Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Peace or Sword?
Volume 7 No. 443 October 27, 2017
 

IV. General Weekly Features

Family Special:
10-Day Communication Challenge for Married Couples
Editor's Note:

The 10-Day Communication Challenge is a series of short devotionals to help husbands and wives become more effective in how they communicate with each other. It is a 10 part series.

Day 1, featured in MWJ Issue 437, covered 'Differing Assumptions'.
Day 2, featured in MWJ Issue 438, covered 'The Line of Respect'.
Day 3, featured in MWJ Issue 439, covered 'After the Fight'.
Day 4, featured in MWJ Issue 440, covered 'I Choose to Forgive'.
Day 5, featured in MWJ Issue 441, covered 'A Wife's Countenance'.
Day 6: featured in MWJ Issue 442, covered 'Believe in Him'.

In this issue, we will cover Day 7 of the series. There is also a bonus article related to the topic.

Day 8 of the series will be covered next week.

Day 7: The World's Most Opposite Couple

By Dr. James Dobson

We must obey God rather than men! (Acts 5:29)

Authors and counselors Chuck and Barb Snyder describe themselves as the "World's Most Opposite Couple"–and it may be true. Chuck says the only things they have in common are the same wedding anniversary and the same children. He's driven; she's laid-back. She enjoys soft classical music; he prefers country western at maximum volume. She's left-handed; he's right-handed.

And so it goes. Perhaps in part because of their differences, the Snyders have experienced nearly every imaginable conflict in marriage–over scheduling, communication, home life, finances, discipline of the children, and more. In over forty years of marriage, however, the Snyders have learned to appreciate their differences. They have faced, and weathered, more than their share of storms. The key, Chuck says, is nothing fancy–simply obedience to the Lord.

If there's hope for the World's Most Opposite Couple, there's hope for the rest of us, too.

Just between us...

• Were you attracted by my "opposite" traits when we were dating?
• Have we survived despite our differences, or because of them?
• Do we accept the uniqueness of each other as God designed us, or do we struggle to "redesign" each other in our own images?
• Which of my traits that are different from yours do you appreciate most?
• BONUS: Men and Women are Biologically Unique

Pray these words together:

Heavenly Lord, thank You for the differences that You weave together to make our marriage strong. Help us to respect, appreciate, and affirm these unique qualities more each day. Amen.

Copyright ©2017 Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk All Rights Reserved

Family Special: Men and Women are Biologically Unique

By Dr. James Dobson

I would like to offer some evidence to show that men and women are biologically unique. The women's movement, in its assault on traditional sex roles, has repeatedly asserted that males and females are identical except for the ability to bear children. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Let's begin by discussing the human brain, where maleness and femaleness are rooted. Careful research is revealing that the basic differences between the sexes are neurological in origin, rather than being purely cultural as ordinarily presumed. As Dr. Richard Restak stated in his book, The Brain, The Last Frontier:

Certainly, anyone who has spent time with children in a playground or school setting is aware of the differences in the way boys and girls respond to similar situations. Think of the last time you supervised a birthday party attended by five-year-olds. It's not usually the girls who pull hair, throw punches, or smear each other with food. Usually such differences are explained on a cultural basis. Boys are expected to be more aggressive and play rough games, while girls are presumably encouraged to be more gentle, nonassertive, and passive. After several years of exposure to such expectations, so the theory goes, men and women wind up with widely varying behavioral and intellectual repertoires. As a corollary to this, many people believe that if the child-rearing practices could be equalized and sexual-role stereotypes eliminated, most of these differences would eventually disappear. As often happens, however, the true state of affairs is not that simple.

Recent psychological research indicates that many of the differences in brain function between the sexes are innate, biologically determined, and relatively resistant to change through the influences of culture.

Dr. Restak presents numerous studies that document this statement, and then concludes this chapter by quoting Dr. David Wechsler, creator of the most popular intelligence test for use with adults.

"...our findings do confirm what poets and novelists have often asserted, and the average layman long believed, namely, that men not only behave but 'think' differently from women." (p. 206)

Both Drs. Restak and Wechsler are right. Males and females differ anatomically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically, and biochemically. We differ in literally every cell of our bodies, for each sex carries a unique chromosomal pattern. Much is written today about so-called sex-change operations, whereby males are transformed into females or vice versa. Admittedly, it is possible to alter the external genitalia by surgery, and silicone can be used to pad the breasts or round out a bony frame. Hormones can then be injected to feminize or masculinize the convert. But nothing can be done to change the assignment of sex made by God at the instant of conception. That determination is carried in each cell, and will read "male" or female" from the earliest moment of life to the point of death. The Bible says emphatically, "Male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27, KJV, emphasis added). Not one sex, but two!

Source: Dr. Dobson's book, Straight Talk to Men.

About The Author:

Dr. Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk. He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family, including The New Dare to Discipline; Love for a Lifetime; Life on the Edge; Love Must Be Tough; The New Strong-Willed Child; When God Doesn't Make Sense; Bringing Up Boys; Marriage Under Fire; Bringing Up Girls; and, most recently, Head Over Heels. Dr. Dobson served as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years and on the attending staff of Children's Hospital of Los Angeles for 17 years. ...

