Finding God Outside the Box (Oops!)

By Martha Bolton: [HUMOR]

Sometimes thinking outside the box is hard to do when you are actually IN it.

Image: DigitalArt / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: DigitalArt / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Who doesn’t want to look stylish? I try. But I’m usually about a decade or so behind the times. My husband is not any better.

I remember the weekend years ago when I finally talked him into buying a leisure suit. All the fashionable men had been wearing them, but he had been holding out. On this particular weekend, though, he was finally going to get one. I couldn’t have been more thrilled.

We went to a local department store and shopped a bit, but couldn’t find exactly what he was looking for. So he asked a clerk, “Where can I find your leisure suits?”

The clerk replied, “Back in the 70’s, sir.”

I had my own experience when I went looking for a pair of stylish sheepskin boots. I thought they were cute whenever I saw someone wearing them, so I figured it’d be fun to at least try on a pair.

I walked into one of those big warehouse shoe stores and went up and down the aisles until I spotted them. After finding my size, I looked around for one of those shoestore stools to sit on while I tried them on. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one in that particular aisle, but there did happen to be a giant box full of smaller shoeboxes nearby, just waiting for a clerk to unpack. Perfect, I thought, and sat down on it.

The only problem was, it was empty! I sank all the way down to the bottom of the box and then realized to my horror that I was stuck. No matter how hard I tried to get out, I couldn’t budge. I felt like a human taco.

I had to rock the box back and forth until I knocked it over on its side and climbed out. (They’re probably still passing around the security video.)

Have you ever had a situation turn out nothing like you expected it would? Have you had your good intentions turn you upside down, leaving you stuck, embarrassed, laughed at?

The Bible is full of stories where you can find God outside the box working to prove His love to us. But sometimes he works inside the boxes, too. He can turn our most embarrassing moments into moments where He reminds us that He’s still our friend. He loves us even in our weakest, most awkward moments, like when we’re stuck in a giant shoe box and trying to look cool.

 ©Martha Bolton. Martha has written for many well-known comedians including Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller and is also a novelist. She was nominated for both an Emmy and Dove Award for lyrics and scriptwriting and has written award-winning parodies.  Find out more about Martha at marthabolton.com.

And for a bit more humor, enjoy these church bulletin bloopers. Sometimes an effort to think outside the box to be creative doesn’t come out quite right . . .

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Find God in Forgiveness

By K.O.:

Is forgiveness possible? Even for the new wife of a spouse who betrayed you?

 

Image courtesy of nirot / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nirot / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I thought about her.

I dreamed about her.

I saw something about her in every woman I met.

Some had her name. Others her deep-set blue eyes or her curly hair. Even the slightest resemblance turned my stomach into a knot. But all of this hurt would eventually lead me to find God in forgiveness.

Was I never to be free of this woman who had gone after my husband and ultimately married him?

The grief and anger drained the life out of me.  I tried counseling.  I attended recovery workshops. I read books. I screamed into my pillow at night. I was desperate for an end to the pain.

Then one Saturday I was drawn to a daylong seminar on the healing power of forgiveness held at a church in my neighborhood. The leader asked us to focus on someone in our lives we had not yet forgiven.

My first thought was of my husband’s new wife, Marnie (name has been changed). My stomach churned. My head throbbed. How could I forgive such a person?  She not only had betrayed me but my children too.

Then a voice within gently prodded. Are you ready to release her? I began to shake all over.  “YES, I’m willing,” I whispered.

Then something amazing occurred.  I simply let go! I can’t describe it.  All I know is that for the first time in four years I completely surrendered to the Holy Spirit. I released my grip on Marnie, on my ex-husband, on myself.  I stopped being angry–and forgave–just like that. I could hardly believe what had happened:

The following Monday I wrote Marnie a letter.  The words spilled onto the page without effort. “Dear Marnie,” I began. Then I proceeded to tell her what had occurred on Saturday, and how prior to that day, I had held her hostage in my mind–and how my grief and anger had denied both of us the healing power of forgiveness.

On Wednesday afternoon of the same week, the phone rang. There was no mistaking the voice.  “It’s Marnie,” she said softly.

She thanked me for the letter, and acknowledged my courage in writing it. Then she talked briefly of her regret.  “If someone had done to me what I did to you,” she said,  “I don’t know if I… ever…could forgive…” All that I had wanted to hear from her, she said that day.

As I replaced the receiver, however, I realized that as much as I had welcomed Marnie’s words, they paled in comparison to what God was teaching me.

I was finding God in forgiveness.

He had transformed my human grief into divine gratitude–gratitude for the healing power of forgiveness, which had changed my life—from that moment forward. I began to see then that no one can truly hurt me as long as I am in God’s hands. Every experience–even the most gut wrenching–has a divine purpose when I am walking with my Lord and trusting Him to bring good out of all situations.

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13 in the Bible).

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 in the Bible).

See this video with Joyce Meyer: Do Yourself a Favor and Forgive:

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Find God in the Diamond Planet

CATEGORY: In the News, Science

Find God in the Diamond Planet

By Dianne E. Butts:

diamond planet

Recently scientists found “a planet made largely of diamond, astronomers say” in a CBSNews.com story “Astronomers spot ‘diamond planet.’” According to the article, “At least a third of the planet’s mass is likely pure diamond.” What a find! Of course my imagination ran wild. If you can follow where my imagination took me, you too might find God in the Diamond Planet.

My first thought was about the description of the beautiful New Jerusalem described in the book of Revelation in the Bible. You see, after the Battle of Armageddon and the near destruction of the entire earth, God will recreate a new earth to make it inhabitable again.

Included is a brand new Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven which is described as being so beautiful it is like “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). This new Jerusalem has a wall that has twelve foundations decorated with rare and beautiful jewels (see Revelation 21:14-21).

So one of those foundations just has to be decorated with diamonds, right? And a diamond planet would provide enough diamonds to decorate that foundation, right?

Wrong. I went and looked (Revelation 21:19-20). The twelve foundations are decorated with:

  1. Jasper
  2. Sapphire
  3. Chalcedony
  4. Emerald
  5. Sardonyx
  6. Carnelian
  7. Chrysolite
  8. Beryl
  9. Topaz
  10. Chrysoprase
  11. Jacinth
  12. Amethyst

But no foundation decorated with diamonds. If you want to see what those twelve stones look like, there are pictures in this article: “What does Heaven Look like?”

There are twelve gates in the city, “each gate made of a single pearl” (Revelation 21:21). Those are some big pearls. If you ever wondered, that’s where all those jokes of meeting Saint Peter at the “Pearly Gates” come from.

But there is no foundation decorated with diamonds or a gate made of a diamond. So how can we find God in the Diamond Planet?

Well there’s a wedding!

Revelation 19:7 says, “the wedding of the lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.”

The Lamb is Jesus. Who is Jesus’ bride? The church, which is collectively all the people who believe in Him! (Are you among us?)

So what is needed at a wedding? Why a diamond ring, of course. And if you have the Son of God, who actually is the God of the universe come in flesh and Who is infinite, marrying a bride who is made up of all the true believers in Christ of all time, what size of a diamond might you need for that ring? Would a diamond the size of a planet be sufficient?

And that’s how I came to find God in the Diamond Planet.

Video:

Bio: © Dianne E. Butts’ new book, Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus, just released for the Christmas season. Her last book is Grandparenting through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ (Pix-N-Pens, August 2012). Visit her blog at  www.DeliverMeBook.blogspot.comwww.DianneEButts.com

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