Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Merry Christmas Message - from God's heart to yours...



Emmanuel.  God with us.  Always. 
You are never alone, for He is here...

Jesus was born -
with everything He needed to live a holy life, to defeat Satan, to bring salvation, to bring healing

        - to His people.

A precious newborn boy contained all the power needed to change the world.
A tiny baby was the greatest threat to the enemy's plan that the world would ever see...

So - remember...
No matter what you are feeling today -
No matter where you are today -
No matter how long you have been a Christ follower -
                                                          - a day
                                                          - a minute
                                                          - a year
                                                          - a lifetime

You are more than a conqueror; Who is in you is greater than who is in the world.  You have all you need - to do what you must do and to be what you must be...
 ...because...

the power present in Jesus at His birth is also in you, at work to fulfill His purpose for you.

Take heart.
Breathe Him in.
Be at peace.
 


Monday, December 9, 2013

What I've been working on since we've been offline -


We went for a nature walk on Wednesday, before the storm and cold weather came in...
and the ice made a nice backdrop for the collection! 
The bluish tint comes from the ice, and I thought it made a nice natural touch...

Sun bleached acorns, cedar berries, oak leaf - digital painting

mistletoe, sun-bleached acorns with insect drilled holes, oak leaves

cedar branch with berries, sun-bleached acorns with insect drilled holes, mistle toe, flaming sumac pod
cedar branch with berries, mistle toe, sun-bleached acorns with insect drilled holes, wooly lambs ear, flaming sumac pod, loose berries from cedar and flaming sumac

sun bleached acorns with insect drilled holes and cedar berries

digital painting of oak leaves

Add caption

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Still here and a couple of Christmas Freebies...{repost}

December is always full, Christmas, Thanksgiving has just passed, and two important family birthdays - and for the past 30 years even more so - ever since our youngest son was born on December 17th!  So we have been busy...I am continuing on with the "Wilderness" posts, but for the moment I am giving myself "permission" to practice sanctuary, contemplation and gentleness as we have prepared and celebrated and now more preparations!

But I wanted to pull these freebies from the past into the present so you could enjoy them once again...



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanks be to God!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I will rain down bread from heaven...Promises for the Wilderness #18


Israel's third test came exactly one month after they left slavery in Egypt (the account is found in Exodus 16) - but there is still evidence of the "slave" mentality; that conditioning of blindly accepting what only the eyes can see (and then perception altered so that what is really lack and leanness is redefined as abundance). They still haven't developed the "son" mentality that knows it can go to their Father with requests and needs and desires. 

It is always His inclination to "rain down on us" all that we need...

He allows the nation to become hungry - to allow them to see His provision.  When they KNOW they are hungry, do they look towards their Father in eager expectation; or do they look to their own lack and experience fear and frustration?   

What is it that I do, when I am hungry...hungry for ~
love, 
attention, 
 acceptance, 
recognition, 
peace, 
or ___________?  

And when the people I look to, expecting them to meet my need, do I grumble against their "failure" instead of recognizing it wasn't their place to give it to me at all?

We can see in Exodus 16 some traits of slave mentality:
  • grumbling
  • longing for the old life when things get hard in the new 
  • speaking out against earthly authority
  • expectation that our most basic needs will not be met even in the face of incredible evidence that contradicts such thinking
  • an inability to see beyond the temporal and embrace the spiritual
The children of Israel complain against Moses and Aaron without even once speaking to their Deliverer in prayer...yet God knows this heart condition.  He has delivered them at the Red Sea, He has cleansed them at Mara, and allowed them to rest in Elim.  Now it is time for the work to be "proved" and the wilderness journey reveals they still haven't learned to lean on Him in trust.  And they grumble.  But it is God's desire to rain down blessings on them...and He gives them the tangible bread of heaven because He wants to lead them to the intangible Bread of Heaven...

...and He teaches them that He will always given them more than enough for each day, 
and He will always give it every day...

...not just the nourishment for our bodies, but the deep nourishment our souls are hungry for...

He commanded the clouds above And opened the doors of heaven;
He rained down manna upon them to eat And gave them food from heaven.
Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance.

 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, 
but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.  
For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
 
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 
They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; 
for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, 
and that rock was Christ.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. 
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, 
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 6:35


"Rain down on me, my Jesus!
Let my hunger always be for You." 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I am the Lord who heals you...Promises for the Wilderness #17

The second wilderness test (Exodus 15):  refining...
Processed with two layers of Kim Klassen's 1111-unscripted at "overlay" blend mode.


After seeing the army of Pharoah defeated by the Lord at the Red Sea, the small nation travels for three days in this wilderness, led by God Himself.  He is leading them to the beauty and provision of the palm grove of Elim, but it is necessary in God's plans that they pass by Marah on the way...

It is at Marah that the test comes - this is the first water they have come to since the Red Sea, and they need water.  It could be that the nation has been fasting for these three days, but we don't know for sure.  If they had been fasting, they are at the end of the human body's ability to survive.  The water at Marah feels necessary, but it is bitter...

How many times do we drink from the cup of bitterness, believing it to be "necessary"?
How long have we pushed down* feelings of anger, fear, worry, stress because we haven't been free to express these strong emotions? 

The "root of bitterness" defiles.  In other words, it corrupts what it touches, making it "unclean" or "unholy".  God has called Israel to be a holy nation, but He knows the years of slavery have produced roots of bitterness in their hearts.  If left hidden, these roots will continue to spring up and hinder their spiritual growth; for us today, that means that the springs of living water that flow out of our hearts when we are saved would become bitter from the root of bitterness if left untouched. 

But the bitter waters of Marah are made sweet by a simple tree being thrown in...a picture of the work of the Cross. When we bring our hurts, angers, fears, etc. to the foot of the cross, the place of death, the intense emotions can be released, the original wounds healed, our memories neutralized, they become part of our testimony and can become a source of encouragement to others having experienced the same things, instead of continuing to spread defilement in our lives and those around us.

Here at Marah God issues a command and a promise; the verse says it is a form of testing - of "proving" or "assaying".  Think of this type of testing as a refining, a cleansing of impurities...the new nation was out of Egypt, but Egypt has to be cleansed out of the nation. 
"If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you."                                                                 Exodus 15:25
 
Modern medical research has confirmed that bitterness is the source of many physical, emotional and behavioral problems. (See here and here and follow the links).  Tho' modern medicine gives good steps to forgive and reduce our bitterness and stress, only obeying the Lord's command here carries the promise of "none of these diseases".

After the work at Marah, the Lord finishes leading them to Elim where there are 12 springs of water and 70 date palms.  Here they can rest.  God has accomplished all that is needed for the Israelites to move ahead in their journey with Him...He has delivered them from slavery, and has healed them.

This camp at Elim is a beautiful picture of the Sabbath rest that God intends for His children. Simply put, the symbolism** of this place at Elim is an Old Testament type and word picture that encompasses these two New Testament truths:

 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"  John 7:38
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellenc,... 2 Peter 1:3-8 

The wilderness is a place the Lord has prepared a place of rest.  And as we journey, it is by His design that we be released from bitterness, receive healing, and learn to live stress free as we develop trust in His provision.  I want that...how about you?

* The word "bitter" is derived from another meaning "to press; press down".  What a good picture of how bitterness develops - by pressing down emotion that really needs to be expressed appropriately!
(This is the needed work of so much counseling!)

** 
There are 4 symbolic numbers designated as "perfect" numbers when it comes to Biblical types and symbols...3, 7, 10 and 12.  This one verse contains each perfect number, reinforcing the idea that there is nothing to be added to what the Lord has provided.

Palms represent "flourishing" (and more!)
Seventy is another combination of two of the perfect numbers, 7 and 10. Hence 7 x 10 signifies perfect spiritual order carried out with all spiritual powerNothing is lacking; the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete. 
Twelve is a perfect number, signifying perfection of government, or of governmental perfection.  In other words, fully under the Holy Spirit's control/rule.
Springs refer to the flow of Holy Spirit life coming from our inmost being after receiving Jesus as Savior.  It is a life that cannot be constructed by one's own power, but comes from a deep, unseen source.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Lord Will Fight for You...Promises for the Wilderness #16


The first wilderness test:  Opposition from the "world"


While peace, comfort, and security are promises the Christ assures us are part of our new lives in Him, it isn't always evident at first.  The journey out of slavery, through the wilderness struggle of becoming "new" - or the wilderness journey of being refashioned "anew" again and again - and emerging in the place of being able to "take possession" of our promised land, is awash with lessons to be learned; and these lessons help us to take off the cloaks of false identities we have wrapped around ourselves so that we can receive the mantle of our true identity through Christ.

In the Biblical language of "types and shadows", Egypt is a "type" which represents our old lives before salvation.   The first test occurs when they are barely out of "Egypt"...the ruler of Egypt (a type of Satan) begins to pursue the Israelites with vengeance - even to the point that the children of God cried out in despair that it would have been better to remain as they had been - slaves in Egypt!

Awareness can be frightening at first.  The territory of the unknown is frightening.  Old ways haunt us; old friends or habits seem appealing because at least that is familiar.  We cry out and it doesn't seem that God hears because we are so frightened...hear what the Lord says through Moses:

Perhaps it is the roar of Satan through old friends and family that are furious at you for your new choices, and the harsh words pouring over you seem like an army in pursuit...hear what the Lord says through Moses:
“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians (the cravings, the familiar old ways, the pull of the old life, the anger of others about your new choices)* you see today you will not see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
The children of Israel needed to hear comfort from someone else.  They weren't chastised for being new in their journey with God, but comforted by one who knew Him intimately.  Who can you call on to give you sound and Godly wisdom?  Call them when the opposition of the world seems to be too much!

*the underlined words are my additions

Thursday, November 7, 2013

You shall remember...Promises for the Wilderness #15


Endurance, testing, miracles, strength, a sure faith in the Lord's care...these are just some of what we learn in the wilderness...

There are tests in the wilderness - specific circumstances designed to purify our hearts and strengthen our confidence in the Lord's care for us and to give us understanding so we can encourage others in their wilderness journey...those are the things coming in this series...it may be hard, but His Presence will still be with us!

I don't know the source of the following information, but I received an email years ago with it, and I have hung on to it as a reminder of the miracles in the wilderness.  I hope you enjoy it!  (I totally understand why manna was the Lord's choice of food!)


MATHEMATICAL MIRACLE
 
Moses and the people were in the desert, but what was he going to do with them?  They had to be fed, and feeding 2 or 3 million people requires a lot of food.  According to the Quartermaster General in the Army, it is reported that Moses would have to have had 1500 tons of food each day.



Do you know that to bring that much food each day, two freight trains, each a mile long, would be required!  Besides you must remember, they were out in the desert, so they would have to have firewood to use in cooking the food.  This would take 4000 tons of wood and a few more freight trains, each a mile long, just for one day.  And just think, they were forty years in transit.



And oh, yes!  They would have to have water.  If they only had enough to drink and wash a few dishes, it would take 11,000,000 gallons each day, and a freight train with tank cars, 1800 miles long, just to bring water!



And then another thing!  They had to get across the Red Sea at night.  (They did?)  Now, if they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would require 35 days and nights to get through.  So, there had to be a space in the Red Sea, 3 miles wide so that they could walk 5000 abreast to get over in one night.  But then, there is another problem….



Each time they camped at the end of the day, a campground two-thirds the size of the state of Rhode Island was required, or a total of 750 square miles long…think of it!  This space just for nightly camping.



Do you think Moses figured all this out before he left Egypt?  I think not!  Moses believed in God.  God took care of these things for him. 



Do you think God has any problem taking care of all your needs?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Lord is concerned for us...Promises from the Wilderness #14

How precious this verse is!  How relieved the Israelite slaves must have been to know they were noticed, "seen" by their God...the Scripture even says, after Moses and Aaron spoke to them:

...so the people believed, 
and when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them 
and had seen their misery, 
they bowed down and worshiped.

He had seen their misery.  He knew and was now beginning to move on their behalf, exactly as He had fortold their patriarch, Abraham.  The word from which "He had seen" is translated, "raah", means "to see, consider, to experience, to observe, to look intently, to search" to name just a few.  In this phrase, the Israelites realized that He wasn't ignoring them, that they were not forgotten, but that He was intricately involved with them.  

"Raah" contains a powerful word picture; it is part of one of the names of God, Jehovah-Raah, The Lord my Shepherd!  

This deserves a Selah moment...

The Lord has been closely attending to the development of the nation, even if they hadn't seen, as a Shepherd tends His sheep.  

Not only that, but He called forth a shepherd to lead the people out of the wilderness of slavery and into an encounter of intimacy with Him...

Feeling prompted by the Spirit (and always enjoying a good search for a word's meaning), I wondered what the word "Goshen" might mean...I was anticipating maybe something like "pastures in the wilderness" or some similar thing.  But, even better, it means "drawing near".

Another Selah moment...

But it is good for me to draw near to God:
I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
that I may declare all thy works
Psalm 73:28

 How blessed is the one whom You choose
and bring near to You to dwell in Your courts.
We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,
Your holy temple.
Psalm 65:4

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him...
Psalm 145:18
How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/drawing-near-to-God#sthash.EbW0JZOi.dpuf
How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/drawing-near-to-God#sthash.EbW0JZOi.dpuf

And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt (out of slavery, out of the land of Goshen)*, 
you will worship God on this mountain.”
Exodus 3:12


The time of "drawing near" comes to an end 
when we find ourselves at the foot of the Mountain of the Lord, 
or in His courts 
in a state of worship...Selah


*Parenthetical thoughts are added by myself

Friday, November 1, 2013

Before they call, I will answer...Promises from the Wilderness #13

Love this quote by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes...


Exodus Chapter 3 is where the encounter of the  burning bush and God's call/recall to Moses is found.  Moses is at the backside (KJV), the far side (HCSB), the west side (NASB) of the wilderness.  Not only is he in the wilderness, but he is so deep in that he is really as far away from where his calling is as possible.  It is there that he comes to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God.

Horeb is the lower summit of the two peaks that make up the entire mountain of Sinai.  The name "Horeb" means desert, dry, wasteThe wilderness isn't a place of total barrenness.  There is pasture and water in the wilderness, as well as sparse, rocky and dry areas - that is why vast flocks of sheep and cattle are shepherded in these places.  It is open, a place that is yet unclaimed. And just so we don't mistake that Moses is still in the environment of the wilderness and not some lush oasis, the writer makes sure that even here, at the mountain of the Lord, "Horeb" is used as the correct description of where God is speaking to Moses...because we need to KNOW that He will speak to us while we are still in that waste place, He doesn't wait for us to "get to the right place" or to "pull ourselves together"...He speaks to us right where we are...

It is here that Jesus appears as a consuming fire to him. But not until He knows that Moses is paying attention.

40 years have passed since Moses fled Egypt.  He isn't longing to leave this wild place according to the text, but seems to be at peace serving his father-in-law (whom we saw was a type of Jesus).  Has he really learned to be content in all things, as the Apostle Paul later wrote?  Had he stopped hoping for his destiny, and was only living out the remainder of his days "stuck" in the wilderness?  Did he believe (hope?) God was ignoring him due to his poor choices years before?  Was his heart crying out "I know there is more for me than this?"  Had he stopped asking God to use him?  Did he know that God still watched over his every breath?  Did he know he was constantly in God's presence, that there in the wilderness, there was no place he could flee from it?  We aren't told for certain, and it is in these possibilities that we can find our own stories...

When Moses has noticed the marvel of the bush that burns but isn't consumed, that is when Jesus calls to him.  And this calling isn't the "still small voice" that Elijah heard and is preached about as the way the Lord usually speaks into our hearts...this calling cannot be mistaken!  It is a calling out, a cry, a loud sound!  It is a summoning, a proclaiming, a commissioning, an appointing, a calling and endowing.  It is the same crying out of a town cryer, announcing some sort of news.  That is what a call from the Lord is like!  You cannot mistake Who it is and what it is -  the only condition is that you become aware there is something extraordinary happening. And Jesus makes sure it is pretty hard to ignore that there IS something supernatural at hand!

And thus the choice of promise for today...Jesus had met Moses when he first fled into the wilderness, was constantly with him every moment of those 40 years, and at just the right time He called out to Moses, answering his heart's cry before Moses had uttered it out loud...

Is it time for your "burning bush" experience?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

He will refine you, prepare you, and call you forth...Promises for the Wilderness #12


Moses fled into the wilderness.  His attempt at becoming Israel's deliverer in the power he had as a prince of Egypt was not received well.  But the education Moses had received as an Egyptian was part of God's plan - Moses' confusion never negated God's purpose.  In fact, when Moses ran to the wilderness, he ran straight into a divine appointment - right into the home of the priest/prince of Midian.

Who can deny God's hand in this simple "Godcidence"!?

Jethro, the priest, was a priest of the Most High God.  There is a probability that the title "prince" could mean ruler or governor, as the word is also translated as such, but other ancient non-Biblical writings have used the title of "prince" for Jethro.  Jethro is very similar to the character "Melchizedek" who was both priest and king.  They both served God and acted in His authority.  Moses was trained in the ways of Egypt; now he would be trained in the ways of the Spirit.  The wilderness would now become his "proving" ground.

Jethro = "his abundance" .  Jethro's name comes from the word  yathar; meaning properly, an overhanging, i.e. (by implication) an excess, superiority, remainder; abundant, cord, exceeding, excellancy(-ent), what they leave, that hath left, plentifully, remnant, residue, rest, string, with.

Moses ran out of the splendor of Egypt straight into "His abundance".  Moses found God's excess, superiority, the remainder of what was needed (more preparing), the abundance of what was needed (God is able to provide all that we need), His "cord" that could bind all Moses' life's experiences together, exceeding far more than he could think or imagine.  Moses came to a place and person of excellency, and his preparation would result in excellency.  God showed forth that even in the wilderness, traces of His work and Presence are abundant, He always holds a remnant in reserve, there is a place of rest (in His Presence), and He provides the string or thread that ties our lives to His (think of the red thread of redemption that is found throughout the Scripture).  This is the "tether" that ties us to Him, giving us stability in the storms of life just like a tent cord anchors the tent to the firm ground and stabilizes it.  Moses is always connected to God, even when he doesn't realize it, and so are we...

Moses ran right into the priestly prince of his time in the wilderness...this is a type and shadow for us to see what Jesus intends for us...He is our priestly prince, already in the wilderness when we flee there and lovingly He continues the refining, preparing, the equipping for the call...

The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests hearts.
Proverbs 17:3

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ...
1 Peter 1:6-7

For God's gifts and His call can never be withdrawn.
Romans 11:29 NLT 

and receive these words from Jesus, that He spoke to Peter:

...but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, 
when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
Luke 22:32  

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Path to Worshipping in the Wilderness...Promises from the Wilderness #11

I wonder if the wastelands burst into bloom when the entire congregation of Israel gathered at the foot of Mount Horeb and the Lord descended to speak with them? Were they surrounded with the response of the earth to His life giving Presence...as even the evil queen's dwarf declared in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe  "spring has arrived because Aslan has returned"? Could this picture have inspired these words: "The wilderness will rejoice and blossom..." Isaiah 35:1?
As I have been looking for verses of promise for this series, typing the word " wilderness" in the internet search engines...one theme keeps coming forward...

The wilderness is for worship...

The biggest, bravest, most memorable wilderness journey ever began with a request for worship:
Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, 
“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 
‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’ 
Exodus 5:1

 and

...they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. 
Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness 
to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God...”
Exodus 5:3

Festivals and sacrifices - these are the foundational makings of the great Feasts of the Lord
that He gave His people in order that they may find their ultimate rest in the Presence of one person, Jesus Christ.

In the final test of Jesus' personal wilderness experience, He summed up the total purpose of the Spirit's leadings and satan's testing in these words:

 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 
‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
Matthew 4:10

Indeed, the path through the wilderness will refine our worship, and the way to "make it through" is to remember the great things He has done on our behalf"...


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

He guides us safely...Promises for the Wilderness #10

I love the image of Jesus as my shepherd; safe, secure, tended to gently, guided, sought for when lost, watched over and spoken to...

Then Jesus told them this parable:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. 
Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—
and I lay down my life for the sheep.  
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. 
I must bring them also. 
They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.


The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;  
You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,  
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

He has gone on before us...Promises for the Wilderness #9

Processed with one layer of Kim Klassen's "Re-entry" set on multiply blend mode.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

Monday, October 21, 2013

You can persevere...Promises from the Wilderness #8

Since He reminds us that we have a great
cloud of witnesses who have gone before us,
we can be encouraged to lay aside the problems
we think we have, and press on,
running with patient endurance
along the path He has set before us...

"My Presence will go with you"...Promises for the Wilderness #7

The crowd of those who have experienced the wilderness is extensive. Even though the wilderness is a lonely place, you are not alone in your experience!

The history of God working in and through wilderness in the Scripture is striking and compelling.   This is just a quick and partial list.

Jacob fled to the wilderness to be safe from his brother and wrestled with God there.
We can hide from others in the remote lonely places, but God has designed a divine appointment.

When God freed the Israelites from Egypt, He led into the wilderness; 
and when they were hardened and disobedient, they stayed wandering in the wilderness. 
The wilderness has an end, but you can stay there longer if you want to be stubborn.

God prepared Moses in the wilderness as he shepherded sheep for his father-in-law. 
He also called Moses to lead from there as he hid out and tended his sheep. 
God always knows where you are in the wilderness.

David, “the king after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14),” was also a shepherd 
and was also equipped to lead in wild places. 
David waited till God said his wilderness preparation was over before He left the wilderness.  
Will you?

Elijah the prophet was also familiar with wilderness and met God there.
He went there by himself to rest and recover from his enemies. 
You can learn to appreciate the gifts found in the wilderness.

John the Baptist lived in and ministered from the wilderness.
Sometimes a prophet needs the wilderness to send the message the people need.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

I am teaching you the way of wisdom... Promises for the Wilderness #5


So often we think we have done something terrible when we find ourselves there, in the wilderness that is, I do at least, even though I know better...

I know the law of sowing and reaping...
I know the truth that "from the fruit of our mouth, our stomach is filled..."
I know that "life and death are in the power of the tongue"...
I know that even though "me and my house have chosen to follow the Lord", I very often follow my own flesh; my own desires; my own inclinations...

How many times will I fail, how many times have I eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and I am expelled from the garden of peace and blessing and fellowship...

but the truth is, that God leads us into the wilderness, usually very soon after we have been saved and delivered and are marked by His Spirit (and periodically as we walk along this life in the Spirit).  It isn't punishment for the sins of our past or even the mistakes of our present, but 

it is the means to move us from the place of our past to the place of our promise.

God is with us in the wilderness, to guide, comfort, lead, and to be there for us to lean on...sometimes just His Presence is all that we can comprehend, and sometimes we cannot even do that...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I will come for you...Promises for the Wilderness #4

 I wanted to give this photo a painterly feel, so I ran an oil painting filter, used two layers of Kim Klassen's "Framed" at soft light and luminosity blend modes, and added the text in 1942 report font...I really like the look!

Wilderness is defined by the Encarta Dictionary as “a mostly uninhabited area of land in its natural uncultivated state, sometimes deliberately preserved like this, e.g. a forest or mountainous region.” In other words, wilderness is very real and tangible. The Encarta Dictionary also defines wilderness as “an uncomfortable situation, a place, situation, or multitude of people or things that makes somebody feel confused, overwhelmed, or desolate” (Encarta Dictionary: English, North American). To state this last definition differently, and to make the point, wilderness is not just a place; it is also a metaphor for something more.  (As written at Adventure Discipleship).

This "something more" is described in an article by the American Bible Society:
The wilderness of the Bible is a liminal space—an in-between place where ordinary life is suspended, identity shifts, and new possibilities emerge. Through the experiences of the Israelites in exile, we learn that while the Biblical wilderness is a place of danger, temptation and chaos, it is also a place for solitude, nourishment, and revelation from God. These themes emerge again in Jesus’ journey into the wilderness, tying his identity to that of his Hebrew ancestors.
 And since Jesus is our brother, the first born among many brethren, we are tied to His journey as well...we can have assurance that He understands our confusion, our sense of betrayal, our anxious thoughts, our fears, because He has experienced this place too...He will not leave us as orphans, He will come for us...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Promises for the Wilderness...#3

Be encouraged...it is only God's sons and daughters who are led into the wilderness...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Promises for the Wilderness...#2

A little child, climbing over the rough terrain, frightened perhaps, but still moving forward - her loving father walking right along beside her, her hand gripped in his, to keep her assured that all will be well...

That is the image that forms in my mind, my spirit, as I read the above verse - and I think of how a child might keep her eyes on the terrain, on the ground right where her foot needs to step next in order to keep from falling...perhaps forgetting that there is One holding fast to her hand.  But if she looked up, instead of down, she would see his loving, gentle face and how he is guiding her - able to see further and with more understanding than she can possibly have in her limited perspective...

I must remember to always seek His face!

Faith is just as necessary in the wilderness as in other times of our lives; maybe even more necessary...the wilderness is a place of testing, of refining, of developing trust in Him and His ways...

The Psalmist proclaimed an eternal truth - even when "evidence" seems to be saying the opposite, God is always with him...and He is always with us as well!  Right there - in the harshness of the wilderness - He is there, walking through the "walking through" of whatever we are facing with us.  We must simply remember that...

 
Psalm 73
A psalm of Asaph.

1Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.

2But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.

3For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.a 
5They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7From their callous hearts comes iniquity ;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.

15If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply

17till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.

18Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.

21When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.

24You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.

25Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

27Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

{Italics inserted by myself}

{Joining in the "31 Day" challenge a little late, but the response to these promises is pressing me forward -
I hope you don't mind!}
 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Promises for the Wilderness...

I have been a little absent - a much needed rain + storm knocked out our internet for several days!  Plus, I have been writing the small group discussions for our church lately - and much of my writing time is taken up with that!  I have decided to start sharing the notes and the sermons here, as soon as the weekly podcasts are up...

This past Sunday, "the wilderness" was mentioned in the message, and it got me thinking on wilderness passages...and how some of the fields near us have that look right now...

Processed with an iris blur and 2 layers of Kim Klassen's "Savor" texture, one at multiply and one at soft light.


The wilderness and the desert will be glad, 
And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; 

Like the crocus It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. 
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, 
The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. 

They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God. 

Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. 
 Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. 

Behold, your God will come with vengeance; 
The recompense of God will come, But He will save you." 

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. 
Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. 

For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. 
The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; 
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, 
Grass becomes reeds and rushes.

A highway will be there, a roadway, 
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. 
The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, 
And fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; 
These will not be found there. 

But the redeemed will walk there, 
And the ransomed of the LORD will return 
And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. 

They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Isaiah 35:1-10

Isaiah 35:1-10
The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God. Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. read more.Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you." Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, Grass becomes reeds and rushes. A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Wilderness#sthash.KEOuWvQS.dpuf
Isaiah 35:1-10
The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God. Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. read more.Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you." Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, Grass becomes reeds and rushes. A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Wilderness#sthash.KEOuWvQS.dpuf

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

She could still hear the echoes...

Processed with Kim Klassen's 1402 and 1402 majic + a bokeh overlay from Media Militia and music brushes by Easy Elements.  The font is VTPortableRemington
Still playing around with violin shots...and techniques.  In this image I was trying for a sort of dreamy effect...now that I am looking at it and writing, I am thinking of one more thing I could do to make it more "dreamy" - but for now I am posting!  Any suggestions in the meantime?

Here is what is inspiring me:
In my mind, I see a woman looking at this old violin, thinking of the "Touch of the Master's Hand" and remembering back to the days of being used mightily by Him over the course of her life...and now, even tho' the world, even the Christian culture, has set her aside as "too old", her heart is as young as ever (see Joshua 14:7-12), there is fire in her bones, and she longs to be grasped in the Master's hand again, His bow ready to touch the strings...

Can you see it?  Let the passion to be used by Him flame on!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday Sneak Peek - watercolors


abstract wisteria - it is looking good in real life.
I so need a new camera - these colors look muddy, but in real life they aren't!  The greens aren't yellow and there is just a nice light blue wash - not gray, and not pastel blue...


Blending practice

Still not a great image - I don't understand why the camera is graying the pictures so and am not going to take the time to adjust!  But I hope you enjoy anyway...