"Holy Spirit, think through me till your ideas are my ideas." ~Amy Carmichael

" Holy Spirit, think through me till your ideas are my ideas.”

~ Amy Carmichael

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Way, The Truth, The Life - Bible Art Journaling


For me, the term "the way, the truth, and the life" pretty much covers all the bases in life. It speaks to me of living in the present with purpose and focus, getting back to my word of the year: AIM. I AM. As I have been reading in John, I am paying closer attention to the context of the words. The words of Jesus, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life..." come during the last supper in John 13, after Jesus washed the disciples feet, after he tells his friends that one of them will betray him and after he tells Peter he will deny Jesus three times. Bad news to say the least. I bet this wasn't the abundant life the disciples had in mind.


After serving his companions, leading by example, and giving two prophetic words, Jesus reminds his disciples of the key command: to love one another. At this low point, Jesus gently gives his friends hope and is sensitive to their pain as he gets ready to begin his own journey to the cross. 

He begins John 14 (NRSV) with, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also...I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.... The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves."

Then came my surprise, in the following paragraph. I knew the verses were in the Bible, but in my mind I never placed them in this context. Jesus was talking about their future empowered by the Holy Spirit. He says:

"Truly, truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father."   - John 14:12 NRSV


This context makes me look at verse 12 in a new way, considering what "works" mean. I've tended to think it meant mostly something done in the supernatural like healing or miracles. So I looked the word "works" in John 14:12-14 at blueletterbible.org. Strong's Concordance lists "works" as meaning work, deed, doing, labor. The bible usage of "works" refers to business, employment, what one is occupied in, an undertaking; any thing or product accomplished by hand, art, industry or mind; an act, deed, or thing done. The definitions would include healing and miracles like Jesus did, but it seems like the term "works" is much broader than I had considered. Now I see verse 12 saying: if I believe in God, in Jesus, I will, through the Holy Spirit's presence in my life, also humble myself and serve others like Jesus washing the disciples' dirty feet. I will tell the truth even if it is not popular. I will seek God to be glorified more than what would make me comfortable, and I will love those people around me. When I am faced with a path of suffering and sacrifice, I will give those around me hope to carry on. Wow! My definition of miracle is currently going through an adjustment, broadening because of this. For me to consistently live like that would be a miracle, a supernatural work of the Spirit. I certainly cannot live like that in my own strength. Jesus was doing much more than telling them he was the Way, he had also been living the Way, telling the Truth, and showing them how to live Life, the path from from life to death, to new life and beyond. He was asking them if they believe Him enough to follow Him, no matter what, and He was assuring them, they would not be alone and this was not the end. Extraordinary!


The message of Jesus, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" is hard to grasp, The visual expression is challenging as well. This symbol above is the Messianic Seal. I came across it and the meaning 11 years ago while searching to illustrate the "I AM" statements of Jesus for my painting thesis. This symbol, used today in Messianic Judaism and Christianity, includes the ancient Jewish symbol of the menorah, the earliest Christian symbol of the fish and the base of the menorah and the tail of the fish forming the Star of David. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Resurrection Power - Bible Art Journaling John 11


Reading the Bible and entering into the story makes the experience real to me, engaging my mind and emotion, capturing my imagination. This is one reason why I art journal. The process itself, helps me look at the little things in the text I may overlook in just reading of it. As I design, write, plan, paint etc. I pray, listen, and meditate on the meaning of the text. 


As I dig into John 11, the death and resurrection of Lazarus is especially relevant to me these days as I consider life and death. If you read my last post, you know I've related to Martha. I think we often underestimate her because of a previous story, but she had great faith in Jesus. I was also struck by something else this time as I read further in the chapter. In raising Lazarus when he was very dead, four days in a grave, while many mourners were there, Jesus was giving his people the chance to witness the power of God, victory over death itself. Many did believe, but some did not. It makes me ask why? It gives insight to the motivations of the people and challenges me about mine. In this story, I see God's desire for His people, His compassion, and find that comforting in the midst of my own questions and seeking.


"Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.'  Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again.' Martha said to him, 'I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.' Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?' She said to him, 'Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.'"                
- John 11:21-27 ESV


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Expressing Grief and Belief... A Tribute

I believed fully for healing and rejoiced in the good report. Then the news came. Leukemia was back... for the third time. I wrestled hard, angry, not understanding, grieving. When faced with this type of situation in the past I have tended to pull back from God, but this time, determined not to, I pressed in, coming to God with unguarded emotion and questions. Then finally crying out, "What do you want me to do with this?" Waiting. Then the still small voice to my heart. "I want you to be drawn so deep into my love, that you trust my love for you, for Darlene, for her family, more than you trust the outcome of your prayer." But how? Waiting. A heavy kind of peace settled on me and I sensed God taking my burden. I don't know how long I was in that presence, but my faith changed. I found myself relating to Martha, in John 11, when she goes out to meet Jesus after Lazarus had died and was put in the tomb. I said, "Lord, if you had healed my friend, Darlene would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him." Jesus is saying to me, "Your friend will rise again." I say to him, "I know that she will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus is saying to me, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" I answer, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world." (Personalized from the Bible, John 11:21-27 NRSV)

When I visited Darlene recently in the hospital, I asked if I could pray for healing. She said yes, and I prayed for healing each time I saw her, believing in the God who loves us, and leaving the outcome in His hands. During that same conversation, Darlene Carlson said, 

"I am surrendered, but I haven't given up." 


She also said she was at peace. Shown above, I put Darlene's quote into visual expression using a silhouette of mine I use often. I chose it because it seems like Darlene saying, "I am surrendered and have risen above my circumstances and am at home with myself."

Darlene Carlson, my Friend, full of Life!
Darlene is one of the most authentic and caring people I've ever known. By being transparent herself, she gave those around her permission to be themselves. In that way, Darlene set the tone for our friendship that began over 20 years ago. We shared honestly, had deep conversations, shared the joys everyday life in raising children, we voiced doubts, worked through misunderstandings, celebrated as family, were silly, and laughed uproariously.

Darlene, passed away last Friday. It is hard to to imagine life without her here. The surreal jumbled fog of grief washes over me now and then. I'm not unfamiliar with it. Each time a loved one dies, grief comes like the first time, taking me off guard all of  a sudden, in waves.

Another friend of mine, Mary George-Whittle who is a chaplain for elderly people, ushers 40-50 people into afterlife each year. Five years ago I asked Mary, "How do people die?" She answered, "I've found, people die how they live." That simple statement still challenges me to live well today with a view of eternity. Darlene did that.

With this last relapse of leukemia, Darlene made a list of who she wanted to see and what she wanted to say and then she did it. She didn't focus on her illness. Darlene was all about relationships. She said it often and lived it. Even in hospice, when I walked in her room, she would ask me the question she always asked, "What's going on with you?"

We carry each other's stories. How we carry them matters. Life really is all about relationships.




A remembrance written for Darlene in the margin space of my May 2015 calendar.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Like a Mighty Rushing Wind - Bible Art Journaling

It is true. All days are not equal. We wait, we wonder, and then something happens that changes everything. I see that happening in Acts 2 with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, which is the harvest festival, Feast of Weeks, 50 days after Passover in the Jewish calendar. The followers of Jesus gathered together:

"When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 
And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, 
and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues
as the Spirit gave them utterance."

- Acts 2:1-4 ESV


When I read about Peter's sermon, it gives me hope and I am amazed, that God speaks through ordinary people, with their own shortcomings, history, and gifts, and He makes them extraordinary. In our circle of people, sometimes we tease each other saying, "Your good, but what you just said is better than that. It must be God." We laugh and know we are at our best, and more who we truly are, when God is in us doing His good work through us. We are also better together. None of us have all the pieces to the puzzle or the answers. We need each other.


