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Developing a Healthy Marriage_Pt. 4

Bride and groom kissing.7. The Faithful Connection – A Steadfast Commitment

“It’s over.” “We’re through.” “I’m finished!” These phrases are too often thrown around in arguments and should never be a part of a Christian’s vocabulary when it comes to marriage. The greatest insecurity in a relationship is the lack of security. Your spouse needs to know that you are in for the long haul. Every relationship has its ups and downs, but how can you resolve problems and work things out if someone is constantly in fear of being abandoned and deserted? When you establish security in a relationship, you establish a key element for long term survival and happiness.

Being faithful is not only a characteristic of a good spouse; it is also a prevailing characteristic of Christ himself. Jesus tells his spouse, the church, in Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” He also said in Matthew 28:20 “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” What was Christ doing in these verses? What message was he sending to his followers in John 3:16 when he said “whosoever believeth in him shall never perish, but have everlasting life.”? Jesus wants his bride to know that no matter what trials and difficulties would come our way, He will always be there for us and we will never be abandoned. WOW, What security! The New Testament is full of verses like this offering eternal security to the children of God. If we really want to be like Jesus, we must learn to display this level of commitment and faithfulness in our marriage. If God offers this commitment to us, why then can’t we offer this same security to our spouse and family? What stops us? Allow me to offer some insightful statements that will help us understand the anatomy of commitment and more effectively develop this connection of faithfulness:

  1. You must first accepts Christ’s security for yourself and understand that God will never leave you, before you can offer this kind of commitment to anyone else. Are you 100% sure that you are a child of God and that when you die you are going to heaven? If you are sure of this, do you understand the doctrine of eternal security as taught in the Bible? Take time to study God’s word and learn more about Gods unconditional love and commitment to his children. Learn all you can about the forever faithful nature of God.
  2. Don’t place conditions on your faithfulness. Be faithful and committed to your spouse and family, regardless of what they decide to do. You keep your vows even when others break theirs.
  3. Compare not, want not. To stay committed we must stay content. We cannot be looking at what others have in their relationship and family; and compare what we don’t have to what they do have. This breeds discontentment and will loosen our bands of commitment. When tough times come in a relationship, discontentment makes it easier to walk away than to stay and pray another day.
  4. Don’t be a score keeper. How can you stay committed and faithful to someone you’re trying to beat? Holding grudges and bringing up past failures will destroy the faithfulness in your heart towards your spouse, which will ultimately destroy the relationship. Forgive quickly, fully and totally; no strings attached!
  5. Give more than you take. Be a Christ-like giver. Invest into the relationship with all your might. When you are building and investing in something you tend to protect it and hold it in high regard. The more you help and do for your spouse and family, the less likely you are to do anything to destroy them.

This list is not exhaustive, but it is to the point on the basics for developing a marriage that is biblical, healthy and strong enough to last the tests of time. Your home and marriage has the potential to be great and wonderful, but it will only reach that potential by faithfulness, hard work and the blessings of God. Faithfulness in conflict is not a common quality to mankind. We tend to leave when it’s tough and stay if it’s good. Faithfulness is a character trait found throughout the pages of Scripture and in the person of Jesus Christ. The more we learn about Christ and the closer to him we walk, the more likely we will be to express faithfulness even in the toughest of trials. Faithfulness is more than just staying together for a lot of years; it’s about staying together in the right spirit and for the right reasons. It’s about loving God and each other with all your heart and growing together for the glory of God and the good of your home; it’s about obedience to Gods word, following his Holy Spirit and putting his will and your family’s needs before yourself. Keep growing in Christ as an individual and watch Him bless you both together as a couple! “…and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24  (Be sure to look back and read parts 1-3 of this devotion)

 

Developing a Healthy Marriage_ pt. 3

 

