Flaming Minions

We just got done having a sale on filet mignon at work. Needless to say, we had a fantastic steak dinner at home with Danny, Chris, and the girls. Danny fired up the grill while I made some mashed potatoes and corn. He didn’t do too shabby for a city boy.

Chris’ daughter, at one point, ran upstairs to her mom. She said, “You wanna know something? The fire gets bigger and it gets smaller. It’s kinda like being a Christian.”

Chris asks, “You’re right. What happens when the fire goes out?”

She thought for a second. Then she said, “You die.”

She’s right. The nine-year-old got it, where so many of us didn’t. Our faith is like a fire that gets stronger and brighter, or it gets low, even going out. When our faith is gone, we are, too. What’s left outside the hope we all have in God? The faith that where you are isn’t going to be your permanent home?

The good news is, dead fires leave glowing embers behind. The mighty rushing wind that is the Holy Spirit is enough to set the world ablaze. So don’t let your fire go out. Pray that God would send the wind it takes to take your breath away, to set your fire hotter than it’s ever been. May you never become complacent. May you never give up. May you never be satisfied with religion.

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Cotton-Candy Poodle

I’ve gotten into the habit of looking up a random bible verse as soon as I get to work, and then applying that verse to my job. I figure if I can nail it down at my job, I can surely get it right everywhere else. Anyone with retail experience knows how difficult people can be. When I started my job, I loved people. Then I noticed a while back that I was starting to become that person who didn’t like people at all. It was because of my job, and only noticing the worst in people. I had to change that. Mission work is about people, and if you’re not a people person, you have a problem.

With God’s perfect timing, I found a verse in Colossians. It said, “Let every word from your mouth be seasoned with salt.” I had developed a bad habit of allowing the first words out of a customer’s mouth to decide my attitude through the whole transaction. That wasn’t cool. So I decided, no matter how mean or nasty a customer was to me, I was going to give them the best service I could possibly muster. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

Today, I had a customer come through my line with a distaste for me in her eyes. Her lips were pursed together, and she was very clear that she did not want to communicate with me. I was still going to try. “Hi!” I smiled and sounded as cheerful as I could. “How are you?”

No answer. Didn’t even look at me. Then she said, “I want my senior discount.”

“Okay,” I said. Then asked again, “How are you doing?”

Silence.

Finally, after I’d rung up a few of her items and bagged them, I asked her one last time, “How has your day been?”

This woman finally looked up at me, and flatly said, “What makes you think rewording the question will get me to answer?”

I kept my smile. I kept my joy. I knew who I was, and she wasn’t going to make me feel like anything less than a daughter of the king. So I said, “I’m sorry, ma’am. If there’s anything I can do at all to help you, just let me know. I’ll do what I can.”

The woman smirked and laughed, laughed at me. Laughed at my efforts. Laughed at my job. I kept smiling. When it was over, I handed her the bags and told her to have a great weekend, as if she’d been a charm through the whole transaction.

Three day ago, I had to give up my dog. Bingo went to live with a wonderful family nearby, and the woman who took him owns a salon just for poodles. She was showing us pictures of dogs she’d worked with, and they all looked pretty trippy. They had the typical show dog poodle cut, and then were decked out with dyes and styles and accessories. I was worried… Today, she posted a picture on Facebook of Bingo. He was blue and yellow and psychedelic. I was shocked. He looked impressive, but very, very different.

Danny said, “He looks good!”

Danny said for ages that Bingo was ugly. He wasn’t. Danny was the only person in the world who thought he was. So for him to see my dog look like a cotton candy puff and say he was cute was annoying. I said, “You thought he was ugly before, but cool now? Are you crazy?”

Danny, in all his charm, said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” (Although… That’s not quite what he said… But we’ll go with that.)

Whether you look for the good or bad in people, the light or the dark of your job, the attractiveness or the ugliness in a dog, the positive or the negative, one thing’s for sure: You will always, always find what you’re looking for. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Filling your mind with the negativity isn’t going to help anyone, but it WILL hurt YOU. God wants to be the heart of your thoughts, the calm voice in the chaos of life, the peace in your valley… Why would you ever dwell on anything less?

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