Feature Story, Online edition!

A Call To Freedom….”In Christ is found the freedom to choose wisely.”

A Call To Freedom
by Pamela Gauthier

Freedom has been mostly defined as the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. When we take a closer look at freedom, the definition alone may not qualify as a reasonable answer.

When I was a child living in my parents home, I remember having the feeling of not wanting to be restrained. I wanted to do as I pleased. It seemed like a problem for my parents. They were not in agreement with what I wanted to do. I simply could not understand why I could not do as I pleased. As I got older I quickly realized it was they, and not I with the greater wisdom. The boundaries that were set before me were for my good after all. I learned that even though it is in our power to act as we want and do as we please, without boundaries in place, we oftentimes do not achieve the results expected. My parents had already traveled the road before me, therefore they were the wiser.

The word of God says in Colossians 1:15, Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation. Colossians 1:14 (NLT) says, our freedom was purchased and our sins forgiven. This is contrary to our original definition of freedom. Galatians 5:13 (NLT) says, for you have been called to live in freedom my brothers and sisters, but don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. We understand freedom when we understand the truth. John 8:32 (NLT) says, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. Being rescued from being a slave to sin, we are taught how to live in a new type of freedom.

In Christ is found the freedom to choose wisely. We can indeed do what we want to do but note that Christ has set us free and given us the power to live as He has created us to live. He also has given us boundaries to live in that freedom. When boundaries are in place we can then live out our freedom the way Christ intended.

Today we live in a nation where freedom to do and to choose has affected the foundations we have grown to know and love. It can seem at times as if everyone is on a different page with a different perspective. It is our duty as believers to proclaim the gospel message. 1 Timothy 2:6 (NLT) says, He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. Freely we have received this wonderful message, so freely may we give it. It is our duty and our privilege to proclaim this message of freedom to the saving of ourselves, our family, and our nation.

HeARTune Creations Poetry, LLC., is owned by Pamela Gauthier. Pamela is a writer and poet, who has been writing for over 20 years. She formally started her poetry as a business in October of 2013.

Her poetry has been at several boutiques and stores in the Baton Rouge area. Pamela is a native Baton Rougean, who has lived here all of her life. She is the wife of Ronnie Gauthier, and the mother of four: Mrs. Jamie Baham, Mrs. Jessica Chatman, Joshua and Joseph Gauthier. She is also the proud Grandmother of Five.

Pamela started her writing journey by writing poetry as a way to uplift the spirits of those in nursing homes and the like. This is still the goal today, to touch hearts and lives wherever encouragement is needed.

Faith Life, July 2018

Faith Life, The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

By Lisa Tramontana

Bill Smith was one of the founders of the Cowboys ministry for Christ

It’s hard to know where to start when describing Bill Smith. Father and husband, insurance professional, Sunday school teacher, LSU football player, prison minister, chili cook, Bible deliveryman, cowboy …

Well, we might as well start there …

Even now, in his early 80s, Smith is entirely comfortable in his well-worn cowboy hat and boots, moving cattle. At least twice a year, he joins friends in Lottie, Louisiana (about halfway between Baton Rouge and Opelousas) to move cattle from one pasture to another and provide them with medical care, including weighing them and administering shots.

It’s not such an unusual hobby when you consider that Smith grew up in north Louisiana, in an area known as Texarkana. He was surrounded by horses, cattle, and cowboys. He grew up with a strong Christian faith, thanks to his mother, who was half Cherokee. “She was a tiny woman, about 110 pounds,” Smith said, “and she made sure I went to church every Sunday. She knew everybody! Every morning, she’d get up early and make two big pots of coffee, and neighbors and friends would drop by all morning. They’d just sit and talk. Everyone was welcome.”

Smith says he recalls his father going to church exactly twice in his lifetime. He was a good man, Smith said, but quiet about his faith. “I was really lucky to have family and friends, preachers, even a high school coach who really cared about me and set a good example for me to live my life.”

In 1954, Smith arrived at LSU on a football scholarship and roomed with Jim Taylor, who went on to play for 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers. The two were not only roommates and teammates, but they also shared a deep Christian faith. For years afterward, Smith was involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and even served as president in the 1970s.

Like most young men, marriage, family and work eventually became his focus, but Smith was constantly looking for ways to practice his faith. His daughter, Stacy Bennett, says she couldn’t have asked for a better father or role model.

“My dad was always a very hands-on man who worked hard and set a positive example for his children,” she said. “He always made it clear that God and his family came first in his life. Many times over the years, I’d hear people tease him and say he missed his calling — that he should have been a minister.”

Apparently, that was on his to-do list as well, although he chose to minister to inmates at Angola. In fact, he was instrumental in founding Cowboys for Christ, an organization designed to share the gospel and reflect God’s love with prisoners who sought a relationship with Christ. That was more than 40 years ago, and it remains one of Smith’s biggest accomplishments. The ministry is nationwide and today, includes Cowboy Church, which is conducted at rodeos, trail rides and county fairs. Cowboys for Christ was also the inspiration for the popular Angola Prison Rodeo, which is held twice a year in the fall and in the spring.

Since retirement, Smith has joined his friend, retired Judge Darrell White, in a special project of the American Judicial Alliance. The group personally delivers replicas of the Harlan Bible to judges and courthouses across the country.* Armed with their commemorative Bibles, the two have made road trips to Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and beyond.

Judge White has been impressed by Smith’s energy and optimism. “Bill is Baton Rouge’s 24/7 goodwill ambassador and good Samaritan,” said Judge White. “He literally drives around town looking for trouble — with jumper cables, a full gas can, and a tow rope in his truck bed so he can assist stranded motorists. And he’s active in nursing home visitation, prison ministry and a host of other Christlike activities. He’s a living, breathing example of James 1:26-27.”

In spite of his busy schedule, Smith still finds time to work as a Sunday school teacher at Parkview Baptist Church, and he leads several Bible studies in the area, including at local nursing homes. It seems there is always someone to help.

“I love God,” Smith said. “It really is as simple as that. So it makes me happy to be the kind of person He wants me to be. It’s not hard! Smile at people, thank them, hold the door open, do someone a favor, offer your friendship. There are opportunities everywhere to be a good Christian.”

*In 1906 Justice John Marshall Harlan dedicated a Bible to the U.S. Supreme Court. Since then, every Supreme Court justice has signed the Bible’s flyleaf, a tradition now being replicated by the American Judicial Alliance.

“Bill is Baton Rouge’s 24/7 goodwill ambassador and good Samaritan. He literally drives around town looking for trouble — with jumper cables, a full gas can, and a tow rope in his truck bed so he can assist stranded motorists.”
Retired Judge Darrell White