Posts tagged ‘Marriage’

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LEADERSHIP AND GROWTH OF GODLY FAMILIES (PART 2)

Words have a power all their own

Words have a power all their own (Photo credit: Lynne Hand)

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LEADERSHIP AND GROWTH OF GODLY FAMILIES (PART 2)

Why Are Families Breaking Down?  Written by Pastor Terry Coomer

Elwood Bible Baptist Church, Elwood, Indiana 46036

 Joshua 24:14-15 “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you this day whom you will serve: whether the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

I am greatly burdened about the family in America. The direction we are going today is total destruction. There are many reasons for this. We live in a day when words like love, commitment, responsibility, compassion, faith, church, righteousness, common sense, God, the Word of God, mean virtually nothing. I believe that much of that is due to the breakdown of the family.

Folks, the Bible strongly emphasize the family. Today, if you try to encourage a family to do as God has commanded, you will hear comments like “that church or pastor is weird, strict, legalistic, or a cult.” Most of these people have no idea what a cult is and are too spiritually ignorant to see the breakdown that is affecting their family.

The weakness of the family today is the lack of knowledge of the Word of God and an unwillingness to obey the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:15 says that Timothy knew the holy scriptures “from a child.” It is important for our children to know the Word of God. It takes parents who are willing to make the commitment to study the Word of God and then to teach it to their children. A child must learn to have a relationship with God through His Word. A family can never be right with God as long as the parents are not having a relationship with God through His Word.

The family is a divine creation. Genesis 1:27-28, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them; and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

The family was created before the church. The family is a unit. Certainly, the family affects the church. The family is a divine institution. Exodus 20:12 “Honor thy father and mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

I want you to notice something very important here, “father and mother” is a unit. It is important to understand that there is fidelity in that unit.

The family is important in the eyes of God, especially a godly family, which is rare today. (See Ephesians 6:22-33.)

How far away have we gotten from a godly family today? How far are we away from what the Word of God says on this issue? Unfortunately, very far. It is like night and day. The church today has done a miserable job. Most pastors are under tremendous pressure today to compromise the Word of God for entertainment. Many do compromise because they are afraid they will lose people. Many Independent Baptist Church bulletins look like an airline flight and departure schedule. The less time we can give to the Bible the more the average Christian likes it. They believe that activities make them spiritual rather than a relationship with God through His Word. Many Pastors seek to find out what works to draw a crowd rather than what is right. You have homes that are running themselves to death thinking they are doing the work of God.

Many churches today have ungodly music to appeal to the flesh so they can get a crowd. They cancel services where the word of God should be preached so they can have a southern gospel sing. These people do not worship God, they worship music and activities. It is nothing more than idolatry. Then they wonder why their kids grow up to live wicked, immoral, ungodly lives and have no desire for spiritual things. Divorce is rampant and we have many people living after the lusts of the flesh right in the church ministry. 2 Timothy 4:3 warns that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” Folks, that time is now! You have people today running from church to church until they can hear it like they want it rather than what God really says. The way to build godly families is to have a good church that preaches the Word of God and stands for it. The parents who attend that church must desire the Word of God and take the time and have the commitment themselves to study the Word so they can teach the Word to their children.

I looked at some statistics for America. The numbers are alarming:

1.   Divorces granted 1970–708,000, 1980–1,170,000 up 65%
2.   Unmarried couples 1970–523,000, 1980–1,346,000 up 157%
3.   Persons living alone 1970–10,851,000, 1980–17,202,000 up 58.5%
4.   Children living with two parents 1970–58,926,000, 1980–48,295,000 down 18%
5.   Children living with one parent 1970–8,230,000, 1980–11,528,000 up 40.1%
6.   Families with both husband and wife working 1970–20,327,000, 1980–24,253,000 up 19.4%

These statistics reveal some serious problems that we are facing in the family, and these numbers were from a few years ago and are much worse now.

THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE HOME IS FATHERS NOT FULFILLING THEIR BIBLICAL ROLE OF LEADERSHIP IN THE HOME. This is the most important reason for unhappy families.

God says, worship is to be led by the father. “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 judgement; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Genesis 18:9).

Most fathers I know could care less. This is a wicked thing. There is more to being a father than just producing children. The lack of leadership by the father today in every area is the most important factor in the breakdown of the American home. I pray the Lord will give us more men like Joshua.

Joshua 24:14-15, “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.”

There has to be a consecration by dad. There is more to a marriage than just living together in a physical relationship.

Lack of godly male leadership brings about the disastrous consequences of rebellion, delinquency, and sexual promiscuity. Divorce is usually caused by a father not taking his Biblical responsibilities and is something God hates, (See Malachi 2:12-17. Matthew 19:5-6.)

The most important cause of divorce in America is the lack of proper, godly leadership by the father and husband. It is also the most frequent cause of children’s feelings of rejection, behavioral problems, and anxieties.  Ephesians 6:1-4. Notice in verse 4, “And ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The word “wrath” means a strong desire to avenge. How does a father provoke a child to wrath? By not bringing him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Nurture means training with structure. Most fathers have no desire for the Word of God and they are raising angry vengeful children because they are not committed to training their children in spiritual principles as God commands. Of course, they cannot train the child if they are ignorant of God’s principles themselves. That is a picture of the American father.

David Blankenhorn in his 1995 book, “Fatherless America,” says “the culture change from a stable, two parent home to the father’s abandonment of his responsibilities of marriage and parenting is America’s most urgent social problem. The father’s absence is the main reason for unhappy homes, many current social problems, and is a national crisis of our time.”

According to the National Fatherhood Institute, 40% of the children in the United States have not seen their father for a year! In the last 15 years “fatherless” children jumped from 10.2 million to 15.6 million. 70% of juveniles in detention centers and reformatories are children of fatherless homes. Statistics indicate that “violent criminals” are overwhelmingly males who grew up without a father’s leadership. This includes 60% of America’s rapists, 72% of adolescent murders, and 70% of long-term prison inmates. One out of every four high school seniors graduate functionally illiterate. It is more than a physical presence. There are many homes where a father is there, but that is all. They want all their needs fulfilled, but do not want to take the spiritual, godly, or normal leadership that God intended. Instead children grow up listening to their parents fight, cuss, yell, scream, spend money on all kinds of entertainment and material possessions trying to be happy.

The father’s failure to take responsibility and leadership in the home has created a valueless, unhappy, fractured home and society. This failure has had a devastating effect on our children and has spawned a multitude of wicked societal problems including delinquency, sexual promiscuity, drug use, and violence.

The family is in trouble in America because men fail to be the leaders God wants them to be. We desperately need to pray for the men of this country to do as God has commanded. The results of the men not obeying God have been disastrous. The great need is for men to repent of their sins, to really come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and then to be obedient to the commands of God from His Word. Men must be the leaders God desires them to be. May God help us to pray for the men of America.

RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES UPDATE

RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES UPDATE

Cover of "Relationships (Libertysavard.Co...

Cover of Relationships (Libertysavard.Com)

 

Today for whatever reason it may be, we all find ourselves in a relationship, just beginning a new relationship are ending a relationship.  Whatever stages your relationship may be traveling through we present you with strategies to help you grow and develop a strong and positive relationship.  We understand that a loving relationship is a cornerstone of a joyful life.  And yet many people suffer unhappiness and yearn for satisfying love.  Maybe you sense some cracks in your relationship and want to heal your bond of love or maybe you are starting a new relationship and you fear repeating old patterns.  Whatever your relationship is like, whether you are in a traditional marriage or another form of committed relationship, whether you love a person of the opposite or the same gender, there are principles at work that determine whether your relationship will increase or undermine your wellbeing.  As you read and study our relationship strategies here at the Vine and Branch World Ministries you are sure to find a wealth of information that can help you develop those strong ties that bind your relationship together.  So we encourage you to read and study all our relationship strategies that are listed here under the heading of RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES.

We are reorganizing this part of our Ministry to make it easy for you to visit it often and study the many RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES that can help you to grow and bind your relationship together.  So whenever you visit here, remember to stroll up to the top of the page and click on RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES for new and updated strategies of a regular basic.  We welcome your comments and we know that they will help all of us to be better stewards over our RELATIONSHIPS.

 

MY RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES (PART 13)

THREE THINGS EVERY MAN WANTS FROM HIS WIFE

 (BY AUTHOR LINDA LEON)

Sometimes keeping a marriage healthy boils down to just a few basic ingredients, I know how we can complicate things in life, but putting some elements into perspective just makes it much easier to keep a marriage healthy, intact, spontaneous and thriving. So here is my perspective:

1.  Give your husband enough sex to make him want you as much as the air he breathes.

2.  Feed him great meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner so that he will not want to go out and eat unless it is with you on a date.

3.  Learn how to listen twice as much as you speak. Men hate a nag. The Bible says it is better for a man to live in the corner of a rooftop than with a nagging wife.

Trust me, to do these few simple things well, will take a lifetime of effort. I believe you will be blessed more than you can imagine.

