A Wisdom Retreat - February 6

God's Beloved

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The word beloved is a special word that is reserved by God only for His children. While God has a general love for the whole world and a sustaining love even for His enemies—He sends sunshine to warm them and rain to water their crops, just as He does for believers—this term of endearment is unique for those who are His precious possessions.

You may remember the first time this word was used in the New Testament. Christ was to be baptized by John the Baptist, when a voice echoed from heaven, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased" (Matthew 3:17). It was the voice of God the Father, who loved Christ dearly; that same voice still echoes today, calling you beloved.

You may be thinking to yourself, "How can God call me that? Doesn't He know how unlovable I am?" The answer is simple. He calls you beloved, not because of some righteousness you have in yourself or because you are worthy of it, but because Christ has deposited His righteousness into your personal account.

When the Father looks down upon you, He no longer sees your sin, but instead, He sees the blood of His Son that was shed on your behalf. That is why Paul can say in Romans 8:1, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." You are eternally free in God's eyes, and that is why He loves you as His beloved.

Think of it in terms of marriage. A wedding ceremony does nothing to change the character or personality of the bride or groom. In fact, several weeks after the wedding, both of them are going to realize just how much they need to change. Although their character and personality may not have changed, their status did. They first walked down the aisle as two independent people who could have belonged to anybody, but when they walked back up the aisle, they belonged to each other. Now they were one.

Just the same, when you became a believer you immediately became the bride of Christ. Although the Lord will continually change your character over the course of your life, your status has been changed forever. You are God's special possession and He deeply, unfailingly, eternally loves you.

You forever will be . . . His beloved.

Prayer Point: Thank God for sending His beloved Son to die for your sins, that you could become a beloved child of God.

Extra Refreshment: Read Revelation 19, describing the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is the day when you, as God's bride, will finally be joined to Him.

The Advent Event

December is one of the busiest months of the year. As Christians, we approach the Christmas season with the intention of focusing on the incarnation and making it a significant time. But it's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season—the parties, the decorations, the presents and the special events at church. Before we know it, the month of December has flown by, and we wonder where the time went.

One of the most significant things a family can do in December is to be intentional about finding time every day to think about the true meaning of Christmas. The Advent Event is an easy, fun and enriching family project to help focus attention on the birth of Jesus while discovering the big picture of God's plan throughout the entire Bible.

Each day in December, the family sets aside a few minutes together for this activity. There is a simple coloring craft, a story from God's Word and a motion to learn that helps children remember the timeline of Scripture. Most importantly, this resources provides a special family time that Moms and Dads can use to reconnect their families to the spiritual significance of Christmas; the birth of Jesus, our Savior.

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