Outpour Magazine - Aug/Sept 2021 Issue

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ENCOURAGING EVERYDAY PEOPLE TO LIVE FOR CHRIST Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8 NIV


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Surprising Miracles




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AUG/SEPT 2021 CONTRIBUTORS Mareshah Brown Miller Beckie Hudson Heather Hefner Ben Shamberger Thaddeus Fennig Published by Issuu Inc. Article pictures: Envanto Elements/ Canva CONTACT info@outpourmagazine.com Outpour Magazine, Aug/Sept 2021 (c) All rights reserved. Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible.

*Please do not republish, copy, or reproduce magazine pages without written permission.

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It’s a new season! Autumn has yet to begin and perhaps temperatures in certain parts of the nation are beginning to cool down; but the new season I’m referring to is a season of readiness, opportunity, and commitment— an invitation to changes God wants to bring about in our lives. Many people long for the norm of their lives that was interrupted by the global pandemic; change was pushed upon most of us whether we were ready or not. We experienced gain and loss, joys and sorrows, laughter and tears; yet through it all we were sustained by the mighty hand of God. Some of us are looking for our lives to resume as if the entire world has not been through a catastrophic event and perhaps are resistant to a “new” normal. Yet, just as the children of Israel became accustomed to displacement and experienced hardship during 40 years in the wilderness, the Lord told those with whom He had made a covenant in Deuteronomy 2:3 NASB, “‘You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north.’” As children of God and children of the promise we can trust the Word of the Lord. Whether we feel stuck in our present circumstances; have been circling in some sort of a holding pattern; tend to be resistant to change and veering from routine; or are uncertain and apprehensive about the unknown— we can harken to the Word, “Now turn north.” Let us take steps of faith toward what we are being called to in whatever invitation the Lord is issuing to us, knowing that He who has called us is faithful. In this issue, we invite you to meet a family that lives by faith each and every day (page 22); learn how to stay on mission for Christ (page 28); and understand the love the Father has for you (page 10). Also recognize how staying connected to Jesus is paramount for success (page 16); how to remain faithful in your finances (page 32); and recall the surprising and miraculous works of Jesus’ healing power through three biblical stories (page 36). Thank you for subscribing to our FREE magazine and we hope you will share this issue full of faith and encouragement with your friends, coworkers, church members and family! And we’d love to hear from you! How are you taking steps of faith and where is God calling you in this new season? Contact us and send us prayer requests at info@outpourmagazine.com. We love you and are praying for you! God Bless!

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Letter from Shamberger Editor Joy Editor-in-Chief

Heather Hefner

Mareshah Brown Miller

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Meet the Contributors for this issue

Beckie Hudson

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Thaddeus Fennig

Ben Shamberger

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Through the miraculous healing power of Jesus, learn how He not only addresses our diseases, illnesses, and problems we’re in, but restores us at a much deeper level.


How can we stay on mission for God? Be encouraged to stay the course despite the loneliness or the obstacles that may come.


God's love is something that cannot be measured but it should inspire us to worship Him with our whole heart.

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this issue

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"What you are is God’s gift to you, What you become is your gift to God." - Hans Urs Von Balthasar

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A Father’s Love by Beckie Hudson

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I never knew the capacity the human heart had for love until the arrival of my firstborn nephew. When I held Christian for the first time, something unexpected happened—I melted into tears. We were connected by blood, and at such a depth that for me it overflowed. Instant love perhaps you’d call it, the protective and permeating kind, is hard to describe unless you’ve felt it. Then, I had my precious Lydia. My very own blood coursed through her veins because she had been growing inside me for 10 months. Though I was excited to see and hold her for the first time, I loved the feeling of her moving and growing inside me. I only experienced that once in my lifetime, so I treasure it and revisit the stored memories of it often in my mind. What took me by storm was how I could not take my eyes off her. If she would just slightly lift one of her tiny slender fingers, I was enthralled by the sweetness of it. When she opened her eyes and looked at me the very first time she was placed in my arms, the flood gates opened. Loving my own child helped me come

to an overwhelming realization— this is how the Father feels about us! First John 3:1 NIV reads, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!...” But I learned it first in the King James Version, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us; that we should be called the sons of God….” I like the term “behold!” It holds a lot more force than “see.” It commands, “look here, this is worth noticing!” When I held my sweet daughter in my arms, nothing could tear my eyes off of her; I beheld her I tell you. And the love that nearly In that moment, I exploded out of my chest? It was was blessed by instantaneous, instinctual, and the Father’s gift of inclusive—it had been growing understanding that in me for years as I hoped and this, this is how prayed for a child and then even God the Father more intensely during the time loves me. that I carried her. But beholding her face made that love gush out of me to the point that tears I could not control from flowing down my cheeks, sprung

