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Every family has headaches and heartaches. Because human depravity runs deep, it is impossible to rear our children from infancy to independence without encountering times that call for straight talk and tough love. While we love our children no matter what, parents cannot escape those occasions when wills clash, rebellion reaches an impasse, and things get downright impossible.

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Increasing the Priority of Your Family

When priority is given to the family over personal fulfilment, parents will receive blessings that strengthen future generations.

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Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

In yesterday's post, we were introduced to four common struggles all servants of God deal with. Really, they're consequences. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 we read them: afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down.

The first word, translated "afflicted," comes from a Greek term that suggests the idea of pressure. This is stress brought on by difficult circumstances or by antagonistic people. In other words, when servants are "afflicted," they feel under pressure, harassed, and oppressed. The Greek verb, thlibo, is a strong one, meaning at times "to treat with hostility."

Paul goes on to write there are times when servants of God become "perplexed." Interestingly, the combination of Greek terms that comprise the original word means "without a way." It is a picture of confusion—not knowing where or to whom to turn for help. Included in the meaning of this word would be such perplexing predicaments as being without necessary resources, feeling embarrassed, and in doubt so far as procedure is concerned. We have the phrase "at a loss" which adequately describes that uncertain feeling. There is more.

Originally, the term persecution meant "to run after, pursue." It's the idea of being chased, having others "on our case," we would say. It is an active, aggressive word conveying everything from being intimidated to being assaulted, actually attacked. Servants will suffer persecution. You may recall Paul's words, written to Timothy: "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). Persecution is one of those painful consequences, along with affliction and confusion.

Finally, he names one more consequence—rejection. That's tomorrow.

Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

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