By Dr. Eric Scalise
Counselors, social workers, doctors, nurses, teachers, pastors and many others who work in care-oriented professions are often thought of as being compassionate people, and among those who readily identify with the compassion of Christ. What about parents? They also feel and experience the call to compassion when it comes to raising their children.
What does it mean to manifest Christ? Within our homes? To our children and families? What is required of Christian mothers and fathers? According to Webster’s, the term “manifest” is defined as, “making clear or evident to the eye or the understanding; to show or be distinctively perceived; to prove and put beyond doubt or question.” It is also the root word in manifesto, which is a public demonstration or an openly declared statement. Parenting is a high and sacred calling – to humbly, yet transparently represent the Lord to our sons and daughters as His ambassadors. It’s also a visible and often public one. In one sense, parenting includes...
An often quoted verse of Scripture related to marriage is, “The two shall become one” (Eph. 5:31). Unfortunately for many couples, once the marriage ceremony is over, the adventure begins when a husband and wife start arguing about, “Which one?” Outside of an individual’s decision to follow Christ, marriage is one of the most significant relational investments anyone will ever make. With a divorce rate that has sadly increased almost every decade since 1890...
Every marriage and every home offers the opportunity to create meaningful relationships, to lay the groundwork for a secure and healthy self-identity and to incorporate scriptural principles that lead to a vibrant and active celebration of one’s relationship with God. In 1 Corinthians 8, the Apostle Paul tells us that “love edifies” or builds up. Love helps build a marriage. Love helps build well-balanced children and a legacy that moves from one generation to the next. Yet...
When it comes to the brokenness seen in many toxic relationships, including a chaotic marriage, the road to freedom and restoration is often a process. Just as hurt and pain usually develop over a period of time, recovery and healing also tend to follow a progressive journey back toward stability. Here are four prescriptive steps that may offer some guidance, especially if you find yourself at the threshold of change…ready and hopeful that God has a better plan for the future.
Believers are not immune from the storms of life, and in our fallen world, there are just as many suffering, hurting, and lost people within the sanctuary as there are outside the walls of the church. Just because we profess faith in Christ, there are no guarantees we will be exempt from the trials and tribulations that come with simply being human, including the ones that can rage through and ravage the mind, emotions, and the very soul of a person...
The phone call on a Sunday morning between church services was unusual, but I could hear the distress in my friend’s voice. “Can you please come to the funeral home right away? We need to talk with you.” I rushed out of the church and as I drove, my mind was racing as I...
What goes through your mind when you hear the word, “Confrontation?” Do you think, “Oh no… here we go again. It’s going to be a fight and it’s going to get ugly.” Nevertheless, having a good understanding of the process can result in a win-win orientation and still allow all parties to both explain and advocate for their positions. One key is the approach you choose and this will set...
What do you see when you look at your husband or wife? Your son or daughter? The next door neighbor when she pulls out of her driveway? The bank teller or postal clerk? The homeless man sleeping on a bench or the cashier at the grocery store? It’s easy to take in these everyday scenes, filter them through our own busy lives, and move to the next thing on our checklists. Life can be that way...
What does it mean to thrive or flourish in life? In a world where everything seems to be overanalyzed and word-smithed through a lens of political correctness or cultural relevance, is it OK to prosper? The word “thrive” implies moving beyond mere survival and demonstrating growth, positive development, advancement, and success. These thoughts and concepts often drift through our minds right before we cross the threshold into a new year.
Not that long ago, I was sorting through a drawer full of odds and ends—items long forgotten—and a small clasped envelope drew my attention. When I opened it up, a flood of memories swept over me. The envelope contained all of my father’s passports. He was a diplomat with the U.S. State Department, and as his son, I was given the opportunity to have a front row seat to the intriguing world of international diplomacy, living abroad, and interacting with other cultures.
