Whatsoever Magazine

Archive for October 2006

It is a lovely rainy day here, the first real rain of this season in our dry part of the world. The pot belly stove is crackling away and as I stood, a moment ago, toasting myself in its heat and watching the rain beating the pavers outside, I began to reflect upon the seasons of life.
Right now my season is to be very happily married (what a blessing a godly marriage is, and so full of joy!), and the mother of two little girls. My husband Gregory is a farmer, and raises sheep and sows wheat, barley, and oats most years. We both love the farming lifestyle and the freedom it gives, where need be, to put family first. Our oldest daughter is 18 months old and a bouncing, bubbling, sensitive but strong-willed little toddler–a handful, like I was, probably! Our baby girl is a gurgling three months old at present, just venturing forth with sweet little smiles and coos–all her special ones saved for her big sister. The adoration in baby’s eyes when she gazes lovingly at her sister has to be seen to be believed! I never knew a baby of that age could distinguish between peers and adults to that extent but I’m learning fast.

I just love being a wife and mother! What a wonderful season of life it is! So new and fresh when one is starting out at my stage (we’ve been married two and a half years now), with so much to learn. Each day is a new adventure in learning, bringing its frustrations and devastations (like the first time my toddler threw a tantrum and bit me! “Oh no! How could I have a child who does that?!?” Forgetting, of course, that all my children are going to be sinners, right from the start, and I have to teach them otherwise) and its moments of elation (like the first time we put our first baby in her car seat and went for a drive!)… It’s an exciting time of life, but it is also weighed down with what seems, to me, to be huge responsibility. Not only am I a wife, but I am a mother now, a model to my two little girls who are growing up so quickly. It’s a time of life in which I find myself very busy with day-to-day activities, without much time left over for outside interests like those I pursued when I was still single.

The Lord did not bring Gregory and I together until I was 23 years old–which meant I had some time as an adult to spend as a single woman in service to the Lord. I was still living at home and delighting in my role as daughter and sister, but I had a lot of spare time to invest in many activities. I had chronic fatigue syndrome, so these activities (compared to those of some girls) were curtailed by my ill health, and not able to be very physically demanding. Nevertheless, I read profusely, either books, or articles on many godly topics researched and gathered from the vast expanse of the internet. I had some small resources which, not being needed for shopping for groceries, I was free to invest in “wisdom” in the form of books for my own shelves or other people’s. I had time to write at length to other girls, to talk on the phone to them, and invest in their lives. Most of the Christian girls I knew were younger than me, and I found real joy in being a blessing to them. I was very aware that I was an older example and the Lord constantly challenged me to be a godly witness for Him. Just before I met Gregory, the Lord led me to distribute the Home School Digest in Australia in order for other homeschooling families to have access to its wealth of encouragement and teaching.

By the end of those single years, the Lord had brought me to a place of wonderful contentment and peace and joy in serving Him as a single young woman–He was truly my delight and my heart was so full of devotion to Him that I wasn’t concerned for the future at all, whether or not I should eventually marry. I felt God’s leading and blessing in the here and now, and my heart was fully focussed on serving and pleasing the Lord.

Then, of course, I met Gregory and in a very short period of time we were serving the Lord together, which has been another kind of joy again! But something I observed after our betrothal, when we began to spend time together and our hearts were growing closer, was that I suddenly had less time to be wholeheartedly focussed on the Lord. In fact, at one point I was distressed about the love I had for Gregory, as it grew so strong I was afraid I was abandoning my “first love” for the Lord and things would never be the same between us again! I had to learn, slowly, that God gave me both my husband and my love for Gregory, and that He has blessed that love, and “it is good” in His eyes. But things were different: I was moving into a different time of life and I was no longer single, unattached to all but the Lord Himself. The Lord had given me an earthly bridegroom and I would now be attached to my earthly husband as well as my heavenly One. The seasons were changing.

The Lord tells us in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world–how she may please her husband. And I say this for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction. A wonderful godly husband is here described as a distraction! A good one? Of course! A very important, wonderful, purposeful distraction, with whom you should be a beautiful example of Christ and the Church, His bride, a witness to the whole world, raising up godly seed which is so precious to God. This is good! But Paul definitely touched on a very real point when he described the marriage relationship, and all the responsibility it entails, as a distraction from 100% consecrated service to the Lord.

