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divorce, ring on toilet

When the Vow Breaks

Linda S. Mintle says it's time for Christians to rethink divorce.

Soyburger, Anyone?

Tomatoes, however, are the richest source of lycopene, and cooked tomato products, such as tomato paste, spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce, provide much higher amounts of the phytonutrient compared with fresh tomatoes or tomato juice.

Spaghetti sauce also contains olive oil, an added benefit that makes this particular food product an extremely good choice as a source of lycopene. That's because the oil assists in the body's absorption of the nutrient.

Many studies have shown a correlation between a high consumption of tomato products and a decreased incidence of prostate cancer. A diet rich in lycopene derived from tomato-based products can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by approximately 40 percent.

Creeping Narcissism

When you accept Christ into your life, you slowly come to realize that forces are now at work beyond your control. There is a mixed emotion of fear (of losing control), relief (that your problems are now in God’s hands) and curiosity (at how things will play out) that can create a hyper-introspection beyond anything we have experienced before, but could it lead to an unhealthy level of introspection and self-absorption? I’ve noticed creeping into many Christian’s lives (including mine) a level of narcissism about prayer and God’s works that has raised a few flags.

 

This came to my attention partly by way of my agnostic friends. Every so often one of them asks me to say a prayer for a relative who is sick. It takes a lot for them to ask this and the request is usually serious, and for some reason they think I alone have God’s phone number. I feel mixed emotions when I receive these requests. I’m sad at their pain but joyful at the same time that a piece of their armor has rusted and fallen off. When I contrast these requests with Christian prayer requests that I receive regularly it drives the point home about how self-centered we, in the Christian community, can sometimes become.

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Parenting Pains

 It might sound like a cliché, but parenting e toughest jobs on Earth. After about 20 years of on-the-job training, we begin to figure out what it is all about. By then it's time to let go and pretend we don't care any more.

Added to these difficulties are our own personal problems, which can include marital conflict or divorce, physical illnesses, financial pressures and the other cares of living. Our unmet needs, such as those experienced by single parents, can also lead us into behavior that will later seem terribly foolish.


 

Do I sound as though I'm whining here? I hope not. I'm simply attempting to articulate the challenges that can accompany parenthood and the particular discomfort that occurs for parents of strong-willed children when they begin to feel they have botched the assignment. (The parents of compliant children may not fully understand this emotional reaction, although there is usually enough related stress to affect everybody.)

Despite the discouraging moments, it is my firm conviction that bearing and raising children is worth everything it costs us. Along with the difficulties come the greatest joys and rewards life has to offer.

How could that be true? How can the very thing that brings us anxiety and stress be the source of such happiness and fulfillment? There is an obvious contradiction here that bears consideration.

Christian writer and apologist C.S. Lewis tried to express the indescribable pain that he experienced when he lost his wife to cancer. He would not have been so devastated by her passing, he said, if he had not allowed himself to love her with all his heart.

In the movie Shadowlands, based on this period of Lewis' life, he wondered if it would have been better never to have loved at all, and thereby to have avoided the risk of losing the woman he adored. It would certainly have been “safer” to live in a fortress, protecting himself from disappointment and grief by remaining emotionally detached and uncaring.

Lewis considered these responses to sorrow and decided that in the end, love is worth the risk. This is the way he penned his conclusion:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries ... lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.

“But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless-it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable ... The only place outside heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is hell!” Then Lewis added this concluding thought: “Why love if losing hurts so much? We love to know that we are not alone.”

Doesn't this insight speak eloquently of the pain associated with parenthood? It certainly does to me. This is what bearing and raising children comes down to. Loving those we have borne is risky business, but it is a venture that brings great joy and happiness. Even though there are often trials and tears associated with the challenge, it is a noble journey.

We as parents are given the privilege of taking the raw materials that comprise a brand-new human being and then molding him or her day by day into a mature, disciplined, productive and God-fearing adult who will live with us in eternity. Doing that job right, despite its setbacks and disappointments, is surely one of the greatest achievements of our lives.

In his Bringing Up Boys Parenting Videos, Dr. Dobson shares principles for raising boys from his decades of expertise. This self-directed program includes four DVDs and an accompanying workbook that will equip parents and youth leaders to steer the boys they care about toward confident, responsible manhood.

To request your copy visit family.org/resources.


Dr. James Dobson is founder and chairman of the board of the nonprofit organization Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO 80995; or www.family.org). Material is excerpted from The Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide and Bringing Up Boys, both published by Tyndale House.
Sarah Palin

The Faith of Sarah Palin

She was vilified by the media, hated by pro-abortion activists and adored by many evangelical Christians. Her 2008 candidacy energized conservatives, broke tradition and made history.

Christmas in Bethlehem

Controlled by militant Muslims, the place of Jesus' birth is a danger zone for Christians today. But Arab believers say the gospel continues to be preached there.


Rami Ayyad was closing up at the Bible Society in Gaza where he worked when armed men whisked him into a car and sped away. For hours, Ayyad's whereabouts were unknown. Pauline, his wife and the mother of their three children-the last still in utero-finally got through to him on his cell phone.

He wasn't able to say much, and she could tell something was wrong. It turned out to be the couple's last conversation.

The Christmas Promise

Christmas really began in the Garden of Eden with a promise. Then it was revealed in Bethlehem. But the gift became a reality for us all at Calvary.

Getting Creative For God

Christian artists today are using their special talents to minister in ghettos, on beaches, in shopping malls, in prisons and anywhere else people need Jesus.

Voices of a New Generation

These young Christians are influencing culture and taking a radical stand for Jesus.

wedded hands

Don't Marriage Vows Matter Anymore?

Jack Hayford says it's time we take a hard look at why so many marriages—especially of those in leadership—are being torn apart.

Barack Obama, John McCain

A House Divided

The 2008 presidential election has been more contentious than any in recent history—especially for evangelical Christians.

A Gator for God

Tim Tebow of the University of Florida is the youngest player to win college football’s Heisman Trophy. But the humble missionary kid says he is passionate about winning a more important prize.

Bible and flag

5 Lies about the Church & Politics

Many Christians live in fear of breaking the law if they promote a political candidate. Here are the facts you need to know.

Israel, Jerusalem Old City

The Pilgrimage of a Lifetime

Every year thousands of Christians go to the Holy Land to connect with God and the history of His people. We asked these travelers to share their experiences with you.

Are Your Children Pushing Your Buttons?

It's a wonderful fact that children will occasionally disobey their parents for the express purpose of testing just how much they can get away with. This is a game I call "Challenge the Chief," and it can be played with surprising skill—even by very young kids.

porn

Overcoming Sexual Addiction

If you have fallen into this trap of the enemy, what can you do? Here are some practical steps to getting free.

dairy

The Dairy Dilemma

Dr. Donald Colbert explains how to deal with lactose intolerance.

The Church That Surprised Hollywood

With the release of its third film, Fireproof, this month, Sherwood Baptist Church is proving that Christians can impact culture with media.

The Game of the Century

A lot of people don’t know that God got involved in Super Bowl XLII. Here is the amazing story of that contest, in the words of New York Giants wide receiver David Tyree.
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