I really hear the Lord desiring to minister and speak to this notion called the family. Behind every core of a local church assembly is the family. Hundreds to thousands of families make up the large family of the local assembly. If those families are at odds or dysfunctional then the church becomes dysfunctional. The Living God created the family for a purpose. I read the above passage with great interest. Stephanas and his family were the first converts in Achaia. Achaia is the southern part of Greece, where the cities of Athens and Corinth are located. It was conquered by Rome in 146 BC. Achaia and Macedonia (the northern part) are sometimes mentioned together when referring to the whole of Greece.Stephanas and his whole family was on fire for the things of God. They all committed themselves to the service of God's people. Paul tells the Corinthians to follow this family's example of leadership and serve the Lord.
The family is under attack today more than ever. Rebellion is strong within the ranks and many families are struggling. It starts with Fathers. Fathers have to rise up in their homes and declare the word of the Lord. Even over those children who are in rebellion. He must still call out the purpose of God within his sons and daughters. Below are some stats about the absence of fathers in a child's life.
1. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America -- one out of three -- live in biological father-absent homes.
2.Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. In 2002, 7.8 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 38.4 percent of children in female-householder families.
3. Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds.Source: Harper, Cynthia C. and Sara S. McLanahan. “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 14 (September 2004): 369-397.
4.A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately forty-six percent of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.
5.Of the 228 students studied, those from single-parent families reported higher rates of drinking and smoking as well as higher scores on delinquency and aggression tests when compared to boys from two-parent households.
6.Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.
7.The overall rate of child abuse and neglect in single-parent households is 27.3 children per 1,000, whereas the rate of overall maltreatment in two-parent households is 15.5 per 1,000.
Go to the following website for more stats. http://www.fatherhood.org/media/consequences-of-father-absence-statistics
Fathers are meant to lead their homes. Now being a father figure in your home does not necessarily mean that your children will not rebel but it does mean they will get a better chance in life to be outstanding citizens in society. Children will always have an opportunity to rebel regardless of what home they are raised in because of sin and free thought. As fathers we must ensure we pour into our children the truth of God's word in hopes our children will follow that truth. Nothing is impossible for God. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Fathers are meant to call out of their children the gifts and purposes God has designed them for. This means praying and fasting over them. This means giving the truth and sharing your life with them. I can remember many times holding my sons and daughters in my arms many nights when they were younger. Praying over them and speaking over them God's purpose in their life. I would ( and still do) pray for their future spouses. I would pray for their future children. I would pray for their walk with Christ and that they would stand up against a life of sin. I would pray that they would not become religious but real before the Lord. I would pray that they would see through the traps of the enemy and see the Lord clearly. I would pray that they would have a clear and present relationship with the Lord. I still do these things. Even today, when I get up at 3:00Am in the morning, before I head out at work. I pray over my kids. The ones presently in my home and the ones who are living somewhere else. A Father's passion for his children does not stop when the children are grown or have moved away. I still speak out the giftings, callings, and purposes over all of my children. It is my responsibility from the Lord. I know my Sons will be what God has fully called them to be. I know my daughters will be what the living God has called them to be as well. You can't fight the power of God nor the power of praying parents.
Mothers are so important as well within a family. Mothers share the nurturing heart of Father God. They are the main teachers and caregivers to their children. There is nothing like feeling a touch from a mother. When she holds you in her arms after you fell down and strapped your knee. There is nothing like a mother's kiss on your forehead. God designed mothers to show His loving heart to her children. Read Proverbs 31 to see the full example of a godly mother and woman.
Children are God's special miracles given to two people who are deeply in love with each other. When I see my children I am drawn closer to the Lord. I am so blessed by the power of God. I am a blessed Father. He has blessed me with a beautiful wife and four beautiful kids. Although I have not always been the perfect father. I have tried my best through the Lord to instill into my kids the truth of God's word. They are accountable to the truth they have heard. Children are meant to listen and take head to the words of their parents. Parents should walk in the wisdom from the Lord. It does not mean they are perfect but they must each have personal relationships with the Father. The Book of Proverbs is filled with words from King David to his Son King Solomon. Unfortunately, Solomon did not listen and ended up doing things he regretted years later, but what brought him out of a spiraling lifestyle were the words from his father.
Proverbs 1:8 My son, listen to your father's discipline, and do not neglect your mother's teachings,
Proverbs 2:1 My son, if you take my words to heart and treasure my commands within you,
So Why do I consider this prophetic for 2012 and beyond? The Lord keeps speaking over and over about the family unit within my spirit. It is so important that families reconcile and start living the life God has designed for us. Out of the family unit will come the full vision of who Jesus is to the world. I have a deep prophetic utterance rising up within me. God is calling the family out. He is declaring our purpose once again. Father's rise up and be what God has called you to be to your family. Mothers express the living God's nurturing heart. Children obey your parents and live your life for Christ. We all have a role to play. The Lord will bring his power through the lives of those who are passionately serving Him. We can't allow the enemy and society to continue to deface the purpose of a godly family. We must fight for it. We must declare God's truth for it and put to flight those who wish to destroy it. Joshua in the Old Testament said it best.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Regardless of what happens, we will have the determination to serve the Lord and not be absent-minded people who follow the world's system and philosophies. We choose to follow the Lord's truth even when it is not popular and offensive. We choose to serve the Lord even when so many are trying to keep one foot in the world and one foot into God's. We will seek after his heart even when many are replacing His heart with their own ideas and self-serving thoughts. Families of God arise and be the expression of the Living God to the World!