Monday, February 23, 2015


"The home, no matter how humble it is, how plain, how small—should be the dearest spot on the earth to each member of the family. It should be made so happy a place, and so full of life, that no matter where one may wander in after years, in any of the ends of the earth—his home should still hold its invisible cords of influence about him, and should ever draw resistless upon his heart. It ought to be the one spot in all the earth, to which he would turn first, when in trouble or in danger. It should be his refuge, in every trial and grief." ~J.R. Miller
I have spent the last 3 days attending a church conference on "Building Stable families in an Unstable World." It is such an important, needed message in our world today, so I have decided to write about what it takes to build a godly home. This post consists of my notes from the conference, my own thoughts, Scripture and some of my favorite quotes on marriage and family. I hope that it will encourage you and show you that God has already written the perfect instruction manual for your family.

"A godly home is the closest thing to Eden that we will ever experience on this Earth." That was one of the opening statements from the family conference, and also the one that had the deepest impact on me. As Christians, our homes should be places where our families and guests find peace, love, joy, encouragement, a refuge from the troubles of this world. This is my desire for my home!

"What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow."~ Martin Luther
“The woman who makes a sweet, beautiful home, filling it with love and prayer and purity, is doing something better than anything else her hands could find to do beneath the skies.” ~ J.R. Miller
 “A true home is one of the most sacred of places. It is a sanctuary into which men flee from the world’s perils and alarms. It is a resting-place to which at close of day the weary retire to gather new strength for the battle and toils of tomorrow. It is the place where love learns its lessons, where life is schooled into discipline and strength, where character is molded." ~J.R. Miller
In order to have this type of home life, it is imperative that we follow God's design for marriage and family.
"And He answered and said to them, 'Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh"? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.'
~Matthew 19:4-6
 First, we must recognize that marriage is created by God as a covenant between one man and one woman and was intended to last a LIFETIME. God says man is to leave his father and mother and "cleave" to his wife. The word cleave can be translated here as joined together, glued. When we glue something together, we are looking to form a bond that will hold that object together permanently. If we try to tear apart an item after we have glued it together, we are left with rips, broken pieces, splinters, etc. Over one-million families in America will be impacted by divorce this year, and often times this brokenness manifests in the lives of the children. Children of divorced parents have a:

-70 % greater chance of dropping out or get expelled from school
-164% greater chance of having a child out of wedlock
-50% greater chance of alcohol and drug abuse
-300% greater chance of needing psychological counseling

Next, we must understand that every good and perfect thing that God has done, satan tries to corrupt. Marriage was created by God to be an earthly example of Christ's relationship to the church. That is why marriage and family are under constant attack. There are many ways these attacks are carried out: movies, novels, worldly "wisdom," and even sadly misdirected family, friends and churches. We are inundated with romance, passion, beauty... everywhere we turn. It is all about the attraction, the feeling, the excitement. But true love is not a feeling, it is a choice. To truly love another person, we must die to self and live for Christ. It is only through pursuing holiness that we can ever find true happiness. This is contrary to the world's philosophy that tells you to "look out for yourself and if it makes you happy do it." But God's word shows us that marriage is the greatest gift and opportunity that we have to pour our life into someone else.

So, how do we begin?
"Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord."
~Psalm 34:11
We must have a humble reverence for God. A family that does not fear God cannot serve God.
"...choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." ~Joshua 24:15
We also must have a heartfelt resolution to serve God. "As for me and my house we will serve the LORD!"
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." ~Romans 12:2
A godly home involves a life of separation. Our choices we make in our homes regarding movies, internet, books, dating, recreation, etc. are not based on what everyone else is doing, but on what God's word says.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." ~Philippians 4:8

