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Plant City's First Baptist Church

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Written:  September 2006

Our family loves going to the beach.  One activity we do, like most everyone else, is pick up seashells.  How many times have you seen part of a shell sticking up from the sand and picked it up only to realize that it had been cracked or broken?  Often we’d pick it up, quickly glance at it, and toss it down.

Time and again one of the kids have brought his or her prize discovery. Only to my eyes I saw a broken shell, yet my child saw the beauty?  For years, the kids have given me shells to treasure, only to be “conveniently” put aside or left behind.

The summer of 2006, my youngest child would proudly bring me his tattered shell and then he, to his discovery, would say, “OH, it’s broken.” and throw it down. (This was an action he had observed me doing.)

When he began tossing the shells it jarred my heart to think, “Is this how we treat people?”  We may see someone a bit tattered and look in disgust. Or we may see someone with a different lifestyle than us and turn our heads so we would not have to make contact with them.

Oh, to have the eyes of a child.  A child of God.  God created man in his own image.

So we may look and act a little different.  Great!  I’m so thankful that people aren’t like me.  We’d drive each other crazy!

After comparing broken shells to how we treat people, I quickly convinced my precious child to keep his shell.  He even got so excited that he started collecting that type of shell. It didn’t matter how perfect looking or broken it was.  He took pride in his collection. We now have a jar of his shells at home.

When I look at the jar of shells, I’m reminded to look at others through God’s eyes, and appreciate the beauty in all.

“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.  For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck I your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in you own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye?  Hypocrite!  First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  Jesus said this in Matthew 7: 1-5

We are all a bit broken, but to God we are priceless treasures.

(Cole’s Jar of Shells are pictured above.  He was four years of age when this occurred.)

 

on“Lessons from My Kitchen:  Part 5”

To you this may look like a cluttered corner, but to me it reminds me of a few treasures.

I treasure my friends, family, and faith.

Each day I am reminded of my treasures when I am standing in my kitchen.  In this illuminated corner I can be reminiscent on my treasures:

Friends:  My dear friend, Susan, gave me the “A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17” cross décor years ago.  By now there are ingredients splattered and stained on the cross.  But each time I go to wipe away those food blemishes away, I smile at knowing that Christ did exactly that.  In Psalm 51:2 we read, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”  Jesus did.  He does.  He will.  Thank You, Lord, for washing me and making me whole.  Thank you, Susan, and so many others, for being my treasured friend(s), I do love you!

The nautical plaque hanging on the jar of shells reminds me of the precious relationship I have with my friend, Theresa.  We have been blest with the opportunity to travel this great earth together.  Whether by sea, land, or sky, we have learned valuable lessons together, about each other, and about our Creator.  1 Chronicles 29:11 reads, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.”  The Lord Almighty created this planet for us to take care of and discover.  His beauty is incomparable.  Thank you, Theresa, for the bond we (and our families) have, and I treasure you and the many discoveries we learn together about God’s wonders.

Family:  The story of the jar of shells pictured can be read here:   Broken Seashells .  This collection of seashells by Cole is a priceless reminder that we are all broken and special to God.  I learn life lessons in all sorts of scenes in life.  A lesson discovered through my son’s eyes is one to be valued.  In Psalm 51:17 David pens, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” 

The Bacon Press in the background is one that my mom used when I was young.  The “press” in this family heirloom reminds me of 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”

The adorable little diddies on the far right are not from a blood-relative, but they belonged to my sister-in-law’s mother.  When her mom passed away, I didn’t want to let these treasures go.  I hope that when Jan visits my home and sees these items my kitchen, that she recalls sweet memories of her family.

Faith:  My faith is evident in all the items in my “cluttered corner”, and through the thoughts that go through my mind when I view them each day.  I even have a sign above my kitchen door that reads:  Faith * Family * Friends * Forever.

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Remember… Look around your kitchen and ponder on what others may say about you.  Turn it into a God lesson.  I hope you stay tuned for more “Lessons from My Kitchen”.

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! Have a wonderful day. – Stephanie