Christian Living Magazine May June 2022

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May / June 2022


Montgomery Business & personal partners


Arthur KTSY morning DJ


Shulga A Slavic ministry


Season Spring’s growth adventures

Treasure Valley business owners & philanthropists, Rick and Sue Ellen Montgomery

Contents May / June 2022 FEATURES

Paul & Sasha Shulga: Slavic ministry

Lidia & Yuriy Buchinskiy: A family fights back Dave Arthur: KTSY morning DJ

Nampa mayor’s prayer breakfast planned ‘22 National Day of Prayer set for May 5

Happiness or holiness?: One path

Cover Story


10 14 20 20

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” — Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV


22 8


Choosing to Love: Always trusts

Life transformers: Very caring people Skunk army: The ‘smell’ of sin Mere specks: Not with God Personal ‘lenses’: Why so many churches? ‘Tis the season: Growth time Marriage & love: The spiritual side Waiting on God: Not always easy

Cover Photo Midnight Moon Photography

For Victory: 24 30 Destined ‘What does it matter?’

28 34 37 38 40 42 46

Need Prayer? Call Idaho Chaplains Association

Talk to a Chaplain


Culture & Faith: 32 History, The pain of Thomas Paine


Wednesday’s Child: Meet Mistee

Responsible 18 Biblically Investing: ‘Wisdom literature’

19 Understanding Relationships:

Which bunny are you?

Daily Bread: 36 Your The Great Resignation Health: 44 Maximum Common food allergies


Editor Gaye Bunderson Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases

Advertising & Sales Kimberly McMullen 208-703-7509 • Katy Nelson 503-816-3042

The Road Less Traveled: Arrows beyond you

Man’s Toolbox: 26 Real God is speaking

A long & blessed partnership

Publisher Sandy Jones 208-703-7860

General Info 208-703-7860

“I Get To!”®: 16 Casting your cares

Rick & Sue Ellen Montgomery:

Volume 11, Number 4

Graphic Design Denice King 208-918-5190 Contributors Steve Bertel, Daniel Bobinski, Rick Chromey, Roxanne Drury, Joan Endicott, Terry Frisk, Greg Grotewold, Doug Hanson, Leo Hellyer, Jason Herring, Vincent Kituku, Rosie Main, Gary Moore, Steve Nelson, Bethany Riehl, Scott Riggan, Ed Rybarczyk, Paul Sheppard, Bradley Shotts and Mark Thornton Website Design SEO Idaho Distribution D&S Distribution • 208-985-6904 Christian Living is committed to encouraging and instructing individuals in their daily lives by presenting stories of people in the Treasure Valley who are living on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and who serve as uplifting examples to others. Views expressed in Christian Living do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by Christian Living to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2022 by Christian Living Ministries Inc. Christian Living is published every other month and is available in over 600 locations throughout southern Idaho, including grocery stores, convenience stores, medical waiting areas, and churches. If your church would like additional copies please email us today at Annual subscriptions available for $12/year. To start your subscription or give one as a gift send your check or money order, along with complete address information, including which issue to begin with and a phone number to call in case there’s questions about your subscription to Christian Living Magazine, PO Box 867, Meridian, ID 83680.

Publisher’s Corner: Unity, unity Christian Living | May / June 2022 3


Unity, unity and then there’s always unity I will readily admit that the sessions I was By Sandy Jones able to attend made me think, deeply about I must admit it’s nice to be back to a more many issues – including a challenging seg“normal” rhythm in life. I’ve thoroughly ment by Francis Chan on whether or not enjoyed in-person meetings, groups and we take communion seriously enough. I even conferences again. always thought I was pretty tough on examAs I was praying and seeking God’s will ining myself before taking the elements, but for this column, I realized during our pasI will be forever changed by the thoughts he tor’s latest sermon that He’d been preparexpressed that day. ing me for several weeks on the topic of This was a pro-Bible conference, although ‘unity.’ It seems everywhere I’ve gone, just they didn’t shy away from some of the about every meeting I have attended, the toughest topics of the day such as racism conversation has turned to unity. in the church, LGBTQ , and hell to name a When I mentioned to our son, Drew, that few. I’d been praying about this issue’s topic, Sandy Jones The speakers were all very careful to try without hesitation he blurted out “John to not let politics enter into their talks, but 17:23.” I felt that Preston Sprinkle made a poignant statement in I am in them and you are in me. May they experience his opening remarks. He said, “If the rhetoric of a cersuch perfect unity that the world will know that you tain Babylonian party causes you to love your neighbor sent me and that you love them as much as you love less, then you might be giving more of your allegiance me. – John 17:23 NLT to Babylon’s messiah than you realize.” A concept I will I’ve never seen a more divided time in my life as we are most definitely keep in mind personally as we are heading today. Naturally everyone has an opinion, and that is as it into our primary elections this May. should be, but we seem to have forgotten that we can disIn being transparent, and for those who don’t know me agree – civilly – and still respect one another as children personally – I am completely human; I am not perfect; I of the Most High God. have some strong opinions; and most importantly I am a I recently attended the Theology in the Raw “Exiles in work in progress, striving daily to become more like the Babylon” conference partially described on their website, person God created me to be. “To be a Christian is to Preston’s statement challenged me though to stop, exbe an exile. The Bible has a name for the country we’ve amine and remind myself that in Genesis 1:7 we’re told: been exiled to: Babylon. As exiles living in Babylon, we So God created human beings in his own image. In need to think biblically, Christianly, indeed exilically – not the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. partisanly – through cultural and political issues.” Who is in this week’s

? Join us each week as we take a deeper, more personal dive into people and ministries we’ve covered in Christian Living Magazine Saturdays at Noon MST on 94.1 FM The Voice Listen “live” at or catch the replay under “Program Archives”

4 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

Realizing that if He, God, created all human beings in his own image, I’m no more or less important or special than anyone else. Admittedly we all have different gifts, and areas we excel in – but as His children I believe we are called to show love to one another in our words, deeds and actions. I believe that is what He meant by his two greatest commandments: ‘And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31 NLT

As I previously mentioned, I am striving daily to become the person God created me to be, yearning for a time when all of God’s children are more united, while looking forward to an eternity together of worshipping our Heavenly Father. Until next time… God Bless! n ______________ As I often ask – please frequent our advertisers, and thank them for their support – without them we couldn’t bring the hope and promise of God’s love found in the pages of each and every issue of Christian Living Magazine. Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay

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Christian Living | May / June 2022 5

PAUL & Sasha Shulga

Ministering to Ukrainians, many others

Paul and Sasha Shulga helped launch a Slavic night at their church. The event was a success and there is now a “Slavic campus” at Caldwell Christian Faith Center, where Paul is pastor. The Shulgas are shown here with their two daughters: Abigail, 6, being held by her dad, and Adeline, 4, shown in her mom’s arms holding a small flower. (Photo by Lily Kuzmenko of Memories by Lily)

By Gaye Bunderson For anyone not familiar with the term “Slavic,” it’s time to become more aware. One Slavic nation is frequently in the news and most people have no doubt heard of it: Ukraine. A population of Slavic people make their home in the Treasure Valley, having come here from one of a broad range of Slavic countries that includes: the West Slavs of Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia; the East Slavs of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine; and the South Slavs of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Slovenia*. These people share a common culture, as well as many common languages. Paul and Sasha Shulga are a Slavic American couple currently serving others in their community at the Caldwell Christian Faith Center at 301 S. 34th Ave. Paul was born in the U.S. after his parents immigrated here from Ukraine by way of Italy prior to his birth. Sasha came with her parents from Ukraine when she was 6 years old. The Shulgas started a Slavic church campus roughly a year ago. Caldwell Christian Faith Center holds Sunday services at 9:30 and 11:15 a.m. The Slavic service is at 2 p.m. Things changed dramatically for Slavic church members when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 of this year. “Before, the people were not political. Now it’s a full-blown war, and people are affected by it – they have family members there who’ve been run out of their homes and bombed. People are concerned about the lives of their loved ones. It puts a different perspective when you talk to people who have family there,” Paul Shulga said. On February 27 – a Sunday and just one day after the invasion – prayers for Ukraine were deeply heartfelt during all the services.

6 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

“The churches came together,” Paul continued, explaining the local Slavic population has gotten tremendous support from other churches and from the local community at large, including non-believers. Asked about Russian immigrants and descendants versus Ukrainian immigrants and descendants in the Treasure Valley and if there is any tension between the two groups, Paul replied: “There might be pockets of that somewhere, but not in my congregation. Russians here are not in favor of the war. Here we have definitely come together around the cause, not the culture or the country, and not the nationality but the injustice. “We are praying over the whole region, not praying for any specific people. We are praying about innocent bloodshed. For the Slavic church, it is an important issue.” Paul wasted no time in lifting the war-torn European region up to God. The same day as the Russian invasion, he led a group of 200 people in prayer on the steps of the Capitol Building in Boise. “There were Ukrainians, Russians, and people from the community,” he said. During the specifically Slavic service at the church on Sunday, March 6, the Shulgas had developed a program that felt largely church-as-usual and included the blessing of five babies born to families in the congregation. Paul joked that, “We will build the Slavic campus one way or another” – and that included the very smallest and newest members. A husband and wife, Yuriy and Lidia Buchinskiy, spoke briefly during the service. Yuriy was flying back to Ukraine to help where he could. Lidia still has family there. Later, in a phone interview, Lidia said of her time at Caldwell Christian Faith Center’s Slavic campus: “My church has become my family. I can’t imagine life without it. They have helped emotionally, financially, and spiritually. They call and ask, ‘What else can we pray for?’, and their prayers have been answered.” For her, attending the church is not optional. “It’s essential,” she said. “It’s a lifeline right now.” [See the sidebar for more on the Buchinskiys.] Many congregants of the Slavic campus are bilingual, including Paul and Sasha, who speak both English and Russian. Members include people from Romania, Ukraine, Armenia, and Moldova. “The church is centralized around a culture more than a language,” explained Paul. “I preach in English, with a full translation in Russian through headsets [if requested], so the worship is bilingual.” About 150 Slavic people from throughout the valley attend services, and many of them are second or third generation Slavic people who don’t fully assimilate into American culture. “We are building a bridge between the American church and the Slavic culture, then there is no need for them to forfeit their cultural background,” Paul said. For the CFC services held earlier in the day, there is a mix of all sorts of people as well. “America is the melting pot – there are bits and pieces of many cultures,” Paul said. For example, many Hispanic people attend the church and, according to Paul, Hispanic culture is very similar to the Slavic culture in terms of “a close-knit community that is hospitalitydriven and family-driven.” At Caldwell Christian Faith Center, the Shulgas seek to establish a tight-knit fellowship. “People are more comfortable in a church where someone is going to understand you, and you have common experiences,” they said.

So how was a specifically Slavic campus established? Paul explained: “Lead Pastor Jordan Hodges believed that God’s Kingdom is not about one people group, so this is all part of a bigger community church.” Christian Faith Center, in all, has 6 locations and 7 campuses between the Treasure Valley and a location in Orville, Calif. However, the part that Paul and Sasha played in launching a uniquely Slavic service can’t be understated. “It’s all our fault,” Paul said with a smile. Both he and Sasha were youth leaders at one point. “Then, about 4 or 5 years ago, we felt a call for our people stuck between two cultures. One year after we helped plant Christian Faith Center in Boise, we thought, ‘Let’s do a Slavic night’. We did and 200 people showed up. We answered a need in our community. We can reach that demographic and be a bridge point,” Paul said. “We provide a place for people,” Sasha confirmed. The married couple with two children serve the church and their community together. But the main beauty of the Caldwell Christian Faith Center is its complete lack of exclusivity. All are welcome. And all come. Paul explained: “Part of the vision is that it is not only Slavic people but also Latino, Asian, American. Anyone can come. My goal is to be able to preach something that God has put into my heart that touches someone in his or her 80s, or someone who is a teenager. That’s how Jesus did it. He was surrounded by children and many people of all ages and walks of life.

“We have a varied congregation. About a third are seniors and the rest are young families and Latino young adults. People will stay at a church if they ‘see themselves’.” Paul likened the diverse congregation to Jesus casting out His net and pulling in all kinds of fish. “I embrace my culture. That is a strength of a church: multiple generations and multiple kinds of people. That is the Kingdom of God. We’ve seen people get saved, baptized. We’ve seen families that haven’t come to church in years.” Though the Shulgas are personally acquainted with religious freedoms from residing in America, the older members of their families lived a different experience. Said Paul: “My greatgrandfather was sent to the labor camps for being Christian.” Family members got in trouble for merely owning a Bible, and both Shulgas agreed, “Many were imprisoned for their faith.” Ultimately, the Shulgas’ primary focus for all three services in the church is, like all good churches, helping parishioners know God and His love. “It’s about saving souls. Jesus is the only one who can save – save the hungry, thirsty, and dying. My heart was to have one church. As it is written, ‘every nation and tribe and people and language’ (Revelation 7:9). We offer a service to the Slavic population; it’s a niche we’ve been given. But our priority is to build the Kingdom,” Paul said. n For more information, go to caldwell/. *Information from

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Christian Living | May / June 2022 7


A distinction between ‘trusts’, ‘believes’ By Daniel Bobinski Note: In March of 2020 I decided to use this space to focus on God’s greatest command. If you’re connecting with this series for the first time and would like to read the earlier columns on this topic, I encourage you to visit Christian Living’s website to read the whole series. Visit

That story illustrates the difference between “believing” something can happen and “trusting” something can happen. If the onlooker had true pisteuō, he would have gotten into the wheelbarrow. In other words, saying you believe in something is one thing; believing to the point of trusting your life with it is something completely different.

