Tag Archives | great commission

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?

0

Rise to Standing

stand in Christ giraffe

Here is another way to RISE UP.  Stand tall.

This one isn’t flying, or climbing, but standing tall.  (Even for a shorty 5’2″ like me!)  Standing GIRAFFE tall.  One night this fall I sat down and sketched  several animals and then added the verses and thoughts later–a frog, a lightning bug, a giraffe, an elephant and owl.  Hence, why I planned an all animal week to share.  I did not plan that they would come together this way.  But they are.

Rising up–going to new places and new heights.

Until He returns.  Studying Revelation–the preparations for Christ to return for His believers and all the many steps to give people more opportunities to believe.  For me, it is learning that God needs me to help with this.

Calls me home.  He is calling me, and you dear friend, to draw near to Him.  Someday, it will happen in a very permanent way. But even during our time on Earth, He wants us to grow in faith and be close to His heart.

In the power of Christ I stand. This is the sweet spot.  Where the roads are clear.  In the light.  Where we can shine and climb and rise up.

This, this place of height, is where I should be.  Standing tall and proud of my faith.  Ready to leave that legacy –that I am proud of the art talent God gave me.  I am proud of my faith.  I want to share the sweet peace of it with everyone.  And because I am trusting, God is making that platform bigger every day.

How can He make a difference in you?  What is your height?  Are you proud of your faith?  Or hiding behind it?  Are you in the sweet spot of Christ’s light in your life?   Are you READY to be?

 

0

Arise and Shine

arise and shine-001

I did this one also this fall.  Arise.  Shine.  Your light has come and the Lord is risen upon you.

God has been telling me all year…use your art…use it to share your faith…use it to help people.  I was listening–but not trusting it.  I knew God was giving me a platform and He was opening up ways to share His word.  But I wasn’t trusting that He would use the art to take care of all the other worries darkening my thoughts.

Been there?

It is so easy to fall into the trap of our world and think we need to do what everyone else is.  I kept listening to worldly worries–you have to pay for braces, and you need to do this, and get insurance, and take care of that house repair, you need a salary and job to pay for all that, and blah blah blah.  But I wasn’t listening to how GOD WANTED me to do those things.  I was trying to plan it MY way.  That was not HIS plan.

Have you ever felt like you were struggling, wrestling with something.  You think it is the right way–it seems the right thing–everyone else is doing it that way–and it just doesn’t feel right.  It just keeps getting hung up and road blocked.  And the more you push your way the more road blocks and hard stuff seems to happen?

And then you decide to step back and breathe.  You decide to just look for the light and let it shine.

And  all of a sudden it feels like the block is gone and the right thing happens?  Healing comes.  The light shines brighter. Whether it be in self, or money for that issue, or a relationship.  Whatever it was, the blocks are gone and smooth roads are ahead.  Because we stepped back, let go of our own decisions, and let God work and let the good COME.

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to shine.  Let’s do it together!

Arise.  Shine.  Your light has come.  Let the light rise and shine on you.  God is with you.

Arise.  Turn your face to that light.  Accept it.  Revel in it.  Stretch in it and let it glow.  Let it soak into you and glow from within you.

0

Rise Up

Scan-024

Remember how last week I was praying for discernment–what to choose–the earthly “responsible” thing, or what God wants?  I had someone tell me that maybe instead of signs what to do I needed to pray for closed doors.  I needed to pray that God would slam some shut and give me a big ole sign…GO THIS WAY DINGALING.

Well, He did it.  Let me tell you how…with a little background… I am in a study of Revelation that meets weekly through Bible Study Fellowship International (BSF).  They meet all over the world.  I had several friends who really encouraged me to join this last spring.  I did because I had never read Revelation and wanted to really get a good grasp of it, not just read and not understand.  It takes a big chunk of time, and I feel guilty about how much time–but God is using it to really call me up and out!

Over the course of the study several things have been standing out to me.

  • One:  God is insanely patient and will give us all chance after chance, and sign after sign, that we should trust and believe in Him.  God wants to have ALL His babies close to Him.  The final judgements are all about giving people more opportunities to turn to Him.
  • Two:  He is calling those who do believe to do the work on earth to bring everyone to Him.  God knows the work of many hands is better.

And this week these things screamed out at me:

  • One:  He assigns each of us a platform to proclaim His word.
  • Two:  My witness–my everyday life and actions– is a legacy of my faith.  What do I want MY legacy to be?
  • Three:  Obviously, it is time for me to get out there–use my art as a legacy of faith.

As I read the study, heard the lecture, and then read the notes–those three things kept coming up.  And then, as usual, I sat down to the blog and guess what I had planned for today over a month ago.  

God is calling me in a big way to rise up, take courage, and just do it!  Use my art platform to leave a legacy of faith and love.  

