God Made Me Special. . . But I’m FAT!
Are You Stealing From God? NOT ME!
Should Christians Be Healthier Than Others?
Warm, Cold, Or Lukewarm. . .
Christian Heal. . . THYSELF!
Are You In Love With God?
You Think That My Child Has WHAT!?!
19 GOD MADE ME SPECIAL? BUT I’M FAT!
No matter what your size, God loves you exactly as you are. Discover God’s unconditional love for you!
21 WHOLLY HEALTHY IN CHRIST
Health isn’t relegated to the physical realm, but to being wholly healthy: mind, body, and spirit.
30 WHAT DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE?
Article on faith in opperation and how to avoid common pitfalls that hamper our outcome.
37 ARE YOU STEALING FROM GOD?
Tithing is important, and tithing the correct amount is of even greater importance. Find out why we tithe, and how it is connected to your financial prosperity.
39 TEN WAYS TO CHANGE YOUR SUGAR HABITS
Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are at epidemic proportions- but the don’t have to be. Find out how to combat those sugar cravings!
45 DISCOVER YOUR BEAUTY
Beauty is more than just skin deep. Discover what true beauty is all about.
47 WHO AM I?
All too often, we derive our identity from others or our work. This article discusses who God says we are.
29 BOOK REVIEW
Thoroughly Modern People- The Long Way Home by Chima Njoku-Latty
33 I ANSWER, I’M O.K.
As a woman, how do you deal with the pain of a miscarriage? Learn how God heals us of our hurts.
35 LEADERSHIP 101: QUALIFICATIONS TO LEAD
What is the definition of a true leader, and leading God’s way
41 BICYCLE CHRISTMAS
Testimony on how God works in times of need- and in some unusual ways!
55 THE LORD’S WORK IS WHERE YOU FIND IT
God can give you an idea to help anyone anywhere and anytime! Discover where God lead this man.
56 YOU CAN LOOK BACK. . . BUT DON’T STARE!
Don’t be bound by the past, but learn from it. Find out how to be free.
58 CONVEYING CHRISTIAN VALUES
THROUGH REALISTIC CONTEMPORARY FICTION
Discussion on using fiction to communicate God’s word.
63 ENTERTAINMENT REVIEW 48 ARE YOU TRULY IN LOVE WITH GOD?
Do you have the relationship with Him that you should have? Find out if you are warm, cold or lukewarm.
64 PHONE CALL TO HEAVEN: CHAPTER THREE
51 A NEW CREATION
66 THE MIDWIFE OPTION
53 I WAS, AND NOW I AM
70 LOOKING FOR PROOF
What it means to be spiritually healthy. What it means to live a life with Christ and what salvation means to the believer.
60 HOW TO CULTIVATE A HEALTHY
RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR TEENAGERS Having a healthy relationship with your teen.
68 WHY IS THIS BATTLE SO HARD! Importance of overcoming addiction
Interview with a family travelling ministry which has both a singing ministry, and a children’s ministry. Also explores life as a family on the road. Truly annointed group!
Did you know that you can always walk in health? God can heal you from any infirmary. Find out how.
24 JOHNSON FAMILY MINISTRIES
17 CHRISTIAN HEAL. . . THYSELF!
Discussion on ADHD and tackling common myths.
Are we, as Christans, called to be healthier than others? Discussion on gluttony as a sin, and healthy eating habits.
12 YOU THINK THAT MY CHILD HAS WHAT!?!
The benefits of using a mid-wife in pregnancy.
74 CHRISTIAN HOUSE-SITTERS
8 SHOULD CHRISTIANS BE HEALTHIER
An interview with a Christian house-sitting company and how they are blessing children in Kenya.
What’s God’s purpose for my life?
Faith Filled Family
More Than a Bookstore!
“Helping Families Live Victoriously in Christ” Winter 2012 Publisher Michelle Danko Editor-In-Chief Jill King Advertising Sales Michelle Danko
Located in Boone, Iowa, we are a community and church based bookstore with a family friendly Christian environment. In addition to DVD’s, Bibles, books, music, t-shirts, cards, and gift items, we offer: • • •
Piano, guitar and violin lessons Brewed beverages A safe place for kids to play!
Copywriter Elisa Cibrario Cover Photo By Paul Prescott @Photos.com Photographers @Photos.com Hemera Technologies, Andrea Haase, John Sommer, Jupiter Images, Lisa F. Young, James Steidl, Dimitriy Shironsov, VideoDet, NA, George Doyle, Catherine Yeulet and StockByte. Microsoft Clip Art, and backgroundlabs.com Faith Filled Family Magazine is published quarterly by: Faith Filled Family Winnipeg, Manitoba R2G 2N7 Website: www.faithfilledfamily.com
Visit our website at www.kingschristianbookstore.com
Congratulations to the folowing winners of our anniversary promotion! Gary Tidwell who is the winner of our autographed book of "A Time to. . . " and gift certificates. And Angil Tarach-Ritchey who is the winner of our prize of an autographed copy of "When You Grow Up and Get . . .Single!", the t-shirt, and gift certificate. You will be contacted by our Publisher shortly to claim your prize!
Image: nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Happy New Year! May God’s Richest Blessing be Yours!
We kick off 2012 with our best issue EVER! Health is the topic which is on everyone’s mind in the New Year, and weight loss is on many people’s resolution list of things to improve on. We are bombarded by weight loss ads at this time of year as many products claim to be the best. Faith Filled Family Magazine took this topic to the max in this issue. We should not only be concerned about physical health as Christians, but about our overall health. We need to be spiritually healthy, financially healthy, and have healthy relationships. We also need to know who we are in Christ, and we need to feel God’s unconditional love. This issue is packed with incredible wisdom from our very annointed group of writers, and I am confident that you will hear the voice of God through their writings. It WILL touch your soul, and impact your life. Be Blessed! Michelle Danko Publisher Faith Filled Family Magazine
A wonderful service matching Christian travelers -Whether you're looking for a respectful house sitter or simply want to become one. All prayerfully selected by Christian House Sitters Www.Christian-HouseSitters.com
All income goes to support a Christian Children's Home in Kenya
Should Christians Be Healthier Than Others? Holiness Says So! By Debbie Thurman
t is early in the New Year, so it is likely that many people have made resolutions aimed at improving their health. Some have embarked confidently on turning over that new leaf. They are exercising more, eating a healthier diet, and perhaps even working to restrain harmful emotions such as anger, bitterness or self-pity, as they can adversely impact our overall health. What is the role of faith in helping us to maintain good health? Should a Christian have more motivation to stay healthy? Shouldn’t the realization that we are made in the image of God - that we are holy temples (1 Cor. 6:9) - impact our health? We are created by God to have intimate relationship with Him. Because He is holy, we are to be holy. That decree extends to all of us - our bodies, minds and spirits. In spite of knowing this, many of us still struggle with caring for our bodies and minds. Unhealthy habits begin slowly but can mushroom to the point that we feel we have no control over them. Gluttony, Thy Name Is Christian! The number one culprit of poor health is poor eating habits, especially overeating. If church congregations didn’t invent the potluck, then who did? It’s as if we have devised an 11th commandment: “Thou shalt have food in abundant quantities with abundant calories when thou gather in My house.” Gluttony? Shhh! We don’t say that in polite company. We may joke about our “little weight problem,” but being overweight carries with it a stigma that causes our self-esteem to take a hit. It’s no laughing matter. Strugglers are challenged to find a program or diet that helps them lose weight and keep it off. Like every other addiction out there, the food addiction is usually best overcome by the cold-turkey approach: Just do it by abstaining until the urges no longer control you! Replace the junk food with healthy alternatives. “I think we all struggle with unhealthy habits because we have grown up in a society of instant gratification. We use food to cope with stress, exhaustion, anger, and celebration. So that pretty much covers everyday life,” says Paulette Porter-Stransky, of Amherst, Va. She has succeeded in maintaining her 50-pounds-lighter and healthier body for 18 months now. How did she do it? “I found the easiest way to lose 50 pounds in six months was to turn vegetarian (not vegan). I figure Adam and Eve were vegetarians, so that was God’s original plan,” she says. “Eating mostly raw foods salads, nuts, fruit - has lowered my blood pressure and cholesterol and weight, not to mention raising my self-esteem. Protein does come from vegetable sources, as well as cheese, nuts, and Greek yogurt. My blood tests came back with a gold star! To maintain this weight, I exercise twice a week and keep eating the same way,” says Porter-Stransky. Our bodies have adapted to eating meat over the ages, of course. It is presumed that Adam and Eve also consumed meat after leaving the garden. Unless you are willing to get educated about alternative sources of protein, as Paulette did, you might need to consider just cutting back on red meat and other fat-laden meat, while adding more fruits and veggies. Haven’t our doctors been telling us this for years? By the way, always consult your doctor before making any significant diet or lifestyle changes. Some people adapt to a vegetarian or vegan (keeping some dairy or poultry protein) diet more easily than do others. Dealing with Misfortune What if our health problems are not self-inflicted, but we are born with some health challenge or incur a disease or trauma? We cannot forget that we are born into a fallen world. None of us knows what tomorrow may bring. We are promised hope, but not smooth sailing in life. “We have all heard dozens of stories about heroic folks who suffer through all kinds of atrocities and come up praising Jesus, literally, with their last breath. Instead of waiting around for some physical trial, treat yourself with the same love as Jesus does and He will use you to bring in His Kingdom,” says author and church elder Linde Grace White, of Cincinnati. White suffered horrible abuse as a child, and she knows well how physical and emotional trauma can be tied to overall health later in life. Her story is a remarkable one. White is also quick to point out that “Jesus gave us only two main rules: Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.”
Loving God is the foundation to loving all of His creation, of which His people are chief. We all know people who sacrifice their own health and well-being to serve others. We may feel we are honoring God with this martyr complex when, in fact, we are dishonoring Him by failing to care for ourselves. If we break down from self-neglect, we can be of little use to others. Other Forms of Over-Indulgence Behind gluttony comes unhealthy indulging in tobacco or alcohol products. Some Christians have no problem with moderate drinking. They are quick to point out that Paul advised Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach or that Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding feast. Opinions vary widely on whether or not Christians ought to consume any alcohol, or where to draw the line. The only injunction we find in Scripture is the one against drunkenness (in Proverbs 23, for instance) or, by association, ingesting something that may cause another believer to stumble (1 Cor. 8:13). Alcoholism is a real threat for some. Whether or not to drink moderately, then, is up to each individual’s conscience. It’s a free-will issue, as are all of our life choices. Of course, alcohol is laden with calories, so that is another consideration for those who struggle with their weight or have other health issues. It is unthinkable to sanction smoking, chewing tobacco or dipping snuff, as tobacco is wholly unhealthy and cigarettes are loaded with known carcinogens. Another contributor to poor health is watching too much television. We know the couch-potato posture is unhealthy and that we tend to snack more while viewing TV. But what about the unsavory images that accumulate in our minds? Spending too much time in front of a computer or playing video games also can have other undesired consequences. Researchers say too much exposure to the blue light behind those screens can even adversely affect our eyesight and our ability to concentrate. It is also known that blue light interrupts our hormonal rhythms and deprives us of sleep. Because our society has evolved over time from an agrarian one without the conveniences that later took the place of the daily manual labor required to survive, we have had to add exercise to our list of health needs. Unless it comes in the form of something that is fun, most of us struggle to find the self-discipline required to exercise regularly. Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Psalm 139 tells us we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Consider what that means in terms of the miraculous way our bodies are put together. Our DNA is a marvel of creation with its precise genetic coding. Look at our neurological “wiring” and the intricate communication network in our bodies. Human beings are no random happenstance. Why would God create us with such amazing bodies and then care little for how we take care of them? Most of us take better care of our cars than we do ourselves! We live in a society that has grown gradually more tolerant of the sin of neglecting our body temples. Regardless of what has been the driving force behind the increasing numbers of the overweight and even the morbidly obese among us, many people now feel almost as if “large people” should be a protected minority, that we should be careful not to give offense, even inadvertently. Yet all those who struggle with their weight likely also struggle with at least one other related health issue. Obesity leads to potentially deadly diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and some cancers. Extra weight puts stress on our joints. If you are overweight and also smoke your health risks increase
substantially. Do we really want political correctness or the truth that brings life? What’s Wisdom Got To Do With It? We know that poor health habits can be changed. We see the evidence in the lives of others. Even moderate exercise and cutting back on calories can make a big difference in our health over time. A substantial percentage of health care costs in our country go to treat diseases that are the direct result of irresponsible living. And we all know that our health care system is in crisis. “Our national crisis is an amazing display of the simple fact that sinful humans are not good stewards of the bodies God has given them, that they consistently give in to their greed for more even when more is not needed, and that we do not pursue wisdom in all areas of our lives, no matter how much evidence shows us that we need to change,” says Ben Bartlett, associate editor of ChristandPopCulture.com. “God has placed us in a unique moment in history; a moment when we know more about how to preserve our own health wisely than at any other time. And yet in so many ways we squander it, because we refuse to commit time and energy to learning and to reorganizing key aspects of how we live,” says Bartlett. In Proverbs, Solomon focused on acquiring wisdom and its impact on our lives: “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body” (Prov. 4: 20-22). It goes without saying that taking care of our bodies will lead to better health. But what about taking care of our spiritual side? Is Solomon not saying that, too, can bring added health to our bodies? Why did Jesus, as He went about healing people of their physical maladies, also forgive them of their sins? Did He mean for us to see a connection between the two? John, in his New Testament epistle to Gaius, wrote, “Beloved I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2). David wrote a number of psalms linking his sin and sorrow with his failing health. Today, the mindbody-spirit connection is no mystery. Researchers have confirmed that all three are intricately linked. If we feel depressed, we are depressed from head to toe. We can hurt all over. If we suffer from cancer or heart disease or just the flu, our emotional and spiritual health tend to suffer, too. Shouldn’t we be placing equal importance on both forms of health? As we make plans for 2012, perhaps we would do well to contemplate how poorly Christians today reflect the ideal health God intended for us to experience. Realizing that we were created to be image bearers of God can set us on the right track. How can we go forth and obey the Great Commission if we are sidelined because of poor health that is self-inflicted? Change will not come overnight, but our health will improve noticeably if we commit to doing a few things consistently.
Image: Ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
You Think My Child has WHAT?!? By Ann Vogel
bout seventeen years ago, my son’s teacher wanted to talk to me. He was in kindergarten, and already had been “held back” in pre-school. His teacher was experienced, a Christian woman, in fact, she taught at a Christian School. I thought she would tell me my son was in trouble for the normal things. I was amazed, and distraught when she told us that she believed that my son, let’s call him Peter, had ADHD. She told me why, and gave me the clinical picture. She didn’t strike me as a woman who couldn’t control a class room. At the time, ADHD was in the news. Reporters accused parents of drugging their children to get some peace. They also accused teachers of encouraging getting parents to drug their children so THEY could manage the class room. I was a psychiatric nurse, and I didn’t know what to believe. I knew Peter was a miracle baby. When was pregnant with him, there was a tear in the placenta (usually resulting in miscarriage). Through God’s intervention, he stayed in my womb for five more months. God literally held him in my womb until he was born. The only thing I knew to do was to take Peter to our pediatrician. He is another Christian man. ADHD is a puzzling diagnosis. It can also mimic physical and mental disorders. The first step was to rule out the physical disorders. Poor Peter had to go through CT’s, MRI’s, blood tests; EEG’s, and I don’t remember what else. We then went to a pediatric psychiatrist of whom I knew and trusted. Here Peter was run through some tests of a different type.
