A Father Is…

 

Dr. Joaquin G. Molina, the author of the book, “What is a Man?” and Senior Pastor of Spring of Life Fellowship in Miami, Florida. As a keynote speaker Pastor Molina is sought out through in many Men’s Ministry Conferences and Churches, serving with a special anointing for restoring godly character in men and perfecting leadership in the Body of Christ.

For More Information: E-mail- Jmolina@whatisaman.com or visit http://whatisaman.com/

My Schedule is Insane!

 

 

When a dad pleads “my crazy schedule” for why he’s ghosting his kid’s event, or family time in general, if he’ll hear me, I have a pretty practical response.

Ninety-nine percent of the men we work with are textbook type A’s, shrink-wrapped into their calendars with no margin in the day. Zero. Most of them are cell-phone dependent, doing life by the quarter hour. When we tell them, almost first thing, to open their calendars and clear out hours—plural—it’s like waving scissors at a patient’s morphine drip.

Turns out, speed through the day is its own narcotic, and getting back to our souls, our families, our friendships, can be a cold downshift. A man serious about restoring his relationships, though, does well to start with the chart: a spreadsheet anyone can knock out in five minutes because it amounts to six columns with six headings: Activity, Heart, Impact, Growth, Obligation, and Total.

In the far-left column, under Activity, he lists everything he does, morning to night, week to week, month by month and through the year. It’s a list, not a judgment. Include shower, breakfast/donut shop, drive to work, meetings, sports section…everything. To the right of each activity, under each column heading—HeartImpactGrowth and Obligation—he ranks that activity 1 to 5, low priority to high.

Brutal honesty is optimum. Under Obligation, for example, Krispy Krème probably gets a 1. Wedding anniversary? Five. A professional course may get a 3 for Growth and a 1 for Obligation.

When list and rankings are complete, at the far right, tally the totals, survey the results, and ask two questions:

  1. What low-value activities can I eliminate?
  2. Of the remaining high-value activities, where can I double up?

 

The first time I worked the chart, my small Beech Bonanza V-Tail airplane scored low. My kids were growing inches by the day, and flying swallowed family time whole. My golf dates, by the time I dressed, played 18 holes, and debriefed at the clubhouse, likewise devoured prime hours. Since I was serious about opening my time, those two questions threw on a spotlight. My plane went on the market. Golf could wait until the kids were in college. On my daily train downtown, I began to work the Bible study I’d previously done at home.

Years in finance had taught me that a given activity should either generate revenue or build profit. In those decades, if I wasn’t recruiting for new brokers to raise income, I was looking for ways to cut expenses. Now, unless a phone call, even a cup of coffee, advances my priorities, it gets a polite no. It has to—because the difference between proactive and reactive is the difference between my agenda and someone else’s.

Each person determines what activities to cut or where to double up. I can only testify to that moment when you look up and yesterday’s toddler wanting to teeth on your keys is asking now to take the car. It’s that fast. This is the short version of a caffeinated exercise that woke me to my own priority slippage. It brought home that when I fail to master my schedule, my schedule masters me.

If your schedule is crazy, the person able to restore sanity is you. Start with the chart. On the other side of blurring speed is real life.

—————

 

Dean Niewolny is CEO of The Halftime Institute, an organization that teaches, coaches, and connects marketplace leaders to discover God’s calling on their lives and engage in the issues Jesus cares about. Dean is the author of the new book Trade Up. For more information, please visit https://halftimeinstitute.org.

A Prayer for Our Nation and Families

 

Heavenly Father,

There has never been a time that we need to pray for families like we do now. Lord we see the devastation of the family structure in our world today, and how our children are paying the price. We come before You and ask that You would show Yourself strong on behalf of all families. We boldly and courageously stand in the gap for marriages and parents, asking that You would bring us back to Your perfect design for our homes.

