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Friday, November 22, 2013

Loosening Your Grasp

I've heard celebrities say it. With so much money at their disposal, some step back and think: "There must be more that I can do with all this money than to spend it on myself."

"I have enough shoes," one celebrity said in an interview once. They had looked down at their hands and had seen their cup overflowing. They knew they needed to loosen their grasp and give.  

Many of us can't relate though because we aren't millionaires... Or can we??

I've yet to read in the Bible that God calls only the rich to give. He doesn't just look at the millionaires to be a vessel for his riches to flow through.  

I think what trips some people up is that they don't think what they are giving will make much impact.  How can their small donation even make a difference?  They reason themselves right out of the whole idea.  

If this is the case, it might be time to take another look at that little boy who gave his lunch. He didn't have much, but what he had, he offered.  His heart was in the right place and Jesus honored it and multiplied it to feed many. (John 6:5-15)

And, remember, giving goes beyond money. Maybe you have a talent, a service. Maybe you have a slew of spiritual gifts God has imparted to you.  Do you think that He has made you rich with these things just for your own delight?  God overflows cups not so that we can be satisfied and then build reservoirs to hold its overflow in for ourselves.  His eye is always on feeding His Sheep. 

You may not see yourself as a millionaire, but God does. Will you let Him feed His people through you?


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fried Rice & Friendship

It was always over Chinese that Chloe felt the safest. Was it the comforting warmth of the Wonton Soup? Was it the encouraging note she would find hidden in the fortune cookie at the end of her meal? Maybe. But she was pretty sure that it had little to do with the meal and mostly to do with her Company.

After a long day of work and trying to smile through her frustration at her demanding boss and inconsiderate co-workers, she grabbed her sweet & sour chicken to-go and headed to her apartment in solitude. She didn't bother with sitting at the kitchen table. Her coffee table did just fine for her on nights like this. She pulled out her chopsticks and placed them next to her Bible and journal. 

Bowing her head, she gave thanks and then dug into her fried rice.

"Thanks, God, for everything." she said out loud as she took her first bite. 

"So tell me, Chloe, how are you doing?" the Voice of her old Friend said deep in her heart.

"Oh fine." her heart responded as she took another bite.

"How are you feeling about your boss' reaction to your project today?" her Friend inquired.

Her heart sank at the thought of it. Mr. Miller is a hard man to please. 

"Oh fine." she said in her heart again, brushing off the sting she was feeling.

"Chloe."

"Yes?"

"How are you really feeling?"

"I'm fi- " she sighed.  "Well, actually..." 

Tears began to well up in her eyes as she began to relive the rejection she felt five hours ago.  

"God, I'm trying to enjoy my meal, here."  she said, choking a bit on her food. "Can we talk about this later?"

"Chloe, I'm bringing this up because I want you to enjoy your meal."  He said gently.

Chloe stopped and looked down at her carpet and thought for a moment.

"I forget sometimes, Lord, that you are a True Friend," she whispered, "and true friends are quick to bring you back to being honest with things."

She took a big bite of her egg roll and opened her journal. Without filtering her feelings, she began writing down adjectives of how she was really feeling about her job and boss. She wrote hard and fast. She could feel her whole body tense up as she filled the paper with emotion. Tears began to stream down her face as she felt the release of so much stress.

When she was done, she put her pencil down and stared at the paper.

"Lift up the paper, Chloe." her Friend said.

Chloe lifted it up toward heaven and lowered her head.

"Now, cast it all on Me." He whispered. "This, too, is nailed to the Cross."

"I give it to you, Lord." she whispered back.

Lowering her arms, she looked one more time at her paper and ripped it out of her journal. Then, she walked over to her fireplace, rested the paper on top of the burning wood, and watched as the flames consumed it from its corners to its core.  

"It is finished." the Lord said. 

Chloe held her hands to her chest as she felt its release and a Joy replacing the sting. A smile came to her face as she looked back at her dinner.

 "Now, how 'bout some Chinese?" her Friend said with a smile.