Home Improvements, 6 Elements of a Healthy Family

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When we use the word ‘Family’ ; we generally use it in 2 ways.
1. The Parent/Child Relationship.
2. The Husband / Wife Relationship.
You only have to read the latest novels or listen to the latest love songs to realise that many people want to have great relationships and great families.
Now I don’t know all of you here today and for those I don’t know you might be in a difficult relationship situation right now.
Or maybe your working really hard being a single parent and would love the support of a good partner, but life hasn’t worked out that way for you.
Whatever your situation I pray that you can take away some ideas from this sermon that help you to build the best situation you can for yourself and your children.
So let’s take a look at 6 positive elements of healthy relationships and see that the Bible makes it clear that God wants all of us to participate in building Healthy Relationships
We will take the Word “ Family” and use the letters to make the Points in the Form of An Acrostic.
Healthy families make Fun.
That doesn’t mean that Mum needs to be a stand up comic or Dad needs to hide behind the door with a rubber nose on his face and jump out at the kids, every evening.
But it does mean a home should be a place where some fun and laughter is a natural element.
That is also true for the Church .
As Christians, We ought to be modeling Real Fun to the World.
When Many People think about Church, the first word that often comes to their minds is "boring".
That is certainly not God’s Intention
John 10:10 NLT
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Real life, abundant life includes Fun & Laughter
It is Part of God’s Agenda for Us.
He designed Us to have Fun
Proverbs 17:22 NLT
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
Now healthy families make fun.
Fun doesn't just happen.
We have to make it happen.
As parents we need to teach our kids how to have fun.
We need to model fun for them or else they are going to keep looking for that next toy.
Some Ideas:
Slow Down.
Fun is usually the First Thing to go in a Busy Schedule.
Schedule Some Play Time.
If you are married schedule a date into every week if possible.
Place it in your diary or on your calendar.
Schedule in family times as well.
Let the children choose what you are going to do .
Be thinking of Fun Ways of doing Things.
Some of the normal everyday chores around the house like preparing the meals or brushing your teeth; ask is there a fun way of doing this ?
Make it fun if you can.
Do the Unexpected.
If you go out to the same restaurant every week, drive a different way, make it romantic, pull a candle out of your purse and light it right there.
Plan Surprises.
That may sound like a paradox but put It in your calendar, plan it.
Fun doesn't just happen; so make It happen.
Healthy Families give Attention to One Another.
Philippians 2:2–4 NLT
2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
If your children have to grab you by the face and say, "Dad, look at me!"
That’s a pretty fair sign that you are not paying attention.
If we struggle with this Issue of attention generally it is because we are being selfish.
We are placing our needs ahead of others.
Philippians 2:5–6 NLT
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
Jesus modeled for us , “Putting the Interests of Other People first.”
Romans 12:10 NLT
10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Some Ideas
Find Some Time to unwind.
Many of us have stressful roles.
Therefore we really need to find some way of unwinding before we walk in the door and greet our spouse or family.
We need time to refocus.
If You are married to someone who struggles to give Attention, welcome them home and spell “Home” with 2 or 3 "o"s and a Couple of "M"s,
“It's good to have You hooomme."
Some People can tend to send their body in to meet a deadline so they don't get into trouble, but their mind doesn't come in for another ½ an hour.
During that time they are thinking of all kinds of other things.
Make It a rule to allow the people in your life to finish their thoughts, ideas and sentences without cutting them off or giving your opinion.
Good Listening allows others to finish and values their opinion and their world.
"Valuing their world" doesn't necessarily mean you necessarily agree with it but it does mean that you attempt to identify with it.
I have heard parents say, "I don't know what's wrong with my son or daughter.
I realize they just broken up with their boy friend or girl friend but that was just puppy love!"
That may be true, but Puppy Love is still very real to the puppies.
We need to try to understand Their World and Value It.
That's giving Attention.
Healthy Families attempt to capture Memories.
The Bible encourages on at least 160 occasions to “ Remember”
Deuteronomy 4:9 NLT
9 “But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.
We are told to remember the things that God has done.
Why ?
When we remember them It causes us to act in a certain way.
An example for the midern church is when we celebrate communion.
We remember what Jesus did on the cross for us and that sets our hearts in a certain direction which brings back positive memories.
As parents we can’t protect our children from many of the bad memories.
Negative things will happen to them.
That's the nature of life.
But We can help capture the good memories and can keep them in front of our kids.
Some Ideas
Create Several Anniversaries.
Anniversaries of the first goal your child scores in soccer or football.
Celebrate It every year.
Celebrate Report Cards,
Decisions They make
Find Reasons to Celebrate.
Hang up Your Wedding Photos.
Many homes don’t have any obvious record of that great moment.
Get Your vacation photos enlarged.
Studies and surveys suggest that family vacations are the greatest memories that many people have.
If that's true, then let's get them out there and walk by them on a regular basis.
Return to memorable locations.
If You had a great event somewhere ; return to it, celebrate it.
If you had a great dinner somewhere, go back there again.
