Category Archives: Family

Parents – you are in charge!

Parents today have relinquished control of their families.  The children are making the decisions.  Instead of telling our children what they are to do we ask them.  For example “Jimmy, it is time to clean your room.”  Too often today we hear “Jimmy, would you mind tidying up your room?”   Big difference.  Parents have given up the authority they have.  Following is an article I have recommended many times.  It is secular – but accurate.  I hope this is helpful:

You are responsible for YOU (Lesson 5)

After twelve years of being a pastor I have conducted many sessions of marriage counseling.  There seems to be one consistent theme:  each individual wants me to tell their spouse what they need to fix.  No one ever comes in thinking that they themselves are the problem.  They all “know” that their spouse is the problem.

The Word of God teaches us that we must all give an account before God.  We are going to give an account of ourselves.  We are to judge not because we will stand in judgement before God for our own deeds.  Suffice to say: we are only responsible for our actions.  We can only control our own actions.  We will give an account for our own actions.

We cannot change someone’s actions or thoughts.  We can, however, change our own.  That is the only control we have in any relationship.  We can make sure that we are doing the right thing, that we are responding the right way and that we are handling each situation the way that God wants us to.

Five Essentials for Lasting Relationships – part 3 on Marriage and Family

The following list of ‘Five Essentials for a Lasting Relationship’ are taken from a booklet of that name that I give to every couple that I counsel or am about to marry.  It is written by Pastor Ron Berrus of the Bible Baptist Church of Shiremanstown, PA who is a friend of mine.

Essential #1  Respect – demonstrated to your spouse through Listening.  I Peter 2:17

Essential #2 Honesty – demonstrated to your spouse through Speaking.  Ephesians 4:15

Essential #3 Commitment – demonstrated to your spouse through Serving.  Micah 6:8

Essential #4 Acceptance – demonstrated to your spouse through Embracing.  Romans 15:7

Essential #5 Forgiveness – demonstrated to your spouse through Praying.  Ephesians 4:32

To read a full pdf copy of Pastor Berrus’ book click here:

Marriage and Family part 2 – Questions for Married Couples

Having now completed ten years of the pastorate I have counseled countless couples going through various degrees of marriage difficulties.  Having studied, read and prepared over these years has lead me to compile the following list of questions which I always use.  This is a fluid list – I may add to it at any time.  Perhaps these questions will bring value to any relationship well before one needs to meet with a counselor.

1) If my marriage was good tomorrow, how would I know?

2) What effort am I putting into my marriage to make it stronger?

3) In what ways do I complement my spouse?

4) Is your spouse aware of the needs you have and how to meet them?

5) Everyone knows what they would like to change in their spouse – but what would your spouse like for you to change?

6)What is the most recent positive thing you have done for your spouse?

7) What is the dream you had for your marriage and how does it relate to today?  Was is realistic to begin with?

8) Do you understand God’s view of marriage?  Genesis 2:18-25, Ephesians 5:23-33, Ephesians 5:22-33

A good review of these questions from time to time will help keep your marriage on track.  Taking time to evaluate your marriage and your personal dedication to your spouse will go a long way towards spiritual success in your marriage.


Marriage & Family – Part 1

Beginning with this post I will focus on issues that families and couples deal with.  I will focus on some of the counseling advice and, more importantly, some of the Biblical advice we have as we face these issues.

As an introduction, here are 3 important facts to consider:

1) Satan is real and Satan wants to destroy your family.  The Bible tells us that Satan is “a roaring lion seeking about whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8).  While there are plenty of issues that we deal with in the flesh that may hinder our marriage and our relationship with our children, we dare not forget that we “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).  There is a spiritual and invisible ware going on for your home and for your marriage.

2) God wants your marriage and your home to be strong and healthy and He gives us the tools to make it work.  As much as Satan wants to destroy your marriage -God wants your marriage to succeed.  God uses marriage as a picture of His relationship to Israel in the Old Testament and His relationship to the church in the New Testament.  God tells us that He is our Father and that we are His children.  God uses the home as a clear picture of His relationship with us.  It is no wonder that Satan wants to destroy the home and God wants to strengthen it.  God gives us tools through His Holy Word and through His Holy Spirit (more on this in a later post).

3) Marriage is not a competition and training our children is not optional.  We are not in a competition with our spouse.  Too many couples are trying to ‘one-up’ each other.  They need to get the last word in.  They need the situations where they can say ‘I told you so’. The Bible tells us that we are one.  The Word of God also commands us to ‘train up a child in the way he should go’ (Proverbs 22:6).  Parents today are content to relinquish child rearing to church, school and community.

Our goal in the following posts is to follow God’s plan to having a strong home and a healthy marriage.


We’re losing our Grandparents influence.

I believe our culture is beginning to feel the effects of a society that is having their children later in life.  A hundred years ago (and practically all of recorded history before that) people married young and had children young.  It was unusual for a woman to begin having children after the age of 30.  Today, many couples are deciding to finish their college degrees, perhaps complete their post-graduate work, begin their career and possibly pay off their college debt before considering beginning a family.

The unintended consequence of this is that young people are having much less time to spend with their Grandparents.  If we take a couple that wait to have their first child at 35 years of age, and if their children wait to have their first child at 35 years of age – that would make the grandparents 70 when their first grandchild is born.

A couple very important points:

1. Not everyone consciously waits.  Some may not find their spouse until later; some may not be able to have children until later in life.  However, this has always been the case.

2. I have never personally met anyone that did not have fond memories of time spent with their Grandparents.  Even if their relationship with their parents was strained, they undoubtedly had a close relationship with at least one of their grandparents.  Those years spent learning from Grandma and Grandpa are precious.

3. The Bible speaks often of teaching one’s “children and children’s children”. Grandparents have more experience their parents.  This wealth of information is getting lost in our current cultural trends.

4. My wife and I own a farmhouse that is about a hundred and twenty years old.  It has an addition on the back that was a separate residence at various times in the homes history. It was built on the back of this house in order to provide a “home” to the original owners child, spouse, and grandchildren.  This was often the case.  Not only did grandchildren know their grandparents for a longer length of time but they also usually lived in close proximity.

5. Grandparents understand better that their time on earth is limited and their desire is usually greater to instill something to their future relations.  Grandparents have more time to spend with their grandchildren due to retirement years.  Grandparents can often fill in the gaps that parents have due to their busy schedules.

Time lost with Grandparents cannot be replaced with anything else.  This has to be having a negative effect on our young people today.

Grandpa and grandson reading the Bible