Christian Living Magazine November December 2022

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Ginger “Mama” Passarelli has logged thousands of miles – and meals – ministering to first responders FREE November / December 2022 SUNRISE Manor New transitional housing THREADS In Faith Quilts with prayers SEASONS OF Life Enjoy the one you’re in MAMA Passarelli Soup & love for heroes
94 1t hev oice.com • 208. 377.3 790 • 790k spd.com Thanks for Listening! Ble ings... Count your Keeping Chris t in t he Center of your Holida ys

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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,

Rybarczyk,

Sheppard

Sears,

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.

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www.christianlivingmag.com Christian Living | November / December 2022 3
Contents November / December 2022 Volume 11, Number 6 Publisher Sandy Jones christianlivingmag@gmail.com 208-703-7860 Editor Gaye Bunderson editorgaye@gmail.com Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases General Info christianlivingmag@gmail.com 208-703-7860 Advertising & Sales Kimberly McMullen kim.bcliving@gmail.com 208-703-7509 • Katy Nelson
503-816-3042 Cover Photo Steve Jones Graphic Design Denice King www.greentreedkdesign.com 208-918-5190 Contributors Steve
Ed
Ashley
Paul
and Bradley Shotts Website Design SEO Idaho Distribution D&S Distribution • 208-985-6904 Need Prayer? Call Idaho Chaplains Association idahoca.org Talk to a Chaplain 208-968-1991 IN EACH EDITION “He that winneth souls is wise.” — Proverbs 11:30 Real Man’s Toolbox: Today’s ‘real men’20 History, Culture & Faith: The first Thanksgiving16 Destined For Victory: ‘To live is Christ’22 Wednesday’s Child: Meet Shawna21 Understanding Relationships: Nice or kind? 18 Biblically Responsible Investing: The sweet spot 26 Maximum Health: Reset your aging brain30 Your Daily Bread: A no-cost Christmas28 COLUMNS DEPARTMENTS Publisher’s Corner: Hearing from God 4 “I Get To!”®: Enjoy every season10 FEATURES 24 Christmas phrases: How they originated 6 Sonrise Manor: Newest BRM project 8 Biblical disciples: You can be like them 36 Rest in contentment: Have a grateful heart 40 Adore Him: For all He has done 44 God’s plan: Hard times can’t stop it 41 Life’s baggage: Put it down 46 Human touch: Oh, how we need it 34 A death, a return: The queen and the King 38 Transcend storms: Be deeply rooted 42 Hope of heaven: Be ready 32 COBS: Safe houses still needed 12 Threads in Faith: Quilts with prayers 14 Bible Blanks 33 Drive-Thru Food Drive slated for fifth year 7 3rd annual nativity exhibit set for Nov. 18-19 33 The Names of God 45 Cover Story Mama Passarelli: Feeding America’s heroes

Hearing from God today and every day

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 reflect ing on Jesus’ birth; the fact that He came for you and me.

I realize that Biblical scholars say that it’s un likely that Jesus was born in December. I per sonally 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 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/talk ing 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 im age of the right lane closed.

Now wait – say what?!

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 under standing 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

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 al ways 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 (Phil. 4:13). Asking myself once again, am I

4 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
PUBLISHER’S Corner
Who is in this week’s Join us each week as we take a deeper, more personal dive into people and ministries we’ve covered in Christian Living Magazine Saturdays at Noon MST on 94.1 FM The Voice Listen “live” at www.941thevoice.com or catch the replay under “Program Archives” ?

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 priori ties. 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

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Common Christmas phrases and their origins

Longtime readers of my column know I’m kind of a word junkie. Words have meanings, and therefore words are important. This is es pecially true when someone asks me about my preferred Bible translation, because I always say, “The original language.” The deep wealth of meaning in the Greek and Hebrew words open up Scripture in rich and powerful ways.

For the record, I’m definitely no expert in Greek. However, I like resources such as BlueLetterBible.org and The Complete Word Study New Testament combined with The Complete Word Study Dictionary (both by Spiros Zodhiates). These tools allow for a rich study of God’s Word. I should add that both of those books I just mentioned would make excellent Christmas gifts for anyone wishing to understand the Bible in more depth.

Those who tracked my nearly three-year study of love in this space know that I always look to the Greek to see what a word really means. There isn’t a single translation anywhere in any language that “gets it right” all the time, so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with digging into the original language when one wants to understand something clearly.

With that in mind, the Christmas season is nigh upon us, so I thought I’d take a fun excursion into the history of words and explore the origins and meanings of common words and phrases we hear this time of year.

Good Tidings. Tidings is thought of as a greeting by some, but it’s actually an 800-year-old word that means the “an nouncement of an event.” The word tiding is derived from the Old English word tidung, which meant “an event, an occur rence, or a piece of news.” Similarly, the Dutch word tijding means “message” and the German word Zeitung means “newspaper.”

In a Christmas context, “good tidings of great joy” echoes the announcement by the angel to the shepherds in the fields about the birth of Jesus: “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

Bah Humbug. Universally associated with the character Ebeneezer Scrooge from the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol,” the phrase “Bah Humbug” was known as an exclamation of curmudgeonly displeasure even 90 years before Dickens’s novel appeared in 1843. Dictionary.com tells us the phrase’s origin is unknown, but in its early uses (in the 1750’s), “a humbug was a ‘trick’ or a ‘hoax.’”

By the time the 1800’s rolled around, Humbug conferred a sense of deceit and a sense of nonsense, and nearly half a century later, when Dickens used it, was an exclamation of contempt or annoyance.

Today, Humbug conveys a message of anti-holiday cheer, and is most often associated with curmudgeons. The word “Bah” first started getting used in the early 1800’s, and has always been an expression of contempt, annoyance, or dismis siveness. It’s use probably stems from the Old French word, “ba,” which was an expression of scorn or dismay.

Merry Christmas. The word merry is derived from the Old English word myrge, which means “pleasing, agreeable,

pleasant, sweet, exciting feelings of enjoyment and gladness.” That’s pretty straightforward, especially when it’s joined with the word “Christmas.”

The word Christmas has kind of a two-stage history. It started as the Old English phrase Cristes maesse, which was constructed from the words for “Christ” and “mass,” just as we are often told. The phrase refers to the “Church festival observed annually in memory of the birth of Christ.” The phrase was used for centuries as two separate words and was not joined into one word until the mid-1300’s.

It should be noted that the early church did not celebrate Christmas. Celebrating someone’s birth was considered a pagan practice, and the church often acknowledged martyrs by the date of their death. Accordingly, early Christians were more concerned about the death of Christ and His resurrection.

It wasn’t until the third century that interest arose in when Jesus was born. It wasn’t until the fourth century that Pope Ju lius I arbitrarily assigned December 25 as the date of Christ’s birth.

As a side note, many claim the use of “Xmas” is a derogato ry or blasphemous substitute of the word Christmas, indicat ing that the “X” crosses out or “exes” out the word “Christ.” This is a false teaching. The use of Xmas comes from the Greek spelling of Christ, which is Χριστός (pronounced Khrīstos). The “X” in Greek – the letter chi – is an abbrevia tion for Christ, and the use of Xmas in Christian literature dates back at least to 1100 AD.

Noel. Many say that Noel is the French word for Christmas, and that’s pretty accurate. It’s actually an Old French word from the 14th century that means, “the Christmas season.” The Old French word noel is actually a derivative from the Latin word natalis, which was used in Latin masses to refer ence the birthday of Christ, which was taken from Old Latin gnasci, which meant “to be born.” Our modern English word nascent is also derived from that Old Latin meaning.

With that, may you turn more of your attention to the One who came from Heaven to earth and rest in Him. As Jesus predicted, we live now in a world where evil is considered good and good is considered evil. Deception is all around us. But Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and because of His birth, life, death, and resurrection, we can have eternal life with Him, simply by asking for it. It’s that easy.

Merry Christmas, everybody. n

Daniel Bobinski, Th.D., is an award-winning and bestselling author and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. Reach him at danielbobinski@protonmail.com or (208) 375-7606.

6 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
MERRY, tidings, noel
Daniel Bobinski

Drive-Thru Food Drive slated for fifth year

Meridian's Interfaith Community Leaders are hold ing 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 Merid ian (behind the Maverik station at Locust Grove and Overland roads).

The Drive-Thru Food Drive will accept non-perish able 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 dona tions through a window or an opened car trunk.

“We sincerely thank you for your continued generos ity and support,” Shannon Smurthwaite, co-organizer of the event, said, “and for making a difference each year in our community.”

For more information, email meridianfriendsoffaith@gmail.com. n

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Community volunteers help collect items during a previous year’s Drive-Thru Food Drive in Meridian. This year, the drive has been expanded to include more food pan tries and more items such as toys and blankets. (Courtesy photo)

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 be ing in a safe, secure place. Above is an open, communal recreation area with fireplace. (Photos provided by Boise Rescue Mission)

“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 ex plains. 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

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. Land lords’ 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 home less 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 con verted 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 Mis sion officials knew there would be a lot of renovation – a lot – that needed to be done before the doors could physically open.

8 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
SONRISE

So a capital fundraising campaign was launched to help raise $2 million for renovation, and almost $1.7 million to operate the fa cility 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 pro cess of getting all the proper paperwork, bids, appliances, furnish ings, and contractors and engineers (many who are donating their time) lined up so that the facility can open, Roscoe hopes, some time 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 trespass ing. 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 facil ity, which officials say will only require a small amount of future remodeling.

When completed, the facility will offer its guests sixty complete ly furnished studio, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apart ments, a commercial kitchen (which will serve daily hot break fasts 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.

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 hous ing 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 inde pendent 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 meet ings, 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 in dependent 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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While sitting on her Grandma Lucy’s lap, little five-year-old Sunny sweetly caressed and carefully examined her grandma’s wrinkled face and neck, then moved on to her crooked, bumpy fingers and thin-skinned hands. Then she looked very closely at her own hands and asked, “Grandma, God made you and He made me, right?”

“He sure did! He made everybody!” Grandma answered with a smile. Noticing the puzzled look on her granddaughter’s face, she asked, “Why do you ask?” Sunny sat and thought for a mo ment and then shrugged, “Ah nothin’, He just must be gettin’ better at it, is all.”

Every chapter and season of life has changes, challenges and celebrations. Aging has its own 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 offers the reminder that there is a time and season for every thing under heaven. (v2) A time to be born, a time to die; (4) A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a 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.

of your life

you’re seconds from a full-blown flasharoonie! Then I got a bright idea, so I start trying to speed-walk back to the produce department. It was so crowded I ditched the shopping cart by the men’s clothing so I could make my move. That’s when Mark called to tell me what else we needed. As I’m doing the dodge-ball-dance side to side, in and out of other shoppers, I’m narrating to my hubby, “I’m hurrying back to the cooler to flash!” Then, realizing what I had just said out loud, I decided NOT to look back to see who I might recognize. Sometimes it’s simply best not knowing!

In the various seasons of life, if not careful, we can look at other seasons in our own lives or even the lives of others and start to entertain envy without even knowing it. When we start down paths 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 out of us. Every. Single. Time.

A few years ago when I was blessed with the opportunity to begin The Change, as my grandmother’s generation called it, I overheard a gentleman (who should have read that Scripture about keeping silent) say, “It makes me feel uncomfortable when women talk about hot flashes.”

Now, if you could have seen the thought bubble above my are-you-kidding-me? facial expression, it would have said, “Oh you poor thing! You’re uncomfortable hearing about women’s hot flashes? Why don’t you swallow a barbecue, then be smoth ered with a wet wool army blanket…then we’ll chat about what uncomfortable feels like, okay brother?”

Since the word men-o-pause always sounded like something that happened to much older ladies, I decided to use words that sounded less old. For example, instead of hot flash, I could just 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 the raging inferno within, while running to stick our head in the freezer, please don’t draw more attention by asking the obvious!)

One Sunday after church, I was running into Costco for just a couple things – famous last words before spending $137, right? I walk through the door, Costco card in hand…and could immediately feel it coming. Ladies of a certain age know exactly what I mean…that feeling when you know it’s mounting and

Remember in your younger years, wishing for your next birthday? Maybe that started at 7 and you thought 8 would be great! Then 10 meant double digits, 13 is being a cool teenager, 15 is driver’s permit and more independence, then graduation and being on your own, married, children, then those same children are hurried through potty training and, before you know it, into driver’s training…and so it goes. If not living gratefully and in the present, we can easily wish our lives away, then look back, wondering where it went.

Alfred D’Souza shared, “For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to hap piness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”

Taking that even further, these obstacles are really opportu nities. Everything you and I get to do, in every season of life, is indeed because of the life, breath, gifts, talents and abilities God has blessed us with. We can choose to be gratefully pres ent for each and every part of it – even the challenging times. I know you’ll also love the perspective Kelcey Grimes, a young wife and mama of two, shared:

10 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
“I GET TO!”® Enjoy every season
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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.

(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 ex pressed 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 circumstanc es. 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 coach ing 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

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, hous ing, 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 op portunity.

“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, ongo ing 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 unedu cated and uninformed about human trafficking.”

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 Out reach Behavioral Services Ministry – its full name. COBS be came 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 re ally 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

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 traf ficking 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 capi talism. 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 organiza tion can do it alone. “It takes a whole community to make this work,” Barthelmess said. n

For more information, go to idahocobs.org.

12 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
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)
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THREADS in Faith

Rich Hopkins takes on late wife’s ministry

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-denomi national, 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.

Rich Hopkins, 81, took over his late wife’s quilt ministry aspirations follow ing 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)

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 spe cific 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 Ar lene 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 situ ation 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

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 dedi cated 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 per son 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 work load – it will be an added benefit.”

14 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com

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 bro chure they created for Threads in Faith – like to point out that, “It’s the prayers not the squares.” In other words, the bro chure 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.”

Threads in Faith is a local ministry that involves church es 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)

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-sustain ing. 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 motor cycle group, and Rich rides a Harley. The cycle group also serves as a fundrais er 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

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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History, Culture & Faith First Thankgiving: Pilgrims, Squanto, America

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 Taber nacles 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 separat ists or Puritans. They were English by nationality, but reli giously 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 Har bor, 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).

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 intro duced 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. Un fortunately, his freedom was short-lived. Tasquantum was kid napped later that year and taken to Spain as a slave. Thank fully, 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 win ter 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 be came 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 art ist 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

16 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com

community for three days of feasting and enter tainment. 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 mu tiny). 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 faith, and the honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Vir ginia,...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

Holy Scriptures. The Puritans desired to create a Christian civic community that respected reli gious freedom...an “idea” later infused within an American revolution and declaration of indepen dence.

Their leader, William Bradford, penned how the Puritans “shook off this yoke of antichris tian 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 gos pel, to walk in all His ways...whatever it should 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 MAN NA! inspirational and educational (M-F) email. Please visit: www.mannasolutions.org.

www.christianlivingmag.com Christian Living | November / December 2022 17
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Dr. Rick Chromey

Relationships

Making the transition from nice to kind

Mark Twain once said, “Kindness is the lan guage which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

I’ve always assumed that it’s best to be nice whenever possible. But when tough conversa tions take place in our marriage relationship and direct challenge is necessary, which is bet ter – nice or tough? Can we be both? Nice, by itself, doesn’t go far enough.

We need to move from nice to kind. Kind ness usually involves being nice but goes much further. Being kind involves a gentle strength that comes from a base of confidence. People who are kind care deeply for others and are willing to do what’s best for them in a way that values them.

Someone said that kind people say tough things in a nice way, while nice people never say anything tough. Nice people don’t help others get better because they’re focusing on how they’re perceived. Kind people help others get better because they’re not dependent on them for their own value.

Nice people tend to avoid conflict. If there’s conflict, people might not agree with them, which means they might be upset with them. They can’t risk that because their self-esteem is based on people liking them. So, they try not to express nega tive emotions, even if they’re feeling those emotions strongly.

Remember, your marriage relationship is not Algebra 1. You can’t multiply two negatives or a negative and a positive together and get a positive. It takes two emotionally healthy people to have an emotionally healthy relationship. Bottling up your emotions doesn’t make them go away; it pressurizes them, so they explode later. You can’t have a close marriage relationship or healthy conversations if you are just protecting your own image by not dealing with your emotions.

That’s another reason why daily check-ins and weekly rela tionship check-ups are so vitally important.

There are no marriages without issues. Conflict happens in the healthiest ones. When nice people find themselves in con flict, they tend to shift the focus away from themselves. They withdraw; they minimize the issue; they use humor to deflect negative feelings; they try to change the subject; they focus on the other person’s behavior to take the focus off themselves.

All these strategies keep genuine, healthy communication from taking place. These people are focused on being the nice person, protecting themselves instead of dealing with the real issue. They need to make the transition from niceness to kind ness.

