No matter what may transpire in the middle of our lives, we start and finish with Family. Thankful Thursday it is, and I am so very thankful for the family–my husband and children, of course, but also the “concept” of the family. (Please click on this link to go to Grace Alone where Iris, our host this month has links to other thankful posts.)
The handprint of God is on the family. He thought up the idea. He thinks families are so important that He placed His Son, Jesus, in a family on earth, with an earthly father, mother, brothers and sisters. That was not absolutely necessary–He could have done it many other ways. But it shows how important families are to God. Jesus, by the way, came from a large family. At least 7 brothers and sisters are mentioned in Matthew 13:55-56–“Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?” (italics mine) (all implies more than 2)
God could have made the world in such a way that we walked through life as solitary beings. But in Psalm 68:6 it says that, “God setteth the solitary in families…” and again, “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.” (Ps. 68:5) In Ephesians 3:15 Paul says, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named…” (this is a mysterious verse, after which follows some of my favorite faith-strengthening verses referring to the vastness and depth of the riches and love of God in Christ Jesus.)
God calls Himself our Father and Jesus, His Son. The relationships between family members (father, mother, brother, sister, child) in a family are to illustrate the spiritual relationships. Other verses tell of God’s promises of blessing to those who honor their father and mother (no age of the children is specified), and cursing to those who do not. We are to love our brother and do good to one another. There are many, many verses in the Bible which speak of both the earthly and the heavenly concept of Family.
The picture of the family teaches us a spiritual truth, as well, about God’s plan. The Church is Christ’s Bride. When we become a Christian, then, we are wed to Christ. Through our union with Him, we bear spiritual children as we share the gospel, the seed of truth, with others. He would have us bear much fruit. And He instructed in Genesis, “Be fruitful and multiply.”
It is the goal of God to reproduce through us many, many spiritual children, who would then also reproduce many children through union with Him. He inhabits our lives and makes us fruitful. When we share the gospel with others, we bear spiritual children as they are “born again” into faith by believing. We are to disciple them to spiritual maturation. We are not to be barren and unfruitful in our faith.
But without “marriage” to Him, there is no spiritual fruit, no spiritual children. One husband, Christ, one Bride, the Church, forever together. True children living in loving relationship with the Father. It truly is a mystery, but the more I study it, the more profound the truths. I’m grateful for the family on earth, and for God’s grace in calling me to be a child of God, and part of His Eternal Family, through faith in Christ.
As promised, in these Thursdays before Thanksgiving, I will share with you resources which tell the true story of the first Thanksgiving and the pilgrims.
“Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember” by Barbara Rainey
The true story of the First Thanksgiving, in both a younger child’s version and adult version, for you to read on Thanksgiving, is included. In her interview with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Barbara Rainey, author of Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember told of her passion to study and retell the true history of these courageous, Godly people we call the Pilgrims and to light a fire of remembrance and thankfulness in us today for what happened so long ago and for the Providence of God in our lives today. This is also a lovely book to leave out for your unsaved relatives to discover when they visit your home this Thanksgiving.
Here is a really simple activity which all ages can enjoy on Thanksgiving Day. This may become a new tradition. It is sure to be a treasured memory.
Before you eat, or after the Thanksgiving meal has been eaten, place two kernels of dried Indian corn next to each person’s plate. These represent the gratefulness of the Pilgrims to God on that first Thanksgiving for bringing them through the winter and all its hardships. Then pass around a little basket and as each person drops their two kernels into the basket, have them share two blessings for which they are the most thankful. (I would add: then bow your heads and thank the Lord for your bountiful blessings.)
From the Book, “Let’s Make a Memory” by Gloria Gaither and Shirley Dobson.
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