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Fai†h

Family

Supermom Syndrome Are our expectations of moms too high?

Spring 2012

Where Have all the Fathers Gone? Feminism

Heads or Tails?

What Your Clothing is Really Saying


More Than a Bookstore!

Located in Boone, Iowa, we are a community and church based bookstore with a family friendly Christian environment. In addition to DVD’s, Bibles, books, music, t-shirts, cards, and gift items, we offer: • • •

Piano, guitar and violin lessons Brewed beverages A safe place for kids to play!

Visit our website at www.kingschristianbookstore.com


12 WHERE HAVE ALL THE FATHER’S GONE?

Fathers have a profound effect on their families, and their role is underestimated in society. They often do not get the credit they deserve- until they are no there. What are the effects on the family with an absent father? Part one of a series.

16 RECONCILLIATION IMPOSSIBLE? NEVER!

Feature writer Sarah Kuepfer discusses her family’s victory from an abusive spouse. Even in the worst circumstance, God can truly bring a miracle!

18 FAMILY COVENANT: ESTABLISHING A FIRM FOUNDATION

This article stresses the importance of the covenant of marriage- one that should never be taken lightly! It also discusses the stages that one goes through in marriage. Victory is possible!

21 CLEAN HANDS, PURE HEARTS IN A FILTHY WORLD

The effects of television on your family- especially your kids! Studies may say that television has no effect on your children. However, God and scripture say differently.

23 POSSITIVE PARENTING

Disciplining your children can be the most challenging thing any parent has to do. How can parents discipline their children effectively and according to the Word.

VS THE TRUTH OF THE WORD 50 EMOTIONS Are you emotion led? Find out how to be sprit led

Does divorce effect the family? it ABSOLUTELY does! FInd out what many people don’t know about what God’s Word says on this topic.

39 JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE CONVICTED!

Many of us would say that we do not judge others. But are you? Even Christians can make some unknown judgements.

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instead!

59 THE FAMILY THAT PRAYS TOGETHER SAVES TOGETHER

Debt is something that many Christians are in bondage to, and it effects our families. How do you recover from the bondage of debt, and ultimately teach your children not to make the same mistakes? Find out how!

64 TECHNOLOGY: HARMLESS ESCAPISM OR DANGEROUS DILEMMA FOR FAMILIES

Technology is on the rise! Everyone is tech savvy! Does technology have an effect on the family?

72 VIRTUAL KIDS: WHO IS RAISING YOUR CHILDREN?

Many children are being raised by their peers via social media. Parents may be monitoring who their children are talking to, but what about their discussions? Peer raising is on the rise. What does this mean for your family?

Articles

26 THE MYSTERY AND DESTINY OF BIRTH INTERTWINED Inspiring poem by Don Ford

32 FEMINIST AND FEMINISTA

Thought provoking poem by Helen Murray

34 SHROUD OF TURIN PART ONE

Jesus has risen! We even have His shroud to prove it! Interview with Dr. Wanger regarding the Shroud of Turin.

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT 27 DIVORCE AND MARITAL CONFLICT: THE 53 Word Study ELEPHANT IN THE CHURCH

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Is your attire giving the correct impression of you? Read this and find out!

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Moms have a lot on their plate: taking care of a family and house combined with a career. She is our hero and can save the day in a blink of an eye. However, even moms can burn out. Find out how to prevent this in your own life.

SAYING

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9 CONFESSIONS OF A SUPERMOM

47 WHAT YOUR CLOTHING IS REALLY

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Many television shows with the dominating women are funny to watch, but what are the effects in real life on men? What started it all?

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6 FEMINISM: HEADS OR TAILS?

57 THERE IS NO GRAY IN MORAL FAILURE Book Review

63 CHURCH HURT AIN’T NO JOKE! Book Review

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Features

42 HOMESCHOOLING: DETERMINING FACT 67 EXTREME CHRISTIAN ENTERTAINMENT Homeschool families suffer persecution from friends and families. Is homeschooling for you and your family? Everything you need to know- including separating fact from fiction- on homeschooling.

Looking to increase your family-friendly viewing? Interview with Extreme Christian Entertainement.

70 SHOW IT TO ME By Don Ford

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FROM FICTION


Welcome!

F

AITH

FILLED FAMILY

MAGAZINE

Publisher’s

“Helping Families Live Victoriously in Christ”

Letter

Spring 2012 Publisher Michelle Danko Editor-In-Chief Jill King Advertising Sales Michelle Danko

It is a season of changes for Faith Filled Family Magazine!

Copywriter Elisa Cibrario

We have switched digital publishers to one that embeds video and audio components to reach more readers from different age categories.

Cover Photo By Jupiter Images @Photos.com Photographers @Photos.com Istantilli, Marcia Crayton, Mocker-bat, nokhoog_buchachon, Oleksiy Mark, Ptpitchaya, Phaitoon, Photostock, Pixland, Rich Yasick, Salvatore Vuono, SergiyN, Stockbyte, Thomas Skopal, Andrey Popov, Claire Bloomeld, Creative doxfoto, Elena Elisseeva, Virginia Hamrick, George Doyle, Jannoon 028, John Foxx, and Hemera Tehcnologies @FreeDigitalPhotos.net: David Castillo Dominici, and Arvind Balarman. Faith Filled Family Magazine is published quarterly by: Faith Filled Family Winnipeg, Manitoba R2G 2N7 Website: www.faithfilledfamily.com

We are also reaching out into the Christian entertainment industry to bring you entertainment that is safe for the entire family. We only know a fraction of what is being produced through secular media. Wouldn’t it be great if we had more godly choices for our families? This issue centers around social issues and its effects on the family. We discuss what effects technology has on families, fathering trends, supermom syndrome, dealing with the dominating mother (feminism), and what the Bible says about divorce. . . just to name a few. We also have a special update on a previously written article on spousal abuse. The update may surprize you! It is our hope that you leave this magazine blessed, and that you continue to live a life in victory in Christ. Many blessings! Michelle Danko Publisher Faith Filled Family Magazine


Feminism

Heads or Tails? By Helen Murray


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he question today is, what exactly is feminism today, and how is it affecting society at large, and the church in particular? Feminism began as a just response to inequalities in the treatment of women in western society, and then in other nations. Early achievements were bringing the vote to women, giving women property rights, and equal pay for equal work, thus giving women equal standing in society with men. Advances were made when birth control - contraception - became a fact of life, and women could elect mothering or to be part of the workforce. At the same time (around the sixties) women, in large numbers, began to take up professional roles, building those roles around their family life. Then, in the seventies, came the aggressively feminist push, with Germaine Greer and her ilk in the lead. The suggestion was that men were the cause of most trouble and actually rather unnecessary for the most part as women could do all men could do and do it better. Such sayings as “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” were thrown around. There are many examples of men concurring with this female superiority supposition, even publicly on TV shows. Women entered the pubs and male clubs in large numbers, took places in the male professions, in parliament, and wherever else men gathered. This was generally graciously received. It was touted that women had as much right as men to express their sexuality, and so they began adopting forms of dress that give them greater ‘exposure’, and in fact made them become, ironically, the sexual objects they had objected to being, (1). Contraception and this powerful sense of so-called “freedom” increased along with sexual activity outside of marriage, births to single mothers (once considered undesirable, but now a common fact of life), absent fathers and the single mother grappling with the feminist idea that while they didn’t need men, life was much more difficult outside of the natural family. Grandparents become surrogate parents until they too were workers, and hadn’t time for the job. So children grew up in childcare while mothers (both single and married) made contributions to the workforce. Men grew to expect that wives would work, and mothering became a very second-rate (always given honorable mention!) task. That is the history in a nutshell. Today the scene needs a lot of attention from the church because of the aggressive elements of modern feminism. Feminism is one of the currently politically correct persuasions . It is being marketed aggressively, along with homosexual equality. Lesbianism has common goals with the ultra-feminist push. For example the following link demonstrates what feminism is aiming at in the UK: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/ hi/uk_politics/2022094.stm Not only is there, in ultra-feminist terms, to be equality of opportunity, but equality of outcome. The best possible candidate for a job is not necessarily selected, ie the female is to be preferred over the better qualified male applicant. If female engineers are to have equality with men, that must surely mean that 50% of engineers should be women irrespective of other factors. In order to achieve this goal, women are to be preferred over equally- or more-qualified men. This is clearly not the best and fairest outcome for society in general. Aggressive marketing of political correctness (homosexuality and feminism among other things) has a well-crafted format. Rev Val Peter writes for the Catholic Culture Format, (2) that marketing techniques move through three stages here paraphrased: Initially DESENSITIZATION - presenting the feminist or gay cause as good for us and as often as possible so that people become bored with arguments, and used to the idea that it’s just a part of society to accept. Follow this up with JAMMING, which is a scare stage - be politically correct or face the music (could be job loss, public ridicule, etc.) Raise the fear that others will despise you if you oppose this ideology. Apply name-calling and other intimidating tactics to the objector. The media is very good for this as it models the sarcasm for the public. Create laws purporting to pertain to equality that make space for domination and control of public thinking. Finally, secure public consent with OUTRIGHT PROPAGANDA, eg films, or sports/media stars, placing the issue in a naively “nice” light, which everyone must accept or be vilified. Take legal action where possible against public figures who do not conform. Make a big fuss of celebrities exemplifying the newly approved behaviors. We can easily notice the progress of these tactics. Hooray! Now we have a police state! Goodbye freedom of speech! Goodbye conscientious vote in some cases! Where is the church in all of this? First, we have to retain the right to be discerning. Humanitarianism throws at us constantly that we are “not to judge people”, a Biblical quote by which they (humanists) mean that we are to tolerate silently any behaviors that we find unscriptural. This is not what Jesus meant and it is a form of control. Jesus did not judge the woman caught in adultery, but He did caution her not to sin again. He didn’t waive


the issue. He forgave the thief on the cross, but didn’t get him down off of it. Sin is still sin. Christians are not to be silenced by humanitarianism, but to recognize sin for what it is, and the consequences thereof. Secondly, we need to discern how aggressive feminism is appearing among Christian communities. Many scriptures demonstrate professional roles for women - Proverbs 31, Deborah and her tree, (Judges 4:5), Dorcas and her high quality clothing (Acts 9:36-43). Many more women have that choice today, and that is fine. However, families - and churches - who have weak male (or feminist ) leadership will suffer, because the very natural thing is for children to follow their father (unless, rarely, they decide he has been overly harsh with their mother and support her.) The role of men in leadership does not negate the ability of women, but can’t be replaced by women without major loss of ‘face’ for men, (Judges 4:9). There is good reason why Paul (1 Timothy 3:2-5) instructs Timothy (whose faith indeed resulted from that of his adored mother and grandmother) to select church leaders from those MEN who have demonstrated that they can successfully lead their families into faithful lifestyles. They are the ones to be trusted with managing the church. Women can and will lead if they have to, as Deborah did, but men should not, like Adam, hide behind skirts! (Gen 3:12) Feminism plays a major part in the television soaps that are today shaping the lives of our children both in and out of the church. Notice that men must have feminine-style conversations about feelings all the time, when one might expect them to be discussing cars, hunting and fishing. Women retain the right not only to be heard loud and clear, but also to have the last say in every matter - in fact they do not feel listened to unless they have the final say. The typical feminine star pouts and simpers until her demands are met, and the typical male discovers how to please the woman. While this is mandated in the first year of marriage by Jewish (and Christian?) law (Deuteronomy 24:5) and custom, it is not considered the format of marriage, even in Proverbs 31. While pleasing a wife is indispensable knowledge, the man then takes his authority and responsibility again with his wife’s assent understood. New Testament teaching is that the husband will love his wife - in very practical terms - but undertake overall responsibility for the welfare of the whole family. It’s a wise man who can do this, and a wise woman who will encourage it. Ultra feminism will pull against the responsibility of the man, and surreptitiously break down many covenants made before God. I’ve heard many (both eastern migrant and western) men express fear of western women because they usurp male authority in the family. The women do not feel “considered” unless they have the final say. Young men today are expressing confusion over their roles in marriage or in relationships with women. Roles are no longer clear and a wife’s support is no longer to be depended upon. Marriage is being attacked from within as well as from without. Women alone can reverse this trend by determinedly placing their trust in their husbands for ultimate wisdom in any situation, and insisting upon a united front on that basis. This is part of a great foundation for an unshakeable relationship, emotional security for their children, and also for their husbands! Men, in response to this, cherish your wife’s supporting manner, and don’t give Malachi grounds for attack! I really like the picture of the family (and perhaps also the church family) as a house being built on a firm foundation (inalienable faith in our scriptures) with strong and colorful bricks (the male), held together by an equally strong mortar (the woman) under the protective roof of the Spirit of Truth. The bricks and mortar need each other in a complementary fashion. Men often go right to pieces when the mortar is removed, and the mortar crumbles without the bricks! If the mortar tries to be bricks the walls will tumble, and if he stands aside for the mortar there’s a big gap where the rain comes in. So let women, modestly and elegantly dressed so that men don’t have to worry which way to look, embrace their femininity, and their astounding ability to hold everything together, while like the Proverbs 31 woman, creating honor for their men. Let the men keep their covenant with God to cherish (appreciate), with every part of their being, that which has been entrusted to them, and which they have taken as their own body, (Ephesians 5:28,29) lest Malachi do a triple take on them (Malachi 2:14, 15, 16). This way Christians will have marriages and churches that will be the envy of the suffering world, and a magnificent witness to our Lord, Jesus Christ. 1. Judith Orr: Marxism and Feminism Today. 2. Catholicculture.org “How they Market Homosexuality”. Peter Val


Confessions of a Supermom By Michelle C. Danko


Most people when they hear the term, Super Mom, they think of television characters like June Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver, or the mom on shows such as Father Knows Best which to many people quintessentially describes what being the perfect mom is all about. It is thought that the perfect mom is able to balance family, a household, a career, always has time for her family- and looks great while doing it! She makes it look so easy, and she seems so happy that most women think that they, too, can “have it all”. . . Or can they? Is this example of a woman realistic or even godly? Can a woman really have it all and look wonderful while doing it? The answer is both yes. . and no. Years ago, when I had originally written this article, all I had to take care of was a household, and three beautiful boys. In my mind, I thought I was managing. However, when my oldest son tearfully said that he wanted the “old mommy” back, I realized that maybe I wasn’t handling things as well as I had thought. Worse yet, when the signs of stress became evident, I really realized that I really wasn’t managing at all! Super Mom Syndrome derives itself from perfectionistic tendencies. Simply put, it is the desire to be the perfect mother, and/or the perfect wife. I wanted to be perfect for my family. The scripture I always held in the back of my mind was “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) I wanted to raise my children up to be godly, to have a positive influence on them, to teach them, to impart wisdom into them, and to be there for all of those little moments that make being a parent so special. I wanted to be the perfect mom. I thought that they deserved that, but in the end, it wasn’t what I ended up giving them. In the hustle and bustle of what I thought my family needed from me, I forgot to give them the best of me. Three years ago, in my world, a wife/mother should be able to keep the house clean, the children tidy, be the devoted mother, and perfect wife. This image was easier when we had our first child because there was less work involved, but when we had twins, this image of perfection soon became unrealistic. By the time the twins had arrived, we had a bigger house, so I had more rooms to clean, and I basically had two more lives that I was responsible for. What used to be a manageable schedule turned hectic too quickly. The house took longer to clean (and it had to be done to perfection!), the laundry increased; there were more people to feed, and with babies different feed schedules. Added to that there were so many things that my husband needed me to do. I just didn’t want to say no, or that I couldn’t because then it would mean that I couldn’t manage- which I wasn’t, but didn’t realize it. Well, after a year of going at top speed, “Super Mom” burned out. Housework started to consume most of the day, and it always had to be clean before my husband came through the door at the end of the day. It became a compulsion. My three year old’s seemingly endless barrage of whys every five seconds began to grate on me especially when I had so much to do! Couldn’t he just ask me when I was less busy? Also what seemed to me like my husband’s attempts to sabotage my cleaning really seamed to easily put me in a mood. I felt that I needed him to be neater so that I had less to do the next day, and by him making a mess it seemed like he didn’t care. Life itself after that first year of having twins became busier. Not only was I managing three children under the age of three, and a household, but I was also involved in the church, and was managing our finances. I became resentful of everything that I had to do, and how little I perceived my husband had to do comparatively, and I became angry with him. To me, it didn’t seems fair even though I never told him that I needed help and just couldn’t handle the “little extras” that he had asked me to do. Time spent with my children decreased and worse yet, my time with God became non-existent. I was frustrated and irritable all the time because I felt as if I wasn’t getting anything accomplished. I was feeling guilty because I wasn’t spending time with God, or the children, or even had a moment to myself. I was going from the time I got up until the moment my head hit the pillow. I didn’t have a sound sleep, sometimes I cried under all of the pressure, and didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t manage anymore because that would mean that I’m not perfect. My family helped me realize that my desire for perfection hampered my ability to be a good mom, and a good wife. I thought that I could do it all- I was even proud of my ability to multitask! It took its toll on me though, and eventually I realized that I was off balance and out of control. I didn’t like my behavior, and I didn’t like who I had become. So I went to the one, and only person that could truly help meGod. I realized that I shouldn’t be taking on cares (Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7), and to rely on the Holy Spirit


