Marriage and Family Archives

Do You Struggle with Being a People-Pleaser?

If you are  a people-pleaser, you might need to redirect your focus to become more concerned with what pleases God than with what pleases others.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

 Remember If I WANT to Keep My Focus on Pleasing God

  • Seek to know His will in each situation of your life.
  • Don’t think that you have to do everything you are asked to do…even in the church!
  • Remember when your heart’s desire is to please God, you will be able to put others’ needs and desires in a healthy perspective.
  • Learn to budget your time by prioritizing your life and determining how much time you will allot for specific people and activities.

                           Priortize by Order of Importance

Your relationship with God
Your family (marriage, children, parents)
Your employment (If you work outside the home)
Your  personal time (time alone with God, time alone with self)
Your church

God should always be number one in your priority list. The problem is that if you’re a people-pleaser, you think that being “a good Christian” means that you must please everyone. You tend to believe that you are putting God first when you say yes to every good cause, especially if it is a church-related.

How do I figure out how to budget my time commitments?

1. Recognize that God wants our families to be number one under Him. When we get over-committed to the point that it robs us of our time that we should be giving our families, it is time to say no.

2. Make sure that we budget some time for ourselves. Jesus was a person who had a vision, a purpose, and a consuming passion, yet when He needed time for Himself, He took it?

Luke 4:42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.

The Lord had been up all night healing the sick and casting out demons and was exhausted. Instead of expecting His Father to give Him supernatural strength to continue, He recognized His need for rest and rejuvenation.

In order to nurture our relationships with our heavenly Father, we must budget a quiet time with Him every day. Unless we feed on His Word and allow the Holy Spirit to energize us for the work He has called us to do, we won’t be able to recognize the opportunities He sets before us. It is during our quiet times that the Holy Spirit can help us put things into perspective and guide us into making wise decisions concerning the demands others put on our time.

When God reigns at the top of our list of priorities, we can trust Him to show us where to place other people, ourselves, and all our other involvements. When our relationship with God is right, our relationships with others will fall into place.

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Teaching a Child to Handle His Conflicts

One of the best ways to help your child learn to handle his conflicts is to demonstrate how you handle your conflicts.  After you have gone through a difficult situation, which could have been a conflict, talk to your child about it. Explain to him, “If I had really said or did what I wanted, I would have created a severe conflict with that person. How I thought before I spoke, and I chose my words, I prevented a conflict.” If you didn’t react in a right way, be brave enough to share with your child what you did wrong, and ask his forgiveness.

Tips to help teach your child how to handle conflicts:

  • Help your child learn to think about his words before he speaks them to others. Make up a childhood situation which could ultimately lead to a conflict. Then ask your child to explain to you how those words would make him feel. By allowing your child to imagine harsh words spoken to him, and how those words might make him feel, could help him learn to think before he speaks.
  • Help your child learn to make a better choice of his words. We all struggle at times when we don’t know what to say during disagreements. Explain to your child that it is much better to keep quiet than to say the wrong things. Share with him that people never forget bad things that are spoken to them.
  • Rehearse with your child these two things.  Will my words build up or tear down? Will my words be helpful or hurt-filled?
  • Help your child learn that his actions will speak louder than his words. Explain to him what he chooses to do will have a greater impact on someone than the words he says to him. If he says a kind word or does a kind act for his friend, it will show his friend that he cares more about him than what his words say to him.
  • Help your child learn from the mistakes of others. When you see other children having conflicts, use those situations as teaching moments. Ask your child, “How to you think that little girl felt when her friend said that to her?” Instead of complaining about your child’s conduct, watch how other children communicate, and use those examples, good or bad,  as teaching toola to handle his personal conflicts.
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Modest Dress Illustration

A girl bought an iPad, when her father saw it, He asked her “What was the first thing you did when you bought it?

“I put an anti-scratch sticker on the screen and bought a cover for the iPad” she replied.

