Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014

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Did you know someone in the country will die by suicide every 13.3 minutes of every day? And, did you know that more than half of the people who committed suicide could have been saved if someone could have recognized the signs?

The 'Walk for Life' walks take place in communities across the country, with the proceeds benefiting the Precious Life Crusade Teen Suicide Prevention (PLC). By walking in the 'Walk for Life', you will be walking with individuals nationwide to raise money for PLC's vital education programs to prevent suicide and save lives, increase national awareness about depression and suicide and provide support for survivors of suicide loss Get Involved! Suicide is a national health problem that takes an enormous toll on family, friends, co-workers, and the entire community. In deciding to walk you are taking us a step closer to making suicide prevention a national priority. To register, please visit and complete a short registration form which will provide a pledge form and information to pass along to others to join this worthy cause to save lives

Precious Life Teen Suicide Prevention

Contributors Izzy Kalman Chris Adsit Worship in Action Mark Merrill Nategwm Richard D. Dobbins S. Michael Houdmann Gregory Morris Contact Information Office Phone 917.310.7570 Email Support contact@ Website URL www. Blog Obtaining God‘s Blessings Facebook/Twitter /BlessedMagazine Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 7

Praise the Lord My Brothers and Sisters in Christ! I am so excited to bring you another issue of Blessed Magazine filled with articles to spark your interest as well as provide insight for your walk with the Lord! As with every issue, I encourage you to read each article with an open mind, open heart and if at any time you have questions or need to contact the author, please reach out to us here We are always open to aspiring writers, bloggers and commentators to send us their work for consideration of being featured in our magazine If you would like to submit an article, please contact us at I also want to thank our many subscribers and readers of Blessed Magazine as well as our advertisers. Again, please enjoy this issue of Blessed Magazine and if you are not a subscriber, subscribe today by visiting Yours in Christ, Laraine Turner Editor in Chief

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by Izzy Kalman

Teaching our Children to ‗Turn the Other Cheek‘ Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 13

Much of the aggression among children is physical. While insults cause subjective harm (whether I am upset by your insults depends on me, not you), physical attacks cause objective harm. What moral principle can help kids defuse physical aggression? The answer is, ―turn the other cheek.‖ This principle is difficult for many people to accept, even for devout Christians who revere Jesus, the originator of the ―turn the other cheek‖ saying. Most people think it means we must let ourselves be the losers when others attack us and to ―let them get away with it‖. Turning the other cheek is not a recipe for losing. It is actually a recipe for win/win situations, as it prevents the creation of a cycle of violence.

Photo Credit: W. James Kelly

Our natural response to people hitting us is reciprocity (see Rule Number Three: the Golden Rule), meaning, we want to hit them back or get revenge. This, though, often results in an endless cycle of retaliation by each side. On the other hand, when we don‘t hit back, the other side usually stops hitting us.

Turning the other cheek is not an attitude of weakness but of strength. It takes fortitude and self-control to resist the urge to strike back. When we turn the other cheek, we don‘t fearfully run away from the person who strikes us but face them confidently, without anger, making it apparent that we can tolerate the pain and that we are not afraid of them doing it again. This usually elicits respect from the other person, often causing them to feel remorse and even to offer a sincere apology. Many people are afraid that this moral principle means that we need to let people injure or kill us without resistance. They will say things like, ―The Jews ‗turned the other cheek‘ during World War II and as a result six million of them were killed.‖ According to the New Testament, Jesus did, indeed, allow himself to undergo a slow and excruciatingly painful death at the hands of his sadistic Roman tormentors while asking God to forgive them. In this manner he demonstrated his limitless love for everyone. However, he did not instruct ordinary mortals to passively allow themselves and their loved ones to be slaughtered at the hands of evil men. He did not say, ―If someone kills your wife, let them kill your children, too.‖ His instruction was specifically regarding a slap to the cheek. A slap is not meant to injure or kill us but to humiliate us or provoke us into a fight. If we slap them back, they will probably hit us even harder, leading to escalating violence. If they are more powerful than us, they may seriously harm or kill us. If they are officers of the law or soldiers, they will feel justified arresting or shooting Page 14 Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014

us. However, if we face them without retaliating, their aggression is likely to be defused.

The tactic of ‗turning the other cheek‘ can work only if the other person has the capacity for conscience. It will not work when sadistic, crazed or hate-filled people are actually intent on injuring or killing us regardless of our behavior. Furthermore, when people slap us, most frequently it‘s because they are angry with us. This means they feel that we hurt them in some way––that they are our victims. Many people insist that kids must hit their bullies back even harder; otherwise they will continue to be bullied. There is validity to this contention, as we have all heard adults telling us they were bullied as kids until they couldn't take it anymore and knocked their bully senseless, never to be bullied again. That‘s because reciprocity often works, otherwise it would not have become our default biological mode. Reciprocity helps keep peace among social creatures in nature. Fear of retaliation makes them cautious about using violence. However, viciously attacking their bullies is only likely to work when kids do it spontaneously. Their pent up rage explodes against their tormentors, who suddenly discover to their surprise that it is dangerous to mess with them. But as adults, and particularly if we are professionals, we cannot instruct kids to do this for a variety of reasons: 1. We cannot purport to be promoting nonviolence by instructing kids to use violence. 2. We can get in trouble with the law if we encourage kids to use violence. 3. We can be putting children in danger, for they may get hit even harder by those they attack. 4. It doesn’t always work. There are many children who are constantly getting into fights because they don’t want to let anyone get away with hitting them.