Let me briefly compare niceness and kindness. As you reflect on these, where do you find yourself?

• Niceness alone comes from neediness. Kindness comes from confidence.

• Niceness alone feeds off being liked by others. Kindness simply cares about others no matter what they do.

• Niceness alone gives in to avoid conflict. Kindness sets boundaries when needed.

• Niceness alone operates from fear. Kindness operates from love and caring.

• Niceness alone is weak. Kindness is strong.

• Niceness alone is selfish. Kindness is self less.

• Niceness alone lies to make itself feel better. Kindness speaks the truth in love.

• Niceness alone focuses inward to be per ceived as nice. Kindness focuses outward.

• Niceness alone cares only about what oth ers think. Kindness just cares.

Being nice isn’t a bad thing unless it’s the only thing. When the goal of being nice is to treat our spouse, or others, with respect, it’s a good thing. When the goal is to manipulate them into seeing us a certain way, it’s a bad thing.

Someone said that kindness is a social lu bricant that greases the inner workings of any relationship. If you ask a mechanic the most important thing you can do to extend the life of your car, they will probably say to change the oil and lubricate it on a regular basis.

The same thing is true of marriages. It doesn’t matter if the marriage is three weeks old or thirty years old; it needs regular maintenance and lubrication. If we skip the lubrication, the gears begin to grind. Emotions and irritation become consis tent companions, tempers flare, and conversations become tense. That’s because we’ve taken the relationship for granted and ignored the routine maintenance. We’re so focused on is sues and feelings that we forget about kindness. Over time, we get irritated with the marriage – even to the point of consider ing trading it in for a new one.

Maybe it’s just time for a little kindness.

The issues are real. The emotions are real. The conflict is real. But the need for lubrication is real as well. If we ignore it, we short-circuit the connection process. Any movement in the relationship will produce friction, and the best way to deal with friction is with lubrication.

Kindness is not a cure-all for every relationship problem; it will not eliminate conflicts and solve all our problems. But it will make it possible to deal with those issues in a way that keeps the relationship stronger in the process. Kindness is a recurring reminder to the other person that we care about them. It gives the message that we’re committed to them, we value them, and we think they’re worth the effort to tackle tough issues together. It says, “This problem is big, but I think we’re bigger.” n

Gary Moore served as associate pastor at Cloverdale Church of God for 15 years. He does couples’ coaching and leads couples’ workshops and retreats called MUM’s the Word. He does a weekly radio program called Life Point Plus on KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. Monday mornings at 10 a.m. he does live relationship teaching called MUM Live on his Facebook page Mutual Understanding Method. He may be contacted at glmoore113@gmail.com.

18 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
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REAL Man’s Toolbox

Where are the ‘real men’ in this world?

As we come to the end of 2022 and near the beginning of 2023, there are many questions to ask about the world we are living in. We see turmoil in much of our world, and in our coun try. We see much abundance, and we see some glaring shortages in our world societies. As we look at the deficiencies in the civilized world we can ask a simple, but at the same time compli cated, question: where are the “real men”?

God gave us a set of instructions detailing how He designed a civilized world society to function: the Bible. As we examine the popula tions of the “civilized world,” we find one very consistent missing building block: biblical male leadership, particularly in the home. There is a great book that unpacks very effectively the foundation of society that needs to be repaired, strengthened, and hardened for the betterment of the civilized world.

This book is titled “Take It Back: Reclaiming Biblical Man hood for the Sake of Marriage, Family and Culture” and is written by Dr. Tim Clinton and Max Davis. This is a critical addition to any Real Man’s Toolbox. Many of the Scriptures in the column you are reading are referenced in this great book.

Many men who are leaders at different levels today did not have an example of biblical male leadership in their lives to guide them into manhood. In 1 Kings 2:2, we read David’s dying instructions to his son Solomon, “Be strong and show yourself a man.” These are instructions that we should follow today as well. Biblical male leaders, at every level of leadership, need to be seen, heard, followed, and looked up to as an indi vidual to emulate. We need to return to the days where young men looked up to faithful Christian men as heroes worthy of following and of mirroring. The purest leaders do not lead in a way that brings attention to themselves. They lead by example 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 ing; it is the gift of God.”

The Bible is a book of truths, directly from the God of Cre ation. Over much of man’s existence, these biblical truths have been followed by many leaders and have been sought after by mainstream members of society. However, in the last 50 to 60 years, these biblical truths have been, twisted, manipulated, and watered down by much of society, to the point where these biblical truths are being challenged, ignored, or outright not believed.

There was a shining light in October of 1997 when 600,000 to 1,000,000 or more men gathered in Washington, D.C. at Stand in the Gap, a sacred assembly of men. This was a gath ering, a movement of men, brought about by a ministry called Promise Keepers. Ezekiel 22:30 states, “I sought for a man 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 gathering of men. It was a very meaningful, challenging, emo tional, and foundational time. A huge gathering of men stood in the gap to shore up our weakened walls. However the spark that was lit in many men in 1997 never grew into a purifying fire that could cleanse society.

What we need is for that spark, or a new spark, to be rekin dled and magnified by consistent breaths of life. In Ephesians

4:31 we read, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” We as Christian men should be seeking to do what the men at Stand in the Gap did in 1997. We need to be able to concentrate on our commonalities and not our differences. We need men to be fa miliar with God’s Word; we need men to be in God’s Word continually. We need men who use God’s Word as the roadmap that they follow on their journey of life. We need men to share their biblical insights, experiences, and revelations with the other men, women, and children that God brings into their lives.

Men, none of us can be passive any longer. We need to heed the call of God, we need to stand up and be counted. We need to follow what is shared in Nehemiah 4:14, “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

We need men who will fight for what is right, honest and true. We need men who will care for their family’s spiritual, fi nancial, physical, relational, nutritional, and health needs. We need men who are more concerned about their family’s needs than their own.

As we look throughout history, we can see that the health of societies correlates directly with the health of individual fami lies within that society. Families without a strong male leader present have a high propensity of mediocrity, dysfunction, or complete failure. This is not something that should continue within family lines once present. A single dedicated, strong, faithful man of God can turn it around and redirect the trajec tory of an entire family’s contribution to society.

As God leads men, men need to lead those who God has entrusted to each man’s care and love. Men, we need to be present in our families, and we need to lead our families, as God leads the Church: with an abundance of love and grace! Men must be present to lead. Many great men who served in the military were valiantly leading their families while not being with them physically for a measure of time. These men were still very present within their families. God richly blesses a faithful father.

As Christian men are more present in their families, and are leading them in Christian love, children will look upon their fathers as their heroes instead of looking to imaginary superhe roes or sports figures without a Christ-based moral compass. Men of God, rise up and face the battle. The future of your children and grandchildren depends on it. n

Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married to his wife Norma for 50 years. The couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with Boise Rescue Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently serving at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is president and chief firearms instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at silverplate426@msn.com or (208) 340-5544.

20 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com

Shawna, 15, dreams of being a doctor

a ray

This sweet, lovable teen can be pretty shy upon first meeting new people, but she quickly comes out of her shell and is so much fun to spend time with.

Shawna has many interests that she hopes her new family shares. She loves riding bikes, swimming, skateboarding, amuse ment parks, playing the bass drum, drawing – and she will do her very best every time to beat you at a game of Uno.

Shawna also has a sporty side. She enjoys playing basketball and is a huge BSU Broncos fan. She tries her hardest in school and always strives to get good grades. She dreams of becoming a doctor one day so she can help people.

Shawna needs a family who is active and loves adventure. She is looking forward to traveling, spending family vacations to

gether, or just hanging out at home doing something fun. Shawna has a real affinity for younger kids, as well as pets, and loves to play with and care for them. Her Perma nency Team is searching for an adoptive or guardianship family who preferably resides in the Treasure Valley area.

