The Artist’s Lesson

No matter how hard we try there will always be a bit of a flaw.

One of my earlier watercolor paintings.

Recently I took up painting with watercolor. As I sat at the table practicing on a small sheet of watercolor paper that I had for scrap I made a tree. The tree wasn’t quite the way I would have liked it but I was anxious, ready to work on a painting. I made the tree trunk on my paper and frowned. It was too dark and looked more like acrylics than watercolor. I extended the branches next. What a disaster. Next came the leaves, a mix of color because it’s fall. That was so so, I could live with it, but not quite what I had hoped. So my painting turned into another practice session. I took the different colors and made a small area of a colorful bush. I tried to fix the dark trunk that didn’t go over so well. I made it worse by trying to lighten it up with water. I finished my practice page sat back and frowned even more. I scribbled notes on the paper, criticizing everything that I had done wrong. I went over and sat next to my husband on the couch and whined. He stopped what he was doing and listened as I criticized my work. He looked it over, read my notes, and said practice. So not what I wanted to hear. I wanted him to tell me what was wrong, what I needed to work on. You know all the things I had already written down.

As an artist himself, I was looking for criticism -did I really say that?🀨- on what I should have done. (Honest criticism on what I needed to work on.) The problem with that is my husband doesn’t work with watercolor. He works with acrylics and oils so it’s hard to say what should be done except practice until its the way you want it. We both agree that working with watercolor is a whole different animal. If you make a mistake with acrylics or oils you can paint over it and continue on. With watercolor, not so much. Put a drawing pencil in my hand and I do fairly well with drawings and sketches. Working with pastels, I do okay and I can manage working with acrylics. But there is something about watercolor paintings that drew my attention and I wanted to learn how to paint with watercolor. I’ve learned that as an artist, I’m way to hard on myself. Actually, I’m probably way to hard on myself most of the time. πŸ˜… I should also mention that I’ve only been working with watercolor for about two weeks now. 🀨 Yeah, way to hard on myself.

If we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves falling into the enemy’s trap and instead of recognizing that it’s okay to make mistakes, we become critical and judgmental. If it isn’t perfect then there is something wrong with it. There is no such perfection here on earth. No matter how hard we try there will always be a bit of a flaw. There is only one perfect man and His name is Jesus. As I chewed on that thought for a minute, I thought about what the Bible says.

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.

Matthew 1:21

Save His people from their sins. Huh. Not a word about having to be perfect first.

And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

John 12:47

I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. So, no mention of having to be perfect first. Totally not judging the world but coming to save the world. Can you see where this is heading? Lies. The lies we believe. We know that Satan is a beautiful fallen angel. In my mind’s eye I can visualize him walking up to you or me with that winning smile, carrying on a conversation as he began whispering little things in your ear, things you may have already been thinking about yourself. He probably subtly mentioned you weren’t good enough. Might have even said something about Jesus being a perfect man, (you know after he realized Jesus wasn’t going to fall into temptation) and there was no way you could even be close to Him. Wait.

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

Matthew 18:11

Save that which was lost. Well that sounds like Someone you can get close to. Which means we don’t have to be a perfect person first. That He takes us where we are, as we are, and when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, He begins to create a new person on the inside. God bless!

Resting As He Rested

As I sketched the above drawing, I originally started out practicing how to draw trees. Funny thing about that tree, drawing it on the left side of the paper proved to be harder for me than drawing it on the right side. πŸ˜„ One would think it would be the same. So after I finished with the tree, I thought about something a friend of mine said about writing a thought or something to go with the drawings. I decide to drop a fella in there resting against the tree. After adding the scripture in there I thought about the Friday devotional I needed to send out and since we were headed into the weekend it seemed to fit just right.

Six days we’re to work, to get things done. Whether we work in an office, an industrial setting, a farm, or in the medical field, we are to work six days and then rest. The seventh day is to be a day of rest. To give our bodies and minds a rest. If God, our Father, created the world in six days and on the seventh day rested, shouldn’t we follow His example and do the same? It isn’t that He needed the rest, as much as He was teaching us to rest. He knew that we couldn’t go seven days a week of working and not resting. Do you or someone you know fit in this category? I don’t think the day of the week matters as much as taking that seventh day to rest.

Remember that saying about burning the candle at both ends? Eventually the candle will burn all the way down to the middle and then burn out. Just as the candle burns out, we also will burn out if we aren’t careful. As long as we are here on this earth, there is work for us to do; and when our work is finished, then we will be with Him. I think maybe that’s why God wants us to have a day of rest, to recharge, and refresh so that we can handle the tasks He has for us to do.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

This coming from Jesus, as He goes on to say…

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11:29

So take that seventh day to rest, recharge, and listen to the Lord as He refreshes your soul. God bless!

