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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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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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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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Well with my soul…and facebook :)

Just a quick post today of one of my favorite pieces and songs ever to help me test the Facebook link.  It has not worked for three weeks and finally I called in a professional to help me (Shout out to Crystal Silver!).  Prayers that this posts!   Here is the story of the song which has forever touched my heart:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Is_Well_with_My_Soul

and the song:

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Blueprint

I am not sure where this idea came from (me or somewhere else)…but I do like the analogy.  Blueprints are a design plan or other technical drawing or model for engineering and construction.  They are a plan, map, layout, representation.  They are needed by a construction crew to carry out the master plan of an architect or engineer so that the structure is safe, sound, and lasting.  Blueprints used to be printed on light sensitive paper, the most accurate way to reproduce the negative image of the original drawing.  This process creates white lines and a blue background on the special paper.

So if we are making God our original design, and our life is the blueprint then:

  • we are a light filled print of the original–made in His image
  • we are an accurate reproduction of the master plan–He planned each one of us without flaw
  • we are a structurally sound and safe construction, a work in progress, built from the ground up
  • we can trust that God is present in each and every piece planned and needed for the final structure
  • we can believe that the end result will be outstanding and loved by God
  • we do not need to be afraid for God is in every process and always with us

 

 

 

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Do Not Be Afraid

Jeremiah 46:  27 and 28

“Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel. I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid.
28 Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant, for I am with you,” declares the Lord“Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure;
I will not let you go entirely unpunished.”

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is coming to lay waste to Egypt and make it his, but I love that God tells His chosen people over and over, “Do not be afraid, I am with you.”  I love that God is downright honest with them: shit’s gonna get real–it’s going to be bad,  no one is going to get away with anything, we will have some crap to deal with.  It is life on a sinful earth separated from the perfection of God.

But over and over and over God promises He is with us, there will be peace and security at some point, He will not take us to the brink of destruction, but will redeem us and pull us even closer to Him.  He says, “I will surely save you out of a distant place.”  I don’t think God was only referring to land places.  I think He meant any distant place in reality or in our mind that pulls us away from His loving embrace of safety.  He knows where we are–near or far from Him, nowhere is too far that He can’t see us and pull us back.  Jesus is always with us.  There is no need to be afraid.

I find comfort in that.  I hope you do too.

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Be Transformed

(NIV version) Romans 12:  Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  That is really standing out to me right now.  My mind has felt like that burst of color up there the last month or two…tons of colors and lots going on…all of it scatterbrained, non-committal, feeling guilty and anxious that everything I do is wrong and not good enough.  And then I realized that the winter depression got me more than I thought this year.  I didn’t spiral down, but it still has its grip in ways I can’t control as much as I would like to.

But it is okay, God sees me and my crazy brain and sees that I am trying to give it to Him.  And no matter what He sees me as holy and pleasing.  He will transform my mind and renew me.  He will help me discern what is real and what my brain is making up.  He will lead me to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable.

And this is true for all of us.  He sees us all as wholes.  Holy.  Pleasing to Him.  He wants to transform us–free us of our sin, fill us with His love.  Shine through us with His glory.  Change all the crazy colors to His pleasing colors–a rainbow of promises that He keeps.

Today I pray we are all transformed by God’s loving grace.

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