John 3:16

It is interesting to know that one of the most famous verses in the world also uses pisteuō, We’re continuing the final stretch of our study and that’s John 3:16. on how the Apostle Paul defines agape (ah“For God so loved the world that He gave His GAH-pay). Agape is Koine Greek for the Engonly begotten Son, that whosoever believes in lish word “love” that Jesus used when He told Daniel Bobinski Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, The word believes in that verse is pisteuō. If we soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors as use “trusts” instead of “believes,” it sounds like this: ourselves. Over the past few years we’ve reviewed almost all “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotthe words and phrases used by the Apostle Paul as he defines ten Son, that whosoever trusts in Him should not perish, but agape in 1 Corinthians 13 (starting with love is patient, love is have everlasting life.” kind, etc.), and we have just a few left. It’s like getting into a wheelbarrow that Jesus is pushing beIn this installment we’re looking at the word that most often cause we truly pisteuō Him. It’s like saying, “I trust You with my gets translated as believes. The Greek word is pisteuō (prolife, Jesus – take me where You want me to go.” That concept nounced pist-yoo’-o). It’s translated as love “always believes” stands in stark contrast to what demons might say, and it’s why in just about every translation, but a few different takes on the we need to be careful when we hear someone say the phrase, word exist. Those are the New International Version (which “I believe in Christ.” After all, Satan and his minions believe uses “love always trusts”) and the New Living Translation that Christ exists, but they don’t put their trust in Him. They (which uses “love never loses faith”). Every other translation don’t pisteuō. uses the word “believes.” This makes sense, because of the 247 times the word pisteuō is used in the New Testament, 239 of those times it gets The Command to Trust translated as “believes.” The thing that I first want to point With this concept in mind, we can look at the command to out is what is meant by pisteuō, and for that I want to lean on “love the Lord” and say pisteuō the Lord. We can trust Him the translation we find in the New International Version: Love and rely on Him 100%. Remember, that is not a suggestion; always trusts. it’s a command. And Jesus said that loving the Lord is the It’s one thing to look at a chair and say you believe it will greatest command. hold you up. But if you don’t sit down in the chair because Naturally, the second-most important command is to love deep down you’re concerned about its sturdiness, then your our neighbors as ourselves. However, that begs the question, can I really trust and rely on myself ? It’s a fair inquiry, and I statement of belief is rather hollow. Let me offer a different recommend that people not trust in the flesh because the flesh example. is weak. With that being true, then how can we pisteuō our neighbors “like ourselves?” The Story of the Acrobat My answer is only mine, but I believe if I have invited the In the 1800’s, a French acrobat named Jean François GraveHoly Spirit into my life, then I can rely on and trust the Holy let, better known as Monsieur Charles Blondin, became known Spirit living inside of me to work God’s will in my life. I can as the man who could cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. In pisteuō myself because I am already dead to self and alive in fact, he crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope more than 300 Christ. And, combined with the agape attribute of patience, times. I can also trust (or pisteuō) “my neighbors” – who are the rest Balancing for Blondin was like a gift from God. Not only did of mankind. I can trust that by praying and trusting God to he walk the rope by himself, he would walk backwards and use me in the way He wants, then the people with whom we even cross with a bag over his head. He would carry people on interact are the people God has decided to place in my path. his back while he did it. He even pushed a wheelbarrow across Out of all of this, I believe the most important part is to on the tightrope. regularly trust God 100% that He has you in his wheelbarrow Legend has it that one time after Blondin pushed a wheelbar- and He is not going to let you fall. And as this passage says, row across the tightrope, someone in the crowd praised him, always do that. n saying, “I believe you can take anything across the falls.” To that, Blondin is alleged to have responded, “If you believe that, Dr. Daniel Bobinski is an award-winning and best-selling author get into the wheelbarrow and I will take you across.” As one and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. Reach him at might imagine, the onlooker declined. or (208) 375-7606.

8 May / June 2022 | Christian Living


Mistee, age 15, loves all things artistic

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Meet 15-year-old Mistee. With a flare for the dramatic, this spirited young lady has hopes of being adopted soon. Energetic, spunky, outgoing, and creative are a few words that best describe her. Mistee appreciates the finer arts of dancing, singing, acting, and admiring artwork. Though she isn’t currently on a dance team, Mistee she would really like to join one. She is very proud to be a part of her school’s drama club and debate team; and if she could travel anywhere in the world, she would go to Paris and Hollywood to admire the amazing art. A family that is ready to embrace and cheer on her vibrant personality will be a great fit for her. Mistee really enjoys spending time with her friends, and she says that her friends think she’s sweet and that they have a lot of fun together doing art projects and talking about anime. She dreams of going to college and getting an art degree. She works hard on her current schoolwork and is very successful when she puts her mind to focusing on what’s in front of her. Mistee would do best as the youngest or only child in the home and would thrive in a home with routine and opportunities for her to express her artsy and dramatic sides. Her Permanency Team is open to a two-parent home, or possibly a single-parent family where there is a great support system in place. Caregivers who are TBRI-trained, or those with a strong understanding of what is needed to successfully parent children who have experienced trauma, will be a wonderful match for her. Mistee is ready to be adopted soon. If you think that you could provide her with the Forever Home she deserves, inquire about her at or contact Recruitment Coordinator Shawn White at or cell 208-488-8989 if you have specific questions. n


“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — Thessalonians 5:11NIV



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Christian Living | May / June 2022 9

LIDIA & Yuriy Buchinskiy

Family of Ukrainian believers fights back

Lidia and Yuriy Buchinskiy say goodbye to one another at the Boise Airport this past March. Yuriy was flying to countries surrounding Ukraine to help refugees who were fleeing Russian bombs. (Courtesy photo)

By Gaye Bunderson Editor’s note: This story was written in March. Christian Living Magazine prays for the safety of all the people involved and for the country of Ukraine. To meet Lidia Buchinskiy is to attach a friendly face to a much-televised tragedy. Lidia and her husband Yuriy were both born and raised in Ukraine, but both have been in the U.S. now for more than 20 years and are naturalized American citizens with four American-born children. Lidia is from Odesa but was born in Izmail, on the border with Romania. “I came here as a fiancee,” she said. Her husband’s family left Ukraine and headed for California in 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. As a young man, Yuriy attended a church in San Francisco where church leaders started a program to visit Siberian jails to minister to the people there. Yuriy went with them and also visited his homeland, where he met Lidia. She was just 13½ at the time, and Yuriy was 19. They would marry a handful of years later. Yuriy has now returned to the area that has been, and continues to be, wracked by war and waves of refugees. Initially, he was in Romania and Moldova but may be moving about to help where he can with evacuating people and assisting those who’ve already fled. He is not the only member of Lidia’s family to travel to the troubled area to selflessly help their fellow Ukrainians. They are all people of faith. Some of Lidia’s family still lived in Ukraine when the war broke out. Her sister, Katie, was pregnant and had a Caesar-

10 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

ean section just after the war started. Katie’s husband, Sergey, was a pastor at Lutsk, a city in northwestern Ukraine. The couple has three other children besides the newborn and, as of the writing of this article, the family was trying to get to the border of Poland and has likely succeeded, as have many others. Two other sisters, who had been living in California, are now working at the Romania/Ukraine border as interpreters and include Lisa, 32, and Tina, 45. Sister Anna, 40, is serving as a translator at the Poland/Ukraine border. Lidia’s brother, Dennis Serdichenko, is in Odesa and was able to get his children safely into Romania, as well as his and his siblings’ mother. However, he is staying behind (Ukrainian males of specific ages are required to stay to help fight the war), and his wife is remaining with him. Said Lidia: “She is a faithful friend to him and an amazing woman of God.” Lidia is proud of her family’s courage and sacrifice. The faith of her family members started decades back with her father, Pete Serdichenko. He started a Good Samaritan Fund 30 years ago in Ukraine – a program that still continues to help those in need today. The entire family consisted of devout churchgoers; and the Ukrainian church today, though severely tested, has, in Lidia’s words, “become a place of good.” She tells a story of how six people ignored the war-related curfew and the nighttime darkness to go to a church and be baptized. They said ahead of time to the pastor there, “We’re going to come no matter what.” Members of the Good Samaritan Fund program are at bus and train stations, giving out food and Bibles and praying for people. “It’s an opportunity to be light and hope,” Lidia stated.

She tells the story of a pastor she heard about who lives in a country bordering Ukraine. “He was sleeping one night and when he woke up, he said to his wife, ‘The Lord told me we are going to host angels,’ and then some refugees came to their house and the couple welcomed them in.” “The global church has awakened,” Lidia continued, referring to “Kingdom DNA”, through which the family of God is coming together in a collectively compassionate way to care for their brothers and sisters in Ukraine and nearby nations. She also mentions DNA when she talks about both her proud roots in Ukraine and her love for America: “I am very proud to be a U.S. citizen, but I have Ukrainian DNA.” She confirms it is possible to be both American and Ukrainian, to be proud of both, and to love both. But even more important than that, she does not hate Russia – because she is also half Russian. The only Russian she bears any ill will against is that country’s president, Vladimir Putin. “He is evil. He is biblically evil, and this is a war between evil and good. I don’t encourage people to become bitter and angry. My brother said, ‘I hate evil. I pray for evil to be stopped’.” If you tell her that as an American you feel a bit spoiled and privileged to have never had to go through what the people of Ukraine are now enduring, she answers, “I don’t think you are spoiled – you are blessed. It is an honor to be an American. God uses America. Truly, it is an opportunity to help others.” She said her family’s ability to travel to an area of the world now torn by conflict is aided by their American citizenship. “An American passport is a golden ticket,” she said.

Local businesses and individuals have shown much generosity. “In the Treasure Valley, there has been an outpouring of love and caring,” said Lidia. For example: • Kryptek Outdoor Group of Eagle donated boxes of camouflage clothes and gear that she and Yuriy packed into five suitcases. “We prayed over the five suitcases and they all made it safely [through the overseas flight], including one that was broken and taped together.” • The Full Gospel Slavic Church in Meridian donated boxes and boxes of flashlights and first aid items such as antiseptics. • Reflex Tactical Idaho in Nampa donated two bulletproof vests and is working on donating more. • Cosmo Zimick, owner of Empty Hand Combat in Nampa, made a financial donation through a collection he took up at his dojo. • Christian Faith Center, where Lidia and Yuriy attend Sunday services at the Slavic campus in Caldwell, has also donated money. As for Yuriy, Lidia prays for his safety and believes God will watch over him – and this is where she summons up her own courage. “I’m trying to turn my wife emotions off – that would be fear. My sister says, ‘If God plans something, He provides something for His projects, and God provides safety for His projects as well’. I truly believe Yuriy will be safe. This is no time for emotions. This is a time for salvation in Ukraine, for help and hope. “I pray for this horror to end. That’s for God to end it, but I can do what’s in my own hands to do.” n

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THE ROAD Less Traveled

When the arrows are beyond you …

would be a battle of wits, and he was certain By Jason Herring that he held the upper hand in this arena. The Giant of Gath was dead. A young shepWhile his protégé played his harp, distracted herd from Bethlehem was the giant-slayer and in song and worship, he would kill him with destined to be the future king of Israel. No one a javelin. Oblivious to the impending danger, would have suspected that someone of quesDavid twice escaped impalement. He probably tionable pedigree with 3/16 Canaanite blood chalked it up to the intense mood swings and could sit on the throne of the Chosen. But the melancholia of the monarch with which he was prophet had made it clear: David was to be all too familiar. Failing to vanquish his nemesis, king. The anointing had taken place in a priSaul had to get more resourceful. vate ceremony at his father’s home, but the best If you should keep your enemies closer, what kept secret of the House of Jesse didn’t remain can be closer than family? Saul came up with a secret for very long. As David’s star began to an elaborate scheme. He would offer David rise, so did public knowledge of his destiny and his daughter’s hand in marriage – an offer that divine appointment. David could not refuse. And for a dowry, David What is clear is that David had no desire to Jason Herring would have to circumcise 100 Philistines, which replace Saul as king. David must have believed would certainly result in his death. But David that Saul would live to a ripe old age and apsucceeded in his bizarre mission and married Saul’s daughter point him as successor on his deathbed. In the meantime, Michelle, becoming son-in-law to the king. David would serve his king, and learn everything he could on It was time to go to the next level, and Saul would need reinhow to govern a nation. And initially, this seems to be exactly forcements. The king held conference with his son and his staff how Saul felt. and announced that they should take every measure to kill David was like a son to Saul. David lived at the king’s resiDavid. Jonathan sent David into hiding and then had a heartdence and ministered to Saul with music – no doubt many of the Psalms that he composed as a shepherd. When David slew to-heart talk with his father to dissuade him from his madness. Saul swore an oath that he would not try to kill David again. Goliath, Saul appointed him as a captain in his army. And Believing his father to be a man of honor, Jonathan told David Saul’s son Jonathan formed a friendship with David that was that it was safe to return to the palace. Everything would be stronger than brotherhood. like it was before. They could put this quarrel behind them Everything was great until the day that Saul heard the and move on like family. women of Israel singing a popular ballad that went: “Saul has And they did for awhile. Until Saul threw a javelin at David slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” Saul befor the third time. And missed. Normally it’s ‘three strikes came insanely jealous, and his jealousy turned into paranoia. and you’re out’ unless you happen to be driven by anger and Why had he been so blind? All of this from the beginning had jealousy. Saul sent a group of thugs to kill David in his sleep in been a carefully designed plot on the part of David to worm his way into the king’s good graces before usurping the throne. his own home. But David was warned by his wife, and having escaped death for what would be the fifth time, he finally went He would have to assassinate David before David assassinated him. He could never defeat David in one-on-one combat. This into hiding. Come. C ome See. See Play. Play Everything You Need For Your: • Camping Program • Retreat • Family Reunion • Wedding • Anniversary Celebration

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When David told Jonathan everything that had happened, Jonathan was sure that his best friend was mistaken. Unbeknownst to Jonathan, he had fallen out of favor with his father since advocating for David the first time. Jonathan proposed that he would discern his father’s attitude towards David at the next family dinner. Taking precautions, he came up with a code. He would return to David’s hiding place for archery practice. He would shoot his arrows and send his servant to fetch them. If he said to his servant, “The arrows are beyond you” that was the sign that Saul intended to kill David and he needed to remain in hiding. But if he called out, “The arrows are on this side of you” it was a sign that everything was safe for David to return. The storm of the king’s anger had blown over. You can guess what happened next. Saul asks why David is not at the king’s table, and when Jonathan offers up an excuse, Saul curses his son and throws a javelin at him as he had done to David. Jonathan returns to warn his friend and confirm his fears about the mad king. The arrows were beyond him. And what transpired over the next few years was the greatest test of David’s life – not how he fought and conquered the giant but how he faced and handled the former mentor hellbent on his destruction. Everybody at some point in time faces the loss of a valued relationship. Someone with whom you have considerable history. Someone that you deeply care about. So what do you do when the arrows are beyond you?

