In his latest release, Pastor Paul Goulet takes you on a journey to healthy relationships with your family, friends, coworkers, and — most importantly — with God. This interactive eBook includes a PDF download as well as 30 videos to guide you through each step of the process.
Day One | Healthy Relationships: It takes two!
Healthy relationships are only possible with at least two willing people. Because we aren’t training the other person involved in your life, we must begin with you.
How spiritually and emotionally healthy are you? Yes that is a loaded question? If you’ve been through the 30 day journey to spiritual health and the 30 day journey on relational health your answer would be a load: I’m doing great.
If you’ve not been through a journey of some sort to become healthy, I strongly encourage you to follow through with this. Your relational health starts with you. If you are anxious, miserable, depressed, insecure or just plain unhappy, you will not have the energy or stability to forge lasting loving relationships.
Relationships take a lot of work, a lot of love and patience. Are you in a position now where you can invest time and energy to improve your relationships? How about your friends, family and loved ones? Are they willing to do the work re- quired?
Today: Here are three truths that you can start with
Daily prayer: Lord help me become a healthy person spiritually and emotionally. Help me develop great relationships that will glorify you and add
“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—’” (Romans 1:11)
Paul was looking forward to meeting the roman Christians because he wanted to transfer some spiritual gifts.
Paul knew the secret of dynamic relationships: he walked into each one with the intention of giving. Dr John maxwell calls it putting change in people’s pockets. A common sign of a destructive relationship is the giving is only one way. The term enabler comes from the concept of one person being such a giver that they loose themselves in the process. Their identity becomes too connected to the well being of the other person.
Paul wanted to pour into them but he realized that their relationship could be mu- tually beneficial:
In other words he looked forward to a relationship that all parties could be built up.
Today: Lets remember these truths and evaluate our relationships
“How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight,”(Deuteronomy 32:30)
“For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 24:6)
Throughout the Old and New Testaments you’ll discover that God wants you to experience vibrant fulfilling relationships. Is that what you are experiencing?
If not, there are a few things that you can start doing today to kick start the process:
1) Forgive all those who have hurt you or with whom you have been angry. It’s difficult to build strong relationships. Unresolved garbage from your past will surely undermine your success.
2) Ask God to help you develop these relationships.
3) Be so full everyday with the Spirit of God that you will have more love to give, and reach out to others.
4) Learn to cherish and see the benefit of these strong relationships.
5) Identify unhealthy or toxic relationships.
Today: Commit to building strong relationships. It will take work. You’ll have to learn new behaviors and take a few risks. The Holy Spirit can and will help you.
“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” (Proverbs 1:10)
Some people have a difficult time recognizing healthy relationships. Many whom I have met and counseled grew up in dysfunctional homes. Dysfunction looks like health to them now. They need a new model to use as an example.The Holy Spirit can help you begin the process of identifying dysfunction and targeting health.
Do you know a healthy couple? What are they like? Who are the healthiest parents, bosses, teachers, and friends you know? Although you will never find a perfect model, you can find a relatively healthy one.
As an example, here are a few characteristics of a healthy marriage:
1) Mutual respect and honor are demonstrated consistently.
2) Their love and affection are obvious to you.
3) Real communication is practiced. This includes active listening and transparent sharing.
4) Appreciation is habitually expressed.
5) Forgiveness is given freely and quickly.
These characteristics can be applied to any relationship and pay huge dividends.
Today: Take a moment to compare the nature of your relationships with the one described above.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,” (1 John 4:18)
We all want great relationships, however, in most cases we are unsure how to achieve them. We don’t lack the desire, we lack the know how and insight. So let’s start a process of removing some invisible roadblocks from our lives in our journey to build healthy relationships. Over the next few days we will confront four of the most common. With God’s help I believe that we can remove them and keep them powerless.
1. Unresolved hurts and anger:
I moved to Belgium when I was twelve. The culture shock and lack of healthy relationships were very traumatic for me. This trauma created an invisible roadblock in me. Have you ever experienced trauma? What effect did it produce in you? What have you done to be healed of this trauma?
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)
2. Disappointments, unrealistic expectations, and broken promises:
A sure source of sabotage of a relationship is unrealistic expectations. If you suffer with these then I can assure you that others are suffering too. Many of these expectations come from some serious disappointments and broken promises from the past.
“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” (Proverbs 15:13)
Trust is a very precious thing that becomes a foundation stone of our self esteem and ability to connect in long lasting relationships. If you have suffered from an unfaithful parent or mate, please take time to resolve the trust issues.
