RSS

Category Archives: Family

God as Father is our model parent


Why does God give parents to children?

With family troubles intensifying, discipline problems increasing, and a growing corps of psychologi­cally handicapped people coming through the ranks of the traditional family circle, we wonder why God doesn’t come up with a different way of bringing children to maturity than using parents in a home environment.

And he keeps them there so long, nearly eigh­teen years on the average. Most birds and animals mature and move out on their own in a matter of weeks or months. But the frequent failures of teen‑age marriages dramatically illustrate that fif­teen, sixteen, or even seventeen years may not be enough to prepare humans to establish successful homes of their own. Why?

Because, among other things, life for an animal is a matter of instincts which are basically inborn. Life for humans goes far beyond that. It involves intellectual and emotional character, volitional choices, moral and aesthetic values. These things are not instinctive; they are developed, and that takes time. God gives parents to children to help build the qualities into them that will prepare them for a most useful and satisfying life.

Other organizations and agencies also contribute to molding the character and personality of children, but none has the same degree of influence as their parents. This is due not only to the uniqueness and intensity of the parent‑child relation­ship, but also to the sheer volume of time logged in the home.

Before entering school, nearly all of our children’s time is spent at home. Even during their school years, as many as 60 wak­ing hours per week are spent in or around the home, far exceed­ing the hours spent in any other single place. What transpires during those hours will largely determine the kind of adults our children become, and the mark of those years will be indel­ibly imprinted on their personalities.

God says a person’s ways later in life will be determined by his early experiences and training (Prov. 22:6). Modern psychologists, sociologists, and educators agree. Our children are what we make them. They are the sum total of what we contribute to their lives. The training we pro­vide will affect their ability to get along with other people, the genuineness of their Christian testimony and service, the caliber of work they do, the quality of home they establish, and almost every other area of their lives.

That’s a staggering thought. Raising a child successfully sounds like a superhuman task. As a matter of fact, it is. It demands more than human resources have to offer. It requires supernatural wisdom and strength. “But I’m not God,” you say. Right! Your children probably know that already. But God does promise to supply all your need (Phil. 4:19). And he knows exactly what you do need to be a good parent, because he himself is the Model Parent.

Isn’t it interesting that when Jesus prayed he addressed God as “our Father, who art in heaven.” God is a father. And the Psalmist exclaimed, “What a God he is! How perfect in every way!” (Psa. 18:30, TLB). The obvious conclusion is that God is a perfect father. By examining his Word and learning how he functions as a parent, we can learn what kind of parents we should be. Then when we commit ourselves completely to him and let him con­trol our lives, he is free to express through us his wisdom and strength as the Model Parent. He provides both the example and the encouragement, both the direction and the dynamic for us to be successful parents.

There are a number of Scripture passages that compare God’s parenthood to ours. For example, the Psalmist wrote, “He is like a father to us, tender and sympathetic to those who rever­ence him” (Psa. 103:13, TLB).

Solomon made this wise observation which the writer to the Hebrews borrowed: “For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father the son in whom he delights” (Prov. 3:12, NASB; cf. Hebrews 12:6).

Jesus added his inspired testimony: “And if you hard‑hearted, sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won’t your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask him for them?” (Matt. 7:11, TLB).

The point is well established in the Bible. God’s parenthood and our parenthood are a great deal alike–at least they should be. But did you notice that in all these verses the direction is from the human to the divine. Each verse uses human parents and the way they treat their children to teach us what God is like.

Christian counselors have discovered that it does indeed work that way. A person’s image of God is often patterned after his image of his own parents, especially his father.

  • If his par­ents were happy, loving, accepting, and forgiving, he finds it easier to experience a positive and satisfying relationship with God. But if his parents were cold and indifferent, he may feel that God is far away and disinterested in him personally.
  • If his parents were angry, hostile, and rejecting, he often feels that God can never accept him.
  • If his parents were hard to please, he usually has the nagging notion that God is not very happy with him either.

We need to meditate on that, Christian parent. What kind of God‑concept is our child cultivating by his relationship with us? Is he learning that God is loving, kind, patient, and forgiv­ing? Or are we unintentionally building a false image of God into his life, implying by our actions that God is harsh, short-­tempered, and critical, that he nags us, yells at us, or knocks us around when we get out of line?

Our children’s entire spiritual life is at stake here. It is imperative that we learn what kind of a parent God is, then follow his example in order that our chil­dren may see a living object lesson of the kind of God we have.

There is at least one passage in the Bible, however, that does move from the divine to the human, exhorting us to follow God’s example in raising our children: “And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the dis­cipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4, NASB).

Those three little words at the conclusion of this verse will set our course through the remainder of this book. The training we give our children must be the training “of the Lord.” The Lord must be the guiding principle of that training. It belongs to him and is to be ad­ministered by him. It is the same training he gives us, and we are to give it to our children by his direction, through his pow­er, under his authority, and answerable to him.

It is “of the Lord” in every sense of that phrase. When we get right down to specific principles of child‑training, the Bible does not have a great deal to say directly. But when we understand the great principle established in this verse, the Bible becomes an in­exhaustible source-book for successful child training.

