Remembering Gramps

July 29th, 2019, around 2 a.m., my grandfather passed from this world into eternity. He was 83 years old and was blessed to have lived so many years. He had Alzheimers, but it was his failing health and pancreatic cancer that took his life. With what seemed to be just an upset stomach, Gramps began to fade and was gone within two weeks.

Carl Hockensmith was my only grandfather. My father’s father died when my dad was only 19. He was an alcoholic and an abusive man, so my Gramps was my one and only my entire life.

He wasn’t a complicated man. A simple man in the sense that he was easy to please, easily amused, and never anxious about anything. Farming in the hills of Kentucky had been his life. The rawness of manual labor and working in God’s nature was where he felt most comfortable.

As I remember my grandfather, I want to remember what he stood for and his outlook on life. Gramps often said, “No use in fussin’, so you might as well laugh”. And boy, did he live by that! My Gramps always had a witty remark and humorous comment. He loved to laugh at everything…even his own jokes! He didn’t get offended and happily received banter and play.

He chose to laugh instead of cry, smile instead of frown, to be friendly instead of isolated, to have joy instead of sorrow. He loved going to funerals, because it gave him a chance to share stories and to see old friends. If only we could have an attitude like that!

No matter how stressful a situation or tough a place I find myself in, I choose to be like Gramps. I will find the laughter and humor in the most disappointing or discouraging circumstances. I will not dwell on negativity. I will not let anxiety and fear steal the joy in my soul.

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Glenna Hockensmith, Carl Hockensmith (Gramps), and Charity

Proverbs 17:22 – A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

I love you, Gramps. Thank you for the countless giggles and laughs, the goofy times, and care-free moments. I will remember that life is not that serious…That there is something to laugh about in everything.

AG Blogger (1)

His Promise Still Stands

There is a pattern to the life of faith that often follows a sequence of promise –> excitement –> waiting –> doubting –> testing –> refining –> reinforcement and –> eventual fulfillment.  This is essential to grasp if we ever hope to serve God as mature  women in the faith.

Instant gratification and impatience have become hallmarks of our society. We only have to “tolerate” 5-15 seconds of advertising before getting to a Youtube video. We are promised “instant weight loss,” “instant success,” and “3 Easy Steps…” to achieve just about anything.

Waiting, enduring, and learning patience, exercises of the will and character that have been integral to Biblical faith for thousands of years are not exactly hot topics in an age where we can scroll through our boredom at the rate of 13 Instagram pictures a second.

For now, I just want to highlight 3 appropriate responses to God during a season of waiting, waiting….and maybe even waiting some more:

1)     Gratitude for God’s Abundant Mercy

When God asks you to wait for His perfect timing you have to recognize that this is actually a form of His mercy to you.  By forcing us to wait, God protects us from becoming spoiled children and develops our character.  We will never be effective servants of the King if we are too much like the spoiled rich girl who has Daddy wrapped around her finger and always gets what she wants, right when she wants it.

He wants us to be people of character who recognize that the world does not revolve around us.  So He often asks us to wait and learn patience.  You should thank Him for this, because when God asks you to wait, He is actually doing you a favor.

As Paul says, when we are waiting on God,

“we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.”  (Romans 5:3)

2)     Hope in God’s Anticipated Action  

Although this is one of the more counter-intuitive aspects of our walk with God, it is actually the case that the longer God makes you wait for something He has promised the more your faith and expectation in the fulfillment of His Word should grow.

The longer you wait, the closer He is getting to fulfilling His word and the more that reality should propel you to even more faith and hope in what is about to come to pass.

Even as you are waiting on God don’t miss the opportunity to praise Him for what He is about to do.

For “salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Rom 13:11).

Even though seasons of waiting can tend to wear us down, forcing us to face our own doubts, fears, and insecurities, always remember to praise the Lord in the midst of your waiting.

3)     Surrender to God’s Perfect Purposes

We all start out in our relationship with God wanting to be more or less in control of the operation. This is called idolatry.

Yes we want God, but we kind of want Him on our own terms.  We want a God we can fashion and shape, a God who will serve our needs and our agenda.  It is especially in the moments of waiting on God to do things His own way, in His own time, that reveal to us just how deeply entrenched the idolatry truly is within our hearts.

Part of why God is making us wait, is for us to fully let go of our own will.

And in that surrender you will find a comfort in knowing that God is God, that He does not need your advice, that His ways are higher and better than your ways, and that He is good to the deepest core of His being.

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36). 

And the Joy of Fulfillment is coming…

Whether you are currently waiting on a personal promise God has given to you specifically, or are simply longing for the promise of eternal salvation and deliverance that we all share as followers of Jesus, always remember that no waiting on God is in vain.

He never forgets, He never goes back on His Word, and the joy you will experience on the day of your vindication will be that much greater simply because you waited well.

“And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.  This is the LORD for whom we have waited.  Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:9).

“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD.  As surely as the sun rises He will appear.  And He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth” (Hosea 6:3).

Francesca Vitug Bio

10 Truths To Tell Yourself

1. Your worth is not determined by what just anyone tells you.
“Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won’t find yourself begging
others for scraps of love.” -Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited

2. You are loved unconditionally.
“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that
he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in
the world, he loved them unto the end.” John 13:1.
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that
loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to
him.” -John 14:21.

3. You are never, ever alone.
“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy
God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” -Deuteronomy 31:6
“And the LORD, He [is] the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not
leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” -Deuteronomy 31:8

4. You are forgiven.
“When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” -Luke 5:20

5. You are beautiful.
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,
And [that] my soul knows very well.” -Psalms 139:14

6. You were given a promise that is un-breakable.
“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as
the Lord our God will call.” -Acts 2:39
“For all the promises of God in Him [are] Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God
through us.” -2 Corinthians 1:20

7. You are protected.
“The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.” -2 Samuel 22:3

8. You are blessed.
“Behold, I have received [a command] to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse
it.” -Numbers 23:20
“Blessings [are] on the head of the righteous, But violence covers the mouth of the
wicked.” -Proverbs 10:6

9. You are going to be okay, even if you don’t feel okay right now. (And if you do, it’s gonna stay that way!)
“Cast all your care on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7

10. You have a purpose.
“Upon your inception you, yes you, were given a very specific purpose that only you
can accomplish. You were placed into a certain region of the world, into a certain family, into a certain culture that only you are capable of reaching.” -Nicole Soto, Worth It

Sabrina Hope

Sunday Style

Hey apostolic girls! Have a hard time mixing and matching outfits? Not sure what goes with what? Well I’m here to help! In this Sunday style montage I have put together your Sunday essentials. As summer has arrived, it’s hard to transition from winter to summer because the weather can’t make up its mind! At least not for me over here in Indiana. Some Sundays are going to be warmer or cooler than others. So to create a balance, thin blouses that are 3 quarter length or long sleeves would be perfect. This blue and white striped blouse is complimented by this vibrant yellow skirt for a pop of color. You could also do a black pencil skirt, but it’s nice to let your clothes be loud every once an a while. But to tone this outfit down a bit I have paired it with some white heels.

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Accessories:

When picking out a purse you don’t want to over do the color combinations. So matching your shoes or a color in your blouse would be a good idea. I have picked out this white Prada purse to pair with the white shoes. They blend together but still stand out on their own. What you put in your purse is up to you! My three essentials are my phone, my Glossier lip gloss, and my Tweezerman eyelash curler. And the most important thing would be your King James Version bible, but mine is on my phone so I already have my bible in my purse -haha! When pairing a watch with your outfit, look at what metallics you are wearing. If you’re carrying a purse with gold, perhaps try a gold watch. Or if you are wearing black shoes, wear a black watch. Since this outfit is brighter, I put a more monotone watch with a brown band (Daniel Wellington).

Hair:

I have attached a hairdo that will maybe give you inspiration when your hair doesn’t seem to work any way. Just part your hair from top and bottom and twist the bottom into a bun, stick a couple pins in it, and curl the top, place the curls how you want them to or how they will work and pin them to cover the bun. Pull out some curls in the front and there you have it! You can even put in some cute hair pins. You’ll find them anywhere in stores like Walmart, Target, and even online on places like Amazon or SHEIN. When I have time on Sundays, Starbucks is what gets me through those Sundays where you have choir and all these extra things. If you sing on the praise team or you’re a musician, you know what I’m talkin’ about! A boost of caffeine from Starbucks can get you going with the help of the Lord of course -ha!

With the right patterns, color combinations, and these tips, you can create some super cute Sunday outfits. I often find really good deals on high-in brands at Marshalls, TJmaxx, Ross, Burlington, etc. etc. Class doesn’t come at a price. Neither does modesty. Modestly is a lifestyle choice. When you chose to be modest you are being a light and standing out. Make the difference good not shameful. Modestly glorify His kingdom, ladies! And you will be ultimately be blessed.

Chelsea Hockensmith

Freedom Tax

Freedom. It’s kind of ironic, huh? You are free, but it’s not. We go about our lives having the choice to do certain things, go certain places, be certain people. Except the people who fight for that freedom are not.

You see, Jesus died for our freedom. As do the men and women we honor on this day. Why only today? It seems that national dog day is more important than those who sacrificed themselves for this country. What about pride month? Is it right that they, who are only 15% of the world, are more honored than our fallen and current veterans? Okay, well let’s talk about it. Everyone is worth their right to freedom. It matters though how and where you get your freedom. Everyone has freedom in Jesus name.

So how come we can’t lift our hands to the one who bought our eternal freedom? Everyday the Lord has made! Not just Sunday or Wednesday, but everyday. It’s not a sense of freedom that we strive for as apostolic young ladies, it’s the sense of worth and dignity in knowing we are bought by perfect love.

Proverbs 31:10 says it point on, “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

All women are worth the price of freedom. We just struggle in earning that freedom. It seems easier to feel free in the world, but you pay the price of eternal bondage. Our fallen veterans are known to deal with depression and other physiological damages. It’s disheartening to find that they turn to the darkness of the world in order to ease the pain. They forget that only one thing can help them through these times, and that’s the freedom Jesus bought them.

Imagine what freedom we could feel from this world if we truly knew how to sacrifice. Fasting is one way to start. It can even be a 5 minute prayer. You should want to return the debt of freedom to God. The type of freedom you choose is up to you. Just think about where your freedom will truly take you. Will you be free to worship in Heaven? Or will you be in bondage forever? Jesus gave us this choice because He wants us to have freedom. Just like all of Israel was set free, he wants us to be free to worship and dance in his presence.

Use your freedom because not everyone has the opportunity to freely worship God. Being modest can be a struggle, but we are saved. But being a proverbs 31 woman is not all it takes. Know where your freedom comes from!

Chelsea Hockensmith

I’m Engaged!

I don’t want to be that annoying girl. You know, the one that talks about her boo and relationship all the time? But, can you let a girl testify!

I recently got engaged to an incredible man of God and I never knew the human heart had the capacity to feel this much love and joy. I’m 25 and we dated for a year and eight months. This is a little older and a little longer than most traditional “church culture” relationships. But, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Why? Because it was God’s perfect timing. I would like to share a bit of advice to the woman who’s finger has yet to be graced by a ring.

I encourage you ladies to never compare and envy the women around you. That’s a dangerous thing to do. Because that’s when you try to take your love story out of God’s hands and write it yourself. But, I assure you- He’s a way better author.

Be content as a single woman. Do not wait for life to start. Before I met Jericho, I had my own apartment, had become our church’s youth leader, was finishing up college, and was pursuing God’s will for my life as an individual. Granted, I wasn’t against a relationship, but I wasn’t seeking it out either. If you are not content without a relationship, you never will be with one.

Expect God to surpass your expectations! I know many women have created lists, naming off each characteristic they want in their future husband. If you’ve done that, I don’t want to discourage you. But, God superseded my expectations and dreams. Jericho is not what I envisioned! Even the way we met. I am the pastor’s daughter of a small church in Tallahassee (a lot of people don’t even know that’s the capital of Florida). I would’ve never thought God would’ve led the love of my life through our church doors as a FSU college student from New Jersey, a new resident of Tallahassee, who found our church online.

Don’t settle for mediocre. Be with someone who wows you! Where you have to seriously ask yourself, is this person real? “Too good to be true” does not exist with God. It is true no matter how unbelievably amazing! If we truly believe God is miraculous and a miracle worker, why can’t we expect Him to display that in our future spouse?

