The Defective Love of Judaic Law (OT)

by Prof. Dr. Pr. Jairo Goncalves (December/2017) | The “defective Law of Moses” never perfected anything (Heb 7:19; Heb 8:7). The Law of Moses contains “shadows” (Heb 8:5-7, 10:1, Col 1:17) and “Jewish fables” (Titus 1:14, Isa 45:7, Prov 16:4, Prov 22:2).

The Law of the Lion of Judah (VT) commands: “You shall love your friend and hate your enemy” (Mt 5:43; Ps 139:22; Ps 3:7). The Law of the God-Abba-Lamb (Gal 4:6; John 1:29) states: “Love your enemies; do good to those who mistreat you; love as Christ the Lamb loved you (Mt 5:44, Lk 6: 27,35, Jn 15: 12-14). “Husbands, love your wives as Christ the Lamb loved the Bride Church (Eph 5: 25-28).

The “defective Law of Moses” never perfected anything (Heb 7:19; Heb 8:7). The Law of Moses contains “shadows” (Heb 8:5-7, 10:1, Col 1:17) and “Jewish fables” (Titus 1:14, Isa 45:7, Prov 16:4, Prov 22:2). Christ-Lamb began his ministry here on earth by rebutting the Law of Moses and the diversion of the Jewish lineage (Mt 5:21,27,33,38,43;etc; Jn 6:60,66; John 8: 39-44 ). Christ-Lamb was condemned to death because he prophesied the destruction of Solomon’s Temple (Mt 24: 2; Mt 21:42); called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites (Matthew 23:13), scandalized the disciples of Moses (John 6:61 Mt 26:31) and stated that the Jews are “children of the devil” (John 8:44). equal to all other human beings not yet converted (Rom. 3:23; 1 Cor. 15:22; John 1:12). But, unfortunately, the “Churches” of Brazil and the World follow the Old Testament and the Law of Moses to build their temples, their altars and to carry out the priestly offices. More information and arguments in the warrior book: “Gospel of the Glory of the Cross of Christ – All Truth”.

missao vidas restauradasRua Maria Syllene Andreazzi, n.154/01 – B. Frei Eustáquio – Belo Horizonte/MG.
Tels. (31) 2514-8759 / 99114-7038 – Atendimentos gratuitos.



Making Better Choices

by Julia Attaway | In the heat of anger, how to step back and get a better perspective on the situation (images, Coaching Magazine)

My husband did something jaw-droppingly thoughtless last week, and I’ve been intensely irritated with him ever since. I’ve tried all the usual paths to forgiveness and peace of mind, without the tiniest bit of success. This morning I prayed, in a rather annoyed tone, “Lord, I honestly don’t know what to do. No matter what I try, I’m still feeling angry and hurt. And I’m running out of tongue-biting capability.”

A word came to mind: temptation. I rolled it around in my thoughts.

What if, instead of thinking about how to rein in my feelings, I looked at my distress as a type of turmoil deliberately stirred up within me?

It was astonishing how different this made the situation look. When I viewed my inner turmoil as something happening to me instead of something within me, I could take a teeny tiny step backwards and see the anger that had plagued me for days from a different perspective. Just that little bit of distance took the venom out of my emotions. The hot intensity of anger decreased. I was still mad, of course, but it was a normal mad, a manageable one.

In cartoons, there’s a little angel hovering near one ear and a little devil by the other, taking turns whispering their recommendations. In real life, we sometimes experience a cacophony of feelings and thoughts and impulses, with everything all shouting at once. That noise alone can confuse us and lead us down the wrong path. But if we look at the chaos itself as a distraction, a temptation, or something imposed on us, it’s possible to detach from it a bit… and that allows us to make better choices

Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.



Only This Love Can Heal Las Vegas – and the Rest of America

by Michèle Phoenix – The grit and grace embody our resolve and demonstrate a hope that will not be destroyed—not by the blows of nature’s rage nor by the hand of man. (images, YouTube/WBUR)

We feel it as a nation.

