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

Great Lent - Week 1. Special Theme: Love

Volume 5 No. 264 February 13, 2015

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HH Patriarch arrives at Zakka Nagar, Kottayam on Feb 8 2015
HH Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and the East, Primate of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church arrives in Zakka Nagar, Kottayam for an awe-inspiring reception attended by lakhs of people. HB Catholicose Thomas I is with the Patriarch. The Patriarch mobile is driven by Chev. Shibu Mathew, Pullolickal, a member of the Managing and Working Committees of  the Jacobite Church. He is the brother of Dr. Jacob Mathew, Founder and Chief Editor of Malankara World  
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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This Sunday in Church: First Sunday in Great Lent

1. Bible Readings for This Sunday (February 15)

Bible Readings For The First Sunday of Great Lent (Kothne Sunday)

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_1st_sunday_of_great-Lent.htm

2. Sermons for This Sunday (February 15)

Sermons For The First Sunday of Great Lent (Kothne Sunday)

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_1st-sunday-of-lent.htm

3. Weekly Lectionary Feature: Turning Water to Wine: God's Excess and Extravagance

The miracles of Jesus provoked controversy, division, disbelief, and sometimes authentic faith. When some people asked Jesus to perform a miracle to prove his authority, he rebuked them for even asking. He said that if they really wanted to believe there was more than enough evidence. A few pages after the miracle at Cana, Jesus responded brusquely to a Gentile military officer who begged Jesus to heal his sick son: "unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders you will never believe." Then he healed the boy anyhow. Even false prophets, Jesus warned, could perform miracles. ...

With the first of his "many miraculous signs," Jesus revealed the character of an extravagantly generous God. Contrary to our contemporary hubris and condescension toward people of the past, that's no more unbelievable today than it was back then. To be sure, it was and is very strong wine.

4. On Wine and Weddings

Do you think there is any significance to the apparent truth that the servants were the only ones to actually witness this first miracle of Jesus first hand? Why or why not? ...

5. Malankara World Great Lent Supplement

Great Lent is the time for personal reflection, meditation, reconciliation, and prayer. Malankara World has a great resource that helps you accomplish that. We provide you daily reflections, meditations, prayer, bible readings etc. Read the articles about how to practice lent. Then do the reading for the day specified. We will guide you week by week. You can find the resources here:

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Default.htm

Week 1 of Great Lent
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Lent_week1.htm

This Week's Special Theme: Love

6. Introduction: Godly Love

Jesus has shown what unconditional Love means. He taught us that there are no greater love than when someone willing to die for you. The word agape, designates the kind or type of love that will perform acts of "self-sacrifice" for the object of their love. Here are 2 passages from the bible that illustrate this point. ...

7. Loving The Invisible

It is very important for us, as human beings, to see people if we are to love them. We find it hard to love the invisible because we usually receive and give love through our senses. That is why God became a human being - so that we could see Him and love Him. ...

8. Why Is Real Love So Rare?

Motivated by a love for God that began because He first loved us, we can actively pursue loving others both in practical ways and through expression. Practically speaking, this means putting others above ourselves, our perceived needs, and our wants. That will look differently for each person, so a 'must do' list won't work. However, we'll know if we're sacrificially loving others because it's going to be a little painful. We may experience loss of time, sleep, money, energy, whatever it is, we will feel it. And that person who is being extended love will also know it. ...

9. How to Love Others When It's not Easy

As you think about those people in your life who might need a little extra measure of grace, pray that God would work in and through you to show it to them because cultivating good relationships with others will bless you throughout your life! ...

10. Love Leads to Love

At Calvary, the cross of Christ became an eternal emblem of love. Jesus never lost sight of God's purpose for His life. Everything He learned from the Father was in preparation for this moment. ...

11. Do You Like to Qualify God's Love?

As soon as you hone in on the staggering truth of God's love you quickly get uncomfortable. How do I know you're uncomfortable? I do it too. I call it the theological flinch. When this glorious truth of God's love is heard in our ears and begins to seep into our minds and hearts, we quickly run to qualify the conditions of God's love toward us. ...

12. Estimating God's Love

Do you want to know if God is really for you? He did not spare His own Son. He gave the best for the worst. He gave the highest for the lowest. He did the most (through Christ) for the least (you and me). That's what God did! And that is God's message of love to you and me! ...

13. God Really Loves Me!

You are a priceless work of art. The greatest Artist in the universe hand-crafted you. God gave the life of His only Son to have a relationship with you. That's how valuable you are. I'm clearly a sinner, not holy like God. But God loves me, and He loves you enough to pay an enormous price so that we could have our sins forgiven. ...

14. Family Special: Teaching Girls to Be Ladies

It comes down to this: the relationship between a man and a woman throughout their lives together, if indeed they do marry, will reflect the ground rules set by the woman when they are courting. She can change him then, but probably not after. She should not settle for anything less than what she needs emotionally. High on her list of priorities should be a mutual understanding about manners and morals. It is the way men and women have related to each other for thousands of years, and it still provides the basis for healthy families that are equipped to go the distance. ...

15. About Malankara World

This Sunday in Church: First Sunday in Great Lent
Bible Readings for This Sunday (February 15)
Sermons for This Sunday (February 15)
Featured: Turning Water to Wine: God's Excess and Extravagance

by Dr. Dan Clendenin

Gospel: John 2:1–11

In Scripture, celebrations loom large as a way to describe how God relates to his people. Isaiah compares Israel's future to a wedding: "As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you" (Isaiah 62:5). The psalmist describes a feast of abundance for "man and beast, both high and low" (Psalms 36:7–8).

So too in the gospels. Jesus compares God's kingdom to "a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son," only to have people make feeble excuses about why they couldn't come. The parable of the ten bridesmaids urges us to remain vigilant, like we do at life-changing events like weddings. Life in God's kingdom requires wedding etiquette, says Jesus: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited." John describes the consummation of human history as a great wedding party.

