I Feel Alone

i-feel-aloneby Lanette Cape

Psalm 147:3, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

There is no other love like Jesus’ love. He carries us when we think we can’t even carry on. I really don’t know where I would be without my Saviour.

Loneliness during the holiday season is so real for so many. The death of a loved one makes our lives feel so empty. We miss their love, embrace and their voice.

Sometimes a family disagreement causes separation that seemingly feels like it can never be repaired. This also leaves a void in our hearts that feels so empty. Sometimes it feels the same as a death has taken place.

Circumstances around us change. Maybe a move far away from our close family and friends leaves us feeling so alone. Even with all of our modern technology that can bring us close in moments, that void is still there.

Satan wants us to focus on the negative so he can steal our joy this Christmas season. Even with all of our loneliness, we don’t need to lose focus on the good surrounding us. Feeling alone because of a circumstance should never dictate our happiness in daily life.

Yes, loneliness comes. Have your time of crying, but make it as short as possible. There are others around you who need you. The best way to not focus on your own loneliness is to turn your focus on others.

John 3:16 tells us truly what we should focus on this Christmas. John 3:16 says, “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.”

Longview Baptist TempleGod loved us so much that He sent His Son to Earth to be born of a virgin. The greatest gift ever given to this world! So why should we be so selfish and drown in our loneliness and keep that gift to ourselves. We need to focus on sharing the Gospel and giving the opportunity for others to receive the greatest gift of all.

If we sit and feel sad for what we wish could be, we will allow Satan to steal our joy this holiday season. God has allowed things to happen in our lives for one purpose, and that is to help others.

So inwardly look at your broken heart and allow God to heal it, and then turn your focus on helping someone else.

The old saying is, there is always someone out there having it a lot worse than we are, and that statement is so true.

So what do we do? Daily take your problems to God in prayer, meditate on His Word and listen to good Christian songs and hymns. If you do this, you will quickly be on your way again not focusing on yourself, but focusing on why Jesus came to this Earth.

Jesus walked alone to the cross. He even felt forsaken by His Father, but He never lost His focus and freely gave His life for us all. Today He lives, so that we can live through Him.

This Christmas Season don’t miss out on the blessings awaiting you. Don’t dwell on your own loneliness, but let God use you to bring joy to others. You will then have the best Christmas of all.

Lanette Cape
Pastor’s wife
Bible Way Baptist Church
Powder Springs, GA

A Heart to Serve

a-heart-to-serveby: Karie Owens

“I am seating you another table of eight!” The hostess bustled by me alerting me of another table of customers that I would be serving. “Okay, great!” With my tray in hand, I was delivering a simmering, delicious sirloin steak and turkey dinner. With a smile I said, “Enjoy your meal. Please let me know if you need anything.” I carefully refilled the happy couple’s Coke and coffee and then I was off to greet my next party.

When I was a young lady, I worked as a food server at Kings Family Restaurant. This is a small chain restaurant similar to IHOP or Bob Evans. During the summers, I would work and save up for college. Spending time reflecting on my position as a food server, I realized the one characteristic that would make or break you in a serving position is whether or not your heart was into it.

The same is true of the Christian life. Do we have a heart to serve our Saviour? Do we have a heart to serve others? It’s not a decision our parents, spouse or pastor can make for us. We must decide to surrender our hearts to God as we serve Him. No matter how dedicated and true our intentions, at times we might find ourselves just going through the motions. We may be fooling those around us, but not the most important One we are serving; God. I invite you to journey through the restaurant of the Christian life, tie on your apron, and lets see what God intends for us…a heart to serve.

1. Serve God from the heart because of what He has done for you.

We may thank the Lord for our salvation, but do we really think about what our salvation means through Jesus Christ? Let’s just say I had committed a crime and robbed a restaurant, and then burned it down. I was then later caught and taken to prison for my crime. On my court date, I appeared before a judge and was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to jail. Suddenly, as I hung my head, a voice rang out, “I will take her place; I will pay for her crime in full.” The owner of the restaurant came to take my place. The one whom I committed the crime against was offering to pay for it. Not only am I freed from the penalty of my crime, the owner offered me a place to work in another one of his restaurants as a manager with full benefits. Wouldn’t you feel compelled to serve this owner out of love and gratitude? This seems ridiculous, but really how much more has God done for us through His Son Jesus Christ? “Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.” (1 Samuel 12:24) Do you know Jesus Christ as your Saviour? Have you accepted his death, burial and resurrection as the payment for your sin debt? Well then, you are now saved from the penalty of an eternity in Hell to eternal life in Heaven. We should serve out of gratefulness and thankfulness for God literally pulling us out of Hell. We may lose our heart for serving, or our joy in serving, because we do not think about our salvation enough.

I was studying my Bible and learned when I got saved, I not only gained Heaven and was saved from an eternity in Hell, but I was also offered so many other things through Christ’s sacrifice. Romans 3:24-25 says, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” The word “justification” is described as remission of sin and absolution from guilt and punishment, or an act of free grace by which God pardons the sinner and accepts him as righteous, on the account of the atonement of Christ. Okay, translation…I could have NEVER done that on my own. Thank you, God! Next, redemption is the purchase of God’s favor by the death and sufferings of Christ; the ransom or deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God’s violated law by the atonement of Christ. Wow! Propitiation is the act of appeasing wrath, and remission is giving up a punishment due to a crime. I am still in awe of what Christ did that I could have never done. Romans 5:11 says, “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” With my salvation came atonement which is reconciliation of sin made by the obedience and personal sufferings of Christ. Because of what Jesus Christ made available through His obedience and love for me, I will serve Him, His way. This must be a daily heart decision that no one can make for me. I must decide to serve the Lord sincerely from the heart.

2. At salvation, you have been “set apart” for Christ’s service and use.

Texas-IBSWhen I started working as an employee at Kings, I did not go to another restaurant to work, I was hired to work there, and that is where I went. When I went to work, I was expected to perform specific duties. My job as a food server was different from that of a cook, cashier, hostess, or dishwasher.

