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Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

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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Happiness and religion

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.” Psalm 122:1 (NKJV)

 

A new sturdy has confirmed much previous research which has shown that joining a religious group could do more to provide “sustained happiness” than other types of social activities such as taking a class, volunteering for charity, or even playing sports.  Some people believe that the benefit is derived from being involved in some group, club or organization.  However, as Eun Kyung Kim[i] writes, “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.”

Mauricio Avendano, an epidemiologist and part of the research team of the London School of Economics and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, explains that “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 “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.”  Simply being part of a group or a team helps us to have some sort of meaning and purpose.  But she also clarifies that a religious faith tends to reach a deeper level for those who participate in it.  The spiritual experiences, such as prayer and the study of God’s word and worshipping together as a church family “all those kinds of things help change our brain chemistry, help us be less depressed, less anxious, and more centered and that is all good for all of us.”

In addition, the study found that religion also helps ease symptoms of depression and help the sick cope better with their illness because, as one of the researchers said, houses of worship often help lessen people’s burdens by sharing them with the church family.  We help each other carry them.  As one of my professors used to say, “Pain shared is pain divided.”

Father God, thank you for creating the church to sustain us in our time of need.  Help us to also be of help to those who need us.

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

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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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Scripture: (Judg 2:10 NKJV)  When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.

Observation: After the death of Joshua and the people of his generation had passed away, things changed very quickly in Israel, but not for the best.  The rapid decline in their spirituality reflects the rapid abandonment of God’s will for them.  First of all, the Israelites stopped their conquest of the Promised Land from going as far as God intended it should.  Secondly, they left entire cities, and their inhabitants, alive and established relationships with them.  And finally, they began to worship the Baals of the people of the land.  This rapid decline is what God had tried to prevent by commanding them to destroy the people of the land, but in just one generation they went from following God to worshipping Baal.

Application: I can attest to how fast things change, in one generation, when you abandon God.  My mother’s parents were the first Seventh-day Adventist converts in the city of Bucaramanga, where we were born, in the country of Colombia, South America.  When my mother was a young girl, her mother died leaving her husband to raise five young children by himself; my grandfather never remarried.  Weighed down with the heavy responsibility and with a large hospital bill after his wife’s death, my grandfather, a very responsible man, made whatever payments he could on that hospital bill but in the process he didn’t return God’s tithe faithfully; shortly after that, he stopped going to church altogether.  Eventually all but one of the children, including my mother, ended up out of the church (one died at a young age, still believing and living his faith).  As a young lady, about to graduate from high school, my mother met my father, who together with his family  was Roman Catholic.  In order for my mother to be able to marry my father she “converted” to Catholicism; in her own words, while she did everything in her power to accept, believe, and practice her new religion, she confessed to me many years later that she never really could come to believe it because the seeds of Bible truth remained deeply ingrained in her heart.  Nevertheless, she raised her children as Catholics, attending church every Sunday, and performing the rituals, or “sacraments,” required by the church such like infant baptism, “the First Communion,” “Confirmation,” etc.
As a young boy, after my first communion, I became quite active in the church and was chosen to be one of the altar boys in the church near to where we lived and where we worshiped regularly for many years.  I remember as a young boy wearing my bath robe and standing before the kitchen sink, with a slice of bread, dipping a piece of it in a glass of orange juice mixed with some water, role-playing what I saw the priest do on the altar during mass – by the way, my own “mass” was not the best as the juice was too watered down, and the bread soaked in this mixture tasted horrible.  If the priest had seen me doing this he probably would have said that even at an early age I demonstrated a vocation for the priesthood; I might say that even in the darkness was already beginning to show me a glimpse of the ministerial career I would one day follow.
In my family, all of us grew up catholic, and faithfully did the things required of good Catholics like repeating the prescribed prayers to Mary and to bow down before the many images found in churches, cathedrals, and even road side shrines.  While my mother’s brother and his family were Adventists, we never completely understood what they were or why they lived like they did; we only knew they did strange things like not watch TV on Friday nights and Saturdays, or not eating what we considered to be delicacies and which now I myself find distasteful, even disgusting.  It was only after the death of my father, and our move to the United States, that my mother returned to the Adventist faith and she and I were baptized the same day in a church in Silver Spring, Maryland.
As we reflect on our portion of the Scriptures for today, some may wonder how quickly the Israelites abandoned the faith of their fathers after all the powerful miracles He worked on their behalf.  I witnessed how easy it is to do so as with my mother’s departure from the faith as in just a few short years she went from being a Sabbath-keeping, second-coming-expecting Christian, to a Sunday-keeping, idol worshipping Catholic, and as a result, with the birth of each of her children, we were one by one introduced to the worship of these idols  and it became a simple part of our lives.
If we as parents can see how easily and quickly children learn, we would be so much more careful with our actions and words.  I am amazed at parents who don’t bring their young children to church or those who have told me that they don’t want to force them to believe as they do but want to give their children the freedom to choose what to believe only to see how quickly their children abandon the faith their parents wish they would hold as their own.  I’d like to encourage every parent to hold dear their faith and live it and teach it to their children from the time they are born that they may grow up in it from their earliest days; if we as parents don’t live our faith, we will quickly loose our children and many generations to come.

Prayer: Father, help us to live daily our faith and may we transmit it faithfully to our children and for generations to come.

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