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Bobby Cole

Just a pair of boots

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I found out early in my Christian career that nearly everything we see and hear can become a part of a good lesson or message as was one particular event that became a mainstay in my ministry.

 

When I was on staff at the Winston/Salem Rescue Mission I decided to take a walk to the mission thrift store and see what they had. When I got there I wandered throughout the store and when I tried to pass the shoe racks I couldn't take my eyes off of a pair of worn out cowboy boots.

They were worn and split on the small toe of the left boot, and both heels, soles and nearly all of the leather was so worn out that they couldn't possibly be for sale. But, I did notice two things: They were my size and the leather was so soft and pliable they felt like a pair of expensive gloves when I put them on. I took them up to the counter and the sales clerk told me that they should have been thrown out but I bought them anyway for 25 cents. (never take something for nothing, I say!)

 

That night I joined some of the guys in the TV room and took along my new/old boots and started work on them. Every single one of the men had a good laugh at me trying to do something with my worn out treasures. I stitched up the slit on the left boot and I copied the slit by putting one on the right so they would match. Then I started to apply the wax by using some old military techniques I had learned from my past.

Every night I worked on those boots in the TV room and I noticed that the guys that were making fun of me earlier in the week were now paying close attention to my progress and a couple of them even offered to "take them off of my hands" by bidding at first 50 cents, then a dollar, and after a couple of weeks it was up to $20.00!

 

It was no surprise to me, after I was satisfied with the wax job, that when I put the boots on the wax did not crack nor wrinkle because the leather had accepted each and every thin coat so well.

When I had the boots re-heeled and soled the shoe maker remarked about them at how wonderfully and beautifully the boots were made right down to the rough stitch markings on each area where the small toe would be. High praise from a professional!

 

Very often, while I worked on those boots I would come to some serious tears because the realization came to me that what I was doing to those beat up, worn out throw away boots was the same thing that God was doing with each and every man in that mission who had finally turned their lives over to Jesus Christ and was / is still doing with me each and every day. He was making new what was once thought of as being useless.

Matter of fact, every time I relate this story I get a very nice "Holy Spirit hug" and I think anew of one of the major things that God has done for me. He took an unwanted worn out combat soldier with PTSD and a badly wounded heart and made me brand new again. (Wow! I just had a Romans 8:38-39 moment!! )

 

The bottom line is that I wore those boots for at least 15 years and used their story in probably 20 or 30 different sermons.

 

What have you guys done, seen or heard that turned into a good lesson or messages for future congregations and classes?

 

 

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Thank you atpollard. I deeply appreciate it and I do honestly hope that something similar has happened in your life which helps explain the fullness of God's love for you. God Bless...Bobby

 

I don't have a story to share, but I hope you don't mind if I respond to your "Thank You" message in the topic:

 

 

My life and walk have tended to be more volatile.

It means, there have been very deep valleys (more often than not, my fault) and equally breathtaking peaks.

It also means that the stories tend to be less 'warm and fuzzy' than what you were able to share.

On the down side, that makes most inappropriate for sharing on CHRISTFORUMS (many would not pass the profanity filter) and on the up side, it means that I get to occasionally share with people that no one else is likely to reach.

 

As a case in point, while God may have known me from eternity past, I first met God in 1978 while employing my skills as a criminal to plan a murder/suicide.

So yes, I do indeed know of the love of God and just how extreme the lengths He is prepared to go to claim someone that the Father has set his eye upon and for whom Jesus Christ has died and been resurected.

 

Arthur

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That story is awe-inspiring. It reminds me very much of the song, The Touch of the Master's Hand. The old violin didn't look like much by itself, but when the old virtuoso played it, it's value rose immensely. You are quite correct, we are the supple leather in the hands of the Master, who sews us up and polishes us daily. He routinely takes broken people and heals and 'fixes' them to be what He desires them to be. All we have to do is turn ourselves over to Him and allow Him to work with and through us. Jesus sees only the final end product, not the ripped up, dirty, scratched, ragged and worn out people we are now. On a funnier side... I will probably never be able to look at cowboy boots the same way again. ;)

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