Tag Archives | Bible Verses

Then we see enlightened hope

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Let’s pray today:

Dear Heavenly Father,

We come to you humbly today,  knowing that our days have been filled with mistakes–things we did on purpose, things we did unintentionally.  Open our eyes to the lessons in our inadequacies.  Let us see that all your children have these same deficiencies.  We ask you to fill our minds with the hope that you give us that all is forgiven, all is understood.  May we take that confidence and knowledge and apply it to our tomorrows, to our experiences with others, and to our faith in you.  We grateful for the instruction you provide that brings us closer to you Jesus.

In your name we pray,

amen

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Crown Your Efforts

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Let’s pray today:

God, we know that when we put you first that you direct our paths.  We know that we need only follow you and your golden road to salvation.  But sometimes it is hard in this world to stay on the path, to not look to the right or the left and wonder…and even worry.

Help us Lord to put you first in everything.  Focus our thoughts on the road ahead that leads to you.  Purify our hearts with your love and tenderness that we may step out in faith that glorifies you in everything.  Train our eyes to keep your plans for the future in our vision.  Strengthen our hands to resolve to do your good works.

We are grateful Lord that we know you will crown us with the amazing gift of love, hope, and life with you when we do all of this in your name.  We are grateful that the ultimate success is to bask in your favor.  We are grateful that you give us so many opportunities to do this for you.

Amen!

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Rooted Firm

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Isn’t this glorious knowledge?!  When we are believers we know we have a firm foundation.  Who knows where things are going to take us, but we know we are safe.

Between my Revelation study (which hit the final judgement a couple weeks ago) and the end of school year (which always leads to–what am I doing next fall) I have been thinking about the future a lot.  And I keep coming back to this:  my faith will get me through another year.  No matter what happens, I know I have chosen Jesus as my savior.  I know that if the judgement was in God’s plans for this summer that if I was in front of His throne I would fall down in joy, praise, and humility.  I would not turn from Christ in fear, or rejection.  I know that if I keep that in my head, the rest of my days here on earth will fall into place.  Whatever happens, will happen, and it will work out for God’s good purposes as long as I stay rooted in that firm foundation of faith.

Are your roots deep?  Do you feel like you are standing firm?  Can you look at the future this way?  What do you need to do to get to this point?

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Working toward that goal

not that I have obtained

Goals.  Plans.  Dreams.

All of them to be obtained in the future.

There are so many quotes about future.  So many philosophies.  Live in the now.  Plan for tomorrow.  Savor this moment.  Reach for dreams.

It can all seem confusing.  Which one do I do?  Which fits today?  tomorrow?  It can seem like a constant state of confusion and limbo.

One thing is certain…don’t linger on the past.  It’s done.

And when we know that we belong to Christ Jesus it is even easier to not linger on the past.  We can look forward…a long long long ways.  Into eternity.  So really this little moment today is infitesimal compared to the goal of heaven.  Not that it is easy to do, but it sure is a better use of our time.

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Fruits of the Spirit–or Road Directions?

fruit of the spirit

If you look closely, you can see this started with actual pieces of fruit in the background.  What a silly.  As soon as I did it, I knew it was all wrong, and it sat unfinished for a month.  BUT, then I went in and learned from the lesson, was true to myself, and GOD, and let HIS words shine through–in the art, and for my life.   I do like how that mix of color ended up working behind the verse.  And more importantly Galations 5:22 is helping me figure out what God has planned for me in this next season.  This list isn’t just a list–it is a set of directions.  Have you ever looked at it that way?  I never had, but when I did, it changed my thinking and my heart.  I had plans–to paint fruit, to be a traveling speaker.  Mmmhmm.  And God is using this to remind me–Nicole’s plans did not result in the fruits of the SPIRIT, at least not all of them.  My plans don’t give me peace, patience, generosity, gentleness, or self control.  BAH.

God did not intend for us to only get HALF of His gifts, that would be a shame.  He planned for us as Christ followers to attempt to attain all of them.  He wants us to live in the fullness of Christ, through the gifts of the Spirit.  THAT is God’s plan.  And that is when I realized this was the road map to my future, this was truly a gift of the Spirit to lead me in my seasons.  This was the gift of discernment I had been praying for all along.

Look at your current plans–those you have, those God might have.  Now line them up with this list–do they correlate?  Which ones? If they all do, praise Jesus you are on the right track you lucky duck!  If not, maybe you are like me.  We need to rethink how our plans, and need to follow God’s directions so that we can gain more of those Spirit fruits.  Because I don’t know about you, but that list is pretty tantalizing.  I crave that list.  My hope is that you do too.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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I am What I am

I am by grace of God

The other part of God loving us and creating us each uniquely is His grace that He extends to us.  He loves us so much that He gives us opportunity after opportunity to be the best version of what He created.

By His GRACE.

We don’t earn it.  He just gives it to us.  For being ourselves.  For acknowledging that He made us.  For believing He saves us–each and every moment we live.

That is a lot to live up to–and it could feel overwhelming.  Until we realize.  It simply is NOT.  It is just a sweet breath of grace blowing through each of us.  It is confidence in being loved.  It is the confidence to be who He created.

And I raise my arms to reach out to Him in praise.  His grace is not in vain–I will live up to His expectation for me, to be me.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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He Made US

He made us created

God does such good works in each of us!  We are all so crazy unique from the inside to the outside.

One of my favorite things to do while traveling is people watch.  Airports and beaches are especially good for this!  The artist in me notices clothing choices–I love to see what people choose to wear.  The artist also notes all the different body types, hair colors and textures, the mannerisms, the ways the body moves.  I find it fascinating  how people walk–stride, pace, heels or toes.   A lot of times you can tell what kind of athlete someone is just by how they move.  I think I am disconcerting to people sometimes, but I can’t help myself.  I wish I had more time to draw people–it takes a lot of practice to get it right.

And not only are we completely unique from the outside, but our insides.  I am always fascinated that children know what they like so early.  It is innate.  I truly believe God has plans for us in a big picture way–it just depends on whether we follow HIS plan or not.

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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According to Faith

according to your faith

Good morning!  Sorry I missed a couple days…I didn’t get them scheduled before my trip and it took me a couple days to recoup.  I needed Tuesday to sleep from early flights and excitement and Wednesday was all about recovering my house and pantry–they ate everything and wore everything.  😉

I am feeling like this verse is so so true right now…my faith has deepened an incredible amount in the last five years, and especially the last two.  And God is using my willingness to surrender to Him for His good works and is blessing me accordingly.  90 women showed up Monday night and studied the Word through art with Leslie and I.  And it touched a lot of hearts–new friendships were made, connections were made, some broke out in giggles of excitement, some shed tears of restoration.  It was just what we hoped it would be.

But I also know of people going through some tough tough situations right now.  How is their faith reflected in that?  I suppose that is the age old question.  In my BSF Revelation study right now I have learned that God uses those times to bring us that much closer to Him.  And sometimes He is using His faithful followers to bring others to Him through those difficulties.  I know that as I see faithful ones responding to hard times… I am encouraged.  It helps me focus on God.  It makes me look back on my hard seasons and see the growth, see how God never left, and it does bring me closer.

Our faith does not promise we will not be persecuted by sickness, grief, financial issues, relationship woes–if anything the Bible tells us we may end up being tested by Satan that much more to pull us away from our faith in Christ.

We must remember there will be riches in joy and peace here on earth according to our faith.  But there will be far more riches of joy and peace in heaven when we can be right next to our Savior.

So I am grateful for the good things in my life now–for a wonderful event and trip, for a great partner in Leslie, a loving and supportive family, and all of YOU.   I lean on my faith in God that deepens everyday. I am thankful for the dark time that led me to faith art journaling and this ministry.  And I am ready for the storms that will come, for I know according to my faith…it will all be good.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Way Far Ahead

wise man who built his house on the rock

You know just how far ahead of us God is?  It is like this picture–we can stand at the top of a mountain and see for miles and miles.  It seems like a long way.  But God, can see much much further.  Farther than we can ever imagine.

Sometimes we need to climb high to get God’s perspective and trust that He will guide and protect us up and down that trail.  Trusting in God’s words and practicing the good things He teaches us brings wisdom–the kind that lasts and lasts–that cannot be weathered.  The kind that is not obsolete with trends or changes in technology.  The kind that we can actually pass on to another generation after we have seen and done and learned.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Let Them Grow Together

wheat-and-weedsMatthew 13:  29-30

This is from Jesus’ parable of the weeds.  A man sows good seed in his field and during the night an enemy sows weeds among the good wheat.  The servants ask if they should pull the weeds.  But the man replies… the above verse…let them grow together until the harvest and then we will separate them.

I let a giant thistle grow in my garden last spring.  I mistakenly thought it was a poppy.  (Hey–just look at a poppy leaf, they are similar!)  The thistle turned out to be just a weed, one that my daughter lovingly deemed the devil’s flower.  But at the same time it wasn’t–I have always loved the purple color of the blossoms, and I like the texture of the leaves.  And they are the favorite food of goldfinches, who kept tabs on the plant hoping they could get a taste.

As I have studied Revelation this year, I see just how much God follows this strategy.  He lets the weeds grow, they have purposes, and He is waiting until the harvest to give them chances.  There are weeds around me all the time testing my faith, giving me opportunities to see how I might react, if the weed might have worth and will I give it that possibility.  And to share my faith and hope that maybe, they aren’t just a weed–but just a different kind of plant that will in turn yield its own kind of good fruit.

I am human, no matter how hard I try not to be judgemental, but it happens.  In my head pops an opportunity that I have missed.  I am not giving that person the chance I should, and I need to right that wrong.  And I am humbled, because a good friend is giving that person an opportunity.

I am sure there are others…but this is the weed God might be calling me to.  Ever have those?  Who are the ones we consider weeds right now?  God is leaving them there until the harvest.  How can we see the worth in that plant and give them a chance to bear fruit in Christ?

