Friday Favorites: From Ashes To Beauty June 2017 News

Happy Friday Friends – Sheryl’s June News!

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 2 Thess. 5:16-18

June Joy! I love summer. What? Summer in Bakersfield? Yes, that’s right. It’s often over 100 degrees here. And I am thankful for my hometown. What about you? Do you dread the future? Is this is your first summer without a loved one? Maybe you are facing difficulty? Regardless of the reasons why you don’t feel joy, here’s something to consider. You might be stuck. It helps to take time to notice why you might not be healthily moving through your trial. The relaxed schedule of the summer months can offer you time to seek God’s peace instead of staying where you are. This is called recovery.

At the Mission at Kern County’s discipleship program many experienced healing and hope as the women learned how to move through their losses. Upon completing GriefShare, we participated in a memorial service remembering our losses – time, relationships, and pets and loved ones.

I am so excited to work with an amazing team to put together our Fall Fundraiser: Unquenchable Faith with keynote speaker Carol Kent. Please save the date of Monday, September 18, 2017. You won’t want to miss the evening. It will be a memorable experience and strengthen your faith.

 This is Jason and Carol Kent. Don’t miss the amazing testimony from Carol Kent whose only son, Jason is serving a life sentence in a federal prison. Carol has experienced life giving hope and a wildfire faith that is contagious. Mark your calendars, now for “Unquenchable Faith” Monday 9/18/17 in Bakersfield, CA.

Why should you join us for Unquenchable Faith? You will hear encouraging reports from those impacted by Sheryl’s teaching, training, coaching and counseling ministry. You will have the opportunity to win a cruise. You can bid on fabulous auction items. You can network with friends and other ministry partners from across the USA.

Grace and Cor Koelewjin with Sheryl. Please pray for preparation and travel to Tororo, Uganda July 27 to Aug 8 to work with Grace and Cor Koelewjn. This dynamic couple cares for orphans and trains leaders in Uganda.  The focus of this trip will be Freedom In Christ – Discipleship Course. To donate to trip expenses of $3,500, go to www.ficm.org and note #86 – Freedom for Leaders.

I hope you can take time to be restored this summer. Please plan to join us in September to revive your faith and renew your joy!

PS: It is our joy to pray for you. My husband, Jim Turner and I have ‘got you covered!’

Much love – Sheryl and Jim

 

Monday Motivation: Eyes on Him

Monday Motivation: Eyes on Him

What motivates you? As we plan for the week ahead, let’s consider what God has planned.

Here’s how it works: I remember when my kids were toddlers; I didn’t let them out of my sight. It’s a parent thing – we keep our children or grandchildren in range of sight so we can try to protect them from evil and attempt to keep them out of harm’s way.

In some ways our God’s care and concern over us, his blessed children is similar. Yet his true desire and passion is much more than we can ever comprehend. 2 Chronicles 16:9 explains God’s constant watch care over us, ”For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” In my mind’s eye, I picture the Lord’s scope of vision like a 360 degree camera, nothing and no one can escape his view. God’s eyes are on us all the time, we are never out of his sight.

Psalm 33:16-19 reminds us, “No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.”

His eyes on us, but are our eyes on Him? Refuse to take your eyes off of the only One who can direct your path, keep you safe and prosper you. For those of us who are parents or grandparents, we can relate to watching over our children or grandchildren with care. However, we can learn additional lessons from the art of archery:

  1. Clearly see your target – keep your goal in mind. Make your main goal be to spend the first hour of your day with God.
  2. Notice external factors that could affect hitting the target – eliminate external barriers or distractions that could prevent you from reaching your goal. Plan ahead — the night before, make sure you have your Bible, journal, study materials and even a pen ready for your time alone with God.
  3. Be aware of your own readiness to ensure you are ready to hit the target – Eliminate distractions, set your alarm and your coffee pot to ensure success. Speak truth over yourself and your time alone with God. Plan ahead for the opportunity to walk close to God. Celebrate your victory and remind yourself of your identity in Christ. Failed in the past? You have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony.

What are you aiming for? I hope you are keeping your eyes on Him. By understanding and implementing just a few things will make all the difference in how we work, play and live. You will find others will ask you how it’s done. And that brings us back to the reason for it all. That all eyes are on Him. Give Him glory. Here’s a closing prayer from Psalm 25:14,15.

