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Family & Faith: Ten Biblically-Based Lessons on Marriage and Family Issues

Family & Faith: Ten Biblically-Based Lessons on Marriage and Family Issues

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Family & Faith: Ten Biblically-Based Lessons on Marriage and Family Issues

275 pages
3 hours
Apr 18, 2011


Contemporary marriages are facing relationship challenges caused by the shift in recent decades from the traditional pattern of marriages and family relationships to the current form of companionship or partnership relationships. This new system requires special strategies for families to survive. Most people are unaware of the need for education in order to enjoy marital success. Consequently,about fifty percent of marriages in North America fail. This book addresses this need and offers a few bold solutions by using lessons from Biblical families blended with current ideas from marriage professionals.
Apr 18, 2011

Tentang penulis

Drs. Robert & Pamela Samms have spent the last nine years dealing with marriage and family relationships as marriage educators. In fact, their entire professional careers have been involved with couples, parents, and children. Robert served as clergyman, including marriage and family counseling, and church administrator. Pamela participated in Robert's ministry as a pastor's wife and youth leader. She worked for over forty years as teacher and school principal. During the past five years they have been conducting marriage and family seminars in the United States and Canada. Drs. Robert & Pamela Samms are certified with Better Marriages, Inc. as leader couple faciltators. They have published two other books: Making Marriage Meaningful: Insights and Secrets from a Forty-Year Marriage and Paradigms of Marriage: Ten Ways to Ensure and Restore Marital Happiness: A Christian Perspective. They reside in Jacksonville, Florida and are enjoying their four children, their spouses, and eleven grandchidren. The Samms' conduct marriage and family seminars through their programs Marriage Motivational Series and Family and Faith Series.

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Family & Faith - Dr. Pamela R. Samms



We are truly privileged to have eleven grandchildren. Not only do we thank our four children (Richard, Tamaylia, Royland, Sherine) and their spouses (Alicia, Frank, Shawna-rika, Stephen) for sharing them with us, but we also admire all eight of them for carefully training their children in ways that truly reflect our own values and the child-training principles we have shared with them. Apart from their frequent visits to our home and our visits to theirs, we spend about ten precious days together at Christmas every other year for several years now. Another blessing we have received is the closeness we share with our four children-in-law. All four of them are as close to us as our own. We salute their parents for a job well done.

As grandparents, we take pleasure in dedicating this book to our eleven grandchildren (listed by age in descending order):

Jordan Samms

Amani Dow

Reyna Samms

Yazmeena Bosch

Alanna Samms

Zara Bosch

Naphtali Dow

Aaron Samms

Robert Sebastian Bosch

Austin Samms

Zoe Bosch

We dedicate them to the loving Lord and trust that their parents will continue to provide them the support they need to honor God with their lives, be successful in the development and use of their talents, choose careers that will contribute significantly to their fellowmen, and be a blessing to society.

GrandPoppy & GrandNan



Introductory Notes

Lessons from a Contemporary Family

Preview Quiz for Chapter One

Chapter One

Lessons about Marriage

Preview Quiz for Chapter Two

Chapter Two

Lessons about Making a Home

Preview Quiz for Chapter Three

Chapter Three

Lessons about Influence at Home: Women

Preview Quiz for Chapter Four

Chapter Four

Lessons about Leadership at Home: Men

Preview Quiz for Chapter Five

Chapter Five

Lessons from Mary’s Home

Preview Quiz for Chapter Six

Chapter Six

Lessons from Samson’s Home

Preview Quiz for Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven

Children and Parental Responsibilities

Preview Quiz for Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight

Lessons from the Prodigal’s Home

Preview Quiz for Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine

Lessons about Commitment at Home

Preview Quiz for Chapter Ten

Chapter Ten

Lessons from the Home of Belshazzar


About This Book

Doctors Robert and Pamela Samms decided to write this book as an expanded presentation for the Family and Faith seminar series. The ten-part seminar will follow closely the topics and contents of the ten chapters in this book. Robert has written nine topics based on lessons and principles found in the Bible and drawn mainly from selected Biblical families. Pamela used her skill and experience as an educator to write the chapter on parents and children. By exchanging their views and using their expertise in different professional disciplines, Robert and Pamela certainly influenced the overall work and the final product.

