Participants: Alanzo Smith, June Smith
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000052
00:30 Welcome to Marriage In God's Hands.
00:33 I'm Alanzo Smith, an Ordained Minister of the gospel.
00:37 And I'm June Smith.
00:40 We're both licensed Marriage and Family Therapists,
00:43 and licensed Mental Health Counselors.
00:47 We're here today to talk about, Rebuilding the Family Altar.
00:54 But before we do so, June, won't you pray for us.
00:58 I invite you to pray with us.
01:00 Father, we thank You for a new day.
01:04 We thank You for the sacrifice You made to give us salvation.
01:09 As we establish our homes, we ask that You will give us wisdom
01:14 so that we can follow Your divine plan.
01:16 In Jesus' name, amen. Amen.
01:21 Rebuilding the family altar.
01:29 The assumption is that in some families,
01:34 the altar has been broken down.
01:37 But do you know why I know it's not just an assumption?
01:41 It's because I know for a fact, as I relate to people
01:46 who know Jesus, people who love Jesus, people who have family,
01:51 but they don't have the family altar erected.
01:55 And some admit, "We once had it but it is now broken down. "
01:59 There's a passage in scripture that I want you to read with us.
02:05 It's to be found in Joshua 4:1-2.
02:36 There are three lessons that we want you to learn
02:41 from this story in Joshua 4.
02:59 The role of the Spiritual Leader in the home is diminishing.
03:05 Talk to us about the Spiritual Leader in the home
03:11 and does this have to be the husband?
03:15 Because there are home where we have that challenge.
03:22 Whoever is the head of the household.
03:25 So if it is a single parent family or a dual couple,
03:31 a couple where both parties are in the home,
03:34 then where the father or husband exists,
03:38 he is expected to be the Spiritual Leader.
03:40 But if it's a single home, the person who is
03:44 head of that household should be the Spiritual Leader.
03:46 But yes, someone must assume the responsibility
03:51 to establish a spiritual environment.
03:56 The way things are happening in our society today,
03:59 if the home is broken,
04:01 then obviously society will be broken.
04:05 If society is broken, then we see all the maladapted behavior
04:11 that is going on.
04:12 So, it is important for us to establish at the very beginning
04:18 the need for the home to have the family altar erected.
04:25 Notice what the text says.
04:27 In every tribe, a spiritual leader was to be selected.
04:36 In the text, it says a man.
04:37 But as we have already clarified,
04:39 we are cognizant of the fact that there are some homes
04:42 where they are single families.
04:44 And in the case of a single mom,
04:46 she would become the spiritual leader.
04:50 We're talking to you husbands and wives.
04:53 And we're saying, husbands, it is your God given responsibility
04:58 as the High Priest of the home to command your household,
05:03 to command your home after righteousness.
05:08 So, the responsibility of the parents,
05:11 or the head of the household, is not just to provide
05:15 financially for the family, and to insure that the
05:19 family is safe, and all other roles
05:23 that one plays in a family,
05:25 but one dimension, and one important dimension,
05:30 is building a spiritual environment.
05:32 It is God's instruction to us.
05:39 What does it mean when you say, "command your household
05:43 after righteousness?"
05:44 Simply put, it means that you have to say like Joshua,
05:52 "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. "
05:56 In other words, commanding your household
05:59 after righteousness, as a spiritual leader,
06:02 you have to say, "There are some things that will not happen
06:05 in this home. "
06:07 When Friday evening comes and the sun is set
06:12 and the Sabbath hours start, in my house
06:15 the television will not be running, regardless of.
06:19 There are certain things that will not happen.
06:21 That is to say, the television for secular programs.
06:25 This lovely, beautiful 3ABN program, sure it is fine.
06:29 And we hope you're watching it, you need to.
06:32 But we're talking about secular activities.
06:34 Command your household after righteousness.
06:36 There are certain things, that as a spiritual leader
06:39 it's your duty to see that it's done in your home.
06:44 I think another role that the spiritual leader plays
06:46 is ensuring that they are developing and maintaining
06:52 a structure for spiritual activities.
06:55 For example, you talk about Friday evening at sundown,
06:59 the family knows this is the end of the work week
07:04 and the beginning of the Sabbath hours.
07:06 And if the family is meeting for worship,
07:10 then that's a part of that family's structure.
