GOSPEL ROADS In This Issue Read About: Grief, Shame, Homosexuality, Abortion
W a l k i n g
w i t h
t h e
F a i t h f u l ;
L i v i n g
O u t
t h e
F a i t h
She Found a Lump
What’s a Husband to Do?
The Other Side of Forgiveness
Saying Sorry When You’ve Really Blown It
Woman on a Mission Against Sex Trafficking
The Lost Voices
Speaking Up for the Pre-born
A HARRISON PUBLICATION
CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE
April 9â€“15, 2014 Featuring: Glenna Salsbury, Keynote Speaker Award winning faculty 8 Major Morning Tracks 40 Afternoon Workshops FREE Manuscript Critiques Teen Writers Track Networking with agents, editors and book publishing representatives
C ontents COVER STORY She Founf A Lump By Carlitta Cole-Kelly…………12 COLUMNS
Editor’s Word……………………….3 Victimized No More By Sharon Norris Elliott Sound Mind……………………… .6 Live in Truth By Dr. Daniel Lee Temple Watch……………………….7 Sugar on the Brain By Douglas Nelson Study!.............................................8 Misuse of Authority By Dr. Phillip D. Williams Devotion………………………….…9 The Other Side of Forgiveness By Sharon Norris Elliott Not Slothful in Business………….22 Truth about the Economy By Ivy Bennett
Filled with Laughter……………....28 Scratching Where It Itches By Rhonda Rhea
It’s a God Thing…………………….10 Stop the Cycle of Shame By Julie Morris, R.N. The Truth about Homosexuality By John Berry..............…………….11 Book and Movie Reviews……….....24
Woman on a Mission Against Sex Trafficking By Kathy Collard Miller..……….….. 4
The Lost Voices By Pat Layton……………………….16
How to Deal with Grief By James N. WatKins……………….18
Recipes………………………………29 SEPT/OCT 2013 GOSPELROADS.COM
George S. Harrison II Publisher Sharon Norris Elliott Editor-in-chief Chaz McCoy Web administrator Nathan O’neal Photographer
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SEPT/OCT 2013 GOSPELROADS.COM
Victimized No More
By Sharon Norris Elliott
he children of Israel had lived as slaves for over 400 years. They had not only adapted to their environment, but they had adopted a slavery mindset. Mindsets are not easily reset, even when the environment and life situation changes. So when God delivered them from the slavery environment, He still had quite a work to do to deliver them from the slavery mindset. The re-education started almost right away. Moses and the people were only days out of Egypt when Pharaoh decided he had made a mistake to let his entire labor force go free. He rallied his troops and took out after them. Exodus 14:10-12 records the people’s reaction when they realized what was happening: And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?’ For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” (NKJ) Moses’ answer rings of faith and trust, and rings from the heart of a man who had not developed the slavery mindset. He said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today…” Exodus 14:13 (NKJ). There will come a time when enough is enough, when you have to start thinking like a free person deserving of dignity and respect. There will come a time when you recognize your rights and your place in the scheme of things. Like the children of Israel, you may be tempted to say, “Forget it. I’ll just become a slave – a victim – again; after all, that’s what I know and that is just easier.” But, you realize that God has delivered you from places to which you refuse to return and to which He has no intention of sending you back. Nevertheless, it’s a fearful thing to watch as those who mistreat you, disrespect you, and victimize you ride headlong toward you with every intention of keeping you under their thumb. This issue deals with victimization in many areas. It was a hard issue to produce. Many problems flew in the face of our staff hindering its production, but we forged ahead, realizing the only one wanting this issue to fail was Satan. So be ready to be freed! Our cover story introduces us to Tom and Amy Hauser, an amazing couple I met at a writers’ conference. They (and their marriage) have survived the ordeal of Amy’s breast cancer, and have chosen to tell us about that survival not only from her side (her book is entitled In His Grip), but also from his, through his touching book entitled She Found a Lump. (Tom let us borrow his title for our article!) Another story, “Woman on a Mission Against Sex Trafficking,” exposes the evils of this plight and will hopefully move us toward action to help the victims. “Lost Voices” speaks to another indecency – abortion – which kills thousands of silent victims annually. This issue also tackles unforgiveness, grief, shame, and homosexuality, all of which are deep subjects gripping victims needing to be freed. So read this issue of Gospel Roads as you “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.” You may be waiting in tears just like the children of Israel were probably doing, trembling as the Egyptian army rode down on them. But God had a plan of escape for them, just as you must trust that He has for you. Standing still says two things: 1) I trust God, and 2) I refuse to be victimized any more. Oh, and as for the victimizers out there, before they mistreat God’s children, they’d better learn to swim.
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Woman on a Mission Against Sex Trafficking by Kathy Collard Miller
t seemed otherworldly as Heather Crane sat by a beautiful waterfall in Chang Mai, Thailand, watching a group of girls sing praises to God with such joy on their faces. “Could it really be true that only a few months ago these very girls had been trapped as sex slaves?” Heather wondered. “But it is true and now they are safe because of ministries like Love 146. I want to be a part of this ministry.” Heather and her friends from the Love 146 ministry were visiting the Golden Triangle, a collection of towns in rural Thailand notorious for human trafficking. Heather found out that after girls are rescued, they are emotionally restored and most come to know Jesus at the safe house financially supported by Love 146. As Heather saw for herself the ministry of Love 146 in Thailand and Cambodia, she knew God was calling her on a mission to help end sex trafficking. Even though she is a busy wife and mother of three children, she became a board member of Love 146. One of Heather’s joys of supporting this important ministry is the professional/amateur golf tournament that she and her husband, Ben, host every year. Ben is a professional golfer on the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) tour. Over the six years they’ve held the event, they have raised over 2.5 million for charities with 1.25 million going to Love 146 specficially. They support Love 146 because it works toward the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation through prevention and aftercare solutions while contributing to a growing abolition movement. Very recently, Heather engaged in this problem on a domestic level. The National Center for Missing & Exploited children estimates that over 100,000 kids in the U.S. are trafficked for sex each year. One of the projects that Love 146 is working on is a Prevention Education curriculum for schools, educating teachers, administrators, social workers, and kids about the realities of sex trafficking including signs to look for and misconceptions to equip young adults so that they are not lured into being exploited. Love 146 was formed after Co-Founders Rob Morris, Lamont Hiebert, Desirea Rodgers, and Caroline Hahm went on an exploratory trip to SouthEast Asia in September 2002. In brothels, they saw young children being sold for sex, then in safehomes they witnessed the miracle of restoration as they sang and danced with survivors. From that first trip, their spark of abolition was ignited. After eighteen months of research, networking, and other foundational work, Love146 became an official Public Charity in March of 2004 under the name of Justice for Children International. Then in October 2007, after a long examination of who they were as an organization, and as a group of people, they decided to change the organization’s name. “We took a long look at what sparked us, what motivates us, and what we believe brings about lasting change. That is when we decided to change our
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name from JFCI to Love146, and we have never looked back.” Since then, Love 146 has expanded their ministry to many areas of Asia, Europe, and the United States. The countries within which it works are among the predominant centers of the child sex
ments.” When people hear about Love 146, they naturally wonder about the number in the name. What does “146” stand for? When the founders traveled to Southeast Asia, they were taken undercover with investigators to a brothel where they
trafficking and slavery industry. Sex trafficking is an estimated 32 billion dollar industry which destroys lives as youngsters, primarily females. These children are subjected to gang rapes, manipulation, forced abortions, and unprotected sex. They suffer psychological trauma and physical damage, often being infected with HIV/AIDS and other diseases. One of the aspects of Love 146 that Heather saw first hand in her travels is the model of “The Round Home” in the Philippines. After a child is delivered from sex slavery, she needs a safe place to heal. The Round Home is that safe place, specializing in the restoration and holistic health of every child entering its doors. One child, upon arriving at the Round Home was asked what her one wish would be if she had one. She replied, “My wish has come true, I am home.” Dr. Gundelina Velazco is Director of Aftercare for Love146 and says, “My idea of a safehome is where we nurse the bird’s broken wing. If we do well with our nursing, then the bird should be able to fly again and out of the safehome, and soar to the heights it was meant to reach. If it casts a glance at the safehome again, then it should be from above, among the clouds of its achieve-
witnessed children being sold for sex. They later wrote, “We found ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with predators in a small room, looking at little girls through a pane of glass. All of the girls wore red dresses with a number pinned to their dress for identification. They sat, blankly watching cartoons on TV. There was no light in their eyes. Their light had been taken from them. These children were raped each night multiple times. Sorrow covered their faces with nothingness. “Except one girl. Her number was 146. She wasn’t watching cartoons. She was looking beyond the glass. There was still fight in her eyes. It is a number that was pinned to one girl, but that number represents the millions enslaved. We carry her number with honor, sorrow, and with growing hope.” Heather carries that same hope, knowing that her involvement in the ministry of Love 146 is having an impact. Like the impact on those young girls who sang by the waterfall in Thailand, God has indeed done even more than Heather could ever have asked or imagined—a national and global impact for God’s glory.
