Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

Focus: Mother's Day

Volume 3 No. 142 May 10, 2013

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Mother Duck protecting her children
Super Mom
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Foreword

THIS SUNDAY IN CHURCH

Bible Readings for This Sunday (May 12)

The Sunday before Pentecost
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_sunday-before-pentecost.htm

Sermons for This Sunday (May 12)

Sermons for the Sunday Before Pentecost

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_sunday-before-pentecost.htm

Featured: Bread That Satisfies

To eat the bread of heaven is the same as believing in Jesus. And to believe that he has come from heaven as a revelation of the Father. It is to accept the way which he has taught. But the people, in spite of having seen Jesus, do not believe in him. Jesus is aware of the lack of faith and says: "You have seen me and you do not believe". ...

Meditation on John 6:35-40

How much bigger and better than our deficient thoughts God really is! He is a Father of endless mercy who not only intends but desires to welcome as many sons and daughters as possible to his banquet. Far from wanting to condemn you, he wants to make you become like him and bring you to live with him forever. ...

MOTHER'S DAY FEATURES

The Most Important Job in the World

There are a lot of important jobs in the world today but not one of them is more important than the job of being a mother. ...

Job Description: Mother

Every mother here this morning knows that mothering brings more joy and love and fulfillment than seem possible. ...

Murphy's Laws of Parenting

Toward Perfection as Mothers

God doesn't ask us to be perfect today. Today is when we're supposed to be dependent, helpless creatures in need of a Savior. But today is when we have the opportunity to grow more like Jesus. In our words. In our thoughts. In our actions. The challenge we face as moms is not to be perfect today but to walk today in the direction of perfection. ...

My Mother's Example

While children are charged with not forsaking their parents' teachings, we have the higher responsibility. We are to train and raise a generation of people who are being ingrained with the concept that loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, body, and soul is of utmost importance. ...

How to Be a Good Mother

God selected Mary to be the mother of Jesus because He knew that she would be a good mother. I believe that she contributed to the good child development that we see in v.52. And I believe that a major responsibility of the mother is to help her children develop and mature in the 4 areas mentioned in this verse. Based on interviews with more than 1,000 adults nationwide, a recent George Barna survey discovered that less than one out of every five adults believes that children under the age of 13 are being "superbly" or even "pretty well" prepared for life emotionally, physically, spiritually, & intellectually. ...

Motherhood: Part of God's Plan for the Family

Motherhood is a great calling and can be a rich blessing if you follow the biblical teaching for the family as God has commanded in His Word. God has raised the worth of a woman to enable her to be the kind of mother that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father. ...

Health: FAQs about Hormones

"A lot of the symptoms we normally associate with aging - muddied thinking, weight gain, tiring easily - are actually occurring because of diminished hormone production," according to Steven F. Hotze, MD. ...

Recipe: Breakfast Banana Pancakes

Mother's Day Special Recipe: Critchfield Jambalaya

About Malankara World

Foreword
This Sunday is celebrated as Mothers Day in the US and in many other countries. Family and motherhood are two very important parts of the Body of Christ as envisaged by Jesus Christ when he established His church. When we think of mothers, we think of St. Mary, the Mother of God, who played a very important role in the God's plan for the redemption of mankind with her reply, "Yes" to angel Gabriel. Mother plays a very important role in the development of children. We salute all the mothers in our church. May almighty God bless you for your sacrifices and hard work for your family and to the church.

This Sunday is the 'Sunday before Pentecost' - the birthday of the church. The Gospel reading for this Sunday is one of the "I am statements of Jesus," 'I am the Bread of Life.' When Jesus originally talked about the bread that will give everlasting life, most of the people listening to him didn't understand the meaning behind it. They thought of some special bread that will keep them from being hungry physically. This was so especially since Jesus fed 5000 people plus with 5 bread. The concept of Eucharist had to wait till the last supper. Please read the sermons for this week to learn the importance of this "I am" statement.

It has been more than 18 days since the abduction of the two Metropolitan Archbishops of Aleppo, Mor Gregorios Yuhanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, and Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch on April 22, 2013. There was a news item that the Acting President of the Syrian National Council George Sabra said that the two Greek Orthodox bishops kidnapped in Syria are being held in a small village north west of Aleppo by a rebel group. Apparently they are both in good health and are held in the Syrian town of Bshaqtin. Since there are many false news and rumors, this report is not verified. Please continue to pray for their immediate release.

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (May 12)

Bible Readings For The Sunday before Pentecost

Evening

Morning

Before Holy Qurbana

Holy Qurbana

Sermons for This Sunday (May 12)
This Week's Features

Featured: Bread That Satisfies

by CE Editor

Gospel: John 6:35-43

1) Opening prayer

God, our Father,
you are our faithful God,
even in days of trial for the Church
and for each of us personally;
you stay by our side, even if we are not aware of your presence.
Give us an unlimited trust in you
and make us ever more aware
that your Son Jesus is the meaning of our lives
and that he nourishes us with himself,
today and every day, for ever.

2) Reflection

• John 6, 35-36: I am the bread of life.

The people enthusiastic with the perspective of having bread from heaven of which Jesus speaks and which gives life forever (Jn 6, 33), ask: "Lord, give us always that bread!" (Jn 6, 34). They thought that Jesus was speaking about some particular kind of bread. This is why, the people, interested in getting this bread, ask: "Give us always of this bread!"

