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Jonathon

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Jonathon last won the day on July 30

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About Jonathon

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  1. Why does God want us to only date or marry another Christian? Dating for the Glory of God I am 29, female and single. Over the years, I have always stood by the Bible’s command that I should never marry a non-believer, or even entertain the idea - by dating them. As an early teen this was something I didn't struggle with too much – on a surface level the advice made sense. However the older I've gotten, the messier this issue has become. I have watched friends choose non-Christian partners and been tempted to do the same. I’ve had to grapple deeply with the question: ‘Why has God set specific and restricting guidelines on who we can date and marry?'. I hope to share with you some of my insights into this tricky but important issue. What the Bible says In the Bible, God's message on this issue is unmistakably clear. Let's start with the Old Testament. God knew that in the relationship of marriage it would be easier for the Israelites to be tempted away from faith in God towards false gods than the other way around. God designed marriage for oneness in all spheres of the human person, including the spiritual. He knew that given the intimacy of this relationship, it would be tempting for His people to turn to false gods if they were married to pagans or idol worshippers. In the New Testament, His people are called to be a 'royal priesthood and a holy nation' (1 Peter 2:9), and to be 'holy as the Lord is holy' (1 Peter 1:15). In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul warns the church not to be 'unequally yoked with unbelievers' (2 Corinthians 6:14). However, Paul and Peter both leave room for married non-Christians who become Christians, to stay married and work to convert their spouse by their godly living (1 Corinthians 7:12-13; 1 Peter 3:1). The Bible is clear in its command that professing Christians are not to marry unbelievers. But, what about dating? As 'dating' is a twentieth century term, we can't quote the Bible directly on it’s 'dating advice'. However, it does state we should not marry non-believers, so we should not date them either. While dating may not lead to marriage, it could. God's advice is not purposed to limit our chances of marriage, or to legalistically apply rules for the sake of it, but ultimately for the good of the Christian. For our good God is not a hard taskmaster who keeps a rulebook, checking off the list of things we do right and wrong. In fact, it is incredible that the Lord of the Universe cares deeply about who we date and marry. If you are a Christian, you are His son or daughter whom He loves, and as someone who knows you intimately, He wants to be involved in every aspect of your life. Like a loving parent, your Heavenly Father wants the best for us, and out of that love, He has made a way for us to know how He wants us to live – through His Word. God’s plan for our lives as Christians is to is to glorify Him in everything we do, say and think. God's plan for marriage, and therefore dating, is that we would be joined to someone who can help us in this mission to know Jesus and make Jesus known. God wants the best for us in a life partner, so why would we settle for anything less? Check your motivations Is your main motive in dating or marrying someone to be rid of your loneliness, or to satisfy your desire for relationship and intimacy? These are not bad desires in and of themselves - God has made us for relationship. But we must not allow our desire for 'good things' to define us and rule our decisions. God wants us to look to Him for our identity as His Children, as we make these important decisions for our lives. Our true identity and value does not come from our relationship status. Our value and worth comes from Jesus, knowing Him, trusting Him, and being made more and more into His image. Do you trust him? If we believe in a sovereign God, we can trust that He will bring the right person at the right time. Or He won't and we must accept that this is His sovereign will. The question that I have to continually ask myself is: do I trust Him, like really trust Him? As Christians, we know that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and that we will continue to face trials and hardships (1 Peter 1:6) until He returns to restore our broken world. God never promised believers that this life would be easy (John 16:33). He promises us so much more: a relationship with Him through Jesus, which will lead us on the most radical, exciting and transforming journey we will ever experience.
