Basic Training 

In the military, you begin by going through Basic Training. Basic skills are taught such as physical fitness, marching, marksmanship, rifle maintenance, and war maneuvers.  

Perhaps the greatest objective of Basic Training is to teach young recruits to fear the commands of the drill sergeant more than any other thing.  
Swift and severe punishment is given to those who would dare disobey his orders.  

This aspect of training is critical to the success of the military’s mission, for war involves great fear and danger, and if the soldier gives in to fear and disobeys an order, he threatens not only his life but the lives of countless others.

In the spiritual life, there is a corresponding objective. As we begin our journeys with The Lord, he trains us diligently to heed his words, for disobedience to his words and inner voice will result in the endangerment of everyone that is associated with us.  

It is written, “Watch your lives and doctrines carefully, for if you do so, you will save not only yourself, but everyone that hears you”.  

Our lives and doctrines must line up with the precepts of the Lord, or many others will be led astray from the devotion to Christ and the faithfulness to his words that are critical to the success of the mission of the church.

The objective of military training is to produce a military that operates as a single unit and can accomplish great objectives. The objective of spiritual disciplines is to create a church that can move and pray as one, a church that hears and responds obediently to The Master’s voice, a church that lives and breathes to bring glory to the Father and salvation to men.  

This is no small undertaking and must not be taken lightly, for Our Father is un-distractibly devoted to this objective.  

He will not be denied.  
No matter how long it takes, his will will be done; the church will be disciplined and perfected to live and move as one.  

It is to our advantage that we get onboard early and enthusiastically, for then we will avoid many un-necessary growing pains.

~ Brad Heilhecker 


WORTHY THOUGHT: If we don’t pass our values on to our children, someone else will.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Train up a child gently as a mother or father would gently feed a child, a little bit at a time and often. 

Good impressions on children in their learning age will help them choose to stay on the right path and will remain as they get older.
 ~ Angela Lipe-Pattengill 


WORTHY THOUGHT: Physical and spiritual good health is essential for what God has planned for you.

Our physical health is susceptible to disease and injury, but we need our faith to sustain through these tough times. Physical exercise is important but spiritual exercise is more essential. Both discipline and devotion are needed to make you effective as a healthy Christian. 

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for the both present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)
Stop being a gambler with your health, and instead be an investor to take care of your body, mind, and spirit. -Joyce Meyer

I believe this statement Joyce Meyer said is to take care of your physical body and your spirit body. Your Spirit body is the temple where the Holy Spirit resides. 

Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in your midst? (1 Corinthians 3:16) 

Paul also wrote; Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? Your are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.(1 Corinthians 6:20)

We never outgrow the nourishing milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2) 

But we cannot grow physically unless we also have solid healthy food, eating and exercising; it takes both. 

So wether you eat and drink or whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

We all know the more fit and healthy we are the more we be better able to sustain ourselves for the long haul. God needs us to be spiritually healthy to be a good witness.

God cares about our fitness so we can be a good witness! 

          ~Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

The Ultimate Networker

What is a networker? Well there are several definitions, but the one I like best is “a person who gathers individuals for a common interest”.  

Jesus was the original networker, he gathered 12 disciples, trained, mentored, inspired and then sent them out to spread the message of salvation. 

 “And He called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two giving them authority . . . wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” Mark 6:7-10.

Did you know that today, Network Marketing is the fastest growing industry in America, generating over $34.5 billion dollars in sales last year? The DSA reports that someone starts a home-based business every 10 seconds and nearly 50% of all households are involved in some sort of network marketing business. The industry includes over 18 million people and increases by more than 600,000 people every year! Wow, those are some staggering numbers and I have to admit I was a little surprised myself and I’ve been in this industry for over eight years. 

As you can see, there are many networkers in America today and they, like Jesus, are sharing the message of their company and products. Although it is not the same important soul-saving message as Jesus, there are many similarities such as gathering a team of people (disciples) teaching them, mentoring them and equipping them to go out and share their opportunity and message, and like Jesus, they face rejection every day, suffer negative criticism, avoidance, accusations of schemes “pyramid things”, and sometimes feel like they are unwanted and unworthy! Many times we find it more comfortable to speak to complete strangers than our friends and family because they have no pre-conceived ideas about us or our motives.  