This is your first tip: Don’t go with what the first person says about your child. Observe him/her. If you are concerned, or if others speak of their concerns, start getting it checked out. I began with that teacher because I trusted her, and I observed some things. Pray for your child. Don’t give up. Remember Peter? I am convinced he had ADHD. He was so compulsive, etc. Yes, Peter was diagnosed with ADHD. He was started on medication. What is ADHD? It’s a disorder of the brain, yes, it’s real. Recent studies have found that there structural abnormalities in the blood flow, the size, and the way brain chemistry works with in the brain of those with ADHD. 1 Peter could not stay focused, 2, He was impulsive, absolutely could not sit still, and could not pay attention. A good example: Peter’s favorite movies were Star Trek, or the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe series, but, he never sat and watched them. He acted them out. Trying to get him to take a nap was almost impossible. He also had night terrors; his brain would not shut down. We would pray together. I’d remind the Jesus was bigger than the “monster”. I’d also sing “Jesus has a Rocking Chair”. Peter is/was very anxious. The school he was in was not right for him. I moved him. Every school year I bought the new teacher a great book that CHADD has about ADHD for teachers. I would say that as a nurse I still didn’t know everything about every illness, and I was sure that their training didn’t cover everything about every disability. I thought if they read this it would help. Another tip, make sure your school is willing to work with you. Have them let you know if assignments are not being turned in. If there are problems, you and teacher must have a good working relationship. Regardless of whether you send your child to a public or parochial school, your child has the right to special education services, and the evaluation for that. (By the way the school district has to pay for the evaluation) The anxiety was not based on the wrong school, it was part of the disease. ADHD can carry many other mental illnesses with it. It is not unusual for a child to be anxious, depressed, manic/depressive, or have developmental disabilities. No, there are no specific studies that meet scientific criteria that diet affects the disability. Some say that sugar increases hyperactive behavior, but there is no data. I did limit Peter’s sugar intake, just because it was a change in routine for him. These children live and breathe routine, try not to change it. If you must, give them plenty of warning. Treatment for ADHD is not just throwing pills at your children. Parents work with the psychiatrist, and the psychologist to form behavior modification programs. As I mentioned, it requires close work with the teachers, and anyone else who works with your child. We used stickers, TV tickets, and anything else I could think of to motivate Peter. I used a form that the teacher could easily fill out so that I could know how the day went. When it was time to go to the doctor, I could report the overall trend. My son required occupational therapy- holding a pencil correctly, learning social skills and the like. (Not all children have these deficits; you have to remember that every child is different.) I had to develop a behavioral plan, “if you do this, than this happens”. Some rewards were immediate, as punishments, and some were delayed. The point was to teach Peter the difference, and to learn how to wait. Your child may require a lot time with help with homework. Most of all, your child needs to know he is loved. Medications are generally stimulants. MEDICATIONS Ritalin: Effects the chemicals of the brain that regulate impulse control and activity. Patient must be checked for any congenital heart defects. Concerta: Brand name for Ritalin. A personal or family history of mental illness, psychotic disorder,bipolar illness, depression, or suicide attempt; epilepsy or other seizure disorder. Adderal: Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. It affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Adderal has the same side effects listed. Some believe that these drugs impede the growth of children. But, in my experience, that is not true. Dexedrine: See below. A history of drug or alcohol addiction Methylphenidate: Generic name for Ritalin. FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Ritalin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. It is not known whether methylphenidate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use Ritalin without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Strattera: Strattera (atomoxetine) affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Congenital heart defect; heart disease, a heart rhythm disorder, or recent heart attack; coronary artery disease; a history of stroke, blood clots, or heart attack; high or low blood pressure; liver disease; problems with urination; A personal or family history of mental illness, psychotic disorder, bipolar illness, depression, or suicide attempt or if anyone in your family has died suddenly from a heart problem. Focalin: Modified form of Ritalin You should not take Focalin if you are allergic to dexmethylphenidate or methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta), or if you have: glaucoma; motor tics (twitches); a personal or family history of Tourette’s syndrome; or if you have significant tension, agitation, or anxiety. Metedate: Brand name for Ritalin. Another name for Ritalin Dexedrine or Dextrostat: Dextroamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant. It affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Do not use dextroamphetamine if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as (Marplan), (Parnate), (Nardil), (Azilect), or (Eldepryl, Emsam) within the past 14 days. Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you take dextroamphetamine before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body. Do not use this medication if you are allergic to dextroamphetamine or if you have: heart disease or moderate to severe high blood pressure (hardening of the arteries);overactive thyroid; Glaucoma; severe anxiety, tension, or agitation; or if you have a history of drug or alcohol addiction. Some stimulants have caused sudden death in children and adolescents with serious heart problems or congenital heart defects. Before taking dextroamphetamine, tell your doctor if you have: a congenital heart defect; high blood pressure; heart failure, heart rhythm disorder, or recent heart attack; a personal or family history of mental illness, psychotic disorder, bipolar illness, depression, or suicide attempt; epilepsy or other seizure disorder; An allergy to dyes used in drugs or manufactured foods; or tics (muscle twitches) or Tourette’s syndrome. FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether this medication will harm an unborn baby. It could cause premature birth, low birth weight, or withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother takes dextroamphetamine during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. Dextroamphetamine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Long-term use of dextroamphetamine can slow a child’s growth. Tell your doctor if the child using this medication is not growing or gaining weight properly. Do not give this medication to a child younger than 3 years old without the advice of a doctor. Night terrors and anxiety are not uncommon for our children. Their minds never stop, even when asleep. People don’t understand them, they get teased, singled out, and they are anxious, not only because of the ADHD, but because of their environment. With the help of Godly people at our church, my son’s gifts were stressed instead of his behavior. The change in his confidence was amazing! Many other disorders can accompany ADHD, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, and Depression, just to name a few. Don’t be surprised or distressed if the doctor detects one of these (or more) in your child. My son and I would talk about his day, and would remind him just who was always with him, who always loved him, regardless of what happened. We’d pray together every night, and after a while, the night terrors stopped, and the medication for them could be stopped. Yes, my son still has ADHD, and is all grown up. I have to trust the Lord with him now. But, he is my son’s Father too. As parents, our job is to educate ourselves, and then as many of the people who come into contact with our child as we can, and encourage them to work with us. If a school, or teacher will not work with you, change schools, or have a conference. We changed schools, and this too made a difference. Keep the lines of communication open. Try to keep your temper!! Look for resources. Help your child, even if at the time, he does not appreciate it. Remember the disciple Peter, if anyone had ADHD, he must. Look what the Lord did with him! Image: piyato / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Experience Anointed Music and Ministry the Whole Family Can Enjoy! Whether it's a night of praise and worship coupled with a message, or a fun day of activities and ministering for the kids, this traveling ministry has something special for the whole family. The Johnson Family Ministries is a traveling family ministry across Canada and the United States. It incorporates two separate ministries: a music ministry, and KidsFire, which seeks to light a fire of passion in kids to serve the Lord. Some of the KidsFire activities include: Puppets Characters Gospel Illustration Intense Story Telling Music and Skits All designed to tell the story of the bible. Each children's service has a flowing theme centering around topics such as sin, repentance, salvation, forgiveness, witnessing, etc. . .all of which are important messages to teach the next generation! This family is truly captivating, and will impact your family with messages of God's love. To book your event, please call: (209) 417-0468 (Ben Johnson) (780) 812-0557 (Sandie Johnson) Or visit us online at: www.johnsonfamilyministries.com
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By Israel Ikhinmwin
ealing in simple terms is taking an infirmity away. God has made it clear in the Word that He wants us to be healthy; He wants us to live well physically and spiritually. We see John in his last epistle stating “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” One thing which is certain concerning God is His action. God is not really happy when He commands action from us and we sit still wavering. God wants us to hear the word, and then act on the word. Similar to this point is the fact that God desires for us to be informed and lacking nothing, especially knowledge. This is visible in Hosea 4:6 which reads, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” The Bible says many things concerning healing. I could choose to analyze many occurrences where people were healed. I would rather inform people of why knowledge is actually important in healing. In my walk with the King, I have heard many times of revivals, conferences and other similar occasions where someone took it upon themselves to carry the mantle of the healing ministry. The issue I find, however, is that many people come to these gatherings excluding God from their beliefs and trusting in men. Although they may receive healing, the teaching of a broken vessel and our need for the Healer is seldom referred to. Healing someone is great. However, the individual must be told that mankind in general is broken and in need of the
Healer. This, in my opinion, adds to the reasoning of why many believe traveling across the world to meet renowned ministry leaders is essential. If I know that God is willing to heal me any time of year, I do not need to spend money or pencil in calendar dates. God doesn’t need to use special oil or unbiblical techniques to heal someone. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus’ service was constantly sought by people in need of healing. He didn’t use unprecedented methods, but usually simply spoke the word and they were healed. We do not need to use oil or fast for the whole year to get healed. Many things today concerning healing have been altered in order to create reliance on certain ministries and individuals. I say trust in God and you will receive the manifold works of God. Jesus highlighted something which I think many miss. In the scriptures, Jesus said it was better for Him to leave earth so the Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost, could come (John 16:7). By Him doing so this allowed the Spirit to dwell within all of us and to minister to us all simultaneously. Jesus was a man as well as God, meaning that He needed to sleep, eat etc. He could not be everywhere at the same time, potentially why He was in so much demand wherever He went. Paul called the Spirit the Mind of Christ. Luke 4 is where Jesus’ ministry really took off by the empowerment of the Spirit. For Jesus to make a statement like He did in John leads me to believe that the Spirit must be very important. That being said, the Spirit holds the manifold wisdom of God. An individual does not need to go to any conference to receive God’s healing. Healing isn’t subject to a man or woman granting it - healing is for any who call on the Name of the Lord in faith and ask for His grace. In James 5:15 we read about the prayer of faith that would heal the sick. This shows us that faith activates healing as well as many other things from God. In Hebrews 6 we see that faith is what pleases God. When we say that we need to get to meet a certain man or woman to heal us, we take our faith out of God and place it in these people’s hands. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go or shouldn’t take healing but what I am saying is that we do not need to go. Sticking with James 5, a few verses highlight an Old Testament great. Elijah was a man subject to like passions…This in a nutshell means that Elijah was a man just like any other - the things he did were not ordinary but he was an ordinary man. Faith was the difference with this man! This adds to the point about putting our faith in God, accepting that we are normal beings and are lifted up by God and not by ourselves. We then allow God to work in us. When we have faith a touch is not even needed. In Matthew 8 we see the centurion come to Jesus and ask for healing. Jesus noted this man’s faith as unprecedented. The self-same hour healing came and Jesus never even touched him. We see how Paul was someone who went on to be memorable. However, I want to highlight the end of his worldly life. In Acts of the Apostles 9, Paul had received warrants for detaining those found to be worshiping Jesus. Through his encounter with Jesus, he went on to wait in Damascus for Ananias, on the word of Jesus. Paul’s faith saw him revive and begin the long narrow road to the King. Through this encounter he was healed and I want you to understand and perceive the link between healing and faith. You must believe in order to receive your healing. Jesus would come with “healing in his wings” according to Malachi 4. The Bible says that healing is accessible and all we need to do is believe that God is the Healer. God is able to mend the wounds, cure terminal illnesses and maintain your level of health. “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound,” the prophecy uttered by Jesus from Isaiah. Over the past four years, I can think of maybe two instances where I have felt ill or had some sort of infirmity. Jesus is faithful to deliver all the riches in the Kingdom if we seek him out. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
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God Made Me Special? But I’m FAT! By Michelle Webb
eing overweight is a sin. That is a thought that seems to be radiated in today’s superficial society. Every day, we are bombarded with messages that tell us how to get a smaller waist line, and that hour glass figure “you always wanted.” Instead of celebrating the body that God gave us, we are chastised and forced to hide in shame for being “average” sized or above. Commercials, billboards, new weight loss crazes, etc., have caused us to be ashamed of our body, hate our lives, and question God as to why He has given us the body type that He did. We actually have the nerve to ask God if He knew what He was doing when He created “this”- and I can say this, because I was one of these stubborn people who were unhappy with their body. I was always a chubby child. Growing up I was teased by children at school, but when I got home, I found happiness and joy in the love that my parents radiated throughout the household. “God made you special.” “God loves you and He made you in His image.” were lessons that I always learned from my mother. My safety net was taken from me, however, one night at a family Christmas party when my uncle came up to me and said words that I would remember forever. “Michelle,” he said, “You are fat and you seriously need to lose weight. No one will love you if you do not lose weight.” What? No one would love me? Not my mother? Not my father? Not even God? These words swirled through my head and at the age of eight years old, I decided that I will forever hate myself. After the incident with my uncle, things only got worse. My dad began being disgusted with me and began telling me that I shouldn’t be eating and that I should only drink water. Between the ages of 8 and 13 he had looks of disgust on his face every time he saw me. In his eyes, my weight was a sin. It was something that made him love me less and less every day. I didn’t blame him at the moment though. Instead I fell into the lies that my uncle, my father and even the kids at school were telling me. I believed that I was unlovable and started wishing that I could be someone else. I wanted to be one of the models on TV, one of the skinny girls in my class who all the guys chased after, or one of the actresses in posters guys had in their rooms. I wanted to be anyone else but me. I wanted to be someone lovable. As the years went on and I was psychologically abusing myself, I began to become withdrawn from
the world around me. I began to contemplate suicide. I had dark thoughts. I mean who would miss a fat girl with no purpose? No one loved me so why not just disappear forever? It wasn’t until I was about 15 that I began to have an eating disorder. I was first introduced to eating disorders from watching movies, and instead of focusing on the negative effects of them, I focused on the one affect that “really mattered”, it made me lose weight fast. I developed bulimia and anorexia and lost 30 pounds within a month and a half. Many people ask me today how I got the “willpower” to put my finger down my throat and make myself throw up, I just tell them that I replayed the words my uncle said to me over and over again in my head and that was the only “motivating factor” I needed. Along with an eating disorder, I became seriously depressed. I hated life, I hated everyone and I hated God. I cried to God every night and asked Him why He didn’t make me skinny. Why did He make me the way that I am? Why? Why? WHY? I didn’t see that, no matter what, God was there for me and He loved me whether I weighed 125 or 825. I didn’t see myself as God saw me, so I resorted to cutting, suicidal ideation, and continued with my eating disorder. I felt alone, sad and unlovable. Though I felt this way, I didn’t know that Satan was blinding me to the wonderful truth. In the Bible, God says that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves. The most important commandment is love and that love starts with God. We have to realize that no matter what we did, look like, weigh, etc. God loves us, and He wants us to love each other and love ourselves. God took the precious time to create us in His own special way. Can you imagine what life would be like if we all looked the same? I realize now that God makes us with particular talents and unique gifts so we can bless those in our lives. What we see as flaws, God sees as another special thing that makes us different from His other children. The lie that I was told at age 8 by my uncle, as well as the teasing I endured, were words used against me to make me feel bad about myself. It was a tool that kids in school used to get under my skin because maybe they were just that bored. No matter what the reason for my experience or your experience, it has shaped us into the people we are today. It has made us stronger and wiser and it has reminded us that God loves us no matter what. John 3:16 says that “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have ever lasting life.” The way that I interpret this is “For God so loved ME that He gave His only begotten Son that since I believe in Him, I will not perish, but have everlasting life.” God loves you. He made you special so love yourself and block out all the negative words that people say about you. Always remember to be happy for the life God has given you, forgive those who talk bad about you, and NEVER believe the lies that people tell you. There is only one truth and that truth is God.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” -John 3:16
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Wholly Healthy In Christ
It’s More Than Physical Health! By Shawn Wiggins
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ligh me, that’s amazing! Do you know in 900 years of time and space I have never known anyone who wasn’t important before?” These words were said by a character on a British TV show called Doctor Who in their Christmas special from 2010. They were doing a science fiction parody of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” It’s interesting the stuff you find out there, but what does that have to do with health and wellness? Well, to be frank, everything!! What is health? Is it how well I can walk up a set of stairs, catch a ball, or run a mile? Or is it more, covering everything we are? I know people who eat, drink and do everything right health-wise, yet are horribly sick - not physically, but mentally or spiritually. We discuss ad nauseam about wholeness, completeness and contentedness. Yet we need to look and ask are we whole, and are we really living in completeness? Beyond the pop culture idea of health, God has called us to be complete or whole in Him. We are to be the temple of the Holy Ghost! That is, we are to be the dwelling of His Spirit inside us. Many churches treat this as a second, third or even an unneeded teaching. We will get better over time, but will we without constant effort? Effort, not to gain salvation - if you are concerned about what God thinks, I don’t think that salvation is an issue. Once we enter into this relationship, though, we need to be honest. We need to be real, and we need to ask how can I change to make You (God) happier? God would never ask us to do something that would destroy our character or our soul. In any loving relationship He wants to see us get better, from the physical to the mental, and to grow spiritually. Stress at work - God has a great way of dealing with that. Trust Him! From the stink and smell of a pig barn where you walk in the excrement of animals daily to the office job where you shuffle papers every day - God loves you and wants to work with you. Pray, talk to God, ask for His inspiration, and maybe, just maybe He may say - leave the job - I have something better. Then do so! As a side note, better pay is not always a better job! Relationship stress - God loves you, and He has to forgive you a lot! Have you ever read the Torah, or the law located in the front of the Bible? His ideal life for us is to be in a community that is accountable to each other, sharing and celebrating some awesome feasts with Him. Every day we should be getting deeper and closer to God. In the Jewish tradition that Jesus, Peter, Paul, and others in the Bible lived there was no concept of a secular part of life. Your private life is your public life, but Jesus said, “Be as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves!” How many times have you heard, “I am not a Christian because of....”, and it goes on to mention a
church or person? We cannot do anything about organizations or people, but we can control ourselves. Make sure in all your dealings that you are just and upright, and if a person feels wronged, be honest did you wrong them? Forgive and give grace as much as you expect it for yourself. Am I coming from a place of perfect health? To be blunt, NO! As you read this I am six foot five and weight around five hundred pounds. Physical health I am not an example of. This is due to a few reasons, mainly consumption of sugar and lack of exercise. I love chocolate and I know I like watching shows that entertain me, and challenge my thoughts - but I have left a huge chunk of my life open to attack or even waste. Do not get me wrong, I have many gifts and abilities. I forgive pretty quickly and I find holding a grudge is a quick way to get sick. Also, I am fun and do not have any issues with either sharing about my life or public speaking at all. It is not a craving for the spotlight. I just know if I am being called on, it needs to get done. When I get into a job - I work, and I will work until I am done. When I am honest, there is a lot of my life I need to deal with. Emotions from the past that bleed into today, and experiences that have shaped who I am still need to be dealt with. We all have that and if we can see what it is that needs to be worked on we can get better. We have a great example in dealing with this, and yes it is - Jesus! He dealt with people, but He also took time to be on His own. We all need time to be away from others and become introspective with God. He made days throughout the year - from high holy days to a weekly Sabbath - where we are to take our every day and figure out what it is He wants us to do. True love, true relationship would require no less than time. Our society asks us to keep work and church separate, or at least to keep God out of our every day lives! I say NO! Pull Him into everything, from flipping burgers, to doing multi-national trade deals. If He is there and you are honest - it will be right and just. My every day should be my everything, and God should be in it all. Ecclesiastes 12:13 says â€œLet us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.â€?
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Johnson Family Ministries By Sarah Kuepfer
The Johnson Family Ministries consists of Ben Johnson, his wife, Sandie, and his children Matthias (13), Micah (9) and Jubilee (7). This young, talented family travels across North America singing, telling stories, speaking, and ministering in churches, kids’ camps, seniors’ homes, and wherever else they might be called to go. In a recent interview, they opened their motor home for an inside peak at the life of a traveling ministry family. Faith Filled Family: How did this ministry get started? Ben: It started with my mom singing with the “Singing Harris Family” from Denair, California at age 9. Then, once mom and dad were married, they traveled in singing as the “Gospel Rythm-Airs” and children’s ministry. Then for the past 20 years I traveled with mom and dad as the original “Johnson Family Ministries” and then added Sandie when we got married 14 1/2 years ago. Faith Filled Family: You describe on your website a family heritage of ministry. How has that impacted your current ministry? How has it affected your children? Ben: The family heritage still impacts us today because we continue to ride on the reputation of grandparents and parents on both sides. Even to this day, some pastors will book us because they knew and respected our parents and grandparents so well. Sandie: How has ministry affected our children? OPPORTUNITY. Being on the road has opened up tremendous opportunity in so many ways. Musically, of course, because they were introduced to listening to our music in four part harmony from the time they were born, so they just kinda grew up tapping their toes, so to speak, ha ha, and jamming with uncles and dad, or singing their one little song at every service. Socially, it has impacted them. They had to climb out of their shell and converse with people. It’s forced them to be independent and kind, even if they are having a bad day. Also, acting ability, memory work, and flexibility are all part of it too.
Faith Filled Family: How did you know this ministry was your calling in life? What made you decide to work in ministry and not in some other profession? Ben: I have felt a strong calling to the ministry since I was a young child. I was particularly drawn to the road because of my gifting and calling, but our decision to go full time was not made before seeking the Lord to “make our calling sure” and not just do “what was in the blood” or carry on a family tradition. We thank the Lord that confirmations came through prophesies of total strangers, etc... Sandie: We have had many other occupations but nothing feels “right” like we are completely in our element. It seems God shows favor when we are on the road; by opening doors, and looking after our every need. Faith Filled Family: Describe the training and education you both did in preparing for fulltime ministry. Do you have any special credentials? Ben: I am an ordained minister with the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Assemblies). Really, mom and dad and grandma and grandpa Harris has prepared me in many ways. I feel like “We’ve inherited the farm”, so to speak. We have a lot of the tools; sound equipment, instruments, the bus and contacts because of them. Sandie: The Lord has prepared me in many ways; I was NEVER much of a home-body, so I guess that was the first clue. My dad being a pastor had me singing at the age of three years old wherever and whenever he could. When I was older I went to Northwest Bible College (now Vanguard College) in Edmonton and took the “One year Music Course”. Even when I was young, I told my mom that I wanted to be a singing missionary when I grew up and travel the whole world. I guess that was my young definition of what I am doing now, in some round about way. Faith Filled Family: How did you two meet? Sandie: Ben and his family used to come to my camp and provide the chapel sessions when I was just a kid. I knew of him, but he really didn’t know me back then, ha ha. It was funny how our family connections tangled and enter-twined without us really ever meeting. Then he moved to my town and he became the son my dad never had (he only had 4 daughters - no boys). Then, one day, my cousin wanted us to sing together. “GULP” I had never sang with anyone except my sisters. But for her wedding we sang because that was what she wanted. Ben: We enjoyed being together so much that we practiced EVERY single day! The rest was history. Sandie: After the wedding we didn’t know what to do with our time since we had spent so many evenings practicing, so we started just doing stuff together; playing catch, quading through the mud, horseback riding... but I think our favorite thing to do back then is the same as now on our days off: explore. We liked to quad to little old abandoned buildings and explore them or just explore new territory in our own area... My dad for years had tried to spark an interest to date Ben, but it just wasn’t the right time... Faith Filled Family: How do your children participate in ministry with you? Who does what? What talents and gifts do you all have? Sandie: Our children participate in EVERYTHING we do except driving! They help haul in, set up and tear down equipment. In music ministry they are up there the entire time singing entire concerts, quoting scripture announcing songs, and playing instruments. In Children’s Ministry they help plan and arrange services, write and act skits, object lessons and puppets. They run the power point on the computer, lead songs, and memorize gobs of lines for numerous skits and object lessons. They are never forced. If it seems they can’t handle something, we work out something different but they obviously love it as much as we do, it truly is a family ministry to families!
