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Donna M. Reed

C-OBIT-reeddonnaDonna M. Reed 80 of Sand Lake, died Friday, January 16, 2015 at her home. Donna was born December 30, 1934 in Sand Lake, MI the daughter of John and Ivah (Riley) Shick. She worked for General Motors Plant #2 on Alpine Avenue for 30 years. She was the first Village of Sand Lake Queen in 1952 and enjoyed being a Grandma Helper and making cookies for Sand Lake Elementary School. She had a special love for her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Surviving are her sons, Randy, Ken (Judy), Rick (Nancy); eight grandchildren and their spouses; 11 great grandchildren; sisters, Arlene Wesche, Bev (Phil) Wesche, Verna (Dick) Wesche; brother, Fred (Carol) Shick; brother-in-law, Don (Della) Reed; close friend, Sue Cohen; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Orvin “Chub” in 2010; brothers, Harvey and Bob. The family will greet friends Sunday from 2-4 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where services will be held Monday 11:00 am. Pastor John Dawson officiating. Interment Sand Lake Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Faith Hospice, 2100 Raybrook St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

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Trusting in God!

Pastor Richard Nichols

Cedar Creek Community Church

2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”  (Proverbs 3:5-6 King James translation).

This is a truth that evaded my understanding for too many years of my life. I discovered (admit), it isn’t always easy to understand God’s love and concern for each of us when we are living in the moment of those events that call us to lean on God’s promises. Proverbs 3:5-6 is so meaningful, because it reveals the truth of God’s love for us.

I hope that some of what I have learned in this Christian walk will benefit others. There are times when it takes years to even begin understanding the whys of life, and some things I am convinced that I won’t understand at all in this life. Then too, there are events in life that will still hurt even though I understand better later. An old hymn title assures us “We Will Understand it Better By and By.”  My comfort and peace is in knowing that God is always there, even when I can’t see him through my circumstances.

So why trust God with all our heart as scripture tells us? Well, I’m glad someone asked.

For one thing, God is good! His character is such that he only wills and allows what is ultimately good.

We read in scripture “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11 KJV).

One of my shortcomings is that I sometimes measure God’s goodness more on my emotions of the moment, rather than on the basis of his truth. For instance, there are times when I have thought, “God is not fair,” when in actuality, I was thinking “God is not fair to me.”

Our emotions can change like the weather, but God never changes. What I should be questioning is why I am questioning God. God is righteous (just), and quite frankly, I know that any righteousness or rightness that I may have only comes from him, so listening to his word is always my best option.

Second, God is love! His character is such that his deep love is the motivating factor and controlling influence of his heart toward us. That is why I can trust Him with all of my heart, because I know that his love can never fail.

Third, God is in control! Regardless of what it looks like to me at the moment or what I think, God is in control of everything I go through! If I didn’t believe that, I would be emotionally and spiritually a wreck. Today I can have confidence in this new year that I am always right in the center of his loving hand of mercy, protection and care.  I desire to be more trusting and closer to him every day.

There is so much more I could share of my relationship with God, the blessings along with the trials, my failures and God’s successes but I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you how much I love the Lord and trust in him. It is my prayer that you, too, may know in your heart the peace of a relationship with our loving God of Truth.

 

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Extremist for Love

By Ronnie McBrayer

By Ronnie McBrayer

When it comes to the late Martin Luther King, Jr., it’s almost impossible to supplant the importance of his 1963 defense of his nonviolent strategies, a document entitled, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” MLK used his jail cell to take his detractors to task, specifically a group of Alabama ministers, who had taken umbrage with his tactics.

Those ministers crafted a document entitled, “A Call for Unity,” imploring King to cease his “extreme measures” of boycotts and demonstrations. After it was printed in the local newspaper, King drafted “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” as his spirited response.

In it he fiercely attacked the false peace that they paternalistically peddled. What was required for lasting peace and justice was to first “bring to the surface the hidden tension…bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with.” It was King’s goal, always through nonviolent means, to foster this social crisis of inequality until it could no longer be ignored. Then, and only then, was systematic change possible.

Was this approach, “extreme?” Absolutely, as King wrote: “Was not Jesus an extremist for love…Was not Amos an extremist for justice…So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love?

“In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified…All three were crucified for the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

When I read those words I can’t help but be captured by King as a spiritual guide, a mentor, a prophet whose words, passion, and creative extremism can point us to a better future. And I say this as a man who was born years after his death; a man with no claim on MLK’s legacy; a man with a Deep South lineage where my grandfather still spoke of “The War of Northern Aggression.”

At last, I have to agree with Tavis Smiley who says, “King is the greatest single individual this country has ever produced.” May he continue to produce fruit in us all—black, white, Latino, or Asian—because we need extremists more than ever, extremists in love.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

 

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ORVILLE D. MOORE

EPSON scanner imageOrville D. Moore, 90 of Cedar Springs, died Friday, January 9, 2015 at his home. Orville was born April 27, 1924 in Plainfield Township, Michigan, the son of Nelville and Leliah (Huckleberry) Moore. He was a veteran of World War II serving in the U.S. Army. He retired from Dohler-Jarvis after 30 years of service. He enjoyed golfing, fishing, bowling and playing cards. Surviving are his children, Rosalee (John) Richer, Julie Tope, Thomas (Kelle Edwards) Moore, Terry (Jan Compton) Moore; several grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren including a special great granddaughter, Randi Rose; sister, Elaine Kooiker. He was preceded in death by his wife, Rosemarie in 2004; sister, Betty Baggie; brother, Kenneth Moore. The family will greet friends Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where a Rosary will be recited at 7:30 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday 10:00 am at Mary Queen of Apostles, Sand Lake. Rev. Fr. Lam T. Le celebrant. Interment Rosedale Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to Heartland Hospice, 3230 Eagle Park Dr. #200, Grand Rapids, MI 49525.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

 

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George W. Hankins

Hankins, George WilliamMr. George William Hankins of Cedar Springs, Michigan, age 83, passed away in the comfort of his home and into the arms of his Lord and Savior on Friday, January 9, 2015. He was born in Detroit, Michigan to Claude, Sr. and Emma (Ripley) Hankins on Sunday, December 13, 1931, and had been a long-time resident of the Cedar Springs area. George was a veteran, proudly and courageously serving his flag and country in the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict, aboard the U.S.S. Diamond Head, serving from August 1951 until his honorable discharge in July 1955. George attended Huggard Bible Church for many years, where his wife Rose still attends. In his free time, he was an amateur ham radio operator and lawn care expert, always mowing the grass, giving his neighbors a run for their money. George was a loving and devoted husband, wonderful father, proud grandfather, dear friend, and faithful servant to his Lord. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all those who knew him. George is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Rose (Meschnark), married on September 15, 1956; loving children Deborah (Scott) Zuidema and Vickie (John) Totten; grandchildren Meghan (Caleb) Caterino, Nathan (fiancee Calista Peterson) Zuidema, Jacob (Amber) Totten, Rebekah (Ethan Dozeman) Totten, Rachel (Mike) Seegers, and Joshua (Brittany Thomason) Totten and Hannah (David Mortensen) Totten; 10 great-grandchildren; siblings Claude (LaDonna) Hankins, Jr., Lois Cantile, and Don (Carole) Hankins; many nieces and nephews; and special friends Jerry Thompson and Jim Ross. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister Jeanne Ostrom and her husband Charles Ostrom; and brother-in-law Bob Cantile; and niece Sharon (Ostrom) Fredrickson There will be a time of visitation from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, at Pederson Funeral Home, 127 N. Monroe Street NE, Rockford, MI 43941. The funeral service for George will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, at Huggard Bible Church, 8860 21 Mile Road, Sand Lake, MI 49343. There will be a one hour visitation prior to the service at church. Pastor Rick Malone will be officiating. Under the auspices of the Kent County Veteran’s Honor Guard, military honors will be performed. Interment will be at Courtland Township Cemetery.

Pederson Funeral Home
www.pedersonfuneralhome.com

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Fresh Start: A New Heart

The-Springs-blurred-web Pastor Cherri’ Kerr, Discipleship Pastor

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs

 

 

 

Happy New Year! So how goes the New Year’s Resolution? If you’re like me, you are doing okay, for now. But we know the struggle is coming. We can look ahead and see a bright future but it’s that space in between here and there that we struggle.  God knows more about our struggle than we might realize. Exodus 13:17 (NIV) says, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”

God knew that the Israelites lacked the faith they would need to get to the Promised Land. The people needed time to prepare for what was ahead of them. And God was protecting His investment. He wasn’t putting a band-aid on their situation. He did not set them free for them to be enslaved again by some other nation. No, He had plans for them and every intention of seeing those plans to completion.

The same is true for us. God has everything we need to get from here to there. Have you ever noticed that the problems that tend to bother us are things like debt, obesity, addictions, anger and worry? These things are symptoms of our real problem. And like the Israelites, God isn’t looking to set us free so that we can become captive again to something else. He isn’t offering a band-aid. He offers a solution. God knows that all that we struggle with in this life starts in our heart.

Ezekiel 36:22-23 (NIV) “Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name… Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.

As you journey from here to there remember that you’re not the only one with skin in the game. God is completely invested in you. It is His Holy Name, His character, His power which is called into question when Christians choose to live enslaved.

Ezekiel 36:25-26 (NIV) says, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

Real change comes from a changed heart. God changes people from the inside out. This year allow God to uncover some things that may be hidden in your heart so that you may experience the fullness of God’s blessing in the coming year.

 

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No Fixing a Fool

by Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

Zen Buddhists use a descriptive phrase that we who are Christian should adopt as our own. The phrase is “Idiot’s Compassion.” It is an intense desire to help someone who is in need, but this benevolent desire blinds the do-gooder from seeing reality.

The classic example of such behavior is the relationship between the addict and the enabler. Suppose an alcoholic friend comes to racked by convulsions and tremors. She is financially used up. She is tormented by her disease. She begs you for a drink. You are persuaded to offer her just one drink to alleviate her immediate pain. You do this, in your own mind, out of mercy.

Yet, you have actually given her more of the poison that will ultimately take her life. This is not mercy. It is foolish cruelty. It is “Idiot’s Compassion.” The Hebrew sages had a word for one who could not be helped. They called such a person a “fool.” It’s a word that means “fat,” “heavy,” or “thick.”

It’s someone who is immovable, stuck, unyielding, and stubborn. It is the person who refuses to learn and refuses to accept correction. This person cannot be taught – not by people and not by his or her circumstances. It’s damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, and nothing you say or do will make a bit of difference with such a person.

If you don’t believe me, go into business with a fool, marry a fool, move in with a fool, work for a fool, and you will discover it to be one of the most maddening experiences of your life. The better part of wisdom is to keep some distance, for a fool will suck you into a never-ending death dance.

I know this can be hard wisdom to accept, especially for those of us who are engineered to “help” others. But when it comes to the fool, there is no fixing them. You might as well try to rescue a drowning man who is still fighting the water. Both the savior and saved will drown in the struggle.

No, I’m not advocating a lack of compassion for those who need some help along life’s way. I’m only calling attention to the fact that, once you are tangled up with one who refuses to learn or listen, he has a way of making you look and behave like an idiot as well.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

 

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Richard M. Reed Sr.

C-Memorial-ReedIn loving memory

Richard M. Reed Sr.

October 9, 1933-January 4, 2004

 

Not how did he die, but how did he live?

Not what did he gain, but what did he give?

These are the units to measure the worth

Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.

Not, what was his church, nor what was his creed?

But had he befriended those really in need?

Was he ever ready, with word of good cheer,

To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?

Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,

But how many were sorry when he passed away?

It’s been 10 years, but we still miss you and think of you everyday.

Love, your family

 

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Happy Birthday

C-Birthday-MaryRandall-webHappy Birthday

Mary Randall

January 7

 

If you see Mary Randall, be sure to wish her a happy birthday! We forgot to for the past 3 years!

Hope this makes up for us missing your birthday for 3 years in a row.

 

Love, your Post Staff family

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Resolutions for every day of the year

Courtland-OakfieldUMCPastor Robert Eckert

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist

10295 Myers Lake Avenue

Rockford, MI 49341

 

 

One of the privileges of being a pastor in this area is taking my turn when it comes around to contribute to this column in the Post. I have no idea whether anything any of us writes ever has the impact we hope it will when we’re writing it; still, the opportunity to gather, sift, arrange and present one’s thoughts on what it means to be a person of faith in the 21st century, even in a brief format such as this, helps keeps those of us who do so accountable and attentive to the message of God’s grace that each of us, in our own way, hopes to convey.

So you’d think this spot in the rotation, the week when we’re all turning the corner from one year to the next, would be especially attractive. With 2014 getting one last look before we say farewell and forecasts for 2015 being made, this would seem to be the perfect context for insights on tying up loose ends and stepping forward with bold conviction. You know, the whole New Year’s Resolutions thing.

But how tedious and predictable is that? We’re all capable of googling what the most popular resolutions are and the low success rate people have meeting the goals they set in January. Is there anything at all that a pastor could offer that isn’t just another bow to the clichés of pop culture?

Maybe a different take on resolution would be worth something. Traditionally, during days of auld lang syne, the operative definition of the word involves statements of firm determination relative to particular actions, either to be taken or to be avoided. One might resolve to lose weight, for example, or quit smoking.

Another definition of resolution has to do with problem-solving. Resolution is the just and equitable settlement of a dispute or controversy.

There’s nothing wrong with self-improvement. All of us would do well to take better care of our emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual health and we have nothing to lose by declaring our intentions to do so. In fact, “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” (That comes from one of those google searches, http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/)

But an article that I, or any of our area pastors, could write no matter what time of year it is would speak to the need for the employment of every resource of grace—forgiveness, compassion, reconciliation, redemption. It would encourage us to “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream” (Amos 5:24, NRSV) and it would remind us that Jesus called peacemakers blessed.

We don’t need to wait until it’s time to flip a page of the calendar to “learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16b-17, NRSV). New Year’s resolutions? Let’s make New Day’s resolutions, every day, always to be part of the solution, actively and intentionally.

 

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