This little guy, for me, is a fitting metaphor for the times we are in the midst of. His title is, “Unemployed”. He is and has been patiently and obediently waiting for the time when he can once again be put back to work. Only, when that time comes, the return will be with more enthusiasm?, energy?, excitement?, or even a whole new job and usefulness altogether?. We shall see what is to be. Soon.
“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. …” Jeremiah 18:1-6
Daily Glory Glimpses Blog
"And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus." Luke 24:2-3
Daily Glory Glimpses
These days of “lock down” during the COVID19 pandemic seem like someone has “locked the door and thrown away the key”! Days and weeks going by for what “seems an eternity” with no official end in sight. And that predicament is reality at this time in our world, but it is not Truth for True Eternity.
Today is Good Friday. And because of what we remember happening on this day over 2000 years ago, we are not locked out! Christ Jesus, the Son in the Holy Trinity, was crucified in our place. The Door opened Eternity. The Gate is unlocked. His sacrificial Act was the Key that opened the Lock. Now the Gatekeeper opens the gate to anyone who accepts His offer to enter and enjoy His Sweet Pastures. Its indescribably beautiful on His side of the Gate! Are you longing to follow the sheep that are grazing there? What are you waiting for?!
“But he who enters by the Door is the Shepherd of the sheep. To Him the Gatekeeper opens. … I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and go in and find pasture. … I lay down My Life for the sheep. …” John 10: 2-3, 9, 15
Daily Glory Glimpses
I am on an adventure to seek-out Glimpses of God’s Glory in a 30 day/30 paintings challenge. It is joyful anticipation to find a subject to paint on a small canvas each day. Some of the “scenes” so far have been obviously beautifully inspiring like: clay flowerpots kissed by the rays of the warm spring sunrise, or photos taken last Mother’s Day of table centerpieces of red roses and pink tulips in green glass mason jars, or my neighbors abandoned, rusty, vine covered, metal mailbox. Some days it has been more challenging to find subjects to paint though, due to the many everyday housekeeping tasks that beckon outside of what I have come to refer to as my “Pandemic Confinement Therapy Painting”. But believe it or not, even drudgery tasks like dishes, laundry and trash can make for some interesting subjects to capture on canvas.
I recently posted 3 of these daily paintings on Facebook just for fun with the hope of bringing some giggles and lightening the air a bit. A close friend commented that “…you can take laundry and garbage and make it beautiful with light, now there is a devotional.” She speaks Truth!
These everyday tasks (as well as being quarantined in our homes for extended periods of time) can be anything but beautiful when they are viewed or experienced in darkness, or drabness. It can all weigh us down. But catch a glimpse of sunlight streaming in through a window falling across a laundry basket piled with soiled clothes and instantly they are worthy of capturing with oil paint. Likewise, when we seek God in the midst of things that aren’t so pretty, even ugly sometimes, He will always show us something beautiful and it is as if He has shined a bright Light on the grayness. Bestselling christian author and motivational speaker, Ann Voskamp, puts it this way, “The secret Joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.” (One Thousand Gifts, 2010)
The “secret Joy” can be that laundry means your children are safe at home, dishes can mean you had enough to eat, and taking out the trash could mean your chores are completed for the day.
Seek His Light in all things and He will be faithful to Shine even in the darkest places.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:25
This surreal situation we find ourselves in due to the worldwide pandemic of the novel Coronavirus offers all of us the opportunity to slow down and reflect on the Ground we stand on. If we are actually doing what we have been asked to do, and staying at home to work, school, and exist, we have a lot of time on our hands that we are unaccustomed to. We can find that boring, frustrating and anxiety ridden, or we can embrace it and take advantage of the opportunity to spend the extra time doing chores that have been put on the back burner of procrastination, embark on a new activity or hobby we never had time for before, and best of all catch up on reading, including God's Word which will keep our feet firmly planted. The Scriptures are packed full of of reassuring verses that have stood the test of tribulation since time began.
Many of us are really struggling with anxiety about the unknowns of the coming weeks: "Will I catch the virus?", "Will a loved one catch the virus?", "I've been laid off or have lost my job because of the virus, what does the future hold?". Lots of questions and not many answers because this is an arena that our country has not faced before, "unknown stomping grounds". But, if you have built your life (your foundation) on trusting that the Lord will provide, and He will never leave you or forsake you, you can experience Peace during this time, so that you don't feel like you are being drug under by the quicksand.
In addition to the pandemic, here in the south, we have also experienced much rain, flooding, and even Tornadoes. But we have witnessed testimony of those who experienced the most devastation proclaim that their foundation was the Rock. The Rock Who is immovable in any situation. "On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!". I'm striving to put my trust in the Rock, so I can keep on rollin'.