Shawna’s positive attitude, exuberant personality and infectious laugh are sure to make her a wonderful addition to any family who is lucky enough to be chosen for her. If you can see yourself as Shawna’s Forever Family, inquire at www.idahowednesdayschild.org. n

For more information on the Idaho Wednesday’s Child Program, visit www.idahowednesdayschild.org, or contact Recruitment Coordinator Shawn White at swhite52@ewu.edu or cell 208-488-8989 if you have specific questions.

www.christianlivingmag.com Christian Living | November / December 2022 21 Famil y is why we do it all. Chelsea Stutzman, MBA Owner-Agent 600 S. Rivershore Lane Ste. 140 Eagle, Idaho 83616 Bus: 208-908-6500 Lic. ID 693162 chelsea@chelsinsures.com 1001390.1 State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Bloomington, IL We all feel the same commitment to care for our families. Helping you meet your insurance needs is part of my commitment to you. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.® CONTACT AN AGENT TODAY. Miyauchi Insurance Agency, Inc Garrett Miyauchi, President 2024 Blaine St Caldwell, ID 83605 Bus: 208-455-9717 statefar m.com® Call or Text: 208 880-5039 For the best place to find homes for sale, Or to sign up for automatic updates, go to… “For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” ~Psalms 100:5 16201 Idaho Center Blvd. Nampa, ID 83687 Realtor, GRI, APR, CRS Email: wi xy @sellidaho.co m The following information is provided by Wednesday’s Child, an organization that helps Idaho foster children find perma nent homes. Fifteen-year-old Shawna is truly
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DESTINED for Victory

To live is Christ: a statement for life

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 ev erybody 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 liv ing. 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 of ten 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 be ing 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. Every where 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

on some glad morning they longed to be at the Savior’s side. I was a fairly typical kid, though, not so enthusiastic about fly ing 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 forev ermore 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 hap pen.” 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

22 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com

remind you of what you don’t

They say, “Who are you to think you deserve to be forgiven? You’re the last person who deserves to go to heaven.”

know what? They are right. But thank fully, God’s favor ain’t fair. He gives us His favor, even when we don’t deserve it.

ain’t fair.

God’s grace and forgiveness makes no sense, but He gives it anyway. There is more than enough grace for those who ask. God’s com ings and goings, His fixing broken things, His reversing things, it all doesn’t make any sense.

From my human perspective, I look around sometimes and think I’m at the very back of the line. All these other people are getting served ahead of me, and it’s unlikely I’ll ever see the front of the line. Then, all of a sudden, God says, “About face!” He makes everybody turn around, and suddenly I’m first in line! And the people down at the other end are shaking their heads saying, “What just happened? How did he get to the front of the line?”

Favor ain’t fair.

God blesses those who decide to live for Christ. To the world, that makes no sense. God is good, because that’s His nature. He delights in blessing His people. He doesn’t have to run it by the committee to get someone’s permission. He just says it and it is done.

Maybe you aren’t feeling those blessings right now. Maybe you’re struggling under a heavy load of discouragement.

Live in Christ, and be encouraged. He is faithful, and He will never forsake you. All these troubles are a sign that God is right around the corner, preparing to pour His bless ings on you. He sees your uncertainties, and He’s not troubled in the least. He gives you the assurance and certainty that He hasn’t forgot ten you, that He loves you, and that He has a much better place to take you to. He gives you enough joy for each day. He prepares a place for you where there will be no more tears. There will be nothing to cry about in heaven, only glory and blessings and abundant provision.

Get right with God today, because He has great things in store for you, exceedingly abundantly above all that you can ask or think. n

This is an excerpt from the series “Keeping THE Main Thing the Main Thing” by Pastor Paul Sheppard. You can hear Pastor Paul’s radio show, “Destined for Victory,” weekday mornings at 9 a.m. MST on 94.1 FM or online at www.941thevoice.com. For more information, go to www. PastorPaul.net.

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Mama Passarelli ‘Soup lady’ ministers

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 chap lain – 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 impor tant 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; however, Passarelli needed a bigger, better pot to make it in. “A good pot is about $100,” she said. She asked Pastor Steve to help her buy a pot and he did. After that, she made not

24 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
Mama Passarelli, founder of The Soup Ladies, has had her share of highlights over the years, including standing on some of the highest steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. (Photo provided by Ginger Passarelli)

ministers 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 reputa tion 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 hus band nodded yes, and she was off.

It was to be her first experience serving food to first respond ers, and the out-of-the-blue immediacy of it required resil ience 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 with out 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.

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.”

www.christianlivingmag.com Christian Living | November / December 2022 25 COVER STORY
Continued on page 27
Ginger Passarelli, whose other names include “Mama” or “the soup lady,” has decorated her Glenns Ferry home with photos, certificates, and com mendations she has accrued in her more than 17 years of ministering to first responders. (Photo by Gaye Bunderson)

In tennis, there is something called the “sweet spot.” When you swing the racquet and the tennis ball hits that spot on your strings, it is rewarding! The sweet spot is in the center of the strings, and it is the place that produces the most power and control. Beginners often hit the ball on the outside parts of their strings, nearer the frame, which lessens their chance to hit a good shot. More experienced players learn how to hit the sweet spot on every shot, whether hitting a forehand, backhand, volley, serve, overhead, approach shot, and even a half-volley.

Each of us has a sweet spot for investing. Think of investing as involving four circles. The first circle is Moral/Ethical. We can avoid in vesting in companies that are involved in human traffick ing, slave labor, terrorism, and Christian persecution. Time Horizon is the second circle. Investing to buy a house in a few years has a different time horizon than investing to retire in a few decades. Shorter time frames often lead to more conservative invest ing, with a willingness to forsake potentially greater return for more confidence in the return.

The third circle is Risk Tolerance. This can be a tricky one to navigate as our eyes are often bigger than our stomach: we value returns over risk, but then are disappointed when the risk bites us. Several factors should deter mine our risk tolerance: our personality, stage in life, financial situation, time frame, and investing experience. Performance is the fourth circle. To be good stewards of what the Lord has blessed us with, we need to seek competitive returns (factoring in our time horizon and risk tolerance). The good news is that investing morally has historically offered competitive returns, so we don’t need to sacrifice our morals to be good stewards.

When these four circles intersect, that is our Investing Sweet Spot. That is when our investments align with who we are and what we want to accomplish. By leaving one or more circles out of our investment decisions, we invest on the periphery, sacrificing our potential for sweet investments.

But the application of sweet spots in our lives doesn’t end with tennis or investments. Con template these words from Proverbs 24:13-14: “Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Notice the progression of sweetness. Just as honey is sweet to our tastebuds, wisdom is sweet to our souls. And, if we find wisdom, our future is one of hope.

Where can we find wisdom? Wisdom is found in Jesus Christ, the sweet spot. In Jesus is “hid den all the treasures of wisdom and knowl edge” (Colossians 3:3). And, by the way, He is everywhere in Scripture. The Old Testament prophesies of His first coming, the Gospels share His life story, Acts describes His expanding influence, the New Testament epistles teach about Him, and the book of Revelation expects His second coming. Spend time learning more about Jesus in all of Scripture. Finally, let’s bring all the sweet spots togeth er: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). Play tennis in the name of the Lord? Invest in the name of the Lord? Let’s hit the sweet spot of life by bringing Jesus into every area of our lives. n

Doug Hanson is an investment advisor with Christian Wealth Management in Boise, provid ing biblically responsible investment advice to Christians. For more information, visit investforth egloryofgod.com or contact him at doug@christian wm.com or (208) 697-3699.

Investment advisory services provided by Creative Fi nancial Designs, Inc. Securities are offered through CFD Investments, Inc., Member FINRA & SIPC, 2704 South Goyer Road, Kokomo, IN 46902, 795-453-9600. Chris tian Wealth Management, LLC is not affiliated with CFD Investments, Inc. or Creative Financial Designs, Inc.

26 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
BIBLICALLY Responsible Investing ‘The sweet spot’ in investments and life 1327 W Beacon St. • Boise • 208-384-9504 www .pathpr eg .o rg No one wa lk s al on e. ChristianLivingmag.com If you have found this or another ar ticle valuable, please consider helping us bring stories like this to our community by suppor ting Christian Living Magazine, a 501(c)3 ministr y, at Moral/ Ethical Investing Sweet Spot Risk Tolerance Performance Time Horizon
Doug Hanson

Mama Passarelli

Everyone involved in The Soup Ladies is highly trained. They bring their own

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 Emer gency 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.

www.christianlivingmag.com Christian Living | November / December 2022 27 We Are HERE to HELP SPECIALTIES: 208-466-0030 • SkaugL aw.com Se Habl a Español • Workers Compensation • Car accidents We have over 120 years of collective legal experience winning injury cases for Idahoans Discover what obstac les, self-limiting b ehaviors & false belief s are holding you back ! M H C  . “Helping People Do Hard ings Well ” Take control of YO UR life: • Life Pur pose • Personal Development • Tr ansfor mation • Motivation • Inspiration • Relationship • Entrepreneurship Call today for your free discovery session! 128 South Eagle Road Eagle, ID 805-556-5844 www.unlockyourdestiny.com
culinary skills
Continued from page 25

YOUR Daily Bread

A no-cost Christmas? Try it this year

• 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 min iature 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 Christmas gift to find that min iature Space Needle.

