November 2015

mcdanko

Your life has a destiny, a plan, and a purpose! In this issue, discover what it is, and learn how to overcome all of the things that hold you back from achieving the heights that you were meant to. Interviews with Ashley Bretcher (Princess Cut), Chris Whaley and Brett Granstaff (Masked Saint movie), Dick Rolfe (Dove Foundation), David Batty (Gospel of John Movie) Danen Kane (music artist), and Faithbox!

November 2015

“The Masked Saint” Unmasked

Pro Wrestler Turned... Pastor?

Looking

for Love

In the Right

Place

Five Promises

That Will

Never be

Broken


Faith Filled Family

CONTENTS

FEATURES:

GOD DOESN’T MAKE MISTAKES.........................09

God has a plan and purpose for your life, and no

matter what someone may have spoken over your life,

you are not a mistake!

PLAN AND PURPOSE............................................16

Age is never a factor when it comes to your God-given

destiny. Don’t let any excuse hold you back from

acheiving what God has in store.

I AM WHO GOD SAYS I AM....................................25

Our identity and purpose in life is an age-old question.

There is an easy way to find out your identity, and once

you do, there is no turning back.

FIGHTING FOR THEIR FUTURE............................34

Can God reveal your children’s future to you? If so,

what is the purpose? Find out in this article.

THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF CHRISTIANITY......46

There are various levels that we go through in our

Christian walk. Discover where you are!

LOOKING FOR LOVE IN ALL BUT ONE PLACE..50

Everyone is searching for love, but it seems to evade

us. You can find the love you so desperately thirst for

in a place that you may have never considered.

ABSENT PARENTS: FILLING THE VOID.................56

Some of us grow up with just one or no parents. Learn

how to heal from past wounds, and learn how to be the

parent that God designed you to be.

FIVE PROMISES.....................................................58

God’s promises are yes and amen, according to

scripture. Learn what God promises and walk in the

faith that they will come to pass over your life.

DON’T TALK BACK!...............................................65

Negative self talk can prevent you from walking in the

fulfillment of God’s vision for your life. Discover how to

renew your mind to a “yes I can” attitude.

GOD WANTS YOU AND YOU ARE IMPORTANT..68

Lost and saved: we are all important to God, and that

is why He seeks us. Yet Heaven rejoices when one

sinner repents and gives their life. Do you know how

important you are to Him? Feel God’s touch in this

article that will transform your life.


GENDER IDENTITY.................................................72

There is no confusion when it comes to gender,

according to God. So why do some of us feel we are

one gender and not another? Did God get it wrong?

I LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT............................78

Never let a bad past detract you from coming to God.

He loves you just as you are!

FINDING CONTENTMENT......................................81

Work is never dreary when God is involved! Loving

what you do is possible, and not as far off as you may

think. Find out how to walk in your destiny, and enjoy

every day of it!

TO BE LIKE CHRIST...............................................86

It seems like a tall order, but when we become Christlike,

Heaven opens up to us. Find out what blessings

obedience to God brings in all areas.

MENTORSHIP.........................................................90

Mentorship is important and is part of being a mature

Christian. However, it is an area that many of us are

lacking in. What wisdom can you share with another

person, and how can you, yourself, benefit from having

a mentor in your life.

INTERVIEWS:

FAITHBOX MAKES THE PERFECT GIFT..............12

Gift giving made... exciting! Learn more about

this product and it’s benefits.

“REEL” TALK WITH DICK ROLFE........................20

The Dove Channel has been released! What’s it

about?

AUTHOR PAUL WILBUR .......................................31

Paul discusses his latest book, “Touching the Heart of

God”.

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID BATTY...........................38

David discusses his latest word-for word movie, The

Book of John.

MUSIC SPOTLIGHT: DANEN KANE......................42

ASHLEY BRETCHER: PRINCESS CUT.................54

Ashley discusses life on-set of “Princess Cut”.

THE “MASKED SAINT” UNMASKED....................62

Chris Whaley and Brett Granstaff discuss their

latest movie, “The Unmasked Saint”.

Faith Filled Family


EDITORIAL

PUBLISHER

Michelle Danko

mcdanko@eyeworship.org

ASSISTANT PUBLISHER

Vernita Simmons (Interviews)

vsimmons@eyeworship.org

Kathy Smith (Features)

kathy.smith@eyeworship.org

Lynn Dunn (Current Events)

ldunn@eyeworship.org

EDITOR

Jill King

jillking@eyeworship.org

Matt Poe

mattpoe@eyeworship.org

SALES

Mark M. Danko

mmdanko@faithfilledfamily.com

IMAGES:

COVER PHOTO

Shock@kozzi.com

PHOTOGRAPHERS

David Castillo Donimici, magann, Zurijetta, sergey Nivens, Joyonnig,

LCrespi, mast3r, Kozzi Inc., shock, Piedmont Photo, Stuart

Miles, Elnur, highwaystarz, vaicheslav, Adam 121, madhourse,

awesomeaki, HalfPoint, cuteimage, yayayoyo, vision, shock, and

iconspro and Jale IBrak @ Kozzi.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS AND FEEDBACK:

For subscriptions or feedback, please visit our website at :

www.faithfilledfamily.comIinfo@faithfilledfamily.com

© Faith Filled Family Magazine, November Edition, Yumpu 2015

All material is strictly copyright and all rights reserved. Reproduction

in whole or in part without the written permission of Faith Filled

Family is expressly forbidden.


Publisher’s Letter

GOD HAS A PLAN AND PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE

I learned that almost six years ago when God answered

my prayers as to what He wanted me to do with my life

and Faith Filled Family Magazine was born.

I tell my children that when you walk in your God-given

destiny, work is pleasurable and a joy every day. I love

what I do, and couldn’t imagine doing anything different.

I am doing what God created me to do, and glorifying His

kingdom.

You, too, can find this type of success in your life if you

just ask God and be open to His leading. He will take you

to places that you had never imagined, and open doors

that no man can shut. If He created it, and designed it,

it will come to pass, but only if we are willing to walk in it.

This type of success seems like a “no-brainer” doesn’t it?

So why do we offer excuses, like Moses, as to why we

can’t when God guarantees our happiness?

Overcome anything that holds you back from your destiny

in this issue on “Resolving an Identity Disorder”. Who

does God say you are?

It’s time to find out!

Be Blessed!

Michelle Danko

Publisher

Faith Filled Family Magazine


God Doesn’t Make

Mistakes

By Ben Blair

Psalm 139 13-14 For it was You that formed my

inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s

womb. I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully

made.

My grandmother took great pride in her

quilting. She would go to the fabric store

and pick out her fabrics. With a loving

smile she would gather some blue, some lighter

blue, some darker blue, almost imperceptibly different

shades. The design was already in her

head although as I watched her I had no way of

knowing what these yards of cloth would eventually

become. When she would return home her

scissors would dance. The once orderly rectangles

were now stars and flowers. Not to mention

all the oddly shaped scraps she would kindly

ask me to collect and dispose of when she was

done. After the swatches were stitched together

the designs looked spectacular. How she made

all those intricate shapes fit together in concentric

pattern I’ll never understand. I asked her once

how she got so good at quilting and she said

when she was younger she made a lot of mistakes.

Many quilting attempts had to be thrown

away. With practice she had mastered her craft.

This labor of love was not easy. The needle work

was hard on her aged eyes and arthritic fingers.

Each finished product was unique and imperfect

but they still made her smile with pride. We still

have a couple of grandma’s quilts tucked into a

closet. They only come out on very cold nights.

Cuddling under one always gives me a sense of

comfort and security like a warm hug. When I

gaze into the puzzle of fabrics I can still see her

smiling face. I wish we had saved more of those

quilts.

Humans make mistakes. God does not. God is

perfect and we are made by His perfect hand but

we as humans are far from perfect. It is our little

imperfections that make us unique just like those

quilts. Long before we were formed He had our

design in mind. When our parents first meet I

can imagine God getting the crocheting hook and

needle ready. God must have a loving smile on

his face as He gathers the materials He will use

to create us. He starts with our eternal soul which

is the basis that He will wrap everything else

around. Carefully he adds a heart, some pride,

lays a pair of lungs on top and surrounds that with

ribs and muscles. With precision he stiches each

sinew to hold our bones together. Each organ He

connects together for functionality. Each personality

trait is embedded deep within us to shape

how we interact with the world. He rolls out long


strands of clay that will be our

arms and legs. He rolls the clay

into a ball that will form our skull.

He chooses a couple of eyes and

fixes them into their sockets. His

hand paints on a crooked smile

and plants a field of hair onto our

heads. With a breath into our

nostrils He gives us the Spirit of

life. God’s hands dance as they

create us in a way we will never

be able to fully understand. My

grandmother stitched each quilt

together with love. How much

more so does God the Father

love us as he knits us together in

our mother’s wombs.

There are several places in the

bible that commands us to “fear

God”. I’ve often wondered what

that really means. I don’t think

it means to be afraid of our creator.

I believe it is more of a reverence

or respect for God, the

same way you’d feel about an

earthly father or a mentor. We

want to impress Him, we want to

do our best for Him, but there is

still that legitimate fear of being

punished if we mess up too bad.

So, what is the psalmist trying to

say when he says we are fearfully

made? I believe that God

is taking extra special care and

caution each and every time He

creates one of us. God does not

make mistakes. He is the wonderful

Creator so of course His

creations are wonderfully made.

“For we are God’s handiwork,

created in Jesus Christ to do

good works, which God prepared

in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10

Before your grandparents met,

before their grandparents met,

before The Lord separated the

light from the dark God had

already conceived of you. He

has already drawn out the major

acts of your life. He has already

planned the major challenges

you have and will face. He has

already given you the strength

and perseverance to overcome

whatever obstacle He feels will

better grow you as a Christian.

He has already made a list of all

the good works He wants you to

accomplish in Christ’s name. In

biblical terms these good works

are called bearing fruit. The time

or money you donate to charity,

the ear you lend to someone

who needs to talk, the grace you

show to your fellow human being

in need, these are all examples

of good fruit. Anything that can

be considered as loving each

other as Christ loves us. Jesus

says “he who abides in me and

I in him will bear much fruit; for

apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5. If we depend on

our own selfish nature it typically

prevents us from putting others

before ourselves. If we wait until

we are no longer short on time or

money we will never get around

to bearing good fruit. Jesus also

said “By this people will know

that you are my disciples, by the

love you show to others.” John

13:35. There are average every

day fruit we can bear/love we can

show such as giving the homeless

man on the corner a couple

bucks. There are also the good

fruit that God prepared for us to

bear long ago. These are called

divine appointments. You will

not be able to see them coming

but when you are in the middle

of one there will be no doubt

that something out of the ordinary

is happening. These may

take the form of a friend who is

a non-believer coming to you

with a problem and you take the

opportunity to share how your

faith has affected your life. Perhaps

someone is in need and the

only solution just happens to be

your one special talent. Maybe

you are down on your luck and

a friend is down on his luck but

together you two are able to

accomplish more than either one

of you ever could on your own.

God put you on this Earth for a

reason, or more than likely several

reasons. It is your job to discover

these reasons. Don’t be

like Jonah running from his divine

appointment. God followed him

and gave him an appointment

with a whale to make sure Jonah

fulfilled his purpose. As Christians

our goal in this life should

be that when we get to the next

life we hear our Creator tell us

“Well done, my good and faithful

servant.” The last thing we want

is to reach the pearly gates and

watch as God unrolls a scroll listing

all the divine appointments

He made for us and then retrieve

a post-it note containing the ones

we actually fulfilled.

Personally, I did not turn to God

until later in life. On February

8, 2012 I gave my life to Jesus

Christ. Before that I was an

atheist. I had a life altering event

occur not long after Christmas

the previous year. I truly believe

it was God tapping me on the

shoulder telling me “You’re going

the wrong way, stupid. Turn

around. Let Me show you the

way.” Learn from me and turn

to God sooner rather than later.

Don’t make God chase you.

Just like Jonah and I, you may

not like what he sends. Although

my relationship with my wife and

children improved significantly

after my conversion it does

not mean you will never have


another problem in this world

simply because you are now a

Christian. In fact, if we refer back

to John 15 we see that those

that do bear fruit get pruned so

that they may bear even more

fruit. I’ve trimmed a few plants

in my day and the thought of

someone taking clippers to me

does not exactly fill me with

anticipation. God the creator

took the upmost care when He

knit us together in our mother’s

womb. God the gardener will

also take the upmost care when

He prunes us, cutting away the

dead leaves and branches until

only the righteousness remains.

God is intentional, God is faithful,

and God is full of love for His

children. Trust in His process

and trust that He has plans for

you that are for good and not for

evil. The maker burns off impurities

as gold is purified in fire.

How does the maker know when

the gold is pure? When He can

see his reflection.

God does not make mistakes, but

we here on Earth sure do. When

God consecrated His chosen

people, the Jews, he did it with

a covenant that required adherence

to a set of laws. He did this

knowing that the Spirit is willing

but human flesh is always weak

and his chosen people would fall

short of the law again, and again,

and again. It was then that he

sent His only son to die for our

sins. It is only through the blood

of Jesus Christ that we are made

righteous. It doesn’t matter how

many mistakes you made in the

past or how many you make in

the future once you’ve started to

walk the Christian path. Every

sin past, present, and future was

pierced into the body of Jesus

Christ the moment he died upon

the cross. Does that mean you

can spend your life in sin and

just do a quick death bed conversion

to get into heaven? It

doesn’t work like that. If you

have truly accepted Jesus into

your heart, truly understand that

we are all children of God, you

will want to turn from sin and turn

toward God. You would not want

to add one more twinge of pain

to your Savior in the moment of

His death. God gives us free

will because He wants us to love

Him just as much as He loves

us. If we cannot choose to turn

towards God (or away), if we are

forced to only do what is right

and are not given the opportunity

or temptation to sin then it

makes the turning towards God

much less meaningful. I once

heard an easy definition of good

and evil. Good is anything that

brings you closer to God. Evil is

anything that takes you further

from God. This world is not perfect.

In fact this world is broken

and fallen. This world was never

intended to be our reward. That

reward does not come until we

take our last breath in this world

and our first breath in heaven.

That reward is to be in the eternal

presence of our Creator.

So, stop kicking yourself for

mistakes you’ve made in the

past, those mistakes have been

redeemed by the blood of Jesus

Christ. Stop feeling depressed

that your life has no meaning,

this is a lie you have been telling

yourself or someone else

has been telling you. Do not

listen to the lie. It’s a lie that the

enemy, the accuser, the devil

has been using to discourage

God’s children since time began.

Of course your life has meaning

because Jesus has made it

meaningful. Of course your life

has a purpose because God

created you with a purpose in

mind. Now take a deep breath,

get on your knees, and pray.

Not a quick prayer but turn off

all electronic devices, find a nice

quite room in the house or take a

peaceful walk if you have a safe

place to do so, and really spend

some time with God. What is

the point of asking God a question

if you never give Him time

to answer? Prayer is the only

time on this side of eternity that

we will get to have a conversation

with God. Maybe God has

already given you the answer.

Remember the parable of the

talents in Mathew 25:14-30. The

“talents” in this passage are bags

of silver but I don’t think we are

too far off the biblical mark if we

include the other English meaning

of talent as in something that

you are good at. If you bury your

God given talent in the backyard

as the foolish servant did

do you think you are truly fulfilling

God’s purpose for your life?

Pray to find your spiritual gifts,

pray to find your true purpose

in life, and remember that God

does not make mistakes. You,

however, are not God so you will

make plenty of mistakes. Proverbs

24:16 teaches us “For the

righteous may trip seven times,

but they will get up again. One

mistake is enough to cause the

wicked to stumble.” Find rest in

the strength of our Creator. He

is perfect so you don’t have to

be.

Ben Blair is a husband and father

of three. He currently works as a

pharmacist but his passion is the

written word.


Faithbox Makes The Perfect

Inspirational Gift

By Sharon S. Johnson

Are you looking for a great gift for that someone special? Something

that is meaningful and inspirational? Something practical and unique?

Maybe you’ve even had the idea that you’d like to give a gift that contains

a little bit of this and a little bit of that. But these days, who has

the time to hunt around for just the right mix?

If you’re like me, you welcome any help you can get in making life a

little bit simpler. So I’m sure you’ll want to keep reading as I explore

Faithbox, a subscription service that delivers Christian inspiration to

your doorstep, or the doorstep of someone you love, every month.

Willie Morris is the founder and CEO of Faithbox and it is my pleasure

to speak with him today.

I’ve been reading that one of the latest trends out there is subscription

box services, and that through those services people

can get anything from makeup to food to books, and more. But

you seem to have chosen to offer something that is kind of unique

with Faithbox. So can you tell me exactly what is Faithbox?


As consumers, each of us realizes

what kind of impact we can

have every day and through our

lifetime. And probably the biggest

impact that we also have

is what companies we support,

what products we buy every day.

And so as a Christian consumer,

I feel like I was called to make

sure I was supporting the right

companies. Companies that

weren’t getting in trouble for bad

labor practices, child trafficking,

destroying the environment,

and those kinds of things. So

with Faithbox, we really wanted

to have that conversation with

people and say, “We’re Christian,

we’re consumers. We

need to be supporting the right

companies, companies that are

responsible, companies that

respect creation.” And so every

month, we try to find really great

companies that have very nice

products that can fit into your

own lifestyle, and companies

that we feel like uphold Christian

ideals when it comes to consumers.

So that is what really

started it.

We realized that we have this

really great opportunity to touch

people every month and impact

them. We started off offering

reflections every week in the

box, and that has actually turned

into a daily devotional that we

also publish every month. It has

short-form content for each day

of the month--everything from

prayers to scriptures to really

great positive quotes about positive

living and living your faith

every day--just to kind of help

people take a few minutes out of

their day to center themselves,

reflect on their relationship with

Christ, and help keep their faith

relevant throughout the day and

throughout the month. [This is

good] especially in places like

New York, where there is so

much going on. We wanted to

give people something that was

bite-sized, something they could

cling to every day and reflect on.

That definitely sounds like

an interesting and unique

service. I read that the three

tenets of your company are

Growth, Discovery and Giving.

And I can definitely see that

the contents of Faithbox

would help individuals grow

and discover more about their

faith. Can you talk a little bit

more about the philanthropic

aspect, or the giving aspect,

that’s really tied in here and

how that relates not only to

the company but to the consumer

who’s purchasing this

service?

For us, a lot of the companies

that we work with and help

people discover are companies

that have one-to-one missions

or are involved with specific philanthropic

organizations. This is

something I’m really passionate

about anyway. So I wanted to

make sure that not only are we

helping people discover those

companies but that by becoming

a part of our community, we are

that type of company as well. So

we met the guys at Rice Bowls

(http://ricebowls.org/) about a

year ago now. And they are this

awesome philanthropic organization

that supports Christian

orphanages all throughout

the world and the orphanages

rely on them 100 percent for

their food…all the donations go

straight to the kids. I was super

inspired by them so we thought,

as our first charity to work with,

let’s work with these guys to see

what we can make happen “per

box.” So now for every box that

we ship, our community ends up

donating three meals to hungry

kids all over the world, which

for me is really cool. I think we

donated over 15,000 meals, and

they send pictures of the kids.

It feels great and it allows our

community to have even more of

an impact--like a direct worldly

impact that we wanted to have

as a company.

For your clients—how important

do you think it is for

them that they be able to not

only receive something that’s

inspirational for themselves

but to be able to impact others

in that way?

From the feedback we get, I

think it’s really important. I think

people like knowing that even

if they’re too busy they can

research and find a charity that is

really good and Christian. They

know that we are going to take

care of that for them. It makes

it easier on people knowing that

they get this cool stuff but that

they are also giving back. They

know that Faithbox is going to

make sure that we’re giving to a

great charity, and that the money

is not going to our overhead or

administration fees.

When did you actually start

Faithbox? I read that you did

a soft launch of the company

late last year.

Yes, we sent out a couple dozen

boxes last November or December.

But we really didn’t officially

start sending to the public until

January, so just about 9 months.

And are you surprised by

the impact that Faithbox has

had already in terms of the


esponse you’re seeing from

new clients? Are you surprised

by how fast it’s catching

on?

I am. You know it’s one of those

things. When you’re starting a

new company, you’re always

kind of nervous. Will people

respond to this? Am I doing

the right thing? Especially with

it being a Christian company,

you wonder “am I following the

right path that He’s set out for

me?” I think that the outpouring

of e-mails we get and the

intimacy that people share with

us about how it’s affected their

lives—sharing the struggles they

are going through, wanting us to

pray for them--that kind of stuff

has really helped keep that passion

going and confirm that we

feel like we are doing the right

thing as a team.

Our team that works on customer

support and social media

tells us on a daily basis now

that there is something that we

should check out—a beautiful

email that someone has written

about what they’ve been going

through, or just creative little stories

people share with us. This

is something I never would have

expected. It’s one of the things

that I didn’t think about being so

personal until we got it out there.

I gathered that your experiences

from your own Christian

walk really seemed to help

lay the foundation that led you

to the creation of Faithbox?

Are there any particular experiences

that really stand out

for you as you were making

this decision to launch Faithbox

that felt like an “aha”

moment that said yes, this is

what I should be doing at this

moment?

I don’t think there was any “aha”

moment. I knew I wanted to use

the skills I had to create something

meaningful and to create

something that would be a positive

impact to the community, but

I didn’t really know what that was.

There wasn’t any specific time

when I felt that this is definitely

it. Even now, as the company

grows, there are always questions

of “are we making the right

decisions as we move forward?”

That is something you have to

pray about and trust a little bit,

and know that you’re doing it for

the right reasons, which is tricky.

But [for me] there is definitely

coming back into Christianity

and avowing that yes, I was an

atheist for awhile and now that

I’m Christian, I want to do something

that reflects on that. That

was the scariest thing for me-

-not knowing how people would

react. It was a little bit of fear, I

think, but I felt like I was going in

the right direction. As I started

Faithbox, I met these great guys

through Bible study which gave

me that community I needed in

a small group setting. And I think

those kinds of things--those little

events that at the time I didn’t

really think about--were the

things that really helped me get

through the moments of doubt

early on.

It definitely sounds like the

relationships you’ve formed

are actually as important a

part of the Faithbox story as

the actual service itself. It

sounds like you’ve learned

some valuable lessons about

the importance of relationship

with God’s people.

Yes definitely. I grew up Catholic.

I grew up Christian in a Christian

home. I went to church, I

went to Catholic school. I had

that community, but when I came

back to Christianity, it was a very

personal thing and I didn’t really

latch onto the [Christian] community

again until I got to New


York. Faithbox opened me back

up to that because I was working

with people who are all believers

and people were sharing

these real stories about what

they’d gone through and their

paths, and that really opened

me back up to that community

setting which has been great.

Fortunately, I get to meet amazing

people who are doing things

in His name or people who have

these incredible journeys, so I

think that’s been the coolest part

about Faithbox and is definitely

one of those other unexpected

things!

I think your story is a good

example of how the Christian

walk that you were on is all

part of your journey, which

has ultimately led to this particular

part of your life. So I

think it will be good for our

readers to see that everything

does indeed come together for

wherever they may be at this

moment in their own lives.

I think that’s the most powerful

thing when I talk to people

because basically people are

reluctant to talk about that—the

fact that there may be times that

they doubt or don’t feel close to

God, but you know, we probably

all feel like that. It’s part of the

journey.

Thank you, that is a great message.

So back to the Faithbox

itself. Can you give me a little

bit more specifics of what

might be contained in a certain

month’s box?

One of the things we’ve tried to

implement is to feature upcoming

books. We’ve had Jefferson

Bethke’s new book, It’s Not What

You Think, and the cool thing is

that we were able to give the

books to our community before

the official launch, so people got

to read it beforehand. We’re

going to do the same thing in

November with Rich Wilkerson

Jr.’s new book called Sandcastle

Kings, which is really phenomenal…

We work with authors and

try to curate some of the things

they like to include in the box.

We usually try to include a snack

box, and then there is usually

a lifestyle component, like sunglasses

in June for example. We

try to keep it varied so that even

if one month there is something

that doesn’t quite meet your personal

tastes hopefully the next

month you’ll find something that

applies to you and that you will

enjoy.

And how does the subscription

service work?

We have month-to-month, three

months, and a year. Monthto-month

is the most flexible

because you can cancel whenever

you want, so you can try it

out and if you really like it you

can go to three months or a

year. For gift service subscriptions,

we offer three month, six

month and a year. We do have

some exciting stuff coming up for

Christmas. We’re going to have

a “Limited Edition” box that is just

for single purchase. We talked

to people who said they’d love to

do a [one-time] gift for someone

[during that time of year].

Do your customers get

advanced notice through

social media about what’s

coming every month or is it a

surprise?

No, we try to keep it a surprise.

Sometimes we’ll do like a “sneak

peek.” I think a lot of the enjoyment

of getting a box every

month so we try to keep it under

wraps.

Wow, I would sure like to know

what’s in the contents of that

“Limited Edition” Christmas

box, wouldn’t you?

Willie Morris describes himself

as being happier and more passionate

about what he’s doing

than he has ever been before.