John says that Jesus did "many miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples." He also says that he doesn't include most of them in his gospel. The first "sign" was at a wedding at Cana in Galilee, about nine miles northwest of Jesus's hometown of Nazareth. To the embarrassment of the host, the wedding wine ran dry. With his mother Mary and his disciples present, Jesus filled six stone pots used by Jews for ritual washings with water (they had been empty), and then turned the water into wine.

Empty pots used for ritual purity overflowed with wine for profane celebration.

The miracle was one of quantity and quality. Each pot held twenty to thirty gallons, so the result was 150 gallons of wine, far beyond what the revelers could drink (and reminiscent of the extra food left over after the feeding of the 5,000). There's an inverse ratio here between the trivial problem of running out of wine at a wedding and the bizarre abundance of the solution. And whereas most hosts serve the best wine first when people will appreciate the quality, and cheaper wine later when no one can taste the difference, Jesus reversed this pattern by saving the best for last.

The God that Jesus revealed isn't a stern and stingy God. He's a God of lavish liberality, generosity and extravagance. He's like a manager who pays a worker a full day's wages for one hour of work. He's the God who asks Jonah if he's angry because he is generous to the pagan Ninevites. He's a father who welcomes home a wayward son with a ring, a robe, and a party.

In turning water to wine, Jesus offers us excess for our emptiness.

And when we in turn imitate the character of God, it should be with the same extravagant generosity to others — like Mary, who anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume even though the disciples complained that it was a waste of money.

The miracle at Cana reminds me of the Danish film Babette's Feast, which won a 1988 Academy Award for best foreign film. The story takes place in the late nineteenth century in a small fishing village on the dank and dreary Jutland coast of Denmark. Two sisters have given up their own ambitions to care for their father, an elderly pastor of a stern and tiny church. Their band of dour Christians learns the meaning of God's extravagance from a most unlikely source when a French refugee named Babette invades their small world. In a highly symbolic act, Babette, who was a famous chef in Paris, cooks the villagers a sumptuous feast. At first the pinched villagers can't allow themselves to enjoy such extravagance. But they loosen up and learn to accept celebration, excess, and abundance.

I've never witnessed a miracle, but I've wondered how I would respond if I thought I did. The vast majority of people who encountered Jesus never saw or experienced a miracle. But they heard about them. What did they make of them?

John recorded the "many miraculous signs" of Jesus in order to encourage faith in those who heard about them, even if they didn't witness them firsthand: "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." And that's what happened at Cana; John writes that the disciples "put their faith in him."

I can imagine myself falling into some crude superstition, becoming a gawker at spectacles, or disbelieving the miracle and the miracle-maker like those whom John describes (John 12:37).

The early believers weren't gullible about miracle stories. They rejected many reported miracles about Jesus as spurious, like the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (c. 140–170) in which Jesus curses a playground bully who consequently dies, then raises him to life with a spontaneous wish-prayer, and turns clay pots into flying birds. They exercised reticence and restraint.

As the prevalence of signs, wonders, and miracles waned in the decades after the apostles, some people taught that the age of miracles ended with the Revelation of John. Hippolytus (d. 235) said the Spirit now speaks not through miracles but through the canon of Scripture, the creeds, and the clergy.

The miracles of Jesus provoked controversy, division, disbelief, and sometimes authentic faith. When some people asked Jesus to perform a miracle to prove his authority, he rebuked them for even asking. He said that if they really wanted to believe there was more than enough evidence. A few pages after the miracle at Cana, Jesus responded brusquely to a Gentile military officer who begged Jesus to heal his sick son: "unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders you will never believe." Then he healed the boy anyhow. Even false prophets, Jesus warned, could perform miracles.

Jesus wasn't an ancient David Blaine, some street magician doing tricks to wow curiosity seekers. Nor were his miracles merely missions of mercy or demonstrations of God's compassion for human suffering (although they were at least that). Rather, to understand his miracles meant to exercise faith in him who had performed them. His signs, wonders, works and healings forced a decision one way or another: "Believe the miracles, that you may learn and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father… Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves."

With the first of his "many miraculous signs," Jesus revealed the character of an extravagantly generous God. Contrary to our contemporary hubris and condescension toward people of the past, that's no more unbelievable today than it was back then. To be sure, it was and is very strong wine.

For further reflection:

* Isaiah 64:1, "You did awesome things we did not expect."

* Ephesians 3:20–21, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!"

Source: The Journey with Jesus: Notes to Myself Weekly essays by Dan Clendenin
Copyright © 2001–2013 by Daniel B. Clendenin. All Rights Reserved.

On Wine and Weddings

by Rev. Dr. Janet H. Hunt, Dancing with the Word, 2013

Gospel: John 2:1-11

I was out to lunch with a friend the other day. It was noon on a Saturday and the restaurant was crowded. After we sat down I looked up to notice the group at the next table. There were four sitting there. The three women were knitting and the young man was looking on. It's a little unusual to see a group of knitters out for lunch, so they especially caught my attention. One of the women was a little older, one appeared to be her daughter, and the third was sitting close to the young man. I was trying not to eavesdrop at first, but the quarters were tight and they were speaking loudly to be heard over the din of the lunchtime crowd.

Soon I could hear they were talking wedding plans... and then the older woman began to tell the story of her own wedding day. She spoke of the party that was held before the actual wedding itself, about the amount of alcohol consumed, and of how the whole wedding party was late getting to the church. And then she went on to talk about the 21 bottles of cognac which were served at the actual wedding reception.

From there, the details don't much matter, but as I leaned back in my chair I found myself wondering about how many of our wedding stories go like that. How many of our stories center not so much on the ceremony itself, but on the celebrations which precede or follow the time at the church. Indeed, how many of our stories: both those we tell and those we don't, carry memories of what was imbibed by the guests.

For it is also so in the wedding story that is ours to share in today. The story here, too focuses not on the actual wedding itself but on what came later. Only in this case, the wine gave out before it was time for the guests to go home.

