TGIF: Today God is First by Os Hillman

couple-in-desert

“Prosperity in the Afflictions”

“The second son he named Ephraim and said, ‘It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.'” -Genesis 41:52

When Joseph was elevated to rule over the Egyptian kingdom, he revealed some profound truths gained from the experiences of his years of adversity. He named his first son, Manasseh for, he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household” (Gen. 41:51b). His second son was named Ephraim because, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Whenever God takes us through the land of affliction, He will do two things through that affliction: 1) He will bring such healing that we will be able to forget the pain, and 2) He will make us fruitful from the painful experiences.

God does not waste our afflictions if we allow Him the freedom to complete the work in us. His desire is to create virtue that remains during the times of testing so that He can bring us into the place of fruitfulness in the very area of our testing. He has never promised to keep us from entering the valleys of testing, but He has promised to make us fruitful in them. He is the God who turns the Valley of Achor (trouble) into a door of hope (see Hos. 2:15).

If you are in the valley of affliction, now is the time to press into Him. When the time comes to bring you out of this valley, He will heal your memories and bring fruit from this very time.

Copyright 2016 Os Hillman  www.todaygodisfirst.com 

Keep the Three A’s in Mind

Grandfather posing with grandchildren

There are three “A’s” every one of our grandchildren need. These will help mold their hearts and help build a solid foundation for our legacy as grandfathers.

 

Attention

Attention is spelled T-I-M-E. Words are cheap but time costs.

 It is paid with our time, talent, treasure and touch.

When I was a youngster my family used to visit my grandparents at their home in Southern California. When my grandfather retired he always wanted to live by the water and spend some of his retirement time doing his favorite hobby and that was fishing.

When we used to visit them by this beautiful lake I would look at him in his boat fishing. As I observed him from the dock I wished he would teach me how to catch a fish. There were occasions he would take us out in his boat but I never once fished or caught a fish. To this day I have not caught a fish. The big one got away.

May I suggest that you intentionally plan activities

that require your grandchildren to get in the way.

My wife has come up with a great plan at Christmas. Our grandchildren look forward to this game every year. We give them a small gift but then the real fun starts. She makes up a scavenger hunt that involves the whole family. The grandchildren are given clues to test their knowledge of the true meaning of Christmas. Clues allow them to earn their special Christmas gifts – Cash! What a novel idea. It becomes memorable and a lot of fun.

This game always draws their attention.

Be creative it is memorable.

 

Affection

I emphasized this before, but I’m not sure I can say it enough. Affection and appropriate touch are vital in helping a child feel loved. If you don’t believe me ask your wife or mine. We cannot or must not forget the power of meaningful and appropriate touch. There’s real power in a HUG!

It is not enough to say you love your grandchildren.

It needs to be seen, expressed and felt.

When I think of affection I think of big giant hugs. I am a hugger. No handshakes allowed with my grandchildren. If they sneak in, I go looking for them. I want to make sure every one of them know I affectionately love them. Words are cheap. Actions speak louder than words.

Maybe you say, “I am not a hugger!” There, you said it again.

 Let me give you a piece of advice: “Get over it!” There, I said it again.

Believe it or not, the best affection you can give your grandchildren sometimes has nothing to do with hugs or words. It may require that you simply be there. My grandson had several baseball games where he kept striking out. He just needed me to walk by him on the way to the car. He wasn’t ready for words or hugs, but my presence and eye contact let him know I loved him and supported him. Our grandchildren need to know we love them, even when life throws them curve balls.

Your grandchildren need to know you are not going to

abandon them. Your children need to know it also.

 

Affirmation

Words really matter.

The old rhyme that reads; “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a lie. Words can hurt much more than sticks or stones. They destroy the spirit. The best way to show affirmation is to take time to look in their eyes, ask questions, be quiet and listen. When you do speak, do not be a fixer or lecturer. Do a lot of “Hmm,” “Great,” I am sorry.” Be supportive, and you will earn the right to speak.

Remember you are to be a “cheerleader.” Keep cheering even when they strike out, fall down or fail. You are the one who comes alongside and says, “It is going to be OK!” “God is on your side, and so am I.” “Don’t give up; be strong; keep going.” “You really are God’s best, and don’t you forget it. Remember you have to become who you are.” “God will love you and that will never, never, never change, no matter what.” Sounds like something God would say.

It might be a great time to say, “Group Hug!” It might be all the affirmation they need.

 

You need to expect and call the best out of your grandchildren.

 God will meet you at your level of expectancy.

Strive for a “Triple A” rating.

 

Your Commitment

I will commit to intentionally show affection, affirmation and attention to my grandchildren. These will become the outward evidences of my inward love and support. I will choose to build them up by honoring and praising them every opportunity I can.

 

Dr. Dan Erickson

Chief Servant Leader  |  People Matter Ministries

www.peoplematterministries.com

4 Ways Noncustodial Fathers Can Help Their Children Succeed in School

dad-at-school

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial… -James 1:12 (NASB)

It’s back to school time and that means schedules are in high gear and summer is now in the rearview (No!). As a non-custodial father myself, the upcoming school year always brings up a variety of emotions for me. Naturally there is excitement as my daughter ventures into a new grade and the new experiences that come along with it. Yet, there is usually a bit of anxiety that I need to lay down too. Due to a lack of communication between my daughter’s mother and me, every year I have to introduce myself to the teacher separately, tell him or her to please make sure I’m up to date on all class happenings, and even forewarn them of the possibility of separate conferences. Sure, it can be a pain; but rather than dwelling on the downers, let’s take a look at what ANY father can do to make sure his kids thrive throughout the school year.

Pray for them

Do the math: even in two parent homes our kids are usually in someone else’s care more than our own. As single fathers, that ratio may be even more lopsided. Ezekiel 22:30 says God is looking for a man to “stand in the gap” on behalf of others. A top priority of ours should be praying for our kids when they are away from us. Be specific: cover them in safety, blessing, schoolwork, friendships, decision-making, and so on. And of course, make sure you are praying with them every chance you get as well.

Stay involved

Numerous studies have shown that children whose fathers are actively engaged in their schooling are generally more confident and emotionally stable, deal with stress better, and do better overall academically and cognitively. I know our time with our kids may be limited, but play time is not (just) what we are called to do- leading and preparing our children for adulthood is. Use your time with your kids to get homework done first, then go play. If you don’t have access to homework, stay in the loop by reading with them, doing flash cards, and various educational workbooks or games. For older kids make sure you emphasize the importance of them staying on track with schoolwork and maybe even use the time together to do some research for a project. Whatever helps them to grow and spends quality time with their dad is a plus!

Go around if need be

Yes, peace with mom should always be a primary goal of ours (Rom 12:18) but may not always be possible. For me, it can be frustrating and redundant to have to repeat the steps I mentioned in the opening paragraph. Do your own homework and get on the school’s website or email the teacher directly to learn more information and stay updated. What I’ve found out is most of the time schools and teachers LOVE having dads involved!

Be at school events

This is an area so many dads miss out on- even married guys. As long as there are no outside factors inhibiting you (like a work schedule or some legality), then making it to your son’s or daughter’s games, concerts, conferences, and other events should be mandatory. Not only does this increase your physical presence in their life, but also the emotional. It shows them that you really care and once they are grown and look back on life, they will be able to say, “My dad was always there as much as he could be.” Stay on the lookout for other opportunities to see them too, like volunteering through the school or getting involved in great programs such as Watch D.O.G.S.

Look guys, I realize all of this may or may not apply to your particular situation, and I’m sure there are many other scenarios I did not cover. The point is we should make the strongest effort we can to stay involved and be encouraging in our children’s schooling. Steward to the best of your ability the things that are within your control- leave the rest to God. When you do, you not only fill your obligation as a godly dad, but develop strong character traits that help you grow in your own walk with Christ.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. –Jer 17:7 (NKJV)

 

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

Dad Talk: Stay Focused

focus

In the movie City Slickers, Curly resolutely holds up one finger and answers, “One thing” when Mitch asks him about the secret to life. “What’s the ‘one thing’?” he pleas. Curly says, “You have to figure that out.” In “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg documents how when a person will focus on changing one habit, the impact on other areas can be phenomenal. One young lady in the study focused on her smoking habit. Her conviction that she had to give up smoking touched off a series of changes that would ultimately radiate out to every part of her life. She replaced smoking with jogging, and that, in turn, changed how she ate, worked, slept, saved money, scheduled her workdays, planned for the future and so on. She had found the ‘one thing’ that got her life back on track.

A while back a dad was struggling with relationships in the home, stress at work and general frustration with where he was at in life. He was challenged to systematically read the Bible – starting with the letters, then the gospels and then back to Genesis for a complete read through. There was no time line. The instructions were to commit at least 30 minutes each day to the reading of scripture, always opening in prayer for His Word to be revealed and closing in prayer with praise. He embraced the challenge. The daily readings took his prayer life to new levels. The increased depth of prayer generated a desire to journal. Journaling introduced a new dimension of praise and worship of the Lord in his life. He was compelled to do more in depth studies of particular books in the Bible after his first read through and his relationship with Jesus the Christ matured. As his relationship with Jesus matured, his relationships in the home were strengthened, stress at work was marginalized and life took on new meaning under the Father through the Son. The “one thing” for this dad was to change his habit of reading a lot of worldly stuff and focus on reading the Word of God. The impact on other areas of his life has been phenomenal.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2, NIV.

The charge is to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” The tomb is empty so our eyes must turn to the heavens. The action is to change ‘one thing’ that has kept our eyes on the worldly stuff.

Tips to Stay Focused:

  1. Read John 13:1-17 as a family and wash your wife’s feet;
  2. Read John 19 as a family and discuss accepting forgiveness of sin;
  3. Read John 20:1-17 as a family and discuss the power in the resurrection;
  4. Discern and act on ‘one thing’ that is inhibiting your relationship with Jesus.

Prayer guide: Lord, I confess my comfort in the worldly stuff. My eyes have drifted from You. I accept responsibility for the choices I have made and know that I need to make a change. Life balance has been elusive and it is time to focus on the priority of my relationship with You. Help me accept forgiveness through the cross, embrace the power of Your resurrection and enjoy the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as I initiate change You have put on my heart. Keep my eyes focused on You through this journey. Amen.

A faithful father stays focused on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

 

www.faithfulfathering.org

Ph:281.491.DADS/Fx:281.565.5365

‘Dad Talk’ © FFIT-2015