ponderings

life-light

Exploring the Heights

There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.
The Life-Light was the real thing:
    Every person entering Life
    he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
    the world was there through him,
    and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
    but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
    who believed he was who he claimed
    and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
    their child-of-God selves.

These are the God-begotten,
    not blood-begotten,
    not flesh-begotten,
    not sex-begotten
.
John 1:6-13
MSG

It can be so difficult when you know someone has really encountered the Life-Light of God and yet doesn’t acknowledge him. He’s saved their marriage, spared their health, revived their business and carried them through the toughest moments they never wanted to experience and their eyes do not see. That’s a toughie.

I have spent the majority of my life without acknowledging Jesus. I know a peace that surpasses human logic now that I do call Him my own.

I pray that those you know and those I know that haven’t dared to yield their hearts and their lives to the goodness of Jesus will encounter His love in a way that can’t be denied in these coming days. Lord – open the eyes of those hearts so they would see You and know just how great Your love is!

ponderings

I trust in you

Sheltered – oil/cwm 18×24 with silver leaf

I didn’t have words that were coming but felt I needed to share this painting today.

You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
    spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
    I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
    shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you
    under them you’re perfectly safe;
    his arms fend off all harm.
Psalm 91:1-4 MSG

How difficult it is on so many days to really grasp what it means to TRUST in God. Even to trust in ourselves, our government, friends or even family. We have become more independent and self-reliant that we know.

But God….
He wants us to rely on Him. He wants us to feel His safety. He wants us to know His protection, provision and peace. He wants to bless us and yet we leave the shelter, the safety and the position that His has given. We settle for less than His ways. We say we’re trying to be content in all situations even when they don’t align with God’s words of life abundantly. We have unknowingly or maybe with full knowledge, allowed ourselves to conform to the ways of the world instead of where our true position as His children should bring us.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7 NIV

I pray this week as you think about what Jesus’ birth really means, you will realize even deeper the love He has come to give to you, to me, to the world. Lord, help us all to trust in You and know the safety You bring to our lives, our dreams, and our families. Thank you that You fight for us, protect us and love us more than we currently understand. Open our hearts to receive the great gifts of peace, joy and grace that you give. Guide us in understanding what it really means to be seated with you in the heavenly realms….

ponderings

LOVE – GRACE – GIFTS

Advent Week 4

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Philippians 2:5-7 MSG

Since we know more of the story let’s imagine if we had it all. Would we give it all up for an unknown amount of time so that we could save the world? What could really lead Jesus to come to the earth with that kind of sacrifice? He had it all while in heaven. He would have to start as a child, as a human instead of part of the Godhead. His power was gone, his standing and history were gone. He had to learn how to crawl and walk like the rest of us. BUT, he knew the connection he still had with the Father. He knew in his spirit that he was destined to save the world and show what “God with us” really meant. To him, to THEM, it was worth that sacrifice.

Jesus did it for love. God did it for love. They have given to us the most precious gift we could ever know. Grace and love. And they have commanded us, to love them and love others as we love ourselves.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1

As God’s children, we are now co-heirs with Christ. God is with us and the Holy Spirit in us. We have an abundance because of Jesus that we would never imagine for ourselves. It is not something we are to stock up and lock away but something we are to share – with the world!

Think this week on what a gift Father, Son and Spirit have given to you. Will you receive that gift? He certainly knows how to give good gifts to His children so let Him know you’re willing to laydown your position to receive from Him and then to give from what you have been blessed with.

ponderings

raising the roof

I don’t know about you, but it has just felt like a good season to praise! Not that things are working great. This week I had to hand rinse and wring out my load of laundry. I had me remembering the skill of my Haitian hosts and how they could take what I had squeezed and get another cup of water out of it!! This week I’ll have replaced a washer and a stove. Calli cat who is 15 yrs old with tummy issues seems to have her distress an hour before normal wake up. It’s still a fabulous week!