Overwhelm your children with photos & videos of them growing up
Write Them Letters.
If You have little children, start now because there will be a time during adolescence when every adolescent asks "Why am I here?
Does anybody love me?
Does It make any difference that I'm alive at all?"
Then those letters can document the evidence of why you are thrilled that they are alive.
Healthy Families verbally inspire Each Other through Encouragement.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
“Strengthening” means to build up, to fortify, to make strong.
Some People have a Tough Time with Verbal Encouragement.
They say, "I grew up in an environment where nobody ever encouraged Me.
Therefore I find It very difficult to encourage Others .
Matthew 12:35 NLT
35 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.
People are dying for Encouragement.
Many of us hold on to encouragement as if It is really expensive but it’s not.
It's free but it is valuable.
There are very few folk who would say, "Stop encouraging me! I've had it up to `here' with encouragement. I can't take it any more."
We All need encouragement
Some Ideas:
Catch People doing things right and let them know.
Weigh Your Words carefully.
James says that while the tongue is only a small part of the body, it's like a spark that can start a forest fire.
Words can hurt.
Proverbs 12:18 NLT
18 Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.
What we might say in a relaxed moment can lodge in another’s heart and never be forgotten.
Write it out.
Send letters or cards.
They are like little treasures.
Your Spouse, Children, Parents, Friends and Employees need them.
Not all the time but every once in a while.
Encourage children in front of others.
We often tend to say negative rather than positive things in front of our children like, "Have You met my son Johnny,. He's kind of shy."
We need to encourage & affirm them
Healthy Families love without Condition.
The problem with many children is they perceive their parents' love to be conditional.
"My Parents love me when I do good things or do well in my exams.”
The parents' love is probably unconditional, but the way it's communicated is very conditional or contractual.
Contractual love = “If you fulfil your end of the agreement, I will reward you with love."
Contractual love often leads to our children becoming performers.
Performers then become people pleasers and people pleasers often wind up giving up their identity, their morality, their values in order to please other people.
It's a negative cycle.
Contractual love is not unconditional love.
Look at the history of the people of israel, God was continually let down by their actions and attitudes but the Scriptures tell us his love for them never weakened.
Jesus modeled God’s unconditional love for us.
Romans 5:8 NLT
8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
John 13:34–35 NLT
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Healthy families love without condition.
Some Ideas
Love with words.
Dads, your daughters need to hear, "I love you. I value you. You belong here."
If They grow up without hearing or feeling that, they are likely to go looking for male affirmation and affection elsewhere and that usually doesn’t end well.
Love with actions.
Love is more than just a feeling; it's an action.
We remember more of what people do than what they say.
Healthy Families yield to Each Other & to God.
Yield AS IN Surrender, Relinquish, Submit
God loves our spouse, our family more than we could ever love them because he has an unlimited capacity of love.
All we have to do is yield to Him and say, "Lord we want ‘a God centered marriage’
We want a God centred family.
Not an us centered marriage’
Not a success centred family
Not a reputation centred family
Nor a school centred family
Deuteronomy 6:5–7 NLT
5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
At the table, in the car, when you drop them off at sport, when you pick them up again.
Talk to them about God.
The task of spiritual input is a parents' job .
Some parents fall into what some call ‘a christian laundry service.’
They come to Church and say, "Here's my child. I want You to educate them, baptize them, sanctify them and I'll pick them up when they're 18."
The Reality is, “If we want our children to be godly, It starts at home.
We need model It. “
If we want our children to open up God's Word and see it as a love letter from God, that is vital to their existence, they have to see that it is vital to Ours.
Their spiritual training starts with how we live.
In the Old testament, Joshua called the Leaders of Israel together and said,
Joshua 24:15 (NLT)
Choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
Philippians 4:8 NLT
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
We may love our spouse and children but unless we fix our thoughts on them and think about them our natural tendency will be to drift off into self centredness.
Conclusion :
As you have considered These 6 Elements you may felt a little overwhelmed. "Where do I start?"
Start with the Y -- Yield Your Life to God, and then yield Your family to God and say, "God, I want to have a God-Centered Marriage and a God-Centered Family."
There’s a Story told about a Man who walked onto a Construction Site and he saw a couple of fellows working at opposite ends.
He couldn't tell what they were building but he was really curious. So he went to the 1st guy and said, "What are you building?" The man said, "I'm not building any thing. I'm just laying bricks."
He walked around to the other end of the sight and saw another man laying bricks. He said, "Can you tell me what you are building?"
The man popped up, his eyes full of enthusiasm, and He said, "I'm building a great cathedral!" and he went on to explain how incredible it was going to be.
That is a wonderful image of what we can build into our families, our marriages, our relationships.
We can either adopt the attitude, "Oh I'm just laying bricks.
“ I'm just waking up each morning working to survive and going to sleep."
or We can say, "I'm building something great.
“God has made me a steward of my spouse and my children and I'm really working on something great. I'm doing the possible and I’m trusting Him to do the impossible in helping me to build that Great Cathedral."
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