His advice to our readers is to

not only strive to find passion

but to bring your beliefs, your

Christianity, into your every day

life, no matter what your station

in life. I can definitely tell from

our conversation that Mr. Morris

has been and continues to be

excited about all phases of the

Faithbox process, from curating

gift items to supporting charities

to providing eco-friendly products.

And most important seems

to be the spiritual growth of his

clients and himself through their

experiences with Faithbox.

Faithbox sure seems to be something

that could help consumers

Grow, Discover and Give. And it

also sounds like something that

could help save some time when

it comes to trying to find a great,

inspirational and unique gift for

that special someone.

Well, I’m still curious about that

“Limited Edition” Christmas box.

So if you’re like me and you want

to know more about Faithbox,

check them out at http://www.

faithbox.com or on face book at

https://www.facebook.com/getfaithbox?_rdr.

Think of someone

in your life who could benefit

from getting a little inspiration

sent to his or her doorstep. Or

better yet, send one to yourself.

That’s what I plan to do!


Plan and Purpose

You are Never Too Old

for God to Use You!

By Vernita Simmons

Certainly, God has a plan and purpose for each person in the world. For I know the thoughts and

plans I have for you says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to

give you hope in your final outcome. (Jeremiah 29:11). Precious, God thinks highly of you. He

already see you thriving as you place your life in His hands to serve through. Therefore, your destiny

can began while you’re young or later in life. Hence; during your early years, though you may not realize

it, God is preparing you for the plan and purpose He destined for your life. You may require counsel

or an Overseer to aide in the development of your artistry and potential in making wise decisions and

using such for the Kingdom of God until as such time the Lord fully releases you to go forth to minister.

Now - In order for the purpose of your life to be revealed, it would be behoove you to seek God in earnest

prayer. Perhaps; God is preparing you as you sing in the choir. Maybe as you participate in various

activates whether at church, school or within your community. It could be in your courage in taking a

stand for what is right. It could be thrust upon you as an inheritance. Such was the example of Josiah

who became King of Jerusalem at the tender age of eight. (I King’s 22:1-23; - 30; II Chronicles 34:1-

35:27). Unlike his father Amon and grandfather Manasseh, he did what was right in the sight of God.

(II Kings 21:1-3; 18-22). He reigned for thirty one years. Under his leadership, he reformed and brought

down the worship of idols throughout Judah and Jerusalem.


In fact; I was merely nine years old when I wrote

my first play and God began to unveil His purpose

for my life. When I was a child, I often read

the Bible to my grandmother who was blind. She

was a remarkable woman who divinely touched

me by her ability to dictate letters to my cousin. I

later realized my grandmother had inspired me to

become a writer. We became trusted companions

when she attended the monthly “Mother’s Board

Meetings” at Antioch Baptist Church.

On occasion, I was encouraged and given the

opportunity to make a comment. With my passion

and love for God, little did I know all this would

develop into the plan and purpose God ordained

for my life. This expanded into a passionate gift

as I became an adult and began writing sermons

and speaking at various church functions; teaching

Sunday School and writing books.

Surely, it’s not about your age because everyone

has something for God to work with. Neither;

are your social status, financial portfolio or lack

thereof; credentials nor experiences a pre – requisite

to qualify to fulfill the commission God has

decree for you. However; it is in coming to the

realization God has called you and your willingness

to surrender your heart to Him. You must

yield and obey and harness your talents and gifts

and apply them to bring God glory.

Is it too late for God to use you?

Regardless of your age or your physical or mental

capabilities or disabilities, God can yet fulfill the

destiny He designed for your life. Beloved, you

have something unique and special to offer that

no one else has. Truly, God has no respecter of

person and He has need of you. And Peter opened

his mouth and said: Most certainly and thoroughly

I now perceive and understand that God shows

no partiality and is no respecter of persons. (Acts

20:34-35). If you are willing and submit, He will

work mighty thru you. All is required is:

A surrendered heart to serve

A willing to obey

A mind to go and do what you can where you

are in this moment and time

Whoever has a desire burning inside to be used

of God; He will use every resource at His disposal

to move you forward in accomplishing what you

thought you never could. He did this for Moses

as the Lord had begun to fashion skills in him thru

acquiring knowledge in all the ways and customs

of the Egyptians under Pharaoh’s guidance. At

age forty, Moses came to the defense of his brethren

being beaten by an Egyptian. In his defense,

he killed him and fearing for his own life, flees and

dwells in the land of Midian. (Exodus 2:11-25; 3:1-

14). He becomes the keeper of his father-in-law’s

sheep. Then, for another forty years, God uses

this to further train, equip and prepare Moses for

the ultimate call He had on his life.

As can be seen, at age eighty; the Lord anoints

Moses as an awesome ruler and deliver and sends

him back to Egypt to set his His chosen people, the

Israelites free from under the harsh afflictions of

Pharoah. (Acts 7:23-37; Exodus chapters 3-14). I

experience a similar appointment from God when I

began to utilize worship dancing in my forties. First,

I started dancing with Streamers during praise and

worship at Pentecostal Church of Christ. Eventually,

Pastor James and Dorothy Howard appointed

me as the Leader of the Children’s Dance Ministry.

This gift further developed when I served as a Minister

in Training at Beth-El Love Christian Center in

Orange, NJ. It was at Beth-El, I met the anointed

Pastors Robert and Dorothy Wilson. They allowed

me to use my collective gifts as a Majestic Dance

Worshiper, in November of 2010, to spearhead

my first “Praise and Worship Conference”. Each

year, people gathered throughout the region to be

taught, equipped and charged that worship was a

lifestyle which needed to permeate every aspect of

their lives and they were to help usher others into

an awesome encounter with God. This open doors

beyond what I imagined as it expanded opportunities

to evangelize. Given this evidence, it is not too

late for God to use you, too.

What is the purpose of God’s plan for your life?

Most assuredly, I am on a mission. One of the most

essential accomplishments I desire, is to apply the

gifts and talents as a Writer/Publisher ~ Teacher

~ Majestic Dance Worshiper, which the Lord has

graciously bestowed upon me to use as a Platform

to “Empower” the lives of others. Now, I am going

to share with you exactly how the Lord’s plan and


purpose for my life transitioned me from a small

child who loved reading the Bible to her grandmother

~ to a single parent on welfare, trusting

God, to a Substitute Teacher ~ being unemployed

for more than two years without any means of

income for more than eighteen months, an Evangelist

~ Freelance Writer to an aspiring published

Author.

Too often, people wait for their circumstances to

change or get better before taking a leap of faith.

They procrastinate and make excuses. They

become immobile to do anything while they go

through trying times. You don’t have to wait until

the perfect opportunity to come along, neither for

your financial situation to improve or anything to

get better, thus, missing out on an opportunity of

a lifetime.

Faith ushers God into your current equation of

life’s trials and is the perfect way to bring opportunity

of change along.

The Lord has graciously blessed you with gifts,

talents, skills, knowledge and potential. You can

apply these amazing qualities with your faith in

God at any time and propel yourself in going forward.

Anyone who applies; it doesn’t make “No

Sense Faith” in God, He will Show ~ Up and Show

~ Off!

You see – it was never my intentions to join a

social media site. However, God was in the process

of using all things at His disposal to move me

forward in my writings. He used a longtime friend,

mentor, Pastor Gloria to invite me to connect with

her on LinkedIn. Reluctantly, I accepted and

began writing comments, sharing updates, joining

groups and initiate discussions.

Consequently, I started to touch and minister to

many lives. I began to write Posts on LinkedIn

Pulse, Community Christian Service Workers and

Faith Filled Family. I even branched out to opening,

at no charge, a website of created inspirational

writings that created my name as a brand. That

opened the door for possibilities as GOD’S Words

are My Voice in writings to encourage, inspire and

empower the lives of others. It became a platform

to minister to the nation to realize God placed

greatness inside of them and He had need of

them. Therefore, I began to transfer these Devotionals

into a book.

All be it, I didn’t have the finances to use the typical

publishing company, despite inquiring of several.

Just as I was about to apply the services of a printing

company; SUDDENLY, something happen,

something only God could had orchestrated.

The Lord used an unlikely encounter with a dear

friend, Lynn, who I had reconnected with on Facebook;

which would change the course of my life

forever and for the better, enabling me to publish

my first book. God can do the same for you, For

with God nothing is ever impossible and no word

from God shall be without power or impossible of

fulfillment. (Luke 1:37 AMP).

To hear the whole story of this amazing journey,

revealing why you should see yourself as God see

you, and how He has designed a specific destiny

for your life; Come……..travel with me in my book;

“Capturing The Spirit Of Gold’s Word with Vernita”;

(http://www.createspace.com ~ http://www.

amazon.com); and taste of the Amazing love of

God and discover why He’ll never stop loving you

no matter what you do. Be encouraged to hold

on through the darkest times for God will never

leave nor forsake you. Learn the power of God’s

Forgiving Grace and how to experience Him as

“More Than Enough”. I hope these Inspirational

Readings will stir your heart and Refresh your

soul. Only God will restore your brokenness and

heal you that you may move forward to a Progressive

Life of Wholeness and Victory! Come….. Be

refreshed in the river of life!

This is GOD’S plan and purpose for my life. Are

you ready to venture out and allow Him to manifest

what He has chosen you to do? Go For It! God

Loves You!


“Reel”

Dick

By

How friendly is familyfriendly

entertainment

these days? How can you

gain access to movies and television

programs that you know

are good for your children to

watch? Can you really trust the

rating PG-13? For the answers

to these and many other questions

you may have about what

to allow for family viewing, stay

tuned. Mr. Dick Rolfe, the CEO

and Co-founder of The Dove

Foundation has many years

of experience both asking and

answering these and many other

questions parents need to know.

He takes “family-friendliness”

very seriously and has made it

his life’s work to ensure parents

are aware of the good programming

that is available, as well as

to warn parents of the programming

that isn’t so good for their

children.

For 25 years, Mr. Rolfe and

his staff have taken the time

to study and discern various

types of television programs

and movies in order to produce

recommendations for families.

These are recommendations

you the parent can trust as they

adhere to a set of standards that

they have observed without fail

for these many years. Now, the

foundation has taken it a step

further. They are now providing

access to the programming they

recommend for families through

The Dove Channel. The launch

of this new channel will provide

families with the tools they need

to be certain they are watching


Talk with

Rolfe

Lisa Carter

wholesome entertainment, no

more guess work. The work has

already been done for you.

It is this kind of tireless effort

and energy that has made The

Dove Foundation known and its

Dove-approved seal so widely

coveted amongst the filmmaking

industry. A trip to the movies can

be expensive for families these

days. With the new Dove Channel,

families can make a trip to

the movies a treat for every now

and then. Yet, they can also

enjoy making movie night at

home special without having to

worry about content.

This makes it even easier to help

parents guard the hearts of their

children as they are being entertained.

Faith Filled Family spoke

with Mr. Dick Rolfe of The Dove

Foundation as he answered the

questions parents want to know,

and shared some insight into the

new Dove Channel launching

soon.

Thank you for talking with

me, Mr. Rolfe. I appreciate

you taking the time to answer

some questions for me. The

Dove Foundation has been

in the business of reviewing

and critiquing programs and

movies for family-friendliness

for a long time now (25 yrs).

How did the idea for a new

platform, The Dove Channel,

come into play? And why do

you believe that now is the

time for this new platform?

Well, as you pointed out, Dove

has been around for 25 years. We

were started by myself and a

group of other parents who were

concerned about our kids and

we wanted to pre-screen movies

before we allowed them to watch

them. So for the last 25 years,

we’ve been doing that and provide

detailed reviews for caring

families so that they can be forewarned

before they go to a theater,

or rent, or buy a video.

With a recent development of

technology moving into the digital

world, the selection of content

and the availability of content

has skyrocketed to the point

where it has become even more

confusing and more difficult for

families to protect their children

and to find content that is

reflective of their values. So we

felt that the time was right for

us to move from providing information

about movies to providing

access to movies that were

approved for family viewing by

The Dove Foundation.

What kind of programming will

the Dove Channel feature?

Well, a wide variety of content.

We will have content that is classified.

We have five different seals

of approval. We have the familyapproved

seal for all ages, ages

12 and up. That’s general family

entertainment. It just has a good

uplifting message and a good

positive message for the family

to enjoy – comedies, dramas,

action films, and so on. Then

there is the faith-friendly seal

which we launched in request of

the Christian Retail Association

about four years ago.

That helps to identify films

that arein the family-approved

range of content but with faith

messages – messages of

redemption, reconciliation, and

forgiveness, and other Christcentered

messages. Then we

have a faith-based seal which is

designed specifically for those

movies that deal with difficult

subjects such as drug and alcohol

use, or human trafficking or

violence such as crucifixions,

things of that nature. But they

have such a powerful redemptive

message, we felt compelled

to award them a recommendation

with a caution for the content.

When you say you didn’t trust

the motion picture ratings,

what do you mean by that?

Well, I had a conversation with


Jack Valente who was at the

time the head of the Motion Picture

Association of America (the

MPAA). I asked him if a PG-13

movie today (when I asked him),

would be rated R a few years

ago, he said, ‘Of c o u r s e . ’

He said, ‘You must understand

our rating system reflects the

changes of society.’ So I challenged

him. I said, ‘Jack, what

you’re telling me is that the standard

is no standard at all. A pound

that is 16 ounces today could be

15 ounces tomorrow.’ He chuckled,

but agreed that they do try

and reflect where society is at.

I responded and said, ‘The difference

between your standards

and ours is that we serve a

standard that changes not.’

So true. How will viewers be

able to get the Dove Channel

in their homes? Will they be

given the option to add the

feature to their already existing

cable packages?

It’s not going to be available on

demand cable at this point. It’s

going to launch on the web. It will

be at Dovechannel.com and then

it will also be available on various

set-top boxes such as Roku,

mobile apps, Apple IOS and for

Android systems, tablets and

televisions and smart phones

and so on. Then very shortly

after that, it will be expanded to


include various gaming devices

such other types of gaming

devices like X-Box, the Amazon

Fire, Apple TV and so many

other options. Pretty much anywhere

you will find Netflix, you

will also be able to find the Dove

Channel.

Do you anticipate any competition

with other channels that

may be considered

somewhat family-friendly?

(such as Hallmark channel)?

Not really. Obviously everybody

is going to try in their own way

to appeal to the family audience.

Even Netflix tries to develop a

category for kids. Unfortunately,

I don’t agree with their standards.

I wouldn’t allow my kids to

subscribe to Netflix for kids. We

have a different set of standards

than even the Hallmark channel,

I think. There are some Hallmark

approved movies that would not

necessarily be Dove approved.

One of the things that we’re

doing is creating a walled garden

– a safe place where families

can subscribe to our service and

feel free to make the content

available to all family members.

For that purpose, we’ve actually

created a segmentation system

so that once a person becomes

a member, they can go in and

select a category of films that

appeal to their own tastes.

For example, if they want only

family-friendly they can make

that available for all ages for

their kids, they can select that

category and they can protect

that with a password so that

the kids can watch only those

movies that mom and dad feel

are appropriate for them. Yet,

mom and dad can still watch

content with a more mature subject.

So we’ve provided families an

opportunity to take control of their

entertainment choices which

is something that the people I

talked to in my own family, we

really look forward to being able

to do that.

Is there a difference between

“family-friendly” and “wholesome”?

Well, the term wholesome is a

term that can be interpreted by a

lot of different people. Even family-friendly

can be interpreted differently

by a lot of people. The

Dove Foundation has created

strict criteria for what we call

family-approved, which is content

that will receive our Dove

Seal of approval. So we have

very specific and very strict

content rules that apply to the

definition family-approved.

“Faith-friendly” entertainment

includes programs that highlight

values that we as believers

hold dear. How much of

the programming featured

on the Dove Channel will be

“faith-friendly” as opposed to

just “family-approved”?

Right now the content is going

to be pretty much 50-50. About

half of it will be family-approved,

and half of it will be faith-friendly.

Only a small portion will be in the

more intense faith-based category.

According to your National

Opinion Poll, “93% believe

that offensive material seen

in TV, movies, and the internet

is on the rise.” Is this your

belief, and what can be done

to actively counter that?

Well, yes. I think it’s pretty commonly

known that Hollywood

has kind of lost its grip on the

family. And The Dove Foundation

and other organizations are

trying to persuade them to provide

more content that meets

our standards and that families

consider to be safe. We’re

having some influence in that

Hollywood is beginning to listen

to the faith audience and the

family audience.

For example, as recently as two

or three years ago, there were

only two faith-based movies

out in theaters. Next year, there

will be 15 faith-based films in

the theaters, so we’re having

some impact. The problem is

for families at home to be able

to find those movies and by

gaining access to them. Maybe

they can’t afford to go to the

theater and spend $10 to $12

per person. For a family of five

that gets pretty expensive. So

by providing the Dove Channel,

we’re offering the opportunity, for

$5.00 a month, for families to be

able to watch as much wholesome

entertainment as they

wish.

What is your opinion about

movies and programming that

represents a certain “faithbased”

characteristic, but

is not true to scripture? For

example, with the movie Noah

– the director seemed more

interested in getting his own

message across instead of

telling the story how it was.

What category would you

place a movie like that in?

I would call Noah Science Fiction,

I would not call it a Bible

story. Unfortunately, Darren

Aronofsky the director, not only

offended Christians, but he


offended virtually every organized

religion on the face of the

planet. Because the Noah story

belongs to Jews and Muslims

as much as it does to Christians.

So he made a big calculated

error when he tried to moderate

or modify the story to fit his

own tastes ignoring the tastes

of the people of many faiths

who attribute Noah to their

belief system.

Fortunately, the good news is

Paramount has listened to the

audience and they are coming

out with two new movies that

are going to be from all appearances,

true to Bible principles.

One is called Captive which

is a story about Ashley Smith

who was the young lady who

was held captive at her home

by a murderer and was able to

mediate that situation by reading

passages from Rick Warren’s

Purpose Driven Life, it’s a

wonderful story, we’ve seen the

movie and we totally endorse it.

Another movie which Mark Burnett

and Roma Downey are

working on which will be coming

out next year, is a retelling of

Ben Hur. Those are both being

released by Paramount. So I

think the studio has learned its

lesson from Noah.

What’s the criteria for receiving

the coveted Dove Seal of

approval?

Well, for movies we consider

six ingredients when we look

at a film for content purposes

– one is “sexuality”, one is

“language”, one is “violence”,

another is “nudity”, another is

“drug/alcohol use”, and a sixth

category is “other” which refers

to such things as disrespect for

authority, some extreme types

of behavior. So we have standards

within each of those categories

as to the intensity or the

graphic nature of those six categories.

We rate them between

zero and five – zero being none

and five being the most intense

and in order to receive a Dove

seal, the categories must all be a

two or less, if it’s a three or four

above in intensity it does not

receive Dove approval.

I’m curious. There’s a movie,

it’s kind of older, called Land

of the Lost starring Will Ferrell.

It’s considered somewhat

family-friendly but there are

comments made by the characters

referring to sex for

example that is inappropriate

for kids. Did you ever have a

chance to review that one?

Yes, and it is not recommended

for families. I just looked it up on

our website. If you go to Dove.

org you can find the recommendation.

Actually, sex and language

are the two reasons we

could not approve the movie.

What else would you like our

viewers to know about The

Dove Channel? When will it

launch?

The launch date is September

15th. We’re very excited about

that. We want parents to know

that finally they will be able to get

their families a safety net and

give them control over their viewing

of entertainment, movies,

and television programs. There’s

going to be a vast library within

this walled garden as I call it

of over 900 hours of entertainment

for a mere $4.99 a month,

that’s a pretty good deal. Even

for families who can’t afford the

subscription, there’s going to be

quite of bit of free content for

them to view that will be ad-supported.

And you will be constantly, I

assume, adding to your library

correct?

Yes, as a matter of fact, there’s

some original content that

we’re hoping to be able to

announce at launch that we’ll be

adding to the Dove Channel. So

we’re looking forward to those

announcements.

Will that include classic television

shows?

There will be some. For example,

we have the entire, I believe, six

seasons of Highway to Heaven

starring Michael Landon. We

also have Veggie Tales for the

kids, and 321 Penguins. We have

a wide array of content. We also

have a wonderful series, Sue

Thomas: F.B. Eye, which is kind

of a crime drama show w i t h

a faith message in it. It’s about a

woman who was hired by the FBI

because she was deaf and she

could read lips from a distance.

That was a very popular series

on PAX TV for five seasons.

We’re very happy to include that

in our programming.

Faith Filled Family would like to

thank Mr. Dick Rolfe for sharing

his insight and wisdom into

what’s needed in entertainment

for today’s Christian families.

We are so pleased and thankful

to Mr. Rolfe and his staff at

the Dove Foundation for all their

hard work and their dedication

over the years. We pray for much

success as they launch the new

Dove Channel this month. We

look forward to supporting their

endeavors to bring good wholesome

Dove-approved entertainment

to our families.


I am

Who God Says I am

Finding Your True

Self (Identity) in

the Word of God

By Terri Bell

Who am I?

Why am I here?

Where can I find the answers?

Before time began; in the

midst of no created thing;

in the center of void and

darkness, there was God! Earth

as we know it and its solar companions

were once without form

or substance, not fashioned to

function as they exist today. Nothing

was created, only a description

of darkness gives way to

our imagination about what we

now call life. Who is capable of

providing this description of nonexistence

if no-thing existed?

Finding the oracle to this mystery

would surely shed “light”

and give “life” to those who find

themselves living in this present

world with questions about their

identity and purpose in the earth.

How do we find the answer to

this mystery?

“In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God, and

the Word was God. The same

was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him;

and without him was not any

thing made that was made. In

him was life; and the life was

the light of men. And the light

shineth in darkness; and the

darkness comprehended it not.”

John 1:1-6

We Were Created By The Word

of God

When looking for answers to

life’s questions like; “Who am I

and why am I here”, we have to

look to the Originator; the “Alpha

and Omega”, the One who made

everything! God is our heavenly

Father and His Word says that

we are His children. Let us take

a look at where this all started; In

the Word of God, He says He created

heaven and the earth; God

began the process of creation by

speaking it into existence. The

first thing that God said was, “Let

there be light” and light appeared.

Everything that proceeded out of

the mouth of God gave light and

life. In Genesis 1, God created


man and woman in His image

and likeness. Every attribute

of God, we as His creation possesses.

So how did we get off

track? How did God who created

everything, create children

who do not know their identity

and purpose?

True or false…“Sticks and

stones may break my bones but

words will never hurt me”? This

age old adage has been around

for as long as I can remember.

When children would tease one

another, it wasn’t a surprise to

hear this rebuttal used as a way

to guard oneself from the sting

of hurtful words that were sent to

make the target feel bad about

themselves. If successful in

hitting the mark, those harmful

words could change the truth into

a lie and taint ones self-esteem,

image and worth. Growing up, I

was a victim of hurtful words and

I can remember my Mom asking

me, “Are you what they say you

are”? My reply would be, “no

ma’am”. My Mom would say,

“don’t let their lie become your

truth, you are God’s child and

not what others say about you”.

I must be honest and say that,

I didn’t know what Mom meant

at the time, her words sure didn’t

make me feel any better about

myself because there were

others whose words were still

unkind to me. As I grew older

my Mom’s advice became quite

clear. It has been 40 years now

and I have been blessed to

work with children for over half

of that time. The biggest challenge

I have is getting children to

believe they have worth. Even

while working with preschoolers

I found that their day could

be totally ruined because some

other child wouldn’t play with

them or be their friend. I spent

a lot of time teaching adults and

children that we belong to God

because (as Mom said) His

Word says so. God created us

and He alone decides who we

are and what we will be. When

sharing the power of words with

young children, I tell them that

words are like super-powers;

they can be used for good or

evil! I share with adults too that

once words are released into the

atmosphere you put them on an

assignment and whose job it is

to perform those words is predicated

on what you say.

For example, words that are in

alignment with what God says,

gives Him permission to perfect

and perform those things.

(Psalm 138:8) It’s great to know

that if we say what God says,

we can begin to know who He is

and who we are as His children.

That’s using your superpowers

for good. In direct contrast, if

words are spoken that are contradictory

to the Word of God,

those words are put on a more

dangerous assignment that the

devil is more than happy to do

whatever he can to make those

words come to life. You see,

he is the villain, the one whose

sole purpose is to kill, steal and

destroy. His diabolical plan is to

inundate the people of God with

lies and untruths that if successful

in its delivery, will divert Gods

people from ever knowing who

He is and who they are in Him.

It’s a calculated plan; the enemy

knows that the Word of God is

our life source and the avenue

by which we live and are saved.

Without the Word of God, we are

left here on earth without guidance,

instructions and knowledge

about our Creator God. It’s

like someone building a mansion

for a homeless person without

giving that person directions to

the house, instructions on how

to maintain and sustain it. The

homeless person is left destitute

and without a place to live

even though the truth is there

is a home prepared for Him; He

just needs to be given directions

to get there. As Christians we

need the Word of God and its

truth to live a life of purpose. So

what does God say about this?

