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To run a test of your home situation you might ask yourselves the following questions:

1.Is my mate closer to God because of me?

  1. Can my family see that going to heaven is really the most important priority in my life?

3.Does our family take a few minutes each day to read and discuss God’s word?

4.Do all the family members pray together at least once a day besides mealtimes?

5.Is our family ministering to others who are needy, lonely, and struggling, or are we self-sufficient and isolated from those whom Christ came to serve?

6.Does our family talk to one another in loving tones as though we appreciated and valued one another?

7.Does our family have time set aside to do enjoyable, recreational activities together?

8.Does each member of the family know that they are valued and loved? Has this been openly and affectionately expressed to them?

9.Are our children growing up to have self-esteem and confidence in who they are? Can each child look him/herself in the mirror and say, “I’m glad I’m me?”

10.As time goes by, is our family drawing closer to God, or is it fragmenting?

11.Is our relationship such that if I had to do it all over again I would do it with the same person, have the same children, and give myself the same life? If I would select ideal parents for me, would I choose my mom and dad?

These questions will probe the mind and make us think. Begin today to strengthen your family ties and nurture your marriage relationship. God has only given you one wife, one husband, one family and one life – make the most of it. Live, love and grow together.

Copied  March 6, 1983 New Albany MS.



One minister compared marriage to the joining of two streams. He said, “No matter how quietly two streams move through life, no matter how smooth or placid their individual courses, any time two streams join to become one mighty flow there is white water rapids.” (Colleen L Reece in Family Life Today). How true that is. When a marriage begins, the question is not whether there will be problems, but what will those problems be and how will they be handled?

First, we need to follow Paul’s advice to the Ephesians in 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin” do not let the sun go down on your wrath.”  Anger is a normal emotion. It is not wrong to experience anger, but it is wrong to lose control and say and do things that will hurt your mate. One of Paul’s remedies to anger was to tell them not to let their anger go on when the day was done. Problems harbored usually grow like festering sore. Paul also gave the Romans good advice that certainly apply to anger. “be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (12:21). The wise man of Israel said, “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1).  Most of us have seen those words in action. One young groom was heard to tell his wife, in the heart of an argument, “You don’t make biscuits like my mother did!” To which she replied, “You don’t bring home the dough like my daddy did either.” While exchanges like that one may be humorous to the outsider, it is usually hurtful to the parties involved.

Second, never consider divorce an option. When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about divorce, he asked, “Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall 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).  In verse 9 Jesus does tell there is ONE exception and that is if your mate commits fornication, which is any unlawful sexual activity that is unlawful in God’s eyes. Interestingly, people who are divorced do not always find an adequate answer. The September 1982 issue of FAMILY LIFE TODAY reported the results of a study done on 144 divorced couples. Most of the men (63%) and women (73%) said that they felt divorce had been a mistake and they could have worked out their problems. They wished they had worked harder at their marriages. If we refuse to make divorce an option, we will be compelled to work harder to save a relationship that we consider to be for a lifetime.

Third, our homes will be happier if we will give more loving attention to our children. “the rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Proverbs 29:15). Our children need loving attention, instruction and discipline. This is exactly what Paul is saying in Ephesians 6:4, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”  Money and the things it buys are only temporary in nature. Our children are a blessing we receive from God. Never forget these two facts or live with them in reverse order. “As arrows are in the hands of a mighty man; so are the children of the youth. Happy is the man that has quiver full of them, they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psalms 127:4-5).

Gary Hampton.



And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-7

According to a report in Family Strengths Magazine, a research team from Oklahoma State University made an in-depth study of ninety-nine strong Oklahoma families in an attempt to find out what made these families strong. Five patterns from these strong families began to emerge very early in the study:

Members of these families expressed appreciation to each other very often.
       They worked hard at keeping their communication as positive as possible.

These strong families were devout. They were active in church as a family; and beyond that, they regularly read the Bible and prayed together. But most importantly, they had a constant sense that God cares and is involved in the daily processes of their lives.

They were committed to family, to spending time together and to make each other happy.


But that take a lot of time and effort.

What did Moses write?

If I am going to influence my children in God’s way, I must be walking that way myself.

Why should children eat spinach when there is none on my plate?

If daddy cusses, then should the children talk nice?

If mom and dad use tobacco and alcohol, why not “pot” and “coke” for the kids?

If God’s service comes after – not before – other things for parents, then why not for the children?
      What Moses is saying is that we can’t fake it in the family! We live in too close a relationship. If God’s love is not in my heart, I won’t be able to act like it enough to influence my children. They can see the difference.

There needs to be much teaching time. It will take more than an occasional five-minute devotional. The application of the word of God is to be made, and explained, from getting up time in the morning to going to bed time at night, and during the night if we need to talk.

That’s work!

But what can be accomplished without effort?

And what is more important than a good family?

Jerrie Barber  Barber Clippings 11 19 1987





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