So I find myself now thinking not so much of the potential embarrassment of the host, nor of the wonder of the guests who would have enjoyed that fine wine. Rather, I am thinking of those on the edges of the normally main memory itself. I am thinking today of those presumably strong young servants who carried the stone jars and filled them with water. You know, those folks who would be standing on the edge of any wedding reception still today, waiting to serve, to clear, to carry the individually sliced pieces of cake to the tables of the guests. Those same ones who, in the case of the story I overheard above, had the unenviable task of cleaning up after those who had enjoyed the party perhaps a little too much. In Jesus' day, I expect they were the permanent underclass: those servants, those slaves. In our day, perhaps this is also so. It strikes me on this reading, though, that those servants on the edge of the celebration were the only ones to actually witness the miracle here. To be sure, the chief steward tasted it, and apparently his taste buds were still sensitive so he was able to enjoy the fine quality of the wine. And the bridegroom and the bride and all their guests enjoyed the gift of the miracle before us now. Still, it was the servants who saw this wondrous miracle of abundance play out right before their eyes. It was the servants who saw it all --- those who most likely never actually even got a sip of the 180 gallons of fine wine that was now being stored in those stone jars. Indeed, they were, they are those who go mostly unseen, un-noticed by the rest of us. And yet, they are the ones who went home with a story that night. They are the ones who first glimpsed the promise of Jesus. They are, indeed, as we hear throughout the Gospels --- they are the ones for whom the gifts of God are especially meant. And so whether they ever tasted this wine or not, they must have gone home with the dawning recognition that in the simple act of 'saving' a party, the world itself was about to change in Christ Jesus. Indeed, in Jesus the world itself was about to change.

  • Do you think there is any significance to the apparent truth that the servants were the only ones to actually witness this first miracle of Jesus first hand? Why or why not?
  • Why 'water into wine?' What other Biblical references to 'wine' might help us to go deeper into this story?
  • Can you think of other examples when the presumably 'main memory' was not the main memory at all? Can you think of other times when unexpected folks have received an unexpected gift of God's grace?

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement

Great Lent is the time for personal reflection, meditation, reconciliation, and prayer. Malankara World has a great resource that helps you accomplish that. We provide you daily reflections, meditations, prayer, bible readings etc.

If you only have a few minutes to spend a day, you can read short reflective articles and meditations. If you have more time, there is bible readings, and others to enrich your day.

Read the articles about how to practice lent. Then do the reading for the day specified. We will guide you week by week. You can find the resources here:

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Default.htm

Week 1 of Great Lent
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Lent_week1.htm

From The Malankara World Journal Archives:

Volume 4 No 199: February 27, 2014
Theme: Great Lent - Week 1

Volume 3 No 124: Feb 7 2013
Focus: Great Lent - Week 1

Volume 2 No 56: February 18 2012
Special Edition: Great Lent Week 1

This Week's Special Theme: Love

Introduction: Godly Love

by Dr. Jacob Mathew, Malankara World

Saturday, February 14, is celebrated as the Valentine's Day in North America. It is the day of Love. It is the day you let your beloved to know that you love them. Florists love Valentines day; they do a brisk business of selling roses. Retailers love Valentine's Day because, they can sell chocolates and other goods. But love is much more than giving roses, chocolates or saying, "I love you."

To really understand Love, we need to understand Godly Love. Jesus told us:

"This is my commandment , that you love one another as I loved you." [ John 15:12]

In English we only have one word for Love. But in Greek, the language in which the bible was originally written, there are four different words for love. These are:

1. Storge

Storge is the Greek word for the love between family members. This is affection. Storge is most clearly evident in the love of parents for their children.

2. Philia

Also called 'brotherly love', Philia is the love between good friends. Philia is also called "platonic" love. Philia is a chosen love, because we choose whom we will befriend - usually on the basis of shared interests.

3. Eros

Eros is the Greek word for romantic/sexual love and is the root of the English word erotic. Eros is the passionate feeling of romantic attraction felt between two lovers. It is also associated with infatuation and lust.

4. Agape

Agape is the word most often used in the New Testament to describe Christian Love. Agape is made manifest in our acts of charity and service for others, including those who we may not even know or like. Agape is unconditional in that it does not expect anything in return.

Agape flows from the abundant, overflowing, and unconditional love of God. After all, God is love. Agape is God's divine love made visible in our good works of charity and service. It is a joyful and spiritual love that grows in our lives by the grace of God. The Holy Spirit is the source of agape love. Agape is the love that Christians are called to manifest in their lives by unconditional acts of goodwill and charity for others, especially the poor and disadvantaged.

Jesus has shown what unconditional Love means. He taught us that there are no greater love than when someone willing to die for you. The word agape, designates the kind or type of love that will perform acts of "self-sacrifice" for the object of their love. Here are 2 passages from the bible that illustrate this point:

"For God so loved (agape) that He gave. . ." (John 3:16) and,

"Husbands, love (agape) your wives as Christ loved (agape) the church and gave Himself up for her"
 (Ephesians 5:25).

So while we express the human love to our beloved this week, please reflect on the unconditional love taught us by Jesus Christ, and the God who loved us so much that he was willing to send his only begotten son to die for us. As Jesus said, there is no greater love than this.

Four Love adapted from C.S. Lewis book, 'The Four Loves'

Loving The Invisible
Scripture:

1 John 4:11-18
Psalm 72:1-2, 10, 12-13
Mark 6:45-52

"We have seen for ourselves, and can testify, that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world."
 - 1 John 4:14

It is very important for us, as human beings, to see people if we are to love them. We find it hard to love the invisible because we usually receive and give love through our senses. That is why God became a human being - so that we could see Him and love Him.

