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Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

What amazing creatures are the ants. Sometimes we find them inside our homes. We wonder where they might have come from. The house looks to be so tightly insulated, not even air can get in…but the ants can. And it can be very difficult to get rid of them.

 

I guess I can’t really blame them. They’re always working for the benefit of the colony. I admire them, as they walk single file, sometimes carrying large pieces of a leaf, much bigger than they are. They walk a long distance back to their home, to feed the queen and the rest of the colony.

 

They’re probably some of the most selfless creatures, always giving all they are for the sake and health of the colony.

 

What an example for us to imitate. “Look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Proverbs 6:6 (MSG).

 

We should be selfless, like the ant, and work diligently for the benefit of the entire family.

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A WORD FOR YOUR FAMILY

We have heard it said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” but that is far from the truth.

 

Words do hurt, but words can also heal. Words can tear down, and words can build up. Words can create conflict, but words can also bring peace.

 

King Solomon wrote, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” Proverbs 25:11 (ESV).

 

From week to week, we will share a word for your family. Words that will encourage you, inspire you, and make you think. Common, everyday words, but with a biblical message. They are words we often use without a second thought, and words about which we must think carefully.

 

A word for your family will be presented by us, the Family Ministries Directors of the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

 

Watch for the word every week, write it down, meditate on it, and use the lessons to strengthen your family life!

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It’s a school of hard knocks for those who leave God’s path, a dead-end street for those who hate God’s rules. Proverbs 15:10 (MSG)

 

Dr. Justin Coulson[i], the author of What Your Child Needs From You: Creating a Connected Family, writes that we often try to motivate teens with rewards and punishment—but there are a lot of problems with that approach.  What motivates a teenager is fun stuff such as friends, music, friends, electronic devices and social media, friends, sleeping in, and, yes, friends.  On the other hand, we know what doesn’t motivate a teenager…anything boring such as cleaning up, studying, practicing musical instruments, exercising, etc.

The most often used approach to discipling kids is with carrots or sticks, that is, with rewards or punishment.  For instance, if the kids haven’t done their chores, they don’t get their electronic devices. If they have done their chores, they get pocket money (and devices, etc.). In theory, this could work just fine. But parents struggle every day to put it into practice.

Coulson suggests that rewarding and punishing children based on their actions can send the message that our love is conditional.  Taking ideas from Alfie Kohn’s book Punished by Rewards, Couldson explains some possible other problems with the carrot-and-stick approach:

  1. The promise of a reward is also a promise of a punishment. As he explains, “Implicit in every promise of a privilege is the threat that the privilege or reward can be taken away.
  2. Using rewards and punishments is bad for your relationship. Because children often perceive that rewards mean approval, and approval means love, we may be sending them the message that our love is conditional.
  3. It ignores reasons! When we use this method we fail to recognize the reasons why our child may not be motivated.
  4. Intrinsic motivation is undermined. When children are motivated for the reward, or to avoid the punishment, they’ll put in the smallest amount of effort possible, and as they put in less effort and become even less motivated, the rewards have to increase. (will continue)

 

Father, we need all your wisdom to help disciple our children.

[i] http://family-studies.org/motivating-kids-without-carrots-and-sticks/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=c522b8ed26-Newsletter_100&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-c522b8ed26-104541745

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What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar. Proverbs 19:22 (NKJV)

 

Laura T. Coffey[i], of TODAY Parenting, compiled at five unexpected ways to teach kids to be kind and thoughtful as part of their “Raising Kind Kids” challenge  These are great ideas from parents.

  1. Have your child help with pet care. Helping with pet care can teach children empathy and compassion. Make sure that the pet you chose for them is one that is appropriate for their age and that is safe for them.
  2. Travel with your kids — and unplug while you’re away. As one parents writes, “There’s no road rage when you’re skipping stones or trekking up a hill. There’s no cyber-bullying when you’re at a place with no cell phone reception. And there’s no feeling left out of a situation when the only cliques are herds or elk or bison.” She adds, “Take a trip to a National Park. Your kids will learn about wildlife and conservation efforts…They’ll learn how not to disrupt wild animals in their natural habitat, and how to respect living things.”
  3. Help them understand that everyone has a story. As one parent wrote, “Maybe the mean girl at school is desperate for attention because she doesn’t get any at home. Or, the kid that wears the same outfit almost every day to school does so because he doesn’t have any other clothes that fit…When we remember that everyone comes fully loaded with a back story of their own, we’re more likely to judge less and empathize more.”
  4. Realize they’ll tend to copy your habit of saying “thank you.” Tell every member of the family “thank you” even when they do things that are expected and ordinary.
  5. Lead by example. It’s the most powerful tool you’ve got. When we talk about the annoying neighbor, the boring preacher, the horrible music at church, they will end up imitating us. Likewise, when they hear express appreciation for what others do they will follow our example. Actions also show kindness and are a very tangible way of teaching the lesson of kindness.

 

Father, help me to be kind so I may show and teach kindness.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/5-unexpected-ways-teach-kids-be-kind-thoughtful-t55986

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She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. Proverbs 31:19 (NKJV)

 

  1. Bradford Wilcox[i], compiled four keys that emerged from the couples she contacted where the wife was the primary breadwinner. These keys are consistent with what we know about what makes for happy marriages among today’s families. The first one is to appreciate the difference a dad makes.  The second one is to keep your sex life hot.  She then added maintaining a shared faith as the third one.  Finally:
  2. Focus on teamwork, not me-work. When we get married we stop thinking of work in terms of our own individual professional status, income, or satisfaction and instead approach work from a more teamwork-oriented perspective.  One of the men in Bradford Wilcox’ research told her: “The measure is not competing W-2’s between man and wife, but creating a life, and managing behaviors that produce good kids.”

The question is how you choose to divide work and family time; that is different for each family.  According to the 2010-2011 Survey of Marital Generosity, spouses who “see their relationship in terms of ‘we’ versus ‘me’” are more likely to report they are happily married, and much less likely to report that their marriage is likely to end in separation or divorce.

One important item needs to be emphasized:  praise and affirmation helps.   Many men feel inadequate as financial providers for their family.  It is critically important that you tell your husband those things you appreciate about him, and what a great husband he is, and how much it means to you that he takes the extra time to help the kids with homework.  Those words can help your husband understand that you feel providing doesn’t just mean money.

The reality is that the four keys that came out of Bradford Wilcox’ research are good not just for households where the mom is the breadwinner, this is good advice for all couples, regardless of who brings home the biggest paycheck.

Father God, help us to work together as a team under your guidance and to triumph together as a couple and as a family.

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/06/18/more-than-money-how-to-make-a-marriage-work-when-shes-bringing-home-more-bacon/?postshare=1881434629420032&utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=53b6201f47-Newsletter_87&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-53b6201f47-104541745

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She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. Proverbs 31:17 (NKJV)

 

  1. Bradford Wilcox[i], compiled four keys that emerged from the couples she contacted where the wife was the primary breadwinner. These keys are consistent with what we know about what makes for happy marriages among today’s families. The first one is to appreciate the difference a dad makes.  The second one is to keep your sex life hot.
  2. Maintain a shared faith. Many of the happily married fathers in female breadwinner families Bradford Wilcox contacted credit their shared faith as the glue that holds their marriage together. In general, a shared religious faith is one of the strongest predictors of marital quality.  Research has shown that those couples that report that God is at the center of their marriage, that attend religious services together, and that are involved in the life and mission of their faith community are more likely to say they are very happy in their marriages.   Being engaged in a church gives men a unique sense of purpose as a husband and father as well as a community where a family-centered way of life is honored.  In addition, being part of a faith community also serves as one way to deepen intimacy with their wives; in fact, Bradford Wilcox’ research indicates that couples who share a strong faith are significantly more likely to report high levels of sexual satisfaction.

A shared faith is not only important for our marriage but also for our family and particularly our children.  Take a look at these words:  “Every family is a church, over which the parents preside. The first consideration of the parents should be to work for the salvation of their children. When the father and mother as priest and teacher of the family take their position fully on the side of Christ, a good influence will be exerted in the home. And this sanctified influence will be felt in the church and will be recognized by every believer. Because of the great lack of piety and sanctification in the home, the work of God is greatly hindered. No man can bring into the church an influence that he does not exert in his home life and in his business relations.”[ii]

Father God, help us to have a strong faith, as husband and wife, so we may have a healthy marriage and family relationship.

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/06/18/more-than-money-how-to-make-a-marriage-work-when-shes-bringing-home-more-bacon/?postshare=1881434629420032&utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=53b6201f47-Newsletter_87&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-53b6201f47-104541745

[ii] White, E.G.  Child Guidance, p. 549

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She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. Proverbs 31:14 (NKJV)

  1. Bradford Wilcox[i], compiled four keys that emerged from the couples she contacted where the wife was the primary breadwinner. These keys are consistent with what we know about what makes for happy marriages among today’s families. The first one, which we considered yesterday, is to appreciate the difference a dad makes.
  2. Keep your sex life HOT. According to Bradford Wilcox, one of the best predictors of men’s marital happiness is the quality of their sexual relationship. As a wife, you need to make time for weekly date nights, focusing on cultivating a strong sex life, and otherwise making a joint effort to keep the spark alive.  Obviously, all these are challenging tasks when kids are part of a couple’s life, but they are crucial for any marriage.  Sex is especially important if a man is feeling inadequate because he is not the primary financial provider of the family.

Shaunti Feldhahn, the bestselling author of the book For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men, and a wife who has earned more than her attorney husband in recent years, due to her best-selling books, says that “Many women don’t realize that physical intimacy is primarily an emotional need for a man.” She adds that she has “found that when a wife shows her husband that she desires him, it gives him confidence in the other areas of his life. Men carry around a lot of self-doubt, and sexual affirmation truly makes a difference to a man who is struggling.”

These are very encouraging words:  “Your companionship in the marriage relation should be close and tender, holy and elevated, breathing a spiritual power into your lives, that you may be everything to each other that God’s word requires. When you reach the condition that the Lord desires you to reach, you will find heaven below and God in your life.  Remember, my dear brother and sister, that God is love and that by His grace you can succeed in making each other happy, as in your marriage pledge you promised to do.”[ii]

Father God, help us to maintain a healthy sex life so that our marriage will be strong and Satan’s temptations will never win in our marriage.

[i] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/06/18/more-than-money-how-to-make-a-marriage-work-when-shes-bringing-home-more-bacon/?postshare=1881434629420032&utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=53b6201f47-Newsletter_87&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-53b6201f47-104541745

[ii] White, E.G.  The Adventist Home, p.112.

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