I always ask for lemon with my sweet tea. It adds a bit of sour to the sweetness and the combination is pretty satisfying. But to get the zesty citrus flavor into the drink the fruit has to be pressed and squeezed. I imagine it is uncomfortable for the lemon wedge, but it changes the beverage experience into something beyond average.
Have you ever heard the quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life.” I have come to know Truth in these words. The more difficult a project or task, the more fulfilled I am upon its completion. I think the same is true when we are asked to endure difficult circumstances and tragedy. The way we choose to let the situation affect us can define our joy or our misery. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” (Elbert Hubbard ) When we are faced with adversity and misfortune it can sour us or we can choose to endure by His Grace and sweeten the journey. Oswald Chambers said it this way, “The burden God places squeezes the grapes and out comes the wine.” I choose lemonade, wine & sweet tea with lemon:)
“Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you…” Psalm 55:22
The photo above is just a portion of the painting titled "Sweet Tea with Lemon". To see it in its entirety visit my website www.janefnewman.com or stop by In Town Gallery.
Daily Glory Glimpses Blog
As I get older the less and less I enjoy driving at night. I guess my eyesight is not what it once was(not that I have ever had 20/20 vision). In the daylight I can see what's ahead and make decisions about the next turning point or destination to aim for. At night I have to count on those reflector lights embedded in the road to keep me in the lane or better yet the tail lights of another traveler in front of me headed in the same direction. Sounds like a message to me. I read a devotion recently that was encouraging those of us who are on this Christian journey to learn again the simplicity of being a Christ follower, just let Him take the lead. Don't try to decide your next turn or destination on your own. Those tail lights are my reminder to just follow His lead because He knows where I need to go and would never lead me to a wrong turn. Pray. Listen. Read His Word. Trust. Follow.
"I am the Light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness but have the Light of Life." John 8:12
This large painting is en route to In Town Gallery on the North Shore in Chattanooga, TN.
Title: Beetle Art; 6feet x 3feet; Acrylic on Canvas. Visit my web sight to see more.
When I was a kid there were craft kits you could buy for making “leather” wallets, purses and name tags for labeling your stuff, like a luggage tag. The kit came with cut-out pieces of “leather” that were hole punched around the periphery of each piece, and you were provided lengths of thin plastic string that you whip stitched through the holes in the “leather” pieces to assemble the object you were crafting. I recently came across one of these “leather” luggage tag gems at an antique store attached to the handle of a vintage suitcase. I was immediately transported back in time to fond memories of this craft activity, usually anticipating the creations as Christmas gifts for loved ones and friends.
Recently I completed a series of paintings inspired by this jolt to my crafting reminiscing and delivered the set of three canvases to Reflections Gallery yesterday. They are titled The Get-Away Series, Art That Moves. If you have the chance to visit the gallery look closely at the one titled, Week Away. You’ll see one of those plastic string stitched “leather” luggage tags attached to the handle of the vintage travel case image. Attached to its owner’s bag for decades making sure nobody gets it confused as belonging to someone else.
Those who confess Jesus as their Lord are tagged as belonging to Him, but not with a leatherette, plastic stitched tag that can unravel and fall off or get wet and the ink smudge. “They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their forehead.” Rev. 22:4 Our “luggage” tag is forever permanent and it has His name written on it. So no one else can claim us. Additionally, He has our name tagged to Him. “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16 He will not forget us. Double security.
Daily Glory Glimpses Blog
The Get-Away Series, Art That Moves arrived at Reflections Gallery September 16th. Visit in person or check them out on my website www.janefnewman.com
"Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever." Psalm 28:9
The above image is 1 of 3 in a new series of paintings titled, The Get-Away Series, Art the Moves, headed to Reflections Gallery September 17th-November 12th. Visit my website to view more or even better, stop by the gallery before they "move on". www.janefnewman.com
Daily Glory Glimpses Blog
...cont... The title of these latest pieces is BookMarks: A Library of Line, Shape, Value, Color & Texture. You would think the subject prompted the title, but actually it was the paint application technique that dictated the name. These canvases are images created exclusively using MARKS. By choosing tools that echo the size and shape of the desired details, the marks made next to other marks create the illusion of stacked books. The paintings are very realistic but at the same time they are very abstract depending on the viewer’s position. If you get "up close and personal" with the canvases all you will see are lines, shapes, colors and textures(the basic art elements), from a distance they are hyper-realistic renderings of time-worn volumes.
This paradox reminds me of our Omniscient, All-Knowing, All-Wise, All-Seeing, All-Powerful, Loving-Unconditionally, Merciful, yet Personal, Approachable, God! He creates our every detail as if knitting us in His hand with a magnifying glass, ("For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14); and knows who we are without hesitation when we come running, especially when we have distanced ourselves from Him, (“So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20).
Click on the Daily Glory Glimpses Blog tab for past posts;
Click on the Sneak Peek tab for more information about the BookMarks series.