Daily Devotions

The Power of Family

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“Let deacons be married only once, and let them manage their children and their households well; for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

 

When you grow up in a single-family home, you look longingly at the families with two parents. At least I did. You picture them like the characters in Father Knows Best. (If you are under 55 years old, look it up on YouTube.) I idealized their lives. Only later, when I was a little older, did I come to realize that no one’s home was perfect. Some kids struggled with normal adolescent angst. Others had horrible lives and could only wait until they had the opportunity to run far away, hopefully to somewhere better. Sadly, I know some of them ran into even worse situations.

 

This realization made me realize how blessed I was to have the life I had. While our home had wheels, it was warm and dry. My mother was loving and not abusive. We didn’t have extra money, and the last week of every month consisted of a lot of macaroni, but we never went hungry. Dish soap was also cheaper than shampoo. But probably the best blessing was I never felt unworthy or unacceptable. In many ways, my church gave me the confidence and affirmation that I was capable of living any life as I chose.

 

The Apostle Paul knew the importance of affirming and nurturing family. Families are the way we provide for children and their future. Paul understood the value of the family. We can make or mar our children for a lifetime. It is a Christian imperative for adults who have children to form a family unit and make their child or children one’s first priority, and to raise them in the faith. Doing so will be difficult, at times, but will also bring moments of great joy. Parents will also never raise their children alone, but with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. In baptism, the parents ask the Holy Spirit to join their family and help raise their child.

 

Today, remember your own upbringing. I am willing to bet it wasn’t all “Ozzie and Harriet.” (Again, YouTube it if necessary.) What joys and challenges did you experience? What opportunities or gifts provided blessings in your life? What people did God bring as a support? How have they influenced the way you live out family in your life? Then pray the Spirit will bring you the wisdom and emotional strength to be a blessing to your family. It is never too late to start being a blessing to your family.

Can You Direct Me To...

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“Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you.” (1 Thessalonians 3:11)

 

From early adolescence through college, I would take trips to the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota and into Quetico Provincial Park in Canada. We would carry our necessities in Duluth packs, while balancing our canoes on our shoulders. The portages we crossed, from lake to lake, were narrow dirt paths up to a half-mile long. While others were simple short paths along dried creek beds. The water was so clean and pure you could drink the water right out of the lake or river.

 

Thankfully, I was never in charge of a group. I was a strong canoeist and could carry a Duluth pack on my back and another across my front, while carrying a canoe. In other words, I was a pack mule. I could build a mean campfire, and I was better at cleaning up after meals, than actually cooking. Yet, what I wasn’t good at was directions. To this day, I have trouble determining the difference between North, South, East, and West. I could never figure out what lake we were on at any given time.

 

In the rest of my life, I’ve been blessed with directions from God. Since I was young I knew I wanted to be a minister. That direction was given by God. I was blessed with a wife who I believe God directed me to meet. I spent my teenage years and most of my twenties believing I did not want to have children, then I felt God changing my heart and God blessed us with a daughter I love more than life itself.

 

Today, think about the directions your life has taken. Have you ever been lost, and God needed to find you? Were you ever going in one direction, and God directed you down a different road? Were there decisions you knew were right, because you felt it deep in your soul? Prayerfully think about these key moments. Then, offer a prayer of thanksgiving to the God who continues to “direct our way.” Inviting God to continue to lead the way, will bring continued blessings to your life.

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