Archives for November 2008

Christian Evidences: Is Jesus the Son of God?

Introduction:

Are the “founders” of all world religions basically the same–– Jesus, Mohammed, Confucius, Buddha, and others? The answer is, No.

Actually, New Testament Christianity makes claims for and about Jesus Christ that are completely different from any other world religion: Christianity affirms that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God, God in the flesh when He walked among men! No other religion asserts that about its founder.

In Matthew 22:42 Jesus asked, “What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He?” Well, what do you say?

Christianity says Jesus is God’s Son.

What is the evidence?

Consider the New Testament, which is, among other things, a historical record.

1. THE CLAIMS OF JESUS. Jesus plainly claimed to be the Son of God (Matthew 16:15–17; Mark 14:61–62; John 3:16; 9:35–37). In making such a claim, Jesus would have to be liar, lunatic, or truly Lord indeed!

The Bible records God the Father affirming the same thing (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Hebrews 1:5). Jesus claimed equality with God (John 5:17–18, 23–24; 8:19, 23–24, 58; 10:30–33; 14:1, 7–11). If Jesus is not the Son of God, then who is He? If He was only a man, what motivated Him to assert otherwise? His claims brought Him hatred, misunderstanding, persecution, torture, and death. With no political aspirations and neither fame nor fortune, He forsook all, denying Himself in order to do God’s will, and it cost Him His life. Jesus’ suffering is inexplicable apart from His claims.

2. THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS. Jesus’ followers claimed He was the Son of God (see John 1:49; Matthew 14:33; John 20:28; Acts 8:37; Acts 3:13, 26; 9:20; Romans 1:3–4; 8:3, 29, 32; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 15:28; 2 Corinthians 1:19; Galatians 1:16; 2:20; 4:4–7; Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 4:14; 1 John 1:3, 7; 2:22–24; Revelation 2:18). The term “Son of God” applied to Jesus appears all throughout the New Testament.

What motivated His followers? For several centuries, Jesus’ followers met hatred, oppression, and martyrdom for their profession. Why would His followers concoct a lie, suffer for the lie, go to prison for the lie, and die for the lie, if they knew their claims were untrue?

3. THE MIRACLES OF JESUS. No one in Jesus’ day denied He did miracles (John 3:2; 9:16, 31–33; Matthew 9:32–34; 12:24), as He demonstrated power of defilement, disease, demons, the deep, death, and nature itself.

Eyewitnesses saw His miracles, and history has recorded their testimony. And Jesus’ miracles verify His identity (John 20:30–31; Acts 2:22–24, 36; Acts 10:38).

4. THE PROPHECIES OF JESUS. Jesus fulfilled prophecies concerning the Messiah, the Son of God, in exact detail in His birth, life, teaching, miracles, death, and resurrection (see John 5:39; Luke 24:25–27, 44; Isaiah 53:7–8, with Acts 8:30–35).

No other religious leader can lay claim to the fulfillment of prophecy: false Christs, messiahs, and charlatans have arisen making many claims––but none can substantiate their claims as can Jesus!

5. THE LIFE OF JESUS. Jesus’ life was characterized by unusual compassion, wisdom, benevolence, purity, and devotion. Unlike any other, of His life no fault could be found (see John 18:38; 19:4, 6; Luke 23:13–16). His friends knew this (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:19; 2:22), as did His adversaries (Mark 14:55–56). His life was characterized by complete devotion to the will of God (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; Matthew 26:39).

Of Jesus only is the claim made of complete sinlessness (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15).

6. THE TEACHING OF JESUS. Jesus taught with a wisdom, insight, and understanding unsurpassed in His day, and ours too (Matthew 7:28–29; Luke 4:15, 32; John 7:45–46). His teachings, though old, are just as relevant today as when they were spoken.

How do we explain His amazing wisdom if He was “only a man”?

7. THE DEATH OF JESUS. Jesus’ death can be understood and explained only by His mission: to take away sins! Jesus predicted His death (Matthew 16:21; John 6:70–71; 13:21–22, 26) and amazing miracles that accompanied it: darkness, the veil of the temple splitting, the dead arising.

The death of Jesus is a historical event, but its accomplishment and meaning can only be understood in view of His identity.

8. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS. Jesus died, but some time after His death His tomb became empty, and remains empty to this day. Why? How? The answer of the New Testament is that Jesus rose actually, literally, bodily from the dead!

