Have Questions, Find answers on Otakada.org - Top Questions About Family and Parenting People are Really Asking with Biblical Answers

Have Questions, Find answers on Otakada.org – Top Questions About Family and Parenting People are Really Asking with Biblical Answers

Have Questions, Find answers on Otakada.org - Top Questions About Family and Parenting People are Really Asking with Biblical Answers
Have Questions, Find answers on Otakada.org – Top Questions About Family and Parenting People are Really Asking with Biblical Answers

Questions About Family and Parenting People are Really Asking: The TOP Most Frequently Asked Questions About Family and Parenting

Have Questions, Find Answers on Otakada.orgAbout Family and Parenting people are really asking – Daily, people turn to the Internet to find answers to their questions about spiritual matters. Topics related to spirituality are the second-most searched subjects online. Sadly, websites that present false teachings far outnumber those that proclaim the truth of God’s Word. We will provide answers as the Holy Spirit leads us from a biblical perspective. You will also need to pray to secure answers to any question you may have because one of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth – John 16:13. Today, we look at Questions About Family and Parenting people are really asking and questions that relate to this with biblical answers.. Enjoy

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But before we answer questions about Family and Parenting, hereunder is the most important question that has to do with your eternal destiny with answer for your necessary action:

Question: What does it mean to accept Jesus as your personal Savior?

Answer: Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? To properly understand this question, you must first understand the terms “Jesus Christ,” “personal,” and “Savior.”

Who is Jesus Christ? Many people will acknowledge Jesus Christ as a good man, a great teacher, or even a prophet of God. These things are definitely true of Jesus, but they do not fully define who He truly is. The Bible tells us that Jesus is God in the flesh, God in human form (see John 1:1, 14). God came to earth to teach us, heal us, correct us, forgive us—and die for us! Jesus Christ is God, the Creator, the sovereign Lord. Have you accepted this Jesus?

What is a Savior, and why do we need a Savior? The Bible tells us that we have all sinned; we have all committed evil acts (Romans 3:10-18). As a result of our sin, we deserve God’s anger and judgment. The only just punishment for sins committed against an infinite and eternal God is an infinite punishment (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:11-15). That is why we need a Savior!

Jesus Christ came to earth and died in our place. Jesus’ death was an infinite payment for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8). Jesus paid the price so that we would not have to. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead proved that His death was sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins. That is why Jesus is the one and only Savior (John 14:6; Acts 4:12)! Are you trusting in Jesus as your Savior?

Is Jesus your “personal” Savior? Many people view Christianity as attending church, performing rituals, and/or not committing certain sins. That is not Christianity. True Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Accepting Jesus as your personal Savior means placing your own personal faith and trust in Him. No one is saved by the faith of others. No one is forgiven by doing certain deeds. The only way to be saved is to personally accept Jesus as your Savior, trusting in His death as the payment for your sins and His resurrection as your guarantee of eternal life (John 3:16). Is Jesus personally your Savior?

If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, say the following words to God. Remember, saying this prayer or any other prayer will not save you. Only believing in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross for you can save you from sin. This prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith in Him and thank Him for providing for your salvation. “God, I know that I have sinned against You and deserve punishment. But I believe Jesus Christ took the punishment I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I receive Your offer of forgiveness and place my trust in You for salvation. I accept Jesus as my personal Savior! Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness— the gift of eternal life! Amen!”

Now, Top Questions About Family and Parenting People are Really Asking:

What does the Bible say about being a good parent?
What does the Bible say about Christian fathers?
What does the Bible say about Christian mothers?
How should Christians discipline their children?
What should Christian parents do if they have a prodigal son (or daughter)? What does the Bible say about birth control? Should Christians use birth control? What does the Bible say about adoption? What should be the order of priorities in our family? What does it mean to honor my father and mother? How should a Christian deal with infertility?
What does the Bible say to do with a rebellious child? What are the roles of the husband and wife in a family?

Question: What does the Bible say about being a good parent?

Answer: Parenting can be a difficult and challenging venture, but at the same time can be the most rewarding and fulfilling thing we ever do. The Bible has a great deal to say about the way we can successfully raise our children to be men and women of God. The first thing we must do is teach them the truth about God’s Word.

