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Volume 3 Christian Family

RETURN TO THE LIST OF LESSONS

A COURSE FOR THE CHRISTIAN HOME
BY PASTOR WALDO CASTRO
Translated from Spanish by Joyce Schmedel

Welcome!

Welcome to the Christian Family Course! This material has beenprepared with the purpose of strengthening the family, for we believe firmly that theproblems of the community are intimately tied to how the home goes forward. If we wouldhave better homes, we would have a better society. In my Christian Center Church, we areworried over the problems that trouble marriage and that is the reason why we are sharingthese lessons.

We have placed a very special interest in the well being of thefamily, for we believe that it is the center of the community. Abraham Lincoln saidonce, “The strength of a nation is in the homes of its people.” We are convincedthat the family is the backbone of the Christian church and of society in general. Historyshows us that if a society wants to survive, it must strengthen and edify itself in theBiblical truths of marriage and the family. It is there in the home where character andthe future of our nation is formed. It is because of this that, as a church, we areconcerned with strengthening the family for a better understanding according to theprinciples that God has marked out for us in His Word.

We believe that the purpose of the family is to glorify and honor God forming aspiritual, emotional, physical, and economic base for the individual, the church, andsociety. It is in the home where children see the models of fatherhood and motherhood. Itis in the home where children are taught moral values, and it is in the home where thesevalues are planted in the heart of the people. It is in the home where the spiritualrelationship with God through Jesus Christ can be modeled.

Sadly many parents in families today have little or simply no idea about how tomaintain a successful marriage, or how to bring up their children in such a manner thatthey arrive at being responsible adults. These lessons will help you and your spouse sothat together you will fulfill the purposes of God for your family.

It is my prayer that in these Biblical studies your home will be greatly blessed and inthis way you can share with others these teachings for the good of our community.
I desire for you much success. May the Lord bless you and prosper you always.
In Christ, your friend and servant,
Pastor Waldo F. Castro

CONTENTS

Lesson 1 The Christian Family
Lesson 2 Communication in the Family
Lesson 3 Communication is More than Speech
Lesson 4 Negative Forces that can Destroy the Family. Part 1
Lesson 5 Negative Forces that can Destroy the Family. Part 2
Lesson 6 Five Lies that Destroy Marriage
Lesson 7 How to Restore an Eroded Relationship
Lesson 8 Opposite Temperaments
Lesson 9 How to Confront Transitions in the Family
Lesson 10 Healing the Hurts in the Family
Lesson 11 The Four Little Marriage Secrets
Lesson 12 Practice Family Worship
Lesson 13 May they Teach the Women to be Caretakers
Lesson 14 May they Teach the Women to be Subject to their Husbands
Lesson 15 The Purpose of God for the Man
Lesson 16 The Raising of the Children, Part 1
Lesson 17 Keys for Discipline and Dialogue with our Small Children.
Part 2
Lesson 18 Keys for Discipline and Dialogue with our Adolescent Children.
Part 1
Lesson 19 How to Treat Adolescent Children. Part 2
Lesson 20 I am Alone

LESSON 1
THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY

INTRODUCTION:
The family was the first divine institution. God created matrimony in the Garden of Edenand He sanctified it. The family (Gen 2:18-25) should constitute a refuge so thatits members are prepared to enter society and similarly to serve God.

=1= THE ORDER OF GOD FOR THE FAMILY:
CHRIST, The head of the husband. The Lord of the family.
THE HUSBAND, The “head” of the wife. The principal authority over the children.
THE WIFE, The suitable helper of the husband. (Gen 2:18). The secondary authorityover the children.
THE CHILDREN, Obedient to parents.

1= THE SCRIPTURAL PATRON OF THE FAMILY:


The Husband:
What he is not: the tyrant, the foreman, the dictator, the child, the spectator.
What he is:
-A Leader (1Cor 11:3)
-A Lover (Eph 5:25 a sacrificial love)
-A Protector (Gen 2:22 The woman is taken from his side).
-A Provider (1Tim 5:8)
-A Teacher (1Cor 14:35 Deu 6:4-9)
-A Priest

The Most Probable Incorrect Attitudes:
-Harshness (Col 3:19)
-Insensibility.
-Indifference.

Correct Attitudes:
-Tenderness
-Consideration (1Pet 3:7)
-Love (Col 3:19 Eph 5:25)

The Principal Commandment:
Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.”(
Eph 5:25)

The Wife:
What she is not: The head of the home, a doormat, the employee, an object.
What she is:
-A suitable helper (Gen 2:16)
-Good (Pro 18:22)
-A crown (Pro 12:4)
-A fragile vessel (1Pet 3:7)
-A counselor (Pro 31:26)
-A friend and companion.

The Most Probable Incorrect Attitudes:
-Jealousy
-Discontent (Pro 19:13)
-Constant arguing (Pro 21:9)
-Rebellion.
-Envy

Correct Attitudes:

-Submission and respect (Eph 5:22-24, 33b 1Pet 3:1-2)
-Encouraging
-Decorum (1Pet 3:3-4)
-Love (Tit 2:4)

Principal Commandment:
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For thehusband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is thesaviour of the body.” (Eph 5:22-23)

The Children:
Incorrect Attitude: Rebellion (Rom 1:30b)
Correct Attitude: Obedience (Eph 6:1)

Principal Commandment:
“Children, obey your parents in all things…” (Col 3:20)
“…that thy days may be long upon the land” (Exo 20:12 Eph 6:3)

Possible Causes of Marital Problems:
-Mistakes in priorities.
-Lack of understanding of the opposite sex.
-The family of each spouse.
-Financial problems.
-Sudden changes.

Six Emotional Problems of Matrimony:
=1. Anger
=2. Hostility
=3. Bitterness
=4. Fear, worry, and anxiety
=5. Selfishness
=6. Jealousy and infidelity

Ten Commandments for Marriage:
For the man:
=1. Provide for all the necessities of life and for the well being of your family.
=2. Agree to your responsibilities in your home.
=3. Agree that the family that plays together, belongs together, and shares hours ofremembrances.
=4. Take your wife into account when making plans, and remembering that she is yourcompanion and not your slave.
=5. Enter your house with a happy and thankful attitude, avoiding criticism andquarrelling.
=6. Don’t depreciate your wife in front of your friends and relatives, and neitherpermit anyone to criticize your wife in your presence.
=7. Don’t take your wife for granted but cultivate your love with the same actionsthat you would want her to have.
=8. Don’t have any other person besides your wife.
=9. Live a life of moral purity.
=10. Give to God the first place in your life and in your home.

For the woman:
=1. Don’t complain.
=2. Don’t spend money provided by your husband on unnecessary things.
=3. Guard your tongue with all diligence, and don’t permit gossip.
=4. Don’t compare your husband with other men, especially with those that you thinkyou could have married.
=5. Don’t speak bad about your husband, but speak well of him before other people.
=6. Avoid all attitudes of jealousy.
=7. Help your husband by doing small things to the extent that they please him.
=8. Maintain with all diligence your personal neatness and that of the home, keeping inthis way the esteem of your spouse.
=9. Care for your virtue as the most valuable thing in your life.
=10. Have and maintain a genuine and personal experience with God.

LESSON 2
COMMUNICATION IN THE FAMILY

INTRODUCTION:
Communication is an indispensable requirement to establish, consolidate, and enrichrelationships in marriage and the family. Communication is equivalent to”encounter”, from the Latin “comunis”. It gives the idea of somethingthat is unified, that is together, that is integrated, and intertwined. It is to put incommunion or it is to put in agreement.
Example: Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
The agreement is fundamental so that the family grows healthy and will be productive insociety. At times communication is lacking between spouses, between parents and children,and yes, between brothers. This is what happens when the ties are breaking until itarrives at the disintegration of the family. The lack of communication can produce peoplethat deviate to drugs, alcoholism, or infidelity. Eighty five percent of matrimonialfailures are attributed to a lack of communication. Communication must be practiced firstin the marriage relationship.

Without good communication, a solid relationship between husband and wife is impossible.All marital failures are found to have communication barriers.

=1= ASPECTS OF COMMUNICATION: Verbal and non-verbal
These forms of communication are able to be expressed in two ways:
=Carelessness: There is no approach of routine or of obligation that is not important togrowth.
=Elaborate: Invite the knowledge of each one, be sincere, understanding and mutuallypardoning others.
Why is it of vital importance to stop and prepare the moment for elaborate communication?It is because many times in contact there are natural pressures that produce friction andthese are conducive to strong conflicts in relationships. In this type of communicationdeeper feelings can be expressed from where the couple can speak from heart to heart.
This form of communication has to bring understanding of one another. Perhaps it costs meto accept the position of another, but it is indispensable to know, to listen, to resolvethe situation that is presented.

=2= SIGNS OF IDENTITY EXIST IN COMMUNICATION:
= Looks:
We express anger, wrath, rebellion, sadness, irritation, happiness, goodness, love, etc.The eyes are the mirror of the soul.
= Gestures:
Gestures produce scornful or caring effects. For example: with the fingers, with thehands, or with the face. Also they produce gross effects.
= Words:
Our expressions leave a mark on the lives of others. The Scriptures affirm that our wordscan be so dangerous and hurtful and destructive as “the piercings of a sword“,and “coals of fire” (Pro 12:18; 16:27 Jam 3:5-8).

There are two forms of self-control that are equally important for good communication.
1= The ability to control yourself when youare tempted to remain silent or to make a bad face.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”(
Pro 31:26)
You must exercise self-control. We can do it. 2Tim 1:7. Problems must beconfronted, and disagreements and conflicts must be dialogued fully with calm and respect.
2= Control the crocodile tears or manipulative tears.
But it is not sufficient to control these negative reactions. Paul says that not only mustwe strip ourselves of certain things, but that also we must redress ourselves for others.

Knowing to listen is a very important factor. It involves letting the other personspeak without interruptions. Pro 18:13 says that Hethat answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

Nicknames:
Nicknames can express caring or aggression. For example: black, fat, ugly, or dwarf. Wemust take care how we express
words that already can affect so profoundly that they produce hurts difficult to heal.
We must submit and subject these signs of contact to the control of the Holy Spirit.…forout of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.(Mat 12:34).
…every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account…”(Mat 12:36).
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but hethat refraineth his lips is wise.” (Pro 10:19)

=3= PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS TO DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN A GOOD COMMUNICATION IN MARRIAGE:
(1) When there are problems, everyone must be willing to admit that he or she is part ofthe problem. (Gen 8:8-19; Pro 20:6).
(2) Everyone must be willing to change. (Joh 5:6; Mat 5:23-26)
(3) Avoid the use of emotionally charged words: “En reality you do not love me”.”Always you do…”You never do anything good”, “It is notimportant”.
(4) Make yourself responsible for your own emotions, words, actions, and reactions. Do notcast guilt on the other person. You get angry, you attack the other person, etc. (Gal6:5; James 1:13-15)
(5) Avoid returning to past discussions. (Eph 4:26)
(6) Occupy yourself with one problem at a time. Resolve a problem and then take on thenext one. (Mat 6:34)
(7) Occupy yourself with the present and not with the past. Make a sign that says, FISHINGPROHIBITED from the past of those things that do not help to resolve the problems of thepresent. (Phi 3:12-14; Jer 31:34; Isa 43:25).
(8) Emphasize the positive and not the negative (Phi 4:8).
(9) Learn to communicate in verbal forms (Mat 8:1-3, 14-15; Psa 32:8; Mar 10:21a).
(10) Express your thoughts, worries, and account for your activities. Listen, understand,and respond to the feelings that there are behind what you are saying. When someone comesout of his shell, possibly what he is really saying is, “I had a terrible day atwork. No one respects me.” When he says, “You don’t love me” it ispossible that what he really is saying is, “I need desperately for you to show meaffection. I lack love.” (See yourself in the example of Jesus in Joh 1;45-47; Mar5:1-15; Joh 11:20-35)
(11) Practice the golden rule in Mat 7:12. “Therefore all things whatsoever yewould that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…” What do you desire yourspouse to do for you? Do you desire that your spouse tell you the truth, that he ask youyour opinion, that he help you in time of need, that he behave in a natural way, that heappreciate your help or service? Well then, do the same for your spouse.
(12) Practice the principle contained in Luc 6:35, “But love ye your enemies,and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again…”

=4= CONCLUSION:
The perception of things for the man is different than for the woman. Each one focusesfrom a different angle, so that neither the physique, the physical structure, nor theemotional structure are equal between them. In this sense, they are not equal, they arecomplementary.
What do men think of women?
What do women think of men?
How are they?
Many men think that women are difficult and complicated, that never can they arrive at anunderstanding. (women think the same things about men.), and it is certain when it is seenfrom a masculine perspective of what a person is. If you see a wife as if she were anotherman, that is to say, if you measure her next to your male boss, you are going to becomedisoriented because she does not respond like him. It is important that the husband beginto know her and understand her as an individual and not to compare her with a man.Don’t expect her conduct or her attitudes to be similar to yours. Perhaps to some, itappears that this sufficiently complicates the relationship. If the spouses are sodifferent, what possibilities of understanding each other do they have? They have the bestpossibilities to share in dialogue to understand each other, of understanding thesedifferences, and of communicating with understanding. These differences can be convertedto a source of reciprocal enrichment.
To know how to listen is one of the most valuable qualities that a person can have. Hethat stops himself from hearing what the other person says is incapable of maintaininggood relationships with their partners.

