marriage Posts

The Ten Traits of a Healthy Family

At the beginning of this school year, it’s a good time for you to consider how to be intentional with your family and not lose yourselves in the activities of a new school year. Years ago, Stacy and I decided that our family would be marked by these traits. Consider posting this somewhere in your home and talk about it together. Then practice these things diligently and you’ll see God move mightily in your family this year.

1.  We have an irrational commitment to each member of the family. 

We will display an illogical love for one another, spread lavishly and without discretion. (1 John 3:1)

2.  We communicate with truth and grace. 

Mom and Dad model Ephesians 4:15 and create an atmosphere where truth can be discussed, regardless of how difficult it may be to talk about.

3.  We affirm the value and uniqueness of each member of the family. 

Each person is loved for free and without judgment. (Romans 15:7)

4.  We vow never to abuse, shame, control, or intimidate one another. 

Understanding that children are fragile, no emotional, verbal, or physical abuse is tolerated in any way and is immediately confronted. (Philippians 4:5)

5.  We share a strong spiritual foundation. 

Parents recognize that a “mild dose” of God and His Word, will never cultivate a life that has Christ at the very center, guiding every aspect of life. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

6.  We teach respect for others. 

Racism, arrogant superiority, or disrespect for people who are different is never tolerated. (Matthew 22:39)

7.  We instill a sense of responsibility in one another. 

Each member knows that they must take responsibility for their own actions and face the consequences of their poor choices. The consequences do the teaching. (1 John 1:8-10)

8.  We play together. 

Laughter and fun mark a family that builds strong relationships with one another. (Proverbs 17:22)

9.  We mark moments and celebrate traditions together. 

We know that the love and commitment of the family will never change – this year, next year, forever. (Job 8:8-10)

10.  We seek help when we come to an impasse. 

We understand that all families have issues that may need outside or professional help and we are not afraid to ask for help when needed. (James 5:14-16)

Dads: What your children really need to know about you.

 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

Paul sets forth the greatest leadership principle a father can practice: “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Many Christian men know that this principle makes sense but few actually follow it. We’ve come to believe that we can say we believe one thing but live out another thing. And unless your children are under two years old, you’ve already figured out that you can’t fool them. They have a built in bull detector. In fact, you’ll do more damage than good, claiming to be or teach one thing, but do another. You will instill distrust and confusion in the life of your child.

The only way to be a great father (or a great leader in any arena of life) is to pursue something greater than yourself. As Christian fathers, we pursue Someone greater than ourselves. In Luke 7 we find the one time in all of Scripture that Jesus was actually “amazed” at someone. Consider how difficult it would be to amaze Jesus. A centurion had come to Him, begging Jesus to heal his sick and dying servant. He explained to Jesus that he believed if Jesus would just say the word, his servant would be healed. Luke 7:9, says,When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, He said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” But it wasn’t simply a blind faith that impressed Jesus. It was the centurion’s understanding of Jesus and who He is. The centurion understood a powerful lesson of leadership and of fatherhood. The depth of his understanding is revealed in Luke 7:8, as the centurion explains, “For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” The centurion knew that Jesus was under the authority of the Father and He had been given the authority to do what He needed to do. This is the first guiding principle of fatherhood. Dads, you are under the authority of God almighty. You have been given the role as a father by God Himself. Fatherhood is a stewardship; it is temporary; and you are accountable.

If you want to ask your children to follow you as you follow Christ, then you must first understand the guiding principle of fatherhood- that more is caught than taught. In fact, most of what you pass on to your children is caught, simply by watching you day after day. Apply these five principles as you seek to be a father worth following, and then experience the joy of leaving the rest up to God Himself, to shape and mold your children into His image. In the end, life is all about worship. Who/what you worship guides everything else in your life. It’s all about love. What you love is what gets your time, your energy, your thoughts, your money, and your life. Jesus said what you love is where your treasure is (Matthew 6:21). It reveals what you value most. The problem with most of us is that we practice “disordered love”. Augustine said that all of our sins are the result of love out of order. We love good things, more than the Supreme thing. Show your children how to love by putting your loves in order.