Copyright ©2017 Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk All Rights Reserved

Recipe: Wicked Healthy Beet Tacos

By Wickedhealthy

This is a wicked easy way to pack vegetables into your next weeknight meal, plus, it can be made in under 45 minutes!

Why beets? When roasted, they develop a slightly sweet flavor, which we balance out with a hit of sherry vinegar. Their chewy texture paired with the avocado salsa provides a contrast that’s perfect for tucking into a warmed tortilla.

Avocado salsa you ask? That’s made with pulsing chopped red onion and avocado in a food processor, along with garlic, plant-based mayo, cilantro, a little sherry vinegar and jalapeño to taste. Pulse to a chunky or smoother consistency and season with a pinch or two of salt to make it pop.

Beet Tacos from Wicked Healthy

Beet Tacos
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

12 oz red beets
1 T olive oil
2 T sherry vinegar, divided
4 oz Lacinato kale, destemmed and leaves roughly chopped
1 red onion (chop one half and thinly slice the other half)
1 avocado, halved
1 jalapeño, trimmed and deseeded (use as much or as little as you’d like depending on your heat preference)
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup plant-based mayo
fresh cilantro
1 t vegetable oil*
salt and pepper
4 whole wheat tortillas

Editor's Note: You can use Chappathies or Nan instead of Tortillas if you like.

Directions:

1. Roast the beets

Preheat oven to 400. Wash, dry, peel, then slice the beets into thin wedges, about 1/2-inch thick. Place onto a baking sheet and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, or until tender. Let slightly cool, then drizzle with one tablespoon of the sherry vinegar.

2. Prep the veggies

Organize your kale, onion, avocado and jalapeño.

3. Make the avocado salsa

Add the chopped portion of the red onion and half of the avocado to a food processor. Add the garlic, plant-based mayo, cilantro, the remaining tablespoon of sherry vinegar and desired amount of jalapeño. Pulse until the desired consistency is achieved. Season with a pinch or two of salt.

4. Cook the kale

Preheat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the kale and saute until just wilted, about two minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Warm the tortillas

Wrap the whole wheat tortillas in foil and warm in the oven for a few minutes. Slice the remaining avocado half.

6. Build your tacos

Lay the warmed tortillas on plates and top with a dollop of the avocado salsa, spreading to coat. Layer on the roasted beet, sauteed kale, sliced avocado and sliced red onion. Top with any remaining avocado salsa.

President Trump On Alcoholism and Addiction

Trump recalls death of brother from alcoholism, promotes abstinence campaign

By Dave Boyer - The Washington Times - Thursday, October 26, 2017

In rallying the nation against drug addiction Thursday, President Trump spoke in unusually personal terms about the death of his older brother Fred from alcoholism, and about the lesson it holds for him in the value of abstinence.

To an audience at the White House, Mr. Trump recalled his older brother as a "great guy."

"Best-looking guy," the president recalled. "Best personality — much better than mine. But he had a problem. He had a problem with alcohol. He would tell me, ‘Don't drink.'"

Mr. Trump said his brother, who was an airline pilot and a father of two, also urged him not to smoke.

"He was substantially older, and I listened to him," the president said. "And to this day, I've never had a drink, and I have no longing for it. I have no interest in it. To this day, I've never had a cigarette."

Addiction: Is Teenage Drug Use On The Rise?

By Dr. Eric Scalise

Is Teenage Drug Use On The Rise?

Substance abuse and other addictive issues are prevalent in almost every segment of society today, and far too many of our young people are caught in its ever-widening vortex. The problems that are created cross all ethnic, cultural, educational, socioeconomic, gender, and age barriers. The statistics are indeed staggering. Nearly half of all high school seniors have used drugs of some kind and 60% of teens report that drugs are kept, sold, and used at their schools. Experts who work in the field argue that the two primary "gateway" substances are alcohol and marijuana. In fact, teens who drink alcohol are 50% more likely to try cocaine and those who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to become addicted as adults.

There are a number of factors about adolescent addiction that are needs-based, many of which may even be considered somewhat "normal." This can include the need to be insulated from worry and anxiety, the need to reduce manipulating guilt feelings, the need for approval and acceptance, the need to maintain a sense of control and power in one's environment, the need to avoid pain (physical, emotional, and psychological), and the need to be a perfect person and measure up to the expectations of others. The problem lies in the fact that these needs, while perhaps legitimate, are being met in an illegitimate way.

Every addiction also has a number of common identifiers: they serve the purpose of removing a teen from his/her true feelings in order to provide a form of escape; they always involve pleasure; they all involve psychological dependence (and many physical dependence); they totally control the teen and that control transcends all logic or reason; ultimately, they are destructive and unhealthy; the addictive behavior eventually takes priority over all other life other issues; and finally, all addicts will tend to minimize or deny their addiction.

