Tag Archives: Isaiah 43

Serving The God of Creativity

Or… why you should never stop coloring

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 subpar.

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 get it.

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 gallery.

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.

Psalm 139:13

For thou 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 creative ideas.

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.

Isaiah 43:7

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

That verse makes me very happy! I (and you) were created by God for His glory. Meaning that when He created us, He created us to do something. Not just sit in a church pew.

For His Glory

Where ever we are in life, we are there to bring glory to God in that place. In our churches, in our work and in our passions.

Isaiah 45:12

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.

God created all the earth and all of creation to glorify His name.

We have to have doctors, nurses, gas station owners, pharmacists and every other position in life to make the world go round and function. But all of those positions should point others to Christ.

Isaiah 45:8

You 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 in harmony.

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 it.

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 do it.”

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.

A New Thing!

What better way to start off 2019 than thinking about new things on the horizon! I loved the illustration of a new year that my friend D.L. Kerby always used of “a fresh, new piece of paper.” Nothing there but room for ideas, and of course for me improvement!

Isaiah 43:19 is a great verse to ponder today…

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.

Behold!

An announcement of worthy attention!

I think of new stuff every day. But much of it is not worthy of anyone’s attention. But when God announces that something new is on the horizon. Glory! It’s worthy of our notice. There is nothing stale or boring in God’s world and according to His word it is He who does the “new thing.” But how do we know it’s for us? Have you prayed for something new? That would be a great place to start. And if you’re praying for God to do something new in your life what is the purpose of it and what role does He play?

Too many people want God to do something new and amazing but then they’d rather He butt out and allow them to take over. I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works.

Jeremiah 31:22 speaks of Israel when he writes “How long will you wander, unfaithful Daughter Israel? The LORD will create a new thing on earth – the woman will return to the man.”

That new thing was the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be no more new things to that magnitude, but there is certainly new opportunities to serve Him there for the asking. As a child of God we should be prepared to focus our minds on ways to glorify and serve our Lord in the coming year. God may provide new opportunities in the secular realm, but that shouldn’t be our focus and should still include God as center focus.

Be Watching!

Now it shall spring forth! As a budding branch springs forth out of the ground.

I start longing for spring about January 2nd. I’m done with the cold, dead looking trees and frigid temperatures of winter. I need to see some life in the hills of West Virginia. But it’s not in my time, it’s in the Lord’s and the same is true when it comes to the new things that God has planned for us. His timing is imperative. But if I’m not watching for it, I might miss it.

We need to stand with a watchful eye on the world around us for ways that we can serve and glorify God.

Last night I sat beside a man that I really wasn’t certain of his soul’s state until the subject of church came up. He let me know immediately that he didn’t want any part of the church and that he was a “believing agnostic.”  I told him I hated to hear that because I really cared for him. He seemed shocked that I thought he was going to Hell. I spoke to him in love for as long as he would tolerate me, and in a moment of awkwardness where the subject had gotten too deep, he left my side for a worldlier lot. And I went home. I felt I’d done as much work as I could there. The man didn’t get saved but I had been watching for an opportunity and God opened the door, for that I’m grateful.

Be Ready!

For anything. God’s ways are not our ways. We don’t expect ways in the wilderness and rivers in the dessert. If we’re preparing for such an excursion we’re packing weed whackers and bottled water. But God said no… I’ve already got the path cut and the water supplied! You just need to be ready.

Oh my goodness those words make my soul stir. I’m not really a prepared person. I jump and go. Which gets me in trouble… a lot. But God said if I’d be ready for His way, I’ll be okay. But before I jump and go, I need to wait for some instructions. And so do you!

Isaiah 43:19 may or may not be your verse for 2019. But the wisdom that can be gleaned from it is for everyone.

God does have a new work for us and we for certain should be watching and be ready for His announcement.

What’s He laid on your heart to do in 2019? I’d love nothing more than for you to share that with me so that I can make it a matter of prayer. Blessings!!!!!

How to leave the hurt behind in 2017

A true testimony to my own heart being given to Jesus Christ was the ability Christ gave me to forgive people who hurt me. It’s not to say that those who can’t forgive are unsaved, or that I sometimes don’t have to forgive “again.” And I have plenty of other failures in my walk with Christ that I have not accomplished victory over, so please don’t consider this a high hatted blog of Christian living. I’m too much of a sinner for that. So today as this thought came to me, I knew that I had to draw the image and write about it, in hopes of encouraging someone who is ending this year with a broken heart or spirit because someone has hurt them.

Along my journeys I’ve ran across many people who have not won the victory of forgiveness; they live everyday looking at the scars of past hurt, which may have been emotional or literal. I’ve seen many of them who’ve carried them almost in a trophy like status of victimhood; one that they can use to say “Look what was done to me, I have the right to carry this and remember how terrible it was.” More often than not, those of whom they were victimized by have moved on in their life or have moved out of this life into eternity. Closure isn’t sought and victimization becomes a part of every conversation they can weave it in to. If you’re not that person, you likely know that person. You dread the conversation to start, because you know where it will end.