God, we lift up marriages to You. The enemy has set his sights on tearing apart what You said man should never separate. We pray, O Lord, that husbands and wives would stand firm in the storms, that they would build an unshakable foundation on Your truths. For the marriages that have split or are on the verge of divorce, we pray, O God, that You would bring reconciliation to those homes. Help them to live according to Your Word when it comes to the role that a husband and wife should each fulfill in marriage, for this is Your perfect plan.

Father we lift single parent families up to You. We pray You would fill every need they have: physical, financial, emotional, and spiritual. Give these single moms and single dads the strength to go on and to raise their children in You. Help them not to lose heart, but to find unwavering hope in Jesus.

Lord we pray for blended families and all the dynamics that come with that. We pray for the parents to co-parent together and to love those children unconditionally, whether they are their biological children or not. We pray for peace between these homes and the homes of the other parents, that the children would not grow in strife, but in love, wherever they are at.

And Father, we ask that You forgive our nation for the grave sin of creating our own versions of what we say marriage and family should look like. God, we ask that You forgive our land and that the Church would rise in not only proclaiming Your truths for all, but that it would be a safe place for our families to attend and grow in those truths. Help us, O Lord, to see these families as You see them: as priceless investments in Your Kingdom.

We ask all these things in Jesus’ name, amen.

 

If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray
and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NASB)

The National Day of Prayer is Thursday May 4—how will you pray for families today? 

 

Written by Matt Haviland of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. Originally posted at 1Corinthians13Parenting.com.

Absolute Trust Through Uncertain Times

It’s a familiar story to most of us—the first miracle of Jesus’ ministry.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (John 2:1-10).

Jesus and His mother Mary were among the guests at a wedding in Cana. In the midst of the celebration, Mary came to Jesus and simply told Him: “They have no more wine” (v. 3). As a mother myself, I wonder what she really expected Him to do. Whatever response she was looking for, obviously she knew Jesus would take care of it.

Now don’t miss Mary’s remarkable words in verse 5: “Do whatever He tells you.” Oh, to have that kind of faith and trust in Him. To know that, no matter the situation, no matter the circumstance or the problem, you can trust Him.

Do what He says. Follow His instructions. Let Him handle it. As you ponder the details of your life, family and work, just do what He says. Trust Him. Walk in step with Him. Let Him take care of whatever it is you need.

 

Brenda Harris is a student of God’s Word…and a wife, mother, and grandmother! She loves uncovering truths and promises in Scripture. Brenda serves as prayer coordinator for Kendrick Brothers Productions.

7 Tips for Raising Children and Growing Your Marriage

For many obvious reasons, the first years of marriage can be quite challenging. In the best of circumstances, each spouse must make adjustments. No amount of premarital counseling can fully prepare a couple for all the changes each spouse will have to make. This is especially true when children come along. The best-made plans are often replaced by frequent surprises. Children and marriage certainly go together, but having children requires a great deal of hard work and maturity from both parents in order to meet the needs of each child while ensuring a healthy marriage.

Here are 7 tips to help couples learn how to balance children and marriage and maintain the foundation of a strong partnership:

  1. Vocalize and listen to each other’s concerns. First-time parenting is a frightening prospect, but remember that you have each other to depend upon.
  2. Lean on the expertise of family and friends to coach you on the “secrets” from their own parenting experiences. All married couples face similar stresses and issues when having children and many have learned from their mistakes. You will do well to seek their counsel. Just choose the sources of your counsel wisely.
  3. Be open and honest with each other if you should harbor doubts. Get your feelings out into the open or you’ll find the stresses of parenting and those locked-up emotions playing seesaw with your relationship.
  4. Discuss and compare views on structure and discipline with the goal of finding a compromise position on how to raise your child.
  5. Don’t let parenting consume your relationship to the point that you have no intimate time for each other.
  6. Never forget that you were a couple before you were parents … a lesson worth carrying throughout the ups and downs of raising children.
  7. Consider parenting and career objectives. While both parents working might provide more financial stability, consider how it could affect your child’s development? Be certain to count all the costs, both tangible and intangible, before making the decision for both of you to work.

It is important to understand that relationship challenges are a normal part of balancing children and marriage. Though you and your spouse may carefully and prayerfully plan for children and talk at length about how to handle situations that may arise, be prepared for surprises. And no matter what, never forget that the love and support needed to nurture your marriage is just as important as winning the parent-of-the-year award. Strongly consider sitting down with a counselor and discussing being parents, or consider taking a class to continue growing in your marriage with the idea that you may gain insightful and objective advice on how to successfully tackle marriage and parenting.

– Family Dynamics Institute

 

Family Dynamics Institute collaborates with Churches, Companies, and Community Organizations to help them provide a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry to help married and engaged couples grow stronger at all ages and stages of marriage.

To Learn More

Contact Us At:         800-650-9995

Email Us:       info@FamilyDynamics.net

Websites:      www.FamilyDynamics.net

www.SaveMyMarriage.com

A New Kind of Reconciliation with a Former Spouse

man-woman-uglybeatNews

Almost every divorced Christian I know cannot imagine reconciling with their former spouse.  So much hurt, so many bitter words and fights. “Clare, why would I take that risk and jump back into that snake pit again?”

Not only are there those risks, but in most cases one or both of the spouses have remarried.  “So, Clare even if I wanted to reconcile with my ex it is impossible.”

Surprisingly, it isn’t.  At least, not the kind of reconciliation I’m encouraging.

So what follows is the advice I gave to a divorced man recently that you may want to pass on to a divorced friend, or anyone at odds with another believer.

Webster defines reconcile this way; “to cause people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement.

The Bible says this, But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” – Luke 6:27,28

 

Reconciling with your “ex”

While you may be legally divorced from your former spouse, if he/she is a believer they are still your spiritual brother and sister.  And it is the will of God that we live reconciled to one another and in peace.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” -2Corinthians 13:11

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”  -Galatians 5:22

Peace is not only one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, but we’re to use all of our spiritual gifts to bring about peace.

Continuing my conversation with this man, “You’re not only expected to make an effort to live at peace with your ‘ex,’ it’s to your advantage to do so;” Why?

 

First, it’s a testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit to your children.

If you have children, for the rest of your life, you and your ex will have to negotiate holidays, weddings, birthdays, graduation and special events, even those of your grandchildren.  What a wonderful testimony to them of how Christians ought to live, even with people who disagree, if both you and your ex could attend and be kind and courteous to one another, so no innocent parties are made to feel uncomfortable.
 

Second, you will have peace of mind and your prayers will not be hindered. This may be hard to hear; but unless you’ve had a biblical divorce, biblically speaking, your ex is still your spouse, in God’s eyes.  And therefore when you are bitter or angry with your spouse it’s tougher to pray with a free conscience. (1 Peter 3:7)
 

Third, Jesus commands us to attempt to make peace even if you are the innocent party!

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,” -Matthew 5:23.  Jesus isn’t saying if you have something against them.  He’s talking about them having hard feelings about you.  Perhaps your spouse still harbors hard feelings toward you.  You have an obligation to try to make peace.
 

To harbor hateful thoughts is a sin.

“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” -Matthew 5:22
 

My final thought is this: you have no control over whether your ex will accept your offer of reconciliation and peace.  But you do have the responsibility as a believer to make a sincere effort.

Making the first moves

  1. Begin by praying for a receptive spirit in your former spouse, or another person whom you are at odds.
  2. Consider calling you ex and offering to meet with a godly friend you both trust, who is willing to help you navigate this reconciliation. (If you or your ex have remarried, it would be very unwise to meet without a third person present.)
  3. Attempt to move beyond open hostility and discuss continuing tensions and how to eliminate or minimize them.
  4. If you come to a mutual understanding about how you will handle certain issues, put it in writing. It will give both of you something to refer to in the future.
  5. Covenant to pray for one another. I’ve yet to meet two “enemies” who committed to pray faithfully for “the best” for the other person, who remained enemies.

Finally

If you’ve sent this blog to someone, ask to meet with them.  Most people wounded by divorce are hesitant to take these steps without a faithful, praying friend to encourage them to do so.  Be that kind of friend.