  2. Jim Daly has a discussion with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar who offers his expert insights on the coronavirus pandemic. Then Sarah Mackenzie, author of The Read-Aloud Family, explains how parents can strengthen their relationships with their children by reading books together as a family. Podcast users, find today's related broadcast resources here: https://dbx.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/connecting-with-your-kids-through-reading Your feedback would be really helpful to us. Please visit http://www.focusonthefamily.com/podcastsurvey to take a brief survey (less than 5 minutes). Thank you! View the full article
  3. As we're forced to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, we're spending more time online, and our work, school, and family life have blended together in an unprecedented way. Today, author Arlene Pellicane offers guidance for managing our digital habits in a healthy manner so that we go online with purpose and unplug regularly to build real, solid relationships with those around us. Podcast users, find today's related broadcast resources here: https://dbx.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/balancing-work-and-family-while-staying-home Your feedback would be really helpful to us. Please visit http://www.focusonthefamily.com/podcastsurvey to take a brief survey (less than 5 minutes). Thank you! View the full article
  4. Crying out to God in the face of coronavirus BY SAMUEL JAMES 27 APRIL 2020 The pace and stillness of our locked down society is conducive to deep thinking. Most of it has been productive but some of it has forced me to ask difficult questions of myself. Namely, how do I deal with my personal struggles when everyone else seems to have it worse than me? How do I deal with my lack of motivation, my melancholy moods, my frustration, and my sadness when I do not feel like I can tell anyone? I have wrestled with these thoughts because my problems seem tiny when measured against the magnitude of family tragedy my siblings have just crawled through. My issues are minuscule when measured against my grandparent’s health and the wealth of my Dad’s business or the safety and security of my sister and Mum’s job. As the youngest member of the family I am left thinking, desperately praying and documenting the events around me. I am a 19-year-old university student, I have a part time job, no clue what a bill looks like and I am the one that is finding it hard to sleep. I am the one worrying, I am the one praying, I am the one getting sadder and sadder. I am the one shedding every tear as the painful stories flow to my ears and retreating to my knees. Where am I supposed to turn? How do express my pain in a time when everyone around me is hurting much more? How do I tell them that I am praying for them? How do I support them and sympathise with them? How do I say that I feel their pain when I know nothing like it and when my struggles seem so small? Crying out to God Perhaps the writer of Psalm 46 would empathise with me. Psalm 46 is rousing, it is passionate, and it is pleading. I believe that it was written from a place of pain, of anguish, of self-reflection. It opens with: I do not know about you but through these verses I see the face of the writer streaming with tears, as he spills his fears on the page. He writes about the earth giving way, the mountains quaking and the waters roaring, he describes the entire world contracting, changing, and moving ferociously around him. But somehow, he does not fear. Somehow, in some way he keeps it together and he has hope. He does not just show his hope here either, it is all the way through the Psalm. In verse 4 he pins down where his hope comes from :“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” In verses 7 and 11 he reminds us of the protection of God: “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” In verse 9 he reflects on the peace of God: “He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.” Perhaps most importantly verse 10 echoes the anthem shout of God: “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” Hope from God Amidst the raging noise of the world around him, the Psalmist reminds himself and us of our hope, he pinpoints where it comes from, he recounts God’s protection and recalls his thirst for peace. Most powerfully he reminds himself to be still in the presence of God, and he stirs hope within his heart. The Psalmist says that no matter how the world around him may act and react, he will stand strong, he will be courageous, because he trusts in God. The message of this Psalm can be summarised by Psalm121:1-2 which says: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” A challenge for us Psalm 46 presents a tangible challenge to me. It says to me that I should not feel inadequate, but instead I should be confident because my God is my protector, my comfort, my peace, my fortress, and my hope. Perhaps more than that it says that he is my grandparent’s peace, my siblings’ comfort, the fortress around my family and the peace in each of our hearts. Psalm 46 says to me that I should quit carrying everyone, that it is not my job; it is God’s. The ones around me love me, and even now they don’t think my feelings are silly, they probably feel the same. It says to me that we should be honest with one another as each of us bow our knees and look to our ultimate hope; God himself. It says that we will get through this turmoil, step by honest step together, as one family, as one body, with one heart and one faith in our God; who is with us now. How does Psalm 46 challenge you?