It is their hope that this book will serve to bless numerous families as they search for principles and strategies to grow their marriage successfully and contribute to the raising of their children. We hope others, such as pastors and marriage facilitators, will use it to share valuable principles with others they are privileged to assist.

We appreciate the contribution of Mr. Vernon Grant II. (Jimmy). He reflected on lessons learned in dealing with his own family. Vernon and David, his younger brother, lived with the Samms’ family while they were still young parents. Fortunately, the boys were model teenagers.


Introductory Notes

For the past nine years, we have avoided linking our marriage seminars to a pastoral sermon approach. The reason is simple. Although Pam and I have worked with churches for more than thirty years as pastor and pastor’s wife or as church administrators, we choose to separate our marriage seminars from the sermonic type because church members might consider our marriage series to be another pastoral couple coming to preach to them.

We found in our years of in-depth research that there are key principles to be learned in America’s current marriage model called companionship marriage as differentiated from the traditional marriage pattern of earlier decades. These principles must be learned over time and not just in a passing Sabbath sermon or a two-hour lecture. Our goal was to invite couples to sit for a few days and share these valuable relationship principles and marital growth strategies. Fortunately, we have succeeded to some extent.

Recently, we developed a new series called Family & Faith. The approach to this series blends the marital strategies directly with the Biblical principles concerning marriage and family relationships. We have studied some key Bible characters and attempted to understand from their families what marital principles worked and which ones failed. The exercise proved to be rich with information that can enrich our marriages today. For instances, we looked at Mary’s home with an inquisitive eye. What was the atmosphere in which Jesus grew up? How did his mother, father, brothers, sisters, and others relate to him? Regarding Samson, how did his parental training reflect on his extraordinary life? What were the positive and negative outcomes? We often think about the prodigal son. What events transpired around him and how did other members of his family relate to him and with what outcome?

There is much to learn about Biblical families that have a direct bearing on our families today. In this book, we attempt to draw out some of these lessons and share them with you, our readers. Prior to the beginning of each chapter, there is a list of ten preview teaser questions/statements that are covered in the following chapter. The reader may choose to respond with a true or false answer. The answers are found toward the back of the book. However, it could be challenging or fun for the reader to take the quiz first and try to find the answers while reading the chapter. Check afterward to see if you had the correct answer.

Lessons from a Contemporary Family

(A Special Contribution)

Family, Faith, and Common Sense

By Vernon Rupert Grant

The ubiquitous scourge of selfishness plagued my family for years. Like so many, we clawed at each other, the children clamoring for their right to be heard, and as their parents—in keeping with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—we sought to satisfy ourselves through love and sexual intimacy, personal achievement, respect from others, and many more basic needs of life.

My wife, Icilda, and our children, Vernon III and Carolyn, now form that wonderful center of my life. In the past, we only occasionally looked out for the health and physical security of each other. Times were never always peachy. We have been surely tested—as in the case of my health, Vernon’s stint in the United States Marine Corps and as a business owner, Carolyn’s college experience, and Icy’s career as a registered nurse.

All through the turbulent times though, we held fast to our faith as a Christian family. When you mentally leave your burdens for a higher being to carry, you, in essence, free yourself of the luggage of life that has the propensity to inject the types of emotional strains that often cause families to fall apart. We know that many times, fear, hatred, anger, etc., replace love, caring, understanding, and patience. Give the latter a chance to work in your life by exercising faith that the turbulence will pass. This sounds easier in words than it may be in reality. However, if we practice the progressive implementation of faith in manageable doses, we will experience incremental jolts of positivity. As a family, when we made a conscious effort to avoid negative trends, issues, and people, we were more often successful in accomplishing our goals.