4. Insensitivity and selfishness:
There are some people that I have counseled who were insensitive to the needs of others. At times it comes from pure selfishness, at other times from pride or ignorance. The antidote to these first four roadblocks can be found in 1 Corinthians 13. True unconditional God type of love is the surest way of overcoming the roadblocks. Today, please take a moment to read through this passage. Ask yourself if these definitions of love are true for you. If they are not then ask the Holy Spirit to help you change.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:11-13)
If these traits are not resident in the lives of those who surround you, consider the methods of reconciliation described in Matthew.
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17)
Today: Identify the roadblocks that have hindered your healthy relationships.
Deep abiding relationship that can last through conflict, temptation, tragedies, difficulties and change require effort and skill. Denise And I have been married for 33 years. Our children are all grown up and married. We have now entered the glorious stage of grandparenthood. We are really enjoying our lives.
But can I be real with you? It’s taken a lot of work. We have been in counseling, read books, gone on weekly dates, attended countless soccer, baseball basketball, school plays, teacher meetings and.... the list goes on. We are now reaping the harvest of 32 years of work, study and investment.
Here are few roadblocks that we had to remove:
Poor listening skills:
I’ve got to confess that I was guilty of this. I never learned this skill until I went through two years of group therapy. I was almost completely out of touch with my feelings and of course my wife’s.
I learned some great techniques, check them out “ this is what I hear you saying.
“ I understand how you feel
“ help me understand how you feel honey
The key is hearing there feelings and validating them
Poor communication skills:
Guilty again I can assure you. In our home we never learned to resolve conflict. We learned to stuff, go into denial, blame others, get depressed, sedate ourselves with drugs or... The list goes on again.
Why is it that we read about forgiveness in the bible but few of us know how to forgive. Denise and I learned this in a counseling session. We learned that there are three stages to forgiveness:
The process The state
Today: Read through Matthew.
What skill do you need to work one?
Where can you acquire the skills you need? Do you have any unforgiveness?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)
Relationships do not come as part of our DNA. We’ve learned to relate to others from our parents, family, friends, neighbors, coaches, teachers, and society as a whole. In Genesis 4 we discover that shortly after the fall Cain killed Abel. It didn’t take long for a perfect creation to stray from our God given mandate: to love God and to love others.
“But He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell..... Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” (Genesis 4:5&8)
Who has had the greatest positive effect on your ability to form great relationships? Who has had the worst effect on you? Whether you are aware of it or not, people have had a massive impact on your relational style. Being a Christian does not guarantee marital bliss or a healthy home. The great king David was a significant failure in the realm of relationships. It seems obvious as we read the Old Testament that other patriarchs of our faith lied, ignored their responsibilities, strayed from God, and believed they only had power to bless one child. The list of their mistakes could fill the rest of this course. Sounds a lot like us, doesn’t it? There are a few significant roadblocks that everyone will have to avoid and/or overcome to build the type of family and friendships that will produce joy and blessings.
Let’s review a few of them:
1) Lack of insight and wisdom:
Even though David was imperfect he still offered great advice in Palms 1:1 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful” It seems interesting to me that his son Solomon devoted so much of his time to wisdom and the transfer of it to his son. The book of Proverbs is a testimony to Solomon. Perhaps he wanted to provide for his son what he did not get from his dad. “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” (Proverbs 1:8-10)
2) Poor role models:
Who have been your primary role models? The impressions gained from our parents, elders, teachers, coaches, and other figureheads left an indelible imprint on us. We learned from watching them on a daily basis. Big issues like trust, love, honor, patience, and so many more core values are learned through modeling.
“He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:4-7)
3) Generational Strongholds
Unfortunately for many children the Bible does say, “You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me” (Deuteronomy 5:9).
It’s interesting to observe that relational problems seem to run in the family even for generations. Sins, weaknesses, and good character traits seem to be mysteriously passed down through family trees. We do not have enough time to do an indepth study on this phenomenon; however, we can identify it as a problem in order to address it in prayer. How were your role models? What kind of role model are you?
Today: List the things that you leaned from your role models (good and bad):
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
Throughout all of our thirty day journeys we’ve consistently returned to a concept that has helped me though the years: The Vat. Dr Dobbins taught me years ago that I don’t live with the facts of my life but the interpretation of the facts of my life. The Vat illustrates this truth pretty clearly: Everything you hear, see, read, and experience is quickly filtered through your conscious and unconscious mind. After it is filtered, the fact has now been transformed into a story that you tell yourself. Your feelings, intentions, options, choices, actions, and consequences all come from this story.
You can just imagine the lies that you have told yourself for years. Stories that were not true but you believed them. These lies become toxic warehouses that poison the possibility of a healthy family, marriage, career, or friendship. These lies are caused by misinterpretations.