Jesus had predicted His resurrection (Matthew 12:38–40; 16:21; and many other places) and the Bible records the testimony of numerous eye witnesses, more than five hundred of them, who saw Jesus alive after His death.

If Jesus really, actually, bodily, literally rose from the dead, then He is the Son of God!

9. THE INFLUENCE OF JESUS. Has anyone influenced our world like Jesus of Nazareth? He never wrote a book, composed a song, built a sanctuary or a hospital, or raised an army, yet entire continents for centuries have been influenced by His life and work. No politician, teacher, or religious leader has affected as many lives as Jesus. His name stands above every name, and His teachings have transformed individuals, towns, cities, and nations! His amazing influence is testimony of an amazing identity.

10. THE CONSEQUENCE. If Jesus is not the Son of God, then the entire Old Testament is impugned, the New Testament is false, the whole system of Christianity is a mere human philosophy built upon fabrication, founded by an impostor, and perpetuated by fraudulent liars––there is no Savior, no salvation, and no hope of resurrection or life beyond.

But if Jesus is the Son of God, then He is Lord of all and must be obeyed. He only can make atonement for sin, save our souls, and provide life, hope, peace, joy, and fulfillment.

Now, what do you think of Christ––Who is He? Weigh your answer carefully.

By John Brown

Stand Forever

Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

Photos submitted by Shelby Garrett

It Truly is a Wonderful Life

2 Corinthians 9:15: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

I have a friend who, like me, loves Thanksgiving. However, he doesn’t really care for Christmas. You may be wondering why. Is it because it reminds him of a bad memory? Because he has no family to share it with? His reason is actually very simple––and sadly, a reality. He says that Thanksgiving is a time when people focus on what they do have. But then those feelings of thanksgiving have barely taken root before our attention is turned to what we don’t have. Yes, he loves Christmas––he spends it with his large family and celebrates Jesus’ life, which we should celebrate every day. But he is saddened that people can so quickly forget, just days after Thanksgiving, all the things they are blessed with.

It’s a Wonderful Life is a wonderful example of celebrating the things that are most important in our lives. It also shows how easy it is for us to get distracted by everyone else’s successes and possessions. Although this 1946 holiday classic has been around for decades, I only first saw it a couple years ago––but it quickly became a movie I will watch year after year.

As a young man, George Bailey dreams of traveling and making an impact. His goals are so honorable. But because of the man he is, these dreams are never able to unfold. The sacrifices he makes for others interfere with and delay his plans for travel and influence, until, years later, he realizes they will never happen. Like many of us, he doesn’t realize that the “wasted” years actually meant something. He didn’t get to travel the world and make an impact on the entire earth, but he made a large impact on the people in his own community.

This holiday season, let’s choose to be thankful for the things, people and talents we are blessed with, rather than the things we don’t have. We should always be “giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

by Lisa Grimenstein

Vitamins

How many of you have a doctor who has suggested taking a multivitamin? I do. Do you know what these vitamins and minerals do for you? Have you ever taken the time to ask yourself why they’re so special that they’re in every pharmacy? Many of these vitamins and minerals are needed by the body in trace amounts for general good health. Vitamin B6, for example, works with the proteins in your body, helps make hemoglobin, and is needed for the immune system to function properly.

Another question: How many of you are taking a multivitamin? While many of these vitamins and minerals can be found in different foods, especially fruits and vegetables (broccoli, carrots, apples, grapes, etc.), do you really know that you’re getting enough? The daily recommended values are actually the minimum needed to prevent a deficiency, so, as long as you just take what the bottle recommends, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Most, if not all, of us have access to these vitamins and minerals. We should be thankful that God has provided, in excess, for us to live comfortable and healthy lives. To find out more about multivitamins, visit the Office of Dietary Supplements.

Remember, it is up to you to take advantage of the bountiful material possessions that God has provided for us. And make sure that you never forget Who gave them to you.

Pantothenic Acid Stress, Mood
Vitamin A Immune health, skin health, Eye health
Vitamin B6 Healthy homocysteine levels, menstruation/menstrual cycles

Above are some vitamins and minerals that I thought might interest some of you. Pantothenic acid can help with stress (Who doesn’t need help with stress?), vitamin A helps with skin health (acne!), and vitamin B6 can help with your menstrual cycle (cramps, bloating, etc.). Try looking up some others to see what they can do for your health. REMEMBER: talk to your doctor first before taking anything, and don’t go overboard. While rare, overdoses can happen.

