You know how God told Noah to build a boat in order to save his wife and kids from the Flood? The ark rescued this family by providing refuge from the chaos of the storm that surrounded them.
In your family, here’s what shelter looks like:
A Christian home is a place where dad is respected and mom is really loved. It’s a place where children are nurtured.
Free Printable – How to Build a Great Christian Home
Click the image above or on this link to get the FREE printable (PDF) from Robert Wolgemuth – A Quick Guide to Building a Great Christian Home.
Most men don’t mind the battle. Every man does mind disrespect. You can take on a man nose to nose. You can challenge him on the tennis court or baseball diamond and not smile. You can go for it. But don’t roll your eyes or look askance at him. Don’t talk carelessly about him with your friends. Don’t disrespect him. In your refuge, family members may not always agree with dad, but they always respect him. “I think you’re wrong” works. “You’re stupid” does not.
Like every new husband, I entered marriage with no experience. Yes, I had sound models in my father and other men I looked up to, but there were certain quiet nuances for which I was completely unprepared. Thankfully, I married a woman who alerted me to these necessary refinements… with respect.
“I know that you love me,” she began. “But during the day when we’re apart, I just want to know that you’re thinking about me.” She was not whining. In love, she was telling me how to love her — how to make our home a refuge in the middle of our chaotic lives. So way back then, every once in a while, I’d pick up the phone at the office and call her. “Hi, honey, it’s me,” I said. “Look, I’m on my way to a meeting and just have a second, but I want you to know how crazy I am about you. You’re the best. I’ve got to run. I’ll see you tonight.” That was then, but now a text message with the same words is such a good idea.
Remember what it was like when you first noticed each other and your heart did one of those skip-a-beat things? Reaching out to express your affection was something that you did a lot. This was not obligatory. It was something you wanted to do. You loved each other so much that you literally couldn’t help yourself. Thinking about each other throughout the day was common fare. The Bible calls this returning to your “first love” (Revelation 2:4).
So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. — Ephesians 5:28–29
In these verses, Paul gave us two other powerful clues to loving mom: nourish and cherish.
Nourish literally means “to feed” — something that has to happen multiple times every day. What if the last meal a woman ate was on her wedding day? Of course, she wouldn’t live very long. In the same way you must eat to live, the verses say that a husband’s love for his wife literally nourishes her. He can’t get away with saying, “I love you… until further notice.” Expressions of his love must be as regular as the sustenance that comes from daily meals.
Cherish is what a mother bird does as she broods over her nest. She guards her eggs, protects them from danger, and keeps them warm. Yes, I know that this is a very feminine-sounding concept, but there are very few woman alive who wouldn’t say, “I wish I had more of that in my home.”
These first two qualities speak to husbands and wives. There’s something important to note: one of the most important qualities of a Christian home is a great relationship between dad and mom. The foundation of a good home is a good marriage. It’s simply not possible to have a good home without a good marriage. A strong marriage is the engine that moves your home forward. It’s what gives it strength. And power. And delight.
If your “first love” is a distant memory, go ahead and start treating your wife like you did when you were first winning her heart. Just see what happens. Make a conscious decision to woo her once more. She’ll respond like she did the first time. You’ll see.
Nurture the Kids
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. — Ephesians 6:4 KJV
If you’ve ever had a vegetable garden, you understand the idea of nurture. You do the hard work of preparing the soil; you plant the seeds; you water, fertilize, and hoe the weeds… then you water, fertilize, and hoe the weeds some more. This nurturing thing is a lot of hard work, but if you want a plentiful harvest, it’s what you must do.
Raising children in your home takes this kind of nurturing work: love, discipline, affirmation, correction, tenderness. This makes them feel whole and secure.
And notice the verb Paul used is “bring” — “bring them up.” It doesn’t say “send” them up or “tell them” to grow up. It says “bring.” Like a pace car in a race, parents go first. Like a kid hollering to his parents from a high dive, parents are saying to their children, “Watch this.” When it comes to attitudes, conduct, or instruction of every kind, you go first. And remember that your goal as a parent isn’t perfection. It’s transparency.
A home where dad is respected, mom is loved, and the kids are nurtured is one very safe place.
As with Noah’s construction project in his backyard, you’re building something very special. When he, his wife, their sons and daughters-in-law crossed the threshold and the door to the great boat was closed behind them, they were out of harm’s way. Can you imagine the relief those people must have felt? Can you see them embrace each other in gratitude as the thunder clapped and the rain began? Their tangible experience of God’s grace and protection must have been overwhelming.
Your house is this kind of sanctuary for your family. When people walk through your door, the celebration with words (“I’m so glad you’re here”), affection (a bear hug), and focused attention (look into their eyes) will assure them that they are… home. For the time being, the rest of the world is outside where it belongs.
You, your spouse, and your kids (and their friends) are safe. You’ve found refuge in a place called a Christian home.
They’re the most important people in this most important place.
Adapted with permission from The Most Important Place on Earth by Robert Wolgemuth, copyright Robert D. Wolgemuth
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There’s no better time than right now to practice showing respect to dad, loving mom, and nurturing the kids. Come share with us in the comments about how that plays out in your home! We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily