Wednesday, January 26, 2011

21 Rules of This House – Rule #2

If you are recently joining me on this series, here’s a link to all 21 Rules.  And here are my thoughts on Rule #1

Rule #2 – We love, honor, and pray for one another.

This one is huge.  Basically, the first two rules are the foundation of all that follows.  We love God (Rule #1), and we love others (Rule #2). 

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  Luke 10:27

I guess the first thing to point out is that Rule #2 is about others.  Not ourselves.  It’s a hard concept to explain in our self-obsessed society.  Instead of worrying about what others do or don’t do to make us “happy”, we should strive to put others first by looking for ways to serve each other. 

Can you imagine what a home would be like where every family member looked for ways to show love and serve?  Where we always showed respect and consideration, and prayed faithfully for each other? 

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  James 5:16

Webster’s Dictionary defines honor as:  “to regard or treat someone with admiration and respect.”  From a young age, we should be teaching our children to treat family members in this way.  Not just parents and other adults…but siblings as well. 

We should strive to make our home a haven from the world…a place where we speak kindly to each other, consider each other’s needs, and look for ways to show love.  What a wonderful legacy to leave our children!

Here are some practical suggestions for how to implement Rule #2:

  • Insist that everyone (including parents) speak to each other kindly and respectfully.
  • Nix the sarcasm.  Especially the kind that is belittles others.  (I’m surprised lightening didn’t strike when I typed this…I need to work on it.)
  • Share prayer requests with each other during family devotionals and/or mealtimes.  Pray together.  Consider helping your kids keep a prayer journal.
  • Recognize and reinforce kindness.
  • When we sin against each other, apologize and show forgiveness.
  • Don’t hold grudges. (Second lightening strike.)
  • This one is OH SO IMPORTANT, and it’s for parents:  Don’t discipline in anger.  Discipline in love.  Anger and indignation have no place in a discipline situation.  Take a minute…pray…then come back and handle things calmly. 
  • Make a game out of doing kind things for each other.  Secretly do something nice, then have fun guessing who did what!
  • And, finally…express your love to each other.  For some people this is easy.  For some people it’s very difficult.  The bottom line is we need to hear the words “I love you.”  Children, especially, need to hear these words from their parents.  Just because you say it a lot doesn’t make it mean any less!

As always, I welcome your thoughts on this post!  The first two rules are pretty heavy.  Really, if we truly understood and obeyed the first two rules, there would be no need for Rules #3-21!

Why I Haven’t Blogged Lately

The past couple of weeks have been pretty full, and I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been up to! 

My mom came to visit, and like we do every time she comes, we crammed our days with shopping, crafting, and redecorating.  What started with, “Will you help me paint the family room?” ended up with complete makeovers in five rooms of our house! 

Ever since Todd and I got married in 1996, I have enjoyed rich jewel tones and autumn-y colors.  My kitchen was a deep purple and dark green.  My family room was dark green, brown, and burgundy.  My living room and dining room was brown and burgundy.  My bedroom was gold and dark green and burgundy.  See a pattern?  After almost 15 years, I came to the conclusion that I am TIRED of fall colors. 

I wanted to brighten everything up!

I got an awesome set of new dishes for my birthday…


So now my kitchen is teal and green!


I sewed new drapery and mom reupholstered my chairs.

Then…I painted my family room light blue.

makeover 3

And got a bright, happy new picture for the fireplace.


I hung new drapery in a pretty green for the living and dining area, but you will have to use your imagination because right now it is a homeschool/craft room/sewing room/playroom/piano lesson room…warzone.

But what I am most excited about is our bedroom makeover.  Before, I had an eclectic mix of hand-me-down furniture and dark colors.  Now, I have this.

makeover 1

It is so restful and peaceful!  We painted the walls a silvery gray.  I changed the bedding to all white with black/white/green accents.  A new headboard and picture pulled the look together. 

We painted all the furniture black and added new hardware.  I think it looks brand-new!

makeover 2

Thanks, mom, for all your help the past two weeks! 

Friday, January 7, 2011

21 Rules of This House – Rule #1

Thanks for all the feedback via my blog, Facebook, and e-mail.  It looks like a lot of you share my interest in Gregg Harris’s 21 Rules of This House!  My husband already publically committed to work on following #14-19, bless his heart.  He’s not the only one…I struggle as well.  My prayer is that by working through these rules, we will be on the road to a happier and more peaceful home!