Bride and groom kissing.6. The Physical Connection

Genesis 2:21-25 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

God made man, and then made woman from the same flesh as man. The physical connection between man and woman is natural, appropriate and expected. God made us to fellowship with him, so it’s natural for us to desire a connection with others. The physical connection between husband and wife is a blessing by God, only to be enjoyed within the boundaries of marriage. In our corrupt society man and women have taken liberties that God never intended; liberties that instead of strengthening the physical connection will actually destroy it. Many relationships have been destroyed by an “old flame” of the past coming back to haunt the new relationship. Thoughts and images are never really erased from our mind and they often cause arguments and trust issues in new relationships. People who jump from one relationship to another are never satisfied and are often hurting emotionally inside. The bottom line is God has intended one man for one woman for life, and that man and woman were designed to connect physically. There are different ideas and aspects of the physical connection; I will briefly look at two:

A. The Quality Time Connection

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Time is one of the most precious blessings you presently have. The only time you are guaranteed is the time you are currently experiencing. Spending physical time with your spouse is important. Long distance phone calls, texts and video chats are fine to sustain short term separations, but they can never replace personal contact. Some people, especially military are forced to be away for long periods of time, (and I am grateful for their sacrifice and pray for their safety) but many couples live separated and have little contact, and they see each other every day. This is not healthy for the relationship. We live in an evil day with many devices and distractions, we must invest all the time we can into our marriages. While the evil in our day seeks to destroy your relationship, you should use time wisely to strengthen it.

The verse says “redeeming the time,” which means to buy it up or to rescue it from loss; we must use each hour wisely because when the minuets are gone they are gone forever. I was recently talking with my wife on this subject and we came up with three areas of time we needed to be aware of: neutral time, negative time and nutritious time. Neutral time is time wasted or time spent idle. This would include television watching, sitting on the couch looking at your mobile device, social media & web surfing, personal hobbies & recreation…just to name a few. Please don’t misunderstand me, not all of this time is bad, but it is not all good either, that is why it’s called neutral time. This neutral time could very easily be converted into nutritious time if you are using social media to encourage others or lift up the name of Christ; on the other hand it could be turned into negative time if you are gossiping and running down others. Negative time is time you spend engaging in sinful activities; arguing and shouting at one another, talking about people and spreading gossip, looking at sinful material and listening to ungodly music, selfishly using all your spare time for you and your hobbies while robbing your family of time with them…are just a few. Nutritional time is time which builds and encourages each other. This is the best time to invest in because it builds protective walls around your marriage & family, and gives much needed strength to your home. This is the time your family will remember and appreciate most for years to come. A few examples of this time would be: family bible time at home, church attendance together, serving Christ together, “couch time” talks, writing little notes to each other, making time for dates, encouraging words to family members…the list is endless and the results are wonderful.

B. The Intimate Time Connection

Gen. 2:24 says that the man would “…cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” God intended for the man and his bride to enjoy the blessings of sexual intimacy as a way of becoming one with each other. The word “cleave” means to adhere, cling or stick to someone or something. It literally means to be joined together. One of the reasons sexual relations are so sacred and reserved for married couples only is because of what happens in this act. Sexual intercourse is an act which God designed to unite a man and woman together forever, making them one flesh. No other act makes two individuals one flesh. This act is not to be taken lightly or given freely outside of the marriage vows. Sexual relations within the marriage forms a bond, a unity and a closeness that cannot be matched or mimicked anywhere else in society; therefore, it is to be cherished, respected and private between a husband and wife. When this act is enjoyed within the marriage, the result is joy and contentment between husband and wife.

This privilege is not to be abused outside of marriage, but it should also not be abused within the marriage either. It should not become a bargaining chip or tool you use to control and manipulate your spouse. The bible is clear about this in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” The wife is to give herself freely to her own husband, and likewise the husband is to give his body freely unto his own wife. When couples withhold physical contact from each other, it makes it easier for Satan to tempt them and draw them into sin and adultery. This is why God allows us to have our own spouse, so we can meet each other’s needs and grow as one in Christ together. God wants us to honor him as we enjoy our marriage.