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Don’t respond reactively. David never attacked Saul. Not even once. He could have easily dispatched the aging king, but he never went on the offense. Twice David had an opportunity to assassinate Saul in his sleep while the king pursued him in the wilderness. But David considered it a sin against God to take matters into his own hands. Rest in the sovereignty of God. David trusted in God to vindicate him. Yes, there were times when his faith lapsed and went over to the Philistines for support. But David believed that God would ultimately deliver him and set the record straight. Pursue your calling and purpose. What did David do during this season of exile? He raised a family. He mentored the men that would become his captains and mighty men of valor. He composed scripture. It was Nietzsche who said, “He who has a why to live can endure almost any how.” Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl expounded on this truth in his memoir of life in the concentration camps and it became the basis for his philosophy of logotherapy. The will of God is the raison d’etre of the believer. And God always has a plan and purpose for His children. Finally, don’t bankrupt someone for making a withdrawal. David had long been bankrupt in the eyes of Saul, but David still held gratitude for the investment and impact Saul had in his life. In David’s moving eulogy of Saul in the opening of Second Samuel, David focused on the positive things of Saul’s life and reign. It must have baffled those closest to David, but it was the path of honor. And it remains a powerful lesson on what to do when the arrows are beyond you. n

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Christian Living | May / June 2022 13

DAVE Arthur

Morning DJ lets his voice be heard By Steve Bertel It’s 5 a.m. And while many of us won’t be up for another hour or two yet, Treasure Valley radio legend Dave Arthur is already at work, comfortably settled at a console of slider controls, lighted buttons, monitors, and VU meters; his headphones on, mic boom adjusted, watching the clock. As the seconds tick down: 4 …3 …2 … Dave keys his mic. “And a very pleasant good morning! This is 89.5 KTSY. We are Dave and Tristi! Thanks for starting your day with us!” For the past five years, “The Dave and Tristi Show” (Dave’s co-host, Tristi, is known professionally by only her first name) has entertained countless Treasure Valley listeners with the day’s news, information, and the best in Christian music. Of course, seated behind a microphone has always been second nature for Dave; in fact, he says, his love for radio began at a very early age. “When I was seven years old and living with my parents in Illinois, I started listening to WLS, one of the most popular radio stations in Chicago at the time, and a disc jockey named Larry Lujack – who, coincidentally, started his radio career in the late ’50s right here in Caldwell. And listening to him, man, that really lit my fire. I knew right then and there I wanted to work in radio.” Even though he was obviously too young at the time to work professionally at a radio station, nothing could stop him from pretending. “I remember saving my money and buying one of those AM/ FM/8-track stereos with a turntable, because I needed to have some kind of a radio or a stereo in my room where I could listen to music. My brother and cousin and I would be listening to the radio and goofing around, pretending we were disc jockeys or news people. My brother was ‘Walter Concrete.’ And in his deep voice would say, ‘And that’s the way it is…’ In fact, I still have tapes of myself, pretending to be a disc jockey. I’d be listening to the radio and, when a song ended and the real DJ would say something, I’d jump right in there, talking over him – speaking into my tape recorder’s little microphone – doing my own ‘announcing’. “So I was always fascinated with ‘the radio thing’; playing records, giving the weather, reading the news, entertaining people, all the things DJs did. And over the years, I never lost that fascination, that love of being in broadcasting,” he says. Dave also acquired another love at an early age. “Coming to know the Lord was like a natural progression for me. I grew up in a Christian home, of course, had a very stable family, a wonderful childhood. When my family moved to Boise, I remember my parents enrolled me in what is now the Cole Valley Christian School. When I was nine years old and in the fourth grade, I was sitting in one of the chapel services. The minister was talking about salvation and I remember right then asking Jesus to come live in my heart. And He has ever since. Of course, I’ve had some great years and some not-so-great years in my life, but God has always been there with me every step of the way.” Dave has spent an astonishing 38 years behind the microphone. When he was a high school junior in 1984, “I was already working part-time for Lee Schafer, the owner of KSPD. At that time, KSPD offered its listeners Christian talk programs from Dr. James Dobson, Pastor Chuck Swindoll, John MacArthur, Dr. J. Vernon McGee – all the heavy hitters. And we’d fill the rest of the time with Christian music. Of course, this was before KTSY even existed, so KSPD was the Boise area’s only outlet back then for contemporary Christian music and Christian-based educational and talk programs.” While a fifteen- or thirty-minute program was playing on the air, Dave would while away his time reading trade magazines, as did

14 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

many in the industry. “I remember reading articles about all these big, powerful, full-time FM Christian music radio stations in major markets and I thought, ‘Man, Boise really needs something like that.’ So my life’s goal, my ultimate dream back then, was to be the morning guy at a Christian FM station in Boise, Idaho,” he says. Little did Dave know that his dream would eventually come true. Through the years, he worked for a number of Boise-area radio stations, usually playing secular soft rock or Top 40 rock, usually alongside such local broadcasting legends like Larry Lomax, “Big Jack” Armstrong, Mike Kasper, Ken Bass – “who was on the air with Robin Scott at the time, billing themselves as ‘Bass Man and Robin’”, Dave recalls – and even the formidable male-female duo “Tracy and Margo.” Then, in 1996, the opportunity came his way to work for a brand-new radio station in Walla Walla, Washington called “Way FM”, whose broadcast coverage area included a large part of eastern Washington and northeast Oregon. “I was so excited! It was a dream come true for me; because, not only was I now doing a morning show, ‘Way FM’ was the first full-time Christian music radio station I worked for,” Dave says. “So it checked two of the three boxes of my ‘ultimate dream’ To-Do List. Christian FM radio station. Check. Morning guy. Check. And even though the third box wasn’t checked – I wasn’t working in Boise – I really felt the Lord had led me to that station.” Many in broadcasting, both in radio and TV, usually begin their careers in small markets, where they can get their training, their experience, their “sea legs,” then gradually move their way up the career ladder to larger stations in much larger cities. Usually for much larger salaries. And Dave was no exception. Some four years later, he and his wife moved to Portland, where he began working for “Air 1,” the national Christian radio network, then later was hired as both program director and afternoon announcer for another brand-new Christian station, 104.1 “The Fish.” And that’s when KTSY came calling. “In 2001, Program Director Ty McFarland called and wanted to know if I could start voice-tracking for them. So I did,” Dave says. Voice-tracking dates back to the ’70s, when DJs would pre-record their show’s “talk” segments to be played later. That freed them to do other duties at the station (if the DJ was local) and not be literally tethered to a four-hour control room shift; it also gave smallmarket stations the ability to have major-market talent on the air, since the small stations could now “hire” popular DJs from some of the country’s much larger radio stations. “KTSY would send me the programming logs and the order of the songs they were going to play, and I would pre-record – voicetrack – all the intros and outros, then send them back what I had recorded,” Dave explains. “To the average listener, it sounded like I was live in the KTSY studios; when, in fact, I was actually in my home studio more than 400 miles away, in Portland.” Dave would even come to Boise on occasion and personally appear at KTSY fundraisers and other events, underscoring the “live” illusion. Then, one day, KTSY General Manager Brian Yeager asked him, “What would it take to get you to come back to Boise … and stay?” Dave points out that “One of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 16:9 that says, We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. There have been a number of times in my life where I thought, ‘Yep, I’ve got my plan.’ And the Lord says, ‘Uh, no, Dave. You’re coming with me this way.’” So, even though he loved his job at “The Fish,” in 2012 – much like the opening theme of that ’70s sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati”

where a DJ laments that he “got kind a super, super, super dark place in her of tired packing and unpacking, town life at that time – and just happened to to town, up and down the dial” – Dave be listening to my show that day! And took KTSY up on its offer, and reso, here she was, suddenly hearing her turned to his roots. daughter’s voice again, literally speakAnd he has been there ever since. ing life back into her. “I love it!” he exclaims. “As KTSY’s “Not long after that, my wife, Shaumusic director, I get to choose what na, went on a tour of Israel. And one songs we’re playing, I get to talk with of the people on that tour – in fact, the music company reps in Nashville every woman right next to my wife as they week, I get to do interviews with the waited to board the flight – was the world’s top Christian recording artists girl’s mother! As strangers sometimes and, what’s more,” he adds with a flipdo, they struck up a casual converpant smile, “I’m playing uplifting music Dave Arthur is the morning DJ at 89.5 KTSY and half of sation. And when Shauna told the on a morning show on an FM Christhe morning show duo known as “The Dave and Tristi Show.” woman who she was, the woman said, tian station in the Boise market with a ‘Wait. You’re Dave Arthur’s wife?! The (Courtesy photo) great and talented co-host. So, yeah, all same Dave Arthur who interviewed my my boxes are now checked.” daughter?! You’ve got to be kidding! Let me tell you a story …’ But his most memorable interview is not with any of the chart“So yes, that was definitely the Lord at work that day, helping the topping music stars. mother get through probably one of the darkest times in her life – As Dave tells it, “Back in 2002 when I was working in Oregon, through me, through the interview, and through her daughter.” I interviewed a young lady – a high school senior named Cassie As far as his broadcasting career, Dave shows no signs of stopOwens – who had cancer. She had had one of her legs amputated ping. “It’s a real blessing, on a personal level, that I’m able to have and was confined to a wheelchair. She was given the honor of a really good work/life balance. I feel truly blessed that I get to do participating in the Winter Olympics torch relay, and actually got what I love and still be able to spend quality time with my family,” to ‘carry’ the Flame when it came through Portland. I remember he says. interviewing her in our studio, and she had this very powerful mes“My dad once told me, ‘If you find a job you love, you’ll never sage: she was witnessing to her high school friends, where they were work a day in your life.’ And he’s right. I love making a living from going to go to college, what they were going to do with their lives, what I know brings glory to God every day. I know lots of people and the like. Of course, given her life-threatening health issues, listen to us. And I find myself truly blessed to be working for a she didn’t have the same plans they did; but she told them how she company I love, with people I love, and be able to be that voice of was able to put 100% of her hope in Jesus and what He promised, Hope for our listeners as they start their day.” n knowing she probably would not live as long as they would. “And she didn’t. Unfortunately, the young lady passed away beSteve Bertel is a multi-award-winning professional radio, fore she was able to graduate. “Sometime later, when there was a television, print media, and social media journalist, who relocal charity run held in her honor, I replayed portions of my inter- cently retired after a 30-year broadcasting career. Now a busy view with her on my radio show, because her message had spoken freelance writer, he recently released his debut suspense novel, to me – and our listeners – in such an amazing way. “Dolphins of an Unjust Sea,” available on both Amazon “Now, as Paul Harvey used to say, here’s ‘The Rest of the Story’: and Kindle. Steve and his wife of 40 years live in Meridian, When I re-aired that interview, I had no idea her mother was in Idaho. He can be reached at

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Christian Living | May / June 2022 15

“I GET TO!”®

Consistently cast your cares on Him

chose to believe my trusted guide and recomBy Joan Endicott mit to the journey. It was time to simply watch, It was late summer 1980 at 4:30 a.m. – defilisten, trust, and do what my experienced guide nitely oh-dark-thirty. This was all new to me advised. and I was excited and nervous to take the jourThat point of re-commitment served me very ney and a bit confused as to why we were asked well throughout our eight-hour climb up to the to meet at such an early hour since we couldn’t top of Mount Hood and two-and-a-half-hour even see well. I felt confident it would be a good descent. Especially during those times when I experience because I had prepared in all the felt so disoriented that I wasn’t sure if we were ways I was encouraged to by the experts. going up or down. For a few months I’d been working out and Yes, that’s the feeling I had a few times on this running consistently, hydrating, and eating journey. I reminded myself to simply follow the (mostly) healthy foods, ensured I had the proper leader, do what he does, go where he goes, step clothes, footwear, and that my backpack had where he steps, don’t deviate, no matter how it the necessary supplies for this journey. Still, I feels. couldn’t have anticipated how challenging this My Mount Hood climb serves as an example Joan Endicott climb would be at times. of various life principles. With all that is hapOur guide was Woody, a buddy from college who had a great deal of outdoor adventure experience, includ- pening in each of our lives, personally and in this world – from ing climbing Mount Hood several times. He knew what he was domestic to global crises – it’s human, it’s natural and normal to feel weary and troubled by it all. doing. For myself and the other two guys, it was our first time. Let’s imagine if I had started out my climb and had been (I had been on Mt. Hood a few times before – on a chair lift easily distracted from my purpose by all the pretty rocks and and skiing down. Not too much navigation involved.) Since I was the only female, I may have also packed a bit of pride that cool wood I could find. As a beachcomber since childhood, I love pretty shells, unique wood and rocks, so this isn’t a stretch made me very determined to not be seen as the weakest link. for me. (Though never officially diagnosed, I have all the By 5:30 a.m., we left Timberline Lodge and our climb up symptoms of Bright Shiny Object Syndrome!) Mount Hood (elevation 11,250 feet) officially began. I was “Ohhh, look at that pretty rock…that looks like petrified really excited about how enthused and energetic I felt starting out. The weeks of planning and preparation were now coming wood…and this one is like a piece of broken mirror…that one looks like a heart…I love hearts…” I tell myself, “They’re so to fruition. little they won’t weigh much in my backpack.” As I keep addIt took no time at all to see the contrast of the steep grade ing, I reason, “See, not even noticeable.” When I run out of of this climb being nothing like running on the flat surfaces I was used to. How can I already feel this tired and breathing room in my backpack, I start cramming things in my pockets. this hard? I’ve only just begun this journey. Clearly, I’m not Eventually, I finally start to feel weary from the heaviness of all I am carrying. Separately they didn’t weigh much, but ounce as prepared as I thought. Over 1,000 feet above Timberline by ounce, pound by pound, I am now weighed down by a load Lodge is Silcox Hut. Finished in 1939, it’s a small rustic midI never imagined. mountain lodge located at 6,950 feet. Over the years, hikers When I start telling my guide about how weary and weighed have used it as a warming hut and a starting point for their down I feel, he suggests we stop, take off my backpack and climb. Silcox Hut became a place and decision point for me. empty my pockets. It’s all out on the ground and as I look at I needed to evaluate – I mean honestly and deeply evaluate each one, suddenly they look different. I see each one repre– my commitment level to the rest of the journey. The reality sents something much more meaningful. The heart represents was, 90% of my journey lay ahead of me, should I choose to my precious family and loved ones and all the worries and go on. So, what were my options? At this point, I could easily care I have about them. The petrified wood represents all my go back by myself since the path was clear and easy. I also past mistakes and missteps that I have beaten myself up over – knew I did not want to slow anyone else down or in any way again and again – and fear for the future. The broken mirbe a hindrance. In my heart, I also knew I didn’t want to give ror reminds me of all my striving for others’ acceptance and up on something I really wanted to do and this was one of the approval…and how I always come up lacking. “It’s too much! last options, timing wise, before getting married and moving It’s too heavy! I cannot carry this load any longer.” I cry out as 400 miles away. I shared with Woody how I felt surprised, discouraged, and disappointed at how tired I already felt when I look up and see my guide is Jesus. I see only love and arms we were barely getting started. Fortunately, Woody was wise as open wide. “Oh, my precious daughter Joan, of course you can’t! You well as experienced. weren’t created to carry all this. You aren’t equipped nor He reminded me, “It’s okay! This is not a race, Joan! You need to pace yourself, not try and prove yourself, or you’ll have strong enough. You will always be weary and troubled and continue to crumble under this load of care. That’s why I want a harder time and not enjoy any of it.” He encouraged me you to cast your cares upon Me and let Me carry your load!” that I was in every way prepared and had everything I needed “Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for to have a successful climb. you.” – 1 Peter 5:7 At that point of decision, I knew Woody was experienced Cast: To throw or fling with a quick motion and sudden enough to know objectively if I was ready and would have told me if I wasn’t. I also knew I would regret it if I turned back. I release. To throw off, out or away.

