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Life Insurance. Retirement. Investments.


April 2017




Vol. 8 / Issue 1

Christian Torres

Publisher // Graphic Design // Sales

Stephanie Torres Accounting

Stella Gallegos Sales // Events

Marcie Gallegos Distribution // Sales

Valley Christian Magazine is a free monthly magazine published by Texas Christian Publications a 501c3 non-profit ministry. For advertising information call 956-314-0161. Questions, story ideas, events, or comments call 956-314-0161 or email Social Media Facebook: @valleychristianmagazine & @valleychristian Instagram: @valleychristianmag Twitter: @vcmagazine


Copyright 2017


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Friday, MAY 5 7pm at BT CHURCH McAllen

It is the purpose of Valley Christian Magazine to be a magazine that shows people how Jesus Christ is there for you everyday of your life. Supported by local businesses, ministries & faithful believers. Valley Christian is a free resource for us all. 4

April 2017

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index April 2017


Tracie Miles


Lysa Terkeurst


When Negative Thoughts Are Running Your Life 6 Prayers to Pray After Easter

10 Financial Advice - Term Life Profects Armondo Brennan

12 James MacDonald Free To Go

14 Chris August and The Pieces Tour

Chris shares with VCM on new Album - the Maker

16 Luis Palau

Armonía Hermosa

18 Time with Our Creator


Renew Your Mind

19 Where to Pick Up Valley Christian 20 Greg Laurie

Whole Hearted Devotion

22 Fellowship of Christian Athletes Weekend of Champions

23 Kids Talk About God

What Does Easter Mean To You?

24 Dave Ramsey - Dave Says -Do The Manly Thing -Teens & Checkbooks

25 Valley Christian’s New Reads 26 Valley Christian Events Calendar 28 Raul “Rudy” Rodriguez Easter Scripture

24 April



About Tracie: Tracie is a member of the Proverbs 31 Writers Team and is a contributing writer for the Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today devotions, the Encouragement for Today Daily Devotional Book and the Zondervan NIV Women’s Devotional Bible. Tracie has three grown children who have become her best friends, and they all call Charlotte, North Carolina, home.© 2016 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved. Used by Permission Proverbs 31 Ministry

“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NCV) I knew they were there, but I tried to ignore them and deny their existence. They controlled how I felt in the morning, and when I went to sleep. They would often cause my emotions to feel out of control, making me feel out of control, too. They would dictate how I reacted to situations or conversations. They often caused me to feel offended, angry or hurt, whether it was truly justified or not. They never ceased to remind me of my shortcomings and flaws, making me feel inferior and often without value, and they constantly tried to pull me down with discouragement or hopelessness, stealing my peace and joy.

During this season of life when I realized my thoughts were running my life, I bowed my head and admitted to Jesus how I had allowed emotionally-fueled thoughts to sink my joy, my hope and my faith. I embraced His truths that just because my circumstances weren’t positive, didn’t mean I couldn’t be. When I intentionally change my thoughts, my life changes as well. And so can yours.

Who are “they,” you ask? My thoughts. You see, life had been unusually hard for many months due to a painful situation in my marriage, and as a result, my negative thoughts were running my life. I didn’t want to feel sad, but my thoughts stayed consumed with all the things that made me sad. I didn’t want to feel unhappy, but my thoughts constantly drifted toward focusing on my unhappy circumstances. I didn’t want to feel discouraged or fearful, but my heart was heavy, and my negative thoughts were weighing down not only my emotions, but my outlook on life. In fact, my thoughts often made me feel as if I were sinking mentally, emotionally — and at times, even spiritually. Our key verse today give us wise advice on dealing with thoughts: “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (Proverbs 4:23).This passage was written by King Solomon for the benefit of his own sons. As I read this chapter, I noticed although Solomon was king, he didn’t focus on advising about royal matters like how to handle money, job responsibilities or best tips for leading the kingdom. Instead, he spoke of more important things such as the value of controlling their thoughts, which determine how they felt and how they lived. Solomon teaches us to be careful how we think, because the quality of our thoughts will always determine the quality of our life. Whatever our minds focus on is what will play out in our lives and eventually shape who we are. Our thoughts turn into feelings that have the power to control our lives, gradually steering us and possibly our faith, in a direction we do not want to go. King Solomon knew this to be true, and counsels us to be careful about what we think and feel. He knew it’s often our thoughts, not our circumstances, which cause us to sink.


Our thoughts have power and can easily begin to run our lives, controlling our words and actions, feelings and emotions — even our peace and happiness. When disappointment crushes our dreams, when people hurt or anger us, or when problems seem overwhelming, it’s easy to get caught in the rip-current of negative thoughts. And when we think negative thoughts, we feel negative feelings, leading to believing life is negative overall.

April 2017

Lord, at times I feel as if I’m sinking — in my attitude and thought patterns, even in my faith. Forgive me for letting negativity have power over how I feel, think and live. Fill me with a fresh breath of optimism today, and help me learn to transform my thoughts, heart and life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV)

REFLECT AND RESPOND: Is it possible your thoughts about your circumstances are causing you to feel like you’re sinking in heart and mind, more than the actual circumstances themselves?

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“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’” Matthew 28:5-7 (NIV) I don’t think Easter is quite done with me yet. I know what glorious things this Holy Day says to the world at large. But what does Jesus want me to know, to think about, to wrestle through at this time of year? This season of new beginnings. So, I’m lingering here a bit longer. I feel like the girl who wears the same outfit to school two days in a row. Easter is done now. Time to put it back in the closet. Only for me it isn’t. I want to wear it again today, tomorrow and many more tomorrows. After all, Easter is no longer a ritual to me. It’s a revelation. A time where Jesus splits my soul along the fault line of a scar deep within: I was an unwanted child to my birth dad. Unwanted. But to Jesus … I was wanted so much that He gave His life for me. It feels so personal. Even though I know God so loved the world, He gave His son, it becomes very individual if we let it.

make me so afraid. Resurrect the parts of my faith squelched by fear. • “I know that you are looking for Jesus,” – God, when my soul is searching, help me know the answer to every longing can be found in You. • “He has risen,” – God, the fact that Jesus is risen should lift my head, my heart and my attitude. Help me to live today as if I really believe this with every part of my life. • “just as he said,” – Jesus, You keep Your promises. Help me live as though I believe that with every part of me. Help me trust You more, obey You more and resemble You more. • “Come and see,” – Jesus, You had the angels invite the women in to see for themselves that You had risen. You invite me into these personal revelations every day. Forgive me for sometimes rushing about and forgetting to come and see for myself … You, Your Word, Your insights. • “Then go quickly and tell his disciples,” – Jesus, I don’t want to be a secret keeper with my faith. I want to be a bold and gracious truth proclaimer. For You. With You. Because of You. Me, the unwanted girl whom You loved, redeemed and wanted. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Yes, let this miraculous Easter be personal. And prayerful. And linger a bit longer.

Be personal.

Dear Lord, I want to let Your Truth sink deep down into my heart and soul today. Help me stay focused on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

With Jesus.

Reflect and Respond:


Find Matthew 28 in your Bible and read through that chapter in its entirety. What verse sticks out to you?

So, in the midst of a world putting Easter away, might we let it sit with us for just a bit more? I keep my Bible open to the place where the angel spoke to the women at the tomb. And I tangle my thoughts around His words from Matthew 28 as six prayers emerge … • “Do not be afraid,” – God, I hand over to You those things that


April 2017

Take that verse and write it down or speak it out loud in prayer. Let God’s Truth sink deep down into your heart and soul.

Power Verse: 1 John 3:16a, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” (NIV)





April 2017

N a tiona s i y a l M

There are more than 1,000 children in foster care in the Rio Grande Valley – children who deserve to know the love of a family. May is National Foster Care Month. If you’re considering

Foster Care Month

becoming a foster parent, now is the time to take the next step. Learn more at




Free to Go by james macdonald

James MacDonald is founding and Senior Pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in northwest Chicago. James’ teachings can be heard on Walk in the Word, a daily radio program reaching more than 3 million people across North America.


won’t just assume you’ve had some regrets. I know you have. Because we all have. Only a pathological liar could ever look someone squarely in the face and say, “Everything in my life has gone according to plan.”

But for the believer, regret is not a place where you have to live. It’s unavoidable, yes. In a sense it’s inevitable. But you don’t have to be ruined by regret if you resolve it while you can and don’t let it take you to despair. Living a life without regret is actually possible.

