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Exemplify Magazine May 2010

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT ON PAGE 4 HOW TO TALK YOURSELF DOWN FROM A TANTRUM CULTIVATING FAITHFUL HEARTS IN OUR CHILDREN ENCOURAGEMENT FOR WHEN GOD IS SILENT


content

May 2010

Faithfulness

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features

GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS P. 12 Natalie Snapp feature. ALENE SNODGRASS INTERVIEW P. 38 ROCKS IN MY POCKETS P.60 Patty Wysong feature.

in the word FAITHFUL TO ALL HIS PROMISES P. 22 Devotional REBUILDING AFTER BETRAYAL AND SEX ADDICTION P.24 Marriage column. TAKING OFF THE ROSE COLORED GLASSES & FINDING HIM P.26 Single Journey Column

CROSSING OVER THE LINES THAT DIVIDE Faith Applied Column THE TIMES OF MY LIFE P. 52 In the kitchen with Holly

in Exemplify EDITOR’S NOTE P. 4 Huge announcement! MEET THE TEAM P.6 Get to know Exemplify’s writers. CHRISTMAS FEATURES NEEDED P.37 Details on submissions needed. A WEEK OF PRAYER P.51 June 1-7, 2010

LORD UNTO ME P. 43 FAITHFULNESS & AN UNEXPECTED VISIT P. 56 Women in the Word Column

interactive

front

FOSTERING FAITHFULNESS P. 28 Moving Toward Holiness Column

CULTIVATING FAITHFUL HEARTS IN OUR CHILDREN P.20 Family Column

CANONIZATION: HOW THE BIBLE CAME TO BE P. 15 Apologetics Column

BOOK REVIEWS WITH DEBORAH P.32 A look at I Will Carry You

©IrisNelson

HOW TO TALK YOURSELF DOWN FROM A TANTRUM P. 10 7 ways to calm down.

A GOD I DON’T UNDERSTAND P. 44 What to do when the rain comes.

Unless otherwise noted

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.


Exemplify is happy to announce... 4 Š exemplify magazine

www.inspiredheartsmedia.com


This is a big month for Exemplify. Our May issue is filled with articles on the theme of faithfulness. I am happy to feature the writing of Natalie Snapp, Patty Wysong and an interview with Alene Snodgrass. While working on this issue I learned: how to talk myself down from a tantrum, how to make a mean stromboli, how the Bible came to be, the importance of crossing over the lines that divide and just why I should be carrying rocks in my pockets. If that is not a well-rounded issue, I don’t know what is! On top of this beautiful issue I am joyed to release, I am thrilled to have the privilege of announcing to you, our loved and prayed for readers, Exemplify’s newest venture. As of August 2010 Exemplify will be putting out a magazine for teen girls! 2:21 Mag is going to be the go-to resource for teen girls to get encouraged, equipped and excited about all the content relevant to their daily lives. I invite you to check us out at 221mag.com - we’re still getting ready for our first issue so bear with us. As we begin to build this new team and ministry, I ask you to pray for us. It is my heart’s hope that we will serve your girls with excellence, purpose and a holy passion for Christ’s renown. May you take something eternal away from these pages. May our God’s faithfulness surround you and spur you on this month. In King Jesus,

Kristen Schiffman

“You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you.” Psalm 89:8, NIV

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Meet the Magazine Team Kristen Schiffman Founder & Ministry Director A New Yorker living in Texas, Kristen is just trying to make sense of sweet tea and A/C units. Together with her best friend & husband, Eric, she enjoys sketching out new ideas over Starbuck’s. Kristen’s passion is equipping those in leadership to serve with excellence, encouraging women to get to know God through His Word and challenging women to live out their God-given purpose. Andrea Mitchell Editor-in-Chief/Director of Web Content/Family Columnist Andrea Mitchell is a coffee drinking, Jesus-loving wife and stay-at-home mom of three in constant search of just the right mug for her brew. You can find her at her blog, UnderGraceOverCoffee.com where she shares the love she has found in Jesus, along with the caffeine-laden randomness that makes up the majority of her day. Grab your cup and come on over!

Christy McGraw Director of Social Networking/Single Channel Editor/Columnist Christy is on a journey to becoming a woman after God’s own heart. She delights in books, photography, her family and her friends. Christy has a heart for young women and single women. She also loves emails! thesinglejourney@gmail.com

Christine Johnston Director of Communications/Titus 2 Columnist Christine is a self professed “knitster” who loves watching a scarf come to life. She is the mother of four children, three of whom are full grown and one still making her way through high school. She is married to her high school sweetheart and loves going on lunch dates with him during the week. Christine’s steady and sure faith in Christ, her value of justice and her compassion for that which Christ has compassion on daily shape her Titus 2 calling.

Tara Guy Director of Ministry Support/ Fiction & Apologetics Column/ Web Editor Tara Guy is a born-and-bred Southern girl who loves sweet tea, Jesus, and football - and not necessarily in that order. Visit her at Musings of a Future Pastor’s Wife, where she blogs about her day-to-day life as the wife of a seminary student/youth pastor and mom to a precious toddler girl, and the daily truths the Lord teaches her.


the team

Joanne Sher Magazine Editor Joanne Sher is a mother of two, wife of one, and, most importantly, daughter of the King. She was raised in the Jewish faith, coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus in her early 30’s. Her passion is for writing and encouraging, and editing actually helps her relax. She is in various stages of progress on two novel-length manuscripts: one about God’s provision during her husband’s serious health issues, and another Biblical fiction set during the time of 1 and 2 Samuel. She also loves to share her insights at her blog, www.joannesher.com, where she shares the “Open Book” of her life following Christ. Karen Lowe Feature Editor A native of Kentucky, Karen is a country girl at heart. She currently resides in northwestern Illinois where she divides her time between being a wife, homemaker, homeschooler, mother, writer, and Bible study teacher. She loves a good cup of coffee and very rarely turns down chocolate. Karen has a passion to write Bible studies and teach women God’s Word. She began Truth and Grace Ministries to encourage women to grow in God’s truth and grace. You can find her writing at her blog, Living Life, where she shares God’s Word, devotionals, and various other posts about life as she strives to live in God’s truth and grace.

Judith Roberts Interview Columnist Judith Roberts has been married to her college sweetheart for four years, and both she and her husband are active in their church. She is a college instructor pursuing her doctorate and hopes to mirror Jesus in her everyday life.

Kara Cox Devotional Columnist Kara is a single, thirtysomething follower of Christ who loves to laugh and makes others laugh in the process. She is devoted to all things Autumn and thinks that pumpkins, fallen leaves and fall TV premieres are a highlight of life. She would also like you to know she is the most extroverted introvert you will ever meet.

Wendy Miller How-To Columnist Wendy Miller is a butcher (of words as she edits her novels), a baker (of birthday cakes and treats for her beloved family members and friends), and a candlestick maker (not quite, but she enjoys crafts of all kinds). She appreciates the outdoors, writing and laughing with loved ones. Wendy’s mission statement is to a live a passionate life filled with compassion, grateful to be called daughter of the Most High God. Visit Wendy at http:// thoughtsthatmove.blogspot.com/ or http://wendypainemiller.wordpress.com/.

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the team

Amy Bayliss Ministry Online Columnist Amy is a true Cajun princess who is on a mission to minister to women via the World Wide Web. She has a heart for encouraging and equipping women and she does so by utilizing many different venues. Writing, speaking, blogging, pioneering… visit her at amybayliss.com.

Alison Hunt Columnist Alison is a twenty-something single woman living in the now and hoping for the future. Based in North Florida, she an administrative assistant by day, and dreamer by night (literally). She can also be found reading under trees, Zumba-ing, spending time with family, and catching up with friends over coffee. Visit her blog at http://alisonlhunt.blogspot.com.

Brooke McGlothlin Columnist Lover of God and the man I’ve dreamed of since the 3rd grade...mommy of two little boys born just 23 months apart...CEO of the McGlothlin Home for Boys (my house)...passionate about life issues and finding Jesus in the everyday. Director of Clinical Services for a local Crisis Pregnancy Center with a BS in Psychology and MA in Counseling.

Deborah Boutwell Book Reviews Married for 23 years, 2 children (21 & 15 years of age), working outside the home in a Christian publishing house, serving in a small Southern Baptist church in various keys roles, hobbies include reading, writing, needle & thread handwork.

Iris Nelson Photographer Born and raised in Germany, Iris now resides with her husband Mark and Chihuahua Corky, in Arizona. Their grown son Daniel works as a software consultant in Arizona, living close by. Although the move from Germany to the US was not easy, God’s hand was evident. In Arizona, God called Iris back into His flock. Her ministries in the past included leading women Bible studies; leading worship once month with the contemporary praise team. Iris enjoys encouraging women by sharing His Word through the devotional team-blog ‘Laced with Grace’ (www.lacedwithgrace.com), which she ‘birthed’ with a friend from California in 2006.

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Lori MacMath Moving Toward Holiness Columnist Having grown up in the church, Lori knows that her ‘true spiritual journey’ began with an experience with infertility and surrendering to the Lord, allowing HIM to break her and remake her. The smile she wears tells that she is so happy to be on the journey that she is on now. A journey that includes homeschooling 3 wonderful children! Lori is the co~owner of Internet Cafe Devotions, an online daily devotional site for women. Praising HIM every step of the way, she encourages you to enjoy the journey with her at her personal website, All You Have to Give, where she can be found daily, enjoying each and every season to its fullest! Holly Smith In The Kitchen Columnist My name is Holly Smith from Monument, CO. I am the wife of Chris and mother of Noah, Kylie, Tabor and Sydney. I am a stay at home mom, who very much loves her job as a mom. On the side, I design web pages and marketing pieces. It is a great way to pour out creativity! God has gifted me with a love of all things creative--from painting and wall-papering to scrapbooking and design-work. Also I write a couple of blogs, which you can read online if you want. One is a cooking blog called What Would Martha Cook? It’s about Martha in the Bible not the other Martha. The other is a devotional writing blog called Crown Laid Down. I began blogging in February 2007. Chrystie Cole Closet Issues Columnist Chrystie lives with her husband and stepson in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina. She is a woman who was once lost, broken, desperate and hopeless. Yet because of a gracious and loving God, she was given a brand new life. She has personally experienced the power of His transforming and redeeming love. As a result, she is passionate about sharing His love with others and ministering to broken and hurting people. Tracy Knowlton Women in the Word Columnist Tracy Knowlton is a Texan by birth, curious by nature and crazy about her husband of three years. She reads scripture and loves on her dogs, simultaneously. Tracy looks for Jesus in the ordinary, adds in scripture and waits to see what happens. Loving the Lord is her privilege and writing about Him on her blog, JesusWomanWords.com, is her joy. Consider yourself invited.

Jenifer Jernigan Faith Applied Columnist Jenifer makes her home in North Carolina with her husband of ten years, three children, and English black lab, Bella. On a typical day, if there is such a thing, you will find her sipping a cup of coffee, home schooling her children, and digging into the Word. A former pit-dweller who has been saved by God’s amazing grace, Jenifer has a burning passion to share with women of all ages His unconditional love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

This Month’s Marriage Article

Marsha Harwood Marsha Harwood lives deep in the woods of western North Carolina with the love of her life, Mike, their dog, Lucky and an occasional bear that comes by to visit. Married for 36 years, they are blessed with 3 adult children and 6 grandchildren.Marsha and her husband started Snowbird TEAM Ministries in 1998 to reach the Cherokee Indians and the poor of Appalachia for Christ. Her ministry is with at risk teen girls, pregnant teens and counseling women and children who have been abused. Growing up as a battered child, she understands the shame and fear that fills the hearts of abused women and children. She blogs at Marsha’s Musings.


