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Happy New Year!

Here is our verse of the month-Deuteronomy 6:4-9: 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 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. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Our theme for 2017 is the Year of the Family! I want to challenge you to make three resolutions regarding your family.

  1. Resolve that Christ is the AUTHORITY for your home.Genesis 2:18-18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” God is speaking in this verse. He said, “I will make,” “I will create.” “I will provide someone else to live with the one I have created.” God created the family. Family is God’s idea. God is pro -family! Since God is the Author of the family, He should be the authority for the Christian family. You have to decide on what authority, on what foundation, your home will be built. Whether you have thought much about it or not, every family is built on some authority. Your family will either be built on the wisdom of the culture or on the wisdom of Christ.
  2. Resolve that faith is the ANCHOR for your home.Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith is the doing of our knowing and believing. Faith is the expression of our commitment to make Christ the authority of our homes. James 2:17 tells us that faith without works is dead. We aren’t only supposed to believe something as Christian families, but we are to practice and express something as families. Our homes are wonderful incubators for faith to develop. Living as a Christian begins in the home. Trusting God as a family, praying together as a family, serving the Lord as a family, worshipping together as families is so important. It isn’t what we say, but what we do that proves our faith to be genuine.
  3. Resolve that grace is the ANSWER for your home.Genesis 2:24-25 tells us that when God created Adam and Eve, before sin entered the world, they were naked and unashamed. They were together before the Lord without shame. When God created the family, it was a unit, an experience without shame and condemnation. But after Adam and Eve sinned, we find them hiding from God. When God called to them and reached to them, Adam told him that although he had heard God calling, he was afraid and stayed in hiding. Genesis 3:10 tells us that after he sinned he recognized his nakedness which brought him shame. Sin and shame go together.Adam and Eve experienced tremendous conflict and division in their marriage after they sinned and they started pointing fingers at each other, trying to blame each other for the mess they were in before God. Sin not only produces shame, but it creates division in families.Here’s the good news. In Genesis 3:21, grace entered the picture. God didn’t treat Adam and Eve as their sins deserved. God came to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:21 and gave them clothes of skin to wear. He killed the animals, He skinned the animals, He tailored the clothes, and He covered their nakedness. He covered not only their sin by shedding blood in the Garden, but He also covered their shame and made a way for them to be right with God and to come together again as a family.We are all capable of sinning against God. We are all tempted to blame someone else for our wrong choices. And when we do, there can be division in our family. We need to love generously. We need to forgive often. We need to stop blaming each other for what has gone wrong in our families and ask ourselves what we can do to help fix it. Not one of us is part of a perfect family. What could we do to help create an environment where grace abounds?

    I encourage you to set your weight loss goals, your work goals, your financial goals, your educational goals and whatever other goals you have been considering for 2017, but I challenge you to focus on your family in perhaps a more intentional way than ever. Look to

    Christ to be the authority for your family. Purpose to live out your faith in order to keep your family anchored to the Holy Spirit. Decide to do your part to help maintain unity in your home through forgiveness and grace. Will you join me in making these “Family Resolutions” for 2017?

Colossians 3  12 Therefore, as God’s CHOSEN people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each
I Peter 2:9-10 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises
Deuteronomy 10:12-17 12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him,