Friday, November 9, 2012

Oh to be a Sam Stone

Max Lucado tells this amazing story in his book God's Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours, about a man named Sam Stone. 

Sam Stone was a man who lived in Canton, Ohio, in the 1930s. He simply wanted to bless others but didn't want to get the attention that even a blog as little as mine would give him. So until AFTER he died, his generous gift records were hidden away in an attic. 

"In 2008, long after his death, a grandson opened a tattered black suitcase that had collected dust in his parents' attic. That's where he found all the letters, all dated December 1933..."

Lucado goes on to describe how little Mr. Stone had yet how much he chose to give.  

O to be a Sam Stone: to make a difference without a title or a recognition, but to simply give out of the abundance we've been blessed with by God! To be satisfied with the extraordinary concept of the ordinary.

"Ordinary man. Ordinary place. But a conduit of extraordinary grace. And in God's story, ordinary matters." 

Once again, I'm challenged by the magnitude of the ordinary, and it's great place in God's plan for revealing Himself to the world.  Let's not lose sight of this: most of life is ordinary, yes.  But, ordinary has a huge part to play in showing who God to a very desperate world.

I would highly recommend this book. It's full of amazing, inspiring truths of God choosing to be a part of our lives. I don't believe you can be disappointed by this read. You can get it at many places. Click here for one of them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vinegar in the Eye

A while ago I went to dinner with a friend late at night after an event.  We had a good time chatting and laughing.  I had ordered a salad and she was munching on her food.  All of the sudden, a drop of raspberry vinaigrette dressing lodged itself into my eye and proceeded to cause great burning.  After a moment of realizing it wasn't just on my eye lid, but actually in my eye socket, and the burning was not getting any less, I made my way to the bathroom where I did my best to flush my eye with water.  I finally got enough of it out to where I was able to open my eye and not have it hurt.  

I finished my dinner that night with red eyes and all my makeup washed off.  (I care less about the makeup than the fact it looked like I had just been crying for three hours...)  We laughed about the situation and went on our way.  

But today I was remembering this instance.  I was remembering the burn of something foreign being lodged into my eye, and the thought alone made me tear up again.  The burn of that one instance is engraved in my mind, similar to the thought of the first time you may have put your hand on something hot.  Those moments keep us from doing the same thing again, they help us to have a healthy fear of the object in its active state.  It doesn't mean raspberry vinaigrette dressing is bad, nor does it mean a curling iron or a pot of coffee is bad.  But when these things are not being applied in the manner they were intended, they cause reactions that are not intended either.

Just as remembering the salad dressing instance causes my eye to tear up, so I want the remembrance of sin in my life to still affect me.  When I do something that causes that burn in my heart, I want to be scarred to the point where I don't forget that it is a bad thing.  It doesn't mean I have to be scarred to grow in spiritual maturity, it just means that whenever those things do happen, I'm able to grow from them and not be stunted by them.

Normally, I would be scarred and handicapped.  This is what Evil has intended.  But God is all about redemption and it is times like these that He uses what has been ruined inside of us as soil for the new things He has for us.  He tills it up, He works His love through it like fertilizer, and He plants new hope, new life, new blessings where we have been burned.  

This is the work of God with Jesus.  Jesus became our redemption ticket.  We can now have eternal life because of what Jesus did - because of what He lived for and what He died for.  And even vinegar in my eye can become something useful in the hands of a redemptive God.

What things in your life have been so painful that the thought of them still causes you to shiver or cringe?  If you choose to leave these things in the hands of God, in what ways can you see Him using them for good?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Revelation of Change

Do you ever face so much change and challenges at once that you're not really sure what to think?

I'm learning so much right now that I can't hardly keep my thoughts straight.  I want to learn much, but the intensity of it is shutting me up - making me too humble to even talk about it until I can process it all.  There is big change going on inside of my heart.  At the same time, with all the pain and ache of change, I feel closest to God.  These are the times that give me strength for the "easy" times.  

I'm thankful for God's presence.  I'm thankful that I can speak the truth, whether I believe it or not, and that the truth sets my heart and my emotions free.  I'm thankful that God does not condemn me for all the faulty things I'm learning about myself.  Rather, He has convicted me of them so I can become more of who He designed me to be when He created me.  

Change is super-good.  But it's super painful.  I don't know how I'll make it through the challenge, but I always seem to do so somehow.  God in me is stronger than even I know. 

And this is why I choose to accept the change, the growth, that is being manifested inside of me:

"...when God has put His call on you, woe be to you if you turn to the right hand or to the left.  He will do with you what He never did with you before the call came; He will do with you what He is not doing with other people.  Let Him have His way."  (Oswald Chambers in "My Utmost for His Highest")

I want to be made into what God has for me.  It's not easy, but it's exhilarating.  What life can be truly fulfilled when it is not moving in the way it was created to move?  When can a heart be more rich than one that flows in it's designated purpose?