Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FOLD (10/08/15)
TITLE: We Are "Ohana"
By Chris Goglin
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Family can also be referred to any special group of people. For example, a baseball or football team, a college alumni community, or a close-knit Bible study group. You don’t have to be in the immediate family to reap the rewards of Ohana, you can be adopted into the fold, therefore... no one is forgotten.
"Little Italy" neighborhoods are located throughout the country defining the Italian heritage through customs, specialty foods, and festivals. China-towns in New York City and San Francisco house thousands of residents displaying their authentic ethnic traditions. Additionally, even Hawaii has a very large group of Japanese people who have their own cultures and habits...most living in harmony. How blessed we are to experience the love of family in so many different venues.
A "family membership" is a special honor. In Biblical times, a sheepfold was a large wall of stones that protected a Shepherd's sheep from the dangers of the night. They were safe there and able to rest in the Shepherd's love and guidance. In the Scriptures, Jesus explains...how believers are much like sheep that resemble a family.
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." (John 10:14-15)
The Shepherd "knows" his sheep and they know Him. Jesus loves His "sheep" and invites them into His fold of protection by His gift of salvation. He was willing to lay down his life, as many of us would do to protect our own children or close friends. How strong the bond is between family...and the sacrifices we all make. We fall short, and sometimes don't know where to turn, hence, we are like lost sheep needing a Shepherd. How fortunate we are to have a wise Counselor who forgives us for our blunders and always leads us back to the fold.
We are on God's side when we believe and accept Jesus into our hearts; we join His family of believers and are forever included in the "fold" or "Ohana." Indeed, no matter what difficulty we encounter, or what part of the country we live in, we can be reassured that believers will step up and help us. We feel "at home" around believers, because they are "Ohana."
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