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

Linda Leon loves to be an inspiration to others. She has spent years in the media as a television host, published author, and shortwave radio producer. She is also a certified nutritionist, happily married with children, and ordained minister. Her husband is an ordained minister also. Feel free to visit the Life Inspired website at www.mvpmedia1.com/lifeinspired

 

MY RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES (PART 7)

MY RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES (PART 7)

IS TRADITIONAL MARRIAGES A THING OF THE PAST?

THE TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE CEREMONY by Davis

Allow me to begin this discussion by giving you the meaning of Traditional Marriages from the Wikipedia the on line Encyclopedia which states: “Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found. Such a union, often formalized via a wedding ceremony, may also be called matrimony.”

People marry for many reasons, including one or more of the following: legal, social, libido, emotional, economic, spiritual, and religious. These might include arranged marriages, family obligations, the legal establishment of a nuclear family unit, the legal protection of children and public declaration of commitment.[1][2] The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved. In some societies these obligations also extend to certain family members of the married persons. Some cultures allow the dissolution of marriage through divorce or annulment.

Marriage is usually recognized by the state, a religious authority, or both. It is often viewed as a contract. Civil marriage is the legal concept of marriage as a governmental institution irrespective of religious affiliation, in accordance with marriage laws of the jurisdiction.

Now listen to how the scriptures describes Marriage and Divorce.  It says concerning the marriage, “Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept un-dishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous.
Hebrews 13:3-5.”

Concerning Divorce it says, “For the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I hate divorce and marital separation and him who covers his garment [his wife] with violence. Therefore keep a watch upon your spirit [that it may be controlled by My Spirit], that you deal not treacherously and faithlessly [with your marriage mate]. Malachi 2:15-17.”

Today the Pew Research stated that we are having a crisis in our marriages issued a report.  It said Marriage is increasingly optional and could be on its way to obsolescence, according to a survey of more than 2,600 Americans that examines changing attitudes about relationships today.  Among the 2,691 adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center last month, 39% say marriage is becoming obsolete, up from 28% who responded to the same question posed in 1978 by Time Magazine, which participated in the survey.

However, my own research finds that marriages has an opportunity to grow and be strengthen in such a way that will increase more people moving towards marriage and those that are in marriages desiring to stay and make their marriages last forever.  What I am saying is that there are certain growing dynamics that can occur only within the dynamic of commitment.  Without commitment, you cannot learn to care for another person more than yourself.  You cannot learn to value the growth of strength and clarity in another soul, even if that threatens the wants of your personality.  When you release the wants of your personality in order to accommodate and encourage another’s growth, you attune yourself to that person’s soul.  Without commitment, you cannot learn to see others as your soul sees them-as beautiful and powerful spirits of Light.

Now as a married person you may say, we have made a commitment, and I would say to you that is good.  Now live up to your commitment and make your marriage last. However, where I want to bring you too in understanding this new dynamic of commitment is the commitment of a spiritual partnership.  This is a partnership between equals for spiritual growth. This is much different from your traditional partnerships of marriage which was designed to assist physical survival, and in which the partners do not necessarily see themselves as equals.  When two people marry, they participate in an energy dynamic in which they merge their lives in order to help each other survive physically.  The traditional marriage is no longer functional according to the Pew Research Center Poll, but I say to you, It can be replaced with a new type of marriage that is designed to assist spiritual growth.

DEVELOPING A SPIRITUAL PARTNERSHIP (A new type of Marriage)

The underlying premise of this new type of marriage is called; a spiritual partnership and it is a sacred commitment between the partners to assist each other’s spiritual growth.  Spiritual partners recognize their equality.  Spiritual partners are able to distinguish personality from soul, and, therefore, they are able to discuss the dynamics between them, their interactions, on a less emotionally-bound ground than husbands and wives.  That ground does not exist within the consciousness of marriage.  It exists only within the consciousness of spiritual partnership because spiritual partners are able to see clearly that there is indeed a deeper reason why they are together, and that that reason has a great deal to do with the evolution of their souls.

When you commit to a spiritual partnership with another human being, you bring the energy of the traditional marriage of spiritual partnership into the physical arena.  You begin to form and to live by the values, perceptions, and actions that reflect equality with your partner and a commitment to his or her spiritual development and your own.  You begin to set aside the wants of your personality in order to accommodate the needs of your partner’s spiritual growth and, in doing that, you grow yourself.  That is how spiritual partnership works.

You begin to see that what is necessary to the health of your partnership is identical with what is necessary to your own spiritual growth, that each of you holds the pieces that the other is missing.  If you are jealous, for example, you will find that jealousy is what brings to the surface in your partner an aspect that needs to be healed, and that aspect is mirrored in yourself.  You begin to value your partner’s contribution to your development.  You experience that his or her perceptions and observations are helpful, and, indeed, central, to your growth, that conversations between you stir deep waters.

You learn the roles of love and commitment and trust in making your partnership work.  You learn that love alone is not enough, that without trust, you are not able to give and to receive the love that both of you have for each other.  You learn that your commitment must be translated into a form that satisfies the needs of both you and your partner.  You learn to value the needs of your partner as much as you value your own, because the partnership that you both want requires two healthy and inwardly secure individuals.

You learn to trust not only each other, but also your ability to grow together.  You learn that you put your partnership most at risk by avoiding that which you are most afraid will destroy it.  It is not easy to express what is inside you especially that which makes you feel vulnerable or painful or angry or upset.  These are the emotions that empower words that can do either damage or can do so much healing.  You learn that sharing your concerns with consideration and the intention to heal and trust in the process is the only appropriate avenue.  As you approach your needs with courage instead of fear, you ignite a sense of trust.  The true human condition in its most perfect form has no secrets.  I do not hide, but exists in clear love.

You learn not to do stupid and careless things to each other.  You learn that wanting what you want is not enough, but that you must both want it deeply and create it in every day, that you must bring it into being and hold it being with your intentions.  As the consciousness of each of you becomes lighter, your partnership becomes richer.

You learn the value of considering the other’s position.  By becoming the other person, by truly walking into the fears of the other and then returning into your own being, you open up the conversation to transcend the personal and become healing at the impersonal.  This allows you to see each other as spiritual playmates as you work through the areas that require healing in each of you.  Even into the toughest moments of your work on feelings of insecurity, you can be light and remind yourself that you are spirits who have taken on the physical experience and have far greater power than you are showing in the moment of weakness.

The things that the individuals have to learn in spiritual union with another individual are the groups, the community’s and the nation’s to learn in spiritual union with other groups, communities and nations.  The choice in each instance is between learning through fear and doubt or through wisdom, between the lower-frequency energy currents of the personality and the higher-frequency energy currents of the soul.  If the anger of one personality toward another creates distance, shatters intimacy and causes defensiveness, the anger of one nation, or religion, or sex toward another produces the same.  If the concern of one personality for another, produces closeness, appreciation and mutual regard, the concern of one nation, or religion, or community for another produces the same.  The dynamic is identical.

You are related to every form of Life upon this planet and beyond.  As your soul evolves, you move into greater awareness of the nature of that relationship, and the responsibilities that you assume.

The bond between spiritual partners exists as real as it does in a traditional marriage, but for significantly different reasons.  Spiritual partners are not together in order to quell each other’s financial fears or because they can produce a house in the suburbs and that entire conceptual framework.  The understanding or consciousness that spiritual partners bring to their commitment is different, and, therefore, their commitment is dynamically different.  The commitment of spiritual partners is to each other’s spiritual growth, recognizing that that is what each of them is doing on Earth, and that everything serves that.

None of the vows that a human being can take can prevent the spiritual path from exploding through and breaking those vows if the spirit must move on.  It is appropriate for spiritual partners to remain together only as long as they grow together.

Spiritual partnership is a much freer and more spiritually accurate dynamic than marriage because spiritual partners come together from a position of spirit and consciousness.  How spiritual partners merge and move their concept of partnership is a matter of free will.  So long as they recognize that they bring the consequences of their choices into their partnership, and know the full extent of their choices, that is what influences the manner and direction that the partnership goes.

Let us understand this final thing; the institution of marriage will not disappear overnight even though a great percentage of Americans say that it is on the decline, this is according to the Pew Research Center just last month.  Marriage will continue to exist, but marriages that succeed will only succeed with the consciousness of spiritual partnership.

Now let me close with this final thought for each one of you who have taken the time to read this entire lesson and the many lessons we teach here daily, “Think Globally, and work locally.  Looking beyond ourselves in the real and on line world, to reach out to others who might be in need, for we all are truly our Brothers Keeper, may the grace of God abide in you now and forever, in Jesus name, Amen.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LEADERSHIP AND GROWTH OF GODLY FAMILIES (PART 5)


JESUS TEACHES US THE CORE PRINCIPALS OF GODLY LEADERSHIP

Today, we are providing you with the second part of Jesus Core Principals of Godly Leadership.  Now meditate on both parts and allow God to fill you with an abundances of knowledge and wisdom that will help you fulfill your role as a godly leader within your family.

3. A third principle of godly leadership requires us to be actively serving those who are to be led, instead of demanding to be served or lording it over them.

Jesus not only taught about servant leadership but he provided us with our ultimate example. As Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 cf. also John 10:11-13). Unlike the leadership of the world where kings rule by lording it over others and great men exercise authority over their subordinates, Christian leadership is built upon the leader being as the one who serves (Matthew 20:25-28; Luke 22:25-27; John 13:12-17).

Contrary to this view of leadership, many parents view their leadership role as being the right to simply bark orders and make demands, which must be obeyed, because, “I am the parent.” Along these lines, men will sometimes try to justify their claims for such behavior by appealing to Ephesians 5. By looking at both the context and Christ‘s headship of the church, it becomes clear that if a self-centered man is appealing to this biblical text to provide him authority to pursue his selfish desires for others to serve him, then he has grossly misunderstood this text. Just as it would be ludicrous for a wife to demand that her husband love her while she has no intention of submitting to him, so also it is equally wrong for a husband to demand submission if he has no intention of placing her well being above his own.

Although some people may not like the biblical message, to try to change this message is to distort the text through an artificial lens. Ephesians 5:22-24 teaches that as the church submits to Christ because he is the head of the church in the same manner wives should also submit to her husband’s because he is the head. Unbelievably, this teaching actually creates a wonderful situation unless the husband creates a problem by ignoring his role as head.

Sometimes husbands have made the lives of their wives and children a living nightmare. Then they have the audacity to attempt to use Ephesians 5 to support their sin! The reality is that such men have failed to understand their responsibility of what it means to be head before God. What did it mean for Christ to be head of the church? Did Christ make selfish demands? Did Christ seek to be served? Did Christ pursue his own interests abandoning the well-being of the church? In all cases, obviously not. Who has served more, Christ as head or the church as one in submission? Who has loved more? Such questions underline the point of the text, which is that the headship of the husband is to love his wife just as Christ has loved the church and died for her. A biblical understanding of headship destroys the fleshly notion that God intended self-centered men to dominate their wives for their own purposes.

Just as Jesus being the head of the church loved and served the church, so also the husband as head of the wife must imitate this same concept of servant leadership as he loves and serves his wife (Ephesians 5:23-33). This context describes Christ’s example of selfless love which led him to serve the church by dying for it. The clear message of the text is that husbands are to love their wives and seek their well being in the same way which Christ has loved the church. There are two equally grave potential problems here. The wife who refuses to submit and the self-centered husband who selfishly barks his own desires. Neither is godly. The husband who fails to love his wife as Christ does the church has no right to demand that she submit to him in the same way which the church does to Christ.

I would suggest that any woman whose character has led her to desire to submit to the headship of Christ for her life should also have no problem in submitting to the headship of a truly Christian husband, who though his love for her is seeking her well being just as Christ has sought the church’s. After all, if she is submitting to Christ, she hears through the inspired text the message that she is to submit to her husband. She also hears that God has placed upon him the grave responsibility to seek her well being (love her).

Why is the husband the head? He does not have this responsibility because he is smarter, more educated, more spiritual, or more deserving than his wife. In fact, she might very well be smarter, more spiritually mature, a better example of Christ, etc. He has this role simply because God has chosen to hold him responsible.

Although through fear or force, parents may succeed in forcing obedient behavior, such parents have failed to understand that truly successful godly leadership occurs when others willingly follow. True leadership is not imposed through force. It is not a title, which is bestowed. True leadership exists when people want to follow another person because they perceive something within the life message of that person to be worth imitating.

So how does a parent gain the ability to lead? Leadership is earned by first being the right type of person. The parent who will gain the ability to successfully lead his household will be the person who first demonstrates by his behavior that he has died to self in order to serve God and the well-being of his family. Where both parents are present, God ultimately will hold the husband responsible for directing the family, this principle of godly leadership through service is within the reach of every Christian who chooses to exercise it.

 

4. A fourth principle of godly leadership requires someone to accept the responsibility, which God has given to that person.

Within the family, God has given parents the responsibility of leadership. If both parents are present this responsibility ultimately falls upon the husband. God did not say, “if it is convenient” or “it would be better if you were the head.” Rather God demands that as head, the husband be responsible for the direction and well being of the family. And just as within the church where the leaders must give an account to God for those whom they are leading (Hebrews 13:17), so too the husband and father is responsible to God for his family. God has also given parents, especially fathers, the responsibility of raising their children in the Lord by teaching them (Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 4:9-10; 6:5-9; 11:18-21).

The fact that the father is ultimately responsible before God does not mean that he must make these decisions alone without first listening to what others might have to say. In fact, it is extremely important for them to pay attention to advice (Pr. 11:14; 13:10; 15:22) so that the final decision will be full of wisdom and good judgment. God has given the wife to the husband as a helper (Gen. 2:18) and therefore she should be consulted before making decisions. Nevertheless, once the decision is made after all has been heard, it is the husband and father who bears the responsibility for that decision.

Sometimes fathers fail to accept the responsibility God has given them toward their wives and children. Many fathers pursue their own selfish interests thus abandoning the role God has given them.

Whenever parents fails to fulfill their role of godly leadership, the responsibility for leading their children will wrongly pass to a child’s peer group, a school or even the television. When an absent parent’s egoistic barked orders are met with resistance and rebellion, out of frustration and impatience a worldly parent might then even further discourage his or her children by cursing them. Instead, every parent needs to accept the leadership roles God has given us. This will require us to possess a heart devoted to God, to show our children how to live and to model serving others through love.

The principle of accepting our God given responsibility is within the grasp of each person. It is a decision. It does require work as well as death to self.

God has provided a number of biblical principles for effective leadership. Any parent who abandons these principles will find their leadership ability in God’s service severely damaged. As parents seeking to serve God, let us focus on being those whom God wants us to be. Let us provide the godly leadership that our families need, and which God has described for us. May our families be shining beacons of godly love, hope, values and all sorts of godly behavior in a world torn apart by the fruits of idolatry? Moreover, when we have finished the course, may we hear “well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in a few things. Enter into your Master’s glory.”

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WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LEADERSHIP AND GROWTH OF GODLY FAMILIES (PART 3)

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LEADERSHIP AND GROWTH OF GODLY FAMILIES (PART 3)

WILL FATHERS STAND UP AND BECOME GODLY LEADERS?                               

Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4 AMP)

Most fathers have no desire for the Word of God and they are raising angry vengeful children because they are not committed to training their children in spiritual principles as God commands. Of course, they cannot train the child if they are ignorant of God’s principles themselves. That is a picture of the American father as I see it today.

We know that sometimes fathers fail to accept the responsibility God has given them toward their wives and children. Many fathers pursue their own selfish interests thus abandoning the role God has given them.

Whenever parents fails to fulfill their role of godly leadership, the responsibility for leading their children will wrongly pass to a child’s peer group, a school or even the television. When an absent parent’s egoistic barked orders are met with resistance and rebellion, out of frustration and impatience a worldly parent might then even further discourage his or her children by cursing them. Instead, every parent needs to accept the leadership roles God has given us. This will require us to possess a heart devoted to God, to show our children how to live and to model serving others through love.

The principle of accepting our God given responsibility is within the grasp of each person. It is a decision. It does require work as well as death to Self.

God has provided a number of biblical principles for effective leadership. Any parent who abandons these principles will find their leadership ability in God’s service severely damaged. As parents seeking to serve God, let’s focus on being those whom God wants us to be. Let’s provide the godly leadership that our families need and which God has described for us. May our families be shining beacons of godly love, hope, values and all sorts of godly behavior in a world torn apart by the fruits of idolatry. And when we have finished the course, may we hear “well done good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in a few things. Enter into your Master’s   glory.”

WHAT IS EFFECTIVE PARTERING, HERE ARE THE FACTS                                                                            

Involved fathers provide practical support in raising children and serve as models for their development. Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.  Committed and responsible fathering during infancy and early childhood contributes emotional security, curiosity, and math and verbal skills.

INCARCERSATION:

The Department of Justice has estimated that over 7.3 million children under age 18 have a parent who is in prison, jail, on probation, or on parole. Given these numbers, it is important to understand how children and their caregivers are affected by the criminal activity of a parent and their subsequent arrest, incarceration, and release.  Additionally, it is important to know which services and assistance might be available to those under criminal justice supervision to help them be better parents and to return successfully to the community.

THE FATHER FACTOR

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America — one out of three — live in biological father-absent homes. Consequently, there is a “father factor” in nearly all of the social issues facing America today.

Father Factor in Poverty

Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. In 2002, 7.8 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 38.4 percent of children in female-householder families.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002, P200-547, Table C8. Washington D.C.: GPO, 2003.

During the year before their babies were born, 43% of unmarried mothers received welfare or food stamps, 21% received some type of housing subsidy, and 9% received another type of government transfer (unemployment insurance etc.). For women who have another child, the proportion who receive welfare or food stamps rises to 54%.

Source: McLanahan, Sara. The Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study: Baseline National Report. Princeton, NJ: Center for Research on Child Well-being, 2003: 13.

A child with a nonresident father is 54 percent more likely to be poorer than his or her father.

Source: Sorenson, Elaine and Chava Zibman. “Getting to Know Poor Fathers Who Do Not Pay Child Support.” Social Service Review 75 (September 2001): 420-434.

When compared by family structure, 45.9% of poor single-parent families reported material hardship compared to 38.6% of poor two parent families. For unpoor families who did not experience material hardship, 23.3% were single-parent families compared to 41.2% of two-parent families.

Source: Beverly, Sondra G., “Material hardship in the United States: Evidence from the Survey of Income and Program Participation.” Social Work Research 25 (September 2001): 143-151.3

Father Factor in Maternal and Infant Health

Infant mortality rates are 1.8 times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers.

Source: Matthews, T.J., Sally C. Curtin, and Marian F. MacDorman. Infant Mortality Statistics from the 1998 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48, No. 12. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2000.

Based on birth and death data for 217,798 children born in Georgia in 1989 and 1990, infants without a father’s name on their birth certificate (17.9 percent of the total) were 2.3 times more likely to die in the first year of life compared to infants with a father’s name on their birth certificate.

Source: Gaudino, Jr., James A., Bill Jenkins, and Foger W. Rochat. “No Fathers’ Names: A Risk Factor for Infant Mortality in the State of Georgia, USA.” Social Science and Medicine 48 (1999): 253-265.

Unmarried mothers are less likely to obtain prenatal care and more likely to have a low birth-weight baby. Researchers find that these negative effects persist even when they take into account factors, such as parental education, that often distinguish single-parent from two-parent families.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Report to Congress on Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing. Hyattsville, MD (Sept. 1995): 12.

Expectant fathers can play a powerful role as advocates of breastfeeding to their wives. Three-fourths of women whose partners attended a breastfeeding promotion class initiated breastfeeding.

Source: Wolfberg, Adam J., et al. “Dads as breastfeeding advocates: results from a randomized controlled trial of an educational intervention.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 191 (September 2004): 708-712.

Fathers’ knowledge about breastfeeding increases the likelihood that a child will be breastfed. Children who fathers knew more had a 1.76 higher chance of being breastfed at the end of the first month and 1.91 higher chance of receiving maternal milk at the end of the third month.

Source: Susin, Lurie R.O. “Does Parental Breastfeeding Knowledge Increase Breastfeeding Rates?” BIRTH 26 (September 1999): 149-155.

Twenty-three percent of unmarried mothers in large U.S. cities reported cigarette use during their pregnancy. Seventy-one percent were on Medicare.

Source: McLanahan, Sara. The Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study: Baseline National Report. Table 7. Princeton, NJ: Center for Research on Child Well-being, 2003: 16.

A study of 2,921 mothers revealed that single mothers were twice as likely as married mothers to experience a bout of depression in the prior year. Single mothers also reported higher levels of stress, fewer contacts with family and friends, less involvement with church or social groups and less overall social support.

Source: Cairney, John and Michael Boyle et al. “Stress, Social Support and Depression in Single and Married Mothers.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 38 (August 2003): 442-449.

In a longitudinal study of more than 10,000 families, researchers found that toddlers living in stepfamilies and single-parent families were more likely to suffer a burn, have a bad fall, or be scarred from an accident compared to kids living with both of their biological parents.

Source: O’Connor, T., L. Davies, J. Dunn, J. Golding, ALSPAC Study Team. “Differential Distribution of Children’s Accidents, Injuries and Illnesses across Family Type.” Pediatrics 106 (November 2000): e68.

A study of 3,400 middle schoolers indicated that not living with both biological parents quadruples the risk of having an affective disorder.

Source: Cuffe, Steven P., Robert E. McKeown, Cheryl L. Addy, and Carol Z. Garrison. “Family Psychosocial Risk Factors in a Longitudinal Epidemiological Study of Adolescents.” Journal of American Academic Child Adolescent Psychiatry 44 (February 2005): 121-129.

Children who live apart from their fathers are more likely to be diagnosed with asthma and experience an asthma-related emergency even after taking into account demographic and socioeconomic conditions. Unmarried, cohabiting parents and unmarried parents living apart are 1.76 and 2.61 times, respectively, more likely to have their child diagnosed with asthma. Marital disruption after birth is associated with a 6-fold increase in the likelihood a children will require an emergency room visit and 5-fold increase of an asthma-related emergency.

Source: Harknett, Kristin. Children’s Elevated Risk of Asthma in Unmarried Families: Underlying Structural and Behavioral Mechanisms. Working Paper #2005-01-FF. Princeton, NJ: Center for Research on Child Well-being, 2005: 19-27.

Father Factor in Incarceration

Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds.

Source: Harper, Cynthia C. and Sara S. McLanahan. “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 14 (September 2004): 369-397.

A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately forty-six percent of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.

Source: James, Doris J. Profile of Jail Inmates, 2002. (NCJ 201932). Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, July 2004.

Father Factor in Crime

A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency.

Source: Bush, Connee, Ronald L. Mullis, and Ann K. Mullis. “Differences in Empathy Between Offender and Non-offender Youth.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 29 (August 2000): 467-478.

Adolescents, particularly boys, in single-parent families were at higher risk of status, property and person delinquencies. Moreover, students attending schools with a high proportion of children of single parents are also at risk.

Source: Anderson, Amy L. “Individual and contextual influences on delinquency: the role of the single-parent family.” Journal of Criminal Justice 30 (November 2002): 575-587.

A study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. Forty-two percent grew up in a single-mother household and sixteen percent lived with neither parent. (Fathers and Daughters)

Source: Snell, Tracy L and Danielle C. Morton. Women in Prison: Survey of Prison Inmates, 1991. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, 1994: 4.

Even after controlling for community context, there is significantly more drug use among children who do not live with their mother and father.

Source: Hoffmann, John P. “The Community Context of Family Structure and Adolescent Drug Use.” Journal of Marriage and Family 64 (May 2002): 314-330.

Youths are more at risk of first substance use without a highly involved father. Each unit increase in father involvement is associated with 1% reduction in substance use. Living in an intact family also decreases the risk of first substance use.

Source: Bronte-Tinkew, Jacinta, Kristin A. Moore, Randolph C. Capps, and Jonathan Zaff. “The influence of father involvement on youth risk behaviors among adolescents: A comparison of native-born and immigrant families.” Article in Press. Social Science Research December 2004.

Of the 228 students studied, those from single-parent families reported higher rates of drinking and smoking as well as higher scores on delinquency and aggression tests when compared to boys from two-parent households.

Source: Griffin, Kenneth W., Gilbert J. Botvin, Lawrence M. Scheier, Tracy Diaz and Nicole L. Miller. “Parenting Practices as Predictors of Substance Use, Delinquency, and Aggression Among Urban Minority Youth: Moderating Effects of Family Structure and Gender.” Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 14 (June 2000): 174-184.

In a study of INTERPOL crime statistics of 39 countries, it was found that single parenthood ratios were strongly correlated with violent crimes. This was not true 18 years ago.

Source: Barber, Nigel. “Single Parenthood As a Predictor of Cross-National Variation in Violent Crime.” Cross-Cultural Research 38 (November 2004): 343-358.

Father Factor in Teen Pregnancy

Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.

Source: Teachman, Jay D. “The Childhood Living Arrangements of Children and the Characteristics of Their Marriages.” Journal of Family Issues 25 (January 2004): 86-111.

Separation or frequent changes increase a woman’s risk of early menarche, sexual activity and pregnancy. Women whose parents separated between birth and six years old experienced twice the risk of early menstruation, more than four times the risk of early sexual intercourse, and two and a half times higher risk of early pregnancy when compared to women in intact families. The longer a woman lived with both parents, the lower her risk of early reproductive development. Women who experienced three or more changes in her family environment exhibited similar risks but were five times more likely to have an early pregnancy.

Source: Quinlan, Robert J. “Father absence, parental care, and female reproductive development.” Evolution and Human Behavior 24 (November 2003): 376-390.

Researchers using a pool from both the U.S. and New Zealand found strong evidence that father absence has an effect on early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy. Teens without fathers were twice as likely to be involved in early sexual activity and seven times more likely to get pregnant as an adolescent.

Source: Ellis, Bruce J., John E. Bates, Kenneth A. Dodge, David M. Ferguson, L. John Horwood, Gregory S. Pettit, and Lianne Woodward. “Does Father Absence Place Daughters at Special Risk for Early Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy.” Child Development 74 (May/June 2003): 801-821.

Father Factor in Child Abuse

Compared to living with both parents, living in a single-parent home doubles the risk that a child will suffer physical, emotional, or educational neglect.

Source: America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being. Table SPECIAL1. Washington, D.C.: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 1997.

The overall rate of child abuse and neglect in single-parent households is 27.3 children per 1,000, whereas the rate of overall maltreatment in two-parent households is 15.5 per 1,000.

Source: America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being. Table SPECIAL1. Washington, D.C.: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 1997.

An analysis of child abuse cases in a nationally representative sample of 42 counties found that children from single-parent families are more likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse than children who live with both biological parents. Compared to their peers living with both parents, children in single parent homes had:

a 77% greater risk of being physically abused

an 87% greater risk of being harmed by physical neglect

a 165% greater risk of experiencing notable physical neglect

a 74% greater risk of suffering from emotional neglect

an 80% greater risk of suffering serious injury as a result of abuse

overall, a 120% greater risk of being endangered by some type of child abuse.

Source: Sedlak, Andrea J. and Diane D. Broadhurst. The Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect: Final Report. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. Washington, D.C., September 1996.