These biblical principals will help you safeguard your marriage. Here are a few helpful hints to put into practice as well that will strengthen your home and your relationship: loving embraces, holding hands while talking, revisit an old spot that was special to you before marriage, writing encouraging notes (we use Post-it notes and place them all over the house), words that compliment, unexpected flowers, prepare a favorite meal & make it special…. These are just a few, but use your imagination and pray for God to help you encourage your spouse and meet their individual needs. Your home will be happier if you do.

(look for part 4 coming soon)

 

 

Thank God for You!

MB900262946Philippians 1:3-5 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

“Constant fault-finding, scolding, or fretfulness, does no good in a family, a school, or a church. The tendency is to dishearten, irritate, and discourage. To commend a child when he does well, may be as important, and as much a duty, as to rebuke him when he does ill.” – Albert Barnes

It is important to offer words of encouragement when you see someone doing well! Under direct leadership of the Holy Spirit, Paul starts out his letter to the church at Philippi with just such commendation. He was so proud of them that they had maintained a steady and consistent Christian growth from the very day of their conversion up to this point in time. What a testimony for these believers; they stayed true and faithful all this time, and not just maintained a status in mediocrity but flourished in Spiritual fruit and progress. Find someone to encourage. Pray and ask God to show you the good in others and then point it out to them. Your kind words just might be the fuel that keeps them running another mile. It’s true that wrongs must be set right, but equal to that truth is that “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” Proverbs 15:23. Our words bring joy and encouragement; let’s use them wisely.

 

Developing a Healthy Marriage_pt.2

4. The Respect Connection

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “Respect” as, to regard; to have regard to in design or purpose. To view or consider with some degree of reverence; to esteem as possessed of real worth.

a.     We must respect the design and purpose of our spouse

Genesis 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

 God designed man and woman differently. There are the obvious physical differences, but there are also the more subtitle internal differences also. This is not an exhaustive list of differences or purposes for our design, but rather just a glimpse so we can acknowledge and respect the differences of our spouse.  

God made the woman more sensitive and compassionate to care for and to mother her children. The mother is often bombarded with multiple tasks, so God gave her the ability to multi-task; that is, she is constantly aware of the children, the stove, the phone call and the next step all at the same time. She has an array of gifts and talents unique to her alone.

On the other hand, God designed the man with a rougher texture. Men are often the disciplinarian; they tend to lead with a stronger hand and voice. They are often limited to doing one thing at a time but this is advantageous in times of war and trouble. Men can turn off emotions and block out distractions that would take them away from the task at hand, where in most cases mother may be overwhelmed and emotional about the situation.

Don’t take this the wrong way. I am not saying men are superior to women, I am saying God made us equal in value but different by design, so that we can each fulfill our God  given purpose in life. When we respect each others role, we are respecting God’s design. When we belittle or down play our spouse’s position, we are disrespecting God’s desired plan. If men and women were built and wired the same, why then would God have had to make two, male and female; he could have just made one human with all capabilities. Instead, God made man and then his “help meet,” his other half, to complete the design. Genesis 2:18  And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. When husband and wife serve God together and respect one another they are showing the unity and perfection of their creator. God made two so that they could work at being one, and when that happens God gets all the glory and the picture of Christ and his church are clearly seen.  

b.     We must daily consider their worth and contributions to the relationship

Too many spouses today compare themselves against each other. They are good score keepers but not good encouragers. Don’t look at your marriage and keep count of all you do, but consider what your spouse contributes as well. Hebrews 10:24 Tells us to “consider one another…” God knows that when we compare instead of consider, we become more selfish. This is why 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” The more we praise and worship God, the more we think of him and the less we think of ourselves. When pride enters any relationship, trouble is soon to follow. Proverbs 13:10 says “Only by pride cometh contention”this means pride and self-centeredness is the sole source of all strife. When you are constantly looking at the good in your spouse and thanking God for their presence, you will find their shortcomings will grow smaller in your eyes and their worth, and your love for them will grow greater.

 c.      Respect effects behavior

We have seen that respect is an understanding and appreciation for someone’s person and purpose. But respect is also a displayed action. When we respect people it makes a difference in the way we treat them. For example, respect causes us to talk kindly to our spouse. Respect prompts us to hear them out and not be rude in our conversations or gestures. We treat our spouse as Christ treats his bride the church. I will go a step further, you may look at your mate as just a husband or wife but that is only the half; if they are saved, they are also your Christian brother or sister! You should never treat your spouse with any less respect then you treat other Christians. This may sound like a small matter, but it carries enormous results. Treating your soul-mate with respect will brighten your home and sweeten your time together.  

