Homes are not what they used to be. Times are changing. We live in the two-thousands now. Imagine a fairly common birthday party if you will. On a spring afternoon the Joneses gather to sing Happy Birthday to Junior. Those who are attending are Dad and his third wife, Mom and her second husband, Junior's two half sisters from his fathers first marriage, his six step-brothers from his mother's spouse's previous unions, and assorted aunts, uncles-in-law, and step-cousins. Junior probably blows out the candles and wishes for times when life was not so complicated.
Well, times do change. Kids have it hard growing up with several sets of parents. But they do it. When I grew up my dad went off to work and mother stayed at home. She never went to work outside the home.
Today, that has become a historical curiosity. We are straying further and further from the ideal in Eden. Look at what God expects the ideal home to be.
Point 1 - SPEND TIME AT HOME
Habakkuk 2:4,5 (NKJV) Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith. Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he DOES NOT STAY AT HOME. Because he enlarges his desire as hell, and he is like death, and cannot be satisfied. He gathers to himself all nations and heaps up for himself all peoples.
So, in other words, the unrighteous man drinks wine and he does not stay at home. He's seldom at home. Do you think seldom at home is just as bad as drinking wine? This man is gone all the time. He's out with others. He isn't there. Maybe he's a workaholic, I don't know. But he is not home. He's absent from the home. Not there! The righteous man would be just the opposite. He would be at home. At home every chance he gets. Good people are at home. They're involved in the home life and in the raising of the children. They're there.
Of course some folk are absent even when they are present! At home... true... but mesmerized by the TV. Their body is at home but their mind is on vacation. So, if you're at home, be at home.
So one of the Qualifications for a virtuous person is that they should be at home often and spend quality time with their family. Quality time at home is a characteristic of happy homes. You and your spouse both may have to work outside the home, but you can still have meaningful time at home.
Deuteronomy 24:5 Here, God makes another statement. If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to STAY AT HOME and bring happiness to the wife he has married.
How many of you husbands stayed home the whole first year, all twelve months after you were married? Do we practice that? We should. We're having a wedding this evening and I'm going to suggest to that gentleman that he stay home the whole first year. If they can get along with each other after that, they're going to have it made for the rest of their lives. This is a great idea! Why not? God is saying that you cannot bring happiness to your wife and family if you are never home.
Homes used to have media rooms. We don't have media rooms any more. Now the media is in every room. So often when we are at home, you are in the den watching TV, your wife has one in the kitchen. I was at somebody's house one day and in the kitchen was a television! I couldn't believe it. We went to an "open house" that was for sale. And there was another television in the kitchen. I guess it's a coming trend. We visited another person one time and there was a television in their master bedroom! You aren't supposed to watch TV in the bedroom. Imagine that! Here you are and your teenager is on the phone, your daughter walks around with head set on listening to her CD, your son is in his room on the computer. Are we even at home? When we are at home, the home is still homeless. We are all at home but not all together. So when do we get together?
You might say, "We get together at mealtime in our family." Are you sure you do that? How many of you eat breakfast together? Very few, probably. We eat breakfast on the run. We all leave at different times. The kids are going to school. Do we eat lunch together? Not too often, because lunch is eaten at work or at school or someplace. Aw, we eat supper together, don't we? Does that happen very often? Did you know that in America fully half of the food budget is spent at eating and drinking places? We eat out so often. In fact the largest retail employer in the United States of America is the restaurant business. When do we ever get together as a family?
Is your home a homeless home? I hope not. I hope you answer, "NO!" You may answer NO! Can you back that up? When do we get together? Are you waiting for a better time? Don't put it off. Don't save the cream for some future time! Enjoy your family now. While you have your children at home enjoy them. If you have a baby, enjoy that baby because pretty soon that baby in six months is going to become a kid. You won't have that baby any more. And pretty soon that kid will become a teenager! Then you're really in for it. And then pretty soon that teenager will be gone and you will have saved the cream ... for what? So, when you are at home, do not live a "skim milk life." Enjoy the good of your family now while you can.
A family in Vermont were burned out. Nothing was saved. Do you know what they regretted the most? Saving the cream! You see, the lady had an heirloom tea set from her grandmother. It had pink moss roses on it and you could see your fingers through the china. For years she had kept it wrapped up in tissue paper, protecting it. It was seldom used. Now it was gone. They regretted saving the cream and were living on the skim milk. Enjoy the cream.
