May 3, 2022 – Reflection on “Family!”

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19.

         My earliest memory of family contains memories of my two younger brothers, Jim and Gene, playing in the sandpile house Dad made for us, sitting at the table, having a meal together after we prayed. This was during the days of the ‘depression’. Our understanding of family grew when we had a gathering of the Siemens brothers, including my Dad, Jacob, Dietrich, and Johnny, telling stories about growing up and the fun they had. The time we went to see the Kansas Grandparents and a houseful of aunts and uncles.

         When it came time for prayer, everyone gathered in the living room and knelt down to pray from the oldest to the youngest. I grew restless and curious, and turned to peek – and I saw as they knelt, my aunts and uncles with their parents became like a flower with petals. All the feet pointing to the center of the flower.

         One day, our church family held hands and sang together the chorus, “I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God. I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod, For I’m part of the family, The Family of God.”

            This became another layer of understand the meaning of Family. And where does a family begin? It begins with the commandments given to us. Layers of love, first to God and then to others.

         “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39.  Romans 12:10 is more explicit — Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3.

         Where did all this love for the oneness of a family unit begin? The first chapter of the Bible relays the message in precise words.

          In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female, He created them. Genesis 1:1, 27.

         When I was baptized into the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, at 8 years, I didn’t wonder at the glory of this threesome. Then I read this, I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” They said to Him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” John 8:18-19.

         When God created the people of the world, He created us with a diversity of gifts, likes, and dislikes, and even to the color of our skin. Yet, in Christ Jesus, we become one family. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will. Ephesians 1:3-5.

         He gave us a purpose for our lives when He chose us. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14. One of my favorite verses is Ecclesiastes 3:11, when I consider how God created us in His image. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

         Culture, Time, or Space cannot dim the Light God Created. Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12.

         Our world begins with God in His Word, In the beginning God, This is Truth we live by. “You have led in Your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; You have guided them by Your strength to Your holy abode.” Exodus 15:13. It is when we listen to His Words and trust His Leading, including obeying His Word.

         See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called Children of God; and so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. I John 3:1.

            As the numbers of generations continue to increase, I realize God doesn’t count years but generations. It is our joy to teach the next generation about how God loves with abandon! Then I read the following verses… about all the love God has invested in each of us, our families, and His Church, and I praise Him.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21.

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