Tag Archives: Blessing

Father’s Day Gifts

HannahWise words from my husband’s blog, No Grey Areas, today.

Father’s Day Gifts

Today, is Father’s Day. Another one of those special days so beloved by retailers.

I have already received the greatest Father’s Day gift I could ever receive. This gift arrived one January night in 1991. My daughter was born and, in a typical fashion, it was not during “office hours.” For some reason I have forgotten how tired I was that night. Perhaps, I was not totally calm during the entire experience either. However, I do remember seeing my beautiful daughter for the very first time, holding her, and at that moment dedicating her to the Lord.

Dedicating her to the Lord meant I had to be dedicated to being a father who served our heavenly Father with my whole heart. The wisdom of God was going to be needed. I certainly didn’t have the knowledge or wisdom required to raise our daughter in a dangerous world. I have depended much on the mercy of the Lord during these intervening years and will continue to do so for the coming years. God is always gracious and merciful!

Watching my daughter mature into a lovely, young lady with a heart and passion for the gospel is a joy to my heart. Watching her grow as an adult, making wise decisions and handling issues with maturity, is a daily pleasure to behold.

We know that when our children do well, our hearts rejoice. When our children are struggling physically, emotionally, spiritually, or in any other way, our hearts grieve.

Men, God has called us to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Seeking God’s Kingdom has to be our first priority. Our families are our home turf in God’s Kingdom. What good does it do to be professionally successful if our children are lost?

This is not a new question for mankind. Jesus asked us the same question – “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”

What sorrow matches the sorrow of a father and mother who lose a child to disease, to crime, or to any one of a myriad of dangers that lurk ready to pounce at any opportunity?

What joy matches the joy of a father and mother watching as their child grows into God’s calling on their lives, building their own families, and extending the legacy of faith to another generation.

Men, I am a poor shadow of our true Father. If my heart delights to see godliness, obedience, and wisdom in my child, imagine how the Heavenly Father’s Heart delights to see obedience and faith in His children. If we grieve when our children rebel and make bad decisions that have far-reaching consequences, how does our Heavenly Father respond to us when we do the same?

The first step in being a good father, is to be a good and obedient servant to the King of Kings. When we set our hearts on serving the Lord, that commitment will bring forth fruit in our families. When we rebel, that will also bring forth fruit in our families. Where we have not modeled faithfulness for our children we need to immediately repent and cry out for the mercy and wisdom of the Lord.

Let us prepare our hearts so that this Father’s Day, we purposefully thank the Lord for the incredible gift He has given us in our children.

What more could a man ask for in life than to know that his children are advancing God’s Kingdom, watching as they then raise their own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

Just for the record – my daughter is the delight of my heart. There has never been a day I haven’t thanked God for her. That is indeed the Blessing of the Lord!

Copyright © 2013 by Charles L. Johnson
All rights reserved

Used with permission

A Woman Of Beauty

Hannah-8 Ava Hill Photography“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3-4 (NKJV)

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:16 (NKJV)

My beautiful Hannah,

Today marks your 22nd birthday. What a blessing you have been to us and to those who call you friend. Every day, we thank the LORD for your presence in our lives and your love for, and service to, the King of Kings. You have worked diligently to submit your heart, committing your ways to the LORD, in order that your life would honor and please Him.

Our hearts are full of gratitude for “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” which God continues to develop in you. May His favor rest upon you this year as you walk in His truth and set your hands to the work He has so graciously given you.

Much love,

Mom

Copyright © 2013 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

Photograph by Ava Hill Photography; http://www.avahillphotography.com/

Happy Birthday, Hannah

For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD.” 1 Samuel 1: 27-28 (NKJV)

It seems it was just yesterday that our beautiful daughter, Hannah, was born. When the nurse told me that she was a redhead, I almost didn’t believe her, but indeed she was. I had expected a blond child; after all her father and I were both blond as children. To watch Hannah grow into a lovely, intelligent, godly young woman has been a special privilege. We could not be more grateful for the precious treasure she is to us. Where did the time go?  Happy 21st birthday, my darling girl.

To A Little Girl

Oh, little girl with eyes of brown
And smiles that fairly light the town,
I wonder if you really know
Just why it is we love you so,
And why–with all the little girls
With shining eyes and tangled curls
That throng and dance this big world through–
Our hearts have room for only you.

