Lesson from the Marriage Triangle
Imagine you and your spouse were each standing on the two ends of the base of a triangle, and you started climbing up to the tip of the triangle from your different points. As you climb higher to the tip of the triangle, you would find that something else is happening—you are unwittingly getting closer to each other to the point where you can both reach out to touch each other. What you noticed would be that the higher you climb up the triangle, the distance between each of you decreases.
The tip of that triangle is Christ! And the two of you are at a certain distance apart from each other right now. What is the proximity between the two of you today? When the two of you are each aiming for the tip of the triangle—Christ—your marriage can only get better because you are becoming a better Christian; you are each becoming more and more like Christ. Hallelujah! Two “Christs” under one roof!
Someone taught me the story of the marriage triangle while I was a teenager and it has really been an inspiration to me. I once told my wife before we got married that we ought not to quarrel as a family. The idea first came when I asked myself what kind of union we would have if two “Christs” were living together. The mutual and unconditional love, the high level of tolerance, the understanding, the cooperation, the singleness of mind and purpose, and every good thing. The fruit of the Spirit – Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control would be in surplus.
Here’s the thing: You are first of all a Christian before you are somebody’s wife or husband. In fact, in heaven where you are going, you don’t have a marital status. Many of us are praying for and desiring the fruit of the Spirit in our home, but our roots are being sapped by the world. Many are neglecting quality Bible study, prayer, attending good fellowship and living the Word and are struggling to display the Christian virtues they see in others. We are running after the quick fixes psychologists and marriage counselors offer on the Internet, but things don’t seem to work because our roots are not receiving nutrition from the right place. Trees don’t struggle to get fruits on themselves; they just get their roots to the ground for proper nourishment. It is fellowship with Christ that ensures we get our nourishment from the Spirit. No wonder He says, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)”
The most potent way to transform any family is for the couples to daily become like Christ. Start aiming for that today, and in a short time your progress will be very visible.
To be continued next week.
– Tope S. Aladenusi
Your Family As A Brand
Any venture that will go far and have a lasting success must have a vision. A vision guides every aspect of the organisation, and it creates a certain culture that permeates every detail of the organisation in all ramifications for which the brand is known. Whether it is a Fortune 500 company or a ministry with a global impact or a thriving economy, having a vision is at the centre of their progress.
“Mr. & Mrs. Daniels O.” (You can put your family name here instead.) What do you now have? Say it again. What does it sound like? Does it sound like a company? Yes, of two people…for a real family business. One issue many homes face is that they don’t have a goal/vision for their families. We do for our work, company, ministry, career, but not for family. How sad? This may sound absurd, but it’s the truth. What is the vision statement for your family? Set the vision and direction for the family. This vision should align well with God’s plan and purpose for your family as revealed in His Word.
Why do people start a family, anyway? Is it because they are approaching 30 or the hormones are flowing or they need someone to delegate the duties of a cook and laundry to? Or they have found a vision to pursue and need a companion to help fulfill that purpose? After creation, God gave the first man the task of tending the garden, to have mastery over life, and to populate the earth. The first woman was to help him realise this vision. Today, the vision of the Christian couple is the ministry and to have a significant impact in life together. God gave man a helper—the woman—because there is a vision to be realised by the couple—the brand. O man, but how can she help you when you have set no vision—having nowhere to go? And O woman, have you become the centre of the universe instead of understanding your role as a vision-supporter?
We need to set high standards and stop taking on worldly standards. Your family was made by God and for God, and until you understand that, your marriage will never make sense. Your family vision should be aligned with God’s purpose for your existence. Don’t let your marriage be anchored on romantic feelings, because after a while, the sun will rise over your marriage and reality will set in; as everything normalizes, feelings settle. What will sustain and keep the union going will be the vision that has been clearly stated and written for each party to see, understand and run with.
If you do not yet have a vision statement for your family, make sure you do so this week!
To be continued next week.
– Tope S. Aladenusi
When Does Family Ever Come First?