One time when I pastored in Bangor, Michigan, I visited the home of one of our members. She said, "Come into my living room. I want to show you my beautiful furniture." It was all covered with sheets and blankets. She pulled up the covers and said, "There! Isn't that beautiful?" She put the cover back and we went into another room and sat on some hard chairs. Why save the cream! I don't understand that. Why not enjoy the sofa yourself? It will only be new once and that once will belong to you. Your children are with you now. Enjoy them now. Your wife is alive today. Spend time while you can. Do not save the cream for the future, because when you come for it later it may have turned sour or be gone. Enjoy it today.
HOME is a rare thing. There are many houses, but how few homes. Even in the Bible this is true. The word "HOME" is mentioned 56 times in the Bible, and the word "HOUSE" is listed 2479 times. Homes are rare. If you've got one, enjoy it. The Bible says the unrighteous man is seldom home. Let's help stamp out all these homeless homes!
Point 2 - GOOD HOMES ARE SAFE HOMES
Remember the parable of the lost sheep? Luke 15:4-6 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes HOME. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'"
Notice that the opposite of the wilderness is the Home. The wilderness is where the sheep is lost. The home is where the sheep is found and safe. Danger - Safety. So our homes should be safe places, free from harm or danger. A place of love, a place of security.
Now I wish I did not have to tell you this but do you know that modern homes are not that way. Our modern home is the most dangerous place you can be. TIME magazine says, "There is no place so violent as the home." (September 5, 1983) Almost half of rapes happen inside of the home. Nearly six million wives are physically abused by their husbands in the home every year in America. Our law enforcement officers spend fully one third of their time responding to domestic-violence calls! More police are injured in people's homes than anywhere else on the job. Homes are not a safe place.
God wants Christian homes to be among the safest and warmest places anywhere. It is high time for Adventist Christians to lead the way back to the ideal, establishing a home that is the example. We can do this only if Jesus Christ is in the center of that home. You can't have that home that will match the ideal unless Jesus Christ is in that home, unless He's in your heart.
A lady by the name of Ellen White said: "The Home where Love dwells is where the angels of heaven delight to dwell." - Counsels to Teachers, p. 115. Make sure that when the angels are flying over your house they don't give it a wide berth and go on to some other peaceful place.
And you men, use your strength, use your muscles to protect your wife. Never lay hands on your wife in anger. That would be wrong.
Jesus is the great Example of true love. Love is the oil that lubricates the creaky machinery of the family and smooths out the hard places. Strive to let your home be a place of love. Don't be afraid to say: "I love you." Touch your children. Hug your kids. Love them.
Do you remember the little song: "With Jesus in the family, happy, happy home. Happy happy home. Happy happy home..." That's the secret! With Jesus in the family, that's where the happiness is. Our homes must be places of warmth, love and safety.
Point 3 - YOUR HOME COMES FIRST
Make sure you put your family first. Now Jesus come first, but then the next first is the home and family. Your family comes above every other single thing.
I Timothy 5:4 (KJV) But if any widow have children or nephews, let them LEARN FIRST TO SHOW PIETY (Godliness) AT HOME, and to requite (Pay back or compensate) their parents (for the cost of raising them): for that is good and acceptable before God. They first learn godliness at home. The home is the place. They need to show piety at home. And to requite their parents for the good and the acceptable before God. What does it mean to requite your parents? That's an antique word that you would find in the antique mall. That means that you need to pay back, you need to compensate your parents for the cost of raising you. Did you know that is in the bible? It's there!
Outside duties of community or work come second after the home obligations. Your home even comes above your other relatives. Spend time with your wife. Just the two of you. You Two are the engine that make the home go. If you have engine trouble, what happens to the whole unit? It's dead in the water. Keep strong. Then spend time with your children. Do things together. Take your wife out on a date at lease once a week. Sit, talk, walk, look, go, enjoy, eat together.
Take time to talk. The average couple in America spend 37 minutes in meaningful communication per week. That's a shame. Make time to talk. I used to tell people- "Have a good day." Now after thinking that over I say- "Make it a great day." Because the day is what you make it. You seldom have a good day by accident. A good day is mostly in the attitude of your mind. You have to make it a great day. Marriage is very similar. If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, the sun could be shining and you may have a bad day. You make it a great day. If you have a marriage, make it a great marriage. You can do it with Jesus Christ. It can happen with Jesus. So, make your marriage a great marriage.
Malachi 2:14,15 (NIV) ... the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. You need to guard yourself in your spirit. If you're married, you have no business ridiculing your wife or your husband. If you belittle and depreciate each other often enough, it will degrade their character. Did you know that people live up to the name they are called? If you call your children stupid, pretty soon they will be. Do you want to have stupid children? I don't. So call them things that will help to bring them up, not mash them down. Call them good names. If you want a good wife, compliment your her. Do not break faith with the wife of your youth. The Bible says to guard yourself in your spirit. Don't lose control, gentlemen. Don't yell at your wife as I said before, unless the house is on fire you have no business yelling at your wife.
