Praying for Our Christian Family in Iraq

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Man upset, praying

If you’ve had an eye on the news lately, you’ve no doubt heard reports about the terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), more recently known as “The Islamic State.”

They’re a well-armed Muslim extremist group sweeping throughout Iraq, exercising both military and political control over the regions they conquer.

Just the other day we saw grisly images of the beheading of the American journalist, James Foley. ISIS claimed responsibility for his murder.

Beyond the political complications usually addressed on the nightly news are disturbing accounts that hit much closer to home for all of us who profess the name of Christ.

Of Girls and Boys and Baseball

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Mo'ne Davis on the cover of Sports Illustrated

Like many of you, I’ve been fascinated this past week by the rise of Little Leaguer Mo’ne Davis, the 13-year-old female pitcher for the Taney Dragons of Philadelphia. At 5-foot-4 inches, the eighth-grader became the first girl to ever throw a shutout in the Little League World Series.

For her accomplishment, she was also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, another first for any Little League player.

Pitching last night, though, Mo’ne proved mortal.

Guest Post: Have You Heard About the “Fire Challenge”?

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Teen boys walking while silhouetted by sunset

As I was driving home from work the other day, I heard a disturbing news story on the radio that instantly grabbed my attention.

A new and life-threatening social-media trend has gone viral among teens.

It’s called the “fire challenge.”

In short, teens are daring one another to use flammable liquids to set themselves on fire, quickly douse the flames and then post a video of the entire incident on YouTube or Facebook.

As this story reports, the trend has become so popular that it has resulted in tens of thousands of horrifying “fire challenge” videos appearing online—in addition to emergency room visits across the country.

Why I Don’t Want Perfect Children

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Two male toddlers sticking out their tongues

These first few days of school remind us that our children grow up quickly. In the midst of those early years, the long nights, the crying and the diapers, to name just a few passages of early life with kids, it seemed like it would go on forever.

But then you’re walking your son or daughter by the hand into school, or dropping them at the bus stop, and suddenly you realize just how fast the seasons come and go.

Guest Post: 9 Things You Can Do to Prepare Your Child for a Great School Year

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Little girl raising her hand during class

It’s that time of year when parents are hustling to get the kids ready for the start of another school year, and to talk about a few back-to-school points I am turning to my friend Gaylen Kelton, MD, as my guest blogger today.

Dr. Kelton is a family physician and clinical professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. He is also the chairman of the Physicians Resource Council, a panel of physician experts who generously lend their time and talents to assist Focus on medical and health-related topics.

The Funny Things Kids Pray

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Three kids laying in fall leaves

Some time ago, a colleague tacked up the following sign above his door here at Focus:

Live Well (Philippians 1:27-28), Love Much (John 13:34-35), Laugh Often (Proverbs 17:22)

There is so much to say about each of these, but if laughter is truly good medicine, I thought I’d end the week by sharing something sweet – and comical, with you.

Riley was five years old. His father is on our team here at Focus, and he and his wife have made a habit of recording some of the more memorable comments the little tyke makes, especially at bedtime.

Pursuing Passion in Your Marriage

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Married couple standing forehead to forehead and smiling

I tried this little exercise once and found it revealing. Maybe you’d find it helpful as well.

It works like this:

Write down everything you do in a typical week. Among other things, your list might include working at your job, enjoying a hobby, or tinkering with projects around the house.
Next, place a check mark by the items you do out of obligation, and a heart by the activities you do from a sense of passion.

Could Robin Williams’ Faith Have Prevented His Suicide?

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Comedian and actor Robin Williams performs at the 2008 USO World Gala

The death of comedian Robin Williams has reignited something of a nationwide conversation about suicide and mental health. After all, most know someone whose life has been touched or severely impacted by depression. My own wife, Jean, lost a brother to suicide and Jean herself has shared that she struggled with bouts of depression earlier in our marriage.

Here at Focus on the Family our counselors talk with severely depressed people every day. In fact, suicide-related calls have skyrocketed in the past few years.

12 Suggestions for Loving a Prodigal Child

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teen boy looking out in distance

The following is excerpted from a previous post (which can be found here):

I recently came across an excellent article from Abraham Piper, the son of author and pastor John Piper. For parents who are currently struggling with a child (of any age) who has either strayed from their Christian faith or never professed Jesus as Lord of their life, this will serve as practical guidance to help you manage what is a very difficult reality.

One Practical Way to Prepare Your Teen for the College Years

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Teenage Girl Being Bullied By Text Message On Mobile Phone

Do you have a teen in high school who’s just beginning to think about and make plans for the future? There are a lot of factors to consider. Their talents, interests, and God’s direction all play a part. Do they have goals or sense of purpose? Will they strike out into the workforce or go to college?

It’s an exciting time. But so many changes looming on the horizon can be scary as well. And most teenagers will need their parents’ guidance to help them sort through their options.