In his powerful sermon Peter quotes the prophet Joel. He speaks of us today:



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

When the Spirit Comes - Bible Art Journaling

It is a challenge to think of how to bring concepts in the Spirit realm out in visible form. On this page, the visual shape of swirls and whirlwind represent wind and the work of the Spirit. We cannot see the wind, just the effect it has on what it touches. That is the feeling I was trying to achieve here. I've been experimenting with deli paper and paint, and colored pencils lately. Also used a white pen to accent the large words and a bit of collage.


Jesus is talking:
"When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth,
for he will not speak on his own authority, 
but whatever he hears he will speak,
and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 
He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 
All that the Father has is mine, 
therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."

John 16:13-15 ESV

These Bible pages are the last verses in the book of John and the beginning of Acts of the Apostles. When I was in John 15, there was so much on those two pages, I didn't have enough room to highlight some verses that are meaningful to me, John 15:13-15. Even though the verses are a few chapters back in the book, it seemed like a good transition, both talking about receiving the Spirit. For me, the art on the left page also are similar to clouds, reflecting some of the mystery of the promise of the Holy Spirit and Ascension of Jesus In Acts 1:8-9. These verses challenge me, are mysterious, leave me wanting more, more of the awareness of the Holy Spirit's presence and power in my life, to experience more of God. 


"you will receive power 
when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem 
and in all Judea and Samaria, 
and to the end of the earth. 
And when he had said these things,
as they were looking on, he was lifted up, 
and a cloud took him out of their sight."

Acts 1:8 ESV


In 2010 I had an awakening to the Holy Spirit that I had not realized before. It changed my life and intimacy with God. I am so grateful. Now when I read the Bible, it is more alive, new, personal. 

There is a short chorus hymn that echoes the longing of my heart
 by Daniel Iverson, 1926:

"Spirit of the Living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me,
fill me, use me,
Spirit of the Living God,
Fall afresh on me."


The chorus was inspired by Acts 10, where Peter was visiting Cornelius and his household:

"While Peter was still saying these things, 
the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word."


As I turn the page in Acts and read of the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, I am in awe, humbled, and asking, what does this look like for me now? 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

An Artful Life: Art and Life Together...

It is said, "Art Reflects Life." I agree with that statement. In my experience, the more art I make and the more life I live, the more integrated my living and art-making become. Now, I cannot separate the two. Maybe that is what makes an "Artful Life."

Here are a few things that are a part of my current artful life:

I have a dear friend who has a relapse of leukemia for the third time. She has walked a hard road the past 8 years. As we talked the past week, she shared the miracles that have happened, the faithfulness of God. Amazingly, she clearly had the peace and hope only God can bring. Walking with someone through a time like this, I have felt at times overwhelmed by sadness, at a loss, hopeful, seeking, aching, praying for healing and peace. I am struck again that we can only live in the present and that is where God lives with us. He is meeting me where I am at. He is with my friend, always loving, always present. As I prayed, I doodled and wrote this card for my friend:


In the past month I worked on a commissioned prophetic painting for a family, friends in our community. I haven't done many commissioned prophetic paintings. It is one of those things I see myself as an assistant with, not the main person doing the work. I must rely on the Holy Spirit. With nothing in mind for the painting, I come to God and ask for His heart for the person/people I am painting for. It is a prayerful painting. Often the words come first as in this case. I took a day to listen, then to write down what I sensed was the answer. I looked up verses that came to mind in Scripture. The images for the painting grew out of that. For the painting part, I made a small painted sketch of the idea to scale for the larger piece. Then I met with the couple commissioning the painting. I also gave them a copy of what was written, which was the heart meaning of the painting. Here is the lovely couple and their new painting.


For me, there is nothing like the personal interaction of people making art together. This year is a growing year for me (taking new classes, reading, writing, teaching new things...) and I already see it is one of deeper integration of Art and Life. For a number of years, I have taught art classes in my studio in Hillsboro, Oregon (just outside Portland Oregon.) One of the joys for me is teaching the Art Journaling 2-day Workshop. It is fun and fast-paced. The group is small, limited to 12, so there is the positive personal interaction I value in learning and developing creativity. I'm consistently amazed by the creative energy and spirit that flows during our time together. There are a few spots left. For more information, click on this link to my website page: Art Journaling 2-day Workshop.