A headline startles our phones awake. A quick glance. Disbelief. We swipe to read the article or click to turn on the TV—and blood-curdling reality assaults our senses and humanity. The fleeing crowds breach barriers with screams that feel torn from our throats. Heroes in blue, civilians too, rush toward a savagery we can scarcely comprehend.

News stations blur the sheet-draped forms and opt for more wide-angled views—but those staccato shots we hear—they brutalize us still. Each pop another body slammed, another helpless loved one begging God to stem death’s flow. And 59 times—59.times—a universe of past and present and still-untasted future collapses on itself. On all of us.

We feel it as a nation.

This grief. Again. Helpless and raw. We’ve seen it crash its aching waves over this land before. We’ve heard it supplicate and roar. We’ve sensed its darkness seeping impotence and dread into our common core and we fear, with each new tide, that it will anchor there forever more.

And yet we dare.

We’ve dared since we began—before we even were One Nation Under God. We dared to reach this shore. We dared to dream of something more. Of something greater than the flaws of individual man. We dared to strive for lofty ideals we knew we couldn’t realize, yet still we tried, with blood and work and stubborn hope, to birth a greater good, a hard-won brotherhood.

And in this time of deepest grief, I see us as we truly are—courageous and compassionate, displaying the rare dignity of selfless grit and grace. In the faces of physicians, the tales of bruised survivors and the broken fortitude of victims’ families—such grit. Such wounded strength. And grace—it’s right there too. In the sacrifice of strangers laying down their lives for others. In the kindness of our citizens offering deeds and words and tears to heal their still-shocked spheres.

The grit and grace embody our resolve and demonstrate a hope that will not be destroyed—not by the blows of nature’s rage nor by the hand of man. They bridge the chasms, dismantle the barriers and let us see each other at our noblest best.

And they are fueled by love.

A love that dares—as we must dare—to hold and help and overcome. A love that soars over fallen towers and blood-soaked, trampled earth, declaring its tenacity—defining our humanity.

Today, despite the horror—no, because of this atrocity—I choose this love that manifests most mightily when we’re brought to our bloodied knees. A love that points to heaven’s peace and binds our wounds and soothes our pain and rises every time with bright audacity when we can stand no more.

Michèle Phoenix is the author of several books, including her new novel, The Space Between Words, which deals with hope and healing in the face of adversity.



Eid-El-Kabir: Ambode Urges Muslims To Imbibe Value Of Sacrifice, Love, Unity

by Kunle Awosiyan | “As we celebrate this auspicious occasion, let us renew our faith in our nation and implore the Almighty God to restore to us those values that place high premium on human life…”

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday called on Muslims in Nigeria to imbibe the values of sacrifice, love and continue to foster unity as they join their counterparts worldwide to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir festival.

In his Sallah message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, Governor Ambode said the period of the celebration was a clarion call for Nigerians to imbibe the lessons of the season such as selfless service to God and humanity, sacrifice and sincere commitment to righteous conducts in their private and public life.

He explained that the significance of the season should be beyond the festivities, adding that as Muslims prepare to offer animal sacrifice in the prescribed days of the festival, the real essence was not in the meat or the blood of the animal but to encourage piety, self-discipline and sacrifice.

Governor Ambode therefore called on all Nigerians to exhibit these values for the good of the country and shun any act capable of heating up the polity or causing distrust among various ethnic groups in the country.

“As we celebrate this auspicious occasion, let us renew our faith in our nation and implore the Almighty God to restore to us those values that place high premium on human life, love of neighbour and sharing even as we ventilate our faith in the unity of our dear country”, the Governor said.

“This period requires more patience, fortitude, tolerance, endurance, patriotism and a greater willingness to make personal sacrifices for the good of all,” he said.

The Governor also thanked Lagosians for supporting his administration, assuring that the Government would continue to do its best to serve the people and promote fairness and mutual tolerance among the populace, irrespective of backgrounds.

