MAKING EVERYDAY OF THE NEW YEAR COUNT
Lead Bible References:
Psalm 90:12, Ecclesiastes 3:1, Ephesians 5:15-17, Colossians 4:5, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31.
Each New Year comes with fresh opportunity to start afresh either with God or ourselves. It presents us with new opportunities to grow and achieve new heights in all areas of our lives including our daily walk with God. It also affords us the opportunities to reclaim lost grounds and move.
Making everyday count is planning and managing each day so well that (1) no time is wasted, (2) only things that contribute to your overall family, personal and career success and happiness are done.
Practical Ways to make each day Count
1. Start each day with God.
Guitars are not tuned at the end of concert but before. If you want the best ‘performance and outcome’ as in a concert, then your day is better started with God (and even ended with Him). Start each day with a grateful heart to Him. Commit your ways into His hand. Ask for divine guidance, power and protection. Seek to hear from Him through His word.
2. Set achievable goals
Set achieve FAITH GOALS for the year.
Do the same thing for each month and week and
3. Exercise achiever mentality
Start each day with the mind set of achieving or moving closer to achieving these goals. Ask yourself at the end of the day if you have done anything that is contributory to achieving your goals.
4. Plan each day.
How your day starts is often determined by how the previous night ends. During creation (Gen 1:5), the first day was said to be evening, then morning (not morning and evening). The evening prepares the morning. Also, before you close your eyes at night, why not take few moments to think and plan for the next day and make necessary preparations. In your planning, spread your time strategically over the important things as we shall see below.
5. Add knowledge to yourself daily.
Read about things that have to do with your goals. Read also about other things and add value to yourself daily by increasing your wealth of knowledge. Take advantage of the internet and social media. 30 minutes to an hour is not too much to read new stuffs. Note that the bible is your first book of ‘wisdom and knowledge’.
6. Build better relationship
Keep in touch with someone that matters to achieving your goals and fulfilling your destiny. Build better relationship with them daily.
7. Avoid procrastination.
It is called the thief of time. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; a better time is now –Chinese proverb. Take that small steps now. Don’t postpone till a convenient time or when all conditions seemed perfect. Start reading for that exam; start investing little by little; start saving for that project; start the bible reading; start preparing for that task.
8. Find little time each day to enjoy yourself.
Do something that makes you happy. It inspires you and makes you to come alive. This may be in form of a physical exercise, recreation or hobby, reading a novel; watching a programme; playing a game. Just do that thing that makes you happy and relaxed. “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”.
9. Share some happy moments with your spouse if married, family and friends. It may be on the social media or by telephone.
10. Make others happy.
Life is not complete if it is all about you and your happiness alone. Make others smile by showing little kindness and love: bear someone’s burden, give a helping hand to another; pay someone’s bill when you can afford it, say good things to cheer another up. It does feel good and healthy when you noticed that you’ve actually made others happy.
11. Beware of time wasters.
They are many. Looking for things, friends who whiling away time, social media technology.
12. Avoid slothfulness
13. Regular review
Do a review of each day at the end of the day, the week at the end of the week and each month at the end of month. Make necessary corrections or adjustment.
what is that thing that matters to you most? If you had only one more month to live, what would you do? Live each day as if the end is near but also make long term plans like you have a long way to go.
WISDOM FOR BEATING THE RECESSION
1. What is recession?
2. Strategies for Coping effectively with the economic recession
There are 5 parts to it:
1. Managing your present resources well
2. Increasing your income
3. Producing some of the things you eat.
4. Do-it-yourself instead of paying to get things done.
5. Partnering with God
1. Managing your present resources well.
Discuss the following –
* Living below your income
* Budgeting your spending
* Block all sources of wastage of money e.g on electricity, gas, fuel
2. Producing some of the things you eat.
Discuss some things we can easily produce at the back of our house and they can be done.
3. Making more Money.
Discuss ways we can make extra money in this recession
Increasing your income through things like:
a. Backyard farming
i .Poultry ii. Planting vegetables
b. Small scale buying and selling e.g
i. Fruits ii. Plantain iii. Daily needs .
NB : All the above could be added to whatever you are doing presently.
4. Discuss Do-it-yourself instead of paying to get things done.
5. Discuss how we can partner with God
Challenges of 21st Century Christian Husband
Lead Bible References
2 Corinthians 3:1-9; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; Ephesians 5:16; 1 PETER 3:10-12.
The Christian Home exists in the context of the larger society with all its challenges and expectations. The role of individual members of the family – husband, wife, children – derives in part from societal expectations and traditional understanding of the family. That is the reality. The Christian family has to consider the interests and expectations of the larger society within which they live – in their extended family, their compound, their local community and the larger society including even the outside world. All of these affect the role the man of the house, the husband and father, plays in the home.
It is also important to note and consider that the traditional roles of members of the family have continued to evolve over the years, particularly during the last fifty years. Family values and expectations today are different from those that defined societal relations during the 1970s and, of course, for the period much earlier, the 1950s and 1960s. For a Christian husband to successfully navigate the challenges of running his home, he must understand and respond appropriately to the challenges.
In recent years, the traditional role of the husband has faced challenges from various sources and which the husband must respond to. The challenges include:
1. The Changing Role of the Man of the House:
As noted above, traditional roles in the family have continued to evolve over the past fifty years or more. The husband is traditionally perceived as the head of the household; he is the main provider and the main source of authority. To effectively perform these functions, the husband must work hard to get money to meet the needs of his wife and children. He also takes responsibility for the discipline of the children and provides general direction for the household. However, his ability to perform the latter function, i.e. discipline, is influenced by his ability to meet the first, i.e. provide money.
2. Financial Challenges:
The Bible says, “Money answereth all things.” (Eccl. 10:19). Paul further declares: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Tim. 5:8). So, even the scripture enjoins husbands to provide to their household. The family needs money for basic things including feeding in the house, education of the children, clothing, rent or maintenance of their own house (if they have built one), medical bills, social expenses and other family obligations. If his authority is to be respected, he must back it up with financial muscle. The good husband in the traditional society is the one who provides good things for his family including his in-laws, the parents of his wife. But the economic constraints of recent years have continued to put pressure on the ability of the husband to meet this crucial need. This is one of the greatest challenges confronting the 21st century husband. Without money, the husband loses his authority.
3. The Gradual “Death” of the Concept of the Breadwinner:
To the above should be added the gradually emerging pattern of women in the household who earn more than their husbands. The traditional pattern in which the man is viewed as the breadwinner with all the benefits and authority that comes with that role, has gradually given way as more and more women (wives) begin to earn more money and contribute equally or even more than their husbands to the family income. More and more women today are professionals who are making waves and performing excellently in their places of work. Many are captains of industry and own businesses in which they employ men. Many are chief executives of public and private organisations. It is difficult to expect such women to perpetually play second fiddle in the home. With the wife playing an increasingly more important role in sourcing family income, the husband must reappraise his role in the family to recognise the changing structure of economic power relations in the family. The consequence of the wife becoming involved in providing for the family is the impact on her ability to play the traditional roles in the home as this is also greatly affected. The wife, may therefore, not be home to cook and do other household chores the husband used to take for granted.
4. The Challenge of Co-parenting:
With the pressure on traditional family roles especially with the wife no longer staying at home and performing the traditional role of home keeper, the husband must respond to the need for co-parenting. The 21st century husband needs to assume greater responsibility at home particularly in the context of upbringing of the children. Taking care of the children and overseeing their development is no longer the duty of the wife alone but for the husband also.
5. Societal definitions of Gender Relations:
Another challenge facing the 21st century Christian husband is the influence of the modern society’s definitions of gender relations. Talks about gender equality and women power are now pervasive and the Christian home cannot claim full immunity from the discourses. New definitions of gender relations embraced by the larger society in many instances conflict with biblical definitions of role in the home. The Christian husband must always bear this in mind in relating to his wife knowing that, especially if it is an educated family, there are outside influences seeking to redefine traditional roles in the home.
6. Impact of Social Media:
Today, the world is saturated by the social media. The social media is all over and affecting what we see, what we read and the values being communicated on daily basis. The average adult today is affected by Facebook, Twitter, What’s App, and many belong to different groups on these platforms. These modern means of communication come with their own drawbacks especially as values are communicated which conflict with Christian values and teachings on the home and family. The husband must realise that his wife is operating in the larger society and exposed to these influences. Sometimes, family cohesion is threatened by participation in social networks and chat groups. Chat groups share ideas that many times are not biblical or which challenge traditional family values. Wives and children are exposed to these values and are affected by them. The wise 21st century husband must appreciate the need to respond appropriately to this development.
7. Corrupt Sexual Values of the Larger Society:
The open expression of sexual recklessness by the daughters of Jezebel is one of the major challenges confronting the 21st century husband and, indeed, the family itself. The Christian husband, like every other person, is today confronted regularly with sexually explicit dressing that is so commonplace today that they almost seem normal. Too many young and not-so-young women dress to tempt with the exposure of very sensitive parts of their bodies. Worse, many openly solicit illicit relationships with married people. Along with this, the society today is filled with sexual expression all over the place including advertisements which are sexually explicit and encourage immorality. All this constitute great challenges for the 21st century Christian husband.
