A Jar Full of Marbles

4 Ways to Make Your Next Camping Trip a Success

Camping is the best way to get back to nature, and it is one of the best ways for children to get a good grasp on how the environment affects us, and how we harm the environment. Although it would be nice to head off into the middle of the wilderness, it’s unfortunate that most kids don’t see it this way.

 

Campsite Choice

These come hand in hand and can make or break a family camping experience. The campsite that you choose has to be based on your abilities and also take into account the interests of your family. If you and your family are novices to the whole camping ideal, choosing a site that is in an established campground or a national park would be a good idea to start.

If you are a family who likes to explore the local towns or hike/cycle during the day, it is advisable to choose a site that is close to your activity destinations. As a final word, if your family is not too keen on roughing it 100%, select a site that has toilets and running water.

 

Which Tent?

As for your tent, it may be suitable to have one that fits two adults, yet when a family is concerned, you will need a little more space. Families are advised to choose one that can easily cater for double the size of your family. This gives your kids plenty of room to move around.

Child-friendly sleeping arrangements are a necessity. They will be the first ones who complain. If you have more than one child and you want to make them as comfortable as possible and save floor space. You can opt for a double camping cot which kids will enjoy.

One of the best and simplest camping hacks you can find is your pillows. Rather than lugging pillows around with you, just take pillow cases and stuff them with your jackets while sleeping.

 

Entertainment

Camping is getting away from it all, and leaving everything behind. Children will at some point want a little extra to play with, especially if the weather is not the best. You can take along some toys and entertainment for them that will either make them more involved with nature or keep them quiet if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

Here are a few camping toys that will keep your kids happy:

  • Balls – Most ball sports can be played while camping as can a frisbee.
  • Magnifying Glasses – these can keep younger children occupied for ages, as can a pair of binoculars. They will love exploring what’s far away or what is right under their feet.
  • Squirt Guns – what better way to keep kids occupied in warm weather and if you are close to a water supply.
  • If the weather does take a turn for the worst or you need something to keep your children occupied on an evening, there are also a few options that can improve family bonding rather than rely on electrical gadgets:
  • Coloring books – these can keep your children occupied for a couple of hours, and they don’t take up much space in your camping gear.
  • Playing cards – there is nothing better than a game of cards between the family. Just make sure the game is not too complicated for your children.

If your children need a little more space to play and do their own thing, you can take a smaller tent for this purpose. You will know where they are and you don’t have to worry about standing on any of the toys or games you have taken along.

 

Meal Times

Children can be the hungriest and fussiest eaters on the planet, so stocking up on what will keep them satisfied is essential. Snack times will be the hardest as they will want something to satisfy their sweet tooth.

Packing dried fruits can give your children an energy boost while meeting their sugary needs without filling them full of man-made ingredients. Trail mix and health bars that are made from all-natural ingredients can do much the same thing. All you have to be wary of is if any of your children or family members have a nut allergy.

Fresh fruits can also be good to keep on hand; they are not only healthy and nutritious, but they also come in their own packaging so there will be no wrappers flying around the campsite.

One thing you do have to take, and this will please your kids and give them the idea how much fun sitting around a campfire can be. Bring on the S’Mores! This will satisfy not just any kid, but also the big kid in all of us. What childhood would be complete without memories of S’Mores around a fire?

 

Chris Cole is the head writer at naturesportcentral.com. He is passionate about the great outdoors and writing.

Build Memories, Not Just Moments

I love taking my grandchildren to Disney, to the playground or to the beach. These activities are fun, but do they create memories that keep on keeping on even after this lifetime has passed.

 

A lifetime runs out,

but eternity is a very, very long time!

 

Build…

Buildings that have no foundation will never stand the winds of time. Wow, how profound. Life’s trials will come and go, but the foundations you help build in your grandchildren’s lives will last for a life time

The key words I think of when building anything is “structure” and “Intentional.” What kinds of structures are you intentionally building into your grandchildren’s lives that are done with a purpose and done on purpose?

 

Build with purpose.

Build on purpose.

 

It’s hard for your grandchildren to see God’s purpose working out in their lives just as it is for us. God does not do anything by accident. All we have gone through is all part of what God wants to build in us. Year by year, challenge by challenge, decision by decision, God uses them all to build his image in us.

Think about how you can intentionally build in each of your grandchildren. Here are some things I want to build in my grandchildren and in myself.

 

It is more caught than taught.

