I have a few quotes stored up in my cluttered mind just for special occasions or topics. Those closest to me (and maybe people not that close) probably know which one I’m going to use right before it comes out of my mouth (if you live around the same people long enough, you get predictable). One of my favorites is reserved for conversations about family conflict. As you well know, there isn’t much of a shortage of those kinds of discussions. The quote I use at those times is from the old sitcom, “Everybody Loves Raymond.” While it is said in jest (mostly), I can’t remember anyone ever disagreeing with it. It usually elicits a slow shaking of the head and an eyeroll, as if to say, “ain’t it the truth!” It’s something Raymond said (and the show regularly demonstrated), “Nothing good can come from family.” Even though I’m not exactly the poster-child for intimate family ties, you know (I hope) that I don’t really believe that statement to be true. My purpose today is the opposite, to highlight the value of family. But here’s the catch. It’s not about families related through human blood ties, but through the ties of the blood of our sweet Savior, Jesus! With human skin-kin, we have strife because we are all so fractured. But in the family of God, we are constantly being transformed and called to peace with each other. In the New Testament book written to family members who lived in Rome, Paul put it this way, “May God who gives patience, steadiness, and encouragement help you to live in complete harmony with each other—each with the attitude of Christ toward the other. And then all of us can praise the Lord together with one voice, giving glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So warmly welcome each other into the church, just as Christ has warmly welcomed you; then God will be glorified.” Romans 15:5–7 (The Living Bible). This is fresh in my mind because we had a special time with family just two evenings ago at GFF. We called it a healing service, but really, it was an extension of quality, loving, powerful family time. All who came, called out to our Father (with the help of Jesus and the Spirit), surrounded our brothers and sisters with prayers of support & encouragement, and reaped the benefits of divine kinship. It is in this environment that sin is cleansed, bondages are broken, and power and guidance are given (and a host of other things)! I was moved to tears by the sense of family. So, I’m wondering if you are part of a family that moves you to positive tears (Paul used the word “warmly”)? Are you knitted into a family unit around the Father? If this raises questions in your spirit, there is more than one possible problem. It could be that you haven’t opened up enough in the family you claim. It takes a vulnerable relationship investment to find a connection of family intimacy. Give your time, talents, and treasure to those family members. It could be that you haven’t found the family God designed you to be involved with. Ask Him to lead you! It may possible be that you have never truly joined God’s family. Not a church, mind you, but really turning your life over to Jesus. It’s as simple as saying, “I’m ready now, Lord.” Then, find a family! He did not create us to function without one!