May 2023

Page 1


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About Us


Brent Goodge

Brian Johnson

Charles Finney

Danny Hesterly

Granger Hughes

Heather Guthrie

Janice Washington

John Garrod

Jonathon Wright

Judy Hood

Kody Fox

Kristen West

Rodney Jones

Talma Clark

Terrie Ruff


Matthew Ruckman




Caleb Prytherch



Paula Knipp



GoodNews Christian Magazine Catoosa


5,000 Monthly


Jodi Varnado



Matthew and Bethany Ruckman

Cell: 423-503-1410





Hello Friends,

We want to take a moment to tell you who we are and what we are about. Our names are Matt and Bethany Ruckman and we have six beautiful children, Brendon, Kailey, Andrew, Leah Jean, Emma, and Cooper. We live in Cleveland, Tennessee, and love what this town has to offer! We have started GoodNews Christian Magazine because we feel that when God, family, and community are combined, lives will be changed.

GoodNews Christian Magazine is a complimentary, Christian lifestyle publication. You can find us throughout the community in retail establishments, churches, restaurants, and more. Our magazine opens the door for Christians to work together to grow and strengthen our community through relevant editorial and effective advertising.

GoodNews Christian Magazine is written by men and women in the community who love and serve the Lord. Our hearts are open and willing to be used by God to reach out to the community to spread the GoodNews!

Disclaimer All of the content in the GoodNews Christian Magazine is for general information and/or use. Such contents does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon in making (or refraining from making) a decision. Any specific advice or replies to queries in any part of the magazine is the personal opinion of such experts/consultants/persons and is not subscribed to by GoodNews Christian Magazine. The information in GoodNews Christian Magazine is provided on an “AS IS” basis, and all warranties, expressed or implied of any kind, regarding any matter pertaining to any information, advice or replies are disclaimed and excluded. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement or article we deem inappropriate.
Contents MAY 2023 GoodNews from the Pastor’s Desk 6 Willing Vessels by Kody Fox GoodNews for Kids 8 Intertwinement by Charles Finney GoodNews Money Matters 10 Taxes on Your Investments and Social Security by Granger Hughes GoodNews for Men 12 Lovely Things by Brian Johnson GoodNews for Women 14 Who Are You Opening the Door To? by Heather Guthrie GoodNews for Parents 18 Empty-Nesters by Kristen West GoodNews Cover Story 20 Better Insurance Management GoodNews for Youth 22 Sharing the Burden by Danny Hesterly GoodNews for Everyone 24 May We Rise Above by Jonathon Wright GoodNews for Everyone 26 The Two Bible Verses We Need the Most by Rodney Jones GoodNews Poetry 28 Master Of My Soul by Judy Hood GoodNews for Everyone 30 Color in the Clouds by Terrie Ruff GoodNews for Everyone 32 April Showers by Janice Washington GoodNews for your Taste Buds 34 Morning Glory Muffins by Talma Clark GoodNews for Everyone 36 Was This the Last One? by John Garrod GoodNews for Everyone 38 Pentecost by Brent Goodge 12 20 36

Willing Vessels

As we walked up the porch every morning, the smell of Mamaw cooking breakfast greeted us. My grandparents kept my brother and me while our parents worked, but their lives didn’t revolve around babysitting us. We were passengers along for the ride for whatever they had planned for the day.

Our circuit was any hospital, funeral home, nursing home, or residence my Papaw would be visiting. He was the pastor of Temple Baptist Church and has been for 43 years. His ministry would eventually span 60-plus years. Recently, I called to check on him. He was taking a watermelon to someone who needed a pick-me-up. That’s who he is, someone you can count on when times are tough.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but God had us in training. We thought we were just killing time every day until our parents got home from work, but the Lord was showing us what ministry looks like. We learned to give someone else a smile, a word of encouragement, or more importantly, a little of our time. We were simply tag-a-longs with Papaw while he ministered in a radius not too far from home. We were too young to be sent to seminary or some theological institution of higher learning. We were sent to learn on the job, as the needs came up, as the days flowed by. I don’t think there is a seminary in the world that can teach you how to show the love of Jesus or care about people, like seeing and experiencing it.

Isaiah 6:8 says, “Also, I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’” My Papaw answered the call from the Lord those years ago much in the same way the Prophet Isaiah did. Despite all the obstacles, difficulties, and hardships that would come because of the decision, he decided the gospel and Jesus were worth it.

On January 29, 2023, the Lord let us see what He had been doing all along. My grandfather passed the mantel to me as the pastor of Temple Baptist Church in the Prospect community of Bradley County, Tennessee. He’ll remain the

pastor emeritus, continuing to do what he’s been doing for 60 years—loving people exactly where they are. My prayer is that I’m able to utilize the example my grandparents have set for me and pastor in a way that reflects those biblical principles of loving God, then loving people. Each of us has a calling on our lives and God made us specifically to fulfill it. Every fiber in our DNA is there to glorify God and serve an eternal purpose.

Further in Isaiah, Scripture says, “the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to

heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives. . .to comfort all who mourn. . .to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

You might be asking “How can I accomplish all those things?” The Lord anchors all these aspects of ministry with His promise: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me” (Isaiah 61:1). We can’t accomplish anything without the Spirit of the Lord God. When we accept the call, we simply become willing vessels the Holy Spirit can work through. The more willing we are, the more He can accomplish.

Gò0dNews from the Pastor’s Desk 6 // May 2023
About The
Author Kody Fox is the pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Cleveland, Tennessee.
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There was a boy named Judge Ment. He was a bright and curious student, but he often found himself feeling isolated from his classmates and teachers. He didn’t quite know how to connect with them, and as a result, he struggled to make friends and form meaningful relationships.

his classmates to join him in activities outside of school, and even made an effort to strike up conversations with his teachers during class.

Judge Ment also learned the importance of intertwining with others in work and play. He found that working together on projects helped him to learn new skills and to appreciate the perspectives of others. He also discovered that playing with his classmates and teachers helped to build trust and camaraderie, and that it was a great way to have fun and relax.

As Judge Ment continued to make connections and build relationships, he found that his experience at school became much more enjoyable. He felt happier and more fulfilled, and he was able to

One day, Judge Ment’s English teacher assigned the class to read Psalm 133:1, which says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” The verse struck a chord with Judge Ment, and he began to reflect on the importance of unity and connection in his own life. Determined to change his ways, Judge Ment began to actively seek out opportunities to connect with his classmates and teachers. He volunteered to work on group projects, invited

achieve more academically and personally.

In the end, Judge Ment realized that the verse from Psalm 133:1 was not just a scriptural passage but a wisdom that can be applied to his daily life. He understood the true meaning of unity and how it can be achieved by intertwining with others in work and play. He became a shining example to his classmates and teachers, and he was forever grateful for the lessons he learned about the importance of connection and community.

Gò0 dNews for Kids
8 // May 2023

Taxes on Your Investments and Social Security

Money Matters Granger Hughes with

As tax season comes to an end for most tax filers, let’s look at how our investments can affect our tax filing at year end and how and when your Social Security income might be subject to income tax.

The stock market and taxes are closely related, as investment gains and losses in the stock market can trigger tax implications for investors. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Capital Gains: When you sell a stock for more than what you paid for it, you have a capital gain. Depending on how long you held the stock, the gain may be classified as short-term (if you held the stock for one year or less) or long-term (if you held the stock for more than one year). Capital gains are subject to taxation, with long-term gains generally taxed at a lower rate than short-term gains.

2. Capital Losses: When you sell a stock for less than what you paid for it, you have a capital loss. Capital losses can be used to offset capital gains in the same year, which can lower your tax bill. If your capital losses exceed your capital gains, you can use the excess losses to offset up to $3,000 of other types of income (such as wages) and carry over any remaining losses to future tax years.

3. Dividends: If you own stocks that pay dividends, the dividends you receive are generally taxable. The tax rate on qualified dividends (which includes most dividends paid by U.S. corporations) is generally lower than the tax rate on ordinary income.

4. Retirement Accounts: If you hold stocks in a tax-advantaged retirement account, such as a traditional IRA or a 401(k), you generally won’t owe taxes on gains or dividends until you withdraw money from the account. However, there are some exceptions, such as if you take early withdrawals from the account or if you hold certain types of investments (such as REITs) in the account.

5. Tax-loss Harvesting: Some investors engage in a strategy known as tax-loss harvesting, where they sell losing investments to offset gains and reduce their tax bill. However, there are rules and limitations to be aware of, such as the “wash sale” rule that prevents investors from immediately repurchasing the same or a substantially identical security after selling it at a loss.

Social Security income may be subject to federal income tax, depending on the total amount of income received from all sources, including Social Security benefits. If an individual’s total income, including half of their Social Security benefits, exceeds certain thresholds, they may be required to pay federal income tax on a portion of their Social Security benefits. The thresholds for determining whether Social Security benefits are taxable depend on an individual’s filing status and are as follows for the 2021 tax year:

• Single Filers: If their combined income (which includes adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest, and half of their Social Security benefits) is between $25,000 and $34,000, up to 50% of their Social Security benefits may be subject to federal income tax. If their combined income exceeds $34,000, up to 85% of their Social Security benefits may be subject to federal income tax.

• Married Filing Jointly: If their combined income is between $32,000 and $44,000, up to 50% of their Social Security benefits may be subject to federal income tax. If their combined income exceeds $44,000, up to 85% of their Social Security benefits may be subject to federal income tax.

Overall, it’s important to be aware of the tax implications of your stock market investments. It’s also important to note that not all states tax Social Security benefits. Both of these factors make it worth consulting with a tax professional or a financial advisor if you have any questions or concerns.

10 // May 2023
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Lovely Things

How do you handle adversity? People have different ideas, thoughts, and techniques to get them through. As Christians, we have a tendency to forget to turn to God first. We try to work things out on our own, and eventually, we get around to talking to God about it. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God.” In the next verse, we’re told this will give us peace. This isn’t always an instantaneous process though. What do we do when we keep dwelling on it? How can we move our focus away from the problem so that we’re not full of care? Not only does Paul tell us to give it to God, but he also tells us what to think on instead of the problem.

