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Family Basics

We all know the Bible talks about family.  That’s a given.  Today I just wanted to share with you a few passages that have stood out to me recently about family.  They are all found in the book of Psalms within less than 20 chapters of each other.

Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.” – Psalm 127

How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.” – Psalm 133

May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace. May our barns be filled with crops of every kind. May the flocks in our fields multiply by the thousands, even tens of thousands, and may our oxen be loaded down with produce. May there be no enemy breaking through our walls, no going into captivity, no cries of alarm in our town squares. Yes, joyful are those who live like this! Joyful indeed are those whose God is the LORD.” – Psalm 144:12-15

As you can see, there are some powerful words that the Psalmists use about the how a family will flourish.  Simply put, your family will flourish if it is grounded in God.  I also bolded 3 key phrases – one from each passage.  There are certainly other points to be gleaned from these chapters, but these are the 3 I want you to remember.

1. Unless God is your family’s foundation, then everything you do is pointless.  This passage goes on to talk about the blessing of having children.  Most people today are cautious about not having too many kids because they can be such a handful.  Yes, they can be.  And I’m not saying I want to have 10 kids myself.  But children are God’s personal blessings!  No matter how many or how few children you do or will have, all your work may be in vain.  That is, unless you make God (the whole Trinity) the foundation and center of everything you do.  Any other way will not succeed in the long run.

2. Spend your time cultivating a close and healthy family.  Not every family will be picture-perfect like Swiss Family Robinson, the Brady Bunch, or Leave it to Beaver.  That’s not what I’m saying, and I seriously doubt that’s what the writer of Psalm 133 was trying to communicate.  The passage simply indicates that it is wonderful and pleasant when brothers are at peace.  This stands true for your whole family.  The thing is, such a family culture doesn’t come out of nowhere.  You have to work at it hard!  And you may not see fruits of this for years.  Even the best of parents can have kids that “go astray”.  Do the best you can to be intentional about cultivating such a culture, and let God take care of the rest.  Sometimes family is all you’ve got.

3. Pray for strong sons and beautiful daughters.  I don’t mean this physically.  Sure, physically strong sons and beautiful daughters are nice, but not all boys are built to be the next World’s Strongest Man and not all girls are going to be the next Top Model (I wouldn’t want my future daughter(s) to be a model to begin with.. modesty is too important!).  All that physical stuff is beside the point.  I mean to pray that your sons are spiritual rocks – powerful leaders – in their generation, and pray that your daughters be the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman.  Pray that your children will grow up to be wise adults, not just good kids.  Pray that they will exceed your personal spiritual growth one day.  Pray that they do extraordinary things for God!  This certainly won’t be easy either.  In fact, the beginning of this chapter David is prayer for deliverance, and by the end he’s asking for peace for the next generation.  You will have to fight for your children to have a healthy environment in which to grow, especially given today’s culture.  Start by praying for them!

There are certainly countless principles, techniques, and ideas that could be offered up concerning godly families.   I truly believe that these three principles are foundational and will guide you in that direction.  What other Scriptural family principles are a must (comment below)?

-Alicia

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Cultivating Purpose

I was part of a very small youth group when I was in high school.  At one point I might have been the only one there, simply because we were a younger church and didn’t have many families with other kids at the time.  While the youth group was small, the youth pastor was a giant in my life.  Perfect?  By no means.  And I can even see now where he’s grown since having been my youth pastor.  He and his wife were instrumental in helping shape who I am now.

Today I want to talk about cultivating a sense of purpose in your students.  So what was the point of bragging on my youth pastor?  Well one day he said something I found to be profound, and it still sticks with me today.  I was a just out of my senior year, and had asked if some of us from youth group could hang out one weekend.  He said that was fine; however, we weren’t allowed to do so unless we also did some kind of service also.  Of course, that doesn’t sound profound, but to a 17 year-old, it refocused my purpose.  Maybe you would never dream of saying something like that because it seems like a harsh regulation.  I assure you, it is quite the contrary.  It wasn’t a regulation, but a guide.  It woke me up from a world that was all about me, and showed me a world that was bent on serving others in the process.

This is so important for us to communicate to our students!  Especially nowadays.  The world says it’s all about “me, me, me.”  Students spend their days at school, where it’s about them learning.  They play sports where it’s about their performance.  They spend their time on their cell phones, online, and withe their friends, where it’s all about comfortableness and consumerism.  How will they find out that life is about more than that?  That God has called us to be slaves, serving Him and others?  Quite frankly, if you don’t, it’s possible that no one will.  Unless, of course, they come from a very Christ-centered, intentional family.

Everything has a purpose, even if it’s not specifically for service.  Even hanging out can serve the purpose of building relationships and trust.  I’m not saying you have to go out of your way to find service projects, though maybe we should be doing much more of that.  What I am saying is that we need to make sure that in everything we are doing we have a purpose and are fulfilling that purpose.  Go ahead and tell your students what the purpose is!  And next time they ask if you can do a certain event or get-together, ask them what the purpose would be.  We’re not in their lives to tell them facts, but to guide them to think more wisely and more Biblical minded.

-Alicia

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