For the past 26 years during my journey with my wife Cornelia I’ve come to understand two very important elements of a strong marriage.
Living harmoniously as a family is an ongoing, intentional journey. The beginning of that journey is marked by great anticipation and genuine excitement. A bride and groom have high hopes and great dreams as they start out life together. However, as in all journeys, unexpected challenges pop up, including the arrival of children, which requires the couple to cultivate valuable parenting skills—without a handbook! At each age, from preschool through elementary school, each child requires his or her parents to make adjustments along the way to keep the relationships harmonious. Just about the time parents get their arms around all of that, the teenage years arrive! This stretching and complicated time calls for even more adjustments and a greater willingness to change if the parents hope to sustain harmony in the home. Then, after all that adapting, a new set of challenges arrives—the children reach adulthood, with minds of their own. Can there still be mutual respect and meaningful relationships in the family? Can harmony continue between parents and their grown-up kids? Absolutely! The question is, how?
There are times when attending a growing church is exciting…and other times when it is irritating. At times like these, questions arise. Should a church get this large? Wasn’t the first-century church small and easy to manage? Is it OK to make more room for our growing family…or should we attend elsewhere? The answers to these types of questions may surprise you.
Too often, we end up saying “if only I had known then what I know now.” How deep the feelings of regret and anxiety in the hearts of parents who “blew it!” Since there’s no way to go back and relive our lives, we need to focus on the best way to respond to these painful memories. Otherwise, we will live under clouds of blame and shame and be paralyzed by fear.
Children eventually reach adulthood, with minds of their own. Can there still be mutual respect and meaningful relationships in the family? Can harmony continue between parents and their grown-up kids? Absolutely! The question is, how?
Psalm 127 and 128 paint a mural of inspired images depicting four stages of family life: the foundation of the home (Psalm 127:1–2), the expansion of the home (127:3–5), the child-rearing years (128:1–3), and the later years (128:4–6). These verses can help us appreciate, as well as improve, our families.
What's the nicest thing someone has ever said to you? Proverbs 12:18 is so true. “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
All of us need encouragement. We need somebody to believe in us. To reassure and reinforce us. To help us pick up the pieces and go on. To fuel our flame of determination as we face the odds against us.
Your prayer together is an act of surrender to the God who is there, the God who cares for you and responds to you. Let me try to convince you to start with my top 10 benefits of praying together.
Just as a river without the boundaries of the shorelines can become a devastating force, love without discernment can sweep away the reality of sin and the power of grace. John’s letter to a lady and her children provides for us guidance as we seek to balance truth and love.