This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
DO YOU WILLINGLY
OBEY GOD OR DOES
get in the way?
craft a mission
2 © exemplify magazine
Cover image: © Alena Root | Dreamstime.com
3 © exemplify magazine
This month the Exemplify team is bringing you heartfelt content flled to the brim
with encouraging articles on living obediently.
Psalm 119:33 has long been a prayer of mine.
Psalm 119:33 (The Message)
“God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give
me insight so I can do what you tell me— my whole life one long,
I pray this month our magazine will challenge you to walk obediently with our
Savior. I pray we would allow the Lord to teach us lessons for living; that we would
be women who readily respond to the call of our King.
May our lives be lived in obedient response to His love.
In King Jesus,
4 © exemplify magazine
c o nt e nt
AN AMERICAN WOMAN IN AFRICA
Judith Roberts interviews
Jessica Ruiz .
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED? P.46
Patty Wysong feature.
HE LEADS, I FOLLOW P.50
Melissa Mashburn feature.
A control freak embraces obedience.
MOVING TOWARD HOLINESS P.32
FAITH APPLIED P. 36
If I must eat locusts, can they at least
be chocolate covered?
A WILLING LIFE OF
A WILLFUL SINGLE GIRL P.14
Do you willingly obey God?
THE KEEPING OF THE WORD P.42
MINISTRY ONLINE WITH AMYP.36
Crafting a mission statement for your
with the fonts of
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.
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 fnd 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!
Director of Social Networking/ Web Editor/Singles 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! thesingle-
Director of Communications
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 mak-
ing 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.
Director of Ministry Support/ Fiction & Apologetics Column/ Web Editor
Tara Rachel 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 Pas-
tor’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.
Meet the Magazine Team
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
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 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 pas-
sionate life flled with compassion, grateful to be called daughter of the Most High
God. Visit Wendy at thoughtsthatmove.blogspot.com/ or wendypainemiller.word-
Bible Study Columnist
Victoria began writing from Scripture out of the sheer inability to keep a
good thing to herself--the exception being brownies, those she refuses to
share. Soon after delving into her frst Bible study, it became clear that God
was building a ministry through this new-found love for His Word. Whether
she is homeschooling, housewifng, or hiding from the laundry heap, God
continues to grow Victoria through the ministry He set in motion...and she
continues to hog all the brownies.
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 fnd her sipping a cup of coffee, home schooling her chil-
dren, 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.
7 © exemplify magazine
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, pioneer-
ing… visit her at amybayliss.com.
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 cof-
fee. Visit her blog at http://alisonlhunt.blogspot.com.
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 fnding Jesus in the everyday. Director
of Clinical Services for a local Crisis Pregnancy Center with a BS in Psychology
and MA in Counseling.
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 Bap-
tist church in various keys roles, hobbies include reading, writing, needle &
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 fock. Her ministries in the past included leading women Bible stud-
ies; 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.
8 © exemplify magazine
Meet our New Team Members
Moving Toward Holiness Columnist
Lori’s mom insists that she came out of the womb ‘talking’ and has not stopped since. Lori how-
ever, insists that over the past 41 years she has learned a thing or two about listening as well.
Especially, when it is God who is doing the talking. 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 Devo-
tions, an online daily devotional site for women. She is also involved in several other online min-
istries. You’ll fnd her at Heart of the Matter and most recently she became the Moving Toward
Holiness columnist at Exemplify. Lori is passionate about helping women apply the teachings of
Christ to their modern, busy lives. Lori is involved in women’s ministries and youth ministry in her
church, Crossroads United Methodist, a plant church in her community. Along with church minis-
try, Lori teaches classes at her homeschool co-op, keeping her continually connected with today’s
young people. She often wishes she could shout from the mountain top that this is all by the grace
and mercy of God.
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!
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. My Chris and I have been married for 18 years on August 10th
this year. We have truly grown up together. We love to be together and are the best of
friends! Although it is rare that we have alone time, we search for it like treasure. We
are each others’ prayer warriors and biggest cheerleaders.
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 on the side. 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.
Also, through blogging, I have compiled a cookbook for Beth Moore and for all the blog-
ging Siestas on her blog. All the proceeds have gone to build clean water wells through
Life Outreach International. So far, we have raised over $2,700! I love when God does
In every season of our lives, God is faithful.
10 © exemplify magazine
I am your typical frst born child. Cautious to a fault, a mother hen concerned over her baby chicks (ask some of my
college buddies!), a nurturer by nature with a strong sense of right and wrong, justice and injustice. Some would
call me a control freak and I won’t argue that point here. It’s mostly true. I fnd comfort in being behind the scenes;
running things always seems to fow smoother than without attention, I’ve always thought. I considered myself a
good child growing up; rarely did I get into any serious trouble. I liked to make my teachers and parents happy, and
pretty much any other authoritative fgure was well respected by me. I was just obedient enough to mask any sense
of the rebellious side brimming under the surface of a goody two shoes church girl. Sometimes it was in the way I
would drag my feet to do a chore, other times in the speeding down a stretch of road that was empty and clear of
any highway patrolmen. All those kinds of things that nobody would notice; no one, that is, except for God.
Now I’m an adult. I still mask my rebellious ways well. I call myself stubborn. Strong-willed. Tenacious. Control-
freak. I call myself these things with an almost pride. But make no mistake. Sin is sin. A willful heart isn’t an obe-
dient heart. And the older I get the more I realize I’ve missed out on so many blessings from God in the name of
being a stubborn control-freak.
I started this year of pondering these things and the way my life has been run up until now. Some things, by the
grace of God, have gone well. But so many other things are marked with regret and failure. As I bemoaned these
circumstances and life choices and struggles to God, pleading with Him to change whatever in me was making
such shambles of my life, He answered me in a most unexpected way. With two words. Two simple words, paired
together in a song I had learned as a child. “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus, than to
trust and obey.” Really? Trust and obey? Could it be that simple (and simultaneously so hard)?
So I decided this year I would embark upon a new journey with God. One of the simplicity of trusting Him and
obeying what He says. I have absolutely no idea what will happen. That scares the control freak in me to no end.
But then I remember, never before in any other year have I ever known what would happen, yet I held on so tightly
to this irrational sense of control, thinking somehow it would help. Turns out it has only hurt me. Now I want
You know what I’m fnding out? This road of trust and obedience is marked with unexpected blessings. Just like
the psalmist penned,“By your teachings, Lord, I am warned; by obeying them, I am greatly rewarded.” Psalm
19:11 CEV. In God’s economy trust plus obedience equals blessing. If I want the most I can get out of life it’s going
to come from submitting myself before God and doing what He commands. Pure and simple obedience.
The old me would cringe at words like submission and obedience. The connotation always seemed to imply a pup-
pet without any say, without any input into his own life. That’s truly how I felt. How could I have been raised in
the church and believed that obedience meant bondage and self-will meant freedom? Was I even listening? I don’t
want to come to the end of my days and hear God say to me what he had once said to the rebellious children of Is-
rael, “How I wish that you had obeyed my commands! Your success and good fortune would then have overfowed
like a fooding river.” Isaiah 48:18 CEV. Just reading those words makes me shudder over the way my life could
go, and hope instead that it will be marked with obedience.
Merciful God that He is, I’ve learned He doesn’t leave us on our own in our efforts to comply in obedience to His
commands. “Teach me to follow your will and I will obey your truth. Always keep me faithful.” Psalms 86:11. God
will show us how to obey His will. He will keep us faithful; all we need is to have a willing heart for Him to work
obedience through us. How humbling it is to know that God asks us to obey and then comes along and enables to
be able to do so. Oh Lord, teach me to be an obedient child!
Written by Kara Cox
12 © exemplify magazine 12
Rev Up Your
Written by Wendy Miller
It’s easy to slip into a lull this time of
year. There’s a time for lulls. But then
there’s also a time for tapping into your ad-
venturous side. Why not now?
Before I give you a list of ways to pump up
your plans, I’m going to share an example that
redefined my concept of adventure, one that
broke the mold of all things humdrum.
Years ago, I got hooked on a TV program fol-
lowing a group of sojourners on an impossibly
intense trek through New Zealand. They climbed
heights of mountains to what seemed like a
finger-numbing, foot-rotting, dangerous point
of no return. Their dedication prevailed. They
ached. They moaned. They fought through great
trials and surmounted not only mountains, but
also entrenched battles of conflict. I was fas-
cinated by the psychology behind their excur-
sion. I loved the exploration, the man vs. na-
ture (in addition to man vs. man and man vs.
self) aspect of the show. I watched, pinpricked
with awe and slight jealousy of those who dared
to endure such a momentous journey.
After seeing this show my idea of adventure
rose to a pretty high standard. I understand
most of us feel no desire to climb mountains
until we experience breath-altering, bone-
tingling exertion. But are there other ways we
can take a bigger bite out of life? There are
smaller, more realistic examples of revving up
our adventurous spirits.
When was the last time you tried something new?
When did you last step out in faith?
I’ve categorized the steps to rev up your ad-
venture into four categories: faith, mind,
body, and relationships.
Adventurous Spirit of Faith:
* Pick a verse, any verse and make it part
of your mission statement. When we lived
in Lexington, Kentucky, our pastor en-
couraged the congregation to build a life
statement of passion based on Scripture.
He walked us through one, explaining
how Paul proclaimed, “to live is Christ. To
die is gain” in Philippians 1:21. Have at it.
Find a verse that you can build a visionary
* Serve. Volunteer. Put your faith into
action. This is the adventure that gives
back. Not only do others reap the benefts
of your pouring time and attention into
them, I can almost guarantee that you’ll
feel better too. Serving is one of the best
ways to live out faith. And it feels good
and right to demonstrate faith through ac-
tion and not just words.
“To this end I labor, struggling with all his
energy, which so powerfully works in me.”
* Ask God to reveal something new
(about himself) to you every single day.
Revel in it when He makes good on this.
I believe God delights in revealing him-
self. The excitement comes when you start
seeing God show up in places and people
that you might have missed before. Hav-
ing your eyes peeled open is a thrilling ad-
“So here’s what I want you to do, God help-
ing you: Take your everyday, ordinary—
your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and
walking-around life—and place it before
God as an ofering. Embracing what God
does for you is the best thing you can do
for him.” Romans 12, The Message
13 © exemplify magazine
Adventurous Spirit for your Mind:
* Puzzles. Not complicated here. Cross-
word puzzles, mind teasers, riddles, foor
puzzles all help to increase brain activity.
Work that brain of yours. It will thank you
when you’re a sharp old whippersnapper.
* Plan something. A trip. A party. Your
future. Putting a game plan together can
prove stimulating. Spend time plotting
out a story, mapping out a vacation, or
calculating a better budget. Mental prepa-
ration pulls you out of the routine of here
and now when at times that’s needed.
Get excited for something. If you don’t
have anything in the works to get excited
about…plan for it.
All we have is to decide what to do with
the time that is given to us.
— J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the
* Challenge negative thinking. I remem-
ber watching Phil McGraw years ago
when he addressed behavior replacement.
The gist goes something like this: If you’re
doing something you don’t want to do, in
order to stop doing it you’ll need to replace
it with another activity. Try this with your
negative thoughts, i.e. complaining. Ask
God to change your heart and transform
your mind, renewing it for things of Him.
Then, fnd a verse to replace your ugly
thought with. I know, from experience,
this one works.
* Create stories. If you’re anything like
me you hibernate during the winter. When
I deck the kids out in pufy winter jackets
and pull myself into the cold, I need to
provide incentive. One such incentive for
me is always the excitement about who I
might run into. It’s not that I might know
anyone at the grocery store or the library,
but more the stories I’m able to create
when I observe them. This one is great
for long car trips. As a family you can play
it, imagining details about the lives of the
people in the car next to you.
Adventurous Spirit for your Body:
* Walk. Run. Move. There are count-
less studies depicting evidence that ex-
ercise energizes and motivates. Exercise
reaps hundreds of benefts for the body.
Winter months are famous for sprawl-
ing on couches and snacking on one
more (you name it…snack with choco-
late conveniently in it). The destination
isn’t important for this example. Just get
up. Get that body moving. And feel the
* Get lost. Have you ever driven with-
out knowing where you were headed?
I have and almost every time I’ve done
this I’ve cranked my music and opened
the windows. It’s fun. It’s not climbing
the Alps or earning a Pulitzer Prize, but
it’s changing your atmosphere. Some-
times all we need to get out of a funk is a
change of scenery. What are you waiting
for? Go get lost.