Therefore, when Jesus ascended bodily into heaven, this presented a problem for us. We no longer had a see-able and more lovable God. Accordingly, Jesus and the Father sent the Holy Spirit to extend the Incarnation by creating the body of Christ, the Church. Now through the Church and especially in the Eucharist, we can do much more than see God. We can even receive into our bodies the body and blood of God.

We accept this special, miraculous relationship with God by believing in Him and loving Him.

"No one has ever seen God. Yet if we love one another God dwells in us, and His love is brought to perfection in us" (1 Jn 4:12).

"God is Love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (1 Jn 4:16).

We can be in the invisible God and He in us if we are in love with Him, especially in the Eucharist.

"Although you have never seen Him, you love Him, and without seeing you now believe in Him, and rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory because you are achieving faith's goal, your salvation" (1 Pt 1:8-9).

Prayer:

Father, no one has ever seen You (Jn 1:18), but I love You with all my heart because I have seen Your Image, Jesus (Col 1:15).

Promise: "It is I. Do not be afraid!" - Mk 6:50

Source: One Bread, One Body

Why Is Real Love So Rare?

by Trillia Newbell

It's Valentine's season again. Strange, how in our popular culture the word "love" can be used in such a trivial way, but then also be used to refer to the deepest of relationships.

"I love my wife!"
"I love hamburgers!"
"I love my husband!"
"I love the movie Nacho Libre!"

No wonder it's so easy for us to miss the type of love God calls us to express toward, not just our favorite people, but toward all people. Let's face it. Real love is rare.

So radical is the love that God commands us to have for others, it includes loving our enemies and persecutors (Matthew 5: 43-48) and loving without expectation of receiving love in return (Luke 6: 27-36). But the most challenging call to love is the great commandment love God with all of our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22: 34-40).

Love God, Love Others

To truly love, we must first know God. Love starts with God and ends with God because God is love. We see this in 1 John 4: 7-8 when he writes: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." God is not physically love, but it is one of his attributes. All God does is out of love. He cannot and does not do wrong. His display of love the purest and truest there is. He loves perfectly. And because we are made in God's image, we can love.

Love isn't something that is derived from within us. It is radical. It is supernatural. For the kind of love that God calls us to–the love that loves our neighbor as much as we love ourselves– that must come from Him. We cannot love like that without first being born of God. God's common grace allows for all men made in His image to love, but there is a love that is set apart for the Christian. And it is also God's enabling Spirit that allows us to love God. We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

This should cause us to pause. If we are enabled by His Spirit to love and if this love is set apart, we should be seeking to express it and to know it. Our love for each other has great implications. Jesus says that, "by this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another," (John 13:35). This command to love is important. It isn't a haphazard imperative to be tossed. God never says, "if you feel like loving, then love." Perhaps it's most challenging because to display love in such a practical way that causes even non-Christians to recognize that it's supernatural would mean death to self.

No, we can't do it on our own. But with God, we can love radically: "for the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised" (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Christ died so we might live for him and we die to our flesh as we learn to love others in both practical and non-practical ways. We have to move past how we feel about a situation or a person and ask God to give us a genuine love for others.

Motivated by a love for God that began because He first loved us, we can actively pursue loving others both in practical ways and through expression. Practically speaking, this means putting others above ourselves, our perceived needs, and our wants. That will look differently for each person, so a 'must do' list won't work. However, we'll know if we're sacrificially loving others because it's going to be a little painful. We may experience loss of time, sleep, money, energy, whatever it is, we will feel it. And that person who is being extended love will also know it.

Through the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit puts within the people of God a conviction to love people and make sure they know that they are loved. We fail miserably at this when we try to love in our own strength. We will never love God or anyone with our whole hearts. I fail at this because my flesh fights for me to be selfish and self-focused. Like Paul, when I want to do good, sin is right there with me (Romans 7:21). I don't always want to love, but I can choose to. I thank Jesus who died on the cross for my half-hearted love. He loved perfectly in my place. And by God's grace, I will grow in loving others.

About The Author:

Trillia Newbell is a freelance journalist and writer. She writes on faith and family for The Knoxville News-Sentinel, and serves as the managing editor for Women of God Magazine and Lead Editor of Karis, the Women's Channel of CBMW. She guest posts frequently at The Gospel Coalition and Desiring God. Her love and primary role is that of a wife and mother.

Source: Christianity.com Daily Update

How to Love Others When It's not Easy

by Dr. Jack Graham

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
- Romans 12:18

I heard about a man who went to Jonathan Edwards, the great preacher, wanting to marry his daughter. Now, Edwards had several daughters, and the one this young man was in love with was particularly disagreeable.

So the man asked Edwards, "Sir, may I have your daughter's hand in marriage?" To which Edwards replied, "No, you may not."

So the man quipped back and said, "Why, sir? She is a Christian and I want her to be my wife."

Jonathan Edwards said, "Yes, she is, but the grace of God can live with some people with whom no one else can!"

If you're honest, you can probably think of at least a few people you might say that about today! But the Bible is clear that despite the differences you may have with others, we're to live at peace with them. In fact, the Scripture goes as far as to tell you to love your enemies (Matthew 5:44).

So, as you think about those people in your life who might need a little extra measure of grace, pray that God would work in and through you to show it to them because cultivating good relationships with others will bless you throughout your life!

GOD WANTS YOU TO LIVE AT PEACE WITH ALL PEOPLE, SO PRAY THAT HE WOULD GIVE YOU THE GRACE TO LOVE OTHERS, EVEN YOUR ENEMIES.

Source: Powerpoint Devotional

Love Leads to Love

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

At Calvary, the cross of Christ became an eternal emblem of love. Jesus never lost sight of God's purpose for His life. Everything He learned from the Father was in preparation for this moment.

As Scripture tells us, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Jesus not only laid down His life for those who loved Him, He laid it down for all men and women, even those who choose to reject Him. He didn't die just for those closest to Him. He died for all of us; no one is left out. But we must make a choice either to accept Him as our Savior or to turn away from Him and face the judgment of a tormenting death.

