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God Lives Here | House Rules

#storychanging

God Lives Here | House Rules

Monday  “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve…”   Joshua 24:15

“Yeah, me’n my girlfriend want God to be the center of our home,” Brian said. “My kids were raised in church, hers weren’t, so we’re trying to teach them right.” Pastor Rod nodded thoughtfully. “What does it mean to have God at the center of your home?” he asked. Brian considered that. “Well, going to church more…not fighting as much…cut down on the cussin’…” Pastor Rod smiled. “Those can be signs that you’re working on things, but not proof of God being center. Didn’t you tell me you and Sheila moved in together? I’m curious about whether you believe God will be at the center of a situation He calls sin?”

When something is center, everything else is connected to it. All spokes on a bike tire must be connected to the hub or they’re useless. Likewise, if we want God at the center of our homes, everything we do must be connected to Him. We’d like to think we can keep our favorite sins while having God at the center, but that’s not possible. He drew a line in the sand and said: “Choose this day whom you will serve.” We are either for Him or against Him. In order for God to be the center of our homes, He must first be the center of our individual lives. He must be Lord over our choices, our temptations, and our goals.  When God’s word, His heart, and His plans are the center of our personal lives, He can then be the center of our homes.

Final Thought: What is the center of your home? (busyness, sports, anger, hobbies, kids…) What does life revolve around?

Prayer: Father, I say I want you to be the center of my home, but do I really? Will I sacrifice everything that competes with you for that center place? Reveal to me the true center of my home and help me make adjustments. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Tuesday  But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”   Joshua 24:15

“But why can’t I?” Marli moaned. She trotted after her mother into the kitchen. “Everybody’s going! They don’t see anything wrong with it.” Mom turned to face her angry teenager. “Marli, we’re not everybody. We’re the Clarks and in this house, we obey our Lord Jesus Christ. As your parents, it’s our responsibility before God to bring you up according to His word. We don’t agree that there is nothing wrong with it, so we have to say no this time.” Marli started another wail but her mother’s lifted brow cut it short. She sighed instead. “Yeah, that’s what Karly’s mom said too. Boy this Christian stuff is hard sometimes.”

Marli’s right. Following Jesus can be hard, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus Himself was tortured to death and His followers were executed because they refused to disobey God. Why should we expect to have it easier? When we choose to serve the Lord, we must say “no” to many things most people say “yes” to. We say “yes” to things they don’t understand. Having a Christ-centered home means arranging our schedules, our priorities, and our attitudes to match His. It means praying when we want to fight, staying when we want to run, and loving when we want to hate. Choosing to serve ourselves may seem easier for now, but those who serve the Lord find the reward priceless, the end results eternal, and the journey well worth it.

Final Thought:  What are you saying “No” or “Yes” to simply because it honors the Lord?

Prayer: Father, how well do my choices agree with your word? My words don’t count if my actions don’t agree. May my family be able to say with confidence, “We don’t know about you guys, but as for us, we will serve the Lord.” In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Wednesday  If you declare “Jesus is Lord” and believe…that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Rom.10:9

“I Declare” statements are wildly popular, even among non-Christians. We’ve embraced the New Age idea that our words create reality and when we tack the name of God onto it, we assume it’s biblical. After all, isn’t that what this verse says? TV preachers in shiny suits assure us that it is. After sending them money, we can declare we’re brilliant Yacht-owners and expect it to happen. So is that what it means to be saved? Do we just echo “Jesus is Lord,” agree with the facts in the Bible, and Voila!  Eternal life? If that were the case, we wouldn’t need the rest of the Bible. Words are the starting place, but the first-century people who read them did not view them like we do. In ancient Rome, professing anyone but Caesar to be Lord meant certain death. In many countries today, the same fate awaits anyone who declares Jesus to be their Lord. What’s it mean to us?

Contrary to what we often hear, Jesus never offers to be “part of our life.” Someone who is part of your life gets to share some things, but not others. They may get to vote on decisions, but you are the final authority on your own life. In contrast, Jesus said shocking things like “If you love anyone more than me, you’re not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37-38) and “whoever does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27). That doesn’t sound like He’s offering to sit in the other room while we decide whether or not to obey Him. It’s all or nothing with Jesus. It always has been. When we confess Jesus as Lord, that means we’ve handed the final vote to Him. Verbal confession merely reflects the change of ownership that has taken place.

Final Thought:  If your lips have confessed “Jesus is Lord,” does your life demonstrate that? Who is Lord of your home?

Prayer: Jesus, my lips confess you as Lord, but does my life confess that as well? Does my home honor you as Lord? I want to change the ways my life contradicts my words. Be Lord of every part of me so that those around me know it. Amen.

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Thursday The Eleven Rules of Our House

It’s one thing to say we want a Christ -centered home, but quite another to know how to do it. Here are some practical house rules to help honor Jesus as Lord and ensure that every family member feels loved and is held responsible for his/her actions.

In This House We…

  1. …obey our Lord Jesus Christ. (John 15:14)
  2. …tell the truth. (Proverbs 12:22)
  3. …keep our words pure and pleasing to God. (Ephesians 4:29)
  4. …clean up our own messes. (Luke 6:31)
  5. …discuss our differences respectfully. (Philippians 2:14)
  6. …consider our money as belonging to God. (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)
  7. …forgive each other. (Ephesians 4:32)
  8. 8. …practice showing gratitude to God and others. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  9. …treat each other’s belongings with respect. (Luke 12:15)
  10. …behave the same at home as we do at church. (Psalm 101:2-3)
  11. When any family member breaks one of these rules, he or she will humbly accept consequences and learn from them.

Prayer: Father, help us as we put into practice some house rules that honor you and each other. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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FridayThe LORD has blessed Obed-Edom’s household and everything he has because of the Ark of God.”  2 Sam. 6:12

Imagine Mrs. Obed-Edom’s alarm when Israel’s Ark landed on her porch. “Uh, honey? A guy just died because he touched this. It makes me nervous having it here.” They’d heard what happened to Uzzah. He’d only touched the Ark to keep it from falling and God struck him dead. Terror had gripped the community. Mr. Obed-Edom may have given her a hug as they stared at the Ark of God now in their home. “We don’t have to be afraid,” her husband said. “God Himself resides in this Ark and we have the privilege of housing Him for a short time. He knows we honor Him. We obey His commands and He promises to honor us as we honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30). If we show respect for Him as Lord of all, we have nothing to worry about.”

Despite any fears the Obed-Edoms may have had, God paid generously for His room and board. Instead of harming them, God blessed their entire household during the three months the Ark stayed in their home. Why did they get such a different outcome than poor Uzzah had? It was a matter of the heart. Uzzah had shown disregard for God’s holiness. He had substituted his own decision for God’s clearly stated command: Do Not Touch This Ark.  His response had been, “Yeah, but…” We don’t get to say “Yeah, but…” to God. There is no “but.” When God says “Thou shalt not,” He means it. Uzzah didn’t understand that and it cost him dearly. Obed-Edom respected God’s command and found it paid dividends.

Final Thought: Are there areas of your life where you say, “Yeah, but…” to God? Are you more like Uzzah or Obed-Edom?

Prayer: Father, please forgive me for the times I’ve disagreed with your commands. I don’t have the right to say “Yeah, but” to you. You don’t make exceptions for anybody. Your law is your law and if I honor it, you honor me. Thank you. Amen.