Here are 8 ways to protect your children from cyber bullying

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

It’s a sad reality that children today are being innocent victims of the anger and frustration of other kids their age. The Internet, and new smartphones apps, have become new platforms for bullies to abuse and harass others, and it’s no surprise, due to the anonymity of many applications, that many bullies are never identified. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that is almost invisible to parents, as no form of physical abuse is displayed. Regardless, the effects it can have on a child’s mental health can be devastating.

In most cases, children who are not prepared to confront such behavior feel threatened and helpless by a bully’s malicious behavior, especially when they protect themselves with the anonymity of the Internet. Help your children combat cyberbullying and its dramatic effects by teaching them easy safety measures and tactics.

1. Don’t pay attention.

Even though your kids may not understand this at first, explain to them that often it is best to do nothing when a cyberbully attacks. Online bullies, or ‘trolls,’ like the attention they receive from their target, and in many cases the bully only wants to create pain and conflict, no matter what the responses are. Close the conversation before it increases the troll’s attention.

2. Build a barrier.

Bullies can be very persistent, depending on their objective. While a single message can be ignored, multiple unpleasant texts can’t. Social media sites and cellphones all have block options that can be activated in a few seconds. The Bully is never notified that they have been blocked. If a bully creates multiple accounts to fight this, it is still faster to block accounts than to create a new one.

3. Save the messages.

Unfortunately, many bullying cases start small and then become worse over time. It is important that you keep records of all offending content in case the abuse becomes worse and you want authorities to get involved. When malicious behavior is demonstrated with evidence, it is easier for authorities to respond.

4. Play with passwords.

There is one type of cyberbullying that involves stealing your child’s account passwords and posting embarrassing content with their identity. You can fight this together with your child by periodically changing the passwords of their accounts, deleting any offending content, and posting in the hacked account an explanation of what happened in case that others were offended.

Please note that a bully may have altered the contact information in the account, including the email address where a new password can be reset. Be very careful when helping your child protect their personal information to avoid repeated hackings.

5. Report the event.

When the bully has already changed the password and you have no way of recovering access to the account, you can report the incidentdirectly to the website and they will disable it or restore your child’s access. Many social sites are putting up a fight against cyberbullying and have easy tools and links to help you do this.

6. Follow them.

You are responsible for your child’s safety. Being as informed as possible of your child’s online activity can prevent many unfortunate events. If you are ‘friends’ with their accounts, you can follow their posts and see what others post to their site. If you see something unpleasant, contain your impulse to address the bully, as this can make the situation worse for your kid. Talk to your child about the situation privately and in a calm matter.

– cross walk

Rocket launch prompts talk of living on Mars – what’s a Catholic to think?

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

Italy, February 14, 2018: A major rocket launch by entrepreneur Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, on Feb. 6 has been hailed as a major step toward cheaper and more frequent spaceflight – and the eventual population of Mars.

In the face of such unexplored terrain, how should Catholics respond?

While “this kind of expansion is in its infancy, and full exploration of space is a long way off… this is the time to start thinking about and planning for these things,” Jesuit Br. Robert Macke told CNA.

Curator of the meteorite collection at the Vatican Observatory, and holding a PhD in physics, Br. Macke said technological progressions such as the SpaceX rocket do not change how we relate to God, but “as with any new development in technology or the way things are done, the main question for persons of faith regards how it is to be used.”

The question we need to ask is if the technology is being used “in a way that is just, and compatible with moral theology and ethics,” he said, raising the importance of Catholic social teaching in the future of space travel.

While it is still too early to see how it will be used, “one aspect to keep an eye on is whether such technology, accessible to the private sector, further divides the rich and the poor; those who can go to and exploit the resources of space, and those who will never have that chance.”

According to the SpaceX website, the Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket by a factor of two. It lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Feb. 6 at 3:45 p.m. ET and has the capacity to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lbs) – a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel, the website says.

The rocket carried and released into orbit a Tesla Roadster, complete with a mannequin driver called “Starman,” decked out in astronaut gear.

The luxury sports car is worth $100,000, and according to the website whereisroadster.com – which is tracking the convertible’s up-to-the-second location – on Feb. 13 at 5:50:14 it was 1,245,8587 miles from earth (and quickly increasing).

The same website tracks that at that time, the car had exceeded its 36,000-mile warranty 231.4 times “while driving around the Sun” at a speed of approximately 55,479 miles/hour.

The development of commercial enterprises, such as the Falcon Heavy, is a necessary first step to “widespread space travel and colonization,” Br. Macke said, but he stressed that whether they are on earth or Mars, human nature remains the same.

“As more people are in space, they will not cease to be people. They will form a complex society with all of the good and bad aspects of any modern culture,” he said. This includes good things, such as economic growth and new technologies.

But it could also have some negative consequences, he noted, especially environmental ones.

“As we have learned from the age of exploration on Earth, when we introduce invasive species in a new environment, they often take over and overwhelm the area. Microbes and bacteria that hitch a ride on spacecraft may become invasive on Mars or other planets, and if there is any native life, it may be overwhelmed and lost.”

Governmental space programs have protocols in place to minimize the number of microbes and other earth-based contaminants that could reach other planets on spacecraft, he said, and there are international laws in place to which private corporations must adhere.

But increasing the amount of space travel will also increase the risk of contamination. For example, the Tesla Roadster wasn’t fully sterilized, Macke said. Because it won’t land on Mars, it is not subject to the same laws.

– cna

‘Disastrous emergency’ for 3 million in DR Congo; widow’s husband decapitated, children killed

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under newsletter-world, World

Democratic Republic of Congo, Februray 14, 2018: As many as 3 million people are in urgent need of help in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, including many Christians whose family members have been murdered, Catholic relief groups have said.

“This is a truly disastrous humanitarian emergency,” said Jean-Pierre Pokavu of Caritas Congo. “The needs are enormous.”

Caritas, a confederation of numerous Catholic relief organizations, said in a report this week that over 3 million people are starving because of the growing humanitarian crisis, including 400,000 children who are suffering severe acute malnutrition.

Christians and regular civilians have been caught up in a complex web of ethnic and political violence that has gripped the country for years, with the war between the government of President Joseph Kabila and opposition forces leaving entire villages burned down, and multiple planting seasons missed.

Denise Ndekenya is one widow who shared her horrific loss with Caritas, explaining that she had five children with her husband.

“Now I only have two children left,” the woman said, explaining that most of her family was murdered, with her husband decapitated, after militia attacked her village in April 2017.

Ndekenya was transported to a hospital with her two children following the attack, but she knew that staying in the region was too dangerous, and so she set off on a long journey through the country, finally arriving at St. Augustine’s parish near Tshikapa.

“What am I going to do now?” the woman asks. “I feel such sorrow.”

The violence, including the deaths of 3,000 victims, has led to nearly one-and-a-half million people fleeing Kasai in 2017.

The war has been particularly hard on children, who are widely recruited to fight for militias.

“They have lost absolutely everything,” Juliette Maquart of Caritas Belgium said about the refugees attempting to return to Karitas.

“Their homes don’t exist anymore, they have been looted and burned, along with clinics and schools.”

Frontpage magazine has also reported on the “horrific plight” of Congolese Christians, many who have been targeted with violence for calling for free and fair elections in the country.

“At least seven civilians, including children, were fatally shot during peaceful demonstrations, called for by the Catholic Church, on New Year’s Eve. The government prepared for the protests by blocking the internet and setting up roadblocks and checkpoints throughout the capital, Kinshasa. Citizens wearing visible religious symbols like crosses were barred at the checkpoints and ordered to return home,” the article said.

“As thousands of the faithful heeded the church’s call to march after mass on Dec. 31, 2017, Bibles and rosaries in hand, Congolese security forces moved in, opening fire on kneeling protesters while they sang hymns and deploying tear gas in churches,” it added.

“In one Kinshasa parish, the police used more than six rounds of tear gas to target children and elderly worshipers taking shelter in the sanctuary. They ransacked the church searching for valuables to steal, and even attempted to set fire to a statue of the Virgin Mary.”

Earlier this month, Pope Francis announced that there will soon be a special day of prayer and fasting for peace, focusing on the violence in DR Congo and South Sudan.

“Our Heavenly Father always listens to His children who cry out to Him in pain and anguish,” Francis said, according to Catholic News Agency.

