Everyday People Making A Difference
Summer Blessings! Reflections Of A Song
ur o t i Vis ted a ! upd e look r.com sit Corne b e y w ut
ver e abo E n hO n mor uting t i a r F Lea contrib . our writers
Road Trippinâ€™ in Salisbury, NC
Mural in Spartanburg, SC
WHAT ARE STRONGHOLDS? By Karen Ruhl Do you wonder why certain thoughts pop up at odd times? Thoughts that are so different from who you really are, thoughts that want to harm, judge, and hurt others. The devil likes to try to reach you when you are the most vulnerable, he looks for strongholds and tries to hang on. We need to know who is against us. It is not people we see everyday, our parents, bosses, co-workers, or friends. It is the ancient enemy of humanity since the Garden of Eden, the devil. The Bible reminds us that our battle is not peoplebased, it’s spiritual. Ephesians 6:12 - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. It happens to everyone, the devil does not discriminate. I believe what we are going through right now in the United States is Spiritual Warfare. The devil is trying to divide us, because when we are divided, he has strength, when we are united we are strong. It is important to take time to pray. Pray for yourself, your family, your friends, your community, your country. Be specific. Faith On Every Corner
Pray and seek God’s face. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct your prayers. Use your words to declare, decree and establish the authority of God’s word in your life over negative spiritual influences. This means those negative thoughts, feelings of jealousy, envy or revenge...strongholds. You need to reject these thoughts and feelings. Claim your freedom in Christ. Put On The Armor of God / Ephesians 6:10-18 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.
And 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. We love you and are praying for you.
Table of Contents What Are Strongholds? Karen Ruhl
Letter From Editor
Faithful in Prayer Karen Ruhl
Reflections of a Song
On The Porch Craig Ruhl
The Storm Josh Severt
Dear Carl Anna Friend
My Dad Amber Codero
A Group of Men Craig Ruhl
Missionaries / A Life of Service Featuring Danielle and Wesley Vickers
Mirror Mirror Poem Cheryl Stevenson
Road Trippinâ€™ in Salisbury, NC
How to be salty light filled people
Faith On Every Corner
Letter from the Editor I wrote last month that we had over 20” of rain in 15 days. I mentioned the challenges that faced many from the high waters. Little did I know that this month, the world would see what high waters can do. An entire soccer team was lost in a cave in Thailand. The world watched and prayed for the boys to be rescued before the Monsoon rains flooded the cave and would keep them there for a couple of months if not more. Every day, I prayed and searched the internet for more information about the boys and their coach. Every day, I asked God to let the team be rescued. As the world watched, the kids were extracted from the cave in groups of four. It was almost as if you could hear the collective cries from God’s children when we found out the team and the coach were freed from the cave. But more prayer is needed, many of the boys and the coach are very weak. Some have pneumonia, others may have other diseases, but they are safe. Their parents can see them and God can heal them. It is time to be vigilante and pray continually. We have another great issue for you and would love to hear from you on what you like most. We have a new contributor this month, welcome Randi McNiel! Randi is going to write about songs and their meanings. Pastor Kevin Dotts, Josh Severt, Cheryl Stevenson, and Anna Friend are all back with great articles and Amber Codero shares her dad with us in the “My Dad” article. We have also been busy updating our web site. Please visit and learn more about our contributing writers. And, as always, we encourage you to share our magazine with others. Just click the share button and post it to your timeline. While you are on the website, be sure to check out our Book Club page. Craig will be sharing his book selection and holding a book club online for discussion. How fun! If you would like to be a contributing writer, please send me an email at email@example.com with your ideas and a samples of your writing. We do not pay for articles. We look forward to Praising God and sharing stories of faith, service and encouragement with you. Thank you for reading our magazine. Please share it on your social media and help us grow. Thank you and God Bless, Karen Ruhl, Publisher and Editor In Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
Faith On Every Corner
Faith On Every Corner Publisher & Editor in Chief: Karen Ruhl Senior Editor & Business Manager: Craig Ruhl Photography: Karen Ruhl Writers: Craig Ruhl, Karen Ruhl Advertising: Craig Ruhl Email: FaithOnEveryCorner@gmail.com Phone: 828-305-8571 www.FaithOnEveryCorner.com ©Copyright Faith On Every Corner 2018. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer and Copyright Notification The Information contained in the published works of Faith On Every Corner has been received from sources that we believe to be reliable. However, neither Faith On Every Corner nor its authors, writers, editors, or publisher can guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information published. Faith On Every Corner, its authors, writers, editors, and publishers are not responsible for any errors or omissions in our published works. All Faith On Every Corner© publications, websites, blogs, and other media are copyrighted. All rights are reserved. Faith On Every Corner© published works may be reproduced, shared, copied, or transmitted as long as the published work is unaltered and contains proper attribution to Faith On Every Corner©. Contributing writers to Faith On Every Corner© retain full rights to their articles. 4
Faith On Every Corner
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
Faithful in Prayer
Have you ever been in a situation when you wanted to serve God but just didn’t have the time, money, or strength to do so? There are times in life when sometimes the bottom seems to fall out and you search for anything you can do to be faithful to Him.
I have met many prayer warriors over my lifetime. Some of them intimidated me. Their words were so beautiful and I was sure that I could never be like they were. It kept me from one of the biggest blessings I have ever experienced, praying out loud and praying for others. I can tell you when my prayer life changed. We started going to Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana, CA in May of 2005. When we walked on the campus, I remember looking up to Craig and saying, “This campus is blessed. Little did I know how true those words would be. As we met the members of this church, they would often ask how we were and if they sensed anything, they would say, “let’s take that to prayer.” And, right there and then, they would pray for us. It didn’t take long before I started praying out loud for people on the spot, and I still do it today. I have seen amazng things happen because of prayer. 1 John 5:14 ~ This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
Faith On Every Corner
I am a Type II Diabetic. I was home alone one day and started feeling very tired. I wanted to go to bed and sleep the day away. I was on a medication that made my blood sugar drop very low. I didn’t realize how low it was dropping but I kept hearing, do not go to bed. Not audibly, it was more of a thought that was repeated over and over. I went to the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed. I felt like I was being nudged to get up. I decided I was going to stay awake by praying. I read the bible first and Mark 11:24 jumped out at me, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” I began my prayer by asking the Lord to help me get over this overwhelming feeling of being tired. I felt depressed, which is so far from anything I had every experienced. The weight was heavy on me, and I prayed it off first. I asked for a hedge of protection and then I started praying for everyone I knew. I started with our family, moved on to those I knew needed to be lifted up emotionally, I prayed for those who were ill, and this went on for at least an hour. I sat quietly for a little while in the bedroom and then realized I was feeling much better. I went to take my blood sugar and it was so low that I had to almost binge eat to bring my levels back up to normal. My blood sugar was at 47 if I had gone to sleep, my doctor said I may not have seen another day.
I started keeping a prayer journal that day. It became very natural to pray for everyone and I asked people if they had something I could pray about. I want to be sure you understand, this is not about me, it is all about how God stood by me and helped me learn the power of prayer in a dramatic way!
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2)
Have you ever had a time when you just didn’t know how to pray? Someone was sick, possibly passed away, there are many things that can cause us to wonder how we should pray under the circumstances in front of us. Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” When we are presented with a test of faith, or circumstance where we just don’t know what to say, pray God’s will.
People have told me that they just don’t know what to say when they pray. That one is easy, just talk to God and tell Him what is on your mind. He is not looking for the best prayer, He doesn’t judge you by what you say, He wants a relationship with you and wants you to be yourself with him. Simply start by talking to him like you would talk to your best friend, spouse, or parent.
The night that Craig had a heart attack, I sat and prayed over him as we waited in the ER waiting room. We came by car, never, ever, drive someone to the ER, always call 911. I sat holding Craig knowing that he was in cardiac arrest. The only thing I wanted was prayer. I called one of our good friends Linda Foley, and asked her if she would pray. She said yes and said she would come right over to the hospital. When she arrived, Craig was in the ER and had expired once. I didn’t know what to say but Linda did. She told me that she called the church and a few other friends and there was a prayer chain taking place for us that very moment. It was very late, Linda was not able to go to the ER with me so I suggested she go back home and thanked her for being such a great friend and prayer warrior. That night, Linda had prayed for healing and for God’s will. Craig not only survived expiring 3 times, 4 blockages, and 3 stents, he was healed. Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV) “This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Amen 6
Faith On Every Corner
James 5:16: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Craig and I took the ALPHA course several times and were group leaders a couple of times. It is a wonderful way to be in a group and learn more about God and how he wants you to pray. One week, we were to write the names of people we wanted to pray for, someone we wanted to receive Christ as their Savior. We each wrote down six names and we prayed. I remember praying for the names on my list for years. And one by one, I saw them come to Christ. Prayer works. Become a prayer warrior. You can pray anywhere, God just wants you to be a faithful servant. And now, my friends, I will leave you with this verse. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Amen and may God bless your prayer life so you will bless others and feel His will in your life.
(A Stirring Story Behind ‘America the Beautiful’ – Beth Cooney, Stamford Advocate, November 9, 2001) O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed his grace on thee And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!
Reflections of a Song by Randi McNiel
America the Beautiful By Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929) Music by Samuel Augustus Howe (1847-1903) It was the summer of 1893 when Katherine Lee Bates, professor of English literature at Wellesley College, headed west to teach a summer course at Colorado College. She was 33 – “The trip was a big deal. An adventure. For a young, single woman, it was a fairly mammoth undertaking.” She was stirred by the “amber waves of grain” she saw from a train in Kansas wheat fields. Later, on a faculty trip to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado, she saw what she later described as the “purple mountains majesty.” “We hired a prairie wagon pulled by horses up to the half-way house, where we had to leave the wagon and go the rest of the way on mules. I was very tired. Two of our party became so faint in the rarified air that we were bundled into the wagons again and started on our downward plunge. It was then and there, as I was looking out over the sealike expanse of fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies, that the opening lines of the poem floated into my mind.” Faith On Every Corner
The inspiration of Katharine Lee Bates caused me to reflect on the other verses of this amazing poem that was eventually put to music. My thoughts on the second verse brought my mind back to the early pioneers who took a chance on making a better life for themselves and future generations. Pictures of covered wagons traveling across the country gave me pause: how dusty and dirty the trip must have been as they traveled over rugged terrain, tossing treasured family heirlooms when the wagons became too heavy to cross rushing rivers. Tempers probably flared at times, and fear for their safety and that of their children must have been overwhelming. Was their fear greater than their trust in God to bring them to their new land? I imagine there was a wave of emotions as they tried to rein in their fear and trust in the Almighty. O beautiful for pilgrim feet Whose stern impassioned stress A thoroughfare of freedom beat Across the wilderness! America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law! The freedom we enjoy in this nation didn’t just fall into our laps. It came at a price. A very great price for some. When I think back over the years when we’ve sent soldiers into war, some of them right out of high school, my heart aches – for mothers who shed many tears for their sons, and for the young men and women who fought for this nation without fully understanding why. Many of them didn’t come home. Those who did were changed with
a new sense of honor, more virtuous, more noble. They are the heroes, those who fought for our liberty, and who would do it again because of their love of country. O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife. Who more than self their country loved And mercy more than life! America! America! May God thy gold refine Till all success be nobleness And every gain divine! We celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and family picnics. You see patriotism all around as we wave our flag, sing the songs, and hear the marches of John Philip Sousa. But in the stillness of night as you gaze at city lights and give thought to the sacrifices that brought us here, you can’t help but shed a tear. God has showered us with grace – and for this moment we see the brotherhood of man, neighbor helping neighbor, celebrations of how far we’ve come. But we mustn’t take it for granted – it can slip through our fingers the moment we forget the God of our fathers. Let us not forget what shaped this nation. Let us continue to forge a path toward peace and unity. For we are one nation under God. O beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years Thine alabaster cities gleam Undimmed by human tears! America! America! God shed his grace on thee And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea! “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 -
Faith On Every Corner
Meet Randi McNeil Randi will be joining us with a monthly column Reflections of a Song Randi McNiel is a wife, mother of two grown daughters, grandmother of 6, and a woman of strong faith and courage. She was raised in a Christian home, the granddaughter of a Lutheran pastor, and grew up surrounded by music. She has sung in church choirs since the age of 8 and directed children’s choirs for over 20 years. Most recently she sang with her 120-voice church choir, which is where she met her second husband, Bob. But less than 3 years into their marriage Bob showed signs of dementia and was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Randi works during the day at their county department of education, and cares for her husband at night and on weekends. She draws on the strength of God to get her through each day. Randi is a Toastmaster who began writing when preparing speeches. She has written many poems over the years and finds writing fills her need to do something beyond care giving. She admits that she hasn’t mastered the art of creating images with her words as she’d like, but she’s working on it. Most of all she wants to be known as someone who radiates the love of Christ Jesus in every area of her life.