How to Talk Yourself Down from a Tantrum Written by Wendy Miller

I’ve had a slew of unusual run-ins this past week. A snarky lady made a rude comment to me about my parenting skills in the grocery store. Another individual didn’t hear me say excuse me at another store. He felt the need to bark at me to say it again. My inclination in both circumstances was to throw up my hands and shout, “How rude!” I resisted. I still can’t decide if I held back out of shock or because I’ve trained myself how not to lose it. We face countless times throughout our weeks when we could fall into the temptation to bang our fists on something and flail in a tantrum. But we’re adults, right? And God is working His good in us. So how do we, in these moments of high tension, talk ourselves down from a tantrum? I’ve provided several trusty ways that have proven to work for me.

Pray When dealing with a high stress level one of the greatest resources to tap into is talking to God. He can handle it if we need to vent to Him. In Matthew 11 we are instructed to come to Him if we are weary and burdened. David was famous for spilling his every thought out to the Lord. The next time someone disrespects you or drives you to a point of fist-clenching frustration remember you have someone to confide in; someone willing to take the burden on. “Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”— Augustine of Hippo

Go For a Walk image:

© michael lorenzo | sxc.hu

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We aren’t meant to be doormats. There are times when walking away is entirely appropriate. As with the woman in the grocery store I did just that. (It wasn’t until I got to the checkout line that


I cried.) This one is also great for when you start to slip into a slump. There’s nothing like a brisk walk to get your creativity flowing, your energy boosted, and even your libido revved up (you are welcome, husbands). Exercise is a natural de-stressor. And this one works as a two for one deal. Not only can getting her heart pumping smooth out your thoughts and calm your synapses, it serves well in those times you just need to walk away from a Tasmanian devil moment. “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Proverbs 12: 16

Peaceful Place I’ve seen TV shows make fun of going to your happy place, but I’m willing to bet those TV producers and writers have tried it during 5:00 o’clock rush hour when the car in front is a big time brake-tapper. Imagining a peaceful place can be as simple as remembering moments from your last vacation, thinking of your favorite hike or the most beautiful natural setting you’ve ever seen. It helps temporarily remove you from the stressful situation so you don’t go ballistic and say or do something you’re bound to regret.

Music One of my favorite things to do when I’m exhausted from refereeing fights all day is to turn the music up loud. The Bible mentions how David played his harp for Saul to relieve him. There’s just something about a smooth melody, a great beat or powerful lyrics that settles me. Praise music works exceptionally well at times when I’ve reached my limit.

Breathing

Recall Scripture

You’ve heard this before I’m sure. If you’ve had a baby you know all about the special breathing techniques you can try to make the process more peaceful. Peaceful? As a mother of three little ones I laugh. Really though, say you’re standing in line and someone abruptly cuts you off with no apology or even a glance your way. There’s a time to take a stand. And then there is a time to breathe—to let the person go and take that moment to collect yourself and swallow some air and simultaneously some pride.

Memorizing Scripture is one of the wisest paths to growth and maturity. If you’ve taken the time to remember verses, as you find yourself being snapped at by the PTO president or brushed off by your best friend, you can divert yourself from heading to Tantrum Central and instead arrive at Tranquil Land. I can’t tell you how many times the following verse has defused me in elevating times of crisis:

Mental List of Blessings Okay, so little one dumped out the entire gallon of milk on the kitchen floor two seconds before the play date is supposed to arrive. You could cry over spilled milk. I’ve certainly had those moments. But, I also had a shocking, but oddly peaceful thing happen the other week. I woke to a horrible stench. I got out of bed, flipped on the hall light to see our eighty pound Samoyed had “issues” downstairs in the front hall. Excuse the detail, but these weren’t minor issues; these were elephant-sized issues. I gathered my Resolve carpet cleaner, an entire roll of paper towels (I used every last one) and some Shout stain remover for good measure. I scrubbed. I sprayed. I pat, pat, patted. And somewhere in the midst of my foggy 2:00 a.m. cleaning I began to sing a praise song to God. Not quite sure why, but at that moment, taking care of the elephantsized “issues” I felt overwhelmed with gratitude that I was alive. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 We’re only on this earth for a glimpse of time. Each moment we live has the potential to influence the following moments. We are responsible for our reactions. How easy would it be to lose ourselves to the temptation of flying off the handle in a fit of rage, or telling someone off when they’ve hurt us, or lashing out when our pride is wounded? Stress is temporary. Even our moments of ongoing stress are but a blip on the eternal timeline. God calls us toward disciplined, thoughtful reactions. In order to fight our natural inclinations, we need to rely on Him and His Spirit so we respond in glorifying ways. As I was putting on my make up this morning my three-year-old let out a wail in the other room which crescendoed to a full fledged tantrum. I empathized with her feeling. But I don’t run on feelings. I run on faith. “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” — Corrie Ten Boom


Great is Thy Faithfulness

Written by Natalie Snapp

Faithfulness. How great is God’s faithfulness? In 2001, I wasn’t so sure. In fact, I didn’t even know the scope of God’s love. I wasn’t sure if He was really there when I needed Him or even when I didn’t. How could He possibly know my anguish…my heartbreak? I just didn’t quite understand how He worked. I didn’t “get” God. I was 27 years old. My husband at the time had just admitted that he had a drug problem he just couldn’t shake. Our savings was gone. He had lied to me and betrayed me. To make matters worse, he said he didn’t have any plans to stop. In addition to this sadness, my father died unexpectedly around the same time. He had been sober for only six years prior to his death after a lifelong battle with alcoholism. I was just getting to know him. At this point, I was literally on my knees. I had been raised as a “Chreaster” – we went to church on Christmas and Easter and when it was convenient; but I had never been told much about Jesus or what it meant to really be a Christian. To me, God was just a “being” – someone you spoke with when you needed or wanted something. He was there to serve you. After a sleepless night, I woke the next morning and made the decision to start running. I had never been a runner but for some odd reason, I felt a pull to begin. I wanted to train for something that allowed me to focus on something positive. Like Forrest Gump, I just started running long distances and, metaphorically, it was a fitting hobby to acquire at the time. I needed to run far, far away from the pain. I needed to push myself beyond the limits I had known. I needed to be in control of something…anything. After a sleepless night, I woke the next morning and made the decision to start running. I had never been a runner but for some odd reason, I felt a pull to begin. I wanted to train for something that allowed me to focus on something positive. Like Forrest Gump, I just started running long distances and, metaphorically, it was a fitting hobby to acquire at the time. I needed to run far, far away from the pain. I needed to push myself beyond the limits I had known. I needed to be in control of something…anything. 12 © exemplify magazine

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A beloved aunt had given me a copy of Michael W. Smith’s Worship CD and I listened to his powerful music as the miles passed me by. I was running away from the pain, but slowly I began to realize I was running to God. I was running to embark upon a relationship with Him. I was running to His unconditional love. I was running to His grace. I was running to his mercy. I had no idea that my decision to start running would result in a transformation of my faith but it did just that. It allowed me to be still and focus. God placed a wonderful woman (who worked for a group that is an extension of Campus Crusade for Christ) right before me precisely at the time when I started to ask some questions that I needed answered. Marcy and I met over coffee often and she taught me about Jesus. She told me about God’s love for me. Most appealing of all, she spoke of His unfaltering grace and mercy for us all. He sounded like someone I would want to have in my life. During that torrential downpour of my life, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I asked Him in and He began to heal. He began to rehabilitate. I started to learn about the unbelievable scope of His love. Most importantly, I stopped carrying around the baggage that was getting too heavy to carry alone. I discovered Matthew 11:28 which says, “’Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’” (NIV) I felt the iron gate open and the weight upon my chest release. I walked right through to Him and felt for the first time that I could breathe…really, truly breathe.

In retrospect, it is obvious to me that God was pruning me for something great. I kept running. I sought counseling and began to forgive my soonto-be ex-husband. I forgave my deceased father. I started to attend church regularly and really listened. I joined a Bible study. The burdens were getting lighter. Christ’s yoke was indeed proving to be easier than the heavy burdens I had been carrying all those years. I was a work in progress; but I was indeed progressing. These were all steps in the right direction because I was running to God. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV) In addition, Romans 8:28 says “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…” (NIV) These two passages gave me the steadfast faithfulness and hope that literally pulled me through those very dark days. God is my light. He is my compass…my true north. He did have a plan for me and it was indeed very good. In fact, His plan was better than I could have ever imagined. I met a God-loving man, married him, and we have been entrusted with three beautiful and healthy children. I would not have arrived at this destination if I hadn’t walked through the storm and been down on my knees searching for God. How great is God’s faithfulness? Greater than I ever thought possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you my Heavenly Father. We all go through trials. We can sometimes walk into deep valleys that make us feel like we will never emerge. In those times, may we remember that God is faithful and He has a plan for His children. Let’s cling to Him and trust Him. He will not fail us. His plans for His children are always good.

Natalie Snapp is first and foremost a lover of Jesus, a lover of her husband, Jason, and a lover of their three children. She is a freelance writer whose work appears in Blissfully Domestic and at her blog, www.mommyonfire.com. She also has a passion for women’s ministry and therefore is busy as the Co-Coordinator of her Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group. In addition, she is an obsessive reader who loves to “talk books” with other book-loving friends. Natalie resides in the Midwest with the aforementioned family that teaches her the extent of God’s love on a daily basis. She is constantly thankful for God’s grace and mercy as she raises her young family to love Him and share their love for Him with others. 13 © exemplify magazine


Canonization: How the Bible Came to Be Written by Tara Guy

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Now He [Jesus] said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” - Luke 24:44 © Iris Nelson


One of the biggest questions you will face from critics and skeptics is this: ”Who decided what books should and should not be in the Bible?” This is extremely important because one of the leading arguments against Christianity is that the early Church fathers and the early church “picked and chose” what books to include to suit their own purposes (i.e. gaining power, establishing a dominant religion, etc.).

THE OLD TESTAMENT There is Scriptural evidence that the canon of the Old Testament was in place before the time of Christ. Let’s examine some of Jesus’ words and see what we can discover about God’s Word during His life. Read Luke 24:44. What three sections of Scripture does Jesus reference?

It is important for us as believers to know how the Bible was put together for two main reasons. 1, it affirms our own faith knowing how and why certain books were selected; and 2, it gives us the ability to dialogue with our critics and present a defense for God’s Word. I’m excited about today’s topic because this is really the first time we’re going to start diving into Scripture for our answers. The last two posts have been historical in nature. Today we get to open God’s Word and take in the beauty of the jewels found within. So grab your Bibles and let’s get started!

• __________________________ • __________________________ • _________________________

Lord God, we thank you for the awesomeness of Your Word. We thank You that You cared enough to place Your very Words into the hands of Your children, that we may know You and Your heart and Your mind. We ask Your blessing over this study, that through learning more about You and Your Word we would grow to love and cherish You more than ever. May our lives be an offering of praise and devotion to You. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

__________________________

Before we begin examining each testament, let’s pause for a moment to study the word canon. Canon is the term most often used to describe the books of the Bible that were deemed divinely inspired. The word “canon” comes from the Greek kanon and Hebrew qaneh. In English it means “reed” or “cane.” In ancient times, reeds were used as forms a measurement, so the Greek kanon became a standard. When the Bible was put together, there was a certain standard the Scriptures had to meet in order to be deemed holy. We use the English word canon to describe the books included in the Bible. 15 © exemplify magazine

We know that as a man, Jesus was very familiar with Jewish Scripture. We see in this verse His reference to three main sections of Scripture, and asserting that the words of those portions indeed referred to Him. Read John 7:38, Matthew 21:42, and John 5:39. What word do each of these verses have in common?

Jesus’ casual reference to the Scripture or Scriptures is very similar to our saying “Bible” today. The fact that Jesus could say these words and not be questioned shows that there was an accepted Jewish canon that was commonly known among Jewish people. Also testifying to the Hebrew canon are the ancient Jewish historian Josephus and early church writers Origen and Jerome. All three testify in their writings of the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. (Lightfoot, 155-156)

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But how does this support the canon for our Old Testament? The Old Testament as we know it has 39 books. These guys only testify to 24.


In the first few centuries before Jesus came to earth, the ancient Jewish writings stated that there were three sections of the Hebrew Bible: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. The following breakdown shows how the books of the Old Testament in Jesus’ time (and still today for the Jews) are grouped (McDowell, 27): The Law (Torah): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

THE NEW TESTAMENT Shortly after the resurrection, inspired writings began circling around to the growing young church. There were letters from all kinds of apostles, ranging from Paul, the former Christian persecutor, to Peter, the righteous Jew, to Barnabas, the early church planter. As the Gospels along with these letters were copied over and over for the churches, it became evident to the early church fathers that it was time to get a canon in place. Then came the question of how to determine what was divine and what was not.

The Prophets (Nebhim): The Former Prophets – Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings; and the Latter Prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and The Twelve (this included Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Based on your knowledge of the early church, can you Zechariah, Malachi grouped together in one book) think of any reasons why a New Testament canon was needed? The Writings (Kethubhim): Poetical - Psalms, Proverbs, Job; The Five Rolls – Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamenta- _____________________________________________ tions, Esther, Ecclesiastes; Historical – Daniel, Ezra-Ne- ______________ hemiah, Chronicles Next time you are in a large bookstore, head back to the religion section and pick up a Jewish Bible According to Josh McDowell, there were six (called the Tanakh). Flip through and you’ll see this reasons that a canon for the New Testament arrangement of books is still used today in Jewish had to be collected. (McDowell, 23) They are: Scriptures. • The books were prophetic and therefore Read Luke 11:51 and Matthew 23:35. What are the two names needed to be collected together for a reHe mentions in each of these verses? cord of prophecy • The early church needed an answer to what • __________________________ they should and should not be reading • __________________________ • The rise of heretics propagated a need for set Scriptures to counteract it Jesus’ recalls the names of Abel & Zechariah. These • False writings began to circulate, with suptwo men are significant martyrs in the Old Testament. porters claiming they were inspired Abel is, of course, the first martyr listed in Genesis • The spread of Christianity required a missions 4. The account of Zechariah’s martyrdom is found need to spread and translate the Bible in 2 Chronicles 24:21. To someone who has grown • As persecution rose (for example, the edicts up studying the current Christian canon, this might declaring all Christian books be destroyed), not seem very significant. However, to a Jew in the there had to be an understanding of what time of Jesus, this is extremely significant. By creatwas sacred and what was not ing a time frame between the blood of Abel and the blood of Zechariah, Jesus is referencing the first With the reasons for a canon recognized, then martyr and the last martyr in Jewish Scripture. Since came the question of what should be included. Chronicles is the last book in the Jewish canon, the Some questions used to determine this are (Mcaccount of Zechariah’s martyrdom would signify to Dowell, 21-22): any listening Jew that Jesus is making a “beginning to end” reference of Scriptures.


• • • • •

Was the book written by a prophet of God? Was the writer confirmed by acts of God? Did the message tell the truth about God? Does it come with the power of God? Was it accepted by the people of God?

An example of how certain books were eliminated from the canon due to the above listed reasons would be the elimination of the Epistles of Barnabas. A copy of the Epistles of Barnabas is included in the Codex Sinaticus; however, his epistle is not included in the New Testament canon. Now anyone who has read the book of Acts knows that Barnabas was a companion of Paul and sought to expand the early church. However, his writings had anti-Semitic undertones, and he even went as far the claim that the new covenant in Christ was not extended to the Jews. Therefore, his epistle was not considered divinely inspired, because it did not correlate with the teachings of Jesus. Contrary to popular belief, there was not a council enacted to decide the canon. The New Testament canon was developed through the first and second centuries, referenced by many early church writers such as Athanasius of Alexandria, Jerome, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Iranaeus, and Ignatius. The accepted canon was very similar in the order it is today, starting with the Gospels, followed by the History (Acts), the Epistles of Paul (Hebrews included), the General Epistles (James, Peter, John, and Jude), and the Prophecy (Revelation). (McDowell, 23-24) But what about the Apocrypha? Why do Catholics have more books in their Bible than Protestants, and how is that reconciled among Christians? This question is often asked by critics and is used not only to undermine the Christian Bible, but to also highlight the differences between Catholics and Protestants, which is then used to point out how Christians can never seem to agree on anything.

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Apocrypha literally means “hidden books.” The Apocryphal books were written between 400 B.C. and the time of Christ. Protestants and Jews alike do not consider these books divinely inspired and authoritative. However, in 1546, the Roman Catholic Church included some of the Apocryphal writings into their accepted Old Testament canon. Now obviously your denominational affiliation will determine whether or not you view the Apocrypha as inspired and authoritative or not. So rather than get into a denominational argument, I’d just like to highlight some support and critiques of the Apocrypha. First, while Protestants do not consider the Apocryphal books inspired, the books give great insight into the time between the Testaments, approximately spanning 400 B.C. to the time of Christ. Critics argue that there are historical and geographical inaccuracies within the books (one of the reasons cited by scholars why they should not be included in the Protestant canon). However, the information found within them might be beneficial to a Protestant simply trying to gain a greater understanding of the time, place, and people leading up to Jesus’ birth. Criticisms against the Apocrypha are the inaccuracies listed above, the lack of prophetic nature commonly found in other Old Testament books, and the fact that some doctrines found within the Apocrypha go against doctrines found in the Jewish Scriptures. To study this from a basis of Scripture, one would need to examine some of the verses we highlighted earlier when discussing the OT canon. First, Jesus only mentions the Law, Prophets, and Writings in Luke 24:44. The Apocryphal books are not included in these sections. Two, when Jesus makes the reference from Abel to Zechariah, He is only referring to the accepted Jewish canon, which does not include the Apocrypha. Third and finally, the New Testament authors do not quote from any of the Apocryphal works. An argument against this critique is that they do not quote Joshua, Judges, and Esther either.


The counter-argument to that would be that those books were already accepted within the Jewish canon during the time of the New Testament writings, whereas the Apocrypha is not. (www.carm.org) Rather than start an argument amongst Christians over whether or not the Apocrypha is divinely inspired, I would simply advise you to move the focus off of this topic when/if you are debating this with a non-believer. If a non-believer brings this point up, it is only to put you on the defensive and to try to criticize the dissension within the Christian denominations. Make it your goal to always uplift Christ, and move the focus of the conversation back to Him. If you say you don’t believe the Apocrypha is inspired, it will lead you down a rabbit trail of why Catholics need more books than you do. If you say you do believe the Apocrypha is inspired, it will put you into a rut of defending and explaining why you believe the books should be in the canon. While these topics are good to know and even to discuss, arguing them too intensively in effect moves the focus off of Christ and onto other less important topics. I hope you’ve enjoyed our study today. I hope you were encouraged seeing Scriptural evidence for the canon. Join us next month as we discuss translations – why they matter, why they are important, and what biblical critics have to say about them.

For footnote information, please see the Apologetics Column in the February issue for works cited.

18 © exemplify magazine

Any questions? Please email them to exemplify@me.com.


221mag.com

19 Š exemplify magazine

I like clothes. I play sports. I have fun with my friends. I totally text. I rock out with my iPod. I flip my camera. I type faster than my Mom. More than anything, I love my Jesus. I Exemplify. I am Team 2:21. 19


in the trenches: family column

Cultivating Faithful

Hearts

in Our Children Written by Andrea Mitchell

20 Š exemplify magazine


Last summer we introduced a new little family member into our fold. Weighing in at barely 3 pounds when she came home, Maggie quickly wormed her way into our hearts, from her cute little fluffy face, right down to her puppy way of falling over her feet every single time she tried to keep up with the kids. While each family member adores Maggie, and she in turn adores them, it quickly became apparent just whose dog this dog is. Even though the responsibilities of feeding, walking, grooming, and playing are more or less equally shared, it seems that Miss Maggie has decided that she is a Mama’s girl. Where I go, the dog goes. I can’t leave a room without the clicking of Maggie’s nails following behind me shortly afterward. If she wants to be picked up, I’m the one she comes to. If she wants to go outside, she stares me down until I tell the kids to get her leash. She’s even given herself the job of my protector, barking wildly at my Roomba vacuum if it comes too close to me (of course, she runs away in terror the minute it turns on her, but that’s a story for another day!). Somehow, I have earned our dog’s unconditional, undying love. Maggie may love to play with the kids and say hello to every new person who walks through our door, but she is unendingly faithful to me. When I think about the kind of relationships I want my children to have with Jesus, it closely resembles that of my dog and me. I want my children to experience His unending and undying love for them personally. But I also want them to be unendingly faithful to Him. Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) instructs us to “direct (our) children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” In order to cultivate faithfulness, we need to get our children started on the right course. We need to show them the way to go and how to get there. It’s not enough to take our children to Sunday School and read their devotions with them every day. As Deuteronomy 6:7 in the Message puts it we need to talk about God and His ways continually, to “get (those ways) inside of you and then get them inside your children. 21 © exemplify magazine

Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.” As parents, we need to make talking about God as natural as breathing. We need to show our children by our own faithfulness to Him just how important He is to us. We need to follow on God’s heels, from room to room, even if He leads us somewhere we’ve been a hundred times before. We need to go to Him when we need picking up, when we need to be fed, when we just simply need. We ourselves become more faithful as we grow in intimacy in our relationship with God. By spending time daily in His word, daily in prayer, by seeking His face in everything we do, we begin to become more and more like Jesus. We begin to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), to grow in faithfulness to our loving Father. There is no formula for cultivating faithfulness other than being faithful. The more time I spend with my Maggie, the more faithful she is to me. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more faithful we ourselves become. We need to be real, live examples for our children to emulate. It doesn’t matter which parenting books we read or which parenting methods we implement while raising our children. It doesn’t matter if we choose to give our children an allowance, if we choose to discipline with spanking or time-outs. It doesn’t matter which translation of the Bible we read to our children, what kind of devotionals we do with them, or which VBS program we have them attend. What matters is that we work at cultivating a heart for Jesus, a faithful and devoted heart that doesn’t turn from Him when the going gets hard (and we all know it will), that praises Him continually and gives Him the glory for everything.

A heart faithful to Him. September 2008 magazine 21


devotional

I love to hear my mother recount the story of my father proposing to her. I listen to her tell all the details and I try to picture them in my head: she had just turned twenty, with pretty long blonde hair and he was tall, with a football player’s build and stories of life in the Navy. Mom was sweet and shy, dad was a good old country boy who never met a stranger and their first meeting was one of those “by chance” stories.

Faithful to All His Promises By Kara Cox

22 © exemplify magazine

They hadn’t known one another long: just a couple of months. My dad, same then as he is now, wasn’t one to mince words or be very sentimental and his proposal to my mom was true to form. “I don’t want you to answer me now,” he told her. “I want you to think about it. Because if you say yes this is for life. We will never get a divorce.” What makes his proposal so much sweeter is to know their respective stories. My mom’s parents divorced when she was a teenager, which of course devastated her. My dad was given up for adoption with four of his siblings when he was 6 years old. They had both experienced broken promises in deep, tangible ways. So for my dad to make that kind of promise of abiding faithfulness was huge for my mom. Even now, 37 years later, it means the world to her. Mom has told me, time and again, that she has never once doubted my dad’s words to her that day. Regardless of the struggles in their marriage, from the little annoyances to the BIG issues, she has trusted my dad’s promise that they will never divorce. I love this picture of faithfulness that my parents’ marriage has painted. What occurred to me as I pondered faithfulness for this month was how the intention of my dad’s heart had to be walked out, proven, and verified over the day to day, year to year, decade to decade life he’s spent with my mother. What was a hopeful promise that reassured a child of divorce 37 years ago is like a steady, sure fortress for her to rest in today. She heard words and built hope on them all those years ago: a foundation for a marriage. Now, it is a well structured house that will not crumble. My dad has proven himself. And I can see the parallel in how God’s faithfulness builds something secure in me as well.


My father is just a man. He makes mistakes and sins and falls just like all of us. But if I can look at his faithfulness to my mom over these last 37 years and trust that their marriage will never fail, how much more should I be able to trust in the faithfulness of my perfect, holy, limitless heavenly Father? Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” My father’s promise certainly has been proven by his faithfulness, and it means so much to my mom, though it was made by a man who is certainly capable in his own humanness of breaking that promise. My God, however, is absolutely incapable of not fulfilling a promise. Talk about faithfulness! One of my favorite passages of scripture is Psalm 145:13, which in the NIV says, “The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.” I love words like all, don’t you? The Lord is faithful to ALL his promises. When it comes to faithfulness, God supersedes anything man can attempt. And throughout a life with God we get the opportunity to see those promises proven day to day, year to year and decade to decade.

I hope, one day, I get to stand next to my parents at their fiftieth anniversary party and listen to them recount that same proposal story along with countless other stories of a long and faithful life together. The sweetness of a long marriage is all those little stories and little moments lapping over one another in a glorious life together. I wonder if some stories will catch my mom by surprise, her never even realizing what my father had done in this instance or that situation. The beauty of having a lifelong walk with God of the universe is that we get daily opportunities to see His perfect faithfulness in action in much the same way. I love looking back at different periods of my life and seeing how God performed a work here and a miracle there, and yet I know I haven’t truly even glimpsed into a fraction of them. I can’t even imagine what it will be like to one day meet my heavenly Father face to face and have Him recount to me, in vivid detail, all those faithful promises fulfilled.

One Day!

What comfort to not only read, but then experience the amazing truth that God never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). Or, that He works out everything for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). What about discovering His peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:6) or our every need being met out of his glorious riches(Philippians 4:19)? He is faithful to ALL his promises.

23 magazine may 2010

image credit: microsoft


Rebuilding After Betrayal & Sex Addiction


In the midst of all the media attention given to Tiger Woods regarding his sex addiction, I became aware of many couples struggling in the same area. Sadly, some of these couples I know personally. Others I know through blogging or have sent me an email asking for advice.

What if you are the one struggling with the addiction or had the affair? Here are 4 steps to rebuild your marriage after making poor choices. 4 Steps to Rebuild Your Marriage

Recent surveys reveal that 50-70% of Christian men are strug• Be honest with yourself. Never underestimate the gling with some form of pornography and sex addiction. Sadly, power of attraction. Realize these feelings could potenthis includes clergy. Another survey done by an online Christially grow. Turn the other way and RUN, don’t think tian magazine for women revealed that 34% of the women are it couldn’t happen to you. Realize that by flirting with either involved in pornography, talking about sex online with a another man or allowing yourself to be attracted to him man, or having online/phone sex. but thinking you are in control of the situation, you are actually being deceitful. Proverbs 12:20 – “Deceit is in We are in the midst of a spiritual pandemic affecting our marthe heart of those who devise evil.” Close the door to riages today. It’s time we sound the alarm and take action to the danger of flirtation. protect our marriages. • Be honest with God. Nothing has the power to transform your mind more than being in the Word daily. Can a marriage survive an affair or multiple affairs? What The key element in protecting your marriage is your perabout pornography and other forms of sex addiction? Yes, by sonal time alone with God. There are no substitutes. God’s grace marriages can not only survive but thrive. But it Then when temptation comes, you can stand in the face takes time. Forgiveness can happen, brokenness and surrender of it and not fall. can occur. But neither of you can do it alone. You each need to • Be honest with your husband. God gives us our husdeal with your hurts, shame and pain with a Biblical counselor. bands as an umbrella of protection. They’re prayers for us are our covering of protection. There should be no Some clergy counselors unwittingly insinuate that if the couple secrets between you. were more sexually active at home with their own spouse this • Place a hedge of protection around yourself. Set up wouldn’t have happened. Usually, that finger is pointed at guidelines to guard against being alone with a man the woman. “You must not be giving him enough sex. That’s other than your husband. Here are some great ideas. what’s caused this.” Don’t believe this lie. The seed for sex Meg Wilson thought she had a picture perfect addiction was more than likely sown long before you were marmarriage. And then her husband came to her and ried. Not only that, each of us is responsible for how we reconfessed his sin of sex addiction. Two years later spond in a given situation. There’s no room for blame shifting. he came to her again and confessed he committed adultery the week before while on a business trip. Most men that are recovering from sex addiction have shared After eight years and lots of wise Biblical counsel that it began for them when: 1)They were exposed to porn and continuing with accountability groups, they have between the ages of 8-10 years old, usually by uncovering their written a book, “Hope After Betrayal.” Her husband father’s stash of magazines, or 2) They were sexually molested Dave wrote the last chapter where he answers quesas a child. tions that wives most often ask about sex addiction. You can read some of those questions and answers in If you are the spouse that was shocked by your husband’s adulan article he wrote for Family Life Today. tery or sexual addiction, remember two things: • It’s not your fault. It’s not because you didn’t give him enough love, or you are too fat, or not “overly endowed” enough. It was his choice to break the marriage covenant. He broke the vows, not you. • Look at this as a huge opportunity to look into the face of suffering and find out who Christ really is and see first hand that all those promises of God you’ve let roll nonchalantly off your lips are absolutely true. image credit: microsoft

Another great site is called Pure Intimacy sponsored by Focus on the Family. Marsha Harwood hosts a monthly marriage Q &A on Exemplify’s Marriage Channel. If you would like her to continue to address the tough subjects like this, please let her know.

You can email her at ExemplifyMarriageEditor@gmail.com.


singles column

Taking

Off the Rose

Colored Glasses

& Finding Him...

I was a band geek in high school. I was and am okay with that label. It was my identity. It was my way of life. Most of my friends were band geeks too. Marching band was the big thing in the summer and fall; then concert band for winter and spring. My life revolved around it. I remember a great deal about that season in my life. As I sat down to write this article, one conversation kept playing over in my mind. The conversation happened my junior year of high school. At this point bitterness ruled my life. I had a great guy friend that was my bus buddy. We would either sit together or have two seats next to each other. One day on a trip to an away football game we talked of life after high school. I took my wallet out and showed him a photo of my cousin and her then boyfriend. They had gotten married that summer and I thought it all wildly romantic. They had dated in high school and now she was 20 and married. I told my friend that is what I wanted in life. I wanted to meet the guy of my dreams and get married soon after high school. He listened. I told him of my romantic dreams and how I wanted them to come true and I knew they would. I remember him looking at me, smiling, and saying: “Christy, is that all you want from life? What about a career? What about living your life for you?” I laughed and said this is what would make me happy. It was the only thing that would make me happy. Oh how simple I thought life was as a sixteen year old girl. If I still had the mindset of my 16-year-old self, I would deem my 31-year-old self a complete failure. You see, now my identity is often found in my marital status. Single.

Written by Christy McGraw 26 © exemplify magazine

image credit:

© Stephen Davies | sxc.hu


I have learned a great deal since then. I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to look through certain aspects of life with rose colored glasses. I have learned life is not what we think at times. Marriages are not always happy. There are secrets that will shock you. Marriage takes a lot of work… from both spouses. Through my rose colored glasses I only saw the great aspects. Having someone as a partner. The romance. In my rose-colored-glasses view everything was perfect. Yet I know life is often far from that. Yet even knowing that ,I want it. I want it to a point that sometimes I put other things on hold. As a single girl we can get so caught in the trap of waiting for more that we forget more is already here! Last month we talked about the beauty of the time and place we are at. Once we understand that and even welcome it we can move toward more. I keep thinking back to that question my friend asked me. Now it is a question I often ask myself: Don’t you want more for your life? For the longest time I didn’t. I wanted marriage. I wanted children. I could not see past that. Now that I can I have the hardest time deciding what to do! Why? Because once I stepped out of that mindset I saw all the things He had before me! When we focus on one thing and one thing only we are missing all of the other things He has for us. If you are struggling with this know that others are there. Many people would say that moving forward is letting go of your dream. I don’t find that true at all. We can have many dreams all at once.

That is a gift God gave to us. Moving Read them together. toward other dreams is not forgetting about the ones we already have. First we must realize that He does have plans for us. Wonderful plans. God wants more for us. I am so glad He has created you uniquely for a He is so patient as He waits. Because purpose. my rose-colored-glasses phase was a long one! Second we must accept that His plans are what give us a hope and This is where I am going to admit a future. something hard to you. Because I let my dream for a husband take over my And finally we must go to Him. We vision, I left God out. A lot. It started must seek Him out. Even more than out small but soon I was leaving Him that, when we seek Him with our out because what I wanted was more whole heart we will find Him. He important than what He had for me. will bring us back to Him. The key I was disappointed in what He had here is our whole heart. I think this planned. I loved my dream through is probably the hardest part. For our my rose colored glasses more than I whole heart includes that dream of wanted His plans. I was so over that marriage. That dream of children. verse in Jeremiah. Mostly because I felt like His plans were not as good My sassy single sisters. It’s time. as mine. It’s time to take off our rose colored I am going to invite you to take a fresh glasses. look at those verse in Jeremiah. It’s time to go forth and seek Him with For I know the plans I have for our whole heart. To give Him every you,”declares the LORD,” plans to single thing in our heart. prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Our own dreams can hold us capJeremiah 29:11 (NIV) tive. We deserve to no longer be held captive. You know that verse well. Have you ever read on? We deserve it all. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, “declares the LORD,” and will bring you back from captivity. Jeremiah 29:12-14a (NIV)

He is the one who can give it to us. The only one. Won’t you join me in the invitation? Listen. He is calling you. Right now. Will you come?

© exemplify magazine


moving toward holiness

Fostering

Faithfulness Written by Lori MacMath

28 Š exemplify magazine

image credit:

Š Danicus ;)


Morning by morning I wake up to find the power and comfort of God’s hand in mine. Season by season I watch Him amazed, in awe of the mystery of His perfect ways. . . All I have need of his hand will provide. He’s always been faithful to me. . . I can’t remember a trial or a pain He did not recycle to bring me gain. I can’t remember one single regret in serving God only and trusting His hand. . . This is my anthem, this is my song, the theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long. God has been faithful, He will be again. His loving compassion, it knows no end. He’s always been faithful to me. Sara Groves, He’s Always Been Faithful ~ Conversations (Copyright 2001: Integrity Music) “I can’t remember a trial or a pain He did not recycle to bring me gain.” She looked me in the eye and proceeded to tell me that she had faith; complete, confident faith in God. We stood in a classroom, and she had just finished telling me that by the end of the month her family would no longer have a home. Due to the loss of her husband’s job, they had run out of reserve funds and would no longer be able to pay the rent. I’m certain that the look on my face revealed the question that was cycling through my mind because she answered a question I had not asked aloud. “I have faith in Him. He will open doors for us; I know that. I believe it and that is why I don’t wear a frown or show the signs of stress on my face. Girl, THAT would be silly; that wouldn’t be faith now, would it? He will be faithful, He always has been; I KNOW there will be a powerful testimony when He is finished.”

29 © exemplify magazine

This is her anthem. It is her song. She knows the stories and she confidently clings to the mere fact that she is part of His story. He’s always been faithful; He will be again. She smiled in the midst of the trial of her life; she smiled with a confidence that can only come from God. I left that encounter thinking about the times in my life where instead of moving in the certainty of God’s faithfulness, I reduced myself to a grown up sized temper tantrum. I sounded much more like Veruca Salt: “Daddy, I want you to move my way, NOW!” I am humbled when I say that I’ve sounded more like Veruca when dealing with God than a woman of grace and faith. Thankfully, He is a patient fellow. It’s becoming my anthem as well, but it’s been a journey. That is what it is all about…moving toward faithfulness, right? “If we are faithless, He remains faithful.” 2 Timothy 2:13 NKJV Sixteen years ago I stood squarely in a place that I did not want nor choose to be. I found myself rising at 5 a.m. to head to a fertility clinic in a Chicago suburb to have daily injections and treatments. I left the clinic and headed to my day job at a day care. It was insult to injury. Working all day with the children that I could not conceive. I was not joyful. I certainly was able to navigate my way through these waters, “put on a happy face,” and get by; but joyful? Certainly not. It saddens me to admit that I was not trusting His faithfulness, I was not a witness, I was not embracing the “testimony” that would come of this pain. I was not a vision of a faithful servant. He, on the other hand, was and always has been faithful.


feature article

He had plans unknown, and He revealed His plan according to His will. With time in the rear view mirror, it became clear to me that this journey was all about me, but not in the ways that I once thought. This journey was the beginning of my surrendering to Him. It was the continuation of His faithfulness and the beginning of mine. It was in that journey of infertility that I began to understand, for the first time, just how faithful my God is. At the same time it was a pivotal point in my life as I began to reflect deeply as to just how faithful I was NOT. Have you ever feared God’s faithfulness? Have circumstances ever presented themselves as “so big” that you’ve doubted the very God who created you? Doubted that He only wants the very best for you and your life? I have. I lived those days. I doubted that He would “recycle this pain to bring me gain.” It astounds me, truly astounds me that while God was revealing His faithfulness, He was helping me move to the very center of my soul to find where my faithfulness was. It was a season of excruciating pain, and growth. It was a season of renewal, much like spring. The Lord revealed, in the midst of my own pain, so much to me. He revealed that He and I were not best friends. He revealed that I was not a faithful servant, but rather a part time participant. He revealed that clearly my faithfulness affected OUR relationship. If the Bible taught that I was to be consumed with Jesus, to faithfully live out the life that He taught, then I clearly had some work to do. “How thankful I am to Christ Jesus our Lord for….giving me the strength to be faithful to Him.” 1 Timothy 1:12 (TLB)

30 © exemplify magazine

Faithful was a word that I heard growing up. It was a word, quite frankly, I became immune to it. It wasn’t until I understood the “Faithful One” that I could ever understand how living it out was to be the center of my own life. I have learned, on this walk of life, that faithfulness is not reserved for those in your life who have been faithful or loyal to you. Jesus didn’t operate that way, nor should we. If we have a vision of faithfulness the way God views faithfulness, then we will remain faithful to those who are disloyal to us. We will also be equipped to remain faithful in dire circumstances. That is where our “movement toward holiness” meets us this month. It meets us in faithfulness, in fostering faithfulness. I extend to you an invitation. An invitation to download the “Fostering Faithfulness” journal pages and spend some time this month going deeper in your own faithfulness walk. We’ll wrestle with our feelings toward God’s faithfulness, as well as the faithfulness we display in our everyday lives to those that God has purposefully placed on our path. Perhaps we too will be in a place where we will confidently stand, as my friend does, in the midst of a life crisis CERTAIN of God’s faithfulness, and thus becoming a reflection of faithfulness herself, when it would be much easier to turn from those who have been disloyal and hurtful and become bitter. In faithfulness she stands CERTAIN that the testimony on the other side will only confirm what she already knows. “He’s always been faithful to me.” The PDF Journal can be read and downloaded HERE.


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31 Š exemplify magazine


I Will Carry You If you are a Christian woman blogger, it’s almost a given that you know who Angie is. More than likely you are one of the tens of thousands that visit her blog, Bring the Rain, on a regular basis.

Book Review by Deborah Boutwell Publisher: B&H Publishing Group Release Date: May 1, 2010

32 © exemplify magazine

You know her story: you’ve cried tears over your computer as she opened her heart, laughed at her desire to buy a bundle of sticks from Target, and prayed her through the worst thing she had ever experienced. If you don’t know her, there’s no better time to met her than now. May brings the release of her first book, I Will Carry You, the Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy. Angie Smith, the wife of Todd Smith, led singer in the Christian music group Selah, shares the entire story of the life, death, and ministry of their daughter, Audrey Caroline. “If there is one thing I have learned about raising three daughters, it is this: It is an unspoken law that if you are running late, you will not be able to find the sixth shoe.” With these opening lines, Angie opens her heart even further and lets us see a life that is just like any other wife’s and mother’s: struggling to just get through a normal day and make it to gymnastics class with all matching shoes. Yet in the midst, God asks Angie and Todd to take a journey that will forever change them. With these words, Angie becomes an inspiration to anyone that hears the story.


“I think my Jesus is the same as He was before I walked through that door.” The Smiths learn that the child Angie carries has medical issues: “many conditions that are not compatible with life.” They decide to carry the child as long as the Lord allows them and live life with Audrey as much as they can. In the process, Angie and Audrey begin their ministry to other women and families going through similar situations. It was during an initial exam that Audrey began her ministry. One of the technicians, convicted by Angie’s and Todd’s faith, committed to practicing fetal medicine. “He went on to say that Audrey would forever be a part of his career and would remind him every day that every life is a life worth fighting for…..thanking Audrey for changing his life.” In sharing her story, Angie also shares how the story of Lazarus helped her through her difficult pregnancy. Scattered throughout the book are numerous references and insights drawn from Lazarus, Mary, Martha, and Jesus. Comparing her desires to that of Martha and Mary, Angie prayed each time she went into the doctor’s office: “Even now, Lord, I believe You can heal her; even now when she is as good as gone to the world.” Angie shares how she decided that she was going to use her and Audrey’s story to share the Gospel. “The beauty of this situation was that people were so moved by the fact that I had chosen this route that they wanted to understand why. What better way to talk about the Lord?” Including some of her blog posts, Angie reminds of us why she started her blog to begin with. “I need to be transparent before you in this moment, because I so covet your prayers during the next several days.” Angie not only had to deal with a child that was dying; she also had to prepare her children for the loss of a sister they had already come to love. She shares resources and insights to help parents assist their children through the grieving process. 33 © exemplify magazine

This is not just a reprinting of Angie’s blog. She gives details never shared before, “some of the most intimate details…trusting that the Lord will use them to minister to others who may be where I was.” She opens her heart wide and lets us see all the pain, all the sorrow, all the tears, all the anger….all the peace, all the healing, all the joy, all the faith. “And when the wind blows through my soul and tempts me to despair over the lot I have been given, I cling to the truth that the Lord has something better for me.” I learned more about Mary and Martha through this book than I had through any in-depth study I’ve done before. Angie has a way of applying the Word of God to daily life so that the Word comes alive through her applications. “Rather than questioning whether or not He could heal, they were expressing their curiosity about why He didn’t.” We’ve all gone through situations where we didn’t understand why God allowed a certain turn of events. Who hasn’t sat at a hospital bed, grave site, banker’s desk, or lawyer’s desk and asked the question: “Why did God allow this to happen?” We know that He could have saved a life, cured a disease, provided the financial resources needed or saved a marriage, and yet He didn’t. Angie assures us that it’s okay to say “I have no idea” when faced with these questions. We don’t have to understand. We just have to “press into Him despite them.” I recommend this book to any person (man or woman) who is going through a situation they can’t understand why God has allowed, especially if it is the loss of a child. I cried for their pain. I appreciated the honesty of both Angie and Todd (as he shares his personal insights also). I came away from the book with what I will need for the next situation I must go through. “…accept what happens next with the grace that says that circumstances will define neither God’s love for us nor our love for God.”


“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT)

This is where this passage of scripture begins to get real for me. A couple weeks after the “incident” in life group, I was visiting with a friend I had not seen in almost 10 months. She’s the kind of friend that no matter how much time has passed, we pick up right where we left off, and the bond of our friendship has not been weakened by the passage of time or physical distance.

About five minutes after I got to her house she said she needed to tell me something. I A few weeks ago I was in my life group at knew this wasn’t just about new music she church and the group leader asked me bought or a book she’s reading. It was goto read 1 Corinthians 10:10-16. So, I being to be a serious conversation. She began gan reading and when I got to the part in to tell me about a recent struggle in her life, verse 13 where it says, “And God is faithand as I listened I thought “Wow! I’m not the ful.” my life group leader stopped me and only one!” When she finished sharing with said “Wait, I told you the wrong passage. me I told her I understood, and I had experiI meant 1 Corinthians 1:10-16. At that enced something very similar earlier in my life. moment, I laughed to myself because I had carried it as a secret until that moment it was not a mistake she had me read and suddenly I was set free. Not only did we from chapter 10. God was showing me both experience freedom by casting light the scripture I needed about faithfulness. into a seemingly dark place, but our friendLittle did I know that these verses would ship instantly grew stronger and went deeper come to life in such a real and meaningthan before. ful way. “IF YOU THINK YOU ARE STANDING STRONG, BE CAREFUL NOT TO FALL.” I think as Christians we can get comfortable in our lifestyle and think “I’ve got this. I know my standards and they will not be compromised.” It’s easy to get confident in our “goodness.” When I find confidence in my “goodness” and not God’s Goodness, I fail, and usually it is a pretty spectacular failure. We find our strength when we recognize our weakness; only then will we truly know our need for God. “THE TEMPTATIONS IN YOUR LIFE ARE NO DIFFERENT FROM WHAT OTHERS EXPERIENCE.” 34 magazine may 2010

“AND GOD IS FAITHFUL. HE WILL NOT ALLOW THE TEMPTATION TO BE MORE THAN YOU CAN STAND. WHEN YOU ARE TEMPTED, HE WILL SHOW YOU A WAY OUT SO THAT YOU CAN ENDURE.” Lets look a little more closely at this part of the passage. When Paul wrote this to the Corinthians he was basically saying “God is faithful and this is why: your temptations are in proportion to your strength. Remember you are strong! He promises to show you a way out. Open your eyes and see the Hand that will pull you from darkness to light, if you will grab it. Your endurance comes from choosing God.” Friends, God is faithful to measure our life in proportion and to show us a way out. What I love though is the way out requires an action on our part.


Written by Alison Hunt

The Way Out

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35 magazine September 2008

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alison hunt

That weekend my friend and I discussed at length the ways God has shown us a way out of temptation and sin. One clear conclusion that we came to is that it is impossible to see God’s way out without knowing Him and that our armor must be put on daily so that we can have the strength we need to combat the temptations that will come. God does not promise a temptation or battle free life, but he has given us the weapons we need to survive. Ephesians 6:13-17 (NLT) explains the pieces of armor and one weapon we are given: “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Friends, the Word of God is a weapon that will knock down the devil in any fight he tries to pick with you. Lets get practical: How can we use scripture though? Oh friend, there are so many ways! Read it – Memorize it – Post it every where! I have scripture taped to my computer monitor at work. One friend tapes scripture to her steering wheel (We all need help in those moments of road rage. Don’t tell me she’s the only one!), and other friends keep key scriptures on their blackberry or written on index cards. If you know you have a particular weakness, find your key scripture and pray it over your life! There are endless ways to use scripture as your weapon in spiritual warfare. It is using the words from God’s mouth against the enemy and we know he can’t stand up against the power of God! It is time take action: If you do not already have key verses to help you in the battle, I want to encourage you to scour the Bible for the words that will help you win the fight against temptation. For those of you that have key scriptures, I want to encourage you to take a step further and memorize them and/or read them daily. Tuck them into your heart so that the overflow of your heart are God’s Words (Matthew 12:34-35 NLT). How can our hearts and minds not be transformed when they are filled with the scriptures? God uses the very thing the enemy tried to bring us down with to draw us closer to Him when we choose to see the way out. God is faithful.

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We’re getting ready for Christmas!

We are thrilled to announce this December we will be putting out a Christmas Issue specifically for your features! Last year we did one and it was a huge success. You can view it here. Due to the amount of submissions we received last year, we’re starting early this year! We’re looking for strictly Christmas season themed-type articles for this issue. For example: •How to Decorate on a Budget •Crafting projects/tutorials •How to Plan a Christmas Feast & Keep Your Sanity •Recipes for cookies, desserts, dinner •Keeping the right focus in the season •Shopping Lists & Tips •Reflections on the birth of Christ

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The deadline for Christmas submissions is September 10th. Submission Guidelines can be found here. Questions on the submission guidelines or on specific themes can be directed to Karen Lowe at submissions@exemplifyonline.com. We will also be rolling out our 2011 Feature Opportunities very soon. Stay tuned!

Happy Writing!

May 2010 magazine 37


spotlight on...

Alene Snodgrass Serving Him Interview by Judith Roberts

Image crediit: Microsoft 38 Š exemplify magazine


The woman at the door who greets you as you walk “I’ve come to realize time is such a precious through the doors of the church. commodity – you know, you can’t get back even one moment of it,” she said. “Does that make The woman behind the scenes in the kitchen, mak- juggling everything easy? No. But it does give ing sure everyone has enough food at the Workers’ you a sense that you have a purpose and it Appreciation Banquet. should be lived out. The woman who studiously places inserts into the church bulletins, week after week. The woman who is a witness in her workplace by just not doing what everyone else does. The woman who loves Jesus with all of her heart. “If you are a Christ follower, then you are in ministry – day in and day out.” Alene Snodgrass is a motivational Christian speaker, Bible teacher and author, her most recent book being “I’m a Fixer-Upper.” She said no matter what women and men are called to do for God’s kingdom, just to make sure to do it. “We all have many roles to play in ministry,” Alene said. “Our generation seems to see the sacred and the secular as separate. They are inseparable. Our lives moment by moment – no matter what we do – are to be lived out to glorify God and bring others to know Him. “Once you’ve determined that, and you feel God calling you deeper into service for Him, then it is time to bathe yourself in prayer. Once you have a clear direction from God and know where He is leading, then it is time to step out. The stepping out seems to be the hardest step for many. They spend so many years ‘feeling called’ to do something, but yet never act upon it. I’m here to tell you, if God is leading you – then, girl, you better get to steppin’. He needs you!” Alene said while sometimes it is hard to juggle everything – family, ministry, and all the other parts of life that jump out at us unexpectedly – time is something that needs to be balanced, and if God is not part of that time, life will be unbalanced.

39 © exemplify magazine

“I read a great book called, ‘Can I Have and Do it All, Please?’ by Christine Caine from Hillsong Church. Instead of describing our lives like a pie where everything is evenly balanced and sliced, she describes our lives like a cake. It takes each ingredient to make that cake taste so good and yummy! That was an eye opener for me. Life will never be balanced when we are running hard, but it can be a life that glorifies God and inspires our family and friends. “I know I’m talking light about it here, but, in truth, the discipline to get it done is something I struggle with daily. My personality would much rather be having lunch or a Starbucks with friends than sitting diligently behind a computer crafting Bible lessons or messages.” (Mine, too.) Alene said she grew up in church with a blessed family that never had to go through relationship or financial trials. “All I could see is that I was so blessed,” she said. “I didn’t think others who were struggling would relate to that. It seemed kind of boring to me. “Then to top it off, on the inside I felt so ordinary. It was those feelings of being inadequate and ordinary that played more of a barrier in my life. I struggled with this for years and the feelings only got stronger when I became a stay-at-homemom. All my friends had incredible careers and I felt like an ‘ordinary mom.’ Because I was a military wife for 25 years, I never finished my degree because we were always on the move.”


Alene said in the midst of these wrong assumptions, God led her to her life verse: Romans 12:1. “The NIV says ‘to be a living sacrifice,’ but I love the Message translation: ‘Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life — and place it before God as an offering,’” she said. “It was through that verse that I realized that God uses the ordinary. I began to train my thoughts to see myself in a new light. I might be ordinary, but God could surely do something extraordinary through me if I’d let him. If you are alive, you have a story. That story – no matter how big or small – is meant to be used for God’s glory.” However, even with these disciplines, Alene said she’s learned, as we all have learned or will learn, that our walk with God is a continual event, something that should grow each day.

Everyone endures trials. How you face them and who you call on, to put it into a journalist’s perspective, edits the person you are. “Through that ordeal, I held fast to God’s specific calling on my life,” Alene said. “I began to write and then doors opened up for me to speak. I’m amazed how God honors obedience. As I share this story I’m always amazed at how God uses it to comfort those who have been taken advantage of physically, emotionally, and financially. His glory surely shines out of this story. “Remember, just step out somewhere. God will move and guide you where He needs you. He will give you confidence to serve. But He needs you to do what He can’t — and that’s take that first step. He will meet you there.”

“After I got over my ordinary self, I began to sense God leading me to step out farther,” Alene said. “Through my prayer and time with Him I felt called to write. I had not written anything bigger than a devotional at that point and I was really struggling with why, what and how. “It was soon after this that my hubby and I were taken by a scam artist for everything we had. It was a long haul and journey with the FBI and IRS involved. After eight To years in court proving our innocence, let’s just say I have a testimony. God worked me and my marriage over good through this experience. We can now say we were blessed through it all. However, that was hard to see when we were filing bankruptcy and didn’t have money for the kids.”

40 © exemplify magazine

learn more about Alene and her ministry, visit www.alenesnodgrass.com


Embracing our call to grow the found.

Visit Exemplify’s Ministry Channel today! EXEMPLIFYONLINE.COM/MINISTRY/ 41 © exemplify magazine


written by brooke mcglothlin

Born the baby of five children, my client had the unfortunate opportunity to watch each of her siblings follow the path of destruction that had been laid for them by her parents. But she had plans for change. She was going to be the first to go to college. She was going to make something of her life. Leave it all behind. This baby changed everything. Destroyed everything.

Lord Unto Me

I watched the young girl in front of me. Pregnant, scared, overwhelmed with financial troubles, no support from her family or from the father of the baby. To her this baby meant death. Death to her dreams, death to her plans, death to her hopes for a better life.

image credit: 42 © exemplify magazine

© Hilde Vanstraelen | sxc.hu

Advancing pregnancy would mean losing her sports scholarship to the local University. It would mean a forever alliance with this father, a man she didn’t even love. It would mean living on welfare, working a job instead of a career, changing diapers instead of the world. From deep down inside of the pit, my client could only see two choices: becoming a member of the world she so desperately wanted to escape, or abortion. She chose abortion. Many women today choose abortion because they feel they have no other choice. That day, as I watched her process the positive pregnancy test…as I watched the tears begin to flow and the choice begin to take shape, I knew I was seeing a picture of hopelessness. She had placed every ounce of hope in her ability to create a different future from her past. And as that future threatened to slip away, so did her hope. I wonder, in that moment, if she felt a little like the Lamenter from Lamentations chapter three (ESV): “I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of His wrath; He has driven and brought me into darkness without any light…He has made my flesh and skin waste away…He has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation…He has walled me about so that I cannot escape.”


No escape. Two words that provide nourishment to the root of hopelessness. When you feel besieged, bitter and hopeless, how do you get out of the fog? How do you claw your way out of the pit? My client from that day placed her hope for change in a procedure she thought could erase the consequences of her choice. But our choices have a way of finding us out in the end. And sin has consequences that go on forever, even in the face of forgiveness. Left to themselves, kept in the dark, the secret choices begin to grow, and wrap themselves around our hearts like a vine wrapping around a trellis. Squeezing tighter, and tighter…until the wood threatens to snap…shatter.

Great is His faithfulness…but she thought, “not unto me.” Later she came back…broken and bruised. And the mercies of God led her to His faithfulness. Another period missed. Distraught over her decision to abort, she was filled with joy at the thought of another…determined to choose right this time. Tenderly we placed the ultrasound probe on her protruding belly. Slowly and carefully the nurse moved…searching…gazing in amazement at what she saw on the screen. Ten weeks before my client made the choice to end. At nine weeks of pregnancy a piece of her died. Or so she thought.

“He has made my chains heavy…”

Before our eyes that day was a perfectly formed, completely unharmed miracle of God’s faithfulness. A nineteen week baby boy kicked and squirmed with delight in his mother’s womb. Somehow spared from his mother’s choice.

No escape.

Our God is faithful.

“He has walled me about so that I cannot escape…”

I wish I could tell you that this story happens over and over again in pregnancy care ministries around the world. But the reality is that in almost ten years of service…I’ve only seen it once. Most of the women we serve who choose abortion find out about faithfulness through the merciful healing God offers through His Son. It’s a painful learning…a healing forged over the fire of great loss.

Cannot escape…Where can I go? Who will help me? “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Do you trust in God’s faithfulness? My client that day didn’t…couldn’t trust in a God that she had never seen, never known, to make a way for her. She didn’t know Him. Didn’t know that He met her greatest need on the cross, so that she could trust in His faithful provision in all other things. She didn’t call Him Father. Didn’t know that there is no shadow of turning with Him. She didn’t know that He changes not. She didn’t know that His compassions…they fail not. She didn’t know that as He has been, He forever will be.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope…” I don’t serve the god who always does, but I do serve the God Who always can. And that’s enough for me. Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I hath needed Thy hands hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me. *This story is a conglomeration of several client stories, but is true. Are you dealing with the pain of an abortion in your past? God sees and He loves you. And He’s made a way for your forgiveness and healing. Please contact the safe and confidential services of your local Crisis Pregnancy Center to learn more about post-abortion recovery groups in your area.


closet issues column

A God I Don’t Understand Written by Chrystie Cole

44 magazine may 2010


If there is one thing I have learned this year, it is this: Life has a way of turning up the heat and exposing what is buried within the recesses of our hearts. When stress kicks in, pressures mount, and the battle rages both internally and externally, we have two choices: unconditionally trust in a sovereign God or slip into a vicious cycle of fear, doubt, bitterness and self-reliance. I regret to say that, all too often, my response is the latter rather than the former. Instead of living intentionally, I often live in default mode, allowing my circumstances to determine my response rather than choosing to determine my response to my circumstances. Over the last year, I have wrestled with unmet expectations and unfulfilled desires and found myself at odds with God, with myself and with everyone around me. Believing that I had obediently followed His prompting, I couldn’t understand why things were so difficult and weren’t working out quite like I had expected they would. To put it simply, I was not getting my way, God wasn’t acting like I thought He should, and I was having myself a good old-fashioned temper tantrum. I wasn’t walking around, shaking my fists toward the sky and hurling angry remarks at God. But, I was sulking, discouraged, and despairing. Instead of living with an attitude of praise for a faithful God who is in control and working everything to my good, I questioned His character, His plan and His timing. What was exposed in my heart during this past year was a volatile concoction of fear, pride, insecurity, unbelief and a desire to be in control. Horatius Bonar says that, “in all unbelief there are these two things: a good opinion of one’s self, and a bad opinion of God.” And in my case that was true.

I thought I knew better for me than God. Not consciously, mind you, but nevertheless this belief was expressed through my actions. Deep down I just couldn’t understand why God wasn’t doing anything, and so I thought it was up to me to make it happen. But the problem wasn’t God; it was me. The problem began months before with assumptions I made of God’s plan and expectations I placed on Him. I had predetermined the outcome in my own mind and when it didn’t work out that way, I was frustrated, disillusioned, and riddled with doubt. The fact is, we all do this to some degree when life isn’t going according to our plan and God seems to be nowhere in sight. Fear, doubt, and lack of trust are often exposed in us when:

• We’ve been unemployed for months with no promise of work on the horizon. • Our loved one is losing their battle against cancer. • Our marriage is in shambles. • Our child is in full-blown rebellion. • We just can’t break free of the stronghold that has imprisoned us. • We suffer social ridicule and persecution. • We see the wicked seemingly living it up without consequences. • We’ve been stuck in the same dead endjob for years.


And sometimes, in the midst of it all, God is silent. And sometimes, in the midst of it all, God is silent. We see no signs of Him coming to our rescue. We receive no whispered assurances of His faithfulness or our security. And we begin to doubt and wonder, “Where is God? Why isn’t He doing anything about this? Does He even care? Why is He silent?” A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” What we believe to be true about God will be evident in our actions and nothing has the power to expose what we think about God, what we believe about His character, than times of trial. I wonder if that could be some of what John the Baptist felt when he found himself imprisoned and facing execution. Could it have been his own fear, doubt, and frustration over unmet expectations of the Messiah that caused him to send his disciples to Christ with the message, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3 ESV) The truth is, I have expectations of God. They may be buried deep within my subconscious. I may not be aware of them at all. But, when things in my life go awry, those beliefs of how I think God should act surface in my actions.

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In those times, my eyes shift to my circumstances and I become “me-centered” and “me-focused.” I can no longer see that great things are happening in God’s kingdom all around me. I can’t see that “the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” (Matthew 11: 5 ESV) Instead, the cry of my heart is stayed on, “What about me God?” Christ’s answer to John reflects that there are bigger things going on in the kingdom, things that John just can’t understand. His answer is a reminder that no matter what our circumstances are, He is still God, He is still on the throne and He is still working all things, both good and bad, for our ultimate good and for the glory and advancement of His kingdom. His answer to John in essence says, “I am He. Now trust me.” But, sometimes God’s answer is not what we want to hear. He doesn’t always respond in ways we understand or expect. To which He says, “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Matthew 11: 6 ESV)


When we find ourselves frustrated with God for not meeting our expectations, we have to ask ourselves, “Am I living my life in a way which indicates I believe I exist to serve God and live for Him and His glory or am I living my life in a way which indicates I believe God exists to serve me and cater to my needs, wants, expectations and desires?” When we recognize that God’s role in our life is not to please us, to give us everything we want, or to make our life comfortable, but to instead make us more into the image of His son and to bring glory to Himself, we will be less likely to take offense when things don’t go as we think they should. The Lord tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The ESV Study Bible says of this passage, “…God, the incomparable Creator, is far above his finite creatures and beyond their ability to describe him or comprehend him fully; though they may know him truly, such knowledge is always impartial and imperfect. Because God is perfectly wise in all his thoughts and ways, his people can take great comfort amid hardship and when inevitably they are unable to understand the mysteries and tragedies of life.” The truth is, we will never fully understand God on this side of heaven. And His call to us is to trust Him even when we don’t understand. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) Faith is not based on my external circumstances. It is not based on what I can see, touch, hear or feel. According to Elton Trueblood, “Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.” It is trust without knowing who, what, why, when, where or how. The sooner we accept that we will never comprehend an incomprehensible God, the sooner we will find peace and rest that surpasses all understanding. We will find our faith is strong in the midst of the storm. We will praise in moments of trial. We will trust without reservation in moments that beckon doubt. We will rest in the shadow of His wings, trusting in the one true God, the faithful God who keeps His covenant of love to a thousand generations who loves Him and keeps His commands. (Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV)


Faith Applied

Crossing Over The Lines That Divide Written by Jenifer Jernigan

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© ALICE HERDEN | DREAMSTIME.COM


“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.” Matthew 4:23, NKJV (emphasis added) I’ve thought about this verse for weeks now. Found myself reading it over and over and over again. Studying the words. Visualizing the actions of Christ as He walked this earth. Listening to hear the words flow like healing waters from His lips. Reaching out to Him, myself, in order to feel the warmth of His embrace. Let’s take a journey together for a few moments, back to those days. To the days when the feet of Jesus carried Him from one synagogue to the next, from one town to the next town, and from one home to another for the sole purpose of fleshing out His calling here on earth. In those days, much like our day and age, there were lines…dividing lines that placed families, friends, and acquaintances on opposing sides. Religion divided. Race divided. Social status divided. Gender divided. Marital status divided. Differences of opinion divided. And on and on the list could grow. Very seldom would one find these differing parties conversing with one another, unless it was to debate an issue or try a man, as was the case with Jesus. Enter into our story Jesus Christ. Watch Him as He steps across those dividing lines. Look into His eyes; eyes that reflect the compassion and love that flow from the very depths of His heart. Remember Matthew the tax collector? Not a very popular gentleman among the people. Jesus crossed over that line and called him to be a follower, a disciple, and spreader of the Gospel. What about the Samaritan woman at the well?

For a man to speak to a woman was not appropriate in the least. For a man to speak to a Samaritan woman was definitely unacceptable. Jesus crossed that line of division, too. Not only did He talk to her, He shared with her, and provided her with the living water of life. And what about the leper: an outcast driven from his own town because of his disease? Jesus not only stopped to listen to this man, but reached out and touched him, granting the leper healing and new life. Then there was the woman with the issue of blood. No doctor had been able to heal her. Because of her uncleanness, she had been shunned from her family and was not allowed to enter into the synagogue or the temple. “Just the hem of His garment,” she thought, “that’s all I need to touch to be made well.” And touch Him she did. And heal her He did. Jesus crossed over that dividing line and drew her out from the crowd, proclaiming that her faith in Him had healed her that day. There were the two blind men who sat on the road the day Jesus left Jericho. The crowds pushed Jesus onward, but the voices of the blind men stopped Him in His tracks. “Have mercy on us, O Lord!” they cried. With compassion in His heart for the blind, Jesus, not bothered by their pleas, crossed over the line and granted them their healing. Lazarus. Dead for four days. His body lay cold in the tomb. Jesus crossed over the lines of death and called him forth to life. And, then there is the thief on the cross. Looking into the eyes of Christ that day as Christ Himself hung on that tree sentenced to death for fleshing out His calling here on earth. “Remember me,” he said. His purpose of redeeming the lost still at the forefront of His mind in this the darkest hour of His earthly life, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise,” was His reply to a sinner whose sin had cost him his very life.


Jesus Christ. God made flesh. Sent to earth to comfort the hurting, heal the sick, bind up the wounds of the broken, and redeem the lost. There were tremendous obstacles for Him to conquer, mountains for Him to climb, lines for Him to cross over. But, conquer He did. Climb He did. And, cross over He did. All for the sole purpose of restoring mankind into right relationship with His Father. Before He left this earth, Christ commissioned His disciples to carry on His work of reaching the lost, the hurting, the broken, the dying, the outcast, the lonely, the sick, the unlovable, the untouchable. He commissioned them to cross over and erase the lines that divide and share His message of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. “ And Jesus

came and spoke to them, saying,

“All

Me in heaven and on Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” authority has been given to earth.

Matthew 28:18-20, NKJV As children of the Most High God, saved by His grace alone, this same commission is given to us this very day. God is calling us to go into our neighbors, our communities, our workplaces, our schools, our churches, our homes for the sole purpose of making new disciples. He is calling us to cross over those racial lines, gender lines, socio-economic status lines, those lines of religion and differing of opinions and share His message of hope and healing. He is calling us to flesh out our faith in Him by stepping out of our comforts zones, opening up our mouths and letting His message of healing flow from our lips.

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Sharing the Gospel isn’t always easy. Yes, there are plans to go by- FAITH, the Net, the Romans Road. You can buy tracts from Christian book stores that will take you step by step through the plan of salvation. Those are all great resources, but the best plan for you to use in fleshing out your faith in the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to share your own story: your story of how Christ saved you. “What is my story?” you ask. Oh, I’m SO glad you asked. Very simply put… your story is how you came to know Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. I encourage you to put your story on paper by completing the following statements. Reflect on all that Christ has done for you. Thank Him today for crossing over the lines that divided you, the sinner, from God, the Almighty God. • MY LIFE BEFORE CHRIST… • HOW I CAME TO KNOW CHRIST… • HOW MY LIFE HAS CHANGED SINCE COMING TO KNOW CHRIST… Yes, there are lines that divide, but you and I have been commissioned to flesh out our faith by crossing over those lines and sharing the message on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a message that heals, that restores, and that makes all things new. Flesh out your faith in Him today by sharing your story of faith with those in need.


“I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action.� -Jesus, Matthew 18:19, The Message

Join the Exemplify Channel Teams for a week of purposed prayer. June 1-7, 2010


in the kitchen

The Times of My Life...Neverending Written by Holly Smith

52 Š exemplify magazine


Some of my favorite foods to prepare are

the ones with stories behind them. Even more than that, I love foods when they are full up with memories. Going beyond further, I love the people with whom the memories over food were made. It’s the stuff of life–faithful, life-to-the-full.

Can you see it with me? The time a friend brought you a meal…the time your grandmother made your favorite food…the time you shared a meal with an old friend–these are treasures of faithful life. It’s life we can experience any day of the week, but it seems to come in seasons farther apart. I remember the morning like it was yesterday…the night before, I had found out my friend’s husband had had an affair. I had no idea what to do–what to say. So that morning after my time with the Lord, I prepared some cookies for her and placed them on her car with a note that said, “I’m praying for you.” Honestly, I still am praying for her. But with food that morning, I wanted to show her she had a faithful friend who cared. Why should we have a quiet time? Let’s look at several reasons why we should have daily time with God. On another occasion, I remember being so very, very ill. When I get sick, I go down fast. My whole body is weak–often I can barely lift my head. My friend called to check on me and soon after she brought my very favorite clam chowder, a roll and a peanut butter cookie from Golden Corral. I can still taste it, like it just happened today. It’s the flavor of caring and love from a faithful friend.

One summer afternoon, I began my preparations early–marinating the beef and chicken, preparing guacamole and refried beans–anticipating a visit from one of my dearest friends and her family. We lived a good distance from the highway and as I prepared the fajitas, I kept glancing out the kitchen window to our driveway–looking for her Honda minivan. It seemed like forever, but they finally came. And we shared fajitas and hugs and laughter together. I can still see the whole occurrence, as if it were a slow motion movie in my head. I can also smell the smoky smell of the fajitas, onions and bell peppers. A faithful friend is someone who makes this kind of memory the very sweetest kind. It was my birthday and my grandmother had made strawberry cake for me–just the way I like it! Instead of water, she used strawberry juice. Of course at age 7, I didn’t know this. It just tasted like the best meal in the whole world, as my faithful and loving grandmother showed her care for me. She always took time to listen to me ramble on and on. I can still feel the cold, booth-like bench in her kitchen, as we visited and she peeled avocados that we ate together. More faithful time spent over food–these are the together-times we remember. Then there was the fourth of July party we hosted before we moved to Colorado. I can smell the scent of the candle–pineapple goodness at its finest. This smell still makes me think of our swimming parties at our pool in Texas. I can smell the chlorine and the billowing smoke from the grill–making some wonderful Texas-sized burgers and nearly foot-long hot dogs. I can hear the sounds of our friends talking and laughing. I can also hear the squeals of excitement from the kids in the pool. It nearly makes you forget the almost 100% Texas humidity.


faith applied column

As it grew dark, we gathered on the roof our our Mediterranean home, anticipating the show. Kids carried popcicles and adults their sweet tea. We ooo-ed and ahh-ed over the display my brother had probably spent over $300 on. It is a faithful and wonderful memory with friends… Like I said, we could probably do this any day of the week, but these times tend to come spread apart in various seasons. They are the kind of faithful memories that stir your senses. They are the kind of memories that will bring tears to your eyes–you could really have a good, sentimental cry over them. But they are the stuff of life that our good God has given us–life that is meant to be savored and not just spent. I believe He has given us these times to point our hearts towards Heaven. Can you even imagine the times together we will spend? I wonder what the food will taste like…what the smells will be…what sounds will fill the air…and what friends will gather. I hope you’ll come along with me there! Jesus is just a faithful prayer away–He makes it simple enough for a child to utter. Let’s make a memory together, shall we? I’m not sure of the date…but the time will last for eternity. I like that kind of party, don’t you–the kind that will never end and you don’t want it to either? Here’s a couple of recipes you might want to share in faithfulness with your friends. Why not make a memory today?

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t


Stromboli 1 pkg. frozen loaf bread dough with three loaves 3 T. flour 1 1/2 lb. ground chuck, cooked completely 1 small pkg. pepperoni 1 pkg. sliced roast beef (in the lunch meat dept.) 1 pkg. sliced turkey 1 pkg. sliced ham 1 pkg. Genoa salami (optional) 9 slices cheddar cheese (we like sharp) 9 slices provolone cheese 9 slices Colby cheese 1 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese Let frozen loaves rise according to package directions. Roll each loaf out flat in a rectangular shape (about 12 by 4 inches) on 3 T. flour that is spread out on the surface. In the center of the dough (with an inch and a half-edge exposed all around), layer 8 oz. cooked hamburger, 9 sliced pepperoni, 3 slices Colby, 7-8 slices roast beef, 3 slices cheddar, 7-8 slices turkey, 5 slices salami, 3 slices provolone, 7-8 slices ham. Fold dough over to cover the whole length of it–pinch it together carefully, trying not to have any holes in the dough covering. Pinch both ends together and fold once or twice. Flip the roll over onto a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top. Repeat the above for the other two rolls (each with a separate cookie sheet). Let dough rise for one hour in warm oven (110 degrees). Cook for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Slice and serve with marinara sauce. Serves 15-20 people.

Cinnamon

rolls

2 pkgs. yeast 3 c. flour plus 1/2 c. separated plus 4 c. also separate 1 c. sugar 2 t. salt 2 c. milk 1/2 c. water 1 c. margarine plus 16 T. separated plus scant amount for greasing bowl 4 eggs 2 T. lemon juice 1 c. cinnamon sugar mixture (made from 4 t. cinnamon and 1 c. sugar) in a shaker Thoroughly mix undissolved yeast with 3 c. flour, 1 c. sugar, 2 t. salt. In a sauce pan heat 2 c. milk over low heat and add 1/2 c. water and 1 c. margarine. Heat to 125 degrees. Add liquid mixture to dry mixture. Beat for two minutes at medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally. Add 1/2 c. flour, 4 eggs, 2 T. lemon juice. Stir in additional 4 c. flour. Knead on lightly floured surface (or pastry cloth) for about 8 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning the ball of dough to grease the top. Cover with warm damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 2 hours). Punch down. For each handful of dough, into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Spread 2 T. melted margarine and sprinkle 1/8 c. cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll up in jelly-roll fashion and slice about 1″ in length. Place in greased pan, cut side down. Makes four pans. Let rise again until double in size. Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Remove from pan and drizzle with frosting made from 2 c. powdered sugar, 2-4 T. milk and 1 t. vanilla. Needs to be of consistency to pour from spoon. From an old family friend with whom we have shared some wonderful memories, Edna Stevens.


Faithfuness & An Unexpected Visit 56 Š exemplify magazine


“And

blessed is she who believed that there would be a

fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the –

Luke 1:45, NRSV Luke tells the story of two people.

Nestled inside the same chapter, they give a picture of faith unnoticed by me, previously. During Christmas they did not tell me of any assurance in things hoped for, or conviction of the unseen (Hebrews 11:1). Instead, they seemed to explain the presence of tinsel and a lovely nativity. Contrary to their tradition, and my negligence, their stories are not told in the shadow of a birth, but preceding the birth. Theirs is a story of faithfulness and an unexpected visit. Enter Zechariah (Luke 1:5 – 20). Zechariah was a priest and today he and his section would attend to their duties. He and his wife, a descendant of Aaron, faithfully obeyed each law, each rule, each regulation. Zechariah and Elizabeth righteously poured themselves over their faith.

Lord.”

There might have been a moment when Gabriel’s words lingered in the air. They mixed with Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the baby John, rejoicing. A baby was coming with the spirit and power of Elijah before him, turning hearts at the coming of the Lord. But wait…that was an old prayer. That was a hope from youth which was no longer assured, no longer possible. Elizabeth was old. Zechariah was old. The unseen, the Lord, had not shown His power to them in this way. Zechariah had followed this brokenhearted barrenness to its conclusion many times, and at least by now the days of mourning were less frequent. The only response borne from hopes destroyed and impossibility was, “How can I be sure of this?” Enter Mary ( Luke 1:26 – 38). Like every teenager’s response, Mary thought the angel of the Lord was a little unusual. She was perplexed about the nature of a visit to a girl not even married yet. There was not a less powerful demographic in all of Israel.

Mary did not know of God mistaking his people, so Gabriel was probably in the right place. His voice was By lot, Zechariah was chosen to enter the sanctu- not like her family, and the way that he spoke seemed ary and offer incense to the Lord. This duty tied different. She had never heard that greeting, “Greetthe senses together in worship. He was offering ings favored one! The Lord is with you.” Formal, the smell of holiness, pleasing to God. awkward, special. But he had never felt terror in the sanctuary before this day. Zechariah was not alone at the altar, and although Gabriel assured him not to be afraid, little could quiet his visceral response to the angel of the Lord. Gabriel came with one message. The most wonderful news that could reach a human trickled into Zechariah’s ears: “Your prayer has been heard.”

57 © exemplify magazine

Image credit: © letteringdelights.com

Mary knew about babies, although it seemed an odd topic of conversation in this moment. She hoped it was in her future with Joseph. There might have been a moment when Gabriel’s words lingered in the air. They mixed with conceive, the baby Jesus, Son of the Most High. He will reign over the house of Jacob. There was one thing she knew, she could not make a baby on her own and logistics become important with this type of news. “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” Gabriel seemed to have all the answers, including news about Elizabeth.


Then, the most comforting words came from his lips. “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

These are the corners in which faithfulness cannot live. They are self-constructed parameters, common to us as humans, yet as different as a fingerprint.

Gabriel was able to assuage every fear in one phrase. Mary’s young voice said, “Here am I, the servant of Elizabeth defines the two sides of impossible, which the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” placed Zechariah on one side and Mary on the other. When Mary sees Elizabeth she praises her saying, It turns out that Gabriel was right; nothing would be “And blessed is she who believed that there would impossible to God. He lived a sinless life in a human be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord body. He was resurrected from the dead to sit at the (Luke 1:45, NRSV).” right hand of the Father. He defeated the power of death. He took a girl and made a Savior. Faithfulness is the belief that there will be fulfillment of whatever God speaks. The impossible appears to be the difference between Zechariah and Mary. It pulls them out of Christmas It is important to note that their stories diverge in the and into May. The crux of the story is in the question middle, but they start and end the same. The path of that both asked Gabriel, “How can this be?” Clearly, it Zechariah was not a failure; he was blessed as promproduced different results as Zechariah became mute ised. This is what a gracious God looks like. When a and Mary celebrated with Elizabeth. broken heart is laid bare, there are no harsh words or retractions. Instead, God gives something to grow our There is no doubt that Zechariah was faithful. Scripfaithfulness, to clean out our corners. He shows us ture showed his faithfulness, from his work to his His power and gently speaks words of promise over home; but when Gabriel met Zechariah at the altar he our brokenness until we know that He will fulfill what was not talking about a show of faithfulness: he was He said. talking about that corner, the corner of his heart that was injured and bruised. In it were stacked the broken Zechariah and Mary show us a day that everyone will images of Elizabeth each month, and the disgrace at have, eventually. It will not be like others. It might the hands of their neighbors. While his faithfulness smell holy, look holy and sound holy; or, it might be defined him, there was a corner blockaded from the completely unexpected. On this day we will be called rest; and who would expect God to ask for that corner, to bare our whole heart in faithfulness, exposed and on this day? fragile, to a gracious God. We are human and, to our folly, we insist on sectioning off our hearts. We build corners of brokenness and disgrace. Shame and torment crawl to the dark edges and nest, knowing that they are safe from exposure; and to our astonishment we find only fragments of a heart, once whole, when we lay ourselves bare before the King.

58 magazine February 2010

On this day, everything will change with a visit.


Encouragement for the heart of the family:

You.

The Exemplify Family Channel exemplifyonline.com/family/ 59 Š exemplify magazine


60 magazine Š exemplify magazine


Rocks in my Pockets Written by Patty Wysong

Little boys have nothing on me. They may carry rocks in their pockets for a few hours, but I’ve been carrying one in my pocket for even longer. The same rock. For three years. And I have no plans of quitting now. Why would I carry a rock in my pocket for three years? Because it’s my Ebenezer, reminding me that thus far the Lord has helped me. In Old Testament days we see people like Jacob, Samuel and Joshua setting up memorials after important events in their lives. Those memorials were often stones. They didn’t create elaborate monuments: just simple stones to remind them of God’s faithfulness. Look at Jacob. The guy had just tricked his father and received the blessing his brother should have received as firstborn. He’s hightailing it out of the country so his brother doesn’t kill him and God appears to him in a dream. And what a dream it is! He sees a ladder connecting earth to heaven and angels are going up and down on it. The the Lord stands above it and talks to Jacob and gives him some promises—the same promises He had given to Abraham and Isaac. (Genesis 28:10-22)

Can you imagine how Jacob felt when he woke up? He set up a stone as a physical reminder and made a vow to God. But that’s not the end of the story. Years later, Jacob returned to the stone he’d set up and he built an altar to God there because God had been faithful to His word. (Genesis 35:14)

Then there’s Joshua, the man who led Israel into the Promised Land. One of the first things he faced after Moses died was getting all those people safely across the Jordan River, which was at flood stage. God was faithful. He provided a way for His people to cross, and He wanted them to remember. Look what He told Joshua to do. “Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you…” (Joshua 4:3) Joshua took those twelve stones and built an altar to God and said, “Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord…’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.” (vs. 6-7) Those twelve stones were a memorial, a physical reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people. Days later Israel would face Jericho, a formidable foe that I’m sure made them fearful. But they had that physical reminder of God’s faithfulness, just as He wanted them to. But what about today? Is God as faithful as He used to be? Yes, He is! We’re like His people were in Old Testament times, and we need reminders of His faithfulness because when fear overcomes us, one of the first things that happens is that we forget God’s faithfulness.


I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve stuffed my hands in my pockets in fear, and encountered my reminder of God’s great faithfulness to me. I wrap my fingers around that stone and remember God’s faithfulness throughout my life, and as I remember, fear is replaced with courage that comes from knowing my God is faithful and will never leave me nor forsake me. Courage that comes from knowing that He who called me is faithful and He will do it. (1 Thess. 5:24) Courage that comes from knowing that thus far the Lord has helped me. (1 Samuel 7:12) That little rock in my pocket is my Ebenezer, my stone of help, reminding me of God’s faithfulness. Look how many times the Bible recounts Israel’s history—not because God wanted to give us the history lesson over and over again, but to remind us of His faithfulness. Israel had an oral tradition of passing down the stories of their forefathers: they sang songs recounting their history, and God also had them write those things down. “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) We can stay focused on God’s faithfulness in similar ways. • Talk about it. Don’t keep stories of His faithfulness to yourself! Sharing with others will encourage not only you, but them as well. • If you like to have physical reminders, collect them and place them in strategic places—even in your pocket. It can be as simple as a stone or a small knickknack to remind you of a certain incidence of God’s faithfulness. Use your imagination and use what’s there when you saw God’s faithfulness. • Sing about it!

© exemplify magazine

• If you journal, be sure to include as many stories of God’s faithfulness as you can. That way, when you flip back through the pages you’ll be reminded of all those little (and not so little) things you would have otherwise forgotten. • God’s faithfulness is the key to unlocking the fetters of fear, and it’s the key to forming us into women God can use. God’s faithfulness is the key to living fruitful lives. When we intentionally focus on God’s faithfulness, not only does our fear flee, but our faithfulness to God becomes greater and we can follow Him where He leads because it’s no longer about us. It becomes all about God and His faithfulness. Having physical reminders of God’s faithfulness helps us refocus and remind us of all He’s done for us. It helps free us from fear and gives us courage to take the next step God has for us—even if it’s crossing a Jordan River at flood stage. When you’re crossing through that river bed, be sure to slip a stone from it into your pocket. Then, when you’re circling Jericho’s walls with shaking knees, it will help you remember God’s great faithfulness. “THEN SAMUEL TOOK A STONE AND SET IT BETWEEN MIZPAH AND SHEN, AND NAMED IT EBENEZER, SAYING, ‘THUS FAR THE LORD HAS HELPED US.’” (1 SAMUEL 7:12) So you see, maybe I’m not so strange for carrying a stone in my pocket.

g

Since Patty quit running from God’s call on her life, she’s been happy. Life is never dull for her as she juggles being a wife, a homeschooling mom of five, bookkeeper of their family business and her writing. As long as she’s obeying God’s leading, she figures that sanity is a novelty and not a necessity. Patty clings to the promise that God will enable her to do what He asks of her, otherwise you would find her living at the Funny Farm and not just occasionally visiting, like she does. In addition to drinking black cherry kool-aid from china tea cups, she loves weaving lessons that she’s learned into short stories and devotionals, most of which can be found on her blog pattywysong.blogspot.com.


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Exemplify Magazine gets creative with the fonts of

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