Christian Living Magazine November December 2022

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November / December 2022

MAMA

Passarelli Soup & love for heroes

SUNRISE

Manor

New transitional housing

SEASONS OF

Life

Enjoy the one you’re in

THREADS

In Faith Quilts with prayers

Ginger “Mama” Passarelli has logged thousands of miles – and meals – ministering to first responders


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Keeping Christ in the Center of your Holidays

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Contents November / December 2022 FEATURES

Christmas phrases: How they originated

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Drive-Thru Food Drive slated for fifth year

Sonrise Manor: Newest BRM project COBS: Safe houses still needed Threads in Faith: Quilts with prayers

7

8 12 14

Cover Story

“He that winneth souls is wise.” — Proverbs 11:30

Volume 11, Number 6

COLUMNS 10

“I Get To!”®: Enjoy every season

16

History, Culture & Faith: The first Thanksgiving

Publisher Sandy Jones christianlivingmag@gmail.com 208-703-7860 Editor Gaye Bunderson editorgaye@gmail.com Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases

For Victory: 22 Destined ‘To live is Christ’

General Info christianlivingmag@gmail.com 208-703-7860

Man’s Toolbox: 20 Real Today’s ‘real men’

Advertising & Sales Kimberly McMullen kim.bcliving@gmail.com 208-703-7509 • Katy Nelson katy.bcliving@gmail.com 503-816-3042

DEPARTMENTS 18 Mama Passarelli:

Feeding America’s heroes Hope of heaven: Be ready 3rd annual nativity exhibit set for Nov. 18-19

Human touch: Oh, how we need it Biblical disciples: You can be like them

Understanding Relationships: Nice or kind?

Child: 24 21 Wednesday’s Meet Shawna

32 26 33

34 28

Your Daily Bread: A no-cost Christmas

36 30

Maximum Health: Reset your aging brain

38 IN EACH

Rest in contentment: Have a grateful heart

40

God’s plan: Hard times can’t stop it

41

Transcend storms: Be deeply rooted

42

Adore Him: For all He has done

44

Life’s baggage: Put it down

45

46

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Biblically Responsible Investing: The sweet spot

A death, a return: The queen and the King

The Names of God

Cover Photo Steve Jones

EDITION Publisher’s Corner: Hearing from God

Bible Blanks

Contributors Steve Bertel, Daniel Bobinski, Rick Chromey, Roxanne Drury, Joan Endicott, Terry Frisk, Greg Grotewold, Doug Hanson, Leo Hellyer, Janice Hildreth, Vincent Kituku, Rosie Main, Gary Moore, Steve Nelson, Bethany Riehl, Ed Rybarczyk, Ashley Sears, Paul Sheppard and Bradley Shotts Website Design SEO Idaho

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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 christianlivingmag@gmail.com Annual subscriptions available for $13/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.

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 3


PUBLISHER’S Corner

Hearing from God today and every day By Sandy Jones After the seemingly never-ending Summer, it feels so good to welcome Fall, knowing that during this magazine’s shelf-life, Winter will be here before we know it. The season from Thanksgiving through New Years has always been my favorite time of year. Spending time together as family; and reflecting on Jesus’ birth; the fact that He came for you and me. I realize that Biblical scholars say that it’s unlikely that Jesus was born in December. I personally don’t care what the day on the calendar is – I think it’s wonderful that we take the time to slow down, and think about God sending Sandy His one and only Son to be born of a virgin, to live a perfect and sinless life here on earth. That He came willingly to be a living/breathing, walking/talking example for each and every one of us – IF we choose to follow Him. I’m humbled that the Creator of All Things, the One Who knows every star by name – also knows me by name. To Him I’m smaller than a sugar ant, and yet He hears my prayers, and, astonishingly, answers them. I was driving down a major road the other day, and there it was, a dreaded orange “road construction ahead” sign. It was a Saturday so I really didn’t give it much thought. The next sign read “Left Lane Closed Ahead,” and the sign immediately following that one was a pictorial image of the right lane closed. Now wait – say what?!

Jones

I was turning left at the next intersection, so none of it applied to me; regardless I was left wondering just exactly which lane was closed. I’ve probably given this more mental real estate than I ever should have, after all its days later, and I’m still pondering on it. Sometimes in life, even in my walk with The Lord, I feel like those signs – not sure I have a clear understanding of which way I’m supposed to go, or exactly what I’m being called to do. I realize that was quite a stretch, please bear with me. I’m deeply humbled by the fact that God knows and hears me, but I don’t always feel like I hear Him. Is that because He’s not talking to me? Not in the least. More likely I’m doing all the talking or too busy doing whatever I’m doing at the moment to listen for Him. Only once in my lifetime have I audibly heard Him speak to me. Fortunately I was sitting at a red light, or I might have wrecked my car whipping around to see where that voice was coming from. Sometimes I’ve had to check myself, asking if I’m out of line with His Word. I have to remind myself that it’s me who moves, not Him. He’s always right there waiting for me to come back to where I belong. Perhaps what He’s calling me to do is so big it’s too scary. I don’t have enough faith in me to do it, and have to remember that “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). Asking myself once again, am I

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listening for God to speak to me? Maybe it’s time for me to just be brave, willing and obedient, knowing His plan is always better than mine anyway. I need to focus on the signs that God is sending, and listen to the words He is speaking to me. Unlike those silly orange road signs, His instructions are usually clear – even when it’s not what I want to hear. I simply need to slow down, quiet my mind and listen. For me the holidays, or holy-days as I often refer to them, are the perfect time to take inventory of my life and my priorities. To make sure that I’m walking near to God, and listening for His every Word, as I’m reminded of His Great Love for us by the many decorations, Christmas cards, and celebrations commemorating His birth.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and draw nearer to our Lord and Savior than ever before. Until next time… God Bless! n Could you please do me a favor? Please shop and support our advertisers, thanking them for supporting Christian Living Magazine. Without them we simply couldn’t do what we do – they cover our print bill, and most everything it takes to share the hope and promise of God’s love, grace and mercy with you in each and every issue. Thank You!

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 5


MERRY, tidings, noel

Common Christmas phrases and their origins pleasant, sweet, exciting feelings of enjoyment By Daniel Bobinski Longtime readers of my column know I’m and gladness.” That’s pretty straightforward, kind of a word junkie. Words have meanings, especially when it’s joined with the word and therefore words are important. This is es“Christmas.” pecially true when someone asks me about my The word Christmas has kind of a two-stage preferred Bible translation, because I always history. It started as the Old English phrase say, “The original language.” The deep wealth Cristes maesse, which was constructed from of meaning in the Greek and Hebrew words the words for “Christ” and “mass,” just as open up Scripture in rich and powerful ways. For the record, I’m definitely no expert we are often told. The phrase refers to the in Greek. However, I like resources such as “Church festival observed annually in memory BlueLetterBible.org and The Complete Word of the birth of Christ.” The phrase was used for Study New Testament combined with The centuries as two separate words and was not Complete Word Study Dictionary (both by joined into one word until the mid-1300’s. Spiros Zodhiates). These tools allow for a rich Daniel Bobinski It should be noted that the early church did study of God’s Word. I should add that both not celebrate Christmas. Celebrating someone’s of those books I just mentioned would make excellent Christmas gifts for anyone wishing to understand the birth was considered a pagan practice, and the church often Bible in more depth. acknowledged martyrs by the date of their death. Accordingly, Those who tracked my nearly three-year study of love in this early Christians were more concerned about the death of space know that I always look to the Greek to see what a word Christ and His resurrection. really means. There isn’t a single translation anywhere in any It wasn’t until the third century that interest arose in when language that “gets it right” all the time, so there’s absolutely Jesus was born. It wasn’t until the fourth century that Pope Junothing wrong with digging into the original language when lius I arbitrarily assigned December 25 as the date of Christ’s one wants to understand something clearly. With that in mind, the Christmas season is nigh upon us, birth. so I thought I’d take a fun excursion into the history of words As a side note, many claim the use of “Xmas” is a derogatoand explore the origins and meanings of common words and ry or blasphemous substitute of the word Christmas, indicatphrases we hear this time of year. ing that the “X” crosses out or “exes” out the word “Christ.” Good Tidings. Tidings is thought of as a greeting by some, This is a false teaching. The use of Xmas comes from the but it’s actually an 800-year-old word that means the “announcement of an event.” The word tiding is derived from the Greek spelling of Christ, which is Χριστός (pronounced Khrīstos). The “X” in Greek – the letter chi – is an abbreviaOld English word tidung, which meant “an event, an occurtion for Christ, and the use of Xmas in Christian literature rence, or a piece of news.” Similarly, the Dutch word tijding means “message” and the German word Zeitung means dates back at least to 1100 AD. “newspaper.” Noel. Many say that Noel is the French word for Christmas, In a Christmas context, “good tidings of great joy” echoes and that’s pretty accurate. It’s actually an Old French word the announcement by the angel to the shepherds in the fields from the 14th century that means, “the Christmas season.” about the birth of Jesus: “I bring you good news that will The Old French word noel is actually a derivative from the cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Latin word natalis, which was used in Latin masses to referBah Humbug. Universally associated with the character ence the birthday of Christ, which was taken from Old Latin Ebeneezer Scrooge from the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol,” the phrase “Bah Humbug” was known as gnasci, which meant “to be born.” Our modern English word an exclamation of curmudgeonly displeasure even 90 years nascent is also derived from that Old Latin meaning. before Dickens’s novel appeared in 1843. Dictionary.com tells With that, may you turn more of your attention to the One us the phrase’s origin is unknown, but in its early uses (in the who came from Heaven to earth and rest in Him. As Jesus 1750’s), “a humbug was a ‘trick’ or a ‘hoax.’” predicted, we live now in a world where evil is considered By the time the 1800’s rolled around, Humbug conferred good and good is considered evil. Deception is all around us. a sense of deceit and a sense of nonsense, and nearly half a But Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and because of His century later, when Dickens used it, was an exclamation of contempt or annoyance. birth, life, death, and resurrection, we can have eternal life Today, Humbug conveys a message of anti-holiday cheer, with Him, simply by asking for it. It’s that easy. and is most often associated with curmudgeons. The word Merry Christmas, everybody. n “Bah” first started getting used in the early 1800’s, and has always been an expression of contempt, annoyance, or dismisDaniel Bobinski, Th.D., is an award-winning and bestsiveness. It’s use probably stems from the Old French word, selling author and a popular speaker at conferences and “ba,” which was an expression of scorn or dismay. retreats. Reach him at danielbobinski@protonmail.com Merry Christmas. The word merry is derived from the Old English word myrge, which means “pleasing, agreeable, or (208) 375-7606.

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Drive-Thru Food Drive slated for fifth year

Meridian's Interfaith Community Leaders are holding their fifth annual no-contact Drive-Thru Food Drive. The group is expanding its outreach to provide food, toys, and blankets to the Meridian Food Bank, Star Food Pantry, Toys for Tots, and Blanket the World Charity. This year's event is set for 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, December 11, at the Vertical View Climbing Gym parking lot, 1334 E. Bird Dog Drive in Meridian (behind the Maverik station at Locust Grove and Overland roads). The Drive-Thru Food Drive will accept non-perishable food items; new, unwrapped toys to support the Marines and local firefighters' collection efforts; new purchased or handmade blankets that will be donated to Blanket the World Charity for the benefit of refugees and homeless shelter residents; and cash donations in a sealed envelope. Those who donate cash may note their choice of charity on their envelope. As in past years, the no-contact nature of the drive allows contributions to be made in the warmth and comfort of a vehicle, while community, faith and civic leaders greet everyone curbside and accept the donations through a window or an opened car trunk. “We sincerely thank you for your continued generosity and support,” Shannon Smurthwaite, co-organizer of the event, said, “and for making a difference each year in our community.” Community volunteers help collect items during a previous year’s Drive-Thru Food For more information, email Drive in Meridian. This year, the drive has been expanded to include more food panmeridianfriendsoffaith@gmail.com. n tries and more items such as toys and blankets. (Courtesy photo)

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 7


SONRISE Manor

New BRM housing facility to open soon

Top Left: Sonrise Manor will soon offer fully furnished units to people in need of transitional housing. Much like a new subdivision has model homes open to show potential buyers, Sonrise Manor is currently displaying model bedrooms like the one above for investors to tour. Bottom Left: The exterior of Sonrise Manor is an attractive showplace of tall trees and well-kept spaces, all lending to a homey atmosphere for residents-to-be. The 55,000-squarefoot building sits on almost four acres. Top Right: The amenities at Sonrise Manor are comfortable and clean, to give potential residents the feeling of being in a safe, secure place. Above is an open, communal recreation area with fireplace. (Photos provided by Boise Rescue Mission)

By Steve Bertel “Raising a 10-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son as a single mom was pretty difficult, and, honestly, I was overwhelmed. It was impossible to keep up with our bills on my wages … I didn’t know how to handle it alone,” says Jessica. “But being able to move my family into Sonrise Manor has been incredible. It’s not just about saving money. What is important is that we are surrounded by support. I feel safe here. We come home at night, and there are other people around. We sit, eat together, and share our day. We check in on each other and laugh a lot!” she excitedly points out. “The whole environment is very uplifting! It feels like family and, right now, that is exactly what we need. I’m so grateful to have this time to get our feet back under us.” Jessica’s story is not unlike others in the Treasure Valley who have been homeless, living in temporary shelters, or struggling to make ends meet – not to mention possibly even raising kids along the way. Currently, Jessica (whose last name is withheld for privacy reasons) is one of thirteen residents of the Boise Rescue Mission’s soon-to-be newest transitional housing facility, Sonrise Manor. We say “soon-to-be-newest” because the building has not yet officially opened for guests. And may not until spring of next year, according to Boise Rescue Mission Ministries CEO Rev. Bill Roscoe. For many years, the facility at 1777 S. Curtis Road in Boise had been an assisted living center. Its owners, a couple with longstanding ties to the Rescue Mission, “reached out to us recently, to see if we would be interested in perhaps purchasing the property,” Roscoe explains. And God’s timing was perfect. Because, when they made the offer, the couple wasn’t aware that the Mission had been fervently praying and looking for some time for ways to improve housing opportunities for its New Life (drug and alcohol recovery) Program graduates. “It’s become very, very, very hard for people coming out of our shelters to get back into the community. In fact, anyone who is look-

8 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

ing for housing in the Treasure Valley right now knows there’s a very short supply and very high costs involved,” Roscoe says. “For every house or apartment that becomes available to rent, there are usually ten to fifteen people immediately waiting in line. Landlords’ first choices, of course, are those with great work and great credit histories who have money in the bank and can pay the first and last month’s rent. For those who have been living in a homeless shelter who may have a credit problem or a criminal record, well, those are big negative deterrents to a landlord – and makes those folks the least likely candidates to get a rental unit.” So, after several walk-throughs of the facility, meetings with Board members, and crunching the numbers to see if such a move would even be financially feasible, the Rescue Mission purchased the property for the agreed-upon price of $3.5 million. “When I first saw it, I was overwhelmed. I thought: Wow! What a great piece of property!” Roscoe recalls. “It has a gorgeous setting … huge beautiful trees … a large recreation area with a fireplace. In all, it’s a huge 55,000 square foot building on almost four acres.” With, most importantly, plenty of rooms that will soon be converted into private transitional housing units. The Mission’s original goal was to raise money and pay off the mortgage within two years. But as word of mouth spread about the project, people quickly reached into their pocketbooks. “For example, three people I shared this vision with all made huge and unbelievable financial contributions,” Roscoe said. In fact, so many donations poured in that Mission officials were able to pay off the mortgage last March, far earlier than anticipated. “So we now own the building free and clear!” he stated. And even though God spiritually opened doors to help the deal come together and the mortgage get paid off early, Rescue Mission officials knew there would be a lot of renovation – a lot – that needed to be done before the doors could physically open.

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So a capital fundraising campaign was launched to help raise $2 million for renovation, and almost $1.7 million to operate the facility for the first three years. Roscoe says about 75% of that goal has been raised thus far through pledges, donations, and financial gifts. “There is extensive work that needs to be done on the heating, cooling, ventilating, plumbing, and electrical systems; in fact, the third largest part of the remodel will be electrical,” he explains. So, with fundraising in high gear, the Mission is now in the process of getting all the proper paperwork, bids, appliances, furnishings, and contractors and engineers (many who are donating their time) lined up so that the facility can open, Roscoe hopes, sometime next spring. But supply chain issues have held up some of the work. “In September, we had 41 new toilets delivered – that we had ordered back in February,” he said. “We also ordered 115 heating and cooling units, since we’re going to have individual heating and cooking units in every apartment. But delivery on those is six to fourteen weeks out.” As the preliminary work continues, several guests have already moved in. Or, as Roscoe explains, “After we closed escrow, we wanted to have a continual presence on the property, especially to protect our investment and prevent any vandalism or trespassing. So we moved thirteen people onto the property (including Jessica and her two children, the woman quoted at the beginning of this article) – people who were, like Jessica, graduates of our New Life Program and needed to stay in transitional housing … as well as people who are employees of the Mission.” All are currently living in the most recently-constructed wing of the facility, which officials say will only require a small amount of future remodeling. When completed, the facility will offer its guests sixty completely furnished studio, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments, a commercial kitchen (which will serve daily hot breakfasts and dinners – and sack lunches by order, for those who are employed off-site), a large dining area, four full laundry rooms, and a 24-hour staff including case managers and maintenance workers. Unlike other Mission facilities, Sonrise Manor will be designed for individuals, single parents, and families. Maximum capacity will be about 100 people. Once it officially opens, the center will not require residents to pay rent; instead, they’ll pay what’s called a ‘program fee’ based on their financial abilities. In fact, this is the only program the Rescue Mission offers that will require participants to pay a fee – because, not only will the transitional housing residents be gainfully employed, part of their educational program is to learn how to balance their budgets and manage their money. Plus, paying the fee allows them to save the majority of their income so they can eventually move out of transitional housing and afford their own place. “Which is our ultimate goal,” Roscoe adds.

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Men, women, single parents with their children, or even families who are staying at any of the Mission’s other temporary shelters or transitional housing units in the area can apply to stay at the Sonrise apartments. Directors will review the applications and determine the best candidates willing and able to make the move both into – and eventually, out of – the transitional housing program. How long they stay will be determined by their own needs and successes. Some may stay for weeks, some for months. And some, because it may be difficult for them to get into independent living situations due to their age or health conditions, may stay for years. Roscoe proudly points out, “We’re very unique. In fact, I don’t know of any other agency or ministry in the Treasure Valley that has a program quite like this one. Of course, we’re also unique – and we make no bones about it – in that we are a Christian transitional housing community. The folks who will be living there will be people of faith. We’re going to have Bible studies, mandatory chapel assemblies, monthly devotional group meetings, and the like.” And, of course, the name underscores both the hope it gives its residents and the center’s rock-solid Christian foundation. “We chose the name Sonrise Manor … to symbolize the dawn for formerly homeless residents seeking a fresh beginning toward independent living with a renewed relationship with Jesus Christ,” he added. Much like a new subdivision has model homes for potential buyers to tour, Sonrise Manor has several completely furnished model apartments (pictured) for potential investors to tour. If you’d like to make a donation to the Boise Rescue Mission’s capital fundraising campaign for the renovation of Sonrise Manor … or want to learn how you can “adopt a room” in the facility … you’re encouraged to call the Rescue Mission’s main office at (208) 343-2389 or check out its website, https://boiserm.org/ sonrise-transitional-living/ n Steve Bertel is a multi-award-winning professional radio, television, print media, and social media journalist, who recently retired after a 30-year broadcasting career. Now a busy free-lance writer, he recently released his debut suspense novel “Dolphins of an Unjust Sea”, available on both Amazon and Kindle. Steve and his wife of 40 years live in Meridian, Idaho. He can be reached at stevebertel65@gmail.com.

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 9


“I GET TO!”®

Enjoy every season of your life … you’re seconds from a full-blown flasharoonie! By Joan Endicott While sitting on her Grandma Lucy’s lap, Then I got a bright idea, so I start trying to little five-year-old Sunny sweetly caressed and speed-walk back to the produce department. It carefully examined her grandma’s wrinkled was so crowded I ditched the shopping cart by face and neck, then moved on to her crooked, the men’s clothing so I could make my move. bumpy fingers and thin-skinned hands. Then she That’s when Mark called to tell me what else looked very closely at her own hands and asked, we needed. As I’m doing the dodge-ball-dance “Grandma, God made you and He made me, side to side, in and out of other shoppers, I’m right?” narrating to my hubby, “I’m hurrying back to “He sure did! He made everybody!” Grandma the cooler to flash!” Then, realizing what I had answered with a smile. Noticing the puzzled look just said out loud, I decided NOT to look back on her granddaughter’s face, she asked, “Why to see who I might recognize. Sometimes it’s do you ask?” Sunny sat and thought for a mosimply best not knowing! ment and then shrugged, “Ah nothin’, He just In the various seasons of life, if not careful, must be gettin’ better at it, is all.” we can look at other seasons in our own lives Joan Endicott Every chapter and season of life has changes, or even the lives of others and start to entertain challenges and celebrations. Aging has its own envy without even knowing it. When we start down paths that set. It can also be a target of disrespect, cruel jokes and ridicule in our youth-obsessed culture. I’m grateful for Ecclesiastes 3 that begin with If only, I wish, Can’t wait ’til, or What if, the joy we could have experienced in those moments is sucked right offers the reminder that there is a time and season for everyout of us. Every. Single. Time. thing under heaven. (v2) A time to be born, a time to die; (4) Remember in your younger years, wishing for your next A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a birthday? Maybe that started at 7 and you thought 8 would time to dance; (6b) A time to keep, and a time to cast away; (7b) A time to keep silence and a time to speak. be great! Then 10 meant double digits, 13 is being a cool A few years ago when I was blessed with the opportunity to teenager, 15 is driver’s permit and more independence, then begin The Change, as my grandmother’s generation called it, graduation and being on your own, married, children, then I overheard a gentleman (who should have read that Scripture those same children are hurried through potty training and, about keeping silent) say, “It makes me feel uncomfortable when before you know it, into driver’s training…and so it goes. If women talk about hot flashes.” not living gratefully and in the present, we can easily wish our Now, if you could have seen the thought bubble above my lives away, then look back, wondering where it went. are-you-kidding-me? facial expression, it would have said, “Oh Alfred D’Souza shared, “For a long time it seemed to me you poor thing! You’re uncomfortable hearing about women’s that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always hot flashes? Why don’t you swallow a barbecue, then be smothsome obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, ered with a wet wool army blanket…then we’ll chat about what some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be uncomfortable feels like, okay brother?” paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. Since the word men-o-pause always sounded like something that happened to much older ladies, I decided to use words that This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you sounded less old. For example, instead of hot flash, I could just have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a say things like heat wave, power surge, or simply, flash! (And just a note to our loved ones, when you see us red-faced, fanning journey, not a destination.” Taking that even further, these obstacles are really opportuthe raging inferno within, while running to stick our head in the nities. Everything you and I get to do, in every season of life, freezer, please don’t draw more attention by asking the obvious!) is indeed because of the life, breath, gifts, talents and abilities One Sunday after church, I was running into Costco for just God has blessed us with. We can choose to be gratefully presa couple things – famous last words before spending $137, right? I walk through the door, Costco card in hand…and could ent for each and every part of it – even the challenging times. I know you’ll also love the perspective Kelcey Grimes, a immediately feel it coming. Ladies of a certain age know exactly what I mean…that feeling when you know it’s mounting and young wife and mama of two, shared:

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IT’S NOT MY TURN It’s not my turn to go where I want, when I want. It’s not my turn to get butterflies on a first date. It’s not my turn to plan a wedding. I’ve had my turn. But, it is my turn… It’s my turn to have some sleepless nights. It’s my turn to have my clothes stretched out by little hands. It’s my turn to have fingerprints on the screen door. It’s my turn to do laundry. So. Much. Laundry. It’s my turn to keep romance alive amidst the routine. But even more than that, It’s my turn to start family traditions. It’s my turn to let a popsicle make anything better. It’s my turn to heal boo-boo’s with a kiss. It’s my turn to cuddle and rock. It’s my turn for park days and play dates. It’s my turn for first steps, first words, and first days of school. It’s my turn to earn my laugh lines and gray hairs. It’s my turn to soak up the beautiful, exhausting, magic of motherhood while the turn is still mine.

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(This is only an excerpt. Enjoy more at www.OkieSunshine.com.) It’s a powerful perspective that we can all use for wherever we are in life. For example, I can say, it’s not my turn to be the bride, rather, the mother of the bride. It’s no longer my turn to have tight, firm, young skin to live in; it’s my turn to see how gravity’s gift makes everything loosen up and head toward Venezuela. It’s not my turn to have the waist I once had; thanks to The Change, I guess it’s my turn to, let’s just say, have it covered with extra layers of fat to keep it from getting scratched. It’s not my turn to have youthful hands, straight fingers and pain-free joints; it’s my turn to look at my hands and see the blessing of hard work, and how well they’ve served me over the years. My hands have had the joy of preparing good meals for my family, cuddling and rocking my babies and grandbabies, and being held by my sweetheart for 43 years. And they’ve expressed love and compassion by tightly holding those who were hurting. The reality is, God alone knows the number of days we each have on earth. But whether you’re in what you believe to be the first part of your life, the last part or somewhere in between, remember that God gives you the strength and power to live in joy and gratitude right where you are. I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly, and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret, whether wellfed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens and empowers me (Phil. 4:11b-13 ESV). n Grab your FREE copy of Joan Endicott’s “I Get To!”® book and videos at www.JoanEndicott.com. Joan is an AwardWinning 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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PAULA Barthelmess

COBS wants to open more safe houses

Paula Barthelmess, left, is founder of Community Outreach Behavioral Services Ministry and Tylar Bell, right, is a member of the COBS Board of Directors. (Photo by Gaye Bunderson)

By Gaye Bunderson When Paula Barthelmess moved to the Treasure Valley from Burley in 2005, she soon felt a leading from God. Trained as a licensed clinical social worker, she’d come to the local area as a single mom to open a mental health clinic. While pursuing her vocation, she noticed something troubling: the presence of human trafficking in an otherwise quiet valley. “I felt God leading me to help these people,” Barthelmess said. She ultimately started COBS, or Idaho Community Outreach Behavioral Services Ministry – its full name. COBS became a 501(c)(3) during the summer of 2014. Through COBS, Barthelmess and others work with victims and survivors of sex trafficking. “Two years ago, I opened up my first safe house for victims,” she said. The women who seek shelter there range in age from 18 to 50 years old. Though they may vary in age, race, and other factors, they have a common thread: their vulnerability. “They were abused from childhood, that is their underlying foundation,” Barthelmess said. Asked if it’s possible to really reach someone following such a difficult start in life, she replied: “It is 100 percent possible to help them – help them learn to live a safe life. And hope – we give them hope their life can be better.” Because of the great need, Barthelmess opened a second

12 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

safe house in April of 2022. As of early September, there was a combined total of 40 women and four children in the safe houses. She acquires and maintains the houses through community donations and receives no government funding. Residents are provided with trauma care, substance abuse treatment, housing, food, and medical assistance. The safe houses, which are off the radar of everyone except residents and a few trusted people, are sanctuaries of security and refuge, but also of opportunity. “We teach them skills, and they work toward employment,” Barthelmess said. “They’re amazing,” Barthelmess continued. “They work jobs, buy vehicles, and pay a modest rent to live in the safe houses when they are able, all in preparation for becoming self-sufficient.” Residents are also given legal help because law enforcement too often sees them as criminals. “They’re not seen as victims but as prostitutes,” Barthelmess explained. “We keep them from going back to jail.” One of the many positive aspects of what COBS does is introduce the mostly female population of the safe houses to friendlier police officers who are not out to get them and also to males who are not out to abuse them. One member of the COBS Board of Directors is Tylar Bell. He is also part of a COBS crisis team of eight people who work in shifts to help victims of trafficking, often a 24/7, ongoing situation. Bell said: “Paula asked me to be on the board, and I thought it would look good on a resume. Now I’ve been with the organization for eight years. Before that I was uneducated and uninformed about human trafficking.” He’s gone from someone who just wanted to fill out his resume to a committed member of the COBS front line team. “The thing about Tylar (and men like him),” said Barthelmess, “is that the women see positive male figures, healthy men – and healthy law enforcement too. They don’t always like the police.” Barthelmess stressed the need for more safe houses to meet a growing demand. “I’m coming in contact with 2 to 4 trafficking victims a week,” she said. She goes straight into the heart of the problem, working with trafficking victims right on the street. She goes alone to wherever victims are in order to reach them. “I go into the jails, and I sometimes go into hotels where there are victims,” she said. What is behind the growth of the sex trafficking business? Abuse and poverty, to be sure. But also a darker side of capitalism. More people are being motivated by more money. “It’s become a more profitable business,” Barthelmess said. COBS teams with human trafficking task forces in the valley, as well as with law enforcement and churches. The non-profit is always in need of both more funding and more volunteers. No one at any level who is part of the COBS organization is paid. Barthelmess works as a mental health practitioner, for instance, and Bell is a business owner. But they keep on working to help the helpless as well. No one and no organization can do it alone. “It takes a whole community to make this work,” Barthelmess said. n For more information, go to idahocobs.org.