A very experienced nurse once shared her observation that one of the two most important things that many patients on their death bed are usually concerned about is family. This is so because at such a critical time when one has only a brief moment to remain in this world, one cannot afford to spend even a second worrying about mundane things. They want to see or touch most of their family members one last time and for as long as they can. They want to be surrounded by their own relatives, wishing they could buy a little more time. They would forgive long-held grudges in an instant, with tears flowing freely and an outburst of emotion. All of a sudden, they realise that they should have spent more time with family when they could. Family now comes first on their death bed. Unfortunately, it would be the last time!
A very busy man was once asked what his motivation for hard work was. He responded by saying that he needed to provide for his family. Because of that he was heavily consumed with work, hardly ever having time for the same family he was providing for.
Nothing can replace your family. It comes before whatever success you may hope to achieve. It is good to have a lot on your monthly planner and daily to-do list, but do you also have plans for your family on them? Do you have these things on your schedule: A weekend outing, taking your wife to the swimming pool, a bed-time story for your kids, calling on Grandma, your daughter’s birthday, family Bible study, dinner-for-all, family games, your son’s homework, and so on? Is your home like a playground or just an enclosure?
From God’s perspective, a thriving ministry or career with a weak family is absolute nonsense. I Timothy 5:8 (GNT) gives us a peek into the significance of families to God – “But if any do not take care of their relatives, especially the members of their own family, they have denied the faith and are worse than an unbeliever.” Yes! The family unit is very important to God, and we have a primary responsibility to build healthy and powerful homes. It is apparent that God strategically placed each believer in a family that will mold and shape them to help achieve His purposes. Ironically, our generation has given attention to every other thing but the family unit. Today, many are trying to “make it” at the expense of making their families.
When should family really come first? On the death bed or every day?
To be continued next week.
– Tope S. Aladenusi
HOW TO EFFECTIVELY HANDLE SIBLING CONFLICTS
When a couple gets married and have their first child, they lavish their time and affections on her. And then the second child arrives. And may be the third, fourth, and so on as the case may be. When the couple has two or more children, the time and affections can no longer go to one child. Every one of those children ought to be cared for. However, these children will have to go through different stages of development and they have to share (or compete for) their parents’ attention.
Wherever you have two or more children, conflicts are sure to abound. Some of these conflicts are minor and some are very dangerous. Indeed, members of the same family have been known to disown each other. Some, even in Bible days, have killed themselves. Parents need to be aware of the dangers of sibling rivalry. Parents need to be prepared to effectively handle whatever rivalry springs up among their children.
Some causes of sibling rivalry
Favoritism. If a child is favored above others, this will lead to rivalry. Even if a child (wrongly) thinks he is not as favored as his brother or sister, it may lead to conflicts.
“But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.” (Genesis 37:4) Joseph’s brother planned to kill him but they ended up selling him into slavery.
Sometimes, each of the parents might have their personal favorites among the children. “And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.” (Genesis 25:28) This favoritism almost led to Esau killing his younger brother, Jacob.
Special ability. If a child appears to be specially endowed or much more gifted than her siblings, this might be an invitation to rivalry or jealousy.
“Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.” (Genesis 37:5)
A child might be more intelligent, or better behaved, or more talented in sports or the arts than the others. Any of these can bring about envy, especially if the parents make some sort of comparisons.
Birth order. The order by which a child comes into the family may determine what set of challenges he would have to deal with. When I was growing up, I had some older brothers in my family. Whenever there were gifts to choose from, these guys always had to go before me. While I was waiting my turn, some gifts I actually wanted might have been picked. This was very disheartening and I sometimes wondered why I wasn’t the first child in my family.
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age.” (Genesis 37:3) Some parents favored their last-born above other children in the family and it may cause resentment.
Individual differences/preferences. Every child is unique and no two persons will ever be the same. This uniqueness might be reflected in our physical appearances, personality, character, choices, etc. Any of these could be a source of sibling rivalry.
Handling Sibling Rivalry
Incorporate harmony into the family’s vision. Teach your children how to live in harmony with others. Let your child know it’s ok to be unique but everybody must compromise for the peace of the family. You may have to regularly organize family activities to help your children play together and bond.
Don’t take sides. One of the worst things a parent may do is to constantly side with a child and blame another for a series of conflicts. This will escalate the problem. The child being sided might be at fault too but she would not learn to be responsible for her actions. The “condemned” child might feel unwanted, unloved, and become suicidal. Parents, don’t show preferences for one child over another. Don’t compare them. Don’t accuse one and defend another.
Don’t underestimate every conflict. Some parents have a tendency to simply ignore rivalries among their children. While you have to “pick your battles”, don’t just overlook every conflict. Be sensitive. When you feel something is not right, call the children involved and explore their feelings with them. “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.” (Proverbs 17:14)
Teach conflict resolution skills to your children. Teach them to settle their disagreements promptly. They should not give time to any conflict to grow bigger. Teach them how to be specific on the issues and avoid personality attacks. Teach your children to admit their faults and ask for forgiveness.
Teach your kids to be compassionate. “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) Cain, obviously, lacked any form of compassion for his brother. Not only did he kill Abel, he also denied knowing where Abel was! Each child must be taught to look out for the good of others. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Teach your child to fear God. Regardless of any other strategy you employ, if your child doesn’t fear God, it’s all in vain. Invest your time reading the Word to your children and teaching them to live their lives based on the Scripture. Let them know that they are to obey God and be responsible to Him in all they do.
-Pastor Victor Adeola King
How do I get past the pain of the past years? I do not think I can forgive this, this is too much! Can you imagine? She … He…
These are the voices of many people in different forms of relationships today. Everyone has been hurt by someone they thought they could trust. It hurts because we trusted, and got disappointed!
The effect of the rolled over pain and unattended disappointments have left strains in a lot of families.
Many marriages today are very far from their places in destiny because of one disappointment or the other. Spouses are unable to get past the pain of disappointment to healing and fulfillment. How do we get to this place while being led by the Word of God? This is the question I pray this article will answer.
Every relationship thrives on the ability to forgive and forget. Everyone must come to accept forgiving and forgetting as a lifestyle and the key to having fulfilled relationships.
For some time now when I see couples, I keep seeing the wonder of what lies between them. For every couple having a great time together, laughing and working together, there lies forgiving and forgetting. Hurting one another is inevitable where two people are working closely with one another and especially in marriage. A friend used to say,” I can only step on your toes because we are close enough to each other”. Offense is inevitable in any relationship of any kind: the closer the relationship, the greater the possibility of offense. Someone once said there are very few people who can hurt you like your spouse and children. This is the fact of life we must live with. But when there is an offence what do we do? How do we get around it to get to our perfect destination of Peace and Harmony?
So many families are under the captivity of unforgiveness, brothers and sisters in discord because of longstanding sibling rivalry, husband and wife relationships heavily strained because of past offences. And in some cases, the marriage ends in divorce. How do we ensure our relationships do not become part of the statistics?
- Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
- And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
- And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:
- For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
- And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
- And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
- And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, what is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
- And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.
- And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem.
- And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, here am I.
- And he said to him, Go, I pray thee, see whether it be well with thy brethren, and well with the flocks; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem.
- And a certain man found him, and, behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, what seekest thou?
- And he said, I seek my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they feed their flocks.
- And the man said, they are departed hence; for I heard them say, let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
- And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.
- And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.
- Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
- And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.
- And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.
- And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him;
- And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
- And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
- And Judah said unto his brethren, what profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
- Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
- Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.
- And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
- And he returned unto his brethren, and said, the child is not; and I, whither shall I go?
- And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
- And they sent the coat of manycolours, and they brought it to their father; and said, this have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.
- And he knew it, and said, it is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
- And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
- And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
- And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard. (Genesis 37:3-36).
Just like Joseph I am very sure you have the right to feel offended. Being angry really is not a sin. Scripture confirms it to us in Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” Really you have a right to feel offended but how do we ensure that SIN does not take hold of your anger.
Offense always leads to bitterness where not properly taken care of.
We cannot prevent offenses but we have the power to take care of them when they occur. Our Lord
Jesus taught us through the Bible that we should forgive as many times as we are offended.
