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Cheryl Smith: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Written by Staff on July 16, 2019 – 11:55 am -

Cheryl Smith: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Cheryl Smith: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

A mother of four returns home from church to find her husband’s mangled car, just a block from home. As she enters her house, the phone is ringing. It is the hospital telling her to come quick, that her husband has been in an accident. She asks, ‘How bad is he,’ only to have the nurse on the other end of the line insufficiently cover the receiver while asking another nurse, “Shall I tell her?” At that moment, she knows he is gone. She struggles, wondering why he wouldn’t stop drinking, how she will tell her children their daddy is gone, and how they will ever make it through.

***

After the ending of a tumultuous relationship, a sweet, kind-hearted girlfriend takes him back just one more time. She gives him everything he asks for, including the money in her purse, only to have him return a few hours later to ruthlessly and repeatedly stab her face and body, leaving her lying in a pool of blood. She is found, arms folded, eyes turned heavenward, dead, on her apartment floor.

***

I stand beside my mother’s/her great-grandmother’s casket as the young girl in front of me pours out her heart. Addiction, abuse, and bad lifestyle choices have caused her to lose custody of her three children, and the only way she could attend the funeral was by obtaining a special pass from rehab. She tells me how she has made up her mind to change, and I tell her how proud of her I am. Just a few weeks later, she is released from rehab and everyone thinks she is finally turning her life around. Then someone makes an offer she can’t refuse, and she decides to go back for one more fix. Something goes terribly wrong, and her daddy finds her dead the next morning, lying on his bathroom floor.

***

This stuff isn’t made up. This is real life. Each of these is true and have touched my life and the lives of those I love in a deeply personal way. My mother was the young widow with four children; my niece, Victoria, was the kind-hearted girlfriend; and my great-niece, Ashley, was the young mom in rehab. I could go on and on. There are plenty of stories. You could probably share many of your own. The human condition is something we all have in common. Everybody hurts. We all cry. Things touch our lives, and we are left reeling, sometimes to never fully recover.

So, the question is, why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Why does God look on while such things happen? How can a loving God allow such pain to be inflicted upon His creation? We hear of horrific happenings every evening on the nightly news, and we find ourselves asking the age-old, still-unanswered question again and again: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

In spite of the frequency and number of times it has been asked, the question remains unanswered because to answer this question one would have to be able to see into, know, and fully understand the mind and reasoning of God. We know from Scripture that God is high above us, and His thoughts and ways are beyond what we have the capacity of comprehending.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8,9

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him?” I Corinthians 2:16

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Job 38:1-4

From these verses, we conclude that we can never fully answer the question of why God allows bad things to happen to good people, but as we look at a broader view of Scripture, we can see that God’s original and never-faltering nature is and always has been purely and entirely good.

Our hearts cry, “Why, God?” when bad things happen because deep in each one of our spirits, we believe that God is good. We believe He is sovereign, that He is in complete control, and that He can prevent bad things from happening. So, why doesn’t He?

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“I Have Decided”– A Note From Jessica Horton

Written by Staff on July 9, 2019 – 3:33 pm -

Jessica HortonI Have Decided by Jessica Horton

“No turning back, no turning back”

When I was a child, I remember God being present in my life – even without a stable faith community. I was often lonely, so I would go and swing by myself. I remember loving to swing so much because when I looked up at the sky, I felt Him looking back at me.

 

I felt closest to Him during those times especially, and I sought out every opportunity to be near Him. He felt warm, and I knew He loved me.

 

As I grew older, I began to understand the importance of accepting His invitation to salvation, and when I was nine years old, I decided to follow Jesus.

 

There has been a lot of speculation about this song. Some theologians argue that to “decide” to follow Jesus doesn’t allow the believer to fully understand that Jesus has already done the work of salvation and the gift is given as God’s choice, not our own. I believe both thoughts are true.

 

God knows all things from the beginning of time to the end. He is the first to draw us to Himself – we don’t make the first move. He knows every step we will take and knows every variation of choices in our minds. He sent His Son to redeem the world, He accepted the price as full payment for our sins, and His gift is free.

 

Jessica Horton

Jessica Horton

Yet, He created us with free will. He wants us to choose Him. If we had the choice between all the spoils of the Garden or a bite of the apple, He wants us to choose His amazing gift of abundance. He wants us to turn away from the things of this world and make a choice – “no turning back, no turning back.”

 

The history of this beautiful song is one of absolute terror. In the moments that these words were breathed, the author was commanded to renounce his faith. “I have decided…”

 

The songwriter watched as the village chief of his Indian community murdered his two children while he watched. “Though none go with me…”

 

And just before this man of God was executed himself, he sang the words, “The world behind me…”

 

It is my prayer that we as disciples of Jesus will have this same measure of extraordinary faith, backed by the mighty strength of assurance and firm commitment.

 

Yes, God has already completed the work of salvation. He has already paid the price. But he is calling you and me to choose Him every day and every moment, and receive this incredible gift for ourselves.

 

Have you decided?

 

God,

Thank you for Your incredible gift to us. We know that we are nothing without You. Please help us to see the things that are not from you so that we can turn away from them. Give us the strength to choose You every opportunity that we get. Amen.