1. You love Jesus above all else.

Show your children how to live out of a Gospel identity. Show them that you love Jesus above all else by spending time with Him daily. When your children wake up in the morning, let them see a father pursuing Jesus first, above all else, in His Word. Show them a man who is in passionate pursuit of Jesus. And make Church a priority, above travel, the lake, golf, or whatever your other loves may be. Lead the way. Make it your life’s goal to follow Jesus every day. I’ve seen children watch their dads go to church every week but not follow Jesus every day and if you do so, you will present a false, distorted view of Christianity. Indeed, simply a religion that bears His name. In his book, Risk, Kenny Luck writes, “No man’s life for God will ever outperform his view of God.” He says the biggest challenge facing Christian men is not the world, so much as their view of God. We need men willing to risk and aggressively pursue God. Your view of God will determine your spiritual direction. It’s revealed in His Word and confirmed through your obedience. If a man’s view of God in Christ is accurate, there will be an aggressive and bold spiritual commitment and courage in leadership.

2. You love their mom more than them.

The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. I’ve learned over the years that the greatest security you can bring to your children is to love their mom. Fathers must express that love boldly and kindly in every day interactions. Again, it’s being caught by your children. Our sons will love their wives as we love ours. Our daughters will be loved and love, as we love our wives. When your children are young, establish clear parameters about who is most important in the family. It’s not the children. The child-centered family is certain to produce selfish attention addicts. The parent-centered family is clear about who’s in charge and which relationship is most important, above all the others. Do not let your young children interrupt adult conversation or adult time. Time for husband and wife supersedes time for children. Over time, this pattern brings great security in the lives of the children. Keep your relationship with your wife the priority, then you’ll be ready to guide your children. In our day, as never before, our sons need fathers. Our daughters need fathers. A father is the son’s first hero and the daughter’s first love. John Eldredge, in his great book, “Wild at Heart”, writes, “What we have now is a world of uninitiated men. Partial men. Boys mostly, walking around in men’s bodies with men’s jobs and families, finances and responsibilities.” Like food through the body, boys become men by spending time with men. And the father is the primary giver of manhood to his son.

3. You love your family more than your job.

One of the most common disordered loves in the lives of men is our God-given love for work. We were designed to work, to build, and construct. In his book, “Choosing to Cheat”, Andy Stanley sets forth a provocative principle: When it comes to balancing work and family, you’re going to cheat someone. He explains, “Everyone is busy. All of us have more to do than we will ever get done. We all have to cheat along the way. When you cheat strategically, you leverage your busyness for the sake of what’s most important. Cheating strategically allows us to communicate the message our families long the feel–you are important to me. You are more important to me than anybody or anything else in the world”. The idea of “cheating” is simply another way to talk about decisions made according to our priorities. Too many fathers pray, “Lord, help my family thrive while I’m in such a busy season and unable to be present in their lives.” Instead, there are times we need to pray, “Lord, I place my work in your hands. Allow my work to thrive, even as I seek to be present with my family during this critical season of their lives.” Throughout any career there are seasons of intense focus at work that will demand your time, but there are also critical moments in the lives of your family that will demand your time as well. In the end, Jesus never talked about “balance”. He talked about an all-out pursuit of one thing: the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). There’s only one first, and when we determine to follow Jesus every day, He will guide us when those tough decisions must be made.

4. You love others without condition.

Show your children how to love others like Jesus loves them. As you parent with grace, forgive and forget, your children will do the same. But you must also teach them to love others outside your family. Especially those who are very different from them. Watch for opportunities to offer biblical commentary on the issues of the day. The way you extend grace to others is the way they will. Show them by your actions how to love others unconditionally. Talk to your children about issues of race, religious pluralism, and sexual orientation. It’s even more important to show them what you believe. Befriend others who are not like you. Introduce them to your children. Have them in your home. You will teach your children how God loves them by showing them that you love people who are not like you at all. If you are not intentional about this you will inadvertently teach your children that you are only comfortable with people who are like you. This is not the way to help them experience God’s grace in diversity nor is it the way to prepare them for a future of growing (and necessary) diversity.

5. You love being with them.

The most important way to show love to your children is by being with them. The old adage that children spell love, T. I. M. E. is true. You can talk about how much love your children and even tell them how much you love them (often via texts or voice mails for some), but nothing surpasses your presence. I love the story of the little boy who was talking with his classmates at school about who had the best dad. “My dad is very busy and has a really important job. He makes lots of money and tells a lot of people what to do every day.” Another boy, seeking to one up the other, said, “My dad is the president of his company and flies in his own private jet to get to meetings all around the country. He’s the best!” Finally, the third little boy spoke up excitedly, “My dad is here!” His dad then joined his son and his classmates for lunch. If you are going to call your children to follow you as you follow Jesus, they must see you do so firsthand.

Dads: be there.

Rediscovering God’s Design for Marriage

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With all the talk about marriage today, we need to rediscover God’s original intent, in light of His greater purpose for all of us. God has created us in His image and His original intent has not changed. And it is in Christ alone that we are brought back, made into His image. If you have received the grace of God in Christ, you have already been sanctified. Only as you have been forgiven can you find your true identity, to be truly forgiven and forgive, and live like Jesus.

God’s purpose for the family is not to satisfy us, but to sanctify us. And marriage is the foundation, the driving relationship that establishes the context for this sanctification process in the home.

Establishing a Solid Foundation Ephesians 5:21-33

1. The Power for Marriage (5:18) In Ephesians 5:18, Paul says, “be filled with the Spirit”. This is the driving imperative and the rest of Paul’s teaching is linked to being filled with the Spirit. You can’t have a great marriage w/out being filled with the Spirit. This cannot be overstated. What does it mean to be filled with Spirit? It means that you live your life now in view of the Gospel, you are now a new creation- you have a servant’s heart, which relationally means, you have the ability to receive criticism, the ability to give criticism (w/out crushing others), and the ability to forgive and then love, not hold on to it. Spirit-filled means that you’re thinking logically, you know who you are and it drives all that you do. I accept myself because God has accepted me in Christ- not something or someone else. I should be cast off but Jesus has forgiven me, how can I be harsher with this person than Jesus has been with me? The power of marriage is the Gospel! And it is lived out by one who is filled with the Spirit. It’s the fuel that drives the engine, the oil that ends the rub- n unselfishness created only by the Spirit. It’s cause and effect.

Shaunti Feldhahn is a Harvard-trained researcher and author, in her book, “The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths about Marriage and Divorce”, details groundbreaking findings from an extensive eight-year study on marriage and divorce. Among other things, her research found: The actual divorce rate has never been close to 50% “The 50% figure came from projections of what researchers thought the divorce rate would become as they watched the divorce numbers rising in the 1970s and early 1980s when states around the nation were passing no-fault divorce laws”, and those who attend church regularly (the ones who have access to the Spirit of God) have a significantly lower divorce rate than those who don’t. “‘The Good News About Marriage’ also reveals the divorce rate among those active in their church is up to 50% lower than among non-churchgoers.” SO, the power of the Spirit makes all the difference.

2. The Posture in Marriage (v. 21) Here, the qualifying participle (of the main verb, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit”) is “submitting” in v. 21. It is mutual submission “out of reverence to Christ”. So in marriage, our greatest concerns are the needs of the other person. This is radical. This of course, involves the need for forgiveness and restoration of the relationship in the case of sin, which is inevitable in all relationships. Christopher Lasch, was an author, professor, who famously labeled us as a “culture of narcissism” explained that most people do not see marriage as two flawed people coming together- but instead as the union of two people who somehow fulfill one another’s needs. Instead, marriage creates a space of stability, love and consolation, a “haven in a heartless world”, Lasch calls it. Paul says, mutuality does not mean sameness in roles. The husband is Head, as Christ is Head of the Church- Husbands are the first servants in the home and bear the ultimate responsibility for the marriage before God. What does this look like? It all comes down to this question: “How can I help?”