* Undertake a new project…painting,
a craft, (this one applies to body, mind,
faith…and potentially even relation-
ships). I experienced a summer a few
years ago where I had to paint. Any and
everything I could get my hands on…I
HAD to paint. And what an adventure
it proved to be. I ended up refurbishing
pieces of furniture into beautiful renova-
Life is pure adventure, and the sooner
we realize that, the quicker we will be
able to treat life as art.
— Maya Angelou
Adventurous Spirit for your Relation-
* Say something you’ve always want-
ed to say. We hold back for so many
reasons, some founded and some not.
Most often I fnd we refrain from saying
things because we are afraid. Afraid of
becoming hurt, afraid of hurting, the list
goes on. But we aren’t called to spirits
By telling someone the truth we exude a
spirit of adventure if we are express our
words with love and Spirit-led intentions.
Especially if the thing you’ve always wanted
to say is a word of encouragement or an af-
frmation, go ahead, today is the day…say it.
* Forgive someone. You might be wonder-
ing why this one constitutes as an adventur-
ous act. I can think of few things as adven-
turous as the continual act of forgiveness.
Often it takes immeasurable courage, tenac-
ity, surrender and raw honesty to forgive.
Forgiving is one of the most Godly forms of
Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.
— Helen Keller
* Surprise a loved one. Buy fowers.
I’ve had some of my dear friends do this
for me unexpectedly and it transformed
my day. Write a letter to your spouse and
send it to their work place. You should
have seen my husband’s ordinarily stoic
face the day he received my note. Give a
gift. Do something to throw someone off
guard by your kindness. Surprise your-
self. Risk. Go out on a limb for someone.
Don’t give in to boring routines and ex-
pected reactions. Be different by living
Life is waiting. To rev up your faith you
can pinpoint a verse to build a vision
sentence around, serve and ask God to
reveal Himself to you expecting results.
You can churn your mind by doing puz-
zles, planning, replacing negativity and
creating. Moving your body, getting lost
or taking on a new creative project each
contribute to an exploratory you. Final-
ly, relate with others on a deeper level
by taking some risks. Say what’s been
brewing inside you, forgive someone
and initiate surprises.
We want to live extraordinary lives for
Christ, don’t we? So get out there. Have
an adventure. Forget that—Make an Ad-
venture out of life!
A Willing Life
of a Willful
Written by Christy McGraw
15 © exemplify magazine
I am a rule follower.
I always have been.
I have never been to a principal’s of-
fce or fean’s offce in school. I was
only pulled over one time and it was
for something beyond my control.
I have long prided myself on follow-
ing the rules. I only lacked obedience
in one area and one area only…. my
I obeyed our God when I wanted to.
Many times I choose to ignore the
pulling of the Spirit. For many reasons.
I did not feel comfortable, it was the
“wrong” time, and fat out because I
just did not want to.
As a grad student I was blessed
enough to have two classes with a
very well known pastor in the Atlanta
area. I so enjoyed his classes. He chal-
lenged me and I learned a great deal.
One day one of his lessons hit home in
a big way. He talked of Willingness vs
Willfulness. He had one question for us.
Do you willingly obey God or does
your own willfulness get in the
At frst I though of course I willingly
obey God. I mean what “good” Chris-
At the end of the class he told us to
think about it, really think about it. On
my long drive home I thought about
and reasoned it out.
As I pulled into my driveway I knew I
had a big problem. I was very willful in
my relationship with God.
This is love for God: to obey his com-
mands. 1 John 5:3a (NIV)
I searched the Word about obeying
and obedience. I was heartbroken
over what I read. How could I say I
loved God when I did not obey Him? As
I prayed to God I asked Him to help me
understand why I was so willing to obey
earthly rules but not His commands.
As I spent time in prayer and journaling
the answer slowly came.
I did not completely trust God. Because
of things in my past and one big thing
in my present I did not trust God to do
what was best in for me.
I knew He loved me.
I knew I loved Him.
Trust? My heart was guarded and I
wanted my life the way I dreamed. Not
the way He had planned.
I had seen some of His plans and
was not very happy with them. I
thought I could plan my life the way
I thought it should be: with little to no
input from Him.
As I started to sort through the mess I
had made of my life I became over-
whelmed by my own willfulness. My
own sin of disobedience.
A willful life is a disobedient life.
I was stuck. I did not know what
to do. The more I read in the Word
about obedience the more discour-
aged I became. All I knew was that
I kept hearing that favorite Proverb
in my head over and over…..Trust
in the LORD with all 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 (NIV). How could it be
so simple? You just trust, not in your
own understanding, acknowledge
Him and He will make your paths
straight. Why does it sounds so easy
yet in reality is so hard?
The more I read in the Word about
trust the more I wanted to trust. There
were so many verses about trusting
in the Lord and having a glad heart.
A hopeful heart.
At the time my heart defnitely
needed some hope. My personal
life had received blow after blow
of hurtful and negative things. My
heart was so bruised.
I decided to start slowly. I would
turn one thing over to Him. I laid
one thing before the throne. One
That one thing: it became some-
thing beautiful in my life.
Slowly I began to hand more things
over to Him. My family. My friends.
Every single part of my life. Except
I just could not lay it down at His
I felt as if I could do a better job of
fnding someone. And so I tried. For
two years I continued to try. And
I made mess after mess and was
heartbroken more than once. Slow-
ly my willfulness became too much.
My willing life was quite wonderful.
My willful single life was a disaster.
The end of 2008 was a stepping
point for me. I decided to lay my
Singleness down at His Feet. I could
do it no more. There was no joy in
my life in that area.
My year of Journey. The biggest
part of the journey for me was in
my singleness. Sometimes my willful
side would take over and I would
snatch up my singleness from where
I had laid it…only to lay it down
again when I came back to my
senses. This year was the frst year
my singleness lay at His Feet more
than mine. And it was my best year
as a single girl yet!
He blessed me tremendously…He
gave me this column and then the
singles channel started on Exempli-
fy. It was absolutely amazing. I am
still in awe.
All because I did one simple thing.
Trust. In that trust came obedience.
Of course at times it is still a struggle.
Each day is a choice. My willfulness
does come out at times….but my
willingness is there most days.
Trust and obedience bring hope.
On a hard day this is what I try to
remember. My trust in Him brings
obedience. My obedience brings
joy, peace, and hope to my heart.
May the God of hope fll you with
all joy and peace as you trust in
him, so that you may overfow with
hope by the power of the Holy Spir-
it. Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Look to eternity and the rest will fall
17 © exemplify magazine
Visit Exemplify’ s Singles Channel today @ http://exemplifyonline.com/singles/
18 © exemplify magazine
let’s get honest
One of my most favorite verses pertaining to parent-
ing is Ephesians 6:1. Say it with me now, Moms:
Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only
I mean, what better verse for admonishing our chil-
dren with when they just won’t pay attention, right?
Too bad it doesn’t work.
I know. I’ve used it. A lot.
“Emma, I told you to clean your room and you’re not
obeying me. Don’t you know what the Bible says
about children obeying your parents?”
(insert 10 year old eye roll here)
“Hannah, stop disobeying me, sit down, and eat your
supper. When the Bible said you were supposed to
obey your parents, it meant all the time, not just on
(insert 8 year old eye roll here)
“Ethan, quit pestering your sisters! I’ve told you that
a thousand times today – why do you have to disobey
me? Do I need to teach you Ephesians 6:1 again?”
(insert 5 year old eye roll here!)
It wasn’t until recently that I actually paid attention
to the verses immediately after verse 1, particularly
Fathers (and yes, mothers!), don’t exasperate your
children by coming down hard on them. Take them
by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.
At the risk of having you call the authorities, I’m going
to be brutally honest for a moment about some of my
parenting weaknesses; in particular, my habit of coming
down hard on my children.
I love my kids. Deeply. I give thanks for them every
single day – even on the days they drive me to distrac-
tion! But those days when the disobedience runs high,
the days where sisters are yelling at little brothers, little
brothers are doing everything in their power to not do
as they’re told, and all turn up their noses yet again at
whatever happens to be on the supper table, I often lose
it. I lose my patience. I lose my cool. I say things a lot
louder than I probably should. I say things I regret. And
during those moments, parenting with grace is thrown
out the window as I come down hard.
Do I intend to be this way? No. I hate it. And I don’t
know who feels worse afterward: the kids or me.
These times of frustration for me are just as exasper-
ating for my family. No wonder some days obedience
seems to be a foreign word!
But, when I stop and get some perspective, these are
the things that I am reminded of:
First, I am not alone. I am not the only mother to blow
it and lose her cool with her children half a dozen times
in one day. In fact, it is heartening for me to hear about
other women in the trenches of motherhood!
Secondly, the things I tend to worry about aren’t really
as important as cultivating a spirit of obedience towards
God. Yes, it is necessary for our children to learn to do
as they are told. But you know what? They’re kids. And
as kids, they are going to forget, just like I “forget” to
obey God at times.
Written by Andrea Mitchell
19 © exemplify magazine
In fact, did you catch the last part of Ephesians 6:4?
“Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the
We all have diferent levels of tolerance when it comes
to how clean our houses should be and how much food
should be consumed at the table. Ultimately though, it
is not going to matter in ten years if our kids’ rooms are
messy today. (Oh, that was a hard truth to write for neat
freak me!) What does matter is that our children are
walking in the ways of the Lord.
Then God said, “Shall I keep back from Abraham what
I’m about to do? Abraham is going to become a large
and strong nation; all the nations of the world are going
to fnd themselves blessed through him. Yes, I’ve settled
on him as the one to train his children and future family
to observe God’s way of life, live kindly and generously
and fairly, so that God can complete in Abraham what
he promised him.” Genesis 18:17-19 (MSG)
In order for God to complete His good plan through
Abraham, Abraham (and Sarah) had to instruct their
children in the way of the Lord. Part of that instruction
came from living those very ways, and part of it came
from verbally teaching their children, as in Deuterono-
my 6:6-9: “Write these commandments that I’ve given
you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and
then get them inside your children. 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
They had to live and breathe God’s ways in order to
teach their own children to follow God’s ways. Nowhere
in these verses does God say our children have to clean
their plate or their room (too bad!). In fact, I’m willing
to step out on a limb and suggest that when God tells
our children to obey their parents, so they may it may be
well with them and they may live long on the earth (see
Exodus 20:12), that He was referring to the instructions
their parents give them in living their lives for God.
(Of course, cleaning their room once in a while doesn’t
Thirdly, even in those moments when I lose all hope, on
days when I feel like my children are never, ever going to be
the picture of obedience I desire them to be, I can hold fast
to this promise in Proverbs 22:6:
Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (NIV)
If we as parents are faithful to instruct our children in the
ways of God, if we are faithful to live lives of obedience to
those ways ourselves, our children will not depart from
Lastly, on those days when I’ve forgotten to extend a mea-
sure of grace to my beloved children, God reminds me of
this very important truth: His grace is extended to me.
He often demonstrates that grace to me through my own
children when I go to them and let them know I am sorry,
that I was wrong for losing my cool, and that I love them
very much. Because when I do this, they forgive me, even
though I don’t deserve it.
Love covers a multitude of sins indeed.
Let’s make it our focus to not only raise children obedient
to the tasks we give them, but children who are obedient to
the ways of God.
Let’s set their feet to walk the right path so they never de-
part from it.
How are you doing in training your cHildren in tHe
way tHey sHould go? are you focused on tHe tempo-
ral or tHe eternal? wHat can you do to make sure
your cHildren set tHeir feet on tHe rigHt patH to-
20 © exemplify magazine
Woman in Africa
Written by Judith Roberts
21 © exemplify magazine 21
In less than a month, I will be in the middle of Africa…
– Jessica Ruiz, Feb. 12, 2006
“I was called to missions starting with a trip to Wales,” Jessica
Ruiz said. “That was my frst international trip. I spent two
summers in another West African country, Senegal, doing mis-
sions there. When I graduated, I struggled because I wanted to
get a job and prove I could be successful. God was telling me
to go to Niger.”
Jessica is a beautiful 25-year-old with a heart for God and a
love for Africa – and anyone who speaks to her can sense the
passion and desire she has to minister to others. She’s served
on several mission trips, both in the United States and over-
seas. She’s bubbly, open, and patient –three fantastic traits for a
This University of Alabama-Birmingham graduate spent two
years after college as an International Mission Board journey-
man in Niger, where she fell in love with the people and the
culture and sought to bring them the Word of God.