Father Factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.

Source: “Survey Links Teen Drug Use, Relationship With Father.” Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly 6 September 1999: 5.

Even after controlling for community context, there is significantly more drug use among children who do not live with their mother and father.

Source: Hoffmann, John P. “The Community Context of Family Structure and Adolescent Drug Use.” Journal of Marriage and Family 64 (May 2002): 314-330.

In a study of 6,500 children from the ADDHEALTH database, father closeness was negatively correlated with the number of a child’s friends who smoke, drink, and smoke marijuana. Closeness was also correlated with a child’s use of alcohol, cigarettes, and hard drugs and was connected to family structure. Intact families ranked higher on father closeness than single-parent families.

Source: National Fatherhood Initiative. “Family Structure, Father Closeness, & Drug Abuse.” Gaithersburg, MD: National Fatherhood Initiative, 2004: 20-22.

Of the 228 students studied, those from single-parent families reported higher rates of drinking and smoking as well as higher scores on delinquency and aggression tests when compared to boys from two-parent households.

Source: Griffin, Kenneth W., Gilbert J. Botvin, Lawrence M. Scheier, Tracy Diaz and Nicole L. Miller. “Parenting Practices as Predictors of Substance Use, Delinquency, and Aggression Among Urban Minority Youth: Moderating Effects of Family Structure and Gender.” Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 14 (June 2000): 174-184.

Father Factor in Childhood Obesity

The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found that obese children are more likely to live in father-absent homes than are non-obese children.

Source: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth

Study that looked at family lifestyle and parent’s Body Mass Index (BMI) over a nine year period found:

Father’s Body Mass Index (BMI) predicts son’s and daughter’s BMI independent of offspring’s alcohol intake, smoking, physical fitness, and father’s education

Furthermore, BMI in sons and daughters consistently higher when fathers were overweight or obese

Physical fitness of daughters negatively related to their father’s obesity

Obesity of fathers associated with a four-fold increase in the risk of obesity of sons and daughters at age 18

Source: Burke V, Beilin LJ, Dunbar D. “Family lifestyle and parental body mass index as predictors of body mass index in Australian children: a longitudinal study.” Department of Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital, University of Western Australia, and the Western Australian Heart Research Institute; Perth, Australia.

A fathers’ body mass index (a measurement of the relative composition of fat and muscle mass in the human body) is directly related to a child’s activity level. In a study of 259 toddlers, more active children were more likely to have a father with a lower BMI than less active children.

Source: Finn, Kevin, Neil Johannsen, and Bonny Specker. “Factors associated with physical activity in preschool children.” The Journal of Pediatrics 140 (January 2002): 81-85.

A study that looked at dietary intake and physical activity of parents and their daughters over a two year period found:

Daughter’s BMI predicted by father’s diets and father’s enjoyment of physical activity

As father’s BMI rose, so did their daughter’s BMI

Source: Davison KK, Birch LL. “Child and parent characteristics as predictors of change in girls’ body mass index.” Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.

Study that looked at the relationship between parent’s total and percentage body fat and daughter’s total body fat over a two and one-half year period found:

Father’s, not mother’s, total and percentage body fat the best predictor of changes in daughter’s total and percentage body fat.

Source: Figueroa-Colon R, Arani RB, Goran MI, Weinsier RL. “Paternal body fat is a longitudinal predictor of changes in body fat in premenarcheal girls.” Department of Pediatrics, General Clinical Research Center, Medical Statistics Unit, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA.

Two studies that have looked at the determinants of physical activity in obese and non-obese children found:

Obese children less likely to report that their father’s were physically active than were the children of non-obese children. This determinant not found for mothers.

Father’s inactivity strong predictor of children’s inactivity.

Source: Trost SG, Kerr LM, Ward DS, Pate RR. “Physical activity and determinants of physical activity in obese and non-obese children. School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.

Source: Fogelholm M, Nuutinen O, Pasanen M, Myohanen E, Saatela T. “Parent-child relationship of physical activity patterns and obesity.” University of Helsinki, Lahti Research and Training Centre, Finland.

Children who lived with single mothers were significantly more likely to become obese by a 6-year follow-up, as were black children, children with nonworking parents, children with nonprofessional parents, and children whose mothers did not complete high school.

Source: Strauss RS, Knight J. “Influence of the home environment on the development of obesity in children.” Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903, USA.

Father Factor in Education

 

Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. Survey on Child Health. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1993.

Father involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of a student getting mostly A’s. This was true for fathers in biological parent families, for stepfathers, and for fathers heading single-parent families.

Source: Nord, Christine Winquist, and Jerry West. Fathers’ and Mothers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools by Family Type and Resident Status. (NCES 2001-032). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2001.

Students living in father-absent homes are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school; 10 percent of children living with both parents have ever repeated a grade, compared to 20 percent of children in stepfather families and 18 percent in mother-only families.

Source: Nord, Christine Winquist, and Jerry West. Fathers’ and Mothers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools by Family Type and Resident Status. (NCES 2001-032). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2001.

Students in single-parent families or stepfamilies are significantly less likely than students living in intact families to have parents involved in their schools. About half of students living in single-parent families or stepfamilies have parents who are highly involved, while 62 percent of students living with both their parents have parents who are highly involved in their schools.

Source: Nord, Christine Winquist, and Jerry West. Fathers’ and Mothers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools by Family Type and Resident Status. (NCES 2001-032). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2001.

In 2001, 61 percent of 3- to 5-year olds living with two parents were read aloud to everyday by a family member, compared to 48% of children living in single- or no-parent families.

Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2002. Table ED1. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2003.

Kindergarteners who live with single-parents are over-represented in those lagging in health, social and emotional, and cognitive outcomes. Thirty-three percent of children who were behind in all three areas were living with single parents while only 22% were not lagging behind.

Source: Wertheimer, Richard and Tara Croan, et al. Attending Kindergarten and Already Behind: A Statistical Portrait of Vulnerable Young Children. Child Trends Research Brief. Publication #2003-20. Washington, DC: Child Trends, 2003.

In two-parent families, children under the age of 13 spend an average of 1.77 hours engaged in activities with their fathers and 2.35 hours doing so with their mothers on a daily basis in 1997. Children in single parent families spent on .42 hours with their fathers and 1.26 hours with their mothers on daily basis.

Source: Lippman, Laura, et al. Indicators of Child, Family, and Community Connections. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, 2004.

A study of 1330 children from the PSID showed that fathers who are involved on a personal level with their child schooling increases the likelihood of their child’s achievement. When fathers assume a positive role in their child’s education, students feel a positive impact.

Source: McBride, Brent A., Sarah K. Schoppe-Sullivan, and Moon-Ho Ho. “The mediating role of fathers’ school involvement on student achievement.” Applied Developmental Psychology 26 (2005): 201-216.

Half of all children with highly involved fathers in two-parent families reported getting mostly A’s through 12th grade, compared to 35.2% of children of nonresident father families.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics. The Condition of Education. NCES 1999022. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Education, 1999: 76.

The Numbers

According to 2009 U.S. Census Bureau data, over 24 million children live apart from their biological fathers. That is 1 out of every 3 (33%) children in America. Nearly 2 in 3 (64%) African American children live in father-absent homes. One in three (34%) Hispanic children, and 1 in 4 (25%) white children live in father-absent homes.

In 1960, only 11% of children lived in father-absent homes.

The Consequences

Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents to:

Be poor

Use drugs

Experience educational problems

Experience health problems

Experience emotional problems

Experience behavioral problems

Be victims of child abuse

Engage in criminal behavior

 

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LEADERSHIP AND GROWTH OF GODLY FAMILIES (PART 1)

An image of Psalm 23 (King James' Version), fr...

AN IMAGE OF THE 23 PSALM

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LEADERSHIP AND GROWTH OF GODLY FAMILIES (PART 1)

WHY IS THERE AN INTERGITY AND VALUE CRISIS IN OUR LEADERSHIP?

Why is there so much turmoil at the top of our families, our churches, and our government? It appears that we have lost our moral compasses. We no longer live by the values that Jesus taught us. Fathers, who are the head of our families, are failing at an alarming rate. The church leadership is leading God’s people astray. In addition, we have our government leaders that are in total flux, they do not know which way is up or which way is down.  It is almost like the blind leading the blind, and we all are going round and round.  Where will it all ends?

Jesus warned us against doing the right things for the wrong reasons, things such as trying to develop integrity only because it would advance our career or help us to close a deal. Jesus called people who practiced this kind of morality “hypocrites.” Notice that he used this word three times in (Matthew 6:2,5,16 verses). Three times people are cited for violating their integrity by doing something only for the appearance. How excited would you be about doing business with people like this? In today’s marketplace, it appears that some of our leaders believe, that when no one is looking, they can do anything they choose to do, and get away with it.  What they failed to understand, is that God sees all, and know all things. Our God is a God who sits high and looks low. Anything that a person may do in the dark will come into the light eventually.

Therefore, the essence of hypocrisy (lack of integrity) is public-dependent behavior.  It is acting one-way while people are watching and another when alone. Typically this is not the kind of person most parents would want their daughter to marry; nor is this the kind of leader who inspires dedicated followers.

Jesus key to integrity is that his followers will live their lives by the standard of their unchanging, present heavenly father. Resist the temptation to dance to every vendor’s tune; instead, march to the steady beat set by our Almighty God.

Integrity involves living by one standard and for the approval of one judge. People come and go, and their standards are fickle. Trying to please all of them will at best drive you nuts and at worst turn you into a hypocrite. Nevertheless, God is unchanging and always present. Living for Him is foundational to integrity, and it reaps an eternal reward.

In order for today’s leaders to begin to lead in the right direction, they must go back to the core principles of Jesus teaching on integrity, and values. Now allow me the opportunity to define for our leaders, the first step of what their core values should be.  Until they understand, what it means to be equipped with core values, such as trying to steer their ship with no rudders. Vision, mission, strategy and outcomes are difficult, if not impossible, until values are clear. Jesus knew that; and in the process of developing His team off disciples, he forced them to confront this foundational issue.

Jesus urged his disciples to focus their values on things that would bear and eternal return. However, how, by making a living on Earth, while responsibly leading an enterprise on earth, while providing jobs, products, service and profit on Earth; do we build treasures in heaven? Whose nod of approval matters most? Who defines what really matters?

Jesus told his disciples that the core value, the driving value, that eternal value is this: “does what I am doing please God?”Every other value is second to that one. When that value is in place all other values line up.

Values are uncompromisable, undebatable truths that drive and direct behavior. Those are motivational, they give us reasons why we do things; and they are restrictive, they placed boundaries around behavior. Leadership literature is paying increased attention to the importance of consistent values to a leader’s effectiveness over the long haul.

King David demonstrated value driven behavior in Psalms 15. Notice that he said the person who enjoys the presence of God and lives a blameless life is the one who “speaks the truth from his heart.” Because this person’s values truth and his heart, his words express truth. Because he values kindness, he does his neighbor no wrong. Because he values honesty, he keeps his oath even when it hurts. Because he values justice, he does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Leaders who are value driven reap a great benefit from the Lord. David said, “They would never be shaken.” Regardless of what may happen around them, they can live with confidence that the right principles have shaped their values and have guided their decisions. That confidence will give them emotional and spiritual stability. It will enable them to be leaders whom God can use for his glory.

As you reflect on the Psalms, considering what values drove the psalmist behavior. As you examine your own life, what values do you see as driving your behavior? What values would you like to have drive your behavior? Make it your goal; to more completely integrate God’s values into your professional and personal life.

MY RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES (PART 2)

A WAY TO SAY I AM SORRY

LEARNING TO RESPECT YOUR PARTNER

No matter how much love there is in your relationship, treating each other with disrespect is inevitably a road to unhappiness. On the other hand, an underpinning of respect allows love to grow and flourish. Respect is an acknowledgment of positive qualities, a well-intentioned wish to allow those qualities their rightful significance in the way we regard each other and behave toward each other.

A necessary basis for respect is the way in which you treat your own self. If you have low self-esteem, true respect for another is difficult to muster, because you are always going to be making an inner comparison between yourself and the other person, possibly with a tinge of envy. You might even find yourself reacting against the positive qualities your partner shows by belittling them in some way – either openly or just in your own mind. A healthy sense of self-worth, however, gives you a clear perspective in which to appreciate your partner’s merits without being affected by any emotional backwash. You simply admire this person, and your admiration becomes an inextricable part of your love.

One common form of behavior that runs counter to respect is the put-down, by which one partner tries to make the other feel smaller. Put-downs are difficult to deal with because they often come unexpectedly in the presence of other people, who then witness an embarrassing skirmish if you should choose to counterattack. Furthermore, they often take the form of a joke, which gives them a defensive shield: if you get angry or upset, you will sometimes hear, “Oh, can’t you even take a joke?” – Thereby, adding a further level of injury against you. It is worth stating unambiguously that put-downs are not an acceptable part of dialogue between people who love each other: indeed, the put-down is not a dialogue at all, and reflects badly on the perpetrator. Such aberrations are best dealt with firmly. You might try saying, in a reasonable tone of voice, “That put-down hurts. Please excuse me now,” then leave from, wherever you are. It is not unreasonable to do this even when friends are there to witness the scene, as the message that this is intolerable will then be driven home.

Nevertheless, in this or other situations, you might choose instead to save your comments until you and your partner are alone together. Be clear, that the boundary of acceptable behavior has been crossed, and that you will not tolerate this again. Teasing, though related, is usually distinguished easily from a put-down, and if you do not enjoy being teased (many people do), you can make your point in a milder fashion.

Developing respect for a partner means focusing on what is good in their character or achievements. It is possible to spend time deploring this or that habit or aspect of personality: nobody is so perfect that he or she is immune from this kind of criticism. True it is much healthier to concentrate on the positive. You might feel that the ideals you attributed to your partner in the first flush of love are starting to peel off. On the other hand, perhaps you find that one of the characteristics, that originally attracted you, has become irritating in some way: to take an extreme case, people who fall for geniuses often find out very soon that the great person is maddeningly self-absorbed. To gain a fresh perspective, ask yourself what are the gifts that your partner’s difference from yourself brings into your life. This question is especially interesting and important when you apply it to the character traits you find most difficult to handle.

THE MOTHER WHO LOVED HER SON AND DELICATED HIM TO GOD

Hannah Pours Out Her Heart to God (1 Samuel 1:1-28 (The Message)

There once was a man who lived in Ramathaim. He was descended from the old Zuph family in the Ephraim hills. His name was Elkanah. (He was connected with the Zuphs from Ephraim through his father Jeroham, his grandfather Elihu, and his great-grandfather Tohu.) He had two wives. The first was Hannah; the second was Peninnah. Peninnah had children; Hannah did not.

Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there. When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children, but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and because God had not given her children. But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.

Her husband Elkanah said, “Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?”

So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably. Then she made a vow:
Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me
By giving me a son,
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.

It so happened that as she continued in prayer before God, Eli was watching her closely. Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk. He approached her and said, “You’re drunk! How long do you plan to keep this up? Sober up, woman!”

Hannah said, “Oh no, sir—please! I’m a woman hard used. I haven’t been drinking. Not a drop of wine or beer. The only thing I’ve been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to God. Don’t for a minute think I’m a bad woman. It’s because I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain that I’ve stayed here so long.”

Eli answered her, “Go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you have asked of him.”

“Think well of me—and pray for me!” she said, and went her way. Then she ate heartily, her face radiant.

Up before dawn, they worshiped God and returned home to Ramah. Elkanah slept with Hannah his wife, and God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.

Dedicating the Child to God

Before the year was out, Hannah had conceived and given birth to a son. She named him Samuel, explaining, “I asked God for him.”

When Elkanah next took his family on their annual trip to Shiloh to worship God, offering sacrifices and keeping his vow, Hannah didn’t go. She told her husband, “After the child is weaned, I’ll bring him myself and present him before God—and that’s where he’ll stay, for good.”

Elkanah said to his wife, “Do what you think is best. Stay home until you have weaned him. Yes! Let God complete what he has begun!”

So she did. She stayed home and nursed her son until she had weaned him. Then she took him up to Shiloh, bringing also the makings of a generous sacrificial meal—a prize bull, flour, and wine. The child was so young to be sent off!

They first butchered the bull, then brought the child to Eli. Hannah said, “Excuse me, sir. Would you believe that I’m the very woman who was standing before you at this very spot, praying to God? I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.”

Then and there, they worshiped God.

RECOGNIZING YOUR REAL SELF AS BLESSED (LESSON THREE)

USING YOUR MANIFEST POWERS TO BLESS OTHER

In this third lesson, we will teach you how to bless others by using your own manifest powers and receive greater blessing for yourself.  You are truly the power and present of God.  Now learn how to use this power for a greater good.  Be guided by these words; “Mercy and truth have met together, Righteousness and peace have kissed.  Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.”  (Psalm 85:10-11) NKJV

Your real blessings will begin after you have blessed yourself, and at this point, you will naturally want to share and extend this good, so begin by blessing your entire house and household.  Now make sure that the source of your supply receives a very special blessing.  Praise and bless him for all his manifest evidence of goodness, but here is the truly clever part – praise him most for any quality of character or success that he at present appears to lack, and lo! You will stir within him that very quality.  The following is a true story, which illustrates this very point; here it was a lack of love and loyalty.

A teacher was lecturing on “Blessing” in the New England states.  A very lovely, charming woman was in the audience one who was very unhappy, for her husband had been neglecting her, leaving her alone night after night.  Listening intently and storing away every word the teacher said, she went home, sat down before the fire, put a chair in front of her and mentally placed her husband in it.  She then blessed and praised him for his goodness his kindness his honesty and integrity his success in life and his loyalty, releasing in him every good quality she knew.  All the afternoon she did this at five she went upstairs and put on her prettiest gown.  At six, her husband came home with a box of gorgeous American Beauty roses, also a large box of candy, and gave them to her.  She thanked him, very graciously, but not a word did she say as to how she had spent her afternoon.  After dinner, her husband said, “Do you know, my dear, I hadn’t meant these gifts for you, but as I was leaving my office something said to me, ‘What a chump you are, wasting your time and life.  Go home to your wife, who really and truly loves you.”  He had a complete awakening.  Wasn’t that wonderful?  What about you?  Have you been missing out on your blessings, by being inconsiderate and not blessings the love of your life?

