• Sometimes we feel swallowed by circumstances
• Too much of a good thing can bring dissatisfaction
• Getting carried away can result in more than expected
• Climbing over others can cause great harm to all
• Cooling off can put things into better perspective
• Good can be found in unexpected places
• Sinking our roots into good soil encourages growth
• Healing comes when we realize potential
• Tenacity can get us through difficult times
• The Vine is our source of strength and life
“Peek-a-Boo! I see you!!” Oh, the delight of a young child to play this simple, timeless game. Eyes widen in surprise, laughter, and self-discovery. Peering around objects or through fingers, we look into each other’s eyes. Mirrors are just right for that discovery and for making silly faces. Is that me?! I recognize ME. I see YOU too.
Like a child, we look into the eyes of God. “A-hah! I see you!” we say in those moments of recognition. But sometimes we struggle to recognize God and wonder if He sees us.
Shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, he walked with two men traveling on the road to Emmaus. They were prevented from recognizing Jesus as they spoke together of what had passed in Jerusalem. During the journey Jesus explained to them the true meaning of Messiah. Later, as Jesus shared a meal with them in their home, they saw him break bread and “then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” *
The men from Emmaus recognized Jesus when their eyes were opened, but the breaking of the bread came first. Jesus revealed himself to them through this small act. Like a child I peer around the “stuff” of life, looking for God’s eyes. “Peek! Where are You?” I really want to see Jesus more clearly. I walk in conversation and discovery, like those who traveled with Jesus to Emmaus, through the passing of days and years. It is in the journey and during the times that I sit with God that He is revealed.
I like the way Paul spoke of “the eyes of your heart” in his letter to the church in Ephesus. He said, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you…” * Although our physical eyes may be dim, our heart can reach beyond their limits. May you find joy in that discovery. God delights in His children. I see you! I recognize you. You are of special value and joy, He says.
* Luke 24:13-16a, 31; Ephesians 1:18a
• Sometimes we feel a little stretched
• Stretching can be good
• Over-stretching can have negative results
• It is good to be flexible
• Flexibility eases stress
• There are times to let things rest
• Letting go can hurt
• We often take each other for granted
• We each fit different tasks
• Rubber bands hold things together
• Mutual support brings greater enjoyment
• We were each specially crafted by the Maker
In my work with young children, I have found that most have one thing in common, their excitement and love of pizza and chicken nuggets. When talking about their favorite foods as a conversation starter, their eyes light up and they want to tell me all about it. Those children have tasted pizza and chicken nuggets. They know it tastes good and they look forward to having it again (and again) with the whole family, sharing a meal together and enjoying the food and the company.
Like those children, we enjoy good things. I was at a gathering recently and smiled to myself as the “roar of conversation” rose and fell as people welcomed others and passionately provided updates and expressed support. I think of how we as people of faith share our “pizza and chicken nuggets” moments, times when God has cheered us on in celebration and times when he has walked with us through grief and stress. Do our eyes light up when we talk about Him? Do we love Him that much and look forward to tasting Him, experiencing Him in our lives every day?
The psalmist said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him” and King David “first appointed the singing of praises to the Lord.” * He said, “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!’” * We rejoice because God’s love, forgiveness, and provision is exciting news and good to taste.
When God has walked with us through some difficulty or when we’ve experienced a special time of worship, heard a new song, or gained new understanding … we can offer encouragement to others. God works in us and through us each day and enjoys our thanks and excitement as we are filled. As we tell others, they too can experience and taste of a God who welcomes us to Him… Like pizza and chicken nuggets, we can be glad and rejoice in our faith, whatever life brings.
*Psalm 34:8, 1 Chronicles 16:7-36
• We all have a purpose and use
• When we are empty there is hope of good things to come
• The imagination of a child turns the everyday into awesome
• Treasures can be found within each of us
• Some of us are gifted in organizing
• Anticipated arrivals are bright spots in a day
• Care for your boxes lest they fall apart in the rain
• The Maker of boxes has a use for all sizes and types
I’m on my way home! “Home,” a word that fills me with many emotions. During busy days away, I anticipate the time when I can return. Home is more than just a place, it is a comfortable and familiar environment where I feel most secure. It’s where I can relax and be replenished.
Sometimes home means moving. Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth rejected him and so he made his home in nearby Capernaum. When others expressed a desire to follow him, Jesus reminded them that he had no secure place to “lay his head” as he traveled about the land to share God’s news to others. As the early church spread out, it discovered the strength and support of community. They met together, sharing meals in each other’s homes, praying, studying God’s Word, and enjoying fellowship with one another. *
I think there is something within each of us that longs for “home,” for acceptance and love… where we can feel secure and be replenished. What does home mean for you? I have found that making a home requires a lot of prayer and hard work. It has not always been easy and I’m so thankful for God’s strength and guidance!
I’m thankful too for His promise of an eternal home with Him. He has gone to prepare a place for us! * Two of my dear friends have just completed their own final journeys home to that place called heaven and their earthly bodies have found rest. How I miss their friendship and our times together! I’m so glad to have an eternal home to look forward to.
My prayer for us is that God will watch over our homes. I pray too that we will invite Him in as family, to share each day with us.
* Acts 2:42, 46; John 14:1-4
• We are each important and unique
• One size does not fit all
• Our personalities are expressed in many ways
• Each of us is especially suited for different functions
• The hats we wear serve many purposes
• Our abilities and gifts express our creativity and distinction
• It is good to use your hat well
• Adding a flair to life brings smiles
• Our lives can offer much good to others
• The great Hat-maker brings out good in each of us