Family

* Children follow parents’ & family examples

Where did Isaac learn the trick to lie?  He may have known about the actions of his father, Abraham.  Parents and family help shape the world’s future by the way they shape their children’s values.  The first step toward helping children live right is for the parents and family to live right.  Your actions are often copied by those closest to you.  What kind of example are you setting for your children and family? (NLT)

Genesis 26:7-11 – And when the men there asked him about Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.”  He was afraid to admit that she was his wife.  He thought they would kill him to get her, because she was very beautiful.  But some time later, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out a window and saw Isaac fonding Rebekah.

Abimelech called for Isaac and exclaimed, “She is obviously your wife!  Why did you say she was your sister?”  “Because I was afraid someone would kill me to get her from me,” Isaac replied.  “How could you treat us this way!” Abimelech exclaimed.  “Someone might have taken your wife and slept with her, and you would have made us guilty of great sin.”  Then Abimelech made a public proclamation: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife will die!”

* Sharing spiritual experiences with family 

God told Moses that his miraculous experiences with Pharaoh should be retold to his descendants.  What stories Moses had to tell!  Living out one of the greatest dramas in biblical history, he witnessed events few people would ever see.  It is important to tell our children about God’s work in our past and to help them see what he is doing right now.  What are the turning points in your life where God intervened?  What is God doing for you now?  Your stories will form the foundations of your children’s belief in God. (NLT)

Exodus 10:2 – You will be able to tell wonderful stories to your children and grandchildren about the marvelous things I am doing among the Egyptians to prove that I am the Lord.”

* The memorial of 12 stones was to be a constant reminder of the day the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry ground.  Their children would see the stones, hear the story, and learn about God.  Do you have traditions–special dates or special places–to help your children learn about God’s work in your life?  Do you take time to tell them what God has done for you–forgiving and saving you, answering your prayers, supplying your needs?  Retelling your story will help keep memories of God’s faithfulness alive in your family. (NLT)

Joshua 4:21-24 – Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future, your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’  Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’  For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over.  He did this so that all the nations of the earth might know the power of the Lord, and that you might fear the Lord your God forever.”

* Parents’ immorality can destroy a family

This relationship between Gideon and a concubine produced a son who tore apart Gideon’s family and caused tragedy for the nation.  Gideon’s story illustrates the fact that heroes in battle are not always heroes in daily life.  Gideon led the nation but could not lead his family.  No matter who you are, moral laxness will cause problems.  Just because you have won a single battle with temptation does not mean you will automatically win the next one.  We need to be constantly watchful against temptation.  Sometimes Satan’s strongest attacks come after a victory. (NLT)

Judges 8:31 – He also had a concubine in Shechem, who bore him a son named Abimelech.

* Don’t take family spiritual well-being for granted

God-fearing people like David and Samuel were used by God to lead nations; nevertheless they had problems in family relationships.  God-fearing leaders cannot take for granted the spiritual well-being of their children.  They are used to having others follow their orders, but they cannot expect their children to manufacture faith upon request.  Moral and spiritual character takes years to build, and it requires constant attention and patient discipline.

David served God well as a king, but as a parent he often failed both God and his children.  Don’t let your service to God, even in leadership positions, take up so much of your time and energy that you neglect your other God-given responsibilities. (NLT)

1 Kings 1:6 – Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “What are you doing?”  Adonijah was a very handsome man and had been born next after Absalom.

* Nation’s strength & family’s strength related

Solomon drafted three times the number of workers needed for the Temple project and then arranged their schedules so they didn’t have to be away from home for long periods of time.  This showed his concern for the welfare of his workers and the importance he placed on family life.  The strength of a nation is in direct proportion to the strength of its families.  Solomon wisely recognized that family should always be a top priority.  As you structure your own work or  schedules of others, watch for the impact of your plans on families. (NLT)

1 Kings 5:13-14 – Then King Solomon enlisted 30,000 laborers from all Israel.  He sent them to Lebanon in shifts, 10,000 every month, so that each man would be one month in Lebanon and two months at home.  Adoniram was in charge of this labor force.

* Helping your family to follow God

The psalmist wrote that a good family life is a reward for following God.  The values outlined in God’s Word include love, service, honesty, integrity, and prayer.  These help all relationships, and they are especially vital to home life.  Is your home life heavenly or hectic?  Reading and obeying God’s Word is a good place to start to make your family all that it should be. (NLT)

Psalm 128:1 – How happy are those who fear the Lord–all who follow his ways!

* One of God’s greatest resources is family 

One of the greatest resources God gives us is the family.  Families provide acceptance, encouragement, guidance, and counsel.  Bringing trouble on your family–whether through anger or through an exaggerated desire for independence–is foolish because you cut yourself off from all they provide.  In your family, strive for healing, communication, and understanding. (NLT)

Proverbs 11:29 – Those who bring trouble on their families inherit only the wind.  The fool will be a servant to the wise.

* Importance of honoring your family

This is the first mention of Jesus’ awareness that he was God’s Son.  But even though he knew his real Father, he did not reject his earthly parents.  He went back to Nazareth with them and lived under their authority for another 18 years.  God’s people do not despise human relationships or family responsibilities.  If the Son of God obeyed his human parents, how much more should we honor our family members!  Don’t use commitment to God’s work to justify neglecting your family. (NLT)

Luke 2:49-50 – [Jesus said] “But why did you need to search?” he asked.  “You should have known that I would be in my Father’s house.”  But they didn’t understand what he meant.

* How faithful parents and family can impact world

Timothy is the first second-generation Christian mentioned in the New Testament.  His mother, Eunice, and grandmother Lois had become believers and had faithfully influenced him for the Lord.  Although Timothy’s father apparently was not a Christian, the faithfulness of Timothy’s mother and grandmother prevailed.  Never underestimate the effect of godly parenting on a child. (NLT)

Acts 16:1 – Paul and Silas went first to Derbe and then on the Lystra.  There they met Timothy, a young disciple whose mother was a Jewish believer, but whose father was a Greek.

* How to be a member of God’s family

To be a Jew meant you were in God’s family, an heir to all his promises.  Yet Paul made it clear that membership in God’s family is based on internal, not external, qualities.  All whose hearts are right with God are real Jews–that is, part of God’s family.  Attending church or being baptized, confirmed, or accepted for membership is not enough, just as submitting to circumcision was not enough for the Jews.  God desires our heartfelt devotion and obedience. (NLT)

Romans 2:28-29 – For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the Jewish ceremony of circumcision.  No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God.  And true circumcision is not a cutting of the body but a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit.  Whoever has that kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people.

* The family of God includes all who have believed in him in the past, all who believe in the present, and all who will believe in the future.  We are all a family because we have the same Father.  He is the source of all creation, the rightful owner of everything.  God promises his love and power to his family, the church.  If we want to receive God’s blessings, it is important that we stay in contact with other believers in the body of Christ.  Those who isolate themselves from God’s family and try to go it alone cut themselves off from God’s power. (NLT)

Ephesians 3:14-15 – When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.

* Building family relationships at home

If our faith in Christ is real, it will usually prove itself at home, in our relationships with those who know us best.  Children and parents have a responsibility to each other.  Children should honor their parents even if the parents are demanding and unfair.  Parents should care gently for their children, even if the children are disobedient and unpleasant.  Ideally, of course, Christian parents and Christian children will relate to each other with thoughtfulness and love.  This will happen if both parents and children put the others’ interests above their own–that is, if they submit to one another.  (NLT)

Ephesians 6:1-4– Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.  “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise.  And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, “you will live a long life, full of blessing.”

And now a word to you fathers.  Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them.  Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.

* Families responsible to care for family members

Paul wanted Christian families to be as self-supporting as possible.  He insisted that children and grandchildren take care of the widows in their families; he suggested that younger widows remarry and start new families, and he ordered the church not to support lazy members who refused to work.  Nevertheless, when necessary, the believers pooled their resources; they gave generously to help disaster-ridden churches; and they took care of a large number of widows.  The church has always had limited resources, and it has always had to balance financial responsibility with generosity.  It only makes sense for members to work as hard as they can and to be as independent as possible, so they can adequately care for themselves and for less fortunate members.  When church members are both responsible and generous, everyone’s needs will be met. (NLT)

1 Timothy 5:3 – The church should care for any widow who has no one else to care for her.

* Paul’s strong words for those who neglect their family

Almost everyone has relatives, family of some kind.  Family relationships are so important in God’s eyes, Paul says, that a person who neglects his or her family responsibilities has denied the faith.  Are you doing your part to meet the needs of those included in your family circle? (NLT)

1 Timothy 5:8 – But those who won’t care for their own relatives, especially those living in the same household, have denied what we believe.  Such people are worse than unbelievers.

* Share the Good News with your family

Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois, were early Christian converts, possibly through Paul’s ministry in their home city, Lystra.  They had communicated their strong Christian faith to Timothy, even though his father was probably not a believer.  Don’t hide your light at home; our families are fertile fields for planting seeds of the Good News.  Let your parents, children, spouse, brothers, and sisters know of your faith in Jesus. (NLT)

2 Timothy 1:5 – I know that you sincerely trust the Lord, for your have the faith of your mother, Eunice, and your grandmother, Lois.

* Man’s responsibility to family 

This advice given to young men was very important.  In ancient Greek society, the role of the husband/father was not viewed as a nurturing role but merely as a functional one.  Many young men today have been raised in families where fathers have neglected their responsibilities to their wives and children.  Husbands and fathers who are good examples of Christian living are important role models for young men who need to see how it is done. (NLT)

Titus 2:6 – In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely in all they do.

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