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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

Catholics, Jews, and mainline Protestants have lower divorce rates than Americans of other religious backgrounds.

read more… http://family-studies.org/what-god-has-joined-together-religion-and-the-risk-of-divorce/?utm_source=IFS+Main+List&utm_campaign=60864c3afc-Newsletter_94&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c06b05f1ff-60864c3afc-104541745

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In God’s gates

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)

A new study finds that faith or religion can do more to provide “sustained happiness” than other types of social activities, like taking a class, volunteering for charity, or even playing sports.  Writing for TODAY, Eun Kyung Kim[i] explains that “Going to church, mosque or synagogue regularly often provides a more reliable boost in mental welfare than belonging to an active group like a book club, political organization or a sports team.”

According to researcher Mauricio Avendano of the London School of Economics (LSE) and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. “The church appears to play a very important social role in keeping depression at bay and also as a coping mechanism during periods of illness in later life.”  American psychologist Jennifer Harstein added that religion tends to have longer lasting power than other types of activities for many people.  Religion has permanence in our life.  As she said, “Our religious affiliation is something that’s longer term. You can go, you can leave, it’s always there.  It’s sustained, like the happiness, whereas a sports group ends. It might be seasonal. Or a volunteer opportunity might end.”

While sports, politics, or hobbies can play an important role in our lives, religion tends to reach a deeper level for us.  As Harstein explained, “We know that spirituality is something that really helps people feel like they find that higher power, they find that center, that groundedness”

The study from LSE study also found that religion also helped ease symptoms of depression and help the sick cope better with their illness. One of the reasons this is so is because houses of worship often help lessen burdens for people.  When we go to church we get to present our burdens to God, and share them with people who care about us and who pray, support, and encourage us.  That gives us a powerful boost even in the most discouraging of circumstances.  This is something that social clubs, sports, or politics can’t ever do for us.

Father God, may I be blessed as I enter within your gates weekly, and may I also be a helper to those that come to your courts for help.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/study-religion-faith-can-help-provide-sustained-happiness-t39036

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Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:17 (NKJV)

We continue with the five ways you can help your children grow and mature in the faith as suggested by Karen Huber[i] Yesterday we talked about the importance of worshipping and serving together as a family.

Encourage questions.  One way to learn to ask questions is by using a board game called “The Ungame.”  The Ungame is a wonderful game to teach us to communicate better by practicing both talking and active listening.  The game includes several cards with questions which can serve as icebreakers in general or for couples.  One set in particular has questions for spiritual understanding.  For instance, “What does baptism mean to you?”  “Who is Jesus?”  A question like, “A time when it helps me to remember God’s promises is … ” can encourage your child to place God’s word in his or her everyday life. These types of questions and conversation starters may lead your child to reflect on their understanding of God and their faith.  We don’t want children to simply memorize and respond like robots or computers; we want them to live and experience faith in God.   You can also make these conversation starters a habit at the breakfast table or at bedtime and allow the conversation to go where God leads.

Consider commissioning your children as they start the school year. Huber writes, “Help them to understand their spiritual gifts or love languages and how to practice them at school. A child who’s love language is service can be a wonderful helper for new students. Praise and affirm the godly gifts you recognize in your child. Pray for them before that first day, that they would feel God’s presence during their days and that He would show them ways to be a light, loving and serving their classmates and teachers. This can help them understand their place in God’s story and the world.”

We close with these challenge: “In order to be teachers, parents must be learners, gathering light constantly from the oracles of God and by precept and example bringing this precious light into the education of their children.”[ii]

Father God, help me to be a good learner and a good teacher.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Five-Ways-to-Help-Your-Kids-Grow-in-the-Faith/

[ii] White, E.G.  The Adventist Home. p.184

SEPTEMBER

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Growing your kids in the faith – 2

When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” Matthew 8:10 (NKJV)

Karen Huber[i] suggests five ways you can help your children grow and mature in their faith. Yesterday we talked about starting young.  Don’t wait until they are older, when you think they can understand.  They can appreciate, learn, and understand a lot from the time they are very small.

Let them see you worship.  When our daughters were born, my wife didn’t take a break of several week or months from church.  The very next week after their birth they were at church.  Sure there were times she needed to take them out because they were a bit cranky or sick, but they were in church from the time they were born.  Sometimes parents of newborns feel that they should wait to take them to church until they are older or until they are ready.  It’s best if the family worships at home and at church together from the time they are born so they get used to it and make worship a part of their lives.  You may also want to make sure your church includes children in the worship service.  If they don’t suggest it to the pastor and church board.

Give and serve together. Look for ways to serve with your family, in your church and in the community.  You can find opportunities to serve in community soup kitchens, raking an elderly neighbor’s yard, prayer walking your neighborhood, or sponsoring a child in need to attend church school.  When you get involved in mission service together as a family you will help your own children put feet to their faith. As Huber states, “Serving and giving together allows them to practice acts of love for neighbor and obedience to God.”

We play a very important role in the lives of our children. “Parents should in a special sense regard themselves as agents of God to instruct their children, as did Abraham, to keep the way of the Lord. They need to search the Scriptures diligently, to know what is the way of the Lord, that they may teach it to their household.”[ii]

Father God, guide us to worship and serve together as a family.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Five-Ways-to-Help-Your-Kids-Grow-in-the-Faith/

[ii] White, E.G.  The Adventist Home, p.184.