Colossians 3:16-17 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Food of the Month: Squash

While this food may not be the most exciting food in the world, it is very healthy for you to eat. Zucchini is part of the squash family.  Zucchini squashes are very low in calories. There are only 13 calories in a half-cup of raw zucchini. Nutritionally, zucchinis are rich in valuable antioxidants. They also contain beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, and calcium. Zucchini squash is also a good source of fiber (4 grams per cup). An adult should get about 30 grams of fiber per day in their diet. Also, one cup of zucchini has nearly as much potassium as a banana (remember them from September?). Plus it contains the valuable mineral nutrient phosphorus.  Other types of squash include Acorn Squash, Ambercup Squash, Australian Blue Squash or Queensland Blue Winter Squash, Kabocha Squash, Lumina, Orange Hokkaido Squash, and Orangetti Squash or Vegetable Spaghetti. I like the Orangetti Squash. You poke holes in it and set it in the microwave for about five minutes, then cut it open. Place it in for five more minutes and you have your spaghetti noodles. Just use a fork or knife and scrape the squash out. As you can see, there is a lot of variety, so pick one up and see if you like it. You never know until you try.

By Megan Skinner

Have you ever tried squash (excluding zucchini)?

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Being Polite

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts…and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:15 KJV

Being polite is something that seems to be going out of style. I will never forget the first time I went to California and was talking to a lady; she asked me a question and I answered with “yes, ma’am.” I literally thought she was going to drop to the floor. She grabbed my arm and told me it had been a long time since she had heard someone who was as young as I, be polite.

I hadn’t really thought about it since then until I was at the store the other day. The cashier and bag boy were exchanging a very personal conversation in front of me and some other customers. When I asked a question about my total, they were very short with me. As I collected my bags, I received no “thank you” or “have a nice day.”

The same day a woman almost ran her cart into mine. She just huffed and went on. There was no “oh, I’m sorry” or “I didn’t see you – excuse me.” Has all of our self-centeredness somehow made us lose our desire to be polite? As a society, are we just too busy to say a few words of kindness?

I do my very best to make sure I thank people for things they do for me. Not because I have to say it, but because I truly appreciate what they did, and I want them to know it. They were nice to me––shouldn’t I be polite back?

Many times we keep company with people who do not show gratitude or respect. I have a theory about this. If your friend does something for you, and you say “thank you” or show respect to others in front of your friend, they will pick up on your habits. If someone opens a door for you or helps you with your bag, show them gratitude. Perhaps they are having a bad day and your small words could make it better. If you see an older person who needs help, help him/her. And when you do I guarantee if you use “yes, ma’am” or “no, sir” it will make their day. Maybe they are lonely and just want someone to be nice to them.

Being nice can be like an infectious disease. If you see others doing it and everyone is taking joy in it, you want to join in.

One of the hardest times to be polite is when others are being so rude. Our instinct seems to be to immediately snap back. I have done it…we all have. It is very hard to hold our tongue. But, there is this old saying “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”. That means that if we are sweet and kind, we can win people over much easier than if we are sour and rude. So, the next time someone says something mean, say something nice. It may make their mood better too!

It is relatively easy to implement these changes. Start small. Since this is November and Thanksgiving is this month, start with “thank you.” Anytime you have the opportunity to thank someone, take it. Every month implement another polite word into your vocabulary. Before you know it, the words of hate and anger and impatience (and all the feelings that go along with them) will have no room anymore.

By Sarah J. Ancheta

Count Your Blessings

The following song was written by Johnson Oatman and Edwin Excell. As we read the words, let’s think about all that God has blessed us with.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

The authors of this song understood the importance of being thankful for what we have. They knew they were blesses, just as all of us are today.

We can also approach thankfulness in a different way than usual. Instead of trying to think of everything that God has blessed you with, ask Him to show you everything that He has blessed you with. Notice the people who have less than you, and ask yourself how you can help them. Donating time, money, food, blood, etc. are ways to share our blessings with those in need. You can bless others without having to spend hours of your time and hundreds of your dollars. And remember, our most important blessings are not the ones we can own and touch––they are the blessings we feel.