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven. Mat 18:21-22
Just like Joseph, you have every reason to be offended but going further down the passage above, our Lord Jesus told a parable of a servant who refused to forgive little after he had been forgiven so much. Jesus concluded that the servant was WICKED. To refuse to forgive is to act wickedly, unfortunately we do not act wickedly against the person alone but even against ourselves. Nelson Mandela said “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
Keeping offense takes us off the path of trusting God! When we keep offense we take over, instead of allowing God to defend us.
I hear someone say this lady does not know what she is talking about, I should just forget that I read this. This is the more reason you must forgive.
Why we must forgive
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.(Matthew 6:12)
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14 -15)
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Isaiah 43:25)
We forgive first for our own sake, for our own healing. When our Lord Jesus Christ was teaching us how to pray He said forgive us just as we forgive others!
We need to forgive just as much as we require forgiveness ourselves. And do not we all need God’s Forgiveness?
We need to forgive because we must get to our place in destiny. I believe Joseph got to destiny because he forgave. He had forgiven his brothers even before his first encounter with them after they sold him off.
The story of Joseph is one that thrills me every time I read or think about it. After reading and meditating on his story I wondered how he was able to forgive his siblings.
He had every right to be bitter against them and even God. He got revelations from God about his future and instead of having things fall in place from then on, his life seemed to go haywire. His own brothers sold him into Slavery, his master’s wife wanted to sleep with him and when he stood his ground in the fear of God, he landed in prison.
At some point I thought he would have just given up on God, but he did not. Rather, he held on to God the more; and little wonder, even in the prison he was interpreting dreams.
We cannot afford to lose hold of our God-given promises because of bitterness. As I write, I sense some people are not just bitter against their spouses, but even their in-laws and this is creeping into the relationship they have with their spouses. I pray that healing will come for every hurting soul.
We are forgiven as much as we forgive ourselves.
Forgiving after a broken heart!
It can be very difficult after a heart has been broken too many times by the same person. I will not just speak scriptures and walk away. Nothing heals the heart more than the Word of God! Yes your heart has been stepped upon without care but you need to take responsibility for your heart.
What do we do about the unrepentant we need to forgive?
How do we forget?
Decide to Forget
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. (Isaiah 43:18)
You and I have the responsibility of choosing to forget. Choose to let go. You will have flash back of the pains and disappointments but as you decide to forget and act contrary to your feelings of revenge you will get to the place of healing and wholeness.
- And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.
- And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
- And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
- And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
- But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Genesis 50:15 -20)
See everything as working together for your good. As much as people act wrongly against us, it does not change God’s plan, it is part of His plan. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (2 Corinthians 4:17). When we face injustice as Christians, we should remember that Jesus Christ suffered much more injustice for our sake. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” (Philippians 1:29)“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
Things work together for good only when we are in line with God’s love and purpose. Being in line with God’s love and purpose is to forgive and forget.
Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.”(Luke 17:4 –The MSG)
What to do next?
This is the very difficult part. There is no simple answer other than letting the Holy Spirit guide you in all your ways.
Our Lord Jesus promised never to leave us without comfort and He keeps this promise through the Holy Spirit, the Seal of our redemption. The person you need to forgive may not be repentant, and may be your spouse or someone you cannot readily get rid of. Yet you need to keep on holding on to the Word of God and allowing His Spirit to guide you in all your ways. Ensure you have no resentment and be open to God about your feelings. Sometimes we are hurt and heaven knows we are, and we ought to feel hurt. The best part is that we have a High Priest that is moved by our issues. He understands betrayals and hurt more than you think. He can get you through this also.
Pray sincerely telling God exactly how you feel and watch a miracle begin in your heart! He will fill you with so much love than you can ever imagine! You are on your way to healing!
Rules of Engagement for Couples
From experience I have found that it is necessary for couples to set rules for what can and cannot happen in the event of any disagreement. It is interesting that often we assume our marriages will just work out fine, especially for Christians, but today we have found that it takes a deliberate attempt by both partners no matter how Spirit filled to make it work.
Decide as a couple limits of how far you will ever go in the case of a disagreement.
No Physical Abuse, name calling, bringing up the past except that is what the discussion is about. No dragging of third parties into the argument, stick to the matter that needs to be addressed. Respect your partner’s feelings. There is so much that we could share, here is a link you can go to for more information.
Maybe you are reading this article and your marriage just came out of a terrible storm and the wounds are still fresh, this is good information for you.
To the Forgiven
You know you have done wrong and you have been forgiven, it is not time to forget completely it ever happened. It is time to build back confidence into your partner. Your partner is trying to do the right thing by forgiving you, so you need to make it easy by “bearing fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8). Make deliberate efforts with the help of the Holy Spirit to take your family far away from yesterday.
To the Forgiver
Thank God you have taken the road to freedom which is forgiveness. Now, it is time to forget. Forgetting takes deliberate effort not to go back there, for your own sake! Your mind will wander back to the pain, please make deliberate effort to offload your mind of your hurts, do not push them back, bring them up and deal with them. Trust the Holy Spirit to help you do the right things to renew your love. Fill up your being with God’s Word. Nothing heals like God’s Word.
“And godliness with contentment is great gain……..”. 1 Timothy 6:6
We can also start by saying that godly parenting with contentment is great gain. We live in a society where discontentment is rife. More cars, more money, more wives, more everything. Nothing is ever enough. Consciously and perhaps unconsciously the Christian has caught this attitude and we are all on an ungodly move for more.
Parents both individually and collectively are not left out. Parents seem to be on a competition spree – ‘their children must be in a better school or a school of equal rating as Mr. B’s, must go for summer abroad like everyone else’s children and so on. We say that it will build a healthy self-esteem, in that they have things comparable to their mates, but will it? Or will it lead to an over-inflated sense of self?
The unhealthy and ungodly attitudes of parents to give things to their children no matter what, reflects the core values of their heart. To keep up with the Joneses the parents now have to work extra hard and extra long. What happens generally is that by the time these parents get home after work, they are too tired, spent, worn out and really cannot relate with their children effectively. A man or woman only has energy for so much!
The children are then taught by default how to raise themselves with the disinterested assistance of a house-help, a weary school teacher or a relative.
It should be noted that what will profit a child for time and eternity is not the things parents give in themselves, but the active presence and input of both parents in that life. A cardinal rule of thumb is this- give the children the best of things you can afford; and the best of you.
Given, in every parent is the desire to give their children the best; but every parent should realise that physical items and things will never raise a godly, responsible child that will bring the parent joy in later days. If a godly child is the intent of a parent, then time spent with the child is a critical factor! The parents’ personal walk with God will profit the children little unless they are around their parents to behold their conduct of godliness. And by the way, the person or thing children spend the most time with will affect and mold them the most.
A heritage of godliness, humility, contentment not with riches or poverty but with godliness is the best legacy a parent can pass on to his or her child; and who better to teach it than the parent.
As parents, we all have our core values. With regards to our children/ or wards will they be values that will benefit our children for time and eternity? Or are we already training our children for the rat race?
“For I have chosen him so that he will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the Lord….” Gen. 18:19.
While growing up, my mother reared chickens, not ‘agric fowls’ as we called broilers but the native kind that would lay eggs, hatch them, etc. My sisters and I learnt something very fast about the mother hen. When it started to incubate its eggs/hatch them, the docile hen changed into a fierce, attack-at-the-slightest-no-nonsense hen. Up till today, whenever I see a mother hen with freshly hatched chicks, I give it a wide berth. That hen can chase and attack any and every one it perceives as a threat to the well-being of its chicks. Female animals with young ones are known to be deadly (with some exceptions), deadlier than their male counterparts. A lioness with cubs, a she-bear with cubs are good examples but to name a few.
And so we come to mothers and mothering. The mother-a beautiful species of being with the ability to bring forth, nurture, train, protect and the list is endless. The woman is so designed that she can keep the home, raise the children, work a job and do all excellently. Different roles, one person. That is who God made the woman to be, and before proceeding, this is to say a big thumbs up, thank you, well done to all the mothers out there. Yours may seem like a thankless job but God sees, He hears, He applauds and His reward is sure. Keep up the good work sister!
In the beginning, God……, and that is where the job of every mother starts; with God. It is the smart and savvy woman that knows to spend time with God every day, and time means exactly that- T-I-M-E. Non-negotiable. You will never know how much your life will transform until you know to withdraw, to replenish your strength, to get wisdom in the place of fellowship with God (by the way, I believe it is irresponsible parenting to be locked up in your prayer closet while your children run around unattended to. Children by their very nature need constant monitoring.). Whatever you do, let the beauty of your absolute reliance and dependence on God shine through in every situation.
The working mother is an unavoidable subject in this day and age. Upfront, it should be said that the day society, mothers, fathers amongst others began to clamor for equal rights and recognition in the workplace for the woman, the home front and especially the children began to suffer. Society now tells us that a woman is not complete until she is earning a salary with six digits like the men (there is nothing wrong with that by the way). The truth is, God designed that the mother would be the one to spend more time with the children- she is naturally adapted to that task. And so, when the parents, particularly the mother is away from dawn-dusk all weeklong, the children are under direct attack from any and every thing. God did not give you children so that you can delegate their upbringing to someone else. That is one responsibility that cannot be delegated. This is not to say that a woman cannot and should not work but once it conflicts with taking care of the home, the woman is too busy!I believe every mother should be at home with her children once they finish from school, or at least the father. I entirely agree with author Tim Lahaye when he said “today’s emphasis on working mothers (whether it is necessary or not) is destined to create a whole generation of rebellious or insecure young people”. Enough said already? I should hope not.
Raising a child is so delicate that whatever happens to that child in its formative years can make or mar the child. We should consider this fact that just the presence of mummy at home can make a child act right very fast. If that presence is continued from day to day, good habits are formed, bad ones discarded (hopefully) and then it becomes a lifestyle. In no time, a beautiful, responsible. God-loving adult is born. We overlook the evils that can pass over a child just because a parent is present. No sexual molestation, pornography, bad company, lewd talk, bad manners can bypass the watchful eye of a godly mother. Even physical attacks and accidents can be staved off by a woman knowing her place in God. It is true that bad things may still happen whether a parent is present or not, but we can testify, mummy also spells safety and protection.
It is so easy to look at western society today and shake our heads at the level of depravity we see there; children shooting parents, schoolmates, themselves; all sorts of sexual perversion, the presence of all manner of ungodliness. This should be said- one of the root causes was when godless men and women began to propound theories on child training and the Christians accepted those theories as the standard for raising their children. Two, it was decided, and the mothers decided/accepted that they ought to work a job and pull their weight like their male counterparts, and so, with no one to care for the children and teach them good from bad, tell them about God and life, the devil stepped in and is doing an excellent job.
It is a general saying among mothers that having the children around a lot is tiring and draining. And it should be! Child training is work and labour (and of course, a lot of help from the fathers would be very welcome). We expect to be tired when we get back from our jobs but are irritated and feel we have wasted our time and energy when it is spent on our children! We have been so deceived and our priorities so out of place. Child care has been relegated to house helps, nannies, crèches/daycares/schools etc. Let every mother remember that God will judge not just the bible studies we led or how well we sang in the choir but the major fact of how we raised our children. I want to reiterate, you cannot and will never be a success at raising your children unless and until you see them as a priority. It may look like a lot of time to spend, but in some years’ time those children will be gone. Once they get into the university they are out of our lives and direct control forever. For some children it is boarding school, and that is it. Our time of impact and relevance in the lives of our children is limited. Let us make the best use of it now. Remember, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”.
This is not an exhortation to make drastic changes but one to prayerfully take stock of your life and change. And if you are actively fulfilling God’s will for your life as a wife, mother etc, then go girl, keep on keeping on!
-Aghogho Awonusi is a Legal Practitioner that resides in Ibadan. She is happily married and a mother of one.
There’s an interesting passage in Genesis 29. Jacob fell in love with Rachel and he agreed to serve Laban, Rachel’s father, for seven years in order to marry Rachel. Genesis 29:20 tells us those seven years were like a few days to Jacob. Even when Laban tricked Jacob by giving out Leah instead of Rachel, Jacob was still willing to serve Laban for additional seven years! That demonstrates to us the power of motivation. Many people go out to work, not just because they need the job, but because they need the pay check or the salary. Many students work hard at their studies, not because they have nothing else to do, but because they want to graduate with flying colors.
Just as adults can be motivated to reach their goals, children also can be motivated toward positive attitude and appropriate behavior. There’s a saying that the behavior you praise gets repeated. It’s possible to motivate your child to do good. And it’s possible to help your child sustain the good behavior. I’ll like to clarify that “reward” isn’t the same thing as a “bribe”. Moreover, rewarding your child doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve lost leadership as a parent. I think parents should still be able to instruct their children with or without reward system. My point here is, you can take advantage of motivation in the process of training your children to become everything God has destined them to be.
Reward system is scriptural. Hebrews 11:6 describes God as a “rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. Deuteronomy 28: 1-14 is a list of blessings we stand to receive if we do what God commands us to do. Verse 2 of that chapter states, “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Everlasting life is promised to those who believe in Jesus Christ, (John 3:16). In Matthew 5:7, Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” We can see so many examples in the Bible where the Lord is motivating us toward living to please Him. If God will use the reward system over and over, I believe parents should do the same with their children.
The Principle Explained.
Reward system simply means your child gets something as a reward for carrying out certain instruction you gave him or her. The reward must be captivating or motivating enough to get your child inspired. Your instruction must also be very clear and specific. For instance, I practice this principle with my 5-year-old son weekly. The deal is for him to have five “good days” from Monday to Friday and Friday will be his “treat day”. Good day means when I pick him up from school or day care, the teachers have good things to say about his behavior. That means he has been respectful of his teachers and peers. That means he has been compliant with his teachers’ directives. For his treat, he gets to choose what he wants, subject to my approval. In the past, he has asked for Subway sandwich, cookies, buffet at Chinese restaurant, old-fashioned donuts from Donkin Donuts, and pizza from Little Caesars. The good news is my son has now internalized having good days. With or without reward, he now enjoys having “good days”. We have come to the point where I began to explain to him that the joy he derives from having good days is actually a great reward.
There’s another side to this coin. There may be times when a child decides to ignore his parent’s instructions. Despite every effort to motivate a child to do good, he may still defy his parent’s authority. That’s when the parent needs to apply the appropriate consequence(s) to discourage the child’s negative behavior. This will be the subject of my discourse in the next edition. I pray the Lord will strengthen you in raising your child to live for Him.
Pastor Victor Adeola King
|“The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.” 1 Corinthians 16:19. Consider also Col 4:5, Phm1:2
Each time I consider the above scripture, I must confess that it registers as a portion of the scripture that one does not need to take lightly. Though we have this pleasant couple, being mentioned in other portions of scriptures, it is not surprising that we eventually have an insight into their dedication to the Lord from the above scripture.
The statement ‘church in their house’ does not necessarily suppose that they had a building set apart for ‘churchly’ activities but that their very home itself is a venue where the things pertaining to God i.e. our very being, his word, prayer, etc was being given free course.
It is challenging because these days we could afford to surrender all we wanted outside our house but the house itself becomes a private affair where we limit things of God. Acts 16:32 – 34.
Jesus laid an emphasis on the home. The home was as much relevant as the places he went to preach. The daughter of Jairus, Peter’s mother, Matthew, etc all had the experience of having their homes turned into a meeting ground of some sort. The home of the jailor, Cornelius, etc in the book of Acts was equally not spared.
Our homes could be known for many things but it should not be strange to the things of God. We understand through the Grace of God that God dwells in the believer and not in buildings made by human hands. If we truly understand this, then our homes, workplaces, farmland, leisure room, playground, etc is not immune to God’s mighty outpouring if only we would allow it – Acts 17:24 – 28.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was not in a mighty cathedral or on the revival ground but on the roof of one place – a home – Acts 2:2 – 4. For the sake of privacy, certain things have been murdered in some homes.
No matter the place, God moves. Therefore, our homes ought not to be left out as a place where the glorious heritage we have been called into as believers could be demonstrated.
As a believer, my prayers ought not to feel more effective because of the churchly environment I find myself. The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much. It starts and ends with the state of the person and not the name of the location – John 4:21 – 24.
In some homes, it may seem like killing the ‘atmosphere’ to raise a song of praise or word of prayer. I mean why bring it home, we could always go to church.
For others it has become the issue of we all know to do but nobody does. I have sometimes wondered why it is difficult to raise a prayer, a song, a word in the midst of fellow believers. Is it that we have all become so familiar with the word we just pay lip service to it. I would to God the homes turn into a revival ground of some sort.
I heard a lovely testimony at a time I would love to share with you of a beloved sister in the Lord who was cooking and felt pressed. She just had to let out praise to God and this while cooking. Her neighbour who lay on the sick bed heard and got healed.
If our glorious salvation was ushered in at the barn of a home how much more should our homes be open to God?
It might seem strange at first. It might go against the norm or standard but gradually we would be able to make it go beyond routine for us to continue in fellowship with the father and with ourselves even in our homes just as in any other place.
Our homes are not immune to the miraculous move of God – Acts 9:11; Mark 2:4. Our homes could be designated as a prayer fortress Acts 12:12.
I remember the story of a man entering a room in the house of a brother and the man without being told exclaimed that this must be a prayer room. There was such a mighty presence that words could not explain. The church is the body of believers. It is not a building. Our homes could serve as a meeting ground for the church of God – Acts 2:16 – 18.
Purpose to have a meeting at home regularly. It does not need to be rigid. You do not need to be ordained at church to have one. It could just be prayers for an hour or raising a song. You do not need to wait to get to church – Act 5:42, Acts 2:46. The church is you.
-Dr. Bolaji Akanni
Great and successful families don’t just happen. I believe we all can live the best of life possible if we can receive and apply the divine wisdom we need every day. Even if we grew up in dysfunctional families, I strongly believe God wants us to change the story. We don’t have to perpetuate dysfunctional ways of living and then die without fulfilling our potentials. A great family is a great possibility.
There’s a reason for every family. And every couple needs to discover the divine purpose for their family. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” It’s really unwise to start a family (or any enterprise for that matter) without a vision of what it will look like. Whether you’re single or married, I encourage you to capture the vision of God for your family. Without a vision, a man will abuse his wife. Without a vision, a woman will dishonor her husband. A lot of people get married for various reasons. When couples get married for all the wrong reasons, they’re simply asking for disaster! Relationships are generally difficult. How much more the romantic type?
When I was a single man, I came to a point where I really wished I was married. One day, I purposed to fast and pray for three days to seek guidance from the Lord. During the first day of fasting, I picked up the Bible for my daily devotion. Then I came to Proverbs 24:27. It says, “Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house.” From this verse, the Holy Spirit let me know that I still needed more preparation to do prior to getting married.
I didn’t bother to continue the fast. I thanked the Lord for His guidance and went about making every necessary preparation I knew to make. I studied the Bible and prayed. I read extensively. I had books and tapes all over my bedroom. I attended several seminars designed for singles. I studied the lives of married couples around me. One day, the Lord spoke to me through Matthew 22:8. “The wedding is ready…” That was when I knew I was ready to be married. It was then I got a clear indication of who I was going to marry.
As you read the Bible, pay close attention to every family related issue. Highlight specific verses and meditate on them. Find out why some families are blesses and why some aren’t so blessed. For example, Priscilla and Aquila were mentioned by the Apostle Paul in Romans 16:3-5. He wrote, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house.” Do a study on couples like this.
Please devote yourself to prayers. Capturing God’s vision for your marriage or family isn’t enough. In fact, it’s a responsibility. You need the help of God to implement what he has shown you. Prayers connect us to God. Prayers enable us to draw power from God to handle our daily affairs. Prayers enable us to move through the challenges of relationships. Prayer will help you find your spouse. Prayer will help you love your spouse and children. While in courtship with then wife-to-be, we invested many hours into fasting and prayers. As a result, God assured me that we’re going to have a great marriage. I began to confess that on a regular basis. Even when all the circumstances were contrary, I always said, “We shall have a great marriage.” That declaration was based on faith in God and what the Word can do in a relationship.
I believe God wants us to build such families that bring Him glory, honour and praise. He will give you a vision for your marriage. He will help strengthen you for all He wants you to do as a father or mother. Study the Word and keep growing as Christ’s follower. All is well in Jesus’ name.
-Pastor Victor Adeola King