16 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

Jesus bent down and began gathering up my load and put it in my backpack. I was a bit surprised because I thought He was going to tell me to just leave it. He gave me His backpack and put mine on his back. “Here, I’ll carry yours. You can carry mine,” He said. When I took hold of His, I realized it was weightless. “There’s nothing in this,” I said. “Exactly!” He said as He smiled and embraced me with unconditional love, understanding and compassion. “It’s time to stop trying to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, Joan. That never was your job. It’s always been mine and I finished it on the cross.” “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 Weary – Having the strength much impaired by toil, suffering, etc.; tired, fatigued Troubled – To agitate mentally or spiritually; worry; disturb; grieve; distress n

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus – by Helen H. Lemmel, 1864-1961

Verse 1: “O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free! “Chorus: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Grab your FREE copy of Joan Endicott’s “I Get To!”® book at www. Joan is an Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, Author and Coach who’s coaching has reached over 30 countries. Meet her and enjoy her encouraging messages on Facebook and Instagram!

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Christian Living | May / June 2022 17

BIBLICALLY Responsible Investing

Take some advice from ‘wisdom literature’

falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever By Doug Hanson the tree falls, there it lies.” A wise merchant transMy family and I like to play board games and ports grain on multiple ships, in case one ship our favorite is the strategic game, “Settlers of sinks. A wise farmer plants in multiple fields, Catan.” The goal of the game is to become the in case one field doesn’t produce. Likewise, we largest settler on an island through acquiring should diversify our investments in case one resources (brick, wood, grain, ore, and wool) investment doesn’t perform as expected. and building structures (settlements, cities, and Invest Now – I am often asked when the roads). Players can strategically trade resources best time is to invest. A wise response is found to gain the right material to build. Players that in verses four and five: “He who watches the trade without forethought jeopardize their wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds chance to win – they trade away resources they will not reap. Just as you do not know the path of need, or they provide key resources to a comthe wind and how bones are formed in the womb peting player. of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the Using strategy in a board game like “Settlers activity of God who makes all things.” The best of Catan” is important, but it pales in comtime to invest is “now” because it is notoriously parison to strategies we need in life. What’s Doug Hanson difficult to time the market. The market will our strategy for raising our children, for our fluctuate but has always recovered with time. Just as a farmer marriage, for our health, for our spiritual well-being, for our can’t always wait for the perfect day to plant, we shouldn’t try money? Scripture encourages us to think strategically in all to time the market when we invest. aspects of our lives: “Give careful thought to the paths for your Invest Regularly – The final principal found in Ecclesifeet and be steadfast in all your ways” (Proverbs 4:26). A good astes 11 is from verse 6: “Sow your seed in the morning and do strategy involves wisdom. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines wisdom as “knowl- not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be edge, and the capacity to make due use of it.” Wisdom is good.” This verse encourages the farmer to sow in the morning replete in Scripture, especially prevalent in three books of the Old Testament called wisdom literature (Job, Proverbs, Ecclesi- and in the evening to be most successful in raising a crop. In astes). Wisdom literature provides general principles of life, not the investing world, this is referred to as Dollar Cost Averaging. If we invest the same amount monthly, let’s say on the first promises. In wisdom literature we see the astute application of of the month, studies have shown that we end up with more knowledge, guiding us in the way we should live. Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 provides us wisdom for investing. If we want to be bibli- shares over the long-term since we organically take advantage of down days in the market. cally responsible investors, the passage has four principles for If we have a poor strategy in board games, there is little us to consider. Invest for Profit – Ecclesiastes 11:1 encourages us to “Cast impact on our lives. However, if we have a poor strategy in the more important aspects of life – including investing – there your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after can be a significant impact on our lives. Scripture’s wisdom many days.” This verse may refer to merchants sending their ships full of grain across the seas, anticipating profits in return. literature exists for our benefit. Let’s use it. n Or it could refer to farmers planting seed in rain-soaked or flood-soaked fields, anticipating a fruitful harvest in return. Ei- Doug Hanson is an investment advisor with Christian Wealth Manther way, the emphasis is on putting our resources to work and agement in Boise, providing biblically responsible investment advice to Christians. For more information, visit or waiting for them to grow. Let’s not sit idly by while stewarding God’s blessings in our lives, let’s invest to care for ourselves and contact him at or (208) 697-3699. to bless others. Investment advisory services provided by Creative Financial Designs, Inc. Invest Diversely – While verse one encourages us to inSecurities are offered through CFD Investments, Inc., Member FINRA & vest, verses two and three encourage us to spread those investSIPC. 2704 South Goyer Road, Kokomo, IN 46902, 795-453-9600. ments around: “Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for Christian Wealth Management, LLC is not affiliated with CFD Investyou do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree ments, Inc. or Creative Financial Designs, Inc.

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18 May / June 2022 | Christian Living


Which bunny are you: hollow or solid? A solid marriage, like a solid bunny, weighs more, costs more, By Gary Moore and withstands more. It’s got substance. It’s been “filled up” on When you observe some couples, you say, “They’ll never the inside with wise principles, tested practices, good decisions, make it.” And looking at other couples, you say, “They’re and painstaking discipline. The process of making it solid isn’t going to make it. They’ll be great together.” What enables a quick, cheap, or easy. But it’s worth it, because solid marriages marriage to hold together and thrive? last under pressure. Let me answer this question by looking at two bunnies. As a In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus taught the same principle using a kid I always liked getting a chocolate bunny at Easter. But you different metaphor. You’ll remember the story of the wise and know, it didn’t take me too long to learn that there are really foolish builders. The wise builder built his house on the rock two different kind of chocolate bunnies you can get at Easter. They looked the same – they were both and the foolish man built his house on the sand. chocolate, but they were far different. One was You could substitute the word marriage for house in hollow and one was solid. It was easy to crumble that passage and it would reveal truth. The wise couple the hollow bunny, but I couldn’t even put a dent in builds their marriage on the rock of Jesus’ words. And the solid one. then when the storms and winds of life beat against Marriages are like those bunnies. On the outthat marriage, it does not fall. Why? Rock is solid. But side they can look good and solid, and nobody couples who don’t build their marriages on something can tell what they’re made of. But put pressure solid will fall with a great crash. They’re like hollow on them – and every marriage experiences bunnies. pressure – and you’ll find out whether they’re But notice something about the parable of the wise really solid. and foolish builders. The houses were the same. So How marriages stand up is determined by were the storms. The difference was the foundawhat’s inside. The hollow ones will crack and tion on which the two houses were built: crumble under pressure. But those that have been one was on a solid foundation; the solidly built can take it. Squeeze them all you other was on an unstable foundation. want, and they are unmoved, unshaken, unalContinued on page 21 tered, unharmed. Image by ivabalk from Pixabay

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Christian Living | May / June 2022 19

Nampa mayor’s prayer breakfast planned The 45th Mayor’s Community Prayer Breakfast is set for 7 a.m. Thursday, May 5, at the Nampa Civic Center. The breakfast is presented by the Kiwanis Club of Nampa and sponsored by the Nampa Civic Center and Good News Community Church.

Special music for the breakfast will be provided by the St. Paul’s Catholic Church Choir, and the keynote speaker will be Dr. Bryan Taylor, prosecuting attorney for Canyon County. Cost of the breakfast buffett is $15. For more information, call (208) 442-3232. n

‘22 National Day of Prayer set for May 5 By Mark Thornton “Exalt the Lord who has established us.” – Colossians 2:6-7 I am rejoicing as I reflect back upon the unmistakable God-story: the many answers to prayer that we witnessed the Lord accomplish this last year; the countless ways that He lavishly poured out His love, grace, mercy and blessings upon the Body of Christ throughout our city. Even as our culture wrestled with darkness, division, hopelessness and fear, we appeared to gain footholds in the hearts and minds of believers. We were constantly reminded of this TRUTH – our God is ALMIGHTY, and He is ABLE. Ephesians 3:20 from the Passion Translation reminds us: Never doubt God's mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! Over the past two years, Covid threatened to hinder and even stop the gathering of the saints. We experienced a surge in prayers because it was the only thing we could consistently do. God gave us a way to facilitate His Kingdom agenda on earth regardless of what obstacles come our way. No external force has ever been able to stifle the power of prayer. Prayer worked for Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness. Prayer worked for Daniel and the three Hebrew boys in Babylon in spite of the political climate. Prayer worked for King David and his son Solomon. Prayer worked for Jesus in the garden. Prayer worked for the Disciples and the Apostle Paul – and prayer still works for us today! Did God not promise in His Word that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16 KJV)? Prayer is and will always be “an earthly license for Heavenly interference.” It seems like we only emphasize verse 14 out of 2 Chronicle 7, but if we were to honestly take a look at the passage in the context of what the world has gone through over the last two years, we will see the difference prayer has made. “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send a plague among my people and my people who are called by my name humble themselves

20 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears will be attentive to the prayer offered in this place.” – 2 Chronicles 7:13-15 (NASB) In spite of the obstacles during this time, many churches are experiencing greater success in ministering to their congregation both spiritually and naturally. I don’t think it’s because the pastors are preaching better than they were pre-Covid. I don’t think it’s because the worship has become better than it was before. And I certainly don’t think that the trials and tribulations of the world have become any less significant. I do believe that because prayer has been more passionately and consistently prioritized that the majority of churches in our community have flourished when it seems like all the obstacles should have caused otherwise. That’s the power of prayer! By the time this article is published, I would hope that we will have seen the saving of tens of thousands of souls in our valley from the Easter weekend services and the Boise Harvest Crusade. Make no mistake… The enemy of our destiny is still at work trying to suppress the movement of God in our valley. And spiritually, we have taken too much ground over the last 18 months to get complacent now. The National Day of Prayer provides us with an opportunity to not only acknowledge and thank God collectively for what He has done but to also collectively pray His Kingdom come and His will be done in our families, churches, businesses, schools, government, media and in our nation. It’s a privilege and an honor, as well as a directive from Heaven, for us to be watchmen on the wall and to intercede and petition the God of grace for His will to be done in all of these areas. God is a God of principles. Systems and seasons may change, but God’s principles do not. The power of unity has always been unrivaled. As the collective Body of Christ, let us come together at the Idaho State Capitol on Thursday, May 5, at 5 p.m. and use the principle of unity to pray God’s Kingdom come and His will be done throughout valley, state and nation. n

Which bunny are you?

Continued from page 19

We often want to blame what’s falling apart in As you begin this process, together you will decide our lives on the strength of the storm. But in truth, what you believe are important “walls” and “rooms” everyone’s life experiences storms. Everyone’s marfor your family house. In this process make sure you riage experiences challenges. Everyone has to deal consider a couple of things. One is the fact that most with difficult finances. Everyone faces temptations relationships naturally drift apart, not together, if that test their character. No one escapes intense trials couples aren’t intentional about doing things together. and storms. Some crumble under the pressure while To build a solid marriage and family, you will have others stand strong because of what is inside. to be very intentional about sharing your lives and I’ve read that it takes 75 percent more chocolate staying close. And remember, no matter how you to make a bunny solid rather than hollow. It also slice it, love is spelled t-i-m-e. And two, consider that takes 75 percent more effort to build a solid marriage pretending that something isn’t true doesn’t make and family instead of a hollow one. What does that it go away. Instead, it creates pretense, and that is mean? It means being much more intentional about destructive. Learn how to make your marriage a safe investing in your marriage and living your principles place where you can speak the truth in love. consistently day after day. How your marriage weathers life’s storms has little Begin first with the nonnegotiables of faith. Not Gary Moore to do with the severity of the storms. What’s inside only is this the place to begin, but you will need this you will always determine whether your marriage falls solid foundation on which to build your solid marapart or stands strong. riage house. Spend time with God daily – individually and as a couple. So, which bunny are you? n Worship God together weekly – as a couple and as a family. When you’re consumed with your own problems and ambitions all week, Gary Moore served as associate pastor at Cloverdale Church worshipping God reminds you of what’s really important. And, it of God for 15 years. He does couples’ coaching and leads helps us put Jesus back at the center of our lives if we’ve drifted off couples’ workshops and retreats called MUM’s the Word. course in our thinking. With a solid foundation, you can then begin constructing the various He does a weekly radio program called Life Point Plus on KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. Monday mornwalls and rooms that make for a happy and successful relationship. ings at 10 a.m. he does live relationship teaching called This is going to take planning and intentionality. And, since no one MUM Live on his Facebook page Mutual Understanding teaches us how to do relationships, you may even need some outside Method. He may be contacted at help to get you started.

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Christian Living | May / June 2022 21

HAPPINESS or holiness?

Only one path leads to ultimate satisfaction

It can be as simple as finishing a task you’ve By Bethany Riehl lost interest in or as difficult as staying commitWhat is the point of it all anyway? ted in a lonely marriage. It’s doing all for the It’s the question we face at my church every glory of God regardless of the reward or lack Sunday, more or less, as our pastor walks us thereof on earth. And, friends, through the book of Ecclesiastes. Our goal is in every way to be more like “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher. Christ. “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (Ecc. 1:2) Christ, who when faced with the goal that Thankfully, we started this book by looking He’d come to earth to accomplish – the salvaahead to the end. Spoiler alert, it’s not life that’s tion of all who would put their faith in Him vanity; it’s the life lived for our own pleasure – asked the Father to let the cup pass from Him or gain that has no purpose. But a life lived if possible. While I am certain that Jesus was in pursuit of holiness? That’s lasting, eternal, dreading the crucifixion, I believe it was the abundant. wrath of God He was going to endure that had And that’s easy to talk about here, with you. Him literally sweating blood. Me, behind this computer and you, sitting there “…My father, if it is possible, let this cup with a moment to yourself for whatever reason. Bethany Riehl pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You But when I close this computer and you set will.” (Matthew 26:39b) down this magazine and we walk through our daily lives, what Where would we be if, “yet not as I will, but as You will,” had does this look like in practice? not been Jesus’ ultimate aim? Recently, I realized that I have…how you say…a touch of I’ll tell you. Doomed. Hopeless. Helpless. road crankiness. I refuse to say road rage because I don’t curse But praise be to God, Jesus chose holiness over happiness. or yell or gesture. I just…grumble. Or make sarcastic suggesObedience over His own desire in that moment. He walked tions to other drivers. You know how it goes: “Oh, sure, come forward on the path He’d laid out and rescued us – His eyes on on over. I don’t need my front fender. Oh, and by all means, go pleasing the Father, no matter the cost. If we claim to be His, slower…” we can do no less. You get the idea. “Then Jesus said, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he Anyway. It could be seen as harmless, this habit of mine. must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me’.” After all, they can’t hear me. But my passengers sure do. They (Matthew 16:24) hear my heart and it’s not pretty. If we live life with the goal of happiness, we’ll always find In an effort to change the behavior, I gave my kids a code ourselves on a path that ends in dissatisfaction and emptiness. phrase to use to get my attention if they hear me being snotty No matter how many new paths we carve out, if this is our to other drivers. When they say, “Citizen’s Arrest!” (we’ll be aim, they all end up in the same way: a dead end. No house, besties forever if you know why we chose that phrase), it’s my no job, no relationship, no degree, no toy, no political figure, reminder to repent of my bad attitude. no (insert greatest desire here) will satisfy. Only a life lived for I’m not going to lie – it grates on the ol’ nerves most of the God and striving after holiness can. time to hear that phrase from a child, and I often have to fight Take it from the wisest man in all history, who followed every a new set of temptations in my heart when I do. But my holiness, by God’s power and for His glory, is what I’m after, so we path his heart desired and this is where it led: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God continue on with it. and keep His commandments, because this applies to every This is a small and insignificant example compared to many person. For God will bring every act to judgement, everyother hard and heavy ways that the Lord shapes us to be holy thing which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiasmore than happy. What about laying down our life – our tes 12:13,14) n wants, opinions, tastes, etc. – for someone else? When we really live out the verse, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one Bethany Riehl lives in the Treasure Valley with her husband, three kids, and one super chill dog. She writes articles another as more important than yourselves…” (Philippians and fictional novels when she can, and her one desire is to 2:3) it grates. point others to the love and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Her It can be treating a stranger with respect, even when they’re rude, or it can be actively loving and serving someone that you books can be found on Amazon or at your local library… know might not appreciate it – or worse, look on your sacrifice after you request them to be in stock, of course. with contempt.

