Simple, Summer Suggestions For The Family

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Summer is here.  It is time for travel ball, bream fishing, swimming, water skiing, Vacation Bible School, summer revivals, homemade ice cream, vacations, broken-down air conditioners, sun burns, snakes, bugs and heat.  Lots of heat.  While opinions about the pleasures and discomforts of summer abound, it is certainly a time when we seem to be busier than anticipated.  What we hoped would be a welcomed change in schedule and activity is often frustrating instead of stress-free; a fact demonstrated by the frequently overheard statement, “I cannot wait until school starts and things get back to normal.”

Frustrations are usually the result of drifting into life’s predictable circumstances with little forethought.  We tend to trust that things will be different; and therefore, we make no preparation to alter the predictable or prevent the inevitable.

Please allow me to share a few very simple suggestions for a better summer.  These thoughts are a not deep and they have nothing to do with saving money for your vacation or cooking the best possible steaks on the 4th of July.  I want to encourage you to determine to get one thing right if you miss all else - turn your heart toward home.

The Happy Christian Home Needs…

1.   Faith that transcends the disturbances of life.

Job said, “…man is born unto trouble…” (Job 5:7).  James said, “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations,” and “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried…” (Jm. 1:2, 12).  Peter said, “…if need be, ye are in heaviness…the trial of your faith being much more precious than gold that perisheth…” (1 Pe. 1:6, 7).  Obviously, trouble is part of life.  It is unavoidable.  If you live long enough, you will experience heartache, grief, pain and disappointment.  Some endure less trouble than others, but all will suffer difficulties that try the faith.  

Our families need to know the quality of faith that sees one through the trials of life, refined as gold (Job 23:10).  Our children need to know God and not just some things that they are told about God.  Only if our kids are routinely pointed to high thoughts of God and a high view of scripture, in the sense that ALL of man’s vanity is seen for what it is, can we expect them to navigate through the moral vicissitudes of this godless culture.  

God and His word must be greater to us all than ourselves, our preachers, our politics or the pleasures that consume us.  At some point, a child will grow to see the inconsistencies that surround them, in spite of our voluminous apologetics.  When they see the flaws in their parents, the blind-spots in their preachers and the innumerable pitfalls of a godless culture, may they know to take refuge in God and His word.

2.  Men that care about the emotional well-being of their families.

“Husbands, love your wives… (Ep. 5:25).  “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies (Ep. 5:28).  “..fathers, provoke not your children to wrath:” (Ep. 6:4).  “Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter against them…provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (Col. 3:19, 21).  “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel…” (1 Pet. 3:7).

If men would strive to live out these simple admonitions from God’s word, it would transform most homes!  Imagine the influence of, a man who actively loved his wife, honored her in special ways, so that her value to him was obvious!  Imagine if he brought up his children in a way that never drove them to anger but encouraged them!

What if the many other simple commands about relating well to others was practiced at home?  Would it help our families if the man of the house was careful to “Rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep,” (Rom. 12:15), or to, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another, (Rom. 12:10), or to, “…be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:” (1 Pet. 3:8).  There are many other like commands.

The need is for fathers to care about the feelings of their family members.  Now, of course we care, but do we take action in such a way that our families know that?  That’s the important thing.  Talk to, listen to and serve your family.  They're worth it.

3.  Women who are not ashamed to love home.

Paul said, “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully” (1 Tim. 5:14).  Clearly, the woman has a responsibility at home that is especially hers.  It cannot be farmed out to the man or the nanny if God’s best is to be enjoyed.  Titus 2:5 says that they are to be “…keepers at home.”  While that would mortify the average feminist, it is scriptural nonetheless.  

It is no secret that for a woman to actually love her home, to have a heart for the affairs of the home is considered a weakness by many today.  Especially of she is essentially identified with home; that is, if home is what she is “about.”  Wisdom; however, tells us in Proverbs 31:28, 29 that the virtuous woman’s “…children will arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.  Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”

When a woman loves her home and labors to make that home a place where the family can thrive in a peaceful, God-honoring atmosphere, greatness seems to flourish, marriages are stronger and kids have better character.  While it is certainly wonderful for any woman to reach her potential in ways that will be fulfilling in a personal sense, nothing is more important, noble or eternally significant than her role at home.

4.  Kids who live for their futures, now.

Proverbs, which was written in order to “give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion” (1:4), is a treasure trove of Divine principles for life.  They are preserved to help the simple become wise.  The benefits of wisdom are myriad, including, length of days, long life, peace, favour, direction, happiness, riches, honour and pleasantness, to name a few (Prov. 3).  These are the things that a young person should desire for himself.  The key; however, is not pursuing these benefits directly, but pursuing knowledge, understanding and wisdom. The benefits of wisdom will follow.

I cannot think of any principle more important for our children to grasp, outside of saving faith and genuine worship, than the idea of living today for a better tomorrow.  Somehow, very few young people manage to grasp this important truth.  Most young people have no idea what their potential might include.  How often do you ask a high school student what he wants “to do,” only to hear, if you can discern it through the one-syllable grunts, “I don’t know.”

If a young person can combine his desire to achieve with his own innate ability, he can build a life for himself that will be both God-honoring and rewarding.  By worshipping God, pursuing greatness by focusing on one’s own special gifts, avoiding the life-altering pitfalls of sin, and continuing to persevere, any young person can build a good life.  Every kid needs to discover his talents, dream big, work hard and never quit.  

Let this summer be a time where God’s people turn their hearts toward home.  Maybe the school year will arrive with well-adjusted families, ready to take on what life will require of them.

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