We are to live a life that manifests God's glory and shows a desperate world God's perfect way.
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
~Matthew 5:16
Ever since Adam and Eve, God has had to work through imperfect people to bring about his ideal design for the family. So, what can we do to have a marriage that endures and children who flourish?
First, we need to trust in God's plan for the family.
"Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it..."Psalm 127:1
In the world's eyes marriage is a contract. They say "until death do us part," but it's really until I get tired of you or you make me mad or you get sick or fat or old or just until someone better comes along. Their mentality is, "Am I getting everything I want out of this?" If not, it's time to upgrade to a newer, prettier, younger or more understanding model. The problem is that marriage is not a contract, it is a covenant between a man, a woman and God. It is not designed for me to get my way, but for God to get His way in my life.
Next, we need to follow God's design for the family. Each member of the family has a God ordained role to fulfill.
The husbands role:
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" ~Ephesians 5:25
"Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered." ~1 Peter 3:7
"Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth." ~Proverbs 5:18
Husbands are to put God first in there life, and then their next responsibility is to minister to their wife. Husbands are called to be the provider, protector, pastor and example for their family. Husbands  are to pour out their life into their wife's life. God created the wife with the need to be loved. She needs the stability of a spiritual leader; she needs to see that you delight in her, that you cherish her and that you appreciate her.
"The Scriptures give the measure of the love which husbands are to bear to their wives; 'Husbands, love your wives—even as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it.' In the true husband who realizes all that this divine command involves, selfishness dies at the marriage altar. He thinks no longer of his own comfort—but of his wife's. He denies himself that he may bring new pleasures and comforts to her. He counts no sacrifice too great to be made which will bring benefit to her...Every husband should understand that when a woman, the woman of his own free and deliberate choice, places her hand in his and thus becomes his wife—she has taken her life, with all its hopes and fears, all its possibilities of joy or sorrow, all its capacity for development, all its tender and sacred interests—and placed it in his hand. He is then under the most solemn obligation to do all in his power to make her life happy, noble and blessed. To do this he must be ready to make any personal sacrifice. Nothing less can be implied in 'loving as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it.'" ~The Family by J.R. Miller
The wife's role:
"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." ~Genesis 2:18
"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,  when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." ~1 Peter 3:1-4
" Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." ~Ephesians 5:33
"The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands." ~Proverbs 14:1
Wives, we were created to be a helper for our husbands. We are to encourage them, to lift them up, to inspire them and to pray for them. By being obedient to God's design for our marriage, we can build our homes up; but when we try to do things our own way we tear it down. We are to be submissive to our husbands. This does not mean that we are inferior, we are "joint heirs in Christ," it just means we have different abilities and responsibilities. Scripture says that the husband is head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, and he is to love her as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Just as we as Christians submit to God's authority in our lives, wives are called to submit to their husbands out of obedience to God's word. Wives, when we are rebellious in our homes, we are training our children to be rebellious. God created our husbands with the need for respect.
We are to have a gentle and quiet spirit and to pursue inner beauty. Outer beauty may fade over the years, but the woman who cultivates gentleness, meekness, kindness and purity will have a spiritual beauty that far surpasses physical beauty.
"A true wife makes a man's life nobler, stronger, grander, by the omnipotence of her love 'turning all the forces of manhood upward and heavenward.' While she clings to him in holy confidence and loving dependence she brings out in him whatever is noble and richest in his being. She inspires in him courage and earnestness. She beautifies his life. She softens whatever is rude and harsh in his habits or his spirit. She clothes him with the gentler graces of refined and cultured manhood. While she yields to him and never disregards his lightest wish, she is really his queen, ruling his whole life and leading him onward and upward in every proper path." ~J.R. Miller
"The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”  ~Elisabeth Elliot

The parents' role:
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." ~Proverbs 22:6
"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." ~Deuteronomy 6:6-7
"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." ~Ephesians 6:4
"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth." ~Psalm 127:3-4
As Christian parents, we are to walk out Christ's word in our daily lives. Our children don't just need us to talk about the things of the Lord, they need to see the transformation and application of them in our own life. We need to pursue holiness in our lives, and to be an example to our children and not an excuse. We need to be rooted in God's word, to read the Bible and to pray with and for our children. We need to rejoice in the Lord, and to be full of gratefulness and not complaints. Our children don't need to hear how hard everything is, but how great God is to see us through the hard things. We need to teach them to have wisdom and discernment in their choices. Children are a blessing, we need to not treat them like a burden. They are like arrows, and we are responsible for shaping them, sharpening them and sending them out into the world. Children need to have goals and limits, responsibilities and playtime, discipline and forgiveness. Parents are the closest authority figure in a child's life, next to God. If children are never taught to have respect and obedience for their parents authority, they are much less likely to submit to God's authority in their life.
"It is a great thing to take these young and tender lives, rich with so many possibilities of beauty, of joy, of power—all of which may be wrecked—and to become responsible for their shaping and training, and for the up building of their character. This is what must be thought of in the making of a home. It must be a home in which children will grow up for true and noble life—for God and for heaven. Upon the parents, the chief responsibility rests. They are the builders of the home. From them it receives its character, whether good or evil. It will be just what they make it. If it is happy—they must be the authors of the happiness; if it is unhappy—the blame must rest with them. Its tone, its atmosphere, its spirit, its influence—it will take from the parents. They have the making of the home in their own hands—and God holds them responsible for it."
~JR Miller
"People ask me how it happens that my children are all so promptly obedient and so happy. As if it chanced that some parents have such children or chanced that some have not! I am afraid it is only too true, as someone has remarked, that 'this is the age of obedient parents!'  What then will be the future of their children? How can they yield to God who have never been taught to yield to human authority? And how well fitted will they be to rule their own households who have never learned to rule themselves?” ~Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward
The child's role:
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise:  'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.'” ~Ephesians 6:1-3
"But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God."  ~1 Timothy 5:4
Children are to listen to their parents' instruction; they are to learn from them and to obey them. They are to honor and to respect their parents' decisions and authority. Adult children are to care for there elderly parents.
"When our parents grow old—they exchange places, as it were, with us. There were years when we were feeble and helpless, unable to care for ourselves; then they cared for us. They watched over us; they toiled and sacrificed for us; they sheltered us from hardship and trial; they threw around our tender years—love's sweetest gentleness and holiest protection. Now we are strong—and they are feeble; we are able to endure hardship and toil—but the faintest breath of storm makes them tremble and the lightest toil wearies them. This is the time for us to repay them. It is ours now to show tenderness to them—to shelter them from trial, and to pour about them as much of love's tenderness as possible."
~J. R. Miller
When all is said and done there is only one way to truly build a godly home and that is through Christ alone.
" What are some of the secrets of happy home life? The answer might be given in one word—Christ. Christ at the marriage-altar; Christ on the bridal journey; Christ when the new home is set up; Christ when the baby is born; Christ when a child dies; Christ in the pinching times; Christ in the days of plenty; Christ in the nursery, in the kitchen, in the parlor; Christ in the toil and in the rest; Christ along all the years; Christ when the wedded pair walk toward the sunset gates; Christ in the sad hour when farewells are spoken, and one goes on before and the other stays, bearing the unshared grief. Christ is the secret of happy home life."
~J. R. Miller

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