The Art of Reconciliation

The Art of Reconciliation

By Fran Gardner Mora/Pearls & Presence

But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. Genesis 33:4
This scripture calls to me from the depths of my need to understand forgiveness. I’ve spent many years working side-by-side with the Holy Spirit to find the hidden areas where unforgiveness festers in my heart. He has shone the light of truth into countless shadows and has broken down walls that allow me to reach into darkness I was not even aware I had. It has been hard work, but my hunger for more outpouring necessitated a thorough clearing out of anything that wasted real estate in my soul – I simply want room to develop the spiritual strength I need to answer the call of my Father.

So, out goes the residue of past hurt and rejection. Out goes shame and regret. And out goes anything negative that pulls at my mental energy. I am so much lighter and unencumbered by the clutter of unforgiveness – and yet, I’ve been steadily becoming more and more mindful that there is more work to be done.

Forgiveness is really just the first step in the process of setting relationships back to what they should be. If you believe that forgiveness is the final destination, then why don’t you feel full and content with that action? Consider this as a hint to the answer: How many times have you said, or thought, “I forgive him/her for what they did and it no longer hurts me – but I can’t forget it.”

This indicates that we are forgiving like humans forgive, not like Jesus forgave. We are forgiving for what we get out of it rather than for it’s potential to glorify God. Scripture tells us that God not only wipes the record of sin away, He forgets about it! (Isaiah 43:25, Hebrews 8:12, 10:17) How incredible is our God – who knows all – to willingly and lovingly cast out the record of our sin, even from His mind! Christ-like forgiveness always embraces this heavenly amnesia. Every day is fresh and there are no transgressions dragged into the present that the enemy can use to separate you from the people in your life.

And I thought I was doing so well! Ha!

To further complicate the issue, I realized that forgiveness and forgetting transgressions were not the end game for Jesus, they were merely the vehicle for reconciling us to God. So, the target was restoration of relationship. Clearing a path back to the Father and giving us access to His heart again. This explained why forgiveness in my own strength and removing the remnants of broken relationships still left me feeling incomplete and empty. I had created spaces that were supposed to be filled with restored relationships; instead, I had filled them with a vague kind of apathy and acceptance that those connections were lost – and it was okay. As a result, I was free from carrying the weight of resentment and hurt, but there was no actual healing in the situation. It was more like anesthesia. A clever parlor trick my mind played on my heart to focus my attention on what I was accomplishing rather than what obstacles were yet to be conquered. What work still needs to be done.

So, now, I must ask the Holy Spirit for discernment. Which relationships need to be healed and which ones are past the point where that is useful, or even possible? Which ones do I go after and which ones do I lay at the foot of the cross? I’m not equipped to make those decisions on my own. I must be walking in the power of the Holy Spirit and the agape love of Jesus if I am going to have victory in this quest. And what does this effort even look like in a practical sense?

Jacob and Esau’s first encounter after twenty years of fear, anxiety, guilt and vengeful anger, was a simple embrace. They held each other and they wept over the lost years and the shattered relationship. Their broken hearts reconnected in their love for each other.

For me, in this season of coming to terms with fruitful forgiveness and resetting unity in my life, the most compelling component of this passage is not what happened – but what didn’t happen. Neither brother brought up the past transgressions … they just let it all go. Neither one of them apologized or expressed forgiveness … the honesty and emotion in their actions covered everything in God’s grace. They were good.

We often fall prey to the need to lay everything out in the open so it can be addressed, categorized, and rectified. But in practicing this strategy, we’re failing to forget the grievances. Is it really necessary to bring it all up again? And when we magnanimously tell someone that we forgive them, are we not actually accusing them of something they need to be forgiven for? We shouldn’t be surprised when our efforts are met with a defensive posture or, yet, another argument or rejection.

I’m going to ask the Holy Spirit to help me grow my self-control. I’m going to rely on Him to help me be aware of how I’m approaching people for whom I have not invested righteous forgiveness. I want to engage them in the present and look forward to a restored future with them. I want to love them like Jesus loves them – with no expectation of perfection and no pressure to fulfill my needs. In reconciliation, I want my actions to speak volumes and my words to be graciously few. Let it be.

What is a Financial Coach?

What is a Financial Coach

By Jay Snyder

What is a Financial Coach? Financial Coaches work with clients to get to the root of financial behaviors and patterns so they can make wise money decisions. A coach can help you unearth what drives your financial decisions, so you can create a healthier attitude that leads to better money habits as well as help you develop strategies to assist you in taking charge of your finances and achieve your financial goals.
I love helping people eliminate their stress and anxiety over finances. Listen to what the Bible says:

Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds, Proverbs 27:23

Most of us don’t have flocks or herds today, but good stewardship is accomplished through knowing the condition of your finances and provisions. I want to provoke your thoughts with the basic foundation of money management – a budget! That word scares so many people! A budget is not a waste of time. It is not a way to control your spouse’s spending. It is not a tool to provide additional arguments and strife within your family. Change your perspective. Let’s call it a “Resource Allocation Forecast.” A budget is simply a plan that you create to allocate your resources (income) where you choose it to go to meet your financial goals. Household tension is reduced when you have necessary provision when needed. A budget will expand your freedom to enjoy life, not restrict it. It helps you live within your means and avoid going into the trap of debt.

When you take a long road trip, you open up your maps app, punch in your current location and your destination and the app shows you the route to your destination. That is exactly what a budget accomplishes. You set your goals, determine where you are currently, and the budget is your roadmap to achieve those goals. You take charge, you make your choices! Financial freedom can be yours!

Food that Fuels at Agapé Juices in Foley

Food that Fuels at Agapé Juices in Foley
Stephanie Rhodes & Glenna Grant

By Esther Milne

The story of Agapé Juices is one of heath, healing, friendship and faith. After losing relatives to cancer and other sickness, longtime friends Stephanie Rhodes and Glenna Grant decided it was time to learn about the power of properly fueling the body, not just for their own families but to help those in Baldwin County who were looking for a nutritious alternative to fast food.

With the dream firmly planted in their hearts, Stephanie & Glenna opened their juice bar in 2017 as part of a wellness center in Gulf Shores, where they gained a loyal client base who was ready to add the nutrition component to their exercise and wellness programs.
Any new business will inevitably face some challenges along the road and Agapé Juices realized that they needed to change location in order to experience new growth and to tap into the tourist market that we value so much on the Gulf Coast. It took a few more steps of faith and some divine connections that has led Agapé Juices to their own store front on Highway 59, just north of CR12. It’s the perfect stopping place for a healthy snack on the way to the beach!

As well as cold pressed juices, smoothies, lunch items and snacks, the girls can advise you if you’re looking to kick start your health or weight loss goals with a 3-5 day juice cleanse or a 5 day reset diet. Other clients give glowing reviews of the way they look and feel after trying one of these programs.

Be sure to pay them a visit, it’s only the first time that you’ll feel like a customer, the next time you’ll be a friend!

Vacation Reflection

Linda and Bill Center, past residents of Baldwin County, sailing on the Viking Sun cruise ship in 2019. A year later, they discovered Bill had stage four pancreatic cancer. God’s grace and faithfulness spared Bill from unceasing pain and suffering and took him quickly to his heavenly home.

By Linda Ray Center

I remember a time before Covid, when a tragic announcement on our cruise ship, the Viking Sun, blasted over the intercom. Passengers on Viking’s sister ship, the Viking Star was taking in forty-five degree water off the Norwegian coast. Their engine room had flooded, and they were air lifting passengers off the ship. As I prayed for the Viking Star passengers, my favorite scripture came to mind. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) His presence on vacation gave me a keen sense of His protection over the passengers and myself.

Through it all, I had no fear. God promises to be close to all who call on Him. His Word to me is better than travel insurance.
Many of us are making vacation plans again, but how many people will take God along too?

Vacations can serve as a spark plug with our communion with the Creator. Use this time to be restored and charged physically and emotionally, but also spiritually. Don’t miss the chance to see the works of His hands, claim His promises, and listen to His truths. Even though vacations can be a busier time than our daily routine, the Lord promises if we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him, no matter where we are. King David did. He sought and thirsted for the presence of God everywhere he went.

The Lord blesses our faithfulness when we encounter Him. Take part in what He has created for us. On vacation, start your day with a simple conversation with God. Thank you, Lord, for this time with family, friends, and your presence. Could you open my eyes to your beauty and wonder? May you be in the middle of everything I say and do. Don’t let me forget your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
How do you impact God’s glory while visiting other places or on vacation?

Christians United Ministries, Inc (CUMI)

Christians United Ministries, Inc (CUMI)
Jan and Don Hicks CUMI Founders

By Staff Reporter

Since 1999, the founders of Christians United Ministries Inc. (CUMI), Don and Jan Hicks have helped to transform the lives of others through their Christ-centered ministry by providing prayer, life coaching, and counseling services. Don and Jan, along with a team of prayer ministers, counselors, and volunteers, offer various programs designed to reach out to and heal the emotionally and spiritually broken. Through the grace and will of God, the programs include a 12-week Crossing2Freedom class, available on several platforms, as well as weekend Freedom Conferences, individual counseling sessions, and other programs to promote inner healing. Jan’s book, Crossing2Freedom, A Healing Journey, promotes physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual understanding and healing. Learning to recognize incorrect negative responses that keep us in bondage, along with discernment and application of the simple tools of repentance and forgiveness, will open our hearts to a life of “forgiving living” which will replace our “coping” mechanisms with a life of freedom. Through other programs such as Embrace, Authentic Manhood, and Grief Share, CUMI offers hope to those living in pain, doubt, or uncertainty. CUMI’s team aspires to see the lost saved, the broken healed, the spiritually destitute restored to the arms of the Father.

The heart of this ministry and one of the core beliefs is prayer. Nothing happens until we pray. Prayer is the key that unlocks the door to the throne room of God. Don and Jan’s desire is that every believer would draw into an intimate relationship with God, the Father.
CUMI is a believer-supported international ministry of prayer. #HeartsMatter – – Christians United Ministries, Inc (CUMI) – 251.241.9899 General Office – 774.567.0771 Appointments

South Baldwin Literacy Council, A Gem of Baldwin County

South Baldwin Literacy Council, A Gem of Baldwin County
SBLC Office

By Donna Marable

A bustling, inviting, happy atmosphere greets clients at the South Baldwin Literacy Council. What a pleasure it was to meet with Executive Director Mitchell Lee. This active, non-profit organization, nestled under beautiful old oak trees on Highway 98 just east of downtown Foley, Alabama, has offered a wide range of educational services and programming to residents of South Baldwin County since 1985. Their mission is to provide literacy instruction to help people in the community make a better life for themselves and their families. Mitchell is a Licensed Master Social Worker with a background in case management, youth mentoring, homelessness, and research and program evaluation.

Operating under a Board of Directors committed to meeting the learning needs in South Baldwin County, SBLC is an accredited member of ProLiteracy and is funded primarily by grants and donations. An ‘Adopt a Student’ program has just been added. Additionally, they host an annual Trivia Night fundraiser. Services are provided free-of-charge and are available for learners of all ages, languages and educational levels, including a ‘Step up to Pre K Readiness’ program and GED tutoring in both English and Spanish. The Council coordinates services with many other local organizations, currently providing computer classes, GED tutoring and ’Learn to Earn’ services for clients of Big Fish Ministries, GED tutoring for Mary’s Shelter, after-school tutoring in Daphne for the Ruff Wilson Youth Center and in Fairhope for the Rotary Youth Club. The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Boys’ Ranch has also benefitted from on-site tutoring in reading and math. SBLC has also offered employment assistance, stress management, U.S. citizenship preparation, French classes and referrals to various service agencies for other needs. The website ( provides an in-depth look into their programs and tells interesting client success stories.

Over 500 students were served last year and a world map adorns a classroom with push pins marking over 15 home countries of students. As I left the interview the grounds quickly filled with arriving vehicles of parents and grandparents/guardians delivering many students for classes. The vibe of the arriving students literally pulsated. As I toured the grounds I viewed a ‘Blessing Box’ and a ‘Free Library Box’ further demonstrating the Literacy Council’s spirit of cooperation and caring. The value of this gift of literacy offered by the staff and the Council’s many dedicated volunteers is immeasurable!

Mitchell Lee states: “South Baldwin Literacy Council is an incredible asset to our community. We are proud to provide 1 on 1 tutoring and a variety of classes for the betterment of all. If you have been thinking of giving back, I invite you to stop by and see one of the many ways you can make a positive impact.” 21441 US Hwy 98, Foley, Alabama, 36535, (251) 943-7323

*GED (General Educational Development) – a high school equivalency program recognized by 97% of employers and colleges nationwide.

Mansoor Pirzada

Mansoor Pirzada

Mansoor Pirzada is a Web and Graphic Designer with over 12 years’ experience in print, digital design and web development. He is from Daharki Sindh – Pakistan. His native language is Sindhi. He began learning about technology and computer programs at his family owned printing press business. He earned his Master’s in Business Administration and has taken courses to learn web and graphic design, while he was helping with his family business. In May of 2014, after graduation, he decided to have his own business by stepping into the world of freelancing. His efforts paid off and his business is growing steadily because of his professionalism, attention to detail and heart to serve the needs of people globally.

Verified by MonsterInsights