My husband’s family gathered at our house one summer for a Fourth of July cookout. When it got dark, we went outside for sparklers and fireworks in the driveway. As we lit some sparklers for the kids, my father-in-law’s phone beeped and he said, “I have a phone call. Go ahead—I’ll be right back.”
When I taught an English as a Second Language class at my church, I often ran into a challenge. A student would ask me what a particular word meant, and even though I knew the word, I struggled to describe its meaning without using the same word. The word itself embodied the meaning for me; I could feel and know the meaning but could not put it into different words. It was just … itself. (Luckily for my students, online dictionaries came to my rescue!)
The famous marshmallow tests were first conducted in the 1970s at Stanford University. Researchers presented preschool-aged children with a marshmallow and a choice: eat one marshmallow right away or wait until the researcher returned to the room and get two marshmallows. Follow-up studies on the children showed that the ability to delay gratification—to be patient enough to receive a second marshmallow—was linked to higher competence and SAT scores in adolescence.
Peace is an intrinsic part of the Christian life. Believers receive peace with God. We, in turn, seek peace with others as we forgive and love them. We also experience peace in our hearts and minds when we let go of our sins and our fear to trust in God. In fact, letting go is a key aspect of peace.
The organ notes sounded like dancing. I already knew that the guest organist for the noon Lenten service was one of the best around, but I was unprepared for the sheer joy that shone through a relatively short introduction to the closing hymn. The organist wasn’t just accompanying a hymn. He was living out his gift, his purpose, and his delight in making music for the glory of God. The organist’s joy overflowed to the entire congregation.
At youth group, the teens in attendance were engaged in a very lively discussion, during which, my daughter said something slightly off the mark theologically. I immediately corrected and expanded on her words—matter-of-factly, I thought. I was one of the youth leaders, after all. It was my duty to make sure the kids understood everything correctly. The discussion continued, but without my daughter. Her head went down, and she said nothing else.
When we got home, she turned to me, “You made fun of me!”