 

5.      The Encouragement Connection

You’re not the only one that had a bad day. Daily encouragement is a must for a healthy marriage. Hebrews 10:24 says “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” God teaches us in his word that in order to encourage someone to good works, we must first consider them. Consider their thoughts, their feelings and their needs. Consider their daily struggles before you start barking about the burnt dinner or the grass that is not cut. Consider his day at work might have pushed him over the top and now instead of needing corrected he just needs encouraged. Take into consideration that her day may have been filled with rowdy children, endless errands and a terrible headache on top of it all.

Encouraging words will produce good & kind works from your spouse. Provoke your spouse to good works. Do things that will cause them to smile and they will in turn do things that will cause you to smile. Proverbs 15:23 says “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”   When we allow unkind or selfish words to come out of our mouth, we are creating our own misery. On the other hand, when we build-up others with our speech, we experience a joyful feeling that comes from doing the right things. Your spouse is the “other half” of you! Build your spouse and you build yourself; tear them down and you also hurt yourself.

So what about when your spouse messes up and fails? Shouldn’t I correct them, you ask. Not always, let the Holy Spirit do the correcting in their heart and you just be that encourager calling out positive helps, cheering them on to the finish line. Try not to be too critical. I know honesty is the best policy, but sometimes its best to keep your mouth shut then to blurt out that honest statement.  This is the practice of “a word spoken in due season” or at the right time. Words need to be properly placed and timed. That truthful statement may be best spoken tomorrow after emotions calm down. If you find yourselves in a heated discussion, take 30 minutes to calm down and pray about the situation; then come back to talk it over.  Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”  This verse teaches us that our words should help, not hurt. The word “edify” is an architectural term meaning to build up or construct. Our words should build the spiritual and emotional being in our spouse. Never speak to destroy, hurt or get even, speak only spiritual and helpful words that will lift your mate closer to Christ.

Speak the words of God; quote the Bible in an uplifting manner, post Bible verses around the house, put scripture verses in your spouse’s lunch box or briefcase where they are sure to find them. God’s word will work in them. n and asy, teardown them down and you also hurt yourself. So what about when yoru spouse messes up andPeople admire and desire to be encouraged and they also love those that encourage them. Your marriage will be stronger when you are your spouse’s biggest supporter.

(Look for part 3 coming soon!)

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Family, Home & Marriage

 

Developing a Healthy Marriage_pt.1

This is not an exhaustive list; however, I feel these aspects of a marriage relationship are top priority items that my wife and I have found very foundational to our relationship. Not only are these things healthy for your marriage, but these principles can be transferred to other relationships and dealings with people in general.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines the word healthy as: being in a sound state; enjoying health; sound; as a healthy body or constitution. God desires our marriages to be sound, that is, entire, unbroken, not shaky, and complete. Marriages are supposed to be enjoyable, that is, happy, pleasurable, and satisfying to both husband and wife. God’s purpose for the marriage from the beginning in the Garden of Eden was for the marriage relationship between man and woman to emulate the spiritual relationship between God and man. God intended for the marriage to be productive and to make a positive contribution to society. God knows we cannot achieve this productive and delightful state on our own, so for this reason he has set forth several Connection Points in His Word for us to learn from and develop our marriage by. Consider these connection elements and put them into practice today and I am confident you will be on your way to developing a more healthy and enjoyable Christ-honoring marriage.

1.      The Christ Connection  

Jude 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.