“Did someone force you to do so?”

“No” “Don’t you think it’s an insult to the manufacturer?”

“No dad! In fact, they even recommend using a cover for the iPad”

“Did you cover it because it was cheap & ugly?”

“Actually, I covered it because I didn’t want it to get damaged or   decreased in its value.”

“When you put the cover on, didn’t it reduce the iPad’s beauty?”

“Actually, I think it looks better, and it is worth it for the protection it gives my iPad.”

The father looked lovingly at his daughter and said, “Yet if I had asked you to cover your body which is much more precious than the iPad, would you have readily agreed???”

She was mute…..

The father made a great point to his daughter, “Indecent dressing and exposure of  her body will reduce her value and respect.”

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Help Your Children Make Good Choices

Part of your job as a parent is to help your children learn to make wise choices. This is not always easy for you or for them, because, even as adults, we still make poor decisions. Many parents think that you should make all your children’s decisions for them. The problem with that method is these children will go to their peers and to get their opinions…which usually leads to them to making very poor choices.

Because children are impulsive and make choices before they thoroughly think through the consequences, it is important to teach them how to make right choices.

Here are a few tips which could help you as you teach your children to make right choices for themselves.

• Instruct him to carefully think through his choice before he makes a quick decision.
• Sit down one on one with your child and discuss his options before he makes the decision.
• Use God’s Word to discuss the outcomes of both decisions.
• Pray with your child asking the Lord to give him wisdom to make the right choice.
• Encourage your child to always pray before he makes a choice about a decision he is facing.
• Hold your child responsible for his poor choices. If you bail him when he makes a poor choice, he will learn that there are no consequences for the bad choices he makes.

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Consider Giving a Gift of Time This Year

Ann Landers wrote about a person she knew who said the greatest gift he ever received in his life was a note his dad gave him on Christmas. It read, “Son, this year I will give you 365 hours. An hour every day after dinner. We’ll talk about whatever you want to talk about. We’ll go wherever you want to go, play whatever you want to play. It will be your hour.” That dad kept his promise and renewed it every year. There is no greater gift we can give than ourselves.

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Ways to Keep Your Family Spiritually Healthy

If you are a missionary or a pastor, here are a few hints to help keep your family spiritually healthy. I pray that these tips will be a blessing to you.

• Each day display ways to your family how you love the Lord with all your heart.
• Don’t get so busy with the ministry that you fail to help your children develop their own personal relationship with the Lord.
• Be a father who leads his family in spiritual matters so that your children will not feel rejection or turn away from the Lord.
• Be a parent who helps his children work through stressful situations that they might experience on the field.
• Develop meaningful family traditions on the field. (Birthdays, holidays, rewards)
• As a parent, show affection to your children and to your mate.
• Have fun with your family. Some of the most godly families are those families who have fun together.
• Use your children in the ministry. This will show them that you respect and value them, and it will also show them that they are not just tag-along children.
• Give them responsibilities and enlist them in doing wholesome work.
• Give Biblical reasons for the rules you set. Live more by the principles of God’s Word instead of “I said so…rules”. Search His Word together to find verses that are relevant to your rules.
• Pray at different and unusual times and places together.
• Always try to sing together. (car, working, playing)
• Memorize verses together.
• Look for different and creative ways to do family worship. You don’t have to do them every day, but on the days you do them, make them meaningful.
• Teach your children the importance of delayed gratification. Instill in their minds the value of self-denial for the sake of their futures.

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Pokemon: What is it? by Matt Slick

Pokemon, which is short for “pocket monster,” has become a phenomenal success in America among children. There are cartoons and even a movie based upon the Pokemon characters. Almost every child in America is familiar with this fad and owns some form of Pokemon paraphernalia.

But, what is Pokemon? Pokemon was created by Nintendo in Japan in 1996. It is a role-playing game involving cards, Nintendo Game Boy, and TV cartoons. The cards have pictures of different Pokemon on them–more than 150 so far. The Pokemon are supposed to be “monsters” that have special powers and share the world with humans. The idea of the game is to have the children learn how to collect as many Pokemon as possible, train them, and use them against other people’s Pokemon by invoking the various abilities of each Pokemon creature. Pokemon can evolve and pass through various levels–100 being the highest. Colored energy cards are sometimes used to aid the Pokemon.

There are four basic types of cards.
1. Basic Pokemon cards which depict creatures that fight for you against other people’s Pokemon.
2. Evolution cards depict Pokemon that are able to evolve into more powerful creatures.
3. Energy cards are united with other cards to give the Pokemon more energy needed in carrying out the trainer’s orders.
4. Trainer cards are cards used one time and then discarded.

There are different types or categories of Pokemon: Bug, Fighting, Fire, Flying, Dragon, Electric, Ghost, Grass, Ground, Ice, Normal, Poison, Psychic, Rock, and Water. Within each type are several different Pokemon, each possessing various abilities. I’ve constructed a chart below of some of the categories of Pokemon.

Type of Pokemon Individuals found within category Various abilities found in Group Fire Pokemon Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard, Flareon, Growlithe, Magmar, Moltres, Ponyta, Rapidash, Vulpix, Ninetails Scorching, heating, running, stomping, racing,
Electric Electabuzz, Jolteon, Magnemite, Magneton, Pikachu, Raichu, Voltorb, Electrode, Zapdos Lightning bolts, anti-gravity, explosions, Ghost Gastly, Haunter, Gengar Ultra dimensional, poison, mimicry, taunting Poison Ekans, Arbok, Grimer, Muk, Koffing, Weezing, Nidoran(Female),Nidorina, Nidoqueen, Nidoran(Male), Nidorino, Nidoking Silence, stealth, use of poison, use of claws and biting, breaking opponents’ bones.  Psychic Abra, Kadabra, Alakazam, Drowsee, Hypno, Jynx, Mew, Mewtwo, Mr. Mime Reading minds, teleportation, inducing headaches, high intelligence, consumes people’s dreams, hypnosis, confusion, evolves.

Within the game, evolution is taught repeatedly. There are special stones (Fire, Leaf, Moon, Thunder, and Water) that can be used to force some Pokemon to evolve into more powerful creatures. Of course, after normal development in skill learning, various Pokemon often evolve on their own.

Is Pokemon Dangerous?
Is Pokemon dangerous? Potentially, yes, it is. It conditions the child who plays the game into accepting occult and evolutionary principles. Haunter can hypnotize, eat a person’s dreams, and drain their energy. Abra reads minds. Kadabra emits negative energy that harms others. Gastly induces sleep. Gengar laughs at peoples’ fright. Nidoran uses poison. The Psychic type of Pokemon are among the strongest in the game. Charmander, Haunter, Ivysaur, Kadabra, and many more evolve. The children are taught to use these creatures to do their will by invoking colored energy cards, fights, and commands. Much of it is reminiscent of occult and eastern mysticism.

The Bible says to “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it,” (Prov. 22:6).1 2 Chron. 33:6 says, “And he made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger.”

I do not see how allowing children to play with games that encourage fighting, reading of minds, use of poison, mimicry, taunting, teleportation, hypnosis, and evolution can be a good thing. This is not training a child to righteousness; it is accepting the occult and secular evolution. Is this what we, as Christians, want our children to meditate on? Of course not.

If children are conditioned to accept these things in youth, then they will be more likely to accept these ideas in adulthood. This leads people away from God’s Word and truth and not toward it. This is dangerous to a person’s eternal destiny.

More Information
• On the Pokemon rules website it states, “Carry your Pokmon with you, and you’re ready for anything! You’ve got the power in your hands, so use it!”
• One observer of children playing the game said that the children would afterwards mimic the game by summoning the Pokemon to attack others. This is occultic.
• Pokemon are summoned to do battle and to protect. This is equivalent to sorcery.
• Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water are frequent elemental themes found in Pagan religions, witchcraft, and Wicca and are used heavily in Pokemon.

