As social people we appear to have an innate desire to identify with others. Th obvious example is the family unit. Many would argue that this is the most significant and influential small group in ours or any other society, worldwide.
Next we have the extended family. In many, especially eastern societies this is more the basic group rather than the western nuclear family. We see two, three or even four generations living together as a single unit.
When family units begin to break down in large numbers, whether it’s the nuclear variety or the extended family, it has profound and usually negative effects on the nations involved. Single parent families and the frequency of divorce/separation in some western countries are examples of this.
Perhaps the most outstanding example of a nation which has held onto the family ethic is the Jews. From the time of the call of Abraham to the present day, the strength of the Israelite nation has been its adherence to family values as taught in the Torah – the Hebrew sacred writings and teachings taken collectively, what we call the Old Testament of the Bible.
The nation has its own calendar, including 7 – Annual Feasts, marked by 3 – national holidays. The first is Passover, which lasts 8 – days and occurs in March/April. The second, Pentecost, is in May/June. The third, Tabernacles, is in Sept/Oct. on each of these three occasions the Jews gather together to celebrate.
“Passover” celebrates release from slavery in Egypt. “Pentecost” celebrates harvest and Moses receiving the 10 – Commandments on Mount Sinai. “Tabernacles” celebrates God’s promised presence with his people. The Jews had a tabernacle (a tent which they carried around in the desert) built for God to live in amongst them.
You may be wondering why I have explained all this? Its because I think that this national structure of Feasts is a major factor in uniting the nation together in remembrance and celebration of who they are. It reminds them regularly of everything God has done for them and reaffirms their weekly Sabbath celebrations as individual families and their weekly participation in the local synagogue.
The whole thing, taken together gives them a powerful identification with God, as individuals, families and as a nation. In the western world we have the Christian celebrations of Easter (corresponding to Jewish Passover), Whitsuntide (corresponding to Jewish Pentecost) and Christmas, and Christians usually meet weekly in local churches.
Secular western societies tend to use birthdays and other family gatherings, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving to celebrate particular milestones in people’s lives and celebrations of various festivals. These also bind our society together in a generally accepted oneness. It is worth noting that we also use historical events such as St David’s Day (Wales), St Patrick’s Day (Ireland) and St George’s Day (England) to celebrate our particular traditions. Remembrance Days are also significant, like Armistice Day (11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, each year) which is used to remember all who died in the defence of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in conflicts with other nations. It is noteworthy that these celebrations include Commonwealth Countries, such as Australia, Canada, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Kenya and Bangladesh.
It seems that identity matters. It addresses a human need. It is worth noting that the Bible has a lot to say about identity and self-worth, whether you are Hebrew, Christian, Agnostic or Atheist.
|Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.||Smith Wigglesworth|
|In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.||Eric Hoffer|
|Take what bothers you most as an invitation by God to work at solving that problem.||Lance Wallnau|
|Without grace, life is filled with struggle, it is not a life we enjoy; but with his grace, we can enter the rest (peace) of the Lord and experience joy unspeakable and full of glory.||Joyce Meyer|
|You never lose; you win or you learn.||Nelson Mandela|
|Your behaviour won't change until your thoughts change. As long as you think, "I can't do this", you are never going to be able to do it!||Joyce Meyer|
|I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am only moved by what I believe.||Smith Wigglesworth|
|Leadership is not about titles, positions or flow charts. It's about one life influencing another.||John Maxwell|
|If God is enthroned on my praise, who is enthroned on my complaining? If I enter his gates with praise, who's gates am I entering when I complain?||Bill Johnson|
|When we believe in God's sovereignty, and not our own understanding, we'll see how our problems will never outweigh what God has promised us (Prov. 3:5 NIV)||T D Jakes|
|Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.||Jim Rhon|
|If I give up my right to understand, He will give me the peace that passes understanding.||Bill Johnson|
|Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.||Winston Churchill|
|You can't change your life, but if you change your mind, God will transform your life.||Kris Vallotton|
|In prayer we bring our spiritual enemies into the presence of God.||Jarrod Cooper|
|Once in a while we manage to stumble on the truth, but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.||Winston Churchill|
|The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.||Winston Churchill|
|When the Lord says, "Do something", the favour needed to do it is already attached to the command.||David Forster|
|Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, then you aren't.||Margaret Thatcher|
|The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but God will make us good because he loves us.||C S Lewis|
|Fear is misplaced faith.||Kris Vallotton|
