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Category Archives: Family

Suggestions gleaned from 47 years of a happy marriage


The key to a successful marriage is treating your spouse as the ‘most important person in the world’ everyday and putting their needs ahead of your own. Image may contain: 2 people, including Terry J. Moore Davenport, people standing

  1. Listen
    To be truly heard is the longing  of every human heart, and your wife is no exception. It sounds simple, but  listening can be harder than it seems with so many distractions around us and within us. Set aside some time every day to look into your wife’s eyes and really listen to what she has to say. You may be surprised at what you hear. (James 1:19Matthew 11:15)
  2. Communicate
    Don’t make her guess what you are thinking or feeling. Talk.
  3. Sing  Her Praises
    Shamelessly brag about her good qualities and quietly pray about her bad ones. Her reputation is your reputation. (Proverbs 31:28-29)
  4. Pray For Her
    Praying on your wife’s behalf  not only enlists the help of the Almighty, but also puts her and her needs at the forefront of your heart and mind, right where they belong.(Philippians 4:6Matthew 18:19)
  5. Value Her Individuality
    Your wife is wonderfully unique. Don’t compare her to your mom, or your ex-wife, or your old girlfriend.  Your mom may make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, but unfavorable comparisons won’t win you brownie points.
  6. Put the Seat Down
    Perpetually raised toilet seats are a pet peeve of wives everywhere. And while you’re at it, tidy up a bit. A little consideration goes a long way. (Philippians 2:4)
  7. Throw  Your Dirty Clothes in the Hamper
    It’s likely just a few steps from wherever you are dropping them anyway. Make this a habit, and it will let your wife know your don’t consider her your personal maid.
  8. Turn  Off the T.V.
    Lay aside the video games, pocket the iPhone, and shut off the computer, as well. It is staggering how many hours we waste gazing at some sort of screen instead of      interacting with the real people in our lives. Consciously set limits on      your tube-time, whatever form it takes. Use the time saved to invest in      your marriage: take a walk with your wife or play a board game together      instead. (Psalm 90:12)
  9. Loosen  the Purse Strings
    We all have to keep an eye on our budget, but an occasional splurge can be well worth it. Seemingly frivolous things like flowers, jewelry, and overpriced restaurants let her know that she is more valuable to you than a number in your bank account.
  10. Practice  Servant-Leadership
    All organizations have a  hierarchy. It’s impossible to function without one, but being a leader isn’t the same as being a dictator. The best role model is Jesus Christ, not Joseph Stalin. Jesus washed his disciples feet and then died on their behalf. It’s a challenge to exercise authority while maintaining a spirit of humility, but that is what being a godly leader entails. (Matthew 20:28,Philippians 2:1-8Mark 9:35)
  11. Remember that Intimacy’s a Two-Way Street
    Unfortunately, men are  notoriously selfish in the bedroom, yet are dumbfounded when their wives are less than enthusiastic in this arena. Make this area of your relationship as pleasurable for her as it is for you and it will pay huge dividends. It may mean washing the dishes or helping with the kids, so that she has energy left at the end of the day. It may mean cuddling  and candlelight, so that she can relax and let the worries on her mind drift away. If you aren’t sure where to begin, just ask her, and then listen. (1 Corinthians 7:3)
  12. Give Her Time to Herself
    Everyone needs an occasional break to rest and recharge, and this is especially important for a wife who is at home all day with young children. Yet it’s very easy to neglect this legitimate need unless you regularly and intentionally schedule time  for it. (Luke 5:16)
  13. Set Aside Couple Time
    Soak in the tub together each evening or go on a date night once a week — whatever gets the two of you alone on a regular basis. (Genesis 2:24-25)
  14. Be Careful with Female Friendships
    We all have friends and colleagues of the opposite sex, but tread cautiously. Not all affairs are physical ones. Honoring your marriage vows means remaining faithful in thought and word as well as in deed. (Matthew 5:27-28)
  15. Use Good Hygiene.
    It is amazing how meticulous guys can be prior to marriage in their attempts to impress a girl, but once they walk down the aisle, all bets are off. Clean up a little; I promise it won’t kill you.
  16. Limit the Gross Stuff
    Few women find burping nearly as hilarious as the typical guy does. Good manners are always a win. (Ephesians 5:4)
  17. Be Patient
    In whatever way this applies to you and your situation, apply it. (1 Corinthians 13:4Proverbs 14:29)
  18. Cherish  Her Children (they are your children, too)
    A mother’s bond to her children runs immeasurably deep. When you invest time or energy in them, you are investing in her as well. Kindness to them counts as kindness to her. (Malachi 4:6)
  19. Choose Her Over Hobbies and Buddies
    Invariably there will come times in your relationship when you will be forced to choose between your wife and something else that you enjoy. Always choose her.
  20. Provide for Her Needs
    This is so much more than just putting food on the table. It is all-encompassing. Whether it is physical needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, you name it — do your best to provide. Sometimes life’s circumstances hinder us in one area, but we can      compensate in another area. Often the effort is as important as the outcome. (Galatians 6:2)
  21. Dial Down the Anger
    Your caveman instincts are handy on the battlefield, but horrible for a happy home life. Every outburst or flare-up is a relationship setback. To go forward, the first step is to stop going backwards. Learn to control your temper or it will control you, your marriage, and every other aspect of your life. Just because your wife puts up with it and your co-workers tolerate it, doesn’t make your short fuse an asset. Do whatever it takes to gain victory in this all-important struggle that has haunted man since Cain slew Abel. (Ecclesiastes      7:9,Ephesians 4:31)
  22. Cut Out the Condescension
    If you have been blessed with a quick wit, you can either be the life of the party or a pain in the neck depending on the circumstances. Condescension is anger’s younger brother. It isn’t as loud or as dramatic, but it can be equally hurtful and all the more so for its subtlety. Lay off the snide remarks, the sarcasm, and the belittling. Speak to your wife in the same way that you would speak to a respected colleague. She is, after all, your partner in the most valuable investment of your life — your family.(, (Ephesians 4:29Colossians 3:19)
  23. Actively Seek Your Wife’s Insights
    Value her input and give it a preferential place in your decision-making process. (Proverbs 19:2012:15)
  24. Learn to Forgive
    Freely forgive your wife’s past, present, and future offenses. Forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel and at the heart of every meaningful relationship. (Ephesians 4:32Colossians 3:13)
  25. Verbally Express Your Love
    There are lots of ways to show your love, but women still like to hear it spoken.

