What a wonderful idea! To recognize the importance of God’s plan for a man, a woman and their children; and furthermore, extending the ‘family concept’ to neighborhoods, cities, nations—and indeed to the world—The Family of Man. And the family that is the church.
I’m writing this on the very day that parts of the nation to which I owe my allegiance, celebrate Family Day. Federally it is ignored, though most regions acknowledge it with a holiday; others skip it completely or call it something else. Sounds like a fractured family, but I suppose you can expect that sort of thing in a country with several regions.
What follows may not be a politically correct position to hold, so fasten your seatbelt. It is written for Jesus People; others may not be able to make much sense of it in a society that is mostly turned—or turning—upside down; a society when it is measured against God’s Word, turns right into wrong and wrong into right.
Generally speaking, how would you say that God’s plan for the Christian ‘nuclear family’—a man, a woman and children—is doing these days? Will it survive? Are you unmarried? Bear with me—according to Paul, God also approves of those who choose singleness [1 Cor 7:8], and He does not forget those whose mate has died. ‘Is your family torn apart?’ I grieve for you, for you have it perhaps, the hardest of all; especially for single parents.
Society changes over generations. It used to be—even in my lifetime—that when a man fell in love, he probably had a job, had saved up enough money to be able to afford a ‘nest’ be it ever so humble, in order to start supporting the girl of his dreams—and to have the means to support any children as they came along. Most young wives had some sort of job training and shared in all this—until and if, God gave them kids. Far too many children have no father to whom they can relate.
Well, that ideal model has largely gone out the window. Since the beginning of time, there has never been a perfect family. All families are dysfunctional to some degree, and it’s largely because we find it difficult to live in unity. It’s never easy to meld two lives into one. There will always be differences of opinion. It takes a mountain of humility to live successfully with a spouse. Ideally, there should be a lot of ‘give’ and a lot less ‘take.’
Now we’re venturing out onto the slippery and thin ice of what is termed ‘PC’—Political Correctness; I may offend some Believers who nowadays feel that we need to ‘keep up with the times.’
When someone says, “We’ve been together for five years,” I’m led to wonder if they mean ‘in courtship together,’ ‘living together,’ or ‘married.’ Less and less it seems, are couples prepared to wait for the wedding. Waiting doesn’t guarantee a good ‘Christian’ marriage, but it sure commands respect—from each other—and from others. And it lays the foundation for a good and lasting union.
In most of the western world at least, it has become difficult—if not impossible—to obtain reasonably-priced housing for newlyweds; and to buy a new home is usually out of the question.
Why? Bad government? Inflation? The volatile stock market? Greed? Debt? Never learned how to plan ahead and save money? Poor parenting? Hopelessness? I could go on.
Let’s face the tough one: what happens when kids start to come along and both are employed? Bottom line is this question: take advantage of child care businesses and stay upwardly mobile? Or provide a stable and loving environment for children to grow in and develop?
There’s a lot of talk about spending ‘Quality Time’ with one’s children, which usually means you’re so busy that that it’s become normal to spend precious little time at home. I think kids pick up on that right away—it’s a phony way of communicating to them that they are getting the privilege of their parent (or parents), for just a short time. What our children need is Quantity Time—they learn about life by observation. By teaching them? Not so much.
A leisurely family dinner together around a table has largely become history. These can—and should be—precious times where each member has opportunity to share about their day, and be heard.
Donna is a Registered Nurse and worked for most of the first year of our marriage. When our first child was born (three weeks before our first anniversary!), she devoted herself to ‘managing’ our home, providing security and all that was needed in a ‘nest’ for the ‘chicks.’ And she continued that ministry until sometime after we joined YWAM and our kids were ready to launch out. During those years, God was preparing her for a new ministry of her own, which continues full-on to this day.
We’ve had our struggles over the years and we were never the perfect family. But we had one thing in common though, that is sadly missing in some marriages today: the commitment to stay together and work through the major problems come what may. Divorce or separation were never an issue. (And here I’m not pointing a finger at those who have gone through the horrors of divorce. That must be hell on earth.)
