May / June 2021
Honoring a brother
Fortitude A metaphor for the just
One SCOTUS decision
Nataliya Barbin of Hello Beauty Full wears a t-shirt to honor her brother; May is National Motorcycle Awareness Month
Contents May / June 2021 FEATURES Have a gay child?: Love him or her
National prayer day May 6 11 Nampa mayor’s prayer breakfast slated 11 Meridian mayor’s prayer breakfast set 11
Parents’ No. 1 job: Teaching the Word God’s provision: See it multiply Do not judge: Examining Jesus’ words Jerry’s Life
America and prayer: One SCOTUS decision
Cover Story Hello Beauty Full:
14 — Deuteronomy 7:9 17 20 COLUMNS 20 Real Man’s Toolbox: 22 6 ‘I choose hope’ 8
Circling Jericho: A military strategy? Dementia caregiving: Hope and tips The Toddler: What a houseguest! Kathie Carlson: A ministry to missionaries Devices and TV: What are you discipled by? Forgiveness: Release the perpetrator Are we significant? Ask Jesus
Middle of the story:
Get To!”®: 26 18 “I Grace for grief 28 31 Wednesday’s Child: Meet Jonathan 32 DEPARTMENTS 36 Your Daily Bread: 27 Maintain 2020 momentum 38
Understanding 40 30 Relationships:
Need Prayer? Call Idaho Chaplains Association
Talk to a Chaplain
The ‘language of hint’
Responsible 31 Biblically Investments: Investing as a Christian
Health: 34 Maximum Diabetic diet plan
IN EACH EDITION
208-968-1991 4 www.idahochaplains.com
Publisher Sandy Jones email@example.com 208-703-7860 Editor Gaye Bunderson Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising & Sales Kimberly McMullen email@example.com 208-703-7509 • Katy Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org 503-816-3042 • Scott McMurtrey email@example.com 208-841-4583
Choosing to Love: Show no rudeness
Dots: 16 God Africa calling
Volume 10, Number 3
General Info firstname.lastname@example.org 208-703-7860
Road Less Traveled: 12 The Hallmark of the just
Honoring a brother
“Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.”
Cover Photo Rachel Wolf Photography Graphic Design Denice King www.greentreedkdesign.com 208-918-5190 Contributors Daniel Bobinski, Rick Chromey, Jim Day, Roxanne Drury, Joan Endicott, Terry Frisk, Greg Grotewold, Doug Hanson, Leo Hellyer, Jason Herring, Barbara Hinther, Vincent Kituku, Rosie Main, Gary Moore, Steve Nelson, Bethany Riehl, Scott Riggan, Ed Rybarczyk & Bradley Shotts Website Design SEO Idaho Distribution D&S Distribution • 208-985-6904 Christian Living is committed to encouraging and instructing individuals in their daily lives by presenting stories of people in the Treasure Valley who are living on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and who serve as uplifting examples to others. Views expressed in Christian Living do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by Christian Living to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2021 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.
Publisher’s Corner: Keeping the focus Christian Living | May / June 2021 3
Focusing on who and what’s important
I see more people on social media pointing out the needs of others. More gofundme assistance fundraisers for all kinds of reasons. Phil Connors (Groundhog Day movie): I see organizations opening halfway houses to “You want a prediction about the weather? help those less fortunate. I see other groups You’re asking the wrong Phil. I’m going to fulfilling the needs of others who can’t help give you a prediction about this winter. It’s themselves. I’ve witnessed many acting as the going to be cold, it’s going to be dark and it’s Hands and Feet of Christ. going to last you for the rest of your lives!” I know this season we’re in feels like it’s never ending; trust me, I’m feeling it too. After this past year I can imagine that we all I also know that we cannot let the enemy get have a bit more empathy for Phil Connors, a inside our heads. We cannot listen to his lies. character in the movie Groundhog Day. I know To be perfectly cliché – I’ve read the back of I’m not alone when I ask ‘when will all of this The Book, and I know Who Wins! I remind “new normal” end, and let us get back to the myself to claim that victory; to claim authority good old normal?’ over the enemy that is found in that Book, and As I’m out seeing clients; running to the radio Sandy Jones tell him ‘NOT TODAY!’ station to record an episode Today belongs to God, The of Christian Living Spotlight; going to the grocery For God so loved the world that he gave his Father; Jesus The Son; and store; I’m noticing one thing. only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth The Holy Spirit, Who lives People appear to have less within me. in him should not perish, but have everlastpatience. I hear more horns I believe we are living honking. I witness more road ing life. For God sent not his Son into the in a time of revival. The rage. I see more people cut world to condemn the world; but that the enemy does not like this. I others off. world through him might be save. realize I need to put on the You know what else I’ve – John 3:16-17 KJV full armor of God, while at noticed? I’ve noticed that the same time asking God while some are being aggresfor wisdom and clarity on sive, and, yes, even selfish behind the wheel, I’ve noticed that many others are still doing the right thing. They are letting that what’s truly important to Him – where to draw the line; what guy out of the parking lot and into traffic. They’re letting that battles does He really have for me to take on? They’re not all rude guy who just ran past the whole line of cars that waited mine to fight – sometimes I need to hit my knees and let Him through 3 lights to get to the freeway on-ramp – they’re waving do the fighting for me. Recalling that He sent His one and him in; graciously holding back to give him room to merge in only Son to live and die for us – please never forget, He loves at the last possible second and get on the freeway. you that much! By Sandy Jones
Who is in this week’s
? Join us each week as we take a deeper, more personal dive into people and ministries we’ve covered in Christian Living Magazine Saturdays at Noon MST on 94.1 FM The Voice Listen “live” at www.941thevoice.com or catch the replay under “Program Archives”
4 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
The Armor of God
This issue of Christian Living Magazine welcomes some additional new faces to our team, and as I previewed several of their articles I was once again touched by how we see The Hand of God through this entire project, each and every issue. We never give a theme for an edition, although we do give some guidelines from time to time. This issue is no different. As the articles and stories started coming in to our editor, Gaye, and she shared them with me, a natural theme started to emerge. I want to believe it’s God speaking to us all, reminding all of us of His great love for each of us, and perhaps nudging us to recall just Who sits on The Judgement Seat. I was greatly encouraged and filled with His Hope and Promise, and hope you will be too. Thank you for sharing this journey with us! And as always, I would be remiss if I didn’t graciously thank our advertisers. We couldn’t do what we do without their support, and so often their words of encouragement. Many of them are our biggest cheerleaders. Please support our advertisers, as you can, and thank them for their part in Christian Living Magazine. Until next time… God Bless! n
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV
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REAL Man’s Toolbox
Like it says on the radio, ‘I choose hope’
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
By Leo Hellyer For the most part, this column is designed to give men tools to put into their Real Man’s Toolbox. These tools are the ones that we grab when we are trying to live life in a way that glorifies God. All of us have been on a journey for quite some time – a journey that at the end of 2019, we could not have even come close to imagining. Men, we are blessed to live where we do. Living in the Great State of Idaho, we have so much true godly guidance, and so many tools to put in our Toolbox.
One area that shines brightly in our communities is the abundance of Christ-centered broadcast media outlets available to us. While I am going to concentrate on one of those outlets, I definitely do not want to take anything away from the others. As we search for the best way to let God’s light shine through us, we have many choices to make. There are many things that we face on a daily basis as men and particularly as Christian men. As we do this, we have many choices to make as we try
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to determine what courses of action we are the time we need to hear it. God speaks to us in going to take. KTSY Radio has a three-word so many ways, all we have to do is to listen and statement that is one for all of us to follow as be willing to follow as He leads us. As we look at we live our lives in the world as it currently is today and contemplate tomorrow, let’s CHOOSE – I CHOOSE HOPE. HOPE, the hope that God gives us in His Word. I CHOOSE HOPE, three simple words, KTSY 89.5, PROJECT 88.7, and KBXL 94.1 but three very powerful words when applied are just three of the inspirational, God-blessed, to living life in a world that at times can be radio stations in the Boise area. Wherever you very dysfunctional, confusing, negative, and are at, take the time to search the airwaves for the even depressing. You see, when we choose great Christian radio stations in your area. hope, our mind and energies are focused on As you organize your Real Man’s Toolbox, Leo Hellyer what can be, and should be, instead of what make sure to put Christian radio in a very promiwe might be currently facing. nent spot where you can always find it. This is definitely a tool In Jeremiah 29-11 we read, “For I know the plans I have you want to be able to grab easily. There are many messages for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not flying around our heads, from a number of different sources. to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Hope Quite a few of them are less desirable than others, if not actuis defined as ‘a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain ally evil. Just as we need to have our hearts and minds attuned thing to happen, a feeling of trust’. It is very different having to God and His truth, we also need to have our radios and hope based on man, as good as that can be, compared to hope computers tuned in to the truth of God. based on God’s promises. Every day of our lives we are faced with decisions. Some of In Romans 5:5 Paul tells us that, “Hope does not disapthe decisions we have to make have more effect on our lives point, because the love of God has been poured out in our than others. As we look at all of the facets of our lives, our perhearts by the Holy Spirit which was given to us.” In Rospective has a lot to do with the outcome of every challenge we mans 15:4 Paul also points out, “For whatever things were face. We can make a choice how we face life’s challenges, be it written before were written for our learning, that we through health issues, financial issues, employment, politics, personalithe patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have ties, etc. I don’t know about you, but I choose HOPE: Heavhope.” enly Options for People Everywhere. n Many people around us live their lives without hope. As we Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and listen to the news, and many national political leaders, all we has been married to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. hear is hopelessness. The primary reason for this is that so The couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry many are looking in the wrong place for the answers to the Team for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with Boise challenges we all face. Rescue Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently Christian broadcast media outlets are great sources of serving at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is presiGod-inspired guidance in life situations. It is wonderful to see dent and chief firearms instructor with Helping Hands how God uses these outlets to speak with us in times of need. Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about I know of friends of mine, and have experienced it myself, where the perfect song, speaker, or station staff person says the Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be most moving and heart-filling thing for the moment, at exactly reached at email@example.com or 208-340-5544.
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firstname.lastname@example.org Christian Living | May / June 2021 7
CHOOSING to Love
Love is not rude or dishonoring
wasn’t dishonoring. He extended grace. With Jesus’s behavior as our example, our primary command is to “Love the Lord.” Note: In March of 2020 I decided to use Applying Paul’s definition, that means we this space to focus on God’s greatest comshouldn’t be rude or dishonor him. God is, after mand. If you’re connecting with this series for all, the epitome of perfection in all things good. the first time and would like to read the earlier If we’re looking for viable “do’s” in place of columns on this topic, I encourage you to visit “don’t aschẽmoneõ ,” the words “respectful” Christian Living’s website to read the whole and “polite” work well. series. Visit www.christianlivingmag.com/ Then comes the command to “Love your columns/ neighbor as yourself.” As is my custom, I like to examine the “self ” part first, because if I As I wrote in the fall of 2020, when Paul become intimately aware of how God loves me spells out the definition of Godly/agape love, and I receive and own what He is giving me, he starts by telling us what do to (e.g., be pathen it’s easier to give those things to others. tient, be kind), but in the middle of his definiBefore I continue, allow me to explore the Daniel Bobinski tion he lists what not to do (don’t envy, don’t fears that are part of human nature. I believe boast, don’t be proud, etc.). many people miss out on much joy in life because they act with My question is always, “If we’re not supposed to do somea fear of criticism. People use many techniques to deflect the thing, what else should we do instead?” For example, when pain that accompanies criticism, and one of those techniques Paul says, “don’t envy,” alternatives include being celebratory is being harsh on oneself. The subconscious thought is that if and thankful for what we – and others – have. one is critical toward oneself, then it won’t hurt quite so badly An alternative for “does not boast” could be to “be humble.” when someone else criticizes. Consider this all-too-common Being “not proud” could mean being a realist, with no need to example: puff up our accomplishments. Chris shows you a project he’s been working on, and the first This installment focuses on how love is not or does not words out of his mouth are everything that’s not right about aschẽmoneõ (pronounced as-kay-mon-eh’-o). The word means it. He points out all the flaws and offers reasons why he wasn’t unseemly, inelegant, and uncomely. able to correct those imperfections. Aschẽmoneõ is translated multiple ways: What’s really going on is Chris is trying to avoid the emotion• KJV: Love does not behave itself unseemly al pain he would feel if someone pointed out flaws in his work. • NLT, RSV, and ESV: Love is not rude By pointing out the imperfections, Chris is, in essence, say• NIV: Love does not dishonor others ing, “Yes, I already know what’s not right here, and by letting • NASB20: Love does not act disgracefully you know I already know, your words about the imperfections • NASB95: Love does not act unbecomingly won’t sting as much.” Let’s explore the concept of “love does not aschẽmoneõ ” in This fear inhibits agape relationships, but I believe this fear light of the greatest command – to love the LORD our God can be alleviated by receiving (and owning) God’s love for us. with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors In other words, accepting and truly embracing the love God (in the same) as (we love) ourselves. is freely giving us. Since (a) God is not rude nor dishonoring Scripture tells us God is love, and that means the bedrock toward us, and (b) we are not better than God, we don’t have and best example of agape love is Jesus, so we should start the right to dishonor or discredit ourselves. Instead, we can there. find great peace resting in how polite God is toward us and When looking at the various English translations, Jesus does how much grace He extends us. not behave unseemly, he’s never rude, and he doesn’t dishonor Detractors might say God is no “respecter of persons,” but others. Also, he never acts disgracefully or unbecomingly. in response I say God is not one to wag His finger in our face. Some will disagree, claiming that when Jesus turned over the God talks to us as a loving Father, and that is what we need to tables of the money changers at the temple, he was not acting own. For when we do, it’s much easier to talk with others with in accordance with accepted standards of decency or moralhonor and dignity, too. ity. I would beg to differ. There are times when those who’ve And yes, as Jesus instructed, that includes our enemies. That become blind to their sin need a vigorous wake-up call, and it’s doesn’t mean be all warm and fuzzy and hug them as they plot not disgraceful to shake them up if that is the last option for and scheme to harm us. Practicing Godly (agape) love with getting their attention. Remaining forever polite while somenot aschẽmoneõ means we can be respectful toward those one continues down a path of sin that leads to eternal death is who despise us. We don’t have to agree with people to act with not loving. decency toward them. As we read through the Gospels, we see that no matter how I pray everyone reading this receives God’s love, accepts it, Jesus was treated, he wasn’t unseemly, rude, or dishonoring owns it, and then acts toward others the same way. We are, toward others. When the Pharisees and teachers of the law after all, His ambassadors. n brought to him a woman caught in the act of adultery, notice that Jesus didn’t sarcastically ask, “Where’s the man who Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is an award-winning and best-sellwas with her?” We also know that Jesus did not condemn ing author and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. the woman. In the spirit of agape love (not aschẽmoneõ ), he Reach him at email@example.com or (208) 375-7606. By Daniel Bobinski
