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Invitations: Jose and the Woman at the Ice Machine

6:30 a.m. and I’m patiently waiting.
The lady in the apple green box she thinks is a car is slowing me down.
It’s my turn to fill the coolers for work.
But she’s filling more than one cooler, with tears and a frown.

“Cry later, lady.” I think to myself.
She yells at her kid for another cooler to catch more ice.
“Seriously, don’t you have a fridge at home,” I growl in my thoughts.
When they finish and the kid tries to move his cooler, it falls. “Nice.”

I decide I’d better help if I want to get on my way.
So I smile and lend a hand.
When I load up their coolers.
I see more than I’d planned.

A babe in a car seat and a thumb-sucking preschooler,
Both sleeping under blankets in the backseat.
I close my eyes and say a prayer.
“No fridge, no home–a family living on the street.”

Pastor Miguel’s sermon comes to mind.
“Stay alert and look for God during your day.
He is working all around you.”
My eyes are now open and now I know what to do and what to say.

A dash to my job and then to the church.
I leave the family in Miguel’s care.
I finish my day watching for God’s hand
To guide me to another way to share.

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Jose’s experience reminds me of Jesus at the well in John 4. The woman went to the well for water and walked away with more than she expected.

God is speaking and working all throughout our day and He invites us to join Him. We are responsible for making sure we don’t miss those moments by focusing on ourselves more than others.

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The Parables of Our Lives: March Madness

This is one of my favorite seasons. Not only does the earth appear to be waking up from a long sleep, it is college basketball playoff season. As I followed the brackets along with the rest of basketball fanatics, I was also following friends on FB who were working in their yards and getting ready for spring.

What does spring preparation and basketball have to do with each other? Well, believe it or not, there is a parable to consider.

Tevin and Lauren walked around the nature trail for one final lap. As they slowed their pace they noticed a group of businessmen leaning over a log. Suddenly one of the men jumped back while another told them all to be careful because there were fire ants in the log. Tevin and Lauren approached the men and saw that ants had covered the right side of one of their jackets. Tevin told them to remain calm as he began to help the ant covered man remove his jacket. 

As Tevin removed the man’s jacket and shirt it became 

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obvious the man was covered with ant bites. Lauren quickly told one of the men to call for an ambulance. The man with ant bites was obviously allergic to fire ant bites because his arm and back were starting to blister.

After the ambulance transported the ant bite victim followed his companions, Tevin and Lauren sat on a nearby park bench.

“Wow. I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Lauren said.

“Me either,” Tevin shivered. “I’ve never seen so many ant bites. He is going to be miserable for some days.”

“I’m sure. But did you notice that he never actually touched the log. The ants covered his arm and back, but not his chest and legs? How could be that be?”

“I don’t know, but it would seem that he needs to avoid places where there are fire ants.”

“Yeah. He underestimated the power of those tiny creatures.”

As I was writing this parable I was half watching basketball highlights. The ants in this story aren’t the only things that are underestimated.

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Several teams made it to the “Big Dance” this year and caused some stings of their own.

I’m sure Virginia had plans to be still in the bracket as well as Houston and TCU.

Loyola-Chicago, Michigan, and Syracuse weren’t on the list of many 2nd round predictions, but they made it to the final 16.

 

 

The ants in the parable and the upsetting teams have a few things in common:

  1. Vision (They had a place they wanted to be.)
  2. Strategy (They had a plan for the opposition.)
  3. Determination (They didn’t let the opposition steal their place.)

We may feel small and insignificant, but we all have potential to make a difference in the world around us. We can do big things for God even if we have failed in the past. The Lord has given us everything we need that leads to success (2Peter 1). He has given all of us the ability to dream. He teaches us how to fulfill the dreams He places in us. He has equipped us with His Holy Spirit who will guide us (John 16:12 – 15).

We have power to protect what He has given us.

Victory and success is ours if we don’t quit when we face struggles and opposition.