Family the way God intended

cropped-s004_babykissingman.jpgIf we are to replicate ourselves as Christians and the human race is to continue then we must produce children.

I want to discuss some conditions under which a young man could create and lead a God-serving family.

God prescribed the context in which children are to be produced … a man leaving his mother and father and cleaving to his wife and the two becoming one flesh. (Matt 19:5)

Any other arrangement leads either to a dysfunctional society or the very end of the human race.

I will therefore start the discussion on “Family the way God intended” in the context of marriage and the production and grooming of offspring.

I would suggest that to develop a Christian family you need a devout God-fearing husband and wife.

  1. My first bit of advice then would be choose your partner wisely. A bad marriage is the Christian’s worst nightmare.

Today, young women seem desperate to have their own live dolly. Young men are challenged to resist the widespread promiscuity and pornography around them.  Unfortunately, some of our brothers and sisters are giving in to the temptation and giving Christianity a bad name.

Please note that while a purchaser might be happy to take a spin in the Test Drive/Demo vehicle they want a brand new one when they are ready to purchase.

This is not intended to be an affront to anyone or to condemn the many families that are not designed the way God planned it.

However, the fact is that bearing children outside of marriage is not part of God’s plan for the family.

The response of those who want to remain faithful is to satisfy those needs by seeking refuge in marriage. Who could complain about that?

1 Cor 7: Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

My issue with that is that marriage should not be based solely on satisfying those desires. What happens after you have satisfied the flesh?

You need to ensure that you select a partner that is keenly interested and invested in serving God. That immediately reduces a lot of the friction and distraction that plague marriages.

Family the way God intended it is only possible if your partner will also serve Him.

  1. The next thing that will create the environment for the development and growth of a Christian family is the need for you to be the example.

You have to model what you want your partner and children to be. Taking them to church and Bible Study is fine. But they are more likely to copy what they see you do than follow what they hear in a sermon.

Demonstrate to them what a dynamic prayer life is like. When real pressure reaches you show them that by leaning on the everlasting arms you need not despair. When you celebrate your successes take care to give God the glory and thanks.

Avoid trying to create a fake reality. Let them know when you are challenged.

This might be tricky for some, but I also believe that you should not hide away all your disputes with your spouse. Demonstrate that in real live there are going to be disagreements and show that you are able to resolve them in ways that are pleasing to God.

We have to prepare our families to operate in the world even though they are not of the world.

Some families have the shock of their lives as soon as their children get to an age where they can exercise their independence. Why do so many fall away at university?

Lay a solid foundation based on encouraging independent thought. Teach them to have a questioning mind and to have answers for why they hold things as being true.

But that is for later. Back to the infant stage.

  1. Start early with getting them involved in prayer and worship activities.

Teach them to give thanks for their food even when they can only get out the Amen. Let them experience praying before going to bed.

Take them to church consistently. They don’t miss school neither should they miss worship. As soon as they can recognize words, point out words in the song books. Teach them Christian songs at home.

  1. Feed them on a diet of wholesome entertainment. Show them that the Christian is not condemned to a life of boredom.

Show them that Christians can and do enjoy themselves. If they grow up with good clean fun they will be better able to respond to the stories of secular enjoyment that their friends at school will share.

You do not want them to feel like their friends are out enjoying their young lives and they are shut up in a prison called Christianity.

  1. Create the same excitement about going to Church as you do about starting school or attending some special event
  1. Surround yourself with like-minded people. What kind of friends (“Uncles and Aunties”) are they associating with? Are these people coming by in bathing suits and sand on their feet when you are returning from worship? Is their lifestyle one that you want your children to emulate?

Be overly cautious in who gains access and influence with your family!!! Not just the children but also wife and husband. Hair curling things are happening at the hands of “trusted” friends.

  1. You might have to sever long-standing friendships if they put your family at risk in terms of their relationship with God. Choose who you will serve!

Joshua 24:15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whoyou will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

 Prepare yourself to offer sound counsel.

Children need answers. Create an environment in which you are one of the first sources of advice and information that they choose.

You do not have to have a doctorate or 12 CXCs. But open your mind to things that matter. Read or listen to trusted sources of information. Know things. Ask questions. Prepare yourself to guide your children as they navigate through life. The scriptures is the greatest guide to successful living. Search it daily for answers.

If you are discredited as a source of information – never available, or your constant response is “I don’t know” – then the children will have to look outside exclusively for answers.

You will lose your influence over them. You will only be their parent biologically but not functionally.

But what if you have a mature family that is not operating the way that God intended?

The wife and husband are not seeing eye-to-eye. Grown children have no interest in serving God.

My view is that the Husband has the responsibility as the God-designated head of the household to put things in order. He has to do whatever is necessary to be reconciled to his wife … even sacrificing “being right.”

You should avoid using threats and coercion to bring the children in line. “As long as you are under my roof” only works until they get the first opportunity to move out.

Sit down and listen. What is going on in their minds? What are the issues that they are having? When you know what is going on with them you stand a better chance of being able to find common ground. Imposing your will is not sustainable. You can’t monitor them 24/7/365 and forever.

What if the father is the source of the problems and will not subject himself to the will of God?

That is the biggest threat to the family as God intended it.

In that case, the wife has to assume leadership of the process to create a God-fearing family. Notice the role of Lois and Eunice

2 Tim 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Prov 31: 10A wife of noble character who can find?     She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,   all the days of her life.

1 Peter 3: 1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

If you are hearing my voice, please note that Family the way God intended, is designed to be built around Christian parents. Husbands and wives who have obeyed the Gospel.

They have heard and believed that through the disobedience of man, sin entered the world and condemned mankind to the second death. That Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins through His death and resurrection.

They must decide to change to a life of obedience and to make it known publicly that they accept that Jesus is the son of God. They must then be immersed in baptism for the removal of their sins and arise to walk in the light of God’s word.

Who will make a commitment right now to create a family the way God intended?

Who will start working today to bring their family members to the point of being reconciled with the Almighty God?

Who is ready right now to forsake their life of sin and to wash away their sins in baptism?

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Embarrassment Exposed!

Nobody likes to experience embarrassment. Yet, it seems to be part of the reality for most of us.

Embarrassment impacts some people more than others. Some individuals with self-esteem challenges actually curtail interaction with others so as to avoid experiencing embarrassment.

One common error with respect to embarrassment is the notion that someone can embarrass you. We say to our children, “Don’t embarrass me in public!”

The reality is that embarrassment takes place when what is revealed is not in keeping with the image we try to or want to present.

The child’s unruly behavior causes us to choose to be embarrassed because we would like to portray the image of a parent who is able to properly discipline our children. If that were to be true then the episode would not be occurring or would it?

If we accept the reality that our kid behaves in this socially unacceptable way in private and in public then we are faced with another reality. If further, we accept that we are at our wits end working to correct this behavioral issue, then we are better served by seeking help than by being embarrassed. Being embarrassed reflects a sense of “Oh, no! I have been found out.” It produces a sense of shame.

There is a subtle difference between accepting the need for corrective action and being embarrassed – feeling ashamed.

For example, one parent will use the temper tantrum display to reinforce their commitment to getting help if necessary to correct the behavioral challenge.

The parent who chooses the route of embarrassment, either puts on a sheepish grin and beats a hasty retreat or enters into a stern attempt at discipline that is more designed to save face than to achieve any sustainable behavior modification in the child.

When our reality is not what we want others to know, we feel embarrassed. If we are comfortable with “what is” then we feel no discomfort when it is exposed. This relates to our financial situation being shown to be less stable than we would like others to know. Or, our actions being out of step with the value system that we claim to live by.

For example, the professing Christian who is caught in a blatant lie often chooses to be embarrassed. A more useful response would be to recognize the failing and to pray for guidance in avoiding future occurrences.

The so-called “expert” whose competence is found wanting can choose to be embarrassed or can view the incident as a wake-up call to go and get the requisite training.

The next time you feel embarrassed, spend a moment in reflection to identify what reality has been exposed that is not in sync with the image that you would like to portray. Make a commitment to correct the situation.

Can How To Raise Children Affect Your Marriage?

The techniques that are used to raise children are often handed down through generations without much modification. The principles laid down by great grandparents and their attitude to discipline tend to be evident in the child rearing practices of the present generation.

This is compounded by the fact that two separate family trees have contended on a daily basis through these generations about the principles and techniques to be used. Even minor differences in approach might produce conflict because parents are passionate about what is best for their children.

Read more….