This petition of the people reminds us of the conversation of Jesus with the Samaritan woman. Jesus had said that she could have had within her a spring of living water, welling up to eternal life, and she in an interested way asks: "Lord, give me of that water!" (Jn 4, 15). The Samaritan woman is not aware that Jesus is not speaking about material water. Just as the people were not aware that Jesus was not speaking of material bread. Because of this, Jesus responds very clearly: "I am the bread of life! No one who comes to me will ever hunger; no one who believes in me will ever thirst".

To eat the bread of heaven is the same as believing in Jesus. And to believe that he has come from heaven as a revelation of the Father. It is to accept the way which he has taught. But the people, in spite of having seen Jesus, do not believe in him. Jesus is aware of the lack of faith and says: "You have seen me and you do not believe".

• John 6, 37-40: To do the will of him who sent me. After the conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus had said to his disciples: "My food is to do the will of him who sent me!" (Jn 4, 34). Here, in the conversation with the people on the bread from heaven, Jesus touches on the same theme: "I have come from heaven not to do my own will, but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me; but that I should raise it up on the last day". This is the food which people should look for: to do the will of the Heavenly Father. And this is the bread which nourishes the person in life and gives him/her life. Eternal life begins here, a life which is stronger than death! If we were really ready to do the will of the Father, we would have no difficulty to recognize the Father present in Jesus.

• John 6, 41-43: The Jews complained. In verse 41 begins the conversation with the Jews, who criticize Jesus.

Here we will give a brief explanation of the meaning of the word Jews in the Gospel of John in order to avoid that a superficial reading of it, may nourish in us Christians, the sentiment of anti-Semitism. First of all, it is well to remember that Jesus was a Jew and continues to be a Jew (Jn 4, 9). His disciples were Jews. The first Christian communities were all Jewish who accepted Jesus as the Messiah. It was only later, little by little, that in the communities of the Beloved Disciple, Greeks and Christians began to be accepted on the same level of the Jews. They were more open communities. But this openness was not accepted by all. Some Christians who came from the group of the Pharisees wanted to keep the "separation" between Jews and Pagans (Acts 15, 5). The situation was critical after the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70. The Pharisees became the dominating religious current in Judaism and began to define the religious directives or norms for the whole People of God: to suppress worship in the Greek language; to adopt solely the Biblical text in Hebrew; to define or determine the list of sacred books, and eliminate the books which existed only in the Greek translation of the Bible: Tobias, Judith, Esther, Baruch, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus and the two Books of the Maccabees: to segregate or separate the foreigners; not eat any food, suspected to be impure or which had been offered to the idols. All these norms assumed by the Pharisees had some repercussion on the communities of the Jews which accepted Jesus as Messiah. These communities had already journeyed very much. The openness for the Pagans was now irreversible. The Greek Bible had already been used for a long time. Thus, slowly, a reciprocal separation grew between Christianity and Judaism.

In the years 85-90 the Jewish authorities began to discriminate those who continued to accept Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah (Mt 5, 11-12; 24, 9-13). Those who continued to remain in the faith in Jesus were expelled from the Synagogue (Jn 9, 34). Many Christian communities feared this expulsion (Jn 9, 22) because it meant to lose the support of a strong and traditional institution such as the Synagogue. Those who were expelled lost the legal privileges that the Jews had conquered and gained throughout the centuries in the Empire. The expelled persons lost even the possibility of being buried decently. It was an enormous risk. This situation of conflict at the end of the first century had repercussion in the description of the conflict of Jesus with the Pharisees.

When the Gospel of John speaks of the Jews he is not speaking of the Jewish people as such, but he is thinking much more of those few Pharisee authorities which were expelling the Christians from the Synagogues in the years 85-90, the time when the Gospel was written. We cannot allow this affirmation about the Jews to make anti-Semitism grow among Christians.

3) Concluding Prayer

Acclaim God, all the earth,
sing psalms to the glory of his name,
glorify him with your praises,
say to God, 'How awesome you are! (Ps 66,1-3)

Source: ocarm.org; CE Editor

Meditation on John 6:35-40
Whoever comes to me will never hunger. (John 6:35)

What kept so many people who saw Jesus from believing in him? Was it their limited expectations? They seemed ready enough to accept that he could multiply bread. But could he really give anyone who believed in him "eternal life" and "raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40)? Maybe that was too much. Maybe their idea of Jesus - and of God - was too small to allow for anything so mind-boggling.

How easy it can be to box God into some narrow category that limits or distorts him! Some see him as a harsh schoolteacher, always examining our performance for flaws and grading it severely. Some of us, thinking back to childhood warnings that "God sees everything," imagine a big, cold, unblinking, unmerciful eye in the sky. For others, calling God "Father" evokes the image of an overbearing, intolerant authority figure.

How much bigger and better than our deficient thoughts God really is! He is a Father of endless mercy who not only intends but desires to welcome as many sons and daughters as possible to his banquet. Far from wanting to condemn you, he wants to make you become like him and bring you to live with him forever. If the vastness of this plan makes you want to retreat into "safe" little ideas you can handle, don’t give in! Don’t settle for anything less than partaking in God’s divine nature. Sure, it’s more than you or anyone else can comprehend, but this really is the awesome destiny God desires for you.

Keep this in mind today, and see the difference it makes. God loves you so much that he offers you a share in the very mind and heart of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You are called to be a co-heir with Christ, a sharer in God’s glory. With the Holy Spirit in you, your prayers can change the world - securing blessings for leaders, disrupting evil plots, reducing suffering, bringing healing. You never have to walk with your head hanging down if you believe in Christ! Every "small" idea can fall by the wayside, and you can move ahead with confidence in God and his loving plan.