The spiritual side of the world is real. There are spiritual elements and demonic forces at work, whose purpose is to lead astray and destroy:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places,” (Eph. 6:12).

The enemy is powerful and cunning. The only light we have is the Bible, and we need to follow it and not give ourselves or our children into the hands of those who would introduce occultic principles in a role-playing game. Again, the Bible says . . .
“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,” (1 Tim. 4:1).

There is nothing wrong with children having fun and using their imaginations; but when that fun involves the occult, it is dangerous. As Christians, we should be very concerned about what our children are involved in since they can be so easily influenced. They don’t need the influence of the occult or evolutionary theory to help them towards Christ. They need the truth.

You are over-reacting
Addendum–two months later:
This article has generated some interesting responses. I’ve been called delusional, bigoted, paranoid, and one who contributes to the decline of society because of my intolerant comments about an innocent and fun child’s game. One mother, who claimed to be a Christian, emailed me with heavy complaints and accusations and sought to justify her actions in encouraging her children to watch Pokemon. Well, that is her prerogative.

Have I changed my opinion? Not at all. Am I delusional, bigoted, paranoid, and a contributor to social decay? I certainly hope not. And from what I see in God’s Word and from what I have seen in Pokemon, I still stand on what I have said.

I expect people to not like it when their comfort zone is rattled and when I don’t tote the secular line and salute to “harmless children’s games” even when they teach occultism. By the way, I told the Christian mother that the Lord will hold her accountable for how her children are raised. I asked her if she wants to continue to encourage her children to play with cards that teach casting spells, evolution, and controlling forces to do your bidding. She emailed me back and called me some names.

Others have simply assumed a non-Christian perspective and made judgments about me and this article from their non-Christian point of view. That isn’t a problem. They are entitled to their opinions as am I.

Is Pokemon good? I don’t think so. Does it contribute to impressionable children accepting occult ideas? Yes, it does.

Another comment
I would like to thank you for your stand against Pokemon and other such materials. I understand how you feel when confronted by supposed “Christians” who oppose what you’re trying to do here. I think that it’s a sad time we live in when even the church members want to go around doing what seems right in their own eyes, and they tell you it’s o.k. because “we’re under grace so we don’t need to follow the rules anymore.” Let me say this, the majority of the problems we’re facing today in Christianity are here because of the lack of strong leadership. Most pulpits today are delivering feel good sermons that have little spiritual effect while our remaining power dwindles away due to the gross sins being committed right under our noses. I personally have been in churches that were supposedly “filled with the annointing” and watched the children in the seats in front of me playing Pokemon & dungeons and dragons while the parents “worshipped God.” Pretty sad.

But, let me encourage you to continue fighting the good fight and not budge even one inch in your convictions. Many times people in the church talk about unity, which is important, but not at the cost of compromise. We will all stand before the Lord and give an account for every word and action so let the truth shine out of you without reservation!

The church needs some warriors today who will stand up for what the Word of God tells us is right, regardless of any man’s opinions. Be that warrior!

Remember, the fear of man is a snare to your soul!

God Bless, David

Different Article:

Pokemon (short for POcKEt MONster and pronounced Poh-keh-mon) is now the rage among both Christian and non-Christian children in much of the world. What do these “pocket monsters” teach our children and what are the philosophies underlying this “innocent” game? Is this something that Christian children should be involved with?

Pokemon is a role-playing game similar to Dungeons and Dragons, MAGIC, and others, but with more subtle occult overtones. It is a copyright of Nintendo and was first created in Japan in 1995, where it was highly influenced by Japanese mysticism. Much of its character seems to come from Shinto (the traditional religion of Japan), Buddhism, Hinduism, other Eastern religions, and New Age philosophies. The game reflects Japan’s warrior past in its violence, with the object being to conquer other Pokemons through physical force or sorcery.