 

Scriptures:

Joshua 24:15

John 3:16

John 6:44

Matthew 7:13-14

Revelation 3:20

 

By Jessica Horton

Find out more about Jessica HERE on Facebook or HERE online.

Jessica Horton is a singer/songwriter from Columbus, MS. She was raised in classic country and gospel, and the soul and sound of these classics often find their way into her music. Her songs feature the acoustic guitar, dobro, mandolin, and other roots instruments. On stage, Jessica brings a live aspect to her show by playing guitar and including singable old-time hymns and gospel songs. Offstage, Jessica spends a lot of time with her husband, David and her church family. She serves as a worship leader and youth director at Shaeffer’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Columbus, MS… (for more click here.)

Christian Country at the CreekJessica Horton will be appearing at Christian Country at the Creek, Oct. 30 – 31, 2019, in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. This is a sister event to the Creekside Gospel Music Convention.

For more information on the Christian Country at the Creek and the 2019 Creekside Gospel Music Convention, accommodations, VIP seating, and tickets, contact Rob Patz at 360-933-0741.

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Selena Day: Finding Life Within

Written by Staff on June 20, 2019 – 12:57 pm -

Selena and her husband Chuck DayI married Chuck when I was 22 years old and thus began my journey traveling. I have spent most of my adult life living out of a suitcase. We have raised two daughters from diapers to homeschooling and into young adulthood, while still maintaining a home and staying on the road three to four days out of the week. We had a bus when the girls were very young; they actually learned to walk on a tour bus.

Selena Day and Chuck Day

Selena Day and Chuck Day

I have been to 34 states, and I think 40 (give or take one or two) countries. I tell you all this only to make a point.

Over the past 10 years, the words, ‘Adventure, Explore, and Journey’ have all been percolating through our society. A study recently showed that millennials would rather use their money to travel than to purchase large investment items such as homes, land, stocks. They believe that experience will bring greater happiness to them than material things.

Selena Day and Chuck Day

The Day Family

This article is not meant to dispute this logic because I have had so many amazing experiences while traveling, but I also love coming home. My home, not my parent’s house, but mine. If I come back off the road and feel really tired and don’t want to unpack and wash my clothes for a day or two, I can. No one can tell me that I can’t, because it is my house. There have been weeks in our life that I never unpacked. I came in, took the dirty clothes, washed them and repacked them in our suitcases, and loaded back up. There were clothes strewn all over the house, and the house actually looked cleaner after we left than when we were there.

Selena DayI say all this because one thing I have discovered from all this traveling, is that happiness is not found in anything but that which resides within. I honestly believe that it is Christ within me that brings hope, happiness, and joy; absolutely anything we will ever need in this life. It is through him, in him and with him only that we can live and thrive in this life.  

I have learned that happiness is not found just beyond the horizon and happiness is not found in what you own or what you do. Happiness is living the life you were created to live, and our journey is about discovering what this life is meant to be.  

Selena Day and Chuck DayI am not trying to imply that travel is not suitable for your soul, because I absolutely believe this to be true; but I also think that living a fulfilling life is about so many different things. It is about the people you surround yourself with, it is about the purpose you have in your life.

Don’t judge someone because they choose the life they are living.

Scripture says that love covers a multitude of sins. And the simple definition for sin is; missing the mark. We get the word sin from the Greek word hamartia.  This word was used during the first century church times in Greek literature when telling a Greek tragedy. It was commonly understood to refer to an error or tragic flaw that lead to a chain of plot actions culminating in a reversal from bliss to disaster. It qualified as the failure or deficiency resulting from ignorance, a mistake of judgment, a flaw in character or wrongdoing.

I think this is important to understand when loving others and living our life. Realizing that, Peter believed significantly in the sacrificial love of Christ to change our lives so drastically from every negative influence that we obtain in life, from lousy parenting to the negative effect of friends or colleagues. When we love, we literally change the course of a person’s life for the better.

Selena Day and Chuck Day

Selena Day

Living a wholehearted, full, and happy life can only come with knowing who you are inside. It’s in finding absolute truth as your foundation for all that you do, whether it be in finding the adventure in life when traveling, or being the strong influence of stability by staying in one place, or in my case, doing a little of both.

For me, my truth comes from God. I believe that man cannot save himself. I have a redeemer and he not only saved me once for eternity, but he continually rescues me from adversity. Either by showing me that I am strong and smarter than I once believed, and I can work through my battle, or by miraculously delivering me.

I know that I am loved. No matter what I do or what I say, I am loved by a greater force than I could ever begin to comprehend. And that love gives me the courage to pursue my dreams, to fail and to get up and try again. I am grateful that I have a Savior that loves me and has made way for me to live my best life.  

I pray that if you do not know him, you will stop right now and just talk to him. Just begin to ask questions in your own words and allow him to answer them. He will.

Life is worth living. But real life is in Jesus Christ. Scripture says to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  Zoe, Zao living means to live abundantly, vigorously, fully. So today I pray that if you are struggling wherever you may be; traveling on the road or sitting at home on the couch, you will know that there is a God that loves you and he has a plan for your life.  