The world around us is in direct conflict with what we want to see in our grandchildren’s lives. The world creates expectations that may have nothing to do with God’s purposes. We must live and actively proclaim the truth over the lies. As a grandfather, I want to be one of the louder voices saying to our grandchildren that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. Words, thoughts and actions can build up or tear down, which do they hear and see from us?

 

What you want your grandchildren to remember

must be said and lived now.

 

Memories…

 

The best legacies you will ever leave

are the memories you create.

 

If I were to ask each of my grandchildren what was their most memorable moment I hope there are seven, one for each of my grandchildren. Why? Let me say it again, because they are all individuals. We must see them as individuals and seek to build memories that last for their life-times.

 

Memories are made over time.

 

I am sure all of my grandchildren will remember the great time we had at the lake, at an amusement park or on a Disney cruise. But what memories would each of my grandchildren recall as being special; working together on a project, a mission trip to the Navajo Nation, maybe playing Scrabble or Dominoes and beating Papa over and over again? Those memories have very specific meaning, because of the time and conversation we have while doing them.

 

I want to change history and memories on purpose.

Memories by accident can be scary.

 

Build, structure, and create the times you want to live and the memories you want to leave. Recently we spent a week in Breckenridge, Colorado, and the best things I did with our grandchildren was make snow angels. It did not cost us one dime. It was not the reason for the trip; it was simply spontaneous and great fun. We have the pictures!

 

Your grandchildren will not judge you by the car you drive,

the house you live in or by the stuff you own

but by the memories you live and leave.

 

For a Lifetime

 

Maybe you’re thinking, “Wow, for a lifetime!” “There is plenty of time for that.” Really? Only God knows for sure, and you ain’t God! So what are you waiting for?

 

How much lifetime do we really have left?

Oh, you don’t know!

You might want to get on with it now.

 

May I make a suggestion? Well, I’m going to do it anyway. Ask each of your grandchildren this simple but leading question, “If I could do anything for you or with you that I can afford, what would you like most?” What would they say? If you don’t know, at least ask. I promise I will, too!

 

Remember…

Money and stuff will be spent and rust away but memories last for a lifetime.

 

When you ask them what you could do for them remember they are different ages. You may need to ask the parents for some insights.

 

Reminder: YOUR greatest investments or achievements are not found

 in your “what’s” – possessions, power, privilege or prestige –

but in your “Who’s” – God, your wife, family and

the legacy you live and leave.

 

 

Written by our dear friend, the late Dr. Dan Erickson. May the memories we have of him live on as we create new memories with our loved ones.

Bible Bullet: Tragedy in Texas

Recently, our nation has witnessed tragic, unjust and horrific events. The massacre in Las Vegas, the terror in New York, and the slaughter of the innocents in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Evil seems everywhere—flowing directly from the one who opposes God the most.

The Bible teaches in Genesis 3 that Satan led Adam and Eve into sin by deception. He questioned the goodness of God and undermined the authority of God’s word to Adam and Eve. When they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, our world drastically changed. Disbelief and disobedience led to a breech in their relationship with the Creator, their marriage experienced shame, and the creation around them was no longer harmonious. Their sons experienced conflict, and jealousy and envy led to the first murder (Genesis 4).

The violence that has occurred in Nevada, New York, and Texas reminds us that we live in a sinful, fallen world.  Unfortunately, the same evil experienced by the Christians at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs has plagued Christians for years around the world.

Is this evil a subtle power, a generic force, or some type of impersonal energy? Not according to the Bible. Both Jesus and Paul referred to Satan as an evil force (cf. Matthew 13:19, John 14:30, Ephesians 2:2, 2Corinthians 4:4); and Paul teaches that “creation was subjected to futility”, but the “creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:20-21).

No one can give a simple answer to evil in this world.  If anyone had a reason to ask the question why? it was Job.  Having lost his children, his flocks and herds, material goods, and even his health, Job asked God the reason for his suffering. When God finally spoke out of the whirlwind, no answer was given to satisfy intellectual understanding. God’s word to Job was to worship in the midst of his suffering, and so Job did: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

We don’t need intellectual understanding—we need God. Rather than seeking an answer to the question why, we are to seek Him. His presence is our answer. Join me in praying for bereaved families—that they will experience His presence and the “the peace that passes human understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

I share these biblical truths to remind us of what we already know. Often comfort comes as we encourage ourselves in remembering who God is, what He has done, and His amazing creativity in bringing good from evil. Remember that Almighty God turned the worst event in human history—the murder of the sinless Son of God—to the greatest achievement in history: the provision for the forgiveness of sin, our justification before a Holy God, and the gift of abundant and eternal life in Christ. God always has the last word, and His last word at the cross was the resurrection.  Even so, He will have the last word in these tragic events.