“I was a relational evangelist,” Jessica said. “I was getting to
know the people so I could share the gospel. That was my sole
While there, Jessica learned Fulfulde, the language of the
people she ministered to, even though French is the offcial
language of the country.
“I can speak (Fulfulde) better than I can speak French, and I
took French in college,” Jessica said. “I had to learn Fulfulde to
get around and to live.”
Despite my plans, preconceived notions, and even history, God
is showing how his ways are far from anything I could have
ever imagined…Life here is not what I expected. My work
does not match my job description. Each day is different from
the previous one. God is continually changing the direction in
which he wants me to go and the way in which to get there.
Sometimes my activities are typical, often not. I just laugh
about it and remind myself of 1 Cor. 10:31 – whatever I eat or
drink or whatever I do, I must do it all for the glory of God.
Jessica Ruiz, Sept. 4, 2006
Coming home at the end of her two years as a journeyman
was diffcult, Ruiz said. While she did miss her family and
friends, she had grown to love the people of Niger and those to
which she was ministering.
“It was stinking hard coming back,” Jessica said. “The work
isn’t done there. I fell in love with the people and the culture.”
The good news is that Jessica is not alone in her love for Africa.
After all, she met her husband, Daniel, in Niger.
“He came to Niger one summer with other college students from
the States,” Jessica said. “I was his supervisor.”
While there was no romantic attachment then, Jessica and Daniel
corresponded through e-mail as friends, which proved benefcial
when, at the last minute, the IMB moved Jessica to Ruston, La. –
“When I moved here, he was the only person I knew,” Jessica said.
“We automatically started hanging out. After spending so much
time with him, I realized the passion he has for missions and the
love for Africa he has.”
Daniel graduated with his bachelor’s degree at Louisiana Tech
University in 2009, and both he and Jessica still feel the call to
“We want to go back oversees, and I think that’s where God will
send us,” Jessica said. “We’re just not sure when that will happen.”
I miss Niger. I miss the mission family. And Alatou. Razak. Balla.
Sharif. Tombaye. Chaibou…
I miss the blessings and even the challenges. I miss the simplicity
of life. Reality.
I miss the neighborhood kids.
I miss greeting everyone in town: the egg seller, phone card seller,
tire repairman, the meter-reader man, the bus manager, the onion
I miss communicating (or trying to) in so many languages.
Jessica Ruiz, Jan. 29, 2008
“(If you’re thinking about missions) just pray about it and do it,”
Jessica said. “Everyone should at least try, and God can clarify
your role in missions – to go or stay as a supporter.”
I miss sharing God’s story with a people who don’t know Christ.
They’ve accepted a world of lies. They are afraid…of change, of
what people will think…
Life here (in America) isn’t simple. It isn’t even reality.
But even here, many have accepted a world of lies and are
Jessica Ruiz, Jan. 29, 2008
22 © exemplify magazine
“In the begInnIng was the word, and the word was wIth god, and the word was
god”… “and the word became flesh and lIved among us, and we have seen hIs glory, the
glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1 & 14, nrsv).
Jesus was god, even as he was man. he was a father’s only son, full of grace
and truth…and he was full of obedIence to hIs father as well. even In hIs
own deIty, It was clear that the lord was dIrectIng chrIst’s path. how much
more then, do we non-deItIes need that dIrectIon leadIng our own?
we’re goIng to spend some tIme and prayer In the word as our father teaches
us the beauty of obedIence through the beautIful lIfe of hIs son! let’s pray
for wIsdom and dIscernment to IllumInate the paths to our applIcatIon of hIs
as you reveal the role and Importance of obedIence In our lIves, we trust that
you wIll also show the ways In whIch you requIre us to obey. we have hId-
den areas of rebellIon and we have wIde-open dIsregard for your precepts.
lord, place wIthIn us a convIctIon—a resolve—to meet your goals for our
lIves! we thank you for the wIsdom you lend us In your word and the
strength you wIll become for us In the battles ahead.
In the name of your perfect son, we pray these thIngs, amen.
How Can I Be
Written by Victoria Jenkins
September 2008 magazine 23 23 © exemplify magazine
One of my new favorite tools in study-
ing Scripture is my Classics Devotional
Bible. Being a lover of God’s Word
and of classic literature, I can’t think
of a better way to spend a few minutes
here or there on those days when a
deep soaking just isn’t an option. In
my preparation for this month’s study,
I came across a devotional writing by
A.W. Tozer, entitled Emptiness Be-
fore Fullness. In this piece, Tozer puts
things simply and spectacularly when it
comes to Christian obedience. We’ll be
digging on his words and delving into
the Word of God as we seek deeper
The opening sentences are enough
to send us to the feet of our King in
humility and frankly, in complete and
“Before there can be fullness there
must be emptiness. Before God can fll
us with himself we must frst be emp-
tied of ourselves.”
Embarrassing to think we could miss
such an obvious truth, isn’t it? Still, I
miss it every day. It sure can level a
girl, to see she’s no room in her “inn”
for the One who would save her from
the sin that ensnares. Being too full of
oneself sure doesn’t allow much wiggle
room for a Lord that loves to move in,
on, and through us! Don’t fret; you’re
not the only one who sometimes
forgets she’s not the only one. Tozer’s
words may have humbled us, but there
is immense power in Scripture, and our
God is waiting to lift our spirits as we
sit on scraped knees before Him. Our
Faithful Father has told us, “The saying
is sure: If we have died with him, we
will also live with him; if we endure,
we will also reign with him; if we deny
him, he will also deny us; if we are
faithless, he remains faithful—for he
cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:11-
Tozer’s devotional goes on to say, “It
is this emptying that brings the pain-
ful disappointment and despair of self
of which so many persons have com-
plained just prior to their new and radi-
ant experience.” Our need to devalue
ourselves apart from the saving grace
of God is evident. Scripture repeats
this directive time and again, yet it falls
anew on my weary and often wayward
heart. Does it do the same for you?
How is our Father calling you to die to
What steps are you taking toward or
away from His command?
List one way in which you can exercise
obedience toward His purpose today.
What is holding you back? Will you
continue to allow it to deter you?
For me, there is always the same one
word answer as to what is holding me
Whether it is my fear, my laziness, my
schedule, or even my inability, the an-
swer is always more about me than it is
about He who can accomplish exceed-
ingly above and beyond all I can ask
for or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
Are we sharing the same boat? Praise
God we aren’t in this ship without a
paddle! There is a way to move past
our unbelief and into obedience, and
using Scripture as his guide, Tozer es-
corts us on our journey. We’ve got four
stops along the way, so pack a snack
and invite a friend!
I’m not sure whether he intended for
each to fall in chronological order, but
it sure seems like the perfect order of
things. Our frst stop on the narrow
road to obedience is to surrender. Whip
out your white fag and wave it proud-
ly, sister! It is when we give up the fght
that our Savior can best fght for us. The
world would have us think that if it isn’t
about us, it can’t possibly be for us, but
God would have us think something
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers
and sisters, by the mercies of God, to
present your bodies as a living sac-
rifce, holy and acceptable to God,
which is your spiritual worship. Do
not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your
minds, so that you may discern what
is the will of God—what is good and
acceptable and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say
to everyone among you not to think of
yourself more highly than you ought
to think, but to think with sober judg-
ment, each according to the measure of
faith that God has assigned” (Romans
Surrender that urge to control your
world. Surrender your plans for the
Boy, you’d think it would be easier
since we’re so apt to giving up as it is.
Give up the struggle to succeed in this
world and our Father will ensure your
success…we simply cannot fail when
we are living within His plans for us!
What do you need to give up on in
order to give God His glory back?
What will be your frst bit of surrender?
And the next?
God will reward your efforts! Don’t
you take so much comfort and courage
from that truth?!
Once we’ve given over our own agen-
das in exchange for those of our Father,
we’ve got to ask the Lord to fll us in
on the details and to fulfll His purpose
through us. All too often, I fnd myself
stopping to ask for directions long after
the frustration of several failed attempts
to fnd my own way. I do it while lost
in my car, and I do it while lost in my
life. It’s silly, don’t you think? Silly be-
cause we have the assurance that when
we ask, it will be given. Silly because
we know that when we search, we will
24 © exemplify magazine
Even our knocking is met with opened doors, “for
everyone who asks receives, and everyone who
searches fnds, and for everyone who knocks, the
door will be opened” (Matthew 7:8, NRSV).
Do you fnd yourself at the wheel while the Holy
Spirit acts as the backseat driver “nagging” you all
the while? What can you do today to allow Him to
steer you in the way you should go instead of sim-
ply “pestering” you from the sidelines?
Ask God to drive—even if it freaks your freak a bit
to know you’re in for the ride of your life! It freaks
my freak a bit more than a bit, but we won’t let that
stop us, sister!
After surrender comes asking, and when we ask,
we receive. When it comes down to it, what we
most often receive, when asking something of the
Lord, is direction. Oh, He could do all the driving,
but He’d rather teach us to follow His lead. If you’re
anything like me, that’s a continual lesson! Free
will—that double-edged sword—is precisely why
our obedience is an ongoing struggle. We want to
obey. It’s just that the unseen battle surrounding us
and the one waging inside often leave us in a heap
of temporary setback and unbelief. Temporary,
sweet sister! Setbacks never last when put up to the
light of Christ, and unbelief is easily undone when
placed in the mighty hand of our almighty God!
“Complete and ungrudging obedience to the will
of God is absolutely indispensable to the reception
of the Spirit’s anointing.” A.W. Tozer
The sort of obedience we’re talking about here is
the observing, preserving, and reserving of God’s
will as paramount in our lives.
“For God has done what the law, weakened by
the fesh, could not do: by sending his own Son
in the likeness of sinful fesh, and to deal with sin,
he condemned sin in the fesh, so that the just
requirement of the law might be fulflled in us,
who walk not according to the fesh but accord-
ing to the Spirit. For those who live according to
the fesh set their minds on the things of the fesh,
but those who live according to the Spirit set their
minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind
on the fesh is death, but to set the mind on the
Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind
that is set on the fesh is hostile to God; it does not
submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those
who are in the fesh cannot please God.
“But you are not in the fesh; you are in the Spirit, since
the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have
the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is
in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is
life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised
Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from
the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his
Spirit that dwells in you.
“So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the
fesh, to live according to fesh—for if you live according to
the fesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death
the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by
the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive
a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received
a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that
very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are chil-
dren of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and
joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that
we may also be glorifed with him.” (Romans 8:3-17, NRSV).
Cry out with me, to our divine Daddy, sweet sister: “Abba!
Father! I want to obey; please show me how.” Let’s pray this
in those moments when we think our knees might give way
as we swoon from the weariness wrought by this world.
Again and again, we’ll ask this of the Lord, and we will re-
ceive instruction, and we will obey—because we believe.
Tozer wraps his list of four essentials to living that full life we
so desire with our need to believe each word written by our
infallible and ever faithful Father: each one whispered too.
Go beyond believing in the Lord and His unending power.
Believe the Lord and believe that His unending power ex-
tends to all of His children! Don’t just receive that spirit of
Since Tozer got us going, I’ll leave you with one last word
from his devotional, and with our Father, who can’t wait to
work His wonders in, on, and through you!
“As we wait before God we should reverently search the
Scriptures and listen for the voice of gentle stillness to learn
what our heavenly Father expects of us. Then, trusting in His
enabling, we should obey to the best of our ability and un-
derstanding.” Be flled, sweet sister!
Classics Devotional Bible, New Revised Standard Version Copyright 1996
by The Zondervan Corporation All Rights Reserved / Devotional from page
1208 Taken from Keys to the Deeper Life by A. W. Tozer. Copyright 1957 by
Sunday Magazine.Copyright 1987 by Zondervan Publishing House. Used by
permission of Zondervan Publishing House
25 magazine February 2010
For God, who
said, “Let light
shine out of
his light shine in
our hearts to give
us the light of the
knowledge of the
glory of God in
the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6, NIV
26 magazine February 2010
The Cake Story
27 magazine February 2010 February 2010 magazine 27
The Cake Story
Written by Holly Smith
Truer words were never spoken than when Stasi
Eldredge penned in her book Captivating the feel-
ing with which we women most struggle—we feel
like we’re “too much” and “not enough.”