Selena Day

Selena Day

Your best days are yet to come.  

By Selena Day

Selena Day is a regular writer for SGNScoops Magazine. She and her husband, Chuck Day, are tireless ministers of God. Chuck is a Christian Country artist.

Selena Day is a motivational speaker and is available to speak at your conference or event.  You may contact her at selenaday@me.com http://www.queenliving.org  http://facebook.com/queenismsbyselenaday. Photographs courtesy of Selena Day.

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Kristina Cornell: NO OTHER NAME — Salvation

Written by Staff on June 11, 2019 – 6:06 pm -

Kristina Cornell

Kristina Cornell

Have you ever been given a special name from someone who, when they use your correct name, it sounds odd?

My neices have a name for me, and when they say, “Aunt Kristina”, it feels less amorous. I have grown to LOVE the name they have given to me: “Aunt TT”. (I guess Kristina is hard to say when you are little.)

Then there is this one, when Bella says: “Mom, I love you.” Oh, my goodness, I live to hear those words. Being called “mom” is music to my heart. It is amazing how special one can feel, just by hearing a familiar voice call their name, even when it is not one’s proper name.

Isabella, my daughter, and I were talking about the Lord and how incredibly good He has been to us. She said, “Mom, the Holy Spirit is dealing with me about a topic and I think you should write a series on it.”

I am always intrigued by Bella hearing God’s voice in her heart.

She said, “I think you should call it ‘No Other Name,’ and it should remind people of all the things that God is. He is salvation, He is healing, He is our deliverer, He is our ever-present help in time of trouble…,” she continued.

Now, hearing my baby girl growing in grace is more than I can handle sometimes. I was so blessed by our conversation that I got chills. It was definitely the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit that was leading this child. I prayed about this series. I prayed over this series. Today, we will begin our series on ‘No Other Name.’

In the Book of Acts, Peter and John were before the council telling them that Jesus Christ, the man whom they crucified, was now whole and that Jesus was in fact “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.” Of course, that was a reference to the Psalms and the prophesy of Isaiah.

Then they proceeded with “And there is salvation in no one else;  for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be  saved.”

Can you even imagine how Peter and John must have felt? Verses five and six tell us that after being held overnight in jail, they were standing before rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, along with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and many others from
the high priest’s family. They were performing miracles in Jesus’ name and the leaders of Jerusalem were not happy. When questioned, they replied with the afore mentioned verses.

The scripture goes on to tell us that though the leadership knew these men were the real deal, they did not know what to do with Peter and John because the 5,000 plus people that were gathering believed in Jesus because of these miracles.

The leaders in Jerusalem decided that it would be best if Peter and John did not speak in or of the name of Jesus anymore. The men refused. The elders released the two men and they
returned to their people. The people began lifting their voices to God by repeating the Psalms of David.

Then they said it!

Such a powerful statement, which I believe brought on the next event.

With unabashed conviction, they said (verses 29 and 30) “And now, Lord, consider their threats, and enable Your servants to speak Your word with complete boldness, as You  stretch out Your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of Your holy servant
Jesus.”

Now in verse 31, it is about to get real. This is where we see their obedience and faith start to shake it up.

“After they had prayed, their meeting place was shaken, and they were all
filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

Oh, the name of Jesus!

It stirs the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of the living God is moved by praying in the name of Jesus.

John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Rom 10:9: “that if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’  and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Phil 2:10-11:”so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.…”

The name of Jesus touches the very heart of God. Just as we love to hear our names called by the people whom we love, so does God. He wants to hear us pray in the name of Jesus, to receive salvation through the name of Jesus, to walk in power because of the name of Jesus.

I pray that the beginning of this series, “No Other Name,” you will see that the name of Jesus first and foremost means salvation.

I pray that if you do not know Him as your Lord, your Savior, that you will pray a prayer of repentance, in Jesus’ name!

Kristina Cornell

His blood was spilled for our
atonement, and when we call out to Him, His blood covers every sin. Even if it is just a whisper, at the name of Jesus, salvation is yours!

By Kristina Cornell

“…I have been delivered so many times by the hand of God that any creativity that I have I only want to give back to Him. I really have nothing else to say, as I have learned that I have nothing of significance to offer of myself. I am just like everyone else, in need of a Savior. I write from my heart, I write devotionals, stories, songs, messages, even starting on a book, and all I have to offer is Jesus and what He has done in my life!” — Kristina Cornell. Visit her website at www.tellthemministries.net.

You can find out more about Kristina on Facebook HERE.

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David Staton says, “Thank You, Dad!”

Written by Staff on June 7, 2019 – 6:03 pm -

David Staton asks: Who are you?

David Staton

The Story behind “Thank You Dad” By David Staton

I have been blessed through the years to write songs for just about every well-known southern gospel artist in our field. Not long ago, I was being interviewed and the interviewer asked me if I had a favorite song that I had written. I didn’t even hesitate when I told him which one was my favorite.  I told him that it was a song that most folks have never heard. Since then, I have added it to my live concerts because the reaction is always the same. I was so fortunate to be raised by Godly parents.  I am one of five kids and we have always been very close. We grew up singing together and had parents that not only poured the word of God into us but showed us through their lives how God loves us unconditionally.

In 2004, I received a phone call from my mom that stopped me in my tracks. She told me that my dad had been showing signs of being confused and disoriented and they were going to the hospital to have a brain scan done. Well, we all began to pray and a few hours later, my mom called again. She told me that the scan had shown a tumor. They said it was operable, but my dad was 71 years old and at his age, the chances of it being a late stage of cancer were likely.

They scheduled surgery for a few days later. I remember telling Mike LeFevre and the guys that I needed some time off. I went to Ohio for dad’s surgery. The day before the surgery, my mom told all of us kids that dad wanted to write each of us a letter telling us how proud he was of us and how much he loved us.

I suggested that rather than dad writing a letter to all of us, that we should write a letter to him telling him how much we love him and how thankful we are that God placed us in his care and allowed us to be raised by such Godly parents. My dad made it through the surgery and we were told that the tumor was stage four (the most advanced) and more than likely, another tumor would come back and be very aggressive.

I watched my dad who had always been so strong, become incredibly weak as he fought so hard to beat the odds. My dad lived for almost one year to the day of his surgery and passed away on September 10, 2005. During that last year, I went to visit my mom and dad as much as I possibly could.

I remember sitting in the living room where us kids were raised, next to my dad’s hospital bed and talking to him and my mom. I would ask questions that most kids never ask their parents. How did you meet? Who introduced you? What did you like to do before five kids came into your life and messed everything up?

At night, I would write down everything I had learned about my parents and began working on this song. I guess the reason this song is so special to me is that from an emotional standpoint, it is the life story of my dad. From a writer’s perspective, the song is both chronologically and structurally sound.

There is a story about each one of the lines in the song, so I’m going to share the lyric first and then, I will tell you a little bit about each line that made me include it and why it’s so special. I’d like to wish every dad a Happy Father’s Day and I hope you enjoy the stories that inspired this song. To hear the song, go to www.davidstaton.com.

THANK YOU, DAD

Verse 1:
He was born in 1932
Where the coal was black and the grass was blue
That Kentucky home’s still standing there today
The way they grew up was hard to believe
They were lucky to have shoes on their feet
The only thing they did harder than work was pray

Verse 2:
Then on a sunny day in fifty-five
He met the lady that changed his life
They vowed to share a life and his last name
Not much hope for a family
The doctor said kids just couldn’t be
But I’m one of five that sure would like to say

Chorus:
Thank you, Dad,
For giving us all more than we needed
For teaching us all to trust in Jesus
When others tried to make us fall, you taught us how to stand
Thank you, Dad,
For bustin’ our butts when we were bad
For holding us close when we were sad
And when we got older for being the best friend that we’ve ever had
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you, dad.

Bridge:
Now when it comes to wisdom, no one has any more than you
I just hope my kids look at me the way I look at you

Thank you, Dad,
For teaching us all how to live our lives
For showing us boys how to love our wives
There’s nothing we could say or do to ever pay you back
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you, Dad,

Here is the breakdown and story behind the lyric:

THANK YOU, DAD

Verse 1:
He was born in 1932
Where the coal was black and the grass was blue
That Kentucky home’s still standing there today
(My dad was born during the depression in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky.  The government declared that it was the poorest area of the country.  When we were young, my dad would tell us stories about how poor they were and the things they had to do to live.  They were so extreme that we always thought he was exaggerating, but when we got older, he took us to the old house where he and 8 siblings were raised and we saw for ourselves just how poor they were.)
The way they grew up was hard to believe
They were lucky to have shoes on their feet
(This line is especially personal.  Each one of the kids got two pair of shoes a year.  One pair was to work in the fields and the other was to wear to school and church.  When my dad was very young, he had a younger brother named Tracy Wallace Staton.  While he was still an infant, he became very ill and died.  My dad had outgrown his shoes and they were too poor to buy him another pair, so he had to wear a pair of his sister’s shoes to the funeral.  My dad did not cry very often, but every time he ever shared that story with anyone, he would cry.)
The only thing they did harder than work was pray
(My dad’s parents were Christians and raised all of their kids in church, so prayer was not just a casual thing they did before a meal, it was a means of survival.  I saw how far they had to carry buckets of water from the stream to their house just to take a bath and how far they had to walk to school every day in the blazing heat or in snow.  It is hard to imagine how they ever survived.)

Verse 2:
Then on a sunny day in fifty-five
He met the lady that changed his life
They vowed to share a life and his last name
(My dad and much of his family moved north to try to find work and escape their surroundings in order to eventually have a better life.  Shortly after moving to Hamilton, OH, one of my dad’s brothers and his wife introduced him to my mom.  After I finished the song, my mom said to me, “You know, it may have been 1956 when we met.”  I told her it was too late because 1955 was a rhyming line in the song and we had already recorded it.  They married in 1958.)
Not much hope for a family
The doctor said kids just couldn’t be
But I’m one of five that sure would like to say
(When my mom was a young girl, she had rheumatic fever, and the doctors told her that she would never be able to have kids.  Well God had other plans because they ended up having five kids.  I’m the middle child and I have two older brothers and a younger sister and brother.  My parents took us to gospel concerts and we grew up singing together.)

Chorus:
Thank you, Dad,
For giving us all more than we needed
(My dad never made a lot of money.  He worked so hard and there was a period of time that he was unemployed.  I can remember him doing work and different jobs and I couldn’t believe how hard he would work. Looking back, I’m amazed at how God provided for us and exceeded our basic needs.)
For teaching us all to trust in Jesus
(Mom and dad raised us in church and we were all saved at a very young age.  My dad was a Sunday school teacher in our church and he would study the Bible every night before he went to bed.  My mom told us that when my dad was first saved, he got a bible and he and my mom would stay up reading and studying until they would fall asleep.  They pursued knowledge and wisdom through the scriptures and then they poured it into us kids.)
When others tried to make us fall, you taught us how to stand
(I could tell you countless stories of how mom and dad taught us to stand up for ourselves and for each other when we were kids.  If we didn’t defend ourselves and each other when we were in school, we would be in trouble when we got home.)
Thank you, Dad,
For bustin’ our butts when we were bad
(This line is self-explanatory. We all knew that dad’s belt had another purpose than just holding his pants up.  We all still have signs of how those spankings affected us.  Respect for others, self-control, thankfulness, kindness and other crazy, unheard of things are still side effects from those spankings.)
For holding us close when we were sad
(Right alongside of the discipline was unconditional love.  When we were sad, hurting or discouraged, it was mom and dad who made us feel loved and who gave us the self-confidence to reach for our dreams.)
And when we got older for being the best friend that we’ve ever had
(I can’t tell you the times after we were grown that each one of us kids would call my dad for advice.  There isn’t a day goes by when we all wish we could pick up the phone or go see him.)
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you, Dad

Bridge:
Now when it comes to wisdom, no one has any more than you
I just hope my kids look at me the way I look at you
(With kids of my own, I can’t tell you how many times I stop and think about how my dad would have handled a certain situation.  I really try to follow his example of being a dad.  I sure hope my kids look back and think of me like I think of my dad.)

Thank you, Dad
For teaching us all how to live our lives
For showing us boys how to love our wives
(I’ve heard it said that the best thing a dad can do for their kids is to love their mom.  My dad really loved my mom and it showed in what he did for her and how he treated her.  That’s one of those behaviors that you don’t realize who is teaching you or how they’re teaching you until much later in life.)
There’s nothing we could say or do to ever pay you back
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you, Dad
(We always knew that mom and dad loved us.  They told us and more importantly, they showed us.  We told our mom and dad that we loved them over and over again, but after my dad went to be with the Lord, I thought of so many times I should have told him when I didn’t.  If you have a mom and dad that are still with you, go hug them and thank them for loving you.)

This was the last song we played at my dad’s funeral.  After moving to Hamilton, OH, my dad worked for one company and retired after 35 years.  At my dad’s visitation, over 1500 people filed through the funeral home to pay their last respects.  I heard a great preacher say once that you will know the people who you have really made a mark on because they will cry at your funeral.  Well that day, there were a lot of tears shed because so many would miss my dad.   But through the tears, there was also celebrating because we know where my dad is today!

By David Staton

Listen below to “Thank You Dad”

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Selena Day: It’s Fashion Week!

Written by Staff on June 4, 2019 – 8:17 am -

Chuck Day and Selena Day

Chuck Day and Selena Day

It is fashion week here in the south, and my social media feed has been awash with all the latest fashion trends coming out for the next season.

I love fashion, especially shoes! I must confess I have a bit of a shoe addiction which I am happy to NOT overcome.

I love art…I love clothes, shoes, and purses…I hate coffee…I am totally and passionately devoted to Jesus…I could eat chocolate with every meal…I drink hot tea like most people drink coffee and I love my family.

I am so grateful for my husband. I think he is the most charming and funniest man I have ever met. I am forever thankful that God has allowed me to live this crazy life that I have been given. Even though some days are harder to walk through than others, I believe that when I look through the filter of Christ in me the hope of glory, I can see a beautiful tapestry God has woven for my life.

I believe what the scriptures say, “We fearfully and wonderfully made.” God created us for a purpose. Our job is to discover who we are in Him so that our destiny can come forth in vibrant reflections of His nature, allowing our most authentic self to be seen.

Last summer while Chuck was singing at a venue in Louisiana, I saw a plaque on the wall in the back of the theater with the quote: “Art is something you do for yourself. A craft is something you do for everyone else.”

This resonated with me, and I wrote it down in my journal to ponder on.

chuck and Selena Day

Chuck Day

Over 30 years ago at the age of 22, I married into a family full of talent. Everyone could sing and play an instrument. I was the oddball, and during that season God took me on a journey of self-discovery to uncover the artist heart within myself.

I have always been an observer of people. Chuck will fuss at me when we travel because he says that I stare too much at people. I guess I do, but I love watching people interact. I love watching how people in different cultures express their unique creativity. In Texas, Wrangler jeans and cowboy hats are the fashion, while in Thailand, people wear specific colors during the week to honor the King.

I am amazed at the artistry in the temples of Asia. The precision of the arrangement for the flowers and the sculpting of the fruit that is daily made to pay homage to their golden and marble gods.

I listen in awe as beautiful African ladies stand up to begin singing their praise songs to our God. The vocal ability of these women would put most of the entertainers on our radio to shame. In South and Central America, the embroidery the women sew into the everyday clothing would rival anything found walking the runways and fashion houses around the world. There are so many talented people all across this world that we live in.

We are in the ministry, but we are also in the entertainment arena. We have decided to use the arts for our Savior and to share the talent and abilities he has given us with those around us. We have chosen to use our craft to bring the kingdom of God to the places He opens for us.

When you decide to make your art into a craft, it is like Peter stepping out of the boat. Fear can paralyze you, but you must focus on the one who calls you. Who is beckoning you out of the familiar boat into the unknown open seas?

As I have discovered, your craft becomes more than just an artistic expression, it is about becoming vulnerable and inviting humanity to be a part of your process.

Selena Day and Queen LivingPeople say that artists are temperamental with much vanity; heck, I have even made the statement that artists can be narcissistic. And without any wisdom, this could be the condition of an artist soul. Most people do not daily open themselves up to allow the masses to critically dissect the divine within them. So, without looking at wisdom to guide them, it is easy to become self-absorbed with your reflection.

Proverbs says “Trust in the Lord completely and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make.”

You may not think you are talented, but I believe that everyone has creativity and talent within them. You just have to choose to practice what you are being called to and be willing to step out of the boat of security to do the impossible.

Remember that Peter did not walk on water, because we know that it is scientifically impossible to walk on liquid. Peter stepped out and walked on the very word of God. He did the unthinkable because his focus was not on his ability to perform, his focus was on the person he had a relationship with: The Water-Walker, the Multiplier of Provision, the Man who talked to the storms. Peter took the focus off of himself and his ability to do something that only one other person could do and placed it in command of the Savior.

What is God calling you to do? Is it time for you to take your first step out of the boat?

Let me encourage you today to look upward at the one who is the Master artisan of all and let him guide you into the realm of the impossible. He trusts you with all that he has placed inside of you.

By Selena Day

Selena Day is a regular writer for SGNScoops Magazine. She and her husband, Chuck Day, are tireless ministers of God. Chuck is a Christian Country artist.

Selena Day is a motivational speaker and is available to speak at your conference or event.  You may contact her at selenaday@me.com http://www.queenliving.org  http://facebook.com/queenismsbyselenaday. Photographs courtesy of Selena Day.

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Israel on Fire

Written by Staff on May 30, 2019 – 8:05 pm -

Israel on Fire (Photo by Marcus Kauffman on Unsplash)

(Photo by Marcus Kauffman on Unsplash)Thursday, May 30, 2019, Charisma News reported (from Standing With Isreal):

Fires devastate Israel as over 3500 evacuate

By Jonathan Feldstein

Israel needs your prayers—and help. Almost overnight, wildfires broke out, scorching acres and burning dozens of houses, including entirely destroying a whole community. Over 3500 people have been evacuated as Israel braces for more. So far.

Israel is considering declaring a national emergency due to fear of the spreading of existing and igniting of new fires. Temperatures are expected to reach a sweltering 110 F in areas between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The Dead Sea and Jordan Valley are expected to see even higher temperatures, as much as 118 F at the lowest place on earth.

Parallel to this, on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to reach out to nearby countries for “immediate” help to put out the hundreds of fires that were ravaging the country. In response, the Foreign Ministry said Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Croatia were sending help, but the aircraft and their teams would only be able to depart for Israel on Friday, leaving Israel still vulnerable as the temperatures climb and the potential for more fires is expected to continue.

For the rest of the story, click here

Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. He is president of RunforZion.com. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes a regular column for Standing With Israel at charismanews.comand other prominent web sites. He can be reached at firstpersonisrael@gmail.com.


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Jessica Horton: “How Great Thou Art”

Written by Staff on May 16, 2019 – 10:34 am -

Jessica Horton

Jessica Horton

How Great Thou Art: “Thy power throughout the universe displayed” (written by Stuart K. Hine, published 1949).

Melissa walked into the doctor’s office, clutching her purse tightly. Inside her bag were the typical clues of motherhood – a few toys, wipes, and a baggie of goldfish crackers. She considered eating a few, just to give her hands something to do, but then she changed her mind – suddenly afraid that she might be feeding her fear instead. After all, she’d been through this before. The odds were not in her favor. As the doctor turned the handle to the room, her ears began to ring and her heart began to race.

“Mrs. Nichols,” he said, “your tests are back and there is no cancer.”

God is all-powerful – omnipotent. He is the creator of the earth and has always existed.

As a kid, I used to lie awake at night, straining to know the unknowable truth of His ever-present nature. He just is.

Throughout the Bible, we’ve seen our all-powerful God do many great acts that we struggle to understand. One such incident that I often think about is the flood. He destroyed the earth to make it new because there was no good to be found, and it was in desperate need of a reset. Sound familiar?