There is much we don’t know, but through God’s word there is infinite knowledge of Him “who has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2Peter 1:3). Be encouraged as you ponder on these truths from the Bible:

 

  • Death for God’s people is not final (cf. Isaiah 25:9, Revelation 21:3-4).

 

  • Jesus has prepared a place in heaven for us (John 14:1-3).

 

  • Life in Christ is abundant (John 10:10).

 

  • Life in Christ is eternal (Matthew 28:20).

 

  • Jesus’ victory over death becomes ours (John 11:25-6).

 

  • The same power (the Holy Spirit) that resurrected Jesus resurrects us (Romans 8:11).

 

  • Just as Jesus suffered and was glorified, so those in Christ will be glorified (Romans 8:18).

 

  • Nothing—not even physical death, can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35-39).

 

  • Our relationship with Christ is sufficient for life and death (Romans 14:7-9).

 

  • Even physical death is used for God’s purpose (Romans 8:28).

 

A glimpse into glory: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. —Revelation 21:1-4

 

–David Maddox  

 

O, Give Thanks to His Wonderful Works!

Whether your family is hosting the meal or traveling to grandmother’s house, there’s a lot to do in preparation for Thanksgiving. Slow down for a few moments before the cooking, chaos, chatter and clutter begins. Prepare your heart to focus on the Creator, the God of heaven and earth, the ultimate reason to give thanks.

Read Psalm 105:1-7 aloud from your favorite translation. Pause after each phrase and truly absorb what you’re reading. Center in on the prayer-directives the Psalmist gives and reflect on the abundance of blessings you enjoy (v. 1). Pray aloud for those who are serving “among the nations”, those who “tell of all His wonderful acts” (vv. 1-2). Seek His guidance and rest in His power (v. 4). Ponder His acts of mercy (v. 5). Rejoice that you are one of “His chosen ones” (v.6). Breathe in the mercies of God (v. 7).

My former pastor, Dr. Jay McCluskey, reminded us that “God’s faithfulness does not come with a limited warranty.” God is with us—in good, bad, sadness, sorrow, success, commonplace, and extraordinary.  Dr. McCluskey also proposed a novel idea: What if we cancelled Thanksgiving Day and designated one day a year for grumbling and complaining? Maybe we would get it out of our system and then have 364 days left for praising and rejoicing. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

So, this week, don’t grumble! Reflect on the blessings of God, ask Him to heal our nation, to restore peace and harmony in families, communities, churches and countries around the world. Entreat Him to provide places of tranquility and healing for those who are abused and hurting, blessings on those who proclaim His name both here and abroad. Will you be a channel of blessing and thankfulness or a woe-is-me grumbler? Just look around you and then thank Him for the abundance He generously gives. Prepare your heart to step into a glorious life of thanksgiving.

 

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.  

 

Safety in the Arms of Our Father

Remember playing tag as a kid? Hours flew by as you ran for your life from someone who wanted to get you. The goal was survival. You darted around, barely dodging that outstretched arm. Out of breath and sweating profusely, you finally made it to a base.

The base area was set aside so you could temporarily take a break from the intensity of the game—you could calm down, strategize, and refuel for the challenges ahead.

The feeling of being on base is what should be experienced in a relationship with a father. In a dangerous world full of spiritual predators, a father must act as a safe haven. Having a caring father helps us become more aware of ourselves. When we feel threatened, we withdraw and become blind to what is happening both within and outside of ourselves. Our view of life narrows, causing us to overlook our own gifts and skills. We suppress our need for external guidance and miss the meaning found in our relationships. However, when with our father, we can thrive.

Building a complex attachment with a good father creates a secure base we can launch from. When we feel safe, we experience our value, despite being aware of the imperfections that creep into every aspect of our lives. Knowing we are loved through our failures acts as a powerful healing force. Bouncing back and starting again seems less daunting. A father provides us with a resource for feedback that confronts our inadequacies. He gives us an example of resisting passivity and actively stepping toward our self-development and need to contribute to the world.