ON THE PORCH By Craig Ruhl
When I was a kid, back when the world was analog and not yet digital, we lived outside the house more than inside. I remember in the summer, I would leave the house right after breakfast, gather a few neighbor friends, and would not come home until I was hungry, hurt, or it was dinner time. After dinner, I would go back out until the porch lights came on. Outdoors was the place to be and indoors was where you would be if you were being punished. Sure, thunderstorms and blizzards caused exceptions to be made but only until Mom said the coast was clear and then it was back out in the world again. Once I was old enough to have a full-size two-wheeled bike, not only was I outside, I was gone - with a capital G. Sports were our pastimes on most days. You could tell the season by what game the kids were playing. The houses where I grew up had porches, front and back. You could tell where your friends were by the bikes laying in front of the porches. The back porches tended to be screened in to allow air flow on hot days and to keep the bugs out. The front porch had a different purpose, it was where the family would sit in the evenings or during the day on weekends. Neighbors would wave as they came and went, and there was a true sense of community. This was a time when women were able to stay home and be full-time mothers. It was not unusual to come home from school to see your mom and another or two sitting on the porch having coffee, tea, or a lemonade. For us kids out playing it was also comforting to know that most homes had a mom who could help in an emergency. There were many rainy days when my friends and I would play games on the front porches while it rained. I remember a few summer nights that we so stifling hot that we slept on the porch where it was cooler. In the winter, we still played outdoors but the front porch was more of a place to kick the snow off your boots and store the snow shovels and firewood. It also was a convenient place to hang Christmas lights and decorations.
Faith On Every Corner
(The porch has been an American symbol ever since the country was founded. The large antebellum homes of the 1700s and 1800s all had immense wrap around porches. Neighbors would come onto the porches to visit and share food and drink. Parties took place outside as well as in the home. Houses in the cities, often rows of them, had front stoops and stairs that served as porches. Life was lived outside on the porch. Kids played in the street and adults gathered on the steps and porches to talk. In the eras before the television, internet or even full telephone service, the front porch was how information and gossip were transmitted. If you wanted to know what was going on, you needed to be outside and in the conversation. During the summer it was not unusual to see a family sitting there listening to a baseball game or mystery show on the radio. It was often just too hot to be inside. The iconic porch in America has been pictured in many movies and television shows. Communities had sidewalks where people out for a stroll could wave at neighbors sitting on their porch and even stop for a few minutes to exchange pleasantries or news. The porch was a buffer between public and private life. Folks could entertain out on the porch without inviting anyone inside the house. This made it easier to socialize without having to clean the house first. After World War II, American values such as family, community, and nature seemed to change. The architecture of homes evolved with the porch being less and less prominent. Indoor air conditioning also meant less time spent outdoors during hot summers. There wasnâ€™t a need for the overhang above a porch to lessen the heat in the house. The increased use of automobiles meant less foot traffic past homes as well as more noise and air pollution. Gradually, communities moved indoors after being centered outdoors for many generations. Now, we drive past some of the old neighborhoods with homes that have great porches, but we donâ€™t see people sitting on them very often. A sign of the times. Some people would blame electronics for this. Kids tend to be inside more with the television and video games. Mom and Dad, too. A good book and a rocking chair seem appropriate for outdoor living, Google and Facebook not so much.
For many years, we lived in southern California in a very densely populated area. Homes are a little different there. Property is very expensive so a home tends to be placed on smaller lots in tightly packed tracts, or subdivisions. We lived in a community where the attached garage was entered via a paved alleyway behind the house. The house was what is called a “patio” home. Basically, on a zero lot line, the side patio ended with the next door neighbors house wall. There wasn’t a front porch, just an entry door on the front side of the house. We really didn’t see neighbors much at all. Kids didn’t play in the streets and moms had to work outside the home because of the high cost of living there. After selling our house in California, Karen and I were full-time RVers for a few years until we decided to buy a home in western North Carolina. This was about this time last year. We made lists of what we wanted in a house, within the limitations of what we could afford. Among the top requirements were a really nice friendly neighborhood and a front porch. For a long time, we traveled the area looking at different towns and communities, dream-ing of the house that we would end up buying. We saw so many homes that had beautiful porches with inviting wood rocking chairs on them. As we drove by, I waved every once in a while at someone sitting in front of their house. We didn’t know them and they didn’t know us, but it was fun to see how many waved back. I think that would be a good way to choose a neighborhood to live in. We did find a home to buy, a nice brick house on a large corner lot. It even has a large porch with a patio cover over it. The porch is on the side of the house where the driveway and detached garage are. The front of the house has a small porch, but since the side entry is what is used, it really is not as functional as a proper sitting porch. We bought the house and moved in on December 3, 2017. We quickly realized that sitting on the porch, we could see neighbors as they drove past on both the front street and the side street. We started waving and keeping track of which cars belonged to which houses. People slowed as they passed and waved back. Karen started knocking on doors and introducing herself and one by one, neighbors would stop by when we were on the porch and we got to know each other.
