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Friday, June 29, 2012

Family

It's been more than a week since I posted anything on my blog. I have been on summer vacation in Minnesota. You are probably wondering why I went to Minnesota for vacation. Well, my nephew was getting married, and he just so happens to live there. This was the first time the entire Bettelli clan with their respective spouses and children had ever been together in one place at the same time. It's amazing to think how my parents started a small tribe. The first picture below on the far left is me, my two brothers and my sister. The next picture on top is the entire Bettelli Family, and the picture on the bottom is my parents, their children and the spouses.






The Bible tells us that, as Christians, we are family too. Why? We have been adopted by God into his family and God made us co-heirs with Christ.

Galations 4:4-7 says, "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba Father." So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.


So what does this mean for us? It means that God is our Father. It means we have a close, personal relationship with God, the creator of the universe. This relationship that God made with us, is the primary way we relate to God. It means that you are special to God. It means God chose you to be his child. It means that God desires to love you, care for you, and provide for you. You are his son. You are his daughter. 




Romans 8:17 says, "Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his suffering in order that we may also share in his glory."


What is an heir you ask? Its a person who inherits or has the right to inherit. What do we inherit? Heaven! Salvation Forever! 


This is one of the reasons why salvation cannot be lost or taken. Our salvation is not some sort of Gnostic spiritual power where we power up or power down. The act of God making us his child and making us a co-heir with Christ was an act of permanency. 


In salvation, we are justified, sanctified, and glorified, but we are also adopted.  We become, literally, children of God. God doesn't bring you into his family and then abandon you or throw you out. He makes you his child and he makes you a co-heir, and he becomes your FATHER FOREVER. 


Challenge: Take hold of this truth and find self worth and security in the fact that you are a member of God's family. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Knit Together in My Mother's Womb

My favorite Scripture passage is Psalm 139:13-16. Why you ask? Well, this passage tells us that God is not absent from our lives as the deists would have us believe. God has a very intimate and personal role in who we are and desires to be involved in our personal life.


"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."


How amazing to know that we were "knitted" together by God. Have you ever seen a person knit? It is a very time consuming process. People that knit put a lot of time and effort into what they are doing. These people take pride in their work. You see people knitting in coffee shops or in groups, and you see them blog about the specific designs they put together. 


This tells me that God specifically designed us...from our looks, to our personality. He has a specific plan for our lives and he has designed us for that plan. 


My wife just had a 4D ultrasound today. Below is the first picture of my daughter's face. Isn't she cute?



God is forming my little girl, inside and out. He is uniquely designing her for his very special plan.


So what's the point?  The point is that knowing God is personally involved in forming who we are and planning our lives tells me that He cares for us more than we can imagine. 


There are times when we feel insecure, lonely, vulnerable because of something that has happened in our lives. There are times when we doubt our self worth, or have a hard time trusting that God has our best in mind. 


Remember that you were made in His Image (Gen. 1) and His Hands formed you in your mother's womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. 


Our self-worth doesn't come from our achievements, our wealth, or even our relationships in this world, it comes from a God who cares so much about us that he was there designing us before we were born. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

His Hands

Every night before I go to bed, I go into George and Ethan's room and check on them. I don't do it because I want to make sure they're sleeping...although there has been a couple times when I found one of them awake. Normally, I just like to see them sound asleep, resting in their bed. They look so cute and are so peaceful. Sometimes I think I could watch them sleep all night.

It's nice to know that God is watching over us all night long. He keeps his children in his hands, watching and guiding our lives.

Did you know that the Bible actually says that God has us in his hand?  John 10:28-29 says, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."

This passage tells us that our eternity is secure, however, notice that God holds his children in HIS hands, and the NO ONE IS ABLE TO SNATCH THEM AWAY.

What does this tell us about our God? No one has the ability to take us from our Father. Our Father is greater and stronger than everyone.

This is not to say we won't experience hard times. James 1 tells us we will all go through trials, however the trials we face are meant to strengthen us for the tasks God has ahead for us.

The result of this truth is that WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR! We are safe in the HANDS OF OUR FATHER.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Future

On our last weekend trip to Disney World, we went to Epcot. My son, George, asked, "Dad, what is that big ball?" I told him that it was a ride and that we could go on it if he wanted. So we did and we took Ethan too. If you are familiar with Spaceship Earth you know that it takes you through time and talks about how mankind developed, intellectually, through the generations. I don't think it happend exactly the way they explained, but in any case, it was fun. The second part of the ride you answer some questions about what your future might be like. They take your picture and insert it into a short video of YOUR FUTURE. Check it out below.

video


Young people think about their future all the time, always looking forward to what's ahead...

