STORIES

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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.

Cover Story, Online edition!

A Legacy of Fathers, by Pamela Gautier

A Legacy of Fathers

Unless the Lord builds the house the work of the builders is wasted. Psalms 127:1 (NLT)

Have you ever had a vision to build? It started off as a thought or dream.  1 Corinthians 3:11 (NLT) says there is no other foundation that we have to build upon than-Jesus Christ. When I began to build upon the right foundation that’s when it all made sense.

It was by faith that Abraham was called to leave home, and go to another land that God would give him as an inheritance, Hebrews 11:8 (NLT).
What do we do when the unexpected happens in the middle of building? Abraham obeyed God’s vision and direction for his life. Genesis 13:14,15 – I am giving you this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession.  Abraham had to live in this land by faith as a foreigner and a stranger. Abraham was building his hope on the promise of God for his future.

When we are in the process of building however, other difficulties can arise. While Abraham was waiting on God’s promises to be fulfilled, he found himself in a battle for his families lives. Lot, Abraham’s nephew and others had been kidnapped. Abraham was victorious in the fight. Genesis 14:20 says, Blessed be Abraham and God Most High, which has defeated your enemies for you. When God is building our house, He is in the midst of the challenges we face with our families. 

God promised Abraham in Genesis 15:1 that his reward would be great, but Abraham’s greatest desire was for a child. He wanted someone that would carry on his legacy after he’d passed on. In Genesis 15:5, the Lord told Abraham to count the stars if he could, that’s how many descendants he would have. 

Have you ever waited for something that seemed like it would never come?
We can get weary in the process. God will renew our strength when we wait on Him Isaiah 40:31.  If we understand that it is for His Glory, our faith will give us lasting endurance.  It doesn’t matter what comes. Matthew 7:25 says when the rains and winds came, the house did not fail because it was founded upon a rock.

Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was finally born. Abraham is known as the father of faith. He believed God even when the situation became impossible. It is interesting that Psalms 127:3-5 says don’t you see that children are God’s best gift, the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?  

Abraham allowed the Lord to build his house. When he surrendered to the Lord, he found the purpose for which he was created. God has given us all an eternal purpose. Today Abraham is still having children by faith, for all those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Go and build your legacy, the foundation has already been laid. Let the Lord build YOUR house……

 

     

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.

 

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Living “Life on Purpose” as a servant leader…..

Does Servant Leadership Fit into Business Leadership?

Have you ever wondered if servant leadership fits in the world of business leadership? For sure it fits into the church and ministry, but do the principles of work for:

A corporate executive at AT&T?
A president of an airline?
A business entrepreneur?
A general manager at Starbucks?
A doctor, dentist, lawyer?
A school principal? A schoolteacher?
A little league coach?

The Lord Jesus knows your work environment, whether it’s pastoral, business, athletic or school related. Remember, He spent the first thirty years of His life on earth in the family’s carpentry business. He knew what it was to work with His hands, earn a living, make decisions, deal with customers, and be exhausted at the end of a day.

Would you hire Jesus to be your leadership consultant? Does He have the expertise to deal with the leadership issues you face every day? Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges in their fine book Lead Like Jesus (pages 16&17), reflect on some leadership challenges Jesus encountered:

Working with or living and caring for imperfect people.
Taking time to train, develop, and delegate
Under constant scrutiny and testing of commitment and integrity
Facing fierce competition and conflicting demands from friends and foes
Tempted by instant gratification, recognition, misuse of power
Facing serious personnel issues, including turnover and betrayal
Communicating in a multicultural environment
The need to challenge the status quo and hierarchy to bring about change
The need to call attention to poor leadership at great personal risk
The need to put career or relationships on the line to serve a higher purpose
In your darkest hour, to be abandoned by your friends

When you hire a consultant, you want to hear from the best. So why not bring in the Lord Jesus, who is perfect in everything? He isn’t just smart. He’s brilliant. He’s the smartest, the wisest leader who ever lived. He always has the best information on everything and certainly on the things that matter most in human life. AND, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. . . For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15)

Fred Campbell lives in Ovilla, Texas, just south of Dallas. He pastored two independent Bible churches for 40 years. Currently, he is the president of Living Grace Ministries, a ministry committed to helping churches develop servant leaders, following the model of the Lord Jesus. Fred has traveled to 29 countries and 15 states to lead the workshop. He received his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and his D Min from Phoenix Seminary. Fred is married to Carolyn and has a married son and two grandchildren. His web site iswww.livinggraceministries,com and his email is fred@livingraceministries.com

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Shifting the Power of Distraction in Your Favor




Shifting The Power of Distraction In Your Favor
Donna Renay Patrick

Are you having a hard time staying focused?