Obviously no list is comprehensive, and one size certainly doesn’t fit all, but hopefully this one will prompt you to compile a list of your own, tailor-made for your own wife.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2018 in Family

 

Heaven In The Home: God’s Plan For His Family #4 – “The Biblical Model for Love”


151459597_640The meaning of love.

  1. Storge: family love; the love of parents for children, children for parents, brothers and sisters for each other.
  2. Eros: sensual love. It means a love that is egocentric, “wanting to have,” seeking union with the object of its desire. The value that evokes it is found in the thing loved.
  3. Philia: friendship; love given to all kinds of human beings, shown in such terms as philadelphia, brotherly love.
  4. Agape: a spontaneous impulse of the heart to desire that which is good for the one loved, and it will be at my cost. There are no prerequisites, no conditions, no requirements.

What these words mean to marriage.

  1. Storge: “my family is important to me. I want my family to be important to you. I recognize that your family is important to you. Your family will also be important to me.”
  2. Eros: “I am physically attracted to you.”
  3. Philia: “Í like you. I enjoy being with you, going places with you, experiencing things with you.”
  4. AgapSe: “I will be good to you. I will treat you with patience and kindness, with courtesy, consideration, and deep concern. That is an unconditional promise. I will always, under all circumstances, treat you that way.”

Agape

Agape is self-giving love, gift love, the love that goes on loving even when the other becomes unlovable. Agape love is not just something that happens to you; it is something you make happen.  Love is a personal act of commitment. Christ’s love (and hence the pattern for our love) is a gift love. Christ’s love for us is a sacrificial love. Christ’s love is unconditional. Christ’s love is an eternal love.

Agape is unconditional

That means:

  1. There are no conditions necessary.
  2. You don’t have to earn my love.
  3. You don’t have to deserve my love.
  4. You don’t have to measure up to any standard to get me to love you.
  5. You don’t have to work for my love.
  6. You don’t even have to appreciate my love.

Agape is not a feeling. It is an act of the will. Agape is a commitment to act in the best interest of another without any conditions on his/her part, except his/her need. Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.

Philia

In a good marriage, the husband and wife are also friends. Philia’s companionship is many things…being reasonably happy to go shopping with her…watching TV together and munching popcorn…feeling lonely when he/she is out of town.

Friendship also means communication. Philia’s communication is many things…sharing something you read in a book or magazine…reminiscing how you had to catch all the mice and remove all the bats before you could move into your apartment…eating breakfast together without the morning paper…agreeing on the design of the new wallpaper for Jane’s room…having the courage to tell you her you don’t that dress she’s trying on.

Philia is also cooperation. While eros is almost always face-to-face relationship, philia is very often a shoulder-to-shoulder relationship. When there is philia, husband and wife are working together on something greater than both of them. They are finding their oneness, not directly in each other, but in their interest in a common cause. In eros, each seeks fulfillment in the other; in philia, they both seek fulfillment in one mutual goal.

Married Love

“You have said to another, “I will,” and with those words you have declared your voluntary assent and turned a crucial point in their lives. You know full well all the doubts and suspicions with which a life-long partnership between two persons is faced. It is you as a married couple who must bear the whole responsibility for the success of your married life, with all the happiness it will bring. It is not your love which sustains the marriage, from now on the marriage sustains your love.”

“I will give to you a love that is patient…a love that is kind, a love that endures. I will pledge to you a love that is not jealous or possessive, a love that is not proud or selfish, a love that is not rude or inconsiderate.

