★ Thought for the Day – The Family Juggernaut ★

God has been speaking into my heart about the importance of family and being the husband and father that He’s called me to be.  We’ve talked about living a lasting legacy earlier this year but today I wanted to look back and see how our family of origin can affect whom we become.  In his famous book, “The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are,” Christian Psychologist and Author Kevin Leman made this powerful statement:

“How parents interact with each child as he or she enters the family circle determines in great part that child’s final destiny.”

As a parent of two daughters, I think about that all the time.  Leman outlined some common characteristics of how depending on whether you were born first, in the middle or the last child, aka “the baby,” that placement in the family tree had a huge impact on the trajectory and development of your personality DNA.  The first-born commonly is known to be driven and very responsible in all they do…The middle child often feels overlooked and desires peace so they play the role of the negotiator in the family…And the “Baby” gets away with murder, and tends to be the comedian of the family…Now of course there are exceptions to the rule, these are just generalities, other factors can plat a part. (If you would like a great summary of the book I saw this article called 10 Ways That Birth Order Affects Your Children.)

108-daily-dependence-x-men-juggernaut-comic-bookSuffice to say, the Family Juggernaut plays a significant role in our development.  Now depending on your sex, and/or if you were a comic book reader as a child, right now images from X-Men stories of “The Unstoppable Juggernaut” are coming up in the rolodex of memories.  Supervillain, Cain Marko who was the stepbrother of Charles Xavier, also known as Professor X, was abused by his father as Charles became the favored “son.”  Resentment and animosity festered in Cain’s heart.  One day he received superhuman strength that literally made him unstoppable and gave him the power to destroy the one who replaced Cain in his father’s heart.

The biblical comparison of Cain and Abel is hard to miss, (see Genesis Chapter 4).  108-daily-dependence-juggernaut-professor-x-standoffNow though this may be a bit of a rabbit trail, I think it’s apropos to show how family dynamics can shape you.  Cain’s hatred and jealousy both in the comic book and the Biblical account led to a murderous rage.  It is also where I first learned the word juggernaut which means:

“A huge, powerful, and overwhelming force or institution.”

And that is what the family is!  An overwhelming force in our life that has a huge and powerful influence on us.  Jane Isay, the author of “Secrets and Lies, Mom Still Likes You Best, and Walking on Eggshells” had this to say about Families that was quite interesting:

“Families are the survival mechanism of the human race.  They all are complicated, even though many people think that theirs is the most difficult one.  Behind the closed door of every home is a group of people who love each other, who disappoint each other, who come into conflict, and who are deeply connected.”

Amen?  Now I don’t know much about her, nor have I read the book, but I am sure familiar with competing with my brother and sister for the love of my mom and consequently walking on eggshells as to not break the delicate peace and harmony in the home.  I love how she described the family unit, as the “survival mechanism of the human race” and that families are all “complicated.”  Truer words have never been spoken!  Statistics show that many people would probably answer the question, “What’s your family like?” with the curt response of…

108-daily-dependence-its-complicated

I know I would have to say that of my family of origin.  My family was wrecked by neglect, alcoholism, drug use, verbal attacks, physical abuse, and adultery all by the time I reached 5 years old!  Not surprisingly, that was the year that my parents divorced.  I shared in the ★ Thought for the Day – Marriage & Money – Part 1 ★ post how my childhood felt more like a chess match where I was a pawn pinned between the King and Queen who were battling one another, using me to hurt the other.  I know that the conflict I witnessed and was a part of shaped my desire for peace in my home today.  I also know that at times when I lose my temper that is also a result of seeing how both my parents handled (or didn’t) conflict resolution.  But here’s the beauty of walking with God, my legacy can be changed through the power from above.  But it is a choice.  Romans 12:2 (ESV) says:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Great advice right, but how do you renew your mind?  And how do you know the will of God?  Glad you asked, through a quiet time with God.  Praying, reading the bible, journaling are all ways that you can be transformed.  Recently during my quiet time, I have been reading the gospel of Mark which was the muse for this Thought for the Day…Have you ever thought about Jesus’ Family Situation?  What it was like growing up as the Messiah, the Savior of the World?  How was it to have half brothers and sisters who grew up and knew Jesus for 30 years before His ministry started?  Unfortunately the Bible does not give much background other than that Jesus followed in the path of Joseph, (the man who raised him as his own Son) and became a carpenter.  Mark 1:14-15 (ESV) recounts the start of His Ministry:

