2015 Fasting Devotion, Day SEVENTEEN

Read Colossians 3:18-25 (MSG)

You’ve probably heard the mantra, “God First, Family Second, Job Third.” Although I don’t believe life can be so simple as to compartmentalise our relationships in a linear fashion, I understand this thought speaks to priorities. In any given moment, I’m loving God, my husband, my kids and my work all at the same time! However, the out working of my first love and affection being Christ means my other obligations fall into alignment. I love my husband better. Then, when we are healthy and walking in unity, our kids benefit. As our family prospers, we can invest in other areas with joy and ease.

When our jobs become more important than our kids, people suffer. When our personal expectations and image trump our kid’s feelings and struggles, we risk crushing their spirits. As employees, husband and wives, we must serve and work as though we are serving the Lord. This removes any chance of offence or bitterness when our own expectations aren’t met.

As we continue to focus on our families through prayer and fasting this week, let us commit to doing everything in our power to serve and bless those whom we influence. Keeping our priorities and investment of time, energy, kind words, and service in the right order, we not only bring honour and glory to God, but our families prosper as well.

Heavenly Father, only YOU know what the dynamics of my work and family life are like. Give me strength to do what you have called me to do to love and honour those in my life. On good days when it’s easy, I rejoice! On bad days, when life is hard and I don’t receive the respect and love I so desire, help me to focus on YOU first and honour you anyway. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Our Family Rules!

house rules

I had the honour of sharing a message about healthy families last weekend at our beautiful church.  Many people have decided to post our “Family Rules” in their own homes as a measure of accountability and reminder of how we should all treat each other.  They come from a beautiful passage of scripture that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman church:

Romans 12:9-18 (NIV)

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 

 Family Rules:

1) Live Truthfully (vs 9)

Truth/honesty/forthrightness vs. phoniness/lip service/deception/pretension.  Our own imperfections lived out honestly without hypocrisy will always go further with the people in our lives than pretending to be something we aren’t.  People, our kids especially, know anyway.

2) Show devotion and Honour (vs 10)

We esteem the family above our own selfish desires.  Loyalty to each other, the cause and vision!  “Kids, obey (honour) your father and mother” is a scripture we all love.  But parents, remember the next part is that we are not to exacerbate our kids (Ephesians 2).

3) Check Your Attitude (vs 11-13)

We are cheerfully expectant of what God is going to do in our lives.  Rejoicing in hope!  persevering in tribulation.  The world will know us by our attitude.  Let us not be known for what we are against, rather what we are FOR.

4) Speak Blessing (vs 14)

If we don’t have something nice to say, let’s not say it at all.  It takes 5 positive statements to outweigh one negative.

5) Empathize and Understand (vs 15)

My we treat others the way we want to be treated.  Celebrate together; cry together; put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

6) Be Humble (vs 16)

We don’t always have to tell everything we know!  When we are full of pride, always thinking we have the answers, those around us can feel like they will never meet our expectations.  The bar seems too high.

7) Always Forgive (vs 17)

Trust that God will be our advocate when wrong has been done.

As far as it depends on me, I will be at peace with all men!