While wishing all Lagosians, especially adherents of the Islamic faith a happy Eid-el-Kabir celebration, Governor Ambode enjoined Nigerians in other parts of the country to continue to be their brothers’ keeper.

 



3 Things Your Kids Are Silently Begging for From You

by Rick Warren | A lot of times we love our kids, but we don't express it in a way they can understand it. Children understand love in three ways: affection, affirmation and attention. (image: Pinecrest)

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God" (1 John 4:7).

If you want to know how to be a good parent and build a strong family, you don't have to look online or go to a bookstore. Look no further than the greatest book ever written on parenting: God's Word, the Bible.

It says in 1 John 4:7a "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God."

More than anything else, kids need unwavering and unconditional love. There needs to be a place where they're accepted—warts and all.

What is compassion? Compassion is a combination of love and understanding. Compassion is where you know everything about someone and you still like that person.

Love is not natural. You have to learn to love. You learn by practicing. What better place to practice than with the people you're forced to live with all your life? If you can learn to love your family, you can love anybody. Why? Because it's easy to love people at a distance, but when you're with them all the time, you don't always get along. When you practice love in the family, you're learning to really love.

A lot of times we love our kids, but we don't express it in a way they can understand it. Children understand love in three ways: affection, affirmation and attention.

1. Affection. Children need lots of hugs and touch and kisses. They need to feel your love.

2. Affirmation. You need to tell your kids every day—and more than once a day—how much you love them. Affirm them, and build them up with love.

3. Attention. One of the greatest gifts you can give others is listening to them. When you look at children on their level, you're saying, "You matter to me. You're important to me. I want to hear what you have to say." In doing this, you show compassion.

Talk It Over

  • In what different ways do you see that your children express and receive love?
  • What routines or habits can you practice so that you are showing your kids affection, affirmation, and attention every day?
  • If you don't have children, what is your responsibility to the children in your life, such as nieces and nephews, neighbors or the children of friends?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global internet community for pastors.


Differences Between Modern Dating and Biblical Dating

Scott Croft | Looking for a completely countercultural path to marriage? Here's how to apply God's Word to dating, finding a spouse and getting married. (soul mate for Christians)

The system today's young men and women have inherited for finding and marrying a future spouse leaves a lot to be desired. We often hear complaints from readers about the confusion, hurt and sexual sin they've encountered despite their best intentions. Many want to know how they can go about getting to know someone and eventually getting married without getting hurt or compromising their faith.

At Focus on the Family, we've offered a range of resources and expert advice bringing biblical principles to bear in this area. Some of the messages we've presented have taken the position that Christians can apply their faith in such a way that they can still work within the system they've inherited. Other messages have stressed that Christians need to be much more counter-cultural. Joshua Harris, for instance, has promoted a model of courtship that harkens back to a model used broadly before modern dating evolved.

People attempting to follow a courtship model within today's culture, however, often run into a lot of practical questions, such as, "What if her dad is unavailable or uninterested in being involved?" or "What do you do when you live hundreds of miles from your family?"

The goal of this series of articles, beginning with this introduction, is to provide our readers with a place to bring those questions. Scott Croft is an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church where he teaches a seminar on friendship, courtship and marriage. He is also an attorney who is used to tackling tough questions.

The answers he brings may be different from anything you've heard before. The topics he's going to be dealing with are ones in which equally committed Christians have found different biblical interpretations. Not all will agree with Scott's approach, and we invite feedback from anyone who believes there are better interpretations for the biblical passages Scott draws from.

It's our hope that this Q&A series will be valuable both for those who think the Bible gives sufficient guidance for operating within our current system as well as for those who are looking for a completely countercultural path to marriage.


If you're reading this, you're interested in dating. You've done it, you're doing it, you'd like to do it, or you need to teach somebody else how to do it. Don't worry. You're not alone. In our society, dating has become something of an obsession. It is expected to be a universal phenomenon. It's just something you do if you're single and of age (and that age is quickly dropping) in America. It is considered the natural precursor to marriage, and is generally considered something to be desired, whatever form it might take.

It's also big business. If you were to Google the word "matchmaker," you would receive something in the neighborhood of 11,500,000 responses — with a few of these outfits claiming to be Christian, but most making no such claim. "Dating" will get you 640,000,000 hits.

As evangelical Christians, we're called to be distinct in the ways we think and act about all issues that confront us and those around us. This topic is no exception. So is there such a thing as biblical dating? If so, what is it? How can Christians think differently about this pervasive issue in media and culture? How are we doing so far?

The answer to that last question is "not well." Surveys consistently indicate that professing Christians behave almost exactly like non-Christians in terms of sexual involvement outside of marriage (in both percentage of people involved and how deeply involved they are — how far they're going), living together before marriage, and infidelity and divorce after marriage. In fact, depending on which statistics one believes, the divorce rate for professing Christians may actually be higher than for Americans as a whole. Granted, not all of these people are evangelicals, but we're not doing so well either. Indeed, the central issue we need to confront — and the reason I write and speak on this topic — is that when it comes to dating and relationships, perhaps more than in any other area of the everyday Christian life, the church is largely indistinguishable from the world. That truth has brought immeasurable emotional pain and other consequences to many Christians. Worse, it has brought great dishonor to the name of Christ and to the witness of individuals and the church.

It doesn't have to be this way. For Christians, the Lord has given us His Word, and the Holy Spirit helps us to understand it. We have brothers and sisters in Christ to hold us accountable and to help us apply the Word to our lives. If you're a Christian, that's the biblical life you're called to.

That's what I hope this column will be about — applying God's Word to dating, finding a spouse and getting married.

Scripture Rules

I have to start by explaining the theological doctrine that drives the approach I want to outline (and advocate). That doctrine is called the sufficiency of Scripture. Almost all professing evangelical Christians are familiar with and vigorously defend the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture (which states that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, it's true, and it contains no falsity or error). I certainly agree with the inerrancy of Scripture, but that's not what I'm talking about here. The doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture assumes inerrancy but then goes a step further. This doctrine simply holds that the Bible is sufficient to guide and instruct us authoritatively in all areas of our faith and life, and that there is no area of life about which the Bible has no guidance for us. The sufficiency of Scripture is taught explicitly and implicitly in many passages, but perhaps the most obvious is 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

So how does the sufficiency of Scripture apply to our coming discussions? Well, many evangelicals who otherwise believe in the inerrancy of the Bible and who might generally agree with the sufficiency of Scripture have nonetheless embraced the world's ideas about dating. In doing so, some make the argument that Scripture doesn't speak to this topic. I believe it does. The Bible speaks to every area of our faith and life at some level. Some things it talks about explicitly, like salvation or sanctification or marriage or elders. The Bible guides us in some areas by broader, more general principles and ideas we can build on as we strive to live the Christian life in practical ways. In either case, no area of life falls totally outside of the guidance and authority of God's Word.

My point is that we cannot simply state that the Bible "doesn't mention dating or courtship," and then think we're off the hook to pursue this area of our lives either on the world's terms or however seems best to us without diligent, submissive reference to God's Word. If the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture is true, then God's Word does have authoritative guidance for us about how we might best glorify God in this area of our lives. That means our conversation has to be a biblical conversation. I mention the sufficiency of Scripture as part of the groundwork for this column because it's one of those doctrines that touches every area of our lives, and it is at the heart of the approach to dating (and life) that we'll talk about here.

Biblical Dating

OK. Let's take care of some basic definitions. We may define biblical dating as a method of introduction and carrying out of a pre-marital relationship between a single man and a single woman:

  1. That begins (maybe) with the man approaching and going through the woman's father or family;
  2. that is conducted under the authority of the woman's father or family or church; and
  3. that always has marriage (or at least a determination regarding marriage to a specific person) as its direct goal.