 

How following Jesus works in real life.

If you found this blog and are not a regular subscriber,

you can take care of that right HERE.

 

 

“OTOY”: One Thing, Once a Year- For Your Marriage

happyyoungcouple

A great reminder to start the New Year from our friends at Family Dynamics Institute:

Doing ONE THING, ONCE a YEAR for your marriage is very simple to do….if you make it a priority.   When we mention this idea of doing one thing once a year for your marriage at speaking engagements and trainings nearly all of the heads in the room nod in agreement.   Yet when asked for a show of hands of how many are doing something once a year for their marriage….only a few go up.

So…..we understand that we should, for most of us we could, now if we only would.

We see our doctors, change our oil, file our taxes, and renew our licenses or certifications if our job requires it, all on a regular basis every year.   Why?  Simply because we know that there are consequences if we don’t and we value the benefits of keeping those items “up to date”.

So why are most of us ignoring the most important relationship that we will have with another person on this planet?

Doesn’t make sense….does it?

We encourage you to get started now and continue doing One Thing, Once a Year, and for those who already are, keep it up and share the positive impacts it has for your marriage with others.

What types of “THINGS” are we talking about? 

While date nights, praying together, shared recreational activities are all great (and should also be a part of your healthy marriage growth)…we are encouraging some things that involve learning relationship skills that you will use every day.

Taking a class for your marriage, a weekend retreat, taking a home study class, and similar types of experiences that provide you with solid information and practical application that you can use every day.  Some couples have shared with us that they set up a getaway weekend with other married couple friends and spend some time going through sections of class materials to grow stronger as a couple and still have vacation time to enjoy with their spouse.

An ongoing mix of these types of experiences is vital to growing stronger together as a couple.  Our lives are changing every day, we learn new things, have new challenges and experiences that impact us in many ways.  Taking time consistently to grow in the relationship with the one we love is the best ongoing preparation for whatever life brings, both good and bad.

We encourage you not to end up in the latter stages of your life looking back with a “would-a, could-a, should-a” feeling about things you did for your marriage.

So…..what are you waiting for….what’s your ONE THING to start with??

– Family Dynamics Institute

 

Family Dynamics Institute collaborates with Churches, Companies, and Community Organizations to help them provide a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry to help married and engaged couples grow stronger at all ages and stages of marriage.

To Learn More:

Contact Us At:         800-650-9995

Email Us:       info@FamilyDynamics.net

Websites:      www.FamilyDynamics.net

www.SaveMyMarriage.com

Facing Your Blitz: Turn Your Marriage Around

Ray and Felissia were headed toward divorce. Hear their turnaround story and watch to see the hope and help available for you too.

Game Plan:

“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice [ just ways ] of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” Galatians 6:7, NLT

Time Out:

We reap what we sow. We get out what we put in. Assets grow when we invest. Effort pays off. If this is so, why do we dream that marriage will be easy and automatic? Why think that relationships shouldn’t take work?

Why would we think that ‘struggling and unhappy’ is the best we can get? God invented marriage to succeed when we depend upon Him and follow His blueprints.

Go Deep:

Don’t give up on your marriage or settle for average. Get some coaching and put some effort every year into building your marriage.

There are lots of ways to deepen your marriage…books, videos, mentors and counselors. One pathway has helped over a million people. It’s what we do at FamilyLife where I work…the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway.

INVEST…get away for a weekend of fun and fueling your marriage or tell a young couple or friends that you’ll pay for their registration.

 

Other Ways to stay connected to Jeff Kemp and Facing the Blitz Resources:

To get this video and devotional guide delivered to your inbox each Monday, SUBSCRIBE TODAY.

To get your copy of Facing the Blitz CLICK HERE

And, Like us on FACEBOOK and follow Jeff on Twitter

Christmas, Single Parents, and Immanuel

christmas-2014-immanuel

Christmas. Many of us think of it as a time of celebration of our Lord’s birth; a time of joy, creating and reliving childhood memories; music, family, food, and holiday cheer. This is the one season that seems almost magical- the most wonderful time of the year. For a single parent, however, this can also be one of the most difficult times to endure.

