It is a monumental moment in our house. My adopted twin girls from Romania are United States Citizens.
The girls, nearly 3 and a half now, will probably not remember this moment, but my wife and I will.
After struggling to have more children, riding the emotional roller coaster of infertility treatments, we decided to adopt. In many adoption circles it's called "saving a child". What a life changing experience to be saved.
It was nearly one year ago now; Judy and I stood in the movie set like train station in Bucharest, Romania.
It was a Sunday morning, 7:30 AM. We waited at the tables in front of a McDonalds, nervously nibbling on french fries (they don't serve Egg McMuffin's in Bucharest). Several caregivers from the orphanage appeared from behind the battered and rusting train with our girls in tow. It is a picture I will never forget, like this one now.
Rescuing my girls from that orphanage, I have come to understand that salvation can be both physical as well as spiritual. Sometimes you can't have one without the other.
As I look back on my own life, I believe that God nudged me to college in Colorado. One night, as I lie sobbing and broken, on my flimsy dorm bed, I called out to God for answers.
What might seem unusual is that I come from a great family. I have loving parents, pretty much anything I wanted growing up, though my dad believed in a strong work ethic. In other words, how could I have so much and feel so little?
That's when my phone rang and on the other end was the local director of Campus Crusade for Christ. He asked me if I knew that God had the answers. Even I'm smart enough to figure out that was no coincidence. I gave myself to Christ the next day.
Now, my adopted children have been delivered and become citizens. Ephesians 2:19. " Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household."
Amazing how this fits.
In this scripture the church is compared to a city, and those who give their lives to Christ are free. God lives in all that believe and you become a living temple of God through the working of the Holy Spirit.
Philippians 3:20-21 " But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will like his glorious body."
When my girls became citizens they joined a much larger body. At that moment they were entitled to all the rights and privileges of an American.
When we become Christians we become we join a much larger body. We are entitled to all the rights and privileges of the Kingdom. Both though require hard work.
Eternal life is the gift of God, but it is in Christ Jesus; through his citizenship ceremony it must come to us. Believers make Christ all in all, and set their hearts upon becoming good citizens.
So let us all take the Oath of Allegiance to God.
Father. I've come home. Please make me your child. I turn from my sin. I accept your forgiveness made possible through Jesus Christ by his death and resurrection. I place my faith and thrust in you alone. I receive Christ as my savior and Lord, I want to follow and serve you. Let today be the beginning of my new journey as your son and a member of your family. You have always kept your promises. Help me to keep my promises too.
Congratulations! You are a full-fledged citizen.
Bill Martin is a multiple winner of Emmy and Associated Press awards for excellence in broadcast journalism. He was also inducted into the Ohio Television/Radio Hall of Fame in 1999.