During my childhood I was abused sexually, emotionally, verbally and physically. Many of you have also been abused, or you deal with someone in your life who comes from an abusive background.

What does abuse mean? It means “to misuse, to use improperly, to use up or to injure by maltreatment.”   

The effects of abuse can be devastating and long-lasting. Many people never recover from it.   

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There was once a boy who loved the things 10-year-old boys in the 1940s loved: ice cream, Jack Armstrong on the radio, Sunday school, cowboys and Indians—especially Indians. But this boy had a terrible secret. He lived in dread of his father, a dread that made him feel he was never safe.

That boy growing up in Columbus, Ohio, was me. I tried to love my father because I did not know other boys weren’t beaten when they spilled a glass or broke a toy. But mostly I feared him. I feared his very shadow.

He was a stocky, muscular man whose roaring voice gave an extra dimension of profanity to the curses he spewed when he had been drinking, which was often. He liked to use a leather strap, cracking it like a lion tamer. A lion tamer rarely lets his whip touch the animals. On me, Dad’s strap always left a reminder of his untamable fury. I wondered why my father was so full of anger and if it was my fault.

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Survivors of abuse do not learn self-care or self-love. What you learn instead is quite the opposite – abuse to yourself. Emotionally beating yourself up, placing unrealistic demands on yourself, being self destructive with alcohol, drugs, food, work, money, sex and love addiction. or in your choices in relationships, self-harming behaviors or attempted suicide or in feeling suicidal. One thing is clear, an inability to value yourself, nurture yourself or love yourself.

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Twenty-seven years ago, when I was 16, I was raped and beaten by someone who had offered me a ride one late July evening. Because I had fought back, I had been choked into submission. During the rape, a child was conceived. Compounding my guilt and shame, I had, just a few days earlier, entered into a violent relationship with a man who had taken me in a similar manner, convincing me this was love. I also had to deal with the sexual abuse of my stepfather, and the rejection of my father, a man whom I’d never seen as he had walked out upon learning of my upcoming birth. By the time I was 16 I was already numbed by pain and guilt so that when these attacks took place, I slowly began to die inside.

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According to the National Council on Aging, approximately one in ten Americans aged 60 or older have experienced some form of elder abuse. Their abusers may be people who are close to them, whether they are caregivers, relatives or medical personnel. They may also be total strangers. In some cases, older adults can even cause themselves harm through self-neglect. The good news is that you can take measures to prevent elder abuse once you learn how to spot its red flags and risks, and if your loved one has already been victimized, you can report the abuse to the appropriate authorities.

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Crisp air gusts across a brittle and dimming Pennsylvania, drawing out hoodies and denim and pumpkin spice everything. College football grips hearts. Deer hunting stirs imaginations. Fireplaces glow, and our homes fill with the aroma of baking and scented jar candles. Retailers scream Christmas, but we’re not ready to hear them. Soon, no doubt, we’ll deck the halls and swarm the malls. But first, we prepare for Thanksgiving.

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There is untapped power in praise and thanksgiving that belongs to you! This Thanksgiving, serve up a hearty portion of praise and thanksgiving!

We are so blessed in the United States to have Thanksgiving as a national observance to thank God and honor Him for all He has given us. It’s a time to stop the hustle, bustle and busyness of life to be grateful for our freedoms, family, friends and abundant life. What most people don’t know is that a thankful and grateful heart isn’t just a nice experience to have or a desirable attitude—there is spiritual power in praise and thanksgiving.

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This year’s election process and results have brought on a barrage of emotions in almost every American. Some are relieved, others are concerned. Many are angry and feeding fuel to a fire of division already in need of quenching.

As Christians, we have a different set of standards in how we respond to life events and challenges. We’re called to rise above the rest and stand out as a shining city on a hill. Though it may be tempting to have our say, our greatest aim should always be to please the Lord in all things.

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Right now, we are standing face to face with situations in our nation that need to be changed. Some of those situations look totally impossible, but they’re not. Why? Because this country belongs to God.

He’s the One who brought the United States of America into existence. He had a special purpose for it. He needed a country where the gospel could be preached freely and not be suppressed.

In just a few weeks, we’ll be taking our place as Christians at the voting booths for the 2020 election. Most of us know that every election is vital to our nation, our biblical worldview and the fulfillment of God’s plan for America. But this year—2020—seems to hold an even greater significance.

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Being sexually assaulted in one of the most shame-inducing traumas that a person can experience. So it is understandable that victims don’t need to be further shamed by being shamed for not reporting the crime. And yet, that is exactly what happens whenever we hear, for the first time, about a sexual assault that occurred months or years ago. “Why didn’t she report it before?” we ask. “Why didn’t she come forward a long time ago, right after it happened?”

Sixty-three percent of sexual assaults are not reported. Why is this the case? This article is intended to answer that question. I wrote a similar article on why women don’t come forward when they are sexually harassed at work and received a lot of positive feedback thanking me for explaining this phenomena. I hope this article will be as beneficial in addressing sexual assault.

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