To share my thoughts on this topic, I must first share reflections of my childhood and my adolescent years. As a child I was sexually molested by a day- care attendant and also by one of my uncles. And the only times I saw my dad were when it was time to eat, when he was going to or from work, and at times on the weekend.
Starting at age 5, I had a health condition that caused me to lose my hair. During my teenage years I battled severe depression, and by the age of 23, I attempted suicide. Through all of that, my mother was the one to hold me and tell me everything was going to be okay.
Three days before my mother died of cancer, I received Christ into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior. I didn’t know much about Christ at that time. But one day I heard the Lord say to me, “Tracey, I’m going to bring you a man that you have never known. He will be completely different than any man you have ever met. If you just trust Me, Tracey, walk with and follow Me, I’m going to bring a man into your life who will love you as I love you.”
I didn’t know what that meant until I met my husband, Quint. I’m not going to sit here and say that my marriage has been roses, strawberries, and cream. What I will say is that the man the Lord gave me is in pursuit of a life with and for Christ. He is the very thing that God used to heal me and grow me into the woman I never thought I could or would be.
This man of God taught me about his love for and walk with Christ and helped to ignite within me a passion to know Him for myself. He is one who supports me and loves me unconditionally. A man of God who not only prays with me, but who will pray over and for me. A man who honors me with his words — who never raises his voice, his hands, or strikes me down with hurtful words. A man who is gentle with me, but who is strong for me. A man who is not threatened by my success but instead gleans from it and stands next to me to help me accomplish it. A man who loves me as a sister in Christ.
The value of this man of God has helped me see myself in the light that God sees me and experience a life I never knew I could have — a life that is a gift and a blessing.
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“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (Proverbs 31:25-28 NIV).
Mother’s Day is a great time for us to stop and honor our mothers and the mother of our children. As fathers it is important that we model for our children the importance of honoring their mother. Our mothers mean so much to all of us. Abraham Lincoln once said, “He is not poor who has had a godly mother.”
Nobody can multitask like a mother. Regardless of her professional occupation, the momma bear is a multitasker that is always focused on the family. Think about her example, support, humor, counsel, humility, hospitality, wisdom, patience, sacrifices, faith, hope, and love. “God couldn’t be everywhere, so He made mothers.” While not theologically accurate, this old Jewish saying describes beautifully the significant role mothers have in our lives. Motherhood is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. A loving, committed mother is an indispensable person in our development.
Mother’s Day is an important day for fathers because our children are always watching us. Little boys learn how to treat their future wives by watching their fathers. Little girls learn how they should be treated by a future husband by watching their fathers. When our children are grown, they likely will not remember anything that we said or did any year on Mother’s Day. However, they will remember the feeling in the air. Was there a feeling of love and honor or was there a feeling of resentment and bitterness?
Our children will notice if our actions on Mother’s Day were consistent with the rest of the year. Each day, not just on Mother’s Day, husbands are to, “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
Mothers are also designed by God to nurture, and they do it exceptionally well. When the apostle Paul was describing his love for the church at Thessalonica, he used the metaphor of a mother’s love to describe how deeply he cared for them. He reminded them that he was like a “gentle” mother who “tenderly cares for her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7). Also, when God described His love for Israel, He did so with a motherhood metaphor. He told Israel that He would comfort them like a mother comforts her children (Isaiah 66:13).
Men, God has blessed us all with mothers. Regardless if yours is alive or gone on to glory, give her special honor this day and offer prayers of thanksgiving for her role in your life.
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist under the direction of the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is concurrently in training to become a Lay Minister under the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He enjoys writing inspirational Christian blogs at toddshupe.com and todd-shupe.com.
I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately in conjunction with my new book and the launch of the new era of Promise Keepers. A lot of the questions are the same, but every now and then a question takes me by surprise, and I answer from my heart more than my head.
This was the question, “Why is it that you have such a heart for men’s issues that you are bringing Promise Keepers back?” It was a fair question, and my answer was immediate: “I don’t really have a heart for men’s issues. I have a heart for women and children.”