need to be reconnected to Yahweh. “But the

LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:10-11 NASB 1995, italics mine). This Scripture delineates what God was willing to put His own Son through to restore our relationship with our Heavenly Father. If that doesn’t turn your head toward how the Father feels about you, then look in the same chapter, there’s another list of what Jesus went through in verses four and five. Read it; meditate on it; let it sink in. No matter how familiar the Scripture is, spend some time there to be reminded of how much your Father loves you. That love God has for us, it should be motivating. Not just to please Him or to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” one day, but out of awe to worship Him who loves us beyond our wildest imagination. If you’re

No matter how familiar the Scripture is, spend some time there to be reminded of how much your Father loves you.

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from the heart of the love I felt for my own child. I had known and heard since I was a little girl that I was a child of God as soon as I personally accepted Him as Savior. I knew this just as much as I knew I was a child of Phil and Judy, my parents. While I felt loved by them growing up, I simply did not get it until I became a parent myself. That’s a love that makes you do absolutely anything to meet your child’s needs: to rescue them, to comfort them, to protect them, to promote them, to encourage them, to infuse them with self-esteem, and to make them know in their bones and their souls that they are loved. I simply didn’t grasp it until I saw my daughter, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. In that moment, I was blessed by the Father’s gift of understanding that this, this is how God the Father loves me. So much so, that He gave His only Child to reconcile the path from Him to me. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 NIV). Isaiah prophesied that the promised and expected Messiah would fulfill Israel’s

a parent, look at your babies, no matter how old they may be. Do you get it? Multiply the love you have for them times infinity - that’s what God feels for you. Now read the lyrics from this hymn by Stuart Townend. Even if you’re not a parent, you can still fixate on it if you truly try to picture what he is describing: How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

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“How deep the Father’s love for us How vast beyond all measure That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure How great the pain of searing loss The Father turns His face away As wounds which mar the Chosen One Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross My sin upon His shoulders Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice Call out among the scoffers It was my sin that held Him there Until it was accomplished His dying breath has brought me life I know that it is finished I will not boast in anything No gifts, no power, no wisdom But I will boast in Jesus Christ His death and resurrection Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer But this I know with all my heart His wounds have paid my ransom”

Oh beloved, behold! You. Are. Loved.

Beckie Hudson is a Northern transplant living in Concord, NC where she, her husband and her daughter attend Multiply Church. She holds a B.A. from Moody Bible Institute and an M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of Houston-Victoria. After 17 years in education and counseling in Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, Germany and England, she has been a stay-athome wife and mother for the last nine, living her dream job! She flips and restores furniture on the side because it mirrors her own redemption in all that Jesus has done for her. She can be contacted at redeemed.restored@yahoo.com

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Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel. Isaiah 44:23 NIV

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by Mareshah Brown Miller

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:5-8 NIV)

Most people aspire to be successful in life.

That is an admirable goal as long as there is a proper definition of “success” and the mode of achieving it is honorable. It’s quite common in today’s society to hear, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” The implication is that you have to have the proper connections with famous or powerful people in order to be successful. If people believe this, they will spend precious time and energy trying to please people, chasing goals that may not even be God’s plan for their lives.

In John 15:5-8, Jesus Christ gives us the foundational principle for success—to remain in Him. Then, He gives us the definition of success— productivity in whatever God has anointed you to do and making God known to others while doing it. So, for Christians, the most famous and powerful person who will propel us to our destiny is Jesus Christ. There were three young men from the nation of Judah, who understood this principle. The Babylonian government invaded Judah, took these boys into captivity, and then changed their names to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were trained to work in important positions. However, these young men did not abandon their relationship with the God of the universe. They knew God loved them, that He was with them, and that He would work every situation out for their benefit and His glory. So, when King Nebuchadnezzar insisted the boys must bow and worship the golden statue as though it was a god, the boys were extremely resolute in

