Monthly Archives: June 2017


DSC_1285By Judy Villanueva

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

“Crinkle, crinkle yittle star, how I wonder what you are…” I sang gently alongside my little grand-daughter as I rocked her to sleep. Her head rested on my shoulder and before long, I could feel her go limp in my arms.  I placed her in the crib, prayed a quiet prayer and stood a minute watching her surrender to sleep. In those sweet moments, God tapped me on the shoulder and I felt drawn into awareness that, much like this,

He watches over me wherever I happen to be in my life. He sees me as I come and as I go.  He sings alongside my songs and delights in knowing and loving me.

He may feel distant at times, but I only need look up to find His face!  He is always there, His eyes awaiting mine.

Seeking the face of God as we walk through our day invites us to notice where He is speaking, correcting, or guiding.  It may seem vague, but it really is as simple as returning to awareness that God is here.  Simple or not, I find I need practical help and so I set an alarm on my phone that rings every hour to remind me to “look up”.  It is easy to live a day immersed in activity, mentally disconnected from God, but anytime I agree to slow down I can feel soul-space open up and the potential for face-time!  I try to build into my week a rhythm of walks, prayer, spiritual reading, listening to worship music, and meditating on the Word, all as efforts to look at Jesus.  We live fully known by God at every moment, but if we want to see His face in the mirror, His life formed in us, we must engage with Him!

I am always intrigued by the moments in Scripture that mention an eye-to-eye encounter with Jesus. Like Jairus, who upon receiving word of his daughter’s death, looks up to find Jesus’ eyes on him with a command, “Do not be afraid. Just believe.” I can imagine Jairus thinking, “What shall I believe? My daughter has just died!”

Whatever it was that Jairus saw as he stood facing Jesus grabbed him from the midst of his despair, set him on his feet, and led him to a resurrection!

“Talitha Koum! Little girl, wake up!” And, she did! Is this what happens when we face Jesus?  Do we notice Him looking at us over the crowd and into our broken hearts?  Are we helped to hear His voice that shouts hope to our despair?  Are we emboldened to follow Him to places where our lives are restored and where we feel His gentle tap that reminds us He is watching over us?

“Lord, I want to see Your face. I want to remember You and live in Your presence more today than yesterday. Help me to engage with you, to slow down enough to hear you calling to me over, what is sometimes, a crowded life. Thank You for the tap on my shoulder and the reassurance that you watch over me. Amen.”

What about you?

What would be like to live a day looking at Jesus? How might it affect your thoughts? Your choices?

Have you experienced the face of God? The sense of Him seeing and knowing you?

Does the pace of your life allow for slowing down? Can you see Jesus over what crowds around you each day?

What habits help you connect to God?

God loves you and knows you. He watches over you always. Slow down and look up!

Worship Registered & Protected

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Climbing Trees

UP! aspens

By Judy Villanueva

Luke 19:1-6

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

I love Zacchaeus’ spunk and determination! Even though his profession was dubious and his choices up to this point, questionable, when he hears that Jesus is coming he runs ahead and climbs a tree. Zacchaeus wants to see Jesus and he doesn’t let his stature or a tall crowd get in his way!  Watching him run, climb and sit eagerly perched in a tree tugs at something in my heart this morning…

The tax collector’s curiosity about Jesus, a kind that chases him up a tree, confronts me. Zacchaeus’ determination to go after what would probably be only a glimpse of Jesus invites me to “wake up” with fresh eyes for the coming of Christ in my day. Think about it!

Jesus arrives in our day, every day!  He comes our way and asks if He can stay with us.

How often do I miss Jesus because I’m not even expecting Him and how can I possibly welcome Him with gladness if I don’t even notice His presence in my day?

As I read this passage, my attention shifts to Jesus and I am struck at what happens next! Up in the sycamore tree with Zaccheus, I see Jesus in the distance and my heart begins to race! I, too, have heard stories and find myself longing to hear his voice and see his face. How I want His life to touch mine! To my delight and utter amazement, when He reaches the branch where Zacchaeus and I sit, He looks up!

He knows we are eager for His notice and His notice affirms us in the deepest place of our soul.

I feel taught by Zacchaeus today. He shows me what it looks like to run past curiosity to a tree climbing pursuit of Jesus! Today, I want to remember that Jesus is coming!  I want to be present to life with eager expectation and feel His touch through sweet embraces, the kindness of His Word, and the gentle movements of grace that bless me each day.  I want to welcome Jesus with gladness however He comes to me today!

“Lord Jesus, thank You for looking for me up in trees or wherever I happen to be. Forgive my apathy in not watching for your daily arrivals. Fill me with fresh fervor to climb trees, hang out on branches, and welcome you with gladness. Amen.”

What about you?

Are you tuned in to the commotion that is signaling the coming of Christ in your life today?

Are you curious about Jesus? Who is He?

Is there anything keeping you from seeing Jesus?

Are you watching and waiting for God’s arrival in your day? Are you ready to welcome Him with gladness? Registered & Protected


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