Page 1

®

Rev. Billy Graham

Our Future His Final Work on Our Life Beyond Page 8

In Spirit & In

TRUTH Page 12

A Ministry of

Thousands of Books! Page 24

Plus

Chris Fabry’s VOICEMAIL Page 34

Your Story,

God’s Glory Page 46


KNOWING CHRIST

The Obedient Son by BOB HOSTETLER

STORY IS TOLD of an old man who lived atop a mountain overlooking a Japanese village. To the east was the Great Sea. The villagers worked in the rice fields that wound down the mountain in terraces. They depended on the fields for food and trade. Early one morning, when the rice fields had turned golden and dry, the old man arose to stir his fire. He looked east to watch the sunrise, but what he saw filled him with terror. He grabbed a stick from the fire and ran to his grandson. He thrust the burning stick into his grandson’s hands. “Burn the rice fields!” The grandson shook his head. “What will we eat?” “There is no time to argue. Burn the fields. Now!” The grandson obeyed quickly. Soon smoke from the rice fields billowed upward.

The villagers saw the smoke and poured out of their huts. Screaming and shouting, every man, woman, and child from the village pursued the grandson up the mountain. By the time they caught up to him, he had returned to his grandfather. They angrily demanded an explanation. The old man pointed in the direction of the Great Sea. While the villagers watched, a massive tidal wave slammed ashore and struck the village. Soon a second followed and then a third, inundating the village. Slowly, the villagers realized what the old man had done. What seemed like a fool’s errand was a mission of mercy. Though they had not understood what he was doing, the grandfather’s wisdom — and the grandson’s obedience — had saved them. Perhaps you recognize a parallel in that story to the Heavenly Father who sent Jesus, His only Son, on a strange mission. The Bible says, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved” (1 Cor. 1:18). The Son’s obedience paved the way for your salvation, which you can experience today by acknowledging your sin and trusting Jesus. Your sincere prayer may sound like this: “Father, thank You for sending Jesus to save me from sin, death, and hell. Please come into my life, take control, and help me to follow You from this moment on.” If you prayed that prayer, tell a pastor or Christian friend, or call (888) 537-8720.

“The message of the cross is … God’s power to us who are being saved” (1 Cor. 1:18).

BOB HOSTETLER is an award-winning author of more than 30 books, including The Red Letter Life and The Red Letter Prayer Life. He lives in Ohio.

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© PHOTO CREDIT SUPERSTOCK

A

Why did God choose the cross?


Letter

FROM THE HEART OF PASTOR JOHNNY HUNT

Practical Learners I HAVE OFTEN said that James is my favorite book in the Bible. I have spent more time studying and teaching through this book than any other. James was the half brother of our dear Lord. He has often been referred to as the practical theologian. I guess this is the main reason my heart so resonates with James. I have always attempted to live my

life as a doer “of the word” and “one who does good works” (Jas. 1:22,25). James has lots to say about wisdom and how to live skillfully. He reminds us that if we lack wisdom, we can ask of God who gives graciously. In James 3:17, he speaks of wisdom that comes from heaven. In James 3:15-16, the wisdom from heaven is contrasted with the wisdom of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Heaven’s wisdom

is first pure; the words are used to describe that which is peaceful and full of good fruit. The wisdom our Lord gives is sown in peace as opposed to the world’s wisdom, which causes confusion. One of the greatest needs in a believer’s life is that of wisdom. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3:14-15 that wisdom “is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold. She is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire compares with her.” My personal prayer today is that the Lord will cleanse me thoroughly, fill me with His Spirit, clothe me in humility, and give me wisdom to follow closely. That, my friend, is also my prayer for you.

JOHNNY M. HUNT Executive Editor

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Mature Living / october 2016

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®

8

VOLUME 41 NUMBER 01 OCTOBER 2016

THE DOORSTEP OF ETERNITY

by Lindsay Williams Franklin Graham, son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, reflects on his father’s final work.

LIVING IN THE WORD

16 According to the Word

by Angela Thomas-Pharr

18 Praying the Word by Victoria York

20 In the Word

by Linda Tomblin

22 A Word with You by Johnny Hunt

BALANCED LIVING

28 Life Well Lived

by Steve Rogers

30  Mind Benders by Susan Walter 31 Recipes by Barbara Smith 33 All Natural by Matt Erickson

LEGACY LIVING

38 On the Porch

by Tricia Goyer 40  The Comfort Project 42 Biblical Foundations by David Jenkins

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Mature Living / october 2016

WORSHIP MATTERS by Ed Stetzer Focusing on Christ should always be the heart of our worship.

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MORE LIVING

for Boomers

50 Jesus, Others, You

by Leona Bergstrom 52 Restore by Renée Hill Carter

24

THE BENEFACTOR BEHIND THE BOOKS by Polly House Janice DeBice has some God-sized stories to tell about her book ministry.

KICKS & GRINS

54 No Laughing Matter by Marie Armenia

56  Brag Board 57  Cracker Barrel & Puzzle Solutions Also in every issue… 2  Knowing Christ by Bob Hostetler 3 Letter from the Heart of Pastor Johnny Hunt

6 One-Year Chronological Bible Reading Plan

7 Devoted

FEATURES 14 Three Words by Carnell Jones

In honor of Pastor Appreciation Day, one beloved leader is remembered for his words.

SHOW ME YOUR SCARS by Jefferson Bethke Your scars tell a story — God’s story.

46

21 October Comes So Softly

(Poetry) by Thomas A. Moak Jr.

34 Voicemail

(Fiction) by Chris Fabry It was a message Michelle wanted to keep forever.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about our coloring pages. Look for more in future issues.

Mature Living / october 2016

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®

One-Year Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Living a Christian Legacy volume 41 number 1 · october 2016

Eric Geiger Faith Whatley Amy Lowe Emily Ellis Johnny M. Hunt Debbie Dickerson Nancy Comeaux Dawn Wyse

vice president, lifeway resources director, adult ministry manager, adult ministry publishing publishing team leader executive editor content editor production editor art director

graphic design services provided by ed crawford Send questions/comments to: Content Editor, Mature Living, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0175 or email us at matureliving@lifeway.com. printed in the united states of america cover photography: photo courtesy of billy graham evangelistic association. all rights reserved. Mature Living® (ISSN 0162-427X; Item 005075227) is published monthly by LifeWay Press®, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234, Thom S. Rainer, President. ©Copyright 2016 LifeWay Press®. For inquiries visit lifeway.com, or write LifeWay Church Resources Customer Service, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0113. For subscriptions or subscription address changes, visit lifeway.com/magazines, fax (615) 251-5818, or write to the above address. For orders with three or more issues shipped to one address, mailed monthly, at the ministry rate, visit lifeway.com/magazines, fax (615) 251-5933, or write to the above address. Annual individual or gift subscription: $29.95. Save 50% off the cover price by choosing the ministry rate when placing your order (three or more issues shipped to one address, mailed monthly): $2.00 each per month, plus shipping. Please allow six to eight weeks for arrival of first issue. This magazine includes paid advertisements for some products and services not affiliated with LifeWay. The inclusion of the paid advertisements does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by LifeWay Christian Resources of the products or services, and LifeWay accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any statement, representation or warranty made in such advertisements or for the soundness or quality of any such products or services so advertised. Purchase or use of such products or services is at the user's own risk. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189 USA. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright© 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. We believe that the Bible has God for its author; salvation for its end; and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter and that all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.

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This year we are providing a chronological plan adapted from Read the Bible for Life (LifeWay).

October

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Matthew 5–7; Luke 6:20-49; 11:1-13 Matthew 8:5-13; 11:1-30; Luke 7 Matthew 12:22-50; Mark 3:22-35 Luke 8:19-21; 11:14-54 Matthew 13:1-53; Mark 4:1-34 Luke 8:1-18 Matthew 8:18-34; 9:18-38 Mark 4:35–5:43 Luke 8:22-56; 9:57-62 Matthew 10; 14; Mark 6:7-56 Luke 9:1-17; John 6 Matthew 15; Mark 7:1–8:10 Matthew 16; Mark 8:11–9:1 Luke 9:18-27 Mathew 17–18; Mark 9:2-50 Luke 9:28-56 John 7–9 Luke 10; John 10:1–11:54 Luke 12:1–13:30 Luke 14–15 Matthew 19; Mark 10:1-31 Luke 16:1–18:30 Matthew 20; Mark 10:32-52 Luke 18:31–19:27 Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9 John 11:55–12:36; Matthew 21:1-22 Mark 11:1-26; Luke 19:28-48 John 2:13-25 Matthew 21:23–22:14; Mark 11:27–12:12 Luke 20:1-19 John 12:37-59


DEVOTED

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.’ This is the LORD’s declaration.”

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Isaiah 55:8

Mature Living / october 2016

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The Doorstep f Feature

Eternity

Franklin Graham, son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, reflects on his father’s final work. HE HAS PREACHED THE GOSPEL to more people than any other person in human history. Thanks to his passionate, straightforward delivery, nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries around the globe have heard the good news from his lips. Millions more have been impacted by his countless television, radio, and film broadcasts. Now, at 97 years old, Reverend Billy Graham has one last sermon to preach, and it’s a message he almost didn’t finish. 8

Mature Living / october 2016

© PHOTO CREDIT

GETTY IMAGES

by LINDSAY WILLIAMS


Mature Living / october 2016

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THE SON OF A DAIRY FARMER, Graham spent countless hours of his childhood reading in the hayloft of the barn on the family farm in Charlotte, North Carolina. He gave his life to the Lord at age 15. In fact, coincidentally — or rather, providentially — he became a believer after hearing a message preached by evangelist Mordecai Ham, who came to Charlotte for a series of revival gatherings. After graduating from Wheaton College in Illinois, Graham pastored a local church before joining Youth for Christ, an organization whose primary purpose was to minister to youth and servicemen during World War II. Graham touched many lives as he traveled with Youth for Christ throughout the United States and Europe, but it was an eight-week crusade in Los Angeles in 1949 that catapulted the young evangelist’s ministry into international prominence. After founding the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association a year later, he also began his popular weekly radio program, “Hour of Decision,” which was broadcast around the world for more than 60 years. Newspapers carried his syndicated column, “My Answer” established in 1952, across the nation with a combined circulation of 5 million readers. Thankfully, Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond (W Publishing Group) — billed as the beloved evangelist’s final work — allows Graham to complete his extraordinary mission here on earth. “He had to be encouraged quite a bit. He didn’t want to do it,” his son Franklin says of the book, chuckling. “He just didn’t think he had the energy to do it, but he did … . It takes a lot out of him, so I’m just glad he has this one done.”

