How Single Fathers Can Help Their Children Honor Their Mother

I have to say, this has been a great spring! One of the highlights has been watching my daughter play her first year of softball. Although she and I have played wiffle ball plenty of times at the park, I completely underestimated her skills (a little Daddy bias here). She has also been in dance for the past six years. This week proposed a unique situation: she had a softball game on the same night she had dance practice. As I was dropping her off earlier in the week, she expressed to me that she wanted to play in the game but her mom wanted her to go to dance. For those who know us, it is no secret that her mom and I aren’t exactly on each other’s Christmas lists and it would have been easy for me to allow personal feelings to rise up and make demeaning comments such as, “Yeah, she’s like that sometimes” or “You should tell her you don’t want to go to dance”. Instead I had my daughter look me in the eyes and I said, “Promise me no matter what Mommy says you won’t argue with her. She’s your mom and you need to respect her decision.” She agreed.

Single parenting is naturally a flawed system. God created family with both a mother and a father and when one parent is removed from the equation for whatever reason, it throws everything else into unbalance. Dads, whether you are married, have full custody of your children, or every other weekend, one of the greatest lessons we can teach our kids is to honor their mother. You may not be on the best of terms with her always, but that does not excuse you as your children’s spiritual and life leader. Watch what you say about her around them, keep your emotions in check, and please model the behavior you would want them to show in return. When we do these things, we are teaching our sons to respect women and our daughters that women are worthy to be honored by men.

Here are a few quick tips:

  1. Never slam Mom with the kids around (ideally not at all), but look for opportunities to build her up in front of them instead.
  2. Help the kids do fun activities such as make her a card or present for Mother’s Day, Christmas, or her birthday.
  3. When you and your children pray, be sure to include Mommy in those prayers too and let them hear it.

Clarence B. Kelland said, “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” When we teach our children to “Honor thy mother” we in turn are honoring our heavenly Father.

Dads, are you currently teaching your children to honor their mother?

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. –Phil 2:3 (NIV)


Originally published on May 26, 2015 at

Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. For more information please visit

Dad, You Can Nail This!™

Building a manger


Every dad should have a tool bag or box; literally and figuratively.  We all have different skills and abilities so our literal tools may help us work on computers, airplane engines or the stock market.  Dads may also have tools and tool bags related to their hobbies.  A golf bag full of clubs or a bat bag filled with bats, balls and gloves, or even a tackle box filled with lures, hooks and bobbers.  Any of these could create great opportunities for dads to share what they know and love with their kids.  However, the most important tools are our spiritual tools.  These are the tools that we use to teach God’s Truth to our children.  God clearly tells us that this is one of our responsibilities as dads.  We know that many men feel much more confident with their iPhone® and golf clubs than they do their Bibles.  So, the whole purpose of Dad’s Tools for Spiritual Leadership™ is to put some practical spiritual tools in your tool box.

This Christmas season we look forward to adding Let’s Build a Manger™ to your spiritual tool box, which provides a hands-on activity that will enhance the celebration of Christmas while helping men lead their families spiritually.  This kit helps men ENGAGE their children (or someone else’s) to build a real wood manger.  In addition, an activity booklet will EQUIP dad to use the manger as a tool to lead his family in activities that will help keep Christ in front of Christmas.  The greatest outcome, however, is this experience ENCOURAGES men to step-up as the spiritual leaders in the home.  The Let’s Build a Manger™ kit includes the wood, sandpaper, nails and easy-to-follow instructions to construct a small manger.  In addition, the booklet offers six creative activities that will help you lead your family to use the manger to focus on Christ this Christmas.  What kid wouldn’t love playing the role of “Seeking Shepherd” around the house?  Think of the fun they will have taking turns hiding their baby doll or stuffed animal in the manger they helped build, and searching for Jesus just as the shepherds did after hearing the angel announce His birth.  What a great way for them to learn, and even memorize, Luke 2:10b & 11.

“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!”  (ESV)

Good news, indeed!  We really must work to keep Jesus at the center of our lives and family year round, and your manger could be used in some way as a 365 day reminder of God’s wonderful gift of Salvation through His Son.  So, you could simply store your manger away with the rest of your decorations until next year (but that’s pretty boring, right?), or you could get creative and use it as a planter for flowers, a baby bed for your little girl’s dolls, or a basket for bread or cookies.  The possibilities are endless.  And so are the tools that God can provide to help you lead your family closer to Him.  Be on the lookout for more Dad’s Tools for Spiritual Leadership™ resources to place in your tool box.  Dad, You Can Nail This!™

Dad’s Tools for Spiritual Leadership™ is presented by Noble Warriors.  We want to help you be a Noble Warrior for your family.

  • A man who honors God with his life and leads his family to do the same. 
  • A man who invests time and energy in his ‘arrows’ to make sure they are straight, sharp and true. 


Let’s Build a Manger™ will be available for purchase at the end of August.  Please visit for more information.  You can also sign-up for Noble Notes at to keep in touch with us and our efforts to help churches reach and build men.

Balance: What I learned from an Indian Chief Professor

While living in Colorado I attended an Indian Pow-wow not far from my home, across the road, into the forest, higher up into the front range of the Rockies. It was about one mile from my home.  I really didn’t know what I was getting into as I drove higher and higher down the rocky road following sign after sign “turn here” “turn here”. But I finally arrived.

Along with the wind rushing through the Ponderosa Pines, I heard sounds that transported me back over a hundred years ago, the sounds of handmade drums and Indians songs echoing through the trees, fading in and out.

I met a man who was not only a true Indian; he was a PhD scholar of History, American Indian History at the University of Colorado … E-Ha-Nanni – “He who walks among us.”

We talked about many things including Crazy Horse and his two wives and how he had to sleep between them each night because they were insanely jealous of the other. If the famous Chief turned on his side, the wife on the opposite side became angry. If he turned on the other side, same thing. So he slept most of his life on his back staring up at the stars and wondering why in the world he thought he needed two wives.

The other thing he shared with me was the fact he had been sober for 32 years. He said he went to AA. It didn’t work. He tried to simply resist temptation by saying no. But that was only temporary.

He said what worked for him was a belief his people had passed down for centuries – that in life there are two roads: a Red road and a black road. The red road is good; the black road is bad filled with selfishness, materialism and bad choices.  He learned that the way to overcome the temptation to drink was to find balance between the two roads.  He learned instead of saying “Yes” or “No” to temptation to say: “later”. That seemed to take the pressure off him. “No” didn’t work. “Yes” only got him into trouble. He lost his wife because of his addiction.

He found balance, not a yes or no decision.

I think balance is also a road we have to walk in marriage and parenting. There are black and whites, but there is a sense of seeking balance between the two extremes.

God did not provide 10 commandments for relationships. No thou shall not’s for every situation. He provided some basic solid truths which are black and white but he mostly provided general principles to follow. I wonder why? Did he know that the personality differences, experiences, social, financial, ethnic, geographic influences, emotional challenges, physical demands, would all enter the picture regarding working out marriage and parenting issues?  I think so. And I also think that He knows that when we grapple with things we don’t know the answer to, there is intrinsic value and benefits to the process of struggling though we wish for a solid point in the right direction.

When it comes to making decisions, communicating, resolving problems in relationships- think balance. 

The answer is not always black and white. Be willing to yield in some areas. Realize that some problems are perpetual, they cannot be solved once and for all. Look for ways to move past by accepting that not every problem as a yes or no, this way or that way answer.

Think about it.

Mitch Temple is the Executive Director of the Fatherhood CoMission. To learn more about Mitch’s ministry, please visit

The Promise of God in Threatening Pain

The Promise of God in Threatening Pain

We live in a society that is petrified of suffering. Each day starts with a thousand moments of flinching at pain — at our alarm clocks, at the shower’s cold water, at missed emails that threaten loss and tragedy. We resent suffering and what it could mean for us. Job bewails that suffering looms with the shadow of divine disappointment: “I become afraid of all my suffering, for I know you will not hold me innocent” (Job 9:28).

Last night, I bolted onto the football field to face the Miami Dolphins. I was eager, surging with life, energy, and strength. It was the last preseason game of my third season in the NFL. The ball snapped, and with a snap of his fingers, God mercifully showed me how small and weak I am compared to his grand and glorious sovereignty over all creation.

As I was hit from the side in my knee, I felt the pop, fell to the ground in excruciating pain, and knew my year was over before it had even begun.

In the NFL, it’s easy to publicly thank God when we win, when we are victors, when we feel like gods. I want to take the opportunity to thank God when I am afraid — I want to thank him for three things:

  1. His promise to care for me in the midst of threatening pain;
  2. His meaning, which he spins out of the thread of suffering; and
  3. His joy, which resonates most beautifully when superficial pleasures fade.

God’s Sovereign Care

A few wrong angles, and I was hit, falling to the ground in pain. All of a sudden, five people ran out to me. My flesh and Satan would have me believe a thousand stories in that moment. “You’re done.” “You’re worthless.” “You’re going to lose everything.” “You can’t keep up.” “You’re pathetic.” But the more real story echoed through my heart. As I lay on the field, God’s Spirit through the word whispered in my ear, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

That verse was a promise to me. God works all things together for good. It was like the Holy Spirit was repeating it in my heart, over and over again, with each surge of pain through my knee, “For those who love me, I work all things together for good.” God cares for his people. We can’t bank on prosperity gospel promises. They can’t stand the test of God’s curse over the world. But God promises to care for us better than any worldly shepherd.

When we trust in the richest powers of the world, God says through Jeremiah, “All your lovers have forgotten you; they care nothing for you” (Jeremiah 30:14). But God still works to move the gospel into our lives through people who delight in Christ: “I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:4).

“Neither shall any be missing.” Not even me. Not even when I fail. Not even when I have nothing to offer. “Declares the Lord.” It’s his decree: Garrett shall not be left outside his care. Praise Jesus.

God’s Meaning-Making Sovereignty

In that moment of pain, I had a strange “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). I had heartfelt assurance that everything was going to be okay. But I was assured of something more important:

This season of suffering, this injury, is a gift.

Not only was I reminded of Romans 8:28, that all things work for good, but also that what happened was a gift in so many ways. Suffering is always another opportunity for God to be glorified and for his satisfying gospel to be made known. King David holds the two in clear tension: “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. . . . You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:14, 16). David isn’t saying that God will never let us suffer. He is saying that God fulfills the longing which our suffering brings to the surface.

God makes meaning out of our suffering, because he is sufficient in it. Through suffering, I see in my own heart these desires given to the throne. That’s God’s biggest gift in suffering: to have something taken away from you, and still find joy. A family member. A job. An idol. God satisfies us, not in spite of our unwanted circumstances, but in and through them.

God’s Joy Deeper Than Worldly Pleasures

How does God satisfy us in suffering? Through joy.

If God’s existence has ever been affirmed to me, it has been affirmed in suffering. Like we said above, when God gives us peace, it is peace that transcends understanding. But when God gives us joy, it is “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10–11). The suffering that we experience with Christ is not the searing pain of a physical experience. It is the emotional pain of suffocating our parasitic idols — the labor pains of joy.

Our natural inclination is to experience fear. Our hearts by instinct respond to suffering with fear, frustration, and questioning God’s sovereignty.

That’s what God is already showing me in this and through this. He is not only showing me peace, but delight and joy. It’s a gift, and it shows me the joy of an intimate and loving and compassionate God.

Sufferers, Wait for God

Return with me to Job. We saw him in Job 9, on the ropes, getting beaten up, wondering whether God was the one wearing the gloves. But James called him steadfast. That’s an odd description for Job. How was Job steadfast? He hung in there long enough to joyfully rest in God’s love for him. “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11).

Sufferers, wait for God. More than that, wait with me for him. Let’s see what the Lord’s purpose is for us, the one who is compassionate and merciful to his sheep whom he will not forget.

Originally posted at on September 5, 2015


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Garrett Gilkey (@gagilk73) is a center and guard for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft.






TGIF “Today God is First”- Os Hillman

“Opening Our Spiritual Eyes”

“And Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” – 2 Kings 6:17

Elisha was counseling the nation of Israel against the impending attack of the king of Aram. The Lord supernaturally gave Elisha the plans that the king was implementing, and in turn, Elisha warned Israel of each intended attack. The king could not understand why his plans were continually foiled. It seemed there was a secret informer in his midst. He was furious when he was told it was the God of Israel who was to blame for this inside information. The king decided the only way to resolve the situation was to get rid of the problem – kill Elisha.

The king’s forces arrived and surrounded Elisha and his servant. Elisha’s servant became upset and fearful when Elisha was not upset. Elisha immediately prayed that his servant’s eyes might be opened to see that there was no need to be afraid, because the angels were protecting them.

And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike these people with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked (2 Kings 6:17-18).

Who is the Elisha in your life? Do you have a mentor friend who can see the activity of God in your life when you cannot see it? We all need to have somebody we can trust to help us see the activity of God. It is often difficult for us to see what God is really doing because we are so consumed by the circumstances of the moment. Ask God today to help open your spiritual eyes that you might see Him in your circumstances. 

Copyright 2015 Os Hillman