The Bible: a strength to families

Family life can certainly be challenging. Frictions can develop over financial, career, and parental demands. Yet by turning to God and to His Word in the Bible, we can find relief from pressures and gain the inspiration we need to enjoy a happy family life. There have been many times when I have been ''brought to my knees'' to admit that I needed spiritual inspiration. I needed to go straight to the Bible for insight that would set me on the right track again.

The Bible has taught me that in the truest sense my family is loved and cared for by God, divine Love, our Father-Mother, not by a little mortal desperately trying to cover all the bases. When I am humble enough to go to the Bible, I am always amazed at its relevance to my current need. In fact, the spiritual truths found in the Scriptures can apply to every human problem.

Here are just a few of the family-related healings found in the Bible: two brothers are reunited after long-standing animosity between them (Jacob and Esau); n1 a penniless single parent is provided with the means to support her child (the widow of Zarephath); n2 an immigrant widow caring for her mother-in-law finds security and a loving family in her new country (Ruth); n3 an epileptic boy is healed and freed to experience a normal childhood (one of Christ Jesus' healings). n4

n1 See Genesis, chaps. 27-33.

n2 See I Kings 17:8-16.

n3 See book of Ruth.

n4 See Matthew 17:14-18.

The more we turn to the Bible, the more we see the evidence of God's goodness and availability. Mary Baker Eddy n5 gives as the first important point, or tenet, of Christian Science, ''As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.'' n6

n5 Mrs. Eddy is the Doscoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

n6 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 497.

Christian Science encourages each individual to search the Scriptures for himself to discover man's actual heritage as the child of God, of ever-present good. This Science points to the Biblically supported fact that man, as God created him, is not truly a sinner or a self-made, self-willed entity but the very reflection, the image, of his creator. Through divine design we were created to be a blessing.

Certainly this is a very different view from the common conception of man as a burdened, errant mortal trying to get along with other burdened, errant mortals! But it's a view that brings healing.

The Lord's Prayer begins, ''Our Father which art in heaven . . . .'' n7 In those few simple words are summed up Christ Jesus' view of God and man. We see creator and creation as related in a perfect, ''heavenly'' family bond. Jesus' entire ministry is evidence of the parent-love of God and of our need to acknowledge that we are indeed the Father-Mother's beloved. This heavenly bond was not something otherworldly to the Master. ''The kingdom of heaven is at hand ,'' n8 he said. And he proved it throughout his ministry.

n7 Matthew 6:9.

n8 Matthew 4:17.

The inestimable value of understandingly praying the Lord's Prayer and seeking guidance in the Bible is that it helps lift our thought higher, bringing us into harmony with the ever-operative law of spiritual good. It helps us to raise our standard and truly live the life of a Christian and experience the freedom that Christianity promises.

Traits such as stubbornness, resentment, selfishness, discouragement, begin to dissolve as we steadfastly trust in God's love and strive to express it in the way Jesus taught. Working to reflect God's love is wonderfully freeing. It brings harmony to the family and to every aspect of our experience. Limited, materially based ways of thinking and living begin to fade, and we can feel the sureness that comes with knowing the absolute reliability of divine law.

For all generations, the Bible and the truths it presents will remain a firm cornerstone for building and preserving a secure and harmonious family life. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus. Romans 15:4,5

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