07:12 And if the family altar is established in that home,
07:17 then there ought to be a regular time when
07:20 every member of that family is aware
07:22 that this is when the family meets.
07:24 So everybody gears their activity towards that event.
07:29 Another aspect of this process would be to encourage
07:34 Christian education.
07:36 It is part of the spiritual commitment,
07:39 it is part of that spiritual high priest role
07:44 to encourage Christian education in the home.
07:48 Especially in this day and age, and the secularization
07:52 of the curriculum.
07:55 We have to try our best to give our children the best.
08:01 I think it appears like a simple thing.
08:04 But church attendance, I find especially among adolescents
08:09 and young adults, in many churches is a challenge.
08:15 So you have the children that parents take
08:18 because they're young and they have very little choice.
08:21 And the older members of the family that
08:24 regularly attend church.
08:25 But we seem to be loosing the young adults
08:29 and the older teenagers.
08:30 Now, if you're a spiritual leader in your home
08:34 and your child; whether it's a young adult, an adult, a child,
08:37 lives in your home, it is the responsibility of that
08:42 head of household to ensure that your family member,
08:46 your child is attending church.
08:48 So, whatever the barrier is, or whatever the difficulty is
08:52 that the child identifies, the parents need to work with that
08:57 child to encourage that child, and to show them the importance
09:01 of gathering with the saints, and going to meet Jesus
09:05 or God in the center of worship.
09:08 We spoke earlier about single families.
09:13 And God bless singles and single families.
09:16 And we thank God for them.
09:18 They have a tremendous contribution to give
09:21 to the church, to society in so many areas.
09:26 But I must make an appeal to men and to fathers.
09:32 I need you to understand the significant loss
09:36 that we're experiencing in society among our youths
09:41 and our children when they do not grow up
09:45 with their biological father.
09:47 We thank God for those of you who are acting as foster parents
09:53 or step-fathers, whatever the category or the case may be.
09:57 But it is important for children to have
10:00 their fathers in the home.
10:03 We're going to share with you one or two statistics
10:06 on this issue.
10:07 And if you want to do more research, you will see
10:10 it's enormous the maladapted behaviors that we're getting
10:16 as a result of children growing up without their fathers
10:20 and someone to help to command their household
10:23 after righteousness.
10:25 It is said if you research the penal system,
10:28 that the large majority of young men,
10:33 or children in general but more so young men,
10:36 who are incarcerated, come from homes where a father is absent.
10:42 That is a very significant finding.
10:46 It is also said that 40% of all children go to bed each night
10:53 without a father present at home.
10:56 And then, sadly, children who grow up in homes
11:02 where the father is absent, are likely to drop out of school
11:07 or are likely to fail.
11:11 So, the importance of a father cannot be overstated.
11:17 Yes, and we're not in any way saying that every child
11:22 that grows up without his or her
11:24 biological father in the home will fail.
11:28 That's not what we're saying.
11:29 When the research says 40% of children in the United States
11:36 go to bed without their biological father,
11:39 and in every world that happens,
11:42 it means that 60% go with their fathers.
11:47 And we thank God for that.
11:48 The point we're making is that 40% is too high.
11:52 Again, we thank God for you God fearing mothers
11:57 who are doing your best and have done a wonderful job.
12:00 There are many individuals who have been successful
12:03 who grew up with just their mother.
12:04 But the ideal that God has put together,
12:08 the ideal is for the children to grow up
12:11 with a mother and a father.
12:14 And when you're made for family worship,
12:17 it's a beautiful thing when that boy or that girl
12:20 can see his or her father leading out
12:25 in that significant role.
12:27 Leading out in that role as the leader,
12:32 the spiritual leader of the home.
12:34 Because that will pay dividends in times to come.
12:39 That's important.
12:41 So, we're saying that commanding our household means
12:44 taking responsibility that our children, that our spouses
12:48 are following the divine plan.
12:50 And that we are trying to implant and restore
12:54 the image of God in the minds of our children.
12:57 And that as parents, as the adult in our homes,
13:00 we're attempting to model what our children should pattern.
13:06 So, from the story of Joshua, there are three lessons.
13:10 The first lesson is that every home
13:13 should have a spiritual leader.
13:16 We have two more important lessons to talk about.
13:18 And we don't want you to miss it.
13:21 We want you to be a part of this discussion,
13:23 a part of this process.