The Jews rejected Jesus. However, we know that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea made a different choice. After His death, they asked for the Savior's body to be given to them. Pilate granted their request. No Jew of their social position could come in contact with the dead and remain spiritually clean. Yet, these men lovingly accepted the role they played in the Lord's burial. It is doubtful that after this event they were allowed to continue as leaders in the Jewish community. More than likely, they became followers of Jesus Christ. Love leads to love, and it is Christ's unconditional love that drew Nicodemus and Joseph to Himself, and it is that same love that draws us today.

When you find yourself being drawn away by the world's passions and temptations, remember the cross, where Christ gave His life as atonement for your sin. There is no greater love than God's love for you.

Prayer:

Lord, it is hard to imagine the depth of Your love for me. Thank You for dying for me. May I love others as you have loved me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Source: My Devotional; © 2013 Leading The Way

Do You Like to Qualify God's Love?

by Erik Raymond

God loves me. These three words are a serious cause for pause. They are a time for reflection and delight. However, if you are like me you may find yourself chasing this sweet taste of divine benevolence with other theological tonics, as if we are feeling guilty or something. I think this is a problem.

THEOLOGICAL FLINCHING

Let's make it practical. You are talking with a friend about what you've been reading in your devotions.

You talk about Isaiah 43:4-5:

Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.

As soon as you hone in on the staggering truth of God's love you quickly get uncomfortable. How do I know you're uncomfortable? I do it too. I call it the theological flinch. When this glorious truth of God's love is heard in our ears and begins to seep into our minds and hearts, we quickly run to qualify the conditions of God's love toward us. Common demonstrations of theological flinching are the quick articulations of grace, mercy, election and depravity. Now, don't get me wrong these are all true expressions of God's love for us and an occasion to delight as well, but the sad truth remains that I feel uncomfortable just soaking in the rain shower of God's love toward me.

I wonder how comfortable you are just saying Paul's words like they are your own without qualification:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. - Galatians 2:20

This is not right. Any theology that cannot marvel and enjoy the love of God in Christ Jesus is not divinely calibrated. Something has gotten in the way.

SOME IDEAS AS TO WHY

I honestly don't know what it is. I have some ideas but they are speculative.

Money Laundering God's Love. For me I think that it makes things more professional to funnel God's love for me through various theological words. It's like a money launderer trying to hide the original source of funds so they engage in layering (using multiple accounts and vehicles to hide the original source or nature of the money). That's what I do. I layer it. Instead of just letting it explode on my lap like, BAM! God loves me. I say, “Well, it is for his glory that he elected me despite my deadness in sin.” This is all true. And it is not supposed to cut the wires of divine benevolence but rather further communicate it. But, we are sinful. And God's love is pride arresting and soul staggering.

Too Much for Me. Another reason I think I (we) do this is because God's love for us is just far to staggering to deal with. Let's face it, for the God of the universe to say that he loves you and that you are precious in his eyes is staggering, to say the least. This is threatening to our autonomy. It undermines our professional business relationship with God and thrusts us into a covenantal relationship. We are not partners with God like a law firm but covenanted with God like a marriage. This commitment runs deep both ways.

A CHALLENGE

So I challenge you as I challenge myself today, examine your heart, particularly in light of God's love toward you. Chew upon this truth: God loves his children. And stop right there! Loiter with me around this monument of theological truth, drink from the fountain of gospel love, and shut-up with the qualifiers—just enjoy the staggering truth!!

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1.5-6)

About Erik: Erik has been writing at Ordinary Pastor since 2006. He lives in Omaha with his wife and kids.

© 2012 Ordinary Pastor 

Estimating God's Love

by James MacDonald

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. - Philippians 2:5-8

Romans 8:32 tells us, "He who did not spare His own Son . . ." Consistently, the Bible message of God's love is, "Hey, you don't think God loves you? Look at what God did for you in His Son, Jesus Christ: "He [God] who did not spare His own Son . . ."

Question: Did not spare Him what?

First, He did not spare Him humiliation. Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, Eternal God, Creator of the Universe, became a human being! He took on flesh and blood with all the limitations of a physical life. Philippians 2:6-8, says, "Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, (Why? Because He had it) but made himself of nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form . . ." God of the Universe in human form! God did not spare His son humiliation.

Second, God did not spare Christ degradation: the mocking, the spit, the laughter, the torture, the crown of thorns, heaped on the precious Son of God! God did not spare His Son the degradation of His atoning work.

And, of course, God did not spare His Son crucifixion. "He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death," Philippians 2:8 says, "even death on a cross"! Death on a cross was the most humiliating, torturous way for a person to die. Why did God not spare His own Son? Because He loves you, that's why.

Romans 8:31 tells us, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Do you want to know if God is really for you? He did not spare His own Son. He gave the best for the worst. He gave the highest for the lowest. He did the most (through Christ) for the least (you and me). That's what God did! And that is God's message of love to you and me! He did absolutely everything He could do to find you, and reach you, and forgive you. And that complete message is wrapped up in what He did Himself, in the person of His Son who came to the world at Christmas.

Journal

Do I expect God to do more than what He has already done to demonstrate His love for me?

Is my life are directly affected by God's love for me? Where do I need to let His love impact me more?

Prayer

Father, thank You for not sparing Your Son that I might become Your son or daughter by faith. Thank You for all You did, including Your unexpected arrival at Christmas. Help me to fully appreciate, marvel over, and relish Your matchless love for me. Help me set time aside in the hustle and bustle of Christmas to get lost in wonder and worship over Your great love for me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Source: Our Journey Online

God Really Loves Me!

by Darlene Sala

"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

Our hearts long to be loved. We want to know someone treasures and values us. Truly. Faithfully. Lavishly. Would someone, anyone, be willing to give up an item of great value for us?

I'm stunned God willingly paid so much for me to know Him. It's mind-boggling to grasp that Jesus left His Father in heaven to come to this earth as a baby, then die by crucifixion. I can hardly comprehend a love that cost so much.