Here’s w hat you c an d o to help end s exu a l tr af f i ck ing 1. Support Love 146 through prayer and donations. You could also join a Love 146 Task Force. Go to www.love146.org. 2. Educate yourself. Go to HumanTrafficking.org or read books like Renting Lacy by Linda Smith. 3. Check out International Justice Mission, a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. www.ijm.org. 4. Become involved with organizations like Finding Freedom International. http://findingfreedomint.org/ Pray for God to end sexual slavery. 5. Become an expert with a degree from Moody Bible Institute on “Ministry to Victims of Sexual Exploitation.” 6. Mentor a child with divorced parents or who is at-risk. Kathy Collard Miller is a popular women’s conference speaker who has spoken in 30 states and 7 foreign countries. She is the author of 49 books including Women of the Bible: Smart Guide to the Bible and Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries. Check out her blog at KathyCollardMiller.blogspot.com.
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Want Mental and Emotional Freedom? Live in Truth
By Dr. Daniel Lee Psalms 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. At our annual men’s retreat, I walked into our Morning Glory session (aka Early Early Morning Session) and our assistant pastor shared a word about being honest in our prayer life. He commented that we have a tendency to lie to God because we are not sincere about changing our bad habits and behaviors. He shared a story of someone who used to pray about quitting smoking. No matter how much she prayed, she did not experience any success until she was honest with God and admitted to Him and to herself how much she enjoyed the experience. The pastor’s point was to be completely honest with God and yourself if you want to see real change in your life. This story highlights the “Psalm of Repen-
tance” or Psalms 51. God desires truth from you. Challenge yourself to be truthful with Him and most importantly with yourself. Many of us hide from truth because of fear, shame, and guilt. We believe the only byproduct of facing the truth must certainly be psychological or emotional pain. However, admitting our vulnerabilities, disappointments, struggles, true intentions, and true feelings to God is a freeing experience. After all, He already knows what He is working with. Are you honest enough to confront yourself and acknowledge what you are working with? When you win the internal confrontation and decide to tell the truth rather than lie to yourself, the byproduct will be wisdom. You will gain the ability to make rational, reasoned responses to challenging situations. You will discover the ability to recover and learn from your mistakes, and you will be able to encourage your brother or sister with a testimony of hope and change. And sometimes your testimony can help someone overcome a problem without them experiencing the problem themselves.
Here are some quick suggestions about starting to live a life of truth: 1. Create a “Do Better” List – Be honest with yourself about the things you don’t do so well. Perhaps it’s something like always being late or the inability to save money. List issues that you want to overcome with God’s help. 2. Go before God in prayer and honestly share your thoughts, feelings, and responses regarding the issues on your “Do Better” list. Be open with Him because He knows what is in your heart anyway. 3. Give God the space to speak to you about your “Do Better” list. Search the Scriptures for verses and passages that speak to your specific issues. As you read these passages, be open to what God is saying to you through each story. 4. Sense God’s direction in your life about your issues. Beside each issue on your “Do Better” list, record what you hear in your heart from the Lord. Then assign yourself specific actions and set a measurable goal. Aunt Esther, from the Sanford and Son television show, always challenged her brother-in-law, Fred Sanford, with a statement, “Tell the truth, because the truth shall set you free, sucka.” She was not lying then and I would challenge you now: set yourself free with truth. 6
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Sugar on the Brain By Douglas Nelson
pon reading that title, if your first thought was a big fat brownie, stay tuned. During a Sharon Elliott writing conference, I was snacking on some delicious no-sugar cookies and fruit. Then I tried a brownie. Within couple of seconds of eating it, I was on a sugar high which was accompanied by a headache. I then resumed eating the no-sugar cookies and fruit and voila, I maintained a constant altitude throughout the rest of the conference. My unintentional experiment with a sugar brownie vs. no-sugar cookies and fruit got me thinking about how sugar affects my mind. As one who watches his temple (my body) very carefully, I am concerned about everything that gets past my teeth. The body requires three types of food: protein to build muscle, fat to store energy, and carbohydrates to power your cells. In its simplest form, carbohydrates are a type of sugar. Carbohydrates power your cells in the same way a battery powers a laptop. Your brain powers your body, so it needs the right kind of fuel. However, the brain is different from all other organs in the body in that it runs exclusively on carbohydrates. Do
not get confused; your brain is not powered by fat or protein, but by carbohydrates. (Stay with me now.) Sugar has two properties that the body likes: one; it has sweetness, and two; it provides the raw material for glucose. Glucose is the fuel that is used to power your brain cells. Glucose is life. Through the miracle of digestion, your body converts carbohydrates into glucose. So where do carbohydrates come from? When Jesus said He was the Light of the world, He said more than a non-believer could possible comprehend. Your body is solar powered. The sun, though it is 93,000,000 miles from Earth, brings warmth for our bodies and energy for life. When plants receive sunlight through the miracle of photosynthesis, the sunlight is converted into carbohydrates that plants use to power their own cells. Then in turn, you and I eat the plants and the carbohydrates provide fuel for our cells. You have to admit, thatâ€™s almost spiritual. The brain, like a computer, needs a steady and controlled source of energy. If you hook your laptop up to a car battery, you will have instant smoke. If you connect your laptop to a penlight battery, it
will not even turn on. Your brain works exactly the same way. If you overload your brain with sugar, it will smoke your brain. If you eat too few carbohydrates, your brain will not even function. However, if you feed your brain fructose, the sugar that is in fruit, it will work perfectly. Unlike your laptop thought, the brain has no battery to store its energy. That is where God puts you back in the loop. To keep your brain humming, you have to eat healthy food. The reason that fruit is so perfect for the brain is because the fructose comes packaged with fiber. Fiber slows down the digestion process so that the fructose is slowly and steadily turned into glucose. In fact, you cannot eat too much fruit; the fiber works like a timerelease medicine. However, you most certainly can eat too much sugary food. What happens when you get sugar wet? It gets sticky. When you eat too much sugar, your brain cells get sticky and they start misfiring. Like all things in life, God has a perfect plan for our life and not-so-perfect plan. He leaves it up to us to choose. We can eat man-made refined sugar or we can eat God-made sugar that is in plants. No wise person, after reading up on refined sugar, could possible say it is good for your holy temple. Certainly, the five-pound bag of sugar that the average man, woman, and child eat every month cannot be good for us. God has created the perfect sugar for our mind, it is fructose, and it is packaged in colorful containers: purple grapes, red apples, and yellow peaches. Be encouraged to put the sugar on your brain from Godâ€™s naturally packaged sources.
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Misuse of Authority By Phillip D. Williams
ments. Some, in today’s tough economic times, are requesting and requiring wages from or even when we were with their flocks far above that of you, we used to give you work done, or their basic needs this order: if anyone is not requirements. The unemploywilling to work, then he is not ment rate in the US was last to eat, either” (2 Thess. 3:10, reported in April 2012 at 8.1 NASB) percent. Historically, from 1948 until 2012, the United States In Paul’s second letter to the unemployment rate averaged church at Thessalonica, he 5.8 percent reaching an all-time addresses an abuse of authorhigh of 10.8 percent in Novemity by some fellow co-laborers ber 1982. Starring this all-time who decided not to do the high in the face, both church work of ministry. Instead, they and members are in uncombecame busybodies, leaning on fortable financial situations. the good graces of members The church and its leaders need from their church for food as money to keep operating, so do compensation. To this issue, those they serve, to survive in Paul cites a law of Christ and these hard economic times. But, required adherence to the same, when have we as church leaders “if you don’t work you don’t like Paul, modeled foregoing a eat.” raise, a portion of our current Times were tough for all. salary, and/or that building Yet a few ministers, running fund, to lessen the economic scared that Christ was coming burden on our members? soon, abandoned their duties, Truly, “a worker is worthy of and became disorderly and his hire’’ and the church should abusive. They failed to follow support its leaders. But come the model of Paul…a minister on man…or woman! Are we who worked for a living and by really doing the work that choice, waived his right to be matches the salary? Or are we paid. eating and not working. The In hard times, even ministers day of the Lord is coming, and must make unusual adjustall will have to give an account 8 SEPT/OCT 2013 GOSPELROADS.COM
of our service. Leaders must trust God for provisions and church member must give in support of their leaders. God will provide “if we first seek the kingdom God and all of his righteousness.” He knows each workman who is worthy of their hire and the member who gives as he/she has prospered. Scriptures for a close look: 1. How did Paul advise the church to deal with the disorderly brothers? (3:6, 10, 12) 2. Why did Paul choose to work a secular job? (3: 8,9) 3. List some services of ministers for which they are paid? (1Pet. 5:2,3; Acts 6:4; Tim. 5:17-19; Acts 15:6; Mat. 18:1517 and Jam. 5:14) 4. From where should funds to pay ministers of the gospel come? (Num. 18:21; 1 Cor. 9:13; Mal. 3:8-10) Answers: 1. The church was to: a) withdraw their fellowship from the brother. b) Do not treat him as an enemy. c) Admonish him as you would a brother. 2. His purpose was to be an example to the Thessalonians and not to be a burden on the church. 3. Shepherds over flock, being a Christian model, teach, preach and pray, resolve doctrinal issues, pray for the sick, conduct church discipline. 4. The salary of ministers comes from the tithe and offering of the church.
