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Ephesians 1:1 CALLED

October 17, 2011

   Ephesians begins with Paul qualifying himself as an Apostle.  God chose him and he had a personal encounter with Jesus on the road toDamascus.  The other Apostles knew Jesus before he died, but Paul did not.  God had a special purpose for Paul and He has a special purpose for us.  We all have had our road to  Damascus. 

   The Message Bible states “by the divine will—the purpose and the choice of God”.  That goes for us too.  Jesus told us that no one can come to Him unless the Father calls him.  The Father called me and you.  Whether or not we respond to Him is on us. 

    There is a job for each of us to do.  We were called according to His purpose and set on a path to bring others into the kingdom.  We are given specific spiritual gifts to enable us to do the work set before us.  We were not saved to just go to heaven.

    Just as Paul was chosen to serve the risen Christ, so are we.  We are called “saints”, set apart ones.  We are called to be “faithful, loyal and steadfast” in Christ (Message Bible).

Nothing should be more important than our call and no purpose should be higher than God’s purpose for us.   If we keep the Kingdom first, all the rest is gravy.

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Ephesians 1:1,2 CALLED FOR HIS PURPOSE

October 1, 2011

            Today I begin reading Ephesians on my journey with my Lord.  He first took me through 1st and 2nd Timothy, then Romans and now we begin to unwrap the treasures in Ephesians.  I am excited to find out what the Holy Spirit has in store for me.

            The book begins with Paul qualifying himself.  He says that he is an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.  God’s word proves itself.  We can look back through the book of Acts to see Paul’s story.  It is unique, but then so is mine and so is yours.  The emphasis in this book is to the church, to the “saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus”.  We are the saints.  It begins with a blessing of grace and peace to us from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

            The first thing that jumped out to me was “by the will of God”.  We have all been chosen by the will of God   (John 6:44).  We have all been called for His purpose (Romans 8:28).

            Paul was called to be an Apostle.  His calling came after Jesus rose from the dead.  So did mine.  God placed him in is position.  God placed me in my position.  He spent time learning from those who had already been called; however his ministry began immediately. (Acts 9: 19:20).

            Look at your life.  What are you doing?  Looking for purpose?  You already have one.  God chose you, enabled you, and equipped you to do certain things.  What are you good at; what is your passion?  Those things are not a mistake or just a part of your personality.  It is your calling.   Do it unto the Lord, do it well, learn to do it better from those in Christ who have gone before you.  Submit your ways to God and let him lead you down His path, ask him to open your eyes just like He did for Paul.  God bless.

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Romans 15:1 TRUE LEADERSHIP

September 15, 2011

  Yesterday, I had to go and meet someone who had gotten lost on her way to my home in order to show her the way.  As I drove ahead of her, I kept the space between my car and hers measured so that she could stay behind me.  She was driving slowly and I would have to slow down to maintain the distance.  We were on our way when I heard the Lord say to me, “This is how to lead.” 

   In today’s verse, we are told that “We who are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak. — We ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others — and not to please ourselves.” (Amplified).

   Yesterday, we were told in the end of Romans 14 that although we are no longer under the law, we must be careful that our freedom does not cause another person to sin and we were reminded that whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

   So, the Lord showed me how I am supposed to lead:  by gauging the needs of the one being taught, and accommodating my guidance to their level.   I cannot teach a six year old the same thing I could share with a 20 year old.  It works the same in the Kingdom.  Jesus spent three years with his disciples, He lived with them, taught them, showed them, loved them and He knew who they were inside and out. 

   I must take the time to discern what the failings, frailties or tender scruples are in the person God has entrusted me to help.  I must take care not to be puffed up or pompous when I share with them.  I must take the time to know them and love them and only then can I be an effective leader.  In all of that, I must rely upon the Holy Spirit for guidance and take care to hear Him instead of me. 

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Romans 14:13-23

September 14, 2011

  Paul teaches in Romans 14:13 something that I think most of us today forget.  We know that Bible says we shall not judge one another, that judgment is for God, not for us.  Paul goes further here.  He says we shall not put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.  He further states in verse 15 that “if your brother is being injured by what you eat (do), you are no longer walking in love.”

  In this society, most of our conversation revolves around judging.  News commentators, radio talk shows, TV talk shows are all based on it.  Everyone has an opinion on everything and about everyone.  We are surrounded and inundated with judging.  It has become the acceptable mode of everyday interaction.  Once again, the enemy has secured his beachhead and we didn’t even see him.

  The point Paul is making; however, is about those who know who they are in Christ.  Those who know the freedom from the law, who are mature and understand that the Law no longer binds us, but that “the kingdom of God is not food and drink (laws), but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  What we forget it that each person is being conformed to Christ’s image on an individual basis.  Everyone is at a different level of faith and understanding.  God moves us from glory to glory. 

   We must be careful not to place a stumbling block in the way of another believer by our actions.  We must teach the truth with grace and watch our behavior.  Even when we know that certain acts are acceptable in our freedom from the law, our freedom must not lead another to sin. 

  Paul explains very clearly in verse 22, “The faith that you have, keep between you and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves.”  He then ends this discourse with “But he who has doubts is condemned…if he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” 

  Be careful of how you live and how you are perceived by those who are younger in the faith than you are.  Remember how long it took you to get where you are today and how much farther you must go.

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Fun With Flowers-acrylic simple art lesson

August 24, 2011

  As a reward to finishing the latest watercolor book cover jacket painting, I decided to paint an acrylic canvas work with large black-eyed susans.  I am not a floral artist and wanted to just have fun.  So, this is what I did.  First, I drew in the flowers with a pencil.   . 

 I then began painting in a base background of dark greens, cobalt blue, some crimson, and just kept adding colors haphazardly.  It was just mindless fun.

 In the next stage, I painting green lines, different colors of green and pseudo leaf shapes on top of the background colors. and then began to paint the flowers.  

 

 

Finally, I filled in the flowers with yellows, oranges and white, added the brown centers and finished it.  Outlined some of the petals with white so they would stand out.  

             And my silly, fun painting was complete.  A great afternoon’s fun.. 

     Anyone can paint!  Art is just expression.  Everything is not a contest.  And…the human eye sees what it thinks the picture is…detail is not required….Just have fun!  Thanks for joining me.

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Romans 13:8-10 LOVE ONE ANOTHER

August 17, 2011

Paul reminds us that all of the commandments are summed up with “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. He states in verse 10 that “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Jesus, in Matthew 22:38-40 tells us the same thing. In Deuteronomy 10:19 the Jews are told to “love the stranger” because they were strangers in the land of Egypt.

I too was a “stranger” before I met Christ and someone loved me enough to tell me about Him, pray with me and bring me into His Kingdom.

We are told by Jesus in John 13:35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The question is: does the world see us that way? When someone thinks of me, do they think, “look how she loves others!”

I know that, as I grow in the Lord and in recovery, I have grown to love and continue to move from one level of love to another. I am often surprised when I realize the depth of the love I have for people at this time in my life. Because I am being conformed to His image, I know that I will continue to grow in this manner. What a wondrous gift we have been given!

I, one who isolated, judged, and avoided others, now can see them, love them, and be of use to them and I know my heart isn’t full yet. I would never have believed this was possible before I surrendered my life to Him, the One who is love. Jesus Christ is the answer to everything.

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Watercolor Book Cover Jacket – start to finish

August 15, 2011

I haven’t posted in the “Artist Meanderings” category for a while.  I decided to share my latest project.  I was commissioned to do a painting for a Book Cover for John and Elaine Leadem’s newest book.  First, I drew the front and back pictures on  17″ x 11″ hard pressed D’Arches water color paper.   This way the painting is already the proper size for the book they are publishing.    They can be found at “leademcounseling.com/self-help-books. 

Once drawn, I used Windsor Newton Art Masking Fluid to cover the white paper where it needed to remain white.  It dries like a rubber coating and protects the underlaying paper from soaking in any paint.  Later, when the rest of the painting is finished, it will be removed so that detail can be added and white can stay white.  Watercolor painting is done from light to dark and, once painted, cannot easily be lightened.

After drawing, I soak the paper and let it dry a bit so that it will lay flat,  I then paint a layer of cobalt blue (very wet), and again let it dry more.  Then I coat it with a yellow in the same way and then with a red.  All are light layers and create a base of the primary colors.  Once the paper dries, they seem to disappear, but will hold the painting together as we proceed.

Because I already started the painting when I had this idea, we will have to move from the base painting.  I laid in the sky, water, and some background tree colors.

 Continuing to “build” the painting.I continue to completely wet the paper, add paint as it dries and then attach it to my backing with masking tape to keep it flat and once it completely dries, I start the whole process again.  Wetting, adding paint as it dries and letting it dry completely. After many, many times, I finally reach the point where I can start with dry paper, remove the masking fluid and put in detail.
 
The finished Product has the detail filled in on dry paper: 

Left side: back of book/ Right side: Front of Book.

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Owe No One Anything Except to Love One Another

August 11, 2011

Romans 13:8 & 10

             Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves his neighbor fulfills the law…love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

             In looking up what it means to “owe” the cross references refer both to debts and to collateral, to holding a security deposit.  I think here that Paul is not referring to a monetary debt, rather a spiritual or moral debt.  We are not to hold back from doing something good for one another.  When we love someone, we will withhold nothing from them.  We will go out of our way to please them, to help them, even to the setting aside of our own personal needs at times.

             I believe that we are not to let an opportunity to show our love to one another slip by.  God considers that a debt.  The Catholic Church calls it a “sin of omission”.

             I pray that my eyes may be opened to see what my brothers and sisters need and, if it is possible, that I might provide for that need.  Many in the church are hurting or in need of help.  If we would help one another the way we are taught by the Word, this present world situation would be of no consequence to believers.

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Romans 13:1-7 Governing Authorities Instituted by God

August 6, 2011

Romans 13: 1-7 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore, he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, those who resist will incur judgment….etc. 

I saw this yesterday and did not address it because I really, really didn’t want to accept this.  Paul goes on to instruct on paying taxes and giving respect and honor.   We are all “subject” to the governing authorities and must obey the laws or receive the consequences.  That part is understandable. 

I can accept this easily if I “accept” the leadership of our Country.  If we have a leader who is not of my persuasion, I surely don’t want to think of him/her as having been instituted by God.  However, I have learned through the study of the Old Testament that God places and uses ungodly leaders over people to accomplish His goals.  In Judges 3, He even says that he kept some enemies in their territories so that they could learn to do warfare!   

I surely pray more when I see the push from the ungodly.  So, I will respect the position, I will respect the authority that comes with it, and I will accept that everything on this planet has a purpose and will ultimately further God’s perfect plan. 

I think I will just keep my mind on God and the Kingdom and let Him sort all this out.  I will, however, continue to vote for and support leaders whose worldview is based on Judeo/Christian principles. 

Is. 26.3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusts in thee.

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Overwhelm Evil with Good

August 3, 2011

Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” 

  Since this passage in Romans is written to believers, I find it surprising that Paul refers to “evil” in the brethren.  The parallel passage in 1 Peter 3:8-9 expands on the thought:  “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”  1 Th. 5:15 also says, “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all

   One thing also stuck with me in the past few days, which is why I haven’t written.  If the Word tells us we can overcome evil with good…it has to be possible.  To “overcome” means “to conquer, master, suppress, prevail over, to surmount or overwhelm”.  Jesus told us that light dispels darkness.  So, why have we bought the lie of the devil that the darkness is too strong to combat?  Why have we just decided that these times are too far gone?  Why have we let go and given in?

   Christians are afraid of the ACLU and threatened lawsuits.  We are afraid to “offend”.  We have no backbones.  We allow ourselves to be overcome with evil and, for the most part, do not fight back.  Overcoming evil with good is not just to “pray for them”.  It is taking a stand.  What if the Apostles just “prayed about it”…Christianity would never have taken root at all.  And, speaking of darkness, Paul preached during Nero’s reign.

   Once again, I am disappointed in us and in myself.