"Father, thank you for calling me to be with you for eternity and to know you even now! Increase my confidence in you, and help me to see you as you really are."

Source: The Word Among Us

MOTHER'S DAY FEATURES

The Most Important Job in the World

Dr. Tony Campolo is a well-known and highly-respected, inspirational speaker. Over the last several years, Tony Campolo has spent much of his time traveling around the world on speaking tours.

Meanwhile, his wife, Peggy, has chosen to stay home and give herself and all that she has to the "Bringing Up" of their two children, Bart and Lisa. On those rare occasions when Peggy does travel with Tony, she finds herself engaged in conversations with some of the most accomplished, impressive, influential, sophisticated people in the world.

After one such trip, Peggy told Tony that sometimes as she visits with these powerful people… she finds herself feeling intimidated and sometimes even questioning her own self-worth. Tony said to her: "Well, honey, why don't you come up with something you could say when you meet people that will let them know that you strongly value what you do and you feel that it is dramatically, urgent and crucial and important.

Well, not long after that, Tony and Peggy Campolo were at a party… when a woman said to Peggy in a rather condescending tone, "Well, my dear, what do you do?" Tony Campolo heard his wife say:

"I am nurturing two Homo Sapiens into the dominant values of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in order that they might become instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia God envisioned from the beginning of time."

And the other woman said:

"O, my, I'm just a lawyer."

I like that story because it reminds us that there are a lot of important jobs in the world today but not one of them is more important than the job of being a mother.

Source: Tony Campolo adapted by James Moore, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com

Job Description: Mother

I found this job description circulating on the Internet this past week.

WANTED: Mom

JOB DESCRIPTION:

Long term team players needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.

Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in faraway cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Must provide on-the-site training in basic life skills, such as nose blowing. Must have strong skills in negotiating, conflict resolution and crisis management. Ability to suture flesh wounds a plus. Must be able to think out of the box but not lose track of the box, because you most likely will need it for a school project.

Must reconcile petty cash disbursements and be proficient in managing budgets and resources fairly, unless you want to hear, "He got more than me!" for the rest of your life. Also, must be able to drive motor vehicles safely under loud and adverse conditions while simultaneously practicing above-mentioned skills in conflict resolution. Must be able to choose your battles and stick to your guns.

Must be able to withstand criticism, such as "You don't know anything." Must be willing to be hated at least temporarily, until someone needs $5 to go skating. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.

Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.

Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys and battery operated devices. Also, must have a highly energetic entrepreneurial spirit, because fund-raiser will be your middle name.

Must have a diverse knowledge base, so as to answer questions such as "What makes the wind move?" on the fly. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.

Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

ADVANCEMENT/PROMOTION POSSIBILITIES:

Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE:

None required, unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION:

You pay them, offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS:

While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered, job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.

Every mother here this morning knows that mothering brings more joy and love and fulfillment than seem possible.

Source: Adapted by Leonard Sweet; sermons.com

Murphy's Laws of Parenting
1. The later you stay up, the earlier your child will wake up the next morning.
2. The gooier the food, the more likely it is to end up on the carpet.
3. The longer it takes you to make a meal, the less your child will like it.
4. A sure way to get something done is to tell a child not to do it.
5. For a child to become clean, something else must become dirty.
6. Toys multiply to fill any space available.
7. Yours is always the only child who doesn't behave.
8. If the shoe fits . . . it's expensive.
9. Backing the car out of the driveway causes your child to have to go to the bathroom.
Toward Perfection as Mothers
Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48

Additional Scripture Readings: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Hebrews 12:1

Perfectionism, a disposition to regard anything less than perfect as unacceptable, has been growing over the past decade. In our SuperMom, self-sufficient, competitive age, we struggle with an inadequacy that grows out of a belief that the way we are simply isn't good enough.

This disease has crept into the Christian community as well. Caught between our sinfulness and our ultimate glorification, we aren't sure where to set our sights. Some of us believe so much in grace that we give verses like Matthew 5:48, "Be perfect . . . " little attention. And then others can see nothing but the command and their personal imperfection in comparison.

God doesn't ask us to be perfect today. Today is when we're supposed to be dependent, helpless creatures in need of a Savior. But today is when we have the opportunity to grow more like Jesus. In our words. In our thoughts. In our actions. The challenge we face as moms is not to be perfect today but to walk today in the direction of perfection.

Source: Bible Gateway, NIV Devotional for Moms; Today's reading is from the Mom's Devotional Bible by Zondervan

My Mother's Example

by Fred Alberti, Salem Web Network Director of Social Media

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. - Proverbs 1:8

I'll never forget waking in the morning to get ready for school and finding my mother outside on the deck reading her Bible and praying. That scene has been burned into my mind so strongly that I now find myself also abiding with the Lord surrounded by His creation in the great outdoors.

Did my mother tell me that I must do this? No. Rather, she taught me this through example.

One thing I have learned through my career is that an online community tends to be the reflection of those who lead it. I think the same can be true for parenting. Our children are a reflection of us.

Do we habitually break the law by speeding? We can expect to see our children show the same respect to the law.

Do we habitually overeat? (By the way, this is called gluttony and is a sin). If so, we can expect to see our children also become plump when they adopt our own lifestyle.

Do we reject the notion of loving others? Yes, here too, our children will exhibit that same lack of compassion.

Do we contribute to the disintegration of the family by breaking our marriage vows? Yes, if we do not take seriously, "until death do us part" then we can expect our children to likewise adopt the false teaching that marriage vows are expendable and only good for as long as we are pleased with the relationship.