to help me get the important things done. I learned that God will redeem time, and that I really could get things done- just with His help, not on my own. I relearned that time with God is the most important thing in my life, and should never be neglected. My time spent with God allowed me to get direction in my life, to let go of whatever was pressing on me, and was integral to maintaining my joy and peace. Through making God my number one again, I was being a good mom- I was providing a good example for my children to follow. The most challenging thing to do was to realize that the house didn’t have to be spotless, and people could manage by themselves if I said no. I leaned that balance is important. My time was consumed with handling the needs of others. I forgot that I needed time to myself to recharge too. I used to feel that I was being selfish until I realized how necessary it was. I now take time for myself, and I go out for coffee with friends more often. Plus I do not feel guilty for doing so! My husband didn’t like seeing me so tense, so we talked and he agreed to help out more- all I had to do was ask! Life became more manageable. I began to have more time to relax, and I found was able to spend more time with my children. With less responsibility, I was able to relax and enjoy time spent with them. We have a special day once a week that is devoted to special time with my children. I make special meals, and do whatever my kids want to do. In the summer, it’s trips to the ice cream store, or the playground. This works great, because after so much walking and exercise, they are so tired that the nap giving me some quiet time. My oldest is happy to have mommy back, and the twins can’t get enough hugs and kisses. I’m enjoying life as God had intended and relying on Him for guidance. I can do everything, just “in Him which gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) God cannot be out of the equation- He is integral to every day living. By having a regular relationship with Him, he gives you the direction you need followed by love and peace. Life is indeed hectic, but if you are living it by your own strength, it can become very challenging. God taught me balance, and I had to be prepared to let go of a few things. However, my family has benefited from my change of attitude. I am a better mother today for my children because I provide them with the best example- a godly one in which they will follow. I turn to God when I need him, and He gives me all the answers. Scripture says, “We get not because we ask not.” (James 4:2) So I started asking God how to handle certain situations ranging from discipline to everyday activities. Fast forward almost three years, life indeed became busier. I home school my oldest, and my two twins will begin Preschool in the fall. My husband and I are involved in organizations together that do involve a considerable time commitment. Then there are the responsibilities of being a publisher of a growing magazine. . . By the world’s standards, I would be considered a “Super Mom”. However, by God’s standards, I would say that I have balance. I have learned that there is a time for everything, and to try to balance my days more. It does involved being organized and planning ahead, but life is manageable. God taught me to balance my life and through Him, I am able to do all things. The best part is that I haven’t had to sacrifice one area for the other. I just learned to ask for help when I need it. My boys know how to tidy up and when. I found they really do like helping out, and that it makes them feel important. There are many women out there with greater responsibilities that I have. Over fifty percent of moms work full time because they want to, but the majority need to. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of your responsibilities, remember to ask God where you need to adjust your life. He can, and will make things so much easier for you. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are no good to your family if you are stressed out, and it doesn’t do much for your health either. Stress will drain you emotionally and physically. It impairs your immune system from functioning at its optimum level and can make you prone to sickness. Super Mom Syndrome arises out of a desire to be perfect. However, we aren’t perfect. God is always teaching us and making us more like Him. Rely on God to deal with all of your cares and you will be amazed at what He will do in your life. Choose to be the “perfect mom and perfect wife” by following a godly example. God doesn’t want you burned out, and neither does your family. Stress in life is an indication that your life is out of balance. Plus it isn’t want you do that matters, it’s who you are in Christ and the example you set that counts. Providing a godly example is being the best for your family. You don’t have to be perfect, just godly. That is giving your family your best, and what they deserve.


Where Have All the Fathers Gone? By Don Calbreath

Statement of a Problem

Fatherhood in this country is in peril. Never before have there been so many challenges offered to authentic fatherhood and so much opposition seen to be a father. Assaults on the family come from many quarters, from easy divorce, lack of interest in being wed, samesex marriage, and modern technology. Being a father is a difficult task under the best of circumstances, and is becoming almost impossible these days. The major hurt comes to the children who lose a father or never knew their father. What are some of the issues in this discussion?


Loss by Death In some ways, the “easiest” reason a child is fatherless is due to death. Illness may have taken its toll, military service may have resulted in a death during combat, accidents that lead to loss of life all these possibilities are realities today. The child will certainly have a sense of loss or abandonment, especially young children who do not have strong memories of their father. In time, the child can come to understand and accept why Dad isn’t there. The father did not run off and leave his children, but was taken from them. Loss by Divorce or Abandonment More difficult for a child to understand is the loss of a father through divorce or abandonment. In these situations, several issues begin to surface. Often the child is troubled with what I call “assumed guilt”. He or she feels that the father loss is really the child’s fault. “If I had kept my room cleaner”, “If I had done better in school” - these are the types of thoughts that many children have. The mother needs to be aware of this type of thinking and allow the child to verbalize it, but she also needs to make it very clear to the child that it is not his/her fault that Dad is gone. The mother also needs to be careful not to go into details about why the divorce occurred (especially if there was infidelity involved). Although this Loss by Death In some ways, the “easiest” reason a child is fatherless is due to death. Illness may have taken its toll, military service may have resulted in a death during combat, accidents that lead to loss of life all these possibilities are realities today. The child will certainly have a sense of loss or abandonment, especially young children who do not have strong memories of their father. In time, the child can come to understand and accept why Dad isn’t there. The father did not run off and leave his children, but was taken from them. Loss by Divorce or Abandonment More difficult for a child to understand is the loss of a father through divorce or abandonment. In these situations, several issues begin to surface. Often the child is troubled with what I call “assumed guilt”. He or she feels that the father loss is really the child’s fault. “If I had kept my room cleaner”, “If I had done better in school” - these are the types of thoughts that many children have. The mother needs to be aware of this type of thinking and allow the child to verbalize it, but she also needs to make it very clear to the child that it is not his/her fault that Dad is gone. The mother also needs to be careful not to go into details about why the divorce occurred (especially if there was infidelity involved). Although thisdiscussion may be useful to have with older children, younger ones simply will not understand. A trap that many divorced mothers fall into is to attempt to turn the children against the father. In her anger, she will tell the children how rotten the father was and how they (the children) should not like him. Although that anger may be justified in many instances, tends to deepen the alienation between father and children. If those bonds are seriously fractured, the father will feel justified in having little or no contact with the children, especially if it means he has to put up with on-going hostility from the mother. The Displaced Dad Major shifts have taken place in American society in the last several decades. One such shift involves the workplace. More and more women are choosing to work outside the home, often competing with men for jobs. In many instances, the choice is dictated by economic factors and is often necessary for the family to survive financially. However, we see other factors in play. The current recession has led to more unemployment among males than among females. This had led to a sense of diminished self-worth among men and a sense among women that they do not need a male around in order to function. Increasingly, women are choosing not to wed. Over half the births to women under thirty are to unmarried women, and this is by their choice. Due to wide-spread acceptance of men and women living together, the idea of marriage is more often “maybe someday, but not now”. In addition, these couples are at least twice as likely as married couples to split up by the time their child turns ten years of age. The ease of abortion has made many men less likely to assume responsibility for parenthood. The expectation is that the child will be aborted. So, many men assume that the woman needs to take care of this issue without him. On the other hand, there are men who want the child to be born, but are not allowed to have a say in the matter. The current discussion is largely framed around the rights of the woman, and the father is not given a choice - in fact, he is often ignored.


Brave New World of Artificial Insemination and Anonymous Fathers Modern technology has brought us many useful advances in health care and other areas. However, there is a dark side to some of this technology. The advent of artificial insemination permits a woman to become pregnant without the direct involvement of a male by using an anonymous donor. The “father” is not known to the children and usually not known to the mother. Due to privacy concerns and legal issues, the children of such an arrangement usually never even know who the father was. What are the consequences of this type of arrangement? One recent survey showed that children produced by artificial insemination “are hurting more, are more confused, and feel more isolated from their families. They fare worse than their peers raised by biological parents on important outcomes such as depression, delinquency and substance abuse.” General Harm to Children There is a growing body of literature that starkly documents the damage to children caused by an absent father. There is a five-fold higher rate of poverty in father-absent homes. One group of middleschoolers that did not live with both biological parents showed four times the rate of depression than those in a two-parent family. Children in father-absent families have much higher rates of crime and incarceration. Girls in families without fathers show a much higher rate of teen pregnancy. And the list goes on. What Do We Do? To be continued in our Summer issue. . .


Reconciliation Impossible? NEVER!

Continuation from “The Writing is on the Wall” which was printed in the Winter 2011 issue of Faith Filled Family By Sarah Kuepfer

On March 28, 2012, I celebrated my wedding anniversary. This is a miracle. A year ago, I was ready to file for divorce, and two years ago, I had a restraining order against my husband. It has been an amazing road to restoration, and I can testify that not only have we completely reconciled, but our family has welcomed our 4th child, now 6 months old. The past two years have been incredibly challenging, both in growth and difficulty. Becoming a single parent with all its challenges, grieving what I thought was the death of my marriage, and giving up my hopes and dreams of family was emotionally draining. It’s true - divorce is as devastating as the death of a spouse, perhaps even more so, with the guilt and confusion that come with it, and the agony of still being able to see, communicate and interact with the other person. The physical work of parenting then three young bewildered girls, trying to protect them, and explain why their mother and father were no longer going to live together was exhausting, and added another layer to my own emotional distress. There were long nights when I cried myself into exhausted, restless sleep, angry at my husband, angry at God. How could He (and I wasn’t always clear on who “he” was) do this to me? How did this happen? What did I do wrong? What did I do to deserve this? I felt unfairly punished and utterly confused. My questions were never fully answered, and I realized I really didn’t need the answers. Slowly, through articles, books, Christian mentors and friends, God showed me the true meaning of forgiveness and gave me comfort and strength.


I learned to forgive my husband for all the pain and for his desertion of us. I learned to take responsibility for my part in the demise of our relationship - and more importantly, to leave his with him, without blame! That was a major stumbling block for me. I needed to accept that he was responsible for his abuse of me, without holding it against him. I wanted to blame him, to make him somehow pay me back, to hurt him the way he had hurt me. But I needed to let go of what he owed me -- because he did owe me! In the process of forgiveness, I decided to give that debt to God. I figured God would be far more likely to collect. I took great satisfaction in the verse that says “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay.” For awhile, that allowed me to learn to not hold my pain against my husband. But soon, I realized even that was wrong. I had to become compassionate, to love as God loved, and to love him as my enemy, as Jesus commanded. What helped here was learning about the spiritual law of sowing and reaping - what you sow, you shall reap. And my husband had not sown well. As I learned about the pain that, short of a miracle, would be visited on him, it was a key that turned my heart towards him. Though I no longer loved him as I once did, I did feel sorry for him. I also had to learn to forgive myself. Not that my actions and attitudes were ok or justified, but that I couldn’t change or fix it. God still loved me, I was still a Christian, and I was still righteous in His sight, because of Jesus. Because of God’s great love and mercy, I could deal with the consequences. Forgiveness was the first miracle. And while I was learning forgiveness, God was doing a miracle in my husband -- a spiritual “heart transplant.” God had used my statement of finality (divorce and moving away) to grab my husband’s attention and start the process of growing him up (finally!). Just as my perspective had to change from what he owed me to what was owed him -- his focus changed from what he wanted to what I needed, from his pleasure to making me happy. His heart turned towards me, and he began to want to do whatever it took to make me happy. We were learning this separately, but God was bringing us together. When I told my husband I was filing for divorce, I also told him I was moving with our kids to another city, 8 hours away. He and I arranged for monthly visitation, and he stayed with family nearby for the weekends he would visit. After the first visit, he asked if he could call once a week to talk to the kids, and I consented. Then it grew to 2-3 times a week, and after the second visit, he and I were talking nightly. He asked me to tell him everything I was feeling and thinking, and believe me, I didn’t hold back. Yet, through it all, he didn’t once get angry at me, or yell at me over the phone, and he never once pushed my boundaries.

I sensed his restraint and his trying to show me that he really did respect me. We began discussing what it would take to bring our marriage together, and steps we thought we should take. I was very hesitant, but willing to try, slowly, very slowly. We were going to “start over” as if we hadn’t met, and “date” with the goal of getting remarried eventually. My thought was that it would take years before I would be ready… But God had other plans. Christmas 2010 was special. My husband had decided to follow us to where we had moved, and had found a new job there. He was considering moving in with his family nearby, and had come down a week before his job started. I agreed to let him visit us every day that week, and even more, agreed to let him stay overnight Christmas Eve, so he could see the kids Christmas morning. Well, I decided to give him a “special” Christmas present… And God took my gift to give me a special blessing, our third miracle. Against all odds, our fourth child was conceived. With the news of our baby coming (and I had to have it confirmed by ultrasound because I couldn’t believe it!), we couldn’t exactly act as though it were all brand new. Plus, I now needed to find a new place to live, as a 2 bedroom apartment was cramped with 3 kids, let alone 4. Our fourth miracle was brought about in April 2011. God knew exactly what we needed. As soon as we said “yes” to moving in together, he provided the home, a 2 week moving date, a landlord that wanted to sell and was willing to accommodate us, plus a couple that was able to take over my old lease. Within 2 weeks, we were unpacking in our new home that had all I wanted in a house, right down to a sidewalk outside (though it was a small village we had moved to) and a store I could walk to - across the street! - plus more, including a huge yard, a garden plot, and a swing set for the kids. The final miracle was the provision of the tools we needed to start the process of learning how to be married again, without abuse, destructive patterns, and constant fighting, and to deal with the past. We needed to learn how to relate to each other in a healthy way, to communicate effectively without hurting the other, and to work together as a team. We found a great book and DVD series, by a couple who had survived 10 years of abusive marriage ending in infidelity, and had their own miracle (for more info, check out www.godsavemymarriage.com). Today, we can stand before the world united. We have a home, a life, a church together. Our hearts are slowly becoming one and our family is healing. We’re excited to celebrate God’s transforming power evidenced in our lives, and testify to His glory that He made this possible. Thanks be to God - for nothing is impossible with Him. And we cannot wait to see what He will do next, in and through and for us!