The king told these three Hebrew boys that they would be thrown into a fire and killed. He also questioned whether their God would rescue them from this death sentence. I love the boys’ response to the king. They said, in essence, “Our God is well able to deliver us, but even if He doesn’t, we will not bow.” The angry king threw them in the fire, but God was in the fire too. God made sure the boys were not burned at all. In fact, they didn’t even smell like smoke! In the end, the king had to acknowledge that God was greater than him. God answered the boys’ prayers and caused all the people of the region to recognize the one and only true God of the universe (Dan. 1:1-7; 3:1-30). This sounds like success to me. These young men were not concerned about pleasing King Nebuchadnezzar, who was certainly powerful and famous. They continued to hold to their belief in God. They had a strong relationship with God, which led to their success. In the end, they were promoted to higher government positions and convinced the king that their God was the only true God. If they didn’t have their priorities straight, that situation could have ended very differently. There are many successful people who don’t acknowledge Jesus; yet both Christians and non-Christians alike accomplish great things. The question we must ask is, “Does that apparent success glorify God?” Another question to ponder is what did Jesus mean by “remain” in Him? How does a person remain in Jesus? Christians are saved by believing and confessing that Jesus is their Savior. Our salvation is secure, nothing can change that (John 10:27-30). But it is important that all Christians continue to pursue an intimate relationship with Jesus, so that emulating Him becomes a part of our everyday life. That is what true disciples do. The following things can help us stay connected to Jesus, our lifeline:

• Consistently pray to God and praise Him (Col. 3:16) • Cultivate an attitude of thankfulness (1 Thess. 5:16-18) • Study and apply the principles of the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16-17) • Pursue developing the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-24) • Participate in Holy Communion (John 6:53-58; 1 Cor. 11:23-26) Jesus uses the metaphor of a vine to help us understand the importance of staying connected to Him. Just as a branch will die if it is not connected to the vine, our spiritual vitality will wither if we fail to do the things outlined here. If we do these things, we will mature spiritually. We will become more aware of Christ’s character, power and strength. And begin to think and act like Jesus (1 Cor. 2:15-16; Phil. 2:5). We will realize that because He is powerful, we are powerful. We will experience doing and achieving the unimaginable because Christ lives in us and we remain in Him. This spiritual awareness affects every area of our lives. However, remaining in Christ should never be approached as a religious duty, but as a desire to know and experience Christ more intimately. Please realize that we are not left alone in this. In John 15:1, Jesus tells us that He is the vine, we are the branches, and God is the gardener. If we

The Christian is lifeless if not connected to Jesus. There should never be a time that we think we can do anything without Him.

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their response. They refused to bow.

need pruning, God will do it. He shapes us to become more like Christ so we will experience success.

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Yet, remaining in Christ does not mean we will be perfect. That is why God prunes us and cuts away ungodly character traits that hinder our growth. It is equally important that we avoid the mindset that “we have arrived.” That is why Jesus said “remain” in Him. The King James Version of the Bible uses the word “abide.” To abide is to live there. Just like the branch is lifeless if it is not connected to the vine, the Christian is lifeless if not connected to Jesus. There should never be a time that we think we can do anything without Him. If we are willing to believe and obey the words of Jesus, our family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances will realize that we are followers of Christ. We will also be successful in whatever we do. Notice that I did not say life will be easy and free of problems. Certainly, the Hebrew boys can attest to that. But, most importantly, God will be magnified on earth, and one day we will hear Him say “Well done.” Now that’s the ultimate success!

Mareshah Brown Miller is a retired educator from the Orange County Public Schools. She grew up in the suburbs of Miami, Florida among a large close-knit family and rich spiritual training. She developed a walk with Christ at an early age and continues to encourage others to begin their personal walk with God. She is the author of Divine Pearls: Spiritual Insight Through Personal Short Stories. Mareshah serves her community and is a longstanding member of the City of Life Church in Kissimmee, Florida. She is a widow after thirty years of marriage, and the mother of two adult daughters and a son-in-law. Her desire is to live a life of love every day.


my mission:

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Inspire women to live their best spiritual life through faith-based journals, Bible studies, resources, and uplifting messages.

C H E C K I T O U T. . .

HaveFaithStudio.com for more inspiration, follow:

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Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. Psalm 89:15 NIV

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t e e m

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the Williams Family

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City/State: Charlotte, NC Church: The Living Church, Charlotte, NC Favorite Family Activity: Everything Outdoors! Hiking, kayaking, tennis, Hide-N-Go-Seek, biking, volleyball, etc. One word to describe your family: Extraordinary