“REGRET IS NOT A PLACE WHERE YOU HAVE TO LIVE.” In fact, it’s the life that God intends for people who’ve experienced His mercy and forgiveness. You can leave your regrets behind and move forward into the grace of God. But whether you’ll do it or not boils down to the difference between repentance and rationalization. Only if you’ll stop the pretense of explaining it all away will you start seeing the prospect of a brighter future, of “salvation without regret.” Because, really, all the mechanisms that keep regret so firmly attached to us are tangled up in our dodgy reactions to what we’ve done. There are marriages today being ruined, not by things that are happening right now, but by mistakes in the past and by lots of stuff in the background that’s never been resolved. There are people failing in their careers today, not because they’re not smart enough to do their


For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10, ESV

job or because they lack opportunity to excel, but because they’re refusing to fully resolve a regrettable mistake in their past, and it’s sapping away their focus from the present.

ized. But the most destructive things in your life are not the things you once did. They’re the things you still do instead of doing the things you must do after failing.

Are you one of those people? If so, the problem isn’t likely that you’re still repeating the same slipups that got you here. But as long as you persist with your reasons and excuses, you’ll remain trapped in a downward spiral of regret.

Don’t live in regret. Pursue godly repentance, and leave regret behind.

Which one of these common cover-ups are you clinging to? Deny it. Just pretend the problem isn’t there, isn’t real, and never really happened. Everything’s fine. There’s nothing to talk about or resolve, because nothing is the matter. Run from it. Avoid the people and places where the truth can be known about you. Take refuge in a new hiding place. And when you feel the heat getting close to you again, you can always run off somewhere else—to another church, another town, another set of friends . . . Blame-shift it. You admit there’s a problem, but it’s not your fault. They’re the ones who caused it. They’re the ones who ought to be worried about what they’ve done—your parents, your boss, your spouse, your kids. Anybody could be the cause of your problems—as long as it’s not you. Excuse it. This is probably the most common one. You hate what you did, yes, but considering what all was on you at the time . . . considering the circumstances you were dealing with . . . considering that other people have done a lot worse things than you’ve done . . . you really couldn’t have helped it, all things considered. Regret is such a liar. It traps you in your past. It wants to be rationalized, rather than dematerial-

April 2017

j ournal As bad as it feels and as much pain as it causes, why does regret often seem like the safest place to live? Who’s someone you know who appears to live in “salvation without regret”? What do you learn from them?

P ray

Lord, You know the lengths to which I’ve gone in trying to deny, run from, blameshift, and make excuses for the things I regret. Thank You for keeping all those attempts fruitless and frustrating. Thank You for offering me a path to freedom that can only be found in You and no other way. Thank You for wanting me turned loose from all the restraints of my regrets, and for making Your salvation complete enough to save me, truly, from everything that would ensnare me. By Your grace I ask You to grant to me the “godly grief” that leads to repentance, and the resulting life that reflects the joy of Your salvation. I praise You in the matchless name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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Friday, May 5th Coming to the Valley on Friday, May 5 2017 is Valley Favorite Chris August along with Dara MacLean and David Dunn. Their live concert will be held at BT Church McAllen (2001 Trenton Rd, McAllen, TX 78504) at 7pm. Tickets start at $15 for group general admission. $20 for Single General Admission and $40 for VIP Meet and Greet. Chris August recently shared about his latest album release called the Maker: “These songs mean more to me than anything I’ve ever done…” Says the guy who brought us “Starry Night” and “7 x 70.” Says the guy who virtually swept the Dove Awards, taking New Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year upon the merit of his debut album. Says the guy who has had a distinct, life-altering, life-saving encounter with his Maker. In 2012, amongst tours, a sophomore record and endless miles on buses and planes around the world, Chris August’s entire world turned upside down in a matter of seconds. A skateboarding accident put him in the hospital with a bruised and bleeding brain. It was serious, but eventually, he was stabilized—with a major caveat—he might need a surgery that could incapacitate him for life. Fortunately, after some time and a lot of prayer, the swelling subsided and the physical healing began. And that’s when it got hard. The pain from his injuries had to be managed. His doctors would prescribe pain killers. When that began affecting his sleep or threw his system off in any variety of ways, the doctors were at the ready with a veritable arsenal of medication. “My pill box was the size of a laptop,” Chris recalls. “It was crazy. I’d take one thing and then need another to deflect those side-effects, and then another and another.”