Today: Take a moment to review The Vat:
Identify any dirty filters that hinder your marriage or friendships.
What lies have become toxic factories?
What can you do to clean out your relational Vat?
“But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—” (Ephesians 4:15)
To interpret relationships in a healthier way we’ll need to improve our communication skills by understanding the 9 stages of communication. Relationships are built in a large part on communication skills. The list of 9 is not exhaustive, nor are they explained in detail. It is a complex issue that needs constant work and humility. Don’t get discouraged, you will improve your ability to communicate clearly and effectively:
Stage 1 - What are you thinking of saying? It might be different from what eventually comes out of your mouth. This is what you really mean to say.
Stage 2 - Is the process of formulating sentences and choosing the style of communicating.
Stage 3 - Is the form of communication itself: letter, email, Facebook, phone, Skype.
Stage 4 - Is the emotional atmosphere and baggage that is being delivered.
Stage 5 - Is the reception of your communication. The other person will hear it, see it, or read it.
Stage 6 - The other person will interpret it.
Stage 7 - The other person will feel it.
Stage 8 - The other person will formulate a response in their thoughts. They will intend to communicate a response.
Stage 9 - They will communicate a response using whatever means at their disposal, fueled by their interpretation and emotions that followed.
Today: Take a few moments to comprehend these stages and diagnose the stage
where a breakdown has occurred in your communication.
Is there one stage that seems to be your weakest?
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)
“But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—” (Ephesians 4:15)
Your words can build healthy relationships or destroy them. Your words are seeds of discouragement, fear, resentment, and rejection or affirmation, love, and understanding. Have you ever been guilty of using your words in a destructive or critical manner? Ephesians 4:15 admonishes us to speak the truth in love... In our anger or bitterness we’ve all been guilty of speaking the truth, but not in love.
Moms and dads do your words impart courage or fear to your children? Husbands and wives do your words affirm your mate? Do they feel accepted and loved unconditionally?
“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:10)
If you change the way you speak to yourself and others, you will notice an amazing transformation. People will want you around. They will pour favor on you, and you will become a true reconciler spoken about in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.
Today: Take a moment to write down ten encouraging words for your friends and family. Release all ten throughout the day and watch the response to your words.
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)
If you were to boil down the key to all relational harmony and fulfillment to one source, the heart would surely be the one. Your heart is the center of who you are. It contains the thoughts and deep feelings of your inner core. Neurologists have started calling our hearts our second brain, because they discovered that we have over 40,000 neurological connections that are transferring electrical / chemical messages to other neurons. These messages create emotions, health, sickness, and impact our relationships.
The Scriptures were accurate when they declared: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
What is your heart full of now? Fear, anxiety, bitterness, jealousy or....? It is your responsibility to keep it clean, pure, encouraged, and healed. Because from it will come the emotions and words that can kill any relationship, or build strong lasting ones David understood this: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10).
Review The Vat in Day 8.
Today: Take a moment and create a heart inventory. The sheet is on page 16. After a period of prayer write down a list of all those with whom you have been angry or felt hurt. On the far right indicate whether you feel you have been healed or you have started the process of forgiveness.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Paul had this amazing confidence that propelled him around the known world. He also formed deep and intimate relationships.
“For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.” (1 Corinthians 4:17)
Your sense of self worth and the way you see yourself will determine who feels attracted to you emotionally. In other words, the way you see yourself becomes like a magnet. You either repell or attract relationships. If your sense of self is toxic, you will attract toxic people. If you are bitter, you will attract bitter people. Someone once said that “birds of a feather flock together...” Do you believe that this is true? David understood the importance of choosing great friends:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalms 1:1)
Jehoshaphat was a great godly king but his friendship with Ahab caused the death of many of his people, and eventually his own death. Maxwell always says “that your associations determine your destinations”. Your choice of associates comes from your self esteem and your heart unless you have allowed the Holy Spirit to do a significant work in your life.
Today: Take a few moments and list five scriptures that speak about your new identity in Jesus Christ according to 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” No one can change your self esteem except for you and God. An identity firmly established in Christ is confident, secure, grace based, and optimistic:
“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
“Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
You choose your friends, college, employment, church, and girlfriends or boyfriends. As a counselor I worked a lot with couples who were contemplating divorce. I would always ask them why they chose this person in the first place. It’s a sobering question because it puts the onus of responsibility on them and their ability to choose a life partner.
You have surrounded yourself with a group of people. Why did you choose them? Why did they choose you? To have healthy relationships you have to get rid of victim thinking. You are not powerless. With the help of the Spirit you can make better decisions in your relationships.