1 Thessalonians 4:1  Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

This deals with your personal connection with Jesus Christ. It is clear from these verses that we need to build up our faith, walk to please God and continue doing so more and more. It is impossible to be a good spouse without first having a good relationship with our God. It is the word of Christ that dwells in us richly that teaches us to be the spouse we need to be, and it is the Holy Spirit that empowers us to carry out all Christ teaches us. When we read the Bible and spend time in prayer, we see how Christ tenderly deals with his bride, the church; it is here we learn how to treat our spouse. Build your personal faith and you strengthen your marriage.

2.      The Spiritual Connection

While most people focus and think about the physical connection of the marriage, it is the spiritual connection that provides the needed strength to press through the difficult days. Here are some proven ways to connect spiritually with your spouse.

    a.      Pray together

What a precious thing to hear your spouse talk to the Heavenly Father on your behalf. It is an empowering and securing feeling to know your mate has care enough for you to call your name before the Throne of Grace. It is also difficult to harbor resentment when you enter Christ’s presence through prayer. Prayer will “clear the air” between you and your spouse.

    b.      Share scripture

Scripture is a powerful tool of encouragement. By sharing a passage of scripture, you pass the blessing to the one you love. It may be a verse of scripture they need to press through the day. Try using post-it notes to plaster uplifting Bible verses where your spouse is sure to find them. This works with note, emails and text messages too.

*Note: avoid using scripture to “prove a point” to your spouse. If they are wrong, let the Holy Spirit deal with them. Use scripture to encourage and uplift.

    c.       Exchange prayer requests & praises

It is important for you to discuss what you are praying. This shows a level of compassion and concern for those things your spouse carries around in their heart. There is enough negative news, try spreading some positive praises. Talk about positive things that God is doing. Encourage your spouse to focus heavenward.

    d.      Set spiritual goals for yourself, your home and family.

It is important to set goals and visions for your home. This keeps the family focused on the important issues. It also motivates success. People feel more eager to follow when there is a plan laid before them. This also keeps us from drifting into uncharted waters that have the ability to destroy our home life. Set goals that reflect God’s holiness, reading the Bible more as a family, inviting friends & neighbors to church or coming up with ways to help others. Setting positive goals will keep us on the right track.

3.     The Communication Connection

Hebrews 13:16  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

1 Timothy 6:18  “…willing to communicate”

*Communication here means, a partnership, participation, to connect and interact. It means to communicate and fellowship with others. The Bible also calls this a sacrifice.

There is no business or relationship that can grow or even function properly without good communication. Communication involves three things; a sender, a message to send and a receiver of the message. Often times talking turns into shouting and this is not communication. There are two senders of two different messages and no one is receiving or listening. Once the yelling starts, each person is on the defensive, thinking only of what they will say next.

The Bible gives us some thoughts on good communication:

  1. Heb. 13:16 connects doing good with communication. Communication is good.
  2. Heb. 13:16 also says communication is a sacrificial act. It takes restraint and godly character to listen and control your tongue.
  3. Heb. 13:16 says this behavior is well pleasing to God.
  4. 1Tim. 6:18 says we must be willing to communicate. Be willing to do the right thing, to make the relationship work.

Communication is not only necessary to solve problems, but consistent communication will also prevent problems. By talking to your spouse, you open certain lines that would otherwise be closed. You may start talking about one topic, but wonder into another topic, where you end up dealing with an issue or problem before it starts. Talk often, talk clear and talk nice. This will strengthen your marriage more than you expect.

*Look for part two of this devotion coming soon

 

 

What Changes Our Children? Part 5

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

9. Weed the garden: there will be times when you have to “pull out the weeds” or negative influences from your children’s lives. They may not be your best buddy at the time you’re pullin’ weeds, but you will be considered the better parent by God because of it. This may mean taking things from their room, surprise inspections of their text messages & pictures, regularly checking their computer internet history, taking a certain set of clothing, forbidding them to associate with certain people ect. Parents that care will love their child enough to “hurt” them today, so they can help them for tomorrow. They will be better off in the long run because of your protection; they will become better people because of your structured discipline. Weeds choke out the good plant, and in Mark 4:7 the weeds choked out the good seed of God’s word to the point of the person missing salvation. The weeds of negative influence will rob your children of the nutrients that God’s precious word would provide. All the Sunday school lessons, sermons and spiritual talks you have with them will be choked away by these worldly weeds. The Gardner takes care of the plants and the parent takes care of the children. The child is not responsible to remove his negative influences any more than the plants are able to remove the deadly weeds that surround them. Weed the garden now and you’ll get better fruit later; neglect it now and suffer loss later.

