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"Healing relationships for good"

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A Spiritual Perspective for Racial Reconciliation

Posted by [email protected] on 23 October, 2020 at 14:40 Comments comments (625)

                                                                  A Spiritual Perspective for Racial Reconciliation

                                                                                  By Pastor Emanuel Williams


The Need for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in America

Beginning in May with the death of George Floyd every time you and I turn on our TVs or read the AJC, there is a report of an event that has sparked racial unrest and the need for racial reconciliation is mentioned. So, let’s examine this issue:

• During this year, there has been racial unrest across the United States as a result of incidents in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Kenosha, Louisville. In light of these incidents, politicians, business leaders, and clergy are talking about the need for healing and reconciliation between blacks and whites.

• Businesses and community groups are calling for the formation of councils and committees to monitor race relations within the community and for steps to bring about racial reconciliation.

• However, the United States is not the only nation to experience racial violence and the potential for civil unrest.

A. I would like to cite the historic example of a recent event in which the role religion played a major role in achieving racial reconciliation.

(1) During the 90’s the nation of South Africa was facing a crisis. A majority black government was preparing to come into power, and the world held its breath as to what would be the outcome. Could there be a peaceful transition from white to black political power after decades of racial unrest and injustice? But just as God raised up Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt, God raised up a man to resolve the acute crisis and to bring reconciliation.

(2) Archbishop Desmond Tutu oversaw South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and was able to instill a willingness among whites and blacks to forgive. In one instance, a white officer confessed his role in a massacre and asked for forgiveness. In the audience were people who were wounded in the incident and people who had lost loved ones. But when the officer asked for forgiveness they did not rush to strangle or assault him but applauded. Such examples of forgiveness led to widespread reconciliation.

(3) My point is that through Bishop Tutu’s moral and religious leadership, bloodshed and revenge were avoided and a road to a peaceful transition of the government was accomplished through racial reconciliation.

(4) During this period there arose a phenomenon - The Spirit of “ubuntu”

(a) It was another example of a religious practice that helped to prompt and promote racial reconciliation in South Africa. The word “ubuntu” was used to describe someone who was generous, hospitable and compassionate and who shared whatever he/she had.

B. In his memoirs, Bishop Tutu says that at the very core of ubuntu is a true understanding of brotherhood and fellowship as expressed in the New Testament Greek word Koinonia.

Forgiveness versus reconciliation

Forgiveness Reconciliation

• Is unilateral Is bilateral

• Requires only one person Is reciprocal

• Decision to release the offender Effort to rejoin the offender

• Requires change in thinking about Involves a change in behavior

The offender by the offender

• Is a free gift to the one who has Restored relationship based on

Broken trust restored trust

• Extended even if it is never earned Offered to the offender because

It has been earned.

• Unconditional, regardless of Conditional based on repentance


While we know that FORGIVENESS has its basis in Christianity and the teachings of Jesus, what about RECONCILIATION? What is the spiritual basis for reconciliation?

1. Reconciliation and Religion in America “Bound Together: Racial Reconciliation Begins in the Church – Jerram Barrs: Covenant Theological Seminary

A. The biblical framework for forgiveness and reconciliation

Historically, the failure of the Christian Church to speak out for and live out reconciliation between races may tempt people to believe that there are only a few verses in the Word of God which address this issue. But when we turn to Scripture, we find that reconciliation is a core value of our faith. Let me share with you four examples of the relationship between faith and reconciliation.

(1) Common Humanity (Acts 17:26-28) Paul on Mars Hill

“From one man God made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” (Acts 17:26-28) We have a common origin and we all live and move and have our being in God.

(2) Common Shame (Genesis 5:3 and Romans 3:22)

Secondly, we must recognize our common shame. Not only do we share the same glory, we bear the same shame. We all inherit the sinful nature of our parents, from Adam and Eve right down to the present day. Adam and Eve, we are told in Genesis 5:3, begot a child in their own image, in their own likeness. We share the image and likeness of God, but we also share the image and likeness of sinful humanity. There is a built-in connectedness among the people of this world.

(3) New Humanity in Christ – Jesus went to all people

Whether people were despised because of race, gender, culture, or sin, Jesus went to them. Jesus went into their homes, He ate with them, and they received Him gladly. The Son of God showed us how we are to be. Jesus taught His disciples that after His death He would draw to Himself men and women from every nation on the face of this earth. He declared that His passion is that there would be unity among his followers. John’s vision in Revelation

(4) The Longing of Christ – Highly Priestly Prayer John 17

John 17 records the night of Jesus’ death. What is the passion, the motivation, the longing that fills Jesus’ heart as He prepares Himself to go to crucifixion? John 17:20 records His prayer, “My prayer is not for them [the disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” Jesus’ passionate prayer before He dies, is that we, His people—all of us—will experience the kind of unity that the members of the Trinity experience.

The longing of Jesus Christ is that we (black, white, yellow and brown; male and female; young and old; from every people, tribe, tongue and nation) may be one. Jesus prayed saying, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Christ’s desire is not Asian-Americans here and Latinos there, Afro-Americans here and Anglo-Americans somewhere else, but rather that we may be brought to complete unit

(5) What stands in the way of unity?

(a) What stands in the way of the realization of unity in the body of Christ? What stands in the way of reconciliation?

• Our pride of heritage,

• our security in our cultural identity,

• our comfort in our color, the result is idolatry

(b) When this pride, this security, this comfort causes us to turn our back on Jesus’ prayer on the night that He died, then all we have is idolatry. It is idolatry that causes us to think we know better than Him how the church should be built before the world and we must repent of this idolatry.

© We need to be prepared to say with the apostle Paul, “I am white, I am English, I am Reformed, I am Presbyterian”—or whatever it may be for you—and say, “I consider this manure.” Those are Paul’s words. It is not just rubbish; I consider this dung in comparison to knowing

(6) How do we move forward from here?

Paul has told us the answer is humility. “Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2). We must humble ourselves before God’s Word and before one another. We must see the idolatrous nature of our hearts toward our cultural comfort and identity and cry out to God to convict us.

If you have not been awakened to the need for reconciliation in the body of Christ then you need to cry out to God that He will harrow your heart. Ask the Lord to convict you of what His Word teaches not in an obscure verse or two here and there, but what is taught from the beginning to the end of His Word about the unity of the human race and the unity of people in Jesus Christ. We need to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand and under His Word. And then we need to make confession to God and to one another because the New Testament encourages us to confess our sins to one another that we might be healed. And we need to be healed.

2. Steps Toward Reconciliation

A. Personal examples of racial reconciliation: military and hospital settings

B. Video: Racism, Social Justice, and he Christian Response

3. Closing

A. Let us humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand and under His Word.

B. Then let us make confession to God and to one another because the New Testament encourages us to confess our sins to one another that we might be healed.

C. And let us be healed through the power of God’s Holy Spirit

D. Pray.




National Preparedness Month

Posted by [email protected] on 5 September, 2020 at 15:25 Comments comments (5)

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), and according to Wikipedia, it was established in 2004 and has since been observed each September in the United States. NPM is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. Recognizing NPM is an opportunity to take a good look at how we are prepared for emergencies in our homes, businesses, schools and communities, and then decide how to be prepared for sudden disasters.

At this time, NPM is more relevant than ever. At the personal level, it’s imperative that we know how to protect ourselves and family during these pandemics. Our emergency supply kits should include ample quantities of masks, sanitizer and disinfectant cleaner. Our children need to know and understand the importance of this virus, at least as much as they can understand. They need to be observant and careful about their surroundings without being fearful. When we do the necessary tasks to stay safe, we are not denoting the presence of God in our lives. He tells us in His word to be wise, use wisdom. “…wisdom is found in those who take advice.” (Prov. 13:10) Taking precautions can help to keep you or your family safe is using wisdom. suggests 4 essentials that will enable you to be prepared for a disaster, a 4-step process that will take the month of September to complete. Catch up if you are just reading this:

Week 1 – September 1-5: Make A Plan

Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. Make sure to update your plan based on the Centers for Disease Control recommendations due to the coronavirus, to which I add, stay informed.


Week 2 – September 6-12: Build A Kit

Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don’t forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly. Update your kits and supplies based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control. FEMA suggests a more extensive emergency kit which is listed below.


Week 3 – September 13-19: Prepare For Disasters

Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family. Know the risk of disasters in your area and check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards and act fast if you receive a local warning or alert.



Week 4 – September 20-26: Teach Youth About Preparedness

Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved.

