Monday, July 28, 2014

The Persecuted Will Be Rewarded!

Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:10-12 You’re blessed when you’re commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that – count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens-give a cheer even!-for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. - The Message

Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.

Rejoice in persecution? Jump for joy? These scriptures don’t sound like a promise, nor do they sound “blissful” (blessed means blissful) – but they are. The truth is we can’t “enjoy” persecution unless we know Christ, are filled with his Spirit and committed to him. When we’re persecuted for righteousness sake we have joined Christ in the battle against Satan. He is with us giving us strength, perseverance and joy!

Persecution and martyrdom is happening to Christians around the world. Barclay writing about the early Christians says that the persecution of Christians occurred because “the difference in their lives was a daily rebuke to many pagans.” He also says, “Persecution only comes to the man whose life is so positive and real in its effectiveness that society regards him as a danger.” A Christian who is willing to compromise, or who is uncommitted, whose faith is shallow won’t be persecuted.
This passage of scripture is difficult. The thought of being persecuted is upsetting. We must lean on You. Help our lives be so true to you that we rejoice in times of trouble. Help us commit our lives totally to you. It would be an honor to be persecuted because of Your righteousness in us, because Christ lives in you and me. Help us depend on You and your Holy Spirit in the midst of trials of any kind. Your joy is our strength!
In Christ, Dottie

Monday, July 21, 2014

Eating Disorders are Life Threatening

Q.  My daughter, age 17, is very preoccupied with her weight, hardly eats at all and is too thin. I tried to talk to her about this but she became offended and clammed up. I’m concerned she may have an eating disorder. What are the symptoms of eating disorders and how are they treated? A friend told me eating disorders are life threatening. Is this true?

A. Your friend is right, eating disorders are life threatening. Many young women (and some men) in their teens and early twenties struggle with an eating disorder. They don’t recognize that they have a serious problem which usually requires medical and psychiatric intervention.
Anorexia is a serious, life threatening eating disorder involving deliberate starvation. A person who is anorexic has an obsession with being thin and an unrealistic standard of what constitutes thinness. Those who do not get help have a high mortality rate.   
Bulimia is also a life threatening eating disorder. It is characterized by recurring episodes of binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting or purging by laxatives, enemas or diuretics. Persons with bulimia have a fear of being fat and use the above methods to lose weight. Bulimics usually have less severe weight loss than anorexics. The bulimic feels shame about their problem and so is secretive about it.
The Consequences
The physical consequences of anorexia can include: extreme weight loss, loss of menstrual periods, constipation, hair loss, dizziness, fainting, insomnia, kidney failure and severe electrolyte imbalances which can lead to heart attacks.
The physical consequences of bulimia include menstrual irregularities, swollen glands, frequent weight fluctuations, chronic dehydration, kidney problems and cardiac arrhythmia. Bulimics also can have gum recession, breakdown of tooth enamel and esophageal damage from excessive vomiting. Some young people suffer from both anorexia and bulimia, an especially dangerous condition.

The psychological symptoms of anorexia and bulimia both include feelings of inferiority, obsessive thoughts, fear of obesity, perfectionism and a distorted body image.
The media contributes to this extreme obsession with appearance and an unrealistic standard of what constitutes beauty. Recent research discovered that women who viewed advertisements of thin, beautiful women felt unhappy with their own appearance after only three minutes. Teens are especially influenced by these ads.

A former supermodel Carre Otis, who was pictured on the cover of fashion magazines and featured in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, acknowledged her problem with anorexia. On ABC’s Primetime, she described going on a liquid fast for two weeks before each photo shoot. Her doctors found she had three holes in her heart.

After heart surgery she began eating three meals a day instead of one. She told Primetime, “When I first started to eat food during the day it was the most terrifying thing for me. I would eat and then...cry for hours.” For 17 years she starved herself all day and ate only a little dinner. 
Carre now weighs 30 pounds over her ideal model weight. But she is still beautiful and modeling offers pour in. Carre Otis is a size 12. The average American woman wears a size 14. Few women are meant to be as tiny as the women depicted in ads.