The pontiff issued a “heartfelt appeal” for people to “hear this cry and, each one according to their own conscience, before God, ask ourselves: ‘What can I do to make peace?'”

– christian post

Pakistan returns 12-Y-O Christian girl who was forced into Islamic marriage back to her parents

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Asia, newsletter-asia

Pakistan, Februray 13, 2018: A court in Pakistan has given custody of a 12-year-old Christian girl, who was abducted by a Muslim and forced into an Islamic marriage, back to her parents.

The order was handed down by the Islamabad High Court last Thursday, according to the Pakistani English newspaper Dawn.

The outlet reports that the ruling came after the unnamed girl, who was born in May 2005, was unable to convince the court that she had willingly converted to Islam.

According to court documents, the girl gave a Muslim name when she was first asked to state her name in the courtroom. Additionally, the girl explained that she had only embraced Islam “for the purpose of marriage only.”

The girl reportedly declared that Jesus was her prophet. She was not able to name any other prophet — including the Muslim Prophet, Muhammad — when asked to do so.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui wrote in the court order that he wasn’t sold on the claim that the girl had embraced Islam and married on her own free will. The justice argued that it is more likely that the girl’s conversion and marriage to the man was a “result of inducement and compulsion.”

“How the girl has become Muslim when she does not know even about Prophet Muhammad?” the court ruling asks, according to PakistanToday.

According to Dawn, the judge explained that it appears that the Muslim man and his father plotted to abduct the girl.

Siddiqui directed police investigators to review the matter. The judge also ruled that the validity of the girl’s marriage to the man was questionable and needed to be resolved in family court. Upon conclusion of the hearing, the girl agreed to return home to her parents.

“I am constrained to observe that this sort of act of abduction and taking [the] shelter of Islam is totally uncalled for and unacceptable,” Siddiqui wrote, according to Dawn.

The judge also declared that everyone in Pakistan — Muslims and Christians alike — have equal protections under the nation’s constitution.

However, that principle is not applied consistently across the nation.

Pakistan ranks as the fifth worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2018 World Watch List.

A 2014 report by the NGO Movement of Solidarity and Peace estimates that between 100 to 700 Christian girls in Pakistan are abducted, assaulted and forced into marriage every year.

Additionally, Muslims who have abducted Christian girls and women and forced them into marriages have, in many cases in the past, been treated a level of impunity by local authorities.

However, Pakistan passed a law last year that increases punishments for those who force minor children and religious minority women into marriages.

Last April, Fouzia Bibi, a Christian mother of three who was abducted and forced into an Islamic marriage with her boss, was granted freedom and a divorce by a family court in Lahore.

The ruling came nearly two years after Bibi was first abducted. It also came after her family was previously pressured by local authorities to return Bibi to the Muslim boss’ home after she had escaped.

If Bibi’s family didn’t return her to the Muslim man, members of her family could have been arrested, the London-based British Pakistani Christian Association reported at the time.

– christian post

Hindu extremists try to burn husband along with body of deceased wife

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

Punjab, February 8, 2018: Pastor Jeewer Joeswa wasn’t sure what to think when a massive, chanting Hindu throng in northern India brought the corpse of a Christian woman to his church site – then set the building on fire.

Seema Devi, 23, had put her faith in Christ several months before, after the pastor had offered up healing prayer for her. Now, on Jan. 16, Pastor Joeswa was surrounded by a Hindu mob administering last rites and burning her body on church premises in Sehal Village, in Jammu and Kashmir state.

“A mob of men and women, at least 1,000 in number shouting, ‘Jai Sri Ram, Jai Sri Ram [Hail Lord Ram],’ brought Seema’s body to the church,” Pastor Joeswa told Morning Star News.

The mob alleged that Pastor Joeswa had prayed for Devi and so was responsible for her death, Chittaranjan Tandy, secretary of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, Jammu Region, told Morning Star News. He said that her husband, Rinku Kumar, was kept in police custody for his own security after the mob tried to burn him alive alongside his deceased wife.

“The police from Nowshera police station tried to control the mob, but they put fire on the church building, vehicles of believers parked near the church, church equipment, furniture and every object in sight, including the food grains,” Tandy said.

In the violence at the village in Rajouri District, the mob alleged that Devi and her husband had been forcibly converted, he said.

“There was no forced conversion,” Tandy said. “The couple voluntarily attended the church and accepted Christ. In fact, they had experienced the healing and were strong in faith.”

Superintendent of Police Popsi Malik told Morning Star News that Devi and her husband had been attending church but were still practicing some Hindu rituals.

“They were in the rudimentary phase, thinking whether to continue as Hindu or Christian,” Malik said. “It was the assumption of the mob that the couple got converted by force. Before her death, the couple were attending their church in Punjab state. People have presumed that he was converted to Christianity forcefully. But that was not true.”

Malik said police brought the mob under control, though not before both Christians and Hindus were injured in the altercation.

Prayer and Witchcraft

Pastor Joeswa said his congregation had prayed for Devi long before she died on Jan. 15.

“It was months ago, when her mental health was degrading, the church prayed for her and she got healed completely,” he said. “She became an active believer who would never miss a prayer meeting, whether it be on Sunday or weekdays.”

When there was a need to pray for the sick, she would accompany the pastor, his wife and others to pay home visits, he said.

After attending the Christmas Day service, she had gone to her mother’s house, he said.

“After she went to her maternal house, we heard that they forced her to join them in idol worship,” Pastor Joeswa said. “Now I can recall Seema telling me often, ‘Pastor, I share the gospel with my parents. My mum shows little interest, but my papa never listens. Please pray for him. My family worships idols, I want them to know Jesus Christ.”’

Tandy said that during her previous illness, her husband refused to take her to a witchdoctor, known locally as a tantric. Her parents tied her hands and legs with ropes and took her to Pouni village, Reasi District, for treatment from the witchdoctor, he said.

“The driver of the auto rickshaw, a resident of Kangri village, stands as eyewitness to this,” Tandy told Morning Star News. “Our church members were moved hearing the news of Seema being taken to religious places and to a tantric for treatment; many of them tried to go to Pouni village to pray for her.”

Devi’s parents did not allow them in to pray for her, Pastor Joeswa said.

“The tantric had beaten her brutally,” the pastor said. “Ten days after realizing the witchdoctor’s treatment was not working, the parents gave up. They handed Seema to her husband Rinku. Finally, Rinku moved with his wife to Jalandhar [Punjab state] for treatment. She was already in the worst health condition.”

She and her husband had enjoyed fellowship with Pastor Joeswa’s church for nearly eight months, he said. They were visiting the church anew from Jalandhar when he last saw her on Christmas Day.

Quest for Justice

For four days after the Hindu mob descended on the church property, Christians in Sehal village stayed in relatives’ houses fearing for their lives, Tandy said.

“There was a threat to their lives also,” he told Morning Star News. “With the help of Christian advocacy groups, we joined together as 25 pastors from Jammu region and represented the matter before the chief minister of the state, Mehmooba Mufti. We are praying and hoping for funds to be released for the construction of the church.”

The total loss has been estimated as 2.5 million rupees (US$38,850), he said.

“As pastors in Jammu and Kashmir region, we go through many difficult situations, but God has always made a way,” Tandy said. “It is only by His grace that our people came out alive from the burning church building. We request for prayers. We are hoping our Lord will do a massive work, that He will shake Jammu and save the unbelieving.”

Kumar is safe but in hiding as his life is under threat, according to Police Superintendent Malik.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered at Nowshera Police Station against the assailants – who came from Kangri, Bhajwal, Sunderbani and Sehal villages – upon receiving a complaint from Pastor Joeswa.

“The police took into custody some eight assailants, but they were released on the same day,” Tandy told Morning Star News.

The cause of Devi’s death has not been revealed, as no one has yet received a post-mortem report, he said.

Area residents said that on Jan. 15 in Jalandhar, she woke up early and completed chores, then suddenly, at 7:30 a.m., she fainted and collapsed to the floor.

“Rinku and their neighbors in Jalandhar thought Seema might have slipped into coma, at first, but she passed away,” Pastor Joeswa said. “She was put through a lot.”

Tandy said local politicians are trying to politicize her death by announcing compensation of 200,000 rupees (US$3,108) to Girdhari Lal, Seema’s father, and a government job for Devi’s sister.

