Who Has Time For Peace? – December Spiritual Care Blog

Peace is a popular word at Christmas time. We hear it in songs. The theme of one Advent Sunday is peace. Eve the shepherds in the Christmas story heard the angels say, “Peace On Earth”.

It is obvious the shepherds, angels, and everyone else has not lived my life. Who has time for peace? My family has things for me to do. There are special services to rehearse at church and the assisted living facility. Shopping for gifts and food keep me running. We have get togethers with family and friends. Then there was the year my dad decided to become ill during the holidays. Inconveniently, he passed away and really took away from my idea of the perfect, peaceful Christmas season.

The Angels singing, “Peace on Earth”, was an announcement that Jesus was born. Jesus had arrived on earth as the Prince of Peace. The Shepherds did the most beautiful thing. They went to be in the presence of God. God had arrived in the flesh, in a baby, in a stable. In the stable, the shepherds were assured that everything would be o.k. God’s presence was with them. In 1864, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was feeling the way many of us have felt during the Christmas season. It seemed life had its ups and downs. Longfellow was feeling quite down during the Christmas season.

He was living during the Civil War. His son had been seriously wounded in the war. He was grieving the loss of his wife. Grief is love that has nowhere to go. As a poet, he sat down and composed a poem.

“I heard the bells on Christmas day, their old, familiar carols play; and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, goodwill to men. And in despair I bowed my head: ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said, ‘For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.’”

We’ve all felt that way. We are down because life isn’t the way we want it to be. Longfellow was a person of faith. He didn’t end his poem with head bowed down. He ended his poem with the peace of God strengthening him during a difficult time.

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to men.’”

Chaplain Jeff Meyers

Giving Thanks for God’s Bounty – November Spiritual Care Blog

It is a cool, autumn, October morning. Looking out my window, I am seeing God’s
bounty of sunshine and His clouds floating across the sky casting shadows over the
green grass. The trees with their mild shades of yellow, green, orange and red are
swaying to and for in the breeze and two steer are feasting on the abundance of
grass in the prairie. Soon, though, the grass will die away in the cold, winter air.

Opening my window, I am feeling cool air rushing across my cheeks and the
warmth of the sun on my feet, reminding me of the changing seasons. One is
leaving, the other is coming.

Yesterday, I was tasting God’s bounty from our garden. I made a garden casserole
filled with rice, onions, tomatoes and zucchini topped with Velveeta cheese and
bacon! Yummy! From our garden, I picked tomatoes, made tomato sauce and
enjoyed gathering pumpkins and gourds to share with family and friends.

When I think about God’s bounty it is a gift generously given. I encourage you to
begin using your five senses to discover God’s bounty in your life. Every day we live
in the abundance of His generosity toward us. John 1:16 tells us, “We all live off his
generous bounty, gift after gift after gift” (MSG). Through seeing, smelling, tasting,
touching and hearing, we can give thanks for God’s abundance in our life.

God’s most bountiful gift is found in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own
love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. This gift of
salvation is something we can see, taste, touch, smell and hear through scripture,
prayer and interacting in our communities with fellow believers. What joys and
blessings we receive from God’s gift of salvation!

Psalm 34:8 encourages us with these two senses: “Taste and see that the LORD is
good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him”.

This fall season, be intentional of using your five senses to be aware of God’s
bounty. If needed, write on your calendar each day one of God’s bountiful gifts using
your senses. Remember, His bounty is not only outward but also inward – our
words, our attitude, our thoughts, our daily rhythm of life. Isaiah 55:6 reminds us to
“Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near”. Don’t
wait or it will be too late, and you will have missed His bountiful goodness toward

Enjoy seeking the Lord and His bountiful blessings!
Chaplain Val

Giving Thanks for the Seasons – October Spiritual Care Blog

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Harvest season at the end of summer is wonderful. Vegetables fresh from the farm. Red
and orange tomatoes, full heads of cauliflower, broccoli, and squash. Corn so tender
and sweet, needing only a light drizzle of butter. Each bite crisp and very, very good. I
also like asparagus in the spring, and juicy oranges from Florida in the winter season.
Each season brings its own goodness. And to get that goodness requires a lot.

Jesus often used images of seasons and farming. Farmers understand that timing is
important. That crops need nurture and time and attention. That the soil needs rest in
between times of growth and abundance. Farmers understand cycles of birth and
death. They have learned that out of death comes new life in seeds. Farming may not
be as familiar to us as it was to the people in Jesus’ time, but the images do still teach us
about living our human lives.

Life is not just constant abundance. We have endings, and pauses, often not of our own
choosing. We have times where we are growing physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
We have times of “harvest” where we complete projects or see where we’ve made a
difference. We also have different seasons of life as we age.

Ecclesiastes 3 ponders the meaning and purpose of life, and that there is goodness in
every part. Each “season” of life has value. Paul wrote in Philippians “I have learned the
secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether
living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” He is
talking about developing an attitude of thanksgiving, of believing that God is at work in
every season of our life. Each day, each season, may we grow in this gratitude. Every
day, remember to ask, “Where do we see good and where do we see God at work?”

Chaplain Karen

A Caregiver’s Toolbox – September Spiritual Care Blog

Caregiving is a series of attitudes and behaviors that are learned over time. The toolbox for a caregiver is filled with a variety of skills. Below are some of the items found in a caregiver’s toolbox.

Compassion: Jesus was filled with compassion when He ministered. Compassion is kindness in action. It is a way of relating to one another on a caring level.

Kindness: Kindness is a characteristic of the Spirit. D.W. Williams and Willie Williams each lived to be 105 years old. They were married for 82 years. They said the secret to a long marriage was being nice to each other. That’s pretty good advice.

Prayer: Praying for someone is to place them in God’s hands. We provide the care and God provides the cure. Not only do we tell people we will pray for them. We can actually follow through and pray for someone.

Saying a Blessing: When we bless someone, we say good words about them and to them. We all desire to hear good words. Compliments can really make a person’s day. Saying good words will have a ripple effect on those around you.

A Cup of Cold Water: Jesus talks about the importance of doing little things to let people know you care. In Matthew 10:42 He mentions giving a cup of cold water to someone who is thirsty as an act of caregiving. Little acts of kindness help make to fill our days with a sense of being loved and belonging.

Using these tools regularly is something we all can do to brighten our corner of the world.

Baruch Senior Ministries Acquires Six Assisted Living Communities

Grand Rapids, MI, August 15, 2023 – Baruch Senior Ministries, a 501(c)(3) faith-based nonprofit, and the 13th largest multi-site nonprofit assisted living provider in the country, has recently acquired six (6) new assisted living communities in Michigan.

Hale Creek Manor, a 32-bed assisted living community in Hale, MI, had been managed by Baruch Senior Ministries since 2014 until assuming ownership effective May 1, 2023.

The Horizon Senior Living Group, with communities located in Gladwin, West Branch, Standish, Clare, and St. Helen, officially joined Baruch Senior Ministries on August 1, 2023.  The Horizon Senior Living Group offers a total of 120 resident rooms serving the north-central region of the state. Like many of Baruch’s previous acquisitions, The Horizon Senior Living Group was family-owned and operated for many years.

“We are proud to announce that Baruch Senior Ministries is the new owner of our five Horizon Homes.” Carl and Erin Schuler said, “We will be forever grateful to the families and friends we’ve met along this journey. We’re blessed to have been surrounded by such genuine and kind people.  With its faith-based mission and community-focused identity, we are very confident that Baruch Senior Ministries will sustain the reputation and standing that we have managed to build. “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14)”.

As Baruch Senior Ministries celebrates 26 years of serving seniors, they also celebrate the ongoing expansion of their mission to honor God by serving people as they age. The acquisition of Hale Creek Manor and the five (5) Horizon Senior Living communities ensures that their mission of serving seniors will continue across the state of Michigan, now and in the future.

Baruch Senior Ministries is a faith-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring God by serving people as they age. Baruch currently has 34 assisted living communities across the state of Michigan that seek to care for seniors while upholding Biblical principles. Their focus in each community is to create a compassionate and loving environment where seniors can make a lasting home.

616.719.5100 – www.baruchsls.org

The Gift of Administration – August Spiritual Care Blog

Matthew 20:25-28 reads – But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the Rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Today, in thinking about the gifts of administration, the Bible is not the first place we usually look. In many places, we find the role of administration to include communication, preparing, organizing, and storing information in paper and digital form. Dealing with queries on the phone and by email, greeting visitors, scheduling meetings, and time management.

However, according to Matthew 20:25-28, the gift of administration is service to others. In this service to others, the leader should not exercise authority over people, but instead, lower himself or herself to be a servant. Serving others is the only way to lead with a pure heart, free of pride and arrogance.

Colossians 3:12-13 encourages our service to one another with these words: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

As we serve using the gift of administration to residents, colleagues, families and visitors, Matthew 7:12 reminds us of the Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Serving also includes obedience with a sincere heart.  Ephesians 6:5-9 says: Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,  rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man,  knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord,  whether he is a bondservant or is free.  Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.”

As we each use our gift of service, let us pray this prayer together:

Lord, we pray today for everyone we know involved in the care of your people at your Baruch facilities. We pray for those who administer rules and regulations,  for those who administer medications, for those who lead activities, for those who lovingly clean rooms, for those who tenderly give care to residents. We pray for those in the corporate offices who lead and govern your Baruch facilities. May we all serve you and each other well, that we might live quietly and simply in our humble attitudes. This is how you want us to live. May we glorify you in how we lead and live out our service to you and others.

We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen (1 Timothy2:1-2).

Thank you, everyone, for serving the Lord!

Chaplain Val