The book marks Graham’s 33rd published work and focuses on a topic of significance for the pastor. “This was something that was on his heart,” Franklin explains on behalf of his father. “He wanted to talk about eternity because he is on the doorstep of eternity. He knows that he’ll be there soon.” Graham began the book just before his 95th birthday. However, after falling ill, he had to set it aside for a time, unsure if he’d ever be able to complete it. Then, a year ago, with more energy and a lot of prompting from his staff and family, he began the tedious process of finalizing the manuscript for Where I Am. The book serves as a journey through the Bible — from Genesis to Revelation — exploring how the choices we make affect where we’ll spend eternity. “My father believes the Bible to be the Word of God, and he wanted to go to the Word of God so that the reader understands [what] God says heaven is, what hell is. He wanted to be very clear about the choices we make in life,” Franklin explains. “There [are] two paths — going all the way back to the garden of Eden. Two trees. You have the broad road [and] the narrow road; and my father wanted people to understand that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who took our sins, who died on the cross, who was raised from the dead, and who can come into a person’s life and change that person’s life instantly.” Although Graham began with an outline, it isn’t clear if his initial goal was to explore the Bible from beginning to end. “I think sometimes when you begin writing — I just know from my own experiences — it just kind of takes on a life of its own after a while,” says Franklin.

“There [are] two paths — going all the way back to the garden of Eden.”

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GETTY IMAGES

After mapping to speak loudly to out a template for him. He doesn’t the book, Franklin see real well, but says his father his mind is sharp worked through — no question summaries for about it.” each chapter If Where I Am before setting it is any indication, aside due to his his mind is as health. Eventually, clear as ever, his he returned to the focus singular, manuscript. “He his message dictated to staff urgent. Graham who then typed may be a little it out, came back, closer to eternity “Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in and read it to him,” these days, but his Franklin shares. “And God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house message remains are many dwelling places; if not, I would have the same. then he would say, ‘No, that’s not what I told you. I am going away to prepare a place for Franklin echoes want to say’ or ‘Yes, you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I the key tenets of his that’s [it]; I need to add will come back and receive you to Myself, so dad’s sermons, reverthis.’ Then they would that where I am you may be also. You know berating in Where I go back and change it, the way to where I am going” (John 14:1-4). Am and unchanged [and] bring it back to by cultural trends, him again.” So went the long and arduous process. political agendas, or time: “We need to examine With his new book, he adds that his father our hearts to make sure that our sins are forgiven, wants to change certain misconceptions about that we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior, and be heaven currently swirling around. “Films, pop ready to stand before the King of kings.” He adds, culture, Hollywood, books — a lot of people have “We’re all going to spend eternity, but it’s going to had things that they say heaven is or isn’t, and my be either heaven or hell … . father wanted to go back to what the Bible has to There are not two roads to say,” Franklin affirms. “All my father’s life, he’s heaven. There’s one, and Jesus always said, ‘The Bible says, the Bible says … .’” said, ‘I am the way.’” Beyond the unprecedented legacy of kingdom For more information on work and global impact Graham will one day leave the work of Billy Graham behind, Franklin will most remember the man and the Billy Graham respected around the globe as a kind, attentive Evangelistic Association, father. Graham has 5 children, 19 grandchildren, visit billygraham.org. and numerous great-grandchildren. “Even though he was gone a lot, when he came home, he put us first,” Franklin contends. “I’m very grateful for the LINDSAY WILLIAMS is a freelance writer based in example he set at home for all of us.” Nashville, Tennessee. Her work has been published in Though his age limits his energy, the evangelist is a variety of local and national publications, including Nashville Lifestyles, HomeLife, ParentLife, and CCM doing relatively well, according to his son. “I think Magazine and on websites such as RelevantMagazine.com, he’s doing better now than he has in several years,” UPTV.com, GospelMusic.org, Crosswalk.com, and more. She blogs regularly at thesoundopinion.com. he observes. “He doesn’t hear real well. You have

Mature Living / october 2016

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Feature

Worship Matters

Focusing on Christ should always be the heart of our worship. by ED STETZER

Feature

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Mature Living / october 2016


W

ORSHIP IS ONE of those fascinating topics that can both unite and divide the church. I’ve heard it said that “worship matters most” — seemingly a bit of a strong statement, but is it true? John Piper, in his well-known book Let the Nations Be Glad, wrote this about worship: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.”

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Something special happens when a believer worships “in spirit and truth.” Obviously, the entrance of sin into the world has somewhat clouded our picture of worship. Yet, the fall did not eliminate the need or desire for worship. It only warped it. Regardless of where you go in the world — even in places where there are no Christians — you will find worshipers. Worship is something all people do all the time, everywhere. We were created for worship, and all people need to worship. The key is the direction of our worship. In a sense, the gospel is an effort to point people from the worship of self toward the worship of God. Jesus, after all, talks about the difference between false worship and true worship. Something special happens when a believer worships “in spirit and truth.” When a person is made new in Christ, he or she begins to understand the transformative effect of true worship. LifeWay Research conducted a study about the impact of worship and the influence it has on our walk with Christ. The study found 75 percent of churches that were seeing regular, consistent

transformation in the lives of their people saw evidence of God changing lives as a direct result of their worship services or worship experiences. That is a significant number. And it’s because worship is a significant part of personal spiritual transformation as well as a significant part of growing a healthy church. The impact of our mission will be no greater than the honesty of our worship. Worship is clearly important, but it also can be controversial. Over the past few decades, disagreements over the purpose and the style of worship have led to disunity and sometimes to severed relationships within the church. It’s known as the “worship wars.” These differences over the style and purpose of worship illustrate to us the fact that worship is not a purely intellectual exercise. Worship is a deeply rooted emotional experience that is central to the core of who we are as people. And because of that, when there are disagreements over contrasting styles of worship, it becomes more than an academic argument. It becomes an emotional investment that often bleeds over into conversations with one another — even heated discussions. Yet, believers are called to engage in worship, not argue about it. It’s a mark of maturity that we do so, and often we do so in churches that worship in ways that are, perhaps, different from our preferences. Yet, worshiping in ways that are not about us makes sense, doesn’t it? That’s at least a part of what it means to offer up worship as service. In other words, it’s not about us, but about Jesus. Many believers, driven by their preference, make the emotional worship experience all about themselves. But that misses the very point of Christian worship. It must be directed beyond ourselves to Christ. Worship matters. Yet, at its heart, worship is not about us. My hope is that we might actually worship by putting aside our preferences, focusing on Jesus, and making it all about Him. ED STETZER, Ph.D., serves as the executive director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton and as chair of the Evangelism and Leadership Program in the graduate school.

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Feature A simple thank-you would have been fine, but he wrote, Thank you, sir.

Three Words

In honor of Pastor Appreciation Day, one beloved leader is remembered for his words. HANK YOU, SIR. Those were the last words Bishop Davis sent me in an email the day before he died. I, along with others, was asked by Bishop Davis to write an endorsement for his new book The Untapped Power of a Man. I was honored that a man of his position and achievement would ask this of me, but when I got his reply, those three words — Thank you, sir — gave me a moment of pause. A simple thank-you would have been fine, but he wrote Thank you, sir. Those three words stuck with me because as accomplished as he was, he appreciated and respected the potential he saw in others. In his book, Bishop Davis encourages men to view taking responsibility and becoming servant leaders as a blessing to be sought. The first two chapters were a clear-sighted and timely call for

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us to return to our rightful place of being foundational pillars for rebuilding our society. The message of the book was timely when I read it, but how much more now in the wake of his death? I believe his final blessing is in his book. The question is whether we will receive that blessing. Will we step up to take on responsibility and become servant leaders? Thank you in advance for the prayerful consideration you will give to receive Bishop Davis’s final blessing of becoming men who seek out responsibility and opportunities to become servant leaders. To Bishop Davis — thank you, sir, for becoming a catalyst for so many to reach their God-given potential. To our Heavenly Father — thank You, Sir, for blessing us with this great man of God. CARNELL JONES is a member of Nations Ford Community Church.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BISHOP PHILLIP DAVIS FAMILY

T

by CARNELL JONES


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Will I Be Forgotten WHEN I’M GONE A Biblical Perspective

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LIVING IN THE WORD

According to the Word by ANGELA THOMAS-PHARR

Beginning with a Promise From beginning to end, God has always loved you.