The Word of God Is Our Secret

Weapon

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that

“death” and “life” reside in the

words that we speak. Our words

can give life or cause death; so

what we say to ourselves and

others is very important and

what we believe and receive as

truth is sure to put an indelible

blueprint on who we are. Let us

consider this;

John 1:1-4 says that before there

was life, God and His Holy Word

existed. The Word of God also

states that “EVERYTHING” was

made by God! I love the correlation

between the 4th verse

of John 1 and the 1st verse of

Genesis 1. In Genesis, the first

words God said was, “Let there

be light…” In the 1st chapter of

John, God is characterized as

light and “His life is the light of all

men”. We can glean from these

passages of scripture that the

power and origin of God’s word

gives us life! The B.I.B.L.E,

yes that’s the book for me! God’s

Holy Word is powerful and it is

a lamp unto our feet and a light

unto our path (Psalms 119:115).

Whether we chose to receive the

Word of God as truth, the validity

of it or its origin, the Bible is


the written Word of God. It is

the conduit by which God uses

to communicate with us. In

God’s Word we find that we are

His chosen children and He is

our Heavenly Father. Just like

an earthly father cares for his

children and wants the best for

them, likewise our God shares

the same sentiments for us. We

can find the heart of God in His

Word! He is the model by which

we live and love! The beauty of

this awesome Father is that He

alone created us in His image

and likeness (Genesis 1:26) and

it was by His words, His very

thoughts that we were intricately

designed and by way of His

Spirit, the breath and essence of

God that we exist today. What a

loving God whose sole purpose

for “speaking” life into existence

was to establish a relationship

with us; to give us life. Do you

know who you are?

The Truth, The Whole Truth

and Nothing But The Truth

So help me “believe” God

I am fearfully and wonderfully

made by God… created in secret

and everything I need to know

about myself is provided for me

in the Word of God. (Psalms

139: 14-16 paraphrased)

When we read the Word of God

it is filled with life affirmations

about our true identity. God says

that we are:

His children (John 1:12)

(Romans 8:16)

The “Apple of His Eye” (Deuteronomy

32:9-11)

Filled with wisdom, knowledge

and understanding (Colossians

1:9)

Conduits of Him through Christ

Jesus (John 15:1, 5)

One spirit with Him (1 Corinthians

6:17)

Of royal decent, chosen by Him

(1 Peter 2:9a)

Free in Him (John 8:36)

A new creation in Him (2 Corinthians

5:17)

The Righteousness of Him in

Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21)

No longer slaves but children

and heirs (Galatians 4:7)

These are just a few examples

of what God says about who we

are in His Word. The Bible is

filled with examples of how God

loves us and how He feels about

us. He tells us that if we believe

Him, we have power to become

His sons and daughters. (John

1:12) We are in Christ Jesus.

Our identity and self-worth is

found in Him alone. Ephesians

1:5 tells us that we were chosen

by God and when we give our

lives to Him we become His

adopted children with the same

rights and privileges as His only

Son, Jesus Christ. We become

one with Christ. God made this

decision before heaven and

earth were formed, it was predestined.

(See 1 Corinthians 12:27,

Galatians 3:27-28, Romans 6:6,

Jeremiah 1:5, Colossians 3:1-3)

The Truth Shall Set You Free

For what if some did not believe?

Shall their unbelief make the

faith of God without effect?

God forbid: yea, let God be true,

but every man a liar;

(Romans 3:3-4a)

The only way to know who we

are in God; what He has said

about our lives is by reading and

believing His Word. There just

isn’t any other way around it. I

remember when I was a new

convert with major self-esteem

and image issues; I had a distorted

opinion about myself and

how God viewed my life. My

mentor would always say, “What

does God say about that?” or

“Show me that God feels that

way in His Word”. When my

thoughts about myself were

skewed, she always directed me

to the source, the Word of God.

She would often say, “Everything

you want to know about yourself,

you will find it in the Word

of God and every lie that was

ever told and you believed will

be replaced with God’s truth.” I

began reading and learning who

I was and the unwavering love

of God when I made a decision

to dedicate myself to the studying

of His Word. When sharing

God’s love with others, I explain

my conversion by telling people,

“The light came on”. How befitting

is that symbolism of “light”

that I found in reading God’s

Word. In 2 Timothy 2:15, God

tells us to study (read, learn and

educated) ourselves from His

Word so that we will know assuredly

who we are and who He is

so that we can boldly share that

truth with others and live our

best life. (paraphrased) God

knew that if we would dedicate

ourselves to getting to know

Him, we would be so filled with

the truth of who He is and who

we are that we would be confident

and not ashamed to live our

lives for Him. Don’t you wonder


sometimes why Christian folks

are suffering from depression

or low self-esteem and identity

crisis? Our society seems to be

behaving like bastard children,

looking for love and acceptance

anywhere they can find it. Living

a life for Christ now, I can understand

because before I began

the journey of establishing a relationship

with God, I was a Christian

who loved God and tried

to live a good life but I did not

“know” God. I was acquainted

with Him; I knew He existed and

believed in the foundations of

Jesus’ life, death and resurrection

but I would say I had a form

of godliness but I was living a life

with no power (2 Timothy 3:5) . I

believed God existed but I really

didn’t believe what He said in

His Word about me. Everything

begins and ends with the Word

of God.

For Every Truth, There Is A Lie

When we recap the beautiful love

story in the book of Genesis, we

see that it tragically ended when

Adam and Eve decided that the

Word of God and the Life it provided

was no longer true and sufficient

for them. Most remember

the story, when the evil adversary;

clothed in slithery scaled

apparel, approached God’s creation

with a lie. Ironically, God

had given His “Word” of instructions

that Adam and Eve could

live a life of love eternally with

Him if they did not reject the

Word and eat of the fruit of “The

tree of the knowledge of good

and evil”. God told them that

“if you eat of the tree, you shall

surely die”. Well, we know the

disastrous end to this story; our

first parents disobeyed God and

were expelled from the Garden,

separated from the eternal life

they were created to live with

Him. We often equate the consequences

of their actions as

losing fellowship eternally with

God and that is the truth but

there is another valuable lesson

we can learn from the Word of

God in this passage. When

God created Adam and Eve

they possessed Godly attributes

like: Identity, Self-Esteem, Confidence

and Self-Worth. God

gave them dominion over everything

that existed in the earth

and it was with great fulfillment

and confidence that they ruled.

Adam and Eve lost the ever

present TRUTH of God’s Word

when they disobeyed God and

believed the LIE of satan. They

lived in a world where the truth of

God was with them. They never

had to search for it or question

its motives or intent. They had a

choice to rebuke satan and live

under God’s protective truth forever.

Believing the Word of God

wasn’t a learned behavior in the

Garden, it was inherent. There

was a thief with lying lips, who

came to kill, steal and destroy

the life of every child of God.

He was on the scene then and

he exists to do likewise today.

(John 10:9-11) Hallelujah, Jesus

came to destroy the works of

the devil and displace every lie

of the enemy! We are who God

says that we are!

For this purpose the Son of God

was manifested, that he might

destroy the works of the devil.

(1 John 3-8b)

Whoever Has Your Ear, Has

Your Destiny

As children, we didn’t have a

choice in who our parents were

or the type of life we were born

into. Everything we were taught

growing up came from what was

said, seen or experienced. Children

who grow up with loving

parents or adults are taught

how to live their lives the same

way they were taught. Some

are fortunate to have experienced

love’s expression as a

child. We can surmise that there

is a great correlation between

who we are, based on what is

said and shown to us. In contrast,

those who grow up in an

environment where there was a

lack of loves expression; where

ungodly words were spoken or

expressed were equally affected

by what was said or not said.

I’m sure you can agree that it is

difficult to give what you don’t

have. For example if I lived in

a home where my good behavior

was constantly recognized

and rewarded, it would be easy

for me to recognize that behavior

in others and in turn extend

that same courtesy to someone

else but if I did not live in an environment

where my life was validated

or appreciated, it would

be difficult for me to recognize,

receive and believe that love

exist and someone could extend

kind sentiments to me. This is

why it is challenging for some to

show love and receive it. There

is good news! No matter who

you are or what situations you

may have found yourself in, God

loves you and He has given His

Word to show you the way, the

truth and life. Give God your ear,

and let Him show you your destiny!

How Can I Find My Way?

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 writ-


ten therein: for then thou shalt

make thy way prosperous, and

then thou shalt have good success.

(Joshua 1:8)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the

way, the truth, and the life: no

man cometh unto the Father, but

by me.(John 14:6)

As you can see, the only way

to find the truth for your life is

through the Word of God. The

Bible is the roadmap to a relationship

with Him. Every person

God created can live a life full

of self-identity and purpose with

just one decision, “BELIEVE”

God. We are all one decision

away from living our best life.

In the Word of God recorded in

John 5:24a it says, “Verily, verily,

I say unto you, He that heareth

my word, and believeth on him

that sent me, hath everlasting

life”. To further reiterate the

gateway to God’s word, He says

in John 10:9 that if we believe in

His Word, we can live a saved

life. It’s interesting to note that

some of the synonyms for the

word saved are; freed, rescued,

healed, protected, safe, maintained

and redeemed. My God!

Look at the power that exists in

the Words of God! If we believe

what the Word of God says

about us, we are redeemed,

healed and protected by the

One who created us, God himself.

Spending quality time in

God’s Word; allowing Him to

speak to us, open up the pages

of His heart to us will change our

lives. God says to meditate on

His Word, day and night. God’s

Word is like a flashlight shining

bright in the dark and confused

places in our lives. It allows us

the opportunity to see things

clearly. We can know the way

to take because God’s Word is

leading and guiding us. Before

we know it, not only will we be

able to find out who we are and

what we are called to do but we

will be able to share God’s truth

with others so they might “know”

Him too. So what does God’s

Word say about it?

God Says I Am a New Creature

I beseech you therefore, brethren,

by the mercies of God, that

ye present your bodies a living

sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto

God, which is your reasonable

service. And be not conformed

to this world: but be ye transformed

by the renewing of your

mind, that ye may prove what is

that good, and acceptable, and

perfect, will of God.

(Romans 12:1-2)

As we begin to spend time with

God through His Word, we start

to experience a change in the

way we think about ourselves

and the people around us. 2

Corinthians 5:17 explains it best,

God says that if we are in Christ

Jesus, we are “new creatures”

and old things (mindsets, attitudes

and behaviors) become a

part of our past and everything

that pertains to our life becomes

new (different and changed).

How awesome is our God? This

is confirmation that His Word is

light and life! God says in this

passage of scripture that if we

live our life for Christ (Christ-like

and in Christ) we will be transformed

into a “new” creation!

This is how the transformation

begins. It’s like a butterfly that

initially starts in the cocoon.

It’s covered and protected from

the elements as God provides

everything it needs (time and

nourishment) to break free and

soar and serve its purpose in

the earth. The process of this

metamorphosis (conversion &

transformation) takes time but it

is all in God’s perfect plan. God

has called us all on purpose for

a purpose. The path to knowing

our purpose and true identity is

found in the volume of the book

that was written for us. (Hebrews

10:7)

The Word of God will change

your life! So if you or someone

you know is dealing with low

self-esteem or trying to find their

true identity and purpose in this

world, remember that everything

begins and ends with the Word

of God! It is God who made us

and He longs to have a relationship

with us so that He can share

His heart and show us who we

were created to be. We can find

our true selves in the Word of

God and be transformed in to

the person He has called us to

be. All we have to do is believe

God and let His Words illuminate

our path and guide us into a life

filled with truth, love and great

purpose.

Scriptural Reference:

King James Version (KJV)

Dictionary.com

Terri is the author of, “I am who

God says that I am” Teaching

young children who they are in

God. It’s a colorful story that

teaches spiritual identity, selfesteem

and purpose. For more

information, check out her website

at www.kingdomkidsbooks.

com or via e


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Author

Paul Wilbur

Teaches

About

Touching

the Heart of

God

By Brandon Knight

Have you ever thought

about what it will be like

to be in united with God

in His Kingdom? Have

you ever thought about how

God’s Kingdom on earth should

look like now? Have you ever

wondered if the “Feasts of the

Lord” outlined in the Old Testament

have any meaning to New

Testament Christians? If you

answered yes to any of those

questions then you need to look

into Paul Wilbur’s new book

“Touching the Heart of God.”

Paul Wilbur, who has been

recording Messianic styled worship

music for forty years, has

recently released a new book all

about the Kingdom and how the

“Feasts of the Lord” should play

an impact in the lives of modern

day Christians. I got a chance

to have a conversation with Mr.

Wilbur about his book and also

got the opportunity to get to

know him and the other ministries

he is involved in.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Paul Wilbur. I was

born in the Boston area in 1951

to a Jewish dad and a Baptist

mom. We were in and out of

churches while I was growing

up, but I chose a Reform Synagogue

when going to college

in Cleveland, Ohio. Between

my music and Temple life I

decided to train as a cantor

and an opera singer like Richard

Tucker, another Jewish guy who

was very successful at both.

While in graduate school at Indiana

University I met a man who

changed my life by introducing

me to the real Jesus, who I later

came to know as Yeshua, Israel’s

Messiah. Since March 26,

1977 I have dedicated my life to

knowing Him and making Him

known…”to the Jew first and also

to the nations.” (Roms.1:16). I

have made records with major

record labels for nearly 40 years,

and after 25 of those years I

continue to this day with Integrity

Music. We have made more

than 20 records in 5 languages

with millions sold worldwide. My


passion for the message, music

and ministry only grows stronger

by the day.

What inspired you to write

your new book, “Touching the

calendar every year and invites

His people (Jew and Gentile)

to come to His house and celebrate

His victories and more.

Remember, there are only two

kingdoms on earth; the Kingdom

Heart of God”?

I have seen so much written

about the Kingdom, its economy,

government, growth, etc., but

very little to nothing on the subject

I have tackled in this book.

There is a growing passion for all

things “Jewish” in many nations

of the world, so I wanted to put

some of these things in perspective

and encourage the Body

of Christ worldwide to consider

these thoughts.

So what’s the general premise

of your book?

My book begins with a look at The

Kingdom. What is a kingdom,

how does it work, operate, who

runs the show, etc. The premise

being that every kingdom on

earth has a similar structure, but

most importantly to this book,

every kingdom has a history with

a calendar that celebrates the

king’s victories over his enemies,

and a schedule for their celebration.

The Kingdom of God is no

different in this matter, but many

of the citizens of this Kingdom

are largely unaware of the invitations

to celebrate. So, my book

is hopefully an ‘eye-opener’ for

the Church to these celebrations

and that they are invited to join

the parade.

Why do you think Christians

should observe the Jewish

Festivals?

First of all, as outlined in the

book, these are not primarily

Jewish Festivals; they are the

‘Feasts of the Lord’ as stated

over and over again in Leviticus

23. The word translated as

“feasts” is actually the Hebrew

word ‘moedim’ which means

‘appointed times’ or ‘appointments’!

In other words, God

has these celebrations on His


of Darkness where Satan rules

as king, and the Kingdom of God

where Yeshua (Jesus) reigns as

King of All Kings. Since these

are Kingdom expressions, why

wouldn’t the Kings people want

to celebrate with Him?!

What would be the benefits

to a Christian who started

observing the Feasts of the

Lord?

The benefits to anyone are huge!

First of all you are obeying the

call of the King to set aside your

own personal agenda and honor

Him. We go to the House of God

with Kingdom family to worship,

pray, hear the Word of God,

fellowship, grow in faith, learn

about the King we all love and

serve…need I go on?

Did your music background

play an influence at all in the

writing of your book?

My music and worship has been

the opening of many doors in

my life, and the writing is no

exception. I have found after

many years of writing newsletters,

blogs and the like that I

have some level of ability in writing

and languages. So, with so

much to say, I have taken up the

computer to substitute for pen

and paper to put my thoughts in

print along with the music.

Do you foresee yourself writing

more books in the future?

The next book is already begun

with an outline and provoking

title which I will hold back for the

time being. I also have another

book well thought out in my mind,

and another that was self-published

several years ago entitled

“Order in the Courts” intended to

bring some sense of order to all

the charismatic worship styles

involving congregational participation

with dance, tambourines,

shofars, banners, flags and the

like.

What other ministries are you

engaged in, of course there is

your music career…

I do wear several hats. I am the

General Secretary for the International

Messianic Jewish Alliance,

a 150 year old organization

for the edifying and comfort of

the international Messianic community.

I am the Pastor of Jewish

Ministries and Artist in Residence

for Celebration Church in Jacksonville,

Florida. We are a large

church of more than 11,000 in

weekly attendance with multiple

campuses internationally. I lead

Wilbur Ministries since 1994 and

sit on several boards of ministries

both in the US and in Israel.

One last question, where could

someone get a hold of “Touching

the Heart of God”?

The book is available on Amazon.

com as well as our website at

PaulWilbur.com, and will hopefully

be available in Christian

bookstores as well. It’s available

in print or as a download for your

Kindle or iPad. The book is an

easy read of 140 pages, and my

wife believes well worth the time!

Thank you very much for your

time! Any final comments?

There is a growing passion for

Israel, her people and God’s purpose

to be fulfilled. If the Church

would take these thoughts to

heart and begin to embrace

the King’s calendar, I believe it

would go a long ways in helping

to open the eyes of our Jewish

brothers and sisters, and bring

us all that much closer to the day

when ‘all Israel will be saved’!

Brandon Knight is a young gun,

a martial artist, and a freelance

writer. He resides in northwest

Indiana and recently began seminary

through Moody Theological

Seminary. Brandon has a passion

for preaching the Gospel

and seeing it transform lives. He

loves Jesus, comic books, and

the Chicago Cubs.


Fighting

for Their

Future

“Pour out your heart like water before

the presence of the Lord! Lift your

hands to him for the lives of your children...

“ Lamentations 2:19

By Heather Bolinger

“I want to be a warrior for Jesus!!”

My son was only four when these words were first

spoken. With a light saber sword at his side and

tiny, metal trash can lid for a shield, he just knew

he wanted to be in “God’s army”. And with a name

that means “Shining, warlike protector of humanity”,

is it any wonder?

Fearless to his very core, he would run with the

children on the playground shouting “Do you know

God is your Savior?!” It’s the kind of picture that

would make any faith-filled parent smile.

Now, at 16, that desire is still there. Mixed with the

same doubts every teenager has, his battle rages.

Did his faith come from his own belief or simply

because his parents believe? What does God’s

word say about the kind of warrior he is meant to

be? HOW does he fight? WHEN will he know for

sure? And how do I, as his mother, help guide him?

Few things plague the heart of a parent as much

as thoughts of our children’s future. It seems that

from the moment they are born (and, for many,

when they are still on the way), we feel the clock

ticking. “18 years until they are an adult; 17, 16,

15...” I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking

about it.

I didn’t know my calling until I was in my early to

mid-30s. For some, that may seem like the appropriate

time to “discover yourself”. But what if I had

known earlier? What if I hadn’t spent my 20s being

distracted by insignificant problems and tossed

around by mere guessing?

“Maybe I’m supposed to work with children. I’m

good at singing; am I supposed to sing? I can

act; am I supposed to be on TV? I’m good with

a budget; am I supposed to be a financial counselor?...”

and the list goes on. What if I had known

my calling 10 years ago? Better yet, 20 years ago?


Where would I be now?

Direction breeds confidence and purpose. It helps

someone set goals and encourages motivation.

A person with no goals can waste years drifting

through life; complacent and unfocused. What happens

to them then? 10 years later... 20...30...40?

You’ve heard it before; but how long does it take

before we start to listen? Time goes by so fast;

and, once it’s gone...it’s gone for good.

As I have mentioned before, in a previous article,

we only get this time with our children once. One

chance...one childhood to help guide them as

much as we can; and, when they are grown, we

can never get that time back. I don’t know one

parent who wants to waste that time. The problem

is - it can be hard to figure out our own direction

so we can help them find theirs. And that is where

we must begin. God does give parents authority

over their children; and with that authority, we can

either hurt them or help them. But, before we can

help them, we need direction on HOW.

As believers in Christ, most of us understand the


main concept behind our admonition to “Train up a

child in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6). It

means instructing a child in knowledge of the word

and of faith, in order to help them navigate through

life, right? Right - and more.

God is truly a master of placing an all-encompassing

message in one simple verse. What’s even

more astounding is the freedom HE gives us in

this one instruction. This verse takes us out of the

box and allows for all the nuances and variety that

come with raising a multitude of personalities; to

train THAT child in the way THEY should go. After

all, how often do we find two children who are

exactly alike? That’s why it’s so important to see

beyond the foundation of moral training.

There are two kinds of training our children need.

One is the fixed instruction found in God’s word -

don’t lie, cheat, or steal. Love your neighbor and

your enemy. Bless those who curse you. Bring

your whole tithes to the storehouse, etc.

Throughout the Old and New Testament, there

are instructions and promises that cover our entire

lives. The teachings are for anyone willing to listen;

as are the promises - equally for all - because God

does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11). In this,

you can find answers through the multitude of

commentaries, cross references and study tools.

Pick a subject and type it into your favorite search

engine and up pops a landslide of resources to

study and learn from.

It is in these instructions that we help our children

to build a strong foundation. That foundation is,

beyond question, the most important first step in

preparing them for walking in their calling with victory.

Without blessing our children with confidence

in God’s word - as their compass and their rock,

their anchor and their stronghold - the rest doesn’t

matter. That foundation is what will keep them

steady and sure in those uncertain times when

their world is turned upside down. And there is no

better testimony, of a job well done, than to hear

our children say

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be

content. I know how to be brought low, and I know

how to abound. In any and every circumstance,

I have learned the secret of facing plenty and

hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things

through him who strengthens me.” ~Philippians

4:11-13

The second kind of training, which branches off

the first, is individual instruction. After each one of

us learns how to study, trust His voice and obey

His commands, there comes the benefit of our

diligence - a personal relationship with our Father.

In this relationship, we are guided into our specific

purpose and calling. We are shown our path;

along with what decisions will help us walk in it.

This is the part that can often be overlooked;

even with the most faithful of parents. We seek

for opportunities to teach them how to walk in the

Fruit of the Spirit and reach out to others. We take

them to church and even try to get them involved

in volunteering. We can teach our children enough

to know they HAVE a calling; but what else? When

we think of helping our children reach their full

potential, what tends to come to our mind first - the

spiritual or the natural?

As parents, we can spend so much time trying to

help our children excel. We get them involved in

sports, debate, band and other activities in order

to teach them team work, social skills, and the

victory that comes from working hard. And, let’s

be honest – sometimes, we get them involved (at

least in part) so we can show off and say “That’s

my kid”. We want them to study and do their homework

so they can get good grades, be accepted

into a good college, and have a successful career

(and so we can show off a little).

I know it seems like a bit of a rabbit trail; but it’s

important to recognize all of our motives if we are

to weed out the ones that don’t support our efforts

to honestly help our children reach their eternal

purpose. How much of our efforts are really just for

our children? Are we more interested in our own

pride – in “showing off” our kids – than in what

really matters? Are the goals of this world the

height of our efforts to help them succeed? What

good is all the teamwork and social skills; of what

benefit are the grades and the education and the

lucrative career if our children leave this world

without fulfilling the whole reason why they were

created in the first place?


The trophies won’t follow them when they leave

this world. Neither will the degree or the money or

the house or the car. All the success in the world

means nothing once this life is gone. The day our

children stand before the Lord, the only thing that

will matter is if they have the chance to hear “Well

done.”

With that in mind, I must stop and ask myself if

my priorities are straight. Getting a good education,

learning diligence and social skills, how to

work hard and reach goals - all of these things are

important. But, they should never be so important

that they overshadow the real reason they are

needed - to live a life of purpose.

What I have found is that, the more I know the

reason I was created, the more I care about obtaining

and strengthening those basic skills.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the

LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future. ~Jeremiah

29:11

There is hope in knowing that God has a plan for

your life. And, from hope, many great things have

been born. So, if finding purpose becomes our priority,

when we are raising our children; then gaining

the tools they need to walk in that purpose will

have more meaning to them. And as anyone who

has ever dealt with a teenager can attest to - if

they understand why something is important, it’s a

heck of a lot easier to get them to care.

So, now that we have established how to build a

foundation and prioritize our motives (as parents),

the next step is the most elusive. With all the different

personalities and calling, which God has created

for each individual child, what is the best way

to get pointed in the right direction?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will

find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

~Matt 7:7

This is a point that has been vital to my own efforts

to help my children know why they are here. I

cannot do this on my own; I need God to show me

what matters most with each of my children. So, I

knock… and I seek… and I ask.

I seek for ways to learn– and I find resources. Right

now, I am reading the book Raising Children on

Purpose: Helping Your Children Find Their God-

Given Calling by WESLEY H. FLEMING.

I ask –

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,

who gives generously to all without finding fault,

and it will be given to you.” ~James 1:5

When a parent prays for their children, God hears.

So, I ask God to show me what gifts each of my

children, and step children, have been given. I

ask Him to open my eyes to their gifts and needs

and provide the means for us to nourish and meet

them. I ask for discernment; so I can stay in balance

as a parent. And I thank Him for being everything

I can’t be.

I knock by reaching out to those wiser than myself

and taking an active role in finding doors. I make

myself available to the teachers, who show a real

interest in helping my children, so they can give

me ideas and ways I can help shape them. I reach

out to other parents, who have been through what

I am going through and have achieved the success

and direction I desire. And I watch for opportunities

to encourage my child’s passion; be it art

or writing or debate, sports, leading, teaching…

wherever they seem most gifted.

And, above all else, we must remember that we are

fighting for a future the enemy wants to steal from

the one’s we love. For this very reason, I trust God

with my children more than I trust myself. After all,

they were His before they were mine; and, when

all is said and done, they will be His once again.