Colossians 1:11-14 “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

By Megan Skinner

Plus is for Pretty

How to look pretty and fashionable when you’re a plus size

There is no rule that says you have to be thin to be pretty. I see so many beautiful girls who hide themselves under layer after layer of baggy clothing. You don’t have to be thin to wear makeup and you don’t have to be thin to be fashionable. Spend a little money to buy jeans that fit your figure and aren’t three sizes too big! God made you beautiful just the way you are. If you have low self-esteem, learn to be thankful for yourself! God made all of us different, and we can all learn how to embrace those differences. If you desire to be thin, keep in mind that thinness is relative. Even thin girls can find someone thinner to compare themselves with, but we can all love our bodies just the way God made them. Here are some tips on how to show the world that girls with curves are beautiful.

1. Never feel like you have to wear baggy clothes. Many girls wear clothes that are too big in order to hide the extra pounds. However, this also masks the curves you have and makes your body look bigger than it actually is. Don’t feel ashamed of your body! God made you beautiful, so embrace yourself by wearing pretty and modest outfits that fit properly!

2. Develop a style that is right for you. You don’t have to follow every trend, but wear what makes you feel comfortable and pretty. Don’t be afraid to wear a skirt or a dress. Look feminine and feel proud!

3. Black may be slimming but be careful of wearing it too often. Too much black can make you look like you’re trying to blend into the background or like you’re attending a funeral every day.

4. Never underestimate the value of accessories! An outfit doesn’t end with just the clothes! Jewelry and purses can make an outfit and make you feel better wearing it. Longer necklaces can be slimming because they lengthen you. Wear cute earrings to draw attention to your face.

5. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad about the way you look! If you want to lose weight then do it for the right reasons. If you have health problems or want to do it for yourself then go for it, but never try to lose weight to please someone else. God will always love you for you, no matter what size you are. First Samuel 16:7 “…God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

My Favorites

Listed below are some stores that sell really cute clothes in plus sizes!  Hover over the images for descriptions, and click on the images to view the items in their web store.  Keep in mind that although a few of these items are fairly costly, similar looks can often be found for much less by searching around online, or by visiting clearance racks towards the end of a season.

B&Lu

$14

$14

$12

$12

$11

$11

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Kiyonna

$88

$88

$78

$78

$68

$68

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Fashion Bug – My Personal Favorite.  They have really cute clothes, and great sales!

Jackets

$28

$28

$47

$24

$45

$45

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Tops

$8

$8

$27

$16

$18

$18

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Pants

$19

$19

$23

$23

$34

$28

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By Alicia Marie Sargent

The Secret

We have all heard people say that there is a secret to life, a hidden way to find happiness. Well the truth is that everyone who says that is wrong. However, there is a certain way that we must live to be happy––it’s just not a secret. In Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 we are told directly what we must do to be content in this life. The inspired Solomon wrote, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Solomon searched the world over and tried many different things to find happiness but in the end he finally realized that true happiness comes from serving the Lord with our all.

These fruits are not for eating

Making the choice to serve God takes great commitment and determination but is more than worth it! If we really desire to live this way then we will choose to repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38), at which time the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts (Romans 8:9-11). With Him, blessings and fruits develop within us that help make us satisfied human beings (Gal. 5:16-18). After they are brought within us, we can nurture and build them up so that we and God can be pleased with our lives’ work.

The fruit of the Spirit is listed in Galatians 5:22-25: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” I want to show you how every one of these fruits is necessary in a happy and thriving dating relationship and marriage. My intent is that you will see and understand all the good things God has given us to make our lives pleasant.

The power of love

Love is the most powerful force known to man and without it there is nothing. If we have enough faith to move mountains but do not have love then God says we are nothing (I Cor. 13:2). We must choose to love those around us, even the ones who are hateful toward us. This love will manifest and grow and we will become strong because of it. In a dating relationship love should be the shell of the core (Christ being the core). You need to love them and they need to love you.

Based on the Bible’s description of love, when you say you love someone you are saying so much more than just three words. You are expressing your desire to make them happy and that they sincerely make you happy. First Corinthians 13:4–8 gives us the best idea of what saying “I love you” means: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” This passage explains the essence of love and the meaning of the three words, I love you.

Loving someone means that you are kind, that you encourage faith, and that you will go through anything for them. But please realize that this cannot be done by just one person in the relationship. You must both truly feel this way in order to have the type of bond God designed for His Creation. Saying you love someone needs to be a decision you think about for a long time and only after you realize the commitment you are making by saying it.

