02-13-2020 Letters and Commentary

Prayer linked to faith Billy Graham, when asked if he would do things any differently if he were to do it over again responded, “Yes, if I were to do it over again, I would spend more time in meditation and prayer, just telling the Lord how much I love Him, and adore Him.” Of all things that he might do differently, that surprised me. Maybe it shouldn’t have. Once, when Jesus was teaching His disciples about prayer, it went like this: “Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1, NIV) He then went on, describing a Judge who repeatedly refused to give a certain widow any legal help. But she was persistent, and finally that judge took action in her favor, not for justice sake, but only because she was tiring him out. Then Jesus makes this observation. “Listen to what the unjust judges says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (vv6-8). God is not like the judge in the account. He will not delay justice at the right time. But that last question is surprising “…when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” The rhetorical answer is, “Not much.” As time approaches the end, society will almost totally drift away from the true God. Faith and prayer are vitally linked. Without faith, prayer stops or is powerless. Prayer becomes a “litmus test” of faith. Billy Graham was definitely a man of faith and prayer. Looking back, he greatly valued time with God. But if prayer is missing in our lives, so probably is faith.

Thanks for the Valentine’s story

Dear Editor, This is a sincere “thank you” for the special Valentine messages front page feature in this week’s issue [Feb. 6] which shared the stories of three local couples. Teresa Smithers did an excellent job of note-taking and remembering what Bill and I talked about – probably another example of youthful memory at work! All three stories were wonderful and a tribute to the sanctity and duration of marriages that last through the years. Thank you! Sincerely, Julie Smith, Coloma

Church food pantry benefits from Wesco matching funds program

Dear Editor, Once again the Living Water Food Pantry at Watervliet Free Methodist Church has received a generous check from Wesco to help us with the mission of providing food assistance to those in need. As part of their Giving Mission, the Wesco chain of convenience stores has a long heritage of giving back to the communities they serve. During the fall months of 2020, Living Water Food Pantry was chosen as the non-profit organization benefiting from their matching funds program. Donations collected in containers on the counters from customers at the Watervliet and Coloma Wesco stores were matched by Wesco. We recently received a check totaling $4,064.28 from this generous program. The congregation and staff would like to thank the community for their support as well as Wesco for choosing to assist this ministry. Living Water Food Pantry, located at 7734 Paw Paw Ave. in Watervliet, is open every Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for families who are in need of food assistance. We reach across many counties having no restrictions with age or income status. Watervliet Free Methodist Church Living Water Food Pantry staff

Treasury protecting taxpayers from losing refunds

Some Michigan taxpayers who file a state income tax return may receive a letter from the Michigan Department of Treasury asking for more information to confirm their identity. The letters are a result of the state Treasury Department’s efforts to protect individuals from cybercriminals, who attempt to file state income tax returns on behalf of unsuspecting taxpayers and steal refunds. After a taxpayer confirms his or her identity by taking a short online quiz or submitting paperwork, the tax refund will be issued. A phone option is available as an alternative to the online quiz.

“We are making progress in the fight against tax-related identity theft,” said Deputy State Treasurer Glenn White, who oversees Treasury’s Tax Administration programs. “If you receive one of these letters, please follow the instructions carefully. Your security is important to us. We take every measure we can to protect the taxpayer, including asking for additional information about your tax return.”

Taxpayers who have been recent victims of identity theft are asked to report their circumstances to the state Treasury Department. Reporting identity theft helps thwart cybercriminals who attempt to file returns and steal state tax refunds. Since 2016, the state Treasury Department’s increased security measures protected more than 5,000 taxpayers who confirmed their identity was stolen and used to request state of Michigan income tax refunds. This prevented more than $19.5 million from being distributed to scammers. To learn more about identity theft, go to www.michigan.gov/identitytheft. For more information about state income taxes, go to www.michigan.gov/incometax.

Record high water levels to continue in 2020

(Press Release) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announces that January 2020 water levels were higher on all lakes than they were in January 2019, and are expected to continue that trend into the spring and summer. According to Corps records, lakes Michigan and Huron both set new record high January levels, previously set in 1987. Lake Superior set new record high January levels previously set in 1986. Lake St. Clair tied its record high level set in January 1986. “It is likely that water levels on lakes Michigan and Huron will set new monthly mean record high levels over the next six months,” said John Allis, chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office, Detroit District. “This sets the stage for coastal impacts and damages in 2020 similar to, or worse than, what was experienced last ye