Along with loving God and being a godly example by committing ourselves to His commands, we need to heed the command of Deuteronomy 6:7-9 regarding teaching our children to do the same. This passage emphasizes the ongoing nature of such instruction. It should be done at all times—at home, on the road, at night, and in the morning. Biblical truth should be the foundation of our homes. By following the principles of these commands, we teach our children that worshiping God should be constant, not reserved for Sunday mornings or nightly prayers.

Although our children learn a great deal through direct teaching, they learn much more by watching us. This is why we must be careful in everything we do. We must first acknowledge our God-given roles. Husbands and wives are to be mutually respectful and submissive to each other (Ephesians 5:21). At the same time, God has established a line of authority to keep order. “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). We know that Christ is not inferior to God, just as a wife is not inferior to her husband. God recognizes, however, that without submission to authority, there is no order. The husband’s responsibility as the head of the household is to love his wife as he loves his own body, in the same sacrificial way that Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25- 29).

In response to this loving leadership, it is not difficult for the wife to submit to her husband’s authority (Ephesians 5:24; Colossians 3:18). Her primary responsibility is to love and respect her husband, live in wisdom and purity, and take care of the home (Titus 2:4-5). Women are naturally more nurturing than men because they were designed to be the primary caretakers of their children.

Discipline and instruction are integral parts of parenting. Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Children who grow up in undisciplined households feel unwanted and unworthy. They lack direction and self-control, and as they get older they rebel and have little or no respect for any kind of authority, including God’s. “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death” (Proverbs 19:18). At the same time, discipline must be balanced with love, or children may grow up resentful, discouraged, and rebellious (Colossians 3:21). God recognizes that discipline is painful when it is happening (Hebrews 12:11), but if followed by loving instruction, it is remarkably beneficial to the child. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

It is important to involve children in the church family and ministry when they are young. Regularly attend a Bible-believing church (Hebrews 10:25), allow them to see you studying the Word, and also study it with them. Discuss with them the world around them as they see it, and teach them about the glory of God through everyday life. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Being a good parent is all about raising children who will follow your example in obeying and worshipping the Lord.

Question: What does the Bible say about Christian fathers?

Answer: The greatest commandment in Scripture is this: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). Going back to verse 2, we read, “So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.” Following Deuteronomy 6:5, we read, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (vv. 6-7).

Israelite history reveals that the father was to be diligent in instructing his children in the ways and words of the Lord for their own spiritual development and well-being. The father who was obedient to the commands of Scripture did just that. This brings us to Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” To “train” indicates the first instruction that a father and mother give to a child, i.e., his early education. The training is designed to make clear to children the manner of life they are intended for. To commence a child’s early education in this way is of great importance.

Ephesians 6:4 is a summary of instructions to the father, stated in both a negative and positive way. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” The negative part of this verse indicates that a father is not to foster negativity in his children by severity, injustice, partiality, or unreasonable exercise of authority. Harsh, unreasonable conduct towards a child will only serve to nurture evil in the heart. The word “provoke” means “to irritate, exasperate, rub the wrong way, or incite.” This is done by a wrong spirit and wrong methods—severity, unreasonableness, sternness, harshness, cruel demands, needless restrictions, and selfish insistence upon dictatorial authority. Such provocation will produce adverse reactions, deadening children’s affection, reducing their desire for holiness, and making them feel that they cannot possibly please their parents. A wise parent seeks to make obedience desirable and attainable by love and gentleness.

The positive part of Ephesians 6:4 is expressed in a comprehensive direction —educate them, bring them up, develop their conduct in all of life by the instruction and admonition of the Lord. This is the whole process of educating and discipline. The word “admonition” carries the idea of reminding the child of faults (constructively) and duties (responsibilities).

The Christian father is really an instrument in God’s hand. The whole process of instruction and discipline must be that which God commands and which He administers, so that His authority should be brought into constant and immediate contact with the mind, heart, and conscience of children. The human father should never present himself as the ultimate authority to determine truth and duty. It is only by making God the teacher and ruler on whose authority everything is done that the goals of education can best be attained.