May you be blessed this day with abundant creativity in your Art and in your Life!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Celtic Knots and Council in the Night...

Sometimes, when starting a new art journaling page or Bible journaling,  I don't have a specific plan in mind, but just feel drawn to a word, theme, passage of Scripture, or a picture. Sometimes I just feel like doodling. I've been pretty focused and serious these days, so it's probably good for me to play and go with the flow, even in Bible Art Journaling. These pages were fun for me as I doodled, painted and colored.


The deep meaning in these verses did not come to me until over a week after they were made. Then these verses became very personal to my situation:

"I bless the LORD who gives me council; 
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, 
I shall not be shaken."

- Psalm 16:7-8 ESV

I had a dream and it disturbed me. Usually, when I dream, they don't seem important, but once in awhile I have one that seems very clear and stays on my mind. At first I had no idea what the dream might mean. I told my husband about it. He responded with one sentence that made me consider what the dream might be referring to. Then pieces started to fall into place in my mind like a puzzle. I looked some things up, and was amazed at the confirmation. I called two friends, whom I respect and asked them what they thought. They confirmed. It was a warning, a "heads up." As I read these verses in Psalm 16 now, I am so grateful to God for giving me council, instructing my heart in the night. He is at my right hand, so I will not be shaken. As I read the next verse written by the hand, Psalm 16:11, I see God is making known to me the path I should take, or not take. He is always with me and in His presence there is fullness of joy, and peace. 

"You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

~ Psalm 16:11


The Celtic knot reminds me of the path of life, interwoven, continuous. The circle in the middle is compass-like, representing direction for my path. 

The Bible Art Journaling Process:
I drew a sketch of the Celtic knot on graph paper while chatting with friends. Then I traced the outline onto deli paper and filled the bands with patterns. Later, at home, I put a coat of matte medium over the top, and painted it with fluid acrylics, cut it out, and glued it onto the Bible page. Then I traced around my hand on another piece of deli paper, doodled and painting it similar to the Celtic knot. After the hand and knot were glued onto the pages, I wrote the verses to the left of the hand and outlined Psalm 16 with a swirly line using a micron pen, then I added patterns, and colored in the loops and inside the line with Prismacolor colored pencils. 


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Resurrection Day! Bible Art Journaling

He is Risen Indeed!


This week I am focusing on Christ living, resurrected, alive today, in us and through us in the world. Living Hope!


The page was a bit messed up from the other side of the crucifixion story. Seems fitting in a way. In the left margin, I adapted an image similar to the worship painting I did last year in church for Easter service. I imagine myself in the place of Mary, seeking Jesus in the tomb, and am pondering the interaction.

Death defeated! An almost incomprehensible story of hope. The few verses in John 20:19-22 stand out to me as hope-filled peace for us:

"Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”  Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit."
- New Living Translation


Below I've posted my favorite music song video of the Easter story: "Forever" by Kari Jobe.


Happy Resurrection Day!



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bible Art Journaling - The Way of the Cross

Up until now I haven't actually painted directly in my Journaling Bible. Once again, Art is reflecting Life in the process I went through for these two pages. It begins with the process of risking, of letting go of the way I think life should look, and how I think my art should look.

Notice the green mark on the left. Accidental paint splotch or the beginning of some enhancing border? We will see.... that is for a later time.


If you've read any of my other Bible Art Journaling posts, you know word studies are meaningful to me. This time I got caught up in the story. I've read about Jesus' journey to the cross many times in the four gospels. This time, in John 18, I found myself focusing on the words and meaning like I normally do, taking in the identity of Jesus that was the cause of the accusations. I made the Celtic knot border with spaces for the words of Jesus' identity that was being argued.

Then came Chapter 19. Then the questions relating to my own life circumstances and relationships....



