July 2021 Inspire Newsletter

Ahh… it’s the lazy days of summer. There is just something about summer that makes us want to relax. Perhaps it is the heat that slows us down, or the change from the regular routine (especially if you have school-age children), or the longer days. Whatever the reason, July is a great time to “Just Be Relaxed.”

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.” Mark Black

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” Sydney Harris

In this month’s newsletter are some easy and relaxing craft ideas perfect for the slower pace of summer, a Bible reading plan on the peace that God offers, and a devotion to remind us to “Just Be Relaxed in His Presence.” Also included are some INSPIRATIONAL Women’s Ministries ideas from around the Territory.

Surrender your anxiety. Be still and realize that I am God. I am God above all the nations, and I am exalted throughout the whole earth. Psalm 46:10 (Passion Translation)

Need previous issues of the INSPIRE Newsletter?  They can be found at the following links:  June 2021, May 2021, April 2021March 2021February 2021, January 2021 December 2020November 2020October 2020September 2020August 2020July 2020June 2020May 2020April 2020March 2020February 2020January 2020December 2019November 2019October 2019October 2018-September 2019

Peace Despite the Chaos

By Major Beth Desplancke

When you think of the Fourth of July what comes to mind? For me, I instantly think fireworks. My in-laws live in a community near Los Angeles and in their city, safe and sane fireworks are legal. None of the neighboring communities allow fireworks of any kind. What that means is a lot of people converge on the community of Lawndale and bring their fireworks with them. We have been able to spend many Independence days there and enjoy the fireworks that explode literally over our heads.

Although Lawndale communicates what fireworks are allowed, most are not the legal fireworks. As we sit in the front yard and watch all that is taking place, it feels like a war zone. Along with the beautiful, colorful displays comes smoke, noise, explosions, and loud booms. You will also hear car alarms being triggered by the vibrations from the blasts. In addition, screeching sirens of various emergency vehicles fills the air. It really becomes chaotic and anything but peaceful.

But when I keep my eyes focused on the sky and get lost in the beautiful colors and patterns of the fireworks, I can almost tune out the noise and chaos around me. Instead of jumping with each loud blast, I am calm and mesmerized by the fireworks.

The same is true in our spiritual lives. We don’t need to have life around us be calm to experience peace. Peace is a person – Jesus Christ. Isaiah prophesied about who the Messiah would be. In Isaiah 9:6 he shared several names for Him, one of which is the Prince of Peace. When we know Jesus, we can experience peace despite the chaos that is all around us. How can we experience peace despite the craziness that surrounds us? Again, Isaiah tells us how.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all those whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. Isaiah 26:3-4 NLT

Peace comes when we choose to fix our eyes and our thoughts on Him, and not on the circumstances that are around us. When I focus on the noise and the smoke of the fireworks, I miss the beauty that they bring. But when I choose to look up and direct my attention to just one thing, the chaos and noise fades into the background.

Remember when the disciples were caught in a boat in a storm and they panicked. They were afraid because the sea was raging, the waves were crashing, and the boat was filling with water. What was Jesus doing? He was asleep (see Mark 4:38)! Despite the lack of peace around Him, He was at peace.

We don’t have to have peaceful circumstances to experience peace. We simply must turn to the source of peace – Jesus. When life is anything but relaxing, and anxiety, worry, panic, or dread has our mind swirling, we need to keep our thoughts fixed on God. How? Paul gives us the answer.

Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

My prayer for each of us as we enjoy the Fourth of July celebration (including BBQs, time with friends and family, and perhaps even fireworks) is that we remember that peace comes through Jesus Christ. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:16 NLT)

Book Review: “The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy”

By Major Katina Hanson
Eugene Citadel, OR – Cascade Division

We want God to give us the correct answers, or rather our own personal vision of acceptability. The man’s story is similar to many of us in both principle and essence. His intentional journey echoes his unwarranted temerity. In Timothy Keller’s book, The Prodigal Prophet, we read about the account of Jonah, his resistance to God permeates his storyline.

Jonah’s story is found in his Old Testament namesake book. The book of Jonah is only 4 chapters long, but its brevity does not minimize the powerful messages. Keller writes diligently about the prophet Jonah’s known history and complicated relationship with God. Jonah is told by God to preach to the city of Nineveh, a city with a cruel and violent reputation. Nineveh had operated as a terrorist like city, threatening all of their enemies in the ancient world. Jonah responds to God’s command by going the opposite way. God’s instruction seemed impossible for Jonah to accept.

This book discusses the strategies we sometimes use to avoid God, corresponding with Romans chapters 1 through 3. Keller alludes to comparing the prophet Jonah with the Prodigal Son and also expounds the literary correlation with Jesus. Keller took advantage of reviewing the book of Jonah with contemporary connections. Keller’s book explores identity, cultural bias and the tension that resides between.

I would recommend this book as Keller clearly outlines scripture principles with relevant commentary, intertwined with easily understood illustrations. There is always validity in reading scripture as it alters us through the mysterious power of God. The book of Jonah sheds light on the grace of God and shadows upon our demonization of others. The ending of the Old Testament book of Jonah is not resolved like others, it purposely ends with a question. Perhaps how we answer the question gives greater clarity to our own spiritual growth.

Book Review: “For Such A Time as This”

Book Review by Captain Claudia Pardo-Barriga
Divisional Youth & Candidates’ Secretary – California South Division

“Just as Esther was particularly equipped to have an impact on her own time and culture, so you have been prepared to affect this generation.” (Lisa Ryan, 2001)

I love a good read. More so when it is relatable and an easy read. Turning eighteen is such a big milestone in life for any young lady. The sensation of more independence feels very good and yet it carries a bigger responsibility with it. After one year as an eighteen-year-old, I had gone through some good decisions and some not so good ones. It was here when an Officer of The Salvation Army from Venezuela gifted me a book, For Such a time As This by Lisa Ryan (you can find this book in English and Spanish).

This book takes you through the life journey of Esther. The book will literally put you in her shoes. The vivid imagery and well written stories of Esther placed me in the middle of her victories and struggles. The book took me through a time where it was difficult for her to live by the teachings of God because her surroundings were constantly pointing her the other direction. The book couldn’t have come to me at a better time. I was an eighteen-year-old that was living with many struggles. All of which Esther had gone through. Struggles like self-esteem, peer pressure, self-worth, staying pure, sex, relationships, friendships, family dynamics, faith and life goals.

If you are a teenage girl, young adult women, mother, sister, aunt or even grandmother, I recommend you this book.

July Craft: Mod Podge Boxes

By Major Gaylene Yardley
Metro Phoenix Resource Officer – Southwest Division

Supplies

Boxes of any shape or size
Modge Podge Matte
Old pictures
Paint
Spray gloss Modge Podge
Paint brushes

Instructions

  • Paint your box with any color you like.
  • Cut out the pictures you plan to adhere to your box.
  • Using a clean paint brush, brush the Modge
  • Podge onto the box wherever you are going to adhere pictures.
  • Brush Modge Podge liberally onto the picture and adhere to the box.
  • When the photos are dry, spray entire box with the Modge Podge gloss and let dry.
  • Enjoy your box!

Download printable instructions of this craft

July Devotional: The Battle Continues… But We Are Not Alone

The Battle Continues…But We Are Not Alone Captain Harryette O’Brien Torrance, CA Corps – California South Division Recently I read a book called Killing London by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. I love the way these two men can tell a story by weaving history through every page. In the book, I learned that after members […]

July Bible Study: Freedom in Christ

Bible Study on John 8:31-47
By Lisa Smith, Southwest Division

INTRODUCTION: One of my favorite holidays is the Fourth of July. It is a day filled with picnics in the park in the presence of friends and family, games, half melted ice cream and of course the spectacular fireworks display that fil the sky with a multitude of colors. However, those are not my favorite parts of this day- I love to celebrate that our country is free. We have freedom of speech, assembly, the press, and most of all freedom to worship our God openly and without fear of imprisonment – or even death.

As Americans, we are a free people, but as Christians we even more free. Through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, God gives us a freedom that is even greater than the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. In John’s Gospel chapter 8: 31-47, Jesus tells the Jews who believed He was God’s Son about what it means to be a free child of God.

31 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him ‘If you continue in My word, then you are disciples of Mine.
32 and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free’”
33 “They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it you say You will become free?’”
34 “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin
35 ‘The slave does not remain at the house forever, but the son does remain forever’
36 “So of the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed’”

Jesus Himself is the Truth- this is because He is the source of truth. He is the only sinless person that ever walked this earth, so He is the standard of righteousness. He frees us from the consequences of sin. When we put our faith in Him and believe in what He did for us at Calvary, we are forgiven; we don’t have to worry about going to Hell – or that God’s going to “get us”. To have this gift of freedom in Christ is not rocket science, but a simple act of faith and trust. We don’t have to pass any tests or perform any physical feats, like some religions require. John 14: 6 tells us that Jesus is the Way, the truth, and the life. He is, in fact, the only way to God

Why do some people find it hard to believe that Jesus can truly make us free?

Why are many people not convinced that Jesus is the Truth- the only way to God the Father and chase false paths?


In verse 33, the Jews Jesus was addressing spoke of being Abraham’s seed and how that they had never been enslaved by any man. That is not exactly true- their ancestors had been in bondage to the Egyptians and the Babylonians, and at that moment, they were living under the tyranny of Rome. They were not a free people physically or spiritually. They claimed to be Abraham’s descendants, but they were reluctant to accept Jesus as the Messiah.

In verse 34, Jesus told them that everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin and that slaves do not remain in the house forever, but that sons do.

What did Jesus mean by that last statement?

Sin has a way of controlling us; it dominates our lives and dictates what we do or don’t do. However, if we allow Him, Jesus can break the chains; and help us to practice righteousness then we become true children of God.

I John 3:9-10, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this, the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious; anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother”

Think about a time when you were enslaved by sin. What was your life like? What changed when you made a decision for Jesus?

John 8:37 “‘I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill me, because My Word has no place in you”
38 “I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the tings which you heard from your father”
39 “They answered and said to Him ‘Abraham is our father’ Jesus said to them ‘If you Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham’
40 ‘But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do”
41’You are doing the deeds of your father’. They said to Him, ‘We were not born of fornication, we have one Father: God.’
42 Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not come on My own initiative, but He sent me’
43 ‘Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word”
44 ‘You are of your father the devil. And you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand for the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies’
45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me’
46 ‘Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?
47 ‘He who is of God hears the words of God. For this reason you do not hear them because you are not of God’”

Jesus spoke some very powerful words in that last passage. The religious leaders were unable to understand what Jesus saying because they refused to listen. This refusal to listen played right into Satan’s hands – he used their pride and prejudices to keep them from taking Jesus’ words to heart.

How does Satan keep you from listening to Jesus? Or does he. Explain how or how not.

These leaders were clearly followers of the devil. More than likely, they didn’t realize this as they were so convinced that they were right and Jesus was wrong.

Can you think of any examples of this in today’s world?

Those who serve Satan can not be children of God. Read I John 5:1

Jesus can tell people the truth and there will be those who refuse to believe. Those people are not free; they are in bondage just as much as if they were bound and shackled. However, those who listen to Jesus and take His words to heart have they gift of freedom. This gift is not dependent on what country they live in, but on their faith in Jesus and willingness to let Him be Lord of their lives.

Download the printable version of this Bible study.