Martin Luther said, “Keep an apple beside the rod to give the child when he does well.” Discipline must be exercised with watchful care and constant training with much prayer. Chastening, discipline, and counsel by the Word of God, giving both reproof and encouragement, is at the core of “admonition.” The instruction proceeds from the Lord, is learned in the school of Christian experience, and is administered by the parents—primarily the father, but also, under his direction, the mother. Christian discipline is needed to enable children to grow up with reverence for God, respect for parental authority, knowledge of Christian standards, and habits of self-control.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). A father’s first responsibility is to acquaint his children with Scripture. The means and methods that fathers may use to teach God’s truth will vary. As the father is faithful in role modeling, what children learn about God will put them in good standing throughout their earthly lives, no matter what they do or where they go.

Question: What does the Bible say about Christian mothers?
Answer:
Being a mother is a very important role that the Lord chooses to give to many women. A Christian mother is told to love her children (Titus 2:4-5), in part so that she does not bring reproach on the Lord and on the Savior whose name she bears.

Children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5). In Titus 2:4, the Greek word philoteknos appears in reference to mothers loving their children. This word represents a special kind of “mother love.” The idea that flows out of this word is that of caring for our children, nurturing them, affectionately embracing them, meeting their needs, and tenderly befriending each one as a unique gift from the hand of God.

Several things are commanded of Christian mothers in God’s Word:

Availability – morning, noon, and night (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

Involvement – interacting, discussing, thinking, and processing life together (Ephesians 6:4)

Teaching – the Scriptures and a biblical worldview (Psalm 78:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:10; Ephesians 6:4)

Training – helping a child to develop skills and discover his/her strengths (Proverbs 22:6) and spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12)

Discipline – teaching the fear of the Lord, drawing the line consistently, lovingly, firmly (Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:5-11; Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15-17)

Nurture – providing an environment of constant verbal support, freedom to fail, acceptance, affection, unconditional love (Titus 2:4; 2 Timothy 1:7; Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:1-2; Galatians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:8-9)

Modeling with Integrity – living what you say, being a model from which a child can learn by “catching” the essence of godly living (Deuteronomy 4:9, 15, 23; Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; Psalm 37:18, 37).

The Bible never states that every woman should be a mother. However, it does say that those whom the Lord blesses to be mothers should take the responsibility seriously. Mothers have a unique and crucial role in the lives of their children. Motherhood is not a chore or unpleasant task. Just as a mother bears a child during pregnancy, and just as a mother feeds and cares for a child during infancy, so mothers also play an ongoing role in the lives of their children, whether they are adolescents, teenagers, young adults, or even adults with children of their own. While the role of motherhood must change and develop, the love, care, nurture, and encouragement a mother gives should never cease.

Question: How should Christians discipline their children?
Answer:
How to best discipline children can be difficult task to learn, but it is crucially important. Some claim that physical discipline (corporal punishment) such as spanking is the only method the Bible supports. Others insist that “time­ outs” and other punishments that do not involve physical discipline are far more effective. What does the Bible say? The Bible teaches that physical discipline is appropriate, beneficial, and necessary.

Do not misunderstand—we are by no means advocating child abuse. A child should never be disciplined physically to the extent that it causes actual physical damage. According to the Bible, though, the appropriate and restrained physical discipline of children is a good thing and contributes to the well-being and correct upbringing of the child.

Many Scriptures do in fact promote physical discipline. “Don’t fail to correct your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death” (Proverbs 23:13-14; see also 13:24; 22:15; 20:30). The Bible strongly stresses the importance of discipline; it is something we must all have in order to be productive people, and it is much more easily learned when we are young. Children who are not disciplined often grow up rebellious, have no respect for authority, and as a result find it difficult to willingly obey and follow God. God Himself uses discipline to correct us and lead us down the right path and to encourage repentance for our wrong actions (Psalm 94:12; Proverbs 1:7; 6:23; 12:1; 13:1; 15:5; Isaiah 38:16; Hebrews 12:9).

In order to apply discipline correctly and according to biblical principles, parents must be familiar with the scriptural advice regarding discipline. The book of Proverbs contains plentiful wisdom regarding the rearing of children, such as, “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother” (Proverbs 29:15). This verse outlines the consequences of not disciplining a child—the parents are disgraced. Of course, discipline must have as its goal the good of the child and must never be used to justify the abuse and mistreatment of children. Never should it be used to vent anger or frustration.