My most memorable gifts were not the expensive ones, but the simple gifts that were expressions of love. Consider giv ing 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 Christ mas 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.

Christmas is a magical time of the year as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We love to decorate our homes to cre ate 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 Christ mas 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 ex ample, 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.

• 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 grati tude for the ultimate gift that God gave us: His Son. The mea sure 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 fi nancial advisory services to small businesses. He also coun sels 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.

28 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
Terry Frisk Photo by Gustavo Fring, Pexels

Health

Ways you can reset your aging brain

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 mi raculous, 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 neuroplas ticity

In this article, we’ll review different activities that will stimulate your brain and form new nerve pathways, as well as strengthen ex isting 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 unfamil iar 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 nor mal 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 exer cise 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

• 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 cog nitive 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 hippo campus, the areas of the brain in control of learning and memory.

The parasympathetic activity by the vagus nerve, when stimu lated 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 develop ment, 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 respon sible for plasticity and cognitive ability and neuronal differentia tion. 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

30 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
MAXIMUM

deprivation leads to depressed mood so it seems to help stabilize mood swings.

ders

lack

B6,

B9,

folic acid which are responsible for the breakdown of homocysteine, a substance that accumulates in the brain of people suffering from Alzheimer disease and dementia.

B12

Vitamin D is one of the main regulators of calcium homeostasis. If vitamin D levels are low, it leads to reduction of the buffering of accumulated calcium in the brain, which has been linked to de pression as well as the buildup of amyloid peptide related to dementia.

Zinc is one of the most important metals in the brain necessary for nucleic acid formation and brain tubules growth. If its levels are low, it leads to learning and memory deficits and progression of some neurodegenerative disorders.

Iodine, the main element used for thyroid hormone formation, plays a great role in brain development and neuronal oxygen ation in fetal life. Iodine deficiency can lead to irreversible mental retardation, in a syndrome known as “cretinism,” one of the most prevalent and preventable causes of mental impairment in the world.

Choline, the main source for the production of acetylcholine, is the most important neurotransmitter in the body. Low concentra tions of choline can lead to neuromuscular problems and neural tube irregularities in children and dementia thereafter. It is very easy to obtain choline from the diet to improve brain health and banish brain fog, as choline supplements activate the biosynthesis of structural phospholipids in the brain and increase dopamine levels.

Another essential mineral that is very beneficial for brain health is selenium. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps relieve some of the oxidative stress on the brain, which is responsible for the onset and progression of many neurological diseases like Parkin son disease and multiple sclerosis. It was also found that selenium

Amino acids and brain health – Neuronal signaling is done through neurotransmitters at synapses between axons and dendrites. Many of these neurotransmitters like glutamate, GABA, dopamine, catecholamines, monoamines, and purines like adenine are influenced by food and are the target for treating many neuropsychiatric disorders.

The amino acid tryptophan is converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin, whose lack  increases pain sensitivity and development of bad behaviors such as increased aggression and anxiety, so its supplementation in the diet is beneficial in treating depression and improving mood.

The amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine, the precursors to dopamine and norepinephrine, are responsible for enhancing cognitive performances, especially during stressful situations, mak ing you more alert, attentive and focused.

Antioxidants and brain health – Turmeric with its main active ingredient curcumin is also a very powerful antioxidant and a strong anti-inflammatory. It increases brain levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), whose deficiency has been linked to depression and Alzheimer’s disease. It also helps clear the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain, so it delays the degenera tive process that occurs in dementia.

Flavonoids have neuroprotective properties by saving the neu rons against the injuries promoted by neurotoxins and inhibiting neuronal cells apoptosis, along with suppressing neuro-inflam mation and promoting memory, learning and cognitive func tions. They also induce beneficial effects on the cerebrovascular system by promoting angiogenesis and subsequently new nerve cell growth. n

If you have questions or need more information, text Rosie Main at (208) 859-6170 or email her at rjmaindc@yahoo.com.

www.christianlivingmag.com Christian Living | November / December 2022 31 JOIN US Tuesdays at 7:00 am Wild West Bakery and Espresso 83 E. State St., Eagle Questions call: (208) 841-7899 & Thursdays at Noon Original Pancake House 5900 W Fairview Ave., Boise Questions call: (208) 859-6038 Fellowship of Christian Businessmen RANDY FUNK HOME INSPECTION S •BOISE’S EXPERT HOME INSPECTOR ON 670 KBOI •RADON, WATER, LEAD & METH TESTING •FHA/HUD/203K CERTIFIED •THOUSANDS OF INSPECTIONS PERFORMED •CE CLASS INSTRUCTOR •FOUNDER IDAHO ASSOC. OF HOME INSPECTORS •IDAHO CERTIFIED EXPERT INSPECTOR© •VETERAN OWNED/DISCOUNTS WT BOISE SAME DAY / NEXT DAY SERVICE www.HomeInspectorBoise.com Infrared Thermal Imaging ($125 Value) FREE FREE with Full Inspection 208- 914-5793 WE’RE HIRING! mins and trace elements are of essential impor tance to brain development. Some mental disor
have been linked to
of sufficient amounts of vitamins like vitamin
vitamin
vitamin
and
Rosie Main

THE HOPE of heaven Be ready, Jesus is coming back again

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 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 be liever, 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 experienc ing 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 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

Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching cer tificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is cur rently on staff at Rockharbor Church.

32 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
Roxanne Drury

3rd annual nativity exhibit set for Nov. 18-19

third annual Boise South Five Mile Nativity Exhibit

take place

and

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 Novem ber 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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Fill in each answer, one letter per square. Then ar range t he letters in t he highlighted squares to reveal t he name of 1. These were on t he valley floor 2. Script ure reminds us “T he prayer of a righteous person is powerful and ___.” 4. T he shor test ver se in t he Bible 3. In t he NI V, t he aut hor of Hebrews wrote, “By faith (t his man), when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inher it ance, obeyed and went, even t hough he did not know where he wa s going.” T HE M AN W HO GAVE AWAY A LOT And t he name of T HE M AN W HO GAVE AWAY A LOT is : ANSWERS:1.YDRSBONE(Ezekiel37:1,2)2.EFFECTIVE(James5:16) 3.ABRAHAM(Hebrews1:18)4.JESUSWEPT(John1:35)1 TheMANWHOVEGAAYAWALOT:isESAU(Genesis25:29-34) . The
will
Friday
Saturday,

“My ear is itching,” said a 10-year-old boy, the lone survivor of a two-car accident that claimed the lives of four people. He had been given attention by first responders, who then prepared him to endure traveling to the nearest hospital – a two-hour drive by ambulance.

This is the story, as told by a paramedic veteran, of how a simple act of touching a young boy changed his life and perspectives about his career.

He was just beginning his career when they were alerted of a horrible accident during one of those deep winters of Alaska that oc curred about two hours’ drive from Anchor age. But his station was about a 45-minute drive from the site of the accident. “The accident was as it was advertised,” he says with a breaking voice. There were three fatalities from the initial impact and two critically injured passengers. One of the two injured passengers died shortly thereafter.

With the lone survivor stabilized for the long drive, the young paramedic kept monitoring him. About 20 minutes after they left the site of the accident, he heard the boy say, “My ear is itching.” The paramedic scratched it. A few minutes later, the boy said the top of his head was itching. That was followed by a scratch. Then the boy mentioned other parts that needed scratching, after which he received the same attention each time.

After a while, the young paramedic moved closer to the boy’s body and touched his hand. He held the boy’s hand until they arrived at the hospital. There was no more need of scratching here and there. The boy never said there was any other part of his body that needed scratching from the moment that touch started.

Today, the young paramedic is a deputy director of paramedics and testifies that this touch was a turning point in his life. The boy recovered well, but the paramedic feels like he was the one who benefited the most. He learned that while there is no substitute for professionalism, human touch is also critical.

I recalled a profound insight that Dr. Mark Smith, a dentist and friend of mine, shared with me as I prepared to

deliver a keynote speech at the Idaho State Dental Association’s annual convention. When a company or organization invites me to speak, I usually interview individuals in the industry in order to learn and develop a customized presentation.

Dr. Smith, referring to all dentists, said, “We must remember the teeth we work on are attached to people.”

The paramedic deputy director said that we can’t get all tied up with professional tech niques and forget that we are helping our fel low human beings. Regardless of what we do, there is a fellow human being in need of our touch. For years, I have been raising funds to help poor orphans and other vulnerable children in Kenya with high school tuition, through Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope, a 501(c)3 organization that I founded. I felt that paying tuition and keeping children in school was enough.