This might not have been the smartest thing for the head of a men’s ministry to say, but it welled up within me and I couldn’t answer any other way.
Women and children are the ones who suffer when men are screwed up. If it’s true as Josh McDowell says that 70 percent of men in the church look at pornography twice a week or more, who are our daughters supposed to marry? How are we supposed to expect men to treat women with respect as their partners unless we change the hearts of men?
What I saw in my days as an LAPD street cop in South Central is that almost all the problems in this world come from the pride and the greed of little men.
Calling men to be men isn’t chauvinistic or somehow against women — although it is countercultural and controversial. But it is a fact that when men check out of their families, women suffer the most, and so do their children.
Look at all the ministries fighting sex trafficking in the world. They’re all very, very, very important. But every one of them is fighting a war that cannot be won by only attacking thesupply side. And for every girl rescued from the horrific world of slavery, traffickers will enslave 100 more. But if we can change the hearts of men, we change thedemand side. When we attack supply and demand, then we defeat this evil.
That’s why Promise Keepers is so necessary. It’s not that we’re aiming for men, it’s that we’re aiming for the whole world. We owe that much to our kids.
I think there’s a desperation in America. I think men are becoming more and more passive, obsessed with video games, sports, pornography, and it’s women and children who are suffering.
But when a man is a man and keeps his promises, those around him get cared and provided for. Real men will never do anything solely for their own benefit. But we will swim shark-infested waters for those who are counting on us.
That’s what a man is — being a leader, being courageous and stepping into the fight, cherishing our wives and families, and being unshakable in our commitment to making the world around us a better place.
I believe that the time is incredibly urgent for men to come back to the basics of what it takes to be a man, and what it means to be a man of God. That’s what Promise Keepers is about. That’s our mission, to help men understand who they’re called to be.
And when men understand that it will change the world.
With Mother’s Day this weekend, I oddly find myself not focusing on just the women in my life, but on the men as well. I am not wondering what “the guys” will gift me with on this holiday, because they are doing dinner for Mom and me. They already told us that we “are not to cook or clean anything.” Wow!
Along with whatever they chose to purchase, they will bring us their smiles, laughter, their words of encouragement and dedication to our family that runs so deep. The men in my life are men of integrity. They are promise keepers.
I first encountered the Promise Keepers ministry as a young mother in the 1990’s. As a divorced mother raising four sons, and two daughters, I needed guidance. Having been raised in a patriarchal-focused family, I understood the importance of the godly influence of fathers and grandfathers. When I think of the need for the new era of Promise Keepers, four critical Scriptures come to mind:
… so the next generation might know them — even the children not yet born — and they in turn will teach their own children.
Promise Keepers exists to equip men of all ages to fulfill their roles within their families, churches and businesses. I grew up with strong godly male figures in my life. As a single mother, I knew that having those godly male role models would be vital to the growth of my four boys. What they learned and believed when they were young would influence them for the rest of their lives, whether for good or bad. We need Promise Keepers to empower men (and the women in their lives) to embrace the truth that sets them on the path of growth and godly wisdom.
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
Growing up with men who were preachers and fathers, then later having a pastor who walked in the same revelation, gave me a great desire to raise godly sons and grandsons according to the same patterns. My sons and grandsons come from a rich history of integrity and compassion. These qualities are deeply rooted in the promises of God that we as a family hold near and dear to our hearts.
Promise Keepers is based on those same covenant promises, equipping men to live out those promises on a daily basis. When fathers and grandfathers, brothers and sons put these promises into practice, their families thrive. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters are able to see one another the way God sees them, extending grace, mercy and encouragement in supernatural ways. We need more of this today and Promise Keepers is committed to standing in that gap.
God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”
In order for families to remember, truth must be taught from generation to generation. I am grateful to have been raised and mentored by men who did their best to be promise keepers. They left solid examples based upon God’s Word.
Because of my family’s commitment to remembering truth, God is not only the God of my father. He is the God of Alveda. He is the God of my sons and my daughters. He is the God of my beautiful grandchildren. We are all promise keepers, relying on the truth of God’s Word and the faithfulness of His promises. We need Promise Keepers today for men to intentionally pass the truth to upcoming generations of men.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.