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OM: Tell us a little bit about yourselves and your family. Eugene Williams: We are a family of eight with two boys, Malachi 18 and Garrett 4, and four girls, Brianna 17, Chelsea 13, Dailynn 10 and Flora 7. One thing that is vital to our family is making sure we nurture our relationship with Christ and each other. We have been homeschooling 5 of the 6 kids for about 13 years now. Creating lasting memories is very important for our family. Ayanna has a background as a nurse and I work for the government. A passion of ours is making sure that we take care of our temples. Therefore, we are selective about what we eat, what we see, and the environments we surround ourselves with because this is vital to our overall health. This would include our spiritual, physical, and mental health, which has lead us to be the founders and owners of NuLifeFit, LLC a holistic health coaching practice. Ayanna Williams: Malachi, our oldest has graduated high school and is off to his first year of college with a full football scholarship. Brianna, our oldest daughter, aspires to own salons and has been mentored since the age of 14 by a successful salon owner in the area. She does micro locs and braids outside of her schoolwork. Our girls own Bows4Girls, which is a business at which they make handcrafted customizable bows for little girls and now bow ties for boys. Our daughters Dailynn and Chelsea own Visions PR, which is a marketing and branding company for small businesses. As you can see, entrepreneurship is significant for our family and that's because we don't just see it as a form of income, but as an avenue to be a blessing to others. OM: What is a typical day like raising six children? AW: Nonstop. Lol! We always say, "The party doesn't stop." From sun up to sun down there is always something to be done. We start our morning with corporate prayer via conference

call. Once the conference call is done we set up for our Rebounding fitness class which includes devotion and prayer as well. Once the kids begin to wake, their routine starts with them doing their 5 points (bathroom routine), prayer, bible reading, and cleaning their rooms. Most times Eugene is getting ready for work and is out of the house before breakfast. During the day it's me and the kids for the most part. As we go throughout our day we are always on the lookout for opportunities to teach our children not only academics, but most important life's lessons through the Word of God as things come up. Usually, during dinner, it's time to debrief and talk about how each other's day went. OM: What have been some of your favorite memories as a family? AW: When our baby boy, Garrett, was born. For years we had been praying for a boy after having multiple girls. When it was time for prayer, the girls' prayer always included God blessing them with a baby brother. The funny thing is when I was pregnant after I finally got my thoughts together, I told my husband and he started jumping up and down enthusiastically and praising God. He said he had prayed at the beginning of the year that if God was going to bless us with a boy that it would be this year. That was my first knowledge of that prayer by the way. Lol! So, he just knew it was going to be our baby boy. And just guess when he was born… December 23 of that same year. Therefore, when Garrett was born it brought great joy to our family and the kids saw how by praying diligently, God answered their prayer. [That was] one of those biblical life lessons learned. I remember recently asking the kids about their most memorable trip as a family. Hands down they always mention our trip to Disney almost 4 years ago. It was most of the kids' first time there. This was the beginning of November and they had already begun to set up for Christmas at the parks. Therefore, it was just beautiful! We even got a chance to stay for an inclusive

OM: How has your faith been foundational in your family's life? AW: First, we must say that we know we wouldn't have the family that we have today if it had not been for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our faith has always been vital to our marriage and family since we were married. Now, it was definitely shaky at the beginning. Eugene's grandfather was a pastor and he grew up around the church. Although that was his background, after going off to college and living that "college" lifestyle, he got a little distracted. We both always knew we wanted to have a godly family. Through God's grace and mercy and God placing strong families that were grounded in Him around us, it helped us to see [faith] lived out as an example. Our prayer is that we will be that example as well. Association is key because it can affect your thinking, decisions, and how you deal with life. EW: Teaching our children the Word of God and how it looks lived out is truly important to us. Through devotions, family talks, and prayer we tackle life's situations together as a family. Our entire

family, from the youngest to the oldest, is also involved in our church. We have also been blessed with a great Pastor, Dr. Ronnie L. Parson, who has a passion for families. Actually, our church's mission statement is "Rescuing Families by Promoting Life and Providing Care." We understand that it's not just about going to the church building, but being the church and that starts at home. OM: You recently celebrated your 16th wedding anniversary, congratulations! How do you keep the flame burning for one another? EW: We have to say that we have learned and are still learning the importance of taking that time out for each other. Due to the busyness of life, family, and work it's easy to think that the flame is out; but that may not necessarily be the case. For us that's not the case, it's just that we need to take the time out for each other to get away and talk, try new restaurants, do new activities, fellowship with other couples, etc. We believe in communicating and spending time together to nurture a marriage and any relationship. OM: Eugene, you mentioned in your anniversary social media post to your wife that "the marriage life is incredible but anything that

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Christmas celebration at Magic Kingdom at which we had an amazing time! Family trips and vacations are something we look forward to, especially, when it comes to quality family time together. Due to the busyness of life, we may not have much quantity time because of the different daily responsibilities. So, we make these trips a priority to be sure we can get memorable and quality time with each other every quarter of the year. Every trip may not be as extravagant as Disney's, but we make the best of it wherever we are!

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has real value takes work." Can you both talk more about the importance of working at your marriage, each and every day, and how God helps you to do that work? EW: I had to work on myself first by allowing God to show me that I don't have to look for Ayanna's wrongs. Early on I used to think I had to say the last word or I used to feel that I should speak on everything and address it. This used to cause many conflicts between the two of us. So, you might say, I've learned the "Yes, Dear" concept. This takes me dying daily and putting myself second, third, and even fourth in the perspective of God, my wife, kids, etc. What I mean by that is putting my feelings to the side sometimes and just doing what's right and trusting God to handle the rest. This mindset has FREED me up so much when it comes to

taking the pressure off of me. This also helps us to not argue or have these big fights that we hear other couples talk about. In understanding that a marriage takes work, we look forward to getting around other healthy couples, signing up for marriage seminars, and investing in marriage materials such as books and workbooks, etc. AW: I came from a mindset of if it's hard or not working you can quit and I've learned that that was the wrong mindset when dealing with my marriage. But it took being around healthy relationships where the couples were transparent enough to talk about the struggles and victories which made me feel like, it's not just you or your marriage that is “growing" through. Going to those marriage seminars helped me to understand more and more what a Godly marriage looks like. I would definitely say working at our marriage took some self-examination as well. There have been plenty of times when I would go to our heavenly Father in prayer as if I am "telling on" Eugene because of something he did or whatever and by the time I got up God would end up showing me, through my venting, that my perspective was wrong and/or an area where I could improve to help the situation and my marriage. OM: Why is it important to raise your children in a godly, Christian home? AW: We understand that all children are a gift from God and the best thing that we could do is give them back to Him and give them Him. The bible tells us to, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6). Therefore, we do believe we are raising adults. Meaning that we are raising kids that will someday be adults. At which there will be times in their lives where we won't be able to be there for them as kids, teens, and especially as adults to help them make decisions or to get them out of situations. Therefore, they must see how it is to live a life of dependence and

OM: And lastly, what words of encouragement could you give other families who are seeking to keep God first in their home? EW: Don't focus on life's distractions; instead acknowledge them and keep moving. We always say that life happens to everyone! No matter how grand it looks on the outside, every family has its own set of challenges. Therefore, you are not the only one "growing" through. We always quote "No weapon formed against me or my family

shall prosper!" (Isaiah 54:17). This reminds us that things will come our way and boy has it! But we know that we will still come out on top. [And] definitely, don't compare your family to anyone else's. God has created your family uniquely and He loves you all just the way you are. So, during the chaos and downfalls stay focused and continue to pray to God for guidance in ALL areas, have those HARD discussions with your kids as a family, study God's Word together and pray together, yes even during challenges. Remember, that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). So, no matter what you and your family face, it will work out for good!! -OM

"So, no matter what you and your family face, it will work out for good!"

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obedience in Christ. We must teach it, exemplify it, and also surround them with other families that do the same. That is not to say that we are perfect because we aren't and our kids are the ones to see many of our imperfections; but they also see the love of God and forgiveness as well. [We] hope that when they are married and have their own families they will do the same and do it even better than we have. So, teaching our kids to have a personal relationship with God and living a life that glorifies Him is of the utmost importance to us.

It’s Never in Vain

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by Heather Hefner

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him --though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘we are his offspring.’” Acts 17:27-28 NLT Does loneliness ever creep in and slip its icy fingers around your heart? Does insecurity ever paralyze your steps? The heart that was beating ever so steadily and strong one minute, can suddenly come to an abrupt halt with one small whisper from the enemy. During those times, when the voice of alienation is louder than the one of fellowship, when there is no one to call or text, when it’s easier to exalt your pain than to speak your testimony— we can be strengthened by God’s nearness and His sovereignty. We can delight in the hope that our mission and journey has eternal significance. As I was reading about Paul in Acts 17, Paul was teaching in Athens and had left his friends behind in the previous city. Not only was he in this place without “his people," but he was also deeply troubled by the idolatry he was

seeing in Athens, which then prompted him to admonish the leadership (v.16). We can see that he is there on a mission: to spread the good news about Jesus the Christ. Acts 17:17 says “he went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.” The verses near the end of the chapter prompted me to think about loneliness and insecurity, yet they are clear about God’s nearness and our place in His kingdom (vv. 27-28). What if Paul’s loneliness deterred him from doing what God called him to do? What if he allowed the enemy to disrupt this very important mission? I began to consider how the whispering lies of the enemy can stall us from the abundant life. We aren’t told what or how he felt when he found himself alone and troubled in Athens. But I can imagine. Was he lonely? Overwhelmed? Insecure? Unsure? Awkward? He was human after all. He could have easily let these things paralyze him or define his next moves. But, what we can observe through Paul’s actions is that he prevailed and persisted in the work of the Lord. So how does Paul do this and what can we

Paul is able to spark change in some of the hearts around him through his obedience and perseverance (Acts 17:34). Have you ever thought that perhaps your obedience is not just for you, but part of the work to bring others along on this journey to redemption? Imagine if Paul has skipped going to Athens – whether it was due to loneliness or their idolatry. How

many people may have missed out on the promise if he had been disobedient? And how might this apply in your own life and mission? The enemy may try to distract us, but we must decide whether to allow the enemy’s lies to lead us or allow God’s truth to transform us. I love what we can learn from Paul here. This same man, who quite recently had been headed down a different path altogether, changes direction and runs full on towards God’s mission. We too must be encouraged to stay on mission, despite the loneliness or the obstacles. And remember that the Messiah did come. He is near and He is sovereign. Prayer: Lord, thank you for being near. Thank You, for Your truth that transforms us. The lies that try to manipulate us, cause us to disobey, or produce discontentment in us are weak in the shadow of Your authority. Help us to rest in Your truth. Help us to be obedient to You and to the mission of our lives. We submit to Your sovereignty and authority over our lives. Amen.

Heather Hefner has a calling to minister to people of all walks of life through the message of God’s Word and the creative arts. Heather loves writing, speaking, acting or creating for the purpose of making Heaven more crowded! She believes that God can use these gifts to soften hearts and bring healing to hurting people. She is a wife and mother of 3 who serves in multiple creative and leadership roles at her church.

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learn from him? We see that: • Paul doesn’t lose sight of his mission. In Acts 17:17, we see him reason with the Jews and like-minded Gentiles in the synagogue. This may have been difficult, but quite necessary for his work! • Paul speaks beyond his feelings. While it’s likely he felt alone, he told them that God is near (Acts 17:27). Recently while studying Haggai, I was encouraged by the passage that reads, “...Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid” (Hag. 2:4b-5 NLT). God is faithful to remind them of His promises. Just like we see Paul reminding the people in Athens, God reminds the returned exiles that He is near. He prompts them to continue their mission. • Paul turns the attention of the people from their selfishness and idolatry to focus on God, reminding them they are image-bearers of the Most High (Acts 17:27-29). It can be easy to slip into complacency or begin to put lesser things before God. Especially in moments when our emotions are lying to us. With God’s help, we can rejoice in the truth that we are His offspring. He is our reason for living. He is sovereign over us. • Paul invites them to repent and return to God (Act 17:30). Forgiveness is available because of God’s grace. God is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). But we must take that first step to turn back to God.

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"Strengthen your faith and transform your life through the profound experience of communicating with a loving God!"

"The apostle Paul declared in his letter to the Galatians that he had been 'crucified with Christ.' But what does this mean? Is this a claim every believer can and should make? The Crucified Life is a comprehensive examination of these questions, answered with the deep, biblical thinking for which Tozer was revered."

"We serve others well when we share the whole gospel with them, not just the parts deemed attractive by our culture."

"Explore familiar verses in context of the entire Bible, learning how to place your hope and faith in Christ alone."

"Dig into the encouraging truths found in the Book of Colossians about God’s character, our identity, and how our faith in Christ can bring hope to our discouraged souls." **descriptions from amazon.com

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The Christian Bookshelf s t renght ening y our f aith on e page at a tim e

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destroy; but equally, I believe it’s a great opportunity within the church to regain ground and refocus to build up the body of Christ.

Financial Stewardship by Ben Shamberger

Uncovering the struggles, myths, and even false perceptions that we in the Church have around money is important. By examining what the Bible says about money, I hope to provide practical wisdom, advice, and prayers to help others in their financial journey. It is important to provide a theologically sound reference point to lead back to Scripture as the basis for how to manage finances. My goal is to help people manage their finances, develop confidence, and have clarity about their money from a biblically sound perspective. As a financial planner, I do not claim to have complete, exhaustive knowledge about everything that relates to money and finances; despite my best efforts I am human and imperfect. It is my intention however to write this with utmost honesty and integrity, drawing on the Bible, my own personal and professional experiences and education. I will also share what I’ve learned from other financial professionals, pastors and leaders who have far surpassed my own expertise, to show how we can handle our finances from a biblical perspective. Here are two points I’d like to begin with:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV).