|God has already seen every mistake, every failure and every weakness, and the good news is he's already forgiven you. He is not holding it against you.||Joel Osteen|
|God is not nearly so interested in changing your circumstances as he is in changing you.||Joyce Meyer|
|Pray, and let God worry||Martin Luther|
|Those who never change their mind never change anything.||Winston Churchill|
|What you do (for a living) is not who you are.||Celia Apeagyei-Collins|
|People who write you off when you fail know nothing about history and even less about life. No person ever fully succeeds until they fully fail.||Lance Wallnau|
|There is no uncreated being except God. God has no opposite. Satan, the leader or dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael.||C S Lewis|
|He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.||Jim Elliot|
|You never know how much you really believe anything until it's truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life or death to you.||C S Lewis|
|If you know you are loved, faith is easy. It's easy to trust someone you know loves you.||David Forster|
|Every moment that you spend upset, despaired, anguished, angry, afraid or hurt, because of the behaviour of someone else in your life, is a moment in which you have given up control of your life.||Unknown|
|Remember, you do not have to live today by how you feel, nor by what you think about yourself, nor by what someone else thinks about you. The person who created you thinks you are wonderful, and he waits with open arms for you to agree with him.||David Forster|
|Shift gears from doing something in God's presence to simply being in God's presence.||Lance Wallnau|
|Your future doesn't depend on what is in front of you, it depends on who is in you.||Lance Wallnau|
|Did you know that you are utterly and completely loved by God, without doing a single thing, good or bad.||David Forster|
|no one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good..||C S Lewis|
|If we are living daily by faith, we will be constantly over our head; Beyond our ability to do this our that. We should all be in that place in some area of our life. If we are not, we will be like an old wineskin; too rigid and inflexible to receive the Lord's new wine.||Rick Joyner|
|For a believer intimacy with God is not an option, it's a necessity. Guidance and direction depend on this intimacy and sensitivity to Holy Spirit. There is no substitute for the latter.||Graham Cooke|
|Jesus reveals the Father to us. He gives us peace and rest. He is not a hard taskmaster.||David Forster|
|The God who creates everything, pursues you. Don't let anyone tell you you're are worth less than that.||Louie Giglio|
|In the kingdom, physical obedience brings spiritual release.||Bill Johnson|
|Don't be surprised if you pray for nearness to God and he sends a trial. Nearness always requires dependence.||Desiringgod.org|
|Our corporate worship doesn't meet a need in God, it meets a need in us.||Sam Storms|
|How you feel is not who you are. Feelings are great servants and terrible masters.||Kris Vallotton|
|There is a lot that is good in your life. Don't take it for granted. Don't get so focused on the struggle that you mis the gift of today.||Joel Osteen|
|The enemy commits identity theft when you believe you must earn what God freely gives.||Alison Brown|
|If you agree with your creator and receive what he freely gives, you will have serenity in your identity and confidence in your countenance.||David Forster|
|If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.||David Forster|
|A satisfying and exciting life organises around an identity focused on Jesus, not the church..||Graham Cooke|
|Satan cannot impose his will on anyone, he has to have our agreement.||Graham Cooke|
|Every day adjust yourself to where God is taking you, that is, toward the prophetic vision he has given you.||Lance Wallnau|
|Real faith is not faith in an outcome (of a particular situation or circumstance), it's faith in a person.||David Forster|
|Be in no doubt that God will redeem the losses and mistakes of your past life.||David Forster|
|God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because there is simply no such thing.||C S Lewis|
|Wealth, women and status; these are the major temptations that can draw a man away from God. Each is morally neutral; yet given the appropriate significance, each can control us.||David Forster|
|The devil's finest trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist.||Anon|
|Fear is the enemy of love. The two cannot exist together. We have to choose daily: Fear or Love.||David Forster|
|You are not saved because of the quality of your faith. You are saved because of the object of your faith; The Redeemer!||Tim Keller|
|Revival goes from the bottom up; Reformation goes from the top down. Therefore reformation is institutional and revival is personal.||Lance Wallnau|
|Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.||Albert Einstein|
|Inner peace is key to experiencing God's presence. Rest is a weapon against the enemy||Graham Cooke|
|Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons exist. Children know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.||G K Chesterton|
|When you are at peace with God, you will be at peace with yourself and with other people.||David Forster|
|You can believe in Christianity in the same way you believe that the sun has risen; Firstly, because you see it and secondly because by it you see everything else.||C S Lewis|
|A little while ago I became old enough to start believing in fairy tales again. This means there are far better things ahead of me then what I have left behind.||C S Lewis|
|Your unfinished destiny is your most potent argument with death.||Graham Cooke|
|I am not focused on what I am not, I am focused on what he is for me.||David Forster|