Family Covenant: Establishing a Firm Foundation By Stan E. Dekoven, PhD

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everal months ago I was called by a Pastor with a most urgent request. He had been counseling a very troubled couple regarding their relationship. The couple were both born again believers, faithful in their local church, and professed to love each other deeply. Yet their marriage was frequently on the verge of destruction! By using the best available skills and a heart of compassion, the Pastor was able to keep them out of divorce court, but was unable to make significant progress towards a more satisfying relationship. My question to this fine man of God was simple, yet important, in the care of Christian couples: What was their original agreement or covenant with one another, and where are they now in tents of agreement or covenant in their present relationship? The importance of covenant cannot be overstated. We serve a covenant making and keeping God. We are called the “covenant people” of the Lord. In business, agreements that are usually in wilting are not only good business but keep the honest person honest. Very few people would enter into a business arrangement without a clear understanding of the terms, needs, requirements, etc. Yet when it comes to marriage and family we romantically assume that love will be enough to sustain a relationship. I can state categorically, after 20 years of marriage and thousands of hours of counseling couples and families, it just isn’t so. Marriage and family life takes work, which begins with commitment to a covenant. The Nature of Covenant In Dennis Guernsey’ book called The Family Covenant, he states, “covenant is a promise or commitment binding two parties to one another unconditionally. The concept is illustrated by the relationship between God and the nation of Israel as recorded in Deuteronomy 7:6-9:


“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all peoples that are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his ‘love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples; but it is because the Lord loves you, and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” (RSV) The children of Israel wandered all over the wilderness and in Canaan, and not just physically. They were frequently rebellious against the blessed covenant of the Lord. Yet God never disallowed the covenant, but continuously showed mercy, kindness and unconditional love towards his chosen people. Regardless of the level of discouragement and disappointment the Lord expressed (Ex. 32: 1-32) he faithfully kept his promise and commitments. The story of the children of Israel is a type for us and for our instruction. God made an eternal covenant with his people that were not negated by the sin or apostasy of his beloved. So it is to be when we enter into the covenant of marriage. It is truly for richer and for poor, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Especially with a Christian marriage, it should begin on a foundation of faithfulness and honesty, love and mutual respect, and on the fundamental truths of God’s word. There is no other foundation that will stand the test of time than a Biblical foundation. Relational Realities All relationships go through various stages of development. It is important to re-evaluate ones commitment or covenant during times of transition. A review of the stages will prove helpful, remembering that these stages are not excuses for lack of covenant faithfulness. I.The Romantic Stage: This is a time where love or at least romantic love is deaf, dumb, blind and often stupid. Our lover has no flaws, is practically perfect in every way, and is overwhelmed with the emotions of wonder and bliss. It is not a disease but it seems that way. 2. The Bargaining Stage: You know you have hit this stage when you look over at your spouse in the morning and wonder about the wisdom of your choice. You begin to see the weaknesses in your mate and begin to bargain with the changes that you believe are necessary. That is, “I will change if you will change” This is often the beginning of power struggles in the relationship. 3. The Coercive Stage: Bargaining time is over, you demand that your spouse change to fit your needs/wants. Even the prayer life changes to “Lord, fix this person you have saddled me with, lest I perish before my time”! 4. The Desperation Stage: The stage at which most couples either make it or do not is this stage. Essentially, the decision is made that I will do anything to make the relationship work or get out. Desperation leads to decision. This is also the time the Pastor usually sees a couple for the “miracle cure”. 5.The Acceptance Stage: The acceptance of each other, with strengths and weaknesses, is required for a long term successful relationship. Without accepting each other (not sin, but differences, etc.) as we are, and the agreements of the covenant before the Lord, we are doomed to conflict and bitter disappointment. Contract Versus Covenant When I work with a couple on renewing or strengthening their relationship, I inevitably return to the foundation of their marriage. MI do so, I will often discover faulty beliefs, lack of Biblical understanding, unforgiveness due to a sense of past betrayal (broken promises, etc.) and a nonexistent or weak

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covenant. When introducing the concept of a renewed covenant, I will receive vociferous resistance from at least one of the couple. This occurs because of the misunderstanding of covenant versus contract. A contract is a legally (legalistic by definition) binding agreement based upon mutually agreed upon conditions or performance. That is, I will do something if you will do something. Conversely, if you do not perform according to our agreement or my standards (whatever they may be) than I am not obligated to perform for you. God has not called we believers to a contract. We could never perform to the specifications to meet the Holy standards of God, thus requiring the Christ. In many marriages, a contract (un-written) exists between the couple that has not been adequately kept according to one or both of the parties. This conditional love will never work in a truly Spirit filled relationship. With a covenant, our love and commitment is unconditional. Certainly, there are consequences for breaking or violating the covenant (such as in sexual immorality) but our attitude is to be that of Christ’s. It is an agreement where there is not a guarantee of the avoidance of disappointment, discouragement, or even betrayal, but the covenant is unconditional commitment regardless of circumstances, character, personality, likes and dislikes, or weaknesses. Our covenant to our spouse is to be as Christ’s is with his church; unconditional commitment until we become all he created us to be. The foundation of every relationship is covenant. That is the way God designed us. We as the people of God must be willing to Look into the Law of Christ, the law of love, and periodically review our level of covenant with the Lord, our Spouse, our Children and every other significant relationship. As we look into the mirror of God’s word and learn to be a covenant maker and keeper, we will find our relationships deeper, more satisfying, and infinitely more meaningful while protecting ourselves from the ravages of the world system. Finally, we will avoid the devastation of Family Burnout, which we will discuss next time. For additional study on the Covenant Principles of marriage see the following scriptures: Col 3: 18-21, Eph. 5:22-6:4, 1 Pet. 3: 1-12.1 Cor. 7: 1-7, I John 4: 7, 8 For more information on this topic, the reader is referred to the following books: Marriage and Family Life: A Christian Perspective, by Dr. Stan DeKoven Christian Life: Patterns in Gracious Living, by Dr. Ken Chant Vision Publishing


Be Careful Little Eyes What You See!

Clean Hands, Pure Hearts in a Filthy World By Lisa Carter

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he other day I asked my 13-year-old daughter to show me her recent history of conversations on Facebook. I did this because I realized that foolishly, I had not been keeping track of who she was communicating with. I reluctantly allowed her to have an account only because she is a good student in school and obedient at home. I knew how much she wanted a Facebook account especially since nearly all of her friends had one. I am happy to say that I was able to give her an “A+” grade on her conversations on Facebook which she kept brief and clean. She had no idea I was going to do this, and that is why I was so pleased with the result. What scares me is that the outcome could have been very different. I admit I have not been as cautious as necessary about what my children watch and listen to in the past. I have been aware of the filth that is out there, and have tried to curb their viewing as best I knew how. I regret though, that I did not actively seek out ways to prevent certain things being viewed. Movies that contained mild nudity, violence and profane language, were sometimes briefly witnessed by my children. During those times, I usually sat with the remote control in hand and would press the “guide” and “mute” buttons to block the unfavorable movie scene. Lead By Example I have made up my mind that if it is inappropriate for my kids to watch, it is inappropriate for me to watch. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (NIV) Children are likely to do what they see their parents do. Therefore, I have a serious obligation to be sure that what they see me do is the right thing. If a TV show or movie contains nudity, violence, or language that takes the Lord’s name in vain, it is inappropriate viewing for all of us-not just the children. During family television time, they may watch their favorites. I am thankful that the programs they desire to watch are clean and family-friendly. The same is true of the sites they visit on the internet. My son favors NBA game highlights, my oldest daughter may engage in facebook or listen to her favorite (Mom approved) tunes, and my youngest daughter plays approved online games. There are even more aggressive ways to protect my children’s moral excellence and innocence-their virtue. While I admit to fumbling a few times, I refuse to drop the ball. My children know that we are a Christian family who live in a Christian home, and that means we are set apart. We do not do, say, watch, accept, just anything that comes across the media airwaves. I have tried to make them very


much aware of what is and is not appropriate. Plant The Seed of God’s Word Psalms 119:128 says, “and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.” This scripture reminds me that it is so crucial to teach and train my children up the right way-in the light of God’s word and truth. I am told that before the internet made information widely available, Secret Service officers and personnel underwent training to detect counterfeit dollar bills. At that time, they were never actually shown a counterfeit dollar bill. They were instead trained to study every line, number, and word of the real dollar bill. What am I saying? Simply this-it is preferable to teach what is right rather than to spend too much time pointing out what is wrong. I remind myself of this regularly. Our children are keen and have minds of their own. It is our duty to shape them as much as possible by gravitating their impressionable minds toward God. If we only point out what’s wrong with the world, they may be tempted to listen to their peers and take on a contrary viewpoint. After all, our enemy is still just as subtle as ever. He wants to plant a seed of doubt. Pointing to only what is wrong encourages that opportunity.

roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV). To not pray daily for our children’s safety is like letting them loose to play in the jungle. It is also a good thing to teach them how to pray. Encouraging them to talk to God just as easily as they talk to their friends can help to foster a greater love and a heart for Jesus at a young age. I encourage my children to pray to the Lord about anything, and everything. I want them to get to know Him for themselves. It may be that someone is reading this that may feel as though they did not do everything they could to protect their children’s virtue. I want you to know it is not too late. None of us are perfect, and the good news is, perfection is not a requirement for the job as a parent. All that is required is that you show up for work everyday, and that you are present in mind and body-ready to do your best. If you have not started putting these principles into effect, I encourage you to start now. _______________

With the Word of God embedded into them as youngsters, this opportunity shrinks considerably. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that Bio: Lisa Carter is a writer and mother of 3 I might not sin against you.” God’s word is hidden in children. She resides in Stockton, CA. the heart from the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The Word in them will grow in them and flourish to enable them to follow the right path. Pondering on the topic of protecting virtue led me to an interesting blog. The homeschooling site of www.nogreaterjoymom.com also did some exploring on the issue of protecting our children’s virtue. Parents have taken some very aggressive stands in protecting their children’s virtue. Some stated they had gotten rid of their televisions for good, claiming it was “the best decision they had ever made.” Others stated that when it comes to internet, they monitor their children’s use by making certain the computer is in a family viewing area, and by using special filters such as BSafe, McAfee and others. Pray Without Ceasing I am convinced that in this day and age, daily prayer for our children is a must. We are, after all, in a battle. It is a battle on the very frontlines for our children’s protection from an enemy who wants to sift them as wheat. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a


Positive Parenting By Dr. Stan E. Dekoven

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could not believe I said it! I had vowed that I would never say what I just heard myself say! It must have been the stress of the job or a poor night’s sleep. . . but I could not get it out of my mind. Here I am a relatively intelligent, definitely committed, born again Spirit filled believer of God saying to my 4-year-old child the most stupid thing I could imagine. I was preparing to direct my intense anger and disappointment at her protruding backside while stating emphatically “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you. Don’t you ever hit your little sister again or I will beat you silly!” Amazing!


Right after I said this, it echoed from times past. I remembered my parents saying the same thing to me as I was summarily chastised by my parents. Therefore, the patterns of parenting seem to go. Positive parenting takes a combination of art and science, discipline with mercy, grace, and a sense of humor. No one is fully prepared for parenthood. Since our primary education for the task was learned in the crucible of our family of origin, certain mistakes are bound to be made. There is no such animal as a perfect parent, but with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom as found through the study of God’s word and applied human behavior, we can learn to be successful as parents of even the most problematic children (who are most likely a lot like us). KNOWLEDGE Knowledge can be gained in several ways. When it comes to parenting, most people live in a bubble of denial and ignorance. As children ourselves, we observed our parents as primary models for parenting, which can be either good or bad. This observational learning is incorporated into our primary thinking patterns and becomes entrenched and unchallenged habits. These beliefs and habits are extremely difficult to modify’, especially because most of us are thoroughly convinced that the way we were raised and our subsequent belief systems are the gospel truth. When you combine this tendency in a husband and wife from differing backgrounds, you set the stage for a potential major conflict. It is amazing to me how many young parents bemoan their upbringing, yet adhere to their own style (inherited from mom and dad) with a protective and defensive vengeance. Since no person was raised in a perfect family, there must be sufficient room for differences in style between parents. Another necessary form of knowledge acquisition is through study, reading, listening, and practicing new and different skills that are more effective and appropriate. These skills must be taught in the church and society to insure that adequate knowledge, which will lead to understanding, will be developed. UNDERSTANDING As parents, we need understanding in two primary areas: principles and practices. Many of the principles we are to live by are found in the Word of God, some are learned through observational science (stages of child development, etc.). Some of the primary principles found in God’s Word include: 1.Unconditional love- No matter what happens in the life of the child, the parent should be there to offer support and encouragement. Bad behavior is not to be ignored but the worth of the child should never be damaged. 2. Communication- A parent who listens is the one who will win the heart of the child. Never allow yourself to be too busy to listen to the thoughts and feelings of the one God have given to you. Choose words that will build up not tear down. 3. Establish controls and limits- Boundaries are a safeguard to the soul of the child in the same way that the playground fence is a protection for the toddler. A parent, who loves will gently, yet firmly, establishes behavioral limits. 4. Be available- Life should not be a list of appointments and commitments. Parents must be involved in the progressive developmental stages of a child. To be absent will force the child to get the needed advice and direction from those of their choosing and this could be very damaging. 5. Set an example- In fact, every parent does! Children become more of what they see than what they are told. Therefore, the parent should set a good example. 6. Love the Lord more than your child- The parent who puts Christ and his/her spouse first will not be taking anything away from the child, but; will be giving the greatest possible gift the child could ever receive. When a parent serves God wholeheartedly and is committed to a strong marriage, he secures God’ blessing upon his child. The exact “how’s” of this process are determined by several factors, including individual temperament, age, maturity, parenting skill, skills of the child, and over all knowledge. For instance, corporall punishment (spanking on the backside of a child) can be most appropriate and effective for a child age 2-6, but logical consequences are better for children older than 7. Taking away of privileges, writing sentences, early bed times, even work jobs can be much more effective tools of discipline. This is especially true since our primary objective as parents is to teach and train our children to be responsible and mature, so we can turn them over to God and into society when they become adults. Practical knowledge of how to positively parent must be learned through study, trial and error, and be geared to the needs of your unique child, and can be learned through advice from successful elders (Titus 3). Only a fool does not ask for help when it is needed.


WISDOM Above all, to be a positive parent takes wisdom, or the ability to apply Godly knowledge with understanding at the right place and time, and according to the needs of the child. Wisdom comes through age and experience, or from the experience of others. The later usually is better, since the former usually comes only after years of heart-breaking mistakes. Wisdom, as with Solomon, can be asked for from the Lord and He will certainly grant it if we are willing to seek it with all our hearts. Since there is no greater or more worthy vocation than parenting, or more problematic, we need all the wisdom we can obtain. CONCLUSION To be a positive parent begins with a search. First, you must search through the good and bad of your own childhood experience, reviewing your history in light of the principles of God’s Word and wise counsel. Where you’re past models fall short of God’s best, be willing to discard them and replace them with more Godly ones. Again, no parents are perfect, and you will not be either. Our goal is to be just a little better than our parents were. That is progress! Secondly, study parenting skills through reading and your own observation; do not be afraid to seek wise council of elder men and women who can help you in times of difficulty. Finally, relax. Children are a challenge--no doubt. Children can drive the best of us “about the twist” but they can also bring to us our greatest moments of joy. In parenting as in life, the goal is to see the Kingdom of God established in our home, characterized by the Apostle Paul as righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Righteousness speaks of right standing or relationship with God and one another, peace or tranquility in the midst of troubled times, and joy, which is the exhilaration of life. Dr. Bill Salsbery, Pastor and friend from Indiana, USA wrote in his church newsletter some helpful insights about parenting that will produce special blessings to one’s children. I hope they will bless you. 1. Unconditional love- No matter what happens in the life of the child, the parent should be there to offer support and encouragement. Bad behavior is not to be ignored but the worth of the child should never be damaged. 2. Communication- A parent who listens is the one who will win the heart of the child. Never allow yourself to be too busy to listen to the thoughts and feelings of the one God have given to you. Choose words that will build up not tear down. 3. Establish controls and limits- Boundaries are a safeguard to the soul of the child in the same way that the playground fence is a protection for the toddler. A parent, who loves will gently, yet firmly, establishes behavioral limits. 4. Be available- Life should not be a list of appointments and commitments. Parents must be involved in the progressive developmental stages of a child. To be absent will force the child to get the needed advice and direction from those of their choosing could be very damaging. 5. Set an example- In fact, every parent does! Children become more of what they see than what they are told. Therefore, the parent should set a good example. 6. Love the Lord more than your child- The parent who puts Christ and his/her spouse first will not be taking anything away from the child, but; will be giving the greatest possible gift the child could ever receive. When a parent serves God wholeheartedly and is committed to a strong marriage, he secures God’ blessing upon his child. Parenting in a positive manner is more than possible, it is probable if we will follow the wisdom of the Lord and be willing to change as the Lord directs. One of the best ways to insure a happy and long life and avoid family burnout is to fulfill your role to the best of your ability as a Godly parent. More next time. For more information on this topic, the reader is referred to the following books: Marriage and Family Life: A Christian Perspective, by Dr. Stan DeKoven Christian Life: Patterns in Gracious Living, by Dr. Ken Chant Vision Publishing www.booksbyvision.com Dr. Stan e Founder and President of Vision International Education Network and its programs. He is the Author of over 35 books and study guides in Practical Christian Living, which are an outgrowth of his extensive teaching ministry both nationally and internationally. Dr. DeKoven is a graduate of San Diego State University (B.A. Psychology), Webster University (M.A. Counseling), Professional School of Psychological Studies (Ph.D. Counseling Psychology), Evangelical Theological Seminary (D.Min.). He is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California, Clinical member of California and American Association’s of Marriage and Family Therapists, and the American Association of Christian Counselors.


The mystery and destiny of birth intertwined. Hear My Voice by Don Ford I am the one the world has waited for I have the answer for disease and war I come as your little bundle of joy I hope you don’t mind that I’m a boy We don’t need another child today We have to stop them coming this way We don’t even want to see your face We need to minify the human race I come with my hands lifted up to you I want to live; you need me, you do I wish you’d consider again your choice I ask you to listen and hear my voice We’ve made our decision; you must go We have to end your life you know We don’t want you to take this wrong We’re asking you to just be strong I didn’t choose to be a spark of life I know now we must face this strife I want you to know I’m forgiving you I love you whatever you choose to do

Author Notes I knew a couple in the seventies who home schooled their six children. Each child was very gifted. One became an accomplished pianist; another a fine artist. An engineer, a lawyer, a doctor, and then there was Isaiah, their youngest. Oh, he died at the age of twelve. He had fallen down a long flight of stairs and had broken his neck. But he was miraculously raised to life as a mother and father cried and prayed for him in a police car on the way to the hospital. The policeman will tell you God answers prayer. The child suddenly sat up and took a breath. That same child has gone on to be a researcher, and nearly came up with a cure for aids recently. The last I had heard was that George and Aileen, the mother and father, had moved from the U.S. to Puerto Rico to work in a hospital. George was a great friend of mine. And I remember Isaiah as such a sweet little guy. This is penned in aabb format with a dialogue going back and forth in each stanza.


Divorce and Marital Conflict: The

Elephant

in the Church

By Debbie Thurman

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everal contemporary family films, among them “The Vow,” “Courageous” and “Fireproof,” have refocused our attention as a nation on the covenantal nature of marriage and parenting. Each of these movies impacts viewers in a different way, driving home the message that marital commitment is Godordained, lifelong and holy. How much of a lasting impact such films can have remains to be seen, but their message is crucially needed. Many couples who stand before God and witnesses to be joined in holy matrimony recite traditional vows similar to this: “I take thee to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor and cherish till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance (and thereto I pledge thee my troth).” How has such a solemn, holy promise come to mean so little to so many, even among professing Christians? Enthroning Self Where God Should Be The sexual revolution of the ‘60s and ‘70s, heralded by the advent of the birth control pill and no-fault divorce laws, ushered in an era of marital apathy and unrestraint that, in the minds of many, turned the godly credo of selflessness to self-worship. Its devotees were called the Me generation. Many such “converts” came out of Christian homes, ironically, at the same time the Jesus Movement was capturing the hearts of many of their unchurched friends. A subsequent tidal wave of divorce peaked in 1970, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Its wake left countless men, women and children floundering in an emotional wasteland. Divorce stinks, and too many of us found out the hard way. “Self-fulfilling” personal freedom isn’t really either of those things. Of course, what came out of Pandora’s box does not easily go back in. While researchers disagree on the actual numbers, they estimate that anywhere from 33-50% of marriages in the United States end, or are likely to end in divorce.1 Divorce remains a travesty - a national emergency - across the demographic spectrum. “Anything that has great potential for good also has great potential for pain and brokenness. Anything that means something to God, I really believe that all hell is against it. It’s been that way since Genesis 3.” So says America Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) president, Tim Clinton, Ph. D., who has worked with many hurting married couples over his long counseling career. Scriptural Clarity in a Fallen World Gen. 1:27-28a says, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it. …’” In Gen. 2:18, 22-25 God said, “’It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’ … The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib, which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.’” Doug Weiss, Ph.D., a Christian counselor for 20 years and the author of The Miracle of Marriage, says marriage was God’s “final creation in the garden, His masterpiece. … God was creating us in His triune image. Understanding that there is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He also created a trinity on earth man, woman and Himself. … This trinity on earth is most like heaven; three beings in unity, serving and loving each other.”2 The great mystery in the miracle of marriage is how God can make of two vastly different people - a man and a woman - one holy union with Him, complete and complementary in every way. Some human incompatibility is inevitable, of course. Nineteenth-century novelist Leo Tolstoy said, “What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.” In a fallen world that remains in full rebellion against its Creator, divorce is an uncomfortable fact of life. We have become almost jaded about it in fact. Divorce is a messy business, exacting a high toll on all parties involved. If you are among the estimated one-third of Americans who have divorced - and that includes many Christians - you understand the guilt and lingering emotional wounds. Divorce is even more devastating for children, as those of us who grew up among those statistics also know. Family therapists agree that the death of a parent is less devastating to a child than dealing with the confusion of divorce. A child can learn to accept the finality of death, especially when there is the hope of an eternal resurrection.


“Abandonment is a loss greater than bereavement, as it carries with it the hope of reconciliation and the fear of not being worthy enough for that reconciliation to happen,” say Jennifer Lewis, M.D. and William Sammons, M.D., who co-authored Don’t Divorce Your Children. Research shows that children with divorced parents, even if one or both remarries, have a higher incidence of emotional and behavioral problems and perform more poorly in school than their peers from intact homes. Words of Truth and Life What hope have young couples who would like to marry, if they accept the sinful failure they see as evidence that their marriage will be doomed, rather than looking to God’s promises? Yes, there is a curse on humanity, and Genesis 3 confirms it. But that is far from the end of the story! Jesus Christ has redeemed the world from the curse of the fall, and He takes great delight in the triune concept of marriage. God spoke to His purpose for marriage and His hatred of divorce through the writers of the Old Testament and through Jesus in the New Testament. The prophet Malachi told the people of Israel that God no longer accepted their offerings because “The LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. … ‘For I hate divorce,’ says the LORD, the God of Israel …” (Mal. 2:14, 16a). In Matthew’s gospel, when some Pharisees asked him about the Mosaic law concerning divorce, Jesus first quoted from Genesis 1:28 and then from Gen. 2:25 (see above), adding the directive, “What therefore God has joined together let no man separate” (Matt. 19:6). He went on to say, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way” (Matt. 19:8). Dealing With Marital Problems When couples come face-to-face with continuing marital conflict, many believe they have only two options: stay married and be miserable, or get divorced and be happier. Right? Wrong, says the research and those who have revived failing marriages In just one of many studies on divorce, a team of family researchers from the University of Chicago, led by sociologist Linda Waite, analyzed the relationships between marriage, divorce and happiness from data collected by the National Survey of Family and Households in the late ‘80s. According to a Focus on the Family report, “Their research showed that unhappily married adults who had divorced were no happier than those who had stayed married.”3 Research also confirms that troubled marriages experience the most dramatic turnarounds when one or more of three factors is present: (1) Husbands and wives address their problems together; (2) Each spouse finds ways to improve their own lives; (3) They simply allow enough time to pass.4 When we allow God in the equation, He multiplies the effectiveness of all those options. Sadly, some marriages will face the horrors of domestic violence or abuse - physical, sexual or emotional - directed by one spouse at the other


or at one or more children in the home. Abuse can be like a ticking time bomb, materializing over time when various emotional or mental stressors are present. One spouse may exhibit a latent mental or emotional disorder, or acquire a harmful substance-abuse habit that leads to escalating violence. Sadly, too many homes harbor potentially volatile elements from day one, when men and women from dysfunctional backgrounds marry. Domestic violence can turn deadly very suddenly. When abuse is present or is being threatened, the endangered spouse must take whatever precautions are necessary to protect herself/himself and all children in the home. That may mean seeking shelter and taking whatever legal steps are called for, including separation or even divorce, if all avenues to resolve or head off the problem have proven fruitless. “God Is Still in the Miracle Business” Not only should we take great hope and comfort in observing the many long-lived first marriages around us - yes, they are there, even in the Boomer (the old Me) generation - but we also are encouraged by the overcoming stories of couples who, with God’s help, have brought their marriages back from the brink of divorce or have remarried each other after divorcing. Richard and Lisa Morgan* are one such “survivor” couple. Coming into their marriage 30 years ago with a number of strikes against them, they soon were weathering intense storms, some of their own making. Both carried the emotional baggage of a previous divorce, as well as having grown up in broken homes with alcoholic fathers. Compounding their marital pressures were a cross-country relocation, an expensive home mortgage and other debt, job difficulties, Lisa’s severe bouts of depression and finally, after 10 years of marriage and two children, her lapse into marital infidelity. They were teaching a couples’ Sunday School class when Lisa’s rebellion surfaced. “Richard had nursed me through years of mental illness. And how did I thank him for that? I became extremely selfish and felt entitled to another life to make up for what I had missed. So I went about seeking that behind his back,” said Lisa. “It was the ultimate betrayal. Most of all, it was a betrayal against God.” “I was devastated when I found out,” said Richard. “It was like a huge sucker punch to the gut. I began to hate Lisa. I could barely stand to look at her, in fact. I thought it was all over between us, that I had no choice but to put her out of our home, our family.” Instead of calling it quits, the Morgans’ decided to seek Christian counseling. Lisa began to release her grip, slowly at first, on her selfish desires. They faced many difficult days. Their moment of truth came in the middle of a sleepless night, when both felt such a devastating spiritual attack pressing in on them that they got down on their knees together, and, with clasped hands, cried out to God to save their marriage. “From that moment on, something was different,” Richard says. “There was a lightness in me when I got up off my knees. I had also prayed for the ability to truly forgive Lisa, and to love her in spite of her fall. God was answering that prayer. Divorce from then on was never an option.” “For me, the biggest battle was forgiving myself and finding the strength to allow God to restore my husband’s damaged trust in me,” Lisa added. “I had to face the painful reality of conviction as I accepted God’s forgiveness and let Him work in my heart.” Both Richard and Lisa say the hardest part of their healing journey was finding the patience to accept God’s timetable rather than seeking their own. “Little by little, as we continued to walk in faith together, God did the miracle of restoring our love for one another,” Lisa said. “Actually, He did more than that. He gave us an entirely new relationship, a more mature kind of love for one another. Richard is my hero, my rock in this life. Jesus Christ is our Rock for all eternity.” “God is still in the miracle business,” Richard concluded. “Couples looking for a quick fix for their marital woes often become frustrated, abandoning the marriage too early, thereby missing the benefits of God’s timing,” says Gary Chapman, Ph.D., author of Hope for the Separated, but probably best known for The Five Love Languages. Any couple committed to restoring their faltering marriage can draw hope from the many success stories that demonstrate the power of prayerfully staying the course and allowing Godly, trusted friends or a counselor to walk that road with them. Ministering to Divorcees in our Churches Given that a high percentage of divorcees are in our church families, Christians are faced with the need to focus on helping these men and women recover from their wounds and assimilate back into the Church. Divorce still carries a stigma within most churches (remember, God hates it), and the healing process is similar to that of any form of grief or loss. Thomas Whiteman and Randy Petersen, co-authors of


Starting Over in 2001, identified six common stages of emotional response to grief or divorce. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance and forgiveness. More and more churches are developing recovery or support groups for divorced people. There are simply too many of them in many churches for one pastor to help, given all the other forms of brokenness found within their congregations. Lay-led programs like Celebrate Recovery or the AACC’s Caring for People God’s Way provide training and resources for those called to serve in such groups. Most of us know that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In that vein, churches are seeing the value of implementing marriage preparation courses and mentoring programs for those contemplating marriage or for struggling married couples. Seasoned Christian marriage experts, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, believe couples should anticipate, before marrying, the kinds of issues that can damage or end their marriage. That is why they authored their classic book, Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, and why they have recently launched a Marriage Mentoring Initiative (MMI) program (www.marriagementorsite.com). “Taking time to understand these issues is like investing in an insurance policy against divorce,” said Leslie Parrott, in the introduction to their book. For more information or resources concerning marriage from a Christian perspective - mentoring/ counseling or divorce and recovery - visit: Focus on the Family www.focusonthefamily.com American Association of Christian Counselors www.aacc.net Family Dynamics Institute www.familydynamics.net Marriage and Family Life (Dr. Gary Chapman) www.garychapman.org Marriage Mentoring Initiative (Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott) www.marriagementorsite.com. 1. Holly Hudson, “Defining Divorce,” 2002, Focus on the Family.com 2. Doug Weiss, Ph.D., “The Miracle of Marriage,” Ministry Today magazine http://www.ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/features/19296-the-miracle-of-marriage, Nov. 2011 3. Chris L. Stollar, “Divorce: Is it the Answer?” 2002, Focus on the Family.com 4. Ibid. *Not their real names All Scripture quoted is from the NASB.


Feminist and Feminista By Helen Murray Angelique the feminist had battles on her hands. She marched with suffragettes along a dozen deferent strands. She spoke out loud and clear about unequal wages paid, And why a woman couldn’t then invest in real estate. Angelica Feminista studied all her strides, And said, “We can go further. We’ll climb up the tall hillsides. We’ll stand on top of these great hills and take the men-folk down. We do not need them anyway apart from their seed sown.” Angelique looked overseas and saw that, in despair, The women folk were suffering far more than their fair share. Burned in their husbands’ funeral pyres and battered slaves at home, She worked among those sisters so that she could save just some. Angelica decided that men had it all too good. Her armies found their secret hideouts, stomped on them, and shook. They captured male fortresses of work and social life, Demanding that they take the crown in each detail of strife. Angelique found prostitutes, who never had a chance, And brought them to a freedom where they could, delighted, dance! She struggled for the girls who must take female circumcision, And still she fights to save her sisters from such male derision. Angelica found many tricks to persuade other peoples That women are greatly superior to males of the species. She talked at length until they thought indeed she must be right. He voice was loud and getting louder, screaming through the night. While Angelique worked hard to find the women in distress, And change the laws to show the world that love could change the mess, And women, educated, kind, could lift the bar for all, Especially for children suffering - justice must now rule, Angelica marched on to stomp on male privilege, Unite the lesbians and spread the tale that they were equal - plus, That equal rights meant 50% of women everywhere, Must be preferred to brilliant men for opportunities shared. Angelica and Angelique met in the bar one day. Angelica asked Angelique for an experimental roll in the hay! “We must work together sister, don’t you understand We all have rights to be the way we like?” She flashed her hand. “Women now have evolved to be the rulers of this earth.


It’s natural. Oh don’t you see?” Outburst of raucous mirth! Angelique could not believe what her sister had proposed, And, horrified, fell backwards, for she truly had supposed That sisters all were gentle and of just one single mind, To offer kindness, faithfulness, and a caring, generous hand. She never could imagine how the rule of life became “A woman takes the dominant role, and bullies just the same.” She saw the very family life she wanted to reclaim Was being torn down by women taking on the role of men, And men-folk, newly single, from their children ostracized, While feministas gave the men the chores they now abhorred! She soon discovered the verbal abuse slapped on the minds of our People who dared to argue with the feminist TOWER OF POWER! So Angelique and distant cousin Angelica turned then. Opposition. Angelique now stood in defense of Men! Meanwhile, big business carried on ignoring government ways. They bought up all the indigenous land and sold it overseas They mined the farms and bought the food from other lands these days, And said, when questioned regarding the cost, “It’s always (l)user pays!”


Shroud of Turin Part One

He is risen!

Written By Jan O’Kane


I

recently had the honor of inter viewing Doctor Alan Whanger and his lovely wife Mary. This gracious couple took me and my husband to the research center for the Council for the Study of the Shroud of Turin (CSST). Many people may not know of the Shroud of Turin but it is considered by many as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Knowing this, I would like to provide for our r e a d i n g audience some of the details about these dedicated researchers and the Shroud. The imprint on the cloth is nothing short of a miracle, but there are detractors who do not believe in the Shroud. Personally, my reaction after seeing the work and the research is that if you cannot accept in your heart that this is an authentic religious relic, then just seeing the torture this person endured should invoke some sort of heartfelt feeling.


