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

Freedom from Family Life traumas (pt. 3)

FACTORS THAT FACILITATE FAMILY TRAUMAS

Lack of or poor communication skills
Lack of interpersonal skills
Lack of problem solving or coping skills
Lack of commitment to the family or relationship
Lack of headship or leadership in the family
Lack of stability (frequent relocations)

TRAUMAS AND EFFECTS ON THE FAMILY

Despair and frequents exhaustion
Frustration-this lead may lead to verbal abuse and violent behaviours in the family
Anger
Anxiety and depression
Feeling of helplessness and hopelessness
Physical withdrawal
Alcohol, drug abuse
Sexual abuse- including rape and incest
Sexual immorality
Manipulations and control of one another
Self-blame and counter-blames (blaming one another for every fault)
Lack of trust
Low self-esteem/poor self-image
Delinquency-especially in school works and social interactions
Decline in work efficiency
Emotional withdrawals
Separation and divorce
Physical illnesses
Phobia
Mental illnesses

HOW TO BE FREE FROM FAMILY TRAUMAS

DEALING WITH INNER WOUNDS

Family trauma can cause deep hurts and emotional wounds which can lead to bitterness and resentments. If these are not dealt with quickly, they can lead to a pattern of behavior which can become a stronghold that imprisons the individual.

Accept the fact that what happened has happened. It is gone!

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”- 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)

Learn to forgive and love

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”-Matthew 6:14 (NASB)

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”- Luke 6:27,28 (NASB)

Accept who you are Christ

“How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ.
Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love.  His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!”- Ephesians 1:3-5 (TLB)
Think and Focus on what is True and Holy

“And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.”- Philippians 4:8 (TLB)

Parenting God’s Way

imagesAs I write this article, I am being summoned to an overflowing kitchen. One of my children was trying to wash plates (he thinks he is old enough) and the water filled the sink and was just pouring down. Imagine the big mess that I have to clean up.

Sometimes in life, we feel like our life is on hold, our talents are lying dormant and that we have more to offer than to clean up after the mess that our children make. Other times we wonder what parenting is really all about. There is really more to parenting than cleaning up the spills and changing the diapers. We need to always remember that whatever we do for our children is never in vain. There is a purpose for it. It could be that we want our children to be happy and healthy or go to a great school and get a six-income job.

However, Christian parenting is more than that. Christian parenting is parenting on purpose. For us to parent on purpose and not by accident, we need to discover what that purpose is. Proverbs 29:18 says that people perish without vision. So also our children’s potential may likely perish if we parent without a vision. The main purpose of Christian parenting is to train up our children in such a way that they grow up to fulfil specific kingdom purpose. Every child has a unique God given purpose and has been endowed with specific talents and disposition to fulfill this calling.

In the book of Jeremiah 1:5, God says to Jeremiah “Before I formed thee in the womb I knew thee, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. So every child has a unique calling and has been appointed for a purpose. Parents are called to help their children identify their unique purpose and send them to it. Parents are not to mold but unfold their children’s potential.

Here is a simple real-life illustration. Paul’s parents discovered that he loved to teach others what he had learned. Especially, he was passionate about teaching from the bible when he was young. He was very inquisitive and wanted to know the reason for everything. Before he was two years old, he was able to make complete sentences. He always wanted to tell others what he knew. He was very vocal. He was also very interested in the things of God. His parents constantly fed his curiousity and prayed for him. He eventually became a gifted leader and powerful teacher.

Parents can discover their children’s purpose through prayers and also by observation. Their talents start speaking at an early age. Parents who are vigilant enough can detect this and guide their children along that part. They could be called to be ministers, businessmen, scholars or into leadership. Good parenting identifies this unique calling and sets the children apart to fulfil it. It meets the children’s specific needs and equips them to fulfil their unique purpose. Parents are encouraged to raise their children on purpose, this is God’s way.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude.

Why The Need To Parent God’s Way?

imagesParenting isn’t about turning out cookie-cutter kids using perfect techniques and formulas. God has given every child unique traits that are a perfect fit for the heroic role he created them to fulfill in the epic story. God intends us to see childrearing as a noble calling, a mission to pass on truth and wisdom from one generation to the next. God looks at parenting children as one of the most important occupations adults are involved in. There are some benefits associated with parenting God’s way. They include:

Motivation
Raising children according to their God given purpose involves encouraging and training children to do the good things they love and are naturally gifted to do. This enables them to be eager and enthusiastic. Training that focuses on the children’s gifting rather than limitations, results in minimal coaching and prodding. Everyone enjoys doing what they are good at. The secret of self-discipline is motivation. Children are often motivated to discipline themselves when they are excited about what they are doing.