FEMA Emergency Supply Kit

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

• Water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)

• Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)

• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert

• Flashlight

• First aid kit

• Extra batteries

• Whistle (to signal for help)

• Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)

• Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)

• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)

• Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)

• Manual can opener (for food)

• Local maps

• Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

• Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF)

I hope you will take advantage of this information by taking the steps necessary to ensure your family’s safety to the best of your ability and leave the rest in the hands of the Lord.

Prov. 20:18 “Make plans by seeking advice…”


Unanswered Prayers: COVID Or Other Prayer Requests

Posted by [email protected] on 28 August, 2020 at 18:55 Comments comments (30)

                                                                Unanswered Prayers

Guest Writer: Tony Hall, Clarkston,


Have you been praying about a situation in your life and found yourself waiting for a breakthrough? Praying for the end of  the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you wondering why the answer has not come yet? Do you feel as though victory is passing you by?


Sometimes when we pray long and hard about a situation in our life without receiving any answers, we just learn to live with it. We go on about our business, wondering if or when God will send the answer. But God does hear those prayers, and He’s working out the answers even though we may not know all the details. Our situation can change suddenly—quickly without warning!


But one thing is certain: Before God moves suddenly, we will wait. Waiting for answers is a fact of life—nobody gets out of it. So, the question is not if we'll wait, but rather how we’ll wait. And I believe how we wait will determine how long we wait.

Two Ways to Wait

All of us will wait passively, or we'll wait expectantly. A passive person hopes something good will happen and is willing to sit around waiting to see if it does. After a short time, he gives up, saying, "That’s it! I've waited and waited and nothing's happened." The passive person has a lot of wishbone but not much backbone!


The expectant person, on the other hand, is hopeful, believing the answer is just around the corner, due to arrive any minute. His belief is not a passive thing. His heart is full of hope, expecting his problem to be solved at any moment. He wakes up every morning expecting to find his answer. He may wait and wait, but suddenly what he’s been waiting for happens.

Expect It to Happen


We know the word wait means "to expect" or "to look for." But remember, it also means "to serve" — just like a waiter waits on your table at a restaurant. Our act of waiting isn’t supposed to be spent sitting around passively hoping that something will happen sometime soon.

Be Eager with Faith

Once we've asked God to answer a question or solve a problem, we need to be eagerly awaiting His answer. We need to be serving actively, aggressively, and expectantly. When our hearts are eager to hear from God, He loves to rush in suddenly with His solution. In many cases this waiting period actually serves as a time of preparation for the answer. If God answered right away, many of us would be ill-prepared to handle His solution.

Then All of a Sudden...

In the Bible, Paul and Silas knew about waiting, and they waited well. Acts 16 tells the story of how they were attacked by a crowd, beaten, and thrown in jail. Verse 24 says the jailer put them into the inner prison (the dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks. He was making sure they couldn't escape. But about midnight, God showed up. Now it would have been nice if He'd come a little earlier, but Paul and Silas didn’t seem to mind—they just decided to start singing and began to worship the Lord. As you wait expect and worship.



What have you been praying about? Share your stories with us.

Praying diligently.

In his service.

Dr. Meg

Workout Etiquette During the COVID Pandemic

Posted by [email protected] on 28 July, 2020 at 0:20 Comments comments (1)



Workout Etiquette During the COVID Pandemic

Guest Writer: Ms. Donna Riley

Since the health clubs and gyms have received the green light to reopen in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic there are some new rules that have been put into place. Many clubs have spaced out there machines in order to adapt to the social distance rules, and depending on the club there may be other requirements you will have to adopt and you may want to contact them before you go, and as always be sure to pack your manners when you pack your gym bag. The following workout tips, when followed, will ensure a pleasant workout experience every time.


A dose of good manners helps any workout!


Be considerate of the equipment

  •  It is important to share the equipment especially if the gym is crowded. Be sure to use it expeditiously, but carefully, and move on. Don't forget to wipe down the equipment. Avoid using towels to hold your space on equipment and don't hog equipment with prolonged rest periods. Be willing to vary your routine if necessary and never jump in front of someone just because that machine is next in your pre-planned routine. Wait or go to another machine until the other is free. 
  • Since we must share the equipment, we must take care of it and sanitize it. Don't slam the weights and be sure to re-rack or replace free weights . Also, bring a towel to wipe machines and weights after using them. No one else should be left to wipe away your perspiration.


