The winter was cold, harsh, and bitter and led into a rainy, dreary, overcast, wet spring. It seemed as if the sun had not been seen since the fall, but finally, finally, the sun was starting to peak through the clouds. The days were getting warmer and drier. It was almost here. Summer! Days spent by the pool reading, frolicking on the beach, outside the house working on the lawn and garden. Regardless of what was being done outside, one thing was for certain, by the end of the summer, skin will have darkened into a delightful tan.
But Kyla was not rejoicing. In fact, she feared the summer. She had just became one of the 3.5 million individuals diagnosed with skin cancer each year, the most common form of cancer in the United States. When she received the news, she was in shock. She lived outside in the summer - the beach, pool parties, backyard BBQs, hiking, camping trips, and even just laying in the sun reading a book. What was she going to do???
As summer crept ever closer, Kyla knew that she needed to prepare herself. She did not want to cut herself off from her friends and summer activities, so she began reading information provided by her doctor. Kyla feared that she would not be able to go outside at all during the summer. She learned that she could, she should just avoid the sun - seek out shade when the sun was at its peak, typically between 10 am and 4 pm. She even had to be careful on cloudy days. The harmful rays of the sun are not stopped by clouds! She would also have to be aware of changes on her skin. Any new moles, or changes in existing moles, needed to be checked by a doctor immediately!
Kyla kept reading, then grabbed her keys and headed out to her car. She needed to go the store. Several bottles of sunscreen went into her cart. She planned to have a bottle in every bag she used, plus one in the car, and she wanted some extra in case those bottles ran out. It was important that she always apply sunscreen before going outside and reapply every two hours, more often if she was in the water or sweating. She wanted to always have sunscreen available. She also bought a wide brimmed straw hat to protect her face, ears, and neck, along with a few shirts and pants. Kyla knew that she would not always be able to wear long clothing, but she wanted to have lightweight clothing available for when she could.
Kyla had a blast over the summer! Her determination to keep herself safe earned a few weird looks and remarks, but her friends could have cared less what she was wearing…they were just glad she was with them! Kyla even had the opportunity to share her newfound knowledge with others and help them stay safe and protect themselves. And her friends may have occasionally joked about her new habits but it never stopped them from asking to borrow her sunscreen (or the spare hat in her car). Kyla was always more than happy to oblige, usually without a lecture on staying healthy.
May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. With the days getting warmer and summer just around the corner, it is important that you and your family are prepared and know the early warning signs of skin cancer. Most skin cancers are treatable and curable if caught early enough. Take time this month to learn about how to prevent skin cancer. Share what you learn with friends and family! Please pray for healing for those who have been diagnosed with skin cancer.
Thursday, May 5, 2016, is the 65th annual National Day of Prayer. Join with Christians around the world as we lift our voices in prayer to the Lord. The theme chosen by the National Day of Prayer Task Force for 2016 is Wake Up America. The verse chosen to highlight this theme is Isaiah 58:1a.
“Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up you voice like a trumpet;” (Isaiah 58:1a, ESV)
Throughout the book of Isaiah, the prophet Isaiah warns the people of Israel that they will be held accountable for their sins. The nation must repent and turn from their wicked ways, repent and turn from their false gods, repent and turn in worship towards the one, true God, the Lord. Prophets and teachers have warned against complacency, extolling the nation of Israel to wake up and look at what was happening around them.
Many of the prophets warning can seem just as relevant today as they did when they were written. Israel ignored the warnings and was captured. Are we will still ignoring the warnings? Are you ignoring opportunities in your life to stand up for the Lord and be a shining example for Him?
Join with The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries, and other Christians around the world, for this National Day of Prayer. As you join in prayer for America, also pray for yourself, that the Lord may use for His purpose. Let our prayers be a cry that cannot be ignored!
Thursday, May 7, 2015, is the 64th annual National Day of Prayer. Join Christians around the world in this day of prayer, as we lift our voices to the Lord. The theme chosen by the National Day of Prayer Task Force as the theme of 2015 is Lord, Hear Our Cry. The verse chosen to highlight this theme is 1 Kings 8:28.
Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O Lord my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day. (1 Kings 8:28, ESV)
Solomon has finished building the Temple in Jerusalem. Oh what a glorious day! And, with the completion of the Temple, the Ark of the Covenant, the Ark carried through the Israelites 40-year trek in the wilderness, the Ark carried before the armies of Israel when the went into the battle, the Ark that served as the footstool of the Lord, was finally to be place inside the temple. With the placement of the Ark inside the Temple, Solomon offers up prayer and dedication to the Lord. Solomon thanked the Lord for the blessing bestowed upon Israel and asked that the Lord continue to bless Israel.