The Scriptural support for the idea of biblical dating is largely by example and implication. We will look at a number of passages over the course of our discussions that support various aspects of biblical dating, but for the moment, let me just give you some references to study:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-7:19 (command to be pure, seriousness of sexual sin and instructions regarding marriage)
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (do not wrong or defraud one another in relationships — by implying a relationship or commitment by your words or conduct that does not actually exist)
  • Song of Solomon 2:7 ("do not awaken love before it pleases" — i.e. before the proper time, meaning marriage)
  • Proverbs 6:20-7:27 (warning to avoid sexual sin and foolish relationships)
  • James 1:13-15 (temptation is to be taken very seriously)
  • Romans 13:8-14 (love others, work for their soul's good; don't look to please self)
  • Romans 14:1-15:7 (favor others, not self … value what's good to their souls)
  • 1 Timothy 5:1-2 (treat single women as sisters in Christ, with absolute purity)
  • Titus 2:1-8 (young men and women should focus on self-control/godliness)
  • John 14:15 (if you love Christ, you will obey His commands — read: above your own desires — and live biblically)

We'll talk more about these and other passages as we deal with other topics in this series.

Modern Dating

We may basically define modern dating as a method of introduction and carrying out of a pre-marital relationship between a single man and a single woman:

  1. that begins with either the man or the woman initiating with the other;
  2. that is conducted outside the formal oversight or authority of either person's family or church; and
  3. that may or may not have marriage as its goal and is often purely "recreational" or "educational."

Now, the biblical support for the modern approach to dating … (insert crickets, tumbleweeds, person whistling here)…. That was it. There isn't any. The very idea of extended romantic or sexual involvement outside of marriage doesn't even appear in Scripture unless it is described as illicit (sinful). Furthermore, it doesn't even appear in any society, western or otherwise, in any systematic way until the 20th century. While the principles supporting biblical dating have their beginnings with the very structure of the family, modern dating has its origins with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. It is brand new, and yet, seemingly, it is all we know.

Differences Between Modern Dating and Biblical Dating

So what's the real difference? Here are some fundamentals:

Modern dating philosophy assumes that there will be several intimate romantic relationships in a person's life before marriage. In fact, it advocates "playing the field" in order to determine "what one wants" in a mate. Biblical dating has as its goal to be emotionally and physically intimate with only one member of the opposite sex … your spouse.

Modern dating tends to be egalitarian (no differences between men and women in spiritual or emotional "wiring" or God-given roles). Biblical dating tends to be complementarian (God has created men and women differently and has ordained each of these spiritual equals to play different and valuable roles in the church and in the family).

Modern dating tends to assume that you will spend a great deal of time together (most of it alone). Biblical dating tends to encourage time spent in group activities or with other people the couple knows well.

Modern dating tends to assume that you need to get to know a person more deeply than anyone else in the world to figure out whether you should be with him or her. The biblical approach suggests that real commitment to the other person should precede such a high level of intimacy.

Modern dating tends to assume that a good relationship will "meet all my needs and desires," and a bad one won't — it's essentially a self-centered approach. Biblical dating approaches relationships from a completely different perspective — one of ministry and service and bringing glory to God.

Modern dating tends to assume that there will be a high level of emotional involvement in a dating relationship, and some level of physical involvement as well. Biblical dating assumes no physical intimacy and more limited emotional intimacy outside of marriage.

Modern dating assumes that what I do and who I date as an adult is entirely up to me and is private (my family or the church has no formal or practical authority). Biblical dating assumes a context of spiritual accountability, as is true in every other area of the Christian life.

Basically, we can make three general statements about modern dating vs. biblical dating in terms of their respective philosophies:

  1. Modern dating seems to be about "finding" the right person for me (as my friend Michael Lawrence has written on this site, "Stop Test-Driving Your Girlfriend"); biblical dating is more about "being" the right person to serve my future spouse's needs and be a God-glorifying husband or wife.
  2. In modern dating, intimacy precedes commitment. In biblical dating, commitment precedes intimacy.
  3. The modern dating approach tells us that the way to figure out whether I want to marry someone is to act like we are married. If we like it, we make it official. If we don't, then we go through something emotionally — and probably physically — like a divorce. In biblical dating, Scripture guides us as to how to find a mate and marry, and the Bible teaches, among other things, that we should act in such a way so as not to imply a marriage-level commitment until that commitment exists before the Lord.

