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Nov 03, 2019

Strong Families

Strong Families

Speaker: Tyler Ferguson

Series: Family Matters

Category: Sunday Morning

Develop a strong family by considering these four areas that define and strengthen the family.

What makes up a strong family? Look at these four things:

1) Strong Families are Prioritizing Families. Healthy families share the same top two priorities: God and one another.

  • Healthy families prioritize God. Our priorities matter so much that God will sometimes withhold certain things from us, from our families, until we get our priorities straight. A biblical example of this is found in Haggai 1:9­-11 You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?” declares the Lord of hosts, “Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house. Therefore, because of you, the sky has withheld its dew and the earth has withheld its produce. I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on all the labor of your hands.”

The people of God, returning to the land promised to them, had prioritized their own things over the things of God. God comes to them saying, “I’m not going to let you go forward with misplaced priorities.” Why? Because He knows that the only way forward is if we prioritize God and the things important to Him over everything else.

If we prioritize God in our families, He will bless our families. Everyone tends to say that God is number one, but what are your priorities, really? The things we do demonstrate our priorities more so than the things we say. Parents especially, our kids are watching what we do more than what we say. Setting God as a priority in our families means saying no to other things sometimes and that can be hard.

  • Healthy families also prioritize one another. In John 19, Jesus while on the cross doing nothing less than redeeming humanity from their sins, made certain that His mom was going to be cared for. Jesus prioritized His mother, His own family, even over His own pain and circumstances. Just like prioritizing the Lord, prioritizing our family means showing one another by our actions that they matter more than anyone or anything else.

What does it look like to prioritize family? Be present – physically, mentally, electronically, and verbally. Have fun – show that being together as a family is fun for you. 

Our families are a gift to us. The Lord wants to bring us great joy through it. Let Him.

2) Strong Families are Humble Families. Daniel was one of the young men exiled from Jerusalem.­ Many of God's people had fallen into idolatry and other pretty horrible acts of disobedience, so this was a punishment of sorts from God. By all accounts, Daniel remained steadfast. Once in Babylon, many of the exiles allowed the Babylonian culture to corrupt them, morally and socially. But not Daniel. Certainly, he was not perfect, but he was committed to the things of God, much more so than the vast majority of those around him.

We read Daniel’s words as he went to God on behalf of his people. Daniel 9:4-­6 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land.

That’s just the first part of it . . . For 15 verses, Daniel goes to God in humility, repenting for what HE had done. Even though his part in the problem was miniscule compared to everyone around him, he humbled himself enough to repent – to ask for forgiveness anyway.

When was the last time we apologized to our kids? That’s a sign of humbling ourselves. That’s a sign of taking up our cross.

Our weaknesses are obvious whether we choose to admit that we have them or not. But when we humble ourselves by owning our actions or words, our character overpowers our weaknesses. And no one knows our weaknesses and our failures more than God, and yet no one loves us, believes in us, and is delighted in us more than He is. Humility means having enough confidence in my right standing with God so that I can take 100% responsibility for my part of a problem, even if my part is only 1%.

3) Strong Families are Safe Families. In the book of Joshua, the Lord sets up cities of refuge – places where those who had unintentionally harmed someone and were under severe persecution day and night could run to and find safety - they were designated as a safe place.

Joshua 20:4­-5 He shall flee to one of these cities, and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and state his case in the hearing of the elders of that city; and they shall take him into the city and give him a place, so that he may dwell among them . . . Places where the weary, the run down, the persecuted, despite their mistakes, were taken in and cared for.

Are our homes places of refuge? Bullying in schools is not a new concept - in the past, no matter how bad it got, though, when a kid left school, it stopped. There was always the evenings, the weekends, school breaks, and summers for safety. And if things got really bad, transferring schools was a useful last resort. Today, though, none of that works. The past 10­-15 years have seen a dramatic increase in bully-related depression and even suicide. The bully at school is also the bully online, social media, and text messages no matter where a child is. 

The same is true for adults. The more connected we become - the harder it is to break away from the things that stress us, worry us, and bother us the most. Today, more than ever, our homes must be places of refuge. When our kids come home from school, are they coming to a safe place? Husbands and wives, are our homes places where we can both come after a long day and find rest, joy and peace after spending all day in quite the opposite? Strong families provide refuge for one another from the storms of life.

4) Strong Families are Committed Families. How does your family fit into this "strong family" idea? Are you just barely holding on? Here is a very simple and yet biblically profound piece of advice . . . Don't quit! 
You’ll win with your family if you don’t quit. 

On an Amazon show called "I Shouldn't Be Alive," there is the story of Steve Callahan - a 29-year- old man who wanted to hit "restart" on his life. An avid sailor, he decided to take the trip of a lifetime and sail across the Atlantic. At a point thousands of miles from any land, Steve's boat was struck by a large object in the night and filled with water. He escaped onto a life raft with just the clothes on his back and an emergency supply kit that he risked his life to go back to his sinking boat to get. During the 76 days that he was stuck floating at sea, he says there were countless low points at which he thought "this is the end," but provision was always made. When a large fish punctured the bottom layer of his raft, when he ran out of emergency drinking water, and when he was being circled by a huge great white shark, provision was made. Had he given up at any of those points he would have died. He had to hold out hope that provision would be made. We serve a God who makes provision no matter how good or how bad things might be in our families right now. 

This world needs strong families: Families who prioritize Jesus - Families who love one another - Families who model humility - Families that are safe - Families that never give up. Families can absolutely change this world. Let's take this time to look at our own family and ask the Lord to strengthen us even more.

Consider these four areas, what can you see needs to improve in your own family? 

How do you specifically prioritize your family? Model humility? Make a safe place?

What area does your family need prayer to be stronger?