You have gifts and talents that were given to you by God just so you can serve Him like no one else can. We need to live in the reality of our salvation and the wonderful opportunity to serve our heavenly Father and King! At salvation, we did a complete 180º turn and changed our minds about what we were trusting in to take us to Heaven and put our total faith in Jesus Christ. Likewise, at the moment of salvation, we went from serving the world, and the father of it, Satan, to serving Christ. Joshua 24:14 says, “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.” I understand that most of you reading this article are saved, separated believers. On the outside we “wear the uniform and look the part,” but what about the idols of the heart? What about the secret places that only God sees? In order to serve God “in sincerity and in truth,” we need to put away the strange gods that lurk in our hearts and minds. Maybe you have been hurt and harbor the idol of self preservation. Perhaps you come from a strong family or have many talents and have put more faith in these instead of fully resting in God’s power and grace for all you are and all that you do. Is it pride? Is it a longing to be attractive in appearance, well-liked, respected, or anything that takes the place of God’s purpose in our hearts. This is something we all struggle with because we are flesh and must battle it daily. We must surrender our hearts and its intentions to be fully separated from idols of this world, and the idols of our hearts, to be fit for the Master’s use. If we ask God, He will show us what we need to change. We can then be prepared to be used by Him like never before.

3. Study the menu (know what you believe and why you believe it).

When I was being trained as a food server, I had to learn the menu and even taste things on it so that I could accurately describe and suggest products to my customers. First, I smelled the mouth watering aromas of the marinara sauce and the seafood platter. I tasted the delicious soups, and some not so delicious sauces that were on the menu. I was personally accountable to my boss to know the entire menu and to be equipped to effectively communicate it to the customer. Knowing the products made my job easier. I did not have to pretend that I knew what I was talking about, nor did I have to be insecure in my position.

2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” This command from God is not only for the pastor, missionary or evangelist, it is also for every born again believer. It is for the stay-at-home mother. It is for the teenager who is still in high school. It is for the person who grew up in a Christian home and is unsure of the “Why’s” of what they believe. We will give an account to God one day for how much we learned about Him through our time spent in the Bible, what we learned, and if we biblically applied it to our life. We must take personal responsibility to know what we believe and why we believe it based upon Scripture. Are we serving God in a lackadaisical manner? Are we on auto pilot drifting on the coattails of our parent’s, husband, or another person’s faith? If so, let’s change it.

Have you ever been discipled? Would you be willing to go through a biblical discipleship program to learn the doctrines of the faith? God has equipped us with everything we need to serve Him. We have the truth in God’s Word so that we will not be ashamed when someone asks us why we believe what we believe. We must take our faith further than explaining the plan of salvation, or than dressing right, attending church, and all the do’s and the do not’s…these are all wonderful things, and we should do them in obedience. As equally important as the outward action is the inward obedience as our hearts surrender to God’s commands. Our heart has to be into it in order to be in complete obedience. An outward compliance to biblical commands does not create a heart to serve. A heart to serve God completely comes from a full surrender of self-will to God’s sovereign truth. We are living in a world when one asks why we do these things, the answer is, “That’s what my church does, or that’s what my family does,” just won’t cut it. In fact, what this world needs are servants of God who are not ashamed to, with boldness and grace, explain the truth’s and freedoms we have through Jesus Christ.

4. Model after your trainer, Jesus Christ.

When I was learning how to be a food server, I had another, more experienced food server teach me. Typically, the trainer followed all the rules and guidelines set by the company. At first, I just watched, but as I gained experience, I was able to serve a group of people from start to finish without help.

In the Christian life, Jesus Christ is our ultimate example and “trainer” for all we are, and for all we do. Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Jesus is our ultimate example of a perfect servant. We are to follow His example of inward and outward, complete obedience. You may say this is impossible because Jesus is perfect and we are not, and still struggle with sin; however, we must remember that Jesus gave us His Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. We do not have to try to live the Christian life and serve Him through our own strength. We become more like Christ each time we yield to one of His truths. This is why it is so important to know Bible doctrine. Essentially we go through the process of yielding and submitting to His truths and the Holy Spirit’s conviction, or we reject it and stunt our growth and effectiveness as a servant. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We are look to Jesus! I appreciate the people in my life who have allowed God to work through them to reach me and influence me for the cause of Christ; however, I must work on not looking to a person or a place as my example, because eventually they will fail. As followers, we must look to and respect our biblical examples as they follow Christ. We are looking at Christ through them as they point us to Him. The more we follow Christ’s example, the more we catch His heart. The closer we draw to God, the more we become like Him. What is on God’s heart? How do we know if we have a servant’s heart like Jesus? Philippians 2:4 says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” If we have a heart to serve like Christ, we will have a heart not only to serve Him, but also a heart to serve others.

5. Stay focused on Who you are serving and don’t get distracted.

In the restaurant industry, there are “secret shoppers” that may come in and be waited on. They are not in any special clothing, and they want to remain anonymous so they can rate the quality of food and service at an establishment. I waited on a secret shopper on several occasions, and for the most part I performed very well. However, there was one time a report came back showing my serving skills to be lacking. When I asked my manager why I came up short he said that it was stated on the report, “Food server was distracted and failed to accommodate the needs and desires of the customer.” Wow, that was rough! It was hard to admit that I had failed in this area. I mean, I must have been busy. I’m sure that the hostess must have double sat my tables. I’m sure I wasn’t feeling good that day. I am positive that I had to clean the cooler while waiting my tables, and that’s why I wasn’t able to perform well. In reality, no excuse would suffice. It was my fault that I was too distracted to offer my best services to such an important person.

Isn’t it even more true when we look at serving God? In the Christian life we have all these tables in our section. Perhaps one table has people’s opinions sitting at it. Maybe another table has our pride, and beside it is a table of our own life’s goals and ambitions. Sure enough, next to it is a table of other people’s expectations for us. Sometimes as we serve, we get so busy servicing that we get distracted from the only One whom we should be concerned about, Jesus Christ. What if Jesus came and sat down and was just waiting for us to wait on Him, would we notice Him? Would we want to obey His every desire, or would we be too busy? Would we say, just a minute, a minute that would turn into years as we try to find a convenient time in our lives to give Him our all? Will it only be when we stand before Him, alone, face to face, at the judgement seat, that we will notice Him? Matthew 25:21 says, “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Will the words we hear our Saviour say to us be these words? My heart longs to hear these words one day. When I lose focus, this comes to mind and I am convicted. Will it matter how many people approve of our life, how much money we make or how prestigious our possessions and professions? No, none of that will matter. It will only matter if we served Christ as we should, in sincerity and truth.

1 Chronicles 28:9 admonishes, “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” We only have one life. Let’s use it serving our Saviour Jesus Christ from the heart.

As one song writer wrote…

There’s surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth’s harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor thro’ life’s short day
For Jesus, the Crucified;
So, trusting my all to Thy tender care,
And knowing Thou lovest me,
I’ll do Thy will with a heart sincere,
I’ll be what You want me to be.

I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain, or plain, or sea.
I’ll say what You want me to say, dear Lord.
I’ll be what You want me to be.

A heart to serve is a heart of surrender. Pray that God would give you this kind of heart and He will.

Karie Owens
Missionary wife to South Africa

Life is Hard; Don’t Quit

life-is-hard-dont-quitby: Carly Goddard

Proverbs 31:31, “Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, ”And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”

2 Thessalonians 3:7-11, “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you; Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.”

Titus 2:3-5, “The aged woman likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

All of theses verses deal with the same subject: Working hard.

Life is full of hard work! Whether you are in secular or Christian work, life is just plain hard work. If you want to lose weight it takes time, planning and hard work. If you want to build a house it takes long hours and hundreds of decisions. If you want to be promoted in your job, you’re going to have to give extra hours at work. It’s funny that we can understand this, but it is hard to see why the Christian doing the work of God will encounter hard things.

Why does a marriage thrive or why do children obey their parents? Why does the house get cleaned, fixed or remodeled? Why does the Sunday school class grow? Why do people get saved? Because people work hard. I’m thankful to the many people in my life who have taught me to do hard things. Whether it was cleaning the house from top to bottom, taking care of many small children, working out in the yard or all three at once; I was taught to see it through even though it was hard.

Westside Baptist ChurchTo be a successful wife, mother and Christian lady, you need to work and learn ways to improve in areas that are difficult for you. I used to do my laundry once a week. We now have three children and I cannot wait a week to do laundry. It becomes a massive job. I try to do laundry every day. The weekend is a little crazy and sometimes nothing gets touched until Monday morning, but my goal is every day.

We can get overwhelmed and think that we are not doing a good job. Cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, vacuuming, detailing kids’ rooms, organizing new books your husband buys (my husband loves books), inputting receipts for the budget, cleaning out the toy box (our kids are always winning something in class or getting spoiled by family), shampooing carpets, painting, raking, weeding, checking to make sure the animals (rabbits, chickens, and dog) have been fed and cleaned up after. Not to mention all the personal upkeep of everyone in your home with doctors, dentist, baths, two different years of chemo treatments, multiple surgeries, hospital visits (Josh was in for 4 days and another time 6 weeks), school, piano lessons, candy sale (32 boxes which is 960 candy bars). (My husband is in charge of the Teen Department and I teach 7th-grade girls.) We go to the nursing home twice a month and hold services with some teens and our family. These teens come to our house once a month and eat. We have teen activities once a week. We have a lot of workers that do an amazing job, but sometimes we do the food for activities or special Sundays.

I hope you understand that life is hard work. To tell you that I feel like I am doing an amazing work for the Lord every day would be a lie. To tell you that I wake up every morning and jump for joy at the thought of being a mother of three precious children and a wife to a wonderful, Christian man who loves his family and the Lord would be exaggerating. To tell you that I am excited to go out witnessing every time I go would be far from the truth. BUT, I should be this type of lady! I have so much to be grateful for in being a wife, mother and Christian. Why am I not very excited every time? It’s hard work! The difference between the happy Christian wife and mother and the frustrated one is that one perseveres and the other gives up.

I want to enjoy the work I do. Instead of looking at the work as a chore, I have to remind myself that Jesus gave me this very important job. Only I can do this particular work, no one else. Stop a couple of times throughout your day and remember that those people who live with you are your family. You only have a little bit of time with your kids. You really don’t know how much time you have with any of them. If you need help with a certain area of your life, get help from someone who knows how to do that specific thing well. I have learned so much from people I go to church with. There are so many people who are responsible for any good that comes from me. God uses people to help people. I am indebted to both my family and my church family for teaching me how to work hard. We must teach the next generation to work hard. Our country is suffering because people have the idea that life should be easy. No doubt this teaching comes from Hollywood movies and worldly heroes. We cannot teach anyone if we ourselves fail to work hard and improve the areas that we find more difficult. Thank you to those of you who are called mom, wife, or Christian worker. You are making a difference in someone’s life and in that you are doing an amazing work for the Lord!! Don’t quit – Keep up the good work!!!

Carly Goddard
Youth Pastor’s wife
Wildomar, CA

How to Gain the Respect of Your Children

how-to-gain-the-respect-of-your-childrenby: Tammy Goddard

In the Bible, God gives a great promise to those who have learned to show respect and honor for their parents. Ephesians 6:2-3 says, “Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” I can’t think of anything I would wish for my children more than a satisfying and long life.

If we want our children to treat us with respect, then we, as parents, need to learn to be respectable in our dealings with them. What is it that causes us to respect a person? I asked this question to a group of mothers, and although they gave a variety of answers, the main reasons they gave for having respect for an individual was that the individual was either honest, strong, or compassionate. Our children will honor and respect us for the same reasons.

How does a mother gain the respect of her child?


1. She means what she says.

Proverbs 12:19, “The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”

Never give a command that you are not willing to enforce. If you hold out your hand, then the child must take your hand. If you call your child to come, then the child must come. If you tell your child to be quiet, your child must be quiet.

2. She tries to live what she teaches.

Mom, do you obey your God-given authorities? How do your children see you respond to your husband’s authority? Do they see you living at home what they hear the preacher preach at church?

3. She admits her mistakes.

There are no perfect parents; we will all make mistakes. Our children will admire and respect us if we ask them to forgive us for our grumpy attitude or inaccurate evaluation of a situation. We all have bad days, but those days will not jeopardize our child’s respect for us; however, pride and arrogance will.


1. She has a standard.

Colossians 3:20 says, “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”

Texas-IBSWhy is it so important that our children obey us? What does it mean to obey? When we make our children obey, we are teaching them to please God. When we let disobedience go unpunished, we are allowing our children to displease the Lord. The issue isn’t whether or not the command is significantly important. The issue is that our children are not pleasing God when they do not obey us. It is very important for us to understand exactly what it means to obey. I use the following definition of obedience as my standard: “Doing exactly what you are told to do, immediately, with the right attitude.”