Discipline is used to correct and train people to go in the right way. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). God’s discipline is loving, as should it be between parent and child. Physical discipline should never be used to cause lasting physical harm or pain. Physical punishment should always be followed immediately by comforting the child with assurance that he/she is loved. These moments are the perfect time to teach a child that God disciplines us because He loves us and that, as parents, we do the same for our children.

Can other forms of discipline, such as “time-outs,” be used instead of physical discipline? Some parents find that their children do not respond well to physical discipline. Some parents find that “time-outs,” grounding, and/or taking something away from the children is more effective in encouraging behavioral change. If that is indeed the case, by all means, a parent should employ the methods that best produce the needed behavioral change. While the Bible undeniably advocates physical discipline, the Bible is more concerned with the goal of building godly character than it is in the precise method used to produce that goal.

Making this issue even more difficult is the fact that governments are beginning to classify all manner of physical discipline as child abuse. Many parents do not spank their children for fear of being reported to the government and risk having their children taken away. What should parents do if a government has made physical discipline of children illegal? According to Romans 13:1-7, parents should submit to the government. A government should never contradict God’s Word, and physical discipline is, biblically speaking, in the best interest of children. However, keeping children in families in which they will at least receive some discipline is far better than losing children to the “care” of the government.

In Ephesians 6:4, fathers are told not to exasperate their children. Instead, they are to bring them up in God’s ways. Raising a child in the “training and instruction of the Lord” includes restrained, corrective, and, yes, loving physical discipline.

Question: What should Christian parents do if they have a prodigal son (or daughter)?

Answer: There is inherent in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) several principles that believing parents can use to react to and deal with children who walk contrary to the way in which the parents have raised them. Parents need to remember that once their children have reached adulthood, they are no longer under the authority of their parents.

In the story of the prodigal son, the younger son takes his inheritance and goes into a far country and wastes it. In the case of a child who is not a born-again believer, this is just doing what comes naturally. In the case of a child who at one time made a clear profession of faith in Christ, we call this child a “prodigal.” The meaning of this word is “a person who has spent his resources wastefully,” a good description of a child who leaves home and wastes the spiritual inheritance that his parents have invested in him. All the years of nurture, teaching, love, and care are forgotten as this child rebels against God. For all rebellion is against God first, and is manifested in a rebellion against parents and their authority.
Notice that the father in the parable does not stop his child from leaving. Nor does he follow after his child to try to protect him. Rather, this parent faithfully stays at home and prays, and when that child “comes to his senses” and turns around and heads back, the parent is waiting and watching and runs to greet that child even when he is a “long way off.”

When our sons and daughters go off on their own—assuming they are of legal age to do so—and make choices that we know will bring hard consequences, parents must let go and allow them to leave. The parent does not follow after, and the parent does not interfere with the consequences that will come. Rather, the parent stays at home, keeps faithfully praying and watching for the signs of repentance and a change of direction. Until that comes, parents keep to their own counsel, do not support the rebellion, and do not interfere (1 Peter 4:15).

Once children are of an age of legal adulthood, they are subject only to the authority of God and the delegated authority of government (Romans 13:1-7). As parents, we can support our prodigals with love and prayer and be ready to come alongside once they have made their move toward God. God often uses self-inflicted misery to bring us to wisdom, and it is up to each individual to respond correctly. As parents, we cannot save our children—only God can do that. Until that time comes, we must watch, pray, and leave the matter in the hands of God. This may be a painful process, but when carried out biblically, it will bring peace of mind and heart. We cannot judge our children, only God can. In this there is a great comfort: “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25b).

Question: What does the Bible say about birth control? Should Christians use birth control?

Answer: Man was commissioned by God “to be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). Marriage was instituted by God as a stable environment in which to produce and raise children. Sadly, children today are sometimes considered a nuisance and a burden. They stand in the way of people’s career paths and financial goals, and they “crimp our style” socially. Often, this type of selfishness is at the root of contraceptive use.

Contrary to the self-centeredness behind some birth control usage, the Bible presents children as a gift from God (Genesis 4:1; Genesis 33:5). Children are a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5). Children are a blessing from God (Luke 1:42). Children are a crown to the aged (Proverbs 17:6). God blesses barren women with children (Psalm 113:9; Genesis 21:1-3; 25:21-22; 30:1-2; 1 Samuel 1:6-8; Luke 1:7, 24-25). God forms children in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16).

God knows children before their birth (Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15).
The closest that Scripture comes to specifically condemning birth control is Genesis chapter 38, the account of Judah’s sons Er and Onan. Er married a woman named Tamar, but he was wicked and the Lord put him to death, leaving Tamar with no husband or children. Tamar was given in marriage to Er’s brother, Onan, in accordance with the law of levirate marriage in Deuteronomy 25:5-6. Onan did not want to split his inheritance with any child that he might produce on his brother’s behalf, so he practiced the oldest form of birth control, withdrawal. Genesis 38:10 says, “What he did was wicked in the LORD’S sight; so He put him to death also.” Onan’s motivation was selfish: he used Tamar for his own pleasure, but refused to perform his legal duty of creating an heir for his deceased brother. This passage is often used as evidence that God does not approve of birth control. However, it was not explicitly the act of contraception that caused the Lord to put Onan to death; it was Onan’s selfish motives behind the action.
It is important to view children as God sees them, not as the world tells us we should. Having said that, the Bible does not forbid contraception. Contraception, by definition, is merely the opposite of conception. It is not the act of contraception itself that determines whether it is wrong or right. As we learned from Onan, it is the motivation behind the contraception that determines if it is right or wrong. If a married couple is practicing contraception in order to have more for themselves, then it is wrong. If a couple is practicing contraception in order to temporarily delay children until they are more mature and more financially and spiritually prepared, then it is perhaps acceptable to use contraception for a time. Again, it all comes back to motivation.

The Bible always presents having children as a good thing. The Bible “expects” that a husband and wife will have children. The inability to have children is always presented in Scripture as a bad thing. There is no one in the Bible who expressed a desire not to have any children. At the same time, it cannot be argued from the Bible that it is explicitly wrong to use birth control for a limited time. All married couples should seek the Lord’s will in regards to when they should try to have children and how many children they seek to have.

Question: What does the Bible say about adoption?

Answer: Giving children up for adoption can be a loving alternative for parents who may, for various reasons, be unable to care for their own children. It can also be an answer to prayer for many couples who have not been able to have children of their own. Adoption is, for some, a calling to multiply their impact as parents by expanding their family with children who are not their own,

biologically. Adoption is spoken of favorably throughout Scripture.
The book of Exodus tells the story of a Hebrew woman named Jochebed who bore a son during a time when Pharaoh had ordered all Hebrew male infants to be put to death (Exodus 1:15-22). Jochebed took a basket, waterproofed it, and sent the baby down the river in the basket. One of Pharaoh’s daughters spotted the basket and retrieved the child. She eventually adopted him into the royal family and gave him the name Moses. He went on to become a faithful and blessed servant of God (Exodus 2:1-10).
In the book of Esther, a beautiful girl named Esther, who was adopted by her cousin after her parents’ death, became a queen, and God used her to bring deliverance to the Jewish people. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ was conceived through the Holy Spirit instead of through the seed of a man (Matthew 1:18). He was “adopted” and raised by His mother’s husband, Joseph, who took Jesus as his own child.

Once we give our hearts to Christ, believing and trusting in Him alone for salvation, God says we become part of His family—not through the natural process of human conception, but through adoption. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship adoption

. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15). Similarly, bringing a person into a family by means of adoption is done by choice and out of love. “His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:5). As God adopts those who receive Christ as Savior into His spiritual family, so should we all prayerfully consider adopting children into our own physical families.

Clearly adoption—both in the physical sense and in the spiritual sense—is shown in a favorable light in Scripture. Both those who adopt and those who are adopted are receiving a tremendous blessing, a privilege exemplified by our adoption into God’s family.

Question: What should be the order of priorities in our family?

Answer: The Bible does not lay out a step-by-step order for family relationship priorities. However, we can still look to the Scriptures and find general principles for prioritizing our family relationships. God obviously comes first: Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” All of one’s heart, soul, and strength is to be committed to loving God, making Him the first priority.

If you are married, your spouse comes next. A married man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Christ’s first priority—after obeying and glorifying the Father—was the church. Here is an example a husband should follow: God first, then his wife. In the same way, wives are to submit to their husbands “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). The principle is that a woman’s husband is second only to God in her priorities.

