Do Unto Others – (A message for fathers)

Today’s post is a guest post by my friend Debi Reece.

He was a little fella, single digits, seated in Children’s Church, head bowed as he colored the paper tie he was given by the teacher.  The teacher that knew, on this Father’s Day, he had no father to give it to.  I can’t imagine what went through his little mind while he listened all about daddies and worked on his daddy project.  I can’t imagine because I don’t want my own heart ripped in shreds.  I don’t want to feel the grief, the sweet innocent hoping, that would be unrequited.  This little guy deserved the love of a daddy, just like the other boys that would rush up to their dads with delight in their eyes, expectant hugs and gratitude their reward.


On this day, he held the scribbled crayoned tie in his little hands as he walked up the stairs to the sanctuary to me, his mother.  Sweet little blonde haired boy, holds out the tie and tells me that he has to give this to a daddy.  I died a million deaths in an instant, paralyzed. He begins to look around the church, and spots a young dad, the father of a boy in his class.  He sees the boy give his dad the tie, and he turns to me…there! there’s a daddy!  I look up to see the man’s wife, and with a lump larger than one I’ve felt ever and since, I tell her that he needs to give this to a daddy and he saw your husband.  She nods.  I watch him run up to the man and hand his precious gift to him.  He accepts it and gives him a hug.  I am grateful. I am devastated.  I am appalled that fatherless children are coaxed to color paper ties for daddies that do not exist in their lives.  I condemn myself for making such a poor choice.  I seethe with anger at his dad.  I cry in despair. I forgive.  I struggle with forgiveness.  I am weary of the emotions and the wondering if I have really forgiven.

I don’t know if the man realized what a precious innocent gift he had been given.  I know that God’s heart had to ache.  I believe God kept that little tie, somehow and some way. His Word says if your father or mother forsake you, I will lift you up.  It is not easy to trust a Daddy God when earthly daddy wasn’t around.  So many men have been there.  So many struggled with pain, envy when they saw friends with daddies.  How unfair to bring such pain on an innocent soul that God gave you to love.  So many times the cycle is perpetuated, but it is time to stop.  It’s time to Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  If you are a father that had no example, what would you have wanted?  What did you need?  Why not give it to your child?  Why not seek the Bible, your church, prayer, godly counsel to help you be the dad you never had but can be to your child?  That takes courage.  That takes love.  You deserve to be the dad your child needs and they deserve to be pure treasure to you.


Debi BantaDebi is a Family Resource Specialist with Community Action.  She has been with the local Community Action agency since 2002.  Community Action Agencies exist throughout the nation to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty.  They strive to enrich the lives of families and individuals within the community by providing opportunities, offering assistance and empowering people to make positive change. Debi most enjoys being a conduit to share resources with those in need, particularly Life Skills classes that share knowledge that makes a long term difference.
Debi is now an empty nester with nine grandchildren.

Where have all the fathers gone?

tears1A few years ago I was at a funeral visitation.  There was a young lady there who I know pretty well and she’s dear to my heart.  Her parents had divorced many years ago and both had remarried and she grew up living with her mom & step dad.  She had never really had a strong relationship with her real dad.  While he had always lived nearby, he was never around and didn’t really have an active part in her life.  At this visitation, both of her parents and their families were there.  She went up to her dad to say hi and hopefully have a conversation.  All she got from him was a “Hey” and that was it…for the whole night.  He didn’t get up to hug her or make any attempt to have a conversation or show kindness toward her at all.  I spoke with her briefly about it and tears welled up in her eyes.  She couldn’t understand why.  That night was just one of many disappointing times in her life where she just couldn’t understand why.

Dads!  Don’t do this to your kids!  There is no acceptable excuse for it.  When you became a dad, one of your primary jobs became getting that child to adulthood sufficiently equipped to handle it and your job is too important for you to blow off so easily.  If you care about your children then stop being lazy and make a change.

Be there. In study after study, kids consistently say they would like to have more time with their dads. Regardless of whether a dad shares a home with the children and their mother, the kids need dad time. Working together on a chore or simply hanging out can be as meaningful as attending events or having adventures. Kids want to know their fathers. Just as important, they want their fathers to know them.