I can't imagine sacrificing any of my three children to save someone else's life. Yet Peter writes, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed ... but with the precious blood of Christ ..." (1 Peter 1:18-19, NIV). What love!

What makes it even more costly is God the Father knew He would need to turn away from His son during Jesus' death.

When Jesus was hanging on a wooden cross, God the Father withdrew His presence because of the sin His Son bore on our behalf. Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46b, NIV). A great shadow had come between Jesus and the Father. Jesus was excruciatingly alone on that cross because of you and me.

A story from the mission field illustrates a similar kind of love. For years, Dr. Margaret Brand served as a missionary eye surgeon in southern India. In the rural areas she would sometimes do 100 cataract surgeries in a day.

In one instance where there was no electricity, Dr. Brand asked a 12-year-old boy to hold a large flashlight so that its beam gave her enough light to operate. Dr. Brand doubted whether the boy would be able to endure the sight of eyes being sliced open and stitched. For the first five operations he did his job impressively. During the sixth, however, he faltered.

"Little brother, show the light properly," Dr. Brand instructed him. But she could sense that he simply could not bear to look at the eye. When she asked him if he felt well, she saw tears running down his cheeks. "Oh, doctor, I cannot look," replied the boy. "This one, she is my mother."

You see, God loves us so much, "For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21, NRSV) when we put our faith in Him. The high price Jesus paid makes us incredibly valuable — no matter how worthless we may feel at the end of the day.

Here's another way to look at it. When it comes to placing a value on a piece of art, that value is derived from three things:

• Who made it?
• How many are there like it?
• What is someone willing to pay for it?

You are a priceless work of art. The greatest Artist in the universe hand-crafted you. God gave the life of His only Son to have a relationship with you. That's how valuable you are. I'm clearly a sinner, not holy like God. But God loves me, and He loves you enough to pay an enormous price so that we could have our sins forgiven.

With a word the universe was brought into being. With a touch lepers were healed. But when sin was forgiven, Jesus the Son of God willingly died. What amazing love!

And the focus of that love? You and me.

May we pause in this moment to absorb the depth of God's love for us. And may our lives be filled with thankfulness that He was willing to pay the price!

Loving God, help me always remember that my only true worth is found in You. Thank You for the gift of Your Son; thank You for loving me so much that You thought I was worth Christ's life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:

Knowing how treasured you are by God, what part of you doesn't feel like a "priceless work of art"?

What would your day look like if you thanked Him for this "flaw" all day long?

Power Verses:

1 John 3:1a, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." (ESV)

1 John 4:19, "We love him, because he first loved us." (KJV)

© 2014 by Darlene Sala. All rights reserved.
Source: Encouragement for Today

Family Special: Teaching Girls to Be Ladies

by James C. Dobson, Ph.D.

Now that the hubbub of Christmas and the New Year has passed, we come to a quieter February, which takes us to Valentine's Day. I want to offer a few relevant comments about boys and girls, and men and women. These thoughts first appeared in my book, 'Bringing Up Girls', and included one of my favorite statements about child rearing. This chapter is called, "Teaching Girls to Be Ladies." I hope you like it, especially as it relates indirectly to Valentine's Day.

To begin, I'll step back a couple of hundred years and get a running start at describing the principles that matter most. The ideas I will share were written two centuries ago, and they are precisely on target today.

They were the beliefs and recommendations of the second President of the United States, John Adams. He was a prolific reader, statesman, and author, and he made an incalculable contribution to our country. He was not a perfect man, but he lived by a standard of righteousness throughout his adult life. In his autobiography, Adams wrote a commentary on the subject of moral behavior, which he called "manners." Though the language is formal and dated, I urge you to read these words carefully and thoughtfully. They carry great meaning for us today.

From all that I had read of history of government, of human life, and manners, I [have] drawn this conclusion, that the manners of women [are] the most infallible barometer by which to ascertain the degree of morality and virtue in a nation. All that I have since read and all the observations I have made in different nations, have confirmed me in this opinion. The Manners of Women are the surest criterion by which to determine whether a republican government is practicable, in a nation or not. The Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Swiss, the Dutch, all lost their public spirit, their republican principles and habits, and their republican forms of government, when they lost the modesty and domestic virtues of their women. . . .

The foundations of national morality must be laid in private families. In vain are schools, academies and universities instituted if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years. The mothers are the earliest and most important instructors of youth.

How insightful it is that Adams placed the responsibility for the essential moral character of the nation squarely on the shoulders of mothers. Fathers play a key role too, of course, but moms are absolutely indispensable. It is their primary task to transmit enduring principles of right and wrong to the next generation. The old proverb, "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world," is still true. If women grow weary of that responsibility, or if they lose sight of their own moral compass, no other institution or governmental agency will be able to save the nation. So wrote President John Adams.

On another occasion, he elaborated on the link between national character and the preservation of a democracy. He wrote:

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

To paraphrase, Adams was saying that a representative form of government such as ours cannot survive without a spiritual foundation, because its citizens are masters of their own destinies. That is the great vulnerability of a democracy. Our political system, which Abraham Lincoln said is intended to be "of the people, by the people, for the people," can be no more stable than the collective character of its citizenry. It's all up to us. There is no king, dictator, or tyrant to restrain our behavior. If we choose evil, there will be no stopping us. In short, our national sovereignty depends on the transmission of the nation's morals and manners to children, and that task should begin in the nursery.

But what form does this early training take in today's world? It begins with basic civility, because manners and morals are directly connected. As Horace Mann said, "Manners easily and rapidly mature into morals." The first tends to lead to the second. In centuries past, cultured and religious families understood this relationship. They were aware that girls and boys, and all of humanity, are flawed and inherently sinful. Thus, Old English and Early American societies worked diligently at teaching what were called the "social graces." Teaching manners was their highest priority because of the connection to Christian piety.