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Witnesses

witnesses to end of earth

I hate it when I get used by people, don’t you?  You know that there is nothing in it for you at all.  You can tell that nothing is genuine.  Yuck.

Except when that person is Jesus. And He is totally using me people.  And in this instance it is so cool.

Jesus called us to the great commission for a reason–to share His light and love, to encourage each other daily to the ends of the earth.  To witness to as many as we can–until everyone has had an opportunity to choose light and love.  See that hand up there–it represents all the roads we can take, how they can all intersect, how they can spread everywhere.  It also represents what happens when we are witnesses–the truth of light and love starts flowing through our veins, it is imprinted in our hands.  Everything we touch can be filled with light and love.  Super cool.

I want to keep sharing lots and lots and lots of light and love.  I get to do that through my art.  I shared lots of ways you can support my ministry yesterday–but really this is GOD’S ministry.   He is using me.  And He wants to use you.  

“Ew!” you might think. ” I am not ready to witness.  My road is short right now.  I don’t even know how to witness!”

WELL, I am going to make it super easy for you.  Share my artwork.  Let it lead people to Jesus.  Hopefully it will help them ask questions.  You can use my artwork in lots of ways–schedule a workshop with me at your church, buy some prints to give away, or just share this blog on Facebook or through email.  Let’s spread some light people! Let’s go to the ends of the earth.  Let’s make some roads that lead right back to God.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Not Disorder but Peace

not disorder peace

I like things all lined up and organized.  There are times that I literally cannot function until I clean up my studio space because it stifles my creativity so much.  And once I have a clean surface and can find everything again, I can breathe deeply, dig in, and just let it all flow–let it all go.  (Yes, Elsa is singing Let it Go in my head as I type LOL–I cannot escape Disney).

Anywhoo.  I like to imagine God in this verse kind of like Elsa in that famous song–sweeping His creativity across the world in one cleaning, clearing, organized swoosh of beautiful peace.  Just crystallizing the earth in shining peace.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful???  Because really that is how He creates the world.  Organized down to the very inner workings of each molecule.  His intelligent design of everything functions in such a fantastic system.

When we trust Him, when we work for Him, that organized peace flows into our hearts.  Really it does.  I am telling you, the peace that surpasses all understanding just puts everything in your soul in its place.  Your world will start to make sense in a whole new light.  And you will want to share that love and light. (Remember our mantra?)  Ahh,  it is such a good thing.  It makes me want to twirl.  LOL

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Trust with All Your Heart

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That is a doozy of a verse now isn’t it?  Trust with ALL your heart.  Do not rely on your own understanding.  When all I want to do is think about something until I have it reconciled in my noggin and go with that plan.  And sometimes I luck out and that is God’s plan, but not all the time.  Actually, rarely.  Because He usually thinks much bigger and outside the box.  I tend to just go with what looks like will be the easiest path.  🙂

But I am getting better at this one.  And I realize every time that my understanding of a situation is so limited.  My rationalizing doesn’t include a full picture.  God’s does.  And when I give stuff over to Him, He seems to do a pretty good job with it.

So I am working on this–using my whole heart to trust.  Relying on God and not myself.  How about you?

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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New Commandment

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I talked with two different relatives this week about where the church is currently–one in Texas, one in Ohio, and I have mine here in Illinois.

And to some degree really our conversations boiled down to this:  we see that church has forgot this commandment.  Church has become so embroiled in traditions, so used to the way THEY do things, so used to feeding themselves, that they have forgotten how Christ called us to show everyone we are His disciples.

Do the people in your town KNOW that you are a Jesus follower?  Do they even know about your church?  The ways you help people inside and outside that building?  Is that church known for LOVE?  Or for rules, traditions, cliques, and closed doors?  Is there an open path to your church or have the congregants filled it with detours to keep people from messing with the way it is?  Kind of like a little old lady with beautiful gardens filled with statuary, but no one is allowed on her grass.  And really she gives you the stare down if you are on her sidewalk.

What kind of church are we?

Just some thoughts…

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Catch a Breath

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I sketched this on the plane to Atlanta this August.  I almost missed the flight, but God opened some paths.  After takeoff I pulled out my devotions and Bible and this was the verse.  He reminded me that it is His plan not mine that will work.

I am not sure what that right direction is right now.  It is my busiest time of year with lots of Christmas orders, custom requests flying in every other day, shows, and art to create—and our modem broke.  I can use Jeff’s business computer when he is not home because mine runs off WiFi–no internet at my desktop.  At least I can still scan and print!  I just can’t do things on my own time.

Maybe that is God’s way of making me slow down in this busy season.  Yes, that is how I am going to think of it.  This maybe one of those times that I am being a bit headstrong, and God knows I need something else.

Do you ever feel like He does that for you?  Stop right now, really consider, is God putting up some roadblocks?  Are you fulfilling what YOU want, or what HE wants?  What paths are free of detours?  Maybe we need to take a deep breath and head down those back roads for awhile.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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