Archive | Bible verses

John 8:7 Cast the First Stone

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John 8:7 Cast the First Stone by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

These stones are like another inukshuk–more of a stack, than a path.  I like the way the dictionary page added the texture and some of the shading.  I like the way the stones are stacked, how the white holds them together and keeps them from falling–an invisible glue of faith.

And yet it could be easy to separate them.  It could be so easy to grab one off the stack and chuck it as hard as possible at the first available target.  Because, you know–you just get so upset you want to throw something.

Sometimes that target is other people.  They can make us so mad!  Can’t they?  Well, at least me. I hate being judgemental, and yet, my brain instantly comes to conclusions about people and situations.

Sometimes the target is even worse:  myself.  I throw way too many stones at that target.  Guilt, shame, perfectionism–oooo,weee, it’s like setting up a catapult or baseball pitching machine in my brain.  All day, every day.  And really, that is no less of a sin.

Jesus taught that we cannot cast the first stone.  That we have just as much sin as the next person.  That we must look at our self and our own faults first.  Jesus is willing to accept us and our sins, and we should be willing to give that same grace.  To others.  And to ourselves.

He wants us to keep our stack of stones in our own hands, keep it glued together with faith–the faith that He will get rid of the stack of stones when the time is right.  He will take them all, and save us from our own faults, and from the sin of judging.  That our God, our Christ, will be the target.  He will not let the catapult of stones hit us, wear us down, or destroy us.

 

 

 

 

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His Love stands Like an Inukshuk

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His Love Never Fails

I am enamored with Inuit inukshuks (click the word to see more images of some).  It is on my bucket list to go see one someday. My simple stack above reminds me of them:

If you are not familiar, the following is from inukshuk.com….

 Inukshuk, the singular of inuksuit, means “in the likeness of a human” in the Inuit language. They are monuments made of unworked stones that are used by the Inuit for communication and survival. The traditional meaning of the inukshuk is “Someone was here” or “You are on the right path.”

The Inuit make inuksuit in different forms for a variety of purposes: as navigation or directional aids, to mark a place of respect or memorial for a beloved person, or to indicate migration routes or places where fish can be found. Other similar stone structures were objects of veneration, signifying places of power or the abode of spirits. Although most inuksuit appear singly, sometimes they are arranged in sequences spanning great distances or are grouped to mark a specific place.

I have been realizing with these posts just how much I like stones.  How much I seek them out.  But I have also been realizing why I am drawn to them.

I love that inukshuks basically mean “someone is here and guiding you, even if you don’t see them here now.”  That is exactly what our faith in Jesus is all about.  Even though we were not there for His resurrection, or when He visited the disciples, or any of the other times–faith says we believe in His power.  Faith in Jesus says that we believe He is guiding us down the path He has set.  Faith says that Jesus is with us.

I saw this cartoon the other day:

Joyful and healing: how doing the right thing changed everything

Isn’t that the truth?  Even though I know I have Jesus;  Even though I have inukshuks as signs all around me; even though I have a stone in my pocket/on my desk reminding me–Jesus still has to drag me along sometimes. Unfortunately, that is part of being human.  Fortunately, that is also part of being saved.  His love will never fail me.  His love will last and stand forever, and guide us always.

So for now, I am stacking my stones.  I am looking for stacks and paths.  I am watching and waiting.  Tanner’s first two full days of school went fairly well.  I did a lot of research today for summer tutors for reading.  We are going to take this one day at a time, one stepping stone at a time, watching carefully for the slippery ones.  And when I finally get that figured out, then I will figure out what to do with my days now that he isn’t homeschooling and how that affects the girls and the other crazy snowball thoughts in my head…and I will try not to make Jesus drag me along the path.  🙂

Yes, one stone at a time.

Sidenote:  I was listening to this song for the words:  Your Love Never Fails from Jesus Culture

 

 

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Isaiah 41:10 Fear Not –We are a Part of God’s Stone Path

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Isaiah 41:10 Fear Not by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

When I realized I had never featured this artwork on the blog, I was flabbergasted.  It is one of my favorites from last summer and a bestseller on Etsy.  I was very pleased with the colors in the stone path on this piece and the texture of the sand.  While painting among the fields of Iowa, I was thinking of following the beaches of Lake Superior in Michigan specifically.  We visited there a couple summers ago with dear friends.  Let me tell you–it is gorgeous.  Peaceful.  Wide open in some areas, and sheltered with trees in others.  A place where the power of God is incredibly evident.  A place where it is hard to feel dismayed or alone.  A place where you see God’s victorious hand holding us all aloft.

The kids and I collected many stones that trip.  During the summer I put them out on our coffee table in a big pottery bowl.  Every time I see them, it reminds me of that place, of God, of the friends and family He has gifted us.  It reminds me of all the stepping stone paths in my life that have brought me to this place.  It feels solid, secure, lasting.

We need those reminders, don’t we?  Or at least I do.  In times when we aren’t sure of the next step, it helps to know there have been stones behind us, and ones ahead.  Sometimes, it is nice to know we are part of a beach, a long path of stones that stretches for miles.

 

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Drink of the Water Jesus Gives

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Drink of the Water I Give John 4:13-14 art by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

 

When we take that leap into our promised land, and drink of the water Jesus promises, we will never be thirsty again.  We will be full to the brim.  Tanks full, gushing energy, ready for eternal service.

Life on earth as a human is dehydrating.  Competing, controlling, conniving–those are all hydration sucks, leaving us parched, continually searching for more water.  And we try to hydrate in all the wrong ways.

We try to keep up with not only the Joneses, but also our sisters and brothers in Christ, and we are forever competing.  There is no winning.  Someone else will always be better, bigger, newer, richer, more faithful, more generous, smarter,etc..  Drinking competition doesn’t work.

We will never be able to control everything.  Someone at baseball practice brought up a projected snowstorm for a week out the other day.  I didn’t know; I never check the weather.  I cannot control it.  Neither can the weatherman.  Really, he can’t predict it.  What will happen, will happen.  We just have to roll with it.  Many things in life are that way.  Drinking control doesn’t work.

Our conniving against our neighbors is destructive.  Often we spend more time worrying about what others are doing, why they did it, and how we can get them back–way more than we ever should.  I spent a year being annoyed that my neighbors paved their entire backyard.  How stupid and what a waste!  Drinking this doesn’t work either.

Ugh.  Just thinking about all of those things makes me dry.  I could drink some coffee or wine, but I don’t think that is going to help.

BUT, if I go to God, if I pray, and talk to Him, and listen to Him–I feel complete, I feel uniquely just right, I feel at peace, I feel free.  And oh, I feel full, moisturized, energized.  And those are the feelings I want for eternity.

I will drink Jesus’ kool-aid.  It works.

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God So loves each of us

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God So Loved the World John 3:16

It is Good Friday.  The day that we remember the crucifixion of Christ.  The day God proved just how much He loved each of us, despite the dark moments, despite the weirdness, despite all of our cracks and need for grace.  He loves us whether we have unwrapped our talents, and whether we have unwrapped His gift of love and grace.  He loves us.  He has complete faith in us.  He forgives us.  He wants us. Each and every one.

God loves us so much that He gave up His own son so that He can keep all of His children with him in heaven.  We are eternally HIS.  Jesus carried the weight of all those sins, and hung there dying, to give us life.

Today we remember Jesus’ act of complete and total obedience.  We observe the enormity of His sacrifice, and offer our thanks that He thought of each of us.  And today we can pledge to honor that gift to the full extent it deserves.

 

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Loved in Darkest Moments

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Loved in Darkest Moments Romans 5:8

 

These words give me so much peace.  When I was in my deepest, darkest spots of depression what kept me going was the knowledge that God still loved me, despite my shortcomings and worry.  I could hear him whispering it to me.  As I would cry, and criticize myself, there was always a voice that repeated, “I love you, I always have, I always will, I am always here.  You will be okay.”  I listened to the voice, and I am still here, still loved, still held by Jesus.

