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Summary: Excerpt from the book, Living Forgiven

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Accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior made us a member of His family, the Body of Christ, and we also became His bride. We were grafted into the vine, the bloodline of Jesus. This made us in an instant a blood relative to every Christian throughout time, co-equal with every believer as a brother and sister having the same father. All believers are bonded into the same family.

As an adoptee, I experienced the special blessing of being chosen by a family to raise me as their own! I was wanted! My character, values, work ethic, and the principles I live by are all primarily a result of the environment in which I was raised. However, my nature-the genetic make-up of who I am-is a direct result of the genes passed down through the bloodline. There are many theories of environment versus genetics in how we mature as adults, but I can tell you from my personal experience that genetics play the most significant role.

During the birth of my daughter, I saw for the first time someone who looked like me! She had my ears and eyes. When she focused on something, she got an intense look on her face that reminded me so much of myself.

For years I’d had many questions about my medical history and heritage. After the birth of my daughter, those questions ultimately led me to begin the search for my birth family. When I finally found them, I felt as though I had come home from a long journey! However, it was not because I needed to find love-because I had been loved and cared for by my adoptive family. It was more a feeling of being complete. I was with people I looked like and who had similar mannerisms and talents.

It gave me a sense of belonging. Yet, it also caused internal struggle, because I found it was easy to love my newly-found birth family. My heart was torn as I tried to deal with the deep love and loyalty I felt for my adopted family, as well as the newly-found feelings for my birth family. It took quite a while before I was able to put into proper perspective the special relationship I now have with both families.

*When you became a Christian, you found a new family, made up of those who have the same re-created nature in spite of their differences.

Yet, they are totally unique and different in personality, talents, and abilities. As a member of the Body of Christ, it is important that we understand what Christian unity is by learning to treat one another with the same love and care that we should find in our own "earthly" family.

There will always be those in our "heavenly" family that say and do things that cause great hurt and pain and, as a result, need to be forgiven. Jesus prayed that all Christians would become one as He is one with the Father. (John 17:11) We may understand that all Christians are one, and see the need for oneness in the Church, but misunderstand the fundamental meaning.

*Christian unity is not based upon agreeing with one another, or having the same doctrinal beliefs. Nor is it compromising your beliefs for the sake of unity.

*Oneness comes when we recognize the true meaning of our relationship to one another.

Just before He ascended into heaven, Jesus commanded the disciples not to "leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised," which they had heard Jesus speak of "but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." He told them, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:4,8)

At the beginning of Acts, we read, "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." (Acts 2:2-4 KJV)

The day of Pentecost was the day the Church universal began. It was the day the Holy Spirit was poured out to permanently reside within believers. Prior to that day, the Holy Spirit was given on a temporary basis to select individuals and He could depart at any time.

When Moses finished the first Temple (called the Tabernacle) in the wilderness as the Lord had commanded him, the people were all in one accord, walking in obedience to the Lord. "Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle." (Exodus 40:34) This was because the Lord was pleased with the obedience of Moses and the people.

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