Without love, no dating or marriage relationship can exist. If both truly love then they will give all of themselves so that the two are one. God says that when you are married you leave your home and cleave to one another (Matt. 19:4-6). You become one unit working together to glorify and please your Father who is in Heaven. So the entirety of the relationship should be love.

Many people find it hard to love someone else more than themselves. If you are thinking to yourself, How can I love others in the way I’m commanded?, then try this: next time you are with your boyfriend and he is telling you something that is very important to him, choose to sincerely listen. Make eye contact and actually focus on what he is saying rather than thinking of your next comment or the exciting stuff in your life. Listening to and respecting someone are some of the first steps to truly loving someone.

Or think about this: you and your boyfriend have been planning all week to go to the movies on Friday, but when that night finally rolls around your boyfriend tells you he’s exhausted. There are three things you can do in this situation: you can pout and be upset, you can beg him to go anyway, or you can be understanding and let him get his rest. The last option can sometimes be hard, but it is the best choice in any relationship because it shows that you care more about how they feel than what you want.

Happy on the inside

The second fruit listed is joy. Joy is very necessary in a relationship. If you never have fun with the person you are dating or don’t enjoy their company then there’s a good chance they are not right for you. Having joy doesn’t just mean being giddy and laughing; it means you have a calming and comforting feeling deep within your heart. This joy is trusting and relying on someone without having to worry about whether or not they will let you down.

Joy is extremely important in the prospect of marriage. If the two of you cannot have fun together and comfort one another then the relationship will not be healthy or happy. Always be sure to date someone who has a compatible sense of humor and can make you laugh and be there for you when you are down. Joy is a natural stimulant in any good relationship; it helps keep it alive.

If you personally have trouble being happy around others, especially those in whom you are interested, then I would suggest reminding yourself why you are dating him. Whenever I am upset with my boyfriend I often make myself think of the many reasons I love him. I always realize as a result the many wonderful things about him and why he makes my heart happy. The joy of being with someone who simply makes you a stronger Christian and a better person is amazing and will make your relationship prosper.

Peace offerings

The third fruit mentioned is peace. The peace offered by God does not mean that as Christians we will never have conflicts or problems but that we have the peace of knowing that God is with you always (Matt. 28:20). He will take care of you and comfort you in your time of need. But this promise is only for repentant, obedient Christians. So in your dating or marriage relationship the peace of God can only be found when both know that they are saved.

If both people have this peace then so much more can be accomplished in life. It will be easier to make decisions and work together because both will have the necessary faith and comfort (John 14:25-27). So when looking for a partner, always take into consideration whether or not they have God’s offered peace (if they are genuine Christians) so that you can know if together you will be able to trust in the Lord.

If peace is something that is not in your relationship or future relationship then you truly need to consider what must be done to have it. If you or your partner has not repented and been baptized then you truly need to analyze your life and make the necessary decisions to have God in your life. If you have both been saved but one or both has strayed from God’s will then talk to each other and choose to work together to be once again committed to God so that you can both enjoy the blessings that God has provided for those who obey Him.

Stay tuned

I will continue examining the remaining six fruits of the Spirit over the next two months. Let’s focus on these three fruits of the Spirit this month: love, joy, and peace. Determine whether these three gifts are noticeable in yourself and in your current relationship or the boy you have an interest in. Being able to possess God’s special gifts in yourself and in a relationship will determine whether or not you will be truly happy together and in other aspects of your life.

Shelby Garrett

Shelby Garrett

Be Ye Thankful

We’ve made it to November, ladies! We get to fall off the wagon and eat lots of delicious delicacies. There will be turkey, ham, rolls, stuffing, corn, and lots more. Most likely we’ll eat so much that it’ll hurt to breathe, but that’s what it’s all about, right? Well, we have to remember that even though it’s a holiday and we’re celebrating it with our families, all that we have didn’t just come off a tree or just appear. Our parents provide for us every day and have provided for us since we were born. This month we’re going to show our parents our appreciation for all that they do and just how blessed we are to have them.

You can do just about anything for your parents to show your appreciation for them. Even little things like clearing the table after dinner, folding a basket of clothes for your mother, or just picking up your room is a tremendous help to your parents (especially to your mom). Bigger things like vacuuming the house, dusting, and unloading the dishwasher can help your parents in ways you can’t even understand. For example, recently, simply cleaning my room and washing the dishes made my mom so happy, and she even made it a point to tell me that I put her ahead of her housework by about two hours. However, don’t wait until your parents ask for your help to actually help them.

Surprise your parents by washing and drying your uniform for work (if you have a job and a uniform). You could also Windex the glass things in your house (TVs, computer screens, and mirrors), or dust all the surfaces. You could pick up around the house and/or even pick up (or even completely clean) your room. If you feel that all the things you’re doing around the house will only benefit your mother, then find some things to do to help your dad (if weather permits), like cutting the grass one more time before the cold weather sets in, or raking the leaves in your yard so that your dad doesn’t have to.

You could also cook dinner for your parents (see this month’s Cooking Corner for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, or start a little simpler with some recipes from other months’ issues). You could plan ahead (since you would already have the recipe printed out) and stop at the store one day on your way home from school or work. Can you imagine your parents’ faces when they come home from a long day at work to find that you’ve made them dinner and dessert? This is a great way to give your parents a break from having to cook dinner––just make sure you also wash the dishes afterward! Make it a point to tell them just how blessed you are to have them and how thankful you are to them for everything that they do for you.

In all that we do we should always be thankful to the ones that help us through our days in this temporary life. However, we should never forget to thank our Lord in heaven for all that He’s supplied for us. It’s because of Him that our parents are able to provide for us. It’s because of the Lord that we’re taken such good care of by the ones that love us because the Lord Himself loves us. So especially on Thanksgiving (but hopefully every day of our lives) we should pray to the Lord and be thankful for everything that He’s given us.

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Col. 3:15

By Alyssa Sturgill

Being Thankful through Trials

There are many things I am thankful for. I am thankful God has blessed me with a loving husband, a beautiful baby boy, a warm place to live, and a pillow to rest my head. I am also thankful to be healthy. I am very aware that there are many people who do not have that to be thankful for.

Some people have severe physical or mental disabilities that can affect not only them, but their families as well. Whether the disabilities have been there since birth or were due to an accident or someone else’s actions, does their disability mean they cannot be thankful?

We have all heard stories of someone who has overcome great obstacles. Someone who has beat the odds and survived hard situations. My father is one of those people. I know that without God, my dad would not be alive now. He hurt his back at work when I was twelve. Since then, he has had over forty procedures on his back. He also developed many other health issues that have limited his day to day life. As I write this, he is facing the possibility of yet another surgery. He survived meningitis, and at that time was told that if we had gotten him to the hospital any later than we did, he would not have survived. My dad has lived through all of that. We all know that there is a reason he is alive today. God has a plan for him.

Although my dad had to deal with all of the physical pain and stress of trying to raise a family while disabled, his illness affected the rest of us too. Because my mom worked two jobs to try and make ends meet, my sister and I lost a physically active father and our stay-at-home mother, all in less than a month. As children, we watched our dad age ten years in less than a year. Our family faced many struggles that average families do not have to face––more than I am ready to relive. However, every day I am thankful that we faced all of it. I believe that by facing those problems and overcoming obstacles, it made me grateful for what I have. I did not have typical teen years. It seems these days most teens are given a car and an allowance. I worked after school everyday. I paid for my first car and the insurance every month for it. I bought my own clothes, helped buy food and made my own spending money. I am not going to say my parents did not do anything for me or that they didn’t take care of me, but they did not have the funds to give me the things that many teenagers take for granted. I don’t want pity for my childhood. I am proud of it.

You see, I know I could have lost my father during any of those surgeries. Or he could have been hurt worse than he was. When faced with situations that seem bad, I always try to look to the positive. No, my childhood was not easy. But I had two parents who loved me and would have done anything for me. I had a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a warm bed, and food in my stomach. It pains me to know that there were times in my childhood that I did not appreciate all of the sacrifices that they made for me.

I know there are probably some of you who have a parent or a loved one who has some sort of disability or health problem. I know it is hard to watch a loved one go through that. It is also hard as a teenager to deal with that along with all the other stresses that you face. However, no matter what you face, be thankful. Things could always be much worse. As long as God is by your side, know that no matter the outcome, you will be okay. You may not have a lot of money or fancy things, but one day, you will have riches beyond any that are here on earth.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

By Sarah J. Ancheta