“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’”  

The Gospel of Mark moves at a rather brisk pace recounting the ministry of Jesus over the next two chapters with people being healed who were lepers, disfigured, paralyzed and set free demonic possession.  It’s interesting to note that after some time had passed, Mark 3:20-21 (ESV) we see what happens when Jesus goes to visit His family.  I wonder how many people will relate to this experience.

“Then He [Jesus] went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat.  And when His family heard it, they went out to seize Him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind.’”

Did you catch that?  Jesus’ ministry is exploding and lives are being changed as a result of incredible miracles but “His family heard it, they went out to seize Him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind.’”  How sad that Jesus’ own family did not believe He was the Christ!  A friend of mine and me were talking about this point and he made an interesting point…

“Makes me wonder what was it like for Jesus’ family while he was growing up?  If his own family couldn’t see Him for who He is, maybe it shouldn’t surprise us when folks don’t get it.”

Seems INCREDIBLY HARD TO BELIEVE, but just 10 verses later, you can see Jesus definitely had doubters in the family…Mark 3:31-35 (ESV) records:

And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.”

And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said,

“Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.””

These verses always confounded me because why would Jesus not want to go see His mother and brothers?  Could it be that they did not support His ministry?  It seems that would be the case as He makes the declaration that “my family” are those who do the will of God.  The passage does not mention Joseph so the assumption is that he’s not alive at the time of Jesus’ ministry, especially when you consider John 19:26-27 when Jesus is dying on the cross and arranges for His disciple John to take care of His Mother when He’s gone.  I can understand Jesus’ brothers doubting, but Mary?  Did she miss the point?  Did she forget all the miracles that happened in order for Jesus to even be born?  We did a 25 day series of posts called #Reason For The Season last December#Daily Dependence - Reason for the Season - 25 Days of Thankfulness 1where we looked at the extraordinary events leading up to, and including Jesus’ birth and why we should be thankful during the Advent Season.  (If you have not read the posts I highly recommend you click the link and spend some time experiencing the familiar Nativity Story from a fresh perspective.)  Personally, God opened my eyes and heart in a new way to His indescribable love for me.  As I meditated on the events that happened over 2,000 years ago, I was astounded by how He moved heaven and earth for the possibility of having a relationship with me through sacrifice of His Son Jesus!  I just heard John Gray preach at Elevation Church’s Code Orange Revival and he made this profound statement:

“Do you understand how valuable you are?  That an eternal God gave up His most prized possession just in case you wanted to have relationship with Him.  He didn’t even let His Son die for an ‘absolute.’  He let Him die for a ‘just in case.'”

God gave up His most prized possession just in case we wanted the relationship with Him!!!  Wow!

Okay back to Mary and Joseph… I have to wonder though did they not share with Jesus’ siblings growing up with something like, “Oh by the way kids, your older brother Jesus, well He is the savior of the world.”  I mean I know it would be awkward at first but it was truth.  We can see that it was not only His family who doubted but also those in the His community as well.  Mark 6:1-6 (ESV) tells what happened when Jesus returned to His home again:

“He went away from there and came to His hometown, and His disciples followed Him.  And on the Sabbath He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were astonished, saying,

“Where did this man get these things?  What is the wisdom given to Him?  How are such mighty works done by His hands?  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?  And are not His sisters here with us?”  And they took offense at Him.

And Jesus said to them,

“A prophet is not without honor, except in His hometown and among His relatives and in His own household.”

And He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And He marveled because of their unbelief.  And He went about among the villages teaching.”