You know exactly what you want; in your mind’s eye, you see it very clearly. You are even taking steps to BE what you SEE. You are operating in the now, but you envision the not yet. So all of your efforts are geared toward your future destination, but certain pieces of the journey have produced confusion, uncertainty, and frustration. You have a plan, a strategy, and you’ve committed your way to prayer. You believe God is ordering your steps, and has gifted you with a vision for business or ministry that is so big, it’s scary.


As focused as I am on walking in my calling, and staying prepared for victory (Proverbs 21:31), the enemy of my soul is just as focused on derailing me from my purpose. I have learned that distractions are powerful, in that they have a grave tendency to send you down the road of negativity and self-doubt. Distractions can disguise themselves as a very well-intentioned activity. 

There is no harm in watching TV to unwind, surfing social media in moderation, or even going out to have fun with friends. But if I’m not careful, those well-intentioned activities can turn into time wasters when it comes to pursuing my calling and purpose. What can you identify as distractions in your own life? Only you can answer that question. So how do you manage your distractions so that they work for you and not against you? I have a few suggestions:


1.     It is vitally important to be firmly rooted in your relationship with Jesus Christ because that is what will keep your purpose and calling at the forefront of your mind (Romans 12:2). Painful circumstances can shake you to the core, but stay rooted.


2.     Be careful of the “freeway” to success. On a natural freeway, there are delays, noise, and a LOT of traffic (distraction). You may reach your destination faster, but what did you learn on the way? Sometimes in my travels, whether by choice or divine providence, I will exit the freeway and take the back roads. Taking the back road is not always a bad thing because it is the road less-traveled. On the back roads, you have more alone time to pray, keep (or regain) your focus, de-clutter your thinking, and there is less noise.

  1.   Embrace the “back road” experience. Sometimes on the back roads of life, God will teach you some lessons you won’t necessarily learn on the freeway. Because of all the activity on the freeway, we risk missing valuable cues and wisdom that only come from God. God can’t get your attention on the freeway like He can on the back roads.
    There are lessons I have learned on the back roads: the grace to wait, God’s trustworthiness, and getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.
    A very wise woman I once knew said, “There’s never been a road that always went straight.” I think she was right.

Donna Renay Patrick is an award-winning author of two praise and worship-themed devotionals; At All Times, and It’s In Your Praise. She also co-authored two other devotionals; one to encourage women in the workplace, and the other a stewardship-themed devotional called,The Perfect Seven. She is a musician, worship leader, transformational speaker, and host of The Donna Patrick Show, an internet-based segment on The Fishbowl Radio Network.  With ministry-focused guests, her show emphasizes the priority of worship in the 21st century church, and how to tap into next-level personal and corporate worship.

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Would you still lead if…..?

WHY ARE YOU IN LEADERSHIP?


So, you’re a leader. Great! And with your leadership certain perks and benefits: maybe a nice salary (more than others on your staff), reserved parking space, nice office, credit card for expenses, iPhone and iPad, gasoline mileage, etc., all provided because you’re a leader. Imagine for a moment that you as a leader didn’t have this lifestyle, these benefits, and this recognition. Would you still be a leader?


What if no one had to think your way was always the best way? What if you didn’t always have to have the final word? What if you had to listen more than you spoke? What if being “in charge” meant that your job was to see others succeed, to put them and their interests first? What if those you led got ALL the credit? Would you still want to lead?


What if all you received was the pleasure of seeing others grow to greater character, achieve more than even they imagined, and you were the spark, the catalyst, the mentor throughout the process? They received the applause, the “well done,” the pat on the back, and respect from others. No one knew what you did. Would you still be motivated to lead? Could you handle NOT being in the spotlight?


Servant Leadership is hard work; it’s a tough deal. There is a downside. Perhaps it should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning: May cause headache, nausea, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, anxiety, indecision, loneliness, depression, and stress.