Verse 8 of that same chapter tells us to “think on” things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and things that are of a good report.

After an eleven-year marriage, I discovered my wife was having an affair. She decided to leave me and our children to be with him. This was the most difficult time of my life. I cried a lot! I lost weight without trying. Everyday was incredibly difficult. In my Bible reading, I came across this scripture and saw it in a different light. I decided to look up each of these six things through the Bible and write down a key phrase or thought that corresponded to each one. I also thought about things in my life that had to do with each one.

When school started that fall, my daughter was in kindergarten. She rode the bus to school, but I had to be at work before the bus picked her up, so I would drop

her off at her mother’s house every morning so she could catch the bus from there. She and I had a ritual. When she got out of the car to walk to the door, she would stop halfway, turn to me, and blow me a kiss. I would blow one back to her. She would catch it, close her eyes, and hold it to her chest, then look at me and smile. That was lovely! It was a key thing I would think on whenever I was upset about the situation I found myself in.

Thank God for His word and its practicality. In this scripture, it doesn’t just tell us to let go and let God, it also tells us what we can do to replace those negative thoughts. If you are struggling with issues in your life that make you full of care, take the time to write out some things you can think on that will help you focus on the positive or things that you can be thankful for. That way, you’re prepared to combat those thoughts Satan uses to keep you down.

Gò0 dNews for Men 12 // May 2023
About The Author
Brian Edward Johnson is a deacon at his church, nurse and author of Behaving Wisely, One Man’s Journey from Betrayal to Blessing. He longs for Christians to trust God for every aspect of their lives.
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Who Are You Opening the Door To?

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

I was headed out the door. The door wouldn’t shut. I slammed it a time or two. Actually, three times. Open and shut. Open and shut. I looked around the door and could not figure out why it wouldn’t shut. I thought maybe the camera cord had repositioned. Maybe someone recently had problems

it had to be around the latch. I looked closer. Sure enough, there’s a plate that goes around the latch, and that was loose. The two screws were loose that kept it aligned. In that moment, the Holy Spirit started speaking to me. How something small being misaligned can throw you off. Nothing else was in the way except the most important plate.

Are you opening the door to your past? We say, “Come on in, old friends! Come on in, anxiety! Come on in, depression! Y’all have always been there! Come on in, old ways. Come on in, old sin.”

We literally open the door of our hearts, our mind, and our soul to those old ways. When the Lord comes knocking, we close the door on Him. We don’t trust Him with our ugly. We say, “Nope, God, you can’t see this, you can’t fix this, and I’m too ashamed for you to work this out. You deserve better than this.”

shutting it. Maybe someone tried to break in and just didn’t do well. My first thought was it was just fine last night. I didn’t have time to see who could fix it. Also, who could? Anyhow, I locked the screen door and shut the door the best I could. I said, “God, this is your house. You protect it and take care of it anyways, so I’m trusting you.” At some points, the door came to my mind throughout the day. I talked to God about it again.

When I got home, I talked to Him again and tried to shut the door a few more times. It didn’t work the first time, but I thought, surely, it’ll work this time. I looked all around the door. Finally, I thought

He keeps gently knocking. Finally, we decide we are going to open the door to Him! Opening the door! “Come on in, peace and contentment! Come on in, freedom! Come on in, Jesus!”

We were so focused on what we used to be and opened the door to anything. Let’s open the door to the Lord! Let’s surrender to Him! Let’s ask Him in all things! He is the door! He is the way! His is the truth! Let’s focus on the Kingdom! The door to Heaven! We have the keys to the Kingdom! Are you going to keep opening the door to what is not of God? He really loves you. He really loves you. He really loves you.

Gò0 dNews for Women 14 // May 2023
About The Author
Heather Guthrie, daughter of the King dancing in the deep and encouraging others with truth. She loves to meet people where they’re at in ministry. She can be reached at