You see, her recognition and invocation of the “Divine Power” within him, her at-one-ment with the All good everywhere evenly present, called forth that marvelous demonstration.  You can do the same thing with anybody or anything.  So bless each member in your household, your friends, all your contacts for the day, the city you live in—this, you are enlarging your horizon.

Example:  Before going downtown, bless the shops, the clerks, and you’ll meet the blessing coming back to you in many unexpected ways.  Did you ever throw a pebble into a pond and watch how the little ripples spread outward in every direction, all coming back to you as well as going forth?  So it is with blessing.

Bless and praise the house you live in, the bed you sleep in, the chairs you sit on, for there is but one substance, one intelligence, by virtue of which everything that has form is life.

There is no reason why you should not bless the rug you walk on, invoke the Presence of the Divine Power within it,—saying, “For the Goodness of God within you, I bless you, and bless you, and bless you, and whoever steps upon this rug will receive a shock of instant good a healing, perhaps, or a manifestation of some desire by receiving, all of a sudden, the right idea to bring it forth.”

This will indeed make it a “magic carpet.”  Likewise, you can bless all of your furniture in the same way.  Learn to put fun, joy, and romance into everything you do.  You are far too serious, which freezes your life forces.  We have almost lost the art of playing.  As Hans Christian Anderson says, “Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s finger.”  Thus these “secrets” will call forth once again in your life the art of playing.

Now I encourage you to meditate on these words, understand the truth of what they are speaking to you.  Allow the Holy Spirit that lives within you to take control of your thoughts as you move to the higher level of blessings.  Know that in everything you do, you are blessed and you are a blessing to others you meet.  Stay tune for lesson four, which will continue to teach you how to bless and be blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

USING SEX AS A TOOL IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Are you the type of person that is always taking and never giving? Do you seek sex from your spouse for the pure enjoyment of getting your rocks off, and not being mindful of your spouse’s need?
We need to understand that we all have needs, and we must learn to be respectful of our partners. Sex is primarily a spiritual act of oneness symbolized with a physical act. For it to be a blessing in marriage, there needs to be emotional and spiritual wholeness, free of domination, manipulation and control from either spouse.

Emotional wounding or bondage in either person will damage and distort sexual intimacy. To have a healthy sexuality, you need complete trust, mutual respect and appreciation of each other which leads to oneness of body, soul and spirit. This creates a godly sexual soul tie. An ungodly sexual soul tie occurs when sexuality becomes a tool of control. Yes, there can be an ungodly sexual soul tie even in Christian marriage. There can even be sexual abuse in Christian marriage, which is covered up by insisting on the scriptural submission of women to the will of the male.

Know in your heart, that it is a sin to dominate, manipulate or control a spouse in any way, including sexuality. It shows disrespect and treats the person as an object to meet the emotional needs of the other.

Sexuality can be used as a tool of punishment or reward to control the other spouse. When it is used as a way of reassuring yourself of worth or acceptance, it can easily become an addiction that drives you for more. A very simple test of sexuality is to ask yourself this question, “during sex are you lovingly giving yourself to your spouse or taking what you believe to be rightfully yours?” If you are taking then you are on dangerous ground!

In my observation, most sexual problems are emotional and spiritual, not physical. The solution is the healing of our wounds. We need to learn to love unconditionally. When we can detach ourselves from believing that we have total control of our spouses’ body, mind and soul and learn to trust and give them the love and respect they deserve, then we are on our way to learning the greatest lesson of all. “The art of a lover is to make the love last as long as possible.” Capture the spirit of this sentence and you capture the meaning of learning how to love unconditionally. In any relationship, this is the greatest challenge of all. However, it is one that we must learn to embrace, and understand if we are to have a complete loving and romantic life together as one.

Using Sex as a tool to control your spouse will only destroy any love that was developed in the relationship from the beginning.  Sooner are later your spouse is going to get tire of being used and abused and the results is going to end in disaster.  Learn to build respect between you and your spouse, and give without expecting anything in return.  Know that God is love, and He commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  That simply means loving our spouse and their bodies as we would love our self and our own bodies.

 

FINDING HAPPINESS IN YOUR MARRIAGE

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.  A good marriage must be created.  In the art of marriage the little things are the big things…

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say, “I love you,” at least once each day.

It is never going to sleep angry.

It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship shouldn’t end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives; it is standing together facing the world.

It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.

It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have the wings of an angel.  It is not looking for perfection in each other.  It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is finding the room for the things of the spirit.  It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is establishing a relationship in which “the independence is equal, the dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.”

It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best, as expressed in the words Mark Twain used in a tribute to his wife: “Wherever she was, there was Eden.”

YOUR TIME IS WINDING DOWN

Now listen carefully to these words my friends.  “Do not forget this one thing, dear friends:  With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to peerish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:8-9).  Notice the similarity between these verses and the following statement by Moses:  “For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night”  (Psalm 90:4).  In the same psalm, Moses observed, “The length of our days is seventy years–or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).  If one thousand years equaled one day, our seventy years would last for only about one and two thirds hours.

If we equate one thousand years with “a watch in the night” (a three-hour period of time), our seventy-year life span reduces to 12.6 minutes!  On this scale, our entire earthly existence passes as a momentary blur.  By contrast, the Lord inhabits all of eternity: “from everlasting you are God”  (Psalm 90:2).

Peter indicates, however, that the reverse is also true; “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years”  From that perspective, God has only waited two days since the first advent of his Son.  We could just as well say, by extension, that for God an infinitesimal moment is like eternity and eternity like an infinitesimal moment.  God views all things as part of an eternal now, and, in each moment, he has all the “time” he needs to provide for each of us the individual care he has promised.

Do you believe that the Sovereign God has given you enough time to accomplish his purposes for your life?  God’s plan for you has been unfolding since the beginning of earthly time.  He calls you to seek out his plan for your life and act on it.  What steps can you take today to begin the work God has called you to do in your family, personal and professional life?  In Jesus name, Amen.

YOUR EMOTIONS ARE SPEAKING

Emotions,and the ways in which we show them, are complex.  Recent research has found that while almost all human beings, there recognize the facial expressions of the six basic emotions – fear, anger, happiness, disgust, surprise, sadness – are recognized instantly by almost all human beings, there are more than thirty further facial expressions that we might use.  We also display our emotions in our posture the way we sit, or the positions of our arms, legs and head. Sometimes the message signaled by our posture or expression can be at odds with that
suggested by our tone of voice or the actual words we are saying.  This is because we often try to regulate or hide our real emotions.  Is it any wonder, then, that reading each other’s feelings correctly can seem such a complicated undertaking?

Sometimes you may find that your partner reacts to you in a way you find perplexing.  What might seem to you a calm discussion can slide swiftly into tension.  It may be that some aspect of your body language of which you are unaware has started this opposition.  A frown, however
fleeting, might be perceived as a expression of hostility or reluctance; a shrug of the shoulders might be taken to mean that you don’t care.  By understanding better how other people are
likely to interpret your facial expressions and bodily postures, you have a better chance of avoiding misunderstandings in the future.

Avoid the trap of trying to limit your body language because you feel it gives away too many of your secrets -  this is merely a recipe for becoming less expressive.  Use your hands freely, as people often do – the hands are eloquent, with a language of their own.  Try also to encourage the mobility of your face.  Usually, these approaches have more to do with loosening a habitual rigidity than with acquiring an entirely new means of communication.  Body language already lies latent within you – it is a matter not of putting on an unfamiliar act but of shedding
unnecessary inhibitions.  You will find, as you use your hands and face more in support of spoken language, that you are more accurately expressing and more deeply feeling whatever it is you have to convey.

OVERCOMING RELATIONSHIPS FEARS

At some stage in your relationship, fear in one form or another is likely to surface and
undermine your happiness.  Let’s have a look at the most common types of fear that occur in relationships and consider some possible ways in which to overcome them.

By far the most prevalent relationship fear is the fear of being rejected by or losing
your partner.  When it first dawns upon you that you are deeply in love with a person and find them irresistible, it is difficult not to assume that everyone else must feel the same way about them too.  Therefore, you fear that someone “better” will entice them away from you.  Or, when you are about to make a commitment – say, when you are on the verge of deciding to live together – you fear that cementing the relationship in this way will somehow make your partner feel tied down and scare them off.  Or, when your relationship has stood the test of time and you feel happy and settled, you might one day suddenly be afraid that your loved one could fall ill and die.

Take a moment now to reflect on your relationship fears, and write down the five
worst.  Now, taking each of these in turn, ask yourself these questions: what would I do if this happen?  Who would be sympathetic?  How would life be a month later?  A year later?  Through these questions you are facing up to your worst fears; and by making contingency plans in case any of these fears is actually realized, you are taking away much of their power over you.