"I can't wait to get my driver's license." "I can't wait to graduate high school and go to college." "I can't wait to get married." I can't wait to...fill in the blank. I know some people that plan for their next vacation while they are on the first day of the current vacation.

Did you know the Bible actually says something about making plans? James 4:13-15 says, "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit" - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."

Note: James doesn't tell his readers not to make plans, but to change the WAY they make plans.

God doesn't want us to be lazy, thrown around by the wind wherever it might lead; he wants us to be responsible and account for our time, however, he wants us to do it with a willingness to change those plans if and when he desires.

Saying, "If the Lord wills" is a state of mind. It's a way you live your life. Some people need to actually say those words to remember the Lord in their plans, while others live their lives with a continual outlook of searching out God's will for their lives while not neglecting their responsibilities to be good stewards of the time and resources God has given them.

MAKE PLANS, BUT BE READY TO CHANGE THEM!



Thursday, June 07, 2012

I haven't forgotten you

Have you ever felt like God forgot about you? Maybe not completely, but thought..."God, I've been seeking your face, I've been patient, I've done everything you asked me to do...why aren't things happening?"

We've all been there at times. When I was a little boy, and was told to do something by my parents and didn't do it when they asked me to do it, my mom would say, "Tim, you are  testing my patience."

Isn't it funny that we feel the same way about God sometimes. We would never come out and say, "God, you are testing my patience" because he's God, and he's in control, not us; but many times in our lives we think that God owes us, as if he works for us or something ridiculous like that. When did Christians become elitists? Where did this attitude of "I'm better than you, God" come from. Because even though we don't say it or think those exact words, our actions and our feelings of anxiety confirm it.

If I'm really being honest with myself, I have to confess that I need to change my "frame of reference." I think I need to be humble and realize that it is God who is testing my patience and dependence on Him, and not the other way around.

Proverbs 19:11 tells us that a persons wisdom yields patience.

Now the really cool thing is, that God, even though he doesn't have to give us confirmation in our lives that he hasn't forgotten us, HE DOES anyway. Just when you need that confirmation most, He supplies it. Why? He knows our needs. He knows our desires. Hello....HE CREATED US! HE WIRED US!

Psalm 139:13-14 says, "You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

God doesn't forget about anyone or anything. Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-27, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"

Jesus tells us: 1) I haven't forgotten about you 2) I'm taking care of you 3) You are so valuable to me

Now here is my challenge: DON'T FORGET ABOUT GOD! Don't forget that he is taking care of you because you are so VALUABLE TO HIM! When those feelings of anxiety creep in, know that you can rest in the arms of Christ.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Poopy Diapers

You know, being a dad has it's ups and downs. I love spending time with my two sons. They love to play outside, wrestle in the living room, play video games, or just have me chase them around the house. My five year old son is at the age where he loves to go out to a ball game or a special event. Those are all fun, but there is another side to the "father coin" that we all have to deal with from time to time. 

Yes...the dreaded POOPY DIAPER!!! Whether you have a boy or a girl, poopy diapers are not fun, EVER, but with different personalities, the experience changes.  


My oldest son, George, rarely put up a fight when I would change his diaper...NOT THE CASE with my younger son, Ethan. Let's just say, Ethan is full of passion and excitement.

...so much excitement that he likes to kick and scream sometimes, or turn around on the changing table. Sometimes he thinks he's being funny, and other times he is fighting me "TOOTH AND NAIL."

DOESN'T HE KNOW I'M TRYING TO HELP HIM? DOESN'T HE KNOW I'M TRYING TO CLEAN HIM UP?

I couldn't help thinking (maybe because I'm just wierd) that God must think the same things about us sometimes. 

We get so messy in whatever sin we struggle with, and God comes along and says, "You are my child, let me clean you up. Let me restore you with my grace?" 

And what do we do?...we fight him...why do we do that? Maybe it's because we are embarrassed, or feeling guilty, or just hate it when our sin is exposed.

One, thing is for certain, our heavenly father never stops loving us when we need to be cleaned up from the mess we made. He continually reaches out,  telling us to, "Settle down...I'm here...I've cleaned you...I've covered you with my grace and mercy, and no matter how messy you may get, you will always be my child, and I will never stop loving you."

My son is so funny, but his reaction is classic when I'm finished wiping his little butt. 

The entire time...whining....whining...whining...and then...

...the second I am done...his tears are GONE. WHY? I think he just realized that he is CLEAN. 

1 John 1:5-9 says, 

"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son CLEANSES us from ALL sin. 
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to CLEANSE us from ALL unrighteousness."

Remember, if your are HIS child, You are CLEAN.