There are others who will carry the hurt to their grave. They don’t share it but rather choose to live with the internal pain that can almost be seen in the lines of their face. Sometimes they are angry, nasty dispositioned people; other times their blunt and forceful composure puts up a shield immediately with anyone outside of their familiar circle. I’ve known all the above.

I’ve been a few of them over my lifetime. I’m more often the little Susie sunshine who refuses to give in and sometimes lives in a land of make believe rather than reality as I go through a hurtful experience.

Isaiah 43:25 speaks of the price Christ paid for our sins, as well as those who sinned against us:

“I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

Christ, Who knew no sin, became sin, so that for His sake, we could have a relationship with the One Who will never fail us, leave us or forsake us.

I know how I’ve failed the Lord, I have an ever present awareness, even though He doesn’t want me to. But because of that I also have a quick switch of forgiveness built within. When Christ showed doubting Thomas the scars on His hands and side, He didn’t show it and say look what you did to me with your sin, He told Thomas in John 20:27-30

“Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and My God.

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou has seen me, thou has believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed.”

Jesus showed Thomas the scars as proof that He had the power to overcome not only what death threw at Him but what life threw at Him. And because of that, and our belief in the work of the cross, we have the same power.

Our scars are not an excuse not to forgive, they are a reminder that God brought us through and that Satan did not win the victory. By carrying them as a victim you’re living defeated to Satan.

Show your scars to Jesus, not the world. And He’ll show you that His scars gave you the power to never be a victim again. We are more than conquerors thought Him that loved us (Romans 8:37) He not only died for our sin, He died for those who sin against us. He paid the price for theirs as well so that we could live without the reminder of the pain, but rather the reminder of the Victory. Glory to God! I pray that your New Year is glory filled, pain free and victory bound in Jesus Christ.

There’s a New Way of Doing Business

 

From the book of Isaiah 43:5-19

I heard a sermon preached from this text a few days ago, and I’ve been chewing on this scripture like a piece of Willy Wonka’s bubble gum that never loses its flavor. Again and again I’ve tasted that word in my mouth; and today I finally sat down to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write what’s on my heart, and to determine what God has for me through this word. Perhaps He has something for you too. If you’ve ever experienced great fear, either from the known or the unknown, reading the words from Isaiah 43:5 will lead you to say, “Yes, but…” followed by why you fear in spite of it. I’ve been in a, “you couldn’t possibly understand why,” mode. Satan had all but convinced me that I am alone, leading to a series of songs that I’ve written (which are a blessing) but it’s also hard on the heart to let those words spring forth from my soul. I’ll post one below so that you might get a glimpse of that work. But first the Word.

I am Called By His Name

Isaiah said in verses 5-8

Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.

Isaiah is specifically speaking to the Israelites. But being engrafted into the family of God through the blood of Jesus Christ, means that he speaks to me as well. I am a daughter of the Most High King. I am called by His name when it is said of me that I am a Christian. Those facts I believe, as well as the fact that I have been created for His glory. Yet I am often still blind and deaf as to what exactly God is doing in my life much of the time. I fear…a lot. It feels as if God is having to drag me forward into a place that I know not what. I’m not fighting Him, I’m simply dead weight. Paralyzed. I am called. And sometimes I am called chicken.

I Am Confirmed by His Work

Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. 10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.

God for certain bears witness in my life. He has done some amazing things! Much like the children of Israel I have been brought though the sea on dry ground. He has rescued me from myself so many times. Until now. And now I am in need of rescuing, I’ve been waiting for the waters to part and there hasn’t even been so much as a drop that has fled from before me. I feel as though I am drowning. Again and again I bear witness to myself of God’s deliverance. I bear witness of His confirmation of my purpose in life for which He has not only given me the passion for the purpose but the ability as well.  But not in a way that sustains my life which leaves me drowning and opens a door for Satan to ask “if you are called and confirmed, why are you not cared for?”

I Am Created By His Ways

13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? 14 Thus saith the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships.15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.16 Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; 17 Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. 18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.19 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.

When I identified myself in Christ, I became a new creation. Yet the old Shari resurfaces on a pretty regular basis. I often find myself thinking to have “figured God out.” Ha! That’s hysterical when I write those words out. How could I possibly think that I have figured God out? What I mean is, I believe to have figured out God’s ways. And yet I know that the scripture is clear when it says His ways are not my ways. I think that Israel may have thought they too had God figured out. They looked for Him to snap them out of their bondage in the same manner that He had brought them out of Egypt. The water that they were sure would be their demise, He parted. He got rid of the issue of water. But now water is not the issue. The barren wilderness is their issue. But the children of Israel are stuck remembering the parting of the sea. And while it’s good to recall how God brings us out, it’s not to say He’s going to bring us out the same way. God doesn’t change, but His methods certainly do. He told them He’d be doing a “new thing.”