Besides the Eastern religious overtones, New Age concepts abound in the Pokemon cards.2 Each Pokemon is a certain “type,” which describes their “energy.” There are currently 7 types of Pokemon, including “Grass,” “Fire,” “Water,” “Lightning,” “Psychic,” “Fighting,” and “Colorless.”3 Many of the 150 Pokemons use violence to conquer other Pokemons. This violence includes gnawing, slashing, smash kick, fire blast, seismic toss, electricity, poison, psychic blasts, paralyzing, etc.4 This is not the “innocent” game that it is made out to be. Other Pokemons “evolve” through the use of “stones” (thunder, water, moon, fire, and leaf) which are items used to summon powers (the origin of these “powers” is not stated, but they are not from God).4 Training cards also include those that use “potion” and “super potion” to magically heal your damaged Pokemon fighters.

Many Pokemons evolve “naturalistically” to become other Pokemons… In examining the cards, it is apparent that macroevolution is being taught, since “species” that have evolved from other species are similar in appearance. In some instances, the term “evolution” is used incorrectly, since individual Pokemons are able to “evolve” into more powerful creatures. In essence, the game is teaching a kind of reincarnation.

Here are some examples of Pokemon types and what they do:

Name Attack Method
Jynx “Merely by meditating, the Pokemon launches a powerful psychic energy attack”
Abra “Using its ability to read minds, it will identify impending danger and teleport to safety.”
Kadabra “It emits special alpha waves from its body that induce headaches even to those nearby.”
Weepinbell “It spits out poison powder to immobilize the enemy, and then finishes the enemy with a spray of acid.”
Ponyta “Its hooves are 10 times harder than diamonds. It can trample anything flat in moments.
Machoke “Karate chop does 50 damage points”

“I will travel across the land
Searching far and wide
Each Pokemon to understand
The power that’s inside.
Gotta catch them all!”

The words above are from the Pokemon song that is sung at the end of the television program. Children are being encouraged to tap into the power of the Pokemon cards. Further instruction is given at the official Pokemon card site:

Carry your Pokemon with you, and you’re ready for anything! You’ve got the power in your hands, so use it!”5

Many children are taking this instruction to heart and literally carry their Pokemon cards with them everywhere. We are even seeing these cards appearing at our church and Christian school. Children are being encouraged to tap into supernatural power instead of the power given by God.6 They are told that the more cards they collect, the more power they will have. Many children are completely addicted to the cards and spend all of their free time playing with them. If nothing else, Pokemon has become an idol in their lives – being more important to them than God.

The use of Pokemon cards can potentially open doors to demonic oppression through the following activities:7

1. Possession (known or unknown) of occultic records, tapes, books, pictures, charms, tools, games, etc.
2. Seeking or giving consent to occultic power or occultic revelation
3. Fascination with occultic power, occultic revelation, or psychic phenomena, in general
4. Escapism through thrill-seeking, science fiction, soap operas, or some other addicting hobby/activity
5. Fascination with violence, especially violence devoid of justice
6. Meditation on anything other than God’s revealed truth
7. Chanting or other cultic/occultic forms of worship

The Bible’s teaching is clear about being involved in occultic activities. We are told not to become involved in sorcery or divination or consult with mediums or spiritists.8 The high penalty (death) for engaging in sorcery indicates the seriousness of this sin in the eyes of God.9

While Pokemon continues to gain popularity, its creators will continue to introduce new ways to become a Pokemon “Master.” At some point, in order to maintain interest in the game, it will become necessary to add new features/characters and alternate means to “get the power.” My prediction is that this game will add more New Age features, along with more violent and bizarre characters. Those who are involved in Pokemon will continue to be indoctrinated more deeply in the New Age philosophies. In fact, Pokemon resources are listed under New Age resources.10

Another threat to children who play with Pokemon and other role playing games is the tendency to become involved in more serious forms of role playing games, such as Doom,11 Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: the Gathering, and role playing games with even more occultic overtones. In fact, Pokemon sites often have links to these sites (wizards.com, etc.). The “Role Player’s Realm,” which links to Pokemon and other role playing games has the uninhibited URL “http://www.screaming.demon.nl/.” The association with the occult is fairly obvious.