God’s promises are forever. When I remember my beloved forefathers and mentors, I remember God’s promises. God has blessed my family more abundantly than I could ever ask or imagine. I thank God that He has done the same for Promise Keepers. The new era of Promise Keepers, ushered in with Ken Harrison at the helm, allows for the same encouragement I found for my family, now supplemented with modern technology and a further reach.
Now even more men will receive the encouragement and discipleship that helped build my family. Lives will change and God will be glorified. Men and women alike will reap the benefits of listening ears, kind words and godly leadership for generations to come.
As I reflect on this Mother’s Day, I think of the legacy that my family leaves. I think of the godly men who lead and encouraged me and equipped me to be the strong woman I am today. Because of the godly influences in my life, I was able to raise my four sons to carry on the legacy of those who went before them. What makes them so well-equipped for the job is their integrity. They are promise keepers. On this Mother’s Day, that is the best gift I could possibly ask for.
ALVEDA KING is on the board of directors of Promise Keepers whose 2020 National Event is coming to AT&T Stadium in Dallas July 31-August 1. Alveda is the niece of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Currently, Alveda is a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, serving as Executive Director of Civil Rights for The Unborn for Gospel of Life, headed up by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. She is also part of the teaching and music ministry as well as former Executive Director of African Humanitarian Christian Fellowship, founded by her mentor, the late Pastor Allen McNair, Founder of Believers’ Bible Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
Alveda lives in Atlanta and is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com “Insiders” section as well as a Fox News contributor. She is the grateful mother of six and a blessed grandmother.
PROMISE KEEPERS is calling men back to courageous and bold servant-leadership by sparking a movement that will mobilize millions of men to follow Christ into today’s broken world as changemakers for their families, churches and communities.
Men, what your wife wants from you this Mother’s Day is to be cherished. Far more than an expensive gift or a thoughtful card, she wants you to lead her family with her best interests in mind. She doesn’t want a man who is silent and soft, a man who is passive and withdrawn, or a man who is paralyzed by regret over past mistakes. Your wife wants you to be a man of God — a “Servant King.”
She wants you to be a King — proactive, courageous, generous and humble. A man who embraces his identity as leader with authority and conviction.
She also wants you to be a Servant — a man who puts his wife and children ahead of himself, who nurtures them and makes sure everything he does is in their best interest, and who is ready to lay down his life for them if necessary.
God did not create man to be sufficient in himself. The ultimate intimate relationship a man can have on this earth is with his wife, whom God calls his helper. We see that they are to be “one,” a picture of how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one. That is, they are to be in such complete unity that they are of one purpose and one spirit.
God gave man the role of leader of his family, but what does that look like? The world often tells us that leadership and authority are the same thing, but this is not so. Authority is that influence that the law gives to a police officer or a military commander. Authority says, “Sir, please exit the vehicle,” or “Grab your backpack and sit down.” Authority offers no reward for obedience, only punishment for disobedience.
We are not called to be in authority over our wives; rather, we are called to lead them. Leadership creates the space for a person to choose whether or not to follow. Notice that a woman is commanded to submit to her husband, not to obey him. I obey the commands of a police officer out of fear of punishment, but I don’t submit to him. This is because submission involves equality and choice. Obedience involves a hierarchy and offers no choice. A slave obeys his master, and a child obeys his parents. But an equal chooses to submit or not, based on the value in the relationship.
Jesus always offers us a choice when it comes to submitting our lives to Him. Submitting to the perfect Leader maximizes our fellowship with Him and gives us ultimate joy as a result. In the same way, a wife chooses to submit to her husband or not.
As husbands, it is not for us to judge her willingness to submit. It is for us to be the kind of leader to whom she can gladly submit.
Therefore, it is incumbent on a husband to be as much like Him as we can be so that her choice is an easy one.
