“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” —John 15:13 (NIV)
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” —Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” —John 14:27 (NIV)
Peace family, I recently read a very thought-provoking quote. It said, “If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.”
We have a lot of real life examples to aid us in finding out where our focus is. You’ve probably heard the Bible verse, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,”(Matthew 6:21) and it’s also possible that your pastor has challenged you to look at your checkbook or spending record in order to reassess where you devote your money, sometimes without even thinking about it. I’ve also been in church services where they passed out a weekly schedule, and we were challenged to fill it out and see where we devoted our time, and whether there might be wiser ways to spend it. These things are good reminders to make sure that we are making the most of our time on earth.
However, as someone who is very visual (and always taking photographs,) the quote above touched me in a fresh way. Our photographs reflect the ways that we see the world, and what we value to the extent that we want to save it for later. Are you taking time to capture (or at least, notice) the beauty that is all around you? What if you went on a thirty day journey to look for something beautiful and life-giving every day, and take a picture?
Also, we all treasure the photos of our children, and try to take plenty as they grow, but are we taking and treasuring photos of our spouses and other loved ones? And if you happen to be one of those people who doesn’t like having their picture taken, why is that? Are there some ways that you can capture some photographic memories of yourself and your life now, even if it’s not perfect, so that those who love you (such as your children) can look back and treasure them later, or once they are grown? Are all of your pictures digital, or do you have any on actual photo paper, just in case?
I remember the days before digital cameras. I didn’t want to take almost any pictures, because I was afraid of wasting film; every picture I took, had to be perfect. Now, you can take as many pictures as your film can hold, and just delete the bad ones! A caution, though, is not to take so many pictures that you are not “present” in actually making memories. However, I can tell you that my phone is full of happy memories, of gifts I’ve given or received (I really like presents), of growing things in my yard, of friends (who are all beautiful in their own ways!), and of beautiful or impressive places I’ve visited. When I feel blue, sometimes just looking at the memories I’ve made with loved ones, and the great things I’ve gotten to do and see, remind me what a beautiful life God has given me. So don’t miss recording those treasured moments. You never know when they might truly encourage you!
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” —Psalm 133:1 (NIV)
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” —I John 3:16 (NIV)
Peace family, what do you do when you need refreshment? What do you do when your heart feels hungry?
I recently asked several friends for the different ways that they fed their hearts, when they felt weary or hurting. Every friend had a different answer for what touched and ministered to them.
Of course, the top answers were to read the Bible, pray, and listen to worship music, but there were many other answers.
One friend said that when she feels that way, she sleeps. Another recommended going for a run or getting some other kind of physical movement going. Another suggested going out into nature, whether the woods, a mountain, or the ocean, and considering how large those things are, how large God is, and how small we and our problems are in comparison to him. Other friends recommended volunteering, or acts of service for others, such as visiting a nursing home and doing puzzles with the residents. Still other friends suggested creative things like journaling or doing calligraphy, or just hanging out by a body of water.
Peace family, what are some of the ways that God has provided you with in order to refresh yourself?
It’s hard to pour out onto others when we are empty inside. Take some time this week to refresh yourself! Be still and know that He is God, and He is going to take care of you.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” —I Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” —John 1:1 (NIV)
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:19 (NIV)