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THREADS in Faith

Rich Hopkins takes on late wife’s ministry

Rich Hopkins, 81, took over his late wife’s quilt ministry aspirations following her death from Covid-19 last year. Here, Hopkins is shown among some of the items that go into creating quilts for Threads in Faith. (Photo provided by Cassandra Carper)

By Gaye Bunderson A non-profit based in Nampa is using quilts for a prayer ministry called Threads in Faith. Now, the warmth of devout petitions to God can be wrapped in a beautiful comforter. It’s the perfect combination. “The quilts are thread together with love and prayer for specific people; we frequently know the person, and we want to know that the person wants the quilt,” said Cassandra Carper. Carper and her father Rich Hopkins oversee the Threads in Faith Prayer Quilt Ministry. But it actually all began with Carper’s mother and Rich’s wife. Pat Hopkins was a prolific quilter, and she and her friend Arlene had an idea to expand their quilting projects to be more “community inclusive,” according to the story behind Threads in Faith written by Rich. In it, he says, “My wife wanted to make quilts for the needy without restrictions to content or design. The quilts could be specifically made to fit the situation for each person. They could be designed and pieced together by the entire quilt team or just one person dedicating her art to the recipient. The design could contain symbols and religious patterns and even return the lost to the flock.” Pat Hopkins died from Covid-19 in September of 2021 and

14 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

did not see her plan come to completion. But that was not to be the end of the quilting project. “I was awake at 3 a.m. one morning, and the Holy Spirit said to me, ‘You need to carry on this ministry’, and I’ve been doing it since February of this year,” Rich said. It is the proverbial labor of love, carried out in honor of his wife of 58 years and done in service to God and others. Rich has traveled at length and spoken to hundreds of churches about the quilt project. He wants it all to be non-denominational, though he himself attends Friendship Celebration Lutheran Church in the local area. He traveled for a four-state Lutheran conference and stopped in eight cities in Oregon, visiting churches and telling them about the quilts. His own church chapter has completed eight quilts, and a Lutheran church in Mountain Home has dedicated one quilt, one is ready to be dedicated, and five more are almost ready. Rich talked about how he’s seen quilt projects before in churches, including one project where 100 quilts were spread out on chairs to be given to Orphan Grain Train (www.ogt. org). He noted that the Threads in Faith project is different in that it creates specific quilts for specific people with specific needs. “TIF has enhanced some of the ministry programs of the church,” he said. The dedication of the quilt is pivotal to the project, and it takes place in church with the congregation. The quilts are dedicated during a church service and final tying is done by church members and is accompanied by prayer as threads are tied. A quote from a TIF brochure better explains the idea. “Each quilt is prayerfully made. A thick thread is positioned through the quilt layers, leaving ends free to be tied in a square knot. As each person in the congregation ties the knot, a prayer is offered on behalf [of the intended quilt recipient] for God’s will and intercession.” Prayer requests are for anyone needing support, such as a cancer patient, widow, sick child, someone grieving a loss or confronting financial concerns, or other difficulties. A request for prayer is turned into a designated church representative; a quilt is made, often in a workshop attended by anyone who has quilting skills or wishes to learn them; the quilt is dedicated in church and prayers are lifted to God. Then, a sponsor arranges for a quilt delivery, or for the recipient to attend the church service. Later, the sponsor or another designated person arranges for a follow-up with the recipient to check on his or her welfare, with privacy always being respected. Threads in Faith also wants to know that the recipient has agreed to accept the quilt and the public prayer of the church. Though frequently quilt recipients are members of the church congregation, Rich stresses that anyone in a crisis is eligible to receive a quilt and to be prayed for. “We do not judge the worthiness of the request,” he said. “We trust God to make us aware of those needing the gift of prayer and a quilt, and for His Holy Spirit to work in their lives.” All of this requires the cooperation of a church leader, such as a pastor, and Rich would love for all pastors to mention the quilt project in their bulletins and newsletters. He wrote in his own Threads in Faith story: “The program is simple and lined out in a brochure you can share with your church. Threads in Faith will not increase the pastor’s workload – it will be an added benefit.”

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Two added touches go into each quilt: a Threads in Faith logo and a care label. The logo is decorated with such things as three roses representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and a ladybug in honor of Pat Hopkins’s dream to make quilts for the community. It also includes a reference to Luke 15:4 and the lost sheep the Shepherd went in search of. Sheep were also an important part of Rich and Pat’s lives for many years, and Rich’s unique email is 1bopeep@gmail.com. The couple once owned Bo Peep’s Black Sheep Farm in Simi Valley, Calif. – an interesting story in its own right. The care label reads: “Each quilt was specifically made for you and prayed over by our congregation. May God’s peace and blessings blanket you and your loved ones.” Rich and Cassandra – and the brochure they created for Threads in Faith – like to point out that, “It’s the prayers not the squares.” In other words, the brochure reads, “There’s no magic fairy dust in the quilt. It is a symbol of the love and faith of this congregation. The healing comes from God.”

Rich said he occasionally gets feedback from someone who received a quilt. He stated, both humbly and proudly, that one woman wrote regarding her special gift: “It was the warmest quilt I’ve ever had.” Neither Rich nor his daughter seek any financial gain from the program, and both want it to ultimately be self-sustaining. They currently use their own funds to keep it going, and Cassandra said, “We walk in faith.” Rich is retired at age 81 and Cassandra is a pharmacist. One fun fact about the two of them is that they are in a motorcycle group, and Rich rides a Harley. The cycle group also serves as a fundraiser for first responders. Another passion of Rich’s is making stained glass windows. Surely, Pat Hopkins would be very pleased with them both for carrying on her idea, and for covering those in need with prayers and a handmade quilt. n Threads in Faith is a local ministry that involves churches in making and dedicating quilts for those in need of a specific prayer – and then gifting the quilt to that specific individual. (Photo provided by Cassandra Carper)

For more information, join the Threads in Faith Facebook group, go to ThreadsInFaith.com, call 417-527-6460 or email: 1bopeep@gmail.com.

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 15


History, Culture & Faith

First Thankgiving: Pilgrims, Squanto, America

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova, pexels

By Dr. Rick Chromey Thanksgiving has evolved in the past decades. And while it retains remnants of its historic “Pilgrim” heritage, in general the day sanctioned for gratitude has grown less sacred. It’s become a day for parades, football, turkey, pumpkin pie, and Black Friday sales. But was that the Pilgrim’s vision for coming to America? What makes the first Thanksgiving so important? The idea of a Thanksgiving “holy day” wasn’t new to these immigrants from Holland. The Dutch already had a similar autumn holiday of gratitude, but the Hebrew Feast of Tabernacles was more likely the Pilgrim’s inspiration. This ancient fall festival celebrates the forty-year wilderness journey of the Israelites – a “wandering” with which the Pilgrims readily identified. They were, after all, “pilgrims” who were religious separatists or Puritans. They were English by nationality, but religiously at odds with the Church of England (who forbade their religious practices and persecuted them severely). It’s why a group of Puritan dissenters migrated to Holland in 1607. However, their new Dutch secular culture eventually proved equally disconcerting. In the fall of 1620, 102 passengers sailed to America. On board were 41 Puritans. These “pilgrims” migrated for three reasons: (1) freedom to worship God as they preferred, (2) raise their children in a Christian culture, and (3) share Christianity with the native Indians. Concerning this final point, their governor and historian William Bradford affirmed the Pilgrims had: “a great hope and inward zeal…for the propagating and advancing the Gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world [i.e., America].” On November 19, 1620, their Mayflower ship reached Cape Cod and, two days later, disembarked at Provincetown Harbor, Mass., or Plymouth Rock. The group initially intended to settle in Virginia but were blown by the winds far north to Massachusetts. But that wind of change proved a Divine Blessing. After all, if they had landed in Massachusetts a few years earlier, the violent Patuxet Indians would’ve easily killed them (as they did others who tried to settle the area).

16 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

But these Indians were all gone now, due to a mysterious plague that had destroyed the entire tribe in 1617...destroyed them all, except for one man. His name was Tasquantum or Squanto. Tasquantum had missed this deadly plague because he was in England...working as a freed slave. He had been captured twice. The first time by an English captain in 1605 who introduced him to William Shakespeare and high English culture. This education equipped Tasquantum to be an interpreter, so in 1614 he returned to his native coast of New England. Unfortunately, his freedom was short-lived. Tasquantum was kidnapped later that year and taken to Spain as a slave. Thankfully, some Catholic friars redeemed Tasquantum, “instructed [him] in the Christian Faith” and then freed him. Influenced by their kindness, generosity and Christianity, Tasquantum returned to Massachusetts in 1619 as a different man. The Mayflower landed a year later. However, that first winter in the New World was not kind to the immigrants. More than half died and only a handful of the rest were healthy enough to keep the group fed, warm and nursed. That’s when they met Tasquantum...the English Indian. He taught them about planting and harvesting corn. He helped them catch fish and trap beaver. More importantly, he became their interpreter. Bradford commented that Tasquantum proved “a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation.” He was their answer to prayer. In fact, that was the Puritans’ first act at Plymouth Rock: a prayer of gratitude. This moment was captured by the artist Robert Weir in his work “Embarkation of the Pilgrims at Delfts Haven” (a painting housed in the U.S. Capitol since 1843). A few months later Tasquantum came to their aid to help the Pilgrims survive and thrive. Later in the fall of 1621 the Pilgrims felt particularly blessed by Tasquantum’s assistance. They were thankful for a “good increase” in their harvest and the success of their hunting and fishing. Consequently, they opened their table and hearts to Tasquantum and the neighboring Indians. That’s when Chief Massasoit and 90 Indian men gathered with the Mayflower

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community for three days of feasting and entertainment. They dined on deer, turkey and corn. They prayed, worshipped and thanked God. It was their first Thanksgiving...a reflection of faith, unity and friendship. After all, the Mayflower landing initially created friction between the separatists and some of their non-Puritan passengers (who threatened mutiny). The new community needed a temporary government authority. The Mayflower Compact was their solution: “Having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian Dr. Rick faith, and the honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia,...in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic.” The Puritans felt the Bible should guide all aspects of life and codified their civil laws through Scripture. By 1623 many of their legal rules were standard in the colonies, including jury trials and private property rights. This Plymouth Colony also separated their elections of civil and religious leaders (a traditional rule in Europe) but now customary in America. To this day, the Puritans’ legal codes influence our American judicial system. Yes, many of their laws have been revised over the centuries but, generally, they remain...firmly anchored to the Sources:

Holy Scriptures. The Puritans desired to create a Christian civic community that respected religious freedom...an “idea” later infused within an American revolution and declaration of independence. Their leader, William Bradford, penned how the Puritans “shook off this yoke of antichristian bondage, and as the Lord’s free people, joined themselves by a covenant of the Lord into a church estate in the fellowship of the gospel, to walk in all His ways...whatever it should Chromey cost them...” It’s why Americans should remember this “pilgrim” Thanksgiving and know why it matters. If it wasn’t for their courage, convictions and contributions, America as we know it wouldn’t exist. 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 next event. Readers are also invited to subscribe to the Morning MANNA! inspirational and educational (M-F) email. Please visit: www.mannasolutions.org.

1. “Embarkation of the Pilgrims,” Architect of the Capitol: https://www.aoc.gov/.../historic.../embarkation-pilgrims 2. Bradford Quote on Pilgrim Evangelism: William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: 1856), p. 24 3. The Mayflower Compact: https://www.ushistory.org/documents/mayflower.htm

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 17


UNDERSTANDING Relationships

Making the transition from nice to kind • Niceness alone is selfish. Kindness is selfBy Gary Moore Mark Twain once said, “Kindness is the lanless. guage which the deaf can hear and the blind • Niceness alone lies to make itself feel better. can see.” Kindness speaks the truth in love. I’ve always assumed that it’s best to be nice • Niceness alone focuses inward to be perwhenever possible. But when tough conversaceived as nice. Kindness focuses outward. tions take place in our marriage relationship • Niceness alone cares only about what othand direct challenge is necessary, which is beters think. Kindness just cares. ter – nice or tough? Can we be both? Nice, by Being nice isn’t a bad thing unless it’s the only itself, doesn’t go far enough. We need to move from nice to kind. Kindthing. When the goal of being nice is to treat ness usually involves being nice but goes much our spouse, or others, with respect, it’s a good further. Being kind involves a gentle strength thing. When the goal is to manipulate them that comes from a base of confidence. People into seeing us a certain way, it’s a bad thing. who are kind care deeply for others and are Someone said that kindness is a social luwilling to do what’s best for them in a way that Gary Moore bricant that greases the inner workings of any values them. relationship. If you ask a mechanic the most Someone said that kind people say tough important thing you can do to extend the life of your car, things in a nice way, while nice people never say anything tough. Nice people don’t help others get better because they’re they will probably say to change the oil and lubricate it on a focusing on how they’re perceived. Kind people help others regular basis. get better because they’re not dependent on them for their The same thing is true of marriages. It doesn’t matter if the own value. marriage is three weeks old or thirty years old; it needs regular Nice people tend to avoid conflict. If there’s conflict, people maintenance and lubrication. If we skip the lubrication, the might not agree with them, which means they might be upset gears begin to grind. Emotions and irritation become consiswith them. They can’t risk that because their self-esteem is tent companions, tempers flare, and conversations become based on people liking them. So, they try not to express negatense. That’s because we’ve taken the relationship for granted tive emotions, even if they’re feeling those emotions strongly. and ignored the routine maintenance. We’re so focused on isRemember, your marriage relationship is not Algebra 1. You can’t multiply two negatives or a negative and a positive sues and feelings that we forget about kindness. Over time, we together and get a positive. It takes two emotionally healthy get irritated with the marriage – even to the point of considerpeople to have an emotionally healthy relationship. Bottling ing trading it in for a new one. up your emotions doesn’t make them go away; it pressurizes Maybe it’s just time for a little kindness. them, so they explode later. You can’t have a close marriage The issues are real. The emotions are real. The conflict is relationship or healthy conversations if you are just protecting real. But the need for lubrication is real as well. If we ignore your own image by not dealing with your emotions. it, we short-circuit the connection process. Any movement in That’s another reason why daily check-ins and weekly relathe relationship will produce friction, and the best way to deal tionship check-ups are so vitally important. with friction is with lubrication. There are no marriages without issues. Conflict happens in the healthiest ones. When nice people find themselves in conKindness is not a cure-all for every relationship problem; flict, they tend to shift the focus away from themselves. They it will not eliminate conflicts and solve all our problems. But withdraw; they minimize the issue; they use humor to deflect it will make it possible to deal with those issues in a way that negative feelings; they try to change the subject; they focus on keeps the relationship stronger in the process. Kindness is a the other person’s behavior to take the focus off themselves. recurring reminder to the other person that we care about All these strategies keep genuine, healthy communication from taking place. These people are focused on being the nice them. It gives the message that we’re committed to them, we value them, and we think they’re worth the effort to tackle person, protecting themselves instead of dealing with the real issue. They need to make the transition from niceness to kind- tough issues together. It says, “This problem is big, but I think ness. we’re bigger.” n Let me briefly compare niceness and kindness. As you reflect on these, where do you find yourself? Gary Moore served as associate pastor at Cloverdale • Niceness alone comes from neediness. Kindness comes Church of God for 15 years. He does couples’ coaching and from confidence. leads couples’ workshops and retreats called MUM’s the • Niceness alone feeds off being liked by others. Kindness Word. He does a weekly radio program called Life Point simply cares about others no matter what they do. Plus on KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. Monday • Niceness alone gives in to avoid conflict. Kindness sets mornings at 10 a.m. he does live relationship teaching boundaries when needed. • Niceness alone operates from fear. Kindness operates from called MUM Live on his Facebook page Mutual love and caring. Understanding Method. He may be contacted at • Niceness alone is weak. Kindness is strong. glmoore113@gmail.com.

18 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

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REAL Man’s Toolbox

Where are the ‘real men’ in this world? 4:31 we read, “Let all bitterness and wrath By Leo Hellyer As we come to the end of 2022 and near the and anger and clamor and slander be put beginning of 2023, there are many questions away from you, along with all malice.” We as to ask about the world we are living in. We see Christian men should be seeking to do what the turmoil in much of our world, and in our counmen at Stand in the Gap did in 1997. We need try. We see much abundance, and we see some to be able to concentrate on our commonalities glaring shortages in our world societies. As we and not our differences. We need men to be falook at the deficiencies in the civilized world we miliar with God’s Word; we need men to be in can ask a simple, but at the same time compliGod’s Word continually. We need men who use cated, question: where are the “real men”? God’s Word as the roadmap that they follow on God gave us a set of instructions detailing their journey of life. We need men to share their how He designed a civilized world society to biblical insights, experiences, and revelations function: the Bible. As we examine the populawith the other men, women, and children that tions of the “civilized world,” we find one very God brings into their lives. consistent missing building block: biblical male Men, none of us can be passive any longer. Leo Hellyer leadership, particularly in the home. There is We need to heed the call of God, we need to a great book that unpacks very effectively the stand up and be counted. We need to follow foundation of society that needs to be repaired, strengthened, what is shared in Nehemiah 4:14, “Remember the Lord, who and hardened for the betterment of the civilized world. is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your This book is titled “Take It Back: Reclaiming Biblical Mansons, your daughters, your wives and your homes.” hood for the Sake of Marriage, Family and Culture” and is We need men who will fight for what is right, honest and written by Dr. Tim Clinton and Max Davis. This is a critical true. We need men who will care for their family’s spiritual, fiaddition to any Real Man’s Toolbox. Many of the Scriptures in nancial, physical, relational, nutritional, and health needs. We the column you are reading are referenced in this great book. need men who are more concerned about their family’s needs Many men who are leaders at different levels today did not than their own. have an example of biblical male leadership in their lives to As we look throughout history, we can see that the health of guide them into manhood. In 1 Kings 2:2, we read David’s societies correlates directly with the health of individual famidying instructions to his son Solomon, “Be strong and show lies within that society. Families without a strong male leader yourself a man.” These are instructions that we should follow present have a high propensity of mediocrity, dysfunction, or today as well. Biblical male leaders, at every level of leadership, complete failure. This is not something that should continue need to be seen, heard, followed, and looked up to as an indiwithin family lines once present. A single dedicated, strong, vidual to emulate. We need to return to the days where young faithful man of God can turn it around and redirect the trajecmen looked up to faithful Christian men as heroes worthy of following and of mirroring. The purest leaders do not lead in a tory of an entire family’s contribution to society. As God leads men, men need to lead those who God has way that brings attention to themselves. They lead by example entrusted to each man’s care and love. Men, we need to be and service. In Ephesians 2:8 we learn that, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own do- present in our families, and we need to lead our families, as God leads the Church: with an abundance of love and grace! ing; it is the gift of God.” Men must be present to lead. Many great men who served The Bible is a book of truths, directly from the God of Creation. Over much of man’s existence, these biblical truths have in the military were valiantly leading their families while not being with them physically for a measure of time. These men been followed by many leaders and have been sought after by were still very present within their families. God richly blesses mainstream members of society. However, in the last 50 to 60 a faithful father. years, these biblical truths have been, twisted, manipulated, As Christian men are more present in their families, and are and watered down by much of society, to the point where these leading them in Christian love, children will look upon their biblical truths are being challenged, ignored, or outright not fathers as their heroes instead of looking to imaginary superhebelieved. roes or sports figures without a Christ-based moral compass. There was a shining light in October of 1997 when 600,000 Men of God, rise up and face the battle. The future of your to 1,000,000 or more men gathered in Washington, D.C. at children and grandchildren depends on it. n Stand in the Gap, a sacred assembly of men. This was a gathering, a movement of men, brought about by a ministry called Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and Promise Keepers. Ezekiel 22:30 states, “I sought for a man has been married to his wife Norma for 50 years. The among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before me for the land.” I had the privilege to attend this couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry gathering of men. It was a very meaningful, challenging, emo- Team for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with Boise Rescue Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently tional, and foundational time. A huge gathering of men stood serving at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is president in the gap to shore up our weakened walls. However the spark and chief firearms instructor with Helping Hands Firearms that was lit in many men in 1997 never grew into a purifying Training LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s fire that could cleanse society. Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at What we need is for that spark, or a new spark, to be rekindled and magnified by consistent breaths of life. In Ephesians silverplate426@msn.com or (208) 340-5544.

20 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

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WEDNESDAY’S Child

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 21


DESTINED for Victory

To live is Christ: a statement for life By Paul Sheppard In one sentence, Paul gives his mission statement for living. He says, “For me to live is Christ.” His whole life is about Christ, loving Him, serving Him, praising Him, enjoying Him and ministering in Jesus’ name. It’s a simple mission: living for Christ and Christ alone. In the world, I see four common things that many people choose to live for: prosperity, popularity, power and pleasure. The Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong to seek these things in moderation. They aren’t necessarily negative, but they can’t be your foundation for living. Prosperity, popularity, power or pleasure might be features of life, but they can’t be the foundation. God isn’t against you making money, but He doesn’t want you to have money with no divine purpose. He wants you to invest in the kingdom of God. He has a divine purpose for prosperity. There’s nothing wrong with being popular, if you use that popularity to bring glory not to yourself, but to God. The goal is to reflect the glory of God while you’re popular. You can be just, loving, kind and honorable, at the same time you’re popular. Sometimes God blesses His people with power jobs. God can use Christians in places of influence, as long as they live in obedience and integrity. Power can corrupt many people, but not if you submit it to the Lordship of Christ and use it for good. As far as pleasure goes, I have known Christians who think being saved means living in misery, and making sure everybody knows they’re miserable. I actually had somebody contact our radio ministry and complain that there’s too much humor on our broadcast. They thought God needed a somber frown on His face to get His message across. Thankfully, the God we serve loves laughter. He gives us joy as a fruit of the Spirit. He delights in blessing us with smiles and laughter. So all of these things – prosperity, popularity, power and pleasure – can be wonderful features in your life, but they can’t be the foundation. They can’t be the reason for your living. God gives us a higher purpose for living. Paul says, “To live is Christ.” That’s the foundation. That’s our reason for living. We live to please God and follow Christ. When we live for God, we often attract the blessings of these other features, but not always. Even if we feel poor and powerless, we still have contentment in the will of God. This is a contentment that money can’t buy. It is a contentment that stays with us always, assuring us that we are blessed and loved. With that kind of deep and abiding assurance, you can fall asleep at night knowing that God is good and you are blessed. That is the kind of contentment that all the money in the world cannot buy. What’s the point of getting rich and not being able to sleep at night? In Christ, you can be so content that your spouse will be tipping you on your side at night, trying to quiet your contented snores. Live for Christ. Do everything with Him in mind. Everywhere you go, allow Him to lead. When you’re living for Christ, you can say with Paul, “If I die, things will get a whole lot better.” Back when I was young, I’d hear the old saints sing about a blessed glory land, a home where the saints abide, and how

22 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

on some glad morning they longed to be at the Savior’s side. I was a fairly typical kid, though, not so enthusiastic about flying away too soon. I had things I wanted to do. I wanted to get married someday. I wanted to see the world first. Knowing what I know now, I see how cheap all these earthly desires are compared to the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore that God has prepared for us in heaven. We have some incredible, unimaginably wonderful things to look forward to! Keep the main thing the main thing. Having the right eternal outlook helps put your present uncertainties in perspective. There is no downside to life in Christ. There is no downside to death in Christ. All we have to look forward to is good. And even here on earth, God is working all things out for good for us who are called according to His purpose. Do you have any unfinished business with God? If so, then get it done today. Living for Christ means putting Him first in all things. It means rejecting the sinful ways that lead to death, in favor of God’s abundant life. He wants to bless you in ways you never dreamed of. He wants to bless you as Paul describes in his letter to the Ephesians: Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think… — Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV) God has unimaginable blessings in store for us, both on earth and in heaven. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we can ask or imagine. God is better than the best father on earth. He delights in overwhelming His children with good gifts, both on earth and in heaven. The apostle Paul writes: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. — 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV) Those are some mind-blowing blessings! If you love Him, He has some stuff in store for you. If you love Him, He has some blessings for you. If you love Him, He has some provisions for you. If you love Him, He will take you places you never dreamed of going. It’s not that hard to imagine, when you look back and see what He has already brought you through. We’ve all been up against impossible odds, stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. Talk to the older saints you know, and you’ll get an earful of miracles. God is so good, He has carried us past so many dangers, toils and snares. His mercy is everlasting, and His grace leads us on. You’ll never know how many times you were on the devil’s hit list and God said, “It’s not going to happen.” You should be gone by now. The devil had you in his sights, marked to kill, steal and destroy, when God intervened. God said, “Not this time. That one’s mine. My purpose for that one is abundant life.”

Favor ain’t fair Those who live for Christ experience God’s favor. And here’s one thing you need to know about favor: Favor ain’t fair. What do I mean by that? I mean that nobody, no matter how good they think they are, deserves God’s favor. You and I are not “worthy” of His abundant blessings. We don’t have the qualifications. We haven’t earned them. And it’s just like

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Maybe you aren’t feeling those blessings right your haters to remind you of what you don’t deserve. They say, “Who are you to think you now. Maybe you’re struggling under a heavy deserve to be forgiven? You’re the last person load of discouragement. who deserves to go to heaven.” Live in Christ, and be encouraged. He is You know what? They are right. But thankfaithful, and He will never forsake you. All fully, God’s favor ain’t fair. He gives us His these troubles are a sign that God is right favor, even when we don’t deserve it. around the corner, preparing to pour His blessFavor ain’t fair. ings on you. He sees your uncertainties, and God’s grace and forgiveness makes no sense, He’s not troubled in the least. He gives you the but He gives it anyway. There is more than assurance and certainty that He hasn’t forgotenough grace for those who ask. God’s comyou, that He loves you, and that He has Pastor Paul Sheppard atenmuch ings and goings, His fixing broken things, His better place to take you to. He gives reversing things, it all doesn’t make any sense. you enough joy for each day. He prepares a From my human perspective, I look around sometimes and place for you where there will be no more tears. There will be think I’m at the very back of the line. All these other people nothing to cry about in heaven, only glory and blessings and are getting served ahead of me, and it’s unlikely I’ll ever see abundant provision. the front of the line. Then, all of a sudden, God says, “About Get right with God today, because He has great things in face!” He makes everybody turn around, and suddenly I’m store for you, exceedingly abundantly above all that you can first in line! And the people down at the other end are shaking ask or think. n their heads saying, “What just happened? How did he get to the front of the line?” This is an excerpt from the series “Keeping THE Main Favor ain’t fair. Thing the Main Thing” by Pastor Paul Sheppard. You God blesses those who decide to live for Christ. To the can hear Pastor Paul’s radio show, “Destined for Victory,” world, that makes no sense. God is good, because that’s His weekday mornings at 9 a.m. MST on 94.1 FM or online at nature. He delights in blessing His people. He doesn’t have to www.941thevoice.com. For more information, go to www. run it by the committee to get someone’s permission. He just says it and it is done. PastorPaul.net.

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 23


Mama Passarelli

‘Soup lady’ ministers By Gaye Bunderson On a moment’s notice, Ginger Passarelli will leave the humble Idaho town of Glenns Ferry and be off in a heartbeat to anywhere in the U.S. But she won’t be going on a sunny, restful vacation. Instead, she’ll be flying right into the middle of a crisis, and she’ll be doing it voluntarily. Passarelli is not a policeman, nurse, or firefighter. Oddly enough, she makes soup, and that’s what she offers free-ofcharge to first responders anywhere they’re called to help. Mama Passarelli, as she’s known, serves her specialty at the scene of some pretty harrowing events: hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes, to name a few. Some of the towns she rushes toward are sites of nothing less than major human tragedies, such as Uvalde, Texas, or the 2017 country music festival at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. But call Mama and she comes. Passarelli moved to Idaho a little over a year ago with her husband Harvey. The social unrest in large metropolitan areas led them to seek residence in a quieter place away from all that. She and Harvey put offers on houses and got one in Glenns Ferry. Passarelli delivers soup on Fridays to the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office, where she also serves as chaplain. She started her current calling – both as a soup chef and a chaplain – in the state of Washington, primarily in the Seattle area. But she takes exception to the title of “chef.” “I always say I’m not a chef. I’m a ‘mom cook’,” Passarelli explained. “I just cook a lot of my Italian family recipes – it’s home cooking.” A date that’s etched in Passarelli’s mind is June 14, 1970. “I found the Lord that day,” she said. While still in high school, she met a group of missionaries and was impressed by the work they were doing. “They were smuggling Bibles into Russia. They were risking their lives to bring people Bibles and I thought, ‘It must be pretty important if they’re willing to risk their lives’. I spent a lot of time with them,” Passarelli said. After graduating from high school, she moved to Portland and started going to church regularly. Later, she moved to the Evergreen State. In the late 1990s, she began attending a church in Maple Valley, Wash., when she was a single mom with two daughters and barely scraping by. She admits she was praying “woe is me” prayers to God. One day, she explained, “I had this thought: make soup. I can be snarky, and I was a little snarky with God. I said, ‘Make soup? That’s ridiculous!’” Still, the thought persisted. The pastor of the church she attended was named Steve, and she went to him and said, “I think I’m supposed to make soup every Sunday and bring it to the church.” The pastor’s original thought was, “What a great idea. We’ll have potlucks, and you can bring the soup.” And she countered that, no, she felt she was supposed to bring it every Sunday and serve it to the congregation. The pastor accepted Passarelli’s nudge from God, and she brought soup to church every Sunday for a year. She was given the friendly moniker “the soup lady.” Things were going well, and the congregants loved the soup; Mama Passarelli, founder of The Soup Ladies, has had her share of highlights however, Passarelli needed a bigger, better pot to make it in. over the years, including standing on some of the highest steps of the U.S. “A good pot is about $100,” she said. She asked Pastor Steve Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (Photo provided by Ginger Passarelli) to help her buy a pot and he did. After that, she made not

24 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

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COVER STORY

s to first responders one but two pots of soup every Sunday. She started to get the idea that, “This soup is going to be something....” The entire soup idea was beginning to gain a life of its own, and Passarelli recognized there was more behind it than soup for one church congregation, one day a week. By then she had opened her own restaurant, which she ultimately owned for 15 years. Her eatery gained a reputation for serving all kinds of good food, not just soup. Through church and restaurant connections, a pastor was made aware of Passarelli’s skills and her generosity with culinary acumen and called her after Hurricane Katrina hit parts of the South in 2005. The hurricane devastated huge parts of Louisiana, as well as Mississippi. When the pastor got Passarelli on the phone, he cut to the chase: “Can you bring food?” Her husband nodded yes, and she was off. It was to be her first experience serving food to first responders, and the out-of-the-blue immediacy of it required resilience and making do with whatever she could find to cook up large meals for ravenous emergency crews. When she hit the ground at the site of Katrina’s destruction, she encountered responders who were hungry, had nothing to eat and no time to stop and go get a meal elsewhere. Her immediate response was, “I need to do something about this.” She and another woman who had traveled with her sought out pots, pans, food and everything else they needed at whatever stores they could find open. Because there was no electricity, they made soup on anything that would generate sufficient heat. Said Passarelli: “I spent a lot of money, buying whatever we needed.” When she started to feel overwhelmed by it all, she was nonetheless told, “These people need to eat and you have to do it.” Her first thought was, “I’ve never done this in my whole life!” But God assured her He would equip her to meet the challenge. “We cooked and cooked. I called my husband and said, ‘You better check the balance on our bank account’ because I was spending a lot of money to meet the need for food.” The two women accomplished all they did not only without electricity but without running water. “We’d sanitize our hands with bleach, and we used Hefty Trash Bags to spread out for a sanitary surface. We flew by the seat of our pants, and we prayed hard. This was all new territory for me. But when you have hungry people in front of you, you feed them and you love on them.” It was to be the first of many experiences meeting the needs of responders in all kinds of circumstances. Mama Passarelli became just Mama to lots of people and would eventually be accompanied by a group of women known as The Soup Ladies. But they don’t always just serve soup. Passarelli explained: “When we cook for first responders, it’s not diet food – they don’t want salad. The meals are full of carbs and proteins. It’s hearty food that will stick to the ribs.” The men and women on the front lines of hurricanes and other extreme weather events work hard, work long, and keep running with little downtime. Their need is for stable sustenance that enriches them and stays in their system for a long period.

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Ginger Passarelli, whose other names include “Mama” or “the soup lady,” has decorated her Glenns Ferry home with photos, certificates, and commendations she has accrued in her more than 17 years of ministering to first responders. (Photo by Gaye Bunderson)

Mama Passarelli is a soldier in the service of others and gets “deployed all over the country.” She fights others’ hunger and fatigue, and her battle weapons are pots and pans filled with great food and a heaping measure of comfort to go along with it. At 68, she’s logged thousands of miles. She and The Soup Ladies are called to the scene of disaster by state and local governments. “We can’t self-deploy,” Passarelli said. “We have to wait for an invitation.” When they are invited, it’s their goal to be out the door and on their way in an hour. “I’ve fed many people,” Passarelli said. “Up to 3,500 people a day in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. In church, I fed 1,100 people. In Seattle, I fed a 1,000 people a day when first responders encountered violent protestors – and the same in Portland. I cooked near the U.S. Capitol for the Capitol Police. The Soup Ladies serve everybody.” Does the trauma of being so near to tragedy affect her and the women of Soup Ladies? “I can’t say we’re immune. [After serving] we debrief and do follow-ups.” They do the same for the people and responders in areas hit by great harm. They were called to the site of the El Paso Walmart shooting and, according to Passarelli, “We went back four weeks later to see how they were doing.” Continued on page 27

Christian Living | November / December 2022 25


BIBLICALLY Responsible Investing

‘The sweet spot’ in investments and life By Doug Hanson But the application of sweet spots in our lives In tennis, there is something called the “sweet doesn’t end with tennis or investments. Conspot.” When you swing the racquet and the template these words from Proverbs 24:13-14: tennis ball hits that spot on your strings, it is “Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey rewarding! The sweet spot is in the center of from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know the strings, and it is the place that produces also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you the most power and control. Beginners often find it, there is a future hope for you, and hit the ball on the outside parts of their strings, your hope will not be cut off.” Notice the nearer the frame, which lessens their chance progression of sweetness. Just as honey is sweet to hit a good shot. More experienced players to our tastebuds, wisdom is sweet to our souls. learn how to hit the sweet spot on every shot, And, if we find wisdom, our future is one of whether hitting a forehand, backhand, volley, hope. serve, overhead, approach shot, and even a Where can we find wisdom? Wisdom is found half-volley. in Jesus Christ, the sweet spot. In Jesus is “hidEach of us has a sweet spot for investing. den all the treasures of wisdom and knowlThink of investing as involving four circles. The Doug Hanson edge” (Colossians 3:3). And, by the way, He is first circle is Moral/Ethical. We can avoid ineverywhere in Scripture. The Old Testament vesting in companies that are involved in human traffickprophesies of His first coming, the Gospels share His life ing, slave labor, terrorism, and Christian persecution. story, Acts describes His expanding influence, the New Time Horizon is the second circle. Investing to buy epistles teach about Him, and the book of a house in a few years has a different time horizon Moral/ Testament Revelation expects His second coming. Spend time than investing to retire in a few decades. Shorter learning more about Jesus in all of Scripture. Ethical time frames often lead to more conservative investFinally, let’s bring all the sweet spots togething, with a willingness to forsake potentially er: “And whatever you do, whether in greater return for more confidence in word or deed, do it all in the name the return. Time The third circle is Risk Tolerance. of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). Investing This can be a tricky one to navigate Performance tennis in the name of the Lord? Sweet Horizon Play as our eyes are often bigger than our Invest in the name of the Lord? Let’s Spot stomach: we value returns over risk, hit the sweet spot of life by bringing but then are disappointed when the Jesus into every area of our lives. n risk bites us. Several factors should determine our risk tolerance: our personality, stage Doug Hanson is an investment advisor with Risk in life, financial situation, time frame, and investing Christian Wealth Management in Boise, providexperience. Performance is the fourth circle. To Tolerance ing biblically responsible investment advice to be good stewards of what the Lord has blessed us Christians. For more information, visit investforthwith, we need to seek competitive returns (factoring in egloryofgod.com or contact him at doug@christianour time horizon and risk tolerance). The good news is wm.com or (208) 697-3699. that investing morally has historically offered competitive returns, so we don’t need to sacrifice our morals to be good Investment advisory services provided by Creative Fistewards. nancial Designs, Inc. Securities are offered through CFD When these four circles intersect, that is our Investing Investments, Inc., Member FINRA & SIPC, 2704 South Sweet Spot. That is when our investments align with who Goyer Road, Kokomo, IN 46902, 795-453-9600. Chriswe are and what we want to accomplish. By leaving one or tian Wealth Management, LLC is not affiliated with CFD more circles out of our investment decisions, we invest on the Investments, Inc. or Creative Financial Designs, Inc. periphery, sacrificing our potential for sweet investments.

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Mama Passarelli Continued from page 25

Everyone involved in The Soup Ladies is highly trained. They bring their own culinary skills to the work but must receive FEMA training. Passarelli herself attended the FEMA Advanced Academy and has training in both bodily first aid and psychological first aid. At her home, she keeps an Emergency Management Institute Certificate of Completion from the National Emergency Management Advanced Academy. She attended a chaplains’ academy as well and said, “I have taken so many classes!” Eight other Soup Ladies are also chaplains and all take the same emergency training as their leader. The Soup Ladies are a non-profit that thrives on donations. Passarelli said she handles the money “very frugally.” The group is renowned throughout the nation. Mama has a Soup Lady truck that was gifted to her by Ford Motor Co. live on the TODAY Show, as part of its Women’s Day TODAY series. She was also surprised by the restoration of her trailerslash-kitchen by Mike Rowe on his “Returning the Favor” webcast via Facebook. Despite the spur-of-themoment nature of her initial first responder meal preparation following Hurricane Katrina, she now has all preparations fully under control. Her luggage is always packed, much of her cooking equipment is transported ahead, she maintains a wellstocked freezer, and she carries duffle bags full of supplies on whatever mode of transport she’s taking.

She needs more local volunteers, mainly to help when she feeds first responders either locally or somewhere else in Idaho. In Washington State, she had 60 volunteers; currently in Idaho, she has only three volunteers. “We need way more,” she said. The Soup Ladies also perform acts of service at first responder-related events such as Stand with Those Who Serve, Shop with a Cop, and Chief for a Day – it’s not always about critical incidents. Passarelli wants to expand into Twin Falls and would like to also get to Boise as well with her special ministry. Asked what she does to chill, the grandmother of nine replied, “For fun and to clean the cobwebs out of my head, I get in my car and drive with the top down and start blaring Frank Sinatra music.” She has a Pandora station on in her home with what she calls “Italian music to cook by.” Mama’s journey has been amazing, and she’s well aware of that. “Who would have thought that making a pot of soup would turn into this?” she asked, just as amazed as the rest of us. n For more information, go to www.soupladies.org or visit The Soup Ladies Facebook page. To join Mama Passarelli in her work, email volunteer@soupladies.org. Ginger “Mama” Passarelli has spent plenty of time in the pink trailer that serves as her kitchen when she feeds hungry first responders. But she loves her trailer, the heroes she serves, and the work that God called her to. (Photo by Steve Jones)

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A no-cost Christmas? Try it this year

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By Terry Frisk Christmas is a magical time of the year as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We love to decorate our homes to create a festive setting and seek to find the perfect gifts for the special people in our lives. But this all comes with a cost and many people are finding it difficult to make ends meet with the recent increases in the cost of living. How do we enjoy Christmas with little or no extra money to spend? Here are some ideas to help make the Advent season joyful without breaking the bank. • Assess past Christmas activities and consider nocost alternatives. Instead of sending Christmas cards, send an email message with a personalized note that expresses your sentiments. Search for free Christmas activities offered by local churches. Plan at-home family activities like movie night (check your library for available videos), games, storytelling, or sing-alongs. For additional ideas, search “no-cost Christmas activities” on the Internet. • Look for ways to make your home festive. Ask family and friends if they have extra decorations they are not using. Repurpose household items to create new decorations. For example, arrange extra tree decorations, candles and evergreen branches from a nature walk into a centerpiece. Plan a family activity to create decorations. Search “no-cost Christmas decorations” on the Internet for how-to videos and printable items to complete. Pinterest has some great suggestions.

28 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

• Reevaluate gift giving. In Matthew, we learned that the magi offered the newborn Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, which were lavish gifts. However, gifts to loved ones do not have to be expensive to be meaningful. When I was young, my grandparents had a miniature Space Needle souvenir from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. I used to play with it on visits, creating my own World’s Fair. Imagine my surprise and delight when I opened their Terry Frisk Christmas gift to find that miniature Space Needle. My most memorable gifts were not the expensive ones, but the simple gifts that were expressions of love. Consider giving items you already have that would have more meaning to the recipient than to you. Also, consider making gifts that you give. One year, my wife and I decided to make quilted Christmas tree skirts for family and close friends. We spent most of the Thanksgiving weekend cutting fabric squares, sewing them together and assembling the skirts. It was a big job, but the reaction from the recipients was very rewarding and we saw them adorning Christmas trees for many years. Search “no-cost Christmas gifts” on the Internet for creative gifts you and your family can work on together. • Remember the reason for the season. Christmas can be a stressful time, with the pressure from retailers to buy their products. Redirect your family’s attention from television, social media and other sources of advertising to devotional time. Read the Christmas story in Luke and Mark together and discuss what it means to us. Pray together and give thanks for your blessings. While there are many people who find it financially difficult to celebrate Christmas, there are many more people who are blessed with an abundance. If you are so blessed, look for ways to share with those who could use the support. Seek out those who may be struggling and offer your help. This may be as simple as sharing Christmas decorations, hosting a dinner party or offering unused items you may have that would be a good Christmas gift. Spreading the Christmas spirit is very rewarding to both the giver and receiver. Celebrating Christmas is a natural expression of our gratitude for the ultimate gift that God gave us: His Son. The measure of our gratitude is not expressed in the amount of money we spend. Rather, it is in the love in our heart as we rejoice in the birth of our Savior. Have a joyous Christmas and pray for peace. n Terry Frisk is a partner in the firm B2B CFO, providing financial advisory services to small businesses. He also counsels individuals on personal financial matters through the Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Counseling ministry. He may be contacted through e-mail at terry_frisk@msn.com.

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MAXIMUM Health

Ways you can reset your aging brain By Rosie Main The brain is involved in everything we do, and like any other part of the body, we can strengthen it through exercise. The strength of your memory and ability to zero in on tasks depends on the health and vitality of your brain. What’s most remarkable, if not miraculous, is that our brain has a staggering capacity to adapt and change – even as we grow old. The ability of the brain to form and reorganize nerve connections in response to activities that cause us to learn, memorize, or experience new things is called neuroplasticity. In this article, we’ll review different activities that will stimulate your brain and form new nerve pathways, as well as strengthen existing connections to expand your memory and sharpen your focus. Brain stimulation – The brain continues to learn new skills and information throughout life and benefits from frequent intellectual stimulation. There are many options available, from brain games to reading books. Brain games – By playing word games like Sudoku or crossword puzzles, stimulating your brain can be serious fun. Many board games that require memorization or strategy are also great for exercising your brain. Make it a habit – Get into a daily habit of learning an unfamiliar word or fact. You can do this by looking up words as you read anything from biographies to news that discuss topics you want to know more about. Get a new hobby – This can help you master a new skill or subject. You can also start on that do-it-yourself project you’ve been thinking about. Un-stimulate – Chronic stress is the wrong brain stimulation. Meditation has shown to reduce stress and body inflammation by soothing the vagus nerve, an important nerve which controls the body’s immune response. Brain–body connection – Besides brain stimulation, research has shown that overall physical health is linked to brain health. Regular exercise aids in the maintenance of a healthy weight range. In addition, it maintains stable blood-sugar regulation and normal cholesterol levels. Most importantly, it optimizes blood flow throughout the body and the brain, supporting the growth of new brain cells. The benefits of physical health stem not only from regular exercise but also from other good health practices. Support your brain’s health this way: • Exercise at least 30 minutes daily to relieve stress • Get between seven to eight hours of sleep each night • Refrain from using tobacco • See a chiropractor regularly • Maintain a healthy weight Social stimulation – Relationships with family and friends are key factors in a person’s happiness. Regular social interaction promotes the formation of new brain cells and aids in brain repair. One study revealed that men and women who had the most social interaction had less than half the rate of memory loss as those who were the least socially involved. By visiting friends and family and being involved in community activities, you will protect brain health. Social brain boosters: • Spend time with your family and friends regularly and make them a priority • Volunteer for an organization which surrounds a cause which you are passionate about

30 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

• Join clubs and become involved in community or spiritual activities that resonate with you Finally, research shows that inactivity due to retirement leads to a condition called mild cognitive decline (MCI). This means your brain is performing as if you were much older than your actual age. To avoid this disorder, work for as long as you can and for as long as you feel motivated to do so. Fuel your brain – As we’ve learned, brain exercises can increase the strength of your brain. Now, let’s discuss how to use nutrition to turn that exercise into noticeable changes. The primary macronutrients in your diet needed to support brain structure and function are complete proteins and healthy fats. Protein is the second largest matter in the brain, second only to water, so it is important to nourish your brain with protein-rich foods. Proteins help neurons within the brain communicate with each other through neurotransmitters that are made from amino acids. Fats from foods and supplements, including long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, are essential nutrients for brain structure. The body, however, cannot synthesize them. Instead, these long-chain omega-3 fatty acids come from short-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in the diet. Brain function relies on dietary intake of DHA, a key omega-3 fatty acid. DHA is a building block of the brain and is important to brain development and health. In addition, it is also important in development of the brain, as it is a key component of breast milk. Food and the brain – The food you eat not only gives you energy to go about your day, but it is of crucial importance to cognitive functions and emotional stability. The smell and sight of food can alter the emotional states of the brain through, for example, the recollection of good memories. The body produces hormones in response to eating, such as insulin and glucagon-like peptides (GLP) that enhance synaptic formation and signal transduction in the hypothalamus and hippocampus, the areas of the brain in control of learning and memory. The parasympathetic activity by the vagus nerve, when stimulated by food intake, provides sensory information to the brain, influencing emotions, something that is being used therapeutically nowadays as a way for treating chronic depression. The impact of food on brain development starts from prenatal life as the mother is responsible for the well-being of her fetus through proper nutrition, which means that malnourished mothers during gestation negatively influence the brain development in this important stage of life. Even during the early 2 years of development, good food is needed for proper neurons, glial cells formation, and proper nerve oxygenation for fast signal transduction. Fat and brain health – Half of the brain is made up of lipids, and about 50% of the fatty acids in the brain are polyunsaturated fatty acids – either arachidonic acid or docosahexaenoic acid DHA. They regulate the formation of glutamic synapses responsible for plasticity and cognitive ability and neuronal differentiation. That is why omega 3 fatty acids, which we obtain mostly from fatty fish, are among the most important supplements that we need to incorporate into our diets to renew our brain membranes and protect it from the effect of aging and even improve the cognitive functions in people with Alzheimer’s disease. We should stay away from saturated fats and trans fats as these types are extremely harmful and have been linked to exacerbation of cognitive decline in aging individuals. Micronutrients and brain health – Micronutrients like vita-

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mins and trace elements are of essential impordeprivation leads to depressed mood so it seems to tance to brain development. Some mental disorhelp stabilize mood swings. ders have been linked to lack of sufficient amounts Amino acids and brain health – Neuronal of vitamins like vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin signaling is done through neurotransmitters at B12 and folic acid which are responsible for the synapses between axons and dendrites. Many of breakdown of homocysteine, a substance that these neurotransmitters like glutamate, GABA, accumulates in the brain of people suffering from dopamine, catecholamines, monoamines, and Alzheimer disease and dementia. purines like adenine are influenced by food and Vitamin D is one of the main regulators of are the target for treating many neuropsychiatric calcium homeostasis. If vitamin D levels are low, it disorders. leads to reduction of the buffering of accumulated The amino acid tryptophan is converted calcium in the brain, which has been linked to de- Rosie Main into the neurotransmitter serotonin, whose pression as well as the buildup of amyloid peptide lack increases pain sensitivity and development related to dementia. of bad behaviors such as increased aggression and anxiety, so its Zinc is one of the most important metals in the brain necessary supplementation in the diet is beneficial in treating depression and for nucleic acid formation and brain tubules growth. If its levels improving mood. are low, it leads to learning and memory deficits and progression of The amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine, the precursors some neurodegenerative disorders. to dopamine and norepinephrine, are responsible for enhancing Iodine, the main element used for thyroid hormone formation, cognitive performances, especially during stressful situations, making you more alert, attentive and focused. plays a great role in brain development and neuronal oxygenation in fetal life. Iodine deficiency can lead to irreversible mental Antioxidants and brain health – Turmeric with its main retardation, in a syndrome known as “cretinism,” one of the most active ingredient curcumin is also a very powerful antioxidant prevalent and preventable causes of mental impairment in the and a strong anti-inflammatory. It increases brain levels of brain world. derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), whose deficiency has been Choline, the main source for the production of acetylcholine, is linked to depression and Alzheimer’s disease. It also helps clear the the most important neurotransmitter in the body. Low concentrabuildup of amyloid plaques in the brain, so it delays the degenerations of choline can lead to neuromuscular problems and neural tive process that occurs in dementia. Flavonoids have neuroprotective properties by saving the neutube irregularities in children and dementia thereafter. It is very rons against the injuries promoted by neurotoxins and inhibiting easy to obtain choline from the diet to improve brain health and neuronal cells apoptosis, along with suppressing neuro-inflambanish brain fog, as choline supplements activate the biosynthesis mation and promoting memory, learning and cognitive funcof structural phospholipids in the brain and increase dopamine tions. They also induce beneficial effects on the cerebrovascular levels. system by promoting angiogenesis and subsequently new nerve Another essential mineral that is very beneficial for brain health cell growth. n is selenium. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps relieve some of the oxidative stress on the brain, which is responsible for the If you have questions or need more information, text Rosie onset and progression of many neurological diseases like Parkinson disease and multiple sclerosis. It was also found that selenium Main at (208) 859-6170 or email her at rjmaindc@yahoo.com.

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THE HOPE of heaven

Be ready, Jesus is coming back again By Roxanne Drury Acts 1:11b tells us that Jesus is coming back one day. “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.” Wait... What?... He’s coming back?... When?... Yes, He’s coming back. We don’t know when. Only God knows when (Matthew 24:36). Scripture tells us after Jesus died and was raised to life that He spent 40 days on earth preaching and teaching before ascending into heaven. He is there now, preparing a place for all those who love and obey Him. That place is Roxanne called heaven. And one day, unexpectedly, He will return ( John 14: 1-4). Jesus had given His disciples warning that He would be leaving them and what He would be doing, but they didn’t understand ( John 14:5). So, “Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” ( John 14:6). You see, it is impossible for us to get to heaven on our own. We need Jesus in our life to have the hope of heaven. He is the way, the only way. We have the hope of heaven no matter what happens here on earth. John 16:33 warns: “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” This place we call home now is but a temporary residence. Homes on earth can be taken away, burned down, outgrown, sold, or rebuilt. There is only one home that cannot be taken away from you; it can’t be burnt, outgrown, sold, or rebuilt. As a believer, a follower of Jesus, a Christian, saved by grace, we are assured of a forever home with Jesus in heaven one day. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” Philippians 3:20. Heaven is our permanent residence. The hope of heaven can and will

carry you through anything you are experiencing here on earth until He returns, which could be any day, any hour. Since we don’t know when He is coming back, Matthew 24:44 says we “must be ready for His return.” How in the world do we get ready for something as monumental as the return of Jesus? Think about packing for a vacation. I know that comparison seems lame, but give it a chance, you’ll see the connection. When packing for a vacation, you need the basic things for travel and the standard items you use every day: a suitcase, enough clothes to last as long as the vacation, a toothbrush, toothpaste, other sundries, shoes, etc. Now Drury imagine getting ready for Jesus’ return. I think you need the Christian basics (see how I did that?): daily prayer, daily praise, daily Bible reading, daily obedience, daily trust, daily belief, daily asking forgiveness, daily self-control, daily loving God and others, daily encouraging one another, daily watching for opportunities to tell others about Jesus, daily being ready when that trumpet sounds loudly (Matthew 24:30-31, 36-44). I imagine that if we started living ‘ready’ for Jesus’ return, we would probably live quite differently than we do now. I leave you with a reflective question: Knowing that Jesus could come back any day, any hour, what do you plan to do to be ready in the hope of heaven? n

32 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

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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3rd annual nativity KETO HEATING exhibit set for Nov. 18-19 & COOLING

The third annual Boise South Five Mile Nativity Exhibit will take place Friday and Saturday, November 18-19, from noon to 8 p.m. both days. The more than 100 nativities from countries around the world will be on display at 2650 South Five Mile Road. This is a free, family-friendly event. Masks are recommended by the organizers. Chairman of the exhibit, Debra Bourne, said some of the countries that the nativities came from last year included Italy, Japan, Africa, Israel, Iceland, Mongolia, Nigeria, Austria, Peru, Thailand, Ghana, Kenya, and Brazil. “We send surveys out to women in the surrounding area, and they are usually very willing to volunteer their nativities. This will be our third year, and for the most part we have displayed different ones each year,” Bourne explained. “Anyone who would like to participate with a nativity would be welcomed. Contact me at either dbourne2@yahoo.com or text me at (208) 761-9636; or also, Lois Wallace at langwall51@gmail.com or (208) 340-3968. Deadline for registration of nativities is November 10.” She continued: “Last year we had just over 900 guests in the two days of the event.” Bourne stated that the weekend before Thanksgiving is the perfect time for the nativity display. “We give thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ by honoring the sacred event of His birth. He gave us the perfect example of how to live. We think it is the perfect time to give thanks for His matchless life.”n

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 33


PARAMEDIC’S lesson

We all need a human touch sometimes By Vincent Kituku deliver a keynote speech at the Idaho State “My ear is itching,” said a 10-year-old boy, Dental Association’s annual convention. the lone survivor of a two-car accident that When a company or organization invites me claimed the lives of four people. He had to speak, I usually interview individuals in been given attention by first responders, who the industry in order to learn and develop a then prepared him to endure traveling to customized presentation. the nearest hospital – a two-hour drive by Dr. Smith, referring to all dentists, said, ambulance. “We must remember the teeth we work on This is the story, as told by a paramedic are attached to people.” veteran, of how a simple act of touching a The paramedic deputy director said that young boy changed his life and perspectives about his career. we can’t get all tied up with professional techHe was just beginning his career when they niques and forget that we are helping our felwere alerted of a horrible accident during low human beings. Regardless of what we do, one of those deep winters of Alaska that ocVincent Kituku there is a fellow human being in need of our curred about two hours’ drive from Anchortouch. For years, I have been raising funds to age. But his station was about a 45-minute help poor orphans and other vulnerable children in Kenya drive from the site of the accident. “The accident was as it with high school tuition, through Caring Hearts and Hands was advertised,” he says with a breaking voice. There were of Hope, a 501(c)3 organization that I founded. I felt that three fatalities from the initial impact and two critically paying tuition and keeping children in school was enough. injured passengers. One of the two injured passengers died However, in January of 2013, I went to Kenya and met shortly thereafter. With the lone survivor stabilized for the long drive, the the students we sponsor. I listened to a girl tell how she young paramedic kept monitoring him. About 20 minutes misses school for some days each month because she lacks after they left the site of the accident, he heard the boy say, personal hygiene supplies. I saw the uninhabitable struc“My ear is itching.” The paramedic scratched it. A few tures they call their houses and the sticks that were held minutes later, the boy said the top of his head was itching. together by strings that they used as their beds. That was followed by a scratch. Then the boy mentioned That marked a turning point in my understanding of how other parts that needed scratching, after which he received helping others requires listening to their needs. It is easy to the same attention each time. think we know what is most important for others. But it is After a while, the young paramedic moved closer to the only when we open our minds, eyes and ears that we fully boy’s body and touched his hand. He held the boy’s hand understand the scope of what is required beyond our first until they arrived at the hospital. There was no more need of scratching here and there. The boy never said there was impressions. All that little boy needed was to be touched, as any other part of his body that needed scratching from the we all do. n moment that touch started. Today, the young paramedic is a deputy director of © Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku, motivational speaker paramedics and testifies that this touch was a turning point and author of “Overcoming Buffaloes at Work & in in his life. The boy recovered well, but the paramedic feels Life,” is the founder and executive director of Caring like he was the one who benefited the most. He learned that while there is no substitute for professionalism, human Hearts and Hands of Hope, a non-profit organization that raises tuition and fees for poor orphans and other touch is also critical. children from poverty-stricken families in Kenya. ConI recalled a profound insight that Dr. Mark Smith, a dentist and friend of mine, shared with me as I prepared to tact him at vincent@kituku.com or (208) 376-8724.

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Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope 2011

TRANSFORMING LIVES

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Pictured in 2011 and 2017: Dominic (who is blind), Pauline, Patrick and Naomi were living in poverty without hope, but now three are teachers and one is an electrical technician. They pay-it-forward to others in need.

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What can we provide with your generous donation? • $25 for hygienic supplies keeping a girl in class all year long • $725 ($1.99/day) for annual high school tuition and expenses including boarding, meals, uniform and educational expenses • $1,000 ($2.74/day) for annual university tuition and expenses

And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. ~Mark 10:16

CHHH operates separate two separate Christian boarding schools for boys & girls in Machakos, Kenya.

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GREAT news

Everyone can be a Bible-like disciple By Steve Nelson today? Can anyone in our generation ever rise Who do you look up to? When I was up to that level of greatness? younger and first started reading the Bible, I Well, the heroic stuff is true. Disciples hear was in awe of “disciples.” While reading the and understand the Word of God and take stories about them in the Scripture, I became action on it. They don’t give up. When they inspired. Simply amazing! They were around get knocked down, they get back up with God’s the action all the time and truly made a differhelp. They speak up instead of doing nothing. ence. They were like superheroes, overcoming They hold onto the Word they learn. Their huge obstacles and helping many people. Not enthusiasm for the Truth doesn’t run out. ordinary. Extraordinary. They don’t allow the cares and distractions of Wow, I thought. Each time Satan caused the world to steal the Word from their hearts. trouble, God came through and delivered That’s all great, but it seems like more unbethese “disciples” in spectacular ways, whatever lievable hero stuff, above my ability. But wait, was needed. Something made these people there’s more. very special. They were winners! In life! Gee, Something else I learned about disciples that Steve Nelson I wondered, it would be really cool to meet makes them human, just like the rest of us, some of them in the future, someday, maybe is this: they are not perfect. Sometimes they when we’re all in heaven together, I guess. Maybe just shake make mistakes, sin and need forgiveness. Just like you and me. their hands and get to talk for a few minutes. Legendary. Epic. Sometimes they’re afraid (Matthew 14:26). Sometimes they That’s as close as I will get to a disciple, I thought... forget (Mark 8:14). Sometimes they’re not strong enough to What did disciples in the Bible do? For example...they overcome evil (Luke 9:40). Sometimes it takes time to underasked questions and were given detailed spiritual insight (Mat- stand things ( John 12:16). thew 13:10-11). They ultimately followed Jesus (Mark 6:1). Can a person become a disciple? So, after looking up to They were reliable and could be entrusted with responsibility disciples in the Bible, and then learning there are disciples in (Luke 19:29-35). They believed ( John 2:11). They were the the world today, I eventually met some of them. Then another ones first called Christians (Acts 11:26). They had joy (Acts really crazy thing happened. Some real life disciples told me 13:52). They had power and even raised someone from the that I too could become a disciple. Whaaaaat???? No way! dead (Acts 14:20). They were strengthened by spending time Yes, it’s true and Scripture proves it. I could choose to be a with genuine ministers (Acts 18:23). committed follower of Jesus like them. It’s simply a choice. A Are there disciples in the world today? After a while, in decision. Yes, choose to be a disciple. Follow Jesus by following my journey of admiring the “disciples” in the Bible, something God’s Word. Sign me up! new came to my attention that blew my mind. I learned that Can I be a disciple at work? Yes indeed. As adults in the there are actual disciples alive in the world...TODAY. What? workplace, we often spend up to 40 hours or more per week at Are you serious, I asked? Incredible! Tell me about them! How a job. This is one great place to shine as a light. We don’t only is that possible? Aren’t disciples too amazing to be in the world wear our heroic disciple outfits when we are at home or with

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36 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

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friends at some church. Just because we may not often have the chance to discuss Scripture directly with an open Bible in the office or in the field, doesn’t mean we stop being disciples at work. Disciples are amazing workers. When I first started becoming a loyal follower of Jesus, back in college, a fellow disciple and I had a summer job doing construction work on campus. God’s Word was burning in our hearts and we wanted to live what the Bible taught. Our attitude during each work day was this, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). We worked as if God was our boss. Our focus was not merely trying to look good to our earthly boss. We wanted to go bigger, to super love God, just like Jesus when he worked as a carpenter. Although we didn’t get paid more for working harder, we gave our all every single day, no matter if the manager was watching us or not. Check this out: we were new to this type of work, but just two of us disciples accomplished more work than four co-workers who had decades of experience. They often told us to stop working so hard because we were making them look bad. Ha! Our manager said he had never ever seen men work so hard. Then the magical moment came... He asked us why. So we told him. Our motivation was to serve our God. We were literally digging ditches, a lowly job in the minds of some people, but we did it as if God was our boss. That summer we changed the world. Summary. Of nearly 8 billion people on the planet today, very few are disciples of Jesus Christ. Most people are duds.

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Not special. Mediocre. Not passionate about anything other than their own health and prosperity, wanting pleasure, convenience, luxury, maybe just light involvement with anything to do with God. We want more than that, don’t we? The one we want to follow is Jesus Christ. God wants all of us to be disciples of His Son. Disciples are not merely historical characters in the Bible. Disciples are real people in the world today. And we can each become one. We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be faithful. Start today. God bless you. n Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This article comes from “Work: Employee or Entrepreneur” Segment 94 of “CORE,” a course for families on how to read and understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or reach Steve at T4FamilyCenter@gmail.com.

Christian Living | November / December 2022 37


JUST wait

Death of a queen, return of the King By Ed Rybarczyk On September 8, Queen Elizabeth died. Thereafter followed twelve days of public mourning, media coverage, historical reflection, and a final grand display of royal pageantry. Me? I didn’t watch it all. But I have been playing the funerary classical music from the Queen’s ceremonies and I did watch most of the two hour, twenty-one mile parade whereby her casket and royal hearse were driven from Westminster Hall to Windsor Palace, her final resting place. I was struck by the beauty of it all. The soldiers, the colors, formality, corporate silence, the solemnity. It was gripping. But there was more. Life in Great Britain slowed and even halted for days on end. There was the British public response: genuine grief, heartfelt respect, genuine patriotism peacefully expressed by millions and millions. Huge crowds stopped. Stopped and stood still. Bowed. Wept as the Queen’s casket and entourage passed by. And it was all respectfully played out. Visually stunning, the corporate response was visceral, palpable. And I sat there watching and listening: the big tolling iron bells, flowers being thrown toward, and on, the passing black limousine, the cannons being fired, Scottish bagpipes, soldiers marching, the long stretch of drumming, regal horses clipclopping beside the long black hearse, the bands playing, the church organ, the choir. All beautiful royal pageantry. Only a beloved queen’s death could prompt such luxurious and heartfelt solemnity. Overcome by the ritual I began to pray, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Bring your kingdom!” If we think the Queen’s exit was exquisite, we ain’t seen nothing yet! If we think the trumpets playing at her departure were professional, we ain’t heard nothin’ yet. One unstoppable day? There’s going to be a grand entrance the likes of which the Cosmos has never witnessed! When the King of the Universe returns, there will be a brass antiphon playing that will cause trees to split, oceans to flood, and mountains to quake.

When He makes his royal Parousia (Mt. 24:3, 1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Thess. 2:8) all of creation will stop. Parousia: our English Bibles interpret it as second coming, but the older definition is royal appearance, disclosure, bodily ascendence to the throne by a King; a personal appearance. The Queen? To honor her, a big chunk of Great Britain stopped. Some people waited in line over 20 hours to stroll past her casket and pay their respects. When Jesus returns to Jerusalem (Zech.14:4) the whole Cosmos – earth, heaven, and all beneath the earth – will witness his Parousia; not just those who confess him, but the entire Cosmos. The angels will peal back the curtains that separate this dimension of reality from the reality outside time and the King will bodily ascend His earthly throne. Here’s Rev. 1:7, “Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all of the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen.” The Revelation there was itself echoing Jesus’ own words in Mark 13:26 and Luke 21:27, “Then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Words of vindication. Just as Queen Elizabeth was honored in space and time, Jesus the Christ will be vindicated in space and time. Every fiber of creation will stop. Every idea being thought, by billions of separate beings, in that moment, will be seized by the reality that the King has returned to ascend His throne, just as He warned. Harvesting will seize in its tracks. Industry will cease. History will freeze. And in one moment, looking into His face, being pierced down into one’s liver by His own brown eyes, every person and every moment in history will find its dénouement enveloped in His perfection. It will all be confronted by His consuming holiness. The naked soul will be exposed by His glorious holiness. Whatever had been accruing toward meaning and relationship and purpose? It. Will. Stop. The Omega will have stormed in. Astonishing!

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Elizabeth was a beautiful Christian. During a Analogous to how millions of Brits halted their lives for a few days of grieving for Queen Christmas speech she gave in 2000 she said, Elizabeth, Jesus’ final in-time-and-space ap“For me the teachings of Christ and my own pearance will stop everything cold. Conversapersonal accountability before God provide a tions. Betrayals. The abuse of the poor. Sexual framework in which I try to lead my life.” slavery. Political propaganda. All stopped cold. In the age to come I hope to meet Elizabeth. Christ will become King. The Nazarene will She loved her Anglican faith. She believed rule the planet. Astonishing! the prayers of the faithful British Christians The Queen’s death? Sober. Solemn. Majestic. sustained her life. She meant to do right by her Moving. But Jesus’ return will be both horrifynation. The queen variously confessed Christ ing in its depth and the final joyous vindication as her Lord and Savior, taught her children Ed Rybarczyk of God’s ownership of the Cosmos. and grandchildren about the Christian faith, My friends, the totality of history is moving toward that Parousia, that bodily presence. History is not and in every way she wanted to convey a holy lifestyle. Her headed No-where. History does not repeat itself. History is not funerary festivities, ceremonies that she herself helped to autonomous, not self-directed. History is not the sock-puppet write, were replete with Christian hymnody. Even at the very of the oligarchy, no matter how they drool to control history. end she wanted people to know she had lived – and died – for History is not that which totalizes. No. History is not the sinChrist. gularity. Jesus Christ is. “I tell you that before Abraham was, God save the Queen! I know He did. And – one holy day – I am,” John 8:58. when He walks into Jerusalem, may King Jesus save us all! n Me? I’m not a fan of the British Royals. No, I don’t have a decided antipathy to the Royal Family. It’s just that I’m an Ed Rybarczyk, Ph.D., is both an ordained minister American. Was taught, from as long as I can remember, that and a retired History of Theology professor. we’re all equal. And I was taught in Church that in the body He now produces and hosts the Uncensored Unprofessor of Christ status is no longer relevant; that God is no respecter podcast @uncensoredunprofessor.com. of persons. And yet, for my part? I am sorry the Queen died. She believed that what God wants most from us is our hearts. He can be reached at uncensoredunprofessor@gmail.com.

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ABOUT giving thanks

A grateful heart rests in contentment By Janice Hildreth our eyes to the abundance of good things that Christmas remains the favorite holiday of are in our lives – the ordinary and sublime: the most people, but Thanksgiving is my personal hug of a spouse; the smile of a grandchild; the embrace of a friend; the way sunbeams dance favorite – for many reasons. Sure, a lot of those upon the walls. reasons revolve around food. I’m a foodie at The good news is, once we begin to look for heart, and Thanksgiving is an epicurean dethings for which to be thankful, they come to light. But it’s also my personal favorite because us in waves; and, as time carries on, they grow it doesn’t demand anything except appreciation and change as we do (thankful we can walk for all we have been given; and that has a way one minute; thankful we can use a cane, the of giving us even more. next). Gratefulness isn’t visionary. It dwells in the In that, there’s no time like the present to present; it accepts what is instead of longing change our perspective – to practice a life of for what could be. Expectations, a “to do” list, gratitude: future goals – none of these are on the agenda • Keep a journal. Record your blessings of a grateful heart. It accepts today, exactly Janice Hildreth and record your disappointments, as well. as it is, in our present circumstance; it rests in When you’re discouraged, reading about past contentment. It may remind us how blessed we hardships are sure to encourage you – for you will see how far are to do laundry in the comfort and convenience of our own God has brought you. If He’s done it once, surely He can do homes, instead of lugging piles of dirty clothes to the laundroit again. mat. But it may just as easily remind us how blessed we are to • Make it a point to tell someone why you are thankful do laundry in a laundromat, instead of pounding dirty garthey’re in your life every day. It doesn’t have to be a differments on the rocks of a river bank. ent person every day; each day, telling your spouse or your Unfortunately, too many of us have begun to focus child another reason why you are thankful is affirming. on the negativity. It’s understandable, to a certain • Be aware of your surroundings. Take the time to degree. After all, unwelcome change has been appreciate the beautiful world God has created for us. prevalent in the last few years. Studies on human Take a walk and concentrate on the foliage, the behavior since Covid-19 show that gratefulness flowers in your neighbor’s yard, helps us accept and the way the sky paints Bronco survive change in a blue and orange at sunset. healthy manner. We just have to enlarge our It’s a matter perspective. of perspecAs the Thanksgiving holiday reminds tive, those who saw the good in being us, a grateful heart is the best emotional homebound, the blessing in having more time vitamin. It has the power to relieve stress and for themselves, emerged at the end of the quarantine improve physical and mental health. It draws in better health than when it began. us closer to God; allows us to enjoy all blessBe aware that gratefulness cannot dwell in a heart filled ings (not just the biggies); it gives us peace; it with bitterness. Like internal smog, bitterness obscures makes the continual adjustments we inevitaour spiritual sight. It keeps us from enjoying what God bly face a little easier to handle. has given us. As long as we allow bitterness to dwell In other words, as we head into a season within, we can never be grateful for such things as the filled with gifts and adornments, the Thanksgiving holiday reminds us, thankfulness – a laundromat because we feel we deserve the washer/dryer grateful heart – is a gift that keeps on giving. in our home. We’ll assure ourselves we’ve been cheated. n Instead of counting our blessings, we’ll begin to list all the ways life has shortchanged us. Janice Hildreth is an Idaho native, retired However, when we pray Psalm 51:10, “Create in me pastor’s wife, and author. She is the author a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within of two Q&A books and the first four books of me,” we allow the Holy Spirit to wash the windows of a seven-part inspirational romance series set our heart. We bring awareness of God’s presence and in the Pacific Northwest. You can purchase her the understanding of all that He, the King of Kings, has books on Amazon. She has ministered to pastors’ bestowed upon us. That’s when we begin to see all God wives for over two decades with her blog has done to bless us; that’s when we begin to relax in His PastorsWife.com. She retired from the Idaho provision with a heart of thanksgiving. And thanking Him Statesman after 20 years. She and her husband for His presence while going through tough times is what live in Emmett, Idaho and enjoy every minute carries us through the troubles. they get to spend with family, especially Like everything, being grateful is a choice we make evthe grandchildren. ery day. Think of it as an emotional vitamin – once a day for continual health. It requires us to continually open Image by John Hain from Pixabay

