Like Sheep

It is easy to go astray.  It is part of being human.  The hope that we have in Christ is that we are forgiven.  That we have clean slates.  That we can improve and be better servants of Him because He took all of our sins.

I don’t know about you, but having that hope makes me want to try to be a better person even more.  I am so thankful that I have this opportunity, this confidence through Christ.  It makes me want to do what I can in thanks for what He gave to me.

Part of my gift back to Christ is being humble that I mess up, admitting that I stray that I get things wrong.  That I am one of those sheep.  And that I need His constant teachings and reminders to follow His path.

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Mischief

It is soooo hard not to get mixed in with the mischief makers.  This verse really hit home when it showed up in my devotions a few weeks ago.  It can be really hard to discern who you can trust sometimes.  It can be really easy to listen and think what is being said or done is okay.  It can be really hard to stand back, look at a situation through the lens of Christ and decide how to really react. It can be even harder when you realize that Christ does not want you mixed in with such people, and you know it is going to be a difficult road to buck the system.

But we are called by Christ to stand up to the mischief makers.  We are called to stand up for the persecuted.  We are called to encourage others to do what is right.  We are called to be the examples.  No matter how hard it is.

We don’t want to be drug away with the mischief makers.  We should want to be held tight to Christ and his followers.  No matter how hard. No matter the consequences.

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Clothed in His LOVE

My new FAVORITE song!  And it is the perfect culmination to this week.  This is a shout out to all the ladies who reached out, who helped me remember I have my armor that is keeping me safe, that is filled with the love of Christ and keeps me close in His love.  Faith, Hope, and Love are an armor we can wear to keep us safe, it is just one of the amazing benefits of being a Christ follower and creation of our God and Lord.  Blessed be HIM!  Blessed be you–I pray that you feel clothed in the love of Christ as well.  Hugs.

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Who satisfies?

There are something about kind words that help melt away stress, and make you feel not only lighter, but maybe even younger.  More carefree– maybe like a child–or a soaring eagle.  Renewed.  Free, untethered.  Light.

Do you ever feel like a weight truly has been lifted from your shoulders?

With each person that came to me last week, it was easier to give up the the pain and hand it over to God.  Each encounter reminded me I was worrying and fretting over things that were not for me.  They were for God.  I can’t fix those things/people.  God has to.  And I have to wait for them to turn it over to God as well.

And with each person, each revelation, I gave more to Him.  And I felt the weight leave.  I felt my shoulders truly relax.  What a benefit?

What have you handed over?  What has God resolved?  How have you felt lighter?  Think on those things today.

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Don’t Forget His Benefits

Here is the next verses.  Do you see why these verses cornered my attention?  So many good questions to ponder.  So much to think about and remember.  For God truly does redeem us from our lows.  Just last week several women in my school building knew I was struggling and reached out to help pull me up.  I know God sent them.  I know that it was His steadfast love, His mercy that made them feel it was important to speak kind words, give small gifts that helped me remember His love and mercy.  I felt the benefits of His love coming through each person, I felt His spirit present each time.

How has He lifted you up recently?

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Bless The Lord

Psalm 103 really inspired me this fall.  In fact I ended up spending 3 days going over the words and used several of the verses in art.  Mostly with just doodly flower patterns.  Something that let me ponder the words and let them sink in.  Painting and drawing that let me focus on all the ways I can bless His holy name.
Here is the passage:

Psalm 103The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

103 1-2 O my soul, bless God.
    From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
    don’t forget a single blessing!

3-5 He forgives your sins—every one.
    He heals your diseases—every one.
    He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
    He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
    He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
    He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.

6-18 God makes everything come out right;
    he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
    opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
    not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
    nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
    nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
    so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
    he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
    God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
    keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.
Men and women don’t live very long;
    like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
    leaving nothing to show they were here.
God’s love, though, is ever and always,
    eternally present to all who fear him,
Making everything right for them and their children
    as they follow his Covenant ways
    and remember to do whatever he said.

19-22 God has set his throne in heaven;
    he rules over us all. He’s the King!
So bless God, you angels,
    ready and able to fly at his bidding,
    quick to hear and do what he says.
Bless God, all you armies of angels,
    alert to respond to whatever he wills.
Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are—
    everything and everyone made by God.

And you, O my soul, bless God!

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

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Remember the Wonderful

Autumn is such a season of contradictions–it is bright colors of leaves, pumpkins, berries.  It is the long awaited and needed harvests.  It is a season of gratitude for plenty.

But all of that comes at the expense of death.  Judgements–from nature, from humans.

Frost instantly killing and turning plants black.  Leaves and stalks withering.  Fruit rotting.  Fields being stripped.   It is hunting season when humans create sport out of harvesting animals that will feed families and control extra population, but due to humans upsetting the natural predator cycles.  It is when the homeless and destitute start to worry where will they stay warm at night?

Bittersweet, huh?

There is good and bad in everything.  We must remember that.  There is a balance to all that happens on earth.  There are judgements uttered.  There are cycles that will occur of plenty and scarcity.

Luckily God has programmed us to look for the plenty.  To enjoy His wonderful works.  Because really the evil is fleeting and God has planned for the cycles of life to be MUCH LONGER and LASTING.  We must fight past the bitter and focus on the sweet.  Evil likes to stand in the way of that, creating a screen of negative fog that can hide the wonderful.

Reach through the fog.  Focus on the colors.  The harvests.  The life.  The growth.  The time of rest necessary to make the growth and life that much greater.  Depend on a God of promises and hope.  Depend on a God of light.  Remember the wonderful works that happen each moment.  The breath that fills your lungs and the blood that pumps through your veins.  For love is every molecule of oxygen that keeps your life sustained.  And it comes from God.

 

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Seek Him

It is so hard during the midst of the storm to remember to reach out to God and remember that He is with us, carrying us.  He is there.  He does not leave us.  He knows what others do, he knows what nature is doing.  He knows.  He never promised that life on earth was going to be easy.  In fact He promises that it will be hard.  And the Bible actually says that we will be persecuted and tested MORE due to our faith because the devil and evil are constantly trying to turn us away.  And the devil makes it so easy to fly up into that storm and stay there swirling in its midst.

So what do we do?

SEEK HIM.  SEEK God.  SEEK Jesus.  SEEK Holy Spirit.

Call on them.  Look for them everywhere you can.  Keep looking and listening and tasting and smelling and feeling until you feel the Spirit calming your whole self.  From the top of your head to the tips of your fingers and toes.  Surround yourself with reminders of God.  Music, words, talismans, people.  Iron sharpens iron.  And those people are all the more necessary when fighting the beasts of evil.  For they are the ones who will help pull us away from the storms and keep our feet rooted in our faith.

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Storms

It seems to have been a year of epic storms.  All around the globe the earth is shaking, blowing, pouring out its angst on the land and its inhabitants.  The monetary numbers don’t mean much to me…yes it is the loss of comfort and security.  Our homes are our sanctuaries.  These disasters rip those away and create a lot of headache.  I think too often we put too much emphasis and worth on our homes and possessions.

Because there are other kinds of storms that can rip away comfort and security as well.  Illness.  Job issues.  Family issues.  Drugs.  Politics.  Inequality.  These are equally destroying storms.

Even the holidays…this next season can be very difficult.  I know the “anticipation” of the holiday season creates enough anxiety in me to create a tornado of my own!

So what do we cling to that is lasting, true, complete, and free?  God’s love and hope.  It is our hope in Him that will carry us.  It is His love that gives us refuge.  It is in His arms that we are made whole by His merciful grace no matter how we handle a situation, no matter how other people treat us, no matter what natural or human made disaster strikes.  In. HIM.  Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  HE calms the destroying storms and holds us close while they pass us by.  And He promises that our FAITH here on this earth will be paid with the HOPE of His LOVE for ETERNITY.  A storm can last minutes.  Our Creator, the creator and ruler of all nature, is eternal.

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Cultivate Contentment

Sometimes we can’t just let contentment pass us by…we must cultivate it.  We have to find that quiet time and altar in our home or life.  We have to watch for the single moments that touch us.  And we have to reach out and grab them, own them.  It isn’t easy.  There are down and horrible days that are no where near quiet or content.  We must hold on to HOPE, for that is the best thing there is.