I'm supremely confident that as we go back and forth in the coming months, some — perhaps many — of you will disagree (if you don't already) or be initially annoyed at some of my statements. Ask yourself why. What are you trying to hold onto that you think this approach will take from you (privacy, autonomy, a secular idea of freedom or of your own rights)?

I have a particular challenge for those of you whose main objection is that the practical details we'll talk about here "are not explicitly biblical": think about the details of how you conduct (or would like to conduct) your dating life. Can you find explicit support for the modern approach in Scripture? Are there even broad principles in Scripture that justify the modern vision of dating (or yours, whatever it may be)? The Bible simply doesn't give us explicit instructions on some of what we'll discuss. Fair enough. In such a situation, we should ask what gets us closest to clear biblical teaching. In other words, within the many gray areas here, what conduct in our dating lives will help us to best care for our brothers and sisters in Christ and bring honor to His name?

That's it. That's a basic framework for biblical dating as best I can discern it from the principles of God's Word. Now, you're on. No question is too broad or too specific, too theoretical, too theological, or too practical. Agree with what I've said, or challenge it. This is how iron sharpens iron.

Scott Croft served for several years as chairman of the elders at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., where he wrote and taught the Friendship, Courtship & Marriage and Biblical Manhood & Womanhood CORE Seminars. Scott now lives in the Louisville, Ky., area with his wife, Rachel, and son, William, where he works as an attorney and serves as an elder of Third Avenue Baptist Church.

Just remember one thing: we're in this together — for His Glory.



Loving the Unlovable

How to love the unlovable – Matthew 5:38-48 (photo, Timmy Gibson)

What is love, and how do we truly exhibit love?

I think we all go on these love craves during which we desire to show God's love as much as we can. We have an encounter with love and want to pour out love every second we get and then we then don't pour out His love as well as we should.

I believe God's love becomes a fad like a W.W.J.D. bracelet. They were a hot item for a while and probably made the creator a lot of money. They then, however, wore out naturally and spiritually.

Aren't we supposed to be all about God's love? The first place we can start being about God's love is in the home. How can we show God's love in the world if we are not showing it in our own home? What does this mean? It means spending time with your loved ones.

In the day and age of modern technology, we can be in a room together with one another, but are we with each other? No. We have our laptops on, phones within reach and a movie or video game on the TV screen. How is this showing love?

What about getting irritated with our family members? Should we snap, get angry, have sharp tones and comments and get irritated with what another person said or did? Is that truly showing God's love? I think that is where the W.W.J.D. bracelets come in. How would Jesus react to another family member? The answer is with love.

We need to learn how to extend and be love to those people who sometimes "drive us nuts," to those "we can't stand to be around" and to those who"drain us emotionally." But why do we even feel that way about "those people?"

I was talking to the Lord recently about whom the world would label "high maintenance people to whom we need to extend a little extra grace." I mean the people who don't seem to want to do anything for themselves or who ask you to pray for them all the time. How many times do you want to shout back at them: "Pray for yourself! You have two lips and a tongue!"

In all seriousness, why do we get irritated with them? Because we do not love enough and because we do not love as Jesus loves.

When will we get back to the place of compassion and love; of pouring ourselves out on people and truly serving them and being a channel of love? When will we do it right? When will we love like Jesus loved? When will we be a stream of constant love?

You know why those people do the things they do to us; because they need love. They are hurting, lonely, rejected, insecure, inferior and they need love. They need someone to pour into them. They need someone to invest in them and to say, "You know what, you are valued and loved, and you are important to me." They should be important to you because they are God's children. Aren't you supposed to love as He loves?

I challenge you to be love. You know who that person is who maybe you would rather have not bug you so much. Perhaps you would be happy if they were not in your life. I want you to love them abundantly. I want you to make them your love assignment. Be nice to them. Go out of your way to love on them and pray for them. Pray that God would give them a love encounter and that they would receive the love of God that comes through other people in their lives.

