Thanks to all of you who have read my posts, kept me in your prayers and offered words of encouragement and comfort. A couple of the recent comments had reminded me of a word God had given to me some years ago.
A sword when formed the materials chosen are put through the fire, stretched, folded, and hammered. This is done over and over until the blade is formed. The more the blade is folded the stronger it becomes. The part I am focused on today is the fire which inspired by both a recent painting I had posted, ‘Going through the fire’, and a current one that I have been working on for a client, ‘Risen’. Risen is not ye finished and neither are the rest of us. I like to say we are a work in progress and God is not done with us yet. Both paintings represent fire.
First thought of fire you think of destruction. Homes and forests burned to the ground. Getting burned. Yet fire is not just destructive. You cook with fire. Create with it. Fire can be scary but look at Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abed Nego. They refused to bow down to and idol and were thrown into a fiery furnace. They did not burn and they came out not even smelling of smoke. Then think of the Holy Spirit Fire. We grow when we go through the fire. We are refined. We are made stronger. In the painting immediately above I had explained in a previous post. The current painting which is unfinished I will tell it’s story when it is finished. Clay pots are put into kilns and baked. God is referred to as The Potter and we are His clay, to be molded and shaped into vessel He can use. This also means to be made solid we too must go through the fire. I am not sure how long it is going to take for me to finish my current painting but I will post it when it is finished.
Remember His fire will not harm you but make you stronger!
I used to have this nightmare that terrified me years ago, where I was surrounded by fire, covered in blood, and being attacked by something I could not see. Recently God revealed to me that it was not a nightmare, which I would argue until He gave me understanding. He told me that even though I was surrounded by fire I was not being burned. The blood that covered me was not my own, but His Son’s blood which was protecting me. Even though I was being attacked, that I did not die, but stood firm. That the fire kept the enemy from destroying me, and that it was His Spirit that surrounded me. This inspired this painting.
Which I hope inspires hope for those who are going through their own fiery trials, or nightmares.
Since I finally finished my last piece, I have begun work on my next painting. It is going with the color scheme of the last painting title Oujo Senshi(warrior Princess) which will be making her way to her home soon. The friend who asked for me to paint her had asked for three paintings for her new home, only requesting the colors be red, white and grey and be Asian influenced. Due to injuring my shoulder last September she took longer than I had wanted, and even though I my shoulder is still being treated and I am now seeing an orthopedic specialist, I am doing the best I can to use my arm as much as possible. So here is my next painting which I have titled, God is Love. It too is a work in progress. I will post the finished work when it is done. Like how God keep working on molding us into His image, the work continues.
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Read these words and see the love of God. It tells us clearly of His sacrifice and His love. It does not speak of of hatred or punishment. It speaks of love and everlasting life to those who believe.
The life of His Son to pay the price for our sins. Loving us before we knew Him or believed in Him. In today’s terms you could say we were prepaid for. A gift waiting for us to recieve. scripture goes on to tell us that ‘God is not slow as we count slowness, but patient not wanting any to perish but that all would come to repentance.'(2Peter 3:9)
Showing His love to be long suffering(1Corinthians 13). He is still waiting for us to turn to Him. He could so easily have started over, especially after that time and again man has chosen to rebel against Him and choose the way of the world. He has given to us more time and mercy than we deserve, and it is His love that covers a multitude of sins.(1Peter 4:8)
“Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ~
Over the last couple of years I have chosen a word to get me through the next year. A couple of years ago I had chosen the word JOY , because the joy of the Lord is my strength. This last year it has been the word HOPE. This year it is LOVE. I share this with you, to give you hope and joy through the upcoming year, and may the blessing of His Love overflow in all of your lives.
Many these days are anxious because of the pandemic of Covid19, that is world wide. It is effecting people of all nationalities and classes. Social media has become the main way people are keeping connected. Unless you have a job that is deemed necessary, you are basically grounded. When the stay at home orders were first being issued, one of my first thoughts were about the parallel of Passover and the Exodus. One of the things Moses had told the people to do before Pharaoh would finally release the Hebrews, was that they were to put blood on their doorposts and were to remain inside. The reason for this was to keep their first born alive. For the plague of death of every first born was coming. yet those under the blood would be safe.
Exodus 12:22-23 22 Take a cluster of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin, and brush the top and the two side posts of the doorframe with some of the blood. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. 23 When the LORD passes through to strike down the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the top and the two sideposts and pass over the door; so He will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
We are all going through a terrible time right now and the treat to life is real, so I understand why so many are afraid. This virus does not care if you are a first born, what your religion is,what color your skin is, or if you are wealthy or poor. Any one of us could get sick from this virus. If we take the necessary precautions we should be okay. Looking at the story of Exodus I do see the reason to have hope. If you are stuck staying home you could very well have cabin fever by now, and are itching to get out. If you have a full house you may want to get away just to find some peace and quiet, if you live alone the desire for company can make you want to leave the safety of your home. As much as I do not like feeling like I have been grounded, I do see the importance of staying home unless I have an important reason to go somewhere.
We need to remember these is temporary and that we will get through this. There is hope. I turn to the Word for this hope and it never lies.
Art by Julie Sheppard
Light at the end of the tunnel is not a train but the Light of Jesus Christ!
Rom 8:18 NKJV For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
forgive me for complaining about my pain more than I praise you and for any time I blamed you for my suffering. I am sorry. Help me to praise you even when it hurts, to share Your love with others who hurt and are suffering. Use my imperfections to show the world Your perfect love. What the world designed for my destruction use to be glorified in me. For I understand that it is not You that hurt me or caused my infirmities. I live in a fallen world and we have all been given free will to choose do right or wrong. I know when I have been hit and abused physically, sexually, and emotionally You were with me suffering with me. You know my every wound and pain because You bore my pain when You were beaten Jesus. They mocked You, spit on You, beat You, rejected You and crucified You, and still in that moment You did not defend Yourself but submitted Your body to their punishment because You love me. On the cross You said to Your Father, ‘Forgive them, they know not what they do.’ You forgave my sins and paid my debt when I did not deserve this from You. You love me truly and You cry with me when I cry and hurt when I hurt. This pain I feel may feel like I have suffered a lifetime but a time will come when I will know that it was just a small part of my life. Yes I have been hurt and I am weak but Your love fills me and gives me hope that better days are coming. Thank You so much for loving me as I am and for taking all the mess of my life and turning it into just one of Your masterpieces.
Today I am honored to stand by two friends as their Brides maid and witness the form a union before God. It was a privileged to be there when they were baptized and now today she will walk down the isle and join her best friend and they will become husband and wife. As I think upon their wedding I think about how we are the Bride of Christ and that we are to be one with Him. How special that day will be when He returns to collect His bride.