May / June 2020
Full-on creative for kids
Undergoing some tweaks
Thoughts on hoarding
(just not in a building)
Dewey Alger holds a shield of faith
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, tells us: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV
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Contents May / June 2020 “The Lord himself watches over you. The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.” — Psalm 121:5 NLT
11 Angela Strong: 12 ‘Being still’ through cancer
Cover Story —
Homeskool: What grade?
National Day of Prayer:
Toilet Paper Parable:
The Joshua Institute:
Our souls’ anchor As important as ever
Dewey Alger: A creative spark
An anti-hoarding lesson For learning differences
Choosing to Love: Receive God’s love
Man’s Toolbox: 14 Real Upside down world
Consider This: A timely prayer
Keep Calm: 20 Mom Read with your kids
Get To!”®: 10 “I Forgive and be free
Understanding Relationships: A changed ‘normal’
Daily Bread: 18 Your Reach out
IN EACH EDITION
Corner: 4 Publisher’s Walking in faith Correction
Editor Gaye Bunderson Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases email@example.com Sales & Marketing Kimberly McMullen firstname.lastname@example.org 208-703-7509 • Katy Nelson email@example.com 503-816-3042 • Scott McMurtrey firstname.lastname@example.org 208-841-4583 Cover Photo Steve Jones Graphic Design Denice King www.greentreedkdesign.com Contributors Daniel Bobinski, Jim Day, Roxanne Drury, Joan Endicott, Terry Frisk, Leo Hellyer, Janet Lund, Rosie Main, Gary Moore, Bethany Riehl, Samantha Tovelin, and Dan Woodworth
Dots: 24 God Church is us
Website Design SEO Idaho
Health: 22 Maximum Immune system upgrade
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In the March/April issue of Christian Living Magazine, the email address for Merrin Packer, Community Outreach Manager for the Third District Guardian Ad Litem Program, was incorrect. The correct address is email@example.com.
Volume 9, Number 3 Publisher Sandy Jones firstname.lastname@example.org 208-703-7860
Distribution D&S Distribution 208-985-6904 Christian Living is committed to encouraging and instructing individuals in their daily lives by presenting stories of people in the Treasure Valley who are living on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and who serve as uplifting examples to others. Views expressed in Christian Living do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by Christian Living to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2020 by Christian Living Ministries Inc. Christian Living is published every other month and is available in over 600 locations throughout the Treasure Valley and Twin Falls, including grocery stores, convenience stores, medical waiting areas, and churches. If your church would like additional copies please email us today at email@example.com Annual subscriptions available for $12/year. To start your subscription or give one as a gift send your check or money order, along with complete address information, and a phone number to call in case there’s questions about your subscription to Christian Living Magazine, PO Box 867, Meridian, ID 83680.
Christian Living | May / June 2020 3
Walking in faith, not by sight
Those who came before us, who walked with Him, By Sandy Jones some even led by His Flame, could get so caught up The Israelites were freed from slavery. They in their own moment that they lost focus. How can walked through the Red Sea; had manna fall from we expect ourselves to be any different? We need heaven; drank water from a rock. Just a few of the to be gentler with ourselves when we stumble. It’s hands-on miracles they lived through, and they still important that we get back up, dust ourselves off, lost their focus on God. Moses had to feel like he and come once again before The Throne. Confess was herding cats, as easily as they got distracted. our sins and shortcomings, and trust that God, Who When Abraham was told he’d be the father of nasees and knows all, knew this was coming, and He tions, he was 75 years old, and Sarah was 65. They will carry us through. didn’t exactly walk the path of faith; Sarah ‘knew’ We recently celebrated Easter, the resurrection of she was barren and sent Abraham to her servant, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’d like to ask: Do Hagar. That turned out well, didn’t it? After 25 you know Him personally? Do you know He died years, Abraham had sons from both Hagar and and rose again because He knows and loves YOU? Sarah; the repercussions are still playing out today. He wants to have a relationship with you. God offered David’s son Solomon anything when John 3:16-17 NIV assures us: For God so loved he became king. He asked for, and was granted, the world that he gave his one and only Son, that wisdom. Despite having every advantage, he was Sandy Jones whoever believes in him shall not perish but have led astray by his 700 wives and 300 concubines and eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the chose to worship their gods. Solomon made a real mess of things world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. when he too lost his focus on God. As we walk through this unique and difficult time, I’ll admit that I love how Proverbs31.org shares this message: there have been times when I took my eyes off The Prize. Got mes“The Bible tells the story of God's love for people. In the beginmerized by the media, and how fast things changed. Got transfixed. ning, God created us to reflect His image and to have a relationship Became numb. Couldn’t focus. And, yes, found there were days with Him (Genesis 1:27). We were created good, and then sin enearly on when I didn’t know what to pray — other than ‘protect us tered the world. We essentially chose to try life on our own without and please end this virus’ and had to simply ask God to listen to my God, instead of living our lives for God as we were designed. heart. “God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the Perhaps too honest? Perhaps disappointing to hear that from someone in ministry? I’m being authentic, because I do not believe I cross to pay the price for our sins and bring us into a relationship was the only one. with Him. Through Him, we can know the promise of eternal life I’ve mentioned that as we send one edition to print I begin praying and experience the joy of knowing God here on earth! over this column, and what message would God use me to deliver “If you would like to have a relationship with God, the Bible tells next time. This issue is no different, but what was different this time us that the first step is acknowledging that we have sinned and that was that God, through the Holy Spirit, spoke these three stories to there is nothing we can do to earn God's love (Romans 3:23-26). me, almost immediately. Next, we believe and confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9) and Often I’m praying fervently at the last minute, saying “God, I’m allow Him to guide our lives. Where we once wanted to control our not hearing You” — basically, ‘here I am, send me,’ with no direcown futures, we now invite Jesus into our hearts to be Lord over our tion to go. I think He likes to remind me that it will always be in His lives. perfect timing. I had these stories in February, but wasn’t sure why. “Knowing God's peace, perspective, and purpose for your life At first I thought I was to write about judging and being judged, begins with a personal relationship with Jesus.” accusing and being accused. You see, I’ve had some life lessons laying heavily on my heart. If you have questions about having a Savior that loves you unconThen this virus started to spread through our nation, and finally ditionally, please don’t hesitate to call me at 208-703-7860, or the hit our beautiful Idaho. Whether we like it or not the mainstream Idaho Chaplain’s Association prayer line at 208-968-1991. We’re media was as hypnotized by it as everyone else was. The speed at here for you. which the numbers climbed: tested, treated, hospitalized, and, yes, Until next time…. even the death toll. I think we were all transfixed. God Bless! It wasn’t until I sat down to actually write this and went over these It’s true that without our advertisers, we can’t do what we do, but Bible stories once again that it dawned on me — God was preparright now, for many of them, their support of this ministry has been ing me, reassuring me, that I’m normal. And I believe He wants sacrificial so that we can bring you this bit of God’s hope and promyou, our readers, to know you and your struggles with all of this are ise. Please support and thank them! n normal too.
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4 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
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Christian Living | May / June 2020 5
CHOOSING to Love
Receive God’s love in order to give it By Daniel Bobinski I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing if you’ve been alive for more than a month, you’ve noticed societal change on a scale never seen before. Just a hunch. How we respond in these times of tension can set the tone for our Christian witness. Thankfully, as ambassadors for Christ, we have a loving God whose Spirit indwells us, and gives us the mind of Christ. Let me ask you to ponder something written by the Apostle Paul: The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of man except his own spirit within him? So too, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from Daniel God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. And this is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. Paul continues: The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is not subject to anyone’s judgment. “For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 10b-16) Hopefully, you didn’t make the mistake I often do — skim quickly over Scripture verses to read what the author is going to say about them. Even if you didn’t do that, please go back and read that selection again — slowly. Let the meaning sink in. The concept in these verses is vital for understanding what you’ll read from me in this space for the next two years. Why? Because we’re embarking on an adventure into what it means to love in a godly way, and we can’t love in God’s way by using our own strength or our earthly understanding. We need the mind — and heart — of Christ. Let me dive a little deeper. When asked to identify the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and all the Prophets hang on these two commands.” (Matt. 22:37-40) Quick review: 1. Love the Lord 2. Love your neighbor as yourself What I need to underscore is the fact that we cannot do these things on our own. Thankfully, if God dwells within us and has given us His thoughts, should not His thoughts be made manifest as we transform into the image of Christ?
6 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
Think of it this way. If I invite God into my life, He washes me completely of sin and dwells within. 1 Corinthians 6:19 is clear: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” Scripture is also clear that God is love. In 1 John 4:16b we read, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” Therefore, if I invite God into my life (1 Corinthians 6:19), and God is love (1 John 4:16b), then all the attributes of agape love as detailed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 are living in me, courtesy of the Spirit of the Living God. This is why 1 Corinthians 2:10b-16 is so important. We have been given the mind of Christ, and that means all aspects of agape love are there, too, because God’s very character is love. Think of it this way. It’s more than God loves; it’s that God IS love. Therefore, all aspects of His relationships are loving. As children of the Most High and ambassadors for Christ, our job is to say no to the desires of the flesh and instead tend the soil of our hearts so that God’s agape love within us will grow. If you’re wondering how to start doing that, here are some suggestions: 1) Recognize that God is love, and He loves you unconditionally. 2) Receive the love He’s giving you and value it for what it truly is. This is the starting point because if someone (God) wants to give you something (agape love) so you can give it to someone else, you can’t do that until you first receive what He wants you to give. By ourselves, humans are incapable of loving with true agape. It’s not in our nature. We need to receive agape from God before we can give it away. Think of Matthew 12:34b: Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. To live out the greatest command, we must first receive God’s love and let it become part of who we are. Using my previous example, 1 Corinthians 13 tells us love is patient. Applying simple logic, God is love, and that means God is patient. If God is loving us, that means he’s patient toward us. Can we receive that? This goes beyond saying, “I receive your patience toward me, God.” My challenge is to identify specific examples of God being patient with you. Consider this a homework assignment. Identify at least three or four specific ways God is being patient with you. As you do, give thanks, but also pay attention to your thoughts or feelings as you acknowledge each incident of His patience. This prepares your heart so more of His love will grow, and out of the abundance of your heart, your mouth will speak.n Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is an award-winning and best-selling author, and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 375-7606.