LESSON 3
IT IS MORE THAN SPEAKING, IT IS COMMUNICATING

=1= CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WOMAN IN MARITAL COMMUNICATION:
She is spontaneous:
She communicates with ease. She is open before any situation.
She is impulsive: She is more active than reflective. She is controlled by what she feelsat the moment.
It costs her to keep discussion inside the theme: She touches on various matters at thesame time, and because of that, she can be only a little clear.
The woman is more prone to speaking than to listening. She responds to what is immediatelyopened.
She is intuitive: She captures situations before knowing them fully.
She is maternal: She has an innate predisposition to demonstrate understanding of adifficult problem before her husband.
Here we see the positive and negative characteristics. Christian marriage has a point ofreference which is your relationship to the Lord through the perfect link of love. You aregoing to homogenize the dissimilar characteristics so that communication will beeffective.

=2= WHAT THE WOMAN NEEDS:
She needs to feel she is valued.
She needs to communicate on the basis of equality.
Take advantage of the little time that you can be with your spouse in a day when you canhave good communication.

=3= CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MAN IN MARITAL COMMUNICATION:
A man is not communicative: He does not share about his internal life.
He is reserved: His wife considers this as a lack of love and trust toward her. In thisway, she begins a detective type of confrontation so that he will speak, but which willproduce a husband that is closed even more.
The man does not cry easily: If a man does cry, it is because he has been touched in hismore intimate being.
The man is direct: When he says something, it is because he thought about it previously.To differentiate between the woman who speaks what she feels. In the same way, she needsto speak to him in a direct form.
When the man answers: In general he gives out information, and not a judgment referring tothe theme of the question received.
The man is not intuitive: He judges by deeds and behavior.

=4= WHAT MAN NEEDS TO BE STIMULATED TO GOOD COMMUNICATION:
He needs the help of a woman that brings dialogue and permits him to express his innerbeing.
He needs a loving attitude from his spouse.
He needs a spouse who is able to understand and to listen without criticism.
He needs her to make a direct mention of what she expects from him.
When the man asks something, it is for information.
To give out a judgment on others, he needs elements that support his conclusions. Itdispleases him to be evaluated on the basis of feelings (even when he recognizes that thesaid evaluation is certain).
We are clear that not all these attitudes of the husband are correct. Some needcorrection, others understanding, and various ones must be accepted as unique and true ofmen.

THE BLESSING is the precious and powerful form of communication that God has put in ourhands. The husband, the wife, and God, form a sacred triangle. If the communicationbetween the husband or the wife is interrupted, it affects your relationship with God (1Pet3:7). And if communication with heaven is interrupted, also, there will remain anaffect on the communication between spouses. A person cannot open himself to God and closehimself to his spouse.
If there is genuine communication, it alleviates emotional tension, it clears thoughts andpermits a leveling of the road so that an intimate relationship is established betweenhusband, wife, and God.

=5= THERE IS TRUE COMMUNICATION WHEN TWO ASPECTS ARE GIVEN: SPEAKING AND LISTENING
When do you speak and when do you listen?

A very conversant woman said, “I don’t have problems communicating.” Inreality she should have said, “I don’t have problems speaking.” She makesherself carry all the conversation and rarely permits her husband to give his ownopinions. By not knowing how to listen, she lost all that which was her husband andsimilarly what he could contribute to her.
Women must pray that our tongues are controlled by the Holy Spirit, in such a way that weknow when to speak and when to be silent. The book of Proverbs is full of teachings onthis: Pro 15:23 Pro 25:11 Pro 15:1.
In the same way, silence in the appropriate moment speaks of good communication. But also,there is bitter silence, resentment and indifference that are not in the will of God.

Be careful of your comments:
When our communication is not filled with love, and we make negative comments or wecriticize our spouse to a third party, we can influence prejudicially their ideas inrespect to our spouse, and in that way cause serious damage. The commandment of God is,”…don’t murmur one to another.” (Jam 4:11)
We are not able, with the same mouth, to bless God and then judge our neighbor. (Jam3:9-10).

Sometimes it is better to talk to God:
On some occasions it is better to communicate directly with God and leave it with Him tospeak to our spouse. It would appear that there are themes that when we want to undertakethem, everything is converted to disaster. Then, it is better to leave it in the hands ofGod and wait on Him so that it will be God who prepares the adequate circumstances toreturn to attempt it.

Communicate inside of a correct relationship:
If there is a correct relationship of authority and an acknowledgment of ittoward the husband, without a doubt there will be good communication. On the contrary, ifthe wife does not respect and recognize her husband (as the authority), there will beserious problems in communication. He will not want to know anything from his wife, andthe situation concerning the conflict of authority can take on verbal violence and evenphysical violence. Because of that we must imitate Christ in His obedience and submissiveattitude to God, the Father. (Phi 2:5-8). We must put ourselves in the position assignedby God. In the measure in which we humble ourselves (we die to self), and submit ourselves(we serve) our spouse, we begin to find ourselves in this same kind of relationship (asJesus, the son, to God, the Father).

The liberated woman is that which ends with marriage, weakening herself. The woman,filled with the Spirit, will love her husband and will desire as her first objective, hishappiness. On the other hand, the husband needs to be more communicative and interested inhis wife, valuing her and not accepting anyone that criticizes her in front of him,neither from his father, from his mother, from his siblings, or from his relatives. Hemust have intimate communication with her and protect her in the areas in which she haslimitations or is more vulnerable.

=6= BASIC INGREDIENTS IN COMMUNICATION:
1 Corinthians gives us a description of love that if we apply it to our communication, wewould be filled with beauty:
Love…is benign.
Love…suffers.
Love…does not envy.
Love…is not boastful.
Love…is not vain.
Love…does not do anything unseemly.
Love…does not seek its own.
Love…is not irritated.
Love…does not hold a grudge.
Love…does not take joy in injustice.
Love…takes joy in the truth.
Love…suffers everything.
Love…hopes in everything.
Love…bears everything.
Love…never stops.

Applying it to communication, we would be able to say, (Place your name in the space.)

“Since __________________ is suffering, her communication is full of contentment,she has rejected complaints and reproach, even though she lacks clothing, cosmetics,etc.”
Another example: “Since _____________________ is benign, his communication is filledwith faith and good intentions and he has rejected suspicions and rough comments.”
This class of communication does not depend on how your spouse treats you, but it convertsthe responsibility to you in the way that you treat your spouse.

=7= WE ENUMERATE A SERIES OF EXAMPLES OF COMMUNICATION IN LIFE:
On an ordinary day in the home, everyone is doing his specific tasks. The week was intensefor both (husband and wife). She expresses to her spouse at repeated opportunities thatshe is tired. Meanwhile she continues with what she is doing. What does her husbandregister in his mind? My wife is tired, surely tonight she will go to bed early.

What did she want to communicate? She wanted him to help her in her tasks. When the end ofthe day arrives and she quizzes him saying, “all day I was telling you how tired I amand you were not willing to give me a hand.” He remains embarrassed by the reproachand feels unjustly attacked and answers, “Why didn’t you ask me? With joy Iwould have done it. I also was working.”

The indirect messages that the woman sends to the man will not get his attention. Forexample: One Saturday in the home, both must leave in 15 hours. She is busy with thepreparations, cooking and finishing many tasks to be able to leave. He is fixing thevacuum cleaner. After 12 and a half hours she is saying that she is running late. Shecalls to everyone to be seated at the table and discovers that he is not in place. Thereshe explodes saying ?Why didn’t you come to the table? Didn’t you see that Iwas running late? He comes out of his concentration, returns to the world, and says in araised tone, ?Why didn’t you ask me?

The couple is dining. He goes for his third glass of soft drink and she, with her emptyglass that was not even filled once. Her husband notices that his wife wants him to passher something and he asks her, “How can I know what to pass you? When we sat down atthe table you were smiling!” She answers, “Didn’t you take into accountthat I also am thirsty?” And he will say, “If you were thirsty, why didn’tyou ask me? Do you believe that I am divine?” What we want to emphasize is that theattitude of the man is not totally correct, for he is not totally conscious of the detailsthat the woman observes.

Arriving home he sees that the new washing machine that they bought has been installed.She received the object and located it in the place that seemed best to her. On arrivinghe reads the guarantee and makes it run and asks, “Why did you put it here and notthere? She answers, “And what do I know! It would have been better had they broughtit when you were here.” When the man answers, in general he wants information and isnot making a judgment in reference to the theme of the question received.

The son fell off his bicycle. She lets out a shout and runs to pick him up. He looks,sees that the child cries but continues working. She thinks, he is unfeeling. He thinks,she exaggerates.

What both must understand is that each one acts in the way that they were created byGod, and must not think that the spouse is bad to act in a different way. The manprocesses everything through the mind, while the woman processes it through the emotions.

LESSON 4
NEGATIVE FORCES THAT CAN DESTROY THE FAMILY
(Part 1)

INTRODUCTION:
Many families suffer profound crises in their homes. Various things can be the cause ofthese difficulties which, without a doubt, God does not want to produce failure anddestruction in families. To continue, we will study some of the more common causes inlight of the Word of God.

=1= FACTORS THAT AFFECT AND DEBILITATE FAMILY AND MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS:
Problems of Character:
Brutality
Criticism
Depression
Jealousy (Jam 3:14-17) and the lack of self-esteem.
The incompatibility of character (Gal 6:2).
Intolerance (1Cor 13:7)
Manipulation
Anger (Eph 4:26)

Vices:
Alcohol (Hab 2:5)
Pornography, games of chance, and other addictions (Rom 6:23a).

External Influences:
Interference from third persons (Gen 2:24).
Bad influences by means of communication (Gal 6:7).

Priorities and Wrong Decisions:
Excess of and the consequences of physical exhaustion.
Not submitted to the will of God, and not willing to fulfill the role God placed on you. (1Cor11:3 Eph 5:22-23, 25-26 Col 3:18-19 1Pet 3:1, 7).
Pressured decisions (Psa 32:8-9).

Bad administration of resources:
Money (1Chr 29:14 Rom 13:7-8 Mal 3:8-10 Psa 37:21 Pro 13:11 Psa 14:24 Psa 15:16 1The2:9).
Materialism (Mat 6:33 1Tim 6:10).
Failure in business (Pro 30:8).

Incorrect information or formation about:
Sexual relationships (Heb 13:4 1Cor 7:3-5).
The education of children (Exo 4:24-26 Pro 19:18 Pro 22:6 Pro 29:17).
What marriage truly is (Mar 10:7-9).

Attitudes that are going to erode marriage:
Selfishness (Eph 5:28).
Being defensive.
Isolation.
The lack of communication (Amo 3:3).
Lying (Col 3:9).
Disloyalty (2Tim 2:22 Jam 4:7 Rom 12:2).
Lack of attention to details (Pro 12:18).
Routine and indifference.
Disillusionment.
Ambivalence (it is when feelings reflect a feeling of turbulence and go from one side tothe other, from frustration to hope and vice versa.).

WHAT MAKES A MARRIAGE LAST:
Our behavior:
What place does communion with the Lord occupy in marriage?
To listen and to interest yourself in your spouse.
To have communication at any moment.
To accentuate the positive. (Don’t emphasize the negative aspects of yourrelationship).
Do demonstrations of caring.
Acts of tenderness and empathy (that is, to know your spouse to the point of knowing whatsucceeds, even though he or she may not tell you).
To be always joyful (in spite of difficulties).
Be flexible in differences that arise through differences of characters or differences ofthinking.
Cultivate interests that both share.

A MARRIAGE MUST HAVE VISION:
If a relationship does not have vision, it stops growing and begins to decay. That dreamthat is the vision must always be under the direction of God, for without his wisdom wewill be outside of the focus of His will. It is divided in elements: the vision must bespecific and it must look forward.