It boils down simply to this–we deal with our children as the Lord deals with us. He is our model. And our understand­ing of how he deals with us does not necessarily come from our parents, for that understanding may be faulty, as we have seen. It must come from his Word. We need to search the Scriptures to find out how God deals with his children, then do the same with our children.

Paul uses two words in Ephesians 6:4 to sum up God’s method of rearing children–discipline and instruction. The first of these is a very general word for child‑training. It in­volves setting goals for our children, teaching them the goals, then patiently but persistently guiding them toward those goals. While the word did not originally mean correction, it came through usage to include that idea and is translated “chas­tening” in Hebrews 12:5‑7 (KJV). But discipline, contrary to popular opinion, is far more than correction. It is charting a course for our children, guiding them along that course, and firmly but lovingly bring them back to that course when they stray.

Think about charting the course for a moment. Have you ever prayerfully established goals for the training of your children? This might be a good time to do it. We cannot expect our children to turn out right if we’re not sure what “right” is. As one of my seminary profs used to say, “If you aim at nothing, that’s exactly what you’ll hit.” Since we can’t hit a target we don’t have, let’s build one right now. Your aims may be much more extensive than mine, but this may at least be a good place to begin. Here is a God The Fatherbasic list of biblical goals we want to ac­complish with our children.

1. To lead them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It must be in his own perfect time, but we cannot really expect them to be all that God wants them to be until they have a new nature imparted from above.

2. To lead them to a total commitment of their lives to Christ. We want them to make their decisions in accord with his will, share every detail of life with him in prayer, and learn to trust him in every experience they face. Asking first what God wants us to do is a habit pattern that must be cultivated. The time to begin is very early in a child’s life.

3. To build the Word of God into their lives. We will en­deavor to teach it to them faithfully, relate it to the cir­cumstances of life, and set an example of conformity to it.

4. To teach them prompt and cheerful obedience, and re­spect for authority. By developing their willing submission to our authority, we seek to instill a respect for all duly consti­tuted authority, such as public school, Sunday school, gov­ernment, and ultimately, the authority of God himself. Submis­sion to authority is the basis for a happy and peaceful life in our society.

5. To teach them self‑discipline. The happiest life is the con­trolled life, particularly in areas such as eating, sleeping, sex, care of the body, use of time and money, and desire for material things.

6. To teach them to accept responsibility–responsibility for happily and efficiently accomplishing the tasks assigned to them, responsibility for the proper care of their belongings, and responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

7. To teach them the basic traits of Christian character, such as honesty, diligence, truthfulness, righteousness, unselfish­ness, kindness, courtesy, consideration, friendliness, generosi­ty, justice, patience, and gratitude.

Now we know where we’re going. But remember, our pur­pose is not just to insist on these things while our children are under our care. It is to make this whole package such a part of their lives that when they leave our care it will continue to guide them.

That seems to be what Solomon had in mind when he wrote, “Young man, obey your father and your mother. Tie their instructions around your finger so you won’t forget. Take to heart all of their advice. Every day and all night long their counsel will lead you and save you from harm; when you wake up in the morning, let their instructions guide you into the new day. For their advice is a beam of light directed into the dark corners of your mind to warn you of danger and to give you a good life” (Prov. 6:20‑23, TLB).

Internalizing these standards, that is, making them an inte­gral part of the child’s life, seems to be indicated in the second word Paul used in Ephesians 6:4 to describe the training God gives which we are to emulate, the word instruction. This word means literally, “to place in the mind.” The emphasis is on verbal training–warning, admonishing, encouraging, instruct­ing, or reproving.

But it goes far beyond the famous parental lecture. It pictures the faithful parent tenderly planting the principles of God’s Word deep down in the very soul of the child so that they become a vital part of his being. The standard is no longer the parent’s alone. It now belongs to the child as well. He is ready to move out into the world, independent of his parent’s control, with the principles of God’s Word so woven into the fiber of his life that he finds delight and success in doing the will of God, even when nobody is watching him.

Maybe this explains why some parents are reluctant to let go of their children when they should. If parents suspect they have not successfully instilled God’s way of life into their children, they may hesitate to break their emotional ties with them, but seek to influence and manipulate them in various ways long after they have married and left home. God wants us to begin building toward independence from the time our children are born.

Parental rules, regulations, and restrictions are only tempo­rary. Their purpose is to prepare the child for freedom, the only kind of freedom that can bring him real satisfaction, the free­dom to live in harmony and happiness with his Maker and Lord. As he learns and matures, the restraints are decreased and the independence increased until he leaves our care to establish a home of his own, a self‑disciplined, Spirit‑directed adult, capable of assuming his God‑given responsibilities in life.

This whole process is beautifully illustrated by the way God has dealt with the human race through the ages of history. In the time of man’s spiritual childhood, God gave him the law– 613 commandments, ordinances, and judgments regulating nearly every detail of life. It isn’t the way most people would choose to live, but it certainly did the job.

Paul said, “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Gal. 3:24, 25, KJV, cf. Gal. 4:1‑7). He goes on to describe the fullness of faith, the freedom of life in Christ, and the joy of adult sonship. Who needs the bondage of all those external laws when we have the internal motivation of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14)?