5. They may spend their time in school in increased anxiety, being constantly on the lookout for the correct opportunity to show they are not a pushover. 6. When they do finally decide to hit someone, they may do it at the wrong time and/or to the wrong person, as they lash out at the first person who commits some minor offense against them. 7. They can get in trouble with the school for hitting back. 8. There are kids who find it extremely difficult to hit anyone, and our instruction just makes them feel more anxious and inadequate. 9. Most kids who suffer from bullying are not being attacked physically. Most bullying is verbal, and though the victims may feel like using violence against those that are saying bad things about them, it is inappropriate to use physical aggression in retaliation for verbal aggression. If they respond to verbal acts with physical, they will be the only one getting in trouble even in schools that require both sides in an altercation to be punished. While we tend to think there are two ways of dealing with physical aggression–fight or flight– -there is a third way: the way of wisdom. And ‗turning the other cheek‘ falls in that category. Furthermore, one need not be silent while ‗turning the other cheek.‘ A simple question can multiply the likelihood of getting the person to stop hitting us. Simply ask, ―Are you mad at me?‖ This question brings the situation down from the physical level to the verbal. The person now must contemplate why they hit you. If it‘s because they are mad at you, it means they feel victimized by you. So they will tell you why they are mad at you. You can work out the problem and apologize if appropriate. And if they are not mad at you, they will probably realize there is no good reason to hit you and will stop. A closing note: Turning the other cheek is specifically a prescription for personal behavior. Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 15

It cannot serve as a guiding principle for courts of law, including for when schools need to punish students for hurting others. Justice is not served when a court allows criminals to attack their victims again

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Don Moen Worship in Action Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 17

Ask Don Moen what he does, and the answer might surprise you. He won‘t say he‘s a songwriter even though he‘s written more than 100 songs. He won‘t say he‘s a worship leader even though he‘s led worship on every continent but Antarctica and recorded numerous albums. He won‘t say he‘s a businessman or producer even though he has produced and directed hundreds of successful projects. If you ask Don Moen why God put him on this planet, he‘ll tell you, ―To be an architect who designs products and events that help people experience God‘s presence in a new and fresh way.‖ And in more than three decades of ministry, he‘s had lots of opportunity to fulfill that purpose.
 His discography reflects his passion to create resources for the church that lead people into an honest and intimate relationship with the Lord. In 2002, his peers recognized that lifelong commitment and presented him with the Ray DeVries Church Ministry Award.

in the U.S. His travels for concerts and seminars have taken him to Ghana, South Africa, Singapore, the Philippines, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Guatemala, Honduras, and elsewhere. Today, Don is President of Don Moen Productions in Nashville, Tennessee, where he resides with his wife Laura and five children. Don‘s Ministry

Worship In Action (WIA) is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Nashville, Tennessee. Don Moen founded WIA in response to the great needs he encountered while on worship tours around the world. It became very clear to Don when he met a little girl named Gifty in Accra, Ghana, that God wanted him to do more than just sing and lead people into worship. God wanted Don to step out and be Christ‘s hands and feet to hurting people. The purpose of Worship In Action is to do just that: to be the tangible hands and feet of Christ to people who have lost hope.

Don has also received a Dove Award for his work on the musical ―God With Us‖ and has received multiple Dove Award nominations for his songs, CDs and choral resources.
In addition to his writing and recording, Don makes time to tour domestically and abroad and has performed with artists such as Chris Tomlin, Twila Paris, Sara Groves and Paul Baloche to name a few. He also has served as worship leader for past National Day of Prayer events and as a music industry spokesperson, having been featured on Fox News, NPR and in USA Today. Don is as popular overseas as he is at home

Worship in Action has chosen to engage three main causes explained below.

Sharing Hope

Worship in Action supports programs that help people break free from the cycle of poverty. Robert McNamara of the World Bank describes ―absolute poverty‖ as this: ―…a condition so limited by malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, squalid surroundings, high infant mortality and low life expectancy as to be beneath any reasonable definition of human decency.‖ In 2008, the World Bank estimated 1.29 billion people world-wide lived in absolute poverty. Statistics change minute-byminute as new babies are born and people die. However, what remains is this fact: a great portion of our world suffers from the curse of abject poverty and it‘s a godly mission to do something about it.

“…Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” Acts 10:7 Natural Disasters Aid

We live in a world and in a time when natural disasters regularly occur. Typhoons, tornadoes, floods, mudslides, earthquakes, tsunamis…these acts of nature often leave in their paths destroyed homes, washed out infrastructures, loss of lives, severe injuries, tainted water sources, limited access to medical treatment or food, and many more life-altering scenarios. When a natural disaster strikes, Worship In Action is prepared to respond.

Caring For Orphans

Today, there are approximately 153 million orphans worldwide. This statistic does not include the totality of abandoned children, ones absorbed into the human trafficking industry, or even the nameless, unregistered children who dwell on the streets of major cities world-wide. The number of orphaned children in the world today is staggering and demands our advocacy. Will you join Don Moen :: Worship in Action as we support Royal Seed Home in Ofaakor, Ghana? Royal See is home to more than 190 children. WIA partners with Royal Seed on a monthly basis to provide nutritious food and safe water for the children.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27 Don Moen has been a leader in the Christian Music industry for more than 40 years. Through these 40+ years, if there‘s one lesson to sum up all he has learned, it is this: Worship is More Than a Song. It‘s a Lifestyle. Don has said many times that he believes God

put him on this planet to be an architect who designs products and events to help people experience God‘s presence in a new and fresh way. He believes people often make the mistake that worship equals music and music equals worship. The songs we offer up in worship are just a small part of a whole lifestyle of worship. Yet, we have made an industry out of the music we sing. A lifestyle of worship is something we live out 24/7, not just on Sunday morning. Worship is prayer, preaching, testimonies, God‘s Word, caring for others, and of course, the songs we offer in praise and worship.


Don founded Worship In Action to give people a way to put their worship to work in bringing the message of hope to the world. We are designed to do something with what we have inside of us… to let the lights within us shine bright in the darkest places of the earth.

Mailing Address: Worship In Action PO Box 158897 Nashville, TN 37215

How you can help? Ways to Give DONATE Worship in Action is a 501-C3 nonprofit organization that relies on tax deductible donations to continue our work. With your generous support, Worship In Action provides funding for the needs of orphans, victims of natural disasters and those trapped in a cycle of poverty.

BECOME A PARTNER When believers unite around a common cause, this is a witness that speaks volumes to lost and hurting people. The relationships we have with each other is often a greater testimony than our words or preaching. When we collectively bring together our gifts, talents, time and resources, even greater things will happen than had we tried to do it all on our own. This is why we invite you to become a partner of Worship in Action.

Are you a runner who‘d like to adopt a cause for your next big race, why not choose Worship In Action? Do you like to bake homemade bread or cookies? How about using your time and talents in baking to raise money for a cause? Do you like to go bowling? Why not invite a group of friends and bowl for a cause? Fundraising opportunities are endless.

Contact Information:


Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 21

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3 Steps to Living a Better

Christian Life

by Chris Adsit

What should a Christian do when he finds himself digging a desert ditch because of sin in his life? “I had heard that hell was hot, but it surely couldn't be hotter than this place. It was early July in the oil fields near Gillette, Wyo. I was between my freshman and sophomore years in college, experiencing my 5th day as a roustabout for Gane Production Company.� Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 23

Our backhoe had broken down, so I was given a pick, a shovel and an assignment to dig a ditch about 15 feet long and 3 feet deep, so they could connect a flow line from a well to the oil/gas separator the next day. They told me the ground might be a bit hard, but apparently somebody had paved that entire part of Wyoming -- at least that's the way it seemed.

Rescued from Defeat After 6 hours of hand-numbing labor in the blistering sun, I'd gotten about 5 feet done. My despair had just about reached its zenith when I heard a chugging noise in the distance. Crawling out of my hardpan rut, I squinted my eyes to see what was coming. Before long, I could make out the distinct scorpion tail of a backhoe heading my way. Within minutes, the shiny, yellow machine drew up next to me. "Howdy, young feller!" the grizzled driver shouted down at me. He looked at the separator, the ditch, my shovel and me. "Got yourself a bit of a job, ain't ya?― "You've got that right," I said, trying not to sound as tired and defeated as I felt. I'd never seen this guy before, but I noticed that his backhoe sported the logo of a competing company. He glanced up at the blazing sun, then at his watch, and chuckled. "Don't suppose you'd want a little help, would ya?― My heart leapt. "You mean it? I don't work for your outfit, you know...― "Don't matter. I can see you're out-gunned. It'll only take me a minute." He motioned me up onto the machine. I swung up and stood next to him as he positioned it at the end of my 6-hour ditch. In the space of about 6 minutes, I'd finished the job -- I, the stranger and the backhoe, that is! It's the same in the Christian life -- we can accomplish far more when we become a partner with the overcoming power of the Holy Spirit than when we try to do things in our own strength.

A Vital Lesson for Christians Page 24 Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014

Not understanding this fact is one of the primary reasons young Christians bail out of their walks with Christ so quickly, and why so many older Christians experience lives of weakness and defeat. As Campus Crusade founder Bill Bright once said, "The Christian life isn't difficult, it's impossible -- without the power of the Holy Spirit.― When you have the opportunity to lead someone to Christ, it's vital to help the new disciple understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He needs to know that the power, the joy, the fruit and the abundance of God come only when we are "filled" -- controlled and empowered -- by the Holy Spirit. Here are a few key principles you can pass on.

The Eternal Perspective As Christians, we want to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. Part of this transformation is God's responsibility, but part is ours. How we exercise our will bears strongly on the pace of our growth. If we choose to stay in the ditch with our pick and shovel, ignoring -- through disobedience, ignorance or disinterest -- His offers of help, we'll deprive ourselves of incredible blessings and hamper our progress toward spiritual maturity. But if we position ourselves in league with His power and grace, we'll benefit greatly. What should a Christian do when he finds himself digging a desert ditch because of sin in his life?

Reconnecting to the Source of Power Jesus made it clear that after He returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit would be given to "indwell" every believer and provide power for the supernatural life He wants us to experience (Acts 1:8). But beyond being merely indwelt by the Holy Spirit, God wants us to be filled with Him, giving Him total control of our lives. In Ephesians 5:18, the apostle Paul gives a pithy illustration of this: "Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit."

Just as alcohol can take control of a person and make him act in ways he wouldn't normally act (usually to his later embarrassment), the Holy Spirit will also cause a person to act in unnatural ways -- supernatural ways that please and glorify God. However, since Ephesians 5:18 is a command that we "be filled with the Spirit," it must be possible to choose the alternative and not be filled. In fact, elsewhere the Bible says that Christians can "grieve" and "quench" the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:19), thereby diminishing His influence on us. This happens each time we reject His promptings, say yes to sin and re-establish ourselves as lord of our own lives. At this point, we are still indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but we are no longer filled. When you find yourself in this condition, there are 3 steps you need to take to reappropriate the fullness of the Holy Spirit and re-establish that vital link to God...

1. Want It Are you sure you want the Holy Spirit in the driver's seat? God will not compromise your free will -- but He will respond to your righteous desires. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6). Examine your heart, and ask the Lord to reveal anything you desire more than His Lordship in your life. Don't expect His power to flow unhindered if you're simply "going through the motions." God looks at the heart.

2. Will It f you truly want His control in your life, then ask for it. This involves 3 actions: confessing, repenting and receiving it by faith. Confessing. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness ― (1 John 1:9). Page 26 Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014

When you confess your sins, you are simply agreeing with God that what you did was wrong. You might say something like, "Father, please forgive me for the lies I've been telling. I know they displease You, and I know I've hurt myself and others by telling them. I'm sorry.“ Repenting. "I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret..." (2 Corinthians 7:9,10). It's nice to be sorry for your sin, but the big question is, what difference will your sorrow make? It's useless to say, "I'm sorry I sinned. Forgive me. Now I'll go do it again.― To repent means to turn around and go the other way -- it pertains to your actions. Tell God that you truly want His help to stop this sin, and to replace it with righteous attitudes and actions. Receiving it by Faith. Now that your sin has been forgiven and you're heading the right direction, ask God to once again fill you with His Holy Spirit. It's as simple as saying just that: "Lord, please fill me once again with Your Holy Spirit.― How will you know it's occurred? By faith. We know this based on 2 key facts: (1) God has commanded it in Ephesians 5:18, so it's obvious that our being filled with His Spirit is in accordance with His will; and (2) 1 John 5:14,15 promises that "if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 27

You want it, He wants it, done deal!

3. Work It You've made a choice to climb out of that dusty hole onto God's backhoe. But now you need to choose to stay there! The Bible says, "Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God" (Romans 6:13). The world, the flesh and the devil will try to hand you another shovel and say, "Dig!" You need to say, "No way. I prefer this backhoe, thank you. Get lost.― I spotted my Backhoe Angel occasionally during the rest of my summer in Wyoming, perched up on his machine digging flow lines and pushing dirt around. I can't recall his name, but I'll always be grateful for the kindness he showed a greenhorn college kid that hot afternoon. It's the same type of kindness God is extending to you -- maybe even right now. Go on, grab a seat next to the Driver!

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Available at

“RUNNING WITH PURPOSE” Don‘t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:2427 (NLT) As the Apostle Paul unpacks the imagery of ―athletic competition‖ in this verse… several things immediately come to mind: Location, Position, Posture and Preparation. LOCATION: As a runner, ask yourself…am I even at the proper address, in the right venue, at the correct stadium…spiritually speaking? Am I embracing & walking in the purpose mandated by my birth? The inquiry of ―Adam, where are you?‖ was not because God needed GPS to determine Adam‘s locale. Rhetorical in nature…the question was to provide personal insight on Adam‘s behalf concerning the spiritual ―disconnect‖ and dysfunction brought on by his own disobedience. So, regarding ―your‖ relationship with the Lord…are you where you should be? Are you where you need to be in this season of your life? POSITION: Are you in the ―lane‖ to which you‘ve been assigned? It‘s a futile attempt to engage God in a ― Page 30 Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014

point-counterpoint‖ verbal wrestling match in an endeavor to move from the outside lane when He‘s already assigned you to the inside lane. You can have the what, why, when & how aspects of His will for your life and yet misfire on the where! Find your lane and don‘t move until and/or unless God says otherwise. Identify your gift, your calling, your passion and prayerfully seek God‘s direction and guidance accordingly. Bloom where you have been planted! POSTURE: Is your ―starting block‖ stance and your form during the race conducive to victory? Simply stated…what‘s the posture of your heart? Are you pliable, flexible and receptive to instruction and correction? Are you walking in humility, surrender and obedience? Or are you like the misbehaving kid who upon being admonished by his mother to ―sit down and obey‖…begrudgingly did so as he mumbled, ―I‘m sitting down on the outside but I‘m standing up on the inside‖. On the other side of your obedience is the incredible blessing and favor of God you so desperately need to fulfill your ―God-breathed‖ destiny. PREPARATION: Have you yielded to the discipline of the process? Can you trust God ―through‖ the process? That being said…can God trust you? The objective of the refiner‘s fire is that we come out as pure gold…that others can see in us the reflection of Christ. Proverbs

27:19 says it best, ―As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.‖ It‘s certainly no coincidence that the words ―disciple‖ and ―discipline‖ originate from the same root word…‖to teach, train and instruct.‖ Creating character in His kids...that's God's relentless pursuit. And He won't quit until it's completed. At times, you may feel unqualified, untrained, "under-gifted", unworthy or perhaps unappreciated. Yet, this is the perfect scenario for God to move and to work in your life. For the believer that's actively pursuing the heart of God, this is a season of "spiritual" circumcision! It's a process in which there is a cutting away of distractions, baggage, weights and anything or anyone in direct competition for His undivided attention. So don‘t compromise. Don't settle for less. Don't opt for mediocrity. Don't sedate yourself with the status quo. Run to win! Run with purpose in every step! Pastor Gregory Morris is a communicator at heart with a passion to share the Gospel via the spoken word, the written word and song. As the ―pen of a ready writer‖…the mandate upon his life is twofold: a) to reach a hurting, broken world by extending hope through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and b) to equip and empower born again Christians by igniting a greater thirst and hunger for God‘s Word through sound, balanced teaching and preaching. Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 31

Remember, if you are ashamed to confess Jesus before the world, He will likewise deny you before His Father which is in heaven – Matthew 10:32 Page 32 Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014

By Mark Merrill

8 Things You Should Be Grateful For‌ Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 33

In our life, we sometimes spend too much time complaining about the things we do not like or have. Today, and every day, we need to take time to be thankful for the blessings we do have. Take a look at this list of 8 things we should be thankful for:

1. Be thankful for family.

We are all where we are today because our parents or guardians raised us. Hopefully, we have taken all the positive lessons from them and are applying them to our lives. If you are married and have children, be thankful for the blessing of your family. If you are single, be thankful for your parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.

2. Be thankful for friends. True friends encourage us, motivate us, and push us to do better. Take time to call them and thank them for all the great things they have done. Show your gratitude by also being a great friend to others

3. Be thankful for a home and for nourishment. If you have a home, be thankful you have a place to rest and relax. Hopefully your home is also a place of safety and encouragement. Truly show you are thankful for your home by supporting organizations who help those who have no homes. In addition, we should be thankful we have the opportunity to eat on a daily basis. If you have plenty, please show your thanks by helping to support agencies that care for the hungry.

4. Be thankful for laughter. Laughter is a gift from God which can bring great joy. Be thankful for the laughter of children, a spouse, or friends

5. Be thankful for a job. A job is a great blessing whether we are happy in the job or not. Take the time to list out reasons you are thankful for your job. If you find this hard, don‘t look at your job just as a means to make money, but look at it as a way to help people.

6. Be thankful for the freedoms you have. We have so many freedoms other countries do not have. It has cost some men and women time away from family, life-altering injuries, or the ultimate price – their life. Take time today to say "thank you" to someone who helped, or is helping, protect those freedoms.

7. Be thankful for those who have made a positive impact in your life. All of us have had people in our lives that have made a positive impact. It may have been a Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 35

teacher, coach, pastor, youth worker, Sunday school teacher, or a family member. Be thankful that these people were placed in your life and give to others as they have given to you.

8. Be thankful for your health. If you are reading this, you are probably a person in good health. Be thankful for that. However, there may be people in your family and community that are not as fortunate. Take time to help someone this week.

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The Seduction of

By Nategwm

Probing Proverbs 7:15-17 You’re the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are! My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 39

We should pay close attention to our senses...not to allow them to lead...but to warn our mind to concentrate and count the cost of what giving into our senses will cost! The woman here gives us a college level education on... the art of seduction. Consider what the word seduce means: ―To persuade somebody to have sex, especially by using a romantic or deceptive approach, To persuade somebody to do something by making it seem desirable or exciting.‖ We have witnessed in this passage step by step how this foolish young man was being led to self destruction...deceiving himself based on what he is sensing, not on what the reality is. Consider, even if we were to take God out of the picture, no right or wrong, the reality would still dictate that sex is much more than a mere animal act that gave a little pleasure and hurt no one. If we humans are nothing more than glorified animals, then evolution developed a heart and soul that is connected during sex. I have never seen a female dog crying because the dog that mated with her the night before is now mating with the poodle down the street! I have witnessed countless men and women that claim no strong belief in God or His standards, yet have scars and pain from sexual encounters that at the moment seemed sooooo right. ―Who needs tomorrow, we‘ve got tonight!‖ may work as a song but it is a disaster when it comes to life! This is why sin seduces. It gets our senses so intoxicated with the idea of pleasure that we fail to use the mind God gave us to take a look at the reality of what‘s being offered. I have loved one woman only for my entire life. I know ever flaw, every age spot. The thought of someone new, different looking, younger, pre-gravity. All that sounds so good...if in a vacuum! Let‘s turn the light of reality on that scenario. I gave away my commitment as a man to my Savior that gave my wife to me. I trashed the faithfulness my wife has given to me and the faithfulness she had believed I would give. I traded a commitment of love and friendship for a few moments of physical pleasure. What do I gain? I have hurt my fellowship with my God, shamed my Savior, destroyed the trust and relationship with my wife, made it clear to the other woman that I care only about her body and her soul can go to hell, because she won‘t believe anything I say about God, my actions have spoken loud and clear! That is just the beginning of the children see and experience what I have done, all my family and friends see what I value, all the people I have ministered to who have heard me claim that Christ can make any marriage great, now know that for me that was a lie Page 40 Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014

and this woman‘s future husband will know that I have had what should have only been his...I could go on, the list is quite long. It seems we don‘t measure with eyes of reality, instead we are seduced through our senses and we turn our brain and the Holy Spirit off. I know this because I have done it in other areas of my life. It is never worth it! When your senses are screaming for you to give in, grab hold of the Lord and yourself and THINK! When you see the whole picture – you will tell sin to get lost!

Awesome Way to Recycle

Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 41

Abusive pastors have an uncanny ability to pick their victims. They usually choose people who are unsuspecting and somewhat naive--people who cannot find it in their hearts to question one who says he is "a man of God.‖

Wolves in the Pulpit:

Recognizing Pastoral Abuse By Richard D. Dobbins

Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 43

Why are so many pastors abusing the trust of those God has placed in their care? Few leaders in our society have more power over others than ministers--power to abuse or power to set free. However, people are more likely to have a healthy wariness of "quacks" in law, medicine and counseling than they do of "quacks" in religion. Although most pastors are both gifted and godly, many Christians are naive enough to assume that any man or woman who is able to build a congregation is healthy. It is such naivetĂŠ that makes people vulnerable to unscrupulous pastors.

People don't realize the far-reaching effects their pastors will have on them and their families. Consequently, they exercise more care in finding competent physicians to care for their bodies than they do in choosing competent pastors to help them care for their souls.

person in the community.

Institutional. The institutional church enhances the power of the pastor through the credentialing process. Unfortunately, few religious credentialing bodies take any precautionary measures to protect the public from abusive personalities attempting to enter the ministry. Even those who do limit their screening to personal references and interviews. The growing number of independent churches put even fewer checks in place when credentialing people. Since independent churches are accountable to no other body of authority, the risk of pastoral abuse tends to be higher among them.

How do abusive ministers get this kind of control over people? The roots of this awesome clerical power deserve some examination. They are biblical, social, institutional and personal: Biblical. In his three pastoral epistles, Paul stresses the importance of confining this power to healthy pastors. Then, he instructs believers to give special honor to healthy pastors who preach and teach well (see 1 Tim. 5:17). But Paul also acknowledges that pastors may fall into sin or become abusive, so he gives specific directions for bringing accusations against elders (see 1 Tim. 5:19). However, abusive pastors sometimes counter any efforts to hold them accountable for their actions by misusing biblical passages such as, "'Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm'" (1 Chr. 16:22, NKJV). Social. The Constitution of the United States guarantees religious freedom. This secures the pastor's right to preach and teach whatever he or she chooses. The government also empowers ministers to marry and bury people. In spite of the media attention to some ministers' scandalous sins, the pastor is still the most highly trusted

Personal. Most people implicitly trust their pastors. They do not look at their pastors with the same discretion or suspicion that protects them from other harmful people in their communities. This enhances the pastor's power and gives them greater opportunity than any other civic leader to hurt or help people.

DIFFERING DEGREES Abusive pastors have an uncanny ability to pick their victims. They usually choose people who are unsuspecting and somewhat naive--people who cannot find it in their hearts to question one who says he is "a man of God." Abusive pastors also carefully select the leaders for their congregations. They choose men and women who are willing to give total and unquestioned

allegiance to the pastor in return for positions of prominence and power in the church. These leaders become the abusive pastor's agents for controlling and manipulating the congregation. The degrees of pastoral abuse may be viewed on a continuum ranging from financial abuse to sexual abuse with diminished personhood in between: Financial abuse. Abusive pastors may manipulate wealthy contributors into making major donations or investing in schemes that will financially benefit themselves. Or, the pastors may borrow from parishioners and fail to repay them.

Perhaps the most devastating cases of financial abuse involve pastors who directly persuade people or allow their names to be used to encourage people to invest money in pyramid schemes or other highly questionable business ventures. Wise pastors know that if an investment scheme seems too good to be true, it probably is. An even more despicable form of financial abuse is deceiving people to believe that a miraculous covenantal offering to the minister will bring to them an exponentially larger amount of money than they gave. This kind of clergy quackery is often seen on latenight television in markets where there are

Diminished personhood. In the last 35 years I have seen many victims of pastoral abuse who are left with little or no sense of personal worth, and suffer from depression and anxiety. They have lost faith in everything and everybody. Simply establishing rapport with these people is a difficult therapeutic challenge. So, just getting them to feel safe enough to open up and tell their stories is our first goal. Verbally processing feelings that have been bottled up for months or years brings relief to them. These stories often involve accounts of abusive pastors planting seeds of suspicion among members of the same family. A wife is told that her husband doesn't really care for her like the pastor does. And a husband is convinced that he can't trust his wife. An abusive pastor is sinister enough to make each member of his church feel they have a unique relationship with him or her, and that other members are envious and jealous of that relationship. Eventually, each person feels closely linked to the pastor, but suspicious of the group. The only link they have with one another is through the pastor. Coming out of such sick personality cults is a gigantic step for people because they have been taught that if they ever say anything critical about the pastor, God will severely judge them or something dreadful will happen to them or their children. Sexual abuse. Typically, sexual abuse begins with the pastor's subtle calculated touch that obviously violates personal boundaries. In reflecting on what has happened, the person is confused about the intentionality of it. After all, this was their pastor who touched them. They do not want to feel it was intentional. In their mind, the pastor would never do anything like that.

viewers desperate enough for money to make this a profitable venture for religious hucksters. Those who engage in this kind of religious racketeering are a disgrace to the ministry.

Often, this violation occurs in the context of counseling or comforting a member in crisis. So, the person assumes that the pastor just got carried away in his efforts to help. However, when no objection is raised, the abusive pastor seeks the next opportunity to cross a more intimate boundary. Once the sexual intent is obvious, the person feels compromised, but may feel that they were responsible for inviting the advance in some way. The pastor then persuades the person that it is in everyone's interests to keep what has happened confidential. After all, what would happen to the church, to the person's family, and to the pastor and his family if this were to be revealed? How do people get trapped into such abusive groups? Usually they stumble across the groups through the misguided sincerity of their own spiritual search. Or, they have been craftily recruited by members of the groups.

HEALING THE WOUNDED 1. Create a loving, accepting environment where the person can learn to trust again. The longer the person has been deceived and the deeper they have been hurt, the more difficult it will be for them to trust you. So, help them trust again by giving them unconditional love and acceptance! 2. Let them tell their stories. When people are breaking free from an abusive leader, they are torn by powerful, conflicting emotions. They feel violated, betrayed and duped. They are angry and outraged, but may be too fearful or too guilty to get in touch with those feelings at first. As they tell their stories, they discover that guilt is not an appropriate response to their abuse and the love of Christ helps them overcome their fears (see 1 John 4:18). Then they are ready to deal with their anger and outrage. 3. Set realistic expectations for recovery. Page 46 Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014

Even through prayer and godly counseling, recovery usually requires from six to 18 months and will follow four predictable stages: First, shock--"This is like a nightmare; I can't believe it is true." (This stage lasts from a few hours to a few days.) Second, storm--intense emotional conflict and deep depression. (This stage lasts from several weeks to several months.) Third, search-"Where is God in all of this? How can I make sense of it?" (This stage lasts for several months.) Finally, sequel--peace and joy emerge again. While accompanying a person through this painful process I try to help them learn to distinguish the difference between a healthy spiritual experience and an unhealthy one. A careful search of the New Testament reveals the characteristics of a church that encourages such spiritual health: Is affirmed in fellowship. People need to beware of religious groups whose conformity to rigid legalistic practices and strange beliefs cut them off from other Christians. Sees God as love. Abusive churches control people with guilt, fear, shame and a suspicion of other churches who have not found the "true way.“ Teaches the believer that being unworthy does not mean that we are worthless. Our self-worth was established at Calvary (see 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). We are not worthy of the price Christ paid for our redemption, but the fact that He paid it assures us that we are not worthless.

•Helps one deal with reality--not deny it. •Is not rigid, but flexible enough to help one deal with the changes of the future. •Helps one deal with stress and anxiety. •Helps one manage anger constructively. •Balances work and play. Helps one love and forgive others.

LOOKING INSIDE So, how do we as spiritual leaders identify traits

in ourselves that may lead to spiritual abuse? Here is a list of indications that you may have abusive tendencies:

I may be excessively devoted to work to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships.

I have a grandiose sense of self-importance, and tend to exaggerate my talents and achievements.

I am inflexible, stubborn and controlling, insisting that others submit exactly to my way of doing things.