Image by Gordon Johnson pixabay
‘Normal’ is undergoing some changes
We need to be aware of the new dynamic that By Gary Moore happens when our family baseline stress level raises Normal. Now that’s an interesting concept. When dramatically and there is no longer a recognizyour 401(k) becomes your 201(k), when you are no able normal. Now a simple word, gesture, or facial longer able to travel freely, go out to eat, go to a expression may put you or your spouse into an orbit sporting event or a performing arts presentation, or that you don’t recognize. Remember, you’re both even meet with fellow believers for corporate wornot only searching for normal, but also searching for ship, things are not normal — no matter how you your new personal identity. define it. However you have defined normal in the If you haven’t done so yet, you need to have a past, my guess is that you’ve been forced to struggle conversation with your spouse about this very topic. with redefining that term for your personal world You need to reaffirm your love and care for each and the world of your family. other and also talk about how your household baseAnd, when we have to redefine normal, that usualline stress level has changed. And, how your ability ly means we have to redefine who we are since a big or inability to adapt and cope with this change may part of our personal identity is tied to our definition cause you to respond in atypical ways. You need to of normal. This is not an easy thing to do, especially also talk about a signal (preferably humorous) that when we are forced to do it quickly. you can give one another when you recognize and A new level of stress and concern has entered our experience an atypical response from either yourself Gary Moore world — and not quietly. One of the things that or your spouse. stress does is reveal our foundational strengths and I also encourage you, if you don’t already do so, to weaknesses and magnify them. This includes your marriage relationhave a time of daily devotions together. In a world that seemingly has ship as well as your spiritual relationship. lost it’s true North, it’s important for you and your spouse to make Every household has what I call a baseline stress level. This is the sure your compass has the true North (Jesus Christ). And, that your “normal” level of stress that we have learned how to live with and plans and personal interactions are based on that true North. expect on a day-to-day basis. At this level of stress, we have learned Discuss with each other some of God’s promises. There are over how to cope and relate with our spouse and children. We know what 8,000 in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation we read of normal everyone’s emotional buttons are at this level and we know what it people, like you and me, that received the promises of God. Malachi takes to push them and what the responses will be. 3:6 says, “For I the Lord do not change.” Continued on page 11
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Christian Living | May / June 2020 7
A timely passionate, powerful prayer a willingness to stick with things (patience), a sense of compassion in the heart (kindness), and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates Editor’s note: In the midst of the circumstances in which things and people (goodness). We find ourselves the human race currently finds itself, Dan Woodworth involved in loyal commitments (faithfulness), felt inspired to write a powerful prayer and to share it not needing to force our way in life (meekness), with our readers. Below is a brief segment of the full able to marshal and direct our energies wisely prayer. If you would like to read the entire prayer, email (self-control). Dan at email@example.com. We thank You for Your Great Grace Power Packs that we receive in the following Scripture: Thank You, Lord, for this beautiful day that Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong. Take courYou have given to us. We speak Your Resurrecage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them tion Words in Psalm 118:24 – This is the day a second thought because I am your Living that You have made! We will rejoice and be Lord. I’m striding ahead of you. I’m right glad in it! here with you. I won’t let you down; I won’t And in Philippians 4:4 – We rejoice in You leave you. always and again we will say rejoice! Dan Woodworth Psalm 91:14 – If you’ll hold onto Me for Thank You, Lord, for Your Resurrection dear life, I’ll get you out of any trouble. Words in Psalm 23 – Loving Lord, You are our Shepherd. We Romans 4:17 – You are the God who gives life to the dead have no lack. We don’t need a thing. We have everything we need. You have bedded us down in Lush Meadows, pastures and calls into being the things that do not exist. You created us in Your image and we have Your creative power to do the of tender green grass. You lead us beside Restful, Healing same. Waters. True to Your Word, You let us catch our breath. Ephesians 3:20 – Now unto You, You are the One who You point us in the right direction. You restore our souls. You lead us in the Paths of Righteousness for Your name’s sake. is able to carry out Your purpose and do superabundantly more than we can dare ask or imagine, infinitely beyond our Yes, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of wildest hopes, dreams and prayers, according to Your Resurdeath, we will fear no evil because You are with us. Your rection Power at work within us. rod and your staff comfort us. You prepare a table before us Colossians 1:9-11 – Thank You, Lord, for filling us with in the presence of our enemies. You anoint our heads with oil. Our cups run over. Surely goodness and mercy shall fol- the full knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that we may walk worthy of You, fully low us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in Your pleasing You, being fruitful in every good work, increasing house forever! in the full knowledge of God, empowered with all ResurThank You, Lord, for Your Resurrection Words in Psalm rection Power according to Your glorious might unto all 91:2-4 – Daddy in Heaven, holy is Your name. You are our refuge. We trust in You and we are safe. That’s right – You patience and endurance with joy. rescue us from hidden traps, shield us from deadly hazards. We plead the blood of Jesus Christ over us. Thank You for Your huge outstretched arms protect us. Under them we are filling us with Your Living Word and Your Spirit. We thank You, perfectly safe; Your arms fend off all harm. Thank You, Lord, for transforming all fear into faith and ful- Lord. Amen. n fillment, all hurt into hope and healing, all pain into peace and Dr. Dan Woodworth earned his Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree from power, all shame into significance and security, and all trauma the King’s University in Los Angeles in 2009. His passion is to encourinto tranquility and triumph. Thank You, Lord, for Your Resurrection Words in James 4:8 age and empower people with the transforming power of hope and healing – As we come near to You, You always come near to us! And to become all they are created to be. He and his wife, Irene, have planted three churches. They are in the process of creating a cross/cultural, cross/ in Galatians 5:22-23, we see what happens when we live Your generational healing community solving pressing problems in Boise and way. You bring gifts into our lives, much the same way that beyond. He may be reached at fruit appears in an orchard — things like affection for others (love), exuberance about life (joy), serenity (peace). We develop firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his website at www.danwoodworth.org. By Dan Woodworth
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“I GET TO!”®
… Forgive Continually to be Free
I learned that forgiveness is NOT: By Joan Endicott 1. Forgetting (Forgive and forget aren’t tied I began pouring my confused and struggling together.) heart out to God. “I am in such awe, Lord, when 2. Dependent upon them apologizing or being I think about Corrie Ten Boom forgiving those sorry. who tortured her and her family in the Nazi 3. Condoning what they did. prison camps. I can’t begin to fathom the horrors 4. Letting them off the hook with no accountthey experienced. When she was able to respond ability. to the former prison guard from Ravensbrück 5. A one-n’-done experience. concentration camp, taking his extended hand in It was incredibly freeing for me to finally unhers, choosing to forgive him that night, she knew derstand what was not expected of me when it she experienced a miracle. came to forgiveness. However, I still knew it would “So, what’s wrong with me, God? I know what require God putting His super on my natural to my childhood abuser did to me was not even make this supernatural shift in my soul. close to what Corrie endured, but to me it was One year after starting this journey, Nathanael still terrible. He took so much from me–and put was 6, Caleb almost 3 and Rachel was about so much on me. He took childhood innocence, ready to make her entrance into the world. It safety, security, trust…he put on me unjust shame Joan Endicott was Sunday morning and I was sitting in church and guilt, fear, worry and anxiety about what listening to our Pastor, Dick Shaw, talk about might happen next–and when. How different, how much better, compassion. He reminded us of the truth that, “Hurt people, hurt could my childhood and life have been had those things never people.” Then he said, “If those who hurt you knew how much happened? I know you already know this, Lord, but I don’t even they hurt you, they would be so so sorry.” My first response was want to forgive him. If he goes to hell, wouldn’t that be the pun- “Yeah right.” What came to mind next were the times I’d hurt ishment he deserves?” others and knew I was truly sorry. Those words echoed in my Initially I felt a twinge of guilt as I boldly confessed my true soul. “If they knew how much they hurt you, they would be so feelings to God, but I’d also learned He wanted me to come so sorry.” I began to imagine the one who’d abused me for years to Him just as I was. Soon I began feeling a sense of relief as I being a little 6-year-old-boy, like our Nathanael. openly poured out the heaviness on my heart to Him. I knew it I pictured a sweet little blonde-haired, blue-eyed, innocent and trusting child with his whole life ahead of him. Then I thought, was finally time to dig down even deeper and do the work to give “Dear God, what happened to him when he was younger that these old wounds a safe space to resurface if I was ever going to caused him to do what he did to me?” heal. But where do I start when the pain of thinking about it was For the first time I saw my abuser as a little boy–as someone’s so much deeper than my desire to forgive? victim. I couldn’t hold back the tears from streaming down my Fortunately, my desire to be free was deeper still. I decided face–for him. “Why wasn’t he protected?” I thought. My heart to just start where I was, with what I knew to do. I knew God was overwhelmed with sadness and anger at the depravity of called me to forgive. I also knew that whatever He called me to, man. Compassion and sympathy unlocked the chains that had He would enable me to do. Baring my true feelings to God were kept me from forgiving. In that moment, I forgave him and was both a relief and a cry of desperation for help. I knew the Lord’s Prayer specifically requested that He would “forgive us our debts, finally free! In her book The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom also shared, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matt. 6:22) The clear assumption “And having thus learned to forgive in this hardest of situations, I being that I am actively forgiving. never again had difficulty in forgiving: I wish I could say it! I wish So this was the prayer I began with: “Lord, I know You call me I could say that merciful and charitable thoughts just naturally to forgive. You also know I don’t want to. I do, however, want to flowed from me from then on. But they didn’t. If there’s one live in Your will. So, I’m going to simply start with asking You to thing I’ve learned at 80 years of age, it’s that I can’t store up good please help change my heart to even want to forgive him.” and behavior–but only draw them fresh from God each You see, I didn’t want to just mechanically say I forgave, I want- feelings day. Can you forgive your enemies? I cannot! But Jesus in me can! ed there to be an authentic soul-shift. If you’ve ever told a child And you will find out that forgiveness is a tremendous joy, for it is to “say you’re sorry” to anyone, you know exactly what I mean. the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the heaviness of It’s one thing if they’re truly sorry, but completely different if they hatred. It is a power that unlocks the chains of bitterness and the are just going through the motions. It gets louder (“SORRY!”), shackles of selfishness.” or longer, (“Sorrryyy”), but not meaningful unless and until it’s I now know, forgiveness is not something you do for others, it’s an heartfelt. Frankly, I didn’t want to feel like a hypocrite. act of obedience that ends up being a gift you give yourself as well. Next, I recruited a small group of trusted, mature women who This decision and action unlocked the chains that were keeping my committed to support, encourage and pray with me for this soulsoul tethered to the very thing I longed to be free of. shifting miracle. We all need to belong to such a caring commuThen once you’ve forgiven, you get to continue to do it. Each and nity. every time you think of a hurt, you get to choose to let it go, give it It was a year-long journey from the day I began praying to want back to God, forgive and be FREE! Easy? No. Worth it? Yes! n to forgive him until the day I knew I did forgive him. Through the power of prayer, Bible teaching/mentoring and study, I began to Grab your FREE copy of Joan’s “I Get To!”® book at JoanEndicott.com learn so much about what forgiveness IS and what forgiveness IS and sign up for her FREE blog videos. Joan Endicott is an Award-Winning NOT. I had collected several myths and misunderstandings about Keynote Speaker, Author of “I Get To!”® founder of GIANT-Slayer forgiveness over the years, which had definitely detoured my Coaching and “WOW!” Women Owning Their Worth©. Her coaching desired destination. These are some of the main ones that caused reaches over 30 countries. Follow her on FB and IG–she posts encouraging me to experience enormous resistance: words daily!
10 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
Homeskool By Samantha Tovalin
‘Normal” Continued from page 7 Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Psalm 119:90 says, “Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.” Psalm 33:11 says, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.” Psalm 102:27 says, “But you remain the same, and your years never end.” James 1:17 says, “…coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Isaiah 40:28 says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, the he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself.” So, understand as you go through the process of redefining normal for your world that your relationship’s normal is also going to undergo some changes. Don’t be surprised or upset at this. Expect it. Look for it. Embrace it. Extend each other additional grace during this time of redefinition. Look for new ways to serve and reassure each other. Above all, reaffirm your relationship with the true North individually and as a couple.n Gary Moore served as associate pastor at Cloverdale Church of God for the past 14 years. He does couples’ coaching and leads couples’ workshops and retreats called MUM’s the Word. He also does a weekly radio program called Life Point Plus on KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. For information on his workshops and retreats, contact him at email@example.com.
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Christian Living | May / June 2020 11
Cancer diagnosis leads to ‘being still’
Angela Strong makes the most of her time during rounds of chemo treatments. (Courtesy photo)
12 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
By Gaye Bunderson In view of her circumstances, her name takes on greater meaning. Angela Strong is battling cancer. Staring into the face of a health struggle, she thankfully has a wide network of acquaintances, friends, and family to support her. Along with that, she's got faith. Put it all together and Angela Ruth Strong is very much strengthened. During an interview in a coffee shop on February 27, Strong looked well. Wearing a pink cap to cover the baldness caused by medication, she showed no sign of the worries that gripped her when she first heard her oncologist's words over the phone. Now 42, Strong was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in 2019 at age 41. “I got the phone call in October,” she said. When the oncologist laid out the facts of her cancer diagnosis, her first thought was, “I'm not going to see my kids' weddings.” She has three children — two daughters and a son, ages 20, 19, and 17. But in the coffee shop, she was ready to talk about the help she's getting from all kinds of people all over, and she opened up about how she's coping and being loved through her medical trial. At first, Strong kept the news of her cancer from her parents. One Friday late last year, she intended to take a trip to California to meet with a movie producer about one of the many books she has written, and she planned to stay with her paternal grandmother. When she had to cancel the trip due to a scheduled biopsy, she explained the situation to her grandmother and word passed through the family grapevine until her parents were ultimately told of her illness. They said to her, “We're so glad we know because we want to be praying for you.” News travels fast and even goes beyond family. When a pastor's wife from a local church heard that Strong had breast cancer, she sent her a Breast Cancer Bible; it has special verses highlighted in pink, and women who've survived breast cancer have written in the margins of the Bible, sometimes leaving their emails so they can be reached for wisdom and encouragement. Strong also got on the social network site CaringBridge, an online non-profit that allows people with various medical conditions to stay in touch with family and friends. Strong, who describes herself as “transparent,” went beyond the reach of people who know her and allowed people she's never met to connect with her on CaringBridge. It's been a two-way street; she shares her faith along with medical updates, and strangers tell her they're praying for her. It has been an amazing outlet for her, and she's gotten a lot from it. She's received rides to the hospital and said people have made her meals. Along with posting updates, she lists things she needs prayers for. “It's been good for me,” she said. Her husband Jim is a football player and biker and is a member of a biker group. Surprisingly, some of the other bikers made Strong some stained glass butterflies. It's just one of the kindnesses she's experienced. “Tragedy brings us together,” she said, “from bikers to businessman. We are in a divided country, but this has taught me that people are amazing.” She's received care packages, and contents have included a special lotion designed to help her sleep; a 52-week prayer journal that she and husband are writ-
ing in together; dandelion tea, purported to be a cancer fighter; and a hand lettering kit that is akin to calligraphy — something else she and her husband the football player and biker have enjoyed together. She has a wide collection of hats and socks. A friend from church who had had breast cancer organized a hat party for her, and she now has at least 30 hats of all varieties, including one that says in an understated way, “Bad Hair Day.” Both her daughters and her mom have the same pink socks and shoes as she does, and they wear them in unity. Regarding the whole online, social media thing, Strong said, “I know there are negatives too; but for me, my mission statement is to 'inspire, create, and encourage hope in myself and others.' I try to use this as an opportunity to share hope.” She said her husband has also been moved by the responses she has gotten from so many. “All the people supporting us have been an answer to prayer for him,” she said. Strong has a part-time job at the Boise Airport, but one of her passions is writing; she's published children's books and writes for adults in the following genres: romance, romantic suspense, and mystery. One of her books, “Starlight Christmas,” is set to be made into a movie for the 2021 Christmas season through a cable channel. Her illness has presented challenges to her work as a writer. While she explained she'd so far had no dire adverse physical effects from her medications, she said, “I'm frustrated with the brain fog.” She also said it takes more energy now to do her writing than previously. At first, she was determined to power through. “I thought, 'I'm sick, but I can still do my career.'” Then, some powerful words from Scripture started to speak to her, especially the words “be still.” Exodus 14:14 came to mind: The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.
“Anything that happens in my career right now is God opening doors. I'm in a place of dependence and a place of 'being still.' I have to be still and look for Him to move,” she said. When she went through a different crisis earlier in her life, she kept a spiritual image in her mind of touching the hem of Jesus's garment. It is an image found in Scripture, and it gave her comfort. Now, another image eases her mind. “I see my friends lowering me through the roof to Jesus,” she said, recalling Luke 5:17-39, when friends of a sick man lowered his bed through a hole in a roof so Jesus could heal him. At the time of the coffee shop interview, Strong was weighing her surgery options: a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. The last treatment of the first medicine had been completed the previous day. She acknowledged that her cancer has also been hard for her family and said she prayers regularly for them. She also told a story about how they feel about her: She had a pizza and game night with her parents and daughters, but her son wasn't there. In fact, he wasn't even in town. She wished he'd been able to attend the get-together and tried without success to get hold of him via phone and text. What she didn't know was that her family and a close friend were planning a surprise. It came off without a hitch when the next day her son walked through the door at Strong's home. She wasn't expecting that — but everyone else was. “I have never felt more loved,” she said. Angela Ruth Strong isn't the only person with cancer, and she knows that. It's one of the reasons she continues to share her faith online, in her work, and wherever she is able. n For more information, go to www.angelaruthstrong.com; or for updates on Angela Strong's health journey, go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/angelastrong.