Micah, our 9 year old, is our little musician. He has been playing the mandolin since he was 6 years old, and the electric guitar for the past year. Micah does about half our lead instrumental work on these two instruments shared with dad (Ben) who plays the accoustic guitar, 5 string banjo, mandolin and piano on stage. Ben started playing the 5 string banjo when he was 9. Matthias at 13, sings some lead songs, but most of the time fills in the 3rd part harmony and helps to announce songs by quoting scripture that he’s memorized. Jubilee at 7, wins hearts as she steps up to sing with the group and steps 1 step back when it’s not her turn. She also quotes some scripture to help announce a couple songs including some she sings lead on such as “So Let the Son Shine In”. I sing several lead parts as well as harmony on the rest and has of late, started playing a couple songs on the violin. Faith Filled Family: What do you do outside of ministry? Describe a day when you aren’t at some event. Matthias: We explore a lot, we visit, we play LegoTM, we drive (travel). Today, for instance, (Dec. 6th) we were at my uncle and auntie Chell’s house in Denair, California and we played in their backyard making a zip line from tree to tree, jumping on the trampoline when the foster kid came home from school, made a giant blanket fort in the house, and put on a play for the adults. It was a pretty good day. Micah: We explore with our vehicle sometimes and we walk sometimes. Jubilee: One day we had Christmas, not on Christmas day (Dec.3) because we didn’t want anyone to feel left out that we had presents from our other family in Canada. Sandie: We were going to spend Christmas with an aunt and uncle in California, so we woke the kids up early in Reno, Nevada and had a bit of a Christmas on our own. Every morning we can, we do devotions, math, reading and writing. We home school our children, obviously, since we travel full time. We often leave out a lot of “book work history”. We’d rather search it out in field trips instead! Ben: One thing that we do is spend time in the recording studio. Sometimes to make a new CD., and sometimes to record fun things for children’s ministry. The last CD that the kids recorded was nominated by GMA for best children’s CD of the year. That was a pretty exciting day and made all of our recording hours pay off a little more. Faith Filled Family: Who is your role model and/or biggest influence, after Jesus? Any other influences you would credit? Ben: First, after God for me, my role model would be Leon Harris, my grandpa; a visionary in creative outreach - definitely ahead of his time. He took me on my first full tour when I was thirteen, without my parents, and had special posters made advertising “The Singing Harris Family and Grandson Benji”. My grandpa saw potential and believed the best in me, he always made me feel special and that I had something to offer if I kept my eyes of Jesus. Jim Harris, my uncle, was a tremendous role model giving me countless hours of musical lessons who has now become one of our biggest ministry supporters. Mom and dad gave opportunities, inspiring us in children’s ministry. I don’t think we would have done any children’s ministry without them starting it. Matthias: Walt Disney who said “Keep moving forward.” Sandie: My parents. They never held me back from leaving or becoming independent, they always knew I could do more than my own mind said I could. I love them for that. Micah: My Dad, because he teaches me to play instruments.
Faith Filled Family: What is your favorite part of your ministry? What makes it all worthwhile to you? What keeps you going? Ben: When people come to know the Lord, when someone says they were blessed, when the alters are full of people crying out to Him, when someone is healed or a marriage re-kindled. That makes it ALL worthwhile!! We do not travel around to show what we might be capable of, there are many people who seem to be more talented than us, but we want to do what we can to enlarge the Kingdom of God, we want to rescue as many as we can from a lost eternity and so we’ll give our lives for this eternal cause. Faith Filled Family: So where are you going next? What is your calendar like? Ben: We are currently in California, visiting relatives. Our calendar can be viewed in detail on our “Calendar” page on our web site. In short, we will be in the USA until April, on into BC in May, then soon afterward our summer schedule will start at bible camps in AB & SK for the rest of the summer. Faith Filled Family: Where do you see this ministry going? Are there plans to retire, as Ben’s parents did? Ben: Of course we don’t know God’s full plan for us in the years to come, but we are not looking at this as a short term thing but are going forward with mind set for the long haul. We will continue on like this until the LORD leads differently. With his strength we’ll continue on. Faith Filled Family: Where do you get your support? How do you financially support yourselves? What is your biggest need? If our readers wished to support you, what info do they need? Ben: There are a couple of regular supporters who do what they can, but for the most part, we travel completely by faith and it has been such a blessing to see how God works always for our good. We never charge for any services that we do but travel by free will offerings. It has been proven time and again that there is more blessing in trusting the LORD than charging a fee. Our biggest material need might be a new coach some day as the 1989 motorhome we have now is showing its age in many ways, but truly our biggest need that we continually seek the Lord for continually is a “greater anointing”. Support could be sent to one of the addresses on our web-site: www.johnsonfamilyministries.com At the present time, we do not have a charitable number to issue receipts, but this will come in time. So for now we will only be able to send a thank you letter explaining where the money would be used. Faith Filled Family: Where do you see this ministry going in the future? What are you hoping to see happen? Do you see any changes happening or needed? Ben: We hope to be busy enough to remain full time. We don’t see this as a short-term thing. We are hopping that God will open MORE doors and expand our territory! Sandie: I see how hard it is in booking services and I guess I would like to see it get easier somehow. Someday, I would like to travel over-seas on a short term missions trips sometime in the future. I think it would give the kids, and us too, a new perspective, a new outlook to ministry a new respect for what they have. Faith Filled Family: Any last comments? Tell me anything you want our readers to know. To God be the Glory! Once again, for further information or to book the Johnson family, please visit Johnson Family Ministries online at www.johnsonfamilyministires.com Samples of their music are also available online.
Image: Rawich / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Faith Filled Family: How often are you traveling? Where is the farthest you’ve gone? Micah: Ninety percent of the time. Matthias: Well, we used to not go full time but now we don’t get many now. Ben: We typically sing 2 to 4 services a week and travel and visit in between. We go from northern Canada to the Mexico border, from the Pacific to Western Ontario. Faith Filled Family: Describe a typical night on stage. What sort of things do you do with your audience? Matthias: We sing the first song and see how the audience responds and change it up a little sometimes for the sake of time. If they clap and cheer when you sing, and they are really responsive, than you feel more relaxed but if they sit and stare at you, than you feel more nervous and uncomfortable. Micah: We sing and we play instruments for them but my favorite is playing the mandolin. Jubilee: I sing but not all of them, but I do quite a bit actually. In kids ministries, I like being the “cute little punkin”. Sandie: Jubilee brings out the memory verse in a pumpkin costume with actions during our “Wild West” and “Pioneer Day” themes. Faith Filled Family: How do you balance your ministry and your family needs? Ben: We are finding we just have to book time off for family, spend some of the days off together, and just kind of hide out a little when we can. That’s a tough one, but it’s always special to spend time together. Matthias: Even though mom and dad try to book time for family, it’s sometimes hard because usually the pastor or other people want to visit us, which is ok. Faith Filled Family: Is there any special family tradition you do while traveling? Ben: The DisneyTM guessing game is one of the most commonly played game down the road, where someone recites a line from a DisneyTM movie and everyone else tries to guess the correct movie its from. Matthias: We spread LegoTM out all over the whole back bedroom of the bus, so widely spread that you can’t even walk across. We can build LegoTM for six hours straight without getting tired. Down the road is the only time we are really allowed to dump the whole box. My favorite is putting video shots that I took while exploring, on a program and make a movie out of it. Sandie: Lots of times we have family reading time. Titles like “Little House On the Prairie” and “Heaven is For Real”. Right now we are reading a book called “Ten Peas in a Pod” about a family singing group of eight kids with mom and dad that traveled during the depression years. We find that many times we can relate to them in how they have to trust in God for their money or other miracles. Micah: I like building forts as big as the back bedroom; two stories high, using blankets, dowel rods and rubber bands. We go through a lot of rubber bands when we do that. Matthias: The back bedroom is pretty much our “down the road play-room”, ha ha. Faith Filled Family: Where is “home” for you? Ben: The bus really is a home for us with our own beds, full bath, kitchen and living room, however Bonnyville, AB (where both of our parents live) will always be a home for us as well as Denair, California, our southern home where the Harris Family lives (Ben’s side of the family where he partially grew up).
Thoroughly Modern People: A Long Way Home Author: Chima Njoku-Latty ISBN: 0956600107 Price: $16.99 (U.S.) Available from Amazon.com
Reviewed by Helen Murray Why is it that some relationships endure the unimaginable, while others go haywire? Could it be that misunderstanding is at the heart of the matter? And if so, can that actually be overcome? Sexual detail surrounding physical attraction is absent, but a very rare swear-word or two does appear from an exasperated character as rights and wrongs are excruciatingly sorted out. Chima Njoku-Latty, an author of Nigerian/Jamaican descent, married to an American and resident in London, speaks boldly, in this novel, and with the perception of personal experience, about inter-racial marriage and relationships. One must remark that the perceptions are incredibly sensitive and detailed, so be ready to go that little bit further into the emotional scenery than usual. By this, I do not mean that the emotions are angrier, or more furtive etc, but that they are more deeply appreciated, experienced, and shared by this exciting writer. Personalities are colorfully etched, and the readerâ€™s intimacy with them increases through their explorations of one another, but culminates only at the final page. The main character is a lively, charming mix of instability and spontaneous passion, a very capable young woman, who moves successfully in international circles, and within a circle of a very close friendship, yet, as the child of a broken marriage, she remains unsure of herself, while her friends help her giggle her way to wisdom, with just a little occasional help from the bottle. Around her, othersâ€™ relationships struggle and become entangled, emotions rage and torment, misunderstanding dements, and intimate friendships fall apart and are renegotiated again, all on platforms of parenting and keeping things stable around beautiful children. There are those who fight for what they believe, and those who have yet to believe in something worth fighting for. Racism is there, but is not the main issue, in fact it could be said that lack of racism is the greater issue within a racist society. Faith appears necessary as characters struggle to understand their realities. Long term relationship and friendship, and the battles within them, is a major theme. All this is enchantingly revealed, with no waste of words, in a detail that is engagingly picturesque. The lively style creates an immensely enjoyable read. Summary: Re-readable.
Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What Do You Really Believe? By Rev. Dr. Jeffery D. Lowe
hen Christians are waiting for the manifestation of healings or miracles from God they may overlook one of the greatest obstacles to receive, which is: unbelief. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus said the disciples could not cast out a demon because of their unbelief. Although they were full of faith, (the disciples who had recently come from being sent out to successfully heal the sick and raise the dead), they still had some unbelief in this particular case. This shows that you can be a strong believer, but still have a natural part of you rise up and attempt to pull against your faith. This shows a biblical example that you can have both belief and unbelief working in your mind at the same time (James 1:6-8). Unbelief is a Jesus stopper (Matt 13:58). Unbelief isn’t something we try to have or are even constantly aware of (Mark 9:24). We should continually check to see if we are in the faith (2 Cor 13:5). We can get into a routine (and when you do, faith is already left) or ‘go through the motions’, which is called works. However, by these works no one is justified (Gal 3:11) or divinely healed (Eph 2:9). The unbelief may show up in our heart when we realize a portion of our life (or another’s) does not function in the way our Creator designed it to. Whether there is intimidation of a tumor bigger than a grapefruit or a ‘runs in the family’ (not God’s family) condition, none of these things or any disease found under a microscope is more powerful than the blood of Jesus. Consideration is the link between hearing and acceptance. The consideration of a second opinion from your flesh or the enemy may add delays in your trial of faith if you choose to accept them. When you consider God and judge His promises to be faithful, it paves the road to manifested victory (Heb 11:11). When you become increasingly aware of the blessings that God has already given within you (Eph 1:3, 3:20, 2Pet 1:3) instead of the common or natural ways of thinking (Prov. 3:5), your mind becomes renewed (Rom 12:2). Unbelief is like having weeds in your garden - they have to be uprooted. When we find a thought that exalts itself against the Word of God, we need to refuse to entertain it or sustain it and have a practice of tearing it down “For walking in the flesh, not according to the flesh do we war, for the weapons of our warfare [are] not fleshly, but powerful to God for bringing reasonings bringing down, and every high thing lifted up against down of strongholds, the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of the Christ, and being in readiness to avenge every disobedience, whenever your obedience may be fulfilled.” (2 Cor 10:3-6) The longer you entertain statements of unbelief, the more challenging they are to uproot. If you consider that God might not do what He said He would do, you cannot please Him (Heb 11:6). If you consider that healing is not our loving Father’s will or that he gives our enemy permission to make us sick, you may open up the opportunity for the devil who looks for who he can devour (1 Pet 5:8, John 10:10). There are three root causes of unbelief: o Ignorance or lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) o Bad teaching (Col 2:8, 2 Cor 4:2, Matt. 23:15) o Our natural senses (1 Cor 2:14, 1John 2:16) Lack of knowledge can be corrected by giving the Word (John 8:32). Bad teaching can come be overcome by reproof (2Tim 3:16). Our natural senses are more challenging to deal with. Even though your body is designed to heal itself, the mind has been taught to accept whatever it sees and do natural things to attempt to fix it. There is nothing wrong with most remedies or doctors, but there are so many things that need supernatural intervention and there’s a great advantage of seeking God’s word on it first (Matt 6:33). If there is any spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11), the will of the Lord is for you to be loosed (Luke 13:12, 13). Your eyes may see fire and think of getting hurt or your mind may remind you that fire will burn, but the word of God is not bound (Is 43:2, Dan 3:27, 2 Tim 2:9). Let your senses become second nature and God’s word become first. Our flesh is the greatest contributor to our unbelief. Its goal is to be slothful (Prov. 12:24, 15:19, 19:15 and 21:25) and always wants the easiest way out. It is so much easier not to believe God in our trial of our faith. It is easy to listen to your flesh tell you: o o o o o
“It didn’t happen to others and they were spiritual” “It didn’t happen when the preacher laid hands on them” “It’s o.k., it isn’t God’s timing” “God will do it one day” “I can put up with this”
But the word of God says any unbelief does not make God’s promise void (Rom 3:3, 4) and we can all realize that it didn’t take a long time for Jesus and His apostles for healing and miracles. Your flesh would rather you die than to believe (Gal 5:17), but what we believe will become our reality (Prov. 23:7). If you are not happy with unfavorable circumstances, than that is a good place to be. The process of getting rid of this unbelief is to adjust the ‘tug-of-war’ to the other side. o Know that God does not move in response to our faith only, but has already provided for us with His grace. (God has already moved) (2 Pet 1:3) o God is not in control of everything and we have free will to believe and receive (John 15:7) o Although we live in a fallen world, Jesus showed us we are overcomers (1 John 4:4) o Take on a fast from food and/or entertainment to help deny your flesh (Matt 17:21) o Accept the Word of God without picking and choosing which parts to have unbelief in. o Know that just a ‘mustard seed’ of faith is all we need to move mountains and we already have that (Matt 17:20). As God gave Adam dominion to tend to his garden, Jesus reminded us of the authority we already have over our garden (1 John 5:4). Since He made so great an effort to allow the stripes on His back (Is 53:5), we should allow grace (His efforts that have no respect of persons) to give us liberty from the curse of the law (1 Pet 2:24). We are pre-approved! Even as Abraham heard the word and did not stagger with unbelief (Rom 4:20), we have the opportunity to enter the ‘rest’ that Jesus gave us (Heb 4:11) no matter how much time passes (Heb 10:35) or delay comes (Dan 10:13). Even if we have stumbled, as many ‘super-heroes’ do, we know the end has been planned to result in a victory (Deut 2:24, 25). The early chapters in your life may have seen circumstances take advantage of you, but it’s not over yet and you are still standing and haven’t dropped your armor. The Spirit of God is still our trainer, coach, referee and the ‘fight’ is fixed!
Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
n the past seventeen years the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9 have become more real to me. “And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
I Answer, “I’m o.k.” By Kathleen Smith
As my husband and I grew our family, I experienced three miscarriages. One of the most difficult aspects of the experience was being around friends and family afterwards. My friends would come up to me and they would all ask the same question, “Are you okay?” My first response to that was: “yes, I’m okay” or “I’m fine,” but in reality I wasn’t okay or fine. What I wanted to do was shout out, “No, I’m not okay!” I wanted to tell them how much I was hurting, but because some of them have never experienced m i s c a r r i a g e themselves, they would not have understood. I wasn’t even ready to speak to those that did understand. There was almost an awkwardness about the question because some of my friends didn’t know what else to say to me in the beginning. They wanted to help, but there wasn’t anything they could do for me. They thought they should be talking with me about it, or maybe even giving me a hug
because they didn’t get it. I did accept the hugs; I didn’t want to, but didn’t want to be rude either. During this time, I was able to depend on my husband, and on God for help and support. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in him at all times; ye people pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.”
people that, technically, I have been pregnant six times. The response is usually the same. They give me a bit of a shocked look and don’t know what to say, so they generally say: “Oh.” Things always feel a bit awkward after that. I don’t know why. People react to that one word “miscarriage” like it’s a curse or a disease or a sin. In reality, it is none of the above. Unfortunately, though, it is something that does happen and it happens a lot. There is nothing to be embarrassed about either. It’s something that I don’t mind talking about. At times, it does bother me when I get that look of surprise from people who find out for the first time that I had three miscarriages. Other times I sort of feel like just hiding under a rock or running away so I don’t have to deal with it, but it is something that needs to be dealt with. People need to understand that it is a painful topic at times, one that I am willing to talk about and answer questions about if I have the answers. Although I must say it would be nice just once not to get that reaction from people, mainly women, when they find out that I did indeed have three miscarriages. My husband is always reminding me, “God will not give you any more than what you can deal with.” I guess God thought I could deal with my three miscarriages better than some other women could. I wouldn’t be surprised if He thought the same about other women as well who have gone through having a miscarriage. Again, I can’t tell you why He let me go through my miscarriages; it is possible that He did it to test me and to see if I would actually go towards Him and lean on Him or if I would turn my back on Him. He did, however, get me through them all with my husband. It did take quite a while for me to get through them emotionally, but He most definitely did get me through it all. I know He can do the same for other women. He can and will get other husbands and wives through this together as He did for my husband and me. We had to let God work in and through the two of us as a couple and, when needed, as individuals. Other couples can do this too. I didn’t give up on God because He never gave up on me or on us as a couple. He was always on my side; I just needed to trust in Him. I know that is a big word: “TRUST,” but in the end it was all worth it and I did become happy again and content. With all things, it takes time. Believe it or not, the emotional pain I was feeling went away with God’s help. I didn’t always understand, but when I put my trust in God, He would take care of me.