Here’s a question every servant leader should ask, “What am I in it for?” If we’re in it only for ourselves, we’ll do more getting than giving, expect more from others and less from ourselves, be more willing to be served than to serve. Servant leaders are into self-sacrifice, not self-promotion, like the Lord Jesus, who “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of the servant. . . and became obedient to death—-EVEN death on a cross!” (Philippians 2: 7, 8) He served so well it killed Him.

Fred Campbell lives in Ovilla, Texas, just south of Dallas. He pastored two independent Bible churches for 40 years. Currently, he is the president of Living Grace Ministries, a ministry committed to helping churches develop servant leaders, following the model of the Lord Jesus. Fred has traveled to 29 countries and 15 states to lead the workshop. He received his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and his D Min from Phoenix Seminary. Fred is married to Carolyn and has a married son and two grandchildren. His web site iswww.livinggraceministries,com and his email is fred@livingraceministries.com.

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Meal Time is Ministry Time

Meal Time is Ministry Time

By. Dr. Todd Shupe

“When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them” (Luke 24:30 NIV).

Many people have the false notion that ministry only occurs inside the walls of the local church. The truth is we go to worship on Sunday to be fed the Word so that we can be the hands and feet of Christ – to feed others. However, it should be noted that we need to feed ourselves throughout the week by reading Scripture, prayer and meditation, and small groups.

We are all ministers. We are all called into ministry through our baptism and profession of faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. We all have a ministry that we have been gifted with through the gifts and graces of the Spirit. The big question is how and where should we do our ministry? The Spirit will guide you in this and close, Christian friends will affirm you as appropriate.

Jesus is the perfect role model for ministry. Yes, he did ministry in the temple by teaching to His fellow Jews. However, the vast majority of His ministry was done outside of the temple. It is interesting to me how many times in Luke’s Gospel Jesus sits around a table for a meal. He regularly shared meals with others, whether they were Pharisees, sinners and tax collectors, or His disciples. Scripture provides us the ability to learn more of what He teaches about His heavenly Father on these occasions than from what He says in the synagogue.

Meal time is an ideal time not only for fellowship but also to drill down deeper to offer a word of hope, grace, peace, and love. Meals at the table are some of Jesus’ favorite settings for Him to make visible to others the good news of God’s mercy and acceptance of all people.

One of the primary roles of a husband as stated in the Bible is to lead his family to Christ. Meal time is a perfect opportunity for the husband to lead by giving thanks to God for the food and all the blessings that He has provided. Leadership simply means influence. Therefore, a biblically-based husband should influence his family. Husbands are not dictators, they should not demand, they should not rule over their wives. Instead, husbands should influence their wives and families in accordance with biblical teaching. They should exemplify, with their voice and their actions, attributes that bring glory to God and value and honor to their spouse and family.

Meal time is ministry time. Men, I encourage you to serve your family by leading them in prayer at this time. The fruit of a good biblically-based husband is a strong, confident, spiritually mature wife and family. 

Prayer: Dear God: We are blessed to have an abundance of food. May we always be grateful that you are the provider of this and all of our blessings including our families. Please help us to lead our families in such a way that brings honor and glory to you.

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is an international expert in wood science.  Todd worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Action Team Member of The Kingdom Group, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.

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A Mother’s Life Redeemed and Restored, Happy Mother’s Day to our Moms!

A Mother’s Life Redeemed

by Pamela Gauthier

Genesis 3:25 “and she shall be called the mother of all living”.

Have you ever bought a painting? You are drawn to it because it’s picture-perfect. Everything in the scene is in the right place. It’s a must-have. I always loved pictures in doctors’ offices of far off places, like France and other beautiful sceneries. While I waited to be called to the back, I would always see myself in them. I would paint my own life and how it should look. 

Eves’ life started out picture-perfect. She talked with God face-to-face, she had the perfect marriage and the perfect home. Her home was called Paradise. One day something happens that would change Eve’s happy home forever. A scandal arose concerning Eve, that turned out to be true.

Gen. 3:6, “so she took some of the fruit and ate it, then she gave some to her husband, who was with her and he ate it too. 

This action brought on by Eve, is a problem every woman will have to face until the end of time. 