“My love for you will not insist in its own way, will not be irritable or resentful, will not keep account of wrongs or failures. I will rejoice when good prevails.

“Our love will know no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope. It will outlast everything. Our love will stand when all else has fallen. Our life together will have three great qualities: faith, hope and love. But the greatest is love.”

Marriage was designed by God to provide companionship.

“…not good to be alone” the key to a great marriage is delightful companionship. Long-term, delightful companionship is at its best in an intimate friendship!

How Love Acts (1 Cor. 13:4-7)

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. {5} It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. {6} Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. {7} It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Some reasons why our families are in trouble

  1. Lack of commitment.

“When reference is made to an individual’s ‘commitment’ to marriage, what is being described is the degree to which that person is willing to compromise self-interest, personal ideals of perfection, indulgence in tastes, and so forth, so that a particular relationship can continue. The alternative to making a commitment is not having a relationship – that is remaining alone.” — William J. Lederer, The Mirages of Marriage, 1968, p. 196.

  1. Too much attention to the urgent; not enough attention to the important.
  2. Decentralization – the average home has released or delegated too much of its responsibility to others who are not as crucial to raising good children.
  3. The expectations for a marriage are set too high

Whatever marriage can be, it ought to be! Marriage is sustained by self-discipline and evaluated through growth.

Practical advice for the wife

  1. Remember why he fell in love with you in the first place. Remember and build on them. Don’t stop the courtship.
  2. Be his wife not his child….and don’t be his mother. Learn to handle difficulties like an adult. Be a helper – not a burden. He will worship the ground you walk on if you are a “trooper” when the going gets rough!
  3. Build him up. No one on earth can build him up as high as you can, and by the same token, no one on earth can tear him down as low as you can. If there is some way you want him to change or develop, encourage him in that direction, but don’t try to push him! Be very considerate of his feelings.
  4. Learn to live on his salary and make him feel like he is a very good provider. Never make him feel that he is a failure as a provider.
  5. Make his home his castle. Make home a refuge for him. Most men don’t notice if a house is deep-down clean, but they notice if it is upside down. Feed him meals he enjoys. Make sure he realizes that he is more important to you than your parents or your children. Make him glad he came home. Make it obvious to children as well as friends that he is the head of the family.
 
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in Family, Marriage

 

10 Commandments for Guiding Our Children


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What is the most powerful word in the English language? Is it “honor” or “love” or “country”? Maybe it’s “sacrifice.”

Stu Weber, who has written the book called Tender Warrior, says, “How about the word ‘dad’? Just walk through what you know about life. When it comes to power in a youngster’s world, I’ll put my money on the word ‘dad.’ As words go, hope, vision, and sacrifice don’t mean a whole lot to little ones, but the power of the word ‘dad’ reaches far beyond a youngster’s childhood.

   “In fact, it spans generations. There are two ways to recognize power. One is to see it at work. The other is to measure what happens when it is gone. Either way, the word ‘dad’ is pretty potent. Present or absent, positive or negative, the power of the father is incredible.”

To assist in your quest to be good parents, here are ten commandments for guiding your children.

  1. Teach them, using God’s Word – Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV) “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
    7  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
  2. Tell them what’s right and wrong – ( 1 Kings 1:6 (ESV) His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. 
  3. See them as gifts from God –  Psalm 127:3 (ESV) Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
  4. Guide them in godly ways – Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
  5. Discipline them –  Proverbs 29:17 (ESV) Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
  6. Love them unconditionally –  Luke 15:11-32 (ESV) And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12  And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13  Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14  And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15  So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16  And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17  “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18  I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19  I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20  And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21  And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22  But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.
    23  And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. 25  “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26  And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
    27  And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28  But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29  but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30  But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31  And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32  It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
  7. Do not provoke them to wrath –  Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
  8. Earn their respect by example –  1 Timothy 3:4 (ESV) He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive…
  9. Provide for their physical needs –  1 Timothy 5:8 (ESV) But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
  10. Pass your faith along to them –  2 Timothy 1:5 (ESV) I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

What if God should place in your hand a diamond, and tell you to inscribe on it a sentence which should e read at the last day, and be shown then as an index of our own thoughts and feelings? What care, what caution, would you exercise in the selection!

Now, this is what God has done, He has placed before you, the immortal minds of your children, more imperishable than the diamond, on which you are about to inscribe every day and every hour, by your instructions, by our spirit, or by your example, something which will remain, and be exhibited for or against you at the judgment day.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2016 in Family

 

The Husband and Father in the Home


Happy-fathers-day-2016-Images-HD-Wallpapers-1Poets and other writers have been generous in heaping praise and adulation upon mothers. This is as it should be, for a godly mother cannot be given too much praise.

But fathers have received far fewer eulogies and have not been given the public honor and attention which their position and work deserve. This is probably due to the basic differences in male and female character.  Whereas mothers are usually gentle, tearful, tender and introspective in spirit, fathers are generally stern, ready to fight the battles of life and to take disappointments without a word or a tear.