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Mature Living / october 2016

SUPERSTOCK / STAINED GLASS OF ADAM AND EVE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN, VIENNA, AUSTRIA, EUROPE

M

Y MIND cannot comprehend the great time line of eternity, but the Bible tells us, from eternity past, long before we ever were, God already loved each one of us with a perfect and unwavering love. “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3b). The Bible declares you and I, and all human beings, were created from God’s love, for His love, to enjoy His love. “We have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love” (1 John 4:16 ). In your Bible, turn to the Book of Genesis. As you read verses 1-25 of the first chapter, they unfold with ever-increasing brilliance, outlining the order of God’s perfect creation. Vegetation, trees, creatures, livestock. Over and over, God is exacting when He says every living thing made so far was made according to their kind. And now, we arrive at the pinnacle of creation. Unlike all the previous creation, God created man in His own image. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve enjoyed all the gifts of the perfect creation:


1. They ruled and subdued the earth (1:28). 2. They were made perfectly for one another (2:18-23). 3. They enjoyed a perfect relationship with one another and with God (2:25). 4. The were blessed by God (1:28). 5. They were morally perfect like the image of God and given the free will to reason and choose (1:27).

Love made a promise. Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, is Love’s promise kept. In this first scene of humanity, there was only perfect creation and perfect relationship in the garden of Eden. Nothing needed to be redeemed. Nothing was lost or needed to be found. Nothing was enslaved nor needed to be set free. But even from eternity past, God knew His beloved creation would choose to disobey Him. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve chose one willful act of disobedience. With their choice, came consequences. Look at Genesis 3:23-24, some of the saddest verses in the Bible.1 Adam and Eve’s perfect relationship with God was

forever changed. Can you picture this sad Scene Two? Adam and Eve are walking away from the only life they’ve ever known — perfection. The garden and its beauty is behind them. A cherubim wielding a flaming sword is on guard. Only the desolate, cursed land is in front of them. The day of Adam and Eve’s disobedience is known as “the fall” because all creation fell from the grace of God. Adam was the divinely-appointed representative of the human race, and when Adam chose disobedience, the entire human race fell with him. All of creation, including humanity, suffered the consequences of the fall: • Man was separated from the presence of God and could only experience Him from a distance. • Life without pain or death was lost and the certainty of pain and death came to all creation. • Man’s innocent nature in the garden was replaced by a sinful nature, walking among evil and darkness. • Perfect relationship turned to shame. Nothing would ever be the same. In Genesis 3:15, God promises to undo all that Satan has brought about. He promises a victorious Redeemer. And don’t miss this. God gave that promise to His beloved, disobedient creation before

they were banished from the garden. My pastor has made this beautiful proclamation: On Adam and Eve’s worst day, our God of hope promised His best day!2 The love of God has always been greater than everything. And God’s love does not change. Long before we were born, God’s love already knew we could not change our nature, break the chains of our sin, or get back into His presence on our own. So Love made a promise. Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, is Love’s promise kept. 1 Based on a sermon from Don Miller, Westover Church, Greensboro, North Carolina. 2 Ibid.

Excerpted from Redeemed: Grace to Live Every Day Better Than Before Bible study by Angela Thomas-Pharr. Used by permission of LifeWay Press. All rights reserved. ANGELA THOMAS-PHARR is a Bible teacher, national speaker, and best-selling author of books and Bible studies that include Stronger: Finding Hope in Fragile Places and Brave: Honest Questions Women Ask. As a mother of four, her determination to know God on an intimate level and her dedication to studying the Bible have taught her many truths — some discovered through tears and some in times of joy. Visit her website at angelathomas.com.

Mature Living / october 2016

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LIVING IN THE WORD

Praying the Word

The Power of an Honest Prayer Thoughts from It Happens After Prayer by H.B. Charles Jr.

I 18

N HIS BOOK It Happens After Prayer, H.B. Charles Jr. explains the deep blessing that results from an honest, repentant prayer:

Mature Living / october 2016

“God will not only forgive you, He’ll also restore you. He says that even if you are cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, He will get you. He will bring you back. It doesn’t

matter what you have done. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it. It doesn’t matter how far you have gone. God is waiting for you to trust Him enough to be honest so that He may restore you by His grace.” One Sunday morning in 2004, 42-year-old musician Kenny discovered this principle when he attended church for the first time in years. A former Sunday School teacher, Kenny had abandoned his faith long ago

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by VICTORIA YORK


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“It’s impossible to be honest with God when you are trying to impress him with how good you are.” — H.B. Charles Jr. and spent the past seven years chasing meaningless relationships, drugs, and alcohol. But when an acquaintance, oblivious to Kenny’s past, invited him to fill in as bass player on the worship team, Kenny thought, Why not? It pays a few bucks, and I need the money. He pulled himself together just enough to attend the service — still hung over from the night before. God met Kenny right where he was that morning. As Kenny entered the building, he nearly buckled under the weight of conviction. By mid-sermon, he was sobbing uncontrollably. During the invitation, he offered this simple but no-nonsense prayer: “God, I want to make a change, to trust You again. But I’ve got all this sin in my life. I work in bars for a living. I’ve got cocaine in my pocket! What am I supposed to do?” Immediately, God answered, “You worry about spending time with Me, and I’ll take care of everything else.” In chapter 5 of It Happens After Prayer, Charles — who repeatedly draws upon the candid prayers of the men and women of Scripture — refers to Nehemiah, who openly

confessed not only Israel’s sins but his own: “Nehemiah’s confession actually motivated God to respond favorably to his prayer. This is the kind of prayer God answers. God answers honest prayer. … “Unfortunately, confession is a grossly neglected area of prayer, both private prayer and corporate prayer. We are not honest with God about the sin in our lives. So our prayers go unanswered. The psalmist puts it bluntly: ‘If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened’ (Psalm 66:18). Yet we go on lying to God about who we really are. … And it’s impossible to be honest with God when you are trying to impress him with how good you are.” The Lord responded to Kenny that day by delivering on His promise to take care of all the details. Within three months, Kenny was clean and sober. Today, he is a minister who champions the cause of the hungry and homeless. God’s great grace in such circumstances should not come as a surprise, says Charles: “Before the journey even begins with God, He says, ‘Now, I know you’re going to miss the mark. I know you are going to fall short. And I know that you are going to turn away from me at some point. But I want you to know that,

whatever happens, I won’t change my mind about you. You’re still mine.’” Excerpt taken from It Happens After Prayer, H.B. Charles Jr. (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2013).

A PRAYER “Please, Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and to that of Your servants who delight to revere Your name” (Neh. 1:11). Help us to be completely honest and transparent with You at all times.

VICTORIA YORK is especially grateful to God for rescuing Kenny, as she became his wife in 2008. Read about their life together at her blog, The Doulos Chronicles, at douloschronicles.com.

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LIVING IN THE WORD

Linda Tomblin / IN THE WORD

A Very Good Thing “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it” (Acts 4:12).

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stuffing a cookie in his mouth, “told me they were saved at church on Sunday. So I wanted to know what it means.” “Well,” I said, taking a deep breath and praying that the Holy Spirit would lead me. “Being saved means we believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that

He died to pay for our sins. When we are saved, we ask Jesus to save us from our sins and come into our hearts to live.” “That’s a good thing, isn’t it?” he asked as he gulped down the rest of his milk. “Yes,” I said. “It’s a very good thing … ,” I began, but before I could say anything else, he was running out the back door. As I watched him race across the yard to his friends’ home, I marveled at how receptive children are to matters of faith. It was clear that those few words of explanation were all he was ready for now, but I was just as certain that one day, he would ask more. And I prayed that whomever he turned to at that time would be waiting and ready to answer him. LINDA TOMBLIN has been writing for 30 years and has articles in numerous publications.

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NE DAY, my 4-year-old great-grandson, Noah, came in from playing with his friends. “Grandmother,” he asked while he washed his hands, “what does saved mean?” “I think you must mean safe,” I said as I started to give him an explanation on safety rules. “No, no, Grandmother,” he said, “I mean saved.” He pointed upward and asked, “What does saved mean?” I was taken aback for a moment. Was he really asking me about salvation … about being saved … at his age? I finished pouring his milk as he sat down at the kitchen table and handed him a couple of cookies. “What makes you ask?” I questioned. “My friend Marty and his sister, Jada,” he mumbled,


October Comes So Softly by THOMAS A. MOAK JR.

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When October comes in gold, The leaves greet her with tranquil green. It seems as if they will stay always, But alas! The God who made them Paints a very different portrait As frost greets the green And they put on colors Of red, yellow, brown, and gold. And by and by, they will die And fall To the ground. They lay in heaps To be carried away. Oh, October … can’t we as humans learn From you? We, too, have a destiny as we live our lives, And we, as leaves, wither And die. But … Our souls are not marked for the refuse pile. You see, we have an eternal destiny, Which we cannot imagine, Awaiting us where October … Will be no more. Only us … And God.

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LIVING IN THE WORD

Pastor Johnny Hunt / A WORD WITH YOU

His Word Is Alive! The Word of God changes lives.

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UTUMN IS a time of harvest, the part of the cycle of life that comes from a season of seedtime and growth. And without ample water, a harvest wouldn’t be possible. In Scripture, water is often related to the Word (Isa. 55:10). Not only does it make things grow, it changes that which receives it. In Isaiah 55:13, we are told: “Instead of the thornbush, a cypress will come up, and instead of the brier, a myrtle will come up.” The Bible is a life-changing source from the Heavenly Father. Thank God for the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word. It is different from the words of man. The Bible brings the promise of going forth and never returning without purpose. We may not have a better friend than the Bible. Note the great truth of Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any doubleedged sword, penetrating as


What the Bible says about itself is powerful, piercing, and personal. far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.” What the Bible says about itself is powerful, piercing, and personal. What makes the Bible so different from other books is the fact that it’s alive. When its message is shared, it works and quickens its truth into our hearts. It is not only alive, but it is life giving. The greatest revelation of God Himself is the Lord Jesus Christ. The second greatest revelation of God is the written Word, which introduces us to the living Word. One cannot hear the Word of God and ignore its power and promises; it offers truth we must accept or reject. Listen to Jesus speak on the life in His Word, “The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). There is life-changing energy in God’s Word because it is both alive and active. It not

only enlightens hearts and minds, but also changes a person’s life. The Bible is “sharper than any doubleedged sword” (Heb. 4:12). When spoken in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word cuts, pricks, and goes through us with the Lord’s conviction, exposing our needs. One of my favorite truths about the Bible is the fact that it is personal. It speaks to me directly whether I am reading it in my morning devotions or hearing it proclaimed in a sermon. The written Word moves us to be confronted with the living Word. Being able to “judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart” (Heb. 4:12), it analyzes its listeners. It powerfully probes into the deepest places of our being and puts a check on our motives. When shared, the Bible becomes a powerful force for God and good. As you plant seeds from His Word, look for His harvest.

Pastor JOHNNY HUNT is the executive editor of Mature Living, author of more than 15 books, and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention (2008-2010). Since 1986, Pastor Hunt has served as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia. He and his wife, Janet, have two daughters and four grandchildren.


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Feature

The Benefactor Behind the Books Because Janice DeBice can’t always afford her book ministry, she has some God-sized stories to tell.

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by POLLY HOUSE

OOKS ARE IMPORTANT to Janice DeBice. Thousands of them have helped her lead thousands of people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. The story of her love for books began while she raised three children as a single mom. “I knew I needed Jesus in the center of my life and in my children’s lives,” she said. “I’d accepted Jesus into my heart when I was younger but had been far away from Him. I desperately needed Him back.” Janice and her children were frightfully poor, lacking money and prospects. “But I knew God would take care of us,” she said. Janice, never forgetting how she felt when she turned her life over to the Lord, made it a point to

share the gospel with people she met — usually by handing them little tracts. “I’d made it a point to share these tracts with my garbage men,” she said. “The city used prisoners to pick up our trash with one of the supervisors working with them. They were all really sweet men and were always happy to talk to me for a few minutes when they came to get our trash. “I’d give them a Popsicle when it was hot or a little cup of hot chocolate when it was cold,” she said. “One of the men seemed to be especially interested in one of the tracts I gave him, and I was able to lead him to Jesus. I had just the shortest amount of time to talk with him about the Lord, so I asked him if he’d like some more books to read to learn more, and he said he would. I asked his supervisor if it would be all right if I gave him a book to help him learn more about the Bible, and he said OK.

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“I shared [about] Jesus and led some of the other men to Him, too, and I wanted to help them grow in their faith,” Janice explained. “That’s how my book ministry got started.” One day, a big man in a blue suit knocked on the door and asked Janice if she was the one who had been giving those men the books. “It scared me half to death, but I said I was,” she admitted. “Then he said, ‘Well, keep it up. That man out there (pointing to the first trash collector she had given a book) is now teaching a Sunday School class at the prison!’” Her book ministry with the prisoners grew from handing out tracts to the trash collectors to working with the prison chaplain, helping him supply books for the prison library. God has blessed her book ministry, never failing to provide funds for her to buy books when it seemed there wasn’t a spare dime in her budget. “God blessed me with a [second] husband, who was willing to work with that ministry,” she said. “Raymond worked with me and supported everything I did. We didn’t have a lot of extra money of our own, but God just kept providing money for whatever He wanted us to give away.” Sadly, Raymond, Janice’s partner in life and ministry, passed away from cancer in 2009. They had been married 39 years. “He was the sweetest man,” she said. “We had a good marriage.” One Easter after Raymond’s death, Janice was in Florida and visited an Easter worship service. After the service, a church member greeted her. He asked where she was from, what she did — the typical questions a visitor is asked. “I told him about my book ministry and that I had been passing out some books while I’d been there in Florida,” Janice said. “He got my name and address and the next week, sent me a check for $500.” On another day, Janice was eating lunch by herself in a local café. A woman walked up to

her and asked if she was still doing that book ministry with the prison. “I told her I was,” Janice said, “and she gave me a check for $100.” Last December, the chaplain let her know they needed a lot of books at the prison. She had been giving out a lot of books to the men, and the books were being very well received. “I wanted to get him a lot of books, but I didn’t have any money to buy them,” she said. “But God has proved He always provides for the needs. Some books were on sale at the LifeWay Christian Store, so I went down to get them, trusting that God would provide the funds. As I was placing my order, a lady gave me a card, and it had a check with $800 in it. She said it was for the book ministry. I put it all together, and we bought 300 books. I took them out to the prison, and those men were so excited. Praise God! They were standing in line to get those books.” Janice said she is always careful to tell people the book they need most is the Bible. “I tell them the other books aren’t a substitute for the Bible, but they are helpful and God will bless them too. “I’ve been doing the book ministry for more than 46 years,” she said. “God put that ministry together and showed me that was where He wanted to use me. All I needed to do was be obedient. I’ve given out thousands of books to everyone — from homeless people to millionaires. It’s not about how much or how little money they have. That doesn’t matter. They all need Jesus.”

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POLLY HOUSE is a Jesus-loving, beach-craving wife, mom, mother-in-law, granny, friend, scuba diver, and world traveler living in Nashville, Tennessee. Since retiring as editor of LifeWay’s Facts and Trends magazine, Polly has started a second career as a freelance writer and a “better than amateur” photographer. She and her husband, Sam, are members of Green Hills Church.

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I’ve given out thousands of books to everyone — from homeless people to millionaires.


BALANCED LIVING

Steve Rogers / LIFE WELL LIVED

The Soggy Bread Deli Toss what you hold tightly and trust God.

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I are looking for a place to grab a quick bite. Our eyes are drawn to the sign over the door of an eatery: The Soggy Bread Deli and Sandwich Shoppe Proprietors: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Est. in Ages Past. Intrigued, we open the door, step inside, and are promptly seated at a booth. Our waitress comes over at once to take our

order. “We have a special today … ,” she announces with a smile. “Our fruit of the Spirit granola bowl. It contains all natural ingredients, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is also full of spiritual fiber, which the Great Physician recommends to keep your innermost being in perfect health. Can I start with your drink order?”

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CCLESIASTES 11:1 admonishes you to “cast your bread upon the waters.” This proverb teaches that we are not to hold tightly to what we have, but instead to let go of it — to release it — and trust God with the results. The verse goes on to say: “for you will find it after many days.” When you cast your bread upon the water, a lot of great things are set in motion, and the benefits will eventually come back to you in even greater blessings. However, have you thought about what you get immediately after casting your bread upon the waters? The answer, of course, is soggy bread. And soggy bread is basically worthless. I think, perhaps, that is God’s intention. He wants to take your worthless, soggy bread that has been cast upon the waters of His possibilities and let you stand back and see what happens. Let’s use our sanctified imagination and pretend that you and


Both of us opt for living water. “A great choice,” our waitress replies. “It’s always free. If you’re really thirsty, I’ll be glad to give you a refill. We have an unlimited supply!” Our friendly server is soon back to take our food order. “Any questions about the menu?” she asks.

“Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (Eccl. 11:1, NKJV). “The special sounds good,” I reply, "but I’m interested in this entire section of the menu called Soggy Bread Sandwiches.” “Oh, those are what we are known for and are our head chef’s favorite thing to prepare. There’s only one catch. You have to personally supply the soggy bread.” “I didn’t bring any soggy bread with me,” I tell her. “That’s OK,” she replies. “God — did I mention that He is our head chef? — keeps a gigantic temperature-controlled cooler in the back room, chock full of individually labeled baggies of soggy bread. Chances are good we’ve got one with your name on it.” I tell her, “There are so many choices I wouldn’t know which one to pick.” “You don’t even have to worry about that. The kind of sandwich you get depends upon

which type of soggy bread we start with.” She asks each of our names and inputs them into a handheld device she is carrying. Looking at me, she says, “Looks like we’ll be preparing the Future Accomplishments sandwich for you. The chef starts with the soggy bread of your past failures and defeats and adds encouragement, resolve, and vision. But don’t worry about the final result being soggy or mushy. Everything is toasted to perfection in our refiners’ fire oven.” She then looks over at you and says, “Looks like you’ll be getting the Faith and Peace Reuben. The chef starts with the soggy bread of your fear and worry and adds courage, trust, and belief. This is actually one of the most ordered items on the menu. Everyone who has ever ordered it gives it two thumbs way up!” she says with a twinkle in her eye. I see you on the street a week later. “Where are you going?” I ask. “Back to the Soggy Bread Deli and Sandwich Shoppe. How about you?” “Oh, I’m heading down to the water.” “What’s that under your arm?” “A big bag of bread!” STEVE ROGERS is president and co-founder of the Adrian Rogers Pastor Training Institute in North Palm Beach, Florida. A well-known author, songwriter, and speaker, he co-wrote three books with his father. He and his wife, Cindi, have a daughter and a grandson.


BALANCED LIVING

Mind Benders by SUSAN WALTER

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== Assyria == Attitude == Awe == Bible == Call == Change == Command == Compassion == Despair == Fish == God == Gospel == Hesitant == Hope == History == Jesus == Jonah == Joppa == Lecture == Lord

== Mercy == Ministry == Mission == Nineveh == Old Testament == Outreach == Prayer == Prophet == Real == Sermon == Scripture == Sharing == Storm == Swallowed == Truth == Water == Whale == Witness

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Fill in the grid so that every row, column, and 3-by-3 box contains the numbers 1 through 9. Solution is on page 57.

Search up, down, forward, backward, and diagonally to find words associated with sharing our faith like Jonah. Solution is on page 57.

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Barbara Smith's

BR EA KFAST W ITH FR IENDS

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Styling & Photography by Alyssa Valletta

MINIATURE SAUSAGE MUFFINS

GARLIC GRITS CASSEROLE

FALL FRUIT COMPOTE

SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE


Our Favorite

R ECIPES Garlic Grits Casserole

Miniature Sausage Muffins

½ cup quick-cooking grits, uncooked 1 roll (6 ounces) garlic cheese, cubed ¼ cup margarine, melted 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1 cup milk

½ pound sausage ⅓ cup chopped green onion ¾ cup biscuit mix ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese ½ teaspoon dry mustard ½ cup milk

Cook grits according to package directions. Add cheese and margarine, stirring until cheese melts. Combine eggs and milk; stir into grits. Spoon into a lightly greased 1-quart casserole. Bake at 350o for 45 minutes or until golden brown and set. Yield: 4 servings

Cook sausage and green onion over medium heat until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well. Combine remaining ingredients and stir just until moistened. Stir in sausage mixture and spoon into greased miniature muffin pans. Bake at 400o for 12 to 14 minutes. Yield: 20 muffins

MATURE LIVING MAGAZINE / OCTOBER 2016

MATURE LIVING MAGAZINE / OCTOBER 2016

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Fall Fruit Compote

½ cup chopped pecans 1 tablespoon cinnamon 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 sticks margarine 2 cups sugar 2 eggs 1 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt powdered sugar

12-ounce package dried pitted prunes 29-ounce can peach halves, drained (reserve juice) 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained (reserve juice) 1 can cherry pie filing 6 ounces dried apricots ½ cup butter, melted ½ cup brown sugar Spray 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray; place fruit in dish. Melt butter; add sugar and reserved juices. Pour over fruit and bake at 350o for 1 hour. Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Combine pecans, cinnamon, and brown sugar, and set aside. Cream margarine and sugar; add eggs and beat thoroughly. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix well. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour half of mixture into a greased and floured springform pan. Sprinkle with half of cinnamon mixture. Pour in rest of batter. Add remaining topping. Bake at 350o for 50 to 60 minutes or until done. Cool; sprinkle with powdered sugar. Yield: 12 servings MATURE LIVING MAGAZINE / OCTOBER 2016

MATURE LIVING MAGAZINE / OCTOBER 2016


BALANCED LIVING

All Natural by MATT ERICKSON

Vitamin D Soak-up some of the numerous benefits of this essential vitamin from the sun.

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OR SOMETHING so critical to good health and often as easy to obtain as simply stepping outside for a few minutes each day, a lot of people aren’t getting enough of it. We’re talking about vitamin D. As many as 90 percent of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, says Dr. Josh Axe (draxe.com). The best way to get vitamin D is through direct sunlight, but doctors are

recommending supplementation too. Here are seven health benefits of vitamin D. 1. Contributes to bone health. Vitamin D plays a key role in calcium absorption into the bones. A vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures. Older adults with adequate vitamin D levels tend to be more active, have greater muscle strength, and are less prone to falls and injuries. 2. Helps manage blood sugar levels. Getting enough vitamin D can increase insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation, helping prevent and manage diabetes. 3. Protects against cancer. Symptoms associated with a vitamin D deficiency have been linked to an increased risk for cancer development, especially breast, colon, and prostate cancers. 4. Helps fight heart disease. Research indicates that a vitamin D deficiency can lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. This is because vitamin D is involved in regulating blood

pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. 5. Enhances immune system. Vitamin D aids in healthy cell replication and likely guards against the development of autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, it can help you fight off a cold or the flu. 6. Facilitates in hormone regulation and helps improve mood. Vitamin D acts like a steroid in the body. Insufficient levels can impact testosterone and estrogen production. A vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression, anxiety, and insomnia. 7. Helps with concentration, learning, and memory. Several studies have shown that vitamin D affects our ability to make decisions, concentrate, and retain information. For more information about the risks of vitamin D deficiency and how to make sure you’re getting enough, visit draxe.com. This article is for informational purposes only. Please consult your physician for specific concerns.

MATT ERICKSON is a writer and editor in Nashville, Tennessee. When he’s not busy working with words, he enjoys running and playing sand volleyball.

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Fiction

by Chris Fabry It was an old phone with built-in voicemail. Michelle had squirreled it away in her nightstand with the power cord snaking out the back. On the weekend before the move to their first house, Jake picked it out of the drawer and examined it.

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each time she heard his voice? She was a kid again with her toes in the warm sand. It brought back good memories, vacations, running errands with her little hand tucked safely into his big hand. After her mother had died, it was just the two of them. And now she was alone. No, not alone — she had a husband. But there was something about his voice … “OK,” she said, and Jake retreated downstairs to the bookshelves. She sat on the bed and stared at the blue PLAY button. The red light was lit, a sign of life. She pushed the button and heard a BEEP and then the computerized voice, “You have one old message. First saved message.” She hit PAUSE. It was silly. She was married. It was time to move on. Put the past behind and press on toward some higher calling. But she couldn’t help listening again because this wasn’t a message from the bank or an aluminum siding sales call; it was her father. She hit the button again. “Hey sweetheart, just checking in. Hope you’re doing well. Just wanted you to know how proud I am of you. Of both of you. Proud of the woman you’ve become. You’re every father’s dream for a daughter.” Then he laughed at himself and what he had said. Or, maybe some memory of the two of them floated through his mind, and his voice constricted. There was unmistakable emotion coming through the line, through the empty years between them. Her dad had never liked emotion, but he didn’t seem scared of it. “I’ll talk to you soon, Michelle, my belle.” And then he sang the little song he always sang to her when he put her to bed at night, trying to imitate Paul McCartney’s voice,

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“This corded phone is obsolete. Should we give it to Goodwill?” She grabbed it from her husband and cradled it as if he had suggested they toss their wedding rings in the garbage. “I’m just trying to help you pare down.” “I know,” she said. “You’re a tosser, and I’m a saver. It’s always bugged you.” “It doesn’t bug me. I’m trying to help.” “I’m working on it, OK? I can’t just throw stuff away.” He held up both hands in surrender and then studied the phone. “What’s so special about it? This wasn’t the phone I called for our first date.” He gave a Cheshire cat smile. Michelle shook her head and caressed the phone as if she were holding a magic lamp and waiting for her three wishes. “Wait,” Jake said. “Is that the one with the message from … ” She looked up at him, and he glanced away — sensing the emotion in her eyes, she supposed. Jake was never good with emotion. He always seemed threatened by it, and she had to shield him. If she cried, he would feel it was his fault, and she didn’t want him to think that. She didn’t want to have to console him for something he didn’t do or explain her emotion, so she held back or turned away or wound up crying on her pillow while he slept. This is what their marriage had become. Jake didn’t like emotion, and she was lousy at decluttering. Psychologists would say she was perfectionistic — not able to let go of clippings or old books or notes on scraps of paper. She felt it was more about her fear of losing. The fear of tossing the combination to a lock she might find years from now. Jake broke the silence. “I bought boxes for the books. I’ll go through them and make two piles. You can have the final say.” Why did she have a hard time letting go of that phone? It was the message, of course, but it was more. Was it the feeling


though he had never been a good singer. The melody pierced her heart and lifted her like some rich, warm flood. She had seen the blinking light on the phone as she picked it up and heard her brother’s voice. He had found their father on the floor at the house. His breathing was shallow, and he barely had a pulse. He died on the way to the hospital. She had hung up and hit the blue button. Hearing that message through the answering machine was like getting a postcard from heaven. Had he known his time was short? Is that why he had called? If only she’d been home and picked up, they could have had their last conversation. But these are trades in life you can never make. If she had spoken with him, she wouldn’t have the message. She wouldn’t have his voice. Her father had hung up and had never spoken another word to her. But every time she hit the blue button, he did. That was why she couldn’t toss the phone. It wasn’t really about the phone or the message, though. She wanted her father back. But he was never going to return. He wouldn’t be there to help her navigate life and insurance policies and tax forms she didn’t understand. He would never hold his grandchildren. There was an ache to her life, and this phone represented it in so many ways. She wanted her son or daughter, years from now, to hear her father’s voice — to connect with him in some way other than stories and pictures and secondhand memories. For some reason, she looked up and saw Jake standing in the doorway, watching her. They’d been married eight years and were finally talking about children. Another milestone she would pass without her father. “I can help you with that if you want,” he said. “I told you I don’t want to get rid of it.” “No, I mean I can help you save his voice. That’s what you want, right?”

“What do you mean?” “I can record it from the answering machine. Burn the message to a disc. Make an MP3. Put it in the cloud where you’ll always have it. Always have access.” A tear ran down her cheek, and she reached to wipe it away, but she stopped. Jake was staring at her, not looking away. “I’ve been so scared I was going to lose it.” And with those words, she felt a little of herself escape, a little of her fear and vulnerability skitter from her like a mouse scurrying for safety. “It’s OK,” Jake said. “You’re not going to lose it. We can record it right now and save it. I know how much it means to you.” “Do you?” He sat on the bed and put an arm around her. “I miss him too. I miss talking with him about you. Asking questions about the best way to show love to you. Advice on cars. Work. A million things.” She stared at the red light in the middle of the blue button until it became blurry. “Just hearing his voice isn’t enough anymore,” she said. “But it’s all I have.” “You have more than that. If he hadn’t loved you well, that message wouldn’t mean what it does. But because he did, it makes sense you’d want to keep it forever.” She burrowed her face in his chest, and he held her. If they recorded the message like he said, she’d finally be able to let go of that phone. Someone at Goodwill might pick it up. Some father who loved his daughter. Some man with big hands and a big heart. CHRIS FABRY is the author of more than 70 books and hosts Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio. His novels have won three Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award for Fiction. He wrote the novelization of War Room, which became a best-seller. His novel The Promise of Jesse Woods is his latest release. Find him at ChrisFabry.com.

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LEGACY LIVING

On the Porch by TRICIA GOYER

A Homespun Story as Told by Leroy “Pete” Peterson

The Hand of God

For one medic, war taught something he never wanted to forget.

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ILLUSTRATION BY ED VEBELL / GETTY IMAGES

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HERE ARE many memories of war that last a lifetime. Memories of buddies lost right before one’s eyes, of prisoners, of battles. Sometimes these memories meet me at the strangest times, but there are a few memories above all that have changed me forever. Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge in early 1945 can be considered no picnic. I was wounded there, and I remember those past decades as if they were yesterday. Our unit had been corralled in a low area. I was a medic, and this is where we’d based our headquarters. As a medic, you go wherever you’re needed. One day, we received a radio message that medics were desperately needed in the next town. The infantry had taken severe punishment, and they’d lost two medical men who’d been shot. My medical officer approached me. “Come on, Pete, we’ve got to move out.” I’d been talking to a couple of radio operators, my good buddies. I said good-bye to my friends. Then I jumped into the back of the jeep with Major Harold G. Stacy seated beside the driver, and we headed off. But to get to the next town, we had to cross a high point, a very high point. We didn’t know it at that time, but the Germans had

that area pegged with their big 88 guns. As we hit the top of that hill, a gun shell went over us. It landed about 50 feet away — at the most. The next one landed right in front of us. We knew then we had to abandon ship. The Major jumped out one side, and I dove out the other. On my side of the road, I spotted the slightest gully, and into it I jumped. I knew I had little protection and figured I was a goner since the Germans were firing from my side. Then, something amazing happened. As I lay there, I felt someone pushing on my back, pushing me deeper into the ground and telling me to get down. Rounds three, four, and five landed on the jeep. There was nothing left. But as I lay in that ditch, I had a sensation of protection — one I’ll never forget. When it was over, blood dripped from my nose and ears. The Major was OK, but I had concussion problems from the shells that shook the ground. It took five days of rest before I could resume my duties. And even though I looked fine on the outside, something had changed within. I’d been a Christian since I was a child, but I had even greater faith after feeling the protection of the Lord pressing upon me. I knew He was protecting me for a reason. Looking back, I know why the Lord saved me that day.

He wanted to use my hands, my abilities, to care for others. After spearheading into Germany, our unit was the first into Austria. We didn’t know what was ahead, but a Red Cross worker met us on the road and led us to Mauthausen Concentration Camp. I was the third person led into the camp and was greeted by men and women who were no more than skeletons. The next few days became a blur as I cared for as many people as I could. For some, it was too late. I’ll never forget the stench of the place or the thin arms lifted in rejoicing. I’ll also never forget the pure joy of ushering into freedom those who’d never given up hope. Many people can deny the fact that God exists, but not me. I’ve felt His hand and heard His whisper in the midst of war. I’ve also witnessed what it means for someone in bondage to become free. It’s given me a new insight into the freedom Jesus brings to our souls. There are times when God protects us in ways we cannot understand, but we must remember that it’s usually to care for and love those He brings into our paths.

TRICIA GOYER is a mom of 10, grandmother of 2, and an author of 52 books. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she also leads a teen mom support group. Tricia would love for you to connect with her at TriciaGoyer.com.

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LEGACY LIVING

The Comfort Project

A Testimony of Comfort for Those Who Have Been Betrayed

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WENTY-TWO YEARS ago, when I was 42 years old, my husband decided to leave our two children and me so he could start a new life with another woman — my best friend. Two weeks later, as I was still reeling from the shock of this double betrayal, my mother discovered she had cancer. I moved her into my home to live with

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“HE HIMSELF HAS SAID, I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU” (HEB. 13:5).

us so I could care for her. She died four months later. The betrayal of my husband and my best friend did not compare to the feeling that God had betrayed me. How could He allow this to happen? What had I done to incur what seemed to be His displeasure with me? The fact that He chose to take my mother so close to losing my husband was beyond

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The Love of My Life


overwhelming. Caring for my 13-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter was the only thing that kept me going. I wanted to just sit down and die. I was wounded, raw, and broken inside. I hated my husband and my best friend. I was too afraid to hate God. But I wasn’t a big fan of His anymore. I kept going to church for my children’s sake. An older couple in our church continued to lovingly reach out to me. The wife invited us for lunch after church on many Sundays. Her gentle and loving mannerism was difficult to resist. After a few months, while she visited me in my home, I just broke down and told her how I felt about my husband, my friend, and God. She said something shocking: “I think I would feel the same way you do.” I was astounded at her merciful response. She told me that she had had betrayal and pain in her past. She said something for which I am forever grateful: “The only thing that got me through was that I saw that Jesus had been through every single thing I was going through. I knew He understood completely. I knew He would never let go of me.” It had been months since I had opened my Bible. That night, she opened my Bible, which was sitting there gathering dust on my coffee table, and began reading to me. She started with the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. The words, her voice, became a healing balm to me. As she read, “He is despised and rejected

of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” I was reminded that Jesus knew the pain of being rejected and betrayed. Something new and alive happened inside me that night. I knew I had an advocate in Jesus. I knew He understood, and more than that, He had the power to get me through. Over the weeks and months that followed, I ran to the Lord and poured out my broken heart. I cannot explain how the darkness and heaviness lifted from me except to say it was a miracle of God’s love. It was the power in God’s Word. If you are still reeling from the betrayal of someone close, I would like to encourage you to remember that Jesus was also betrayed. If anyone knows what it’s like to watch someone you love walk away, it’s Jesus. If anyone understands the pain of enduring deep pain without anyone to comfort you, it’s Jesus. In the years since that dark day my husband abandoned us, I have almost been thankful that he did. The love of my life is Jesus, and He will never leave me. I forgave my husband and my friend. Their relationship ended a year after he left. Me? I am happy and content with the life I have. I know that as long as I have Jesus, I will never be alone. And neither will you.

He Himself

has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5

These testimonies are shared anonymously through The Comfort Project. Visit awordtothewives.blogspot.com.

Mature Living / october 2016

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LEGACY LIVING

by DAVID JENKINS

The Feast of Tabernacles The celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles foreshadowed the coming Savior.

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NCLUDED IN THE LAW God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai were instructions for the Israelites’ celebration of seven feasts (or festivals) commemorating God’s great acts of salvation for His people. The seventh of these feasts was described in this way: “The Festival of Booths to the LORD begins on the fifteenth day of this seventh month and

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Biblical Foundations


continues for seven days” (Lev. 23:34). This festival — mentioned in 2 Chronicles 8:13, Ezra 3:4, and Zechariah 14:16 — was also called the Feast of Ingathering and the LORD’s festival. Because the people were so familiar with it, sometimes it was called simply the feast. Its observance combined the ingathering of the harvest, the fruit of the earth,

the ingathering of the threshing floor and winepress, and the dwelling in booths (or tabernacles), which were to be joyful reminders of God’s acts of grace shown to His people. THE REMEMBRANCE to set the scene for this seven-day festival, we can imagine a vast army of Israelites following Moses, whom God

had chosen to lead His enslaved people out of Egyptian bondage to the land He had promised them through Abraham. All ages made up that mass of people along with cattle and beasts of burden that carried those who were old and infirm. Mothers carried babies in their arms, and children ran to keep up with the adults. When darkness fell, campfires lighted

Mature Living / october 2016

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LEGACY LIVING

1

the landscape and animalskin tents were hastily raised to house those who must have shelter. When the people reached the promised land and permanent dwellings were established, these tent dwellings (or tabernacles) became cherished symbols of God’s care for His people during those long years of trial and destitution. Lest they forget, God ordered this annual Feast of Tabernacles, which became a time of remembrance and re-consecration to the God who demonstrated His gracious care for His people. He gave Moses specific instructions for establishing this annual feast. It was not to be an occasion to remember the privation and misery the people experienced during those trying days in the Sinai wilderness, but rather a time when God provided protection and shelter from the heat and the storm (Pss. 27:5; 31:20; Isa. 4:6). Those participating in this time of rejoicing

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were to include family, servants, widows, orphans, Levites, and sojourners. THE CELEBRATION the feast was celebrated for seven days and began five days after the Day of Atonement. On the first day of this sacred week, booths (or tabernacles) were built of fresh branches of trees. Each one participating in this building project was to gather twigs of

myrtle, willow, and palms in the area of Jerusalem. During the festival, the Israelites were to live for seven days in these booths, remembering the time their ancestors lived in such shelters during the journey through the desert from Egypt to Canaan. So awesome did the Israelites consider this feast and its significance that Solomon’s magnificent temple in Jerusalem was dedicated during the feast. After the

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“They celebrated the Festival of Booths as prescribed, and offered burnt offerings each day, based on the number specified by ordinance for each festival day” (Ezra 3:4).


3 1. Jewish priests gather to pray during The Festival of Booths. 2. During Sukkot in Jerusalem, a temporary shelter or tabernacle is erected. 3. Myrtle branches 4. A  Jewish man with palm, myrtle, and willow twigs 5. Citron laid out for festival participants

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5 Israelites returned to the land of Canaan following the years of their exile, Ezra chose this feast time to read God’s law and lead the people in acts of penitence (Neh. 8:13–9:3). Later, Josephus, a first-century Jewish scholar and historian, referred to the Feast of Tabernacles as the holiest and greatest of the Hebrew feasts. This joyous week was a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the year’s harvest.

THE CEREMONY later additions to this annual ritual included a ceremony in which water drawn from the Pool of Siloam was poured out. Prayers were offered for good rains for the coming season. It was also a time for the lighting of huge menorahs (candelabra) in the Court of the Women. Many believe that it may have been following this particular ceremony that Jesus stood and declared, “If anyone is thirsty,

he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him” (John 7:37-38). The miraculous provision of water and the pillar of light in the heavens during the desert journey were temporary reminders of the coming Savior, who would be the never-ending Water of life and the continual Light of the world. DAVID JENKINS is a retired Baptist pastor living in Gilmer, Texas.

