Family

Stretching BoundariesPremium Content

Do not remove the ancient landmark that your ancestors set up. Proverbs 22:28 NRSV

"We are here taught not to invade another man's right, though we can find ways of doing it ever so secretly and plausibly, clandestinely and by fraud, without any open force. Let not property in general be entrenched upon, by robbing men of their liberties and privileges, or of any just ways of maintaining them. Let not the property of particular persons be encroached upon. The land-marks, or meer-stones, are standing witnesses to every man's right; let not those be removed quite away, for thence come wars, and fightings, and endless disputes; let them not be removed so as to take from thy neighbour's lot to thy own, for that is downright robbing him and entailing the fraud upon posterity." ~Matthew Henry

There are many different kinds of boundaries in life. Physical boundaries, such as those which border property; social boundaries, such as those outlined by manner and courtesy; relationship boundaries, such as those in families; spiritual boundaries, such as those outlined in scripture. It is often the human tendency to test or even stretch boundaries. Think about our kids. As they were growing up, didn’t they (sometimes? often?) test the boundaries we set, seeing if they really couldn’t do this or that?

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Anger: Keeping Things in PerspectivePremium Content

Those with good sense are slow to anger,
and it is their glory to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 19:11


We get angry over a lot of things. To be honest, Americans as a society are pretty angry. Perhaps it stems from our idea of "rights." We believe (and expect) that certain things are due us, that our lives should include the ability to choose and have and do (sometimes even without consequence). When those expectations are denied, we get angry.

It’s also a form of control. Here in America (and in other countries), we have come to believe that we control our own destiny. We choose the vocation or profession or job we will have. We choose where to live, who to marry, how many children we will have (aborting the rest). We choose when we will work and when we will play (and we play a lot!). So when we are denied these things, we get angry.

We often couch our anger in morality, claiming that this or that is unfair or wrong. But if we are honest, many times our protests cover our fear. We cannot control the situation so anger is better than . . . trust. You see, God is in control. All the time, in all things, through all people. And while we all have free will, ultimately His plans will come to effect.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NRSV

This verse doesn’t say that God will only work out the good things or the things we control or when we are obedient (as opposed to sinning). It says that He will work out all things. And often, He works them out with Heaven in mind. That means the story doesn’t end here, on earth, but rather ends There, with Him. Hebrews 11:39-40a tell us that

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Building Healthier RelationshipsPremium Content

Hang my locket around your neck; wear my ring on your finger. Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing - it sweeps everything before it. Song of Solomon 8:6 Msg

My journey into the mystery of love B.C. (Before Christ) was fraught with rejection, repeated failure, pain, nagging doubts, confusion, dashed hopes, withdrawal, shattered dreams and broken relationships. I even at times explored in my mind the so-called benefits of the life of a recluse; which my twin brother actually chose.

I made a multitude of mistakes while attempting to re-build significant and lasting relationships. At that point, enduring joy and peace were not on my relational radar! Dys-function and Dys-grace were a more common theme in my relational reality. Patient trial and error became non-negotiable in my journey toward hope-filled, healthier relationships.

But as the mystery of the love discovered in Christ has been unveiled within my inquisitive soul, I have taken the bait again and encountered myself risking and unmasking! Slowly and surely, the rewards of function and grace have provided impetus for timid, albeit safer forward motion relationally. Over the course of forty plus years I am experiencing more and more relational success.

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Raising a Responsible Child

by Carol DeMar

"Conscientious," "principled," "accountable," "honorable," and "trustworthy" are among the adjectives that describe the word responsible. In our roles as parent and teacher, raising responsible children is of utmost importance. The endless stream of people in responsible positions getting caught in illegal or inappropriate behavior gives testimony to the sad state of affairs: reporters falsifying facts in newspaper and magazine articles; a former government official stealing documents; politicians taking bribes; the list goes on. Sadly, holding a responsible position does not make the one who holds that position responsible.

Begin in God's Word

Reasons given for the usefulness of Proverbs are listed at the beginning of chapter 1: To receive instruction in wise behavior; To give prudence to the naïve.... To the youth knowledge and discretion; A wise man will hear and increase in understanding.... The words of verse 7 always met students as they came into my classroom. The verse was printed in large black letters and attached to the wall where it could be easily seen: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Those words profoundly state what teachers and parents are to be teaching children. Training young children to fear the Lord is the first step in gaining true knowledge. Parents must begin at the beginning. Instituting a schedule upon bring your newborn home from the hospital is the start of teaching and establishing order. Man left to his own desires injects chaos into the world and then wonders why there is no peace!

Who's In Charge?

First-time parents must decide at the outset that they, not the children, will lead. Many parents have not observed good parenting skills in their own parents, and they are now modeling poor parenting to their

What is the Goal of Parenting?

Proverbs 19:18 NRSV
Discipline your children while there is hope;
do not set your heart on their destruction.


Years ago—many years ago—the majority of parents in America knew how to raise their children. How do we know this? Because we were a nation of moral adults, adults who knew how to discern right from wrong and knew that they shouldn't choose wrong. Yes, there were some indiscriminate sins, but on the whole, America wanted to be a moral nation.

No longer. Now we raise children who are self-indulgent, who want to remain children, who only want to play and have fun.

We have failed in our task as parents.

The Hebrew word translated here as "discipline" means "bind, chasten, chastise, correct, instruct, punish, reform, reprove, sore, teach" (Strongs H3256). And the word is used in the imperative form. There is an insistence; this is a command.

Moreover, the command is coached in a warning: "Discipline your children while there is hope." In other words, there will be a time in your child's life when there is no hope. Why? Because there was a lack of discipline.

Most Christian parents don't realize that their parenting is strongly influenced by the evolutionary mind of American society. When we give our children choices without strategically determining how that's done and why we are doing it, we are reinforcing that our children are individuals with their own right to determine morality. Now, for most Christians, that's a novel thought. We parent by copying what we see around us or what we read and we don't stop to analyze why we parent the way we do. The fact is, we may be parenting our children to destruction without even realizing it.

Dr. John Ankerberg (with Dr. John Weldon) wrote an article about relative morality. In summary, he said this:

The Parent-Child Relationship

Ultimately we are left with family. In fact, that may be why so many people get divorced or break up relationships. They are looking for the kind of stability that one should find within a family. Perhaps the idea of a soul mate even comes from this longing, the longing to have a place called "home" within which there is love and safety and comfort.

A stupid child is ruin to a father,
and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
Proverbs 19:13

This proverb isn't about children who lack intelligence, but rather about children who are foolish and silly. Matthew Henry writes:

"A son that will apply himself to no study or business, that will take no advice, that lives a lewd, loose, rakish life, and spends what he has extravagantly, games it away and wastes it in the excess of riot, or that is proud, foppish, and conceited, such a one is the grief of his father, because he is the disgrace, and is likely to be the ruin, of his family."

Proverbs 23:24-25 states that

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who begets a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.

There is a reciprocity within the parent-child relationship. Parents are to raise their children to be righteous; children are to choose the path of righteousness. When these children turn their backs on the Lord, it is a great sorrow to the parents. Wise children follow the Lord and His will. Foolish children stand up in arrogance and turn their backs on everything their parents believe and taught.

The Subliminal Messages of Sexual Imagery on Our Children

What is a parent to do about all of the negative imagery splashed around in society? It's almost impossible to go anywhere without having some form of immorality shoved into our face. Negative immoral garbage is everywhere! It's scary when you think about how after a while of your children seeing the same sexual innuendos over and over it begins to form a part of their thoughts and beliefs. And that is where the problem begins.

Think about what negative immoral images have been ingrained into your child's mind? Can negative images make them think negatively about themselves? Yes! Young girls have been taught from society that what is seen on the outside is basically the only thing that matters and that being only half dressed is appealing and that if you want to be "something" you need to look a certain way, dress a certain way and behave a certain way. How can a parent counter such an alluring suggestion from the world? Simple, don't be that way yourself. Teach principles by God's standards and not worldly standards.

And this is where the teenage boy comes into the picture. He is only seeing what is on the outside of females and finds it difficult to understand, respect and value what is on the inside. Even church leaders have gotten themselves ensnared within the sexual lusts of society? What kind of a picture does that tell your children? What is going on when so-called men of God can't keep spiritually fit? It is a vicious cycle that you should not even be a part of.

Pornography Addiction: What Can a Wife Do?

Don't give up on your marriage! Porn addiction doesn't have to mean the end to marriage. In fact, it is time to nurture your marriage with the tender loving care it so needs and deserves. You can actually learn from this and have a better marriage over it. I encourage you to put forth every effort to reinforce the bonds of trust and love that may have been broken between you and your husband.

The moral outcome of a husband viewing pornography does not only affect him but the wife as well. A wife may feel unloved, invalidated, and sexually unattractive. "Why doesn't he want sex with me anymore? Why does he look at all those gorgeous naked women?What's wrong with me?"

Nothing at all is wrong with you! This problem has NOTHING to do with you. It is your husband's problem. Don't make yourself feel victimized by this issue in your marriage. Your husband is looking at porn and acting out sexually because of an underlying problem within his inner awareness that is still haunting him. He may not even be aware of it himself.

Most likely your husbands porn addiction is caused by something unpleasant that happened to him in his childhood that is manifesting itself within his mind. He may be feeling anguish over his past and for a temporary "feel better" fix your husband is acting out his emotional pain and feelings of grief through the use of porn.It makes him feel better emotionally and mentally.

Five Ways to Help an Alcoholic, Addict or Dysfunctional Person

1. Prayer
Since the alcoholic, addict or dysfunctional person cannot be helped until he or she wants help, it is necessary that we begin to pray for them, asking that God will bring them to that place that he/she will seek help. Do not be discouraged. Things might get worse before they get better; but remember, God answers prayer.

2. Offer the Gospel
In Romans 1:16 we read, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth."

So often, we tend to try everything but the power of God in helping the addicted or dysfunctional person. Now it is true that he may always need medical help, possibly psychiatric help, and the help of a counselor may be profitable; but without the power of Christ working in the life of this individual, nothing will be of lasting value. Witness to him or her of your own faith in Christ and through your church, putting them in contact with others who have a vital testimony to the power of God to change lives.

Good Christian literature will also be a help in getting this message across and we would be glad to make suggestions as to what books he might find profitable.

3. Fellowship
One of the strongest points of recovery groups is the fellowship that they have one with the other. It is necessary that when an alcoholic, addict or dysfunctional person makes a step toward recovery that we be willing to offer them fellowship, to make them feel welcome, to make them feel needed and to encourage them to share with others. This could be done through CIR or through the fellowwship of a church or a Christian businessmen's committee such as a Gideon Camp.

Surviving the Holidays: Some Tips for People in Recovery

For most people, the weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year are a special time of joy and celebration. Yet, it can be an extremely difficult and stressful time for those who are just beginning to recover from addiction to alcohol and drugs. Spending the holidays in a shelter or residential recovery program is hard.

Here's a few simple thoughts that can make the experience a little more tolerable

A. Remember the spiritual significance of the holidays - This time of year is a major commercial event for America's retailers. It is also a time for special celebrations of family and goodwill. Still, we must remember that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". Above all else, we are celebrating God's sending of His only Son to be our Savior and Redeemer. Keeping Christmas as a spiritual celebration puts all of our other expectations for the holiday season in proper perspective.

B. Don't isolate - The holidays can be the loneliest time of the year for the recovering addict. On one hand, we are reminded of all the relationships we've messed up. Some will spend Christmas haunted by memories loved ones and friends they've alienated with destructive and manipulative behavior. We know, too, if we want to keep our sobriety, we must avoid people who are still using alcohol and drugs. What's the solution? Take advantage of the new sober acquaintances God has brought your way. Reach out to those around you and use this holiday season s as a special opportunity to get to know them better.

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