Be considerate of others

  •  Many people go to health clubs to socialize and to meet new friends. This is perfectly all right as long as you are not tying up equipment while taking your conversation break. Be conscious not to sit on machines or hold onto weights you're not using. Others may be waiting to use them.
  •  Never count reps out loud. You may break the concentration of others around you. If you carry a towel, water bottle, workout log, chart or gym bag with you, keep them out of the way while working out.
  •  Never jump into an exercise class that is already underway. You may jump into someone else's spot or you may risk injury by not warming up properly. In addition you may have also missed specific instructions.
  •  When working with a personal trainer, be sure to respect the time allotted for you. If you are running late, be sure to give a courtesy call. If you are going to miss your scheduled session, kindly give a minimum of 24 hours notice.


To the health club /gym staff

  •  When recruiting perspective members, be upfront! Do not make an inaccurate statements about the services you offer if they don't exist. Also, be genuinely courteous and helpful to your members. Observe to make sure they are exercising correctly to avoid injuries, and following the social distance rules.
  • Be sure to service your equipment regularly to prevent major breakdowns and prolonged out of order problems.
  •  If everyone works together unselfishly, staff, trainers and members a like will ensure a fabulous workout experience. Have fun, stay fit, stay safe and may all your workouts be pleasurable!

Please share with us more tips for workout etiquette during the pandemic. Stay safe!


Celebrating Men's Health, Diversity, and Fatherhood

Posted by [email protected] on 25 June, 2020 at 8:45 Comments comments (58)

June is the middle of the year and the month when we celebrate men;s health, diversity, Juneteenth, and Father's Day. June is a month that we will never forget as it has been filled with riots, weather storms, and increasing rates of COVID-19. It seems that there is never a dull moment and that we have been all riding a wild bull in a world of chaos this month. But what about the health of our men? Or the issue of diversity, race, and fatherhood? I am glad you asked. You see, I honestly believe that keeping our men or fathers healthy while celebrating their diversity is an excellent approach to improving health and wellness in American men. Currently, there are an estimated 168 million men in the United States. As you imagine, not all of these men are fathers, but the Census Bureau indicated that in 2014, there were about 72 million fathers in America. Unfortunately, many American children are been raised in single-parent homes. Currently, men make up 17 percent of single parents, and in 2016, two million single fathers were living with their children under age 18; nine percent were raising three or more children younger than age 18; about 40 percent were divorced, 38 percent were never married, 16 percent were separated, and six percent were widowed. Another interesting fact is that about 46 percent of these men had an annual family income of $50,000 or more. So, many men and their children are living alone, therefore, one could just imagine the impact these living conditions could have on the health of these dads. As we celebrate dads and men this month, what can we do to help the men who are trying to be good dads, those who have abdicated their positions as dads, and the men who are aspiring to become fathers to be better men and dads? I am glad you asked. First, I think it starts with improving the personal physical, mental, spiritual, social, and emotional health of all of our men. Good men and dads are vital to the progress of our communities and for our children to thrive. So, we want them around as long as possible. So, men must focus on keeping themselves healthy while they work to provide for their families. This starts by ensuring that they receiving all recommended preventive care services, manage any preexisting health conditions, eating nutritious smoke, not smoke or quit if they do, and remaining physically active for at least 150 minutes per week. I know that these recommendations go against the image of the "super dad" who is never ill or cries, but even "super dads" can get sick or hurt. So, remember that a stitch in time will save nine. So, get to know your primary care doctor and make your health a priority. Secondly, men must realize that the image of the best dad is in Christ our Lord. Christ loves without judging, is always supportive, protects, provides, and persevere, despite all of our faults and shortcomings. This is the best model for any earthly father to emulate. However, dads, if you are not doing these things, don't stay in your guilt and shame, but ask for God's help to get back on the right path. After all, even your toughest son needs a dad to support him from time to time. That son is also watching you and will treat his wife the way you treated his mom. Of course, your daughters and wives desperately need you as well. So, ask for God's help and be present for your wife and children. Third, to keep our men and dads healthy there is a need for them to build strong relationships with other men, mentors, and accountability partners. After all, there should be someone with whom they can cry, laugh at themselves, pray with, and fall back on as a place for emotional and spiritual support. No man is indeed an island. So, this month, can I suggest to all men that they consider widening their circle of friends and work to find someone who can support you in these and other ways? Fourthly, strong men invest in their wives and children. Believe me, when you are sick, work won't come to bath you, wipe your tears, but those kids and your wife or partner will. So, keep your family as your priority. As a wise woman once said "God first, family second, and career third." So, don't make the mistake of changing these priorities around and remember your work is not who you are, but your family is your crown and glory. Put the home in its rightful place and watch how God will reward you for doing so. Lastly, wise dads and fathers plan for the future. They consider what will happen when they are no longer on this earth. Do they plan for the best outcome and for what will happen to their wife and children after they are deceased? The bible reminds us that a good man leaves a legacy for his children's children. Since we will all die, think about the legacy you would like to leave, and start working towards that goal. Begin with the end in mind! The COVID -19 pandemic have reminded us how short life can be, and so as we celebrate our diversity, let us remind our sons, brothers, fathers, grandfathers, relatives, and friend to make their health a priority so that they can have a long and healthy life. Men, please share with us how you prioritize your health and work to remain healthy during this time. Women, let me know how you are encouraging the men in your life to take care of their health. Looking forward to your comments. Stay safe! Dr. Meg