Glory Filled

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121

I remember 17 years ago as my house inspector said all of my appliances were old and would need replacement in a few years. Only one item went bad in those first 10 years. The others outlasted everything he estimated. And Calli cat – she’s really doing pretty good and getting much better at missing carpet! I am extra thankful to be working from home in this season so I can see things are taken care of. Some days I admit I feel extremely alone but in praise – God comes even nearer.

If we want joy in our lives and reasons to praise – we need eyes that look for the good.

God loves to pour out blessings to us, but we do have a part in the story. One of a child, expectant and excited to receive. Remember – its not because of who you are – but because of who HE is! Whose you are!!

I pray your day is filled with a deeper measure of joy and seeing how He is watching over you. That this time leading up to Christmas, no matter what changes it brings, will be a time you can sing louder and longer as you remember all the ways He has blessed you with more! You are a treasure to Him and loved so deeply!

ponderings

more to the story

Dreaming Fields

A quick share today. I was recently told the movie that has one of my paintings as a part of the storyline is scheduled to release Friday, Dec 18 on Amazon!

The writer/producer saw my ArtPrize piece shown here and felt it really displayed what she had written about for the movie. Even the words I had used to describe my painting were some of the same words she used in her script. I did blog on this back in Sept 2011 and excited for the film to now be shared for all to see.

Definitely a lot more to how God has worked through this opportunity and this particular painting, for today – here is a link to the trailer for the film Chasing the Rain .

Thank you Lord for the many opportunities You bring to our lives. We may not always understand them but you bring the clarity when needed. Thank you that You do work all things for good as we trust You and hold fast to Your guidance. I pray for the cast and creators and crew of this film to feel Your pleasure as they see the film shared with the public.

ponderings

generations of tradition

In the Beginning

I recently noticed the Pentateuch Bible I have from college. (The first five books of the Old Testament.) It has had me thinking how limited the people were with stories of The Messiah to come, yet they were eager to share what they knew from generation to generation.

These books of the law are the mainstay of the Jewish tradition. Pentateuch being the Greek name. Torah being the Hebrew name.

It had me really thinking of our traditions and what we are sharing from generation to generation. My family did not grow up in the church so the words of God aren’t what were shared. Our heritage stories were of the depression, immigration and struggle. Jesus was shared in our Christmas songs, but not in our stories of life.

What are our current generations saying of Jesus or of Christmas?

It seems like the sharing of His coming as a babe have diminished and the marketing factor and Santa deliveries have increased. Is this a time and season we can change that?

Mary’s Song from Luke 1:47-55
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

Lord, help us to return to the importance of your birth. Not just with a reading of Your arrival, but with a deeper understanding of all that Your coming means to us now. Immanuel – God with us. Christ in us, the hope of glory. Promises that are fulfilled. Let us celebrate the One who really has given His all for this world – for us. Thank you God for sharing Your Son so that we too could know Him in such an intimate way. Help us know how to honor You and celebrate you now and forever!

ponderings

are you hungry

Revive

The Message is as true among you today as when you first heart it. It doesn’t diminish or weaken over time. It’s the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you. From the very first day you heard and recognized the truth of what God is doing, you’ve been hungry for more. Colossians 1:5-8 MSG

I remember my first encounters with church and the gospel and wasn’t too impressed. I wasn’t too hungry. It certainly didn’t feel like the best thing since sliced bread. I was more concerned with things of this world…..but then…….

There is always a turning point in our relationship with the Lord. For some it’s gradual, for others it’s a quick moment of impact that really changes their trajectory. I have had both in my journey and I’m sure many of you have too.

In a recent prayer group I was seeing a picture of a mustard seed. Such a small seed but such impact it can have. I felt God was showing me that all on this earth carry that mustard seed. Whether they know Jesus or not. It is just of matter of when its shell will break and it will burst into life. The mustard seed in the parables are related to our faith and understanding of the authority that comes as children of God. It was a beautiful picture I just feel to pray into more today.

