The Extraordinary In the Ordinary

I was at work yesterday thinking about the difference Christ has made in my life. I wanted something to write about and the thought finding the extraordinary in the ordinary crowded my head. So, I began to ponder over it.  Then I started reviewing my life and began identifying the ways God has shown me to look beyond the obvious. I did not have to search too far because the employer’s job fits the bill.

The work I do is delivering clean laundry throughout a hospital. The pay is average, and the benefits are minimal. I have been with the company for fifteen months and have not had a raise in income. All the bosses are pleased with my performance, and my attendance is spot on.  
 
However, the opportunities to exemplify Christian character far outweigh the shortcomings of the corporation. God has blessed me with an abundance of people to interact with and the ability to carry out His will.  I am amazed, by the way; God fills me with the Holy Spirit and the places this takes me in regards to my fellows.
 
One day I was waiting for the service elevator to arrive and saw a lady with a distressed look on her face. I said to her, “smile someone loves you”, and she looked over at me with appreciation. We departed and later that day as our paths crossed again, I noticed her smiling. I can remember a time in my past that I was blinded to other people’ needs because my world was self-centered.
 
My favorite stop in the hospital is the maternity ward. Here is where God reveals to me His unconditional love. He brings me face to face with His creativeness. I am in my fifties and have no children. For me, there is no another encounter like this one either on the job or elsewhere. Here I am the most connect with God and seeing the newborns is always an awe, awe moment. The feeling He places in my soul is incredible. That has inspired me to continue to improve on my relationship with Christ.
 
Recently, I came across a guy who was struggling with assembling shelving. I asked him if he needed help, and he answered yes. The few minutes this took out of my usual routine was not missed, and the thankfulness he shared was well worth it. I walked away with gratitude. I thanked God for using me the way He intended for that precise opportunity in following His commands. The Holy Spirit fills my heart every time I make these types of efforts.
 
These are only a few examples that have happened to me on this job. Christ has taught me that not everything is profound. Paying attention to the finer details is where God changes my outlook, and I am able to see the bigger picture of His plan. When I am in Christ’ zone the better I am able to live selflessly.
 

There is no better way for me to live because the possibilities with Christ are infinite. Developing a personal relationship with God has allowed me to see the best in all things even in the worst situations. The more connected I am with Christ, the better I am in giving. As a result of living in salvation, the need for personal recognition evaporates.

A Day in Life

 
   A loud buzzing sound fills my bedroom. My eyes open slightly. I glance over at the nightstand where the clock sits displaying 3 a.m. The debating committee in my head contemplates hitting the snooze button. Today’s choice is to get up.  Placing my feet on the floor, I arise and sit on the edge of the pillow top mattress. I rub my eyes and greet a new day. The alarm worked like a charm. I have gotten out of bed, and the first hurdle of the day has been successful.
 
 There is a reason behind getting up early. The answer to this early birds rise is not typical. Yes, I have to be at work on time that happens to be 5 in the morning. Driving the thirty minute commute is inevitable.  The twenty minute hygiene time is going through the motion. Coffee and a cigarette are optional. All of those steps are necessary to fulfill my responsibility to the employer. The real deal is my commitment to Christ. I have to start my day off in the Light because failing to do so opens the top to Pandora’s Box.
 
   Before I was saved, my reactions to life’s terms were filled with negative thinking and wrongful behavior. I did not look forward in crawling out of bed because there was nothing I liked about the world. I was engulfed with anger, and full of pessimism. I treated others unkindly and caused harm to those around me. I felt entitled to everything and wallowed in self-pity because nothing good was happening. My conscience was non-existent, and I compromised every Christian moral imaginable. I was like a tornado leaving behind a long trail of wreckage.    
 
   So, upon awaking it is imperative for me to start my devotion. Surrendering myself to God is the difference maker in responding spiritually to the challenges of the day. That gives me the best possible approach in facing the people, places and things I will encounter. I have learned through salvation, there are hidden situations contained in a twenty-four hour period. My preparation is proportionate in the way I handle the ups and downs of life.
 
   As a result, from following God, I have come to understand that a day in life has a series of books at my disposal. In order for me to reach for the right one I need support. God has the only bookends strong enough to keep me from leaning. He allows me to stay upright under all circumstances. No matter how faltering I become the wisdom in overcoming my difficulties lies in God’s library. The Bible is the truth. The key to unlocking the door to God’s kingdom is putting faith into action, and His rewards are limitless. I no longer have to stumble over the events of the day.

