Family Matters

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In a day when there is divine hope and light by the grace of Jesus upon us as His kingdom family, there is an opposition at work against families. Because of that our Father gives us His Word to understand what is truth for divine life and He gives us His Holy Spirit at work in us to empower us to live the Christian life. It is not by our might or our strength, but by His Spirit that we love and have our being!!! There is much to say in our Father’s Word about family interactions and as a result of a Bible study group of women that I was leading several years ago that questioned how to know God’s purpose for their life, I put together a study guide to help summarize the teachings of the Bible regarding understanding one’s purpose in life. It is entitled “Running Your Road of Purpose” and it is to be released to the market any day now. Here is a reflection of God’s heart for family life! May it bless your hearts to know Father’s heart and to know that Father’s grace is sufficient for us and the empowerment that brings family victory to marriages, raising children and interacting with extended family as all look to Him in as the light for our feet to walk in unity. As Father says: it is by His grace as we stay close to Him:

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Spouses

If you have a husband, God desires for you to be his helper, to assist and aid him (Genesis 2:18-25), to partner with him (1 Peter 3:7), to be a faithful companion (Exodus 20:14), to encourage him and build him up as a man (Proverbs 14:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:11), to meet his sexual needs and please him (1 Corinthians 7), to respect him and put forward his opinions as is fitting to the Lord (Colossians 3:18).  

If you have a wife, God desires for you to love her as your own body, as yourself (Ephesians 5:33), be considerate of her and her opinions (1 Peter 3:7, Ephesians 5:21), encourage her and build her up as a woman ((1 Thessalonians 5:11), not being harsh with her (Colossians 3:19), loving her as Christ loves the church – giving himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25), treating her with respect (1 Peter 3:7), protecting her by your stronger physical abilities (1 Peter 3:7), meeting her sexual needs (1 Corinthians 7), being faithful to her (Exodus 20:14) so that nothing hinders your prayers (1 Peter 3:7).

God calls us all to consider the opinions of all people and to not seek our own good, but the good of others, but this does not mean to put them above God or become a participant in sin (Ephesians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 10:24 & 33, Proverbs 14:16a, Exodus 20:3).

We are also called to show proper respect to everyone (1 Peter 2:17). Respect is defined as “to consider deserving of high or special regard”. [1] It is important to remember also, that if we desire the respect of others, we need to seek to be respectable – not making it difficult for people to respect us (1 Timothy 3:8, 11; 1 Thessalonians 5:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:12, Proverbs 11:16, Titus 2:2).

We need to not take our spouses for granted. Be thankful for your spouse (Colossians 3:15). If you find yourself focusing on negative thoughts about your spouse, take your thoughts captive to Christ and focus on “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). An exercise that is helpful in doing this is to go through the alphabet and for each letter, state a word that begins with that letter that represents a true good quality about your spouse (for example: A – She adores me and my children, B – He is bold, C – He is courageous, etc… by the time you get to Z, you have 26 good reasons to admire your spouse.   Have you ever considered that there are many lonely people in the world who would perhaps love to have your spouse? I see the sadness of lonely people all the time. Does any stranger walking down the street treat your spouse better than you do? Do you strive to be the “special someone” in your spouse’s life? Do you seek to minister to your spouse’s needs out of love even though they are not your needs? Do you realize that God loves your spouse as much as He loves you? Galatians 3:28 says in God’s eyes “There is neither male nor female.” He loves them both the same. God understands our spouses as unique individuals and He knows what will bless them, so ask Him to give you wisdom in how to bless your spouse.

Healthy marriages practice these things and seek to work as a team to “discern the best” (Philippians 1:10) and keep peace and harmony in their relationship (Proverbs 3:13-17). If differences are creating bitterness and resentment, marriage partners need to quickly (Ephesians 4:26-27) seek God’s wisdom through prayer (Psalm 119:25, James 1:5), the study of God’s Word and godly counsel (Proverbs 1:5, Proverbs 15:14 & 22, Proverbs 3:21) to resolve problems (Matthew 12:25) and restore peace (Hebrews 12:14).

Couples should also work together to manage their homes and children well (Proverbs 31:27, Titus 2:5, 1 Timothy 3:12). Ask God to show you the definition of “well”. Sometimes people can go to the extreme of “too perfect” and some are “too relaxed” in caring for their homes and children. We want to make it our aim to bring glory to God in the eyes of our neighbors and those who might enter into our homes. Consider also the feelings of your family about your home. What makes your home comfortable to them? What ministers to them and to others who are visiting? Is your family embarrassed about where and how they live? If so, ask your family why and work through it together as a family. It is good when your family loves to be home and they feel good about bringing home their friends instead of being out with friends where there are all sorts of temptations. When they are in your home, you know what they are doing and who they are with. This also gives you the opportunity to minister to them and show them the love of Christ.

Children

If you have children, God desires for us to provide for them as they are growing up (1 Timothy 5:8), bring them up in the instruction of the Lord, not exasperating them or causing bitterness or they will become discouraged (Colossians 3:21). Deuteronomy 4:9 tells us to teach God’s commands to our children and to their children after them. Teach them how to pray and rely on God. Help them to see that God’s ways are best for their lives and the importance of making good choices and setting good goals. Help them to find their giftedness and their abilities and encourage them to put them to work in their lives. We should seek to set a godly example for them so they have a correct perspective of God (we show them the Father in us through how we live, love and discipline our children – 1 Corinthians 10:31). We need to teach them about obedience (Deuteronomy 32:46). If children do not learn how to be obedient to their parents, they will find it hard to be obedient to the Lord’s will for their lives. Let us not withhold discipline from our children (Proverbs 23:13-14). “A child left to him/herself will bring disgrace to his or her mother” (Proverbs 29:15). We can ask God to make us a good parent. He does not leave us alone to run our road of purpose!!! YAY!!!

Other Family

God sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6). If we have lonely family members, we can reach out to them and include them in our life. God desires that we provide for our relatives, especially our immediate family. However, we must be careful to listen to God in this area, because we can take away people’s motivation to work by being their source of constant provision. God is clear in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” We also need to be careful that we do not provide the means that supports destructive habits or addictions in someone’s life. We are to also care for widows/widowers and look after orphans in their distress (1 Timothy 5:4, 8, James 1:27).

How awesome that our Father is our God of love and not only does He love us, but He helps us as His universal kingdom family as this song says here. Blessed to have Father and each other forever through faith, we are!!! Let us count our blessings and give thanks for the gift of life and relationships together!!! Oh that all just makes me smile!!

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[1] “By permission. From Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, Copyright 2010 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated (www.Merriam-Webster.com).”

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