The assailants’ allegations were baseless, he said.

“We prayed as a church for Seema when she was sick, and we are still praying as a chain – hundreds of us have begun praying for the revival of the church, and for safety of Seema’s husband, Rinku, also,” he said.

The hostile tone of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), against non-Hindus, has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, religious rights advocates say.

India ranked 11th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians experience the most persecution, up from 15th the previous year, and ahead of Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Egypt.

– morning star news

Hindu hardliners attack Indian Christian schools

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

Madhya Pradesh, February 13, 2018: Hindu hardliners have stepped up intimidation of Christian educational institutions in India, not least Catholic colleges.

In one recent case, sheer numbers were used to break through a security cordon with the aim of performing a nationalistic ritual.

Braving wintry early January winds, armed police guarded St. Mary’s College in Vidisha of Madhya Pradesh state in central India.

Some 800 young Hindu men entered the campus, some by scaling walls, but police managed to stop them performing a purportedly patriotic ritual in front of students.

The Bharat Mata Aarti ritual can entail a personification of Mother India represented by the Hindu goddess Durga.

However, Archbishop Leo Cornelio, head of the Catholic Church in the troubled state, said the attempt really had nothing to do with patriotism.

Attempts to discredit church institutions were aimed at gaining control over them, he warned.

The archbishop noted that Catholic schools and colleges run on secular lines are allowed under the nation’s constitution.

“No one can take that right from us,” Archbishop Cornelio said.

Hindu militants were trying to impose their own distorted version of nationalism on others in order to create social rifts for political gain, he told ucanews

On Jan. 16, nearly 200 police stood guard at St. Joseph Convent School in Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh in the face of threatened protest action.

Hindu activists had accused the school of suspending students for chanting the patriotic slogan “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” (Hail Mother India).

The school maintained that the students were only asked not to chant slogans in an inappropriate manner and had not been barred from attending classes.

In recent months there have been a series of attacks on Christian schools across northern India as well as those in the central region.

Christian leaders see the trend as part of a Hindu strategy to portray Christians as lawbreakers who do not respect Indian traditions.

Militants have alleged that Hindu students, who are a majority at church-run schools, are not able to worship the goddess of learning, Saraswati.

G.S. Markam, a leader of indigenous minority people in Madhya Pradesh, said Christians constitute soft targets in divisive communal politics.

He said hard-line groups sought to split Christians and non-Christians to ensure that upper-caste Hindus continue to live in luxury.

Hindu groups, guided by their umbrella organization RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Corps), sought total Hindu domination, he said.

The RSS is the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules most northern Indian states, including Madhya Pradesh, as well as nationally.

The BJP has been accused of endorsing various pro-Hindu fanatics.

Fight to block empowerment of poor

Bishop Anthony Chirayath of the Syro-Malabar Eastern Catholic Church said Hindu hardliners do not believe in equal treatment for poor tribal people or Dalits, formerly known as untouchables.

So they sought to destroy or tarnish the image of educational institutions that increased awareness of the needs of the poor, he added.

The Catholic Church runs nearly 15,000 colleges and schools in India, more than 40 percent of the total provided by all Christian denominations.

Christians are also widely engaged in the provision of medical services and social welfare.

“If these institutions are tarnished, Christians can be tainted,” Bishop Chirayath explained.

An ecumenical forum called Persecution Relief says that 736 hate crimes were recorded against Christians in India in 2017.

Christian institutions were targeted in at least 10 percent of these cases, said the forum’s founder, Shibu Thomas.

Hindu fundamentalists had been working to “grab land” and other property from various church groups, Thomas added.

Another trend was for “fringe elements” to gain publicity by attacking Christians in order to advance their state or national political ambitions.

Thomas complained that hooligans masquerading as patriots are protected by law enforcement agencies when they demonize minority religions.

– ucan

After stopping Haj subsidy, BJP offers to send Christians to Jerusalem — for free

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

New Delhi, February 14, 2018: Just about a month after canceling government subsidised Haj pilgrimages+ , the BJP is offering Christians free trips to Jerusalem if elected to power in Nagaland, reported northeastern news outlets.

It’s unclear if the BJP is offering this to all of India’s Christians, or only to Christians in the northeast, or only to Christians in Nagaland.

