I was reading Acts 20 in my quiet time earlier this week, and verses 26 and 27 in the Amplified version really moved me.

“Therefore I testify and protest to you on this [our parting] day that I am clean and innocent and not responsible for the blood of any of you. For I never shrank or kept back or fell short from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan and counsel of God.” – Acts 20:26-27 AMP

Paul had just informed the disciples from Ephesus that he would never see them again, but he makes a point of saying he can declare himself clean and innocent in respect of them because he “never shrank or kept back or fell short from declaring to [them] the whole purpose and plan and counsel of God.” This is a great verse to remember when we shepherd God’s people, but it’s equally important in terms of leading our families. As husbands, wives and parents, what makes us able to stand before God, innocent and clean as leaders, is that we consistently declare the purpose, plan and counsel of God over and to our families.

These verses got me meditating on three questions:

What purpose does God have for my family? What purpose does he have for my spouse and me, both as a team and as individuals? What purpose has he appointed for each of our kids? Are we declaring the purpose over our family, our kids and each other? Are we reminding each other of this purpose as an encouragement and a charge? Husbands, are you leading your family with this declaration? Wives, are we making it a banner over our households? Are we singing it to our kids, repeating it to our husbands? Are we helping our kids to articulate it in their own language? Are we talking about it at the dinner table?

What plan does God have for my family? My four year old son, Jacob, is always asking me and my husband, “What are we going to do today?” Our little prophetic guy is onto something. As families, we need to know what the plan is so we can move together, and so we can prepare for what our individual parts will be on the journey. Even the little ones have a natural desire to know what we’re doing next as a team. We have to make sure they are hearing and connecting to the plan, too. Someone has to take the lead in declaring what the plan is for the family. It doesn’t always have to be the same person, but it needs to be a “given” that the family will focus and function on the stated plan that is being declared over the house.

What counsel does God have for my family? Familes function better when they know what the “Word of the Lord” is for a season or situation. Sure, we may need to be comforted at times, but the long lasting balm that heals and strengthens and prepares families is the counsel of the Lord for the journey they are on. Reading and meditating on scripture and discussing it together is key in learning to know what God’s counsel is. We need to be quick to remind each other of the encouraging Word when the road gets difficult. Our kids need to become accustomed to this style of counsel and encouragement, too. What a blessing it would be if our kids grew up knowing the power of the inspired, spoken Word of God over their situations and circumstances! What a blessing it would be if we, as adults, could truly believe it, too!

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