Wasting Away

I feel like a little black cloud is following me.  Satan is working hard against me.  I have been frustrated, tired, unmotivated, annoyed.  Just YUCK.  I haven’t posted, because I can’t think of anything to write.  Today I played disco music all day in my classroom–it helped me stay positive while teaching and the kids really liked it.  I think they needed the pick-me-up as well.  I wish this was our spring break week.

In the midst of this I keep turning to God…He is what is keeping me going.  He is what is renewing my soul each day and keeping my feet on His path.  Because it would be all too easy to turn and follow Satan down that road of negativity.  So even though I feel like my outer world is wasting away lately, I know, that inwardly I am renewed.  As are all of you.  We must keep watching for the dawn of His love.

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Spark to Flame

This seems like a very motivating hopeful statement.  And it is.   But this is another one of those quotes with many meanings…Dante is the author of The Inferno a poem/book about his allegorical trip through the rings of purgatory and hell to get to heaven and his beloved Beatrice.  The poem is about a Christian’s trip through life in search of God and all of the horrific sin encountered…although I find it ironic that it is as much about trying to get back to a human as it is about seeing Christ.

So anyway, there is actually a lot to think about here in this one small sentence that we can consider in terms of faith.

  1.  It could be that just a small spark of faith and kindness can grow into a lifetime of service to others and joyful praise of our Savior.  Or on the flip side…
  2. It could be that if we are not careful with “small” sin it can ignite “bigger” more habitual sin.  We must always be diligent.
  3. It could be a metaphor for Christianity as a whole…God promised Abraham one child, yet a star filled sky of descendants. Jesus’ life and the number of disciples He had was short and small.  And here we are millions of believers sharing the gospel with more generations.
  4. It could be  a metaphor for Easter.  What the Jews thought was one crucifixion ended up fulfilling all sorts of prophecy and leading to the growth of a new faith.

What do you think?  What meanings can you find in these words?  How are you going to apply them today?  Tomorrow?

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Underestimated

The more I think about this piece the more I like it, and the more meanings I have found. I love this piece for its straight forward message.  It is a boost of confidence, a bit cheeky, and an explosion of positive in your face get things done. But there are deeper meanings…for example this is a perfect piece for Passion week.

The Jews completely underestimated Jesus.  They all underestimated God and His plan and power.  They thought they were just going to kill Jesus off and that would be that.  Over and done.  But man were they wrong!

Jesus knew.  He knew that in the moment it was going to be awful, excruciating even.   But in some ways it would be fun–to show all those unbelievers, to prove to the world who He was.  And not in an in your face kind of way…but in a way to say, “Just wait.  This world is NOTHING compared to the one I am getting ready for you.  This act is JUST THE BEGINNING — I will save more lives than mine.  Just think of all the souls that will join me in the most amazing place ever.  This is NOTHING compared to the joy you will experience in my heavenly presence with the Father and Spirit.”

And that brings me back to thinking about us in this art piece.  It should boost our confidence ten fold to know that JESUS is behind us–He will guide us to do amazing things.  People  may underestimate our actions, the power of our prayers, but JESUS will prove the skeptics wrong.  And with Christ, it is fun…not in a party kind of way, but in a peace filled heart, joy filled life, love filled soul kind of fun.  The fun of sharing the story of the resurrection, the fun of sharing grace, the fun of living with hope and not worry.

Yes, Jesus was underestimated.  Yes, we can be underestimated.  But the fun truly is in proving the amazingness of our Lord.

 

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Servant

I can’t say it any better than God to Isaiah:

Isaiah 49 The Message (MSG)

A Light for the Nations

49 1-3 Listen, far-flung islands,
    pay attention, faraway people:
God put me to work from the day I was born.
    The moment I entered the world he named me.
He gave me speech that would cut and penetrate.
    He kept his hand on me to protect me.
He made me his straight arrow
    and hid me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You’re my dear servant,
    Israel, through whom I’ll shine.”

