Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Freedom

I've been listening to a new (for me) song a lot lately. And it just so happens that it goes along with where we are at in my church as we work through the gospel of John. The song is "Dawn to Dusk" by All Sons & Daughters and here are some of the lyrics:
Lord as we turn to you
Come free us from our sin
We only have today
So let us now begin

Dawn to dusk we're waking up
Dawn to dusk we're waking up

Tomorrow's freedom is today's surrender
We come before You lay our burdens down
We look to You as our hearts remember
You are the only God You are our only God

So, the line that really gets me is "Tomorrow's freedom is today's surrender." 


We have been in John Chapter 8 the past few weeks, where John shares Jesus' words about freedom:

"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." John 8:31-32

Now, Jesus is speaking here to the Jews who He really didn't feel fully believed in who He was. It is interesting to look at the Greek words used in this verse. Hold is the Greek word "meno" which has such deep meaning. It means to continue in, remain in, to abide in. It's the word Jesus uses in John Chapter 15 about fruit remaining or abiding in the vine, a metaphor Jesus uses for our union with Him, The Greek word for teaching in this verse is "logos" which means word or message and is even used by John for Jesus Himself as in John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." and and John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." So what they are really to remain in is the words of Jesus and in Him - in who He is. So, in John 8:31-32, Jesus is saying that those who hold, continue, remain in, abide in Him are promised two things: they will know what the truth is and that truth will set them free. But what is it that He promises to set them free from? A few verse later in 8:34, Jesus says that "everyone who sins is a slave to sin." so it would appear that Jesus is referring to being free from the bonds of sin. And thinking about that takes me over to Romans 6 where Paul says, "You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." (6:18). This leads into a wonderful passage in verses 19-23, which describes our freedom in Christ so well! Let me just highlight a few parts of it: Paul urges us to offer the parts of our bodies "in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness", reminding us that "when you were slaves to sin you were free from the control of righteousness...But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, you benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." On the surface it would seem that exchanging one slavery for another is not really freedom at all. But the paradoxical nature of life in God's kingdom turns slavery into freedom. It seems that the more we surrender and submit to God and to His ways, the more freedom we actually experience. And that's where the line in the above song comes in. It describes the paradox so well. We would naturally think of surrender as giving in and giving up in negative terms. But God calls us to surrender to Him and in so doing we find true freedom - freedom to live for God, freedom to live in His power and glory. 

If you want to dig in a little more about our freedom in Christ read the following verses - and read all of Romans 6! Romans 8:2; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:1; James 1:25.

I have started a small journal in a sketchbook of quotes, a lot of them from song lyrics like the one above and this one:

From "Come as You Are" by David Crowder

Enjoy your week and walk in the freedom that is only found in Christ!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Choose Your Lens


August brings with it a new theme for the Take Me Deeper devotions at His Kingdom Come. Our theme this month is about gratitude. This month we want to dig in a little deeper and look at being thankful as a way to focus on God and change our perspective on life and circumstances. The theme this month is very personal to me because it is the journey God has had me on for the past few years. God has used gratitude and focusing on His blessings in my life as a way to pull me up out of burn-out. He has given me opportunities to choose to change the lens I look at life through: I can either let circumstances dictate how I view God or I can choose to look at life through God's lens - through prayer and dependence on Him. Our devotions this month are going to focus on the impact that thanksgiving and gratitude can have on how we view life and circumstances. Philippians 4:4-9 will serve as our guide on how our view of life's circumstances can be turned around and lead to joy and peace in the Lord. Join us! Take Me Deeper is a weekly devotion and faithart group.Joining is free at his-kingdom-come.com

I was inspired by Kathy Shaull, one of the HKC ambassadors, who has been doing a theme each month for her devotion inspired art pages. I made two sets of background pages so that there would be a theme running through my devotion pages,





The set with the circles was done by painting onto my 4:inch circle Gelli plate. I liked the texture the brush strokes made when I stamped onto the background page. The second set of pages were made using book and magazine pages with pieces of painted and gessoed paper scraps. I chose this second set for my August pages and will use the other set in a future month. And here is my first page for the month:

I didn't use a verse from the Philippians passage on my page but this verse from 1 Thessalonians really sums up well the choice to view life through God's lens - rejoice, pray, give thanks in all circumstances.