Faith On Every Corner
(Karen’s studio office is in the front corner of our house with windows looking out at the corner and both streets. My desk is in front of a window looking out onto the porch. We love the inside of our home, but we really love taking the breaks and sitting on the porch, waving to the neighbors and talking about how blessed we are to be in this home and in this neighborhood, town, state, and country. We are happy to help to bring back a sense of oldfashioned neighborhood to where we live. So, if you are in the area and happen to pass by, look for us. We are the couple on the porch who are waving at you even if we haven’t met yet. Please wave back or stop by and say hello. We’ll even leave the porch light on for Y’all. There is something new on Faith On Every Corner! We are introducing an on-line book club and a book review section. We will post our reviews of the books we have read that we feel would be of interest to our subscribers and readers. The first book is by Phillip Gulley and is titled Front Porch Tales: Warm-Hearted Stories of Family, Faith, Laughter, and Love. This book of short stories is in an easy to read format that will delight you. It is the first one we have read by the author. We loved it and are looking forward to reading more of his works. Look for our full review on the Faith On Every Corner website very soon. We have also become an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors. You can browse books and even order from our page. Here is a link to the first book we are reviewing.
Well I got tired of getting hit by all these things. So I sought shelter and I gave my life to the Lord, he was my anchor. Now finally, the storm has passed. I’m saved, I’m a new man, and I’m alive. I have a purpose to share the word to friends and loved ones. There’s always something beautiful after every storm. One of the beautiful things was a rainbow which was a sign from Jesus saying he will never destroy me he will not throw anything at me that I can’t handle. Now my life is back on track having friends that have my back, a church family, a job that provides, and a desire to write. I have a purpose. And I’m here to tell you he will do the same for you. Are you in a storm anchor down with JESUS? Meet Josh Severt! We featured Josh in Issue 7. His story is one that is echoed across the country with our youth, but very few get to the point that Josh is at now. He is a living, walking testimony for Christ. Josh writes from his heart and is known to hand a printed testimony to those in need. Josh’s work will be featured monthly, please share with someone that needs a helping hand and prayer. The Storm By Josh Severt Thank God, he is my anchor in the storm. Storms can be dangerous, they can destroy homes, people, and they are scary. What happens during a storm? What happens after a storm? I was in a storm in my life. I was dangerous and hurting people with words. Hurting people with actions. I was drinking my life away partying, and my storm was scary. It had dark clouds. Raging winds that carried people, my job, and friends that I loved dearly away in my life. While in this storm, I thought it would never end. I thought I couldn’t get out of the dark clouds. I felt destroyed. I kept trying to run away from the storm but it just drug me along in the pain and the destruction of winds. I never looked for shelter but I was standing right in the middle of it. Getting hit by every piece of shrubbery that was thrown at me. Whether it was losing a friend, disappointing my parents, or losing a job. I just had no purpose, I just couldn’t get anchored down. This storm was brewed up by the DEVIL. Faith On Every Corner
Follow Josh on Facebook at: GIVE IT TO HIM
Faith On Every Corner has included the following information as a community service. SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357) What is SAMHSA’s National Helpline? SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357),(also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) is a confidential, free, 24-hour-aday, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information. The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs. 11
Anna Friend Featured Writer (Carl’s mom writes him letters occasionally. Carl is her only child. Carl’s father died when he was in college. Living in the Arizona, Carl calls his Mom in the Carolinas as often as he can on Sundays. Carl’s mom is in her 80s. She lives in a contemporary world with old fashioned values.) Dear Carl, It’s blazing hot here. The humidity’s so thick that it covers me like a blanket, which of course makes me even hotter. All these years here in the south, I still hate going outside. Most days I stay in and enjoy the air conditioning with the cat. Silly cat has made me feel sorry for her. She stretches out on the cement step and tosses her head back as if in agony. I let her in. She jumps on my lap and gets all comfy. I get the privilege of her presence and a good sweat on my lap because of her fur. Here I am complaining about my hot summer, and you are surviving 100-degree temps in Arizona. You said last Sunday that Donna and you are considering selling your home and moving to a new house. I know it must be hard leaving the home you raised your boys in. They have been gone awhile now. Something must have caught Donna’s and your attention. You are close to retirement so be careful on your spending. Sorry, son, I still have “mom” opinions. I try not to worry much about stuff. It’s hard to read the newspaper, listen to the news, or sit through Shirley’s political tirades and not worry. Preacher Larry’s wife is real sick with cancer. He came to visit with Shirley and me last night. I asked him how he still takes care of church people like us and stays happy. He said “Jesus tells us that He gives us peace. Not peace that the world would give us, but peace from the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us not to be troubled or afraid.” Carl, I pray for that kind of peace when I hear sad or troubling things. I bought a huge watermelon today. The bag boy had to lift it into my buggy, then lift it onto the checkout stand. He put it back in my buggy, and then put it in my car. He is always nice to me. I wish he would cut his hair. I can hardly see his eyes plus short hair wouldn’t be so hot. I asked the gardener to help me with the watermelon when I got home. He told me, “Me no go in your house.” I said, “Oh yes you will. I got a cold soda for you.” He did it. Left grass on my carpet but the melon is sitting on the counter. I like the ones with seeds. They are the biggest and seem sweeter to me. Everyone carries on about the seedless kind being easier to eat. Anyway, now I have to cut the monstrous thing. Your dad was master watermelon cutter. He would make perfect little triangle slices for you and your friends. I think I will cut it in half and give Shirley the other half. Call me. Wear sunscreen, son. Be wise and keep peaceful. Love, Mom John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (New International Version) 12
Faith On Every Corner