Fathers show us how to self-initiate by pursuing a relationship with us individually—while also making life better for the family as a whole. In the security of their presence, they teach us to set goals, understand our existence, pay attention to details, make difficult choices, establish our values, consider our priorities, express our thoughts and feelings, and strengthen our faith. A father is an essential influence.

In a world that often makes us feel lonely and disconnected, we hear a father’s voice saying, “You are not alone. I want to get to know you and help you to know yourself better. Your thoughts, feelings and dreams are all important to me. You matter despite what the world says. I’m here for you, and my presence empowers you to exceed your expectations. To be with me is to discover the greatest parts of yourself. My eyes reflect the value of who you are. You can always rely on me to give you the best of who I am.”

As a base, a father is always accessible relationally. Our behaviors, choices and lifestyle, no matter how negative, cannot destroy the bond between us and our father.

A father is also responsive. He listens to others and communicates his own perspective in order to strengthen his relationships. He tunes in to what others are trying to say and perceives verbal and non-verbal messages accurately.

Lastly, a father is engaged. He deliberately attempts to understand and respect the perspectives of other people. He willingly sacrifices himself in order to help others succeed.

A father meets us where we are at. A secure relationship with an accessible, responsive and engaged father is a miraculous advantage in having a fulfilling and meaningful life. “A.R.E. you there for me?” we ask. He loudly replies, “You bet I am!” May we be that base that our children can rely on. Thank you, God, for being our ultimate Father. It is because of your presence and love that fatherhood can be positively expressed among us (1 John 4:19).

 

Dr. Roy Smith has worked for over 35 years as a psychologist/counselor to men and their families. He is an ordained minister, founder of Pennsylvania Counseling Services (www.pacounseling.com) and author of Knights of the 21st Century (www.K21.men), a men’s ministry. Through K21, Roy has written several books and DVD programs in the area of men’s issues and has consulted on two women’s curriculum series (www.realwomen21.com). He also founded Servant’s Oasis, a non-profit that provides books and DVD resources to men and women in prisons (www.servantsoasis.org). Roy has a M.Div. and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. He is married to Jan, also a psychologist, who has been supportive though the process of creating K21. They have two children and one grandson.

My Stuff Stays Here! When to Let Your Child Bring Possessions to the Other Home

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. —Colossians 3:21

It can be frustrating as a single parent to use your limited resources to provide for your child’s needs—only to have certain items go over to the other parent’s house and possibly not be returned. Where do you draw the line without causing your child to feel the pressures of living in two homes? How do you guard their heart and establish boundaries in protecting what you buy them? Let’s take a little deeper look together.

What the child sees

Don’t forget—I have a divided heart now. I live between two completely different houses, rules, traditions and attitudes. Be patient with me when I forget things or need some time to adjust from house to house. Please buy me enough stuff that I don’t have to live out of a suitcase my whole life. If you want me to feel “at home” in both places, please set up a full home for me, even if I am only there a few days a month. Things like tooth brushes, shoes, clothes, my favorite cereal, and having cool décor in my room—these all help me feel welcomed and at home in both homes. Don’t compete or argue about these things, just help me not have to feel like a visitor when I am with either parent. Make it as easy on ME as possible! –Top 10 Things Kids Wished They Could Say to Their Divorced Parents, Tammy Daughtry, Co-Parenting International

I think the above paragraph sums it up quite well. Unfortunately, our children do feel torn at times—a one-home lifestyle isn’t their norm any more. With all the division already, is it fair for us to restrict anything that may make them feel a bit more stable? Maybe that stuffed animal or favorite shirt is one thing that helps keep their emotions in check—offering a bit of normalcy in their life. Let’s be sure to keep this in mind before the next time they ask to take something to the other home and before we say no.

What we see

Jesus tells a parable in Luke 18:10-14 about a Pharisee and tax collector. He describes the tax collector’s repentant heart and the Pharisee’s self-centeredness…the Pharisee using the word “I” 5 times! If we are not careful, we can fall into the same trap—putting all the focus on our own needs rather than our children’s.

Bitterness can cause blindness—at least it did for me. I was always caught up with what my daughter already had at her mother’s house, why did she need to take my stuff over there too? I mean, I was using my limited funds to buy stuff that I wanted to keep at my house and I wasn’t happy that my daughter wanted to take what I bought her out of the home that I pay for… (Get it?).

To be honest, I was worried about not having enough nice clothes or decent toys/activities at my home—which is a legitimate concern, but also needs to be handled delicately. One wrong word or action from a parent can really sink a child’s spirit for many years to come.