April 2017

“It was by far the hardest year of my life,” says Chris. “But that’s when a huge breakthrough happened.” On tour with Big Daddy Weave at the time, he had a front-row seat to the band’s compassion for people, their fervor for spreading truth and the manifestation of love at every single show. Even now August shakes his head in near disbelief when he talks about

7pm at BT Church the physical and emotional healing he witnessed on that tour. “They have this ministry time every night at the end of their set where they’re praying for people,” Chris shares. “I mean, I know the Bible says blessed are those who don’t see it and believe, but I just happened to be fortunate enough to see some things that left me saying, ‘Oh my goodness.’ Day-by-day, step-by-step, the journey hasn’t necessarily been easy, nor has he arrived at some ultimate destination. Never one to assume a flawless façade, despite his profession, Chris is transparent with his struggles. Fortunately, for the rest of us, his struggles, victories, losses and gains quite often come with a melody and a hook. “I’m figuring it out like everybody else,” he says. “I just happen to be a guy that writes songs.” “Muddy Waters,” which Chris pseudo-affectionately calls “the depression song,” is a soul-stirring, foot-stomping romp through a battle that almost anyone can relate to. “When I sang that song in the studio, I did three takes and I was literally in tears,” August remembers. “I couldn’t do another take. I hope that song speaks to people like it speaks to me.”


Regardless, the emotion Chris releases throughout The Maker is nothing if not real. “There’s nothing better than when you’re at a show and someone comes up before or after and says a song impacted them,” Chris says. “Sometimes it’s crazy and sometimes it’s just as simple as someone saying my music helps them turn around a bad day. I never take that for granted. Some people will even say, ‘I know you hear this all the time, but …’ I always stop them and say, ‘No, I don’t. And even if I did, it’s so encouraging.’ See you at Chris’ concert Friday, May 5 at BT Church in McAllen. For more information go to or call 956-314-0161


For tickets go to: VivaLife Christian Bookstore in McAllen or online at

Armonía hermosa

-Luis Palau Edificando mi casa

Cada vez que veo a una familia tomada de la mano que va por una plaza, o un marido abrazado de su esposa yo siento un gran sentido de alegría y felicidad. Podríamos tener una armonía hermosa en la familia y en el hogar si no fuera por el pecado. A pesar de ser cristianos convertidos y salvados siempre hay problemas y tensiones fuertes por causa del pecado, rebeldía y egocentrismo. Sin embargo, la Biblia indica que podríamos gozar de una armonía hermosa dentro de las debilidades humanas en cualquier hogar cristiano. La Palabra nos enseña que nuestros hijos rodearán nuestras mesas si tememos al Señor y seguimos sus caminos. El Salmo 128:3 dice: «Tu esposa será como una vid fructífera, floreciente en el hogar. Tus hijos serán como vigorosos retoños de olivo alrededor de tu mesa» (NTV). El árbol de olivo es hermoso por lo que representa, habla de vida, fruto y suavidad, ¡Qué hermoso es el hogar donde los hijos, con armonía, rodean la mesa! Cuando nuestros cuatro hijos todavía estaban en casa, cada noche procuramos sentarnos a la mesa para cenar juntos. Que hermoso es ver a los hijos alrededor de la mesa; es cierto a veces se peleaban, otras veces guardaban silencio, a veces después de comer se quedaban charlando por largo rato, otras veces se apresuraban y se marchaban de la mesa. Pero allí estaban todos. ¡Qué bendición cuando hay armonía, cuando los hijos rodean la mesa! El siguiente versículo en Salmo 128 dice: «Esa es la bendición del Señor para los que le temen» (Salmo 128:4 NTV). El Señor es el experto en construcción de una casa: «Si el Señor no construye la casa, el trabajo de los constructores es una pérdida de tiempo» (Salmo 127:1 NTV, ver 1 Corintios 3:10). En la casa que el Señor edifica habrá reposo, descanso y buen sueño. Los hijos son un regalo del Señor (Salmo 127:3-5). Entonces, uno puede tener hijos con un sentido de confianza y seguridad, además usted será feliz y le irá bien, su mujer será fructífera y atractiva como un árbol frutal y sus hijos rodearán su mesa. Pero hay una condición, la bendición es para la persona que teme a Dios y sigue sus caminos. ¿Usted teme a Dios? ¿Sigue los caminos de Dios? ¿Ha tenido temor de Dios en sus actividades comerciales, en el vecindario, en la iglesia? Antes de quejarse de su familia, pregúntese ¿he caminado con Dios como corresponde? Si ha provocado divisiones no se sorprenda si hay rebelión en su familia. Dios nos promete que si le tememos a él y si seguimos sus caminos y permitimos que él edifique nuestra casa, disfrutaremos hasta de nuestros nietos, que de por sí son una gran bendición de Dios. Dice el Salmo 128:5-6: «Que el Señor te bendiga continuamente desde Sión; que veas prosperar a Jerusalén durante toda tu vida. Que vivas para disfrutar de tus nietos. ¡Que Israel tenga paz!» (NTV). ¡Qué satisfacción más grande! Esa bendición es para los que le tememos y seguimos sus senderos. No tenga duda, cumpla con el temor de Dios y la obediencia a él y le dará esta bendición. Salmo 133:1 dice: «¡Qué maravilloso y agradable es cuando los hermanos conviven en armonía!» (NTV). Allí envía Dios bendición y vida eterna (Salmo 133:3), ¡qué hogar feliz es aquel en que los hermanos entre sí se llevan bien! Luis Palau


