“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalms 1:1-3
The LORD had laid on my heart to paint something for some dear friends. I had asked the wife how she would like to have her family described, she told me, “CONTENT, TOGETHER, GROW and LOVE”. When I was reading a passage in Psalms 1, I knew that was the passage I was to use for their painting.
This was a challenging painting as I only had one photo to use as a reference and my desire was to have them all in a totally different position than what was in the photo. I love how the LORD, takes over and makes the painting His.
With most art pieces I do, I invite the Holy Spirit in throughout the creation of the piece. It is He who does the piece by using my hands to complete it. I also love how He teaches me so much from His Word as we create together and through it, He is glorified. He took me out of my comfort zone as I worked on this piece and showed me what He can do if I just trust Him through the process.
During this piece, I asked the LORD what He wanted me to learn. Through each brush stroke, I learned so much and even now, I am still learning, with each piece I work on. I had to ask myself where my contentment was. Was it on my own accomplishments or on what Christ has done for me and what He is doing through me? My desire is that I find my contentment in my LORD and Savior. It is He that I create for and with. He is the reason I wake up each day. No matter the outcome, I want to rejoice in Him.
Next, I thought about the word together and how that could apply to me and others. I knew what my friend meant in regards to her family. She wanted them to glorify the LORD together; in their relationship with each other and with the LORD. How could that apply to me and everyone else that I share this story with. Maybe another word for together could be relationship. God created us for relationship. He wants a relationship with us, so that is why He sent His Son down to earth to take our sin punishment. He is perfect, holy and can not be in a relationship with us because of our sin. In Romans 10:10-11, it says, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. and not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." Jesus took our punishment for us so that we are REDEEMED. We are His and called by name. The choice is ours. He will never make us come to Him even though He desires that. He doesn't need us but desires that relationship with us. The truth of the matter is...we NEED Him! This relationship that is offered to us not only will give us eternal life with Him in Heaven but here on earth, through the different trials we go through in life, we have Him to lean on, to trust Him even when we might not understand things.
Grow was the next word on my friend's list. Having a family myself, I have seen my children grow physically but also in other areas of their lives. They have matured into beautiful young women and some of them are mothers themselves. Grow doesn't just mean physically. In Luke 2:52, it says, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." Just as Jesus grew, so must we. The question is... HOW? Are we going to just grow in stature? Hopefully, we will also grow with wisdom. I think the more important question to ask ourselves is; Are we growing in favor with God and others? If you are a child of God, the way to grow is through reading His Word, praying, witnessing and worshiping with other believers. Micah 6:8 says, "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." That is my recipe for growth... do what is right, love mercy (kindness) and to walk humbly with my God! What about YOU?
The last word my friend mentioned was love! This is an important element in any family. Unfortunately, many have had this important ingredient missing in theirs, so how can they find it? God shows all of us His love in His Word. In Romans 5:8, it says, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.", also in John 3:16, it says, "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." Maybe you grew up in a loving family, but the fact of the matter is, you are still missing something if you have not accepted God's free gift of salvation. It cost Jesus as He died for our sins, but He rose again to conquer death, so we can have life in Him. The cost to us? Nothing! We just need to acknowledge our sins, repent of them and accept Christ as our Savior, our Redeemer. That is GRACE! When you have done that, then everything else will fall into place. Will it be easy? NO, but He is there to guide us through whatever we may go through in this journey called LIFE. He is our strength when we are weak. He is our all in all!
When Christ has first place in your life, as a parent, your desire is to pass that down to your children and have it evident not only in your home but in theirs when they are grown. In order to be contented together, I think we first need to be content in our relationship with the LORD. That means that we need to be satisfied, complete in Him and show our children what that truly means.
"Seasoned With Grace"
"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!" Psalm 141:3
The pumpkin is a fruit. It can be used to make many delicious things but without different seasonings, it is very bland. Trust me, I know!!! Inside are the “pumpkin brains” or the fibrous strands and seeds.
When I look at the pumpkin it reminds me of myself, actually all of us. Pumpkins come in different shapes, sizes and colors. As an artist I love that because I love things not all being the same. It also reminds me of how Heaven will have all different kinds of people there.
The inside of the pumpkin reminds me how gross and yucky we can be due to all of us having sin. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. I hate cleaning out the pumpkin because it’s so gross, but if I want to be able to use it for what it was meant to be used for, that “yuckiness” has to be cleaned out.
When we sin, it’s like those fibrous strands wrapping around those seeds. Sin grabs hold of our lives. We need help to clean out our “insides”, our sin. That’s what Christ did for us when He came and took our punishment for our sins. He took our place. When we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, He cleanses us. Will we still sin? Yes unfortunately, while we’re here on this earth, but because the Holy Spirit indwells within us, He makes it known unto us and the need to confess it before our Heavenly Father. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.
The vine brings nourishment to the pumpkin as it grows and Jesus represents that vine in us. John 15:4-5 says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” We cannot bear fruit without Christ!
When we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are to walk in the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit indwells within us. The fruits of the Spirit are LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONG-SUFFERING (patience), KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, MEEKNESS (gentleness), and SELF CONTROL. Do we display these fruits in our talk?
When I think of my speech, do I use it towards others the same way as I use it to praise my Lord? Do I encourage others with my words, do I speak truth, and am I patient with my words? I can go on but what I want to get across is my words need to express the Holy Spirit inside of me. Those are the seeds! The seeds in the pumpkin are used to eat and enjoy but also to plant so more pumpkins can grow. We’re to enjoy our Salvation in our Lord but do we share what we have with others? Do they see Christ in us by our actions and words? Just like we need to add seasonings to pumpkin recipes, are we allowing the Holy Spirit to season us? Are our words Seasoned With Grace?
Karen's Artistic Thoughts
I decided as I was working on this website, that a blog would be a way to explain what goes through my mind as I work on each piece the Lord has laid on my heart.