secure and is based on His covenant love and faithfulness. Being adopted is so different from being fostered. To His born-again children God isn`t a foster parent, He`s the everlasting, forever Father.

Dear adopted child of God, you are not on trial to earn or keep a place in His family. Just as Bobby has a home with us for life now, regardless of his performance, you have a forever home in the heart of your Heavenly Father. He won’t let you go. If you are struggling with a sense of failure or brokenness today, may that bring comfort to your heart.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your love that will not let me go. Amen.

Dean Gardner worked part time in the Ellel Grange Ministry Office for four and a half years until October 2018 and is now part of the Associate teaching and ministry team. He now lives in Norfolk with his wife Gemma. In 1988 he experienced God`s amazing grace at a carol service and began a journey of restoration and healing with Jesus. He longs to continue that journey allowing God`s truth to change his own life but also to share that truth with others that they too might know Jesus for themselves.


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