June 9, 2014

A Father’s Prayers for His Daughter…Meet Rob Teigen/Great Giveaway!

I’m excited to introduce to you an amazing dad who has a beautiful heart for prayer. Rob and his wife, Joanna, have co-authored the books I am sharing today. I couldn’t think of a better time to connect you with Rob than just before Father’s Day. He has some amazing resources to share with the “dad” in your life. It might be your son, your brother, your husband, your uncle or even a friend. We all know God calls us to pray for our kids, but knowing and doing are two different things. Praying is hard…even intimidating. How do we do it? What do we pray? That’s why I invited Rob here today.

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Please share this post and Rob and Joanna’s books with a “dad” in your life. And Rob is not only guest-posting but also giving away THREE gift packs. So leave a comment today for a chance to win one of Rob’s great gift packs. Each gift pack includes Rob’s two books and the Conversation Starters!

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Meet Rob Teigen…

I’m thankful to Wendy for asking me to stop by her blog in honor of Father’s Day. Wendy and I connected when she contributed a wonderful story to my wife’s and my upcoming book, A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son: Praying for Every Part of His Life.  Her story is an encouraging example of the power of prayer in her life as a mom. This book follows on the heels of our first book about prayer, A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter: Praying for Every Part of Her Life. I appreciate the opportunity to share a little bit about these books and my family with you today.

My wife Joanna and I have been married for over 20 years and enjoy life together with our four children. Josh is in college, Emma is 16, Leah is 13, and Anna is 10. This will be an extra-special Father’s Day for me because we’re just weeks away from finalizing the adoption of our 3-year-old son, Mason. That will make number five and we couldn’t be more excited! I have to laugh a little, though, about our crazy life where we’re paying for Pull-ups and college tuition at the same time.

A perfect day for me is a trip to the pool or a bike ride with the kids, and grilling up a meal to share at the end. With our hectic schedule, any time we’re all gathered around the table at once is a special event. I also like to drag my family to as many Christian music concerts as my wife (and budget) will allow. Books are big at our house–I’m currently reading John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life, Paul E. Miller’s book A Loving Life, and Moment Makers by Carlos Whittaker. I picked up a copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green for my daughter Emma and couldn’t put it down (please don’t think any less of me!). My favorite Bible verse for this season of life is Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”  Now that’s a promise!

Enough about me–I should let Wendy get on with the interview.  Thanks again, Wendy, and thank you to all who stopped here to read about how dads can bless their families through prayer.

What made you decide to write a book about prayer? 

I talk quite a bit about the tremendous value of spending quality time with our kids, passing on a spiritual heritage, and giving our children the security of a deeply committed marriage. But the longer I’m a father, the more I see that my most vital gift to my kids is releasing them to God through prayer.

When I lift my children up to God I remember they are His. I’m able to surrender my hopes, dreams, and fears to His control. He reminds me that I’m not just trying to raise “good kids,” but young men and women that have fully committed their lives to Him.  I want my kids to have hearts that are truly devoted to the Lord, and only He can change their hearts.

Also, I believe that prayer is where we seek wisdom to know how to handle life’s situations with our children.  When I have issues or challenges as a dad I tend to go to two extremes: I either jump in too fast to try to fix everything myself, or I become passive and hope the problem just goes away. In prayer I can ask God for help to know when and how to step in, or when to stand by quietly and watch God move in my child’s life in His own way and timing.

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Why did you feel it was important to focus on dads praying specifically for their daughters instead of sons? 

As I mentioned above I have two sons, and obviously praying for them is just as important as praying for my daughters.  However, I do feel that as guys we can have a harder time understanding the unique challenges our daughters face.  Some challenges are universal, like academic pressure, sickness, or loneliness, but girls have distinctive issues of their own. I know my daughters will face struggles with body image, gossip, confidence, and a biblical understanding of their value as women. I’ll need an extra measure of wisdom from God to know how to protect them physically, emotionally, and spiritually as their dad.

Why do you think it’s important for dads to pray for their girls?

My greatest desire as a parent is to see my daughters mature into the women God has designed them to be. Without God’s help, I might actually become a hindrance to what he wants to do in their lives. One of my favorite passages of the Bible is the foundation for my writing and strongerdads.com–Psalms 127 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stay in wake in vain.  It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives his beloved sleep.”  How many of us are worrying and working hard to raise “good kids” of our own making.  Releasing our kids to God through prayer sets us free from fear and the pressure to be perfect fathers raising perfect daughters.

