Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Love Collection Calls!

I never dreamed I would be in this position. Our business of 30 years has been adversely affected by the recession just like so many others. Since its our sole source of income our personal finances have been impacted also. I have a whole new understanding for those who have to endure the relentless pursuit of bill collectors! The calls came even on Mother's Day...so sad.
Having said that, it has also been a time of growth for me (for Bob too, but he needs to write his own blog!). In fact, as I shared my experiences with close friends they said it was information others needed to have and so my blog was born! When the calls first started they embarrassed me and made me angry. How dare these people infringe upon my personal time! But God started working on me and helped me to understand that a credit card is basically a loan that we promise to pay back. If you stop making payments and they start calling you it doesn't make THEM the bad guy. The fact is, a promise has been broken and the responsibility lies with me. The first time I articulated that thought to a collector they were blown away! They shared that they are cussed out or avoided all day long but no one ever owns up to their responsibility.
The more I talked to these people the more I had compassion for the job they have to do. I now go out of my way to be polite and apologetic. I never make a promise I don't think I can keep and I let them know that. I can't tell you how often the collector turns out to be a Christan! I don't know if a lot of Christians do this for a living or if the Lord has just arranged for the Christians to be the ones who call me. Time and time again I have had them say "I'll be praying for you", or "Don't lose hope, God has a plan." Now keep in mind, I don't lead with the information that I'm a Christian!
One in particular that touched my heart was confirming my information at the end of the call and when I repeated back my email address, Iteach4Him@aol.com, he said "THE Him?" When I said yes, he replied that He just KNEW I was a Christian! Then he said God had a word for me and proceeded to rattle off the most profound and encouraging prophesy for me! I couldn't get my journal fast enough to write it all down! At the end I asked him if there was anything I could be praying for him and he told me his wife had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I assured him that I would be praying and I would have my friends pray too. All of this from a collection call. Another time I could just hear the weariness in the woman's voice and I told her how much I appreciated the way she did her job and that it must be very difficult to do all day. She just poured out her heart to me and I was able to encourage her in the Lord.
So the dreaded collection call has now become a ministry break in the day and I'm learning to love each one who calls me. As Christians, we're called to do all things as unto the Lord. I believe that includes handling collection calls with love and compassion. It sure has made my life easier....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Letters from Home

"The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home."
St. Augustine of Hippo
Just think of the joyous anticipation we feel when we go to the mail box and find a fat envelope with the familiar handwriting of a loved one addressed to us! Everything else stops as we sit and devour every word with smiles and tears mingled together as we imagine the face of the one we long to see. We read and re-read those words over and over again never growing tired of them. For those few precious moments, we are in the presence of the one we love.
The Bible is a mail box full of letters from our true home, heaven. We should run to it every day to see what Jesus, our Beloved, has to say to us. Sometimes He speaks of His suffering for our sins and we weep as we hear of the abuse, both physical and mental, that He endured for the love of us. Other times He reminds us that He is coming for us soon and "so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17), and we have hope to face another day. As we read we can see His face reflected in the Words He spoke, and for those few precious moments, we are in the presence of the One we love.
So why is it that we so often stay in bed that extra hour rather than check the "holy mailbox"? Why is it that everything and everyone seems to come first in our day when we have "a letter" waiting from heaven? Have you checked your "mail" today?

Monday, May 23, 2011

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Apocalypse...not!

I really loved this quote by C. S. Lewis about dating the return of Jesus which I wrote about in my last blog:
"No one knows the day or the hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Matthew 24:36
"We must never speak to simple, excitable people about "the Day" without emphasizing again and again the utter impossibility of prediction. We must try to show them that that impossibility is an esential part of the doctrine. If you do not believe our Lord's words, why do you believe in His return at all? And if you do believe them, must you not put away from you, utterly and forever, any hope of dating that return?"
C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) in The World's Last Night
The day after the "failed launch", the L.A. Times had an article called "Apocalypse...not". I was fully expecting a rant by those who had sold everything to follow the "prophesy" of Harold Camping. While there was anger expressed by some, the response that was in bold, large print in the article said, "We're pretty disappointed, but the Word of God is still true. We...went too far, and that's something we need to learn from." What a mature, humble response to a terrible situation. This man actually took responsibility for his own actions without pointing fingers! This was no wild eyed cult follower looking for the mother ship to take him away from his problems, this was a sincere Believer who simply got it wrong by straying from the Word of God. Before we label someone a simple minded fool, perhaps we need to look in the mirror. There, but for the grace of God AND HIS WORD, go any one of us.