3. The Purpose of Marriage (5:22-30) is (what Tim Keller calls), “Gospel re-enactment”. Marriage points to Christ & His Church. Marriage is the union of two good forgivers, growing servants. God takes your selfishness and biases and He forces you to deal w/ them in marriage. For the first time in your life, you can’t run. God will not let you run. Marriage brings light to your selfishness, So in marriage, we find the most powerful potential for change. This is why God’s purpose in marriage is not to satisfy you, but to sanctify you.

Keller points out that the Christian answer to the idea that you will find another to satisfy you- the myth of the right person- is that no two people are compatible. He sites Duke University Ethics professor Stanley Hauerwas, who has famously made this point: “Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become “whole” and happy. The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person. This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage. It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person.

We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, being [the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary challenge of marriage is learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married. But there’s another reason we never find the “right” person. Any two people who enter into marriage are spiritually broken by sin, which among other things means to be self-centered – turned inward for self rather than outward for God and others. Marriage is not designed to bring ultimate satisfaction but sanctification.

4. The Priority of Marriage Paul quotes from Genesis 2:24 – “a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.” (vv. 31-32). We find here also the exclusivity of marriage. Marriage is not only permanent, sacred, intimate, and mutual; it is also exclusive (Gen. 2:22-25; 1 Cor. 7:2-5). This means that no other human relationship can interfere with the marriage commitment between husband and wife. For this reason, Jesus treated sexual immorality of a married person, including a husband’s lustful thoughts, with utmost seriousness (Matt. 5:28; 19:9). For the same reason, premarital sex is also illegitimate, since it violates the exclusive claims of one’s future spouse.

Sex outside of a loving, committed relationship is sin because it goes against God’s design and your own design. If sex is money then it is a massive devaluation of the currency. It is cleaving, a public commitment, honoring the parents of the individuals. Marriage is not merely a human agreement between two consenting individuals (as in a civil union); it is a relationship before and under God (Gen. 2:22).

5. The Projection of Marriage (vv. 22- 33) Here “projection” is the act of showing, presenting, especially to an audience. Marriage points to something greater than itself. As we love one another like Christ has love us, we point others to Him! (v. 33) Marriage as “Gospel reenactment” points people to God through Christ. In Jesus Christ we’ve been married to God! SO:

The ultimate purpose of marriage is to point to something else (the Gospel) and to Someone else (Jesus). And a watching world sees in a married couple how Christ love us. And guess who has a front row seat of this Gospel reenactment? The children in the home!

God’s purpose for the family is not to satisfy us, but to sanctify us.

There are no “relationship problems” or “marriage problems”- there are only “people problems”. The Bible calls this “sin”. The only relationship that fixes us is the relationship with the One who brings forgiveness and redemption into our brokenness. We are in need of rescue and this is what we all have in common: We cannot rescue ourselves. But being in Christ means that you are now made holy. Don’t miss this. You’ve been “holied”.

If you have never received Christ’s gift of grace, you will never experience the kind of relationships you were designed to have. And you will never be sanctified, made righteous on your own. But in Christ, you are made holy. Made righteous by Jesus. “For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” Hebrews 10:14. If you are in Christ the process of sanctification is not becoming something you’re not, but becoming who you already are in Him.








Fixer Upper

What do you do when you’re in the right location but you’ve got the wrong design? You’ve got to fix it up! On their wildly popular show, Chip and Joanna Gaines walk us through the process of transforming dilapidated, but potential-rich houses into showcases. This is an apt analogy for those of us who know we’re in the right family (by God’s sovereign design) but stand in need of help. Every family needs to be fixed up.

In Ephesians 5:21-6:4, God’s Word gives us principles to help us see how this happens.

In the end, here’s the radical truth that will change your family:

 To fix your family up, you need power down.  

Throughout this passage we see the word “submit” and the little word “as”, referring to Christ and His submission to the Father and His love for us over and over. Submission to one another in the family is what makes it work. We are to be “as” Christ in our relationships. In order to stay the course, and not bail when a remodel or redesign is necessary, we need exactly what God teaches us in Ephesians 5. A family that has “staying power” is a family that follows these biblical principles. Our culture continues to debate, define, and re-define the family. We’ve been asking the wrong questions: How can my relationships make me happier? How can my spouse fulfill my needs? How can my children make me happy? How can marriage be more fulfilling for me? What’s in it for me? God shows us a very different perspective on the family because:

God’s purpose for the family is not to satisfy us, but to sanctify us.
“Sanctify” is a word that means, to make holy, to set apart, to be made righteous. God’s original blueprint for us is to be created in His image and display His glory in all we do. We busted that plan up early on. Through God’s rescuing grace, we are brought back to His original design, sanctified. The process of sanctification then, is not becoming something I’m not, but becoming who already am in Him. My identity is secured. I am His “beloved”. The family serves as God’s subcontractors to create the environment within which this process takes place. We need families who will stay the course.

Staying Power

1. Stay submissive to Jesus Christ. (5:1-2) All of Ephesians up to this point is about God’s rescuing grace. The Gospel indicatives always lead to the Gospel imperatives. Paul moves to how we respond to God’s one-way love for us in Christ. Paul says, because you’ve been rescued from your sin, now submit to Christ.

2. Stay submissive to one another. (5:21) What does submission to Christ look like in the family? At the beginning of this entire passage on the family, he says we submit to one another out of reference to Christ. What does it mean to submit to another person? It means I will leverage my assets, my strength, my power, and my time for your benefit. This is Gospel reenactment in the family. It’s all I am for all that you need. Do you want to fix up your family? Power down. Submit to others, serve, and help one another. The radical, guiding question in the home becomes: How can I help? How can I serve you?

3. Stay committed to your marriage first. (vv. 22-33) The key to raising happy, healthy children is to give more time and attention to your marriage than you do to your children. Don’t forget that later is longer. You will be married long after your kids are gone and the days you have with your adult children will be long through the years. Stay the course and keep your marriage first in the child-rearing days. Keep dating. Get away. Keep growing.

4. Stay clear about the family structure. (v. 22-25, 6:1-4) Understand the family structure and communicate it clearly to the entire family. If the key to a great family is mutual submission, then is anyone in charge? This is where it becomes counter-intuitive. Jesus is the Head of the Church and He gave His life for everyone in it. He came to serve, not to be served and He ultimately gave His life away. He was Servant Number One. Husbands are to serve their wives and children in the same way. We feel if we give up power we’ll lose everything but Jesus, who is the Head of Church, is precisely so because He gave His power. He gave His life away. To fix up, we need to power down. Here we see that God’s family flow chart shows us that the husband is the head of the wife (practicing mutual submission in their varied roles) and the parents are over their children. The simple role of the children is clear: obey. Instead, in many American families, children have taken over. We’ve put kids in the corner office. They’re driving the family bus and calling the shots.

Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, once observed this about American families: “The thing that impresses me about American families is the way the parents obey their kids.”

Put your kids first and you can be assured that they will become manipulative, demanding, and unappreciative of everything you do for them. You will guarantee that they’ll grow up believing it is unfair to expect them to do anything and it will further guarantee your child’s unhappiness because happiness is only achieved by accepting responsibility for one’s self, not by believing that someone else is responsible for you. See the health of the family as a unit and it all starts with the health of the marriage. The parents are benevolent dictators. We need are more parent-centered families and fewer child-centered families.

5. Stay close to your children. (6:1-4) Being parent-centered doesn’t mean you don’t spend time with your children. You must stay in close to your kids. Know their friends names, the music they like, their favorite shows, clothes, and sports. Stay near to their hearts. Let dinnertime become a time to catch up and find out where their hearts are. Sit down with your child, do homework together, play together, and pray together at bedtime. You must stay in relationship with them. The old adage is so true: Rules without relationship breed rebellion. Remember to keep the end in sight: emancipation. You’re raising them to leave. And in parenting the days are long but the years are short. Keep in the end in sight.

6. Stay centered in God’s family. Make the church your family’s epicenter. Let the church help you raise your kids. Single parents, and parents who may feel you are, you’re not alone. Just as God has been very clear about our families, He’s also been very clear about His own big family, the Church.

“How great is the love of the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

God invites you into His family. There’s no perfect family, but there is a perfect Father. Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in a family.” What does this submission to Christ, submission to one another look like in the home? I think it was Andy Stanley who brought this whole idea of submission down to a single question. I’ve discovered it can change everything:

How can I help?

And as you seek to serve others well, don’t forget this: no horizontal relationship in your life will ever satisfy. And as you seek to be sanctified, remember in Christ you have been made righteous already. You’ve been holied.

And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30

Sanctification is not becoming something you’re not, but something you already are. It’s living out the new identity you now have in Christ. Rest in Him. You’re already loved perfectly and have nothing to prove. And because you now have all the love you’ll ever need in Him, you can love others without any need for love in return. I can power down and love like Jesus.

“For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14

 To fix your family up, you need power down.  


The Ten Traits of a Healthy Family

The Ten Traits of a Healthy Family

1.  They have an irrational commitment to each member of the family. 

They display an illogical love for one another, spread lavishly and without discretion.  “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.”  1 John 3:1 Driven by 1 John 3:1, stunning amounts of love, kindness, and forgiveness are shared to family member.           

 2.  They communicate with truth and grace. 

Mom and Dad model Ephesians 4:15 How we treat our spouse (and how we extend grace to our family members) will confirm or contradict what we believe about God. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”  Ephesians 4:15 Create an atmosphere where truth can be discussed, regardless of how difficult it may be to talk about.

 3.  They affirm the value and uniqueness of each member of the family. 

Each person is loved for free and without judgment.  His or her opinions and feelings are always honored. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7 Celebrate the uniqueness of each child in our family. “I wouldn’t change a thing about you.”

 4.  They vow never to abuse, shame, control, or intimidate one another. 

“Oh, children are resilient- they bounce back.” No children are fragile and understanding that children are fragile- no emotional, verbal, or physical abuse is tolerated in any way and is immediately confronted.  Consider the power of words. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”  Philippians 4:5 Unkind words are not tolerated- “We do not talk to each other like that in our family.”  Parents: You must model kind words and challenge this early on.

 5.  They share a strong spiritual foundation. 

Parents recognize that a “mild dose” of God will never cultivate a life that has Christ at the very center, guiding every aspect of life (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).  There is no abdication of spiritual formation- no outsourcing to the church. We create spiritual orphans, spiritual schizophrenics. Complete disconnect! What’s your goal parents?  There’s a big difference between a young person who goes to church & one who is truly sold out to God.

 6.  They teach respect for others. 

Racism, arrogant superiority, or disrespect for people who are different is never tolerated. Jesus added to the Shema that we should love each other as we love ourselves: “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’.” Matthew 22:39 When you see a child who is different than other kids ask, “What would it feel like to be that kid?” Teach your children to love and honor all people- adopt Martin Luther King Jr.s’ dream for our nation.  Help your children dream of the day when every person- Hispanic, black, Asian, European and all people will know that they are loved with the unprejudiced, unbiased, and unrestrained love of Jesus.

 7.  They instill a sense of responsibility in one another. 

Each member knows that they must take responsibility for their own actions and face the consequences of their poor choices. Self-esteem does not result from simply heaping large amounts of affirmation and praise. It happens when a child learns to be responsible. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.”  1 John 1:8-10 Let the consequences do the teaching.  It’s God’s way- and parents too often get in the way of what God wants to do, simply through the consequences of choices made or not made.  Parents: Do NOT rescue your child. This takes courageous parenting- it takes faith- to believe that God will work in your children’s life as He sees fit.  When you let the consequences do the teaching you place that child in the hands of God.

 8.  They play together. 

This is so important. Laughter and fun mark a family that builds strong relationships with one another. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Proverbs 17:22

 9.  They celebrate rituals and traditions together.

This gives the family a sense of constancy and permanence.  They know that the love and commitment of the family will never change- this year, next year, and the next. “Ask the former generations and find out what their fathers learned, for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow. Will they not instruct you and tell you?  Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?”  Job 8:8-10

 10.  They seek help when they come to an impasse. 

They understand that all families have issues that may need outside or professional help and they are not afraid to ask for help when needed. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16 God is very clear about the kind of families He wants us to have.  Let us follow His principles and seek to honor Him in our families.