Life Challenges

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Caring for Elderly Parents and Children Simultaneously

Should we be considering the possibility of taking my aging mother into our home while we're still in the process of raising three kids? We have two teens and a middle-schooler. We don't really like the idea of placing my mom in a nursing home, but we also don't want to alter family dynamics too much at this temperamental stage in our children's development. What kinds of challenges do you think we might be facing?

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Protecting the Dignity of an Aging Loved One

What would it take to help an aging parent maintain the greatest possible sense of his own human dignity, worth, and independence? My wife and I are more than willing to take care of my aging father, but he's always been a proud man, and we don't want to crush his spirit. How do we protect him against the feeling that he's becoming useless?

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What to Do about Long Hours on the Job

How much time should I devote to my work? My job requires me to put in long hours every week. As a result I'm not able to give as much attention to other things - including my family - as I'd like. In your opinion, how much time is too much time for work? Do you suggest I look for another job?

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Addictions: Choosing an Accountability Partner

As a recovering addict, how can I find someone to walk with me through the difficult beginning stages of the healing process? Do you have any advice on choosing an accountability partner and what this relationship should look like? I'd really appreciate any suggestions you can offer.

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Helping a Child Victim of Incestuous Sexual Abuse

How should I respond to the discovery that an adult member of the extended family of a friend has been forcing one of the children to engage in sexual acts with him? I don't want to intrude in other people's business, but now that I'm in possession of this information I feel responsible to do something about it. Do you have any recommendations?

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How to Help a Victim of Sexual Assault

How can I help a friend who was recently raped? So far, I'm the only person she's told. She's paralyzed with feelings of shame and guilt. She's also afraid that she'll only make a bad situation worse if she reports the incident or goes to the police. What should I do?

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Adult Seeking Help after Sexual Assault

I've just become a victim of rape. I desperately need help and don't know where to find it - what should I do now? So far, I haven't told anyone. I'm ashamed to admit this to friends and family, and I'm afraid I'll only make a bad situation worse if I go to the police. Meanwhile, I feel so dirty, guilty, worthless, desperate, and scared that I can hardly think or make a move.

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Perspectives on the Legalization of Marijuana

What's wrong with marijuana? Personally, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be legalized. Many people have assured me that pot isn't addictive. Besides, several states have already legalized it for medical or recreational purposes. Can you tell me why it shouldn't be legal across the board?

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Spouse Uses Marijuana

Do you think it's wrong for my spouse to smoke marijuana? He's been a fairly regular user for most of our married life, and I've never seen it as a big problem since many people have assured me that pot isn't addictive. But he's been using it more often lately, and sometimes he even smokes in front of the children. So I've begun to have my doubts. Do you think this is a serious issue? What should I do about it?

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How to Avoid Enabling a Spouse's Gambling Addiction

How do I know if I'm "enabling" my spouse's compulsive gambling problem? I don't want to do anything that might encourage his behavior. And while I'm on the subject, what exactly does it mean to be an "enabler"?

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Facts about and Perspectives on Medical Marijuana

What are your thoughts on the merits of medical marijuana? Do you think it should be legalized? My newspaper has run a series of stories recently about its supposed benefits. I really don't know what to think. Can you help me sort this out?

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Selecting a Physician

Do you have any suggestions about what qualities I should look for in a doctor? Our family doctor just moved out of town. She referred me to another physician, but I think I'd like to check around for other options.

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Building a Good Relationship with Your Doctor

What can I do to establish and maintain an effective relationship with my doctor? I've had some pretty lousy experiences in the past, but I'm having some health problems and I know I shouldn't put off getting the attention I need. A friend just told me about a new doctor that I'm considering seeing. What can I do to make this a good experience?

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Medical Treatment of Depression and Anxiety

How long should I take antidepressants? After struggling with anxiety and depression for several years, I finally decided to see a doctor about my problem. He put me on an antidepressant, and it's definitely improved my mood. But I'm worried that I'll have to take this drug for the rest of my life. Would it be dangerous to stop taking it?

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Understanding Media Influence

Are the entertainment media really as powerful as we're often led to believe? The argument is regularly made that violence in society is directly attributable to violence in movies, television, and popular music. Is this really true? I'll admit that I'm skeptical. It's hard for me to believe that people actually go out and commit crimes simply because they've seen something similar in a film. What do you think?

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Proselytizing in the Classroom

Does a Christian teacher have a right to "witness" to others on the job? I'd like your opinion on the following scenario. A friend of mine recently graduated from Bible college and interviewed for a job at a local preschool. One of the interviewers, being aware of her educational and religious background, expressed some concerns and asked her if she was absolutely certain that she could refrain from "proselytizing." My friend said yes. As for myself, I was absolutely furious when she told me this story. After thinking about it some more, I'm not sure how I would have responded in her position. Is it appropriate for employers to ask such questions? Doesn't this amount to religious discrimination? Do you think the administrators of this preschool have crossed a line?

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Christians and Social Drinking

What does the Bible have to say about moderate alcohol consumption? Gradually I'm becoming aware of an increasing openness to social drinking in our circle of Christian friends. As a matter of fact, this seems to be the new norm. I'm not sure that I feel comfortable with this, and I'm wondering what your views are on this issue

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Suicide, Heaven, and Eternal Destiny

Is there any hope in the world to come for those who take their own lives? Our entire extended family is reeling under a horrendous burden of pain, guilt, and confusion. My nephew-a college-bound high school senior, honor student, accomplished athlete, and respected leader of his church youth group-recently committed suicide. In addition to our grief, which is nearly overwhelming, we're struggling with agonizing questions about the fate of this young man's soul. Somewhere I heard that suicide is an "unforgivable sin," and that those who kill themselves have no chance of getting into heaven. Is that true?

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Ideas for Church Outreach to Victims of Trauma and Tragedy

How can our church minister most effectively to victims of disaster and trauma? I'm the pastor of a small congregation in a mid-size town. Over the past month our community has been devastated by a terrible flood. Many families in this area have endured the loss of their homes, interruption of work and school, loss of income, physical deprivation, and overwhelming anxiety about the future. What can we do as the Body of Christ to address some of these needs?

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Why We Give: Right Reasons for Christian Giving

Where does giving fit in with wise financial planning? These days it seems that pastors, churches and ministries are constantly asking for my money. In the process, they're always talking about the importance of giving and telling me that it's a crucial part of the Christian life. I'm not sure I buy this argument. What's your perspective?

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Spiritual Concerns about Claiming Tithe as a Tax Deduction

Should I claim what I donate to God and the church as a deduction on my income tax? How would this fit in with what Jesus says about giving in secret?

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Business Partnerships between Christians and Non-Christians

Would it be wrong for a Christian to go into business with an unbeliever? I'm thinking about doing so, but was wondering if it would be a case of being "unequally yoked" (2 Corinthians 6:14)?

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Including Charities in a Will

Is it a good idea to have provisions in my will for charitable bequests?

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Estate Planning Basics

What are some biblical principles to keep in mind as I begin writing up my will? I'd like to know that when I'm gone my financial assets will be used in the best and wisest way possible to benefit my family and advance the work of God's kingdom. Any tips or pointers?

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