Make it a practice and a way of living to outlove the other person. Think about how much you are loved. I want you to pour that much love out, that you outlove the person to next you, who loved on you. Yes, a love mission. Learn to outlove the next person. Learn to be love; and when you think you accomplished your mission, when you think you have achieved love, ask the Lord to help you love even more, because it's all about L-O-V-E!

Kathy DeGraw is the founder of DeGraw Ministries, a ministry releasing the love and power of God. She travels hosting conferences, teaching schools and evangelistic love tours. Kathy empowers people to release and be love with her #belove campaign. Kathy enjoys writing and is the author of several books that educate, empower and equip people, including A Worship Woven Life and Flesh, Satan or God. Connect with Kathy at degrawministries.org.

 



Help Children Deal with Fear

It's our job as parents and guildiance to help our Children deal with fear whatever it may be (forchild.org.ua)

Tragedy is all around us. It’s on the news every night — and all throughout the day. We talk about it at the dinner table. And, as fun and engaging as it can be, we can thank social media for keeping us constantly informed of all the bad things happening in our world.

Evil is rampant — and, because of this – fear is rampant.

And, it doesn’t impact only us.

Our children are not immune from fear. In an Information Age — they know what we know, filtered, of course, with their childlike mind.

Violence even happens in school — in malls — in churches — places children go regularly.

Childhood can be a scary time of life naturally, but especially these days. We should never diminish a child’s fear or the impact the news of the day is having on them. It may be totally irrational fear – something you know is completely impossible — but it’s very real to them.

How does a parent or teacher address this fear?

Here are 7 suggestions to help children deal with fear:

1. Don’t assume their thoughts

Don’t assume just because your child doesn’t mention what happened they don’t know about it or care. Fear is a normal reaction, especially for a child. Watch for unusual behavior. Be aware of mood changes or extreme sadness. Make sure they know it’s okay to talk about it and there is no shame or disappointment from you when they are fearful. Maybe tell them of a time you were afraid — even a recent time.

2. Limit their exposure

You’re curious, so the television may be on news stations. What are they covering right now? Remember children process information different from how you do. They may not appear to be watching, but they probably are more than you think. Fill their minds with things to encourage them not perpetuate the fear. This is a time to turn off the television and simply play with your kids. They’ll get no better assurance than their time with you.

3. Ask them questions

You may think children are afraid of one thing, but it is something completely different. Many times children, especially young children, are simply confused or have misinformation. You can better address the fear if you know its roots. Getting them to talk about what they are afraid of can help them learn to better rationalize and seek comfort and assurance from you.

4. Assure them they are safe

Let children know they are safe. Don’t lie to them or give them false assurance, but remember the chances of the same thing happening to them is rare — very rare. Remind them you will do anything to protect them. Show them ways you’ve already provided for their safety. Let them help you lock the doors at night. You may need to help them process for weeks to come. Don’t rush them to “get over it”. Pray for and with them often.

5. Live a normal life as much as possible

As much as possible, live a normal weekly schedule. Their routine is part of their “security blanket.” Don’t allow their fear to cripple them or the family for long. In spite of our fears, we have to move forward.

6. Be calm around them

Especially during this stressful time, don’t let your children see you in panic. Watch what you say in front of them. Discuss the world events – and especially your fears of them – outside of their listening ears. Let the home be their “safe place”. Parents shouldn’t fight in front of kids anytime, but especially during a time of uncertainty like this. Renew your faith. Renew your commitment to each other. Children often get their faith through parents.

7. Read them Scripture

Children need something they can cling to as permanent and dependable. What better place than the Word of God, which will never fade? Recite Psalm 56:3 to them. If they are old enough, write it down somewhere they can see it often. Memorize some verses of strength and share with them often. Help them memorize some. (When our boys were young we played Scripture music appropriate for their age. Steve Green’s “Hide ’em in Your Heart series was great for this. You can find them online.)

Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.