13:25 So, we're asking you to stay right there.
13:28 We're going to take a break but we'll be right back.
13:31 So, we want you to continue to enjoy
13:34 our discussion together.
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14:21 Welcome back to our program Marriage In God's hands.
14:27 Our topic that we're talking about is
14:29 Rebuilding the Family Altar.
14:32 And the first point we made is that in every home,
14:36 there should be a spiritual leader.
14:39 The second point that we want to bring is that
14:42 everyone has a stone to carry.
14:49 Read with me Joshua 4:5.
15:20 In this context, we're going to use stones as challenges.
15:24 So, the instruction was for everyone to take up his stone
15:28 and carry it, every leader.
15:30 And we're saying, every one of us, we have a stone to carry.
15:36 We have our challenges to carry.
15:41 And families are not spared.
15:43 The reality is, you wake up each day
15:46 and you put your hands in God's.
15:50 Because you don't know what your stone will be.
15:54 We're living in a time when economically
16:00 the economy is challenged.
16:05 And it is quite difficult for many families to survive.
16:10 In fact, for the first time in a very long time
16:13 in this American society, there are families who are
16:17 losing their homes, whose businesses have gone bad,
16:21 whose economic situation is constrained.
16:25 And that's a stone.
16:27 That is a difficult situation for a father, or a mother,
16:31 who has the responsibility to provide for their child
16:35 or their family.
16:36 To recognize that their resources are limited
16:42 because the economic time is so difficult.
16:48 And we're saying when that stone comes, you have to carry it.
16:54 And in order for you to get the strength to carry it,
16:57 go back to the family altar.
17:00 Another stone that families will have to carry,
17:04 some families have, is the challenge of
17:07 a child doing drugs.
17:12 I've had the painful task of working with youngsters
17:19 with promise who for some reason, one reason or another,
17:23 have moved into this direction.
17:26 And this is trauma on the family.
17:29 You also know in your counseling experience that
17:33 We have dealt with so many of these cases.
17:36 And this is trauma when that happens.
17:38 Sometimes it's not necessarily hard core drugs.
17:41 It could be alcohol, it could be the use of tobacco.
17:44 All of those things. But they affect the family.
17:47 And they affect the functioning of the family.
17:50 You have those challenges to carry.
17:52 We have to face them.
17:55 And we're saying, take them back to the altar.
17:58 Rebuild the family altar and take them there.
18:02 The notion of young women, young girls getting pregnant,
18:08 or young boys becoming fathers prematurely.
18:13 This is another stone that many families have to carry.
18:16 And families become overwhelmed with the anxiety and uncertainty
18:22 and the difficulty that it presents for the family.
18:26 So yes, we have so much to pray about.
18:30 Poor health condition.
18:32 There are some individuals who are going through real sickness.
18:38 Sickness is not an easy thing.
18:42 I've had my share of it, you've had your share of it.
18:46 We've gone through our storms.
18:48 Sickness is sometimes frightening and scary.
18:53 And the worse part of it, I know of individuals who
18:57 in their moment of sickness, they've shipwrecked their faith.
19:02 They stop praying.
19:03 They don't want to go to have worship anymore.
19:06 Our challenge, as well as our reaching out to you
19:11 and our prayer to you is, no matter what you're going through
19:15 God is greater than all your fears,
19:17 and even greater than all your pain.
19:19 And we're saying, do not break down the family altar
19:24 as a result of that.
19:26 Continue to take it to the Lord in prayer.
19:31 One of the most difficult challenges, I think,
19:34 is when the family is faced with a situation where one spouse
19:42 becomes unfaithful.
19:43 It creates an enormous instability for the family.
19:47 Not just the marital relationship,
19:49 but for the relationship between father and child,
19:52 or mother and child.
19:53 And that is a stone that many families carry.
19:57 But as you rightly said, regardless of the challenge,
20:02 God is your friend.
20:04 And He will never leave you nor forsake you.
20:10 The painful feeling of rejection.
20:15 Sometimes you form a relationship.
20:18 And somehow, the relationship has all the promise
20:23 of a marriage, all the promise of a future,
20:28 and for one reason or another, something beyond your control,
20:32 the relationship went sour.
20:34 You feel rejected.
20:36 Rejection is a painful feeling.
20:41 And during those moments of pain
20:46 and the feeling of rejection, you may not feel like
20:51 going to the altar.