But afterward, He did a strange thing. He sent a sign to let them know He would never destroy the earth again. Why did He do that? He certainly did not have to! The world is His to create and destroy as He sees fit, and we are in no position to criticize Him. But by sending this sign, I believe He showed that His great love and care are just as powerful as His wrath.

rainbowIn this world, where our sins run rampant and nations are considered godless, it seems logical that God would destroy it in order to start again with a faithful few. After all, He’s done it before. The odds are not in our favor.

I believe God sent this sign because just like in Melissa’s story, we would continue living in fear and dread until He gave us assurance. There is no way that we could live the purposeful, joyful, free life God has created for us while we war against dread. Anyone who battles with anxiety can attest to this truth. I can’t pretend to know why God does all the things He does, but I do know this – He is all-powerful and all-knowing, and this same God loves us more than we could ever imagine.

God, It is astounding to me that I can call you by name and speak to You. It is even more amazing that You hear me when I call. Thank You for holding us in Your hand and caring for us in ways we cannot even comprehend. Amen.

Scriptures: Genesis 6:9-9:17 Job 26:7-14 Psalm 147:4-5 Hebrews 1:3 Isaiah 55:8-9

Jessica HortonBy Jessica Horton

Find out more about Jessica HERE on Facebook or HERE online.

Jessica Horton is a singer/songwriter from Columbus, MS. She was raised in classic country and gospel, and the soul and sound of these classics often find their way into her music. Her songs feature the acoustic guitar, dobro, mandolin, and other roots instruments. On stage, Jessica brings a live aspect to her show by playing guitar and including singable old-time hymns and gospel songs. Offstage, Jessica spends a lot of time with her husband, David and her church family. She serves as a worship leader and youth director at Shaeffer’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Columbus, MS… (for more click here.)


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Kristina Cornell: Sometimes the Shadows Are Cold

Written by Staff on May 14, 2019 – 8:30 am -

Kristina Cornell

Kristina Cornell

Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”

This is one of the most well-known verses in the Bible. But what does that mean? What is the “valley of the shadow of death?” We hear this verse a lot at funerals and to comfort Christians in really difficult times of loss, but what is the most accurate translation of the original Hebrew text?

The Hebrew word for “shadow of death” is sal-ma-wet, which means “darkness” or “darkest shadows.” As we are reading in the context of the Hebrew, as it was written, we would say “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, which is the darkest valley, I will fear no evil.” The verse goes on to read, “for YOU are with me.”

I am going to pause. Although, this entire Psalms 23 passage is POWER PACKED with amazing promises for believers, I want to visit five words that MOVED me in a different way as I was studying for this devotional. “FOR YOU ARE WITH ME.”

I have faced some really tough things in this life. I remember looking at my pastor and telling him that I am not afraid to die, that if I did not wake up the following morning it would be ok with me. I proceeded by saying, “However, I am afraid to live; I do not know how to move through this.” Have you ever felt that way? Even though I am a child of God, a weapon for the Kingdom, a “right-fighter”, an alpha female-go getter, I am human. You are human.

When we consider David’s history, we can sort of understand why he realized his deep need for the Lord and why the Lord was truly his Savior.

David faced potential fatality while caring for his sheep. As just a boy, he fought away a lion and a bear to protect his flock. David was fearless in the face of Goliath. He had a warrior’s heart, prepared for battle even when it made no sense. With all odds stacked against him, he stood strong, faithful, and fearless.

David was tactical in his dealings with Saul. He used stealth and wisdom. He also brought great comfort to Saul as he skillfully played music and provided peace for his predecessor.

David was an anointed King. He was meant to be the King of Israel, the royal bloodline of Jesus. David was the “apple of God’s eye”. He found favor in the heart of the Father.

David lusted after a woman with whom he then had an affair, the woman became pregnant, and he had her husband killed. David was a man, in need of THE Savior.

Now, with that very brief history in mind, reading this passage, well it reads a little differently. He was not just a little shepherd boy writing a song. He was a fearless warrior, a revered leader, a skilled musician, and a sinner.

In all honesty and conviction, having a real human experience with God, David wrote: “Yea, though I walk through the darkest valley, the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for YOU are with me.”

I can imagine that David must have thought that sometimes the shadow, the darkest valley, is so cold. We cannot see the light of day; we cannot feel the warmth of the sun. Sometimes we cannot feel the light of our Father, the warmth of His arms. It is scary and unsure. Fear grips our hearts and we want to sit down and not move through to the other side. It is in that darkest valley, that shadow of what feels like death, that David reminded himself, “FOR YOU ARE WITH ME.” God did not need for David to tell Him where He was, David needed David to tell himself where God was.

But wait! What about Ps. 91:1 We believe that the scripture was an account by David but was actually Moses’ writing of the exodus. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”? David was recording this song of his hero; he was reminding himself of what the forefathers of his faith sang as they headed to the Promised Land. Actually, there are seven times in the book of Psalms that “shadow” is referenced as a hiding place of comfort and keeping.

Yet, even as I read these scriptures, I am transported to times that I, personally, was in that covert place with God, under His wings, because I was so wounded that I could not move. But guess what? Even that shadow felt cold. I am sure Moses felt the weight of the world, cold, lonely, scared, frustrated, angry when he returned from the mountain to find the Israelites building an idol, or as David must have felt when he was running for his life from Saul. That shadow of hiding and protection felt like I was so far removed from everyone and everything, it felt dark and cold, so lonely and isolated.

