Just a few weeks ago I welcomed my fourth grandchild into this world. Now you think this is another article about grandkids, family, and a heritage of faith. That would be a good article, but not this time. Actually, this child is my only son’s first son. So now you may think I am going to talk about fathers and family blood lines. Those are good points, but this child has an even better story.

His name is Andrew Joel Ridgell. What makes that special is that his father is Joel Don Ridgell, I am Stephen Joel Ridgell, and my father is Joel Wesley Ridgell. He is the fourth generation Joel Ridgell. He will grow up hearing stories of the three men he is named after. He will hear of the great things the Lord has done in our lives and in the lives of others through us. By virtue of his name he will have blessings, legacy, and responsibilities. It will be easy to identify his family. He will have lots to live up to, and some things to live down.

I like this Joel tradition. It is my second favorite name. I have a name that I cherish even more. It was given me when I was adopted into the family of God. I am called a child of God. I am sometimes called Christian, the name of my older brother … Jesus Christ. This family has nothing to live down. In fact, I am in no way worthy of belonging to this family. It is a holy family, and I committed far too many sins to be called holy. Except, God the Father sent his only son to die for those sins. He invited me into his family. Then when I was born again, he forgave those sins, and gave me his name.

Someday Andrew Joel will choose to join the family of God. Then we will be part of the only family that lives forever. He will no longer be just my grandson, but my brother.

You too can become the brother of Jesus and wear his name.

What an amazing gift to be called a child of God.
Write me at steve@hopeforlife.org.

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