Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Military Family’ Category

2013ArmedForcesDayThumb

May marks the celebration of Military Appreciation Month, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, and Armed Forces Day.  One special month and special days are a good start to recognizing the sacrifices of our American service members and their families.  Show that your thanks and appreciation is unending for those who serve our nation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

NPGAW

March 3-9 marks National Problem Gambling Week.

The goal of this campaign is to educate the general public, and health care professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling and raise awareness about the help that is available both locally and nationally.

Research finds that up to 3% of the US population will have a gambling problem. That equals 9 million Americans, yet only a small fraction seek out services, like treatment and self-help recovery programs.

Those with a gambling addiction are tough to identify and uniquely different from substance abuse addictions.  Gambling is connected to a fantasy.  Gamblers can also appear fully functional until they hit rock bottom.  There is no way to measure gambling in a scientific manner like urine, blood, or hair samples.  Gamblers tend to act alone or in secret from loved ones.  Another difficulty in finding those with the problem is that there is no saturation point for gambling.  Even professional can miss the signs until the final stages of loss and destruction.

These are critical discussion points because gamblers quickly turn to suicide.  If a problem gambler is isolating himself or herself, hiding financial losses, and lying about the issue, then family and friends may not even be aware of the problem until the person attempts suicide.

These tragic events are growing in our military communities and with veterans who have returned from war.  Recent studies show that 1 in 10 veterans have a problem or pathological gambling addiction.  And when you look at military suicide rates, financial problems are the second leading cause of suicide.  Veterans are another unique population because of service-related issues like combat stress reactions, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.  Gambling may not be the entire cause for suicide in the military, but it is one piece of the puzzle that we can address as a caring community.

No matter where you live, there is hope for those who suffer from gambling problems.  Encourage people to reach out for help.  Resources are available in every community.  Find a local or national resource to help problem gamblers.  Counselors are only one call or click away from saving a life.

You can find counselors and additional resources at:

National Problem Gambling Helpline 1-800-522-4700

Gamblers Anonymous www.gamblersanonymous.org

Military One Source 1-800-342-9647

Focus on the Family / faith-based counseling:  1-855-771-HELP (4357).

Read Full Post »

hero

Where are the heroes?

The sports community took some big hits this week and last.  It has disappointed many in America and across the world.

Last week the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that no candidates received enough votes for entry into Cooperstown.  This year’s ballot included 37 candidates, 24 in the lineup were first time nominees.  Several of these athletes were tied to performance-enhancing drugs, greatly diminishing their chances of ever entering the Hall of Fame.  This class includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, all of whom posted Hall of Fame-worthy numbers during their careers but were clouded by PED suspicion. Clemens earned 37.6 percent of the vote, Bonds got 36.2 percent and Sosa got 12.5 percent.

Recently, Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong admitted to using PEDs.  Last year, he lost all seven of his Tour titles due to a 1,000 page report from the US Anti-Doping Agency.  The massive report exposed his extensive drug use and multiple methods of trying to circumvent sports cycling rules.  The agency deposed 11 former teammates and accused Armstrong of masterminding a complex and brazen drug program that included steroids, blood boosters, and a range of other performance-enhancers.

While athletes and sports stars are frequently viewed as heroes, these events should remind us what heroism truly looks like.  A hero is a person of distinguished courage, bravery, ability, and noble qualities.  The heroes have not left our nation, we just forget what they look like and how they behave.

Courage is shown through the service of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines everyday.  They demonstrate the meaning of sacrifice through their actions and dedicated service.  Bravery is shown through the actions of police officers in every community.  They run into buildings that crowds exit when trouble rears its ugly head.  Ability is shown by countless firemen.  They react to emergencies and execute teamwork in order to save lives and property.  Honesty, integrity, generosity, and kindness can be seen through the daily actions of mothers and fathers across our nation.

Our country is full of heroes, we just fail to recognize who they truly are.

As this week will focus on stars from Hollywood and the sports page.  Teach your children to recognize a hero.  Let them know what qualities are important in life.  Show them that common folks in your community can be some of the greatest examples of doing the right thing.

Read Full Post »

If you are looking for a cause that needs your prayer and support in 2013, look no further than the American Soldier.

Even though the surge ended this year, there are 68,000 service members who are still fighting in Afghanistan.  While the headlines talk about budget cuts, college football games, and Hollywood celebrities, their stories are often untold and forgotten.

These are America’s warriors who have left their homes and families to defend our nation.  These are the college students who cancelled classes when their nation called.  These are the fathers and mothers who missed a child’s first steps at home.  These are the veterans who have dodged bullets and bombs to stay alive.

Remember them in 2013.  Remember those who are fighting and sacrificing for you.  Remember military spouses.  Remember military families.  Remember them in your prayers and your efforts.    Remember the 68,000.

Read Full Post »

Technology is trying to make the world better, but it often makes me feel like a dinosaur.

One of the latest marvels out there is a soft, flexible, wristband that you wear 24 hours a day.  It is combined with an app that tracks how you sleep, move, and eat.  The “UP” by Jawbone then helps you use that information to “be your best.”  The concept is extremely impressive, especially to me, a guy who frequently falters in his exercise routine and does not get enough sleep.

Gadgets are often used as mirrors to show people the good, the bad, and the ugly things we do each day.  The “UP” is ultimately trying to improve the physical health of people by showing them a better way and giving daily reminders on what to change.  After learning about this new item, I immediately began to wonder, what technology or gadget is out there to improve spiritual health?  What electrical device could show people a better way and give daily reminders on how to improve their spiritual lives?  What technology, gadget, or electronic doodad would strengthen my walk with Christ?

I am a dinosaur, so responses were slow.  I instead turned to some familiar items that currently help people strengthen their faith.  I distinctly remembered a Marine I met at Camp Lemonnier.  He downloaded the entire Bible to a handheld device and used that for our Wednesday night study of Matthew’s gospel.  During this year’s annual training exercise, Soldiers were constantly asking for a “Military BibleStick.”  It is a digital audio player that is pre-loaded with a dramatized recording of the entire New Testament.  I handed out more sticks than Bibles this summer.  There was another Soldier who wanted to read the entire Bible in a year, so I showed him a website where he could tailor a reading plan to his schedule.

As people begin to use their new gadgets and electronic Christmas gifts in the new year, utilize technology so that you can improve your spiritual health.  Download your favorite translation of the Bible, add a prayer appointment to your electronic calendar, use Pandora and listen to your favorite Christian artist, find a website and sign up for a daily or weekly devotion.  Don’t worry.  Dinosaurs can jump into the mix as well.  It does not matter if you keep a journal on a note pad or an iPad, the focus should be on building your spiritual muscles in 2013.  Use technology in a way that will strengthen your faith and devotion in Christ.

Read Full Post »

Everyone loves the Christmas season.  While reasons may vary from hearing a performance of the Hallelujah Chorus to snow sledding, people love the Christmas season.  It is the arrival of our promised Emmanuel, “God with us.”  This season also has a funny way of changing people.

Yes, Christmas is the best time of year, but we often forget to mention what it does to us.  Christmas brings out the best in us.  No matter where you live, there is an increased effort for people to be kind, caring, and generous.  Drivers are more courteous on the roadways.  You open the door for someone when their arms are full with shopping bags.  Neighbors help each other by raking leaves or shoveling snow off sidewalks.  We even tell total strangers, “Merry Christmas!”

This spirit of gratitude and grace comes from our Creator.  God has demonstrated His love in sending Jesus Christ to earth.  We celebrate this perfect gift in many ways, but the power of God’s love changes us.

We reciprocate the love that God has shared with us, His children.  The gift of Jesus is so tremendous that we live in a different way.  We choose to be transformed and in turn show greater compassion.  This beautiful event happens more now than at any other time of the year.  Christmas and the celebration of our Savior yield a new and different world.  One where people give gifts, adopt orphans, feed the homeless, care for widows, support unemployed veterans, and show compassion to the resident stranger.  In short, we decide to live out our faith.  We put God’s plan of grace into action.

As the Christmas holiday approaches you and your family, make the decision to be transformed.  Reflect the love that God has poured out from heaven, through Jesus the promised Messiah.  Demonstrate your faith and share the love that you have received from our Heavenly Father.

Read Full Post »

Americans gave almost $300 billion to charities in 2011.  That is a staggering number when you consider our troubled economy.  As a nation with high unemployment and frozen salaries for those who can find work, $300 billion is quite a hefty sum.  But that figure also represents an incredible feat of generosity.  One that deserves a deeper look.

When you dig into the total by category, you find that religious organizations received the most donations.  Religious organizations garnered nearly one-third of the total.

Generous giving of that magnitude creates a lot of attention in the news.  The talking heads and pundits on most media outlets are still discussing the story, but they don’t know how to interpret the information.  They point to foundations, museums, art and cultural groups, or research hospitals as worthy causes for such giving, but for some reason religious groups seem like an odd place for people to send that level of financial support.  In the end of their stories they end up scratching their heads as they try to figure out why people give and sacrifice in this manner.  To me, the answer is quite clear.  Churches, charities, missions, and religious organizations are performing the work of Christ.

Religious organizations feed the hungry, care for the sick, give comfort to the wounded, share hope with the broken-hearted, and minister to our souls.  Significant acts like these will always mean more to people than receiving a tax deduction.  It causes us to open our wallets.  It enables us to volunteer and assist others in their time of need.  It allows us to reflect Christ in a dark world.

As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, remember religious organizations, charities, and churches.  You can give through the combined federal campaign in the armed forces or locally.  Your financial support, no matter how great or small, allows people to share the redemptive story of Jesus and perform the loving work of our gracious God.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: