Sunday, March 6, 2011

Are you a "History Maker"?

Have you ever pondered your life? What do you live for? Who do you live for? Why do you do what you do? Are you living a life that is fulfilling? Is your life inspiring others or are you just living in survival mode hoping to make it through another day sane?

I want my life to count. I desire to make an impact on my world for God. How about you? Are you living with purpose? God wants to use you to impact those around you for Him, if you will let Him. He wants to make you a “History Maker.” He wants to change the lives of your friends and family through you.

You have the ability to influence those around you for good whether you realize it or not. People are learning from you. But the question is… what are they learning and where will it take them in life?

Think about it… what kind of legacy are you leaving for those behind you? If others followed the footprints your life has left, where would it take them? What do you want to be known for? How do you want to be remembered? These are all important questions to think about in pondering what we are truly living for.

When I was in Bible College my life was consumed with becoming the woman of God I was created to be. I wanted to live with purpose and make a difference for God in my world. I wanted God to be magnified through me to the fullest capacity. I wanted my life to count for something. All this passion was stirred up within me and found root deep in my heart to grow.

I learned how to become a woman of God by watching and learning from others around me. Whether they realized it or not, I was watching… those in leadership in my church, school, and work place. I watched how they reacted to their circumstances, how they treated their spouses and children, and how they expressively lived out their love for God daily.

I learned a lot as I watched about who I wanted to be as I grew in God, how I wanted my marriage to be, how I wanted to raise my children, and what kind of person I wanted to become. Many godly men and women have shaped my life by their example. I am forever grateful for their consistent lives of integrity lived out before me.

One of many of the people who influenced me in the past, passed away recently. He was a professor at my college and a great man of God. I was able to watch the funeral celebration online last week and my heart was stirred with emotion. The more I heard about him from family and friends, the more I respected the life he chose to live. Here is an excerpt from one of the articles written about him…

Springfield, MO —
Long time Central Bible College coach and athletic director Forrest L. Arnold passed away Saturday of natural causes. The 77-year old Arnold was born on October 14, 1933 near the small southeast Missouri town of Qulin.

Arnold was an outstanding basketball player in his younger years, becoming Memphis State's first All-American in the early 1950's. By the conclusion of his career, he held twelve all time basketball records and remains in the top ten of eleven of those categories to this day. In 1984, Coach was elected into Memphis State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame and in 1995 his jersey (#13) was retired. He is only one of eight players to ever receive this distinction from Memphis State University.

At the conclusion of his college years, he was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks (now the Atlanta Hawks) to play professional basketball, but he chose, instead, to enter the ministry. In 1958 Arnold moved to Springfield where he became CBC's first Athletic Director, developing the physical education, intramural and the intercollegiate athletic programs. He served CBC for 42 years. Thousands of students have been challenged by the commitment and gentle spirit of Coach Arnold in fulfilling the call of God upon their lives.

Central Bible College awarded him the Distinguished Educator Award and he was a professor emeritus. His heart was in missionary work. He and his wife have ministered extensively in the countries of Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Russia and Ukraine.

You would never know by meeting Forest Arnold of all the great accolades he had received. He was a very humble man who gave God all the credit for everything he did. What I remember most about him was his relationship with his wife. I watched and learned as they showed all the students by example how to have a godly marriage.

I was amazed as I listened to his son speak about him at the funeral. I was blessed to hear that what I saw every day at school that he had witnessed on a daily basis. He shared this at the funeral, “…as many times as you saw my dad stand outside of my mom’s class waiting on her to finish waving at her and winking through the window, I caught them at home kissing.” “…As many times as you saw them holding hands as they walked across campus, I saw them cuddling on the couch…” “…As many times as you saw dad carry mom up a flight of stairs to her class because she was too weak to walk (she has rheumatoid arthritis), I saw him get her up, put her in a warm bath, and dress her to get her ready to teach a class for the day.”

He was the same man at home that he was everywhere else. Wow! That is powerful. So many people were impacted by his life. Not only his life, but his marriage, ministry, and life decisions. The things I learned “by watching” will stick with me forever. Forest Arnold made his life count.

He passed up fame and fortune for a simpler life that changed those who came in contact with him forever. I heard through testimony at the funeral that he traded making $3000 a month as a professional basketball player to make $85 a month to pastor a small church. Most people wouldn’t make such a trade, but he was confident that God knew what was best.

When we are obedient to God, He will bless us. Forest Arnold’s blessing shined through every time he smiled. He was living his dream and his heart was content. He wasn’t about big numbers or large salaries; he was about making a difference in this world one heart at a time.

Forest Arnold was a true “History Maker.” I pray you will choose to make a difference in “your world” for God. Someone is watching you. Where will the footprints of your life lead them? Choose today to live with purpose and make your life count!

Living to leave a legacy,

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