Let's take a closer look at current trends (sources include the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, U.S. Dept. of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention):

Alcohol

• By 8th grade, almost 30% of kids have tried drinking alcohol.
• Nearly half a million junior and senior high students are weekly binge drinkers (five or more drinks in a row) and an estimated 10-15 million adolescents need treatment for abuse each year.
• 8% of high school students admit to driving after drinking and 24% have been in a vehicle with a driver who had been drinking.
• 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States is from underage drinkers.
• 40% of all family problems brought to domestic court are alcohol related and 75% of all juvenile delinquents have at least one alcoholic parent.
• Alcohol is the leading factor in the top three causes for death among 15-24 year olds (auto accidents, suicides, and homicides).
• Teens who drink regularly are three times more likely to commit self-harm (cutting and suicide attempts).

Marijuana

• More than 500,000 teens use marijuana once or more per week.
• In 2013, more high school seniors regularly used marijuana than cigarettes.
• 43% of 12th graders have used marijuana and two thirds don't view its regular use as harmful even though THC (the active ingredient that causes addiction) is five times stronger than it was 20 years ago.
• By 8th grade, 15% of kids have used marijuana.
• One in every nine high school seniors has tried synthetic marijuana (also known as "Spice" or "K2").

Prescription Abuse

• The United States represents 5% of the world's population, but 75% of all prescription drugs taken.
• 60% of teens who abuse prescription drugs get them free from friends and relatives.
• 64% of teens say they have used opioid-based prescription pain killers (e.g., Vicodin, OxyContin, etc.) after getting/stealing them from a friend or family member.
• 7.6% of teens use the prescription drug Adderall.
• The non-medical use of ADHD medicines (Adderall and Ritalin) among high school seniors is 2-6%.
• A third of all teens who live in states having medical marijuana laws abuse the drug from other people's prescriptions.
• More teenagers die from a prescription drug overdose than the use of cocaine and heroin combined.

Other Drugs

• 14.3% of 12th graders say they have used an illicit drug (other than marijuana).
• 8.6% of 12th graders have used hallucinogens such as LSD.
• Over 150,000 teens (5-6% of 12th graders) regularly use cocaine and 2.5% have used crack.
• Younger teens use inhalants (12.8% of 8th graders) more frequently than older teens.
• 28% of teens know at least one person who has tried Ecstasy.
• Heroin rates remain just under 1%.

Every addict directly (and often negatively) affects at least five other people (primarily family members and friends). Beyond the broader societal impact of adolescent drug use, there is a growing body of research that is highlighting the harmful effects on the developing brain. All of us have a natural blood-brain barrier, which normally does not allow water-soluble molecules to pass through capillary walls. A substance is considered to be psychoactive, when it can penetrate that barrier and create changes in our neurochemistry and subsequent brain functioning.

The problem is that adolescents do not have fully developed brains, especially the frontal areas (neo-cortex), which is the primary agent of rational, calm, and non-impulsive thinking (it weighs the risks and benefits associated with our actions). In other words, most teens lack sufficient "wiring" that carries critical "brake" and "stop" messages to the rest of the brain. Late adolescence, before the brain is fully matured, is the peak time for developing chemical dependencies, especially alcohol and tobacco. Heavy drug use during times of critical brain development may cause permanent changes in the way the brain works and responds to rewards and consequences. Therefore, it is important to begin addressing a growing substance use problem as early as possible.

It's critical to address substance abuse problems early, as teens usually do not become dependent on a substance immediately, but only after first experimenting (often in a social context and influenced by peer pressure), perhaps being guided by more "experienced" users, and only after time, developing a full-fledged addiction where there is a complete deterioration in mental, emotional, physical, moral, and spiritual health and wellbeing.

In closing, here are a few proactive strategies for parents to consider:

1. Be available to talk with your teenager and let him/her know that no subject is "off the table." When parents talk with their teens about the dangers of drugs and alcohol they reduce the likelihood of use by more than 40%; yet, only 25% of teens report actually having these conversations.

2. Inform and educate – give them the facts, the risks, legal and other consequences, etc.

3. Let them know how important it is not to drink and drug, and that you will help if they need assistance.

4. Set your boundaries and decide early if this an issue you are willing to "go to the mat" over when it comes to your teen and his/her choices – choose your battles wisely.

5. If necessary, schedule a thorough evaluation by a competent mental health professional – be sure other possible existing disorders such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety are also evaluated.

6. Put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6), especially prayer – addiction is also a spiritual battle and, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds" (2 Cor. 10:4).

About The Author:

Eric Scalise, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT is the former Vice President of the 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), as well as the former Department Chair for Counseling Programs at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. He is an adjunct professor and the Senior Editor for both AACC and the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation. Dr. Scalise is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with 36 years of clinical and professional experience in the mental health field. He is a published author with Zondervan, Baker Books, and Harvest House, is a national and international conference speaker, and frequently works with organizations, clinicians, ministry leaders, and churches on a variety of issues.

Copyright ©2017 Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk All Rights Reserved

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