Some have therefore judged fathers to be hard, unspiritual creatures who are devoid of feeling. This is an unjustified judgment! A father is not inferior to a mother; he is simply different. Remember that when God selected a figure to impress us with his love for his wayward children, he chose the figure of a father and his child. This, of course, is a reference to the father in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).

The father’s role in making a home successful and happy is equally as important as the mother’s — although vastly different in some respects. As in every other marriage relationship, husband and wife are complementary to each other. Each parent contributes his special abilities in such a way as to reinforce and strengthen the other.

Fathers, 100% of the responsibilities of parenthood are yours! The souls of your precious children depend upon you for proper guidance. We need to get all information and counsel concerning the role of a father that we can possibly come by.

And, since parenthood is a spiritual responsibility, we especially need to study the Bible for the information contained in its sacred pages relative to the responsibilities of a Christian Father/Husband.

God Says Organize!
The autocratic home must first of all be properly organized. God gives the blueprint for that organization in 1 Corinthians 11:3: “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

This particular scripture does not include children, but others do:
Ephesians 6:1 (ESV) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.Happy-Fathers-day-2016-1-1024x640

Children come under Daddy and Mother’s authority. Any time we get Daddy, Mother, and the children’s positions out of kilter, we are in serious trouble. We certainly aren’t happy. Daddy is humiliated, Mother embarrassed, and the children aren’t content, either. Society suffers and the nation is weakened, too, by the way.

God has designated that men carry certain responsibilities and that women assume others. Men and women are not the same in purpose or responsibility, but they are equal in importance. God’s plan is that we are “a 100% Daddy and a 100% Mother.”

THE ROLE OF A CHRISTIAN FATHERHUSBAND
1. The Christian fatherhusband is to show himself a man.
When he was a child it was proper for him to act as a child. When he was immature he was not expected to function in the framework of maturity. However, with the coming of marriage and home responsibilities he is expected to act like a man.

Marriage is no place for two mates to behave like children! Children need adults to take care of their shelter, food, clothing, medical needs, and educational requirements. This is no realm for the immature who would care less about meeting this week’s grocery bill or from where money for monthly bills and the rent will come. Being a husband and father demands maturity in men.

2. To Lead (not to boss).

Be the head of the home. This simply entails being the one by whom and through whom all decisions and orders of the family’s business are approved. You give the ultimate yes and no. If you are wise, you will gladly share this with your spouse in many areas, but when it is all said and done, it is your responsibility.

Be the protector. This protection finds its fruit in both physical and emotional protection. God built with a man the ability to minimize his family’s fears and feelings of insecurity. With his deep, strong voice, he can scare any intruders away.

Be the physical provider. From the beginning of time, it has been God’s decree that the man is to make the living for his family (Gen. 3:17-19; Exodus 21:10). It’s important that the family be taught the lesson of contentment so ‘demand and command’ be held in check — in other words, live within your means.

Be the spiritual leader. A man’s spiritual welfare and that of his wife and children are resting in his hands. A woman is to submit willingly to man’s leadership (1 Cor. 11:3). Again, it is the wise husband who uses the nurturing skills and patience of the mother in this area.
The husband should be a dominant figure in the life of his family, even though he should not be dominating. He should be a leader without being a dictator. He should be the…head of the home, while carefully preserving the equal rights and privileges of the wife. He should be the decision-maker, after careful and thorough consultation and agreement with his partner.

The husband should assume the leadership role, not just proclaim it! The husband should have or develop the capacity to lead by model more than mouth. A study found a close tie between violence and the method a couple uses for making decisions. If the husband makes almost all decisions, he is far more likely to hit his wife or be hit by her. Between husbands and wives who share the decision making, there is almost no violence.

Most husbands/fathers don’t realize their homes have problems. 83% of the wives say their marriage could be improved while only 53% of their husbands agree that their marriage could be improved.

Major problems are caused by dominating husbands. The wife may respond with clinical depression, reaction formation, or apathy.

Since he permits no independent emotional reactions, he can drive someone who takes him seriously quite mad. However, since he seems so secure, correct, and normal, he attracts people who doubt themselves and feel security in his supposed strength.  They attract themselves to him and grow increasingly insecure as they find themselves reacting ‘incorrectly’ to life’s events.

PRINCIPLES OF ASSUMED VERSES PROCLAIMED LEADERSHIP:
Proclaimed Leadership                                                Assumed Leadership
gives orders without asking                                            asks questions, seeks to truly hear,

questions, without permitting questions                          suggests alternatives

makes demands, dishes out directions;                            respects freedom and dignity of  others,
lays down the law, is defensive if                                   can affirm the truth clearly and concretely

challenged                                                                    but non-defensively

requires compliance regardless of                                   values willing cooperation, works for
consent or agreement;                                                        open agreement and understanding;

pushes and manipulates; one man                                   leads, attracts, persuades personal relationships

rule in over under position                                             in side-by-side identification

says “You do, you must do,                                            says “Come, let’s do, we might have done,

you ought to have done;                                                 can we try?”