They took offense at Him!”  30 years of living among these people and they take offense at the wisdom God gave Jesus!  It is clear that Jesus’ family of origin and community had an effect on Him to the point that it thwarted His ability to do a “mighty work there.”  One could argue that healing anyone is a mighty work, but how much more would Jesus have done if there was not so much opposition and unbelief.  If Jesus was not understood by His Family and hometown it should not surprise you when you are.

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The key is what will you do when not if you face opposition?  Will you let fear, doubt and criticism stop you?  Without a doubt, our birth order and associations will influence and impact us but will we make the choice to rise above the past and move forward to become the man or woman who God created us to be?  Jeremiah 29:11 says:

108-daily-dependence-jeremiah-29-11Remember you are so valuable that God gave up His Son just in case you want to have a relationship with Him!  And it is through that relationship that His plan and purpose for your life will be revealed!

And for the believer let’s continue in what the author of Hebrews commanded in chapter 3, verse 13:

“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”  Hebrews 3:13 (NASB)

Walk today with new purpose today because you are part of a NEW Family Juggernaut as a child of God!

If you want to learn more about developing a quiet time, check out:

★ Back to the Basics – Silencing the Noise ★

 

 

 

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★ Thought for the Day – Marriage & Money – Part 2 ★

71 - Daily Dependence - Marriage & Money - Part 2

In Part 1 we looked at how people get married with no understanding of how the family finances are going to be handled and how that can cause problems in the marriage if not dealt with quickly.  We also reviewed God’s Plan for Marriage and how Satan has been attacking marriages and that the importance of marriage has been sharply declined over the past 50 years.  If you missed it just click here…★ Thought for the Day – Marriage & Money – Part 1 ★ to catch up.

Part 2 of our trilogy of posts will delve into how to have unity in our Marriage by discussing the Differences between Men and Women and how our enemy, Satan exploits those dissimilarities.  Tony Evans made this point…

71 - Daily Dependence - Tony Evans - Satan Wants The Family

Satan hates God and he hates us and thus comes at marriages with great ferocity that is why it is so important for us as Husband and Wife to be aware of the battle we are in and to try to understand who the person is that we have become one flesh with.  Jesus said in Mark 3:24-25 (NASB):

71 - Daily Dependence - Mark 3-24-25 - House DividedAnd Amos 3:3 (NKJV) says:

“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”

Amen?  Do you see that as being true?

Without agreement, it is impossible to move forward.  Men and Woman are different and with those differences can conflicts can arise.

Someone once said that:

  • “‎90% of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice.”  Unknown.

Instead of battling our spouse, we should see Marriage for what it is, a gift from God and a special covenant with each other.  If we could all grasp that simple concept to approach our mate with love and respect, then perhaps “‎90% of the friction could be eliminated.”  Colossians 3:18-19 (MSG) says


“Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master
[other translations say “the Lord”]. 

Husbands, go all out in love for your wives.  Don’t take advantage of them.”                                                                                      

Now you may have noticed that the verse in the image of Colossians 3:18-19 is reversed, but that is intentional to get the men seeing their role first because this verse has been taken advantage of by men who use it as a tactic to control their wife.  I love how the Message translation says before the word “submit” to “support” your husband.  God knew that Men needed help and He blessed us with the perfect companion.  In Genesis 2:18 (NKJV) God said “I will make him a helper comparable to him.”  Submission does not mean less than, our wives are comparable or equal to us.  God set the man as the head of the household but he knew that the man was going to need help, for all aspects of our lives including the finances.  We need to work as a team loving and respecting one another.

