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  • Writer's pictureQueen Ikikima Ruddell

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

Take heart. We’ve all heard that expression before, haven’t we?

I’ve never known its exact meaning but have always assumed, due to context clues, that it means something along the lines of “be comforted.” I finally looked up the dictionary definition and learned that it meant “feel encouraged,” “take comfort,” or “take confidence from something.” That last definition has come to mean a lot to me through-

out this heavy year.  2020 has been rough for all of us. There has been global fear, unrest, and uncertainty, which has made it difficult to find peace. It has been difficult, yes, but not impossible. There’s a bible verse in the book of John that has helped me to, as the dictionary says, take confidence in something. 

John 16:33 says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” This is Jesus talking. He had been teaching the disciples and revealing what was to come. The part where he says, “here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows,” was where he was summing up the hardships to come.  I think you might agree with me that we are definitely in a time of trials and sorrows, but what Jesus said to the disciples applies to us also. He says to take heart, in other words, take confidence in something. And what is the “something” he’s referring to? It is the fact that He has overcome the world.  So no matter what terrors your eyes see and what troubles this world brings, take heart in the fact that Jesus has already overcome it. Sometimes, it takes a little while to see the physical manifestation of that truth, but know that the time WILL see it before your very eyes. In the meantime, you’ll need to make a conscious decision not to be deterred by what things currently look like. 

For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) The world issues playing out before us are no surprise to God. He has already laid out solutions. Our not seeing the solutions does not change the fact that they are already in play.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) There is nothing too big for God and this is because there is nothing bigger than God. It makes sense to feel powerless against a pandemic. It’s understandable to be discouraged from believing racial injustice that has lasted for centuries will ever end. It is tempting to lose all hope in these dark times, but take heart because you serve a God who is capable of making the impossible possible.  God parted the sea for the Israelites to escape from the Egyptians. God made the sun stand still for Joshua and his army. Jesus healed countless people throughout the new testament and this includes bringing the dead back to life. Then Jesus went on to die for the entire Human race, freeing us from eternal damnation. And we know how that story goes. He came back to life and lives on the right hand of His father, our father, God. Let’s not read the bible as if its chapters are imagined stories written in some distant time. The bible is the history of the Human race’s relationship with a supernatural God.  We need supernatural intervention in these hard times. Thankfully, the God we serve is a supernatural, endless, all-powerful, all-knowing being who

unconditionally loves us, his children and wants to do more than we can imagine for us.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) So take heart because we are not forgotten. In fact, He is working hard for us behind the scenes. Wait on the Lord. He will surely show Himself.  In the meantime, I pray God sharpens our sight so that we can recognize what He is doing in our daily lives. He’s doing so more than we notice, so much more than we are focusing our eyes to see. So I pray that He causes us to notice, and that He calms us enough to accept the peace that He has made available for us in Jesus’ name. 

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  • Veronica Giles

Updated: Feb 21, 2023


I think most people think of Thanksgiving in November as the major event of the month. I too love the thought of family gatherings, an over the top meal complete with delectable desserts. However, this November with COVID 19 and the damage from the consistent hurricanes has given me a deeper sense of giving thanks. With so many people still grieving from the loss of loved ones and with the economic crunch that has subsequently put a major dent in the pockets and on the tables of so many, I am grateful and excited to do more for others this year. I deem this, the year for new traditions. Our family has decided to scale back and give more and because traveling for us is not back on the table yet, we will enjoy our families via zoom this year. Grilling out is something we have on our list to do this year in lieu of the traditional heavy deal meal. We have so much to be thankful for and November is a great time to press in and take inventory of our blessings and adjust our traditions to allow us to give more. I challenge you to gather your family and discuss ways to give differently because this is different November. Luv

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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Giles

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

Whether you call this season Fall or Autumn, or Harvest Time, it is (in my opinion) the most beautiful season of all. As the leaves turn from green to different shades of orange, yellow, and red, the kaleidoscope of colors is breath taking. The summer temperatures are settled by the Autumn breezes and it is time to pull out your cozy sweater and take a stroll in a park filled with the remarkably magnificent colors that are on display. Can you just imagine, grabbing a cup of pumpkin spice coffee and your favorite blanket or sweater and relaxing in front of a bon fire in the park or in your own backyard! My children and I would lie among the leaves and make leaf angels before raking them up, and there is something about an Autumn sunset that is quite different for summer.

Summer is a busy time for most of us, with trying to arrange family vacations, family reunions, summer park events and the like, I always feel like there is something to do! So, I exhaustingly welcome Autumn. It’s slow and easy, it’s mellow and mild. It is my time to reassess- to take more than a moment to sit and rest and listen and observe and reflect on the year that is almost over! As I observe the leaves falling, I also acknowledge and say goodbye to the flock of birds beginning their flight further south before the winter season begins. I see the flowers that were once in full bloom begin to wither or droop just a little bit more each day. The tomatoes from the garden are few and the peppers and cucumbers are just about gone. It all happens slow and easy… there is no rush, so I stop and take it all in. I am Grateful and I Appreciate the wonders of the Creator’s creations. As I close my eyes, my head spins as I take in all the wonders of the universe, it causes me to take to my knees and Thank Him! As I become overwhelmed with His presence, I begin to smell His love in the Autumn breeze, I begin to fell His Touch as a leaf touches my forehead, and I AM TRULY GRATEFUL. As I sit in His presence, my senses are overwhelmed and excited by the smells of this season… Sweet potato, pumpkin and pecan pies begin to fill the air as if I am in my grandma’s kitchen. Thanksgiving! He reminds me of Thanksgiving! Giving Thanks! I grab a pen and paper and begin to write down all the things that I am Grateful for, and as I begin page three, I realize that this could go on indefinitely. Such a freedom came over me!! And now I am prompted to stop writing and look up to the heavens and yell really loud… Thank You Lord for Blessing Me!

I pray that this writing will cause you to take more than a moment in this season to reassess, to rest, observe, to listen and most of all Give Thanks!

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