If husbands and wives are second only to God in our priorities, and since a husband and wife are one flesh (Ephesians 5:31), it stands to reason that the result of the marriage relationship—children—should be the next priority. Parents are to raise godly children who will be the next generation of those who love the Lord with all their hearts (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4), showing once again that God comes first. All other family relationships should reflect that.

Deuteronomy 5:16 tells us to honor our parents so that we may live long and so things will go well with us. No age limit is specified, which leads us to believe that as long as our parents are alive, we should honor them. Of course, once a child reaches adulthood, he is no longer obligated to obey them (“Children, obey your parents…”), but there is no age limit to honoring them. We can conclude from this that parents are next in the list of priorities after God, our spouses, and our children. After parents comes the rest of one’s family (1 Timothy 5:8).

Following one’s extended family in the list of priorities are fellow believers. Romans 14 tells us not to judge or look down upon our brothers (v. 10) or do anything to cause a fellow Christian to “stumble” or fall spiritually. Much of the book of 1 Corinthians is Paul’s instructions on how the church should live together in harmony, loving one another. Other exhortations referring to our brothers and sisters in Christ are “serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13); “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32); “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11); and “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). Finally comes the rest of the world (Matthew 28:19), to whom we should bring the gospel, making disciples of Christ.

In conclusion, the scriptural order of priorities is God, spouse, children, parents, extended family, brothers and sisters in Christ, and then the rest of the world. While sometimes decisions must be made to focus on one person over another, the goal is to not be neglecting any of our relationships. The biblical balance is allowing God to empower us to meet all of our relationship priorities, inside and outside our families.

Question: What does it mean to honor my father and mother?
Answer:
Honoring your father and mother is being respectful in word and action and having an inward attitude of esteem for their position. The Greek word for honor means “to revere, prize, and value.” Honor is giving respect not only for merit but also for rank. For example, some Americans may disagree with the President’s decisions, but they should still respect his position as leader of their country. Similarly, children of all ages should honor their parents, regardless of whether or not their parents “deserve” honor.

God exhorts us to honor father and mother. He values honoring parents enough to include it in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12) and again in the New Testament: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3). Honoring parents is the only command in Scripture that promises long life as a reward. Those who honor their parents are blessed (Jeremiah 35:18-19). In contrast, those with a “depraved mind” and those who exhibit ungodliness in the last days are characterized by disobedience to parents (Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2).

Solomon, the wisest man, urged children to respect their parents (Proverbs 1:8; 13:1; 30:17). Although we may no longer be directly under their authority, we cannot outgrow God’s command to honor our parents. Even Jesus, God the Son, submitted Himself to both His earthly parents (Luke 2:51) and His heavenly Father (Matthew 26:39). Following Christ’s example, we should treat our parents the way we would reverentially approach our heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:9; Malachi 1:6).

Obviously, we are commanded to honor our parents, but how? Honor them with both actions and attitudes (Mark 7:6). Honor their unspoken as well as spoken wishes. “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke” (Proverbs 13:1). In Matthew 15:3-9, Jesus reminded the Pharisees of the command of God to honor their father and mother. They were obeying the letter of the law, but they had added their own traditions that essentially overruled it. While they honored their parents in word, their actions proved their real motive. Honor is more than lip service. The word “honor” in this passage is a verb and, as such, demands a right action.

We should seek to honor our parents in much the same way that we strive to bring glory to God—in our thoughts, words, and actions. For a young child, obeying parents goes hand in hand with honoring them. That includes listening, heeding, and submitting to their authority. After children mature, the obedience that they learned as children will serve them well in honoring other authorities such as government, police, and employers.

While we are required to honor parents, that doesn’t include imitating ungodly ones (Ezekiel 20:18-19). If a parent ever instructs a child to do something that clearly contradicts God’s commands, that child must obey God rather than his/her parents (Acts 5:28).

Honor begets honor. God will not honor those who will not obey His command to honor their parents. If we desire to please God and be blessed, we should honor our parents. Honoring is not easy, is not always fun, and certainly is not possible in our own strength. But honor is a certain path to our purpose in life—glorifying God. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord” (Colossians 3:20).

Question: How should a Christian deal with infertility?