you’d better do”

depends on his own external                                          generates acceptance, cooperation, and

authority to motivate others;                                          reconciliation;

separates and isolates people.                                         unites and helps persons relate to each other

Men’s Complaints About Wives

1.      She demands immediate answers. I want to think about it for a while.

  1. She always looks for hidden meanings. She reads in meanings that aren’t there.
  2. She is never satisfied with what I tell her. I don’t like cross-examinations.
  3. She belabors the subject – wants all the details. Her stories take detours. Why can’t she get to the point?
  4. She can’t separate the issue from the person. She thinks “If you disagree with my view, then you don’t love me.”
  5. She brings unrelated issues into the argument.
  6. She interrupts me. She tends to break into whatever I say before I’m finished.
  7. She desires more to be understood than to understand.

Wives’ Complaints About Husbands

1.      He doesn’t listen to full conversations or even sentences but judges immediately.

  1. He doesn’t respect my opinion but hears it only when someone else says it.
  2. He won’t risk confrontation. If I complain, he doesn’t answer, and I feel like a nonperson.
  3. Reminding is taken as nagging.
  4. To him, his problems are major. Mine are insignificant and incessant.
  5. He doesn’t listen – just pretends – and when I catch him at it, he gets angry.
  6. He won’t share his true feelings, but they emerge heatedly later on.
  7. I share feelings and frustrations, but nothing happens.
  8. If something goes wrong in his life, he makes me feel as if I  have failed.
  9. He can’t share the deep feelings of intimacy I need.
  10. He’s too busy for communication (said by several women).
  11. When he’s mad at the dog or car, why is it my fault and why does he take it out on me?
  12. He can’t admit he’s wrong.
  13. Why tell me about the kids’ misbehavior? Why doesn’t he do something about it? Instead, he tattles.
  14. He ignores me all day and then wants quick and playful sex at night. I don’t want sex without attention first.

— From Stress and the Healthy Family by Dolores Curran, 1985.

Daddy
1. Be fair. A man setting out to lead his wife and children must first of all be fair. Listen, especially to the wishes of your wife. Don’t expect of your family what you are not willing to do or be yourself. Take care of your family’s needs before your own.

2. Be firm. When there is no leader, there is no leadership. If you are seeking to be fair, you’ll know when to listen and make changes.

3. Be faithful. A family will do anything asked of them if they know you love them. How can you hurt your wife the most? Don’t love her; avoid her; don’t compliment her; make her feel as if she is inferior. Some treat the waitress better than their wife at home. Our wife needs to know, without doubt, that they are loved!

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Family

 

A God ‘who is near’


 

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Jeremiah proclaimed the truth about God to the people of his day. The land was filled with dishonesty, profanity, and immorality, and the false prophets of the day were not only condoning it but actually participating in it (Jeremiah 23:11,14). They assured the people that God would not judge them for their sin (verse 17). That is when God spoke through Jeremiah: Am I a God who is near, declares the LORD, And not a God far off? (verse 23)

I read somewhere about a little boy who believed it too: He was just a little lad, and on a fine Lord’s day, was wandering home from Sunday School and dawdling on the way. He scuffed his shoes into the grass; he found a caterpillar, he found a fluffy milkweed pod and blew out all the filler. A bird’s nest in the tree o’erhead, so wisely placed and high, was just another wonder that caught his eager eye.

A neighbor watched his zigzag course and hailed him from the lawn, asked him where he’d been that day, and what was going on. “Oh, I’ve been to Sunday school,” (he carefully turned the sod,  and found a snail beneath it). “I’ve learned a lot ’bout God.”God-is-good-all-the-time_re-500x500

“M’m, a very fine way,” the neighbor said, “for a boy to spend his time. “If you’ll tell me where God is, I’ll give you a brand new dime.” Quick as a flash his answer came, nor were his accents faint,  “I’ll give you a dollar, Mister, if you’ll tell me where God ain’t.”

Knowing this fact about God’s omnipresence is sufficient to give me the courage I need to be courageous each day I have upon this earth, “…because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”[1]

When we truly accept this fact, we can respond with courage. Conviction becomes our strength. We become bold in our words and our actions. We grow more immune to the normal despair brought on by pressure presented by peers.

Victor Frankl, the eminent German Jewish doctor, was arrested by the Gestapo during World War II.  As he was being interrogated by the Nazi secret police, Frankl was stripped of all his possessions–his clothes, his jewelry, his wedding band.  His head was shaved.  He was repeatedly taken from his prison cell, placed under bright lights, and questioned for hours.  He underwent many savage, senseless tortures. But Frankl realized he had one thing left:  “I still had the power to choose my own attitude.  Bitterness or forgiveness, to give up or go on.”

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[1] Joshua 1:5; Deuteronomy 31:6

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2016 in Family

 

Heaven in the Home: God’s Plan for His Family #3 – Wisdom in Family Matters


wisdomProverbs 22:17-21 (NIV)
17  Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach,
18  for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.
19  So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you.
20  Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge,
21  teaching you true and reliable words, so that you can give sound answers to him who sent you?