Since other little girls are gay
And laugh and sing and romp in play,
And all are beautiful to see,
Why should you mean so much to me?
And why should Mother, day and night,
Make you her source of all delight,
And always find in your caress
Her greatest sum of happiness?

Oh, there’s a reason good for this,
You laughing little bright-eyed miss!
In all this town, with all its girls
With shining eyes and sun-kissed curls,
If we should search it through and through
We’d find not one so fair as you;
And none, however fair of face,
Within our hearts could take your place.

For, one glad day not long ago,
God sent you down to us below,
And said that you were ours to keep,
To guard awake and watch asleep;
And ever since the day you came
No other child has seemed the same;
No other smiles are quite so fair
As those which happily you wear.

We seem to live from day to day
To hear the things you have to say;
And just because God gave us you,
We prize the little things you do.
Though God has filled this world with flowers,
We like you best because you’re ours–
In you our greatest joys we know,
And that is why we love you so.

Edgar Albert Guest

And lastly, a poem for a young lady who is beautiful, both inside and out.

She Walks In Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

by Lord Byron

My special thanks to Ava Hill Photography, Spring, TX. Photo used with permission.
Also find Ava Hill Photography on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Ava-Hill-Photography/57912673445

Original Content: Copyright © 2012 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

A Blessing–The Perfect Gift

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”  Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV)

There is no argument that the greatest gift we have ever received is that of Jesus Christ’s birth, atoning work on the cross, and His resurrection.  In this Christmas season, we are mindful of that Perfect Gift to all of mankind, but, we can also be distracted by the commercial emphasis in the market-place as merchants bombard us with the need for giving gifts to each other.

This Christmas, as never before, I want to focus on something of eternal value in my gift giving.  So few of the gifts any of us will exchange this year will even be used or remembered by next year at this time. The gifts that we give to our children are often quickly broken or forgotten as they are turn their focus onto the next hottest item advertised by commercial interests.

A church that we previously attended had a lovely custom for its graduates, one which I had not previously been aware of. It is based on the Biblical principle of the father’s blessing.  Each graduate is given a Bible and then the father (or mother, if no father is present or available) is encouraged to pray for his child and speak a blessing over him as he enters into the next phase of his life.  It was a great disappointment to us that only two of the fathers in the group of graduating seniors officially blessed them. My husband was one of that small group. He spent a number of hours working on the blessing that he would speak over our daughter during that ceremony.

It is so easy, as parents, to focus on many things where are children are concerned. We work diligently to pass down to them the knowledge and skills that they will need to make their own way in the world.  We try to provide them with a rich environment for learning and character development. Within the home school community this becomes a full-time occupation for at least one of the parents.  However, I believe that most parents omit one fundamental gift to their children in this growth process: the father’s blessing.

There are a number of examples of the father’s blessing within the Old Testament. As a father passed down to his sons their material inheritance, he also spoke over these sons a spiritual blessing.  Genesis 27 recounts Isaac’s blessing to Jacob:

Then his father Isaac said to him, ‘Come near now and kiss me, my son.’ And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said: ‘Surely, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed. Therefore may God give you the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!'” (Genesis 27: 26-29 NKJV).

Clearly this is more than just the gift of material blessings. This blessing speaks into the spiritual realm something of real significance.  How is it that those of us in the church have neglected something this important?  What has been lost because we have done so?

Prior to my daughter’s departure for college, many people expressed their sincere sympathy about the impending loss in my life. I was told about the difficulties of “empty nest” syndrome and how I would struggle emotionally with it.  I was informed that my marriage would be stressed and that I would continually weep as I grieved over her going away from me. Actually, neither one of those occurred. Did I miss her?  Yes greatly, however, those moments of emotional distress were few and far between.  I believe that this was mitigated by several factors. Besides the obvious grace and mercy of God, the fact that our daughter is exactly where God has ordained her to be has been an incredible blessing to us.  She has not distanced herself emotionally from us, even though she physically no longer resides in our home for the better part of the year. Our marriage has not suffered either. We had twelve years of married life prior to the birth of this child which we never thought we could have.  Our patterns of marriage were well established and we returned to that which we had before she was born.