Dear Lord, thank you that you “confide in those who fear you; you make your covenant known to us.” I pray that “my eyes are ever on you Lord, for only you will release my feet from the snare.” I choose to keep my focus on you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Friday Favorites: How To Regroup the Troops

How to Regroup the Troops

What battles rage on your field today? Take “time out” to regroup your troops and “stand down.” Are you disappointed in someone who has let you down? I love this quote from W. Glynn Evans,

How does this happen? We must ‘take our position, stand still and wait (watch) for God to work.’ And that is the hardest part. We are not very good at waiting. Are you disappointed in your job, suffering from financial loss, grieving a loved one, struggling with addiction? Here are four lessons from 2 Chronicles 19, the battle of King Jehosaphat:

1. One of the most difficult things to do in doing battle God’s way is to stop.  “Cease striving and know I am God,” Psalm 46:10.

2. When we are stopped, we must stand still.  “Take your position, stand still, and watch the Lord’s victory” 2 Chronicles 19:17

3. Do you think God is taking too long? God wants us to wait on his timing.  “That is why I wait expectantly, trusting God to  help, for He has promised,” Psalm 130:5

4.We must trust Him – that’s called belief.  “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm” ”2

“Then all the men returned to Jerusalem, with King Jehosaphat leading them, overjoyed that the Lord had given them victory over their enemies” 2 Chronicles 19:21

Let’s pray,

“Dear Father, thank you for the opportunity to submit to your will today. We choose to “stand down.” I commit all of those who are struggling with disease and death to your plan, give them peace, comfort and hope in your plans for their future. Thank you for this chance to stop, stand still, wait and believe. Lord, protect my family and friends from everything but what will glory you the most. We praise you in advance for the opportunity to celebrate and glorify you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Worldwide Wednesday: Q Pray for Qatar

Pray Around the World!

Greetings, Friends — it’s time to pray on Worldwide Wednesday – Q –

I am reminded of the prayer our Lord Jesus prayed for his disciples and for us in John 17:15 “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” Please pray these words today for yourself, your family, your church, your community and our brothers and sisters in Qatar. Here’s a bit of information to encourage and enlighten you about the people for whom you are praying.

Qatar

Official language: Arabic    Languages: 6 All languages

Religion

Largest Religion: Muslim

Religion                 Pop % Ann Gr
Christians 89,142 5.91 2.2
Evangelicals 14,552 1.0 3.3
Muslim 1,333,206 88.39

Challenges for Prayer

Expatriates are drawn from many nations by the high earnings in Qatar, but

Pray for the employment opportunities (from manual labour up to executive positions) to be filled by Christians who would be an intentional Kingdom presence in Qatar.

http://www.operationworld.org/qata

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for open doors for Muslims to hear and receive the Gospel.

  • Pray for a deep spiritual hunger amid such material wealth.

  • Pray for the birth of an indigenous church focused on sharing the Gospel with all Qataris.

SUMMARY

The State of Qatar, unlike many other Middle Eastern nations, has successfully avoided the unrest and violence of the Arab Spring. The peninsula nation bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia was part of the Turkish-Ottoman Empire until 1918, and then operated under British protection until 1971. The nation’s power has resided solely in the Al Thani family since the mid 1800s – from the days of pearl fishing and being one of the poorest Gulf states to the nation’s current vast oil wealth. In 2007,

http://prayercast.com/qatar.html

Let’s pray, “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the words of Jesus. We pray for jobs, for opportunities and for favor for those in need. We ask you for protection, strength and guidance for ourselves, our families, our churches, our communities and our brothers and sisters in Qatar. “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” John 17:15  In Jesus name amen.”

Monday Motivation: Search For Peace Through Contentment Training

Monday Motivation: Search for Peace Through Contentment Training 

Every few months, I take a long drive in my car alone. I spend the first few hours speaking heartfelt prayers outloud to God. It is amazing therapy for my soul. God’s word says it’s good for us to be open before God Psalm 62:8 “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

I used to think I had to clean up my act before I went to God with my requests.

But God wants us to bring all the messes we’ve made to him, he has already planned how he will clean it up. He wants us to trust Him to make a message out of  our mess. Phil 4:12 reminds us “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

The way it works for me is: I begin by telling God how frustrated and upset I am feeling. It really helps to pour out my heart, share my feelings and release my pent-up emotions. A good cry goes a long way.

I ask God to increase my awareness of His presence with me. I listen in the depths of my spirit for God’s response. God brings helpful scriptures to my mind, which bathe my mind and heart in them. And then I praise Him, this lifts my spirits like nothing I’ve felt before. God is up to something new. Isaiah 43:18-19

Let’s pray, “Father, thank you for arranging messes in our lives to help us to be honest with you. Thank you for caring about our soul and wiring us to need you. In Jesus’ Name Amen.”

Friday Favorites: Sheryl’s From Ashes To Beauty May 2017 Newsletter

It’s May and things are ‘on the grow,’ including Sheryl’s teaching, training, coaching and counseling ministry. Our April event was a great evening of fun, food and fellowship. At “A Time To Grow” we hosted family, friends and ministry partners at Edwin and Kaye Camp’s Tractor Museum. The farm setting seemed like very fitting place to share how exciting growth is taking place in Sheryl’s ministry.

What a joy to share Sheryl’s 

families, workplaces, ministries and leadership.

(L to R) Bishop Andrew & Ann Marie Bills founders of The Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network, hostess Kaye Camp, Robert & Christine Mc Duff, Sheryl & husband Jim Turner, Carol & Hank Wilcox enjoy the fun of “A Time To Grow.”

(L to R) Pastor Wendell & Lynda Vinson with Carlos & Amy Baldovinos and other friends fellowship at Sheryl’s event with a delicious catered meal by Salty’s Bar-B-Q.

 

 

 

 

…They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1 & 3

 

 

 

 

– Tami Bettingfield (L) and Cynthia Earnest are graduates of the women’s discipleship program and continue to walk in freedom in Christ.

Grace and Cor Koelewjn minister to children and leaders in Uganda. Sheryl is planning an August trip to assist with teaching and training in Tororo, Uganda. The focus of this trip will be Freed to Lead: Identity-based leadership.

 We can’t continue to grow without your partnership. I am praying for you. Would you pray?

Would you invest, plant and water with me so we can continue to grow?  Thank you so much, Sheryl

Don’t miss our “Unquenchable Faith with Carol Kent” event Monday, September 18, 2017 – Stay Tuned for Details!

 

 

 

Friday Favorites: All Hope Is Ours

All Hope Is Ours

All hope is ours. Really? Yes, that’s right. Because of our position in Christ,

Sometimes it’s kind of hard to believe isn’t it? Hope is a gift God want to give us. How can we find hope? We can begin by expecting it to come our  way. Hope begins to be revived when we ask God to replace our dread and fear with the gift of hope. Abiding in hope is confident expectation for God’s provision. He is our refuge, our joy, our deliverer, our help, our strength and our comfort. Why would we hope in medication or therapy or anything else before we hope in God?

Romans 15:13 says, “Now may the God of HOPE make you full of joy and peace through faith, so that all hope may be yours in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

As we let that verse sink in, we can accept the fact that

God is faithful and will provide for us. I have experienced this firsthand. I am a delivered drug addict. I was once a hopeless dope fiend and now I am a dopeless hope fiend. I don’t know where I would be without the light of hope in my life. Whether you live in a garbage heap or a palace, without the hope of Jesus, we have nothing to look forward to.

If in the midst of a storm at sea, a ship may drop anchor, when it does, it is secured by the huge 25 ton iron anchor that goes down deep. When strong and wild waves hit the boat, the rough waters won’t tip it over, it is safe and secure because the anchor has held it fast to the bottom of the sea. This is how hope works – it keeps the eternal part of us safe and secure in the storms of life. Our hope must be solidly in Christ, vibrantly connected to Him, we can endure and we are secure even in life’s fiercest storms. Hebrews 6:19 says “We who are holding on to the hope of God’s salvation promises have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

When I had cancer, I held onto God’s word by studying the names of God. God healed me from stage four cancer. When my husband was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident, I held onto hope by clinging onto His promises. God healed my broken heart so I could love again. If you want to know more about the names of God and how to stand on His promises, check out my teaching program – This weekend, I talk about Jehovah Jireh – My Provider on “Transformed Through Truth” with Sheryl Giesbrecht on www.HSBN.tv.

Let’s pray from Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

Dear Lord, we ask for you to give us more hope. Help us not to let go of the hope you offer us. We want to receive all the hope you want to give us through the power of your Holy Spirit. Thank you for giving us handles of hope through your amazing character qualities, your promises and through deepening our faith. Help us to trust you and believe you more. Thank you, You never let go of us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

 

Friday Favorites: What Are You Hoping For?

Welcome to Friday Favorites: What Are You Hoping For?

Financial security? A stable career? A satisfying marriage? Family harmony? Everyone hopes in something As believers, we can get caught up in the false hope offered by the world. Each year, approximately 23 million Americans claim to struggle from anxiety disorders, 17.5 million with clinical depression, 530,000 actually attempt suicide and many others endure the daily pain of fear and hopelessness.

Some have found their search for hope is futile and they will never get what they want. Others think if their problems are solved, their bank accounts are full and everyone likes them, they have arrived. Yet even this type of hope will fade away. Romans 8:24  reminds us “hope that is seen is no hope at all.” The remedy is to focus on what God guarantees, we can find comfort and joy in what is true and reliable: God’s hope.

God is the only for sure hope achieve with His help. The concept is best explained in Heb. 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” When we hope in God and fix our eyes on His promises, we can cling to the divine assurance of Scripture. Because God always keeps his promises, we can be confident our hope will never be disappointed. This Christ-centered hope must be the foundation of our lives and when it is properly understood and applied, it affects every single area of our lives. We fall down and we rise up, but God’s promises are forever.

the promises of God and the power of the all-sufficient Savior.

10 Scriptures About God’s Promises

2 Peter 1:4

And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Matthew 11:28-29

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Isaiah 40:29-31

He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Philippians 4:19

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:37-39

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Proverbs 1:33

But all who listen to me will live in peace,
untroubled by fear of harm.”

John 14:27

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Romans 10:9

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The promises of God are powerful and awesome to grasp. I pray that these scriptures about God’s promises were helpful to you today.

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/the-promises-of-god-10-powerful-bible-verses-1/

Let’s pray, “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the hope you offer through life in your son. I want to stand firm on your promises. Thank you that when I hope in you, I will not be disappointed. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

Worldwide Wednesday: Pray for L – Liberia

Worldwide Wednesday: Pray for L – Liberia

Thank you for joining me once, again for praying for people around the world. We are praying through the alphabet by country.

So exciting, our church – Canyon Hills Assembly of God in Bakersfield, CA is sending a team to Liberia in June 2017. I can’t wait to watch God move through this team of young adults as they share the Gospel and care for needy in this desperate part of Africa. Thank you for your prayers for the Canyon Hills Team to Liberia June 2017. Here’s how you can pray for the country of Liberia:

Liberia

Republic of Liberia

Africa

Geography

Area: 99,067 sq km

Heavily forested coastal state adjoining Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.

Population: 4,101,767    Annual Growth: 4.23%

Capital: Monrovia

Official language: English    Languages: 31 All languages

Religion

Largest Religion: Ethnoreligionist

Religion                 Pop % Ann Gr
Christians 1,699,362 41.43 4.9
Evangelicals 600,533 14.6 4.6
Ethnoreligionist 1,743,251 42.50

Prayercast

Challenges for Prayer

The task of evangelization and mission must fall to Liberians and other Africans. Foreign missionaries had a long, hard, uphill struggle to plant churches in the interior; but disease, language diversity, entrenched fetishism and the disruption of war all hampered the work and eventually drove out all expat workers. Few have returned. Pray for those with a burden to return; pray for wisdom to know how they can best serve in rebuilding the nation, and best help the Liberian church complete the evangelization of every people. National mission leadership is making progress in missions advocacy among churches and in researching the nation’s current status in terms of evangelization.

