Archive | thoughts on faith

More Action Verbs: #5 Bind

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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?

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

religion is belief

This is something I feel strongly about.  I want people to see me as spiritual–not religious.  When I think of “religious”– laws and rigidity and judgementalness come to mind.  I don’t want to be that way.

I want to be faithful to Jesus.  I want to be close to Him.  I want to be able to worship, praise, learn, teach, sing, pray, and abide in my own way–how I feel comfortable.  Isn’t that what faith should be?

There are sooooo many different ways to be faithful and spiritual.  There are sooooo many different levels of comfort.  So many different levels of knowledge.  And only each of us know which circle we are in, how deep we feel comfortable, how close to the fire we can stand.  Whatever other cliche works.

Faith must be our own.  Understanding the spirit in us and holding on to that is for each of us to experience.   And in that we grow.  From there we can teach.  And make.  And dance with praise.  In the way God created us to.

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

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I am back from St. Maarten.  Oh, it was a lovely week.  The colors of the island, the smells of the ocean and Caribbean food, the warmth of the sun it all refreshes me in a very deep way.  I painted a lot.  🙂  Every morning I would still wake up around 7, get a cup of coffee, grab my supplies and find a spot in the resort to plunk down.  The exceedingly friendly staff always checked on me–and delighted in what I was painting.  I became known as the painter/dancing queen (that had more to do with my dancing at night LOL–I do like to cut a rug).

Mostly, I was drawn to the creation of God.  I sat down to paint the buildings and the houses on the sides of the mountains and it just never felt right.  One morning I went down to paint the beach and the umbrellas.  Not right.  So I wandered around and found some of the iguanas that are all over the resort.  (Lazy, funny little buggers.  You can get right up close until they finally scurry away in fright.)  It was the creations of God, not man, that felt right each morning.

Now this painting is and is not a creation of God.  We attended Easter morning church service at a Methodist church in Phillipsburg.  Such a fun time!  There was a full hour of boisterous, celebratory hymn singing before the nitty gritty of the service.  Nothing fancy or exceptional.  Just happy people singing old old hymns.  You could hear all the voices mingling in that church.  The church itself was the teal blue in the painting with white trim.   And in the front of the altar stood the most jubilant cross ever: made with God’s creations—bright pink island flowers covered the entire thing and it was 10 feet tall.  It was magnificent!  And so, so joyful.  They started the service with the words, “We come before you with joy and gladness in our hearts.”  Loved it.  So I went home and painted it of course.  I will never forget that Easter service, it is etched on my heart.

I hope that you had a joyful and glad Easter as well!

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

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One of the repeated phrases in Revelation is to be ready when Jesus knocks at the door, that He will come like a thief in the night.  We will not have even an inkling when He will show up.  We cannot control it.  We can not forsee it. We will not understand it.  And Revelation doesn’t give a single specific on how, when, why, how many, etc.  But it does say WHO–the believers will be pulled close to God.

The important part is that we can be ready to answer, if we choose.  Part of the plan is that we will have the choice until the very last–God will leave chances for everyone, until every person has the ability and the opportunity to turn to Him.  Every single person.  He wants every single one.  We just need to choose.

I choose God.  I want Him to find not only a believer when He knocks, but a follower of His covenants–someone who is trying her best.  Someone who understands the depth of His sacrifice and who is grateful.  I want to fling open that door and be excited to see Him there.  Do you?

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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Amen Hallelujah Praise the Lord

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How fun is this? Being a part of Bible Stories from the Heart and my BSF Bible study have introduced me to a more vocal style of worship and prayer.  And I have surprised myself that I like it.  A lot.  Although, really it isn’t that surprising.  I am a fairly vocal person.  I just had to warm up to this and get used to it.  This is not how Scandinavian/German Lutherans worship and react–we nod our heads.  Hence the bobble-head incident when Leslie and I were on tv my last visit to Atlanta.  So now I vocalize AND bob my head.  Oh yeah.  It is quite the combination.  But God gets it.  He knows I am reaching out to Him in voice and body.  And that is what really counts.  And that was the lesson I needed to learn.

One that I get to practice this weekend:  this art is a perfect send off–I am headed to Atlanta this weekend!  Leslie and I will be hosting the kick off for Bible Stories from the Heart’s “New Beginnings” study at 12 Stone Church in Atlanta on Monday night for almost 100 women.  What a blessing to be sharing in our praise of God together this way!

I can’t wait to see what lessons I learn this weekend.  And I can’t wait to share them here with you.  Keep us in your prayers!  Love you all.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Get Back vs. Catch Up

catch up to God

This was in my devotions a couple weeks ago and I found it to be a very interesting concept.  I am all for getting into the Word, I try to do it every day.  But God is always one step ahead of us–so we must remember that as we read the Bible or pray to Him.

like this little prayer…

God let me be open to your plans and let me understand it through the words of the Bible.  Let me not linger on scripture as only something historical, but help me to see how it plays in my real time as I move through the day ahead of me.  I know that You have a plan for good, lead me to make good decisions so that I don’t mess that plan up.  Remind me to keep my eyes on you and trust what you have designed, so that I don’t get caught up in the mess of sin around me.  Let me be with you, as you are always with me.

Amen.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Live and love like Jesus

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This is the mantra at our church building.  I would love to see every Christian make this their mission statement.

I am just going to ask that you stop and spend a few minutes in prayer asking Jesus to help show us how to be more like Him on a daily basis.  And that is all I am going to say about that today.

