Broken crayons still color….let God complete the masterpiece!
“And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,” Acts 9:11
Hey Ananias, go to Straight Street, to Judas’ house and ask for Saul…he’s praying.
Translation: God sees you. He knows the street you are on and whose house you are in. He sees you praying and has dispatched your answer!
“She [Hagar] gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [the”well of the Living One who sees me”].” Genesis 16:13-14
One morning, I found myself pouring over the Creation account again during my devotions. I usually try to linger in prayer, worship, or Bible study until I receive a daily download from God. Right now word. Right now anointing. Right now stirring. I wait for the word fitly spoken before launching my day. At least, this is what I aim for most mornings. This particular morning, I lingered in devotions far longer than time permitted and I finally had to close up and move on. Don’t get me wrong, you never go wrong engaging in prayer, worship and Bible study. However, I walked away that day still dry. Still thirsty. Still heavy. Still overwhelmed. I had followed the leading of the Spirit that morning and read through the account of Creation again. And yet I wasn’t seeing the rhema, lifted revelation, I desired that day.
Later that day as I headed out the door to leave, I was considering what I’d read that morning and actually asked aloud, “Why didn’t God create the whole of creation all at once?” I mean why not skip the evening and the morning were the first, second, third day stuff? After all, God is all powerful. Why the breakdown?
As soon as the question rolled off my tongue, I heard the Spirit answer in a still small voice, “One day at a time.” That’s all I heard and yet I instantly knew what God was speaking into my situation.
Why did God take a day by day approach to Creation when all He had to do was speak the word and it would be done in totality? The answer…He did it for me. For you. His example was to approach the enormity of Creation…one day at a time. For those of you, like myself, facing an enormous situation in your life, take a pause and breathe. Slow down. Put one foot in front of the other. One day at a time you will reach your destination. You can make it through this…day by day.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
Don’t focus on the days, weeks, months, even years ahead. We learn this lesson again in the account of the Exodus. (Exodus 16) Can we agree this was indeed an enormous situation facing the Israelites? Yes, they were on their way out of bondage. Yes, God had already done miraculous things for them. Was it still a trying time? Of course! There was so much uncertainty awaiting every morning especially for young faith. How were they to make it through the wilderness? How would they possess the promise? Why did God instruct them to collect only enough manna for the day at hand? Again, He was showing the way by orchestrating their circumstance in such a way to constrain their thought for the present day alone. Keep your mind focused on Christ and your life committed unto Him and He will lead you through!
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 2 Timothy 1:12
Trust God! Yesterday’s mistakes and shortcomings are just that…yesterday. His compassion kept you yesterday and His mercy awaits you again today!
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Lamentations 3:22-24
In Bible times, it was common practice for fishermen to use a cast net to trap schools of fish. A cast net was circular and had heavy weights around its edges with a pull cord attached to the center. When a school of fish was spotted, the fishermen would toss the cast net into the sea above the school allowing the weights to drag the net downward trapping the fish beneath. Once the fish were trapped, the fishermen would tug on the pull cord to draw the net either into the boat or to shore if the catch was too large.
It was this manner of fishing being employed by Peter and the disciples in John chapter 21. They had toiled all night without success.
It was oftentimes difficult for fishermen to see exactly where a school of fish were located beneath the surface of the water. Why? The fishermen and the fish were on the same level…shoreline. The fishermen’s line of sight didn’t grant them the best visual vantage point. This was most likely the problem in John 21. Peter and his band couldn’t see the school of fish from where they were standing. The solution? Jesus. He wasn’t on their level. He was on the coastline above the shore. From His perspective, the school of fish was easily seen on the other side of their boat. My point?
Sometimes, we cannot see the solution to our problem. We’re too close to it. The good news? All we need is the vision of the Master. We need the divine line of sight that is above where we are presently toiling. He can see what we cannot. Keep your eyes and ears inclined unto Him and He will reveal where to cast your net!
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 58:8-9
Every Easter, I try to learn something new about the Passover, the Passion, or the Good Shepherd. This morning, I began to think about a shepherd’s toolbox. There were a few interesting items in his tool chest including the sling, staff/rod, scrip, and reed pipe.
Today, the tool that piqued my interest most was the reed pipe used to soothe the sheep. It was common practice for Biblical shepherds to fashion a musical reed pipe from two pieces of hollowed-out cane. The sound was made by blowing across a sharp edge. Notes were controlled by blocking holes with the fingers in each tube. This Biblical reed pipe is an ancestor of modern day “reed” instruments such as the saxophone, clarinet, oboe etc.
The materials for making Biblical reed pipes were very plentiful and readily accessible to shepherds. They were also extremely easy to make. Because of this, it was common practice for the shepherd to break and dispose of a torn reed choosing rather to craft a new one versus repairing the torn one. It is this custom that Isaiah referenced when he prophetically spoke these words:
A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench; he shall bring forth judgement unto truth. Isaiah 42:3
You see, even though it was the custom of Biblical shepherds to discard a torn reed, it is not the practice of the Good Shepherd to do so. Jesus does not break and toss out the torn, bruised, and broken. He is and will always be a repairer of breaches. If this Easter finds you torn and broken, take heart…there is a Good Shepherd who will not cast you aside.
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:11
Your brokenness does not repel the Good Shepherd. Your bruises do not offend Him. In fact, He was bruised for you. He bore your grief and carried your pain. Your peace is upon Him.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5
The Good Shepherd will not break a bruised reed. Jesus is in the mending business!
Once, during a particularly tough trial our family was facing, my husband saw an image of Pinkie (above right) in prayer. At the time, we had no idea what God was trying to say. Being artists and art lovers, we decided to dig a little deeper. What we discovered profoundly changed our lives.
We stumbled upon a very unique relationship between The Blue Boy (above left) and Pinkie. Like many, we’d seen them together many times throughout our lives. My husband’s mother had replicas of both on display in his childhood home. It was this image that God called to his remembrance in prayer. These two works of art have been displayed together over the years on everything from drink coasters and magazine ads to esteemed exhibits at the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, CA. Even the set designers of the TV show Leave It To Beaver frequently paid homage to their special bond.
I’d studied The Blue Boy masterpiece by Thomas Gainsborough in school. Being widely known as the most famous work by a British artist, it’s masterpiece status is questioned by none. In 1921, The Blue Boy was sold to American railway pioneer Henry Huntington for a record setting $640,000. To keep things in perspective, this $640K was equivalent to over 8.5 million dollars today.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Because the two works of art are frequently displayed together, many erroneously believe both to be masterpiece works of Gainsborough. The truth is…Pinkie isn’t even considered to be a masterpiece at all. She was painted 25 years apart from The Blue Boy by another notable British artist named Thomas Lawrence. Lawrence’s works, unlike that of Gainsborough, would never achieve masterpiece status in the art world. In fact, Pinkie would become the most notable of Lawrence’s works due to her connection with Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy.
Pinkie and The Blue Boy weren’t associated until 1927 when she was purchased by The Blue Boy’s owner, Henry Huntington. She was immediately put on display facing The Blue Boy where she remains to this day. I’ve come to call her resting place the Gallery of Grace.
the free, unmerited favor of God
Because of her relationship to The Blue Boy masterpiece, she has been heralded alongside him on exhibit at the Pageant of the Masters time and again.
My point, and more importantly God’s point in the midst of our struggle, is that Pinkie didn’t need to be a masterpiece after all. She has experienced every honor and esteem possible in the art world solely because of her relationship to the Master.
We realized, like Pinkie, we are esteemed and lifted from obscurity because of our relationship to Him and Him alone. The Syrophoenician woman understood the significance of being in close proximity to the Master.
And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Matthew 15:27-28
Incredible things happen at the feet of the Master. He can take us to unimaginable heights if we’ll only do what Pinkie has done…remain in the presence of the Master. The splash-over blessing (crumbs) of His glory is more than enough to accomplish anything in this life. He will take you from the prison to the palace Joseph. He will move you from the lion’s den to the King’s advisory panel Daniel. He will lift you from captivity to the throne Queen Esther.
You need no one and no thing save a relationship with the Master!
You can wait out a storm but battles are won and lost in the fight. If you find yourself in the middle of a spiritual attack, FIGHT! You will not come out the victor until you do. In all the pieces in the armor of God, there is only one offensive weapon listed…the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Ephesians 6:17
Someone who is hungry wouldn’t sit in a room with a biscuit on the shelf all week long and wait to be spoon fed on Sunday. Dust off your Bible and dig out a word for your situation! Heaven and earth shall pass away. However, the Word is forever settled!
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35
For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89
Everything else is temporal…temporary, subject to change.
adjective tem·po·rary \ˈtem-pə-ˌrer-ē\
: continuing for a limited amount of time : not permanent
: intended to be used for a limited amount of time
What changes it? He does. Who is He? The Word. The Word is forever settled and He changes the times and seasons!
And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: Daniel 2:21
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou? Ecclesiastes 8:4
The angels hearken to what? The voice of my word? No! They hearken to the voice of His word.
Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Psalm 103:20
Your Voice + His Word = Change.
The angels are ministering spirits who minister for the heirs of salvation.
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? Hebrews 1:14
We are washed by the water of the word.
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word… Ephesians 5:26
In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God, and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
Read: John 1:1-17
The word wasn’t made flesh one time only then mysteriously robbed of its power. It is made flesh over and over again when we speak it! God breathed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils and he became a living soul.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45
This “living soul” is best translated “speaking or discoursing spirit.” Mankind was given a gift unlike any other in Creation!
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21
But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil… Deuteronomy 30:14-15
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live..Deuteronomy 30:19
It’s your choice! Death and life are in the power of your tongue. What you speak will be made flesh. What we bind here is bound there and what we loose here is loosed there.
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:18
When you speak the Word only, it supercharges your voice because it never returns void!
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
The centurion understood the power of the Word!
The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. Matthew 8:8
His words are spirit and life!
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63
That’s why scripture identifies the Word of God as a sword. It is a weapon…use it!
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Ephesians 6:17
If you do not know the Word of God, you ARE NOT equipped for battle! Know it. Believe it. Speak it. Receive it.
Your Voice + His Word = Change
Reflecting on the timeless lyrics of Amazing Grace this morning.
🎶 I once was lost but now I’m found 🎶
I wanna be found over and over again!
Consider the parable of the lost coin…lost…in the house. The difference between the lost sheep, the lost son (prodigal) and the lost coin…the sheep and son are cognizant they are in fact lost. A lost sheep cries out so the shepherd can hear and thereby rescue. The lost son comes to himself and makes his way back to the father. The coin, on the other hand, is in the house (church) and yet completely oblivious that it too is completely and utterly lost. Worse still, it cannot cry out or rise up and walk.
Without the intervention of one who cared enough to light a candle, shine the light, and sweep the house (preach the word) the coin would remain lost.
Too often, the peril of the lost coin befalls seasoned people of God. The ones who have been in the house long enough that habit, tradition, and status have perhaps masked their struggle to the point they are now a dusty coin in the corner of the church house…out of sight, seemingly forgotten, and in need once again of being found.
After all, you can be a follower (Paul’s diviner damsel) and not be a believer. You can be in the inner circle (Judas) and still be a devil. You can be in the inner circle (Peter) and fail miserably denying what you once professed.
The only way to find something lost in the house is to illuminate and sweep…reveal (shine light on) and preach. Being in the house doesn’t mean you are (or will remain) found. It simply means you are in close proximity to The Seeker…the One who came to seek and save that which was lost. He’s perpetually seeking and saving you. This act was never meant to be viewed as a one time occurrence but rather a continual process of being renewed daily by every word that proceedeth (perpetually, continually) out of the mouth of God.
Rest assured, you are not forgotten. Someone is lighting the candle and sweeping the house. Be grateful someone cares enough to come looking!
Every day…in every service…start and end as one always striving to be found!
In all fairness, darkness isn’t America’s problem. Light shines in darkness and darkness
comprehends it not.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:5
The problem is that the light is under a bushel.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Matthew 5:15
The problem isn’t with the darkness. The problem isn’t with sinners. The problem isn’t with people of faith in general. The problem is with the people of the name.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
The people of the name have to humble themselves. The people of the name have to seek His face. The people of the name have to repent.
It doesn’t matter how much darkness is around us. A world of blackness cannot stop the flicker of even one single match. Light overcomes darkness always. We are the light of the world!
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Matthew 5:14
No wonder the powers that be want people of the name to keep their faith at home behind closed doors. Even they know that a light on a hill cannot be hid. What about the darkness that has multiplied in the earth? As an artist, I understand one way to increase the light in a piece is to deepen the shades of black around it. As He did in the beginning, the original artist and Creator of all, has once again chosen to separate and heighten the contrast between darkness and light.
Are you called by His name? Then shine on my friend…shine on. His masterpiece is nearly complete!
Daniel had an excellent spirit.
Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Daniel 6:3
For a long time, I thought that meant he was a positive and encouraging individual. Well I’m sure he probably was but that isn’t what this setting of scripture is referencing. What it’s actually saying is that Daniel did things with excellence. NLT renders it this way:
Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. Daniel 6:3
Next scriptures that come to mind:
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…Ecclesiastes 9:10a
A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. Proverbs 18:16
It does matter that we invest in the logistics of our gifts and callings. It’s worth noting that God didn’t ask Moses to get any old jack of all trades Joe when it came time to fashion things in the Tabernacle. No, God specifically called people by name who were known masters of their craft. People who were excellent in skill.
And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. Exodus 35:30
Invest time, prayer and hard work into the dreams God has placed in your heart!