Here are a few questions that should help you in your important relationships:
Who are your closest friends? Why? Where do you work? Why? Where do you go to school? Why? Where do you go to church? Why? Do you have a mentor or coach ? Why? Every relationship will affect your destiny. Choose wisely.
Today: Take a moment and list your friends and associates. Why are you drawn to them and what are their hearts like? Are there any toxic relationships that you need to deal with?
“Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise:” (Ephesians 6:2)
You can choose your friends but you are born into your family. This is where we need the most wisdom and strength to bring healthy change. Families are generational. The chances are very strong that your family has been the way it is for a long long time. A family is highly resistant to change. Traits, tendencies, mind sets, addictions, and destructive behaviors have been passed on for decades, even centuries.
“For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.” (Exodus 20:5)
These sins represent the mistakes, rebellions, problems and anything that misses the perfect choices of God for you and your family. A family is like a river that has traced its direction for years. It takes a courageous person filled with the Spirit of God to make these changes. You’ve got to build a few dams (ie. boundaries), dig a few wells, and face tons of resistance. The same principle can be applied to previous healthy traits that can be resurrected. Isaac redug the wells of his father Abraham:
“And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them.” (Genesis 26:18)
Over the past 30 years I have broken generational curses, behaviors, and vices of my family blood line with the help of the Holy Spirit. I have also diligently researched and tapped into the powerful positive traits and seeds of my family heritage.
Notice that genealogies were and are important to God:
“Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)
Even Jesus’ bloodline was recorded and referred to. Your blood line is important. The good, bad, ugly, and beauty of your heritage needs to be dealt with to create a new direction for life and family.
Today: List a few of the great traits of your family of origin. Then list a few of their traits or tendencies that you would love to change.
“And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him; his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.” (1 Kings 15:3)
There are a few serious issues from our past that need to be removed in order to build on a firm and healthy foundation. It will take work and lots of prayer to get rid of these land mines. You may also require counseling or a support group. Prayer rooms have been popping up around the U.S. I’ve also encouraged people to receive prayer from their church leaders or pastors.
I’d like to encourage you to target these primary issues:
1) Generational curses and soul ties
2) Past generational hurts, abuses, and offenses
3) Past alliances
4) Occult or witchcraft practices
5) Addictive tendencies
6) Past failures
Change starts somewhere and with someone, it might as well be you. Are you in enough pain to take steps to change?
Today: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify and confront any of these veins of dysfunction. Write them down and begin to set a strategy to overcome them.
“ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Matthew 19:19)
Honor is a huge issue in building a healthy family, business, or marriage. For many of us who grew up in dysfunctional homes the big question that arises is, how do you honor the family and still become a healthy person? Great question!
We are called to honor them no matter what. Even if they aren’t honorable.
Here’s how I managed this dilemma.
1) Forgive them for all hurts, errors, weaknesses, and abuse.
2) Do not speak ill of them to others; unless of course you are being abused, in which case you have the right to be protected by telling someone trustworthy.
3) You pray for them and love them.
4) Finding a competent confidential counselor or leader to process your feelings is not dishonorable.
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18)
Your family of origin may have a shopping list of problems. They may never be willing to change. God will not force them. He gives men and women free will. You cannot change your family but you can influence them by your willingness to change. As you make healthy choices you will have an effect on your family. They may even become healthier because of your influence and the Holy Spirit.
Today: Take a moment to write down ways you can honor and love them while still making healthy choices for your life and circle of influence.
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
Someone needs to become the forerunner of change in a family. As an adult you may not be able to quickly influence your family of origin. They may be solidly entrenched, however, you can build your own future. Joshua understood this principle. At the mountain of the Lord, the people of Israel were presented with two sets of lifestyles and the consequences that would follow. They were called blessings and curses. Joshua clearly stated in my paraphrased rendition: “Hey team, I’m not sure which one you will pick, but as for me and my house...” As the head of his house he made the choice. What can we learn from his example? Remember:
1) You are responsible for your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
2) Your decisions will create your future. God wants to bless you, however, your decisions can stop or hinder His desires.
3) There are such things as blessings and curses.
4) If you are the head of your house you can set the course for your family, marriage, church, company...
5) You are the head of you until you give Christ headship of your life. Even then you must take responsibility for you...
Today: Review these five truths. Take a moment to describe what kind of family, marriage, and friendships you want to build. How will you accomplish this?
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 18:22)
Partnerships in life are so important. Your associations will determine your destinations, so be careful who you choose as a life partner, business partner, coach, leader, or employer. This lesson will highlight seven wisdom steps to help you choose an amazing person to be your husband or wife.