Genesis 3:15, “Then he said to the woman, I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. You will desire to control your husband but he will rule over you.”

Sadly, Eve had to start all over and embrace a new way of living. Eve had brought this tragedy on herself by disobeying God. She and her husband together caused sin to enter the world. Even though Eve had brought this on herself, sometimes in life’s case the offense can come from another place causing just as much harm. Thousands upon thousands of mothers today face circumstances that seem hopeless or out of their control. 

Not only did Eve lose her home, but she also lost two of her children. Genesis 4:8, tells us that Eve lost one child through an act of violence and the other through homelessness. 

This is not a picture-perfect situation. This is a cross too heavy to bear. The weight of condemnation can cause one to blame his or herself and receiving blame for wrongs done can be unbearable. Romans 8:1, “says there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” What do we do when everything seems to be a total loss? We hope again! Jesus has the power to redeem every loss imaginable. 

The story is not over. As we look back on Eve’s life again in Genesis 4:28, “Eve gave birth to another son. She named him Seth, for she said God has granted me another son in place of Abel”. Seth’s name means “appointment”. Genesis 5  begins the genealogy of Adam’s descendants beginning with Seth, which places Adam and Eve in the purposes of God. 

Today we as mothers can look at our lives and rejoice because God has an “appointment” with each one of us that will place us in His perfect plan of redemption. When we surrender all to Him, we can dream of seeing a picture-perfect life through Jesus Christ. It’s called Redeemed!

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.

Feature Story, Online edition!

Integrity in Leadership, Part 3, Walking with God

ANOTHER MARK OF INTEGRITY: Walking with God, By Fred Campbell

A noted writer on leadership, John Maxwell, has written: “Your gifts and skills might get you to the top, but only your character will keep you there.” That’s why Daniel’s bio is intriguing. His character was flawless when he was at the top of the ladder and at the bottom of the lion’s den. He went in with integrity and came out with it.

We’ve discovered Daniel had a fabulous work ethic, both in his attitude and performance. He did his work well because he saw it well. The two go together. Also, Daniel had a blameless character. His peers did their best to dig up some dirt to discredit Daniel in the eyes of the king. Didn’t work. The guy was squeaky clean—morally upright, honest, above reproach, trustworthy. THAT’S INTEGRITY. CHARACTER RULES!

The peer group didn’t back off. Daniel 6: 5 reads that the only way the “dirt mob” might find any basis for charges against Daniel was in something to do with “the law of his God.” So, they appealed to the king’s ego and manipulated him to sign an irrevocable law, ordering the people to pray homage only to the king for 30 days. If they didn’t, they would be the evening meal for starving lions.

Daniel wasn’t deterred by the new law. It was his daily practice to pray three times in front of a window facing Jerusalem. Even a death threat couldn’t stop him. For Daniel, it was a no-brainer. Maybe he reasoned, “I’ll pray, why shouldn’t I? Always have, always will. If I die, I die. Gotta go out some way.” 

Here’s a third mark of Daniel’s integrity—DANIEL HAD AN UNBENDING WALK WITH GOD.

Honestly now, how’s your walk with the Lord? Do you have one? Are you consistent? What keeps you from a consistent walk with your Lord? What will you do to become more consistent?

Do you worship regularly or hit and miss? Beyond Sunday worship, do you allow time for the Lord to speak to you through His dynamic Word? Do you pray? Is it because you have to or because you cannot live without it?

The Lord’s heart beats for leaders to walk with Him. “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you.” (Isaiah 30:18). 

CONSISTENCY IN YOUR WALK WITH THE LORD JESUS BREEDS INTEGRITY IN YOUR LIFE.

Fred Campbell lives in Ovilla, Texas, just south of Dallas. He pastored two independent Bible churches for 40 years. Currently, he is the president of Living Grace Ministries, a ministry committed to helping churches develop servant leaders, following the model of the Lord Jesus. Fred has traveled to 29 countries and 15 states to lead the workshop. He received his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and his D Min from Phoenix Seminary. Fred is married to Carolyn and has a married son and two grandchildren. His web site iswww.livinggraceministries,com and his email is fred@livingraceministries.com.

Cover Story, Online edition!

A Hallelujah from Head to Toe, Is anything in the way of your hallelujah?

