Thursday, August 25, 2016


Q. Is it possible to help one of your children once they have become an adult? Is it possible to change a relationship with an adult child? Our daughter has been remote, resentful and unrevealing since college. We have tried to talk with her, but nothing works. I know we have to let go and let her find her own way in life but we see no changes happening and she is nearly forty. When we attempt to talk she denies any problems. I think she’s also drinking too much. How can we help?

A. It is very difficult to help someone who doesn’t want help. This is especially true for parents of adults. We all carry some childhood issues into adulthood. Until we work these out we avoid the influence of our parents. Your daughter’s inner struggle may be one of trying to be independent, trying to appear adequate, or she may have resentments about perceived unfairness, neglect or abuse.
We can change things by changing the way we relate to our adult child - being more understanding and empathic. To change things, do the following:
1. Reach out to your adult child. Show interest in what she is interested in. Be positive and notice her achievements. Study your adult child and learn about her.  Look for facets of her personality you never discovered before. Focus on positives and let her know what you admire about her.
2. Ask for forgiveness for any wrong you have done as a parent. All parents make mistakes. We yell when we know this hurts. We’re busy or tired and we push our child away. We’re critical or even abusive. Confess your mistakes of the past to your adult child and ask for forgiveness.
3. If she shares a problem with you, listen carefully, be understanding and recognize her pain and struggle. Don’t lecture. Don’t preach. Don’t over react. Be confident in her ability to solve the problem. Give advice only if she asks you for it and then give it tentatively. “I’m not sure what I would do in that situation but I might...”
4. Share from your heart rather than from your head and use “I” statements.  Don’t say, “You’re drinking too much. You may end up a drunken bum.” Do say, “I’m worried and concerned about your drinking and I wonder what is hurting you so much that it causes you to drink.”

5. Use word pictures. Describe your feelings or how you see the relationship in a word picture. This avoids stirring up a person’s defensive response and it often helps the other person understand us.  For example, “Remember how the turtle you had as a child always pulled into his shell when anyone was nearby. Sometimes when I try to talk with you it reminds me of your turtle.”
6. Give your love unconditionally. Do your eyes light up when you see your adult child? Do you let your adult child know how happy you are to see her, talk with her, spend time with her? Do you give hugs, pats on the back and say “I love you”? Let her know that you love her though you may not like her distancing behavior. 
7. Pray for your adult child. Prayer helps us let go of worry. It helps us let go of things we can’t control. Prayer also allows God to work in the life of our child and in our relationship.
For more help with connecting with children of any age read The Gift of Honor and The Blessing both by Gary Smalley and John Trent, Ph.D. 

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:10 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Case for Christ

A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
by Lee Strobel

Lee Strobel, an atheist and a lawyer, set out to disprove Christianity after his wife became a Christian. He put Christianity on trial interrogating renowned scholars in various fields. Here are some excerpts adapted from his book, The Case for Christ.

Are the biographies of Jesus true
The four gospel writers (the writers of the biographies of Jesus) were eyewitnesses to what they wrote about. They lived in an oral culture so scriptures and teachings were memorized extensively. Even though they wrote their accounts 20 to 30 years after the crucifixion, they give historical dates which are correct and they are consistent with, though not identical to each other. In comparison, the two earliest biographies of Alexander the Great were written by Arrian and Plutarch more than four hundred years after Alexander’s death in 323 B.C., yet historians consider them to be generally trustworthy.

What about the copies of copies of the four gospels? 
The gospels have an unprecedented multiplicity of copies compared with other ancient writings. The more copies you have that agree with each other, especially if they come from different geographical areas, the more you can cross check them to figure out what the original document was like. In addition to Greek manuscripts we also have translations of the gospels into other languages at a relatively early time – into Latin, Syriac and Coptic…In all there are about 24,000 manuscripts in existence. 

How does the age of gospel texts compare with other ancient books?
The quantity of New Testament material is overwhelming in comparison with other works of antiquity. Homer wrote the Iliad, which was the bible of the Greeks, in 800 B.C. There are less than 650 manuscripts of the Illiad today all from the second and third century A.D. or later. In the case of other ancient texts five to ten centuries elapsed between the original and the earliest surviving copy. In contrast we have copies of the New Testament gospels beginning within a couple of generations from the writing of the originals.

What about copying errors? 
No book is without errors. (See Faithnotes blog Proofreading Scripture). The errors in the bible manuscripts are minor such as misspelling of words or putting the words in a different sequence without changing the meaning. There is no variation in the major doctrines of the church. 

Is there credible evidence for Jesus outside his biographies? 
One expert documented 39 ancient sources that corroborate more than one hundred facts concerning Jesus’ life, teachings, crucifixion, and resurrection. Seven secular sources and several early creeds concern the deity of Jesus, a doctrine definitely present in the earliest church.

Did Jesus and Jesus alone match the identity of the Messiah? 
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah who would redeem God’s people. Dozens of Old Testament prophecies rule out impostors and validate the authentic Messiah. Jesus, and only Jesus, throughout history, matches this prophetic fingerprint.