The BJP’s offer comes in the run-up to elections in three northeastern states – Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura – later this month. In Meghalaya, almost 75 percent of the population is Christian. In Nagaland, 88 percent of the population is Christian.

“The BJP has made an election promise to send Christians to Jerusalem on a free trip, if elected to power in Nagaland,” tweeted news outlet WeTheNagas. UNI news agency reported that the free Jerusalem trip has only been offered to Christians in Nagaland.

The BJP’s offer, some said, smacked of hypocrisy and opportunism, especially considering the cancellation of Haj subsidies.

“BJP promise to send Christians on a free trip. I was right, BJP continues with subsidy if it suits its electoral needs. This is (what BJP means by) ‘India first’ “, tweeted AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi.

When announcing the end of haj subsidies last month, Union minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the BJP-led Centre believes in empowering the minority community with dignity and not appeasement.

“We believe in empowerment without appeasement…Development with dignity is what we believe in. The haj subsidy will be used for educating girls,” said Naqvi.

After this decision was announced, Left party CPM said that they were in principle opposed to subsidies for all religious pilgrimages, but were not in favour of the government abruptly stopping the haj subsidy, considering the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that it should be phased out over a 10-year period.

AIMIM MP Owaisi said he had always been in favour of ending the haj subsidy but sought parity in norms for pilgrims of all religions. The Hyderabad MP lashed out at the government for its discriminatory decision, ending Haj subsidy but allowing subsidies to continue for Hindu pilgrimages like the Mansarovar Yatra.

The Israeli press was a tad amused by the BJP’s offer to send Christians on a free trip to Jerusalem. It called the BJP’s announcement a campaign promise and alluded such promises were often overblown.

“Campaign promises around the world are legendary, from ‘a roast in every pot,’ to ‘I’ll cut your taxes,’ to ‘vote for me, and I’ll set you free’ “, wrote The Jerusalem Post.

– times of india

The only way to teach your children to be content

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous, newsletter-miscellaneous

Throughout my years in women’s ministry, I’ve heard young mothers ask the same questions over and over. One of those questions is this: “How do I teach my children to be content?”

The only way I know how to answer this question is to ask the parent, “Are you content?”

My discontentment hit about ten years ago when both my children were in pre-school. I remember strapping my boys into their booster seats, popping in a Sheryl Crow CD I had been given as gift and setting “Soak up the Sun” on repeat. My boys loved this song and I knew if they were distracted by the music, I could have some uninterrupted time to think. What was I thinking about? How discontent I was.

A friend of mine had just built a new house. She had not only filled the rooms with new furniture, but with new artwork and all the latest gadgets. That day, driving down the road, I found myself discontented with my life. I kept picturing my friend’s new house in my mind, and every time I thought about how very big her house was, my next thought was how very small my house was. The more I thought about how new and pretty her furniture was, the older and uglier mine became. I started thinking about the crowds of people she could entertain in that giant house of hers, and I convinced myself that I would, from that day on, be too embarrassed to entertain friends in my very tiny house that was full of old, ugly, beat up furniture.

I was consumed with envy; I was discontented.

I had put so much thought into this that I was almost to the point of tears, and then it happened. My boys started singing with Sheryl Crow. From the two booster seats behind me, I heard two little voices sing out, “It’s not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”

Who knew that God could use two preschoolers and a Sheryl Crow CD to get my attention?

If I had continued down that road of discontentment, eventually I would have started verbalizing my dissatisfaction with our home. And I’m willing to bet that at some point my children would have followed my lead and they too would start disliking our home. They would have decided if mommy’s room was too small, theirs must be too. If mommy thinks the couch is old and ugly, they will think so too. If mommy thinks the kitchen is outdated, it must be.

A new house and new furniture takes money. Because I’m a stay-at-home mom, my husband is responsible for every penny we have. I have no doubt had I kept going down the road of discontentment, my children would have eventually heard me say to their dad, “If you only made more money, we could buy a bigger house, we could get new furniture, we could…” The list could go on forever and so could the damage this would have done to my husband and to the respect my children should have for their father.

So, how do I teach my children to be content? I show them how.