20:53 We're saying, yes, every man has his stone to carry.
20:59 And if that is your stone, take it to the Lord in prayer.
21:05 Every woman has her stone to carry.
21:08 Every child has a stone to carry.
21:12 So the family must be prepared that regardless of the challenge
21:17 we don't abandon our families.
21:19 We don't run away from our responsibilities.
21:22 We, through the mercies and grace of God
21:25 carry our stones.
21:27 We lay them, He says, "Everyone that thirsts, come. "
21:31 Bring your stones to the altar, that's what that altar is for.
21:36 From the story of Joshua, we want you to understand
21:40 that there should be a spiritual leader.
21:42 Let every man take out a leader.
21:46 Select one from each tribe.
21:49 There must be a spiritual leader in the home.
21:51 Secondly, each one must carry their own stone.
21:55 As they were going through the crossing of the river Jordan,
21:59 each leader was to pick up a stone, take up a stone.
22:03 Everyone has a stone to carry.
22:05 And the third lesson that we want you to learn
22:09 from this story in Joshua is
22:12 the need to pass on religious instructions onto your children.
22:24 Let's go to the word of God and look at Joshua 4:6-7.
23:08 Here we find in this passage that the children of Israel,
23:15 the leaders were to take up these stones as they
23:19 crossed over Jordan.
23:21 And when they got over on the other side in the Promise Land,
23:24 they were to build an altar, build a memorial
23:28 so that in times to come, when their children
23:33 and their children's children should ask their family,
23:36 "What's the purpose for these stones?"
23:38 "What meaneth these stones?"
23:40 then you will be able to tell them about
23:43 the goodness of the Lord.
23:45 What God did in parting the waters of the Jordan.
23:48 How He sustained you through the wilderness.
23:51 How he sustained them even while they were
23:54 down in Egyptian bondage and how He delivered them.
23:58 The idea is that they were to have religious instruction.
24:06 And every family has a story to tell.
24:08 And Jesus, or God, is asking us to do the same thing
24:12 with our families.
24:14 We want to position ourselves to pass on our values.
24:21 Let's look at some of the values that we need to pass on.
24:23 For example, we must continue to instruct our families
24:27 on the sanctity of the Sabbath.
24:30 That's important.
24:32 That is becoming a real challenge.
24:33 In many cities where our families live,
24:36 the structure of the work situation presents a challenge.
24:41 But families must work hard by God's grace
24:44 to keep the sanctity of the Sabbath.
24:47 Unequally yoked.
24:48 We have to continue that message not to be unequally yoked.
24:53 It's God's word and we must continue to teach
24:56 those principles at the altar.
24:59 A value I think that is critical in our time is chastity.
25:02 When you talk to young people about being a virgin,
25:05 they look at you as if, "What planet are you coming off?"
25:08 But the reality is, we must encourage our children to
25:12 save sex until marriage.
25:15 Church attendance.
25:16 We must encourage our family to attend church regularly.
25:20 So what we are talking about are some of the values,
25:24 the core values that we must continue to teach
25:28 at the family altar to our children.
25:31 Because look what happened, the instruction was
25:33 that they should teach their children religious values.
25:36 But by the time we get to the judges,
25:39 let's read that text together, Judges 2:10-12.
25:44 Look what happened.
26:25 Now, do you know what happened?
26:28 Israel failed miserably to pass on religious instruction
26:35 onto their children.
26:37 So that when generations to come, they did not even know
26:46 about the Lord to the extent of what He had done.
26:49 And it reached the sad state where they
26:53 provoked the Lord unto anger.
26:56 Can you imagine the generation of the people
27:00 whom God had blessed, and provided for and protected.
27:04 Their children reached a stage where they were
27:07 provoking God to anger.
27:09 And that's why we are encouraging you
27:11 to keep the family altar alive in the home.
27:14 You must continue to pass on religious instructions
27:19 onto your children.
27:20 We want our children to be educated.
27:23 We want them to be successful.
27:25 We want them to accomplish and achieve.
27:27 And all of that is good.
27:29 But remember, the greatest thing that they can have,
27:32 the greatest gift that you can give them
27:34 the gift of Jesus Christ's spiritual value.
27:38 So we thank you for listening.
27:41 And we want you to understand that God's greatest gift
27:44 is His love to you.