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)

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

Unconditional Love

When I thought about Easter, and what I could write and how to approach it, the first thing that came to my mind was love. The Love of Jesus. When we think about Easter and all of the events that transpired during this time, the only thing I can think is- Woah! Jesus loved me that much? So much that He endured the pain of the cross and died for us, so that we could live, so that we could have hope, so that we could have joy. He endured this pain for me, for you, for the person sitting next to you in class, for your family members, for your teacher or boss.

I think the majority of us are familiar with the Easter ‘story’, how Judas betrayed Jesus which led to the Roman soldiers capturing and torturing him, ultimately nailing him to a cross and killing him (Matthew 27). Jesus was then taken to a borrowed tomb (Matthew 27:60), and was dead for three days. On the third day though, they found the stone rolled away, and the tomb empty- Jesus had risen from the dead (Matthew 28). How miraculous!

This love, the love that Jesus has for us is unconditional and sacrificial. Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. He loves us without conditions, we don’t need to pass a test or make perfect decisions for Him to give us His love, it is a gift that has no conditions, no hidden motive, no ‘fine print’.

Throughout my life I have experienced being loved and giving love. I have been blessed to have grown up in a loving family with parents who worked hard to provide my brother and I with an environment that was completely different than theirs, an environment that was full of unconditional love. I know not everyone has that, and a lot of people are growing up in or have grown up in a home where love is not the environment, where they don’t feel unconditionally loved. Unconditional love is something that is rare, that is beautiful, and when you are given it, hold on to it.

Jesus sacrificed His life for ours, so that we could live. He gave His life for ours. I think that the least I can do is return the favor. He isn’t asking us to be tortured and hung on a cross, He is asking us to show selfless love like He did. He is asking that we follow His Word, and model our lives after His. He is asking for a relationship with us.

Jesus died on that cross, to show us His unconditional love. He died so we don’t have to. Because of the cross we can have eternal life. And now, knowing this- it is our job to give love, like Jesus did.

 

Sabrina Hope

What Ministry Is Not

I grew up in a pastor’s home. I lived with parents that eat, sleep, breath ministry and working for God’s kingdom. From scrubbing baseboards and painting the church, to studying, praying, and fasting for each sermon and lesson, to dealing with all kinds of people as counselors and psychiatrists, advising with Biblical and Godly wisdom. And you know what, my parents LOVE it. All of it. The good, the bad, the ugly. I was raised in an environment where the mentality was: it is a joy, an honor, and a privilege to serve God’s kingdom as ministers. Not one time did I hear my parents grumble or complain about the burdens of ministry. When my parents faced a challenging situation, they never vented or involved me and my sisters. There are things that happened to my parents that I didn’t find out about until I became an adult, because they wanted to protect us and never give us a hazy outlook on ministry. I am eternally grateful for that. I know of others that are pastor/minister’s kids who grew up to resent ministry. They knew about the drama and attacks upon their parents, their parents would be gone all day working at the church, and would pour so much of themselves into their ministry that there was hardly any time or energy for them.

The definition of ministry is literally: servanthood. But, unlike the maids and butlers of royalty- being a servant to God is so rewarding, a blessing, and a powerful experience. Being a servant to God feels like being royalty. Ministry is anything that somehow benefits the kingdom. Yes, some ministries put you on a stage for people to see. But, at the end of the day, God sees ministry as a thing of the heart. If you scrub that church toilet until your fingers bleed, God values that more than the guy who jumps behind a pulpit and didn’t prepare his message (real talk).

Ministry was made to be a practice taken on by a follower of Christ. First you follow, then you serve. When God went looking for disciples, He didn’t stop at asking them to follow. He told them he’d make them fishers of men and that they would have to take up their cross. Ministry is supposed to be something we do because we love God, we want to benefit His kingdom, and want to devote our time and energy as His devoted servants.

Ministry, as satisfying and honorable as it is, is not a relationship in itself. It is supposed to be a product of a relationship.