There’s an old hymn that reads, “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.” This is what I cling to when I feel discontented. This is what I remind my children when they don’t get everything they want.

This world is not our home, and we shouldn’t expect to be satisfied with what we have here.

Matthew 6:19-21 tells us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I don’t want my heart, or the hearts of my children, to be full of earthly treasures. I also don’t want myself or my children to be so content with this life that we hate to leave it behind for what awaits us in Heaven.

When our children are older, we can point them to God’s word and help them live out what the Bible teaches about contentment. But when our children are preschoolers, we need practical ways to live out contentment and be an example to them. Here are some ideas.

  • Pray aloud with your children and let them hear you thank God for providing you with a home; a vehicle; a refrigerator full of food.
  • In the winter months and rainy seasons, tell your children how thankful you are that God has provided you with warmth and a way to stay dry.
  • When your children are playing with their toys, tell them how much you enjoy giving them gifts, just as our Heavenly Father gives his children gifts.
  • If you’re a stay-at-home mom, let your children hear you thank your husband for working so hard to provide for his family.
  • If you’re a working mom, let your children hear you thank God for providing you with work.

The bottom line is; we must practice contentment if we want to teach it to our children.

What do you find yourself complaining about? Is your house too small? Is your car unreliable? Do you dislike your job or co-workers? Do you complain about your appearance, your wardrobe or your income?

Remember, my children learned the words to “Soak up the Sun” because I played the song on repeat. Our children memorize our words as well. What words do you have on repeat for your children to memorize? Are they words of contentment or discontentment?

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

The truth is, most of us have never really been in need or have ever really been hungry. We tend to replace the word “want” with “need.” We live in a culture that screams to us that we deserve anything and everything we want; we deserve the best.

As the lies of this world begin to fill our minds (and the minds of our children), we must remind ourselves that the absolute best possession we can have is a relationship with Jesus Christ. And, guess what? We don’t deserve it.

We must remind ourselves that the most precious treasures are not of this world.

Looking back, that tiny little house we lived in ten years ago; the one with the old, ugly, beat up furniture… it wasn’t that tiny and it wasn’t really full of old, ugly, beat up furniture. In fact, when I think about that house now, all I see in my mind are all the great memories we made there and how that house was a perfectly cozy, comfortable, lovely home.

We can’t live in this world and not be influenced by it, nor can our children. Our best defense against the selfishness our children learn from the world is to live in a way that is so different, they can’t help but notice. We must live a life that points to Jesus and to the truth that it is in Him – and in Him alone – that we find true satisfaction, not in the things of this world.

So, how do you teach your children to be content? Be content.

– cross walk

Catholic skater Yuna Kim lights the Olympic torch

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

South Korea, February 9, 2018: Catholic Olympic gold-medalist Yuna Kim lit the torch at the Opening Ceremony for the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Feb. 9.

The Korean skating sensation has long expressed a desire to use her public role to share the light of Christ by witnessing to her Catholic faith in international competitions and performances.

Kim was honored as the final torch bearer to light the Olympic cauldron for this year’s games, after two athletes from the inter-Korean women’s hockey team, one skater from North Korea and another from the South, passed the flame along.

After making the sign of the cross as she stepped onto the ice to win gold in the 2010 Vancouver Games with a record-breaking score, Kim teamed up with Korean bishops for a national rosary campaign. Kim was seen wearing a rosary ring, which her fans had previously mistaken for an engagement ring, during her silver-medal performance at the 2014 Sochi Games.

The Olympian converted to the Catholic faith alongside her mother in 2008 after they came in contact with local nuns and Catholic organizations through her personal physician – also a Catholic – who was treating her for knee injuries.

At her baptism, Kim took the name “Stella” after Mary, Star of the Sea, and told a diocesan paper that during the baptismal rite she “felt an enormous consolation in my heart” and promised God to continue to “pray always,” especially before competitions.

Kim has also been active in using her position as an opportunity for charitable works, volunteering and donating funds to Catholic Hospitals, universities, and other charitable organizations, and working alongside the Catholic bishops in Korea as a spokeswoman for Catholic charities in Seoul.

In 2012, Kim donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Salesian of Don Bosco to help support the missionary brothers in South Sudan and to establish Catholic Schools throughout the war-torn country, meeting with Salesian brothers in Seoul to personally deliver the gift.

She told Korean press that while visiting Africa in 2011 she “felt the need to help out children there,” and wanted “to offer what little support I can” to those in Africa.

Kim is now retired from competitive skating, but the 27-year-old has served as an ambassador for the 2018 Winter Olympics in her home country of Korea. She delivered the original presentation to the International Olympic Committee seven years ago, pitching South Korea as a potential host country, and has been present at most of the official events leading up to the games. She delivered a speech to the United Nations in 2017 advocating for the “Olympic truce” resolution.

Pope Francis said earlier this week that he is praying for the people of the Korean Peninsula during the Olympic games, “The traditional Olympic truce this year becomes especially important: delegations from the two Koreas will march together under a single flag and compete as one team. This fact gives hope for a world in which conflicts can be resolved peacefully through dialogue and mutual respect.”

– cna

16,000 Christians dead in less than 3 years: Report reveals extent of violence in Nigeria

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under newsletter-world, World

Nigeria, February 12, 2018: U.S. President Donald Trump and his counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, have been told that at least 16,000 Christians have been killed in Nigeria since June 2015, many of them victims of radical Islamic violence.

The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law submitted a petition to Buhari last week, where the civil society organization urged the president to “wake up from [his] slumber” and protect the millions of endangered Christians in Nigeria.

The “Christians at Crossroads in Nigeria” letter, shared online by Elombah.com, said that 16,000 people, mostly Christians, have been killed since Buhari took office in 2015, including the 5,800 victims of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, based on Intersociety’s investigation.

Intersociety, which sent a copy of the letter to Trump and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, said that the 30 million or so Christians in Northern Nigeria have for decades suffered discrimination and violent attacks at the hands of radical terror groups.

“The estimated 16,000 deaths are specifically composed of 2,050 victims of direct State violence, 7,950 victims of police custody or captivity killings through racial profiling and unprofessional crime detection management, 2,050 victims of Boko Haram insurgency and 3,750 victims of terror Fulani Herdsmen killings,” the group calculated, noting that hundreds of churches have also been destroyed.

Buhari vowed to defeat Boko Haram when he came to power, and although authorities said on a number of occasions throughout 2017 that the radical Islamic group is being successfully driven out of the country, bombing and kidnapping attacks continue.

“In the months of December 2017 and January 2018 alone not less than 350 mostly Christians were killed by Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram in the States of Adamawa, Taraba, Borno, Benue and Southern Kaduna,” the report said.

“In January 2018 alone, not less than 250 defenseless citizens composed of mostly Christians were killed in the above named States.”

Intersociety pointed out that despite Buhari’s promises, attacks against Christians have increased by 62 percent since June 2015, and blamed the government for doing “little to nothing” in terms of bringing those responsible to justice.

The group declared:

“We hereby strongly call on Mr. President to put an end to slaughtering of thousands of defenseless Christians on annual basis by terror Fulani Herdsmen in Northern Nigeria and proscribe the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria as well as fish out their leaders and culpable elements and charge them for manslaughter and culpable homicide, respectively, among other felonies committed against the State of Nigeria and its population.

“Mr. President must wake up from Mr. President’s slumber and discharge Mr. President’s sworn constitutional duties and functions courageously and impartially so as to prevent a situation where millions of the threatened and endangered Christians in Nigeria will be forced to take recourse to self-defense and other self-help mechanisms to prevent their Christian religion and practices going the way of their counterparts in Lebanon, Asyut in Egypt and Turkey and other parts of Middle East.”

The Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans has also been increasingly critical of Buhari, and warned in a statement last week that the country is fast becoming “rudderless.”

“CANAN commiserate with the recent victims of the Herdsmen massacre in several states in Nigeria particularly in Benue and Nasarawa. We pray that God will console the families of those who lost their lives in this dastard acts, and further states as follows,” the group said, and outlined several grievances it has with the Buhari administration.

It accused government officials of inaction and refusing to provide the necessary support to protect Christian communities, but it also warned that the conflict should not be seen as one between regular Muslims and Christians.

“This is an isolated incident orchestrated by criminal herdsmen. To this end we should all rally support for the victims as injury to one is injury to all,” CANAN said.

– christian post

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