In fact this same verse has popped up several times…remember this version of it?Scan-036

What do you think?  I think God slapped me upside the head this week.  I think that He is like…climb up that big tree you little tiny frog.  Get out there!  More on that tomorrow…

0

What Has Happened

what has happened has helped

Phillipians 12:12

 When I happened across this verse (Paul writing in prison), I knew exactly how I wanted to put it into artwork.  You know I love me some stones and especially a path! His wording really stood out to me.  Even though good and bad things had happened to him, he realized how it all worked together for good.  So this time I wanted the stones to be colorful to represent all the different things that happen in a lifetime that build a path.

And for me–it is the bad things as much as the good things that got me to here today.  If it hadn’t been for that crazy bad depression in 2011 I would not have started art journaling my faith.  My artwork wouldn’t have developed into my own style, I wouldn’t have a blog or a business and I wouldn’t be using all that to spread the gospel.  Even though that depression was Baaaaad with a capital B, it brought me to here, closer to God, closer to you.

There are a lot of good things too–I have had a lot of wonderful Christians on that path.  A lot of great experiences.  They all came together to this point.  That’s why the stones are all different shapes and colors, no two are alike or have more impact–just different.

How about you?  What does your path look like?  Has it brought you to a spot you can help spread some light and love?  Or not quite yet?  Have you ever looked at your past in this distinctive perspective? Take a few minutes today and contemplate that.

0

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.

0

Strong God–and a bit of a soapbox on shootings

Scan-003

This is from the song “Strong God” (Writer(s): Meredith Andrews, Jason Ingram, Jon Egan).

(link and verses at the bottom)

This is such a powerful song.  I pulled it up for the link, and as it started to play I had to stop writing, I just sat and rocked, listening and singing along–and it has that effect on me every time I hear it.  It stops me in my tracks.  As Jon Egan, the writer, says in another video, he based this song off Psalm 68.  He wanted it to be “a massive proclamation of truth, to sing out”.  He achieved that.

Our strong God is so needed.  The latest mass killing in California saddens me.  But even more so, I saw this article from PBS news about all of the mass shootings in the US in 2015.  We hear about some of them, but only a select make national headlines.  That is what is really sad.  The number of people shot in Chicago on a DAILY  basis is alarming.  2, 771 have been shot this year just in Chicago–on average EIGHT people every day.  THAT is really sad.

This weighed heavy on me yesterday, especially as I listened to others discuss this incident.  And I came to two conclusions:

  1.   There are a lot of people who need our STRONG GOD.  It is not guns that shoot people–it is people shooting people. People who are sad, and mad, and lost, and hurting, who feel unloved.  These people need God in their lives.  And not Christ shoved down their throats God.  But gentle, sweet assurances, deep help for what is wrong in their bodies, brains, and hearts.  They need to know there are other ways.  So today I am singing this song to the powerless, to the father of the widows, to the weak, to the prisoners of hate and sadness that God will move in their hearts.  And I will do what I can for those around me to spread His love.
  2. I will NOT BE AFRAID.  I heard a Christian radio station morning host talking about how he is afraid to let his kids go places because of the shooting.  It ENRAGED me.  Really–I was yelling at the radio in the car.  (I know..strong reaction…maybe a little crazed myself.)     But this is why I got mad:  we are not to be afraid.  We are the ones who are supposed to trust our Strong God in all circumstances.  We are the ones who are supposed to go out and help these lost–NOT HIDE in our homes and cower in fear.  If we are afraid as Christians then our culture is in even worse shape than I thought.  And as those numbers up above tell–if we are going to hole up in our homes afraid of a shooting, we  might as well never leave because it happens every stinking day in every stinking place.

Our nation is at war.  We are at war with ourselves.  We need our STRONG GOD.  Focus with me on Him, pray with me for our nation this weekend that we will stop fighting each other.

Father to the fatherless Defender of the weak

Freedom for the prisoner we sing

This is God in His holy place
This is God clothed in love and strength

Sing out lift your voice and cry out
Awesome is our strong God mighty is our God

You’re with us in the wilderness faithful to provide
Ev’ry breath and ev’ry step we see

There is no higher no
There is no greater no
There is none stronger than our God

 

 

0

Hey!

thinking about you city

I slept in again.  🙂  And I do not have any posts pre-scheduled.  So here we are, late again this morning.

But it’s all good.  God is with me.  He is thinking about me.  It is a new day and I am awake and enjoying it.  Praise to Him.

This new print was pretty popular this weekend at the show.  I think we all just need this little reminder.  We just need that big ole billboard sometimes right in front of us that God is thinking about each of us individually and He loves us in the midst of our day in our human world.  We need reminded that He is bigger and has more impact than any of our human constructs.  Yet, He stops to think of us and get our attention.  Again, Praise to Him.

Tomorrow morning, my family will be at the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade with a whole slew of tap dancers. Phoebe’s studio was invited to join in the fun–watch for us on tv.  🙂  So excited for her opportunity to tap among the buildings of downtown.  I pray that 1.  we will not freeze and 2.  that we will help people see God’s billboard through us while we are down there.  Wherever you are for the holiday I pray that 1.  you are warm and 2.  that you shine some Jesus too.

Love ya’ll!

0

Free Indeed

Scan-058

Free indeed!  Isn’t that wonderful knowledge!  That when we believe in Jesus we are free indeed:  we can trust in the knowledge that our worries and sins will disappear when we join Jesus in heaven.  And even here on earth, when we are secure in that knowledge the worries of our everyday life seem a lot smaller, a lot less disruptive, and not nearly as important.

That is still hard as humans though.  I still think about the future and worry if I am making the right choices.  I still wonder if this is what I am supposed to be doing.  It can still be hard to think about that big picture and to let ourselves get caught up in our everyday.

But at least we can trust that if we are making decisions in light of what Jesus calls for us, that we will be free in the long run.

0

Truth Will Set You Free

Scan-059

This verse seems to be coming to me a lot lately.  Do you ever have that?  That a verse sort of follows you around?  It pops up all over the place, here and there, and then sticks in your mind–that is what this verse is doing.

I am studying the book of Revelation right now, and actually for the whole year.  So the format is going very slowly.  But that is a good thing.  It is making me go really deep to accept that the Word of God is the Truth through and through, that He has had a plan from the very beginning.

I find myself not thinking of God as having an exact plan for me:  for example you will eat a fried egg for breakfast, you will park in this spot, you will wear blue today.  But instead I find myself enjoying the big plan of truth He has for us all:  He wants us to love Him back, He wants us to serve Him by loving others and serving them, and He wants to pull us close back to Him when we have completed that task.  So He does what He can to steer us in the directions that will do those things.  That is the truth.

And when we believe that, we are free–free from worrying that we are loved, free from knowing our purpose, free from knowing what will happen to us.  We KNOW–Jesus does it all.  That is the truth.

0

Affect the Day

Scan-043

Let’s go out and affect this day!  We can make the quality of it high–we can make it better, make it glorious, make it filled with love.  This is what we are called to do.

We cannot change other people’s reactions, attitudes, and behaviors–but we can affect them.  By being positive role models, by being cheerful, by sharing unconditional love.

There is no reason to worry–what will be will be.  We are provided for in huge ways.  We are going to encounter struggles, but how we deal with them is what is really going to make the difference.  We can sit and stew on them and ruin the moment that is right now, we can miss the beauty of the moment of right now and the wondrous things God is currently doing.  Or we can rise to the moment and enjoy it in all of its splendor.

We have been given Today.  We must make it the best possible we can in gratitude to God for giving it to us.

1

Comfort, Hope and Cheer

Scan-010

For me it can be hard to feel–not worthy of God’s love–but to feel worthy of being His messenger.  I often get caught up in doubting my skills, the depth of my surrender.

I don’t doubt His love for it was His love that lifted me from the pit of depression and kept me from doing anything permanent.  It was His love that led me to healing.  But often I still look in the mirror and see the shadows.  I wonder if others see my self doubt.  Because of course in those moments my brain tells me that no one else feels this way, that others are so liked by their peers that they do not doubt.

But then I remember GOD created me.  He created me beautiful in body and spirit to HIM.  That I bring HIM joy.  That when I am a messenger for Him that He finds my actions beautiful despite my skills or surrender.  He knows that being His messenger will only bring me closer to a more beautiful relationship with Him.  And that brings me comfort, hope and cheer.

I hope that you feel that comfort as well.  For He created you as well and those words above are true for you as well.

0

I Decided

Scan-037

I decided by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

It is time for a song week!  These are definitely journal pieces–ones that I just glued down paper, painted, and added words.  Nothing fancy, but a lot of worship and prayer in these.

I have said it before, I will say it again, when I preplan the month, which artworks I will post when, God helps plan it.  He knew I would be exhausted and pressed for time this week, and He knew music would be the perfect thing to share.  Isn’t He great?  Don’t you just love those God moments?

Here is the link to Brandon Heath’s “No Turning Back”

And this week’s songs have been playing in my head a lot recently!  They are my little personal soundtrack keeping me rolling.  Do you have songs like that?  When you hear it, you must turn it up louder, and let it sink into every cell?

This song by Brandon Heath helps me keep on track with my goal of obedience.  When I start thinking I can’t keep up with all that He is calling me to obey right now, this reminds me:  I decided to follow.  I know this is best.  And this calling is part of His commission to call of you, to encourage others to obey.  To obey Jesus’ call of love and peace.  Oh, what a great thing to decide to do!  What a great thing to obey!