What you can do

Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, here are a few quick suggestions to help avoid conflict and keep your child’s heart guarded:

1. Ask the other parent to provide clothes for your child to go home in. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something that already belongs in the other home that your son or daughter can wear back, thus keeping your clothes at your house.

2. Give the other parent the benefit of the doubt. If something of yours goes home with your child, simply ask for it to be returned next time around. Use language such as, “I’m letting ____________ bring her pillow over, she wanted to hold on to it this week. Can you please ask her to bring it back next time I see her?” The point is to use wording that emphasizes it is for the child’s sake, not yours.

3. Set boundaries in your home and use age-appropriate language. In love, explain to your child that certain items need to stay at your home and tell them why. Take ownership of the situation and reassure them that though they live in two homes, they are equally loved.

4. Be prepared to lose a few things. It happens and it’s not the end of the world. We all lose possessions at times. Though it stinks when this happens, just remember: the most important things in life aren’t things. A parent’s top priority is investing in their child’s heart. Choose how you will react ahead of time if something does get lost and will you be more concerned about a lost item—or your child’s well-being?

5. Trust God will provide. The Bible says that the sun shines and the rain falls on both the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). Even if you try to do what is right and end up getting burnt in doing so, have faith that God sees your heart and obedience and that He will sustain all you need to be the best parent you can be.

 

As my friend Tammy Daughtry also says, “Think T.E.A.M.M.: The End Adult Matters Most!” In other words, our actions and words today will shape our children for tomorrow. What sort of adult do you want to influence your son or daughter to be? Twenty years from now, will they remember constant bickering over petty things—or a loving home where selfishness was replaced by selflessness, and they are that much better off because of it?

 

Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. For more information on starting a single dad group in your area, please visit www.afatherswalk.org

Can You Pray Your Kids Get Caught?

For years, Ben and Sarah routinely said a prayer they hoped would not come true for any of their four children.  They knew how kids could be.  They knew how the culture pulls good kids from good homes to make not-so-good decisions.  My friend Ben is especially aware because he was more than a bit rebellious in his younger days.  Looking at him, you wouldn’t know it today, but Ben was deep into narcotics in his early twenties.

So, Ben and Sarah prayed specifically that if and when their children did something illegal or immoral or simply made a really bad choice, that they would get caught.

That’s the exact words they used.  And not long ago their prayer was answered.  It was a holiday weekend with lots of activity in the house, and Sarah needed something that was last seen in their teenage daughter’s closet.  Looking there, she found a bottle of rum and some fruit-mixer concoction.

The Christmas celebration took a sharp, unpleasant, yet necessary turn.  With sincere apologies, some of the guests were asked to leave.  The festivities were postponed.  The family huddled and their daughter was confronted.

I wasn’t there, so I don’t know exactly what was said.  But the core message was very personal and very compelling.  Up until that day, Ben’s four children only had an inkling of their father’s drug addiction from two decades earlier.  How far he’d fallen.  And how God had rescued him.  It wasn’t a pleasant story.  And it’s not a story you should tell to small children.  After all, when kids are young and impressionable, they need to see dad as a hero.  Invincible.  A solid rock they can count on.

Ben had been that dependable dad for their entire lives.  Which is a great thing.  And which made his testimony to his children even more powerful.   Over the years, Ben had shared his story with men’s groups and other individuals who were struggling with addiction.  He talked about Satan’s power, hitting bottom, and finding hope only after turning his life over to Christ.  But his kids only knew small bits and pieces of the story.

That evening they heard something they didn’t want to hear, but needed to hear.  However, they were old enough to listen, understand, and learn from their father’s mistakes.  The teenager who was hiding the liquor really didn’t receive a severe punishment.  Listening to her dad open up about his personal battle — the stumbling, helplessness, surrender, and recovery — had more than enough impact.  In a sense, the family was broken that night.  But they soon healed stronger than ever.

Thinking about Ben and Sarah, the word that comes to mind is courage.  Courage to overcome.  Courage to trust.  Courage to pray the way they did for  their kids.  And courage to see the big picture.  They weren’t just dealing with a bottle of rum found in a teenager’s closet.  They were standing up against Satan who had chosen that Christmas season to seize a new foothold in their family.  But the father of lies and deceit didn’t have a chance.  Instead of sweeping it under the rug or delaying any repercussions until after the family event, that mom and dad addressed the situation firmly, efficiently, and without hesitation.  How did they know what to do and what to say?  Only because that’s what they had been praying for.