In prayer, I find peace and faith to trust in God’s power in the lives of my girls. I find guidance when I don’t understand their emotions or their needs. I find encouragement when things get tough—he promises to use every situation for our ultimate good. I find security by relying on him for their protection.

Dads, let’s start praying for our daughters’ needs before they’re in a full-blown crisis! I’m praying about my girls’ boyfriends and husbands now, even though those relationships are still a few years away on the horizon. I’m asking him to provide them with wisdom and self-control now, knowing that future jobs, grades, and driving habits will depend on it. I’m asking him to surround them with caring Christian friends today, so that they have a positive support system in place heading into their teen years. Praying for our daughters doesn’t guarantee everything in life will go perfectly, but it does build our faith and equip us for whatever comes.

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What would you say to encourage dads who feel like their prayers don’t change anything? 

We have to remember that God is the potter and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8).  We can trust that God will use every situation in our children’s lives to mold them into the people he’s designed them to be. He can use pain and disappointment to teach patience and faith. He can use heartache to show himself as Comforter and Healer. It is through difficulty that our kids can discover how much he loves them.

We often want to use our prayers to change our child or our circumstances, rather than asking God to change us.  God blesses us with children for many reasons, but especially because they stretch our faith!  Nothing will bring us to our knees or make us aware of our total dependence on God like the needs of our children.  Go read the gospels—you’ll be as amazed as I was to see how many of those that came to Jesus were begging for help and healing for their children. Keep your eyes on God and the big picture of your life with your children. You will see his faithfulness and be amazed.

God loves you. God loves your child. He is mighty and able to do whatever we ask for them. He is good. Don’t quit praying—he hears you and he is with you every moment.

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What would you say to the dad (or mom) out there who is struggling with the choices his daughter is making?  How should we pray for them?

We need to remember that every one of God’s children was a prodigal at one point or another.  It was his kindness that led us to repentance (Romans 2:4).  Some of the best opportunities God gives to show his grace and unconditional love to our daughters are when they blow it.  Pray that God softens her heart to his truth.  Pray that she will see the painful consequences of sin and rebellion to God and turn back to him before she has to experience them for herself. Pray that she will come to the end of herself, see her need for the Lord, and run to him to experience the love, forgiveness, and mercy that he freely offers.

Pray that as her parent you can love her in spite of her choices. Ask for wisdom to know which limits and discipline will be the most effective in training your child. Ask for the strength to be silent when you want to criticize or lash out in frustration. Ask for the heart of Christ who loved us and gave himself up for us while we were still determined to go our own way.

What would you say to the dad whose daughter has made mistakes and she’s now paying for those mistakes?

That’s really hard!  None of us want to see our child experience painful effects of their wrong choices. It’s comforting to know that those consequences can do valuable work in teaching your daughter a better way. Put your arms around her and walk that road by her side. Remind her that God is not surprised by her sin. The first thing he did when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden was to seek them out and find them.  There were huge consequences for their disobedience but God made the clothing to cover them and made a way for their salvation.  He wants to do the same thing for your daughter. He is able to make her new—he wants to clothe her in his righteousness and draw her into a forever-relationship with him.

Pray that the painful consequences she’s experiencing will create a longing in her heart for the mercy of God. Ask him to open her eyes to see the freedom and joy that a life of obedience will bring. Ask him to humble her heart to admit her need for a Savior. And ask him for a tender heart as her dad that can love and forgive your daughter no matter what she’s done.

Any other thoughts on A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter before we wrap this up?

I would encourage dads to just get started! Create a new habit of praying for your daughter every day. Get excited—you will see your faith grow stronger and real change happen in your family. You will grow in compassion and understanding of your child. You will create a rich legacy that can continue on in your daughter’s life as she prays for her own children someday. You’ll invite the power of God into the middle of your life as a father—prepare to be blown away by all that God will do!

Thanks, Rob, for sharing from your daddy’s heart today and for your generous gifts! If you would like to purchase any of Rob’s resources, click on the title below and it will take you directly to it. And visit Rob’s web site strongerdads.com.

A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter 

88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates

A Mom’s Prayer for Her Son (to be released 10/14)

I can’t wait for A Mom’s Prayers for Her Son to be released! Leave a comment today for Rob sharing how you incorporate prayer in your children’s lives. I will announce the three winners in my next post!

Blessings,

June 4, 2014

An Invitation to Change Your Summer!

I hear beeping from the other side of the bed. Loud. Unrelenting. 5:30 already? I’m so tired. Just a few more minutes. I hit the snooze button. 

Again beeping. Loud. Unrelenting. 5:40. Just a few more minutes. I hit the snooze button. 

Again beeping. Loud. Unrelenting. 5:50. Shoot. Why did I do this? I promised to wake up early. To spend time with You, Lord. I’m so sorry. Why didn’t I just get up? Now I’m late.  My heart aches. Again, I disappoint You, Lord. I’m so sorry. I’ll do it later. I promise.

“You won’t…not today. You’ve got so much on that “to do” list waiting for you.”

Stop it!! Yes, I will. I can start tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll do it.  

Why am I such a failure at this spending time with God thing right now? Why can’t I just get up the first time the alarm goes off?

Seasons of my life go like this. I have the best of intentions to begin my day with God. But instead, I don’t. It’s a tired season. A weary season.

Discouragement fills my heart. Recently, in the midst of one of these seasons, God answered my heart’s cry, My child, you are not a failure. You are tired and thirsty. Get out of “the routine.” Let’s begin a new season together. And just so you know, time with Me doesn’t have to fit a mold. Be creative. 

Be creative…not really one of my gifts!

Then I remembered a prayer of Moses. I searched the key words on Biblegateway and  found it in Exodus 33:18:

Now show me your glory. 

Moses asked God to show him His glory…to show Moses more of Him than he had ever seen before. Moses asked God outright for a FRESH vision of His glory…of His abiding presence.

Oh, that is what I want right now! What about you?

Let’s get out of our routine. Will you join me for a new season with the Lord this summer? Let’s pray together to experience a physical manifestation of God’s presence…to experience His Shechinah Glory.

What is God’s Shechinah Glory? It’s when the INVISIBLE God becomes VISIBLE, when He LOCALIZES His presence and MANIFESTS Himself in our midst.

Let’s be creative today.

Let’s not feel tied to a daily quiet time in this season INSTEAD let’s invite God to show us in real and concrete ways the reality of His Love and Presence in our lives in a fresh way!

Ways we can do this…

Tune your heart to worship music

A few weeks ago, I started a new routine. Rather than my country playlist on Pandora, I began listening to the Passion Worship playlist. Through song lyrics, God touched deep places in my heart that needed a fresh touch from Him. Below is a beautiful song, “Oceans,” to begin your time. Find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes, listen and invite God to invade every part of you with the POWER of His presence.

 

Read through a book of the Bible

If it’s been a while since you’ve been in the Word, choose a book, open and read…without an agenda…without a study guide…without a notebook…without a teacher. Just sit and read as little or as much as you want. No strict schedule. Simply listen for God to speak to you…to minister to you through His Word.

Read a book from a favorite author

A few months ago, I read Donna Gaines‘ (a fellow InScribed Studies author) book, Leaving Ordinary. Donna took me to the Tabernacle and gave me a fresh vision of prayer grounded in the history of God’s people…the temple…the priesthood…the Great High Priest Jesus. Such a gift to read how God spoke to Donna when she invited God to speak into her ordinary life in extraordinary ways!

Memorize a passage of Scripture

Choose a passage of Scripture or some favorite verses and commit them to memory. Be creative in how you memorize.  It’s such a blessing to hide God’s Word in your heart. Check out these creative ways of memorizing “So That” verses from my Minnesota Living So That friends (Jenn Citrowske Elness and Tera Cory Elness).

 

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Create a prayer journal

Pray creatively. Text verses to friends throughout the week. E-mail prayers to friends rather than just pray for them. Create a prayer journal and journal what God lays on your heart.

DO SOMETHING NEW YOU’VE NEVER DONE!

And whatever you choose, EXPECT God to be a part and INVITE Him to show up IN ALL HIS GLORY!

Heavenly Father, forgive us for not inviting You into our lives each and every day. I ask that  for each one of us inviting You  to show us Your Shechinah Glory, You show up in very personal ways, manifest Yourself in ways that each of us will KNOW that it is You. In big and small ways show Yourself. Give us a word, a touch, a whisper, anything we need to experience You in a fresh way. Thank You for Your promise that when we seek You with all our hearts, we will find You. Today we claim that promise and invite You to show up BIG. Thank You that You will do great and mighty works in our midst. Show us Your glory, Lord, show us Your glory! I ask all this in Jesus’ powerful Name. AMEN

Share your invitation with us! Let us know how YOU are going to invite God’s Shechinah Glory into your summer.

Blessings,

May 23, 2014

Moms and Daughters: Tips to Protect Yourself from Being a Victim

How I wish someone had shared with me what I’m about to share with you. If they had, perhaps the events of June 7, 1987 would have ended very differently.

Today I’m continuing the post I began on Monday, sharing my journey of healing from sexual assault…from victim to victor! To read the post, click here. For a free chapter from my book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner, sharing my story, click here.

A few years ago, Oprah Radio invited me to Chicago to share my story and the facts, statistics and practical lessons I learned from my experience. I’m sharing that same information with you today. I write this NOT to instill fear but to inform and educate. I invite you to read through to the end…inform and educate yourself… and share it with your friends. Today we’ll take about…

  • The facts
  • The effects
  • Ways to prevent becoming a victim
  • What to do if it happens to you

The Facts

  • Did you know that 1 out of 4 college women are sexually assaulted every year?
  • Did you know that 1 out of 6 women some time during their lifetime will be the victim of sexual assault?
  • Did you know that approximately 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported every year? And 97 percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail.

The Effects

Victims of sexual assault are:

  • 3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
  • 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
  • 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
  • 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

(Statistics taken from RAINN )

For help, contact 1-800-656-HOPE

Ways to Prevent Becoming a Victim

Monday I shared spiritual lessons I’ve learned through my journey of healing. But I have also gained practical wisdom and want to pass it on to you to keep you S.A.F.E and protect you and those you love from being a victim.

Sexual assault Is A Crime Of Opportunity!!! What do I mean by that? Rarely is a woman assaulted by a stalker. A perpetrator selects his victim because, by her unintentional actions, she has made herself an easy target. By following a few simple steps, you can avoid being an easy target. I learned some of these first hand. Please share them with all the women you know!

S - Avoid Compromising Situations

When you go out….

  • never leave your drink unattended (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
  • never accept a drink from a stranger and accept drinks only when you see the bartender pour it and hand it directly to you
  • never leave the keys to your home with anyone (valet, service station, car wash)
  • never be alone with someone you do not know
  • always be sure a friend or family member knows who you are with and where you are going


A - Be Aware of Your Surroundings

  • know where you are at all times
  • know what is going on around you
  • know who is around you
  • never have conversations within range of a stranger that reveal you will be home alone, closing a business alone, traveling alone, etc.

F - Go With Your Feelings

  • if your intuition tells you something is not right, pay attention and respond (chills down your spine, hair stands on end)
  • flee if you feel uneasy or uncomfortable
  • call 911 if you sense danger
  • never ignore your feelings because they may save your life

E - Don’t Be An Easy Target

  • secure your home and car by locking your doors and windows at ALL times 
  • never walk alone at night ANYWHERE
  • never open your door to a stranger and ALWAYS ask for identification when expecting workmen

Some of these sound simple and obvious. But I violated three of these prevention steps. I had a conversation outside at the pool which unintentionally announced to everyone around me that I would be home alone that afternoon. We left our front door unlocked, which allowed the rapist easy access. I had a “strange” sensation when I walked in the apartment and saw our front door locked because we usually left it unlocked for each other. But I ignored that “feeling” and walked up the stairs right into the arms of an armed, masked man.

THE KEY TO AVOID BEING  A VICTIM IS AWARENESS. Please read these, learn them, and follow them! Pass them on to your friends. You may very well save a life!

What to Do If It Happens to You

  • Immediately call 911 no matter what your attacker threatens
  • Do not change your clothes
  • Do not shower
  • Do not move or remove any item from the location of the attack
  • Write down anything you can remember immediately (race, age, height, weight, hair color, hair length, eye color, distinguishing marks, facial hair, clothes, weapon, odors
  • Go to the emergency room

This is a message I’ve shared on many college campuses and radio and television interviews. I invite you to share what you have learned today with those in your sphere of influence…women you care about…it could save a life! If you do, please leave a comment and let me know who you shared it with and why. Just as I did Monday, I will do a giveaway. But today I will choose two comments to win a copy of my new book, Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life.

**The winners of Hidden Joy from the Monday post are Kat who posted on May 19th at 1:53 pm and JJWD who posted on May 19 at 4:55 pm. Please contact me via e-mail at deuteronomysix@aol.com by next Friday with your full name and mailing address.**

Blessings,