8. The demonic attack on family values:
We have left this for the last, not because it is the least important but because it is one challenge that every Bible believing husband accept it’s true. The family continues to come under demonic attack and every husband must recognise and respond to this. One such attack is that discussed above on the corrupt sexual values.
Navigating the Challenges of the 21st century
There are pathways for navigating and successfully navigating the challenges discussed above. The summary is presented hereunder:
1. Submit to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ:
If the family is founded properly on the Lord Jesus Christ and all members subscribe to the leadership and authority of Jesus Christ, they are less likely to be negatively affected by the forces identified above.
2. Be the Bible husband:
If the husband fulfils biblical expectations of the husband including loving and selflessly caring for his wife and providing for his family honestly and to the best of his ability, the wife is likely to respond in kind by not wearing her status on her forehead all the time.
3. Have a covenant of purity (Job 31:1):
Make up your mind, like Job, not to be corrupted by the perverse values around you and to live holy.
4. Accept the reality of change and take advantage of them:
Communicate with your children using the tools they are familiar with – Twitter, Facebook, What’s App. Use these media to communicate faith values to your wife and children. For example, share devotional messages on What’s App especially if your children are all grown up and are away from home. Remain in constant communication with them using the tools they are using regularly.
GRACE FOR HARD TIMES IN MARRIAGE
Lead Bible References-
Romans 8:28; Ps 25; Proverbs 24:10; 17:17; Eccl. 7:14;
Hard times are difficult times; times of adversity; harsh times. Hard times are full of serious challenges. Hard times make extra demands on our spiritual, emotional, mental and physical intelligences. In marriage and generally, care must be taken when passing hard times so that we don’t do, say, decide on or plan what could ruin our marriage. We must be determined to and do every acceptable thing to maintain and improve marital happiness and strength. We must avoid things that adversely affect our marriage in any way talk less of its coming under currents of the adversity or being swept away by it.
All the happy and strong marriage you see around you have had their hard times. Those who have not should be prepared as it is part and parcel of life and human experience irrespective of skin complexion, race, learning, financial status or spiritual status. Jesus said to his disciples: I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33. Paul and his missionary colleagues went everywhere they did strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. – Acts 14:22
We may be tempted to think God has forsaken us during hard times but in actual fact he has not and will not if we are his genuine children. This is so because God has promised not to forsake us (Heb 13:5). It may be that we are just being tested and there is grace available for each of us that will see us through. God deepens our desire and appreciation of His grace by having us journey through difficult times. This time is often called a testing or refining period. God says this of Joseph. “He sent a man before them, Joseph, [who] was sold as a slave. Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him. (Psalm 105:17-19).
1. Mention some situations in marriage that can be referred to as hard times.
2. Discuss the significance of grace in marriage when it is considered as-
a. Supernatural enablement with pleasant virtue or qualities in relationship eg mercy, generosity, gentleness, humility, ,
b. Supernatural enablement with pleasant virtue or qualities for handling situations especially hard situations eg calmness, positive toughness or resilience
3. Discuss ways of tapping into the grace of God. Consider and discuss the following-
Establishing peace with God through repentance and accepting Christ
Daily personal consecration.
Reliance in your heart on God in all things.
Regular prayer for grace
4. Discuss practical ways of using grace to relate with one another in our families. Hint: The fruit of the Holy Spirit.
With God’s grace in our lives, we can be victorious over our hard times to
avoid all the evil effects that hard times may have on unity peace, finances, general and sexual harmony, children upbringing and progress in the family.
HELPING YOUR CHILD TO CULTIVATE GREAT VALUES.
Meaning of Values
Values are qualities, great habits and life skills that make you a person of honor, dignity respect and of good reports through physical strength, emotional strength, financial strength, spiritual strength and strong social skills. They add help you to cope effectively with physical, emotional, social, and spiritual challenges of life.