8 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
One mom’s views on having a gay son By Gaye Bunderson
Publisher’s note: Christian Living Magazine editor Gaye Bunderson interviewed Katy Nelson about what it’s like being a Christian with a gay child. Katy speaks about her own personal experiences and also offers her own private opinions about homosexuality. Christian Living stresses that these are one person’s opinions. The story was written with Katy’s son’s permission. Like most people, Katy Nelson has gone through a number of experiences in life. But unlike some people, Katy is willing to share what she’s been through in hopes of helping others. One of those experiences is having a child who is LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer). First off, just to be clear, Katy adores her son. She also believes he was born gay. If the situation has given her pause because of her Christian walk, one thing it hasn’t done is make her love her son any less. His name is Jimmy, and he is now 29. “I thought he might be gay even when he was a toddler,” Katy said. “Jimmy chose his own styles, and his mannerisms were often what I had seen in others who identify as gay.” For Jimmy’s part, he wants his mother to understand that people in the LGBTQ+ community are not that different from anyone else. “Jimmy tells me, “We’re people, with ups and downs, just like you. We aren’t ill or broken, and we’re just trying to live life the best we can’.” Asked if she wanted to “fix” her son when he was a child – to sort of un-gay him, if it were possible – she responded, “I didn’t know what to do. I chose to ignore it – I didn’t know what to say.” Then, thinking back on it all, she continued, “I didn’t want for him to be gay, because I knew life would be hard for him, that he would experience bias and prejudice. I know now my silence was just as telling as any conversation we could have had.” Jimmy didn’t come out to his mom until he was in college and, for the record, she did not try to change him. Because she is Christian and Jimmy was raised in the church, they both see the situation through the lens of faith to some extent – but it’s a different colored lens for each of them. Having grown up in the church, Jimmy understands his mother’s faith, but he no longer believes. A young Jimmy once prayed, “God, if you made me this way, why does everyone tell me these feelings are wrong?” Katy made it clear in a blog that “I don’t pray for Jimmy to come out of his homosexuality. I have learned to pray for God to use Jimmy as He chooses.” She said, “Too often we pray for what we want, not what God wants.” She went on to offer her opinion that, “Being gay is not a sin; acting on being gay is a sin. In the same way, drinking wine is not a sin; drunkenness is a sin. Sex is not a sin, but pornography is. Acting on any sexuality in inappropriate ways is a sin. We all have boundaries in our lives – gay or straight – and we all have a thorn in our side of some sort. God is going to use us. God is going to use Jimmy. He can use Jimmy in a way He can’t use me.” She makes it clear that the idea that Jimmy was born gay is not blaming God. “We live in a fallen world,” she said. His
10 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
homosexuality may have been the result of something in utero, some blend of chromosomes that came together differently than many other people’s, she feels. And what if her son decides to get married to another man? “If invited, I would go to his wedding; but as an ordained minister, I would not perform the ceremony.” Would that cause friction between the two of them, does she think? “Jimmy is very good at respecting who I am. We have very different worldviews, but we respect each other, and we don’t hassle each other – we love each other.” These words are from her blog: “We can now agree we have different worldviews on life while respecting and practicing unconditional love. We both celebrate exactly who we were created to be during this lifetime.” Everyone in her family also accepts Jimmy, which leads to the next question: How would Katy like Jimmy to be treated by the church? Though he is not a regular church-goer at present, what if he went to church one day, seeking God? “I would hope they would welcome him as a person and accept him – greet him and love him, as they are supposed to do with everyone. We’re all sinners. The Gospel is for each one of us. It is through our actions we commit sin, not the creation of who we are, created by God.” No one has ever made Katy feel uncomfortable about having a gay son, nor blamed her. “I don’t bring it up [to other people] unless we’re talking about something. As a Bible study leader, or in my business as a coach, I want people to understand my life is not perfect,” Katy explained, then going on to list a number of trials she’s been through, including miscarriages and the sudden loss of her first husband. “This is my life. I’ve been through that, so I understand what you’re going through. You can love other people and share with them, and God is using you.” People who know about her son have sometimes asked her to share with someone in a similar situation. They’ll say something like, “I know a pastor’s wife who’s struggling with this. Can she call you?” “God’s starting to open up more of that,” Katy said. “I want it to be a piece of my ministry, but not all of it.” Her advice to others would be as follows: “Number one, love your child. God tells us first to love. I’m not saying it’s not going to hurt and that there’s not going to be tears. But the Bible tells us not to judge. It tells us to love.” What about the case of a transgender child? “I would say the same thing: love them,” she said. She and Jimmy went through a time of estrangement. It was Jimmy’s decision, and Katy feels he was just not quite ready to be around his family at that time. But following the death of his father, Katy reached out to her boy and said, “I want to have time with you – let’s have dinner together.” And they did. In fact, they had a longstanding dinner appointment for years because, Katy told her son, “We need this.” Dinner together. Loving and caring. Those are the kinds of things family members do, gay or straight. n If you'd like to connect with Katy, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
National prayer day to be marked May 6
Nampa mayor’s prayer breakfast planned
This year’s National Day of Prayer Idaho State Rally will be held Thursday, May 6, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at 700 W. Jefferson St. in downtown Boise. Once again, believers in America will join together on the first Thursday in May to come before God, humble themselves, and seek His face so they can hear from heaven. The National Day of Prayer is celebrating 70 years, or seven decades of prayer for America. A statement on the NDP website reads: “Imagine what our nation would look like if God’s people had not been praying. From the beginning, prayer has been woven into the very fabric of our nation … it has been the thread that God has used to knit us together and to hold our nation together. Now imagine America without prayer – if weary hearts were tattered and torn into silence. We are the ones who are called to mend the fraying fabric of our culture, by appealing to our God who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above what we can even ask or think.” Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley will again be joining other believers on the Idaho Capitol steps for a revamped event, encouraging prayer from every participant, woven with powerful worship from a worship team and a large community choir made up of singers from all over the valley. Various pastors and community leaders will lead in prayer, including Pastor Ken Wilde (Capital Church), Pastor Tom Dougherty (Cloverdale Church of God), and others. Ephesians 6:18 reminds believers to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” For more information, contact publicity coordinator Jutta Burenheide at (208) 250-0232 or email@example.com. n
Special speaker Doug Armstrong, former president and general manager of KTVB News Group, will speak on “U Turn OK” at the 44th Annual Nampa Mayor’s Community Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, May 6, at the Nampa Civic Center. Presented by the Kiwanis Club of Nampa, the program will be held from 7 to 9 a.m. and will feature a special performance by a Nampa Christian High School group. Tickets are $15 each for the breakfast buffet, and those interested in attending may order tickets by calling (208) 442-3232 or going to ictickets.com. n
Meridian mayor’s prayer breakfast set The 51st Annual Meridian Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast is set for 7 to 8:15 a.m. Thursday, May 13, at Ten Mile Christian Church at 3500 W. Franklin Road in Meridian. Mayor Robert Simison will speak; Doug Armstrong, current Idaho Statehouse chaplain, will be the keynote speaker. Tickets are $17 each, and those interested may register at www.eventbrite.com. For more information and order tickets go to www.meridianchurches.org. Questions may be directed to Pastor Rod Enos at firstname.lastname@example.org. n
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Christian Living | May / June 2021 11
THE ROAD Less Traveled
The hallmark of the just and righteous
Mike Tyson during his formative years in boxBy Jason Herring ing, once said: “To see a man beaten not by a This past March marked the 50th anniversary better opponent but by himself is a tragedy.” of Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier in what was Our greatest battles are always fought with Self. dubbed then and still considered now “The There is no more formidable opponent than Fight of the Century”. It was the first of an Ego. It’s not that sometimes we are our own epic trilogy that was as entertaining as any worst enemy. Unchecked and unguarded, we Rocky film but more so. In the final round of are always our own worst enemy. The comprethe bout, Frazier sent Ali to the canvas for the hensive laundry list of sins comes from within first time in his career. As I watched the fight replayed in tribute to the classic contest, I was our hearts, Jesus said, and they defile our charstill amazed at how quickly Ali got back up. acter and conduct. The right side of his jaw was considerably swolHow then do we respond to implosion? The len – nearly as bad as Frazier’s left eye. Most same way we respond to any type of adversity. men would’ve stayed down. Ali was not most We get up. We learn from our mistakes. And we men. grow forward. Two years after the slugfest, a still undefeated Jason Herring The sage of Israel wrote to his son: “A just Frazier would face another unblemished oppoman falls seven times, and rises up again” nent in George Foreman. Frazier was knocked down six times (Proverbs 24:16). He didn’t say why he fell or how he fell. Just in less than five minutes before the fight was called halfway that he fell. And for whatever reason, he gets up again and through the second round. Foreman hit Frazier with shots inagain and again. If seven is the number of completion, then cluding an uppercut that would’ve taken the heart out of most we can conclude that he always gets back up again. He is men. Frazier was not most men. He kept getting up even as committed to the struggle. He will crawl if need be to find the friends and family at ringside were begging him to stay down, ropes and pull himself to his unsure feet. He is a just man. He even as Angelo Dundee could be heard screaming ringside: justifies his existence by rising up from his mistakes as well as “Stop the fight! Stop the fight!” adverse circumstances beyond his control. This is what I’ve always loved about the so-called Sweet SciIt’s Joe Frazier begging his trainer Eddie Futch not to stop ence. It’s Mike Tyson getting knocked senseless by “Buster” the fight before the 15th round of The Thrilla in Manila, even Douglas before a stunned crowd in Tokyo, and then crawling though his eyes were swollen shut and he could have suffered on all fours to find his mouthpiece so he can regain his feet to irreparable damage in that final round. In the opposite corner, keep on fighting even when he’s clearly in no condition to do Ali might have been in more serious danger, saying it was the so. I’m too young to remember Ali vs. Frazier, but I was 13 closest he ever came to dying in the ring. He literally collapsed years old when James “Buster” Douglas shocked the world in when the fight was called. There was no “Ali shuffle”, no showTokyo by knocking out “The Baddest Man on the Planet”. At boating. There were just two men who had left everything they the time it was unbelievable and I was only too happy to see had in a 21-foot square. Call it ‘heart’, call it ‘mettle’, call it the undefeated champ knocked off his throne. In the years ‘grit’. When it translates into real life, it’s what Solomon called since, however, I’ve come to respect and admire the scene of the fighter stumbling on wobbly legs with his mouthpiece stick- the hallmark of the just and righteous. n ing halfway out of his mouth ready to face the next barrage. Jason Herring is a father to four amazing kids and husThe word we use for that is mettle, which is the same as the band to his wife, Suzanne, of 21 years. In 2009 they word metal but spelled differently to denote the figurative experienced two miscarriages and the loss of their 4-yearsense. These were men of metal – iron men – who showed the quality of their elements by how they responded to getting old son Josiah to cancer. In the wake of that devastation, Jason has sought to share hope with others who walk that knocked down. Their substance was revealed in the forge of same valley. He is passionate about his family, mountains, adversity. Spartan Races, history books, writing, and speaking on the Life has a way of knocking us down and sometimes we have a way of knocking ourselves down. Cus D’Amato, who trained grace of God.
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12 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
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RandyB Funk Christian Rapper
Rapper: RandyB Funk Don’t try to slow Christian Rapper RandyB Funk down, he has a gift and wants to use it to benefit his community!
next song is scheduled to drop this month and features R-Swift, who many in the industry call the ‘Godfather of Christian Rap.’ R-Swift also headlined with RandyB at the 3rd Annual Fired-Up Tour.
RandyB continues to create powerful ways of sharing God’s love and Christian HipHop with the Treasure Valley, and the world. Known for his Christian Hip-Hop music and his monumental SOS Service Drives that benefit The Boise Rescue Mission and The Idaho Humane Society, he is one of the hardest working teens in the area. In 2020, along with his busy performance schedule, he produced two additional hiphop shows, dubbed the Annual Fired-Up Benefit Tours. The best Christian rappers in the area were selected for these shows and the door revenue went entirely to the Boise Rescue Mission. This year’s 3rd Annual Fired-Up Benefit Show, took place in April 2021, followed by a performance at Preview, both at Boise Bible College, where he is a cocurricular student; both high school and college. RandyB was also chosen by nationally known Effect Radio 91.9 FM, to be the “ARTIST OF THE MONTH,” in September 2020, and in December he was awarded the “DO GOOD CHAMPION,” by Project 88.7. He was the December 5th SPOTLIGHT with our own Sandy Jones for Christian Living Magazine’s radio show, Christian Living Spotlight; and this April was interviewed by Discover Idaho on TVPBN.com and his FiredUp concert in April was aired live! RandyB has multiple songs on Christian radio and is now preparing for the release of his next single, followed by his newest video. He is currently working on the production of the Hip-Hop Love Fest, which takes place in the Treasure Valley on July16th. While he still has a few more spots open, he has been booked for over a dozen performances this spring/summer.
RandyB also has an upcoming video shoot in Hawaii this June, (where he was raised until age seven) for his popular song “NEW DAY” with Derick Sebastian, who is hailed as the best Ukulele player in the world! He’s been blessed to perform with Steven Malcom, 1K Phew, R-Swift and many other talented rappers. He reports that there is a movement in the Boise area to offer Christian rap as a vehicle to comfort and reach those broken and affected by the shut down - especially the teens.