My husband and I have discussed many times as to why our experience was so radically different from most of the people we know. We have come to the conclusion that this ease of transition had much to do with the blessing my husband spoke and prayed over our daughter during that graduation ceremony. In that blessing we released her into the next phase of her life. As we let go of her in the physical and spiritual realm, God gave us peace in the emotional realm. Here is the blessing that my husband spoke over her that day:

“A Father’s Blessing

Hannah, joy and delight or our lives, I charge you today before God, our family, and our friends to serve the LORD wholeheartedly, to seek His kingdom first, and above all, to faithfully run the race He has set before you with joy and perseverance. As your father, it is my honor and privilege to bless you with wisdom and insight, to bless you with courage and grace in the face of the challenges you will face in this next stage of your life and service to the Lord.  I bless you with Divine Protection in every activity–in your daily life, in your travels, in your dance and dance training, that in every way God will cover you with His wings and keep you from all harm.  In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I bless you and I release you into this next stage of your life and service to the LORD, with our love and our full assurance that God will direct and protect your every step.”

This year as we contemplate what gifts we will present to our daughter on Christmas morning, I have decided that the most important gift I want to give her is a mother’s blessing.  I want to speak into her life that spiritual inheritance which will have eternal value.  Just as my husband and I chose our daughter’s name to exemplify one of the spiritual qualities we wanted to be most evident in her life, I want to continue that spiritual inheritance with a mother’s blessing.

A Mother’s Blessing

Hannah, you are such a treasure to us. We have been blessed to see so many elements of your father’s blessing already manifesting in your character and in your spirit.  I charge you today before God to continue serving God wholeheartedly, seeking His Will and His purpose for every decision that you make.  As you grow in Him and walk into His Divine plans for your life, I would bless you with those elements of a godly character that He most values in women.  And one day, when God blesses you, I charge you to give to your husband and children that which God has so generously given to you.  I bless you with the godly attributes of the “Proverbs 31 woman.”  It is His Desire, and mine, that you will be an example to all of that which constitutes a virtuous woman: that the heart of your husband and children will safely trust in you; that you will do your husband good and not evil all the days of your life; that you will willingly work with your hands to provide food and a loving home for your family; that you will gird yourself with all spiritual strength to meet whatever challenges come your way; that your lamp will never go out, even during the darkest of nights; that you will not be afraid, trusting the LORD your God in every situation; that strength and honor will be your clothing; that you will open your mouth with wisdom and speak the law of kindness; and that you will watch over the ways of your household, not eating the bread of idleness.  As you walk in these godly attributes, your children will rise up and call you blessed and your husband will also praise you. It is in agreement with the Word of the Living God, that I speak His Truth over you today; that you may continue to walk in His Ways and be a living example of His Love to all those He brings into your life. As you do so, you will bring Glory and Honor to the King of Kings, both today, and for the rest of your life.”

As we think about those gifts we want to bless our children with this Christmas season, let us not forget the God’s Perfect Gift. I would also ask every parent to consider what spiritual blessing you might speak as a gift into each of your children’s lives. This is not a gift that will be quickly broken or forgotten. This is a gift that has eternal value and will continue to bear eternal fruit.

I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of hands.”  2 Timothy 1:3-6 (NKJV)

Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved

(Edited version of original which was posted on 12/12/2010 as The Perfect Gift–A Blessing)

The Perfect Gift–The Blessing

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV)

There is no argument that the greatest gift mankind ever received is that of Jesus Christ’s birth, atoning work on the cross, and  resurrection.  In this Christmas season, we are mindful of that Perfect Gift but we are easily distracted by commercial interests as merchants bombard us with the need for giving gifts.

This Christmas, as never before, I want to focus on something of eternal value in my gift giving.  So few of the gifts we exchange this year will even be used or remembered by next year at this time. The gifts we give to our children are often quickly broken or forgotten as they are turn their focus to the next hottest advertised item.

Our church has a lovely custom for its graduates, one which I had not been aware of. It is based on the Biblical principle of the father’s blessing.  Each graduate is given a Bible and then the father (or mother, if no father is present or available) is encouraged to pray for his child and speak a blessing over him as he enters into the next phase of his life. It was a great disappointment to us that only two of the fathers in the group of graduating seniors officially blessed them. My husband was one of that small group. He spent hours working on the blessing he would speak over our daughter during that ceremony.

It is so easy, as parents, to focus on many things where are children are concerned. We work diligently to pass down to them the knowledge and skills they will need to make their own way in the world.  We try to give them the foundations of a good character and a rich environment for learning. However, I believe most Christian parents omit one fundamental gift to their children: the father’s blessing.

