6. As a parent, my schedule is slammed! Why should I do what the church was designed to do:
There are two aspects to this question. The first is to understand the priorities and disciplines of a Godly man and the second is to understand
that the spiritual training of children is the parent's responsibility not the churches!!
Let me start with the second. Our mandate as parents comes from Deuteronomy 6: 4-7 and Ephesians 6:4.
"Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
These commandments that I give you (parents) today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit
at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (NIV)
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord"
It is our responsibility before God to raise our children in the Lord so as to bring them to a point of personal decision. Barna research found in their
book, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions that, Parents must invest in the moral and spiritual growth of their children with great
concern, care and conscientiousness. No matter how hard a church tries, it is incapable of bringing a child to compete spiritual maturity - that is
the job of the family. Why, because other statistics show that parents have 2-3 times the impact of any church program.
As for the Priorities and Disciplines of a Godly man and woman, it is important to understand that God has an "established order of importance" in
our relationships. They are: 1- God, 2- Spouse, 3 - Children, 4- Ministry, 5- Work.
They are vertical not horizontal. In other words, it is like the briefing you receive on an airplane for a rapid decompression. We are instructed to
place the oxygen mask over our own mouths before attempting to help our children. The reason, if we become incapacitated in the process, both
can become unconscious. So it is with priorities. If your relationship with our God is not what it is intended to be, your relationship with your wife
can not be all it is intended to be and then your relationship with your children will not be all they were intended to be…..
In Matthew 6:33 we are instructed to "..seek after His Kingdom and righteousness and all these things (worldly needs) will be given to you as
well." The point is that we need to be more concerned about being the priests of the family than providers! He promises that He will provide if we
pursue. So here are some selected thoughts to help you understand and get started in making these priorities spiritual disciplines.
1 - A Man or Woman and Their God: The greatest command is to:"Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all
your strength." He is to be our passion and purpose in life. A relationship starts with knowledge of a person. You must know a person to have a
closer relationship. You will not trust someone you do not know. In God's case, you will not put your faith in Him if you do not know him.
Here is how it works:
* Your knowledge of God determines your love for God,
* Your love for God determines Your Obedience to God and
* Your Obedience determines Your experience with God.
So in regard to disciplines, first you need to be a man or woman of God's Word.
You can not know God and what is on the heart of God if you do not know the Word of God. There is a difference between knowing of God and
knowing God of the Word.
It tells us in 2 Tim 3:16 that: "All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that
the man of God may be equipped for every good work."
Spend "unhurried time" in God's word every day, seeking His guidance and direction. It is essential to a vibrant relationship -just as communication
is key to intimacy, so it is with God. We need him to speak into our lives through scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Second, you need to be a man or woman of prayer! No man is greater than his prayer life and people who are not praying are straying!! God
commands us to pray, for it is vital to our relationship.
Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you."
In Luke 11, Jesus teaches on prayer and offers the Lord's Prayer as a model. If you look at that prayer you will find that there are several key
elements to effective prayer that can be put into the acronym P.R.A.Y.
Start with Praise: "Our Father in Heaven Hollowed be they name
Seek Repentance: "Forgive us our sins, as we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from
the evil one"
Ask: "Give us day by day our daily bread."
Yield to His Will: "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
2 - A Man and Woman and their spouse: Men and Women are instructed in Ephesians 5:33 NIV However, each one of you (husbands) also
must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Just like a head of a church must give account for the spiritual
well being of the members, so husbands, as spiritual leaders of their family are responsible for the spiritual well being of their wives and children.
Husbands are to do all in their power to promote their wives' holiness, understand and meet her needs, and encourage their wives to be all that
God has purposed for them. He should care for her spiritual well-being just as he cares for his own.
The wife needs to acknowledge and respect her husband's role as spiritual leader. Through words of encouragement and acts of service, she can
demonstrate her feelings of admiration and support. However, Godly spiritual leadership involves service. A husband "earns" the respect of his wife
by "serving and caring" for her spiritual well being. Submission becomes mutual through each serving the needs of the other.
Your Marriage is an earthly representation of the trinity. Think of it as a triangle. God is on the top and the husband is on one bottom corner
while the wife is on the other bottom corner. The closer the husband and wife move up the triangle to God, the closer they come to each other
and the desired oneness God intended.
Let's define Oneness as: Two individuals who are joined to form a new 3rd identity of us or we-ness vs me-ness.
Matt. 19:5,6 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no
longer two, but one, Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.