Category Archives: Family

Set Your Priorities : Balancing Work and Home as a

“In your relationships with one another,
have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…”

Philippians 2:5 (NIV)

set priorities

The heart-tugging story has gone viral. A young child wants to know his parent’s hourly wage. The parent is offended thinking that the child is presumptuous to ask and might be using the information to compare his parent’s level of success to that of a classmate’s parent. You know where this is going: the young child simply wanted to how much money was needed in to buy an hour of his parent’s precious time.

My question is this: why does this pull at our heart strings so strongly? Could it be that within this anonymous story we see grains of truth that make us uncomfortable?

There is the obvious. Have we made our children feel as though they have to buy our time? Are we so busy doing other things that they are reduced to battling to be a priority? And what about that hidden concern that our “level of success,” based solely on an hourly wage, won’t measure up and that if it doesn’t we will embarrass our child … or ourselves.

As people seeking to be pleasing to God while balancing work and home, we must make sure that we have our priorities in line with what God would have them to be. He does not judge success by comparing our salaries. He doesn’t log volunteer hours for good community events. As husbands and fathers, we must remember that it was to us that Paul wrote (inspired by the Holy Spirit) “…bring [children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

As wives and mothers, we need to carefully examine the words found in Titus 2 to find the priorities God has set for us: teaching, loving husbands and children, living Godly lives. This does not mean that we cannot have other outlets of energy, including a career, but if we allow our priorities to reverse, we can be sure that stories like the one told here or lived out in our daily lives will bring guilt and not glory to God, which is the very reason we were created (Isaiah 43:7).

“Lord, as I seek to balance my career and my family, please help me do so with your priorities in mind. Help me keep You first and all else will follow.  Through Christ, Amen”

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6 “Small” Things that Erode Marital Trust

erosion

Trust is the taproot of marriage. A marriage that is thriving is one that is built upon godly commitment. While every husband and every wife will make mistakes, when those mistakes cause distrust to build, the marriage is slowly eroding.

Sadly, there are some who think they can keep from doing the “big” stuff that would break marital trust (have an affair, for example), but they fail to see the “small” things that are slowly eroding the trust in their marriage. Many even do some of these things intentionally, just to have their “own life” on the side. (Which, by the way, goes against the very fabric of marriage.)

What are some of these things? Here are 6 things that some may think are small, but that can be eroding the very taproot of your marital trust.

1. Withholding Information. I wanted to lead with this because it may be the most common, and most difficult to break. Each person in a relationship is going to be privy to information that could (literally) be difficult for the spouse. Often, we withhold that information, but we let that temptation grow. It becomes easier and easier to withhold what we think are minor details. All along, though, we are eroding open and full communication, which a marriage simply must have to thrive.

2. Pornography. An affair is trust breaking, but pornography is trust eroding. When (not if) a struggle with pornography is discovered, a spouse’s ability to trust will be thwarted. And it will not just be a struggle in the bedroom. The hidden life and covered tracks will be enough to show that communication has been broken at a deep level in the marriage.

3. Separate Finances. While I do think each spouse should have some money he or she can just spend and enjoy, there is no way a marriage can be healthy is he has “his accounts and bills” and she has “her accounts and bills.” As Dave Ramsey often states, “When you get married, you change pronouns.” It is now our money and our bills. While you both may be honest, having separate accounts leaves the door open to distrust and a lack of communication about shared values and goals.

4. Wandering Eyes. You may think, “Wait a minute. Didn’t he already talk about pornography?” I did, but what about when you are walking through the mall or downtown and your eyes take in the figure of every member of the opposite sex that walks by? Too many (and, let’s be honest, it’s usually us men) think there’s no harm in just looking, but a spouse will be harmed by wondering if you are doing more than just taking some “harmless” glance. And, by the way, don’t be surprised when your eyes wander toward magazines, computer screens, and maybe beyond.

5. Private Online Presence. Does your spouse know your Facebook password? What about your Twitter handle (every Twitter account)? Does he or she have open access to the people you have been chatting with? If not, why not? We can get so caught up on our cyber-world that we close out our spouse. Even if we are doing nothing harmful, there is a lack of trust there that is not just perceived. It is real.

6. “White” Lies. This is the most obvious, but still needs to be said. Often, to “protect” our spouse, we make up a little lie, a cover-up, a small fib. When the truth comes out, we just treat it almost as funny, and yank out the excuse that we were just trying to protect them. Instead, we harm them, because they begin to wonder what “bigger” truths we have hidden or just changed.

Honest. Trusting. Open.

Those words need to describe every aspect of the life of a husband and wife. It may force us to be a bit vulnerable before a fellow human being, but he or she is the person you made the choice to be vulnerable before, and to trust with your whole life.

Don’t erode that…not even in a small way. Instead, build it up every day.

What are some other “small” things that too often erode a marriage? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Where the Grass is Greener

grass is greener

“…You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does He not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did He not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.” (Malachi 2:13b-15).

If you have been married for any length of time, you have had moments of unhappiness. Remember, your vows predicted it: in SICKNESS and in health, for richer or POORER, for better and for WORSE. Every marriage is going to be a struggle. Sometimes when the struggles are prolonged people begin to think about getting out.

Across the fence they see pasture; that is, greener grass. They see a friend or co-worker of the opposite sex who listens to them. They see this person in all their good moments. They don’t see their bad attitudes. They don’t have to live with their poor choices. They don’t see them when they are unattractive. They only see them in the sunshine.

If it is not another person that people see, perhaps it is the peacefulness of the field. No more fighting. No more rejection. No more animosity. Married folks begin to think that having no spouse would be better than a spouse they have learned to loathe. They think the peaceful field is easy. They don’t see the forest just beyond the field that they must pass through later. They forget how much they need and will need someone to hold their hand.

If you are married, I want you to know that the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. You made a commitment before God and many witnesses that God wants you to keep. Your co-worker or close friend is not your spouse. Though different, they have just as many problems and weaknesses, probably more. If you hop the fence you will find the ground muddier than you thought it would be.

The grass is actually greener on your side. If it is not, it is because you have not cultivated it as you should. Think about it. You can only work the ground on your side. You are only allowed to plant on your own property. You have no business taking what rightfully belongs to someone else. God is blessing you on your side, and you ought to show Him some respect and appreciation. Proverbs 5:15 commands, “Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.” God will help you to grow what you have sown. He can change the soil. He can do what you think is impossible in your field if you let Him.

Paul wrote in Ephesians 5 that married couples are one flesh, and that they should nourish and cherish their relationship. This means submission to one another in the fear of God. This means learning to be unselfish. This means making sacrifices like Christ made for the church. This means the washing of water by the Word.

If we will search deep within ourselves and look at our spouse again in the love of our vows, we will remember where our happiness has its brightest hope. We will see where the grass is truly greener. We will keep our commitment before God and these witnesses. We will rejoice with the wife of our youth (Proverbs 5:18).

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul…” ~ (Psalm 23:1-3a)

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Would You Like to Make a Quick $1000?

make 1000

Now that I have your attention, let me share with you where I got the idea for that title.

I heard something interesting the other day about some mothers in New York City who are paying professional organizers to get their children prepared to go to summer camp.

The “going rate” for these professional organizers is $250 per hour. According to one of the organizers, it usually takes about four hours to get the kids ready. After all, they just must have the proper soaps, shampoos, scented candles, sheets, etc.  Everything must be in place in order for the kids to have “all the comforts of home.”

So — if you can move to New York (or already live there), can qualify as a professional organizer, and want to help rich kids get ready for camp, you should be able to make $1,000 in just four hours.  If you could put in eight hours a day, that means you could make $10,000 in five-day work week.  That wouldn’t be a bad summer job, would it?

Here’s another idea.  What if we focused less on spending money on our kids and/or spending all of our time making money?

What if we focused more on spending time and making memories?

Sadly, during her later years, my mother-in-law lost her memory.  It is sad when that happens to anybody, but it was especially sad in her case.  I can still remember what she said repeatedly during the times when some or all of the members of the family were together.

We would be in the middle of doing something and we could count on her saying, “We’re making memories, aren’t we?” Believe me; those memories are worth more to me than any amount of money possibly could be.

I can also remember something my father told me when our children were still very young. He said, “Jim, you’re going to turn around twice and they’ll be asking for the car keys.”

It seems like it was only a year or so ago that he told me that, but I guess I’ve turned around more than twice. We now have a grandchild who is less than three years away from being old enough to get his license to drive.

Parents, I’ve learned from experience that you only have those children for a very, very short time. Please don’t just throw money at them.

Please do give to them. Give them your time and your heart. That kind of investment pays huge dividends in ways that cannot be deposited in any bank.

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Greatest Thing a Father Can Do {Quote for Pinterest}

Today, we share another quote for you that we’d love you to take and pin on Pinterest. Enjoy!

love their mother

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Don’t Lie to Your Children

 

parents lie children

My family had a wonderful Monday evening last week. We went to a gospel meeting. I appreciate Tom Stafford for inviting me to come to Buffalo Valley to hear Dwight Fuqua preach on “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.” The kids behaved very well and we enjoyed a spiritually driven night that we all needed. I am looking forward to other opportunities this summer to take my family to a VBS or a gospel meeting in our area – it is nice when you don’t have the next morning of school staring you in the face – you have more time in the evenings for such things.

During the sermon brother Fuqua talked about one lie in particular some parents are telling their children. Before I give the details I will mention that Dwight was once in the Cincinnati Reds farm system, and I believe he still holds the high school record in Kentucky for home runs in a season. He was a sports star and in his early years his life was dedicated to the pursuit of major league baseball. So he understands the desire to achieve in the athletic arena and he knows the sacrifice it takes to do so. So I believe he is fully qualified to speak on this subject. He often preaches out of town meetings, staying in local hotels. Going down on Sunday morning to the breakfast area before worship, what does he commonly see?: children in ball uniforms – going to tournaments. They are playing games on Sunday and often they, along with their families, are forsaking the assembly.

So what is the lie? It is when some parents tell their children, “God and the church come first.” Parents may say this, but they are not being truthful about it. I agree with his sentiments completely. When everything you are doing in your life says something other than what is coming out of your mouth – words become meaningless. Our behavior in front of our children will always have more influence than the words we chose to explain it.

Are you lying to your children when you say:

  • “I love your mother/father very much.”
  • “I promise to do that with you soon.”
  • “It is a bad habit but I am trying to quit.”
  • “I would never hurt you for any reason.”
  • “I will always be there for you if you need me.”
  • “I love you more than anything else on this earth.”

It all depends on what you are doing. Lies often become lies, not because we don’t intend for what we say to be true, but because we live in such a way that we allow our own selfish concerns and desires to trump our intentions to be God’s people.

Parents, be real. Don’t tell your children anything from your mouth that you refuse to back up by your life. They deserve the truth. They are a reflection of you.

“The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”

– Proverbs 12:19

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Parents, Remember This… {Quote for Pinterest}

Today, we share another quote for you that is designed in such a way for you to put it on your Pinterest board to encourage others. This one’s for us parents.

children imitate

 

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The Family = An Anvil? {Quote for Pinterest}

Today’s post is a great quote for you. If you use Pinterest, why not pin it and encourage someone else today, too?

family anvil quote

 

In what way have you seen Swindoll’s words come true in your own family? Share your story in the comments.

 

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Must Do’s for Dads

must dos dads

If you are a father you are blessed. If you have or have had a godly father you are beyond blessed. Unfortunately, many children are growing up today without a positive spiritual influence from their father. Some do not have any kind of relationship with their physical father at all. Still some fathers, though present in their children’s lives, are too busy spending time in the world to spend time with their families.

But I know some GREAT men who deeply love the Lord and who are strong spiritual leaders. These men all have several things in common – things they practice that qualify them as good fathers and teach others what being a man of God is all about.

So here are some “Must Do’s” for dads:

1. Be your family’s “worship leader.” I always think it is interesting anymore to hear about churches hiring and paying “worship leaders.” Really? I don’t see that anywhere in the New Testament. What is needed is a father in every household who is a worship leader. Job was. Abraham was. Cornelius was. It worked out pretty well for their families spiritually speaking. A father who loves the Lord and the church above all else will likely produce children of the same persuasion.

2. Love the mother of your children. Without a word your wife and the mother of your children should be the same woman. This is God’s plan. When we think about our children’s future – what are we hoping for? If we are in our right minds we would think about heaven first, and this earthly life second. When we consider their future here, we should be praying that one day they will find a Christian spouse who will love them and be committed to them for life. Real men will express love to their wives in the daily activities that will be witnessed by the whole family. Children will find comfort and rest and joy and love in a home where men love their wives as Christ loved the church. A man who loves his wife will nourish and cherish her. This will equip her with the ability to do the same for the children.

3. Let your favorite hobby be your kids. I have counseled failing marriages for years now. A common problem in these struggles is a man who has checked out on his wife and kids. He always wants to golf, be at the lake, go hunting, or engage in some other “me time.” I was entrapped by this once myself – and thankfully, only for a short time. Satan was lying to me. I was miserable. The outings did not provide the happiness and solitude they had promised. A man who wants all of his hobbies to be away from his wife and kids is a selfish individual. The greatest things he has going, and the most important people he will ever influence – live between the corners of his house.

4. Take pride in what you provide. My father taught me that there is no substitute for hard work when it comes to expressing the value of those who have been entrusted to your care. The size of your house, the newness of your car, and the amount of money you have in the bank are not what make you a successful man. But working and sweating and sacrificing for what you have is honorable at all times. When you give your all every day with your wife and children as the objects of your love and sacrifice, you can rest easy on your pillow at night. In time your family will understand what you have done for them. They will love you and respect you – not for the rest of your life – but for the rest of theirs.

If you will be a spiritual leader, love your wife, spend time with your children, and provide for your family, you will fulfill your God-ordained purpose and duty as a father. The satisfaction you will receive from doing these things will far outweigh the sacrifices. You will enjoy deserved rest. You will have peace of mind and peace with God. Your life and your heart and your home will be filled with all the fullness of God.

“The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him.” ~ Proverbs 23:24

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The “Model” Family

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They live in the house you wished you owned. They drive the cars that you think are the most stylish. They wear clothes that are hip and always in style. Their kids go to the best schools and (of course) are always at the top of the class. Everyone in town knows them and thinks they are just the perfect family.

…or the model family.

But they aren’t.

(At least, not necessarily.)

In my mind, the “model” family may or may not have a trendy lifestyle. They may or may not have a big income and newer possessions. They may or may not have overachieving kids.

So, if you don’t have to have those things to be a model family, what does it take?

Living out your faith.

That’s really it. Some of the best “model” families I know have nice houses, but there’s nothing all that “stand-out” about them. A lot of them drive cars that are older, and some barely have any money in savings.

But if you watch them, you’ll see Christ living through them.

Instead of trying to mold your life after who has the best “stuff,” look for the families that are using what they do have to the glory of God.

Their house may not be super fancy, but they have people over on a regular basis, so they can get to know them and develop deeper relationships with them.

Their cars may be older, but those cars can almost drive themselves to the church building, and are often seen in the parking lots of hospitals and nursing homes, and in the driveways of other people who are sick or just needing a pick me up.

They may not have a great income, but they never take God out of first place with what they do have.

Their kids may not always make straight “A’s,” but those kids are learning what it means to be faithful to God, simply by opening their eyes at home.

They may not have a great big TV set with channels too numerous to count, but they have learned to entertain themselves in lots of ways, including just spending time with the neighbors.

People need these kinds of models. Your children need these kinds of models.

Aren’t you glad that you don’t have to make a ton of money or have all the newest and nicest things to be the “model” family?

What is your family modeling?

—————-

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