So, aiming for a successful (if not perfect) marriage and family, there should an assurance of God's smile upon it, be sufficient time for courtship—getting to know one another—and for the two families to be part and parcel of that process. Of course there’s more to it than that—but it’s a good start.
When you lose your moral compass the next thing to go is the
courage and conviction to navigate in contrary time.
Mark Hancock, Trail Life
Worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal
and righteousness look strange.
Our YWAM family is praying for Billy Graham’s family and co-workers. We also celebrate his remarkable life and worldwide ministry for Jesus Christ. What a blessing his 99 years on earth were, a true gift from God!
In 1949 when I was a teenager, my dad, TC Cunningham, was one of the many sponsoring pastors of Billy Graham’s tent meeting in downtown Los Angeles. That evangelistic campaign launched him nationwide.
Later I was honored to get to know Billy Graham on stage and off, in prayer and at meals in Switzerland, Netherlands, Washington DC, and Hawaii. My family and I were invited to his home in 1974 where we got to know him and Ruth. We were also able to meet four of his children, Anne, Ruth (“Bunny”), Franklin, and Ned.
When Peter and I used to lead Discipleship Training Schools, we would often ask the students, "Who had the biggest influence in you coming to know Jesus?” The two most frequent answers were, “Billy Graham” and, “A praying grandmother.”
Well I’m a praying grandmother. I never met Billy Graham but what I read and hear about his life has really made me think; he is an amazing model to this generation. His ‘death’ will speak to thousands. Tears ran down my cheeks as I watched his memorial service last week.
Billy said, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”
Why I see him as a model for you and for me:
From the beginning of his ministry, he walked with a team; they were HONEST with one another and with the public. They didn’t exaggerate. They trusted one another. They made a commitment to one another that they would pay close attention to avoiding temptation. never being alone with another woman other than their own wives. They made it a practice of keeping their wives informed and helping them to feel part of the ministry. Billy lived a scandal-free life.
They resolved as a team they were never to SPEAK BADLY of another Christian ministry or denomination.
Billy walked in HUMILITY. He gave God all the glory, and knew without the anointing of the Holy Spirit and God’s hand upon him he was nothing. He lived by Biblical principles. He relied on prayer.
His family said, Billy was the SAME AT HOME as he was in public and he dearly loved his wife.
He could communicate with presidents as well as prisoners. He walked what he talked and was TRUSTED. The Bible says we are all equal at the foot of the cross.
He lived a life of SIMPLICITY. He had a modest home and modest salary. He was a FAMILY man. His wife Ruth said, “I would rather be married to Billy even though I have him only 50% of the time, than being married to someone else and spending 100% of the time with him.”
He trusted the BIBLE as the WORD of God. He knew the Word and quoted it.
"Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion—it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ."
"God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with."
"A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone."
"God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there."
"Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love."
"Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.”
"If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life."
"When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost."
"Believers, look up—take courage. The angels are nearer than you think."
"Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children."
"It is not the body's posture, but the heart's attitude that counts when we pray."
"God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ’I love you."
"My home is in Heaven. I'm just traveling through this world."
I hope by sharing some of these thoughts it will make you hungry to read more of Billy Graham’s thoughts and life style. Yes, he reached millions of people with the gospel, was a trusted man, but most of all he loved God, his family and the lost.
Billy was a wonderful earthly model, but Jesus is the greatest model, but whether you are single or married you must keep your eyes on Him. He showed us how to live and how to die.
July 8-14 – YWAM Restenäs, Sweden
Speaker Carolyn Ros "Becoming deeply rooted in God"
Click here for more information
July 15-21 - Sighisoara, Romania
Speaker to be announced
July 29-Aug 4 - YWAM Champagne, France
Speaker Richard Jones "The Way to the Father"
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Click here for updates and more information!
I have nothing more in me to write about this month, and it’s a bit humbling.
I know there is stuff that I could fill this space with, but not one original thought from the Spirit of God. Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit overwhelmed by reading Donna’s Corner about Billy Graham. What a man!
Please pray for me to unblock!
Till next time,
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