Answer: The problem of infertility can be a very difficult one, especially for couples who have looked forward to children all their lives. Christian couples can find themselves asking “Why us, Lord?” Surely God wants Christians to be blessed with children to love and nurture. For physically healthy couples, one of the most heart-wrenching aspects of infertility is not knowing whether it is a temporary or permanent situation. If it is temporary, how long must they wait? If it is permanent, how do they know that, and what should be their course of action?

The Bible depicts the problem of temporary infertility in several stories:

God promised Abraham and Sarah a child, but she did not bear a son, Isaac, until age 90.
—Genesis 11:30

Isaac, Rebekah’s husband, prayed fervently, and God answered, resulting in the births of Jacob and Esau.

—Genesis 25:21

Rachel prayed, and at long last God “opened her womb.” She bore two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. —Genesis 30:1; 35:18

Manoah’s wife, who was infertile for a time, gave birth to Samson.

Elizabeth in her old age gave birth to John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ.

—Judges 13:2

—Luke 1:7, 36

The barrenness of Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel (the mothers of the Israelite nation) is significant in that their ability to finally bear children was a sign of the grace and favor of God. However, infertile couples must not assume that God is withholding His grace and favor, nor should they assume they are being punished in some way. Christian couples must cling to the knowledge that their sins are forgiven in Christ and that the inability to have children is not a punishment from God.

So what is an infertile Christian couple to do? It is good to seek advice from gynecologists and other fertility specialists. Both men and women should live a healthy lifestyle to prepare for pregnancy. The mothers of the Israelite nation prayed fervently for conception, so continuing to pray for a child is certainly not out of line. Primarily, though, we are to pray for God’s will for our lives. If His will is for us to have a natural child, we will. If His will is that we adopt, foster­ parent, or go childless, then that is what we should accept and commit to gladly doing. We know that God has a divine plan for each of His loved ones. God is the author of life. He allows conception and withholds conception. God is sovereign and possesses all wisdom and knowledge (see Romans 11:33-36). “Every good and perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17). Knowing and accepting these truths will go a long way to filling the ache in the hearts of an infertile couple.

Question: What does the Bible say to do with a rebellious child?

Answer: The child who exhibits a rebellious streak may be doing so for a variety of reasons. Harsh, unloving, and critical parenting will nearly always result in rebellion of some sort. Even the most compliant child will rebel— inwardly or outwardly—against such treatment. Naturally, this type of parenting is to be avoided. In addition, a certain amount of rebellion against parents is natural in teenagers who are slowly pulling away from their families in the process of establishing lives and identities of their own.

Assuming that the rebellious child naturally possesses a strong-willed personality, he will be characterized by an inclination to test limits, an overriding desire for control, and a commitment to resisting all authority. In other words, rebellion is his middle name. In addition, these strong-willed, rebellious children are often very intelligent and can “figure out” situations with amazing speed, finding ways to take control of the circumstances and people around them. These kids can be, for their parents, an extremely trying and exhausting challenge.

Fortunately, it is also true that God has made children who and what they are. He loves them, and He has not left parents without resources to meet the challenge. There are biblical principles that address dealing with the rebellious, strong-willed child with grace. First, Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” For all children, the way they should go is toward God. Teaching children in God’s Word is crucial for all children, who must understand who God is and how to best serve Him. With the strong-willed child, understanding what motivates him —the desire for control—will go a long way to helping him find his “way.” The rebellious child is one who must understand that he is not in charge of the world —God is—and that he simply must do things God’s way. This requires parents to be absolutely convinced of this truth and to live accordingly. A parent who is himself in rebellion against God will not be able to convince his child to be submissive.

Once it has been established that God is the One making the rules, parents must establish in the child’s mind that they are God’s instruments and will do anything and everything necessary to carry out God’s plan for their families. A rebellious child must be taught that God’s plan is for the parents to lead and the child to follow. There can be no weakness on this point. The strong-willed child can spot indecisiveness a mile away and will jump at the opportunity to fill the leadership vacuum and take control. The principle of submitting to authority is crucial for the strong-willed child. If submission is not learned in childhood, the future will be characterized by conflicts with all authority, including employers, police, law courts, and military leaders. Romans 13:1-5 is clear that the authorities over us are established by God, and we are to submit to them.

Also, a strong-willed child will only willingly comply with rules or laws when they make sense to him. Give him a solid reason for a rule, constantly reiterating the truth that we do things the way God wants them done and that the fact is not negotiable. Explain that God has given parents the responsibility to love and discipline their children and that to fail to do so would mean the parents are disobeying Him. Whenever possible, however, give the child opportunities to help make decisions so that he does not feel completely powerless. For example, going to church is not negotiable because God commands us to gather together with other believers (Hebrews 10:25), but children can have a say (within reason) in what they wear, where the family sits, etc. Give them projects in which they can give input like planning the family vacation.

Further, parenting must be done with consistency and patience. Parents must try not to raise their voices or raise their hands in anger or lose their tempers. This will give the strong-willed child the sense of control he/she longs for, and he/she will quickly figure out how to control you by frustrating you to the point of making you react emotionally. Physical discipline often fails with these kids because they enjoy pushing parents to the breaking point so much that they feel a little pain is a worthwhile price to pay. Parents of strong-willed kids often report the kid laughs at them while they are being spanked, so spanking might not be the best method of discipline with them. Perhaps nowhere in life are the Christian fruits of the Spirit of patience and self-control (Galatians 5:23) more needed than with the strong-willed/rebellious child.

No matter how exasperating parenting these children can be, parents can take comfort in God’s promise not to test us beyond our ability to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13). If God gives them a strong-willed child, parents can be sure He has not made a mistake and will provide the guidance and resources they need to do the job. Perhaps nowhere in the life of a parent do the words “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) have more meaning than with the strong-willed youngster. Parents of these children have to spend lots of their time on their knees before the Lord asking for wisdom, which He has promised to provide (James 1:5). Finally, there is comfort in the knowledge that strong- willed children who are trained well often grow up to be high-achieving, successful adults. Many rebellious children have turned into bold, committed Christians who use their considerable talents to serve the Lord they have come to love and respect through the efforts of their patient and diligent parents.

Question: What are the roles of the husband and wife in a family?

Answer: Although males and females are equal in relationship to Christ, the Scriptures give specific roles to each in marriage. The husband is to assume leadership in the home (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23). This leadership should not be dictatorial, condescending, or patronizing to the wife, but should be in accordance with the example of Christ leading the church. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26). Christ loved the church (His people) with compassion, mercy, forgiveness, respect, and selflessness. In this same way husbands are to love their wives.

Wives are to submit to the authority of their husbands. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24). Although women should submit to their husbands, the Bible also tells men several times how they are supposed to treat their wives. The husband is not to take on the role of the dictator, but should show respect for his wife and her opinions. In fact, Ephesians 5:28-29 exhorts men to love their wives in the same way that they love their own bodies, feeding and caring for them. A man’s love for his wife should be the same as Christ’s love for His body, the church.

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:18-19). “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7). From these verses we see that love and respect characterize the roles of both husbands and wives. If these are present, then authority, headship, love, and submission will be no problem for either partner.

In regard to the division of responsibilities in the home, the Bible instructs husbands to provide for their families. This means he works and makes enough money to sufficiently provide all the necessities of life for his wife and children. To fail to do so has definite spiritual consequences. “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). So, a man who makes no effort to provide for his family cannot rightly call himself a Christian. This does not mean that the wife cannot assist in supporting the family—Proverbs 31 demonstrates that a godly wife may surely do so—but providing for the family is not primarily her responsibility; it is her husband’s. While a husband should help with the children and with household chores (thereby fulfilling his duty to love his wife), Proverbs 31 also makes it clear that the home is to be the woman’s primary area of influence and responsibility. Even if she must stay up late and rise up early, her family is well cared for. This is not an easy lifestyle for many women—especially in affluent Western nations. However, far too many women are stressed out and stretched to the breaking point. To prevent such stress, both husband and wife should prayerfully reorder their priorities and follow the Bible’s instructions on their roles.

Conflicts regarding the division of labor in a marriage are bound to occur, but if both partners are submitted to Christ, these conflicts will be minimal. If a couple finds arguments over this issue are frequent and vehement, or if arguments seem to characterize the marriage, the problem is a spiritual one. In such an instance, the partners should recommit themselves to prayer and submission to Christ first, then to one another in an attitude of love and respect.

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