Author and blogger Brooke McGlothlin discusses the need for parents to pray Scripture over their sons, and offers advice on raising boys to be men of integrity, character and respect.
Mr. Ken Davis: That doctor brought me that little baby in his arms. He said, “Would you like to hold her?” I said, “No.” Tears streaming down my face. He said, “Why not?” I said, “Because she’ll break.”
Ken: I never saw anything so fragile in all my life.
End of Excerpt
John Fuller: Mm. Well, I think most of us who have children can remember those first moments we had with them, whether by birth or adoption, when we were able to hold them in our arms. Welcome to today’s episode of Focus on the Family with your host Focus president Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and today we’re continuing a tribute to dads featuring Ken Davis.
Jim Daly: John, Father’s Day is coming on Sunday and to all the dads listening, we want to say, “We salute you and the role you play in the home.” And I also want to recognize the medical professionals who’ve been working tremendously long hours in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic. And without the comforts of home. We’ve seen news stories of doctors living in motels, RVs, and even tree houses, to avoid spreading the virus to their family. And let me just say to all of our first responders and their families, if there’s anything we can do for you here at Focus on the Family, please give us a call. We want to help you in any way we can. Now, as we continue Ken Davis’ message, let me just point out that he began with an Old Testament Bible verse, Malachi 4:6, that contains a prophecy about Jesus Christ, who would “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” And if you missed part one of Ken’s presentation yesterday, please get in touch with us. We can send you the entire message on CD or audio download or you can get the Focus on the Family broadcast app for your smartphone.
John: And you can give us a call. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or find those online at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Jim: Ken is sharing ideas for encouraging that relationship between dads and their kids, such as making a real effort to spend time together as a habit. No big plans, just hanging out together.
John: That’s pretty doable.
John: And, uh, with some more ideas here now is Ken Davis speaking to a crowd of about 50,000 men at a Promise Keepers event in San Diego a number of years back. And we’re going to roll back just a bit, so you can hear his main point from last time. And with that, here’s Ken Davis on Focus on the Family.
Ken: Friends, Jesus looked at His disciples just before He was about to die, and he said, “A new command I give you, that you love each other like I loved you.” He said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples.” How did He love us? He made a commitment to leave His throne on high, to leave all of the glory that was His, and come down here to spend the time with us that would allow us to know the love and forgiveness of God. If you want evidence that your heart, Dad, is returning to you the – your sons, your daughters, make the commitment of time. And I’m speaking to you sons, too, because this isn’t easy. I remember sitting in a hotel room weeping once at a message I heard of how important it is for a father to spend time with their children. And Dads, you need to realize this. Dream in reality, not in fantasy. I could hardly wait to get home. I got on that plane. It couldn’t fly fast enough. I wanted to leave my luggage there. I got my luggage. I went home. I threw open the door, and I said to my daughter, “Honey, I love you. I heard a message on television. I haven’t spent enough time with you. We’re going to the cabin this weekend, just you and me.” And my daughter, who was about 16 at the time, rolled her eyes way back in her head and said, “Is this going to be a family thing?”
Ken: Kids, you will never know, teenagers, young men, you will never, ever know the value of you taking time to be with your dad. How many of you dads in here have discovered that when your kids reach 16, 17, 18, when your heart begins to turn back toward them, just when they get to be the age when they can be good companions, they choose other companions? Young men, if you claim the name of Jesus Christ, make time for your dad. Honor your father with your time.
Ken: Second commitment, evidence that the fathers’ hearts are returning to the children, and the children’s’ hearts to the fathers. Make a commitment to say the words “I love you.” I was speaking at a large church in the South. In the middle of this marvelous service – several thousand people in the service. A boy about 12-years-old walked up on the stage, and the pastor stopped what he was doing. He grabbed the boy’s head between his hand, and he placed that head of that boy up – just right up to his face. And you could tell he was whispering something in his ear. Then he held the boy just inches from his face and placed a big ol’ kiss on one cheek, then a big ol’ kiss on the other cheek. I was at attention. I could not believe this. And the young man walked across the stage, off of that stage, and out the back door, not ashamed, not embarrassed, but with confidence, a sense of pride and stability.
When the pastor got back, I said, “What did you do? What did you say?” I thought, perhaps, the young man had misbehaved in some way, and the father had said, “You better straighten up.” He said, “Oh, I prayed in his ear that the angels of God would protect him. I prayed that the power of Christ’s blood would protect him from Satan’s attack. Then I whispered in his ear, ‘I love you and I will love you until the day you die.’” He said, “Then I kissed him, and sent him to bed.” He said, “I do that every night since the day he was born, for 12 years.” He said, “Sometimes I’m traveling and I have to step out, and I have stepped away from a message, or I have asked to be delayed for a moment, so that I can get to a phone and whisper those words to him, every single night.” And the tears began to stream down my face. I said, “Where did you learn this?” And he said to me, “My dad did it every day of my life.” We need to break the chain, we need to break this idea that because young men and women grow to maturity, there’s a necessity that they separate us from us spiritually. We need to break that by letting them know that we love them, by saying the words.
My own daughter stopped saying the words when she was 16-years-old. And now I’m speaking to you young men here, and I’m speaking to some of you who are 40, 50, 60, and have dads and you haven’t said, “I love you” for a long, long time. Those words are so important. She stopped saying “I love you.” I tried to force her to say it. I would look her in the eye, and I would say, “I love you.”
Ken: And she would say, “Me, too.” I would say, “Say it.” She would say, “I just did.”
17, 18, I couldn’t get her to say the words I so loved to hear. She went to college. I went to speak at her chapel. My only concern was that I didn’t embarrass my daughter. It was not a good motivation, but I just wanted her to be proud of her dad. I spoke at the chapel. Went out to lunch with the chaplain afterwards. We were at a wonderful, uh, Italian restaurant. He said, “Look,” and he handed me a stack of cards, and the stack of cards were response cards. He said, “We have never had such an overwhelming response from our student body. They loved you.” He said, “But I thought you might be interested in this.” And he handed me a little blue card. It was my daughter’s response card. On the front of that card in her handwriting was her name, Tracy Lynn Davis. I turned the card over praying, “Oh, dear God, I hope I didn’t embarrass her. I hope she liked my talk.” And when I turned the card over, written on the other side in those big round letters was, “I love my daddy.” I spit spaghetti all over the place.
Ken: I ruined the dinner. I ran for the bathroom. I turned around and locked the door and began to wail out loud. This is not an exaggeration. “She loves me. Oh, God, she loves me.” There was a guy in a booth I was not aware of.
Ken: I know he was there because he said, “Big deal.”
Ken: “Get a life, man.” How important those words are.
My dad was a prisoner of war in the second World War, spent 3 and a half years in a Japanese prison camp. When he was liberated, he weighed about 87 pounds. They told him he’d never have children. He has five. They told him he probably wouldn’t live past 40. He’s 70. They told him his health would fail. He can still whoop me.
Ken: But my dad grew up in an era, like a lot of dads in this marvelous stadium grew up, where it wasn’t considered a manly thing to say, “I love you.” And so, I didn’t say, “I love you” to my dad.
The other day I was on a plane at 30,000 feet, and I decided to write a letter to my father. I didn’t know how he would receive it, but I wrote, and I told him, “Dad, everything I’ve ever written on a piece of paper has come true. Every goal I have ever put down for my life has come true.” Financial goals. Corporate goals. Spiritual goals. I said, “Father, I did all of that to make you proud. I want more than anything, as a man who is 50 years old, I want you to be proud of me, your son.” Then I wrote what was coming from the depths of my heart. I said, “But Dad, as I sit on this plane at 30,000 feet with all of these accomplishments, written seven books, gotten awards from the President,” I said, “What I’m proudest of most, Dad, is that you are my father.”
And I sent my dad that letter, and I waited for the phone to ring, and it didn’t ring. I went home to visit my father about a month later. My mom – they’re so marvelous. She did that thing “Wait. Wait. Shh. Shh. Wait. Wait.”
Ken: When my dad was outside, she took me into the guest room and there in the guest room in a homemade frame that my dad made, framed where everyone who comes into my parents’ home can see, was the letter I wrote to my daddy that said, “I love you. I’m proud that you’re my dad.” Oh, how we need to hear that. How we need to say it to each other.
Ken: I need to give you one more illustration. I don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for the fact that God has spoken over and over and over again, “I love you.” Several years ago, I believed that I was going to die. It was a result of a stupid mistake, and for several weeks over the period of Christmas I thought I was experiencing my last Christmas on the face of this earth. And as a result of that crisis, I went into the deepest depression I had ever faced in my life. And in the mist of that depression Satan came like he has come to so many of you. He came like he has come to some of you, even in this meeting, as you hear the marvelous speakers, and you see the testimonies, and you see the children on the screen. I’ve watched some of you walk in with a look on your face that says, “I don’t belong here. This is a meeting where God is. I don’t belong here.” That’s Satan’s lie. And during that depression I filled a notebook with my sins. You see, my friends, one of problems with being raised in a Christian home, being raised where you’re around Christian people all the time, is you come to believe that you deserve God’s love.
John: You’re listening to Ken David today on Focus on the Family and we have a CD of this entire presentation. It’s a great gift or, uh, great for you to review. We’re making that available today for a gift of any amount when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or you can donate and request that CD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s go ahead and return now to Ken Davis.
Ken: I had traveled all over the world, spoke to over a million high school students. I had seen tens of thousands of people respond to the message of Christ. I had gone to some of the top corporations in this country to give motivational talks, and as a result of them seeing the light of Christ in my life, talk to men and seeing them come to know the Lord, in hours of conversations after those presentations. I thought, “God must love me. It’s the real bad people that He has to be forced to love.” But in the mist of that depression I came to know the truth. My heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. And that truth bore down on me until I couldn’t stand it. Satan pointed it out over and over and over again. I began playing the tape of all of the sins in my life over and over again. One day I closed the door to my office, determined that I didn’t deserve to live.
And I believe an angel said, “Clean your desk.” You say, “How do you know it was an angel?” It’s a guess. All I know is when I opened the door to clean my desk a little heart fell out. I had never seen that heart, except for the day that I created it, and I have not seen it since. I have no idea where it is, but it was a doily, a white doily, and a little red heart, and written in crayon in my handwriting was something I had written years before at Bible school. “We love Him because He first loved us.”
Satan is good at telling you half the truth. None of us deserve to be here. Not one man sitting in this stadium deserves the blessings and love of God, but that’s only half the truth. The truth is He knows that. He’s seen our video. He’s read our notebook, and He loves us anyway. And He has told us a thousand times, “I love you. I love you. I love you.”
Ken: And if it were not for that redeeming message that He saw so fit to remind me of that day to counteract the lie of Satan, I wouldn’t be here.
You want to show evidence in your life that your heart is returning to your son, to your daughter. You want to show evidence in your life, young men or older men, that your heart is returning to your father. Say the words.
Some of you need to leave here and find a telephone and call your father, no matter what age he is, and say, “I love you.” Some of you who have been mentored by men who care about you, need to tell that person, “I love you.” Some of you, who have befriended that young man on a skateboard with a hairdo that could injure people…
Ken: …Need to call that young man and say, “I love you.”
Another one, a commitment to touch. There’s a reason a dog is a man’s best friend. I believe it was C.S. Lewis who said, “We as Christians need to respond to each other the way dogs respond.”
How many of you’ve come home and the reason the dog is the man’s best friend is because he loves you, and he’s willing to show it in any way? You can be gone for five minutes, five hours, five days, you come home, that dog is right there at the door going, “Oh, I’m so glad to see you. Eh, uh, ow. Come and see what I’ve done. Come and see what I’ve done.”
Ken: This is why I’m pretty sure cats aren’t Christians.
(APPLAUSE AND LAUGHTER)
Ken: I watched the funeral of Yitzhak Rabin, moved by a man who yearned for peace. I would have made it through the entire ceremony if it hadn’t been for his granddaughter. She stood up and she said these words, and anyone who saw the ceremony had to be moved by them. She said, “Pardon me that I don’t want to speak about peace, but about my grandfather.” She said in the middle of her speech, “Your appreciation and love has accompanied us at every step and pace in all ways.” She said, “You are our hero, lone wolf. You’re so wonderful. Ones greater than I have eulogized you, but none know the softness of your touch.”
In a group of men that I’m accountable to, we sat one day and asked, “What do we want when we get to heaven?” And all five of us wept uncontrollably as one man expressed the desire of all of us, “To climb into the lap of Jesus Christ and have Him wrap his arms around us and hear Him say, ‘It’s okay now. You’re safe now. I love you. I’ve loved you always.’