That’s exactly what human parents should be doing. During the childhood years we regulate behavior while we inculcate biblical standards. As the child develops an inner discipline and control, more and more of the outward restrictions are removed until he has achieved the independence God intended him to have when he said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife . . .” (Gen. 2:24, KJV).

There are few joys in this world that excel the thrill of watch­ing our children live in fellowship with God of their own will­ing desire. The Apostle John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4, KJV). He was probably speaking of his spiritual children, but the idea is equally applicable to our physical children.

Old Jacob must have had that joy when he heard the story of his son’s encounter with Potiphar’s wife. She offered Joseph her body and nobody would have been the wiser. Dad was several hundred miles away and it was doubtful at that point whether Joseph would ever see him again. But the godly principles built into his soul through his early years kept him from sin (Gen. 39:7‑20).

Daniel’s parents experienced that same joy if they ever heard of their son’s steadfast devotion to God in Babylon. He was nearly six hundred miles from home. And all the other boys were gorging themselves with the sumptuous foods of the Babylonian king which had been dedicated to pagan idols. “Everybody else is doing it” and “Nobody will ever know” have been good enough excuses to send countless other kids into a spiritual tailspin. “But Daniel made up his mind not to eat the food and wine given to them by the king” (Dan. 1:8, TLB).

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know the joy of our children walking with God when they’re gone from our nest? With the example of the Model Parent to guide us and the power of his indwelling Spirit to strengthen us, we can help our children through their formative years and mold them into men and women of God, equipped to do his will. (Material comes from many sources).

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 8, 2019 in Family, God

 

Choosing character…the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy


His words were intentionally piercing, wanting them to find their mark in the hearts of the Pharisees. They needed what was being offered. Their souls were in trouble.

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Their problem was pronounced: they coveted the attention given to those in places of spiritual authority, wanting the acclaim and fanfare. They liked to be noticed when performing ‘acts of righteousness.’ They looked down on people, and had replaced praying to God for praying about themselves to God.

They received the praise of men, but God had other words when referring to them, even in public. Hypocrites! Brood of vipers! They noticed specks of sawdust in other’s eyes and missed the plank in their own!

Forty-eight percent of American workers admit to taking unethical or illegal actions in the past year. USA Today listed the five most common types of unethical/illegal behavior that workers say they have engaged in because of pressure:
–Cut corners on quality control
–Covered up incidents
–Abused or lied about sick days
–Lied to or deceived customers
–Put inappropriate pressure on others.

D. L. Moody was certainly seeking our attention when he said that “character is what a man is in the dark.”

Honest Abraham Lincoln understood this principle: “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

Bryant Kirkland has character—a minister of his church for 25 years. But now Dr. Kirkland’s beloved wife has Alzheimer’s and is unable to respond. I mean, you talk about suffering. Some of you know what that’s like when love is one way, don’t you, when you love and the person cannot love you back. But Dr. Kirkland doesn’t complain about it. He loves his beloved wife one way. He loves her and loves her and loves her.

And you know what’s happened as he’s hung in there? His suffering has produced endurance, and his endurance has produced character. He is a man of integrity. He is one of the great religious leaders of this time in history at the age of 80 because he has character. His sermons ring true with authenticity and fire because we know he’s been there, and he’s been steadfast. But that doesn’t come in a week.

The supreme test of goodness is not in the greater but in the smaller incidents of our character and practice; not what we are when standing in the searchlight of public scrutiny, but when we reach the firelight flicker of our homes; not what we are when some clarion-call rings through the air, summoning us to fight for life and liberty, but our attitude when we are called to sentry-duty in the grey morning, when the watch-fire is burning low. It is impossible to be our best at the supreme moment if character is corroded and eaten into by daily inconsistency, unfaithfulness, and besetting sin.

Mark Twain’s advise? Always do right; it will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

God is more concerned about our character than our comfort. His goal is not to pamper us physically but to perfect us spiritually. It is right to be contented with what we have, never with what we are.

The story is told of an Irishman who was being tried in a Kansas town. His was a petty offense. The judge asked if there was anyone present who would vouch for his character. “To be sure, your Honor,” he declared, “there’s the sheriff.” The sheriff looked amazed. “Your Honor,” he said, “I do not even know the man.” “Your Honor,” came back the Irishman as quick as a flash, “I’ve lived in this county for more than twelve years, and the sheriff does not know me yet. Isn’t that a character for you?”

How we live makes a difference. And our character lives on even after the dirt is pushed onto the casket. In the old cemetery at Winchester, Virginia, that starlit abbey of the Confederacy, there is a monument to the unknown Confederate dead. On it are cut these two lines: Who they were, none knows, What they were, all know.

In all our journey as a believer, we will have two categories of spiritual experiences. One is tender, delightful, and loving. The other can be quite obscure, dry, dark, and desolate. God gives us the first one to gain us; he gives us the second to purify us.

No professional football team that plays its home games in a domed stadium with artificial turf has ever won the Super Bowl. A climate-controlled stadium protects players and fans from the misery of sleet, snow, mud, heat, and wind. Everyone is comfortable. But athletes who brave the elements are disciplined to handle hardship. Apparently such rigors have something to do with the ability to win the Super Bowl.

Long before there was football, the Christian’s playbook declared the purpose of hardship. It builds Christlike character.

For several summers during the mid-1990s, Dave Wolter, head women’s basketball coach for Concordia University in Irvine, California, flew to Asia and put on basketball clinics for both players and coaches.

On one flight, his plane experienced mechanical trouble at 30,000 feet. Panic broke out. People were screaming, crying and standing up in the aisles. Wolter, on the other hand, sat calmly and prayed. When a woman sitting next to him saw how different his demeanor was to the rest of the passengers, she shouted in Wolter’s face, “Why aren’t you hysterical?”

Fortunately, the crew was able to correct the problem, and nervous tranquility was restored in the cabin. For the rest of the flight, Dave answered the woman’s question as she and several others listened intently to how his faith in Christ Jesus enables him to face death with confidence.

Our Christian influence has an effect not only through our words, but also through our actions. Stated another way, the fish symbol on the rear bumper of our car definitely makes a statement, but people will probably pay more attention to how we drive.

Our task as laymen is to live our personal communion with Christ with such intensity as to make it contagious.

What other people think of me becomes less and less important; what they think of Jesus because of me is critical.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Billy Graham often says, “Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.” It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

Character is not made in a crisis. It is only exhibited in a crisis! A flaw in one’s character will show up under pressure.

The Christian character is simply a life in which all Christian virtues and graces have become fixed and solidified into permanence as established habits. It costs no struggle to do right, because what has been done so long, under the influence of grace in the heart, has become part of the regenerated nature.

The bird sings not to be heard, but because the song is in its heart, and must be expressed. It sings just as sweetly in the depths of the wood with no ear to listen, as by the crowded thoroughfare.

Beethoven did not sing for fame, but to give utterance to the glorious music that filled its soul.

The face of Moses did not shine to convince the people of his holiness, but because he had dwelt so long in the presence of God that it could not but shine.

Truest, ripest Christian life flows out of a full heart –a heart so filled with Christ that it requires no effort to live well, and to scatter the sweetness of grace and love.

It must be remembered, however, that all goodness in living begins first obeying rules, in keeping commandments. Mozart and Mendelssohn began with running scales and striking chords, and with painful finger-exercises.

The noblest Christian began with the simplest obedience. The way to become skillful is to do things over and over, until we can do them perfectly, and without thought or effort. The way to become able to do great things, is to do our little things with endless repetition, and with increasing dexterity and carefulness.

The way to grow into Christ likeness of character, is to watch ourselves in the minutest things of thought and word and act, until our powers are trained to go almost without watching in the lines of moral right and holy beauty. To become prayerful, we must learn to pray by the clock, at fixed times.

It is fine ideal talk to say that our devotions should be like the bird’s song, warbling out anywhere and at any time with sweet unrestraint; but in plain truth, to depend upon such impulses as guides to praying, would soon lead to no praying at all.

This may do for heavenly life; but we have not gotten into heaven yet, and until we do we need to pray by habit.

So of all religious life. We only grow into patience by being as patient as we can, daily and hourly, and in smallest matters, ever learning to be more and more patient until we reach the highest possible culture in that line.

We can only become unselfish wherever we have an opportunity, until our life grows into the permanent beauty of unselfishness.

We can only grow better by striving ever to be better than we already are. and by climbing step by step toward the radiant heights of excellence.

Character is like the foundation of a house. Most of it is below the surface.

In Acts 27, the angel appears to Paul and says that he will reach Rome safely and that everyone aboard the ship will be saved. As Paul says later, “Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” Absolute blanket, unequivocal authority.

But Paul doesn’t settle down in his bunk and go to sleep. He goes out on deck, and seeing the sailors escaping, he says to the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.”
Paul says that depending on what human beings do — two sets of them: the pagan soldiers and sailors–in the next 30 seconds the Word of God will be true or false.

It’s as if the Word of God dangles over the side of the ship alongside the lifeboats. The lifeboat is about to be cut off; a knife’s cut can do it. The Word of God could be falsified in a second by the soldier saying, “Who are you?” Or the sailors saying, “We don’t care; we’re off on our own.”

For Paul, God’s sovereignty is the springboard on which he bounces in faith to obediently do what he must do so they do what they must do so that what God says will be done is done.

John Wooden remains today as one of the great coaches of our generation. He rose to prominence not just as a winning basketball coach but as mentor to literally thousands of individuals at UCLA and the world through his books and speeches.

One of his principles was that we are to be concerned more with our character than with our reputation, because our character is what we really are, while our reputation is merely what others think we are.

Tom Landry, the legendary football coach of the Dallas Cowboys, said “I’ve seen the difference character makes in individual football players. Give me a choice between an outstanding athlete with poor character and a lesser athlete of good character; and I’ll choose the latter every time. The athlete with good character will often perform to his fullest potential and be a successful football player; while the outstanding athlete with poor character will usually fail to play up to his potential and often won’t even achieve average performance.”

If you cheat in practice, you’ll cheat in the game. If you cheat in your head, you’ll cheat on the test. You’ll cheat on the girl. You’ll cheat in business. You’ll cheat on your mate. Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.

In a speech delivered in New Haven, Conn., on March 6, 1860 — just two months before the Republican Convention that nominated him, Abraham Lincoln said this: “What we want, and all we want, is to have with us the men who think slavery wrong. But those who say they hate slavery, and are opposed to it, but yet act with the Democratic party — where are they?

Let us apply a few tests. You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong?
Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other? You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will allow [slavery] even to be called wrong!

We must not call it wrong in the Free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Slave States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the Tract Society or the other societies because those are such unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong!

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.

Every man has three characters — that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.

The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian is that the supernatural is made natural in him by the grace of God, and the experience of this works out in the practical details of life, not in times of communion with God.

What we stand up for proves what our character is like. If we stand up for our reputation, it is a sign it needs standing up for! God never stands up for his saints, they do not need it. The devil tells lies about men, but no slander on earth can alter a man’s character.

God alters our disposition, but he does not make our character. When God alters my disposition, the first thing the new disposition will do is to stir up my brain to think along God’s line. As I begin to think, begin to work out what God has worked in, it will become character. Character is consolidated thought. God makes me pure in heart; I must make myself pure in conduct.

Carl Sandburg, describing Abraham Lincoln, calling him a man of steel and velvet. On February 12, 1959, Sandburg referred to him in these terms: Not often in the story of mankind does a man arrive on earth who is both steel and velvet, who is as hard as rock and soft as drifting fog, who holds in his heart and mind the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect. . . .While the war winds howled, he insisted that the Mississippi was one river meant to belong to one country. . . .While the luck of war wavered and broke and came again, as generals failed and campaigns were lost, he held enough forces . . . together to raise new armies and supply them, until generals were found who made war as victorious war has always been made, with terror, frightfulness, destruction . . . valor and sacrifice past words of man to tell.

In the mixed shame and blame of the immense wrongs of two crashing civilizations, often with nothing to say, he said nothing, slept not at all, and on occasions he was seen to weep in a way that made weeping appropriate, decent, majestic.

Today our culture is far less likely to raise up heroes than it is to exalt victims, individuals who are overcome by the sting of oppression, injustice, adversity, neglect or misfortune. … Success, as well as failure, is the result of one’s own talent, decisions and actions. Accepting personal responsibility for victory, as well as for defeat, is as liberating and empowering as it is unpopular today.

Have you ever watched the icicle as it is formed? Have you noticed how it froze, one drop at a time, until it was a foot long, or more? If the water was clean, the icicle remained clear, and sparkled brightly in the sun; but if the water was slightly muddy, the icicle looked foul, and its beauty was spoiled.

Just so our characters are formed. One little thought or feeling at a time adds its influence. If each thought be pure and right, the soul will be lovely, and will sparkle with happiness; but if impure and wrong, there will be deformity and wretchedness.

During his time as a rancher, Theodore Roosevelt and one of his cowpunchers lassoed a maverick steer, lit a fire, and prepared the branding irons. The part of the range they were on was claimed by Gregor Lang, one of Roosevelt’s neighbors. According to the cattleman’s rule, the steer therefore belonged to Lang. As his cowboy applied the brand, Roosevelt said, “Wait, it should be Lang’s brand.”

“That’s all right boss,” said the cowboy.

“But you’re putting on my brand,” Roosevelt said.

“That’s right,” said the man.

“Drop that iron,” Roosevelt demanded, “and get back to the ranch and get out. I don’t need you anymore. A man who will steal for me will steal from me.”

The late C.S. Lewis said that people can ask only three basic ethical or philosophical questions. To describe them, he used the metaphor of ships at sea. When sailing ships leave port to embark on a journey, sailors must determine three things, according to Lewis. First, they must know how to keep from bumping into one another. This is a question of “social ethics.” In other words, how do we get along with one another on this journey called life?

Second, they must know how the individual ships remain seaworthy. This is “personal ethics,” and it deals with the individual’s vices and virtues – with character. Finally, sailors must decide where the ships are going. What is their mission and their destination? This last question is the ultimate one for us. What is the purpose of human life? Why are we here?

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you, and were helped by you, will remember you when forget-me-nots are withered. Carve your name on hearts, and not on marble. Integrity is “a better long-term investment than the best Certificate of Deposit known to man!”

Bob Hope once said, “If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.”

When someone mentions the word “charity,” we usually think about giving material things, such as food, clothing or money, to needy people. However, the book “Hope Again” contains a true story about Tom Landry, the great coach of the Dallas Cowboys, and the late Woody Hayes. The story illustrates a different kind of charity, but real charity nevertheless.

Years ago, Woody Hayes was fired from his job as coach of the Ohio State football team. The reason Hayes was fired was that he struck an opposing player on the sidelines during a football game. The press had a field day with the firing, and piled criticism and shame on the former Buckeye coach.