When I taught kindergarten, I would read a word from a list of words I placed in front of the students. I then instructed the students to hold up their index finger and to put that finger on the word I had just read. One little boy in my class held up his thumb and placed it on the correct word. Did it really matter which finger he used to show me that he could identify the correct word? It mattered only if I wanted him to learn to obey as much as I wanted him to learn to read. A child’s ability to read is not what pleases God; obeying Him does. Obeying means doing exactly what we are told to do.

When our children were asked to do something, they were expected to do it right away – not after they finished playing a video game, or after they finished reading the chapter in their book, or after they finished watching a movie. Obeying means doing exactly what we are told to do, when we are told to do it.

We also made sure that the attitude reflected obedience as much as the actions did. They were not allowed to stomp as they walked away to carry out the task. They were not allowed to slam doors, roll their eyes, or breathe a deep sigh of annoyance. Obedience is not obedience if the attitude is not right.

2. She has a punishment for the violation of the standard.

As mothers, we should not make excuses for our child’s disobedience. Often I have witnessed the mother of a very naughty child say things like, “He is hungry; he always gets grumpy when he’s hungry,” or, ”He’s just tired,” and very often I hear this one, “I think he is coming down with something.” All of these statements may be true, but they are not legitimate excuses for a child to be disobedient. Hungry children ought to be fed, but their disobedience ought not to be excused. Sleepy children ought to be put to bed, but they should not be allowed to be disobedient. Sick children ought to be given proper care and medicine, but they should never be allowed to be disobedient. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

If you do not act as if you believe what you say is right, how do you expect your child to believe what you say is right? When you give a child a command, he should not be allowed to argue with you. Don’t allow him to make excuses or blame others for his disobedience. A child should always be made to take responsibility for his own actions. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

3. She is consistent

Aside from meeting your husband’s needs, there is nothing more important for you to do than to make sure your children grow up to please the Lord. As mothers, let’s not get so busy that we are too tired or too distracted to be consistent in the discipline of our children.

When we have a standard of conduct accompanied by a punishment for violating that standard, and we consistently uphold that standard, our children will then respect us for the security that this strength brings into their lives.


1. She rewards good behavior

Let them hear words of praise – often. Write notes praising them for who they are and what they do. In the summer months, when the children were home all day, I would plan fun activities to do as soon as all the chores were finished. We would go get ice cream, go to the park, go to the library, invite friends to come over to go swimming in our pool, play a table game, go shopping, etc. I tried to vary the activities to the ages and likes of the children. We did not do what I enjoyed doing, but what they enjoyed doing. Knowing that fun activities were planned made doing the chores considerably more pleasant.

2. Once a child’s will has been broken through discipline, she showers him with love and affection.

Small children need to be held, hugged, and kissed after the discipline. As the children grow older, a hug, a loving note of praise, or kind words will draw them close to you.

3. She makes sure the rules in her home are not made to insure a more convenient and comfortable life for herself as a parent, but to train her children to please God.

Our children grew up on 6½ acres of property. There was much work to do inside and out, and at times it would have been more convenient to hire someone to come do most of the work than to do it ourselves. But my husband and I worked with our children training them not only how to do the work, but also to work. This training took time, and often the job was not quite as professionally done as I would have liked, but my children grew up learning to work hard, and they acquired the sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing a difficult task.

There are many things we did on family vacations which I would never plan to do for myself. The goal of our vacation was to create memories and deep ties with our children. We planned our vacations around activities that the children would enjoy. The age difference between our oldest son and our youngest son is fourteen years. (We have two girls in between.) Having a great vacation took some clever planning, but our vacations have provided many fond memories and strong ties for our family.

A mother who strives to be honest, strong and compassionate in her dealings with her children will be respected. It is not always easy, but let’s be respectable mothers. Oh that someday we would be like the Proverbs 31 mother whose “…children arise up, and call her blessed…” (Proverbs 31:28a)

Tammy Goddard
Pastor’s wife
Faith Baptist Church
Wildomar, CA

Choose the Blessed Life

Choose the Blessed Lifeby: Valerie Grande

“And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things…” 1 Chronicles 29:19

“And Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered…” 1 Chronicles 29:23

If you are like me and grew up going to church, you know the story of Solomon: the wisest man to ever live. You know that God blessed him with more than just wisdom and understanding. The man had everything! 1 Chronicles 29:25 says, “And the Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.” Solomon had it all: wealth, power, fame, fortune and women. Everything he wanted, God gave to him. Talk about being blessed, right?

Now let’s take a step back and think for a moment. How did Solomon – of all the sons of David – end up being the one chosen? Why did Solomon get the blessing? Was it because of David’s dying wish that God chose to bestow His blessing on Solomon and not one of his other sons? Did the fact that his father was a godly man who sought to please the Lord give him a “fast pass” to living such a blessed life?

We know that God did bless Solomon because of his father’s godly life and dedication to serving God. We see this in 1 Chronicles 28:7 where it says, “Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever…” While this played an influential part in Solomon’s blessed and prosperous life, I believe that the extent of God’s blessing rested on Solomon and his personal desire to serve God. God blessed Solomon because that’s what he promised David, but even more so because he sought God’s direction in his life and wanted it for himself. Solomon made his father’s life and his decisions his own. Solomon could not and probably would not had ever have received God’s full blessing and power until he decided to take God as his own. Solomon had to make it personal.

We read the verses at the beginning that told us David’s prayer to God for his son and God’s fulfillment of His promise. But, we skipped over a key event that allowed God to keep His promise…and then some.

1 Kings 3:5 says, “In Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.” Verse 9 says, “Give therefore thy servant and understanding heart to judge thy people that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”

We find in verse 9 that Solomon asked for wisdom; he asked for understanding; he asked for God’s hand of guidance upon his life. In his heart of hearts, this was Solomon’s greatest desire. Why do I think this? Because looking at verse 5, we see the Lord came to Solomon in a dream. Now I don’t know about you, but when I’m dreaming, I really don’t have control over what is going on inside my head. I have no control over what I am going to say or do. What about people who talk or walk in their sleep? Those of us who are awake enjoy asking them questions and coaxing them into telling things that they never would normally answer truthfully…why? Simply because people who talk or walk in their sleep have no control over themselves.

