Flavors of Faith: Faithfulness

Let’s go on a little trip to Kentucky and travel back in time to the year of 1866 when Thomas Chisholm was born. At just 16 years old Chisholm began his career as a teacher. He came to accept Christ at a revival service when he was 27 and around age 36 felt God calling him to pursue pastoral ministry. Unfortunately, this was short lived since, because of health issues, he was forced to retire after just 1 year. His life was not one of extreme heartbreak but Chisholm still faced roadblocks and challenges.

Through it all, Chisholm never doubted God’s faithfulness. Eventually he began to express his love for Jesus by writing poetry. In 1923, when he was 57 years old, he was inspired to write a special poem in reference to Lamentations 3:22-23. William M. Runyan (who just happens to be from Marion, New York) put Chisholm’s lyrics to music and, almost a century later, churches all around the world still sing his incredible song… Great is Thy Faithfulness.

Great is Thy faithfulness. Great is Thy faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see. And all I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness. Lord unto me.

Next week Dave and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. It feels like a long time, especially when divorce is so common in our generation, but when I look at my parents, who have been married almost 40 years, and both sets of my grandparents before them, who each celebrated their vows for 60 years, It’s obvious that I’ve learned much about faithfulness through watching their incredible examples of marriage.

So, what exactly is faithfulness? Faithfulness means being true to your word. Your promises. Your vows. It’s easy to say something but way more difficult to actually follow through with it. For us, faithfulness is also a choice. We can choose to break our promises and vows regardless of the negative impact it has… but God cannot. God’s faithfulness is unconditional. He’s never broken a single covenant. Not once.

In our children’s ministry at church our kiddos are encouraged to memorize a Bible verse each month. Back in July the verse was Philippians 1:6. It brought me back to my own childhood and a Steve Green song we grew up singing in Sunday school…

He Who Began A Good Work In You. He Who Began A Good Work In You. Will be faithful to complete it. He’ll be faithful to complete it. He who started the work. Will be faithful to complete it in you

We may feel abandoned but Hebrews 13:5 reminds us that we are not alone. We may fear death but John 3:16 promises life forever. We may wonder what our purpose on this earth may be but Psalm 139:14 is clear that our lives are intentional. We may feel defeated but Philippians 4:13 encourages us to not give up. Whatever your struggle may be please know that there is a promise from God specifically written with you in mind. And God’s promises do not return void. (Isaiah 55:11) Why? Because He is faithful! 

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23a

I mentioned earlier that my grandparents were married for 60 years. Before my grandma Howell (on my dad’s side) died you would regularly find her faithfully in the kitchen using her weathered hands to make the world’s most delicious pies. I spent my 20’s trying to master her apple pie only to fail miserably each time. A few years ago I gave up and started to make my own version of her pie. It’s one that my entire family devours within minutes! Here is the recipe for you to make at home and also enjoy.

Apple Pie with a Crumble Top

  • 5 large Granny Smith apples; cored, peeled, and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat white flour
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon all spice
  • 2 tablespoons cubed salted butter
  • Caramel syrup (The secret ingredient!)
  • Refrigerator pie crust (You can make your own, I’m just too lazy.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fit pie crust into a greased pie pan and place in the freezer. Mix; apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Remove pie crust from freezer and fill with apple mixture. Add the salted butter cubes to the top and drizzle with caramel syrup. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Prepare the crumble topping.

  • ¾ cup whole wheat white flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup softened butter

Mix; flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, oats, and lemon juice. Add softened butter and work into a crumble. Remove pie from oven and add the topping. Reduce oven to 375 degrees and bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes. Let it cool at least 30 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream.

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