You must get help for your daughter. She should have both a medical evaluation and a psychological evaluation. She must be monitored medically while working on the underlying psychological causes of the problem. Reassure her that the medical and counseling help will be offered to her with understanding, not blame.
A renewal of faith can also help anorexics and bulimics. Faith in God can help them give up their need to control and their need to be perfect, learning to place their life in God’s hands. 

Blessings, Dottie

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NIV

This post appeared originally on Taber's Truths, Modern Christian Living. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Before You Divorce

Q. My marriage is in trouble. We have been married for ten years and have two children. Over the years we have lost the good feelings we had for each other. We argue a lot and we avoid each other. Recently my husband suggested we separate. Since we aren’t happy together he thinks we might as well get a divorce. I'm very upset about this and would like to work things out. I still care for him and I worry about how divorce will affect our children. What do you think? 

A. The decision to divorce is not one to be made lightly. Nor should it be made based on unhappy feelings alone. If you have a sore throat or the flu do you threaten to commit suicide? Of course not. You know that life will give you an occasional cold or an occasional bout with the flu. Most all marriages go through unhappy phases. Some couples with very serious marital problems have stayed together and found ways to work out their differences. Yet many couples threaten to “kill” their marriage at the first sign of “the sniffles.” 
We’ve been sold a bill of goods that divorce will solve our problems. If our marriage isn’t going the way we think it should, we’ll enjoy the single life and freedom again. Or we’ll find someone else who will love us or understand us better.
Divorce creates problems. It does not solve problems. Long range studies of the effects of divorce show that divorce is not just a brief crisis in the lives of those affected. Five years after divorce most families are still in great pain and turmoil. The statistics against divorce are formidable. Financially divorced parents struggle. This continues not just briefly but for six to ten years after divorce. Remarriage with children may make things worse as two families, often still hurting from divorce, struggle to blend and become one.
There is overwhelming evidence that divorce is very harmful to children of all ages.  Children of divorce are two to three times more likely to have behavioral problems. As adults they are less successful in their careers and in love relationships.

Tell your husband you still care about him and want to work things out. Don’t argue with him. Instead, listen and try and understand his point of view. Tell him your concerns about the effects of divorce on the children. Read The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce by Dr. Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis and Sandra Blakeslee. In this book children of every age speak about the fact that their parent’s divorce was devastating to them.
What can you do to solve things? Watch five videos called Choosing Wisely Before You Divorce available free on www.beforeyoudivorce. Urge your husband to watch these videos with you. The videos cover: the legal and financial impact of divorce, the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of divorce, the effects of divorce on children, forgiveness and reconciliation. Each video shows film clips of experts talking interspersed with couples telling their experiences. 

Some couples who have watched these videos have decided to stay together. Those who have decided to go ahead with a divorce have had a more peaceful divorce as a result of considering the effects of divorce before hand. I hope these ideas will convince you and your husband to work on your marriage. Reconciliation is hard work but it is less painful and less expensive than divorce and it enables couples to keep their wedding promises to each other and to God. 

Counseling with a Christian counselor or pastor along with The Third Option group for couples on the brink of divorce can help you work out the differences and conflicts in your marriage. Don’t give up. Divorce will compound your problems, not solve them.

“Each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

Blessings, Dottie

Monday, July 7, 2014

Red Words in Scripture


Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Matthew 5:9 You’re blessed when you can show others how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. The Message

PEACE: HARMONY, AGREEMENT, friendship, unity, order, reconciliation, tranquil, tranquility, calm, irenic

Barclay translates this: ”Blessed are those who produce right relationships in every sphere of life, for they are doing a God-like work.”

I don’t like conflict so I’m pretty good at keeping the peace. But Jesus refers to peace makers – not peace keepers. Peace keepers (myself included) avoid conflict, give in to the status quo rather than speak up when things may need to change. Peace makers must be active in facilitating peace.

Barclay in his book Plain People Look at the Beatitudes suggests we need to make peace with ourselves, with others and with God. A civil war rages inside most of us. For example Paul in Romans 7:19 tells us “The good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not I do.” Our flesh wants to run things. Integration of our two natures and true inner peace only come through surrender to Christ.