May you choose to see God's blessings in your life this week and make time to make art!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

National Coloring Day

There is a holiday for everything! Today is National Coloring Day. Have you heard about how crazy adults have become about coloring? Our local paper even wrote an article a few weeks ago about the popularity of adults coloring and the stress reducing benefits this hobby has. In the His Kingdom Come store we have a few coloring books featuring Bible verses. 
Sample from the Creative Call coloring book

A painted sample from one of the HKC members
Over on the His Kingdom Come blog there is a free coloring page you can download today in celebration of National Coloring Day. You can also view more colored pages from some of our members in that blog post. If you visit HKC foundation team member, Bernice Hopper, on her blog she also has a free download of a coloring page made with ideas from her current class, The Promised Land, and altered book class. Enjoy your Sunday!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Inspiration

Artist's are often asked where they get their artistic inspiration. I have read so many answers from a variety of artists, including some who say that inspiration has nothing to do with it, rather it is a matter of simply building a practice of making art every day. I personally need inspiration. I have written in the past about how I can get a spark of inspiration from simple things. Things in nature especially inspire me as I reflect on God's Creation. But even things as simple as a pattern in wallpaper or the shape of an architectural feature can spark my inspiration. One of the most important things I have learned about myself, and especially the artist within me, has been discovering how closely connected my emotional energy and my time spent connecting to God through His Word and prayer are for my artistic inspiration. When either of those two things are out-of-whack then my artistic inspiration is also and I experience dry times. So, for art, as well as other aspects of my life, I have been learning that I need to constantly work on and adjust my rhythm or pace of life in order for me to maintain a healthy me - emotionally, spiritually, and artistically. I find a vicious circle at work in times when I have not kept balance to my emotional and spiritual pace and health: because I am drained of energy I struggle to create, and I create and play with art as one of my ways for emotional balance and to restore emotional energy. This is one reason why I chose {renew} as my word for this year. Learning what renews my energy has had a significant impact on my journey out of burn-out and this year it feels like that journey has gained upward momentum. So, I have been praying for God to renew some of the areas of my life that were affected the most by the burn-out I experienced in the past few years.
In July for Take Me Deeper, the weekly devotion and Bible study at His Kingdom Come, our theme has been honor. I really connected with some of the verses in the book of Revelation that point us to giving glory and honor to God, so those verses became my theme for my art journal pages to go along with the devotions. Another theme popped up as I made my pages - leaves. I usually do my pages one at a time each week, but I had had a spark of creative energy and decided to make my page backgrounds in one sitting. I selected my passages and I made my pages for the whole month all at the same time. I'm going to show them all together...and spoiler alert: Even though this Friday is week 5 of the July devotions, I am showing my art journal page for that day early in order to show them all together. 






The leaves didn't end up on every page but seeing this theme emerge made me think about how leaves really symbolize renewal for me. I love Spring. It's the season of renewal. I love to watch the trees daily become full as the leaves grow. There are so many shades of green in the Spring. The world is fresh and new again after the cold, gray winter. So, it seems that leaves make a perfect symbol for my word this year.


In the past week I've had the pleasure of finding out that I have been inspiration to others in their art. Valerie Sjodin mentioned that she had been inspired by posts about my use of circles on my art pages, You can see her art here. And then the other day I got a note from Leigh Ann Napier that she had mentioned in a Facebook post that she had made a piece of art inspired by one of my sunburst collage pages. Leigh Ann used her sunburst collage to make a vision board for her family's values. Here is her piece:


Inspiration is one of the main reasons I decided to accept the invitation to be a part of the foundation team for the His Kingdom Come community. I wanted to be a part of a group that inspired others to go deeper in their relationship with God and to express that faith through creativity. I hope you connect with the things that inspire you this week,

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Commonplace Quote 7.9.15

A weekly peek inside my commonplace notebooks.


"Commonplacing is the act of selecting important phrases, lines, and/or passages from texts and writing them down; the commonplace book is the notebook in which a reader has collected quotations from works she or he has read. Commonplace books can also include comments and notes from the reader."  {From "Commonplaces: An Introduction" by John Hilgart and Van Hillard}
Other definitions:
  • A book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use.
  • A notebook in which you enter memorabilia.
  • The recording of words and ideas in a commonplace.

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