Few people could have felt lower than Hayes felt. Not only did he publicly lose control of himself and do a foolish thing, but he also lost his job and much of the respect others had for him.

At the end of that season, a large, prestigious banquet was held for professional athletes. Tom Landry was invited, and he could bring a guest. Who did Landry take with him as his guest? Woody Hayes, the disgraced man everyone was being encouraged to criticize and scorn.

The game of football has rules against piling on someone who has been tackled. The reason for those rules is simple: prevent needless injury to the player who is down. The world would be much better if we actually lived by such rules. But when someone makes a mistake or is going through difficult times, one of the first responses of many people is criticism and gossip. Another response is to shun someone who is down. Either response piles on more pain–needless pain.

Tom Landry did not pile needless pain on Woody Hayes. Landry had charity in his heart. Charity, in the form of mercy. So Landry reached out with mercy to help a fallen man get up and begin climbing the hill back to a mended life.

So remember two things. First, instead of piling on the pain when someone is down, be merciful. Apply the principle in the Good Samaritan story that Jesus taught– to be the one to come to the aid of one who’s fallen, not one who passes by on the other side of the road– and help fallen people up the hill they have to climb.

The second point is that there is an interesting thing about hills. When you help a person up a hill, you find yourself closer to the top, and the better it will be when you need mercy. Yes, we all need mercy. Romans 3:23 tell us that “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 1, 2019 in Family

 

“Why Have A Family?”


big-family “Somewhere between the youthful energy of the teenager and the golden twilight years of a woman’s life there lives a marvelous and loving person known as a mother.”

“A mother is a curious mixture of patience, tolerance, kindness, understanding, discipline, industry, purity, and love.

“A mother can be at the same time both lovelorn counselor to a heartsick daughter and the head football coach to an athletic son. A mother can sew the tiniest stitch in the material for that dainty party dress, and she is equally experienced in threading through the heaviest noon-day traffic with a large SUV.”

“A mother is the only creature on earth who can cry when she’s happy, laugh when she’s heartbroken, and work when she’s sick. A mother is as gentle as a lamb and as strong as a giant. Only a mother can appear so weak and helpless, and yet at the same time, can put the fruit jar lid on so tightly that even dad can’t get it off.”

A mother is a picture of helplessness when dad’s around, and a marvel of resourcefulness when she’s all alone. A mother has the angelic voice of a member of the celestial choir when she’s singing a lullaby to that baby held tightly in her arms, and yet that same voice can dwarf the sounds of an amplifier when she calls the boys in for supper. A mother has the fascinating ability to be almost everywhere at once and she, alone, can somehow squeeze an enormous amount of living into an average day.”

“A mother is old fashioned to her teenager; she’s just mom to the third-grader; she’s mama to her little two-year old. There’s no greater thrill in life than to point to that wonderful woman and proclaim to the whole world – that’s my mother.”

We want to say some things this morning that go much beyond honoring mothers, though we will do that…we’re honoring God, who created for us that special creation – woman – and who placed into woman these wonderful qualities!

We live at a time when many young couples are considering the obstacles they face in marriage and the difficulties the world presents and are choosing not to have children. It causes us to ponder the question today: why have a family?

Certainly, it’s not to satisfy our own selfish ambitions. They take time and there are problems…many couples believe they’re “too busy” for children and the New Testament shows us this attitude in Mark 10:13-16: “People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. {14} When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. {15} I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” {16} And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”

  • The disciples felt Jesus was too busy for the children
  • Jesus showed that He was not…and was indignant toward this attitude
  • And He tells each of us today that we should “be like children” in order to enter the kingdom of God

Why have children?

Because God has planted in me the intense need to love and care for someone else.

 One writer: “The fullest human life is one that takes a chance on being committed to another human being.”

Children provide us with a constant opportunity for personal growth toward self-fulfillment. They furnish a unique and inescapable demand for giving of ourselves! What is means to be a family is most beautifully expressed when two people accept all the risks of having children, knowing that they will always “be on call.”

We are all blessed to be around children; they teach us so much:

– honesty – wonder of discovery   – open   – quick to forgive  – forget completely

Having children gives the Mom and Dad a complete understanding of just how much God loves us!

Psalms 103:13: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;”

When our children make really big, bad mistakes—our response to their repentant heart teaches us that God responds to our sins in the same way.

Children also teach us how to treat another young Christian:

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8: “…but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. {8} We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”

 And fathers learn so much as we watch our wives care for the children:

“In the realm of self-giving, a mother’s love makes the wealth of even the most devoted father look pale. Lovingly, she accepts the pain of child bearing. Selflessly, she exerts the energy and invests the time it takes to care for her home and family. Untiringly, she sits at the bedside of her sick child. Willingly, she gives us comforts and luxury to help provide for her child’s education. And with every gift of herself she is enriched – mothers have much for which to be proud.”

By experiencing the love their parents give them, our children learn how to love. This is important because loving is contrary to many of the basic drives of our flesh …without loving, our children are left with a primary need unmet.

“The family is the one place on earth where you can be accepted when you seem to have made a wreck of your life, the one sanctuary where you are valued when you are old, the one refuge where you have worth when you can no longer produce.”

