Family

Happy family standing on the beach at the sunset time. Parents hold in the hands inscription "Family". Concept of happy family.

Intro

In my mind family and the trinity are the same expression.  God himself lives in community.  Three in one.  The individuals within God, the trinity, are separate persons yet one. They have individual expression, purpose, function, and yet are one. They move separately yet are one. How God relates to himself, or how the trinity relates to one another is the self-sustaining heaven humanity gets to partake of. Everything is satisfied within God himself, yet he invited us to experience the glory of his nature. And not only to experience it, but embody it through him indwelling within us. I no longer live, yet Christ in me.

Living Heartbeat

Family. Let’s start with marriage. God said let man and woman be made in my image. Himself, not fully expressed in man, or woman, but their functioning together. God could have made us asexual able to regenerate ourselves but he didn’t. He purposed for two genders to live their lives together, living it through him, by him, and in him, as two separate beings functioning as one. He said I have made you one flesh. Of course wedding partners don’t become Siamese twins but they are one person, one flesh, not a trinity but a binity?  And then comes the third element, children.

We are never called to be one with are children, but one a larger scale we are called to be one as Christ’s body. We are all called to be one. How do we all become one? How do we become one with our spouse? Our children?  We become one with Holy Spirit.  Well you already are one with Holy Spirit as he lives inside of you and your spirit is one with his, but when we become one with him, we become one with someone who is already one with that other person, whether it be your child, your spouse, whomever. Fear in our relationships doesn’t lead us to love others well, Holy Spirit does. And often loving others well often begins with healthy love for ourself.

This might have gotten a little confusing but we don’t become one in family by forcing it. Any family with a teenager has probably seen that doesn’t work, but God is one with his children, he knows them, he knows you. Everyone wants to belong somewhere. Everyone wants to be accepted somewhere. These wants and desires have their origins in the innate purpose of family. If the church is ever to become one with each other, it is not a matter of church membership. It is a matter of holy spirit living. But this post isn’t my church post, this is my family post, but perhaps, just perhaps the function and purpose of the two are the same.

In the absence of family, or even with a healthy one, God is family to us. The trinity is our eternal family, always has been, always will be.  Our natural families merely reveals his expressions. He is our mother, he was our mother’s love to us in our lives, that was him loving you. God is our brother, our friend, our counselor, our husband, our leader. He is all those things and so much more. He is the love you are experiencing every day through the people around you. It is him. He is that love. He is actively in love with you through your family, or those who play that role for you in your life.

Why Not?

So if family is created to be so wonderful and amazing and heaven on earth, why is it so often not?  I’m not even referring to mine specifically, just in general it seems so many hard things can come our way through family itself, the very thing meant to be a blessing to us.  Whether you feel misunderstood, neglected, abused, or abandoned, you are worth far more than any negative thing a family member believes about you.  In fact you are a blessing to your family.  God can give you love for your family with healthy boundaries even if they don’t have them.

You can not change people and others actions and words are out of your control.  But you have the power to fully control your thoughts, actions, and words and when the opportunity arises, you can love.  You can think and speak blessing.  You can ask questions and listen.  You can celebrate and you can serve.  You may not be able to make others love you but you can celebrate them just as they are still fully possessing the full value of Christ’s sacrifice.

Interdependent Beauty

I know that my husband embodies Christ to me. And God wants me to get that. He wants me to connect that reality to my mind even beyond my heart. He wants us to be interdependent and needing one another. He wants life to be enjoyed being shared. This can also happen through community outside of the conventional family structure. The same healthy exchange of love is still lived, witnessed, and experienced through friendship and covenant amongst people outside of traditional marriage roles. But that’s still family. It still embodies the destiny and purpose of family.

Summary

The family entity embodies the presence of God. It can be heaven on earth as God lives through and in the participating people. We are not slaves or zombies, we get to live the fullest expression of ourselves in complete freedom and that reveals him as we get to love others and share life with them in all its ups and downs. A family living in the strength of love reveals the exchange that has eternally existed within the Godhead.

The kindness in your tone towards your husband reveals him, the empathy you show towards your wife reveals him, the joy you share your children reveals him. Heaven is community living in healthy love. No self-destructive or other-destructive behaviors. This is where things are headed. Loving people loving people. Family is meant to be the canvas that reveals a servant lover, a humble savior, a faithful friend. Healthy family is the breeding ground for courage.

