Governing Your Family
“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Genesis 18:19
There are three things very remarkable in this verse.
1. That Abraham used parental authority in governing his family: “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him.” He did not think it enough to pray for them, or to teach them, but he used the authority which God had given him—he commanded them.
2. That he cared for his servants as well as his children. In Genesis 14:14, we learn that Abraham had three hundred and eighteen servants born in his house. He lived after the manner of patriarchal times; as the Arabs of the wilderness do to this day. His family was very large, and yet he did not say, “They are none of mine.” He commanded his children and his household.
3. His success: “they shall keep the way of the LORD.” It is often said that the children of good men turn out ill. Well, here is a good man, and a good man doing his duty by his children—and here is the result. His son Isaac was probably a child of God from his earliest years. There is every mark of it in his life. And what a delightful specimen of a believing, prayerful servant was Eliezer! (Gen. 24.)
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A Father's Duty to His Family
He that is the master of a family, he has, as under that relation, a work to do for God; the right governing of his own family. And his work is twofold. First, Touching the spiritual state of it. Second, Touching the outward state of it.
Author of Pilgrim’s Progress
As touching the spiritual state of his family; he should be very diligent and circumspect, doing his utmost endeavor both to increase faith where it is begun, and to begin it where it is not. For this reason, he should diligently and frequently lay before his household such things of God, out of his word, as are suitable for each particular.
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The Day Daddy Became a Shepherd
One of my most memorable experiences as a shepherd was the day that my sheep followed me for the very first time.
This event, however, didn’t take place overnight. For five years my sheep refused to follow me! They ran from me, they stamped their feet at me, and they were an embarrassment to me. But they followed my seven year old daughter. They knew her voice and they ate out of the palm of her hand. But me? One look at me and they gave a loud bleating sound that sent shivers up my spine, especially when visitors were around.
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John Wesley on Family Religion
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
What will the consequence be, if we do not adopt this resolution? —if family religion be neglected? —if care be not taken of the rising generation? Will not the present revival of religion in a short time die away? Will it not be as the historian speaks of the Roman state in its infancy, res unius aetatis:
“an event that has its beginning and end within the space of one generation”? Will it not be a confirmation of that melancholy remark of Luther’s that “a revival of religion never lasts longer than one generation”? By a generation (as he explains himself), he means thirty years. But, blessed be God, this remark does not hold with regard to the present instance, seeing this revival, from its rise in the year 1729, has already lasted above fifty years.
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Fighting for the Next Generation
But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
Caleb is one of my heroes in the Bible. I want to be like him. The words recorded above are few but packed with meaning. God uttered these words in the midst of an intercessory prayer that Moses made for the children of Israel. They had failed to enter into the Promised Land because of their unbelief. Caleb, however, was different.
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A Father's Resolve
Cotton Mather belonged to a Boston Puritan family. His father was Increase Mather, president of Harvard College and the foremost New England minister of his day. When Cotton entered Harvard at twelve, he could already read Greek, Latin, and Hebrew and had mastered most of the Greek New Testament. But because of a bad stammer he felt unsuited for the ministry and instead studied medicine. However, by 1680 he had overcome the stammer and began a ministry of preaching. Unfortunately, Cotton Mather became very involved in the Salem witch trials of 1692. However, later in his life, he changed many of these views. He wrote over 400 books, many of which had to do with the raising of children and education. Taken from The Puritans: A Sourcebook of Their Writings (edited by Perry Miller and Thomas H. Johnson), the following is quoting Cotton Mather’s writing entitled “Some Special Points Relating to the Raising of My Children.”
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A Motivating Vision for Our Homes
Taken from the book The Pursuit of Godly Seed, by Denny Kenaston
Where there is no vision, the people perish,
but he that keepeth the Law, happy is he.
There was, in the days of Samuel the Prophet, a sad state of affairs in Israel. The ministers of the day had lost their relationship with God, and compromise was creeping in on every hand. God uses a few revealing words, which describe the condition of the nation at that time. “There was no open vision” (I Sam. 3:1). Although we have several chapters of sad commentary to read after this statement, these words say it all, in a nutshell. There was no open vision, and the people were perishing. We seem to be suffering from some of the same in modern America. I can think of no better words to describe the sad state of present day American Christianity.
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How to Pray for Your Children
It is very evident from Scripture that intercessory prayer is a great and necessary part of the Christian life. The first followers of Christ demonstrated their love for each other by their mutual prayers. When St. Paul wrote to churches and individuals, he mentioned to them that they were the constant subject of his prayers.
This was the ancient friendship of Christians. It united and cemented their hearts, not by worldly considerations or human passions, but by the mutual communication of spiritual blessings through prayers and thanksgivings to God for one another.
It was this holy intercession that raised Christians to such a high state of mutual love. They lived in a state that far exceeded all that previously had been praised and admired in human friendship. And when that same spirit of intercession is restored throughout the world—when Christianity has the same power over the hearts of people today that it originally had—this holy friendship will be again in fashion. Christians will again be the wonder of the world because of that exceeding love which they bear to one another.
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