By Karen Milioto

Growing up, nothing filled me with more awe than hearing The Hallelujah Chorus sung on Easter Morning. Not a single natural landscape, museum nor any painting on any canvas I had ever seen, compared to the sound of that song filling the sanctuary of the little church where I was raised. The smell of lilies blanketing the room as echoes of each chord boomed off of the white walls and wood paned windows, beyond which the first subtle hints of spring were just beginning to emerge in our tiny New England town.

I can still remember standing there, completely wooed. 

In the days and weeks after Easter, each word would continue to sound off in my heart, and I would hum along softly to myself,

“Christ The Lord is risen today, Alleluia”.

But as I grew older, each ‘Alleluia’ was slowly replaced with a growing internal list of all that I believed I lacked. Each thing I thought I wasn’t enough of, and all the areas where I was certain I fell short. All combining and filling me with a sense of instability where I had once been overcome by awe.

Before long, that song became just another tune I used to hum. Easter became just another day on the calendar. And ‘Alleluia’ became just another word I had once believed I held meaning for me. Then I slowly began turning from it all in pursuit of things I thought I could rely on here and now. Stuff I was certain would bring me security in this body and this world.

When I finally stumbled my way back into church years later one thing was clear to me, the only thing truly tangible in this world is Easter. And my security moving forward relied solely on never forgetting that again. Remembering that ‘Christ The Lord has risen’ and setting my mind and my heart on making the resurrection of Jesus’ body the only lens through which I see myself and the world around me.

It’s a discipline, and discipline doesn’t come easily to me. I am kind of a quitter by nature and I’m super distractible. I back away when things get difficult and seek out what comes easily to me instead. I have a yoga mat, two Pilates DVD’s and several diet themed cook books to support this claim. 

Thankfully, I am not the one empowering the cultivation of this discipline or the corresponding shift in my person that has come as a result. Its Jesus. His body, broken for me. His blood poured out. That somehow enables me to stand here, completely wooed. Watching every ‘not’ and each ‘isn’t’ that I once believed defined me, and all things I thought I needed to do and be in this life in order to have a sense of value and worth. And every characteristic I was certain I lacked. Melt away into one resounding ‘Alleluia’ instead.

Leaving me with only one thing left to strive for here on earth, becoming as Augustine put it, “an Alleluia from head to toe”.

Karen is a former Bostonian who now resides on a small farm just north of Baton Rouge.

She loves scripture and her garden and often weaves both into her work as a writer. In 2017, Publisher’s Weekly described her debut memoir, Mustard Seeds and Water Lines as an ‘emotional and finely crafted’ account of her personal journey towards healing after The Great Flood of 2016, in their annual Book Life Prize review. And, as her story has made its way across the country, readers have consistently embraced her as an authentic voice with a message of hope in the wake of a disaster.

Karen is a wife, mother and weekly co-host of The Back Porch Book Club, a podcast designed to build community and conversation surrounding books about Spiritual Formation and the Bible.

You can find her on Instagram @karenmilioto or online at www.karenmilioto.com

Feature Story, Online edition!

5 Keys for Discovering God’s Purpose for your Life

5 Keys for Discovering God’s Purpose for Your Life
(Alton Jamison)

As humans, it’s natural to have doubts, especially when troubles and issues challenge the very meaning of our life.

By discovering God’s purpose for your life, you can:
Reconnect with joy and fulfillment;
Confidently believe in your choices; and
Enjoy inner peace.

The 5 keys below will help you discover – or rediscover – your God-given life purpose.

Trust:

 

No matter what we’re going through, it’s important to hold onto our trust and faith in God’s overall plan for our life. Even when we feel:

Disconnected; Stuck; or even Lost; we are always living in God’s purpose and under his care and guidance. Trust you can always rediscover and regain your sense of purpose.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1

Patience:

As mentioned in our last article, Three Ways to Trust God When Things are Falling Apart, http://batonrougechristianlifemagazine.com/2019/03/14/three-ways-to-trust-god-when-things-are-falling-apart/, patience allows us to be in the moment and: 

Slow down the negative and anxious chatter in our mind;
Reflect and open ourselves to what is in our best interests;
Absorb God’s guidance for living the purpose of our life; and
Effectively adjust our life path.