High performance
It is a known fact that people excel at what they are good at. The case is the same for children. Children who are trained to perform in their areas of gifting often succeed. For instance, a child who has the gift of administration and is trained in organizational systems is most likely going to be an excellent administrator. Those trained in communication skills and motivational psychology will most likely end up being a successful leader. It takes more effort for a child who is not trained in their area of giftedness to succeed than one who is trained in their area of giftedness. This sometimes threatens a child’s self-esteem.

This does not mean that children should not also be trained in areas outside their gift zones. The point is to focus on the child’s special abilities and their success will breed success as well. Parents need to bear in mind that the absence of certain talents does not equate weakness. It calls for parents to look elsewhere for their children’s purpose. God has deposited a measure of talents in every child. It is very important for the parents to focus on these talents and they will raise motivated and successful adults. Those who focus on their weaknesses, raise up demoralized and misdirected children who are full of shame.

PERSONAL FULFILMENT
Ecclesiastes 2:11 ”Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun”.

Personal research has shown that about 3 out of every four are working jobs not right for them. This combats enthusiasm and initiative. A study by Jan Halper, PhD, of 4126 male corporate executives showed that 58% of all middle managers said that despite years of striving to achieve their professional goals, their lives seemed “empty and meaningless”. 68% of senior executives said that they had neglected their family lives to pursue professional goals and half said that they would spend less time working and more time with their family if they could do it over again. Children raised God’s way have a greater advantage of deriving meaning in their vocations than those who are not. Most importantly, they have eternal security. So parent God’s way.

Jan Halper, PhD., Quiet Desperation: The Truth about Successful Men. New York, N.Y.: Warner Books, 1988.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

Ways To Appreciate Your Children

imagesFathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Colossians 3:21.

Focusing mainly on the wrong things that our children do could embitter them and get them discouraged. We need to learn to direct our focus on their positive abilities.

Sarah Lewis a single parent of a 12 year old Noah and 6 year old Jessica recently attended a parenting class where she learned about the importance of appreciating her children. She realised that her children became more confident because of that. They became proud of what they do for themselves and for their mum.

Let’s look at how to appreciate our children.

 Seek out something good. Make a conscious effort to find something worth praising and blow the trumpet. Celebrate him for doing that good. Look for progress not perfection. Encourage when getting better on working at the bad.

 Affirm the good. Do not be afraid of pride resulting from the praise. Studies have shown that it takes ten compliments to balance the negative emotional impact of one criticism. As your affirming responses begin to outweigh and outnumber the critical ones, the atmosphere in your home begin to change and become more positive and inspirational.

 Be sincere. Let your affirmation flow from your heart. Flattery is manipulative and seeks selfish ends but appreciation builds up the recipient.

 Make your home a rejection free zone. Desist from cuts and put down statements.

 Focus on the character. Compliments attach value to something. Observing acts of kindness and responsibility and applauding attitudes of thankfulness and cooperation shift the spotlight to character and attitude.

Appreciation is a powerful tool for developing character qualities in children. By acknowledging good behaviours, we are likely to see more of them manifest. Children have a fundamental need to be appreciated. They long to know that they are not only accepted but approved. Complimenting their abilities, initiatives and job well done satisfies their need for recognition and sets them on course to please God.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

How To Help Our Children Overcome Fear

images“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. II Timothy 1:7.

The powerful web of fear can envelop us and zap our natural spontaneity and joy at any phase of life. A lot of young children struggle with vivid, fearful pictures springing from their imaginations. As they mature, their fears grab at them in diverse ways. They become fearful of the world through stories they hear, shows they watch and real life situations they encounter. Children have different perspective of the world than adults. It is natural for children to develop fear at one time or another. Helping our children overcome their fears can alleviate emotional stress and promote a sense of mastery. This we can achieve by:

Helping them develop the ability to trust: Trust is like a spiritual umbilical cord which allows nourishing emotional resources to travel to and fro between souls. Children who are raised in an environment with love, warmth, and stability and are free to honestly express their feelings develop a healthy capacity to trust and have faith in others. This also enables the child to be able to freely lean on God completely. We can build trust and confidence in our kids when we demonstrate respect and understanding for what they feel.

Helping them identify their feelings: When we help our children acknowledge their fears, we help them overcome them and embrace boldness. In order to do this, we mus

t discover and destroy the underlying belief that sustains it. For example, a child with low self esteem will probably be hurt when ridiculed. Helping your child discover who they are in God disarms fear and builds confidence. Be sure to display a high level of understanding for their need to be understood.

