God’s healing found in the simple

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Naaman the leprous Aramaeon, proudly refused to bathe in the water of the Jordan. His assistant chided him, “If you were asked to do something difficult you’d do it, why not something simple?”

Sometimes healing and progress in our spiritual life is not about performing the difficult, self-powered sacrifices and practices, it is about simply taking a bath in the stillness and grace of God’s presence. Enter the water today, float in the streams of grace, wash your wounded and diseased soul in the river of God’s tender mercy. That is enough. Amen.

Will you do the simple to receive healing and power today?

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Waiting?

Are you a Molly or an Ellie?

Are you a Molly or an Ellie?

“I waited patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 40

Twice a day Jack or I prepare meals for Molly and Ellie. The ritual begins with the announcement “Who wants food?” which elicits different responses from the two dogs. Molly’s style of waiting is loud and unignorable; she barks and jumps and demands. Her cries do not make the food arrive any quicker, they only irritate me. Ellie’s waiting is quieter and more patient; she sits on the rug with her cute little pug head cocking to the left and to the right, awaiting the promised arrival of her meal.

Two different pictures of waiting, one demanding, the other patiently trusting. (I can’t believe Ellie is the positive picture in this analogy!) To wait patiently suggests an assurance that a hoped for outcome will be realized.

The dogs know their food will be provided. Their life’s regular supply of food has taught them that today will be like yesterday: food will appear as promised. Demanding doesn’t make it come any faster, it only gets Molly worked up and makes life miserable for those around her.

Are you a Molly? Do you get anxious around the subject of God’s promises being realized? Do you pace and fret, bark and make a lot of noise about it?

Or are you an Ellie? Do you come to the kitchen, and keep your eyes fixed on one who is in the process of preparing your meal? Do you trust God will keep God’s promises? Do you look to the Lord, knowing God is currently active satisfying your need?

MM 7/23/15 In God

Here’s a thought: when you are “in God” everything that comes toward you has to first pass through God. How might that change your relationship with all things that happen to you today? hmmm. Sorry about the ugly hair this a.m.
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MM 7/23/15 In God from Debby Bellingham on Vimeo.

A good thought from a particularly scary looking me this morning. If you are "in God" then all that comes toward you must first pass through God. So you can trust and thank God for whatever comes your way.

Pockets of Paradise

God desires our communities to be safe places where one can live in intimate relationship with God, with self and with others. Genesis 2:25 describes the quality of such a fellowship beautifully and poetically, “And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.”

A gathering of God’s beloved children should be characterized by people who are “naked and not ashamed.” Wow! Of course I am speaking metaphorically and spiritually, but consider with me the definitions and implications of what it means to be naked and not experience any shame in the context of community.

Although Adam and Eve were literally naked, the Hebrew word translated naked also means a person without pretense or uniform. Police officers wear uniforms so they can easily be identified. A police uniform tells you how to relate to the person wearing it and what you can expect from them. The uniform defines the role they’ll play in your life and how you should interact with them. You don’t know the person behind the uniform, you don’t even care about the person behind the uniform, your relationship with them is defined by the role they play.

When physically naked, there is nothing covering your body, your beauty and your flaws are seen by all. To be naked spiritually and relationally is to be yourself, without pretending to be someone you are not, or hiding within the safety of a role you play. It’s “what you see is what you get”, no pretense, no hiding, just guileless authenticity.

And (here’s the kicker) this person, in their absolute nakedness feels no sense of shame. Shame is the feeling that follows disappointment of opinion, hope or expectation. They are purely themselves and have complete confidence that who they are will not disappoint in any way. There is no shadow of doubt cast on their personhood, they live from a place of sufficiency, value and acceptance.

I think of my grandkids when I think about this type of unashamed nakedness. Eliza and Jack both jump out of the bath and run around in naked exuberance, unaware of their bodies, conscious only of joy and life. This is the experience God desires for us in our communities. To live with one another in the freedom that unselfconscious nakedness would allow. Imagine outposts of Eden where God’s kingdom is realized, where brothers and sisters can live together Naked and Not Ashamed. This is paradise!

What are your thoughts about this concept? Do you have any place where you experience the type of community described in Genesis 2:25?

The Lord Appears

Several trusted friends had spoke of meeting the risen Lord. As the gathered and confused disciples were discussing this, Jesus himself stood in their midst. Peace, he spoke to calm their fear; and proof he showed to convince them that the rumors were true, he was indeed alive.

“Still they stood there in disbelief filled with joy and wonder.” (v41) They must have been in shock. Jesus alive? It seemed too good to be true. Their heads couldn’t take in what their joyful hearts already had received. (The heart often recognizes truth before our mind can grasp it.) So Jesus reminded them that the words spoken by the law, the prophets and Jesus himself were now fulfilled. As he taught them, their minds opened and caught up with what their hearts had already believed.

Jesus gave them an assignment, they were to give witness to what they had seen and experienced; and he gave a promise of supernatural power to accomplish the work. With minds equipped, hearts full of joy, and a job to do, they worshipped the risen Lord.

  • How do you dismiss or doubt other people’s experience of Christ?
  • What fear are you experiencing? Jesus wants to speak peace to your heart.
  • When have you known something to be true, even if the evidence suggests otherwise? How did you handle this incongruity?

Your assignment is to share with your “Jerusalem” what you have experienced in your relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit will clothe you in power and joy.

Luke 24:36-53

Written for Community Bible Church’s weekly devotion.