Remember, you are not expected to have all the answers. In God’s plan, there is a time for everything.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3.1

Peace:
Life today is often full of fear, feelings of hopelessness, overwhelming challenges and responsibilities. It’s no wonder we sometimes doubt whether we are on the right path according to our Heavenly Father. By regularly seeking out inner peace and quiet helps us reconnect to God’s wisdom and find a clear path forward.

Peace can be found in both prayer and the Bible. Reading the Word of God helps clear our hearts and minds and fill them love and peace, our natural spiritual state.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Faith:


Always trust that God will provide the best for us in his infinite wisdom. Just like a parent provides what a child needs at the right time, our Heavenly Father will do the same for us.

Did you know that God has already given you clues to your life purpose?
Keep reading to learn where to find these clues!

Your Unique Passions:

We ALL have our own unique passions and natural gifts and strengths! Have you ever wondered why?

It’s been said that God often works at the intersection of our gifts and our passions. All kinds of strengths are needed in this world; whether it’s caring for people or animals, creating art, running a business or teaching the next generation, we have all been “called” to share our innate passions!

Not sure where your passions lie? Move on to the next clue to find clarification.

People Who Support You:

You were never meant to take this journey – called life – on your own. Throughout our life, God brings the trusted people, advisers and friends around us to help find and fulfill our life purpose. Reach out and ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help; there is strength in numbers. The right people will support you and hold the faith when you can’t. They will believe in you when you’ve lost your faith and they will walk the path with you.

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
Proverbs 11:14

Time:
Right after practicing patience, allowing time to pass is probably one of the hardest things for mere mortals. Typically we seek out a “quick fix,” a solution that stops the immediate discomfort or pain, regardless of how well it may – or may not – serve us in the long-run.

Again, things come to us at the right time. Do your best to keep a hopeful mindset that anticipates the best is coming. You will then be able to see things more clearly and ideas, answers and heavenly wisdom will lead you down a path of exploration and discovery to living your life’s purpose.

“He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
Psalm 23:2-3

   

Alton and TaShawnda Jamison are the founders of The Empowerment Zone. This is a ministry designed to “empower people for everyday life”, through products, events, and messages. Alton and TaShawnda Jamison have been sharing the gospel together for over 20 years. They met in college on the campus of Old Dominion University and started teaching Bible Study together and the rest, they say, is history. God has gifted them in the areas of Families and Finances, and they have been blessed to be able to share their message around the country. They have recently completed their first book together: Purpose, Passion & Prosperity: 3 Keys To A Godly Marriage. Alton is the author of three additional books: Get Off The System: Moving From Lack To Abundance, No More Handcuffs: 5 Keys To Removing The Mental Handcuffs From Your Life, and Biblical Principles For Entrepreneurs. They have a genuine love for God and being transparent to others about their failures and successes. God has also blessed them with two beautiful children. For more information about Alton and TaShawnda or The Empowerment Zone, please visit: www.empowerlives.net

 

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ANOTHER MARK OF INTEGRITY: Walking with God (Part 2).

ANOTHER MARK OF INTEGRITY: Walking with God

By: Fred Campbell

A noted writer on leadership, John Maxwell, has written: “Your gifts and skills might get you to the top, but only your character will keep you there.” That’s why Daniel’s bio is intriguing. His character was flawless when he was at the top of the ladder and at the bottom of the lion’s den. He went in with integrity and came out with it.

We’ve discovered Daniel had a fabulous work ethic, both in his attitude and performance. He did his work well because he saw it well. The two go together. Also, Daniel had a blameless character. His peers did their best to dig up some dirt to discredit Daniel in the eyes of the king. Didn’t work. The guy was squeaky clean—morally upright, honest, above reproach, trustworthy. THAT’S INTEGRITY. CHARACTER RULES!

The peer group didn’t back off. Daniel 6: 5 reads that the only way the “dirt mob” might find any basis for charges against Daniel was in something to do with “the law of his God.” So, they appealed to the king’s ego and manipulated him to sign an irrevocable law, ordering the people to pray homage only to the king for 30 days. If they didn’t, they would be the evening meal for starving lions.

Daniel wasn’t deterred by the new law. It was his daily practice to pray three times in front of a window facing Jerusalem. Even a death threat couldn’t stop him. For Daniel, it was a no-brainer. Maybe he reasoned, “I’ll pray, why shouldn’t I? Always have, always will. If I die, I die. Gotta go out some way.” 

