A Breath of Fresh Air
A Merry Heart
A Woman's World
A Word in Season
Acting Up
As I Imitate Christ
Cyber Walk
Faith Seekers
Golden Apples
Heaven Bound
Just Between Men
Take it to Heart
Teen Truth
The Joy of Family
The Parents'
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The Rhythm of Life
The Treehouse
Through Their Eyes
'Tis the Season
We Are the Church
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From the Editor -
Patricia Sheets
We are the Church
Featured Article
ChurchDon’t Give Me Flowers!
By Patricia Sheets

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, I recently met with several other ladies to discuss how our church would commemorate the special day. We decided to have a time during the worship service when all mothers would be asked to stand. The pastor would read a sappy poem, then each mother would be honored with a small gift.

With everything else planned, there was only one decision left: What gift should we give to the mothers? I suggested a Purple Heart – after all, mothers are on the front line of battle from the first wave of morning sickness until they enter the Pearly Gates. My idea was nixed, however, when someone mentioned that a Purple Heart would clash with a corsage.

We pondered the question and several suggestions were made. A bookmark night be nice, or a handkerchief. Then someone suggested the unthinkable. "How about if we give each mother a flower!"

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Miss Beulah’s Children
By Sandra Fischer

She could have been called "Miss Mighty Momma", but she was known simply as "Miss Beulah". She spent her life working with young people in our church and after they had all grown up she still taught them in Sunday school.

I remember the first time I met her when I attended her class. That lesson was about David and Goliath and from my pre-teen stature, she could have been Goliath’s sister. She was tall, with dark hair and deep-set brown eyes that flashed when she looked at you. She seemed to peer right into your soul. She had a commanding voice that resonated when she spoke your name, making you want to click your heels, salute and say, "Yes, Ma’am!" The whole class looked pretty much like the intimidated Israelite army, ready to surrender.

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ChurchEmbracing Truth
By Crista L. Darr

" I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you." (Matthew 21:31 NIV)

Was that the sound of ravenous wolves scratching at my door or just the light rapping of a knocking hand?

Swinging the door open, two men and a woman stood before me. "Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?" the woman of the group inquired. My heart danced with joy at the very thought of God's servants taking the gospel door to door.

With great enthusiasm I leaped into the testimony of my recent salvation. In my excitement I reached out to hug the woman speaking with me. Drawing near to her, the Word of Scripture rushed through my memory, "Do not lay hands on anyone hastily." (1 Timothy 5:22 NKJV)

Being unlearned in discernment, I hugged her anyway and was completely unnerved by the icy chill that raced down my spine, commanding all my hairs to stand on end. What manner of woman and what devilish spirit was this? I shuddered. Was this "religious" woman one of whom Jesus spoke saying, "Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." (Matthew 23:28 NKJV)

Still puzzling over this strange encounter, my ever-teaching Savior had yet another hug awaiting me on a dark street corner in a neighborhood plagued with prostitution.

Our missionary church, standing as a beacon of light in the midst of this darkness, makes every effort to share the love of Jesus with these troubled and hurting women.

Walking to the church one evening I saw her. She stood in the shadows of the dimly lit sidewalk waiting to sell herself for the desire of any predator driving by. She was not a stranger to this corner and I had spoken with her many times before.

My heart sank as she stepped out of the shadows. Gruesomely beaten, her face was distorted by a myriad of dark bruises and swellings. Only one of her eyes remained open, revealing the worst of her brokenness. Peering out at me was a bruised soul blackened by despair and hopelessness.

Longing to comfort her, I carefully wrapped my arms around her battered body. No warnings of Scripture and no icy chills accompanied this hug. Instead, a stone slipped from her hardened heart like a breach in a dam. Her tears escaped, gently flowing from a deep well of heartache. And in the arms of this most tender embrace, I wept too.
Crista Darr is a wife and mother of four, who gave up a career in nursing to homeschool – something she has never regretted. It is the desire of Crista’s heart to be a blessing to her husband and to raise their children to love Jesus with all their hearts. That same desire flows through her writing and pours out to her readers as well. You may write to Crista care of the Letters page of this magazine.