Christian help ministries are essential in this land of great spiritual hunger, great spiritual needs, but few material resources:

  1. a) Bible translation and distribution ministries were gravely disrupted. The Bible Society and Lutheran Bible Translators projects have recommenced; 12 projects are active but another four languages have definite Bible translation needs. The completion in 2005 of the Bassa Bible (Liberia’s second largest indigenous language) was a major achievement.
  2. b) Christian literature. Many pastors and Christians have lost all they owned, and there is a great lack of Bibles, New Testaments and Christian literature, and few available bookstores. EHC continues nationwide literature distribution; recent focus was on the Mandingo people. Literacy is also a huge challenge in this country where almost a whole generation never had a proper chance to learn to read.
  3. c) The JESUS film has been viewed by the majority of the population and continues to have a converting impact on Muslims. It is available in 13 languages; six more are in production.
  4. d) GRN audio recordings are being used in 67 languages and dialects. These are essential for low-literacy contexts and oral learners. GRN has a Liberian base from which it has conducted nationwide outreaches and distribution. This base is well positioned to produce many more Christian recordings for evangelism, discipleship and training.
  5. e)

    might still be Africa’s best known station, despite being evacuated four times and destroyed twice during the wars. ELWA has been resurrected, with eight hours daily in English and with broadcasts in nine Liberian languages, and plans for three more. Other local stations include Worship FM and a station by the Christian Education Foundation of Liberia as well as a station planned by the AoG and United Methodist Church. Praise God for the message that goes out. Pray for the provision of funds for these ministries and for the production of excellent content that will both reach and bless the entire nation.

http://www.operationworld.org/libe

“Arise for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” Ezra 10:4

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for healing from terrible pain caused by two civil wars and the rebuilding that must occur in this impoverished nation.

  • Pray for spiritually mature leaders in the churches who will preach the Bible with integrity.

  • Pray for restoration for Liberia’s children — 50% of the population — who struggle to overcome the devastation of war.

SUMMARY

in the hope of establishing a nation in which man was not owned.  Though Liberia is the oldest republic in Africa, a national identity has only started to take shape after surviving two civil wars in the past thirty years.  Blanketed with rain forests and valuable hardwood trees, Liberia is richly blessed in natural resources and temperate weather, which foster agriculture and a growing trade market.

However, the emotional and psychological scars of past conflicts still remain. 

15,000 surviving child soldiers remain haunted and robbed of their innocence.  Sex trafficking is widespread.  Young girls are kidnapped, frequently by adults they know, and spend their youth as slaves and adulthood as prostitutes and beggars in their own communities.  An estimated 68% of the population live below the poverty level, only 60% can read, and a mere quarter of the people have access to safe drinking water.  The violence of years past remains evident on damaged buildings and roads, and political corruption is still leaving the people questioning their trust in the authorities placed above them.

http://prayercast.com/liberia.html

Father God, You are Jehovah Rapha – the God who heals. We cry out for healing for the land of Liberia. Bring healing to the men, women and children. Strengthen those in the nation that are under the age of fifteen — the statistics say its over half of the nation. Would you, Almighty El Shaddai be their refuge in this time of need. Show yourself to be great, mighty -their all sufficient, provider who helps them in this time of need. Provide for the local churches, Bible believing leaders who will shepherd this flock in Liberia. We pray form Ezra 10:4 for Liberia, “Arise for it is your task and we are with you; be strong and do it.” Allow this nation to bring healing and hope to many others by the power of your word and by the presence of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Friday Favorites: Rewrite Your Story

Rewrite Your Story – Defy The Ending

 “Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending…to rise strong, recognize our story and rumble with the truth until we get to the place where we think, yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. I will choose how this story ends.” Brene Brown

Yes, it is entirely possible. But only through transformation. Here’s how it works. Let go of your expectations. Release your plans. Submit and commit to loving God above more than anything or anyone else. He is your perfect Heavenly Father. My story began with the consistent love of my own strong and helpful dad. I remember when I first learned to ride a bicycle. “Be careful, sweetie,” my dad’s strong voice cautioned me to avoid the object in the road. He’d just removed the training wheels on my Schwinn; so even though I was seated securely on the banana seat, both hands on the handlebars, the front tire still wobbled a little. I focused intently on the path ahead, “Yes, Father,” I said. I veered to the left just a little and swerved to avoid the obstacle. Father is one of the most familiar and commonly used name of God.” (quote from newest devotional: Experiencing God Through His Names)

