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OPINION

FIRST PERSON: 8 tips for fathers on Father's Day

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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INDIANAPOLIS (BP) -- Christian fathers can positively impact our families and the world. Share the following Bible-based tips with fathers you know.

The list may be downloaded at keeponshining.com under the "free stuff" tab. Add your church name and logo and laminate the list to make a bookmark suitable for a Father's Day giveaway at church.

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-- Pray for your children.

Seize opportunities to pray while kneeling at the bedside of your sleeping children, driving to work or chauffeuring them to school, or before tucking them into bed. Pray aloud with them. Take your needs and crises to God and praise Him corporately as a family when He blesses.

"Pray constantly" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

-- Invest time in your child's life.

Create father/child traditions, such as birthday breakfasts with dad and father/daughter or father/son outings. Read Sunday funnies together or share a hobby. Even on busy days, spend at least a few focused minutes with your child. Take a walk, shoot baskets, go for a soda or play a board game.

Listen. Comfort. Make eye contact. Speak wisdom. Make lifetime memories with family vacations. Yes, a backyard campout counts. Idea: Offer to substitute teach your child's Sunday School class.

"Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).

-- Be your home's spiritual leader.

Enthusiastically initiate family commitment to God, His Word and His church. Read your Bible. Truly love His church. Help your children know Jesus as their personal Savior.

Verbalize your God story, sharing your salvation experience. Talk about answered prayer. Conversationally acknowledge God's importance in your life.

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Teach God's ways to your child constantly -- when you sit, walk, lay or stand, as Deuteronomy 11:18-21 encourages.

Idea: Text a Scripture or write a verse on a note card to your child.

"Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation" (Joel 1:3).

-- Love your wife.

Let your children see you show genuine affection to their mom with compliments, hugs, laughs and prayers. You're teaching them how to treat their future spouse.

Idea: Tell your children how you fell in love with their mom.

"Each one of you is to love his wife as himself…" (Ephesians 5:33).

-- Encourage your children.

Show family affection. Laugh together. Delight in your children. Say often, "I love you." Compliment sincerely. Speak positively about them to others.

Be the parent. Your child needs a father, not just another buddy. Your loving discipline and wise boundaries demonstrate your love.

Idea: Hug your child for at least ten seconds today.

"Fathers, don't stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).

-- Serve God together.

Help your children discover and use their spiritual gifts. Set an example of joyful service to God. Find ways to include your children, such as homebound visits, church workdays, mission trips and church projects.

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"Serve the Lord with gladness." (Psalm 100:2).

-- Be a man of integrity.

Your child is watching your life to emulate it. Tape this on your dressing mirror: "I will lead a life of integrity in my own home" (Psalm 101:2).

-- Enjoy your quiver.

Psalm 127:3-5 reads in part: "Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. Children ... are like arrows in a warrior's hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!" On average, child-rearing days encompass less than a third of your adult years. Treasure them.

Happy Father's Day.

--30—

Diana Davis (www.keeponshining.com) is an author, speaker and wife of the North American Mission Board's vice president for the Midwest region, Steve Davis.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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