People around the world will celebrate Christmas this year, perhaps much like they do every year. Many also look for a deeper sense of meaning, especially in the midst of today’s commercialism and the growing reality that the birth of the Christ Child has become too secularized and merely a general expression of “holiday wishes” or “season’s greetings.” Indeed, even saying, “Merry Christmas” is disallowed in far too many places, Nativity displays are increasingly regulated, and there is now an all-inclusive, multicultural, and multi-religious focus in the hopes that no one will be offended.
The holiday season is supposed to be a time for relaxing and celebrating with friends and family. However, that’s not always the case… rates of depression, drinking and drugging episodes, family and relational conflicts, disappointment, loneliness, and isolation, all increase during the last few months of the year. Holiday stress is real, but the good news is that it can be managed effectively if we know what to anticipate.
We are surrounded and often consumed by our fast-paced, push-button, instant-everything world. Anxiety and depression, substance abuse, marital conflicts, sexual addiction, domestic violence, child abuse, unwanted pregnancy—and the list could go on—are far too commonplace. The truth is that people are hurting and the church is hurting. The Apostle Paul said, “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…” (1 Cor. 12:26a).
Human nature at its core is basically self-absorbed, self-ish, and self-centered. This is simply a result of the fall from grace that occurred in the Garden of Eden so many years ago. Children come into this life, literally screaming for attention… arms outstretched toward those who give care and sustenance, only aware of their immediate needs or the distress they are feeling in the moment. They learn at an early age what brings mom and dad running...
One can hardly turn on the news or see an Internet feed and not hear or read about the latest natural disaster, heartrending tragedy, untimely accident, senseless shooting, or act of violent terrorism. Indeed, the world seems filled with turmoil. Our nation is increasingly on edge, and thousands wake up every day wondering if the headlines will scream at us once again. Indeed, many live in a near constant state of...
All of us have probably observed childish behavior… not only in young children, which is almost expected, but also in some adults, which is unfortunate and often produces a “roll your eyes” response. In many ways, we come into this world helpless, needy, and self-absorbed. Children must be taught, even trained to be giving, confident, caring, and other’s-centered. Growing old is an automatic process; however, as a counselor, I have learned that growing up is optional.
Robert Frost, well-known Pulitzer Prize winning poet, captured this thought: “Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.” Not only did God love the creation that bore His image, He put within the heart and spirit of humankind the need and the capacity to both love others and to be loved. We were created in relationship, through relationship, and for relationship. Yet for many, relationships have become just a complex list of Do’s and Don’ts, Rights and Wrongs, the Latest 10 Principles for Connecting, and all the...
Young, in love, full of life with dreams to match, newly married, and me being Italian—as a couple that meant children, lots of them—six or seven would be a nice start. Our trust in God was important to our relationship and in all we did. We could quote nearly every “growing a family” Scripture in our sleep.
What is encouragement and why is it so essential for maintaining healthy marriages and families. Encouragement represents positive influence, to literally give courage to someone—not waiting until it’s deserved or asked for, but taking initiative when things are difficult and uncertain.
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Religion Without Relationship
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Eric Scalise, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, is the President of LIV Enterprises & Consulting, LLC and CEO for the Alignment Association, LLC. He is the former Vice President of the 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), as well as the former Department Chair for Counseling Programs at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. He is an adjunct professor and the Senior Editor for both AACC and the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation. Dr. Scalise is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with 36 years of clinical and professional experience in the mental health field. Specialty areas include professional and pastoral stress and burnout, compassion fatigue, mood disorders, marriage and family issues, combat trauma and PTSD, addictions and recovery, crisis response, grief and loss, leadership development, life coaching, and lay counselor training. He is a published author with Zondervan, Baker Books, and Harvest House, is a national and international conference speaker, and frequently works with organizations, clinicians, ministry leaders, and churches on a variety of issues. Dr. Scalise and his wife, Donna, have been married for 36 years, have twin sons who are combat veterans serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, and three grandchildren.
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