But I said, “I’ve worked for nothing.
    I’ve nothing to show for a life of hard work.
Nevertheless, I’ll let God have the last word.
    I’ll let him pronounce his verdict.”

5-6 “And now,” God says,
    this God who took me in hand
    from the moment of birth to be his servant,
To bring Jacob back home to him,
    to set a reunion for Israel—
What an honor for me in God’s eyes!
    That God should be my strength!
He says, “But that’s not a big enough job for my servant—
    just to recover the tribes of Jacob,
    merely to round up the strays of Israel.
I’m setting you up as a light for the nations
    so that my salvation becomes global!

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Because He Himself

When we think that Satan is gaining the edge, when we wonder if Jesus truly understands us and what we are coping with, when we feel ripples of anger, bitterness, sadness, despair, hopelessness overwhelming us–remember Jesus Himself was tested.  He suffered.  All of those emotions bore down on Him as He hung from that cross.  The weight of all that we suffer consumed Him that week.  He was tested over and over and over in His lifetime.  And while He was on earth, few followed Him, few believed Him, few would have considered Him successful.

And yet HE WAS.

He understands,  He knows, He loves, He overcomes.  ALL.

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Not Today Satan

This has become a bit of a mantra for me when I feel Satan trying to creep in and steal God’s thunder and my attention.  On days that I start to question or feel alone.  I repeat this…NOT TODAY SATAN.  Today I am Jesus’ girl.  I am forever Jesus’.

Today begins Holy Week.  The yearly remembrance of the journey Jesus took from a parade of palms, to a parade of a cross, to a parade of followers excited to hear rumors that were proved true…He returned.  Satan was conquered on many days, in many ways–from the birth to the death to the resurrection.  And Satan will not win.  Ever.  Not this day, not tomorrow, not ever.  Our God is in control.  We belong to Him forever.  Not today Satan, and not any other day either.

 

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Cannot keep from…

The awesome thing about faith in Christ is that when it creeps in and fully fills your soul you cannot keep it to yourself.  You just can’t.  You just want to gather everyone you meet and know in a big hug and share this love and promise with them.  This amazing amount of hope that we hear in God’s glorious voice.  The miracles we see in bodies of clay.  The stories we hear near and far.

Speaking of our faith is healing in itself.  When we are speaking of faith we are not gossiping.  We are not complaining.  We are not worrying.  We are speaking of joy and fullness and wholeness.  Things that it is awfully hard not to keep speaking about.

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Travel

God totally told us to travel.  Mmmhmm.  Right there folks.  We are to get out there.  And while we are out there we are to share His good news, His promises, His light, His love.  Sometimes we will travel hundreds of miles, maybe even on a plane.  Sometimes we will travel to the next room.  (Not quite as exciting, but sometimes an even bigger adventure.)  No matter what, we are packing some serious heat…the warmth of knowing Jesus and the Spirit are always with us.  Packing a seriously good story we can share.  Emboldened and light filled with love to spill on others.

Go.  Tell.  In words and actions.  And be BLESSED.

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A glorious Voice

There are so many different tv shows based on the singing talents and voices of undiscovered talent.  We applaud and follow these brave individuals as they vie for our attention and votes.  We tune in week after week, night after night to listen to the music they choose to interpret.

And yet, how often do we stop and listen to the most glorious voice of all?  How often do we truly hear God’s voice in all that He created?  As the verse above listed:

  • the shaking of cedars and whirls of oaks
  • flashes of flame and light
  • booming thunder
  • the rushing of waters

We had a rain storm just last night that woke me up and I couldn’t figure out what the strange noises were.  But now I realize that it wasn’t just the trees in the back yard and the rain on our roof, it was a lullaby from God of promises of a new day.

Let us listen each day for the glorious voice of our God.