Texas-IBSSolomon had no idea that God was going to speak to him in a dream. He did not have time to sit and think about his answer to the question that was raised that night. This in itself tells me that this was something that Solomon had already pondered and prayed about. He was in the spiritual place that he needed to be at the right time. Without knowing it, he had been preparing for this one crucial moment that would determine the success or failure of his life and kingdom.

Teen girl, I know you have parents, pastors, pastor’s wives, youth pastors, and youth pastors wives who are praying for you. They are praying that God will use you in a mighty way; that He will guide and direct you in all that you do. While these prayers matter, the success or failure of your life as a Christian will be determined by whether you want it or not. Don’t be swept into this concept of, “I grew up in a Christian home with godly parents…everything is going to be just fine.” You may have the most spiritual, and wise parents in the world who are praying for you; but if you are not actively seeking a personal relationship with God and striving to do His will, He can only do so much. You have to seek Him; you have to ask Him to guide your life; you have to want a blessed life. You HAVE to make it personal. You have to want it in your heart of hearts. Solomon did, and look how God blessed him in 1 Kings 4:29, 34, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.”

God has countless blessings in store for you. More than you or I could ever imagine. I challenge you today to take the prayers and the faith of the spiritual leaders in your life and make it your own. Just think of all God could and would do through the life of a godly teenage girl who surrenders to God and sincerely desires to serve Him with all her heart. The possibilities are endless!

Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”

Valerie Grande
Church secretary
Stockton, MO

Praying for Your Missionaries

Praying for Your Missionariesby: Jessi Cormier

It was ten hours to the hospital. The missionary was almost to his destination. On the seat beside him sat his sick little girl. He had to get her to the doctor. He glanced sideways at her. How he loved her, this precious little one who God had given him to raise and to protect.

“God,” he prayed, “Please help my little girl. Please make her well. Please let the doctor know what is wrong with her so that he can know how to treat it.”

His whole mind was consumed with praying and with the worry he felt in his heart. Normally, when he drove the roads in that country, his mind stayed on high alert as to what was going on around him, but on that day, his only thought was to get to the doctor FAST.

As he neared a one-way bridge in the road, he noticed a semi-truck coming on fast from the opposite direction. He could see that the semi would easily make it to the bridge before he did, which meant he was going to have to stop and wait his turn. His foot touched the brake pedal, and the car gradually slowed to a stop on the side of the road. The missionary stared at the oncoming truck, but his mind was far from the scene before him. Then, without warning, it happened!

Suddenly, from the bushes along the side of the road sprang two men armed with machetes. One of them rushed at his door, while the other raced around to the passenger side. In an instant, his door was yanked opened (Oh! Why hadn’t he had it locked as he normally did?), and the terrifying movie-like drama began to play itself out. Thinking quickly, he grabbed his door and jerked it open as wide as it would go. The man on his side of the car was knocked out into the way of the oncoming semi. He slammed and locked his door and then whirled around to take in the situation on his daughter’s side of things. The second man was reaching across his daughter for the gear shift! Mr. Missionary rammed the man’s hand to the floorboard and at the same time glanced up at the road. The semi had past! His foot stomped on the gas pedal, and the car roared to life. Both men were left sprawling in the dust behind them.

His heart pounded! It had all happened so fast, and it was over before he had really known what was happening. He turned to his daughter. She was okay, just shell-shocked like he was.  As his mind replayed the event that had just taken place, he realized that the situation could have played out much worse. Why did the second man dove for the gear shift instead of grabbing his little girl? If he had taken her, everything would have been over. The missionary would have had to get out to fight the two men, and they probably would have taken the car and everything in it. But God had mercifully blinded their eyes, and had given him the wisdom to know exactly what to do. It was a moment in time that he would never forget.

Texas-IBSFast forward several months. The missionary and his family were on furlough just finishing up a service at one of their supporting churches. It was obvious that this church loved their missionaries by the way the people hung around their table and spoke to them after the service. No one seemed to be in a hurry to leave. Later, though, when the church was almost empty, the pastor walked up to the missionary with a sober look on his face. “Brother, there is something I want to tell you,” he said. “Every morning, I get here to the church early, and before I enter my office, I always take a few minutes to pray for our missionaries.”

The missionary glanced around him at the many prayer letters lining the walls.  He nodded as the pastor continued.

“Each morning, I make my rounds. I lay my hand on these prayer letters and pray for each missionary in turn for a few minutes before I move on to the next one. Brother, several months ago, something really strange happened. I put my hand on your prayer letter and as I began to pray, I was overcome with an intense burden for you and your family. I literally could not take my hand off your letter, and God would not let me move on. Instead, my eyes filled with tears, and I stood there for who knows how long laboring in prayer for you. Brother, I’m curious. Do you have any idea why I might have been under such a heavy burden that day?”

Time seemed to stand still for the missionary as his mind raced back to that horrifying day three months before. And then it was his turn to tell his side of the story. After the telling of it, the two men hugged one another and wept at the goodness of God. The hearts of that missionary and pastor bonded as the full truth hit them that they truly had both been laboring together that fateful day on the mission field.

The missionary went on to tell that story, both sides of it, everywhere he went. Now, more than ever before, he realized that he and his family could not make it without the prayers of their supporters back home.

The Harrelson Family–1989–Dick, Cindy, Jessica, and JoAnna

That missionary was my Dad, Dick Harrelson. The mission field–Papua New Guinea. The little girl was my sister, JoAnna, and that pastor was Bro. Vic Wilson, a man who faithfully pastored his church and prayed for his missionaries for many years.

Question: Do you pray for your missionaries? I mean, do you REALLY pray for your missionaries? Do you know them personally because their names are on your lips on a regular basis? If you were asked about one of your missionaries in particular, would you know him, or would his name just vaguely ring a bell? That thought really bothers me. No, more than that, it scares me! I don’t know how to emphasize this enough. Your missionaries, each one of them, needs YOU. Are you ready to bow before God at a moment’s notice to spend time in prayer for one of them? They are depending on you for more than just money to keep them on the field. They need your prayers. Their lives may depend on it!

