Those Glowing Souls

I’ll admit I’ve never been much of a smiler.

If I were on Hee Haw, I’d be the “picker” and someone else’d have to be the “grinner.”

Ha, there’s a hardcore 70s reference for ya!

This morning in our weekly staff/prayer meeting, my Supervisor talked about keeping a “smile in your voice,” and how it serves to be warmer and more inviting to people on the other end of the phone.

Yeah, that’s not gonna work well for me.

I love to smile, to laugh, but for some reason my natural inclination is more sobering, serious. I feel like I have a good sense of humor, but there’s something about all the pain I’ve suffered, the fact that I still don’t sleep very well—even after getting a C-PAP machine—and my artistic spirit that just leads me more toward a somber face.

But I love being around people more joyful than myself. They’re like a magnet, right?

People like my wife, who have a huge smile which permeates their whole spirit.

People like my high school friend Kelli and her husband, Jon.

Now, I’ve never met Jon, but their contagious smiles compliment each other, don’t you think?

Kelli & Jon

What a happy couple. Look at those mugs! When Jon and Kelli smile, they do it from their soul, man. They just glow.

Her and Laura are two peas in a proverbial pod, in that they are both so encouraging to others, and I am learning more as I get older to surround myself with people like that.

Switching gears just a bit, I’ve always breezed right through the biblical book of Philemon, since it only has one chapter, and is merely a letter from one Christian brother to another.

But this guy, Philemon, must’ve had that same spirit possessed by my wife, and Jon and Kelli.

Check it out:

From: Paul, in jail for preaching the Good News about Jesus Christ, and from Brother Timothy.

To: Philemon, our much-loved fellow worker, and to the church that meets in your home, and to Apphia our sister (his wife), and to Archippus who, like myself, is a soldier of the cross (Philemon 1-2).

When the Apostle Paul and his little brother in the Lord, Timothy, were in prison, he wrote many letters, and one was to a great friend of his, to whom he referred as a “much-loved fellow worker.”

Plus, the dude held church in his home. This takes a certain type of giving spirit, anyway, which is compounded by the knowledge that he and his wife both could’ve been imprisoned (or worse) for it. So, he managed to rebel against the anti-Christian laws of the time, and do it with a grin.

I would’ve loved to have met this guy.

Moving on…

I always thank God when I am praying for you, dear Philemon, because I keep hearing of your love and trust in the Lord Jesus and in his people. And I pray that as you share your faith with others it will grip their lives too, as they see the wealth of good things in you that come from Christ Jesus. I myself have gained much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because your kindness has so often refreshed the hearts of God’s people (Philemon 4-7, emphasis all mine).”

Paul said he keeps hearing about Philemon’s love for God and mankind. It wasn’t an isolated incident; this dude was always “on.” He was always kind, always giving, always loving, while always rebelling against the anti-Christian authority.

That takes a special kind of person.

Paul also said he himself had gained “much joy and comfort” from Philemon’s loving spirit.

Finally, the man’s kindness proved again and again to refresh people’s hearts.

That’s incredible.

Ya know, some people drain the life out of everything.  Then you have those who encourage, uplift and refresh your soul.

I must tell you, my wife tries to live her life like that.

Honestly, even after being with my sour demeanor for 32 years (we met the weekend before Halloween, 1985, at a church hayride), she still gets this huge grin on her face EVERY…SINGLE…TIME she sees me. Not even kidding.  She’s truly amazing, and is my greatest encourager.

Likewise, while we live a few hours apart, I can tell Jon and Kelli are also like that.

Pain and fatigue are no excuse for me not having that type of spirit, Lord, and I’m sorry.

I’ll try to work on that.

We only go around this crazy, blue ball ONE time.

I think we should spend our time lifting others up, not tearing them down.

If you are an encourager and uplifter, thank you SO much for you love, patience and kindness!

If you are a discourager…well…I’ll be praying for you, jack.

For US.

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