Right relationships with others means we let go of all bitterness, forgiving our enemies. Christ enables us to forgive even our worst enemy. Christ enables us to be at peace with others and to share the peace of Christ.

Right relationship with God includes our seeking him daily, surrendering daily, and enjoying his presence rather than avoiding him. The promise is that we will be sons and daughters of God. As we grow we will look more and more like Him! What a promise.


Peace is a theme of Jesus life and ministry. Isaiah predicted he would be the Prince of Peace Isaiah 9:6. Luke tells of angels singing at his birth “On earth, peace, good will to men.” Luke 2:4. He often told sinners to “Go in peace!” Before his crucifixion he said to his disciples: “My peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

His first word to the disciples after his resurrection was Shalom – Peace.

I’ve been at war with myself in the past but have out grown much of this by learning of You, and dying to self gradually. (I'm still a work in progress, or course.) I’m generally a peacekeeper in all my relationships. Now I’m learning to be a peacemaker. I’m learning to keep the peace without compromising my right to be respected and heard. I’m also actively reaching out to help, cooperate and share your peace with others. Fill me with your peace and guide me in sharing it. Thank you for Your peace in my heart.

Blessings, Dottie

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Q.  Our young children recently asked about flags flying in the neighborhood for a veteran who returned home. We explained he risked his life to keep our country free. We also told them that people fly the flag because they are proud to live in a free country. Their questions made us wonder what else we can do to teach our children to love this country and to not take our freedoms for granted. How can we teach our children patriotism?

A.  As a result of wars and uprisings around the world most citizens have become passionate about their love for our country and more aware of the many freedoms we enjoy in the United States. We are now less likely to take for granted our democratic form of government and our guarantee of the rights of all citizens. We are also more aware of our responsibility to be good citizens. 
We must teach patriotism to our children. How can we do this? You teach what you model. So model patriotism and talk about why you do what you do. Here are some specific things you can do to teach patriotism to your children.
1. Fly the flag on special holidays and talk with your children about why you do this.  Show them the proper ways to display the flag.  Let your children help put up the flag on these special days.
2. Ask your school aged children whether they say the pledge of allegiance to the flag each morning in school. Find out what they understand about this and explain more about why we do this. The library and the internet can provide more information about the flag and related subjects.   
3. Take your children to the 4th of July parade and other parades. Take them to a ball game and explain the reason for taking off their hats and placing their right hand on their heart as the national anthem is played.
4. Take your children to monuments and museums that tell the story of our nation. In Ohio we have the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Hamilton and the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum in Dayton. Take a family vacation to visit historic places such as Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Learning about the history of our country and how our government works will come to life by visiting Congress, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, and Independence Square and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. 
5. Be responsible citizens by voting. Talk with your children about the privilege we have of being able to vote and the fact that many countries do not have this freedom. As they get older have family discussions about how to decide which candidates will get your vote.

6. Ask older children what they’re learning in school about our democratic government, the history of our country, our freedoms. In contrast, what have they learned about other countries? 
7. Read books to your children on the heroes of our country - Betsy Ross, Clara Barton, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and many others. 
8. List the freedoms and rights we have which many other countries do not have such as freedom of speech, freedom to vote, freedom to choose our work, freedom to learn including free education for all children, and freedom of worship. Our court system also assures us of a fair trial if we’re accused of a crime. 
9. Teach your children also that with our freedoms go responsibilities. In a democratic society, all citizens have the responsibility to pay taxes, vote, serve on jury duty, obey the law, and defend our country if needed. As good citizens we also need to be involved in helping others in our community and in our world. 

10. Raise your children in a church where patriotism is taught as well as God’s Word.      
Patriotic children will become responsible citizens, proud of our country, eager to support democratic values and willing to fight (by democratic means) any threat to our values. On this Fourth of July thank a veteran for his service to keep our country free.

Pray for “peace on earth good will to men.” Luke 2:14

Blessings, Dottie

This post originally appeared on Tabers Truths, Modern Christian Living