   At the end of every day, I set aside time with Christ to examine myself. I sit down and write about the events of the day, reviewing the times I have fallen short, people I have hurt and asking for forgiveness. I include situations where I acted spiritually and thank Jesus for guiding me. Now I can sleep in peace with a clean slate, clear conscience and the promise of a better tomorrow. 
 

 

    
 
This article was part of a writer’s challenge submitted to Faith Writers several months ago. The topic was bookends and the word count was 725 or less.

The Master

      One of the most beautiful, professional golf course on the PGA tour is Augusta National. Every year the Master’s Golf Championship is held on its grounds. The stunning display of blooming azaleas, dogwoods and plush green grass are captured by the camera’s eye for all to see. The pro golfers and announcers always comment on the splendidness of its natural setting.
 
   In our Christian lives, we understand how creative God is, and this golf course is a prime example of His marvelous imagination. God’s vision is pure and appealing to the human eye. The Garden of Eden was full of beautiful and magnificent breath taking scenery.
 
   Adam and Eve had an up close and personal view of the Lord’s paradise. Even though, Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation, God loved them enough to continue giving them glimpses of His beauty. Today, we too through Christ are connected, in the same way, as our ancient ancestors.
 

   Every professional golfer wants the green jacket on their resume. The rich tradition associated with this major tournament is a well-established prestigious attribute. This event is not open to all pros. In order to play golf on its course, there are requirements to meet.

 
  There are nineteen different ways a golfer can be accepted into this yearly brotherhood. Seven of them are awarded for winning the other three majors as well as a Master’s itself. The next eleven, ranges from current world rankings to top finishes in the other majors. The last way is an invitation from the Master’s tournament committee. As a result, from narrowing down the field, the best golfers are invited.
 
   Living in salvation also has certain criteria to meet in order to participate. The first step into the Light is faith. There is no way to enter into the Kingdom without trusting in Christ. All people can become a part of His house because God’s plan is designed to include everyone. However, without applying faith the door remains shut. God responds to those who are humble, honest and willing to follow His way regardless of personal sacrifice.
 

   Faith without action is useless. The best way to incorporate this spiritual necessity is developing a personal relationship with God through Christ. Devotion is its key and when we approach the Lord with sincerity a presence arrives inside our hearts. God allows us to feel Him, and this change us from a believer in knowing the Truth. As a result of our willingness to rely upon Jesus, we have been granted the way to experience God’s grace. This connectedness is unlike any other because God’s love is incredible.

 
   Our rebirth supplies us with a Christian courage able to withstand any calamity, circumstance or peer pressure life can deal out. This spiritual confidence derives from our reliance upon Christ in all our affairs leading to strength beyond our own. God makes no mistakes, and His power is the only way we can overcome the most painful situations.
 
 The impact Jesus has in healing the soul separates the believers from the unbelievers. His compassion for the human race is second to none and all that is required to receive it is our undivided attention to His existence. Missing His mark surely signs our death warrant because salvation is all about eternal life.
 
   On Sunday, the last day of the Master’s, when the final pairing finishes the tournament ends. A champion claims his crown. All the trials and tribulations the golfers endured comes to an end. The emotional and mental anguish felt from the week events fades away, and the winner burst into tears. The famous green jacket changes hands, and they prepare for their return next spring to repeat the challenge.


   Well, the good news is that by walking in the footprints of Christ, we are victorious over excessive sinning. Our partnership in Heaven comes from the Master of life who preside over us. We know this because we have been providing the wisdom to life’s riddle from the Savior. The spiritual knowledge we need to live righteously can only come from the Messiah, and this makes anything possible.
 
 Once we live in God’s Word, then, we depart from our individualism and enter into a life driven by a desire to grow in the image of our Creator. We have the courage to live by faith, and forgiving others become the measuring stick of our obedience.  We want to seek and do the will of the Father because we have been touched by the Holy Spirit.

   Every day we are given the opportunity to be of selfless service to God, Christ and others. The more we let go and let Christ manage our lives the better we are at staying on straight and narrow. We discover this happens automatically, and the meaning of life becomes usefully whole. We enjoy loving others and can make a difference in other peoples’ lives. Our purpose and responsibility as Christians is to grow spiritually with each other and help unbelievers find the Path. Through the guidance of Christ, we can lead others to God.
 

  The road to redemption is like golf because there is always a need to get better. The biggest room in the world is a room for improvement. There is always room to draw closer to the Lord. We are bonded together through Christ as a family and united as one voice in carrying His message.

 

 

   This awakening to the facts about the death and resurrection of Jesus confirms the absolute truth about eternal life. Whether we are a new believer or a seasoned veteran the basics of salvation are the same. Living in faith, trusting Christ and humbling ourselves before God builds an unshakable foundation for living. Those fundamental spiritual principles are the backbone of Christian character.


There is no conclusion to a saved life only inclusion through Jesus. The membership in God’s club is granted, and it will take our willingness to follow Christ to remain there. No matter what happens to us here on earth we know that God’s love is infinite, and our Savior’s shield will always pull us through.

Delivered

In the spring of 1985, I found myself at the doorstep of mom’s house. She was expecting me, but unprepared for the shock of her life. I had called to inform her that I was coming back home. I hopped into my car and drove the four and half hour trip. I was a physical wreck for it took every bit of strength I could muster up to complete the journey. I had the shakes and a severe hangover from the previous night. I cannot remember the last time I had taken a sober breath.
 
I pulled into the childhood driveway, threw the transmission into park, and walked up to the front door. With my right hand, I reached for the doorknob, twisted it and walk through the threshold. I was embraced with a loving hug followed by sobbing. The tears falling down the cheeks of her face were not joyful but terror. She did not recognize her youngest son because she remembered her boy being full of life. Bewilderment radiated through her expression, and she was devastated. I was one hundred and ten pounds and the skin on my face was sunken inward, giving the appearance of a sick and frail young man. I was speechless, hopeless and desperate.
 
I was only away from home for three years. I never thought it would end up like this. I was full of ambition, ready to take life by the horns. I had visions of prestige by planning to make a name for myself. I had a lot of good intentions. These should have been achievable goals, but the demons inside myself stripped away anything worthwhile.
 
I had reached that point where alcohol had its way with me. I could not stop this insidious reoccurring nightmare because everything I tried to stop drinking drove me deeper into the black hole of powerlessness. Bottle after bottle, time and again, I would repeat the same mistakes always expecting a different result. Instead, I was faced with the fact of being an alcoholic. I had turned into the one thing I despised and a spitting image of dad.
 
I was baffled, ashamed and did not know where to turn. My parents agreed to provide me a place to stay under the condition I would seek help. I was willing and took them up on their offer. Mom knew of a counselor who specialized in alcohol addiction. So I contacted him. After the first face to face session with Mr. Barfield and just before leaving his office, he handed me a flyer with a list of twelve-step programs. He highly suggested I start attending meetings.
 
I decided to choose one and did not know what to expect from the twelve-step program. I was scared. I cannot recall the topic at my first meeting. I continued attending and began to identify with the medical description of alcoholism. The way they laid it out made perfect sense because for the first time concerning my drunkenness there was a logical explanation. It spoke volumes, and as I looked back at the past, there was concrete evidence staring me between the eyes.
 
Then came their hook, line, and sinker that would be the only solution to my predicament. God! That presented me with a major stumbling block because I was agnostic. There could be no God in this world riddled with evilness. I was highly offended by their seemingly shallow outlook. How could God do anything for me?
Well, they said to me, just hang in there a little longer. Don’t give up before the miracle happens is a frequent slogan. Things did change. God began to work on me, and I gradually found faith. As a result, from seeking God a transformation began taking root, and I learned a lot about how He works. I came to understand that through trusting Him everything will be taken care regardless of the current situation.
 
The power I received from His strength allowed me to make amends for my wrong doings as well as healing my heart. Even though I found the effect of God, I failed to maintain it and became complacent. I was content with the way my spiritual life was and started to slack off in my devotion. I did not realize the danger this type of view would bring. This blindness cost me dearly and after eighteen years of sobriety, I got drunk.
 
I remember the moment I started using alcohol again was not wise. Everything God had done for me was tossed aside because I decided to get drunk. The insanity of alcoholism returned with a fury taking me places of degradation. I was in the grip of wickedness unlike any I had known. I was dying a slow and miserable death.
 
God did not give up on me and continued calling me back. I finally heard Him after eight years of misery. He opened His arms, and I embraced Him. God picked up where He had left off and quickly showed me the light at the end of the tunnel. As I walked down God’s tunnel, He delivered me to His Son Jesus Christ and into salvation. I now know the Light at the end of God’s tunnel is Heaven.