Circle the Wagons

Rhonda Rhea Donuts
By Rhonda Rhea in Leading Hearts magazine

COFFEE AND DONUTS. THEY GO TOGETHER LIKE LOVE AND MARRIAGE.

Someday I’d like to write a poem and I’d like to start it with the line, “Coffee and donuts, sittin’ in a tree.” I’m not sure where to go from there.

I get that far and all I know is that I want to be in that tree. I confess I’ve had a few too many donuts. Sad to say, the bough on that tree would be bending pretty low about now.

That’s why I decided to go on yet another diet recently. Also, sad to say, I’ve already fallen off the wagon. I’m thinking of putting up a sign that says,

“Please keep body inside the wagon at all times, and please stay seated until the wagon comes to a complete and final stop.”

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Stop Stabbing, Start Sharpening

by Edie Melson in Leading Hearts magazine

IN SOCIAL MEDIA TERMS, IT’S A VOLATILE WORLD OUT THERE.

So often, what’s posted online seems more focused on stabbing and wounding than on encouraging and sharpening. Part of that is due to the medium.

Almost 100 percent of the time, online interaction lacks the warmth of a real-time, human connection. It’s an impersonal — anonymous — medium. While we may call those we connect with “friends,” many of them are just faceless names.

When we’re speaking online, it’s far too easy to be so focused on what we want to share that we forget the individual — hurting — hearts of those we’re communicating with.

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THE BIG QUESTION: Q: Did you ever have a crisis of faith?

by CYNTHIA L. SIMMONS| WWW.CLSIMMONS.COM in Leading Hearts Magazine

Q: Did you ever have a crisis of faith? How did you resolve it?

YES, AND I GREW UP IN A CHRISTIAN HOME. We attended church regularly, including special services several times a year with visiting ministers. At six, I realized my sin and confessed faith in Christ. When I entered ninth grade, my parents enrolled me in church school where I learned creationism.

However, during my teen years, misgivings clouded my mind. Guest pastors told the exact illustration as if it happened to them, and I labeled them dishonest. Plus, church leaders didn’t live up to their own standards.

Well-versed in Genesis, I longed to hear from evolutionists so I could compare the reasoning. While these thoughts churned, my cousin shared his own doubts.

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My Mentor Loved the Word Impossible

By LINDA EVANS SHEPHERD in Leading Hearts Magazine

I FOUND MY MENTOR IN A DARK COLOSSEUM when a young woman sat on a stool, inside a bright spotlight. In a voice that sounded like a child in song she said, “Hi, I’m Ann. I am one simple woman in the world. I have never shaken hands with the president. I cry. Sometimes I am insecure. I am only one, but I have come tonight to tell you I am one … and Jesus and I and love are out to change the world.”

In those days, I was a young college student, totally in love with Jesus, and I had never heard anyone articulate my heart the way Ann Kiemel (Anderson) did. She spoke of love and simple acts of kindness, and how she and our big God could change the world. I followed her example with my own acts of love and kindness.

I learned that everything Ann said about living life sold out to the Lord was true. It was true for me. Through Christ, nothing was impossible.

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Rekindling the Joy of Christmas Past

By Penelope Carlevato in Leading Hearts magazine

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.—Colossians 3:16

CAROLING ON CHRISTMAS EVE, TRIMMING THE TREE AND LISTENING TO CHRISTMAS SONGS ARE PART OF MY FAMILY’S TRADITIONS. We also make a gingerbread house, buy an Advent calendar, and celebrate Boxing Day! We read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, watch quintessential Christmas movies on television and hide Elf on the Shelf.

Like many families, these traditions are passed on from one generation to the next, and we occasionally add new ones. But the custom of singing the familiar carols is my favorite.

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Christmas 2019 issue: Rise Up! It’s Your Time to Shine

“Those who are wise will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousnesslike the stars forever and ever.” —–Daniel 12:3

You may think of a million people more equipped than you to accomplish the call God has on your life, but God is calling you to RISE UP because It is Your Time to Shine!


Christmas Cover Girls Bethany Jett and Michelle Medlock Adams (bethanyandmichelle.com) give us Platinum Faith perspective
.

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Got a Doubt? Get a Clue

by Rhonda Rhea in Leading Hearts magazine

I REMEMBER PLAYING THE “WE’VE GOT-FIVE-KIDS” VERSION OF THE GAME “CLUE.” Who did it? Never just a whole lot of doubt there: It was the toddler—in the family room—with a permanent marker.

We held our things and furniture and carpets and walls all pretty loosely in the days of raising kids, though it was still tough not to get just a little bent out of shape when yet another lamp would bite the dust. It still amazes me that no one knew who broke it or how it happened. Except that I do doubt.

And it wasn’t just the kids doing the demolition. One time a kitten clawed his way from floor to ceiling on my newly painted wall. He was halfway down again before I pulled him off. I’m pretty sure I saw his life flash before my eyes. Is that a thing that can happen? Because I might’ve seen it nine times.

On the spiritual side of life, I have room for even fewer doubts.

Believe it or not, doubt is much more destructive than five kids and a cat. It has a way of grabbing onto our joy and fruitfulness and sort of clawing it up from floor to ceiling.

The enemy wields doubt.

He’s been effectively using it as a weapon since the fall of man. As a matter of fact, it was his weapon of choice in the initiation of the fall in the first place.

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The Hand in Glove of Leadership

by Karen Porter in Leading Hearts magazine

FAITH IS A WORD THAT IS THROWN AROUND IN THE MEDIA AND ON SPORTS SHOWS AND IN LIFE. People say, “Yes, I did it because I had faith.” Or, “We won the game because we had faith.”

I always perk up when I hear someone say those words because I want them to finish the statement and say what they have faith in. But most of these proclaimers don’t say the object of their faith — they only say they have faith.

It’s one thing to have faith that your chair will hold you up when you sit in it or that your car will start when you turn the key. But we need deeper faith, and sometimes we need faith for the impossible.

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Uncertain Outcomes

From the Publisher Linda Evans Shepherd in Leading Hearts Magazine

I WANT TO BE A WOMAN OF FAITH. BUT IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTIES, I CANNOT ALWAYS FATHOM WHAT GOD IS DOING.

I pray for healing for one, and that one is healed. I pray for healing for another, and that one continues to suffer. How I wish God would let me in on the “why” of it all. But He doesn’t. In fact, it seems to me that God shields His thoughts in mystery and I painfully realize that His ways are not the way I would do things. I mean if I had more “control” of God, I think I would insist He send me important updates:

Thursday, pray for Cindy and Bob, as Bob will lose his job. But don’t worry, I’m giving Bob a better job.

Friday, little Jeffery will be bullied after school and it will be an outrage. But this incident will help to put him on the right path to fulfill My purpose for his life.

Next Monday, Janey will dive into the darkness of drug addiction. It will cost everything, but she’ll finally find me on her darkest night.

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Edie Melson: Why You Shouldn’t Get Caught Up in Your Social Media Numbers

by Edie Melson in Leading Hearts Magazine

One of the most significant issues we have is a tendency to approach online reach with a have-to-do, legalistic mindset. Truthfully, because successful social media is all about relationship building, it works best when we treat it as an exercise in faith.

When we get caught up in numbers and percentages, we lose our way. 

Instead, we must remember that those we interact with are not numbers; they’re people.

If we begin to judge our effectiveness, the worth of what we have to say, by numbers, we’ve lost our way.

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