Once freed of the unnecessary encumbrances of life, we can then work on cutting out that awful cancer of selfishness (a bit at a time). Along with the many useful principles of life, we must seek to encourage: self-actualization in others, sharing without seeking anything in return, overall love, kindness, and understanding among each other. This was the precise path my family and I took some years ago, when we were inundated with an incredible amount of individual and family problems. Our newfound approach worked. Today, we are more of a cohesive group. I have always encouraged them to accept that there are only four of us in this world who will always be there for each other—anyone else would be peripheral, although quite important nonetheless. All of us now work together as a team. We have one goal, one mission: to seek the betterment of our family and the improvement of those whose lives we touch. We have taken the practice of selfishness down to the bare bones by dissecting and eliminating its parts. We cut out sel, for we are not selling anything. We further cut out fish, for it is in the wrong place. Eventually, we are left with ness, which represents the necessary life-changing experience of getting rid of selfishness.

Common-sense approaches needed to solve human-relation problems often seem to escape us. As in my family’s case, we now look at our team and individual problems from a collective perspective. Instead of each of us going off on our own, discreetly trying to solve our issues—as we did for so long—we pool our ideas and produce solutions that often work. Each member brings a certain level of skill and expertise to the table, and we tap into those resources. Successful team dynamics dictate that team members trust and support each other unequivocally without self or favor.

Because families are comprised of individual members who ideally form teams, such entities will intrinsically produce an intimate human or social system, far more superior than any other. Anything we do or say can affect other members or parts of that system—invariably with delayed feedback effect, positive or negative. If we understand that these systems produce an intricate level of interconnectedness within family structures, we would then be expected to act in the interest of that familial team.

No perfect family exists. Many of us could do a lot better in our interpersonal relations if we would only shed the cloak of selfishness and become more aware of each other’s needs. There are always wrinkles that exist within the social structure of families. However, we must all make a concerted effort to address those annoying wrinkles in a timely manner before they become unmanageable. We can’t afford to be too circumspect in our attempt at finding the parallax view so we can solve our problems. Seek innovative approaches to fixing your family and individual irritants and important issues today before they become urgent tomorrow.

About the Contributor: V. R. Grant is a crisisologist and teacher in the field of human relations, as well as management and leadership. He holds a number of high-level industry awards in crisis management and has published articles in the field. V. R. Grant studied system dynamics / systems thinking at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has used the systems-thinking approach to examine problems in organizations and human relations. Doctors Robert and Pamela Samms are well acquainted with Mr. Grant (Jimmy) and his family. Not only are they related (Vernon is Pamela’s brother) to the authors, Vernon and his younger brother, David, lived in the Samms’ home during their high school years. The Samms’ have watched Jimmy’s family develop and grow.

Preview Quiz for Chapter One


1.   In the Genesis record, God created Adam and Eve, blessed the first marriage, and established them in the first home called the Garden of Eden.

2.    During the second half of the twentieth century, marriages in North America changed from a two-vote system to a one-vote system.

3.   The main purposes of the family are to foster order in society, reproduce offspring, and perpetuate the name of God on earth.

4.   In the United States, for every two marriages, one may likely end in divorce.

5.   If both husband and wife are devoted Christians, they will have a successful relationship.

6.   Communication, compatibility, and compromise were important principles on which our grandparents depended to aid in their quest for marital success. If we follow their approach, we would achieve similar marital success in our society today.

7.   Marriage experience is similar to the Christian experience: both need growth and maturity, which may require a painful process. By the 1980s, marriage had changed to a companionship or partnership form of relationship. Couples’ inability to function effectively in this new system contributed to the doubling of the United States’ divorce rate.

8.   Because the current marriage model, called the companionship model, is fluid and flexible, couples can get along more easily.

9.   Learning new successful marital strategies and depending on God’s guidance could provide the opportunity for couples to grow and achieve marital happiness.

10.   Compromise is always a good way to solve marital disagreements.

Chapter One

Lessons about Marriage


In the very first chapter of the Bible, we find God’s design for marriage and the family. Genesis chapter 1:27–28[1] records:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.

In the last chapter of the Bible, reference is made to marriage by the use of the term the bride of Christ, which is a metaphor for the redeemed (Rev. 22:17). In fact, particularly in chapters 19 to 22 of Revelation, John described how Christ would overthrow dramatically the forces of evil in order to claim his bride and establish her in the restored paradise.