 



When Love Fails

"I don't love you anymore," are the most painful words anyone can hear. How does this happen with Christians? (Charisma archives)

I know we said, "'Till death do us part.' But, I just don't love him anymore."

Those are painful words, spoken in a marriage counseling session. How can that be?

How is it possible for a man and a woman, deeply in love and passionately committed to one another at one time, to stop loving? How is it possible for a child raised in a Christian home to stop loving their parents?

The Apostle Paul wrote in "the love chapter" the amazing words, "Love never fails."  Yet, we know love does fail. Did the Scripture lie or did someone make a mistake?

Jesus gives us clarity in Matthew 24:12. "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (KJV).

This is a difficult verse, at best. Let's try to un-package it.

"Iniquity" (anomia) is disrespect for the law or someone who chooses to live above the law. It is living without law; wickedness.

"Wax cold" (psugeesetai from psuchoo) means breath cool; blowing cool air; or the loss of temperature. A culture or an individual who chooses to live lawless will experience the cooling of natural love in their heart; even to the point of rigor mortis.

How does Jesus' explanation help us understand the failure of love in a marriage; between a child and their parent; or between a child of God and the Lord?

A heart of iniquity is self-focused and full of envy. They ask, "What do I need? What am I missing? What do others have that I don't have? What am I missing out on? What should I be experiencing that I am not experiencing?

Their thoughts are focused on what their mate is not doing.

The believer's heart is fixed on what God has not done for them or on prayers God has not answered.

The child is offended by the parent's failure.

The words of a self-focused person are filled with, "You never…" and "You did this to me."

The result of such focus is loss of joy and a lack of desire to serve. Those things that used to bring joy become irritating or frustrating. Little tasks that were a delight or pleasant to do because they brought pleasure to the other person are now resented. Feelings of expectation rise up and they begin thinking, "It is not fair. They shouldn't expect that of me."

Control of the imagination is compromised.

Thoughts of what it would be like with another person creep into the mind throughout the day. Eyes begin to wander, looking at other men or women and fantasizing being with them. Memories of old times and the fun experienced begin wandering through. Feelings of missing those times flood in. Slowly the attachment and attraction to your mate weakens.

The joy of being a Christian weakens. Pleasure in movies with compromising scenes and the soft pornography of pop culture becomes attractive.

The imagination is awakened even more.

Fantasizing about another person becomes greater.

Now you are becoming emotionally attached to another person. They may not even know you are having such thoughts. Transference is happening. Emotions that rightfully belong to your marriage partner, your parents, your Lord and Savior are given to another.

Opportunity to speak with that person is sought. Conversations are extended; greetings are expressed friendlier; handshakes become friendly hugs. Emotional attachment becomes stronger and the imagination fired up even more. Love for your mate is weakened; emotional estrangement is becoming obvious.

Spiritually, less time is spent in prayer and Bible reading is overlooked. Church attendance is not as attractive.

The emotional estrangement leads to wrong behavior. Friendly hugs become more intimate and lingering. Words of endearment enter the greeting. Suddenly, one or the other cross the forbidden line and express the hidden affection and emotional adultery is entered into. This will eventually lead to physical adultery.

Jesus sternly warns the believer about allowing their love for the Lord to become "lukewarm." Such a believer will be deceived, thinking their walk with the Lord is still good and yet they are lost.

The apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son, Timothy, "Now the goal of this command is love from a pure heart, and from a good conscience, and from sincere faith" (1 Tim 1:5, MEV).

The child of God must carefully guard their moral purity and discipline their imagination. Love will not grow cold in the heart of one that diligently maintains a spirit of mercy; that extends grace to their mate; and gives forgiveness even when it is not deserved. Authentic trust is crucial to maintaining a heart of love.

When trust is breached, even secretly in your thoughts or emotions, it gives opportunity for the enemy to "breathe cool" on your heart of love.

Jesus modeled unfailing love. His words are anchors for our soul.

When Love Fails by Dr. F. Dean Hackett "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you" (John 13:34).