By Matt Haviland
Special to Inside The Pew

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is theMattDaughterFeature heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.” –Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)

Be honest: when you hear the words “single dad,” what sort of image immediately pops into your mind? Do terms such as “deadbeat” top the list? Or, do you think of a man with solo custody of his children? Do you see them as equal to a single mom? Interesting topic, one I’m sure that many people do not think of regularly- but why not? Are there not plenty of men out there raising their sons and daughters, either by themselves or in a co-parenting situation? To help shed some light on the subject, let’s quickly cover four “point of views” that all add up to one very important question: Are we viewing single fathers the way we should be?

The World’s Point of View

Look, I am well aware of the devastating effect fatherlessness has had on this world. However, to place all single dads in the same category would be equivalent to stereotyping any racial or social class in a likewise manner. It just doesn’t work. Single parenting in any aspect is extremely difficult and those who don’t experience it think they know more than we do. Do not be deceived, however, God’s wisdom is infinitely superior (1 Cor 2:14, 3:18-19) and the Bible tells us that we really shouldn’t be shocked if others don’t care for us (John 15:18, 1 John 3:13).

Our Children’s Point of View

Any sort of single parenting arrangement must be confusing in some way to a child- because it is not God’s natural design and our  human nature knows it. Regardless of how we got here, as fathers, we are still called by God to raise our kids in Christ and to prepare them for adulthood (Psalm 145:4, Prov 20:7). Our kids need us to be there as their protectors and life leaders. A strong, authentic, and Christ-centered lifestyle will only be effective on them if we are truly walking that way and have found what it means to “be still”- even when all hell is breaking loose around us.

Our Point of View

Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can forget who we truly are sometimes? God’s Word tells us that we are hand-stitched and perfectly created for His good works (Gen 1:26, Psalm 139:13-14, Eph 2:10). News flash: God doesn’t make mistakes! When we begin to view ourselves through spiritual eyes rather than our natural, we position ourselves to get a glimpse of the only point of view that truly matters.

God’s Point of View

If we truly believe that Jesus is with us always and we can do all things through Him- then our victory has already been secured. Others may choose to put labels on us or be quick to judge without all of the facts, but as one single dad so perfectly put it, “Just because she left me doesn’t mean He will too.” Brokenness may hurt when it’s fresh, but it is only when a wound is left unattended that it can become infected. God does not see us as the world sees us; He doesn’t even see us as we see ourselves sometimes. Hold fast to His Word tonight, knowing that in Him, all of those promises are “Yes” and “Amen.”

So, going back to my original question: Are we viewing single fathers the way we should be?

Matt Haviland is the founder of “A Father’s Walk” single dad ministry and the author of the book, “A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resources for Single Fathers.” He currently lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., is the co-founder of the Grand Rapids Single Parenting Expo, and is a single dad to a beautiful little girl himself.  For more information on the ministry and how to form a single dad small group in your own church, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.

*Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on Crosswalk.com on Aug. 22, 2013. Republished with permission.

 

By Niya Tanielle
Special to Inside The Pew

My former co-worker had been married for seven years. Being raised Hindu, she married her Christian husband at 18, and surprisingly there wasNiya Tenielle no talk of the difference in religion with her deep rooted Hindu family. Seven years later, her family is no longer practicing Hinduism, but are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Wow, what a difference. And here I was in a relationship with another Christian that was proving difficult to maintain.

Why was the relationship not working? Denomination. Spiritual conversations that were supposed to uplift, enlighten, and create a sense of fellowship, turned into World War III with screaming, telephone hang-ups, and irrational break-ups that would last hours, and sometimes days. I’ve never had so many fights about the interpretation of Bible scriptures in my life. I found myself saying things like, “You sound stupid!..”, and asking, “Does that scripture make any sense to you?”, and my favorite, “Your reading that scripture all wrong!” Needless to say that soon we had lost the lovin’ feeling. A Hindu and Christian have a seemingly “happy” marriage, and two Christians can’t get it together?

He was raised as a Seventh Day Adventist, who even though he called himself a “liberal Adventist”, our teachings were completely different. I am classified as, what some call, a New Testament Christian, believing in speaking confessions and using my mouth to shape my future (Isaiah 55:11), speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4), and resting in the promises of God (Matthew 11:28-29, Colossians 2:16-17), not an old covenant practice of a physical Sabbath day in the Ten Commandments. For him, Exodus 20 is one of the foundations of his faith, and he had no understanding of what confessions were, among other things.

This difference destroyed any plans we had of building a future. Through all the fighting, I held out some shred of hope that we could compromise, learn from each other, and find a happy medium. He was everything I told God I wanted, and some of the great things I forgot to add. We, unknowingly, represented the church as a whole, and played out how the church has been fighting itself for centuries. Pastor against pastor, small storefronts against the mega churches, and I have yet to find a place in the Bible where a demon is fighting against another demon. Hell is on one accord, ladies and gentleman, while God is waiting on us to lead with the same agape love he has shown us.

Agape is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. Christian love, distinct from erotic love or emotional affection.

We didn’t shine our light before each other; we simply argued point after point. Stop trying to convince people to see God the way you see Him. It’s a waste of time. God will finish His work, not you (Philippians 1:6). You are a believer, NOT a debater of the Hebrew version of this, and the Greek translation of that. I don’t know anyone who truly cares. People care about your heart, your motives, and a Jesus that’s available to deliver them out of their mess.

I see now we had different aspects to offer each other, and we were in a position to be the best teachers. Maybe if we learned this lesson early, our budding romance could have been salvaged. Lesson learned. What aspects of religion have caused you to lose out on the growth of a relationship, either with God or people? I’d like to hear from you!

Niya Tanielle is editor in chief of The Journey Suite, a Christian-based news site for women. Visit www.thejourneysuite.com.

By Paul Hughes
Special to Inside The Pew

If Tim Tebow never plays another down as an NFL quarterback it won’t be because he can’t. It will be because they say he can’t.Tim Tebow with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels

I don’t even say “because they think he can’t,” since thinking — actually assessing the data they have in front of them — hasn’t been much involved here.

And the bottom line of that data, the evidence people so often claim they “need” before they can “know” what to do, is that when Tebow plays, his teams win.

This has been the flat out facts since before high school for the man, who’s now approaching five years out of college.

But because he doesn’t play what and how they think he should play, and they are in charge, they will continue to ignore those facts.

Despite our vaunted “rugged individualism” and supposedly believing in bootstraps and quality, we Americans actually have a long history of living as if might makes right, and that whoever is in nominal, public, and visible charge has that might.

And is therefore right.

So if the New England Patriots — who just plucked the man out of oblivion — play him in a different role it will be seen as vindicating that pre-conceived, pre-judged (i.e. prejudiced), and unproven notion, that he can’t play quarterback.

Some news stories indicated that Tebow would now be open to playing a new position, where he had in previous instances apparently declined this.

Perhaps he was committed to what he wanted, to what he believed was the correct and only way to do something, and perhaps to a fault. But now fullback or tight end seems open again.

And he may get the chance: Last week, we learned police want to talk to a Patriots receiver; he’s entering some legal trouble, which would affect his availability to play football. A second player has had multiple surgeries.

Perhaps that was the team’s idea all along, since they surely would have known such a need was beginning to churn. Training for a new season, they’d seek someone who knows how to play the game.

Tebow was in Nowheresville.

The team was hedging bets.

He’d become available.

A match was made.

So Tom Brady may be throwing to Tebow — in the same division as the New York Jets and the same conference as the Denver Broncos. The Patriots have epic rivalries with both these teams.

Recent reports have indicated tight end is not an option. But when the Patriots signed Tebow, someone asked Coach Bill Belichick what position he’d play. His response was, “We’ll see.”

A more likely scenario has Tim Tebow available at the right price — no guaranteed cash and the league minimum for two years if he makes the team — simply to bolster their quarterback ranks.

Meantime the Jets jerked Tebow around all last season. They may be paying for that one — and in more ways than one — for the next couple years.

But undeniably, we live in interesting football times, my friends.

In fact, interesting times are commonly a result when one’s cherished pre-conceptions don’t jibe with truth. As Zig Ziglar used to say, we’re like a cross-eyed discuss thrower: we don’t set many records but we do keep the crowd alert.

We’ll have to endure the crowing by the naysayers, convinced they were right about Tim Tebow — when they had decided beforehand, stacked the deck against him, refused the plain proof, and now may have the opportunity to say, “We told you so.”

But we’ve endured worse.

And Tebow has lived in it.

And anyway, it will be fun to see a situation develop where what’s actually happening is what’s been said all along: that Tebow can play, and should play, and will win if he does. Because that, exactly, is what has happened when a team actually, you know, tries it.