These seven priniciples can also be applied to almost any lasting relationship:
1) Become a healthy, secure, and happy person first: Dr Dobbins used to say that marriage will only intensify the state that you are already in. Ouch! That hurts doesn’t it?
2) Realize that nobody can make you happy but they can add icing on the cake.
3) Look for someone that is already an adult, happy, productive, secure, positive, and healed: projects make for miserable marriages.
4) Look for someone with a vibrant faith in Christ.
5) Take a look at their family. You might bite off more than you can chew.
6) Time is your friend. Long friendships with long engagements tend to give you more time to work through issues with a good pre marriage counselor.
7) How does your mate deal with anger, set backs, conflict, and hurt?
Today: Make a decision to not compromise in your choice of life partner. These important revelations will help you make better choices in the significant partnerships of your life. Don’t forget to become the person that healthy people are drawn to.
“Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:24-25)
Denise and I have been married for 33 years. The first five years were very difficult. We had to work on our relationship.
We had to learn:
1) Effective ways to communicate.
2) How to resolve conflict.
3) How to raise our children.
4) How to manage the demands of ministry, career, finances, and kids.
5) How to navigate the transitions of life.
6) How to speak each others love language.
7) How to forgive and move on.
8) How to live on a limited budget.
These are all situations that every couple will have to address. There are tremendous books, videos, and seminars that I’d encourage you to take advantage of. Just head to your local Christian bookstore, or go to iclv.com for additional resources.
The Goulet 8 Rules of a Strong Marriage
1. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger
2. Speak the truth in love
3. If you offend your brother first go
4. If your brother sins against you go
5. Forgive and you will be forgiven
6. Humble yourself and submit one to the other
7. You can win a battle but lose the war
8. Love covers a multitude of wrongs
Today: Create your own set of rules to live and love by. Create your list based on the Word of God and the leading of Holy Spirit . A list that you can live and love by.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4)
There is a God given order to a healthy family. The Word of God has very clear instructions about the foundations of the type of home that reflects His design. Many of us were not raised in homes where the Word was honored and followed. In these cases we have to re-learn the “right way” to build a strong family. I can guarantee you that your family history is very important. So many pivotal habits and beliefs were formed by generations of relational interactions. Here are just a few skills and habits that you learned from your family:
A) You learned eating and exercise habits.
B) Beliefs about God were infused at a young age.
C) Your self esteem was created through your interactions with family.
D) Important emotions and qualities like trust, love, caring, compassion, honor, anger, depression, and so many more.
E) Your attitude.
F) Many hurts and disappointments come from our families.
G) Your sexuality, fears, and ability to bond.
If you can realize and understand that your family created your foundation and the filters you use on a daily basis, this will become the key to your breakthrough. This is one of my favorite subjects because it is something that Denise and I really concentrated on. We came into agreement on several key family issues.
Here are just a few truths that have helped us build a strong and blessed family:
1) Marriage comes before the kids.
2) Consistent, clear disciplines.
3) Clear, realistic expectations.
4) Tons of words of affirmation and physical affection.
5) Do not discipline in anger.
6) Don’t argue in front of the kids.
7) Get involved in their activities.
8) Read to them and pray with them daily.
9) Kids come before ministry and career.
10) Help them with homework, sports, and other activities.
11) Teach them to serve the less fortunate.
12) Teach them to give, forgive, and reconcile.
13) Teach them how to resolve conflict, rejection, hurt, and anger.
14) Teach them to dream.
15) Teach them how to choose a life partner.
16) Reward behaviors that you want them to emulate.
Today: Write down the rules of your family of origin. How about the DNA of your present family? Every family has a DNA.
“Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; for I give you good doctrine: do not forsake my law. When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he also taught me, and said to me: Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.” (Proverbs 4:1-5)
Solomon was fully aware of some of his family weaknesses and dysfunctions. He certainly grew up in a dysfunctional home. David, his father, was a great warrior and a man after God’s own heart. He was also a king who used his power to have a husband killed in order to steal his wife. His dad had a number of concubines. How many brothers and half brothers did he grow up with? How much time did Solomon spend with his dad talking about life. How many family meals did they share around an intimate table? Perhaps this is why he penned many of the words of Proverbs.
Like Solomon, I grew up in a dysfunctional family. Most of us did. Divorce, alcoholism, abuse, neglect, addictions, infidelity, workaholism, anger, insecurity, and countless societal woes affected you and me. James 1:5 reminds us all that “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him”. Yes, we lack wisdom.
