God Gives Us Family of the Heart

 mountain hike trail top

Emily, me, Silvana, and Sarah at the top of Lookout Trail

I went hiking with three of my four daughters earlier this week. Together, we trekked along Lookout Trail in Montreat, NC. At the top of the trail, we enjoyed a spectacular view of the Seven Sisters mountain range. However, the best scenery I experienced involved watching the three girls interact and treasure their time together.

When I say I have four daughters, I include Silvana Milic, who joined our family as an exchange student from Croatia in 1995. I have been blessed with three daughters of the home (Katie, Emily, and Sarah), and one daughter of the heart (Silvana). (Well, they’re all daughters of the heart . . . but you get the point!)

My three daughters and son Patrick view Silvana like another sister. They have remained close over the past 19 years. My heart warms every time I see them reunite and continue to treasure one another.

It’s the same way in the family of God. We might not all come from the same genetic pool, but as Christians, we share the same bloodline. We belong to the family of God by the blood of Jesus Christ. “Yet to all who did receive Him [Jesus], to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13, NIV).

When we join God’s family by receiving and identifying ourselves with Jesus, we join a forever family. We are children of God’s heart. As members of the same family, we are called to come alongside one another with:


Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35, NIV). Love sets us apart and identifies us as members of the same family. Love is a choice. Love involves doing what is best for another member of the family of God.

“Keep fervent in your love for one another,” we are told in 1 Peter 4:8, NASB. The words “keep fervent” mean pushing to the finish, or stretching for the tape in an athletic race. In other words, we are called to stretch in our love for one another, to give all we’ve got in loving one another. That’s what Jesus did, and He wants to help us do the same.


Family members protect one another. We are warned, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NLT).  Experts on safaris have observed that lions always go after the animal that has separated itself from the herd. Any creature that is isolated and alone is weaker, more vulnerable, and a target for destruction.

In the same way, God’s family offers us strength, protection, and security as we face the trials and temptations of life. We are not meant to go it alone. We are encouraged to continue meeting and being together with other believers (Hebrews 10:25), for we draw strength from one another when we are with one another.


We also receive encouragement from one another. We are urged to, “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness,” (Hebrews 10:13, NIV). We help one another in God’s family to keep on keeping on. The Lord knew we would need to help spur one another on toward the finish line. It’s one of the reasons He put us together as family.

Love, protection, and encouragement. These are some of the qualities we should be experiencing as members of God’s family. They are also gifts we should be giving to other believers if we know Jesus. He helps us to develop these qualities. He is quite familiar with them. Throughout His life, Jesus displayed these powerful traits to members of His family. Let’s hope others can see the “family resemblance” because we do the same.

Question: Who in God’s family has shown you the love, protection, and encouragement of Jesus? Comment at the link below.

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