Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The View From The Supermarket ... And Beyond

Well, let's see... In my last comment box, Becky asked what the book, It's Bright In My Valley was about since no one at amazon.com had reviewed it (people seldom review my favorite books cuz they're too quirky, old and forgotten. The books, not the people. heh.)

Anyway, this is how I described that book:

"It's rather like Gulley's, Front Porch Tales, except that it was written around 1961.

Philip Jerome Cleveland wrote essays about his days as a young pastor and the memorable characters he met in the New England towns where he pastored in the 1930's and 40's. He was able to lead some of them to Jesus, not all, but each person was interesting and many were quirky and what others would label as People Least Likely To Step Inside a Church.

He learned to deal with people with respect, patience and to find common outside-interest denominators which would help him form friendships with them, first.

These were true stories and I never tire of reading them!"

I'm glad Becky asked about It's Bright In My Valley because it always reminds me how we can tell we're maturing in God: our own community starts looking different to us.


Well, take the supermarket for instance. We're still immature in God, in love, when we see the mom with a screaming baby in her cart and two little boys racing down the aisles and we think, "Gah! Why are there so many lousy moms who refuse to discipline their spoiled brats  children every time I go out to shop?"

Or everyone we pass in the aisles is talking into a cell phone, perhaps blocking our way, oblivious to us (me, me, me) and we glare and think, "Cell phones everywhere! Can't anyone stand to be alone for even ten minutes anymore?"

Or every check-stand has a long line and the one we choose (of course) takes the l-o-n-g-e-s-t to get through because the clerk is new and painfully slow and everybody and his Aunt Jane uses a fistful of coupons nowadays and we want to scream because everybody is making us (me, me, me) late for our own Very Important Next Thing.

Want your town to instantly change? Ask God to change you, to grow you up in love. Trust me, I know about this one because when we change, the mom in the supermarket will, instead, appear like a tired woman who truly needs an encouraging word or a helping hand.

And all those people with cell phones suddenly look like sad people afraid to be alone for even a few minutes or perhaps young husbands who just want to bring home the right things for their wives at home all day with toddlers.

And those tons of folks in check-stand lines become our fellow brothers and sisters for whom Jesus died (and for whom we can pray) and the coupon users become people struggling financially, just trying to save some money for their families and the slow clerk becomes someone who's grateful for her new job and doing the best she can lest she lose it.

God sent Jesus to this planet because of love, not condemnation, and when we get on that same page we, too, get sent out into our world because of love, not condemnation. And the whole world changes with our going.


"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."  ... John 3:16,17


Oh! And yesterday I discovered a very cool website with a list of classic Christian books written by authors like A.W. Tozer, Andrew Murray, Madame Guyon, David Brainerd, John Bunyan, D.L. Moody, Brother Lawrence, Watchman Nee and others. Way back in '94 when God began His huge makeover on me, He led me to these authors and I devoured their writings and yesterday I had fun becoming reacquainted with them. And what an answer to prayer! Since last week I'd been desiring to read these sorts of books again, but knew I'd not be able to buy any at this time....then poof! There they appeared online (can't even recall how I arrived there).

 Again, go here for the many ebook links (though, sadly, some links appear to be broken).




Echoes From the Hill said...

Abe books has It's Bright in My Valley. Shipping is free with many of the sellers.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Debra, this is the heart of what I believe. That we are sent to bring love to the world and not condemnation. I may say it differently, but this is the heart of what being a Christian and the message of the New Testament means to me. I'm so glad you said this.

Sometimes I feel so sad because it seems to be forgotten. But we just have to keep doing what we are supposed to be doing and trust the rest to God. Thank you for your words today.

Elizabeth said...

So very true Debra!

Anonymous said...

It's true...we don't know what others are going through. Probably we would often choose a different action or thought, if we knew. It does pay to be kind to others.
Elizabeth in NC

Deb said...

Amen. :)

I needed this reminder today!

K.E. said...

Everyone bears a burden. I wish I remembered this more often.
Thanks for the encouraging reminder.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has their "challenges" it seems. Tonight near 9 PM driving on our little street, the poor dogs next door were out barking like mad...who would not be at a chilly 46 degrees!!! Asked my hubby, if they would like to have to go through what they put the poor doggies through...poor babies. People do not deserve the loyalty and love of dogs, maybe not cats either. (I feel that more keenly cause we lost our wonderful one last year and cannot replace her now).
Elizabeth in NC

Anonymous said...

I remember a hymn that has a line..."and let it start with me" but at the moment that is all I can remember. You are so right!! It starts from the minute we wake too. If we grumble at our husband or children or grumble when say for the 3rd time this morning the refrigerator door does not close when we had pushed it to do so... {ask me how I know} this attitude keeps feeding. Things happen and I start us all off right if my attitude is one of thankfulness, acceptance and prayer. Once out the door naturally this should continue. Do unto others. Would I like to be treated or thought about falsely or unfeeling? We all know how a smile or a word from a person can change our whole day. Yes I too believe we can be that person. Like bad attitude ,a good attitude can be infectious too. Thank you for reminding us all how one person can change the world. Sarah