Luke 8:18 (NIV)
18  Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

There is a cost to acquiring wisdom, but it’s worth it! It isn’t enough to own a study Bible and read books about the Bible, helpful as they are. It’s one thing to know about the Bible and quite something else to hear God speak through His Word and teach us His wisdom so that we become more like Jesus Christ.

During my years of ministry, I’ve met several people whose knowledge of Scripture was phenomenal, but who failed to manifest the fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Of these ‘knowledgeable” people, these words speak: “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Cor. 8:1).

But there’s a positive side to this as well: Wise (and blessed) people don’t waste their time listening to foolishness and lies.

Psalm 1:1-6 (NIV) Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
4  Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6  For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Wise people are careful about what they read, what they hear and see, and what they talk about in daily conversation.  They’re diligent to keep trash out of their minds and hearts, because “garbage in” ultimately means “garbage out.” For this reason, they carefully control the radio and television and they are selective in their reading.

Those who are wise profit from rebuke and from advice: Proverbs 9:8-9 (NIV)  Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. 9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

They don’t think so highly of themselves that they can’t learn from others: Proverbs 26:12: “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

We should keep in mind two things:

  1. Life is short
  2. Our eternal existence is greatly influenced by how we live during this short life

It is imperative, then, that we not waste our time through rash and foolish decisions which not only jeopardize our eternal destiny but can also make this life miserable. Life is too short and families grow too fast for us to raise a family through “trial and error”

The value of wisdom is especially seen in family relationships: “He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind.” (Prov. 11:29).

Consider what many people think is most important in providing for a family. Many would say it is the “necessities” of life such as food and clothing, and a place of shelter. Most would feel that other things are also necessary such as the “finer things” (luxuries) for the children, which parents never had as children. A good “education” for the children, so they too can be affluent.

  1. Instilling a fear of the Lord (reverence and awe). Proverbs 15:16: “Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and turmoil with it.”

The fear of the Lord provides: Proverbs 16:6: “By loving kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.”

  1. Giving them love.

Proverbs 15:17: “Better is a dish of vegetables where love is Than a fattened ox served with hatred.”

Proverbs 27:5: “Better is open rebuke Than love that is concealed.”

Providing an environment where love reigns is more important than providing material abundance. Troubled children come from homes where “love” is lacking, not money!

  1. Providing a peaceful family life.

Proverbs 17:1: “Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it Than a house full of feasting with strife.”

What can be done to insure adequate material provisions for the family: Be righteous!

Proverbs 20:7: “A righteous man who walks in his integrity– How blessed are his sons after him.”
Today that means putting the kingdom of God first in your life. Then God will watch out for you and providentially see that your needs are adequately met! Children of righteous parents are truly blessed! But parents who fail to put God first go through life without God’s providential help, and their children may suffer as a result!

WISDOM IN RAISING CHILDREN

Inspired wisdom is explicit in the proper use of “corporeal punishment.” Used properly, it is a demonstration of true love.

Proverbs 13:24: “He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”

Proper discipline has proper objectives…

Proverbs 22:15: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”

Proverbs 23:13-14: “Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. {14} You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol.”

Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.”

Proper discipline has its rewards

Proverbs 29:17: “Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.”

Proverbs 19:18: “Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not set your heart on his destruction.”

It is to be applied before the situation gets of out hand (“while there is hope”). It is also to be applied under controlled circumstances (“do not set your heart on his destruction”). i.e., do not put it off until you strike in anger.

There IS a difference between proper “spanking” and “child abuse”! Corporeal punishment should never be a vent for letting off steam. Rather, a controlled use of one method to discourage bad behavior. To be accompanied with love!

These important points:

  • when you discipline your children, you’re acting like God
  • discipline is a function of love, and appropriate punishment is not something done to a child but for the child
  • spanking before 18 months of age is not wise and after 10 years of age is not effective
  • it should be reserved for times of defiant or rebellious behavior
  • when love is abundant at home, proper discipline (even a spanking) won’t be resented

Children are gifts from the Lord but between 15-36 months they don’t want to be restricted in any way. They are the most self-centered, manipulative, and controlling things on the planet…parents must be adults and be in charge

James Dobson: “The proper time to begin disarming the teenage time bomb is 12 years before it arrives. Children thrive best in an atmosphere of genuine love, undergirded by reasonable and consistent discipline. In a day of widespread drug usage, immorality, sexually transmitted diseases, vandalism, and violence, we must not depend on hope and luck to fashion the critical attitudes we value in our children.”

    “In those situations when the child fully understands what he is being asked to do or not to do but refuses to yield to adult leadership, an appropriate spanking is the shortest and most effective route to an attitude adjustment.” (The New Dare to Discipline, page 28, 7, and 60-61)
Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (as implied by the word “nurture”)

Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
This allows for the common interpretation in which a child’s outcome is virtually dependent upon his training, especially in spiritual matters. i.e., if the child is brought up right by godly parents, the child “must” turn out all right…so if a child is not a faithful Christian, it must always be a failing of the parents.