10. Give them room to move: this may sound contradictory in an article like this, but it is a necessary balance to raising children. We all mess up and we learn from those mistakes, but some lessons are best learned the hard way. We have to let our children make some decisions, or they will grow up mindless and without the ability to reason and solve problems. So how do we do this without giving them too much liberty that may hurt them? Do it the same way God does to us, it’s called “Limited Free Will”. God allows us to choose and make decisions but he sets the boundaries of how much we can decide. For example, I can decide what car to buy, but I cannot decide to grow wings and fly. God made me with feet to walk, not wings to fly. I am limited in my choices. It’s like this: Imagine a fenced in backyard filled with toys. I tell my child he can do anything he wants in the back yard. He now feels freedom to play with any toy, run anywhere and do anything he wants. He is having a good time making his own choices, but all along I have set the boundaries….remember the fence? I gave him free will to make his own choices but I set the boundaries for those choices; thereby limiting his free will and as his protector, I guaranteed that his choices would be safe ones. Part of parenting is helping your children make the right choices by putting them in positions where they have good choices to choose from. But, knowing they will one day have to make decisions for themselves, we must teach them the right processes for making good decisions. Teach them to read their Bible, pray and seek Gods direction when making decisions. Teach them to consult the spiritual counselors God has put in their lives (parents, pastors & teachers); the Bible says “there is safety in a multitude of counselors.” Because of this kind of training, as they grow up, they will be wise in their decision making process, producing better choices and living a happier more productive Christian life.

What parent would not desire this for their child? Parents, lead with courage, grace and faithfulness. Your children and their generation are counting on you.

 

 

What Changes Our Children? Part 4

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

7. Nothing replaces quality time: The word quality speaks of a degree of excellence or a grade given to determine value. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines time as: a particular portion or part of duration, whether past, present or future. When we put the two together we see that quality time would be an excellent portion of time that is valuable or precious to whoever receives it. It’s not just a “time-slot” but an opportunity to influence. Would your family consider the time you gave them recently of high quality and value?   I understand that time is divided between many priorities such as; Church, family time, work, recreation and general maintenance of all the blessings God has given to us. We all have jobs to work, loved ones to tend to and yards to mow, but these must stay in balance with the rest.  As adults, we must set our priorities and keep them so that we can tend to our children and family. Children that are left to themselves with no parental interaction, will bring shame to themselves and their family.  Proverbs 29:15 says  “…a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Children learn by example, therefore they need quality and positive attention. You can work endless hours to provide your children with money and possession, but in the end they need and want more than our money can by…they want our quality time.

8. Create a nurturing environment: Put your child in as many positive, nurturing & godly environments as possible. The more they are surrounded by these types of environments, the more positive influences they will receive from them. Often a child will have a positive influence at church, but their home, school, free time and other surroundings and activities are harsh, worldly or non-productive. This child has fewer opportunities to develop into a spiritually mature adult then say a child that would have positive consistency at home, church, school, and in their free time. Ephesians 6:4 says “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The word nurture means to educate, tutor or correct; so, to bring up or raise a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, is to teach them the things of God. Teach them what God accepts and what He rejects. Correct them when they fail and show them how not to fail for the next time. And as much as you possibly can, keep them in environments that will nurture the same. A child will soon become confused and shipwrecked when he is taught one thing at church and allowed to do another at home, school or at play with his friends. Parents and leaders must create nurturing environments where children can grow spiritually as well as physically.

 
 
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