Above, Beneath, and Upon

songbird n chipmunk

When I was a girl, I loved climbing up into trees. Sometimes I’d take a book with me to read, but often I would just sit… swaying gently in the breeze. I would look quietly around me and up into the sky and imagine what it might be like to experience the world like a bird. Darting from tree to tree or soaring through the air… their perspective must be so different from mine!

From the walkway in front of our small-town house, steps led down to the street sidewalk with a nice place to sit on either side. Beneath them, chipmunks made their home. It was a safe place away from the neighborhood cats! I had learned to sit very still, up toward the house, to watch them scampering back and forth. I wondered what they saw as they looked about at the world towering over them!

We people upon this earth come from such rich and varied backgrounds! Like the birds and the chipmunks which I watched, we each have our own unique perspectives. I’m reminded of the story in Acts 2 about the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles. People from all nations and speaking many different languages were in Jerusalem during the celebration of the harvest festival, known as the Feast of Weeks (Shavout). Can you imagine the crowds gathered and the diversity of the people?! Hear the shouts and voices of people making their way about the city. See the variety of clothing. Smell the aroma of foods cooking…

Then a great roaring rush of wind drew the crowds to where the apostles and followers of Jesus stood. Can you sense their amazement and confusion as they heard, from these uneducated men, the “wonders of God” in their own languages? … And thousands became followers of Christ from this one encounter.

One thing that I had never really thought about was that these very people, from all nations, then came together. They lived, ate, and worked together in their shared humanity. Their very differences were their strengths… Isn’t that so true for us as well?

I try so hard to consider the perspective of others and what might be influencing or affecting them. Some days are just more challenging than others, aren’t they?! It’s my prayer for us today that God will help us to better consider the perspectives of others and to acknowledge our common humanity. Can you see the people? Can you hear the sounds of life? Can you smell the rich aroma?

 

Reflections on Shoes

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• We all come in different sizes, styles, and colors.
• We are made for different purposes.
• Our character is revealed in the way we live.
• The way we live can add positive fun and enjoyment to life.
• Take steps to protect yourself from unforeseen injury on your journey.
• Sometimes we travel through messy places.
• When traveling through messy places, we may become stinky and dirty.
• When we become stinky and dirty, a thorough cleaning is advised.
• After a long day, removing stress and worries brings relief.
• Stress and worries should be given to the Master Shoemaker.
• The Master Shoemaker creates, repairs, and refurbishes us.

DIGGING IN MY TOES!

bare feet from back_wet_jeans_105776_pexels

Ah! The joy of releasing tired, hot feet from the confines of shoes and socks! My mom and I used to kid about our “hillbilly blood” because our shoes inevitably fell off when we came home. Warm summer rain showers were the perfect opportunity for my brothers and me to splash barefoot up and down our gravel drive in town. On summer trips with the family, I remember digging my toes into the soft warm dirt of my grandparents’ country drive. Have you ever walked through a wet vegetable garden and ended up doubling the thickness of the soles of your shoes with mud?! Just walking becomes an effort.

Sometimes our lives get like that, mired down with stuff that drags us down and overwhelms. We splash barefoot before God in our pain and doubt and it is difficult to see joy. When His wonderful grace and love showers down upon us, we in our weariness do not always see it. We may be unable to receive until it has had time to soak in. I love the words of the psalmist who wrote, (God) lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. * Like on those warm summer days, we can dig our toes into the strength of His being. God lifts us up and sets us on solid ground. What joy and release when we stand with Him in faith, free of the confines of life which weigh us down!

* Psalm 40:2

With the Joy of a Child

2 Children Water Splashing on Hands_pexels-photo-473408

When I waken
To morn’s cool breath
Quiet, peaceful
Night’s full rest
May I touch day’s promise
With the joy of a child

Day now greeted
By chirp and song
Honk and rumble
Whisper or shout
May I hear and listen
With the joy of a child

Food to nourish
Clothes to wear
Friends to help me
God to provide
May I step this day’s path
With the joy of a child

Heart now open
My eyes to see
Hands to offer
Words encourage
May I live day’s fullness
With the joy of a child

Like Dry Bones!

hand n bones 1

When the Hebrew people were in the land of exile, home of the Babylonians, God first spoke to the Jewish priest named Ezekiel. He was only thirty years old! … God had allowed the people to be taken into exile because they had turned from Him, worshiping idols, offering their children as sacrifices, living immorally, violently, and selfishly.

God gave words to his new prophet Ezekiel to call them back to Himself, hard words and difficult messages. There were some really weird visions!

In one vision, there was a valley full of dry bones!
“Ezekiel, can these bones live?!”
“Only You know sovereign God!”
“Prophesy, speak to these bones. I will restore them and put breath back into them.”

And so, Ezekiel obeyed and God did as He said He would.

Wow! Dry bones. Dead. Without life. Unable to stand. To walk. To serve God and care for others. God speaks, breaths on those dry bones (on us), and restores life. Sinews. Flesh. Bones knitting together. We begin to take on God’s character. The breath of God’s Spirit fills us and He raises His children to stand in that dark valley of dry bones.

Shepherd us, oh LORD I pray!
Bring our dry bones to life!
Breathe in us Your very being,
That we may walk in You anew!