Archive for the ‘Exodus’ Category

Rise in remarriage

If he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights. Exodus 21:10 (NKJV)


According to report by the Pew Research Center[i], in forty percent of marriages begun in 2013, one or both partners had been married before, and close to one-quarter of all currently married adults have previously been married to someone else.  It is of interest to note that both figures have risen sharply since 1960, when just 13 percent of married adults were on their second (or later) marriage.

What is also interesting is that while a growing number of adults have never been married, and more of those who had been married are divorced or widowed, those who had been married are not less likely to remarry.   That is to say that those that have never been married see marriage as less desirable than those whose marriages have ended, regardless of the circumstances.

The report also shows that formerly married seniors have become more likely to remarry, whereas their 25- to 34-year-old counterparts have become less likely to do so. While men have become less likely and women more likely to remarry, men are more likely than women to actually marry again.

According to W. Bradford Wilcox, American Enterprise Institute visiting scholar and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, research suggests that, on average, couples who remarry are more likely to divorce than those who marry for the first time.  One of the factors that determine whether the new marriage will last is the presence of children, but another important one is whether “the same orientations or vulnerabilities or vices that may have led to earlier divorce — whether depression or drinking too much or something else — can be carried over to the second marriage. For that reason, we see they are generally less stable than intact first marriages.”

While some people are very intentional about not making the same mistakes they made in a first marriage, it is “not always possible to realize those good intentions, given the challenges of new relationships.”


Father, help me work as hard as I can to make this marriage last.

[i] http://family-studies.org/the-rise-of-remarriage/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=9b4102a4cb-Newsletter_107&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-9b4102a4cb-104541745

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Face-to-face vitamins

So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Exo. 33:11, NKJV)

According to new research, if you’re feeling depressed, hanging out with friends or loved ones face-to-face is better for your emotional health than a phone call or sending an email.  Linda Carroll[i] writes about this research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Monday, to compare how the different types of social contact affect our mental health.  According to the study’s lead author Dr. Alan Teo, a professor of psychiatry at the Oregon Health & Science University and a core investigator at VA Portland Health Care System, calling and emailing did not seem to have the same kind of protective effect.

It’s not that emailing or calling on the phone is bad or that you should cut them out of your life. Instead, Teo says, “the message is that they are no substitute for face-to face contact, which acts as a sort of vitamin for depression prevention.”

Teo believes that while the study only looked at people who were 50 and older, the findings might apply to younger adults as well.   On a more personal application, Teo’s own behavior has changed.  As he explains, “I am trying to make sure I am spending time face to face, having nice long conversations at a café, because I really think meeting up with someone brings something special, something magical, for our mental health.”

“Email is good and does help in reducing social isolation,” says Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a professor in-residence at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the late-life mood, stress and wellness research program at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. But we are communal animals. We are meant to be in society.”  She also points to the tons of research showing the health benefits of attending church and suggests that at least part of those benefits may come from being in the society of others.  “It’s a very powerful effect,” she says.

Spend time, face-to-face, with the people you care about; it’s good for them, and it’s good for you.

Father God, help me to make time for personal interaction with others.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/face-face-interaction-may-be-vitamin-depression-study-suggests-t48101

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When you should seek help – 4

You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. Exodus 23:2 (NKJV)

Another time Kristen Kansiewicz suggests you should consider seeing a professional Christian counselor is when conflict becomes repetitive or escalated.  As she explains, the sad thing is that “too many couples or families wait until things have fallen apart before seeking counseling. Some only go to counseling as a last-ditch effort or to prove that they ‘tried’ to make things work.”

You should not wait until you are at the end of your rope; seek counseling when you notice conflict that is repetitive, cyclical or it is escalating.  When it seems like you continue to argue and fight about the same thing every day for days, weeks, or months on end, it’s time to see a professional who can help you uncover the root of the conflict, teach you new communication strategies, and guide the process of rebuilding trust.

Continual family conflict can develop into such things as depression or anxiety, so it is important to get help before the conflict takes over your emotional life.

Anytime You Just Need to Talk.  Kansiewicz says that “there is no ‘right time’ to go to a professional counselor, and if you are thinking about seeking help it may be a sign that now is a good time to do it.”  We all have those times when we get “stuck” and just need someone to help us see ourselves from a different perspective.  Sometimes friends can help, but sometimes your problems can go beyond what friends can give.  Look for Christian counselors in your area (for instance, the NAD family ministries website has a list around the North American Division.   www.NADfamily.org).  You can also ask your pastor or friends if they know a good therapist.

You don’t have to try to be brave and try to figure things out on your own.  We would be better off by humbly step into the counselor’s office so we can begin to experience healing and freedom once again.

Father God, there are some things I just can’t deal with all by myself.  Help me and guide me to a good counselor who may show me the way toward health and healing.

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Daycare time – 1

At once the baby’s older sister came up and asked, “Do you want me to get a Hebrew woman to take care of the baby for you?” Exodus 2:7 (CEV)

School is beginning or about to begin for many children.  For those who are too young to attend a school, their parents may be faced with the decision to take them to a daycare facility during the day.  For many parents, even though it may be necessary to do so, leaving their children in daycare, particularly the first time, can be heart-wrenching. . . as it may be for their children.  Rose Gordon Sala, writing for TODAY Parents[i] shares 8 tips to make it easier for both parent and child.  Here are a few for the child:

  1. Bring something familiar. Anything that smells like home, like a blanket or mom/dad’s t-shirt, would be best for the youngest of children. Any reminder of home, like a laminated family portrait that an older child can hold onto, will make those first few trips to daycare a little easier and provide comfort on difficult days.
  2. Create a goodbye ritual. This ritual could be giving a high-five, saying, “I love you,” or a kiss on both cheeks — whatever feels natural to the parent and child. A great ritual is to have a short devotional time and prayer either at home or in the car before the child is dropped off.
  3. Talk it through. Even the youngest children will benefit from a conversation about what the plan is, what they can expect, when they will be picked up, etc. If you maintain a calm attitude you will help your child feel more at ease with this new experience.  You can also read them a book about going to daycare and also sharing a picture of the teacher or classroom.
  4. Try a gradual start. See if it’s possible to let your child ease in to daycare with a part-time schedule. You may also go with them for an hour one day, and the next day leaving them for 20 minutes to play while you go get something to drink; you can increase that time to half a day.  Perhaps you can start them on Thursday, instead of Monday, so they don’t immediately plunge into a five-day-a-week, full-time schedule.

Father, bless me as I help my children during this transition in life.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/8-tips-easier-daycare-drop-both-parent-child-t35421

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Caregiver burnout – 2

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 (NKJV)

An article in WebMD[i] provides some steps you can take to make sure you don’t get burned out while taking care of a love one who may be ill or aging.  Here are a few more ideas:

Set aside time for yourself.  Even if it’s just an hour or two, it’s worth it. Remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury, it’s a need.  This is one of the reasons it’s important to gather around you a support team so you can take some time for yourself.

Talk to a therapist, social worker, or clergy member. They’re trained to listen and provide you with advice on a wide range of physical and emotional issues.

Use respite care services. They can give caregivers like you a temporary break. The help can range from a few hours of in-home care to a short stay in a nursing home or assisted-living facility.

Know your limits. Make sure you do a reality check and don’t push yourself too hard.  Getting sick or experiencing burnout will not be good for you or the loved one you are carrying for.

Educate yourself. The more you know about your loved one’s condition, the better care you can give.  Ask questions to their medical personnel, research online, find others dealing with a similar situation to learn different options you may have.

Emphasize the positive. Remember to lighten up when you can. Use humor to help deal with everyday stresses.  Think of the positive opportunities caring for your loved one is providing you.

Stay healthy. Eat right and get plenty of exercise and sleep.

Accept your feelings. It’s normal to have negative feelings such as frustration and anger. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or a bad caregiver; you’re just simply being human.

Join a caregiver support group. Share your feelings and experiences with others in the same situation as you. It can help you manage stress, locate helpful resources, and stay connected with others.

Father God, strengthen and encourage me as I care for those I love.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/caregiving-insights-15/care/avoid-burnout?page=2

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No vacations hurt the family

And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 (NKJV)

It appears that people are taking less vacation time than ever, and evidently it’s hurting their relationships.  Maybe you’re thinking about skipping vacation to catch up at work, or postponing taking time off because you don’t have enough money.  Well, you’re not alone.  According to Meghan Holohan, writing for TODAY,[i] “a survey of 1,200 adults by the U.S. Travel Association found that Americans are taking fewer vacation days than they did 15 years ago (16 days per year) with many people not taking all the vacation days they earn. And eschewing vacation time for more work can be damaging for relationships.”

Holohan quotes Dr. Sue Varma, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center, who said that “When it becomes a pattern, you start to burn bridges with key relationships in your life.”

The paradox is that even though people regularly miss important family events, 73 percent realize that spending time with family makes life richer and more meaningful; and yet, they fall short of creating a good work-life balance.  People look at money as a resource to be used, but they see time in the same way.

Of course, many people still make vacations a priority and see that making time for each other strengthens their relationship.  Varma said vacations and time together bolsters relationships. She sees in her practice what happens when people fail to take time away from work.  As she states, “The biggest fallout of not taking your vacation time is losing your key connections in your life and those connections are going to support you for years to come.”

If you struggle to plan a vacation, sit down toward the end of the year and plan your vacation time for the following year.  If you don’t work obligations and other responsibilities will take over your calendar, your life, and your relationships.  And by the way, putting down the electronic devices during family time will make the time together more meaningful and memorable.

Father God, help us to make time to rest and vacation as a family.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/americans-are-taking-less-vacation-time-ever-its-hurting-their-t32371?cid=eml_tes_20150716

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You shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14 (NKJV)


Sometimes bad information becomes so commonly believed that people accept it as fact.  For instance, one common statistic we hear thrown out there is that 50 percent of relationships involve infidelity.  However, that statistic is not based upon any scientific research.  So, how common is cheating, really?  The short answer is, “Not nearly as common as you would be led to believe.”

According to researchers Blow & Hartnett, [i], over the course of married, heterosexual relationships in the United States, extra marital sex occurs in less than 25% of committed relationships, and more men than women appear to be engaging in infidelity.

Whisman & Snyder[ii] also found support that the likelihood of infidelity decreases the more religious you are, as you age, or if you’re better educated. They also found that the risk for cheating was greater for women who were remarried (compared to those who were on their first marriage), or for either gender with the greater number of sexual partners you have.

In addition, according to John M. Grohol, PsyD, [iii] both the clinical and self-help literature reference general types of infidelity, including one-night stands, emotional connections, long-term relationships, and philandering. But most of the empirical literature does not delineate these types of infidelity, nor does it offer ideas on how prevalent different types of infidelity are or in what kinds of relationships they exist.  In addition, within each general category there are different types. For example, emotional infidelity could consist of an internet relationship, a work relationship, or a long-distance phone relationship. Sexual infidelity could consist of visits with sex workers, same-sex encounters, and different types of sexual activities. Cheating is something to be aware of in any relationship. However, in most relationships, it is not something to be overly concerned about unless you have one of the above risk factors. Even then, the rate is half as what many would have us believe, and that’s some good news for a change.


Father God, may our hearts be captive to you that we may not sin against you or against our spouse.

[i] Blow, A.J. & Hartnett, K. (2005). Infidelity in Committed Relationships II: A Substantive Review. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 31, 217-233.

[ii] Whisman, M.A. & Snyder, D.K. (2007). Sexual infidelity in a national survey of American women: Differences in prevalence and correlates as a function of method of assessment. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 147-154.

[iii] http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/03/22/how-common-is-cheating-infidelity-really/

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A Handsome Child

Title: A Handsome Child                               Topic: Parenting


Scripture: So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. (Ex.2:2, NKJV)


Observation:  A goodly child. Even as a babe Moses gave evidence of the keen intellect, emotional stability, and also the physical perfection that marked his later years. All of this is implied in the Hebrew word translated “goodly.” Jochebed saw in these qualities a token of divine approval, which she took as a sign that God had marked out some special task for him. According to Acts 7:20 he was, literally, “attractive [“beautiful,” RSV] to God.” This is rendered in the KJV as “exceeding fair.” Jochebed would of course have loved and protected Moses even if he had not been so “goodly” a child, for mothers often devote their deepest love to weak and sickly children. However, Jochebed’s efforts to preserve the life of Moses are praised in Heb. 11:23 as an act of faith, and this implies awareness on her part that God had destined him for an important role and would therefore intervene to preserve his life. This, however, does not necessarily confirm a statement by the Jewish historian Josephus (Antiquities ii. 9. 3) that it had been revealed to Amram before the birth of the child that he was appointed to be the savior of Israel. (The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 1. 1978 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (501). Review and Herald Publishing Association.)


Application:  Every time I read the words of today’s text I find it interesting that Jochebed saw that her son, Moses, was handsome.  What mother doesn’t think their child is handsome?  Well, in a poll of 1000 parents in the United Kingdom[1] revealed their feelings and reactions when they first set eyes on their babies.  Of the 18 per cent who admitted being disappointed by the looks of their child, more than half had discussed their feelings with their partners but only eight per cent said they had spoken to anyone else about it.  Instead it seems the vast majority suffer their disappointment in silence, choosing to put on the brave face society expects.

A spokesman for the company that conducted the survey explained that as human beings we are wired to love our babies and the poll overwhelmingly supports the theory that we all fall in love with our children at first sight.  At the same time, loving your baby doesn’t have to mean that you think he/she is beautiful.  It appears that every parent feels a pressure to say their new baby is beautiful but only four out of five actually believe it.  And yet, the remaining fifth who secretly feel their baby is ugly don’t love them any less and may even feel the need to spoil them more than they would a good looking baby.

Were you a little disappointed with your child’s look when you first laid eyes on him/her?  Maybe that has to do with the world’s idea of what constitutes a beautiful baby.  We have seen the “Gerber” baby on so many baby food jars, posters, and commercials that we expect ours to look just like that.  But the reality is that our children are beautiful because they are ours. . . and they are God’s children.  At first, many children are a bit “disfigured” as a result of the trauma of going through the birth canal, or when they are premature, but with time their head assumes the proper shape,  they fill up with normal baby fat, and act more and more like these precious little creatures, looking so much like us, and we fall in love with them more and more every day.  Love your child, no matter what your first feelings about their looks may be.


A Prayer You May Say:  Father God, thank you for our children, your gift to us.  May they experience our love toward them in the same way we experience Your love toward us.

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Just Say No

Scripture: So Moses father-in-law said to him, The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who  are  with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing  is  too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. (Exodus 18:17, 18 NKJV)


Observation: Moses’ father-in-law said unto him, The thing … is not good—not good either for Moses himself, for the maintenance of justice, or for the satisfaction and interests of the people. Jethro gave a prudent counsel as to the division of labor [Ex 18:21, 22], and universal experience in the Church and State has attested the soundness and advantages of the principle. [Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Ex 18:17). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.]


Application: Moses’ father-in-law was a wise man who has wise counsel for his son-in-law. Moses was going to work every day as the sole judge over all the tribes of Israel. The number of people demanding his time was so great he worked from dawn until dusk without making a dent in the workload. His wise father-in-law, Jethro, saw this and immediately recognized a man who could not say “no” to requests for his time. He suggested Moses focus on only two things — representing the people before God, and handling the most difficult of the disputes. The rest of the work could be delegated to capable men he appointed. Moses listened, delegated, and found himself doing far more than he had ever done before, but in much less time. If this advice worked for Moses, will it not also work for us?  In order to fulfill your God-given responsibility we must set appropriate boundaries. As the parent, you have the responsibility to set limits for yourself so that you have time to do the job of being the primary disciple maker for your child that God has called you to.

Spend sime time reviewing your “to do” list.  Are you too busy to have quality time with your children? What actions do you need to take to ensure that your career or other “stuff” does not push your children to the end of your priority list? Moses had resources all around him that he was not utilizing. He was trying to be everything to every one. Are there resources that you can take better dvantage of?  Are there ways that you can work smarter instead of harder?. It’s time to take inventory and consider the same counsel that was given to Moses long ago. Afterall, that wise counsel is timeless.


A Prayer You May Say: Lord, what are my priorities today? Show me what to delegate, what can wait, and what it is You would have me accomplish on this day.

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Scripture: (Exo 34:12-16 NKJV)  “Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. {13} “But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images {14} ‘(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), {15} “lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice, {16} “and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods.

Observation: While it may seem strange to us that God would tell His people to go into the land He was giving them and completely wipe out all the people already living there, we must understand the reasons.  The basis for this command is found in the text for today.  The BKC explains: “Making a treaty with idolaters would lead to involvement in their sacrificial communal meals (34:15), to intermarrying their daughters (many of whom were spiritual and/or physical prostitutes to their gods; cf. Hosea 4:13-14), and even to making molten images (Ex. 34:17; cf. 20:4) as they had already done with the gold calf (32:4). Tragically Israel did not heed these warnings and they did in fact become involved in worshiping the Canaanites’ and others’ false gods. Ultimately this led to Israel being exiled.”
It wasn’t only the danger of rejecting God and accepting idols, it was rather what the worship of those idols would, and indeed did, lead them to do.  Many of the pagan practices included not just the worship of idols but temple prostitution and ultimately the sacrifice of children in the fire to those idols.  God knew how low such compromises would lead them and was trying to protect them from such horror.  Sadly, in their blindness and stubbornness, the Israelites disobeyed God, didn’t destroy all the people, entered into relationships with them, accepted their gods, and did sacrifice their children and their altars, both spiritually and physically.

Application: The application for us as parents today should be as clear: don’t compromise principle, choose carefully what you expose your children to.  I am amazed at how lightly parents today take the issue of Adventist education as opposed to any other.  It’s as if we have been so blinded that we don’t see what harm our children could experience if they went to a public school or a Christian school of a different faith, or what problems may arise if they become close friends with non-Adventists, or what problems may exists if they marry them.  And yet, all of us know from personal experience so many people who have indeed taken these steps and now they or their children are no longer Adventists or even believe in God.
So, watch carefully what you expose your children to – what they read, what they watch, who they associate with, where they go to school, etc.  Those decisions could have eternal consequences.

Prayer: Father, today as during the Exodus we as parents need all the wisdom You can possibly give us to make the right decisions.  I may not be anymore challenging to be a parent today than in other times, but this is our time, these are our challenges, and those are the decisions we have to make.  So, please endow us with the courage, the strength, and the wisdom to do what is right, even if it’s no popular with our children or others.

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