Mighty Waters

Coming into the neighborhood. Taken from my husband’s truck.

Recently we were inundated with a lot of rain. As a result the entrance to our neighborhood flooded. Or you could say the “Faith Pond” arrived. As you can see in the photo the street was most definitely under water. If you had a truck you could with care get through the pond. If you drove an SUV or something smaller, not such a good idea to attempt. Although, I witnessed one person actually make it through there. Me? I wasn’t willing to attempt it and risk something happening to our car. I went home, called my boss and explained the situation. I said I would attempt it later on hoping that the waters would recede. One of my concerns had been that even if I did manage to get out of the neighborhood, with all the rain we were having, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get back in. When I went back out a few hours later the pond looked worse than the first time and there was an SUV stalled in the water so I turned around and went back home and let my boss (who happens to be our pastor since I work at our church) know I wasn’t going to make it to work. He said he understood and when I asked him to agree with me in prayer that the waters would recede he did. Later that evening I sent my sister the above photo and asked her to also pray that the waters would recede by morning. I prayed and asked that the road would be clear of all water by morning so that those of us who didn’t drive trucks would be able to get out. We had another heavy rain that night around midnight and at first I said, “okay so if most of the water would be gone by morning that would be fine”. Then I stopped and said “no I asked for the road to be clear of water and I’m believing for the road to be clear”.

Answered prayer! Praise God for clearing the road!

This was the beautiful sight the following morning on my way out of the neighborhood as I was headed to work! Praise God for answered prayer!

It felt strange being isolated from the rest of the county. You could hear the traffic as people went about their daily business. While for those who were stranded, life paused. Thinking about that day and all the heavy rains we’ve recently encountered, I was reminded of God’s promise never to flood the earth again.

Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.

Genesis 9:11

Just as I was reminded of God’s promise, I thought about how He answers prayer.

Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.

Matthew 18:19

and

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

Matthew 21:22

God answers prayers. You only need to believe. To expect. God bless!

The Traveler

A loving Father sent His Son to walk with us through the valleys.

As you travel down the path of life, have you ever looked back and wondered what you would change, if you could? I’m sure we’ve all at some point looked back and had regret whether big or small. We wished we could have done it differently, whatever the it in your life was that led to regret. Join me as we travel through time. A time when all seemed right with world that ended with regret and the journey back to right again. Our journeys are different yet the same.

Continue reading “The Traveler”

The Treat That Distracts

Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

Not long ago, I had coffee with a friend of mine (yeah, you got it, my coffee friend who seems to find unique ways to get me out of my zone and now has me blogging, write a devotional book, FB, Twitter and even manages to encourage~ahem~me to continue with learning Japanese. πŸ˜‰) We talked about family, pets, and life in general. I had shared her about our dog Lucy, and how recently she had become afraid to take walks in the neighborhood. Something she always loved to do with my husband. We talked about different reasons that could have triggered this fear and what to try to encourage her to start taking her walks once more. Once I tried the “give the dog a treat” routine but it didn’t work. She took the treat and ran back inside. If I went with my husband, she would go without being too difficult. My husband didn’t want to force the issue and if she didn’t want to go he didn’t make her.

So my friend shares with me about a dog her family once had and how he loved to roam their neighborhood and visit other houses. She said that they used to give their dog a treat just to come INSIDE the house! 🐢 I had a good laugh because I must admit that was a first. But it gets better. She went on to say that the dog would wake them up in the middle of the night to go outside. Her husband would get up, take the dog outside, and the dog would promptly turn around on the porch, sit down and wait for his treat! πŸ˜‚ Needless to say, that practice stopped rather quickly.

As I reflected on our conversation that day, I thought about the distractions of life and how easily we can get off track if we aren’t careful. The enemy lurks nearby looking for opportunities to distract us and will sometimes dangle a treat before us taking our eyes of the true prize which is Christ Jesus. He entices us with something so good (or so it seems) that we keep coming back for more. He trains us into thinking we have to have more of what he is offering.

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14

Can you imagine how the enemy must have felt when he heard about this? I can almost imagine him saying something like this: “Who does He think He is? I’m the prize. I’m the one to follow.” I liken his attitude to that of a child not getting his/her way and stomping his/her feet. Don’t get me wrong, the enemy isn’t a child, he is a very dangerous adversary and we need to be on guard. Remember Job? Not only did Satan attack Job’s character, he took Job’s property, his children, and attacked his health. His friends and family were convinced he needed to repent of something.

When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he tells them that he forgets the things of the past and reaches forward to the things ahead. Why do you think he tells us that? The past, it can’t be changed. No matter how hard you try, the past is already a done deal. Now the prize? That’s something worth reaching for. One day we will attain the prize of being with Christ Jesus. Until that time comes, we need to continue pressing forward and doing the things that we are called to do. God bless!