Image by Christine Kugel from Pixabay

22 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

RandyB Funk Youth Ministry Through Hip-Hop If you are in youth ministry you will definitely want to connect with RandyB Funk! This Spring and Summer local Christian hip-hop artist RandyB Funk is headlining 12 concerts which are FREE with donation to the Boise Rescue Mission at the door. Six of these concerts will be held here in the Treasure Valley. FIRED UP Friday Night Concert Series’ goal is to give youth and young adults (all ages are welcome) a safe place to go on Friday nights that’s encouraging and Christ-centered. RandyB is currently scouting for additional concert venues, with several local sponsors secured for the upcoming concerts. If you or your company would like to get involved, slots for additional sponsors and volunteers are still available. RandyB will also be touring in Montana, Wyoming, Florida, and Southern California continuing his New Day Tour thru August 17th, 2022. He’s been blessed to open for, or perform with, some of the most popular names in Christian hip-hop music including KB, Wande, Zauntee, Steven Malcom, 1K-Phew, Christafari, R-Swift, PEABOD and more! RandyB has released over 17 songs, one of which debuted in April 2022 as #2 on BlessedBeatz the number one syndicated Christian hip-hop show in the world! Treasure Valley residents may recall that RandyB opened for KB at Project 88.7’s Summer Splash in 2021. At just 19 RandyB Funk’s music is featured on over 150 Christian radio stations nationwide. A psychology major

at Liberty University, he is a community organizer, a philanthropist, public speaker and a business owner, and has produced more Christian hip-hop concerts than anyone else in the state of Idaho! You may know RandyB Funk from local networking groups or news stories. His 2021 SOS Service Drives generated 10,000 items this year for the Boise Rescue Mission, and the Idaho Humane Society! He has been conducting service drives in the Treasure Valley since he was 11 years old, originally working with the homeless in Maui, Hawaii, where he lived until he was seven years old. A natural entrepreneur, RandyB started FIRED UP PROMOTIONS with his Mom. Together they produce Christian hip-hop benefit events and concerts that also generate donations for the Boise Rescue Mission. “Please connect with me. We’ve got some exciting concerts planned for this year. Help provide a safe, encouraging space where youth and young adults (all ages are welcome) can enjoy Christian hip-hop, dance, make new friends and learn that they are valuable to God. We are getting less connected as a society and it’s damaging our youth and young adults. I want to be part of the solution by bringing new friends together in a venue where it’s okay to love Jesus, encourage others and see yourself as valuable.” RandyB Funk Reach Team RandyB Funk at: (208)-914-3793 Email: Find him at and on social media @randybfunkmusic; RandyB Funk’s music is available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon Music, and more.

Rick & Sue Ellen Montgomery COVER STORY


with an almost

lifelong partnership 24 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

By Gaye Bunderson Rick and Sue Ellen Montgomery have enjoyed an almost lifelong partnership. Their paths crossed in childhood when Rick’s family attended a church pastored by Sue Ellen’s father, Tom Blackburn. The Community Christian Center was located in Garden City and Rick was only 10 when he walked through the church door for the first time with his siblings, his mom, and his stepfather. “His big sister became my best friend,” Sue Ellen said. That’s how it began – a partnership that would ultimately entail a marriage and a business. The story involves not only a big sister but several grownups as well. Sue Ellen’s mother started a school at Community Christian Center and Rick attended. Also, Rick’s stepdad became an assistant at the church, working for Pastor Blackburn by running the church soup kitchen and food bank. One of the most amusing parts of the story is how Rick earned the record for most detentions in school, while Sue Ellen had the fewest. Part of Rick’s punishment was writing essays each time he was detained after class. As the teacher, Sue Ellen’s mother read everything he wrote. It could have been a disaster – but it wasn’t. “Mom had to read his essays, and she really liked him,” Sue Ellen said. “Both my parents loved Rick, and Dad was his football coach.” Rick and Sue Ellen started dating during her senior year. Even back then, Rick was a go-getter. “He was always a hard worker, and he got involved in heating and cooling at age 16,” Sue Ellen explained. It started when Rick played chauffeur to a construction worker he knew who’d lost his right to drive because of a DUI. “Rick picked up what he could [about the construction business] – he’s always loved working with this hands. During the summer when he was 16, and even throughout the school year, he’d run flexible duct work under houses under construction.” “He even took me on a date one time, and he had to go into a crawl space while I was holding a flashlight,” said Sue Ellen. Ah yes, flexible duct work. That’ll tug at a girl’s heart. Fortunately by then, Sue Ellen’s heart was committed to the hard-working teenager with a record for school detentions. Even though she went away to college at Seattle Pacific University to major in music for a year, she returned and attended ITT Technical Institute in Boise in pursuit of becoming a legal secretary. During that time, Rick proposed and asked her father for Sue Ellen’s hand in marriage, and the couple became man and wife when she was 19 and he was 18. They will mark 30 years of marriage this coming November. Sue Ellen is now 49 and Rick is 48. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.

With marriage and parenthood comes responsibility, and Rick did not shy away from working and providing for his family. But all lives encounter hurdles, and in March of 1999, Rick was laid off from a job; he had been employed in the heating and cooling industry for 10 years, working for other companies. The layoff turned out to be pivotal as he decided to start his own business. Sue Ellen’s parents helped by getting a loan for $1,000 to fund a startup. Rick started out on his own in new construction and launched Diamond Heating & Cooling in the Treasure Valley. Sue Ellen helped run the business and is now vice president of the company. For the first 9 years, Rick worked at installing heating and cooling systems in new homes. In 2006, he provided heating and cooling systems for an entire subdivision at Tamarack Resort in Donnelly. Then another hurdle popped up: the 2008 Great Recession. “New construction came to a halt,” Sue Ellen said. Housing construction had been booming, and in a very short time, it just stopped. “We were praying about what we were going to do next. In 2009, the Lord brought into our life a company called Success Group International, a business management consulting firm based in Addison, Texas. In one year, we went from doing 90% new construction to 98% residential services, including maintenance and repair of furnaces and air conditioning in existing homes. Rick and I struggled for years. In 2012, we started growing, and we now have 54 employees.” Those employees are like family to the Montgomerys. “In 2017, we challenged them that if we hit all our goals, we’d take them on a cruise.” Goals were met and the cruise was undertaken to the tune of $50,000. At this point, Rick felt a “burden on his heart”: If he was willing to spend $50,000 on his team, he wanted to give that same amount to people in need. Both he and Sue Ellen were influenced by their parents to give back and to always think of others and respond to needs with generosity. “It was through their influence and example that we wanted to give back – they had a big impact on us.” The couple heard a presentation in church from a missionary who served in Africa. Rick got fired up. He wanted to help build a medical clinic in South Africa, and his enthusiasm spread to both his employees and customers at Diamond Heating & Cooling. A large sum of money was raised, as the Diamond team and its customers all pitched in what they could. Along with the medical clinic, money was raised for The Shoe That Grows, a program that provides expandable, long-lasting footwear for kids enduring poverty. The medical clinic was built in a small village called Shabalala in South Africa in September of 2018. In 2019, Rick and Sue Ellen went to the dedication of the building there. “The medical clinic is for the village,” Sue Ellen said. “They serve the children of the village lunch after school every day. Many of the children are orphaned because of AIDS and other reasons. There is not an actual ‘orphanage’ in the village. The children are either cared for by others in the community or

they live on their own. So, for many of them, the meal they receive at the medical facility once a day is their only meal. “The local church is also very involved in ministering to the children there at the medical facility, where they have an area to do Bible lessons with the kids as well. We got to spend a day and meet all the kids. There is such a need there.” While that was one of the Montgomerys’ biggest projects, it hasn’t been their only one. “Our parents taught us to ‘give what you have’,” said Sue Ellen. And what they had was a furnace that, in conjunction with Christian radio station KTSY, they gave to a family at Christmastime in 2011. The Montgomerys also started Diamond Hugs, which is an internal program at their company that is also a pay-itforward program and involves Diamond employees. “We do multiple Hugs a year as the Diamond family,” said Sue Ellen. The Montgomerys and their staff have taken on assistance programs and have packed diaper bags for needy parents, held golf tournaments to raise money for charity, and many other projects. Again working with KTSY and other community-minded businesses in the area, Diamond and the other enterprises remodeled an entire home in a week for a local family. The Montgomerys attend River City Church, where they’ve been members for 17 years. Sue Ellen serves on the church board and is the first woman to do so. Rick runs the men’s ministry. Sue Ellen conceded that heating and cooling is a competitive business and she and Rick stay ahead by treating their customers well and their work team with respect. “We wouldn’t be here without any of them.” The Montgomerys seem to live in accordance with Matthew 5:14-17: Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. They don’t bury their light of faith under a bowl but display it brightly for everyone, including their customers, employees, and people in the valley. “We don’t hide our faith from anyone, whether or not they are Christian. We give credit to God.” That includes credit for everything, including success. n Photo credits: Page 24: Rick and Sue Ellen Montgomery, owners of Diamond Heating & Cooling in the Treasure Valley, live a philosophy of giving back. Here, they are shown with The Shoe That Grows, expandable, long-lasting footwear for kids enduring poverty. The Montgomerys donated the shoes to children in South Africa. (Courtesy photo) Page 25: Rick Montgomery is shown with a group of South African youngsters. Rick and his wife Sue Ellen traveled to a village called Shabalala in 2018 after providing funding for a medical clinic there. The orphaned children in the village are provided with a daily meal at the clinic. (Courtesy photo)

Christian Living | May / June 2022 25

REAL Man’s Toolbox

God is speaking – make sure you listen going through make me forget the benefits of belongBy Leo Hellyer ing to the God who has been so good to me. He has Men, as we live our lives, there can be many distracsaved me, blessed me, forgiven me, restored me, satistions that can send our minds off track very easily. It fied me, healed me, crowned me, and renewed me.” is very difficult to always keep our priorities as they God loves us so much that He does not make us pupshould be. We have many facets of our lives to try to pets; He has given us our own minds, and He allows us keep in order. Every day we attempt to keep Family, to make our own decisions. He allows us to learn from Work, God, Sleep, Recreation, Education, Service, our mistakes. He waits patiently for us to learn our Nourishment, Mentoring, Being Mentored, etc., in lessons, and when we have realized that we have once balance. As we judge ourselves in how well we are doagain gone off course, He opens our eyes so we can ing, we can hear many voices in our heads concerning clearly see through God’s ‘compass’ and get back on our progress and staying on course. the correct course. There is a great book available that I highly recomHow often is your life controlled by your Chattermend for your Real Man’s Toolbox. This book does box? How often do you feel defeated by your Chattera great job of addressing the negative chattering that box? Do you want to turn down the volume? we may hear from ourselves and possibly from others. Our Chatterbox is part of the spiritual warfare that Leo Hellyer Steven Furtick, the founder and lead pastor of Elevawe face on a daily basis. When you are in any battle, tion Church in Charlotte, N.C., addressed this specific it is usually not resolved in a short moment. It is a long, trying, exhaustchallenge in his book, “Crashing the Chatterbox.” ing experience. The secret to eventually being victorious in the spiritual He addresses the constant battle that we have between what we are led battle that we are all in is to keep in the battle. We need to battle and to do by God and all of the other things, people, and distractions that press on. We need to be sure that we are wearing all of our armor, and attempt to take us off course. Furtick presents the truth that even when we need to make sure that we are going into battle in God’s strength, we are distracted, God is with us and is waiting for us to call upon Him not just our own. to get us back on course. Furtick explains that although the Chatterbox takes no breaks, we The challenges we are facing are nothing new. Furtick delves into the need to constantly be ready to show up for the fight, and we need to real life experiences of many of the heroes of the Bible and the struggles keep pounding away. they had in staying on course. He is also transparent in discussing his In closing, I would like to ask each you to honestly and fervently show own challenges with the ‘Chatterbox’ that he experiences in his own life. God, in your way, your gratitude for Him allowing you to live in this What is your Chatterbox telling you? How difficult is it for you to stay nation, where we all have so much to be thankful for. There are many the course? How often do you let the breezes, winds, gales, or hurricanes of our brothers and sisters who are in other places on this planet where of life take you off course? As Christians, we are infinitely blessed. Any- they are in very perilous situations. Many of us wish we could be “boots time we find ourselves off course, we can call upon God Almighty, and on the ground” with them, and some of us are. For those of us who canHe is always there and will lead us back to the correct course. not be “boots on the ground,” let’s call upon God Almighty to be with Furtick brings many words of vision and clarity to his book. He menthem, love them, protect them, bless them, and reward them for their tions that, “My joy is not determined by what happens to me but by faith, dedication, persistence and obedience. In all things, remember we what Christ is doing in me and through me.” are not the judge, God is. It is mind-boggling to attempt to understand God’s love for us. God’s May you be successful in taming your Chatterbox to the point where unconditional love is something that is very difficult for us to wrap our you can hear God’s Voice above all others. n minds around. He doesn’t love us for what we do or accomplish; He loves us for who we are and who He is. We are His adopted children, Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been and he is our loving Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally. No married to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. The couple matter how many times we go off course, He is always right there, ready volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. to pick us up, dust us off, wrap His arms around us, and put us back on Leo has also been serving with Boise Rescue Mission Ministries course. for 20 years and is currently serving at the River of Life Rescue Furtick brings us to the understanding that we need to have a huge Mission. He is president and chief firearms instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about Real amount of gratitude toward our Loving Heavenly Father because “we don’t deserve any of what we’ve been given – it is all a product of God’s Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at or 208-340-5544. grace.” He also points out, “I will not let discouragement of what I’m

