showers bring May flowers, provided they’re properly cared for by the gardener.
And while wild flowers can grow with seemingly no care whatsoever, my
sometimes, confessedly neglected flower beds begin to dry up within hours of me
forgetting to water them. My spiritual life is much the same. Left unattended,
without the water of the Word and I’m as shriveled and parched as a raisin in
the sun. It’s also true if I don’t spend time nurturing my relationship with
the Lord. I cannot do it for the Jesus Chick, not for my Sunday morning class
or my Wednesday night class, but for me alone. It’s personal.
down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let
the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness
spring up together; I the Lord have created it.
Getting in the word
is just like my spring time flower beds; digging around always unearths
something. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. The word is always good, but
sometimes there’s some bad in me that needs rooted out cast out. If I spend all
my time focusing on ministering to other people, I miss the ministering I need.
And the weeds of this world will prevent my own spiritual growth. We need to
take time for us.
Isaiah understood that concept when he
received the word of God. Isaiah was a vessel, filled with the seeds that God
had given him and a relationship that allowed him to be used mightily by God.
We too are that vessel!
Stop Striving with
unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the
potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What
makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
Striving against God? Who would be
that stupid, right? Me. That’s what I do every time I feel the coercing of the
Holy Spirit to spend time alone with God and I spend it in the world. When I read
verse nine I could hear God say, “That is not what I created you for. I didn’t
create you to be exhausted with things of no eternal value. Stop striving.”
Stop Doubting God
unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What
hast thou brought forth?
Why do we question why we were created
as we were? Boy, oh boy does that question hit me hard. I’ve never made any
bones about it when it comes to my always questioning God’s direction in my
life. Even though I know. Even though it’s as obvious as the nose on my face.
But even with the knowledge of what I’m supposed to do, I’m always playing the
comparison game with other writer, artists, and singers. Basically telling God
that what He did in me, isn’t enough.
Stop Bossing God
saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come
concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.12 I have made the
earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the
heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
When I read these verses I immediately
knew that God wanted me to know. To Shari quote it in the manner I heard it
inside of my head, I heard God say “Why don’t you ask Me and My Son what we have
planned for you instead of telling Us what you have planned. I’ve created the
universe and the host of all of Heaven. What have you created by comparison?”
Wow. That is so true.
I’m learning at a snail’s pace to love
myself and my work. But it’s hard. I criticize myself until I feel like a dirt
dog unworthy to eat from the scrapyard. True story. But the reality is, who
created strife and doubt? and Who created confidence and love? We know the
answer and yet we buy the lies of Satan every day.
Stop Striving. Stop Doubting. Stop Bossing. Start enjoying the gifts God has given you.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God
created he him; male and female created he them. ~ Genesis 1:27
I find myself asking,
at what point do kids stop considering themselves an artist. And then I also
find myself asking, “At what point did some adults think they were?”
There was a social
media video going around the other day about the child of an artist who at the
ages of a two or three had his paintings selling for thousands. I rolled my
eyes, curled my lips and determined in my heart I wouldn’t be bitter. It was
just ridiculous to me. This kid was literally throwing paint on a canvas and
they are in awe of his talent. He may grow into an amazing artist, I won’t
begrudge him that. And I wouldn’t tell the little fellow his art was subpar.
But I would gladly tell the people paying thousands for it that their brain was
I’ve never been drawn
to too many abstract artist. Although some I have found very talented. I could
tell by the way they created it wasn’t about throwing paint on the canvas, but
there truly was a method to their madness. By color and design, it was good. At
least that’s my opinion. If you like abstract art, glory to God! I just don’t
I’m going from the
prospective of the greatest of all imaginations. God. He just didn’t throw
paint on the canvas and call it a sky. The colors worked together. When He
created man, He sculpted Adam and Eve in magnificence! Look at everything else
on earth. It’s beautiful. None of it looks like an afterthought.
So back to my
original question. When do children stop considering themselves to be artists?
I don’t know for certain, and I’m sure it differs, but I would wager a bet, if
I wasn’t Baptist, because we’re not allowed to bet. But if I was, I would wager
a bet that it’s after the first negative critical experience.
If you know anything
about me, you know I’m an encourager. I don’t criticize. Even if I think it. I
may offer a suggestion to help someone, but I know that when someone creates
something, they’ve usually done their best. And I can guarantee if they gave it
to God, He would put it on His refrigerator. But He may not hang it in a
It’s taken me 30
years to call myself an artist. Not because anyone has ever criticized me,
because that is the furthest from the truth. I have great encouragement in my
life. But I have no self-esteem. And of the few negative nellies that have
critiqued me, and they’ve just been a few. That’s all it took to squelch me
down. It’s what has kept me from making
a living at the gift God gave me.
I stopped taking
coloring serious. I still did it, but I didn’t take it serious. Most people
just stop doing it all together, although it has made a reprise in recent years
with the new adult coloring books.
Going deeper into the
realm of creativity causes me to explore why we are less apt to be obedient to the
leading of the Holy Spirit telling us to do something, to create something new.
Perhaps its because we fear that same critique of the world that we experienced
as children that caused us to no longer view ourselves as artist.
You might be an
artist of words, works, numbers. There are too many talents to list. What is
your gifting and is it something that you should be using for the Kingdom,
either for a living, or for a ministry. And why aren’t you using it?
How do we know if
it’s Refrigerator or Gallery worthy? All good questions. And worthy of looking
into the scripture to see what God says about who we are.
In His Image
He created us in His
image. With passions like Him.
hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
He controls us and
creates specific desires within us. He created us to create. I personally don’t
know of a child who doesn’t like to create “stuff.” It’s engrained in us as
babies from making a mess to making what we think is the most amazing piece of
art ever! All six of my grands love creating, even though they may not all grow
up to be artist. Praise God, they don’t know that. They just want to create.
I believe that as we
grow that creativity takes shape into different amazing things. But creating is
not just an artistic endeavor. Creating is doing a new thing.
Isaiah 43:19 says Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will
even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
God didn’t stop
creating, why should we. He went from creating things, to creating paths and
then using us to complete His work so that He can get the glory. I think people
and churches get stalemated when we lose our desire to create, or we just don’t
know the direction we should go. We’re satisfied with just showing up.
The church should be
an ongoing project of getting souls saved and that takes many shapes and
I’m a project driven
person. I need a project to feel purposeful. And I believe that’s how God
created us all. Like Him, we are made to create.
heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let
the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with
it; I, the Lord, have created it.
All of Heaven and earth work
This morning I picked up my
fiddle that I had had to put a new “E” string on because I broke the old one
tuning it. I hadn’t played it for a week or two and every string was out of
tune. It sounded awful. But when I got the tuner out and put every string in
tune, suddenly I felt like a musician again. That’s how life is. With artistry,
with jobs and churches. We get out of tune. We lose our passion and purpose. We
need tuned up. We need to find that creativity and desire to make something
wonderful for the Lord. A new coloring page.
My grandson Logan was
creating a Charizard. Which I don’t even know what is, other than it’s a
Pokemon character. But it didn’t matter. It only mattered that his hand created
God wants to see some of
your work, your best creative pieces. And there’s a reason that Christ said
that we should come to Him like little children. Because it’s with that mindset
that we feel free and welcome to create. Not judged.
Don’t squelch your creative
spirit. God may just be getting ready to do something amazing with you.
Not By Accident
This was His word for me
when I was ready to back out of His work again because I would be judged. God told me this. He said “you’re past the
age where you can throw stuff on a canvas and call it art. Be intentional. And
God doesn’t create things
by accident. He had purpose. So should
we. Don’t ever stop coloring. There’s something about that child within that
helps you to keep in check with Who’s really in control.
Every time I read, hear or think on the anointing of God, my mind goes back to Preacher Walt. A larger than life black evangelist who came to our church for a few years and added a flair to our worship that had not been there previously. How could it have been? We’re a predominately white, redneck, rural West Virginia community. I say that with love and the kindest of intent without shame; I do indeed love where I live and I love the people who live in our community, but we needed Walt to move in and shake us up a little bit. And it did shake a few… they opted for a less loud environment. If you’d come in the doors of Victory Baptist Church on Sunday morning and inspect the crowds fashion sense you’d find everything from Levi and Wrangler, Macy’s and Vans, to straight off the rack at the Dollar General and Goodwill. We have all the bases covered for your comfort level, but if you want a church that makes it about fashion… we’re not your church. We make it about God. But back to Walt. Walt may have given “Mr. T” his first starter kit for jewelry. He loved bling. He also liked fine suits and shoes and everything matched everything and everything was colorful! And when he stood before our congregation to preach he would often put his fingers in the position of the capital letter “A” and speak of the anointing of God, and the privileges of a child of God and by the time he was through you were pretty sure that you alone were the favored child of God and there was no other. Walt preached Jesus, he preached salvation true and free, he did not preach prosperity gospel; he preached truth. And the truth of the matter is a child of God is anointed for purpose and while purpose is not without problems it is with promise. Whew! That’ll preach! will it not? Walt would have liked it!
So my question for us to ponder today is “What are we doing with the big “A”? If you’re saved you have it. God’s placed you in a position with purpose, He’s anointed you and given you the promise of finishing the work that He has started in you. Philippians 1:6 says clearly – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: – God’s got a plan, but are you workin’ it?
Isaiah 45 tells the story of Cyrus, God’s anointed leader who He literally opened gates that should have been closed.
1Thus saith theLordto his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
As I understand it the gates of the cities and palaces wherever he came were opened to receive him as conqueror including the gates of Babylon which were “left open one night” for the army of Cyrus to take over the city. Cyrus had to battle, but his ways were made straight in that the obstructions in his path were removed.
I’m not saying that our battles will be without problems. We all know that’s not how life works. But isn’t it great to know that as a child of God, He has already gone before us and prepared the way. We just have to stick to the path!
2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
His ways were not only made straight, they were paid in advance.
3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, theLord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
The Jewish Rabbins say that Nebuchadnezzar having amassed riches from all over the world, worried who he could leave it to when he died. He decided that “nobody” should have it. So he ordered ships of brass to be filled with the wealth and dug a place in the Euphrates where he hid them and turned the river on it. Well guess who found it? Cyrus. God’s anointed. Treasures in the darkness… Jeremiah said when he conquered Asia he brought away thirty four thousand pounds of gold and a whole lot more… that’s a chunk of change!
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t found any pots of gold buried in the river, but what I have discovered is that God provides wealth in a variety of forms. Some monetarily, some in unmerited gifts, perhaps in a great job, and others through friends and family. But as children of God we can all find the blessings of God that have been hidden in our lives waiting to be uncovered.
he question again is, what are we doing with it? Reading on in Isaiah 45 it says
4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.
God said, I gave you these things so that people would know “I am the LORD, and there is none else.” That’s your purpose. When Brother Walt stood before our congregation and shouted… yes, really shouted… he stirred our souls. When he was ask to bless the offering of the day he did so by saying and asking us to say it with him, “I have because I give, I give because I have, and therefore, I am never, never ever, without… it’s offering time! And then Heaven would come down as we rejoiced in the goodness of God. Life’s not always good… but God is.