Give Your Wife the Gift of Leadership
“I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:3). We seek to lead our families as Christ leads the church. How does He do this? He “gave Himself for her to make her holy . . . to present [her] to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25–27). Someday Jesus will present all His children to the Father, having given everything, including His life by being tortured to death, for the purpose of presenting them without blemish. Whether they will be presented as such will be dependent on the level of their willing submission to Him. Similarly, we will be judged on how we present our wives to the Father. Did we give our lives for them, as Jesus did for the church?
Does your wife see in you the heart for her that Jesus has for His church? None of us will completely measure up, but the closer we get to this standard, the more oneness we’ll have with our wives.
Going further, there are three overarching qualities that I’ve observed in great leaders:
1. Vision—All great leaders know and communicate who they are and where they are going, whether in an organization or elsewhere. Your wife must know that your relationship exists to glorify God. Leaders always keep themselves accountable to their people and remain open to constructive criticism. Does your wife feel the freedom to express her opinion in a safe and loving relationship? Leaders are not defensive and they do not argue. Are your words leading to life and unity or to division and distress in your marriage?
2. Ambition—Great leaders focus on the health and growth of their organization (or family). From the moment they rise until they close their eyes at night, they relentlessly pursue the implementation of their vision. Does your wife see that you are seeking to present her to Christ “in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless”?
3. Empathy—Empathy is the ability to see things from the other person’s perspective. There is no more important place for this than in our relationship with our wives.
This Mother’s Day be the Servant King your wife is longing for, the Servant King your God has called you to, and that you were made for.
After seeing the destruction that such teaching wreaked on society, the world now teaches a new message about men. It is convoluted and vague. It flees from machismo toward an equally dangerous lie; it teaches men to be effeminate.
Let’s tear down the lie of society, which has come from the enemy of our souls, and look at what God says about masculinity. First, we must destroy the foundational lie upon which every other lie about society over the past several generations has been built: the lie of modern superiority.
We tend to read Scripture through a lens of modern arrogance, interpreting it using our “superior” intellect. We act as if the God who wrote the Bible and created the world and the very minds with which we reason needs our help in updating His dated ideas. We have become easily deceived by each new idea that comes along, and that tendency is pulling us from a foundation of biblical truth to devastating effect.
Satan has been around since before the human race, so he is playing the long game. His lies build on his lies until even people who love Jesus have assumptions they believe to be true that are not. We seek passionately to avoid becoming pawns in his wicked game; therefore, we must understand his plans so that we can fight and defeat them.
Satan has been attacking gender, gender roles, and especially masculinity with a vengeance over the last few years, and even Christians have been deceived. Let’s take a scalpel to the things that some of us may accept as truth that are not truth at all; rather, they are cancers that our enemy sowed in our minds when we weren’t even aware.
Satan’s scheme, now and forever, is to disrupt the two most foundational building blocks of society:
1. Our relationship with God 2. Our relationship with one another
First, there is something not right in us, and to make things right, we must throw ourselves on the grace of the Creator. A philosophical change has spread across the world to convince people that there isn’t actually anything wrong with them and, if there is, it isn’t their fault. We are seeing Romans 1 play out before us now—not only are sin and perversity abounding, but people publicly commend those who live this way.
Second, there is nothing more foundational to who we are and how we relate to one another than the fact that God created us male and female. Humanity was created as two types—both are equally loved in God’s eyes and both will have equal status in Heaven. However, their relation to one another on earth is defined through distinctive roles determined by God at the foundation of creation.
The two genders, male and female, are together the earthly representation of who God is. Neither, on its own, is a full representation. This is one reason marriage between a man and a woman is so important and meaningful. The truest representation of God’s nature is a healthy marriage between a fully masculine man and a fully feminine woman, each acting in submission to Christ and in submission to each other.
“Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). Every man is to be a leader. This is why being proactive is the foundation of being a man. When something needs to be done, a man seeks to do it.
When we understand that a man is called to lead, we see that a hallmark of being a man is accountability. This is difficult for many men to accept, but you must recognize that you and only you are accountable for your walk with Christ, for your marriage, for the state of your children, for providing for your family, and for protecting your family and anyone else who may need it.
Your family—and your God—are counting on you to act like a man.