Staying safe during the Corona Virus Pandemic

Posted by [email protected] on 19 May, 2020 at 0:55 Comments comments (32)

Health and Wellness

By: Magon Saunders

It is May 2020, and the world is in the grips of the Coronavirus pandemic. In Georgia, my office just completed the 9th week of 100 % telework. In the past nine weeks, I have driven less than 10 miles and have only left the house for fresh fruits and vegetables and for a funeral. It is a strange time!

When I navigate the very quiet world outside of my home, I ensure that I wear a mask, sanitize doors, cart handles, my hands and my purses, before I return to my car and home. I also follow all social distancing rules, although these can be hard to follow in the grocery stores and or farmers markets. On my side of the world, the big concern has been the growing number of family members and friends affected by COVID-19. While several in the United States and England have recovered from their infection, unfortunately, we have one family member so far that have died from the virus. At the time of writing, the United States was approaching almost 90,000 cases of COVID-19. Death seems all around us and many are scared to leave their homes, go to the store, participate in worship, etc. It is indeed a scary time, but what do we do as believers do? How do we navigate this current world? What will our lives look like once this virus releases its grip on our world?

No one really knows the answer to these and other pressing questions since most of us have never experienced anything like this in our lifetime. For instance, no one seems to know whether the virus will truly go away? Whether it will have a second or third wave? How many will die in the first wave, and how far the droplets from a sneeze or cough can spread in the air. Is it six-feet or 23? Does it make sense to wear a mask in public? Will we ever have a time when we will see toilet paper back on the shelves? Will we always have a shortage of meats and poultry? When will things get back to normal? I will venture to say, only God truly knows the answers to these questions that fill our mind.

Most importantly, the economy is upside down, and 34 million Americans that are unemployed are wondering when and where they will find work, and how they will survive post pandemic? Many reported that the “stimulus check”, if they received one, was gone before it came. Many have applied for unemployment, yet two months later they are still waiting for that mysterious unemployment check. Many are broke, and the people who rely on them for support are terrified. Unfortunately with funds tight, many unemployed Americans are joining the lines at Food Pantries, and TV stations are reporting very long lines at Food banks where over 70% of clients have never requested this service. According to Feeding America, in Georgia, 1 in 7 adults and 1 in 5 children struggle with hunger. The COVID-19 pandemic has just increased this need.

So, this is a frightening, yet a very reflective time. Frightening as we are all fearful about contracting the virus, losing our jobs, or the impact of the pandemic on our finances. Yet, this is a reflective time, since the world has come to a major pause and many are forced to stay home and to enjoy their own company or spend time with their family. Mental health and physical health needs are heightened, and as a community, we have all had a chance to reflect on our lives. Questions such as these have cross my mind often: Are we where we want to be? What needs to be changed to get us to our personal goals? As many die around us, we have all reflected on whether we too are ready to die? Speaking of death, even death has been impacted by the virus as many funeral and other burial rites are ignored or limited with the social distancing and the limitations added to the number of people who can congregate.

So, as we approach Memorial Day and the beginning of the summer, what are we to do? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that we do the following to continue to stay safe. These are as follows:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water is not available, we should use sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to cover all of our hands, rubbing them together until they are dry.
  • Keep your hands out of your face, mouth and eyes.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when you go out in public.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as kitchen counters, door knobs, etc.
  • Avoid close contact even within your home, especially if a person is sick.


These and similar tips can help us survive this pandemic. For now, let us pray, let us unite to fight this virus, let’s work together to save lives, let’s keep practicing social distancing, let’s continue to be grateful for what we have, and let’s share our stories. What is your pandemic positive? Please write to us and share this with others as we work to get back to some semblance of normalcy in our lives.


April: Time to Focus on our Health and Wellness

Posted by [email protected] on 5 April, 2020 at 15:00 Comments comments (27)

Health and Wellness

Author: Pamela Barnes


Greetings! April is National Minority Health Month and the Office of Minority Health is encouraging everyone to “stay active and support physical, mental and emotional wellness.” I recognize that this can be somewhat difficult as we try to practice social distancing and staying home as much as possible, although situations sometimes dictate our having to go out for necessities, etc. However, as we all strive to get through this challenging time, let’s not forget our struggles with health and wellness. This is not a time to neglect our minds and bodies. You can take part in daily activities in your own homes that will help you to remain active and relieve the anxiety of not being able to go out and participate in your previous activities. The Office of Minority Health has asocial media campaign #ActiveandHealthy that promotes staying active and healthy in and around the house. For those of us who aren’t connected to social media there’s always the tried and true physical exercises that do work: sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, stretches, toe touchers knee bends… (trying to remember gym class). Right now, it’s easy to get stuck in a pattern of eating and sleeping! Oh, and watching TV. For you, social media gurus join #ActiveandHealthy and take part in encouraging each other. Be creative, share your thoughts and ideas. It’s not only about exercise. Check out the following suggested themes: Wellness Mondays, Trivia Tuesdays, Work Out Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays, Family Fridays, Spotlight Saturdays and Empowerment Sunday! So join and share your own stories about working out, eating right, and finding ways to keep the peace, joy, and wellness in your life.

Now, let’s talk about keeping those elements of peace and joy in our lives. When we consider the words of Jesus, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:1-4) To be a Christian is to be connected to Jesus, the Vine. We are the branches. Our peace, security, and joy are in Him. Let’s not be swayed by the winds of adversity that we are experiencing. Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Don’t give in to the fear. Stay in the word of God and remember “this too shall pass.

Now, please share your tips and tricks for staying active and healthy during this time with us.

Yours in Christ,

Pamela Barnes



The Persecuted Church:Forgiving the Persecutors

Posted by [email protected] on 8 March, 2020 at 20:40 Comments comments (27)

Forgiving the Persecutors

Guest Writer: Floyd Sullivan

The persecution of Christians that is so prevalent in many countries today is not a new circumstance for Christians. Our faith would be in vain and our salvation null and void if Jesus didn't shed His blood on calvary's cross for our sins. And Jesus said,"...A servant is no greater than his master.' If they persecute me, they will persecute you also...' The first Christian martyr was Stephen, he was accused of blasphemy and then stoned to death. In an issue of Voice of The Martyrs magazine, the story is told of Khin Maung a Myanmar army officer who made a mistake that led to his imprisonment and a life-changing encounter with six pastors who met in prison. Before he lost his firearm, which sent him to prison he had a reputation for brutality towards Christian. He took every opportunity to publicly mock and embarrass Christians. When Christians prayed, he interrupted them and beat them when they read their bibles. When they ate, he knocks their meals off the table and made them clean up the mess. "I kicked them with my military boots and whipped them with a rope," he said I kick [one soldier�??s] teeth in." And Khin treated Christians worse, particularly the ethnic Burmese who had left Buddhism to follow Christ. He would force pastors to get drunk to defame them and destroy their reputation. But after Khin fell afoul of his military superiors and had to face beatings and torture. He was subsequently sent to prison where he met these six pastors who shared the gospel with him and always responded to his attacks with patience and love. One day Khin made a promise to them. "I told them, 'If Jesus is a true savior, if he can save me from my suffering, then I will serve him until the day I die." They continue to pray for him and spend time teaching him about the bible. Khin was eventually freed when his friend who took his firearm testified to doing so. The charges against him for selling the firearm were dismissed and Khin cried out "Hallelujah!" and gave his life to Christ. Khin refused to be reinstated and promoted in the army. He instead chose to commit his life to serve Jesus Christ. He went straight to a church and pastors helped him attend a bible school for two years. And when he began doing the work of the ministry he came under persecution, but he had already decided to be a soldier for Jesus Christ. Khin was ready in mind and body for whatever came his way. However, after Khin experience persecution he felt the need to seek forgiveness from those he had persecuted. They gave him the name Paul. But it is significant to note that it was those Christians he had met in prison who had forgiven him before he asked for forgiveness, it was those Christians who showed patience and love to him in his unregenerate state that set his redemption in motion. One of the highest calling for us as Christians are to forgive those who hate us. We forgive for our health and we forgive because Jesus Christ first forgave us. Please join me as we pray for the persecuted church! How if any have you been persecuted for your faith? Please share your stories with us. Standing Strong for Christ!

