A Family Portrait

Blog #28 May 14, 2022

Romans 5:1-5
5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;
5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
5:3 And not only this, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope;
5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

In companionship with God through His Spirit, we open our lives to a need within our heart to reach out to the world in His name and the courage to do so. We cannot have without Him. Christ ministry tells us of a loving Father and all the ways He will dedicate Himself to helping each of us achieve the fullness of our creation. As there is a pattern in all things, Christ's ministry is a pattern showing how we should dedicate ourselves to helping others achieve the deep abiding fellowship with God we have accepted. Our growth helps us  realize that if we want to be one with the Father, we must allow Him to be one with us. We must become God's temporal hands working in the world of man. This is the purpose of the Spirit of God. The Spirit was given that we might realize all that God is and all that we can be in fellowship with Him. 

DC 53:4d-4e
53:4d He that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek, and edifieth, the same is of God, if he obey mine ordinances.
53:4e And again, he that trembleth under my power shall be made strong, and shall bring forth fruits of praise, and wisdom, according to the revelations and truths which I have given you.

Please don't misunderstand what I am sharing today. Yes, I realize that all of us are not evangelist. Some have the ability preach to the world and bring believers to God, some of us not so much. But, each of us has the ability to live our lives in the ways of God, filled with both compassion and charity. All have the ability to possess within the love of God for all mankind. Some of us are meant to speak the words. Others are meant to be a testimony to all that is spoken and a proof to the ability God has to work in the life of His children. We all have a labor to perform. God though His Spirit will enable and direct us, if we but listen and respond. 

Ephesians 4:14-16
4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ;
4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

As we reach out for God we find that whatever that labor might be, all have a common need for certain virtues that nourish us and give us the strength to carry on. We need the truth of God. We need humility to God and His wisdom. By opening our hearts to these two aspects of virtue, the faith that created our journey becomes stronger. Our faith in the redeeming power of Christ's sacrifice caused us to repent of our sins, seek the cleansing waters of baptism, and receive from God a quickening of the Spirit by the laying on of hands as a testimony before the world of our covenant with Him. As our faith grows within us it becomes a foundation on which another's faith can be built. Faith is the strength that causes us to be both bold and diligent in our labor with the Lord. 

Through the grace of God we can receive truth, humility, and faith, but we must choose to allow God through His Spirit to affect the change we seek. We must open our hearts and our minds to the Spirit within or the success we seek will forever elude us. In the Spirit, His scriptures become more than just memory verses. They become instructions, which are alive within us directing both our words and our deeds. Any perceived judgments or condemnations we read into them are suddenly perceptions that bring urgency to our task. The testimonies of others take on the nature of revelatory experiences that fuel our diligence. Our own testimonies become statements of faith that feeds the faith of others. Even the songs of praise we sing causes our hearts to swell with love for those in need of the Gospel we have been given. Our hearts grow to the point that we now have room to receive and grasp fully all that is God. In the joy of fellowship with the Lord, we are able to serve Him diligently with a fullness of heart. In this we come to know Him as our Father, we become His children, and all that we do in fellowship with the people of God inspires us to go forward. 

From the hymn "Higher Ground":
I’m pressing on the upward way 
New heights I’m gaining every day 

Still praying as I’m onward bound 
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground

Lord, lift me up and let me stand 
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland 
A higher plane than I have found 
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground 

Brethren, enjoy all you have been given, because there is a world out there that is dedicated to stealing from you all that God has given. The challenges we will face are strong, devious, and effective. Any who seek to share the ways of God without leaning on the strength of His Holy Spirit risk failure. Christ met these challenges and like it or not, they got Him nailed to a tree at Easter time. 

John 19:5-7
19:5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!
19:6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him; for I find no fault in him.
19:7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

Understand that truth is a relative thing to the world. It can be counted and discounted in the length and breadth of a sentence. We are all part of the family of man and God is a Father to all who covenant with Him. This is a truism that was blatantly ignored by the Priesthood of Christ day. In their fear of their Roman rulers and their fervor to rid themselves of the zealot Jesus, they forgot or ignored that God offers all mankind the title of "Son of God".  

Genesis 6:67-71 

6:67 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water; and thus he was baptized.
6:68 And the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
6:69 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying, Thou art baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost; this is the record of the Father and the Son, from henceforth and forever;
6:70 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.
6:71 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

Many will try to convince you that God was only speaking of those who answered a call to be His Priesthood. Paul in his second letter to Timothy spoke to the very nature of our relationship to scripture. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17
3:16 And all scripture given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness;
3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

God's scriptures are a plain and precious truth for all His people. 

DC 90:8d What I say unto one I say unto all: Pray always, lest that wicked one have power in you, and remove you out of your place.

Understand the family portrait God drew and the one imposed on us by the world. In Christ's time covenant was a matter of birth and the blood of lineage. This was according to the traditions of man and their interpretation of the carnal laws of God. Christ came to restore the truth of covenant with God to the world. Covenant according to Christ is still a matter of birth and blood, but in Christ our birth is baptism and the lineage of blood we share is the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary. Our purity in God is based on the shared common understanding of faith in God and willing obedience to both His ways and His purpose. Instead of the covenant of birth within the linage of Jacob it became under the carnal laws given to Moses, it was once again a covenant of choice that it was in the time of Adam. All can choose to be reborn as a child of God. All can offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit and be cleansed in the waters of baptism. All can seek the baptism of fire and receive the Holy Spirit and the guidance it offers. All can walk the path of redemption and in that walk grow to the fullness of their creation. All can choose the purpose of God as their purpose, too. None are unworthy until they choose to be.  

Romans 8:15-17 
8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption; whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God;
8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Understand that the labor we accepted in covenant is not that much different than Christ's ministry 2000 years ago. People still have the need to know and we need to show them. The Sanhedrin was the ruling religious leadership council of Christ time and they represented all the holy knowledge of God available to God's covenant people. Christ came to teach that which had been lost to God's covenant people. They did not purposely do wrong. They did that which they thought was right. We as a people must be sure that as we labor for God's purpose we do it by God's way for God's purpose. We must always remember that if we fail to open our hearts at all times to God's Spirit within, we are not beyond the same ignorance that killed Christ and attempted to hide the heart of God from a world in need. We must realize that those we bring to the fullness of God's word will be challenged. We are telling them that the ways of their fathers are insufficient. We must prepare them to face the judgment by the world for the changes they accept. We must support them that they might go ever forward in the covenant they have accepted.

The ways of God are not the ways of man. At times the growth we seek will be hard to understand or accept and will sometimes seem to be no more than just pointless rebellion against the status quo. We must believe God, trust Him, and at the same time question all that is offered. Our faith in God is not a blind faith.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

This is a promise from God that our faith can be based on a sure foundation and He will offer us all the proofs we need, but we must be actively aware. We must pray. We must fast. We must fellowship and discuss among the people all that we are offered that we might form common understandings of all we are given. Will He hide from us? No, but if we choose to be alone and unaware He might be hard to find. Remember, the ways of God are not the ways of man, but He is our Father and He is only one prayer away.

DC 98:4f Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion, for all flesh is in mine hands: be still, and know that I am God.

What I share with you this day is a fact that you must hold dear to your heart. We are part of a family of man and we were made to care for each other. That which we strive to accomplish is introducing the world to our Father, gather them together that all might be nurtured in the loving arms of fellowship within the Church, and allow our family portrait to include all who choose to join us in the joy we have been given. Yes it is a labor extraordinaire', but trust me..............we are not even close to being alone. 

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