Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Permissible? Yes. But is it BENEFICIAL?

Hello, dear friends! How is your new year going? Can you believe this is the last full week of January?

There's something weighing heavily on my heart that I need to share. I'm going to share briefly how I feel about a specific subject, then give you two things I really hope you'll read.

There's yet another subject that has caused people to have knee-jerk reactions in our country: gun control. Now, I'm not taking sides. I'm sharing what I feel, in my heart. But I want to share something that I recently experienced....

Some of you know that Kenn and I did a show a couple of weeks ago; it was written by a friend, Frank Fox, as a follow-up to another show he'd written. The first show was call PHISH CAMP, and the second GIL'S GIFT. Fun, lighthearted stuff. But I wasn't associated with the first play.

GIL'S GIFT had two different characters who had to use firearms. And because we couldn't find realistic-looking props in such a short amount of time, the director got the two grown men real firearms to use.

As stage manager, it was my job to make sure all the props got to where they needed to be. This SHOULD have included these firearms. But when I tried the first time we had them, I couldn't carry one of them twenty yards. When I picked it up, not only could I feel the physical weight of it, but also the responsibility weight associated with it. I mean, think about it: for what end purpose would you use a gun? You might go to the range to practice, but practice to do what? Use that deadly force against someone. Even though I had no intention of doing anything but carrying that firearm, in its holster, to another place to be given to someone else, I couldn't do it. I had to allow the firearms guy to be in charge of them completely - and he was fine with that. It's the first time I've not been able to do a part of my job. But it wasn't that I wouldn't. It was, indeed, that I could not.

My dad had a rifle in the house while I was growing up. He might still have it upstairs in his closet; I really don't know. Nor do I want to. If he feels he wants it, just in case, it's his RIGHT.

Yes. It is a RIGHT. But I'll stick with this Scripture:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
~I Corinthians 10:23-24

The Message puts it this way:
Looking at it one way, you could say, “Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.” But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.

Please truly think about and pray about your stance. Don't just say what I've heard too many say - "It's my right, and no one's gonna stop me." We're supposed to do EVERYTHING for God's glory, dear friend. EVERYTHING. Please don't make an exception here. And if you feel led differently than I, then you follow what the Holy Spirit is telling YOU!

OK. I got that off my chest. :)

Now, then. To the two resources I'd LOVE you to check out:
My friend, Keith Giles.
 I think you'll love what he has to say. It will at LEAST make you think.
Prodigal Magazine
I absolutely LOVE this article. And it's what made me post this blog post; too many times, I throw up my hands because I don't believe people listen when it's a huge issue. But I have to still TRY. :)

OK, my friend. I hope you can hear my heart in this post. Even if you disagree with my position, the thing that I believe in more than anything in this post is that there's NO reason we can't agree to disagree, that unity in His Bride is more important than we realize and that we need to be able to love each other through anything! And if you want to dialogue, I'm here. And I love you. :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Brokenness and Imperfections

Happy New Year, dear friend! How are you? How's your 2013 so far? I don't know why, but this week has DRAGGED. It's not like I'm not doing stuff, but oh, well. :D

If you're my friend on Facebook, you probably know all about what I've been up to. (If you're not, and you'd like to be, send me a request! LORI STILGER. :) ) But let me share a bit, anyway. I mean, that's why I started this blog, right? :D

I spent two weeks in College Station, Texas, taking care of my then-three-month-old niece. This is my baby sister's baby. You know there are VERY few people in the entire world I'd take two weeks out of my December to do something like that for. :D But it was an honor. And hard work! LOL! Fortunately, the baby is SO easy to care for, not fussy at all, and such a beautiful baby. Here, I'll put a picture of us from that visit here!Isn't she beautiful?


While I was there, Baby and I made some presents for the rest of the family; they were salt dough ornaments, and we used ONE hand and ONE foot to mark the dough, then let them dry.

Well, as you can see from my photo at the top of this post, mine is the imperfect one. When we first made this one, I thought, "Oh, no! It's ruined! Man, if only I'd gotten her hand straighter before we put pressure on the dough!"

But you know what? The more I watched it dry, the more I started to cherish this plaque in particular. the rest might have been more "perfect", but THIS one, I understood. THIS one, her delight in the texture and feel of the dough are made evident in the way she wanted to FEEL it - first with her hand, then with her big toe!

And it tied itself right into a lesson God's been developing in my heart over the last few months.

See, many times we come to a place in our lives where we have to fight despising the brokenness and imperfections in our past (or current) lives. The cracks and chips that happen when we choose to go our own ways, to live how WE think we want to. When we allow God to put us back together, those aren't glossed over. They're still there; we may be held together by His grace, but we can still see every crack, still feel where the chips are glued back together.

Dear friend, what He's been teaching me is that our brokenness and imperfections are SO useable by Him! Think about a candle holder (there's a really special one that I cannot find the info on, so I'll have to explain!!!) that's been cracked and broken. The owner puts it back together, and puts a candle into it. The light of the candle shines through the cracks, shedding light and warmth through where it couldn't shine through before.

God's the One Who puts us back together again. The candle is the Holy Spirit, shining the light of Jesus through us to the world. What a MIRACLE that is. So, I try not to despise those things in my life anymore, but turn them over to the Father, so He can use them to shed His light into others' lives. And to not give Satan something to hold over me. If it's out in the open, he can't torment me with feelings of guilt and condemnation!

I've been learning a lot. It takes a while to solidify into words, but I hope these words help you in some way. :) Be BLESSED, dear one. Know you are loved with an everlasting love, and that God does ALL things well! That includes creating YOU.