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Terry Benge

Terry is currently serving the Lord as Executive Director of Salem4Youth Ranch Ministries. Terry and his wife Stacey have two children. Their son Nathan serves as a Deputy Sheriff and their daughter Jordan is currently pursuing her Master’s in Biblical Counseling. Terry currently preaches on the Ranch and has worked with teenagers for over 25 years as a coach, mentor and Youth group leader. Terry loves hunting and the outdoors.


Gabriel Jackson

Gabe is currently serving the Lord in the vocational training department of Salem4Youth Ranch as a wood working instructor. He has been involved in ministering to young people since he was a teenager – mentoring, teaching, church ministry, camps, retreats, and residential ministry. Gabe attended Lincoln Christian University and Columbia International University, graduating from CIU in 2002 with majors in both Bible and Youth Ministry. He and his wife, Nikki (also a graduate of LCU and ISU with degrees in Jr. High Education and Bible), are busy with 3 children in gradeschool, jr. high, and high school. Gabe is an avid fly fisherman and enjoys spending time outdoors with his family as often as possible.


Stan Risinger

Former Chairman of the Salem4Youth Board of Directors, Stan is currently the Area Director of Men’s Discipleship for the West Central Illinois Man In The Mirror Ministry. When Stan came to faith in Christ God livened his spirit for evangelism and discipleship both locally and internationally. Stan is married to Julie they have four children and are blessed with five grandchildren. Stan and Julie have a love for missions, hospitality and family.

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1 Peter 1: 3-7Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Just pause for a brief moment and ask yourself…is this you? Are you one who fully, completely, and wholeheartedly believes in the Lord? Is He the main thing on your heart day and night? That is not a silly question or an impossible one to consider. Do you reach out to Him when you are struggling and when you are doing well? Do you depend on Him hourly to direct your thoughts, influence your purchases, and guide your relationships – especially those with your children?

At some point, I ask all of the parents with whom I meet and counsel the question of what they fear the most. It can be anything, but what fear do you have that might keep you awake when you lay down at night? And be honest with yourself; be willing to admit what it is. We all have some (if not several) fears that can grip us when we give much thought to them:

Fear of death… fear of how we might die …fear of losing a child… fear of your son or daughter having an addiction… fear of losing a spouse… fear of losing your income… fear of legal trouble… fear of harm…. What is it for you? 

I want you to hear and think about this if nothing else today: We parent from what we fear the most. We live our lives from what we fear the most. So what is it for you? 

Back to our text… Let’s look at the word “guarded” here in 1 Peter “who by God’s power are being guarded”. The word guarded is a military term meaning “to post guard”, like a sentinel (a soldier whose job is specifically to stand and keep watch). It is active protection.

God is that active protection, our guard, our keeper! It is only by His power that we are kept, that we obey, that we trust, that we have faith, and that we are saved. Our efforts are powerless. Thank God for us as believers that the powerless are made powerful.

Ephesians 1: 18-19having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.

That Power – that resurrection power – is with Christ, and Christ lives in us! He gives us His power not for our glory but for HIS, for all things pertaining to the will of God and His Kingdom.

Ephesians 6:10 – 13 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” 

Be strong in the strength of His might and power! It is God’s power that is guarding you. Don’t parent from fear. And if you do parent from any fear let it be solely in fear of the Lord – not from a fear of the unknowns. Be mindful of your walk, of your thoughts, of your behavior, of your obedience, of your trust, of your faith, and of your love for Him. Don’t be beaten down; don’t feel defeated. God’s power is undefeatable, God’s power is endless, God’s power is sustaining, and God’s power is fearless

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

When you begin to doubt your own abilities, and you begin to lose faith in how things are turning out… DON’T! Recognize that on your ability you would be right to fear and to doubt, but it’s not based on your ability or mine. 

As born-again believers, it all depends on God’s power, His will, and His doing – not yours or mine. And then thank God that it is not up to you or me to win this world war. It is not up to you and me to win the heart of our son or daughter. It is only our duty to persevere, and we persevere through His power and might!

Parents, remember that parenting is not an event but a cross-country race – one that requires endurance, patience, and perspective. God is the Captain of your team. Don’t forget that! Don’t forget to let Him lead and supply you with all the strength and power you will need. 

John the Baptist summed it up for you and me very simply: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 

Until next time,


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