Here’s a third mark of Daniel’s integrity—DANIEL HAD AN UNBENDING WALK WITH GOD.

Honestly now, how’s your walk with the Lord? Do you have one? Are you consistent? What keeps you from a consistent walk with your Lord? What will you do to become more consistent?

Do you worship regularly or hit and miss? Beyond Sunday worship, do you allow time for the Lord to speak to you through His dynamic Word? Do you pray? Is it because you have to or because you cannot live without it?

The Lord’s heart beats for leaders to walk with Him. “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you.” (Isaiah 30:18). 

CONSISTENCY IN YOUR WALK WITH THE LORD JESUS BREEDS INTEGRITY IN YOUR LIFE.

Fred Campbell lives in Ovilla, Texas, just south of Dallas. He pastored two independent Bible churches for 40 years. Currently, he is the president of Living Grace Ministries, a ministry committed to helping churches develop servant leaders, following the model of the Lord Jesus. Fred has traveled to 29 countries and 15 states to lead the workshop. He received his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and his D Min from Phoenix Seminary. Fred is married to Carolyn and has a married son and two grandchildren. His web site iswww.livinggraceministries,com and his email is fred@livingraceministries.com.

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Leadership Character, Meeting the Demands of Reality

Leadership Character

John Wooden, coach of the UCLA Bruins, was a cut above other leaders. During his tenure, he coached the Bruins to 10 national basketball championships in 12 years, 7 in a row. He was relentless when it came to character development among his players. In his book They Call Me Coach, he wrote, “Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

It seems that personal character gets little attention and work when it comes to leadership. When was the last time in a leader’s training and education they took a course on:

• dealing with relentless temptation?
• losing well?
• handling a situation that derails the leader?
• what to do when everything has been lost?
• what to do when people don’t follow the leader?

Surely there’s more to leadership than the skills, abilities, and techniques that supposedly bring prosperity and success.

Mark Miller (The Heart of a Leader) likens leadership to an iceberg. “How much of the iceberg sits above the waterline? Only 10% is visible while 90% lies below the waterline—unseen, invisible. Let the part above represent leadership skills, the things leaders do; the part below represents leadership character, what a leader is. 90% of a leader’s effectiveness is determined by what’s below the waterline.

Leadership character ultimately drives what leaders do, why they do it, and how they handle a negative reality.Many leaders spend a lot of time and energy developing the 10% above the water.

They earn BBA/MBA degrees from fine universities.

Spend hours attending leadership seminars and courses.

Seek professional consultation.

Work hard, make major decisions, and lead countless meetings.

Communicate and listen.

They do whatever it takes to make them “successful,” “great,” “prosperous.”

However, how much time do they spend developing the 90% of their leadership character, who they really are as people? If little to no time is spent, are they not like a man who built a nice house—beautiful, big, comfortable, loaded with luxury. The house looked good, impressive, well-built, but it was foolishly constructed on beach sand. You’ve heard the story. When a hurricane hit, the house collapsed—like a valued, long-term client saying NO to a multimillion proposal you must have, your business going bankrupt, key people who made your company successful leaving, your marriage ending, your family falling apart, your ministry dwindling.

Then what?

“CHARACTER IS THE ABILITY TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF REALITY” (Henry Cloud, Integrity)

Fred Campbell lives in Ovilla, Texas, just south of Dallas. He pastored two independent Bible churches for 40 years. Currently, he is the president of Living Grace Ministries, a ministry committed to helping churches develop servant leaders, following the model of the Lord Jesus. Fred has traveled to 29 countries and 15 states to lead the workshop. He received his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and his D Min from Phoenix Seminary. Fred is married to Carolyn and has a married son and two grandchildren. His web site iswww.livinggraceministries,com and his email is fred@livingraceministries.com.

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Welcome Award Winning Author Donna Renay Patrick! Responding to Worship…..

You Have to Respond One Way or Another….

How will you respond? 