Rule #1 – We obey God.

I love that the first rule is the foundation on which the other 20 rules are written, as well as the foundation of the first four 10 Commandments.  In order to obey God, we must acknowledge God as our creator.  He made us and is the author of our life. 

“You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For you created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” Rev. 4:11

In His great mercy, He takes care of us.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:6

This doesn’t mean that we only love and obey God when things are going our way.  God does not promise that our lives will be free of trials!  This is what He promises:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

How can we NOT want to love and obey God when He gives us the gift of eternal life?  Even though we don’t deserve it!  The hardships of this life are but a moment in the expanse of eternity.  {Lord, help me remember this.}

Because of these truths, we should have a heart that seeks to understand God and obey Him more every day.  It’s a whole new way of thinking!  Everything we do, say…how we act, speak…what we spend our time doing…how we spend our money…our WHOLE LIVES should be lived in a way that seeks to obey God simply because we love Him and are thankful for the gift of eternal life. 

When we shift our way of living from how to please ourselves to how to please God, it gives us great freedom AND happiness!  Instead of being slaves to our own sinful desires, we can finally love others, forgive others, experience contentment, and have true joy in Christ.  It is the journey of the Christian life…and it always ends with the joy of eternal life with Christ.

Practically speaking, here are some ideas of how we can implement this rule in the home:

  • Read the Bible.  Read the teachings of Jesus, read Proverbs, do a word study on the word “obey.”  There are some great examples in the Old Testament of kings of Israel who did not obey God…and the destruction that followed.  Conversely, there were kings who did obey God…and were blessed.
  • Have a regular time of family devotions.  What better way for our kids to learn how to love and obey God?  When we spend time outside of church studying Scripture, it communicates to our kids how important God’s truths are! 
  • Think before we speak/act. (“What does God teach about this?  How would God have me respond?”)
  • Make obeying God part of our conversation.  Talk out loud with our kids about different choices and which choices are obedient to God.
  • Post these things around the house:  10 Commandments, verses that talk about obeying God (Acts 5:29, Rom. 6:17, Heb. 5:9, etc.), 21 Rules of This House.

Thanks for following along.  I would LOVE to hear from you!  Perhaps you have comments, questions, or additional ideas about how to implement this rule in your home.  I welcome all feedback!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

21 Rules of This House

A while back, I attended a small group fellowship for young families in my dad’s church.  My dad, as pastor, was working through Gregg Harris’s 21 Rules of This House.  I was struck by the wisdom and simplicity of the rules.  They just make sense.  This list was posted on the refrigerator when I was a kid, and the lessons have stuck in many ways.  I’d like them to stick in more ways!

I decided at that time to work through the rules on my blog.  I want to do this to expose people that might not otherwise have seen them, but also to work through them for my own family’s benefit!  All comments and feedback are welcomed from anyone who wants to follow along with me!

Of course, it’s important to remember that the ultimate rules for living come from the 10 Commandments and the teachings of Jesus Christ, but these 21 simple rules are a practical application of how we are taught to live in Scripture. 

What I would like to do is take one rule per week and just give my thoughts on how to apply it to the home.  I want to correlate it with the 10 Commandments and other verses in the Bible.  I want to share how Todd and I plan to teach the rule in our home.

Without further ado….here are the 21 Rules of This House!

1. We obey God.
2. We love, honor and pray for one another.
3. We tell the truth.
4. We consider one another's interests ahead of our own.
5. We speak quietly and respectfully with one another.
6. We do not hurt one another with unkind words or deeds.
7. When someone needs correction, we correct him in love.
8. When someone is sorry, we forgive him.
9. When someone is sad, we comfort him.
10. When someone is happy, we rejoice with him.
11. When we have something nice to share, we share it.
12. When we have work to do, we do it without complaining.
13. We take good care of everything that God has given us.
14. We do not create unnecessary work for others.
15. When we open something, we close it.
16. When we take something out, we put it away.
17. When we turn something on, we turn it off.
18. When we make a mess, we clean it up.
19. When we do not know what to do, we ask.
20. When we go out, we act just as if we were in this house.
21. When we disobey or forget any of the 21 Rules of This House, we accept
the discipline and instruction of the Lord.