Luis Palau ya entró en la historia moderna como uno de los contados hombres que le hablaron a más personas en el mundo. Su mensaje fue, y es escuchado por más de 800 millones de personas en 112 países a través de la radio y la televisión, y tiene el privilegio de haberle hablado a más de 22 millones de personas cara a cara en 80 países del mundo, organizando, junto a un selecto grupos de colaboradores internacionales y con el apoyo de invitaciones locales, congresos, seminarios, charlas informales, conferencias y recitales-conferencia llamados “Festivales”. Copyright 2017 Used by Permission.

April 2017

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Renewing the Mind Written by Elton Streyle, photography and editing by Ali Heavenly Father, thank you for the instructions in Your Word as to how I can be spiritually-minded rather than carnally-minded and as to how my mind can be renewed and transformed as I present myself to You as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 Let the power of Your Word grasp me so that I can see everything with a clear mind and from a Biblical perspective. Romans 8:5 says, “for those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Show me how not to be clouded with the cultural viewpoints of the society that I live in. Since what I put into my mind determines what comes out in words and actions, direct me to be very sensitive to the kind of materials that I read in books and magazines and what I watch on television or in movies. Program my mind to be in agreement with Paul’s admonishment in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.“ Father, today, tomorrow and from here on out, I give my mind to You to be renewed, restored and directed by the Holy Spirit living within me. I bring this prayer to You in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The grandfather, granddaughter and grandson team of Elton Streyle, Ali, age 19, and Noah, age 16 launched a new blog that they hope will help readers enrich their prayer life. About 3 years ago, Winter Texan El was invited to write prayers for his church bulletin. El has spent over 30 years reading about and researching the art of prayer. He has been a Christian for over 43 years and has served his church and radio station KCMI all in Nebraska. About 6 months ago, he and his granddaughter Ali were inspired to find a way to reach the younger generation. She helped him create a blog: Every Friday, they post a new prayer which includes scripture and sometimes testimonies. Ali is responsible for taking pictures (she is a self taught photographer), editing the prayers and general maintenance of the website. El’s grandson, Noah, who is Ali’s brother, assists with writing the prayers and brainstorming new ideas for their site.


April 2017

Their site came to life after Ali collected her grandfather’s prayers along with scene photos she has taken and created book as a gift to ther grandfather. They all loved it so much that they decided to share it on their new site. Their desire is that the blog will encourage and assist Christian (both long-time and new believer) to develop their prayer lives through the use of Scripture, observing that people have a tendancy to have a habit of praying the same way day-after-day. After time, this blog may help them to add more variety in their prayers and discover new ways to talk with almighty God. Valley Christian Magazine is excited to have met and are now able to share some of their prayers in this new column. We are inspired to see how a grandfather’s prayers influence his grandchildren. Let us know what you think! To find this amazing grandfather, granddaughter and grandson collaboration go to:




“Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. . . .” —Mark 16:9


Of all the people Jesus could have appeared to first after His Resurrection, He appeared to Mary Magdalene. It is interesting to think about, because among the Jews of the day, the testimony of a woman was not held in high regard. In fact, some of the rabbis falsely taught that it was better for the words of the Law to be burned than to be delivered by a woman. Yet Jesus chose a woman to be the first herald of His Resurrection. It is also worth noting that women were the last at the cross and the first at the tomb. Mary had courage that many of the men did not have when Jesus was crucified. She stood by Him through it all. In fact, the Bible tells us that after He was crucified, Mary “observed where He was laid” (Mark 15:47). She watched as they took His crucified body from the cross and wrapped it and placed it in a tomb that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. And Mary, along with the other women, was at the tomb very early on Sunday morning to demonstrate her love for Jesus by anointing His body with spices (see Mark 16:1–2). And her love was rewarded. God said, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). God rewards the person who is diligent. And for those who will take time in their day to seek the Lord, for those who will take time to read His Word, for those who will take time to wait upon Him, He will reveal His truths to them

Greg Laurie is Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif. He began his pastoral ministry at 19 by leading a Bible study of 30 people. Since then, God has transformed the small group into a church of 15,000 plus, one of the largest churches in America. for more, visit used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514 Copyright © 2017 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.


April 2017





April 2017

What Does Easter Mean To You?

“It’s not about the ‘Easter Bunny’ or getting candy and presents,” says Kendall, age 11. “Jesus died for our sins and for us so we could be saved.” Here’s the scoop from Hannah, 9: “Easter is really a pagan holiday with all the bunnies and chicks. If you celebrate in the right way about Jesus, it is a good holiday. Easter is named after a pagan god.” Great job, Hannah! Your parents are doing a lot more than hiding Easter eggs.

Artwork by Sara Hillis, age 10

The word “Easter” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon “Eostre,” the name of the goddess of spring, writes scholar D.W. Burdick. The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival in honor of the goddess of spring and her symbol, the rabbit.

“Easter means the death of Christ for our sins so we could go to heaven because one perfect person had to die for sinners to go to heaven,” says Anna, 11.

In many cultures, the egg was the symbol of rebirth. The custom of exchanging eggs in springtime was already in place when second-century Christian missionaries encountered Saxon tribes in northern Germany.

We like to imagine that God grades on the curve. As long as we’re better than most, we assume heaven’s gates will open wide for us. Nice theory, but God’s entrance exam for heaven is either pass or fail.

The pagan festival was altered to become a Christian celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus is the only one who passed the test. He lived a perfect life before his Father and people. He offered his perfect life as a sacrifice for imperfect people. Now, the resurrected Jesus offers his righteousness and life to all who trust him as their savior.

Easter is a time to “celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord, and a day to remember his pain and suffering,” says Ama. Not only do we remember the past, but Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope that our mortal bodies will be transformed into immortal ones. But that’s not all. Christians are exhorted in Scripture to live by the power of Jesus’ resurrection or newness of life by the Spirit of Jesus (Holy Spirit) living in and through them. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then the faith of Christians is “useless” and “pitiful,” wrote the Apostle Paul. If there’s no resurrection, he told Christians in Corinth, live only for today: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (I Corinthians 15:32). But if Jesus rose from the dead, every day is resurrection day for Amanda, 11: “He is always with us.”

Don’t substitute sucking candy eggs and chasing rabbits for a risen savior. “Jesus is alive!” shouts Kayce, 9. Think about this: Jesus is alive and indwelling his people. Memorize this truth: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20a). Ask these questions: Have you entered into the realm of resurrection life by believing in Jesus? Do you know the exhilaration of living by Jesus’ life instead of your own? Kids Talk About God is a syndicated column by journalist Carey Kinsolving. To access more columns and other free, Bible-based books, videos and artwork,

“Easter means God has risen from the dead and was walking around the city and went to talk to the disciples and went back to heaven,” says Marce, 11. Remember the disciples before the resurrection? Scared, scattered and stressed. Three times Peter denied he even knew Jesus.

To learn more about the RGV Children’s Arts Festival, please visit

After seeing the resurrected Christ, all of the disciples dedicated their lives to proclaiming Jesus’ victory over death. Most died as martyrs. Why would the disciples risk persecution and death to perpetuate a hoax?