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Some of you may want to but are afraid that it may be too late.  Too much water has gone under the bridge and you can’t recover the broken relationship.  Bull!  As long as you both have a breath and a heartbeat there’s still hope.  Even if you meet resistance, your child is still worth pursuing and that relationship worth building.  You may think that they are doing alright without you but that’s deception.  If you are really interested in loving and helping them, they will greatly benefit from you being there and what you have to offer.  If your son or daughter has become VERY hard hearted because of your absence, you as a father should be prepared to spend the rest of your life trying to make it right and rebuild that relationship.  That is the commitment of a real father; the rest of your life.

Don’t wait for them.  Your kids may be grown up but when it comes to you, in their mind and in the relationship they have with you, they will always be your children.  You be the adult and make the first move.  Too many dads are forcing their sons and daughters to be the mature ones instead of standing up and taking personal responsibility for the broken relationship that their absence has created.  Enough.  No excuses. Make it right.

“My new wife doesn’t want the kids from my previous marriage around”.  While this situation will create a difficulty for you, this should have been settled before you remarried.  This argument will not hold water when you stand before your creator and give account.  When we look at the scripture, we see that the marriage covenant is over when one of the covenant partners dies (Rom 7:2-3).  With the relationship between parents and children though, they are honored and recognized in heaven forever.  Your children will be your children forever. It Not just here on earth.  That’s why when a child is commanded to honor their father and mother, it doesn’t stop when the parents have passed away.  The commandment to honor them will endure for eternity.  In the King James Bible the word Heritage is mentioned 30 times.  Below is the Strong’s Hebrew definition of the most common tense.  It illustrates how important it is to God that we pass on good things to our children, and not just material things but also wisdom and understanding.  You can’t do that if you’re not there.

Heritage = H5159 (Strong’s)

נחלה      nachălâh   nakh-al-aw’    From H5157 (in its usual sense); properly something inherited, that is, (abstractly) occupancy, or (concretely) an heirloom; generally an estate, patrimony or portion: – heritage, to inherit, inheritance, possession.

Carrina & DadWhen I became a father, I established in my heart that one of my highest priorities was to be a godly father.  I realized that there were things in me that I needed to get out of me, because if I didn’t they would probably get into my daughters.  My fatherly example was gone when I was young so I went to God for guidance.  He in His faithfulness hooked me up with wonderful examples that I could observe and learn from.  My daughters are both adults now but I’m still their dad.  I told my children that even when they are older, If I see them heading toward disaster, I will still use all of my position and influence to change their course.  I don’t care how old they are.  That’s my commitment to them as their father.  And they, because they honor me, will at least hear my argument. I have endeavored to build strong relationships of trust and to demonstrate to them every day that I am on their side.

Sons & daughters.  When your dad reaches out, give him the chance.  Even though you may be absolutely “done” with him, when all the world is quiet and you are alone on your bed, you still wish things could be different.  Deep down you really do want a strong relationship with your dad.  If you have a chance to have what you want, don’t be stupid and destroy that chance.  Be open and realize that they are scared too.

I know many of you can relate to this post.  Have you had or have you witnessed a victory in this area?  Please join the conversation.  Also, If you think this would minister to someone, please share.

Dads – Life is too short for this. We need each other.  Somebody make a move!



Seven quick steps to getting back on track.

Ever wake up right in the middle of your life? You scream “How did I get here? I don’t want to be here!” and with horror you realize that you have been drifting. You have not been actively tending to your course and so instead of you determining your direction and driving your life, your circumstances have been driving you! Driving you down roads you don’t want to go to places you don’t want to be with people you can’t trust. You wake up and realize how far off course you are and you become embarrassed and ashamed. “I used to be stronger that this” you might say. You have forgotten who you are.

Mufasa’s Ghost: You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of life.