INTIMACY:
Intimacy is defined as the affectionate loop, the cords of which are composed inmutual care, open communication, solid interest, and responsible treatment. In this way,like the open interchange of feelings and sensations, and reciprocity, notself-defensiveness from information over significant emotional events.
Intimacy covers the following aspects:

EMOTIONAL INTIMACY:
To be there for the many feelings of our spouse which will be sadness, happiness, etc.

SOCIAL INTIMACY:
Have friends in common and share social relationships of both.

SEXUAL INTIMACY:
Sexual intimacy is important inside the matrimonial environment (1Cor 7:3). Outsideof it, it is degrading and sinful, bringing bondage and terrible consequences on the onewho practices it. Sexual intimacy inside of marriage involves satisfaction with what ishappening. But also it means that the needs of the other person are spoken and satisfied.Avoid falling into a routine. Avoid all that is in bad taste, humiliating, or filthy, thatdegrades your spouse. The Bible says that the matrimonial bed must be without tarnish.That is to say, without sin.

INTELLECTUAL INTIMACY:
The ability to share ideas and mutual stimulation to promote levels of knowledge andcomprehension.

RECREATIONAL INTIMACY:
It is enjoyment together, to share outings, vacations, walks, etc.

SPIRITUAL INTIMACY:

A desire to be near God, submitted to His will and direction personally and as a couple.It is the availability to seek together His direction, accepting His Word as part of ourroutine life. It is the disposition to permit God to helps us to exceed feelings ofinsecurity at the hour of sharing spiritually of which both form a part. It is the will ofrecognizing Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives and to look to Him in seeking His directionwhen we have to make decisions such as buying a house, where to go on vacation, or todetermine which is the best school for the children, etc. Spiritual intimacy means that ina couple, He has to be the Director of both, and to change conjointly the hearts of both.HE IS HERE WHERE HARMONY ARRIVES.

The Gift and the Benefits of Praying Together:
It is vital to pray together.
Don’t think about praying together as an obligation, an ungrateful task or a negativecommand. Treat it as a gift from Him.

Praying Together Produces the Following:
It cancels the small elements of conflict and anxiety that appear in daily life,permitting the couple to gain a higher perspective of their lives. It elevates yourspirits to the consideration of the eternal values and of a lasting relationship. It helpsthe couple to reject prejudicial interests and to concentrate on more noble ideals oflife.

All threatening situations to the integrity of a couple can find relief in the presenceof God. By humbling ourselves before Him, we can also humble ourselves one to anotherwhich constitutes a valuable therapy. By this means, the couple obtains the highest andmost honest level of mutual esteem.

Marriage finds the secret of true harmony and the couple discovers that thedifferences in their temperaments, their ideas, and their tastes, enrich their homeinstead of putting it in danger.

The couple re-discovers a new mutual trust because on meditating together in prayer, theylearn to be completely honest, one to another.

It reduces especially the feeling of competition inside of marriage and expands, atthe same time, an attitude of mutual recognition, generating a conviction of maritalfullness.

AREAS OF THE SPOUSES AND GOD
In a feeling, marriage is a reality of three floors. There is a third floor relating tothe spiritual. If we cannot be in agreement in this level, a notorious disunion willdescend to the second floor and even more to the first floor.

LESSON 5
NEGATIVE FORCES THAT CAN DESTROY THE FAMILY (Part 2)

FIVE PHASES IN THE DESTRUCTION OF LOVE:
Disillusion.
Hurts.
Anger
Ambivalence. (It is when the feelings reflect a turbulent emotion, going from one side tothe other, from frustration to hope and vice versa.)
Love dies.

OTHER TYPES OF FORCES:
Criticism
Contempt.
To be permanently on the defensive.
Isolation.

TORMENTS IN THE MIND:

Negative reactions surge in the mind. What thoughts are these?

Presuppositions: About other people or unfavorable judgements toward your spouse.

Making generalizations: He never does such a thing…

Making exaggerations: To increase something negative toward another person.

The lack of hope blocks hope: Resigning yourself to live without improving therelationship.

Permanent negative thoughts: They must be rejected.

To believe yourself a victim of a situation: It produces fear and lack of hope.

To place insidious labels: To stereotype a person with a negative quality. (Forexample: My husband is very selfish), that which ends in binding a person instead ofhelping him to change. If we permit this type of negative expression of whatever kind, toinfluence us, we become prisoners of our own mind. To tie ourselves to these negativethoughts, limits our development.

THE FORM IN WHICH WE MUST WORK SO THAT OUR MARRIAGE GOES FORWARD AND PROSPERS:
1= Identify which were the difficult moments or the moments of dispute. Contrast them inyour mind “with good moments”, see the difference and continue aiming to improvewhat was bad.
2= Concentrate on the solutions and not on the problems. Accentuate permanently thepositive thoughts and invoke always and before all, the power and the direction of God.
3= Do the unexpected thing, the unpredictable, in a constructive way.

“CHRISTIANS HAVE BEEN CALLED TO BUILD A MARRIAGE THAT LASTS FOREVER.”

LESSON 6
FIVE LIES THAT DESTROY MARRIAGE

=1= THE WORD OF GOD DOES NOT PROVIDE HEALING FOR MARRIAGE.
It is sad when people believe that really they don’t have anything left but to resignthemselves to marital misfortune or divorce and say, “I do not believe that God canheal my marriage.”
This is not true. It is a lie of the devil! God does not want you to suffer, neitherdivorce. He wants to heal your marriage. As much, Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9say, “what God joins let no man separate.” 1 Corinthians 7:27 says,”Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed…” And in Mal 2:16God says that he abhors divorce. Therefore, we see that God has provided a way to avoidit. The healing of marriage is part of the plan of redemption.

The Bible says that Jesus restored all that the devil removed from us, and thatincludes a beautiful and blessed marriage. In Mat 19:7-8, Jesus says, “Theysay unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put heraway? “…because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to putaway your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” Therefore, we don’thave to consider divorce in our lives. The healing of marriage is part of the redemption.

There are so many hurting people today. They do not know how much God is worried bytheir marriages. Neither do they know what the Word of God has to say with respect to it.Only they know that they are desperate and that they need help. Perhaps you feeldiscouraged and desperate. But you should know that God desires to heal your marriage.Never accept the lie of the devil that the Word of God is moot with respect to yourmarital needs. God heals marriages.

=2= YOU MUST BEGIN ANEW – A NEW SPOUSE, A NEW MARRIAGE
The devil murmurs: “You have made such a disaster of your marriage that already thereis no hope. It is better to begin again. You need another marriage and anotherspouse.” It can appear logical at first view, but you must take into account thatthis is a lie from the devil.

You don’t need another spouse nor another marriage ceremony. What you need is anencounter with the Lord Jesus, the Savior and the Healer of all marriages. Marriage willcontinue to fail until you learn to overcome and make changes in your life. you will nothave success in marriage until you learn to obey the Word of God.

Divorce is a spirit. It is a spiritual force for destruction and that spirit followsyou through all your life until you learn to take authority over it.

A fresh beginning with a new partner is not the answer. The problem is that you areunder the attack of spiritual forces—principalities and powers sent by the devil todestroy your marriage. You are involved in a spiritual battle.

What is the answer? The Word of God! It tells us how to solve our marital problems. Godknows how to make the marriage function.

=3= YOU MARRIED OUTSIDE THE WILL OF GOD
The devil says to many people, “You committed an error. You never should havemarried. Your marriage is not blessed because it was not in the will of God.” That isa lie! Whether you were a believer or not, or whether your spouse was a believer or not,God was a witness to your marriage. The vows that you made were done in front of God. Mal2:14-16 teaches that the marriage ceremony is solemn and sacred in front of God. Andbefore His eyes, you have a covenant relationship with your spouse and with Him. God saysthat you are a guardian of your marriage. In this way you must not break faith with yourpartner. You must not break that covenant…that relationship. You and your spouse areonly flesh before the eyes of God.

It can be that the circumstances around your marriage have not been pleasing to God. Itcan include that you have been disobedient, but that does not mean that your marriage iscursed. When you married, you entered into a holy and sacred covenant. The person withwhom you contracted marriage came to be the correct one, and yours for always. Don’tpermit the devil to lie to you. God can make something beautiful from your errors andfailures and bring blessing from the curse. (Neh 13:2c) He can re-make the brokenpieces of your marriage into a vessel of honor, stronger and more beautiful than what youever imagined. Protect what God has given you. Protect your spouse and your children.Don’t let the devil take what God has given you.

=4=YOU HAVE BEEN TOO HURT TO RETURN TO LOVE.
When your heart has been broken and you feel that your spouse has hurt you so much thatthere are no words to express it, the devil likes to whisper in your ear, “Yourspouse has hurt you and aggravated you too much. How could you love him again? Never canyou return to love him as you used to. In this way, it is better to separate.” TheBible says that, “…by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” (Pro15:13). And we know that a weak and broken spirit cannot sustain a person. In thisway, for someone in this state, it is difficult to love and to have hope of returning tofeelings of love again. But God also as the answer to this. You don’t have to livewith a broken heart and a hurting spirit. Already you don’t have to live withrejection in your heart. Now you can be completely freed from these hurts. And when youare free, you will see how much love there is inside of your heart. You will discover thatyou can love in the same way that God loves. God replaces your limited and imperfect lovewith a supernatural love when you permit him to heal your broken heart. That supernaturallove is what he speaks of in Rom 5:5, the love of God is shed abroadin our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” But you must notpermit this love to stay buried under the hurts and pains. Let God heal the hurts and digup that love in your heart.

Luk 4:18 and Psa 147:3 tell us that Jesus heals the broken hearted and bindsup your wounds. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty—that is, healingand peace. And the Spirit of the Lord is near you now in the same way to heal you, restoreyou, and to liberate you. Leave all the anger and lack of forgiveness that you feelremains—all the malice and bitterness that you can have inside your heart. Decide tostop all that…free it and tell it to go. God wants to liberate you from the hurts ofrejection. Already you do not have to live with these feelings ever again.

=5= IN CASE OF ADULTERY, YOUR MARRIAGE HAS TO END
Does hope exist for your marriage if your spouse has committed adultery?
Can it be expected that you will forgive your spouse? Can your unfaithful spouse whohas repented, receive pardon and be restored to your family? When a spouse commitsadultery, the devil rejoices in going to the offended person and saying, “Good,your marriage has ended. There is nothing that you can do in retrospect. Never will you beable to pardon your spouse. Never will it be the same.” But the devil is a liar.Many people are deviated from the correct road and alienated from the will of God whendealing with adultery. Certainly it is a terrible thing. But adultery is not anexcessively great problem for God to resolve. It is not important the bondage in which youand your spouse find yourselves, God can make you free. He can bring healing andreconciliation if you permit it. The fact that your spouse has been unfaithful does notmean that your marriage is finished. Do not permit the enemy to tell you this. Yourmarriage has not been terminated. God can heal your hurts and help you to forgive.”Only the fault needs mercy.” We must remember the time when we needed mercy waswhen we failed and God pardoned us and gave us another opportunity.

We never have the right to keep a lack of forgiveness in our hearts. When you forgivein your heart, healing is produced. It will suffice to make the decision to obey the Wordof God and say, “Yes, God, I am going to forgive.”, and then the Lord willreturn to bring love inside your heart. He will restore your love for your spouse and hewill give you the power to forgive including an offense as serious as adultery. When wepermit the healing power of God, he heals the pains and changes occur.

Never permit the devil to tell you that your marriage is finished because you or yourspouse has committed adultery.
Adultery is very serious, but it is not the unpardonable sin. Jesus forgives if we repentfrom the heart and He is the Healer.

PRAY AND LET GOD RESTORE YOUR MARRIAGE
Your marriage and your family are something worthy of saving, something worthy of anysacrifice, effort, and the investment of all the resources that you have. In this way,don’t give up! Do not accept the lies of the enemy that tell you that the best thingto do is to get a divorce.

The first and the the best thing that you can do to remake your marriage is to PRAY:
Pray for your home
Pray for your spouse.
Pray with faith.
Pray with boldness.
Pray with persistence.

You must confront the devil. He is the one who is influencing your spouse. Remember thatyou have power over the enemy. Pray and take authority over the spirits that are carryingdifficulties and fights to the two of you. If you pray about that, your marriage will bebeautiful and blessed. Do not preach to your spouse what he has to do, for frequently thatonly achieves to irritate him and awaken antagonisms. Instead of that, live a pious lifein front of your spouse. Refuse to give up! (a) including if it appears that things aredelaying too much. Give God time to operate. Let God make the change. It is possible thatyou will not be happy with everything that your spouse does. There can be things that areback in the other person’s life, and you have tried to call attention to thatrespect. However, your words may appear to fall on deaf ears. Stop sermonizing and beginto pray! Pray so that God touches the heart of your spouse. If you pray, God will make thechange. Do not try to make the changes yourself. Let God make them. You do only what youknow that you have to do. The change begins through your own self. First make thosechanges to yourself that you need to do, then pray so that God makes them in your spouse.

Remember that the will of God for your marriage is that it will be filled withblessings. He has a perfect plan for you both and the enemy is trying to frustrate thatplan. But having discovered his lies, his plans, and his skullduggery, you are going tocast them out far from your life in the name of Jesus.

LESSON 7
THEN HAVING PARDONED YOUR SPOUSE, HOW DO YOU RESTORE AN ERODED RELATIONSHIP?

INTRODUCTION:
When you choose the road of a definitive dedication to your spouse and to your maritalrelationship, you will discover that such a decision leads to unconditional love (?gape),to peace and personal growth. These are only some of the rewards, but there are very goodpossibilities that also you can enjoy the blessings that God wanted to offer to yourmarriage from the beginning.

But we must warn that this love cannot grow in the same heart that accommodatesnegative attitudes and evil feelings: wrath, bitterness, resentment, pride,disillusionment, desperation, or hostility.

Eph 4:31-32 says: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, andclamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one toanother, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hathforgiven you“.

On confronting these things in your own life, not only prevent a disastrous war, but itcan open the way to endless blessings. The best of this will be a marriage filled withlove, which already you had stopped considering was possible in your marital relationship.

TO RESTORE AN ERODED RELATIONSHIP IS NECESSARY:
Change of attitude:
Concentrate yourself on your attitudes and not on those of your spouse. The measure inwhich you change, inevitably will produce an effect in your spouse.

Reject negative attitudes:
Negative attitudes are barriers that obstruct the way that leads to a genuine lovingrelationship. The barriers separate and maintain separation, obstructing and impedingprogress. In this way we can see how to confront these attitudes and to get rid of themfrom our lives, in order to clear the way for an interchange of love.

Have a loving attitude:
If you want a matrimonial relationship filled with love, you cannot give yourself to theluxury of resentment, nor to self pity, nor to wrath. “The lack of forgiveness towardyour spouse will be the mortal blow to love.”

WHAT IS THE ANSWER FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE A REASON TO FEEL LOVE FOR THEIRRESPECTIVE SPOUSES?
Love is not directed neither fed by emotions, but by the will. God provides the sources ofthis love from his own powerful nature and they are at the disposal of whatever life thatis connected with Him by faith in Jesus Christ.

 

“…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which isgiven unto us.” (Rom 5:5) This is self-sacrificing love (?gape) ofwhich the New Testament speaks: Unconditional, immutable, non-negotiable, generous beyondall measure, and marvelously kind!

WITH RESPECT TO THIS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE (?gape), WE CAN INDICATE THAT:
Self-sacrificing love means action. It is not just a benign attitude.
It means participation, and not a comfortable partiality in the needs of others.
It means unconditionally to love those that are not loveable, those that do not merit it,or those that do not respond.
It means surrendering permanently the object of love.
It means a constructive surrender and with purpose, that is not based on blindsentimentalism, but in knowledge: the knowledge of the better part of being loved.
It means that your conduct shows an always-present interest in the supreme well being ofthe one being loved.
It is the principal means and the better way of blessing your spouse.

WHAT MUST YOU DO WITH RESPECT TO THE NEGATIVE ATTITUDES FROM YOUR SPOUSE, AND TO THEBARRIERS THAT YOU HAVE RAISED AGAINST THE FREE MOVEMENT OF LOVE?
Take the initiative and seek forgiveness from your spouse.
Before anything else, stop doing that which produces feelings of indifference between thetwo of you.
Show by means of words, actions, and attitudes that you are conscious of having behavedbadly and that you want to change.
Never use the conditional conjunction, “If”, when you speak with your spouseabout the theme.
Admit simply that you have behaved badly and ask for forgiveness.
Take care that you do not relate your spouse with the problem. To make him feel guilty isone of the worst things that you can do if you want to restore the love in your maritallife.

If, after all of this, your spouse does not respond immediately, continue todemonstrate it to him by means of a constant loving conduct that you have forgiven him andyou are disposed to love him and to hope in the Lord.
God can heal and restore an eroded relationship when the people are disposed to apply HisWord to each situation. When you are ready to forgive and to abandon your negativeattitudes, God will be more disposed to heal you and to renew your mutual love. He hasbeen waiting all this time for this to occur!

LESSON 8
Opposite Temperaments: BLESSING OR CURSING?

INTRODUCTION:
Before marriage, the majority of young people see the virtues of the sweetheart, andnormally give little importance to their defects.
But at the beginning of marital life, they begin to take out a patent on the weaknesses ofthe spouse, and there begins the struggle. The bride takes account of the fact that herspouse was not as perfect as she believed and she must confront the situation. We see thefollowing principles:

INSTEAD OF REJECTING EACH OTHER MUTUALLY:
We learn to value each other as complements. Beyond the defects, our partner will be theone that complements us in a diversity of aspects. If we help each other mutually,together we edify a strength. We need the qualities of our spouse.

IRON SHARPENS IRON: Pro 27:17
We are reciprocally the perfect file to grow in the Lord. Marriage brings to evidence thedefects that we ourselves ignore and permits us, with the grace of God, to be transformed.In this sense, we must go from conflict to harmony.
Our differences must not be resolved with threats of separation or divorce.
So much the husband as the wife must pray in this way:
Pray about our own attitude: Am I failing? Am I hurt? Or Do I have bitterness? Do I wantto change him? Confess your own faults.
Pray for your spouse even when you don’t feel the desire to do it, and ask God tomake you see the real situation, and that he give you sensibility.
Pray that He help you both to converse adequately, with an attitude of total sincerity,with conciliatory encouragement, humility and forgiveness.
Pray for God to fill you with love. That He manifest in you both the love that coversfaults, and that all believe it, all support it, all forgive it, all expect it.

OUR PERMANENT ATTITUDE:
To love him in spite of all without accenting his weaknesses. Do not fall into the trap ofSatan and begin to see yourself always from a negative perspective. (Col 3:17-18 Phi4:8 Luk 6:38).

THE BEAUTY OR THE BEAST:
The passage of time must not affect your exterior care for yourself (as much for the womanas for the man). We are the creation of God and therefore, we must do what is possible toembellish ourselves externally and internally. A woman that has embellished her heartwants to take care of herself in the place where the Holy Spirit lives. It is arduous tohear from the point of view of a husband who complains of the unkemptness of the wife inthis aspect. And also, what is it for a wife to see that her husband already does not havepersonal orderliness as when they were sweethearts.

LESSON 9
HOW DO YOU CONFRONT THE TRANSITIONS IN THE FAMILY?

INTRODUCTION:
Without doubt, the conflicts, problems, and transitions are part of the process of lifethat we must learn to face. Every stage of life is marvelous, if we know to affirm it andface it with the help of the Lord. However, there are situations that can unleash profoundcrises in families and marriages such as:
1= In the family order (the death of a loved one, the birth of children).
2= In the spouses (change of ages to 20, 30, 40, 50…).
3= Through the years of marriage (by the departure of the children, etc.).

=1= HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THE DIFFICULTIES THAT BRING DISTINCT TRANSITIONS?
Having the mind prepared for these moments, and working together to pass them in the bestway possible. THE TRANSITIONS MUST SERVE TO INCREASE OUR FAITH.

The negative reactions arise in the mind and it is necessary to knock down thesefortresses in the name of Jesus. (Eph 6:10-13). What are these thoughts?
Presumptions:
About the other person, unfavorable judgments toward your spouse.
Making generalizations:
He never does such a thing…
Making exaggerations:
To increase something negative about the other person.
The lack of hope blocks belief:
To resign yourself to live without improving therelationship.
Permanent negative thoughts:
You must reject them.
Believing yourself a victim of a situation:
It produces fear and a lack of hope.
To assign insidious labels:
To encase a person in a negative quality (For example: myspouse is very selfish), of which ends in binding that person instead of helping him tochange.

If we opt to permit negative expressions of whatever kind to have influence over us, weconvert ourselves into prisoners of our own minds. On tying ourselves to these negativethoughts, we limit our development.

=2= HOW WE SHOULD WORK SO THAT OUR MARRIAGE CONTINUES FORWARD AND PROSPERS:
Identify which were the difficult moments or those of dispute, contrasting them in themind with the “good” times. See the difference and continue aiming to improvewhat was bad.
Concentrate on the solutions and not on the problems, accentuating permanently thepositives and always invoking before all, the power and direction of God.
Do the unexpected, the unpredictable.

=3= FOUR STEPS FOR CONQUEST FACING THE PROBLEMS:
The example of Jehoshaphat (2Chr 20):
They humbled themselves:
Jehoshaphat could use reasoning and say, “There is nothing that we can do.”If God promised a revival, we are simply going to sit ourselves down and wait until ithappens. But if Jehovah had granted them 24 hours, it must be for a more profound reasonthan for a simple rest.
“And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and theinhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.” (2Chr 20:18).

You cannot have great victories without falling at the feet of Christ. Does it not fitthe smallest possibility that something special will happen in your marriage, unless youare not willing to seek the presence of God and respond to him in each one of the stormsand difficult transitions that you will have to face. Our force, strength, wisdom, plans,and projects must be subject to the will of God, with humility and transparency.

They were united:
“And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of thechildren of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice onhigh.” (2Chr 20:19).
It is true that the Levites praised Jehovah, but nothing would have served that praiseif the Levites had not been united to worship. Jehoshaphat knew that unity was much morethan singing a song in unison. Jehoshaphat had a very clear view that unity meant, to becommitted to the same cause. We must be conscious that the enemy seeks to destroy and toaffect unity in marriage in distinct ways: economic problems, difficulties incommunication, problems with children, storms of all kinds. He knows that a kingdomdivided cannot prevail, and he intends to sow bitterness, lack of forgiveness,resentments, to divide them. Luk 11:17 tells us, “But he, knowing theirthoughts, said unto them,. Every kingdom divided against itself is brought todesolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.”

Instead we know that unity brings victory and blessing. Unite yourself to your spousein times of testing and together seek help from the Lord: Mat 18:19 tells us:AgainI say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that theyshall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

They believed God and they do not look at circumstances:
“And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa:and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitantsof Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe hisprophets, so shall ye prosper.” (2Chr 20:20)
If they have humbled themselves and are united in the same cause, it only diminishesthe problem. To believe unconditionally in God and his prophets, it is necessary, as amarried couple, to put our eyes on Jesus and not on the circumstances. We believe that Hehas a way out for each one of our difficulties, even though it appears to us impossible tosolve. He is the God of the impossible. He only expects you to believe in Him.

They broke all the spirits of religion. They believed God and acted with faith:
All the people had humbled themselves, united themselves, and believed God. Now theproblem is reduced to what is the most important: to have a broad mind exempt forreligiosity, to accept a strategy of war in the “style of God”.
“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD,and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and tosay, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (2Chr 20:21)
To read the story through the pages of the Bible gives us interesting results, but try toimagine that your nation has declared war and the president decides to attack the invaderswith guitars and traditional songs. All the world will doubt the mental health of thepresident and someone will ask that he immediately be relieved of his position. Religiontries to reduce the plans of God to a standard model that later it intends to repeatthrough history. Religion worships systematic liturgy and intends to place God in adogmatic box. The same Lord compared the religious with old wineskins that had nocapability to expand with new wine. Nicodemus knew that the Lord was the Messiah. He hadwaited for Him all his life. He had only to throw himself into the arms of Christ for whomhe had always waited and tell him that he loved Him. But religion was more available, andhe decided to hide himself in the shadows of the night to meet with the one for whom washis reason for living. Jesus himself did not fill the religious expectations of thetheologians of the time. He had been born in a stable instead of in a palace. He healedthe blind spitting in the dirt and anointing the eyes with clay. He spoke with prostitutesand Samaritans and ate with people of low reputation. He was surrounded by men of littleeducation, those that he called to be his disciples. He cast the moneychangers out of thetemple with a corded whip and provoking a great disturbance with the demons and some pigsin Gadara. And he was used to doing such things as…walking on the water ormultiplying the loaves and the fishes. The teacher knew that religion and the power of Godare incompatible. It is necessary that both are available to act to conform to the will ofGod, even though at times what the Lord asks you to do is totally contrary to humanreasoning. Obey His Word! Build your marriage on the rock and you will be secure. You willsee that neither the rain nor the largest storm will be able to destroy it because it isfounded on Jesus Christ, the firm rock.

=4= CONCLUSION:
“Christians have been called to be different and that difference includes buildinga marriage and a family that lasts forever. A family where peace and true lovereign.”

LESSON 10
HOW TO HEAL THE HURTS OF THE FAMILY

INTRODUCTION:
How many families feel damaged and hurt? How many children feel misunderstood? How manywives don’t feel loved? How many men feel unsatisfied? Without a doubt there arevarious causes that produce this type of hurt. In this lesson we will study some of them,and what the correct attitudes should be so that these hurts will be healed.

=1= TO REFUSE TO FORGIVE:
To refuse to forgive causes a pain that dries the soul. Not to forgive bringsconsequences.

1= To refuse to forgive means that God will not forgive you.
After teaching about our Father, Jesus added, “For if ye forgive men theirtrespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men theirtrespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Mat 6:14,15)

We must search our hearts for the times that we have not forgiven our spouses.

Psychological problems, depression, lack of rest, internal conflict, and the lack ofsatisfaction are only some of the results for not extending forgiveness. Somethingworse, “…Lest Satan should get an advantage of us…” (2Cor2:10,11)

=2 To refuse to forgive brings us problems and stains our spirits.
__When we do not forgive, we retain anger. Give it a little time and we will feelresentment. To refuse to deal with resentment turns us bitter. Bitterness contaminates theatmosphere of our lives. Bitter people invite problems. God has given us the power toforgive.

__ Put your hand to the grace of God and use it to forgive your spouse.

God gives all necessary grace to forgive any action that hurts us. (Heb 12:15)Think about the benefits: *God forgives us of our sins. *God takes away our pain. *Godtakes away the problems.

Some people misunderstand forgiveness. They believe that to forgive, first it isessential to feel good about the person that hurt you. But our part is simply to carry ouroffenses, our pain and memories to Jesus Christ and to leave them there. We can trust Him!“…Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Rom 12:19). “…even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”(Col 3:13) To forgive others isnot a suggestion. It is a command!

=2= BATTLES:
Jam 3:16 “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evilwork.”
Pro 20:3 “It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will bemeddling.”

1= Is it necessary for two to fight?
If one does not respond, there cannot be a fight.
One of the spouses has to assume an active attitude against fighting. It is not a passivepretense nor a defiant silence. For example, the game of the Chinese whirlpool at the fairis easier to stop at the beginning that after having achieved much velocity. (Pro 15:1).

2= It is more important to avoid fighting than to appear justified. (Mat 23:12):
Sow love when the other person sows contention. (Rom 12:9 Phi 2:3 Gal 5:14-15).
Your spouse is not your enemy, only Satan is. (Eph 6:12). It is very common to hearfrom a woman, “My husband is a devil”. When the seeds of peace and harmony aresown, it guarantees an abundant harvest of the same nature.

3= A truce in the battle:
Agreeing one with the other permits you to declare a truce at any moment. To call a truceis to recognize that the two of you, including you yourself, are in a battle. (Don’tsay, “you are provoking a fight”). Surrender your most ignoble member (thetongue) to the control of the Holy Spirit. (Jam 3:3-10). Pray together in theSpirit (Gal 6:8). You will be sewing to the Spirit and not to the flesh. Yourharvest will bring what you have sowed. AMEN!!

=3= THE LOSS OF CONFIDENCE:
1= Trust, a definition: to depend on (by means of internal certainty), to cede, toobey, dependence of integrity, of the righteousness of a person. At times it is almostimpossible to trust in people. People injure, disillusion, and hurt us. And many times ithas been our spouse who has done such things.

The majority of couples begin marriage trusting one another, but the trust is lostover the years, due to bad treatment, lack of respect, stated failures, adultery, physicalabuse, abandonment, etc. When trust has been lost, constant jealousy, doubts, fear, andsuspicions exists. (Jam 3:16), “For where envying and strife is, there isconfusion…”.

How to restore trust:
There exists only one way to restore trust in a marriage.
When trust has been eroded or broken, we have to put our trust in God and not in man. (Jer17:5). How? Forgiving.
Forgive sin or disillusionment that makes the lack of trust grow. If we do not forgive,God cannot intervene.
God heals the situation when both are available to forgive.
God is greater than the problem. God is capable of changing hearts. (Jer 32:39 Eze11:19)
When we put our trust in God, we liberate one another to grow.
Because our trust is not based on fulfillment from another, it takes away an enormouspressure over each of the spouses.
Our trust is based on the fact that Jesus is better than the problem, and that He guidesus to victory. (1Cor 15:5).

We remember what seemed to be beauty and magic the first time we met our spouse, howmuch we loved sharing time, experiences, and emotions, and how much we longed to betogether and laugh. Perhaps time has erased these sweet and tender moments, and today weonly have in mind the bad times. But determine to revive that first love that you had withyour spouse. Return to do the same things that you did when you wanted to conquer yourspouse. Don’t let routine and pride ruin something so important for your happiness.

Remember that your family is the primary cell of society and that you will not be ableto reach the city if first you do not intend to revive the love in your family. As we havestudied, do your part and God will do the miracle.

LESSON 12
FOUR LITTLE MARRIAGE “SECRETS”

INTRODUCTION:
Those of us who have been married for some time know that a good matrimonial relationshipis not easy to achieve. It requires dedication, effort, and some other little”secrets”. To continue, we have some of these little “secrets”.

=1= FOUR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN:

When he arrives home, he desires to find tranquility and silence. So much time in his dayhas been agitated and exhausting. He desires to arrive at the oasis of his home. She, onher part, is attending to his domestic tasks, surrounded by children, and she wants to beable to communicate with someone at her own level. In this way, he seeks silence andshe conversation.

If he decides to speak, his interest rotates around his work and his own activitiesin so much that she wants to chat about the things of the home.

When they go for a walk, there is nothing more pleasurable for the wife than to gowindow shopping. On the other hand, for the husband this results in torture.

Saving means for her, she can buy for $100 what is valued at $200. For him it is tohave the money kept in the bank.

=2= FOUR PHRASES THAT YOU MUST AVOID:
If we are not going to speak something that edifies, it is better to be quiet. Thesephrases should not just be sayings:

“You never do what you are told!” It is typical of a tyrant.

“You are just like your mother (father).” This constitutes an offense,and besides you do not know the Biblical principle that to believe in Christ we are”new creatures” and “the old things pass away.”

“You don’t understand anything!” This originates from a proudposition that depreciates the one who stands before you.

“The guilt is yours!” This is doing what Pontius Pilate did, to wash yourhands of it. Almost always the guilt is distributed 50% to each one.

Also, there are two words that you should agree to discard, “always”and “never” (“You are always in a badmood!” “You never ask for forgiveness!”)

=3= FOUR VERY NECESSARY ELEMENTS FOR THE HEALTH OF THE MARRIAGE.
There are certain basic ingredients that you must not lack for love to be maintained andto still grow.

 

PATIENCE. It is not easy, but the result is indispensable so that maritalharmony is not broken.

 

WILLINGNESS TO FORGIVE. Holding resentment isolates and separates spouses.Forgiveness restores the relationship.

 

PRIORITIZE THE OTHER PERSON. It is important to think first about our spouseand be willing to give up your own rights. Selfishness is one of the most destructiveelements in a couple.

 

SELF CONTROL. Discussion takes two. Precisely, one must learn to calm himselfuntil the situation is calm. We must take care to avoid a deterioration in the dealingthat will have repercussions on affections. All of this can only be achieved in the Lord,because love is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22).

=4= FOUR KEY COMMANDMENTS FOR THE FAMILY (Col 3:18-21)
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” Subjectionis not a human invention, but a command from the Lord.
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”
The loving treatment by the husband is very important. The woman feels secure and contentwith a lovable and gentle husband.
“Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto theLord.” Obedience is one of the things
most appreciated by God.
“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Thetreatment of children must be firm, but just and respectful.

LESSON 12
Save your family from chaos!
PRACTICE FAMILY WORSHIP

INTRODUCTION:
Healing in relationships with forgiveness, unity and harmony. All can recuperate if everyday we lift up our home on the family altar. Deu 6:5-9
“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul,and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thineheart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thousittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, andwhen thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shallbe as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house,and on thy gates.”

Larry Christenson, writing about family life in his book, What Way is There for theFamily? , punctuates some frequent situations.
Mothers cry on discovering lies and deceit from their adolescent daughters and theirrebellion against all authority in adolescent boys. The parents cannot understand thattheir children throw by the wayside their virginity to follow the current that marks theworld. Fathers and mothers are disoriented before the conduct of their children from sevenand eight years old. The wives complain of their husbands for the lack of attention, andthe husbands feel tired from working so much, and on top of it all, to bear the complaintsof their wives. These are only some of the griefs and bondages that families live withtoday.

=1= WHAT CAN YOU DO TO IMPROVE THE FAMILY SITUATION?

May the mother and the father put themselves in agreement to trace a direction for thefamily.
May the spiritual education of the children not be left only in the hands of the church,but may it be practiced in the family group.
May the parents live under the authority of God and be responsible for all their actions,to serve as an example to their children.

 

The family altar is the most appropriate place to promote harmony, forgiveness,understanding, and appreciation between the members of the family.

These are the goals that we have to have present if we want a healthy family.

=2= WHY DOES IT RESULT IN BEING SO DIFFICULT TO CELEBRATE THE FAMILY ALTAR?
After finishing a survey among Christian families from diverse places, it has beenverified that only a minority of them meet together to pray. The majority give thanks atdinner time or they dedicate some short time to tell Bible stories to the children.
This is the list of difficulties that those families indicate that it is not possible forthem to celebrate a family religion.
We do not eat all at the same hour.
Our work schedules do not coincide.
We do not know how to do it.
We do not have time.
We have not had preparation for that.
We fear that it will not give any results.
We do not know how to pray aloud.
We do not pray like we see others do.
We do not know know how to set in motion a devotional.
My wife must do it.
We feel ashamed to do it in front of the children.

All these objection are nothing more than unjustified excuses or fears based ondestructive tensions. A family that does not pray together, cannot communicate well.

The family tensions are in need of a neutralizing action. The most effective is todevelop the habit of communication and prayer. That is the value of the family altar.

=3= HOW DO YOU BEGIN A FAMILY ALTAR?
Objectives of a family altar:
To help each member of the family grow in the knowledge of God and of His Word.
To help each person express in a natural way about the Lord, and to pray in an open andnatural way.
To unite the family with Christ in the center.

Ideas to make it interesting:
Avoid a rigid and formal format. Seek variety.
Have different people read the Bible and pray.
Read two versions of the Bible at the same time.
Ask a person to pray for each member of the family.
Short prayers: Have each person pray using one theme, following one another like links ina chain.
Ask each person to pray for the person on their right.
Vary the devotional times with music, short choruses, or a cassette.

=4= PUT FAITH INTO PRACTICE:
The parents must begin to affirm the truths of God in themselves. Soon they will noticethat they can dialogue among themselves about these values in a fluid and natural way.Father and mother must mutually encourage children saying things like:
“I believe that we can do this with our family.”
“We need to practice family religion together.”
“We can do it with the help of God.”

=5= DON’T WAIT:
Begin to practice the family altar this same day. It is not important that you have olderchildren or that some are spiritually cold. In the family altar, our needs of the home aresatisfied. It cures the resentments between parents and children. The words pronounced ina moment of nervousness and have caused some hurts, are healed when all are called beforethe presence of the Lord. Admit that all need God. To confess our sins, to manifest ourlove, and to pray one for another, is only a privilege of those families that practice thefamily altar.
Don’t these appear to be more than sufficient motives to begin today?

LESSON 13
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR THE WOMAN:
“THAT THEY TEACH THE WOMEN TO BE CARETAKERS OF THEIR HOME”

INTRODUCTION:
In these in particular, where the philosophies of women’s liberation have influencedeven Christians, it would appear that touching the theme of the woman and the home isputting us into controversial questions. Neither do they lack those that aspire todiminish the authority of the Word of God for today, alleging that these affirmations area mere reflection of the reigning culture in the times in which it was written. TheApostle Paul wrote, inspired by the Holy Spirit, when the argument arose over the positionof women, not being based on the normative cultures, but on the Scriptures, from Genesisuntil his day. We see, therefore, this theme.

=1= WHAT THE WORD OF GOD DOES NOT MEAN:
The Apostle Paul was NOT teaching that a woman could not be active outside of the home.For example: as a professional woman…Pro 31:16,24 presents us with thevirtuous woman involved in tasks that transcended the sphere of the home.

The Apostle Paul was NOT teaching that a woman must do all the work by herself. Nohusband that loves his wife with sincerity can stop himself from giving in andcollaborating with her to help her in the heavy tasks of the home, but instead, arguingthat it is her responsibility. We see the model in these passages in Phi 2:5-8; 1Pet3:7. If the husband can, he should provide extra help to the woman by means of anemployee. (She must administer his time.)

The Apostle Paul was NOT teaching that the woman is like a second class citizen. In theeyes of God, the scriptural position of men and woman are exactly the same. Gen 1:27-28Gal 3:28. We must understand that God has established differences as for the roles ofone to another, and that to be a good wife at home for God is not less important than tobe a good executive. Be careful with inferiority complexes! Improper perspective of selfand of your labor, the incorrect teaching of Biblical truth or having suffered abuse ordenigrative wrongs by some man, can leave a woman to feel inferior. This responds to themalignant desire to make her feel under the curse of Eve. As women of God we cannot permitit.

=2= WHAT THE WORD OF GOD MEANS:
“We must put in order our priorities.”
The apostle declares that the woman will be saved in childbearing if she would remainin faith, love, and sanctification with modesty (1Tim 2:11-15), Beyond alltheological speculation, we clearly gather that God has established that a woman can findgreater fulfillment in life raising and caring for a family for the Lord. To resist thisprocess is to work against the divine principle. Even though God permits the married womana great freedom of action, the priority to follow is to care for, with happiness, theneeds of her children, her husband, and her home.

LESSON 14
“MAY THEY TEACH WOMEN…TO BE SUBJECT TO THEIR HUSBANDS”

INTRODUCTION:
The theme of submission, just like other themes, has emerged in full in the twentiethcentury as a matter of controversy. The major problem is that there are those whomisinterpret and teach what they would want it to say, reflecting their own subjectivityand prejudices. We approach the principle of submission of the wife toward her husbandbased on the following scriptures: Eph 5:22-24; 33 Col 3:18 Tit 2:4-5 1Tim 2:9-12 1Pet3:1-6.

=1= WHAT SUBMISSION IS NOT:
Submission is NOT a concept only for women. It is applicable to all believers. (Eph5:21 Phi 2:3-4 Rom 13:1 Heb 13:17 Col 3:12-15).
Submission does NOT mean that the wife will be a slave. The wife is never as free as whenshe is subject to her husband, because she has the freedom to be all that God arranges forher (Pro 31:10-31).
Submission does NOT mean that the woman never opens her mouth, that she can never give anopinion, a counsel or to say what she feels. (Compare Pro 31:26 Act 18:26 Gen 24:57-58).
The husband that represses his wife does not love Christ. Instead, he should honor her. (Rom12:10), serve her (Gal 5:13), bear her burdens (Gal 6:2), encourage her(1The 4:18). In other words, to win the respect and submission of the wife.
Submission does NOT mean that the wife will be inferior to her husband. It speaks betterabout order, structure, and of different roles. (All of us must be in submission to ourauthorities: to the president, the governor, etc. His role is superior in authority tothat of the common citizen, but that does not mean that these citizens are inferior to himin dignity.)
Submission does NOT mean that the wife is a flower of decoration. That concept makes herabilities lie dormant.
Submission does NOT mean that a wife must be indulgent or an accomplice as for sin becauseher husband demands it. At times she must say, “It is necessary to obey God beforemen.” But be careful! There are exceptional cases that clearly violate the Word ofGod. Never must we use the Word of God to justify our rebellious heart. If by someserious motive you must disobey, you will do it in a loving and submissive way, explainingyour reasons with calmness and clarity, assuring your husband that your love and loyaltycontinue in a tangible way.
Submission does NOT imply that a wife must be subject to physical or psychological abuseas part of her marriage. That goes beyond what she can stand. In this case, as in others,we must seek help from those that preside over us in the Lord.

=2= WHAT SUBMISSION IS:
Responsibility of the woman: I
n no place does it say that the husband is owedsubmission by means of his strength. Better said, it is commanded to the woman that shesubmit. (Eph 5:22 1Pet 3:1)
The Scriptures indicate to us that submission must be continuous:
In this way, it isindicated in the verbal tense of the Greek. It has to be the wife’s lifestyle.
Submission is a commandment and not an option:
The verb is imperative. Submission isnot based on the form by which the husband treats the wife, nor does it ever remainconditioned on the abilities, talents, education, or spiritual state of the husband. (1Pet3:1 Luk 2:51).
Submission is spiritual:
You must do it as “unto the Lord” (Eph 5:22).To deny submission to your husband is equivalent to rebellion against Christ.
Submission is a positive concept, not a negative one: It emphasizes more what youshould do than what you cannot do. Submission is creative freedom under the divinelyordained authority. (Bill Gothard). It speaks of being companions, working on a team,struggling for the same goals. She helps and recognizes her husband without trying tosurpass him.
Submission involves attitudes of the wife besides her actions: Submission of thewife should be joyful, not servile, nor from evil gain. How did Christ serve the Father? Joh4:34 Psa 40:7-8. SUBJECTION IS WORKING OUT EXTERNALLY AN INTERNAL ATTITUDE OFSUBMISSION. SUBMISSION IS AN ATTITUDE OF THE HEART.

=3= WHAT THE WOMAN MUST NOT DO:
Do not take the place that belongs to the husband.
Do not be the leader in the family.
Do not decide everything.
Do not be independent.
Do not be insolent or treat him with disrespect.
Do not hold resentments.
Do not treat his family badly.
Do not be possessive.

=4= WE APPLY WHAT WE SEE:
How can you express submission to your husband in the following areas?
Planning the home: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.
Of food, cleaning, shopping: It is not achieved quickly. It requires dedication.
Sexual relationships.
Discipline of children.
The work of the husband.
Family devotions.
What habits bother my husband? In which of them do I demonstrate that I am not submissive?
Think about ways that you can correct or counsel your husband without being bossy orupsetting him.
How can I demonstrate respect to my husband? In what way can I make him know that he isimportant to me?
Does my husband have needs that I can supply, that I am not doing? How can I help himbetter?
Am I competing with him in some area? Do I want to be above him or at least equal to himin authority?
As a married woman, have I established the correct priorities in my life? Am I too busyoutside the home that I abandon the needs of my husband and my children?

=5= AN INTROSPECTIVE VIEW:
We help ourselves by being ready to see if our activity outside the home is balanced withthe needs of the home. If you do not work outside the home, but have other activities orif you participate as a worker in the work of the Lord, respond to the followingquestions.

=1. Do I find myself too tired to cook and maintain my home in order? Yes _____ No _____
=2. Am I gradually losing interest in my home? Yes _____ No _____
=3. Is my husband demonstrating signs of tiredness and anxiety on account of my inabilityto prepare things in their proper time? Yes _____ No _____
=4. Do I have very little time to receive people and show hospitality? Yes _____ No _____
=5. Am I irritated easily with my children because I am always tired? Yes _____ No _____
=6. Do I always want to eat outside the home? Yes _____ No _____

If you work outside the home and have answered YES to some question, what attitude do youbelieve God expects from you?
Observing the Scriptures, we arrive at the conclusion that the primary ministry of thewife is her husband. When God created Eve for Adam, he said, “It is not goodthat man be alone. I will make him an help meet for him.”. That is to say,corresponding or adequate.
“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed everybeast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what hewould call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the namethereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beastof the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.And theLORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs,and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken fromman, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” (Gen 2:18-22)

=6= IMPORTANT TEACHINGS FOR A GOOD RELATIONSHIP:
Various important factors come out of this passage about the relationship of the wife withher husband:
God created the woman to be a help to the man.
Without the help of the woman, the man even in his perfection is incomplete. “To makethe woman, God took a bone from the part near the heart of Adam, so that he would love herand care for her under his arm to protect her and she would be his equal. He did not takeher from the foot so that he would step on her, neither from the head so that she woulddominate him or subjugate him. The plan of God is good. Extracted from “Women Full ofGrace”, B. J. Grams.

God created the woman to correspond to man. She is similar to man but somethingdifferent. She is the complement of man, not his carbon copy. She is to the man what a keyis to the latch and what film is to the camera: indispensable. (1Cor 11:11).

According to the Scriptures, the wife was created to fill the needs, the lacks, and theincapacity of her husband. She was created to be the singular help of her husband. Heshould treat her well and not badly all the days of his life. (Pro 31:12). She mustbe like a fruitful vine in the house of her husband (Psa 128:3). She should be oneflesh with her husband and this only occurs when she accepts and fulfills God’sarranged role in which she accepts and fulfills marriage. Subjection does not reduce thewoman.

Act in obedience to the Holy Spirit and to the Word of God, realizing the changes thatwill be necessary (Phi 2:12-13).

=7= HOW CHRISTIAN WOMEN LIVE THESE TRUTHS WITH HAPPINESS: Gen 1:27 Gen 2:18Gen 2:24.
“That after the fall, God promised redemption by means of a Son from the seed of thewoman.”
“That Jesus dignified us with his life, teachings, death, and resurrection.”
“That Jesus was a friend of women, and they participated in great truths, like theSamaritan woman, and Martha and Mary.”
“That women were witnesses of the resurrection.”
“That women have the Holy Spirit and a direct and personal relationship withHim.”
“That women have eternal life and a great responsibility in the kingdom of God forits extension.”

LESSON 15
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR THE MAN

INTRODUCTION:
God created the family and there is only blessing if each member performs his role inaccordance with the Will of God, not saying one to another what God demanded, but seeingto his own role.

=1= WHAT THE WORD OF GOD DOES NOT SAY:
Col 3:19 Eph 5:25-33 1Pet 3:7
Remember that your wife is your companion and not your property.
The man must understand that “they are one flesh”. If you do not treat your wifewell, in reality you do evil to yourself.
Do not depreciate your wife.
Love is not only a feeling, but a series of actions.
Do not seek your own comfort.
The man that is selfish, does not treat his wife as “a co-inheritor of divinegrace”, and therefore, he walks out of the Will of God.
Do not measure your wife from the masculine point of view, but accept her as God hasaccepted her.
Do not leave to your wife all the responsibility of instructing the children in the way ofthe Lord. You must do it together.
Do not think that your affairs do not concern your wife.

WHAT THE WORD OF GOD MEANS:
The husband must surrender his life to Jesus in such a way that his family finds Christ inhim by his example and not by coercion.
The Christian husband must surrender his life in loving service to his wife so that hersubmission is given voluntarily (Eph 5:25).
To arrive at being a pious husband, take a step at the same time on the road to humilityand blessing.
Maintain the love of your wife in the same way that you won her.
Cooperate with your wife in establishing family discipline.
Exercise your authority with firmness but with love, not with authoritarianism.
Take the sacred responsibility and build the home as a primary task.
Arrive at your house with jovial encouragement.
Remember that your home must be maintained as holy.
Love your wife as Christ loved the church.
Be lovable with your wife, respecting her femininity. Do not be rough.
Treat her as a fragile vessel. She is fragile emotionally. She is more sensible, not weak,but she is an attribute that God gave you to exercise her role of motherhood.
Listen to her with attention when she speaks.
The woman that feels loved and understood rarely manifests rebellion.
Take time to dialogue with her, to know what she thinks and what she feels.
Appreciate the strength of your wife and manifest caring and understanding to her.
It will renew your strength as you feel supported.
A lot more is obtained with a kiss than with orders and criticism.
Provide a worthy standard of living, and cover your family with faith, prayer, and love.
Be more communicative with the children. It is important to know what they feel and whatthey think.
As head of the family you are responsible. You are the principal authority, but not theonly one.
You are a collaborator with God.
You must be under the authority of Christ (1Cor 11:3).
You must not annihilate the woman. Her opinion must be important to you to value the helpthat God gave you.

=3= APPLICATION OF WHAT WE HAVE SEEN:

?How can you express love to your wife?
In the home.
Sexual relations.
Discipline.
Family devotions
Life in the church.
What personal habits bother your wife?
In what things do you not demonstrate being loving?
What form can you use that your wife subjects herself to you without ordering her?
Does your wife have needs that you are not supplying?
As a husband, have you established the correct priorities in your life?
Are you so busy that your wife is a widow and your children orphans?
Does your wife feel that you understand her?
Do you know if she is happy with you?
Do you know how she feels and what she thinks?
What attitude do you believe God expects of you?

=4= UNDERSTANDING WOMEN:

Women have emotional changes through various hormonal cycles. In the days before herperiod, she has retention of fluid and is more irritable. There is depression andnervousness and pain in the lower womb. Perhaps these symptoms are not seen in all women,but in many. They need more of our care and understanding.
In pregnancy, she must adapt to changes in her body and to diverse discomforts. Then thebaby is born and a stage of intensive care follows. But this does not mean that she hasforgotten her husband. In that moment she has exceeding strength…it is that of beinga mother. It is adequate to the time of intense demands of the baby in this first stage ofits life. The man needs to have time to be with his friends or to practice some sport, butalso he must separate out time to invite her to eat out, or to share a walk, and, ifpossible a surprise honey moon! This intimacy brings them to a better knowledge and mutualunderstanding. This is not achieved in one day or another, but is possible if they counton the help and approval of God.