While everyone else is posting pictures on social media and sharing tales of their family gatherings, celebrating all of their children’s funny antics and what their spouse did to surprise them with the perfect gift, single parents often have to rejoice with those who rejoice, all while covering up the pain of loss and loneliness in their own lives. They can feel forgotten or disregarded. I’ve been there, and in many ways, I still hurt during the holidays too. But rather than taking on a spirit of defeat, let’s choose this year to celebrate Immanuel, God with us.

We can know Jesus is with us…

  • When there is an empty chair at the table because this is your first year as a single parent, He is God with us.
  • When we don’t have our children on Christmas Day because they are at the other parent’s house, He is God with us.
  • When everything seems to be caving in financially, and you can barely afford presents for your children, let alone anyone else, He is God with us.
  • When we are choking back the tears because the pain and shame seems too much to bear, He is God with us.
  • When we feel like everything around us is crumbling, including our faith, and no one even seems to notice, He is God with us.

The greatest gift of all…

Even if we relate to any of the examples above, we still have a GREATER reason to celebrate because of Jesus this year: He IS God with us! He is the perfect gift, buying us back into relationship with our heavenly Father. He fills the void no one else can; reminds us that we are on a continual journey with Him, and never leaves us, even when we wander. He fills in all of our tangible needs; calms our hurts and fills us with a peace this world will never provide. The reason Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, is because He created us, has been where we are, and has cleared the path for us to be assured that He is with us- always.

Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. –Luke 2:10-11 (NASB)

Single parents, will you celebrate the holidays with joy this year, knowing that in all circumstances God is with us?

 

Written by Matt Haviland of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. Originally posted on December 15, 2015 at www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com

Holiday Traditions as a Single Parent

dad-and-kids-baking-christmas-bakingrex

I once posted on Facebook, Traditions: they mean something in a child’s life. Whether it’s an annual thing, a special day of the week, or something that is just between you and your child, traditions have the ability to bring our sons and daughters back to a time in their life they can hold on to forever. Best of all, many of these special memory makers don’t have to cost a fortune, but they WILL reap eternal riches!

I was never married to my daughter’s mom. As the years passed, I found myself feeling like I had to compete against her in regards for my daughter’s affection through my actions. Financially, her side of the family had me beat. They could afford to take fancy vacations and buy my daughter nicer gifts. I eventually got to the point where I began to loathe the statement, “I don’t have money to do that” every time my daughter asked me to buy her something she wanted or go somewhere I could not afford. I was basing my identity as a parent on external love rather than selfless sacrifice.

As time progressed, God began to do some heart surgery on me. I became more aware of His truths in my life─ and my eyes were opened to multiple traditions my daughter and I were already doing together. He had been right there all along─ working in areas I thought I was failing in and helping me be the father I already was! My heart would swell as I was now able to slow down enough to actually ENJOY the precious time I was spending with her instead of fast forwarding ahead to what we could do next. To this date, my daughter and I still have plenty of traditions that are ours.

Single parenting is tough, no doubt about it. Sometimes we may feel as if we carry an unfair disadvantage compared to married couples. Still, traditions with your children do not have to stop…or they can begin anew. They say that time heals all wounds, but Jesus gives us much more than that. He is able to heal the broken parts of our lives AND restore us to greater heights than we knew without Him. Don’t make the same mistakes I did: competing with the other parent on worldly terms or allowing temporary barriers such as finances to hinder your role as a godly parent. We only get one shot at this life, and our kids will grow up despite our best efforts to keep them young. Instead, let’s put our trust in the Lord today and allow Him to turn temporary moments into eternal memories for us and our children.

As a single parent, how will you continue to create traditions with your children to leave them with memories they can hold on to forever?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. –Ecc 3:1 (NIV)

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

Originally posted at www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com