However, some cannot relate to God as a caring, tender and involved dad, like mine, because they’ve been disappointed by their own negative personal paternal experiences. So what’s the big deal about ‘spiritual fatherlessness’? A lot. According to a recent study, ’15 million American children — one in three — live without a father. In the past decade, families with two parents in the home has dropped significantly.  From poor academic achievement and teenage pregnancy to drug use and crime, most social problems cannot be properly understood without considering the absence of fathers in homes. Many of the social problems we face are a direct result of the fatherless home. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million.’ http://www.commdiginews.com/life/studies-reflect-the-damage-of-the-one-parent-fatherless-family-17573/

‘Spiritual fatherlessness’ causes a breach between the natural father, spiritual father and heavenly father. The devil destroys harmony between our most valued relationships.  This is not necessarily a physical breach, but a spiritual battle waging war against those that mean the most to us. I am the first born of four children, my dad always called me princess. I was the apple of his eye. However, for a few years, dad and I exchanged only harsh words, disagreement and disconnection. Unfortunately, I was unaware of the enemy tactics to divide our family. I was rebellious, un-submissive and could not respond to my father’s attempts to show me his love. It’s interesting that this is one of the final verses in the Old Testament: “and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their father lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:6 Truly a sign of the times.

At seventeen, I was sinking deep into drug addiction. I stayed high as much as possible, trying to fill the emptiness in my life with the highest high or the cutest guy while my need for affection only increased. I couldn’t wait to move out of my parents’ home. My family pulled strings to get me a volunteer summer job at a Christian camp. The camp staff assigned me lists of chores, such as washing hundreds of dishes in the mess hall, raking piles of pine needles around the campgrounds, and even moving logs around the outdoor campfire ring.

Whenever I complained or threw fits over doing my chores or smoked cigarettes and dope, the camp staff said, “Love covers over a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8 [NIV]) Their words, repeated over and over, immersed me for two weeks. The words rang in my ears, I couldn’t get the five-word phrase off my mind. The staff didn’t tell me to change anything about my appearance, attitude, or addictions. Instead, they showed me what the invitation of love looked like. They were kind; they offered the true love of God without forcing me to accept it.

As a youngster in Sunday school, I’d learned Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” After two weeks of experiencing how “Love covers a multitude of sins,” I embraced it. Submitting to the overwhelming love of God, I allowed His abundant love to cover my multitude of sins. One night in my cabin, I submitted to the overwhelming love of Father God. He had reached out to me, and I, a most unlikely choice, finally grasped His hand. His abundant love did cover my multitude of sins. I accepted the invitation to live a new life. My life was transformed, I was given a fresh start and the divine connection to my Heavenly Father was restored. But there was still work to do.

  1. I had to communicate with God as my Perfect Father.

The breach in my relationship with God could only be restored through the Son. The blessing came when I came to know God as my Perfect Father. I began to believe God’s love could cover the things that held me captive: drugs and alcohol, lying and stealing, promiscuity and drug dealing. It was finally clear: I didn’t need to clean up my act before coming to God; He loved me passionately just the way I was. James 1:17 “Every Good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

  1. .

I was searching for meaning, purpose and identity in things and people that could never fill my God-shaped void. In God there is no lack. God does not want the enemy to rob us of blessing, destiny, purpose. I asked God heal my father wound caused by my own decision to turn from my earthly and my Heavenly Father’s will. God showed me how to release every disappointment that had been imagined or feared and to put my trust in Him. We cannot go back and re-write history but we can get to the place where we allow God to heal us. This takes trust and transparency.

James 5:16 “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

  1. I had to ask God to help me find a spiritual father, be a father.

Once we allow God to heal our father wound, we will want to share our joy with others. It helps to keep accountable and also to share our victories and defeat. We get to choose our own spiritual parents. Let God help you find a father and be a father.

God wants us to show the world of ‘spiritual fatherlessness’ what it means to be included the family of God. So let’s share how wonderful it is to be loved by a Perfect Heavenly Father. And it will make all the difference in our destiny and theirs, too.  Psalm 68:5-6 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing but the rebellious live in a sun scorched land.”