Your past may be different than Ben’s.  But your children are facing the same cultural challenges.  Do you have the courage to pray for your children to get caught?  Will you have the courage to confront your children’s unhealthy choices at the top of the slippery slope?

 

PRAYER FOR WISE CHOICES

Heavenly Father.  We pray that our kids make choices that honor you.  But we also know that our kids have sinned and will sin.  In their humanness, they will fall short of your glory.  In humility and brokenness, Lord, we ask that you open our eyes to those times when we need to intervene.  We pray they get caught.  In those difficult moments, we pray that we have the courage and wisdom to respond with love and truth.  And, thank you Lord for preparing our heart and minds to be the parents our children need in every situation.  In times of joy.  And in times when the world seems to be crumbling around us.  Thank you for being our rock.  We love and trust you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 

Pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

                                             2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 NIV

 

 

Jay Payleitner is a national speaker on parenting and marriage and best-selling author of 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List?  His latest book is 52 Ways to Connect as a Couple.  For more, go to www.jaypayleitner.com.

Facing the Blitz: Pass on a Blessing

Pass on a Blessing

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: He believed in me.” –Jim Valvano

Game Plan: 

“To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God…as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline…He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus …our Savior…” –2 Tim 1:2-9 NIV

Time Out:

Think about the blessing you wished you’d gotten from your father or mother. Remember how God the Father said of Jesus, “This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Who is God asking you to bless? A child or grandchild? Spouse? Someone without a parent in his or her life?

Pray about the persons you want to affirm and bless by asking for God’s very best in their heart and life.

“Think about the blessing you wished you’d gotten from your father or mother. Pray about a person you want to affirm and bless by asking for God’s very best in their heart and life.” –Jeff Kemp

Go Deep:

Talk to God about this. Do the following for the person you want to bless:

  • Write down one sentence about how you love and are pleased with him or her.
  • One sentence about their identity.
  • One sentence about their mission.
  • One sentence about God’s control and benevolence in their life.
  • Pray that blessing for them privately for a period.

Let God tell you when you should create a special time to bless them by putting your hand on them and praying the blessing out loud. Or, write it in a letter and send it to them.

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What Kids Learn From Their Dad

How well are you representing your heavenly Father? To your son? To your daughter? That is your priceless purpose.

Both the Scriptures and statistics clearly communicate that there is no more influential person in the life of a child than his or her father. Whereas moms are priceless, irreplaceable, and needed beyond measure, they were never designed to be men or to fill the role of a dad. When the Bible states that “the glory of children is their father” (Proverbs 17:6 NKJV), it is revealing an important dynamic of how God has wired the hearts and minds of children.

They learn their identity from you. When your kids are young, they don’t know who they are, what is right or wrong, or who God is. They don’t know how to live life. But kids naturally go to their dads for answers to their biggest questions: Who is God? Who am I? Am I loved? Am I a success? Do I have what it takes? What is my purpose in life? And if dads don’t teach their kids the truth about these things, then the world will teach them lies.

They learn their values from you. Kids watch their dads to find what’s important. It’s a dad’s job to keep his children from having to learn the lessons of life the hard way. A father’s wise words and actions constantly reinforce the higher priorities and deeper truths of life. So if he is not there–or if he’s there but not intentional in his training and leadership–his kids will be walking through their most important decisions without the one person who should be loving and leading them the most.

They learn their worth from you. When a child has a dad who says, “I love you, I’m proud of you, and I’m going to stand with you and always be there for you,” it changes the life of that child forever. Sons who have their dads in their lives do significantly better in school, have better social skills and self-esteem, and are more likely to say no to criminal behavior. Similarly, when a daughter looks into the mirror, she needs to hear her father’s voice in her heart reminding her that she is beautiful and loved. As a result, girls with strong dads are much more likely to feel secure–and are much less likely to have eating disorders and identity issues or to become sexually active in their teen years. But in too many families, this is not what’s happening.

We need to rediscover God’s original intention of what our homes are supposed to be like. Families should be havens of love and enjoyment. Homes should be places of peace and purpose. But great homes don’t just happen. They are gardens that need to be intentionally cultivated and guarded. A man must let truth, love, and wise discipline become constant ingredients to his fathering. He should carefully nurture his wife, his children, and his own attitude so that his home is a place where his marriage and the next generation can grow and thrive.

That’s why we need a game-changing Resolution.

 

Excerpt from The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick