Monthly Archives: September 2012

Jane Reed: The happy factory

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By Jane Reed
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Inside The Pew or Pew Talk radio staff.

While attending church this past Sunday the Pastor mentioned something that has been on my mind this week.  He mentioned the “happy factory” that is built inside all of us.  It is a factory that is built by Christ.  This factory runs full steam, even in times of struggle. This got me thinking of the struggles I have faced over the past twelve years.  I have struggled with abuse, divorce due to the abuse, moving away from family and friends and starting over and the residual effects that came from the abuse.  My daughters suffered greatly and as any mom would, I suffered with them.   I then struggled with rejection by one of the beautiful children we were so blessed to have been able to adopt and the psychiatric issues he brought along for the ride.  In the middle of that entire struggle, I was faced with medical issues and learning how to adjust into the new marriage God had given me.  Struggle has been my “middle name” so to speak for a very long time.  In the midst of it all, I was still happy.  Why?  Because my happy factory was still running!

I didn’t base my happiness on the circumstances of my life.  My happiness was not based on a husband, children or a job. My happiness was base on my savior, Jesus Christ.  When happiness is based on the one who never fails, happiness is always within us.  Happiness based on earthly things and people will eventually let us down and cause the happiness inside us to shut down.  Imagine where I would be right now if my happiness has been based on my children, my husband or my circumstances!  Which brings me to the thought I have been having for the past few days: how do we keep that happy factory running, even in dire circumstance?  I believe there are three ways to keep happy and fulfilled even when life is letting us down: pray, believe and receive.

  1. Pray.  Praying is our direct link to God.  Because Jesus died on the cross, we now have an open line of communication to our Heavenly Father.  Prayer is the “electric line” of our happy factory.  When we pray we open up the line for currents of “electricity” to flow.  Pray over everything.  Never cease. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)  Keep those lines open.  God hears you and He will respond.
  2. Believe.  When we pray we have to believe that God is listening.  We have to believe that He hears our cries and is standing with us in our struggles. We have to believe that Jesus died for us. This is different than just saying we believe, the belief has to be there! This belief is what gives us peace. (Romans 5:1, 2)  This is the “electricity” that flows and keeps our happy factory lit up with God’s light!
  3. Receive. Everyone knows how electricity works.  Currents run from point “a” to point “b”, but what if point “b” is capped off? The electricity stops in its tracks.  We have to be willing to receive God’s word, receive God’s answers and be patient when the electric current is slower than we think it should be!  God’s timing is perfect (Hebrews 4: 16). No matter the struggle, His timing is essential to the outcome.

Struggles are part of our lives here on earth.  We cannot avoid them.  We cannot run from them.  At some point, and in most cases, many points in our lives, we will struggle. Our peace in those struggles comes from knowing Christ and letting Him keep our “happy factory” running. Notice I say “let Him” keep it running?  We can cap off our point “b” and find ourselves in a very dark place.  It is essential that we keep our lines open and our factory running!

I pray that whatever circumstance you are struggling with right now will not stop you from finding the joy that can only be found in Jesus Christ. I pray that your happiness is based solely on the One who never lets you down.  I pray that your “happy factory” shines God’s light even in your darkest hours!  Keep your lines open, believe in His word and receive His peace!

Jane Reed is the founder of Blessed Life Ministries (blessedlifeministries.com ) and the Editor-in-Chief of Blessed Life Magazine. Jane founded Blessed Life Ministries for the purpose of spreading the word of God so that others can feel the beauty and blessing of God in their lives. It is her prayer that this ministry will touch each person whom it comes in contact with, allowing God’s word to penetrate their souls, bringing them to a closer walk with Christ.

Emanuel and The Mainline Ministries to host free tutoring in Dallas area

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

For the second year in a row, Access! Remedial Tutoring, a program of Emanuel and The Mainline Ministries, will hold free tutoring sessions for economically disadvantaged K-8 students in the Dallas metroplex school districts of Plano and Frisco.

Pastor Grelan Muse Sr., founder of Emanuel and The Mainline Ministries, Inside The Pew, and Pew Talk Radio, said last summer five students took part in the two-month program, which was held at a Plano-area library.

“Students in the program will have access (hence the name) to volunteer tutors with the appropriate education in the subjects they tutor. For instance, math tutors possess engineering, computer science, or math degrees,” he said.

“We want to have people who understand the subjects 100 percent because we don’t want to confuse students; we want to help them to become competent. Grades aside, have the desire to see students achieve success in the classroom.”

Tutoring sessions begin Monday, Oct. 15, and are scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. For tutoring locations, to become a tutor, or to enroll a child in the program email Muse at texasedaccess@yahoo.com.

Spaces are limited for sessions; therefore, Muse suggests contacting her as soon as possible to secure a spot. Volunteers who are 17 and younger must receive parental permission to tutor, and all tutors 18 and older must undergo a criminal background and character reference checks.

To qualify for K-8 tutoring services, candidates must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Be a student in a Title I campus as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
  • Have a family income that does not exceed the Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines for family size
  • Qualify for free or reduced lunch, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamp Program), Medicaid, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), subsidized housing (Section 8)
  • Receive court-ordered child support through the Texas Attorney General’s Office

Visit www.accesstutoring.org to learn more about this program.

Emanuel and The Mainline Ministries is a tax-exempt charity founded by Muse in 1998 in Maringouin, La.

La Vonne Earl: Pastoring your sheep by protecting them from deception

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Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Inside The Pew or Pew Talk Radio staff members.

By La Vonne Earl
Special to Inside The Pew

Protecting ones flock has many responsibilities, one of the greatest these being protecting them from deception. Deception by its very nature is enticing. It causes something to appear good, but in reality is not. However beautiful and innocent it may appear, it is a fatal enemy and our sheep must be protected. There are many churches dressing in sheep’s clothing professing to be Christian, and yet they are far from it. Knowledge is power and for this very reason God has taught us through His Word that we are to search and gain knowledge. We are also commanded to teach others once we gain this knowledge.

There is no replacement for understanding God’s Word, the Bible.  Having a solid foundation in the true gospel found in His Word is crucial. However there are many lost sheep that do not understand the Bible and therefore have fallen prey to deception. This is where those of us with an understanding of the True Gospel must be responsible in teaching the flock about deception. We must teach them how others have been deceived by perceived Christian religions.

I myself wanted a relationship with Christ and thought I was choosing Christianity when I became a Mormon. Instead I was immersed into the cult of Mormonism. Mormons appear Christian yet they themselves are blind and cannot understand the gospel of Grace. They place heavy burdens of works on their members.

Unfortunately, this education on deception is missing in many churches. The fear of being unpopular and possibly offending someone has taken precedence and has allowed deception to foster and grow. And so the truth that we know becomes watered down until it is ineffective. Accepting ALL faiths becomes the new way as true Christianity takes the back seat.

When we know something it becomes our responsibility to share it with others.  If you know that there is a nearby cliff around the corner where one will surely fall to their death and yet you fail to post a sign or to tell others of the impending danger, you become an accomplice to their death.

In the same way a good shepherd knows the safe routes, and is willing to put his own life in danger in order to protect His flock. Our good shepherd Jesus Christ gives clear guidelines in order to avoid Satan’s traps.  Well cared for sheep know the differences between a good shepherd and one that is only after building up a church, in other words the difference between truth and deception.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins” (2 Peter 1:5-9, New Living Translation).

You see, like the Pharisees that claimed to be shepherds of God’s flock, there are many false prophets, false religions and false leaders to this day. They are hypocrites that do not practice what they preach, and worse yet they may practice what they preach but their message is another gospel of Jesus Christ. “You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ” (Galatians 1:7, NLT).

The point is further elaborated in 2 Corinthians 11:4 (NLT),  “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.”

In John 9, Jesus heals a man born blind. The Pharisees claimed to be Shepherds of God and yet had just excommunicated this man that was born blind.  These “shepherds” thought they had all the answers. They thought they could see. Jesus says to them in John verses 40-41, “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty. But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” In other words, they did not understand the true gospel of Grace.

Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees had just excommunicated one of God’s true sheep, one that was seeking Jesus to see. They were offended that Jesus spoke of their own blindness. They could not see that Jesus was the true shepherd and was standing before them fulfilling the very prophecy they had professed to know. They were hard hearted and filled with bitterness. They had a heart prepared for murder. They were standing there with their hands full of stones ready to kill Jesus, and yet He was the one who had opened the eyes of the blind man.

These Pharisees understood the office of a shepherd and yet they were hypocrites that did not practice what they preached—much like the Mormons and others that preach deception. As pastors, leaders and followers of Christ we must search out everything and teach others so they will not be blinded by this deception.

The Pharisees threw the man Jesus had healed out of the synagogue—they threw him out of the church. They excommunicated him. Why? He was professing that Jesus was a prophet, and the Pharisees wanted to label Jesus as a sinner. The Pharisees are not the only ones that would like to label Jesus as just a man, a sinner like us.

The Mormon Church also claims that God was once a man like us, a sinner.  “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be,” said LDS Apostle James E. Talmage.

Make no mistake, God was never a man like us; He is without sin and always has been (2 Corinthians 5:21).

This is only one of the many false teachings happening within the Mormon Church. As good shepherds we must lead these sheep out of their captivity or they will starve from lack of the true gospel, the gospel of His love and grace.

The Lord Jesus Christ opened the eyes of one who was born blind. Jesus had anointed the man’s eyes, and then told him to go wash; he did and he came away seeing. He had to wash. When our eyes are anointed to see false teachings, it is by the washing of the Word that our eyes are opened to see clearly the blessed news of the Gospel.  Jesus will open your eyes too as you seek Him.

As pastors, leaders, teachers, followers of Christ let us work together to make sure that EVERYONE is able to see. Deception causes blindness. Those of us that know the Truth are responsible to teach it.  Let us ALL pastor God’s sheep and keep them from deception.

La Vonne Earl, a resident of Newport Beach, Calif., is author of Loved into the Light, Shining God’s Light on Mormonism.  To read more on deception, visit www.lovedintotheLight.com. Her ministry website is http://www.yourkingdominheritance.com/.

Texas Wesleyan, Northwood, SAGU join Sooner Athletic Conference

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

Texas Wesleyan University, Northwood University, and Southwestern Assemblies of God University are on the move.

The three Christian-based universities– all longtime members of the Red River Athletic Conference – are among four universities slated to join Sooner Athletic Conference beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.

Also joining the SAC is Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, Okla.

The announcement was made jointly by the schools’ presidents – Texas Wesleyan’s Frederick G. Slabach, SAGU’s Kermit Bridges, and Northwood’s Kevin Fegan on Sept. 18

Texas Wesleyan, located in Fort Worth, as well as Cedar Hill’s Northwood and Waxahachie’s SAGU, have enjoyed their tenure with RRAC, but are looking forward to what the new relationship will offer, Slabach said.

“This move isn’t just about joining a more competitive conference,” Slabach said. “The closer proximity of other conference schools gives our student-athletes the benefit of spending more time in class and less time on the road.”

Having 10 schools in the SAC — which is based in Oklahoma City — means the conference will be able to advance two teams out of the conference to post-season competitions.

“The competitive environment in the Sooner is demanding,” Slabach said.  “But we look forward to the challenge.”

SAC Commissioner John Hudson said the conference is delighted with the additions of these three great institutions and believes the move creates one of the strongest conferences in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

“These are exciting times in the conference,” Hudson said during the press conference. “Expansion into the Metroplex area is great for the Sooner Athletic Conference and brings Northwood, Texas Wesleyan, and Southwestern Assemblies into the NAIA’s premier league.”

Current SAC schools are John Brown in Siloam Springs, Ark.; Mid-America Christian in Oklahoma City; Oklahoma Baptist and St. Gregory’s in Shawnee, Okla., Wayland Baptist in Plainview, Texas; and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, in Chickasha, Okla.

The Katinas have come long way from American Samoa to Dodger Stadium

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LOS ANGELES (ANS) The Katinas have come a long way from playing in their father’s church in American Samoa, a beautiful unincorporated territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean, to performing before 30,000 people at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 8, on the first night of Greg Laurie’s Harvest LA outreach.

And what makes this Dove Award-winning Christian group so unique is that in today’s ever-changing music industry where bands arrive and then disappear into obscurity at a veritable breakneck pace, The Katinas have not only managed to roll with the changes, but they’ve done so with their original lineup intact for 21 years now.

Undaunted by trends and the changing tides of the online music revolution, The Katinas, who recently released their 10th English language studio album, Collage, is composed of brothers John (vocals), Jesse (vocals), Sam (keyboards), James (bass) and Joe (drums) have continued to write and perform on their own terms-and love every minute of it.

I caught up with some of The Katinas, who have 17 children between them, at the iconic Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, just minutes before they went on stage to share the Gospel message through their diverse catalog of songs, and was able to glean a little of their story

Their drummer Joe Katina told me that they have played at many of Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusades, and the first one was at The Spectrum, an indoor stadium in Philadelphia way back in 1996.

On recalling that night, he said, “I just remember a massive amount of people there and being nervous as we played in front of that large crowd and then I also remember Pastor Greg getting up there and sharing the Word of God and so many people responding to receive Jesus that night.”

Was it the largest crowd you had played before at that time?

“I’m not sure if it was because we also had the opportunity to play at a few Billy Graham crusades so but it was definitely one of the bigger ones,” said Joe.

I then spoke with Sam, the keyboard player, and asked him to share about how the band got started.

“We’re all brothers and we started the band in our home in Oceanside, California, where we were then living, but then in 1978, mom and dad went back and planted a church in American Samoa and we became our dad’s praise and worship band.

“And here we are some 21 years later, still loving every opportunity that God opens up for us.

John Katina, one of the band’s vocalists, then joined in the conversation and so I asked him what it was like to sing before such huge crowds.

“Man it’s always a humbling experience,” he began, “but also we just we take it as an honor because I remember being in the small island of American Samoa and we would have these dreams as little boys that someday we would sing for people of all nationalities, and different age groups, and here we get to do that in a venue like Dodger Stadium.

“So it never gets old for us and we’re just grateful for every opportunity.”

I then asked John what it was like for him when he saw so many people responding to invitation at the end of a crusade meeting to give their lives to Christ.

“We rejoice with the angels and we know that not only is there a party going on in heaven, but we often think back to the story of our dad when he came back from the Vietnam war,” he said. “He was an alcoholic and miraculously God transformed him from alcoholism and a lifestyle of abuse.

“So when we see the masses of people, like we anticipate tonight coming forward tonight, we think about our dad’s conversion and again it’s just another opportunity to rejoice.”

What happened to him and is he still alive?

“Oh yes,” said John. “After he got saved, we moved to American Samoa and he planted a church there and he’s still pastoring that church called Miracle Assembly of God, after almost thirty-five years and it is still going strong.”

I then asked Joe Katina how he would describe their music style, and he replied, “Our music is really a collage of different styles. We like to say we sing Rock and Soul as we grew up on R&B. We love harmonies and we love the old school music. So you know we try our best to reach people from all age groups and from all demographics of life. So it’s an eclectic style of music.”

I then asked Sam Katina if the band writes all their own music and he said, “Yes, we write a lot of our own songs, but we also collaborate with other writers outside of the group and then love doing praise and worship and we sing a lot of other people’s songs as well.”

I concluded the interview by asking John Katina how people can pray for the band and he replied, “We ask that people pray that we would stay faithful husbands and great dads to our children — you know that’s our first calling. But also pray that we would be sensitive to what God wants to say through us through our music and as we speak and just pray for our families. Pray for our kids there are seventeen kids between the five of us. So just pray for our families we know that balance of ministry but also our first calling to our families as well.”

With that the three members of the band were off to opening up the proceedings for Greg Laurie and also play as thousands streamed forward onto the turf at Dodger Stadium on that first night.

So for The Katinas, they were able to be a part in another great harvest of souls for God’s Kingdom, and they plan to continue to do this as they serve the Lord thousands of miles away from their homes in American Samoa.

To find out more about the band, please go to:

Church, nonprofit organization notes for September 13

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In Fort Worth, Texas: The Fort Worth Christian Women’s Connection will hold the “September Serendipity” luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Mira Vista Country Club, 6600 Mira Vista Blvd., in Fort Worth. Linda Jacobs is the guest speaker, while Jerry and Norma Jay will provide the music. Cost is $17 per person. Reservations for childcare and attendance to the event are needed by Sept. 14. Call Patsy at 817-232-0160 or email fortworthwomensconnection@yahoo.com.

In Beaumont, Texas: The flock at New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 9327 Lawhon Road in Beaumont, will celebrate its 83rd anniversary on Sept. 16 from 3 to 6 p.m. The theme will be “The Church Confronting, Embracing the Challenge of Change” (Isaiah 43:18-19). Guest will be the Rev. Roy Malveaux and the Shining Star Missionary Baptist Church of Beaumont. The Rev. David J. Trainer Sr. is senior pastor of New Bethel. The public is invited to attend.

In Katy, Texas: The Katy Christian Women’s Connection will hold a luncheon Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Club at Falcon Point, 24503 Falcon Point Drive in Katy. Lunch is $16 inclusive per person. Sally Rowe, a native of West Virginia, will speak on “How the state of her closet reflects her life.”  Reservations are required. Call 281-232-8338 or email katycwc@gmail.com by Sept. 17. Husbands are invited to attend.

In Orange, Texas: The varsity Community Christian School football squad will take on Faith Academy Knight of Bellville in Orange at 7 p.m. Sept. 14. The junior high football game begins at 5 p.m.

In Port Arthur, Texas: The Port Arthur Christian Women will hold its luncheon, titled “Dealing with Clutter in your Life” on Sept. 14, beginning at 11:45 a.m.at the Pompano Club LeChambre Room, 330 Twin City Highway, Port Neches.  The cost of lunch is $15 per person. Allen Cade from Port Neches will bring special music. Inspirational speaker will be Debbie Monaham from Lewisville, Texas.

 

Churches band together for National Back to Church Sunday on Sept. 16

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By Michael Ireland
ASSIST News Service

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (ANS)Since the initiative began in 2009, National Back to Church Sunday has become a nationwide movement, with church members inviting more than 3.5 million family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers to special services.

In 2011, more than 7,600 churches – double the number of the prior year – representing 34 denominations participated in the nationwide effort to reach out to their communities, inviting millions of people to attend.

As a result, participating churches opened their doors to an estimated 250,000 visitors. The churches welcomed an average of 34 new visitors and experienced an average 25 percent increase in attendance.

Now, as part of a growing national movement to ignite spiritual awakening in America, more than 14,000 churches are expected to invite people to come back to church on National Back To Church Sunday (NBTCS), Sept. 16.

Although 83 percent of American adults identify themselves as Christians, only about 20 percent attend church on any given Sunday.

Some people have tried church, had a falling out, and never came back. Other people went to church in the past, moved or had a change in life circumstances. While others went to church in their youth, they drifted away. Some have just never been to church.

Regardless of the reasons, research shows about two-thirds of people would attend church if someone simply invited them.

A study by LifeWay Research and the North American Mission Board of more than 15,000 Americans found 67 percent say a personal invitation from a family member would be effective in getting them to visit a church. Sixty-three percent say an invitation from a friend or neighbor would likely move them to respond.

“Many people are waiting for an invitation to be healed from the hurt previously experienced in church,” said Pastor Ralph A. Martino of First Church of Christ Holiness in Washington, D.C. “They want to know they are welcome and encouraged to come back to church.”

In response, thousands of churches representing a cross-section of denominations are encouraging members to invite family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to attend church as part of the 4th annual National Back to Church Sunday on Sept. 16 in an effort to ignite the next Great Awakening.

“This is the single largest annual community outreach in the nation, sharing the simple message and mission of inviting everyone in America back to church,” said spokesman Philip Nation of LifeWay Research. “This year we are praying for churches to band together and bring spiritual renewal to their communities through National Back to Church Sunday.”

A list of participating churches is available at www.BacktoChurch.com/roster . As churches register their participation, their names and locations are added to the roster, allowing people to easily find a church to attend on that special Sunday.

National Back to Church Sunday is the single largest annual community outreach in the nation, sharing the simple message and mission of inviting everyone in America Back To Church. The campaign empowers churches and church members with the tools they need to welcome their neighbors, friends and loved ones back to church, while providing the unchurched with an easy way to find a welcoming church in their community.

McGee: God always has the last say

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By Terry E. McGee Sr.
Inside The Pew

Throughout our lives, we will have endless encounters with Satan. But one thing that we must understand is that our faith and our Savior give us power over Satan. There are two ways he can have any power over us is: one, we have to give it to him, or, two, God has to give him permission. Normally God does not give him permission, but in the case of Job, He did. Job 1:1 reads, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil” (NIV).

But the special permission was given in this case because God knew Job was a man of his own heart and no matter what circumstances came to Job; he would still serve God without question or doubt! Satan thought that he could get Job to doubt and question God.

“Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord” Job 1: 8-12 (NIV).

Satan bought turmoil after turmoil, eventually killing Job’s children. But Job stood firm, and never questioned God for the test and trials that became his life. Instead he said “naked I came and naked I shall leave!” What this means is when he was born, he had nothing and when he dies, he cannot take anything or anyone with him.

Birth and death is something we will all do alone. It does not matter if you were born a twin or die in a mass death scene. The one other thing we will do alone is have a face-to-face meeting with God when that great day comes. At the end of that conversation, one of two things will be said: “Go forth and claim your crown, for you have finished the race,” meaning eternal life in heaven with God and his faithful servants, or you will hear “Depart from me, as I know you NOT”! This means when there was life in you here on earth, God was not glorified in your words and or actions! There is the ultimate penalty for this, which is spending eternity in hell, where you will be tormented daily!

I encourage you to read the entire book of Job. In times when you may question the motives of God, just remember this story of how sometimes God “allows” things to happen, but He is still in control!

Little Elm resident Terry McGee serves as host of the “Simply Inspiring Show” Mondays 5-7 p.m. CST on the Fishbowl Network. Connect with Terry on Twitter and on Facebook.