40 November / December 2022 | Christian Living

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GOD’S plan

Hard times can’t block His way for you man in all the land next to Pharaoh. God always rewards By Bradley Shotts the faithful and brings promotion to those who follow Oftentimes we lose sight of God’s plan for our lives Him and love Him. when we are in the midst of hard times. Within us – Great famine came across the land and everyone had while we are facing one hit after another – we often get to travel long distances to Egypt for food. Everyone discouraged and feel as though our lives are on hold as appeared before Joseph, and it was not long before his we face uncertainty. Is this actually true though? brothers, who had sold him, were standing before him Do you know that when you were born it was not just too. The position Joseph held gave him tremendous by chance? God actually predestined your birth and power and with one wave of his hand, he could have knew even before He created the world that you were had all of his brothers executed. If this had happened going to be born and when. He not only knew when you in your life, how would you have handled this situation? would be born, He also developed a divine plan for your Many would probably have taken the opportunity to seek life. You do play an important role in this divine plan. We justice and use their power for revenge. Joseph decided can freely choose to seek God and follow His plan or we to extend forgiveness to his brothers and he embraced can ignore any relationship with God at all and forego them. any plan He has designed; the latter, I do not recomThe story of Joseph is powerful and it teaches us many mend. things. It teaches us that as long as we keep our eyes Satan loves to plant obstacles along our path to throw Bradley Shotts on God, no matter what is going on around us, God is us off course. He actually does this very well; in fact, he always faithful. It teaches us that God can take wrongs in is the master of disguise and deceit. Satan works tirelessly our lives and use them to create something beautiful; we just have to trust to interrupt our lives, to discourage us, to create aggravations to try and Him in the process. The story of Joseph also teaches us the importance make us focus our attention away from God, because he knows how vitally of forgiveness. Just as Christ has forgiven us, we should also be willing to important God’s plan is to each of our lives. forgive those who have wronged us. The Bible gives us a great example of this in the story of Joseph found in Even though things may not be going exactly the way you want them to Genesis. Joseph was the 11th of 12 sons. He was the favorite to his father, in your life, God’s plan is still there for you. Never give up on God because Jacob, and his brothers became very jealous of him. So much so that they God will never give up on you. Just like God completely restored Joseph, took Joseph and threw him into a deep pit. They ended up selling him for He can do the same in your life. 20 pieces of silver and he was taken far away to Egypt. This began a very treacherous time for Joseph, where he was falsely Let’s pray: Father, we all make mistakes; we stumble and fall. People do accused of rape and thrown into prison. We can only imagine how Joseph us wrong in our lives. There seems to always be hardships that we have must have felt. He went from being very comfortable in wealth, living to face and endure. Thank You, Lord, that even though we face difficult under the protection of his father, to losing everything and being forgotten times, Your plan for our lives still remains. You are the constant that we can in prison. But Joseph never lost his faith in God; in spite of all the unjust always rely on. Give each of us the strength and wisdom we need to reach calamity, God never forgot about Joseph. Even though Joseph’s life had taken an unprecedented turn due to the jealousies of his brothers, God used the finish line You have divinely ordained for us to reach. Amen. n all the things that had gone wrong in Joseph’s life to fulfill a miraculous Bradley Shotts began his ministry working in the funeral industry in outcome for him. 1988 at Lloyd James Funeral Home in Tyler, Texas. He currently serves God had given Joseph the gift of dream interpretation. King Pharaoh had a dream and no one could interpret the dream. Then someone remem- as the general manager of Forest Ridge Funeral Home Memorial Park Chapel in North Richland Hills, Texas. He and his wife, Amy, live in bered Joseph, sitting in prison, who had the ability to interpret dreams. Bedford, Texas. They have two adult children, Blaine and Braylee. The king sent for Joseph, and under God’s divine direction, Joseph properly interpreted King Pharaoh’s dream. The king was so impressed with Bradley is a member of Rotary International and serves on the board at Joseph that he appointed him as Vizier of Egypt, the second most powerful Shepherd Heart Ministries in Tyler. He is an ordained minister.

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wecare@cloverdalefuneralhome.com Christian Living | November / December 2022 41


TRANSCEND life’s storms

Become deeply rooted in the Savior

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

By Greg Grotewold When we purchased our house, it was clear that work needed to be done on the yard. Most of the shrubbery was long past its prime and no amount of trimming was going to restore any measure of aesthetic quality. The only option was to dig up the plants and pull them. I set out to do just that, and it was going swimmingly until I came upon the three yews in the front. Though not more than four feet in diameter, they became the bane of my existence for the next three days. Regardless of how much I dug, hacked, or pulled, these evergreen monstrosities wouldn’t budge. Just

when I exposed and severed one root, three more twice the size surfaced. Outside of blowing them up with sticks of dynamite, I didn’t know what else to do. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. After watching me toil to no avail for a good part of the week, my neighbor decided to put me out of my misery. He backed his 4-wheel drive pickup into my driveway and pulled out some heavy-duty chains. Even then, it took a good couple of hours of him tugging on the yews before they finally relinquished their grip and were unearthed.

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communion with Him. As I make myself After a brief celebratory dance, I spent a few minutes examining the bottom of each bush and vulnerable and pour out my soul, He pours discovered that their root systems were even more out His grace and mercy. This display of His extensive than I had initially thought. No wonder sweet tenderness is what drives me closer to it took the torque of a 6,000-pound vehicle to get Him. the job done. Short of that, the yews weren’t going Prayer, in other words, allows me to feel anywhere. They were anchored and prepared to what I already know intellectually to be weather any storm. true. It provides the venue from which to I wish I could say the same. I’ve contemplated encounter more acutely the Jesus of the often the depth of peace associated with being Bible in all of His glorious manifestations, so deeply rooted in Jesus’ omnipotent glory that Greg Grotewold especially His care. This beautiful union of perfect steadfastness is exhibited. As beautiful as that would be, it’s naïve to think that on this side mind and heart is what produces the abunof Glory – where brokenness is pervasive, particularly my dance of fruit John describes above. Chief amongst the harvest own – a complete anchoring is possible. But on the flip side, is a Christ-enabled hope, the type that empowers me to not it’s foolish to think that on this side of Glory a greater maonly face the storms of life but transcend them. turity, one where such fastening progresses well past what I There’s an additional blessing of abiding in Jesus. The more have historically experienced, isn’t possible. I know it’s feasible I do the more aware I become of when I don’t. Unlike in the because I’ve begun to enjoy some of that very blessing. And I past where the first signs of anxiousness would almost assurwant more, and Jesus wants me to want more. edly lead to a downward spiral of fear, and thus greater sepaHere’s the challenge. For my roots to go deeper, my relaration from the Lord, the emotion has now become an alert. tionship with the Lord must go deeper. A greater anchoring It tells me a gap is at risk of forming and if I’m to change old requires a greater pursuit of the One who secures it. I must patterns and prevent unnecessary worry, a brisk move towards move, in other words, closer and closer to Him. This is Jesus speaking, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch canJesus is imperative. I need to seek His face without delay for a not bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither timely reminder of who I am in Him is warranted. can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the While I don’t yet heed these warnings with the kind of conbranches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that sistency I’d like, the frequency in which I do is on the rise. And bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” for that, I am thankful. ( John 15:4,5 ESV). May we abide in Christ and be deeply rooted in His soverWhile the Lord has graciously provided various means by eign goodness. n which to abide, the most powerful is prayer and for one simple reason. Its very purpose is to promote such intimacy. What Greg lives in Oakdale, Minn. with his wife, Sandi, and Scripture does for the mind, prayer does for the heart. The former triggers and cultivates wisdom and the latter affection. their two sons, Luke and Eli. He is a deacon in his local church and greatly enjoys serving in this capacity. Nothing grows my adoration for Jesus more than genuine

This tribute to our friend & colleague is a compilation of all his articles; Dan’s personal photos & art, even some that were never published. You’ll thoroughly enjoy this walk down memory lane.

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 43


LET us adore Him

Thinking of all He has done – and will do

By Bethany Riehl Our Bread of Life felt hunger. September 8, 2022 was a historical day. As you He who controls the ocean and causes rain to surely know, Queen Elizabeth II died after 70 fall from the sky and blankets the earth with dew years as queen. While I’m not one who follows felt thirst. the lives of the royals other than a documentary He walked, He slept, He healed, He taught, He here and there, it was nearly impossible not to comforted, He wept, He preached repentance. catch all of the activity surrounding this event in He was mocked, questioned, schemed against, the following days. It was truly touching to watch beaten...slaughtered. a country mourn their queen; it was clear she was Buried in a borrowed grave. beloved. He rose triumphantly, yes! But…no pomp. No As we don’t have royalty here, I was enthralled circumstance. At least not here. by the glimpses of the funeral that I caught: the Watching the Queen’s funeral procession compared with what I know of Jesus’ intentional life stately marches, the beautiful choir, the somof humility was jarring. ber ceremony, the streets lined with mourners “And being found in human form, he humshouting cheers in honor of the queen as the glass Bethany Riehl bled himself by becoming obedient to the point hearse carrying her body drove by. of death, even death on a cross.” The pomp and circumstance was incredible. My yearly anticipated Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions So why am I opening this article in what is essentially the holiare hitting different as I think on that this year. For me, He lived day issue of Christian Living Magazine with this? As I watched the funeral for this royal, I couldn’t help but think this way. I can’t be saved on my own; I needed His sacrifice and He gave it. of King Jesus and His birth, life, death, and resurrection. The He lived the life I could not live, died the death I deserved to Creator of the Universe became God in the flesh in a quiet and die, and rose again to give me new life. humble way. I owe Him everything. Every breath, every minute, every con“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ versation – all should be to bring Him glory, praise, and honor. Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not count How can I, small and insignificant, possibly give Jesus the glory equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself He deserves for such a sacrifice? by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of Lights, advent, carols, and gifts? men.” Utterly pathetic and insignificant in light of all He has done. It’s easy to forget that with all of our traditions – the music, And yet, even in this, He provides for us. the lights, the parties, and plays and food and merriment. While “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on the manger scene makes for a lovely display on a shelf or spread him the name that is above every name, so that at the name across a front lawn, the true moment wasn’t nearly so grand. of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and We read in Matthew and Luke the familiar story of Jesus’ birth and it has such a special glow about it – the angels telling of Jesus’ under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” birth to the shepherds, the majestic wise men coming with their The day is coming when the Humble Servant will reign as gifts, a new star; it all comes together for us in such a peaceful way Conquering King. Do you know Him? Do your loved ones know as we turn down the lights in church on Christmas Eve and pass Him? our candle flame one to another while singing “Silent Night.” As we transition into a season of Advent and our merry rememBut that’s just not a complete picture of how humble He really bering of all He has done, let us be sure that our family, friends, became on our behalf. and neighbors know this King Jesus and the great things He has The God of all creation became an embryo not able to be seen done. Come, let us adore Him and proclaim Him, knowing that by human eyes. The God who said, “Let there be light!” tucked Himself into the one day we will be witnesses as God Himself incites and provides for us to worship Him perfectly. n darkness of the womb. The God who formed marble, gold, diamonds, and silver was Note: All Scripture taken from Philippians 2:5-11. born to a poor mother in the dirt with a manger for a bed.

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 45


SET yourself free

Life’s baggage: put the heavy stuff down By Ashley Sears We finally landed! A long flight, hungry bellies and restless kids anxious to get to our destination. At the airport waiting for our transportation, I was noticing our sea of luggage we had. I think there were at least 15 bags. It was a long trip and there were seven of us, so it made sense, but imagine the sight we were, traipsing through the airport, out of the baggage claim, down the escalator, dragging my kids along with their arms full, juggling it all, telling them “just a few more steps… you got this.” I’m not sure who I was trying to convince – them or me. I know you are familiar with the situation. The balancing act of baggage. Now, I’m not talking about vacation travel, I’m referencing the stuff we deal with on a daily basis, hoping no one really notices. It’s the baggage we carry daily, convincing ourselves we need it, all the while our internal dialogue is saying, “Just a few more steps…you got this.” Who are you trying to convince? It wasn’t until a few years ago that I acknowledged all the baggage I was

carrying. I didn’t know what it meant to truly “put it down.” I thought that as long as I was managing it, I was fine…until I wasn’t. The pressure that was building from not dealing with my “junk” started showing up through physical ailments, anxiety attacks and lack of sleep. I was buying the lie that, “it wasn’t that bad,” so I marched on, bags in hand, suitcases stuffed full. Some prefer designer bags like Gucci, Prada or Michael Kors. Not me. I clung tightly to Pain, Betrayal and Resentment for years. I stuffed my feelings and locked them up. I juggled my baggage and covered my wounds so no one would see them. I got really good at pretending.

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troubles so that we can comfort others. So, I For me, the baggage started piling up when I was a kid. A third grader isn’t prepared for the decided I was going to let God use my pain type of questions Child Protective Services asks. and my past to help me comfort others and There were labels I had for each bag I carried: show them there is freedom in healing. God Divorce, Secrets, Assault and Addiction, just to is writing our stories even through the messy name a few. With each new issue, I added anbaggage we carry. other bag to my collection. I became proficient at My favorite story in the Bible is the story throwing it on my back and moving on because of Esther. Do you know what is so interestthere was no way I could let it all fall apart. ing about that story? It never mentions God Here’s the thing about baggage though, it gets – not even once. Yet, His fingerprints are really heavy. I had things I had been carrying for everywhere. God was so perfectly orchestratAshley Sears years and I wasn’t doing anything to deal with ing every detail of Esther’s story to set her up the burden it was creating. Until one day, after “for such a time as this.” a 25-year journey of carrying my hurt, I decided to drop it… If God can take an abandoned, fatherless concubine woman, ALL OF IT. who was set to be killed along with all of her people and make What I found through this journey is that everyone wears her queen of an entire nation by simply trusting Him with her a mask and has baggage they carry. Everyone has their own story, He can do it for you and me. God never intended for us junk they don’t want anyone to find out about. We keep the broken parts hidden away so no one sees the truth, or we learn to carry the weight of our own sin and baggage. That’s why to carry it so well we seem unaffected by the weight. The truth He sent Jesus, so you didn’t have to carry it anymore. He is the author of your story and He is writing something beautiis, it does affect us. It shows up in our health, in the breakdown of our relationships, it can cause fear and anxiety, it can ful for you. Why not make today the day you put down the baggage you hold so tightly? Trust that God has a plan and let lead us to addictions or unhealthy choices. It can, just simply, Him carry it for you. n make us tired from carrying it for so long. For me, I finally got so tired of pretending I was someone Ashley Sears is the founder of Stories Unveiled. Contact I wasn’t. Why should I act like my life was perfect when it wasn’t? 2 Corinthians 1:4 tells us that God comforts us in our her at storiesunveiled@outlook.com.

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Christian Living | November / December 2022 47


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For unto us

a Child is Born

and his name

Shall be called

Wonderful Counselor THE MIGHTY GOD

The everlasting father

THE PRINCE OF PEACE ISAIAH 9:6

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