26 August 2014 by Donna Uning CM –
“God is with us at home,” called Ps Matthew Ling to the church, sharing his message on Faith at Home – Building Strong Families at the Trinity Methodist Church, Kuching here recently. He was one of the speakers for the 3rd International Women’s Conference.
“God is in our marriage and also when we’re raising our children,” he continued. God’s presence has always been with parents, he believed.
1 Corinthians 7:14,
“For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”
“God will use every one of us, impacting our lives,” he said telling, “God is in our home as well as our church.” He stressed on building the family altar unto God, just like in the Abrahamic Covenant.
“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
“Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
“Generations were blessed through him,” he said. The altar in the home is a place of communion where we focus on God and have communion with God. Faith is passed on; not just separate bodies but also to the home.
He also explained about family devotions. There are several ways to build family altars, he said. “The home is a very powerful place,” he added telling a family altar does not just happen. “Altars have to be built,” he continued.
To establish a family altar, certain things must be in place. “At least one person has to be a Christian,” he said.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
God is speaking specially to the family and home.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.”
This is a household code. “Altar building is not something to be sourced out but done by the family or parents,” he said telling, “It cannot be delegated.”
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
The development of faith works from the head, heart and hands or knowing it, loving it, and building it. We need presence as well as relationship, and Sunday school cannot help with these.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Faith building moments can be through relationships, events or situation, and relevant trust. “Family devotions need to be nurtured beyond traditional fixed time; there are other times as well,” he explained. There is teachable faith building moments. For example, the death of actor Robin Williams; “We can seize the moment to teach about truth or death,” he said.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”
What kind of altar can we build with this piece of information? There are things you can create intentionally, other ways to have family devotion and have fun with as well.
“Bring the child to a place with God,” he said. He also gave hope to those with children over the age of 18, telling his experience with his own son living in Melbourne, Australia. The pastor flew in over a weekend just to catch up and talk about God and his life.
“If you intentionally build family altars there will be plenty of opportunities,” he said. If we do not give priority, if a family member does not end up in heaven, then you have wasted your time.
“Family altars are possible in the home environment,” he said adding, “So faith can be passed on.” As long as we are willing to do God’s ways, God will use our willing heart no matter how little, God will move, he ended.
Ps Matthew Ling was the senior pastor at Calvary Family Church, Kuching. Presently he is involved in the leadership of family track of Transform World and 4/14 Window Global movements.
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