- How can I build a healthy home? - How can I create a dynamic marriage; how can I pick the right life partner?
- How do I raise dynamic kids?
The answers to all these questions are what we should be crying out for.
Unfortunately, most people keep repeating the sins and mistakes of the past. Please make sure that you do not make the same mistake...
There are a few principles that Denise and I have learned throughout the past 32 years of parenting . Raising dynamic kids is actually one of my favorite subjects, so please be encouraged by these pointers:
1) Don’t forget that you are preparing these children to become mature, responsible, hard working, and healthy Christian adults.
2) Develop a type of consistent Christian faith that your children will want for themselves.
3) Try to answer the hard faith questions that they will surely have. Eventually your faith will become their faith.
4) Help them survive and flourish in spite of living in a broken, corrupt, and hostile world. Home should be a safe place.
5) If you are a single parent search for safe godly models to fill the void left by the other spouse. Raising kids is a team effort. A healthy church can help meet the need.
6) Teach them fiscal responsibility.
7) Teach them to be givers to God and others.
8) Find a great church and get involved. Create healthy traditions that will serve as foundations for growth.
9) Teach them to work hard.
10) Listen to them and hear their feelings and fears.
11) Play and laugh with them.
12) Celebrate their life and achievements.
Today: Start to model these behaviors. Be careful what you allow into your home. Be discerning of their friends, coaches, teachers, and teammates. The world can be a dangerous place, so pray a lot.
“Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honor, when you embrace her.” (Proverbs 4:5-8)
Wisdom and understanding are two pivotal skills that every child needs to grow into a mature, responsible, and fruitful adult. Wisdom needs to be learned from every parent, and is also a gift from God. Understanding is the ability to put it into practice. Putting it into practice will result in the ability to make great decisions. As parents, we should be preparing our children to be responsible and wise. On judgement day they will have to give an answer for their life choices, like the sons of Eli. They were raised by a man of God who seemed to excuse their behavior, or perhaps he was in denial for years.
“Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’S people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the Lord desired to kill them.” (1 Samuel 2:22-25).
As a result they experienced a horrible consequence, and Eli was rebuked by God. Notice that they were held responsible even though Eli had also made mistakes in parenting. Both the parent and child were held responsible once the child became an adult. At the end of this lesson, I’ve included a model that should help you teach yours and others the process that we all go through before we make a decision. As much as we want to protect our children from trials, temptations, and pain, we cannot. However, we can teach them how to make good decisions based on health and wisdom.
Here are a few tools that you can place in their tool box:
1) Help them list the pros and cons of every decision and every action.
2) Teach them to count the cost of every choice.
3) Teach them to look at the consequences of their actions.
4) Praise them for good choices.
5) Reward them for achievements in sports and school.
6) Help them to be led by the Spirit in the process.
7) Help them re-evaluate after a wrong decision. Demonstrate that forgiveness and grace = no condemnation.
8) Teach them the “Circle of Progress”. (See diagram on the next page)
9) Let them live with the consequences of their choices. Wisdom is required here.
10) Maturity will dictate how much responsibility they can handle. As they grow older they should be able to make bigger decisions.
11) By the time they go to college or leave home, they should be ready for anything.
12) Teach them to be emotionally and spiritually healthy
Today: Evaluate your ability to make great decisions and the way that you learned this skill.
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV)
Relational filters cause you to misinterpret your friends and family. They come from unresolved hurt, trauma, abuse, or anger. Relational filters are logged deep in your subconscious. Everything you see, hear, and experience is filtered through these distorting forces.
- Have you ever wondered why someone overreacts to your words?
- Have you ever noticed that some people consistently misinterpret you?
- Have you ever wondered why you have overreacted or been discouraged easily?
Everyone has filters. Relational health starts when we begin to clean them out with the help of God,
friends, sponsors, pastors, or counselors. Here are a few practical steps to clean out those troublesome filters:
1) Clean out your Vat: see day 8.
2) Create a moral inventory: forgive and process unresolved hurt, anger, and trauma.
3) Reconcile with others if possible: some reconciliation may not involve the offending party.
4) Make amends for the pain you might have created
5) Work on rebuilding truth in your relationships.
6) Identify distorting filters and realize their impact.
7) Take bold steps to overcome the fears and filters.
8) Find healthy people who can help with this difficulty.
9) Learn to press the pause button when your filters try to kick in.
