Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Son Bathing


 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

This very clever play on words is not mine. I am borrowing from Brennan Manning. Given what I know of him, he would be happy to share it with me and let me share it with you. After all that is the whole point of “Son bathing.”

          It seemed very appropriate that I would come across this term in a season when those of us who live in the sunny South are exhibiting signs of outdoor activities. We see glowing skin from days at the beach or pool as well as tans from hard work in the great oven that  is Florida in the summer. We see these changes in complexion and we comment, we inquire.  Have you been to the beach? Pool?

          How lovely it would be if as a result of our Son bathing people were seeing, commenting and asking? You look content in the light of all that is going on around you. Why is that? What a great opener for us to share the love and joy of Jesus Christ and to invite others into that love.

          Just the other day my poor sweet grandson was not feeling well. After a couple of days of being housebound, my husband and I suggested that he come outside for a bit and get some fresh air and sun. It seemed to help.

          My household/family has been in a bit of a difficult season lately. Around me are several relationships and circumstances that just aren’t right. It has been draining and there has been a huge temptation to simply give into the negative chatter that the enemy puts in my head. Thanks be to God I haven’t done that. Instead I have gone to the throne, to the Word of God and to prayer. The circumstances haven’t changed; in truth some are worse.  

          When my grandson seemed to need a boost we took him into the sun. Today I learned that I have been Son bathing through my difficulties and that has certainly helped me retain my joy.  I hope and pray that my light, the reflection of Jesus’ light is shining so that those around me can see it and praise our Father in heaven.

          Son bathing! Try it. It’s pretty amazing.

           

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Open Arms


 

Bur concerning Israel he said, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” Romans 10:21

This morning in prayer I was reminded of one of my most difficult students. This little guy had a hefty side dish of autism in addition to his more obvious syndrome. He could easily become violent, growling, hitting and scratching, with little or no provocation. On the other hand he had the sweetest smile, the best laugh (when it was a true laugh, not an evil one) and I believe a kind heart. I absolutely loved him. Still to say that I was a bit terrified of what he could do to me is not an understatement. Oh my boy!

          There were so many times as he was gearing up for destruction of property or persons, that I thought,  if I could just grab him and hug him close he would calm down. Not so. On rare occasions he would let me give him a hug. Admittedly I was leery, as we never knew when sweet would end and brutal would begin.  Still when he would approach me in a positive way I would give him a big hug. He seemed to like it, to crave it but it never changed anything.

          This morning thinking of him, I pictured our precious, heavenly Father holding out his open arms to us as we go about our destructive, self-centered way. Wouldn’t we be far better off if we would just sink into those open arms and accept the comfort and healing that are offered there?  Sadly, far too often, we don’t.

          Much like my little buddy we run, kicking and screaming in the other direction, the direction that brings pain and failure. Why? I think that answer is different for each one of us. Just like I have no idea why my little guy resisted the one thing he seemed to truly want, I have no idea why I resist the one thing I not only truly want but desperately need.

          For the months I worked with little man I was open to offering him affection and attention against much of the advice I was given. The best bet apparently was to just stay away from him but given his level of need that was not a possibility. My belief was that if I poured on love, eventually it would reach him.

          That is how our Father loves us, against all that seems logical. We run; he loves. We kick and scratch; he loves. We argue and act like brats; he loves. Maybe it’s time to just fall into those open arms and let that love transform us into who we were created to be.

 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Discouraged


 

 


Saul answered “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” 1 Samuel 21

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Judges 6:15

Discouragement is an ugly, insidious disease.  Looking around and feeling that all you have attempted has failed, that every effort is met with defeat, every relationship a fraud and all hope just slightly out of reach is completely debilitating.  That being true, think of what a fine tool discouragement is for our enemy.  If we can only see what we can see and not what God sees, we sometimes, too often for many of us, have to ask, “Why bother?”

          For a long time Gideon has been one of my favorite citizens of the Bible.  He is quick to say to God, “Not it!” Like Moses before him, Gideon is pretty sure God has the wrong guy. To paraphrase he says, “So here’s the deal, my family is less than stellar. In fact we barely make acceptable and out of that crowd, I am the bottom of the barrel.  No disrespect intended but I’m not your guy.” But God (my favorite words) knows better.

           I easily relate to Gideon. My background is nothing to talk about, my current status is barely a status at all and yet, I have felt God inviting me into his plan. Why? I have no idea. What I do know is that I tend react like Gideon, Saul, Moses and so many others.  The problem is that too often the results of my efforts seem to be as I expected, the sad sorry product of the least of the least.  What results from that? Discouragement!

          It is in those times that I have to remind myself of another piece of 1 Samuel. In chapter 16 verse 7b it says, “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”* The results of my efforts may not look like much to me but to God? They must be okay because he keeps coming back to me, giving me more opportunities.

          Discouragement is awful! It is so easy, so inviting to give up when things get tough, break our hearts, seem bigger or simply overwhelming. When that happens to you read about Saul, Gideon, Moses and so many others who didn’t see themselves as fit for Kingdom purposes.

          In secular terms remember this little gem.

“If your troubles are plentiful and your rewards are few.

Remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you.”

*This is spoken of David, another least of the crowd who eventually becomes King.