Encouraging them to come up with solutions to their fearful situations: Often times, our parental instincts drive us to run amuck and solve all of our children’s problems. However, when they sense that we are limiting their abilities to think for themselves or gain independence, they rebel.

Being an example to them when faced with uncertainty and fear: Children learn most from what they see us do. Sometimes discussing our battles against fear with our children can teach them how to handle their anxiety. For instance, we can let them know that being afraid is a part of life which we encounter from time to time but in those moments, we find strength in talking to God about it and we believe that our God who is always with us will help us overcome. God always advised Joshua not too be fearful but to “be strong and courageous” because he knew that fearful times will always come. (Joshua 1).

Be aware of what your children are exposed too: It’s important to control the flow of fear-provoking information that our children receive especially from the media. Information can be a heavy burden for kids. It is extremely important to limit their exposure to frightening news coverage, movies and video games.

Never forget that the spirit of boldness that God has given us if for us and our kids to walk in.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude.

zp8497586rq

Prayer, The Key To Preserving Your Children’s Destiny

images“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds”. II Corinthians 10:4.

The next generation of Christian children are being targeted by the devil for demonic assault. The devil knows that if he can emotionally damage our children, he can lead them into a life of self-destruction and sin. He wants to destroy the destinies of our future generation.

A good number of parents are ignorant of the spiritual powers that seek to enslave their children. They are so preoccupied with trying to pay their bills and meeting their own needs. The rude awakening comes when their children get themselves deep into destructive sin and they wonder what happened to their family. It is expedient for parents to rise up and fight for their children or they become casualties of the war. It’s either we fight to defend them or we surrender them to the camp of the enemy.

As parents, our greatest treasure is the children God has entrusted in our care. We cannot make a more lasting investment than the spiritual qualities we nurture in our children. No other person holds a more influential key to molding children than their parents. Others may influence their lives for good and for eternity, but God has created in every child the desire to look

up to his or her parent for love security and direction. Unlike other people in their lives, we have been given an amazing power to influence and affect them. Along with power comes responsibility. God holds us accountable for the stewardship of these lives. We need to daily stand in the gap and be great intercessors for their destinies.

Prayer has the propensity to destroy the plans of the evil one to capture the hearts of our kids. I John 3:8 says that “the reason that God came to earth was to destroy the works of the devil”. A lot is at stake here, we must passionately protect our children through prayer. We also need to also examine ourselves to see if there is any behavior in us that inspires mistrust and wound our children’s feelings and seek for God’s help to desist from it.
My husband and I never relent on praying for our children. We have a family tradition whereby every Saturday, my husband lays hands on every one of kids and prays and blesses them. After which we both pray for and bless each other. We have seen the tremendous effects this has had on our kids.

We must specifically ask God to protect our children from things that could keep them from embracing God’s purpose for their lives and instill in their hearts a desire for his presence. God’s love must be appropriated in their lives for them to fulfil their destinies. Other important areas to focus on includes their schools, professions, future spouse, children e.t.c . Praying for our children must be on purpose.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing ude.

zp8497586rq

Introducing Our Children To God’s Love

images“And you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up”. Deuteronomy 6:7.

Sarah will you like to have some mocha fudge. “No mummy” she said. Okay I will have it all to myself. Sarah sat and watched as I devoured my mocha fudge while listening to my slurps. The look she saw on my face and the interesting sound of my voice while savouring my ice cream instigated in her a desire to want to taste it.

Modeling God’s love to our children is one of the best ways to inspire them to love God. It implies demonstrating our love for him. This we can achieve by loving God ourselves because we can’t give away what we don’t have and spending time with our children when we are at it.
Modeling God’s love to our children involves:

Enthusiastically praying for and with our children
: We can also encourage them to pray a word or more. Refrain from forcing them to do this.

Worshipping with them either in church or at home together: We can also use a variety of kid’s praise and worship tapes.

Role playing a Bible story: For instance, we can pretend to be Mother Mary carrying baby Jesus.

Apologizing for our wrongs and asking God for forgiveness

Eagerly obeying God

Showing love to our family members by being selfless with our resources.
Reading and studying the bible with our children and making it exciting for them. This we can do by getting a good bible geared for their age range for them. Children love owning their own bibles. Take them to the bookstore and let them choose their own bible. We can also make memorizing the scripture fun for them.

Serving God as a family together. This may include mission trips, feeding the poor or even in the church. Go to places that make God’s word come alive.

Be available to your children especially in crisis moments
. These are great teaching moments for demonstrating God’s love and feeding spiritual hunger.

There are certain influences such as media or peers and experiences can spoil our children’s desire for God. So we need to avoid exposure to media, internet use, video games and any peer influence that may discourage them from serving God. By being proactive, we can help our children avoid the pitfalls of negative influence.

