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Before we start: Take this simple logic and see if you agree with it! 1. God wants you to have healthy relationships.  John 10:10  (relationship is a part of life and so a life filled with healthy relationships is a picture of an abundant life) 2. He gave you your family as your main (meaning: valued) relationships in life.  Whom you have as family members is not an accident!  God placed you in that specific family for a reason. 3. You love God. 4. You desire to have what He wants for your life. 5. Therefore, your relationship with your family must be healthy! Now let’s take a moment and think of our immediate family (mom, dad, bro, sis, husband, wife, child[ren]). Ask yourself: How’s my relationship with each family member? (assess your relationship with each family member)  Some of you might be feeling assured because you’re on the right track with your relationship with each family member.  Some of you might be realizing just now that you’re not as deep in your relationship with them as you thought.  Some of you might be realizing that you’re not as close to a member of the family as you are with the others. – Work on it! Every family member is your family! Whatever’s the result of your assessment, it’s very important that you won’t stop where you are.  Was your assessment positive? Don’t stop there! Go deeper!  Was it negative? Take action! 2 Corinthians 9:6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.(NIV) The principle of sowing and reaping is applicable in every area of our lives, including our family relationships.

Let’s take a look at our key word: sow. It implies work / labor / endurance.

Remember: 1. Valued relationships are made. o It doesn’t happen overnight. o If we want to have a valuable relationship, we work on it, we strive to maintain it, we endure hardships and trials.

2. To have a healthy relationship with our family, we need to invest on it. o Invest – (spend; put in; devote; advance / endow; provide; supply) o When you invest in a business venture, you devote your efforts and resources in
o o anticipation of a profitable return. The same thing with our family. If we want our family relationship to be healthy, we must invest on it. Investing in our family relationship will allow us to have something to draw from when crisis comes.

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Today I’ll share with you 5 Investments for a Healthy [Family*] Relationship: *Can also be used for other relationships. 1. INVESTMENT OF FAITH  Romans 1:12 “I mean I want us to help each other with the faith that we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.”

Example: (On Financial Crisis)

I’m blessed to have been placed by God in a Christian family and what I’m really grateful for is the investment of faith my parents invested in our family. I grew up with the understanding that God is our provider; He holds our family in His hands, etc. Now Kim & I had a College Assurance Plan (CAP) and it has been a great help to my dad, as well as to the whole family. But when I reached my senior year in college, CAP went bankrupt. I remember the many times Mom, Dad and I went to the CAP office for news and hopefully, the deduction amount. But they really had nothing to give us. So my dad now had to pay for my tuition on his own. Thoughts of having to stop studying for a while did enter my mind, but only for a second. It doesn’t mean I didn’t care about my education or my dad, but I knew that God will make all things well-He is in control. And He did provide! I’m afraid to think what our family might be now if my parents did not invest in faith. It’s a good thing they did not just invest in CAP for our future, but they also invested in faith in God who never goes bankrupt!  So you see...

Investing in faith allows us to have security in life that only God can give.

How to invest our faith?  Make sure you have an active and personal relationship with God.  Testify to the Lord’s goodness to you. o The verse in NIV goes: “...that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” o Be vocal about God’s goodness to you to. o Encouraging one another in the Lord keeps Jesus at the center of your family. o Keeping Jesus at the center of your family makes Him the foundation of your family. Whatever trials may come your way, you are ready as a family to face it because you have Jesus in you.  The best investment you can put into your family is to share Christ with them. 2. INVESTMENT OF INTEREST  A lot of times we take our families for granted. We think we know them so well because you’ve been living together your whole life.  You might be living together on the same roof but you might just be surprised at how much you don’t know about a member of your family!  If we want our relationship with our family to be healthy, we must be interested enough to get to know them.  Philippians 2:4 “Each of you should look not only to your interests, but also to the interests of others.”  ASK QUESTIONS.

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 What is your sister’s dream?  What is your dad’s greatest fear?  What was your mom’s ambition  What are your parents’ favorite colors? when she was a child?  Who is your child’s favorite band? When we ask questions, we show that we are interested in them. But we must not be content in asking surface questions. The higher the level of your asking technique, the more insight you’ll have of the person. “Who, What, When and Where” is good but “Why” and “How” are better o Who-what-when-where questions = limited answer o Why-How questions = gives you insight on feelings, maturity, etc. o Ex:  Who’s your best friend? • “ “  Why / How did she become your best friend? • She listens to me when I have problems; she makes me feel appreciated...” • This answer somehow tells you that the person is lonely and needs affirmation and she finds that in her best friend. Now asking the right questions is good, but we must also learn to LISTEN. We show interest when we listen to the answers to our questions or if we just plain listen without even asking.