Biography

Heather Bolinger is a devoted daughter of God;

a wife, mother of 3, step-mother of 2, writer, bible

teacher, public speaker and co-founder (with her

wonderful husband) of Single Hope Ministries for

single parents. Her passion, calling and focus

are to be God’s vessel to minister to the broken

hearted, provide direction to the lost and bring

hope to the hopeless.

You can connect with Heather on www.facebook.

com/foreverchanged1Sam106


Gospel of

John

Interview with

David Batty

By Micayla Greathouse

Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s

The Gospel of John,

released on October 6th,

brings the Bible to life onscreen

in a way that has never been

done before. This exceptional

film is the first ever, word-forword

version of the biblical text

of the book of John, telling the

story of Jesus (played by Selva

Rasalingam), narrated by David

Harewood and Brian Cox. The

biblical text of John “deals so

brilliantly with Jesus as a character

and the two different sides to

him – his divinity and his humanity,”

says Director David Batty.

In an interview with Faith Filled

Family, Batty discusses the

behind-the-scenes process of

the making of the film, the inspiration

behind it, and bringing it to

life.

The Gospel of John is the first

filmed version of the wordfor-word

biblical text. What

inspired or prompted you to

do this?

It was the brainchild of my producer,

Hannah Leader. By day

she is a very successful and

experienced film producer but

at the weekend she is a devoted

Sunday School teacher. About 7

years ago she was trying to find

some video material to show her

kids. She searched high and

low on DVDs and the internet

but couldn’t find anything that

she thought was suitable or of

a decent enough quality that

would inspire them. Then she

had a moment of inspiration:

why didn’t she make the material

herself. After all she was a film

producer. So why didn’t she use

all her professional skills to bring

the Gospels to life. And so was

born The Lumo Project (http://

www.lumoproject.com/) with the

ambition to film all four Gospels

as feature films. My involvement

began with a phone call, when

I was told by my assistant that

there was a film producer on the

line who says she wants you

to film the bible! To be honest I

thought it was a crank call and

almost put the phone down. I am

glad I didn’t as Hannah is definitely

not a crank. What I didn’t


know at the time was that I would

spend the next 5 years making

these films. Although it’s been a

labour of love it has been very

tough at times.

Why did you decide to start

with the gospel of John as

opposed to the other gospels?

John is the most mystical and

wordy of all the Gospels that is

true. It’s full of long speeches

by Jesus expounding his teaching

and philosophy, but actually

strangely we found it was

the most filmic, the most like a

modern film script of all the Gospels.

The big reason for this is

that it deals so brilliantly with

Jesus as a character and the two

different sides to him - his divinity

and his humanity. Since making

the film, it’s become my favourite

Gospel, not least because of the

intense poetic nature of so much

of its content. It has one of the

greatest opening passages of

any book I have ever read.

This was shot on-location in

Morocco. How did you decide

on this location to recreate the

world of first-century Palestine?

Were there any special

challenges presented by this

location?

We spent a lot of time agonizing

as to where to film this.

Our first choice was obviously

Israel/Palestine which I know

very well as I have made a lot

of films there over the years.

I love the place but the trouble

with Israel/Palestine is just that

- trouble. It can break out at a

moment’s notice and can get

very hairy. Also it’s a fairly developed

and modern country with

lots of modern intrusions such

as electricity pylons which are

a nightmare if you are trying to

film landscapes. We then looked

at several other Middle Eastern

and North African countries with

similar landscape and climate

and eventually hit on Morocco

which in the end was the perfect

choice. We did almost all of our

filming in or around a small city

in the desert called Ouarzazate

which is Morocco’s equivalent

of Hollywood. Several biblical

epics have been filmed there in

the past and there are lots of old

sets that we were able to rent.

For example there are two large

Jerusalem sets, including an

almost full scale replica of The

Temple.

The accuracy and attention

to detail is incredible. Were

there any specific ways you

made sure to have an accurate

script?

Yes we intentionally spent a lot of

time and effort trying to get this

right. We always had an on-set

expert ready to advise on any

costumes and sets and details;

but we also had a team of willing

experts back home who we

could call on for advice and help.

I come from a documentary filmmaking

background so reality

and accuracy are very important

to me.

There are currently three different

biblical text translations,

correct? How did you

decide which versions to produce?

There are probably hundreds of

different translations and versions

of the bible in a host of

different languages. We initially

chose the NIV and KJV as being

relatively popular and well used

versions for an English-speaking

audience; but our intention

- over time - is to dub this film

into as many versions and language

as we can. I know that

Hannah’s ultimate ambition is

have it in 1000 languages but

that may take a bit of time. It’s

already been dubbed into Spanish,

French, German, Norwegian,

Danish and Finish so that’s

a start.

In the movie, the actors are

speaking Aramaic in the background,

with a narrator as the

main voice telling the story in

the chosen translation. What

made you decide to choose

this method rather than the

actors voicing their parts with

no narrator?


The reason we did it like this was

that the original people involved

in this story - Jesus and his Disciples

and all the others in First

Century Palestine - didn’t speak

English and my view is that as

soon as you have your actors

speaking English you give the

impression that the bible was

written in English for Englishspeakers

only which of course

it wasn’t. It should be available

for everyone whatever language

they speak.

What were some challenges

involved with directing a script

like this one, word-for-word?

Well at first I was very worried

about not having the usual

option to alter or re-write the

script but the more we got into

it, the more liberating it was. We

knew we couldn’t change a word

so we just got on with it. The

challenge was making the words

come alive in a visual and entertaining

way. The Gospels are

obviously full of long speeches

from Jesus but I always tried

to avoid these being static. My

view is that Jesus was an incredibly

dynamic teacher and that he

would be on the move all the

time, working the crowds, getting

inspiration from the people

and events around him. So that’s

how we tried to film it.

What was your favorite part

of the process of creating this

film?

My favourite process is always

the filming itself, seeing all those

ideas come to fruition.

What type of preparation did

your actors have to undergo

to best portray their characters?

I tried to get each of the major

actors to imagine their character

as a real person; not a mythical,

legendary person but a real flesh

and blood character with all the

human emotions and that way

I felt we could make this story

real.

Were there any special

moments where you observed

God’s hand providing in special

ways throughout the filming

process?

The most special moment was

when we actually finished the

last film. The very last scene we

filmed was a parable from Luke -

The Rich man and Lazarus - and

it was a very fitting one to end on

as we had had a major struggle

to get the whole project funded

and there were many times

when we thought we would have

to give up...but Hannah (our producer)

persisted and we managed

to complete 100 days of

filming. All four Gospels add up

to over 12 hours of screen-time.

To give you a comparison - Peter

Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’

was a similar length and had a

budget of almost $300 million.

Our budget was just $5 million!

Are there any films in the process

that we can expect after

this one?

The Gospel of John is just the

first of four Gospel films - Matthew,

Mark, Luke and John. I am

just finishing off the post production

of the last one now and it

will be complete by Christmas

2015. So after John, the other

three will be released in time. In

the end they will be put up on the

internet on YouVersion (a Bible

app for all mobile devices) for

anyone to view for free. And as

I have already said hopefully in

time they will be translated into

a myriad of different languages

and versions.

The Gospel of John is now available

on DVD, Digital HD, and On

Demand. Viewers will find this

film both fascinating and educational.

The Gospel of John is a

definite “must-see.”

A special thanks to Director

David Batty for this interview.


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Music Spotlight

Being

Danen Kane

By Lisa Carter

If you had asked him what he wanted to be when he

grew up, he may have said a basketball player. He

simply loved the game as a kid and focused on little

else. What he became instead is a Christian music

singer, musician, and songwriter taking advantage

of every opportunity to give God glory through music.

Danen Kane believes that music is a gift and can be

used to bring healing to all those who hear it. Music

has certainly been that and more to him. Through struggles

and battles at different stages in life, his music has

always been there as a medium of comfort and strength.

Danen Kane is a believer that we are all born an original

and that it’s worth it to be exactly who you were created

to be. He translates this well through his music with

thoughtful and inspirational tunes such as “Love Song”,

and “I Need You”, from his latest album Flesh and Soul.

He left behind what he thought he loved, sports, and

pursued his faith more heavily and the path God had

chosen for him. Once he discovered music, the kind of

music he didn’t even know existed at the time, there

was no looking back. Danen had found his calling.

Faith Filled Family had the chance to ask Danen Kane

a few questions about his faith journey and his music

ministry. Here’s what he had to say:


of music?

I guess musically it would fall under Pop Rock, but

I think my music has subtle influences of a lot of different

genres. I write in a very non-traditional way

because I never “learned” how to write a song, I

just wrote down what came out. My songs are

honest life from a Christian perspective. I write a

lot about my struggles and tend to write directly

towards God lyrically.

Hi Danen, thank you for talking with me. Music

is something I read you didn’t really know you

were into until about the age of 20 is that right?

Tell us how you became fascinated with music

and how it changed your life.

I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and was

heavy into sports. Basketball was my love and

focus and music wasn’t really on the radar at

all. I’d listen to the radio here and there and also

appreciated music, but as far as playing it, I didn’t

have any concept of even where to start in learning

an instrument. The only instruments I would

see in my town were the more traditional instruments

in the high school band and I really didn’t

have much interest in that.

When I got to college, it seemed like there was

someone playing guitar around every corner. It

was crazy. It was when I got involved with a college

ministry on my campus that I really saw music

for the first time, music being used to glorify God.

I thought it was incredibly beautiful and something

about it just drew me in and completely resonated

with something in my heart.

Wanting to be a part of that, I picked up a guitar

for the first time and tried to learn. I just wanted to

be a part of those worship times and help facilitate

in different environments. I had no big aspirations

other than that, but almost immediately I

started writing simple songs that seemed to really

resonate with people. God started opening doors

for me to share those songs all over the place. I

never saw it coming and it’s crazy to think of all the

places it has taken me over the past 10 years.

How would you describe your particular style

I love rhythmic things, so I tend to incorporate

some Latin and R&B flavors here and there, but I

also tend to like the melodic tones of more British

pop rock stuff. From song to song, my songwriting

can change quite a bit and I like that. I don’t like

listening to albums where all 10-12 songs sound

like they came from the same idea. I like variety

so I try to let each song have the identity I think

it needs, while staying within the same relative

musical realm.

You state on your site, “There is a battle

between flesh and spirit, a tension of living in

our brokenness and our bodies and yet very

much desiring God in every single moment.”

Why do you feel it’s so important to acknowledge

that “battle” and give ourselves permission

to struggle and not try to be perfect?

I think it is incredibly necessary to come to grips

with our own depravity – to realize that we all make

mistakes, we all struggle, and we all have different

things we go to that are unhealthy. A huge part of

the gospel and where it all begins is that we have

all fallen short of the glory of God. We are, in fact,

all in need of a savior. The Word of God says that

‘our righteousness is like filthy rags to Him.’

Our best attempt at perfection is so far from the

holiness of God that we can’t even comprehend

the depths of both His perfection and our lack

thereof. When we start to grasp that, we start to

understand that every ounce of the glory goes

to Him. We start to grasp how powerful His love

really is, that He forgives a multitude of sins, and

still loved us enough to die for us.

And the more we grasp the reality of our need for

Him every single day, the more we tend to extend

grace to those around us, because we look at

the world with eyes of grace instead of with eyes

of condemnation. The more we understand and


admit our own sin, the more we point to Christ in

worship and gratitude instead of puffing our chests

out with a false understanding of self-righteousness.

The world needs Jesus.

They don’t need fallen people acting perfect. We

need to point them to Jesus and stop acting like

we don’t have problems or struggles. Should we

be working on our issues and walking out the

sanctification process? Absolutely. Should we be

doing everything we possibly can to worship God

with our obedience and rooting sin out in our life?

Absolutely. But that process is a life-long process,

and in the meantime, on this side of Heaven, we

need to be authentic in where we actually

are in that process.

The world knows we aren’t perfect, so when we try

to seem like we are, it looks ridiculous. The gospel

is that we need Jesus because we are all pretty

much a walking disaster. And yet He adores us

and still wants us. THAT is a powerful thing. And

THAT is what will change the world.

I wanted to talk with you about a subject not

many people like to deal with but it’s important

to do so – it’s about depression. Please

share with us what your thoughts are about

the illness. Have you yourself had bouts with

depression?

Depression has had a presence in my life as long

as I can remember and I have been starting to be

more open about that fact the past couple years.

Depression is a bit of a taboo subject, especially

for Christians, because there is a stigma attached

to it. It assigns some kind of blame to the person

for not having enough faith, or not ‘choosing joy’

enough, or whatever else people who don’t actually

know what’s like to struggle with depression

say about it. Depression is a hard thing to understand

because it has so many different layers and

causes. It has elements that are spiritual, physiological,

psychological, and circumstantial. If it

was as easy as ‘choosing joy,’ I don’t think people

would be having trouble physically getting out of

bed in the morning because they feel so overwhelmed

by it they can’t think straight.

I think everyone who is affected by it has a little bit

different experience and there are definitely different

severities. I can only speak from my experience,

which is that it is something that is definitely

a challenge in my life, something I have p r a y e d

for God to deliver me from, and something that

has remained to be a challenge I have had to deal

with.

For me, I have chosen to look at it like any obstacle

or difficult thing that comes my way. It is an

opportunity to take it to God and depend on Him

instead of depending on myself. To find my joy in

Heaven and not in the things of this world. It has

helped me have more compassion for the hurting

people in this world. It has given me empathy and

not just sympathy.

That continuing reminder that God is my only hope,

my only righteousness, and that I am here to be a

servant to those around me instead of living life for

what I can attain, I consider a blessing. As strange

as that sounds, I have come to learn that all challenges

in life, from a biblical perspective, really are

a blessing.

In your opinion, what kind of an outlet can

music offer for those who suffer from an illness

like depression? And what about those

who don’t play an instrument or sing?

I think music is an incredible outlet, both playing it

and listening to it. God created music and I believe

He created it in a way that speaks to the heart like

nothing else does. It is emotional and allows us,

and even sometimes gives us permission to feel

and express things inside of us that we didn’t even

know were there. When I first started learning

guitar, I would play for hours and hours. I couldn’t

put it down.

Strumming those chords and belting out those

songs lifted what felt like a thousand pounds of

weight off my heart. Music is kind of a tool to reach

deeper places. To express things that need to be

expressed and are sometimes hard to access.

It is a beautiful thing and I am very grateful for

it. But if someone doesn’t engage with music or

doesn’t have access to learn an instrument, I think

it’s important for a person to find that thing that

does give them that outlet; whether it’s a love of

nature, sports, or photography.

There are millions of things that God has created

to reach those deeper places in us and we are


all designed with a different key to that door. I just

encourage people to find those things that awaken

their hearts and invest time in those places of

emotional release.

What can we do as a Christian community to

be of help to those around us who may be suffering

from depression?

Listen. Reach out. Don’t try to give answers

to something you don’t understand or try to fix

something that maybe isn’t supposed to be fixed.

Depression has many faces, many causes, and

many expressions. The best way to help anyone

is to listen to their story and listen to what they

are going through. Don’t assume you know the

answers before you know their situation. Love

people where they are at, not where ‘they should

be.’

The Bible says to “Rejoice with those who rejoice,

and mourn with those who mourn.” God has purposes

for both the highs and the lows and I think

the biggest mistake we can make sometimes is

being scared of the lows and avoiding them like

the plague. A lot can be learned when we are in

sorrow. We grow the most when we are in those

places, so I would say meet them where they are.

Join them in love and walk with them in what

God is doing through it.

What are some of the signs and symptoms to

look out for?

It really does look different depending on what type

of depression the person is dealing with. Some of

the most outwardly happy people in the world are

the most depressed. Statistically, there appears

to be a very high rate of depression in comedians

and entertainers, which based on their outward

expression, you would never guess. Often

it’s people that desperately want the world to laugh

and feel happy because inwardly they feel anything

but that.

I’m sure there are signs, but honestly, my best

advice is to just love people well. Reach out

beyond your normal circles and invite people into

your life. Depression is a lonely place and the more

people reach out and include others in their lives

the better. Simple invitations seem so small but

could mean the world to someone that you would

never imagine longs for connection.

Please share with us what completion of your

new album Flesh and Soul means to you at this

time in your life?

It is always a mix of emotions to finish a project like

this. We worked extremely hard on this album for

over the past two years and I’m really proud of

what came out. It feels great to finally allow people

to hear all of that work and see what God does

with it, while it’s always incredibly nerve-racking

as well. I have my insecurities just like anyone

else so it’s always hard to put your heart out there

and see what the reaction will be.

But I’m excited to see how God will use it and finally

get out of the studio world and see people all

over the country again. I love people, and releasing

a project like this allows me the opportunity

to share Christ with people all over the world. I

love that more than I could ever explain and music

gives me a great platform to accomplish that.

What would be your favorite song from the

album and why?

It’s always so hard for me to pick just one. They all

mean a lot to me for different reasons, musically

and lyrically. Probably I Miss You, The Song That

Set Us Free, and No Words, resonate the most

with others and I am very happy with the way they

turned out. They speak a lot about love and loss,

and trusting God in the midst of difficult days.

That kind of sums up the record well I think. Just

being real and honest with where you are at, turning

to God in the midst of it, and trusting that His

plan is a great one even when we can’t see it yet.

What’s next for Danen Kane?

A lot of touring. The plan is just to play everywhere

and anywhere God opens a door and see where

He takes it. We will be doing about 225 shows

over the next 12 months and the goal is to hit all

48 lower states, so it’s going to be busy. I usually

release dates about three months at a time and

most of them will be available to the public and

posted on my website www.danenkane.com .

Thank you, Danen! We pray you have favor with

God and man on your tour and that many souls

come to Christ. We wish you victorious success

with the album as you share your gift of music and

endeavor to please Him in all you do. God bless.


THE

Different Levels

OF CHRISTANITY

By Dr. Stan DeKoven


“I am writing to you, little children,

because your sins have

been forgiven you for His name’s

sake. I am writing to you, fathers,

because you know Him who

has been from the beginning. I

am writing to you, young men,

because you have overcome the

evil one. I have written to you,

children, because you know the

Father. I have written to you,

fathers, because you know Him

who has been from the beginning.

I have written to you, young

men, because you are strong,

and the word of God abides in

you, and you have overcome the

evil one.” 1 John 2:12-14

For years I struggled in my Christian

walk to arrive at a place

where I could live my life according

to biblical principles. Most

people I have ministered to over

the years share this same desire:

to become all that God has created

them to be. As I observed

fellow believers, I would sometimes

envy those who seemed

to have it “all together,” who

seemed to live a life of “perfect”

biblical balance.

Yet, what I have found, through

years of counseling experience,

is that despite outward appearances,

most believers struggle

with deep inner issues -- issues

such as sin and lack of self-discipline.

As a Western Christian, I have

tried hard to do things “right.” I

have punched all the right tickets

on this train of life -- having completed

a university education,

obtained a modicum of success

in my professional career, and

have been faithful to the local

church.

Despite these “right” steps, in

many ways, I (seemingly) went

in the wrong direction. In truth, I

probably gave more emphasis to

psychology than to Bible training

and ministry. For many years, I

thought I had made a mistake in

the direction that I selected; yet,

today I am convinced the Lord’s

hand was in it all.

Through my selection of psychology

as a profession, God

has allowed me to study human

behavior, marriage and family

counseling, as well as to prepare

more fully for the ministry. You

see, the Lord knew the overall

plan and purpose for my life --

He knew the beginning, and He

knows the end.

The same is true for your life!

God knows where you are now,

and no matter how fragmented

the parts of your life might seem

at the moment, He knows where

you are going -- and your life

has a purpose! One thing is for

certain…his plan for us is to be

whole; complete; mature, which

begins when we are born again,

and continues throughout our

life in Christ.

Parallels

In this first letter by John to the

church, he writes of his purpose…which

is to see everyone

come into their maturity. If you

will, he presents three stages

of our growth in God (not our

worth, for we are fully in Christ

when we are born again), Children,

Young men and Fathers.

With each stage, there are goals

to be accomplished, issues to

be dealt with, and virtues to be

developed. Each are briefly discussed

below, while using some

illustrations for natural human

development.

Intimacy

I remember so well when my first

daughter was born. What beauty,

what potential…how frightening!

This new life was our primary

responsibility, as she was completely

dependent on our ability

to care for her. In similar ways,

new converts are very much like

children. Children have basic

needs, both naturally and spiritually.

In the natural, children need

love, to be fed and trained, with a

goal of preparing them for eventual

independent living. This all

starts with healthy bonding…intimacy,

between child and parent.

From a spiritual viewpoint, new

converts need to know that they

are truly forgiven of their sin

because of the name of Jesus

(Jesus’ reputation requires he

forgive when we seek him), and

that we know who our “daddy” is.

That is, we are not the child of

the world, the devil, religion, or

any competing philosophy, but

we are the children of God. This

knowledge provides the child of

God acceptance and security,

the foundation for future growth.

Our responsibility in the natural

and spiritual is to provide an

atmosphere of trust and love,

and provide necessary information

for success in life (basic

teaching, etc.).

Healing Community: Overcoming

Iniquity

In time, all children are to grow

in responsibility, characterized

by John as young men. From

a natural view, children must go

to school, learn to get along with

others, follow rules, etc. in Luke

2:52, the word says that Jesus

grew in wisdom and knowledge


and in favor with God and man.

If Jesus had to grow, how much

more do we?

In the Christian life, young men

and women must be overcomers

(meaning they will face battles,

mainly within the self) by having

the Word of God abiding (intimate

understanding of Christ and

the Word) in them. Thus, when

temptations and trials come, as

they naturally will, they can overcome

as Christ did through the

Word of God. Temptations of life

come to all of us, rooted in the

twisted character passed down

to us by our generations, which

the bible calls iniquity. Though

iniquity and all sin is forgiven,

the seed sown still must be dealt

with in our individual lives. Rather

than become as the disobedient

children of Israel, wandering in

the wilderness and never entering

the full promises of God, we

enter the land of promise, for

we are already more than conquerors

in Christ, but must possess

our possessions (Ob 17) by

grace in faith. How to overcome

is more process than event, and

is discussed in detail in many

excellent books. 1

The Compassionate Life:

Integrity

Our goal is maturity, described by

John as fathers. The best word

to describe maturity in scripture

is telios, often interpreted

as perfect. In reality, flawless

perfection is neither expected

by God nor achievable by man.

However, maturity (being all God

intended) is expected and readily

achievable, described best by

the action of Christ himself, who

came to reveal the Father…full

of grace, truth and compassions.

There comes a time in every

young man and woman’s life

that they take responsibility for

themselves and others. This is

maturity. Fathers (and mothers;

inheritors) in the faith have a

unique relationship with Christ.

They know him, not as children

do, by identification, but by experience.

As Paul stated,

“That I may know him, in the

power of his resurrection, and

in the fellowship of his suffering,

being conformed unto his death

(Philippians 3:10).”

Fathers know God’s works, but

also his ways. They are not perfect,

but sufficiently mature to

help others on their journey in

Christ. This is the goal for our

lives…again, not perfection, but

having the maturity to take full

responsibility for one’s own life,

while helping others to achieve

their God given purpose.

My underlying assumption is that

the key to complete wholeness

in Christ is the application of

clearly appropriated biblical principles

which when consistently

applied to our lives will lead to

a change in lifestyle (what we

call “true repentance”). We are

all in process, somewhere along

the line of growth as presented

by John. Wherever you are is

where you are…growth is in the

hands of the Holy Spirit and us…

may the Lord, by his grace, help

you in achieving his purpose.

For more on the topic of growth

and change, see Journey to

Wholeness: Principles of Change

and “I Want To Be Like You, Dad:

Overcoming in Life, both by Dr.

Stan DeKoven through Vision

Publishing, www.booksbyvision.

com or www.drstandekoven.com


Tough Times Don’t Last,

But Tough People Do!

Order at:

http://www.createspace.com

http://www.amazon.com

Barnes & Noble, Border Books and other distributors

Come, be refreshed and encouraged

through these inspirational readings

for the heart, mind, and soul!

Life doesn’t guarantee that you’ll

never face hardships or difficulties.

Travel with Vernita as she shares

with you how she went from a single

parent on welfare trusting God no

matter what, to becoming an aspiring

author.

Her transition brought her through

being a substitute teacher, minister,

freelance writer, more than two years

unemployed and no income coming in

for over a year. She would encourage

you to hold on during the darkest and

toughest times of your life. She will

prove that the Lord will never leave

you nor forsake you. Only God can

restore what was broken, renew

what was lost and heal that you may

move forward into a Progressive life

of Wholeness and Victory. He did it

for her and He most definitely can

and will do it for you.

God Loves You With An Everlasting

Love!

Contact Vernita for Book Signings and other Services:

http://vsworshiper7.wix.com/godwordsmyvoice87

Godwords35@yahoo.com


Looking for Love

In All But One P

By Julie


Merin

lace

Eight pounds, 5 ounces. Little fingers.

Little toes. Little lungs let

loose with a lusty cry. Newborn

baby expressing to the world

his deepest needs. He is hungry. He

is cold. He is wet. He feels alone. He

needs someone to take care of him. To

provide for him. To love him. A woman’s

soft voice speaks gentle words that he

cannot yet understand, yet they bring

comfort. Warm arms pick him up and

hold him close. The woman feeds him.