Guarding Your Heart Spiritually and Physically this American Heart Month

Posted by [email protected] on 16 February, 2020 at 19:00 Comments comments (2)

Guarding Your Heart Spiritually and Physically this American Heart Month

It is February 2020, and all across America, we are celebrating American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and so this month is dedicated to building awareness and encouraging Americans to take action to improve their heart health. So, in a recent meeting, I asked participants what they were planning to do to keep their hearts healthy in 2020. I heard lots of plans to get to the gym, buy and use a Fitbit, eat more fruits and vegetables, start yoga, eat less sodium., reduce stress, laugh more, etc. But, my ears perked up when one attendee said she wanted to work harder to guard her heart. Wow, this came almost out of the left-field, but it resonated with me. So, I later spend time considering how if any I was guarding my heart. Also, since guarding the heart is a biblical recommendation, I wondered how many Americans had experienced heart disease or related conditions, because they had refused to guard their hearts. Have you ever wondered this yourself? I am sure you have! If you are still with me, you might be wondering how one guards one’s heart.

I am glad you asked. In Proverbs 4:23, if read and understood in the context it is written, biblical scholars believe that this instruction is to not just guard our hearts, but to guard the godly instructions within our hearts. Not only that, but we are told that God’s instruction “is your life” and “they are life to those who find them”. A heart full of sin and foolishness does not have life flowing from it. Only when our hearts are full of his truth and love will life flow from our hearts. Therefore, to guard our hearts according to the Bible, we must guard the truths and biblical instructions God has placed within our hearts through the Holy Spirit illuminating the Scriptures. In simple terms, you do this by protecting your heart from sin at all costs.

The CDC (2018) recommended that to improve heart health, Americans should do the following: 1) stop smoking or don’t smoke; 2) manage conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc.; 3) make heart-healthy eating changes. By eating food low in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium. Filling half of one’s plate with vegetables and fruits and choosing lower-sodium options; and 4) stay active! Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. You can even break up the 30 minutes into 10-minute blocks.

These are great ways to physically guard one’s heart and all evidence-based behaviors

that I work to follow each day. But, guarding one heart’s spiritually in practical terms is done by guarding the godly deposits that are there. Of course, we can see what is in a person’s heart by looking at the fruits of the spirit that is evident in their life. Yes, being patient, kind, long-suffering, and forgiving is more difficult, but this will go a long way in improving overall health and longevity, and shows more than anything else that we are guarding our hearts.

So, this Heart-month, I challenge you to consider how you can guard your heart spiritually and physically, and how you can use micro-resolutions to keep you motivated to continue the healthy behaviors your start this month, for the rest of your life. I would love to hear from you about how you guard your heart. So, send us your tips and tricks for keeping your heart healthy this month and all year long.

To Good Health!

Dr. Meg


Why Forgiveness is Necessary for a High-Quality Life in 2020

Posted by [email protected] on 11 January, 2020 at 18:30 Comments comments (1)

Why Forgiveness is Necessary for a High-Quality Life in 2020


Welcome to 2020, a new year, a new decade, and a new you! As usual, everyone has made the typical new year’s resolutions; many are fasting and praying, some have just started retirement, and even more are anxious about going back to work again, especially after a long holiday break. Whatever state you might find yourself in, I hope that you are excited and happy to have made it into the brink of this new decade. In my mind’s eyes, it seems like only yesterday, we were getting ready for the Y2K scare of 2000, and now we have arrived on the shores of 2020. Exhilarating indeed!

But one might wonder whether we are ready for this decade with its technological advances and other promises. What will the new decade bring? How might it end? What changes will it offer to our lives? What is the role of forgiveness in all of this, and why do we even care? I am glad you asked. It is critical always to understand your “why,” so that you have a clear understanding of the root causes of an issue, and how addressing this will get you to your intended goals that you might hope to achieve this decade.

So, why do we care about forgiveness and what influence might this have on how we will spend the next decade. First, let’s start by defining forgiveness! Forgiveness in clinical terms is defined as “an act of deliberately giving up resentment towards an offender while fostering the undeserved qualities of beneficence and compassion towards the offender” (Freedman & Enright, 1996, p.983). But of course, the million-dollar question is why forgive

In a recent Forgiveness Circle, an Ethiopian client stated the answer to this question in a concise, but unforgettable way, that “we forgive so that we can live a high-quality life,” and I could not agree more. Forgiveness is for us and not for those who hurt us. As you might know, unforgiveness has been linked to illnesses, syndromes, depression, and all kinds of sicknesses. So, why then do we choose not to forgive? Why do we keep drinking the poison is (unforgiveness thinking that someone else will be hurt? Again, allow me to share a few reasons or forgiveness “blockers,” as I call them that I have encountered in my practice about why people choose not to forgive.

These forgiveness “blockers” are prevalent and include, pride, selfishness, self-righteousness, pompousness, and merely a belief that your standards are higher than even God’s. So, God can say we must forgive, but we don’t agree and won't. These forgiveness “blockers” continue to help us to justify a stance that robs us of joy, peace, happiness, and contentment, and effaces any desire for any decent standard of life. Choosing unforgiveness is weaker than choosing to forgive, and we know it, but often we want this option anyway since “no one has been hurt as badly as we have.” Of course, this is a lie from the pits of hell and a strategy of the enemy meant to keep us in bondage. So, let me challenge you in 2020 to move to the light and life that forgiveness brings. You can do so by taking a few steps. These steps are as follows:

First, forgive yourself, your parents, family members, friends, enemies, and anyone that has ever hurt you in your past. Nothing is worth losing peace and sleep about.

Second, know your “why.” For any behavior change to work, understanding your “why” is the linchpin for success. So, for instance, my “why” for always choosing to forgive is that I would like to live to see my oldest grandson, Luke Jacob, walk down the aisle. He is now seven years old, so I need to I MUST forgive and keep living a healthy lifestyle even to have the potential to attend this wedding. This is on my Vision Board! Only God knows if it is possible, but I am working hard to realize this “why.” But your “ why” might be different from mine, but find the “why,” and that will help with the how and what. Only then can you get to your goal in 2020.

Third, stop self-criticizing. This self-criticism drags you down and often allows us to think that we don’t deserve to be happy at work, at home, and in other parts of our lives. You are good enough to be forgiven, to forgive, and to be loved. You are valuable to God and the human race. Remind yourself of this always!

Fourth, learn to be content wherever you are in your life. For example, if you are divorced and need to forgive your ex, forgive them, and then learn to thrive as a successful single adult. The world has not ended and your best years are still ahead of you! Take some deep breaths and keep going; God always has the last say. Trust in with your dreams. Only he can take what the enemy planned to harm you and turn it around for good. Believe me; he is still doing that today!

Fifth, as you contemplate the changes that you will need to be happy, peaceful, and whole again, consider setting micro-resolutions. In other words, start with resolutions for a week, then expand to a month, later a quarter, etc. Many times we are trying to do too much, too quickly, and miss the need to make slow but steady progress towards our goals. So, try micro-resolutions in 2020. Who knows, this might be the only way to get to the goals you seek in 2020.

So, in summary, as you stare into the brink of the next decade, know your “why”, forgive, stop self-criticizing, and learn to be content in whatever state you find yourself in so that you can have the high –quality life that you so desperately deserve. Happy New year to the new you! So, what do you think? Please share with us what might be your new year resolutions, and how if any practicing forgiveness will help or hinder your progress, and any thoughts about this blog.


Dr. Meg