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The Christian Home

By Dan Flournoy


Without doubt the greatest need in the world and in the church is for Christian homes. The home is the oldest institution known to man. It began in the Garden of Eden when God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone: I will make him a help meet for him" (Gen. 2:18). The home is the parent and not the child of society. If the home is weak, the society is weak. If the home is strong, the society is strong.

Likewise, the church is weakened when the home is weakened. The influence of the church is diminished by homes that are in turmoil. The breakdown of the home over the past half-century is well documented. Therefore it is imperative that we do all we can to strengthen the home and thereby strengthen the church and in turn, the world about us.

One of the most important things that anyone can do for his country and for the Lord's church is to establish and maintain a Christian home. In order to accomplish this noble purpose, the home must be founded upon and guided by the Word of God.

God gives instructions to every member of the family concerning their responsibilities. To husbands He says, "Love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it" (Eph. 5:25). To wives He says, "…be in subjection unto your own husbands as unto the Lord" (Eph. 5:22). Children are instructed: "Obey your parents in the Lord for this is right" (Eph. 6:1).

The home would be that happy, wonderful place God intended if every member of the family would follow God's instruction. Fathers and mothers are given the responsibility of training children in the right way. However, they cannot train children in the right way unless they are in that way themselves! The old adage is true; "you cannot lead where you will not go." The example of parents is the greatest factor in the proper rearing of children. "Like father, like son" is so true. If parents do not respect God and His word, neither will their children. If parents do attend Bible class and worship regularly, neither will their children. If parents to not spend time in daily Bible study and prayer, neither will their children.

May we strive to have homes centered on God, Christ and the Bible! "The Christian Home" is the title of this poem by an unknown author. It expresses well what a Christian home is:

Where family prayer is daily had,

God's word is regularly read

And faith in Christ is never dead,

This is a Christian home.

Where father, mother, sister, brother,

All have true love for one another,

And none ever hates the other,

This is a Christian home.

Where family quarrels are pushed aside,

to let the love of God abide,

ere darkness falls at eventide,

This is a Christian home.

Where Jesus Christ is host and guest,

Through whom we have eternal rest and

In Him are forever blest,

This is a Christian Home.

--Dan Flournoy


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A FOUNDATION FOR A STRONG FAMILY

By Dan Flournoy

We have seen news footage of flooding where houses have crumbled because the foundation was washed away. Without a solid foundation, no house can stand. Disaster is the result when the foundation is destroyed. As the strength of a building depends on the strength of its foundation, so the strength of a family depends on its foundation. The Bible tells what a strong family foundation consist of. Please consider that a strong family is…

1. United in Christ. The foundation of a strong family begins with spiritual compatibility. When a home is divided religiously, problems are compounded. The Corinthian brethren had problems because of mixed marriages. However, both Paul and Peter make it clear that a Christian married to a non-Christian is not a sinful relationship (1 Cor. 7:12-14; 1 Pet. 3:1-6). Yet, it is obvious that the home that is religiously divided is a home with problems. When one of the marriage partners is committed to Christ and the other is not, what will be the children be taught? Where will the emphasis be in regard to recreation, giving and involvement in church attendance and activities? The strongest home is a Christian home where both father and mother are deeply committed to Christ.

2. A Committed Relationship. A strong family is built on the committed relationship of husband and wife. A marriage that is pleasing to God begins with leaving father and mother and cleaving to each other. "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). The word "cleave" means "to adhere to" or literally, "to be glued" to one another (see Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionary). This "glue" is called commitment! There is no problem too great to overcome in marriage if two people are truly committed to each other.

3. Based on Mutual Love and Respect. A family built on anything less than mutual love and respect cannot weather the storms of life. Paul counseled: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church" (Eph. 5:25). Likewise, he instructed Titus saying, "Train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children"(Titus 2:4).

The kind of love Paul is speaking of is not the perverted, Hollywood type displayed on the Silver Screen. It is a love that is demonstrated in both word and deed. It is demonstrated when both husband and wife speak to each other in a kind and courteous manner. It is demonstrated when words of appreciation and affection are exchanged. It is demonstrated when marriage partners are sensitive and attentive to each other's needs. Little deeds of thoughtful kindness and consideration from day to day strengthen the foundation of the family.

A family built on this type of foundation is much more likely to succeed in overcoming the turbulent times and ceaseless challenges that come to every home. May we do all that we can to build on a solid foundation, a family for eternity.

--Dan Flournoy


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THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF DIVORCE

By Wayne Jackson

The marriage principles found in the Bible have a purpose-they are designed for our benefit. Through the prophet Malachi, Jehovah God said to ancient Israel: "I hate divorce" (2:16, NASB). The Lord hates divorce because He loves people and divorce is devastating to humankind. Man did not live one day upon this earth apart from the environment of a home. In fact, the very foundation of society is the home. Marriage is that divine union between a man and a woman who love one another, and who have welded their lives together "so long as they both shall live." It is the cement that holds society together.

Moreover, it is this very societal cohesiveness that facilitates the spread of the redemptive gospel of Jesus Christ. When the family structure disintegrates, a significant factor in the growth of Christian faith is missing, and the gospel of God is hindered. Those who encourage capricious, unauthorized divorce undermine the cause for which the Savior died.

Divorce, generally speaking, is a tremendous evil. In fact, it is so bad that Jesus Christ allows it (together with a subsequent remarriage) on one basis only-that of fornication (Matthew 5:32; 19:9). Subsequent unions following divorce-for all parties other than the innocent victim of a marriage breached by fornication-constitute adulterous relationships.

The divorce problem has reached alarming proportions. In 1970 there were 4.3 million divorced people in America. By 1994 that number had more than quadrupled to a staggering 17.4 million. According to the Journal of Marriage and the Family, the fairly recent phenomenon of "no-fault" divorce has significantly accelerated the plague of American divorce. The United States now leads the world in marriage break-up.

In a recently published book Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Post-Modern Society (Pinion Press, 1997), author Glenn T. Stanton has compiled a massive amount of evidence which reveals the shocking effect that divorce is having in this country. This book is a survey of the most authoritative social science research published over the course of the last century. It demonstrates how first-time, life-long, monogamous marriage significantly improves the lives of adults, their children and the nation at large.

Consider some of the following factors:
1. Alcoholism is much more likely to be a problem among those who have been divorced than those who have not. Those divorced only once have almost twice the rate of alcoholism as those who have never been divorced. Folks divorced more than once are almost three times as likely to have drinking problems.
2. The suicide rate is almost three times higher among the divorced than among life-long spouses.
3. The National Institute of Mental Health advises that the divorced are about four times as likely to have problems with depression as are the never-divorced.
4. Studies have shown that the prevalence of suffering from any psychiatric disorder over a lifetime was significantly lower for those in stable marriages.
5. Statistical data have revealed that children of divorced parents are much more likely to drop out of school than children from one-time-married couples.
6. Children from broken homes are much more likely to have a difficult time obtaining and maintaining steady employment.
7. The children of divorced parents are more likely to become "teen parents," producing out-of-wedlock babies, than the children of life-long married parents.
8. The offspring of divorced parents are twenty to thirty percent more likely to have health problems, or to be injury-prone than youngsters whose original parents are still together.
9. The children of divorced parents are three times more likely to have emotional or behavioral problems than they will have if their biological parents stay together.

The evidence is all too clear. The Creator knew what He was doing when He gave strict regulations for the preservation of the original family. In view of this, Christian parents will make every effort possible to keep their marriages intact. Moreover, they will instruct their children in the concept of the permanency of marriage as designed by God.
--Wayne Jackson
P.O. Box 55265
Stockton, CA 95205

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Christian Courier

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E-mail: Dan@Christian-Family.net

Agape - A Christian Husband's Obligation

by Jason Jackson

God's love excludes no one (Note: Sadly, many do not respond to the goodness of God, Rom. 2:4-5; cf. Acts 13:32-48.). Christians, the children of God, are called to agape their enemies and their brethren (Matt. 5:44; 1 Jn. 4:21). If Christians must love all people, surely Christian men should agape their wives. Christian husbands are to love their wives "as Christ also loved the church." (Note: "Agape" is one of several Greek terms translated by the English word love.)

When Paul wrote about the Christian home, he said "This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church" (Eph. 5:32). God designed husbands and wives to be one (Eph. 5:31). What a beautiful revelation. The more we appreciate "Christ and the church," the more we will understand how we ought to behave as Christian spouses. B.F. Westcott wrote the following about Ephesians 5:32:

"This revelation of the unity of man and woman in one complex is of great moment. It opens before us a vision of a higher form of existence, and enables us to feel how parts which at present are widely separated may be combined into some nobler whole without ceasing to be what they are. But I speak looking to Christ and the church. In this final union we can see that humanity reaches its consummation" (St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 1998, p. 86).

Paul instructs husbands to consider Christ, the perfect model for agape. Using agape as an acrostic, let us study five truths that help us understand the husband's obligation.

A is for attitudes and actions. It does not stand for avoidance. It is not a strategic apology to prevent a conflict. Attitudes and actions mean that the husband must think and act like Christ; he ought to be a "Christian husband."

Agape is not sentimentality. It is defined as the husband's love for his wife's soul. Like Christ who loved, and therefore gave, a Christian husband should be selfless in his attitudes and actions (see 1 Cor. 13:1-8).

G stands for goal driven. There is a reason, an eternal reason, for a Christian husband's attitudes and actions. It is the reason for which Jesus "endured the cross" (Heb. 12:2).

Consider the results that Christ sought for the church. He loved the church, so he gave himself for it, "that he might" (1) sanctify it; (2) present it; (3) "that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:25-27).

Husbands should have the same kinds of goals for their spouses. Husbands should facilitate their wives' spiritual growth. Corresponding to Christ's example, they should contribute to their wives: (1) being set apart and serving others in the Lord (i.e., sanctified); (2) being faithful in all things so that their wives will be "presented" as a part of the church; (3) being vigilant to be "holy and without blemish." The Christian wife ought to be growing with her husband's help - not in spite of his hindrances. The Christian husband must make his home into a spiritual harbor wherein heaven is the goal.

A is for always. By its nature, agape does not wax and wain. "Love never fails" (1 Cor. 13:8). In other words, love is not going to be superseded by something better. It must remain as a permanent commitment to the one loved (cf. Rom. 5:8). Therefore, the husband should always be slow to become resentful. He must react good when ill-treated. He should never envy her. He ought to realize his inability to give enough and not report on how much he has given - always. He does not "file faults" or "fly off the handle," because agape is not overwhelmed.

P stands for principled conduct. This point also makes agape distinctive and divine. It means that the husband is called to love because God commands it. (Note: Paul uses the imperative mood to command the husband to agape according to Christ's example in Eph. 5:25.)

This love can be learned, and couples can conform to God's will and Christ's pattern. A husband can agape his wife even when he is not loved in return. It is not a proper consideration to ask, "Does she really deserve it?" We did not earn Christ's love. He loved us first (1 Jn. 4:19). The Christian husband will initiate a concern for his wife's spirituality out of principle - as Christ also loved the church.

E is for elevating benefits. Agape enhances the self-image of the one loved.

"Designed by God, agape is the best medicine for mental health" (Ed Wheat. Love Life for Every Married Couple. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980, p. 122).

Principled, goal-driven love, can help a spouse through times of significant anxiety. Agape can provide stability and emotional security. Divine love makes every day better, braking down walls of defensiveness and quarreling.

A husband, living like God wants him to live, will love his wife like Christ loved the church, giving himself selflessly for her spiritual needs. That is agape - a Christian husband's eternally rewarding obligation.

--Jason Jackson, CHRISTIAN COURIER

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Fathers Worthy of Honor

”... the glory of children is their father” (Prov 17:6).

Fathers who are faithful to their duties are worthy of respect, admiration and honor.  They bring dignity and honor to their family, the church and the community.  Therefore it if fitting that, as a nation, we honor worthy fathers. 

The tragedy that is sweeping America today is the break-down of the family.  School shootings, teen-age out of wedlock pregnancy, drug abuse, abortion, etc. are but symptoms of this break-down. The feminists have been successful in brain washing many in America with the notion that men are not needed in the rearing of children.

Only a few years ago, the fictional character on one of America’s favorite sit-coms, Murphy Brown, decided to become “a single parent.”  Dan Quayle dared speak up against the notion, pointing out the need for the two parent home.  He was vilified and ridiculed by the dominate liberal media.  However, a recent article in The Atlantic Monthly entitled “Dan Quayle Was Right,” pointed out that the latest research shows that two parent families are the most stable and are “ideal” for rearing children.  “Duh!”  Regardless of political affiliation, those who know anything of the Bible know that God intended for children to be reared by a father and mother.  Of course, single parenthood may be forced upon one by reason of death or desertion, but it should not be considered the “ideal.”

Biblically, fathers are to nurture a family by accepting responsibility for directing the home.  The wise father will lead his family in righteous, godly living.  Joshua set a high standard as he challenged ancient Israel saying, “As for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah” (Joshua 24:15).

The Lord places the responsibility for rearing godly children squarely upon the shoulders of the father: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).  Fathers are to be firm but gentle with their children.  Strength does not produce cruelty.  The apostle Paul demonstrated the kind of tender-hearted compassion a father should have when he said “as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children” (1 Thess. 2:11).

Fathers have a responsibility to discipline their children.  The Wise Man said,  Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Prov 22:15).  The purpose of discipline is to remove “foolishness” from the child.  “Foolishness” refers to behavior that is rude, disrespectful, and irreverent.  Such behavior must be corrected early in life.  Discipline is necessary in order to ultimately save the soul of the child.  “Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.  You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell” (Prov 23:13).

We pray that the men of America will wake up and return to their biblical role as worthy fathers.

--Dan Flournoy

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THE MARRIAGE CREED

Comfort each other
Provide a refuge and sanctuary for each other from the chill winds of the world.  Your marriage is a hearth, from whence comes the peace, harmony, and warmth of soul and spirit.

Caress as you would be caressed

Warm your loved one’s body with your healing touch. Remember that as babies can die with lack of touching, so can marriages wither from lack of closeness.

Be a friend and partner
Friendship can be a peaceful island, separate and apart, in a world of turmoil and strife.  Reflect upon the tranquility of the many future years you can share with a true friend, and beware of becoming battling enemies under the same roof.

Be open with each other
Bind not yourselves in the secretiveness that causes suspicion and doubt. Trust and reveal yourselves to each other, even as the budding rose opens to reveal its fragrance and beauty.

Listen to each other
And hear not only words, but also the non-language of tone, mood, and expression. Learn to listen to understand rather than listen to argue. Respect each other’s rights
Remember that each is a person of flesh and blood, entitled to his or her own choices and mistakes. Each owns himself, and has the right to equality.

Allow the other to be an individual
Seek not to create for each other a new mold that can only fit with much discomfort and pain. Accept the other as they are, as you would have yourself accepted.

Give each other approval
Remember criticism divides,while compliments encourage confidence in the other.  Hasten not to point out the other’s mistakes, for each will soon discover his own.

Cherish your union
Let no one come between your togetherness, not child, not friend, nor worldly goods.Yet maintain enough separateness to allow each other his or her own unique oneness.

Love one another
Love is your river of life – your eternal source of recreating yourselves. Above all else – love one another.

--Author unknown

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Ten Suggestions for a Better Marriage

Ten Suggestions for a Better Marriage

Dan Flournoy

 

It is always appropriate to engage in self-examination from time to time (1 Cor. 11:28).  Likewise, it is a healthy practice to examine one’s marriage.  We hope these suggestions will serve as encouragement to improve your marriage.

 

1.      Never consider divorce as an option.  God’s plan for marriage is one man and one woman for life (Gen. 2:18-24; Mat. 19:1-9).  Divorce and remarriage for any cause other than fornication is sinful.  Studies show that the majority of those who divorce and remarry do not find happiness.  Instead, most second marriages also end in divorce.

2.      Learn to forgive and forget.  During a lifetime together, marriage partners will naturally make mistakes and offend each other.  No human being is perfect.  God’s Word calls upon us to forgive: “…Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Col. 3:13).  Continually bringing up past mistakes of one’s spouse will not solve present problems.

3.      Do not be hypercritical.  “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression” (Pro. 19:11).  It is easy to get into the faultfinding habit.  However, love “taketh not account of evil” (1 Cor. 13:5, ASV).  Rather than keeping track of supposed wrongs done by one’s mate, one should look for the good things he or she has done and express appreciation appropriately.  The results can be surprising.

4.      Learn to communicate.  One of the most important components in any relationship is communication.  Also, the most important component of communication is listening.  Scripture teaches: “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).  Do not interrupt your spouse with a response.  Remember: “He that answered a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame to him” (Pro. 18:13).  Rather than trying to think of how you will respond when one’s spouse is finished talking, one should try to understand his or her point of view.

5.      Keep outsiders outside.  Do not accept or give affection outside of your marriage.  Often when there is trouble between a husband and wife, one or both of them will seek someone else to substitute for a perceived deficiency in the marriage.  The following exercise illustrates the intimacy and exclusiveness that must be maintained in a marriage:  On a piece of paper writer your name and your spouse’s name in the center.  Draw a circle around your names, and then draw a larger circle around the first circle.  The space between the circles represents your family and friends.  The space outside the circle represents others whom you may know but who are not a part of the immediate family.  The circle containing you and your spouse is the marriage relationship.  No other person is to be allowed in this circle.  Only God has a right to be there along with you and your spouse.  Keep outsiders outside!

6.      Learn to trust.  A marriage cannot survive without trust.  Whenever trust is broken, it is difficult to repair.  When trust is betrayed, the sense of loyalty is shattered.  As in other crisis situations, when there is a loss of trust, one may go through several emotional stages including anger, grief, hostility, resentment, guilt, and depression.  The offended spouse must work through these emotions in a Biblical fashion.  The one who has broken the trust must work at rebuilding the trust.  Sometimes the counsel of a faithful Gospel preacher or Christian therapist is needed to deal with these issues (Prov. 19:20).  Trust can be restored, but it will take a great deal of work by both parties.

7.      Do not compare your mate to others.  Every person possesses unique strengths and weaknesses.  Each married person is married to an individual who is different from himself or herself in many ways.  Likely, these differences are in areas where each is deficient.  Marriage has a way of making us complete through the one we married.  Therefore, each marriage is unique and can glorify God in its own way.  Scripture teaches that it is unwise to compare ourselves with others (2 Cor. 10:12).

8.      Give positive reinforcement.  A key to any relationship is expressing appreciation.  Take every opportunity to give praise to your mate.  “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad” (Prov. 12:25).  A word of praise from a loved one furnishes compelling motivation to do even more.  A poem by Mary Oler expresses it well: “You may not sing in opera or even write a book; But if you like the food you eat, start braggin’ on the cook!”

9.      Pray for your marriage (Phi. 4:6).  Ask God to help you make the changes in your life that will help your be a better mate.  Request God’s blessings on your spouse in every way.  Thank God for qualities in your mate which have enriched your life.  Ask to be forgiven for any unlov9ng or selfish behavior in your life.  Marriage is God’s gift to you.  What you make of your marriage is your gift to God.  Remember:  “God cannot answer a prayer that is not offered.”

10.   Center your marriage on the Bible (Psa. 119:105).  Set aside a few minutes each day to read the Bible together and pray.  If you have not been accustomed to this, determine to start today.  You might begin with the Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 5-7).  Bring the family together and read a few verses each evening.  Ask each family member to comment on what the passage teaches.  You might sing a hymn or two and close with a prayer.  Make the Bible a part of your daily conversations.  Look for ways to apply God’s Word to daily situation.  Most important, make the Bible a part of your life in daily Christian living.

©2005www.Christian-Family.net

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THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY WORSHIP

 

Dan Flournoy

            God's arrangement of the home as the ideal place for the rearing of children should be obvious to all who are the least bit familiar with Scripture. The home is not only a haven from the stress and strife of the world, but it is the ideal place to learn about God and His will for our lives. Through parental instruction and example, the most valuable lessons of life are passed on to the next generation. Whatever values parents demonstrate, children will absorb. Lessons learned in youth, either good or bad, will be carried over into adult life. The home, therefore, is the place children learn what life is all about (Cf. Ecc.12:1 & 12:13).

            Fathers are charged with the responsibility of teaching and training their children in spiritual matters (Eph. 6:4). Mothers are to guide and direct the home (Titus 2:5). Parents must be diligent in directing the minds of their children in the way of the Lord. Therefore, family life needs to be focused on the spiritual things (Col. 3:2). Daily Bible reading and prayer help to fortify the home against the onslaught of the world. The family that attends Bible class and worship regularly has taken a great step forward in strengthening the home. However, nothing can take the place of regular Bible study and daily devotion in the home.

            God's instruction to ancient Israel included daily discussion of the Law:

And these words, which I command you today, shall be in you heart; You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the door-posts of you house, and on your gates (Deut. 6:6-9 NKJV).

            Notice the continuous nature of the instruction process. During the busy activities of the day, parents must find time to teach their children the noble truths of God's Holy Word. Every Christian should be a constant and devoted reader of the Scriptures. Every Christian parent should be a constant and devoted teacher of the Scripture to their children.

            We encourage young families especially, to begin early in married life to set aside at least fifteen minutes a day to read the Bible together. As children come into the family, bring them into the circle of family devotion. Sing, pray and teach. The vitality of our spiritual life at home will be in exact proportion to the place given to the Bible in daily devotions.

            The "little" decisions we make in life determine our destiny in eternity. No decision is of greater importance than to determine to spend a certain amount of time each day in family worship. The example of godly parents, coupled with continuous instruction is, by God's design, the most powerful force in the spiritual development of a child.

©2005 www.Christian-Family.net

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E-mail: Dan@Christian-Family.net