Another common relationship problem (almost the opposite of fear of loss) is fear of
commitment.  This can arise from a bad experience in a previous relationship, whether as a child with a domineering parent, or as an adult with a previous, overly possessive partner.  It may also stem from low self-esteem you believe that you don’t deserve to be loved.  The way to deal with this type of commitment fear is to probe through your past, try to pinpoint the cause and, again, face the fear. This can take courage, but it is well worth it, because once you can accept whatever happened in your past and move on, you will be free to be truly present in your relationship.  There is a third cause of commitment fear—that, deep down, you think you might have made the wrong choice of partner.  If this is truly the case, you owe it both to yourself and to your partner to be honest, to admit your doubts and to walk away from the relationship.

A further type of fear that requires consideration is the fear of violence (not just physical abuse, but also verbal, as well as threatening behavior and shouting).  If you feel that your partner
has a problem with violence, take a firm stand.  Demand that they take a course in anger management or undergo counseling to learn to control themselves.  If they do not agree to seek help, it might be best to leave the relationship until they do.  Love cannot survive in an
atmosphere of fear.

MY MAXAMIZE PRAYER: Father I thank you for allowing me to be in your presents this morning. I realize that I have fallen short of your glory, and I have done many things that were not always pleasing in your sight. But today father, I seek your forgiveness, and ask you for
strength to overcome the obstacles that are keeping my relationships from blousing into full bloom. Give me the wisdom to understand, the power to overcome, and the peace to enjoy all that is in front of me.  In Jesus name. Amen.

MY RELATIONSHIP STRATEGIES (PART 8)

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove above the H...

THE HOLY SPIRIT SHOWN AS A DOVE

THE KEY TO A UNIFIED RELATIONSHIP

In a unified relationship you are required to walk both in the light and in the truth.  The two are parts of the same concept.  Christ is our light.  He promised that those who follow Him will not walk in darkness (John 8:12).  In His light, we see truth, live the truth, and speak the truth.  The Holy Spirit is the inner light who helps us see what that means for each relationship and circumstance.  Walking in His light and truth is the only possible basis for true unity.  John puts it clearly, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” (1 John 1:7).  Nothing debilitates a deep relationship more than pretense—dishonesty with the light of His Word and counsel.  Too easily we project a “pretend person” to others.  To attempt to pretend that we are other than we are brings stiffness and strain into relationships.  Others are either put off, or, in response, pretend as well. Walking in truth of light shows us who we really are; yes, our weaknesses, but also our security in Christ.  The key to having great relationships is vulnerability, allowing people to know us as growing, though sometimes failing, yet always as Spirit-motivated people.  Unity—true, practical love—happens when we walk in the light and in the truth.

DEVELOPING A SPIRITUAL PARTNERSHIP

 

 

 

Today the Pew Research stated that we are having a crisis inour marriages issued a report.  It said Marriage is increasingly optional and could be on its way to obsolescence, according to a survey of more than 2,600 Americans that examines changing attitudes about relationships today.  Among the 2,691 adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center last month, 39% say marriage is becoming obsolete, up from 28% who responded to the same question posed in 1978 by Time Magazine, which participated in the survey.

However, my own research finds that marriages has an opportunity to grow and be strengthen in such a way that will increase more people moving towards marriage and those that are in marriages desiring to stay and make their marriages last forever.  What I am saying is that there are certain growing dynamics that can occur only within the dynamic of commitment.
Without commitment, you cannot learn to care for another person more than yourself.  You cannot learn to value the growth of strength and clarity in another soul, even if that threatens the wants of your personality.  When you release the wants of your personality in order to accommodate and encourage another’s growth, you attune yourself to that person’s soul.  Without commitment, you cannot learn to see others as your soul sees them-as beautiful and powerful spirits of Light.

Now as a married person you may say, we have made a commitment, and I would say to you that is good.  Now live up to your commitment and make your marriage last. However, where I want to bring you too in understanding this new dynamic of commitment is the commitment of a spiritual partnership.  This is a partnership between equals for spiritual growth. This is much different from your traditional partnerships of marriage which was designed to assist physical survival, and in which the partners do not necessarily see themselves as equals.  When two people marry, they participate in an energy dynamic in which they merge their lives in order to help each other survive physically.  The traditional marriage is no longer functional according to the Pew Research Center Poll, but I say to you,  It can be replaced with a new type of marriage that is designed to assist spiritual growth.

The underlying premise of this new type of marriage is called; a spiritual partnership and it is a sacred commitment between the partners to assist each other’s spiritual growth.  Spiritual partners recognize their equality.  Spiritual partners are able to distinguish personality from soul, and, therefore, they are able to discuss the dynamics between them, their interactions, on a less emotionally-bound ground than husbands and wives.  That ground does not exist within the consciousness of marriage.  It exists only within the consciousness of spiritual partnership because spiritual partners are able to see clearly that there is indeed a deeper reason why they are together, and that that reason has a great deal to do with the evolution of their souls.

When you commit to a spiritual partnership with another human being, you bring the energy of the traditional marriage of spiritual partnership into the physical arena.  You begin to form and to live by the values, perceptions, and actions that reflect equality with your partner and a commitment to his or her spiritual development and your own.  You begin to set aside the
wants of your personality in order to accommodate the needs of your partner’s spiritual growth and, in doing that, you grow yourself.  That is how spiritual partnership works.

You begin to see that what is necessary to the health of your partnership is identical with what is necessary to your own spiritual growth, that each of you holds the pieces that the other is missing.  If you are jealous, for example, you will find that jealousy is what brings to the surface in your partner an aspect that needs to be healed, and that aspect is mirrored in yourself.  You begin to value your partner’s contribution to your development.  You experience that his or her perceptions and observations are helpful, and, indeed, central, to your growth, that conversations between you stir deep waters.

You learn the roles of love and commitment and trust in making your partnership work.  You learn that love alone is not enough, that without trust, you are not able to give and to receive the love that both of you have for each other.  You learn that your commitment must be translated into a form that satisfies the needs of both you and your partner.  You learn to value the needs of your partner as much as you value your own, because the partnership that you both want requires two healthy and inwardly secure individuals.

You learn to trust not only each other, but also your ability to grow together.  You learn that
you put your partnership most at risk by avoiding that which you are most afraid will destroy it.  It is not easy to express what is inside you especially that which makes you feel vulnerable
or painful or angry or upset.  These are the emotions that empower words that can do either damage or can do so much healing.  You learn that sharing your concerns with consideration and the intention to heal and trust in the process is the only appropriate avenue.  As you
approach your needs with courage instead of fear, you ignite a sense of trust.  The true human condition in its most perfect form has no secrets.  I do not hide, but exists in clear love.

You learn not to do stupid and careless things to each other.  You learn that wanting what you
want is not enough, but that you must both want it deeply and create it in every day, that you must bring it into being and hold it being with your intentions.  As the consciousness of each
of you becomes lighter, your partnership becomes richer.

You learn the value of considering the other’s position.  By becoming the other person,
by truly walking into the fears of the other and then returning into your own being, you open up the conversation to transcend the personal and become healing at the impersonal.  This allows you to see each other as spiritual playmates as you work through the areas that require healing in each of you.  Even into the toughest moments of your work on feelings of insecurity, you can be light and remind yourself that you are spirits who have taken on the physical experience
and have far greater power than you are showing in the moment of weakness.

The things that the individuals have to learn in spiritual union with another individual are the groups, the community’s and the nation’s to learn in spiritual union with other groups, communities and nations.  The choice in each instance is between learning through fear and doubt or through wisdom, between the lower-frequency energy currents of the personality and the higher-frequency energy currents of the soul.  If the anger of one personality toward another creates distance, shatters intimacy and causes defensiveness, the anger of one nation, or religion, or sex toward another produces the same.  If the concern of one personality for another, produces closeness, appreciation and mutual regard, the concern of one nation, or religion, or community for another produces the same.  The dynamic is identical.

You are related to every form of Life upon this planet and beyond.  As your soul evolves, you move into greater awareness of the nature of that relationship, and the responsibilities that you assume.

The bond between spiritual partners exists as real as it does in a traditional marriage, but for significantly different reasons.  Spiritual partners are not together in order to quell each other’s financial fears or because they can produce a house in the suburbs and that entire conceptual framework.  The understanding or consciousness that spiritual partners bring to their commitment is different, and, therefore, their commitment is dynamically different.  The commitment of spiritual partners is to each other’s spiritual growth, recognizing that that is what each of them is doing on Earth, and that everything serves that.

None of the vows that a human being can take can prevent the spiritual path from exploding through and breaking those vows if the spirit must move on.  It is appropriate for spiritual partners to remain together only as long as they grow together.

Spiritual partnership is a much freer and more spiritually accurate dynamic than marriage because spiritual partners come together from a position of spirit and consciousness.  How
spiritual partners merge and move their concept of partnership is a matter of free will.  So long as they recognize that they bring the consequences of their choices into their partnership, and
know the full extent of their choices, that is what influences the manner and direction that the partnership goes.

Let us understand this final thing; the institution of marriage will not disappear overnight even though a great percentage of Americans say that it is on the decline, this is according to the Pew Research Center just last month.  Marriage will continue to exist, but marriages that succeed will only succeed with the consciousness of spiritual partnership.

 

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