Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Daily Devo- 6 Characteristics of Strong Families

Think about the last time you remember facing a situation that threatened your life– what were you last thoughts? Were you fearful for your job– bank accounts– status– or dirty dishes in the sink?

Probably not! Aside from our relationship with Jesus the next important thing in our life is family. Our family is our most important responsibility, achievement, and legacy. What we teach our children daily– through our words and actions– is crucial. The quality of family is important to our happiness, emotional well-being, and mental health.

Happy strong families have these 6 characteristics in common.

Commitment

The warm fuzzy feeling and loving environment in a home comes from commitment. It offers a shelter for family members against the destructive feelings of fear, anxiety, and loneliness.

Ephesians 5:25-28 NKJV

The heart of the commitment to a family unit is the dedication to the marriage relationship. God sees the commitment so important that He strongly condemns any violation of that marital relationship. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

Commitment means to be there and never abandon each other– doing whatever it takes to love one another as we should.

Appreciation

Expressing appreciation and affection strengthen relationships and build strong families. God has made it known that He wants to be appreciated. One example in the Bible tells of Jesus hearing the pleas of ten lepers who cried out for healing– and He healed all ten. However, only one of them came to say thank you. Jesus was pleased with the one that came back to give Him thanks and glory– He was displeased by the nine who did not.
(Luke 17:11-19)

Members in strong families express appreciation for even the small things. Showing gratitude– pointing out the good qualities in one another– encouraging each other– and sharing humor and affection.

Communication

Every person needs to know they are part of a whole. No one wants to feel alone. Elijah was becoming in low spirits when he was the only one standing up for God. Feeling alone carries its own mixture of feelings of fear and hopelessness. God assured Elijah that he was not alone.

Healthy communication is key in the process of having the sense of belonging– it helps us to feel connected to one another by exchanging information. Healthy communication also helps us with problem solving and conflict resolution in constructive ways.

Quality Time

Typically our best memories are from simple quality time spent with our family and friends– time that did not require a bunch of money or some form of elaborate plans.

Solomon warns us in Ecclesiastes that the energy, time, and talents that we extend to things that are not of God’s will is a waste of time. Members of strong families spend a lot of time together playing, talking, laughing, having fun, and just hanging out. We need large quantities of good and healthy quality time together for families to flourish.

Our time is in high demand, which is what makes the quality time together such a precious gift.

Coping with Stress and Crises

People who are part of strong families are not exempt from stress or crises– they face the same daily challenges and frustrations as everyone else. The difference is that those in strong families call upon their commitment to one another and their communication abilities to resolve the issue. They manage to find good in the situation regardless if the only good they see is having each other. They rely heavily on their faith in God through times of difficulty.

Spiritual Well-Being

The importance of having a spiritual center in God cannot be stressed enough. Strong families rely upon the power above and beyond themselves– it is the glue that keeps them strong and holds them together. Jesus talks about how important it is to have a foundation in Christ.

Matthew 7:24-15

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

Spiritual foundations give meaning and purpose to our lives– giving us freedom from fear, guilt, anxiety, and low self-esteem– as well as giving us hope, encouragement, and a confident outlook on life.

Spiritual foundations are the basis of all the guidelines we follow for daily living. Honesty, forgiveness, patience, kindness, and helping others. Families that have strong spiritual well-being know that God is there watching, guiding, and helping them every step of the way. They know they can turn to God at any time for help. (James 1:5)

When people believe in these basic truths and abide in God’s Word– they know their life has direction and with God’s help, they can know what is right and wrong. They have found value in putting God’s Word into practice.

James 1:22 tells us that we are called to ‘be doers of the Word, and not only hearers’

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for this message. Open our hearts and minds to hear your Word and your direction. Thank you for giving us the tools to build strong foundations that no storm can destroy. Forgive me for not seeking Your word and direction in my life and for my family from the beginning. Restore the relationships that have been affected by my lack of faith and willingness to stand upon your truth. Help me to grow in the six characteristics for strong families. God, we need your guidance and direction to know how to guide our children in the right direction– passing along Your foundational truths to building strong families. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

Blog, Devotionals, Home

Daily Devo- Conflict Resolution

Conflict is a a normal part of life. No one can escape the pain of broken relationships– it is part of living life in a broken, fallen world. Although pain may not be able to be avoided– becoming bitter over the pain caused can be.

The Bible presents to us the ‘freedom of forgiveness’. It also shows us that Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, gives each believer the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

Before we can reconcile any differences- we must first diagnose the condition of our own heart. Checking ourselves against the eight potentially problematic areas.

8 Areas to Examine in Our Heart

  1. Pride- Do I focus on how much I have been wronged?
  2. Faultfinding- Do I search and rehearse the faults of others?
  3. Avoidance- Do I avoid being around those I have conflict with?
  4. Silence- Do I shut down and refuse to share what I am feeling in a healthy way?
  5. Isolation- Do I withdraw emotionally?
  6. Unfaithfulness- Do I share unnecessary information about my opposer?
  7. Hopelessness- Do I lack faith that God can work in any situation?
  8. Resentment- Do I hold on to my anger until it turns into bitterness?

Hebrews 12:14-15

14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled

The Bible tells us to pursue peace with all people.

How to reconcile

The process of mending relationships and reconciliation of conflict can occur when both parties are willing to listen and communicate without interrupting each other. Both need to show respect and acknowledge there are two sides to every story, two sets of feelings, two hearts that need healing, and two different perceptions of what happened.

6 Do’s of reconciliation

  1. See the situation
  2. Repeat back what you heard
  3. Use words that are encouraging
  4. Be open minded and respectful
  5. Accept you only have the power to change yourself
  6. Be at peace

6 Don’ts of Reconciliation

  1. Don’t forget your opposer is also God’s creation
  2. Don’t hold on to resentment, bitterness, or hatred
  3. Don’t use ‘you’ statements. (You should…You made me…You always..etc)
  4. Don’t get drawn into useless arguing
  5. Don’t expect change immediately
  6. Don’t assume every situation can be reconciled

Apologize and Forgive

The healing of two wounded hearts can’t happen if both parties refuse to ask for forgiveness from the other. We must be careful not to further offend or complicate the situation when we are asking for forgiveness.

5 helpful tips when apologizing

  1. Don’t make excuses
  2. Don’t use the blame game or ‘you’ statements
  3. Accept full responsibility (My attitude was inexcusable)
  4. Accept full blame for your part in the situation (No one can make someone else sin- I acknowledge I sinned against you…)
  5. With a humble heart and attitude explain you have tried to see the situation from their point of view….)

All healing takes time– regardless of the type of wound– physical, mental, or emotional. A wound cannot heal if we don’t leave it alone. Forgiveness works in a similar manner– it can not do its’ job if we don’t give it time. God can use us to help the process by taking these practical steps:

  • Recognize that forgiving someone does not mean they are ‘off the hook’. It means you are no longer carrying the offense and have turned it over to God to handle. It transfers it from your hook to God’s hook.
  • Make the decision that you no longer want to bare the pain from the past.
  • Recognize the unmet needs of the one who hurt you and pray for them.
  • Make a list of each offense you are holding unforgiveness about and release each one to God.

Each person has to accept that there is a chance that the end result could be a negative outcome. Sometimes, the relationship just may not work out between two people. The responsibility cannot fall solely on one of them. Effective and freeing reconciliation comes when both parties handle the process in a Godly manner.

Romans 12:18

18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for your forgiveness and guidance on reconciling our differences. We know that conflict is going to happen and we ask that you help us handle it in a Godly manner. Forgive me for not always seeking Your counsel before handling situations in the past. God I hand each offense I carry today over to you. Lord help expose to me my own heart and show me where I need improvement. Guide me in the process of reconciliation and help me to remember the do’s and don’ts. I pray that you would help me to live peaceably with all men and forgive just as you have forgiven me. It is in Jesus name I pray

Amen

Life, Family, Encouragement

What the Bible says about Conflict

WHAT CAUSES CONFLICT?

Hatred
* Proverbs 10:12- Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sin

Hot Tempered Heart
*Proverbs 15:18- A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention.

Perverse Heart
*Proverbs 16:28- A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends.

Greedy Heart
*Proverbs 28:25- He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.

Angry Heart
*Proverbs 29:22-23- An angry man stirs up strife, And a furious man abounds in transgression. 23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.

WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT CONFLICT?

Resolution by numbers
*Matthew 18:16- But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’

Need for Resolution
*Matthew 5:23-24- Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way.

Resolve Quickly
*Proverbs 5:25-26- Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.