Mature Living / october 2016

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Feature

Show Me Your Scars

Your scars tell a story — God’s story. by JEFFERSON BETHKE

“Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25, ESV). CARAVAGGIO / DOUBTING THOMAS / 1595-1600 / SUPERSTOCK

Mature Living / october 2016

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I

HAVE A LITTLE TINY SCAR on my upper lip because I thought it’d be a great idea to eat a dog’s food when I was a year old. The dog didn’t think it was so genius, and he bit me in the face. I also have a six-inch scar on my right shoulder, with two titanium plates and ten screws inside, from when I shattered my collarbone diving for a baseball. I have a one-inch clean scar on my right knuckle. I found my mom’s pocketknife as a kid, took it into a hiding place, and began playing with it. Of course, I wasn’t too sure what it did, so I tested it on my pointer finger. It sliced me right open.

YOUR WOUNDS see, wounds hurt. Wounds can get infected. Wounds are painful. Wounds we cover up. But scars? They are different. They don’t hurt anymore. They can’t get infected. They tell a story. This is illustrated perfectly after Jesus rises from the dead and interacts with Thomas, also known as the doubting disciple. His friends were telling Thomas that Jesus had risen, but Thomas didn’t believe them. “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25, ESV). Eight days later, Thomas finally sees Jesus, but He doesn’t rebuke Thomas and tell him to believe harder. He doesn’t tell him to read more apologetics books. He doesn’t say, “Just have faith.” He says, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” (John 20:27, ESV). The answer to Thomas’s doubt was Jesus’ telling Thomas to reach out and touch Him. To feel His scars. It’s almost as if Jesus’ scars were what proved His humanity — made Him real in that moment. If you had to take a hard look at the things in your life, would you classify the broken pieces of it as wounds or scars?

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And when we show our scars, we get to point to the Healer who wove His grace right into the depths of every crack and fragmented part in

our soul. YOUR HEALING

god created us with so much glory. With so much weight, and beauty, and love. And thinking we could do it on our own or that we know better, we fall more and more into brokenness. And now because of the curse, sometimes it isn’t even from our own decisions. It’s just from the general curse falling on us all that life starts to unravel. We lose a job. We lose a marriage. We lose a family member.


Brokenness is all around us. And the question is what do we do? How do we live? Is there hope? The beautiful thing about Jesus is He heals us. There’s even one instance where a woman touches His clothes and gets healed. He has a power about Him that this world has never seen. God Himself, walking among us, can heal us. And notice what happens when people touch Him. They get healed. Not the other way around. He doesn’t get dirty. He doesn’t become unrighteous. No. The power flows out from Him into them. They get healed. They get cleansed. They get new life. Do you really believe that? That our brokenness is real? But that’s exactly what Jesus came for. To heal us. Have you reached out and touched Him? And when you have, you are healed. And when your wound gets healed, it becomes a scar. And your scar tells a story.

YOUR STORY i don’t know if it’s a guy thing or what, but we like to tell people about our physical scars. What if that was what we were like with our brokenness? What if we actually told people about our scars and what an amazing healer Jesus is? We don’t need to hide or be ashamed because He has healed us. But see, we can only do that when we’ve been healed. If it’s still a wound, we’ll cringe when people touch it. We’ll hide it. We’ll cover it up. But Jesus has more for us. In Japanese culture, there is a type of pottery art called kintsugi that deals with broken items such as clay pots, vases, and bowls. When a bowl or pot breaks, kintsugi artists put it back together using a lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. When the pot is put back together, the gold, silver, or platinum veins running through the pot exactly where it had previously been broken

are the most eye-catching. The new glory of the beautiful creation is the golden-laced, broken pieces that have been repaired. It’s remarkably beautiful! With kintsugi, when something becomes broken, it doesn’t become less valuable. The new golden-laced repair makes it more valuable. It doesn’t try to hide or disguise the imperfections, but instead puts them on full display in all their beauty and glory.

HIS GLORY i don’t think we are much different when we come to Jesus. Some of the most inspiring people we know are those who have been hurt and broken and yet still have a peace, joy, and resilience about them. Scars don’t hide our history; they show it. And when we show our scars, we get to point to the Healer who wove His grace right into the depths of every crack and fragmented part in our soul. So rest in that today. Whether it’s a failed marriage, a house you’re about to lose, or a dream that died, know there is resurrection. There is new life. And in Scripture, where do we see resurrection show up? Right after death. Right after the worst thing happened. Right after the darkness. And in that moment, we can turn our eyes to the One who defeated death and walked out of the grave, giving us that same power.

Portions excerpted, with permission, from Jefferson Bethke’s It’s Not What You Think (Nelson Books, 2015) JEFFERSON BETHKE is the author of It’s Not What You Think and the New York Times best-seller Jesus > Religion. Bethke’s message connects at a heart level with an audience ranging from atheists to nationally recognized religious leaders. He lives in Maui, Hawaii.

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MORE LIVING

Jesus, Others, You by LEONA BERGSTROM

Not Another Treasure in Their Attic Two huge bear-headed pillows taught one grandmother a lesson on gift-giving.

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welcomed all gifts because they were still in that afterbirth euphoria. They tolerated our right to spoil the little one. When the house overflowed with bouncing chairs, squeaky playthings, multi-colored gadgets — and more children

— attitudes changed. I noticed some of the treasures we gave were now on the garage sale table or in Goodwill bags. One shrieking toy fire truck mysteriously appeared back at my house.

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SING CUT-UP U-Haul boxes and a roll of duct tape, we created a container suitable to check in for our flight home. Inside it, we packed two enormous bear heads. Not real ones, of course. These were plush, soft, and very ugly pillows — gifts given to our children by their grandparents. Once back home, the bear heads occupied a considerable amount of space in each child’s room. Whenever we considered tossing the gifts, we felt guilty. So, when we moved across the country, they came along; when our children left for college, they hibernated in the attic; eventually, they disappeared. The image of giant pillows looms over me every time I consider buying a gift for one of my six grandchildren. I wonder if what seems irresistible to me will meet a need, thrill a child, or frustrate a parent. Buying for the first grandchild was easy. Parents


Giving gifts to our grandchildren is something we love doing. We can’t resist the request, “Grandma, will you buy this for me?” If not careful, grandchildren may begin seeing grandparents as dispensers of material goods. They may even think Grandma is rich and will buy them anything their hearts desire. I talked with several seasoned grandparents to get other points of view. Nearly every one of them admitted going overboard at times. (Who can resist buying a life-sized Chewbacca or battery-operated Barbie convertible?) Eventually, all of us realize the importance of wise gift giving. So as we enter the gift-giving season, here are a few suggestions:

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Ask the parents for gift ideas. Seeking their input is of particular importance for gift-centered events such as Christmas or birthdays. Grandchildren may not need more stuff! Perhaps contributing toward bigticket items, such as a bike or computer, will have more value. Do they have a hobby or sport you could support? Parents’ budgets may be too stretched to buy equipment or uniforms needed for baseball or soccer. Occasionally, we have paid the registration fee for sports leagues or swim lessons.

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Spending a lot isn’t the goal; developing a long-lasting relationship is.

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Know your grandchild’s interests and goals. You might buy a rock and mineral set for a budding geologist, ballet slippers for your young dancer, or a backpack for your explorer. Again, parents know best.

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Consider giving experiences rather than tangible gifts. Memberships to the zoo, children’s museums, aquariums, and science centers will enhance your grandchild’s learning and entertain all year long. Give a ticket to the movies and a note that says you’ll take them! Grandchildren delight in solo trips with grandparents, whether to the mall, a campground, or the yogurt shop.

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Share your artistry and hobbies by giving something you made especially for them. One of my grandma friends delights in sewing things, especially matching dresses for her granddaughters and their dolls and superhero capes for her grandsons. She uses her abilities to make things that will delight her grandchildren.

Pay for a magazine subscription. Magazines are the original “gifts that keep on giving!” Every month our grandchildren enjoy receiving a publication that stimulates their thinking and expands their understanding of the world. Help your grandchild share a gift with a child in need. Shopping from a relief agency’s catalog and buying a goat or a flock of chickens for the rural poor in Honduras may not only teach your grandchild about the world but will also give the two of you a meaningful gift-giving experience. Donate in your grandchild’s name. Or, find opportunities to give and serve together, such as buying coats for needy children or distributing blankets to those who are homeless. Give gifts that build memories and impart values. Spending a lot isn’t the goal; developing a long-lasting relationship is. Be creative, intentional, and sensitive in your gift-giving. Your grandchildren will benefit, their parents will be grateful, and no one has to find a place for things like huge stuffed bear-head pillows. LEONA BERGSTROM co-directs Re-Ignite (Re-Ignite.net) with her husband, Richard. Together they challenge leading-edge Boomers to find purpose and passion for the second half of life. They also enjoy researching, writing, and speaking about current issues facing Boomers and their families.

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MORE LIVING

Restore by RENÉE HILL CARTER

A Saint Gone Home The Exhortation It’s been a little while now Since Jesus called for me. The mansion that He said was mine Is beautiful to see. But let me tell you this one thing That surely you must know. It’s so important that you be ready When it’s time to go. Time is nigh, you can tell, Just read it in His Word. Troubles and strife are on the rise; These things I’m sure you’ve heard. But seek ye first God’s kingdom And all His righteousness. All other things will be added to you If Jesus you first confess.

Experience God through your gifts.

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Y PASTOR, Dr. Phillip Davis, died suddenly in August 2015. One day he was here, and the next day he wasn't. A few months before he passed, I was blindsided by a trajectory of words that seemingly had no place in our conversation. “You must write! You’ve got to write!” he hurled. He knew that my gift of writing was my passion, one that drew me closer to Jesus and sent me out to serve. I remember my pastor’s words, and so I write.

