The holidays are here! The holidays are here! Food, fun and family! Are those three words synonymous during this time of year? For some, yes. For many, no. Family, what a word, right? The term, family, is chalked full of interesting dynamics. Families come in all different shapes and sizes and inevitably go through all kinds of changes. Within a family, there is truly a time for every season. But, like it or not, families are bound together by blood and genetics. My two brothers and I are very different, yet we share many things. Physically, our complexion, our eyes…personalities….all kinds of idiosyncrasies that we won't discuss here, and above all, our senses of humor. We laugh at the same things for the most part; no one can make me laugh harder than my brothers. At the same time, in our earlier years, no one could make me angrier and I'm sure I can speak for them and say they feel the same about me. In many ways, we just get each other, but could definitely get to each other. Pushing buttons was inbred and practiced often by all, including me…..ok, especially me. But, no matter what, we are still family. When life is joyful and when life gets hard, we stick together….no matter what. I wish that last statement were always true, but if I am being honest, there have been times when there was a rift. Something not right. Something, whether it be anger, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, caused a separation and the resulting feeling was just….yuck. So, as a mother of two, I try to be proactive with a a little visual reminder. The following hangs on our wall, in our faces every day.
1) Always keep your promises.
2) Say please and thank you.
3) Listen with your heart.
4) Speak kindly.
5) Clean up your own mess.
6) Respect each other.
7) Don't forget to laugh.
8) Say I love you everyday.
9) Count your blessings.
Not a bad list, right? Good for every family to remember? Through Jesus, The Living Water, and His blood sacrifice, we all have grace and forgiveness binding us together. We are family.
Shouldn't a set of rules apply to the whole body of believers? Like it or not, we are bound to one another by Jesus Christ. You cannot change that. Hebrews 13 is kind of the Bible's version of 'Family Rules'. What is the first one? Let brotherly love continue. Keep on keeping on when it comes to loving one another through words and deeds. Read the whole chapter. It goes on to get a little more specific.
1) Love one another.
2) Show hospitality to strangers.
3) Remember those in prison or those being mistreated.
4) Honor marriage.
5) Be content in Christ.
6) Remember your leaders. Obey them. Submit to them.
7) Don't be led away by strange teachings. Remember grace.
8) Do good.
During this season of family, remember who your family in Christ is and act accordingly. If you aren't up for reading Hebrews 13, Jesus gives us a one two punch in the book of Matthew 22: 36-40.
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Be crazy thankful for every single detail of your life, from the first breath you take in. Ask God to reveal His divine purpose in your life. It doesn't have to be a grand panoramic picture. Lord knows, we couldn't handle it! (I couldn't.) It's one selfless deed, one encouraging word, one generous act at a time.
Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all!
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.