However, in January of 2013, I went to Kenya and met the students we sponsor. I listened to a girl tell how she misses school for some days each month because she lacks personal hygiene supplies. I saw the uninhabitable struc tures they call their houses and the sticks that were held together by strings that they used as their beds.

That marked a turning point in my understanding of how helping others requires listening to their needs. It is easy to think we know what is most important for others. But it is only when we open our minds, eyes and ears that we fully understand the scope of what is required beyond our first impressions. All that little boy needed was to be touched, as we all do. n

© Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku, motivational speaker and author of “Overcoming Buffaloes at Work & in Life,” is the founder and executive director of Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope, a non-profit organization that

for poor orphans and other children from poverty-stricken families in Kenya. Con tact him at vincent@kituku.com or (208) 376-8724.

34 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com
raises tuition and fees
PARAMEDIC’S lesson We all need a human touch sometimes
Vincent Kituku
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Caring Hear ts and Hands of Hope TRANSFORMING LIVES2011 2017 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. W hen you contribute to Caring Hear ts & Hands of Hope • Orphans & Vulnerable Children’s’ lives are transformed • They are saved from child labor, forced marriage, drugs, abuse or life of crime • Provide education, nutritious food & safe living conditions EDUCATION IS THEIR LIFELINE! 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 For more infor mation or to donate visit www.caringhear tsandhandsofhope.or g or call (208) 376-8724 CHHH oper ates separ ate two separ ate Christian boar ding schools for boys & gir ls in Machakos, Kenya. 501-C3 Non-ProfitWould you please consider helping us to tr ansform mor e young peoples’ lives?

Everyone can be a Bible-like disciple

amazing! They were around the action all the time and truly made a differ ence. They were like superheroes,

huge obstacles and helping many people. Not ordinary. Extraordinary.

I thought. Each time Satan caused trouble, God came through and delivered these “disciples” in spectacular ways, whatever was needed. Something made these people very special. They were winners! In life! Gee, I wondered, it would be really cool to meet some of them in the future, someday, maybe when we’re all in heaven together, I guess. Maybe just shake their hands and get to talk for a few minutes. Legendary. Epic. That’s as close as I will get to a disciple, I thought...

today? Can anyone in our generation ever rise up to that level of greatness?

Well, the heroic stuff is true. Disciples hear and understand the Word of God and take action on it. They don’t give up. When they get knocked down, they get back up with God’s help. They speak up instead of doing nothing. They hold onto the Word they learn. Their enthusiasm for the Truth doesn’t run out. They don’t allow the cares and distractions of the world to steal the Word from their hearts. That’s all great, but it seems like more unbe lievable hero stuff, above my ability. But wait, there’s more.

What did disciples in the Bible do? For example...they asked questions and were given detailed spiritual insight (Mat thew 13:10-11). They ultimately followed Jesus (Mark 6:1). They were reliable and could be entrusted with responsibility (Luke 19:29-35). They believed (John 2:11). They were the ones first called Christians (Acts 11:26). They had joy (Acts 13:52). They had power and even raised someone from the dead (Acts 14:20). They were strengthened by spending time with genuine ministers (Acts 18:23).

Are there disciples in the world today? After a while, in my journey of admiring the “disciples” in the Bible, something new came to my attention that blew my mind. I learned that there are actual disciples alive in the world...TODAY. What? Are you serious, I asked? Incredible! Tell me about them! How is that possible? Aren’t disciples too amazing to be in the world

Grateful

Something else I learned about disciples that makes them human, just like the rest of us, is this: they are not perfect. Sometimes they make mistakes, sin and need forgiveness. Just like you and me. Sometimes they’re afraid (Matthew 14:26). Sometimes they forget (Mark 8:14). Sometimes they’re not strong enough to overcome evil (Luke 9:40). Sometimes it takes time to under stand things (John 12:16).

Can a person become a disciple? So, after looking up to disciples in the Bible, and then learning there are disciples in the world today, I eventually met some of them. Then another really crazy thing happened. Some real life disciples told me that I too could become a disciple. Whaaaaat???? No way! Yes, it’s true and Scripture proves it. I could choose to be a committed follower of Jesus like them. It’s simply a choice. A decision. Yes, choose to be a disciple. Follow Jesus by following God’s Word. Sign me up!

Can I be a disciple at work? Yes indeed. As adults in the workplace, we often spend up to 40 hours or more per week at a job. This is one great place to shine as a light. We don’t only wear our heroic disciple outfits when we are at home or with

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to Serve You Merry Christmas
Who do you look up to? When I was younger and first started reading the Bible, I was in awe of “disciples.” While reading the stories about them in the Scripture, I became inspired. Simply
overcoming
Wow,
GREAT news

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” (Colos sians 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 mak ing 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.

Not special. Mediocre. Not passionate about anything other than their own health and prosperity, wanting pleasure, conve nience, 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 per fect, 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 Entrepre neur” 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.

www.christianlivingmag.com Christian Living | November / December 2022 37

queen, return of the King

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 classi cal 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 Wind sor 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 wit nessed! 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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to how millions of Brits halted their lives for a few days of grieving for Queen Elizabeth, Jesus’ final in-time-and-space ap pearance will stop everything cold. Conversa tions. Betrayals. The abuse of the poor. Sexual slavery. Political propaganda. All stopped cold. Christ will become King. The Nazarene will rule the planet.

The Queen’s death? Sober. Solemn. Majestic. Moving. But Jesus’ return will be both horrify ing in its depth and the final joyous vindication of God’s ownership of the Cosmos.

friends, the totality of history is moving toward that Parousia, that bodily presence. History is not headed No-where. History does not repeat itself. History is not autonomous, not self-directed. History is not the sock-puppet of the oligarchy, no matter how they drool to control history. History is not that which totalizes. No. History is not the sin gularity. Jesus Christ is. “I tell you that before Abraham was, I am,” John 8:58.

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 American. Was taught, from as long as I can remember, that we’re all equal. And I was taught in Church that in the body of Christ status is no longer relevant; that God is no respecter 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.

Elizabeth was a beautiful Christian. During a Christmas speech she gave in 2000 she said, “For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.”

In the age to come I hope to meet Elizabeth. She loved her Anglican faith. She believed the prayers of the faithful British Christians sustained her life. She meant to do right by her nation. The queen variously confessed Christ as her Lord and Savior, taught her children and grandchildren about the Christian faith, and in every way she wanted to convey a holy lifestyle. Her funerary festivities, ceremonies that she herself helped to write, were replete with Christian hymnody. Even at the very end she wanted people to know she had lived – and died – for Christ.

God save the Queen! I know He did. And – one holy day –when He walks into Jerusalem, may King Jesus save us all! n

Ed Rybarczyk, Ph.D., is both an ordained minister and a retired History of Theology professor.

He now produces and hosts the Uncensored Unprofessor podcast @uncensoredunprofessor.com. He can be reached at uncensoredunprofessor@gmail.com.

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ABOUT giving thanks

A grateful heart rests in contentment

Christmas remains the favorite holiday of most people, but Thanksgiving is my personal favorite – for many reasons. Sure, a lot of those reasons revolve around food. I’m a foodie at heart, and Thanksgiving is an epicurean de light. But it’s also my personal favorite because it doesn’t demand anything except appreciation for all we have been given; and that has a way of giving us even more.

Gratefulness isn’t visionary. It dwells in the present; it accepts what is instead of longing for what could be. Expectations, a “to do” list, future goals – none of these are on the agenda of a grateful heart. It accepts today, exactly as it is, in our present circumstance; it rests in contentment. It may remind us how blessed we are to do laundry in the comfort and convenience of our own homes, instead of lugging piles of dirty clothes to the laundro mat. But it may just as easily remind us how blessed we are to do laundry in a laundromat, instead of pounding dirty gar ments on the rocks of a river bank.

our eyes to the abundance of good things that are in our lives – the ordinary and sublime: the hug of a spouse; the smile of a grandchild; the embrace of a friend; the way sunbeams dance upon the walls.

The good news is, once we begin to look for things for which to be thankful, they come to us in waves; and, as time carries on, they grow and change as we do (thankful we can walk one minute; thankful we can use a cane, the next).

In that, there’s no time like the present to change our perspective – to practice a life of gratitude:

• Keep a journal. Record your blessings and record your disappointments, as well. When you’re discouraged, reading about past hardships are sure to encourage you – for you will see how far God has brought you. If He’s done it once, surely He can do it again.

