Why Is Honor Important In Your Family?

3, 2, 1…….. Have you ever said these words when your child disobeyed you? Through repetition, you’ve taught them that if you get to the dreaded zero in your countdown, then there will be some type of punishment. This had been my form of control and teaching my children how to be obedient. Because for me, obedience is very important. Who doesn’t want their children to obey their every command? But I really didn’t enjoy those times that I counted down to zero. As I counted, I’d have this internal conversation in my head. All I would be thinking was “come on kid, I don’t want to do this but I will.” Have you ever been there? Maybe you’ve had a similar experience in the disciplining of your child. Let me tell you about something that changed the way I disciplined my children.

It’s one word, HONOR! I know, I know. How can one word be so effective that it would cause me to leave my other discipline strategies? I was also skeptical, when I first heard it. Pastor Andy Stanley brought this idea that he experienced and is currently living out with his family. After teaching and studying the idea, and after practicing it myself, I realized how effective it was. So, let me break it down. In Ephesians 6:2 the bible teaches us that, children should honor their father and mother. Yes, as a parent you have the bible on your side but it goes beyond that. It’s possible that, you simply telling your child, “well the bible says you have to honor me” may not work. It requires more work on our side as parents. Honor in the new testament can mean that something is of value to you or it’s something you deem to have a price; but it also comes about through time. Who wouldn’t want their children to value, respect, and admire them? Before we get there, we have to Honor our children first.

The bible teaches us that, we love because God first loved us. He modeled that to us by revealing himself to us. In the same way how can our kids honor us if we don’t model it to them. Your children imitate you. They speak like you, and even act like you because they are learning from you. If we are constantly lying to our children, then we are not honoring them. If you say yes, I’ll take you to get ice cream tomorrow, and tomorrow comes and you don’t keep your promise, then you’re not honoring them. Instead, you’re teaching them that it’s ok to not follow through on what is said. Then they begin to lie to you, but remember where they learned it from first. As a parent we have the privilege and responsibility to teach, guide, coach, and love our children. Don’t take it lightly. If you do, someone else will teach them, and it may not be what’s best for them. I believe we now understand the importance we play on our children’s life, so let’s begin to teach honor.

We talked about how we must show honor to our children. Fathers, you can achieve this in the way that you interact with your wife. Do you value her in front of your children? Do you lie to her? Do you lift her up? Can your children see a healthy relationship between you and your wife? Fathers if you have boys, the way you treat your wife is the example you set for how they will interact with women when they are older. If you have daughters, the way you treat your wife will set an example of how they should expect to be treated as they are looking for their future husband. Mothers, the same go for you with your children. The way you treat your husband can bring him value, respect, and authority in your home. Our kids study everything, and the relationship between the spouses is a vital one. It’s the one they see throughout their life, and molds most of their future relationships. So, with that being said, parents honor your spouses. Not only does that benefit your children but it greatly benefits your marriage.

So, what do I do if my child dishonors (disrespects, lies, hurts, disobeys) me? Well here is the thing with honor. When you teach your children honor it leads to relationship. So, if you punish your children by taking away their cell phone, video games, YouTube, etc. all you’ve done is take something they like for some time. They might even resent you for it. It doesn’t feed or lead you to a closer relationship, but instead it serves to pull you apart. Now I know some of you are thinking “come on now” but hear me out. I come from a background where whooping is very common, and being familiar with a belt while growing up, but I think I turned out alright. However as a parent, I now know that it isn’t the most effective way. So, you might be asking “well then, what do I do?” Let me give you an example. Not too long ago my eldest dishonored her mom. When she got home, I asked her to go to her room and told her I would be in shortly to talk to her. When I got there, I asked her what happen. She told me a very non-detailed account of what happen. I told her what her mother told me and pointed out how she dishonored her. I reminded her how in our family we honor each other. I reminded her how dishonoring breaks the relationship we are building. Once she acknowledged what she had done, I then asked how she planned to fix it. I asked how can she now show honor after dishonoring. So, she threw out some ideas like making mommy a card, giving her strawberries with whip cream, and apologizing. I agreed and told her “so this is what you are going to do, PERFECT.”

When you lead your children to honor it always leads to building and protecting your relationship. If I take away YouTube, sure its effective for a while. But we never address the offense, the hurt that was done. By having them do something for the person they dishonored it leads to a reconciling and a building of the relationship.

Now teaching your children honor is not a one-night thing or a magical thing that works all the time. It’s something you must dedicate, focus, and prioritize on, if you want it to be a part of your family. Like we said earlier, honor is developed over time, so don’t rush it, just be consistent. When your children are trying to honor after a dishonor you might need to guide them through, on how to mend that relationship. At times, you might even need to strongly guide them in a direction you think is right; and as you do, be creative with it. The more creative, the stronger impact it will make, and they will remember it.

Now, teaching and upholding honor will take some work. It is far easier to take things away as a form of discipline but consider this, let’s stop taking away and start giving our kids practical ways to honor and treat people, and how to mend relationships. The end result should lead you to having children that even when they become adults, they are excited to spend time with you, because they honor you and cherish the relationship, they have with you. That destination sounds like a beautiful place to arrive at, as a parent. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!

Let me encourage you with this prayer. Father God, I thank you for this teaching that has and is impacting my life. I am thankful for the honor and privilege you have given me, to be a parent. I pray for all those who reading this. Lord, may you encourage them and build them up as they are doing their best with what they have. Father strengthen them physically, mentally, and spiritually. Let them love what you have given them, the same way you love us all. Amen!

Written by Pastor Danny

Learn more about us @ Love Always Faithful

 

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Rest for your soul

img_0753As a mother of three I have learned the value of rest….and how difficult it can be at times to attain it. All day long little voices call my attention for assistance in every task imaginable. When one little one is rescued the other soon cries out for what in their mind is a grave emergency. Thankfully through time I am seeing my children grow and become more independent in certain tasks. Hallelujah! However there are other things that still demand my energy and attention; bills, groceries, appointments, laundry, cooking….plus all the responsibilities that come from living a pastoral life. It can become a lot if I don’t know where and when to find rest. Not just physical rest, but rest for my soul.

Maybe your schedule doesn’t look like mine. Maybe you have a 9-5 or you work retail and have ever changing hours. Maybe you work on the road or are on call for long periods of time. Or maybe you are on the other side of the world working on research that requires your thinking at all hours of the day. Whatever you are doing in life, whatever your profession, whatever your status, you are human. And you, me, and every other being on this earth needs rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Jesus is calling out to you. All of you reading this that are feeling exhausted, drained and running on low. Tired of surviving the day by just barely meeting the demands of life around you. Yes you, this is not the life God has planned for you.

There is more to this life, there is a greater purpose that you were meant to be a part of. And the enemy knows, if he can get you tired and lose your peace of mind, if he can make you feel the weight vs the blessing you are more likely to walk away and give up. But the hope of God , the refreshing of our spirit that we can find in him, overcomes all of this. That is why Jesus makes it an emphasis to call out to those specifically feeling this way.

He then says “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” A yoke is a wooden beam often used to connect large animals in agriculture when they need to work together. It allows them to go in the same direction and remain focused. Now Jesus is not calling you an animal, he is saying “come to me, connect yourself to me and I will teach you, I will guide you.” How refreshing it is when you are struggling and encounter someone who is experienced and knows just what to do.  God has given us a manual (his Word) and a counselor (the Holy Spirit) for this thing called life! We don’t have to figure it all out, all we need to do is answer to his invitation. He will reveal, teach and guide you to a refreshing river of life that will lift your soul. He promised! And what he promises WILL come to pass.

I encourage you, if you are reading this in desperate longing of rest for your soul, turn to Jesus. Everything you will ever need can be found in him. Peace, rest, love, joy, acceptance, strength, forgiveness, another chance….. the list goes on. He is everything you will ever need. Take a moment today and really connect with him. Tell him everything you are feeling and all that’s on your mind. Unload all of that heavy weight you have been carrying on your shoulders, it is not yours to carry any longer. Talk to him. He is listening with open arms, ready to refresh your soul.

He will not fail you.

A God of love

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I have searched for many things in my life. And I have found some pretty significant answers. One being a solution to this world’s growing problems. That answer is love. Not just any “love” but a true, genuine, sacrificial love. Love conquers all. It says in the book of Corinthians that love never fails! What an amazing promise, and I believe it! Love looks for the best in people. It seeks the well being of others and takes our thoughts away from our own selfish ambitions. If driven by it one can achieve unimaginable things. But the only way to achieve this love is going to the source where that love comes from. To the one where it all began, to He who orchestrated the most eventful, historic times driven by love…our Creator….God. He is love. His Word says in 1 John 4:7 “for love comes from God.” You will not find a more life giving, purifying, powerful love than the love of God. There can be many emotions that “seem” like it, but nothing can measure up. It is authentic, it is real, and there is only one true source.

In verse 16 it reads, “God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God and God in him.” Meaning if we live in love, walk daily in love, let our actions be led by love then we live in God and God in us! But to walk daily in love is not an easy thing to do. It means looking past the faults of people around us. Whether they have hurt us, annoyed us, betrayed us, whether we think they are deserving or not of our love. God calls us to love even our enemies. ouch. And because the Word says he is love, if He indeed lives in us then everything we do should reflect him. However, that’s not always the case, is it?

I’ll admit my actions do not always reflect this love. When I lose my patience with my children, or am angered by what someone has done or said I am put in a place where I need to consciously make the decision to love. To act in love, to speak in love, to react in love. I am as imperfect as the next person and need of His guidance daily. But my prayer is that my family will see me love like He does. Then the days in my household will become uplifting, filled with growth and progress. Love lifts, heals, protects, perseveres in times of hardship, strengthens and takes you farther than you ever thought possible. It keeps you holding on! Love brings people together, dissipates anger, and brings forth forgiveness. Love is kind, not hurtful. It is selfless and merciful. It makes those who have it stronger, not weaker.

Love heals broken hearts, sustains marriages, and mends broken relationships between parents and their children. It fuels the desire to live!

If this world ran on God’s love it would be quite different. But love is not something we can force onto people, or force them to have. It comes from within, from the deepest part of a person’s being when they have encountered our loving Father. When His love is allowed to run through it brings freedom, joy and peace.

Our God is a God of peace and order. And we sure could use that on this earth right?  There is a solution to the pain and heartache of this world. You and I have the opportunity to encounter it, live it and share it!

Love truly is the answer to our problems. God’s love changes who we are for the better. It leaves no trace of ugliness behind. It cleanses, purifies, and believes.

God I pray that the world may know this love. That those who poses it will stop at nothing to share it, and will open their mouths to speak life. That we would all love each other as you loved us. Amen.

Peace in overload

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I love God’s Word. In a world full of chaos and stress his word is what keeps me grounded and quite honestly sane. It’s easy nowadays to share information, opinions, kind words, hurtful words, scary words…..you get the point. The power to share is literally on our fingertips. But have you ever stopped and thought about the validity of these hundreds of billions of words that are shared EVERY single day? Anyone and I mean anyone can make a video, type a blog or even news article to claim anything they want, be it for good or bad. How can we be at rest when we are bombarded by all this information? Who can we believe? What side should we be on? Should I worry, should I prepare, should I ignore? Thoughts that I’m sure cross all of our minds at some point as we process what we receive, sometimes overloading our brains unnecessarily.

Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything…”. Clearly God has seen the turmoil of the earth the last four billion years….so if he’s telling me I don’t have to be anxious I feel pretty confident I can believe him. He tells us to pray and present everything to him, and that includes our fears and the nagging thoughts of a world without him. I love what verse seven says next; “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding , will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Meaning the peace he’s able to give us surpasses every logical reasoning.

God has given us the Holy Spirit, who is a promoter of peace, a comforter. It is possible to carry out a very active and purposeful life while having a still and peaceful heart. It all starts with our thoughts. Fill your thoughts with good, and good will reside in your heart. Fill with fear and you’ll feel the life drained out of you.

So how can we get rid of the thoughts already inside our heads that don’t promote the peace of God? By thinking on the RIGHT things. We can’t control what happens in the world, what others do or say, even what nature decides to bring our way. But one thing we DO have control over is our thoughts. By changing one thought we change our emotion. Verse eight reads “Finally, brothers, 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.” This will help us stay focused on God and his promises, which he is faithful to see through.

And as for every article, latest piece of news, blog, or social media post you come across, my advice is be wise. Don’t be quick to believe, react to and share everything you come across. Look at the source, is it reliable? Do your research, and ask God to guide you. He will. There definitely is good information out there, reliable and worth sharing. But in the webs of communication there are also opinions, bad intentions, fear, worry…. Listen to the GOOD things. I’m not saying be ignorant of the world around you, but stop and think how you will allow this to make you feel and react.

When in doubt turn to God and his word. The one who will never let us down, HE alone is our security. I can put all my efforts in preparing for every bad thing that might ever happen, but in the end it’s all in vain if I lose my peace and sanity over it.  Think on the goodness of God’s words and promises. Believe in his faithfulness, he NEVER fails.

Keys to a marriage that thrives

Today marks eight years we have been married. And our marriage has been a book of good and rough moments, sometimes scary or funny. Other times heartbreaking and hopeful. But through it all we have found one thing to be consistently true; that when you have God as number one in your life as an individual, your life together becomes an adventure.

We realize having a thriving marriage seems something foreign or far off for many couples. But it doesn’t have to be. God wants everyone to live a fulfilling and thriving marriage. Not one that gets by just “making it”.

We’ve taken time to discuss and share as a couple some key points that have proven to be crucial in the strengthening of our marriage. These are meant for reflection, and it doesn’t mean our marriage is perfect. But we can honestly say that we walk each day feeling blessed. So here goes:

• Your individual relationship with God must be a priority in your life. He is the solid foundation your marriage will grow on.

• Turn to God about your frustrations. Not friends and family who can be biased and “feed” your negative feelings.

• Learn to love unconditionally. We are far from worthy of God’s love, yet he gives it to us. Don’t live with the mentality that your spouse needs to be “deserving” of your love.

• Seek to live out 1 Corinthians 13 in your life. Make a conscious decision to do so. The flesh wants what is easy, but a strong and thriving marriage is a result of intentional effort.

• Plan life together. You are no longer two but one. Meaning your goals and aspirations should always keep the well being of your spouse and marriage in mind.

• There’s no happily ever after without commitment.

• Never compare your marriage to another. Focus on reaching the best that you and your spouse can be, not who you can “be like”.

•You contribute to the state of your marriage. Meaning what you get out of it is determined by what you pour into it and your mentality about it.

We encourage you to take time in prayer and seek God in the areas your marriage needs improvement. Don’t hesitate to seek help from qualified individuals such as your pastors or counselors. They are in your life as a valuable resource from God to help guide, counsel, and teach. When your relationship with God is strengthened, so is your marriage, and as result so is your family.

But I don’t have time

If asked what are some things you wish you had time for, what would you say? It’s ironic how living in a time where everything is manufactured to be quicker, more time efficient, we’re still plagued with this all too known phrase “but I don’t have time…”.  I wish I could…but I don’t have time. Countless things could fill in that blank. I wish I could work out, I wish I could spend more time with my kids, I wish I could read my bible more, I wish I could pray more….but I don’t have time. I can’t even count the times I’ve heard this come out of  people’s mouths, even my own.

It wasn’t until I left my job and became a full time mom that I realized if I didn’t have time for something, it was my fault. For a long time I blamed having a job, responsibilities of ministry, and even having kids as an excuse for things I knew were important but I couldn’t get done. I’d constantly think “If only things were this way or that way, then  I’d have time…”. Then I found myself saying those exact same words even when I did have the time. I simply wasn’t making the time.

More than once I’ve heard my husband quote, “Excuses only satisfy the person that makes them…”. And he’s right. Excuses are just that, excuses. And unfortunately the thing people make most excuses for is their spiritual growth. We think God will understand that our lives are “just too busy” to pray, to fast, to serve in ministry…  We tell God “fix this in my life then I’ll have time to serve” or “then I’ll have more time to go to church”. Sound familiar? I hope not, but if you do find yourself saying this, think about Daniel. Daniel was a man of prayer, he had a deep connection with God because he knew the place God deserved in his life. When you intentionally give God the time he deserves, things will change. Everything will begin to align itself in your life, because you have given Him priority.

What a struggle we have sometimes, giving God his rightful place. Daniel 6:10 says that even while knowing the decree that had been placed Daniel prayed,  “just as he had done before.” Even in the face of death Daniel did not waver in his devotional time with God. But how many times do we give up just 5 minutes of morning time with God for 5 more minutes of the snooze button! It’s not that we don’t have time, we simply don’t make the time! When something is a priority in your life you make time for it. Even simple things like brushing your teeth, taking a bath, and eating a meal. You make time for it because you understand its importance. God forbid you go day after day without brushing your teeth because you “don’t have time.” Or go for weeks without showering because you “keep forgetting” or “things keep coming up”.  Excuses.

I’ll leave you with this, a bible commentary I was reading (because I’m nerdy like that) went like this: ” Daniel prayed openly and avowedly; and though a man of vast business, he did not think that would excuse him from daily exercises of devotion. How inexcusable are those who have but little to do in the world, yet will not do thus much for their souls!” Ouch. Priorities….they are priorities because you make them, not because they have the time to be. I encourage you to analyze your life. I don’t pretend to have it all figured out, or to have the perfect handle on managing my priorities. But God has brought this conviction to my heart, and I have to share it. I pray God may become the center of your life so you can enjoy His abundance of blessings. You will never go back!

Preserve my life

img_2327Growing up in a Christian home is not easy. What is meant to protect us can be seen as just rules, limitations, being excluded or ridiculed by peers because we can’t or don’t partake in the things they freely do. Without relationship with God, these can easily lead to frustrations, anger, or rebellion. It’s argued that we can’t be ourselves or express who we are because everything is a sin. The current culture mindset never helps, because many don’t realize anything that makes us the “center” of our lives only brings a halt to what can truly fill our lives.

The phrase “Live your own truth” is lived out in many lives. It’s labeled and used erroneously as expressing yourself and celebrating “individuality”. This causes many to view Christianity as just rules that block “being who you want to be”. Many soak up this advice and use it to justify what in reality is just an indulgence in our sinful nature. True expression and individuality can only come forth when you go back to the root of your creation, and your Creator. The one who KNOWS you, better than you know yourself.

What the world sees as being “narrow” or “closed” minded, is meant to preserve my life. What is taught in a Christian lifestyle, when guided by the Word and Holy Spirit is not because it makes us “better” than anyone. Nor does it bind us from being who we are. It PRESERVES who God created me to be and allows me to find myself in Him. Like an artist takes steps to preserve their painting, so our Creator seeks to preserve us.

Being a follower of Christ does not mean my life is limited, full of rules, or expectations of being a “perfect” person. If means true freedom, victory, living a life that is fulfilled, and knowing who I was created to be. It means now my life is preserved, through His Word, teachings and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

If you are searching to find yourself, looking to discover who you are and where you are destined to go,  I encourage you to start by asking the one who created you. His guidance will preserve your life. His Word says in Jeremiah 1: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”. So why start anywhere else.