Jessi Cormier
Missionary Wife

Forsaken But Not Alone

Forsaken but Not Aloneby: Sandy Domelle

Reading about the different women of the Bible is always interesting to me. Many times I notice something I never noticed before as I study the verses that go with the life of a lady in the Bible. Recently, I was talking with a lady who is raising her children on her own. We talked about the many areas where she struggled as her relationship with her husband fell apart, and how she carries the burden of raising three children on her own. I listened as she poured her heart out a bit and I began to think about Hagar. I went back home and studied Genesis 16:6-21, the story of Hagar’s life, so that I could be a better encouragement to this lady. How sad it is that the single parent home is considered the “norm” in life. Hagar was just that, she was the first single parent home we read about in the Bible.

When we read about this story, we start with Sarah and realize that she knew God had promised Abraham his own seed. Sarah couldn’t get pregnant, and this began to eat at her. Sarah was just like many women today; she grew impatient waiting on the Lord and His timing, so she took matters into her own hands. Eventually, Sarah offered Hagar, her maid, to her husband so that they could have a child through her. This was not God’s plan for Sarah, and she ultimately brought grief to their family by rushing things to fit her timetable. This grief wasn’t something that just affected Sarah, but like all sin, it has fingers that reach beyond the person who commits the sin. This affected her whole family for many generations to come.

Hagar became pregnant, and like any woman who is expecting, she was full of excitement. The Bible tells us that Sarah went to Abraham upset that Hagar had conceived. Abraham told Sarah, “Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee.” Sarah allowed her bitterness and anger to control how she dealt with Hagar. The Bible says Sarah dealt harshly with Hagar, which caused her to flee into the wilderness. God sent an angel to Hagar to comfort her and to send her back to Abraham and Sarah. Hagar obeyed and went back, and we see several chapters later that Sarah again became upset with her when she saw Ishmael mocking Isaac. Sarah was fed up and asked Abraham to cast Hagar and Ishmael out. Abraham, being very grieved at this request, sent them away to keep Sarah happy. When Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away, the only thing he gave them was bread and a bottle of water. Abraham didn’t send Hagar away with much, and you can imagine she felt completely deserted as she wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. I can only imagine how discouraged and alone she must have felt. She had her son, but very little provision to care for him. Finally, the food and water were gone. They wandered and had nowhere to go. The Bible says she cast Ishmael under a shrub and then she sat a good way off. She couldn’t bear to sit there and watch her son die. She was alone, forsaken, and had nothing. God heard the cry of Ishmael and sent an angel to call out to Hagar. Once again the angel comforted her, and God opened her eyes and she saw a well. God didn’t forget about her or forsake her; He was there the whole time. When they cried out, He met their need.

There are a four things we can learn about being a single parent from this story.

1. God still loves you.

You may feel alone because your spouse left you. You may have lost all of your most prized earthly possessions, and you may not feel that anyone cares, but God still cares. He has provided us a Bible full of promises to claim. Many times when the hard times come we want to curl up in a ball and forget about life. This is a time when we need to plan to spend more time with God and realize that, even if we can’t see any direct change in life or feel any certain answer to prayer, God still loves us and promises to care for His children. God is always there loving us through the hurts that we face. Many friends and loved ones will be watching us through our trials to see how we respond. Though we are hurting, God’s love for us, and our dependence on Him can be one of the greatest ways to be a testimony for Him.

2. God won’t forsake you.

NOwens ADWhen divorce comes, you feel abandoned. Getting up each day and pushing forward may be the hardest thing you do each day. God is bigger than any problem we are facing. He cares deeply for His children, and He wants the very best for us. When I look at Hagar’s life, both times when she ended up in the wilderness God was there. The angel called out to her by name, and this shows that God knew exactly where she was and that he hadn’t forsaken her. God sent an angel to let her know He still had plans for her life. It wasn’t the end of her world, there was much more to conquer.

You may have been through the ugliest divorce, but your life isn’t over. It may feel that way, but God has much more for you. If you give up easily, you’ll never see what God has in store for you because of your faithfulness to Him. God knows where you are, He hears your cry, He will provide for your needs and He is always with His children. Hebrews 13:5, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

3. God will provide for you.

Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” God provided a well for Hagar both times she was in the wilderness; He made sure she was cared for, and likewise, God will provide for you and won’t leave you empty handed. Do you remember the Widow at Zarephath? Elijah came to her to be fed. She told him she only had a handful of meal and a little oil, but God provided and had her meal and oil last until the drought ended. This widow was a single parent as well. You can’t help but enjoy reading these stories and seeing how God provided for these single parents, widows, and ladies in need.

God wants to hear our needs. I have prayer promises written down that I run to when I feel overwhelmed with a situation and just have to see the Lord work. I think it’s so important to have Scriptures memorized so that in the hard times they are what we can recite and keep dwelling on to keep the Devil from getting the victory over our spirit. Many love Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” But, two verses that always come to my mind are Isaiah 30:19, “….thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.” and Isaiah 65:24, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Just reading these verses gives me such comfort. I can quote them to myself throughout the day and know that my God has promised to provide for me. If you feel He’s not providing, many times it’s because you and God have two different ideas on what your “need” is. God always knows what I need and He provides exactly what I need, when I need it. “God’s answers are rarely early, never late, but always on time!”

4. God provides companionship.

You’re never alone, for God is always there. God sent his angel to Hagar, and I can’t help but wonder a bit about this. We have faith there is a God and that He is real, but sometimes we just need to see, touch or feel the presence of the Lord. I think that the angel being there met that need for Hagar. There was no doubt that God knew where she was and that she needed to know that she wasn’t alone. God could talk to her, but sending an angel gave Hagar the comfort and encouragement she needed.

Though God could talk to us if He wanted to, many times He sends people to us when we are struggling to help give us companionship. When people try to help us during these times, be sure to accept their help.

One last thought concerning the life of Hagar. Divorce isn’t the end of the world for you or your children. There are many people who went on to do great things after their parents were divorced. Ishmael became the father of a great nation that exists even to this day. A single parent is tempted to treat their children differently because of the hardship the divorce has caused in their life. Even though your child has suffered and faced obstacles because of the divorce, you cannot baby them or discipline them differently. You must continue to rear them like you would if you were still married.

If you are reading this and circumstances have left you the single parent, don’t give up! When those circumstances come, you must pull yourself together, move on and not let it destroy your life and the life of your children. God’s promises are there for us to claim. II Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Decide you won’t allow the Devil to have the victory in your life. You can raise children who turn out right and serve the Lord. You are not alone!