423-710-9797 |

Ringgold Church Directory


Boynton Baptist Church

4093 Boynton Drive

Ringgold, GA 30736


Briarwood Baptist Church

26 Ellis Springs Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Burning Bush Baptist Church

2195 Burning Bush Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Calvary Memorial Baptist Church

518 Highway #41

Ringgold, GA 30736


Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle

4994 Highway 41

Ringgold, GA 30736


Cherokee Valley Baptist Church

1495 Cherokee Valley Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Christ First Church

1008 N. Beaumont Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Clearview Baptist Church

2183 Dietz Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Ebenezer Baptist Church

77 Hackett Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Faith Baptist Church

308 Boynton Drive

Ringgold, GA 30736


First Baptist Church of Ringgold

7611 Nashville Street

Ringgold, GA 30736


Friendship Primitive Baptist Church

851 Ooltewah Ringgold Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Gospel Way Baptist Church

31 Bowling Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Grace Baptist Church

7638 Nashville Street

Ringgold, GA 30736


Harvest Baptist

Church of the Deaf

1314 Old Three Notch Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Video Call: 706-956-0445

Heritage Pointe Baptist Church

60 Dyer Bridge Place

Ringgold, GA 30736


Hickory Grove Baptist Church

5010 Houston Valley Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Keith Baptist Church

1573 Keith Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Living Faith Baptist Church Highway 41

Ringgold, GA 30736


Midway Baptist Church

Highway 41 North

Ringgold, GA 30736


Mount Peria Baptist Church

341 Sparks Street

Ringgold, GA 30736


Mount Pisgah Baptist Church

66 Westbrook Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Mount Vernon Baptist Church

1006 Mount Vernon Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


New Bethel Baptist Church

1635 Salem Valley Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


New Friendship Baptist Church

3833 Salem Valley Road

Ringgold, GA 30736

New Heights Baptist Church

158 Ooltewah Ringgold Rd

Ringgold, GA 30736


New Liberty Baptist Church

923 Graysville Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Peavine Baptist Church

1089 Peavine Road

Rock Spring, GA 30739


Philadelphia Baptist Church

1065 Pine Grove Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Pine Grove Baptist Church

46 Pine Grove Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Pleasant Grove Baptist Church

7769 Alabama Highway

Ringgold, GA 30736


Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

1995 Ooltewah Ringgold Rd

Ringgold, GA 30736


Poplar Springs Baptist Church

422 Poplar Springs Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Salem Baptist Church

1947 Keith Salem Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Welcome Hill Baptist Church

223 Inman Street

Ringgold, GA 30736


Church of Christ

Cohutta Road Church of Christ

2233 Mount Vernon Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Ringgold Church of Christ

4099 Nashville Street

Ringgold, GA 30736


Church of God

Boynton Church of God

1956 Three Notch Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Indian Springs Church of God

2256 Highway 41

North Ringgold, GA 30736


Noble Church of God

75 Glass Rd

Lafayette, GA 30728

Ringgold Church of God

117 Emberson Drive

Ringgold, GA 30736


Wallaceville Church of God

236 Harp Switch Road

Chickamauga, GA 30707



Green Pasture Community Church

1008 North Beaumont Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Lee’s Chapel Community Church

3253 Catoosa Parkway

Ringgold, GA 30736


Rock Bridge Community Church

102 Remco Shops Lane

Ringgold, GA 30736


Full Gospel

Yates Spring Full Gospel Church

1300 Yates Springs Road

Ringgold, GA 30736



Boynton UMC

4246 Boynton Drive

Ringgold, GA 30736


Graysville UMC

2331 Graysville Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Ringgold UMC

7484 Nashville Street

Ringgold, GA 30736


Woodstation UMC

13198 Alabama Highway

Ringgold, GA 30736


Non-Denominational Battlefield Church of Faith

Highway 41 South

Ringgold, GA 30736


Calvary Chapel Ringgold

548 Boynton Drive

Ringgold, GA 30736


16 // May 2023

Church of Living Faith

7623 Alabama Highway

Ringgold, GA 30736


Crossroads Church

7638 Nashville Street

Ringgold, GA 30736

Faith Builders International

8309 Highway 41

Ringgold, GA 30736


Grace Memorial Church

118 East Nashville Street

Ringgold, GA 30736


The Gathering

2501 Pine Grove Road

Ringgold, GA 30736

706-841 0161

Light House Church 1201 Lafayette Road

Rossville, GA 30741


Messianic Ministry To Israel

P.O. Box 22654

Chattanooga, TN 37422

New Life Church

PO Box 1973

Ringgold, GA 30736


Venue Church

3969 Cloud Springs Road

Ringgold, GA 30736



Chickamauga Presbyterian

700 7th Street

Chickamauga, GA 30707


Christ Fellowship

1176 North Three Notch Rd.

Ringgold, GA 30736


Morton Memorial

560 Red Belt Rd.

Chickamauga, GA 30707


Seventh-Day Adventist

Ringgold Seventh-Day Adventist Church

124 Kittle Street

Ringgold, GA 30736


Battlefield Community

Seventh-Day Adventist Church

96 Hillman Lane

Ringgold, GA 30736


Fort Oglethorpe Church Directory


Anchor of Hope Baptist Church

2613 Lakeview Drive

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Battlefield Baptist Church

178 South Cedar Lane

Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Burning Bush Baptist Church

2195 Burning Bush Road

Ringgold, GA 30736


Calvary Memorial Baptist Church

2 E Gate Drive

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Cloud Springs Baptist Church

207 Cloud Springs Road

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


First Baptist Church

Ft. Oglethorpe

2645 LaFayette Road

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Moriah Baptist Church

2864 Battlefield Parkway

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Nellie Head Memorial Baptist

2379 Catoosa Parkway

Tunnell Hill, GA 30755


Old Fort Baptist Church

18 Van Cleve Street

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Parkway Baptist Temple

65 Stuart Road

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Victory Baptist Church

1013 Layfayette Road

Rossville, GA 30741



Saint Gerard Catholic Church

3049 Lafayette Road

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Church of Christ

Fort Oglethorpe Church of Christ

6 Harker Road

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742



Battlefield Ministries Church

64 3rd Street

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Episcopal Church of the Nativity

1520 Cross Street

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742



Fairview UMC

2112 McFarland Avenue

Rossville, GA 30741


Fort Oglethorpe UMC

1733 Battlefield Parkway

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Newnan Springs UMC

78 Monanaw Avenue

Rossville GA 30741



Battlefield Parkway Church of the Nazarene

3220 Battlefield Parkway

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742



Battlefield Assembly In Messiah

195 Ashley Lane, Rossville, GA 30741


Battlefield Praise & Worship

1337 Battlefield Pkwy, Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Chosen Generation Ministries

92 W Patterson Avenue

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Living Waters Ministries

1337 Battlefield Pkwy

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Ridgeland Point Church

1417 Happy Valley Rd.

Rossville, GA 30741

RockPointe Church

1278 Cross Street

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Untethered Church

2473 Lafayette Road

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


Presbyterian First Presbyterian Church

1 Harker Road

Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742


(423) 790-5378 // 17
Church Listing


My husband and I are empty-nesters. The days of making little lunches, working through endless piles of laundry, and juggling a variety of extracurricular activities are over. Our four children are all grown and living their own independent lives. I smile to see them happily settling into their own marriages, careers, and families. As parents, though, that transition can be challenging, can’t it?

We spend decades providing for them, instructing them, and ultimately, preparing them to leave us and our homes. Yet, when the time finally comes for them to vacate the nest, we sometimes struggle to understand what our new role is. Many times, we try to continue to be a remote extension of what we once were when they lived in our house. As a result, we insert ourselves where we’re not invited; offer advice when it’s not solicited; and try to co-manage their decisions and jump in to offer damage control if we see things not going so well. Speaking from experience, that generally doesn’t help.

The book of Job offers a wonderful example of how we, as parents, can continue to influence the lives of our children for good, even when they’re grown, out of our homes, and making their own decisions. Job’s sons “used to take turns having banquets at their homes” and would invite their sisters to join them (Job 1:4 CSB). There’s no record of Job attending these house parties, however “whenever a round of banqueting was over, Job would send for his children and purify

them, rising early in the morning to offer burnt offerings for all of them.”

“For Job thought, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned, having cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular practice” (vs. 5).

Even as an empty-nester, Job continued to spiritually cover his grown children in prayer! He continued to exercise his God-given parental authority

to bring his kids before God’s throne regardless of their age or station in life. Can you think of anything more influential than this?

Our children will grow up, move out, and embark on their own lives. Our days of in-home nurturing will come to a close. But the truth that should comfort every parent’s heart is simply this—while your children will eventually be beyond your reach, they will never be beyond your prayers!

Gò0 dNews for Parents 18 // May 2023
About The Author
Kristen West works at Rock Bridge Community Church with a heart for staff leadership, development, and care. She is a communicator with a passion to inspire, encourage, and challenge others in their daily walk with Christ. She writes and publishes weekly
content on her blog at
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Sharing the Burden

Every Thursday, I get up at 4:45 a.m. to play basketball with a few of my buddies. It’s never easy getting up at that time. I’ve been doing this for over a year now, and I never want to get out of bed. This week I’m playing basketball, and I’m already dreading the annoying sound my alarm clock is going to make.

The only positive thing about getting up that early is going to pick up my little brother to play basketball with me. I’m the one who is usually doing the pick-up, but every once in a while, he messages me: “Hey Danny, let me pick you up for basketball this week.” Do you know what that means for me? I get to sleep an extra twenty-five minutes! Praise Jesus! It makes a huge difference knowing that my little brother is willing to pick me up from time to time and share in those early morning drives to the gym.

Galatians 6:2 says, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”

As followers of Jesus, we are called to live a holy life. To live a holy life simply means that our behaviors are not to copy the world’s behaviors. Our lives are to reflect the character and actions of Jesus. When we share each other’s burdens, we are obeying the law of Christ. What is the “law of Christ?”

To love and to be willing to share the pain, the hard moments, and the challenges of our

family and friends. If you’ve lived for more than a minute, you know how crazy and difficult this can be.

Jesus loved with no strings attached. He was willing to be inconvenienced daily. Jesus’ heart was constantly being moved with compassion as He interacted with people. Jesus was the perfect embodiment of outrageous love in action. If Jesus lived like this, we, too, should be doing the same thing. To be called a Christian is to be like Jesus in every way possible.

This month, what are some of the ways you can share in the troubles of those you care about? It doesn’t mean getting in trouble with those you care about, but how you can be a voice of encouragement and a present friend. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” If God is present in our lives during times of trouble, we should also be present in the lives of those we care about when tough times come their way.

Have you ever tried to lift a sleeper sofa (a couch with a bed in it) by yourself? Those things are super heavy. By having just one other person to help lift an end of the couch, it dramatically decreases the amount of weight you are lifting. It’s the same way in helping those in trouble. By being a present friend, you are sharing in their burden by helping make it lighter for them to carry. Go and be that kind of person this week.

Gò0 dNews for Youth 22 // May 2023
Danny Hesterly lives in Chattanooga, TN where he spends most of his days in coffee shops helping others discover their part in God’s amazing story. Danny has two children (12, 10) and has been married to his lovely bride for 17 years.

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May We Rise Above

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:29-30)

I love to watch surfers ride huge waves. They, like Peter, momentarily rise above the water. I can only imagine what it would be like to walk or ride above the water. I don’t live near the ocean and, truthfully, I am not the greatest swimmer.

Waves remind me of Creation. It is amazing how God made all the waves go back and forth in perfect unison.

Jesus and God are, after all, the ones in whom the winds and the waves obey. See Matthew 8:23-27.

It took great courage for Peter to step out of the boat, and it takes great courage for someone to step onto a board that could easily fly out from under them.

Not only do surfers have lots of courage, but they use great wisdom. They learn by trial and error to make quick judgment calls regarding which waves they should choose. But when they do not use sound wisdom and a wave is too big, there is a huge price to pay. Waves have the power to knock someone off the board and cause them to drown or throw them miles away from land. Peter also used wisdom when he started to sink. He called on Jesus for help.

Another thing I appreciate about surfers is their determination to keep trying. The waves may

knock them down, but they get back up. They look expectantly for the next perfect wave. They are determined not to let these huge waves drive and toss them but to harness their great power and rise above the water again. And like clockwork, even daily, they find themselves up in the air above the water and feel the rush of defying nature.

Has life tried to knock you down with waves of problems? Don’t forget to look for another wave. It is called the wave of God’s blessing. We need to look and follow Christ for the good things He has in store for us. But God does something even greater. He brings good in the midst of tragedy, and like the waves of the surfers, it comes daily like clockwork. So, keep your eyes on the Master. He has great blessings in His hand. Christ is right there saving and helping you rise above the waters. We just need to trust and follow His plan.

Gò0 dNews for Everyone
24 // May 2023 About The Author
Wright has been a member of the Church of God for about twenty years. He is a graduate of Lee University and Beacon University where he earned a BA and MA in Biblical studies. He loves studying the Bible and has done so for over thirty years, but only now has God given him a desire and the opportunity to be a writer. You can find more from Jonathon at
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The Two Bible Verses We Need the Most

One is from the New Testament, and one is from the Old. We need the New Testament verse first, and then we need the Old Testament verse. But wait, before you totally write me off as an alien from “outer space,” let me say that we need all the verses in the Bible, all 31,102 verses.

We need every word that God speaks. Every jot and every tittle. Every comma and every period. Anything and everything that God says, we need those words more than we need physical food. We shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

The first important Bible verse that we need is Romans 10:13. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Every human being needs the matter of salvation settled. And needs it settled now! Behold today is the day of salvation, now is the accepted time. If you want to be saved, you can be saved. A companion verse on salvation is Revelation 20:15, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” What you do for the salvation

of your soul, you will do before the wood of the cradle bumps the marble of the tomb, or it won’t get done. Forever lost! The stakes are too great to put off salvation. Whosoever will, may come. Ask Him to save you today.

The second important Bible verse that we need is Psalms 119:165. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Now that our salvation is settled. Now that our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Now that we are part of the family of God, we need to live in peace with all men and let nothing offend us.

Why do churches split? Why do deacons and preachers fight? Why do marriages fail? Why do good families leave good churches? It’s generally because somebody got offended. And why is there an offense in the first place? It’s because we, as saved people, don’t love the law of God. If we are ever offended, we are actually telling on our self! Wow! We are admitting that we don’t love the Word of God.

So, my good friend, make sure that you are saved and then make sure that you love the Words of God.

Gò0 dNews for Everyone
About The Author 26 // May 2023
Rodney Jones is a retired Police Officer and is presently a Housing and Residence Life staff member at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Rodney is a member of Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold, Georgia.
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Master Of My Soul

He is the Master of my soul

Everyday I make heaven my goal

I walk the very narrow straight

One day St. Peter will let me through the gate

I bow my head as I fast and pray

I know He will be with me all the way

My journey is long, but my heart beats strong

Nothing can keep me from the throng

I love my Lord more than life, you know

I gave Him my heart, I gave Him my soul

So if you would like to live in heaven too

Just humbly bow, He’s been waiting for you

Gò0 dNews Poetry
28 // May 2023
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Color in the Clouds

After work I decided to pick up something quick for dinner and run another errand before heading home. Honestly, I was distracted by several thoughts that day and wanted peace of mind. I kept dwelling on my “issues,” and before long, I began to feel down. I tried to call several friends and no one—I mean no one—was available! I then began to get angry because I try to always be there for them, now I couldn’t find anyone (my self-pity party had begun).

With only voice messages and silence, I had almost worked myself into tears when I noticed ahead of me a bright, colorful cloud! The first color was blue, then red and yellow! It looked as if the sun was reflecting the colors off of the fall trees in the surrounding area, and I was able to witness fall colors in the sky! I was so amazed at this sight that I forgot about my “issues” and began to focus on the awesome Creator God I serve. Just at the moment of a tearful breakdown, He gave me a reason to smile!

The colors I saw were peaceful and calming. The blue brought me to my knees as I worshipped God

and saw nature as a witness of God’s creation. The red revealed His loving sacrifice for my sins and the sins of the whole world. And the yellow seemed to be shouting to me that I had the Son of Righteousness in my life, and that the sun would shine again! I would smile again and my tears were temporary. And the “Son” was shining, and I was smiling. Hallelujah. What a colorful God!

I will never forget that colorful cloud and how God showed up at just the right time in a wonderful display of color, reminding me that He delights to be with me and that by any means necessary, He will come to me when I need Him the most. Even if it’s in the form of a colorful cloud!

How has God “wowed” you lately? How has nature reminded you of God’s love, watch, care, and protection of you? The next time you see something extraordinary in nature, consider it a gift/reminder from God just for you!

Gò0 dNews for Everyone 30 // May 2023
About The Author
Terrie E. Ruff is a public speaker, soloist and inspirational author. She is an active member of the Orchard Park SDA Church in Chattanooga. Terrie can be contacted at “The Heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Ps. 19:1).
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April Showers

We’ve all heard the old adage: “April showers bring May flowers.” Sit down with an apple blossom or a chrysanthemum. Go ahead, get real up close and personal: “Chrysanthemum, you’re sporting a lovely fuchsia heugh this season. May I ask where you got it? Apple Blossom, your fragrance is to die for. May I ask how you acquired it?” If you listen carefully, they—like a great aunt with a southern drawl—will chuckle back, “Oh this old thing? I got it from April Showers.” May’s flowers are a direct result of April’s showers. This natural

perspective, call it comfort, call it crazy, but isn’t it the birth of a child that makes the labor pains worth it?

Romans 8:28 makes it clear that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Suppose, however, that (metaphorically speaking) the awareness of May does not eliminate the sting, impact, nor trauma of April. What solace does the word offer us when life is not so cut and dry? What do we do with miscarriages, relapses, natural disasters, infidelity, eating disorders, paralysis? How do we cope when the pain is graphic, deep, and ugly? What happens when life intrudes upon our stability in taboo shades of cancer, molestation, poverty, identity confusion, postpartum depression, pornography addiction, and PTSD, to name a few? What is the answer when the promise of May’s flowers is not enough to process the gravity of April’s showers? When the mud won’t wash away, when the imagery remains long after the monsoon has passed?

dynamic has metaphorical value and its sentiment is echoed throughout God’s word.

You see, May dawns the glitz, but April holds the grit. May epitomizes freshness—birds are chirping, bees are buzzing, and animals are coming out of hibernation. May sings lead while April harmonizes in the background under dim lighting. April is to Calvary what May is to Resurrection. Psalm 30:5 puts it this way, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Isaiah 61:3 describes it as an exchange of sorts: beauty for ashes, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, and the oil of joy instead of that of mourning.

While April’s raindrops are pummeling the earth, we all know that May’s flowers are coming. There is something about a picturesque May that puts a messy April into context. We tolerate the former in anticipation of the latter. One is to be endured, the other to be enjoyed. Call it

One word: “Gethsemane.” It is the intersection of humanity and deity, where Christ grappled with the task before him. A reckoning place. A grayness. Under the weight of expectation, a vulnerable savior prayed with blood, sweat, and—I imagine—tears for an alternative. Yes, a resurrection was His to claim, but crucifixion was the prerequisite. Liberation was the final destination, but torture was the vehicle that would get Him there. Gethsemane literally translates to “oil press.” This was a place of pressing, where friends slept while He carried the weight of the world. In honest prayer, He pressed beyond “Can this cup pass from Me? to “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

Sometimes April lingers and you are up to your waist in flood water, debt, unforgiveness, chemo treatments, or even suicidal thoughts. Sometimes you are seeking desperately for a way out, an alternative to the storm. The promise of May’s flowers can seem far off, a faint whisper competing for your faith over the sound of thunder. May God’s sovereignty settle like a healing balm until raindrops give way to sprouts and Gethsemane ushers in courage. Oh, and the next time you cross a chrysanthemum or an apple blossom, perhaps you will be the pinnacle of the garden this time. “Reader, just where did you get that glow?”

Gò0 dNews for Everyone
32 // May 2023


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Morning Glory Muffins


• 2 cups of all-purpose flour

• 1 1/3 cups of sugar

• 2 teaspoons of baking soda

• 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

• ½ teaspoon of salt

• 2 cups of grated carrots

• ½ cup of raisins

• ½ cup of shredded coconut

• ½ cup of chopped pecans

• 1 (8 ounce) can of crushed pineapple (drained)

• 1 cup of vegetable oil (canola oil)

• 3 large eggs (lightly beaten)

• 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract


1. Combine the first five ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir in carrots and the next four ingredients.

2. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine oil and remaining ingredients.

3. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.

4. Place paper baking cups in muffin pans. Spoon 2/3 full.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Remove from pan. Yields approximately 22 muffins.

7. Grab a cup of coffee or milk!

Gò0 dNews for your Taste Buds
34 // May 2023
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Was This the Last One?

The troubles had begun before Thanksgiving, with problems that even left my primary care physician at the VA scratching her head a bit. She tossed out possibilities and acronyms with no certainty to any of them. The one thing that stuck in my head was that this problem needed to be fixed, and soon.

Then in January, came one of those voicemail messages you don’t ever want to get. Based on a scan I had done last July (yes, 6 months prior), a doctor somewhere in the system determined I had a form of

in the door of my mind. A thought began to haunt me: Was this Christmas just past my last one?

And then I began to do the wise thing. I began to pray. I began to look at the Word.

The reality is, yes, I am going to die. Short of the Rapture coming soon (today before lunch would be fine, Lord), something will get the better of this body.

cirrhosis, a suspicious spot on my liver, and I needed to be evaluated for home health care. (That last bit was an error; the doctor’s assistant just basically guessed at the meaning of an abbreviation on a note from the doctor and left that on my voicemail.)

Don’t ever Google medical stuff. It’s a bad idea. Two hours in, I was convinced I was rabid or maybe had ovarian cysts. Pretty unlikely for a 58-year-old man, but by the time I was done, I was almost ready to just go dig a hole somewhere. Fear was trying to stick its size 18 shoe

Cancer? Tailgaters on a wet I-75? Random Chinese weather balloon falling on me? I don’t know. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when. I don’t know if it will be peacefully in my sleep, or screaming like the passengers in my car at the time. But just as much as I don’t know the how or when, I do know how it turns out. God will still be God, and Jesus will still be my savior. Every promise He gives me in the Word will be true, and I 110% believe that when that day does come, as I enter the gates of heaven, I will in no way whatsoever be concerned about cancer, tailgaters, or the indignity of death. I won’t spare a thought as to whether I have a good doctor or not. I won’t be second-guessing my dietary choices. On that day, I will cry no tears and feel no fear, nor will I ever do any of these again. The road of life between this point and there may be rife with potholes, detours, and washouts, but the destination is worth the disturbances.

“And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no more, nor will there be sorrow or crying or pain anymore; for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Gò0 dNews for Everyone 36 // May 2023
About The
John Garrod is father of 6, husband of 1, an ESOL teacher in Dalton, GA, a Lee U graduate (c/o ‘19), a U.S. Army veteran and a member of South Cleveland COG.
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Seven weeks following the Passover, the Israelites celebrated the Feast of Weeks. Seven weeks after the original Passover during the deliverance from Egyptian slavery, God spoke His Ten Commandments to Israel. This was the inauguration of the nation of Israel as His people.

On an annual basis, the Feast of Weeks would usually occur during our month of May. It was a thanksgiving celebration for the spring harvest and a prayer of faith for a strong autumn harvest. It was one of the three annual feasts all adult Israelite males were commanded to attend.

The morning after calming the sea, Jesus met a man the world would consider hopeless. Demonic powers had granted him strength in all the wrong ways. The man could rip irons out of rock, but he had no power to go find Jesus for supernatural deliverance. Like the lamb lost on the hills, the only hope for this man was that the Good Shepherd would come looking for him.

While His frightened disciples ran away, Jesus stayed, unafraid to complete the mission His Father had sent Him to do that day. Bring home the lost sheep. In the presence of Almighty God, the demons trembled. Begging Jesus not to send them to torment for torturing one created in His image, the demons asked to invade a herd of pigs. Jesus granted their request but demanded they leave His child immediately.

Almost instantaneously, the onlookers were distraught that a massive value of pigs drowned in the lake. But the Father in heaven was rejoicing that another child had been brought home. Jesus had done it again.

The man had been delivered from slavery to sin and the devil. He was now a living symbol of the early harvest of souls. Falling to his knees in gratitude and worship, the man begged Jesus for permission to join the band of His followers. But Jesus said, “No.” He had received the power of Christ’s redemption. Now he would receive the power

of Christ’s commission. The man wasn’t a theologian, but he could tell an audience who wouldn’t listen to Jesus what the power of Christ had accomplished in his life. And when Jesus returned to the region, this man’s missionary efforts resulted in a massive harvest of souls for the kingdom of God.

Seven weeks after Jesus died and was raised from the dead, the Holy Spirit fell on the apostles. One hundred and

twenty disciples became 3,000 in a day. The Gospel went to the known world in one generation. Deliverance on Calvary had led to the early harvest at Pentecost.

That 3,000 has grown to over two billion who claim to follow Jesus today. The final harvest is fast approaching. Are we telling others what Jesus has done for us? Are we finding the lost sheep? Or do we run away from “losers?” If we have received the deliverance from Christ, if we have been inaugurated as His people, then how can we possibly have any higher priority until He returns?

Gò0 dNews for Everyone 38 // May 2023
About The Author
Brent Goodge lives in Whitfield County and prays for focus to listen for the Master’s voice rather than staring at the surrounding waves.
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