How I would like to see all young unmarried women receive their season of youth and singleness as a very special gift from God. The seasons pass, quickly or slowly, and most young women who are waiting for the gift of marriage have no idea when the season of singleness will end (and possibly the season of marriage begin). They can only seek to earnestly redeem the time where they are right now, and I would encourage them not to waste a minute of it! Though they will still feel the weight of duties God has laid upon them, yet for the most part a single girl’s time is still her own in a way that a married woman’s is not. How much a single girl can accomplish in this time–for her family, for herself in edification and time spent with the Lord–and even in ministry to others.

As the years have gone by, I have seen many of the younger girls with whom I shared and talked while single myself, grow up into wonderful godly young women. They are now moving into the season of life where they are single and “without distraction”, where they can fulfill 1 Corinthians 7 in being wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord. In my season of life right now it is a joy to me to be on the receiving end in my relationships with younger single girls. In the rush and busyness of young motherhood I suddenly have no more time to research godly books as I used to, no time to help out other families, to write long encouraging letters, or spend much time talking on the phone. But when I catch up with these friends, how much they have to offer me out of the wealth of their time spent in quietness and unrushed meditation on the Lord; how refreshing it is to hear their deep and penetrating insights borne of long periods of reflection, of contemplating on God’s will in their lives. What a blessing this is to me! I hear the Spirit’s voice speaking through them; I am challenged and encouraged and uplifted by them; I am blessed to tears to see the Lord working in them, changing them and making them more like Himself. What a blessing these young women are to me! The Scripture admonishes the older women to teach the younger, but nowhere does it say the younger cannot bless the older. Young single women can impart blessing into the lives of younger girls than themselves, but they can also bless and encourage older women in wonderful ways–practical as well as spiritual.

Well, I’ve been here awhile! The rain has stopped and the fire has burned low; it is getting chilly. I must put more wood on before I get my little girl up from her neck and check on the baby’s breathing–just to see it’s still deep, even, and sleepy! But I will take with me the encouragement I received from my younger friends this week, my mind mentally filing the titles of good books to buy for my girls one day, or for myself now, and reflecting as I work upon the spiritual insights that have been shared with me recently by those single young women. That the young unmarried women should care about the things of the Lord is my challenge to younger women today: be holy, both in body and spirit, and care only about the things of your Saviour while this season lasts. It is not forever! Even if you do not ever get married, this time of youth and energy and enthusiasm for God is limited and thereby precious. Dear young women–please don’t waste it! And thank you to those girls who have blessed me. I look forward to seeing grow, together, through all the seasons of life.

By Bethany McC.
[originally published in Volume 5 #1 of Whatsoever Magazine]
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Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.

WHAT does it mean to be a virtuous woman? What is virtue? These are the questions I asked myself embarking on the study of this topic. Virtue… To me, it’s always been one of those beautiful old-fashioned words rich with significance, an inspirational hanger-on from the days of chivalry, a code, a collection of principles. But when I sat down to really think through the subject of virtue, I found I could not give myself a complete definition of it. I did not know what virtue was, specifically, nor how it could be obtained. And so, with pen in hand, I set out to find the answers to my questions.

ONE of the first discoveries I made was that virtue is a rare word in the Bible. Strong’s Concordance claims that the word virtue itself [1] only appears seven times in the King James version. The adjective form of virtue, virtuous, appears just three times–and always in reference to woman. Does the Lord wants us as young women to learn about virtue? I think so!

HOW important is virtue, and its cultivation? 2 Peter 1:3 reveals that it is very important, that it is not cimply an elective in our walk of faith, but a calling. This passage says that God ‘hath called us to glory and virtue.’ And just a few verses later, in 2 Peter 1:5, Peter exhorts us to give all diligence to adding virtue to our faith. Can the strength of that exhortation be fully understood in just one reading? We are called to give all diligence, to give a lifetime, to give energy and devotion, to the cultivation of virtue. It follows the gift of faith as one of the major steps in our walk with God.

THE second discovery that emerged through my study was the original meaning of the Hebrew word for virtue [2]. The word is chayil [khah-yil] and literally means a force, whether or men, means, or resources. What then is Old Testament virtue, simply translated into a one-word definition? It is strength. Strength. Think of it. Matthew Henry takes this literal meaning and applies it to the verse we are studying, calling the virtuous woman a ‘woman of strength’. Doesn’t the title itself sound grand–and inspirational? Truly, to become a woman of strength is a noble and beautiful calling, a life’s work worthy of our unending diligence.

HOWEVER, it is easy to say one thing and to wish we could become that which we speak of, but, contrary to the popular opinion of those gathered round the birthday cake crying, “Make a wish! Make a wish!” nothing ever came of wishes. We cannot become women of strength simply by hoping to be so. Hopes are nothing if they do not lead somewhere. But if we channel these hopes into wholehearted prayers and give them over to our Lord and King, then we are taking the first steps in our quest for virtue. The Word says that without Him we can do nothing, that every good and perfect gift is from above [3], and that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. It would be foolishness to think that we could become women of strength and virtue without Him. He is the ‘force’ behind true strength. We do not simply need His help to complete our quest for virtue. We need Him to do the work! Therefore, to become women of virtue, we must be grounded in Him.

THEN, trusting Him as the Source behind the force (do you think it’ll catch on?), we can fill our minds and hearts with all that virtuous womanhood contains. This means: making a study of virtuous women (Ruth is a beautiful example and is called ‘a virtuous woman’), looking carefully at the strengths of the Proverbs 31 woman, reading New and Old Testament references to virtue, seeing what the virtuous woman does not do (Proverbs is full of examples!), and having an open and accountable heart before our Father and our family. The family is a fertile field for the cultivation of virtue. Within such a compact unit we can find almost all we need to confront those flaws within us which hinder the growth of virtue and discover, too, the earthly rewards of obedience to Him that are just a tiny foreshadowing of all that awaits, in the finaly Home, those that are faithful cultivators of virtue here. Give all diligence to this task!

By Danielle Carey
Notes: [1] Thus translated from the Hebrew and Greek; there are other quotations of the same Hebrew or Greek root elsewhere in the Bible, but given a different translation; [2] Used in the Old Testament. Peter’s word, from the Greek, has a slightly different meaning; [3] James 1:17; [4] Philippians 4:13.
[originally published in Volume 6 #1/2 of Whatsoever Magazine]

Time is an area God has been challenging me regarding. I keep on sensing God say to me: Seize the day! Seize the opportunities to be used by God. Seize opportunities to grow. Seize time to draw closer to Him.

How many opportunities do we miss without thinking as we get caught up in the busyness of life? Yet each day holds so many opportunities and joys. I recently celebrated my twentieth birthday, and I couldn’t help but think, “Where have all those years gone?” and, “Did I use them wisely?” The days, months, and years go by so fast, yet we are told to ‘redeem the time’ [Ephesians 5:6, NJKV]. So be careful how you live, not as fools, but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do [Ephesians 5:15-17]. Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom [Psalm 91:12].

Are we using our time wisely? Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters [Galatians 6:10]. God can use us and is using us now. Never be fooled into believing that you can’t be used by God until you’re older and wise or out of school or married. God wants to use us now, each and every day. At school we have so many opportunities to witness, befriend, and lead a good example. At home, we can encourage, listen, pray, serve, lead a good example, and help. Are we taking hold of these opportunities? Sadly, instead of encouraging my family, I find it easier to criticize and judge. It’s so easy to get preoccupied and not really listen and care about others, or take the time to play and help them. Yet how much longer am I going to be at home? I should be making the most of my time at home to get to know and enjoy my family and bless them. This year I have found it hard to prioritize my family over others. It is so easy to go and help other families and leave my own family struggling, yet first and foremost God calls us to help our own families. So I have had to say no to helping some families, in order to help my own more.

Another thing God has been saying is enjoy each day. Whatever it brings, choose to enjoy it. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it [Psalm 118:24]. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life–that is indeed a gift from God. People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy [Ecclesiastes 5:19b-20]. Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have [Ecclesiastes 6:9]. I have fallen into the trap of dreaming too much about marriage and being a mother, that sometimes I’m not enjoying my life now. I can’t wait for the next stage, but that means I’m missing out on the joys of today. The unmarried woman is concerned about the Lord’s affairs; the married woman, the concerns of her husband [1 Corinthians 7:34]. Are we using our single time to serve the Lord fully? Because once we’re married it is twice as hard to find moments to spend time with God and to learn from Him, to hear His voice, and to pray for others. You and I need to make sure we are spending time with God now. He is the reason we live, so don’t get caught up in other things.

Another question is: are we wasting time being lazy? Are we prepared to put in the effort to serve and help others and in so doing serve and help God? Are we willing to spend time praying for others? Are we willing to give up some things to have more time for important and eternal things? What are we investing out time in–things that are going to last, or temporal things? There are some temporary things that we must do, for example school, dishes, and washing. Yet there are a lot of others that just don’t matter–like TV. Our lives are so short that not one of us knows how long we are going to live. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die [Psalm 103:15]. Are we investing our time wisely?