 

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Wake Up and See Jesus

wake up and see Jesus

Annika said this a year ago or so.  I think we were actually talking about death, and apparently she is not concerned about it because her faith makes her confident.  I loved that.  It stuck with me, and eventually came out in artwork.

What if we lived each day this way?  What if we woke up looking for Jesus?  What if we deliberately looked for Him in every living creature, plant, person?  How would that affect how we take on the day?  How would that affect not only that day, but a lifetime?

And then would it give us that amazing confidence that death is not scary or a bad thing, but an opportunity to meet Christ?  Pretty cool.

Pretty deep stuff from an 11 year old.  But something that not only sticks with me, but resonates.  I hope it does with you as well.

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

spread kindness, light, love

Light and love.  Spread that stuff thick.  Like peanut butter.  That has become my mantra for this year.   And I thought I was going to focus on either “enough” or “surrender”.  God is so funny like that!

I just finished this art for this little week long series on houses.  I sketched it last fall, but then it just sat there, no color, no words.  Bleh.  So I painted it, as bright as I could.  I added all the flowers, and the birds, and the little doodad details.  And then I saw something about spread love everywhere on Pinterest–and I thought of this little drawing.  Of a village.  With variety.  A place with a lot of understanding, trust, big and little things, knowledge, treasures.  Light.  and Love.  And Kindness.  You know–knowledge, understanding, all that jazz.  🙂

This is what I want my world to look like I decided.  Happiness and love bouncing around.  Closeness.  Joy, even amongst the hills and valleys.  A place where there are similarities, but no cookie cutters.  A place where kindness, light and love are spread THICK, or at least where I can spread it thickly.

Now, in this little piece, I can kind of see Greenfield, Iowa where I was born and where my parents live again.  Hmmm.  And my aunt made a keen observation–maybe I long for a 3 story house with an art studio on the top level lined with windows so I can see out on all God’s love and light.  Hmmm.  Perhaps someday.

Learned a lot about myself this week.  Did you learn anything?

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

for whom

Grammar.  Sometimes I really like it–the rules, the order.  Sometimes it seems like all just a bunch of mumbo jumbo that gets in the way of the meaning of a sentence.  Even though it is necessary to make that sentence make sense.  Did you catch all that?  For example–who and whom.  Phoebe has been studying that in homeschooling recently.  Still not sure I get it.  I know, I know…subject vs. object.  Blah Blah Blah.  Who cares if I did who and whom correctly if the sentence is boring and not worth reading anyway???

Kind of like this little statement.  It is not about what I am doing on this blog or with my art or teaching in classes–IF I AM NOT DOING IT FOR GOD.  There it is.  If my heart is not in the right spot it is all for naught.  There is really no point to the art, the encouraging posts, or the fun classes and spreading of the art love if Jesus isn’t in every part of it.

But the good news is I am pretty darn sure that my heart is in the right spot.  At least that is my intention.  Just like I intend to have good grammar and use it to craft pretty sentences.  I hope that I don’t get too preachy.  I hope that my grammar is not horrid and scares you.  And I hope that my sentences are  not boring and worthless.  But I hope that because I am doing this for God and His glory that all of this encourages you and makes you think about God at least a little bit more.

And I PRAY that you are encouraged to do everything for WHOM as well.  🙂

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

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My devotions this week included the story of Sodom and Gomorrah –which I had forgotten this was from Genesis, I was thinking it was later in the OT–but anywhoo…  In the commentary by David Preuss he made several points that fit perfectly with my theme this week on the blog that I just have to share with you.

“There has been no ‘golden age’…yet there is a great temptation to begin living in the past.”

“Nostlgia for the past is understandable.  If it becomes a hindrance to positive forward action it is destructive.  It will harden its adherents into an unmoving block of salt.”

Well said David Preuss.

We all know someone who is so bitter about the past that it colors every relationship of now because they just can’t let go. Maybe it is even our self.  I know I have been there, and when I finally realized the truth of the situation it improved those relationships dramatically.

We all know that person who still reminds everyone of their “glory days”, yet have nothing to show for a new life.

We all know that person who demands that life was so much less violent before–um, hello?  Have you studied any of the revolutions?

Maybe kids were more respectful and independent long ago–they were also orphaned as children, worked in factories (child labor), and grew up poor.  Wait…weren’t half of them refugees from European countries?  Isn’t that how most Americans originally got here?

We must remember there is always the other side of the past–the parts we hide from ourselves to make it all look better in our memory.

There is also the other half of our TODAY:  being made NEW!  We have an opportunity every single stinking day to get it right.  Especially when we call on Jesus to help us with that.  Remember our focus yesterday?  Light and love.  Love and light.  That is part of being made new.  And it can be awesome when we let ourselves enjoy a new day, a new opportunity, a new reality every day.

And if you want a little music inspiration to help:  Lincoln Brewster’s “Made New”

 

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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Serenity Prayer

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I remember seeing this prayer hanging in my Grandmother’s house as a small child.  It is printed on a plaque.  And even as a child I remember thinking it was very wise and correct.

Serenity is NOT a word I would use to describe myself in any way shape or form.  I am a bit of a live wire.  🙂  I realize this, always have been.  My ADD seems to be getting worse again as I get older, and along with it my ability to be serene.

But I do pray for serenity–a state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.  And I do pray for the courage and the wisdom to do so.  I pray this a lot.  A LOT.  I have to pray to calm myself down many many  times a day.

The good news:  it works.  There is something about stopping, taking that deep breath and thinking about the whole courage and wisdom thing that helps me re-center and realize that God has got this, I don’t have to freak out.

How about you?  Do you recite this prayer?  Any memories surrounding it?

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