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From the Editor -
Toni Smothers
FEATURED ARTICLE
Hearing God SpeakGrief with a Legacy of Hope
By Toni Smothers

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (NIV), it says, "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." Yet my husband and I do grieve. You see our seventeen year old grandson passed away this April.

The news media were all over the accident, reporting it even before some of our family members knew about it. His other grandmother actually got to find out about Brandonís death on the television. The media called it another reckless, fatal, car-surfing prank. The family had to issue a restraining order to keep the camera crews from pursuing the family to the funeral.

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Journey to Jesus Ė One Grandmotherís story
By Darlene Hight

As I watched my granddaughter pour the five pound bag of sugar into the canister, I felt the laughter begin to bubble up. It was a school project. She had to carry the sugar baby with her everywhere she went for one week.

At the beginning of the week she had been so excited about the prospect of having a sugar baby. She printed out a birth certificate for it and baby announcements. A friend and she went to great lengths to decorate the bag of sugar to look like a pretty little baby girl. The project was designed to drive home the huge responsibility of parenting. Evidently, it had worked!

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Teens

Hearing God Speak Godís Plan
By Toni Smothers

Thereís this grand exhibit hall at the Walt Disney World Park dedicated to Disneyís various characters, depicted all around and above in animated effervescence.

My husband and I were tired and the exhibit was not very crowded so we found a bench to rest our weary bones while planning our next few stops. There was a kaleidoscope of swirling characters on film being projected freely upon the walls and ceiling. Though hectic, there was a strange sense of calm watching all those familiar characters dance about as we rested.

A young woman entered our rotunda with the most fascinated child, who was about three years old, smiling and giggling as he watched the dancing display. There were a lot of different corridors that went off to other exhibits. People just seemed to mull about for a few moments and then be on their way. This little fella was sure heíd gone to heaven as he twirled and smiled in awe of the display. He began to shake his bootie, toddler style, to the Donald Duck rumba that appeared above, accompanied by appropriate music, and he really got into wiggling and gyrating to the beat. Then he ran as fast as his tiny legs could run all through the rotunda. His Mom watched and enjoyed the childís delight, as did we.

The little guy finally discovered the opening of one of the corridors and made a bee-line-mad-dash. His Mom immediately sprang to her feet and scooped her little boy from behind, lifting him high in the air; sharing a tremendous moment of glee with him and then put him down in a corrected path.

The kid enjoyed the ride and tried again. After a while, the mom just stood in the pathway as a human roadblock. Without stopping, the boy shifted direction, just having the best time.

This loving mom never reprimanded. She made her plans known to her son without any temper or anxiety, fear or frightening consequences. Like Godís plan for us. We only need trust that God has everything pretty well covered. We can run squealing through life knowing that a loving dad is going to make his intentions known to us.

God doesnít want us to live our lives clueless of His plan, standing like statues waiting for a revelation or analyzing it into oblivion. Godís delight comes when we are mesmerized, when we squeal in joy and when our booties wiggle to Donald Duck rumba Ö and when we live that way, we can delight in Godís plan as well.
Toni Smothers is a full time child of God with a passion to share the abundant life through our precious Savior, Jesus Christ. She has worked with Youth for many years. She is Co-Founder of Abundant Faith Zone, a faith based outreach ministry. Toni has several articles and poetry published in various hardcopy magazines. She is also working on a book of devotions and a personal testimony story, as well as a Christian fiction novel. She works as a ghost writer for www.GotQuestions.com and www.AllAboutGod.com as well as other freelance projects. Visit Toni @ www.SmothersVariety.com.
If you would like to accept Godís free offer of salvation, pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit:

Dear Father, I need you. I confess that I have sinned against you by living my life as if I actually knew what I was doing. I have made many bad decisions and done many things I am ashamed of. I thank you for forgiving my sins through the blood of your precious son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for me. I now invite Jesus to take His rightful place in my heart as ruler of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. I believe that you love me just as I am and I ask you to teach me how to love you back. Create in me a clean heart as you show me how to live each day for You.