While children are charged with not forsaking their parents' teachings, we have the higher responsibility. We are to train and raise a generation of people who are being ingrained with the concept that loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, body, and soul is of utmost importance.

How are we doing that today?

What teaching and instruction are our children learning through observing our Christian walk?

Intersecting Faith & Life:

Work on consistently setting time aside to be with the Lord in a quiet setting. This can be outside under a tree or even a place in the house with a door that can lock (I've known many a mom that is forced to use the bathroom for such an endeavor). The important thing is that you make it a priority to be with the Lord and seek His guidance in your life.

Source: Crosswalk.com - The Devotional

How to Be a Good Mother

by Dr. Stephen Felker

Scripture: Luke 2:52

Introduction

Today is a special day for mothers. On this day we especially honor and show appreciation to our mothers. Normally on this day, I like preach a message in honor of mothers, or in appreciation of mothers. But this morning the main point of my message will be to exhort mothers to be even better mothers. Mothers have a really tough job, and they need all the help they can get. A national survey among 2,020 Americans, which was conducted in February and March of this year by the Pew Research Center, discovered that 70 percent believe it's more difficult being a mother today than it was in the past. But motherhood has always been difficult. If Motherhood was going to be easy, it never would have started with something called labor.1 So I hope that all mothers with children at home will listen up. And most of what I say about mothers will apply to fathers as well, and some of what I say will apply to grandparents. I will also say a few words of application to the children.

I am thankful to God for the love and devotion He has put into the hearts of mothers. Most of us have been the recipients of sacrificial love from our mothers. We appreciate their dedication to us. I had a good mother. And I believe most every mother wants to be a good mother. And when a mother fails, or feels like she has failed, I do not believe that is her intention. Sometimes the child just has a strong bent toward rebellion. Other times, a mother may be misinformed by the philosophies of the world. In fact, I believe that mothers today are being bombarded with bad information from TV, the news media, magazines, books, and so forth.

Back in the 50's and 60's the permissive approach to parenting came into vogue, and it is still with us today. And the pressure is great to conform to the world's thinking. But Paul said in Rom. 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." In Lev. 18:3-5 God told the children of Israel not to follow the lifestyle and teaching of the Egyptians, nor follow the lifestyle and teachings of the Canaanites, but they were to follow the statutes and ordinances of the Lord their God. If you try to run your home life like the world teaches, then you will have some of the same results that we are seeing today. The world's philosophy, that promotes self-centeredness, has been devastating on our homes and children.

So I unapologetically proclaim and seek to live by the biblical standard for marriage and raising children. Those who follow the biblical standard usually have the best results. So this morning I am going to give you the biblical standard for the mother. Follow the biblical teaching. That is what is best for you and for your children.

Now I believe that God selected Mary to be the mother of Jesus because He knew that she would be a good mother. I believe that she contributed to the good child development that we see in v.52. And I believe that a major responsibility of the mother is to help her children develop and mature in the 4 areas mentioned in this verse. Based on interviews with more than 1,000 adults nationwide, a recent George Barna survey discovered that less than one out of every five adults believes that children under the age of 13 are being "superbly" or even "pretty well" prepared for life emotionally, physically, spiritually, & intellectually.2 If that's true, we need to do a better job as parents.

Now I want to give you some biblical advice on how to develop your child in each of the 4 areas that Jesus matured in. First:

I. ASSIST YOUR CHILD IN MENTAL DEVELOPMENT

Notice in v.52 that "Jesus increased in wisdom…." Children start out being ignorant. They lack discretion, instruction, wisdom, and knowledge. They do not know right from wrong. Without supervision and instruction they would kill themselves by running out in the street or drinking some poisonous substance. Even teenagers lack discretion at times. Too many endanger themselves by smoking, drinking alcohol, driving drunk, and engaging in other risky behavior. So what can you do to develop their knowledge, wisdom, and understanding?

A. The first 3 years of life are crucial for mental and educational development.

The more time you can spend with that child, and the more you can do to stimulate their thinking, the better off he or she will be educationally. Burton White has written a book entitled, The First Three Years of Life. In it he states that those years are the most crucial for your child's educational development. If at all possible one parent should stay home with the child at least through their first 3 years of life. Then, on through childhood:

B. Spend Time Giving Personal Tutoring

Studies show that 2 hours of private instruction equals 8 hours of classroom instruction. This is one reason why home schooling is so successful. You should read books to your children as early as 2 or 3 years of age. You can enlist the help of others. I remember that when I was a child, I was having trouble with one or two subjects until my sister took the time to tutor me. So parents, if your time is limited, try to get an older brother or sister to tutor their younger siblings. Furthermore, even when you are not directly teaching them, listen to their questions and answer them the best you can. Do any of you have children that ask a lot of questions? Good! That is a great opportunity for teaching. But when mom and dad are both working full-time jobs, it's very hard to give your children the time they need to develop educationally.

C. Allow and Encourage Creativity.

Require them to play. Give them tools for creativity and role playing. Creative and educational toys are good. But while watching TV can be educational, it stifles creativity. It is too passive an activity. So limit their TV viewing. D. Repeat Words of Wisdom – Jesus developed in wisdom. Mothers typically give advice and words of warning. Keep it up. The book of Proverbs is an excellent example of how parents are to impart wisdom to their children.

Children, you need to do your part. Listen to instruction. Do your homework. Ask questions.

