Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Refiner's Fire

My good friend Sarah had me over for breakfast on Saturday morning.  We were eating eggs, sausage, and toast, and drinking hot tea when she shared the following snippet of a story with me.  Read, soak in, enjoy.

Malachi 3:3 says:  "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

The story is told about some women in a Bible study who were puzzled by this verse.  They wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work.  She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. 

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.  He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God allowing us to be in fires of life, then she thought again about the verse that says:  "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."  She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire.  If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment.  Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it."

(Original source of story unknown.)

Beautiful.  Isn't it?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

No words today

Lately I feel as though I have no words left.  So I will use the words of others to portray my thoughts.  The following image is from my church (Ada Bible Church) in their daily email entitled "Beyond the Weekend."

And click here for a blog post written about the same concept in which our God is a pretty awesome God and how we are supposed to essentially shine on and radiate God's glory!

Thanks for reading!  See you around.  :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Are you a hard boiled egg?  Or a bright green Wilson tennis ball?

>> Click the following link to listen to what I might be referring to:  sermon "Frail".

We're wounded, but we're not dead yet.
We've been body-slammed -- and we're still moving.

Life comes out of death.
Weather the storm.  Don't be naive.  It's not the last one.

We are carrying the story of grace and we are "baked mud."
The question is not whether we will be challenged -- but when.

As you give, serve, and love -- may you be resilient.  By God's grace and through his strength, because of the treasure we bear, as you love and as you serve, and as you give -- may you live resilient lives.

May you learn:
the art of bouncing back.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Your name is a shelter like no other


Sometimes I just need to whisper his name and I feel a lot better about myself, and about life in general.  You should try it sometime.

I just got done with an approximate one mile run.  In the rain.  It was cold and brutal.  There were hills. There were other pedestrians.  There were cars and red hands telling me when to stop and little white men telling me when to go.  It was brutal.  But I saw a friend on the run (shout out to Zach Rickel!).  I made it home in time before the rain started coming down heavier.

Last night my old housemate, Beth, and I went to an hour worship thing at a local Christian College (Cornerstone) called "Evensong."  It was amazing.  God was so present there.  I literally both laughed and cried.  My God, our God, is so good to us.  Isn't he?  :)

Now on to my daily "to do list" which I will attempt to not let run my life anymore.  Can I get an amen for that?!  ;)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

God's daughter, Emily Alma.. your service.  Only not really.  Today I am working on me.  Not being "selfish," but I'm working on boundaries.  Encouragement.  Whatever it is that I need to make it moment to moment, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.  Life is good.

life IS good.  and will be good, again..

There is sun outside today, and I will enjoy it.

Here are two pics from my apartment.  They help me.  Perhaps they will help you too.

Written at my hometown church this past Sunday.

And another:

It says "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."  Psalm 42:2


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Resilience resilience resilience

I want to read a book about Captain Scotty Smiley.  Click this link to take you to Amazon's page about his book.  The book is called "Hope Unseen."  Jeff Manion (pastor at Ada Bible) spoke about Scotty in the first sermon of the series called "The Resilient Life."  Click here to take you to the sermon where you can listen and/or watch the sermon I just listened to.  :)

The sermon was amazing.  The story about Scotty is incredible and gives me hope.  Scotty was/is an active army (I think?) guy.  He became blinded during duty.  He has overcome many many challenges in life and is now a better man.  Because of his faith in an unseen God.  Literally.  And figuratively.  God is so real.  I can feel him.  Can you?  This sermon gave me the chills.  I loved it!  This particular sermon is called "Pressure."  Who hasn't felt pressure on this earth?  I know I have.  Ughh...pressure..

I'm excited that I have a Pilates lesson with my dear friend Lo soon.  Deep breathing and focusing on other things seems to ease the pressure for me.  I just have to take my days moment by moment, minute by minute, hour by hour.  The pressures of life can be so overwhelming sometimes.  Who really cares if my hair is greasy?  At least, that's what I'm telling myself today.  ;)  haha...

Also, on a seemingly unrelated note -- is there anyone out there who might want to read "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge with me as a book study?  I'm going to reread it.  I feel like that would be a good book study to do again.  I did it senior year of high school.  Goodness me, that was a long time ago.  :)  Haha...I'm getting old I feel.  ;)

Something cheerful before I sign off -- who doesn't love a mer-baby once in a while?

Sidenote (if anyone knows I have a blog, ha!) -- for those who know me and might know what I've been struggling with -- please continue to pray for me.  Don't try to figure out what I "need."  Just be my friend.  Thanks.  :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Comfort spills


Here I am -- just me.  And that's all I'm gonna be is me.

I am posting something that I want to share with you!  Check this out:  Click here for the Comfort Spills sermon by my Pastor Jeff Manion, at Ada Bible Church.  It's from January.  But I just listened to it again today.  It's a good one.  Thought I'd share it with you.

In the hard moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years...comfort spills.  Call up a beloved friend or family member.  Or even an imaginary friend:

Calvin & Hobbes -- love these guys!

A quote to remember from the sermon:  "Do not let your suffering go wasted.  Comfort spills.  Morning comes."  And yes, morning does come.  If you choose to let it.

Take from that what you will.  The sermon is excellent.  The series was and is very powerful for me.  I'm hoping to re-listen to it start to finish.  Then re-listen to the ones from the next series "The New You."  I'm gonna keep plugging along as lil ole me -- Miss Emily Alma Carlson.  :)

From the sermon, I loved the camping story with Jeff's friend Ron, i.e. Judas.  I loved laughing about how the tent walls were wet by midnight.  I loved the poetic justice of little kid Jeff burning the survival book to create a fire unsuccessfully.  I love life's ironies.  I love life.  Sometimes it's easy to forget how wonderful the world is.

Lastly, I loved the exercise at the end of the sermon.  You are to choose three people and finish these sentences:

God please strengthen ---
God please strengthen ---
God please strengthen ---

Fill in with names.  Then finish it up with -- God please strengthen me.  So, that being said: God please please strengthen me.  Amen.