The Other Side of Forgiveness:
Four Steps to Apologizing After You’ve Really Blown It By Sharon Norris Elliott
orgive your enemies. Bless those who despitefully use you. Turn the other cheek. Yeah, yeah, right. All that Biblical instruction sounds wonderful until a girlfriend actually offends you. Then most of us are ready to turn our hand into a fist and aim it toward her cheek. However, this article isn’t about our need to forgive our offensive, thoughtless friend. Let’s talk about the other side of forgiveness. What do you do when you are the offensive, thoughtless friend? Yes, I mean you. I’m no math whiz, but simple logic and statistics would bear out the fact that for every person who needs to forgive, there’s a person who needs to be forgiven. What are we supposed to do when we are on the needing-to-be-forgiven side of the ledger? Twice that I remember vividly, I really hurt good friends. Both times were unintentional, but that fact didn’t erase what I did nor make my friends’ pain any less acute. The first time was back in 1985. My friend Linda had her dress made and flew 3,000 miles at her own expense to be in my wedding. Two years later when she was getting married, I couldn’t attend because I was nearing the end my first pregnancy. Once Matthew was born, I was completely engulfed with his care and totally neglected the embroidery project I had planned to craft for Linda as a wedding present. Several months after her wedding, she called and balled me out about how insensitive I had been by not at least sending a gift after she had invested so much for me. The second indiscretion involved a description of a friend’s personal situation in one of my published works. I did not get permission because I changed the name in the story. Still, she recognized the incident and felt embarrassed, angry, and hurt. Worst of all,
she believed others who knew bits and pieces would add my words, make their own false assumptions, and look down on her. In both of my cases, there was nothing more I could do except say, “I’m sorry.” I couldn’t rewind the clock, make the pillow, and have it show up within a reasonable time after the wedding. I couldn’t un-publish the piece. A retraction would make matters worse by revealing identifiable facts I had left out of the first story. I couldn’t fix it. For my Type “A”, choleric personality, making a mistake is bad enough, but dealing with an unfixable one was simply unthinkable. There had to be a solution. So what can you do when you’ve really blown it royally? First, admit your mistake or indiscretion without a back-hand apology. Don’t say, “Oh, I’m so sorry you’re hurt.” Tears had sprung to my eyes when I heard them express their anger and hurt. I was devastated that I had messed up so badly and had been the source of pain for friends I truly cared about. All I could say to both friends was, “I’m so sorry.” Matthew 5:23-24 says, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you… First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (NIV). The ball is in your court to apologize. Second, take your friend’s hurt seriously. Even if you don’t understand how she came to the conclusion she reached, validate the reality of her pain. Immediately put yourself in her shoes. See the situation through her eyes and feel what she feels. You will have to be very vulnerable here. If you’re talking on the phone, allow her to hear the sorrow in your voice; if you’re face-to-face, let her see your tears. Now is not the time to try to vindicate yourself. “Wounds from a friend can be trusted…” Proverbs 27:6 (NIV). My friends were telling me the truth about myself. They Continue on Pg. 23 SEPT/OCT 2013 GOSPELROADS.COM 9
Stop the Cycle of Shame
It’s A God Thing
By Julie Morris, R.N. “Congratulations!” she said cheerfully, not realizing that her words would send me spiraling into shame. She continued, loud enough for the other nurses to hear, “Congratulations on your pregnancy!” Suddenly seeing the horrified look on my face, she changed her tone and said quietly, “You are pregnant, aren’t you?” No. I wasn’t pregnant. Totally humiliated, I mumbled something about my new uniform not being very becoming and busied myself with one of the patients. During the rest of the shift, I swore that I would starve myself until I was bone thin, but I went home and did something unimaginable: I ate everything in sight. I didn’t understand why I ate so uncontrollably then, but I do now: When people feel ashamed, they often do things that only add to their shame. Tim was shamed as a child because his dad screamed at him all the time. Now that Tim has children of his own, although the last thing he wants to do is harm them, he is shocked to hear himself reacting to them in the same hurtful way. Susan feels ashamed because her house is such a mess, but she continues to let things pile up because she is overwhelmed at the thought of cleaning it up. “I don’t know where to start,” she moaned, “so I’ve just given up.” Tim, Susan and I made choices that added to the shame we felt, but after years of searching, I finally discovered how to reverse the process. I lost my harmful extra pounds, and since then, have been helping others to lose the things that have weighed them down. Here are some of the things that will help you to stop the shame cycle: 1. Recognize things that cause you to feel ashamed. Stop to think about what we’re doing or whether our actions are helping or hurting us. Sit down for a few minutes and prayerfully list things that make you feel ashamed. 2. Rely on God’s help. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking that you’ll never be able to change. Instead, admit that without God you can’t change, but with Him, you can do anything one day at a time. Write a brief prayer to read every morning asking God to give you the willingness and ability to make changes that day. Then praise Him for His help. 3. Refrain from making excuses. Make a list of the excuses you have used to justify your actions. For example, here are some excuses I repeated to “give myself permission” to keep overeating: o I can’t help it. o I have a slow metabolism. o I’m not as large as some people. o I’ve been this way my whole life; there’s no changing now. Now refuse to make those excuses anymore. 4. Review daily goals. Identify the biggest thing that brings shame into your life. What small things you can do every day with God’s help to change this? Write and review these goals daily. Make your goals achievable and measurable. For example when I was trying to stop overeating, my goal wasn’t “I’ll stay on my diet.” Instead, my goals were “Each time I eat, I’ll make the healthiest choice possible.” “I won’t eat in front of the TV.” “I won’t eat second helpings.” 5. Report your progress. Meet or speak weekly with an accountability partner. Let this person know whether you are achieving the goals you set for yourself and pray together. When goals are not met, ask thought-provoking questions such as “How could you have made more effective choices?” Then start again. I believed that I was hopeless—doomed to continue overeating for the rest of my life. But 30 years ago all of that changed when I began learning how to cooperate with God as he changed me. I couldn’t just suddenly quit overeating, but I COULD recognize the harm that I was doing, rely on God to help me, refuse to make excuses, review daily goals, and report my progress. God will do for you what He is doing for me so that you, too, can stop the cycle of shame! Julie Morris is a popular motivational speaker and author of 12 books. She is the founder of Step Forward—a Christian Weight-Loss Program (www.stepforwarddiet.com), and Guided By Him (www.guidedbyhim.com)—a lighter and easier version of Step Forward. Other books that she has written include From Worry to Worship (www.worrytoworship.com) and From Worthless to Worthy (www.worthlesstoworthy.com). Guided By Him, From Worry to Worship and From Worthless to Worthy are designed to help busy people to overcome problems with overeating, worrying or feelings of low self-esteem by spending just 10 minutes a day. Her greatest joy is helping struggling Christians to overcome weaknesses by relying on God’s strength. She would love to hear from you! Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Christian Response to Homosexuality and Homosexuals By John Berry
omosexuality is an explosive issue with which people are regularly confronted in life and in the media. It has been a publicly debated issue in the arenas of ethics, politics, medicine, psychology, and even theology. Advocacy groups have thrust the subject of homosexuality before the national consciousness in an attempt to change society’s beliefs and mores regarding homosexual behavior. President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage has blown the lid off of the subject, especially for his most strident supporters in the body of Christ. With so many pressing issues in the world, why must the Church deal with this one? Let me suggest at least three reasons. First, the Church today faces a crisis of sexual ethics that requires a clear and consistent response. Either God in creation intended for faithful lifelong heterosexual union for married persons and for committed celibate behavior for unmarried persons, or He did not. Either all other sexual unions are identified in the Scriptures as sinful and destructive of persons, or they are not. Second, the issue of homosexuality strikes at the very heart of the Gospel. If homosexuality is sin in the sight of God, then same-sex intimacy (like all other sins) separates people from God. The Bible teaches that all persons The Church must speak the truth in the world are lost and face eternity apart from God unless of God, even when that truth we confess our sins and turn to Christ in faith for forgiveness. collides with cultural norms. And third, the Church must deal with this issue because it relates to the transforming power of God. The Bible declares that any behavior viewed as sinful and destructive by God can be changed by the transformational power of the Holy Spirit (see I Corinthians 6:9-11). Either the Holy Spirit is able to transform persons engaged in homosexual behavior (and any other sinful behavior) or He is not. The question arises, what about the many conflicting voices in the Body of Christ concerning homosexuality? There are whole denominations that hold the position that they are “welcoming and affirming” or “open and affirming” churches. That is to say, they welcome practicing gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered persons into the life and ministry of the church. Though there are many voices via denominational declarations, doctrinal statements, and pulpit preachments, this writer believes that the Bible speaks with just one voice regarding this issue. In every passage in which it appears, in Old Testament and New, in history, in law, and in epistle, homosexual behavior is identified as sinful. This contention is based on a theologically conservative approach to the Scriptures. The Black Church in particular has been mercilessly lambasted because of her general belief Continue on Pg. 26
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She Found a Lump – What’s a Husband to Do?