Yes, I have decided.  Yes, I want you to come with me.

 

0

A Two Step Process

So really, there are two main steps to being a Christian.  Right?  Jesus gave us two big ones:  BELIEVE  and then GO TELL.  Easy peasy.

Well, not so much.  If only it was that easy!  Sometimes the believing is easy.  I am very blessed to have been raised a Christian, and I have followed since my childhood.  For others, who did not have a faith filled childhood and lots of role models it can be a lot harder.  And even though I have believed, I haven’t always walked as strong in faith as I am now.

But for the most part, I have step one down.

IMG_0010

And once He’s got ya, what a wonderful thing!  He pulls us in His net and keeps us as His own.  He fills us with love, peace, strength, and joy.  I only wish I was better at telling people face to face how great it is to be caught by Jesus!  This step is so fulfilling.

That second step, that is the hard one.  Going and telling about Him.  He told Simon not to be afraid when Jesus called him to be a disciple:IMG_0032Jesus knew they were not going to be catching fish.  He knew that catching people would be tricky, disconcerting, maybe even frustrating.

Probably not a lot different than fishing for actual fish.

But Jesus told him, “Do not be afraid.  Go.  Tell.”  We should share how GREAT it is to be a Christian.  Not how hard, not how frustrating.  But all that wonderful stuff I listed above.

So I am working on that second step.  I am getting better.  It has been easy all these years to disciple kids and spread the gospel through Sunday School and VBS.  But adults, whoowheee.  That is SCARY for me.  I am trying to spread Jesus’ love one day at a time.  Watching for people who might be ready to be caught, to take that first step.

What tips do you have?  Are you good at spreading the gospel?  How do you do it?

 

1

Good Lord Show Me the Way

Scan-012I love this old spiritual.  I first heard it in the movie /on the soundtrack for O Brother Where Art Thou, which is one of my favorites.  Sometimes the words of the song will just flow in my brain.

 This is the link to listen to Allison Krauss’ haunting version of Down to the River to Pray.

I have one more Atlanta story to share that uses this song, a story of how the trip almost didn’t happen, except for this song and God’s intervention.  It is kind of long, but a good one.

We thought we were dropping me off with plenty of time to make my flight on Thursday morning.  We forgot…this was O’Hare.  I ended up in this crazy line for the TSA security point.  It not only snaked through the ropes, but all the way down the ENTIRE terminal.  I stood in line for 40 minutes before I reached where the ropes were.  I was getting sick with nerves.  I stayed in line another 15 minutes and realized:  my plane was already boarding.  I was not going to get through this line and have enough time to get to my gate.  What happens if I miss this flight?  This was a cheap ticket…will they bump me?  Will I miss my meetings? Will I even make another flight?

As I had been moving through the line, I kept wondering, “Is there grace for people who didn’t get here two hours early?  Will they expedite me at some point?”  And the song started playing in the back of my head.  Good Lord, show me the way.

When I got to the ropes, no luck.  I kept following.  I got to the next point where they expedite.  I asked the agent if there was a way and she quickly replied I was not a person that could go through her.

I felt panic FILL me.  I was literally SHAKING.  I finally closed my eyes and took a deep breath and let the prayers come:  Jesus, I know you want me in Atlanta.  I feel that you need me there to do your work.  Please bless me Jesus.  Open a path, to do your will, to do your work.  Let me make this plane.  Good Lord, show me the way.

I heard the song.  I took another deep breath and opened my eyes.

I noticed the agent looking at me.  She cocked her head to the side, opened her eyes wide, and said,”  You know honey…if you ask nicely and explain, usually people will be kind and let you cut in line.”  My jaw dropped open.

I have to admit:  I do not have a lot of faith in the kindness, understanding, and willingness to let people cut in line in Chicago.  Chicagoans are SERIOUS about their lines.  They are used to them and they expect everyone to follow the rules.

But I tried it.  AND IT WORKED.  It was amazing.  Maybe it was the crazed look in my eyes, but as I asked people in groups of 5-10 at a time, they let me ahead.  I went ahead of 50 people easily.  They let me ahead all the way right up to the scanner and then the agents were wonderful and did it very quickly as they were looking at my ticket and giving me directions to my gate.

I took off RUNNING.  By this time it was 6:25 am and my flight left at 6:30.  I had five minutes to run through O’Hare to my gate.  But God made a way.  I would see groups of people ahead of me, and they either heard me coming (I was dragging my suitcase, clicking flip flops, and breathing hard) or God moved them– because they would clear to the sides and I would go right through.

I was the last person on the plane, and it was almost full.  They literally closed the doors as I got on.  I sank into my seat, panting.  And prayed thankgsiving and praise to God.

He showed me the way.

 

 

 

0

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: