As For Me and My House

Do you claim God’s blessings for your family? If so, what blessings do you claim? Maybe you have been expecting less than you should.

I was blessed this past weekend to enjoy an encouraging message from Pastor Roland Seow, speaking at the Sunday night meeting I oversee in Melbourne. He was challenged many years ago by Watchman Nee’s teaching on family salvation. He caught a vision for God bringing salvation to his whole family.

Using the analogy of ripples in a pool he realised that the reach we can have in the wider circle of our family and friends is simply limited by the size of the initial splash. “Family” is identified in the Bible with ‘household’, which includes family members, servants and even the guests within a home.

God’s favour on a person automatically spilled out to their extended family. Noah found grace in the sight of God, and so his wife, sons and daughters-in-law were all privileged with salvation (Genesis 7:1). The Israelites were to circumcise their entire household, including the servants (Genesis 17:12,13). Lot’s sons-in-law were offered salvation, due to their family connection to Lot (Genesis 19:12). One Passover Lamb was sufficient for a whole household, including where two smaller families united for the feast (Exodus 12:3,7). Rahab’s whole family was saved (Joshua 6:19).

In the New Testament we see that Zacchaeus received grace for his whole family (Luke 19:9). Cornelius also had this outcome (Acts 10:2, 11:14). The Philippian jailor’s conversion is famous for Paul’s quote “you will be saved and your household” (Acts 16:31).

The Bible has much more evidence for the reality of family salvation. However, what impressed me the most was not found in these Bible verses, but in a richer meaning from another well known verse on family devotion.

When Joshua concluded his leadership role in Israel he challenged the people to be devoted to God. His speech contained the well known declaration, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). That text has long been claimed by parents and others to believe that all family members can be brought to faith in Jesus Christ.

When Pastor Roland quoted this text he gave it a fresh twist that delighted me. Joshua was not simply saying that all his family would hold to faith in God. He wasn’t speaking only of their salvation or their religious focus. Joshua declared that his entire family would ‘serve’ the Lord.

In Roland’s case he notes that of his many family members which have become Christians a large proportion are ‘serving’ God, not just claiming personal salvation.

Do you claim God’s blessings for your family? If so, what blessings do you claim? Maybe you have been expecting less than you should.

It is possible that you have been trusting God for your family members to be ‘saved’, when you could be dedicating them to go beyond just personal faith in Jesus Christ. You could use the same Bible verses to believe that your family members will ‘serve’ the Lord.

I encourage you to refresh your faith and to look to God to do more than you may previously have expected.

Baby Wise – A Good Start

Getting off to a good start with a new baby will make all the difference in the months and years to follow. A contented baby in a good routine will make life so much easier for both mum and dad. If the baby is settled the whole household is able to get on with its various routines. If a baby is distressed and unsettled then the family is under constant pressure to settle the baby. That robs the parents of time they would otherwise apply to the house and family needs.

I recommend the book, Baby Wise, by Gary Ezzo. Having met the Ezzo’s in Australia, and been impressed by their practical application of Biblical wisdom I happily bought their Baby Wise book to share with friends. When my daughter-in-law, Ruth, presented me with my first grand-child I presented her with Baby Wise. She found it wonderfully helpful and has since ensured that her friends have the book to assist them.

I spoke with Ruth today, asking her thoughts about the book, now that she has five children. She advised that each of her friends who have used the book have all been happy with it and found it very helpful. She pointed out, however, that young mums can tend to be insecure. They then take up a principle and turn it into a rigid practice. This may account for some poeple who have not benefited as much from the book.

One of the key principles in the book is that of the Parents, not the Child, setting the tone and program within the home. The baby is welcomed into the parents’ world, rather than the parents becoming servants in the child’s world. The first practical expression of this principle is applied in the feeding routine of the baby. Wise parents set the feeding routine and settle the child into a rhythm that flows with the overall function of the home. As the child adapts and fits in, the first major hurdle in accommodating the baby has been crossed.

For a new-born baby a three-hour feeding pattern is common. Ruth applied the practical guidelines from the book with her first baby, Grace, and all worked well. Her second baby, however, ended up having colic. Upon investigation she discovered, after six weeks of an unhappy baby, that her son, Justus, only needed a feed every four hours. The principle had been confused with the practical guideline. The principle is that of parent-directed feeding. The guideline is that of a three-hour feed, since that is most common. However, in her case the practice of the principle needed to be four-hourly feeds.

Her third baby was also quite happy to operate by a four-hour feeding routine. Ruth by this time was quite relaxed about applying the principle and quickly adapted to the baby’s personal needs, yet maintaining her own overall control of the feeding routine. Her fourth baby was a hungry baby, and the three-hour feeds were back in full-swing again.

There’s an observation to be made there about learning principles, needing practical guidelines, then being able to separate the principle from the guidelines and act in wisdom about how the principle is applied. I might reflect on that further in a few days, since I think it is wise for husbands to help their wife in maintaining an effective distinction between the two – so look out for a post for Husbands some time soon.

So, if you are struggling with a baby, or have a friend or relative who is soon to have a baby, I suggest that you bless them with a copy of Baby Wise, by Gary Ezzo. The rest of the series, Child Wise books, etc, will also assist parents in the maturing challenge.