Ken: Some of you have daughters that have reached the age of puberty, and somehow you believe that now you need to back away, that you can’t hug them anymore. I listened to a woman at one of our communications workshops as she wept and talked about the rejection she felt from her dad. He had loved her. He had held her. He had touched her in all the right ways until she became a young woman, and then he treated her like she had some disease. I have a friend that works in Minneapolis with prostitutes. He said he has never met one of those dear ladies who have sold their soul along with their bodies, never met one who has been properly and appropriately hugged and held by their dad. Jesus touched the people he loved.
Third, and last, a commitment to Christ, and I’m closing. And friends, this is the key. You cannot go out of here saying, “I’m gonna honor those four commitments you gave. To spend time, to say, ‘I love you,’ to touch my son, to touch my dad, to say ‘It’s okay.’” And sons, I mean touch ’em. Hug ’em. It’s okay. Some of you dads say, “My son would be embarrassed to hug.” Then give him – give him one of those as you go those (shove sound) as you go by, but touch him.
But all of those techniques won’t work unless we are committed to Christ.
It was John the Baptist introducing Jesus “that would turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers.” It was Jesus and that relationship that counts. Without your relationship with Christ coming tighter and closer and being stronger, you will not be able to do anything on a permanent basis about the relationship with your children. You cannot force your children to the Lord. You cannot build character or spiritual integrity in the lives of your children by making rules. But your children’s character and their spiritual integrity will be more impacted by watching your walk with the Lord and by watching how you treat your wife than anything else on the face of the earth. When they see you following Jesus, they know it works.
John: A stirring conclusion from Ken Davis on today’s episode of Focus on the Family speaking to almost 50,000 men at a Promise Keeper’s event a number of years back.
Jim: John, I really want to emphasize what Ken said there at the end that our own spiritual integrity is the best witnessing tool. The best way to share our faith with our children. So, let me encourage you. Look for those opportunities to just hang out with your kids and spend more time with God as well. The Bible says that the Lord rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Seek the Lord through prayer, through Bible study, through worship, and see what happens. I believe the Lord will not let you down if you do that. And your children, most of all, will benefit from that relationship that you have with Christ.
John: And I might add, Jim, it’s never too late. I’d say even if your kids are in their 20s or 30s, they’re still watching to see if your walk matches your talk.
Jim: That is so true. And Dads, let me say also, if you’re involved in something that makes you feel like you want to hide out from your family, or if you’re depressed like Ken Davis was, please give us a call. We have caring, Christian counselors here who can spend some time with you on the phone, and give you some first steps, and then recommend you to a like-minded counselor in your own area. So, please take advantage of this opportunity. It’s free and we are here to serve you.
John: Yeah. Call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY and we’ll put you on our counseling callback list. We do get a lot of calls from programs like these, so someone will get back to you in a day or two.
Jim: And like John just said we get a lot of phone calls. About 2,000 counseling requests each month. And our counselors tell me that the coronavirus pandemic really increased the intensity of the calls. Families are hurting and we know that. Yet, because of the impact that the shelter-in-place orders have had on our economy, donations to Focus on the Family are down. So, if you can give, if you’re in that position, we really need to hear from you now. So, please support us as we support hurting families. And as a bonus, some generous friends of this ministry have offered to match your donation, dollar-for-dollar, so that your gift will have twice the impact. A $50 gift becomes $100 gift. And this is a great time to give. When you make a donation of any amount, we’ll send you a CD copy of this complete, two-part message from Ken Davis, as our way of saying thank you for partnering with us. Get a copy for the man in your life today.
John: Request your copy when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. That’s 800-232-6459. Or you can donate online and get the CD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And when you’re online with us, check out our free parenting assessment which takes just a few minutes to complete and it offers you some really good looks at your strengths and maybe weakness or two that you can work on. You’ll also learn about the seven traits of effective parenting. Those are Biblically based and backed by research and they’re going to help you raise healthier, more mature, responsible children. On behalf of Jim and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.
Author and blogger Brooke McGlothlin discusses the need for parents to pray Scripture over their sons, and offers advice on raising boys to be men of integrity, character and respect.
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