As scripture says in Mark 6:4, Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family. And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.”

Since network marketing seems to to be working for so many people, then why is there still so much negative perception around this industry, why is it so misunderstood? Network marketing is a calling and an honorable career that models the methods, strategies and principles that Jesus used to reveal the Kingdom of God.  

Therefore, this method of building an organization is an extraordinary threat to the kingdom of darkness. It has experienced a season of great attack, defilement and destruction by the evil one, due to the great potential that the industry has to be a vehicle that God uses to reveal His glory throughout the earth!  

Since networkers often share much more than their products, they can have a positive influence on people that they may have possibly never met, and share the good news of Jesus Christ. Many networkers have more time and flexibility since they work from home, and are also usually less stressed, more rested and have more time to spend with their children, as well as more financial security and financial freedom to become great supporters of their communities and charitable organizations. 

Network marketing is a life-changing business that molds people to become more confident with their people-skills and see beyond cultural differences; thereby identifying each individuals potential and talents. When you master the skills of networking, it will impact many other areas of your life and enrich relationships with your spouse, your children, your parents, siblings and really everyone you meet. I feel so blessed to be a part of this industry because it has taught me compassion, discernment, faith, hope and love!  

The most important commandment is this: The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul all your mind and all your strength. The second equally important “Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandmet is greater than these.” Mark 12:29.

Although not everyone is called to be in network marketing, everyone is called to be disciples for Jesus. We, as believers, are the light of the world and have been granted authority to spread the Word to all the nations that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, this is called, the Great Commission.. 

“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this I am with you always even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-19. 

Be the light,
Deb Hicks

Big Sam


About 5 years ago, I was introduced to a dirty, furry angel. He showed up one day at our back door, wearing only a collar that said “Sam”. He was huge and looked a little scruffy around the edges for such a beautiful Golden Retriever, definitely not what one would expect when thinking of the breed standard. He stood by the back door, pawing it firmly and panting, all while wearing a goofy doggy smile. This gentle giant walked right into our hearts that day. He was looking for treats and love. I think I would be hard-pressed to decide which one he wanted more.

The first time Big Sam showed up, I decided just to pet him, as he seemed very friendly. Whew! Was he ever stinky! Seems his owners had a different view of a dog’s care than the rest of our neighbors did. They had acreage and let their animals be 100% outside “ranch dogs”, roaming free, hunting, chasing whatever moved and bathing in the ditch water. Not a bad way to go if you’re a dog, but hard to invite into your well-groomed human existence. My husband, children and I started “visiting” with Big Sam outside on the patio. I got the sense that, at some point, Sam must have been an “only” dog, living his life inside with the company of children and beloved by all. His life seemed to have taken a turn somewhere though. At some point, he was put outside and told to fend for himself with little outside intervention. As time progressed, he seemed dirtier, hungrier and more and more in need of someone to love on him. So we did. And not just us. As the other neighborhood moms and I talked at the bus stop, we began to realize that he had a circuit of homes in our neighborhood he would visit on Saturday mornings. Food and love? Check. Next house: food and love? Check. And so it went…

We soon discovered there were more Goldens on the neighbor’s property than just Big Sam. Maybe word got out when he started coming back standing a little taller, looking flush from his time cleaning out all our refrigerators. The next time he showed up, he brought along a beautiful female, Shelby. At least that is what her collar said. A sweeter dog you will never meet. She and Sam would both close their eyes in ecstasy when you would pet their heads. They made a great team, each taking turns for petting and eating and charming us. Then came Maxie. A slender female, who though very skittish and certainly none too bright, was very sweet in her own way. We are forever grateful that we met Big Sam, because through a series of God-inspired events, my neighbor and I each ended up with one of Big Sam’s puppies.

We named ours “Lulu”. If you had walked through the first few years of her life with me, you would not judge me for her name. Yes, you guessed it. My puppy was Maxie’s daughter. Those times when I would get so exasperated with her, she would sense that she had better turn on the charm…quickly…and would flash me that “Big Sam” smile and snuggle in my neck. I would immediately soften and forgive her for her latest (hourly) offense. Running away chasing squirrels instead of coming to me when I gave her the “come” training command? Yup. Sitting down and refusing to move when she was asked to walk beside me like she had been taught? Yup. I was only wanting to take her down the street on an excursion to see her friends, the other neighborhood dogs, and chase the ducks at the pond, for Pete’s sake! And I was giving her treats along the way! Would she even pretend to cooperate? Nope. There were many days I did the “walk of shame” where I took this dog for a walk and ended up having to carry her home because she staged a sit-in, from fear (school buses are scary), stubbornness or exhaustion. It seemed to be intentionally timed to happen at the most inconvenient time or place, with the biggest audience for maximum impact. I won’t forget that one neighbor’s droll comments as I walked down the street with her in my arms: “Nice to see you out walking the dog.” Or “How’s that training class working out?” Sigh! The days when she chased down the squirrels? Of course, she came back so black with mud, you could usually only see her eyes.

Sorry if this makes you bristle at the elementary comparison, but when I took the time to ponder this whole Big Sam / Lulu life-lesson I was given, though, I was kind of amazed. Think about it with me: Time after time, I act like Lulu. God is trying to get me trained. I need to know and understand the authority of His voice. It is for my own good and safety that I understand His commands are for my good and they are laced with fun times and treats to encourage me in obedience. The squirrels I choose to chase, well those are just what they sound like. Distractions that lead me away from the best that my Master has for me. Fun? Sometimes, but the consequences of having to apologize, repent and be restored again, not so much. As for that walking business: You see, Jesus has perfectly planned and timed my walk with Him. On the days I am fearful of things I encounter in my daily walk, Jesus reaches out to calm and reassure me that He is walking next to me and that He will let nothing truly harm me. He may use situations to teach me. Much like I did when I made Lulu assume a sit/stay pose at the end of our driveway while the school bus drove past her down the street. I was trying to make her realize that there was nothing to fear and while she obeyed me, nothing could harm her. The days I am too stubborn, He gently encourages me through His character of patience. He soothes and distracts me from my bad, non-cooperative mood by sending a friend to speak kindly and give me that undeserved pat on the back of encouragement. The best part is that when I find myself too exhausted from chasing all those squirrels, He lovingly picks me up and walks with me in His arms the rest of the way home, to a place He has prepared for my rest.

The best part of meeting Big Sam? His legacy. We were never sure what happened to him. One day, he just stopped coming as frequently, then never came back. We moved shortly thereafter. We sure do miss him, but every now and then, Lulu will cock her head just so and smile at us…just like Big Sam. Or close her eyes in adoration when we pet her…just like Big Sam. Those times melt my heart because I love to see Big Sam in Lulu. I love it when her actions mimic the gentleness he displayed. I love it when I see that same goofy doggy smile looking back at me. I even love it when she is having so much fun that she gets a little muddy and I have to clean up her paws. (Shhh! Don’t tell my kids!) It always involves me having to dry her off with a towel, which ends up with me hugging her.

I have to think that the full circle of this lesson is that in the same way I love to see Big Sam in Lulu, God loves it when He catches a glimpse of Jesus in us. How thrilling for God to see His adopted children displaying the same characteristics as His firstborn! How wonderful for Him to see the kindness and gentleness radiating from us, as we grow into the character of His son. How satisfying for Him to see that the fruit of His training has been worth it as we walk in obedience beside Him, sensitive to His desires and commands for us. At the center of His heart is the desire for our good. And He doesn’t even mind cleaning us up. His clean-up always involves a hug, too. He is a good Master. Let us not forget where we came from, how much He loves and cares for our needs and that His instructions are GOOD!

Sit. Stay. Wait…Leave it! Go! Get ‘em! Come here. Go home.

Psalm 95:6-8

Come, let us bow down and worship him! Let us kneel before the Lord who made us. He is our God, and we are the people he cares for, his sheep that walk by his side. Listen to his voice today: Don’t be stubborn…

1 John 4:18

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. It is his punishment that makes a person fear. So his love is not made perfect in the one who has fear.
Isaiah 64:6 a

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a filthy rag;

1 John 1:7

We should live in the light, where God is. If we live in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, washes away every sin and makes us clean.

Genesis 22:18

Every nation on the earth will be blessed through your descendants. I will do this because you obeyed me.”

Your Child’s Identity


What is your mommy purpose?

Is it to survive the day? Shower before nap time? To have a clean house?
To make your kid eat veggies?

Now take a step back. What is your one overarching goal for your child?

I’m sure many of you have great ones. Some folks just want to figure out the whole couponing system and some of you may not have a goal at all.

I’ll share mine.

Currently my children rely on me for guidance and instruction. My goal is to have my children grow in their relationship with Christ so that they rely of Him and grow in relationship with Jesus. More of Jesus and less of me. Eventually, they will leave my home and I want them rooted with Christ when they do.

Every correction points to Jesus. Every encouragement is in relation to Jesus.

Any helicopter moms out there? I love the early years. I knew every experience my son had. He would point to a random object and say bla bla. I’d respond with “Yes it looks just like the butterfly from your new book”.

Flash forward 13 years and it’s just plain weird. I don’t want or need to know his every thought. If I did I’d be looking forward to a 50 year old man still living with mom completing his sentences. Ladies, that’s not healthy.

Let’s discuss the gift of identity for our children. So they truly know who they are so they can respond from that identity.

Example: Pornography is not allowed in my home. I take appropriate mommy action by telling my 13 year old what it is (yes we had that talk) and why it’s harmful to his mind and body. We fully discuss how God views him and how pornography halts God’s plan for him.

In addition, open the lines of communication (no matter how awkward) and talk about it regularly. Casual comments about TV, media, and clothing. My families favorite line of mine is “modest is hottest” I saw it on a T-shirt. Please feel free to use it often.

My goal to help set within each of my children their identity so that when negative temptations and peer pressures come, they will know it is wrong because it goes against who they are in their identity with Christ not breaking their super strict parents’ rules. So I want my son to say no to internet porn because he knows it will change the chemistry of his brain not because his mom has a rule against it. God gave us rules to protect us we need to share the rules and protection with our children.

The same method of speaking their identity into them can be done to clarify their gifts, talents and love language.

First, I discover where God has gifted them. Then I speak into that truth. If they are resourceful I say…”Daughter you remind me of Ruth. She was loyal and able to find food where others couldn’t.” OK many times its a total stretch, but I get to share the gospel stories and build them up at the same time. Win Win

I speak truth to correct…
If my son is tattling on a fiend, I speak truth into his identity saying God has made you very insightful and aware of the world around you. That is a gift. Use your gift to tell people about the good you see them doing, not the negative.

Encourage the identity God gave them.

My daughter has an intense personality. She is wildly loving and equally explosive. When she is older I want her on my side in any conflict. This is how God made her. He didn’t make her like me (I’m a people pleaser who dislikes conflict). She’s not at all concerned if her actions are not pleasing someone and I think she likes the drama. Instead of trying to change her God given identity. She was born this way! I encourage the Christ in her. I don’t lie and tell her how sweet she is acting. I speak truth by telling her how wonderfully passionate God has made her. One night was telling the kids the story of Shadrack, Meshack and Abendago. My son responded to the story saying “wow mom if that ever happens to me, I hope I’ll have the faith not to bow down. my daughter looks at him weird and says If that ever happens to me (insert head bobbing), I’d kick that statue down and beat it up. (Yes, I want her on my side in the nursing home).I constantly speak truth and tell her how God has poured passion into her and how He loves her passion. Her passion is a God given gift. I’m also trying to soften her edges, because that’s the mom he made me to be.

Give your children the gift of who they are in Christ. Show them that they were fearfully and wonderfully made. They are not an accident. They were made by God and He will use them to accomplish great things for his Kingdom.

I’ve been a mommy for 13 years. The most challenging and rewarding part for me is learning how God has gifted each child, then with that knowledge speak life into each child so they can live out of their giftings and not their weaknesses. ~ Marina Wright

“My child, obey the teachings of your parents.” ~Proverbs 1:8

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. ~ Proverbs 22:6 NLT