Friday, 20 September 2019
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Mathew 6:34
While typing this out I ended up having a bit of a chuckle. Following thirty-three verses about not worrying at all, about trusting God to take care of us and all our needs, Mathew closes with this acknowledgement that there will be worries after all.
Or maybe I am misinterpreting this passage. Is Mathew actually telling us that because we worry, it is necessary for us to do a day to day, moment to moment surrendering of our worries to God?
Hmmm…That actually makes sense. If we give over our concerns today, they won’t be there tomorrow.
So maybe that’s the most important lesson to take from this. Mathew is clearly telling us that we will worry. It is part of our broken nature. I feel it is what we do with this worry that is the lesson here.
What’s the line? There I go but for the grace of God. (I didn’t know where this line came from so a quick Google search has it originating in a quote by 16th Century reformer John Bradford. It’s not verbatim but still captures the idea.)
It’s so easy to get all twisted around, worrying then worrying about worrying…(smile) worrying about a seeming inability to trust God.
So here’s the thing, trust takes practice. Vanquishing worry takes a determined effort to identify the issue, assess whether or not it is something to be concerned about, then, be it a big or a small worry, give it over the Lord who is more than willing to shoulder our burdens.
You know something? He can also show us how to handle whatever needs handling that caused the worry in the first place. That’s an extra special gift.
Lord, forgive me for being a woman who worries about everything, even stuff that isn’t on Mathew’s list.
(Another smile at my own foolishness.)
May the peace that surpasses all understanding be with you today. AMEN!
Monday, 16 September 2019
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24
Once again the seeds of an idea are at the forefront of my thoughts. It’s not a new idea but one that has been present before. In fact, almost every time I sit and create a visual prayer, I feel led to teach others how to do this, “The Art of Prayer.” I have yet to obey but been very adept at finding reasons for it not to happen.
Every one of them is fear based. So let’s break these fears down.
I feel woefully inadequate to do this ministry. It’s not the same as teaching someone to draw or paint. There’s a whole other level involved which causes me to be extremely cautious. (Ha! Terrified is more like it. The “what if’s” are having a grand ole time stomping confidence into the ground.)
1. The biggest stumbling block is the lack of training to be a therapist, a counselor or a minister. I have had training to be a peer support worker… now where did I get the idea I would be responsible to fix everything? This would be a peer group with God and faith in Jesus Christ as our common foundation. We would be a small community who could be there for each other as the art, as God, speaks into our lives.
The answer: Many of the skills I have learned about group facilitation can be utilized like creating a comfort agreement, doing check ins at the start and end of each session. Oh, right, this isn’t a secular group so oral prayer can be a key component of the whole process.
2. I would have to allow people into my home; a home I have kept as my personal sanctuary when it is mine only by the grace of God. (Forgive me, Lord.)
The answer: It’s time to lose the isolation habit, something else whose season is finished…at least once the renos are complete. (Smile. Is that another excuse?) I will have adequate space to host a small group. If it’s bigger? I can get one of those small folding tables. If it gets too big? I can always ask to use someone else’s home. Space is not an issue. Not one bit. I could even start the ball rolling now. All I need to do is find someone who would be willing to host the group. Or maybe that’s putting the cart before the horse…it would be wise to run this idea past the church leaders then see if anyone is interested.
3. It’s expensive. (Snort.) That nasty tosses God’s ability to provide for all my needs right out the window. The answer: I could draw up a list of basic supplies and everyone could get their own. One of those art kits with a variety of tools, a decent quality sketch book, some glue sticks and scissors would pretty much cover everything. And if it doesn’t, God will provide. I can always ask around for things like old magazines and so forth.
Let's end this with a statement of bold confidence...I have served my apprenticeship under God for this ministry since the first moment I became a believer. The life experiences, even before I knew Him as Lord, has fully equipped me with the necessary skills. That’s good enough for me. It’s time to put into action where the heart is leading. AMEN!
PS. Thank You, Lord, for first and second and third and a million chances to get it right.
Saturday, 14 September 2019
“Those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” Psalm 91:1-2
The seeds of an idea to create a visual representation of Psalm 91 ended up being an image with words drawn from almost every Psalm. I skipped over the ones calling the fury of God onto the Psalmist's enemies. Occasionally, two Psalms are represented by one line that has been repeated. Space was at a premium in the 8 1/2 x 11 page.
The fields in the valley have been planted with God's promises.
The sky words are those that glorify and describe Him.
I think that's all I am going to say this morning. Smile. When a picture paints a thousand words and a picture contains a "thousand" words there's nothing more for me to add.
I pray this image blesses you, dear readers, a thousand fold as much as it has blessed me in creating it.