Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ladies' Painting Afternoon

This past Sunday afternoon I walked a group of women through painting a landscape.  (Photos courtesy of Michelle St. Clair - thank you!)
You may have heard about those painting places where you can go and create a painting in a couple of hours.  Well, this was along those lines, only at a local church.  They asked if I would be willing to instruct and also include a little devotional while we painted.

As I pondered what to paint, and what to talk about, I thought of the flowers of the field. . . it is Spring (finally) around here, so. . . also I thought about being anxious, as there are some bigger decisions that need to be made in our household,  and sometimes to we get caught up in the world around us and what we do or don't have, or how we might afford this or that thing...

All of this brought me to these verses:

The verses from Matthew 6:25-34  were my starting point.  (And it is also found in Luke 6:22-34.)

Matthew 6- ESV  Do Not Be Anxious
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

It was a landscape painting of an open field, some trees in the distance on the horizon, and one larger tree near the center.  There was a path running through the painting from the lower left corner and up and to the right, disappearing in the distance.

 I shared some thoughts as we painted, referencing some possible analogies between the painting and the scripture verses.

The ground, or field had some lighter and darker places for higher and lower spots.  God uses both ups and downs to shape us, lead us and teach us to trust Him even when we can't see some of the reasons.  The path disappearing in the distance shows that we can't always see where we are heading, or where we might end up, but we should trust and follow God's leading.

The sky was blue with some clouds.  In my painting I have come to realize that the sky represents God, the Creator of heaven and earth.  And even though clouds might appear and storms may come, God knows us and sees us and cares about us.

The tree is something I have talked about here in the past, but I see it representing the cross - a reminder of whom we can trust.

The final touch was adding flowers, knowing that they, in all their splendor were created by God, and though they are beautiful, they don't worry about what to wear and yet, God cares for them.  How much more does He care for us, the highlight of His creation?

It was a fun afternoon, and wonderful to see each of the paintings come to life! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Approaching the Cross

As we approach Easter, consider how we get there. 

Easter isn't found by hopping down the bunny trail, but by walking the via dolorosa, which can be translated to "painful way."
This journey started before time existed.  
1 Corinthians 2: 6-8 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The word tree conjures such images and has deep meaning for me.  Going back to college when I was working on an art piece and challenged by my professor to think about it a little differently.  A tree is rooted at the center of my faith.  A tree bridges my way from darkness to light.

Every tree I see, whatever form it might take, brings this to mind

A tree with its branches stretched to the sky offering shade to those beneath or a home to those above.

A telephone pole that carries lines of power, electric, heat, conversation, words of hope, encouragement
 A fence that draws a boundary between where things should be...
John 10: 1-3 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

A tree that held my Savior while He held my sin so that I could have hope, welcome, a place to call home, a reason to worship...

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God Hebrews 12:2 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

With insufficient gratitude

(This is a re-post from April 2012)

As we approach Good Friday, humility overwhelms when I think about the awful torture, pain, suffering and death that Jesus took upon Himself, willingly, that we, I might have the opportunity to share in a banquet with Him, the Father and Holy Spirit. 

We know that this doesn't end on Friday. 

Sunday waits just beyond, with the promise and hope of a future - an eternal future - so bright and full of joy, we cannot imagine!  So it is with insufficient gratitude that I offer a quiet prayer of thanksgiving, knowing that He hears me, and knows me, and still loves me in spite of who I am, or what I have done or will do...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Current Reading List

I have started collecting titles of book recommendations from other bloggers, my mom, and friends, that sound interesting to me.

Here is just a quick list - in no particular order - of some of the books I have stacked up waiting to be read, and some that I am in the process of reading.

The Art of Work - Jeff Goins 
Start: Punch Fear in the Face- Jon Acuff
The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin
A Million Little Ways - Emily P. Freeman
One Thousand Gifts - Ann Voskamp
Poke the Box - Seth Godin

There are other books that I have heard about and want to look into, but I figure I had better finish these before I go looking for more. . .

Have you read any good books lately?
Have you read any bad books - or books that were okay, but don't know if you would recommend...?
Are you in the middle of reading any books right now?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Leaving Things Unfini. . .

See what I did there?

I look back through some of my posts, and I find a few projects that I just haven't finished.  I get them to a certain point and then. . . 

Interruptions like dinner, sleep, work. . .you know. . . things like that happen.

Some are so close to being finished, and just need those final thoughts to come into focus.
Some began with a strong idea, but as I started working, the idea didn't quite pan out the way I was picturing.  I might scrap the original, and start over...I have done that before...
 And there is one that is started, but not too far along yet...(that's why there isn't a picture of the canvas). 
I know it is just the beginning of the week, but this coming weekend I will try to work on one (or more) of these to get them either finished, or a little farther along on their journey.  I am making plans to organize my time and my thoughts as the week progresses, so I am ready to paint when the end of the week arrives.

Do you have any unfinished business for this weekend?