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26 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

LIFE transformers

What motivates some people to be caring? Yet she has a great desire to save a needy girl By Vincent Kituku from being forced into early marriage, prostitu“I just want a poor child to have a chance tion or child labor. She had saved $725, which for a better tomorrow,” said my friend, Mary. will cover one year’s school fees, room and Because we had not seen each other for about board. five years, and we had a lot to catch up on, the Mary’s kindness and personal challenges have impact of that sentence didn’t register immedioccupied my thoughts for days. What is it that ately. motivates people to be kind and generous? Mary was forced to retire due to a work-reMust they have the means, the financial capalated injury involving her foot. She also suffers bility, before they can offer help? from unspecified stomach illnesses that affect People who transform the living conditions her appetite and what to eat. Her ailing mother of others have the quality of empathy within reached a point where she had to be taken to a their being. They make other people’s pain nursing home. One of her brothers, the closest their own. They don’t have to have the finanone to her, has been suffering from a myriad of cial means in order to help. They can pray, health issues, including Parkinson’s disease. share the stories of others with their family and Mary’s ordinary day includes visits to doctors, Vincent Kituku friends or give whatever they can afford to – be spending time with her mother, which is often it used clothes, a can of food, time to visit the sick or those who a challenging experience, and visits with her sick brother. She are grieving or in prison. also has her own children, and a close-knit relationship with The key factor that triggers kindness and generosity is each. She checks on how they are doing regularly. awareness of a cause and belief that what one person can All that might not be unusual. What is unusual, and sets do matters. There is also an intrinsic factor: the desire and people like Mary apart, is that she has been saving whatever commitment to make a difference. People who transform lives spare change she gets just to be able to pay high school tuition normally start by caring for those who are closest to them. I through Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope for a child in have yet to see someone who is unkind to his/her own mother Kenya who has lost her parents to AIDS. This year, Mary inbut relishes the chance to protect and save young girls to whom formed her family and friends that she would be donating the he/she is not related. money that she intended to invest on their Christmas presents Mary has cared for other needy children and adults in this in order to educate a child. country but when she talks about her family, even with the up Over the years, Mary has sent me notes or emails expressand down dynamics that are experienced in all families, you ing her willingness to contribute something even though her financial circumstances were not favorable. But that didn’t stop can tell that is where she hatched her caring spirit. n her from championing the needs of orphaned children and © By Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku, motivational speaker those from poverty-stricken homes through social media. She and author of “Overcoming Buffaloes at Work & in Life,” posts positive comments that encourage people to learn more is the founder and executive director of Caring Hearts and about Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope. Mary has inspired Hands of Hope, a non-profit organization that raises tuition her children to be just as kind, and to give what they can. and fees for poor orphans and other children from povertyI cried after our brief visit. Here is a woman whose leg will stricken families in Kenya. Contact him at vincent@kituku. be amputated soon, her mother is on her sunset season of life, and the prospects of her brother’s illnesses are not promising. com or 208-376-8724.

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28 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

DESTINED for Victory

Why Paul asked, ‘But what does it matter?’

– Christ will be glorified. People may be out to By Pastor Paul Sheppard destroy you, but God’s Word assures you: No In Philippians 1, Paul explains how some weapon formed against you shall prosper. – people are preaching Christ with wrong moIsaiah 54:17 (NKJV) tives, out of envy and rivalry, with selfish ambiYou might get upset at God when your enemy tion, causing grief for Paul who is in chains. starts forming weapons against you. This pasYou have known folks like these, who try to take sage doesn’t say they won’t be formed. They advantage of you when you’re at your lowest, may even shoot that weapon, but it won’t be to better themselves while causing you a lot of able to kill what God is doing in you. pain. No weapon formed against you shall prosPaul might have lashed out against those who per. are causing him trouble. Instead, he says: Earlier in Philippians 1, Paul assures us: … But what does it matter? The important being confident of this, that He who began a thing is that in every way, whether from false good work in you will carry it on to complemotives or true, Christ is preached. And betion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philipcause of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will conPastor Paul Sheppard pians 1:6 tinue to rejoice… – Philippians 1:18 No matter how many weapons are formed I love how Paul says, “But what does it matagainst you, God will still bring His good work to completion ter?” in you. The enemy is just wasting bullets. God is with you, I pray that each one of us takes that simple phrase to heart. accomplishing His purposes. He will never forsake you. He is When folks set out to do you harm, remember this phrase taking you through the valley. recorded in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. If you find yourself in the valley of the shadow of death, But what does it matter? don’t camp out there. Just keep moving. Don’t pitch a tent. He Too many Christians are making people famous, saying, “Why I never! Do you know what they did to me?” Stop giving has prepared a better place for you, accomplishing His purposes. publicity to your enemies! Learn to say those five words, “But Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of what does it matter?” God has not put your destiny into the hands of your enemies. death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and While your enemies are running their mouths, stay focused on your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies… – Psalm 23:4-5 running your kingdom business. Just do what God has called Notice how the place God prepares for us is “in the presence you to do and be who God has called you to be. With or withof my enemies.” Don’t freak out when you see your enemies out them, God will be glorified. gather. Why? Because it’s a sign that you are close to your But what does it matter? prepared place; you know you’re about to get blessed. When They can talk all they want. What does it matter? They can you see your enemies coming, say, “Great! My banquet table is lie all they want. What does it matter? The important thing to know is that in every way – whether from false motives or true somewhere around here.”

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But what does it matter, when troubles come? Know that God is doing great things in your life. Paul is clear that no matter what people’s motives are, God is glorified. Then in verse 18 he says, “And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.” Rejoicing is an ongoing decision. You need to make up your mind to rejoice. Then when you get started, keep on rejoicing until you get to your prepared place. Keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Keep praising God. Abide in Him, and He will abide in you. You might be crying out to God, saying, “You don’t understand! This isn’t small! It’s crushing me. It’s breaking my heart.” Know that God’s perspective is very different from ours. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 If we could only see our troubles from God’s perspective, we would know that they are “light and momentary.” If I put a brick on one side of a balance, it would weigh the scale down because it’s heavy. But when God shows up with a cinder block and throws it on the other side of the scale, everything changes. Invite God into your troubles with His cinder block of blessing, His cinder block of provision, His cinder block of mira-

cles, His cinder block of possibilities. As soon as God shows up on the other side of the balance, miracles begin to happen. You look up into the sky and see your burden that seemed so heavy flying into the clouds, and you say, “Praise God. That wasn’t anything but a light and momentary affliction.” I know your troubles don’t feel small right now, but be encouraged. God assures you that it’s the small stuff. The main thing is that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). The main thing is that God is being glorified and His purposes are being accomplished in and through you. God is going to bless your life. He is going to answer your prayers. He is going to meet your needs. He is going to help you through your troubles. He will bring you to the beautiful place He’s prepared where you will say, “I’m glad I went through that time, because if I didn’t go through that, I wouldn’t be where I am now.” Know that your small trouble will get balanced out by a large victory. Let not your heart be troubled. God is working all things together for good. n This is an excerpt from the series “Keeping THE Main Thing the Main Thing” by Pastor Paul Sheppard. You can hear Pastor Paul’s radio show, “Destined For Victory,” weekday mornings at 9 a.m. MST on 94.1 FM or online at For more information, consult

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HISTORY, Culture & Faith

The pain of once-patriot Thomas Paine

By Dr. Rick Chromey In 1776 Thomas Paine was a “rock star” among American patriots. His writings inspired a loosely united 13 colonies to revolt against the great British Empire. But Paine lived down to his name. He’d die a “penniless drunk in Manhattan,” scorned by most of the Founding Fathers. Only six people attended his funeral. It’s a morality tale we must learn. Thomas Paine was always a radical revolutionary. He loved to challenge the status quo politically. It’s why his writings, like the best-selling “Common Sense” (1776) and “The American Crisis” (1776-1783), were popular among American patriots. Few people were more famous than Thomas Paine during the Revolutionary War. But Paine also had a way of wearing out his welcome. He lived in America only 13 years (arriving in 1774) before returning to his native England. In 1791, when his writings on the “Rights of Man” created British controversy and eventually charges of sedition, Paine fled to France. That’s where his notoriety caught the attention of French Revolutionaries. Paine was immediately granted honorary citizenship and elected to the National Assembly. But his French honeymoon also proved short. He “agitated” the wrong people, got arrested and sentenced to death. If it hadn’t been for French ambassador and future president James Monroe, who negotiated Paine’s release, his story would’ve end with the guillotine. But Paine’s real agitation was just beginning. While in prison he began writing his skeptic’s view of religion titled “The Age of Reason” (published in three parts between 1794 and 1805). Thomas Paine was a skeptic, but no atheist. He still believed “in one God” and the “equality of man.” Nevertheless, Paine rejected every human religious creed, including Jewish, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant. “My own mind is my church,” Paine wrote. It turned out to be a church few attended. Back in Christian America, Paine’s radical irreverence, secular propensities and open embrace of Deism sparked controversy and opposition. His friend Ben Franklin begged Paine not to publish “The Age of Reason” and warned: “I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person; whereby you will save yourself a great deal of mortification by the enemies it may raise against you, and perhaps a good deal of regret and repentance.” But the insolent Paine didn’t listen to Franklin’s counsel. Instead, he became even more antagonistic. In 1796 he maliciously attempted to impugn the character and competence of George Washington in a public letter. At the time no one was more popular in America than George Washington. In fact,

32 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

many Americans desired to make Washington “king.” Consequently, the public response was swift. Thomas Paine was criticized, censured, condemned...and the people. Nearly every Founding Father called him out, from John Adams to John Jay. “The Age of Reason” was “blasphemous” (Charles Carroll), “absurd and insidious” (Benjamin Rush), “puny” (Patrick Henry) and “ignorant” (John Witherspoon). Founder Elias Boudinet was so incensed he penned his own refutation titled “The Age of Revelation” (1801). Samuel Adams wrote Paine: “When I heard you had turned your mind to a defense of infidelity, I felt myself much astounded and more grieved, that you had attempted a measure so injurious to the feelings and so repugnant to the true interest of so great a part of the citizens of the United States...Do you think that your pen, or the pen of any other man, can unchristianize the mass of our citizens, or have you hopes of converting a few of them to assist you in so bad a cause?” From that point forward, the irreverent, secularist Thomas Paine lived as a social outcast. He spent his final years largely in seclusion, nursing a flask of booze. And while his early works reflected “common sense,” Paine’s commitment to French enlightenment “wokeness” and secularism – something most people embrace today as normal and mainstream – was completely out of step in early 19th century America. Paine’s secularism cost him everything. He literally reaped his surname: pain. Thomas Paine died June 8, 1809. But not a single cemetery in America would accept his corpse. He was eventually buried, without ceremony, by a few friends on his farm outside Rochelle, N.Y. Ten years later his remains were exhumed by a journalist named William Cobbett and shipped back to his native England. Cobbett wanted to give Paine a heroic reburial, but it never happened. Paine’s bones ended up in his closet and eventually disappeared. Continued on page 35

SKUNK army

What do our sins ‘smell like’ to God?

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We know that God can’t tolerate sin – that By Scott Riggan it is an “offense” to him. So maybe we should I awoke at 3:30 in the morning, suddenly think of it this way: sin is a stench in the aware that we had a visitor at our house. A very nostrils of God. unwelcome visitor: a skunk. Yes, I just typed the phrase “nostrils of God.” Now this happens occasionally out in the But stay with me for a minute. Our sins are an country where we live, but this time the stench offense. Like, perhaps, the smell of a skunk. was unbelievable. It was so bad I thought I was I think sometimes we imagine that God is going to be sick. I jumped out of bed to close looking down from Heaven, watching all of the window – but the window was already the hijinks we get up to and saying, “Oh, those closed. It was almost as if the skunk had gotten naughty rascals. I wish they would just behave.” into the house – it was that bad. But we figure He’s not really bothered much by I don’t know much about skunks, but as our sins. Certainly not the “little” ones. incredibly foul as the smell was, I wondered: do We need – no, I need to – remember that it skunks travel in packs? Because we couldn’t be was because of my sins that Christ died. God dealing with a single individual. … This had to doesn’t regard sin casually. He takes it very seriScott Riggan be the work of a skunk army or something. ously. We know this because of the very costly I think most of what I know about skunks way He arranged for our forgiveness through Christ. My “little comes from the movie “Bambi.” Remember that cute little lie” may not have hurt anybody, but my integrity takes a hit skunk named Flower? I now have reason to suspect that this every time I’m willing to be less than honest. depiction may have been mere fiction. After the skunk incident, I asked my young kids to help me Lying there in bed I started wondering: how can a skunk paraphrase Isaiah 1:18 (“Though your sins are like scarlet, stand itself ? Does it just get used to the smell? Or does it actuthey shall be as white as snow”) and they came up with: ally like it? Maybe for a skunk that smell is actually pleasant – “Though your sins stink like a skunk, they shall be made to like smelling roses or pine trees. We perceive the smell as Pure smell like roses” (my son Josiah), and “… made to smell like Evil Nastiness, while they perceive it as a beautiful aroma? molten chocolate” (my daughter Emily) and “… cookies bakSEEMINGLY UNRELATED CONFESSION: A couple of ing” (Josiah again). weeks ago, I told a very small lie. Thankfully, God does forgive us for our failures. And He is I was talking to a complete stranger who asked me an continually shaping us into His image. extremely personal question. I could’ve just said, “Hey now, Lord forgive us for our casual attitude about the things that that’s off limits, dude…”, but instead I gave him an answer to offend You. n shut him up. I lied. And, I have to admit, that lie really didn’t bother me much. Scott Riggan lives with his family on a small ranch in EmSo I was thinking about the fact that I didn’t seem to feel mett. He recorded a new album in 2021 titled “Beautiful guilty about that lie, which then raised the question: how seriand Terrible.” Go to for more information. ously do I take sin?

34 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

Thomas Paine

Continued from page 32

Shortly thereafter a rhyme to Paine’s memory emerged: “Poor Tom Paine! There he lies: Nobody laughs and nobody cries. Where he has gone or how he fares, Nobody knows and nobody cares.” And yet the psalmist penned a more fitting epitaph to Thomas Paine’s life – and anyone else who dares to reject (and destroy the foundations of) faith, revelation and God Almighty (Psalm 11:2-6): “For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? The Lord is in his Dr. Rick holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.”

