God’s Tumbler

Written by: George J. Elling

Did you ever wonder why the various people in your life are there? First there is family. They are there because of biological relationships and marriages. Then there are friends which we “pick” to be there. As the old saying goes, “You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family.”

Next are people with whom we choose to have a professional relationship with, like doctors, dentists, auto mechanics, lawyers, etc. Then there are co-workers, bosses, employees, managers, business associates, etc. Some of us have teammates from a sports league or fellow volunteers from a charity we engage with. We may have fellow worshipers from a church or synagogue we go to. And, of course, there are those who are our neighbors and other people that don’t fit into one of the above categories.

We all interact with quite a few people in the course of a week. But, why are these particular people in our lives? Is there something deeper about why certain people are the people we interact with in a given week? Does it go beyond happenstance or “our choices?”

A tumbler is a barrel or a drum in which you place stones, or parts, along with some grit in order to polish them. Round and round the drum turns. The items inside are forced into each other, interacting with some friction, enhanced by the grit, to wear down the rough edges of the objects in order to achieve a smooth and polished result.

We, and the people in our lives, can be like the items in a tumbler. We are all going round and round, being forced to interact with each other, sometimes easily, and sometimes with a great deal of friction.

It is easy to simply view people in your life in terms of what they can do for you; a utilitarian view. You can also view people in terms of mission or ministry. These are people whom we are to “love on” and help. But, what if God has this particular set of people in your life to help shape and polish you as well as for you to help shape and polish them? What if you are in God’s tumbler?

This, of course, is not the only reason God allows, or places, people into your life. There are the practical and missional purposes as well. But, I think it is valid to consider how God is “polishing” your life when bumping up against others, especially when there is a bit of friction. We grow through struggle. This was true also of Jesus’ life. The Bible says;

“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.”
Hebrews 5:8

Jesus came in contact with all sorts of people during his life on earth. While he healed, helped, and discipled many, he also clashed with many. Some helped his mission, some ignored him. Some tried to control him, and some betrayed him. Through it all, the man, Jesus, learned experiential obedience to the Father and was made perfect, or mature. As a result, he became the man God the Father intended him to be.

After describing the work of ministers (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers), Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus:

15 “…But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
Ephesians 4:15-16

Notice in this passage the special work of each of the various parts of the body of Christ (not just the professional ministers) and that they contribute to your becoming the man or woman God intends you to become. Not a generic man or woman, but a particular you, a part of the body of Christ who measures up to the standard and stature exemplified by Christ.

But how does this happen? Well, for example:

From the irritating, we learn patience and to appreciate calmness.

From those who persecute us, we learn endurance and to appreciate peace and security.

From the educated, we learn knowledge and to appreciate how much there is to know.

From the lovely, we learn beauty and to appreciate beauty.

From the helpless, we learn to give and to appreciate how God reaches out to us.

From the lonely, we learn to be a friend and appreciate God’s presence with us.

From the dysfunctional, we learn to bring and appreciate order.

From the poor, we learn to give and appreciate what God has given us.

From the ones who truly love us, we learn what true love is and gain a desire to share it with others.

I could add additional examples of how we are shaped by those in our lives, but I think you get the idea.

So today, why not reflect on how God may be shaping and polishing you by the interactions you experience with the people in your life. Pay special attention to the ones you feel cause discomfort and friction. God may be using that person to polish your own rough edges. And remember, it is Christ in you (Colossians 1:27) who will give you the ability to see and understand what God may be doing. Welcome to God’s tumbler!

7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 
2 Corinthians 4:7

17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18

1 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
Colossians 3:1-4

-GJE

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How I came to know Jesus

benotashamed
By: Ron M. of Aurora, CO, USA

I was not married at the time my oldest daughter was born.

My girlfriend and I broke up, and I missed my daughter very much.

I would go into the bathroom and pray that God would return them back to me, and He would remind me of how I would cry and pray. Then He allowed me to remember the pain I suffered when I lost them.

He then asked me, “Do you want to go through that again?”

And, I said “No.”

“Then you need me!”

I ignored that conversation and went on with my life.

One day, a friend of my wife’s came over to update her life insurance policy, because she wanted to put me on it.

I offered him a beer and he said, “I can face reality!”

My thought was ‘what are you trying to say, that I can’t?’

The more I talked to him, the more I didn’t want him in our house.

He told me, “Without the Love of Jesus, you won’t go very far.”

I told him that I had work to do and then he invited me to go to his Church to see a play. I told Him I would go.

I went outside to do the work I had to do.

Just then, the Holy Spirit reminded me of how I used to cry to him and ask him to return my family to me.

I will never forget the last time that I asked God to return my family to me and He didn’t, so I asked Him to either return them to me or send somebody that will love me just for who I am.

To top it off, that day I met my wife! We have now been married 38 years now.

The day came for the play, and I went. They gave an altar call to come and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and I didn’t go. I told the Pastor after the service that I wanted to go down there, but he didn’t ask me If I wanted to accept Jesus as my personal Savior.

We left the church and went home.

A few months had gone by, and my wife invited me to go to her Church. I told her that I would go on Easter Sunday morning.

I was impressed by the church; it was very nice inside. I didn’t see any saints along the walls. I was a Catholic, so it was definitely different than the inside of their churches.

When the Pastor of the Church started preaching, he said, “What if Jesus would ask, ‘What are you here for? To show off your new clothes? If you are, get out of here, and don’t come back until you are ready to serve me for the rest of your life!’”

After the service was over, my wife asked, “What did you think?”

I said, “I won’t go back there again.”

The following year was one of the most difficult times I had gone through in my whole life. I quit my job and tried working for myself, but God saw to it that I couldn’t get any work. I could not even get a job, and I had very good working skills.

My wife told me to go apply for food stamps, and I said, “No!”

She said that I needed to swallow my pride and go apply the next day. We went, and we were rejected for any public aid.

What a shame that was to me!

As time went on, I was driving down the road and I got a very sharp pain in my blind eye, so I pulled over, got out of the car and laid on the grass.

I went to an eye doctor shortly after that and he said that I would have to have my eye taken out because it would cause more problems down the road for my other eye.

I left there in tears just thinking of losing my eye.

I called my wife and tried to tell her what was going on, but I couldn’t speak, because I just started to cry.

She said, “Don’t worry, God will take care of you.”

That night I went to bed and I fell apart inside and started to remind God of all of the things I had gone through. I said, “Why did you even create me? First, I lit myself on fire, then I had a dart stuck in my eye and went blind in that eye. I couldn’t look at anybody without being put down. I couldn’t even take off my shirt without somebody saying how gross I was, because of my burns.”

I told God to just take my life, because, “I don’t want to live anymore, but,” I said, ”I am sorry for everything I said, I am sorry and that I tried to live life my own way and I need a new life. I want Jesus to take over my life, now.”

Praise God, He gave me a new life!

The next day, my wife called told me to call this other doctor so I did. I explained to him what had happened and he said to come in to his office.

He examined me and said, “Let me relieve you of your heartache. I can save your eye but it will require surgery.”

I had the surgery done and had to spend the night in the hospital. The doctor came to visit me that night to tell me that it appeared to be okay. The next day I was taken down to get the bandages removed.

He said, “Let’s see if you can see.”

After he removed the bandages, I told him that I could see, and it was like the Lord was hugging me, and He and I were watching the doctor working on me. The doctor removed the bandages and I was able to see for the very first time in 25 years!

I am reminded now about how the blind man, in Mark 8:22-26, came to Bethsaida, and the disciples brought a blind man to Jesus and asked Him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Can you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes, and his eyes were opened! His sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

That is what I am looking forward to, the day I can see Jesus with both eyes!

Praise THE LORD for the blessings he has given me.

©2018 Mark Davis

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Rebecca MacPherson – Our Story…

Hollywood, Are You Listening?

