The Ties That Bind

by Laura Harris

Last year, my older son returned from school with a “wish list” project.  The only thing he wrote on his sheet of paper was, “I wish I had a friend.”  As his mother, my heart broke to read those words.  Although he was well liked by all his classmates, he found it difficult to make a meaningful connection to any of his peers.  I want my son to reap the benefits of healthy friendships, which include an increased sense of belonging and purpose, boost in happiness, ability to cope with trauma and better physical and psychological health.

I know that as humans, we crave genuine contact with others in this world.  Friendships are vital for our well-being, but they take time to develop.  I also had to explain to my son that as with all relationships, friendships go through different stages and cycles, and that in some cases, friendships end. 

I am well aware that with the advent of Facebook and other social media tools, the term “friend” has taken on a new meaning.  I need to ask myself, what makes a good friend?  According to Dr. Lissa Rankin, a true friend can be characterized as:  wanting the best for the other person, showing sympathy and empathy, being honest, having understanding and compassion, enjoying each other’s company, being trustworthy, and having equal reciprocity.  I told my son that in order to keep our friends, we must nurture these relationships by respecting boundaries, not becoming jealous or envious, avoiding gossip and complaining, listening, reserving judgment and respecting privacy.

I am reminded of the many stories in the Bible about friendships, which are meant to inspire me.  I am also warned by God through His Holy Book to be careful whom I choose for friends, as their attitudes and behaviors can impact me.  With guidance from God and His ministers, I can surround myself with positive and uplifting influences in this world.

A Thankful Circumstance

by Manuela Mitchell

An event that happened last month, when my husband was let go from his job, resulted in some unavoidable circumstances. We were, again, put into a situation similar to the one that we experienced 2 years previously. My husband, as determined and hopeful as he is, has been searching daily for work and quickly responding to any interview offered. As of yet, he remains focused and still on the hunt.

I have been researching insurance plans extensively because being a Type 1 diabetic and having a small child, I know that not having insurance is risky. Since last month, I have been unsuccessful in finding appropriate coverage. I am constantly denied due to my pre-existing condition or I am unable to afford the high premiums. What now? We have no medical coverage. I started to become anxious and scared that something could happen if we didn’t have insurance.

My employer, knowing of my situation, offered our son Sam and me coverage if I worked an additional day, meaning full time.  Kalon and I had discussed putting Sam into pre-school so he could build some important skills and have a chance to properly socialize. Our goal was to put him into this school 2 days/week; that way childcare for 2 days of my week was covered. We interviewed with the school and absolutely loved what we saw and how the children responded. We were excited that the school was not religiously based but extremely disappointed that it still partook in the worldly holidays—several weeks before they occurred. Songs, movies, crafts and drawings pertaining to the holiday would be in Sam’s near future. Removing him from those activities would not be possible by the teachers as they did not believe it was fair to him to be treated differently than other 3-year-olds as he would not understand. So, that decision was final, which put us right back into our dire circumstance.

It is easy to lose hope, the desire to keep searching, the will and even faith. It is also easy to ask why and not to receive an answer. And, it is very easy to get depressed. I refuse to be overtaken by what is easy. I am fortunate that as a family, we are strong and can overcome anything with God’s loving help. I am blessed that we are healthy and alive. And as difficult and as heart-wrenching as this event has become, as silly as it sounds, I am thankful that I have been given the opportunity to improve myself, to trust God and to handle any trial that has been given to me.  I know and believe that in the end, it will all work out.

Veterans’ Day and Carnival

by Norbert Link

While I am writing this article on November 11, 2013, I am reminded of the fact that this is a day with different significance for different people: Americans celebrate their Veterans’ Day, while Germans and other Europeans enjoy the beginning of the Carnival season. As dissimilar as these occasions might be, they have one thing in common: They are both man-made observances, which are not in accordance with the law of God.

I realize that on Veterans’ Day, Americans thank their veterans for their sacrifice and service for their country and their willingness to fight for our freedom. But as an American member of the Church of God, I must focus on my real allegiance. God has called me out of this world and made me an ambassador of a better kingdom. I have to remind myself that Veterans’ Day is focusing on the wrong things, since war is wrong, and no amount of “sacrifice” can or will make it right.

As someone who was born and grew up in Germany, I need to remind myself as well that God has called me out of the observance of Carnival, since Carnival is a Catholic holiday of pagan origin, which is totally contrary to the values and the Way of God.

I am truly thankful that God has opened my eyes so that I can see what is really important—and that Veterans’ Day and Carnival are reflections and manifestations of the passing pleasure of sin, while God and His Truth will remain forever.

“A Chicken’s Heart”

by Delia Messier

This summer our little black hen hatched five very strange babies—five yellow baby ducks! She loved them instantly and quickly started her job of teaching them how to be good chickens—clucking, then scratching, showing them what to do to find food. She clucked and scratched tirelessly, hoping they would follow her example. She did so day after day with no success! Finally, having become desperate to get their attention, she turned to a more drastic approach: She flipped them over first and then clucked and scratched, but there was still no response. Bad news! Not only were her loved babies very homely, their elevator didn’t go all the way to the top. And what was it with the water anyway?

But she did not give up and did “not throw in the towel.” Persistency prevailed, and finally there was success! The babies responded to her clucking. Holding a nice fat worm in her beak, they gathered around her, jumping up, hoping to be the recipient of this nice juicy morsel. My husband and I could see her satisfaction as she held her neck and head up high, and I am sure if she had lips we would probably have seen a smile.

All summer long, she followed her babies around the yard, keeping them warm when it was cold and nervously standing by, watching them when they splashed in the creek. Loving them was a given. She was willing to die for them and defending them when the neighbor’s dog was attacking them. Our little black hen has a good heart, a soft heart, no matter what the babies’ shape, size, color or intelligence. There was no rejection, no judging, no condemning, no envy, but only her “true love” of accepting, giving and serving.

Unknown to this little black hen with her soft heart, like a miracle, these strange babies will attain their great destiny of one day becoming the most beautiful big white pecan ducks they were created to be! But my destiny will be of course so much more awesome if I use and live with the “chicken’s” soft “heart of flesh” which our great God has given me.


By Shana Rank

Since baptism, my journey as a Christian is forward-moving. I am learning what God expects of His future Family. I am learning first-hand with my own family what it takes to grow in love. I also experience this quality of love with my Church-family, extended family, friends, strangers, and yes, I am even told to love my enemy.

This past weekend, my family and I met a handful of new extended family members while attending a wedding. I was very impressed with their interest in, and care for, each other and for us. As far as I could tell, none have yet been called by God; yet they are already trying to “practice” the laws of God, as they understand them. How sweet and pleasant it is to meet people who are willing to develop some godly characteristics!

God’s plan is perfect; so, His intentions for His Family are also without flaw. I was truly humbled by my new family’s examples of loving concern for others. It inspires me to work that much harder at being a good example and develop God’s love in me—realizing, that in the future, it is God’s plan that we all meet as ONE Family.

Not Up To Us

By Ben Agbayani

Prior to the Feast of Tabernacles, I went to the extent of having a nerve block injection treatment for about a month, as I thought that I will be facing uncertainty to the max. During every visit I would receive 12 to 16 injections for 5 consecutive weeks; unfortunately, the injections never gave me any form of relief.

Having a spinal condition from the last flight I took a few years ago, I experienced so much pain and suffered from takeoff and landing. I was hoping not to experience the same on this flight bound for Vail, Colorado.

The day came, and we checked in for the flight from Toronto to New York. Sitting beside my wife as the plane started to head for the run way, I was so nervous and anticipated what would happen during takeoff. I was holding my wife’s hand, and I was not able to feel any form of pain as if the takeoff did not happen at all. Upon reaching New York and as the plane descended, my wife held my left hand and talked to me. I was waiting for that landing bump to occur, but it never happened.

Soon, we boarded our flight from New York to Denver. Again, the takeoff was so smooth. A few hours later, as we were prepared for landing at the Denver International Airport, my wife again took my hand and we talked as the plane descended. As we waited for that bump, we kept on talking. We did not realize that the plane had landed and was already heading for the gate.

We were so speechless and in awe of what happened between takeoff and landing of the two flights. The Eternal intervened and took charge as if the airplane was delivered by His hand so that we could enjoy our first Feast of Tabernacles.

We again realized that it is really not up to us to rely on our own strength, but our trust in God is what makes everything work for our own good.

Out of Darkness

by John Amorelli

In my line of work, I am required to fulfill 48 CEU’s (Continuing Education Units) every four years to satisfy the National Certification Board and to keep my license validated to be permitted to practice massage therapy. In order to do this, I need to complete seminars, workshops and classes, whether online or attending in person. Years ago, before I was called into the Truth, I was interested in a course called “Reiki 1”. The course offered eight CEU’s and could be used towards fulfilling my requirements. Subsequently, I took another course with twelve CEU’s, called “Reiki 2-Distant Healing” within a couple of months. I took the Reiki courses because I believed, at that time, that it was a harmless technique which I could utilize to help my clients with their health. Wrong!

Dr. Mikao Usui, also known as Usui Sensei in Japan, is the founder of the Reiki system, and drew his “inspiration” from Buddha. He was a monk, and it is believed that he made a pilgrimage to the top of a mountain outside of Kyoto, Japan, where he fasted and meditated for 21 days. There, he had a spectacular “epiphany experience” (receiving visions of five symbols, which are taught in Reiki classes today). In these visions, he was allegedly shown how to activate “energy” and give the “gift” of Reiki–the healing by “laying on of hands” without actually touching the person. He then came down from the mountain and purportedly performed “miraculous healings”.

When I learned all of this, I decided that “Reiki” was out of my resume and out of my life! When someone asks me if I teach and practice Reiki, I simply smile and say emphatically, “No”. I will not call on any demons, claiming to be the “dead spirits” of Usui and other deceased Reiki proponents and followers. I will not use the five symbols above the client’s head to “activate” energy. I will only take courses and seminars that have the clinical components for physical applications and eliminate any “energy work” courses that are part of “ungodly eastern” ways!

The Momentum of Faith

by Cali Harris

I’ve been away from graduate school—and finishing my thesis and degree—for several years. Recently I wanted to find out what it would take to return to the program.

The odds seemed stacked against me: I’d taken a leave of absence for 3 years, several faculty I’d worked with had since left the university, I was applying after application submissions had closed, the degree requirements had changed, and on and on the list went.

I couldn’t logically figure out how it would all work out.

I took a tiny step: I sent an email to the program director to ask about requirements to return to the program. Little did I know that action would quickly build into some real momentum. In the course of just a few days I had met with faculty, pulled together an application, found professors to recommend me, and enrolled in a class. I wasn’t expecting any of this to happen like it did!

Of course, all of this was only possible through God opening the door. In fact, He opened door after door after door. And the faster I moved forward in faith, it seemed the doors opened more quickly and easily. I’m learning that I have to take those steps of faith to be reminded of just how mightily—and abundantly—God is willing to do His part.

Connect Each Day

by Delia Messier

In May of this year, my husband and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary! Getting married and starting a family so young was a great challenge as we were not ready for such responsibilities. With lack of guidance, education and support, we played it by ear.

But we had made a commitment and divorce was not a word in our vocabulary.

Now I can look back and reflect on what it was that made it work and kept us close and still in love.

I can say that the KEY thing that not only made it work but a joy as well was that we connected each day.   No matter how upset we were with each other or one with the other, there was an unspoken thing we did not fail to do, except on a very rare occasion.

The very first thing we do each morning is to greet each other with a kiss.  We CONNECT each day with love!

As we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, I also thought of my long walk with God. I have a relationship with my Father,  my God  and Savior.  I made a commitment to God and divorce is not in my vocabulary!

How can I keep my relationship going and keep from growing tired and throw in the towel? This way of life is so contrary to this world and sometimes my life becomes overwhelming with trials, difficulties and challenges.

But the key to having had this long and strong relationship with the joy it brings is the same as the one with my husband–to connect with my God each day, to renew each day my relationship with Him.

I made the decision many years ago that my prayers must connect!  I do not get off my knees until I have connected–so that I am not talking to the ceiling! 

This is what I have come to see that has made my long walk with my husband survive and thrive, and this is what I have come to see that has made my long walk with my God survive and thrive.


by Phyllis Bourque

In this past year, my husband and I have been doing some home improvements, with the goal of selling the house. We are unable to accomplish much of the work ourselves, so we have had to hire local contractors. Unfortunately, instead of being able to say “very good” with each phase of the work, we found ourselves having to address poor workmanship issues along the way. Some of these issues were remedied, but not necessarily to our satisfaction, causing us to seek another contractor for the next phase of work. After four contractors, it’s been an unsettling experience and begs the question, “Doesn’t anyone do quality work anymore?”

Manufacturing companies often boast about the quality of their products by using “quality catch-phrases” in their advertising campaigns, but even that is changing. On June 11, 2013, USA Today published an article that read: “A spate of flubs by Ford Motor is raising doubt about whether quality still really is — as Ford’s tagline used to boast — ‘Quality is Job One.’”

Wikipedia writes in regard to Zenith electronics company: “For many years, their famous slogan was ‘The quality goes in, before the name goes on.’” Zenith ultimately was unable to compete with a global market for cheaper products in the 1980s and was eventually taken over by a foreign firm.

On a more critical level, it is distressing for me to hear of buildings or bridges collapsing and causing loss of lives, only to find out that these “accidents” could have been avoided if quality standards had been implemented in the design, engineering, construction and/or maintenance phases. More recently, I was shocked to learn that a train crash in Spain that killed many people, was due to negligence on the part of the driver in adhering to the quality standards that had been put in place by the railroad company. I grieve when an event involves loss of lives, but even more so, when it is learned that it could have been avoided.

While thinking about this subject, I was reminded of the Scriptures that describe the building of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. I reflected on the fact that everything God designed was of the highest quality, and that He required the work to be carried out with the same degree of excellence. It’s fascinating for me to realize that He actually gave His Spirit to the people He chose to do the work so that they could produce the quality of workmanship that He specified in great detail! I think I would have enjoyed being part of the group that worked on the priestly garments. Wow! To be so skilled as to produce something “for glory and beauty” must have been thoroughly enjoyable!

My husband and I asked ourselves many times, what if we could enjoy that kind of delivery of workmanship today and not have to negotiate with those we hire to simply “do it right”? Wouldn’t that be wonderful!? Unfortunately, we experienced that greed and speed overrode quality assurance all too often, and it was yet another reminder for us  that this physical world won’t get any better under Satan’s substandard influence.

I look forward to the time when God’s Kingdom will be set up on this earth and people will be taught excellence in every facet of their lives, without hindrance from Satan. From all of these disappointments with our local contractors, I had to reflect once again on what an enjoyable and satisfying time that will be, both for those of us who will teach God’s way, as well as for those who will see the result of implementing His level of excellence in all that they do. And I am convinced that with people working and living under the direction of Jesus Christ in the Millennium,  God will once again be able to say that what will be accomplished will be “very good,” as He did when He initially re-created the physical world.

©2024 Church of the Eternal God