NER™, but more importantly a follower of Christ, I often share tools to help believers in their faith-filled financial life journey. People often ask me questions that they have regarding faith and finances, such as: “What does it practically look like for Christians to handle money?” Many times money is a taboo conversation within the church. It can be an area where the devil works to divide the church and to kill, steal and

1. God owns it all. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, not just 1,000 cattle on a single hill (Ps. 50:10). It’s this perspective that in the hardest financial seasons of my life, God has given me faith to believe in Him and in His promises. At times when I could not see how things were going to work out, or when I couldn’t make sense of the numbers, perspective required me to activate my faith and be reminded of God’s goodness! Today, let this be a declaration in your own life. Be reminded that He is Jehovah Jireh, that He is enough!

One of the ways I help people through my daily work is through financial coaching and counseling. As a financial coach I’m a huge believer in practicing the things we want to see happen. As a Christian, I also believe that we are called to activate our faith. James chapter 2, reminds us that faith without works is dead. In closing, let me leave you with one sample prayer to encourage you in your prayerful practice of managing your finances. “God help me to activate my faith today, even when it feels hard to believe, even when the numbers don’t add up! I choose to trust you in every area of my life, including my finances. I acknowledge you as my provider. Help me to be a good steward of everything you entrust to me. Reveal to me your plan for financial stewardship in my life. Help me to seek wise counsel regarding my finances. I thank you for your many blessings. I choose to give you glory through my finances. Amen!” Feel free to submit any questions, suggestions for content, or testimonials to the team here at Outpour Magazine to be reviewed for possible inclusion within the column.

Ben Shamberger CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Ben is a Greensboro native and proud alumnus of Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Business Marketing. He was a member of the ASU men’s soccer program and the ASU Ambassadors organization. Before becoming a financial advisor in 2012, Ben formerly worked as a sales manager, teacher, coach, and business owner. He and his wife, Joy, have three young children (two girls and a boy). Now he serves as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ assisting people with developing confidence, clarity and charity with their money.

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2. How we steward money often says a lot about our relationship with God. It is important to understand that every financial decision is a spiritual decision. I learned this principle from Ron Blue, the founder of the Kingdom Advisors and renowned consultant to Christian financial professionals. In listening to Ron Blue’s teachings on biblical stewardship he defines biblical stewardship as “the use of God-given resources for the accomplishment of God-given goals or objectives.” The implication is a life-long journey of growth in spiritual character. So if God owns it all and it’s all God-given resources then what we do with money says a lot about our relationship with God.

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Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. Proverbs 3:13-14

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Surprising Miracles

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By Thaddeus Fennig There’s an interesting rhythm in Matthew’s biography of Jesus, starting in Chapter 8 (just after the Sermon on the Mount is concluded, in chapters 5-7). Matthew 8 recounts three stories of Jesus’ healing power - of healing a man with leprosy (v2-4), healing the centurion’s servant (v5-13) and then healing Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever (v14-17). Let’s look at the three stories. The Leper (8v2-4) Leprosy was believed to be a contagious disease in the 1st century. Not only that, coming even within proximity of a leper would make a priest or “holy” Israelite “impure.” They’d have to offer sacrifices, and go through a period of ritual cleansing before they could ever participate in the Judaic sacrificial ceremonies again. Because of this, the common practice was for lepers to shout “UNCLEAN!” if they were coming close to a crowd, warning people of what they might catch. Shame and ostracization often followed those dealing with this unthinkable disease. And yet, despite the fear of contagion, Jesus comes into close contact with a leper who kneels before Him saying “Lord, if you are willing, you

can make me clean” (Matt. 8:3 NIV). And in response “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy” (v.4). Wait. What? Jesus chose to heal by touching the leper? Jesus will (in the next healing, and many more thereafter) demonstrate that He can work powerfully by simply speaking: “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” “Be calm.” “Be gone.” “Get up.” But in this story He chooses to heal through touching the leper. But why touch him? Perhaps it was partly to ruffle the feathers of the religious leaders, those convinced of their religious righteousness. But it was likely more so to demonstrate that this Jesus of Nazareth was not threatened of ritual impurity by proximity or even physical contact with the “unclean” of society. And primarily to restore more than the man’s leprosy, but to restore what we are all craving – relationship with God. And at our core, we’re created for relationship, for intimacy both with God and others. Put

I just talked with a woman who was receiving her second COVID vaccine. I asked her what she was looking forward to, and her reply was gut-wrenching: “I haven’t seen my family in over a year.” Her parents are elderly, and she explained she couldn’t live with the risk of giving them COVID. Her plans were now to book a trip to see them and just hug them again.

affirms): Basically, I know how authority works, and I’m pretty sure you Jesus have authority over illnesses. You don’t even need to come to my house, just say the word (Matt. 8:8-9). But look at what Jesus says and how He responds. Verse 10 says that Jesus was amazed! “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Matt. 8:10 NIV). In this healing, Jesus doesn’t even speak at the illness, He speaks to the centurion, declaring “Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment (v.13).

Avoiding debates about the validity/invalidity of COVID, do you see what Jesus does here? He doesn’t just heal the leprosy; He restores physical relationship with this man. And friends, He’s doing that every day. Addressing the diseases, illnesses, and problems we’re in, but also restoring us at a much deeper level.

So He touches the leper.

The Centurion’s Servant (8v5-13)

“When Jesus came into Peter’s house, He saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him” (Matt. 8:14-17 NIV).

“When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, asking for help. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Shall I come and heal him?’ The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.’” (Matt. 8:5-8 NIV) A centurion was a Roman officer (at least by the 1st century) who oversaw around 80 men. (I know, I used to think And at our core, it was 100 as well). The we’re created for startling thing about relationship, for this healing, is that a intimacy both with ROMAN OFFICER, a person whose presence God and others. caused Israelites to shudder, comes to Jesus to heal his servant. Further, what the centurion says in verses eight and nine is absolutely remarkable (which Jesus notices and

And speaks to the centurion about his belief. What could be next? Peter’s Mother-in-Law (8v14-17)

It’s interesting that Jesus now takes His precious time to minister to a mom with a fever. He’d just healed someone who had been socially scorned by everyone for years. Then He heals a servant of the enemy of the Jewish people. And low and behold, Peter’s mother-in-law isn’t feeling well, so Jesus touches her hand and relives the fever. It’s the opposite of how we usually tell stories. We save the best for last. But Jesus performs two miraculous healings, overcoming social and religious stigma, and then a mom with a fever. As if He’s saying - my power is capable for every degree of infirmity. And I don’t see them as more challenging, or less challenging; more serious or less serious - not in the way you, others around you, society as a whole, sees them.

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yourself in the leper’s sandals for a second. He likely spent years of being “unclean” socially and regarded as an outcast, with years of not being able to give a hug, to receive a high five, or even a fist bump.

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But notice the varying degree of healing that Jesus performs in these We are invited to three stories: A social do the very things outcast with a permaHe was doing, and nent disease. A roman is doing to this day. officer’s servant suffering But the first step is terribly. A mom with a fever. And after these to follow Him. three miracles, the bible says that Jesus continued to heal those that were demon possessed and sick (see Matt. 8:16) All of this is wrapped up in the prophetic word of Isaiah, written by Matthew here in verse 17 to point to who this Jesus really is: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” (Isaiah 53:4). In fact, let’s look at the full scope of how Isaiah describes Jesus' healing power in verses 4-6: “Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,

and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Have you ever considered that Jesus didn’t come just to live a good life, nor did He come just to die for our sins? Perhaps He came to do both? To show us the way back to God through His death and resurrection, but also to demonstrate the life we were created and called to live! It’s in the call of every Christian - to follow Him, then as you follow to become like Him, and as you become like Him, you’ll find yourself doing the things He’s doing. Jesus is doing precisely what Isaiah the prophet prophesied the Messiah would do. This Jesus has authority to heal the sick. Not only that, He has given you and I this same authority (Matthew 10:8) “Give as freely as you have received!” (NLT). It’s part of following Jesus, that we are invited to do the very things He was doing, and is doing to this day. But the first step is to follow Him. See how He lives and breathes. How He behaves and speaks. Who He cares about and how He handles the ‘stigmas’ of life. I think you’ll be surprised, but more, you’ll be able to participate in the restorative work of Jesus the Christ in your homes, neighborhoods and communities.

Thaddeus is the pastor at 704 Church in Indian Trail, NC. He's married to Kristen and the father of Jackson, Rosie and Lincoln. He enjoys being outside, reading, watching a good romantic comedy and almost every sport, but especially watching the Crimson Tide. Learn more about him and his ministry at 704church.org.

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And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. Exodus 33:19

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