Her reassuring sounds quiet his frantic

cries. A man’s face looks over her shoulder.

A strong but gentle hand strokes

the little one’s soft hair. The infant’s

most basic needs for nourishment and

shelter are met. In the tender embrace

of his parents, the infant’s need for love

and belonging are also met.

The tiny girl who cries in the bassinet

next to his is not so fortunate. Her

mother was not sure of the identity of

the father of her child. The mother herself

did not see how she could possibly

take care of a baby. Overwhelmed

and in desperation, the young mother

left her infant in a cardboard box on the

steps of a hospital. An orderly had heard

her cries and brought her inside. There

in the hospital, nurses take care of her.

They feed her. They change her diaper.

They make sure she is warm enough.

The nurses are busy, though. There

are many other patients who need their

attention. There is little time for anyone

to sit and hold her close. There is no

one to sing soft lullabyes in her ear. No

one to whom she belongs. Her basic

physical needs are met. Yet in her tiny

heart and soul, there is a hunger, an

aching void that longs to be filled.

A young woman dresses up to go to

a party. Maybe tonight, she will meet

someone special. Someone who will

love her for who she is. Someone

who wants her. Someone who will be

there for her through good and bad

times. She has long cherished this

hope. There have been many parties.

Many men have promised to be all

she hoped they would be. Each and

every one of them had let her down.

What masquerades as love can never

fill the deep longing, her insatiable

hunger for genuine love that refuses

to die. Still, the longing simply won’t

fade away, and so she holds on to

a fragile hope that maybe this time,

things will be different.

The clean-shaven face in the mirror,

to all appearances, belongs to a man

who has life all together. He brushes

his teeth and combs his hair. He puts

on a red tie and slips his arms into

an expensive, black suit coat. Satisfied

that he looks the part of a successful

businessman, he picks up his

black leather briefcase and strides

down the stairs. After pouring a cup of

coffee, he slips out the front door and

drives away in his late model BMW to

go to his office. He is powerful. He is

wealthy. He is admired for his business

savvy. This should be enough,

he thinks. But somehow, it isn’t. No

matter how much money he earns,

no matter how often his accomplishments

are lauded, he is aware of a

hunger, an emptiness deep inside

him. An emptiness that seems to grow

bigger with each so-called success.

As the emptiness consumes him, he

tries to fill it from a glass in a bar…and

the little white pills that promise relief,

at least for a little while. When the

effect of the pills and the drinks wear

off, the emptiness is still there, even

bigger than before. A deep, dark pit of

emptiness that nothing is able to fill.

A middle-aged wife and mother of

three closes the front door of her home

and leans against it. She and her husband

have just returned from dropping

their youngest child off at college.

She wishes her husband had stayed

home to be with her in this moment,

but he had gone to the office to catch


up on some work that needed

attention. There was always

something at the office that

urgently needed his attention.

She has long found her identity

and worth in being a mother, in

being needed by them. Now, for

the first time in twenty-five years,

she has no child living at home

needing her care. No child at

home to love and to love her in

return. Suddenly, she becomes

aware of a longing, a hunger for

a kind of love she never received

from her children or from her

husband. What could possibly

fill it this deep, cavernous void?

The Great Hunger

People hunger for many things.

Health. Wealth. Fame. Power.

Position. Possessions. Yet one

longing – one hunger – is more

basic and insatiable than all of

these. The hunger for love is at

the heart of all other hungers.

In fact, as we franticly try to satisfy

all these other hungers, it is

merely a misplaced attempt to

meet our basic need for love.

It never works out. One can be

healthy, yet hopeless. Famous

and wealthy, yet alone. In a powerful

position, yet powerless to

fill the void that his possessions

can never fill.

In the Song of Songs 8:7b, we

read, “If one were to give all the

wealth of one’s house for love, it

would be utterly scorned.” Basically,

you can’t buy love. Why

is this? Why do human beings

have such a hunger? More

importantly, where do we go to

fill it.

Created By Love

We are told in 1 John 14:6, “…

we know and rely on the love

God has for us. God is love.

Whoever lives in love lives in

God, and God in them.” One of

the most basic reasons we have

such a deep hunger for love is

that we were created by Love.

“God is love.” This is one of the

most basic truths that little children

are taught if they are raised

in a Bible-teaching church. The

One Who made us for Himself

is love. We rely on the love God

has for us to meet our needs.

Even those who do not acknowledge

the existence of God rely

on Good’s love, whether they

realize it or not. How much fuller

and greater that love is realized

by those who do have a relationship

with the God Who is, in His

very nature, Love.

Created to Love

When Jesus was asked what

was the greatest commandment,

he replied, “‘Love the Lord

your God with all your heart and

with all your soul and with all

your mind.’ This is the first and

greatest commandment. And

the second is like it: ‘Love your

neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew

22:37-38

In love, and out of His very

nature, God created us. He created

us to live always knowing

His limitless love pouring out into

our lives. Not only that, He created

us to love Him in return and

to share the love He pours out

on us with others.

Created for Love

This longing for love was built

into the human race from the

very beginning. When God said

in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make

mankind in our image”, He was

doing far more than just creating

a workforce to take care of

the rest of His creation. The very

words “Let us” point to the relationship

that existed between

the Father, the Son and the Holy

Spirit.

When God made mankind in

His image, he made us with

that capacity for relationship,

the capacity for love, that exists

within the Trinity. What is more,

He didn’t just plant the longing

for love in the human heart. He

also planned to fill that longing in

relationship with Himself.

The Broken Link

When the first man and woman

fell into sin that relationship was

broken.

Then the man and his wife heard

the sound of the LORD God as

he was walking in the garden in

the cool of the day, and they hid

from the LORD God among the

trees of the garden. 9 But the

LORD God called to the man,

“Where are you? Genesis 3:8-9

Where are you? We are not told

much about how Adam and Eve

spent their time in the Garden

of Eden, but we can infer from

these verses that they spent

time with the Lord God in the

cool of the evening. There was

relationship there. Closeness.

Love. Sin changed all that. Relationship

was broken. People

started to hide from the only One

Who can fill the heart-hunger for

love. The hunger was still there,

but shame blocked the way back

to the Source. Why the great

hunger? We hunger because we

were created for love.

When sin marred the perfect

closeness God intended to exist,

mankind was left with a gnawing

hunger for the lost relationship


that could be filled by nothing

else. Some try to fill it with

wealth, but wealth isn’t enough.

Some try to fill it with power, but

power leaves nothing but emptiness.

Some try to satisfy the

hunger with sex, yet the hunger

only grows. Some strive for

fame, position, or recognition,

hoping the praise of others will fill

the void. For a time, these futile

attempts may seem to work.

Even as a candy bar may provide

a sugar high, only to lead

to an inevitable crash, these

attempts to assuage the lovehunger

only provide temporary

satisfaction. A candy bar doesn’t

satisfy physical hunger the way a

steak dinner does. All these love

counterfeits can never satisfy

the hunger in our souls ¬¬¬the

way God’s love can.

The Misplaced Longing

How do we know when we have

misplaced our genuine, Godgiven

hunger for love? What are

the signs? What are the symptoms?

Misplaced Treasure

“For where your treasure is,

there your heart will be also.”

We read this in Matthew 6:21.

We know we have misplaced our

desire for love when our treasure

is anywhere other than the one

true Source of love. When other

things become more important

to us than our relationship with

God, we can be certain that we

are trying to satisfy our hunger in

the wrong place.

Presence of Conflict

In James 4:2 we read, “You

desire but do not have, so you

kill. You covet but you cannot

get what you want, so you quarrel

and fight. You do not have

because you do not ask God.”

Even though most people do not

literally kill another person to get

what they desire, harmful words

and actions bring their own kind

of death. When we quarrel and

fight, when we are irritable and

sharp-tongued, that is a sure

sign that we are being unsuccessful

at filling our misplaced

hunger for God’s love.

Unfruitful Lives

The God of love sends His Holy

Spirit to grow fruit in those who

are in relationship with him. In

Galatians 5:22-23, we read, “But

the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,

peace, forbearance (patience),

kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

gentleness and self-control.

Against such things there is

no law.” When our lives are characterized

by the fruit of the Spirit,

we can be sure we are living in

connection with the God of love.

Conversely, when this fruit is

lacking, we can be assured that

we are seeking to fill our lovehunger

from other sources that

will never satisfy.

Whether a person has trusted

Jesus as Savior or not, it is still

possible to misplace the longing

for love. That lack will inevitably

show up. Galatians 5:19-21 says,

“The acts of the flesh are obvious:

sexual immorality, impurity

and debauchery; idolatry and

witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy,

fits of rage, selfish ambition,

dissensions, factions and

envy; drunkenness, orgies, and

the like.”

Let’s not be too quick to dismiss

this verse as irrelevant because

witchcraft is not a part of our

lives. Are we filling our minds

with impure thoughts through

the things we watch, read, or

listen to? Do we harbor envy

in our hearts. Do we find ourselves

quarreling, or becoming

easily angered? Do we find ourselves

trying to climb to the top,

no matter who we step on? Are

we attempting to fill the void with

alcohol, drugs, or even food?

The list could go on. When we

are trying to assuage our hunger

for love with anything other than

God, the Source of love, we will

inevitably find fruit other than the

fruit of the Spirit growing in our

lives.

Back to the Source

Let’s stop seeking to fulfill our

God-given need for love from

sources other than Him. Nothing

else and no one else will satisfy.

We have an invitation from our

Heavenly Father to come to Him

to have all our needs supplied.

Matthew 1:28 says, “Come to

me, all you who are weary and

burdened, and I will give you

rest.” He will gives us rest from

the longing, the hunger, the

relentless striving to meet our

deepest need for love that can

only be met in him. The Apostle

Paul wrote a great promise in

Philippians 4:19. We can hold

onto this promise. We can be

assured that this promise will not

fail because it comes from the

only One Who never fails.

Here is the promise. “And my

God will meet all your needs

according to the riches of his

glory in Christ Jesus.” Go to the

One Who can satisfy. Like a child

in the arms of loving parents,

we will find that in God’s loving

embrace, all our deepest needs

for love are met…and we will be

satisfied.


Ashley Bretcher Inspires Audiences in

“Princess Cut”

By Lisa Stillwell

For those of you who are looking

for a romantic movie with a pure

message, look no further than

“Princess Cut”.

Ashley is described as a “charismatic

Carolina girl”. She was

born and raised in a small southern

town. Ashley graduated with

honors from Campbell University

and holds a bachelor of arts

degree in Graphic Design.

Ashley began acting when she

received the role of Olivia in the

comedy, 50 Shades of Olivia,

and was nominated for Best

Regional Short in the 2013 Cape

Fear Independent Film Festival.

After that, she received roles in

Sothern Comfort, The Perfect

Summer, The Dempsey Sisters,

and finally “Grace” In Princess

Cut.

Ashley Bratcher spends her time

these days acting in movies to

give others hope. Ashley’s willing

heart also inspires the lives

of so many people on a “day

to day” basis. During a recent

screening of Princess Cut I was

able to meet her in person. She

has a sweet attitude and you can

sense the love of God all around

her. Ashley’s responses below

are more than just words but

they are wisdom that we can all

learn from.

Without spoiling the movie...

What is Princess Cut about?

Princess Cut is the story of a

rural Carolina girl in search of

love. The only problem is... she

hasn’t quite figured out what true

love looks like. After a series of

bad dates and heartbreak she

steps back and begins to allow

God to work in her life. There

are still a few hiccups along the

way but throughout her journey

she comes to understand what

it means to truly love another

person.

Who is the director?

Paul Munger is the director and

this is actually his directorial

debut. Paul is a powerhouse.

Not only did he direct, but he

also produced and co-wrote the

film with his wife, Sheilah.

How long did it take to make

the movie?

About 20 very long days.

Do you personally know any

of the people in Princess Cut

that you acted with?

Going into the project I didn’t

know a soul, but now I feel like

everyone is part of my family!

You spend so much time with

these people over the course

of a few weeks that you really

grow close to one another.

How did you feel as you


played the part of Grace?

Could you relate to her in real

life?

The role of Grace came to me at

a time that I could really identify

with her struggles. Not necessarily

in terms of romance, rather

how difficult and scary it can be

to fully seek and submit to the

will of God in your life. I was at

a point in my life where I really

just threw my hands up and

said, “Okay God, if this is where

you want me then please make

it happen.” We don’t always get

the answers we want when we

pray but we can rest confident

knowing that God’s plan is ultimately

what is best for us. Much

like Grace, I was learning that

lesson myself.

What made you decide that

you wanted to be in this

movie?

I felt strongly about the message

and wanted to have a positive

impact on young girls. It was a

breath of fresh air to see a film

promoting wholesome courtship.

How did you hear about auditioning

for a part?

It was actually pretty random.

One day on facebook, I noticed

that a friend of mine had liked this

casting director’s page

(Katrina Cook) and so

I decided to check out

the page. That’s when

I noticed the casting

call for Princess Cut.

I actually did NOT

match the breakdown

for the lead character,

Grace, but I did submit

for the best friend role

of Tessa. After I auditioned

for that role,

Katrina emailed me

back and asked me to

read for the lead. Within a few

days I had the offer and was

ecstatic.

What town was the movie produced

in?

We shot in several areas around

Winston Salem and actually shot

in the town East Bend featured

in the movie.

How long have you been

acting and what is your first

memory of acting?

Professionally since 2012, overall

a little longer. I didn’t really

pursue acting until after college

but in high school I dabbled a

little in theater. My first big role

was playing Snow White in our

High School production.

What movies other than Princess

Cut have you acted in?

This year has been a really good

one for me. You can catch me

opposite Kate Bosworth in 90

Minutes in Heaven in theaters

now. I also have a film out called

Badge of Faith which is based

on the real life story of a Roanoke

officer named Bryan Lawrence

who was critically injured

on duty. I also had a role in the

Kendrick Brothers’ War Room,

and I just wrapped on two different

TV shows this month.

Where can people go to buy

some of these movies?

It is my understanding that some

of them will be available on

ChristianCinema.com beginning

in November.

What is the most rewarding

part of acting?

Being able to have a positive

impact on people’s lives.

What are your future goals?

I just hope that I can continue on

this path and ultimately go where

God guides me.

Do you have a lot of family

and friends supporting your

endeavors?

Absolutely! There is no way I

would be where I am today without

their support. Especially my

husband who has watched my

career blossom over the course

of several years. It’s not an easy

industry, faith and family is what

keeps me grounded.

Do you have a website where

others can stay up to date with

all that you are doing?

My official site is www.Ashley-

Bratcher.com and there are

links to all of my social media

accounts on that site.

What is your favorite Bible

verse?

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord

with all your heart, and do not

lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge

him, and he will make straight

your paths.

Is there a word of wisdom that

you would like to leave our

readers with?

Every day you have an opportunity

to give people hope. You

can be darkness or you can be

light, the choice is yours.

Thank you for being willing to let

Faith Filled Family interview you!

We wish you much success with

everything that you set out to do.

For further information, theater

information, and to purchase

tickets, please visit:

www.princesscutmovie.com


Absent

Parents

Filling the

Void

By Don Ford

At age 15, I suddenly ound

myself without a mother or a

father. After seven children and

19 years of marriage, my Dad

decided to call it quits with my

Mom.

Dad decided to bring his younger

girlfriend home to meet Mom.

Mom, of course, had a nervous

breakdown - what was he

thinking? She collapsed on the

kitchen floor as this new woman

arrived at our home.

The three oldest, myself

included, were ‘farmed’ out to

other peoples’ homes. Did it

matter who it was that kept us?

Apparently not; since Dad was

in love again, and Mom drank

herself into a stupor each night,

having lost her children to this

other woman.

So, I was out in the cold without

a Mom or Dad. In my case, God

had his hand on my life, and

I ended up being placed in a

Christian family’s home. Three

times a week we attended some

sort of church event and I just

went along, since I didn’t want to

be left back at their place alone.

What I was hearing in church

services began to ring true in

my own heart. When I finally

went forward to receive Christ

in my heart, it was so real, and

I actually felt his presence move

right into my life!


Now I was this NEW CREATION

that others spoke about. I

wanted to please God in all I did.

Yes, I praise God to this very

day that he rescued me from

homelessness. God became

my Father and my Mother.

“Can they in turn become good

parents?” We have two children,

and I’ve been married to this

same gal for 45 years from

September 12, 1970. So, I have

let you all into a large corner of

my life and heart, now won’t you

let Jesus Christ into your heart

also?

First, a person needs to believe

Jesus Christ is real. He has

been my personal savior from

age 15; I could never deny him.

Once you get to know who Christ

is you, won’t let go of Him either.

Getting to know Jesus is the key

to all of life, following him is an

even greater thrill. However, we

get to know Him over time, not

over night.

I was probably an unlikely

candidate to ever meet God,

except I was looking for

something to fill that void in my

heart, when I realized I had no

mom or dad, so God became

both for me.

God filled the void that was left by

parents who were unable to be

there for one reason or another,

and He made me whole.

“It is the Lord who goes before

you. He will be with you; he will

not leave you or forsake you.

Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

“Fear not, for I am with you; be

not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help

you, I will uphold you with my

righteous right hand. Behold,

all who are incensed against

you shall be put to shame and

confounded; those who strive

against you shall be as nothing

and shall perish. You shall seek

those who contend with you, but

you shall not find them; those

who war against you shall be as

nothing at all. For I, the Lord your

God, hold your right hand; it is I

who say to you, “Fear not, I am

the one who helps you.” Isaiah

41:10-13

God will always be there.

Scripture says that He will never

leave, nor forsake you. It also

says that He will be there when

you need HIm.

There are those of us whose

parent(s) have left them, and

we have wondered why. When

we become, or contemplate,

parenthood ourselves, our past

can weigh heavily on our minds.

Some wonder, “Will I be just like

them? Will I be able to give this

child everything he/she needs

when my parents didn’t provide

the best example for me?”

The answer is yes, you can

be a wonderful parent! God is

your father, and can teach you

through a relationship with Him

how to be a good parent for your

child. He can take brokenness

and make you whole again. He is

the perfect father, and therefore

the perfect example.

Best of all, God loves you

unconditioanlly. He will fill a

void, if one exists, of love. Even

though God is an intangible, His

presence can always be felt. It

permeates a room, and you feel

it deep within your soul.

There is no love like God’s love.

I could share story after story

of a God who was always there

when we prayed. The rest of my

answers to prayer stories are

found here in a book I wrote, so

I would never forget all of His

benefits to us. See Raising Hope

here! https://www.createspace.

com/4351286


Five Promises

That Will never

be Broken

By Kerry Nenn


“I pinky swear.” I do solemnly

swear...” “I vow to…” “I guarantee…”

Oaths. Assurances.

Pledges. We make them all the

time. Do we keep them? In our

broken sinful state, probably not

every time. It’s likely we have

broken a promise or two. It’s also

likely others have broken promises

made to us.

This may make it hard to put any

weight into promises. Are they

merely words with no special

meaning? Coming from humans,

it’s possible this is all they are.

Coming from God, promises

have unparalleled power. His

promises should make us stand

up and take notice. His promises

are rock-solid foundations on

which we can build. God’s promises

are never changed, never

retracted, and never broken. We

can trust Him to deliver on every

single promise he has made to

us.

What are these promises? God’s

Word is filled with them. Let’s

take a look at five which, combined,

touch on every facet of

our lives. God tells us:

Promise #1: “I love you no

matter what.”

“But God shows his love for us in

that while we were still sinners,

Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation

for those who are in

Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

“Neither death nor life, neither

angels nor demons, neither the

present nor the future, nor any

powers, neither height nor depth,

nor anything else in all creation,

will be able to separate us from

the love of God that is in Christ

Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-

39

If this doesn’t get our fire going,

our wood must be wet. Nothing

we can do can separate us

from God’s love. Nothing? Yes,

nothing. The worst sin we can

imagine holds miniscule weight

compared to the mighty power

of God’s love. We can run away

all we want, fight his calling all

we want, commit all the atrocious

acts we want, and God’s

love is never swayed. We can

fail in every category we set up

for ourselves, but we can never

make God fail. His love remains

steady through it all.

We can refuse to accept God’s

love. We can try to hide, turn

away, or turn it down. This does

not diminish God’s love in any

way. He does not change. We

do. Just because we refuse to

accept it, doesn’t mean it’s not

there. Jesus still stands at the

door knocking, just waiting for us

to let him in. He wants to forgive

us and have a relationship with

us. But, he already loves us from

the other side of the door, even if

we never let Him in. Nothing can

separate us from His love. Nothing.

If only we could truly grasp the

depths of this amazing love. It

can transform our lives. This is

why Paul prayed for the Ephesians:

“And I pray that you,

being rooted and established in

love, may have power, together

with all the Lord’s holy people,

to grasp how wide and long

and high and deep is the love

of Christ, and to know this love

that surpasses knowledge—that

you may be filled to the measure

of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians

3:17-19

To be filled with God’s love is His

promise to us. Though deserving

of nothing but judgment, we

can bask in God’s love each and

every moment of each and every

day He gives us.

He promises His love.

Promise #2: “I am working for

your good.”

“And we know that in all things

God works for the good of those

who love him, who have been

called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

Do we believe this? Too often,

we don’t. We can’t understand

how God is using something in

our lives, so we start running

in circles with our hands in the

air, bemoaning our situation, all

Godly perspective lost. It’s easy

to get to this place of panic. How

could God possibly be using

this illness, this death, this job

loss, this irritating co-worker, this

bonus check, this sunny day, this

sale on potatoes, to work for my

good? That’s not always for us to

know. What we can know is that

in all of these things, God works

for our good.

There is one caveat. Notice we

are told this is a promise for

those who love him, who have

been called according to his

purpose. This promise is not for

everyone. It is for believers. For

those following Christ, God is

working all things for our good.

He is orchestrating His plan for

His redeemed, and every note is

played for their benefit.


Even when it is impossible for us

to see His work, we can rest in

the knowledge of this promise.

We know He is working. It may

be hard to comprehend, but

we also know that He can do

immeasurably more than all

we ask or imagine. (Ephesians

3:20) If His work is beyond our

imagination, we cannot expect

to always see His plan clearly.

What we can expect is that

everything He is doing is working

for his purposes and our good.

He promises His care.

Promise #3: “You don’t have

to worry.”

“Therefore I tell you, do not

worry about your life, what you

will eat or drink; or about your

body, what you will wear. Is not

life more than food, and the body

more than clothes? Look at the

birds of the air; they do not sow

or reap or store away in barns,

and yet your heavenly Father

feeds them. Are you not much

more valuable than they? Can

any one of you by worrying add a

single hour to your life? And why

do you worry about clothes? See

how the flowers of the field grow.

They do not labor or spin. Yet I

tell you that not even Solomon in

all his splendor was dressed like

one of these. If that is how God

clothes the grass of the field,

which is here today and tomorrow

is thrown into the fire, will he not

much more clothe you—you

of little faith? So do not worry,

saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or

‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What

shall we wear?’ For the pagans

run after all these things, and

your heavenly Father knows that

you need them. But seek first his

kingdom and his righteousness,

and all these things will be given

to you as well. Therefore do

not worry about tomorrow, for

tomorrow will worry about itself.

Each day has enough trouble of

its own.” Matthew 6:25-34

“Do not be anxious about

anything, but in every situation,

by prayer and petition, with

thanksgiving, present your

requests to God. And the peace

of God, which transcends all

understanding, will guard your

hearts and your minds in Christ

Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

God essentially tells us “I’ve

got this.” We can worry and fret

all we want, but it doesn’t get

us anywhere good or gain us

anything useful. Instead, we can

take all our concerns to God, for

He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)

We can know His arm is long

enough to reach any need. We

can pray about every concern

and experience His peace. He

is a good Father who will always

provide for His children. As we

seek Him, He meets all our

needs.

The secret is, we must seek

Him. (Matthew 6:33) If we put

His kingdom first, he promises

to meet all these other basic

concerns. We have no need

to worry. When God is our first

priority, everything else falls into

place. Martha ran about, worried

about getting everything done,

but Mary simply sat at Jesus’

feet, which we are told was the

better choice. (Luke 10:41-42)

Do we simply sit in God’s

presence, trusting Him to meet

our needs? Leaning into this

promise, we can. Christians can

be ulcer free, anxiety free, worry

free. We can relax. Be still. We

can cast our worries aside, rest

assured we serve a God who

has everything under control. Go

to Him. “He’s got this.”

He promises His provision. He

promises His peace.

Promise #4: “You can do this.”

“I can do all things through

Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:8

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is

sufficient for you, for my power

is made perfect in weakness.’

Therefore I will boast all the more

gladly about my weaknesses,

so that Christ’s power may rest

on me. That is why, for Christ’s

sake, I delight in weaknesses,

in insults, in hardships, in

persecutions, in difficulties. For

when I am weak, then I am

strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Christians often say “God won’t

give us more than we can

handle.” This is simply not true.

What the Bible tells us is that God

will not let us be tempted beyond

what we can bear, but, when

we are tempted, will provide a

way out so that we can endure

it. (1 Corinthians 10:13) This is

not the same claim. The first

implies we are doing things on

our own, God knows how much

we can do, and he will keep us

from becoming overwhelmed.

