Family Guidance

Psalm 128:1–6

 1  Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,

who walks in his ways!

 2  You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;

you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

 3  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine

within your house;

your children will be like olive shoots

around your table.

 4  Behold, thus shall the man be blessed

who fears the Lord.

 5  The Lord bless you from Zion!

May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem

all the days of your life!

 6  May you see your children’s children!

Peace be upon Israel!


We live in contentious times.  In fact, it has been a long time since I saw our country so divided, with so many expressing such concern about the state of things: how divided we are as a people and what, if anything, can be done to improve matters.

Well, let me offer a suggestion.  Read the Psalm above and think about how when we follow God’s guidance in the home, the result is a “peace that passes all understanding.”

I am not naive.  I understand that one of the things people are arguing with each other most vehemently is just exactly what constitutes following God’s guidance.  Still, I can’t help but believe that when people prayerfully and sincerely seek God’s guidance, God listens and responds.

The answer we receive about what troubles us the most may be surprising, not at all what we first expected, certainly not what the popular culture says – but it is truth and it can be counted upon in both the best – and worst – of times.

So, if you want to be part of the solution, instead of part of the problem – I suggest we all pray that our families, large and small, be led “in the way we should go.”

Surely that is a better plan than just listening to all the “experts” telling us what to do.


By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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