Saturday, December 29, 2012

Spiritual Adoption, Human Adoption, and Russia's Anti-Adoption Policy

As a Foster Parent, who is hoping to adopt four foster children, God has taught me a lot about spritual adoption.  It is truly amazing that God would choose to adopt me, especially when I was an enemy of God.  He did not choose to adopt me because of any merit that I had.  He simply chose to love me and make me a part of His family.  He loves me unconditionally.  By making me a part of His family, I have all of the rights and benefits of being a child of the King.  i have an incredible inheritance, heaven, ahead of us.  I can call the Supreme Being, "Daddy".

Adoption by human parents is a similar way to show God's love.  The children I hope to adopt were not chosen, because of merit.  Often, they misbehave and are not very lovely.  One has even been called "rotten"; I was not even offended because too often the child merits that description.  Yet, I love them anyway, unconditionally.  They get all of the rights and benefits of being a part of my family.  They even get to call me "Daddy".

As I have learned the significance of spiritual adoption, I have gained a greater passion for human adoption.  I love it when people share God's love through adoption.

With this background, my heart is broken to hear that Russia has stopped all Americans from adopting Russian children.  From a human perspective, it is terrible that these children will now remain in orphanages, with very poor care.  Some are disabled and will get very little care in a society that has limited resources for orphans and little interest in disabled children.  My heart breaks for adoptive parents, especially those who were in the the process of adopting.  Many had already visited Russia, met their future child(ren), exchanged pictures, and would finalize the adoption after a waiting period.  Now, these adoptions will not happen.

More importantly, many of these children would have been adopted into Christian homes, heard the gospel in these homes, and accepted Christ as Savior.  Now, many of these children will not get this chance.  I know God is sovereign and He can reach these souls in other ways, but my heart breaks knowing that these children will not be in Christian homes.

I am praying, and urging you to pray, that Russia will change its plans.  I know there are many different causes to pray for; it is impossible to be interested in every cause.  I know my passion should not necessarily become your passion.  But, part of me thinks that God has a special interest in human adoption because the Bible talks so much about spiritual adoption.  In addition, Jesus paid special attention to the little children and the Bible speaks often of caring for orphans.  For these reasons, I hope you will at least pray for these orphans and adopting parents.

For those unfamilar with the adoption situation in Russia, Russia recently stopped all Americans from adopting Russian children.  As I understand it, they claim to have taken this action because some Russian born children have suffered after being adopted by Americans.  I do not know any details, but have read claims that a couple of children died and one child was returned to Russia, alone, on an airplane.  If such things happened, these are tragedies and efforts should be made to proect these children.  In reality, it appears that this is only an excuse for Russia's actions.   Russia's anti-american adoption policy is really political.  I understand the US is going to label Russia a violator human rights.  Russia is responding with this policy.  Meanwhile,  thousands of children are being harmed as Russia uses them as pawns.

I pray that soon the orphans will stop being pawns, can be adopted by Americans who can provide for their physical needs, and share the gospel with them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Best Books I Read in 2012

I thought I would take some time to highlight some of the best books I read in 2012.   These are in no particular order.

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller.  Keller is becoming one of my favorite authors and this is one of the best books on marriage that I have read.  It seems like many marriage books contain similar material and very little original thought.  This book takes a unique approach, which is probably why I liked it a lot.  As the title implies, Keller explains the biblical foundation of marriage.  Understanding the foundation on of marriage helps with the practical day to day aspects of marriage.  I highly recommend it for singles - yes a marriage book for singles.  Keller preaches to many singles in his church and he specifically addresses singles in this book. For example, he explains why marriage is better than living together.  Again, understanding the foundation of marriage helps singles find a spouse and have a godly marriage.

Weird:  Because Normal Isn't Working by Craig Groeschel.  Groeschel is also becoming one of my favorite authors.  Here, he explains that most Christians live normal, ordinary,  mundane lives and this is not what God intended.  Instead, God intends for Christians to live extraordinary lives of faith.  This is a great challenge and a must read for everyone.

Sun Stand Still by Furtick.  In some ways, this book is similar to Weird, but it is a challenging in its own right.  Using the example of Joshua asking God to make the sun stand still, Furtick challenges Christians to look for God to do extraordinary things in their lives.  He says we should pray for, and expect, God to do seemingly impossible things in, and through, our lives.  How many of us actually expect God to do the impossible in, and through us?  This book is a faith builder.

A Tale of Two Sons by John MacArthur.  Here, MacArthur provides an in depth understanding of the Prodigal Son.  As I said before, Timothy Keller has become a popular author and many have read his book, Prodigal God, which examines the Prodigal Son.  While Prodigal God is good, I think MacArthur's book is better.  I think MacArthur includes everything that Keller included, but MacArthur includes a lot more, which should not be surprising since MacArthur's book is more than twice as long.  This book caused me to see the Prodigal Son in a whole new light and how it applies to everyone, even to Christians.  We can really see ourselves in the life of the Prodigal and the older son.  I especially like his "tragic" ending of the story, which I had never heard before, even in Keller's book.

Bonhoeffer by Metatexas.  This is a good biography of someone that I had heard of, but knew very little about.  It is fascinating how he, early on, saw the dangers of Hitler and Hitler's influence on the church.  Then, how he tried to combat Hitler, even to the point of being part of a plot to kill Hitler.  I have some questions about how accurately Metatexas portrays Bonhoeffer's theology, but the book is very good.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  Fascinating biography of Zamperini, who was a wild child, ran in the 1936 Olympics, survived an airplane crash in the Pacific in World II and weeks on a raft, was a POW tortured by the Japanese, returned home a broken man, and accepted Christ at a Billy Graham crusade.  It gives a good understanding of World War II in the Pacific - heartbreaking. A little long, but that probably helps the reader understand the torture that Zamperini lived through.

What reading recommendations do you have?