There are many examples of the father’s blessing in the Old Testament. As a father would pass down to his sons a material inheritance, he also spoke over them a spiritual blessing.  Genesis 27 recounts Isaac’s blessing to Jacob:

“Then his father Isaac said to him, ‘Come near now and kiss me, my son.’ And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said: ‘Surely, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed. Therefore may God give you the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!'” (Genesis 27: 26-29 NKJV).

This blessing speaks something of eternal significance.  How is it that those of us in the church have neglected something this important?  What has been lost because we have done so?

Prior to my daughter’s departure for college, many people expressed their sincere sympathy about the impending loss in my life. I was told about the difficulties of “empty nest” syndrome and how I would struggle emotionally with it.  I was informed that my marriage would suffer and I would grieve over her going away. Actually, neither one of those occurred. Did I miss her?  Yes greatly, however, moments of emotional distress were few and far between.  I believe this was mitigated by several factors. Besides the obvious grace and mercy of God, the fact our daughter is exactly where God ordained her to be has been an incredible blessing to us.  She has not distanced herself emotionally, even though she physically no longer resides in our home. Our marriage has not suffered either. We had twelve years of married life prior to her birth for the patterns of marriage to be well established. We returned to that which we had before she was born.

My husband and I have discussed many times as to why our experience was so radically different from most of the people we know. We concluded this ease of transition had much to do with the blessing my husband spoke and prayed over our daughter during that graduation ceremony. In that blessing we released her into the next phase of her life. As we let go of her in the physical and spiritual realm, God gave us peace. Here is the blessing my husband spoke over her that day:

“The Fathers Blessing”

“Hannah, joy and delight or our lives, I charge you today before God, our family, and our friends to serve the LORD wholeheartedly, to seek His kingdom first, and above all, to faithfully run the race He has set before you with joy and perseverance. As your father, it is my honor and privilege to bless you with wisdom and insight, to bless you with courage and grace in the face of the challenges you will face in this next stage of your life and service to the Lord.  I bless you with Divine Protection in every activity–in your daily life, in your travels, in your dance and dance training, that in every way God will cover you with His wings and keep you from all harm.  In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I bless you and I release you into this next stage of your life and service to the LORD, with our love and our full assurance that God will direct and protect your every step.”

This year as we contemplate what gifts we will present to our daughter on Christmas morning, I have decided that the most important gift I want to give her is a mother’s blessing.  I want to speak into her life that spiritual inheritance which will have eternal value.  Just as my husband and I chose our daughter’s name to exemplify one of the spiritual qualities we wanted to be most evident in her life, I want to continue that spiritual inheritance with a mother’s blessing.

And now the follow-up to my husband’s blessing–a mother’s blessing:

  “A Mother’s Blessing”

“Hannah, you are such a treasure to us. We have been blessed to see so many elements of your father’s blessing already manifesting in your character and in your spirit.  I charge you today before God to continue serving God wholeheartedly, seeking His Will and purpose for every decision you make.  As you grow in Him and walk into His Divine plans for your life, I would bless you with those elements of a Godly character He most values in women.  And one day, if God should so bless you, I charge you to give to your husband and children that which God has so generously given to you.  I bless you with the Godly attributes of the “Proverbs 31 woman.” It is His Desire, and mine, that you will be an example to all of that which makes up a virtuous woman: that the heart of your husband and children will safely trust in you; that you will do your husband good and not evil all the days of your life; that you will willingly work with your hands to provide food and a loving home for your family; that you will gird yourself with all spiritual strength to meet whatever challenges come your way; that your lamp will never go out, even during the darkest nights; that you will not be afraid, trusting the LORD your God in every situation; that strength and honor will be your clothing; that you will open your mouth with wisdom and speak the law of kindness; and that you will watch over the ways of your household, not eating the bread of idleness.  As you walk in these godly attributes, your children will rise up and call you blessed and your husband will also praise you. It is in agreement with the Word of the Living God, that I speak His Truth over you today; that you may continue to walk in His Ways and be a living example of His Love to all those He brings into your life. As you do so, you will bring glory and honor to the King of Kings, both today, and for the rest of your life.”

As we think about those gifts we want to bless our children with this Christmas season, let us not forget God’s Perfect Gift. Let us consider what spiritual blessing we might speak into each of our children’s lives. This is not a gift which will be quickly broken or forgotten. This gift has eternal value and will bear eternal fruit.

“I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of hands.”  2 Timothy 1:3-6 (NKJV)

Copyright © 2010 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved