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Archive for the ‘Genesis’ Category

Loneliness shortens life

And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18 (NKJV)

 

According to Peter Russell[i], from WebMD, writes that “being lonely can trigger cellular changes in your body that increase your chances of getting ill and not living as long as you could have.”  Past research suggests that the risk applies to older people.  Since that is the case, we need to look at and treat loneliness as a major health problem.

In the new study, which was conducted by a combined team of researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of California, they found that loneliness can trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response, which can affect the production of white blood cells and eventually undermine the immune system.

In essence, explained the researchers, “lonely people have a weaker immune system and higher levels of inflammation than people who aren’t lonely. Their health is also more vulnerable because they feel threatened.”

Loneliness is not a normal part of getting older, contrary to what many people believe.  The truth is that it not only makes life miserable, but it can also have a serious impact on your physical and mental health.  It is sad that, “Research shows that more than a million older people say they haven’t spoken to a friend, neighbor or family member for over a month, and unless we act, our rapidly aging population we’ll see ever greater numbers of lonely older people.”

We don’t have to let older family, friends, or neighbors be lonely.  We all can do something as simple as checking up on them, especially during this festive season, but also year round.

Listen to these words,” Many are suffering from maladies of the soul far more than from diseases of the body, and they will find no relief until they come to Christ, the wellspring of life…Christ is the mighty Healer of the sin-sick soul…They need to be patiently and kindly yet earnestly taught how to throw open the windows of the soul and let the sunlight of God’s love come in. Complaints of weariness, loneliness, and dissatisfaction will then cease. Satisfying joys will give vigor to the mind and health and vital energy to the body.”[ii]

 

Father, remind me to care for those who are lonely.

[i] http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20151124/loneliness-death?ecd=wnl_men_120115&ctr=wnl-men-120115_nsl-promo-5_title&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

[ii] White, E.G. Review & Herald, December 17, 1914 par. 17

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Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. Genesis 48:21 (NKJV)

 

Many people still don’t know what hospice is or does.  The place to begin is to understand that hospice is a philosophy of care, not a building.  While most people say they want to die at home, only about 1 in 4 end up doing so.  One of the biggest reasons is because without hospice care it is very challenging trying to care for someone with a serious illness.  Ira Byock, the executive director of the Providence Institute for Human Caring compares it to trying to have surgery without anesthesia.

Hospices bring to your home everything you might need such as a hospital bed, bedside commode, medications, bandages, expert consults, all tailored to your needs.  But if home care is daunting, or you just don’t want your loved one to die in your home, hospice care is also available in facilities and hospitals.  Paula Spencer Scott[i] shares nine facts you need to know to decide if hospice is right for you or a loved one:

Signing up doesn’t mean giving up all medical care.  When you accept hospice care, you are making a shift from one set of goals (how to get longer life through a cure) to another (how to get the best quality of life out of whatever time is left).  Even when a cure is no possible, there are therapies that improve symptoms and raise comfort can continue.  On the other hand, if you feel that you have not exhausted all of your treatment options in search of a cure, hospice may not be for you.  Medicare hospice rules require forgoing curative treatments.

You have to qualify for hospice, but you can opt out at any

 time.  In order to qualify for hospice benefits, either through Medicare or private insurance, two physicians must certify that you have a terminal condition with an expected prognosis of six months or less.  At the end of the six months, patients are evaluated and can remain under hospice care for another six-month period. (more tomorrow)

 

Father God, taking care of a loved one who is dying is a great responsibility but also a wonderful opportunity to show them love in very tangible ways.  If that time comes, help me to do it lovingly.

[i] AARP Bulletin, November 2015, vol.56, No.9 (www.aarp.org/bulletin

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We have a father, an old man, and la child of his old age, who is young; his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him. (Gen. 44:20  NKJV).

Justin Coulson[i] shares 18 things you might be able to do, starting today, to help your children feel cared for and heard and thus grow up to be resilient.

  1. Bed time is best. Make the last few minutes of the day a precious bonding time with your children. Read to them, preferably a nice story book, pray with them, tuck them in bed, and give them a warm hug and a kiss. Your children will go to bed feeling loved and secure.
  2. Give hugs, and touch them. When you pass by your children, or your spouse, make it habit to pat them on the back, squeeze their arm, touch their neck or hair, or put your arm around their shoulder. Your touch affirms them as a person, that you have seen them, and that their presence matters. It feels good to be noticed.  It’s like a vitamin which, as research shows, can boost well-being.  As Colson*** writes, “I also find that if a child is struggling, one of the best things we can do is hug them. In fact, the times our children deserve our hugs the least are the times they need them most.”
  3. Stay calm. It is a parent’s main responsibility to stay calmer than their child. We teach our kids by example how to regulate their behavior. They can see and trust that we are stable, secure, predictable, and safe and they learn they can come to us no matter what, and that we will respond calmly and kindly.
  4. One-on-one time is crucial. This is particularly important the more children you have. Kids feel important, heard, and worthy when we give them personal, undivided attention.  This does not have to be structured meetings that look more a job interview.  Instead, even short outings, walks, or individual play time may be the most important way we can show our children we care about them and that we want to listen to them.  Fathers can take their daughters on a date and mothers their sons.  These times are crucial relationship-builders.

Father God, if I am not already doing these things for my children, help to begin today to help them and strengthen them as they grow.

[i] http://family-studies.org/eighteen-ways-to-build-a-resilient-child/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=53b6201f47-Newsletter_87&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-53b6201f47-104541745

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Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Genesis 29:16 (NKJV)

Linda Nielsen, a professor of educational and adolescent psychology at Wake Forest University,[i] analyzes current research which shows the important role fathers play in the life of their daughters.  She writes, “What is surprising is not that fathers have such an impact on their daughters’ relationships with men, but that they generally have more impact than mothers do.”  She adds that “well-fathered daughters are less likely to become clinically depressed or to develop eating disorders.”

The relationship and communication between a daughter and her father matter a great deal given the benefits a woman gains from communicating well with her father and feeling close to him.  And yet, both sons and daughters generally say they feel closer to their mothers and find it easier to talk to her, especially about anything personal.  This may have to do with the commonly held belief that children, and especially daughters, are “supposed” to talk more about personal issues with their mothers than with their fathers.  In addition, daughters tend to withhold more personal information than sons do from their fathers.  If compared to sons, daughters also tend to be more uncomfortable arguing with their dads, and take longer to get over their disagreements than when they argue with their mothers.  Interestingly, most daughters wish their fathers had talked with them more about sex and relationships, even if the conversations might have been uncomfortable at first.

The obvious question is, how can fathers and daughters forge a close, positive relationship? According to Nielsen, “Both fathers and daughters said in one study that participating in activities together, especially athletic activities,  working with their dads or vacationing alone with him.”

Nielsen advises, “While fathers may find it easier to relate to and connect with their sons, they should make the effort to build a close relationship with their daughters, too.”

Father God, help me to remember how important it is to my daughters to spend quality time with them and be intentional about doing so.

[i] http://family-studies.org/how-dads-affect-their-daughters-into-adulthood/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=732930c1fb-Newsletter_86&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-732930c1fb-104541745

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Nature or nurture?

And the LORD said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:23 (NKJV)

Brooke Sassman[i] writes for TODAY about the surprising effect of ‘nature vs. nurture’ on twins.  This is a debate that researchers have been trying to tackle for years. There are so many extraneous factors which play a part in influencing a child’s development that it is sometimes not possible to tell what is genetic and what has been shaped by the environment.

At the same time, Sassman reports that “contrary to common belief, recent research suggests that the influential aspects of nature versus nurture are almost equally split. A study of more than 14.5 million twins over the course of 50 years found that human traits are 49 percent genetic and 51 percent environmental.”

Psychologist and behavioral geneticist Nancy Segal writes, “Some people are a little bit concerned when we say that something is genetically influenced. They think that means we can’t change the behavior, but that is really not true.”  She then concludes, “There is no behavior that is totally genetic. Everything has an environmental component.”

The debate between nurture and nature is not new; in fact, it’s probably been there since Adam and Eve had their sons Cain and Abel which ended so tragically with Cain killing his brother.  We all have both inherited and cultivated traits of character, some of which lead us to rebel against God.  But we don’t need to be discouraged because we or our children battle with these tendencies; Ellen White explains, “Those who put their trust in Christ are not to be enslaved by any hereditary or cultivated habit or tendency. Instead of being held in bondage to the lower nature, they are to rule every appetite and passion. God has not left us to battle with evil in our own finite strength. Whatever may be our inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong, we can overcome through the power that He is ready to impart…”[ii]

Father, help me and my children to overcome all tendencies to sin.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/pose-5-hot-yoga-tips-beginners-t43511

[ii] White, E.G.  Counsels on Health.  p. 440

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The touch of love

Now it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked through a window, and saw, and there was Isaac, showing endearment to Rebekah his wife. Genesis 26:8 (NKJV)

Why is it that when we touch someone we care for their skin often feels so much softer than our own?  Evidently, that extra softness is an illusion.  According to Meghan Holohan,[i] a new study reveals that it is our brains rewarding us for touching other people and forming social bonds.

Much researchers has shown that being caressed has positive health benefits. For instance, premature babies touched by their mothers grow healthier thanks to their mothers’ tender caress.  The question is, what benefit is there to those who do the touching? Since softness and smoothness of touch activate the reward center in the brain for the receiver, researchers wanted to know whether there were any benefits for the touch giver as well.

How did the researchers come up with their findings?  The researchers examined affective touch, that is, touch that shares and elicits emotions, by pairing people in six experiments. They asked the pairs to take turns touching and being touched. One person touched the arms and forearms of the other at different speeds. Then they touched their own arms in the same way and rated the sensation of the touches. When the givers touched the receiver’s skin in a slow, gentle pace, the givers perceived the receiver’s skin as softer than their own.  As the researchers explained, “When we expect to generate tactile pleasure in another person, we feel it ourselves irrespective of whether the skin is softer or not in reality.

This phenomenon, called the social softness illusion, is the same type of touch shared by intimate partners. The touch giver’s brain rewards them for touching another person by making it feel pleasurable to the giver. This increases the desire to touch another person and bolsters the relationship. Touch your spouse; it’s good for both of you and for your relationship.

Father God, may we spend more time touching and caressing each other as a way to show love and to strengthen our marriage.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/why-someone-elses-skin-feels-softer-your-own-t43221

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There I was! In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes. Genesis 31:40 (NKJV)

Jacob’s experience, keeping Laban’s flocks, resembles the experience of many parents taking care of their own children.  This seems particularly true when it comes to their child’s bedtime; or as some parents have come to call, the day’s final battleground.  You would think that after a long day of school and play children would be more than eager to go to sleep.  As parents we have also learned that most children need much more sleep than they actually get, so putting it back on the priority list, especially as school begins, is a must.

Amy McCready,[i] writing for TODAY, looks at four strategies that can help you do that:

Full “baskets.”  Change your own routine so that you are giving your kids the one-on-one attention they need.  When you do that, they will require (and demand) less attention at nighttime.  Try giving your kids just 10-15 minutes a day of uninterrupted, all-about-them time; that may be all they need to have their emotional basket (or cups) filled in substantial ways.

Watch your words.  It’s possible that bedtime is portrayed in a negative light; for instance, if you say something like, “Do something wrong and you’ll go straight to bed!” Instead, change how your kids view bedtime by calling it “snuggle time” and talking about what’s GOOD about going to sleep, rather than making it feel more like punishment than reward.

Turn the “world” off. Studies show late night screens keep our kids awake and away from the real, healthy sleep they need.  Make sure all your screens are off at least two hours before the kids go to bed.  It would good for you too.

Be consistent. If bedtime changes from night to night they will never know when the right time for bed is and you’ll forever be in negotiations, or battles.  Because kids need a certain amount of sleep every night, bedtimes should be the same seven days a week.  Children are more comfortable and less confused when there is consistency.

Father God, help me to provide for my children the time and the atmosphere where they can get the nightly sleep they need.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/4-ways-improve-your-childs-bedtime-routine-t40086

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