David KNEW God! David CONNECTED with God! David LOVED God! David CRIED OUT to God! David wrote this in his old age: Psalms 37:23-25 “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the LORD is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.”

For all of the trials and triumphs that David faced, these are the words that he wrote about his Father. It seems as though David figured out that the source of the shadow does not make the circumstance less dark, less cold, less isolated.

The source of the LIGHT that is creating the shadow is all that matters.

And just like David, we have to remind ourselves “FOR YOU ARE WITH ME”.

Kristina Cornell

When we recognize that the Light of the World is the author and finisher of our faith; He is the Alpha and Omega, the Great I Am; His word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path; and He will NEVER leave us or forsake us, THAT is when the shadows do not matter.

The Light that is larger than the circumstance, is shining on us, and He holds our hands as we walk with Him.

By Kristina Cornell

“…I have been delivered so many times by the hand of God that any creativity that I have I only want to give back to Him. I really have nothing else to say, as I have learned that I have nothing of significance to offer of myself. I am just like everyone else, in need of a Savior. I write from my heart, I write devotionals, stories, songs, messages, even starting on a book, and all I have to offer is Jesus and what He has done in my life!” — Kristina Cornell. Visit her website at www.tellthemministries.net.

You can find out more about Kristina on Facebook HERE.

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Amy Oxenrider asks, “Who’s Your Daddy?”

Written by Staff on May 9, 2019 – 10:47 am -

Sweet Water by Amy Oxenrider

Sweet Water by Amy Oxenrider

Sweet Water by Amy Oxenrider

Who’s Your Daddy – Part One

Christians often refer to the Almighty God as their Heavenly Father, Abba Father, or Daddy… but do we really know who he is? Amy Oxenrider takes us on a journey to delve into the “who” of the God of the universe…

Exodus 3:11-15
“But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, “What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?’
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites; ‘I Am has sent me to you.”
God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob – has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.”

Sitting back and looking over my life, I can see how God’s finger has led me from place to place to bring me to this point. I can also see how God was so many things to me; he was and is what I needed, and continue to need, at any particular time.

Throughout history, one can clearly see the hand of God, the physical presence of God, and the Spirit of God dwelling among us and taking care of those who trust and believe in him wholeheartedly. He is and continues to be “I Am;” all we need. Christians often need to be reminded of all God is each and every day. Let us begin at the beginning.

Jehovah-Bara means Lord creator. Do you realize that there was nothing at all desirable of the earth until God worked upon it? But, when God works, life takes place. Dead things become alive. Void things become filled. When God works, things change for the better.

Jehovah-Bara was at the beginning of creation and before we were created in our mother’s womb. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

rushing waterHe is our creator as well as the creator of the universe. When was the last time you chose to praise God for just who he is? Do you praise him only for what he can do for you? Do you praise him only when things go wrong? We should have praises on our lips throughout the day, each and every day for just who he is, and not for the sole purpose of what he can do for us.

This may seem very minute to some, but I find myself saying, “Thank you Lord for allowing me to see this mistake.” When I find myself typing an article or a psycho-educational evaluation, I often thank God for allowing me to see my mistakes. And this tends to happen several times throughout the day.

Sometimes I wonder, how often do I praise him, instead of praying and asking for something he can provide. Please do not misunderstand this statement. I believe God wants his children to come to him with our needs. However, I also believe he wants to be loved and hear prayers of thanksgiving.

The Hebrew word for Bara means to create out of nothing. God spoke the world, universe, and all our finite brains cannot understand into existence. All he had to do was speak, and it occurred. What power and authority our God has. Our lives were as an empty canvas until God took control. He then molded us and made us into what he has planned for our lives. He is patient with his creations and loves us all so much that his mercies are new each and every day.

Amy Oxenrider introduces Sweet Water

Amy Oxenrider

I want to close part one with a little humor. Three scientists had a conversation with God and indicated mankind no longer needed him because we have reached a point in our intelligence that we can do all he can. These cocky, arrogant scientists told God they could prove it to him. God simply said, “Ok, I will take your challenge.” The scientists told God they were going to make a man out of dirt. As they knelt down and began forming the image of a man, God spoke up and said, “Gentleman, I believe you need to get your own dirt. All of this belongs to me.”

Something out of nothing, that is what he has done with my life. That is what he does with all true believer’s lives. He takes a void and empty place and fills it with love, peace, and compassion for others. He takes simple pieces of clay and makes them the most beautiful creations in his eyes. And remember, God doesn’t make junk!

Much love,
Amy Duncan Oxenrider

Amy Duncan Oxenrider, the daughter of Grant and Shelia Duncan, is married to Jason Oxenrider and they have three sons, Brady, Weston, and Rylan.  Amy works as a psychometrist for the Mississippi Department of Education. She also writes for Pure Gospel Magazine and is now a member of SGNScoops.  A former member of the Riders, Amy continues to minister through singing and speaking engagements.  She is excited to see what her future holds and longs to uplift the name of Jesus Christ wherever the doors may open.  Find Amy on Facebook HERE.

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