There’s been a debate over if there’s “the one” or if it’s simply a choice and God blesses whomever you choose. I don’t want to get too involved, but I will say that prayer, fasting, and seeking advice from Godly counsel is necessary when dating and moving towards marriage. It is the scariest and most stressful decision ever! But, God confirms His Word. It may not be easy, but He will make His way known. He is not the author of confusion. Genesis 24 gives us a perfect example of that when the servant prayed for the spouse God wanted for Isaac. God led Rebekah to the well and made it known the individual He wanted Isaac to marry according to His will.

Be encouraged, ladies, no matter your age or situation. Fairy tales are real if you do it His way. Trust and believe. Don’t rush His timing or doubt His will.

“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” – Psalm 37:4-5

To my darling husband-to-be, “I hold you in my heart, for we have shared together God’s blessings.” – Philippians 1:7 

Charity Huba

Humility

I don’t want you all to think I am up here on a high horse, preaching at you. I myself struggle with being humble, I have to check myself often. I hope you all do too, it is so important that we are thinking about our actions and our words throughout our days.

Let’s look at some scriptures that tell us the importance of humility, because the Bible does mention being humble or humility often.

1 Peter 5:5-7 (NKJV) 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to [your] elders. Yes, all of [you] be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”] 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

This scripture states that we are to submit ourselves, what does that mean? Some
synonyms of submission are complaint, obedient, meek, and yielding.
So this scripture is telling us to be obedient and compliant to our elders and to be humble, because why?

Because it says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
I want God’s grace, and more importantly I NEED God’s grace. So I am going to do
what He says, I am going to submit to my authority and my peers, I am going to clothe myself in humility, I am going to cast all of my cares on Him because He can care for me better than anyone else.

Micah 6:7-8 (NKJV) 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn [for] my transgression, The fruit of my body [for] the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O man, what [is] good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

In this passage, someone is asking what the Lord will be pleased with- will God be pleased with thousands of rams, what about ten thousand rivers of oil, what about if I sacrifice my child for my sins.. but the answer is much more simple than that. It says that the Lord requires you to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. The Lord requires this of us.

Luke 14:11 (NKJV) “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted”.

This verse is pretty cut and dry, not a lot of room for interpretation. It says that if you
exalt yourself, meaning you think about yourself in a position of greatness, you will be humbled. It says that if you humble yourself, you will be exalted, meaning raised to a position of greatness in God.
I don’t know about you, but I do not want God to have to humble me. Being humbled
hurts. I want to check myself, and humble myself, so that God doesn’t have to.
But you know what, if He has to do it, I would rather be humbled by Jesus, then not be pleasing to Him, and not be with Him for eternity.

Philippians 2:5-8 (NKJV) 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, [and] coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to [the point of] death, even the death of the cross.

When I read this verse, it hit me hard.

I want you guys to really grasp what this verse is explaining to us- it is telling us that Jesus, who is the form of God and equal with Him, came in the likeness of us; He did not come as a millionaire like He could have, He did not come as a King like He could have, He came as an ordinary baby, an ordinary man. He humbled himself, and wrapped Himself in flesh. He humbled himself and was obedient- even to the point of death. Think about that. Jesus humbled Himself, and was obedient enough to say okay to dying on the cross for us. And all He is asking us to do, is to follow His Word, to humble ourselves. He isn’t asking us to be tortured and nailed to a cross, He already did that for us.

We have established the importance of humility- but what is it really?

Most of us understand that pride is the opposite of humility. What is pride? Pride is when you focus on who is right and your own glory, it reveals your character. Humility is when you focus on what is right and God’s glory, it reveals God’s character.

Maybe you are not prideful on purpose, and you don’t understand how pridefulness comes into your daily life. Let me give you some examples of how it happens- pride comes in when you compare, when we think we are owed something. Pride comes in when you pity yourself, and only focus on your weaknesses. Pride comes in when you are self reliant, when we think that we have our acts together. Pride comes in when we want recognition or when we expect others to acknowledge us.

Humility is, like a quote which I recently read, not necessarily when we think less of ourselves, but it is when think about ourselves less. True humility can be understood like this:

H-honoring God above yourself

U-understanding your need for grace

M-mourning over your sin

I-illuminating God’s glory

L-looking for ways to serve others

I-ignoring your pride

T-trusting God’s plan over your own

Y-yearning to worship

The Bible says that Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). So I want to challenge us to strive to be humble, be more aware of our actions and attitudes, and check ourselves and make sure we are pleasing to God.

Sabrina Hope