We should all heed the “scorching wind” and “pain” of Thomas. His life revealed the folly of a godless existence in an age of reason. Despite growing up during the First Great Awakening – a period of Christian revival that spiritually transformed Colonial America – Paine chose willful ignorance and insolence. Thomas knew the Truth that could set him free. And while he never went so far as to deny God, he still rejected Him. Ultimately, Thomas Paine chose the path of the fool. Surprisingly, the man who penned “Common Sense” proved in the end to have none himself. n Dr. Rick Chromey helps people interpret history, navigate culture and explore faith. He’s an author, historian, professor, and founder/ president of MANNA! Educational Services International. Rick and his wife Linda live in Star, ID. Rick is available to speak and train for your event. Readers are also invited to subscribe to the Morning MANNA! inspirational and educational (M-F) email. Visit



1. Read Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”: 2. Franklin’s Letter to Paine: Jared Sparks, “The Works of Benjamin Franklin,” (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore, and Mason, 1840), Vol. X, pp. 281-282. 3. Samuel Adams’ Letter to Paine (1802): 4. Read Elias Boudinot’s response to Paine: “The Age of Revelation” (1801): e+of+revelation&printsec=frontcover

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Christian Living | May / June 2022 35

YOUR Daily Bread

Is The Great Resignation calling you?

2. Assess purpose driven work vs. high By Terry Frisk wages. Chasing after high wages is not fulfillCovid has caused many of us to change the ing. I have been there, and I can tell you that way we work. Some of us worked from home and met with others through virtual meetachieving higher earnings is never enough. ings. Many people could not work remotely Once I listened to God, I found my calling in and faced work disruptions as their employers helping others succeed in business. This has were forced to shut down. People who were been very rewarding and given me great satisconsidered essential workers faced an increased faction knowing that I have contributed to the workload and stress brought on by challenges success of the business and its employees. Seek in serving the needs of their employer. All this purpose driven jobs that are meaningful to you upheaval lead to people rethinking their career while serving God. paths. As a result, a record number of people 3. Evaluate your natural skills. God has are leaving their jobs in what is being referred to blessed each of us with unique skills and talas The Great Resignation. Television news network CNN reported 68.9 ents. I have always had an interest in numbers Terry Frisk million Americans separated from their emand their meaning. When I was young, I would ployer during 2021, 47.4 million of which were graph my favorite baseball player’s statistics people who voluntarily quit their jobs. While some of those and follow their trends. So, it was natural for me to pursue a who quit were baby boomers who were retiring or parents opt- career in accounting. Consider your God-given talents and ing to take care of their children instead of working, most were how you can apply them in the workplace. people seeking to improve their employment opportunities. 4. Regard your work as an act of worship. Colossians God created us to work to serve Him by serving others. Just 3:23 states, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though after creating Adam, God put him to work taking care of the you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). Work gives us life filled with During the grind of the workday, it is sometimes difficult to meaning and value. In Ecclesiastes we learn: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be recognize that the work you do is serving God. But, you are happy and to do good while they live. That each of them doing God’s work when you serve others. This is true if they may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil – are people you work for or people who work for you. this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13) 5. Appreciate the service others provide. I have heard God calls each of us to do the work we do. Regardless of many people who, in my view, have very purposeful jobs but your job title, He sees the value in your efforts. While we are feel they are not appreciated for the work they do. Take time serving our employer, we often forget that we are also serving to recognize the people who serve you. Raising them up will our co-workers, the people who use the goods and services we make a difference in how they feel about their work. produce, the vendors whose employees’ livelihoods depend on Personally, I am on the path toward retirement from my the purchases from our employer, our community that we supprofessional career. However, this is not the end of my workport through our purchases and the ministries that we support through our giving. You are not only providing for yourself ing life. God is calling me in a new direction. One that I am and your family, you are also serving God in the process. sure will be exciting and fulfilling. Is God calling you in a new If you are one of the many Americans who are rethinking direction? Seek answers through prayer. Take care and may their current jobs, consider the following action steps: God bless. n 1. Is your current job God’s plan for you? The word vocation comes from Latin meaning “a calling.” It doesn’t Terry Frisk is a partner in the firm B2B CFO, providing matter whether you are a farmer, laborer, janitor, manager, financial advisory services to small businesses. He also counor CEO, you are called to do the work you do. Your work is sels individuals on personal financial matters through the serving God by serving others. Your thoughts about changing Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Counseling ministry. He jobs may be God nudging you in a new direction. Prayerfully consider what path God is calling you to follow. may be contacted through e-mail at

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YOU’RE significant

No mere specks in God’s universe

amongst them also happens to be the most conBy Greg Grotewold founding. Jesus doesn’t just love me; no, He loves Wanting to get away over spring break, our me like the Father loves Him. “As the Father has family spent five wonderful days in Boston. A big loved me, so have I loved you” (John 15:9, ESV). part of the trip’s excitement – in addition to New England’s rich colonial history of course – was the This is staggering, given the abiding adoration plane ride itself. It was the first for both boys. With the Father has for His Son. He cherishes Jesus and each having his own window seat, the view kept possesses a level of affection that quite honestly is them captive for a large portion of the flight out difficult to comprehend. It is that deep, that wide, and back. that encompassing. The best I can do to try and Luke and Eli’s reaction to their inaugural flight illustrate is this. For those who are parents, take reminded me of my own some 35 years ago. I rethe love that you experienced the first time you call being absolutely awestruck as to the country’s held your newborn baby and then multiply that massiveness. And to be honest, I’ve never lost the emotion a thousandfold; you’ll begin to scratch the fascination. Even after all these years of business surface of the Father’s love towards His Son and travel, I continue to be amazed every time I’m in thus the Son’s love towards me. the air. Adding to the astonishment, not only does Jesus The source of the amazement has morphed, Greg Grotewold love me as the Father loves Him, but the Father though. While the expansive landscape continues loves me with the same passion that His Son does. to impress, it’s my standing in connection to it that has me most I know this because, as Jesus explains in John’s Gospel, the two are intrigued these days. At 30,000 feet, I’m but an indistinguishable one. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (14:9, ESV). speck on the horizon – one diminutive object amongst a plethora of others. And yet, despite my small stature, I’m significant. In fact, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” my worth greatly exceeds what my size would otherwise dictate (14:11). They enjoy (along with the Holy Spirit) perfect disposiand is anything but commensurate. tional unity. Their character, inclination, and sentiment are in This disproportionate value isn’t because I’m rich and famous. complete harmony with each other, for Jesus is the exact imprint I’m not. It isn’t because I’ve won a Pulitzer or found the cure for of the Father (Hebrews 1:3). What the Son thinks and feels is what some incapacitating disease. I haven’t. It isn’t because I carry unthe Father thinks and feels. When the former speaks, He is reprecanny theological or geopolitical insight. I don’t. And even if I was, senting the latter. “The words that I say to you I do not speak even if I had, even if I did, the source of said significance is tied to on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his something much greater and has absolutely nothing to do with me. I’m valuable because I have the favor of the One who created the works” (John 14:10). The Father and Son are unified on all fronts, including the depth of affection they carry for me. stratosphere in which we flew and the planet on which we gazed. Because of King Jesus, I’m anything but a mere speck. I’m proJesus Christ, who spoke the universe into existence and superinfoundly loved and adored. If Jesus is the Lord of your life, this is tends every element of it, is for me (Romans 8:31, Psalm 56:9). He your glorious reality too. Be in awe of the Savior. n calls me friend (John 15:15). The Lord relentlessly pursued this mere speck with His irresistible grace and saved me from myself. Greg Grotewold lives in Oakdale, Minn. with his wife, Sandi, He took His glorious standing with the Father and in an act of unsurpassed mercy bestowed it upon me, a sinner deserving eternal and their two sons, Luke and Eli. He is a deacon in his local death. While the blessings of such favor are many, the most salient church and greatly enjoys serving in this capacity.

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PERSONAL, communal ‘lenses’

Why confusion, why so many churches?

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By Ed Rybarczyk “Why do the different kinds of churches have different doctrines? After all, they’re all supposedly reading the same Bible. Why are there so many arguments inside the Church, among Christians? Don’t they read the same book? It makes me wonder, why are there so many churches?” While a college theology professor, I commonly heard those questions, questions that were typically driven by lament. Especially in our pluralistic and pluralizing Western society those are fitting questions. Shouldn’t the church be on the same exact page about everything? One of my own graduate profs put it this way, “There is no naked reading of the Bible.” (Now that I have your attention, let’s see what that really means!) No one reads the Bible in a vacuum. We all bring our own historic era, culture, language, traditions, values, and understandings about truth to the biblical text. We also bring our own pre-existing beliefs about goodness, beauty, and love to the text. And we should be honest: there’s just no way to read the Bible apart from all that we ourselves are and all that we bring to the biblical text. We necessarily read through the “lenses,” the perceptional field of vision, that we already use, or better the “lenses” that we already are.

38 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

So what normally happens in Bible reading? We individuals read a chapter or passage as though the author’s reality was a one-for-one with our reality, or as though Jesus or Paul or King David were then feeling precisely what we ourselves are now feeling when he said what he said or did what he did. We assume we know exactly what the author is saying even though he lived in a historical-cultural setting vastly different from our own. And as each of us reads the text – indwelling our own respective frame of reference – we come up with interpretations that evenly-fit our immediate personal picture. Albert Schweitzer (d. 1965) put it like this: each theologian (we could say each believer) walks over to the well of history and peers down inside. Each one is hoping to see the “real” Jesus inside the deep hole. But what always happens? As the theologian (or Bible reader) looks down into the dark cavern he finally discerns the surface of the water on the bottom. And what does he see? His own face looking back up at him! In short? When each of us goes looking for Jesus’s identity in the Bible, the common tendency is to see Him through our own grid, to assume that his historical-cultural reality was a one-forone with our own reality. What a happy coincidence that Jesus’s identity corresponds directly to our own! That’s what happens at the personal level. Let’s move to the communal level.

Why are there so many different kinds of So what to do? Melt into a puddle and tolerate churches? Shouldn’t there just be one? Or, “anything goes”? That hardly seems reasonable, even with the expansive Catholic Church, and we know God wants us to bring our minds why is there so much variety among their local to Him. Or maybe we should cave in and agree churches? Don’t they focus together on the same that “all truth claims are mere constructions”? things? Here’s the best answer I’ve encountered: Well, not only is that adage itself a construction, different communities inside different cultures it does not at all square with what the Bible itself approach God and the Christian way from their teaches: God is a holy and truthful God, God is respective vantage points. (This also stems from a pure being of integrity who commands us to the freedom of being in Christ, a topic that be like Him. No, we who love Jesus don’t cave deserves its own article.) into our own post-Christian era’s dominant culLiving in the medieval era, Christians in Euture which says there is no such thing as truth. rope wondered whether God was in control of But we can extend the benefit of the doubt. I have everything, even things like plagues and famines. learned to make space for those who claim to So it is no wonder that their theology, their Bible follow Christ Jesus. And that is the core of what reading, emphasized the books and passages that Ed Rybarczyk it is to be Christian, right? Jesus Christ is the touched on God’s sovereignty, God’s rule, His ground, the foundation, the cornerstone of our control; and their own emphases developed into their doctrinal identity as Christians. Maybe you don’t agree that “once saved codes. Back earlier in Roman history, the Christian religion was always saved” is final, but can you make the space in your heart taking root in a polytheistic and multi-formed culture. So we’re that those who so believe still love Jesus? Maybe you don’t like not surprised that the earliest church emphasized the biblical liturgical forms of worship, but can you make the space in your passages that touched on being together, being a united body, heart to agree that those who do worship in formal ways still standing together as one, getting in line behind a single leader; love and serve Jesus? Maybe you’re uncomfortable in moreand their emphases informed and shaped their doctrinal codes. Much later, Christians in Europe and America wondered aloud, emotional churches, communities where they shout and raise “How can I know that I am truly saved?” And so their churches their hands when they praise God. But can you see that down in their hearts they mean to honor Christ? – immersed in a culture of enormous change and uncertainty Me? A trained theologian? I don’t agree with every doctrine – emphasized biblical passages that landed on the surety of our interspersed across the churches. But I don’t question that they salvation and God’s unchanging character; and their emphases love the only one ever to have been crucified and resurrected: informed and shaped their doctrinal codes. Jesus, God’s only eternal Son! n Out of all these different cultural configurations, various churches arose. Answering the questions, concerns, needs, and worries of each era, different denominations took root and blos- Ed Rybarczyk, PhD, is both an ordained minister and a somed. And thus far I have put it in the benign and positive. We retired History of Theology professor. He now produces and hosts the Uncensored Unprofessor podcast @uncensorearen’t even touching here on the arguments and power-struggles He can be reached at uncensoredunprofesthat occurred in and around different churches and denominations, which led to still more variety, still more denominations.



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‘TIS the season

Spring signifies adventures in growth

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By Roxanne Drury ‘Tis the season…no, not Christmas....Spring!! ‘Tis Spring! The season of new growth, greener grass, a bit warmer weather, motivation, inspiration, and spring fever. When spring arrives, we begin to pursue new adventures outdoors like planting seeds and thatching the lawn. The bike tucked away in the rafters begs us to take it on a spin around the neighborhood. We wait and watch for the daffodils and tulips to show their glorious heads and stretch out their leafy arms. And don’t forget the ever-early arrivers, that sweet little crocus. Growth is all around in nature. But what about us? Should spring beg us to grow and stretch as well? Luke 2:52 – “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” This is growth. We can pursue personal, professional, and spiritual growth anytime. But springtime seems to shout to me, “Hey lady, it’s time to grow!” ‘Tis the season for growth. First let me say, I am absolutely not an expert on this, but I can share my experience and what I have learned over the years about all three of these areas of growth.

40 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

How do we increase or grow in all these ways in our lives? I think it starts with deciding that growth is important. It was important to Jesus and He is our model. He was always teaching and growing His disciples. So, first, why grow? Why is it important? Personal opinion – if you are not growing, you become stagnant. Being stagnant turns into complacency and complacency turns a person into a lukewarm Christian. And God does not want us to be lukewarm Christians. He wants us to be fired up for Him and fired up for what He has us doing. You get to decide though – is it important to you? On personal growth: I learned a long time ago that God had a plan for me. His plan for me was kids. Personal growth comes from always striving to be who God made you to be, working to develop yourself to your maximum potential as designed by the Creator. It is kind of like being in a perpetual transformative state. One way you can experience personal growth is through self-evaluation. This can be hard, but it is so worth it. Find and read a book that challenges you and convicts you to be

better. Right now, I am reading “Absolute Surrender” by Andrew Murray. Talk about convicting. I have found that choosing a life verse, or a word for the year, are also helpful tools to guide your growth in a particular area. Post them places you will see them – your phone or computer screen saver – always a reminder of what you are striving for. My life verse is Isaiah 26:3-4: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” When I feel stressed or confused, this verse reminds me to draw on the strength of the Roxanne Lord for peace. I can trust in the Lord for He has never let me down; He is as solid a rock as there is. On professional growth: I think it is important to always be looking for feedback – true honest feedback, not just a pat on the back or an ‘atta girl’. I am talking about the kind of feedback you can learn and improve from. It can be humbling and it may sting for a minute, but before disregarding it, think about it and see if there might be some truth in it. For me, there is nothing more humbling than having to ask for help. But it is okay to need help because by asking: 1. You learn something new, and 2. You’ve made yourself vulnerable. Vulnerability brings about growth. Make sure you have a strong work ethic, be a person of integrity, and do what you say you will do. These are choices. Find someone you admire who does what you do and talk with them, pick their brain, and connect. Ask permission to ask them questions. Be continually learning about and improving what you do. Sometimes that means stepping out of what is comfortable. And guess what, that’s growth.

On spiritual growth: Spiritual growth comes from logging time with God. That’s it. Whether it is in prayer, reading Scripture, singing songs of worship, listening for Him to speak, or just having eyes to see Him everywhere in everything. Jesus was our model – He rested, He got away, He talked to His Father, He often quoted Scripture, He had eyes to see everyone, He was patient, kind, loving, truthful, helpful, compassionate. Isn’t this how we want to be? To get closer to these qualities, we need to grow and that takes intentionality. Set aside time for God and stick to it. 2 Peter 3:18 says, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Drury Savior Jesus Christ. …To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” In his book, “Becoming Who You Are,” James Martin wrote, “The more we live out our true selves, and the more we become the person whom God intended, the more we see the spectacular effects of a well-lived vocation. The doctor who fully embraces his vocation becomes a better doctor. The friend a better friend. And the Christian becomes a better Christian.” That’s growth. That’s why we pursue it personally, professionally, and spiritually. We don’t want to be stagnant, lukewarm Christians. We are all busy – but…we need to make time to grow. ‘Tis the season! It’s important! No excuses. n Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church.

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MARRY a disciple

Don’t forget the spiritual side of love By Steve Nelson LOVE goes beyond emotional feelings and physical touch. Yet most people focus only on the physical side of love. Ignorance of the spiritual side of love is a huge concern. It’s one reason so many fail in romantic relationships. God created love in the first place and reveals true insight about love in His Word. (This is the primary means God tells us about any subject in life, His written Word.) On the other hand, Satan promotes false ideas about love, misinforming society. The question is, who will we believe? A. Start with foundational truths about love from the Bible. Then with understanding, build from there and have the potential for success in making good romantic decisions. 1. “Loving” is the first quality of God. (Four other key characteristics of God: all powerful, all knowing, everywhere, and eternal.) 1 John 4:8 and 4:16 both say, “God is LOVE.” 2. Love is the reason God sent us Jesus Christ. “For God so LOVED the world (aka loved the people in the world, us) that he gave his only begotten Son...” See John 3:16. 3. Love builds others up and is a more powerful motivation than fear. Evidence: “LOVE casts out fear” in 1 John 4:18. The fear mentioned in this verse is not “the fear of the Lord” (a positive “fear,” meaning deep respect and reverence for God and intense desire to please Him). The fear in this verse is the negative type of fear, which is the anticipation of danger or of pain or a dreadful anxiety. This type of fear first begins as doubts, then worries, then fear, and it tears people down. 4. Jesus taught that it’s most important for us to LOVE, shown in two ways: A) loving God “with all thy heart, and with

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all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” and B) loving others “as thyself.” See Mark 12: 29-31. Notice that loving God is first, then people. 5. Two different Greek words for LOVE in Scripture: phileo (human, physical, natural love, meaningful but the only type of love the world is familiar with) and agape (spiritual, supernatural love, found in born again people, comes from God). The famous verses in 1 Corinthians 13 are all about agape. It’s

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who believes. It’s that simple. This means a peronly this type of love that “never fails.” Phileo son who is physically AND spiritually loving. has limitations and cannot overcome spiritual In our day, that’s a Christian, specifically a troubles. Thus when phileo is by itself, relationdisciplined follower of Jesus Christ. In other ships fail. God’s tip for us: get the agape too! words, a disciple. “Disciple” is the most comBoth kinds of love are needed in a relationship. mon word in the New Testament used to B. Next look in Genesis 6, where God from the very beginning teaches us who to partner describe people who believe. All of life hinges with. It’s not ambiguous. Here God recorded a on our thoughts and actions, to either walk with sad historical event for our benefit. He revealed God or not. In order to be fair and just, God that believers, generally described as “sons of had to make at least two choices available. One God,” were getting together with unbelievers, choice, ignore the spiritual walk of a person Steve Nelson generally described as “daughters of men.” when choosing a partner. Kissing well is not a This combination of belief and unbelief spiritual quality. But for us, the only sane choice yielded a result of watered down believing, not better believis to date, and eventually marry, someone like us, another ing. Can you take delicious orange juice and mix it with rotten “disciple.” milk to get better tasting orange juice? No! How do they think and act spiritually? This does not mean (Note: Genesis 6 does not suggest that the “sons of God” choose somebody who is merely born again or who will tolerwere angels and were interbreeding with humans to produce ate your Christian beliefs. That would be a rookie spiritual a new race of some kind. That’s absurd, and not the reason mistake. This is not merely a church-goer either. Don’t fall for the flood happened. Some suggest this, but they are tragically that old trick when you are considering who to marry, just bemistaken and it perverts the point of God’s lesson here in Gen- cause they go to some church once a week. Life is an EVERY esis. The “giants” were wicked in a big way, and some of these wicked ones were physically big too at times in history, but they DAY thing. Seasoned believers know to never think that an apple is going were still 100% humans. The translated word “giants” is unto be an orange someday. If it looks like an apple and tastes fortunately a misunderstood concept. The context is all about like an apple, it’s an apple. Don’t fool yourself with romantic humans and the way they chose to live life one way or another. fantasies and dreams of love toward an unbeliever, as if they To rebel against God has terrible consequences, while trusting might change. Only choose a person who is an enthusiastic in God is a blessing. The Word of God is all about instructing Christian already. At its most basic level, we can be thankful to us humans on how to live life, not a biology lesson on some mythical creatures. Don’t let Satan push you down that path of God for giving us the ability to love. Become a disciple yourself, then find a disciple to marry. God bless you! n misdirection and distraction.) The point is that eventually the contamination of evil, corSteve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This ruption, violence and wickedness had completely eroded the article comes from “Marriage: Only to a Disciple” Segment population in the world, with the exception of Noah and his 91 of “CORE”, a course for families on how to read and family, who were the only ones who stayed true to God. Only understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or in relationships where both people were committed to God reach Steve at were they successful. Believe and then partner with another

Christian Living | May / June 2022 43


Common food allergies and intolerances Artificial sweeteners – I knew better than to eat a bunch By Rosie Main of sugar, but at the time I didn’t realize how bad Splenda was. We live in a fast-paced world that taxes our bodies to perSplenda contains chlorine molecules that damage our gut miform and produce all day long. We devalue the importance croflora and irritate the gut lining. I never purchased Splenda of rest and continue to drive hard towards our goals. We load directly, but I used processed protein bars and whey proteins up on caffeine and energy drinks to keep cranking so we “can that contained this dangerous ingredient. Use stevia to help get everything out of life.” As a result, we have an naturally sweeten your drinks or food. epidemic of adrenal fatigue, hormone dysreguPasteurized dairy – I would consume a lot of skim or lation, autoimmunity, and chronic inflamlow-fat milk, yogurts, and cottage cheese. Unfortunately, matory conditions. most of these products were not organic. These animals So how are you adapting to the stressors are given hormones and antibiotics, which make their way in your life? Chances are you are not into both their meat and dairy products. Subsequently, I adapting as well as you could and this is ended up consuming extreme amounts of hormones and causing you to function at a lower level, antibiotics, which are both dangerous chemicals that damsettle for less than optimal health – and age the microbiome and gut lining. possibly costing you a lot of unnecessary The cows are fed grains to enhance the producsuffering. tion of their milk, but this grain-feed contains I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease high levels of omega 6 fats which increase while undertaking pre-med in undergraduinflammatory activity in our bodies. In ate school because of the high stress of addition, if the meat is not organic, school and caring for my ill mother. then it contains pesticides and herbiAs a bodybuilder, I thought I was cides from the genetically modified eating healthy yet was eating high (GMO) grains that were given to inflammatory foods that led me to the cows. sickness. Thankfully God led me Farm caught fish – I would to a chiropractor who changed my have salmon and tuna all the life by teaching me the principle time because I thought they of chiropractic that states that the were healthy. Unfortunatepower that made the body heals the ly, like most people, I ate a body. This in turn led me to become a low-quality, farm-caught chiropractor, which has allowed me to variety that I would heal myself as well as help thousands purchase because I of people regain their health through didn’t know the differmy practice, my radio show on The ence between farmed Voice 94.1, contributing to this magaand wild caught. zine with health articles, and all the Farmed fish is fed seminars and workshops on health I am GMO grains that are able to do for the community. laced with pesticides God gave us a potential to heal, yet if there and herbicides that damare interferences such as stress, bad spinal age the gut lining. These fish alignment interfering with nerve function, bad are very sickly and are made to look nutrition and toxicity, then the body can’t heal pink through a synthetic dye that at its optimum. Here are some of the things is applied to them to “freshen” up that you may relate to and start removing their look for the supermarket. from your diet to help your body by removing Gluten and grains – I would inflammation. eat oatmeal or Quaker oatmeal My prayer is that this guide will help you squares every morning. I would stop the inflammatory stressors in your life, use whole wheat breads and pastas, adapt stronger, and live better. Just by reand lots of brown rice. I thought moving some of these interferences you can this was super healthy, but grains in begin your health journey. general are inflammatory and the Here are some of the issues that led to my lectin components can be extremely health issues: hazardous to gut health and the Drinking water – I was drinking tons of overall nutritional status of the body. water (which we all know is healthy), at least a Soy products – One of soy’s gallon a day; but unfortunately, the water was primary isoflavones, genistein, has not filtered very well and contained chlorine been shown to inhibit the enzyme and fluoride, which both have a detrimental eftyrosine kinase in the brain. The highest fect on our gut microflora and intestinal lining. Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

44 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

amounts of tyrosine kinases are found in the hippocampus, a brain region that is essential to learning and memory. High soy consumption actually blocks this mechanism of memory formation. Processed soy is also genetically modified, which makes it quite hazardous for a number of reasons. Processed proteins – I was a huge fan of processed protein bars, protein shakes, getting shakes at smoothie places, etc. I remember that I Rosie Main would even drink Ensure – because I liked that it had protein and vitamins/minerals in it. Unfortunately, these products were all synthetically created and had tons of dangerous additives, preservatives, artificial flavorings, etc. All of these add to our toxic load and inflame the body and damage the gut lining and the microbial diversity in the digestive system. NSAIDs – I suffered with headaches all throughout my childhood and would frequently take Ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Unfortunately, NSAIDs place a lot of stress on the liver and kidneys and wear down the stomach and intestinal lining. Instead of using NSAID’s I’ve utilized chiropractic and curcumin to help control inflammation and allow my nervous system to help my body function as God intended. Start removing some of the key things that create interference with your body and then start adding God food to help restore function. n If you have questions or need more information, text Rosie Main at (208) 859-6170 or email her at


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Christian Living | May / June 2022 45

NEVER early nor late

Waiting on God is not an easy task

that just because we don’t actually see change By Bradley Shotts happening, that does not mean that God is I saw something the other day that I loved. It read, “When prayer becomes your immedinot working. God has a way of moving things ate reflex instead of your last resort, the whole around and putting things into place; influencbattlefield begins to tilt in your direction.” ing people in the way they feel about situations How often do we push the panic button, and others; setting important things in motion taking matters into our own hands when the that will turn circumstances your way. wheels fall off our wagon? I know I do. It is funny... I cannot recall one instance, doing These things take time because oftentimes it things my way, when the end result was good. involves the free-will of another person. Have Don’t get me wrong, I still feel the rush of you ever had someone come up to you and say, anxiety when the wheels come off, but I have “You know, I had this happen to me the other learned to stop and say, “Lord, this has not day and it made me realize that a few months taken You by surprise. You knew this day was coming. You are now just waiting to see what ago when I said this or that to you or when I my reaction is going to be. I choose to give this Bradley Shotts did this to you, I was wrong.” It is important to You right now at the beginning. You show to know that God hears every single prayer me what it is I am to do and how You want me to handle this. we pray. Sometimes the answer will come quickly, but often I place my circumstance in Your capable hands.” it takes a little time for God to get all the players lined up just When we look at the story of Moses, freeing God’s people right so He can answer your prayer the way He wants it to be from slavery in Egypt and King Pharaoh, there are several things we can learn. answered. God called Moses to do what God’s answers are always, Father, I pray for the one who has been praying seemed to be completely im“yes”, “no”, or “give me just possible. The children of Israel and praying for something very important and a little time and I can make had been in bondage and slav- the answer just never seems to come. If there is this whole thing turn out for ery for 400 years. They were something You are waiting on them to do, please held captive under the rule of show them what it is that You are wanting. If you your good”. In the meantime, King Pharaoh. God selected need them to just trust You and be patient, please do not get discouraged. Rest Moses to go before Pharaoh in the assurance that God is to request that the Israelites be give them the strength, patience and peace during working for you, He loves you set free. this waiting period. and He will make things right Now, one might think that Father, we know that You know what is best because God wanted this to in His time. God is never early for our lives. I pray right now for families who happen, that it would be a and He is never late. He is pretty easy process, but Moses have been torn apart. I pray for families that need always right on time. n found out that this was going a financial miracle. May You bring restoration to be much easier said than where there is division. May that perfect job come Bradley Shotts began his done. Most are familiar with ministry working in the the story and how God had to soon in the name of Jesus. I pray for hearts to be softened and a spirit of forgiveness to sweep our send numerous plagues upon funeral industry in 1988 at the land of Egypt, causing land. I pray for a spirit of revival to flow through Lloyd James Funeral Home severe devastation, before the hearts of believers and through our churches. in Tyler, Texas. He currently Pharaoh was finally exhausted I pray for Your love and peace to penetrate the serves as the general manand agreed to let the slaves hearts that have never experienced what true love ager of Forest Ridge Fugo free. A period of four to really is. five months transpired before neral Home Memorial Park Moses was able to accomplish I pray for the salvation of millions of people Chapel in North Richland what God had asked him to right now who are lost without You. Father, Hills, Texas. He and his do. we love You and we stand firm… Trusting You wife, Amy, live in Bedford, I began to think about this and loving You no matter what our current Texas. They have two adult story and how it relates to us today. Oftentimes when we circumstance may be. Most of all Lord, when we children, Blaine and Braylee. have something big happen in look ahead and all we see in front of us is a Red Bradley is a member of Roour lives and we pray, we get tary International and serves Sea and we have nowhere to turn, may we just discouraged when our prayers look up to You and fully place our trust in You. In on the board at Shepherd are not answered immediHeart Ministries in Tyler. Jesus’ Name, Amen ately or within a short period of time. We must remember He is an ordained minister.

46 May / June 2022 | Christian Living

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