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Then tell your brother of the news Of God’s sweet saving grace. This is the service God needs from you. With patience, you’ll win this race. God is doing a new thing; Remember He’s in control. Just be the servant He needs you to be; Make sure you’re on the roll. (2012 ©Renee Hill Carter, A Good Work Begun)

RENÉE HILL CARTER is the author of A Good Work Begun (LifeWay stores) and a writer for LifeWay’s YOU Adult Bible Study. She was the executive coordinator to the late Dr. Phillip M. Davis. Married to Bill, Renee is mother of three and grandmother of two. Visit reneehillcarter.com and mulberry- housecreations.com.

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The Gift of Words

Open your Bible, study now, Read it every day. Don’t just hear, but you must do The things God has to say.


Your Identity in Christ by

Priscilla Shirer Let Paul’s identity sketch from Ephesians 1 embed itself into the floorboard of your deepest insecurities. You are: • Equipped through Christ with “every spiritual blessing” (v. 3) • Chosen in Him “before the foundation of the world” (v. 4) • Regarded as “holy and blameless before Him” (v. 4) • Adopted through the “kind intention of His will” (v. 5) • Redeemed and forgiven, “lavished” with grace (vv. 7–8) • Recipients of a glorious “inheritance” in heaven (v. 11) • Secured forever by “the Holy Spirit of promise” (vv. 13–14)

I could go on. Like Paul does. This list is just one quick sampling from one chapter, from one book of the Bible, from one small corner of God’s blessing barn, poured out like a thousand Christmas mornings—every morning— every time you wake up to the partly cloudy forecast of a new day. - Excerpted from Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. Copyright 2015 B&H Publishing Group


KICKS & GRINS

Marie Armenia / NO LAUGHING MATTER

Bright-Idea Blindness To avoid stumbling, let others shine a little light on your thinking.

“I’m sure they laughed at Thomas Edison when he talked about that new thing called a light bulb!”

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kidding! Right? You weren’t actually going to go home and put the end of a hairdryer into your bathtub, were you?” “Well, uhhh … yes, I was.” “Seriously? “Seriously.”

The thing about bright ideas is that sometimes they are so bright they can blind you to the danger in them. I wish I had called Pam before I decided to go with another one of my

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HUFFED TO MY FRIEND Pam, who was laughing at me. I had called her as I drove home because I was eager to tell her about a bright idea I’d just had. I was smugly surprised that no one else had ever thought of it. I overlooked her mocking laugh, explaining, “You know how much I want a new jet stream tub in our bathroom. And you know we cannot afford one.” “Yes, I know” — Pam’s exasperation was obvious — “but if you put one end of a hairdryer in the water in your bathtub and get in it, you will electrocute yourself!” The light went on in my head, and it snuffed out my brightidea blindness. I said, “Oh. Right. Thank God that I called you.” Her voice rose to a high pitch, and she screamed, “You’re


“I-wonder-why-nobody-everthought-about-this-before?” moments. Let me just say that if you run out of laundry detergent and decide that pouring a couple of huge squeezes of dish washing liquid into your washing machine is a good idea — it is NOT a good idea!

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov. 11:14, KJV). Not unless you have some weird desire to spend hours wiping up the foam that has spilled out of the washing machine and all over everything in sight. My husband came home, saw the laundry room and kitchen covered in soapsuds, and said, “You had another bright idea, didn’t you?” Lovely man that he is, he helped me wipe up the mountainous clouds of bubbles. He is my bright-idea survivor. Sometimes bright-idea blindness can have devastating consequences on those around you. Like a young husband I know who had the bright idea that leaving his wife and children was the way he would find happiness. Or, the woman I know who was blinded by the bright idea that the problem in her church was the pastor and he needed to leave. The young

husband didn’t see himself as selfish, and the woman didn’t see herself as divisive. Thankfully, in both cases, the body of Christ was there to speak wisdom to these people until they saw the light. They avoided the disaster their bright-idea blindness would have created. This is the system God has created to help us walk in wisdom. It’s called “one another.” Not every bright idea is a bad one. God is the Creator. It seems natural that His children will be creative. His Spirit inside us will give us fresh insight as we face the challenges life throws our way. I keep having bright ideas. My brain is always exploding with a new understanding of God’s Word. Ideas light up inside me, and sometimes it’s a bright idea for a new song, or an article, or a way to help a friend. God doesn’t want us to stop having bright ideas. He just doesn’t want them to blind us to the wisdom — or lack of — in them. And by the way, when we moved to our new home in Tennessee, it came with a brand new jetted tub. Thanks to Pam and her willingness to speak the truth, I was alive to enjoy it. Now I only use my hairdryer to dry my hair. MARIE ARMENIA continues to have bright ideas. She takes the time to run them by her husband — every now and then. Visit mariearmenia.com.

INVENTIONS CREATED BY MISTAKE

★ richard jones was trying to make a meter for naval battleships. One of the tension springs he was working with fell on the ground and kept bouncing around and “walking.” Thus, the Slinky was born.

★ ruth wakefield was out of baker’s chocolate while making a batch of chocolate cookies. She broke sweetened chocolate into small pieces and added them to the dough. Instead of melting, they kept their shape. Thus was born chocolate chip cookies.

★ george crum, a chef, had a customer who kept sending his plate of fried potatoes back. He wanted the potatoes to be thinner and more fried. Crum did what the customer wanted. He fried them until they were hard as a rock. The customer loved them. Thus was born the potato chip.

★ spencer silver was trying to make a strong adhesive. He created one that stuck to objects yet didn’t leave a mark when pulled off. A coworker spread some on a small piece of paper to mark his place in his choir hymnbook, and Post-it Notes were born. businessinsider.com

Mature Living / october 2016

55


KICKS & GRINS

Brag Board Check the Calendar

Does It Match?

My great-grandson, Aiden, age 4, came to visit me at rehab. He had been told that I had gotten a new knee. He looked at me very seriously and asked, “What color is your new knee, Mamaw?” –Ramona Smith-Troutman, Mt. Washington, Ky.

My 8-year-old grandchild, Drew, appeared in the kitchen on a Saturday morning, all dressed for church. His mom graciously said he had miscalculated and could change into play clothes. He replied, “Are you teasing me? Let’s go to Chick-fil-A for breakfast, and then I'll know for sure ’cause they are never open on Sundays!” –Linda Everett, Stone Mountain, Ga.

Who Needs a Towel?

My 3-year-old grandson, Cason, and I were playing outside on a very hot summer day. I always carry a towel out with me, so I said, “Cason, here’s a towel to wipe your face.” He said, “Thanks, Ma, I don’t need it; I’ve got my shirt!” –Terri McDonald, Grenada, Miss.

You Know You Are Growing Older ...

“I think you all have appreciated me as much as I can stand this month!”

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Mature Living / october 2016

Send submission of 25-125 words to: Brag Board, Mature Living, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0175 or email, matureliving@lifeway.com. Include name, address, and phone number. Stories may be edited and will not be returned.

CARTOON: DOUG JONES / ALL OTHERS: THINKSTOCK

when you can’t remember the last time you lay on the floor to watch TV.


Cracker Barrel 9 6 5 3 2 7 4 8 1

Just Wait

This is what I’ve found (And it’s rule number one): If it weren’t for tomorrow, Nothing would ever get done! –Suzan Wiener, Spring Hill, Fla.

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8 7 3 4 2 9 1 5

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9 5 8 3 7 2 6 4

National Pharmacists Month

Answer to Sudoku Puzzle (page 30)

We know as we get older, we visit our pharmacist a little more. Make a special treat for yours, and don’t wait until you are sick to visit.

Answer to Word Search Puzzle (page 30)

Missed Call

If you are waiting for a call, It may take all day. But just leave your house, And it will come right away. –Carol Beall, Birmingham, Ala.

Too Much Work

Though I love the fall weather And the colorful trees, I still don’t like To rake up all those leaves. –Ralph J. Polk Jr., Warrenton,Va.

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Mature Living / october 2016

57


FAITH-BASED BANKING

It’s Time!

FIVE REASONS TO SWITCH TO ONLINE BANKING. Some old habits are smart to follow, like the practice of saving for a rainy day. Other habits continue to exist because, well, that’s the way we’ve always done it. While you’re driving to the bank to make a deposit or transfer money - do you ever find yourself wondering if there’s an easier way of doing things?

Did you know 69 million Americans bank online? Online banks and credit unions are making financial management easier. Evangelical Christian Credit Union is one of these.

Here are five reasons you should make the move:

1

Convenience – An online bank is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And if Internet service is not available for some reason, customer service is only a phone call away.

2

Mobile Apps – There is a wealth of easy-to-use mobile apps available from online banks. Most offer the same features (deposit checks, transfer money, pay bills or people, and more) across all devices, so it’s easy to bank from your computer, smartphone or tablet.

3

Better Rates – Without the drag of significant infrastructure and overhead costs, online banks can pay higher interest rates on savings and charge lower loan rates.

4

Easy Set Up – You don’t have to visit a branch to open an account with an online bank. Most institutions allow

you to input your data online or print, complete and mail an application.

5

ATMs – With the thirdlargest ATM network in the U.S., you don’t need a branch nearby to access your money. But you do still have access to over 5,000 branches giving more direct, surcharge-free access to your money than most traditional bank customers. Add up the benefits, and you might find that online banks give you more ways to invest and manage your money. Plus, ECCU members don’t have to worry about if their money goes to causes in opposition of God’s word. At ECCU, your money only supports acts of Kingdombuilding and causes aligned with Scripture. If you’d like to start banking where your money can earn more and do more, visit www.ECCU.org or call (800) 634-3228.

Advertorial — ©2016 Evangelical Christian Credit Union

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