Alas, American and British cultures in the twenty-first century have swung to the other end of the continuum. Young girls are often allowed, and even encouraged, to be brash, rude, crude, profane, immodest, immoral, loud, and aggressive. Some of this behavior has been consciously taught in recent years under the rubric of "assertiveness training." To the extent that such programs were designed to instill confidence in bashful, frightened young women, I supported them. But some girls have been taught the worst characteristics of "uncivil" males. I know my words must sound horribly old-fashioned and archaic at this point, but there is something important here for us to consider.

Obviously, human nature has not improved much in the past several hundred years, nor will it ever. What has changed, as I have described, is that many parents have become far too distracted, overworked, and stressed out to care much about teaching morals and manners to children.

Jolene Savage, who runs the Social Graces School of Etiquette in Topeka, Kansas, says society has reached an all-time low when it comes to matters of civility. Exhausted moms and dads seem not to have noticed what has happened to their children. Clearly, instruction in civility is needed now more than ever. Getting that done, however, can be a challenge. As the late dancer Fred Astaire said, "The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any." If that is unfair in your case, please forgive him—and me.

Once again, speaking directly to mothers, it is your job to acculturate your daughters and to help them become ladies. Does that sound chauvinistic in our high-tech world? I suppose it does, but even so, it makes sense. As Lisa Fischer, an instructor at the Final Touch Finishing School in Seattle, Washington, says, "Etiquette has to do with knowing the rules." Therefore, girls should be taught how to eat, talk, walk, dress, converse on the telephone, and respond to adults with respect and poise. Parents should demonstrate good posture and table manners for them, such as putting a napkin in the lap, showing them where to place silverware, and not talking with food in their mouths. They should also explain that burping, gobbling food, and picking teeth are rude.

I also firmly believe that you should require your kids to say thank you and please, to demonstrate that ours is not a "gimme-gimme world." Appreciation is an attitude best cultivated at home. Teach techniques of personal grooming, hygiene, and nutrition. Role-play with them about being gracious hosts and how to formally introduce parents or friends to each other. Require them to excuse themselves when leaving the table, and explain how to make friends, how to take turns talking in a group, and how to make eye contact. You might even help them learn how to cook and care for children. Wouldn't that be something novel?

Although I am not an expert in teaching girls some of the social graces I have named (I learned a masculine version of the rules), I know them when I see them.

While manners tend to facilitate morals, there is another good reason to teach them. They also help develop confidence and poise. A girl who has been trained properly is never completely knocked off balance when she is in an unfamiliar circumstance. She knows what is expected of her and how to deal with it. Her sense of self-worth is reinforced by the way adults react to her charm, poise, and grace. For the mother who wants to give her daughter a head start in life and help her compete socially, this is a great place to begin.

These diverse skills used to be taught to girls in mandatory homemaking classes. Alas, most of these programs were canceled after the revolution of the sixties, and America became the worse for it. Road rage, loud cell phone conversations in restaurants, cutting in line, throwing litter from car windows, and general nastiness are now everyday occurrences.

Monica Brandner teaches at an etiquette business for children and youth called Final Touch Finishing School. She says that manners are primarily about how we treat others and ourselves. Sheryl Eberly, who wrote 365 Manners Kids Should Know, agrees. She says living by the Golden Rule releases the power of a thankful heart to those trained to practice it. She also reminds us—and this is a great point—that when we teach social graces to our children, we are training the next generation in self-government and self-control. John Adams must be smiling from the other side.

In short, teaching manners to girls is about helping them to become young ladies in a not-very-civil world. I assure you that MTV and an increasingly crude culture will do everything possible to carry our daughters (and our sons) downstream toward that which is boorish and uncouth. You can help them paddle upstream.

One technique that my wife used to teach social graces to our daughter was to play feminine games together. For example, they held elaborate tea parties when Danae was four or five years of age. The child loved them.

Their make-believe names were Mrs. Perry (Danae), Mrs. Snail (her mom), and a little boy named Mr. Green who was drafted into service. Other available kids and their moms from the neighborhood were invited on occasion. This fun activity allowed my wife to explain how silverware was supposed to be arranged, how to eat soup without slurping, how to hold and drink from a teacup, how to use a napkin, how to chew with mouths closed, how to hold a conversation, why they should wait to eat until everyone at the table was served, etc. It was amazing how effective these tea parties were in teaching common politeness. I was never invited to join them and definitely felt left out!

But what about moms who haven't been trained in social etiquette themselves? They can hardly pass on what they haven't learned. And what can we suggest for those who are simply too busy to tackle the job? That is where professional etiquette training comes in. Classes are popping up in cities across the country to meet this precise need.

Though these training programs can be expensive, they are worth the cost for parents who can afford them. For those who don't have the resources, some churches and women's clubs are providing assistance. Furthermore, we should never forget what some grandmothers have to offer in teaching these concepts. They are likely to remember a more genteel era, and their granddaughters will enjoy the attention that comes with the training.

As a case in point, our granddaughter, Luci Rose, who is now three years of age, came to our house with her brother last night. While I occupied Lincoln with DVDs about wild animals, Shirley and Luci had a tea party together with an array of stuffed bears. Both children loved the evening.

This chapter in my book, Bringing Up Girls, again, is entitled "Teaching Girls to be Ladies." I can hear some of my readers objecting vigorously to the goal of introducing principles of modesty and grace to girls. That is hardly the direction the popular culture has taken us in recent decades.

Some would question whether it is even desirable for a girl to be feminine in a traditional sense, fearing that it will signal a return to the oppression of a patriarchal era when women had to hide their intelligence and conceal their accomplishments. Hear me out, moms. Not for a moment would I try to take away the hard-won achievements of respect and emancipation enjoyed by today's women. Those cultural advances are here to stay, and may they long endure.