Today: Create a fearless moral inventory. Start processing it in prayer. Find a recovery group or counselor who can help you with the troublesome ones.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—” (Ephesians 4:11-15)
Leadership is another one of my favorite subjects. I’ve committed time and energy in teaching two series on leadership that have been the foundation of my life and ministry. When I arrived at our church in Las Vegas 20 years ago, the most glaring need was healthy leaders. I believe that a healthy leader will produce great fruit. Unhealthy leaders cause division and more pain. I’ve taught a “Healthy Leaders” series focusing on developing spiritually, emotionally, and relationally healthy leaders. 30 weeks of focused teaching and application that concentrates on leading each person into forgiveness, healing, insight, and personal peace. I believe this is one reason that these ministries have grown exponentially in Las Vegas and around the world. In the past ten years we’ve added the Equip leadership series by Dr. John Maxwell.
When you add solid principles to healthy people you get more growth.
2 Corinthians 3:18 speaks of revelation that leads to new levels of glory:
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
I truly believe that revelation, insight, discernment, and wisdom will enable you to more breakthroughs. So lets summarize the steps to becoming a great leader:
1) Become a healthier person emotionally and spiritually.
2) Learn new skills and insights into leadership.
3) Lead the way in commitment, attitude, and good spirit.
4) Learn and serve great leaders.
5) Seek, buy, and embrace wisdom (Proverbs 4). Leadership is not only learned, it is earned. You don’t have the power to control people but you do have the ability to influence them for the good and great.
Today: Start taking these steps in your own life. What leadership style can you learn from? Get involved, serve, and grow.
“So they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
Imagine your entire family turning to Christ. Doesn’t that sound awesome? Some of you had the privilege of growing up in healthy Christian homes. Some were raised by dysfunctional Christian parents. Being a Christian does not guarantee health, so let’s dream for a moment about our families getting saved and healed. This should be our prayer and desire.
Perhaps this is why Jesus told us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
We were not told to make converts but disciples. So how do we do that? I’ve listed a few practical principles that I have lived with since I accepted Christ over 34 years ago:
1) Live a life that is attractive to the lost and broken. This is your testimony.
“For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.” (2 Corinthians 1:12)
2) Get rid of anything in your life that hinders you.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
3) Have a positive attitude.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (1 Philippians 4:13)
4) Build others up with your words and actions.
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)
5) Share the changing and healing power of Christ and His Spirit.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
6) Pray that others will receive mercy from God and the ability to repent.
“So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” (Romans 9:16)
7) Demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Your life experience, health, love, and attitude will speak louder than all your words. Live it, then share it.
Today: Start the journey of believing God for your friends and family, for Christ.
“And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?’ But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?” (Acts 7:26-27)
Ouch! This one is a really difficult lesson because so few of us have learned good conflict resolution principles. We’ve watched our friends and family since birth and adapted our own confused approach. Some avoid conflict. Others explode in rage or anger. Others get defensive. Still others fold and retreat. Some get depressed.
How do you respond to conflict? Please allow me to help you with a few techniques that I have perfected through 30 years of counseling and ministry:
1) There are always two sides to every conflict. Make sure you get the other side of the story before you respond.
2) I like to respond to conflict instead of react. Response means being slow to speak and slow to get angry (Proverbs 15:18). Reaction is spontaneous, usually very emotional and not objective.
3) Scripture gives clear step by step solutions to conflict:
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
4) Knowing that many conflicts arise from miscommunications, try these tools to clarify:
“Help me understand what you really meant”.
“Help me understand why you slashed my tires, or burned my house down”. Try to use ‘I’ statements instead of pointing the finger at the other person. Make sure you get all the information before you respond. All sides of the story are important. Remember that we all see through a glass dimly. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV)
5) Before you meet with someone to restore a conflict, make sure that you forgive them, even before you see them. Defuse your hurt or anger in order to truly approach the issues with the desire to reconcile.
Today: Make a commitment to resolve conflicts instead of creating them
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” (Ephesians 4:7)
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32)
I’ve been overwhelmed by the favor that God has poured into my life and family. It truly is smashing and I give Him all the glory. Favor cannot be earned, it is unmerited. You can, however, position yourself to receive it. Many Christians do not walk in the favor of God because they are in the wrong position spiritually, emotionally, relationally, or physically. Pride, arrogance, un-repented sin, disobedience, jealousy, unforgiveness, resentment, and ignorance can stop us from receiving everything that God wants to lavish on us. He loves us all unconditionally but the principles of sowing and reaping are still binding.
Please review this list of steps to position ourselves for favor:
1) Develop a positive attitude.
2) Express appreciation.
3) Be eager to learn new skills.
4) Be open to constructive criticism and feedback.
5) Honor your leaders with cards, gifts and.....
6) Accept responsibility for your mistakes.
7) Look out for the interest of your boss, company, school, or team.
8) Be a team player.
9) Praise others, let others praise you.
10) Be careful what you say, post on Facebook, tweet, or write in an email.
11) Pray for those in authority.
12) Be careful who you associate with.
“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6)
Bad company corrupts good character.
Today: Develop your strategy to transform your relationship with those in authority.
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ..... For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?” (1 Corinthians 12:12,14-15)
One of the most ignored secrets of relational health is the role of the local church. Jesus has this amazing strategy to create a warm house for our growth and protection. Some have said that it takes a village to raise a child but the Bible says that it takes a church. Teaching, love, community, correction, and blessings are supposed to flow from our relationship with a dynamic local church. Are you plugged into a local church?
Here are a few of the truths about this crucial relationship:
1) The church is called the body of Christ. Jesus is the head, we are called to be His body to this world.
“Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
2) Jesus said that He would build it to be victorious.
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
3) We are important parts of His body. Each of us have a strategic role to accomplish to make the body amazing.
“From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16)
4) We have been given gifts to compliment the body.
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” (Ephesians 4:7)
5) We will reach maturity and perfection as we are part of this body.
“Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)
6) We are covered by apostles, prophets, pastors, and elders. We are also trained and built up by the evangelists and teachers.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” (Ephesians 4:11)
7) As you tithe and give offerings you are guaranteed to get a huge harvest as you pour into the store house.
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi. 3:10)
Today: Find a great church and become committed to their vision and mission
“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
Fitting into the body of Christ is so important for your health, destiny, and eternity. It’s also important for the people that you are called to touch for God, to love, help, heal, to reach and equip for their future. Everyone of you has the ability and calling to impact others in a positive way.
The Bible describes your role as a spiritual leader:
1) The Bible calls you: “Ministers of reconciliation”; “Ambassadors for Christ”; “Saints”; “Burden bearers”; “the salt of the earth and the light of the world”.
2) Your role in the salvation of souls:
“And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)
3) You are a person who can daily go ...
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
4) God has a specific anointing for you.
“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (1 John 2:27)
5) Your giving can transform a life
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
6) You are called to serve God and others.
“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” (John 12:26)
7) You are called to love others.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
There are wonderful resources for people who want to grow in their leadership abilities. John Maxwell’s Equip leadership course is my favorite. Go to iclv.com to see the schedule for the next Equip leadership seminar near you.
Today: As you take these steps on a consistent level others will be inspired. Leadership is truly influence. Titles and positions can only carry you so far. Become the leader you have been called to be. People will flock to you.
“Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 TImothy 2:22)
“That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15)
“Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder).” (2 Peter 3:1)
“The song of songs, which is Solomon’s. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, your name is ointment poured forth; therefore the virgins love you.” (Song of Solomon 1:1-3)
It may surprise some people to know that God created sex. It was His idea to make it pleasurable so that a man and a woman would bond and be faithful to each other their whole lives. After the fall, mankind has done a horrible job of living according to God’s amazing plan.
Some of you have been sexually abused as children, some have been raped, and some have even been sold into sex slavery. Others have made hurtful decisions in regards to sexuality and are suffering confusion and condemnation. If you have suffered in any of these ways please get some help from a caring professional counselor, or from some of the ministries that have been created for your needs. I’d like to identify a few important issues in regards to a healthy view of sex in relationships:
1) Since God came up with the idea we can assume that it can be used for good.
2) Some need healing and counseling for past cases of abuse.
3) Thoughts of sex and sexual urges are normal.
4) Sex within marriage can become what God originally planned. It can bring pleasure, create intimacy, satisfy desires, bond a couple for life, and even produce children.
5) Sex is not taboo. Ignorance of God’s plan for sex can severely damage a relationship.
6) It’s important for a married couple to talk about sex.
7) In preparation for marriage, the issues of sex should be discussed with the counselor. In this case, ignorance is not bliss.
8) Fear of sex or talking about sex is not God’s perfect plan for your life.
9) As a single Christian it is important to learn how to deal with your sexuality in a godly way.
10) Confusion about sexual orientation is quite normal, especially in our present culture.
Today: Write down the most important truths about sex that you were taught.
- What has been your greatest sexual struggle?
- What is your strategy to work through these sexual issues?
With a strong apostolic anointing, Pastor Paul has made it his mission in life to impart the power of the Holy Spirit into leaders worldwide. He travels extensively and has established an international network of churches, Bible schools and pastors, with the ultimate goal of building 2000 churches by the year 2020. As Senior Pastor of ICLV and the author of many books, Pastor Paul’s messages of vision and destiny are heard by tens of thousands around the world.