Conclusions
Pokemon teaches the following concepts/philosophies that are counter to Christianity:
1. Violence as a means of obtaining power.
2. Evolution
3. New Age concepts (reincarnation, psychic power)
4. The use of occult objects (magic stones) to gain power over your opponent
Continued participation in Pokemon may lead to:
1. Involvement in the game that leads to psychological addiction such that the game becomes an idol in the life of the child
2. Involvement in malevolent role playing games (and people associated with them)
3. Open doors to demonic oppression

Recommendations
If your child has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I recommend that he be given the facts about Pokemon and what the Bible says about participating in sorcery. A child who is encouraged to pray about his involvement in Pokemon and follows the Holy Spirit will voluntarily give up participation with Pokemon-associated activities. Several children we have talked to have made this decision without being forced to do so by their parents. If your child has not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, I would make the decision unilaterally and explain why he would not be allowed to participate in Pokemon-related activities. If your child is highly involved with or addicted to Pokemon, I would provide extra support for them and encourage and provide opportunities for them to engage in other, less threatening hobbies/activities.

References
Note: As a Christian, I will not knowingly provide a link to pages that promote non-Christian values/ideas. However, the URL’s are listed below so that you can confirm the accuracy of the information included on this page.

1. Much of the research information used to develop this page comes from wizards.com (http://www.wizards.com/Pokemon), the official Pokemon card site.
2. http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Labyrinth/6402/poke-level.htm
3. http://www.wizards.com/Pokemon/Rules/Welcome.asp
4. When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? (Isaiah 8:19)
5. From Reasons To Believe’s web site, “Dealing with Demons” (http://www.reasons.org/resources/papers/demons.html)
6. Leviticus 20:6-7 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people. Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
7. He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. (2 Kings 21:6)
8. Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
9. Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

http://www.newageinfo.com/res/meditat_data.htm
See “No Evidence of a Spiritual Realm?” (http://www.GodAndScience.org/apologetics.html)

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Rules for Raising a Delinquent Child

Several years ago, the Police Department of Houston, Texas,  put out  these 12 rules for raising a delinquent child.

1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. By doing this, he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.
2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think it’s cute.
3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is 21 and then let him decide for himself.
4. Avoid the use of the word “wrong”, this will give him a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him, and he is being persecuted.
5. Pick up everything he leaves around…books, shoes, clothes. Do everything for him so that he will experience in throwing all responsibility on others.
6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let your child’s mind feast on garbage.
7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your child. In this way, he will not be too shocked when your home breaks up.
8. Give the child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?
9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.
10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.
11. When he gets in real trouble, comfort yourself by saying, “I never could do anything with him.”
12. Prepare for a life of grief. You will be likely to have it.

If children are trained properly, they will bring you comfort in your old age. They will contribute positive values to this world. They will become good citizens and builders of our society.

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The Parable of the Young Mother

The young mother placed her foot upon the path of life. “Is the way long?” she asked. And her guide said, “Yes, and the way is hard. You’ll be old before you reach the end of it, but the end will be better than the beginning.”

The young mother was happy, and she just couldn’t believe that anything would ever be better than these years. Along the way, she played with her children, gathered flowers with them, and bathed them in the clear streams. The sun shone down upon them and life was good. The young mother said, “Nothing will ever be better than this.”

But the night came, and the storm. The children shook with fear and were cold. But the mother drew them to her, and placed her arms around and covered them with her coat. The children said, “Mother, we’re not afraid for you’re here and no harm can come to us.”

