What is family to you? Here is one possible definition from Health Resources & Services Administration: “Two or more people living together that are connected by birth, marriage, or adoption.” The worldly discussion of family tends toward numbers and socioeconomic status. For instance, the U.S. Census Bureau supplies this statistic: In a 2018 study, it was found that the average family consists of 3.14 persons. Is this family? I think there is more to it and strongly believe God wants us to search and know His take on family.
As Christians we have the blessing and responsibility to take the conversation of family back to the Bible, which takes us back to Creation. God ordained the institution of marriage in the beginning. A man is called to leave his father and mother and stick like glue to his wife. One man - one woman – for life. From this union it is God’s design that they answer the commission to become family. Not only is marriage a God-Thing, Family is God’s idea too; structured to bring honor, love, and respect to one another. Our closest earthly relationships should flourish into a testimony of devotion and love for our Creator.
As with so many things (and dare I say all things), we have stepped away from God’s idea for marriage and family. With distorted views of purity and love, today’s society continues a downward spiral. Bible-based teaching and behavior is rejected and thought to be intolerant and judgmental. We are experiencing an all-out attack on All Things Family! Family is: Love – Relationship – Honor – Respect – Obedience – Grace – Kindness. Yet, the world has managed to take this list of qualities and turn them to a self-centered tone. If they are offered at all, they are generally offered conditionally, certainly not loving like Jesus!
Some family situations among us include children while others do not. Moreover, we have adoptive, blended, foster, and single parent families. From one end of the spectrum to the other each circumstance has its own story, and many include heartbreak. The reality is we all have the potential for heartbreak as we live outside of the Garden. Our greatest need is for God’s restorative love and the power of His saving grace. Our families face the same need…to be restored to our Heavenly Father, because He is the perfect Father. The work of redemption leaves us humbly recognizing our brokenness but living beyond its defeat. Families, intact or otherwise, can be broken, but God through the blood of Jesus offers healing and wholeness.
What is family? Could it be one of the most meaningful ways to experience what God is all about? Is it not primarily about Loving God and Loving people? Might the focus of family be connecting with those around you in your own home, your community of faith, and where ever you may live life? I do believe one thing for sure--Family is a journey! God’s Best for my family is what I desire. How about you?
- ReadIt Is Finished—But Not Yetby Pastor Loren Gjesdal
With three simple words, “It is finished!” rocks split open, dead came to life, and, seeing it all, a hardened Roman soldier said of the Man who spoke those three words, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
According to Matthew’s description of Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus’ last words were not spoken quietly, but were shouted in a loud voice. These were not words of defeat or resignation, but a victor’s cry! Jesus perfectly completed His Father’s will, conquered sin and death, and overcame Satan in all his fury in proclaiming, “It is finished!”
On April 18th we will gather to remember the cost of victory - the broken body and the shed blood of the Son of God. The price paid for our sins should overwhelm us with humble gratitude, but the victory won should also fill us with assurance and hope.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)
We should also remember that the good news of Jesus’ work on our behalf did not end with those words. They were the start of a whole new kingdom and priesthood. With three simple words the temple veil was torn from top to bottom. The way to the throne of God was open. Even more amazingly, the human heart, purified by the work of the cross, became the holy of hollies for the dwelling of God’s presence!
It is finished! Praise God! Yet it is not finished. Jesus finished the work required for our justification, but He has delegated to us to continue the ministry of reconciliation that He started.
... God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2 Cor 5:19)
We do something unusual in the Church of God Seventh Day. We don’t just remember Jesus death in the taking of the emblems of bread and juice, we also wash each other’s feet, just as Jesus did. We should remember the call to humble service represented in foot washing, but maybe we can also remember that our feet are commissioned to bring a new kingdom:
How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:15)
- ReadWalking in Love
Pursuit of God’s Best: Love One Another. Jesus spoke plainly about love and connected it to The Ten Commandments as He answered the Pharisee who asked, “...which is the great commandment in the law?” (Matthew 22:36) The crux of the law, the greatest commandment in Jesus’ own words, was revealed as an “all in” loving relationship with God and man. Love God and Love People: Honor and submission given to each. Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus taught a higher level of obedience to the law by making it a matter of heart. Murder was no longer just about taking the physical life of another. Immoral behavior begins in the thoughts of mankind. Stealing is not limited to theft of material possessions. Though the law still addresses the literal, it is magnified so that it sheds light on our motivation to speak and act in certain ways. Our actions or inactions with our fellow man uncover our hearts intent toward our neighbor and our Creator. Here we see love...or not. Matthew 5:17-48
The heart of man is a place of strong emotion. Scripture admonishes us to guard our heart, for from it we both speak and behave (Proverbs 4:23). Choosing peace or strife, sensuality or purity, love or hate, these determine the basic climate of our inner being. Confusion and hate spring from a heart void of Godly wisdom. But where God’s wisdom is invited to dwell, there we also find peace and love. James 3:13-18
In His Word, God tells us that a contentious environment and any form of self-promotion is not of God. Love is not cultivated there. We are called simply to think of others first. Give priority to their needs their struggles and do so with an attitude fashioned after Jesus. When humility reins, there is love. Philippians 2:1-4
Darkness and hate are real issues. Part of the work of Jesus as Redeemer and Advocate, is to call us out of darkness. True Light has come and offers us the privilege to overcome evil and wholly love one another. We remain free will agents. May we choose love not hate, light not darkness. May we choose to walk in love; God’s Best.
1 John 2:1-14
Please pray that the bullying at my school stops. - Erin
I thank God for the Project Manager position job I got last month. It has far surpassed all my expectation. Working for and with Christians makes life great and more enjoyable. - Doug Deedon
My boss Tm McGinnis shared with me that his sister-in-law found out that she has a tumor in her intestines. She found out Thursday and was in surgery on Friday. Pray for her healing. - Doug Deedon
- Our "new" website (through Faithlife) is now up and running!! Check it out when you get a chance. There are still some pages we will be adding and others we will be modifying, so be watching as we continue to make our site better!
- ReadLOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE
Love God, Love People. I was in a church recently that had these four words painted across a large wall in their entryway. Sounds good. In fact, it is good. Simple and easy to remember. It’s only missing one thing: How?
There is an unwritten assumption that we know how to love, we just need to be motivated to do it. The truth is none of us naturally knows how to love like we should. Our prosperous and free nation is full of broken relationships, hostility, and violence. We need to be taught again what love looks like, sounds like, and acts like.
Love does not take what does not belong to it. Love would not steal his neighbor’s belongings, or sleep with his wife, or lie about his neighbor’s character. In fact, love is content with what it has so that it doesn’t even desire what belongs to his neighbor.
Instead of desiring what it does not have, love appreciates what it does have. Love is grateful for the ones who have supplied its needs and takes the opportunity to express that gratitude in meaningful ways.
Maybe all of this sounds like common sense to you, but a skeptic might ask, “Says who?” Love does, or more precisely, God does. He spoke to Moses, teaching a new nation of people how to exist in a harmonious society. He then wrote those words with His finger on tablets of stone because the principles recorded there were meant to endure. We call them the Ten Commandments.
In removing the Ten Commandments as an agreed standard of conduct for society, we have left a vacuum in which to clearly see our true nature. In the attempt to throw off every constraint to freedom, we have inadvertently thrown off instruction in how to love.
Ironically, the church has also become reluctant to talk about commandments. In celebrating the freedom of God’s loving grace, we too have inadvertently lost a guide to love. This loss may be seen most clearly every Saturday, the Sabbath.
Instead of a response of loving gratitude to our creator, the Sabbath became synonymous with an obsolete, legalistic obligation. The Sabbath was to be a time of spiritual refreshment, to turn our hearts and minds toward God in adoration, as well as a time of fellowship and service to people. In throwing off a perceived restraint, we inadvertently lost a valuable tutor for loving God and loving people.
The truth is, we do not know how to love God or people as we should. We must be taught. The Ten Commandants, including the Sabbath, are a tutor we would do well to learn from - as a nation and as the Church of God.
- Read“God’s Best”God gave us His Best.
In the beginning God created us in His own image. To have inside of us, even an iota of, the Power and Majesty that is our God is an amazing privilege. God breathed the breath of life into Adam and he became a living soul. Adam was a thinking, reasoning, able to love, free to choose, able to communicate, sinless being that would enjoy a relationship with God. This was God’s design and desire for man, and this was God’s Best. (Genesis 1)