  5. Best-selling author Dr. Kathy Koch outlines a practical four-step process to help families stay sane and thrive during this season of sheltering-at-home during the coronavirus pandemic. Podcast users, find today's related broadcast resources here: https://dbx.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/four-things-your-family-can-do-during-coronavirus Your feedback would be really helpful to us. Please visit http://www.focusonthefamily.com/podcastsurvey to take a brief survey (less than 5 minutes). Thank you! View the full article
  6. Best-selling author Dr. Kathy Koch outlines a practical four-step process to help families stay sane and thrive during this season of sheltering-at-home during the coronavirus pandemic. Podcast users, find today's related broadcast resources here: https://dbx.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/four-things-your-family-can-do-during-coronavirus Your feedback would be really helpful to us. Please visit http://www.focusonthefamily.com/podcastsurvey to take a brief survey (less than 5 minutes). Thank you! View the full article
  7. Psychologist Dr. Gregory Jantz offers hope and practical help for those struggling with negative thoughts and emotions because of the coronavirus pandemic. Podcast users, find today's related broadcast resources here: https://dbx.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/dealing-with-anxiety-and-depression-during-the-coronavirus Your feedback would be really helpful to us. Please visit http://www.focusonthefamily.com/podcastsurvey to take a brief survey (less than 5 minutes). Thank you! View the full article
  8. With schools closed during the coronavirus pandemic, children are required to spend more time staring at a digital screen as they do e-learning from home. Author Jonathan McKee offers parents practical guidance for navigating this stressful period and helping their kids strike a healthy balance between online and offline activities. Podcast users, find today's related broadcast resources here: https://dbx.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/navigating-screen-time-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak Your feedback would be really helpful to us. Please visit http://www.focusonthefamily.com/podcastsurvey to take a brief survey (less than 5 minutes). Thank you! View the full article
  9. With schools closed during the coronavirus pandemic, children are required to spend more time staring at a digital screen as they do e-learning from home. Author Jonathan McKee offers parents practical guidance for navigating this stressful period and helping their kids strike a healthy balance between online and offline activities. Podcast users, find today's related broadcast resources here: https://dbx.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/navigating-screen-time-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak Your feedback would be really helpful to us. Please visit http://www.focusonthefamily.com/podcastsurvey to take a brief survey (less than 5 minutes). Thank you! View the full article
  10. As a help to parents suddenly and unexpectedly having to teach their kids at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, author Tricia Goyer offers practical suggestions for creating a realistic school-at-home schedule, balancing digital learning, motivating kids to stay productive, and much more. Podcast users, find today's related broadcast resources here: https://dbx.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/unexpected-homeschooling-tips-for-teaching-kids-at-home Your feedback would be really helpful to us. Please visit http://www.focusonthefamily.com/podcastsurvey to take a brief survey (less than 5 minutes). Thank you! View the full article
  11. Just because you're online doesn't mean the games have to stop! View the full article
  12. Six practical ways to honor your parents BY ERICA APPIAH 6 MARCH 2020 Our parents. They love us and we also love them but sometimes our actions and words (or no words) say the opposite! But actually, one of the ten commandments is to 'honour your father and mother'. Clearly God cares deeply about how we treat our parents. So, here are six ways to show some love to your parents this week. Obey them You can show your mum and dad you love them by doing as they say and what is expected of you. By obeying them, you are obeying God and this pleases him. I will also add in here that whatever you are told to do, you should do it in cheerfulness without moaning even if it means missing out on the movie you planned to watch. Talk Talk to your parents about your feelings - your worries, fears and excitement. Do not stonewall them because parents offer words of wisdom. Just because they are not the same age as us does not mean they can't understand us. Do you love your parents enough to open up to them? Tell the truth Our Father in heaven hates lying. Even if our parents do not know the truth that you hide from your mum and dad, God knows so tell the truth about your friends, school, where you are going and everything else. By doing this, trust will be built between you and your parents. Be cheerful Watch any family TV show and there's bound to be a moody teenager. Sad, I know. Why don't we change this stereotype and be happy. Laugh with your parents (their jokes are funny… sometimes). Treat them with respect Remember who your parents are – father and mother, and give them respect for all they’ve done for you and for their role in your life. This may seem silly but you can show your parents love by simply thanking them for being your mum and dad. They are not just everyone else, they are different. They are our loving, caring parents! And finally… Tell them you love them. It is comforting and loving to your parents to hear that you love them. Shout it out loud, text it, mime it. However you choose to do it, make sure they know you LOVE them!