II. ASSIST YOUR CHILD IN PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

Notice in v.52 that "Jesus increased in … stature…." If someone saw Him after several months, they might have said to Him, "My, you have grown!" And since Jesus grew up to become a carpenter, I have the idea that He grew up to become a strong man, with strong hands and arms. He was no weakling. During His ministry He walked miles and miles, and climbed mountains to pray.

So what should you do to help your child grow up physically?

A. Make Sure They Eat Right.

Children lack discretion. They choose food based on how it tastes, not on the basis of whether it is good for them. So help them to eat a good balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables. They need protein for muscle development, and calcium for bone development. They should not eat too many animal fats, sweets, and other processed carbohydrates. If your kids are drinking mostly soft drinks instead of milk, they are probably not getting enough calcium, and some soft drinks can even deplete calcium from the body. Listen, kids do not raise themselves very well. They need parental guidance & supervision. Yet in our fast-paced society, more and more of our children are getting diets of fast food and junk food.

What about a child who refuses to eat what you set before them? Some foods are just not tolerable, and it will not hurt to offer an alternative food that is healthy. I really did not like English peas as a child. They just about made me throw up. So knowing that, my mother did not serve them often. There are plenty of other green vegetables that I would eat. But if they will not eat it anything that is healthy, then take the plate away, wrap it up & put it away. Don't let them have anything else. When they get hungry enough, they will probably eat what you have served.

B. Encourage Physical Activity & Exercise.

By nature, younger children have so much energy and they are usually very active. God made them that way, because that is an essential part of their physical development. However, more and more young children are not getting enough exercise because they are glued to the TV, video games, & the Internet. Don't let that happen to your children. Limit those activities. Then, by the time our children reach the teenage years, they tend to become less active. So we need to encourage participation in sports or other forms of exercise. Perhaps the best exercise is what you do together as a family.

Children, you need to do your part. Get out and play. Sign up for sports or other forms of physical activity.

III. ASSIST YOUR CHILD IN SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

Notice that Jesus also gained "favor with God." He developed spiritually. Based on that Barna survey I referred to, 71% said children get inadequate spiritual training. Someone said, "Developing the mind is important, but developing a conscience is the most precious gift parents can give their children."3 A good conscience, and a proper fear of God, will give your child self-control. So let me encourage you to do the following:

A. Developing Christian Character Should Be a Priority

Too many parents put far more emphasis on their child's educational & physical development. However, your child's spiritual development is the right foundation for everything else. 1 Tim. 4:8 says, "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." I also see this principle in 1 Sam. 16:7, "The LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'" We put so much emphasis on physical attributes, but God looks on the heart? Does your child love God? Does he or she have a heart of obedience to God? That's what matters the most. And notice the principle found in 1 Pet. 3:3-5. There Christian women are instructed to resist the temptation of putting the main emphasis on outward beauty. Rather, they should focus on the "hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." So what should we do? In Eph. 6:4b we read that fathers, and no doubt mothers as well, are to bring up their children "in the training and admonition of the Lord." Spiritual training and development are not to be neglected, but given a priority.

Now what happens when a parent puts physical, social, and educational development above their child's spiritual development? Well they are telling their children that the Lord, His church, and His Word are not very important. Furthermore, if the Lord, His Word, and His church are not important to you, then your children will follow your example.

B. Teach Your Children Spiritual Truths and Values

Biblical instruction is to be given in the home. The church, Christian schools, and other organizations lend support, but God holds Christian parents responsible for the Christian training of their children. Dt. 6:6-7 says, "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."

This means, of course, that you need to learn the Word of God yourself. You need to read it & study it, both on your own, and in Sunday School and church. Then, you should teach your children directly from the Bible through family devotions. Cheryl and I used to read Bible story books to our children that had discussion questions at the end of each story. In 2 Tim. 3:15 Paul told Timothy "that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." Timothy was taught the Word of God from an early age by his mother and grandmother. Prov. 3:3-4 says, "Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man." That last phrase parallels part of our text.

The most effective means of securing a godly generation for the future is for parents to teach their children, and live consistent Christian lives. And that's why Satan is so bent on destroying the home. It is the home that communicates values from one generation to the next. When you break up the family, or dramatically change the family, you disrupt the flow of values from the parents to the children. And that's exactly what Satan and humanists want to do. The goal of atheistic and humanistic leaders is to get children away from their parents. Haven't we seen that come to pass? They have expelled Bible reading & prayer from our local schools and replaced it with humanistic, relativistic values. It could get worse. State-run day care could be just around the corner, especially if a liberal is elected president! And if it is state-run, you can be sure it will be void of the Bible, prayer, and Christian values. The U.N. in 1959 put out a "Child's Bill of Rights." In it was written these words, "Day-care is a powerful institution...A day-care program that ministers to a child from 6 months to 6 years has over 8,000 hours to teach him values, fears, beliefs, and behaviors." And I ask, "Who's beliefs and behaviors?" Well, if it is state-run, they will not be God's values!

I want you to think about this. If you rely on 2 hours/week of spiritual education in Sunday School and Church, think of how little they are getting. If your child is spending 30 hours/week in public education, they are getting no spiritual training there. If they watch TV and play video games 20-30 hours/week, they are probably getting very little spiritual training there. The 20 hours a week older children & teens spend with their friends will include little or no spiritual training. So the vast majority of the week they are being exposed to very little spiritual training; instead, they are often getting messages that are contrary to the Christian message. So we need to do something to increase exposure to the Word of God, and decrease exposure to worldly messages. Parents, help your children develop spiritually.

