When you're just a big loser

Used with permission from LoriRoeleveld.com

Sometimes you think you’re getting somewhere, you know, with this whole growing up in Jesus business.

You’re hitting your Bible regularly and going deep, not just the quick pass over a verse and a thought but digging in and rocking it.

Your prayer life is consistent and gets more involved than “Help!” and “Please!” (not that those words don’t feature frequently)

They know your face at church and well, you get the point. You’re no soul slouch.

Then, whammo!

You hit what is apparently a giant spiritual pothole of what was that? Instead of choruses of praise songs, your mind floods with whispers from the dark side.

Who do you think you’re fooling? You’re a loser for Jesus. A con for Christ.

Able to pull it together for flashes of time and convince a few people you’re a godly person, but one hiccup and you’re wallowing in really common sinful goop –the sinkhole of self-pity, the jaws of jealousy, or the axis of anger. No matter how many alliterations you throw at it, though, it ain’t pretty.

Other people figure out how to pull it together for Jesus, you know, so what’s wrong with you? After all this time, are you still expecting Jesus to pick up the tab for the gaping holes in your soul? He had such high hopes for you but now, now you’re just a disappointment to Him, well, to everyone, really.

The voices nearly convince you. It feels as though life is an algebra test and you missed the class on variables so you sit back, stunned, baffled, mystified by the entire equation.

But, this is when the regular Bible reading and prayer, the steady diet of truth and strong theology (yeah, that stuff is part of your arsenal because sometimes you need a tank against the enemy) turn out to come in handy because God’s voice is so much better to listen to than the taunts of the darkness.

Verses and passages flood in like redeemed flying monkeys serving a new Master because you know that water took care of the Wicked Witch and Living Water is what will dissolve this assault on you, too. Jesus steps in and reminds you He’s the Master of a new math.

Yes, you still slip in it, sometimes you even belly flop down a slip-and-slide of the old sin nature.

You’re growing in Christ but you’re not home yet, baby. As long as you reside on this outpost of glory, you’re going to step on landmines that detonate unsanctified sectors of your cleansed soul but you’re no loser. You’re eternal, loved one.

There’s time to become His idea of you. You live in the light (all the better to see the pitfalls with, my dear).

You fall back into the arms of grace because this is your home, your hope, your whole plan for salvation. Just Jesus, Jesus, Jesus all the time.

It’s never you making payments on the bill your soul rang up. You were completely bankrupted by sin but He covered every dime. Now, all you owe is love and even that, He’s supplied.

So now you’re pulling out of the soul skid, brushing off your knees and soaking in the healing truth “that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” (Philippians 1:6)

and “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

And you unsheathe your sword so you can dwell in Romans 8, the whole chapter, gulping it down like the coldest water on the hottest day until the light surrounding you, shielding you, has fended off the dark assault.

Whew. That was close. But, He’s done it. Reached down and pulled you out of that spin. Wrapped you in His light like the shield force around the Starship Enterprise, only better because it’s not science fiction; it’s the truth that protects your soul.

You’re no loser for Jesus.

Yeah, you blow it. You get it wrong. You fall.

But even when you’re on the mat, you’re a child of the High King, a redeemed soul, an eternal spirit, one who is Loved by the Almighty God destined for glory, forgiven, saved by grace. He’s got you.

The whisperer doesn’t scare Him. One little word will fell him. Boom. Jesus.

You hear that? That’s right. That’s the silence that follows the boom. Rest in that.

Rest in Him. He’s got you.

Original Post

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Local woman walks for trafficking ministry

By Cross Times Guest Contributor Denise Manuel

I was able to participate in this year’s Hope Radio 97.1 KCMI Annual Mission’s Walk. I walked six miles along the Scottsbluff Pathway beginning at the YMCA. The Walk was May 4th. It was mostly sunny and 71 degrees out. Beautiful weather for a walk by the river!

This year, I chose to walk for Rapha House. It is a safe house for women and children who have been sexually exploited and/or human trafficked. I heard Hannah Burkle give a presentation at my church, the WestWay Christian Church, last January 13th.

I was so moved by Hannah’s presentation that I went back that afternoon to get a better glimpse of what Rapha House offered these girls. At Rapha House, their desire is to see children safe in their communities so that they can flourish physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

At Rapha House, they believe healing is a holistic process. “Rapha” means “healing”. To find out more information, visit their website at www.raphahouse.org.

I collected pledges from January through May. I asked many people to sponsor me and many responded, seventy-four in all! I ended up collecting $2565. To God be the glory!

I mailed the money to Rapha House on May 21st. I am so thrilled to have participated in another Hope Radio Missions Walk. And, I am certain this money will be a blessing to the ones at Rapha House.

Area women are invited to learn more about sex trafficking and abuse and about the work at Rapha House, Tuesday, August 6th at the Gering Central Church of Christ (1245 Five Rocks Road) featuring special guest speaker Katy Cundall, a long time supporter of the work of Rapha House. For the past several years, Katy’s entire family has served the ministry of Rapha House in countless ways. Katy represents Rapha House at her home congregation at Vernal Christian Church in Utah.

To learn more about Katy Cundall, visit https://raphahouse.org/news/rapha-house-supporter-katy-cundall

All women are encouraged to attend this informative program and to please bring a friend!

For more information, call the Central Church of Christ office at 308-436-2234. To learn more about Rapha House visit them at https://raphahouse.org/

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You can use me, Lord

"What inspired me to go to Uganda actually first began with a song by Leeland, For Your Glory. The lyrics are, 'we have only one life, and it soon will pass. And only what’s done for Christ will last. Jesus you can use me, Lord. For your glory!'” explains Hannah Kaiser, a former Hope Radio employee who just completed a year at Frontier School of the Bible at LaGrange, WY.

All first year students at Frontier are required to take an Introduction to Missions course, said Kaiser. "I learned about the importance of missions and how all Christians have an obligation to be a part of missions whether it is being a 'sender' or a 'goer' based on Matthew 28:19 and 20. This class really changed my view and opinion about missions."

The more Kaiser learned, the more the desire grew to experience missions from an "up-close and personal" perspective. After hearing testimonies from a Frontier student team that had gone to Uganda the previous year, Kaiser says she continued to "think about and ponder" a missions trip to Uganda herself. Then a Ugandan Pastor and his wife visited the Bible college.

"After Christmas, Pastor Morris and his wife, Ida, came to visit Frontier. They each shared their testimony and I was amazed at the work God had done in each of their lives and that there was still a great need for missions in Uganda. A desire to help those who are in need and those who still need to hear the truth of God's word grew and I believe God was telling me that Uganda was the place for me to begin," states Kaiser.

When asked what some of the challenges were that she faced, Kaiser replied, "Raising support financially to go on the trip, communicating with people who may or may not speak English (and still struggling to understand them even when they did), overcoming my fear of sharing the Gospel, my fear of sharing my personal testimony, and overcoming my fear that what I had to say in my testimony wouldn’t be relevant to the people of Uganda."

But Kaiser also says that God provided a way in every single one of those obstacles.

"By the time we left for the trip I was completely covered financially and I was in awe by the people who felt led to support me even when some of them didn’t even know me," she exclaimed. Seeing how God met her needs encouraged her. One supporter even unexpectedly supplied her need for sufficient luggage and comfortable longer skirts, which were required apparel.

"There were also many people who also supported me through prayer which was so important," Kaiser noted. "The trip would not have gone the way it did at all without support through prayer. Prayer is essential!"

"The communication challenge was overcome by the help of some amazing, loving translators and also through prayer that I would be able to understand and the people that I talked to would be able to understand. The challenge of overcoming my fear of sharing the Gospel softened after my first experience sharing hut-to-hut in front of a group of about 10 people. But it quickly went away when I realized that it wasn’t through my power that hearts were changed but through God’s power and His living and active word (Hebrews 4:12). I was also able to overcome my fear of sharing my testimony after I had the opportunity to share it at several different schools. I quickly found out that much of my testimony is something many of the people were able to connect with and it was amazing to realize that God had planned that from the very beginning."

The entire Frontier team consisted of five students, Kaiser, Christian Trujillo, Tom King, Kris Kasper, and Sam Foster. Their team leaders were Frontier staff, Deb and Steve Roderick. Both Kaiser and Trujillo worked with children during Sunday school and Children's church during the Crusades that allowed the adults to focus on the messages and testimonies.

"We also worked with a group from Rocky Mountain Bible Church, as well, so in total there were about 19 of us (although we did not always work with them)," Kaiser stated. "The team was also a part of the hut-to-hut evangelism during the week, and also had the responsibilities of sharing their testimony during the crusades and school ministry, as well. In addition, many of the men who went on the trip were responsible for doing a sermon during church and/or leading adult Sunday school, also."

Kaiser says there were some unforgettable experiences from her time in Uganda. "One of my best memories would have to be when the Frontier team went to a children’s home land dedication, and we were playing with a whole bunch of kids outside of the church. There were the kids who were going to live in the children’s home but there were also a whole bunch of kids from the surrounding area who came to see the 'mzungus' (white people). I had kids climbing all over me, hugging me, touching my skin and my hair, pinching my cheeks and saying “so pretty” over and over again. Many of the kids did not speak English so I wasn’t sure if trying to share the Gospel with them would go well without a translator, but when they wanted to hear me sing, I taught them Jesus Loves Me. I pray that they do remember that Jesus does indeed love them and that they would come to know Him one day."

In closing, Kaiser says, "Something that God taught me during my time there was actually after we did our second day of hut to hut evangelism. It was a Muslim holiday and while I was talking to a woman and sharing the gospel with her in front of her hut, some Muslim girls walked over and began listening to what I had to say. I shared the gospel with them and talked some with them but I quickly grew discouraged and frustrated with myself for not knowing how to tell them that what they believed was not true and that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Later on in the day, though, I realized that I was putting the responsibility of changing those girls hearts on myself when I don’t have the power to do that. Only God has the power to change hearts. My job is simply to be the messenger and take the Gospel where it needs to go. I also realized that that can be applied here at home in the United States, as well. We often are afraid to share the Gospel with our friends, family or neighbors because we’re afraid of what they might think of US or how they might react to US. But when we take the focus off of ourselves and focus on the fact that our job is to share the Gospel and God is the one who changes hearts, it gets a lot more simple."

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Lola Weinreis: Fashioned by God

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Listeners who are familiar with the voice of the Hope Radio KCMI radio personality who extends a warm and friendly invitation on Sunday afternoons to “come along with Lola” may be surprised to discover that radio is just a sideline.

While Lola Weinreis can be heard at various times most days of the week on the radio, she also works in the offices of the Weinreis’ family business and, if that wasn’t diverse enough, she recently launched her own image consulting business, Style 311.

“When I was a kid, I fell in love with the idea of radio when we got a little microphone and speaker set as a gift. I was pretty sure when you heard a song on the radio, the singer was right in the studio, strumming his guitar as he sang just for the listeners of that station,” she recalls with a smile.

She continues, “Radio, especially Christian radio, is so powerful because music sticks in your head and can really change your mood.”

Weinreis has also discovered that appearance has the power to affect your mood, especially when it comes to confidence.

“What we wear definitely has an effect on our mood and, as we know, our mood and attitude have a profound impact on our day. When we are wearing clothing that works for our coloring and flatters our shape we feel more confident. Feeling confident lifts our mood and can change our outlook for the entire day. Since we all get dressed every day, let’s do it well!” She suggests enthusiastically.

An avid reader, Weinreis explains where her inspiration for fashion consulting came from.

“In 2010 I came across a book titled, Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad. I saw that title and thought, ‘Why would I ever need to read this? And, why would anyone read this?’”

“It turns out I did need to know the things taught in that book and they made so much sense to me! The way we dress affects our confidence and that affects how people perceive us,” Weinreis states.

“When we know how to look our best, it has a very positive affect on our lives,” she declares.

The book was written by fashion editor and author, Shari Braendel, America’s leading Christian stylist and a sought-after speaker on the subjects of fashion, beauty, and dignity.

And as it turns out, Mrs. Braendel also trains women to become Christian Image Consultants.

“I was trained by Shari Braendel. She has an entire certification process that is done virtually with different modules of training,” explained Weinreis.

“I participated in group settings with other students. We were provided with materials and tools like color test drapes. It is a thorough training that included testing to make sure that we knew the material well,” she said.

As a believer and follower of Jesus, Weinreis’ interest in fashion consulting goes beyond just another item on her professional resume. Weinreis says that she believes that what she is doing is ministry.

“Genesis 1:27 tells us that each of us is made in God’s image. This means that each of us is beautiful! I want to use Style 311 to remind women of their intrinsic beauty and value, and to show them how they can present that to the world around them with confidence in who God made them to be.”

She also observes, “In today’s world, I think women don’t consider how their outer appearance affects nearly every area of their lives.

“As an example, I have a friend who works from home and homeschools her youngest. She has said she is able to be so much more productive when she intentionally gets ready for the day, putting on an actual outfit instead of staying in her pj's all day long.

“If you work outside the home the same is still true for you. When you leave the house knowing your clothes are neat and tidy, fit you well, and work for the tasks in front of you that day you get a boost of confidence in your ability to do them well,” Weinreis continued.

“When you feel confident in your appearance you naturally project that confidence to the people around you. This spills over into how you do your work and even how you respond to the people around you. It's a small thing to dress well but it makes a bigger impact than you know,” she declares.

Weinreis says that her initial training was online and since then she has had continuing training with Braendel, some in-person in South Carolina and some live online.

She is available for personal style consultations and other services for those in the WyoBraska area or even virtually via e-mail or phone.

Recently Weinreis was invited to be the featured speaker for the Valley Women’s Fellowship hosted at the Summit Christian College.

“The principles of Style 311 are an excellent topic for ladies events at your church and other Christian women’s events,” she notes.

“I was raised in a Christian home and have always known that the Bible is the Word of God. I accepted Jesus into my heart at a Child Evangelism Fellowship 5 Day Club when I was 5 or 6. I was baptized when I was 11 and I am so thankful for the salvation that comes only through Jesus,” she states.

Weinreis explains how her faith is reflected in the name she chose for her image consulting business.

“The name comes from Ecclesiastes 3:11, which says, ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has set eternity in the hearts of men, yet that cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.’” she quotes.

“I love that verse because it tells us that everything, including you and me, is beautiful. The second part is also a good reminder that this world is not all there is. When we trust Jesus alone for salvation, we have eternity to look forward to. These things change the way we live,” says Weinreis.

To learn more, she can be contacted via e-mail at lola@style311.com or call 308-641-2068

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Sharing Faith is its own reward

BAYARD - “Happiness is a warm puppy...,” Peanuts character Lucy van Pelt proclaimed of America’s most beloved beagle, Snoopy, in a 1960’s iconic comic strip. It bears noting that if a dog could warm the heart of the famously opinionated foil of Charlie Brown, the love of a dog is a powerful thing, indeed.

But Jerry Fegler, a computer tech for Platte Valley Companies, knows that firsthand.

Fegler based his search for a dog on another famous pooch, Lassie from the long-running hit tv program named for the title character.

“I was always fascinated with how Lassie would interact with people, and make a positive impact on their lives,” said Fegler, noting that he was also intrigued with the skills it took to train Lassie to do the incredible things she did.

Fegler says that while he looked at Collies and then German Shepherds in his search for a good match, he encountered, “quite by accident” a three year old Belgian Tervuren named Faith owned by breeder Melody Jensen and her husband, Leon, in Fairbury, Nebraska.

Tervurens are characterized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as agile herding dogs known for their intelligence, energy, and elegance.

“I found Faith to be extremely intelligent and trainable. More importantly, she had one of the most sweet, loving personalities you could ask for. Those were the qualities I wanted most from a dog. You could say I found my Lassie,” declared Fegler.

Fegler was encouraged by Faith’s breeder and some of his friends to get involved in some American Kennel Club events which they having been doing for about four or five years, recalls Fegler.

“We started with a Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) test, then some confirmation events, and most recently, an AKC ‘Rally,’” explains Fegler.

He continues, “The Rally event is a ‘team’ sport where you and your dog navigate a course, side-by-side, through a course of 10 to 20 signs. Each sign provides instructions for the next skill or movement to be performed. It’s all about how well you work as a team to perform with the dog under control.”

“Faith and I found ‘Rally’to be fun and interesting,” reports Fegler.

“We have done it a few times. Recently, we managed to earn a ‘Title’when we competed in Cheyenne, competing twice there with two first-place wins.”

Fegler says a ‘Title’ is a permanent recognition earned when a dog has competed successfully at least three times.

“It is a certificate, an honorary letter that is forever added onto part of the dog’s legal name,” he explains.

As fun as competition has been, Fegler says he and Faith discovered an even more rewarding pursuit while visiting an Aunt in one of the local nursing homes.

“I thought she might like to see Faith. We came to visit her and it went extremely well.”

He says more visits followed and soon he and Faith were interacting with the other residents, as well.

“Even after my Aunt was no longer at the facility, the staff there asked me to keep coming back,” he says, recalling their pleasure in how well the residents were responding and the effect Faith was having on them.

Chimney Rock Villa Administrator, Kim Burry says that while she is not usually present when Faith and Jerry come to call on residents, they really appreciate him taking the time to come because she knows that the residents appreciate and enjoy it.

“This is what began for us, a ‘ministry’ of nursing home visitation - or ‘pet therapy,’ you could call it,” says Fegler.

Soon they were visiting other nursing facilities in the area.

“I was witnessing, firsthand, the incredible impact a dog could make in the lives of people, some of whom are withdrawn, depressed, or unresponsive. During our visits, Faith would brighten a resident’s day in a way no human could.”

Fegler observes that Faith could not have a better name.

“She truly has been a gift of God to me, and to the people who have been enriched by her presence in the nursing home,” he notes.

One of those who enjoyed Jerry and Faith’s visits was Bayard Chimney Rock Villa resident, Maurine Berdan, who has since passed away. In its own way, the ministry appeared to work both ways.

“Maurine always had some words of encouragement to me,” he recalls. “I treasured every visit we had.”

Jerry Fegler and Faith reside in Bayard and are regulars at the Chimney Rock Villa on the weekends, he says. They also have a regular visiting schedule at Heritage Estates in Gering. He says they also occasionally drop in at the Veterans’ Home is Scottsbluff.

“The visitation ministry is really the most fulfilling thing I have ever done,” says Fegler.

“We are making an impact on peoples’ lives, many of whom have little contact with people outside the facility they are in. People will really open up when they see a dog, and you can really talk to them.I have had wonderful, meaningful visits with people.

“On occasion, I can talk about my faith and trust in God. Some people are very open to conversations about that. In my visits with Maurine, we frequently talked about Heaven, and what it will be like there. And she is there now,” Fegler concludes, simply.

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