Unfortunately, too many of us have begun to focus on the negativity. It’s understandable, to a certain degree. After all, unwelcome change has been prevalent in the last few years. Studies on human behavior since Covid-19 show that gratefulness helps us accept and survive change in a healthy manner. It’s a matter of perspec tive, those who homebound, the blessing in having more time for themselves, emerged at the end of the quarantine in better health than when it began.

Be aware that gratefulness cannot dwell in a heart filled with bitterness. Like internal smog, bitterness obscures our spiritual sight. It keeps us from enjoying what God has given us. As long as we allow bitterness to dwell within, we can never be grateful for such things as the laundromat because we feel we deserve the washer/dryer in our home. We’ll assure ourselves we’ve been cheated. Instead of counting our blessings, we’ll begin to list all the ways life has shortchanged us.

However, when we pray Psalm 51:10, a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me,” we allow the Holy Spirit to wash the windows of our heart. We bring awareness of God’s presence and the understanding of all that He, the King of Kings, has bestowed upon us. That’s when we begin to see all God has done to bless us; that’s when we begin to relax in His provision with a heart of thanksgiving. And thanking Him for His presence while going through tough times is what carries us through the troubles.

Like everything, being grateful is a choice we make ev ery day. Think of it as an emotional vitamin – once a day for continual health. It requires us to continually open

• Make it a point to tell someone why you are thankful they’re in your life every day. It doesn’t have to be a differ ent person every day; each day, telling your spouse or your child another reason why you are thankful is affirming.

• Be aware of your surroundings. Take the time to appreciate the beautiful world God has created for us. Take a walk and concentrate on the foliage, the flowers in your neighbor’s yard, the way the sky paints Bronco blue and orange at sunset. We just have to enlarge our perspective.

Thanksgiving holiday reminds us, a grateful heart is the best emotional vitamin. It has the power to relieve stress and improve physical and mental health. It draws us closer to God; allows us to enjoy all bless ings (not just the biggies); it gives us peace; it makes the continual adjustments we inevita bly face a little easier to handle.

In other words, as we head into a season filled with gifts and adornments, the Thanks giving holiday reminds us, thankfulness – a grateful heart – is a gift that keeps on giving.

Janice Hildreth is an Idaho native, retired pastor’s wife, and author. She is the author of two Q&A books and the first four books of a seven-part inspirational romance series set in the Pacific Northwest. You can purchase her books on Amazon. She has ministered to pastors’ wives for over two decades with her blog PastorsWife.com. She retired from the Idaho Statesman after 20 years. She and her husband live in Emmett, Idaho and enjoy every minute they get to spend with family, especially

40 November / December 2022 | Christian Living www.christianlivingmag.com

Oftentimes we lose sight of God’s plan for our lives when we are in the midst of hard times. Within us –while we are facing one hit after another – we often get discouraged and feel as though our lives are on hold as we face uncertainty. Is this actually true though?

Do you know that when you were born it was not just by chance? God actually predestined your birth and knew even before He created the world that you were going to be born and when. He not only knew when you would be born, He also developed a divine plan for your life. You do play an important role in this divine plan. We can freely choose to seek God and follow His plan or we can ignore any relationship with God at all and forego any plan He has designed; the latter, I do not recom mend.

Satan loves to plant obstacles along our path to throw us off course. He actually does this very well; in fact, he is the master of disguise and deceit. Satan works tirelessly to interrupt our lives, to discourage us, to create aggravations to try and make us focus our attention away from God, because he knows how vitally important God’s plan is to each of our lives.

The Bible gives us a great example of this in the story of Joseph found in Genesis. Joseph was the 11th of 12 sons. He was the favorite to his father, Jacob, and his brothers became very jealous of him. So much so that they took Joseph and threw him into a deep pit. They ended up selling him for 20 pieces of silver and he was taken far away to Egypt.

This began a very treacherous time for Joseph, where he was falsely accused of rape and thrown into prison. We can only imagine how Joseph must have felt. He went from being very comfortable in wealth, living under the protection of his father, to losing everything and being forgotten in prison. But Joseph never lost his faith in God; in spite of all the unjust 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 all the things that had gone wrong in Joseph’s life to fulfill a miraculous outcome for him.

God had given Joseph the gift of dream interpretation. King Pharaoh had a dream and no one could interpret the dream. Then someone remem bered Joseph, sitting in prison, who had the ability to interpret dreams. The king sent for Joseph, and under God’s divine direction, Joseph prop erly interpreted King Pharaoh’s dream. The king was so impressed with Joseph that he appointed him as Vizier of Egypt, the second most powerful

man in all the land next to Pharaoh. God always rewards the faithful and brings promotion to those who follow Him and love Him.

Great famine came across the land and everyone had to travel long distances to Egypt for food. Everyone appeared before Joseph, and it was not long before his brothers, who had sold him, were standing before him too. The position Joseph held gave him tremendous power and with one wave of his hand, he could have had all of his brothers executed. If this had happened in your life, how would you have handled this situation? Many would probably have taken the opportunity to seek justice and use their power for revenge. Joseph decided to extend forgiveness to his brothers and he embraced them.

The story of Joseph is powerful and it teaches us many things. It teaches us that as long as we keep our eyes on God, no matter what is going on around us, God is always faithful. It teaches us that God can take wrongs in our lives and use them to create something beautiful; we just have to trust Him in the process. The story of Joseph also teaches us the importance of forgiveness. Just as Christ has forgiven us, we should also be willing to forgive those who have wronged us.

Even though things may not be going exactly the way you want them to in your life, God’s plan is still there for you. Never give up on God because God will never give up on you. Just like God completely restored Joseph, He can do the same in your life.

Let’s pray: Father, we all make mistakes; we stumble and fall. People do us wrong in our lives. There seems to always be hardships that we have to face and endure. Thank You, Lord, that even though we face difficult times, Your plan for our lives still remains. You are the constant that we can always rely on. Give each of us the strength and wisdom we need to reach the finish line You have divinely ordained for us to reach. Amen. n

Bradley Shotts began his ministry working in the funeral industry in 1988 at Lloyd James Funeral Home in Tyler, Texas. He currently serves as the general manager of Forest Ridge Funeral Home Memorial Park Chapel in North Richland Hills, Texas. He and his wife, Amy, live in Bedford, Texas. They have two adult children, Blaine and Braylee. Bradley is a member of Rotary International and serves on the board at Shepherd Heart Ministries in Tyler. He is an ordained minister.

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GOD’S plan Hard times can’t block His way for you Gi on a l & Cloverdale Event Center Our F amily Serving Your F amily Dave Salove Managing Partner Jacob Garn Funeral Home Manager Tim T. Gibson Consultant Bob Ross Sr. Funeral Director (208) 375-2212 www.cloverdalefuneralhome.com wecare@cloverdalefuneralhome.com
Bradley Shotts

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 dyna mite, 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 relin quished their grip and were unearthed.

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After a brief celebratory dance, I spent a few minutes examining the bottom of each bush and discovered that their root systems were even more extensive than I had initially thought. No wonder it took the torque of a 6,000-pound vehicle to get the job done. Short of that, the yews weren’t going anywhere. They were anchored and prepared to weather any storm.

I wish I could say the same. I’ve contemplated often the depth of peace associated with being so deeply rooted in Jesus’ omnipotent glory that perfect steadfastness is exhibited. As beautiful as that would be, it’s naïve to think that on this side of Glory – where brokenness is pervasive, particularly my own – a complete anchoring is possible. But on the flip side, it’s foolish to think that on this side of Glory a greater ma turity, one where such fastening progresses well past what I have historically experienced, isn’t possible. I know it’s feasible because I’ve begun to enjoy some of that very blessing. And I want more, and Jesus wants me to want more.

Here’s the challenge. For my roots to go deeper, my rela tionship with the Lord must go deeper. A greater anchoring requires a greater pursuit of the One who secures it. I must move, in other words, closer and closer to Him. This is Jesus speaking, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch can not bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4,5 ESV).

While the Lord has graciously provided various means by which to abide, the most powerful is prayer and for one simple reason. Its very purpose is to promote such intimacy. What Scripture does for the mind, prayer does for the heart. The former triggers and cultivates wisdom and the latter affection. Nothing grows my adoration for Jesus more than genuine

communion with Him. As I make myself vulnerable and pour out my soul, He pours out His grace and mercy. This display of His sweet tenderness is what drives me closer to Him.