C. Live Your Christian Convictions Consistently.

Your children will learn more by observing your example than they will by listening to your words. Paul understood the power of a good example. He said in Phil. 4:9, "The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do." Paul not only taught by word, but also by example. Parents should do the same thing. And parents need constantly to be alert to every possible opportunity to relate the teaching of Scripture to life situations. When your children violate Scripture, you should be able to tell them what God's Word says in each situation. For example, I've quoted to my children the command, "Pay no man evil for evil." You should also look for opportunities to teach & reinforce positive commands of Scripture. When we teach Scripture this way, it seems more relevant, and less theoretical.

D. Be Thoroughly Involved as a Family in a Good Church

Heb. 10:25 says, "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another…." A new study just came out that says young children of churchgoing parents fare better behaviorally, emotionally and cognitively than do children of parents who never attend church. In fact, the more often the parents attend, the better off the kids are.

The study by sociologist John P. Bartkowski and a team of researchers at Mississippi State University examined data from the nationwide Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, which evaluated first-graders by interviewing parents and teachers. Examining the ECLS data, Bartkowski and his team concluded it is "quite clear" that religious attendance impacts children positively. They said, "In many of the developmental domains featured here, the children who are doing the best are in households where both parents attend worship services frequently."4 So bring your children to church on a regular basis. Enroll them in S.S., VBS, & our AWANA program.

E. Seek to bring your child to a saving knowledge of Christ at an early age.

Again, 2 Tim. 3:15 says that "the Holy Scriptures…are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." We should teach our children the Word of God, including God's law, so that they may realize that they are sinners in need of a Savior. The Word of God will show them what Jesus did to save them from their sins. Although he may be a good child, say his prayers, read his Bible, attend S.S. and church and always obey his parents, he still needs the Savior. Children do not grow into the family of God; they are born into it through the new birth.

There must come a definite time when they pass from death unto life, when they receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior. Jn. 1:12 says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." He needs the righteousness of Christ, not his self-righteousness. But the parents must exercise great care not to pressure the child too soon.

F. Pray for your child regularly.

Prayer is an essential aspect of spiritual development. Pray with your child also at bedtime, meal time, and other opportunities. G. Lead them into Christian Service. The precious values of salvation are not to be selfishly enjoyed, but are to be passed on to others by faithful witnessing, deeds of kindness, and words of encouragement. Rick and Amy Brink have taught their children to serve the Lord. The family takes a turn cutting the grass here at church. Several of the children have helped out in S.S. and in our AWANA program.

Children, you need to do your part. Don't complain about coming to church. Read your Bible. Pray. Develop both a respect of God, and a love for God. Grow in "favor with God." Finally, parents should:

IV. ASSIST YOUR CHILD IN SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Notice that Jesus also gained "favor with man." He was well rounded. He was not a strange super-spiritual "freak." He developed socially as well. People in the community thought well of Jesus. I'm sure He was polite when speaking to people. He had good manners. Even so, we need to teach our children to so live that they have favor with people outside the home. Christ was not anti-social, and neither should we be anti-social. Being a dedicated Christian should not turn you into a social freak or oddball.

Now I think that spiritual development is foundational for social development. The Bible is the best guidebook on how to relate to others. So with that in mind, consider some guidelines for proper social development.

A. Love Your Child Unconditionally

Before a child will grow to love others, he must first feel loved. John said in 1 Jn. 4:10, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." With that foundation, he wrote in the next verse, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." The foundation for being able to love others is to know that we are loved by God. Your child should also feel that he is loved unconditionally by his parents. So constantly guard against a very real danger of giving the impression that your love for your child is in proportion to his obedience or performance.

We must convey love and acceptance. Jesus said in Mt. 18:5, "Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me." Don't say, "Daddy won't love you if you do that!" And don't make them feel like they are a bother and a nuisance. And be sure to show your love in word and deed, as John said in 1 Jn. 3:18. Our love is conveyed by what we say and what we do. Does our child see our love for him by our behavior? A child is far more affected by our actions than by our words. Now we convey our love for our children in three ways:

1. Eye Contact and Focused Attention

Get down on their level and give them some eye contact. And don't let the only time that you give them eye contact be the times that you are getting on to them. Give your children focused attention. This is giving a child our full, undivided attention in such a way that he feels without doubt that he is completely loved, and that he is important. This is vital to the child's development of self-esteem, and it profoundly affects a child's ability to relate to and love others. TV, toys, etc. are no substitute for this attention we personally give them. We mustn't let ourselves get too busy to do this. Of course, a homemaker can do this much better than a working mother.

2. Physical Contact

Young children need to be hugged and kissed and held. And older children need it also, though in a different form. Pre-adolescent girls need hugs from their father to give them a good self-image. And older teenage boys need some contact too, like putting your arm around their shoulder, or wrestling, etc.

3. Discipline

The Bible clearly teaches that one way we show our love is by caring enough to discipline. Jesus said in Rev. 3:19, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten." Parents who do not care about their children let them get away with all kinds of bad behavior. So insist on obedience, and make sure that a failure to obey has consequences. Give your child the security of knowing that there are boundaries. And disciple should start early. As someone has said, "The time to teach obedience is the playpen, not the state pen." 5

This leads to the next word of advice in helping your child to develop socially:

B. Don't Let Your Child Be a Brat

A child is selfish by nature, and parents have a responsibility to help them become less selfish. So one of the best things you can do for a child is break their selfish will. The will of the child must be freed from the imprisoning slavery of selfishness. Selfishness is a great barrier to inter-personal relationships. One who is spoiled by getting his own way will have a hard time in life because he has not learned how to get along with others, and does not know how to accept responsibility.