Tips for helping your child to cultivate great values
i. Model good character in the home. There is nothing more influential, more determinant in a child’s life than the moral power of a quiet example.” It is critically important that those who are attempting to influence children’s character in positive ways “walk the talk.”
ii Be clear about your values. Tell your children where you stand on important issues. If we want children to internalize the virtues that we value, we need to teach them what we believe and why.
iii. Show respect for your spouse, your children, and other family members. Parents who honor each other, who share family responsibilities, and who resolve their differences in peaceful ways communicate a powerful message about respect. If children experience respect firsthand within the family, they are more likely to be respectful of others.
iv. Model and teach your children good manners. Insist that all family members use good manners in the home.
v. Have family meals together without television as often as possible. Mealtime is an excellent time for parents to talk with and listen to their children and to strengthen family ties.
vi. Plan as many family activities as possible. Involve your children in the planning. Family picnic; family retreat can provide a meaningful time for being together and sharing as a family.
vii. Read to our children and keep good literature in the home.
viii. Limit your children’s spending money. Parents can make strong statements about what they value by the ways in which they allocate their own resources and how they allow their children to spend the funds entrusted to them.
ix. Assign home responsibilities to all family members.
x. Keep your children busy in positive activities.
xi. Learn to say no and mean it. Despite the child’s protests, a parent’s most loving act is often to stand firm and prohibit the child’s participating in a potentially hurtful activity.
xii. Know where your children are, what they are doing, and with whom.
xiv. Refuse to cover for your children or make excuses for their inappropriate behavior. Shielding children and youth from logical consequences of their actions fails to teach them personal responsibility.
xv Know what television shows, videos, and movies your children are watching.
xvi Apologize to your children when you make mistakes
xvii Read the Bible with your children
xviii Hold your children accountable for their mistakes
xix Don’t let your children take the easy way out of challenges
xx Involve your children in encouraging and helping others
xxi Applaud good behavi
UPHOLDING YOUR MARRIAGE VOWS EVERYDAY
Marriage is what you make out of it. You should be mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally mature to venture into this great institution. It’s not just saying the vows on your wedding day that matters its keeping them and making sure you abide by them if you are in love with the person you got married to. Remembering the promises made at the altar can help you both maintain the happy feelings of your very special day.
Discuss how the following can be of great help in keeping your marriage vows
i Taking time every day to pray for your marriage, and ask your spouse to join you in praying too.
ii. Renewing your commitment to each other from time to time especially on your wedding anniversary by going through the sacred promises you made to each other on your wedding day.
iii. Showing appreciation and love (I love you; Am sorry; Thank you)
iv. Remembering and giving gifts on special days like wedding anniversary and or birthdays.
v. Surrounding yourself with reminders of your wedding day eg wedding photos, video tapes.
vi. Continually reaffirm your love: Tell your wife always you are so grateful she married you and that she is the light of your life.
viii. Find your favorite picture of you and your wife together, put it in a new frame, and place it on your desk.
x. Never part without a kiss. Let her know that she is your best friend and talk and talk.
xi. Never be too proud to admit when you’re wrong! NEVER go to bed angry
xii Accepting one instead of trying to change each other.
xiii Admitting the hard reality that you can never be the same and that your difference could be of help to your marriage.
xiii Remind yourself when you’re angry with your spouse, “My life will always be better with you than without you.”
xiv. Even when you don’t agree -and there will be plenty of times when you don’t!- accept each other’s differences, strengths and weaknesses
xv. Understand that there will be times when you may not like your partner but love her always
xvi. Unlimited sharing –no boundary in responsibilities
THE TRULY STRONG FATHERS
I. What it entails to be truly strong fathers
Hint: Grace to train up a child – prov. 22:6
i.e graciously investing in a child whatever wisdom, love, money discipline needed for a child to become fully committed to God and a person of eminence in life.
It is to do the training according to the unique personality, gift and aspiration of the child.
It entails training a child to avoid whatever natural tendencies he might have that would be anti-god. Building up in the child holy attitude and character. A truly strong father will be ready to provide food, shelter and clothing. It is the duty of a truly strong father to instill in their children the proper norms and standards fit for the society, to teach them how to evaluate situation in life and to inculcate in then the principles of authority and self-discipline. He must see himself as the next protector after God in the family.
II. How can all these entailing points be materialized?
Hint: incessant prayer. Phil 4: 6-7; Prov. 19:18; Matt: 15.22. God is waiting to hear your voice. II Sam. 12:15-17.
The word:- God’s word is the foundation for righteousness. I Tim.3:14-15; Ps 119:9.
The Rod: Prov. 22:15; prov. 23:13-14. I.e. to spank a child with one’s hand or an instrument that can cause pain but not injury.
WISDOM FOR BREAKING THE ILL WILL OF A CHILD WITHOUT BREAKING THE SOUL OF THE CHILD
Ill will is a very disturbing attitude a child an exhibit. It is characterized by being unfriendly, antagonistic, cantankerous, difficult and stubborn attitudes, postures, actions and words.
Ill will in a child can also manifest form of dislike, hatred, rebellion and at times wickedness. Incorrigibility and malice are also commonly seen in children with ill will. All of these are toward most people and are for no reason or for little reason.
Ill will in children creates bad atmosphere in the family. It must be broken very early in a child’s life. Helping a child to overcome ill will is a hard but not an impossible task. It involves spiritual and psychological measures.
Keys to of constructive breaking of ill will in a child
Discuss each point mentioned below
1. Be friendly and loving
• Love the child
• Maintain emotional closeness
• Do not write off the child.
2. Prayerfulness. Prayer works wonders.
3. Use of authority.
• Firmly exercise your power to control, command and determine the way things should go
or be. This is very important especially when the child is still very young.
4. Teach obedience.
• The first thing a child must be thought early in life is obedience.
• Set boundaries. Make boundaries clear to the child
• Repeatedly remind the child about the boundaries.
• If you don’t teach obedience, you will never be able to teach any good thing.
5. Be Hopeful.
• Hope in your heart will generate a spiritual energy around and in the child and in the that exert positive changes in him/her
6. Let the child know the consequences of his attitude.
7. Teach the child the evil consequences of his actions, word or attitudes even beyond the home.
8. Teach the word of God
9. Teach the child relational character of love, kindness, generosity, co-operation and friendship.
• The best way to teach these things is to exemplify them in your life
• Punishment must be used
• Punishment must be carefully chosen and must not be too much.
• Confinement is good; making the child to forfeit somethings too is good.
• Explain your actions to the child.
Things to avoid
1. Avoid authoritarian attitudes.
A rigid and hard enforcement of obedience, subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom and an exercise of complete or almost complete control over the will of the child can hurt the child and make him or more negative, malicious, rebellious or cantankerous.
2. Avoid partiality of treatment (if many)
3. Avoid inconsistency in fulfilling promises
Things to avoid in order not to break the soul of the child:-
Avoid imposing unreasonable demands without concern for the fillings of the child.
You are to train not to drain ie. Sink
The training should be within the context of a loving, caring, forgiving relationship, it takes wisdom for parents to differentiate instruction from rebuke- when to instruct and not all the time rebuking.
POWER TO BE GRACEFULLY DIFFERENT AMONG MEN.
1. Peculiar attitudes, practices and life styles of men from which we must be different as Christians. These differ from culture to culture; generation to generation. They even differ from one sub-culture to another.
1.1 Mention some of these attitudes, practices and practices possibly in your cultural setting and possibly other cultural settings you have interacted with.
1.2 What are reasons why you think we should abstain from them.
2. What does GRACEFULNESS in the pursuit of difference suggest to us?
The Source of Power is Holy Spirit. Text: Joel 2:28; Zech.4:4-6, Act1:8
What the power can help you to do:
i) Live a gracefully different life
ii) Overcome the flesh and self
iii) Love God and others
iv) Advance the kingdom of God
v) Be bold and preach the gospel.
vi) Live an exemplary life in this crooked world.
Biblical examples of men who distinguished themselves in their own time:
i) Joseph (Gen. 39:6-12, 41:33-40)
ii) Bezalel and Oholiah Exodus 35:30-35
iii) Daniel Dan.2:17-28; 46-49, Dan. 5:30-35
iv) Paul Acts 13:1-4
v) Peter Matt 26:69-75(Before baptism of Holy Spirit)
vi) Stephen Acts 7:54-56
vii) Philips Acts 8:26-40
viii) Jesus Christ Matt 3:13-17 , 4 & Acts 10:38
How to receive the power
i) You must be genuinely born again.
ii) Thirst for the power.
iii) Determine to be difference among men Job 31:1-end , Joshua 24:15 , 17:17
iv) Pray always for the grace to live a gracefully different life.
DEFENDING YOUR WIFE BEFORE THE FAMILY MEMBERS
Discuss the following
1. The unfortunate traditional
2. The biblical views and believes about women and wives in the home and lives of men.
3. Why a Christian man must defend his wife.
4. Areas a Christian husband must defend his wife.
5. Strategies of defending your wife:
a. Holding your wife in high esteem
b. Treating your wife with love and respect before the children.
PREPARING FOR THE OLD-AGE PERIOD
– When to start to prepare
– What should be the focus of your preparation
– Planning to have money in old age
– Deciding on where to settle after retirement
THE MAN IN THE MAINTENANCE OF THE FAMILY ALTAR
– The Blessings of Family Alter
– The man as the Spiritual leader in the home
– How to develop Family Altar
– Destroying the destroyers of Family Alter