INVESTMENT OF ACCEPTANCE  Each person in the family has his/her own quirks.  They can be irritating, they can be amusing, they can be embarrassing, but the bible tells us to accept one another.  Romans 15:7 “Accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you in order to bring praise to God.”  PROMOTE DIFFERENCES! o We must be accepting and patient of other’s quirkiness because that’s who God made them to be.  Illustration: (A True Story) * A Taiwanese group made a documentary about Lena, a girl from Sweden. Lena was born with no arms and one of her legs is just half in length of the other. But what’s amazing is that aside from being a champion swimmer, she’s totally independent. She can drive using her feet, she can paint, she can play the piano, she can cook, and she can even eat using chopsticks! * Lena’s a Christian and she shared that when she was growing up, she didn’t even know she was handicapped. She didn’t think she was any different from her family because her family accepted her just as she is. They loved her unconditionally, handicap or not. And because of their loving acceptance, with no conditions, Lena grew up well-adjusted and with a positive outlook in life.

o Imagine what Lena’s family must have gone through while Lena was still young and
learning to be independent. If this family can accept Lena for who she is, how much more our family members’ quirkiness? o If God loves and accepts everyone unconditionally, shouldn’t we love and accept them as well? What if that family member has hurt me deeply? How can I accept someone who’s really a thorn in my flesh? FORGIVE!

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o You really wont be able to accept someone if you won’t forgive them. o It’s tough, but God commands it so we must do it. o Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have
against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

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4. INVESTMENT OF EXPERIENCE  Think of how you spend your vacations. With whom do you mostly spend it with? Friends or  
family? It’s not wrong to go on vacations with friends, but if you’re spending more time vacationing with other people than spending time with your family, then you should think twice. You don’t have to go out of town to spend quality time with your family. Find things to do together. Share some laughter. You just might be surprised to see a whole new side to your parents / children. ° When I was about to go to my first job interview, I had the privilege of having my mom go with me. Though we were both unfamiliar with the Makati area, armed with my Dad’s reliable map, we ventured together. I had a great time getting lost and finding our way to the right building, all because I had her with me. Yes it would also have been nice to have a friend go with me, but I wouldn’t trade the job interview experiences I had with my mom. Now when I think of Accenture and Convergys and Phil. Daily Inquirer and job interviews at Makati, I think of the moments I have spent there the first time with my mom. ° I also had my bonding moments with my dad. When I was still a little girl, I used to go with him on out of town trips. I loved going to Baguio and Angeles with him! Feel na feel ko ang pagiging Daddy’s Girl ko!  I remember one time when we stayed in a hotel with a swimming pool and I didn’t have a suit with me so he bought me a new one; I remember getting dizzy on the long trip and throwing up but he cleaned me up as best as he could; I remember the nice distinct smell of the bank (RCBC??) I used to go with him, waiting for him to finish his transactions. When you invest in experiences with your family, even as simple as going with your child to the mall and buying her new shoes before the school year starts, you’re building fond memories for them to look back on. Not only do these experiences bring you closer, they also make you feel good just remembering them. But just as we have to be open to experiencing happy experiences with our family, we should also learn to share comfort in sad and/or tragic ones. ° Pain is not the time to walk away. Instead, as family, it is the time where we must draw closer to God and to each other more than ever. ° 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “God is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in our troubles. Why? So that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort that we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. ” ° This is actually a very good time to apply all the other investments we’ve talked about: i. interest (ask and listen); ii. acceptance (you’ll get to see the person at his low moments – be lovingly accepting); iii. experience (sharing in the person’s pain draws you closer together); and iv. faith (share Christ and what He can do)

5. INVESTMENT OF HONOR  Philippians 2:3 “When you do things, do not have selfishness or pride be your guide.  
Instead be humble and give more honor to others than yourself.” Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” In the book The Gift of Honor (by Gary Smalley and John Trent) is an interesting quote:

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 The lower the value we attach to a person, the easier we can justify dishonoring them by negative words or treating them with disrespect. A person will know how valued they are to you by the way you treat them. ° To invest in honor means to respect and cherish the person. ° You don’t wait for him/her to respect and cherish you first; YOU start it!

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As we conclude, let us go back to our scripture text: Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6 (NIV) If we want our relationship with our family to be healthy, we must work hard in investing faith, interest, acceptance, experience and honor to each one of them. Remember, God also made these investments to each of us!  Interest – He is interested in us. He knows everything about us. He cares for us and made plans for us even before we were born.  Acceptance – He accepted us just as we are. He did not wait for us to be good and righteous first. He loves us period.  Experience – He shares our life’s journey with us. Through pain, laughter, joy, or suffering, He is there with us; never will He leave us nor forsake us.  Honor – He gave us the right to become children of God. He gave us a new name. He allowed us to be a part of His family.  Faith – He reveals Himself to us and allows us to experience His goodness firsthand, not just through hearsay. We share a relationship with Him through our faith. We must strive to have a healthy relationship with our family because He Himself made these investments for us.

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