Marriage and family are important to God. Much of the Bible record refers to the family, from Adam and Eve to Mary and Joseph and, finally, to Christ uniting with His bride. God’s entire creation plan was based upon His crowning act of creation for our world—the creation of man and woman to live and work in harmony to populate and dominate the earth.

God’s purpose for the family was expressed clearly in the fifth book of the Bible, written by Moses, called Deuteronomy. In chapter 6, verses 4–9, the record states:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

How, then, should we treat marriage and family relationships? Should we respect God’s plan to elevate marriage as a sacred relationship or should we follow modern trends and devise our own? Unfortunately, there are very strong influences in our society today, which are bent on destroying the meaning, purpose, and sacredness of marriage.

What Happened to Marriages?

During the 1960s, while lecturing to a large audience about the state of marriages, a prominent evangelical preacher tried to inform his audience about the decline of marital fidelity by relating the following occurrence.

Sometime ago a man arrived home from work late in the afternoon to find only his children at home. When he asked concerning the mother’s whereabouts, one stated that she had gone with another man to the movies. Quite enraged by this piece of news, the father went to his bedroom, put a .38 revolver in his pocket, and drove quickly to the local cinema. There he made his way past the ticket window and tried to enter the theatre. The usher’s attempt to collect his ticket was unsuccessful. But the enraged husband mentioned that his wife was in the theater with another man and that he was going in for the express purpose of shooting him. Fortunately, the usher acted quickly and notified the manager. He, in turn, had the house lights switched on and shouted excitedly through the public address system, If there is a man in here with someone else’s wife, he had better make his exit fast, for the husband has arrived with a loaded pistol. The announcement caused quite a stir in the theater—seventeen couples rushed for the exits![2]

Based on United States and Canadian census bureau statistics and even through casual observations, the evidence is convincing that since the mid-1960s, something dramatic happened to marriages. When Pamela and I got married in 1964, the annual divorce rate (the number of divorces compared to the number of marriages in a given period) was about 25 percent. By 1980, it had escalated to over 50 percent. That means within a decade and a half, the divorce rate doubled. In Jacksonville, Florida (Duval County), where we live, the divorce rate in 2008 was an alarming 64 percent. In Montreal, Canada, where we lived for about fifteen years, the divorce rate exceeded 70 percent. Therefore, for every three couples that got married during a given period, two couples were likely to have divorced. The situation has improved slightly during the past few years, perhaps due to an increased number of marriage educators and marriage enrichment programs. However, the divorce rate remains close to 50 percent.

Most people who lived through this period of change and those who review social history know that certain forces within the Western societies caused significant reorganization in areas such as civil rights, women’s liberation, economic redistribution, sexual exploitation and liberation, increase of immigration, explosion in the use of social drugs, etc. As a marriage officer and pastoral marriage and family counselor since 1968, I dealt directly with all of those issues as they related to the family. What I did not know, however, was in what precise ways marriage had been changed. I knew a change took place. I felt it happening in our marriage, and I witnessed the changes in a vast number of couples.

Marriage had experienced a change: What exactly had it become? Despite witnessing the metamorphosis of marriage and dealing daily with the aftermath of its effects, until the spring of 2001, I was never impressed to explore in any serious manner what really happened to marriage. As a full-time marriage educator, I now know that the vast majority of clergy and leaders in our society never took the time to understand the current state of marriage. Several of them are still preoccupied with the effects of marriage crises with which they have to cope. Many retreat from the overwhelming task of researching the ways in which marriage changed and to discover what it had become. Some ministers who should be rendering assistance to their married parishioners are caught up in the marital trap themselves.

While conducting a marriage seminar in Montreal, Canada, a church member in the city approached me about the agonizing conflict taking place within her. Her married pastor, who was very influential, engaged her in a full-blown sexual affair. He even led her to believe he would leave his wife for her. She wanted my advice. I told her that the fact she was experiencing conflict within her conscience was evidence she knew her conduct was wrong and she knew what she had to do. A few weeks later,

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