I am preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success.

I unreasonably criticize and scorn other ministers and people in positions of authority in the church.

I see myself as someone "special" who can only be understood by other "special" or high-status people.

I am uncomfortable in situations where I am not the center of attention.

I require excessive admiration and feel entitled to special treatment. Others are expected to automatically comply with my expectations. I take advantage of others to achieve my own goals. I lack compassion, and am unwilling to identify with the feelings and needs of others. I am arrogant and haughty. I am preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends and associates. I fear confiding in people since they may maliciously use any information I give them to do me harm. I read demeaning or threatening meanings into innocent remarks.

I bear grudges and am unforgiving of others I feel have harmed me. I am quick to perceive attacks on my character or reputation that are not apparent to others and react angrily or counterattack. I am deceitful and seduce others for my own profit or pleasure. I am impulsive in my actions and fail to plan ahead.

I believe I am doing a much better job than others think I am doing. Each of us needs to engage in the kind of conscientious ongoing self-examination that will keep us sensitive to the slightest indication of any characteristics of spiritual abuse in our own ministries. If you recognize a number of these traits in your ministry reach out for help. The abuse of pastoral power is a treatable but not selfcorrecting problem. However, by humbling yourself and submitting to a godly counselor, these character traits can be conquered. The pastoral power God has given you does not need to be abusive. It can be expressed in ways to set people free to be the people God has called them to be. Everyone in the ministry has an obligation to God and to the public to identify ministers who abuse their spiritual power, confront them and attempt to get them the help they obviously need. This confrontation should be undertaken in a loving and biblical manner (see Matt. 18:15-17). My experience indicates that few abusive pastors respond positively to such attempts to help them address these issues in their lives, but they deserve the opportunity. Many of them are very gifted individuals whose ministries could bring great healing and freedom to God's people.

Diplomatic Immunity? Spiritual authority does not exempt the pastor from biblical standards. Controlling pastors Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 47

believe they are to be obeyed simply because of the office they hold. They conveniently use scriptures such as Hebrews 13:17, which says, "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls" (NKJV). When insecure leaders are challenged regarding any type of dishonesty or hypocrisy, they often quote 1 Chronicles 16:22: "'Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.'" Because of their interpretation of this verse, many pastors and leaders claim to have some form of "diplomatic immunity" from the biblical standards to which the rest of the body of Christ is held. This spirit of control is not new to our generation. It has been operating in religious leaders for thousands of years. The prophet Ezekiel boldly declared the Lord's rebuke concerning the religious leaders of his day, saying: "'The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them'" (Ezek. 34:4). God was accusing the spiritual leaders in Ezekiel's day of ignoring the needs of the people, and of using their positions of authority to beat down the people of God with their own set of rules and regulations. God the Father describes the priests as shepherds who have selfishly neglected the needs of the sheep in order to satisfy their own needs.

The word "cruelty" in this verse can also be translated "harshness." In other words, according to the Lord, it was with a strong harshness that the religious leaders beat down and abused the people of Israel. The book of Matthew records how Jesus viewed the people of His day. "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd" (Matt. 9:36). Page 48 Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014

The word "weary" is the Greek word skullo, and it literally means "to be harassed." Jesus saw the people as innocent sheep who were being harassed and abused by the Pharisees. Obviously what was happening in the time of Ezekiel was still going on in Jesus' day--and it is still happening today.

Loosen Your Grip The most obvious and overarching characteristic of a controlling pastor is, of course, the desperate desire to be in control. But there's more to this desire than meets the eye. See if any of these traits make you a little nervous: 1. Obnoxious. Control freaks can be characterized as people who are offensive, injuring nearly every relationship they have with their controlling and pernicious ways. 2. Tenacious. It's part of the "Control Freak Code": "Don't ever, ever, ever, give in." The "control freak" pastor could easily spend several minutes correcting a story he is being told. No matter that the detail he's concerned about makes absolutely no difference to the story, he wants to be right. 3. Invasive. Some controlling pastors exhibit an invasive quality by poking around in their parishioners' private lives--in a "ministerial" sort of way. "Saintly" control freaks will cloak their invasiveness in religious garb. "Why has the Lord put you on my heart?" they may ask as a way of getting their gossip fix.

4. Obsessive. Control freaks obsess about anything and everything, from a person's offhanded remark to where people are seated around a conference table. Anything can become their obsession, causing them to lose perspective and neglect the big picture. 5. Perfectionistic. Listen carefully, and you will hear controlling ministers say under their breath, "I can't believe I did that, what a jerk." They will

berate themselves for not having everything go exactly the way they wanted it to. We all get frustrated from time to time because something throws a chink in the works, but the typical control freak can't let it go. 6. Critical. Everyone knows control freaks can be some of the most painfully critical people you'll ever meet. It seems they can't keep their critical comments in check. They blurt out their critiques as easily as a professional reviewer gives a "thumbs down" to a movie. 7. Irritable. Cranky and contentious. Touchy and testy. Those who work closely with the control freak know to walk on eggshells if they don't want to set him or her off. The tiniest of things can ruin the control freak's day. 8. Demanding. This is a mainstay for control freaks. To get their way, they often resort to making demands. Like a kidnapper who is trying to secure a ransom, they order people around at their whim and fancy.

9. Rigid. In the hugely successful TV hit Seinfeld, one of the most popular episodes was based on a real-life situation and titled "The Soup Nazi." It centered around a feisty man running a small eatery where New Yorkers stood outside in long lines to enjoy takeout orders of this guy's delicious soup creations. The catch? Customers had to put up with this control freak's rigid rules. Only one customer in the store at a time. Place your order immediately. Do not point. Don't ask questions. Pay and leave. If you wanted to feast on these tasty soups, you did as the man said. And if you didn't? "No soup for you," the Soup Nazi would snap. "Come back three months.“ The episode struck a chord with viewers because we all know control freaks who live by rigid rules and expect us to do the same.