The original root word for “train” is the term for “the palate, the roof of the mouth, the gums.” In verb form, it’s the term used for breaking and bringing into submission a wild horse by a rope in the mouth. But the term was also used in the days of Solomon to describe the action of a midwife, who, soon after helping deliver a child, would dip her finger into the juice of chewed or crushed dates, reach into the mouth of the infant, and massage the gums and the palate within the mouth so as to create a sensation of sucking – a sense of taste.

The juice was thought to also have a cleansing agent. They would then place the child into his mother’s arms to begin feeding.

It was a word, used, then, to “describe a thirst.” And when we see this application from the original language, it takes on a whole new meaning for Christian mothers and fathers. We must develop a thirst within our children for God and His church. The idea reminds one of Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” 

The verse can also be translated: “train up a child according to HIS way…” that is, train up a child according to his or her inclinations. The key in developing this thirst is sensitivity – an awareness of our children and what they are and what they need.

Adapt the training of your child so that it is in keeping with his God-given characteristics and tendencies; when he comes to maturity, he will not depart from the training he has received.”

Therefore, this verse, like so many in Proverbs, is simply giving us practical advice in raising our children (without necessarily any spiritual implications). However, I might add that trying to force a child to go against their “aptitude” may encourage a child to rebel in ALL areas of parental influence (including spiritual).

 

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2016 in Family

 

“Heaven In The Home: God’s Plan For His Family” Series #2 – Walking and Talking


 jesuspaixWhat would you be willing to do for your children? The quick response is “everything…anything.” When they are infants, they literally depend upon their parents for everything!

In Man in the Mirror, Patrick Morley tells of a group of fishermen who landed in a secluded bay in Alaska and had a great day fishing for salmon. But when they returned to their sea plane, they found it aground because of the fluctuating tides. They waited until the next morning for the tides to comes in, but when they took off, they only got a few feet into the air before crashing back into the sea. Being aground the day before had punctured one of the pontoons, and it had filled up with water.

The sea plane slowly began to sink. The passengers, three men and a 12-year-old son of one of the men, prayed and then jumped into the icy cold waters to swim to shore. The riptide was strong, but two of the men reached the shore exhausted. They looked back, and saw the father with his arms around his son being swept out to sea.

The boy had not been strong enough to make it. The father was a strong swimmer, but he had chosen to die with his son rather than to live without him.”

    Morley went on to say: “The most important thing my dad ever taught me is that there are more important things than me. My major effort as a parent must be devoted to my children. If they turn out badly, nothing I could do in the public eye would have any meaning.’   

That remind me of Paul’s statement: Romans 9:1-3 (ESV) I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2  that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
3  For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.gallery_deardish-crushonneighbor-gallery

   The Message renders these verses this way: Romans 9:1-3 (MSG) At the same time, you need to know that I carry with me at all times a huge sorrow. 2  It’s an enormous pain deep within me, and I’m never free of it. I’m not exaggerating—Christ and the Holy Spirit are my witnesses. It’s the Israelites… 3  If there were any way I could be cursed by the Messiah so they could be blessed by him, I’d do it in a minute. They’re my family.

Parents give us a sense of self-worth and confidence. It’s advice we can pass on to any parent: Morley: “They always answered my question ‘Do you think I can do it?’ with ‘Of course you can.’ And they were never too busy to give me attention. Even as a teenager, I thought I must be the most entertaining company in the world because my folks loved to be with me–and with each of my siblings. It didn’t occur to me until years later that they chose to spend time with us.” 

 There are some Christian homes which are no better than some of the worst of secular homes; affairs there can be in utter chaos and confusion. Instead of orderly, love-filled peaceful homes, they can be battlegrounds from morning to night, arenas of constant bickering and squabbling and fighting and rebellion.

Deuteronomy 6:1-6 (ESV)
1  “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it,
2  that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.
3  Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4  “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
5  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
6  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

That is a word addressed to parents. The place to begin, the place to recover the proper functioning of the home, is with the parents. We must begin to heal ourselves before God in order to heal our children. There is no escape from that. We cannot pass on to them something which we ourselves are not. Parents are models, and children will invariably follow the model.

They will live with us in exactly the same way we have lived with them. So we must begin the correction with ourselves. We must discover and develop our own personhood before we can help our children to discover and develop theirs. That is absolutely essential.

Parents who do not recognize that their first responsibility is to what they are before God, and not to what their children become, will ultimately lose both.

Parents who give everything to their children and ask nothing in return quite unknowingly are teaching their children to expect to have everything done for them, and to give nothing in return. It is no wonder, therefore, that is exactly what so many children expect these days. They have been taught that in the home. So the first step is for parents to begin with themselves.

Now we come to the second step, which is found in the first part of Verse 7 in this great summary passage. Moses said, Deuteronomy 6:7 (NIV) Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

This means that along with, and as a result of, obedience to the first step will come this second step. While you are learning to become a person yourself, as a parent, you will at that same time, and in the same process, pass it along to your children. You don’t wait until you have reached ultimate maturity. None of us ever do that anyway. But what you are learning, and while you are learning it, you are passing along to your children.

Some time ago I came to the realization that every day is hut a miniature of life itself, and that a child needs, every day, what a person needs for his whole life. At the beginning of life our needs are obvious — security, a sense of identity, assurance that we belong in a family. Therefore, parents are tremendously important to a child at the beginning of his life.

It occurred to me that this is true also at the beginning of each day, and that every day ought to start with an expression of security, of identity, of appreciation. So in our home we started greeting one another with a hug the first thing in the morning, the first time we meet for the day — just to say, “I love you and you’re important to me, and you belong here.” And it had been wonderful to watch a sense of trust develop, a sense of relaxation in the feeling of a secure home. That’s what God does with us, and this is what is important in the display of love.

We are preparing our children to live lives independent from us, and that, therefore, the acquisition of all the knowledge they will need must start, at least, in the home. It may be continued in school, but the acquisition of all knowledge starts at home:

  • We want our children to know the names and the natures of things. This is the beginning of science.
  • We want them to know how to count and to reason, and there you have the foundation of mathematics.
  • We want them to learn the relationships of cause and effect — why one thing does this, and another does that — and there you have philosophy.
  • We want them to learn how to enjoy themselves, so there you have the arts and crafts and sports.
  • We want them to learn how to exert their influence properly upon other people, and there you have social sciences coming in.
  • We want them to learn how to use their imagination, which brings up the whole realm of literature and drama.
  • We want them to learn how to behave themselves responsibly, how to take responsibility for their own actions and not to blame them on somebody else, and there you have the humanities.
  • And above everything else — that which no school can ever impart — we want our children to learn how to handle failure and guilt. Nothing plagues human beings more than the sense of failure and the terribly agony of guilt. Therefore, the one thing that Christian parents ought to be responsible for, above all else, is to learn how to handle failure and guilt, and to teach their children how to handle it also.

    There is the story of a woman who came to an authority on child raising and asked him, “Sir, when should I begin to teach my child about God?” He said, “How old is your child?” She answered, “Six.” He said, “Madam, hurry home. You’ve already lost five of the most important years!”

Proverbs 22:6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Unfortunately, it is a most misunderstood verse. Most people understand this verse to mean, “If you teach your child the way you want him to live, while he is a child, then, when he has grown up, he will not leave that way.” But, unfortunately, that notion is not confirmed by experience.

What the text says literally is, “Train up a child according to his own way.” What it is referring to is the fact that children are basically different. There is a mystery built into every child. And the job of a parent is to discover the particular form of the mystery which is there in each child — and no two children are the same. There is a creative urge built by the Creator himself into every child. It is usually related to one of the five senses. That is,

  • Some children love to see things. They love to look at pictures and to investigate and perceive. They are the ones who become the philosophers and the thinkers, etc.
  • Some children are related more to movement. They love to move and they enjoy the feel of movement. They are the ones who build cars and locomotives and airplanes.
  • Some will relate to smell and taste, and they are the ones who make good chefs.
  • Some like sound, and they become musicians and audio engineers, and so forth.

So what this text is saying is that God has built into every child a uniqueness that is “his/her own way,” and the parents have to find that. And when they find it, and help a child find it, that child will find fulfillment, a fulfillment so rich and full that when he is old he will not leave it. When he has grown up he will have found himself. This is true not only of natural abilities, but of spiritual gifts as well. And the role of a parent is to help him in this discovery.

Here is where love comes in — love which spends time with children, love which watches them, and thinks about them, and leads them out in various exploratory paths to find out what interests them, and what they like, love which gives security and identity, and helps a child find out who he is in an atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement. And when these two factors interplay, one against the other — law which regulates, and love which discovers — then, you see, you have the pattern for raising children in a way which will produce God-reliant men and women, able to cope with life the way it was intended to be.

We are going to look at many other concepts as we go along in this series. Some of them will be more specific. Some will teach us how to apply these principles to the various methods of handling the education of children. But I hope we will understand that only as we begin with ourselves, and apply these principles first to ourselves, so that our children can see the changes which are occurring in us, only then can they be passed along to those who are coming behind us.

WORDS TO A GROWN UP SON/DAUGHTER

My hands were busy through the day I didn’t have much time to play

The little games you asked me to I didn’t have much time for you.

I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook but when you’d bring your picture book

And ask me please to share your fun I’d say, “A little later, son.”

I’d tuck you in all safe at night and hear your prayers, turn out the light

Then tiptoe softly to the door I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

For life is short, the years rush past A little boy grows up so fast

No longer is he at your side His precious secrets to confide.

The picture books are put away There are no more games to play no goodnight kiss,

No prayers to hear That all belongs to yesteryear.

My hands once busy now lie still The days are long and hard to fill

I wish I might go back and do The little things you asked me to. –Anonymous

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2016 in Family

 
 
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