The self-will is first asserted in a conscious way at a very early age, and the sooner you break them of that self-will, the better. A good rule to go by is to never give a child what he is crying for or pitches a fit for. Cheryl and I tried to follow that role. Don't give in to temper tantrums. That will help cure them of being a cry baby. On the other hand, if a child pitches a temper tantrum, and you give in to them, then you can be sure that they will keep it up, not only at home, but also a school, and with their friends.

C. Set a Good Example in Your Social Dealings

Be polite. Use good manners. Avoid the use of angry and hostile words (Eph. 4:31). By your example you will be teaching your children to relate this way socially.

D. Teach Social Responsibility

For example, when your child agrees to sign up for a team sport, they have a responsibility to attend practices and games. They are to be taught that they are not to let their team down by going to King's Dominion when they should be at their game.

E. Give Your Child Responsibilities at Home

They should have some chores. As they get older, let him earn & manage money. This will help prepare him for life.

Conclusion:

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was no doubt a good mother. I hope you will follow her example and help your children develop spiritually, mentally, physically, and socially.

Parents, I hope you will commitment yourself to being the best parent possible. Ask God for strength. Ask God for guidance. Ask God for patience.

Parent, have you trusted in Christ as your Savior? You are not going to lead your children to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ if you have not made that commitment in your own life. We may have some parents here who need to join this church. That will be a good example to your children.

References:

1 Old Union Reminder.

2 Barna report, October 26, 2004.

3 John Gray in "Quotable Quotes," Readers Digest.

4 http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=25549, Posted on May 1, 2007 by Michael Foust.

5 Church Quotes, August 2005, Illus.#C-1381]

Sources:

Ross Campbell, How To Really Love Your Child (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1977);

William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Luke (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978);

Lightner-Laing, Success In Family Living (Denver, CO: B/P Publications, 1977);

John Macarthur, Jr., Family Feuding: How to End It: Study Notes on Ephesians 5:21-6:4 (Panaroma City, CA: Word of Grace Communications, 1981);

Larry Pierce, Online Bible [CDROM] (Ontario: Timnathserah Inc., 1996);

Charles Swindoll, You And Your Child (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1977);

Norman Williams, The Christian Home (Chicago: Moody Press, 1952).

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982).

© Dr. Stephen Felker

Motherhood: Part of God's Plan for the Family

by Beverly LaHaye

Growing up as a young girl there was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a mother one day. Yes, there were other goals that I wanted to fulfill but I always thought that I could do it all. I could get an education, have a respectable career, prepare to be involved in a ministry of some kind, travel to exciting places, meet the man of my dreams and still include motherhood in my future.

It happened that way, except in reverse order, and I'm so glad it did because God knew best. Putting motherhood at the end of my list could have meant that I would never reach it. I believe the Lord knew that the greatest preparation to keep me walking close to the Lord was to give me the honor and responsibility of being a mother first.

Early on I met my husband-to-be, who became the love of my life, my life's companion, and the father of my children. Later God blessed us and I became a mother of four children, and I came to realize that was a higher calling and fulfillment than all the other goals I had in mind in my younger years. If the other things happened later on in life it would be fine with me, but God had given me the very best and the most important first!

Motherhood is a beautiful gift from God because Psalm 127:3 tells us that "children are a heritage from the Lord." I found that when I was carrying those precious unborn babies right under my heart they brought me to a very close relationship with my Heavenly Father. Every time I felt the gentle and not-so-gentle movements of those little feet it was like God was reminding me that He had created that child within me. When the little hands would press against my organs I was again reminded that I was privileged to carry God's special creation within me. I felt sorry my husband was missing the special relationship that God was giving to me as a mother. I tried to share the joy with him, but found it hard to express what was going on in my heart and my body.

Simple caretaker It grieves me greatly when I see how the blessing of motherhood and the joy of nurturing children are being reduced to that of simply being a "caretaker." In recent years there has been an effort to minimize the importance of recognizing the role of mother and also father in our society, even to the extent of doing away with the holidays for honoring mothers and fathers. More than ever we need to be emphasizing the responsibility that moms and dads play in raising children with good morals and biblical family values.

I have had some of the liberal-minded women try to tell me that motherhood is a second-rate profession with a "caretaker" mentality, after all if you can't do something else you can always resort to being a mother. Regardless of how they phrase it, I am convinced that in the heart of almost every woman is the strong desire to carry a baby close to her heart.

A few years ago I was invited to be a guest on a popular TV talk show and the subject was going to be "motherhood." When I arrived I found I was the only woman on the five-person panel that was married and had children with my own husband. The other four women had not married but desperately wanted to be mothers so they had gone to a "sperm bank" to pick out the kind of sperm they wanted to be the father of their babies. Three of the women were already pregnant and the fourth one had given birth to her "sperm bank" baby three years before. These women wanted to be mothers, but without the attachment of a husband/father for their children.

Where's daddy? One of my first questions to them was what will you tell your children when they get old enough to ask about their daddy? Children are bound to ask that question when they hear other children talking about their own daddys. After the show the little child ran up to her mother and began tugging at her skirt asking, "Do I have a daddy? When will I see my daddy? Will I ever get to see my daddy?" The mother tried to hush her daughter several times but she continued to insist on an answer. It was obvious that this mother was more interested in trying to meet her own desires to be a mother than she was for the needs of her child for a loving relationship with a father.

Motherhood is a great calling and can be a rich blessing if you follow the biblical teaching for the family as God has commanded in His Word. God has raised the worth of a woman to enable her to be the kind of mother that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

About The Author:

LaHaye is founder of the faith-based Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest public policy women's organization.