The second assures us we will

be tempted, but reminds us God

will help us resist the temptation,

always providing a way out.

What is God’s promise, then?

Will He give us more than we

can handle? Most definitely. We

can’t handle our sin. We can’t

obtain our own forgiveness. We


frequently do that which we don’t

want to do. (Romans 7:19) We

are weak – on our own.

God’s miraculous promise is

not that He won’t give us more

than we can handle. His promise

is: “You can do this – with me.”

Philippians 4:8 does not claim

“I can do all things.” The crucial

part of the verse is the end –

“through Christ who strengthens

me.” Paul is speaking here about

being content in all situations.

Whether we have little or have

a lot, whether things are going

great or down the gutter, we

can be content in Christ, doing

it through His strength, not our

own.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul talks

about the thorn in his flesh that

was not removed from his life.

Instead, God’s grace was to be

sufficient for him, and for us. We

will experience times when we

are weak, insulted, persecuted,

or simply face hard situations.

This is not only ok, it’s something

we can delight in. It is during

these times that Christ makes us

strong in our weakness, through

His power. He is the strength that

gets us through. Yes, we can

do it, but it is His provision, His

grace, that makes it possible.

He promises His strength.

Promise #5: “You are my

child.”

Father. Sister. Worker. Friend.

Baseball fan. Volunteer. Crafter.

Coach. Who were you today?

Far too often, our identity is

spread too thin. Trying to live up

to the expectations in each of

these roles leaves us weary and

unsatisfied. Why? They aren’t

our true identity. They may be

important parts of our lives. They

can be used for God’s glory.

Ultimately, though, they are far

secondary to our first and real

identity in Christ. You are a child

of God.

“See what great love the

Father has lavished on us, that

we should be called children

of God! And that is what we

are!” 1 John 3:1

No matter what happens. No

matter who else we think we are.

No matter who anyone else tells

us we are. It all boils down to

this. You are His child. You were

bought with a price, and are now

sealed in Him. (1 Corinthians

6:20, Ephesians 1:13) You don’t

have to wonder about who you

are, your purpose, or where all

this is going. Your anchor holding

you steadfast and secure is

Christ. (Hebrews 6:19) This is

your identity.

God has graciously given us this

identity we could not create for

ourselves. Jesus paid the price

so we could be His children. Like

the prodigal son, he welcomes

us into His family with open

arms. He clothes us in His robe

of righteousness. He showers us

with his love. He rejoices when

we come home to Him. Let us

fully embrace this identity as His

child. May we put off all attempts

to get our identity elsewhere.

Christ is our hope. He is who we

are.

He is also our future. As God’s

children, we have an eternal

inheritance. Not only can we rest

secure in Him while in this life, we

can have an eternal perspective.

We know what our future as

God’s children holds in store for

us. Heaven. His kingdom come.

Eternal life. A place at His table.

A home in His eternal city. Let

us rejoice! God calls us His own

and welcomes us into his family

for eternity.

He promises His inheritance.

How can these promises be

active in our lives?

Faith. We must trust God to

fulfill them. We must pray for this

faith. When we doubt, we can

pray as the father in Mark 9:24

asked Jesus, “I believe; help my

unbelief!” When we continue to

pray and seek God, our faith

grows as we encounter Him. Our

prayers allow us to taste and see

that the Lord is good. (Psalm

34:8) As we draw near to God,

He draws near to us. (James

4:8) The faith He gives us allows

us to trust in His promises and

see their work in our lives.

The Word. We must study,

meditate on, memorize, and pray

through the scriptures that tell us

of these promises. Let them be

written on our hearts and minds

and guide our daily thoughts and

actions. They will renew and

transform us, for God’s word is

living and active, and it will bring

to life His promises in our lives.


“The Masked Saint”

Unmasked

Pro-Wrestler Turns... Pastor?

By Kerry Nenn

Convicting sermons often “pin us to the mat.”

One pastor has taken this idea literally.

While Jacob may have wrestled with God,

Chris Whaley wrestled for God. This “Masked

Saint” stood in the pulpit on Sunday mornings, and

in the wrestling ring on Saturday night. In Pastor

Whaley’s case, he did “wrestle against flesh and

blood” – a lot of it.

Brett Granstaff’s award-wining film, “The Masked

Saint,” shares the remarkable story of this surprising

man, both pastor and pro wrestler.

In an interview with Faith Filled Family Magazine,

Chris provided the ring-side scoop on his life story

and the movie that tells it. Tag-teaming to give further

insight into the movie is Brett Granstaff, writer

of the film and star of “The Masked Saint.”

Chris, how does a person transition from wrestler

to pastor?

It’s amazing. I was already in the ministry before I

got into wrestling. I wrestled the entire time I was

in seminary. Just before I started wrestling, I was

really working out hard in the gym and was in

great shape. I saw an ad in the paper wanting pro

wrestlers. I had more time on my hands than I was

used to having. I answered the ad.

Chris, were you always into wrestling?

When growing up, I was in and out of the hospital

every year until junior high school. I had pneumonia

almost every year. In fourth grade, I had polio.

I was in the hospital for three moths. When in the

hospital, I could not sleep because of fevers and

other symptoms. When I was awake at night, I

would turn the TV on, and that was when pro wrestling

was on. I got hooked on it. My dad would


take me to wresting matches. I was a wrestling

fanatic, so when I saw the ad, I said that’s for me.

I got hooked the moment I walked in.

Chris, in the movie, the Masked Saint becomes

a bit of a masked vigilante. Did you really beat

up street thugs? Ever body slam the church

body?

I didn’t put a mask on and go out at night but did

have my share of physical encounters with people.

A young lady came in one Sunday with sunglasses

on. When she approached me after service, crying,

I removed the sunglasses, and she had two black

eyes. I told her I was going to visit her husband.

She warned me not to. I went to their house. I

didn’t hit him, but told him that I would come back

and see how he did against someone who could

hit back if I ever saw another mark on his wife. He

never hit her again. That was how it got started.

I had several events that took place while I was

there that I didn’t handle the way a pastor would

normally handle. The basketball court scene in the

movie is based on similar events that occurred on

the softball field in real life.

Chris, what do you hope viewers take away

from your story?

I hope they take away that we serve an awesome

God - the God of a second chance. I certainly had

my share of second chances, and I’m so thankful

for that. I have served three congregations who

loved me warts and all, which is great because

that’s how God loves us too.

is redeemable no matter where they are. All the

people in the film - they all have things going on in

their lives, but by the end they are all redeemed.

Everyone takes away something different from the

film. There is a “don’t be a bully” aspect. We have

strong women characters. Instead of hitting one

central theme, we hit on a lot of areas. Depending

on where you are in your life, you can take away

something different.

How did this story become a movie?

Brett: When I first heard about this story, I was

intrigued. He’s a pastor and a professional wrestler,

and doesn’t always turn the other cheek. He

would hold charity events that involved wrestling.

He intervened in a couple robberies and saved a

woman in a parking lot. God put him in the right

place at the right time. It’s such a unique story, and

I really wanted to tell it.

Chris: When I wrote the book based on my life, I

was just hoping that I might get someone to look

at it for a possible TV series. Michael Landon

inspired me. He was the only one who was putting

anything moral and good on TV. No one else

was doing that after he died. I was hoping to do a

series. I couldn’t get any publishers to talk to me. I

self published the book. The movie was a long pro-

I also think the things I fought for were worth

fighting for. My humanity entered into a couple of

them, but Psalm 82:3 says to defend the weak and

fatherless. I think there is such a thing as righteous

indignation, to be angry about things that make

God angry. Any time those who are not able to

protect themselves, someone has to help protect

them. Not always in the way I did it, but I wouldn’t

change anything. I helped people, and that’s part

of what I do as a pastor – to protect the people

God has given me to care for.

Brett, what do you view as the main message

of the film?

We hit on everything. Honor. Redemption. Pride

is a slippery slope. The big one for me though

is redemption, and how pretty much everyone


cess, so long that while the producer was considering

it I had put it on the shelf and forgotten about

it. Then he called me in February of 2013 and told

me they were going to make it into a movie. This

was amazing to me that they were going to make

my book into a movie. I was thrilled to death.

Brett, how has this movie impacted the spiritual

lives of those involved in its making?

This character is always in the right place at the

right time (or wrong, depending on how you see it.)

For me personally, it has made me more aware of

my surroundings, less shy, and less prone to keep

my head down and do my own thing. I now always

look twice around me, to see if there is anything

going on. Maybe God has put me in that particular

place at that time to act.

Brett, what was the biggest challenge of playing

The Masked Saint?

I did all my own stunts. I was trained by the man

who plays the Reaper in the film. Everyone says

wrestling is fake, but there is nothing fake about

wresting. You still hit the mat and ropes and get

slammed. What you have to put your body through

is tough. We filmed five matches over three days.

One match we filmed 14 times for different scenes

and angles. I’ve never done that much stunt work.

As an actor, the hardest thing was how to get the

two roles of pastor and wrestler together. Looking

from the outside, it seems like a strange concept.

As a wrestler, I have to play to the audience, and

as a pastor, I have to look after the flock. Rationalizing

pro wrestler and pastor was difficult.

Brett, in what ways did God show up during

the making of this film?

The fact that we filmed it in 15 days was a miracle.

Also, twice during production, financing completely

fell apart. We ended up having people come in and

say “we like this film, and we will make it happen.”

Twice. If this had not happened, we would not

have the film.

With as much wresting as we did, it was shocking

that no one was seriously injured. We did a lot

of stunt work. The stunt coordinator was surprised

that no one got hurt, even with pros-only moves

and intense action. No one was hurt at all.

It worked out. The fact that we finished on time

and on budget was God showing up. Everyone

was amazing, but there was definitely some higher

help for sure. We missed major snow storms. Little

things like that, which, looking back, easily could

have been really bad. The whole production itself

was really blessed.

What else would you like readers to know

about this film?

Chris: I am so thrilled that faith-based movies

are doing well. However, if we continue to make

the same kind of faith-based movies, it’s going to

grow old. Most are salvation movies, but it’s predominantly

Christians who are going to see them.

Why can’t we just have some great clean Christian

films of different genres? I see this as the first

faith-based action movie.

I think people want to see good clean films they

can take their kids to. I think that’s why they are so

popular. Families can go and see them together. I

hope that people will enjoy it because it ‘s a good

Christian film with good triumphing over evil.

Brett: The movie has an incredible cast. Diahann

Carroll plays a church elder. She truly is a legend.

The late Roddy Piper did an amazing job in it. The

movie won Best Picture at the 2015 International

Christian Film Festival. It also received three other

nominations, making it the most nominated movie

of any film there.

Everyone from a five-year-old kid to an 85-year-old

grandmother can enjoy the movie. There is something

for everyone. It truly doesn’t matter your age

or what you enjoy. You will find something in this

film that you will gravitate to.

Brett, when and where can we see “The Masked

Saint”?

It will be released January 8, 2016. The release

will be nationwide, on 600 screens in most major

cities.

For more behind the scenes info, check out www.

themaskedsaint.com. Watch the trailer, get to

know the actors and their characters, and view

inspirational pieces from the film.

www.themaskedsaint.com


Don’t Talk

Back!

Freedom from Negative

Words

By Julie B. Cosgrove

A

tried and true saying

states, “We are our own

worst enemies.” As a

suffer of low self-esteem most

of my life, I get that. People like

me who have poor self-images

surround ourselves by catalysts

that will pound the fact into our

brains on a regular basis that

we are not worthy to take up

space on this planet.

We have a tendency to be more

intolerant of traits and imperfections

in ourselves than we are of

those in others. We see the log

in our eye way too much and

make everyone else’s appear

like a splinter in comparison.

Being hard on ourselves is a

way of life, patterned after years

of hearing it from others until it

became engrained as the truth.

Perhaps we align ourselves to

others who constantly “put us

down” to reiterate what we have

come to believe—we are who

we thought we were all along:

nobodies who can’t do anything

right. We seek out companionship

with those who elevate

themselves by cutting down

others. Being battered by criticism

becomes the norm. And if

it ceases, we wonder what we

have done wrong.

Over time we watered that

seed and fed it more negativity

until its roots intertwined in our

subconscious—

“You are dumb.”

“You are fat.”

“Who could love a loser like

you?”

“You can never do anything


ight.”

“You will never amount to anything.”

I lived with an emotional abusive

parent and was bullied relentlessly

by my peers for seven

years in school, so of course I

married a man who also had that

tendency. After all, it felt normal

to me for him to always point

out my faults, scoff, and rarely, if

ever, compliment me.

After his death, I had no one to

put me down. One day I stared

at myself in the mirror and realized

I had begun to do that to

myself. I actually had gotten into

the habit of verbalizing my negative

thoughts to fill the void since

I had no one else to say them to

me!

God opened my eyes and my

heart that day. It was as if a

dirty, encrusted film had been

cleansed from the window panes

of my soul. Sunlight poured in.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I had

heard the alternative messages

all my life.

“God only creates good.”

“God doesn’t make junk.”

“God loves you as you are.”

“God has plans to prosper you

and not harm you, to give you

a hope and a future.” Jeremiah

29:11.

As a child, I sang, “Red and

yellow black and white, we are

precious in His sight.”

However, a deep part of me

claimed “king’s x.” Doesn’t apply,

not to me. Sure, God could love

me—

except that…

if it weren’t for the fact that…

if I wasn’t so…

I’d roll my eyes when some

woman speaker would tell us

were fearfully and wonderfully

made. Our bodies and how they

function, perhaps. Their ability

to heal themselves, the fact

our hearts beat and our brains

store so much knowledge, sure.

I could claim the statement

generically, but never personally.

Being overweight a vast majority

of my life, partially due to genetics

but more to poor food choices

and turning to food for comfort, I

begged to differ. God may have

created me as wonderful, but

I had changed that, thank you

very much. My fault.

Thus, the negativity bopped

me down again like a game of

“whack-a-mole.”

The times Christ broke through

the dam of pessimism and

proved His unending love for me,

I’d fall to my knees in tears and

disbelief. I couldn’t think upon

the cross and that the Savior

would do that for me. Everyone

else in the world, sure. But not

for me. Surely, You’re mistaken,

God. You must have meant Your

merciful grace for someone else.

Perhaps this resonates with you.

If so, you are not alone. Low

self-esteem is in epidemic proportions

in our modern world.

Seeds are planted as small children

by an emotionally abusive

parent or teacher or grandparent

or peer who also probably suffered

from this mental affliction.

Misery does indeed love company.

The evil one thrives on whispering

sweet nothings into our

soul’s ears. Thoughts which

make us feel like “nothings.”

Nothing good, nothing smart,

nothing pretty, nothing of worth.

Such negative talk keeps us

focused on ourselves and not our

Lord. It divides us from others by

stirring up envy and jealousy. It

bars us from utilizing our Godgiven

talents to be His hands

and feet because we feel so low

we have to look up to view a caterpillar’s

belly. It keeps us weak,

vulnerable and incompetent.

Some of us disguise this phenomenon

as humility. But it is anything

but that. Low self-esteem

is just as sinful as pridefulness.

Both place the emphasis on ourselves

and our capabilities, not

on God. And that is exactly what

Satan wants.

We companion with those we can

never “live up to” in our eyes. We

seek out people who will chop

us down to stumps if we start to

grow. Abusive talk becomes so

normal anything else seems placating

and patronizing.

How do you shut off the negative

talk, be it from others or

yourselves? The answer lies in

Scripture. Recall what Paul told

the Ephesians in Chapter 6—

Finally, be strong in the Lord and

in his mighty power. Put on the

full armor of God, so that you can

take your stand against the devil’s

schemes. For our struggle is

not against flesh and blood, but


against the rulers, against the

authorities, against the powers

of this dark world and against

the spiritual forces of evil in the

heavenly realms. Therefore put

on the full armor of God, so

that when the day of evil comes,

you may be able to stand your

ground, and after you have

done everything, to stand. Stand

firm then, with the belt of truth

buckled around your waist, with

the breastplate of righteousness

in place, and with your feet fitted

with the readiness that comes

from the gospel of peace. In

addition to all this, take up the

shield of faith, with which you

can extinguish all the flaming

arrows of the evil one. Take

the helmet of salvation and the

sword of the Spirit, which is the

word of God. (vs. 10-18, emphasis

mine)

You can find many sermons,

books and videos on these

verses. Read them, listen to

them, allow them soak in. Negativity

is a vicious opponent. However,

each time it is encountered,

you can, by the mercy of God,

arm yourself against it.

Read the Word of God and let it

seep into your very soul. Believe

God’s love to be true and choose

to accept it as a faith-fact even

if you are still blind to the evidence.

Embrace the righteousness

of Christ and the fact He

loved you enough to die for you

so you can become a new creation

In Him. Highlight verses

that speak to you in a positive,

uplifting manner. Take these

words and repeat them until

they become the threads tightly

woven in fabric of your psyche.

Plaster them on your mirror, the

fridge door, the visor of your

car, in front of a desk drawer, in

folded up in your change pocket.

Pray for a shield to keep the

negativity from permeating you.

When a demeaning thought

enters your brain, counter it out

loud with a positive verse. Ask

God to forgive you and cleanse

you of that belittling, stinking

thinking.

And if it comes from those you’ve

surrounded yourself with, pray

for them. Pray that their arrows

will no longer penetrate you.

Pray for them to also experience

God’s love in their souls. Do not

retaliate or cower. Stand firm,

just as Paul advises. Yes, the

abuse may worsen, but eventually

like any growling animal,

they will back off.

Of course, if the abuse turns

physical, seek shelter and help

immediately for yourself and

then for them. Seek godly and

legal counsel. And keep praying

for God to turn the evil into a

good purpose.

Want to know the bare bone

truth? This may be the hardest,

longest battle you ever fought.

The war may not end until you

fall into the arms of Jesus in

eternity, but the skirmishes will

become fewer and further in

between.

Know the victory has already

been achieved by Christ.

Embrace it, pick up your armor,

mold it to yourself, and carry

on, confident in the fact you can

beat this. Your world does not

have to be a belittling, negative

and defeating one.

As the famous hymn states,

march “onward Christian soldier…with

the cross of Jesus

going on before.”


GOD WANTS

You

&

You

ARE IMPORTANT

TO GOD

By Saviela Edwards Thorne

Sometimes it is hard to

believe that we are the

children of God.

To be a child, you must first

be born into or adopted into a

family. In Romans 8:17 KJV

states, “And if children, then

heirs; heirs of God, and jointheirs

with Christ; if so be that we

suffer with him, that we may also

glorified together.” When Jesus

Christ died on the cross for our

sins, he left his most precious

gift with us and that is His Holy

Spirit. As born again Christians,

we have the spirit of God dwelling

within us, which connects us

to Christ, thus making us children

of God. As a natural father

desires the best for his children,

it’s the same for God. We can rest

assured that God has our best

interests at heart and as stated


in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know

that thoughts that I think toward

you, saith the Lord, thoughts of

peace, and not of evil to give you

an expected end.”

“Before

I formed

thee in

the belly I

knew thee;

and before

thou

camest

forth out of

the womb

I sanctified

thee…”

Jeremiah

1:5.

Below are a few reasons we

know that we are important to

God:

You are Loved by God

Love is the very essence of

God as stated in 1 John 4:7-8,

“Beloved let us love one another:

for love is of God; and every one

that loveth is born of God, and

knoweth God. He that loveth

not knoweth not God; for God is

love.” There is no question about

God’s love toward mankind.

Anyone who would willingly give

up their only son proves their

unconditional love. In St. John

3:16, the word of God states,


“For God so loved the world, that

he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him

should not perish, but have everlasting

life.”

God is madly in love with us

and we have the assurance

that nothing will ever separate

His love from us. Romans 8:39

NIV confirms “neither height nor

depth, nor anything else in all

creation, will be able to separate

us from the love of God that is

in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God’s

love for us is not conditioned

on our goodness or what we do

for him but His love for us is an

everlasting love. No matter how

far we go from Christ, His love

will always be there. He is married

to the backslider as mentioned

in Jeremiah 3:14, “Turn,

O backsliding children, saith the

LORD; for I am married unto

you: and I will take you one of a

city, and two of a family, and I will

bring you to Zion.” God’s love for

us is not based on what we do

or don’t do but his love is based

on his desire that none should

perish but that all will come into

repentance (2 Peter 3:9). We

are commanded by God to walk

in that same unconditional love

towards others. If we don’t, then

we are not considered his children.

Only those that love is born

of God (1 John 4:7).

You are Special to God

When you are important to

someone, you are special to

them. You are considered valuable

and treasured by that

person. Deuteronomy 7:6 shows

us how God sees us, “For thou

art an holy people unto the Lord

thy God: the Lord thy God hath

chosen thee to be a special

people unto himself, above all

people that are upon the face

of the earth.” It’s not about how

others view you but how God

sees you and in his eyes you are

special to Him. God cares about

you so much that he even know

the number of hairs on your

head (St. Matthew 10: 30, St.

Luke 12:7). You are priceless to

God. Not only are you special to

God, but you are also chosen by

him, “But ye are a chosen generation,

a royal priesthood, an holy

nation, a peculiar people; that

ye should shew forth the praises

of him who hath called you out

of darkness into his marvelous

light” - 1 Peter 2:9. You can hold

you head up high knowing that

you are part of royalty. You are

a child of the One True King,

Jesus Christ. Being a child of

God, you have special privileges

that the unsaved do you have.

When you understand who you

belong to, you begin to walk in

your purpose.

You have purpose in God

He knew you before you were

born “Before I formed thee in

the belly I knew thee; and before

thou camest forth out of the

womb I sanctified thee…” Jeremiah

1:5. You aren’t place in

this world just to live but to live

with a purpose. God has blessed

each and every person with a

purpose. It is up to you to seek

after God for him to reveal your

God given purpose. Most people

confuse talent with purpose. You

have a natural talent in an area,

but that does not mean that is

your God given purpose. Think

about it, what are you most passionate

about? If there were no

limitations what would you do

right now for the rest of your life?

There were areas of my life that

I struggled with and sometimes

are still a struggle. I wasn’t sure

why I seem to always deal with

these issues. I later realized that

the areas, in which you struggle

with the most, are usually the

areas of your ministry. My experience

going through became my

platform and because I was able

to go through, I am now able to

teach others. There is purpose

in your pain. Whatever you are

going through right now, there is

purpose for it. God is building you

up and creating a ministry within

you to bless others. You are on

the potter’s wheel so continue

to praise God as he molds and

makes you into the vessel that

he needs you to be. Don’t rush

the process, but rest assured

that “… all things God works for

the good of those who love him,

who have been called according

to his purpose” – Romans 8:28

NIV.

You are important to God

because you are loved by Him,

you are special to Him and you

have purpose within Him. God

has great and mighty things in

stored for you, but he first needs

your complete trust.

Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages us

to,

“Trust in the LORD with all thine

heart; and lean not unto thine

own understanding. In all thy

ways acknowledge him, and he

shall direct thy paths.”

When you trust God with your

life, you will begin to go places

and do things that you never

imagined. God wants to do “…

exceeding abundantly above all

that we ask or think, according

to the power that worketh in us,”

(Ephesians 3:20) but we must


first allow Him to work within us.

As children of God we are indeed

blessed beyond measure. Continue

to walk in your purpose.

Saviela Edwards Thorne

Visit her at https://saviela.wordpress.com

Saviela is an inspirational author

and a motivational speaker who

loves to encourage and empower

the women of God through her

life experiences.


Gender Identity

Who Does God Say We Are?

By Pastor James Hill, MA, MDiv


I

have been asked to write an

article about “gender identity,”

commonly discussed today

under the rubric of transgenderism.

This is a condition

wherein, in its classical or most

characteristic form, a person

strongly believes that he or she,

while clearly of one sex biologically

is truly, in their own mind,

of the opposite sex, for example

wherein a biological male,

with functioning male anatomical

body parts, believes that he

really is, or really ought to be, a

female, and, vice versa, where a

female, similarly has a properly

functioning female anatomy but

firmly believes herself to properly

be a boy. Their belief is that

his or her self-understanding is

not wrong but his or her body is

wrong. In the fullest form, this

may lead to living as the opposite

sex, hormone treatment to

increase characteristics of the

opposite sex, and, ultimately, sex

reassignment surgery, wherein

characteristically male or female

gonads are removed, secondary

sex characteristics may be

surgically altered, and some

tissue is re-purposed to create

approximations of the characteristic

sexual organs of the opposite

sex, as well as continuing

life-long hormone treatments

to sustain the characteristics of

the opposite sex. I am asked to

consider if there is such a thing

as gender identity in God’s eyes,

and according to scripture, to

answer the etiology, or origins,

or causation of gender identity

dysphoria, and to consider

whether or not this condition can

be changed.

I feel inadequate to address

this issue as I might like to for

two reasons. One, my reading

in this specific field is too slight,

and two, my experience of dealing

with persons who report

themselves as transgendered or

who once thought of themselves

as transgendered is modest.

However, I do have considerable

experience of dealing with persons

who have come to experience

very great transformations

in their life and outlook, transformations

unexpected and transformations

towards thought and

conduct consistent with biblical

patterns, and transformations

leading to greater peace and

contentment for the persons so

transformed. In some measure

I have dealt with such material

in my book To Be Made Whole:

A Handbook for Inner Healing. I

have also dealt at some depth

with persons who do or have

experienced homosexual ideation,

some who have remained

of the opinion that their condition

was inevitable and some who

have come to see themselves

as no longer homosexual and

who have satisfying relations

with persons of the opposite sex.