That night the mother looked up at the stars and said, “This is better than the brightness of the day; for I have taught my children courage.”

The next day came and there was a hill ahead. The children climbed and grew weary, and the mother became tired and weary, but she smiled and said, “A little further and we’re there.”

That night the mother said, “This day has been better than the last. My children have learned fortitude in the face of hardship. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today I have given them strength.”

The third day came and there were storm clouds that overshadowed the earth. Clouds of war, and hate, and evil. The children stumbled and groped along the way, but the mother said. “Look up. Lift your eyes to the Light.” The children looked and saw beyond the clouds to an Everlasting Glory that guided them and brought them beyond the darkness.

That night the mother said, “This has been the best day of all for I have shown my children God.”

The days passed, and the weeks, and the months, and the years. The mother was old and she was little and bent, but the children were tall and strong and they walked with courage. When the way was hard they helped their mother, and when the way was rough, they lifted her.

As last, they came to the top of the hill and in the distance they could see a shining road with Golden Gates flung wide. The mother said, “I have come to the end of my journey, and now I know that the end is better than the beginning. For now my children can walk alone and their children after them.”

But the children said, “Mother, you will always walk with us, even when you have passed through the gates.” And they stood and watched as she went on alone and the gates closed after her.

But the children said, “Mother is with us still…for a mother like ours is more than a memory—she is a Living Presence.”

—Author Unknown

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An Open Letter to the Dad Looking at Porn

Dear Dad,

I want to let you know first of all that I love you and forgive you for what this has done in my life. I also wanted to let you know exactly what your porn use has done to my life. You may think that this effects only you, or even your and mom’s relationships. But it has had a profound impact on me and all of my siblings as well. I found your porn on the computer somewhere around the age of 12 or so, just when I was starting to become a young woman.

First of all, it seemed very hypocritical to me that you were trying to teach me the value of what to let into my mind in terms of movies, yet here you were entertaining your mind with this junk on a regular basis. Your talks to me about being careful with what I watched meant virtually nothing. Because of pornography, I was aware that mom was not the only woman you were looking at. I became acutely aware of your wandering eye when we were out and about. This taught me that all men have a wandering eye and can’t be trusted. I learned to distrust and even dislike men for the way they perceived women in this way.

As far as modesty goes, you tried to talk with me about how my dress affects those around me and how I should value myself for what I am on the inside. Your actions however told me that I would only ever truly be beautiful and accepted if I looked like the women on magazine covers or in porn. Your talks with me meant nothing and in fact, just made me angry.

As I grew older, I only had this message reinforced by the culture we live in. That beauty is something that can only be achieved if you look like “them”. I also learned to trust you less and less as what you told me didn’t line up with what you did. I wondered more and more if I would ever find a man who would accept me and love me for me and not just a pretty face. When I had friends over, I wondered how you perceived them. Did you see them as my friends, or did you see them as a pretty face in one of your fantasies? No girl should ever have to wonder that about the man who is supposed to be protecting her and other women in her life. I did meet a man. One of the first things I asked him about was his struggle with pornography. I’m thankful to God that it is something that hasn’t had a grip on his life. We still have had struggles because of the deep-rooted distrust in my heart for men. Yes, your porn watching has affected my relationship with my husband years later.

If I could tell you one thing, it would be this: Porn didn’t just affect your life; it affected everyone around you in ways I don’t think you can ever realize. It still affects me to this day as I realize the hold that it has on our society. I dread the day when I have to talk with my sweet little boy about pornography and its far-reaching greedy hands. When I tell him about how pornography, like most sins, affects far more than just us. Like, I said, I have forgiven you. I am so thankful for the work that God has done in my life in this area. It is an area that I still struggle with from time to time, but I am thankful for God’s grace and also my husband’s. I do pray that you are past this and that the many men who struggle with this will have their eyes opened.

Love, Your Daughter

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