We feel torn to bits among perfection, failure and
just plain giving up. We cannot decide if Martha
Stewart is attainable, because every time we try to
make the perfect meal and keep the perfect home
with a perfect centerpiece on the table, it would
seem, we fail.
There’s nothing to see here—no pictures of per-
fection. I’m just a woman, who wants to be more
like Martha in the Bible, when she understood
that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.
Such was my struggle on that week, when not
only my husband’s parents were coming to Colo-
rado, but also his aunt and uncle. I was pregnant
with our fourth child and felt inadequate to say
the least. You could say my reality show would be
called, “Woman Falls Short–in Everything.”
They all decided one day to take an excursion
up the mountain through a bumpy road called
Rampart Range that I knew I could not, should
not and would not take. I stayed at home alone
and decided to impress my guests with a fabu-
lous meal. Soon they would taste and see my mad
First I started boiling the chicken for the main
course of Chicken Pot Pie. Then, as it cooked, I
pulled out my friend Holly’s grandmother’s reci-
pe for Five Flavor Cake. I had prepared it quite a
few times before, so I felt confdent.
28 © exemplify magazine
As the cake was slowly baking in the oven,
I prepared the chicken pot pie, feeling like I
was the time-management, cooking, queen-
of-the-world. All of a sudden, as I was stir-
ring the flling, I began to smell something
“Hmm,” I thought, “the cake is almost done,
but surely it couldn’t be burning, yet.” The
burning began to smell electrical, then as I
glanced at the oven—it was afame!
I quickly turned off the oven, and grabbed
pot holders. The fames had died down and
the charred remains of cake sizzled (at this
point I thought my oven had sizzled and
died, too). I pulled the cake out and saw
that nearly 1/3 of the cake had cooked over
onto the element below. The cake was not
ruined, but it also wasn’t very pretty.
When I turned it over on the cake plate, I
realized how despicably ugly it was. But I
decided that it was still tasty enough to eat.
At this point I angrily and with vigor threw
the pan in the outside waste receptacle.
That evening around the table, I served
chicken pot pie, which was a hit by the way,
and cake. I, myself, ate some humble pie—
as my tube pan became fodder for the trash
man and my oven smelled every time I used
it for awhile, as a reminder. But at least the
oven worked, praise God!
Looking back, I see several aspects of my at-
titude that could have prevented that whole
First of all, the recipe came from my friend
in Arkansas, when we lived there. I had also
prepared it in Texas a few times, when we
lived there. But Colorado, 7000 feet alti-
tude and cakes can be tricky. I have since
learned that the recipe need not be altered
for high altitude, just fll the pan less full.
Also, I was full up with pride. I wanted to
impress everyone. But that left nothing for me
but a frustrating snare. I didn’t have to earn
their love or acceptance. I already was (and
am) loved and accepted by them.
Looking back I should have driven to the store
for some take out and watched “Pride and
Prejudice” again. It would have been received
just as well, and my spirit would have been
Even so, these are good recipes and worthy of
© exemplify magazine
Chicken Pot Pie
1 recipe of never fail pie crust or a pre-made pie crust from the
1 10 oz. pkg. frozen peas and carrots
1/2 c. onion, minced
1/4 c. butter
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
3/4 c. milk
3 c. cooked and diced chicken (save broth)–see How I cook
chicken for recipes.
1/4 c. pimento (optional)
1/4 c. parsley
1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1/3 c. four
1/4 t. sage
2 c. chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes
Cook peas and carrots according to package directions. Drain.
Melt butter in large saucepan. Sauté onion and mushroom for 3
minutes (until tender) on medium heat. Slowly stir in four, salt,
sage and pepper. Cook for 1 minute on low heat. Add broth, milk
and bouillon cubes. Cook on medium heat until thick and bub-
bly. Stir in vegetables, chicken, pimento and parsley. Heat until
Prepare pie crust and place in your pie pan. Pour mixture into pie
You may want to prepare another half recipe of the pie crust (or
use a second pre-made one) for a top. If you do this, be sure and
use a sharp knife to create a few cuts in the top (we like to make a
fower) or use a fork to put a few holes in it.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until crust is golden
Mamma Jean’s Five Flavor Cake
2 sticks butter
1/2 c. shortening
3 c. sugar, plus 1 c. sugar for glaze
5 eggs, well beaten
3 c. four
1/2 t. baking powder
1 c. milk
1 t. coconut extract, plus 1 t. for glaze
1 t. rum extract, plus 1 t. for glaze
1 t. butter extract, plus 1 t. for glaze
1 t. lemon extract, plus 1 t. for glaze
1 t. vanilla extract, plus 1 t. for glaze
1/2 c. water for glaze
Cream butter, shortening and 3 c. sugar ’til light and
fuffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Alternate adding dry ingre-
dients and milk. Stir in favorings (1 t. of each kind)–mix-
ing all together thoroughly.
Pour into greased 10″ tube pan (make sure flling is no
more than 3/4 full in the pan). Bake at 325 degrees for 1
1/2 hours. Cool 10 minutes and pour glaze evenly over
Glaze: In a small sauce pan blend together 1 c. sugar, 1/2
c. water and 1 t. each of the favorings. Boil until sugar is
melted and pour over hot cake in pan. Cool in pan for 30
minutes. Turn onto your favorite cake plate and serve.
30 © exemplify magazine
The Book Nook
with Deborah Boutwell
31 © exemplify magazine
Book one of The Fountain Creek Chronicles
sets the scene for the next two books to com-
plete this set. I actually read the third one
frst and recently went back and read them in
order. Rekindled is one of those books that I
couldn’t put down once started and I ended
up reading it in just a couple of days (very little
housework got done that weekend…but then
again, it never does: but I had a good excuse
I can highly recommend anything written by
Tamera Alexander; however, Rekindled is a
wonderful one to start with.
Set in Colorado Territory, 1868, “in the shad-
ow of Pikes Peak,’ Tamera starts her tale with
Larson Jennings returning home after an ex-
tended, unexpected absence to fnd his wife,
Kathryn, having, supposedly, moved on with
a new life. Hiding in the shadows, hidden by
scars that have disfgured him, Larson watch-
es and remembers the life they had together.
Some back-story is given to bring the reader
current with what had been happening with
Kathryn and Larson prior to his absence. You
will learn about the strain on their marriage
because of fnances and being unable to bear
“All she’d ever wanted was to be one with her
husband in every way. Was she at fault for
that? She felt an answer stirring inside her.
It was almost within her grasp. But then it
slipped away, like a whisper on the wind.”
Kathryn fnds herself alone with a mortgage
due. She must struggle to keep ranch hands
paid and ones willing to work with a wom-
an. Support is found in a faithful employee,
Mathew, and a new one, Gabe. They help her
after all the other hands leave and she must
relocate and fnd a job and lodging so she can
start to pay back on the large mortgage that
she didn’t know about. A few other things are
revealed about her husband along the way and
she has to learn to love him even with those se-
But is it too late? Can Larson trust Kath-
ryn even when he sees her with other men
and coming out of a house much like the
one he grew up in? His new faith gives
him the strength he needs to approach her,
but there is still some fear that keeps him
from fully revealing himself to her.
Kathryn begins to develop a friendship
with a new man in town, Jacob. In him,
she is reminded of missed opportunities
she had to love her husband and to be
loved by him.
“She remembered the many times in the
past when she’d wished Larson would have
held or touched her at a moment like this.
She could’ve asked him to and he would
have, no doubt. It was silly, she knew, but
somehow it wasn’t the same if she had to
ask…..Jacob’s hand covered hers on the
bench between them…Kathryn closed her
eyes, and tears slipped down her cheek. A
part of her heart long cordoned of slowly
opened, and she gasped softly at the loneli-
ness hoarded inside.”
Truths are revealed about why Larson
didn’t return and why he was the way he
was, some mysteries are solved and friend-
ships are found in the oddest places. The
theme of the book, of course, is about “re-
kindling” past loves…not just between a
man and a woman, but between God and
“He’d married a woman who loved God
more than she loved him, and for that Lar-
son would be forever grateful.”
Larson is hurt and under the care
of an odd couple. They teach him
how to love…not only his wife as
she should be loved, but to love
God. In the time that he spends
with Abby and Isaiah, Larson
must not only learn to live again,
but to love in a new way.
“He’d always believed in God.
What he hadn’t realized, some-
thing that Isaiah and Abby were
showing him, was…that God be-
lieved in him.”
Having been raised by a mother
that made her living in a house of
prostitution, Larson has a hard
time learning to trust and entrust
his heart to Kathryn. But that is
exactly what he must do if he ever
hopes to rekindle their love after
32 magazine February 2010
Written by Lori McMath
33 magazine September 2008
“If you are
will eat from
the best of the
34 © exemplify magazine
These were the words that she read.
“Jesus spoke to me. He said He loved you so much and has
seen your heart and is well pleased! He said, “I am your
God, I AM the Door. I will open the doors that no man will
close.” The devil would like to destroy you and the dream,
but I, the Lord, am your God, I am in control. Faint not my
child –look not to the left or to the right but keep your eyes
on Me. For I, Jesus Christ, have my hands on you. I and
only I will direct your path.”
At this point, I know what you’re thinking….
You’ve heard about these kinds of encounters before in ser-
mons and testimonies, however I’ve known this woman for
years and she is not one to embellish, much less lie. No, this
was personal and it was clearly of God. There were chills
when I read the email and tears when we spoke in person.
She had the kind of confrmation that we all pray for. God
clearly spoke to her because she was in communion with
Him; in a real relationship. She had been obedient to what
He had called her to do. He knew her questions, He knew
her exhaustion and He knew what she needed at precisely
the right time. Be assured or reassured, obedience has its
In the days and weeks that followed the word OBEDIENCE
flled my spirit. As I watched my friend move so clearly
in obedience, I refected on the role of obedience in my
own life. It became clear that it is a word that makes me a
“teensy” bit uncomfortable. I admire the virtue of obedi-
ence in her spirit and desperately wanted it in my life. If an
obedient spirit was what I longed for, then it became quite
clear that it was time to “move.”
That is when I found myself sitting squarely in the middle
of Romans 12. Let’s be honest, on the surface Romans 12
isn’t that overwhelming. It’s a very nice list, but if we aren’t
careful, we’ll fnd ourselves making little excuses and ratio-
nalizing our behavior towards the directives that are chal-
lenging to us. In a word, we’ll STOP moving or perhaps
worse yet, moving in an altogether different direction than
the Lord would have us go. We’ll become complacent and
adopt an attitude that will soon have us standing still in the
middle of our own lives.
Have a look at Romans 12;
To Move; it’s a beautiful and often overwhelm-
ing verb. Overwhelming perhaps because it re-
quires action on our part, and many times we
fnd ourselves unsure what that action should be.
Clearly, without action, we will remain still or even
stagnant; in essence, never moving. Holiness will
elude us without movement. As we strive to “Move
Toward Holiness” it’s my hope that this column
will open your eyes to just how beautiful the move-
ment toward holiness can be. Not overwhelming
or intimidating, but rather beautiful and graceful,
like the Lord Himself. Join me, as I’m honored to
be Moving Toward Holiness with you.
“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat
from the best of the land.” Isaiah 1:19
I have a friend and she is, in a word, OBEDIENT.
When we met six years ago, the Lord had placed
on her heart something much larger than herself,
and she, in obedience, began what she knew she
could not do on her own. To be honest it wasn’t
something that she had ever envisioned, but the
Lord spoke to her and she listened.
She was recently away on a trip to Ireland where
she hoped to step away and hear the Lord’s voice
and see confrmation that she was doing HIS
will. She was desperately trying to “be still” and
KNOW God’s purpose and His plan.
She shared with me that her daily prayer is this:
“Lord, as I commit my work to you, I thank you
that you are causing my thoughts, ideas, words,
actions, and deeds to be lined up with your will,
so that I will be established and have success. I am
earnestly seeking His plan. Many are the thoughts
in a man’s mind but it is His will that will be estab-
As she sat on the plane she was virtually unaware
of the person beside her, let alone what he was
writing. As the fight progressed and she continued
to be immersed in her own thoughts and prayers,
this complete stranger handed her his “electronic
something or other.”
35 © exemplify magazine
It’s in obedience that our “Movement Towards Holiness”
begins. I stand in awe of God’s greatness, as He took the
time to “speak” to my friend to let her clearly know that
her obedience was being noticed. Not necessarily by those
around her, (in fact many thought she was crazy,) but her
obedience was noticed by God. Noticed by God! Obedi-
ence isn’t something to dwell on or dismiss, but rather live.
Living in obedience isn’t always easy nor will
it likely make you the most popular gal on the
block, but the rewards of obedience are greater
than earthly matters. They are eternal. The
peace that comes from obedience is a peace that
truly transcends all understanding. It is a peace
that the world cannot understand. After much
practice and meditation, obedience penetrates
the soul, and that obedience simply becomes
who you are and how you live.
To guide you this month, I’ve attached an
“Overwhelming Obedience Journal.” I put it
together as a guide for myself as I strive to be-
come an obedient servant, and why not share? I
encourage you to use it this month as you focus
on obedience. Obedience was never intended to
be overwhelming, but obedience will have over-
whelming effects in your life. Using Romans 12
as a guide, journal your journey towards obedi-
ence this month and you’ll be overwhelmed in
“When we obey Him, every path He guides us
on is fragrant with His loving kindness and His
truth” Psalm 25:10 (TLB)
Click here to download your very own
36 © exemplify magazine
© Wam1975 | Dreamstime.com
If I Must Eat Locusts,
Can They Be Chocolate Covered?
Written by Jenifer Jernigan
37 © exemplify magazine
John the Baptist. The cousin of Jesus. Leapt in his
mother’s womb when he was in the presence of the
King as He grew in His own mother’s womb. The
prophet Isaiah foretold that John would be the one to
prepare the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3).
And that He did. Prepared the way. Preaching a mes-
sage of repentance while dressed in camel’s hair, John
captured the attention of the people so that Jesus could
capture their hearts.
Quite an odd fellow to be the “preparer of the Way”; but
then again, God does take those unlikelies and turns
them into heroes, warriors, leaders in His army. As odd
as John was, people were drawn to him. They came
from all over the land to see this peculiar “preacher man
who ate locusts” and listen to his foretelling of what was
Maybe it was his oddity that drew the crowds in.
Maybe it was the timely message he preached.
Maybe it was his out-of-the-box style.
Or, maybe it was his boldness.
Maybe it was his acceptance of all men and his intoler-
ance of the religious leaders that turned the heads of the
people his way.
Maybe it was the Person behind his message that beck-
oned men and women to come to him.
Whatever it was, or wasn’t, the people came and they
came in droves.
John the Baptist conveyed a message and he conveyed
John the Baptist created for a purpose; feshed out his
faith, or belief, in this purpose every day through the
way he lived his life; and in the end, died because of a
resolute dedication to his purpose in preparing the way
of the Lord.
Like John, you and I are created for a purpose, a
purpose that involves a daily feshing out of our faith
in the Lord.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; be-
fore you were born I sanctifed you; I ordained you a
prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5, NKJV
As warriors in God’s army, princesses belonging to
THE royal palace, we are called to live out our faith in
the King through our day-to-day activities.
Is faith feshed out through actions easy? Sometimes
yes…often times no.
Does feshed out faith look the same for everyone?
No, because God has placed each of us within a
specifc realm of infuence for such a time as this. Our
realms of infuence may not be the same, but the Mes-
sage we are to proclaim, the faith we are to fesh out,
never changes; and that is the message of and belief in
the only Truth that saves, heals, and restores the lost.
What are some “realms of infuence” you and I are a
part of? Whether you are married with children living
under your roof or out on their own, a single mom, a
widow, a college student living in a dorm or an apart-
ment, or a young person in middle or high school,
God has given each and every one of us a people
group to infuence. For the longest time I lived with
my eyes focused on the Masai people of Kenya, Af-
rica thinking they were the ones I would dedicate my
lifelong service to. God has since shown me that the
people I am to serve are those with whom I come in
contact with every single day.
Within the realm of infuence that God had positioned
John the Baptist, he was purposeful in his day-to-day
meetings and activities; he was bold, out-of-the-box,
and compassionate; John was fearless and 100% de-
voted to the ministry he was given; he was extremely
passionate and understood his purpose completely.
38 © exemplify magazine
As we think over the life of John the Baptist, the min-
istry he was called to, and the way in which he feshed
out that calling, let’s ask ourselves some questions
about how we are feshing out God’s purpose for our
• What do I need to do, what can I do in my life and
ministry to better get across the message of the
• Am I purposeful in everything that I do?
• Am I bold? Compassionate? Fearless?
• How is my deliverance of this very timely Message?
• Am I devoted and passionate in my preparation and
execution of the Message?
• Do I really understand my calling and my purpose
for where God has placed me?
• Am I helping and/or leading others to prepare their
hearts to hear from God?
• Are my attitudes, actions, thoughts, and words holy
• Am I willing to die for the sake of the Message?
John had a purpose, he knew what that purpose was,
and he embraced that purpose with a passion. His pur-
pose? To fesh out his faith in the One who was coming
to take away the sins of His people.
You have a purpose. I have a purpose. That purpose?
To fesh out our faith in the One who is coming again
to receive His bride, the church.
Fleshing out one’s faith is not always easy, so you and
I are going to walk this path together…encouraging,
sharing, and spurring one another until our Lord re-
turns. Do we have to wear camel’s hair and eat locusts
in order to fesh out our faith? Most likely not, but let’s
embrace our callings with a passion and boldness that
will turn the heads of the people to the Savior. And,
while we’re at it, how about a little chocolate to give us
an extra boast of energy!
“So let’s do it,full of belief,
confident that we’re presentable
inside and out. Let’s keep a firm
grip on the promises that keep us
going. He always keeps his word.
Let’s see how inventive we can be
in encouraging love and helping out,
not avoiding worshiping together as
some do but spurring each other on,
especially as we see the big Day
39 © exemplify magazine
Embracing our call
to grow the found.
Visit Exemplify’s Ministry Channel today!
40 © exemplify magazine
Why do you obey?
Certainly it is right to do so. Throughout
scripture God calls His people to obey,
warns them to obey, begs them to obey.
And as we walk out our Christian faith,
somewhere, some place deep inside of us
wants to obey Him. But why?
Have you felt the discipline of the Lord? I
have. I remember the day so clearly. Beau-
tiful spring bursting forth from every crevice
on the campus of Virginia Tech. I walked
from class to class the last semester of my
time there but the beauty was bittersweet to
me, so deep was I feeling the discipline of
So sweet a gift I had been given a few months
before, but I used it in disobedience. And
now I was losing it. A relationship. What
had started as the personifcation of inno-
cence had turned into an unholy ownership.
It wasn’t the frst time I had chosen disobe-
dience in this area of my life. But it hurt so
much more this time. There was so much
more to lose. Something that could have
been so special. Love lost for disobedience.
Was it worth it? No. And so I determined
in my heart never to disobey the Lord in this
area again. “I’ve learned my lesson Lord!
I’ve learned it the hard way!” Heels dug in
I determined never to walk that path again.
It hurt too much.
Sometimes we obey to avoid the pain of dis-
Has obedience brought you happiness? So
sweet was the kiss at the altar that day in
early June. We had waited almost four years
for this moment.
Written by Brooke McGlothlin
I was his and he was mine and for the
frst time we would be allowed to act
on that love. So many fancy tricks to
abstain that I look back and laugh.
“Your marriage will be so much better if
you wait!” they all said. And I believed
them. He was my best friend in the
whole world. No one knew the real me
better than he. The me with big dreams
for a beautiful career, a beautiful family
and a beautiful marriage.
One week into our marriage I looked
at myself in the mirror and thought,
“What have I done?” The realization
of forever took me over body and soul
that day, fresh from a new hurt…one of
the frst of many in this God-ordained
union that is such a blessing to me.
“But wait a minute,” I thought, “we
waited…we obeyed…this shouldn’t be
happening to us!
He’s my best friend! He’s supposed to
protect me, not hurt me…what have I
The white dress symbolized something
to me that day. And it still does. I re-
main convinced that our wait, hard and
long, was the right thing to do. But the
blessing I looked for…the result of obe-
dience I was sure I would get…doesn’t
look quite like I thought it would.
Sometimes we obey to gain happiness.
Has obedience brought you gain? Per-
haps you’ve been told that choosing
obedience will add something to your
• Financial freedom
• Material wealth
• A change in difcult circumstances
• Relief from hardship, sufering or
Sometimes we obey because we want
God to give us something in return.
Why do you obey?
So often I think we choose obedience
because of what we think God can do
for us. Protect us from pain, provide us
with happiness, bless us with things or
give us what we think we need. God
can do for us…provide for us…bless
us… and give to us. In fact I believe that
His heart is to do good for His children
But ponder this with me: What do you
need from God that He hasn’t already
What could you possibly need that is
any more important than your salva-
I know there are times when things
seem more important. The relation-
ship that is desperately in need of heal-
ing…the prodigal child who seems to be
moving further and further from God…
the loved one who hears the news that
there won’t be as much time left as they
There are times when we feel like we
could give up our salvation to gain that
which we desperately desire. But I sub-
mit to you this: Did Jesus not feel the
pain of loss? Did He not watch His
children turn away from the Truth?
Did He not see His loved ones’ lives
And yet, all of this, He counted worth
sufering for the sake of saving you…
“For I consider that the suferings of
this present time are not worth compar-
ing with the glory that is to be revealed
to us.” Romans 8:18 (ESV)
He has already provided for our
greatest need. Salvation. Recon-
ciliation with God. Security for
eternity. Rather than obedience
for the sake of what He can do for
us, obedience should come from a
heart grateful for what has already
How grateful are you for the
Cross? How grateful are you for
your place in the family of God?
How grateful are you that your
sins have been forgiven? If God
never gives you anything else…
will the Cross be enough?
Your answers will reveal your
heart…and then you’ll know the
answer to another question…
42 magazine February 2010
The Keeping of the Word
Have you seen the movie Catch Me If You Can? It is the true story of
Frank Abagnale, Jr., a one-time check forger who now works to design
secure checks for banks and businesses. A memorable scene in the
movie is when Carl Handratty, the FBI agent who is tracking Frank,
bursts into Frank’s hotel room while Frank is in the restroom. Carl sees
all the check printing paraphernalia and is certain he’s caught his man.
Up until this point, Carl has never seen Frank; he’s only been able to
track him by the fake checks he is cashing around the country. When
Frank comes out of the bathroom, Carl holds him at gun point; Frank,
realizing he better play it cool or get hauled off to jail, launches into a
story about how he is a member of the Secret Service and “his men”
have already caught the perpetrator and are putting him into a transport
vehicle. Carl, still aiming his gun at Frank’s head, says to him, “Let me
see some credentials.” Frank nervously tosses his wallet to Carl. The
wallet has a button closure, and Carl is unable to open the wallet and
hold the gun at the same time. Meanwhile, Frank distracts Carl into
looking at something else, and Carl, feeling reassured, forgets to look in
the wallet. It isn’t until Frank has gotten away that Carl looks into the
wallet and realizes he’s been taken.
Credentials. In certain areas of life, they are
critical. Doctors have diplomas from medical
schools and licenses from medical association.
Policemen have badges. Military personnel
have uniforms and ID cards. For many of us,
credentials are a big part in who we are, and
more importantly, how we react to someone.
Sometimes, though, we don’t ask for creden-
tials. When we watch the evening news, we
often don’t question if the news reports are
true or made up. We take them as true, actual
events. For Christians, we often do the same
thing with the Bible. We read it and take it
as Truth and don’t give a second thought to
where it came from.
Before we go any further, let me clarify
something. There is absolutely nothing wrong
with taking the Bible at face value. I myself
am a very faith-based person. This tendency
to believe without question has earned me
the title “gullible” many times in my life. I
read the Bible, I believe it, and there is no
question in my mind that it is Truth. That’s
enough for me. But to millions of nonbeliev-
ers around the world, that strategy is just not
good enough. They want the credentials of
We can open any research work and fnd a
bibliography, citations, forewards from other
topical experts endorsing its validity. But
what about the Bible? What are its creden-
tials? How do we know it is really the truly
inspired, inerrant Word of God? How do
we know that over the years it has not been
changed and altered by man? How do we
know it’s even been around that long?
In your opinion, why is it important to know
the “background” of the Bible?
These questions are critical as we move fur-
ther and further into a post-modern world. It
is more important now than ever to know why
we believe what we believe.
Written by Tara Rachel
As mentioned in the introduction, we are going to follow a
linear model in discussing evidence for the truths of the Bible
using a simple “point A to point B” method. Point A in this
case is studying the evidence that the Bible is real and true.
You cannot successfully discuss that Jesus was God and
salvation to a nonbeliever without using the Bible, and you
cannot use the Bible with a non-believer until you have given
substantial evidence to them that it is Truth and unchanged.
So without further delay, let’s look into the grand history of
the Book that is the foundation of our faith.
* * *
Let’s follow God’s example and begin our study at the
beginning. Where did the Bible come from?
It is important to note as we begin this section, that different
languages have been used in each ancient copy of our Bible,
and each will be discussed separately. The original lan-
guages of the Bible are Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Some
translations, such as the Latin translations, while not an
original Biblical language, offer great insight to the preserva-
tion of the Bible.
The Old Testament (OT)
The OT is comprised of several ancient manuscripts. We
will begin with a study of the ancient codices (singular:
codex). Codex is the Roman word for “writing tablet.” A
codex is similar to what we know as a bound book today.
Codices were scrolls cut into pages, papyri, and parchment
bound into book form so that the pages could be turned
The word “testament” comes form the Greek word diatheke,
which literally translates to “covenant.” What signifcance
can you see in this translation?
To begin, we will look at the Masoretic Text. “Masoretic”
is derived from the Hebrew word Masorah, meaning “tradi-
tion.” Certain scribes known for their exemplary writing
abilities were called Masoretes, and they were given the task
of continually copying the Hebrew Scriptures in their exact
form. The Masoretes are also credited with developing the
vowels for the Hebrew alphabet, so that the original pro-
nunciations of the words would not be lost as the language
changed. Today Jewish scholars and elders still rely on the
Masoretic Text for the basis of the Tanakh, their Holy Scrip-
tures (Lightfoot, 131-132; DSSB, x-xi). The Masoretic text
is comprised of many ancient manuscripts, the most impor-
tant being the following:
1. The Aleppo Codex
This is the most important of the ancient Hebrew
codices. This codex is from Syria and was an en-
tire copy of the Hebrew Bible (our OT). It dates
to around 1,000 A. D. However, about one-quarter
was destroyed in Arabian raids on the synagogues of
Aleppo in December of 1947. The Aleppo Codex is
now in Jerusalem undergoing study (Lightfoot, 129).
2. The Leningrad Codex
This codex is named for the city of Leningrad, Rus-
sia. Since the burning of the Aleppo Codex, the
Leningrad codex is now the oldest complete copy of
the Hebrew Old Testament. It is dated at about 1010
A.D. and is located in the National Library of St.
Petersburg, Russia (formerly Leningrad) (Lightfoot,
This is the point when a skeptic would ask why we
should trust a manuscript of the OT that dates to
1,000 years after Christ. But please note a few things
about the Masoretic Text. It is in Hebrew (the
original language) and it is a complete text. These
two distinctions are very important, especially to
educated nonbelievers. True, the oldest complete
Hebrew copies are 1,000 years after Christ, but from
this point we can use other ancient manuscripts to
build on the foundation of the OT texts.
Let’s examine some non-Hebrew and incomplete
manuscripts of the OT. I think you’ll be pleasantly
surprised with the connections.
The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the He-
brew Old Testament. Septuagint means “seventy” in
Latin, and was called that because of the seventy-two
elders who meticulously translated the Hebrew Bible
into Greek. Historical records show that the transla-
tion of the Septuagint began around 300 B.C. with
the Pentateuch (the frst fve books of the Bible), so it
is reasonable (and historically acceptable) to believe
that the entire translation was done before the time of
Why, though, translate it to Greek? Why not leave
it in the original Hebrew? The answer is a matter of
history. In the few hundred years before and after
the life of Jesus, the Roman Empire was spreading
across Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa.
As the Roman Empire continued to spread, so did
the Greek language (the language of ancient Rome,
according to The Oxford History of the Biblical
World), and there was a need to have the Scriptures
translated into Greek for the generations being born
under Roman rule.
44 © exemplify magazine
The Septuagint has often been treated
as secondary to the original Hebrew
manuscripts, simply because it is a
translation. However, it has provided
great insight into the type of Hebrew
and Greek spoken around the time of
Jesus, and has been instrumental in as-
sisting in translations of the Old Tes-
tament to other languages. Today it is
considered the greatest and most valu-
able translation of the ancient Hebrew
Bible (Lightfoot, 145-150; DSSB, xi-
The dating of the Septuagint is extreme-
ly signifcant when it comes to biblical
testimony. Can you think of any rea-
The Septuagint dating is signifcant be-
cause, since it was written before the
time of Christ, we can use it to study
the Masoretic Text. If the Masoretic
Text matches up with the Septuagint
translation, then we can trust the valid-
ity of the Masoretic Text (Hebrew cop-
ies) even though it is 1,000 after Christ.
The continuity of the text from before
to after Christ is extremely important
to prove that the biblical texts have not
been changed or altered.
The Latin Vulgate is the other transla-
tion of the Hebrew Bible that has sig-
nifcantly impacted our Biblical history.
In the year 384 A.D., the scholar Je-
rome translated the OT from Hebrew
to Latin. His translation aroused some
When he began his translation in Beth-
lehem, the works he was given were
translated from the Septuagint. Instead
of having a third-generation copy to
Latin (meaning from Hebrew to Greek
to Latin) Jerome decided to go straight
to the Hebrew sources.
The controversy came in when early
Christians accused Jerome of arro-
gance, stating that they had been reading
their Greek-translated Latin versions
for years. Jerome’s work, however,
proved to be benefcial because it was
yet another second generation transla-
tion of the Hebrew Bible. There is also
a Latin Vulgate copy of the New Tes-
tament, which we will discuss in next
month’s column (Lightfoot, 144-150).
Perhaps the greatest biblical archeolog-
ical discovery came as recently as 1948.
In March of 1948, only four months
after the portion of the Aleppo Codex
burned, the Dead Sea Scrolls were dis-
The scrolls were discovered in caves
outside of Qumran on the Dead Sea,
which is about 14 miles east of Jeru-
salem. The scrolls are believed to have
been recorded by a Jewish sect called
the Essenes. This belief is because some
of the non-Scriptural writings found in
the caves were regulations for their way
An interesting tidbit: The discovery of the
Dead Sea Scrolls yielded multiples copies
of many books, the most being Psalms (37
manuscripts found), Deuteronomy (30 man-
uscripts found), and Isaiah (21 manuscripts
found). If you look at the New Testament
and what Jesus and the apostles quoted the
most from the Old Testament, it is Psalms
(68 times referenced), Isaiah (63 times ref-
erenced) and Deuteronomy (39 times refer-
enced). This shows that the ancient Jews
used these three books the most frequently
in their studies, and history and archeology
have provided signifcant evidence for this
Next month we will look into the ancient
manuscripts of the New Testament. I pray
today’s study has encouraged you today and
sparked a desire to learn as much about the
history of our Bible as you can.
For footnote information, please see the
Apologetics Column in the February issue for
Have a question? Please email them to
Please put “Apologetics” in the subject line so
they will be forwarded to the correct place.
The Essenes wanted to protect the sanctity of the
Scriptures from the corruption they saw within
the synagogues. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovery
was unarguably the greatest archeological fnd of
the twentieth century. Over 25,000 pieces have
been collected to date, including an entire copy
of Isaiah, as well as portions of every book of
the Old Testament with the exception of Esther
and Nehemiah. The Dead Sea Scrolls offer us
yet another picture into the Hebrew, Greek, and
Aramaic spoken during the time of Jesus. The
Scrolls range in date from 250 B.C. to 68 A.D.,
right before the destruction of Jerusalem. They
are currently at the Hebrew University in Jeru-
salem for study and preservation; however sec-
tions of the Scrolls are often out on tours around
the world (Lightfoot, 134-138; DSSB, xiv-xvii).
Read Psalm 12:6-7a. Do you see any parallel
with this verse and the discovery of the Dead
How awesome is our God? Only a few months
after part of the ancient Hebrew copies of His
Word is destroyed, He brings forth, perfectly pre-
served, even older Hebrew copies of His Word.
Our God is truly a God of completeness and pro-
vision. He does, indeed, keep His Word.
46 © exemplify magazine
Written by Patty Wysong
© JadeGordon | sxc.hu
As a mom, there is one question I hear more
than all others. “Why?” And even though how
they ask that question changes as they grow
older, the gist of my answer often remains the
same. “Because I said so.” Sure, I might go
on and explain why or why not, depending
on which child is asking, their age, and the
situation, but sometimes it stills boils down
to because I said so. At times I’ve told my
teens, “Just trust me on this.” It’s something I
hear whispered in my soul on many occasions.
God’s often whispered, “Just trust Me, Patty,
trust Me and obey.”
Unfortunately, I have an auto responder set to
say that I am trusting and obeying, regardless
of what my actions are showing. And it’s even
more unfortunate that many times I believe
that automatic response, even when I’m not
trusting God and when I’m disobeying.
The trouble is that too often I’m running my-
self ragged doing things that I feel I need to do.
Things I see that need doing and that I could
do, or things I want to do. I just do them. Sure,
those things are good and important, but un-
less God gives them to me to do, they aren’t my
God has told some of us to plant, some to wa-
ter, and some to harvest. But all too often we’re
so concerned about results, about the bottom
line, that we choose to forget our responsibil-
Our reasoning might be good, and our inten-
tions might be even better, but if we think
we’re doing a great work for God when He’s
told us to do something diferent, then we’re
in the same boat as King Saul was in 1 Samuel
15. Saul was told to utterly destroy the Amale-
kites—all the people and all their possessions.
But Saul rationalized his orders. Instead he
(and the people who followed his lead) spared
the king “and the best of the sheep, the oxen,
the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good,
and were not willing to destroy them utterly;
but everything despised and worthless, that
they utterly destroyed.” (1 Samuel 15:9)
Can you see his rationalization in saving
the things he could use for sacrifces? Good
things. Things that would make God happy.
Or so he thought.
Saul rationalized his disobedience so much
that when Samuel asked him why he hadn’t
obeyed, he said, “I did obey the voice of the
Lord, and went on the mission on which the
Lord sent me.” (vs.20) Saul was doing the
mission accomplished strut but the truth of
the matter was that he had disobeyed God.
God wanted Saul’s obedience more than He
wanted the oferings Saul could have made
with all that “good stuf” he saved from de-
struction. God said:
“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt of-
ferings and sacrifces as in obeying the voice
of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than
sacrifce, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1
Many times we think “But look at all I’m do-
ing for God! I’m doing this and that and the
other thing, and it’s all for God!” We’re doing
the mission accomplished strut with Saul,
and God is telling us the same thing He told
Saul. Obedience is the important thing, not
But God didn’t stop there! Here’s what He
said at that same time:
“For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and
insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the
Lord, He has also rejected you from being
king.” (1 Samuel 15:23)
Disobedience is insubordination and rebel-
lion, and look what those are equated with:
divination and idolatry.
Sin is sin. We may rationalize our level of obe-
dience, but to God it’s no diferent than divi-
nation and idolatry.
48 magazine February 2010
Saul’s disobedience resulted in severe
consequences. When he rationalized
God’s orders and did things his own
way, he rejected what God told him to
do, and God rejected him from being
What has God told you to do? Do you
know? Are you listening to Him to
know what those things are?
Even when we don’t know His plans
for us right then, we can still obey Him.
Micah tells us how. “He has told you,
O man, what is good; and what does
the LORD require of you but to do
justice, to love kindness, and to walk
humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
How can we walk humbly with the
Lord if we’re always running around
trying to do something? Especially
when we’re trying to do things God
doesn’t want us to do. You can’t walk
humbly with God if you’re in a frenzy
doing whatever you want to.
It’s by focusing on God, and trusting
and obeying Him that we walk humbly
Slip your hand in God’s hand and walk
with Him. That’s when your mission is
*All Scripture quoted from the New
American Standard Bible
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 home-
schooling mom of fve, bookkeeper of their
family business and her writing. As long as
she’s obeying God’s leading, she fgures 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 fnd 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 devotion-
als, most of which can be found on her blog
Patterings. She’d love for you to stop by and
share a cup of kool-aid with her.
Get to know Him
through His Word.
Visit the Exemplify
Devotional Channel today.
50 © exemplify magazine
For years I have prided myself on being a get-
it-done kind of girl. I’m strong, I can handle
most situations, and can think on my feet
pretty good, but the key word in all of that is
“I”. I’ve grown up in an age where “Women
can have it all” and for so many years that has
been my motto as well. I mean, isn’t that what
women of the 70’s and 80’s were told (I know,
I just aged myself here)?
I carried this philosophy throughout my life,
from dating, to college, to careers: you name
it and I was the go-to girl. It sounds all great
and exciting, but in reality I was tired, worn
out and probably even a little bitter about the
fact that I was always the one making the de-
cisions and getting things done.
Thankfully I met the one person who would
radically transform my independence to com-
plete and utter dependence. I was twenty two
years old, eight months pregnant, and practi-
cally a newlywed (we were married a month
when I found out that I was pregnant), and
completely overwhelmed with my new life as
a wife and soon to be mom. I gave my life to
Christ in the middle of the night, sought His
refuge and started a journey that would take
me on some pretty amazing adventures. This
is the beginning of how He leads, I follow.
I didn’t have a miraculous conversion but a
relationship that started small and started to
bloom over the next eight years. I felt the call
to ministry and started to work at our local
church as Preschool Ministry Director. Over
the course of that time my husband also felt
the call to ministry and left his corporate job
(making great money I might add) to work at
the church part time while he worked through
the logistics of being in ministry. He then felt
that he needed to get both feet out of the boat
and go into full time ministry.
Jesus said, “Come along with me.” Matthew
stood up and followed him. ~ Matthew 9:9
He stepped out in faith and in doing so we adjusted
our family life (fnancially) to support the decision
for both of us to be in ministry. Yet again God was
teaching me that He leads, I follow. We found our
stride as a family with both of us in ministry. We
both felt energized, passionate, and that we were
fulflling our purpose for serving Him.
The excitement of being where God wants you to
be can be unlike any other feeling in the world, but
the get-it-done girl started to come back out again
and I went into relying on myself to make my minis-
try better. I worked all the time; I felt like I had to,
that there was no one else that could get it done like
“I” could. When you are a workaholic and have per-
fectionist tendencies ministry can either make you
stronger or make your unfnished business start to
stand out even more so.
(This is an actual picture of us, my husband follow-
ing the ambulance)
In 2005 my oldest son (he was eleven at the time)
suffered a major illness and in the course of one
day’s time I went from this busy, fueled by adrena-
line, stress, deadlines, and projects power girl to a
helpless, scared, and completely broken mom who
had to watch her son have grand mal seizures for
thirty very long minutes and then be taken by am-
bulance to the nearest baseball feld so he could
then get airlifted out to the local children’s hospital.
There is nothing, not.a.single.thing that can put
your life back into perspective better than seeing
your child being airlifted away from you. Not
knowing what would happen, if he would be okay,
what was going on, and a thousand other questions
raced through my mind at that moment.
©Jose Feunte | Dreamstime.com
52 © exemplify magazine
He spent the next ffty-one days in the Pedi-
atric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where we
were able to fnd out that he had pancreati-
tis and would be insulin dependent for the
rest of his life. One of the verses we clung to
during this season of our life was John 16:32b
NIV where it says, “Yet I am not alone for my
Father is with me.”
He leads, I follow.
Our family readjusted to our “new” normal
life with a diabetic son and tried to embrace
the journey that God had called us to. After
a few weeks we were able to get things back
on track, but then I fell back into those same
old patterns of “I” can do it on my own. You
would think that I would have started to
catch a glimpse of what God was trying to
teach me, but I put my nose to the ground
and started working (a lot), “doing” ministry
instead of living ministry. I think that hap-
pens a lot for those of us who are “get it done”
girls, don’t you?
In the summer of 2007 my husband & I made
one of the hardest decisions of our lives. We
knew that God had been trying to tell us to
step back from the ministry that we were in at
a mega-church in our area, but we had been
too stubborn to see that we weren’t listen-
ing to Him but of our own desire to stay and
make a diference. We stepped down from
our jobs, our titles, our friends, our paychecks,
our insurance, and everything else that was
our safety net and stepped out in faith that He
was leading us to something else.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not
depend on your own understanding. Seek
his will in all you do, and he will direct your
paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
He leads, I follow.
I have to tell you that stepping away from
that ministry was absolutely one of the hard-
est things I have ever done. Everything I have
ever known or done in my Christian walk hap-
pened at that ministry and yet I knew deep
down in my heart that God had been trying
to tell us to walk away for some time now.
The season after I walked away was one
of the most intense, painful, and emotional
times I have felt as a person. Yes, everything
I walked through with my son was emotional
and hard, but that was as a mama. This new
season was for me as a person. I questioned
my walk, my ministry, my call, my friends, and
everything in between. It was also during
this season that I would experience the most
profound time away with my Lord.
There it was.
He wanted me to be obedient to His call.
He wanted me to spend time with Him. He
wanted to see what was more important:
my job, title, friends, ministry, infuence…or
The lights came on in my head and I felt it in
my heart that this is what He has been want-
ing from me all along. Not the get-it-done girl
that everyone looks to but the little girl who is
helpless without the strength of her Father.
He leads, I follow.
That was it.
Would I be obedient to what He was calling
© Lauren Cameo | Dreamstime.com
me to do even if it hurt?
Would I be obedient to go where He sent me?
Would I try to do it my way, or submit my
agenda for His?
It’s now very clear to me…He leads, I follow.
It really is that simple.
PS…I’m not by any means “fxed.” I still strug-
gle with trying to do things myself, but each
and every day I get one step closer to being all
He has created me to be.
I’m a woman who is passionately pursu-
ing God every day by taking my everyday,
ordinary life and placing it as an offering to
Him. I live by Romans 12:2 and consider it
pure joy to be a daughter of the King, wife,
mom, writer, speaker, and Pastor’s wife.
I’m married to Matt, my best friend in the
world, for 16 years and have two very
handsome teenage sons, Nick & Bailey.
visit melissa’s blog at
54 © exemplify magazine
As women we have this insane desire to be all
things to all people. We see a need and we want to
fll it. Ministry is no exception. The problem with
this is that we will burn ourselves out very fast this
way and it is simply not the way God intended for
it to be. His design consists of us each having a part
in the body of Christ as a whole. We must embrace
our particular role and fulfll the call God placed
on our lives. Developing a mission statement will
help us to stay focused on that role as well as let
others know what our ministry has to offer them.
A mission statement should be precise, to the point,
and easy to remember. People today have very little
time to spend reading or visiting websites so we are
careful to only spend our time where we receive
some sort of beneft. Studies also show that a per-
son will decide within 7 seconds whether or not
they are interested in your site and what it has to
offer. One way they decide is by the look and feel
of the blog; the other is typically from the mission
Mission statements are as different as each of the
women who are behind them and they can change
or evolve over time. Circumstances and times
change and we must listen to the prompting of
God to change along with them. When we do so
we can adjust our mission statement accordingly.
This helps us to always stay focused on our goals
and it gives us a direction to walk in. It also gives
Written by Amy Bayliss
The frst step to take in crafting your statement is to pray.
Ask the Father what He would have you to do then wait for
His reply. Write down what you discover and any scriptures
that speak to you. Continue to pray and record your fnd-
ings until you begin to see a pattern. Once you discover the
pattern then you can focus it into your ministry’s mission
For me, I was constantly burdened by the confusion I saw
women suffer through. I saw their hurt and I saw the fear
that held them from being the person God truly wanted them
to develop into. My notebook was littered with notes about
the circumstances of women and how I felt God had given
me a burden to help them. During this time one scripture was
brought before me time and time again. It was Isaiah 57:14.
“Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my
people can turn away from captivity.”
When I read Isaiah 57 in its entirety I knew without a doubt
what God wanted me to do. This chapter is all about those
who turned to false gods for fulfllment instead of to the Fa-
ther. He wants us to trust Him. He wants us to pursue Him.
He wants us to turn away from seeking vanity, approval, se-
curity from wealth, and the numerous other idols we chase.
Those “stones” must be removed so that we can be free.
Isaiah 57:14 is the foundation of my mission statement. Even
as it changes and evolves it does not stray from that scrip-
ture. All things I do, pertaining to ministry, revolve around
whether or not I would be accomplishing something within
that statement. It gives me clarity. It gives me focus and
direction and it gives me boundaries.
Pray today and ask the Father to help you discover your mis-
sion statement. You might be pleasantly surprised at what
you will discover!
for Your Ministry
55 © exemplify magazine
For marriage resources visit
56 magazine February 2010
57 © exemplify magazine
My water jug falls and smashes into the foor.
The foor shakes below my feet. The walls ripple
with the thunderous shouts from below. Above
the din, the ram’s horns blare. Again and again and
For seven days we have listened to the war cry of the
trumpets. It’s enough to make anyone go mad.
I clutch my dress to my chest and meet the eyes of my
family. I see so many emotions there. Resentment.
Hostility. Fear. Confusion.
Below us there is shouting. The walls pound again.
Men scream as their lives are stabbed from their
chest. The ram’s horns continue to wail.
The red cloth is unnaturally still, as though it, like us,
has been silenced by the battle. As though it is wait-
ing to see what will happen.
As though it is waiting to see if its promise will hold.
* * *
I stood and arched my back, working out the dull
ache and enjoying the warmth of the sun on my face.
I smiled at the panels of fax spread out on my roof-
top. The ends curled up towards the sun, as though
they too needed a burst of light and warmth into
I heard a rapping at my door, and the warmth within
vanished. “Not now,” I muttered under my breath.
“It’s the middle of the day!”
I made my way down the stairs, strode over to the
door, and fung it open with unnecessary force. “May
I help you?” I asked, not bothering to keep the chill
out of my voice.
Two men, looking worse for wear, stood on my door-
step. “Miss, may we come in?”
Miss. These men were obviously not local. I stepped
aside and they hurried over the threshold.
The taller of the two turned and smiled warmly at me.
Odd, there was no hint of carnal desire in his face.
“The Lord bless you and keep you, my lady, for you
have shown great kindness to His servants this day.”
My throat closed up. When was the last time some-
one had called me a lady?
The shorter drew out a seat at the table and beckoned
me to sit. “Please, we have much to explain to you.”
Cautiously, I sat. Who are these men?
The tall man folded himself onto a seat and rested
his elbows gently on the tabletop. “We are spies sent
from the camp of Joshua son of Nun. The Lord has
instructed us to scout the land. This is the land which
will be delivered to the Israelites. This is the land that
was promised back in Egypt.”
I shifted warily in my seat. So what did that make me,
a perk? “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what this has to
do with me. Do you have any idea what kind of trou-
ble I could get into having you here?” And as I said it,
goosebumps broke out on my neck, and I could feel
my blood pounding in my fngertips. These men have
The tall man lowered his head. “Yes, we understand
what our coming here brings upon your own head.
However we sensed the guards had noticed us, and
we needed a quick place to hide.”
My breath came in quick gasps. “Do the guards know
you are here?”
The shorter man shook his head. “No, we believe we
lost them in the crowd. But I am afraid they will con-
tinue to look for us.”
I slid my palms against the fabric clothing my hips,
leaving streaky patches of sweat. “I’m going to be exe-
cuted for treason,” I whispered. “How could you have
done this to me?” I stood abruptly and pointed at the
door. “You need to leave, and leave at once! I’ve done
my service to you by harboring you for even a minute.
Go now!” I tried to stop my fnger from shaking.
58 magazine © exemplify magazine
Suddenly I jumped up and ran to the window.
The sun had drifted lazily to the ground, and
was now half-immersed at the edge of the
world. “No,” I whispered, biting my lip. I
turned to face the men. “You’re trapped now.
You cannot leave. They have closed the city
The men eyed each other warily. Their eyes
asked the unspoken question: What now?
I felt a nudging in my spirit. I turned away
from the men and looked back out the win-
dow. I have a choice.
I knew I needed to hide them. Whatever fate
awaited me for betraying my own govern-
ment was nothing compared to the power
that upheld these men and their advancing
But the reasonable voice in my head protest-
ed. are you mad? do you know wHat tHe
king will do to you if He finds out you
are Harboring spies?
I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts.
it is senseless, raHab. tHese men are
not your fellow citizens. tHey are us-
ing you. you are notHing but a pawn to
tHem. wHen tHe moment is rigHt tHey
will cut you down for tHeir own profit.
you are notHing more tHan a stopping
point to tHem… just like you are witH
every otHer man.
“No…” I whispered, the tears flling my eyes.
Was this true? Were these men merely using
me to protect them from harm’s way? Would
they dispose of me carelessly when they had
used all they needed of me? So maybe they
weren’t demanding the same services my
normal clients demanded, but were they hon-
estly any different?
The taller man stood, clutching his head cov-
ering in both hands. “My lady, if I may be
blunt: our army will advance. We will sur-
round Jericho and if your king resists, your
people will starve and die of thirst. It will be
most unpleasant for the people of Jericho.”
He sighed and studied me with warm, com-
passionate eyes. “I say this not to scare you,
but to warn you. The God of Israel – Jehovah
– the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – is
with us,” he fnished softly.
I sank back down into the chair. I knew of
their God. Egypt might be far away, but
word travels faster than feet. “So what are
you saying? Should I leave? What about my
“That is your decision. You have shown us
great kindness, so I am showing you kindness
by warning you to give yourself time to spare
yourself and your family.”
I narrowed my eyes. “What if I turn you in?
What if I march down right now and get the
guards and bring them up to capture you?
You’ll be executed in the center square. Then
you cannot go running back to the mighty
Joshua and report. Then what?”
The taller one smiled weakly. “My dear, it
doesn’t matter what you do to us. It is the
Lord’s purpose that will prevail.”
* * *
We sat for what seemed like hours. The men,
though second-generation, recounted to me
the testimonies from Egypt. I poured tea and
they talked. They spoke to me of Moses, of
the Pharaoh, of the plagues and the pillars and
the sea. They spoke of the ark and the Law.
I was breathless with awe. My heart ached
with longing as I listened to how the people
continually turned away and made the wrong
choices, yet God always welcomed them
59 © exemplify magazine
yes, raHab, tHey are. listen to tHem.
protect tHem. tHey are my servants.
My hands shook on the windowsill. I closed
my eyes, and pictured the center square and
the execution line in my mind. I pictured the
many, many men who lined up to visit my bed
standing by and watching, none speaking up
on my behalf.
But then I pictured another line, a line of
beaten-down, bedraggled people, being led
from an abusive country. Being delivered
from men in power who used them for their
labor and production and then cast them
aside. Being redeemed even when they made
all the wrong choices.
Delivered by a God who loved them.
My heart flliped in my chest. I spun around
and stared at the men. “I’m going to hide you.
And whatever happens, happens. Come on.”
I gathered some linens and headed up the
stairs to the rooftop.
The men followed me, stooping out of the
low doorway. I picked up my fax, long since
dried and now cool under the watchful eye
of the moon. I spread out the blankets. “Lie
down on these. I will hide you til morning. If
the guards come, I will not tell them you are
The taller one came forward and clasped my
hands. I jerked back, unfamiliar with such
gestures of gentleness. “Thank you, sweet
one,” he said softly. “The Lord will bless you
for your kindness.”
I nodded, trying to calm the spinning in my
head and the pounding in my chest. They
lowered themselves to the ground and I ar-
ranged the fax over them so that they were
I am crazy, I thought to myself as I descended
the stairs. I have completely lost my mind.
I cleared away the cups and the tea carafe,
second-guessing myself at each turn. Hope
dangled in front of me like an unreachable
treasure. If these men protect me, I can be
a citizen of God’s nation. I can start over. I
can have a new life. Tears flled my eyes again,
and I wiped them on the back of my sleeve.
A ferce pounding at the door shook me out
of my thoughts, and I dropped the cup I was
clasping. I drew in a deep breath and wiped
my eyes again, trying to appear calm as I care-
fully pulled the door open.
Two guards stood on the steps, resplendent
in their armor. They grinned at me, as though
such leers would ease my nerves. “Well, hello,
Rahab,” said the stockier of the two.
I recognized him. I knew his face well from
his many trips to my home. His gaze traveled
up and down my body, and I felt the violation
deep in my bones.
The tall, lean guard stepped forward. “We
have information that two men from the Isra-
elite camp were here earlier. Bring them out
now, because they are spies and they will be
It’s now or never. The stocky guard leered at
me again. “Are they still here, Rahab?” He
drew out my name, and it made me shudder
to my core.
Oh God, I want out! cried my heart. I could
no longer stand the life Jericho allotted for
me. I wanted out, whether by deliverance
from the army of God, or death by the guards-
men of my city.
I knew what I had to do.
Jutting my hip out, I lowered my eyes so that
my lashes covered my gaze. I stared up at the
guards with coy air. “Well, they are not here
now,” I purred. “They came and we transact-
ed business and they left before the city gates
© exemplify magazine
I stepped forward, leaning in towards the guards.
“I bet if you gentlemen get some of your men and
hurry, you’ll catch up to them quickly. Being as
you are much stronger than they are…” I trailed
of, winking at the guards.
My efect worked. Their cheeks fushed under
my praise. The stocky guard reached out and
tweaked my cheek. “Thanks, sweetheart. Per-
haps I’ll come see you once we take care of these
scum. Of course, I am a little concerned knowing
what kind of people you allow into your bed.” He
returned the wink and they departed down the
I shut the door softly, and, leaning back against it,
sank down to the foor, shaking. I could still feel
the guard’s gaze on me, and it made me unclean,
down to the very center of my bones.
I wanted to cry. I wanted to curl up and sob and
lament over my life. It was as though darkness
surrounded me on all sides.
And yet, there was a speck of light, a shimmering,
almost indiscernible glimmer of hope in the dis-
tance. And that glimmer was hidden under some
fax panels on my rooftop.
At once I bounded to my feet and took the roof-
top stairs two at a time, tears falling fresh onto my
cheeks. I pushed open the door and dropped to
my knees. “Hey,” I hissed. The fax shifted, and
the tall Israeli sat up.
My hands shook violently, and I twisted them in
my lap. “I know that the Lord has given this land
to you,” I confessed, and with the words I felt a
release of pressure on my spirit. “I know that a
great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who
live in this country are melting in fear because
of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up
the water of the Red Sea for you when you came
out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og,
the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan,
whom you completely destroyed. When we heard
of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage
failed because of you, for the Lord your God is
God in heaven above and on the earth below.”
My throat closed up as the intensity of the
power of the God of the Israelites overcame
go on, raHab. ask.
I swallowed and continued, struggling to
speak around the painful knot in my throat.
“Now then, please swear to me by the Lord
that you will show kindness to my family, be-
cause I have shown kindness to you. Give me
a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my
father and mother, my brothers and sisters,
and all who belong to them, and that you will
save us from death.” I let out my breath and
The men glanced at each other and then
turned their gazes back to me. The taller one
broke into a wide smile. “Our lives for your
lives!” he declared vehemently. “If you don’t
tell what we are doing, we will treat you kind-
ly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the
I smiled, tears in my eyes again. “Of course.
Now get some rest.” I paused, then added,
“The Lord will keep you through the night.”
* * *
I awoke the following morning before the sun
rose and immediately ran up to the rooftop.
The fax panels sat just as they had the night
before. “Excuse me?” I whispered.
The tall Israelite sat up. “Good morning,” he
greeted, smiling. He got to his feet, followed
by the shorter one.
“I think it is time for you to go,” I urged. “I
don’t think it’s wise for you to stay here any
longer. The guards might get suspicious.”
61 © exemplify magazine
I led them down the stairs back into the main
room. Grabbing a thick rope from the foor,
they helped me secure it to the windowsill.
“The guards rotate every hour,” I said, tying
up some bread in a small cloth. I pressed
it into their hands. “Use this rope to lower
yourselves to the ground. As soon as you get
to the ground, run for the hills so the guards
cannot fnd you. Stay there three days until it
is safe for you to move out again.”
They nodded, thanking me profusely again.
As the shorter one moved toward the win-
dow, the taller one stopped and turned to
“I must warn you,” he said solemnly, “This oath
you made us swear will not be binding on us
unless, when we enter the land, you have tied
a scarlet cord in the window through which
you let us down, and unless you have brought
your father and mother, your brothers and all
your family into your house. If anyone goes
outside your house into the street, his blood
will be on his own head; we will not be re-
sponsible. As for anyone who is in the house
with you, his blood will be on our head if a
hand is laid on him. But if you tell what we
are doing, we will be released from the oath
you made us swear.”
I nodded. “Agreed. Let it be as you say.”
The men departed. As I watched them shim-
my down the rope, I felt a sadness in my heart.
For the frst time, men had entered into my
home and not expected a part of me while
they were in it.
I watched until they dropped to the ground,
then quickly pulled the rope up. Sweating
and panting, I turned around to set about my
next task. And my heart sank.
Where in the world am I going to fnd a red
Red dyes were extremely expensive. I could
not calculate how much it would cost me to
buy enough dye to color the amount of linen
I would need to dye so it could be seen by the
And then it hit me. I walked slowly over to
the small basket at the foot of my pallet.
Lifting the lid, I pulled out my fnest garment.
All women of my occupation had nice clothes.
Oh, we didn’t wear them to gather water or
head to the market or air out our fax.
But when we had visitors…
I fngered the soft, brilliantly crimson fabric,
forcing down the memories of acts commit-
ted while wearing it.
Then, grabbing the hem, I began to tear.
And as the gap in the fabric widened, the con-
striction on my heart loosened. I want no
more of this, I pleaded silently as the fabric
ripped to the edge. Lord, if You can hear me,
if You would but answer me, I am fnished. I
want whatever it is You ofer. Consider this
my resignation from my old life. I want the
new life You ofer.
The fnal lengths of the garment tore, and I
held both pieces in my hands. As I pulled the
corners together, preparing the garment for a
diferent purpose, the peace settled over me.
I couldn’t explain it, but it came.
I moved back to the window and securely
knotted the garment to the sill. I sat back,
staring at the supposed madness of my ac-
tions. And the words of the spies came back
62 © exemplify magazine
“So when the Pharaoh would no longer listen, the
Lord sent a plague on the frstborn sons. Every
son would be struck down. But He showed mer-
cy to His people. He sent His people instructions
to slaughter a lamb and cover their doorposts with
the blood of the lamb. When He came through in
the night, wherever He saw the blood of the lamb,
He would pass over, and death would not reign
in those places. Those who were covered by the
blood of the lamb lived. They were saved.”
Oh Lord, let this cord be as the blood of the lamb
over me. Deliver me and my family from battle
and from death. I am so ready for life!
I did not know when the Israelites would come
All I knew was that when they came, I would be
* * *
I stare as my family huddles together, wondering
what kind of death I have led them into. The foor
feels as though it will give way at any moment.
“You have to believe,” I whisper to them. “The
God of Israel will save us.”
My father shakes his head forcefully. “I’ll believe it
when I actually live to see it!” he cries.
I glance at the scarlet cloth again. A breeze whips
by, and it futters out on the wind.
The trumpets and horns grow quieter. The din
We wait. Then, a soft pounding.
The door creaks open. My father stands and
moves forward. I reach out and catch his arm.
A head peeks around the door. I see the familiar
brown eyes and my knees melt in relief.
“Rahab!” the familiar voice of the Israelite
cries. I run to him, and, ignoring the rules of
propriety, throw my arms around him.
“You came!” I weep into his shirt. “I was so
scared,” I confess.
He sets me away from him, glancing at my
father, blush creeping into his cheeks. “You
knew the Lord would protect you. Why did
The tears stream down my cheeks. “Because
I am new to this. Because I believed with
nothing to show for it. I did what you said
on the thread of a hope that God would come
through for me. I stepped out in faith with no
guarantee that God would show up.”
The Israelite spy now helps my mother to her
feet. “But Rahab, dear, that’s when God al-
ways shows up.” He smiles.
We make our way down the stairs. Chaos
reigns around us, yet there is no grief in my
heart for Jericho. It is a tomb as far as I am
concerned, and I am walking away from it in
a newness of life.
As we make our way outside the city towards
the camp, I turn and look back to my win-
dow. The scarlet cloth stands out brilliantly
against against the bland wall. “Thank you,” I
whisper to the Lord, my heart full to bursting.
“Thank you for delivering me from death.”
The Israelite spy reaches over and cufs my
shoulder. “Welcome to the people of God,
Rahab. He’s been waiting for you.”
63 © exemplify magazine
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Encouragement for the heart
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