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Autumn

Autumn is such a pretty word.  And season.  I decided I better share this art before it gets too late.  And I am going to share this Facebook post from my sister, Sarah Plymesser Beard:

Here’s my morning musing: I was driving home after dropping off the kids at school and noticed how beautiful the tree colors are. Then I noticed how quickly they seem to have gone from beautiful color to dropping leaves fast. But it was beautiful how the leaves looked like they were raining off the trees…. like this beautiful shower of color. God’s glory, right? But then I noticed….. this one leaf. Just taking it’s time from tree limb to ground. Swirling, floating, drifting. Not in a hurry to end it’s moment. Realizing that even though this is probably it’s last breath of beauty, it was soaking up the bright sun, the cool breeze, the scenery around as it floated. It was different. It would really make a beautiful children’s book. The life of this 1 leaf. 1 leaf amid all of the beautiful ones that stood out to me and made me pause and enjoy. Reflect. Mind you I was driving, so it really was a fleeting moment, and yet I’m sharing it with you. There is real joy in not hurrying to get to the next…. thing on the list, stage of life, whatever. God said rest. Enjoy life. All the way to the end. I hope that my life is like that little leaf. Enjoying and dancing all the way to the end. Standing out by being different, against the grain of what everyone is doing, but recognizing This is my life, this is my opportunity to enjoy what God has given me and what He made me to do. …. Now funny end trailer. The next block over, there was another dawdling leaf. He hit my car on the way down. Should have landed faster.

Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, outdoor and natureImage may contain: tree, plant, sky, outdoor and nature

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Jesus is Calling

I am LOVING this song from Elevation Worship!

I spent Saturday morning alone in my studio refueling.  I had been feeling especially drained and empty last week, and I knew I needed time with God to refuel.  As soon as this song came on, I stopped, hands up, and went into the arms of Jesus right there at my messy art filled tabled–my own little altar to my Savior and creator.  And I knew I needed to paint it.  And this image of walking feet in my Google search stood out to me.  Super simple, but a lot of deep meaning for me.

Read the lyrics, listen to the melody–and think, where is your altar?  When do you step into His arms?  Do you allow yourself forgiveness?  Where do you find meaning?

O Come To The Altar Lyrics: Are you hurting and broken within Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin Jesus is calling Have you come to the end of yourself Do you thirst for a drink from the well Jesus is calling O come to the altar The Father’s arms are open wide Forgiveness was bought with The precious blood of Jesus Christ Leave behind your regrets and mistakes Come today there’s no reason to wait Jesus is calling Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy From the ashes a new life is born Jesus is calling Oh what a Savior Isn’t he wonderful Sing alleluia, Christ is risen Bow down before him For he is Lord of all Sing alleluia, Christ is risen Bear your cross as you wait for the crown Tell the world of the treasure you’ve found

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Hear Him in the Morning

I hope that not only do you read what I write, but that you truly take in the Bible verse.  Or even better that you take that verse, open your Bible in hand or online (love Biblegateway!) and read the all of God’s words.  They are so precious.

We always hear at church how important it is to read the Bible everyday, to start that habit, and how it will be life changing.  I would sit and listen to them preach this and think, someday, I will do that, when I have more time.  Until I discovered that I needed to make that time.  I needed to protect that time.  And as I created that habit it became more and more important and I have felt it transform me.

Make that time each morning.  Put your trust in Jesus and listen to His words.

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Given From God

Nothing better than the words straight from the Bible!  Here is the whole prayer Jesus shares:

John 17The Message (MSG)

Jesus’ Prayer for His Followers

17 1-5 Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:

Father, it’s time.
Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.

6-12 I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world;
They’ll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

13-19 Now I’m returning to you.
I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing
So my people can experience
My joy completed in them.
I gave them your word;
The godless world hated them because of it,
Because they didn’t join the world’s ways,
Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways.
I’m not asking that you take them out of the world
But that you guard them from the Evil One.
They are no more defined by the world
Than I am defined by the world.
Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
Your word is consecrating truth.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
I give them a mission in the world.
I’m consecrating myself for their sakes
So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.

20-23 I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.

24-26 Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me
Long before there ever was a world.
Righteous Father, the world has never known you,
But I have known you, and these disciples know
That you sent me on this mission.
I have made your very being known to them—
Who you are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that your love for me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them.

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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Calendar for 2018!

 

 

Back by popular demand!  The new calendar features several new pieces to encourage you throughout the year.  They are on pre-order now through my etsy shop.  Follow this link to purchase now and get it in early December:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/555785498/2018-christian-bible-verse-calendar.  

 

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