=5= WHAT DOES THE WOMAN LONG FOR?
SHE LONGS TO BE LOVED, RESPECTED, APPRECIATED, VALUED, ENCOURAGED, PRAISED, BY HER HUSBANDLOVER.

=6= THE HUSBAND:
God has called him to love his wife and to represent Christ in the home. To know theseprinciples will help nothing, unless you put them into practice. Examine your life inlight of the Word of God. If you are failing in some area, we suggest that you do thefollowing:
Confess your sin to God and to your wife.
Seek forgiveness from God through the blood of Christ.
Ask the Holy Spirit for the power to be different.
Act in obedience to the Word of God, and put into effect the necessary changes.
Phil 2:12-13 Jam 1:19-25

LESSON 16
THE RAISING OF CHILDREN
Part 1

INTRODUCTION:
When the Lord ends his magisterial teaching of the Sermon on the Mount, he compares thelife of two types of people.
The two have similar circumstances in their existence. There was rain, floods, and blowingwinds that came with impetus against each one of them. One life fell because he had builthis house on the sand. The other, on the contrary, stood firm because he had built hishouse on the rock.
Obedience or not to the Word of God determines the difference in our existence betweensuccess or failure.“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he willkeep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abodewith him.”(Joh 14:23)

It is our responsibility to build up the family that God has given us. Modern life,with its routine vertigo, its information avalanche, its incapacity to understand andsolve the most elemental needs of man, its solitude and lack of transcendent values,gives, as a result, a model of society in which our children and youth do not findexamples on which to reflect in order to grow and develop healthy lives.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For menshall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedientto parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers,incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, loversof pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the powerthereof: from such turn away.” (2Tim 3:1-5)

=1= ON WHOM DOES THE RESPONSIBILITY FALL FOR RAISING CHILDREN?
The primary responsibility lies with the parents.
It is true that the meetings, the preaching of the Word of God, the praises, and thelessons in Sunday School contribute in beneficial form in the life of our children, butthat contributes insufficient results if the parents do not take responsibility forraising and forming children “in the Lord”.
God lent us children so that we will raise them in a manner such that they can be adoptedinto His great family. We only have between 18 and 20 years to complete in them the stageof formation and preparation for adulthood.
Neither pastors nor Sunday School, grandparents, uncles nor college professors areresponsible before God. We recognize that in determined circumstances, and by greaterstrength, others are touched to raise the children of others, but the privilege and theresponsibility is on their own parents.

God did not create children for no one. There is an exception in Scripture
“A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holyhabitation.
God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains:but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”
(Psa 68:5-6)

The apostolic mandate is clear, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children towrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4)

=2= RAISING CHILDREN: A SERVICE FOR GOD:
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is hisreward.”
(Psa 127:3)

To raise children is not only to give them a roof, clothing, food, education, ordiversion, but parents must occupy themselves especially with inculcating the values,attitudes and actions that cause them to be formed in accordance with the plan of God fortheir lives.

“To be a father is a job, an occupation, a ministry, a service, not a position orhuman hierarchy.

It is to be attentive over the life of our children, caring for them and giving theminstruction with all diligence and WATCHFULNESS so that they will be obedient to conformto the indications that we gave them. We must take seriously the job of caring that theyobey and do what is asked of them.

=3= WHAT ARE OUR OBJECTIVES AND OUR GOALS IN RAISING THEM?
That they have a personal relationship with God:
Guide them from the time when they are small to an intimate relationship directly withGod. They must grow with the conscience that “The Lord” is the King of our home,and He is a present listener and is active in our conversations.” Give them anincentive to be thankful and to honor the Lord. Teach them to pray to the Lord in theirwords.

The formation of character:
Develop in them the feeling of responsibility together with a solid moral base. Anotherfundamental aspect is their own control. They have to be able to control their feelingsand their likes, and yet subordinate their interests to others who are older.

Social formation:
We must teach them to progress in pleasant and correct form with others. To teach themfrom the time they are very small to respect and be subject to those in authority.

=4= WHAT ARE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES?
To love:
It means to accept them totally as they are, with their own sex, defects, physicalcharacteristics, personality, etc. Our children perceive from very small if they are notaccepted by their parents. Physical contact and the expressions of caring are a veryimportant manifestation of that love.
To instruct:
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not departfrom it.”
(Pro 22:6)
Instruction includes teaching, indoctrination, formation, equipping, and communication.
Instruction aims to form the moral character of our children, that they will be honest,just, generous, forgivers that have respect for others, and diligent. It is fundamentalthat we give them an incentive for spiritual sensitivity and a good disposition beforeGod.
How? Living naturally our relationship with God, praying regularly with them, tellingBiblical accounts and stories that emphasize goodness, justice and healing from God. Thosethat learn this in the first 6 years of life, will remain impressed for always.
The most important instruction is that we can tell our children is what Paul said to theCorinthians, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am ofChrist.” (1Cor 11:1)

=5= THE IMPORTANCE OF HARMONY AMONG PARENTS:
Among parents they must be in agreement. Your children will use these discrepancies”for their own benefit”.
First ask your mother if she does not answer in agreement, then go to your father or viceversa. The question is to leave with the same mind. In this way it is “how childrenlearn the method of obtaining what they want”, or what is the alternative, to berebellious against authority.
For Example:
-Mama, Can I go on a trip at the end of the semester with my companions?
Did you ask your father? (Observe how the mother gives place and honor to paternalauthority in front of her child.) When the son or daughter comes with the question, thefather gives an answer in agreement to what previously he had decided with his wife.
It is important that both are prepared to know what and how to respond before the distinctrequirements of daily life. If you have not tried the theme previously, you can respond tothe following:
“I am not going to answer you now. I am going to deal with the theme with your motherand then we will see.” We must occupy ourselves with giving a clear answer, YES orNO.
We must not discuss it in front of our children.
We must not speak evil, neither in negative form about a person in front of them, norpermit them to do it.

LESSON 17
KEYS FOR DISCIPLINE AND DIALOGUE WITH OUR SMALL CHILDREN
Part 2
BE CAREFUL WITH THE ANSWERS!

“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more thanthese cometh of evil.” (Mat 5:37).
Many times, especially mothers who are so busy, respond rapidly with, “NO!”confronted with a request from the children. It is done with a feeling of self-protection.Confronted with something unknown or that commits me to something, or to which I have togive attention, it is easier to respond with, NO! to remove the problem from me. However,the children invariably test us insisting and trying to obtain what they want. Beforethat, many parents do what their children intend, contradicting their first response andthey justify themselves. Think well what you are going to respond to your children andeliminate the “neither” from your life. “…let your communicationbe, Yea, yea; Nay, nay…”.

=2= BE CAREFUL WITH LIES!
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loveddarkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evilhateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But hethat doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they arewrought in God.” (Jua 3:19-21)
Lies are inadmissible in us and in our children. We must liberate the struggle betweenthe truth and the lie and fight it to the death.
We comply always with what we promise or warn. If we cannot do it, we ask for forgiveness(that does not dishonor us as parents, just the contrary). And we give the reasons forwhich we have to adopt this new procedure.

=3= THE IMPORTANCE OF DISCIPLINE:
But must we discipline?
In the middle of the last century, the North American specialist, Benjamin Spock, based onan extreme interpretation of Psychoanalytical theories, sponsored an absolutely permissiveeducation, in which the children must not inhibit themselves in anything, because”they could suffer traumas and frustrations”. They misunderstood the concepts ofliberty and independence, and became a total “let him do it”. The result? Yearslater the psychological counselor offices began to be filled with children and insecureyouth, conflicted and with low self-esteem. It was discovered that the children had donepranks each time greater, seeking to push a limit and not finding one provoked a greatanguish. They did not live as though they were free but as though they were abandoned.They felt that their parents thought they were of so little importance that they permittedthem whatever they wanted. Those children felt precisely what the Bible says, that God (orthe father) disciplines the one he loves (Heb 12:6).

Instead Dr. Benjamin Spock should ask for public pardon and that the increase ofdelinquency in the United States is due to the lack of exercising authority on the part ofthe parents.

We are responsible before God to apply it. He does not call us to be”popular” with our children, but to raise them in holy fear. Obedience is notsomething optional but demanded.

 

“For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity whichhe knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. Andtherefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shallnot be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. (1Sam 3:13-14)

Discipline imparts reproof to our children:“The rod andreproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Pro29:15).

Discipline gives wisdom:“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but therod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Pro 22:15).
“A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of hismother.” (Pro 10:1).

Discipline gives rest and happiness:
“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thysoul.” (Pro 29:17)

Discipline frees our soul from death:
“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, heshall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul fromhell.” (Pro 23:13-14).

Discipline is an act of love and must be used first and not as a last resort:
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth himbetimes.” (Pro 13:24).

In the administration of discipline, you must eliminate wrath:
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for hiscrying.” (Pro 19:18).
“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (Jam1:20).

When it is necessary to discipline, it must not be postponed:
“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore theheart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” (Ecc 8:11).

In the first place, discipline rests with the father:
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head ofthe woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1Cor 11:3).
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in thenurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4)

Discipline must be administered privately, because it is necessary to care for thedignity of your child.

The process of discipline:
EXPLAIN—PUNISH—PRAY—PARDON—RECONCILIATION

=4= ENCOURAGEMENT AND STIMULUS ARE VITAL PARTS IN CHILD RAISING:
When we approve our children, they feel an endorsement so great that it strengthens themin their self-esteem. That affirms the positive values of their character and it is anessential element so that they achieve success in life.

=5= IT IS NECESSARY TO BLESS OUR CHILDREN:
“And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and hisdisciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased,and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: forof such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive thekingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in hisarms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
” (Mar 10:13-16).

A fundamental part of our priesthood as parents, is that of blessing our children. Whenwe bless them in the powerful name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are “lifting them upto Him”. It is also for this reason that we present them in our congregation, and weare happy together as a family before God. The blessing to our children frees them,tranquilizes them, and protects them.

LESSON 18
KEYS FOR THE DISCIPLINE AND DIALOGUE WITH OUR
ADOLESCENT CHILDREN
Part 1

INTRODUCTION:
No period of life is more tormented than that of adolescence, and not only for the parentsbut also for the adolescent. One minute he acts like a baby and the next he reasons likean adult.
If you fulfill your task of parenting when your children were small, to raise adolescentscan be very entertaining. But if you lost the opportunity of molding their character andtheir temperament when they were young, your task in the next years will be seen asexcessively arduous.

=1= WHY SO MUCH CONFLICT?
To enter into adolescence can not only be emotional for the adolescent, but alsotremendously alarming. The confrontation with adulthood can be overbearing, because itrequires what the majority of human beings fear: “CHANGE”.
To continue, we will see the different changes through which an adolescent progresses:

Physical and Sexual:

The innocence of the child is replaced by sexual impulses that inspire in them a feelingof guilt. Due to these feelings of guilt that surge with their first sexual impulses, theparent must not be missed if the adolescents avoid showing affection toward the parent ofthe opposite sex. Normally this is usually a temporary state, but it is important thatthey feel secure in the love of their parents during this time.
They do not feel worthy of their love, but they want it and need it still more thanbefore. Sadly their behavior makes it difficult to love them, but it is important thatthey are wanted.

Strong feelings of inferiority and insecurity:
On entering the world of pre-adulthood, usually they are not too conscious of theirineptitude, their inexperience, or their incapacity, but they want to be accepted.Consequently they act with rebellion if you treat them as babies or when they fail tocarry out tasks on an adult level.
In this stage they need much understanding, instruction, and stimulus, and not constantcriticism. The approval of the parents is worth more than one imagines. When you have toconfront situations of this type, try to avoid showing exasperation when you see that theymake a disaster of things. If you think that he is inept, lazy, or clumsy, you willcommunicate this message to him even though you do not open your mouth. That will onlyconfirm his feelings of inability. Keep up the good fight to maintain them as persons eachtime as they grow toward their 13th year. Your approval each time that it isgiven with honesty, will give him hope of being somebody one day. If you do not believe inhim, he never will be able to believe in himself. It is a recognized fact that theprincipal factor by which an adolescent feels secure in himself and accepts himself, arehis parents.