By Carlitta Cole-Kelly
troubled marriage, relocation to another state and breast cancer, any of these life-changing events all by themselves are more than enough to endure. But what about all three together? That’s precisely how Amy and Tom Hauser found their lives in May of 2010, when Amy was diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Told in a series of journal entry’s and online postings, the couple’s journey is chronicled in Amy’s newly published book, In His Grip. According to the American Cancer Society, well over 230,000 women annually are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Surprisingly a few thousand men are diagnosed too. In the media, a large number of personal experience books, non-profit organizations, and support groups deal with the subject. Each make a respectable attempt to guide women through what is perhaps the most devastating, intrinsically personal time of a women’s life. But for the men supporting those women, there hasn’t been much.
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Now there is. In his new e-book, She Found a Lump, Tom (T.J. Hauser) provides an honest, frank, easy to read and straight to the point message to the men in a woman’s life. It includes personal experience, encouragement and practical guidance, including sections like “Boot Camp” and “Tell Her.” “Don’t panic, don’t run” nor auto-
matically assume that your role is only that of a physical caretaker,” says Tom. Describing himself as usually calm, methodical, so often in his “element”, with her diagnosis, he immediately moved into the caretaker role. He assumed that was his primary purpose. Many men do. Further complicating an already overwhelming situation, Tom says that men take actions that can be even more detrimental. His e-book highlights the responses that many frequently exhibit. They include: 1. Bail out 2. Cop out 3. Check out 4. Wimp out 5. Duke it out 6. LIVE it Out – Be Her Mate However, Hauser chose the most significant, most important option. He challenges men by saying “It’s your call. A lot of guys take option #1….But if you want to put on your big boy pants and choose option#6, congratulations. You’ll earn your man card.” Caring for his wife during good and bad days, he discovered it was much more than that. He found there were times that he needed to listen, really listen to what Amy needed at the moment. Sometimes that meant “just lying beside her and holding her close.” He also had to maintain his responsibility as a father, and keep up with the online posts of their ordeal when Amy wasn’t able to. The Texas transplants were recently honored in March 2013 as recipients of the True Grit Award at the 2013 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and quickly found themselves surrounded by a growing company of admirers and congratulatory
colleagues. Still, they found time to talk a bit more about their journey. “We’re so different,” says Amy. “He’s a mind guy and I’m a heart gal.” The two personas may not always blend neatly and could easily describe many couples. But the Hauser’s tapped into their biggest marriage building, cancer fighting weapon of all – their faith in God. It was what helped Amy to successfully battle the disease and Tom to redefine what his “new” role as husband would be. A growing army of praying family, friends, church members, and online supporters didn’t hurt either. It was during those months, when the true test of faith and seeking God more deeply through prayer, bible study, and each other became tantamount. Tom tells men in his book that “the manliest thing you can do is be a man that leans on Jesus” and adds that couple’s and/or men’s groups will help a great deal. The Hausers’ steady faith building and didn’t stop there. It continues today with the Hauser’s new calling - Made For More Ministries. It was founded to help other breast cancer survivors, other couples on their road to recovery. The ministry uses equestrian (non-riding) therapy and a couples retreat, among other helps to address the ongoing healing that takes place long after medical professionals have begun to focus their healing efforts on other patients. Now, cancer free over two years, Amy is determined to not live in fear and boldly focus on what God has called the couple to do – together. That includes the blessing of being yes cancer-free, with a renewed marriage, and in a not so new anymore city. It also comes with a
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husband who has humbly earned his gold “Man card” as well. • Subscribe and share Tom and Amy’s inspiring new blog. A new series, Amy Unfiltered is currently being rolled out. It is a series of raw, honest reflections on life, joy, pain and faith that you will not want to miss. Please leave them comments as you read and share with your friends. By subscribing you will receive an
email of each new blog and an occasional newsletter no spam! • “LIKE” Amy and Tom on Facebook • Visit their website and check out Amy’s book, free eBooks, including our just released Finding More, Discovering the More in Your Marriage and share with your friends.
Carlitta Cole-Kelly is a former freelance writer for the Observer Group Newspapers of Kern County. Her writing has appeared in NurseWeek Magazine, UND Alumni Review and Ebony Magazine, and she is the author of two family history books. She is a wife and mother of three sons and lives in Northern California.
She Found a Lump By Tom Hauser
Chapter 2: Find Your Rocks Make sure you have support too. This is no time to be Rambo. You and your wife are in for a long campaign and to survive, you must take care of yourself. Common sense here, Dude, if you do not take care of yourself, who is going to take care of her? There will never be a worse time to try and be a self-sufficient island. Lean on the guys that offer and don’t be afraid to ask or seek them out. You will be surprised at how often they will be deeply honored. Jesus name Peter “Rock.” Find your rock(s), not rolling stones. Let them walk with you through this. Let them take the lead when appropriate – even ask them to. A good drill sergeant buddy may be just what you need to keep up and maintain the next step. I’m just sayin’… You are going to need someone that you can emotionally vomit all over once in a while. This is not only expected, but needed and an emotionally healthy move. Choose wisely. )*+&,Chapter 6: Boot Camp Be ready for the long marches carrying full gear. In other words, get your!"#$%&$'()*+, self in shape or if you are already, don’t let it slide. Physical stamina is essential, plus it will be a sturdy foundation for mental and emotional stamina. Find time to work out, take walks, and eat right. Stay off the junk, but allow yourself an occasional treat (a man needs a large pizza to himself every not and then!). I put in a lot of miles walking hospital corridors while waiting for surgeries or while Amy slept. You’re going to be tired, probably a lot. And that voice in your head is going to say, “Don’t go to the gym. You’re too tired.” But guess what? You’re going to be tired tomorrow too. So get up and go. At times, you’re going to really believe you need a “well-deserved” drink or two or three. And that voice in your head is going to say, “Drink it. What’s a couple of drinks?” But what if you need to get up and drive to the hospital in the middle of the night? Remember, this is a long march. You have to be at your best, ready to go at all times. She will need her sleep, and she needs you to get your sleep. Staying in shape and minimizing the junk, caffeine, and alcohol will benefit both of you. I’m just sayin’… Sometimes I think hospital food is designed to keep their cardiac unit in business! Stay away from the vending machines. Pack a healthy snack bag when you can. Drink lots of water. 14
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In His Grip By Amy Hauser Chapter 1: Wait One Year Our first Fall in Texas - 2009. Houston already felt like home, we were settling in, and I distinctly recall two conversations, one that led to a dark place and one that led to the light. The amazing thing is, one directly led to the other. The first one, the dark one, was with my husband Tom and it led me to wonder if we should finally just go our own ways. I remember the deep sadness over the once again rehashing of our extreme differences in personality and understanding of one another, even after close to 20 years of marriage… As I took a walk, sadness and despair beyond anything I had experienced since our near split five years earlier was settling into my being… Once again, we were at the end of our ropes and for different reasons than before. We were just plain tired. I suppose we had not yet truly realized the need to fully cast our hurts on Jesus, to give him real control of every aspect of our relationship and of our lives. Searching for satisfaction through expectations cast onto another person was still inside of me somewhere. It wasn’t until recently that God has shown me that He is the only one that can carry the load of my heart’s deepest needs and desires. To place that on another human only sets us up for disappointments that rear their ugly heads at times when we least expect it. I hadn’t yet realized that I had not surrendered our marriage to God at the level that was going to be required. I collapsed down on a park bench on that crisp fall day. I remember every detail. I was so tired, so alone and once again, felt like a complete failure as a wife and mother… I closed my eyes and prayed. After a few minutes of pouring out the details that God already knew, I clearly heard Him (almost audibly) say, “WAIT ONE YEAR.” My eyes must have shot open as that phrase echoed in my ears. I heard it again faintly over and over again after the initial booming, almost as if to solidify what words had been so clearly uttered. Honestly, I was thinking, “Of all things I had hoped God might clearly say to me, why this?” It was not exactly the “revelation” that I hoped for or was expecting!... Something amazing happened between my Father and me on that fall afternoon. I think it had to do with gaining a new level of trust - maybe because I had never before totally trusted His devotion to me, my marriage, or my life. If I was capable of breaking sacred trusts, maybe I didn’t really know what trust was. I know that I did; but the lines had been blurred and the redefining had not yet been fully restored. As I was beginning to learn, God was going to do the defining… I have to trust that God’s knowledge surpasses my understanding. In HIS time, He will make my/our path straight. (Paraphrasing Proverbs 3:5-6) He knew I would need Tom and his strength and unwavering ways to lean on, grow and learn from in the months and years ahead. God knew that He would turn a dark situation into something that would glorify Him. That choice to trust in Him and take Him at His Word was a priceless gift. A gift that keeps on giving. SEPT/OCT 2013 GOSPELROADS.COM
The Lost Voices By Pat Layton
can’t do this! I can’t be in a Bible study with all these godly women. I don’t fit in here, Sandy thought, wiping the mascara-stained tears from her face. I’ve had four abortions. How can God forgive that when I can’t forgive myself? These women would be appalled if they knew my secret. Can you picture the Church, God’s family of faith, as the scariest place in the world to share your deepest secret and greatest pain? Perhaps you can. Today, many women attending and serving in our churches carry the secret of a past abortion. I know this is true because for years, like Sandy, I was one of them until a dear sister in Christ and a loving church showed me the path to God’s healing and His redemptive plan. The Truth About Abortion The Bible clearly states that every unborn child is purposefully created by God (Gen. 1:26; Ps. 139:13;
Jer. 1:5). Not one is an accident, regardless of human perception or behavior. The value God places on the sanctity of human life rings consistent throughout Scripture. After learning what God’s Word teaches about life, at first I felt more shame, more condemnation. However, God gently and purposefully began to show me that His truth is meant for conviction, not condemnation, and would lead me to healing, restoration, and life-saving action. God began to unfold more and more truth that would eventually set me free from all shame, all fear, and all hiding. And He used a Christian sister to do it. After meeting me at a women’s retreat sponsored by our church, Ann saw the pain in my face and heard the fear in my words. Although I tried hard to remain isolated, she continued to draw me out, to show that she cared, until finally, one day, I summoned the courage to tell her my story – my entire story. I will never forget calling and asking her if I could come over to talk. She had a pot of coffee waiting. As I poured out my heart, my past, my pain, my loss, my sin,
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Ann did everything right. She had not experienced abortion, but was a beautiful example of the grace and love of Christ in the flesh. Her actions and response gave me hope for forgiveness and healing. Her example of sisterhood in Christ placed me on a path that would bring me to where I am today, ministering to post-abortive women. Together, Ann and I studied and learned more about abortion and how so many of our sisters, Christian and not, are affected by this modern-day holocaust. God began to show us how these women filled with loneliness, fear, and shame are hiding in church pews, small groups, and Bible studies…some even leading those studies. Ann and I learned: • Nearly half of all pregnancies are considered unplanned; four out of 10 of these end in abortion. • Since the legalization of abortion in 1973, Americans have aborted an average of 1.3 million children per year, resulting in more than 50 million abortions. On average, 3, 700 babies are aborted in the United States every day. • Thirty-seven percent of women who have had an abortion identify themselves as Protestants. • Women who have undergone
post-abortion counseling report having had major reactions to abortion: depression, loss of self-esteem, self-destructive behavior, sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, chronic problems with relationships, personality changes, anxiety attacks, guilt and remorse, and difficulty bonding with later children. • Women who abort are five times more likely to report subsequent drug or alcohol abuse than those who deliver. I realized that many Christian women were hiding behind the same shame and fear that were closing off my heart, blocking my freedom in Christ, and keeping me in bondage. I knew God was calling me to share my story. Ann had been my first audience. The Church’s Historic Opportunity God has since used my life and my testimony to launch Life Impact Network (lifeimpactnetwork.org). He has opened doors for me to speak to thousands. He has enabled me to write a Bible study for postabortive women called Surrendering the Secret (Lifeway). He has allowed me to become a mentor who sets the stage for another woman to take her place in God’s great drama. We need one another for healing, restoration, support, and hope. I’ve watched the ministry of post-abortion recovery blossom and spread as women simply share their stories and open the way for personal transparency. Just as the Scripture tells us in Ps. 30:11: “He turned my wailing into dancing; he removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” The Church has a historic opportunity to offer restoration to the millions of women and men who have experienced abortion, as well as to share truth with those who do not understand what God’s Word teaches about the sanctity of all human life. Jesus said, “If
you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn. 8:31b-32). The Church is God’s plan for life. And we, the church, have the opportunity to open the door for women and men to speak about the pain of abortion. The purpose of sharing our past pain and sin is to offer recovery, freedom, healing, and hope. God never intended us to struggle alone. Amazing things occur when two or more people grasp hands and hearts and share their pain together. Remember Sandy? Just as Ann reached out to me, Susan Sorenson, the women’s ministry leader of Northern Hills Church in Brighton, CO, reached out to Sandy. The two are a perfect example that as we openly share our loss and pain, God is in our midst. “In the spring of 2008, we began our first Surrendering the Secret group and Sandy participated with her whole but broken heart,” Susan says. “There have been nearly 50 women who have attended a Surrendering the Secret study group, and Sandy has facilitated and mentored some of these women. She’s a beautiful example of God’s redeeming love. She has been redefined, reassigned, and gives Him all glory for her rescue.” Someone once said that wounded people wound others. When those injured by abortion find forgiveness, healing, and wholeness, they break the cycle of wounding others as well as themselves. Families can be restored, marriages saved, and churches can be made whole again. New Voices Since the day I shared my story with my friend Ann 24 years ago, I’ve come to believe that the enemy’s victory in the legalization of abortion isn’t just the 50 million innocent lives lost but rather the lost voice of the healed and forgiven Church. As I have ministered to thousands of women, I’ve seen the trend and the effects of the missing voice of the Church. Although we’ve heard many sermons that rightfully reveal God’s Word about life, we’ve had far fewer messages about the path to restoration and healing from abortion. Galatians 6:1 tells us: “You who are spiritual should restore [her] gently.” It’s the Church’s responsibility to provide a safe, healing environment in which restoration and reconciliation can occur. I’ve seen pregnancy center volunteers from the Church who are willing to share their abortion stories and restoration with strangers, but never reveal the truth about a past Continue on Pg. 26
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How to Deal with Grief
By James Watkins
hat is grief? Grief is an emotion of loss. Perhaps you have felt that emotion when a loved one has died. However, grief is also possible when a parent or your spouse moved away after a divorce, when you broke up with a boy- or girlfriend, or when you moved away from your old neighborhood. Even losing a valued object (such as a class ring or some other memento) or an important ball game creates a sense of grief. There’s a feeling of separation and loss. Grief and love are two very similar emotions —if you’re capable of love, you are capable of grief. Only a person who never loves, never grieves. When you love someone, you feel a oneness and fulfillment with that person. But you also open yourself up to the possibility for grief—when he or she break-ups with you, moves away, or dies. The relationship is over and that strong emotion of love mutates like some hideous sci-fi monster into equally strong grief. “Grief,” then, is the B-side side of love. Love expresses emotional oneness, grief expresses emotional separation. “Mourning” is the long, painful process of working through that grief. (In other words, grief is what we feel; mourning is how we react to it.) It’s natural to feel up one day and down the next. The strong feelings of grief may seem frightening when we first feel the full force of this powerful emotion. But like other emotions, it’s normal, natural, and okay. Stage One: Shock, numbness, disbelief (one to three days) “I just can’t believe it!” When you first heard the news, you probably felt an immediate sense of shock and disbelief. Like “denial” in the dying process, disbelief insulates our emotions so we can deal with immediate demands. If a close loved one has died, there may be the tasks of notifying friends and relatives, calling our pastor, letting the school know we’ll be out for a few days, cleaning the house for visitors, and so on. Once the initial numbness wears off, it’s normal to cry—everything from watery eyes to uncontrollable sobbing. Crying is a healthy emotional expression of grief, so don’t feel that you’re being weak. And it’s not unusual to feel anger toward the person for dying: “How dare you leave me to suffer like this!” You may feel angry at the medical staff for not saving your loved one’s life—even though the doctors and nurses did everything possible. And it’s not uncommon to feel angry at God—even if you’re a very devout believer. It’s okay! Allow these emotions to be expressed to those you can trust with your feelings—your family, your best friend, a therapist, or a clergy person. Stage Two: Painful longing and preoccupation with memory and mental images (up to one year) We often think that the funeral is the hardest time for the survivors, so we may bring in food, visit the family, and attend the funeral. But afterward, we assume they’ve started the work of putting their life back together. Actually, Stage Two
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becomes most intense between the second and fourth week afterward. The following experiences are strong for about the first three months and then gradually begin to diminish over the next six months to a year: • Painful longing to be with and talk with the dead person • Preoccupation with the death (you can’t think of anything else) • Memories of dead person • Mental images of the dead person • Sensing that the dead person is in the same room • Sadness • Tearfulness • Inability to sleep • Lack of concentration • Loss of appetite • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed • Irritability • Restlessness You may want to post this list on the refrigerator as fair warning to friends and family members. (In 1800’s those grieving wore black “mourning bands” on their arms to announce, “Take it easy on me!”) And don’t be afraid to turn to professionals for help during this difficult time. If the grief is severe, doctors may prescribe sleeping pills or tranquillizers so you can sleep nights. School counselors, youth workers, or pastors can provide emotional support and suggestions for overcoming this time of loss. If they can’t, they can refer you to those who can. Stage Three: Resolution and resumption of ordinary life activities (within one year of death) Starting at about six months, most of us will begin getting back into our normal activities. (Life will never be “normal” again, but we can continue many previously “normal” activities.) We’ll continue to be broadsided by occasional waves of grief described in Stage Two. But these will become less and less frequent, even though they may be just as intense. Stage Three is summed up with: • Acceptance of the death • Decreasing sadness • The ability to recall past experienced with the deceased with pleasure rather than pain • Resuming ordinary activities. How should I respond to those who are grieving? So how do we respond to those going through the mourning process? By saying stuff like “I understand exactly how you feel.” Brrrrrooooonk! Wrong answer! We may have both lost a grandfather, but there are a kabillion differences between my loss and yours. There are always things you don’t understand or know. What kind of relationship did they have? Were they close or did they see each other only at Christmas? What were the last words spoken? Were they loving, harsh, or worse, indifferent? What kinds of questions, thoughts, and feelings are churning in your friend’s mind? What is his/her concept of
death? Or life after death? See, you really don’t “understand.” And neither do I completely understand your loss. But, if your friend doesn’t mind, you can help by sharing how you felt at your grandfather’s death, and in that way, you’re giving your friend the freedom to share his/her grief. “You don’t have to talk about the details of the death,” is another innocent, but insensitive statement. We somehow think we’ll cause them more pain by them talking about it, but it’s actually a part of healing. For instance, when my wife’s father died, her mother must have told the story of his death ten times—how she found him collapsed on the dining room floor, how she called 9-1-1, how she tried CPR that she had seen on TV, how she rode with him in the ambulance. But interestingly, each time she told it, she seemed to gain emotional strength and comfort. Talking about the details—even if the details are about cancer, suicide, drowning, murder, or AIDS—helps us past the denial stage and on to dealing realistically with the death. So, what is the best thing to say? The most helpful thing is: ________________. Yep, you can’t go wrong with saying nothing. A shared tear, a squeezed hand, a hug, or just being there is usually the best help. Whatever you do, don’t spout off pat answers. Where is God in this tragedy? The book of Psalms is filled with such questions. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why do you refuse to help me or even listen to my groans? Day and night I keep on weeping, crying for your help, but there is no reply” (Psalm22:1-2). Where is God? He is right there beside us as we struggle with the many questions surrounding the death. He may not write the answers across the sky, but His Son, Jesus Christ, understands our questions. • Why do good people die so young? Jesus answers, I understand your question. I died at thirty-three. • Why do some people have to die such painful deaths? I understand your pain. I was beaten, whipped, and crucified. • I miss him/her so much here on earth. I understand your grief. I left heaven to come to earth. • Why can’t people just live forever and not have to die? I understand the problem. I came to give you eternal life. God does understand. He wants to hear what you’re feeling. So in review, grief is a normal, but sometimes it is a confusing and uncontrollable emotion. And mourning (dealing with grief) is a long, painful process. But remember: you will once again enjoy living and loving, you will get your appetite back, the pain will diminish, you will be able to sleep soundly again, and you will be able to enjoy pleasant memories of the deceased. Excerpted from The Why Files, by James N. Watkins © 1992
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One Flesh The Truth About Marriage
By Tracy Taris
arriage is a ministry: a ministry of truth in which God’s purposes can be revealed. While most people in our culture enter marriage seeking happiness and fulfillment, they fail to grasp the true significance of marriage. In the Christian community there seems to be a little repurposing going on and it may point to why our divorce rate has climbed to compare to that of the nation’s. At last check, the divorce rate in America was a little over 50%. What would happen to the divorce rate in our Christian community if we considered the spiritual purpose of marriage over the physical and temporal? What is this purpose? Author Gary Thomas’s book, Sacred Marriage, discusses the idea that God designed marriage to lead people to holiness and not just for us to find hap-
piness. Thomas states that the marriage relationship is the one relationship in which your deepest character flaws will be revealed. As Christians, God calls us to be transformed into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Becoming like Christ goes beyond giving up sinful, fleshly desires. It goes beyond being kind to others, sharing your wealth, and taking captive unbecoming or unhealthy thoughts. Becoming like Christ means facing the truth of who you are, placing those aspects of yourself before God, and asking Him to transform you into His image. This is all well and good in theory and even the best Christian with the best intention can have every desire of turning him or herself around. The problem is we don’t always know where we need to change. This is where marriage comes in. In the marriage relationship, because you live with your spouse day-in-and-day-out, the “real” you—that which you are able to hold in with friends, extended family members, and all of your other social relationships—is bound to come out. It’s not that you are lying in all of your other relationships; it’s just that we, as people, are amazing at hiding things from ourselves Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Denial, at times, is a defense used to allow us to set aside issues we are not
equipped to or not ready to handle. It helps us continue on when it is emotionally impossible to do so. Because of the intimacy in marriage, denial isn’t a place where one can live for long. God uses the situations that develop, conflict especially, to present us with the opportunity to make choices that will either draw us closer to Him or move us further away from not only our spouse but also from our true selves, the person He originally created us to be. On page 166 of Sacred Marriage Thomas states: “When you entered this relationship of marriage, you committed to keep moving toward your spouse. Any step back, any pause, any retreat, is an act of fraud. Learn to move toward the person God has given to you for the purpose of teaching you how to love.” God is love (1 John 4:8). God’s gift of marriage and facing the truth of who we are, for the purpose of bringing Him glory, teaches us to love as He does. When viewed from a spiritual, God-oriented perspective, the marriage relationship provides the opportunity for us to examine our character and make adjustments in the areas that are not like the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Marriage is a reflection of Jesus’ relationship with the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33) and can be an opportunity to show the love of Christ to the world, but it has to begin in our own home.
Tracy Taris is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Azus Pacific University. Tracy operates a private practice in Santa Clarita, CA. You may reach her at 661-505-8755 or email@example.com.
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Honorable Parenting 5 Ways to Spiritually Nurture Your Grandchildren
By Janet Thompson
he crowd at the Easter Cowboy Breakfast down by the river went silent as my 6-year-old granddaughter Katelyn recited John 3:16. I was the speaker that morning giving the Gospel message of Easter and I had asked Katelyn if she would like to help me—she didn’t hesitate. When she came forward and clearly spoke into the microphone, I was one proud beaming Grammie, as were her parents and siblings sitting in the front row. Later that day, Katelyn asked me what Scripture I was going to ask her to recite next time. That’s my girl! How I love being a grandmother: it’s as if God saved the best for last. Interestingly, the only woman in the Bible referred to as a “grandmother” is Timothy’s grandmother, Lois. She and her daughter Eunice received accolades from the apostle Paul on their rearing of his protégé
and future pastor, young Timothy: “I [Paul] have been reminded of your sincere faith which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). “And from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). As a grandmother of eleven grandchildren who all know about Jesus and some know Jesus as their personal Savior, here’s what I’ve learned from Lois: 1. Pray for, mentor, and nurture the faith of your adult children—the parents of your grandchildren. I put pictures of my grandchildren in my Bible and look at their sweet faces as I pray for them every day. 2. Give with a purpose. Choose gifts that introduce grandchildren to Jesus at an early age. Shop at Christian bookstores or online at www.christianbooks.com to find age-appropriate games, books, DVDs, CD’s, and toys. Christmas and Easter are especially good times to give them an age-appropriate Bible 3. Look for opportunities to talk to grandchildren about Jesus and His love for them. For example my three-old granddaughter Sienna would only jump into her older brother’s arms at the swimming pool even though other kids were trying to get her to jump to them. We talked later that Sienna trusted
her brother because she knew he was trustworthy, just like we can trust Jesus. 4. Be a role model that family members admire and respect. 5. Assume an active role in your grandchildren’s lives, even if you live far apart. Stay current and don’t criticize the things that interest them. Learn their communication style—email, texting, Skype, cell phone, social networking. Remain relatable and relational with each generation. Lois and Eunice were intentional in raising Timothy in his faith. The world didn’t set standards for their home, God did. They knew God’s Word and taught it to Timothy. An effective way to help parents and kids learn Scripture is through songs and CD’s. The kids love to play them in the car and sing along and soon mommy and daddy are learning them too. Parents are often so busy raising their children, that they rely on the church to educate the kids spiritually. Grandparents are usually at a stage of life where they can help parents nurture faith in the home. If relationships are strained with adult children or you don’t live close, you can still pray for them. My prayer is that my legacy to my grandchildren will be: Grammie taught us about the Bible and Jesus, and she lived what she believed. What spiritual legacy are you leaving for your family?