On the contrary, I would point out that femaleness and weakness are not synonymous. Femininity and strength of character are often very close neighbors. I come from a family of strong women who knew who they were and where God was leading them. They took a backseat to no one. My grandmother co-pastored a thriving church with my grandfather. She could preach up a storm. I can't imagine anyone telling her to sit down, fold her arms, and keep her mouth shut. One of her daughters became my mother, who was also a very confident and accomplished lady. Yet my mother and her sisters were undeniably feminine.

My mom and dad loved each other deeply and had a very healthy relationship based on their identities as a woman and a man. He was very respectful, protective, and supportive of her. I never saw him treat her rudely or harshly. After I was grown, I remember getting upset at my mom for something she said that irritated me. I made the mistake of telling my dad about it. I'll never forget him turning his steely blue eyes on me and saying angrily, "Listen, Bud, your mother is the best friend you have, and I won't stand for you saying anything disrespectful about her." It was the end of our conversation. When Dad called me Bud, I knew it was time to back off.

On the other side of the ledger, my mom honored my dad, not just as her husband, but also as a man. She would not have thought of failing to have a meal waiting for him when he came home from the college where he was a professor. Being from the South, she was not offended when he called from his big chair where he was reading a book. He would say, "Hey, Myrt, bring me a cup of coffee, please." He was her man, and she took care of him. It was a relationship based on mutual respect, and it was highly successful. They both understood manners and morals, and their relationship to spirituality, masculinity, and femininity. My parents modeled them consistently throughout my childhood.

I displayed that training on my first date with a cute coed named Shirley. I took her to a classy restaurant in Hollywood, California, where I told the host where we wanted to sit. Then I helped Shirley with her chair. I asked what she wanted to eat and conveyed her order to the waiter. We engaged each other in conversation for more than an hour, mostly about Shirley. Then I paid the check and took her to my car. I walked on the outside of the sidewalk nearest the street, which was (and still should be) symbolic of a guy's responsibility to protect the woman in his care. I opened the car door for her, and we drove back to our college. I parked, came around to her side of the car, opened the door, and walked Shirley to the front door of her dorm. She thanked me with a smile, and we said good night. I didn't try to kiss her, since that would have put her in a compromising position on a first date—as though she owed me something as a "payback."

I must have done something right on that enchanted evening, because we have now been married for 54 glorious years. I think it's going to work. I still try to show her the same courtesies and respect that helped me win her heart in the first place. And she knows all the ways to please me.

By the way, several years ago, my wife and I were back in Southern California, and our daughter asked me to take her and her mom to that restaurant where it all began. I was delighted to do that. I pointed out the very table where we sat long ago, and talked about what we said and did on that significant night where love started to flourish.

So much has changed in the culture since then. I will tell you that I am disgusted by the way young men treat their girlfriends today. Some guys will honk from the street, waiting for a girl to come out. They stay behind the steering wheel while she opens her own door, and then they take her to a McDonald's or a Taco Bell. Often, the guy will even expect his date to pay for her food!

Do you know why this happens? Because girls tolerate it. I would advise a young lady who is expected to pay for her meal to do so only once. She should then ask to be taken straight home and never agree to see the dude again. Any man who is that disrespectful doesn't deserve a second chance.

Women hold the keys to masculine behavior. Guys are inclined to take what they can get and be no more accommodating than they have to be. To some degree, the lack of culture and refinement we see in many of today's men is the fault of women who ask for, and get, little or nothing. If a girl sees herself as a lady, she will expect her escort to behave like a gentleman. He will respect her if she respects herself. If she wants him to be spiritually sensitive, she should go out with him only a few times before asking him to accompany her to church. If she objects to his use of profanity, she should simply not accept it. If she wants him to think of her often and call her on the phone, she should wait for him to get the idea himself. Female aggressiveness is a turnoff to most men. I don't care if the rules have changed; it is still a bad idea for a girl to pursue a guy breathlessly. She should let him be the initiator. That is the way he is made.

Parents, teach these concepts to your girls! If your daughter wants her boyfriend to take her to nice places, she should expect him to make the plans for an evening together and to ask her out at least a week ahead of time. If he shows up unannounced on Friday night and says, "Wanna' hang out?" she should tell him she has other things to do. If she wants him to be a gentleman, she should require him to act like one, and she should always remember that she is a lady.

If a woman wants a man to marry her, she absolutely must not make herself available sexually. That wrecks a relationship. Besides, it is morally wrong. Under no circumstances should she live with a guy before marriage. She will probably wind up getting hurt and living to regret it. He will get what he wants, and she will get nothing. The number one reason men give for marrying late or not at all is because they can get everything they want— including love and sex—without commitment. A moral, self-respecting woman simply will not play that game.

If it becomes obvious that a guy is not going to commit, she should send him packing. Period! Don't argue with a jerk about it. Just cut him loose. Don't blame a guy if he is unmannerly and exploitative. He was probably not taught properly. Show him what you expect, and if he balks, move on—quickly. If he is a big drinker or uses illegal drugs, run from him. He is trouble on the hoof. Don't give him a beachhead in your heart. There is someone better out there for you if you set your standards high.

It comes down to this: the relationship between a man and a woman throughout their lives together, if indeed they do marry, will reflect the ground rules set by the woman when they are courting. She can change him then, but probably not after. She should not settle for anything less than what she needs emotionally. High on her list of priorities should be a mutual understanding about manners and morals. It is the way men and women have related to each other for thousands of years, and it still provides the basis for healthy families that are equipped to go the distance.

However, teaching girls to be ladies is not enough. We must also give them a strong biblical foundation from which morals and virtues can evolve. Our hope is that our daughters will someday pass along those verities to the next generation. No other priority comes close to this one in significance.

For now, it seems appropriate to return to the words of President John Adams, who gave this solemn charge to the nation's women. You'll recall that he said:

The foundations of national morality must be laid in private families. In vain are schools, academies and universities instituted if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years. The mothers are the earliest and most important Instructors of youth.

It was true in 1778, and it is still true today.

About The Author:

James C. Dobson, Ph.D. is the President and Founder of Family Talk

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