Children desire to have more freedom than what their parents believe they are ready touse:
The father reasons, “Show me that you are responsible and I will increase theprivileges.” The adolescent says, “Give me more privileges and I willdemonstrate that I am responsible.”
Frequently one of the complaints that you usually hear from the adolescents is, “Myparents don’t believe that I am capable.” Or “My parents don’t trustme.” However, many times it is not a question of lack of trust but of immaturity. Theadolescent believes that he is more mature than what his parents think. I believe that ingeneral parents must give to their children a greater number of adult responsibilities,for if they do it, it would be clear that future opportunities will depend on the level ofresponsibility that they demonstrate.

=2= THE IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING DIALOGUE WITH YOUR CHILDREN:
You will communicate acceptance or criticism, love or rejection by the way in which youspeak to your children.
The tone of your voice, the look from your eyes, the way in which you direct them,will speak more strongly than what you really say with words.

It is very important that parents desire to communicate spiritual truths to yourfamily.
The adolescent formed in a home where he is loved so much, has someone who is interestedin his spiritual welfare, and gives him basic truths with which to live, is going to be ahappy adolescent.

The way in which you listen to your children, will signify for them one of two things:”Don’t bother me, I am very busy”, or better, “I am never too busy tolisten to what you have to tell me.”

The first will make the adolescent enclose himself in his solitude, and he will begin tofeel that he is a burden and that he has no merit to be heard. The second will give himthe security of being respected and considered as a valued human being and worthy of beingheard. Paul Torunier, a well-known Swiss author and doctor said, “It is impossible toover estimate the immense importance that being heard has for being human.”
Someone has said that the true act of hearing requires two elements, “concentrationand self control”.
To hear implies concentration on what he is saying, what he is not saying, what he issaying indirectly, and what he is really trying to say. To listen also implies to bedominated so as not to react hastily, and not to interrupt or not to criticize what he issaying. Your ability to listen also will help you to evaluate the value of your own words,because much of what you say will be a reflection of you yourself.

=3= HOW DO YOU DISCIPLINE TO BE EFFECTIVE?
Discipline is not only punishment:
“My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thymother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thougoest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest,it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofsof instruction are the way of life.”
(Pro 6:20-23).
Discipline is not only punishment, but something that one does for a child, not simplywhat is done to the child. If the parents carry out discipline correctly, they will haveless punishment to give. Discipline is part of the character that is built up in the childand what will give him his life style.
Eph 6:4 says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bringthem up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
This type of discipline means to guide a child so as to help him to mature and develop hischaracter inside of certain defined guidelines. It is much more than giving him orders andlists of standards.

To discipline is to instruct, to educate, to guide, and to form with faithfulness and withconsequential rules.

It is prudent to take a step back and take a good look at the discipline that you exerciseover your children in order to examine its effectiveness and quality. At least anadolescent understands what is expected of him. He has no way to respond.

The beginning of all good discipline must begin by simple and effective communication.
The final goal of discipline should consist of achieving the goal that our childrenacquire self-discipline. For that, the first step is correct communication.

A good plan for discipline of children must have the following characteristics:
Ask yourself the following:

Is it constructive?
Discipline must have the result of instilling security in the adolescent and notfrustration.
Pro 23:19 says, “Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in theway.”

Is it achieving the purpose to help them make good decisions?
Discipline must achieve the purpose that the adolescent receive guidance and necessaryinformation to make good decisions for himself. If it achieves this, you will be helpinghim to acquire self-discipline.

Pro 19:20 says, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest bewise in thy latter end.”
Is it given in a consistent way?

True discipline means that it will be firm and consistent in relation to alldisobedience. Discipline that is required one day and is set aside the next day, has noeffect.
Pro 29:17 says, Correct thy son,and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.”

Does it communicate love?
Discipline must be born in a heart filled with love for the child. It is a form of givinghim security and confidence, and to make him feel a part of the family. Remember, “Forwhom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Heb12:6)

Is it confidential?
The adolescent needs to know that discipline is a matter between his father and him, andthat it will not be converted into the topic of conversation at the next family socialmeeting among neighbors. Jer 31:34 says, “…I will forgive theiriniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

This type of trust also will assure the adolescent that you have forgiven him and youwill have forgotten the matter.

LESSON 19
HOW DO YOU TREAT ADOLESCENT CHILDREN? Part 2

=1= HOW DO YOU HELP YOUR CHILDREN TO CONFRONT THE VICES AND EVIL COMPANIONS, SEX, ETC.?
Teaching them sexual education:
There are some topics that are a necessity in a conversation of this nature:
Rapid growth, that is going to debilitate their energy and strength for a time. Theadolescent will need to sleep more and eat better than before.
This tells him that his body will change to make him like an adult.
A girl must know the complete details of the menstrual cycle before it occurs in the firstperiod.
It is something terrorizing for the girl if it occurs in the first menstruation withoutknowing anything. There are many books and films to help explain this development. Themost important thing is that the parents transmit trust, optimism, and enthusiasm withrespect to menstruation and that they do not say with face extended, “This is a crossthat you will carry all your life as a woman”.
It is necessary to be sincere with the adolescent and warn him or her of the danger ofevil companions and vices, teaching them and educating them in the Biblical principles andpraying so that his spiritual life will be solid, and a life that will avoid all the otherproblems that can be presented.

Supervising the friendships of your child:
Group pressure is so strong in adolescents that in some moments of their development, theinfluence of their friends can arrive at being greater than that of his parents. Theinfluence of certain friends can undo much of what the parents have achieved instillingtruths in their child. 1Cor 15:33 contains some important instruction that manytimes surprise some parents. God says, “Be not deceived: evil communicationscorrupt good manners.”
Many parents feel fear before the disapproval of their children or the words, “?Ihate you!” frightens them. You will be surprised that many children in adolescence,have said that to their parents in a bout of fury. It is a simple passing feeling that isborn of not being able to do his will, in particular, when he tries to choose his friends.In this age, you will find that friends from outside the church will exercise much moreattraction over your children than the adolescents from his own church.
The problem is not that the believing boys will be rude, but that in the mundane modalityof friends of your adolescent child, they will try to trap him. If they turn their back onthe group from the church and run back to the world, their friends will corrupt them.
It is necessary that you surround your child with friends who are believers, that willarrive at strengthening the levels of conduct learned in the family. Christian boys andgirls can help themselves mutually. All adolescents need some confidant with whom toshare, particularly when they enter in conflict with their parents. It is much better thatthey have a friend who is a believer to share basic convictions that originate in a homewith similar criteria of conduct.
En moments of conflict between parents and children, unconverted friends only feed therebellion more. Remember the Biblical principle, “But the natural man receivethnot the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can heknow them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Cor 2:14).

=2= THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ADOLESCENT TO FEEL ACCEPTED:
The problem:
Not to feel worthy of being accepted neither by the Lord nor by others.
Not to accept himself.
To blame God for what he is or for what he thinks he is.

Biblical examples of non-acceptance of self:
Moses (Exo 3:11, “Who am I…”)
Jeremiah (Jer 1:6, “Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am achild.”)
Gideon (Jdg 6:15, “And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I saveIsrael? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’shouse.”)

The solution of the problem:
Accept the fact that God accepts us:
Spiritually:
Eph 1:6, “…he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Joh 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons ofGod.”
Rom 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in ChristJesus.”
Rom 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

Physically:
Psa 139:13-17, “For thou hast possessed…thou hast covered me…Mysubstance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, …in thy book allmy members were written…”

Emotionally—Socially—Intellectually:
Psa 139:1-5, “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me…Thouhast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.”
Rom 12:1-2, “…living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,
reasonableservice…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewingof your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect,will of God.”

We accept ourselves:
Mar 12:30-31, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself…”

Spiritually:
Cleansed by the blood of Christ and made in the image of God.

Physically:
Give thanks to God for every detail of the body that he gave you.

Emotionally—Socially—Intellectually:

Do not try to be equal to another person (2Cor 10:12). Let God perfect us, makingus more like His Son.

LESSON 20
AM I ALONE?

INTRODUCTION:
Have you remained alone? Have you been able to accept this condition? Perhaps there is inyou unsatisfaction, resentment, prejudice, or anxiety. Through some testimonies we haveseen that there are people that in spite of being alone, widowed or separated, have faceda world filled with expectations and new hopes.

To trust and depend totally on God must be a constant in our lives. But it is difficultat times when you are alone not to feel too independent that it ends in believing more inyour own strength than in the power of God. But at some moment you must face things like:fear, loneliness, rejection, fear of failure, fear of not achieving an ideal of life. Themessage of society would appear to be that all people are accepted socially if they marrybefore their 30’s. Parents instruct their children for: adolescence, college,marriage, babies, and even death. But who prepares you to be alone?

=1= ATTITUDES THAT HELP:
Live in the present:
Doing now the best that you can.
A young person said, “I want to grow personally and professionally, but I feelparalyzed because I cannot accept any other thing for my life than to be married andsoon.”
Another woman lamented, “I know that I would have progressed and excelled in myemployment, but my parents always told me, “Do not afflict yourself, daughter, bymarrying soon and no longer will you afflict yourself to obtain a house.” In this wayI spent my money on clothing, trips, and frivolities always thinking, soon I willmarry…And here I am, now at 55 years old with a routine employment and spirituallyalone. I planned to serve the Lord with my husband…”

Reject the lies of society:
Some say, “it is better to have failed in matrimony than not to have married atall.” Others say that nothing is worth serving others or having a good job or successin what you do, if you do not have a pair of strong arms to sustain you or embrace you inyour home. Or not letting escape that candidate for perhaps it will be your lastopportunity. Or try to be more aggressive, a little flirtatious, except to remain dressedin holiness, etc. The answer is, GOD IS SOVEREIGN. I receive my singleness by His hand. Iwant to arrive at being what God wants me to be.

Permit God to be sovereign and to prepare a different plan for your life:
He has distinct plans and times for every individual. Trust in Him.
This confidence is a key element.
He blesses more those that wait on Him (Eph 3:20). He will encourage you to involveyourself in His kingdom. (Mat 6:33).

What must a single person do in the meantime?
Seek first the Lord, then the ministry, and after that to be a couple.
Trusting in God is the most valiant thing that a person can do. “It was late in thegarden of my house, with my children, my daughter-in-laws, and my grandchildren that Isang songs and praised the Lord, but I felt alone. A knot came to my throat, and I couldnot contain the tears. I retired crying and a voice inside said to me, “For whom doyou cry? Your husband is already rejoicing in the presence of the Heavenly Father and doesnot suffer. Neither should you. Your children and your grandchildren are praising Godaccompanying you in this test. “?You are crying for yourself.” Really Satan isachieving his objective by making me feel pitiful. I felt ashamed, asked for forgivenessfrom the Lord, gave thanks for all the love that was around me and also for my health. Iunderstood that if God had put me in this situation, I had a purpose in my life. Theexperience that I had lived in the hospital as a volunteer, before the illness of myhusband, prepared me to help him in his physical suffering and then after his death, Ibegan to serve as a hospital volunteer. Now I can continue helping and giving counsel tosick people that need love and companionship. When we do something for the Lord, we alwaysreceive blessings because He is not a debtor to anyone. For this reason instead ofcomplaining I can put my faith in action. I am sure that following His way, docile to whatHe demands of me, I will have the VICTORY (Rom 8:37-39). I GIVE THANKS TO MY FATHERFOR THE SECURITY THAT NEVER WILL I BE ALONE.”
“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is theSON OF GOD?” (1Joh 5:5).

What should I do with this loneliness?
Many times, praying for a future companion, people make lists of characteristics in manyforms. This is not bad, but, what are the things that God considers important?
Above all things keep or guard your heart for from Him flows life.
Ask the Lord that only that man that you need come near you, the one that is according toHis perfect will and choosing. “Do
not be a field of testing for just anyone.”

The love of God flows continually, the perfect, complex, and profound love of God, canreveal the true way to rest and to order your thoughts.
In the secret place of your heart you can thank Him for the special and private guidanceof the Holy Spirit over you. And share with God this secret, THAT YOU ARE AVAILABLE TOMARRY IF YOUR JEALOUS GOD SO INDICATES IN THIS WAY.

=2= THEN CLEARLY:
Must a woman feel alone that does not marry, is a widow, or is separated and withoutpurpose in her life?
For a discussion in a group: How would you counsel a single person that is feelingfrustrated precisely by this state of being?

=3= CLEARLY APPLYING IT:
Learn to pray and open the doors to serve others.
Learn that true love casts out fear.
Have trust in God.
Renounce self-pity. (It is a strategy of the enemy).
Learn to give thanks in every moment.
Know that God has a purpose in our lives.
This purpose is fulfilled if you are available for the Lord.Take advantage of yoursituation to occupy yourself with the kingdom of God.

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Joyce

Joyce
I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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