Family is a safe place to fail. Without faithfulness beyond failure, it is not love and you can catch up on that in my other piece called LOVE.   This piece on family may expand later but this is all I have for now.  Moving along.

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love

 

 

Covenant

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Introduction

We serve a god not of contract but a god of covenant. The idea of covenant is largely lost on the modern western world.  Nothing is forever. There is always a loophole, fine print, an agreement that’s been arranged, an appeal. Prenuptial marriage arrangements, abortions, and a world of child support regulations, etc.,we swim in a world prepared for escape, a way out, an exit.

What if that wasn’t the way things weren’t meant to be. What if there was glory in taking responsibility for our choices. What if there was honor in being faithful, in following through, even when everything’s gone to shit. Even when convenience is lost and it seems as if all hope is gone. Welcome to covenant.  The essence of covenant is something unbreakable.

Covenant = Freedom

That’s where the idea of blood came into covenant. As long as my blood is coursing through my veins, as long as there is life in me, our agreement between one another stands and is alive too.  Covenant is an irrevocable thing. This can seem a suffocating concept, but when its in your favor, covenant is the one thing that causes the breathe of relief and the removal of all fear. This thing is unchangeable and isn’t going anywhere.

I could’ve researched covenant but I don’t think one understands it until they’ve experienced it. I am in covenant relationship with some people. No matter my mistakes, no matter my failure, no matter my performance, love and connection is still the standard of the relationship. Understanding is something enjoyed as life experience is shared within covenant.

Good always overcomes evil. My experience of covenant in this life was the recipe for the uprooting of rejection within me.  Someone’s commitment over the period of years was the only thing that eventually quieted that voice in my mind that whispered, “You better perform right, or relationship will end.” The fear that would haunt, “If you fail too much, you will be abandoned and justifiably so.  Rejection will be what you’ve earned and deserve.”

When people won’t be distanced, won’t be pushed away, won’t believe the worst of you, the barriers for the needed self-protection of independence dissolve. Covenant between people in regards to union is the antithesis of abandonment and rejection.

Covenant Anyone?

In Jewish culture, marriage is a covenant. The terms of covenant would be laid out in a dinner with both families present. The groom-to-be would lay what conditions he would fulfill if the covenant was received. After finishing stating his end of the deal he would offer a glass of wine to the bride-to-be. If she drank, the covenant terms were accepted and the covenant locked in place but not consummated yet. It was a the beginning of a covenant that was soon to come.

At the last supper, Jesus was proposing to humanity as a lover right before their eyes. He said the terms of this covenant was the laying down of his life – his very blood – in exchange for redemption of all loss, union, and fulfillment of design. He offers us still the cup of his blood and the brokenness of his body in the vulnerable offer of our inclusion in himself and righteousness unto peace that is a free gift. He says drink of me. You must drink my blood and eat my flesh he said.

It was his invitation of union. God doesn’t half ass anything. He’s an all-in kinda guy. This is the indestructible union of spirit with no fine print clauses underlying our relationship with him. Covenant is the only way he presents himself to us.  I will never leave you or forsake you, he says. Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. All this extreme and dramatic language starts to taste like candy when it leaves no room for a draft of rejection to seep through, no room for the whispers of the coldness of a contract relationship to rear its head.

Conclusion

God is not into contract relationships, and his relationship towards you was set in blood, his blood and nothing in heaven or hell can legally undermine this spiritually, and eternally binding contract that God has made with humanity—with you. Nothing. Breathe. The nature of your relationship with God is indestructible and unthwartable by any force. This is the environment of safety meant to provide any child of God with the limitless freedom his secure love provides. This covenant is the foundation of joy.

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love

 

Character

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Introduction

God’s kingdom is not found in historical places, modern business enterprises, vast cathedrals, or monuments of education. God’s kingdom is simply and solely made up (in the life we can touch and see around us) of you, of people.  We are the living kingdom of God on earth.  It is not in stuff, or places, but us!  If right now earthquakes shook down all buildings, mountains, and trees, but killed no one, nothing of God’s kingdom would have been shaken. Not one thing would have been lost!