Additionally, Project 88.7 recently announced that RandyB Funk had been selected to be included in the line-up for SUMMER SPLASH at Roaring Springs, which features KB, WANDE, ZAUNTEE and, yes, Treasure Valley’s own, RANDYB FUNK! Having been featured in multiple publications, as well as on radio and news shows, where he has consistently shared that he loves serving his community through his volunteering and music; finding inspiration for his music through his interaction with those in need. After an EP and multiple singles, RandyB Funk dropped his first album, titled “DIVIDED,” in 2020. He followed up with another single in January 2021, titled “WORK,” and is working on his second album! No stranger to work, he never stops giving 100 percent to his community. His
The Hip-Hop Love Fest will take place on July 16, 2021 and will focus on the love of God, and victory over depression and suicide. RandyB shares the following quote, “I want to encourage my peers and the community that there is comfort and hope, in the love of Jesus. I want to create a space for people who come to my concerts, where they can feel God’s love; connect and belong.” He stresses that all ages and families are welcome and encourages them to come and support these concerts. “I like to keep it positive and fun. I’m doing what I love and trying to change our community for the better.” When asked if he prefers to be called a ‘rapper’ or a ‘Christian rapper,’ he answers, “I don’t care if you call me, a rapper or a Christian Rapper, Jesus is a huge part of my life and that’s always going to show through in my music.” Team RandyB Funk can be contacted at: phone (208)-914-3793; email email@example.com. Find him at randybfunk.com, on social media @ randybfunkmusic, and heard on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music
PARENTING’S No. 1 job
Teaching the Word of God to your kids
Steve Nelson is shown here with his son and daughter, each with a homemade caption of what they might say about Bible study with Dad. (Courtesy photo)
By Steve Nelson According to the Bible, to live the best possible life, each person needs to prioritize their own relationship with God above all. Secondly, if married, a spouse is next priority. Third, if kids, they’re the next most important relationship. From birth, parenting is fun and a lot of hard work. (Intriguing fact: in Eastern culture in the Bible, a child wasn’t considered a full adult until 30 years of age.) How is parenting defined today? To retain custody of a child, as a parent in the state of Idaho and across the country the law requires that you feed and clothe a child, plus no physical abuse. That’s the recipe – just a little dignity and care. The bar is set pretty low. Yet many parents do little else but help the children survive, not thrive. A majority of parents do much more than the bare minimum listed above. Loving a child involves so many other parts of life, and here are four major decision-making categories: school, health care, extracurricular activities and religious instruction. In this article we’re going to focus on that last component, the “religious instruction.” It is the category given the least amount of attention today.
14 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
First, let’s consider how much time kids spend doing different things.
Church time: If a child goes to church at all with their family, it is usually 40 times or less per year, with one hour of Bible time at the most each week. That’s 0-40 hours annually in the Bible. (Nowadays, most families are closer to zero.) School time: As far as instruction guidelines, children from kindergarten through high school spend between 450 – 990 hours per year at school. Yet public schools never give Bible instruction. Even private schools still have to cover the basics of academics, so even a very motivated curriculum only teaches the Bible a little bit, up to 3 hours a week, and even that is rare to see. So that’s 0-117 hours annually in the Bible. (Most kids have closer to zero hours of Bible learning in school.) Time with parents: Not counting sleep time or school, children spend approximately 4,000 awake hours per year with their parents. That’s 4,000 hours annually! Wow. With those numbers in mind, which category of life is the BIGGEST opportunity to learn? Is it church? No. Is it school? No again. It’s when the kids are with their parents. However, the tragic reality is that despite this HUGE amount of time, kids typically receive zero hours of Bible instruction from their parents each year.
of this is important. But parenting done right, according to the way God looks at it, must include teaching the Word of God as a priority. Churches or schools might be an important component added to that, but the bulk of the Instructions from God in Deuteronomy 4:10 instruction about spiritual matters needs to be tell PARENTS to teach their children how at home. It starts with parents. Teach what you to respect God (not the church’s job, not the know. This behooves a parent to have someschool’s job). Then Deuteronomy 6:7 tells thing to teach doesn’t it? Indeed. (God wants all PARENTS what to do with the words of the people to know the Word of God!) Word of God: “teach them diligently unto thy children” (not only hope a church alone teaches Steve Nelson Even if a parent spends merely 20 minutes them, nor throw them in a private school and per day with their kids doing some kind of think that alone covers it either). A third ScripBible time, every day, it will be much more Bible time than ture emphasizing this is Deuteronomy 11:19, saying to hold any church or school added together. This might be reading, the Word of God in their own heart and then “teach them to or discussion, or watching a video, or listening to an audio your children” at all locations and all times (not merely pray 2 teaching, or singing, or activities. There are lots of materials minutes before bed). to choose from. It just requires a decision and then the follow This is revolutionary news. Of all the things in life that a through. Parents, it’s never too late to start. You can do it! God child needs to learn, why is the very first thing God says parents should do for children is to teach them the Word of God? bless you! n It must be important. The MOST important! Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. Finally, what is the practical action This article comes from “Raising Disciples” Segment 29 of “CORE”, a course for families on how to read and parents need to take, starting TODAY? Parents must do more than teach kids how to throw a football understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or or how to dribble a soccer ball. Chores, homework, fun – all reach Steve at T4FamilyCenter@gmail.com.
Next, let’s find out God’s perspective on what parenting should include, besides the physical needs.
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Christian Living | May / June 2021 15
African pastor calls small Idaho church
By Jim Day I was praying and asking God what He wanted to include in this issue. We have seen many God Dot stories over the last three years. … Then I got a phone call. The number had several extra digits and no caller ID. I was about to ignore the call when a little voice in my head told me to answer it. It was from a man named Wycliffe Ouma Oyangore. He said that he was the pastor of a church in Kenya and that he’d been praying that God would connect him with an evangelical church in the United States. I have to admit I was a little suspicious. I thought, he’ll want money, of course. Then there was the language barrier. He spoke EngJim Day lish, but his accent made it difficult for me to understand him. I asked him to send me an email. Then we prayed and said goodbye. I texted my email address to him and then received a wonderful message from him. He asked if our church would “sister” with his for the advancement of God’s Kingdom in Kenya. He asked for prayer. I love to pray! Here is the email that he sent to me:
Hi Pastor Jim, About my family: My wife is called Patricia Achieng. I have six children – four daughters and two sons, called Linda, Deborah, Marcie, Annhill, John and Glister. I am 40 years and my wife is 35 years. I came from a poor family and that made me not go to school, and so, I am just feeding my family with small means of farming and that’s where I get what I have to give as my offering unto the Almighty God. My spiritual life history: I got saved in the year 2001 and in year 2004 I heard the voice of God talking to me at 5 a.m. on a mountain when praying and fasting. He said to go and teach His people; it was a long conversation with God. I started doing the work of God in the ministry to which I was born spiritually. My pastor and mentor died in the year 2017 and things started to fall apart as I was just a servant of teaching the Word of God. Later, in the year 2020, God directed me to go to a town called Rongo here in Kenya to share the Gospel and that is when I started this church. It has around 43 elderly members and 36 children, we pray for new members to continue coming. We have 8 people as a team of praying intercessors. The church is leasing ground which we have to pay monthly because we still lack land to build a place for worship. The majority of church members are poor and we have to manage with the little we get from offerings. I and our team are praying that God may provide a way to achieve land for building a place for worship because the owner of the leased land changes his mind abruptly and can interfere with church congregating. We really do the same spiritual work you do by teaching the biblical truth. Dream: My dream is to fulfill the spiritual needs of God’s people, according to Him, (discipling) through fellowship, teaching, prayer and fasting according Acts 2:42 and reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and planting churches, Mk. 16:15-17 and Mt. 28:19-20.
Plan: My plan is to pray consistently with my prayer team so that God could open doors for us to achieve goals of building places for fellowship, empower unfortunate people like widows, orphans and the destitute (Isa. 58:7, James 1:27), establish income generating projects to support the entire mission, supporting or empowering servants of God who are out to do the work of God in churches, according to 3 John 1:5-8. I also wish to help new converts who are poor with Bibles to study the Word of God (Jos. 1:8). My view: I would like to request you as from today that your ministry name is the one that this church I have stated will be, because I have not named it. And also request you to plan and come to see us and do some required things for establishing ministry here, i.e., ordination to servants and registration of the ministry here as the government of Kenya demands. I may not have covered everything, but you are free to ask me anything that you want me to answer. Once again, may the will of God be done as He planned it for His glory. My love to you and family. Shalom
Wycliffe and I have exchanged many emails and phone calls. I have made calls to others to ensure that Wycliffe and his church are legitimate. He checks out. So, the question is, “Why did God make this connection with Wycliffe and his church?” Here is what I know to be true. The nation of Islam is invading almost all of Africa. They are building small mosques in many areas in many nations. The most wealthy churches and people in the world are American. The Christian churches in Africa are some of the poorest in the world. The Lord put it on Wycliffe’s heart to seek partnership with someone/anyone, who might be able to help. You see, Wycliffe and his church are much like Gideon in Judges, Chapter 6. The smallest and the weakest against a horde of locusts. I believe that Wycliffe is a mighty man of valor. God can do what He wants with or without us, but through this God Dot, He is giving us an opportunity to participate (with Him) in helping the church in Africa. I don’t know about you, but I’m in! Our church has decided to do all that we can to help this little church. Not sure how much help we can be, because our church is smaller than his. So, there is an ask here: Please pray for us and for Wycliffe and for God’s glory in this. Our church is ordering Bibles to be sent in two weeks and is starting a building fund. I have no doubt that God has called us to this. If you pray and feel that God has called you to help, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This God Dot could be the start of something really big! n
G O D d o t s
16 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
Jim Day is the pastor of Evangelical Valley Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Hazelton, Idaho. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Jonathan longs to travel with family
Fourfold Kingdom of God
Design of the Space-time Universe By Gerald Paul Kooyers
Four Functional Realms
The following information is provided by Wednesday's Child, an organization that helps Idaho foster children find permanent homes. With dreams of one day becoming a businessman or engineer, 13-year-old Jonathan is hoping to find a Forever Family that will cheer him on and support him as he achieves his goals. This sharp young man may say school isn't easy for him, yet he still strives to work hard and succeed. Jonathan has quite the sweet tooth. He loves the Christmas holiday season because the eggnog and sugar cookies come out. He would like to learn how to do more of his own baking so he can enjoy his favorite goodies more often, like Rice Krispy treats, cupcakes, and even ice cream. Jonathan shares that he is an active boy and enjoys spending time outside riding his bike, hiking, and engaging in Nerf gun wars with friends. He can also be very mellow and doesn't mind playing by himself with his Legos, watching his favorite YouTubers, singing to the radio, and playing video games. Jonathan shared he would like to travel with his future adoptive family. He would like to see New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Europe. Jonathan's permanency team is looking for an adoptive family that has a strong understanding of childhood trauma. He would thrive in a home that provides consistency for him. Jonathan would do well as the youngest or oldest sibling in a two-parent home. Jonathan’s permanency team is looking for families in Northern Idaho, though they are open to all inquiries. If you think Jonathan might be the right fit for your family, inquire today at www.idahowednesdayschild.org. (See below) n For more information on the Idaho Wednesday's Child Program, visit www.idahowednesdayschild.org, or contact Recruitment Coordinator Shawn White at firstname.lastname@example.org or cell 208-488-8989 if you have specific questions.
One of the more intriguing often repeated themes of the Christian Scriptures is the quantity of four. There are four types of trees in the Garden of Eden, a river that becomes four rivers that water the four types of trees, four beasts in the prophecy of Daniel, four creatures with four faces in Ezekiel’s vision of God, four horses and four chariots in the vision of Zechariah, and four living creatures that surround the throne of God and the Lamb in the Revelation of the Apostle John. These four creatures call out four horses, four messengers of destiny. So what is this very fundamental theme of four all about? An interesting read - For those seeking a scientific discussion of Christianity A book for those seeking to understand how the universe is designed; what makes man tick; how to have an eternal life of peace, fragrance, & beauty, this is a very valuable read.
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“I GET TO!”®
Trade grief for compassion and grace
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay
By Joan Endicott “Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four-year-old child, whose next-door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, ‘Nothing, I just helped him cry.’” (From The Most Caring Child, by Ellen Kreidman) This last year I have had many opportunities to help others cry. It is a painful, yet powerful reminder of the impermanence of this life. Christians grieve differently, yet grieve we do – and should – for how final the loss is in this life. Though we know intellectually death is part of life, we still feel devastated by it. We cry, mourn, and grieve these irreplaceable losses. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” — Jamie Anderson, Australian author Even though we know death is part of life, if we are not purposeful, we easily slip into apathy, passivity, and distractions that keep us from being fully engaged, present and appreciating the irreplaceable gifts of abilities, relationships, and experiences. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. modeled for us and challenged us with these words: “You can’t choose when you will die or how you will die, but you can choose what you give your life to.” When we think of the word grief, we naturally think of the loss of a loved one to death – the greatest grief we humans endure. But the more I have studied grief for my personal growth and worked with clients who are walking the grief path, I’ve discovered one of my most valuable lessons for choosing how I will live
18 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
this life, which happened to also unlock a new level of freedom for myself and others. Grief comes from loss. In addition to the death of a loved one, think about other loss you have experienced in life, such as the loss of a trusted relationship, or rejection; feeling ridiculed, bullied or shamed; the devastation of infidelity; being used or manipulated; divorce, job loss, failed business opportunities, or any lost opportunity. My dear husband experienced lost opportunities both as an athlete and a coach. While a coach, his team went undefeated the entire season. They already had two victories over the team they ultimately met at the championship game. They lost! It was painful. He still calls the arena they lost that championship game in “The House of Pain.” It’s important for you not to diminish your pain by comparing it to someone else’s. “Well, compared to them, mine is nothing.” The good news is, it is not a competition. There is plenty of compassion and kindness to go around for everyone. This journey we call life is full of sorrow, pain and heartache and it’s important to acknowledge yours with the same grace you would your best friend. After my friend Laurie was in her car accident (due to her distracted driving), she was so severely brain-damaged, she was disabled to the point that she could do nothing – not even communicate. It is impossible to describe the tremendous loss and grief I experienced – grief for her, her four children, her family and loved ones. In case no one’s ever told you, grief has no expiration date. Please never try to deny processing a past pain because “It was sooo long ago…” It does not matter how long ago something happened; if it has not been pulled up and processed in a healthy way, it is still there. It wasn’t until I was an older adult that I learned how to give myself grace to grieve over the neglect and abuse I experienced in my childhood. My five-year-old self was still in there and since she never had anyone acknowledge her pain, offer compassion, and grieve all those losses with her, she still needed that! Since I
was the only one who knew exactly what she went dying, the fear of the unknown, wondering where through, I began grieving with her and for her God was in all of this… over her stolen innocence, abandonment, nightOnce I gave myself compassion and the grace to mare fears, destroyed trust, and the unfair shame grieve over all the heartache I felt with my mom, that accompanies being used and abused. it opened a whole new level of compassion for her Just because you were able to repress something – truly helping me to look past her deeds to the for years certainly doesn’t mean it’s gone. It’s like need of her struggling soul. I began to fully grieve taking a large, slippery, air-filled rubber ball and for her and still weep for what she went through pushing it under water. You can use both hands and how she suffered. and a great deal of your energy and focused atThe more you give yourself opportunity to tention to hold it under the water. That works for process your own grief with self-compassion, the only so long before you’re exhausted, lose your more you have it to give others. It’s a multiplier. Joan Endicott grip, and it bursts out of the water and smacks As Mother Teresa reminded us, “The world is full you in the face. That’s why getting help processing of suffering. It is also full of the overcoming of it.” any painful loss is so, so important. It does not go away and our Just like our little four-year-old friend demonstrated how to secrets can make us sick. When we have someone help us put a “Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15), he brought comfort small hole in that ball and let the air out gradually, we can finally and compassion to his dear, grief-stricken neighbor by simply sitfind freedom. Easy? Heck no! Worth it? 100%! ting on his lap and helping him cry. Any time our soul is suffering, Rather than trying to avoid it, or escape it, if we connect with we just want someone to help us cry. I’m sure you’ve done this for others who understand, it helps normalize it for us and we realize others on many occasions. Now is the time to make sure you are we are not alone. Though hard and uncomfortable at first, for doing it for yourself. n your sake and those you love, lean in – don’t lean away. I was deeply grieved when feeling rejection from my mother beJoan Endicott is an Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, Aufore she died. That was far more painful than her physical death. thor of “I Get To!”® founder of GIANT-Slayer Her death was not her choice, rejection was. I so wish my mom would have been willing to work with a trust- Coaching and “WOW!” Women Owning Their Worth©. Her coaching reaches over 30 countries. Meet her and get her ed friend, mentor, or counselor to help her process her grief over FREE videos, book excerpts and content at JoanEndicott.com. all that was happening – her past, the disease, the loss of ability, Follow her on IG – she posts encouraging words daily! the loss of control in her body and her life, fear of the process of “ I found everything I was looking for here: good Kvass, bread, sprats, dairy all my favorites. Bread was hot out of the oven. I took it home and put sprats on it -AMAZING! This store is clean with plenty of room to move. The staff was kind and friendly.”