This material I have dealt with

in my book The Gay Emperor

Is Naked: A Critique of Homosexuality.

I have seen in this

area many reasons to view their

condition as caused by what I

would call spiritual causes, but

others might call psychological

causes, and I suspect that some

of the insight gained in this area

is likely relevant to the arguably

related area of transgenderism.

It is because of the inadequacies

with which I approach my subject

that I say it is only “towards” a

Christian understanding, meaning

that it is but a beginning.

Until recently, this phenomenon

of gender identity discomfort

was dealt with in the field of

psychology as “Gender Identity

Disorder.” However, now the

preferred term in that field is

“Gender Dysphoria.” Every term

implies assumptions. It was felt

that “Gender Identity Disorder”

proclaimed that the “transgendered”

person was dis-ordered.

In the secular world, the general

movement with regards to

sexual orientation and activity is

to call very little, if anything, disordered.

Persons or actions are

not “disordered,” but only “different.”

Thus, the term “gender

dysphoria” focuses on the discomfort

of the individual, not any

possible disorder. The use of

this term also implies that there

is no particular order.

One key characteristic of the discussion

supporting the “merely

different” position is the great

weight given to reported feelings.

There is general or philosophical

discomfort with any set

scheme of understanding, or

any order. If this does not wholly

follow from, it is at least a part

with the general movement to

relativism and deconstructionism

characteristic of the increasingly

anti-supernatural stance of

modern thought. If one reports

that they feel gay, for example,

then that must be who they

“are.” If one reports that they

feel female or male, then that

must be who they “are.” But is

it? Others report that they are

truly alcoholic and that that is

who they “are.” Are we obliged

to accept their conclusion?

Others report that they feel sex

with minors is appropriate and

that desiring such activity is who

they truly are. Are we obliged to

accept one’s view of who they

“are” because they have strong


feelings of one sort or another?

Can feelings be wrong? Now,

do not think for a moment that

the reported feelings of persons

believing themselves transgendered

are casual, or frivolous,

or intentionally willful. That is

rarely, if ever, so. They are sincere,

and they are strong. Persons

holding such beliefs should

be accorded respect for the sincerity

and intensity of their feelings.

They are persons made in

the image of God, at least so I

would say (although they, apparently,

might not), and as such

are worthy of great respect! And

that still does not convince me

that they are correct.

It is said that in contemporary

Christian culture, relationship

matters more than conduct, and

thus good relations should be

maintained with others virtually

without regard to their conduct.

While I can affirm civility, respect,

and grace in personal relations,

and I can affirm that many times

we should let the Holy Spirit do

the convincing, and we are not

obliged the “brow-beat” others

into submission, nor should we

generally try to do so, but still I

cannot affirm that personal feelings

are invariably the authoritative

road to truth. I don’t think

they are.

Theologically, all discussions

I have seen to put a biblical

seal of approval on sexually

abnormal, or sexually diverse,

conduct are convoluted. They

require multiple steps, and specific

conclusions from general

conclusions, which are in conflict

with the clearest scriptures

which might seem to speak to

the subject. Alfred North Whitehead

in Science and the Modern

Mind credits the Judeo-Christian

belief in an ordered creation with

the birth of the scientific method.

The study of the world is thought

possible because it is ordered,

contrary to the belief of some

religions. And such science is

encouraged because God is

revealed in that order. Genesis

1:1-31 speaks of God ordering

the universe, and in 1:31 that

order is said to be true. Psalm 19

and Romans 1:18-32 are others

scriptures supporting the notion

that God has revealed himself in

the created order and are among

those influences which have

led to the rise of the scientific

method in Christian civilization.

That there is an order is not a

new idea, nor is a small one, nor

is it without great fruit, nor is it an

idea abandoned without great

peril to sound knowledge. But if

one looks at the clearest scriptures

on sex and gender specific

roles they speak of a male and

female duality.

In Genesis 1:27 we find: “So

God created man in his own

image, in the image of God He

created him; male and female

He created them.” Now if God

is the all-knowing God Christian

faith has understood him to be,

then He could just as easily have

said that “God created man in

his own image; male and female

and gay and lesbian and bisexual

and transgendered, He created

him,” but He did not. God

could have had some vague

allusion to other genders made,

but He did not. Either God is

not an all-knowing God, or the

Bible is only partially inspired, or

God or the authors of the Bible

choose to willfully mislead us

due to their belief that mankind

could not handle the truth. I am

not pleased with any of those

alternatives. Furthermore, such

a diminished view of scriptural

authority easily leads to a doit-yourself-

theology in general,

guided not by scripture, but by

changing intellectual fashion.

In Genesis 2:18-25, we find that

Adam was inadequate in himself,

and that the fulfillment was

in Eve. In Mark 10:6-8, we find

Jesus reinforcing that value of

male-female creation. In Deuteronomy

22:5, we find that even

the wearing of clothing characteristic

of the opposite sex is

prohibited, which tends to support

the importance of maintaining

the male/female differences

in some way.

In Deuteronomy 23:1 you do

have the barring from the assembly

of the Lord he who is emasculated,

which may bespeak

a rejection of such practices

among other religions or which

may bespeak a desire to reflect

the perfection of God, but certainly

seems to seems to speak

ill of downplaying God’s sexual

design of man, however, in Matthew

19:12 you have the possi-


ly more ambiguous language

of Jesus about eunuchs. Yet

upon consideration, Jesus says

nothing to encourage the notion

of multiple sexes. He speaks

of eunuchs from their mother’s

womb, presumably persons born

with what would be considered a

birth defect; eunuchs made so

by men, who are persons emasculated

by others and thus not

responsible for a choice they did

not make; and eunuchs made so

by themselves, which has generally,

though not universally, been

understood to mean those who

choose to abstain from sexual

relations, not those who physically

castrated themselves. In

Acts 8:26-40, you have the story

of the Ethiopian eunuch, who

is informed by Philip, based on

Isaiah 53:7-8, that his physical

affliction by no means bars him

from salvation, but his affliction

was not one he chose and his

salvation came from his new

faith in Christ; and the passage

offers no word of approval of his

affliction, but of him and despite

his affliction. None of this offers

any clear support for multiple

varieties of gender. I know of

no scriptural support for the idea

that there are six or seven or so

varieties of gender in God’s plan.

Innumerable times I have seen

cases wherein unknown trauma

was the origin of some subsequent

physical, social psychological,

emotional, or spiritual

ailment. Sixty-plus year old Mrs.

A came to me with pain in her

left eye from shingles. God

revealed to her an incident in

which she had been molested

as a child by her father, with her

left eye shoved against a bedpost.

We had prayer in Jesus’

name and her shingles ended.

Fifty-plus year old Mr. B came to

me with scheduled surgery for

a long-time ailment from which

his father before him had also

suffered. God revealed to him

a childhood incident wherein

his father did not give him the

approval he needed. After

prayer, his fifteen year problem

disappeared, the surgery was

canceled, and the affected organ

was later found to be whole by

the same doctors who had said

it had to be removed. Forty-plus

year old Mr. C came to me with

deep regret about his betrayal of

his wife’s trust. His only answer

was to be more disciplined.

God revealed to him and incident

he had completely forgotten

in which his older brother

had molested him. We prayed

and he had a new release, not

mere resolve, and no relapse.

Forty year old Miss D came to

me with foul nightmares of her

doing things to children she

would never do. God revealed

the source of her nightmares in

early childhood actions he had

been pressed into at a boarding

school. Forty-plus year old Mr. E

came most reluctantly, with certainty

that his unwanted sexual

attraction to another man could

not be ended. Three, four or

five times he came, each time

expecting no help, each time

sure of failure, each time leaving

feeling great release, each

time being set more free, and

he is now quite set free of the

attractions he was drawn into by

molestation done to him many

years before, and he has not

come to me to deal with such

things for some years now. He

is happily married and has even

reconciled, in a healthy way,

with his uncle molester. Fiftyplus

year old Mr. F came to me

with general discontent about

life, God, and most everyone he

knew, and also with a few aches

and pains. God revealed to him,

not to me, to him, his mother’s

anxiety when he was in the

womb and that that set him up

for a lifetime of doubt about his

worth. He left happy, in love with

God and the world, and mostly

pain free.

I could give you many more

such illustrations, but they

serve to illustrate my point that

many times there are causes,

not known or remembered or

understood by the person who

suffers from an affliction of the

soul. Many times when God’s

help is asked to uncover some

relevant thing, a relevant incident

is brought to mind. Many

times when these afflictions are

dealt with in accord with biblical

principles such as mourning,

forgiveness, repentance, transformation

by renewing the mind,

and deliverance, a great transformation

is achieved. Causes

were not known. Time and again,

the persons involved, and others

in their lives, thought “that’s just

the way it is,” “or that’s just the

way so-and-so is.” It was not.

It was caused. And it could be

uncaused. And it was. Based

on the innumerable times when I

have seen a correlation between

an existing ailment for persons

and the discovery of prior spiritual

wounding, I suspect that is a

probable and sound framework

of understanding for a great host

of ailments, probably including

transgendered ideation. (Some

of this kind of trauma and transformation

I consider further in

my book To Be Made Whole: a

Handbook for Inner Healing.)


In the possibly related area of

homosexual ideation, I know

that there are many indicators

of discontent in the lives of

those who report themselves

as homosexuals and that these

numerous indicators of discontent

bespeak a disorder which

will not be eased by approval,

but rather bespeak an abiding,

underlying problem of which the

homosexual ideation is a symptom.

There dreadful health consequences,

and there are many

troubling relationship practices

which seem to characterize persons

with homosexual ideation.

I suspect that as more studies

are made, similarly troubling patterns

will be seen to be a normal

part of the lives of transgendered

persons.

The one “transgendered” person

I know best had many dramatic

troubles in early childhood.

At one point some crisis was

reached and there was some

sort of resolution. Based on

inadequate but suggestive information,

I suspect that there was

another spirit within this person,

wrestling for supremacy, and that

the other spirit was allowed to

prevail, not the one who was the

true inhabitant of the body, but

an alternate of another gender,

allowing a cessation of the great

turmoil, but not peace. I suspect

that all the hormone treatments

and surgery and approval by

well-meaning friends will never

bring the peace the person

seeks.

In the literature on transgenderism

multiple causes are considered

or alleged. Some strongly

argue for a brain differential of

some sort. However, studies

are rarely duplicated, are almost

always small, and are unable

to filter out whether the physical

brain difference they claim

to find is cause or consequence

or concomitant. Others propose

that hormonal influence causes

the gender dysphoria, either as

an aspect of the body’s normal

production or as an aspect of

the mother’s or child’s hormonal

levels during gestation. But

again, the studies are of small

numbers, are generally not duplicated,

and cannot determine

whether an alleged factor is a

cause or a consequence of later

hormone therapy or something

that comes from some other

factor. There are those who

suggest psychological factors

determine gender identity disorder.

So far, my own reading,

based on far too little evidence,

would most nearly dovetail with

this latter theory of the etiology

or origin or cause.

The full response to the transgendered

person’s discomfort,

by current secular standards, is

to perform very radical surgery,

eliminating perfectly healthy

body parts for the sake of the

person’s disorder or perceived

discomfort. This is a surgery

which one hospital which was

a pioneer in it discontinued

because of the high incidence

of reported discontent after the

surgery was performed. I am

told that when persons present

themselves to counselors as

being transgendered, they go

through extensive counseling. If

they persist in their reported feelings,

they will be obliged to get

hormone treatment, and then to

live as a member of the opposite

sex for a long period before any

sex reassignment surgery would

be performed. Perhaps one or

two percent of the people initially

reporting such feelings would

eventually be approved for such

surgery. After the surgery is performed,

I am told, half will subsequently

express regret at having

had the surgery performed. Now

I do not know the precise nature

of their expressed regrets. (I also

acknowledge that a Wikipedia

article cites a source as claiming

that the results were vaguely

good.) Still, I would think that

after having had such a radical

procedure performed, with some

irreversible results, one would

be strongly motivated to approve

one’s decision, and yet, to the

best of my knowledge, that is not

so. Furthermore, if 98 to 99% of

persons initially believing themselves

to be transgendered are

not subsequently approved for

a radical surgery they initially

desire, what happened with

their desires? Did they change?

Some must have. Nearly all?

Whatever the number, what

does that mean? It may mean

that most “outgrow” their transgenderism.

Or it may mean that

in most cases the doctors and

psychologists involved fairly

clearly see reasons why these

persons desire a bad choice for

themselves.

I do know of persons who have

had such surgery, had thought, it

was appropriate, and have later

made a commitment to Christ,

who came to regret seeing themselves

as transgendered and

who came to regret their choice

to have such surgery, and have

since lived as the biological sex

of their birth to the best of their

ability in light of whatever surgery

had been performed. So,

change in thought pattern for

seemingly transgendered per-


sons is possible. There are other

persons, whom I have met, who

previously thought themselves

transgendered, yet of whom I

did not make extensive inquiries,

but who have subsequently

chosen to live as a member of

their biological sex since coming

to Christ and who report peace,

fulfillment, and joy in their new

life and their new relationship

in Christ. Their regret was for

their prior sense of “transgenderedness,”

not for their current

choice to live as they now understand

God to have made them,

in the male or female bodies with

which they were born.

I see no scriptural support for

affirming transgenderism. I do

indeed see support for affirming

individuals, for treating them

with respect, for gentleness and

civility. I see support for listening

carefully. I see support for

affirming the core person and

for affirming God’s love for them.

I can see support for walking

alongside someone and not

requiring their immediate conformity

to one’s own ideas. I

see an emphasis on maintaining

the right in the Old Testament

superseded by an emphasis on

redemption and transformation,

but without letting go of the right

in the New Testament; consider

John 81:12 and Romans 12:2.

All have sinned and fallen short

of the glory of God, true; but sin

is still sin; and while we love the

sinner, and we have no need to

humiliate someone; still we need

to know the truth and to live it. If

we know what we stand for, it is

likely that others will know what

we stand for even if we do not

always proclaim it each time we

meet someone new. Still, I suspect

that affirming the transgendered

perspective will not be an

aspect of sharing God’s love. I

believe that Christ can change

lives. I have seen it, many

times. I know persons who have

come out of serial adultery, drug

addiction, alcoholism, homosexuality,

feeling themselves

transgendered, rage, great

fear, and innumerable kinds of

abuse. I do not say it is easy.

I do not say that one can see

how one can change at first, but

one can. I affirm that God does

have patterns, and that they are

good, and that falling away from

those patterns is almost always

(always?) a sign of a troubled

soul. Whatever the trouble, I

believe that God can help. May

God bless all who struggle in

this area, whether it be a personal

struggle or a struggle for

the soul of a loved one. May

God bless those who agree with

me and those who disagree with

me. And may God bless me with

greater insight, especially where

I am wrong. Amen.

Pastor Jim Hill, MA, MDiv, is

pastor of Clairemont Christian

Fellowship: A Spirit-filled United

Methodist Church in San Diego,

California

He has written three published

books: The Drinks Are on the

Kingdom: a Study of the Wedding

at Can; To Be Made Whole:

a Handbook for Inner Healing;

and The Gay Emperor Is Naked:

A Critique of Homosexuality. He

is also published in the American

Journal of Pastoral Counseling,

and has chapters in books

edited by H. Newton Malony and

Maxie Dunnam.


I LOVE YOU

No Matter What

God Loves You No Matter What Your

Past

By C D Swanson


For God so loved the world

that He gave His only begotten

Son, that whoever believes in

Him should not perish but have

everlasting life. …John 3:16

I went to lunch with a good friend

of mine who brought her cousin

visiting from out of state. It was a

pleasant experience and by the

time dessert arrived, the cousin

began to open up about her

“lifestyle.” She voiced concern

that with her less than honorable

past she was condemned for

life, with no chance of being

redeemed.

This began a deeply penetrating

conversation that was both

provocative and sincere. The

cousin—JoAnn—with tearstreaked

cheeks asked me, “Do

you honestly believe that God

can forgive me? I mean I’m a

horrible person…and I only told

you about a tenth of what I’ve

done. I’ve been a wild party-girl

and did some pretty despicable

things, I doubt God even cares

about me anymore, or if He ever

did.”

Marie looked at me with

knitted brow; her expression

clearly one of discomfort. She

apparently was waiting for me

to say something to JoAnn. I

said a silent prayer to the Lord

to provide wisdom and gentle

guidance thereby giving me

the proper “balm” to soothe her

aching soul.

“JoAnn, God loves you more

than you know. He doesn’t like

“sin” but He loves you. His voice

can be heard so succinctly if

you’d take the time to listen.”

“Where is His voice? I don’t hear

it!” JoAnn looked at me wideeyed

as she searched my face

anxious for an answer.

“It’s in the wind. It’s in the air

you breathe. It’s the cry of a

brand new baby. It’s the joy

of a successful operation. It’s

arriving ten minutes late for an

appointment which, although

you’re late, has kept you from

being in an accident. But most

important…it’s in His word…the

Bible. God sent His only begotten

Son to save His children. That

includes you JoAnn. He loves

us and wants us to be with Him

now and always. But, there are

a couple of provisions you need

to do”

“What? How can I believe this

and get Him to forgive me?”

“Just ask…tell Him you’re sorry

and that you believe in His Son

and accept Him fully as your

Lord and Savior. Then love Him

with all of your heart, mind, and

soul.”

JoAnn had many questions

that day. I opened my pocket

Bible and offered her verse and

scripture to reassure her of God’s

unconditional love. I made it

clear that from the beginning of

time God helped His children,

always forgiving them and giving

them countless opportunities

to walk in His ways. I gave an

overview of Moses wandering

in the desert with ungrateful

children who muttered and

moaned. Even with God’s

miracles before their eyes. The

parting of the Red Sea to kill

Pharaoh’s army, the clothing

and sandals always intact and

never worn from wandering

in the desert for 40 years; the

provision of water; the endless

manna sent from heaven; and

the quail. The presence of the

Lord was always with them,

cloud by day and fire by night,

His presence secure within the

children of Israel. But, still they


disobeyed and went against His

word and His law. But, He still

loved them…and tried over and

over to help them. He created

their very souls, He was there for

their first breath, and was there

for their last. All with a pure

loving heart and willing hands

of grace and mercy. That’s our

Father.

God isn’t hiding behind every

bush or rock wanting to “zap” His

children because they’ve sinned.

Of course not! He waits patiently

for us to come to Him and ask for

forgiveness. He accepts us no

matter what. The Bible tells us

there is no unforgiveable sin but

one. Jesus tells us so clearly in

Matthew what the unpardonable

sin is: “Therefore I say to you,

every sin and blasphemy will be

forgiven men, but the blasphemy

against the Spirit will not be

forgiven men.” (Matthew 12:31)

Allow the Holy Spirit to work—let

Him flow freely within giving Him

full control —to guide and bring

you conviction.

With a contrite spirit—remember

He knows our every thought and

our hearts— a path of truth and

obedience; He will forgive and

love us always. If we confess

our sins, He is faithful and just to

forgive us our sins and to cleanse

us from all unrighteousness. (1

John 1:9))

By the time we were finished with

dessert; JoAnn had accepted

Jesus as her Lord and Savior

and cried openly as she asked

for forgiveness. She was finally

able to realize that she was a

worthy person and that God

loved her no matter what…she

was free at last.

Her eyes were no longer cloudy

that day… instead… her beautiful

blue eyes were filled with a light

from within.

C D SWANSON has published

17 books and writes for the glory

of God. She writes for several

magazines and devotional

websites.


Finding

Contentment

Follow God’s Call in Your

Daily Life

By Charlaine Martin

Maybe you sat in the

congregation on Saturday

night or Sunday

morning listening to a

missionary or your pastor talk

about God’s call to ministry.

Have you ever wondered if God

is calling you to ministry? Maybe

you feel a burning desire to help

at a local mission or to go on a

mission trip. Or perhaps you

are a newer Christian wondering

how you can serve in your community

or help in the church. Yet,

you may feel your work is unfulfilling.

You do not see a connection

between ministry and daily

living. God has a purpose for

you to serve where you already

are. Wherever you are in your

Christian walk, there is satisfaction

serving Christ right in

your work, your home, and your

neighborhood. Wonderful blessings

abound as you minister to

others in Jesus’ name wherever

God calls you to serve.

It is important to have a basic

understanding of what being

called to ministry means. After

all, we are all commanded by

Jesus to go make disciples of all

nations (Matthew 28:18-20). So,

what is a call to ministry? What

does that look like? Not everyone

has an obvious burning bush

moment like Moses in Exodus 3

or a blinding light moment like

Paul in Acts 9. Many Christians

have said that there was a distinct

moment when they heard

from the Lord saying He wanted

them to serve Him. Sometimes

God is specific, but not always.

Others have said that there was

a slow, gradual realization God

had something He wanted them

to do to either reach people

for Christ or to disciple other

believers. The call from God is


ecognizable because we have

the Holy Spirit discerning God’s

voice for us. A call is basically

God asking His people to join

Him in building His Kingdom.

God gives us different tools to

use as we share Him with others

like serving in a soup kitchen

to meet a physical need within

a Christian context. Some are

called to vocational ministry

such as pastors, missionaries,

chaplains, and even writers like

me. Others are called to personal

ministry in their workplace,

schools, community, churches,

and homes. For example, a man

at seminary in one of my classes

believed he was called to pastor

a church. He had a bachelor’s

degree in computer science then

went on to seminary for a Master’s

of Divinity degree; however,

God used something he had an

interest in with his earlier education

to oversee the technology

ministry at a mega church

with multiple campuses. He prepares

us ahead of time for what

He specifically for desires us to

accomplish in His name.

God places us where we may

reach or simply influence people

in ways no one else can. Consider

Moses’ or Joseph’s unique

positions in Pharaoh’s court.

Each one had special circumstances,

gifts, and talents

uniquely qualifying them for the

tasks God gave each of them.

He does that with us today.

When God invites us to join Him

in His work, according to Henry

Blackeby in his book “Experiencing

God”, we are the best candidates

for that particular task in

that specific place with the exact

people who need the ministry we

provide. Someone else may be

able do it, but not in the manner

in which He has prepared us.

We are privileged to serve our

Lord with the very things we love

to do and do well.

Ministry in the Workplace

Some Christians serve through

their workplace in ways that,

only the position He places us

within, may touch someone’s life

at work. Recently I spoke with

an executive in the automotive

industry about his personal ministry

through his position as a

department manager where he

leads a team of intelligent, creative

individuals. He said there

are restrictions set by the company

regarding conversations

of a religious nature. They may

freely talk about their faith and

witness peer to peer. So as a

manager, he is free to talk about

his faith with others at management

level and higher, but not

with those who work under his

leadership. An employee who

directly reports to him might

feel pressured, threatened, or

harassed by a superior sharing

his faith. Instead, He is able to

create an environment for his

employees to share their faith

in a reasonable manner at their

level within the company. Part

of his ministry is to managers

who would otherwise never hear

the gospel in a manner that is

articulate and with rational apologetics.

He also leads through

influence by his own example

insisting upon high standards of

customer satisfaction and quality

products. God has placed him

in the unique position to minister

to people from several countries

and religious backgrounds

through his lifestyle and management

style, praying for them

personally and in general conversations.

People come to him

to talk about concerns, so he

prays for them and offers wise

counsel. He counts it a privilege

to serve the Lord where he

works. This manager also feels

that the real reason he is in this

position and has survived for so

long in the so-called “corporate

meat grinder” that has caused

many of his predecessors the

demise of their positions.

There are Christians serving in

multiple areas, with the workplace

as one of many ways.

Mike Sztanyo, a professional

airline pilot, describes his ministry

call as a gradual realization,

“From before I knew how

God would use me, I understood

that there was not a category for

‘wallflower’ Christians. I knew

that even if it was in the encouragement

I give someone else

by faithfully attending church,

or even by just participating in a

church meeting discussion, He

was involving me. That is how

it started in my own case. His

use of me you might call small,

and perhaps so were the fruits.”

While attending college, He was

ready to drop his studies to serve

on the mission field, although he

had no clear idea of how. “I was

wisely advised to continue in my

studies. But my interest in studies

didn’t really lie along this field

of service. At the end of school,

I wanted to fly commercial airplanes.”

So he became a airline

pilot. He shares his faith through

example as well as casual conversations

with other airline personnel,

his peers. Sometimes

he realizes a conversation with

another pilot in the cockpit could

become hostile, so Mike allows

the Lord to shine through his

clean language and strong work


ethic. The chain of command

also determines how much or

how little he is able to share.

Mike serves Christ in three different

avenues: home, church,

and at work. He leads an adult

Sunday school class in his

church. He and his wife also

home educate their children

while working with a home

school cooperative group.

According to Mike, “It is now,

within the last two or three years,

that I understand a little how He

has prepared me for the role He

has for me. Now I am teaching

nine through eleven year olds in

English grammar and writing in

a Christian home school community.

We home school our

five children. I am also teaching

an adult Sunday school. I joke

that I also moonlight as an airline

pilot. I am no preacher, and I am

not a missionary, but I hear that

my teaching is appreciated. And

if that is true, then I am so grateful

that I can minister through

that gift of Jesus Christ to build

up His church, for His glory.”