Truly God was a refuge for me at that time. There was a point when my friends and family members would call me to see how I was doing. Every time the phone rang I thought to myself, “Not again.” I didn’t want to answer the phone and talk to any one, so I used to let the answering machine pick up. Sometimes I listened to what they said and sometimes I left the room before they had the chance to even leave the message. My friends and family needed to understand that they needed to give me some time and space to deal with my loss and eventually they got the message and didn’t talk to me about it. The hardest part, though, for me at that particular time of my life was when I was going through my second miscarriage. My friend was pregnant with her first child and all was going well for her, but not me. I had such a hard time being around her. I avoided her like a plague. I couldn’t be in the same room with her and, when that couldn’t be avoided, I just didn’t look at her in that room. Whether she was uncomfortable around me at that time or not, I don’t know. There was no way for her to be able to sympathize with me since she never experienced a miscarriage. I didn’t talk to her for months; in fact, I didn’t start talking with her until sometime after her baby was born. Whether she realized what was going on or not, I have no idea. It was something I had to deal with and I saw no reason to clue her in on what was happening. I think that maybe for some women the opposite can happen and maybe the women who are still pregnant might feel awkward around their friends who have had the miscarriage and won’t talk to them. Either way, I think only time can heal those wounds; I experienced this myself. I no longer feel like avoiding people who I previously felt uncomfortable around. I have found over the years, whether talking with friends that I met after I had the miscarriages and had no idea that I had them, or talking with people in general about having families, eventually these two questions would always come up. I would either be asked, “Do you wish you had had more children?” Or “Do you regret not having any more children?” I always answer the same way. “Yes, sometimes I wish I had more”, or “Yes, sometimes I Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, regret not having any more.” I usually wait a minute, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” debating whether or not I should say anything about my miscarriages and then I decide to say something, figuring it can’t hurt. I end up telling the
Leadership 101: Qualifications to Lead
Are these three steps within you? By Carl Mathis
True leadership is “Leading by Personal Example”
hen it comes to leadership, one might think that it calls for a person with skills. Skills in planning, organizing, staffing, coordinating and reporting - functions that describe the role of leadership assistance. Although these are important skills, leadership is calling for people with integrity, practical wisdom and “filled with the Holy Spirit” Integrity: The first qualification for leadership. In the volatile climate of conflict and under the scrutiny of murmuring factions, administrative matters often turn into personal test of credibility and character. In these circumstances, leaders are visible and vulnerable. Visible leadership is the leading edge of a true leader’s public witness, sometimes the court of last resort. Practical Wisdom: The second qualification for leadership. Conflict create by self-interested factions are resolved until someone sees the “big picture” and evasions what psychologists call a “subordinate goal, to lift the sights of the battling factions. In fact, nothing happens in a meeting” until the leader” interprets the sense of the meeting” Even at risk of wrath, the point is well taken. Practical wisdom is the combination of intuition, experience and homework that sees beyond the factions of self-interest to a larger purpose. Leaders who try to lead by relying only upon their own personal integrity and practical wisdom operate in a small shaky circle. Holy Spirit: When the early church begins its executive search, only those who were filled with the Holy Spirit were eligible for election. Personal integrity is no longer a matter of rigid self-discipline or clever public cover- ups. Consider Paul’s dossier in the Philippians letter, he listed his impeccable credentials that qualify him as a leader of leaders among the Jews only to disclaim them all in favor of this testimony: “not having my own righteousness which is from the law, but that which is though faith of Christ righteousness which is from God by faith” Philippians:3:3 Under the power of the Holy Spirit, practical wisdom also takes a transformed meaning. Not only does faith fill in the mysteries of the patters that are beyond comprehensions, but as James writes: “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, the peaceable, gentle willing to yield entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” James 3:17 The qualification for leadership is now complete. Through the infilling of the Holy Spirit, you are call to lead with personal integrity and a practical wisdom that is not your own. The Holy Spirit is not a signpost that points” Go this way” he is the Shepherd who says “Follow Me” To lead is by personal example. Carl Mathis: author of “Life is what you make it - seven steps to moving forward.” Allow Carl Mathis to motivate/ inspire you with his Christian words of encouragement. Go here now http://www.carlmathis.com
At long last, a family-friendly fantasy that confronts – and resolves – the battle for the soul. Imagine innocence of Light, the meek and good among us being unexpectedly consumed into a void of darkness ... into a world gone very wrong Imagine circumstances beyond your control that ensures your life will never, ever be the same Imagine being stripped of your identity with no past, present, or future while wandering within an empty space of nothingness What could you do - where would you go - how might you survive? You’ll find the answers you’re looking for in Littluns! A totally different reading experience Littluns shines a bright light on finding truth, peace, love, hope, joy and your heart’s desire in the face of any adversity. Through its parable form and mystical story, Littluns not only entertains … it will teach you and your children powerful lessons about: • • • • •
The stark reality and consequences of being in God’s Light or in the darkness. The pure of heart in contrast to those who harbor evil. How the truth can be disguised and/or manipulated for self-serving purposes. The existence of God’s pure love. How the very worst of handicaps can reveal our most significant strengths.
A timeless story about the selfless among us who are looking for answers, along with a spirited adventure that adds something more to your life, Littluns is a thoughtful journey that will touch your heart and enrich your soul. It may just become the most important book in your home library … buy it and share it with your family today! “As an ex-Governor for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Mark Glamack draws on experience to present this book in a timely and professional manner. [The] pages enlighten and engage readers, as works of good and evil fight for the mastery of our souls. Littluns left me feeling thankful that writers like Mark have the Calling, and the tenacity to explore and present such fine works and abilities.” Review by: Christian author Eliza Earsman (Amazon.com) Mom's Choice Awards® Gold recipient
For further information, please visit our website at www.littluns.net
Are You stealing from God? Not Me!!
The Importance of Tithing By Michelle C. Danko
here are many common excuses as to why most people don’t tithe, and those who do often don’t tithe how much the bible says to tithe. Tithing isn’t about what you have left over at the end of the week, what you feel like giving, or what you should traditionally give, it’s about putting God first in your finances, and giving God what is His. This article will explore common myths associated with tithing and prosperity. Many people’s attitude regarding tithing is that they will just give whatever is left over once the bills are paid, or whatever they can afford. It is often done out of obligation, or tradition (your family gave so much to the church, so you give the same amount). In reality, most people don’t understand the purpose of tithing, since it isn’t often taught. Many pastor’s shy away from the topic because they come under criticism for wanting money in a poor economy, or because people have excuses as to why they can’t give. There is also the misguided rumor that the church should be poor. This, too, is false. How can churches offer programs, or help those in need when they are poor? Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the church should be poor. In reality, if you don’t tithe ten percent of your income, and the first ten percent, because God should always come first in your life, then you are stealing from God. Ten percent is His, and it is what He has blessed you with. Once you understand how God can bless you out of your obedience, then you will realize that ten percent is a small price to pay.
“’Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ ‘In tithes and offerings. ‘” (Mal. 3:8) “You must not eat in your own towns the tithe of your grain and new wine and olive oil, or the firstborn of your herds and flocks, or whatever you have vowed to give, or your freewill offerings or special gifts.” (Deuteronomy 12:17) “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” (Leviticus 27:30) So what is the purpose of tithing? Why do we have to tithe? The Word says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:10-11) When we tithe, God pours out a blessing upon us. So much in fact, that we will not be able to contain it. God will also rebuke Satan (who scripture says will come to kill, steal and destroy!) on our behalf. God will restore what has been taken from us. Tithing, in essence, is a type of protection. However, there is more! Ever heard the common phrase, “Money is the root of all evil.”? Most people believe that God wants us to be poor, and that somehow poverty is equated to godliness. This is false. What the scripture is saying is that the love of money is the root of all evil. Anything that takes your focus off of God and onto something else is called idolatry, and is a sin. Money isn’t evil, just the love of it above God. In fact, God wants to prosper you. Why? Because we are blessed to be a blessing to others in need. We aren’t to hoard riches out of fear that we won’t have enough. God provides for all of our needs according to His riches in heaven. He knows what our needs are, and He provides for us. All we have to do is ask! As we prosper, God will often ask you to help someone else. You will often get a leading to do something. This is God asking you to give out of your abundance to someone else. Often, it may be out of your comfort zone, but as you give to others, you prosper as well out of your obedience. It’s a win-win! There is one caveat to tithing this is often unmentioned which is how to tithe. We shouldn’t tithe out of routine, or out of the mentality that we have to. Scripture says that God loves a cheerful giver. “Every man according as he purposed in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)” (2 Corinthians: 7-10) Once you understand the importance of tithing, and the reason why we tithe, it becomes easy to give God your ten percent. When you understand it in terms of by not giving your tithe, you are robbing God of what is His, then tithing becomes something that is the right thing to do. No one wants to think that they stole from God. You can say, “Well, that’s Old Testament...” but God didn’t change the rules of tithing in the New Testement. Tithing benefits both the church (most churches tithe!) and the giver. For the giver, it means that God in turn blessed you, and prospers you. Test Him on His word! He will remain faithful. Those who believe that they don’t have any money to tithe; you can’t afford not to tithe. God has blessed my family when it looked like we didn’t have enough money (and at the time, we didn’t). He provided for us, but we also tithed so that we could receive God’s blessing. God’s provision came out of the most unusual places, but He was always faithful to provide for us. Not tithing almost guarantees poverty because God has nothing to work with. You are living in disobedience to His word. Other things guarantee poverty as well such as a wrong confession. So this New Year, let’s rejoice in our abundance! Let’s be financially healthy, and be in right standing with God. Please don’t steal from Him anymore. Give your tithe so that He can bless you in turn. Just test Him on His word- it will never return void- and watch what God can do!
TEN Ways To Change Your Sugar Habits
By Julie B. Cosgrove
Image: Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
ugar intake, resulting in Diabetes, has been on the rise for several decades in the United States
it is getting worse, despite our efforts to diet. The culprit is our how we think and feel about S -and sugar.
Sugar. Our tongues respond to it. The taste buds quiver. Even at an early age, faces light up and lips smack. At one time, sugar was a rare, expensive commodity. It came from cane in the Caribbean and had to be transported by ship over the Atlantic. Therefore, sugary treats were reserved for special occasions such as birthdays and holidays. Desert was a rare pleasure. To give someone a sugary treat from your kitchen was an exceptional gesture. It meant you spent not only time, but money on them. Today, that tradition is seared into our cultural psyche. We have visions of a fluffy cake slapped with scrumptious icing, or mouthwatering homemade candies, or warm, gooey cookies as the perfect, “I thought about you” gift. At Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s and Easter we clear the shelves of candy to give to neighbors, family, even strangers. New neighbors? Bake them a cake or pie to welcome them. Friend home from the hospital? Make them a coffee cake, or cookies. Someone feeling blue or down in the mouth? Bring them something decadent and chocolate laden. They’ll respond, “That is so sweet of you.” Sugar brings feelings of comfort and joy, warmth and caring. However, sugary treats and snacks are no longer rare. They are everywhere we turn today. They line the checkout counters in grocery stores, convenient stores, even home improvement and pet stores. What was once an extraordinary, occasional treat is now commonplace on every street corner, in every restaurant including fast foods, and in every vending machine. We have become sugar addicts. Our systems crave it more and more, making our bodies produce more and more insulin to process it. We exist on a roller coaster of sugar ingestion. Have sugar for
breakfast in pastries, in jelly on our toast, on our cereal and in our coffee. It will give you a boost to shake off the sleepiness and jump-start your day. Feeling a bit sluggish in the afternoon? By all means, grab a candy bar or pilfer a few candy drops form the jar on your coworker’s desk! Grab a caramel latte at the coffee shop, or a soda on the way home. We get the sugar rush, and then the blues as our blood levels plummet. Time for more sugar! No wonder Americans are looking bloated and overweight! Even our youngest children are looking rotund and puffed. Sugar, found in natural foods like fruits, wheat and some vegetables is used by the body to convert into energy. Overload the body daily with table sugar and corn syrup and it increases belly fat - the place where our bodies store up fuel for energy later if too much is introduced at one time for our system to digest and use. The American Diabetes Association stated in January of 2011, over 25.8 million people in the U.S. had been diagnosed with some form of diabetes. That is over eight percent of the overall population. But, close to 85 million are bordering on the disease or have yet to be diagnosed. The report goes on to say that 1 in every 400 children has Diabetes. That is epidemic in proportion. So, what can we do as Americans? The obvious action is to eliminate sugar from our diets as much as possible. Easier said than done. If you have ever been on a diet, you know how much your body will crave sugar, especially the first two weeks. Deprive it of this sweet chemical and visions of sugar plums will dance in your head any time of the year. Your mind will whisper sweet somethings in your ear. “Go to the pantry. Go to the corner store. Feed me!” Well meaning friends will coax you into cheating just a bit, telling you it won’t hurt and you deserve it. Deserve it? Sugary treats are so imbedded in our culture as a special thing; even our youngest children pick up on the message. The best way to get Americans back on track and off the Diabetes and pre-Diabetes roller coaster is to change our mindsets about sugar and sweets. That may be swimming upstream against society, but the effort will be worth it for you, your kids and your friends. Here are ten things you can do to cut back on you and your family’s processed sugar intake 1. Stop drinking sodas. Drink water. Soda wrecks your teeth, and not just from the sugar. The carbonation destroys enamel. It also bloats you. 2. Don’t buy sugary snacks. Buy low-fat snacks and whole wheat with low sodium snacks. Have them in one serving portions in zip bags so you and the kids are not tempted to consume a whole box or bag. 3. Have fresh fruits and veggies readily available so people grab that, not something less wholesome. 4. Combat sugar cravings with proteins. Have string cheese, Laughing Cow wedges or a handful of unsalted nuts instead of that mid-afternoon candy bar. Your body will feel the difference and you won’t feel as hungry. 5. Teach your kids, and yourself, that, just because it is readily available, it doesn’t mean you should have it, or that you deserve it. 6. Do not console with sweets. Do not reward with sweets. Prayers, hugs, kind words, homemade things such as cards, flowers, or a good deed have the same effect. 7. Don’t substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar. You are not doing your body a favor. Sweeteners still tell the brain something sweet is coming. In fact, they are over-sweet. They fool the taste buds, and thus the mind, but then when the body tells the brain it has not received sugar it anticipated, it craves it even more. 8. Change your habits. Find out when during the day you gravitate towards sugar. If you feel you are truly addicted, know that even the smallest amount can reverse all the efforts you have made to change. Just like drugs, alcohol and tobacco, sugar can be a mighty obsession. Ask God to help you overcome it. 9. Find other ways to stave off the cravings because they will happen. Walk around, drink water, or do something with your mouth to occupy your mind such as whistling or breathing deeply - maybe praying? 10. Reserve sugary treats for special occasions, but do not make them the center of attention. Make our Lord the center instead. Image: posterize / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Bicycle Christmas By Doug Leaf
Image: Rawich / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“If you then, for all your evil, quite naturally give good things to your children, how much more likely is it that your Heavenly Father will give good things to those who ask him?” (Matthew 7:11) Scripture: J.B. Phillips.
y wife, daughter and I were on the way home from Spokane to our home in the Davis Lake area, which was about a fifty mile trip. We were almost home, when we saw a man and wife who had been bicycling along the highway. We stopped because they were in trouble. Apparently, he had crashed into her bicycle and fallen over. There were several cuts and scrapes on his arms, legs and chest. It was not serious, but he did need some assistance. We took them to their home. He offered to pay me, but I said, “No thanks”. After a prayer with them we continued on our way. As time marched on, my family’s finances were at an all time low. It was getting close to Christmas, and I was unemployed. We had just enough money to pay our current bills. With the exception of milk, butter and other basic needed items, we lived on the deer I had shot during hunting season, and the vegetables we grew in the garden. To be honest, with such a lack of money, it was a struggle to faithfully skim off the top of my net income for the tithe amount. Tithing was taught to me at the very beginning of my working life, which began shortly after my salvation experience. Yes, I did drop the ball a few times in terms of tithing, yet I did come back around to tithing again. That was many years ago So a few days before Christmas, my little girl asked me. “Dad what are we going to do about Christmas this year?” How could I tell my little girl that I could not afford presents this year! Christmas morning was just days away! We were coming home from Newport, and as we pulled into our driveway. There, on the porch, were several boxes. We looked at each other in bewilderment. What is this all about? Inside the boxes were individually wrapped Christmas gifts with the names of who they were for. The man on the bicycle gave us our Christmas that year. It was a Christmas that carried with it a special meaning. So what did I learn on that day? God has everything under control. His timing is never late, or early, but always right on time. The other thing I learned, when I see a need, if it is within my power to meet that need then do it! Do not wait for the “other fellow” but step up to the plate and do it. I had no idea when I stopped and gave assistance to this man that there would be a blessing later on down the road for me. The spiritual side is this: there are many who are hurting along life’s highway. The question is, “Do we have the time to lend a hand? I have a Heavenly Father that watches out for me. He blesses His children with gifts from above that fills the house and brings joy to the heart. Thank you Lord for that special Christmas you gave us.
LET US AWARE, AWAKE, RAISE UP AND REST AS ”…THERE REMAINETH YET VERY MUCH LAND TO BE POSSESSED.” (JOSHUA 13:1)
Dearly Beloved in Christ., Greetings. Thank you for allowing me into your kind and prayerful midst as one of HIS kingdom bearers and kingdom builders. Please, my fellow Christian laborers by your love and prayers help us in ERECTING, PROMOTING & ADVANCING His Kingdom, to save the Perishing Souls of “Primitive Hill Aboriginal Tribe People. My fellow Laborers whose names are in the "Book of life. (Phil 4...-3). “One Generation Shall Praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts (Ps 145:4)… As we are a very independent ministry, we want to work under your dynamic leadership & prayerful guidance! I am Bro.( Rev. Dr .) Johnson, a Christian Missionary-Pastor from India. I am a resigned Teacher following God’s calling and vision. The Lord God , our only Savior had privileged me to contact you after several interceding prayers and waiting… Our organization is called The True Vine Ministries ( The Primitive Hill Tribal Aboriginal People Evangelism and Soul Wining) Christian Charities Organization. We are located in a thick intensified tropical rain forest area of 5681.74 Sq K.M surrounded by 1499 villages, 33 Kinds of tribal sects, with more than a half a million Primitive Hill Tribal People living. The Almighty Lord has privileged me to be form and leader of the Tribal Evangelists Network about a 100 nos, during the 14 years of my ‘Spiritual Apprenticeship ‘. Our Mission: To serve and save the numerous perishing souls of the Primitive Hill Aboriginal Tribe people. Evangelism , salvation, pastoral care & church planting are our most primary concerns. Our Vision: ”NONE should perish and ALL should repent.” (2 Peter 3:-9 & Acts 17.:30) Our desire is to reach the unsaved with the Gospel and God’s plan of salvation. Please kindly consider us to be your partner in ALL possible ways! WE ARE PRIVILEGED TO SHARE FURTHER DETAILS WITH YOU , UPON YOUR PRAYERFUL CONSENT ONCE WE ARE IN CONTACT WITH YOU.
We are looking forward to co-laboring with you under your most precious and dynamic leadership! With Prayers and Abundant Blessings in your work, Gratefully Yours , Johnson B. Jakkala Please contact us by the following: The Primitive Hill Tribal Aboriginal People Evangelism & Soul Winning Founding President: Head Pastor (Rev.Dr.)Jakkala Johnson Bailee Opp.Forest Check post, Rampachodavaram(Post & Mandal), East Godavari District Forests , Andhra Pradesh, India (pin 533288), E-mail :Truevine899@gmail.com Land line: 91-8864-243274., Mobile: 91-94 904 800 67 Visit us at www.truevineministries-kingdombearers.org (kindly View the ‘ News letter’ at my Identical Photo in the Home for more detailed information) Or join us on LinkedIn: “+…Kingdom Builders…+” (Christian Charities NGO’s of any kind., Evangelists / Preachers/Pastors., Soul Winners., ers....Every & Any PASSION FOR HARVEST…….)http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Kingdom-Builders-Evangelists3866898?mostPopular=&gid=3866898.
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By Sarah Kuepfer Image: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
iscover your beauty. What does it mean to be beautiful both in the eyes of others and in the eyes of God? Through some study and meditation, I believe there are three ingredients to true beauty: holiness, righteousness and humility- otherwise known as purity, integrity and modesty. True beauty is discovered when one realizes their identity and value in Jesus Christ. When one is sure of their identity, and builds their life on that unshakeable foundation, one has a confidence that shines. When you know who you are, and when you see yourself as God sees you, you are truly beautiful! Every human being has value - value as a human being, a creation of God. This intrinsic value is not based on what weâ€™ve done or said, or what others think of us or assign to us. Itâ€™s just there. Just because God made you, you are valuable! Every believer has value - value as a child of God. He chose you, He saved you - obviously there is value in you, or else why would He have sacrificed so much for you? Every woman has value. We were created for a specific purpose and a specific function. We have value in our womanhood, in our femininity. The first ingredient of beauty is purity. True beauty shines pure. Emotional, verbal, physical, sexual and spiritual purity are required to have true, God-given beauty. Purity is an ingredient of beauty as it
reflects God’s holiness. We are called to be holy as God is holy. Our body and mind is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and as such, should be treated with respect. We can’t sully our bodies with abuse of drugs, laziness or over-indulgence. We can’t poison our minds with negativity and bitterness, pornography and violence, or humanistic philosophies. And we can’t defile our spirits by chasing after things of this world rather than “living in the light of eternity,” as the song says. Holiness is the ultimate purity. It is more than just cleanliness, it is sanctification. We are cleansed of “all unrighteousness” and therefore blameless before God. We are to present ourselves as living sacrifices in worship to God. How can we do that without being holy? And this is a very doable thing: If it were not, God would not require it of us. He is incapable of leading into temptation, but instead He “delivers us from evil.” He promised that there would be no temptation too strong for us to bear, and that there would always be a way out. We are called to be pure. As purity flows through our lives we shine with God’s beauty and become truly beautiful. The second ingredient of beauty is integrity. True beauty shines real. Our actions must match our beliefs and attitudes. Integrity is an ingredient of beauty as it reflects God’s righteousness. We are called to live rightly as God is righteous. Do we say we believe one thing, and then act differently? Do our mouths spout off platitudes of discipline and devotion to our friends or on our blogs, but if people were to observe our days, the majority of them is spent in front of a computer screen, ignoring the things (or people!) screaming for our attention? Our appearance must match our heart, and we need to be real! Honesty is also a major part. We need to be honest with ourselves and with others. God looks at the heart and He knows what we really believe, no matter how much we try to deny or fake it. No matter how much you try to fake it, it will show. People can sense when someone is not being truthful. You can come across as phony even if you don’t mean to, because we can be really good at lying to ourselves. If we will be honest, God can lead us to be righteous. It is a commandment not to lie, and to live a lie is a sin against God’s righteousness. Integrity and righteousness go hand in hand. The Bride of Christ will be clothed in “linen of righteousness”. Righteousness is not merely good deeds but the willingness to live rightly with God, the genuine desire to obey. Integrity is a part of someone’s character, not just their behavior. In being righteous and godly, we are genuinely seeking His kingdom, not our own whims and wants. The third ingredient of beauty is modesty. It may seem strange that true beauty is modest but it’s true. Modesty shines as Jesus shone. God is a gentleman, and true beauty requires this gentle Spirit. We are called to live humbly, meekly, with modesty. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5, KJV) Gentle spirits and modesty do not mean weak. Humility is not weakness. It takes more strength to stand firm, unresisting, fighting the urge of fight or flight, than to react to provocation. Modesty is strength, and comes from our confidence in God. Modesty is uncomplaining, gives rather than demands, serves rather than commands, and gives up the need to control others. It is self-control, not arrogance. Modesty comes from a confidence in who we are and how much we’re worth, so that we don’t need to flaunt our assets or prove our attractiveness. When one thinks of modesty, one thinks of modest dress. Modesty has more to do with attitude than appearance. Women can be covered from neck to toe and be more provocatively dressed than a woman dressed in more skin-revealing clothes with an attitude of modesty. Modest women have a confidence that has no need to flaunt or embellish. We are called to be modest as it reflects God’s love. Love has no need of boasting in itself. Love is genuine, aware of others’ opinions, but not willing to bend to peer pressure. Modesty in love leads rather than follows. Modesty is a form of humility. Modest beauty knows who really deserves of all the credit - God! Modesty gives all glory to God. After all, we did nothing to create the face, body, talents or skills with which we may be gifted. True beauty is modest, and a reflection of God’s glory. Modesty is an attitude of service, service for the sake of serving God and others and not for any reward. It is service done in secret, which God rewards. Modesty shares and is generous, not self-serving. It is a respect for others, and a respect for oneself. Beauty is found in confidence in God. When we know the value God places on us, how can we devalue ourselves? How can we declare “ugly” and “worthless” what God declared “good” and “very good”, and worth the biggest price: the sacrifice of His Own Son? To do that calls God a liar. We can be secure in His love. Believe it, young lady. God loves YOU! He loves you more than you can ever imagine. And because He loves you, you can be confident that there is nothing you need to enhance, to dress up, to prove, to give away, or to flaunt in order to demonstrate that you are beautiful, to get the attention every woman craves. God loves you because He made you. And that’s all you need to know. True beauty shines out of this confidence, reflected through purity, modest and integrity. May we all be beautiful in
Who Am I? By Aislynn Holt
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ome of the most defining points in our lives are when we look in the mirror, and we question ourselves asking, “Who am I?” For those that don’t believe in Christ this can be a difficult question to answer because reliance of self or the obsession of another’s life becomes the standard. However, those of us who accept that Christ came to earth as a perfect human being, dying, and then resurrecting we grasp that the person in the mirror must rely on the one true God. The question that is to be answered is “Who are we in Christ?” Who we are in Christ is not earned or done by our own merit; rather it is a newness of life with unity in His death and resurrection. In Romans 6:4 Paul states, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (ESV) In our acceptance of Christ, we die to self and rise to life to glorify the Father, the Creator, and the Redeemer. When we see that it is because of Him that we shine, when we see the truths that come out of 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 that we really grasp who we are in Christ. “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (ESV) It is when we aren’t in Christ that our boasts are in self and others. Living in Christ brings us these three factors: - righteousness (2 Cor 5:21- “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”), - justification (Gal 2:17-18- “But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.”), - no condemnation (Rom 8: 1- “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”) Who we are in Christ allows the blood shed of Christ to cover our transgressions so that God only sees the perfect life of Jesus in our sinful stead. We have just celebrated the birth of Jesus, and we most not forget the reason He came. His birth in a lowly manger reminds us that he came for all mankind, his life signifying the life we thrive to mimic, and his death reveals our reliance on Him, the Son. Who we are in Christ brings a new understanding that our life is because of Him, and we are only able to celebrate eternal life when we accept His blood to cover our sin. The person in the mirror with identity crisis is a person that must submit his or herself to God almighty. When our submission occurs we are chipped and plucked from our old selves to begin reflecting the Son. Our light (our lives) are only present because the Son discloses what’s in the dark, He breaks us, and He shows us the way to repentance. The beautiful thing about our lives in Christ is that He gives us direction, He shows us the way, and He loves us. In a world where the focus is on self, work, and pleasure, it is easy to become boastful. Prayer, reading scripture, and time with like-minded people is a healthy dose that our boast comes from the Lord. Who we are in Christ is simple; it is life instead of death. So the next time you look in the mirror and ask “Who am I?” remember that you are a reflection of Christ, the living God!
Warm, Cold or Lukewarm . .
Are You Truly In Love with God?
By Nina Thompson
hen we are spending time with that special someone, there is nothing that tops it. We laugh a little harder, cry more deeply and feel more at ease when we are with them. We are interested in their conversations. We want to call them on the telephone or text them when interesting things happen in our lives, or even when nothing new happens at all. When love is strong, we could spend hours talking to or talking about that person. All of our friends know about him or her; the ups and downs we have shared with that person and all of the sweet, kind things that person has done for us. We are not ashamed, bashful or afraid to declare our love to others. When we love someone, we constantly are listening for their telephone call, watching to see if we see them arriving at an appointed destination, and evaluating their place in our lives. Most importantly, when we love someone we plan the days, months and years with them, assuming that they will be in our lives forever. Why then, when we profess to love God so completely, do we not display this same level of dedication? Why do we not shout it out to everyone we meet? Why is our love for God not demonstrated through the content of our daily conversations, or what we do to others at any given time? Sometimes our love for God is the best kept secret that we have. Why donâ€™t our faces glow and our smiles widen when we speak of Him? When we speak of an earthly love we cannot stop the smiles, but we do not even take time to share with people all of the wonderful things that God has done, is doing and will do in our lives. We also come up short when it comes to expressing our love for God through spending time
with Him. That can be a real challenge for us. The average one of us who calls ourselves a “Disciple of Christ” has to work hard to allocate time for prayer and meditation. Well, that happens as we have “extra” time. It takes effort for most of us to extend our praise and worship beyond the one day per week service. Why are we so lax when it comes to purposefully getting closer to God and building a true relationship with Him especially when we throw ourselves into our other relationships wholeheartedly? While the answers can be different for each of us, the reason is less important than the sad fact that it is true. The good thing about all of this is that we have a gracious God who will guide, direct, and model for us exactly what our relationship with Him should look like. . .if we are interested. Throughout scripture, there are many instructions for building, maintaining and strengthening our relationship with God, and none of them requires a high-level degree or secret code to interpret. All that is required is a true love for God, and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of God’s Word to us during each encounter. As we allow these things to become a part of our daily lives, we will begin to purposefully express the love and gratitude that we genuinely hold toward Him, and express it in a way that He desires for us to. Let’s clarify one thing: God definitely has an expectation that you express your love to Him in a continuous and all encompassing way. Matthew 22:37-38 admonishes: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” We can discuss the second portion of that scripture during another article, but it is clear that God expects and even intends for us to demonstrate our love toward Him above all else. In Matthew 6:33 He tells us to “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” These scriptures together indicate a single-minded purpose; to love God above all else and to seek God first and foremost. To accomplish either of these goals, we have to practice and purpose to complete the following tasks on a consistent basis: 1. Pursue God and Desire Knowledge and Wisdom of Him. As we make our desire to know God known to Him, and we make an effort to learn more about Him, God will begin to open up opportunities for us to know Him better. People will refer us to books, our names will be added to websites that provide information, and most importantly, as we read the Bible, God will give us new insights and information about Himself. He promises in His Word that He will guide us, direct us and teach us, if we will make time for study. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.” (Ephesians 1:17) “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11) “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8) “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8) 2. Practice a life of servitude and be responsible to God and other. God says in His Word that each of us was placed here for a purpose. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Since that is true, we should spend a good amount of our time practicing a life of servitude, focused on giving our lives to God in whatever capacity He requests. We are required to minister to one another (1 Peter 4:10), preach the Gospel to others (Mark 16:15) and spend a majority of our time doing God’s work (1 Corinthians 15:58).
3. Spend time in prayer and meditation. Just as we do in other relationships, we must spend time with people to get to know them. While God is not a earthly human being, the same principle applies; the more time that we spend with Him, the better we will know Him. If you are not sure what to pray about, ask the Holy Spirit and He will lead and guide you. Prayer is our most important communication tool with God. It is where we make our petitions known, repent of our sins, and serve as intercessors for others in need of prayer. It is so important that in scripture, God commands us to do it consistently and often. “Pray without Ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:13) 4. Above all, be obedient to the Word and to all God asks you to do while you are praying and meditating. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) “If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.” (Job 36:11) “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26)
A New Creation! By Helen Murray
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oday, as distinct from the days before I asked the Spirit of Truth to inhabit my human framework, I am a new creation - by which I mean quite unrecognizable! As a woman I am known and honored, like Ruth, for my pure heart and good work, rather than my exotic, over-exposed exterior. As a man I am, like Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Jesus, and many others, fearless in the face of any other man alive, in defense of Truth and Justice. As a Child of God I am part of a supernatural family, in receipt of the knowledge of what God my Father is about to do, because He lets us know through His prophets. As a member of this supernatural family I am gifted above the ‘average’ man, with such gifts as words of knowledge, spiritual language, prophecy, healing, wisdom, deep understanding, teaching, and the ability to love my neighbor passionately and sacrificially. I am also able to forgive people for even the most horrendous crimes against me because they don’t understand the reality of them, and because my love for them is far and more important than the grudge. I am intensely sensitive to every situation, and to the needs of my brothers and sisters in (or out of) Christ. If I have lacked any good thing, I am able to enjoy it thoroughly by giving it away (doing unto others what I would like them to do to me). Thus my very lack becomes my strength and wealth, because the needed gift, and the joy of giving, is multiplied in me. This child of God is one effective part of the huge organism called the Kingdom of God - if I am a healthy part, I produce health in the organism, and if I am dysfunctional it also affects the rest of the organism, so I have huge responsibilities to it, for I have been given much, and much will be required of me. The gifts and abilities with which I have been invested from conception (natural gifts such as
music, mathematics, art, etc) and as part of the insignia of my Father, (when I received His Holy Spirit, i.e. spiritual language, healing, prophecy, words of knowledge, wisdom, teaching), are not entirely for my comfort alone, but for the benefit of the Family of God as a whole, and my duties to that organism are great. I am accountable to my Father in Heaven for my use of them. This task is not onerous, as I am ecstatically and totally in love with Jesus, who is Lord of my Life, and with whom I want and need to be intimate at all times, so, as lovers do, I pay great attention to everything that can truly tell me of Him - to the Bible first and foremost, to the teachers whose messages ring true with me (I have always to test them by the Spirit of Truth God has placed within me), and to the prophets who are recognized as able to instruct us about what God our Father has to tell us. The beloved Spirit of Truth is well able to guide me through all of this. I am disciplined, because being part of this organism is like being a soldier in an army with a job to do. I fast regularly as a sacrifice to add power to my prayers, and in order to have my body obey me, rather than being manipulated by its cravings. I read the scriptures systematically, as they are the manual for my life which I need to understand more completely every day. They stimulate and inspire, but much more than that, they constantly reveal facets of the Kingdom of Heaven to me, and my part in it. Thus I am constantly freshly charged for life’s journey. When I look at another human being I see the form of Christ Himself, and treasure that person as though he were indeed the Christ. There is only one thing I can take with me to the gates of Heaven when my flesh gives out, and that is people. So people are my passion as I seek them out for eternity. Like my Father in Heaven I am open and passionate about every part of my life, with nothing to hide, because even my sins need to be brought to light. As Jesus hung, uncovered, on a cross, to be judged (accepted or rejected) by every one of humankind, so my life is presented, uncovered, able to be clearly seen and known by those around me, that they might see Jesus, and what He has done with me. I have all the abundance of Heaven, and can ask for anything I need in order to further its advance on earth, and I know (I just don’t believe. I KNOW!) that my Father hears my prayers, because I have seen the miraculous things He has done in response to them. I live in the miraculous. At times I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but without fear, knowing that: Father is present with me, that I am stabilized by God’s Word (your rod and staff comfort me), that there is a table of wonderful revelation (spiritual food) prepared for me that my opponents (the cynics and scoffers) can neither imagine nor comprehend, in the anointing of the Spirit of Truth, in more joy than I can possibly express in one lifetime, surrounded entirely by the absolute security of goodness and mercy, because my real habitation is in Heaven for a lot more than a human lifetime, in fact it is quite outside of time-frames. I am an ambassador on earth for my Father’s Kingdom and law which is permanent, so I embrace only that which is just, pure, lovely, virtuous and worthy of adulation and recognition. This is so that whatever is in my heart - which controls my tongue - is worthy of speech, or influence on others. If I am mocked for this, as was Jesus my Lord, then I am blessed for my faithfulness in the eternal realm where all my permanent treasure is kept. My love for my Lord is such that, like Him, I consider myself a servant to His Majesty, and on His terms. But I know in my heart that He turns everything to advantage for me, for He loves me way beyond what I can conceive or imagine - until I will, one glorious day, know Him face to face, in the same way He now knows me. I cannot imagine any more wonderful moment than that!