Seen on a church sign:

If evolution is true, how come mothers still have only two hands? — Donna Waldeyer, Paoli, Pennsylvania, Christian Reader, “Lite Fare.”

 Four basic ingredients for building positive relationships (these are true in a spiritual family, too!)

  1. Mutual respect

Problems between human beings of any age are usually the result of a lack of respect. Parents often complain that their children don’t respect them, but don’t realize that respect must be earned.

Nagging, yelling, hitting, talking down, begging, and doing things for children they can do for themselves all show lack of respect.

Think for a moment: as your child grows older, do you require them to knock before entering your bedroom but feel free to barge into theirs? It’s a sign of a lack of respect.

 2. Taking time for fun

We live in a hectic modern pace, and this is often overlooked. An hour of positive relationship is worth several hours of conflict. Take time for fun! Spend time with each child, often!

  1. Encouragement

We must believe in our children if they are to believe in themselves. To feel adequate, children need frequent encouragement – it’s our way to tell and show them “how they are doing” in a world that is often very critical and at a time when they are very self-conscious.

  1. Communicating love

How often do you tell your children, by words and actions, that you love them…unconditionally? To feel secure, each child must have at least one significant person to love and to be loved by.

 Expect a lot from them

  1. In the home – teach them to do what they’re capable of doing.
  2. At school – they must respect authority and appreciate an education
  3. In worship – be sure they’re holding the songbook and at least making the effort in areas where they can participate…if they bring materials to read or work with during a sermon geared to the adult…be sure it’s a Bible story or Bible-based workbooks
  4. Evangelism- visitation – have them make a visit with you when they’re young and it’s fun and before they learn to be afraid

 A perspective from a two-year old:

“I heard you say you don’t understand two year olds, so let me explain. When I’m in the high chair and I say ‘up’ it really means ‘down.’ Or sometimes it means ‘I don’t want milk, I want juice’ unless you give me juice in the first place…then I want milk.

“When I say ‘out’ and you open the door for me, the reason I throw a fit is because I want to stay in, unless I can go outside naked.

“I really don’t like to go for walks if I can’t ride in the stroller, unless you put me in the stroller. Then, I want to walk, or else be carried…or maybe scream a little.

“Oh, and one more thing: when you ask ‘do you have to go to potty’ and I say ‘no’ it really means ‘yes.’…but I like to wait to tell you about it in the car or in the grocery store.” Sincerely, you beloved two year old.

We should daily work ourselves out of a job and live each moment with our child with the goal of giving them back to God!

Psalms 127: “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. {2} In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for he grants sleep to those he loves. {3} Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. {4} Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. {5} Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 12, 2019 in Family

 

Four Types of Parents…Lessons We Can Learn


Family Constellation

Recent studies have revealed that the position of a child in the family has tremendous impact on their development.

Each child has a unique position in the family unit and perceives matters from their own position, not from others.

The place of children in the family can generally be described by the following characteristics:

1. The first-born is, for a while, an only child. He received much attention, but suddenly is dethroned when another arrives. He still wants to be first and strives to maintain that place. When supremacy is not maintained through positive behavior, he may seek to gain it in other ways, even with negative behavior.

2. The second-born is confronted with someone who is always ahead. He may feel inadequate because he has to keep up with someone older. He may try to become more than what the older child is – aggressive, passive, dependent, social, etc.

3. The middle-child frequently feels squeezed out, that life is terribly unfair or may decide to overcome the “disadvantaged position.” This child is concerned about fairness and sticking to the rules.

4. The youngest child, as the baby of the family, may appear to be at a disadvantage, but can become a tyrant. He is inclined to take advantage of this position – the cutest, pleasant, weakest, etc. The youngest may seek to become the clown or to rebel.

5. The only child lives the formative years among older and more capable people. Only children tend to develop a distinctive style which ensures them a place with adults; they may be very verbal, charming, intelligent, or – if it suits their need – shy and helpless.

Note these positions only influence the individual’s personality development; they do not directly determine it. Each individual makes his/her own decisions. Thus an “only child” does not have to act like a spoiled brat, the middle child does not have to rebel, etc.

Magazine articles have been published for years describing the four basic types of parents. Two of these types tend to cause their children to resent authority; two tend to produce positive-acting children. We need to find ourselves in these four types and see the natural consequences of our actions.

The Dominant Parent

PARENTS

LOVE AND SUPPORT FOR   THEIR CHILDREN

CONTROLLING CHILDREN   BY LIMITS AND RULES

Dominant

Low

High

This parent tends to produce the most expensive qualities in children. They have very high standards, are seldom warm and caring in support and give very few explanations for their rigid rules. They tend to be unbending and demanding. But because the children do not understand the reasons why the activities are wrong, they may participate in them.

Some serious conclusions have  been observed from dominant parenting: high aggression in younger children is evident; many, due to early aggression, lead to a future life of violence; aggression is evident in all associations the child has in life.

Here are some typical statements and actions of dominant parents:

  • Rules are rules. You’re late – to bed with no supper.
  • I won’t stand for your back talk. Just do what I say.
  • You don’t need reasons when I tell you to do something.

