Rubbed the Wrong Way

I like to find old vintage treasures.  I might be looking for a piece to add to a set of dishes, or a furniture piece,  or kitchen utensils that remind me of grandma and my mom, cups, or even a piece that just seems beyond help, but catches my eye.  It is a hobby of mine and I do it often.  It is also fun to share pieces that I find with others that I know are looking for it.  I have a great friend who watches for pieces for me too.  Love it!  I am very fortunate that my hubby enjoys it also, so we make that a part of our trips out.  He goes to the books, and on occasion, has found a few other cool items for me.  We enjoy doing it.

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So… my latest find was a silver tea/coffee pot.  It was in real bad shape when I got it, but I thought it was real silver, and it was certainly a good price at $3.00.  The other reason it caught my eye was the simplicity of the piece.  

Here is what I found that most others would have probably passed by.  Do you notice its darkened, rough look?  The inside was in great shape, but there were stains, not just tarnish on it.  I didn’t think I was going to be able to get it back to any “normal” state.  It looked pretty hopeless.

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I tried one silver cleaner on it but still wasn’t happy with how it looked.  So after the 3 tries, I told my hubby this isn’t working right.  It looked a bit better, but you could still see the stains.  Then, he brought another one he found, which I was looking for before and couldn’t find, and I worked on it with that cleaner 2 times.   It is was a very pretty style and there had to be a way to get it back to its original creation.  I gently rubbed, let the polish dry, and buffed it out again.  After the two times, I said, “There you are!  I knew you had to be in there somewhere under all that stain and tarnish!”

As I was enjoying the fruits of my labor, it just made me think about how much like that I am, and maybe you.  I get all tarnished and stained up from the things in my in my life that I experience, or try to control, or hurts from others, and even decisions that I have made that have made my way harder.  It builds and builds, until one day you notice that you have lost your joy, or your sunny personality, or your “want to”.  Then along comes Jesus with His oh so gentle touch, to buff off a little here and there, to help me lift my head up again.  It’s not pleasant, because there are times that those gentle buffings, and sometimes not so gentle, rub me the wrong way.  It doesn’t feel good.  It may need to come off, but still…However, in His mercy, He can’t always do it all at once. He may have to do it in layers.  He will gladly and graciously bring me back to a place where my light can shine, my sins are lifted off of me, and my joy returns.  

Have you ever noticed that it is hard to polish silver without getting some of the tarnish on you?  Think of it this way…as Jesus buffs off the tarnish, He takes it upon Himself, so that we can shine.  All our ugly stains and dark stuff is taken upon Him and it leaves us shining like the silver tea/coffee pot that I purchased.

I am enjoying this piece, as well as the message I was given as I cleaned it.  I feel pretty special after realizing that no matter how bad I look or act, that He will take it all way and fix me up again to get back on track.  I don’t need to feel guilty about it either, because if I come to Him with it as He says to do, He removes that from me.  Isn’t that a great analogy?!?!???

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I hope this speaks to your heart today as well.  Don’t let it build up in you or on you.  Turn it over to the Master and He will make something beautiful out of what looks to be impossible, or like something that is thrown in a bin because it’s not wanted anymore.  You ARE wanted, and He is ready to make things new every morning for you!  It’s never hopeless.  Remember that.

What needs to be cleaned and buffed out in your heart and spirit today?

Until next time…

~JoAnn

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Be A Light From Where You Are

Key Moments Photography

Do you know that God has you in the place he has/had you in for a reason? I mean, if we really look back at our journey, we can see why this or that happened, why we were placed there at a certain time, and we can truly see God’s hand at work through those of us who have been willing to “go there”.

Let me share some examples with you from my own life.

  • I prayed the Prayer of Jabez over my life in 1998 that sent us on a move to Missouri to work for a ministry for two years! THAT was getting on a potter’s wheel for sure! But boy did I LEARN! Miracles happened when I obeyed and we saw them on the way there, when we got there, and all the time while we lived there.
  • A year ago about this time, I was sitting in my office studying when a message came through my computer to ask me, if my cost for a mission trip were paid, would I want to go to Honduras? My first thought? It was to tell God, “It is sooo hot there! And God, its HUMID and hot there! I don’t do well in that kind of weather and you know that about me.” My next thought was that if He was paying my way, knowing that I didn’t do well in that environment, that there was something He wanted me to experience, or see, or be a part of. So, after some praying for confirmation that this was the way in which I was to go, I walked in it. I said yes. I went to Honduras for 10 days and it was life changing!! I saw, I learned, I followed, I took the journey in photographs, and I came home walking closer to God than ever before. I came home thankful for my home, running water, ability to freely go about my life, to live for the Lord, for having what I need and best of all, with friendships that will last a life time! God knew. While I was there, God spoke to me to go home and raise the money to send a container full of items that are needed for the school, the children’s village, medical center, and church there. I did that. I came home, prayed, and then started sharing with others who had a heart to see what God was doing in Honduras. With their help, we sent the container last August. I am currently in the process of raising the money for the next one to go later this year. God needed me there to see and to bring something about for His purposes.
  • Fast forward a year…I was friended by a young woman on Facebook from Uganda. We have been communicating back and forth for some time now. I have no idea how she came by my name, or her reason for friending, but she did. She is wanting to preach and teach the gospel in Uganda and is really on fire for the Lord! So as we talked, I talked to her about having a voice on the internet. She could teach through the internet by sharing it via a blog. So…via long distance, I helped her set up a blog so she can now use that as a voice to many. She also shared that she is going on a mission trip to the west area of Uganda with a group and they are in need of a camera that does video. I am putting the word out for that also.

What is my point? God can use each one of us in ways we may have never thought possible, but they are. In my little office, I can be a voice to help spread the gospel in whatever ways God chooses to use me IF I am listening, and IF I am obedient to His voice. If I had listened to my own thoughts, I probably wouldn’t have gone to Honduras. Would God have used someone else? Could be. But maybe not in the same way, and my particular part in it would not have been completed. I would have missed out on the blessing. There is always a purpose.

YOU are important to intricate plans that God has for others to be encouraged and taught. And if you are thinking it is always to another place far, far away, think again. He can use you in the same way right in your own neighborhood. He can use you sitting at your desk. Ask Him how He wants to use you. But be ready! He WILL call on you. You can see from my examples that He doesn’t let the miles get in the way, OR the language! I’m thankful that I have chosen YES! The best part? When you realize it is NOT about YOU, but you are thankful God chose to INCLUDE you in the miracle!

Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Walking the journeys with you…

P.S. If you are sitting there thinking, I have a camera, or a laptop I’m not using, this team could really use it. Or you might want to help by sending a donation to the Honduras Bound2 project… message me. You WOULD then be taking part in something much BIGGER than you!