I’ve been waiting for God to deliver me in the same manner as before, He has not. There’s a new manner of business. And clearly I need my eyes open and my ears ready to hear what the Lord says.  I covet your prayers if you’re so inclined. I know my purpose. But I need to understand the provision.

All Aboard! 2017 Is Just Ahead

2017-trainI struggled a few days in searching for my 2017 word. I wanted it just right! I wanted something that would cause my mind to go into motion, and in a positive direction when I heard the word. I pondered the word “potential” for a few days and I looked strongly at the word “purpose.” Both of which are mighty fine words and I still consider them to be sub points. But when pursuit came into my head it stirred up the imagery of chasing God’s plan, seeking His will in the direction of my life. Most of the time in scripture, if not all the time, pursuit is used in the form of “pursuing the enemy, as to overtake them.” I’ve felt like that’s been me for the most of my life, with my focus being on my enemy’s pursuit of me. Feeling I was about to be overcome; always on the brink of destruction. That’s a frustrating life to lead. It always wears me out!

So for 2017 I’m pursuing God. And the great thing about that is He’s pursuing me back! He’s not running from me, He’s running toward me. The pursuit is in seeking the next step of God’s plan.

Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 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.

Isaiah 43:16-19 KJV

That new thing! That’s what I’m pursuing. Isaiah spoke to Israel about the flight out of Egypt, a time that they were being pursued and God drowned the enemy in the sea. For me, I want the enemy drowned in the sea of forgetfulness never to rise again or be remembered. 2017 is unchartered territories, it may be wilderness, rivers or dessert. But God will make the way if I seek His will for my life.

I’m in pursuit of purpose to reach my full potential in the Lord Jesus Christ. He, Who pursued me through the Holy Spirit, He Who erased my past and cast my sins as far as the east is from the west.

Pursuit doesn’t have to be your word for the year for it to be your plan action. I found the following quote in a recent study that said “Allowing God’s plan shouldn’t create more pressure, but rather lessen the burden to figure things out.”  I love that! If I stop looking backward, or steering forward, the pressure is off me for direction. Pursuing will hopefully look more like train ride. I just need to get on board and let the Engineer do the work. When it comes to a stop; get out, do the job at hand and then get back on board for the next adventure.

All aboard! 2017 is just ahead!

But Now… Stop your worryin’

CHICK NO WORRIES

Child of God or no, there are very few people that I’ve ever met that didn’t worry. If any really? Some call it “concern” and in the spiritual sense I get that. We know that God has this world under control and that nothing occurs without first having His stamp of approval on it. But when you’re in the thick of heartache and trouble, serious “concern” has a way of creeping up on you.

Isaiah 43 is looking at the release of the Jews out of their captivity and looking even further than that to the redemption of them and us through the Lord Jesus Christ. Verses 1 through 7 are filled with great promises for us to cling to when Satan is whispering in your ear… “you’re  goin’ down.”

7  Promises in Isaiah 43

1 – 1But now thus saith the Lord that created thee,

If God can speak the universe into existence, is there anything He cannot do? Yes… lie.

O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for 2 – I have redeemed thee,

On the cross of Calvary Jesus redeemed us, purchased every child of God with His very own blood sacrifice. As the teens and I studied the “Crazy Love” of Jesus Christ in our Wednesday night service a little girl came to know His saving grace. It was one of those nights where you could feel the Spirit moving and had absolutely nothing to do with me. God had shown up and anointed that class room with His presence before I ever opened my mouth. Two thousand years ago He redeemed little Theresa and planned it out so I could be there the day she came to understand.

3 – I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

There’s something awesome in knowing that God owns me. I belong to the Creator of all the universe and He has plans for me. He called me for a purpose. It’s like having the CEO of the universe ring your number today and say, “Hey, I have a little something for you to do.” How cool is that!

When thou passest through the waters, 4 – I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

No matter the troubles we face, we’re going through. They cannot consume us for we are eternal beings in the hand of God. Many days I’d just rather not go through. I’d much rather go around. But I have yet to go through a trial where I didn’t see the purpose when I arrived on the other side. Every heartache and trial I’ve endured has allowed me to glorify God to someone later. It’s not fun, but if we didn’t have the bad times, we NEVER  appreciate the good times.

For 5 – I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

When the children of Israel went through the plagues prior to leaving Egpyt, a great many Egyptians died. God didn’t take that lightly. He did not want those people to suffer, and He didn’t want the Israelites to forget that their freedom came with a high price and ours with an even higher price, His Son. The Egyptians were rebellious and refused to heed God’s request. Jesus willingly went to the cross with no sin of His own to pay our debt, because those whom He creatare precious in his sight.

6  – Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.

7 – Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

He’s with us now and He’s going to bring all His children together someday soon. Oh glory!!!! That’s a promise that I love holding on to.