Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

The Apostle’s Creed: What It Means to Be Christian

posted by Linda Mintle

As we approach this Easter season, Christians celebrate the events referenced in the Apostles Creed. This Good Friday, Jesus, the One conceived by the Holy Spirit, was crucified, but arose from the dead on that glorious Easter morning. This weekend is a reminder and celebration of the essentials of Christian faith.

If you are like me, you have probably had many conversations with friends who believe in God, but not Jesus as the only way to God. The problem is that the Christian God is a triune God. You can’t separate God from Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God is three is one. Three persons make up the Godhead and while this is a bit of a mystery, it is an essential belief of Christian faith. If you believe otherwise, you are embracing something other than Christianity.

Our pastor has been preaching a series on the Apostle”s Creed. A creed is a statement of beliefs. The Apostle’s Creed is a summary of Christian belief.

This creed is a way to define what is specifically Christian. In today’s world, many people call themselves religious or spiritual. To be Christian though, one adheres to specific beliefs that are considered absolute truths.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 says, For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Christianity does not believe in many gods, that God is everywhere, that God doesn’t get involved in our every day lives or that a spark of the divine is in us all. Christianity is based on essential truths that are non-negotiable. And while Christianity is criticized for being narrow, the core of the faith is that Jesus is the only way to God and that God is relationship–three in One.

If you want to explain Christianity to someone who questions what is means to be Christian, the Apostle’s Creed is a good place to begin. It contains the basic doctrine of Christianity.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
    the Maker of heaven and earth,
    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
    born of the virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
    and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
    the holy catholic church;
    the communion of saints;
    the forgiveness of sins;
    the resurrection of the body;
    and the life everlasting.

Stop Complaining and Get Out of That Spiritual Desert!

posted by Linda Mintle

Ever feel like giving up?

Discouragement comes easy sometimes. Our natural tendency is to feel defeated  when things are tough. But Philippians 2:13-14 tells us that God works in us for His good pleasure, and that we are to do all things without complaining and disputing. He wants us to have His best for our lives.

It doesn’t matter how dysfunctional your childhood was or how awful your current situation. If you trust God to complete what He started in you, He will. Years of criticism and negative judgement can be overcome by the cross. Invite God into whatever feels defeating right now.

And most of all, stop complaining!

Think about the biblical children of Israel. God miraculously intervened in their lives, freed them from slavery, parted the Red Sea and provided daily manna when they had no food. You know the story. Yet their response to the first sign of difficulty was to grumble and complain.

Are we any different?

When something goes wrong, we are quick to doubt God and let go of His Word. We tell ourselves we are unable to cope and begin to complain. Complaints lead to negative thinking and we feel defeated.

The lesson from the Israelites is that their grumbling and complaining led them to wander in the wilderness for 40 more years and prevented them from entering the Promised Land. So, if you feel you are wandering in a spiritual and emotional desert, stop complaining about your life. It’s time to change that circular thinking and focus on hope. Take these three steps:

1) Walk by faith, not sight. Don’t get caught up in the circumstances. Keep your eyes on God and what He says in His Word.

2) Begin to praise God for who He is–healer, provider, strong tower, father to the fatherless, etc.

3) Stand on His promises and thank Him for what He has done in the past and will do in the future! This is how you activate your faith. Stand. Believe!

 

 

Excerpt from Breaking Free from Negative Self-Image (Siloam Press, 2002) by Dr. Linda Mintle

Newborns: How Much Testing Should Parents Do?

posted by Linda Mintle

Today’s new parents have a lot of decisions to make. One of those decisions is how much testing to do on their newborn baby.

Technology has opened a potential Pandora’s box when it comes to testing newborns for conditions and disorders. Just a few drops of blood from a baby’s heel can lead to the discovery of over two dozen different conditions and disorders. And many of those conditions do not yet have treatments.

So the question  is, do parents want to know all the potential problems their child can have even if there is no intervention to pursue?

In the past, the reason for testing was to identify disorders like PKU that could be treated and prevented. Today the screening possibilities are much broader. Conditions and disorders can be discovered that have no treatments.

On the pro side of the screening controversy, the argument is: 1) Early intervention could improve the child’s life if a disorder was discovered 2) When symptoms later appear, parents would know what these are related to and would not waste time trying to find someone who could diagnosis the condition.

One the con side: 1) Early screening may lead to more unnecessary testing and treatment for babies who may not get sick 2) Broad screening adds to health care costs. 3) Blood samples can be stored and used by researchers, possibly violating privacy rights.

From a bio ethical perspective, trying to decide who will benefit from additional screenings and who will not is tricky business.

Right now, different states require different screenings. An advisory board to the Secretary of Health and Human Services has been established to make recommendations regarding which screenings should be done but states are trying to figure it all out.

In the meantime, parents have to decide how much screening should be done and what they want to know when their child is born.

 

What do you think? Love to see your comments.

 

Can That Fast Food Burger Make You Depressed?

posted by Linda Mintle

A recent study in Spain (published in Public Health Nutrition)  found that people who eat fast food are 51% more likely to be depressed than those who don’t consume fast food. The participants of the study had no depression diagnoses when the study began and were assessed for approximately six months. By the end of the study, after being fed a diet of fast food, over half of the people became depressed. And the more fast food consumed, the more likely the person was to become depressed.

Now, before you put down that burger and fries and cry over that chocolate milkshake, take a moment. It’s more complicated.

Those who consume a high amount of fast food increase the chance of depression because this type of eating causes poor health. But people who are depressed also reach for comfort junk food to feel better. So even though those in the study had no history of depression, there is still a relationship between people who feel depressed and their eating habits.

Other factors must also be considered when we are talking about the link between depression and fast food intake. For example, we know that people who are poor tend to eat more fast food, so poverty plays a role. And the subjects in the Spain study were less active, worked more than 40 hours a week and were more likely to be smokers–additional factors that can lead to problems. In other words, it takes more than a few fries and soda to put someone in a depressed state.

So while I advocate better eating for all, that juicy burger isn’t a depression risk if it is not part of your regular consumption. That said, you will improve your health by making healthier food choices, exercising, and putting an end to smoking!

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