by Amber Cordero My story with my Dad begins in 1988, in Lyons, Kansas. I was the third child for my parents, and definitely a surprise. My mother had her tubes tied after my second oldest brother and they thought their family was complete. Seven years later, God had other plans, and I arrived as the only daughter. My brothers were seven and nine at the time. My parents, albeit surprised, were over the moon. They had dreamed about having a little girl, and God helped that dream come true in his perfect timing. My early memories of my father include rolling around on the floor playing “roller crusher” where he would roll along the floor and over me, being extra cautious to not actually crush me. I loved this game as a child! We would spend hours laughing as he came barreling toward me. My Dad was also the one who would paint my nails. I loved sitting on his lap in his brown recliner as he patiently granted my request to paint my nails, whatever color I had decided for that day. We were always best friends. We would sit in the living room on beanbags, just the two of us, while Mom was working and the boys were out with friends, watching TV and eating Vienna Sausages on saltine crackers. We shared hundreds of bowls full of popcorn and grapes (not mixed) in my elementary years. He was always engaging, and loved to play whatever I was in the mood for, whether it was Barbies or hide and seek. Summers were spent going to the pool, running through the sprinklers, and selling lemonade on the curb outside our house that my Dad and Mom Faith On Every Corner
helped me make from the Country Time lemonade mix. God bless those people who paid a quarter for lemonade! In elementary school we were members of a nondenominational Christian church in town. Once the preacher left, there was a lull where, to be honest, we didn’t attend church much. However, in fifth grade, I discovered how much I enjoyed going to the Lutheran Church with my friend and my parents followed and stared attending Christ the King. In high school and part of college, Dad and I even sang in the church choir together. It was wonderful worshiping the Lord, with my Dad beside me. Evenings growing up were spent eating a home cooked meal as a family, and thanking God prior to our meals for sustaining us with bountiful blessings and allowing fellowship as a family. In my middle school years, I became involved in Choir and Theater Arts. With those, came hours of concerts and productions that my family endured to support me. I cannot ever remember a time when I looked into the concert hall or auditorium and didn’t see my family. Even though my parents worked full time, they came to every production that I was a part of. The awkward middle school years were paired perfectly with the numerous compliments my Dad gave me to help build up my self-image and self worth. He has always echoed his pride in me throughout my life, which has helped drive me to push further. My Dad and I spent countless hours discussing life lessons such as the importance of honesty, integrity, and accountability. He always told me that once he is gone, he wants people to be able to say, “There goes a good ol’ boy”. His actions and words have mirrored his belief in the importance of being honest, accountable, and having integrity in everything he does. In high school, my Dad also attended every choir concert and church presentation that I can remember. He drilled in me the ideal that you can achieve whatever dream you have if you work hard enough. He taught me many things in life like the value of hard work, being responsible, timely, and working hard to support myself so that I would not need a man to support me. When they bought me my first car, he spent time showing me how to check the fluid levels, how to replace the windshield washer fluid, how to use a jack, how to check tire pressures and refill them, and how to replace a tire. He taught me lessons regarding having a car like, “it costs just as much to keep the top half full as it does the bottom half”, as one of his favorite “Dadisms” goes. 13
Some of my most dear and favorite memories are of him and I singing together during our family karaoke nights. He helped develop my voice as soon as I discovered the gift of song in the fifth grade. He has worked with me through my Britney Spears days, through Martina McBride, and on to current hit country songs today. I cherish the moments when we sing together. We have special duets that we sing together such as “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “I Told You So” that make my heart so full when we sing them. He has tried to teach me how to harmonize, and has thus far been unsuccessful (haha). Another beautiful memory I have of him is the look on his face when he saw me in my wedding dress. The memory of his reaction still brings tears to my eyes. Our dance together at my wedding was another wonderful memory that I will always hold dear, as we danced to “Butterfly Kisses”. This song has special meaning to me, because as a kid, Dad and I would give butterfly and eskimo kisses to each other, and laugh every time we did. I remember him walking me down a long set of stairs down the aisle to marry my love, where my legs were so shaky from fear of falling. Although I was shaking, his legs and hands remained firm and strong as we made our way to the altar.
Today, I look at my Dad and the feeling I get is pride. He always tells me (and anyone who will listen) how proud of me he is, but he doesn’t realize that I am just as proud of him. My Dad is a Vietnam veteran, a strong head of the household who worked every day to provide for our needs and our wishes, a brilliant man with over seventy years of wisdom to share, the most wonderful and engaged Pawpaw to my son, a loving father-in-law to my husband, a caring Daddy to his kids, a wonderful friend to all, and a giving man who would give you the shirt off his back, even if it was his last article of clothing. He is a proud man, and stubborn at times, but that has helped him with his honorable amount of ambition in his life. He is silly, funny, strong, smart, loving, thoughtful, generous, and one of the best men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I love my Daddy, and although I know that someday God will call him home, I take solace in knowing that one day we will be with each other for all eternity, and I will always have the beautiful memories. Until that day, I will keep cherishing his presence with us and I will keep laughing and loving, and making more wonderful memories with him.
Bacon, Lettuce,Tomato Salad
RECIPES TOO GOOD NOT TO SHARE I thought I was the only one who loved soup, day or night, winter or summer. That is just not so! Here are a few recipes that are easy to make and taste fantastic. Enjoy! Put this first recipe in the crock pot and go enjoy the pool. Dinner will be ready later in the day.
INGREDIENTS 1 cup cubed whole-wheat country bread 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 4 medium tomatoes, divided 3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise 2 tablespoons minced chives, or scallion greens 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar Âź teaspoon garlic powder Freshly ground pepper, to taste 5 cups chopped hearts of romaine lettuce 3 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled Preparation Preheat oven to 350Â°F. Toss bread with oil and spread on a baking sheet. Bake, turning once, until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cut 1 tomato in half. Working over a large bowl, shred both halves using the large holes on a box grater. Discard the skin. Add mayonnaise, chives (or scallion greens), vinegar, garlic powder and pepper; whisk to combine. Chop the remaining 3 tomatoes. Add the tomatoes, romaine and croutons to the bowl with the dressing; toss to coat. Sprinkle with bacon.
Low Carb Chicken Taco Soup
prep time: cook time: 6 hour total time: 6 hours INGREDIENTS: 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts 2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese 1 (1-oz) package Original Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix 3 Tbsp southwestern seasoning 2 (10-oz) cans Diced tomatoes and green chiles 4 cups chicken broth
INSTRUCTIONS: Place all ingredients in a 6-qt Slow Cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Remove chicken from Slow Cooker and shred with two forks. Return to Slow Cooker and stir. Serve with cheese, cilantro and sour cream, if desired. Recipe from https://www.plainchicken.com Faith On Every Corner
SUMMER TASTES SO GOOD!
discuss the material in a round-robin manner with each man having the opportunity to express his thoughts and feelings. I think the first meeting that I was a part of concerned a specific book in the Bible with a study workbook that contained weekly readings and questions designed to not just learn the passages but to also explore our feelings about them and how the messages related to our everyday lives. I stayed with the group for about 7 years until we moved from the area and became fulltime RVers.
A Small Group of Men By Craig Ruhl
In the early spring of 2005, Karen and I began attending and later became members of Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana, California. We had recently bought my parent’s home from their estate and wanted to find a church home where we could worship and grow in our faith while making friends among the congregation. Trinity has always had many vibrant programs including youth and adult choirs, youth ministries, Sunday school classes for all ages, and small groups for men, women, and couples. My first exposure to a men’s ministry and small group studies was at this church.
I mentioned earlier that men learn to share their feelings in different ways than women do. It was during those years in that small group that I became comfortable and trusting when discussing my faith. I got to know each of the men on much deeper levels than I would have through casual interaction before and after church on Sundays. Through the years, we shared grief as well as joy, fear and hope, and through it all we knew that each of the men had the other’s backs. In this group, I learned how to pray and how to listen for God’s voice. During this time, I witnessed miracles among the group and was the recipient of several miracles myself. Being part of a faith-based study group strengthened my relationship with my wife and son. The other men expressed how much of a difference it made in each of their lives. Our group was just one of almost a dozen small groups that met regularly, on the church campus, at restaurants, and in homes. Several of the groups had been meeting for 20 years or more. There were groups that included fathers and sons and I think there was even one that had three generations participating regularly.
There were two services on Sunday mornings and it was customary for people to meet and mingle on the large patio outside the sanctuary between services. There was a coffee service set up and a series of folding tables with information about many of the programs and services available at the church. It was during this time while waiting for the second service to begin, that I met some of the men who would change my life forever and shape how I approached my Christian faith. Men are not easy to engage in conversation about their faith. We learn and share differently than women do. Men also tend not to join a group easily. When I was growing up, I don’t remember my father or grandfathers talking about their faith. They went to church, prayed, and even studied the Bible from time to time, but I just don’t remember them expressing their faith verbally. I was involved with youth fellowship programs at church during my junior high school through college years. These were co-ed groups usually led by young married couples. Again, I don’t remember the guys gathering to discuss God and how we related to the Lord’s teachings. There were many retreats during those years and opportunities to get together with other boys to discuss what was being taught by the leaders. It didn’t happen. This continued into my adult life. I went to church, learned from the sermons and bible studies, but never really felt called to share my faith with others, let alone ask anyone else about theirs.
We all have been commissioned to go out into the world and make disciples of everyone. Matthew 28 verses 18 through 20 instruct us: “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus showed us the way by starting out with just 12 men in a small group. They became his disciples and I think one of the best ways today to become a disciple and to make disciples is to join a Bible-based study group. You may find one at your local church or maybe start one yourself. In a small group setting, you will be able to learn, share, and explore your faith in an unthreatening and secure way. Ecclesiastes 4, verse 12 states, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Can you imagine the power of a group of 8 to 12 men, praying together, united by faith, friendship, and purpose? I can. I have been there, and I have experienced it.
One Sunday on the church patio, I was standing next to a table that had information about small group Bible studies. I wasn’t really interested, but I took a look at the information anyway. As I was standing there, a man that I had met before and had spoken to a number of times said that he was a member of a small men’s group that met weekly in the evenings. I don’t remember his exact words, but he gently invited me and planted the seed that would take root and grow. Over the next few weeks, each Sunday we would chat on the patio and he would invite me to drop into the group just to see what it was all about. I did go to one of the meetings and I was hooked. The group consisted of about 8 men of varying ages and backgrounds. The format was centered around a study of a book or biblical subject. Each week, the group would
Thanks, Gary, for the invite!
A Life Of Service
Featuring Danielle and Wesley Vickers THE GATHERING This past month our base hosted The Gathering, a conference for all the Adventures in Missions longterm missionaries currently serving in Asia. We were joined by several passionate world-changers from Cambodia, India, and the Philippines. This time of reconnecting, refreshing, and recharging with friends proved to be a great blessing to us. From catching up, swapping stories and advice, and just taking a step back to simply have fun was so nice and so needed. In addition, a few more “seasoned” married couples came out for the retreat to share their wisdom and offer marriage check-ins/counseling to each of the married couples living on the field (five couples total!). This was a great time for us to revisit our strengths and areas of growth. Whether you’re single or married, full-time ministry overseas can take a toll, so we were greatly encouraged to learn from the wisdom of couples who have done it before.
TRANSITION As you may remember, a pioneer team came before us to build the foundations of our base/ministry from scratch and train us so they could pass the baton on to our team. While we’ve been learning from them for the past several months, their time here is coming to a close and the longterm team has officially taken full ownership of the base. We are beyond grateful for the pioneer team and the time they allotted us to adjust, train, and begin language learning. July is going to get pretty busy, but we are thrilled! Already, we have a World Race squad, a short-term mission trip, and another Parent Vision Trip coming to our base in the next few weeks! Prayers and Praises Recently, a boy’s soccer was trapped in a cave in Northern Thailand due to flooding in the region. After 10 days, the boys (ages 11-16) and their coach were found alive after professional divers swam for miles in muddied water. Due to their lack of diving/swimming skills, it’s expected to take months to get them out. Please pray for these young boys, their coach, and their families in this time. Pray for safety, comfort, an expedited rescue, and an encounter with the Lord. ( Editors note: At this time, everyone has been saved from the caves. Praise God.)
Faith On Every Corner
Thailand / Photo by Wesley Vickers July 6-13, Danielle and Ali are going to the Philippines to spend a week with Wipe Every Tear (an anti-trafficking organization and AIM ministry partner) to learn the details and logistics of aftercare for women coming out of prostitution. In addition, Wesley heads to Laos July 16-23 with World Racers for “manistry,” a time to come alongside and serve the young men of the next generation. Please pray for safe travels and purposeful experiences while also praying for good communication in our marriage as we spend half of the month apart.
Faith On Every Corner
A note from the Editor of Faith On Every Corner Many of us have done local missionary work, even short mission trips to other countries. I always loved to hear the stories when the missionaries would visit our church and tell us about lands far away. I never dreamed one of my own two of my family members would one day be missionaries in Thailand. I ask that you keep them in your prayers. Matthew 28:19 - 20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Faith On Every Corner
By Cheryl Stevenson August 2017
Mirror, mirror, what do I see? I see …................... A woman who is at peace after getting a diagnosis. Someone who is happy, in spite of how her life has changed. A woman who has a positive attitude in spite of the problems with her cognition. Her sadness when she doesn’t recognize someone who knows her. Someone who sometimes doesn’t understand the words spoken to her. Her frustration when she can’t find the words that she wants to say. Someone who doesn’t want everyone to know about her illness. A woman who struggles with her memory. Sometimes her tears when there is fog in her brain. The sadness of knowing that a lot of her memories have long been forgotten. Her feeling frustrated when trying to educate her family about what it is like for her. A woman who wants to make a difference. Someone who strives to help others by sharing her story of living with a memory impairment. That she continues to enjoy her life and live it to the fullest. A woman continuing to make new memories even though she knows a lot of them will be forgotten soon after. Someone who has strength that she didn’t even know that she could have. Her determination when things are difficult for her. A woman who refuses to give up! Cheryl has Mild Cognitive Impairment, she likes to write while she can and has a very positive attitude. We are honored to be able to share Cheryl’s poems. Enjoy! 20
Road Trippinâ€™ in Salisbury, NC Photos by Karen Ruhl
So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Gen. 11:8
Small Town America Craig and I love small towns, we love to drive around the town, down alleys, through neighborhoods, and shop at the small stores. Small towns help build America and we have neglected them as more and more big corporate stores take over our towns. Craig found a great show called Small Business Revolution. Look it up on Youtube and watch how they are helping bring small towns back one at a time. Salisbury, North Carolina was such a fun treat. When we first drove into town, we saw this amazing mural depicting the town in a much earlier time. We found the statue on the right at a traffic light, it is a memorial remembering those lost during the confederate war.
Faith On Every Corner
We like towns that have artwork that allows you to view from the car. Craig is often the driver and letâ€™s me jump in and out to get a shot. Iâ€™m always happy when he can see the beauty from the van. There are many painted signs on buildings around Salisbury. Below is a second mural depicting the train and train station. Iâ€™ve said it before, but if you like small towns, this one is packed with shops and beautiful things to see in town.
Above is a sign for Cheerwine, a soft drink that was manufactured in Salisbury for years. Below is one of the prettiest train stations and grounds that I have seen.
Faith On Every Corner
We encourage you to stop by the Visitor Centers in these small towns. I learned that there is a trolly that runs on Saturday mornings and that Salisbury has a Symphony! A huge thank you to Vicky Jordan who took the time to tell me about Salisbury and loaded me up with tourist info!
How to be salty light-filled people By Pastor Kevin Dotts Matthew 5:13-15 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lamp-stand, and it shines on all who are in the house.” Over the past six weeks I have been preaching a sermon series based upon Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as found in Matthew five and six. Several weeks ago I was teaching on Matthew 5:13-15 where Jesus stated that we “are the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” He indicated in the text that we are useless if we lose our saltiness or hide our light. I began to contemplate the practical uses of salt and light.
For many centuries salt was one of the most valuable commodities on earth. In fact, the Roman Empire built roads which were constructed entirely for the purpose of transporting salt into the city of Rome and to other important cities in the empire (Time, “A Brief History of Salt”). The word Salary is derived from a Latin word meaning the exchange of salt (HowSuffWorks.com, “How Salt Works,” Shanna Freeman). In the ancient world salt was not simply a spice that was used to add flavor, but also as a preservative. In a world without electricity or a readily available way to keep food for long periods of time the ancient world could pack meats and other foods in salt and the food would be preserved. My grandmother, who grew up in rural NW Ohio in the early part of the twentieth century told me that they preserved some of their meat by salting it and hanging it from the rafters or placing it in barrels. Of course, salt, as the text indicates, is used to add flavor or to bring out the flavor in food. A dish that does not have salt or enough salt in it can taste very bland, but when you add a bit of salt to a seemingly tasteless meal, the richness of the food is revealed and the true flavor of the dish is experienced. Salt preserves and enhances the meal. One does not have to have a degree in science to know the value of light. Light is one of the fundament elements for life on earth. Without light we would have no plants and we would not exist. Light allows us to see the world around us and color is produced by the way light is reflected and then perceived by our eyes. Light gives us life and beauty. Light also reveals the hazards around us. Anyone who has ever stumbled through a pitch-dark room and stubbed their toe on an unperceived object while trying to reach the light switch can tell you how valuable light truly is. So then Jesus says that we “are the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” Perhaps you sang the Sunday school song, “This Little Light of Mine,” which states, “I’m going to let it shine.” I cannot think of a comparable song about being salt, but that is not to say it does not exist. None the less, the point of the song is that we are to shine bright so that the world might be changed by our presence. I do not know about you, but sometimes when I think about being the salt of the world or the light of Jesus I am at a loss. Does that mean that I have to stannd
on a street corner and declare “the end is near, turn to Jesus,” or knock on doors asking people if “they know Jesus as their personal savior?” I’ll be honest, both of those scenarios make me cringe. I’ve experienced people doing those things and I am certainly not one to judge as to whether or not they are effective, but I cannot imagine doing them. So where does that leave me and how do I live out the call to be salt and light? As I was thinking and praying on Jesus’ words from Matthew, my dad came to mind. My dad was not a preacher, at least not in the traditional sense. He was a contractor who owned a business. He loved nature and was an amateur geologist and was, in his heart, a farmer. Above all else he was a Spirit filled follower of Jesus. My earliest memories of my dad were of him sitting in the living room just before bedtime reading from the Bible. He was always a lover of people and was prone to striking up conversations that usually began by discussing the weather or crop prices, but always in some unfathomable way led to Jesus. His witness for Jesus seemed to come naturally to him, but it was in the last season of his life that I came to see what it means to be salt and light in the world. When my dad was sixty-nine, after much prodding from my mother, he went to a doctor. For many months and probably longer than he let on he had been severely tired. He had always been a hard worker and had no plans to retire, but he was increasingly finding it difficult to perform the tasks associated with his job. After a lot of testing and a mis diagnosis a specialist finally discovered that my dad had a rare disease that caused the bone marrow to become hard which led to his bodies inability to produce red blood cells. Without red blood cells the oxygen brought into his lungs could not then be carried to the rest of his body. His body was being suffocated. The prognosis was not good and he began to have blood transfusions every few months. As the disease progressed the transfusions had to occur every month then every few weeks until the doctor called to tell us that the transfusions were no longer effective. He eventually went on hospice and died early in the morning after Palm Sunday in 2008. Continued on next page. 24
About six months before dad died, he got a severe infection in his lower leg which was eventually diagnosed as staph. A surgeon was brought in and they had to cut the infected flesh out down to the bone. The incision was about three inches long and a few inches wide. He had to stay in the hospital for several weeks. On the day that I went to pick my dad up and take him home, I was standing outside of his hospital room waiting for the aid to get him dressed. I was leaning against a wall which divided the hall from the nurse’s station; the wall was about eight feet tall and did not go all the way to the ceiling. Two nurses were talking on the other side of the wall and I heard one nurse say, “I hear that our friend Bob is going home today.” The other nurse said, “yes, I am going to miss him so much. He always asks how I am and he has prayed for me several times.” It took a moment, but then I realized that the Bob they were talking about was my dad. After I went back into the room and was waiting with my dad for the discharge papers, a nurse came into the room and my dad greeted her by name and introduced me to her. He then asked her how her son, who had been in some sort of trouble, was doing and she told him that he was better and she thanked my dad for his prayers. Before we left the hospital that day, one staff person after another came into my dad’s room to say goodbye. I was utterly amazed. My dad had been in the hospital where he was being cared for after a serious operation and who was for all intense and purpose dying, and yet I watched as one person after another came into his room to tell him how much good he had done in their lives.
My observations did not end that day. I took my dad to various oncologist visits and visits with his general practitioner. We would be sitting in the waiting room with other sick people, some of whom were not as sick as my dad and he would take every opportunity to cheer people up. He was not shy to ask people if he could pray with them and he openly and unashamedly talked about his faith in Jesus. What amazed me the most is how natural this was for him. I began to realize that my dad had an intimate and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ that was nurtured through his prayer life and his Bible study. I saw in my dad the working of the Holy Spirit. He did not sit and think about how he could be salt and light, but rather he was salt and light. His relationship with Jesus, to whom he had long before surrendered his life, shown through him. You see, the salt is not of our making and the light does not shine because we are so brilliant, but the salt and the light are Jesus in us. We become salt and light when we place our faith in Jesus and surrender to His will. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). I saw my dad adding flavor to the world around him. He let Christ shine in such a way that other peoples lives were changed; I believe that many were changed for eternity.
You might ask, how do I stay salty and shine brightly in this seemingly bland and dark world? I can answer based upon what I saw happening in my dad and what I have experienced in my own life at least partially due to my dad’s witness to me. Be in love with Jesus! Relationships take effort and our relationship with Jesus is no different. Cultivate a life of prayer. What I mean by this is be in constant conversation with God through Jesus. When life is good praise him and when life is not so good, praise him. Take your joys, sorrows, and every other emotion to the cross. Take your cares and your sins to the cross often. My dad used to say, “keep a short list.” In other words, don’t let your small sins build up until they have snowballed into an almost uncontrollable giant, but rather daily and, if need be, hourly take them to Jesus. Read the Word every day praying for the Holy Spirit to shape you and change you into what Jesus would have you be. Listen for the still small voice of God. Most importantly surrender. In the old black and white cops and robber movies the police would tell the assailant “put your hands up!” The simple act by the assailant of putting their hands up and removing them from a position that could easily grasp a weapon allowed the police to have full control of him or her. In a similar way, we surrender to God when we put our spiritual hands up and stop fighting God and allow Him to have full access to our hearts and minds. Surrender ends up being a daily process, at least in my life. In doing so we give the Holy Spirit free reign to work in and through us. We become salt and light that flavors, preserves, enlightens the dangers of sin, and brings brilliant color into our lives and the lives of others around us. My dad died ten years ago this past March and he is still teaching me by his example how to be salt and light. He allowed the Spirit to love on people through him and he never let his seemingly bleak situation persuade him from reaching out to the people he encountered. His life could have been flavorless and he could have chosen to curl up in a room and hide any light he had, but he chose to shine! I can only imagine how many people have come up to him or will go up to him in heaven and have said, “thank you, you changed my life.”
Love Makes Our Family When we chose to grow our family through adoption we had no idea how becoming parents would change us, our lives and our world. Often people who see us want to share their experiences of adoption or ask us questions. We love hearing their beautiful stories and sharing ours. We have many strengths, diversity is one of them! For us, love makes our family! ~Stacy and Eric Reynolds
Photo credit: Vangie Ogg Photography
Every child deserves to grow up in a healthy, happy home. But 50,000 children in California and more than 3,000 here in Orange County are still waiting for their forever family. We help build and sustain permanent families for abused, neglected, and emotionally traumatized children, giving them the love and care they need to thrive.
Seneca Orange County The commitment to unconditional care means that whatever it takes to help children and families thrive, even when faced with tremendous challenges, will be done.
www.senecafoa.org • 1801 Park Court Place, Suite H, Santa Ana 92701 • 714-957-1004
Permanence ∙ Education ∙ Mental Health ∙ Innovation