In church culture, we tend to glorify ministry. We tend to treat it as a status symbol or a fancy title. I remember being a teenage girl and that being the pick-up line guys would use to attract the women, “Yeah, I’m going to be a minister”. When in reality, that probably wasn’t the most pure-hearted statement.

But, for those that are genuinely in ministry (and not trying to pick-up a date), sometimes we feel a pressure to always produce. Like, give a progress update at the end of every day of things we’ve done, people who have been filled with the Holy Ghost, or how many followers we got on our ministry’s Instagram. Without meaning to, we can start behaving like ministry is a job and we are being rated on our performance. Subconsciously we will compare our ministry to others and our work to other churches. Sometimes we wake up stressed and go to bed stressed thinking about our ministerial responsibilities. And that, is simply exhausting and not the way God ever intended ministry to be.

Burn out is a real thing. I have seen it firsthand. Marriages fall apart, churches crumble, and minister’s spirituality suffer. All because a servant of the Lord gave and gave and stopped being refreshed from the fountain. People get spread so thin, trying to pour themselves into ministry with juggling work, school, family and friends, that they eventually breakdown.

It is okay to take a break or even to pull-out of ministries. Yes, you heard me right. I believe whole heartedly ministry is something EVERYONE should be involved in. It’s so rewarding and a blessing to the congregation. But, I have to remind myself that God rather have His relationship with you be priority, strong and thriving, than have you hanging on by a thread doing His work. Your walk with God is so much more important than what you do for Him. Although your local church and pastor appreciates your help (especially in a small church), make sure you are thinking of your spirituality and mental well-being first.

Are you getting burned out?

Do you feel like you have nothing else to give?

Do you find yourself more often stressed than uplifted when helping in the kingdom?

Does it feel like an obligation instead of a privilege?

These are hard questions each of us who are heavily involved in church need to ask ourselves.

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

What God truly desires from us is communion, intimacy, meditation on His word, and to be priority in your life. Yes, that even means priority over your ministry.

Don’t find your satisfaction in what you do for Christ or the roles He has given you in His kingdom. But, in Him alone. Be thankful for the honor and opportunity of leadership that has been bestowed upon you. But, never let that fog your vision of what is most important…your one true love.

charity

Don’t Take a Holiday

Matthew 28:19- Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost

Mark 16:15 – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Matthew 10:32 – Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

James 5:20 – Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Luke 14:23 – And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel [them] to come in, that my house may be filled.

Being a soul winner is the most honorable and important purpose our lives can serve, above any other achievement. A precious soul, created by God, a soul that He died for, is headed to hell by our sinful nature. To pull them out of the flames gives the Lord’s heart so much joy. For He is: “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” -II Peter 3:9.

We have a major responsibility as soul winners. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives, dreams, goals, problems, and situations. But, if we are to have the true nature of Christ- our love for the lost and care for their souls will always take priority. You think you’ve got it bad?

In this life, it is impossible to avoid hardships. But, imagine going through the same trials:

  • Without the Holy Ghost
  • Body of Christ to support you
  • A relationship with Jesus to comfort you
  • His Word to give you peace

Can we really say we’re surprised when people cut themselves, drown their sorrows in alcohol, numb the pain with drugs, and the even worse- kill themselves? They are defenseless against the enemy because they do not have access to the power that we do. People in the world have no immunity to spiritual attacks.

I am only speaking on this topic because it is something that I am so guilty of. Let’s get personal for a moment… I struggle with getting up in the mornings and sometimes walk into the office 15 minutes late. I’m so happy to be free on my lunch breaks, I have a hard time coming back to work. I know my coworkers see me come in late and my boss noticing my ever growing breaks. I’m not sinning or being immoral. But, am I still doing something just as damaging?

If we have ever claimed or will ever claim to be Christian/Apostolic/Pentecostal there is a responsibility we are taking on. What you say or claim means nothing to those around you if your actions do not to follow suite.

Maybe you think the little stuff like me running late and sneaking into the work place isn’t a big deal.

  • An occasional bad attitude
  • A little white lie to employers/professors
  • Moments of unkindness
  • Immodesty
  • Tolerating ungodliness (not speaking up or fleeing the situation)
  • Ignoring your surroundings (being compassionless and unconcerned)

Your witness doesn’t take a holiday.

You do not need to know someone very well to already form opinions about their character. It’s human nature! Especially in the world, where there is no grace, it is very natural for them to judge and form opinions of you.

People you may think have no idea that you exist, do notice you. Although they may not know your name or know your background- they do make judgments based off of your behavior, each and every day. From you professor, to your classmates, to your landlord, to your boss, to the lady that waits your table… The world is watching.

Being a Christian doesn’t end when you leave the sanctuary. There is no break, pause, or time-out. We must ALWAYS be conscience of our actions.

So, you have a bad day. Boss has been a jerk, you failed an exam, and you’re in a fight with your best-friend. You go to McDonald’s in a bad mood. The girl at the register gets your order wrong and you have to wait 20 minutes for your meal. In your anger and high emotion, you catch an attitude with the girl at the register. You snatch your food and give her a snarky comment and storm off with your eyes rolling.

There’s nothing wrong with having bad days and not being in pleasant moods. BUT, where the error happened was taking out the frustration on someone in the world. Thus ruining your witness. That cashier and everyone in that McDonalds has been affected. (This particular example deals with anger. But this also applies to acting depressed, sad, anxious, etc.)

People in the world are naïve and vulnerable. They have no wisdom from the Holy Ghost or spiritual strength to defend their emotions and perspective.

Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Colossians 3:23 – And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

In conclusion, our witness doesn’t take a vacation or leave. Everything you do is being watched every day. Although we have our hiding place and refuge within the church and the circle of church friends, we’ve been called to a higher place of responsibility when in the world. If you are struggling with something that may be affecting your witness- pray that God reveals what it is and gives you the determination to conquer it! I will be trying harder, personally. And I hope you do too.

charity

Framed as a Failure

I enjoy writing for AG.com, not just so I can preach at you and throw some scripture. But, I enjoy writing for this blog because I get to be open and hopefully relate to you! We are all alike in more ways than you’d expect. So, I don’t mind being a little vulnerable about my life experiences.

I’ve always felt like I was two steps behind. In school I struggled to keep my grades above a C average. I was good at being friendly and conversing, but what good was that?! I knew I had strengths, but they seemed worthless in areas that mattered. For example, I was carefree and good tempered (a strength), but it would cause me to be more susceptible in forgetting and lacking concern for due dates, responsibilities, and important events. My family consists of talented, gifted, and intelligent people, which left me feeling inadequate at times in my youth. After high school, I decided to get a better job, save money, and volunteer in my community with my free time. I would see my friends on social media at their prestigious universities or going out of the country on some exotic trip. And I would ask myself, “What’s wrong with you?”

I am grateful for where God has brought me to! But, maybe you can see why I felt like a failure many times when comparing my life to friends, family, and the image of success by society’s standards.

We live in a society that is obsessed with success, promotion, and profile elevation. I have noticed a common theme with many story lines about the modern woman. The girl that is the main character usually lives in a nice city apartment, has a degree from an ivy league, and works for a magazine company or some Fortune 500 corporation. For her to be an exciting and inspirational heroine, she must have this image. It’s like society knows to truly be successful, you must obtain accolades, degrees, titles, and money.

The principal behind a success hungry mentality is not all bad. After all, we want to do our best with the life God has blessed us with! But, what is true success?

What the world may view as failure or unsuccessful is fruitful when you are in God’s will and bringing Him pleasure.

When you want to “grade” your success, ask yourself these questions:

1)              Am I following the Word of God and pleasing Him in my lifestyle?

2)              Am I taking advantage of the opportunities God has given me?

3)              Am I looking for ways to better myself (especially spiritually)?

If you answered yes to all three, I can’t see why you would ever view yourself as a failure.

I Corinthians 3:6-8 (KJV)

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”

A “faith without works is dead” kind of scenario. If you don’t labor and work hard in this life…there will be no increase! If you don’t apply yourself, wither it’s pursuing a degree, a career, or ministry, you will have nothing to show for it.

“Okay, Charity. But, what if I have worked and tried really hard and I’m just not moving forward?!”

Proverbs 16:9 (KJV)

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”

He is going to say no at times. He is going to say yes when you weren’t planning to move. Simply because He has something better in your future and/or is protecting you from growth stagnation. God is wiser, smarter, and knows all. When we take matters into our own hands, we are judging and concluding from a very shallow perspective.

This doesn’t mean stop planning and preparing for your future, because God wants you to be passionate about the life He’s given you! But, it means to understand why some doors close and why some open. It’s like God gives you a little shove here and there to keep you on the path of His perfect will!

Psalm 18:33 (KJV)

“He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.”

Overall, if you don’t have a high paying job, a degree to hang on the wall, intelligence, a hefty bank account, extraordinary good looks, or great social skills- you are not a failure! Don’t listen to those around you. Read God’s Word and see what is successful to the One who created life and the essence of dreams. Please God, follow His guidance, and take opportunities He presents. That is true success and the secret to a satisfied and content life.

about blogger

Charity Huba is a 24 year old Floridian, fond of the State’s hot summers and tropical beauty. She is a leader in youth ministry, music ministry, and Sunday school. She has her degree in Political Science and works for the government in the Division of Elections. She adores quality time with her loved ones, musicals, and moon-lit nights.

Praying Selflessly

I can testify to what it feels like to be on pins and needles in your prayer life. We all have (or will) come to a moment where an important decision must be made. It’s never easy to determine what to do. It could be deciding where to go to college, your job choice, where to live, whether to date (or marry) that handsome young man, where to travel, how to handle confrontation- ugh! You don’t make it through this life without stressful obstacles that cannot be avoided.

So, we immediately plunge into what we know is best- prayer. But, I have experienced times where even with all my prayer about a particular circumstance, I still felt stuck.

Although prayer is powerful and you can never get enough of it, if you are firstly stressed, anxious, or obsessing over an issue, your “prayers” only make you more frazzled. Pray about it, fast about it, and ask to hear from the Lord. Then, gracefully…move on.

We women are notorious for overanalyzing, overthinking, and having a hyperactive imagination. (It’s because we are geniuses). But, it can also be harmful when we are praying and interceding for ourselves. Pray without ceasing does not mean to do so while being tormented by worry and confusion. That is simply not of God. He is not cruel. He hears your prayers and sees your pursuit of an answer. So, do not live like you are having to fight for your cause every day.

What is the solution to releasing stress, anxiety, and fear? All I can do is tell you what has worked for me. I encourage you to try it out for yourself and tell me how it works after a few days of practice!

I pray for others.

We all know friends, family, coworkers, and saints in our local churches. Each person is facing their own battle, needs protection and guidance, or could just use a spontaneous blessing from your prayers. It is so liberating to get your mind off of your own problems and be concerned with others. You’ll start to notice that you don’t feel as anxious, worried, or fearful.

Because the simple truth is beautiful. While you are praying and interceding for others, God has others doing the same for you. You make God’s business yours, He’ll make yours His.

Philippians 2:3-4 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

This scripture perfectly explains how we should behave in our prayer life. Although praying for yourself is essential, it is a whole new and wonderfully rewarding experience to pray on the behalf of others.

I’ve witnessed it myself and practice selflessly praying for others when I find myself overwhelmed in my own circumstance. It works! After all, the heartbeat of Christ is to love and care passionately and selflessly. If we want to truly follow after a lifestyle like His, we’ll do the same.

about blogger

Charity Huba is a 24 year old Floridian, fond of the State’s hot summers and tropical beauty. She is a leader in youth ministry, music ministry, and Sunday school. She has her degree in Political Science and works for the government in the Division of Elections. She adores quality time with her loved ones, musicals, and moon-lit nights.