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Valuing your time and health
By Evelyn M. Bingham

                                        How aware are we of our time, and the 
                                    precious moments we are given which 
                                    comprise our lives? Our time, is the only 
                                   possession which can never be replaced.  
                                         Tomorrow is never promised nor 
                                   guaranteed to us, so the present moment is 
                                   all we have. We must realize and appreciate                                           it as the sacred gift that it is, use it wisely and 
                                   lovingly to benefit our humanity. Each of us 
                                   are guardians of our time and life once we 
                                   have reached the age of reason, and as such, 
                                   we bear the responsibility of caring for ourselves as best we can. We, owe it to ourselves, our families, and those we interact with each day to present ourselves in the best way possible.
  How valuable is your health and each life sustaining breath that we breathe? We take so much for granted. We assume that because we, or our loved ones are here today, and reasonably healthy, that things will automatically be the same tomorrow. How we choose to live our lives, too often determines the quality of life and the paths our children will take or inherit. Just within the last week, an example of a poor parental choice resulted in two precious young girls, ages 8 & 10, coming home to find their mother and two men dead from drug overdoses, a third man was able to be saved by first responders after the young sisters had called 911. Can any of us even imagine the impact of how traumatic and lasting, this incident may have on these young girls. Thankfully, they were able to move with their father who will assume their rearing.
  In this present climate of the many destructive addictions in our country and world today, we must be mindful and aware, both for ourselves and especially our young people of the dangers of alcohol, smoking tobacco in general, and now, the dangers of the supposed substitute, vaping, or JUULing ( the same), is becoming more popular with youth in middle school and high school. 
Vape definition is – to inhale vapor through the mouth from a usually battery-operated electronic device (such as an electronic or E cigarette). Vaping allows the use of E cigarettes or other devices that let you breathe in nicotine or other drugs as vapor. The use of hookah, although an old ancient method of smoking, is also dangerous. Please research for yourselves the damages which are being done each day to the lives and lungs of our young and old by their use and most recently by the addition of marijuana laced with Vit E acetate. I recently heard on the news of a twelve year old boy who underwent a double lung transplant due to vaping. It may appear to be cool, to kids to smoke, but according to data, it only takes about two years of vaping, dependent upon what substances they are exposed to, to permanently damage their lungs. They don’t realize in their innocence that their ability to breathe determines their life! For only a few letters, separate br- eath from death!!
  I’m sure each of us knows someone, or has seen someone who must rely upon a steady supply of oxygen in order to live. This may be due to lung cancer, emphysema, asthma, pneumonia, COPD, bronchitis, or sarcoidosis, which has resulted in the necessity of this life saving supply of air. I’m sure neither of those who are oxygen dependant thinks it cool, and I’m also sure that they would warn all, young and old to protect their health, for it is our only wealth!

Hostages: Set them free 
and breathe again
By Evangelist Barbara Colbert

                                                   When I was five years old, my father came and 
                                              took my sister away from us. His rescue was 
                                              quick and clandestine, the only evidence left 
                                              behind, a trail of her belongings scattered down 
                                              the stairs and out the front door. He took her 300 
                                              miles away to live with him, and there she stayed 
                                              long enough to know she had a father who did, 
                                              after all, really 
                                              care. I didn’t know then, that the memory of that 
                                              day, would become an unshakable stowaway in 
                                              the dark places of my heart. (Only God knows the 
                                              brokenness that His children suffer. He alone 
                                              knows each tear that is shed, gathers them in a 
                                              bucket to be poured into the sea of forgetfulness.)
                                                  My father’s abandonment sent me vainly searching for a fulfillment I could not define. In spite of the love generously bestowed upon me from my mother, nothing could take the place of him. Little girl lost, looking for her natural protector, the only man who could give her what comes exclusively from the paternal blood tie. Even growing up with fine memories and excellent rearing that prepared me well for womanhood, the need to satisfy the perpetual feeling of rejection left by my father, never ceased. (Only God hears the cries that flow from the deep well of the heart.)
  Years later my mother, deeply loved and cherished, passed on to glory. A source of strength and a strong tower, she’d never left nor abandoned me. Yet, when she was gone, the void was just as deep as the one left by my father. Her memory lingered on, made bittersweet, tainted by his ghost. For now, they were both gone, and I had no one. (Only God can take away the pains of life, things lost, things regretted.)
  Then, again many years later, the Father whispered into my shattered heart, “Even though your father and mother may forsake you, then I will take you up.” Be it death or desertion, we will all have to depart this life one way or another; for as the grass flourish today, tomorrow it fadeth, so shall the mortal man. Nothing lasts forever, but God Almighty, the Great I Am. He who loves me more than my father or my mother ever could, caused me to love Him, even more than I could have ever loved my mother or my father. (“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”) 
  Because He knew my brokenness. Because He heard my cries. Because He wanted me made whole. For this, He set the captives in my heart free forevermore. He is the only One reigning within my heart. Not as a hostage, but a willing inhabitant, a gatekeeper to my heart and my soul.  
  “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” I shall know it unfailingly. God has made a way out of the wilderness of past hurts, pains, and sorrows. He has provided water for the dry and thirsty places in my heart. Now, He is doing a new thing, bringing forth a new year, springing forth a new life. Creating a hostage free heart, just ripe for the harvesting, ready to breathe again!