Lord, thank you that you have given all of us the measure of faith that we need. Even to those who do not yet know You, they also carry the mustard seed. This tiniest of seeds combined with You – makes all things possible. Mountains can be thrown in the sea and trees can be completely uprooted. Help us to see ourselves and others as your sons and daughters and with the ability to accomplish great and mighty things with You. Increase our hunger to know you more and experience even more of Your Kingdom on earth. Apart from You, what we do will not matter in the end, but with You – amazing things will grow! Bless those who read this with deeper wisdom, joy and hope today. Guide us as we seek Your ways, in Jesus Name.

ponderings

JOY – PRAISE – CELEBRATION

Advent Week 3

Joy to the world, the Lord has come.
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room.

In those days a decree went out … And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,  who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:1-7 NIV

You would think the birth of the Son of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would capture everyone’s attention. A census calls Joseph and Mary 90 miles from home to the town of Bethlehem along with probably thousands of others. Imagine yourself walking 90 miles, not just 90 minutes but days and days on the road and when you arrive, there is no place to stay.

A King who should be born in a castle, instead is placed in a manger. God loves to work through the seemingly insignificant to bring about the glorious.

Jesus wasn’t sent in a big splash that all would see but there were three magi who could not ignore the sign in the heavens that proclaimed the birth of the one born King of the Jews. These wisemen were the ones to find the baby Jesus and bring him the celebration that was worthy of a King, with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Then they were warned through a dream to leave Bethlehem.

In the midst of this busy season, take some time to ask God to give you some signs, some dreams, some words – then watch for them and act! Maybe showing you some people to encourage with a special gift or extra help, it might be a special place that you should go to as He directs. Every day is time to celebrate the birth of our King who reigns forever!

ponderings

expectancy

That is a very pregnant word in so many lives and places right now. It’s not just thoughts of Mary’s time to give birth to Jesus, but looking forward to a New Year and time when we can gather in person. That might be close or further away but it will happen!!

Expectancy is is not supposed to be about doom, but for good that is to come! Since we don’t know what tomorrow brings – its also about faith.

What are some and hopes you can bring to your personal life?
What little things can you do that will bring joy for yourself and others?

Some of mine are simple like enjoying a new book, more catch up with others calls, creative time and making soup! To me the winter season is when I get extra creative with soup! To some those sound like more work than enjoyment and then I think of Mary and the circumstances of Jesus’ birth….

Not all that brings good to our lives is easy but we can still be expectant for what is to come!

4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:4-9 MSG

ponderings

sensitivity

I don’t know how sensitive you are to what is going on around you but I am sure you have experienced times when you walked into a room and felt it was so filled with peace OR tension that you either wanted to curl up to stay or run fast and far.

We often think its others, but some can be our internal “sense” of comfortability. We all have differing levels of hurts, trauma and self doubt and being in certain places can trigger or put us on edge. I experienced quite a bit of this when I returned from a long mission trip.

One of the greatest joys I have with creating art is how it can change atmospheres. For this series I called each one differently. Atmosphere of Peace, Atmosphere of Joy and Atmosphere of Grace. It wasn’t just about what I wanted to name them, but what I felt when I looked at them. You might feel different things but hopefully they carry a message to bring cheerfulness to those who would engage with them. The gold leaf used in several of my recent pieces also speaks to me of God’s treasures. It’s like He unwraps those things that were surrounded with darkness to pour out even more of His wonderful light!

I pray that in each day you will find the treasures that God has unwrapped around you. That you would see light where darkness has tried to bring fear and new delight would come even in the places that would have you run for cover. God wants us all to see with His eyes, walk in peace and love as He loves. Blessings to you all!

Psalm 139:1-6
Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up;
You understand my thought from far away.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, Lord, You know it all.
You have encircled me behind and in front,
And placed Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot comprehend it.