In Ephesians 5:24-25 (NIV1984) the Apostle Paul says it a little differently comparing our actions to that of Christ,

  • “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” 

The Greek translation for Love here is agape, which is a spiritual love, not sexual.  It is by definition a selfless and unconditional love that is not based on what the other person does for me but instead it is about sacrificing yourself for your spouse, just like Christ did.  When we submit and love each other as the Apostle Paul instructs, we are being sanctified and made ready to be the bride of Christ.  This of course is not what the enemy of our soul wants at all so he twists and distorts God’s Word to see submission as negative.  The reason for this is clear in James 4:7 (NIV1984),

  • “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

There is power when we submit to each other and especially to God.  Submitting or humbling ourselves eliminates the sin of pride, if we don’t then Satan wins and we lose, just like in the Garden.  Husbands we need to love our wives as we love ourselves just as Christ loved the church, which he laid down His life for.  And wives part of the submission is respecting and supporting your husband.  You know the old cliché that “it takes two to fight?”  Well it’s true.  The key is getting to the root problem of why we fight and try to understand the other spouse’s point of view.  In 2010, Author of the best-selling book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, John Gray released a follow-up book called: Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice: Hormonal Balance – the Key to Life, Love & Energy.  In the book he discusses that,

  • “The Difference between the sexes and how they relate to one another is biochemically based and can be found in our hormones.”

71 - Daily Dependence - John Gray - Difference in Sexes Found In Hormones

Gray talks about the unique ways that each gender deals with stress and how the stress hormones harm our health and complicate our ability to relate to one another.  What I found most interesting about the book was how polar opposite Men and Women really are.  The Hormones of Fire and Ice or Men and Women are Testosterone and Oxytocin. In the book, he explains when a man springs into action and solves a problem, he releases Testosterone to deal with stress and as he acts he feels competent and powerful but then soon after has to rest to rebuild his Testosterone levels.  A woman on the other hand needs to share herself 71 - Daily Dependence - John Gray - Hormones of Fire and Icein nurturing situations to release Oxytocin but then afterwards she needs to receive nurturing and understanding herself to rebuild her hormone levels.  The wisdom to understand here is that relaxing on the couch is crucial for a man because he is rebuilding a vital hormone to deal with stress.  Conversely getting nurturing support reduces the stress for a woman so Men, she needs to share her feelings and we need to be available because this is vital for her to be able to deal with stress.    That is where the analogy comes from that Men are on Ice because they need to shut down and go into their “cave” while Women are on Fire needing to communicate and receive love and support; to deprive either person of this only builds stress in them and ultimately in our relationship.

So why am I mentioning all this? Because the same hormones that help to alleviate stress are also the same hormones that connect us romantically.

These two critical hormones not only help us individually but also relationally.  Gray also cites in the book findings from the Researchers at the prestigious Schupps Clinic in San Diego, who concluded that:

  • Heart Disease is most often triggered by unresolved emotional issues like financial stress, Divorce, loneliness or an inability to effectively communicate with a child or Spouse.”

3 out of the 5 items cited in this finding are exactly what we are talking about.  When I read this statistic it was a huge red flag that “unresolved emotional issues” can cause Heart Disease.  We need to recognize the stressors and help not only ourselves but our spouses to deal with the stress.  The symbolism of “Men are from Mars” and “Women are from Venus”, two entirely different planets is great to make the distinctions between the sexes but God made us just the way we are and if we want unity in our marriages then we need to accept one another just how He made us.  Psalm 139:14 says:

Men and Women are different and that is a good thing, the question remains though “How do you achieve unity in your marriage?”  Well the answer may seem obvious but HE is often not engaged when problems arise, the answer is….”God!”

This is the key to everything in life.  It starts as individuals, (hopefully when we are young) and then continues into our marriages as adults.  Having God at the center of our hearts and our marriages will not only help us relate to one another but also in our finances.  Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT) says,

“A triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”  I did a little research on this and found that people have incorporated this scripture into their wedding ceremony by braiding three colored cords, Gold for God, Purple for the Groom and White for the Bride.  What a beautiful way to publically declare that God will be interwoven in your marriage.  With God is at the center of our marriages, Satan does not have a chance to break us up because when a Husband and Wife are bound together in Christ, they are stronger than as individuals themselves.  By keeping God at the center, His love will continue to bind the two of you together as one throughout your marriage and you will truly be “One Flesh” not knowing where you and end and where the other begins!

If you would like to read the next post that wraps up the “Marriage & Money” Trilogy, click here.  We delve into People’s View of Money vs. God’s View of Money to understand how to have unity in our Finances.

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