In the little ebook I wrote when Tebow was producing the proof while playing for the Broncos, one point was that Tebow would pick up somewhere, with somebody, that could, somehow, see this — and know what no one else would even look at: the simple bottom line results that when Tebow was allowed to play by the powers-that-be, he certainly could play professional football, and his teams won.

And this is a team sport, right?

Here it is in the form of a proof:

When Tim Tebow plays, his teams win.
His team is the New England Patriots.
If they let him play, they will win, too.

Even if it’s not what anybody thought it would look like in the end.

 

Paul Hughes is a writer in Southern California. The ebook is Tebow: Throwing Stones.

 

By Lynda Deniger
Special to Inside The Pew

Lynda Deniger is president of HIS Publishing Company, a publisher of children’s books. The Abita Springs, La., resident will soon offer ebooks and Christian testimonials.Lynda_@_B&N-1 Deniger is the author of “Salty Seas and His Heroic Friends” and “Patti Pelican and the Gulf Oil Spill.”

Why did you create your business?

“I had written a children’s book manuscript in 1988 but kept telling myself I wasn’t a children’s author. I wouldn’t pursue publication until 2008 when I felt God impress me to self-publish. Once the process started I knew I wanted to perform the book for children. I got a mentor who taught me the art of storytelling and thousands of school children later, I found I really could entertain them and entice them to enjoy books and their stories.

When the Gulf Oil Spill happened, my characters ended up in the middle of it. Patti Pelican and the Gulf Oil Spill gives children a bird’s eye view of the event and how more than 2,000 pelicans were rescued, rehabilitated and released. It’s a realistic redemption story that provides valuable insight into the need for environmental stewardship.”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“Judges 18:9: ‘Arise… For we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good. Do not be too lazy to go; enter to possess the land.’ Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“Walk in integrity in all you do. Seek God’s guidance for your business decisions and trust Him to direct your path. When you face obstacles, ask God for wisdom to handle it. Just believe that if He called you to step out in faith, He desires to bless you and the work of your hands.”

Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?

“I didn’t do kids. Didn’t have any; didn’t hang around them. Actually, I was afraid of them and didn’t know how to relate. I find it amazing that given my history with children that God would call me to write children’s books and bring them to life through my performances. But then again, I’ve been performing since I was three. God just changed the age of my audience. I find great delight in their awe and wonder about my books, especially when they ask for my autograph. Oh, to be a celebrity for God!”

Both books by Deniger are available at www.saltyseasandfriends.com. Want to have your business featured on our Pew Business spotlight? Send us an email expressing interest to pewnews@aol.com.

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By Ahmad Davis
Special to Inside The Pew

My first experience with tithing was when I was homeless sleeping out of the back of my 1991 Ford Explorer. I heard Dave Ramsey on the radio and his show gave me hopeTithe and inspired me to get out of debt and start to tell my money what to do.

As I gained composure and wrote my first budget on a yellow pad and starting to see some traction in my finances, he was also inspiring me to tithe because of some of the testimonies and experiences I was hearing on his show. So I begrudgingly wrote my first tithe check to a church that I had only visited once, but they were kind to me.

I soon recognized that my own inner struggles with writing the tithe check was not isolated, many people have a tough time giving 10% to God for various reasons. But, one reason was reconciled with me a while back and I wanted to share it with you.

Tithing was pre-law. The very first tithe was performed by Abram to Melchizedek. According to Genesis 14:18-20 (NKJV), the author wrote, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemiesAhmad Davis into your hand.’ And he gave him a tithe of all.”

This scripture shows that Abram gave a tithe to honor God who has already blessed him. There was no commandment given by God prior to this event to give ten percent of your earnings, it was done because it was the right thing to do.

As a rule of thumb, the first actions in the Bible set the precedent.

You might have a few reasons why you do not tithe, but read over the entire Genesis 14 chapter and pray over what God’s word is saying here. Prayerfully, you will feel a sense of peace about this piece of the great debate.

Ahmad Davis is a coach with Victory By Design, a firm based in Beaumont, Texas, serving clients locally, nationally and internationally. Ahmad provides solutions for individuals, couples, and businesses who are overwhelmed and stressed financially. Ahmad’s typical clients’ are pastors, single parents, lawyers, couples, doctors, business executives, newlyweds, business owners, and others who want a simple solution with remarkable measurable results. For more information, visit http://www.thebiblicalblueprint.com. To get your questions answered on the Inside The Pew Forum, email Ahmad at coach@thebiblicalblueprint.com.