On April 7, 2015, the beauty company Dove launched an advertising campaign called “Choose Beautiful” . Representatives from the organization set up campaigns in several countries across the globe. At each conference location, two signs were placed at the entrance of each door; one labeled “Average” and the other “Beautiful”.
Do you remember those Valentine’s parties you had in elementary school? I remember each student receiving a decorated paper bag, and we walked around the classroom dropping cards and candies into each other’s bags with great excitement. Most of the cards had funny cartoon characters, with silly messages like, “You’re sweet!” or the famous, “Be mine, Valentine!”
Several years ago I traveled with my family to see one of the most powerful flowing water sources in the world–Niagara Falls. As we approached the falls, you could hear the roar of the water crashing into the river below. The rapid-moving water from the falls created a magnificent white cloud of floating mist, a sight of exquisite beauty and greatness. To behold something so amazing reminded me of the sheer power of our great God–a place of holy ground.
What do you own that has the most material value? You might say your house, property you own, or your vehicle. Isn’t it interesting that material possessions with the highest monetary value often fluctuate and depreciate over time? The moment we drive a new car off the lot, it’s value is diminished. A house may increase in value, but in a constantly shifting economic market, the value of our homes is about as stable as a bird’s nest in a wind storm.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
Have you ever watched TLC’s reality show Toddlers and Tiaras? Perhaps you have flipped through the channels and stumbled upon a group of highly overworked, cranky young girls (some as young as age five!) dolled up in fancy do’s and makeup, paraded on stage with frilly dresses in vicious competition to be crowned winner of the latest pageant.
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. Jeremiah 31:25
One summer in high school I went on a missions trip with a group of other students to the western part of Mexico. It was an incredible experience that completely broadened my horizons and gave me a love for serving others. One aspect of the trip that was fun and memorable was the journey itself. Our group took two 15-passenger vans and drove from West Michigan to Ensenada, Mexico–nearly a 40 hour drive!
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
Imagine living in total isolation from your family and friends. Over time, your once smooth, clear skin slowly becomes covered in pale blotches. Sores begin to infect your body, and pretty soon, your face becomes unrecognizable. You feel alone. Ostracized. Completely unwanted and unloved. Millions of people in the world experience these feelings everyday–and suffer with the debilitating disease of leprosy.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
Several years back a group of teachers at the school I worked at traveled to New York City for professional development. We visited several Christian schools, sat in on classes, spoke with teachers and staff to gain fresh ideas and teaching methods we could implement in our school back in Michigan.
…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
Over the years I have learned several life lessons from the children’s books I read to my kids. One lesson comes from one of the delightful adventures of the famous Frog and Toad series. My absolute favorite story is called A List.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11
If I were to ask you, “What makes you happy?”–what would you say? For me, it’s the little things. The laughter of my children. Hugs and tickles. Chocolate cake and raspberry tea.