Whatever is Pure - October 2007
Stepping Back Into The Closet
A few years ago, a dear friend of mine happened to be a professional painter. He noticed that my apartment could use some freshening up and offered his services. I eagerly jumped at his generous gift. Shortly after, Dave spackled and primed my walls in anticipation of painting. As often happens, the best-laid plans of man went awry. Before Dave could finish his task, he received a much needed job offer in a distant city, the only stipulation being that he had to report to work within a week. Of course, I sent him on his way with my full blessing. However, my poor spackled walls remained unfinished for over eight years and as the years progressed, I became increasingly reluctant to entertain guests due to the sorry condition of my home.
One day, a friend dropped by on an errand, noticed the white-spotted walls, and asked me if I was planning to paint soon. After hearing my tale, she immediately suggested a painting party was in order and set about to organize the event. As a result, one evening not long after I found my tiny organized apartment was full of people, painting supplies, drop cloths, paint cans and pizza boxes. My furniture was pushed into the middle of each room and most of my chairs were pressed into duty as makeshift stepping stools. I soon became disorientated and realized that I was much more likely to be a hindrance than a help due to my poor balance. Gingerly stepping over paint trays and around busy workers, I sought refuge in my storage closet, the only place that the painting crew was not yet at work. I was trapped and could only observe the organized mayhem as it unfolded. In order to see the job done, I relinquished control and placed my trust in the much more experienced and capable overseer of the impromptu painting crew.
Occasionally I ventured out in order to fetch a rag for those cleaning the baseboards or bring a bottle of water to a thirsty painter. Every time I stepped out, obstacles in my path would thwart my attempts. I was quickly reminded that my job was to stay out of the way! Within three hours, my walls were beautifully painted and my apartment returned to its previous state. Every piece of furniture was back in place and the curtains were carefully hung. Even the empty pizza boxes and bottles were neatly disposed of. If I had not fought my natural instinct to be in full control of the process, I am sure the evening would have not have gone as smoothly.
Much like my surrendering of control of the painting project to my more qualified friend, God frequently requests that I surrender the control to him, even when it appears that he has turned my nice little life upside down. More times than not after such a request, my life circumstances temporarily become even more chaotic. However, even in the midst of the whirlwind, when I step out in trusting relinquishment, there is always the sweet blessing of God's delight in my obedience.
The Traffic Light PrayerIn the throb of engines
and choke of impatience
I turn the radio to silence
God, see us waiting
for the light to change our lives.
God, you are our hope.
Please protect our families.
Fill our hearts with faith and joy.
Let us share your peace, today.
God, the light is changing.
We'll be moving on again.
May your love travel with us.
© Jenny Schwartz
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As I awake to the dawn of each new day,
As the sunlight streams in through my window,
I want to tell Him I love Him,
For without His grace and His love,
For these blessings, I truly praise Him
So I sing with joy, "Happy Birthday to me!"
©2006 Ruth Y. Nott
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All For The Price Of A Penny
The smells and sights still linger in my mind as I think back to the little country store where I loved to go when I was a child. I can still remember the feel of the cool concrete floor under my bare feet as I pitter-pattered up and down the short isles behind my mom. It was there in the little country store that my life was changed forever.
I had no idea this would turn out to be a day of remembrance for me when I entered the little country store, trailing after my mom. The tingling bell always greeted visitors as they came and went, and the smell of hamburgers sizzling on the grill was a reminder that lunch was nearing. And like always, my mom grabbed a grocery cart and off she went, tossing things right and left into the squeaky contraption.
Of course, I had my own agenda. I spied my favorite bubble gum as I passed by the candy shelf. There it was, Green Apple, a penny a piece. My mouth watered at the thought of the tangy experience. I didn't have a penny, but I did have a plan.
My mom was busy talking to the man at the meat market, and the lady at the counter was busy talking on the phone. Just at the right time, I very carefully positioned myself in front of the green apple bubble gum and while no one was looking I took a piece and hid it in my pocket. My heart was pounding as I slowly moved away and caught up with mom. WHEW! I did it. I could hardly wait to get out of the store.
I didn't have to wait long. I stood there at the counter looking innocent as my mom paid the wrinkle-faced lady for the groceries. Finally, out to the car to safety, I hopped in and slammed the door. I dug the green ball of gum out of my pocket; the paper fell to the floor and I popped it into my mouth before my mom finished putting the grocery sacks in the back seat.
Oh, the taste of the tangy green apple gum was sending my jaws into spasms. I was chomping and savoring every drop of juice that squished out, when I heard my mom say, "Where did you get that?"
My heart sunk, and my face felt hot. With the wad of gum clinched between my teeth, I confessed I had taken it from the store. "Did you pay for it?" She knew by the look on my face that I hadn't. She frowned and put out her hand for me to spit it out.
"Well, little lady, you are going right back in there and tell Mrs. Janelle that you stole a piece of gum and then you are going to pay for it."
Puddles of tears filled my eyes as I asked my mom to come with me. The last thing I wanted to do was go back in and tell the lady at the counter what I had done. I would have rather suffered a spanking. "NO", she said. "You have to go by yourself," as she handed me a penny.
I did as she said, and went in and confessed my sin. It burnt like fire inside my chest as I looked into Mrs. Janelle's wrinkled face and told her that I stole a piece of gum. I handed her a penny; she smiled and said it was okay.
As I ran out of the store that fateful day, it was clear that the tangy taste I had so desired was not worth the scorching consequences I had just endured.
Many years have passed since that day. Many opportunities to take things that didn't belong to me have also passed; each time, I walked away knowing with certainty it was the right thing to do.
I will forever be thankful for that painful experience. A valuable lesson was burned into my heart that day; it changed my life forever, and all for the price of a penny.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
© 2006 Sherry A. Hunt
For Such A Time As This
We must be careful to think that just because our ministry for God is a small work, that it has no importance to God.
My wife and I live in a large apartment complex in Los Angeles, which was equipped with a recently renovated activity room that could be used for birthday parties and other such functions. I felt God was leading me to preach in this center on Sunday mornings.
I was reluctant at first, you know, like Moses. Who would want to hear me?
Our service was only one hour in length, a few songs, and a short devotion, we didn't take offerings as the room was free. My family were the only worshipers on that first Sunday morning. However, after only a few Sundays had past, there were about 30 people in our service. Many of these were un churched people, so I tried not to be too deep, staying close to messages that were Bible based, and close to the message of the Gospel.
One of our regulars, a lady who came named Trina, always brought pasties and coffee for our small group, She would always offer to help to pack up our sound equipment. One morning, Trina began to weep while reciting the sinners prayer one morning and continued to weep during the service. I was convinced that she had discovered the Lord Jesus and had accepted Him in her life.
Unfortunately, Our little church was forced to close due to the new management's refusal to allow us to continue to meet in the activity center. At first, I did not understand why God would allow this to happen as he had miraculously opened the door for us. Trina and her family continued to come on Sunday only to be met by a locked door.
Was our work in vain? Was it really God who had intially opened this ministry door for me?
I believe she is now with Christ, no more weeping and no more sickness, She is in a place where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary can be at rest.
Looking back, I thank God for the small ministry that he gave me, and I will never doubt the awesome purpose of God again, (I hope I won't).
As of May 2012, "WHATEVER IS PURE" ARCHIVES will no longer be seeking submissions. As most authors and poets now have their own blogs, we noticed a significant drop in submissions over the past year and felt it was best to move on to other endeavors.
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