I Am By Helen Murray
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was raised up from the earth in the depths of earth (my mother’s womb), and will return to that place with nothing that I have done or made to take with me, although I will leave a legacy on this earth. Perhaps it will be a useful legacy if I have set my mind to that. Perhaps it will be a devastating legacy if I have not done well here, or had too much going against me. As a man I am much like the animals, with a particular ability in terms of my brain, speech, creativity, use of fingers, as compared to animals with other abilities like smell, sonar, speed, gills, flight, etc. Like them I will return to the earth when my time is up, but unlike them I am answerable to God for my interactions, because the evidence of creation is everywhere around me and I have eternity in my mind. As a creature of earth I will fill in my time creating a magnificent comfort zone for my needs, entertainments and ambitions, and measure my success in these terms. I may even learn some philanthropic behavior if I am religiously motivated. I will endeavor to enhance my place in the harsh, human pecking order and preen my ‘feathers’ accordingly. I shall, initially maintain some degree of ethical behavior - maybe - but the more power I achieve, the less the ethics will relate to my purpose. I will accumulate that specifically human invention called money, and in order to increase my options (gain power), relegate other past-times and people to the remote control! In fact the more control I can achieve, the better lifestyle I can secure. To a major degree my wealth will separate me from less effective citizens who will be relegated to a servile status of employees, minions, servants, or slaves if possible. I will measure my success by the number of options I have acquired, for which purpose I will use whatever, or whomsoever, is available. I will project my children into the future with the best possible platform from which to manipulate life, and be utterly proud of my legacy. ALL THAT IS IF I DON’T KNOW JESUS If, however, things do not fall nicely into place with my pleasantly plotted plans, and indeed my control of the situation becomes abysmal and impossible, I shall have to look elsewhere for answers. I shall try many avenues, and may eventually decide I had better look at this Christianity thing, because I can see there that people love one another, and that gives me some hope for the future. I am told I need to turn to Jesus, invite Him into the heart of my life, and hand over the reins to Him. Well that involves a great deal
of trust, and if there is anything I have learned, it is that trust is nowhere to be found. This is one last chance, so I must take the risk. I invite Him in, and discover that He is responsive - the biggest shock of my life yet - but a wonderful one! So what has changed? I study the word and believe what I read. I ask the Spirit of Truth to instruct me, and find I have a conscience, a gut feeling, a certainty about goodness, and what I need to do in any situation. I engage with a situation in which I have no control and let Him manage it - and begin to see the miracles of everyday life as I give thanks for each one, and learn to appreciate the millions of ways in which God is responsive to me - has prepared a way for me, and has a new future for me. This is incredible - except that I am in the middle of it. I never knew this life existed! There is a new perspective on everything as I see it from an eternal point of view. It blows my mind. My newly grateful responses to God open up myriads of horizons. I see that my previous self-centrality is a total waste of my time and energy. I gain exposure to the purpose of Creation - a family for God, Himself, and see myself in this family, with a job to do. My greatest need is to become like my new Father, and do what I see Him doing. I have acquired a multimillion family of brothers and sisters in the process, and we have amazingly like minds, filled with love for one another, and caring astuteness about the ways of the world. Like our Father, our longing is that others be also set free by the truth, for freedom is in the perception of truth, not in doing whatever I want to do. I am beloved, and no-one can take this from me, even though they take my possessions and my very life. I am certain of eternity, and death has no more fear for me, for I am free even of that fear. I AM FREE I am free of the fear of what other people think, or the way they measure me. I am free of measuring myself by the amount of control I have over life, or the amount of money I have access to. I am free to spend myself on love - for my fellow man and the gifts and talents I can use for his benefit. I am free of the fear of death, or the parting of a brother, for this current life is only a springboard into eternity. I am free of ignorance, because my Father in Heaven shows me anything I need to know. I am free of manipulation in its multitudinous forms - and of manipulating! I am free to speak truth, whether it is popular or otherwise. What I have desired for myself (even if I never attained it) I freely give to others and receive abundance of joy in the process. Money is useful to me but has NO power over me. I am free to experience the power of the Kingdom of Heaven right here on the earth, and see her miracles. I am free of guilt, because if I get something wrong I can go directly to my Father in Heaven, and get instructions for putting it right together with total forgiveness through the BLOOD of Jesus. I walk here on the earth, but my home is in another untouchable place, and I see its glory constantly. I make investments there, rather than here on earth. They are sound investments and will never fail me. I have wonderful gifts to explore and invest in other people - spiritual tongues, healing, prophecy, words of wisdom and knowledge, teaching, and above all the ability to love as I have been loved by my Father in Heaven. I am free of worry, because when I have done everything I know how, I stand before my Father, and He takes over. I AM FREE OF LIES and HALF TRUTHS whose only function is to manipulate! I have an indestructible, double-edged weapon more powerful that any known on earth - scripture and truth. I can practice with this weapon constantly and become utterly strong. My thankful heart can get me through every crisis. I have the peace of fulfillment settled implacably in my breast, and rest for my spirit. I have the power of forgiveness, so my heart does not become bitter. I have focus and personal purpose - to help build the Kingdom of Heaven. I am never alone, for my Heavenly Father will never leave me nor forsake me, not even for a moment. I am intimately known, and my needs met, while I learn increasing intimacy with my Father in Heaven. I can release passion, as I have a passionate Father. I can learn holiness, because in holiness all these things become complete. My faith moves mountains. My anger persistently achieves goals in the areas of Justice and Compassion with Truth, as does my Fatherâ€™s. All this freedom has just one purpose I AM FREE TO LOVE!
The Lord’s Work is Where You Find It! By Richard Baker
October in Kabul is the start of the winter season and the end of the fighting season. Winters are too harsh in northern Afghanistan, so all the fighters go home to their families. I arrived in Kabul October 5th. It was getting cold, and the snow could be seen in the mountains. It wouldn’t be long before the snow would hit the valley. Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan where my FOB (forward operating Base) is located, is in the mountains in the northeastern part of the country with an elevation of about 5,000 feet. After a week of briefings, I ran my first mission into the country side on October 13th. We left the FOB in our armored vehicles on our way from Kabul to Bagram air field. It’s about an hour drive each way with the beginning of the trip winding through the streets of downtown Kabul. When we go on a mission, we take an interpreter to breach the language barrier between us, and the local police and military. The morning was cold. and the water that settles in the streets and sidewalks had a thin layer of ice from the night before. As we passed through the merchant area of town through the poor residential area, I saw the children on the side of the road. Some were begging for food, other were picking through the garbage that is dumped there the night before. Then I noticed their shoes - at least the ones that had shoes. The best pair of shoes I saw on the twenty-five or so children were flips flops, or shower shoes. During the next two weeks over several missions, I noticed the same thing, many children in the snow and ice in bare feet and shower shoes. That night I sat in my hooch and started to pray. I didn’t pray for the children, or for guidance. Perhaps it wasn’t even a prayer; it was more like a heart to heart talk with God. The sort of talk a son would have with his father when troubled. The next morning I woke up with an idea. “Why I didn’t think of that?” I thought. It was so simple. When I’m at home, I attend the Mount Tabor Presbyterian Church, in northwestern Pennsylvania. The church is involved in mission work wherever we are needed. I e-mailed Pastor Boyd Edmondson and told him of my experiences and the need here. He agreed and said he would speak to the church council. After a few impatient days, I received an e-mail from Pastor Boyd that the church counsel along with our sister church, Marienville Presbyterian Church, agreeing that they would collect as many children’s shoes as possible. Within 30 days I received several boxes containing 200 pairs of brand new children’s shoes. I was delighted. During the waiting month, I had become friends with two of our interpreters, Fareed and Ashrof. I approached Fareed and Ashrof, and told them about the shoes. Together, we devised a plan to distribute the shoes to the children. Over the next few weeks we visited several refugee camps and Parsha Orphanage outside Kabul. I had also collected a large stash of candy and toys from the FOB residence that was also distributed with the shoes. To me, this is another example of God using his faithful to turn a horrible situation into one that could be used for his glory.
You Can Look Back. . .
But Don’t Stare! By Shari Lynne have had to do a lot of healing in the past 27 years. If there is one thing that I have learned, pain
be good. It can be a good motivator to moving forward. Whether it’s the pain of where your I can own choices have gotten you today. Or the pain of what has been done to you and the scars you
live with because of them today. We all come to many crossroads in our lives. We can choose to move forward or we can choose to stay stuck. For me, I was desperate to do whatever it took to change. I have chosen to move forward. I have had the opportunity to seek healing many times...the prompter...pain. Inevitably we are all going to have to make the choice - live in the pain from the past forever or live in the pain of healing for temporary. I am a big baby. I hate pain. I have felt stuck when I get into emotional pain, as if it will last forever! But of course it doesn’t. Try to tell me that when I’m in it. From abuse issues from childhood, to my own bad choices from addiction, I decided long ago that I would do everything in my power to be the best that God created me to be. So I began to look back. OUCH!! I had many, many tears and emotions. Just as I had worked through one set of issues, up would pop another set of issues! Will this ever end, I would think. It took many years to work through a lot of these issues. But be encouraged because as many tears that were shed, there was greater laughter and joy that came from the freedom of healing! I know how painful recovery can be. No matter what kind you are going through, but hang in there. Let God, by the power of His Holy Spirit do the work that you cannot. He is faithful! Here are just a few helpful things that I have done along my journey: “ Accept yourself in the journey (God Does!) You don’t have to be perfect “ Don’t compare yourself to other women “ If you are in recovery from an addiction go to a support group “ It’s OK to have pain as long as you are moving forward! “ Join a Women’s Bible Study “ Invite someone to be a part of your journey (someone healthy); don’t try to do this alone. “ Don’t get stuck. Look, Process, Grieve and move Forward Joy is waiting for you around the corner if you will only do the hard work. If I can do it, so can you! Use your pain as a motivator to move forward and remember...You can look back BUT don’t stare!
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Conveying Christian Values Through Realistic Contemporary Fiction By Steve Chicoine
Image: winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
he best way to reach youth of any age is through stories. We begin with board books and quickly evolve to bedtime stories and picture books. And then one day, we discover our children are reading chapter books on their own. In a blink of time, they are reading young adult books. The categorization of a book as â€œyoung adultâ€? no longer suggests anything about the age-appropriateness of the material. Sex and violence in books (and movies) equates to money. That formula seems to have deepened in too many instances in recent years into darkness and depravity that once was unimaginable in mainstream print. Books shape minds and impact lives. Young adults are very impressionable and at a critical stage in life. So no books impact lives like young adult fiction. The culture war is for the hearts and minds of our children. It is one thing for our teens to have a realistic perspective on the world about them. It is quite another for them to delve into what exactly could happen in a dark disaster scenario. It is not necessary for that to be in their minds. Any suggestion as to limiting the darkness and depravity in young adult fiction is met with cries of censorship and the extolling of the sacredness of The First Amendment - never mind the sacredness of Godâ€™s truth. Too many in the book business are simply trying to sell books while those of us in families and community are trying to protect our children and raise them up into responsible, moral adults. Bob Briner insisted in his classic book Roaring Lambs that the best way to combat the darkness is not to protest, but instead to offer better quality stories than the dark side delivers. This is the mission of writers who are Christian. Nonbelievers rarely read books from Christian publishers. And secular publishers will not allow any writer to overtly extol the virtues of our faith in Jesus. Nor will most young adult readers accept that approach. They read for the entertainment value. So the key is to convey Christian worldview through compelling characters in mainstream novels. That is what C.S. Lewis meant when he said that we did not need more Christian writers but rather more writers who are Christians. There is a seemingly insatiable demand from young adult readers for fantasy. However, there is an inherent conflict in using fantasy to convey the good news of
the gospel. Another subgenre of considerable interest to young adult readers is realistic contemporary fiction. There are those who believe that contemporary realistic fiction should convey the darkest of situations in the most realistic way; i.e., by reveling in the details. That preoccupation is inappropriate and unacceptable. Good writing brings stories vividly to life and immerses the reader in the total experience. However politically incorrect they may consider us, we have the right to shield our youth from some things, regardless of whether they take place in real life. Young adults can be aware of reality without being plunged into the depths of the darkness of hyper-violence and depravity. We can help shape the powerful emotion of empathy without inducing shock. We cannot deny the existence of darkness in our world. The purpose of the darkness in fiction is only to provide a setting in which to reveal the truth and the light. The underlying message is the purpose of the novel. My recent novel, “BUZZ”, is realistic contemporary fiction that deals with bullying, systemic racism and poverty. The story opens with gangs, drugs and street violence. Matt makes a bad decision on the streets of Chicago that puts him in serious danger. The family has already suffered one tragedy through the death of Matt’s older brother. In desperation, the mother sends Matt to her sister in rural Texas for the summer. He struggles to find his place there while dealing with local bullies, who will not leave him alone. He finds romance with Maria, a Latina whose brothers do not trust anyone Anglo and present their own set of problems for Matt. There is intensity in every twist and turn of the story. Buzz, an old beekeeper, befriends Matt and introduces him to life in the rugged brush country. He teaches him about beekeeping and over time reveals his faith journey. Matt also discovers the importance of faith to Maria and her family. The summer transforms Matt. A top literary agency represented BUZZ for a time. The agent was most enthusiastic. We went through two rounds of final revisions. The day came when the agent told me that he could not come to grips with “the spirituality” in the story and was frustrated that I continued to refuse to remove that aspect from the story. We parted ways over the issue. That was precisely why I wrote the book. Interestingly enough, three book reviews to-date did not at all refer to the faith element of BUZZ, but liked the characters and the story. Our contemporary culture places great importance on materialism. There is such emphasis on external looks and in making great effort to look and act young. It is no surprise then that overall respect for elders has diminished with each passing decade. I introduced the aunt and the old beekeeper into BUZZ at great risk. Teens are not inclined to want adults in the books they read. Dreamland: A Teenage Fantasy is a book blog out of Malaysia. She normally reads and reviews fantasy. Her review of BUZZ included the following: “Buzz is a walking philosopher, a life changer, an angel sent in a form of a beekeeper. Okay, I am exaggerating. Truth be told, I rarely feel close to a character whose age is beyond 40, but I liked Buzz a lot and I always looked forward to what he had to say.” What drew the Malaysian reviewer into the story was Matt’s dilemma and what hooked her was the evolving relationship between Matt and Maria. However, her takeaways were from the Christian worldview, which the old beekeeper shared from his heart with Matt. Writer’s mission accomplished. The same people, who castigate those of us who speak out about too much darkness in teen books, also insist that it is inappropriate for us to weave Christian faith into a story. There can be no more important objective than to share the truth and the joy of life with our youth and to establish a moral standard for our people and for our nation. We want to present a realistic world and teach compassion for the suffering. We are concerned that the approached of certain books somehow, regardless of the good intentions of the authors, may normalize depravity and possibly make such matters more plausible by their seeming commonplace. We wish to convey a sense of hope, not of utter hopelessness. A Chinese couple we know suggested that BUZZ be translated into Chinese and sold as an e-book in China. Interestingly enough, they are nonbelievers. It seems some of our discussions may have planted a seed. I located a reasonably priced translator in Europe and BUZZ is now posted on the Indigo Tree Publishing website in Chinese as an e-book (and, thus, available throughout Asia). The story offers Asians a look at the real America, rather than the one populated by vampires, zombies or desperate housewives. And, of course, there is an underlying Christian worldview to be imbibed by anyone willing to journey to rural America through BUZZ. The hope is that BUZZ will transform readers, as they experience firsthand the transformation of Matt in the story - which, of course, is why I wrote BUZZ. We are the vehicles. God always qualifies those whom He calls. We must listen for His call and respond. Now is the time for the Kingdom of God. Image: anat_tikker / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How To Cultivate A Healthy Relationship With Your Teenagers By Elaina Davis
s I think back to the time when I was a teenager, one thing is certain - it was very important to me, at that age, that my parents be proud of me. I can remember feeling happy and excited hurrying home with a report card displaying how well I had performed in school over the past marking period. I was especially excited since the high school work load was greater and the subject matter more complex. I can also recall walking home with my head hung low dreading the disappointment that would surely adorn my parents’ faces when my report card reflected my grades having somehow slipped below my coveted A-B average. Like most other teenagers, I wanted to be popular but more importantly I wanted my parents to be proud of the person I was growing up to be. When my parents seemed pleased with me I felt important and like I was contributing to the grand scheme of life in the way that was expected of me. It gave me an edge and a much-needed confidence about myself. To the contrary, if my parents ever showed even the slightest hint of disappointment in me, or in any action I had taken, my teenaged mind interpreted their less-than-satisfied attitude as meaning that I somehow wasn’t good enough, that they weren’t on my side and that they definitely weren’t proud of me. This in turn gave me the added pressure of always trying to over perform to gain my parents’ approval and also to try to out perform my siblings to compensate for my inner feelings of inadequacy. As parents, to teenage children it is common to sometimes feel out of touch
would take a moment and think back to how we felt as teenagers and how important our parents’ approval was to us at that time in our lives, we would better understand what our kids need from us at this controversial age. Granted, our teenagers are a part of the revolutionary information age but they are still simply teenagers as we once were, and even more like us than we may believe. Ecclesiastes 1:9 expresses this point perfectly: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Regardless of the era when one is born, the teenage years will offer certain commonalities across life’s spectrum. Teenagers tend to model the behaviors and beliefs of the people to whom they feel closest and with whom they spend the most quality time. As parents, we want those people to be us, of course. To increase this possibility, parents must remember that children of any age, including teens, feel closest to those who validate their need to be accepted as they are and who also affirm their importance. This is the level at which crucial bonds are made between teens and others. It is critical that parents embrace and encourage individuality in their teens. We must show them that we approve of them just as they are while encouraging them to expand their horizons. When we do this, our teens will be less reluctant to come to us for advice on important matters they face and a lot of their thinking processes and behavioral patterns will be based on what they feel would please us. Truly, the lessons and values our children learn from us early on will help them in their decisionmaking when we are not around. As parents, we sometimes don’t believe that our children really listen to us or that they value anything we try so hard to instill in them. But the Bible declares differently in Proverbs 22:6 which states, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Though a teenager may appear at times to be swaying to the left or to the right, the training that he got from his parents will be in the back of his mind, leading him back to what he was taught is right. Therefore, as parents we dare not shy away from the responsibility of guiding our young people through their seemingly impossible teenage years. We, in fact, must become all the more engaged in their personal and social development, remembering that our teenagers will most probably mirror what we do over what we say. With that said, it is understood that we as parents and teachers must lead by example. We must be our teenagers’ role models, ever-present and shining
our bright light of experience on their paths to becoming productive members of society, which is the ultimate goal. Let’s explore 3 key components of the parentteen relationship to better understand how it all comes together and how to continuously cultivate it. The first component I want to touch on is our teenagers’ need for our own transparency. Webster’s Basic Dictionary defines the word transparency as: letting light pass through without distortion; something that can be seen through distinctly; obvious. Even more light is shed on this point in 1 Corinthians 13:12 which reads, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. “ I cannot express enough how important it is that our children be able to see how much they really do have in common with us. Sometimes as parents we don’t allow our children to see who we really are. We tend to try and hide our flaws and past mistakes in attempts to make our children believe that we have it all together and that we know exactly how things ought to be. We do our young people a terrible disservice when we take this position. In most cases it makes them unable to or not even want to try and identify with us. Instead of hiding behind a facade of perfection, we need them to know us in our humanity and also in our fallibility. It would help our young people to unload the baggage of trying to be perfect along with all of the hurt feelings and bruised egos caused by not being able to accomplish so great a feat. Just as importantly, it would rid them of the need to try and please everyone, a need which has often lands many young people in some form of trouble. They need to see that we too are capable of and many times do make mistakes. This is doubly crucial in helping to bridge gaps between parents and teens as teenagers, like most people, prefer to keep company with others whom they consider to be “like” them. The same is reflected in 1 John 3:2 which says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Even as adults trying to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and being told that we are made in His likeness and in His image, it surely would help a lot to know what exactly that likeness and image even is. How much more would it help our young people, who are most impressionable in their teenage years, to know exactly who and how we, their
supposed role models, truly are. The second component I will mention in relation to forging the path of a more meaningful and valued relationship between parents and teenagers is that of agreement. Amos 3:3 asks a pertinent question which can determine majorly the quality of any relationship including that between parents and teens. It simply asks, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” The New Living Translation of the Bible reads more plainly, “Can two walk together without agreeing on the direction?” God’s Word Translation of the Bible says, “Do two people ever walk together without meeting first?” Although the relationship between parents and their teenagers is looked upon as controversial at best, in order to strike a balance between the two there must be found a neutral place or some common ground on which to build a premise to negotiate a working relationship. Each side must be willing to agree upon certain boundaries and guidelines for the betterment of the teenager and also a set of goals with rewards. Let’s look at the definition of the word agreement. The website Dictionary.com defines the word agreement as such: the act of agreeing or coming to a mutual arrangement, the state of being in accord, an arrangement that is accepted by all parties to a transaction, unanimity of opinion, harmony in feeling. Of this somewhat exhaustive definition, I find the use of the word unanimity to be profound yet on par with the point. The definition of the word unanimity is: having the agreement and consent of all; agreed upon without the opposition or contradiction of any. This is exactly the type of bond that we as parents must endeavor to create between ourselves and our young people if we have any hope of influencing them in a direct and calculated way. This brings me to the third and final component I wish to suggest for the cultivation of a relationship between parents and teenagers and this is that they must have confidence in us, namely trust. It is said, “No one cares what you know until he first knows that you care.” This statement is all the more true of teenagers. It is a sad but true fact that a teenager will take the advice of a stranger whom he senses is sincere over that of his own parent whom he doesn’t feel particularly cares about him. The way that we as parents can build our teenagers’ trust that we care about them and have their best interest at heart is to simply show them. We must seize every opportunity to praise them for a job well-done and to point out their noticeable strengths. Find small but meaningful ways to reward them often for staying within the boundaries you together have agreed upon. Encourage them and let them know how proud you are of them. Take interest in them and lend your assistance in accomplishing their goals. All of these things and
others specific to each situation will help to build a strong bond and mutual appreciation between parents and teenagers. All Biblical Scripture was from the King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.
Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Entertainment Review By Pauline Creeden
Each of these movies can be found on DVD or Blu-ray at online stores such as Amazon or rented via services such as iTunes or Netflix. END OF THE SPEAR - Rated PG-13 - In the 1950’s, Life Magazine had a photo spread and article about missionaries who had died to bring the word to the most deadly indigenous tribe on the Amazon River Basin of Ecuador. This movie is a fictionalized version of the documentary “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” produced by Steve Saint. It is a moving rendition of missionary life. Because of the indigenous nudity and intense violence necessary to the storyline, I would recommend this movie for young adult/adult viewers only. Overall, for FAITH FILLED FAMILY, I’d give this movie a B+. SEVEN DAYS IN UTOPIA - Rated G - Adapted for film from the book “Golf’s Sacred Journey,” this movie follows two weeks in the life of young pro golfer Luke Chisolm as he learns that there is more to life than winning. The big budget feel of the cinematography and stellar cast (Robert Duvall and Lucas Black) make it a fun movie-going experience. There are very brief scenes of minor violence that are necessary to show the character’s journey from anger and loss to redemption and trust. And though Jesus’ name is absent from the movie, the life-changing experience that comes from being born-again is present. This movie is safe for all audiences, and for FAITH FILLED FAMILY, I’d give it an A. FLYWHEEL - Unrated - Sherwood Pictures, the makers of “Facing the Giants” and “Courageous,” released their first film as a special director’s cut on DVD. The low-budget and sometimes home-movie feel of this movie hardly detracts from the generous storyline and original plot. It sheds a modern light on the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19) as a used car salesman returns the money he overcharged. This movie is also safe for all audiences, and for FAITH FILLED FAIMILY, I’d give it a B. For your Mp3 Player Look for Laura Story’s album “Great God Who Saves” - the upbeat, soulful voice of Laura Story will lend a new light for songs we know, like Mighty to Save and Indescribable while adding a contemporary country music feel to new praise-worthy music rounding out the ten songs available on this album. For FAITH FILLED FAMILY, I’d give this album a B.
“Hello, My son.” “Whoa, are You really God the Father?” “I am!” (a long pause) Don staggers back from the phone. “Are you still there?” “Yes, but I am a little - a lot, shaken.” “Most find it hard to believe that I am this approachable. You can thank My Son for that. He opened the door to Heaven by His death upon the cross*. The Holy place is now open to all.” “You can’t see me, but I am pinching myself right now.” “No, I see that you are.” “I forgot, You see all.” “What is on your heart right now?” “Before I say another word, I am taking my shoes off in Your company.” “I am greatly moved by your reverence.” “Next, I want to say how much I truly love You. “You’ve always been there for me. I have story after countless story of prayers You have answered.” “Yes, I know. How is your writing coming?” “You must be aware that I sold a few stories already.” “And how are the rest of the stories coming?” “I am a slow typist, as You must also know, but at least I am diligent and keep pressing on.”
Phone Call to Heaven, Dial 000 Chapter Three: To Hear God’s Voice By Donald Ford
“Did you want help getting your stories out there?” “I just need a few more doors to open when I send them.” “Are you as diligent to pray before sending a story piece?” “You know what, I was at first, now I am just sending them out.” “Pray first. Then We will see what We can do for them on this end.” “I am so glad I called You!” “I am even more thrilled that you did. Not many call. I thought given the state of the economy, and the poor condition that the world has found itself in, that many more would be calling by now. “The phone should be ringing off the hook. Not many took Me to heart when I said in Jeremiah 33:3**, ‘Call unto Me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.’ This offer still goes and is an eternal one.” “Don’t worry. Oops, I know You don’t. I just want to say it has been such a pleasure just to hear Your wonderful voice. I hope many more will call and take the time to get to know You. It’s great to talk face to face, but there’s just something about a phone call that’s just as enjoyable and special.” “Don’t ever lose sight of your pen and paper. You have much more work to do. Have a blessed day. Thank you again for calling me.” Still feeling a bit numb and shaken, Don hangs up the phone after saying good-bye. Author Notes In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God is found walking in the garden with Adam. He still wants to walk and talk with His creation today. *This reference is to Jesus dying for the sins of all mankind upon the cruel cross of Calvary. He said: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” So they nailed His feet and hands to a wooden cross and lifted Him high above the earth. There He paid the price for all the souls of His creation and He was laid in a tomb. Then He rose from the dead after three days.
The Midwife Option:
Choosing Individualized Care in Tune with Your Needs By Chris Zweifel
ithout a doubt, every birth is a miracle from the LORD, but especially after my first five birthing experiences, I felt the Spirit prompting me to seek a caregiver that would combine science with heart. Each woman’s pregnancy and childbirth is wonderfully unique, and I have been blessed to experience six beautiful natural childbirths. Thankfully, when it was time to bring my last child into the world, the Holy Spirit led me to midwives, sensitive care providers who brought so much more than medical knowledge to this joyous life process. Like most do, I began with current standard medical management and routines attributed to our culture. Babies One, Two and Three arrived rather quickly - so quickly, in fact, that my obstetrician advised me to allow him to medically induce labor when it came to Baby Four. I accepted the idea with reluctance, afraid to challenge the unexpected proposal. This didn’t seem “normal.” It sounded more like medical over-treatment. I remember the embarrassment when my birth plan was actually tossed to the side! I felt that my voice had no power, which translated into thoughts that I had no right to make maternal decisions. The mental outcome was anxiety and general uneasiness about the situation. My father’s words kept ringing in my head, “When the apple’s ripe, it’ll fall from the tree.” Despite a longer and more painful labor than my previous un-induced ones, the LORD helped me through and I was ecstatic to hold the gift of another child. Baby Five: Once again, I didn’t feel in sync with the obstetricians in my group. When the pressure to induce was thrust upon me this time, I sincerely tried to assert myself. The persuasion tactic was outright bullying and sadly, I succumbed to the intimidation. The doctor wanted me to believe that my next childbirth was going to be very dangerous without technological intervention. To say that I was not treated with respect would be putting it mildly. I drove home belittled to tearfully mark my calendar with the date and time of the arbitrary induction. Once more, after a birth much like the preceding one, my husband and I were gifted with another precious child. “Bonus” Baby Six: Additional blessing calls for exceptional measures! By now, my spiritual maturity gave me the strength to explore thoroughly what the Spirit of God was drawing me to. Using the power of discernment, I sought caregivers that gently nurtured me and valued the importance of love and kindness, without having to sacrifice efficient, competent care. Of course, this decision did not come without skepticism from others. The common and often unspoken reaction was that opting for a midwife
was foolish and risky. Even close family perceived them to be archaic. Illusions of primitive settings kept many from supporting our choice. Indeed, midwifery is an ancient art, yet it is also a contemporary profession. The term midwife is derived from Old English and literally means, “with woman.” After careful research, I gladly recognized the midwives model of care which has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section, as the optimal kind of care for childbirth. And so, God’s assurance of our child’s safety prevailed despite the lack of understanding from others. The midwife who attended this birth was a highly trained health-care professional who was equally thoughtful and loving. The atmosphere was calm, positive and prayerful. The result was a tremendously satisfying, gentle, natural and safe childbirth. Midwives in the Bible A look into the Old Testament reveals that midwifery is among the highest callings. Smart, caring women who came before us have been recorded in God’s Holy Word. When “[Rachel] was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have another son.” (Genesis 35:17 NIV1984, italics added). Knowing that birth order was of great importance, when it came time for Tamar to give birth to Judah’s twin boys, the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on the wrist of the one who put out his hand and then drew back. (See Genesis 38:27-30.) The most familiar account is of the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah. The fact that they were mentioned by name is very special recognition. Because they did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do, “… God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty. And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them” (Exodus 1:20-21NJK). If you get the chance, ask a midwife about their work. They will tell you it is not an average job, but a vocation. Midwives in the U.S. “No other country is blessed with midwifery education like the U.S.,” says Jan Tritten, Founder of Midwifery Today. There are two main categories of midwives in the U.S., nurse-midwives, who are disciplined in both nursing and midwifery, and direct entry midwives, who trained as midwives without being nurses first. A Nurse-Midwife (NM) cares for healthy women throughout their childbearing experiences and to provide well woman gynecologic services. An NM provides care during pregnancy, labor and birth, and the postpartum period, including the immediate care of the newborn. An NM also provides the entire spectrum of gynecologic care to women, from annual Pap smears and breast exams, to family planning counseling, preconception care, and menopause management. A DirectEntry Midwife (including Licensed Midwives) may or may not have a college degree; they may or may not be certified by a state or national organization. A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is not required to be a nurse, but they have met specific rigorous requirements for certification. Consumers looking for a midwife should ask questions to determine if a prospective caregiver will be able to provide the kind of care they seek. Ultimately, midwives work with each woman and her family to identify their unique physical, social and emotional needs. When the care required is outside the midwife’s scope of practice or expertise, the woman is referred to other health care providers for additional consultation or care. “Birth is primal and ideally, mostly hands-off with careful watching,’ says Tritten. “I imagine a time when more and more pregnant women will demand midwives for their care.” The decision in maternity care certainly should be focused on promoting the overall health and well-being of mother and baby. Okay, so it took me several tries to learn this. Know who you are in Christ, be empowered, and do not permit your decision to be influenced or determined by the usual high-tech practices or even worse, fear. If you are expecting your first child or your (fill in the blank), my desire for you is: a godly lifestyle, an appropriate diet, good prenatal care, and trust in the Divine. To learn more, or to find a midwife, contact Citizens for Midwifery (cfmidwifery.org). Chris Zweifel is a freelance writer and a pastor’s wife. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania.
Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Why Is This Battle So Hard! By Gary L. Tidwell
Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Have you ever asked yourself, “Why is it so hard for someone to get and stay clean/sober? You may have asked it in the past about yourself or a loved one. You may be asking it now. What I am about to share will I am sure surprise some, but others will be saying, “I knew it!” Simply put, the war that we fight against addiction is MORE than just an emotional and physical condition, Addiction reach is in and touches us at the deepest part of our being - the Spirit. It is the Spirit that separates Man from all other creatures. “And God said,” Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”.... And God created Man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:26-27 (Darby) “And Jehovah Elohim formed Man, dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and Man became a living soul”. Genesis 2:7 (Darby) We are not in His image in that we “look like Him”, but rather we are in His image as we are Spiritual beings. I am going to go out on a limb and share a personal belief, and ask you to process it for yourself. We are spiritual beings that temporarily reside in earthly physical bodies. The Spirit is the key component of who we are. “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils.” Job 27:3 “Answer me speedily, O Jehovah; my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, or I shall be like unto them that go down into the pit.” Psalm 143:7
“Man’s spirit is the lamp of Jehovah, searching all the inner parts of the belly”. Proverbs 20:27 “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is [as] a city broken down, without walls.” Proverbs 25:28 So if we are “spirit” and our spirit is from God, then what happened? Why are we all so messed up? That is where the being human part comes in. Yes, we are spirit, BUT we are also flesh and bone; carnal and earthly, animals. We are designed to have the Spirit to be the guide of the rest of our being, but because we are natural beings and God gave us a free will, we can choose whether we follow the lead of the spirit, or seek our own fleshly desires. It started in Eden, and we continue the same battle on a daily basis. In Jewish thought is the battle between the good inclination and an evil one. (Imagine the cartoons from childhood where there was a character trying to decide on whether to do a given act. This battle was often portrayed as a white angel on one shoulder and a red demon sitting on the other.) Now it is not quite that simple, but it does give us a general idea of what is going in inside. That being said, how does this apply to recovery? Is it not true that this description explains what is going on in our hearts and minds as we fight this battle. Alcohol comes from the Arabic “al-kuhl” which was the name of a body-eating spirit. In fact, the English “ghoul” comes from the same word. When Arab alchemists’ ingested alcohol their senses deadened and they named the substance according to its “body-taking” qualities. Knowing this, European speakers who understood its etymology coined the use of the term “spirits” for alcohol. The use of the term spirits for alcohol goes very far back so it’s impossible to know for sure due the lack of written evidence, but this is the simplest answer to the question, and, in my opinion, the most likely to be true This is EXACTLY why the first three steps are SO important. Without a power GREATER than ourselves we are unable to win this battles for it is not just about flesh and blood, cravings and will power it IS a spiritual WAR! “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) Is it wonder that when people talk about their past and their issues, the call it their “demons”. I believe that it is not a coincidence that such a term has been used. This battle is more than just a physical one; it is a spiritual one. We can’t dismiss this as an imaginary battle or as an irrelevant struggle. We must take this war battle seriously. David just before he charged forward in his battle against Goliath declared, “the battle is the LORD’S....” 1 Samuel 17:47 The battles that we fight with mental illness and/or addiction can definitely feel like we are fighting a “Goliath”. Here again why recognition and surrender to The Higher Power is the MOST important part of recovery. That is not to say that life will suddenly be easy just by turning our ‘lives and our wills” over to Him, but it will be easier. In fact, as I have said before, I personally do not believe that true recovery is possible without reliance on God. So my friends, I urge you to choose today, for yourself, will you continue to fight alone or call for the ultimate in reinforcements? I choose to not fight alone. “Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” Helen Keller One breath, one step, one day at a time
. Original Article first published: http://hopenrecovery.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/spiritualconnection/ Used with permission
Looking For Proof
By Lois Loba
Image: Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Looking For Proof? “Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 The Greek word translated as “daily” is epiousios, which is found in Strong’s Concordance. Epiousios is written only twice in the Bible, both in the Lord’s prayer, recorded by Matthew and Luke. Epiousios is a word of mystery. A clearly defined meaning has been theorized and discussed for hundreds of years. Thus far, an example of the word has not been found written in the ancient texts of historical Greece. It is also not a word that was used in the spoken language of the times or in this current time. The lack of everyday use makes this a word worthy of research. This word was obviously chosen and spoken with great care by the Messiah, Himself. Epiousios is a compound word. Word Dissection Epi/ousios Epi is a preposition, is defined as above, directly on, or upon. The word epi has a character that co-mingles with the object upon which it has landed to create a living, working bond that enhances the object’s purpose. In short, epi makes the intended object more than it was before the moment of contact. Epi is a building block that will display a purpose and a response from the object upon which it has rested. The effect of epi ripples into perfect, purposeful consequences that conform to God’s will in Heaven and on earth; for nothing returns to Him void1 or without substance. Here on earth epi is forward looking in its effect, preparatory. Ousios Epiousios may be related to the word, epiousa. Epiousa is defined as being needful for the following or the next day. Therefore, Epiousios is also defined with a sense of the passage of time from one day to the next2. Epiousios is also related to the word, eimi. It is defined as an emphatic, “I am. I exist.”3 One of the most basic beliefs that we are taught is that the “Great I am” is a Trinity of Persons that are One Person4.
daily opportunity in a life everlasting. This Bread, by its very design, allows us to hold the power of our living God and His living words in our own mortal hands which we can then eat to nourish the corporal body. This Bread confirms every aspect of God’s character and His promises. Omnipresent - God’s whole Being is present everywhere (at every point in space) at all times26. Omnipotent - God has infinite power and thus is not limited by anything or anyone in what He can do to accomplish His holy will27. Omniscient - God knows everything, including His creation, and all actual and possible things (past, present, and future)28. Incommunicable29, God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. We lack the language and knowledge to describe God in complete detail30. Omni-temporall31, God is present in every time at all times. God in His fullness existed before our creation. God exists absolutely in this present moment. Our God will live with completeness in an unlimited future existence, with or without us. His existence does not depend on our existence. This Bread is the same bread of our forefathers. It is as relevant today as it was at the moment of its first proofing at creation by the original Chef. This is the Bread that feeds the multitudes32 to satisfaction in both body and spirit. Psalms 42: 2, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Bon Appétit! 1 KJV Isaiah 55:11 and the American KJV which reads, “So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” 2KJV Genesis 8:22 3 KJV Exodus 3:14, John 6:35, 48, and 51. Also John 8:58, John 17:5 4 KJV John 14: 16 &26, John 16:7, Acts 1:4, Hebrews 1:3 5 The letter “i” makes the word plural, like the letter, “s” in English. 6 The Triune God 7 God is the Father of all Science, for there is not a field of study that he did not author. 8 KJV I Corinthians 14:33 9 KJV Isaiah 49:16 10 KJV1Corinthians 11: 23-26 and I Thessalonians 5:23 11 Our Triune God 12 KJV Exodus 33:21- “And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock” 13 KJV Acts 1:9-11 and Titus 2:13 14 The recipe can be found on page 82, in a book titled, “The Village Baker”, by Joe Ortiz. The recipe is called, “Pain De Campagne”. The ISBN is 0-89815-489-8. This is a book worth searching for! 15 KJV 3:16-17 16 Genesis 1:6-8 17 KJV Isaiah 40:31 18 2 Chronicles 13:5 and Numbers 18:19, The Covenant of Salt it is forever. The act of saying “Grace” has become more real with each meal. 19 The Trinity-KJV Genesis 1:26 20 KJV John 3:16 &17 21 KJV Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:3-4 22 Jeremiah 33:25 & 26 23 KJV Revelations 3:18 24 KJV John 15:13 & 19:30 25 KJV Matthew13:33 26 KJV Psalms 139:7-10 27 KJV Jeremiah 32:17 28 KJV 1 John 3:20 and Hebrews 4:13 29 KJV Isaiah Chapter 55, the whole chapter. 30 KJV Job 11:7 31 KJV Job 36:26, Psalm 102:27 32 KJV Matthew 14: 13-21, in Luke 9:10-17; John Chapter 6-the whole chapter Image: scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Aristotle defined Ousia as meaning, “substances” (chemically speaking the elements, the periodic table), when he used the phrase, “protai ousiai”5, which translated means “primary substances” in the biological sense. An example would be atoms, molecules, the chemical building blocks of life, in short the primary substances that make a human a human, a tree a tree, and a star a star. The substances of creation are a direct result of God’s6 spoken word that brought each and every substance7 into physical existence. As God spoke His thoughts, we and our universe became physical matter in an orderly fashion. God is a God of order8, not a God of chaos. Epiousios describes bread presented from Heaven itself. This bread is complex. It displays the character and substance of God Himself, in all His glory. This bread is also a daily reminder that we have not been abandoned9, (Parousia). Parousia Parousia10 is also related to the word eimi as in pareimi. Referring to a person’s physical presence and/or the arrival of a person, “ I am present, I am near; I have come, I have arrived”. The most common use is to the physical presence of a person, the “being11 beside”, us12. A good example is when thinking of a person who is absent. Parousia refers to the anticipatory thought of the physical arrival of that person13. Hypothesis: Epiousios is a daily presence; it is not abstract. Its definition screams of a three dimensional substance that declares, “I am” and only God uses that phrase as a name. The Recipe14 Before the advent of packaged domesticated yeast, our ancestors obtained their leaven from wild yeast readily available in the air around us! It cannot be seen with the human eye, but it is there. To prove its existence all you have to do is make the dough for a single loaf of bread! This recipe takes six days from start to finish. Science of Wild Yeast - God provided wild yeast spores that float in the air all around us all the time. To make contact with this airborne yeast, all you need to do is invite15 them with a small bit of dough. They require a warm ambient temperature of about 75° - 80° F. Day One Making the Chef 1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour Scant 1⁄4 cup warm water 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin 1⁄2 teaspoon milk History of the word Chef- 1826, from the French, “chef de cuisine” literally “head of the kitchen”. Cumin - I used whole cumin seeds grinding them in a mortar and pestle as would have been done in a day that employed elbow grease technology. Placement of Chef after mixing- put into a glass bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Place the bowl in an oven with a pilot burning. Leave the door open during the day and closed at night to keep it warm when temperatures drop. Tip- Do not re-dampen the tea towel - allow it to dry out. Day Two The dough displays a hard crust that has encapsulated the soft rising dough. It reminds me of the Firmament16. The smell of the dough is delicate, not sweet, and not overly sour. Day Three The dough has risen! There are ridges of growth along the bottom of the firmament. Wild yeast in the air is falling upon the dough to make it rise toward our Creator like a sacrifice of praise! Day Four First Refreshment 3⁄4 cup whole wheat flour 2 tablespoons chef from the previous step 1/3 cup warm water Image: Rawich / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Refreshment17- Origin is from1350-1400 A.D. It has a history from Middle English and Middle French. Synonyms are invigoration, rejuvenation, renewal, and restoration. The hard crust of the firmament was easily removed. Inside, the dough was soft with holes where bubbles had popped. The smell has a tang but is not offensive. The chef is broken into little pieces to become a paste. The dough is at first a bit sticky but after all the ingredients were incorporated, the dough was not sticky or hard to handle. This is extraordinary since no oil or fat of any kind has been added. The dough is again placed into a glass bowl, covered with a damp tea towel and placed in the oven with the door open by day and closed at night. When touched lightly the dough bounces back ever so gently. Day Five Second Refreshment 3⁄4 cup of whole wheat flour 1⁄2 cup organic unbleached white flour 1⁄2 cup of levain from the previous step 1⁄2 cup of water The dough is becoming richer. The dough remains easy to handle and knead. Day Six Mixing the Dough 3 cups of organic unbleached white flour 1 1⁄2 cups of levain from the previous step 1 1⁄4 cups of very warm water 2 1⁄2 teaspoons of salt18 The dough has developed an elegant texture. While kneading, fill a wide-mouth mason jar with water and place it next to the rising bread to allow the water to reach room temperature. After about six hours the dough is at last ready to shape into a loaf. A portion of the dough about the size of a walnut is held back. After shaping the dough and placing it covered back into the oven, place the walnut-sized piece of dough into the jar of water. When the dough rises to the top, the loaves of bread will be ready to bake. Day Seven After about ten hours the dough did rise to the top of the jar! We preheated the oven with a baking stone that was dusted with coarse cornmeal. After baking the bread, it was placed on a cooling rack. An hour later the bread was still warm! The bread was sliced and inside was a very nice array of bread and holes. The crust was a solid thin layer that encompassed the bread. The crust was not harsh or overly thick, it actually complimented the texture of the bread. This loaf of bread stayed useable until it was consumed. It was used in French dip sandwiches (the bread stood up to the dunking into au jus broth), grilled cheese sandwiches (it tolerated the skillet, creating a toasty crust that accentuated the cheddar cheese), and on an open grill served with roasted vegetables. This bread makes perfect croutons for soup and salad! This loaf of bread fits neatly in the hand, is portable, long- lasting, elegant in texture, can stand up to purposeful use, and does not melt away. This is a bread of uncommon character, just like my Creator Who provides me with a daily example of a relationship, which nourishes me! Theory of Epiousios Epiousios will never have a clear short concise definition. It is far too complex. Epiousios requires time to invest in a relationship. This bread, every crumb, is a living testament and reminder of our individual and collective heritage from God Himself. A covenant signed by the Sovereign Author, our Creator,19with the blood of our Messiah20 ,it is ageless until the moment that this age ends. The dough is a body of work like the Bible21. The Bible is not a single book but a grand library that fits neatly into our hands, transportable, like an atlas that guides our steps along the way until the Messiah returns. This Bread is given freely to all of us as a testament to the promise that His covenant will never be broken22. This Bread is unity, unifying the body of Christ (us, the Church, the Bride) with the unity of the Trinity, (the Bridegroom). In the heat23 of the oven the yeast dies24 leaving us, the created, firmly lifted upward by the power of the wild yeast which is of the Creator’s design25, a living power hidden from view within the very air we breathe. It is in this limitless state that we as witnesses engage the dough of
House Sitters By Jan Oâ€™Kane
Ray White was born in South Africa. His wife, Marilyn, moved to South Africa from England at eleven months of age. They have seen the needs of the people in this region, and their heart is to help Christian work in South Africa. Their organization, Christian House sitters enables them to support a childrenâ€™s home in Kenya with proceeds going towards this charity. Faith Filled Family: How did you come up with the idea for Christian House Sitters? Ray: When we retired, we had very little money as it had all gone into the work of the Christian Counseling Ministry so in order to be able to have a good vacation we needed to find an alternative to paying full price. We heard about a Secular House Sitting organization and registered and ended up in a house in France for 3 months. It was a wonderful experience but we found it a bit lonely as we knew nobody and could not find a church. Also the home owners who were not Christians left some statues and things around the house that made us feel uncomfortable. Marilyn said that the next time we should use a Christian organization so we searched and could not find one anywhere. Marilyn therefore suggested we start one which we did and the result is Christian House Sitters. Faith Filled Family: It is my understanding that you two started this ministry on your own. Would you please explain what the CHS does? Ray: We seek to help home owners and house sitters find each other. People can register as a Sitter, an Owner or as both. If you register as a home owner we help you to find a house sitter to move into your home while you are away on vacation. They will look after your home and pets for you free of charge and in return they receive a rent free vacation in your home. So as an owner you save money by not having to pay anyone to look after your home and pets. You also have the security of knowing that your home and pets are being looked after by a responsible Christian. If you register as a house sitter you get to travel and stay rent-free in lovely homes all over the world rather than in expensive and often characterless hotel rooms. How does this work in practice? When you register as an owner we list your house details (without the specific address) on the restricted section of our website that can only be viewed by registered sitters.
We also email all registered sitters drawing their attention to the listing. Sitters then decide which houses they are interested in and click an enquiry button. That automatically sends the owners their details and their profile info. Then it is over to the owner to make contact and decide which application they like best, check references and arrange the sit. Faith Filled Family: How can someone sign up for either being as an owner or sitter? Ray: It is really very easy. All they need to do is visit our website www.Christianhousesitters.com and click on the link to register. They will be asked for their name, the name of their church and minister and for some information about themselves. As long as they are members of a recognized Christian Church we will accept them as members. We also write to the named minister informing him or her that these members of the church have joined CHS. Faith Filled Family: Can I be an owner and a sitter? What about paying, if I am both would I still pay the sitter fee? Ray: You can register as a sitter, as an owner or as both. Registration as an owner is FREE. Registration as a Sitter is ÂŁ25 per year. Faith Filled Family: How does a sitter gain access to the houses available and the timetables? Ray: When a sitter registers they select a password. This enables them to login to the members section of the website and see details of all available houses. From here they can also notify home owners of their interest in a house. Also whenever any new house is listed with us we send an email to all registered sitters giving them the details and reminding them that if they are interested they should login and contact the owner. Faith Filled Family: Do you bond your owners or sitters? Ray: No, because we operate in so many different countries and the requirements vary between countries. We do suggest that the owners get 2 references from every sitter and that one of these should be from a leader in their church. We also provide a draft agreement to be signed by both the owner and sitter and we advise the owners to inform their house insurance company of the arrangements. Faith Filled Family: What advice do you provide for both parties? Ray: On the website we have a number of sections to help people. These include: Tell Your Sitter Advice to Sitters Suggested Agreement# More general info under â€œHouse Sitting Explainedâ€? and under FAQ Faith Filled Family: How many countries has your ministry been extended into? Ray: At the moment we have active members in Canada USA Argentina New Zealand Australia South Africa Portugal Spain France Holland Germany Italy England
Scotland Ireland Wales We are also looking into expanding into other areas as well. Faith Filled Family: I would think this is a fluid ministry in that owners and sitters are changing. Is this true? Ray: Yes and no. Many owners remain with us and use our service every time they have a vacation. There is no limit on how often they can ask for a sitter. We also have many sitters who renew their membership every year. But naturally there are some owners and sitters who do not remain with us and there are also always new people joining. Faith Filled Family: I understand that the benefits from the sitters’ fee go towards a particular charity. Where does it go? Ray: 100% of this money goes to support homeless children at a Christian Children’s Home in Kenya. The cost of running the site is covered by us so all income goes to these needy children. You can read more about the children’s home as www.Christian-housesitters.com/kenya.htm Faith Filled Family: Please explain how and why you chose your beneficiary? Ray: When we first started we decided that we wanted to support Christian work in Africa because of our personal experience there. Initially this money went to a Christian Organization in South Africa. Meanwhile our church had been helping a Children’s Home in Kenya. For various reasons the church could no longer afford to continue this financial support and after much prayer we decided to take it on as our project. The work had not been run very efficiently in Kenya so Marilyn, who is experienced in business management, set up a strong accountability structure with herself as the leader. She appointed local Christians to run the home on a day to day basis under a local leadership team. But all major decisions need to be approved by her and she also makes certain that the money is properly accounted for and used wisely. She has had contact with local officials and the home has been inspected by both the area Chief and the District Commissioner who expressed their delight in how well it is being run. Faith Filled Family: The Home of Peace Children’s Home in Kenya; how many children are cared for at the home? Ray: This varies slightly but we normally have between 80 and 85 children who would otherwise be living on the streets, begging or stealing to stay alive. We provide them with accommodation, food, clothing, medical care and pay for their schooling. This is all done in a strong Christian atmosphere. As a result we are seeing lives transformed. Faith Filled Family: You have explained that Home of Peace Children’s Home in Kenya Is supported by the CHS. Does the ministry cover all expenses? Ray: At this stage we are their only financial support. Over the past 12 months we have built them 2 toilet blocks (before this they had to use a field which we felt was not satisfactory), we have build a nursery room for the younger children, and we have got additional beds for the children. They now all have bedding and mosquito nets and we have been able to keep them in food, medicine and clothing. It is often really difficult and each time we send out money it is an adventure in faith asking God to supply but He has never failed. If we had additional funds we would love to improve the facilities, build some more dormitories, turn our temporary kitchen into a real kitchen, etc. Faith Filled Family: If someone desires to donate to the Children’s Home, how would they go about doing so? Ray: They can do that from our site by clicking the donate button or by sponsoring a child. Full details are at www.christian-housesitters.com/kenya.htm
What’s God’s Purpose For My Life? By Angil Tarach-Richey
grew up Catholic, strayed away from the Lord and church in my teen years and went through my 20’s pretty much doing life without Him. In my early 30’s I was saved and attended and was very involved in a wonderful nondenominational church. I was married with 2 sons. My walk with the Lord was a roller coaster, sometimes being close and sometimes being far, but He never gave up on me. In early 2002, when I was 41 years old, I asked the Lord what I was supposed to be doing, since I was miserable in my job as an Infection Control Coordinator for the State of Michigan. Without any real plan of leaving I walked out of my job one day because I was so stressed out I couldn’t take it anymore. One day in my doctors office, as I sat in the waiting room, an elderly man was at the counter checking out. As he was getting his paperwork for blood work he said, “Let me go see the vampires.” I had a lightbulb moment. I had spent many years working with the elderly in long-term care, home health care and hospice, as a nurse, until 2000 when I took a state job. I thought, as I looked at this elderly man, I had to go back to working with the elderly. During my 4 month stress leave I contemplated whether I’d return to my job, look for another state job, go back to home health or hospice, or do something else. I was surfing the web looking at jobs and opportunities when I came across a senior Homecare franchise named Visiting Angels. I started looking into the opportunity and looked at other franchise companies who did the same, but the only one that appeared to value care over franchises sold was Visiting Angels. My name is Angil, pronounced as Angel, so it seemed to be calling my name. Just a couple weeks prior to the date I was to return to my job, I purchased a franchise from Visiting Angels, went to a week of training, came back home, opened my agency and on the day I was to return to work I called and resigned. I started working harder than I had ever worked in my life but I was absolutely loving what I was doing! I felt God had answered my prayer earlier that year and blessed me with the agency. The first year was a ton of work, but I quickly established a great reputation and things were going well. Sixteen months after I opened the agency I became very sick. I had abdominal pain on occasion that I chalked up to my gallbladder but by December of 2003 it was so severe I could no longer ignore it and went to the doctor. Being a registered nurse, I expected to have a diagnostic test or 2, my doctor to order a medication, and go about my life. I was not prepared for the 5 year battle I would face, being so sick I literally thought I would die, trying to get diagnosed from the mystery illness that stole my life as I knew it. I had been with my husband for 22 years when I became sick. We’d been having some problems, but his lack of understanding and involvement with me and our kids proved to be the end of our marriage and we divorced in 2005. My sister came to work with me in the office 6 months after I opened my agency. She was a Godsend because I was dealing with being so sick I could barely get out of bed, trying to get diagnosed, a troubled teen son, fighting to keep my home and business as I went through a divorce. She ran the day-to-day of my agency for the most part as I tried to force myself to work through the enormous pain and fatigue I was dealing with. During the 5 years I struggled with my health, saw doctor after doctor, diagnostic test after diagnostic test, medication trials that often made me sicker, and fought my insurance company, I kept asking God what I was supposed to learn or do within this very sick body and changed life. I felt in many ways that God had blessed me with the agency but He was taking it back because I could no longer work like I had. My emotions ranged from sadness to depression, to loneliness, to hope, to despair. I spent an enormous amount of time thinking about the life I’d lost. I became more and more socially isolated because most days it was all I could do to take a shower and get myself a meal. Joyce Meyer had a quote I kept in mind. She said, “You never see God coming, but you always see
Him going”. I kept wondering if I’d see God going, but I couldn’t even fathom anything good coming out of this devastating illness. In 2004, to backtrack a bit, I was at a funeral where I’d learned some very surprising and wonderful things about an elderly client and his son that I was totally unaware of, even though I thought I knew them well. It was his son’s funeral. As I sat listening to family and friends talk about this man an idea for a book popped into my mind. Not only did the idea come to me, the title came as well. “Behind the Old Face”. I thought about the elderly client, his outward demeanor and appearance and how that was very different from the real man. I thought I knew him but realized that people that do great things are usually very humble and don’t talk of what they’ve done. I never knew about all the foster kids he and his late wife took in, and how he raised his deceased brother’s 4 young daughters. I left the funeral in deep thought about this book idea and title, but given everything I was dealing with trying to just hold my life together, I didn’t do much about it. The book idea would periodically come back to mind and here and there I spent short periods of time working on it. Nothing real focused or serious, but for some reason it would not go away from my thoughts. In 2008 I was finally diagnosed with 2 chronic, incurable illnesses, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You’d think that would be devastating news, but I was actually pretty ecstatic about it! I knew what was making me so sick. It validated the way I felt and proved to those who questioned my illness or accused me of things like being a drug addict that I truly was sick, and the battle was over! Now I felt I had 2 choices. I could continue to think about and grieve the life I had lost and remain miserable or accept my new life, focus on what I could do and live as happily as possible. Thinking about the work I loved and what I could physically do, I decided to start a blog. If I could just help a few seniors and their families in hospitals, long-term care facilities and homes with the education, experience and passion I had by writing from my laptop in bed I would still be helping people, which I loved. To this point I never thought about being a writer or being able to help people beyond my community. I didn’t even know if anyone would ever read my blog, but I wrote anyway. Within 4 months I was writing for my local news, the #1 site on Alzheimer’s, 2 other prominent websites and being called a national expert in senior care. Things continued to snowball with my articles being picked up all over the U.S. and internationally. God began revealing more of His purposeful work in my life including an experience I had at 17 years of age when I first started working with seniors in a nursing home. More and more Joyce Meyer’s quote seemed to prove itself right as I thought about the many times I could now see God going. I still wasn’t giving any attention to the book I felt God placed on my heart and my agency started suffering financially. I had this nagging feeling that God was forcing me to obey Him to write this book by taking the agency away. Another backtrack, I met the love of my life just 2 weeks after I was diagnosed and we married in February 2010, but that’s a whole other testimony! At the end of last year I decided I had to get serious, obey God and write the book. What has happened since I decided to obey God and focus on the book is nothing but amazing! God has opened doors, putting people and opportunities in my life that could never have come from my doing! He has provided one blessing after another. The book is now a full and very big project that includes an M2E Book (mini media EBook) titled “The Aging Question; A Vision for the Coming Elder Boom” that came out in September, and the full book “Behind the Old Face; The Current Climate and Future of Aging” which will be out in March. Also, a video for the book is quickly gaining exposure with over 2500 views on You Tube in the last week and a training program will follow the book. A nonprofit I’m opening soon will offer the training free or at a reduced cost to family caregivers. Developing the vision God has given me for senior living and care will solve many of the current problems and reduce healthcare costs. I am happier and closer to God than I’ve ever been in my life! I am now thankful for chronic illness. God had to use illness to get me onto His purpose and oath for me. Without it, I would’ve never slowed down enough to write. I would’ve probably not obeyed and followed through with the book He laid on my heart. I would’ve never known I had a talent for writing or that I could help people beyond my community. I would’ve not grown this close to God or felt like I could fully trust in Him without this incredible journey. In the depths of my darkest, sickest days I didn’t see God coming, but I definitely see Him going! I have never been more excited about what God has planned for me! I can look at every problem, difficulty, and challenge with full faith that God’s will is perfect and I will eventually see Him going. It’s very exciting to think about what God has planned on the other side of difficulties and challenges. I really couldn’t be more grateful for the work God has given me, my truly wonderful husband and marriage, and all the wonderful people God has put in my life. I am in awe daily of His amazing grace, love, and power, and pray everyone could have the feeling of knowing they’re in the midst of God’s
Help build a better world… by helping the Bethesda Mission
Based in faith, we strive – through Christian principles – to love our neighbors as ourselves. The Bethesda Mission is to do something positive for those less fortunate in our society; to give back is to live the Christian way. Headquartered in Bangalore, India, Bethesda Mission specializes in participatory, interactive and sustainable development. The clients of this mission are poor tribal, rural and slum families. We also undertake both health- and education-related projects. In some areas, there are no primary health centers nor medical help; this is where we conduct medical clinics and awareness programs. One of our current projects is building a school for sexually abused girls. We’re trying to combat the alarming spread of HIV infection, the HPV virus,TB and malaria; there is a disturbing trend of rising rates of cervical cancer, diabetes, strep throat. We want to ensure that every child has the protection of the polio vaccine. Our Director, Daniel Edwin, has 27 years of ministry experience with tribal and rural communities, sharing counseling and helping people in all aspects of their lives. He targeted illiterate women and empowered them with knowledge of their human rights. Children are learning English and math. The community has responded with love and respect. Join us to build a world where there is no inequality. In order to do our good works, we need your help. Any one can contribute to our development. We recruit volunteers for our projects (including high school students), and collect donations from everywhere in the world. Find out more about Bethesda Mission, and how to help, at: www.bethesdamissionprogrammes.shutterfly.com
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