 

You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)

Worship is not just something we “do;” it’s who we are. The very nature and essence of God commands our worship.  I’ve been in worship ministry several years and one thing I’ve come to discover is that a lot of what we call “worship” is really not worship.  I’ve seen some great choirs, worked with some of the best musicians in the country, and experienced different personalities in those charged with worship leader responsibilities.  But the common denominator in all of it is great music – not true worship.  I’ve been in rehearsal for hours preparing for Sunday morning, but where was the worship?  I know that sounds hard to some, and may even spark debate, but just walk with me for a minute.

God wants more.  All the way back to early in the Old Testament God was calling for our complete devotion to Him (Ex. 20:5).  He demanded it from the nation of Israelites and he is demanding it of us now.  But somewhere we’ve missed it.  Too often worship is lost in the great music, the sound effects, the technology, the stage props, the best singers, and all the other things that we think are necessary for people to have a meaningful worship experience.  But what does all of THAT have to do with in spirit and in truth worship?  

It is true that music is a Biblically-ordained tool that helps us get into the throne room, but great music and worship are not the same thing.  When Jesus was giving the Samaritan woman a lesson in worship by that well, He said nothing about music, instruments, praise teams, song selection, etc. (John 4:23-24).  It isn’t just about Sunday morning; it’s about the rest of the week. It is about how we live.  Shouldn’t our lives reflect the worship of God?  Shouldn’t how we live from day to day be an offering to God?  Shouldn’t we strive every day to be like the One we say we worship?  Isaiah’s worship brought Him to repentance, then service (Isaiah 6:1-8). God is looking for worshipers.  He is looking for those who will worship Him under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and be real with Him (Psalm 51:6).

God is really not concerned that we have the proper lighting on stage, or what color the PowerPoint is when we’re leading the congregation in song.  He doesn’t even care how big the building is. God just wants us to come before His presence with sincere hearts, spirit to Spirit, and a mind willing to receive from Him.  When God gave Moses the specifications to construct the Tabernacle, His concern was not a piece of real estate; but that His presence dwell there.

I hope you will choose to embrace God’s presence with every fiber of your being.  Give Him your all in your public and private worship experience.  The call has gone out. How will you respond?





Donna Renay Patrick is an award-winning author of two praise and worship-themed devotionals; At All Times, and It’s In Your Praise. She also co-authored two other devotionals; one to encourage women in the workplace, and the other a stewardship-themed devotional called,The Perfect Seven. She is a musician, worship leader, transformational speaker, and host of The Donna Patrick Show, an internet-based segment on The Fishbowl Radio Network.  With ministry-focused guests, her show emphasizes the priority of worship in the 21st century church, and how to tap into next-level personal and corporate worship.

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Words to Live By, Words are important!

Words To Live By
By Pamela Gauthier

From the time we are born until our very last day on earth, we will hear and speak words. We first hear words from our parents at birth. These words shape us and for most of us we are taught by them. As we grow older we also hear words from teachers, coaches, peers, strangers and others. We read words and are changed by them. No doubt we live and breathe by words. Words can hurt us, abuse us, anger us and mislead us also.

I remember when I was on a job as a Test Monitor. I chose to read the Bible while waiting for the testers to finish.


I was dealing with an abusive marriage at this time. I was desperate to hear some words of hope, when I came upon a particular scripture, John 3:16 (KJV), “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believed in Him would not perish but would have eternal life.” I learn this scripture as a little girl at a Christian school, but it did not have the impact on me that it did on this particular day. The part that said whosoever believes in Him came to life for me, (Him being Jesus).

I was never the same from this moment on, reading this scripture changed my life forever. I knew my sins were forgiven and that I had been given another chance to start over. I was given power to live my life the way God intended for me to live it. Romans 1:12 (KJV),says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes.”

As I continued living in the Word and being directed by the Lord, I discovered that not only were my sins forgiven, but I had also been given power to forgive others. This brought such a freedom to my new life. I discovered that the abusive words, the emotional and physical abuse that once held me captive, no longer kept me in bondage to fear. Instead, faith arose in my heart to receive words of significance, purpose and healing which came from receiving this eternal life. “By His wounds we are healed,” 1 Peter 2:24 (NLT).

The word of God says, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” Matthew 4:4 (KJV).

Many years have passed in my Christian faith, and I have learned through the years that God’s word sustains us, trains us, leads us and guides us. It is water to our very soul. “Study this book of instruction continually, meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” Joshua 1:8 (NLT).
These are, “words to live by”!

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.