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All you have to do is drive around your city or browse through your local real estate guide and you'll get the impression that Americans are becoming a nation of master builders. New houses seem to be popping up everywhere in all sizes, shapes and floor plans. The creativity and technology are simply amazing.

But it is a sad truth that as our nation is becoming more skilled at building houses, we're becoming less proficient at turning those houses into homes. As a result, many of the beautiful new structures that grace the neighborhoods around this country will end up being mere facades that hide lives of loneliness, pain, and heartache.

Consider the following statistics and you'll see what I mean:
  • Since 1970, single parent families have increased by 124 percent.
  • Almost 50 percent of the children who enter grade school will be living in single parent homes by the time they graduate at age 18.
  • In 1955, only 12 percent of mothers who had children less than age 6 worked outside the home. By 1990, this percentage had grown to 60 percent.
  • Fully one third of grade school children are going home each day to an empty house.
  • Out-of-wedlock births have increased 450 percent since 1965.
  • Adolescent suicides have tripled since 1975.
These alarming statistics underscore the pressures on America's homes and should stir us to refocus our priorities on the family. They are sharp reminders that a house, no matter how elaborate, is nothing but a place to live.

For that house to become a place of refuge and security where a family lives together in warmth and congeniality, it takes a master builder who knows how to follow God's blueprint for a truly happy home.

Unfortunately, most people don't realize such a divine blueprint exists. It doesn't even occur to them that the Almighty God of the universe would be interested in their little family problems. But He is!

You see, in the mind of God, the home is no insignificant thing. It was the first institution He ever ordained. He established the family (before He set up government or even the church) to be a place where men and women would be trained to know and walk with Him. And He has always blessed the homes that fulfilled His purposes.

In fact, God places such an importance on the home that He cited faithfulness in family responsibilities as one key reason He could bless Abraham, the father of our faith. He said:
...Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him....

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
(Gen. 17:17-18)
God knew He could fulfill His covenant with Abraham because Abraham believed God's Word and could be counted on to faithfully train his family in God's ways. God was confident that through Abraham, His plan would be passed on from generation to generation.

God should be able to have that same confidence in us as New Testament believers. After all, we're a part of Abraham's family! As Galatians 3:29 says, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

If you're a Christian, God has spoken to you as surely as He spoke to Abraham. He has promised to make you great and mighty, a tremendous blessing to those around you. But the fulfillment of that promise in your life will begin in your own home.

Begin with Instruction
The first thing you must understand if you are to make your house a home according to God's blueprint is this: God sees your home as more than just a place to kick your shoes off and relax.

He considers it a training center where His values can be implanted in your children and where they can (with your help) develop the character necessary to adhere to those values.

The Bible is the textbook of God's value system. It provides all your family needs to know about life and Godliness, everything essential for them to be happy, blessed, and successful in God's terms.

Many Christians know that's true. But they haven't taken the time to do anything about it. They've let themselves get so busy with the day-to-day business of life that they've neglected to teach their children God's Word.

If that's happened to you, you'd better make a change because I can assure you, if you don't take steps to instill the Lord's values in your children, they will fall under the world's influence. Radio, television, magazines, and your children's friends are just waiting for an opportunity to indoctrinate your children with the world's values.

The world's system is based on the premise that the end justifies the means and a life based on that premise eventually ends in death, destruction, and disaster. Allow your children to follow that system and your family will never know the fullness of God's blessings.

Now you may be saying, "I've heard this before. It means I'm going to have to take my kids to church and rekindle that family devotional time at 7 a.m." Like most Christians, you probably have memories of an uncomfortable 15 minute devotional where everyone is restless to get started with their own agenda for the day.

But that's not what I'm talking about. Training is a comprehensive process that includes instruction, discipline, and modeling. It is consistently communicating that the things of the Lord are top priority and that walking with the Lord is much more than an occasional thing done on Sundays or in 15 minutes a day - it is a lifestyle.

Training begins with instruction in Bible study, prayer, and worship. Bible study is important because the written Word is God revealing Himself to mankind. Children must learn how to effectively study the Bible and apply it to their lives so it is interesting and relevant to their experience.

They must also be taught how to pray. When they're young, you may have to pray with your children until they learn to do this for themselves. As they grow older, you'll need to show them how prayer applies to the situations they face everyday.

You can also help your children recognize God's voice, hear His answers to their prayers, and identify the positive results of prayer. As you do that, they will discover that prayer is not just some rote recitation, but a real communication with the Lord that changes the direction and circumstances of their lives.

Be sure to include worship in your training program too. Help your children learn how by entering into worship, they can make the heart connection that brings them into fellowship with the Lord.

Teach them that true worship is not singing some meaningless hymn but is a humbling of their hearts before God, an acknowledgment of His relationship to them as creator, Father, and God Almighty. It is a reverencing of the Lord that enables Him to reach into and change their hearts.

Copyright © Mac Hammond Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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