"Work on your relationship with God, and everything else will fall into place."
We all know that there is strength in numbers. What if we actively pursue Him in numbers. Even if it's just within our family? Do husbands and wives pursue God's calling as a couple? Do parents pursue God's calling for their children? Might sound strange, but let me explain. If we see a gift or talent that our children have that can be used for the kingdom, shouldn't we encourage and help them pursue that as a way to minister to others? Instead we let them experience many things, that they choose they want to do, and we bounce around from activity to activity, outside the family unit, with parents separated trying to support each child. Separation. That's what the enemy loves in a family and uses for his purpose. When a family isn't keeping God focused, then it allows the enemy to creep in and steal peace, faith, joy, contentment, a bond, and many other things. Are we pressing toward the mark of the higher calling or pressing toward our own mark? Are we teaching them to press toward the higher calling or their own satisfaction and achievements? I love seeing youth serving together and ministering together. In our family, we've incorporated our gifts into ministry as a family. Some of us do music, give food, send encouraging cards, plan kid's activities, etc. We all work together at serving. We take our children along and be the example of serving in our gifts. This keeps the family together, pressing toward the higher calling and seeing results of our faithfulness to God. Such a greater reward than personal achievements.
We are finding that as we serve alongside our children, we are teaching them respect for others, team work, putting others first, real life pain and struggles that we can help and pray people through, how to serve as one body, putting aside personal beliefs and/or opinions. When we serve together as a couple, we are finding that we are growing together beyond what we imagined. We are finding that the bond of marriage grows stronger, not allowing room for the enemy to creep in. The areas that we longed to be changed in the other, just naturally does because God is our focus, and HE is changing that within us as our relationship with HIM grows.
Our family isn't perfect! We are still learning, being disciplined, growing, and hopefully taking strides forward of making changes for the good. Some things that we've chosen to make a regular part of our lives are:
~Discussing Scripture (even if it's one verse)
~Pray blessings over the children every night
~Encourage open eyes to see who needs help
~Not forgetting the importance of the elderly
~Using gifts to bless others (even when it's uncomfortable)
~Expressing daily what we are thankful for
I want to encourage you to serve together as a family. Decide what you want your family to represent to those around you, then set out to live that way, bringing your children up with hearts focused on serving and loving in that manner. Here are some ways you can do that, teaching, instructing, and serving alongside your spouse and children:
~Make and send cards to the sick or shut ins
~Prepare and deliver food to someone with a health challenge, new parents, or elderly
~Volunteer to watch a single mom's children
~Visit a nursing home
~Help at a homeless shelter or food bank
~Collect coats for a winter coat drive
~Rake leaves for someone
~Shovel snow for someone
~Be friendly to neighbors
~Smile at everyone you make eye contact with
~Pray together for certain needs and watch them be answered
~Walk your neighborhood as a family and pray for those who live in each home
~Talk over the dinner table of ways you served or encouraged that day.
Maybe you can use some of these ideas in your own family or come up with others that fit your family and where you are at in your journey. As Christ followers we can get so complacent in our every day life that we miss the real battle going on for each soul out there. It's real. No matter how much we go to church, read our Bible, pray before every meal and at bedtime, or sing a hymn or chorus in praise, there is still a battle to take over the souls that are doing that. The fight is real. Take it seriously, brothers and sisters. We wrestle not with flesh and blood but against principalities. It takes numbers to fight for each other. It takes intentional living at following God's plan to have victory over sin and darkness. Won't you join us? Won't you step your faith up a notch and get out of your comfort zone to reach the hurting and broken, or to reach those that HE is calling you to reach? Maybe it's the widow next door. Maybe it's the orphan child that lives with grandparents. Maybe it's a couple from church that needs encouragement. Maybe it's the drunkard within your own family. Maybe it's your children that need to have the continued teaching and example of godly living. It doesn't matter who it is! Be warriors and fight the battle with boldness, with His strength, with relentless love for the Almighty, the Creator of all human kind and with love for all people.
All of the photos were taken at the community event with Your Life Speaks and the Night of Community Worship at Prairie Heights. Our family has been ever so blessed to be a part of both of these events. Reaching out and serving our community in the giftings He's blessed us with to bless Him and others.