I remember several years ago I found myself in this exact spot. Over the course of several years I had been given many wonderful opportunities to minister in our church. Usually on the last Sunday night of each month I would teach. It was such a blessing and real training time for me. Our pastors’ name was Mark Jacobsen. He believed in the perfecting the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ – Eph 4:12. He was always working with people & grooming them in the areas of their gifts. There was a period of time though, where I stepped back from the ministry opportunities because I was busy at work. I didn’t have much time to prepare. Over a period of months I also stopped praying as much and didn’t study as much. I began to lose ground spiritually and morally. I began to get loose with my personal standards and in some of the things I was allowing in my life. I remember the day Pastor Mark approached me and asked me to teach. I said “I’m not really in the place I should be to teach”. He looked me right in the eye and said “YOU decide whether or not YOU will be a vessel of honor”. Those words have stayed with me all these years. They have served me well and still guide me when things in my life get unstable and the temptation to compromise shows up.

Fresh Start

What did I do? I straightened up and got back to business. I decided to be a vessel of honor. It’s a decision that only you can make. It’s also a decision that you will have to make over and over again as you walk out your life. I can say with full assurance that it is the only way I want to be. I don’t want to be a mud pot. I want to be a gold pot.

Pastor Mark used to tell a story of a severe flood and a man who had a small row boat. While rowing he came upon another man who was treading water, totally exhausted and about ready to give up. The man in the water cried out “Help me” and the man in the boat replied “dry yourself off and you can climb in my boat”. The man in the water said “Please, just let me in your boat” to which the man in the boat replied again “Sure, as soon as you dry yourself off you can climb right up in here”. Pastor Mark would say “Some people think that you have to clean yourself up and spruce up your behavior before you can come to God, but the truth is you can’t do that on your own. Get a man out of the water and into the warm sunshine and guess what happens? He dries off.”

Don’t let where you are keep you from turning around. You are not too far gone. You are not out of God’s reach.

Steps to recovery.

  1. Remember God is with you. Heb 13:5b says for He has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. You may have stepped away from Him but He didn’t step away from you.
  2. Remember that He loves you and He’s the one who’s helping you to wake up. Jer 31:3 says The Lord has appeared of old to me saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
  3. Remember the Prodigal Son? He asked his daddy for his inheritance early and then left and began to blow it on what the bible calls riotous living. He was out partying and living it up but eventually ran out of money. Then a famine hit and he began to suffer. He got a job feeding pigs and for a Jewish boy pigs were considered unclean. This was a dirty and humiliating job. He was so desperate that he considered eating the pig slop. Then the bible says “He came to himself”. He said “even the servants at my father’s house have food enough to spare and I am dying from starvation!” He decided to go to his father and ask for a job as a servant. He said “I’m no more worthy to be called your son”. This is how we think sometimes isn’t it? But Thank God that’s not how God thinks! When the father saw his son approaching, the father ran to him, fell on his neck and kissed him. This is how God thinks!
  4. Remember 1st John 1:9. When you’ve missed it, go to God & call it what it is – sin. He promises not only to forgive what you confess but also to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.   Just pray “Lord, I thank you that Jesus came, died for me, rose from the dead for me and by his sacrifice I am redeemed. I’ve messed up and I know I’ve messed up. I confess my sin before you and call it what it is. It’s sin and I know that I shouldn’t have done it. I thank you for forgiving me and cleansed me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” It’s a matter of humbling yourself. It’s pretty simple and it’s the bible way to clear the slate.
  5. Forget the past! Isaiah 43:25 (WEB) I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins. God forgets your past, you forget it too- (Phil 3:13).
  6. Make a plan. Build your life while you are strong to carry you through while you are weak. Think about when you messed up. Try to structure your situation to avoid the triggers that take you down the wrong road. Ask God for the wisdom to see the triggers.
  7. Look for someone to help. Awaken the heart of ministry in you. I have found that serving & ministering to others helps me put my problems into a better perspective.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s up to someone else as to whether or not you can be used. So many people are waiting for permission to become excellent. You’ve already been picked! Eph 2:10 says For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. God already has something wonderful planned for you.

Reverend Doug Jones, National Director of Rhema Ministerial Association International and Rhema Alumni Association said something on Facebook several months ago that resonated with me so much that I wrote it down. He said “Refuse to wait for others to recognize your potential. Slip your life out of neutral into drive, you will be surprised where it will take you”.

My prayer for you is that you will find the course for your life that God has planned for you. It’s the best life you can live. It’s the life that takes you to your full potential.  Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.