Look Up!

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“Listen! What’s that?!” The child that was me craned her neck and shielded her eyes as she searched the sky for a passing airplane or helicopter… If conditions were right, I could follow the trails of high-flying jets or passenger planes as they painted a pattern through the air. I sometimes felt a little dizzy as I focused on the world above me.

There were so many things to discover while looking up, elusive songbirds in the trees, majestic mountain ranges as we traveled for a weekend of camping, and ever-changing cloud formations to catch the imagination. Church steeples all around rose above the surrounding buildings… proclaiming the hour, chiming music, or directing our eyes and thoughts to heaven above.

The Bible uses a lot of images about “looking up” and “going up.” That makes a lot of sense doesn’t it, as we think of God on high?! A favorite verse from the Book of Psalms, (a “Song of Ascents” that was sung as people went up to worship) says, I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.*  Jesus looked up when praying to his Father, when blessing the loaves and fish, and when giving thanks.

When I look up into the sky by day or night or up into a majestic old tree, there is a sense of being a part of a great thing. As I look out and up at rolling mountain ranges, I am a small speck in God’s vastness. Think back or imagine yourself as a small child looking up at your parents, teachers, or others. The whole world takes on a different perspective!

I think too of how I can be focused on my own thoughts or schedule and I fail to look up and see others around me, to be aware of their needs, struggles, or celebrations. Sometimes I have allowed my self-focus to block out my awareness of others. In the book of Luke there is a story about a short man named Zacchaeus who had difficulty seeing too.* I think his difficulty involved more than his height! When Jesus came into into the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw Zacchaeus in a tree craning his neck to catch a glimpse of Jesus. Jesus saw more than the outside of Zacchaeus perched in that tree, didn’t he?! When Jesus offered him fellowship, Zacchaeus’ life took a dramatic turn. He looked up and found Jesus who showed him a better way and who saw him as a person of value and worth.

My prayer for us is that we will look up and see God ever before us. May he open our eyes and widen our view so that we can see the worth and value of others, just as Jesus looked up and saw Zacchaeus. In so doing, perhaps we will begin to hear, above the roofs and the clamor of the world, the chiming of music… and to give and receive the gift of fellowship. Look up!

Psalm 121:1, Luke 19 

Reflections on Crackers

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• Select the best ingredients for life
• A little salt improves taste
• Tasting is discovery
• Careful blending produces goodness
• Adding character brings positive variety
• Each variety has something to offer
• Variety and unity are possible and desirable
• Joining seasonings produces great things
• Fellowship is important for growth and encouragement
• Positive accomplishment is satisfying

HOME

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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