Mike feels blessed to serve

Christ in all areas of his life.

He added, “When I obey Him,

I feel that favor like a child who

obeys his father or mother. And

I know that is the best thing for

me anyway. But the biggest

blessing of all is to experience

the favor of God. I feel like the

five year old, hammering a useless

nail in a single board beside

his father building a house, smiling

down on me. We both know

that I want to help, even if it all

depends on Him, and there is joy

and peace.”

Yet other Christians serve the

Lord side-by-side, much like

Aquilla and Priscilla did in the

book of Acts. My first husband

and I served the Lord through

bi-vocational ministry while he

was a pastor. I helped develop

the Christian education department

in that church as a support

to his pastoral ministry. My

personal ministry extended to

individuals through my work as

a health and fitness professional

in a local YMCA. He had been

an engineer before following

God’s call to become a pastor.

God used his engineering

knowledge at Owens Corning

Cultured Stone oddly as a general

laborer. It was not a position

he would have normally chosen

nor did he enjoy the work; however,

he recognized the spiritual

needs in the people he worked

with on daily basis. This venue

which gave him a place in the

community to reach people for

Christ, pray for them, listen with


compassion to their struggles,

and ultimately baptize a couple

of them in the pool at the YMCA

where I worked. I volunteered to

guard the pool while he served

them by performing baptisms

for these new believers. It was

such a blessing for me to have

the opportunity to partner with

him in his ministry, while sharing

Christ with several YMCA members.

I witnessed several lives

change and prayed with them.

He felt blessed to minister to

co-workers while leading a tiny

congregation in spiritual growth.

Both of us had gifts, talents, and

vocations uniquely qualifying us

to serve together in the manner

needed at that time.

Blessings to Following God’s

Call

There are blessings as we follow

God’s call to serve Him in our

daily lives. Taking part in the

transformation of co-workers’

and neighbors’ lives is an awesome

privilege. Thankfully, we

do not have this ministry alone

as we can do nothing without

Christ (John 15:5). It is God at

work around and through us

while we are simply the instruments

He chooses to use (2

Corinthians 4:6-8). Not only that,

there are others also planting

seeds, tilling the soil, and reaping

the harvest before you and

with you. Paul said to the Corinthians

that one waters, one

sows, and another reaps, but

God gives the increase (1 Corinthians

3:5-9). We are also to

work for the Lord, not for people,

because what we do is for Christ

(Colossians 3:23-24). We do not

work alone. As part of the body

of Christ, God coordinates us

together like that of a conductor

of a beautiful symphony.

Witnessing the Beginning of

New Life

Praying with someone who

accepts Christ is an amazing

privilege. There is nothing we

can do to cause this to happen

except to obediently listen to the

Holy Spirit’s prompting when we

allow Him to interrupt our busyness

for someone’s needs. The

burden of knowing someone is

destined to eternal separation

from God, should weigh heavily

on our hearts. But for someone

whom God has gifted and talented

to evangelize, it weights

even heavier on their hearts than

for someone called to disciple

others. There is nothing else they

feel they can do except share

Christ with people. It brings a joy

like no other for them.

Witnessing Changed Lives

Discipling new Christians while

aiding more seasoned Christians,

is a boomerang blessing.

As we dig into the Bible to lead

people into a deeper walk with

the Lord, we grow too. This is

certainly not why we teach, but

rather a natural effect. It does

not mean all of those who teach

are Sunday school or Bible study

leaders. Sometimes, we are

simply helping someone searching

for answers to life’s questions.

People ask God’s servants

about pressing issues on their

hearts. One of the best things we


can do is take the time to show

them how to discover God’s

truth for themselves. We must

be ready to give an answer for

our faith (1 Peter 3:15). We grow

while we search for the answers

they seek. What a delight to see

someone’s eyes sparkle when

they come back to tell us about

the treasures they have discovered

or the changes they have

made as a result of our service.

Meeting Needs

Our world is full of hurting, needy

people. An inner city ministry

outreach of a church where my

family attended was the Baptist

Center in Toledo, Ohio. The missionary

who led this mission was

often surrounded by excited children

after school. They were so

eager to learn the Bible because

they were accepted without judgment.

They loved to be entrusted

with age-appropriate responsibilities.

Volunteers came to help

lead songs and play games with

the children. Others would help

sort clothing for the clothing

closet so people could find items

for their families without cost.

There are always many missions

and para-church ministries in

need of help. Christian brothers

and sisters help distribute food,

Bibles, and tracts with a food

pantry. Yet others feel led to give

financially to ministries so they

may continue operations. You

may be called to give aid to ministries

like these, sharing Christ

as you meet physical needs. It

is gratifying to see relief come

across faces who know they are

not judged because they asked

for help. We can be a part of

giving as to the Lord (Matthew

25:34-40) when we allow God

to interrupt our lives for His kingdom.

A Deeper Walk with God

When God works in us our lives,

we are never the same again.

He reveals more of Himself to

us as we serve when we see His

work through us for the benefit

of others. Our communication

with Him grows more intimate.

We lay our lives before Him to

use when we spend more concentrated

time in prayer. Those

prayers are no longer a laundry

list of needs, but a rich, deep

conversation with our Heavenly

Father. He gives us insight into

life situations with a wisdom not

our own. What a precious relationship

we can experience by

serving God out of gratitude for

His tremendous love for us.

Seeing God’s Word Come to Life

When God opens His word up

to us more deeply, we find ourselves

awestruck as we see the

reality of God’s Word for others

lives as well as our own. The

Bible is a storehouse of treasures.

The Holy Spirit guides us

to discover more life-changing

truth when we dig deeper into

Scripture. Our faith matures from

the spiritual milk of God’s Word

to solid food, as the Apostle Paul

writes in 1 Corinthians 3:1. What

a great opportunity for growth!

His Blessing and Provision

Blessings come as we meet the

needs of others in ways that only

God has uniquely qualified us

to do. He opens up doors that

would normally be closed. He

provides for needs in ways that

can only be described as miraculous.

He protects our time with

others when our efforts would

normally be sidelined.

Mixed Blessings

Pastors and missionaries often

find themselves in horrible circumstances.

It is as if a target

is painted on their backs. Yet

in an awful, but joyful way they

witness God working in people

through those circumstances.

Opposition at work, in school,

and in the other areas of influence

we have, will come. Still we

are called to rejoice when various

trials happen (James 1:2-4).

Our reward is not here. As God

told Abraham in Genesis 15:1, “I

am your shield, your very great

Reward.”

We have a ministry in our workplace.

God places us where we

are for His purposes and His

glory, not our own. Times come

when a work situation is lessthan-ideal.

It may be very difficult

to feel the blessings. Nonetheless,

God has placed you where

you are for a reason. Satisfaction

can be found in those situations

simply because the Lord

has chosen you to fulfill His purposes.

Sometimes we are only

allowed to show Christ to people

through our attitudes and actions

because our verbal witness is

silenced. Those around you will

take notice of the difference

in your life compared to those

of non-believers. In all circumstances

we are told to give God

the praise and glory, like Paul

did in his less-than-ideal circumstances

(Philippians 4:11-13). At

such times, the biggest blessings

will be learning to see God

working in you, around you, and

through you. What a reward you

will receive on this side of eternity.

You are called and uniquely

qualified where you are. Serve

the Lord where He has placed

and give Him the glory in all

things.


To Be Like

Christ:

A Journey of

Transformation

By Sebra W. Ferrell

There’s an old Shakespearean saying, “To thine

own self be true.” In thinking about transformation,

being “true to self” fascinated me, so I looked

it up to find the original quote. It goes like this, “This

above all, to thine own self be true, And it must follow,

as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to

any man.” In looking at the interpretation given, I find it

very interesting that being false to one’s self was purported

to mean not doing things that would harm self,

such as “borrowing money, loaning money, carousing

with women of dubious character, and other intemperate

pursuits” (as in lacking self-control). On the other

hand, being true was purported to mean, “being loyal

to your own best interests.” As the interpretation further

explains, “Take care of yourself first…and that way

you’ll be in position to take care of others.i Yet, as I

contemplated this quote, two things came to mind: it

only addresses one aspect of self and it puts self before

others. It is these two key points I would like

to explore as we answer some specific questions:

How can we transform ourselves to be

more Christ-like and how do we get through

making some tough decisions for our own betterment?

Let’s begin by looking at what Scripture says

about how we can transform ourselves to be

more Christ-like. When it comes to transformation,

one of the most important things I learned

was to identify and understand the two selves

every born-again believer must come face-toface

with: the old self and the new self. Some

versions refer to this as the old and new man

or the old and new nature, but in keeping with

our Shakespearean quote, let’s stick with old

self and new self.


“That, in reference to your former

manner of life, you lay aside the old

self, which is being corrupted in

accordance with the lusts of deceit,

23 and that you be renewed in the

spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the

new self, which in the likeness of God

has been created in righteousness

and holiness of the truth” Ephesians

4:22

Even though the concept of old self and new

self is explained in various books of the Bible, I’ll

begin our journey by looking at Ephesians 4:22-

24, which says, “that, in reference to your former

manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which

is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of

deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit

of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which

in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness

and holiness of the truth” (NASB) (bold

added). By examining these verses, we find some

key points on how we can transform ourselves to

be more Christ-like. Let’s begin with laying aside

the old self, which is described as “being corrupted

in accordance with the lusts of deceit.”

I don’t know about anyone else, but if I am going

to lay aside something, I first need to know what

that something looks like. Thus, if I’m to lay aside

my old self, I need to know how it expresses itself,

and quite honestly, “being corrupted in accordance

with the lusts of deceit” does not provide me the

information I need. However, one of the things I

absolutely love about Scripture is, if we allow it to,

it will interpret itself and provide us all the answers

we need. This is most definitely one of those

times. For example, if we read further in Ephesians

4, we see the old self operates in “bitterness,

rage, anger, violent assertiveness and slander,

along with all spitefulness” (v31 CJB). Likewise, if

we turn to Galatians 5, we see a similar, but more

expansive list of ways we know the old self is in

charge of our lives: “sexual immorality, impurity

and indecency; 20involvement with the occult and

with drugs; in feuding, fighting, becoming jealous

and getting angry; in selfish ambition, factionalism,

intrigue [heresies] 21 and envy; in drunkenness,

orgies and things like these” (v19-21 CJB).

Granted, these lists are not all-inclusive, but they


do give us a better idea of how the old self acts,

which helps us better identify when our old self is

making the decisions in our life and when it is not.

Now that we have an idea of what our old self looks

like, we are faced with the challenge of how to lay it

aside. The good news is the apostle Paul actually

gives us a way when he tells us to “be renewed in

the spirit of your mind” (Ephesians 4:23 NASB).

However, through personal experience and observation

of others, being able to renew our mind

means we have to be able to know when our mind

needs to be renewed, for it is very easy to walk

in deception and not even know it! The simplest

answer I have found for knowing when my old self

is having its way in my life is to examine the fruit in

my life. One of the things I like to say is if I’m being

tormented somehow, there is a lie of the devil at

work. Find the lie. Replace it with truth, and the

torment will go away. Or, as I learned from James

4:7, if I submit to God, I can resist the devil and he

will flee, taking his torment with him!

Submitting to God means I have to identify and

circumcise from my thought processes everything

that is feeding my old self. This is what the apostle

Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 as “pulling

down strongholds, casting down arguments and

every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge

of God, bringing every thought into captivity

to the obedience of Christ,” In short, anything in my

mind that causes me to disobey Christ has to be

evicted, and the most effective way I have found

to do that is through praying God’s Word, because

it is only through prayer that I can stay committed

to the tough decisions required to become more

Christ-like, which leads us to our second question:

how do we get through making some tough decisions

for our own betterment?

If we look back at our Shakespearean quote, on

the surface, it looks good, because it appears to

be telling us we harm self when we pursue things

detrimental to our well being. However, in my personal

journey of understanding my two selves, I

learned transformation requires making decisions

that deprive our old self of what it wants so our

new self can express the righteousness we inherit

in Christ Jesus. Therefore, the first decision we

have to make is to decide which self do we want to

better: the old self or the new self? Nevertheless,

when we are willing to make the decisions that

better the new self, our transformation becomes

about so much more than the outward acts of just

avoiding the borrowing and lending of money,

staying away from those of the opposite sex who

give us cause to question their character, and

practicing self-control. Our decisions become

about the inner transformation of actually putting

“on the new self, which in the likeness of God has

been created in righteousness and holiness of the

truth” (NASB).

What exactly does it mean to put on the new

self? Again, we can find answers in Scripture.

For instance, in Ephesians 4, the apostle Paul

describes the new self as one who speaks truth,

doesn’t sin in his or her anger, doesn’t give the

devil an opportunity, “labors, performing with his

own hands what is good, so that he will have

something to share with one who has need,”

“speaks what is good for edification according to

the need of the moment, so that it will give grace

to those who hear,” and is “kind to one another,

tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God

in Christ also has forgiven [them]: (v25-32 NASB).

Likewise, in Galatians 5:25, the apostle Paul tells

us “If we live by the Spirit, let us walk by the Spirit”

(NASB), and if we are walking by the Spirit we

will produce the fruit of the spirit which is “love,

joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

gentleness, self-control” (v22-23). He even

goes on to tell us, “Now those who belong to Christ

Jesus have crucified the flesh [the old self] and its

passions and desires” (v24).

Ephesians 4:24 reminds me of a question I heard

a long time ago. I’m not sure where or when I

heard it, but the essence of the question was why

do churches have a cross on top, and the answer

was something about it being filled with a bunch

of dead people. If I remember correctly, the comment

was spoken as though the church being full

of dead people was somehow negative. Honestly,

I’m not sure what I thought at the time, but I can

now, with full confidence, say a church filled with

dead people is the most glorious church of all.

Why? Because that means they have crucified

the old self so the new self can live, and that new

self, “which in the likeness of God has been created

in righteousness and holiness of the truth”


desires nothing more than to bring glory, honor,

and praise to the name of Jesus.

However, if we are to have the wherewithal to

make those hard decisions to better ourselves, we

need to make sure our decisions are focused on

ensuring we better the right version of self! For

that to happen, we have to fully commit all that we

are to the Lordship of Jesus and the sanctification

His salvation brings in our lives. That means

instead of continuing in our present way of thinking

and doing what we’ve always done, we must seek

to renew our minds, so we “will know what God

wants and will agree that what he wants is good,

satisfying and able to succeed” (Romans 12:2

CJB). What I like about this version is it highlights

two things: we have to know what God wants and

we have to agree that what He wants is good, it is

satisfying, and it is able to succeed.

Take a moment and ask yourself this question.

When you read something in Scripture you don’t

agree with, how do you respond? Do, you argue

with the Scripture or do you respond according to

2 Timothy 3:16, knowing that “All Scripture is Godbreathed

and is valuable for teaching the truth,

convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in

right living” (CJB)? I know I have spent far more

years arguing with Scripture than I have responding

by allowing it to teach me truth, convict me of

sin, correct my faults and train me in right living.

Yet, I have also learned that arguing with Scripture

is the same as arguing with God and that is a

no-win scenario, for He is God and I am not!

Therefore, when I am confronted with Scripture

that reveals my old self is at work, I have a decision

to make. I can choose to continue on the path

I am on or I can choose to get off that path. What

I decide is governed by whom do I love more: my

old self or the Lord my God. If I choose to love

my old self more, I’m going to walk out what the

interpretation of the Shakespearean quote says:

“being loyal to your own best interests.” Furthermore,

when we operate in the same mindset

as the Shakespearean quote and put self before

others, we are operating in direct contrast to how

Jesus approached life. He did not put Himself first.

In addition to saying He came to serve and not be

served (an outward focus on others), Scripture is

clear that He put His Father’s will before His own.

Two such examples are found in John 4:34, and

Luke 22:42. In John 4:34, He tells us, “My food

is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish

His work” (NKJV), and in Luke 22:42, He shares,

“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from

Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Learning to yield my will to the Lord is the single

most important decision I have ever made in learning

in how to make the tough decisions that allow

me to ensure I’m bettering my new self—the one

that walks according to the Spirit—and not somehow

bettering my old self—the one that walks

according to the flesh. For I cannot truly love God

with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my

mind (Matthew 22:37) if I’m not willing to say yes

to His will in the same manner as Jesus did.

Therefore, as I sum up my journey of transformation,

I do so with these words. Transformation is

about being willing to die to self and live for Christ

(Philippians 1:21). If I do not see the gain in dying

to self, I cannot be transformed into the image of

His glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). Likewise, if I don’t

see the value in Scripture and allow it to teach me

truth, convict me of sin, correct my faults, or train

me in right living, I will not be able to die to self.

Instead I will choose to renew my mind with God’s

truth and bring every thought into the obedience

of Christ. I will continue to make my decisions and

live my life based on the strongholds, arguments

and every high thing that exalts itself against

God’s knowledge, because giving free reign to my

old self will only choke the life out of my new self!

After all, Scripture teaches us if we are doubleminded

we cannot expect to receive anything from

God (James 1:7-8 NKJV), and there is nothing

more double-minded than when we try to satisfy

two masters: the old self and the new self. One

must die so the other can live. Shakespearean

philosophy or Scripture? The ways of the world or

God’s ways? Those are the decisions that stand

between us and true transformation. And, it is

only when we take up or cross and give our will to

the Lordship of Jesus just as He gave His will to

the Father that we can truly become the new self,

“which in the likeness of God has been created in

righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Can life

be any better than that?


Mentorship

Leading By Example

By Braden Becknell

The word “mentor” is defined as “a wise and

trusted counselor or teacher.” Mentoring”,

the word itself, doesn’t appear in the Bible,

Scripture does give us several examples of mentoring.

Moses was mentored by his father-in-law

Jethro, first as son-in-law and then as a leader. The

mentoring connection between Eli and Samuel

equipped Samuel for the jobs and tasks that were

his after Eli’s passing. Even Jesus mentored His

disciples, and both Barnabas and Paul shined in

mentoring.

Jesus made it clear about his view and style of

mentoring others. He led in such a way that we

can follow Him through our everyday lives. Jesus

said in Matthew 16:24-26, “If anyone will come

after me, let him deny himself, and take up his

cross and follow me”. Since He is our leader, we

are to follow Him as Christians. Mentoring others

is part of the Christian faith and is a cycle dependent

upon submission to Jesus Christ. The mentor

and mentored do not control the friendship, but act

upon the friendship based on the way Jesus disciple

others. The process of mentoring others is

best described by a mutual friendship with trust,

care, and sharing that enriches the life of everyone

involved when it comes to work, relationships,

and life in general. Through this model, the mentor

leans on the Holy Spirit for guidance when it comes

to teaching, providing insight, and changing each

other’s lives.

Paul the Apostle brought a different view on mentoring

through his leadership model in a genuine

yet simple manner. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul

says “Follow my example as I follow the example


of Christ”. Then he goes on to say, in Philippians

4:9, “Whatever you have learned or received or

heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice”.

Basically, he is saying, “Let me mentor

you. Let me be your role model.” Throughout the

course of the New Testament, Paul keeps reminding

Christians to follow the mentorship, especially

to the new Christians in Thessalonica. In 2

Thessalonians 3:7 Paul says “For you yourselves

know how you ought to follow our example”. Live

by example, teach others, and model what it is to

be a Christian. These are some of the aspects of

mentoring which are vital in emerging completely

fervent followers of Jesus Christ and in spreading

the conviction from one generation to the next.

With the model in mind, it goes without saying that

if mentors expect others to listen and follow what

they say, then they should do what they say as

well. Although the saying “do what I say, not what

I do”, is very popular and common it goes against

the Christian view of mentorship and could completely

destroy the mentor and any advice previously

given.

Jesus and the apostles weren’t the only mentors

during the Biblical times. The heads of the church

also mentored others. As it is said in 1 Peter 5:3,

“Be examples to the flock”. Paul explained in Acts

20 what mentorship should be by telling the elders

in Ephesus “You know how I lived the whole time

I was with you.” By watching the example set by

Jesus and further shown through Paul, it becomes

clear that any Christian who claims to be a leader

and is not mentoring someone, then they are not

living out their life up to the calling of The Lord.

The Lord filled the church with many people of all

ages, gifts, and experiences. The church leaders

simply cannot mentor everyone they meet. For

this reason, there are many other people within

the church who can disciple and mentor others.

While it is not possible for everyone to individually

and purposefully, mentor others through hands-on

activities, everyone can help out by seeking out

and finding godly mentors. With the rising rates of

born-again Christians, it becomes necessary that

churches start equipping their members with the

knowledge and tools necessary to mentor others.

Most Christians agree with the insight and benefits

of mentoring. Throughout Titus, Paul encourages

the church to mentor other generations. This

can be seen most clearly in Titus 2:3-5,”Likewise,

teach the older women to be reverent in the way

they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much

wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can

urge the younger women to love their husbands

and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to

be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject

to their husbands, so that no one will malign the

word of God.” Through this example, we can see

that Paul wished that the older more wise women

would explain and be an example for godliness in

the church.

Many people desire a mentor, both young woman

and young men. The difference is that men find

it harder to admit they need or want help. Older

women, statistically, have a hard time with mentoring

because they generally feel unqualified,

disconcerted and afraid of over committing. The

qualities of a good mentor are not absurdly hard,

but simply a love for God and a love for people.

Here are a few qualities of an effective and beneficial

mentoring relationship.

Be accessible

You do not have to be a Biblical scholar or a

pastor, but you should love The Lord and desire

to follow and abide by His Holy Word, the Bible.

There are no special degrees that will qualify you

to be a disciple. Younger generations need the

experience, endurance, and example from the

older generations. Timely and godly advice can

make the difference for any believer at any given

level. Discipleship is best done by breaking up the

genders. Men cannot be mothers, daughters or

wives and women cannot be fathers, sons, or husbands.

Women need women and men need men

for mentorships. When it comes to deciding if you

are ready for a multitude of decision, the best way,

can sometimes be praying about the upcoming

decision. However, mentorship is a command and

as said by Norma Becker, member of the board of

directions of Campus Crusade for Christ, Canada,

“We don’t pray about commands.” Praying can

help when pursuing discernment over how often

and how long to mentor someone.

Be persistent

Understand what the mentored is seeking and

desiring. Do they simply want a relationship built

on Jesus or do they wish to better understand


the Bible? After answering this question, decide

what to focus on during the course of the mentorship.

Not all mentorships have to be Bible studies.

Maybe they simply want a prayer partner, an

accountability partner, or someone to learn from.

Be inspired

Some activities are better suited for each group

for mentorship. Maybe you both enjoy walking or

hiking. Christian mentorship isn’t about the time,

place, or intense spirituality, but more about the

growing and building of relationships. Going out

for a bite to eat, working out together, and meeting

for coffee in the middle of a hectic week could be

all that is desire.

Be a listener

It has been said, The Lord gave you two ears and

one mouth for a reason. Listen twice as much as

you speak. When you meet this new friend try listening

and allowing them to truly open up to you.

However, don’t be the typically parenting figure

offering advice for every single topic and making a

bigger deal out of everything said. Wait until they

request your views and opinions before offering

them. Be dependable. Be trustworthy.

Be authentic

Honesty truly does make you vulnerable and more

accessibly. We have all sinned and have been

saved by grace, yet we still continue to sin. Transforming

into the image of Jesus Christ is a desire

and should be a goal, but no one is perfect and

we should not act as such. Be genuine and show

your weaknesses. Sometimes our weakness will

let others know they aren’t alone in their struggle.

Be a model

Mentors must show that they are truly trustworthy

and love God as they say they do. The common

saying “Do as I say, not as I do,” is treacherous

when it comes to mentorship. Let’s be like Paul,

who cheered on the Corinthian church to do as he

did in 1 Corinthians 11:1-2 “Follow my example,

as I follow the example of Christ. I praise you for

remembering me in everything and for holding to

the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.”

Finish well

Mentoring should not be the same as a governmental

position that lasts a lifetime. Commit to a

certain period of time then reevaluate at that time.

Is something not working? Is the goal complete?

The friendship will and can last a lifetime but the

regular meetings do not have to.


When a pet owner dies or becomes disabled, what happens to their pets?

According to the ASPCA, 8 to 12 million dogs and cats enter shelters nationwide every year and 5 to 9

million are euthanized (60% of dogs and 70% of cats). Of the animals surrendered to shelters, 2% to 3% are

relinquished due to the death or disability of their human caregivers.

“Orphaned” pets do not adjust well to the experience in a shelter—they refuse to eat, they are despondent,

and they are often labeled “unadoptable.” Sadly, many healthy, adoptable pets are euthanized simply

because their pet owners did not plan for their continuous care.

Pet owners should identify committed caregivers who can care for their pets, maintain written care

instructions and set up a finance plan or set aside funds to cover the expenses for the continued care of

their pets.

For more information, to volunteer or to donate please visit www@2ndchance4pets.org.

2nd Chance 4 Pets is a 501c3 all-volunteer nonprofit advocacy organization. Our team is working to reduce the number of pets

euthanized due to the death or disability of the pet owner. For more information, please visit 2ndchance4pets.org. Our tax ID

number is 13-4280812.

www.2ndchance4pets.org

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