Christian Living | May / June 2020 13
REAL Man’s Toolbox
When your world turns upside down
People are always searching for the meaning of By Leo Hellyer life, the worth of life, and yes, the joy of life. It can Many men strive to plan their lives out in advance. be difficult to be joyful when you feel like a prisoner In most cases this is out of a sense of responsibility in your own home. If we spend a good portion of as well as a sense of needing to be in control of their our time concentrating on what is wrong in our life, own destiny. I think it is fair to say that during the what is difficult in our life, we will more than likely last four months, whatever plan we had has been not have a very positive attitude about the quality drastically changed by events beyond our control. of our life. However, if we will really take a good How we adapt to the changes in our lives shows what kind of men we are deep down in our core. amount of time to honestly examine our lives and What do we do when our foundation is shaken? search for what is good in them, we will see that we What, or who, is our foundation? are truly blessed. We need to turn the negative parts There is a great secular business book that many of our life over to God and let Him take the blinders of us have read before, and possibly should read off of our eyes so we can see how good our lives again. “Who Moved My Cheese?”, written by Spenreally are. As we go through troubling times, as we cer Johnson, M.D., explains the truths about dealing experience bad things that come our way, as we even with the stresses (changes) that happen in our lives. experience the loss of someone close to us, we must Leo Hellyer The course of action that we take greatly influences remember that we are not alone. In Psalm 34:18 Dathe quality of life that we experience. vid writes that, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves When our cheese is moved, when our plan changes beyond our those who are crushed in spirit.” control, when our world seems to be dysfunctional beyond our The wisdom of God is on the pages of His Word. The more we control, we must remember one basic thing that sometimes is hard to bathe ourselves in His Word, the wiser we will become. When we try really accept in our humanness: God is in control! to survive the challenges of life in our own strength and understandGod is always in control. The closer we are to Him, the more in ing, we fail miserably. Our life experience would be so much more control we will be. Now we may not be in control of things around enjoyable if we would learn to seek God in all areas of our lives to us, but we will be more in control of ourselves and our emotions if begin with. we are as close as we can be to God. When life gets the best of us, Those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and we get nervous, anxious, or fearful, we need to run — run into have a loving Heavenly Father who only wants the best for us. We the arms of God. There is nothing wrong with these emotions; we are loved unconditionally. He loves us so much that He will not force just need to make sure they are dealt with in a godly way. In 1 Peter Himself upon us. He waits for us to come to Him. 5:7 we read, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for There is no virus, earthquake, storm, no leader and no country that you.” Jesus Himself tells us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I is more powerful than our Heavenly Father. At the first sign of trougive to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your ble, anxiety, illness, whatever challenge we face, we need to humble hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27) ourselves before our Lord and seek Him. It is time for us to let God In times of turmoil, it is easy to be taken off of the path of righteousness and onto the path of destruction. To stay on the right path, wrap His loving arms around us and love us, guide us, protect us, and fill us with His Spirit. to keep our minds on what is good, we must control what we let into If you feel like there is no love in your life, then turn to Jesus Christ, our mind; said another way, we need to be careful who we let rent or return to Jesus Christ, because He Is LOVE! Remember this: space in our head. What we see, hear, and say has a huge influence He Loves YOU! n on how we act and feel. If all of a sudden we find ourselves on the wrong path, we need to right our course. Solomon teaches us in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. The couple volunteered with the Boise your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. They are both employed by Boise Rescue ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight.” We need to go to God in prayer and worship; we need to study His Word. Mission Ministries, Norma at City Light Home for Women & Children and Leo at River of Life Rescue Mission. Leo is also the President and Chief Firearms Just as David loved godly music in times of trouble, we should saturate our ears with godly music in difficult times. If we go to sleep at Instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions night listening to God’s message through song, He can minister to us about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at silverthrough those instruments, voices, and harmonies, even in our sleep. firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-340-5544.
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14 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
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HOPE, The Anchor
It’s what keeps you hanging in there By Roxanne Drury Hope keeps people going. Hope keeps our dreams and desires alive. Hope keeps us encouraged and excited (Hebrews 6:18). Hope is the anchor that keeps us secure and firmly rooted in what we believe to be the will of God for our lives. Hope keeps us dreaming! Romans 5:5 tells us, And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. Yes, hope is the anchor and hope is of God. If hope is the anchor, how exactly does an anchor work? What is the job of an anchor? The anchor on a boat is attached to a chain or rope. It is dropped into the water and the weight of it causes it to fall to the very bottom. The boat is then put in reverse so that the anchor will lodge itself securely into the ground at the bottom of the water. That is how it works. But the job of the anchor is to keep the boat from drifting. It offers the boat stability. Hope does the same thing for us. Hope keeps us from drifting away from what we long to be true for our future or for our present. HOPE is Having Optimistic Persistent Expectations. Hope keeps us secure and stable. When hope is lost, so is the battle. Hope causes a person to make tough decisions for a better life. Hope causes a person to keep fighting for a better marriage. Hope causes a person to keep working on pulling weeds from that garden week after week. Hope is the anchor that inspires our persistence, our perseverance. In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 we read, We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Hope says to us, just keep going, don’t quit, don’t stop believing. The following story is kind of odd for a serious message, but here goes… Continued on page 19
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Christian Living | May / June 2020 15
Children’s pastor with a creative spark
COVER STORY Above photo: Dewey stands with a traditional armor Top Right: Dewey takes a page out of the Where’s Waldo’s books in an Old Testament game of Where’s Jesus in the Old Testament Right Center: Dewey’s Wall of Faith: the different colors represent 1) accepting Christ 2) baptism, and 3) “I could use some help!” Right Bottom: Dewey’s “Captain America” version of the Armor of God *Note: Where’s Waldo is a property of Martin Handford; Captain America and Thor are properties of Disney & Marvel Studios and are used under Nonminitive Fair Use.
16 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
By Sandy Jones At 51 years old Dewey Alger, children’s pastor at Cloverdale Church of God, fondly remembers his first grade Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Dia Finkbeiner, and her beloved mouse-puppet Squeakers, who would whisper things in her ear that 6-year-olds find profound. Dewey took the impact Mrs. Finkbeiner and Squeakers had on his walk with the Lord to heart, and today, as a children’s pastor himself, he has a puppet sheep named Betty Lou, who whispers many of those same kind of profound thoughts in his ear. Dewey has a fantastic imagination, and he’s always looking for new, innovative ways to bring the Bible to life, to get his students to fall in love with Jesus, and to whet their appetite to become lifelong readers and learners of the Word. It’s said that you always want to make a great first impression. This article is a direct result of my first impression of Dewey more than a year and a half ago. He was new on staff at Cloverdale, and I had stopped by to visit with the church’s senior pastor, Tom Dougherty. Tom introduced us and suggested that I check out some of Dewey’s classroom aids. I instantly liked Dewey, who is gregarious, with an impish, fun-filled smile. We all know someone like Dewey — they’re the people you want to hang out with because you just know it’s gonna be fun! Dewey led the way to his small office, where he proceeded to lay out for me his latest project, a kid-friendly version of the Armor of God, based on a Marvel character. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-17 NKJV) Dewey explained that when Paul wrote these verses he was handcuffed in prison between two Roman soldiers and trying to describe the armor the Christian should wear; Paul found using the soldiers’ own armor to illustrate his point was his best hope of getting them to understand. Realizing that most kids today don’t know what a Roman centurion is, Dewey made a Captain America mannequin with a shield that has a cross on it instead of a star. Dewey’s students have learned about the “belt of truth” and the “helmet of salvation” by seeing them represented on
Captain America. Dewey’s Captain America is also wearing boots that are fitted for the gospel of peace, and so on. The kids are enthralled, wanting to know if they can hold the shield and touch the different pieces. Not only are they allowed to touch, hold and feel, Dewey also has costumes the kids can use to put on their own “Armor of God.” It’s a very hands-on approach to learning. There’s also “Thor’s hammer.” On one side is written Jeremiah 23:29 NASB, “Is not My word like fire?” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?” On the other side is written Ezekiel 36:26 NIV, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” “Kids know Thor, and they know his hammer, but do they know it spiritually? God’s Word is this hammer that breaks our stony heart so that God can give us a heart of flesh,” Dewey explained. There is nothing boring about Dewey’s program. He refers to his main classroom as the Almighty Stadium, a play on Albertson’s Stadium at Boise State University, but in his classroom it’s the Bible Student University, complete with blue turf he occasionally rolls out. The walls are lined with pictures of people of all ages cheering the kids on as Dewey shares with them that we are all competitors, running the good race to win the prize. Dewey works hard to spark his students’ imagination. A few weeks back they were studying in the book of Job, chapters 41 and 42. The kids were stunned when Dewey asked them, “Do you know there are dinosaurs in the Bible?” Dewey went on to explain, “Yeah, God is talking to Job, and he describes this brontosaurus with a big long tail that sways like a tree. And in the next chapter talks about this animal that fire comes out of his mouth and smoke rises from his nostrils.” A self-proclaimed Sunday school kid growing up, Dewey’s family was often the first to arrive at their church, Ontario First Church of the Nazarene, on Sunday mornings and the last to leave. As a youngster, Dewey had heard the David and Goliath story told in his Sunday school classes. “I love the story of David. He is my hero. David had his ups and downs. He was a warrior. He cried. He played an instrument. He was a shepherd. I just love the whole story,” Dewey shared. “It’s interesting when you read the Bible how things jump out at you, and it’s like, whoa, there’s more to it. So David hits Goliath and he falls. David ran to Goliath, took his sword and cut off Goliath’s head. When I read that, I thought, ‘My teachers didn’t tell me this part!’” he said, reliving the memory of his fifth or sixth grade self. He continued, “But when I read that I’m like, oh what other stories in the Bible am I missing out on? What other things may I only be catching a little bit?” Dewey’s enthusiasm is contagious — and his students all get it! His amazing team of helpers and teachers get it! Dewey encourages his Sunday school teachers to sit one, serve one, asking them to come on Sunday mornings and sit with their spouse through one of the church services and serve through teaching the other service. (Cloverdale has services at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. every Sunday morning when the community is not under a “stay-home” directive.) When asked what impact he hopes his ministry might have, Dewey enthusiastically repeats that he hopes his students learn to love reading the Bible from him, and the importance of prayer. As we were winding up our time together, he asked that we share this message from him to you, our readers: “If you’re reading this, please pray not only for this children’s ministry but for our pastor, Pastor Tom; pray for other churches, pray for your church, pray for your pastors, pray for them that they can hear the Word of God and that they can deliver the message; pray that the hearts of people who come, regardless of age, that their hearts and minds will be open to hear the transformation, the Word of God and let it sink in.” And he hopes that you’ll be active in your own church, that you’ll find and use your own gifts. Wouldn’t it be great to talk to one of Dewey’s students in 50 years to hear how they remember the impact Dewey has had on their walk with the Lord? n Pastor Dewey Alger may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christian Living | May / June 2020 17
YOUR Daily Bread
It’s time to reach out to others
of virtual games you can play with children or even By Terry Frisk other adults on conference apps like Zoom. You can I am writing this article on Easter Sunday. It has also read to them or even sing karaoke. There are been a very unusual Holy Week with most Easter hundreds of karaoke songs on YouTube that you activities cancelled or held online, which is just not can sing together. I have seen news reports of young the same without coming together in Christian felpeople singing and playing musical instruments lowship. outside of care centers. Use your imagination and While it was unfortunate that we could not come talent to help lift the spirits of others. together to celebrate Easter at our places of wor• Give – As income declines for some who are out ship, it was symbolic that church sanctuaries around of work, there will be a greater need for financial the world were empty that Easter much like the support for the churches and charitable organizatomb was on the first Easter. Just as that first Easter tions that assist those in need. Expenses in our house was a new beginning for followers of Christ, I pray have declined because we are not driving, shopping that this Easter represents a new beginning for the or spending on entertainment. As a result, we have world as the spread of the coronavirus has slowed been able to increase our giving to our church and and is hopefully on the decline when this issue hits other causes to help fill the gap for the additional the newsstands. need. In times like this, there is a natural tendency to Terry Frisk • Appreciate – Take time to thank those who turn inward in order to protect yourself and your have stepped up during this time. People in the most family. This tendency has been compounded by the unlikely positions have become first responders. Grocery and drug shelter in place order limiting contact with the world outside your store employees are true heroes as they provide essential services to home. But now more than ever, we must reach out to our neighbors. all of us at the risk of their health and their family’s health. Those • Connect – We live in an age where we have so many ways to who are serving our current needs are deserving of our appreciation. connect with others. Call, text, email, post or even snail mail a card • Pray – Take time to pray five times each day: when you get up, at to family and friends to share how you are coping with shelter in each meal and before you go to bed. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving place and ask how they are doing. Simply reaching out is therapeutic for the blessings and hope for all those affected by the COVID-19 to both you and them. I have called old friends that I lost touch with pandemic. and just catching up has helped raise my spirits as well as theirs. Quoting author and Presbyterian pastor Frederick Buechener, • Volunteer – While there are limitations on ways to volunteer, “The worst isn’t the last thing about the world. It’s the next to the there are still opportunities to be the hands and feet of God. As last thing. The last thing is the best.” The crucifixion of Christ may unemployment increases, food pantries will need help serving the have been the worst thing, but it was not the last thing. The resulting increased demand from those unable to provide. Check in with your church or local charity to see if there are ways that you can safely as- resurrection was best. The COVID-19 virus is now the worst thing, but with our faith in God, it will not be the last thing. Take care and sist them in their mission. It is such a rewarding experience. be safe. May God bless us and see us through these times. n • Serve – Look for ways to serve others. If you have to make a trip to the grocery store, check with others to see if you can shop for Terry Frisk is a partner in the firm B2B CFO, providing financial advisory them as well, especially if they are in the high-risk group. services to small businesses. He also counsels individuals on personal financial • Entertain – Parents with small children could use a break. If matters through the Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Counseling ministry. He may you have grandchildren, nieces, nephews or even friends with small be contacted through e-mail at email@example.com. children, offer to entertain them for an hour. There are a number
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God Bless The U.S.A.! 18 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
Anchor Continued from page 15
We have two dogs. We try really hard to take them for a daily walk. We don’t always succeed, however. We can’t even say the word “walk” around them or even use the word in a sentence about something totally different without their ears immediately perking up and them getting all excited. Besides that, the minute we start putting our shoes on, their tails start wagging and they begin following us around the house from room to room as if they are that little ball attached to a wooden paddle by an elastic stretchy cord. We often ask ourselves how do they know we are going to take them for a walk — we haven’t said a word?Well, the answer is, they don’t know for sure, but they are hopeRoxanne Drury ful. Hope of a walk keeps them from letting us out of their sight for even a moment. The hope of a walk gets them all charged up. Hope usually does not disappoint them. Hope keeps people all charged up with expectancy, too. Our dogs hope for a daily walk. People hope for other things — a better job, a baby, a new house, a spouse. It could be anything. Hope is the anchor that keeps you from disbelief in what could be or what will eventually be. Don’t ever lose hope. Not ever. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. — Hebrews 6:19 n Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church. Her heart is sharing the life application found in God’s Word. She recently published her first children’s book titled, “Beyond the Blue.” The book is a descriptive biblical look at heaven that answers questions kids have and offers parents a tool to talk to their kids about Jesus. She also writes a Christian blog. For more information, visit thatslifemissroxanne.blogspot.com or www.roxannedrury.com.
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Christian Living | May / June 2020 19
MOM Keep Calm
Reading with your kids = priceless
Image by ParentiPacek from Pixabay
By Janet Lund It’s the beginning of April as I write this article. I have no idea what will be going on with the coronavirus by the time you read this in May or June. Thank goodness God is in control. God always makes a way to turn things for good. I may not always appreciate His time frame, but God is bigger than our circumstances. That is when I need to remember the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. Now that was a long time to wait!
Time. We all have the same amount of it —24 hours in a day, seven days in a week. It’s what we do with the time we have that matters. The more that we value our time, the more powerful the results can be. Let’s take time…for a short story.
Once upon a time, there was this miracle baby. From the very beginning of this baby girl’s life, her mom and dad took time to read to her daily. They would prop her up in their laps and read the same stories again and again. These moments together were special, warm, and cuddly. For the baby girl, reading and love were one and the same. Because of this, the little girl grew up loving books. She became a bookworm. Whether at home, in the car, at church, anywhere and everywhere, she read books. Shopping in the grocery store was fun! Her mom would go to the book section of the store and the little girl would pick out several
20 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
books to read. While the mom shopped, the little girl quietly entertained herself. After she was done with the first load of books, they would go back and switch them out for another bunch. It was a win for mama and daughter. At home, the little girl would spend hours reading in her room. Her mother would check in on her and find her sitting on the floor surrounded by all her books. When the little girl was 4 years old, she announced to her mother, “Mommy, I’m going to write a book!” That was exactly what she did. She wrote her own little story, along with illustrations. In first grade, she wrote her own installment of a series she loved to read, The Magic Treehouse. In third grade, she attended an after-school class where the kids wrote their own stories. When their stories were completed, they were published and put into the school library. As she grew older, her dad would read bigger, more complicated books at the dinner table: The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. Oh, the adventures that family embarked on each night! However, while in middle school, the young girl struggled to find books that she enjoyed. So, her father decided to write a story for his daughter. With each chapter, he would let her read it to see what she thought. She loved every word, every scene, every moment. Each new section was a celebration in their home. When her father finished and published his first novel, she was inspired to write a novel of her own. She took a story she had started in grade school and read through it. After years of reading and listening to amazing stories, her vocabulary had grown by leaps and bounds,
• Nurtures compassion when they see situations from different points of view • Creates a hunger to read more Most importantly, reading with your child nurtures a moment of love where they feel safe, valued, and cared for.
