Monday, October 31, 2016

Filled With the Spirit - Part of a Team

It’s Sunday afternoon. The maples outside the kitchen window are yellow-gold and sunshine hits the counter top in wide, gold bars. Isaiah and I are baking cookies. The weekend has been full, and this together time is a gentle reprieve.

“How much brown sugar, Mom?” he asks.

“One cup,” I say.

He roots and rattles through the baking drawer while I fish egg shells from the batter in Mamo’s mixing bowl.

“Got it,” he says. He spoons brown sugar from the canister and pats it solid with ever-growing hands.

“White sugar?” asks.

We work side-by-side. All my boys have enjoyed being in the kitchen with me, but today I’m tender inside. Isaiah is the youngest son. These opportunities are treasure.

We measure.

And sift.

And scoop.

And bake.

Later we sit at the dining room table. He sweet scent of oatmeal-chocolate-chip has drawn a couple more boys. Sam has joined us. Grant, too.

Isaiah takes a bite of cookie and grins.

“Well,” I ask. "What do you think?”

Isaiah swallows and sips from his Scooby-Doo mug. When he looks up, he wears a milk mustache.

“I think," he says. "That we make a great team."

I nod and place a cookie on my own plate. I agree. He and I do make a great team. And while I’m still soul-smiling, I remember something I’d read earlier in the day.

When we are born again, the Holy Spirit begins to work His new creation in us, and there will come a time when there is not a bit of the old order left, the old solemnity goes, the old attitude to things goes, and "all things are of God."  - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest


As a believer in Christ, as one soul-saved by His gift of grace, I’m filled with the Holy Spirit. I’m tender to the center to think of it. God’s holiness in me! That He would take residence in my human heart! Cleansing me. Transforming me. Empowering me. Giving me new life. And because of His Presence, I can share His love in gentle boldness. I can do the work He's prepared in advance for me to do. I can work through tough circumstances and see hope in dark places. I can push worry to the wayside and choose to walk a path of peace, leaning hard into Him and trading insecurities for trust. I can grow, stretch, change.

My focus can shift from the temporal to the eternal, and I can learn to walk in resurrection joy.

Oh, the sweet glory in a life transformed!

The boys talk and dishes clank and clatter and soon the plate of cookies is a thing of the past. Isaiah has a servant’s soul, and he helps me gather plates and clean crumbs.

And when we run water from the tap and roll up our sleeves, I’m washed over with love.

There's deep and everlasting beauty in being part of the Lord's team.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Eyes Open to God's Glory

I'm reading a devotion aloud, and I'm frustrated.

The boys are not listening.

We're on the back patio. The sun is warm. October colors the trees. It's the perfect place to study. Why can't they pay attention?

I read another paragraph. They fidget. Shift in their chairs. One boy whispers. I throw a question.

"Who can tell me what I just read?" I ask.

No one answers. Their faces are blank as fresh paper.

I clear my throat and read a few more lines. From the corner of my eye I can see they are now leaning in their chairs, eyes focused on something I cannot see.

"I think, guys, that this is worth your time," I say.

"Do you see his face?" Gabe asks. "It's a pentagon. And his eyes are crazy green. He's looking right at me."

I wonder what he's talking about. I lean toward Gabe. I notice the distraction. It's a bug. He's close to two inches long, bright green, and is perched on the arm of Gabe's patio chair.

"Cool," I say. "Maybe he'd like to listen."

I read on.

"He's walking," Zay whispers. "He has a map on his wings."

I stop reading. I watch as the boys' necks crane. The bug moves and the boys' eyes are pulled like magnets.

"His wings are like leaves," Sam says. "God made them that way. Look at the veins. If he'd fly to the bush behind us, we'd never find him."

The guys are right. This guy's wings are a road map of creation. And his color is spectacular. The exact shade of the still-green bushes that fringe our patio.

"I want get my magnifying glass," Zay speaks in hushed tone. "I want to see his up-close face."

I watch my boys' faces. They're captivated. Captivated by this creation of the Living Lord.

The boys whisper. The bug moves. Then, as if pulled by invisible strings, the boys crowd around him. This visitor's details, this small wonder in a two-inch space, sings of God's glory.

I set my book down.

"Go get your magnifying glass, Zay," I say.

Sometimes even when my motive is good, I need to slow down. Drop my own agenda.

Open my eyes.

And see what the Lord has brought to the table.

How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Psalm 104:24

God, thank you for revealing yourself to us in exciting ways. Give me the eyes to see. Amen.