Dwight and Rebecca MacPherson Wedding

Dwight and Rebecca MacPherson Wedding

So many people have asked me to share how Dwight and I met that I decided to write an entry about our journey. It is such a testament to how God has our story written, and if we just listen to Him and wait on His perfect timing, He gives us the desires of our heart.

Back in the fall of 2007, I was enjoying a day off when a thought came in my head to go see if  any new pirate-themed comics had hit the comic shop shelves. So I walked to my local shop (Props out to Meltdown Comics!) and looked around. It turns out that the store had a large pirate-themed section set up with old and new comics. This was around the same time as the whole Pirates of the Carribean craze, so I was very happy to find quite a few interesting books. Among them was one that caught my eye: Dead Men Tell No Tales by a writer named Dwight L. MacPherson. The cover art was incredible, so I decided to give it chance, and I bought all available issues. I went home and read through them in one sitting. I loved how he put a Christian spin on a historical fiction tale chronicling the quest for the Holy Grail.

At the time I read the mini-series, I was living in Los Angeles and working in the film/tv/theatre production world. I had several theatre productions under my belt and I was thinking (as most people in Hollywood think) that, hey, I can produce a big budget film. And so I decided to contact the publisher for Dead Men Tell No Tales to see if I could get contact information for the writer. After several back and forth emails, I got Dwight’s address, and sent him a quick email asking if the rights had been sold to his property because it would make a fantastic film.

Fast forward two years and a million Google chats (Thanks, Google and Gmail) later, Dwight and I got engaged. Our relationship grew over time and a thousand plus miles. We did not have the convenience of meeting up for coffee or dates. We had to get to know each other in nightly two-hour talks. I remember the first thing he asked me was if I went to church. This was important to him because he felt that we needed to be on the same lane of the freeway spiritually. Neither of us were looking for mates at the time, so everything happened organically–us becoming friends, close friends, to committed adults. Some people would think that having a long distance relationship is hard, strange, etc., and I imagine it would be if it were the wrong person. I never second guessed anything because we both knew it was turning out to be perfectly ordered.

When I say that God gives us the desires of our hearts, I need to explain my side of the whole instant family thing. Anyone who knows me knows I never really wanted to “birth” children. I wanted the opportunity to raise a child, but the whole idea of pushing a bowling ball through a small hole never quite appealed to me. As God would have it, Dwight had three boys–all in need of a mother. Can you see how good God is, and how perfect His plans for our lives are? I can, and I realized how blessed I was because this wonderful chance came to me. Not one child, but three! Both Dwight and I wanted to be sure I knew what I was getting into, and he respected his sons enough to not only ask my mom for my hand in marriage, but he also asked the boys if he could marry me. Their feelings were just as important to us as our own desires.

This May, Dwight and I will celebrate our fourth year of marriage. I read all the time about how marriages take a lot of work and you have to sacrifice and bla, bla, bla. Well, call me strange, but none of this seems to apply to us. And it is not because we are still in some sort of honeymoon phase.  It has just never been a struggle. Sure, there have been adjustments–I went from being a single woman to being a wife, mother of three boys, and moved clear across the country. I think that is three out of the five most stressful events in life, right?! But, like I said earlier, when you are with the soulmate God has created you for, all of these seemingly stressful moments take a back seat to the awesomeness that is our God. Despite our undeserved wretched selves, He gives us helpmates to help us through this journey called life.

So there you have it. Two people from different walks in life with similiar interests and spiritual walks doing their thing until God in His infinite grace puts them together against all odds. I know that the random idea to go buy a book was not a coincidence. It was God writing my story–and you know what? I am content to let Him finish the book.

In His Perfect Love,

Rebecca

P.S. Hollywood, our story rights are available for purchase. ;)

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lod. Plans to prosper you and plans to to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

© 2013 Mark Davis

Recommended Reading:

Rebecca and Dwight MacPherson’s Blog – www.sonofaparson.com

Doris Pt. 1: How I Traded Fear For Peace

Doris Pt. 2: How God Led Me To Work With Children

A Letter To A Young “Bride-To-Be”

Larry Bronsing – My Journey

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