By S. Michael Houdmann

The Bible doesn‘t tell us how to ―date‖ or ―court,‖ whichever we call the process we use to get to know a potential mate. In the Bible times, neither of these existed in the same form that we see them today Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014 Page 51

Back then, families helped young women and men meet and become engaged and often chose their children‘s mates for them. Today, singles are more on their own to find a mate. Some singles don‘t bother to look for a spouse, believing God will bring the person to them, while others are forever on a feverish search for one, fearing they may miss him or her. There should be a balance, as we remember that God is perfectly loving (Ephesians 3:18;1 John 3:16-18) and perfectly sovereign over every situation, desire and need (Psalm 109:21;Romans 8:38-39). Unless we are rebelling against God, we can be sure that He is not punishing us through our singleness and that He is very likely bringing the right man or woman our way…eventually! God uses our choices, other people, and sometimes even modern technology, to bring about marriages. Before a Christian single considers any of the ―newer‖ methods of finding a spouse, it‘s helpful to consider whether we may be engaging in any self-defeating behavior. Is it possible we are being too picky, looking for the fairy-tale prince or princess, and by doing so, limiting the possibilities of what God may know is best for us and which we have not yet considered? Are we not being picky enough, forgetting that God calls all Christians to marry only other Christians (2 Corinthians 6:14), or are we considering someone who is stuck in a serious, life-altering sin that could endanger the marriage? A Christian man should take the lead in relationships, asking the woman out, calling her, and making sure their relationship glorifies Christ in all things. A Christian woman should let the man take the initiative as the leader God made him to be and resist the temptation to initiate the relationship. And, finally, as believers, we should be able to stand on our own two feet, relying on the Lord to fulfill us rather than feeling a need to be married in order to be whole. Once we have these common struggles sorted out, we can begin to pursue a woman, or be pursued by a man, with an eye towards marriage. As in all decisions, we should ask God to direct us clearly. It can be difficult to meet single Christian men and women, especially if most of our friends have already married. We can put ourselves in a position to meet other Christians by looking for a church singles group. We may want to volunteer for a cause we care about or join other groups, being sure that we are doing it because we enjoy it, not just because we want to meet as many potential mates as possible. Some people prefer to meet their spouse through friends, family, or in a chance meeting out in the world, and many do just that. But others believe they are limited in the people they meet because of their profession, the size of their city, or the nature of their activities. For these people, it may be wise to consider other methods. Some of the modern methods of finding a mate include internet or online dating, professional matchmaking services, and speed dating. Each has its pros and cons, and none is right for everyone. Before beginning any Page 52 Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014

of these methods, we should begin in prayer, asking God whether it is the step He wants us to take.

Internet dating is currently the most popular alternative way to meet singles. There are Christian dating websites, including There are secular dating websites that allow you to limit your search to Christians, and they (like the Christian sites) often let you specify the denomination you are looking for as well. Some of the most popular websites are,, and (Please note that Blessed Magazine does not personally endorse any particular dating site.) eHarmony is unique in that it uses an extensive personality test to provide customized matches to each person, though each user must only choose from the matches given to him or her—they cannot communicate with anyone they choose. Most of the other sites (Christian and secular) provide various ways that men and women can quickly assess compatibility before beginning any form of communication. Most sites charge a monthly or yearly fee, ranging from a few dollars to twenty or thirty dollars a month. eHarmony requires that members proceed through several ―steps‖ of communication before they are allowed to e-mail and exchange phone numbers. The other sites offer quicker communication. While it is easy to meet new people on all of the websites, anyone trying out internet dating must be very careful. One major downfall of internet dating is that you can never be sure who is being honest and who is pretending to be someone they‘re not. The result of a deception can be humorous or even deadly. It‘s a good idea to never answer any communication from someone from another country, unless you are able to conduct an extensive background check on him or her. Some of these people are trying to con the men and women they meet. Always begin by meeting the person in a public place—never allow them to drive you anywhere or take you somewhere where you will be alone. It is wise to plan a double date, so that a close friend can offer his or her opinion on this (let‘s face it) complete stranger. Listen to your instincts and get away fast if you ever feel you are in any danger. Warnings aside, though, many happy Christian marriages have come out of internet dating. Professional matchmaking services are usually safer than internet dating, but are less popular, and don‘t always have a very large pool of people to choose from. They can also be more expensive, usually involve more extensive applications, and require some type of background check. Speed dating is where singles circulate systematically through a room of tables in order to assess a potential date in only a few minutes per rotation. At the end of the night, they turn in a card that indicates whom they would be willing to be matched up with. The couples who have mutual interest will receive each other‘s contact information. Professional matchmaking and speed dating can be just as dangerous as internet dating, but, if done safely and wisely, can potentially lead to a successful Christian marriage. In all of the choices we make, though, it‘s crucial to remember that it is God—not us—who brings us together with a spouse. As simple as it may sound, we shouldn‘t have to work to find our spouse; we should be living

out our lives with any desires for a spouse on the back burner and our desires for knowing God at the forefront of our hearts. Men do need to take the initiative in a relationship and pursue the woman, but God is still the one who brings the couple together. Seek God and He will fulfill (or change) your desires (Psalm 103:5;Romans 12:2) in His perfect way and His perfect time (Romans 5:6;Romans 8:26-27). Would we want it any other way? Look at the story of Isaac and Rebekah and how God brought them together (Genesis 24). It was sovereignly planned and controlled by God. The marriage of two people is nothing short of a miracle, but, then again, the same could be said of our birth and of even our living to see the next day. God holds our every moment in His hands (Psalm 31:15), and He will not let us slip through the cracks of His gentle fingers. He cradles our lives and our hearts in His hands, and He will not forget His children.

Page 54 Blessed Magazine October/November, 2014

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