Prayer, in other words, allows me to feel what I already know intellectually to be true. It provides the venue from which to encounter more acutely the Jesus of the Bible in all of His glorious manifestations, especially His care. This beautiful union of mind and heart is what produces the abun dance of fruit John describes above. Chief amongst the harvest is a Christ-enabled hope, the type that empowers me to not only face the storms of life but transcend them.

There’s an additional blessing of abiding in Jesus. The more I do the more aware I become of when I don’t. Unlike in the past where the first signs of anxiousness would almost assur edly lead to a downward spiral of fear, and thus greater sepa ration from the Lord, the emotion has now become an alert. It tells me a gap is at risk of forming and if I’m to change old patterns and prevent unnecessary worry, a brisk move towards Jesus is imperative. I need to seek His face without delay for a timely reminder of who I am in Him is warranted.

While I don’t yet heed these warnings with the kind of con sistency I’d like, the frequency in which I do is on the rise. And for that, I am thankful.

May we abide in Christ and be deeply rooted in His sover eign goodness. n

Greg lives in Oakdale, Minn. with his wife, Sandi, and their two sons, Luke and Eli. He is a deacon in his local church and greatly enjoys serving in this capacity.

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LET us adore Him

Thinking of all He has done – and will do

September 8, 2022 was a historical day. As you surely know, Queen Elizabeth II died after 70 years as queen. While I’m not one who follows the lives of the royals other than a documentary here and there, it was nearly impossible not to catch all of the activity surrounding this event in the following days. It was truly touching to watch a country mourn their queen; it was clear she was beloved.

As we don’t have royalty here, I was enthralled by the glimpses of the funeral that I caught: the stately marches, the beautiful choir, the som ber ceremony, the streets lined with mourners shouting cheers in honor of the queen as the glass hearse carrying her body drove by.

The pomp and circumstance was incredible.

So why am I opening this article in what is essentially the holi day issue of Christian Living Magazine with this?

As I watched the funeral for this royal, I couldn’t help but think of King Jesus and His birth, life, death, and resurrection. The Creator of the Universe became God in the flesh in a quiet and humble way.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

It’s easy to forget that with all of our traditions – the music, the lights, the parties, and plays and food and merriment. While the manger scene makes for a lovely display on a shelf or spread across a front lawn, the true moment wasn’t nearly so grand.

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’ birth to the shepherds, the majestic wise men coming with their gifts, a new star; it all comes together for us in such a peaceful way as we turn down the lights in church on Christmas Eve and pass our candle flame one to another while singing “Silent Night.”

But that’s just not a complete picture of how humble He really became on our behalf.

The God of all creation became an embryo not able to be seen by human eyes.

The God who said, “Let there be light!” tucked Himself into the darkness of the womb.

The God who formed marble, gold, diamonds, and silver was born to a poor mother in the dirt with a manger for a bed.

Our Bread of Life felt hunger.

He who controls the ocean and causes rain to fall from the sky and blankets the earth with dew felt thirst.

He walked, He slept, He healed, He taught, He comforted, He wept, He preached repentance. He was mocked, questioned, schemed against, beaten...slaughtered.

Buried in a borrowed grave.

He rose triumphantly, yes! But…no pomp. No circumstance. At least not here.

Watching the Queen’s funeral procession com pared with what I know of Jesus’ intentional life of humility was jarring.

“And being found in human form, he hum bled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

My yearly anticipated Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions are hitting different as I think on that this year. For me, He lived this way. I can’t be saved on my own; I needed His sacrifice and He gave it.

He lived the life I could not live, died the death I deserved to die, and rose again to give me new life.

I owe Him everything. Every breath, every minute, every con versation – all should be to bring Him glory, praise, and honor. How can I, small and insignificant, possibly give Jesus the glory He deserves for such a sacrifice?

Lights, advent, carols, and gifts?

Utterly pathetic and insignificant in light of all He has done. And yet, even in this, He provides for us.

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

The day is coming when the Humble Servant will reign as Conquering King. Do you know Him? Do your loved ones know Him?

As we transition into a season of Advent and our merry remem bering of all He has done, let us be sure that our family, friends, and neighbors know this King Jesus and the great things He has done. Come, let us adore Him and proclaim Him, knowing that one day we will be witnesses as God Himself incites and provides for us to worship Him perfectly. n

Note: All Scripture taken from Philippians 2:5-11.

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www.christianlivingmag.com Christian Living | November / December 2022 45 CHURCHES IN YOUR AREA BOISE 600 N. Ten Mile Rd. Meridian, ID centralvalleybaptist.com Join us on Sundays: • On YouTube - 11:00 am Look for Centra l Va lley Meridian • On Campus • 8:00 am, 9:30 am and 11:00 am MIDDLETON The Sanctuary Cowboy Church Sunday Service 10 AM High Desert Station 6780 Willis Road, Star, ID 83669 208-329-8246 Scowboychurch.com NEW LOCATION: MERIDIAN For information on adding your church to this directory, please call 208-703-7509 or email: boisechristianliving @gmail.com For more info call: Ka ty Nelson 503-816-3042 www.katynelsoncoaching.net/walkingwithwomen “I t’s not ab t preaching, it’s ab t sh ing life.” “Like” Us on Facebook Miss an issue? Want to re-read a past ar ticle? ChristianLivingmag.com Find us by searching for Christian Living Magazine Our Past Editions can all be found at: Names of God The Old Testament El Shaddai ..................................................... Lord God Almighty El Elyon ......................................................... The Most High God Adonai .......................................................................... Lord, Master Yahweh Lord, Jehovah Jehovah Nissi ............................................. The Lord My Banner Jehovah Raah ....................................... The Lord My Shepherd Jehovah Rapha ......................................... The Lord That Heals Jehovah Shammah ....................................... The Lord Is There Jehovah Tsidkenu .................... The Lord Our Righteousness Jehovah Mekoddishkem ...... The Lord Who Sanctifies You El Olam......................................................... The Everlasting God Elohim ............................................................................................ God Qanna ....................................................................................... Jealous Jehovah Jireh .......................................... The Lord Will Provide Jehovah Shalom.............................................. The Lord Is Peace Jehovah Sabaoth ............................................ The Lord of Hosts “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — Thessalonians 5:11NIV

SET yourself free Life’s baggage: put the heavy stuff down

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, hop ing no one really notices. It’s the baggage we carry daily, convinc ing 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

Robin was a pioneer in the development of early childhood peritoneal dialysis and the youngest successful recipient of a kidney transplant.

Her stor y is how we walked with our sovereign God through difficult and tr ying days. In Robin’s Song we share how God is always available to help us when we tr ust and walk with Him in faith.

Robin’s Song, by Robert D. Petrik is available on Amazon Books and other book seller s.

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…un til 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 Resent

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For me, the baggage started piling up when I was a kid. A third grader isn’t prepared for the type of questions Child Protective Services asks. There were labels I had for each bag I carried: Divorce, Secrets, Assault and Addiction, just to name a few. With each new issue, I added an other bag to my collection. I became proficient at throwing it on my back and moving on because there was no way I could let it all fall apart.

Here’s the thing about baggage though, it gets really heavy. I had things I had been carrying for years and I wasn’t doing anything to deal with the burden it was creating. Until one day, after a 25-year journey of carrying my hurt, I decided to drop it… ALL OF IT.

What I found through this journey is that everyone wears a mask and has baggage they carry. Everyone has their own 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 it so well we seem unaffected by the weight. The truth is, it does affect us. It shows up in our health, in the break down of our relationships, it can cause fear and anxiety, it can lead us to addictions or unhealthy choices. It can, just simply, make us tired from carrying it for so long.

For me, I finally got so tired of pretending I was someone 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

troubles so that we can comfort others. So, I decided I was going to let God use my pain and my past to help me comfort others and show them there is freedom in healing. God is writing our stories even through the messy baggage we carry.

My favorite story in the Bible is the story of Esther. Do you know what is so interest ing about that story? It never mentions God – not even once. Yet, His fingerprints are everywhere. God was so perfectly orchestrat ing every detail of Esther’s story to set her up “for such a time as this.”

If God can take an abandoned, fatherless concubine woman, who was set to be killed along with all of her people and make her queen of an entire nation by simply trusting Him with her story, He can do it for you and me. God never intended for us to carry the weight of our own sin and baggage. That’s why He sent Jesus, so you didn’t have to carry it anymore. He is the author of your story and He is writing something beauti 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 Him carry it for you. n

Ashley Sears is the founder of Stories Unveiled. Contact her at storiesunveiled@outlook.com.

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