Our lost family

Last night I received a call from Reggie, my brother. He lives across the road and across the creek. A dog had arrived at his house and it didn't have tags. He had the option to call the pound who would house the dog for a few days and then kill it if they didn't find the owner or to keep the dog themselves and try to find the owner. He decided to keep it. If he doesn't find the owner, then he has chosen to become responsible for the dog. He was calling me to find if I knew who the owner was. I didn't.

The same happened to us a few weeks ago. If you're a committed reader of this blog, you will already know this. We found two starving kittens, Wesley and Joanie. We could've ignored them and let them die. But we chose to take them in and treat them as our kitties. The one still annoys the crap out of me. The other just hopped onto my lap as I was writing the last sentence.

Our lost family is not the various animals that we run across in country living. They're just an example of how we need to treat new members of our family. When we took in the new kittens they were treated as equals to the rest of our cats. At first they even received more attention because of the sorry state they were in. Some of the older cats had a tough time adjusting, maybe accepting (I don't presume to know what goes on in a cats head), the new kittens. But now they appear to have adjusted and are one family despite coming from different mothers.

Our lost family is our new brothers and sisters in Christ. How do we treat the spiritual stragglers we encounter? Do we accept them into our homes, even to the point of giving them a place to live? Do we treat them like we would biological blood family? We should share a much greater blood bond with those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a great combination of both worlds when we can share both bloods with the same people; however, we need to treat earthly family the same as we treat those who are part of the more important family, the family of God.

A lot of the problems in the church are a result of us not acknowledging the brotherhood and sisterhood of Christ in actions, not just words. What does it mean to really be a brother in Christ?

My earthly brother will never go a night without having a place to lay his head, so neither should my brothers/sisters in Christ.

My earthly brother will not go without meals as long as I have money to buy food, so neither should my brothers/sisters in Christ.

My earthly brother will not go without a vehicle to get back and forth to work, so neither should my brothers/sisters in Christ.

My earthly brother will not go without adequate clothing, so neither should my brothers/sisters in Christ.

My earthly brother should know that whenever he has any sort of need I am there for him, so should my brothers/sisters in Christ.

How can we be family when we don't even know each other or their needs? How does the church fix that problem?

We are called to experience a much greater earthly existence because we are part of the Kingdom of God here on earth. Our salvation has already begun. It makes a meaningless existence meaningful. It turns our selfish desires into loving actions. It transforms our relationships with complete strangers into family relationships. It gives hope to a world of death. Our salvation has begun. May we begin to live like it.

Watch out for the potholes


Here are various verses in the New Testament that deal with the family of God. I might do something with them tomorrow, but they were what I read when thinking about what to write today.

(1 John 3:1 NASB) "See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him."

(1 John 3:10 NASB) "By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother."

(Heb 12:4-11 NASB) "You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; {5} and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; {6} FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES." {7} It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? {8} But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. {9} Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? {10} For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. {11} All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."

(Heb 2:11-14 NASB) "For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, {12} saying, "I WILL PROCLAIM THY NAME TO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING THY PRAISE." {13} And again, "I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM." And again, "BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME." {14} Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;"

(Phil 2:12-16 NASB) "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; {13} for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. {14} Do all things without grumbling or disputing; {15} that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, {16} holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain."

(Eph 5:6-10 NASB) "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. {7} Therefore do not be partakers with them; {8} for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light {9} (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), {10} trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord."

(Eph 5:1-4 NASB) "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; {2} and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. {3} But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints; {4} and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks."

(Eph 4:14-16 NASB) "As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; {15} but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, {16} from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love."

(Gal 4:3-9 NASB) "So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. {4} But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, {5} in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. {6} And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" {7} Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. {8} However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. {9} But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?"

(Gal 4:31 NASB) "So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman."

(Gal 5:1 NASB) "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery....(Gal 5:13 NASB) "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

(Rom 8:16-23 NASB) "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, {17} and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. {18} For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. {19} For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. {20} For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope {21} that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. {22} For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. {23} And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body."

(John 1:11-13 NASB) "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. {12} But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, {13} who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

(Luke 18:16-17 NASB) "But Jesus called for them, saying, "Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. {17} "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all.""