Spiritual discomfort, being stretched to new limits and unknown territory is an alarming experience, whether you are a "seasoned" Christian or one who has just discovered Jesus as your Savior. Jesus himself taught that "new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved." Wine skins in bible times were goatskins. They used new skins for fermenting new wine so that over time as the wine went through its aging process the skins could adjust to the process of the chemical change by slowly stretching making room for the wine's maturation. If they had put the new wine in old, used skins, the skins would have burst because they were not pliable and flexible to handle the pressure of the wine aging process. Similarly, when God calls us to "new horizons", be them a first call to living a Christian life or a tenth call to serve in a missionary capacity, we need to remember to put on "new skin" so that we can be flexible & pliable to handle the pressure of the change, opposition, criticism, second-guessing, and temptation to backslide that may come along with "new horizons". And remember that it takes time for "new wine" to become "good wine"(see John 2:1-12).
Beautiful song on YouTube about this topic: New Wine by Hillsong.
"Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved." Matthew 9:17
Our winter and early Spring rainfall was above normal, but we have had no rain in weeks. So I try to give my thirsty plants a drink every other day. It's amazing how parched, tired, and wilted they become if they fail to receive a regular sprinkling of that precious water. We are no different in our need for regular drinks from The Water Fountain of Life. If we do not regularly seek His presence, read His Word, Pray for Guidance, serve His Purposes, we, too, become parched, callous, impatient, fowl, tired, wilted, and basically Lifeless for His Kingdom Work. Seek Him first. Drink from the Living Water daily, if not hourly, minute by minute. Refresh your Soul. Then offer a drink to another. We are all so very thirsty.
"...but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14
In the Garden is one of my all time favorite hymns. Gardens are quiet places, contemplative and serene. Places to listen and be heard. I recently read a devotion entry written by Teresa of Avila about the Garden and wanted to pass it along because it expresses perfectly how I feel about this topic...
"When you enter into the spiritual life through the gateway of prayer, you would do well to see yourself as one who has set out to create a garden. This garden is a place wherein out Lord wants to come and walk and take pleasure. But just now, the soil is barren--except for the places that produce plots of weeds. His Majesty wants to uproot the weeds and plant in His garden many fruitful and fragrant blossoming plants. You may take it for granted that the Lord is already afoot, walking in His garden, if you have any desire to seek Him in prayer, for He always calls to us first and it is His voice we hear when we think it is our desire to pray. If we want to be good gardeners of the new-sown soul, we must, with God's help, see to it that the good plantings are tended and grow--and I am speaking now of godly virtues. At least, we must see that these good things are not neglected and die. Rather, we tend our souls carefully so that the first blossoms appear. These are the spiritual "fragrances" that begin to rise from our lives--the fragrances of faith, goodness, self-control, love, and the like. By them, many, many others are refreshed in spirit and attracted to the Lord. Then the Lord, Himself comes to walk in the midst of our garden. And it is all our joy to sense that He is there, taking pleasure in the lovely virtues." (from The Blue Book by Jim Branch)
Weeds and backsliding go hand in hand. It takes daily attention to control them. They pop up when and where we least expect them, but, with God's help, they are controllable, and eventually are not so difficult to overcome. Then you can spend more time enjoying the blooms from the good plants you've cultivated.
Another "Garden" song I love is by Kari Jobe, called "The Garden". If you would like to listen it, go to:
2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are perishing.
I recently posted this image on Facebook asking, "What do we have here?". Art has the wonderful capability of being whatever the viewer sees it to be or makes them feel. I think that is why I love art, both viewing it and making it. Creating an image that means something different to each viewer is fascinating. Think about how fascinating we are to God, who created each one of us uniquely individual, yet with a broader "big picture" design in mind for our purpose in community. "For You formed my inward parts:..." Psalm 139:13 This art image is actually a zoomed in/close up of a "part" of a much larger painting. Looking at just a glimpse of the whole you see textures, layer upon layer of color, and different brushstrokes that are very abstract (which by the way is a fun exercise to try when looking at art anytime-seeking art inside of art!). God's creation is no different. If you teach yourself to see creatively, you'll find art inside of art everywhere. Even in yourself. You'll discover layers("like an onion"-thank you Shrek!) if you look close enough. He is a God of detailed parts and expansive wholes.
"I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well." Psalm 139:14
Daily Glory Glimpses Blog www.janefnewman.com
In a few days I am heading out on an adventure. Being accepted to the Bayou City Arts Festival in Houston, Texas is humbling for me since I will be among 299 other artists, as well as vendors, who participate in similar venues regularly. Usually an attender to similar environments, I am a "newby" to the vendor side of arts festivals. I really have no idea what to expect, but I am excited and feel God led to go there. I feel honored to be able to share the "Glimpses of Glory" that the Original Creator and Master Painter inspires me to capture with brush and paint. My cup overflows with gratitude for this opportunity.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
Daily Glory Glimpses www.janefnewman.com
This little guy is a workhorse. He may be very old and made of materials that today's manufacturers would never choose, but we can always count on him to help us with difficult loads that we just can't carry on our own. Sounds like a sermon and a challenge from the Holy... :)
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
Daily Glory Glimpses; future posts from the 30in30Challenge will be posted on my website only. Go to www.janefnewman.com then click the desired tab to view. Comments welcome:)
I am challenging myself to paint a painting each day in the month of June. 30in30Challenge. The painting time will be limited to 2 hours and the subject can be anything I see God's Glory in. These will all be small paintings. Some will be the worst representation of Glory you've seen, but we are not perfect and God still loves us, so... Let the Glory Glimpsing begin!
"...for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness. ..." Lamentations 3:22-24
www.janefnewman.com Daily Glory Glimpses Blog
When a door closes the hope is that a window might open elsewhere. That is what I am looking forward to for the future. Today was the last day for an open studio class I have held on Tuesday's for the past couple of years. I know that I am a much better painter after my time spent with these students and it is my hope that they feel the same way about their own experience. Just like how "the old church choir is singing in my soul"(Zach Williams), I hope the students have a strong base to take with them as they continue to paint and grow as artists on their own, with the basic elements of painting "singing in their soul". And find joy in their journey.
"Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me,..." 2 Corinthians 2:12
Some things that happen here on earth are not explainable, incomprehensible, unclear, out of focus, blurred. Tragedies that we just cannot wrap our minds around. There will be a day when we will understand, but it will not be on earth. My heart weeps for the Florida families that lost their children yesterday, and for the troubled young man who took their lives.
"For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim[blurred] reflection, but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly,..." 1 Corinthians 13:12
Daily Glory Glimpses go to www.janefnewman.com
We witnessed the miracle of Lazarus at church this past Sunday. One of our own who has been seriously ill for several weeks, so ill that many times he was thought not to see the next day. To the joy and amazement of our little congregation, he came rolling in the narthex door and down the isle a little ways to be in worship again. We have missed him so. He usually sings in the choir and quite frequently blesses us with a solo. This Sunday though, it was music to our ears just to hear his meek but present voice expressing his gratitude for our prayers on his behalf. And that is what our congregation has done when we didn’t know what else to do. We wrapped him in the “strips of linen” that are our prayers. Prayers that God’s Love would wrap around him for Peace, Healing, and Hope. His effort to be in worship on Sunday wrapped us all in the “strips of linen” that as believers, we are meant to experience as the body of Christ, our Church. Wesley Memorial UMC. HOPE Point.
"…Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’” John 11:43-44
(The drawing above was created by a 10yr old student during one of our lessons together. Yes, I said 10year old!)
Glimpses of Glory go to www.janefnewman.com to view work.