Laura Laho | The Voice of Zion January 2023 - Home and Family Article --
To be a citizen in God’s kingdom is an immeasurable gift. As believers, we have a secure group of solid support, the congregation of God!
At times it may feel that we are on this pathway to heaven alone. It may take a trial or significant happening in our lives to feel the support from our congregation and other believers. Let us remember that we are not alone in this endeavor and the abundant support of our fellow believers is closer than we often allow ourselves to receive!
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19). We can be comforted with these words written in the holy Scriptures, reassuring us that what we have in common through our mutual faith is more meaningful than whatever earthly differences we may experience. No matter our origins, our culture, language or appearance, we are walking alongside our escorts in the same household, journeying together towards our mutual destination, the shores of heaven!
Family of Three
Sarah Muhonen | The Voice of Zion January 2023 - Home and Family Article --
Being parents of an only child is somewhat uncommon in Zion, yet we are so thankful for our 5-year-old son Elliot!
Like many couples, we were hopeful as newlyweds that God would bless us with children. Yet due to health issues, we were somewhat prepared that it might not happen. We were blessed with our first and only child after almost seven years of marriage.
In our parenting journey, there have been times when I, Sarah, have felt I’m not really a mom, since my role seems quite different from moms of large families or moms with multiple young kids and growing families. I’m thankful I have been able to share this struggle with others, and it no longer troubles me like it did. Often, a simple shift in perspective or visiting with others can brighten the difficult moments.
Amid these various stages it has been a blessing to be involved in church work, such as music and camps, which help us feel connected with believers in all ages and stages of life.
We appreciate noticing and learning things in Elliot’s development and life. As he gets older, we enjoy playing games, disc golf and family time together. It’s a joy to observe his interest, his skills and his developing friendships.
Even one child makes us parents, and it is nice to visit with other families of all sizes. We can learn from others’ experiences and receive advice for situations we encounter.
It may seem that with one child, the parents would have more time to themselves. However juggling the housework, careers and other duties with meeting Elliot’s needs is often challenging. Finding a good balance in life is an ongoing endeavor.
In a world that values individuality and control over such things as family size and number of children, it is a comfort to be able to trust God in this matter. He allots our portion, according to His will.
Children are a gift from God. They remind us of the simplicity of life, and they teach us so much. They need our love and care to feel safe and secure in this world. Our own poor qualities can sometimes keep us from seeing our children as they are and from understanding their developmental needs. We may unknowingly expect more than the child is capable of. A child’s development is not always linear, which can cause us parents to reconsider our expectations.
For those with children, parenting is one of their most important roles. Despite our weaknesses, God gives us the experiences and resources we need.
In parenting as in all areas of life, we are faulty and it’s important to recognize when actions are inappropriate and when there is need to apologize to our child. The gospel is so important in daily life! Asking for and preaching the gospel helps renew our relationship, and it can comfort our child when he is sad, remorseful or acting out. We marvel at the peace that comes from the preached gospel, even at such a young age.
Through challenges and joys, this gift of parenthood and a child has blessed our life in countless ways. We are so thankful to be part of God’s family just as we are, a family of three. We often pray that someday Elliot could have siblings.
But whatever God wills, whether our family is large or small, we can trust we and Elliot will be given the escorts we need in God’s house, amidst brothers and sisters in faith.
The Most Important Family
Susan Kiviahde | The Voice of Zion January 2023 - Home and Family Article --
God’s family is the most important family in my life. Of course, my husband, children, parents and siblings are also important, and if this family is also a part of God’s Family – that is a wonderful blessing.
Once, I had to choose which family was the most important. This happened during the heresy of 1973. Yet it wasn’t my decision. By the grace of God, the true kingdom of God was revealed to me.
It was a time of many questions, and also a time of seeking the truth, so along with many others, I also had to study the Bible to find answers to the many doctrinal questions. For example, one of the controversial questions was “sins unto death,” whether committing name sins caused one to fall into unbelief. But when a dear speaker brother attended haps one evening and read from the Bible, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15). I had to believe that certain sins may bring unbelief with them.
I also attended several meetings where it was apparent that there were two groups. The voice of the Holy Spirit was heard as a loving call to repentance to those that were straying, and the strange voice showed anger and bitterness toward that call.
As my temporal family was straying and trying to pull me along, one of the Bible passages that spoke to me was Jesus’ words: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37). I knew that I needed to stay with the believers no matter what my family did.
When God revealed to me the true kingdom of God, my inward battle of confusion was lifted, and I felt peace and happiness. I attended the Cokato meeting and again saw the difference in the two groups. So when the believers walked out of the Cokato church, I had to follow, as I knew that the Holy Spirit was leaving.
Later, I found truth in the words of Jesus, “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matt. 19:29).
After this difficult time, I moved to Finland where I met my husband. I have been blessed with a large family and a wonderful life amid the family of God.
1. What aspects of family life come to mind when you think of the family of God?
2. Describe a time when you felt “secure in the family of God” (SHZ 226).
3. Explain how God’s family can help during times of spiritual unrest.
4. How does a spirit of heresy impact God’s family?
5. What story in the Bible reminds you of the importance of unity in God’s family?