There are possible reactions by children who have dominant parents:

  • They rank low in self-esteem. They have little ability to conform to rules.
  • The rigid harshness of the parents breaks the spirit of the child and results in resistance –silence or rebellion.
  • The child usually does not want anything to do with the parent’s rules or values – he rejects them.
  • The child may be attracted to other children who rebel against parental and society’s rules. They often use drugs or become involved in illegal actions.
  • The child may be loud in demanding his rights.
  • In classes he may be disruptive to gain attention.

The Neglectful Parent

PARENTS

LOVE AND SUPPORT FOR   THEIR CHILDREN

CONTROLLING CHILDREN   BY LIMITS AND RULES

Neglectful

Low

Low

The neglectful parents tend to lack both loving support and control over children. They show an uncaring and immature attitude, lashing out at the children when irritated. These tend to isolate by excessive use of babysitters and to indulge in their own selfish activities.

Children are seen as a bother – parents can be neglectful even when they are at home. In this environment children are robbed of the greatest factor a parent can give: emotional involvement and attachment.

Studies reveal four reasons for this kind of parenting: the high divorce rate, an increase of mothers in the work force, excessive television watching, and an increasing mobile society. Here are some typical actions and statements made by neglectful parents:

  • Work it out for yourself…can’t you see I am busy?
  • No! I’m expected somewhere else…get your mother to help!
  • No, you can’t stay up…you wanted to stay up late last night…stay out of my way!
  • That’s your problem…I have to go to work!
  • Good grief! Can’t you be more careful
  • So you think  I’m stupid! That’s your problem…just get lost!

Here are some typical effects on children of neglectful parents:

  • The harshness and neglect tend to wound the child’s spirit causing rebellion
  • Neglect teaches the child that they are not worth spending time with them
  • The child develops insecurity because parents are never predictable
  • The child may not develop a healthy self-esteem because he is not respected and has not learned self-control
  • Broken promises break the child’s spirit and lowers self-worth
  • The child tends to do poorly in school because he has little motivation

The Permissive Parent

PARENTS

LOVE AND SUPPORT FOR   THEIR CHILDREN

CONTROLLING CHILDREN   BY LIMITS AND RULES

Permissive

High

Low

 Permissive parents tend to be warm, supportive people but weak in establishing and enforcing rules and limits for their children. They usually give in to their child’s demands. Even when the child is in trouble, they tend not to discipline, which affects in a negative way.

Permissive parents are great supporters: giving, understanding, and very comforting. But this type of parenting is responsible for allowing a “brat” to develop. The following are typical of permissive parents:

  • Well, OK, you can stay up late this time. I know how much you like this program
  • You’re tired aren’t you? A paper route is a tough job. Sure, I will take you around again.
  • I hate to see you under so much school  pressure. Why not rest tomorrow…I will say you were sick
  • You didn’t hear me call you to supper? Well, that’s all right. I must not have called loud enough. Sit down. I don’t want you eating a cold dinner
  • Don’t get angry at me…you’re making a scene
  • Please try to hurry … Mommy will be late again if we don’t start soon

These are possible reactions by children with permissive parents:

  • A child senses that he/she is in the driver’s seat and can play the parent accordingly
  • A child develops insecurity, like  leaning against a wall that appears to be firm, but falls over
  • A child may have little self-esteem because he has not learned to control himself and master personal disciplines
  • A child learns that because standards are not firm, he can manipulate around all rules

The Loving and Firm Parent

PARENTS

LOVE AND SUPPORT FOR   THEIR CHILDREN

CONTROLLING CHILDREN   BY LIMITS AND RULES

Loving   and Firm

High

High

Loving and firm parents usually have well defined rules, limits and standards. They take the time to train and explain them to their children so they understand these limits. But they also give support and affection to the child (physically spending time with them, etc.). They are flexible, willing to listen to all the facts if a limit has been violated. The loving and firm parent is a healthy and balanced combination of the dominant and permissive parent. There is firmness, but affection.

Here are some typical statements and actions by loving and firm parents:

  • You’re late again for dinner? How can we work this thing out?
  • I wish I could let you stay up late, but we agreed upon this time. Remember what you’ll be like tomorrow if you lose your sleep?
  • When we both cool off, we will talk about what needs to be done
  • You’re really stuck, aren’t you? I’ll help you this time, but let’s work out how you can get it done by yourself next time
  • You say all the others will be there. I want more information first

Typical characteristics of children who have loving and firm parents:

  • The warm support and clearly defined limits builds self-respect
  • A child is more content when he has learned to control himself
  • He is more secure when he realizes that some limits are unbending and he understands why
  • Lines of communication are open with parents – there is less chance of the “rebellious teen years”

Children from loving and firm parents rank highest in self-respect, capacity to conform to authority, greater interest in parent’s faith in God and have a greater tendency not to join a rebellious group.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 30, 2018 in 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.

 
Leave a comment

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.
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 23, 2016 in Family, Marriage

 

10 Commandments for Guiding Our Children


http://www.dreamstime.com/-image9248825

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.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 21, 2016 in Family

 
 
%d bloggers like this: