The purpose and power of Family Life

TEXTS: Genesis 1:26-28; Deuteronomy 6: 6-7, 20-25; Ephesians 5: 22-33; 6: 1-4

WORD STUDY: Merriam-Webster dictionary defines family as “a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head”. This is often known as a “household” and it is the basic form of family. Broadly speaking, a group of persons of common ancestry often known as a “clan” is also regarded as a family. These definitions agree with the Biblical definition of family in the New Testament. The Greek word (Gr: patria) “family” stands for: “lineage running back to some progenitor, ancestry”. God designed the family unit as the foundation of the wider society, and speaks to humanity from this perspective. Though salvation is a personal responsibility, but God also sees salvation from the family perspective. He desires the redemption of families as a whole. (See Exodus 12:23-27; Acts 16:28-34)

INTRODUCTION: The family is God’s ordained centre for the propagation of His divine purposes on earth. The family is the first training school of every child. Characters are formed and ethics and values imbibed which often lasts for a life-time. The family is the basic unit of the society and the most important part of the larger society. Family was not an invention of man, but God’s original plan. We do not choose our family; God chooses our family for reasons and purposes beyond us. We are encouraged to embrace our families and seek divine direction on how to fulfill God’s mandate on the family. Every family is important to God-even the dysfunctional ones. Remember, no family is beyond God’s redemption and transformation!

GOD DESIGNED FAMILY FOR THE FULFILLMENT OF HIS PURPOSE ONE EARTH- Genesis 1:26
God created man and placed him on earth to fulfill his purpose on earth
God desired the fellowship of men and women who are created in His image and likeness
The family is God’s original intention for the domination of the earth
The family is the foundation of God’s kingdom on earth

GOD DESIGNED FAMILY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF FUTURE GENERATION – Genesis 1: 28
The family unit is God’s ordained centre for generational expansion
The family unit is designed to be the custodian of God’s covenant and counsel for humanity.
The family as ordained by God is the centre for the inculcation and transmission of God’s purpose
The family under God is the greatest force for advancing God’s kingdom agenda on earth

GOD DESIGNED FAMILY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE FUTURE GENERATION – Ephesians 6:1-4
God designed the family to provide protection to the vulnerable members of the society
God ordained the family as the teaching centre for the eternal counsel of God
Redemption was orchestrated and protected through the family unit (Mary and Joseph)

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

How to identify and deal with the little foxes that spoil Marriages

When a marriage is consummated on any reason outside of the original Biblical purpose found in Matthew 19:4-6, that marriage will not stand the onslaught of the little foxes that attack every marriage relationship.

Below are some of the foxes that destroy the vineyard of marriage.

Fox#1: If there are tension or sharp responses to each other then there is most likely a fox of unresolved conflict lurking around.

Be sure to quickly resolve every conflict or disagreement as soon as you can. When an unresolved conflict lingers, it breeds tension and communication breakdown.

Fox#2: If you are quick to judge your spouse’s motives as to why they did or didn’t do something before asking them why, then there may be a fox of unforgivenes chewing at your heart.

Be sure to learn and know the details and motives before passing judgment. Don’t be quick to judge one another.

Fox#3: If you have not been purposeful in setting aside time alone together at home, or on regular date nights, then you should look more closely for the fox of neglect.
Be sure to have date nights planned, just both couples without children and job interference. This is how water and nourish your marital vineyard.

Fox#4: Maybe you find your mind constantly going to your job, even when you’re “off”, and it keeps you from being totally “there” for your spouse. You don’t look at them when they speak and you only listen to them halfway. This could be the fox of all work and no play.

Be sure to spend QUALITY time with your spouse. Focus on them while he/she speaks to you and give he/she undivided attention when communicating with each other.

Fox#5: The fox of idols of the heart can be much more difficult to catch. This is because our idols are the things that have not only caught our attention, but our affection. To discover them we must examine where our thoughts go when we have nothing else to think about? Or what do I want to do more than anything else with my free time? Just because we desire to do something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an idol, but it could be. The only way to know for sure is to ask God to help you discover this little fox. He will be faithful to help you see it.
Be sure not to allow anything immoral, obsessive and possessive to control your thoughts and emotions.

Fox#6:Lack of purpose or vision leads to a division. The couples are drawn apart and are moving i the opposite directions.

A couple should have a common purpose or try to discover one for themselves. A common purpose is the key to a longer fulfilled marital life.

Fox#7: Substance abuse-especially done secretly can wreak havoc to a marriage. It is the quickest way to betray the trust your spouse has on you.

Be sure to come clean with your spouse on your substance abuse or addiction. An understanding spouse may be your only chance of deliverance from the incapacitating power of substance abuse.

Fox#8: Family, friends, in-laws, ‘out-laws’ etc, may become intrusive in a marriage. If the intrusion is not properly handled, these can seriously affect any marriage.

Be sure to protect the culture, values, integrity and purpose of your marriage and family from any conflicting ones from anyone including your friends and families.

Fox#9: Lack of or too much money can cause a lot of problems in any marriage. The issue is poor management of the financial resources not really the money itself.

Be sure to live within a budget. Never spend more than you earn. Discuss financial management with professional financial counsellor.

Fox#10: Career-minded couples can spend their energy on their job with nothing left for their spouses. Career pursuits must not be esteemed above marital health.

Be sure not allow your job to control your marriage and your family. Plan your time properly and do not forget, home is where the heart should be!

Fox#11: Hyper-supernatural people use God and working for God as an excuse to abandon their marital obligations and family responsibilities. This is against Scriptures!

Be sure not to allow ministry, church or religious institutions to become your god! God never requires anyone to abandon his/her family for any religious reasons.

Fox#12: The wise saying: “familiarity breeds contempt” is true for marriages. Couples are too easily prone to ignore and take each for granted after many years of marriage. This is a little fox that can cause a huge rift and crisis if not checked.

Be sure to continually let your spouse realize he/she is the most important person in your life. Send a romantic text message, send encouraging emails, verbalize your love and randomly surprise each other with acts of love!

CONLUSION
While the list above is not exhaustive, the little foxes mentioned are the most common ones. Marriage is a work, just like a good vineyard-keeper, be sure not to allow these little foxes to intrude and destroy your blossoming vineyard. The more your vineyard blooms the easier it is to become the targets of these little foxes. Be watchful! Be unguided! Your adversary, the devil roams around seeking marriages to devours! Determine not to let the enemy win! May God bless your marriages, now and in the future for those hoping to get marries soon!

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

Understanding the little foxes that destroy Marriages

When a marriage is consummated on any reason outside of the original Biblical purpose found in Matthew 19:4-6, that marriage will not stand the onslaught of the little foxes that attack every marriage relationship.

Marriage is a privilege, a gift from God that allows us to reflect the love Christ has for the church. (Ephesians 5: 22-33)

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church [a]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [b]respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33 NASB)

In our culture oftentimes the most important part of getting married is the wedding itself! Imagine if a vineyard owner spent all his time, attention and money on setting up a great vineyard only to neglect the vines after they’re in the ground? It would be foolish and a wasted investment.
A fox doesn’t come and only eat the fruit of the vine–they do much more damage. They like to gnaw on the trunk, dig holes around it and expose the roots. They don’t simply eat the grapes, they like to destroy the entire vine!

LITTLE FOXES THAT DESTROY MARRIAGE VINEYARDS

Fox #1: Unresolved conflict–this includes unforgiveness and anger
Fox #2: Uncharitable judgments–not thinking the best, but assuming the worst.
Fox #3: Neglect and selfishness
Fox #4: Busyness and lack of romantic gestures and adventures
Fox #5: Idols of the heart–video games, shopping, children, addicted to work, pornography, extra-marital online dating, pleasure, etc.
Fox #6: Lack of purpose
Fox #7: Various typed of substance abuse and addictions
Fox #8: External influences from family and friends
Fox #9: Poor management of finances
Fox #10: Career pursuits at the expense of family and marriage
Fox #11: Deceptive spirituality
Fox#12: Taking each other for granted

All of the above can cause lasting damage to the marriage if they aren’t caught and dealt with quickly. So how do we trap these little foxes? How do we recognize them in our own marriage?

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