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Treasure in Clay Jars

keep from speaking birds-004

(Good morning!  Coming a little late today, and no post yesterday due to a busy out of state weekend. )

Our bodies.  We think we have so much control over them don’t we?  We believe if we eat right, wear helmets, stay away from risky behaviors, and do everything just right we can have long lives free of diseases, sickness, accidents, etc.  NOPE.  Our bodies are clay…moldable, changeable, and imperfect.  They will break despite our best intentions.  God made it very very clear that the power of life and control of our bodies is HIS, not ours.  He breathes life into us.  HE heals us.  He blesses us with talents and gifts suited to His plan for who He designed us to be.

Our bodies are a treasure and it is right to care for it as such.  We should do everything we can to treat this clay as if it is more precious that gold in honor of our Savior and Creator.  But we also need to give credit where credit is due, and trust that His plan for this vessel is the perfect one.

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Move God

There is a fun Facebook story right now about a church that literally needed a mountain of dirt moved and a new parking lot created before they could dedicate and use their new sanctuary.  The congregation prayed to God and believed in their hearts that God would help them, and He did.  A construction company came the next day that needed fill dirt and offered to pave the space if they could have that mountain.

Too often we think we can do everything, control everything on our own.  It just simply isn’t true.  The world is too vast and too complicated and we will never be able to control every little thing.  And the sooner we realize this and have faith that God will control and plan what we need the better.  We don’t have all of the answers, but we can have all of the faith and be able to trust that God will share them with us.  He will free us, He will refresh us, He will challenge us, and He will never leave us alone.  Praise be to Him!

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See Goodness

Do you see the goodness of our Savior here in the everyday?  Sometimes it is hard.  You have to open your eyes and really look really hard some days.  Other times it is crazy easy–you see God shining back at you through everything.  The trick is remembering the times when we do see Him, and remembering to look for Him.  Sometimes it helps to have a list, a documentation, a source of inspiration.  The Bible can be all we need –look to His inspired words He sent for us.  Sometimes it is looking at His creations–into the eyes of a soul, across a landscape, or up close at the amazing structure of a leaf.

May we all find some goodness in our land today.

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Free Indeed

Easter is coming!  That glorious celebration of when Jesus died and freed us from all of our sins.  When He sacrificed it all to prove His amazing love for each and every person He designed and created.  The day He perfected love.  What a blessing!

Do you feel free?  Or are you letting the chains of this earth and the weight or worry press you down?  When we let God’s freedom truly fill our souls a lightness consumes our souls and bodies.  A joy can overtake us… a peace.  My hope is that all of you feel a bit of that freedom, that you believe with your whole heart that you are free indeed, this day and all the days to follow.

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Called Jesus

You will notice that a lot of the artwork for awhile is landscape orientation.  I challenged myself to work this direction for an entire journal.  Partially for something new, and partially so I have no excuses when it is time to create a calendar for next year.  🙂  It ended up being really refreshing actually, and I think I will always have at least one journal going like this now (I tend to work in several at a time, so in case something is wet and I have extra time I can keep painting or working in the other books.)

These verses come from the Christmas story.  We all know God really challenged Mary, and Joseph, with this pregnancy.  It was something unexpected, totally new, and He left them with no excuses to carry out this mission of parenting Jesus.  The good thing for them was God gave them explicit directions the whole time…go here, name him this, fulfill these prophecies…that would make it a little easier, but still I am sure this blessing was a challenge at times.  The directions God gave them would be refreshing, peaceful…one less thing to decide.

God had already ordained this perfect name for our Savior.  Can you imagine if Mary and Joseph would have needed to make this decision????  Whoah.  Talk about a heavy load.  And thank goodness they were willing to listen and follow God’s words to them.  Jesus is such a comforting word to call on.

What directions is God giving us today?  Are we listening and letting Him challenge us?  The challenge may be refreshing and the perfect antidote to what we need, we just need to give in, no excuses, and go with it–and let Him bless us beyond imagination.

 

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