Parts of this article first appeared online at NewHopeDigital.com. Please visit for more articles, podcasts, videos, and other content from New Hope Publishers authors. Janet Thompson is founder and director of About His Work Ministries. She recently authored Face-to-Face with Lois and Eunice: Nurturing Faith in Your Family (New Hope Publishers). She and her husband Dave love being Grammie and Grampa. www.womantowomanmentoring.com
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Not Slothful In Business
Truth about the Economy By Ivy H. Bennett Have you ever felt discouraged after hearing the latest forecast about unemployment or business closures? Do the front page feature stories leave you feeling anxious about health insurance, bills, or retirement? You are not alone! “Bad news” from the media frequently overshadows “good news” from the Bible. The truth about God’s promises for protection and His ability to supernaturally open doors of opportunity has been hidden. After the economy slowed in 2008, many Christians began to face serious financial challenges due to a job loss or business downturn. In personal conversations with friends, family, and colleagues, I always encourage people to diligently seek the Lord. God can turn around a dismal situation – no matter how hopeless things seem! Consider some Biblical examples of how God has met needs. Think about the Apostle Peter and the miraculous haul of fish he caught after allowing Jesus to teach a large crowd from his fishing boat. Peter acknowledged that he had fished all night and “caught nothing” -- until he followed instructions to “launch out into the deep.” (Luke 5:1-12) A widow who was
facing death by starvation shared her last meal with the prophet Elijah, then God supernaturally provided her with flour and oil for “many days” (1 Kings 17:12-16). Another widow burdened by heavy debt experienced miraculous abundance after she obeyed a command by the prophet Elisha to borrow containers, sell oil, and pay all of her bills. (See 2 Kings 4: 1-7.) These Bible stories illustrate that an economic crisis is actually an opportunity for God to demonstrate His mighty power. Stress and anxiety are not part of God’s plan for His children. Worrying about the economy won’t change anything, but focusing on God will change everything! God promised that if we seek Him first, all of our needs—including food, clothing, shelter, and finances—will be met. In a challenged economy, Christians can take charge:
• Remember that God wants you to win! He is on your side and wants you to be victorious. (Romans 8:31) • Renew your mind. Almighty God is our Creator and Provider (Jehovah Jireh). God will sustain His people, even a time of famine. (See Psalm 33:19.) He has promised to meet all of our needs according to His riches in glory through Christ. (See Philippians 4:19.) A business, company, contract, or job is only a channel God uses to provide resources. • Revise your priorities. Instead of watching the news and reading the newspaper, focus on drawing closer to God by reading the Bible and praying. Jesus declared that mankind does not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. (See Matthew 4:4.) Seeking God first pays enormous dividends! • Recognize and utilize your God-given talents. God has blessed every individual with unique skills, talents, and abilities. Seek God’s wisdom to help identify unique ways to generate income. Perhaps you can sell crafts, provide childcare, or offer consulting services. Read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25: 14 – 30 and you’ll see that the two servants who actively utilized their skills doubled their income. • Refresh and relax. Take a mental break by exercising, walking outdoors, or visiting with people who are upbeat and positive. Stay connected with other Christians who are walking in faith. The amazing truth is this: Focusing on God empowers Christians to thrive in any economy. 22
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were right to be angry with me, so I humbly took to heart what they had to say. The spankings hurt but were unfortunately well-deserved. Third, refuse to just drop the issue. Let your friend know your relationship with her is extremely important to you and you don’t want to lose it. Do not pursue this step in the first conversation. Let one day pass, then call. Admit your mistake again, this time adding how it was not intentional. If she will listen, now is the time to tell her your side, to explain what was going on with you or what you were thinking. It’s also time to verbalize how bone-headed you were. Proverbs 15:1a says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath…” (NIV). It was during the follow-up call that I tried to explain to Linda how my reaction to the enormity of the responsibility of being somebody’s mother had taken me totally by surprise. Embroidering her pillow, although a wonderful idea, had admittedly taken a distant second place. I agreed with her that I was thoughtless and that I understood how much I had hurt her feelings. Although I had hoped she would
accept my explanation; she didn’t. In the second situation, I tried calling back that very same day. When my friend refused to answer my calls (thanks a lot, call waiting), I e-mailed my groveling to her. Thankfully, she e-mailed back to tell me she too was interested in continuing our friendship. Finally, try to come up with some way to make it up to her. Do something to prove you really want to overshadow the hurt you caused. Read this very interesting passage from the Law of Moses in Leviticus: If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving his neighbor… or if he commits any such sin that people may do… he must return what he has stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to him, or the lost property he found, or whatever it was he swore falsely about. He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day he presents his guilt offering. Leviticus 6:2-5 (NIV)
You see, God intends for us to straighten things out, to make things right between ourselves and our friends, and it is our responsibility to make that move. I should have sent the pillow to Linda anyway, but I just gave up. Thankfully I learned my lesson. With my second friend, I immediately bought her a gift I knew she’d like and delivered it to her home personally with a sincere, written apology. She forgave me, but I’m not finished fixing it. If that last piece is ever re-published, I have promised to change it to make it even more unrecognizable. And I even asked her to read and okay this article before it went to press. Even when you are doing your best, you will make mistakes in relationships with friends. A close friend will usually forgive even very hurtful comments or actions as long as you remain honest and forthright. The incident can actually draw you closer. As you determine to work through the problem together, you’ll understand your friend more deeply and you’ll be more sensitive to protecting her feelings from then on.
Get that book
Out of your head, Down onto paper, and Into a professional book proposal format ready to submit to an acquisitions editor. Gather all your aspiring writers and Bring an AuthorizeMe® Seminar to your area. Contact Instructor and CEO Sharon Norris Elliott at AuthorizeMe@sbcglobal.net for more information.
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uring the summer months, it’s a common practice to curl up on balmy nights or steamy days out by the pool or beach and read a good book. Granted, some great new books are out there (personally, I’m engrossed in Frank Peretti’s new thriller, Illusion), but I’d like to suggest that you take on something old this summer. Go back to a Christian classic and find out for yourself why these great books have stood the test of time.
Nonfiction Basic Christianity by John Stott – First published in 1958, the 50th anniversary edition rolled out in 2008. Over 2.5 million copies of this book have been sold. Christianbook.com says this book “defends the basic claims of Christianity and then defines the proper outworkings of those main beliefs in the daily lives of believers. Here is a sound, sensible guide for all who are seeking an intellectually satisfying presentation of the Christian faith.”
Knowing God by The text was AmeriChristianbook.com and grace, [but] it relationship with
J.I. Packer – First published in 1973, over 1 million copies have sold. canized and completely retypeset in 1993 and is still going strong. says that Knowing God “gives us information about God with clarity does much more---it aids us in actually knowing him, in building our him, and helps draw us closer to him in love and worship.
Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul – First “With his usual common sense and enthusistudy the Bible and why so many get disbasic steps of interpretation and gives simple Bible readers and experienced students of
published in 1977, Christianbook.com explains, asm, Sproul explores why every Christian should couraged. He then offers clear explanations of 11 how-to’s for using them. Excellent for beginning Scripture.”
Fiction Hinds’ Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard – First published in 1975 over 2 million copies have been sold. When I read this allegory in 1975, I thought it sickly trite. However, a few years of life happening to me brought a completely different reaction. Having been hired as the keynote speaker at a women’s retreat, I was somewhat forced to re-read the book because the women attending the event had read it as a pre-retreat activity. My goodness. Reading little MuchAfraid’s longing to escape the Valley of Humiliation, develop hinds’ feet, and live with the Shepherd on the High Places made me immediately identify with her. You too will be inescapably drawn into the journey with Much-Afraid. As I did, you too will probably see much of yourself in her, and if you allow it for yourself, you’ll experience some wonderful personal changes by the end of the book.
This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti. Okay, so he’s one of my all time favorite authors, and these two books put him on the map as one of the best ever. Read these books and find out how the spirit world of angels and demons collides with our reality. You’ll forever be glad you’re on God’s side, and you’ll be a devotee (as I am) to reading everything else Peretti has ever written. First published in 1986, This Present Darkness has sold 2.5 million copies worldwide. Published in 1988 as the sequel to This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness won won the ECPA Gold Medallion Book Award for best fiction in 1990. 24
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Movie Review of
By Dawn Wilson The Cost of Freedom
Steven Spielberg’s film, Lincoln, gives viewers not only a greater understanding of Lincoln the president and statesman, but also a painfully private glimpse of Lincoln the husband and father. Watching Lincoln’s dismay as he surveys the aftermath of brutal Civil War battle scenes, and admiring his expertise in dealing with messy political struggles, we soon realize this battleweary man was not perfect, but he was certainly chosen for his times. And he paid a steep price. Based in part on the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Goodwin, Lincoln is a snapshot of the man behind the iconic Gettysburg Address, the President who pushed for the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. Powerfully portrayed in the movie by Daniel Day-Lewis, the 16th President was a man of deep conviction. But he faced a tough fight getting others to accept his belief that a phrase enshrined in the Declaration of Independence in 1776—“all men are created equal”—included America’s black slaves. It might be noted that the struggle to end American slavery began almost immediately in some hearts after that declaration. Shortly after Thomas Jefferson penned the words, as David Armitage
noted in The Declaration of Independence: A Global History, the abolitionist Thomas Day decried the ridiculousness of those American patriots who were “signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves.” By the 1860s, the nation was divided over the issue. The Emancipation Proclamation’s statement in 1863 “that all persons held as slaves … are, and henceforward shall be free,” did not end slavery, but it captured the hearts of Americans and transformed the nature of the Civil War. Lincoln’s speeches made a difference. His battle with Congress in overcoming partisan politics required every bit of his political skill. Though unpolished and scraggly, Lincoln was a storyteller and humorist, notably soft-spoken yet forceful when necessary. His tactics may serve as a lesson for those who attempt to lead our government today. The national cry was for unity, but young America struggled with different worldviews. We see the same division in our nation today, and Spielberg’s film reminds us that it is possible to reach across party lines to save a nation, especially when the cause is just. I looked around the audience as the Lincoln portrayed the passing of the
Thirteenth Amendment. People smiled and nodded their heads. Some clapped. The audience was re-living a joyful moment in America’s history while observing that many in Lincoln’s day disapproved of, even hated, that vote for freedom. The Emancipation Proclamation was the main focus of the film, but the underlying story of the sober-minded Lincoln and his family was heartbreaking. Though much loved, Lincoln struggled with personal relationships. He and his wife, Mary Todd, argued over the deaths of two of their four sons. According to the story, she lapsed into mental illness and he succumbed to terrible depression. The film clearly portrays Lincoln as an affectionate but often-absent father, torn between love of family and his duty to country as the war took its toll. There is a cost to be paid for freedom. As one might expect, Lincoln ended with the President’s assassination by a bitter actor obsessed with avenging the Confederate defeat. On the day he died, Lincoln—who historians tell us often used Biblical imagery and praised the Bible—told his wife of his desire to visit the Holy Land. I had a sense that this impassioned man had accomplished his greatest life mission, and although his life was cut short, he was ready to meet his God.
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The Christian Response to Homosexuality and Homosexuals Continued from Pg. 11
that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with the explicit commands of the Word of God. So-called mainstream denominations such as the United Methodist, Presbyterians, and the United Church of Christ that have traditionally partnered with the Black Church on civil rights issues have distanced themselves on this particular one. The Black Church is theologically conservative but politically liberal. The White church, on the other hand, is either liberal or conservative across the board. If they are liberal theologically, they are liberal politically and if they are conservative theologically, they tend to be conservative politically. Despite what the Black Church or White Church is proclaiming, the response of the
Christian Church should begin and end with the Word of God. If we start with Genesis 1, the issue of homosexuality will be kept in proper context. We discover from creation that homosexuality is not a part of God’s original design but a result of sin entering the world. Practicing homosexuals come to Christ just like anybody else—by repenting of their sins and accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord. As believers, homosexuals can then experience the transforming power of God. We do not reject those who struggle with homosexual desire, but we cannot be faithful to the Word of God and accept their homosexual orientation as God’s plan for them. The Church must speak the truth of God, even when that truth collides with cultural
norms. The most loving thing Christians can do is reach out to those who are in jeopardy of God’s judgment. First Corinthians 6:9-11 is clear, providing both an unambiguous warning and a completely loving solution: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (NKJ)
The Lost Voices Continued from Pg. 17
abortion to Christian friends, pastors, or even family members. Many Christian men and women continue to believe abortion is the unmentionable sin, thereby leaving the truth of God’s restorative power hidden underneath the pews. Today, Susan Sorenson has embraced the challenge and incorporated Surrendering the Secret into her church’s Bible study menu. Sandy has moved through the healing process and is now leading the healing study. Their voices are being heard. Is yours? “The Lost Voices” was first published in the January 2011 issue of Homelife magazine, a ministry of LifeWay Christian Resources.
Why I Love My Church
I love my church because it’s a family, more than just a building, and our members are “Jesus with skin on” to those who need him. Debbie Hardy, Brighton, Colorado Arvada Covenant Church in Arvada, Colorado
I love my church because it has a warm, exciting, and grace-driven atmosphere where the Bible is taught in a practical and applicable way. Beth Willis Miller, Lakeland, Florida First Baptist Church at the Mall
I love my church because the sense of the perseverance of the saints is so beautifully fulfilled, not only in the lives of the many precious older folks in the congregation, but also from the photo display of all the pastors of this church, dating back to 1744. Carol Barnier, New Fairfield, CT Sherman Congregational Church
I love my church because my pastor encourages us to use our God-given gifts of the Spirit to build each other up so we can go out and expand God’s Kingdom. Cheryl Ricker, Rochester, MN Destiny Church
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Dream: You want to write a book. Dilemma: You don’t know how to get started. Discovery: AuthorizeMe is your answer!
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Attend an AuthorizeMe® seminar and you will learn how to write your book. You will leave the seminar with the following: your book completely planned a query letter a complete table of contents a full chapter synopsis a full proposal minus only two things - your complete market analysis (which you will learn how to do) and your sample chapters. Ideas on how to find markets for your book
Your Date Here Your Location Here Friday evening: 5pm – 9pm, All day Saturday: 9am – 6pm Tuition: $199.00 For more information and to sign up, contact: Sharon Norris Elliott, CEO at www.AuthorizeMe.net 310-508-9860 AuthorizeMe@sbcglobal.net
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In short, the storyboarding technique used in this seminar provided clarity and gave birth to the vision of writing I had been struggling with for so many years. Without this seminar, writing would still be a dream. --Wendy Collier, Pine Hill, NJ
I was preparing to attend my first writers conference (2006 Sandy Cove) and didn't have anything to "pitch" to the editors I was to meet with. At the last minute I
signed up for Sharon's Authorize Me course, and ended up taking a nearly-finished book proposal. I had much more credibility and was taken much more seriously than I would have been without AuthorizeMe. I absolutely encourage writers to take the course, (especially) prior to attending their first writing seminar. It gives new insight into what to expect. --Deborah James Lemach, Baltimore, MD
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Scratching Where It Itches
Filled With Laughter
By Rhonda Rhea
confess I don’t have the greenest thumb on the block. As a matter of fact, I was thinking it might be easier to just give up on all other greenery and grow a poison ivy garden instead. Except that at this point I’d have to start from scratch. Scratch? Get it? Anyway, I decided it would probably be better not do anything that “rash.” That’s because we really do have to be careful what we plant. We will reap what we sow. It’s right there in Galatians 6:7. And according to the verse that follows, not only should we be careful what we plant, but we’re told if we choose to live only to please our own sinful selves, we’ll reap a harvest of death and decay. I think I’ve grown that kind of plant before. But when we’re talking about what we’re growing spiritually, we’re talking about an especially ugly garden. Eternally worse than poison ivy. Don’t even bother with the weed-whacker. Round-Up® won’t cut it either. Take a look at the passage: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:7-10 NIV). I love how Paul rounds out his point in verse 9 with an understood “so” when he charges us to “not become weary in doing good.” He lets us know that the harvest kind of thinking and learning to live to please the Spirit instead of the flesh leads to staying energized in doing good things for the Kingdom—to not “give up.” And that leads to a harvest of everlasting blessing. Our gardening time here is short. We need to stay on task. 2 Timothy 4:2-5 charges us to, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (NIV). Instead of catering to the poison-ivy-itchy-ears of those who simply want the easy way, and instead of letting them distract us, we’re called to keep our heads and to steadfastly keep on working in whatever ministry God has called us to. The passages in Galatians 6 and 2 Timothy 4 are the kinds of sound-the-charge verses we can put to memory. They can remind us all along the way to stay tenaciously resolute in our service. It’s then that we can become more and more the kind of Christ followers who don’t just tickle itchy ears, but truly scratch those eternal itches. So, ready to write down those passages? First you’ll need some scratch paper.
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POTATO-ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH CRAB MEAT AND SMOKED SALMON Courtesy of Life’s a Feast
Potatoes, boiled gently until tender but not falling apart
Fresh chives, chopped Prepare the vinaigrette by blending the olive oil and lemon juice together. Lightly salt and pepper. Whisk or Asparagus, steamed in lightly salted water until crisp- shake together in a jelly jar. tender, or as tender as you like Slice the cooked potatoes into thickish slices. Cut the asparagus into inch-long pieces. Quarter the cherry A handful of sweet, ripe cherry tomatoes, sliced in tomatoes. quarters Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette to taste. 2 steamed crab legs per person Place the dressed vegetables on individual plates. Sprinkle with the crumbled crabmeat. Roll each slice of 1 thick slice of smoked salmon per person smoked salmon into a tight roll and cut into half inch slices and distribute evenly among the plates. Top with 4 – 5 Tbs olive oil chopped chives. 2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice Serve with a clean, crisp rosé or white wine and some Salt and freshly ground black pepper fresh bread. SEPT/OCT 2013 GOSPELROADS.COM
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