Faith Filled Family Magazine: Mary, how did the two of you become interested in the Shroud? Mary: Alan is a physician and an avid photographer, and one day while browsing through The Little Professor Bookstore, he came across a book that caught his interest mostly because of the unique picture on the front cover. Since I am not the photographer that Alan is, I was not as enthralled as he was in the book. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Alan, what happened after finding the book? Alan: In 1977 I did purchase the book entitled The Sacred Shroud by Thomas Humber. I did not know at that time this book would make such a life changing situation for me and Mary. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Mary, what can you tell us of the history of the Shroud of Turin? Mary: This was a premium piece of cloth used by only the very elite. It was made of extremely fine linen. It is thought that Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Joseph was a believer in Jesus, but because of his fear of the Jews, he did not expound on his faith. He made arrangements to bury Jesus in a tomb that had previously been prepared for himself. He also supplied the fine linen measuring 14 feet three inches long and three feet seven inches wide. This cloth was used as the burial cloth of Our Lord, and later came to be known as the Shroud of Turin. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Alan, how does science explain the image on the Shroud? Alan: The Shroud is the most intensively studied object in history. Years of research have shown that it was formed by a burst of complex radiation coming from the dematerializing body about 30 to 36 hours after death. How this happened is still a great mystery and cannot be fully explained by science. Due to flawed carbon dating many have preferred to believe it is a hoax created around the time of the 13th century. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Alan, why do you refer to it as the flawed carbon dating? Alan: It is known that there were to be seven samples removed from the cloth and various tests done. But only one section was removed and it was removed along a mended seam in a repaired or rewoven area. Faith Filled Family Magazine: How and why was a seam added to the cloth? Alan: The Shroud was damaged by fire in 1532. It had been kept in a silver box, and the molten silver dropped onto the cloth. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Alan, how do you know that it is not a hoax? Alan: Following the history of the Shroud, you will see that it can be documented back to the time of King Abgar V. This would have been around 30 AD. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Mary, can you tell us of this historic trail? Mary: In the year 30 AD, King Abgar V of Edessa was believed to be suffering from leprosy. His own pagan healers failed to help him in his search for a return to good health, so he wrote to Jesus asking him to come and heal him. Jesus wrote to him that he had not yet completed his work in Jerusalem but he would send a disciple later. Shortly after this exchange Jesus was crucified. Copies of these letters still exist today. Historical records show that Thaddeus, also believed to be Judas the Zealot, brought to King Abgar the cloth that revealed the crucified body of Christ. At the time it was sealed in a cloth envelope with only the face showing. This icon was known as the “Mandylion” or face cloth. King Abgar was cured of his affliction, became a convert to Christianity, and had the likeness of the pagan god of the city destroyed and a tile image of the Shroud face take its place mounted above the main city gate with the inscription “Christ the God. He who hopes in thee is never disappointed” engraved above it. As Edessa was a city along the trade routes between the Mediterranean and the Far East, the image and stories of Christ’s power became well known. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Mary, after King Abgar died, what happened to the Shroud? Mary: After King Abgar died in 55 AD, King Ma’nu, a known pagan, came to power in 57 AD. He persecuted the Christians and wanted the new icon destroyed, but the miraculous cloth was hidden to prevent its destruction.Faith Filled Family Magazine: What happened after this point in history? Mary: In the year 525 AD, about a third of the city Edessa was almost destroyed by a flood. While repairing the city gate workers, found the icon. By this point the city was once again Christian and was recognized as the City of Churches. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Did the relic remain in Edessa? Mary: No. In the year 944, Romanus I, the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, decided his last act in office would be to bring the Icon to Constantinople, the capital of the Empire, which had a collection of Christian icons. This treasure, however, was not to come easily. Romanus sent troops to Edessa and laid siege to the city for six months. Even though the city was now under Muslim rule, the people of Edessa wanted to keep their treasured icon. Obtaining the Shroud cost Romanus many concessions and promises for the people of Edessa to finally relinquish their precious relic.


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Faith Filled Family Magazine: So now the Shroud is in Constantinople. What happened to it next? Mary: One thing we should clear up. As far as the people of these ancient times knew, they had only a face cloth. The Mandylion remained in Constantinople until 1204. The Fourth Crusade overran and ransacked the city and carted off many of the church’s relics, including this most famous image. From 1204 until 1357 when the Shroud surfaced in the small village of Lirey France, the history of its whereabouts is unclear. Many believe that it was in the possession of the Knights Templar in both France and England. Most likely the icon was smuggled back to France and placed on public display. Somehow Geoffrey de Charny gained control of the icon and brought it to Lirey in 1357. It was put on public display and was then declared to be the true burial shroud of Christ. Faith Filled Family Magazine: But the Shroud is known as the Shroud of Turin, so it must have been moved again, true? Mary: Yes, in 1434 Margaret de Charny relinquished ownership to the Savoy family, the ruling house of France and Italy, and it was moved to the royal capitol of Turin, Italy in 1578. A special chapel was built for the sole purpose of housing the Shroud. This chapel is in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist which adjoins the royal palace. Faith Filled Family Magazine: So from 1578 to the present it has remained in Turin? Mary: Actually, it was removed for a time to safeguard it during World War II. Upon the death of Umberto II in 1983, the exiled king of Italy, the Shroud passed by his will into the possession of the Vatican. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Alan, can you explain why early pictures of Christ all seem to have a striking resemblance? Alan: The image of Jesus’ face was well known in Edessa starting in AD 30 and had a massive impact on deities throughout the Near and Middle East beginning in AD 31. The earliest Christians were not in favor of depictions of Jesus, but these began appearing in Christian art in the early third century. Most of these were based on or influenced by the Shroud image, but some showed Jesus as a youth. From the time the Shroud was found again in Edessa in 525 on, most depictions of the face of Jesus were more or less accurately based on the Shroud face image. Some of the early depictions (icons) are so accurate that they could have been produced only by the iconographer looking directly at the Shroud as the model. This is merely the top of the research you have done on the topic. I would like the opportunity to visit with you again and go over more of your research. I know we have not covered any of your dedicated research findings.

If anyone in the reading audience has questions, please forward them to Michelle at michelledanko@shaw.ca. I know there is a lot to grasp, and I would like to answer all the questions people may have for Alan and Mary Whanger.


Judge Not Lest Ye Be

Convicted!

By Chima Njoku-Latty

O n a chat show that I was watching one morning a while back there was a huge argument raging between an ex-prostitute and a 70-year-old man’s daughter who believed that the ex-prostitute was taking advantage of her father. According to the ex-prostitute, she was doing no harm - in fact she was helping the man, as he often forgot to take his much needed medication if she didn’t go round to remind him. “Hmmm,” I t h o u g h t , beginning to side with her. She’s not sleeping with him; she’s not living with him. She’s helping him. “So what’s the problem?” “He’s my dad,” raged the daughter, as if in response to me. “And she’s been nicking off ‘im-” “No I haven’t!” came back the equally angry retort. “And I’ll take a lie detector test to prove it.” “We can’t say fairer than that,” the host of the show jumped in. “She’ll do a lie detector test and then you can both come back for the results - the truth.” “I’m not coming back,” the daughter hissed. The host looked befuddled. “But it’s the only way you’ll get the truth,” he stressed. She didn’t respond. “It’s what you want, isn’t it?” No, it wasn’t and the host had missed the point.

He’s my dad was the point and she didn’t want a woman like that anywhere near him. Even if she’s helping him possibly stay alive” some of you may be asking. Even if. I know this, because I once found myself in a similar mindset. Years before my father died and when I was much, much younger, he and I went over to my brother’s restaurant for a bite to eat. There was a woman seated at our usual table. Once the staff saw us arrive, they began t o unceremoniously usher her from it. Noticing this, I felt embarrassed and was on the verge of going to protest against their behavior and suggest that, as it was a table for six, if she didn’t mind, we could share it. That’s when I got a better look at her. She was very obviously a prostitute. I stopped in my tracks and pretended not to notice what was happening. My father noticed and was outraged! He rushed over. “Will you behave yourselves,” he barked at the waiters. Turning to the woman, he smiled kindly. “I’m terribly sorry, madam, for their behavior,” he apologized. “But sir,” one of the waiters tried to protest, but daddy brushed him aside.


I sidled up to my father. “She’s a prostitute,” I whispered, just in case he hadn’t noticed. And such a woman being there could be bad for business for my brother, I’d decided. But I may as well have not spoken at all. Having looked round, my father noticed that there weren’t any other tables at which we could sit. We were hungry and in a hurry. He turned back to the lady. “Forgive me, madam,” he resumed. “My daughter and I are in a hurry and we would most appreciate it if you would do us the honor of allowing us to share your table for a quick bite to eat.” “That’ll be fine,” she consented with a grateful smile. “God bless you,” was his reply, which shamed me more than if I’d been paraded around the square naked. Why? Because with those three words he was reminding me of what I was supposed to be. I was supposed to be a practicing Catholic and my father’s daughter, which meant I was supposed to know and behave better. I was supposed to be the voice that speaks up against, instead of perpetuating, injustice; the voice that was supposed to protect, instead of condemn, the marginalized. And yet without thought, I had jumped on the side of the supposed moral high ground. The same moral high ground on which bigots of all categories stand to condemn others as being inferior to them due to color, religion, class, finances and lots more. The same moral high ground that, if you asked me now, I would swear blindly that I have eradicated from my system. But have I? I cannot truly answer yes or no, but I’m hoping and praying that, God willing, when this Lenten period of 40 days of fasting and thorough self-assessment is over, I will come through at the other side truly reborn in Christ, my Savior and at one with my God in my thoughts, words and deeds. And this brings me to the crux of this article: What is Lent and what should it mean to us Christians? Lent is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning spring - a time of renewal and fresh life. For us Christians, it is the 40-day period in the church calendar that precedes Resurrection Sunday. It is the period when we are most called to assess our lives and how we are living in relation to our faith as Christians, regardless of denomination. Why? Because many of us Christians, who are genuinely striving to follow Christ, experience times (like I did in the story above) when our human preferences and moral high grounds war against the teachings of God. At times, making judgments with contemporary political, social and religious sentiments seems more beneficial and more “righteous” than loving our Lord, heeding His voice and holding fast to Him. I’m confident that there will be some people reading this article and shaking their heads, saying, “that’s not me.” If it’s not, then God bless you; you’re a far better person than the rest of us mere mortals. But for us mortals, we will and we do fall time and time again. It could be when we’re rushing to work or somewhere that we deem important and that homeless person on the sidewalk gets in the way. “Oh, for the love of God!” we may curse in our minds without feeling it enough in our hearts to truly consider that that person is Christ before us, there in that frozen huddle. If we TRULY loved him, we should show our love by stopping and maybe handing him the cup of coffee in our hand, or maybe even buying him some breakfast. But that would make us late, wouldn’t it? But I bet some of the people who survived the September 11 tragedy solely because they were late and missed a train or bus don’t look at lateness in the same way any more. During Lent, we Christians are called to let go of our humanness and its conditioning and to focus on true corporal and spiritual fasting as a condition of discipleship. Now that Jesus is no longer with us in body, we are invited to keep communion with Him by doing as He did when He was on earth: He fasted for those 40 days in the wilderness, so we fast during the 40 days leading up to the commemoration of His crucifixion. He adhered unconditionally to the commandments of God, especially to the call to holiness (Leviticus19 verse 2). We must too, by unconditional love of our neighbor, which mirrors Jesus’ unconditional love for us shown by His death on the cross for us. Why? Because, “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily…” (Isaiah 58: 8) “And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places” (Isaiah 58: 11) “And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;” God knows that the majority of us need rebuilding before we get to that great judgment day, lest we be the ones saying, as Jesus predicted, “Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you”? So may this Lenten period be for us a time of humble reflection that will bring forth spring into the world, in our lives and through our lives, not just for a few days or months, but for the rest of our lives.


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September brings cooler weather, brilliant colors in nature, harvest time on farms and in gardens, and back-to-school sales and registrations. Today, there are more options than ever for the education of your children. It isn’t just a matter of which school, but for many, it’s a matter of whether or not they send their kids to school at all. Home schooling today is more popular than ever since the beginning of public school education. Personally, we have home schooled since birth and currently have a 3rd grader and a kindergartener, and two younger children. Home schooling is trendy, cool and chances are you know someone who is home schooling or is considering home schooling. Perhaps that someone is you. With the controversies over curriculum choices, standardized testing, funding and the myriad other problems found in schools, it’s no wonder home schooling is attractive to many. The reasons for home schooling vary as much as the families who are home schooling. Academic success, moral and religious values, flexibility, parental responsibility and protection of children from violence, bullies or perceived attacks at school all rank high as various motivations to home school.

HOMESCHOOLING

Determining Fa


act From Fiction By Sarah Kuepfer


H

ome schooling is simply the act of educating children outside of a formal institution. Before 1850, this was the norm for most children around the world. There are many famous home schooled people in history, including presidents such as George Washington, inventors and scientists, such as Thomas Edison.

Does it have to look like school? Where do I find curriculum? How do I choose?

Home schooling varies in approach as much as in motivation. From “school-at-home” with blackboards, textbooks and recess, to “unschooling” where life itself is the classroom, home schooling is flexible and matches learning and teaching styles with family life and schedules. There are 6 major approaches to home schooling, and each has its pros and cons: School-at-home: this is recreating the school experience in your home. Often done with charters, distance learning, online or computer schooling, this can be very time-intensive. It is extremely structured, and provides the parental hands-on control and one-on-one teaching many families desire. Textbook/school-in-a-box: With this approach, parents and students work with a comprehensive curriculum that contains every subject, and most of the planning is done already. It tends to be more flexible as there aren’t the externally-imposed deadlines that working with a charter school would impose, but it is still very time-intensive and usually academically challenging. This approach works great for parents who love checklists and are hesitant about their own teaching ability, and kids who learn systematically and sequentially. Wellknown Christian curricula that fit this style include Sonlight, Abeka and ACE. Classical: This approach comes from a belief in learning “stages” in children, and that exposure to good literature and history will develop skills to learn every other skill in life. At each stage Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net in learning, there are different activities to develop skills. Curriculum choices here include The Well-Trained Mind and Teaching the Trivium. Charlotte-Mason style: This approach to home schooling is based on an educator and child sociologist from the 1800s named Charlotte Mason. She firmly believed that children needed only to be guided, read to, and exposed to learning at early ages, with more direct instruction waiting until they were older. Narration/dictation, nature studies and literature form the basis of education. This is great for parents who value reading and allowing children to develop naturally, and provides great flexibility in time and learning styles. Not so great for parents who don’t want to plan on their own, or for kids who need structure. Curricula choices include Five in a Row, Heart of Wisdom, and Heart of Dakota, among others. Unit Study: This is a themed approach, where instead of dividing learning by subject (math, english, geography etc,) learning is divided into “themes”. Perhaps it is a book, or a historical time period, or a country, or song, or whatever has captured the imaginations of the family, but in studying that theme, all the subjects are covered. For example, in studying trains, students would read stories about trains, learn the history of railroad (and maybe early America while they were at it), the science of locomotion, learn math while figuring out how far and fast they can go, how much they cost to run and build, draw pictures or build models of trains,...well, you get the idea. This can be very low-cost and very effective in teaching the relatedness of everything, but does require a lot of pre-planning on the parents’ part. Unit studies work very well with kids who learn best by getting their hands dirty and when teaching multiple ages. Curricula choices here might be Tapestry of Grace, Mystery of History or My Father’s World, among others. Unschooling: Also known as child-led, or delight-directed schooling, unschooling is very hands-off, unscripted and may not resemble any form of “school” at all. An off-shoot of attachment parenting,


unschooling developed from the belief that children will learn the skills and information they need when they need to learn them. The premise is that without interference, children are constantly learning and will learn gladly and eagerly what they want to know, as their interests direct them. Parents “strew” their children’s paths with books, games, activities and enable their children’s interests with opportunities for further exploration. Unschooling is not for the hesitant or unsure, but for those families committed to doing life together as a family. Eclectic home schooling is where most families will find themselves. They may be relaxed about learning to read, but use a formal curriculum for math and do unit studies for history and geography. They may love a literature foundation of learning, but want a traditional science curriculum. Eclectic home schooler’s pick and choose from curriculum and approaches based on their children, lifestyle and even just the season of life they are in at that moment. This is the most adaptive form of home schooling, and blends scheduling with flexibility.

Is it legal? I’m not qualified! How do I start?

One of the most common questions about home schooling is that of qualifications and legalities. While each state and country has their own laws, home schooling is legal in one form or another across North America, and in most of the Western world. The first place to start looking for your local regulations would be with a local home schooling support group. If you Google home school support group in your location, chances are you’ll find more than one website to help you. Parents often feel overwhelmed at the thought of being responsible for their children’s education, but they really shouldn’t. After all, teaching children to read and write is just as easy as it was to teach them to walk and talk, eat using a spoon, zip a zipper and use the toilet. With all the choices of teaching materials and supports out there, teaching children the skills that enable them to learn, and the information they need to know is not that difficult, though it does require work. How do you start? That depends on where you’re starting. If you are like me, and considered home schooling as opposed to sending them to school at all, then you can slide into home schooling easily, by gradually introducing one activity or subject at a time. Choose a style and start small until you find an approach and curriculum that suits you, your children and your family, and don’t be afraid to change something if it isn’t working. There are tons of free resources online for preschool and kindergarten, such as www.letteroftheweek.com, www.hubbardscupboard.org or www.abc123.com. If you have kids in school, and want to pull them out, then you have a few more decisions to make. First, find out from your local home school support group what you need to do to pull your kids, before you pull them. Usually a letter or form is filed with the school and school board, to notify them of your decision. Second, decide on when to pull your kids out (most decide to wait for a natural break, such as a vacation, end of term or end of year) and then spend some time in “de-schooling.” This is a vacation of sorts, where nothing formal is done, and you reconnect as a family. Use this time to let your children get used to not going to school, and discover their interests, passions and learning styles. Connect with your local support group, explore your community, and choose your curriculum. Spend time in planning, assessing strengths and weaknesses, and determining your goals for home schooling. Third, set a start date, and start small! Start with one activity/subject at a time, and gradually add more as you make the switch so you and your kids get adjusted to the idea of learning at home. Fourth, enjoy! Welcome to home schooling and enjoy learning as a family!

What about socialization!?!

Ah, the infamous socialization question. The main objection for home schooling is this idea that home schooling = isolation, and school = the real world. But what is more realistic? Being inside a room with 20 other people your age, day in and day out, eating meals at scheduled times, and having to ask permission to talk, get up, or use the bathroom; or going to the store, bank, library and swimming pool, meeting people of all ages, asking for help as you need it, moving around freely, and following your body’s natural urges, such as sleeping as long as needed or eating when hungry? Children who are home schooled have the opportunity to learn to get along with others of all ages, confidence and manners in public, and life skills such as asking for information, using a telephone, shopping and driving simply by observation. With numerous activities offered by libraries, art and music lessons, athletics, arenas, attractions and playgroups, not to mention those offered by support groups and co-ops, most home schoolers struggle with too much socialization as opposed to not enough!

“I wish I could, but my child is ADHD/ autistic / special needs/ gifted...etc.”

Home schooling a child that learns differently has its own challenges, but many parents find they are better able to meet their special child’s needs better at home rather than fighting with a school system to follow an IEP or provide the extra resources and help for their children. Add in the need for flexibility for therapy and specialist appointments, and home schooling often enables these kids to have a better chance at a quality education than sending them to school ever would. Home schooling allows for tailor-


made lesson plans that take advantage of a child’s strengths and support their weaknesses, helps them succeed where they otherwise would struggle, and often creates champion, confident learners instead of self-defeating, unmotivated kids. Special needs are by no means a reason not to home school, but in fact, often are a good reason to home school!

Financial concerns -- “We need two incomes!” “Home schooling curriculum is expensive!” “I can’t afford to home school.”

Is home schooling only for the well-off? I would say no. With the abundance of free online curriculums, the availability of libraries and internet, and the low cost of school supplies, home schooling your children can be done for very little money. When you compare even the high-end, all-in-one curriculums (around $1500) to the cost of public schooling for one child (around $10,000!), home schooling is far cheaper and far better value for the money than what the government does. Home schooling costs, like approaches and motivations, depend on the family. Here’s something to consider: when you add up all the costs of sending children to school - new clothes, shoes, school supplies, school fees, locks, band/gym supplies, lunch supplies (would you buy that if it weren’t for school lunches?!?), chocolate bar sales/fundraising, field trips, car pooling, etc, -can you afford to send them? Personally, I couldn’t! I spend far less taking advantage of sales, cooking home-made meals for my kids, and I don’t have to fundraise for anything for school. Field trips (aka family vacations) and clothes are part of normal family expenditures, and don’t cost a huge amount especially when we can take advantage of off-season sales! Once you consider the savings of home schooling, you may find you don’t truly need a second income. However, there may be some sacrifices in your priorities. That is for every family to decide for themselves, and there are alternatives to having one parent stay home all the time. There are single parents who home school and work full-time, and there are parents who work from home and home school too. Now for the stereotypes:

“All home schoolers are religious nutcases.” “Ooh, your kids must be brilliant because their home schooled!” “You must be a super-organized/patient mom to home school!” “My children drive me crazy! I need a break!” As I’ve said frequently, home schooling looks as different as the families who home school. Not all home schoolers are religious at all, or faith doesn’t motivate their home schooling. Even those who do home school because of faith usually will educate their children about other faiths and points of view (if only to explain why they believe what they believe). Children who are home schooled tend to do better than their public-schooled peers, research shows. This isn’t necessarily because of any natural giftings, but rather because of the many benefits of home schooling - one-on-one teaching, lessons that match a child’s learning style, the time and ability of a teacher to work on areas of weakness, and the opportunity to pursue the interests of the student. Is successful home schooling the result of better parenting? Not on your life. Families who home school find that home schooling makes them better parents. We struggle with organization and planning, household tasks and balancing school and life, just as non-home schoolers do. We’re fortunate at our house if our playroom gets picked up once a day, and there are always dishes piled in the sink. But we get to call the leftovers in the back of the fridge a “science experiment” and suspending school for a day to clean house is “home economics”. Most home schoolers call their life a combination of learning, chaos, and fun. But most of all, it is family and life, with all that goes with it. Ultimately, home schooling is a lifestyle choice. It pervades all areas of life, and the lines between what is school and what is not become blurred very quickly. A family vacation to the Rockies often becomes a geography, science and history lesson. Cooking a meal becomes learning about food groups, home economics, and health and safety. A walk on a fine spring day is a chance to study the seasons, insects and birds, weather and climate. Ordinary activities are filled with learning and home schooling highlights this even more. It doesn’t take a lot of money, patience or super-organizing abilities to home school. It doesn’t require a teaching certificate or a university degree. And you don’t need to have a classroom in your home. All you need is the willingness to learn, the commitment to try, and the desire to take on your responsibility to teach your children to the fullest.


What Your Clothing is Really Saying Are you conveying the correct message? Are you getting the best response for you personally? By Toni Spearman

A

lot can be determined by the way a person dresses or the clothes they wear. Cultures can be defined and recognized by certain fabrics, colors, and designs. The Chinese culture, for example, have three main types of traditional Chinese clothing which are the pien-fu, the ch’ang-p’ao, and the shen-i. The pien-fu is an ancient two-piece ceremonial costume of a tunic-like top extending to the knees and a skirt or trousers extending to the ankles.library.thinkquest.org/ 20443/clothing.html


The Islamic dress code is as follows: Clothing must cover the entire body, only the hands and face may remain visible. www.islamicboutique.com/dresscode.as 1. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it. 2. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape of the body is not apparent. 3. The female clothing must not resemble the man’s clothing. 4. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non-believing women. 5. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention. 6. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one’s status in society. Although America is the melting pot of various cultures which honor their specific traditions, we commonly are allowed to wear whatever we want in the area of clothing. However, as Christian young men and women we have to be careful to remember who we represent while still enjoying the freedom to wear fun, attractive and trendy attire. An acceptable dress code for Christian teenagers would be any clothing that is not offensive or revealing of private body parts. Girls should enjoy being a beautiful young lady who loves the Lord and honors him and respects herself in a lovely dress, a pair of blue jeans, blouses that accent, t-shirts (preferably with no offensive language or graphics), shorts at an appropriate length and any type of shoes and jewelry that compliment. An inappropriate amount of piercings and tattoos can be offensive to some and unprofessional in the business world. Boys should enjoy being a respectable young man that loves the Lord and honors him and respects himself in a pair of blue jeans, slacks, and shorts that fit securely around the waist ( a belt may or may not be necessary). Sagging pants is not only unattractive but has an origin that is not in line with a young man’s character who represents Jesus Christ. Trendy and stylish shirts, hoodies, jackets, and blazers are good. T-shirts with offensive or vulgar language or graphics is unacceptable. Boys generally don’t have any problem in the types of shoes they wear but as with the girls, be careful and selective about piercings and tattoos all over the body. When my children, ages 10, 12, and 17 go shopping for clothes at the local mall or department stores, I often remind them to find things that are fashionable, ‘hot’, trendy, fun, yet appropriate, not too tight or revealing and affordable which really helps mom and dad’s bank account, so please consider affordable too, *LOL*. Yet above all, remember who you represent and whose name you wear, Jesus. We are children of the king and our dress should exemplify accordingly.


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Emotions Versus

The Truth of the Word What are you going to belive? By Julie Hull

W hile on our way back from Georgia last

Thursday, my Aunt Judy and I were traveling on I-40 in North Carolina. The mountains were BEAUTIFUL! We were in the Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Smokies during the drive, and we were reflecting on our trip. She said she loves going to the ocean, and mentioned how majestic the ocean is. I agreed. I love the ocean! I could be a “beach bum”! I, then, said that the mountains are majestic, too. She then said something that I’ll never forget. She said that, yes, the mountains are beautiful and they’re majestic, but the ocean is like we are: sometimes calm and peaceful, sometimes angry, sometimes on an even keel, and sometimes stormy. She said they’re just like we are - they have a personality. As I’ve been reflecting about what she said, I started to think about the Word, and its truth: that we are not to rely on our emotions, but on the Word of God, in which there is all truth, because Jesus is the Word. In John 1:14, it says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” So when we’re reading the Word, we’re having direct fellowship with the Lord as He speaks to us - and tells us “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!” It is said we are to “obey”


the Word, “observe” the Word, “stand on” the Word. I relate the Word of God to those majestic mountains we observed - rock solid; a place much like the mountain Moses must have climbed to get the ten commandments, to a high place; a place to build on with a firm foundation. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7). Amos 4:13 says, “For behold, He who forms mountains, and creates the wind, who declares to man what his thought is, and makes the morning darkness, who treads the high places of the earth- The LORD God of hosts is His name.” He formed these mountains. He cannot be moved, but the mountains can! The Lord says through Him we have the ability to speak to them and they’ll be moved. When I think of the mountains, I think of Christ the Solid Rock. No sinking sand. Principle 1 tells us, “Realize I’m not God. I admit I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing, and that my life is unmanageable.” There’s only one way it’s manageable, and that’s if we let Him manage it. We are powerless to control our tendencies and our emotions. We can sometimes control these things on the outside, but don’t they still rage within us? They don’t go away, unless we let God take control of them. So then we come to the ocean. The ocean has many attributes that our flesh has: anger, rage, trouble, noise, just to name a few. We’ve heard the terms “angry waves”, “troubled waters”, and “raging sea”. When we think of our emotions, we can say that about ourselves. Jude 1:13, speaks of “…raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” Doesn’t this sound like depression at times? But in Psalm 89:9, we are assured that “You (the Lord) rule the raging of the sea. When its waves rise, You still them.” Only He can give us peace. Principle 2 says, “Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.” He holds that power - if we give Him control of our lives and our emotions. Principle 3 says, “Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.” There’s that word “control” again - when we try to be in control, it doesn’t work out! In Isaiah 57:20, we are told “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” The sea here is described as “troubled”. Sounds like us when we are full of sin, and we “cast up mire and dirt”. But when we lean on Him, and stay grounded in the Word, He cleans us up. I think of the oil spills that have left the beaches at Galveston, Texas, black. Those waters have “cast up mire and dirt”. The once white beaches are no longer clean because of the error of man. Principle 4 says, “Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.” If we stay in the Word, we get that power to resist temptation, and we become grounded in the Word so that the next time temptation comes our way, the Word will come to our remembrance. The noise of the wings of the four living creatures in Ezekiel 1:24 are compared to the noise of “many waters”. When I think of noise, I think of confusion, unrest, panic and anxiety. The wind that caused the waves that Jesus told to be still was described as being contrary. I think of that as rebellious. The power and force of the waves are described in Mark 4:37 where we’re told, “And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.” Think of the waves “beating” into the boat. That’s sheer force. That’s angry waves. So what am I getting at? Yes, God created us, and the ocean, with emotions and feelings. But we can’t live our lives and make our decisions based on “however the wind blows”. We must be firmly rooted in the Word of God and make our decisions based upon the Word. Will we make mistakes? Sure, we’re human! But if we intentionally live to follow Christ, we will live in such a way that we will hunger for the Word, read the Word and get it into our spirits so that when situations arise we will remember the Word and live by it. The scripture says, “not by might, not by power, but by the Spirit”. The Holy Spirit wants us to seek Him in the way we act, the way we talk, the way we live and not depend upon our own power and might, because if we live by the Spirit (the mountain), we will not live solely relying upon our emotions (the ocean).


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There’s An App For That. . . By Lois Loba


Genesis 1:3 KJV “And God said, “Let there be light and there was light.”

I

t does not matter how elderly the younger generation sees us - not one of us witnessed creation. That is a fact. We are human with finite brain matter attempting to grasp the infinite with both feet tied down by gravity as we experience each moment in time in a singular fashion, unable to move back in time or forward in time. In order to discuss the vastness of the heavens above us, this writer has chosen some ground rules that will keep us together on the same page. Theory vs. fact will each be noted clearly. Theory is to be used simply as a point of reference or a location to which our minds can travel. A good example is if someone mentioned the planet Mars. Our minds will produce a landmark image. Mars is a fact; it is the fourth planet in our solar system. We know that our universe does exist because we can see it. Hypothesis is a question asked. Example: Why do apples fall to the ground from the tree? Theory attempts to answer a hypothetical question by careful investigation, gathering together data like a set of related or apparently unrelated facts, propositions, or principles, or by simple observation. By analyzing the pieces of information through investigative observation, the investigator hopes to find their relationship to one another. If the theory is on target it will predict the answer to the original question. Theory is used, especially in science, to explain phenomena. While it may look good on paper, theories do not necessarily hold up when applied to the practice of reality which is where we all live and breathe. However, the discussion of theory can make for exciting meal-time debates around the dinner table. The exchange of ideas is often a catalyst to seek answers. Fact is anything that can be shown to be true, to exist, or to have happened. A theory becomes a fact when the same test gives the same answer ten thousand times by any tester able to complete the task. Example: 1+1=2, is a fact, it does not matter how many times you add 1+1 you will always have 2, two rocks, two buildings, etc. The human study of science in all its fields is simply an “app” that attempts to reverse engineer God’s step-by-step process of creation through exploration and the,” Scientific Method” . The goal is to understand that process and thereby gain power over it, then manipulate creation either for good, to benefit all or for evil in the form of greedy ownership . It has been tried before and the consequences reach even to our generation and beyond, to every generation after us. It is important that, as Christians, we remain scientifically literate, for God gave us stewardship of the ground we walk upon. A good everyday example is the history of Velcro: its invention, adoption by NASA and then its availability to the general public. God - Elohim - according to Strong’s Concordance the meaning is plural - more than one and yet still one, as in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Let There Be - hayah- according to Strong’s Concordance it means to come to pass, to become, and to be, a beacon. Hayah is related to the root word to breathe; to be, to exist. Light - defined in Strong’s as bright, clear, day, lightning, morning, and the sun. From the Hebrew root word owr to be or become light, shine, set on fire, make luminous. Light has a dual nature, exhibiting itself as a wave and as a particle (also called packets), the term is called wave-particle duality. The particles are called photons. Humans are only able to see a very narrow band in the electromagnetic spectrum of light. Light in a vacuum travels at 299,792,458 meters per second or approximately 186,282 miles per second. There are still many unknowns to learn about light. In A Moment Chosen By God A Theological View Elohim, with masterful grace, moves from above as a great eagle with wings extended to mantel the deep abyss that is now below Him. The abyss, a formless blastula of waters waits with darkness upon the face of its surface. In silence, the abyss turns its countenance to the beckoning of the, “Great I Am.” The embryonic abyss begins to reach upward, cleaving into that moment of principal fusion. In that exact moment of celestial embrace, the abyss became pervaded with perfect substance to become as God had planned. His plan included an heirloom of thoughtfulness, a record of His preparations for your preordained arrival . Elohim, a breathing beacon of light, begins the exhalation of first words , giving of Himself, the essence of Himself, in a sweet gentle lullaby of particle and wave. The musical notes softly conduct the oscillating vibrations of energy until the abyss is filled with the mystery of life now amplified with light and sound. It was in that moment that light followed the sound of His voice. The first gift is a continuing heirloom. God filled the entire universe with His Light that we may travel through the darkness to see our way home at every eventide with joy .


The Heirloom Has A Name The result of those first four words produced cosmic background radiation that we can see and measure today. Science and others have given CBR names that sound passé, past its prime, and antique, a remnant no longer relevant to this current time period. The term “fossil record of light” or “relic radiation” is inappropriate, for the words lack the scope of purpose. “Cosmic microwave background radiation” is an heirloom that is relevant every morning that the lids of our eyes flutter into the open position. Cosmic background radiation is also called “the Wall of Light”. It is a fact and it is everywhere we look. 1. For the article the use of the word, “God” is a direct reference to the, “Trinity”: God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit”, Elohim. 2. This writer does not promote or agree with all or any of the theories presented. 3. KJV Matthew 24:24 4. For fun…Learn about the term “Scientific Method”, online or at a Library. 5. Genomics-Genome Scientists: Gene Patents Are Bad by Matthew Herper, at Forbes.com 6. KJV Genesis 3-The Fall, KJV Genesis 6 Nephillim, KJV Genesis 11-Babel 7. KJV Isaiah 45:7-God is Light and He created darkness. 8. Strong’s Concordance-Number 6640 and Number 6437 9. KJV Isaiah 49:14-16, Jeremiah 32:27 and Jeremiah33:2&3 10.KJV John 1:1 11.KJV Psalm 119:105 12.Aramaic Bible In Plain English, 2010- Psalm 65:8 “And the inhabitants of the Earth will stand in awe of your signs, and of the goings forth of the dawn and the evening in glory.” Also Psalm 139 13.Cosmic Background Radiation=CBR. KJV Psalm 19:1-2

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There Is No Gray In Moral Failure: A Practical Guide In Preventing Sexual and Financial Misconduct Yves N. Johnson Published by John316 Publishing Fort Washington, MD U.S.A Reviewed by Helen Murray

Whatever happened to Christian sensitivity and discernment, when it comes to dealing with morality? On reading this volume I was floored by the beauty of the treatment given to the topic of moral failure, both sexual and financial, within the church. While the highest standards were thoroughly endorsed and established, the most meticulous methods put in place for both preventing and dealing with the transgression of those standards, the most caring attitudes were demonstrated for those (pastors, leaders and congregational members) who had gone astray so that, if at all possible, they could be brought back to ministry again. This very necessary reading for any congregation. I say “congregation”, because it is not always only up to the pastors to set up the parameters, but for the whole congregation (or at least the elders and leaders) to establish a healthy culture that is clearly understood by all church members, has clear consequences, and takes indisputable measures to retain that culture. Noticeably the need for such a treatise is clearly outlined with generous database of surveys of what is actually happening out there in “churchdom”, and “who” is in the congregations. Topics covered include “Shame in the Sanctuary” - (many forms of sexual sin found within the church), white collared crime or sticky fingers within church ranks, creeping bible illiteracy among Christians, (what actually is acceptable, and what is not), shocking statistics on pastoral burnout (plus how to prevent this), and how to encompass all these things and more with your own well-structured document of protocol that all church leaders should understand. This is, in fact, a passionate book, written by someone who is very determined about tending the flock, including the pastor, both truthfully and compassionately. You will enjoy this kindly elucidation of the needed structure for a church or bishopric. It’s really a no-brainer to acquire and implement this foundational book for any church setting out its parameters.


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The Family That Prays Together, $aves Together By Brenda Stapleton Brooks

F

amilies today often find themselves with large amounts of debt. College loans, car payments, desperately trying to put enough back to buy a home, while maintaining the expenses of having small children can lead to financial struggles. Any financial planner you speak to will tell you the first thing you need to do is to sit down together and develop a financial plan you both agree on. Never will he or she ask you what your relationship is with God. You are planning for your future. “Who will tell you words by which you and all of your household will be saved? “ (Acts 11:14) You are planning for the future for you and your children. The purpose is to save you from further struggles and to help plan for your future. Why would a financial planner talk about religion? Or didn’t you know, Christians get in debt, too. In this world, God has left all of us with free will. Christians are no different than any other religious group, or a person who has not chosen to follow God yet. The one thing they do have is life’s instructions, and they do not even go there when they should. I am referring to the B-Basic I-Instructions B-Before L-Leaving


E-Earth. I was once told to consider it like a form of “Fire Insurance.” However, it offers no solace when it is covered in dust. Christians have to go there to seek answers, and if they do, they will have a whole different outlook on money. Popular host and author of the book The Total Money Makeover conducted a study and found that seventy percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. (Ramsey, 2003) If you are one of these families, then you have too much household debt; too much household debt leaves banks reluctant to extend new loans for home purchases and business expansions because these lenders don’t want to make bad investments. In the back of your mind you may be thinking, I have heard “Money is the root of all evil.” It’s like the apple was. It was “necessary.” First of all, there were plenty of things to eat in the Garden of Eden. God will always provide us with enough. If you need something, just ask for it. Create a plan to accomplish goals and stick to that plan. Keep things in order by making changes like increasing your income, if you can increase your savings or simply reducing expenses, but above all make it a manageable plan. Don’t allow pleasing things to the eye to pull you away from your goals. Many people perceive budgeting as a restriction on their finances and they do not want to take away from what they already have. Instead they would rather take out a loan, or a mortgage. They can pay it back, right? It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. (Ecclesiastes 5.5) If you are thinking in the back of your mind “Money is the root of all evil.” Let me emphasize a bit. In the New Testament, “It teaches the LOVE of money, not money itself is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10) Wealth is not an evil. It simply makes you see yourself for who you really are. If you are a father, you have a large responsibility for your children, as if you were a mother. Your probably questioning, how do I save money? At the end of the week, there is nothing left. I researched several different opportunities to save money that I was unaware of and I will be happy to share them with you. Keep in mind 1 Corinthians16:2 “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.” Always remember to give thanks for the ability to work, to support your family, to have the gifts that you have to do what you do. It is by God’s grace you have these gifts. For God gave His son, for you. Before He knew you, He loved you. Praise Him for giving you something to work for and smile as you have a family who love and depend on you. Are you ready to save? Okay, here are some ways to save and to teach our children to save too. Create a simple budget with all of your expenses. Include a column for an emergency fund, birthday fund, Christmas fund, and to tithe. When you create the budget, include the family. Explain to the children that instead of getting an allowance, they will contribute to the family budget. If you go shopping, only take cash. You can’t over spend then, because you will not have the money to do so. Most importantly, if your employer doesn’t have a retirement plan, include that in your budget. Hold out $50 weekly so when you retire, you will not have to go back to work second jobs like some people do. Another way to get out of debt is to embrace the trend. Avoid those financial struggles on daily basis, and remember “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:42) If you need something, ask for it. Try to connect with your friends by phone, Facebook or Twitter. Let them know what you need. I no longer have a Land Line. With cell phones, you have no long distance fees. I saved $80 a month discontinuing that expense. Stop eating out! Open your refrigerator door! Open your kitchen pantry! It is cheaper and healthier to eat at home. Save money on exercise. I know there are 24 hour gyms you can go to. How many people go to the gym at 3:00 A.M.? There are several recreational centers that offer free classes. There are high schools in every community. Go take a walk on their track. If you have access to a swimming pool, what a wonderful form of exercise this is. Either way you save around $35.00 a month. Shop when the time is right. After season you can get holiday gift wrap, decorations and holiday cards for next year for half of the price. August has been proven by markets to be the best month to shop due to the back to school sales. Thursdays are the best day to shop as this is the day the shipments come in for retailers, and they begin sales on the items out front, to make room for the items in the back. There are many things you can do to get into debt. The pitfalls are always there. However, there are some ways of getting out, and some ways of avoiding them all together. It takes planning, it takes discipline, it takes family, and it takes motivation to stick to these plans. It can be done. By proving it can be done in your home, you are teaching your children a valuable lesson about student loans, buying used textbooks instead of new textbooks, resisting impulse buying, and by including God in their decision making process.


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At long last, a family-friendly fantasy that confronts – and resolves – the battle for the soul. Imagine innocence of Light, the meek and good among us being unexpectedly consumed into a void of darkness ... into a world gone very wrong Imagine circumstances beyond your control that ensures your life will never, ever be the same Imagine being stripped of your identity with no past, present, or future while wandering within an empty space of nothingness What could you do - where would you go - how might you survive? You’ll find the answers you’re looking for in Littluns! A totally different reading experience Littluns shines a bright light on finding truth, peace, love, hope, joy and your heart’s desire in the face of any adversity. Through its parable form and mystical story, Littluns not only entertains … it will teach you and your children powerful lessons about: • • • • •

The stark reality and consequences of being in God’s Light or in the darkness. The pure of heart in contrast to those who harbor evil. How the truth can be disguised and/or manipulated for self-serving purposes. The existence of God’s pure love. How the very worst of handicaps can reveal our most significant strengths.

A timeless story about the selfless among us who are looking for answers, along with a spirited adventure that adds something more to your life, Littluns is a thoughtful journey that will touch your heart and enrich your soul. It may just become the most important book in your home library … buy it and share it with your family today! “As an ex-Governor for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Mark Glamack draws on experience to present this book in a timely and professional manner. [The] pages enlighten and engage readers, as works of good and evil fight for the mastery of our souls. Littluns left me feeling thankful that writers like Mark have the Calling, and the tenacity to explore and present such fine works and abilities.” Review by: Christian author Eliza Earsman (Amazon.com) Mom's Choice Awards® Gold recipient

For further information, please visit our website at www.littluns.net


Church Hurt Ain’t No Joke By Nina M. Thompson Published by Rycraw Productions Creve Coeur, Missouri, USA Reviewed By Michelle Danko Available through Amazon

Almost everyone at some time has experienced “church hurt”- the often unintentional offence that is either spewed out by a well-meaning Christian, or a hurt that received by someone. So the question becomes what do you do about it? Church Hurt Ain’t No Joke is a very heartfelt book. The author openly discusses her past growth as a Christian and how she came to the place where she is today. This book takes you through why we hurt other people, and that even though it seems intentional, it really isn’t meant to harm us. People generally mean well, and when we understand this, we are on our way to healing. Nina discussess the “initial hurt” wherein we are excited to be new Christians. . . and then we hit the bump in the road. We begin to feel inadequate and thus start fixing ourselves. We confide in others, and sometimes receive offense when they try to “fix” us. She goes on to examine why we hurt others, and then how to heal the hurt. She also discusses how to break the cycle of church hurt, how to organize priorities in your life ie God first, etc. biblically, and becoming a mature Christian who walks in the fruit of the spirit. This book is extremely relatable, and warm. Readers will easily identify with Nina’s experiences, and feel comforted. Church Hurt Ain’t No Joke is a must read for late teens/young adults and up. It will help you from unintentionally offending others, and will heal you if you’ve ever been hurt.


Technology:

Harmless Escapism or Dangerous Dilema for Families? By Israel Ikhinmwin

jannoon028 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


2012 has continued the trend of technological advancement. We can easily speak to those internationally and keep up-to-date with affairs around the world. Not only does technology grant us this ability, it also provides the service very swiftly. From bombings to financial turmoil, it is made available instantaneously. This is far different from what people in the Bible experienced. For the prophets to see mobile phones and computers would have taken much vision. Do you think the people of old could see where the world was going? I wouldn’t’t be surprised if people could see this day way back then! It comes down to the eyes which are beholding. The Bible talks about Abraham seeing the coming of Christ and rejoicing. The Bible says, “Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoured me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” Abraham not only thought about something thousands of years to come, he saw it. The same is said for John the disciple, who wrote the book of Revelation which focuses on things we may not see or experience. Thinking about these examples, it does make you feel as if technology has had limited effect. So what effect has technology had on the family? First, technology has extended the family. No longer are we limited to the people we can see with our eyes and touch with our hands. I once was in a meeting where we were studying the Bible. A friend was out of town and I suggested we use a commonly used program to allow him to see and hear the meeting. The meeting was extended by technology. My Bible study family was given the opportunity to increase which would not have been possible in earlier times. Network churches are churches which, via satellite, stream another church’s sermon and worship. How beneficial these really are is debatable. Network churches are used frequently today to increase participation in events with sought-after individuals. In spite of building a wider network and community, it is not all beneficial. The days of quiet family fellowship is decreasing. Why is this? Family outings are in decline, arguably due to the fact that technology has made it this way. Where everyone would go to church services or practically anything together on the weekend or whatever day was prescribed for your family to spend time together, now one may stay home and watch online or do what he likes elsewhere. Computer games have now made it possible for people to play with others universally and speak with them also. Being someone who used to utilize this, I didn’t’t really want to go out anymore. It limited me to staying at home and shutting out the world. Technology can create a false sense of security and family. As well as bringing those who are further away closer, I believe it takes those who are closer to you further away. Those people with whom I would play became my family and those not in that cyber world were nothing to me. Technology has given individuals more individualism by allowing them to do what they please when no one is watching. The ability to have passwords on computers and visit websites as you please has created an escapism the family had never experienced before. Technology has made it harder for the family to protect its members. Technology has allowed people to search for more things in the world and have the opportunity to study them also. When I first started using various pieces of technology, like the internet, instant messengers, online forums and others, it gave me the opportunity to see other’s views, the basis of their views and also to debate easily with others. Parents may want their children to stay away from certain people or certain things in life but technology allows those children to do the very thing prohibited. The most dangerous thing about technology, in my opinion, is the fact that the youth stereotypically know the most about it. Youth are the ones who desire the technology and use it the most. Some children do things their parents can never imagine. This gives children the ability to basically do what they like, when they like. Technology has definitely had both positive and negative influences on the family and society as a whole. We have seen how Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and others have allowed predators to take advantage of innocent people. Thoughts to ponder...When you look at the model of technology as a whole, as individuals now able to contact the masses, it reminds me of God. Jesus said it was good for Him to go, as funny as that sounds. Why did He say this? He told us that the Spirit would come. Jesus was saying it’s better He goes that the Spirit may come. Why? The Spirit can be in more than one place at a time, the Spirit never sleeps like Jesus would. The Spirit is worldwide, while being in one place. The model of technology is a copy of what God set in motion.


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If you're a passionate writer, and want to share your heart to help families live in victory, please contact us at: michelledanko@shaw.ca

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Extreme Christian Entertainment A Film Ministry with a defined Genre…at last!

Mr. Aaron Allen Title: Producer/Director/Writer/Actor Website: www.extremechristenter.co.nr Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1052795161 Contact Information: MIAMI_RIVER_PRODUCTIONS_1@yahoo.com Current Project: “The Waiting Room” Due to go into production June 2012 Rating for this movie-Be prepared to lead viewers to the altar for Salvation. It is recommended for most age groups. However, for Pre-teens and Teenagers be prepared to answer questions. The subject matter is ripped from real life with choices that have real consequences. Life as we face it everyday at school, work, and in our communities. These stories are ripped from the headlines and they have no easy answers. Synopsis: Five strangers who had shared one specific location for only a moment in their earthly lives wake up in a Waiting Room with no idea as to how they got there and where they are. Like a puzzle, the pieces begin to come together when characters begin to see and interact with people from their past who had died. The shock is even more compounded when a Messenger comes on with a bible and tells them they are waiting to meet with Jesus. Courtesy of the website-TheWatingRoomPlay.com Characters: Jane- is a female Suicide Bomber Maria- is a woman who turned away from her salvation. Kevin-is a Rastafarian. His belief system is truth… distorted, and twisted. Michael-His mother is a Born Again Christian introducing Michael to the faith as a child. As an adult he believes he is a self-made success. Now, he feels powerful enough to deny that any of the credit belongs to God. In his arrogance he informs his Mother that Jesus and the Bible are a myth. The church is only a way to exploit people by collecting tithes and offerings. Michael has the gift of extreme pride. Faith-Her walk to altar was down a road that many of us do not have the courage to survive, and yet…Faith did, by accepting Christ as her personal Saviour. Jesus Christ- His Credentials say it all-KJV-Revelations- Chapter One, verse five. He is…The Faithful Witness, and the First Born of the Dead, the only one who rose from death to never die again…unlike Lazarus.


Faith Filled Family Magazine: What was the defining moment/catalyst that caused you to commit to this project? Aaron: It is the whole concept, the fact that we all have to stand in front of Jesus for Judgment one day. Now, we may not exactly be in a waiting room but this is an interesting creative perception we have all experienced a waiting room. Faith Filled Family Magazine: How much of the Rastafarian Religion/Movement is presented? Aaron: The, “Rasta” role is pretty well portrayed in the script but will be a challenge to put in the movie. We do have some issues with having the Jamaican dialect the original script mentions, so we hope we can pull it off well. He mentions who they worship several times through the script/movie and what it is about. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Jane, the female Suicide Bomber she has the potential to polarize an audience. Yet, God created us all....jewels with many facets. Which facets of her personality will the audience find unexpected? Aaron: I think they will be surprised that she once was a Christian. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Does Maria’s Character give any answers to those who suffer a great loss and ask, “How could God allow this to happen?” Aaron: I feel, for her that her Mother had a deep strong faith. Maria acted as if she had the same faith but was really just going through the motions. She might have displayed a good amount of the Christian behavior and/or the words she mimicked but never really believed or accepted it. Faith Filled Family Magazine: The character of Faith…God brought her out of the Sex Trade, Correct? Aaron: Yes, we intend to portray her truthfully and not glamorize prostitution. Faith talks about it, “No, as a sinner I was feeling my way around in the dark, grabbing hold of anything I could find…ended up living a life of lust and prostitution, drugs and alcohol. Eventually, life became meaningless and I wanted my life to end.” Faith asks the question we all ask “What would God want with me, I’m filthy.”, when the weight of our sin is made clear to us. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Jesus Christ-In this characterization is there a defining behavior/quote that will strike the audience as unique that has not been well explored/portrayed in other movies? Aaron: Something Jesus does and says at the end will astound and surprise you. Won’t say it or explain it because I do not want to spoil the ending. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Why should a stable Christian Family choose this movie over other titles currently available? Aaron: This movie’s story will offer a realistic insight into those who still need to hear the Salvation story. The characters are people we read about in the news, people we know and meet through out our lives, and the characters show traits that we will recognize in ourselves. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Name one thing the mature Christian could take with them after experiencing, “The Waiting Room”? Aaron: I feel it will develop a deeper level of faith and strengthen their relationship with Christ. Realizing that Jesus is the, “bestest friend”, anyone can have. Faith Filled Family Magazine: How did this project affect your Christianity? Aaron: This story is still working on me, making my own faith stronger by watching the cast and seeing how they portray the deep layers of the characters. Faith Filled Family Magazine: In what form will the public be able to view this movie? Aaron: We hope to have ‘THE WAITING ROOM’ in theatres, on DVD/VOD, etc. We would also like to tour some churches with it locally. The plan is to be open for other churches nationwide or even worldwide to have screenings. We are still talking and looking for potential distributors. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Will the general public be able to order DVD’s? Like Amazon and Netflix? Aaron: We hope we can make it possible to order the DVD once completed through our website, in stores nation/world wide, VOD on the internet and maybe through the distributor and other self distribution ways. Faith Filled Family Magazine: How did Extreme Christian Entertainment finally come about? Aaron: I was living in Florida preparing to move back to Ohio to be near family. I started checking into churches who would like to be involved in a Christian Movie Making Ministry. It would be similar to Sherwood Pictures but we cover extreme controversial issues and would go through groups of churches. I also had become friends on Facebook with Cleveland O. McLeish a Christian playwright. He is with Heart of a Christian Playwright Ministries. It was there that I learned of a play called, “THE WAITING ROOM”, and started talking to him about a movie version. Faith Filled Family Magazine: On your website you mention a group of churches…how does that work? Aaron: The Hamilton Dream Center in the Sate of Ohio, USA, is one church that has signed on. All the churches must agree that salvation is only through Christ Jesus, John 3:16 which is one of my favorite verses,’ cause it sets the path for our faith. Working with a group of churches adds resources and accountability, a group is a team working together for a common cause, salvation. I want to see more of the Christian Church as a community involved. It will mean more Christians to help on


the cast and crew, most importantly on prayer teams, and maybe financially with donations or volunteer to help with events like fundraisers, etc. Faith Filled Family Magazine: What is the primary goal of Extreme Christian Entertainment? Aaron: Simply, to win souls for Christ, this is a Salvation based Ministry. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Making Movies can be expensive…how do you go about raising money? Aaron: We raise money in a variety of ways. The Low Tech. method is through Bake sales, Car Washes, etc, which is more enjoyable because of the interaction with other Christians. High Tech. methods we are looking into; include websites like indiegogo.com, faithfunder.com, fundmychristianfilm.com and others coming on line that are similar to kickstarter.com. Faith Filled Family Magazine: This is a fledgling Ministry correct? If one of our readers came from an extreme background and felt led to become involved…is that possible? Aaron: Yes! This is the beginning for us. Please encourage your readers to contact me. We have empty chairs at the table and roles to be filled. Please, add us to your prayer list or join a prayer team. Participate, as God leads you. God gave each of us a talent, a calling…it should be developed and used to it’s full intended purpose. Faith Filled Family Magazine: The “Film Makers Prayer” from your website does put the conflicts of creative expression into perspective! Do you have a mentor to keep your creative mind grounded in Biblical Truth? Aaron: I have many mentors. First is GOD, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity. Then several filmmakers I have worked with through the years before finding my true calling of Christian filmmaking, I also give The Kendrick Brothers of Sherwood Pictures a mentor credit for FLYWHEEL, FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF and now COURAGOUS which has also inspired me. I am sure that other Mentors will enter my life through the churches that our ministry will be involved with in the future. The “Filmmakers Prayer” is a reminder we shouldn’t worry about anything in life and GOD gave Norton that prayer, it not only applies to filmmaking, it also applies to the Christian way of life which is a walk of Faith. So, Norton is a mentor as well. Faith Filled Family Magazine: You have a long list of projects on your website. Which one would you like to be your next project? Tell us a little about the story line. Aaron: The Title is, “Kidnapped Runaway”. When Billy’s Father leads him to Christ one day in church, they celebrate with a picnic and bike ride in the park. At the park is Billy’s Mom, (who has a drug addiction), and by her side is her boyfriend. Together they watch Billy from their car. Billy’s bike hits a rock and he falls near their car, the boyfriend seeing an opportunity jumps out and grabs Billy dragging him into their car. Billy’s Dad witnesses his son’s abduction. He begins to chase the car on foot as it speeds away. He is not able to physically catch up to the car that is speeding away. Billy’s Father falls to his knees, crying and praying; he pulls out his cell phone to call the police. This is where the adventure really begins. Faith Filled Family Magazine: Dealing with these tough issues that have no easy answers could way heavy upon one’s soul day after day. I imagine comic relief during the work day is important. Aaron: It can be pretty stressing, but we trust God. I like to work with the cast and crew. Using their ideas/suggestions it really helps make things go smoothly. I did this during production of the short movie version of KIDNAPPED RUNAWAY back in 2003. I was a one man crew- writer/director/producer/actor etc... with a three day filming schedule I was trying to get things done. My main lead cast had to leave the 2nd day. It was a tough moment, but God sent me a great crew and cast. We worked as a team and the result is they helped run camera with me for a scene, gave me a few suggestions and I ended up using an improvisation style of movie making for a scene and it turned out great. We wrapped up the shoot in 2 days instead of the 3 days that had been scheduled. It was a blessing from God. Faith Filled Family Magazine: From a man’s point of view…what is one activity you set as a high daily priority to keep a healthy balance between work and family? Aaron: I am struggling with this still, but working on it. I am currently reading, “The Resolution for Men”, a book by Stephen Kendrick, Alex Kendrick, and Randy Alcorn. The authors are the filmmakers of Sherwood Pictures. I work at it on a daily basis, (like everybody else), to apply what I learn from the book to my Family, Work and Christian life. My family is worth every effort. Thank-you Mr. Allen for a great interview! This project will be worth the wait. Keep us posted as to your progress! I have added you to my Prayer List.


Little Johnny had been tucked into bed, his nose just above the covers. The smell of the hot cross cinnamon buns still in the air. Dad had warmed one up in the microwave as a snack. “Mom, don’t read the Bible to me tonight.” A very surprised look came over Sally’s face. Her son had loved having the Word of God read to him at night. He use to say it made him feel safe, for whatever reason. “I’m sorry, what did you just say?” They had been going through the whole Bible a few chapters a night. “No Bible tonight, Johnny? I suppose we could find something else to read.” “No, Mother, show it to me like a story. Could you just explain to me what is happening in the next two chapters instead of reading every word of it?” Johnny’s Mom sensed a shift in her child’s focus and attitude. He still wanted her to share the Bible with him, but if it sounded more like a story, he might enjoy it all the more. “You may be on to something, son. Let me start by sharing that the next couple chapters deal with the last hours of Steven’s life. He was one of the disciples who lived during the last days of Jesus on Earth. Jesus had died and three days later he rose from the dead.” “Mom, did you say these were Steven’s last days? Was he an old man?” “No, on the contrary he was very young and was chosen to take care of the widows and orphans. Everyone else was busy spreading the gospel message of Jesus as Messiah.” “Maybe we should skip this part, it sounds scary.” “Johnny, to me it speaks very highly of the work of Steven. The enemies of the cross and those that crucified the Lord were bent on stopping this vital work.” “This is going to be sad, isn’t it?” Johnny’s head hung low as he asked this question. “Actually, Steven was handling it pretty good and stood his ground. It is said that he looked into the Heavens and saw his God waiting to receive him into Glory.” “Why didn’t God save his life? Didn’t he love him?” “He loved Steven so much that he actually showed up on the scene.


Show It To Me By Donald Ford

“How many stories have we read in the Bible where God actually showed up; that it was such an important event that God appeared in person.” “Oh yeah, when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, God showed up to say that Jesus was his only begotten son. This was a special event in Bible history that we read about.” “Do you remember another time when God appeared, but in the Old Testament this time?” “I gotta think about it. I do remember another story where he showed up. Those three guys, who were friends of Daniel in the lion’s den, refused to bow to an image of the king of Babylon, if I remember right. Everybody saw four people in the flames when they were thrown into the hot oven. God was there with them, and they weren’t harmed.” “That’s a good memory on your part, Johnny. Whether God spares us or not, it is his call. But to have him show up on any occasion is a huge deal. Stephen was stoned to death on that particular day and all of Heaven cried, I’m sure. I remember how sad I felt when I heard this story for the first time. But there was his God with open arms to receive him.” “I think when I get to Heaven I want to look up Steven and ask him myself how that day went for him.” “Well, you will have all of Eternity to do that. Then Sally rubbed her son’s head. “Mom, have you ever seen God? I mean has he ever appeared when you needed him.” “Let me say it this way. One night I was talking to a couple of young people. They were asking me about God and I shared with them what I knew. Suddenly high up in the dark skies behind them I saw him.” “Saw who? God!” “I saw Jesus; just a large face in the black sky. When I stopped talking about him, he faded away, but when I began to speak of him more, he reappeared, and was smiling. I think he liked what I was saying about him.” “Wow, Mom! Thanks for showing me this story. It was awesome and I don’t think I will ever forget these two chapters of all the books we have read so far.” “You close your eyes now and remember that God is closer than you think and watches over you.” When Sally was leaving Johnny’s room she flicked on the little night light. “Mom, you can turn it off. I’m safe here in the dark; like you said I’m never alone.” Mom kissed his little forehead and a few tears escaped from the corners of her eyes, but he didn’t see them.


Virtual Kids: Who is Influencing YOUR Children? By Michelle C. Danko

T he effects of working parents on their offspring

have sparked great debate amongst researchers. A study conducted by Ellen Galinsky, President of the Families and Work Institute, reported that fathers with children younger than 18 now work an average of 60.9 hours per week; working mothers, 41.4 hours. The reality is that parents are working longer hours and subsequently spending less time at home. There are positive and negative outcomes for these children- and some are even surprising. Research indicates that parents are not primarily working because they are career minded (although many are), but rather due to overspending, and out of financial necessity. Parents report that the high cost of living, long commutes, traffic congestion, and raised expectations for achievement contribute to their anxiety. The result is longer hours to either pay down debt, or to maintain their lifestyle. Surprisingly, 2/3 of U.S. children are not concerned about whether their parents work or not, but the stress level they see exhibited, and the lack of communication between parent and child. Children overall are not concerned about their absent parents, and do not wish to spend more time with them. Most children reported that they want better communication and more “focused� time without their parents feeling strained and tired. Approximately 56% of employed parents thought their kids wanted to spend more time with them, but


only 10% of children wanted more time with their parents. The study indicated that only 10% of children wanted more time with their mother and 15.5% with their fathers. The reality is that most children have developed close ties to their peers through advancements in technology. There is more peer parenting going on. Kids text their friends, or go on the internet and communicate with them. The concern for parents is: how well do you know who your children are communicating with? Peer parenting is interesting unto itself. Friends should never parent friends because they do not have the experience or the wisdom that adults have. Also, the responsibility to raise children is solely that of the parent. With peer parenting, you have a friends talking to your child about issues in their life, and this person, because of the age, can relate to your child. However, without the wisdom to back it up, your children can get themselves into dangerous situations. Most teens themselves have a “nothing bad will happen to me” attitude, accompanied by feelings of invincibility. Without a responsible adult to guide them, they have the potential to make very bad decisions! As a parent, you never want to hand over your responsibility of parenting to your child’s friends. You do not know enough about their parents, nor the friend’s values to allow them to influence your child. Scripture should be imparted into your children as it says in the Bible, and the Bible is very specific when it says ‘parents train up your child’. You also may not know the relationship between your child and the friend. A male-female relationship could have some interesting consequences in an environment that is largely unsupervised. While, regrettably, debt has become so prevalent in today’s society, parents should look to become better stewards of their finances- obviously if you are working because you are overspending, than you aren’t being a good steward. The Word says if God can trust you with little He can trust you with much. We need to be faithful with what we have. It may mean that you cut back in your spending temporarily. However, if you are faithful, and do tithes and offerings, God will bless you beyond measure. This means that you will not have to work such long hours and miss out on your children growing up. Even though most children understand, they should never have to resort to communicating with their peers for advice. Peers raising peers can be a dangerous choice. This will also leave room for you to communicate to your son/daughter which is what they want anyway. Working long hours just to maintain a lifestyle is benefiting anyone. The parents are stressed out, and the children can see the change in behavior. It effects them personally, and their sense of security. They also miss out on a relationship with their parents and end of forging one with their peers. You should be the most important influence in their life- it is your responsibility. Understandably are the parents who work just to provide the necessities. We do have an overwhelming majority of people who fall below the poverty line. However if you rely on God, and recognize Him as your source, He will provide for you. He wants to provide for all of your needs (2 Corinthians 9:8, 10) It’s challenging balancing work and children especially when debt is involved. However debt itself is destroying families. God had never intended us to owe anyone anything. Once we realize that it is God’s intent to prosper us, and we rely on Him as our source we can overcome debt and take back parenting our children. We can plead the blood over our children, however the blood can not necessarily compensate for our absence as parents. We need to take back parenting from our children’s peers and take a more active role. Your children want to talk to you, and they need to communicate to you. They can’t do this if you are working all the time- it doesn’t allow for a meaningful dialogue. Balance is possible and if you are unwilling to do it for yourself, then consider the next generation. What will things look like for the children that had friends raise them? What will their values and morals look like? More importantly, who is raising your children? Do you approve of them? How much do you know about them? Our kids are only children for a brief season, and they are our responsibility. What would you say to God in response to the question of how did you raise my children? Would you be proud of your response? Why or why not? Perhaps it’s time for Schedule a Free Consultation on our website. change.

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Faith Filled Family Magazine Spring 2012  

Issue deals with technology, social media, and its effects on the family. Also discusses supermom syndrome, divorce, and absent fathers.

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