God advances and establishes his eternal kingdom on earth in people. Is he a power hungry egotist? No, he invites us to live in heaven! Our choice! You don’t have to live in peace, joy, love, freedom, or justice! It’s your choice, he just offers complete and total access to all of his goodness free of charge.  Getting back to character.

When you believe God is good, loves you, and delights in you. Things change.  You believe in yourself, you see others greatness, you have value and belonging. This changes our demeanor and reactions and choices to life as it comes our way.

So often the idea of character has died in modern media culture.  But ahh the power of its value continues to live on. So many people have a hard time wrapping their minds around character or really defining it.

What is Character?

Boiled down to our lives, character is how we treat ourselves and one another.  From my personal perspective character is the embodiment of the entire old testament law: “Love your neighbor as yourself” = Your character.

The cool part about experiencing heaven on earth is our daily experience of God’s character. This is what impacts our hearts and minds and changes us.  Who is he, is he really this kind, thoughtful, nice, involved, and actively caring? Yes, he is. Humans experiencing God’s character is what advances his kingdom on earth because it causes us to reflect his lightness.

So often our minds and attentions are called to our external as estimations of our success or value. Our cars, our houses, our jobs, our location, our accomplishments. But to be honest, all of this without possessing good character is empty and pointless. Stuff is stuff! It is not eternal and it does not nor can it give us value.

But your character! Oh, your character! When given the opportunity, God will bring attention to how you are treating yourself or other people, rather than what someone else has done or how things are another fault. We have so much power in how we choose to treat one another. How are you treating people? He values them so much and we get to participate with his love for each individual as much as we choose to allow!

When God says let your light shine it’s your character he wants to shine through! You’re kindness, you’re service, you’re honesty, you’re empathy, your friendliness, your peace-ability.

Not a Performance Scratch Card

Character is not a measuring stick that God wants to hold over you to reveal all your shortcomings. We all have them!  No really!  We all do! But it’s not about stressing out about it or trying harder and harder to love people.  It’s not meant to give you an aneurysm! Spending time with God – living with him actually – causes us to be reminded of how he’s already designed us and who he’s created us to be. We don’t have to work hard at it!  His kingdom in us was given to us fully and completely as a free gift! He loves to give us his kingdom, all aspects of it.

As we live life with him and experience his goodness we are discovering the character of our spirit. We are joy, we are kindness, we are gentleness and patience.  It’s who we are.  Part of the glorious goodness of living in God’s kingdom here on earth is being reminded of our goodness! You are good, through and through. There are no dark spots in you.

Your journey of learning and living is beautiful in its own unique way.  God’s character is revealed in you and through you to others in a way they will never experience it through anyone else in their entire lifetime.  You reveal aspects of God’s nature and character that cannot be replicated by another.  Our character is a gift to others that happens naturally and freely when we come to know and experience God’s!

How Does Character Affect Our World?

Character is actually the strength, or lack of it the weakness, of any nation. Seriously. When the citizens of a town, school, or country have good character, the strength of that body is insurmountable. When character is lacking or weak, any force of destruction will rule the day. There are areas of the world rich in resources but lacking God’s character in its people and poverty permeates the population. A business or government will only stand to the length at which the people who compose it walk in character. Corruption, scandal, selfishness, greed, violence (which are all examples of treating others poorly) will cause any entity to rot from the inside out.

If you want to improve the strength of a business or government you will focus on, teach, and reward positive interaction between the people involved. The most talented artist or celebrity in the world can produce something beautiful but their life will have strife and unhappiness behind it if that talent is not first given a good foundation of character to withstand the temptations of treating themselves or others poorly or with little regard.

Conclusion

Again, this is an entirely unseen area of society. You can look at a photograph of a roomful of people and see what they are wearing, or how they’ve done themselves up, but when the photo is over, how do they treat the other people in the room, or the people they pass when they walk home that night or their family or their spouse when no ones looking?  It matters.  Its important.

Give great regard for your character my friend. More time energy or effort that anything external anyone will ever see. It is the only thing eternal, the only thing God looks at, the only thing he sees. He sees Christ alive in you, living through you, loving yourself and others in a beautiful expansion of his kingdom here on earth. It starts with me.  It starts with you.  It starts with Him.

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love