And what about our teenagers? Do not criticize them and shame them down. Never call them stupid. Be careful what you name your newborn. Dr. Hartman, director of psychology for the Psychiatric Institute of Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, found that men with unusual names committed FOUR TIMES as many crimes as men with normal names! (Parents Magazine March, 1983).
If you call your husband the old man, or "here comes trouble," or Mr. Lazy, or the old wind bag, or any other name which belittles him, what chance do you have of changing him for the better. You don't. So stop criticizing your husband or wife to others.
Notice how God treats us. Come over here to Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. He could think a lot of evil about us. You could think about a lot of evil about your wife or your husband, but don't do that.
God has every excuse to criticize us. We are sinful and vile. Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. But He thinks good thoughts about us. Isn't that a wonderful God? When God looks at Don Gettys, He thinks good thoughts about Don Gettys. The same with you, even though He knows us. Even though you know your spouse, even though you know your teenager, you know their weaknesses, you should think good thoughts about them. It'll make a difference.
With His vast knowledge of our true sinful life, God could criticize us. But instead, our kind God thinks good thoughts about us. He draws us by loving us. By thinking positive about us he attracts us to himself.
Let this happen in the Christian home. In your home. It is high time to stop picking and ridiculing each other. The best marriages are mutual admiration societies. Everybody likes a little compliment once in a while. Oliver Wendell Holmes described friendship as the "Pleasing game of interchanging praise." Shakespeare said: "Our praises are our wages." Give your spouse a sincere compliment, often.
A compliment sincerely made makes one feel as good as warm sunshine in the springtime. Proverbs 16:24 (NIV) Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
And you teenagers, do not criticize your parents. Love your folks. Your Dad may be a 3 speed dad in a 15 speed society, but if he really loves you, then don't be critical. Love him back.
Our family went to Sea World. Have you ever been to Sea World? A neat place! And we went to the whale show. Ah! The whale show! It's tremendous! WE walked in to Sea World. We got our seats. We were a little bit late through the crowds, trying to get there so we didn't get the front-row seats. We were sitting up about ten or twelve rows. But we could still see well. And here came this little girl, one of the trainers. She climbed up to the top of a tall platform which hung way out over the water. And she held something out there and made some kind of a signal. Suddenly here came this sixteen-foot whale weighing thirty four thousand pounds they told us, jumping up out of the water, vertical, straight up, pointing up right to her hand. His tail was a full foot out of the water. How did he do that?! And then as he went back sown into the water, what a mighty splash and how thankful we were that we were on the twelfth row! Tons of water came out all over those wonderful first-comers. What a show we had!
A second whale took the end of a long rope clear over to an assistant on the other side. These two people held the rope up six feet above the water and here came the second whale real fast and came out of the water over the six-foot rope and back with another wonderful splash. And what did the trainer do? Immediately the whale came over to where the trainer was and she took a handful of squids and fish and stuffed it into the whale's mouth. Well, with a mouth that big I don't think you'd stuff it in, but she tossed it in anyhow. How can that little lady, who didn't weigh more than a hundred twenty five pounds, be in charge of a thirty four thousand pound, a seventeen ton, beast? Do you know how she does it? Do you think she gets that whale to jump by cursing at it? Do you think she belittles the whale, "You'd better do better next time?" Do you think that's how she does that? NO! She does it by sardines.
You parents, when you want your children to obey, get a bucket of sardines! Tell them to open up now. Here it comes. Well, what do we do? We reward, reward. That's what God does to us. He loves us. He blesses us. If you want to change your husband, if you want to change your wife, you want to change your teenagers, get the sardines out. You know what I mean by "sardines" don't you? Give them a deserved compliment and they'll do anything for you. They will! Because you have not been critical of them. Stop criticizing, stop henpecking your family.
Notice how God deals with us. We are His family. How does He treat us? Here is the divine example for every home even today. Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Gentlemen; if you did that to your wife instead of belittling her, just imagine what she might become! Let us all get on our knees and ask God to remove the bitter words from our mouths. Ask Jesus to move into your heart. Ask Him to give you real love for your family. And with that kind of love comes happiness, joy and loyalty.
Opening Hymn: 191 Love Divine Scripture: Ephesians 5:5-10 Closing Hymn: 655 Happy the Home 000205Gettys#94
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last updated 2/15/2000 by Bob Beckett.