Tuesday, September 6, 2011

God and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser - Part 2

I should probably clean my shower floor more often... because using that Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sure inspired a few different ideas for posts!  You can read Part I here.

But on to a different tangent....

I saw a funny quote that said
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways... covered in scars... body thoroughly used up... totally worn out... and screaming, "WHOOOOO-HOOOOOO! WHAT A RIDE!!!"

And I got to thinking about the talents that God gifts each of us with and THIS story from the Bible:

It's also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master's investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master's money.

After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. 

The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: 'Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.'

The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master's investment. His master commended him: 'Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.'

The servant given one thousand said, 'Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.'

The master was furious. 'That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this "play-it-safe" who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.'
Matthew 25:14-30

I imagine that when we get to Heaven, God would be most pleased for us stagger in with a body so completely and thoroughly used up because we had exhausted ourselves to the bitter end using up the talents and gifts and blessings that God gave us.  Like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser... it starts out like this:

And after it has done it's job and it's all used up, it looks like this:

Wouldn't it be wonderful if, when we finally get to Heaven, we have so completely and thoroughly used up the talents gifted to us from God, that we look like a used Magic Eraser?  Okay... maybe not THAT graphic-- but you get the point!  How gratifying would it be to stand before the Lord and say, "You gave me these gifts, and HERE is all that I was able to do with them.  Thank you?!"  And how magnificent would it be for God to reply, "Well done, my good and faithful servant?!!"

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward, it is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

God wants us to be smart... but not to live SO cautiously that we forget to use our God-Given talents and gifts to help others.  Maybe you have a talent for speaking, or singing, or writing, or teaching.  Perhaps you are super-good at organizing things (come to my house!), or great with technology, or just have a way with people.  It may not be a talent you use in your job (but wouldn't that be cool?!), but God sure would be honored if you'd find many ways to use your gifts.

I think sometimes we forget about our spiritual gifts as we grow older.  Think about what you really, REALLY loved as a kid/tween/teenager... and when did you start moving away from those things?  In my 8th grade yearbook, I wrote that I wanted to be an actress or a writer (technology as we know it now had not been invented yet - I would have written "special effects designer for Skywalker Ranch and George Lucas" had I known that was an option!).  As a teacher for 7 years, I WAS an "actress" at times... getting kids excited about math (when it's my least favorite subject), pretending that I was thrilled when a student brought me 20 cicadas at recess... assuring the principal that lunch duty is, of course, my favorite thing to do... *wink* 

But one of my favorite things-- writing-- fell by the wayside (probably buried in all the papers I had to grade!).

Every time I post an article to this blog, I am using a gift that God gave me to bring glory to His name.  Every time someone leaves a comment here on the blog or on the EverydayPlaces Facebook page, I get a thrill that something I wrote was well-received by someone else.  When I write, I can take this small seed of an idea... and, hopefully more often than not, turn it into something special.  And when I use my writing talent to bring glory to His name, I hope he is pleased.

I also love to scrapbook - and have been scrapbooking in some form or another since I was 15 years old.  You may wonder how in the world one can combine a talent for scrapbooking with bringing Glory to God, but I was able to teach two different Scrapbooking Bible Studies at my church!!   The scrapbooks created by the ladies who took the classes were stunning!   When you can combine something you really, REALLY LOVE with a way of honoring God... well... the results are guaranteed to be amazing!

God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful!
1 Corinthians 12:4-11

So what do you love?
What are your talents?
And how can you put them to good use for God?!!

:) Mags
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

What Does a Bald-Headed Cleaner-Guy and Jesus Have in Common?

We have this walk-in shower that is all one piece (floor and walls) - the engineers that designed it tried to create a no-slip surface by subtly mottling the floor.  I don't know about "no-slip" (get some conditioner on it, and it's quite slick!), but those little divots sure get dirty quickly... and are nearly impossible to clean!

Enter the Mr. Clean Magic Bathroom Eraser... (*pause for Superhero music):

With a little effort, the dirt that has fused itself to my shower floor "magically" disappears!  What's interesting is that the little white brick started off looking like this:

But now looks like this:

Aside from the fact that it's NASTY, notice that after it removed? absorbed?  all of the stains (leaving my shower floor sparkly-new again), the sponge-like pad is deformed... dirty...broken... completely used up.  

JESUS did that for us.

Jesus was like the brilliantly-white, new Mr. Clean Magic Eraser who came down to earth to clean up our mess.  By the time His task was complete, He was tired... broken... and completely used up.  He was the "Magic Eraser" to our sinful lives.  And, because of Him, we can be shiny new each day... every time we ask for forgiveness.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

 ... What we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. 

2 Corinthians 5:17-19ish (MSG)

I'm thankful that every day (every hour or minute if I need it!), I can ask for forgiveness and receive it.  I can be washed clean with Jesus the "magical eraser" of sin.

:) Mags

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