My mother is a wonderful example of someone willing to invest in eternal things, willing to choose the harder road. I know a lot of people who don’t want many children. Why? Because it’s too much hard work. People today view children as work; they miss out on the joys and blessings that children bring. Yes, it can be hard work, yet it reaps many blessings, too–and children are eternal. They are one of the few things that are going to last forever! And, as God’s Word says, the more you sow, the more you reap. The best things in life come through effort and hard work. My mother went through a lot of difficulties having us, being sick all pregnancy and having nine children in eleven years. We were all little together, and so we were not much help when we were younger. Plus, Mum homeschooled us. Sure, there were some hard times, yet God blessed here and provided for each one of her needs. I don’t think she regrets one of those days. God taught her so much through them and she would have missed out on a lot of joy and blessings had she given up or taken the easy road.

Yes, God often asks us to take the harder road, yet this is the road that will reap many blessings. Some roads might look easier, but are they easier in the long run? We are told:” Never get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessings at the appropriate time [Galatians 6:9]. The verse before it says, Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. What a sobering verse.

I know it is hard to fit everything into a day, but try working things together. Pray, sing, or talk to a sibling while exercising. While working, praise God, pray, or listen to and encourage others. Play sport with a brother. It’s good for exercise and good for your relationship. While lying in bed trying to sleep, try to think about what you read in the Bible, or pray. Instead of watching TV, use that time to pray, read God’s Word, praise Him, or write an encouraging note to a friend. Ask God to open your eyes to see the areas in which He wants to use you throughout the day. Seek ways to help and serve your family and others.

May God help each one of us to seize the day. I want my life to be worthwhile. How about you?

By Melanie A.
[originally published in Volume 5 #2 of Whatsoever Magazine]
Is it ever okay to be discontent?
Mostly, no.
It’s not okay to be discontent with our circumstances.
It’s not okay to be discontent with our marital status.
It’s not okay to be discontent with our finances.
It’s not okay to be discontent with our family.
It’s not okay to be discontent with what God has called us to.

Being discontent—unhappy, dissatisfied, grumbling—in these situations is dangerous ground to be treading. When we complain about such situations, we challenge God’s omniscience and His inherent goodness. We question His sovereignty and set ourselves up as authorities. That’s not a safe place to be.

But there are times when contentment can be dangerous ground, too. I’m not talking about an abiding content that stems from submissive trust in God’s care for our lives. The type of contentment I’m referring to is a contentment rooted in complacency. It’s the contentment of an overfed beast which won’t move to find a fresh grazing spot. It’s the contentment of the hermit who is happy with his solitary hovel because he can’t see anything better. This kind of contentment is just as dangerous as discontent.

It’s not okay to be content in lethargy.
It’s not okay to be content in compromise.
It’s not okay to be content in stagnation.

Ever seen a River dry up so much that it becomes a little dotted line of ponds playing follow-the-leader? The ponds themselves, once a connected, vibrant stream of life-giving water, turn this yucky murky colour. Cut off from the movement of the stream, they become dead waterholes. The water turns stale and muddy and gets a bad smell to it. The only thing it’s good for is breeding mosquitoes. What caused its uselessness? A lack of movement.

When we become content in complacency and in compromise, when we stop moving, we become sick. We become muddied and lifeless and not good for much at all.

That’s why we, as Christians, must ever be pressing upwards, moving forward, running to the Source of Living Water. We can’t be content to sit stagnantly while life grows more and more murky.

Discontentment and envy are so often rooted in greed. We want marriage. We want life to be easier. We want money. We want to be pretty. We want more stuff. Discontentment cries for more, more, more.

Begging for more when our desires are earthly and based on lust is always wrong. But there are some cries for ‘more’ which the Lord delights to hear. The cry for more love. The cry for more purity. The cry for more holiness. The cry for a heart filled with compassion. The cry for Christ-likeness. The cry for a greater understanding of God’s awesomeness. The apostle Paul said, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [1] When we cry these prayers from our heart, when we strive to press towards the mark, the Lord takes joy.

And yet even in such a heart-cry, there is a paradox. Any good in us comes from Him. He calls us to obedience and yet only He can grant us the strength to step out. He fills us with the passion for more love, more holiness, more purity, more of His light in our lives. And then He causes us to rely on Him to be able to do all those things.

Growing in godliness is both a gift and a challenge. We must pursue, and yet we must wait on God. Sometimes His timing is different to our own. Even in this state, we must balance our discontent in remaining stagnant with contentment in God to do His work in His own time. But we can trust Him: He will do it. Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. [2]

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and the praise of God. [3] Let’s not be content in apathy. Press on!

Danielle Carey
Notes: [1] Philippians 3:14, [2] Philippians 1:6, [3] Philippians 1:9-11.
From Whatsoever Magazine, Volume 8 #4

The jury is still out on the whole new year’s resolutions debate. Some people despise them—but that’s usually because they find themselves forever failing to fulfil them. Some people love them—and write mammoth lists of grand dreams. Still other people don’t even think about resolutions at all—they just enjoy watching life sail past them.

Resolutions have been given some bad press over the years. The very phrase brings a cynical sneer to some lips. The sneering ones say that resolutions are too idealistic and it’s not worth the attempt. The reasoning behind that statement is that people who make resolutions only fail anyway. And, you’ve got to admit, it’s usually true. But perhaps that’s because we tend to make our goals too big. We look at the big picture, the far-off goal, instead of at the moments that make up the living of every day. It’s the moments that require resolution, not the lump sum of a year. We must learn to see the possibility and the choices to be made in a moment. God doesn’t offer us years, months, or even days in which to do His work; He gives us one moment after another…

What am I gonna be when I grow up?
And how am I gonna make my mark in history?
And what are they gonna write about me when I’m gone?
These are the questions that shape the way
I think about what matters.
But I have no guarantee of my next heartbeat
And my world’s too big to make a name for myself
What if no-one wants to read about me when I’m gone?
Seems to me that right now’s the only moment that matters.

You know the number of my days
So come paint Your pictures on the canvas in my head and
Come write Your wisdom on my heart
Teach me the power of a moment,
The power of a moment.

In your kingdom where the least is greatest,
The weak are given strength and fools confound the wise.
Forever brushes up against a moment’s time,
Leaving impressions and drawing me into what really matters.
I get so distracted by my bigger schemes.
Show me the importance of the simple things
Like a word, a seed, a thorn, a nail, and a cup of cold water…

You know the number of my days.
So come paint Your pictures on the canvas in my head and
Come write Your wisdom in my heart.
And teach me the power of a moment,
The power of a moment.[1]

[Chris Rice, Short Term Memories]

A word, a seed, a thorn, a nail, a cup of cold water. A yes or a no. A step forward or a step back. A choice, each moment. And He is faithful to give us the strength to do His will—to make the choices that will bring Him glory, that will build Christ’s character into our lives, and that will share His love. If we give our moments to Him, He can do great things. Perhaps we won’t see the work He does behind the scenes; the moment is what we are shown, and that’s what we can work with.

One hot Sunday morning this January, a father in our church stood up to preach. In the course of his sermon, he shared the gentle trail of influence that led to his salvation:

“In 1848 a Mr Kimble taught a Sunday School class and led a young man, who was a Boston shoe clerk, to the Lord. His name was Dwight L. Moody. He became an evangelist in England and in 1879 was involved in an evangelistic awakening. A man named Frederick Meyer came to Christ there and went on to pastor a small church. Preaching at a school one day, he led a young man to Christ whose name was Wilbur Chapman. Chapman, engaged in YMCA work, employed a former basketball player named Billy Sunday to do evangelistic work. Sunday led a revival in Charlotte, which led to more evangelistic campaigns where Mordecai Ham began to preach. There a young man named William Graham (Billy) came to Christ. He did evangelistic work around the world, including a visit to Australia where a woman named Margaret Walker came to Christ. She had a great influence on her whole family so that the next two generations all became Christians, including a “young” man named Geoff Walker who is preaching at Eastlake today…”

The men and women whose faithfulness led to the salvation of two generations of the Walker family knew the power of a moment, and their commitment to the moments the Lord gave them means that one hundred, fifty, twenty, and ten years later, the Lord is reaping the harvest carefully tended to by these people.

Let us resolve to learn the power of a moment in 2006.

Danielle Carey
Notes: [1]The Power of a Moment © Rocketown Records 2004
from Whatsoever Magazine, Volume 8 #3

Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.[1]

Picture this:
It is a lovely cool Spring morning. The sun is shining after a night of storm. Leaves blown off trees lie around, and puddles of water lie over soft mud. But the sun is shining and everything is looking nice and green.

A little girl sees the bright day and decides she would like to go out for a walk, so her daddy and big brother take her out. They all stroll along, daddy and big brother on either side of the little girl, hand in hand. They walk a little way, and then the little girl notices a puddle up ahead. ‘That looks fun to jump in,’ she thinks to herself. Her big brother suddenly gets a great idea: ‘Why don’t you hop up on my shoulders Little Sis?’ he asks her. The little girl sees both options, knowing that they will both be quite fun— though the puddle looks a little more inviting. But after thinking a bit harder, she realizes that if she goes in the puddle, afterwards she is going to be in a bad way. So she jumps up on big brother’s shoulders and has a ride. ‘It’s more fun than I first thought’, she realises. After a lovely ride she hops down and continues walking. ‘It’s so lovely out with daddy and big brother.’

They keep walking for a while but the little girl gets worn out and her legs are tired of walking. She wants to sit down and rest. But with encouragement from daddy and big brother, she keeps going. Suddenly rain starts to fall. Daddy picks up the little girl and he and big brother run to find shelter. They find a tree to hide under, and daddy holds the little girl close and wraps his jacket around her to protect her. Soon the rain stops and the trio set off again. Just one more corner and they skip the rest of the way home. ‘What a fun and adventurous walk.!’

Does this story sound kind of familiar to you? I think it should. Try to imagine yourself as the little girl. The story is analogical of your life as a Christian. Daddy is God, and Big Brother is Jesus!

Our life is very much like this: We walk along our life’s road enjoying little pleasantries. Certain things pop up (like mud puddles that look fun at first, but could end up disastrous) and we have a choice to make. Jesus always provides a better way of doing things, and even if it doesn’t seem so at first, it turns out far better than we could have imagined in the end.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.[2]

And just like the little girl who gets weary after a while of walking, we get tired of plodding along on our walk. But, just like the daddy and big brother, God encourages us and spurs us along. He encourages us to keep going. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.[3] …Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…[4]

In our walk we face ‘storms’ also. We can always count on God’s protection in these times. Hide me under the shadow of Thy wings.[5]

It’s great to be able to walk through life being able to rely upon a marvellous, loving God, who is working for our best to His glory!

Lauren Carey
Notes: [1]Psalm 73:23-24, [2]1 Corinthians 10:13, [3]Galatians 6:9, [4]Hebrews 12:1b,2a, [5] Psalm 17:8
from Whatsoever Magazine, Volume 8 #3

Do you ever feel peculiar? I do, often.

We are at a time in this world where sin is becoming more and more prominent and Christ is convicting more and more Christians to obey His Word in a stronger way.

The Bible states in Titus 2:14 that Christ is purifying us, His people, so that we are becoming less and less like the world—in the way we speak, act, dress, basically, live our lives—and this makes us feel like we are strange to the world and we aren’t right because we are not like everyone else.

Several times in this last year I have allowed the world’s way of thinking to make me depressed about not conforming, and I wished that I could ‘fit in’, so to speak.

But God blessed me one day (He does every day, but I’m specifically talking about this day) by showing me this verse: 1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, and royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

There are so many wonderful parts to this Scripture. Let’s break it down a bit:
~‘But ye are a chosen generation…’
God has chosen us. Isn’t that exciting? We’re not just drawn out of a hat; we were purposely chosen by God!
~‘a royal priesthood, and holy nation…’
God is making us a holy people. I can’t wait for the day when we’re totally perfected!
~‘a peculiar people…’
We are indeed a strange bunch, but there’s a reason for that, so don’t lose heart.
~‘that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you…’
We are different so that we can bring glory to God! We, when we obey God, and appear odd to the world, are showing praises to God to the world.
~‘out of the darkness into His marvellous light.’
It is a marvellous light! And our obedience to Christ and peculiarity are lights to those who are in the darkness. Praise God for redeeming His people out of that darkness!

Before I read this verse I felt like a misfit. Now I know I’m one!

God doesn’t want us to fit in and be like the world. In fact, it really pleases Him when we don’t. We are like foreign travellers—we are visiting, and we enjoy the scenery for while, but never really fit in. God created us to be different and stand out as His people.

This is so relieving to realize, because instead of feeling in the wrong for being different, God has shown me that He is pleased with me when I obey Him and choose not to fit in.

So next time you begin to wish you were born in a different century or on a different planet, just remember 1 Peter 2:9, that God created you a peculiar person, and He loves you like that. Praise Him while being peculiar!

Misfits for Jesus? Yep!

Blessings to you all!

Lauren Carey
reprinted from Whatsoever Magazine, Volume 8 #2