At first, I found myself relating to Pilate in the story. I felt compassion for Pilate's "no-win" situation, the pressure of the political climate he was in with Rome and the religious leaders, how he questioned, "What is truth?" and how he was torn to have a man crucified that he found guiltless. Also, I imagine the distress in his soul as he stood face to face, eye to eye with Jesus.

My thoughts then went back to the previous chapter where Peter denies Jesus, and the disciples were scattering. Fear, disappointment, questioning. Clearly, this is not how they saw things playing out in their life or the life of their Messiah. I consider their presuppositions about Jesus. I wonder about my own. I have had presuppositions about what God is doing, and have been disappointed and confused. I have been comfortable with the knowing Jesus is King, the Truth, Son of God, but not really embracing the suffering, and death. In reading the crucifixion story, I must remind myself that for the disciples, and for Jesus, it is pre-resurrection and ascension. It is a point of desolation.

It coincides with my own desolation. One of doubting if I heard God correctly in a situation, one of doubting God, of dealing with loss. Times like that I am tempted to numb the pain by watching an extraordinary amount of British television while drinking red wine and eating dark chocolate, doodling like crazy, and hope I eventually learn to accept the unacceptable. This time is different. I am intentionally pressing in to God, facing the pain, making time to enter His quiet presence, a place of not knowing, risking finding nothingness. It is during that time, I decide to paint in my Bible. Up until now, I have hesitated to paint in it or cover any words. Now it was an act of courage, faith in the process of not knowing the outcome, and trusting God that I couldn't mess it up. Instinctively I sensed it was part of my healing process.

After I had done the Celtic knot and lettering in the middle, I brushed a thin coat of matte medium on both pages and let them thoroughly dry. Then I cut two strips of brown painted paper and glued them on with matte medium. I wrote the words in the margin in pencil and then went over them with Pitt a black pen. Then I spattered Quinacridone Crimson fluid acrylic paint on the page, and spritzed it in a few spots with a mister filled with water.


It was a point of no return, and of freedom for me. It reflects the pressing into God, taking time to ask God the hard questions, get angry, grieve, wait. I asked God, "What do you want from me? I waited. I chose to worship, singing like a bird in the dark. Awhile later, I sensed God speaking to my heart, " Be with Me, in Me, to such a degree that no matter what happens, I am enough. And because I am enough, and I am in you, you are enough." Nothing is impossible with God.

Jesus asks me to take up my cross and follow Him. To me that means death to self. Death to presupposing upon Jesus, while still hoping and clinging to Him, not turning away, but trusting that all things really do work together for good to those who love God. Following and trusting that life follows death, and that resurrection is just around the corner.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Board Book Blessing Number 3

Our third grandchild turned two. It's exciting - so much growth and wonder to celebrate. I feel blessed to be able to spend time with him each week.


As part of the celebration of each of our grandchildren's life, I make a Board Book Blessing. On one hand, it is a simple alphabet board book. On the other hand, it is personalized with their individual name, including their middle name, and a bit of heritage about their last names. Also, I like to put the meaning of their name and at the end I write a life blessing I ask God for, specifically for each one.




Happy Birthday Caleb! I Love You!






Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Continuing to be Present with my Word for 2015


I began to wonder if the word for 2015 wasn't quite the right one for me, AIM. I felt myself floundering a bit, not sure what to aim at. Being led to John 15 in the Bible, the word "abide" kept jumping out over and over as Jesus tells his disciples, "abide in me." 

When I looked up the meaning of "abide" in the verse on the online Bible reference www.blueletterbible.org and the definition in Google, I found that Abide means: to continue to be present, to be held, kept continually, to live, to remain as one. The text, imagery of the vine, and the meaning of the word abide inspired the artwork and lettering in the left margin of the Bible page.


I read a number of versions of the text on biblegateway.com and wrote the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of John 15:4-5 in the margin below the artwork, where the word Abide is used five times. 

"Jesus said, "Abide in me as I abide in you. 
Just 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. 
Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, 
because apart from me you can do nothing."


When I reread the verse now with the deeper meaning of the word, I personalized the text and put the meaning in place of the word to gain more insight into what the text means for me. Here is the example:

Jesus says to me,
"Continue to be present in me as I live in you.
Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself 
unless it is kept continually in the vine, 
neither can you unless you are continually held by me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. 
Those who remain as one in me and I in them, 
bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing."

-adapted from John 15:4-5

Then it hit me, one of those "Aha!" moments. AIM is also an acronym: Abide In Me. No more doubting about my word for this year! I am to aim at abiding in Jesus continually this year. In asking God for further insight, I asked, "Why not the word Abide?" Then I realized why. It is harder for me to have courage and take steps of faith than it is to be still. Aim is an action word. One cannot hold the aim for long without shaking, losing focus, or strength waning. It requires intentional focus, then the action of pulling back and releasing. I am more grateful for my word this year that challenges me to abide continually with God, take aim, and release. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Everything has Become New - Bible Art Journaling


"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: 
everything old has passed away; 
see, everything has become new!"

- 2 Corinthians 5:17 NRSV


I love that! It is possible to become new, a new creation, have a new beginning, a resurrection of life! It is so hopeful... and then I find myself asking, "How?" 

Immediately following "the new has come," 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, "All this is from God..." I think this is the key. A miracle really, of transformation. Verse 19 goes onto say, 

"in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, 
not counting their trespasses against them, 
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation." 


Yes, I believe "Jesus paid it all." He made it so I could come forgiven and reconciled to God. It's nothing I have done. Jesus saved me. 

"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, 
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 NRSV

Reading in the following three verses I find the word "reconciliation," or a version of the word, used five times. It must be important and relevant to becoming a new creation. So I Googled the definition using www.merriam-webster.com  and looked up the verses and word reconciliation in the online Bible reference:  https://www.blueletterbible.org/

It is rich with meaning. The root for "reconciliation" means: exchange or adjustment.  Through Christ my sinfulness was exchanged for His righteousness.

Reconciliation means restoration. I am restored to who God made me to be. A butterfly perhaps :)

Reconciliation means divine favor. That makes sense to me. "All this is from God...."

Reconciliation is  atonement, at--one-ment, being one with, reconciled to God.

Jesus died and was resurrected so I might live and be one with him. This is good news!

Out of gratitude, my mind goes to, how could this apply to my relationship with others? What does it mean to reconcile or be reconciled with another person?

I looked up reconciled and reconciling. The root word  means: "to change mutually." (Strong's G2644)

To me this points out the difference between reconciling and forgiving. Forgiving can be done individually, but reconciliation takes two to "change mutually." It takes an agreement to come together to restore friendly relations and bring together again. It is harmony, which takes two to "sing." One of the most interesting definitions I found was that reconciliation is "the process of finding a way to make two different ideas, facts, etc., exist or be true at the same time." This requires holding of paradox, such as: even though I mess up God still loves me and delights in me as His chosen child. As His child, I have the choice to embrace His love; to change mutually.


Recently, I over-reacted in a conversation to a topic that came up. Later, I wondered why. I asked God, "What was that about? What is really going on with me? Why did I over-react? I waited. Then it came. It wasn't about that situation at all. It was about something that happened about 15 years ago, and the present situation triggered a strong negative emotion inside of me. When that happens, I know there is some inner work I need to do. I hadn't even thought about it in years, but there it was. I needed to forgive someone for the betrayal from years ago. This is where I know even forgiving someone is a gift from God, not something I can do on my own. God is so good, and wants me to be free, so we worked through, prayed through, shared with a helpful friend, forgave, let go, and now I am free. Does that mean I will reconcile with the person? It might in this case. I am willing. Because reconciling means to change mutually, it is not always possible. Being reconciled to God through Christ is always possible, and for me it is the place to start reconciling with others. The old passes away, making way for a new relationship!






Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Loving Out the Fear ... Making Me Brave


I've never thought of myself as brave, even though that is what my name means, valor. In the last post, fear being loved out was the theme. Abiding in God's love is what I am to AIM for, the cure for fear. AIM is my word for this year. In this journal page, I continue to express my word of the year and my spiritual journey through art. I love music that makes me see pictures, and also have a song for this year: "You Make Me Brave" by Amanda Cook. When I first heard it, I could see it and knew it was the song for this season.


If I were to pick an album for this year, it would be You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music. We bought the CD and DVD version. It it one of those where seeing it enhances the hearing of it. I highly recommend it! Here is Amanda Cook singing You Make Me Brave in the YouTube video below.





Abiding in God's loving presence is the key for me in life's journey.
It's sinking in deeper, that I am a child of God, and can be free from fear because God loves me. 


Below is a new song by Jonathan and Melissa Helser from the new Bethel Music, We Will Not Be Shaken. It is a powerful statement of being a child of God, no longer a slave to fear. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Love that Throws Fear Out ... Bible Art Journaling

What if I experienced God's love so fully that that there wasn't any room for fear? I wonder what that would be like?


Fear cannot just be thrown out, ignored, let go. I've tried, and know I cannot do away with fear on my own. I've tried to trust God, work hard, but so many times I have acted or reacted out of fear and self-preservation. The verse, found in 1 John 4:17, states,

"There is no fear in love, 
but perfect love casts out fear..."




For a number of weeks now, I have been contemplating the thought of perfect love casting out fear. Recently, the idea came to me in a new way through a sermon by Rob Davey in the series, the Father Heart of God: https://sites.google.com/site/jubileesolihull/home/podcasts. In his sermon, Rob Davey makes a point that helped me see the verse in a way that hit me profoundly:

Fear cannot just be cast out. Fear has to be loved out.



It is perfect love that throws fear out. It is only God's love that can give me the ability to truly let go of fear. This has led me to dig deeper into 1 John 4:15-19, longing for more love, more of God, no fear.

I am using the online Blue Letter Bible and Bible Gateway as my reference libraries for these verses.

In 1 John 4, the word "love" appears 27 times, 3 times in verse 18. Here, love is defined as "affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love." I looked up perfect. It refers to "wanting nothing necessary to completeness, mature." These definitions of "perfect love" tell me God's love for me is full of affection and feeling, lacking in nothing, complete.

Next I looked up "fear." It means, dread, terror, that which strikes terror."  Fear is the opposite of love.

The new revelation for me came when I looked up the meaning for "casts out,"  (G906 in Strong's concordance). It means to throw, to pour out, or "let go of a thing without caring where it falls; to give over to one's care, uncertain about the result." WOW! So does this actually mean that experiencing this perfect love would enable me to face the thing that strikes terror within, and entrust the fear of it to God to the extent that I no longer care or need to know the result, because I experience God's love for me so deeply, so completely? How is this possible?

I look further into the context of the passage. In verses 13-16 the word "abide" appears 6 times, referring to abiding in God and His love. It means "to remain, to continue to be present, to be held, kept continually, to remain as one, to wait for." I am literally taking that to mean:

I am to remain in the love of the Holy Trinity,
I am to continue to be present in God's love,
I am to be held in God's love,
I am kept continually in God's love,
I am to remain as one with God in His love,
I am to wait in God's love.


That is how: God's love for me, in me, abiding in me. Please may it be so God! This kind of love is experiential. 1 John 4:16  (NRSV) says,

"So we have known 
and believe the love 
that God has for us. 
God is love, 
and those who abide in love abide in God 
and God abides in them." 

The word "known" (or know in other versions) in the verse above means: to learn to know, feel, to become known, to understand, to become acquainted with, and to know intimately as a husband and wife. The word "believe" is an intellectual faith, to think to be true, to commit to, to place confidence in, to trust God is able. I have "believed" for many years, and now in recent years, I am beginning to "know." I want to know God more, to love more...


"We love because he first loved us."

-1 John 4:19

Bernice Hopper is leading a 5-session study based on the sermon series above that includes art journaling the Father Heart of God