Resorting to intimidation and shame in order to motivate our children to seek God can only build resentment and undermine trust. We cannot make our children seek God we can only predispose them to trust him by being a model that reflects the love of God. By exerting so much pressure, we may be able to make our children conform to God’s standards but they may never desire God’s presence.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude.

Fathers, your children need your discipline.

“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him”. (Proverbs 13:24)

 

It is very important that husbands and wives learn to work together when disciplining their children. Here are some guidelines:

 

Be consistent: Children need to understand the differences between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors.  Parents do not usually see a particular behavior as wrong except it gets to the extreme or makes them uncomfortable in inconsistent disciplining. It’s expedient that when parents make rules, they stick to them.

 

Apply appropriate discipline: Corporal and non-corporal punishments should be used wisely to help instead of hurting a child.  Most parents take away privileges: this should be carried out with caution bearing in mind that a child’s basic right is a no go area. Wisely considered rewards are a good way to appropriate discipline. This often works to encourage children to change their behavior.

 

Be in agreement with your wife: Amos 3:3 says that “Can two work together except they agree?” Training a child is a joint effort between spouses. Sometimes children can perceive the discord between mum and dad and use that to their advantage.  A joint opinion attracts greater respect from children and carries more weight with them. Children are less likely to challenge a decision when they know that their parents made it together. Some children usually manipulate the parent that favors them.

 

Make the rules simple: It’s important that children understand why they should or should not do something. Telling a child “Because I said so” is not good enough. The child may do as asked but the purpose for the discipline is not met. It’s important to clearly communicate our ethical, moral and personal values to our children.

 

Manage your anger properly: Fathers are encouraged to control their anger before disciplining their children.  We need to separate our emotions from the disciplinary action and not use it as a means of communicating displeasure.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

The seven emotional needs of children

Children develop a healthy capacity to trust and a healthy self esteem when the yearning of their souls is satisfied. Here are some ways we can satisfy those yearnings.

Protection:  A home where children find it very comfortable to run into the arms of their mom and dad at any moment to find love and protection is one where trust flourishes. Children need a safe and well-protected place to grow up, a place devoid of emotional and physical threat, and a place where warmth and nourishment are provided.  Children feel safe in an environment where the relationship they depend on is stable and predictable. In order for the children to feel safe, parents need to work hard at resolving any differences that they might have peacefully.

Acceptance:  Children crave acceptance. They crave it from their friends, teachers and most especially from their parents. They need to know that they are worthy of your love irrespective of their natural limitations, physical imperfections and poor performance. Absence of acceptance can negatively affect a child’s self image. Our response to our children’s need is the primary source of their self-perception. It is important for parents to recognize and appreciate their children’s unique gifts and interests while avoiding negative comparisons with others.

Recognition: Children who come from homes with high expectation and low affirmation often grow up with a nagging sense of inadequacy. If they cannot win their parents approval, they feel that they are not good enough or deficient. They may eventually become people pleasers or seek to prove themselves through their careers or ministry performance. Parents are encouraged to have phrases like “I’m proud of you” or “Good job”, “I respect you,” in their vocabulary when speaking to their children.

Enforced Limits:  Children feel insecure when there are no rules and limits placed on them. Behavioral problems are avenues that children use to ask for help. A child who feels anxious may act out because he needs someone to bring structure and safety into his life. We need to clearly communicate to our children when enforcing these limits some children fail to meet the expectations placed on them because they don’t know what our limits are.

Affection: Children need affection so badly that they can starve without it.  A study conducted by psychologist Tiffany Field (U.S News & World Report) confirms that “Premature infants who were massaged for 15 minutes three times a day gained weight 47% faster than preemies given standard intensive care nursery treatment: as little touching as possible. The preemies who were massaged weren’t eating more: they just processed food more efficiently. Massaged preemies were more alert and aware of their surroundings when awake, while their sleep was deeper and more restorative. Eight months later, the massaged infants scored better on mental and motor tests”. Hugging, holding and cuddling your children deposit within them memories of comfort and security that are carried throughout their lives.

Time:  Children who don’t feel like they are the centre of their parent’s attention and the main priority in their life often struggle over time with the feelings of abandonment and rejection. Children need quality time with their parents. Good relationships require focused attention Parents need to be available to their kids and spend special time focusing on their interests and concerns.

Support: If our children are to ascend to their callings in life, they will need the freedom to fall- but not too far. They need guidance, protection and encouragement to step out. They need us to hold their hands as we let them go.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

© 2017 Family Life Centre - Home | About Us | Our Store | Contact Us