Your Story Time Together
When your child feels loved and safe, they can along with her understanding of what makes a good relax, learn, explore, and grow. story. The girl finished her book and published it One of the perks about reading together is that when she was only 17 years old. you can always make time for it. You can do it for a Not long after her book was published, it received few minutes — or hours. No matter how long you several awards. By then, an entire series of seven Janet Lund read, you can always know that you are positively books had blossomed in her mind. Now graduated impacting your child. from college, she is writing book three, with book Make time to love and nurture your child through reading! two soon to be published. When not writing her own story, she proofLove. Grow. Explore reads the most recent writings of her father. He continues to work on Interested in learning more and supporting these two Sci-Fi/Fanthe seven-book series he started when she was in middle school. tasy authors? Go here for your free starters of: Brandon King’s The Quest for the Temple Key www.brandonkingauthor.com/the-gargoyle-chronicles-the-storyYour Story Time behind-the-stories/ Why do I share this story with you? Because I want you to see the Taylor Hunter’s NeverSeen incredible impact story time with your child can have on their life. www.taylorhunterauthor.com/neverseen-starter/ n Look at all the great things reading with your child can do! Reading: Janet Lund is a relationship coach who specializes in nurturing the bond between • Feeds their imagination moms and their teen/pre-teen daughters. She leads moms through coaching, speak• Encourages curiosity ing, and songwriting. Janet has spoken and performed in Canada, the United • Creates a love for learning States, and Norway. Follow her on facebook.com/momkeepcalm and visit her • Grows their vocabulary website at momkeepcalm.com for parenting tools and words of support to be a • Takes them on adventures while they are curled up on the couch calm mom. • Opens doors to seeing what others have accomplished
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Christian Living | May / June 2020 21
Ways to improve your immune system By Rosie Main If you want to optimize your immune health and reduce your risk of a cytokine storm (see Final Thoughts), there are various immune nutrients that may help you. It is important to note that since COVID-19 is a new virus, there is no research suggesting that these immune nutrients would specifically benefit COVID-19 prevention or recovery. However, there are scientific studies that show their immune benefits for other viral infections, including the flu, other coronavirus infections, and other respiratory infections. As with other infections, I recommend protecting your body and optimizing your immune health with the best immune nutrients. While at this point, research is ongoing and scientists are working hard to understand COVID-19 and find treatment options, there are some promising developments. The good news is that you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to wait to take steps to protect your health. There are a number of things that you can do to improve your immune system, including using immune nutrients that may help to calm a cytokine storm.
While at this point, research is ongoing and scientists are working hard to understand COVID-19 and find treatment options, there are some promising developments. The good news is that you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to wait to take steps to protect your health. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential immune nutrient. It supports your immune system, brain, nervous system, lung function, cardiovascular health, bones, and teeth. The best way to meet your vitamin D needs is through the sun. Unfortunately, during the winter months and times of gloomy weather, it is impossible to meet all your needs. Research suggests that low vitamin D levels may contribute to viral
22 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
epidemics in the winter, while optimal vitamin D levels may help to reduce the risk of viral epidemics and pandemics. Observational and supplement trials suggest that higher 25(OH)D concentrations of vitamin D immune nutrient supplementation may reduce the risk of various viral infections, including influenza, dengue, hepatitis B and C, pneumonia, and respiratory viral infections. Research suggests that vitamin D supplementation may reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by the innate immune system and as a result may also lower the risk of a cytokine storm and pneumonia.
Curcumin is the active compound of one of the most rigorously studied herbs. It has been used in Asia for its medicinal properties, and countless studies have shown its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-biotic, and anti-fungal benefits. It has been used for joint pain, digestive issues, and many other chronic health conditions. Curcumin is a powerful immune nutrient with countless benefits, and current research on COVID-19 treatment options has shown its potential benefits. The molecular docking study found that curcumin, EGCG, and beta-glucan, as well as quercetin, myricetin, genistein, myricetin, and daidzein may show benefits as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Curcumin ranked number two in most categories. It ranked number two against 6lu7, 6lvn, 6vw1, 6vww, 6yte number four against 6vsb, number five against 6vsb and 6lxt of COVID-19. The study recommends 500 mg of curcumin. Taken in the form of turmeric, they suggest 15.625 gm per day. Take it 3 times a day every 6.5 hours. If you are using turmeric, mix it with lukewarm milk or plant milk.
Probiotics are incredibly important for your digestion and gut health. Since your gut is connected to all areas of your body, healthy gut flora is important for your immune system as well. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not surprising that probiotics may help as immune nutrients. Researchers have found that probiotics may have immunomodulatory effects. According to a scientific review, some probiotics, includ-
system. One study examining the structures and the immunomodulating properties of the pectic polymers from elderberries has found that Sambucus elderberries contained immunomodulating polysaccharides and may benefit respiratory illness. Another study examined the immune-modulating effects of astragalus root and elderberry fruit extracts in bone marrowderived murine dendritic cells by measuring IFN-ß and other cytokines with ELISA and RT-PCR tests. Results suggest that both elderberry and astragalus increased L. acidophilus-induced IFN-ß production Vitamin C while decreasing pro-inflammatory reaction to E. Vitamin C may be one of the most well-known coli. These findings suggest that both elderberry and Rosie Main immune nutrients that protect against immune astragalus offer antiviral and immune-enhancing deficiencies and which supports the prevention and benefits. Furthermore, a meta-analysis of randomrecovery from the common cold and upper-respiratory issues, and ized controlled trials of 180 participants on the effectiveness of black also protects your cardiovascular system, eyes, skin, and other parts elderberry for respiratory issues has found that elderberry supplemenof your body. Research has found that vitamin C may help to optitation may substantially reduce upper respiratory symptoms and may be beneficial for cold and flu recovery. mize the innate and adaptive immune system. Again, cytokines are an essential immune response to fight off any On the other hand, vitamin C deficiency may lead to impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. Vitamin C may help kind of infection. None of the research indicates that elderberry would lead to excessive or uncontrolled levels of cytokines and hyperinflamto improve your body’s immune response and to prevent and treat mation from a cytokine storm; instead, they show that elderberry may respiratory and systemic infections, including respiratory issues. help to balance the immune system and offer the right amount of benefits. ing certain species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, can play an important role in innate immunity. They may help your body by increasing the cytotoxicity of natural killer cells and support adaptive immunity. Probiotics may help to stimulate anti-inflammatory cytokines and improve your body’s defense system against invasion by bacterial, fungal, viral, and other infections.
Zinc is another powerful immune nutrient known for its benefits for providing immune health support and inflammation reduction as well as for improving cold and respiratory symptoms, wound healing, acne reduction, and lowering the risk of age-related diseases. Research on atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus suggests that zinc deficiency may contribute to low-grade systemic inflammation. Zinc deficiency may also lead to increased inflammatory cytokines. However, zinc supplementation may have anti-inflammatory benefits, increase the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines, lower oxidative stress, and help to achieve homeostasis. Findings suggest that zinc may help to prevent or calm a cytokine storm.
Elderberry is an Immune System Modulator
Elderberry is nature’s richest source of quercetin and this compound helps it act as an immunomodulator to help balance the immune
Cytokines are an important part of your immune response. However, when your body releases excessive or uncontrolled levels of cytokines it results in hyperinflammation called a cytokine storm. A cytokine storm may lead to serious complications and even death in serious COVID-19 cases and in other infections. Optimizing your immune system is critical to improve your health and to decrease your risk of a cytokine storm. I recommend that you take my recommended immune nutrients along with a nutrient-dense diet and a healthy lifestyle in order to optimize your immune system and overall health. n Rosie Main, D.C., owns Main Health Solutions at 2300 W. Everest Lane, Suite 175, in Meridian. She is also the host of Maximized Living Radio on 94.1 The Voice and KIDO 580 AM. For more information, visit MaximizedLivingDrMain.com.
Christian Living | May / June 2020 23
Church is open (just not in a building) By Jim Day I would like to share some thoughts on COVID-19. I know that most of us are sick of hearing about it and just want something done to ensure our safety, but bear with me. My dear friend, Caleb Paull, posted the following on the Facebook page of our church, and I wanted to share it with you. *** “COVID-19 death rates increase” … I don’t write that to spark fear. I just know that in the moment I read that headline recently, the Lord was trying to speak to me. I grabbed my Bible next to me and saw it was bookmarked to 2 Corinthians. I looked at the headline again and this is how it jumped out at me: CO VID 19. I thought, “Well, maybe the CO is talking about the book of Corinthians.” So I opened up my Bible to 2 Corinthians. I looked up the verse 1:9. And when I saw it, I couldn’t believe it. This is what it says: “Indeed we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” Did you get that? How many of you have been relying on yourselves? Have you been relying on your ability to stock up on food? On your ability to provide for your family? How many of you have started to leave God out of the equation, out of fear and worry? God is using this to show us not to rely on ourselves but to rely on Him: His power, His provision, His promises. God is using this to break us of our pride and fear and to instill complete trust in Him. But there is more. The word “vid” is in the very middle. I decided to look up the meaning of it. Guess what it means? It means “to see.” What if God is asking us to SEE that He is still in the midst of this? He hasn’t forsaken us. His promises are still yes and amen. As scary as the world may appear to look right now, I encourage all of you to release your fears to Him. Don’t rely on your power and your ability to get by. Seek Him wholeheartedly. The word “corona” is defined as “a crown.” But it also has another meaning: “what surrounds you.” If you look at what surrounds us today, it may look like it is not pretty. Lack of supplies, long lines, scared people, closed buildings, etc. But let’s not lose focus of the
fact that in the midst of this, God is here and He will never leave us. He surrounds us like a shield. He surrounds us with His glory. “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the glory that will never fade away.” (1 Peter 5:4) *** This struck me as a powerful word from Caleb, but please read on. I saw another post from an anonymous source that spoke about what your pastors are facing now: “You see, your pastor needs you more than ever right now. Your pastor has never pastored a church through a pandemic before. When he opens the church, people will say he should have stayed closed; and when he closes, people will say he should have stayed open. When he does not shake hands, people will say he needs faith. If he does shakes hands, people will say that he’s foolish. “He is going to have to make some difficult decisions to protect the flock, considering everything from your spiritual growth to legal liabilities that you are not even thinking about. “Every pastor believes that he pastors the most amazing group of people. Please remember that nobody wants things to go well at your church more than your pastor. He needs your prayers, now more than ever.” *** Now here are my thoughts about all this: As a pastor, the struggle to make the right decisions is more than difficult. Our church is small and the average age is well above 65. I have spent hours in prayer — days, even weeks, over some of these decisions. The church will stay open. Before anybody gets too excited here, I want to point out that the church is not a building. The church is us, believers in Jesus. So whether your church building is open or not, your church is alive and well as long as we continue in prayer and worship — even if we aren’t gathered together in the same structure. God has called me to preach and teach and feed the flock that He has given me to be shepherd over. With some creative thinking, that is being done all across our nation. Online services, hand-delivered sermons, common prayer times, email and ‘snail mail’ can all be used to continue to do what God has called us to do.
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24 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25) You see, beloved, faith cannot be stagnant. It either grows or it goes. If your faith is not growing, then it is fading. That is the “why” behind this piece of Scripture. Fear is the enemy of faith. When our level of fear rises, our level of faith falls. When our level of faith rises, our Jim Day level of fear falls. If you are afraid, go to God and His Word. Psalm 23 and Psalm 91 are great places to start. Please do not misinterpret what I am saying. I am not judging anybody; that is not my job and is way above my pay grade. I don’t want to influence people one way or another concerning whether or not they attend church in a building, but we have to look at God’s Word as a whole. Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (Romans 13:1, NKJV) Our leaders have asked us not to gather together. The Bible tells us to submit to that authority, and if possible, we should. Unless, of course, it conflicts with God’s Word, which is the ultimate authority. I will leave you with this. Everything happens for a reason. We might not like it, but there is a reason. It might not be our choice, but it’s truly not about us; it is about Him. Yes, God loves us. More than we can imagine. And sometimes it can seem like God is “out to get us.” He is, but not in that way. God is out to get us to return to Him. Right now, to me anyway, it seems like He is trying to get our attention and our focus back on Him. Are you tired of being afraid? Do you long for peace and comfort? But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33, NKJV) Through this trying time, do your utmost, your very best, to be obedient to God. This is an opportunity to share our faith in a new way. May the world see Jesus in us, through any and all circumstances. Let us all trust in the Lord, for He is trustworthy. May the Lord protect and keep you and bless you in abundance. In the name of Jesus, amen! n Jim Day is the pastor of Valley Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Hazelton, Idaho. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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Christian Living | May / June 2020 25
NATIONAL Day of Prayer
This year, it’s as important as ever This year will be only the 3rd time since 1988 that circumstances have caused the time to change, this time to 6 p.m.* This year’s guest representatives include: Ron Crane, Master of For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Ceremonies, and Governor Brad Little. the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14 NIV) You are welcome to bring a folding chair as this is an outdoor event and typically lasts 75-90 minutes. Metered street parking is Habakkuk 2:14 is this year’s theme for the National Day of Prayer, available (most meters are monitored until 8 p.m. M-F), or there are which is Thursday, May 7, 2020. While many churches and city halls may be planning to have meet- two nearby garages, one at 550 W. State St. and another at 608 W. Washington. ings to pray for our nation and state at their locations, the most wellEveryone is encouraged to come join in this prayer event and known public prayer event is at the State Capitol Building, located at to invite their friends and 700 W. Jefferson in downtown Area of Prayer neighbors. If your church Boise. This year’s prayer rally Guest Speakers isn’t involved, consider asking is planned to be held at 6 Mayor Debbie Kling, of Nampa Government if you can form a National p.m.* on the Capitol steps. Lt. Col Rob Morris, Senior Chaplain, ID National Guard Military Day of Prayer team at your President Harry Truman originally signed a bill Brian Yeager, General Manager of KTSY Media church. If distance prevents you from attending the Boise proclaiming the National Day Rick & Sue Ellen Montgomery of Diamond Heating & Cooling Business event, please consider hosting of Prayer into law in the U.S Dr. Greg Wiles, Superintendent of Nampa Christian Schools Education an event in your area. in 1952. This law was later For anyone looking to get amended in 1988 by President Pastor Dan Mangeac, Good News Community Church Church involved or donate to help Ronald Reagan, designating Karla Slonaker with Moms in Prayer Family make this event possible, there the first Thursday of May will be cards handed out at each year as the National Day Music coordinated by Mark Thornton the Boise Capitol event. For of Prayer. information on the NDoP Vonette Bright, a co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as Cru), founded the Na- Bible Reading Marathon call P. Lancaster at 208-890-9881, and for other information call M.E. Stewart at 208-861-6112 or email crostional Day of Prayer Task Force in 1979 in Colorado Springs, Colo. email@example.com. In meeting with Idaho’s current State Coordinator Debbie Crosby If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themHaake, we learned that in 1988 Vonette invited local pastor Orvil selves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked Stiles to become the Idaho State Coordinator, a role he took on faithfully until 2004, when at the age of 91 he passed the baton on to ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV) n Debbie. The local National Day of Prayer Task Force is a committee of volunteers, including Debbie, who work diligently each year to secure * Publisher’s note: Governor Brad Little extended the “stay home” orders concerning COVID-19 through April and will reconsider the orders after that date and the reservation for use of the Capitol’s steps, coordinate speakers determine whether or not, and how, the orders will be carried out in May. The and music for the annual event, as well as contacting area churches Idaho National Day of Prayer is May 7 regardless of whether we meet physically through letters, emails, personal phone calls, and occasional church or electronically. Please pray with your families on this day for the seven areas of visits, to garner involvement in this wonderful prayer rally, and to influence in our society: Government, Churches, Education, Military, Business, provide churches with flyers for the event at the State Capitol for Media, and Families. We also want to add prayers for all first responders and their church bulletins, with much of the materials provided by the all those who continue to serve the public with essential services during this time. committee volunteers personally. Please check for updates on the Idaho National Day of Prayer Facebook page. Traditionally, the prayer rally is held at noon on the Capitol steps. By Sandy Jones
National Observance The National Observance in Washington, D.C. will be hosted by evangelist Will Graham and other national Christian leaders, with Michael W. Smith leading worship. It will be broadcast live May 7 from 8-10 p.m. EST (6-8 p.m. MST) at www.ndp.org, on GOD TV, on DayStar, Moody Radio, Bott Radio, and The National Day of Prayer Facebook page.
26 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
TOILET Paper Parable
Do we really need to hoard? By Bethany Riehl I assume by now that you are tired of hearing about toilet paper. Me too, my friends. Me too. And yet, here I am with more talk of toilet paper and viruses and preparedness. But the Lord taught me something at the beginning of all of this, and I believe it’s vital. May I share with you my Toilet Paper Parable? In February, I skipped my regular Costco run. We had plenty of everything we needed and I wanted to save money. When the first payday of March came around, I had every intention to make a trip as my supplies were dwindling down. Then a friend posted a picture of the crazy lines and I decided to skip it and wait a few days. Little did I know that would turn into a couple of weeks! I avoided shopping as long as I could. Coffee is actually what led me to the store before toilet paper (priorities, am I right?). But I did also need toilet paper. I gathered my resolve, drove to Costco, parked, and sat in my car a moment to pray and prepare myself. “Lord, I simply ask you to provide for my needs today.” That’s what I wanted to remember — that He would care for my needs, and my idea of needs are not always lined up with His. As I walked through the full parking lot, I saw many people leaving with two packages of toilet paper and I felt both a flutter of fear and of optimism. Fear because I have actual anxiety at the thought of trying to get to something before everyone else. I knew there was a chance that the store wouldn’t have what I needed and I was okay with that (sort of) as long as I didn’t have to fight anyone for it — or, rather, feel like I was pushing in for it. I would never fight someone for something. As I walked in the door, my emotions flip-flopped when the greeter told me that all of the toilet paper was out (they had been stocked when they opened and then immediately cleaned out). I was relieved and then frustrated. No longer faced with the need to rush to the back, I went about my regular shopping, And here is where I had to face my own sinful nature. I passed multiple carts with two packages of toilet paper. I had come to the store with only the desire to fulfill my need. I had no plans to stock up. The fact that everyone I passed had two packs got my blood boiling and the internal screaming turned to high volume. “Seriously?” I thought to myself. “Does he/she really need two? How many more people could have been taken care of if everyone only took one? People are so selfish!” My tirade came to a screeching halt when I caught myself just about to ask a woman if she would please quit being a hoarder and share. My lips were curled and the snark was about to fly. Thankfully, that whisper that I know intimately as the Holy Spirit stopped me cold. I needed to turn my focus from others’ carts and into my own heart. Why on earth did I instantly walk in judging everyone around me? For all I knew the woman I nearly gave a piece of my mind might have a large family or needs that I wasn’t aware of. Who was I to think I deserved toilet paper more than her?
28 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
It’s amazing how much uglier our own sin looks on someone else. I stopped to take a few deep breaths and remind myself of my prayer in the car. Much more calm, I found the vitamins I needed and was reminded of my favorite woman of faith in her most desperate time of need. In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom shares her own struggle with sin and selfishness in much more dire circumstances. While in Ravensbruck concentration camp, she speaks of unimaginable conditions. Standing for hours before dawn in the bitter cold for roll call, starvation, cramped quarters, lice, sickness, and death. At one point she realized she was turning more and more to survival at all costs. She would push to the center of the roll call ranks so that she and her sister Betsie would be guarded from the wind; she hid the yeast compound a nurse had smuggled to them under her pillow until the lights were out so that only Betsie could use it; when an extra blanket was issued, Corrie didn’t want to share with those who had none. She told herself that she was protecting Betsie. Precious, beautiful Betsie, who, in spite of her own frail health, was ministering to countless women in that awful place. They were there, Corrie rationalized, to do God’s work for the others. They prayed with women and held nightly Bible studies, after all. It’s not as if they were anything like the soldiers around them, tormenting — even killing — innocent people. But then she writes this, “Oh, this was the great ploy of Satan in that kingdom of his: to display such blatant evil that one could almost believe one’s own secret sins didn’t matter.” How easy is it, Christian, to see the world around us in the grips of sin and destruction and tell ourselves that one extra case of toilet paper is nothing compared to what we read in the news? How easy is it, Christian, to be the one to miss out on the toilet paper and feel completely in the right to boil with anger toward those who took two? How easy is it, Christian, to rationalize selfishness, no matter how small it may seem? I spent the rest of my trip thinking of Christians throughout history who have given completely of themselves for the sake of others. Before this outbreak, I heard of a bad drought in China that has many people on the brink of starvation. Christians there are giving their neighbors the only food they have because that is exactly what Jesus requires of His followers. I thought, too, of the story I read about a pastor on the Titanic. After getting his wife safely into a life boat, he spent his time on the ship as it went down witnessing to others. When it sank, he swam to a man to ask if he believed in Jesus. The man said no and indicated he wasn’t interested. The pastor gave the man his life vest and said, “You need this more than I do,” before swimming to the next person. As he drowned, he held his head above the water shouting for all to turn to Jesus to be saved. The man with his vest survived and came to know the Lord because of the pastor’s sacrifice. We are living in a time where panic rises quickly over the slightest discomfort. Now, please don’t hear me say, “The virus is no big deal; calm down.” Please don’t hear me say that. I have a fragile, sick
mother who is at very high risk of death if she contracts this virus. What I pray you’ll hear me say is this: Christian, this is when we put our money where our mouth is. God is our fortress and our strength; a very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). He did not promise us health, wealth, or prosperity. Our time for absolute peace and security will come, but not here. Instead of stocking up, maybe we should pray for how to help. Can we share? Do our neighbors have needs that might inconvenience us but greatly benefit them? We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It seems the Church has gone commercial in recent years. Some even claim they can teach you to heal, to interpret dreams, to speak in tongues, and participate in heaven tourism — for a price. (FYI, you can’t teach or plan gifts of the Spirit. He moves in His time alone.) Jesus did not promise an easy life here. He promised trials (John 16:33) and persecution for the believer. That’s exactly what He experienced on our behalf; why do we think we deserve better? (Matthew 10:16-42) When I say all this, I realize that a person who doesn’t believe might wonder why we would follow a God like this? One that requires sacrifice, selflessness, love at all cost? The world offers better, it would seem, if we would live for ourselves. The reason we follow this Jesus, this God of ours, is because we know there’s more coming. He was tortured and killed and buried on our behalf, yes. But then, on the third day, He rose. He conquered death and sin and wiped our slates clean, if we believe in His Name. There is a wonderful world coming. Of feasting, of peace, of joy, of light, of being in the presence of the Triune God forever. No more death, or pain, or suffering. God’s ways are not like ours. We have to allow His spirit to guide us away from our own flesh. Where we would hoard and scramble, He would have us share and exude the peace He alone can give. In
His world, death, suffering, and destruction can be tools, if we trust Him with them. He can use how we behave to bring others into His kingdom. And that is far more important than that closet you now have full of paper products. Oh, one more thing, lest you think this God we serve doesn’t hear or care about our frail humanity. When I made my way to the back of the store for paper towels (they weren’t out of those Bethany Riehl that day), they had just unloaded another shipment of toilet paper. I gladly took one pack, told the very tired worker that I appreciated her, thanked the Lord for His provision, and moved on. Stay safe, my friends; but even more, stay open to the work of the Holy Spirit. He is much bigger than all of this, and we have this glorious hope: “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was laying.’” (Matthew 28:5,6) n Bethany Riehl loves to write stories and articles that explore the complexities of relationships and encourage readers in their relationship with Jesus. She joyfully serves in the children’s ministry at her church, teaches at a homeschool co-op, and drinks more coffee than necessary to keep up with her only-slightly-crazy life. She is the author of four Christian fiction novels and now lives in Meridian with her spunky kids and very handsome hubby.
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Christian Living | May / June 2020 29
THE Joshua Institute
A place for kids who learn differently When her family came to Nampa, Idaho to serve By Gaye Bunderson with Mission Aviation Fellowship, for a while she For some students, learning is easy. For others, it’s missed her mission work in Africa. She felt called to challenging but doable with some hard work. For missions very early in life. “I know without a doubt that others still, learning is a constant struggle — even God called me to be a missionary at age 10,” she said. though some students in that bracket are far from She was raised in a Christian family in Minnesota lacking in mental abilities. and attended “a great church.” One Sunday she Connie Risser, founder of The Joshua Institute, answered an altar call to give her life to God. “I went was a student in the latter category. Now 57, Risser to the altar and had a serious impression I was going to can still recall the difficult school days when she was be a missionary,” she said. It was an indelible inspiratreated with disrespect for her lackluster academic tion that never left her — even after leaving Africa and performances. It wasn’t until later in her life that she moving to the Gem State. Turns out, she was still going discovered she is dyslexic. Suddenly, her school days to be involved in mission work, but it was going to be were put into perspective. It wasn’t that she couldn’t of a different nature. learn. She just couldn’t learn the traditional way “After being here for a while, someone asked me, ‘Do that was comfortable for (almost) everyone else. you miss Africa?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ And that person told Risser has an impressive record of achievement me, ‘There’s an unreached people group here called despite her dyslexia. She and her husband Jason are Connie Risser ‘dyslexic children.’ When I heard that, I thought, ‘My missionaries with Mission Aviation Fellowship. The calling hasn’t changed!’” Risser family — Connie, Jason and their three chilHer vocation was intact. “Coming here was still a fulfillment of that,” dren — lived and did mission work in Africa for 15 years. In 2004, Risser said. when Risser’s 9-year-old daughter was unable to read, her worried She began working with children with dyslexia from out of her home. mom contacted the Member Care Department of Mission Aviation “I started in my living room with six children,” she said. Eventually, she Fellowship and told the person on the other end of the phone, “We became director of the Idaho Learning Center. Then she founded The have a disaster here.” Joshua Institute. In 2008, it became a non-profit, now 12 years old. In Nine-year-olds should be able to read, right? Well, not if the child 2015, it moved to its current location at 2150 W. Cherry Ln. in Meridhas dyslexia. It turns out both mother and daughter have the same ian. It survives through donations and grants. Seventy-five students learning disorder. Thankfully for Risser, the MAF staff members attend the Institute, and 15 professionally trained educational coaches had recently attended a conference for children, where dyslexia was work to help them succeed. discussed. They referred her to the National Institute for Learning Asked how the name The Joshua Institute was chosen, Risser exDevelopment (NILD.org) and told her, “It would be good for you to plained, “If you were coming to The Learning Center, you were ‘dumb.’ come and get some training.” That’s not how we felt, that’s how the kids felt. There’s nothing worse for She did go get training — all three levels of it — and realized in a teenager than to have someone think they’re dumb. We wanted this to doing so that her own academic challenges could be traced back to be a safe place where kids come and risk learning. We chose a name that dyslexia. That knowledge, and the subsequent training she got, were our kids could identify with.” a boon to both Risser and her daughter. The now-informed mom It’s based on Joshua 1:9 in Scripture: Be strong and courageous, for returned to Africa and worked with her child. “Within 10 months, I am with you. my daughter was reading ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,’” Risser said. Being dyslexic herself, she understands the students’ challenges and Risser had already acquired a degree in international ministries how they learn best, because they’re just like her. “I’m a big picture from Moody Bible Institute; and following that, the graduate level learner. I see the bigger details, with a lot of color and description,” she training she received through NILD led to her getting a master’s said. “Memorizing is hard.” degree in education.
30 May / June 2020 | Christian Living
CHURCH DIRECTORY She said she would inevitably do poorly on a multiple choice exam because of her dyslexia, but when she first conceived of TJI, she could visualize the whole thing in her mind — with “description,” as she puts it. She also feels she’s a communicator; dyslexia doesn’t hamper her ability to convey thoughts and ideas. Describing the methods at The Joshua Institute that benefit the young people most, Risser said, “It’s very individualized; it’s focused on a multisensory technique and research-based methods known to remediate learning disabilities. … Every kid is tested. We look at the data discrepancy between intelligence and what they’re able to do. We thrive at closing the gap.” The Institute is for any child who’s struggling with learning, according to Risser. She also stressed, “This is a Christian school.” A child doesn’t have to be a Christian to attend, and neither do his or her parents. But, Risser stated, no one at the Institute is going to stop talking about faith and how it influences their lives. “The heart of missions is still very much alive here,” she said. “We have several Mission Aviation Fellowship wives here, and that fits with our mission-mindedness. We believe with all our heart there’s no exception to ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, as it says in Psalm 139:14.” For more information about The Joshua Institute, go to www.joshuainstitute.org. It’s an allyear institution with a two-month break in late summer. There are also staff openings. “I need more educational coaches — I’m desperate,” said Risser. Information about qualifications, salary, and other relevant job specifications are also available on the website. The Rissers are still listed as missionaries with MAF, and Connie is also an NILD instructor. “I teach wherever they need me,” she said. Last summer she taught in Zimbabwe and was thrilled to be back in Africa. Still, she won’t be leaving The Joshua Institute. “This is my biggest passion,” she said. n
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — Thessalonians 5:11NIV
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Christian Living | May / June 2020 31