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Family Restoration

Hi Everyone!

I pray that your weekend has been a blessed one! Mine sure has been, praise God 🙂 This past Sabbath was definitely sweet as the focus was on families!  On Saturday (Sabbath) and Friday night, we went to a local church where the co-founders (Tom & Alane Waters) of an awesome ministry called “Restoration-International” shared beautiful practical ways to bring Christ into our homes and to help the family to grow and heal together in Christ as we desire that our whole families will be saved together in the kingdom of God when Christ comes!  I’ll share more about their ministry at the end of this post  – trust me, you’ll want to check out their awesome free resources :-). 

Now time for the sermon/message notes! The lessons they shared are so practical, and my family and I will be applying what we learned by God’s grace! We hope you will too!  I’ll just be sharing the notes from Friday’s meeting, but if you are interested in the notes from the next day (on marriage and parenting) please let me know and I’ll try my best to share them. 🙂

Friday Night Session: “Family First”

These are notes from the session about how parents (and children too in some ways) can keep the family first – first before profession and worldly success, friends outside of the home, worldly entertainment, etc., – and actually keep what what matters more as a priority.  Parents’ greatest desire and view of success should be that their children come to love & gladly serve God and are saved in His kingdom when Jesus comes to collect His precious jewels :-). Parents, God has lent you precious children to rear for the kingdom of heaven and to be a light in this dark world.  God wants you to teach them of His great love that they may come to love Him too! When Jesus asks you where is the flock He has given you, don’t you want to be able to say “here they are!”?! Don’t you want to hear those precious words “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”?!

To fulfill God’s high calling to parents to raise God fearing and loving children, here are some ideas! These principles can also be applied to any relationship!!

1.  FAMILY TALK TIME {daily}

Take time every day to just talk as a family, and make it a set/scheduled time. Share what has happened in your day! Happy and exciting moments, funny moments, accomplishments of the day (for example at work or in school), testimonies, struggles, prayer requests, etc.  This is so important in such a fast paced world where it seems that families are less and less connected and barely talk to each other! Every one always seems to be so busy doing their own thing.  Many times teens are rebellious and/or don’t want to open up and talk to their parents, because when they were younger, they longed to just have time with their parents – their heroes- but many times they were just “too busy”.  What a shame! Parents too busy for a little special one on one time each day with their children?!

Bind the hearts of your children to yours a little more and more each day. It may seem like such a simple thing, but it is soooo important! Your children will know that you sincerely care about what’s happening in their lives.  Get to know what they love, who their friends are, what their dreams are. Share  what’s happening in your life too. Your hearts will bind closer and closer together – you will actually know what’s going on in your family member’s lives!! Go figure – knowing your family! 😉 It will be easier for them (your children) to come to you and open up about the more serious things that may come up in their lives as they get older, instead of hiding things from you as well. And make sure that you respond to some of the more shocking or serious things they share with compassion and the love of Christ. Don’t push them away! And this special “talk time” doesn’t have to be suuuppperr long! Just come together away from all the hustle and bustle and just talk and enjoy each other for some moments . 🙂 

Not enough time in your “busy” schedule? Take a “time inventory” and re-evaluate your day. Perhaps some of the less important things like TV/movie time, news time, shopping trips, talking with your girlfriend or buddy on the phone for an hour, etc. can be cut out a bit! It’s worth it 🙂  My family and I are going to be trying this!  They recommended 30 minutes before family worship/devotion time in the evening.  That way we are all together when it’s time for family prayer!

2.  FAMILY COUNSEL {as needed}

The Bible says in Isaiah 1:18 that we should come and reason together!  Let it be known in the home, that if there is an issue going on between family members or just a concern in general about how some things are going in the home, that everyone has the right to request (respectfully) a “family counsel” —  a time when the family will come together and try to solve any problems that have occurred or are occurring in the home, and that have not been resolved or properly addressed. 

Whoever calls the counsel should be allowed to share (respectfully) their concern first with no interruptions (unless to clarify something maybe misunderstood of course!).  Everyone should sincerely listen. And yes, the children can request a family counsel too! Now the children may share a concern that in the end shows that they may be viewing things wrongly, but still show them respect and love. Let them know that how they feel does matter to you and they will respect your feedback much more, even if you end up correcting a misconstrued view that they had! For example – the Waters’ shared this example about their children when they were younger.  Their youngest (a boy) was getting frustrated with the idea that he believed he had much more work/chores to do that his two older sisters in the home. So he asked to call a family counsel. I think they said he was pretty young, but can’t remember the age.  (These “counsels” could probably take the place of the scheduled family talk time so that there is definitely time whenever anyone needs to talk!). The parents obliged :). Now they knew that it wasn’t the case at all that he had more work – he was the youngest and had the least duties, but they knew that for everyone, old and young, “our perspective is our reality”, so they gave him time to share and they and the sisters quietly listened as he shared how he felt so “overworked” ;-). After that, the parents had the girls share all that they did in the day for their chores. After they were done, they asked if their son would like to switch places with his sisters who he believed had less work to do. 😉

“NO!” he said. “Do you still believe they have less work than you?” “NO” he said! LOL You see, what he was seeing was that while he was doing the dishes or some other chore, his sisters were always able to go out and play before him. He thought that they had nothing to do while he was stuck inside working!  When in reality they were very efficient with their chores and got them done faster so that they could play more. After that, he started to get his chores done much faster ;-).  Now can you imagine if he expressed that he felt he was being overworked and the parents just said “What are you talking about?! No you don’t!! Just do your chores and stop complaining and comparing yourself to your sister!” or “Just stop being lazy and work faster!”?  He would have felt like he was being treated unfairly and like no one cared – that his opinion in the home didn’t matter. And that could’ve affected his relation to his parents and sisters in so many negative ways over the years to come without anyone even realizing what played a role in their damaged relations. But now he knew that everyone cared enough to really listen and try to find a solution to what he viewed as a “concern”.  So yeah! I definitely think that family counsels are a great idea! They are a time to reconcile and for the family to get through tough times together by God’s grace. 🙂

3.  FAMILY FUN TIME/ RECREATION {dailyFamily on bikes outdoors smiling

The Waters’ family made big sacrifices in their lives so that they could give their children the time, love and Christlike guidance that they needed. They decided to set aside 1 hour every day in the week, to just have fun with their children. Not to send them outside to just have fun by themselves or with the other siblings, but for the parents and children to have fun together! And no,  brushing off the children and telling them you’ll only have extra time to spend with them during the family vacation coming up in 3 months doesn’t suffice! An hour goes fast when your having fun – don’t worry! 😉 They would let the children take turns picking recreational activities and they (the parents) would choose as well. If one of the girls wanted to play house – everyone played house together. If one wanted to go hiking, everyone went hiking! They even mentioned a pretty cool sounding game called “hide the thimble”! Have you heard of that? I hadn’t but it sounds pretty neat so I want to try it now with my family 🙂 LOL.

This is a simple way to bind the hearts of your children to yours — to build that love and trust between all family members. Parents should be so involved in their children’s lives. The way parent’s treat their children, is a representation to the children of God’s love for them. Show them that God loves them so much and wants to spend time with them! That He cares about what they are interested in! Your children will greatly appreciate this, and it will reveal itself through many blessings as your children grow. The siblings will also grow closer together as well. The boys taking the time to do the things the girls like to do, and the girls taking the time to do the things the boys like, will help them to develop a special selfless love and respect for one another, that I’m sure will prove beneficial in their friendships, work relationships and even marriages, Lord willing! :-).

4.  ASSOCIATIONS families together

I really appreciated this counsel!  Many times when families go out to public gatherings, especially on the Sabbath when we go to  church, somehow our families end up broken!  For example, the children want to sit with their friends during the church service, they want to eat with their friends during fellowship lunch, and after church they want to go to their friends’ house!  The day on which God wants us to especially worship Him and bond together as families, becomes a day when the children are separated from their parents to spend time with their friends, and a special blessing is lost.  Parents may also not know so much about their children’s friends and may not be aware of the type of conversations they are having, so this is something to keep in mind as well.  Now is spending time with friends bad? No, not at all — if it is healthy and noble  association that is!  So in cases when the kids, especially when younger, want to spend time with their friends, associate by family! 

Your whole family and the family of your kids’ friends can eat together at fellowship lunch after church and you can spend time all together at one of the family’s homes!  Plan special activities so the children can have wholesome fun and recreation together with all the parents or with them nearby!  That way the family isn’t separated and broken, but everyone gets to fellowship with dear friends as well :-).  The children need to learn to honor, love, serve and respect those in the home 1st! I loved the reference to 1 Timothy 5:4 which says: “…let them learn first to shew piety (devotion, godliness) at home, and to requite (reciprocate love to) their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.”   Let the children not yearn so much to run away from home – let them enjoy the presence of their family along with that of their friends too!

5.  TAKE TIME TO TEACH THEM THE WAYS OF GOD {daily}

This is so important! In Deuteronomy 6 parents can find some precious counsel.  First in verse 5, God tells His people that they should “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”  So #1: there needs to be a LOVE FOR GOD in the parents’ hearts.  Then, God says that the counsel and commands that He gives them, “shall be in thine heart.”  So #2:  parents must know God’s word and keep it in their own hearts. It must be a part of their daily lives!  Then and only then are they able to effectively follow God’s command to “teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:7. 

Parents must love God & His truths and live it.  Then they are to teach them to their children!  And here in this verse we see that they are to be sharing God with their children all throughout the day! How? By the parents’ example of Christianity in everyday life and activities – the way they speak to each other and the children, being faithful to their word, home & work duties, etc., being a kind and selfless servant, etc., they are teaching their children God’s ways.  But their does need to be time for the direct teaching of the word of God!  Parents ought not depend on their church pastor or Sabbath school teachers to teach their children about God! They need to be taught every day by the ones who are representing God to them in the home! This makes the truth they learn more tangible and practical! In the verse it mentions teaching the in the morning (when they rise) and in the evening (when they lie down), and this brings us to having daily morning and evening family worship time! 

My family does this as well!  In the morning and evening, come together as a whole family to pray and study God’s word.  It doesn’t have to be super long! 30 minutes is the amount of time we usually spend in family worship – it is sweet, brief, yet still filling! In the morning, let the priest of the home (father or mother in his absence) welcome God’s presence into the home and ask Him for strength to accomplish what needs to be accomplished in the day, protection and guidance.  Cater this time to the children’s ages and learning capabilities.  Involve them in the worship time! Let them read, and even teach sometimes! Let them pray and share testimonies of how God has blessed them. Let them share what they learned from what message was shared in worship time.  Do interesting and fun activities to help them learn. There are so many ways to make the time truly a blessed and fun time where all come together to learn of God and His beautiful ways. Be excited and enthusiastic to share the love of God with them! In the evening, come together again to pray and study God’s word.  The priest of the home (the father or mother in the father’s absence) should again present the family before God and ask for the forgiveness of the sins of the family committed throughout the day. Pray for protection throughout the night and for any other special requests, as well as all family members being able to apply the lessons learned in worship, practically in their lives by God’s grace (just some ideas!).  Remember – a family that prays (and plays as noted above ;-)) stays together! 😉

More About Restoration International:

I really love this ministry!  I have been blessed by it greatly, especially by some of the free audio and videos linked below!  Over the years different families have worked with this ministry, preaching and teaching together about practical Christianity in the home.

Learn about the mission here!

Learn about the current speakers (parents and their children – it’s so awesome that they all minister together!) here!

Check out free audio resources here! There are messages for couples, youth/children, parenting, and practical Christianity in general!  Topics range from cultivating a Christian character in your children , to educating youth about courtship and marriage!

See videos about past family retreats, marriage & Christian family life here!

Keep up with them by viewing their schedule here!

Well, I hope that you were blessed by these notes and are inspired to bring Jesus, even more practically into your home and family relationships! Even if your children don’t live with you in the home, or if you are an older more independent child, perhaps away at school – you can still apply these principles in different ways to bind your hearts closer to your loved ones and to God together!  And don’t forget not to get weary in well doing if you don’t see great results with your children or family members at first – keep pressing on in the fear of The Lord to bring His presence, love, and godly structure & discipline into the home.  By God’s grace you will reap what you sow in faith!

May God bless you and your families!

Vo 🙂

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