The Power of Presence

2nd in a series

Sometimes, a parent needs to set his own lifestyle aside and take advantage of the opportunities we have to spend quality time with our kids.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant…” – Philippians 2:5-7 (NASB)

I recently found myself in an uncomfortable situation. I was definitely out of my comfort zone, in way over my head. The reason for my anxiety? The Nintendo Wii. My son turned eleven and scored a Wii for his birthday and it was time for dad to take a turn. I was given the controller and in no time at all lost all my “lives” and allowed the virtual galaxy to run amuck. For some reason (age possibly?), I just couldn’t get it.

My son was quite gracious in the moment. Dad, it’s o.k. Just sit with me and watch and you’ll get it. I know you will. And so I did. I sat and watched and sat and watched and sat and watched. I still don’t entirely understand how to maneuver somebody called Mario, but I’m only forty-one; I’ve still got time.

Another moment like this occurred back in December. Not a lot of anxiety in this one, but I had to sit down. My daughter asked me to look through a catalog with her. Just sit with me, dad. This’ll only take a minute. She had circled a sweater that caught her eye and wanted to make sure it was on my holiday radar. And so I did. We sat and looked at every page until we came to the reason for our sit-down. The correct size and color were emphasized, followed by a hug around the neck, a kiss on the cheek, and something like you’re the greatest dad ever! These daughters. Smart, huh?

So, one afternoon after work, I journeyed like a magi to the appropriate store and rattled off the correct item number, size, and color to someone who looked every bit of twelve. The girl-clerk seemed impressed at my vast knowledge of this particular item of clothing. Wow! How do you know so much about this? I told her it came from sitting and listening and flipping pages and stuff. She said cool.

Moments like this seem to be popping up all over my fathering landscape. Moments where I’m reminded of something called the power of presence. Maybe you prefer “stopping to smell the roses” or “being there.” Potato, potatoe; same thing. Now, lest you think I’m the greatest dad ever, rest assured that for every moment when I’ve stopped to smell the roses with my children, there have been twice as many moments where the roses had to take a back seat to my own, “more important” little world.

But kids are gracious and I’m learning. I’m learning how utterly vital it is to them that I, the father, set aside my adult privileges and sit for awhile and humble myself and enter their world. I don’t have to get the high score or even like hoodies; I just have to be there, with them, my presence passing along something to them that may be real close to that word L-O-V-E.

Incarnational fathering. An intentional setting aside of the me in order to enter into the them. And in that moment or moments, it’s not necessarily what I say or do, but that I’m there. Now we all know there are moments of action and trailblazing and preparedness that children desperately need from their father. However, I believe there are just as many moments when they long for a power from us that comes primarily from our presence; humbling ourselves, like Christ our example, and entering their worlds. You could call it “fathering in the image of God” – the greatest Dad ever.

Sometimes, doing something for my kids and getting it over with (quickly) so I can get back to what I want to do is nothing more than a broad road to ruin. The narrow road, the one that leads to life, it’s not doing anything but being there, physically present, and resting in the promise that the Father up above is looking down in love and He’s got the whole world in his hands.

Fathers, don’t overlook the power of your presence. Power via humility. It doesn’t make a lick of worldly sense. But it may just make an eternal difference in the lives of our sons and daughters.

Just sit with me dad. It’ll only take a minute…

Copyright © 2008 John Blase.

Teaching By Example

Bring [your children] up in the training and admonition of the Lord. —Ephesians 6:4

While waiting for an eye examination, I was struck by a statement I saw in the optometrist’s office: “Eighty percent of everything children learn in their first 12 years is through their eyes.” I began thinking of all that children visually process through reading, television, film, events, surroundings, and observing the behavior of others, especially their families. On this Father’s Day, we often think about the powerful influence of a dad.

Paul urged fathers not to frustrate their children to the point of anger, but to “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Think of the powerful example of a dad whose behavior and consistency inspire admiration from his children. He’s not perfect, but he’s moving in the right direction. A great power for good is at work when our actions reflect the character of God, rather than distort it.

That’s challenging for any parent, so it’s no coincidence that Paul urges us to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (v.10). Only through His strength can we reflect the love and patience of our heavenly Father.

We teach our children far more from how we live than by what we say. By David C. McCasland

Heavenly Father, I need to know Your love
in order to love others. I want to experience
and share Your patience and kindness with
those I care about. Fill me and use me.

We honor fathers who not only gave us life, but who also show us how to live.

The Glory of the Children

“[The] glory of children are their fathers.” (Proverbs 17:6)

Most Christian men are aware of the familiar exhortation to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) and the warning “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (Colossians 3:21). Biblical messages to fathers frequently reflect the very real societal need for family discipline and godly leadership in the home (Proverbs 22:6, 15; Genesis 18:19).

Our text is a bit different. Although the message certainly implies godly leadership, the immediate focus is on the children. Children, we are told, receive “glory” from their fathers! How is this to come about?

Glory, in the biblical sense, centers on the value, the worthiness, or the reputation of the person or event so recognized. For instance, the Scripture teaches that the Lord Jesus “shall come in the glory of his Father” (Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38; etc.), and that the reputation of God the Father was conferred on Christ Jesus: “For he received from God the Father honour and glory” (2 Peter 1:17).

So, fathers, please learn this critical principle. Your reputation is reflected onto your children. Your behavior in the workplace is assumed to be an indicator of your children’s potential. What you say or do in moments of unguarded or uncontrolled passion will pass on to your children—for good or ill. The common saying “like father, like son” is recognized across time and culture as an accurate measure of human existence.

The Lord insists that “the iniquity of the fathers” will be passed “upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7). Would it not be far better that your children receive glory from your righteous life than shame (Psalm 89:45) from your iniquity? HMM III

Lying lips are abomination to the Lord, they that deal truly are His delight

Lying lips are abomination to the Lord, but they that deal truly are His delight.—Proverbs 12:22.
Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor—for we are members one of another.—Ephesians 4:25.

IT seems to me, that the shortest way to check the darker forms of deceit is to set watch more scrupulous against those which have mingled, unregarded and unchastised, with the current of our life. Do not let us lie at all. Do not think of one falsity as harmless, and another as slight, and another as unintended. Cast them all aside; they may be light and accidental j but they are an ugly soot from the smoke of the pit, for all that o, and it is better that our hearts should be swept clean of them, without over care as to which is largest or blackest. Speaking truth is like writing fair, and comes only by practice; it is less a matter of will than of habit, and I doubt if any occasion can be trivial which permits the practice and formation of such a habit. JOHN RUSKIN.

If you tell the truth, you have infinite power supporting you; but if not, you have infinite power against you. CHARLES GEORGE GORDON.

The Spirit maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God

The Spirit … maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:27

Verily, verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. —Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.

This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us; and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. — This is the will of God, even your sanctification.

God hath … called us … unto holiness: … who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit.

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.

John 16:23,24. Ephesians 6:18. 1 John 5:14,15. 1 Thessalonians 4:3. 1 Thessalonians 4:7,8. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19.

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those which are revealed belong unto us. Deuteronomy 29:29

LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him: and he will shew them his covenant. —There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets. — Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him?

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. — If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth.

Psalm 131:1, 2. Psalm 25:14. Daniel 2:28. Job 26:14. John 15:15. John 14:15-17.