A Key for Family Success
“For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord”
We are at a time in earth’s history where Satan’s attacks on the family are at their utmost. With six thousand years of practice, he is getting very skilled in his devices. Meanwhile, our Heavenly Father, who is greater in power and wisdom than Satan, is seeking to do a work to “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” Malachi 4:4. How can we cooperate with God in this work? How can we be kept safe from the frontal onslaught that Satan is unleashing upon families everywhere? During a time of crisis for the world, where some are with their families more than ever, and some are more isolated than ever, how can we make the most of our present situations? God has not left us without light in the dark. The Word of God has the answers to all of these questions.
The Christian parent has a two-fold life. On the one hand, they have a duty to God to keep their own souls in Christ in their individual times of devotion and prayer. These are times where, as much as possible, no other person is to intrude. The hours of personal prayer and Bible study are to be guarded jealously, so that even other important matters of life should step aside when they come in conflict. On the other hand, parents have a duty, ever so sacred, to watch over their children’s hearts and tend to them as they would tend to their own soul. We see this combination executed beautifully in the life of Abraham. Some of the Bible account of his life details his private walk with God. In Genesis 15, the Lord is alone with Abraham at night teaching Him of the plan of salvation. Yet, even then, his burden is his family and their future prosperity. In the surrounding chapters, Abraham is working out conflicts among his family, building altars to the Lord, and entertaining strangers.
THE LIFE OF ABRAHAM
Abraham’s private walk with God and his leadership as the head of his household is a pattern to be copied. Though he did make many mistakes, God chose him, out of all the people on the earth, to represent the Father’s love in sending His Son to the world to die for our sins, as he unselfishly was willing to follow God’s command to give up his precious son Isaac. Because he was to be the progenitor of the promised seed, Jesus Christ, it could be said of him, “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” Genesis 12:3. There is no doubt that Abraham was constantly tending to the spiritual welfare of His family, enabling him to be the man through which this family blessing flowed. The question then remains- what are the practical nuts and bolts that can enable us to enter into the blessing of Abraham?
LESSONS FROM THE ALPACAS
Here at Red River Outpost, we have three alpacas that give us an abundance of amusement as well as life lessons. One of the attributes that these animals possess is their commitment to stay together. This gives them a relationship to be able to understand each other’s likes, dislikes, alerts of danger, etc. Of course, a family may not always be able to be together at all times like the alpaca, but if there is a special time to never allow the world and its cares to intrude upon, it is the time for family worship. Morning and evening, families should gather together for a collective time to seek God and strengthen one another, through praise and song, prayer and the study of the Bible. In Hebrews 10:25 God’s counsel is, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another and so much the as you see the Day approaching”. Most often we may think of this verse in the context of weekly church attendance, but just like we need daily food, we need daily time with others in the study of God’s Word. Family worship is like a knot that only grows tighter and stronger as the ends of the rope are pulled by the pressures of the world. If families take the time to recharge their spiritual life through communal worship, they will find that there is much less time spent in arguing and fighting, whining and complaining. More than this, they will find a special blessing of God that our finite minds cannot comprehend.
THE MOST SPECIAL TIME
This should be made the most special and interesting time of the day! Right before a section on family instruction, Paul is his letter to the Colossians encourages “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” Colossians 3:16-17. At Red River, twice a day we have a wonderful song service that usually includes a piano, violin, trumpet and guitar. This is followed by a time for sharing testimonies and object lessons from our lives. Lastly we read from a wide variety of books all carefully chosen to help us understand God and His Word better.
Especially if you have children, always be thinking of ways to deepen their interest in this time. Let them choose the topic for study and discussion sometimes. As much as possible, tailor the lesson to the age of all present, and make sure that everything said is understood by all who desire to understand. Seek God to help you find the right length of time, as neither too long nor too short is desirable. Avoid lengthy prayers and dry formality, but talk about the real things of heaven as if they were as real as they are.
One challenge that parents so often face is trying to help their children to be respectful and obedient in settings like the church service. How many have seen or been that parent that is trying desperately to get their children to behave as the eyes of nearly a whole congregation are on them. It is certainly not a desirable position to be in. But praise the Lord, the family worship is a blessing there too! You see, one of the reasons God has given family worship is to be a practice grounds for those sacred and solemn times with the body of Christ. Every day the home can be make a little sanctuary where reverence and love for God are taught and learned. Rather than trying to deal with all the issues on Sabbath morning at one time, plant the seeds that need to be sown during the week, and when Sabbath rolls around, some of those seeds will have sprung up and taken root! The family will become what God always intended it to be, the most powerful witness the gospel has to give in favor of a crucified, risen and interceding redeemer.
WHEN FAMILY IS NOT THERE
Not everyone has a family. Not everyone lives in the situation they desire in terms of the spiritual and social needs. God understands! He doesn’t demand what cannot be had. However, for those who may live by themselves or have family members who do not believe in Christ, there are still some practical steps that can be taken in those situations. Jesus says, “Seek and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you” Matthew 7:7. Seek for what? Whatever can come as close as possible to God’s ideal. We’ve certainly had to exercise this principle in the times of Covid-19. Having church over a video platform certainly is like being in person, but how much better it is than nothing at all! Maybe you have a friend that is in a similar situation and you can call them to pray and study God’s Word together. Maybe there are fellow believers that you can band together with. Psalms 68:6 says, “God sets the solitary in families”. For those who have families, consider taking in those who have no family of their own, but are seeking to live their lives for God and find fellowship. There are especially a large number of elderly and youthful people in this situation that would find a new grasp on life with such a new found ray of sunshine in their life.
In Genesis 7:1, “the Lord said to Noah, ‘Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation”. Noah “prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” Hebrews 11:7. Have you considered that family worship is an ark for the saving of our households? Have you considered that this is a blessing given from God designed to make us heirs “of the righteousness which is according to faith” or put simply, righteousness by faith? This is the work that needs to be done in this time, right before Jesus comes back. Every one of us has the opportunity to join righteous Abraham, Noah, and all the godly fathers and mothers of Israel in this work of restoration “that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace” Psalms 144:12 KJV.
Written by Robert Phillips
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by Permission All rights reserved.