Do the manly thing Dear Dave, My wife and I argue a lot about finances. We’re trying to get more control over our money, and she has been listening to you. That’s helped a lot. She’s also a lot more frugal than I am, and our biggest point of contention right now is how we handle our spending money. Whenever I work overtime at my job, I feel like I should be able to put the overtime pay toward my spending money. What are your thoughts on this? Josh Dear Josh, No way, dude! You don’t work overtime for your little boy wants. You work overtime, and rake in that extra cash, for the good of your family. That’s the manly thing to do. Now, that’s not to say you both can’t have a little spending money. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself once in a while if you’re working your tail off. I mean, if I’m working 70 to 80 hours a week I may give myself a little inexpensive treat in the midst of all that. So, my spending money budget should reflect that. But it shouldn’t reflect a sense that I get to play more because I work extra, while the rest of the family suffers.

Dave s y a S

Sorry, man. I think you knew what I was going to say. Step up, be good to your family first, and then your good times will come. If you haven’t learned it already, you’ll soon discover that those good times are best ones! —Dave

Teens and checkbooks Dear Dave, My daughter is 15, and she’s had jobs around the house and been on commission and the envelope system for years. She’s very good about saving and not spending on silly things. We recently opened a checking account for her, and I was wondering what bills you think we should assign for her to pay on her own? Suzanne Dear Suzanne, This sounds a lot like we did with our kids. She’s obviously bright and motivated, so the first thing you do is explain to her the seriousness and responsibility associated with a checking account. The next step is for her to balance the checkbook with you looking over her shoulder. Do this with her for several months, while you keep one on the account, too. After that, I want her to do it alone and show you her work. Her balance should match yours and the one at the bank. As soon as she demonstrates competency, and you feel comfortable that she can handle things, I want you to start putting her clothing budget in the account. You know, the weirdest thing happened with our girls at this stage. They suddenly started shopping at less expensive stores. It’s amazing when they see that the dollars associated with these purchases can run out. My bet is you’ll see some changes in her value choices.

* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 8.5 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations. Dave’s latest project, EveryDollar, provides a free online budget tool. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at


Just take it step-by-step, a little at a time. The more they exhibit competence, wisdom, and confidence, the more you can release them. —Dave

April 2017

Never Unfriended

The Secret to Finding & Keeping Lasting Friendships

By Lisa-Jo Baker // Publisher: BH Publishing Group In a world where women can unfriend each other with the swipe of a finger, how do we find friendships that we can trust to last? Maybe by first becoming those kinds of lasting friends ourselves. As the community manager at the website since 2010, Lisa-Jo Baker has had the chance to engage hundreds of conversations with women about friendship. She’s learned that no one can make us quite as unsure about ourselves as another woman. And nothing can wound as deeply as unkind words from a friend. While we are all hungry for friendship, it’s the fear of feeling awkward and being rejected, left out, or hurt (again) that often keep us from connecting. But what if we knew we could never be unfriended? Would we risk friendship then? Starting with that guarantee from the most faithful friend who ever lived—Jesus—this book is a step-by-step guide to friendships you can trust. It answers the questions that lurk under the surface of every friendship—What are we afraid of? What can’t we change? What can we change? And where do we start?—with personal stories and practical tips to help you make the friends, and be the friend, that lasts.

The Legend of the Sand Dollar An Inspirational Story of Hope for Easter

By Chris Auer // Publisher: Zondervan Kidz Publishing This newly illustrated edition of The Legend of the Sand Dollar renews the wonder and charm of the original and timeless tale written by Chris Auer. With new vibrant artwork from Bad Dog, Marley illustrator, Richard Cowdrey, this holiday classic is brought to life for a new generation. The Legend of the Sand Dollar tells the story of Kerry, as her cousin Jack reveals to her the deeper meaning of Easter hidden within something as small as a sand dollar. This Easter tale reminds everyone everywhere that when Jesus died for us and was resurrected, he promised hope for all.





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April 2017


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Valley Christian Magazine April '17  

Loving God. Loving Others. Building Community. On the Cover: Chris August live in Concert on May 5th at BT Church McAllen. For ticket inf...

Valley Christian Magazine April '17  

Loving God. Loving Others. Building Community. On the Cover: Chris August live in Concert on May 5th at BT Church McAllen. For ticket inf...