Here are examples of prophecy about Jesus written 700 years before he was born!

Isaiah 7:7 “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Immanuel means “God with us.”)
Isaiah wrote this 700 years before Jesus was born to the virgin Mary!

Micah 5:2 “You, Bethlehem, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, from ancient times.”

Micah wrote this 700 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem! Also, Matthew, the Jewish gospel writer cites this verse in Matthew 2:6!

Isaiah 53:1-12 contains many prophecies of the messiah that match Jesus whom the Jewish people did not recognize although he came as their Messiah.

1Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth
By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

If you still have doubts about Jesus read in the Bible the gospel accounts of him, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Also there is much more evidence in The Case for Christ.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem of a virgin, lived a sinless life, claimed to be God, healed the sick, performed miracles, taught that God is Love and lived as a servant. He was an innocent lamb taken to the slaughter without a word. He died on a Roman cross and rose again the third day. Many eyewitnesses verify his many appearances after his resurrection. He met many times with his disciples during that time and forty days later they watched as he rose to heaven to be seated with God in heaven. He lives today! His righteousness covers our sins so we can be adopted as children by the one True and Holy God.

Blessings, Dottie

P. S. Lee Strobel became a Christian after he failed to disprove the biblical evidence that Jesus is the one true God.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Enhancing Marriage Communication

Q. My husband and I have a fairly good marriage but over the years we’ve focused largely on our careers and raising our children. We both have some disappointments about our relationship which we’ve largely ignored. I wish we could talk to each other on a more intimate level and he wants me to enjoy his hobbies with him. Now that the children are older we would like to find ways to improve our relationship. What do you suggest?

A. It’s good that you want to enhance your marriage. In the midst of child rearing and “life” many couples avoid facing the differences and difficulties between them. These minor disappointments fester beneath the surface. Later these issues surface along with bitter or frustrated feelings. Couples whose lives are necessarily focused on children and careers in the early years may find they have grown so far apart that it takes conscious effort to create a more satisfying relationship after the children are grown and gone.
If both partners are willing, any couple can learn to enhance their marriage to make it a more satisfying relationship; one that meets the needs and wishes of both of them. Couples can learn to overcome distance or bitterness that has crept into their relationship.

One of the most useful ways to improve communication is scaling questions. Scaling questions will help you understand what kind of a marriage you each want. Begin by asking each other the following question: “On a scale of one to ten with one being “terrible” and ten being “perfect” where do we want our relationship to be?” Then ask, “Where on this same scale is our relationship right now?” 
You may be surprised to find that you differ on how “perfect” you want or expect the marriage to be and on what level you view it as being right now.  Women tend to expect a more nearly “perfect” relationship and they also are more tuned into the lacks in the relationship.

Next ask each other, “What specific things could we do within the next month, together or individually, that would move our marriage up the scale?” Women can usually answer this last question more easily than men can. Listen to what your partner says he or she needs and act on these requests. This alone can make a difference in your marriage. For example, you may get more intimate conversation as you enjoy one of your husband’s hobbies with him. 
To further understand your marriage, answer and discuss these questions:
1. Do we need to spend more time together? How much? What is the best use of our time together? What time of day do you prefer we spend together?

2. Do we need to talk more with each other? What is meaningful communication?  What have I done in the past that ruined meaningful communication? What are some positive things I’ve done during conversations in the past?

3. Am I keeping my verbal commitments? What needs do you have that I could meet?  How can I help you?
4. Describe a “10” evening out together? What might I do that would ruin a “10” evening?

5. What is best about our relationship?

See Faithnotes blog post on Help for a Dull Marriage and you will learn other ways to enhance your marriage including the value of shared faith and praying together. The Faithnotes post on Smart Marriages gives information about marriage groups which are very helpful in enlivening marriage communication.

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:10

Blessings, Dottie

Thursday, August 4, 2016


John 10:9-10 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.

John 14: 6 I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me

Jesus says "I am the gate, whoever enters through me will be saved.” He is the way to salvation. If we enter through Jesus we will be saved, we will go in and out, and we will find pasture. Woodrow Kroll says about this scripture “Jesus promises eternal results (salvation) and present benefits (going in and out in life with God’s provision) to those who let him be their door.” 

John MacArthur says that here Jesus “is the entrance to the sheep fold that leads to proper pasture." In other words he is the only way to the Father. He is the only way to salvation. He is the gate or the door that allows us to know and enjoy the Father and eternal life in glory. There are many paths people take in life seeking fame, fortune, or peace of mind. All are blind alleys except the Way of Jesus. To find salvation we need to seek Jesus, ask his forgiveness, give our life to him and follow the Light.

Father, We thank you that Jesus is the gate, the door, that leads us to You and to eternal life. We thank you for this marvelous promise and that you have revealed the Truth to your sheep. We would be lost without you. We have a mighty God who loves and cares for us and he will never leave us. Help us cling to Jesus.