He loved us so much, planned ahead, and provided for us for eternity! What??? How can you not trust someone thinking that far ahead???? That is good stuff people. That is one heck of a gift. THAT is a good day. And even better it is all FREE. You know how long we will stand in line for a free sample? For a good deal? We should all be standing in line to get us some of this!
So….I made that other one for me–I was supposed to be designing for our next Bible Stories from the Heart lessons (a woodland theme). I got distracted with flamingos. 🙂 Not quite right, so Leslie redirected me 🙂 and requested the ravens (actually in the verse) and lupines. Thought I would share this one just for fun. And an extra reminder.
Isn’t this fun???? I had such a good time painting this–thinking of what little feathered friends I wanted to invite to this painting party. Birds of all shapes, sizes, colors, personalities. (Which if you look at each little bird they DO have a personality! Kind of funny.)
And the best part is the meaning of that verse. God takes the time to make each birdie unique. He takes the time to provide for them. And if He does that for a little ole bird, imagine what care He takes designing and equipping us!
Now that is a good day my friends!!!
This is why I blog–I don’t have to spend time doing this. But I want to share the energy He inspires in me with as many people as I can. I want all of you there with me in heaven enjoying the glorious sight of Jesus/God/Holy Spirit. I want us all to do these action verbs to share that energy, heat, love, joy. All of it. And hopefully, I inspire you to share it as well. 🙂
I think we may have read this passage at our wedding. It is actually one of my all time favorites. There is something poetic and soulful about taking the deep words and promises of a glorious God and BINDING them and WRITING them directly on your heart. That’s good stuff. And there are soooo many good words in the Bible from God…uh, hence all my art and this blog and etsy shop. I am going to have a really hard time running out of beautiful and smart words to share.
What are passages you have on your heart?
Kind of a silly little picture, I wasn’t especially careful with the lettering–I think I was in a hurry that morning. But I still really like this one.
Faith can be a tricky balancing act, can’t it? We know as Christians what we should do and think. But we are human in a crazy world. Sometimes we feel like we are standing with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Sometimes, we feel like we only have one foot down and the other is doing who knows what: flinging about? tucked up nicely hiding? Or …maybe like a flamingo–balanced quite well, actually.
I think God knows and understands this plight. He knows our hearts. He has probed them. So He understands when we are standing only on one foot, and He trusts we will put that foot down at some point and move forward. He knows we are firm in spirit. He knows when we are standing in faith.
I also like the side by side part…He calls us to fellowship with other Christians. He knows we need them next to us. Being in one mind for the faith–we can encourage each other to move forward–to strive to be better Christians, to tell more people.
God is so good like that. In one simple little verse. It is saturated with love, hope, comfort, and still a call to love one another and share the gospel. Stand. Strive. He knows.
Sometimes part of the excelling is the hard suffering work and practice it takes.
- I think of athletes drilling and pushing their muscles with hard work. The ones who stretch and suffer are the ones who are rewarded. The muscles that rip and stretch are the ones that get bigger and stronger.
- Obviously this verse made me think of a spinning wheel and yarn. There is a lot of hard work that goes into making a piece of cloth in the background before you finally have a piece of clothing or fabric for anything else. The wool must stretch and be pulled to its very thinnest fiber, and then be mixed with many other fibers in a weaving. But that is where it finds it’s strength.
So even though it feels as though we are suffering. Even though we must stretch ourselves to the very limits. We are not doing it in vain. When we endure we grow. We become steadfast. We build the colony. We build our steadfast clean hearts.
Here is the good news about all of that probing and examining–that hard work is not in vain. I love that this verse starts with the name BELOVED. God loves us in an amazingly deep way. He is willing to work valiantly to gain our heart. All He really wants is for us to choose Him and work valiantly to share this truth with others that they will choose Him.
Just like little bees working valiantly to care for their queen and colony. We don’t need to care for our King, but we do for the colony. Notice it isn’t for the work OF the Lord, but IN the Lord. IN. Caring for the colony. Excelling at caring. Faithfully caring. Knowing that we are not working to gain God’s favor, and not to see immediate results, but to build our own faith, to build the faith of others, for we are already beloved. So that when God looks into our hearts, He does not find evil, but a steadfast faith in Him and gratitude for being beloved.
I noticed lots of action verbs when I was trying to decide which pieces to share this week, and a series formed. I hope they call us to action. 🙂
This first one reminded me of dissecting the frog this spring with Phoebe for homeschooling. There was a lot of probing and examining. We weren’t sure about any part of the process. What would we find in the box? Would it be smelly? What would it be like to cut the frog? What would be inside? How would we react? And we discovered, there was no evil in that frog. It didn’t smell too bad, it wasn’t hard to cut him up because as we discovered more about his body and the amazing way God designed it, we were more and more curious and couldn’t get enough knowledge.
When God probes us, He has a better idea of what to expect, because He knows us. He designed us. He planned. But we still have free will–He still comes to us to examine what is in our hearts–and to see if we will confess it to Him and be honest.
Do your prayers include letting Him examine your heart? Or are they filled with what you want, think you need? Are you planning evil, just by wanting things your own way???? How would you respond to a deep probing test and examination?
As I consider this, I am not sure what Jesus would find. I think there is no evil, but I can be pretty selfish and judgemental. I am thinking I need to let Him probe me a little deeper. And I need to ready my heart for that kind of examination.
Here is another great verse that goes with the story of instruction from yesterday…those mess ups/trials should be considered JOY. That can be hard to do in the midst of the hardship, but really, if we use it to mature we really do come out on the higher side of the situation. And the more we turn to God in those moments, the more He provides, and the we truly are lacking in nothing. For He gives us all we truly need. It may not be what we think we need, but we don’t see the big picture. We have a tendency to flit and fly as fast as we can like little hummingbirds. And see only our tiny little world.
God will provide us instruction. We need to hold tight.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.