We cannot deny that we live in a world where God and His blessing is desperately needed. You cannot not check the news without hearing or reading of an attack, a death. Society has degraded, making acceptable and promoting that which is unacceptable to the Lord. Where has accountability and morals gone?!
During this National Day of Prayer, we at The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries encourage you to lift your voice with millions of Christians throughout the world. Let the Lord Hear Our Cry for Him!
Wes was on track to become a lawyer, his dream. He had a large group of friends and his house was always open to those friends, any time day or night. Wes always appeared happy, confident, well-adjusted. He had even just adopted a dog! To an outsider, even to a friend, Wes’ life seemed to be going well. Then, to the surprise of even his closest friends, Wes ended his life.
Mental health affects everyone! To some, like Wes, there is an internal struggle, a struggle no one sees. To others, the struggle is more obvious, apparent by their anti-social behavior or erratic actions. Still to others, there is no struggle - their mental health is well! We all consider out physical health on a daily basis, going to the doctor when we do not feel well, or perhaps taking a day off work, just to be safe. Why do we not give our mental health the same consideration?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, ESV)
It is estimated that 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health problems, yet few will receive treatment. In our society, admitting you have a mental health problem has a negative social stigma attached, although this view is slowly changing. Would you fear to admit you have the flu? No! Of course not! Failing to receive treatment could cause harm to those around you. The same is true for your mental health. Failing to admit you need help could harm those around you! Perhaps not physically, but they could be harmed emotionally and mentally.
Someone who is suffering may scoff when reading the above Bible verse, or similar Bible verses. They may have tried praying, surrendering their problems to Christ, only to find that they are still suffering. Being a Christian does not guarantee that we have good mental health. Satan is going to use any way possible to drive us away from Christ. Christians struggle, even through prayer. There is nothing wrong with seeking out someone to talk to about what you are going through! God has given out a wide variety of gifts. Many people have the gift of being able to help others. Some refer to them as psychiatrists, others a mental heath professionals. There is nothing wrong with admitting you need help! It is something we do every time we come to Christ in prayer!
May is Mental Health Month. It is a month dedicated to raising awareness about mental health and working to change societies view on mental health and seeking treatment. Do your views need to change? Have you harmed someone because of your views? Do you need to seek help?
Andrew’s mother was always home, ready with a snack, when he came bounding off the school bus. His father arrived home in time for dinner, which was made by Andrew’s mother. They ate together at a dinner table, sharing with each other the news of the day. As Andrew grew, he and his parents would talk about the news, exchanging their views on the various subjects. Andrew’s parents would always attend his sporting events, cheering on him and his team. Family came first, in actions and words.
Shane’s mother was always home, ready with a snack when he came bounding through the door, but he didn’t see her; she was busy on the computer. His father arrived home in time for dinner, usually made by Shane’s mother. They ate together at a dinner table, with conversation extremely limited, as the sound of a cellphone going off frequently occurred. Shane’s father would take phone calls from work. Shane’s mother would often answer e-mails. Shane would be busy texting his friends. Even though they frequently attended Shane’s events, they often missed seeing him succeed; they were otherwise occupied. Family came first, they said, but…
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
(1 Timothy 5:8, ESV)
This month, May, is Family Wellness Month! This month, you are encouraged to spend more time with your family. Show your love! Show your joy! Show your family how important they are in your life!
How often has dinner been interrupted in the last week by a phone call? How often has family time been interrupted by someone sending and/or receiving a text message. How many times have your checked and possibly responded to a work e-mail while with your family? How many times, during a lull in conversation has someone checked social media on their phone? And five minutes later, you realized that everyone is on their phone instead of talking to those who are present? This month, unplug from the world and focus on family!
Family wellness begins by spending time together as a family! And no, not by watching television! Unplug! Build your relationship with your children, your spouse, your parents. Find an activity to do together. Go for a bike ride, cook a meal together, play a game. Work on family fitness while building relationships!
Spend time with your family talking and, more importantly, by listening! Learn what is going on in your family members lives. With what are they struggling? What has brought them joy recently? What is new in their lives? Face to face communication is extremely important. Many adults, especially older adults, prefer it over electronic communication. Many children and teens need the experience of expressing themselves in person, instead of in 140 characters or less or through emoji’s.
Family wellness is not limited to building relationships, but also to ensuring that each member of the family is experiencing spiritual wellness. Engage in a family Bible study. Talk about the week’s sermon and how it can apply to daily life. Grow together spiritually as a family!
This month, Family Wellness Month, focus on the all around wellness of your family. Start small, but start!