Friday, October 02, 2015

Paint Party Friday: The Joy of the Lord!

In my last post I showed the pile of hankies and cloth 
I tied up in rubber bands and other stuff like sticks.
Here I am dying it.
In the next post, I will put pictures of what I have come up with.
It's been raining though and I have not been able to dry what I have dyed!!!

"His faithful promises are your armor and protection." Psalm 91:4

If our lives were in danger, and we are asked, "Are you sure God will save you?", what will we answer? My answer would be a resounding yes! That no weapon formed against me would prosper! (Isaiah 54:17) Not that I would remember the exact bible verse which I just googled right now, but I do know I can stand on the promises of God. I'm almost 60 years old, and I can say that my whole life, I have lived in the shelter of the Most High and the shadow of the Almighty.  He alone is my refuge, my place of safety. He rescues me from any trap and protects me from the plague. I need not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor fear the dangers of the day. I need not dread whatever stalks in darkness nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Psalm 91 goes on with many more promises, and in the Bible, there is so much more to claim. 

 I know that my security lies not on myself, nor my husband, nor the money in the bank. My security is in God and His promises. God did not promise to bless me and protect me because I am good, but because He is faithful and because He loves me.  But God always gives us a choice. We have to choose to claim His promises. We have to choose to listen to Him.  We have to choose NOT to listen and follow the enemy.  Sometimes God does allow bad things to happen. These may be a consequence of our actions, or it may not be. But if we stay trusting God, He will be sure and bring us through the dark valleys. Father, Your Word and Your promises are true. Help us to always trust in You, even during those times we do not understand why You are allowing things to happen to us. Help us to always stand on the the rock of Your word, and to believe Your promises. 

 "The joy of the Lord is your strength!" Nehemiah 8:10

Ezra the priest read the Book of the Law aloud from early morning to noon on a high wooden platform, even to the children old enough to understand.  Then he and other priests interpreted God's Word to them, helping them to understand.  The people started weeping as they listened. Perhaps they felt guilty, perhaps ashamed that they were not obeying. Perhaps they felt God's overwhelming love. Why do we cry when we read God's Word and understand it? 

Then Nehemiah the Prophet said, "Don't weep on such a day as this! Go and celebrate, share gifts of food with those who have nothing. This is a sacred day before God. Don't be dejected and sad, for the JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH!" Then the people went away to eat and drink a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they heard God's Words and UNDERSTOOD them."  Two things. One, to hear and read God's Word, and to understand it, is something to celebrate. Joy is the fruit because God's Word is a seed planted in our hearts and it will bear fruit in due season.  Two, when we celebrate and eat good food, we must share with those who have nothing to eat. When we have parties, we must not forget the people God does not forget.

O Lord, thank you for the gift of Your Word. May I never take it for granted! Your word is my delight. May it find a place in the fertile soil of my heart so that Your joy will be my strength.  May I also remember those You love, those You do not forget-  the hungry, those in prison, those who are sick, the widows and the orphans. May I do what I can, where I am, with what I have. Amen.


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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

WOYWW: Of Shibori and Angels and Walls in Need of Rebuilding

 This is what's on my desk this morning.
I am trying something new!
Ever heard of Shibori?
Last night I stayed up till 10 pm
(really late for me!)
because I was tying up some cotton hankies and t shirts.
Later today, I will dye it.
Crossing my fingers I do it right!!!

 "I prayed to the God of heaven and then answered the king..." Nehemiah 2:4

I did not know much about Nehemiah, but when I read what he wrote, I really admired him.  He was the cup bearer of King Artaxerxes, meaning he made sure that the king's wine was not poisoned by drinking it to check it.  When he found out that the people back in Jerusalem were having big problems because the walls were torn down and the gates burned, he wept.  For days he mourned, fasted and prayed. How many times have I done this for my people, for my country, even if I know, we need so much help from God? Never! Most of the time I criticize our leaders, bemoan their lack of vision and get frustrated about the state of our country!

In the 2nd chapter, the king with the tongue twister name asked Nehemiah why he was so sad.  Instead of answering the king right away, Nehemiah stopped to pray, THEN answered the king.  Because of this, the king allowed Nehemiah to go join his people in Jerusalem. The king even wrote a letter to his forest manager to provide timber for the gates, the fortress and Nehemiah's house.  But when Nehemiah started his project to rebuild the walls and the gate, there was so much opposition. Again and again and again, Nehemiah would pray! The laborers would work with one hand, and hold a weapon with the other! Such was the danger they faced! But in spite of their enemies, the wall was finished in 52 days. Then the people held a solemn assembly. They fasted, the Book of the Law was read aloud to them for 3 hours, and then they confessed their sins. After that they dedicated the new wall of Jerusalem with songs of thanksgiving.  

O Lord our God, here I see how You answer prayers, even big prayers! Next year we elect a new President, Vice President, and other leaders. Instead of criticizing or losing hope, help us to humble ourselves, pray and seek Your face, confess our sins and turn from our evil ways. Then You will hear from heaven, and forgive our sin, and heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
 "The accuser of our brothers is cast out..." Revelations 12:10
In chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation, we are in the middle of a war with a horrible red dragon with 7 heads, his tail big enough to drag down 1/3 of the stars, and we know how big the stars are!!! There's a woman about to give birth, and the Archangel Michael and the angels under his command beat the dragon and his cohorts and they get thrown down!!! Well, no wonder we are in so much trouble here!

In verse 10, it says that this dragon, this ancient serpent, this Satan, accuses us day and night, and it is only by the Blood of the Lamb that he is defeated. If we've ever felt unworthy, defeated, hopeless, guilty, insignificant, overlooked, unloved, unimportant, we know where that mean voice comes from. It is from the devil and his minions, who seek to destroy us. He knows, if we ever know the truth, how important we are in God's eyes, how loved and precious, he will be nothing, even here on earth. There is a spiritual realm around us, more real than this earthly realm with tangible things. That is where the eternal battle for our lives is being waged. We have to arm ourselves with eternal weapons- the Word of God and the Blood of the Lamb, or we will lose to the enemy who so desperately wants to win, that he prowls around us like a lion looking for the chinks in our armor.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WOYWW: Never Lose Hope!

This is my desk today.
Quite absurd really, if you think about it.
There is more stuff on it than space for working!!!

 I needed to draw Ezra the Prophet from the Bible.
He is in anguish because the Jews are are disobeying God.
Couldn't find a man in anguish, so I used a woman.

I thought that today I will show the steps for anyone 
who has the inclination to paint on their Bible.
I just use ordinary acrylic paint, 
and as I am too lazy to mix paint, I buy them in different colors.

This is flesh, which I find so hard to mix!
Sometimes I mix in Acrylic Glazing Liquid
so the paint becomes translucent
as it is a personal preference that I can 
still read the words on my Bible.

After painting the flesh, I paint the blue so as to give time for the flesh paint to dry.

When the paint is dry, I use "Territorial Beige", a darker flesh color
to make the shading.

I add shading on the brow, the side of the nose, beneath the headdress.
I usually look at the picture to see where to add shading.

I use two brushes- one filled with paint,
and a second brush to remove the excess paint.
I brush over the dark paint so that there is no clear line,
and the paint fades away.

I painted Ezra's beard gray.
Actually I looked in the Bible for an indication of Ezra's age and could find none,
so I just made him old.
After all, for a man with a lot of responsibility, 
if he was young, he would have gone gray in no time!

After shading, I used a brown pencil to outline,
ad also add details- for instance the creases in the eyes,
and nose, the folds on Ezra's headdress, hair on the beard, etc.

So here's Ezra the Prophet.

"For slaves we are but...He has turned the good will of the Kings of Persia toward us." Ezra 9:9
If there was ever a people who could have claimed to be abandoned by God, the Jews could be that people. But only when you look at their history from the eyes of men and unbelievers, seeing how they have been exiled and exposed to evil men's whims several times. In the Book of Ezra, which was written by the Prophet in the 5th century B.C, the Jews are returning to Palestine after they have been held captive in Babylon, part of the spoils of war for decades. King Cyrus of Persia issues a proclamation that God appointed him to build Him a temple in Jerusalem! What an unlikely instrument God chose for His purposes!

It just goes to show that we must never give up, never lose hope! God will find a way for His purposes to be fulfilled- in our country, in our family, in our business, in our neighborhood, in our church. Wherever. He will even use the most unlikely people, unlikely events or timing! We just need to trust and to wait with hope!

 I rejoiced when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Psalm 22:1
I was very excited when my mom said we were going on a Pilgrimage to Europe. Not only would we go visit Assisi and San Giovani Rotondo, Lisieux, etc., we would also see the Eiffel Tower again, the Louvre and Notre Dame. If we get excited to see places in Europe, or in other parts of the world, how much more would it be a thrill to go to the house of the Lord?

Indeed when my mom died last year, it was very difficult for us. But we also knew she was leaving us to be with the One who loved her first and the One who loved her best. We all have that to look forward to. Death for us should not evoke fear or anxiety, but joy!

Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!

I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:


Monday, September 21, 2015

Why Matthew?

 "What reason can the Teacher have for eating with tax collectors and those who disregard the law?" Matthew 9:11
What possible reason did Jesus have for eating and drinking with tax collectors, these scum of the earth who betray their own people?!!!! This was the question posed to the disciples by the Pharisees. Obviously some of them had a high regard for Jesus. They called Him teacher, they listened to Him preach in the temple. Some even asked Him questions. But it puzzled them that He associated with the likes of Matthew the tax collector.
I like what is written in The Word Among Us today: "What did Jesus see specifically in Matthew that led Him to call him? How would this self-centered tax collector help Him bring about the Kingdom of Heaven? What specific gifts did He bring?

 "Maybe Jesus saw that Matthew had a stubborn persistence and persuasiveness. It can't have been easy to squeeze money out of people on a regular basis! Maybe it was his education; some people believe that the Gospel that bears Matthew's name is the most finely crafted and best written of them all."
Like Matthew, we too have gifts and talents that God sees because He is the source of it! He wants to call us, to use us, to accomplish His purposes through us. Are we open and willing like Matthew the tax collector to get up and follow Him?

 "If anyone wishes to rank first, he must remain the last one of all and the servant of all." Mark 9:35
Remain. That's the word that struck me in this passage. Being a servant should not be a one time thing. Being a servant, a helpful follower, an assistant, is not a role we put on today while we are at church or in our parish, and then relinquish when we are at work. Jesus told His disciples this because He noticed they were disputing about which of them was the greatest. Which of them was the most important, number 1, the top honcho. While reflecting on this, of course I realize how I am just like one of the disciples. I may not argue with someone about how important I am, but my actions will show how entitled I think I am. It can be depressing to think that after years of reading the Bible, and studying it, and meditating on it, the world has such a grasp on me that I cannot say I am the servant of everyone else!

Jesus continued teaching the disciples saying that, "Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes Me, and anyone who welcomes Me welcomes the Father who sent Me." This does not seem connected to the first teaching, but it is definitely connected to what Jesus says in Matthew 25:31-46. Here, Jesus clearly says that when Judgement time comes, those who gave food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, hospitality to the stranger, food to the barely clothed, those who visited the sick and the imprisoned, shall receive the inheritance of Jesus' Kingdom. It is certainly a good "investment" to work on being a servant ALL THE TIME!

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