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Christian Living | May / June 2021 19
‘THOU SHALT not judge’
A closer look at what Jesus was saying By Ed Rybarczyk Many believe Jesus’ most important words were, “Thou shalt not judge.” Today, in a divisive society permeated by rage, name-calling, and moral confusion, a non-judgmental attitude is prized. But when Jesus uttered those words, was He really ruling out all judgment? What did He really mean? Perhaps it would be helpful to see Jesus in His historic context. Everywhere he went Jesus engaged Jews and their understanding of the Jewish law. On that front, the Old Testament repeatedly commands us to make judgments and guides how to make them. For instance: Exodus 23:6: “Do not pervert justice for the sake of lawsuits from the poor. Stay away from false charges.” Leviticus 19:15: “Do not render an unrighteous judgment; do not be partial to the poor or show deference to the great.” Proverbs 31:9: “Speak and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” The Old Testament is uniform: if there are no possible distinctions to be made, if there is no judgment for crimes, there can be no societal justice. Again, civil justice is only possible if righteous and fitting judgment is made. But there’s further nuance to be gleaned from Old Testament passages, nuance that promotes the ancient adage, “Do not judge a book by its cover.” For example, in 1 Samuel 16:7 God said to Samuel about Eliab, a potential candidate for king, “Do not look on his appearance or height...for I do not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
That same appearance-versus-hidden-qualities distinction appears in 2 Chronicles 6:30: “May you hear us, Lord, from heaven...forgive us...for only you know the human heart.” The Jewish law was clear: we cannot know a person’s deepest motives by looking at externals, only God peers into the soul. God sees what we cannot see. Because we know Jesus regarded the Old Testament as God’s authoritative revelation, we are not surprised to learn that He affirmed it in His own teachings. Here He is in His Sermon on the Mount, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while a log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine.” (Matthew 7:1-6) The first thing we notice is that Jesus was affirming Old Testament teaching: we should not judge based on appearances. Just because someone has a speck in their eye – colloquial speech for a character flaw – does not mean we should condemn them. We have no idea why they have that flaw and we have no idea whether they fight against that flaw. Jesus is clearly echoing the Jewish law that we not judge based on appearances.
Jerry’s Life By Jerry McMurray
20 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
again? That process of discernment echoes Second, we hear Jesus emphasizing the the Old Testament on making righteous judgmatter of motives. How can we assume what ments. For instance, Jesus directly commanded someone else’s motives are when we do not proper discernment in John 7:24: “Do not even pay attention to our own motives? Seriously, we believe we can clearly see the sliver judge by appearances, but judge with right in their eye but we cannot see the log in our judgment.” What are our seminal take-aways from Jesus own eye? In Jesus’ thinking that is an ugly on judgment? 1) Don’t judge by appearances, disconnect. Today we might call that sliveronly God sees the heart. 2) Don’t be a hypoand-log dynamic a matter of projection: we crite and condemn people who have less of a land on and emphasize a minor flaw we see in character struggle about something than you someone else’s character, a flaw about which Ed Rybarczyk do. And, 3) when you do judge do so with we ourselves are having a profound struggle. righteousness. In all of those Jesus was taking established Old Judging like that is clearly hypocritical. On this front once Testament teaching and passing it along in language familiar again we see Jesus affirming ancient Jewish teaching: don’t to the common folks. Even more? Jesus was in fact not saying assume you know someone’s motives. Only God sees the what is so commonly attributed to Him: that He was against heart. making judgments. What He did want? Righteous, just, and Third – and this point is commonly overlooked regarding fair judgments. n Jesus’ own judgment – He positively commends we make judgments. At the end of his comments on bad judgment Ed Rybarczyk, Ph.D., is both an ordained minister and (Matthew 7:6), he pivots to commend good judgment – “Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls a retired History of Theology professor. He now produces before swine.” Simple logic dictates in order to know who is and hosts the Uncensored Unprofessor podcast a dog or who is a swine – more colloquial speech, this time @uncensoredunprofessor.com. He may be reached at email@example.com. about those who would trash holy things – that a recognition, a distinction, a judgment must positively be made. Yet Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
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JUNE 15, 1962
The day America no longer had a prayer By Dr. Rick Chromey
“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us,our parents, our teachers, and our Country. Amen.” This is the prayer school children once prayed to begin their day. That is, until June 15, 1962 – when school prayer was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case centered upon a non-sectarian prayer that New York employed since 1955. Then one father got upset...not by the prayer itself but rather its head lowered and hands clasped posture.(1) “[It’s] not the way we say prayers,” he said.(2) So, he sued New York state. At the time, ninety-seven percent of Americans believed in God and had no issues with school prayer. It’s why this SCOTUS ruling radically forged a new secular standard and precedent of legal protections for religious minorities – allowing the offended to overrule the religious majority by invoking the “establishment clause” (that Congress cannot make a law “establishing” a religion). Never mind that in this New York case, as well as hundreds of court cases since this 1962 ruling, Congress had made no law at all. A year later the Supreme Court further ruled against Bible reading in school, citing the 1962 case as precedent.(3) U.S. public schools could no longer read biblical texts nor invoke prayer to begin the learning day. Religion was systematically segregated from public education. Dissenting Justice Potter Stewart penned: “With all respect, I think the Court has misapplied a great constitutional principle. I cannot see how an ‘official religion’ is established by letting those who want to say a prayer say it. On the contrary, I think that to deny the wish of these school children to join in reciting this prayer is to deny them the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation.”(4) Unfortunately, these two court rulings didn’t satisfy the secularists. In the coming decades they’d launch new legal grievances against crosses, Ten Commandments, Nativity scenes, sports and graduation prayers, and other religious expressions in the public arena. This single 1962 court decision, with no precedent, radically put America on a secular path. Our spiritual – Judeo-Christian – values were slowly scrubbed, erased and removed. Today, the secularists argue America is (and always was) a plural, multi-religious culture. It’s wrong to give Christianity precedence. However, that’s not what our Founding Fathers felt. They recognized America’s freedom demanded a moral, religious and Christian people. Founding educator and historian Jedidiah Morse preached in 1799: “The foundations which support the interests of Christianity, are also necessary to support a free and equal government like our own. In all those countries where there is little or no religion, or a very gross and corrupt one, as in Mahometan (Muslim) and Pagan countries, there you will find, with scarcely a single exception, arbitrary and tyrannical governments, gross ignorance and wickedness.”(5)
22 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
Morse concluded that without the “kindly influence of Christianity” there would be no “civil freedom...political and social happiness.” Founding educator Benjamin Rush opined, “The Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life…the Bible…should be read in our schools in preference to all other books because it contains the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public happiness.”(6) University president and school text author William McGuffrey stated “The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our prevalent notions of the character of God... on its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions.”(7) Founder Noah Webster wrote “The Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children under a free government ought to be instructed. No truth is more evident than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”(8) Maybe that’s why American schools taught the four “R’s” (religion, reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic) for hundreds of years. Without Christian practice and instruction, our political and educational leaders believed our “republican forms of government” would fail. In reviewing the historical degradation of American values and morality, national disrespect and incivility, general cultural decay and widespread ignorance of our national Christian heritage, a direct line can be traced to this particular SCOTUS ruling in June 1962. It was, after all, the first overt and unprecedented step to remake America into a non-religious people. That’s when we began to forget who we were and what we valued. Even more indirectly, it’s also when religion, specifically Christianity (our founding religion), was segregated in our national culture. Since this anti-religious SCOTUS ruling in 1962, America has slowly descended into social disorder. Our homes, schools, and workplaces have become agnostic spaces. As Americans became more secular, we also grew more divisive, uncivil, litigious, undisciplined, violent, hedonistic, narcissistic and profane. We became modern Romans not historic Americans. Jeremiah prophesied about his people: “Yet my people have
forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths.” (Jeremiah 1:15) America is still a unique, blessed nation, but it’s not invincible. If it’s going to be destroyed, it will happen from within. It’s why June 15, 1962 matters. n
Hope Is Rising Christian Music Festival FREE Admission Presented by
Disciples of Salvation Inc Dr. Rick Chromey
Dr. Rick Chromey is an author, historian and theologian who speaks and writes on matters of religion, culture, history, technology and leadership. He’s the founder and president of MANNA! Educational Services International (www.mannasolutions.org). Rick and his wife Linda live in Star, ID. Image by Mark Thomas from Pixabay Sources:
1962 Engel v. Vitale: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engel_v._Vital “School Prayer in the United States”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ School_prayer_in_the_United_States (3) 1963 Abington School District v. Schempp: https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Abington_School_District_v._Schempp (4) As quoted in “School Prayers: Hearings Before the Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives,” 88th Congress, Second Session, June 3, 1964, Part One: p. 501. (5) Jedidiah Morse, “A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America,” Delivered at Charlestown, April 25, 1799, The Day of the National Fast (MA: Printed by Samuel Etheridge, 1799), p. 11. (6) Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral & Philosophical (Philadelphia: Thomas & Samuel F. Bradford, 1798), pp. 94, 100, “A Defence of the Use of the Bible as a School Book.” (7) From the forward to the 1836 McGuffrey’s Reader, “Our Christian Heritage,” Letter from Plymouth Rock (Marlborough, NH, The Plymouth Rock Foundation), p. 5. (8) Noah Webster, A Collection of Papers on Political, Literary, and Moral Subjects (New York: Webster and Clark, 1843), p. 291, from his “Reply to a Letter of David McClure on the Subject of the Proper Course of Study” in the Girard College, Philadelphia. New Haven, October 25, 1836. (1) (2)
Calling Christians of the Treasure Valley to Unite & Stand together We are in a very critical time in the history of Jesus Christ church. As biblical principals, values & morals are under constant attack from those individuals & powers of darkness trying to lead souls away from God. We are asking for your help to establish several long term Christian Worship festivals across our Treasure Valley communities. We are in need of Christian business sponsors, services, vendors, exhibitors, Christian radio & publications, churches, pastors, worship teams, prayer teams, Christian bands & musicians, & an Army of volunteers. Please contact us today to help build the stronger communities of tomorrow.
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Plan to Bring Your Family & Come Celebrate With Us! Disciples of Salvations Inc, a 501c3, hopes to bring the light, truth & love of Jesus Christ to lost & wandering souls searching for hope, & a helping hand. Lifting them up through the power of music that praises & worships our all mighty God.
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Christian Living | May / June 2021 23
Hello Beauty Full By Gaye Bunderson The sudden loss of a family member can cause much grief, and families often struggle to find ways to cope. When Nataliya Barbin lost her brother, Vasiliy Yaroshchuk, she remembered the kind words he always spoke to her, her sisters, and her mom: “Hello, beautiful!” “My brother would light up a room; he had a contagious laugh and was full of joy,” said Nataliya. Vasiliy died in a motorcycle accident near the Boise Train Depot at age 21 roughly four years ago. “My family never really lost anybody – it was a shock, a storm,” Nataliya said. When they held a candlelight ceremony for Vasiliy near the depot, many people showed up, people the family didn’t even know. Townsfolk came to pay their respects to the young man they had met as he went about his day, and in the process, brightened theirs. People from Dutch Bros. Coffee showed up at the candlelight ceremony and told Nataliya, “Your brother would make our day.” A lady from a paint shop where Vasiliy would stop in to buy something told the family he brought her joy; and then she revealed something the family didn’t know: he would always greet her by saying, “Hello, beautiful!” This was the first time family members realized he had said that kind expression to many others, as a way of cheering them and paying a compliment. Also, many people wrote about their fond memories of Vasiliy on Facebook. Nataliya had worked in a dental office for many years; and following the death of her brother, she was moved to tell her boss she had to quit to stay home with family. “I was trying to hold on to those words, ‘Hello, beautiful’, and I realized that he – my brother – was full of beauty; it wasn’t about me. He was ‘beauty-full’ as a Christian, and that’s how we’re all supposed to be,” she said. “Vasiliy had a heart for serving; he would play the violin in the church orchestra and taught Sunday school when he was only about 17 or 18.” “As he got older,” his sister explained, “he would do stuff for free for people, like if someone had a broken car that needed fixing, he would fix it and not charge them. Or if someone’s car broke down in Twin Falls, he’d go get them and not take any money. We often never knew he did this, because Vasiliy was humble. He literally lived to serve.” His love for auto body work eventually turned into a career, but it never stopped him from serving and helping others with their vehicle needs. Nataliya started to think about making shirts that promoted beauty, inner Christ-like beauty. “We are all full of beauty, but it is up to us to share it with the world. I started with one shirt to raise awareness. It was all faith-based – the shirts would reach those who didn’t know the Lord.” Three years ago, the shirt project became a small company named Hello Beauty Full & Co. Inspirational T-Shirts. It can be found online at hellobeautyfullco.com. Shirts are available there, as well as at some businesses throughout the valley (listed on the site). Nataliya did not intend to make a huge profit from the sale of inspiring shirts but only enough income to continue the project that is a tribute to her brother. A message on her website reads: “Let’s spread positivity around the world. Be kind, smile more, take the time to say hello, love and share your beauty. Inner beauty.” She also wants everyone to feel they are beautiful – or, more correctly, beauty full. A favorite Scripture is 1 Peter 3: 3-4 — “Your beauty should not come from outward adorn-
24 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
ment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Nataliya also built a giving back component into Hello Beauty Full and holds a 10 Days of Giving project in November. One of the first non-profits she worked with was City Light for Women and Children, a Boise Rescue Mission program for mothers and kids. Other non-profits include The Closet. Founded and operated by Kelly McMurry, The Closet provides free clothes to teens in need; also JEMfriends, founded and operated by Liberty Barrett Thompson and aimed at helping young people who age out of foster care. “Nataliya approached me two years ago. I can’t remember how we first met, so I’ll give God the credit. During her giving month, for every shirt somebody bought, she gave The Closet a free shirt. She delivered 25 shirts to us,” Kelly said. “Nataliya loves God. I never doubt that when I see her.” Natalie J. Williams, volunteer coordinator with JEMfriends, said, “The 10 Days of Giving program was where any shirt bought within those 10 days, she matched it with a donation of a shirt to JEMfriends. Nataliya’s story of how Hello Beauty Full and Co. started was so moving. We loved having her come and share with our JEMyouth. Her donation of Hello Beauty Full and Co. t-shirts and matching pajama pants was a success with the girls.” Said Nataliya: “We all mean to do well, and 10 Days of Giving is an opportunity to join me and make a positive impact. It’s my attempt to give back, but I want others involved in it. When we come together that way, our impact is greater.” Also, go to her website and check out her blog entry titled “Look Twice” (https://hellobeautyfullco.com/blog/f/ look-twice?blogcategory=GIVE+BACK). Nataliya designed a t-shirt specifically for motorcycle safety. When anyone purchases that shirt, she puts the money in a separate place. She has given money to people who have lost a loved one through an accident, but she’d also like to partner with an organization to raise awareness of motorcycles and motorcyclists. (See contact information below if you are interested.) Nataliya buys her t-shirts locally and gets them printed locally. “I sometimes write a blog when I’m launching a new shirt,” she said. She’s on Instagram and a good way to see what she does is to go to @HelloBeautyFullCo. She’s also on Facebook. She said that when she needs to do fundraising, whatever she comes up with is always enough. God always provides for what she needs at that time. Like his sister, Vasiliy was born in Ukraine and came to this country with his parents as a child. Nataliya, now 34, married and the mother of three sons, was 9 when she came to the U.S. Her brother’s “Hello, beautiful” will always be with her. “Oh, how we miss him,” she said. Her business is a dream fulfilled, and as it says on her website: [It’s] a dream for love over hate. A dream for kindness, inspiration and true beauty. A dream to see someone smile. A dream to keep a memory alive.” n For more information, visit the website at hellobeautyfullco.com or contact Nataliya at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inspirational t-shirts honor a brother’s memory COVER STORY
Nataliya Barbin’s brother Vasiliy died in a motorcycle accident at age 22. To keep his memory alive and remember his beautiful spirit, she started an inspirational t-shirt company. Here, she sends kisses heavenward to him while wearing one of her motorcycle safety shirts. (Photo by Rachel Wolf Photography)
Christian Living | May / June 2021 25
‘Is this the plan, God, or did I mishear?’ By Scott Riggan The Old Testament book of Joshua records the story of the Israelites arriving in the promised land. When they came to the fortified city of Jericho, God told Joshua that the way they would defeat this great enemy would be a bit unusual; they were to walk around the city walls for six days blowing trumpets while remaining otherwise silent – no shouting or taunting the enemy! On the seventh day, the people were to end their final walk around the city with a great shout and then, on cue, the walls would collapse. This was definitely not the usual military strategy for defeating a walled city in the ancient world. Normally an attacking army might weaken the wall with fire or tunneling. They might build a ramp out of earth and go over the wall – or just keep the city surrounded until the people inside ran out of food and water and they simply surrendered. But God told Joshua to just . . . march. Walk around the city for seven days. That was the plan. I’ve always wondered what it was like on day five. Did any of them start to feel a little foolish? Did they start to question Joshua’s leadership? Did anyone think about maybe slipping away from camp during the night? I have to admit, I’ve found myself in this very place before. I’m trying to be obedient but I’m also wondering “Is this the plan, God? Did I maybe mishear You? Are You really going to come through here, or is it possible that I’m just making a fool of myself ?” It’s worth keeping in mind that the people of Israel had literally just crossed the Jordan River which had been miraculously parted by God – so that they came over on dry ground. They were now in the land that God had promised to Abraham more than 500 years before. The first thing God asked them to do when they arrived on the other side of the Jordan was to stack some stones as a memorial to this miracle. I’m learning (slowly) to build memorials to God’s faithfulness – at least in my mind. I need to be reminded of what God has done for me in the past because it gives me courage and confidence to trust Him today. n Scott Riggan is best known for his recording of “I Love You Lord” (which hit #1 on Christian radio and stayed on the Billboard charts for 9 months – unheard of for an indie artist). He serves as Worship Arts Pastor for Eagle Christian Church and lives with his family on a small ranch in Emmett. After a long break from songwriting, he’s returning with new music (“Beautiful and Terrible”) this May.
No one walks alone .
Scott Riggan of Emmett is Worship Arts Minister at Eagle Christian Church. A former Christian singer chart-topper, he’s returning to recording, starting this May. (Photography by Michael Sean H.)
Scan the QR Code to the Right for a Free listen of Scott Riggan’s Song: Circling Jericho
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26 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
YOUR Daily Bread
Keep momentum on 2020 financial gains
to treat ourselves for the hard work and sacriBy Terry Frisk fice we have encountered, I also believe these The past year has significantly impacted our treats should be in the form of experiences that lives in many ways. One positive impact has enrich our lives. In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus said: been on our personal finances. While some “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on people found themselves unemployed, their earth, where moth and rust destroy and where finances were buoyed by increased unemploythieves break in and steal, but lay up for ment benefits and stimulus payments. For the yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither most part, people continued to receive similar moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do income compared to the pre-pandemic and not break in and steal. For where your treaspent less on commuting, travel, entertainment sure is, there your heart will be also.” and other activities that were limited due to the Jesus is conveying that our desire for material pandemic. possessions stands in the way of our relationA recent survey by the Pew Research Center ship with God. As our world starts to reopen found that 30% of American adults report their and we become more optimistic about the family’s finances have improved over the past future, there will be growing desire to resume year. According to the U.S Bureau of Economic Terry Frisk old spending habits. How do we overcome this Analysis, personal savings rates skyrocketed desire? Plan ahead and consider these tips: to 33% of income in April of last year and has remained at 1. Recognize that your income is a blessing from historically high levels since. In addition, after ten years of God. He has entrusted you to use your money wisely to serve increases in credit card debt, Wallethub reported the total Him. He wants you to achieve a balance between giving, savamount of credit card debt deceased $82.9 billion in 2020. It ing and spending so that you do not become a slave to money. has truly been a unique year. Hopefully, these newly developed financial habits will contin- Attain this balance through prayer. Continued on page 29 ue as we emerge from the pandemic. While I believe we need
Christian Living | May / June 2021 27
12 steps modified
Hope and tips for the dementia caregiver
or care home social worker, websites and online blogs. I visited many dementia blogs and websites in the middle of the When you cross deep rivers, I will be night and would receive love and support with you, and you won’t drown. When from other dementia caregivers from all you walk through fire, you won’t be over the world. Did it fix the situation? burned or scorched by the flames. I am No. However, we can keep going knowing the Lord, your God, the Holy One of we are loved and we’re not alone. Israel, the God who saves you. But you will be alone more than you – Isaiah 43:2-3 realize. Your friends and family may feel awkward and even afraid of your loved Everywhere are 12-step programs for one’s illness. They don’t want to acknowlalcohol, drugs, co-dependence, gambling edge that in this fallen world, this could and more, but I used the 12-steps, eshappen to them. It has nothing to do with pecially the first three, to cope with my you. Don’t take it on. Enlist their help. husband’s Lewy Body Dementia. The They’ll feel relieved and glad to support 12-steps are based on a spiritual program in the way that they can. For instance, and complement the Scriptures very well, they can pick up prescriptions or grocerespecially when coping with a terminal ies. Mow the lawn. Babysit your loved one disease like dementia. I used the 12-step so you can take a well-deserved nap. Pick program and some of its suggestions to up some takeout. Provide transportation navigate this darkness. Some examples to the doctor. include: Ask a trusted, nonjudgmental 1. Admitted we were powerless over friend to just listen to you. Not fix alcohol and that our lives have become the situation. They can’t. They can be unmanageable. I substituted the word a companion in your dementia journey. “alcohol” with the frightening word They may not know what to say. That’s “dementia”. We are powerless. Dementia okay. Sharing your experience and feeldoes make life very unmanageable. God The author’s husband took this photo of his wife, Barbara Hinther, with her horse Pete. Barbara’s spouse ings helps educate our communities, is with us. suffered from Lewy Body Dementia. churches and synagogues. It reminds the 2. Came to believe that a Power (I community just how lonely caregiving is. inserted God) greater than ourselves They, too, may be there someday. Telling your story shines a could restore us to sanity. The dementia caregiver doubts light on the unique and stressful challenges of being a caregivtheir own sanity while navigating this horrible and terminal er. I had an older, faithful dog that listened and comforted too. illness, especially at the end of the journey. Don’t discount the help of a faithful pet. 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to Local churches are willing to help. Fear of being the care of God as we understand Him. This is very difficult! overcome by well-meaning converts may make you hesitate. My will was to have a healthy and present spouse. God’s will Choose a faith/church you are somewhat familiar with. is never for harm. Our enemy’s is. The enemy has been called Keep a journal. You may share it someday with another the Father of Lies and a murderer. Faith will be tested. This is caregiver. The best healers are wounded healers. Our Savior the heartbreak of living in a fallen world. was wounded for our sake and can relate to your suffering. Notice that these first three steps are about you, your emoYou will be on alert. Frazzled. PTSD-like. Tempted to drink tional, physical and spiritual health first and foremost. It must too much, shop too much, eat too much and more. Anything be. Your loved one needs a healthy caregiver. As has been said for immediate relief. When you do, forgive yourself, love youron countless airplanes before departure: put YOUR oxygen self, have compassion for yourself and pray. mask on first. These first three steps give us a foundation and Forgive, when you are able, those that abandon you. faith to cope. It happens. That’s another unforeseen challenge that happens Caring for your loved one with dementia, like the 12-step program, is a one-day-at-a-time process. Again, it must be. We to the caregiver. You don’t want to add resentment to your trial. must live in the present. There is a popular book called the The Serenity Prayer is another help I used, courtesy of the “36-Hour Day”, which describes the practical challenges of 12-step program. I used it daily and sometimes hourly. dementia caregiving. Our days are 36 hours or more. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot The financial worries, the decision to commit your loved one to a care home or hospice, the midnight crises are too much to change, the courage (and it takes lots of courage) to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. take on alone. God walks with you. You can’t always feel His Until there is a cure, my heart and prayers are with you, felpresence, but He’s there. God cares for you, so turn all your low caregivers. n worries over to him (1 Peter 5:7). The 12-step program also stresses outside help. With the Barbara Hinther is the author of “Meditations and Encourlock-downs and isolation due to the coronavirus, help is still available. You may contact your local Office on Aging, hospital agement for the Caregiver of a Loved One With Dementia.” She may be reached at email@example.com. By Barbara Hinther
28 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
Financial gains Continued from page 27
2. Give to support God’s work. Start with what you can contribute today and strive to increase your giving to a full tithe or more. 2 Corinthians 9:7 states we should give what we have decided in our heart to give. I believe this is encouraging us to exceed our giving above tithing, not less. 3. Create a budget that focuses on your true needs. Allocate an amount for giving and saving first. Also, include an amount for unforeseen expenses that may occur. 4. Prayerfully consider every major purchase. Before shopping, determine how much you are prepared to pay and stick with it. Create a savings account for major purchases. I maintain a savings fund that I contribute to each month for replacing my auto. When it comes time to trade vehicles, I have a set amount of cash available. This eliminates the temptation to pay too much and reduces the stress of negotiating since I have an established amount to pay. That said, avoid blowing your entire savings on material items. Again, strive to achieve a balance between giving, saving and spending. 5. Be careful with debt. Not all debt is bad. Very few people purchase a home without a mortgage. However, your mortgage payment should not exceed 25% of your income. If it does, you are buying a home that you cannot afford. If you use credit cards, pay them off monthly. If you are carrying a credit card balance, then you are spending beyond your means.
During my last few years caring for my husband, I found lots of medical and psychological information, but very little to give hope, comfort, and strength for the caregiver. Until there is a cure, my prayers and comfort are yours through this little book.
MEDITATIONS ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE CAREGIVER OF A LOVED ONE WITH DEMENTIA A Timely Devotional By Barbara Hinther
Available as an e-book, b k paperback b k or hardcover with these online retailers:
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Regardless of whether you are among those whose finances improved over the past year, now is a good time to develop a financial plan for the future. Prayerfully consider how to put it to best use to serve God. Remember, it’s still our responsibility to be good stewards with the abundance that God has provided. Take care and may God bless! n Terry Frisk is a partner in the firm B2B CFO, providing financial advisory services to small businesses. He also counsels individuals on personal financial matters through the Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Counseling ministry. He may be contacted through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Christian Living | May / June 2021 29
The ‘language of hint’: ineffectual, unhealthy When we communicate effectively, the ownerBy Gary Moore ship of the conversation and its outcome beIf you’re a regular reader of my column comes mutual because we are communicating in then you know that mutual understanding, not a way where both sides are speaking, listening, communication, is the key to your marriage. asking questions, and understanding. At the Without mutual understanding you won’t have end of a conversation that has been effectively communication. Communication is beautiful when we are excommunicated, there is a mutual understanding pressing ourselves, being understood, comfortor agreement, and the chance of hurt feelings is ing someone, and being comforted. And, we lessened. all know that it takes more than one person to We should be able to succinctly convey our communicate – but sometimes we focus only wants, needs, and desires to the person we are on being heard. This can cause misunderspeaking to and have them completely understandings, hurt feelings, and mistrust. stand us. It is important that we have great relationIn speaking about effective communication, ships and get the things we need, want, and don’t get me wrong, when a gift is given, it can desire out of our relationships. But more often Gary Moore be a beautiful, happy moment for both parties. than not, we speak the “language of hint,” But if it doesn’t happen because you have only which can cause us to miss out on what is important to us. hinted at what you wanted and not clearly stated it, then you Why do we speak the language of hint? Here are a few of need to rethink your pattern of communication. the possible reasons: When you hold onto an unfulfilled expectation and the 1. We want to be surprised because the surprise makes us feel blame that goes with it, bitterness sinks in. And we all know good. that when we are faced with multiple unresolved failures, it can 2. Our own self-esteem may come into play and we are unfeel like a bottomless pit and the relationship suffers. sure if we deserve what we are asking for, so we hint. It’s important to take ownership for not fully communicat3. We may not want to feel reliant on what we are asking for, ing so that you do not place all of the ownership on the other but if we hint, we can pretend it doesn’t matter whether we person for not understanding your hints. receive it or not. We all have different upbringings and learning styles. This 4. We have an issue with being able to receive, or don’t want means we all process incoming information differently. Reto feel indebted, so receiving a gift is easier than asking for a member that everyone’s thought process belongs to them and gift. that when you are in a relationship, it is your responsibility to The language of hint is both ineffectual and unhealthy. It is continually get to know the other person and to be known – to ineffectual because it is not clear and generally does not get us gain mutual understanding. to our end goal. It is unhealthy because we can easily become upset when the person that we have hinted our wants to The language of hint does not work within clear communidoesn’t provide exactly what we wanted. cation. If you are unable to tell your spouse what it is that you Another reason that the language of hint is not effective or want, then you may need to look within yourself and figure healthy is because we put all of the ownership of what we out what is stopping you from saying what you want. Work on want onto the person we are speaking to, with heavy expectaknowing and being known. Work on how you communicate so tion of a desired result. Sadly, upset feelings occur when the you can have amazing conversations, expressing your wants, result does not materialize. Then we blame the person we are needs, desires, and expectations. Work toward mutual respect, speaking to for not understanding us. Then, we have negative love, compassion, understanding, honesty, and mutually effecthoughts such as “they weren’t listening,” “they don’t love me,” tive communication. and “I’m not important.” It is wonderful when someone has thought so much of us It becomes the other person’s fault for not understanding our that they take the time to add beauty to our day and surprise hint instead of us taking ownership for our communication be- us with a gift of thoughtfulness or love. But we shouldn’t excause we didn’t convey what we wanted clearly and concisely. pect it. Bottom line: don’t hint. Communicate the things you The truth of the matter is that because it is our want, need, or want and need clearly with love and tenderness. Then watch desire, we should take ownership and admit that we did not how your relationship grows and blossoms. n communicate effectively or give the other person the opportunity to understand what we wanted. Instead, we selfishly use Gary Moore served as associate pastor at Cloverdale the language of hint by putting the ownership of the failed expectation on them and insist that they should have been able Church of God for 15 years. He does couples’ coaching and leads couples’ workshops and retreats called MUM’s the to understand our hints. Word. He does a weekly radio program called Life Point Despite the fact that most people use it, the language of hint Plus on KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. Monis not a method of communication that most people underday mornings at 10 a.m. he does live relationship teaching stand. Yes, we want people to know us deeply, intimately, and called MUM Live on his Facebook page Mutual happily. But if we don’t speak clearly, we are not giving others Understanding Method. He may be contacted at the opportunity to know us with any level of depth, and our relationship will suffer. firstname.lastname@example.org.
30 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
WIDOW of Zarephath
God’s provision multiplies when we give
By Vincent Kituku “I am sorry I can’t do more…” This, or a version of it, is a common statement I hear or read when people contribute to help needy children in Kenya with their high school tuition through Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope. There is always an explanation – the donor might have medical bills, college tuition for his or her children or any other issues that limit what they can give. God bless all those who wish they could do more. When I hear or read such comments, I always think of the widow Vincent Kituku of Zarephath (I Kings 17) and the story of Jesus feeding thousands with two small fishes and five loaves of bread. This is what the widow said to Elijah, the prophet, when he asked her to give him water and food: “I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it – and die.” Unless you have experienced famine that resulted in people dying because of hunger, it is unimaginable how bleak life can be if you have only one meal remaining, after which, you die of hunger. In many parts of the world, this is a reality people live with. That widow knew of the reality. Elijah told her to not be afraid but make him something to eat and there will always be enough for her and her son. She did as she was instructed and the Bible says, “So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry…” All the widow did was to give what she could and leave the rest to God. That is all we can do. God is the master multiplier. He specializes in using the “little” we give to save and transform lives. While the woman was certain she and her son were to die, her giving (contribution) saved the lives of more people. There is another statement of hopelessness in John 6: 1-14. Jesus saw the multitude of people. It was getting late and there was nothing for the people to eat. But Andrew, one of the disciples, says, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” The reality was that the two fish and five loaves were not enough. Yet, once the boy gave, Jesus was able to feed the multitude. There is an African story about a major savanna fire in dry season. The fire, given momentum by wind, was consuming everything – animals, large and small, birds and rodents scattered all over. But, there was one small weaver bird who flew to the nearest water source and drew water into its beak. He then flew back to the burning area and let down the drop of water and flew back for more. An elephant noticed this small bird fly back and forth several times and eventually asked him, “Why are you doing this? Do you think you can put off this huge fire with just a drop of water here and there?” “No, my friend,” said the bird. “I don’t think I can put out this huge fire. But this is all I can do, and I would rather do it than do nothing.” What we give may seem like a drop, given the magnitude of the problems for which we are trying to provide solutions. But God can use and multiply what you furnish. The question to ask is, “Am I giving the little I can give?” n
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Guests you need to plan for – and enjoy By Roxanne Drury All of my grandchildren are grown and well beyond toddler-hood. I fondly remember the days they were very small and came to visit Grandma and Grumpa. (No that is not a typo – that is what they call him.) The house would get prepped and the toys pulled out in anticipation of their arrival. Those days are long gone from our family, at least for the time being, but...my friend has a toddler and when they are coming over to visit Nonie and Poppa (that’s us), we have a similar routine to those days long ago. If you have a toddler or a toddler visits your home regularly, you may know this drill: • Decorative teapots put away – check • Dogs’ water bowl picked up – check Roxanne • Dog food dishes picked up – check • Fireplace wall switch blocked – check • Candy dish out of reach – check • Night light removed from wall socket – check • Outlet covers in place – check • Stairway gate in position – check • Heavy decorative objects placed in the wooden chest – check Next we quickly run around and close all the doors, especially the bathroom door since toddlers are famous for flushing incredibly large objects down the toilet. Then we eagerly await the arrival of The Toddler. As the family pulls up to the house, I go rushing out to greet them. Not sure who is more excited about this visit: The Toddler or Nonie. Upon arrival, the fun begins – the laughter of a toddler in the house fills my heart to overflowing. Watching the antics of a toddler are enough to make anyone’s head spin in dizziness. The energy exuded running and jumping and climbing make me want to take a nap. And as I listen to the long drawn out gibberish and see the seriousness of the story being told, I am in awe of how that little mind is
working non-stop. Sometimes in very calculated and devious ways. The Toddler waits and waits for just that moment when Nonie turns her back and in a split second The Toddler scoots behind the table and reaches for the fireplace switch. But Nonie is smarter than a 2-year-old... fat chance little one...caught ya! Inside/outside...inside/outside. The Toddler prefers outside most definitely. The sheer delight this child finds in the out-of-doors tells me she may be a naturalist someday. Our backyard is pretty big and she walks the entire width and breadth with me, picking up sticks and leaves and stones, poking at flowers and bugs and making a little nonsensical comment about each one. The wonder and amazement in her Drury bright eyes is so sincere, so genuine, so inspired. She is in her element – the great outdoors. The dogs have followed us outside and traipse behind us, also stopping to sniff and investigate. The Toddler observes as they begin to play and roughhouse. This is obviously not okay with her. They do sound like they are angry at each other and in her mind this needs to stop at once. In her finest Dog Police stance and her most authoritative voice she commands the dogs to “Geswap!” The dogs stop for a moment, look at her and then continue on with what they were doing. When they do not obey, The Toddler simply walks away and is on to the next adventure. Ooooh, she sees a big bowl of water, which she naturally picks up and dumps out and then proceeds to jump in the water puddle on the patio. She is happy as a clam. Running through the stones, tiptoeing through the grass, running through the house, climbing up on chairs and then down again, chasing the dogs, dancing to music, laughing, giggling, opening and closing cabinets, hiding in the pantry, pushing the car, pulling the horsey, dragging the little chair, sliding down
“HOPE through Transition”
KATY NELSON COACHING.NET, LLC Certified Professional Life Coach Author • Speaker • Certified DISC Facilitator
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32 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
the wall, laying on the floor to roll, roll, roll – never-ending, never stopping, always in motion, mind thinking and absorbing and learning until....mom and dad show up and they get in the car to go home. Before they reach the end of the block I get a text from her mom that says, “I think she had fun!” So did Nonie and Poppa! Children are a gift from God – to be treasured as a rare jewel, appreciated for how they are, valued for who they are, and loved unconditionally and without measure. I find The Toddler especially wonderful and amazing. To moms of toddlers, I know it is hard, I know it is exhausting, I know it can be frustrating, but all too soon this age of wonder will be gone. So, “Geswap” (that’s The Toddler’s language for “Stop”) and enjoy it. You don’t want to miss it. “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them...” – Psalm 127:3-5a n Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church.
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Christian Living | May / June 2021 33
Diabetic diet plan includes cutting sugar By Rosie Main Eat Foods with Protein, Fiber and Healthy Fats to Balance Your Blood Sugar – When it comes to diabetes natural treatment, we must start with diet. When it comes to diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, we really need to balance out blood sugar. Diet-wise, there are certain foods that help do that. First, let me kind of shape a meal for you. Ideally, your meals are going to be high in three things: protein, fiber and healthy fats. So protein foods like wild salmon and free-range eggs, high-fiber foods like split peas and figs, and healthy fats like coconut oil and MCT oil are going to help balance out those blood sugar levels. So include lots of protein in your new diabetic diet plan. After wild-caught salmon, go for grass-fed beef, organic chicken and turkey. Fiber-rich foods are even more important, including artichokes, green leafy vegetables, celery, nuts and seeds (like chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, celery). A high-fiber diet will support detoxification and healthy blood sugar levels. Also, start using coconut oil, which is great for burning fat. Coconut oil benefits blood glucose levels, too. Start cooking with coconut oil and using coconut milk or coconut oil in a morning superfood shake. Coconut oil, ghee or grass-fed butter all work for balancing out blood sugar levels. A good diabetic diet plan includes those healthy fatty acids. So remember to get in protein, fiber and healthy fats during all of your meals. Chromium Rich Foods – Ideally, you’re also going to get foods that are very high in a type of mineral called chromium. What is chromium? Chromium plays a role in the insulinsignaling pathways that allow our bodies to control the amount of sugar we take in, helping balance blood glucose levels and giving us stable energy. Chromium picolinate is found in high levels in vegetables like nutrition-rich broccoli, which is the ideal superfood for diabetics in helping balance out blood sugar levels. Consume Food Rich in Magnesium – Over 80 percent of us suffer from at least a low level of a magnesium deficiency, and it can result in leg cramps, insomnia and, yes, diabetes. Magnesium is essential for cellular health and is a critical component of over 300 biochemical functions in the body. Magnesium has been shown to also help blood sugar levels, so eat magnesium-rich foods like grass-fed beef, certain types of nuts and seeds, and vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Stay Away from Sugar – What’s going to throw off your blood sugar? Sugar and carbohydrates. Now, you want some carbohydrates, but just a smaller amount alongside healthy fats, fiber and protein. If not, your blood sugar is going to go up and down. Of utmost importance, you want to stay away from all sugar the best you can. In particular, refined sugar rapidly spikes blood glucose – soda, fruit juice and other sugary beverages are the worst culprits. These forms of sugar enter the bloodstream rapidly and can cause extreme elevations in blood glucose. You want to replace sugar with stevia, a no-calorie natural sweetener. A little bit of raw honey in moderation can be okay, too. Once your diabetes is reversed and you’re where you should be, raw local honey is another sweetener you can consider, as well as blackstrap molasses.
34 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
Avoid Grains – Grains are another problem, especially gluten-containing grains, white flour products, wheat bread, even whole-grain breads and oatmeal. These all contain large amounts of carbohydrates that are broken down into sugar within a few minutes of consumption. What’s the deal with gluten? Well, it can cause intestinal inflammation, which affects hormones like cortisol and leptin, and can lead to spikes in blood sugar. I would remove all grains from your diet for your first 90 days on this diabetic diet plan and after that time, you can introduce back in sprouted ancient grains like sorghum flour and kamut in small amounts. Remove Dairy from Your Diet – The other foods you want to eliminate are going to be conventional dairy products. Conventional cow’s milk should be eliminated, especially for type 1 diabetics. While dairy can be a fantastic food for balancing blood sugar if it comes from sheep or goat milk, or A2 cows, I recommend that you stay away from all other forms of dairy because the A1 casein produced by conventional cows will harm the body and trigger an immune response similar to gluten. Supplements and Other Natural Ways to Treat Diabetes – The next thing you want to do in your diabetic diet plan is consider certain supplements, herbs, essential oils and lifestyle modifications for naturally reversing diabetes. 1. Chromium Picolinate: Number one, take a chromium picolinate supplement, 200 micrograms, three times a day with your meals. One study conducted by the Human Nutrition Research Center U.S. Department of Agriculture found that when individuals being treated for type 2 diabetes were either given a placebo or chromium supplements over a four-month period each day while continuing to take normal medications and not changing eating habits, insulin values and cholesterol levels decreased significantly in the group given supplemental chromium compared to the placebo group. 2. Cinnamon: The health benefits of cinnamon extend to preventing diabetes. It helps lower blood sugar levels and also can improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is the vital hormone needed for keeping blood sugar levels balanced. Take one teaspoon in the morning for breakfast, and then one teaspoon for lunch or dinner. 3. Fish Oil: Fish oil benefits include reducing inflammation and fighting diabetes. While people with diabetes often have high triglyceride and low HDL levels, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can help lower triglycerides and apoproteins (markers of diabetes), and raise HDL. 4. Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Next, alpha-lipoic acid, known as ALA, exist in many omega-3 foods and work with your pancreas in naturally treating diabetics. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, studies suggest ALA helps lower blood sugar levels. Its ability to kill free radicals may help people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and researchers believe alpha-lipoic acid helps improve insulin sensitivity. 5. Magnesium: A magnesium supplement can also help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes because magnesium plays a role in glucose metabolism. In a magnesium Journal of Internal Medicine study, an increase of 100 milligrams a day was found to decrease the risk of diabetes by 15 percent in a metaanalysis of the data.
your insulin levels. To relieve stress, I recom6. Berberine: Berberine has been shown to mend using some detox bath recipes at night. regulate glucose and lipid metabolism in vitro Use some of the essential oils I just mentioned, and in vivo (in a living organism). This pilot such as coriander oil and lavender oil with study was to determine the efficacy and safety Epsom salts. of berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetic Soak in a bath at night and relax. Also, I recpatients. In study A, 36 adults with newly diagommend several times throughout your work nosed type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned day, get up and take a 10-minute walk, takto treatment with berberine or metformin (an ing deep breaths, relaxing and simply getting anti-diabetic medication) in a 3-month trial. The outside, including earthing. (“Earthing” refers hypoglycemic effect of berberine was similar to contact with the Earth’s surface electrons by to that of metformin. Significant decreases in Rosie Main walking barefoot outside.) hemoglobin A1c have been shown. 9. Exercise: Last but not least, exercise is 7. Essential Oils: The two essential oils I’d also crucial. Burst training exercise is the best, but really, any recommend are cinnamon and coriander. Coriander actually form of exercise, including weight training or cardio, is good works with your liver to help balance out blood sugar levels, as well if you want to naturally reverse diabetes. and cinnamon oil works with your pancreas. So your liver and Note: “Burst training is a type of exercise that you can do your pancreas, two important organs for balancing out those anywhere, anytime. It involves exercising at 90-100 percent of blood glucose levels. Take a couple drops of coriander and a couple drops of cinnamon oil with one teaspoon of coconut oil your maximum heart rate for 30-60 seconds, followed by 30-60 seconds of lower intensity exercise or resting.” (Taken from and rub those on the bottom of your feet. You can even make https://draxe.com) n your own homemade body butter or body lotion with those, which will help in maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. 8. Lower Stress Levels: If you have diabetes, keep stress If you have any questions or want to see how we can help levels low. If you get stressed out, it is absolutely going to affect you, please don’t hesitate to call me at 208-859-6170, your hormones and your cortisol, which then in turn will affect email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit me at DoctorMain.com.
Christian Living | May / June 2021 35
Traveling the globe to counsel missionaries By Gaye Bunderson Kathie Slusser Carlson enjoys lots of things about her job, including travel, culture, and service. She works for Coloradobased Paraclete Mission Group. “I like them,” she said. “It is about coming alongside ministries and Christian leaders around the world.” She helps faith-based agencies and churches working to expand the Kingdom of God nationally and internationally, but she is based here in the Treasure Valley, with a passport to travel the planet and go where she is needed. A variety of associates with different life backgrounds – from finance to church planting to soul care and more – comprise a globally dispersed team of the faithful, with a mission to help ministers be fruitful where they’re planted. Despite an educational background that includes a master’s degree, as well as decades of experience, Kathie can be selfmocking about her credentials. “I have a resume only Jesus would want,” she said smiling. Count her as yet another believer whose path took turns and twists orchestrated by the Savior for His divine purposes. To her credit, she allowed Him to lead her life and career in unexpected ways. “I’m surprised to be in full-time counseling,” said the woman who earned a B.A. in English and an M.Ed. in educational technology and whose background includes teaching journalism. A brief biography about Kathie at www.paraclete.net describes her current calling as bringing emotional, relational and spiritual health to missionaries and ministry leaders. “My best skills,” she said, “are I’m a good listener, a good questioner, and highly empathetic. I didn’t come to ministry and missions until 33 – it was a complete surprise.” She explained how it all came about and how God used everything she experienced for whatever He was calling her to do. “Just before my eighth year of teaching, I felt the Lord was telling me He had other plans for me; He was giving me different longings, and He began calling me slowly,” she said. While she loved teaching, she struggled with some of the painful things her students were going through. “I was wrestling with things in their lives I couldn’t do anything about,” she said. The Lord wanted her to see a bigger calling for her compassionate spirit, to see beyond teaching in a classroom. He told her: “I have something else I want you do to, and I want you to leave this job at the end of the year.” She gave notice without having a clear sense of where she was going next. “I’d always seen teaching as an act of service,” she said. “It never occurred to me I wouldn’t be teaching for 40 years.” Her parents supported her serving the Lord but were uncomfortable that she was leaving teaching without having a specific plan in mind. “It was kind of like, ‘It’s good you’re serving the Lord, but you have a mortgage!’” Kathie said. The principal at her school thought she was crazy and speculated she was only leaving to find a husband and then would be back. She got a job as director of communications for an international firm, and it was there that God opened up a volunteer opportunity. She signed on to write curriculum for a CRU (for-
36 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
merly Campus Crusade for Christ) chapter in Russia. It was no accidental opportunity. “This is where I could see education and ministry coming together in ways I didn’t know existed,” she said. “I started to pray, ‘Could I do something like this for a career?’” A colleague on the CRU curriculum project worked with Mission Aviation Fellowship, then based in Redlands, Calif., preceding its move to Nampa. It was a pivotal connection for Kathie – she began working for MAF in January of 2003 and would remain there for the next decade. To date, she’s been to 30 countries, including Kenya, Lebanon, Jordan, and many others. Over the years, she’s brought her own perspective to foreign missions work. The curriculum she creates possesses what she calls “a very strong transformational base.” “At one point in my life,” she said, “I thought information changed us, that we needed more information. But now I don’t believe that information changes our hearts; information in the context of grace and relationship is what changes our hearts. There is no shortage of information around the world – a lack of information isn’t what ails us. The Gospel is all about connection, and it’s transformational.” While working at MAF, she started to meet people from other ministries, and that’s when she saw the grief they sometimes experienced, and how they weren’t always able to deal with it. “I saw the pain and ache that missionaries suffer as they try to do their work. The expectation is that these people only give and they never need. It makes it hard for them to say when they’re hurting. “Life is not a bowl of peaches all the time: there’s beauty and there’s hurt. People think you have to cover up the hurt; but to cover up the hurt, it just gets buried. I don’t think our hearts were meant for that. In the Bible, there is a culture of lament and grief, and God’s at work in that. “In America, we put Band-Aids over bullet holes and try to move on. We’re supposed to be in control and plan right and fix things. I help bring a culture shift to ministries so they can continue serving and let God actually heal the wounds.” From 2011-2012, she was in a phase of transition. “The Lord was graciously and lovingly leading me into ministry. He started leading me afresh. He was giving me curiosity and longing. I have always had unsettled longings in times of transition. He’s asking me to pay attention to new things, and I don’t always know what they are – but I keep looking with fresh eyes.” She ultimately made the transition from MAF to Paraclete in 2013. This is where she began to ‘come alongside’ various ministries, including: Aphesis Group Ministries, aphesisgroup. com; Accessible Hope International, accessiblehope.org; Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (here in the U.S.), perspectives.org; Child Evangelism Fellowship, cefonline.com; and, locally, Launch Pad Ministries, launchministries.org. Her contributions include working in training, curriculum, teaching, organizational consulting, and mental and spiritual care for leaders. “The Lord continues to use me as needed,” she said. She has many diverse skills, but humbly stated, “God gleans from it.” And she matures through every new experience.
“When I minister, it’s not always about my knowledge and experience. It’s about vulnerability, growth, and heart transformation – letting Him change me. I grow while I’m doing it, and whatever comes next, I use what I just learned and experienced. “I am awed by the privilege God gives me of being with people on holy ground when they tell me their stories. I listen to them intently, and to the Holy Spirit.” Not by coincidence, “Paraclete” means advocate or helper; and in Christianity, the term most commonly refers to the Holy Spirit. Kathie will continue to take the Holy Spirit with her into the missions field wherever God calls her. Asked if she studies the different cultures she visits, she said, “I may do some reading, but the best things I can take are openness and curiosity. People value the image of God in every country, and I value them and I’m there to serve.” Having been in full-time ministry for 18 years, she said, “I don’t bring an expectation of how people should be. I create a safe place for people to come as they are, and to invite the Holy Spirit into that place.” n Paraclete Mission Group is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. Go to paraclete.net for more information.
Kathie Carlson brings a diverse set of skills to her service at Paraclete Mission Group. She’s been to 30 countries, serving the Lord in many ways, including counseling missionaries. Here she is at the Great Wall of China. (Courtesy photo)
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TVs and devices?
Be aware of what you’re being discipled by
me the one piece of data shared in a session that most affected her: In the time span from kindergarten through senior year of “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All high school, kids spend – things are lawful, but not all things edify.” – 1 Corinthians 1. 11,000 hours in school 10:23 2. 20,000 hours in front of a screen 3. 800 hours in Sunday school (if they come every week durThis verse, like so many others, is a comfort to me; and a challenge. It’s difficult to grasp the freedom found in Jesus. Yes, ing that time) The point being made by the speaker was that the kids are I am free to do all things – make choices without fear that I being discipled in each of those scenarios. My brain instantly will be cast out of my Father’s hand. And yet, many choices I connected with that. In truth, we are all being discipled in the make can very seriously destroy my witness and wreck my life. I serve a gracious God that stands back and lets me choose. He various activities we find ourselves in each day, especially if we follow along blindly. also mercifully swoops in when I make the wrong choice. When my friend shared that data with me, I immediately In my younger years, my wrong choices were much more wondered: How many hours am I obvious and damaging in ways that discipled by social media compared everyone could see (sorry Mom “We are all disciples of something, to the time I spend in the Word? I and Dad). Now as an adult, wrong choices can be so subtle that they being discipled by something daily. read my Bible daily, but it doesn’t stick as firmly as it did before I wastsnake their way through my soul, What we give our time, heart, ed so much time scrolling through hanging on like clover patch – interand devotion to matters.” my social media feeds. And if this is sected and woven into every area of my habit, what kind of an example my life before I know it. am I to my children? My biggest sin? Pride. And my bigSo I am challenging myself in light of 1 Corinthians 10:23. I gest struggle? Social media. have freedom in Christ – freedom to put aside the things that Perhaps this sounds silly. Small and innocent compared to pull me away from Him and are not beneficial to my soul. My other struggles and sins we all face. The majority of us spend challenge is to pause / deactivate / delete my social media too much time on our phones and computers, and those of accounts for a time and just press into Jesus. Read His words us that were born before computers and smartphones were in more than I read other things. Listen to psalms and hymns and every home can very clearly grasp the amount of time being spiritual songs more than anything else. Speak His words to my wasted each time we fall into a crazy YouTube video rabbit children. Leave the TV off. trail. But more than a time sucker, I’ve lately seen how social I feel a great desire to turn off the other voices and let the media is changing who I am and it’s definitely not for the betLord Himself disciple me above all else. Otherwise, I fear my ter. heart will grow hard against my fellow man and I will cease to It’s not just me, or you. It’s our children. be useful in this life to what the Lord has called me to do – love A friend of mine, the director of the children’s ministry at and glorify Him and love His people. I believe this was Israel’s her church, once returned from a conference and shared with By Bethany Riehl
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38 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
great downfall. Psalm 78:8 says that they were If you struggle as I do, if you’ve set out to “a generation that did not prepare its heart break bad habits only to fail within a week – or and whose spirit was not faithful to God.” even more grievous, tried to tear yourself away Let’s learn from their great sin and, even from a relentless sin only to fail again and again here in our promised land of salvation, be a – let me please encourage you with a quote generation that prepares its heart and whose from Butterfield’s book, “I’ve discovered that spirit is faithful to God. Above all else, even our God doesn’t change my feelings until I obey seemingly innocent, harmless entertainment. Him.” Everything must start with prayer, then Entertainment that has become an acid eroding trust in Him to change our actions as we obey away our love, our patience, our commitment in faith. Often it takes just walking away in to live selflessly for our neighbor. obedience whether we feel like it or not. The majority of this article was written last We are all disciples of something, being Bethany Riehl year. And for a year, I struggled to do as I discipled by something daily. What we give our longed to. For a long time, my prayer has been for God to help time, heart, and devotion to matters. Christian, may it be that pull me out of my own sin and bad habits, and I knew the root we truly “love the LORD your God with all your heart and [of that] was where I turn my attention. with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your The Lord is rarely “fast” in His answers to His children, but I strength,” for it is only once we’ve done that that we can, have discovered that when He moves, in His timing, He moves “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31) n quickly. A few weeks ago, I discovered the book, Discipline the Glad Surrender, by Elisabeth Elliot. That book led to seri- Bethany Riehl loves to write stories and articles that explore ous self-evaluation – the raw, honest, uncomfortable kind. Ms. the complexities of relationships and encourage readers in Elliot often points readers to her hero, Amy Carmichael, the their relationship with Jesus. She joyfully serves in the chilgreat Irish missionary that became the mother to hundreds of dren’s ministry at her church, teaches at a homeschool co-op, children in India. and drinks more coffee than necessary to keep up with her As I was touched deeply by Ms. Elliott’s books and teachings, only-slightly-crazy life. She is the author of four Christian I immediately requested a pile of Ms. Carmichael’s books. As fiction novels and now lives in Meridian with her spunky they were being delivered, the library notified me that a book kids and very handsome hubby. I’ve been in line for was available: The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. That book shed a blindingly bright light on the deepest corners of my heart where pride festers unnoticed, but certainly not unproductively. Nearly a month of putting down my phone and leaving the TV off for the most part to read these books rich in truth have already begun to show me how misshapen my own heart and mind have become. By the grace of God, He is discipling me in a different way and as I grow closer to Him, the less interested I am in the vices that have made me numb to His love.
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Christian Living | May / June 2021 39
Forget a wrong, release the perpetrator
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By Bradley Shotts For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. – Hebrews 8:12 What Jesus forgives, God chooses not to remember. How refreshing is that? Wouldn’t it be wonderful that after we wronged someone and asked their forgiveness, that the wrong we committed would be permanently erased from their memory? How many times have we heard someone say, “I accept your apology, but I will never forget what you did.” This indicates that the wrong committed has forever stained the relationship and things will never be the same again. I will be the first to admit that I have done a lot of wrong in my life. I have hurt those that I love. I have had to crawl on
40 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
my knees at times to seek the forgiveness of those I have hurt. In those moments, I remember thinking, “If I could just go back in time, oh how I would change things!” I also remember thinking how I wished I could somehow wipe away from their memory that this ever happened. This is exactly what God chooses to do for us. I have witnessed someone telling another that they are forgiven, then in a moment of anger at a later date remind that person of how they had hurt them, bringing up the past again and again. This continually holds the wrong that was committed against them and is not forgiveness at all. Aren’t you glad that God does not treat us like this when we sin? Once we go before God in prayer and confess our sin, the Bible says He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
The sin is then cast into the sea of forgetfulness, never to be remembered (Micah 7:19). I believe that if you truly forgive someone, it means that you totally release them from the hurt they have caused; you move forward, treating this person as if the wrong committed had never happened. The wrong is not brought up again and we afford this person the same courtesy that we would desire, having sought the forgiveness of someone we had wronged. Forgiveness is a tricky business. We definitely want the forgiveness from our sins from God, Bradley but it’s a whole different ballgame when it is required of us to forgive those who have wronged us. God takes forgiveness very seriously. He even goes so far as to say in Mark 11:26, “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Simply stated, after everything that Jesus endured to pay the price for our sins, He requires us to forgive those who have wronged us. There cannot be unforgiveness in our hearts. One might say, “Well, you have no idea what this person has done to me. They don’t deserve forgiveness.” I do understand how deep the cut can be and there are times when the only way we are able to forgive is with the strength and power God gives us. Allow me to ask two questions. Did Jesus deserve everything He endured on the cross for your sins? No. Do you and I truly deserve the forgiveness of our own sins? No. Yet, Christ
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endured all of the pain and sin of all the world and He still faithfully forgives all of us of our sins when we come to Him in prayer. n Father, for some reading this, they cannot imagine having the ability to forgive something that has hurt them so badly. You understand this kind of hurt because you have endured it. I am asking that You break down any walls preventing them from having a forgiving heart. Instead of Shotts us concentrating so much on how hurt we are, may we turn our eyes on You and see that person through Your eyes, Lord, eyes of compassion and love. Only You can break the chains of resentment and we ask You to begin this process now in Jesus’ Name. Amen. Bradley Shotts began his ministry working in the funeral industry in 1988 at Lloyd James Funeral Home in Tyler, Texas. He currently serves as the general manager of Forest Ridge Funeral Home Memorial Park Chapel in North Richland Hills, Texas. He and his wife, Amy, live in Bedford, Texas. They have two adult children, Blaine and Braylee. Bradley is a member of Rotary International and serves on the board at Shepherd Heart Ministries in Tyler. He is an ordained minister.
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Christian Living | May / June 2021 41
ARE we significant?
Examining our value to a heavenly Father By Greg Grotewold I was in pure panic mode. I scurried from one place to the next frantically searching for my lost treasure. I checked everywhere: my bedroom, my mom’s washer and dryer, the car, my fort, my school desk, and even the trash can in the school cafeteria. (Yes, I dug through the day’s food scraps, a disgusting but necessary task.) My precious boar’s tusk, an item that along with my knife had occupied my right front pocket for years, was gone. It was to no avail. My search was in vain, and I would never see it again. In an effort to comfort his son, my dad gave me a box full of tusks the following Christmas. However impressive the collection was, none of the new teeth I tried out worked. Not a single one fit my pocket like the old one. Even if any of them had, it just wasn’t going to be the same. I wanted mine back. The one that to my mother’s great annoyance went through the wash who knows how many times. The one that I proudly displayed to my classmates during “show and tell” at the start of the school year. The one I would study for hours while in the car on a long trip. The one that would accompany me everywhere I went.
There are very few things I recall about second grade, some 45 years ago, but this is clearly one of them. It’s a memory that surfaces periodically, the most recent being earlier last month. I had run across a document labeled “Who I am in Christ,” a wonderful outline of our identity as blood-bought believers. It is broken out into three sections – “I am Accepted,” “I am Secure,” and “I am Significant” – followed by corresponding Scripture for each. It was the last item that caused a trip down memory lane. While the analogy is a bit of a stretch, it does speak to the intricate nature of significance and pursuit. As I adored my tusk, Jesus adores His redeemed. As I relentlessly pursued my lost tusk, Jesus relentlessly pursues His lost people (and, unlike me, always finds what He pursues). But here is where the parallel breaks down. The inherent value between the two targets is different. A person is obviously worth more than some piece of enamel. But, it goes further than that. In Jesus’ case, the value of the pursued is tied to the value of the pursuer. We are significant to Jesus in part because Jesus is significant to Himself. Given His interest in His own acclaim, pursuing future worshippers fuels that pursuit. This is not the case with the
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But, it goes further than that. When the tusk. As much as I adored the tooth and treated it with significance, its value was self-contained. Father looks at His redeemed, He sees the I added nothing to its worth because it added Redeemer. He doesn’t see Greg Grotewold nothing to mine. and his brokenness; He sees the Savior who I hope Jesus’ desire for His own glory isn’t saved Greg Grotewold from his brokenness. a stumbling block for you. In no way does it He sees Jesus and His perfection. Another way diminish the love He has for His elect. In fact, given such love is a product of His unmerited faof saying this: the Father is as pleased with us vor, we should be thrilled that His adoration of as He is with His Triune Son. He carries the us – and the innumerable blessing consequently exact same level of affection for me and other produced – is tied to our adoration of Him. It believers as He does Jesus. And it’s all because Greg Grotewold would be a fretful existence if His pursuit was of what that Triune Son did for us at Calvary. contingent upon our worth and not His own. The reason Jesus pursues us doesn’t lessen His affection for He died our death, and we took on His perfectly holy identity us or our significance to Him. Scripture makes clear that the and thus His significance. Now that’s love. Lord sees us as precious. “Because you are precious in my Because of Jesus, those who follow Him are profoundly eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for significant. May this reality spring a new level of worship for you, peoples in exchange for your life” (Isaiah 43:4, ESV). He treats us as a treasure. “For you are a people holy to the Lord the God who pursues and restores. For those who don’t follow your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people Jesus, now is the time to make Him your treasure and be treafor his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are sured in return. n on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7-6, ESV). And He rejoices over us. “The Lord your God is in your midst, a Greg lives in Oakdale, Minn. with his wife, Sandi, and mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with their two sons, Luke and Eli. He is a deacon in his local gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over church and greatly enjoys serving in this capacity. you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV).
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Christian Living | May / June 2021 43
“We Are in the Middle of the Story”
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“For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” Psalms 100:5
By Sophia Fleming “Creativity can take on new forms of expression and human insight can produce fresh fruit with each new age, but none of us begin with a blank sheet of paper! We are in the middle of the story.” Excerpt from the story behind the song By Faith*. How often do we come into a new job or a new relationship or a new situation and look at it as just that – “new” when in fact it is anything but new? How much differently would we handle ourselves and the situation if we realized that we are only in the middle of the story, things have happened before us that have shaped what we have come to and we need to not be arrogant and assume we are the be all and end all, there is more to come. Now, we need to respect and seek out what has happened and then ask ourselves, “How can we contribute to the future?” The philosophy of being part of the middle of the story has been shaping our work in the mission field, personally. Too often Westerners come into countries like Kenya with the intention to “set them straight” with no knowledge or respect for the heritage and history of those they came to “serve.” When we go into the mission field to serve we need to realize that we are only part of the story that the Lord is writing in that area. We should, and do, feel privileged to be just that – only a part of the story. The end goal of all mission work should be to join God in what He has done and is doing, and celebrate with His people in what He will do, often when He has moved us onto another story board. I believe this same philosophy also needs to transcend into all areas of ministry work and is yet another aspect of local autonomy. If we are updating our websites with study material, it should be to support other groups to grow in their story. If we are invited to speak as a guest speaker, we need to respect the group that we are speaking to and the heritage that brought them together, realizing that we may have an influence on the groups’ future, but we are not the end result of its existence. This is humbling, but true. We need to ask ourselves what gifting we have that God wants to use to help complete the story. We also need to not assume that just because there is history that the end of the
44 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
story is at hand. God brought you into the story, at this time, for a reason. Are you contributing to the end of the story, or just waiting to see what will happen? I have heard many discussing end times, and how it shouldn’t be long now until Jesus comes again. According to Global Frontier Missions**, “It is estimated that of the 7.75 billion people alive in the world today, 3.23 billion of them live in unreached people groups with little or no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Jesus was very clear in Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (emphasis added) One of those 3.23 billion people may be your neighbor, the clerk at the store, or someone a 24-hour plane ride from your home. What middle of the story is God calling you to be in? n *https://store.gettymusic.com/us/song/by-faith/ **www.globalfrontiermissions.org/gfm-101-missionsjcourse/ the-unreached-peoples-and-their-role-in-the-greatcommission
Sophia Fleming is the Administrator for the General Council Churches of God (Seventh Day), Inc. (www.ACTSforGod.org) She and her husband, Patrick, recently returned from their most recent mission trip to Kenya.
BIBLICALLY Responsible Investing
Making investments match a faith lifestyle By Doug Hanson It was my favorite school lunch, and my mouth watered all morning during class when I knew my mother had carefully packed it for me in my sack lunch. It was important that she packed the contents in two separate baggies. In one baggie she packed freshly cut slices of tomato, while in the other she packed two slices of Wonder Bread with a light spreading of mayonnaise. The two separate baggies were important so that the juice of the tomato would not saturate the bread before lunch. At lunch, I would carefully construct the tomato sandwich and experience the delight of eating – albeit quickly before the sandwich became mushy! Wonder Bread was the bread of choice in my childhood. A loaf of Wonder Bread came bleached white and thinly sliced in a plastic bag covered with colorful balloons that spoke of a life full of airy pleasure for a kid. In those days, we were less concerned about what was in the bread than we are today. Now we can buy multi-grain, sprouted wheat, rye, sourdough, gluten-free, artisan, pita, and a variety of other breads. Just as we have more choices in bread today, we have more choices in investing – including increased recognition of companies that represent values that are important to us. In Proverbs 11:3 we read, “The integrity of the upright guides them.” How our integrity plays out in our choice of bread may not be much of a concern, but how our integrity plays out in the financial blessings the Lord has entrusted to us should be a concern. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that, as Christians, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I wonder how often we ponder the breadth of “good works” that God has planned for us. God has placed each of us within this time in history, with its accompanying economic context and opportunity, to make wise financial decisions. While we are on this Earth, we have a responsibility to manage God’s financial blessings in our lives with integrity. Investing for “good works” suggests investing in companies that positively contribute to society – in ways that honor God
46 May / June 2021 | Christian Living
with integrity. We live in a time in history where we have broad insight into companies. Is a company good to its employees, good to its suppliers, good to its customers, good to its community, and good to society at large? Do the products a company produces improve lives? Do the philanthropic initiatives of the company benefit lives? Biblically Responsible Investing answers those questions by seeking to align our investments with our biblical values. Biblically Responsible Investing is a matter of Impact: Scripture implores us in many ways to make a positive impact in the world, including doing good to those around us (Galatians 6:9) so that our Heavenly Father may be glorified (Matthew 5:16). It encourages us to refrain from activities that harm us and those around us (Galatians 5:19). Our investments can be a blessing to others (medical and technology advancements, for example), or our investments can support immoral activities (think pornography and abortion). Biblically Responsible Investing is a matter of Opportunity: Two factors have led to increased opportunities today to invest for the glory of God. First, with the proliferation of technology, we have more insight into companies, understanding what they produce and how they produce it. Companies can be tracked and analyzed in more ways than before, allowing recognition of companies that make a positive impact in the world and those that make a negative impact. Second, we have more responsibility for investing for our future, especially for retirement, with the reduction of pension plans offered by companies and the rise of Individual Retirement Accounts which allow us to make decisions about what companies we want to invest in. Biblically Responsible Investing is a matter of Wisdom: While we journey through life on this Earth, we are taught to be wise with the resources God has entrusted to us. This is evident in the parable of the talents where the master commended those servants who invested the resources delegated to them (Matthew 25:14-30). This teaches us that we should be investing for competitive returns, purposefully
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Doug Hanson seeking to grow our investments. However, Proverbs 3:9 cautions us to “Honor the Lord with our wealth,” which should cause us to place boundaries around what we choose to invest in while seeking growth. Biblically Responsible Investing is a matter of Initiative: We have the opportunity today to invest for competitive returns while honoring God with our investments. It is tempting, however, to overlook this opportunity by maintaining the status quo and not taking steps towards Biblically Responsible Investing. It behooves each of us to consider what we value and whether those values are carried out in all aspects of our lives, including our investments. n Doug Hanson is an investment advisor with Christian Wealth Management in Boise, providing biblically responsible investment advice to Christians. For more information, visit investforthegloryofgod.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 697-3699.
303 South Hawthorne Middleton, ID 83644 208-412-8778 MiddletonChurch.com TerrysDevotions.com Meeting: Sundays @ 10:30 AM
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