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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. 2 Timothy 1:5 (NKJV)

From the moment they are born, we have so many dreams and wishes for our children.  We hope they will be good students, have good health, will one day have a good job, and finally that they will find a good spouse to marry, have a good home, and children of their own.  Among the hopes we have for them, none of them stands higher than the hope that the y will have a good relationship with God, accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, be guided daily by the Holy Spirit, and become good members of God’s church.  Sometimes we worry, or fear, that they will not walk in the Lord’s ways, that they will leave everything we believe and love, turn their backs on our faith and our God, and be lost.

We need to remember that everyone of us, including our children, have the gift of freedom of choice.  Just like us, they can also choose between following God or not.  Our responsibility as parents is to show them and teach them to love Him and follow Him, but the ultimate decision is theirs and theirs alone.  So, how can we naturally and consistently guide our children as their faith matures?  Karen Huber[i] suggests five ways you can help your children grow and mature in their faith:

Start young.  Even before the child is born they hear their parents’ voices.  Make it a habit to talk and sing about God.  Once they are born, continue the practice of singing to them; and the songs your sing to them in the nursery will be the first opportunity they will have to hear of God’s love for them.  Pray for your children out loud, as you hold them, and throughout the day and throughout their growing years. You can also help your toddler to recognize and name God’s creation as they touch the grass and the flowers, as you answer their questions about the clouds in the sky.  You can teach your preschoolers how to give thanks. Share stories about who Jesus is to you.  Make the bible stories personal and practical to their young minds.

Father God, use me to help grow my children in faith in you so they will love you and serve you always.

[i] https://vitalmagazine.com/Home/Article/Five-Ways-to-Help-Your-Kids-Grow-in-the-Faith/

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Stop forming inappropriate relationships with unbelievers. Can right and wrong be partners?  2 Corinthians 6:14 (GW)

Our faith is often central to our identity and how we approach the most important aspects of our life.  Psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps[i] writes that it’s normal to overlook some differences when first dating someone. But, sooner or later, one issue that you would be wise to address head on is a difference of religion or faith.  So, if your relationship is headed toward serious commitment, you need to consider the implications of your differences in this area and take the time to think and talk about the following possible issues that might arise:

Values: How are they different? For instance, what is your view on abstinence before marriage? Do you believe that accepting Jesus Christ as your savior is the only path to salvation?  What does that mean to your relationship is the other person is not a Christian?

Family of origin:  If your family is not happy with you marrying outside your religion, are you prepared to bring this conflict into your family of origin?  Are you ready to cope with conflicts that will very likely emerge.

Raising Children: The first decision is whether to have or not have children, how many, and how soon. What are your beliefs about birth control and abortion.  How will you raise your children?  According to your faith or your future spouse’s?  Neither?  None?

Everyday life: Some questions to consider are: How important is it for you to pray, have family worship, and attend church together? Do you want to center your social life around your religion? If so, how will that work?  Will your partner want to display symbols of their faith in your house? If so, what will those be and how comfortable are you with them?  Will you celebrate religious holy days?  Which ones?  And how?

Communication and respect are important to all relationships, but they are tested more in interfaith couples. Those differences may not seem that important now, but  they will have serious implications later.

Father God, help me to take these steps very carefully and seriously knowing they will affect my life but also my spouse and children.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2015/03/what-if-my-partner-doesnt-share-my-faith.html?ecd=wnl_sxr_040415&ctr=wnl-sxr-040415_nsl-promo_3&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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Your Children’s Faith

Scripture: I rejoiced greatly because I have found some of your children living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded us. (2 John 1:4)

 

Observation:  Of thy children. Literally, “out of thy children.” This may reflect the possibility that all church members had not proved faithful. It may also be that John had not met or heard reports of all the “children,” and that others were equally faithful.

Walking. Gr. peripateō (see on Eph. 2:2). The word is frequently used in Scripture to describe the daily conduct (cf. Phil. 3:17).

In truth. That is, consistently living under the control of truth, faithfully performing every duty on earth as part of the walk toward the eternal home (see on 1 John 1:7). [The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 7. 1980 (F. D. Nichol, Ed.) (687). Review and Herald Publishing Association.]

 

Application:  At first glance, this text almost seems to indicate that not all of this church lady’s children were faithful, but Paul did rejoice over those that were.  The original language, however, tells us that maybe what Paul meant to say was that the children he knew about were faithful.  As parents, we want to know that all our kids are living in such a way that they are faithful not just in the eyes of other people but in the eyes of God.  How can we ensure our kids will grow up to love and follow God?

1. Pray for them daily.  When we think about the book of Job we probably remember the disasters that came on him – lost everything, his children were killed, he got sick.  But one great lesson from his life was his constant prayers for his children.  The Bible states, “So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, ‘It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did regularly.” Job 1:5 (NKJV)  Rise early in the morning and pray for your children.  Pray for them throughout the day, and let the last words on your lips at night be prayers for them.

2. Worship with them daily and weekly.  One cannot ever underestimate the value of daily family worship, morning and evening, and of attending church together as a family.  Even as the kids grow up into adults, attending church together continues to bring the family closer to each other as the same time as they come closer to God.

3. Serve together.  Research and experience show that acts of service deepens the spiritual experience of people.  For children and young people, it is more valuable when the family devotes time in service together than when the parents send them or pay for them to go to do it.

May it be said about our children that they are living according to the truth just as the Father commanded us.

 

A Prayer You May Say:  Father God, Bless our children this day, and may they be faithful to You today and each day of their lives.

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