We all have the dark moments.  They come cloaked in all sorts of costumes:  illness, marriage issues, death, debt, addiction.  And we can all find peace in Christ’s promise.  The words above are a super simplified version of how Paul spelled it out for us in Romans:

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. PetersonBut we are of use now.  We can spread the word, the gospel, the hope that He loves us.  And what better time of year than now?

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More Value than Sparrows

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Matthew 10:31 Greater than Sparrows

This sums up this week’s posts fairly well.  We are important to God.  No matter where we are in our faith, we are of great value.  We need not worry, just have faith.  We are beautiful in His eyes, inside and out.  When we have deep faith, follow His teachings, and humble ourselves to His greatness He will spare us from all evil.  In our endings, we will have a new beginning because of our value in His plan.  He is our God and Savior.

 

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Clothed in Spirit

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1 Peter 3:4 Clothed in Spirit

 

This is why we are complete on our own.  God created us with this amazing gentle and quiet spirit deep inside ourselves.  He created us to be precious to Him.  We are a pure vessel to Him, clothed in white-a bride to His bridegroom.  Our faith in Him complements every aspect of that soul.  Our prayers are beautiful conversation to Him, insight into our precious, fragile souls.  Here we can be pride-full; proud of the creation He made each of us, of how beautiful it is, of how amazing we each are in our uniqueness.  It is our souls that are perfect, beautiful, and wonder filled.  What a gift He has given us.  What a job we have to complement that soul with an equally beautiful life that is obedient to him in gratitude.

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Humble My Heart Jesus

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Please Humble My Heart Jesus

 

This is a tough subject.  We all struggle with being prideful I think, to some degree.  It is a quality that I have tried to teach to my children and emulate.  But it can be really hard.  Humility is on God’s list of obedience.  He requires it of us.  Jesus was an excellent role model for this quality.  And it should be a part of every Christian’s learning and roots.

So…I did some research.  I found this website and post that really spoke to me: (link to the site in purple, Britton’s words in blue)

“The Bible Shows the Power in Humility” by Doug Britton

God says when you are humble, you are free from pride and arrogance. You know that in your flesh you are inadequate, yet you also know who you are in Christ.

Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5)

Godly humility is being comfortable with who you are in the Lord and therefore putting others first. The picture of humility in the Bible is one of a strong person who loves others, not someone who is a wimp.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Although we should avoid self-pride, godly humility does not mean we should pretend we are unaware of the gifts God has given us. The key is to remember that they are from God.

Although I am less than the least of all of God’’s people, this grace was given to me: to preach to the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. (Ephesians 3:8)

These explanations helped me.  My artwork is a place where I have pride. My children are another.  I have wondered if I was too pride-full.  But these verses are helping point me in the right direction.  It is okay that I am excited about the talent  and ideas God gives me. (And truly, I often am not in control and He is working the brush!) It is okay that I am satisfied with my children and their accomplishments, because I know that it is God who leads my parenting, who gave them to me, and who gave them their talents.  But I also realize that none of my artwork or my children are perfect, I realize they could be better, I realize that we cannot attain perfection, it is impossible.  I realize that we cannot control every thing and every outcome.

When we get in trouble is when pride is synonymous with these words:  vanity, condescension, disdain, pompous, patronizing, superiority,  pretension, egotistical, haughty, conceited.  Yuck.  Those words all put a bad taste in my mouth and creepy crawlies on my neck.  Each brought up a memory of a person or situation that could be described perfectly by those words, and I could remember how I felt instantly.  I don’t want to be associated with those words.

So I will continue to pray for humility in all things.

Side note:  I made the art with stamps I carved from erasers and acrylics.  I was playing and getting ready for an art class lesson and several artworks came out that I will share more this week.

 

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