There’s Just Not Enough Time

Theres Just Not Enough Timeby: Tammy Goddard

We read in Proverbs 31 of a woman who every mother dreams will someday marry her son and rear her grandchildren. This girl is never idle, but spends her energy and time looking after the needs of her home and family. She keeps their clothes clean and repaired. She plans and prepares nutritious and tasty meals. She makes sure they always have the appropriate clothing for the day. She even has time to earn a few extra dollars to help with the financial needs of the home. To sum it all up, she has her priorities right. Proverbs 31:27says, “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

Of course we know that this woman is the perfect example of a homemaker. The only problem we have is that none of us are perfect. We all fall short in one area or another in our homemaking skills. Often the problem lies in managing our time. We simply run out of time. We cannot figure out how to get it all done. If we learn to avoid time wasters, we will become more successful in our homes. The time we gain will be a precious gift that relieves much of the stress we feel. Let us examine some time wasters that we should learn to avoid:

1. Cell phones

Learn to work while you talk. Use the speaker phone or a bluetooth device to keep your hands free. You can make beds, clean the bathroom, sweep floors, fold laundry, and even do dishes while you talk. Keep conversations as short as possible. A family member across the country may require more time than a friend who you will see at church tomorrow. If answering the phone makes you late or takes away from family time, use the voicemail or an answering machine. You can schedule a time to return calls that will not interfere with your family.

2. Television, Tablets and Computers

If we are not careful we can spend more time talking to our friends on Facebook than we do training the “little friends” in our home. We can know what is going on in the life of our Facebook friends, but be clueless about what is going on in the life of that best friend we married. Carefully schedule the time you spend on social media, web browsing, and other entertainment as short breaks between chores or as an occasional part of family time so you may enjoy it together. Time flies when you get in front of a computer. Before you know it, several hours have passed, and you have not accomplished anything that will profit your family.

3. Shopping

Always use a list when you go to the store. Try not to wander up and down the aisles looking at products that you do not need and cannot afford. Call ahead and check if the store stocks the item that you need. Try to make only one or two shopping trips a week.

4. Waiting Times (doctors, dentists, other appointments)

Texas-IBSThere are many things we can do while sitting in a waiting room. Carry note cards in your purse and write a sweet note to someone; bring grocery Ads and plan next weeks meals; write out memory work on a 3×5 card and memorize Scripture; bring a good book and read; or carry tracts and use this time to witness to those around you. Instead of complaining about the long wait, plan ahead and make good use of the time.

5. Looking for lost objects (keys, purse, important papers, shoes etc.)

We have all been frustrated at one time or another while searching for a lost object. If this seems to be a reoccurring activity in your life, there are a few things you can do to remedy the problem. Make a place for everything and take a few extra minutes to put things in their place. Teach your children to do the same.

6. Failure to plan your time

It helps to make a list and then work down the list. Avoid a slow start. Get up and get going. Be careful about taking too long on one chore. Don’t daydream or do a job better than it needs to be done, also don’t get side tracked with a low-priority job. It will not matter how beautiful that freshly painted piece of furniture looks if your husband does not have clean socks to wear to work the next day.

We have all felt like the Dr. Seuss character who said, “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” Let’s identify and avoid the time wasters in our lives. It is possible to do all that God wants you to do without feeling stressed out.

Tammy Goddard
Pastor’s Wife
Faith Baptist Church
Wildomar, CA

How to Make Your Marriage a Team

by: Sandy Domelle

How to Make Marriage a TeamThey often say that there is no “I” in team. A team that is going to be successful must take out the “I” so they can win. When you get married, you become a team. It’s not about “I” or “me,” but for a happy and successful marriage it becomes “us” or “we.” The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” You will notice in this verse that in order to have peace there must be one mind. That means that if you are going to have peace in your marriage, you and your spouse must have one mind about everything that you do. God further expresses this truth in Philippians 2:2-3 when He says, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Notice again that to be of one mind you cannot make your marriage about you; instead, you must be a team. Let me show you several areas you can work on so that your marriage can be a team.

When you talk say, “we” and not “I.” Be sure to always think of you and your spouse as a couple and not as individuals. This mentality makes us stop to be more deliberate in what we are saying and also makes us more selective in what we will say. When we got married, we became a team. I serve my husband, but he in returns serves me. We watch out for each other, we meet each other’s needs, we encourage each other, etc. In so doing, our bond is made stronger and we do think of each other as a team in marriage, parenting, the Christian life, etc.

Understand the roles of authority. A team will never be of one mind when everyone is vying for the top position. In order for a team to be successful, then each person on the team needs to understand their role. Likewise, for a marriage to be of one mind, each spouse needs to understand their role of authority in the home and fulfill that role.

Be willing to give in so you can be of one mind. Let’s face it, we will not always agree with our spouse. So to be of one mind, you must be willing to give in so that one mind may prevail. Yes, that may mean you may not get your way, but it will make the marriage happier if you will learn to let one mind prevail when there is disagreement.

Separate duties so you can be of one mind. The duties in the home can be divided up into several different categories. Once you divide the duties in the home, decide who will be in charge of each area. For instance, the wife can be in charge of home decorations while the husband can be in charge of the outside appearance. One spouse can be in charge of the finances while the other spouse may be in charge of the schedule of family activities. If you are not in charge of an area, you need to be sure to follow your spouse in that area so that you are of one mind. If you start meddling in an area that is not yours then you will cause your home not to have one mind.

Submit to each other so you can be of one mind. You will never achieve being of one mind unless each spouse decides to submit to each other. Submission means to give in when you don’t want to do something and have the power not to do it. For the sake of being of one mind, each spouse needs to be willing to submit to the other. When each spouse is willing to submit, you will not have any selfish attitudes that cause arguments with each other.

Central Baptist Church & SchoolAlways talk highly of your spouse! Nothing is more disheartening to me than being around other ladies who constantly downgrade their husbands. When we got married, we thought our husband could do no wrong. He was, and still should be, the most wonderful man in the world, and one whom we would follow to the end of the world. There comes a time in marriage when it is easy to become comfortable in who we are and we start changing the way we do things. You once followed, but now you push to lead. You were once submissive, but now you demand. You once couldn’t say enough about how hard your husband worked and provided for you and your family; now he can’t ever do anything to please you and make you happy. If this is the case, you need to step back and reevaluate things in your marriage. You then need to make it the utmost priority to start praying and working at getting things back on track. Am I saying you will agree with your spouse 100% of the time? No! We each think differently, but the more we work as a team and become “we” and not just “I,” the more we think alike and are less self-centered. Don’t divulge all the things you hate that your husband does to your relatives and close friends. They don’t need to know your “family dirt.” You don’t need to tell them the things with which you disagree. I find often when I disagree with my hubby it’s something that “I” selfishly want, and it’s not something “we” as a couple need. If you married Prince Charming and he could do no wrong, work to keep him Prince Charming not just in your eyes, but also in the eyes of those around you. The more we focus on the positives in life, the more we talk about them and go forward. If you dwell on the negatives, your life has no purpose.

Agree on all parenting issues together in private before making a decision. It’s very unsettling to me to hear of parents who make decisions based on what their children want. I grew up in a family that was preparing to go the mission field. As a 15 almost 16 year old girl, I cannot tell you how many people told my parents that they were foolish in taking me to the mission field. They felt that my parents should wait until I was out of my teenage years and then go. God’s will for my parents life wasn’t based on my age. God’s will for their life was based on God’s will for my life as well. Thank the Lord that I had parents who didn’t come and ask their children what they wanted, but privately made decisions based on God’s will and followed through.

Many people hesitate to do God’s will because of teenage children. Do you know that you rob them of God’s richest blessings and rewards? Going to the Philippines as a teenage girl transformed my life. I don’t regret for a moment that my parents took me. What I learned in those years molded me to be who I am today. I’m so thankful that my parents didn’t come and ask me if I wanted to go. I was told we were going, and it was the next step in life. Your children are too young to know what is best for them. That’s why God provided them with parents. When God calls you to go and serve, there is never a stipulation on it. When God has a will for your life and you put it on hold, you are teaching your children that when tough things come up, or they don’t want to do it, or they have uncertainty and aren’t sure, they can just put it on hold. God’s greatest rewards come from following God’s will and going forward, not by allowing other’s to change God’s will for you.

Be of one mind concerning your standards and convictions for your home. As a team, you both need to teach standards to your children. You need to make sure you are personally following them, and you need to make sure not just one parent is enforcing them.

Be of one mind concerning your finances. It is very important to have sound finances to keep your marriage happy. One of the main causes of marital strife and divorce is finances. To keep your finances sound, you and your spouse need to have one mind about how you handle your finances. It can’t be that one is a spender and the other saves. It must be that both work as a team to properly use the finances so that you aren’t always digging yourself out of a hole. If you are of one mind with your finances, then you have a better chance of being financially successful.

You will never stumble upon a happy marriage. To have a happy marriage, you and your spouse must decide to be of one mind. Take the “I” out of your marriage and become a team that works together to have the happy marriage that God intended for you to have.

The Sun Will Shine Again

by: Mary Zapata

The Sun Will Shine AgainOur faith and trust were in the Lord as we made the decision to move from Dallas to Longview which is about a two-hour drive. On June 28, my husband had just received the okay for his transfer from the Garland Grainger location to the Longview Grainger branch. This was an answer to prayer. Just before the transfer the doctors of my husband, Rene, recommended him to be tested so as to qualify for a heart transplant. It was in July of 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Just like anybody else, when you hear the word “cancer,” a lot of things run through your mind. So now, we were facing a heart transplant and cancer decisions.

The job transfer distanced us from our doctors who were in Dallas. This was an added burden to be required to drive two hours to Dallas and two hours back home to Longview. This required my husband to take days off to make our doctor appointments. It came to a point where he had used all of his days off and had gone twenty hours over using unpaid time. It was understood that he could no longer have time off, but God is good. His boss knew what we were going through and contacted his HR department and told them about our situation. They dismissed the twenty hours that were overdrawn and added twenty-seven hours of paid time to be used for doctor visits. This was quite a blessing!

We have also been blessed to be surrounded by a circle of prayer warriors beginning with my son, Jared and our daughter-in-law, Elyssa, missionaries in Mexico and the Philippines. Our pastor and Longview Baptist Temple church family have been our lighthouse. Longview Baptist Temple has been where we can call home with people who have shown love, concern, and much prayer for us during these times. We also have our immediate family and many lifelong friends who have joined us in prayer.

The Lord has been gracious with my husband’s condition as he is not in need of a heart transplant after his intense recent testing. His defibrillator/pacemaker and medication are sufficient to take care of his heart issues for the time being.

Faith-Baptist-Church_Margate-ADWith the Lord’s help, I have been able to start my chemo treatments here in Longview instead of Dallas. I have seen the Lord’s grace during my cancer treatments. My Bible reading and quiet times with the Lord have been more precious to me than ever before.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

I Peter 4: 12-13

He has given me peace that passeth all understanding. Even through the losing of my hair, God has been gracious knowing the right timing and how it would affect me more than any doctor. He has given me the sources and friends who have helped me specifically through the loss of my hair. From being given a private time with a hair stylist to get my first and last hair cut to time fixing my wigs to match my original hair style, they made me feel like I could get through it all without being embarrassed to go to different places. After my wig was styled, I was even ready to show it off at church to family and friends. Now I just comb, style, and ready to go.

Please pray for me as I take it one day at a time during this journey with chemo treatments and radiation. While talking with my insurance company recently, they asked several times if I needed a support group. After sharing with them details of my journey, they stated how it sounded like I had a great support group. My answer to many questions that are asked of me is that without the Lord I could not make it through this.

Music has been another tool of encouragement whether during my Bible reading or throughout the day. It is a big help in forgetting about yourself and realizing that others have it worse than you. My mother fought whatever came her way whether from sickness to finances and would use the phrase “Lord willing”. This has stuck with me as “Lord willing” this shall all come to pass.

Keep on keeping on. The Lord does not give us more than we can handle. We must stay encouraged as Psalms 145:8 states, “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion…”

Favorite Chorus: “He’s My Lord”

“He’s my Lord and there’s no other one
Who can calm the storms of life like my Lord
He’ll give grace to the weary
He’ll give life to the hopeless
There’s no doubt about it He’s my Lord.”

Mary Zapata

Since the writing of the article, Mrs. Zapata has been declared cancer free.