  13. To Spank or Not to Spank? It’s one of the most common parenting questions, especially for young parents. The topic charges emotions and often sparks controversy. The problem is, there’s not an easy answer. Parents need to evaluate their own personality and parenting styles and decide for themselves. One thing is for sure. If your family chooses to discipline through spanking, it needs to be the most infrequently used tool in a comprehensive discipline toolkit. As a family counselor and Focus’ VP of Parenting and Youth, before entering the spanking debate, I advise parents to step back and reflect on their role and to work at building and maintaining the 7 traits of an effective parent. Parenting is about influence, not control. It’s not about being perfect but about growing together and bringing out the best in our kids, which requires us bringing out the best in ourselves. Ultimately, we want kids to learn how to discipline themselves. When we use our words and actions to guide, teach, encourage and correct, children learn to self-discipline and self correct. That’s a valuable lifelong tool. And, it helps kids tune in to who God designed them to be (Ephesians 2:10). With those things in mind, let’s begin by looking at some different views on spanking. What do Americans say about spanking? According to national statistics, about three quarters of the United States population uses spanking as a parenting method. In a recent study: 62% of Latino and Caucasian women believe it is sometimes necessary to give a child a “good hard spanking” 81% of African American women believe the same thing Latino (73%), Caucasian (76%) and African American (80%) men are closely matched in their belief that children sometimes need a “good hard spanking” What does the research say about spanking? Research on spanking is varied. Some research makes sweeping claims that frequent and/or severe spanking increases mental health and behavioral issues in kids, ranging from depression and anxiety to alcohol use. What is unclear from the research is whether behavioral issues precipitated the spanking, or vice versa. What the research doesn’t measure: Do the children being spanked already struggle with behavioral issues, perhaps triggering parents’ decision to spank? Are kids with behavioral issues more likely to be spanked? Do the non-spanked children simply have more cooperative and compliant personalities? Research supports the fact that diet, stress, environment, media and social influences all play a role in misbehavior and in temperament (personality), sleep habits, sleep quality and possible mental health issues in the child. Misbehavior can rarely be placed on one single factor, such as spanking. The exception is when there’s been abuse, which often manifests itself in misbehavior. Research also supports the fact that, when used correctly and infrequently and as one of many discipline forms, spanking has been a common factor in kids with well-developed self-motivation, empathy, morality and character. What does the Bible say about spanking? The word parenting comes from the root word pere, which means “to bring forth, give birth to, produce.” It means rearing kids using the necessary methods and techniques. Let’s see what the Bible says about our role as parents: We get to help shape our children and not exasperate or provoke them (Ephesians 6:4). We’re to discipline and provide the Lord’s instruction. To teach them about God’s word (Deut. 6:6-9 and Joel 1:3). We’re to guide them according to who God has created them to be (Proverbs 22:6). There’s an entire article on the biblical perspective on spanking here. Spanking can be appropriate, It can also be inappropriate Used correctly and infrequently as part of a comprehensive parenting toolkit, a spank can be that last resort discipline method you use when you need to create attention and a clear understanding why the behavior should never happen again. Used inappropriately, spanking can be dangerous. I’ve found some parents who use spanking as their main discipline tool and, many times, use it when they’re frustrated or angry. I’ve also noticed some parents spank and move on, skipping the important teaching element. That communicates nothing more than, “I’m in power and you need to listen to me.” I’ve seen spanking used effectively. I’ve also seen it backfire; both outcomes are dependent upon the parents’ approach and relationship with the child. Like many other things, effectiveness is dependent on the user of the tool. As you read through this series on discipline/spanking and consider this foundation for your thoughts: If you incorporate spanking, it should be: The most infrequently used tool in your parenting toolbox Done with love, followed by guidance/teaching and respect, which are some of the 7 Traits of Effective Parenting. Part of a loving, nurturing relationship Used with purpose, caution and most importantly, love If you incorporate spanking, it should NEVER be: The only discipline Aggressive or done out of anger A power play Used during the height of emotion With a closed fist or a strike to the face Some parents should avoid using spanking There are some parents with certain temperaments who should never spank. If you’re a highly emotional, volatile and reactive person, you’re better off honing every other discipline method and leaving spanking out of your toolkit. If you fall into this category, you may want to consider working on how to manage your emotions so that you can teach well. Take some time to work on the 7 Traits of Effective Parenting. If you are a single parent, you don’t need anyone to tell you how much energy it requires. Since many single parents are running on empty, it’s better to develop the other discipline tools available to you. In either case, invest heavily on your relationship with your child and get some counseling help, if necessary. Children mirror their parent’s behaviors, especially the parent they identify with most closely. As you can see, the answer to the “to spank or not to spank” question is incredibly complex. It’s controversial. And it’s highly personal. However, not controversial is the idea that every parent does well to invest in developing an effective and comprehensive discipline toolkit, which requires intention and adaptability, two of the 7 Traits of Effective Parenting.
  14. Why you shouldn’t worry if you don’t fit in GRACE MAPLES 24 FEBRUARY 2020 Sometimes it's painfully obvious you'll never be one of the cool kids. You'll never have the right clothes, or be in the right crowd. But that's okay. I have a feeling that Christians will never really 'fit in'. And here's why... As believers, this world is not our home. We are not of this world. We're not created to fit in. (Philippians 3:20) The enemy has lied to us (especially as teenagers) by telling us that fitting in is so important and we will never be anything if we aren't accepted by anyone. Most teens and adults have bought into this lie. But that doesn't mean we have to. Instead, we need to turn to God's Word to see what He says about fitting in. In Christ, we're accepted Let's face it. We all face peer pressure and longing to be accepted by someone whether it's by parents, friends, the opposite gender, or teachers. But, we'll never find fulfillment there. The only one we should be seeking to find fulfillment in is God. And, as His children, we already have it because of what Christ did on the cross. We don't have to seek acceptance from anything or anyone else. Through Jesus, God has accepted us without us having to impress Him to gain his approval. He freely gave it to us through His grace. Isn't that amazing? In the world, we're outsiders As Christ followers, we are not of this world. Instead of imitating the world, we are called to imitate Christ. And the chances are, the world may not like us – it may even hate us at times. But remember what Jesus said... Jesus states it plain and simple. The world will hate you. But He went through that same thing as well. Every day is a constant battle. Constantly going against the flow. Following Christ, and resisting the flesh. Taking up your cross. But take comfort in these words. We have Christ and His Word to stand on when the going gets tough. Therefore, we must be a light God tells His people in Isaiah to be a "light to the nations"(Isaiah 49:6b). Which means we have to be different – in other words, to NOT fit in. We need to be Jesus to a dark and dying world. Let me ask you, how can you and I shine like a light if we are the same as everyone around us? If you answered 'We can't', then BINGO you're correct! It's simply not possible. One day, you will fit in perfectly Everything the world values – fitting in, being cool, money, clothes – it's all going to pass away. POOF, it's gone. But, shining our light and doing hard things matter. Even the small things, like mowing the lawn for an elderly neighbor, or even just a smile or text for a hurting friend, it can all make a difference for eternity. Which one will you pick? Fitting in and chasing after things that don't matter, or being different and doing things that last for eternity? I pick being different. I may not fit in right now, but one day I'll fit in perfectly in God's kingdom.
  15. What does your online presence say about you? How to use your social media accounts for God's glory. BY NICKY GANGEMI 5 DECEMBER 2019 In this modern age, one of the easiest ways to find out about someone is by checking out their social media accounts. You can tell a lot about someone’s life from their Facebook profile. You can tell what people are thinking about from their Twitter feed. You can tell what things people value from what they capture on their Instagram account. You can tell a lot about what people think is worth sharing from what they blog. In other words, you can tell a lot about someone from their social media. What does your social media presence say about you?What’s filling your Facebook wall and your newsfeed?Who are you following on Twitter?What photos do you post?What do you blog about?The things that fill these different feeds, walls or cyber places, are what we value. They are what we think about and what we spend our time writing about, finding, posting, reposting and sharing. They show where our heart is at. As a Christian, we are to be focused on Jesus. Jesus commands us in the gospels to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27). But does your social media account show that your heart, soul and mind are focused on Jesus? Sadly, my newsfeed doesn’t often reflect that my Christian friends have Jesus as their top priority. Instead, my feeds are filled with pictures of the latest fashions, articles about the latest New York trend, linked blogs about fancy, fast and very expensive cars, a photo of a beautiful cup of coffee they’ve just had, or even just those funny cat lolz memes. Don’t hear me wrong – none of the things I’ve just mentioned are bad, evil or even necessarily sinful. But it’s true to say that the things we post most can be a pretty good indication of where our hearts are at. So how are we as Christians to use social media for the glory of Jesus? Let us start first by looking at the ways how not to use social media. Three things to avoid on social mediaBe careful about getting into theological arguments or discussions on social media. There often isn’t enough space for these kinds of discussions, and it is very difficult to portray tone & emotion. Often these discussions descend into anarchy, name calling and sometimes nasty commenting. Don’t just consistently post some random verses out of context with no explanation of why it is there or how it applies to your life (maybe instead explain where the verse is from or why you find it encouraging). Don’t spam people’s walls with Christian article after article or Christian blog after blog. Most people will just get annoyed at you.Ultimately to use social media well, we want the things we post to be coming from our hearts, minds and souls that are focused on Jesus. In Matthew 6:21, Jesus says that what we treasure is where our heart lies. Does Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or your blog show where your heart is? Four things to remember when using social media Here are a few principals to keep in mind as you go about using social media. Jesus is Lord – plain and simple, and as a result... We should aim to please Jesus is all we do We should aim to worship God with ALL our lives We are to act in a way that glorifies God in all we do We need to remember that everything is God’s – there is not one square millimetre of the world that is not His, this includes cyberspace!“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
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