Source: Dakota Voice

Health: FAQs about Hormones

by Steven F. Hotze, MD

Are Hormones the Key to Good Health & Happiness?
Specialist Answers 4 FAQs About Hormone Replacement

Of the many truisms offered by the Ancient Greeks, the benefits of moderation and balance in life is one of the most enduring. Unfortunately, maintaining biological balance as we age beyond midlife can be almost impossible - at least, without appropriate intervention, says Dr. Steven Hotze.

"People accept that our hormones slowly diminish as we age, but it has taken the mainstream medical community a very long time to accept that our hormonal imbalances cause age-related health problems," says Dr. Hotze, founder of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center, (www.hotzehwc.com), and author of "Hormones, Health and Happiness."

"Fifteen years ago, the concept of hormone replacement therapy was widely considered almost avant-garde. Today, hormone-replacement medicine for ‘Low T,' or low testosterone, is all the buzz."

But not all hormone replacement therapies are equal - or good for you, says Dr. Hotze.

Here are his answers to some frequently asked questions.

"Is hormone replacement therapy dangerous?" We hear plenty in the media about how the therapy is linked to breast and prostate cancer, but what is not mentioned is the distinction between synthetic and bioidentical hormones. The latter have the same molecular structure as the hormones that are found naturally in the body, which means bioidentical hormone treatments cannot hurt patients. Counterfeit hormones - those that do not perfectly match the molecular structure of hormones in one's body - can be dangerous.

"I've had many tests and tried many treatments for my problems. If they were hormone-related, wouldn't have that been discovered before now?" Physicians can't and shouldn't rely solely on lab tests for diagnoses and pharmaceutical drugs for treatment. A very thorough patient history and evaluation of symptoms, in addition to standard diagnostic tests, can reveal an underlying hormonal problem.

"My blood test indicated nothing irregular, but I suffer symptoms including fatigue, anxiety and weight gain; what's going on?" Blood tests can lie - patients do not. If you have symptoms, but your physician tells you your blood work came back "normal," specifically regarding your thyroid, you should realize that 95 percent of people tested fall within a range considered normal. However, that doesn't mean it is normal for you! Also, remember, you can send the same blood to two different labs and get two different results.

Are women more prone to hypochondria? My physician cannot link my symptoms to a cause … No, it's not "all in your head." Women tend to be more attentive to their body for good reason - the menstrual cycle causes women to experience different hormonal states almost on a daily basis. Women can also experience dramatic physical effects during menopause, when hormones drop significantly. The dramatic physical changes can occur at multiple points. After childbirth is increasingly common, as well.

"A lot of the symptoms we normally associate with aging - muddied thinking, weight gain, tiring easily - are actually occurring because of diminished hormone production," Hotze says.

"Hormone replacement therapy using bioidentical hormones can actually make some patients feel young again!"

About Steven F. Hotze, MD

Dr. Steven Hotze is the founder and CEO of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center in Houston, Texas. He's a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and is the former president of the Pan American Allergy Society. He earned his medical degree from the University of Texas. Dr. Hotze and his wife of 44 years have eight children and 16 grandchildren.

Recipe: Breakfast Banana Pancakes

by Dr. Shila Mathew, MD., Food and Living Editor, Malankara World

Ingredients:

1 large banana
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 table spoon baking powder
2 teaspoon sugar
½ tablespoon melted butter

Directions:

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl.

Mash banana with a fork to make a puree. Beat eggs with a rotary beater until softly peaked. Stir in milk and banana and mix well. Add the flour mixture, mix lightly leaving a few lumps. . Stir in the butter.

Pour the batter onto the hot griddle with approximately ¼ cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve with powdered sugar or syrup.

Makes about 20 pancakes.

Mother's Day Special Recipe: Critchfield Jambalaya
Ingredients:

1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 large (32 oz at least) can crushed tomatoes
1 or 2 chopped hot peppers (your call on how hot a pepper and how much)
½ cup chopped parsley
2 cup or so chicken stock

1 cup chopped andouille sausage or ham or tasso
1lb chopped chicken
1 lb whole and peeled shrimp

Worcestershire sauce
soy sauce
hot sauce
rice

Directions:

Sauté the vegetables until soft in a large pot that will be the finished cooking vessel. Deglaze with a bit of the stock and add the tomatoes. Keep a pinch or two of parsley for each serving to top and add the rest to the pot. Add more of stock and or water so that it is a bit thinner than you would want. Simmer on a back burner for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime, brown the sausage and remove. Brown the chicken in the sausage pan and remove. Deglaze the pan with a little stock and add the meats (except shrimp) and deglazed elements to the tomato mix. Stir and simmer until desired thickness, about a half hour. Should be chili thick, but not your Mom’s idea of chili, i.e. no Skyline gravy. Add a half tsp of soy, a tbsp of Worcestershire and Tabasco to taste. Adjust as needed, but no more soy. It skews the flavor too much.

Now as for rice, there are three ways to think about it. You can add water to the stew in an amount 1.5 the amount of rice and a tad more, bring to boil, cover and cook 35 minutes before checking. This is the most risky.

Next, you could make a risotto with the stew as your liquid being added to the rice. Second easiest, but easy to make gummy if not careful. You know how to make risotto though.

Easiest is to make rice on the side and add to pot as desired.

Once rice is incorporated, no matter how, add the shrimp on the top of the contents, cover and cook about five minutes until shrimp are done. Give it a good stir.

Serve in bowl, sprinkle of parsley and extra hot sauce on the side and French bread.

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