Saturday, January 20, 2007

Personal Celebration

Thirty-six years ago, I was a seventeen year old who, after reading various portions of the New Testament, felt tortured by my inability to live up to God's righteous standards. My well-meaning but theologically liberal pastor assured me that I wouldn't go to hell because I was a "good little girl," but I could see something he couldn't--the condition of my heart. Outward purity is all well and good, but Jesus demands purity of heart. Matthew 5:8 records Him as saying, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." 1 Corinthians 13:5 says "that love does not seek its own."

It would take more time than I have this evening to detail all the thoughts, emotions and conversations I went through during the two weeks leading up to January 20, 1971. I managed to half-way convince myself that all people (even Hitler, maybe) would ultimately go to heaven. I needed comfort, because I had no idea how else I could possibly deal with my sin. I couldn't tell my Christian friend that I fantasized about getting a guy I liked to impregnate me so he'd be obligated to marry me. But on January 20, 1971, under the clock at the 200 Hall at Terra Linda High School, I said, "Atheists have their way, Buddhists have their way, and we Christians have our way--but we'll all get to heaven in the end. Right?"

My friend shook her head. "If that were true," she said, "then Jesus died in vain." Then she quoted John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life."

I don't know how the Holy Spirit did it, but in that moment He showed me that, on the cross, Jesus bled and died for my sin. Instantly, I knew that, since He died for me, I had to live for Him. Under that clock, in the silence of my heart, I simply said, "Okay." Weeks later, my friend and I realized that, at 12 noon on January 20, 1971, I was born again.

So much has happened since that day. At times, I've entered into various forms of sin. At other times, I've taken credit for my obedience, forgetting that all my righteousness comes from Jesus through His shed blood. But He has been more than faithful to bring me back to Him. I still need Him to maintain my purity of heart, but He has blessed me with assurance that I will spend eternity beholding God.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Celebrating Digital Art

I wonder how different my life would have been if we'd had computers and digital art when I was a kid. When I could sit on the floor, I had enough control of my hands that I could do a little drawing. I made my own paper dolls, and loved designing clothes and hairstyles. But when I no longer had the ability to sit on the floor, I stopped drawing.

I studied to be a writer in high school and college because Mom thought that would be all I could do, given the severity of my disability. I did take a few art history courses in college. I graduated a unit short of a minor in art history. I practically lived at the de Young Museum of Fine Arts in San Francisco when I was a California resident. Usually, that was my destination when I visited The City. During my first visit to meet John (back when we dated online), we went to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

So now I can draw using Paint Shop Pro software, and I'm realizing how visually-oriented I realy am! Too bad this avenue of self-expression wasn't available to me until I was 50! Even though I get more response on blog entries that share my thoughts, feelings and ideas, my primary purpose in maintaing this blog is to share my digital art. Even framing John's photographs gives me opportunity to showcase frames I design.

I'm not sure how my drawings further God's kingdom. But since He's blessed me with the ability and means to create pictures, I've got to believe that He will use my art for His glory. Currently, I'm drawing an Asian woman based on a photograph John took of a lady from our church. The process requires me to excercise patience and perseverance, as well as creativity. Perhaps, then, digital art is more about building godly character in me than about the finished product. I may not understand His purposes in allowing me to draw until I stand before Him in heaven. But I trust that my love of art is from Him, and that He has given me this digital art software for more than something to pass the time. As I share my creations in this blog, please know that I'm sharing a part of myself that's especially joyful

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Reasons to be a Joyfully Christian Lady

We had a great Adult Sunday School class today, followed by a wonderful church service. Then John and I came home to a good lunch, where we got to discuss some of our pastor's points. At this church, I'm learning points of doctrine that I never was taught in all my years of being a Christian. I'm learning that believers face a different judgement than non-Christians face. Because Jesus atoned COMPLETELY for our sins (past, present and future) by His shed blood on the cross, Christians will only be judged on how we've used the abilities He's given us. The believer's judgement has nothing to do with salvation or condemnation. It's more like being judged in sporting events, and getting gold, silver or bronze medals.

Then our pastor preached on the assurance of salvation from Romans 8:12-17. He made one point that really grabbed my attention. When we're truly saved, we can cry out to God with the sense of intimacy that a child has with a parent!

Rom 8:15
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." NKJV

"Abba" is a word that means "Daddy" or "Papa." It's a term of intimate trust. When His Holy Spirit lives in us because of the shed blood of Jesus, we have that deep connection with the Father! What a beautiful way for Him to assure His own of salvation!

So I came home from church VERY encouraged! I've always been certain of my salvation because Jesus shed His blood in payment for my sins, but I still thought He would ask me about those sins when I stand before Him. But no--He has already dealt with those sins! Hallelujah! When I stand before Him, He'll ask how I've used my life for His glory. I can look forward to THAT judgement, even if my rewards are few, because all the focus will be on Jesus anyway! What a joy to know Him!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Squirrel


Motivation

I haven't posted much new artwork lately. Actually, I haven't been creating much new artwork lately. Nothing has really inspired me. I started drawing a squirrel yesterday, and it's kind of cute. I figured I'd be more likey to stick with that subject matter through the tedium because I adore squirrels. Maybe once I complete that project, I'll build up momentum to do more digital drawings.

The drawings I've done from John's photographs make me feel accomplished, but sadly, I've gotten lazy since I did that one in July. Seems I have more fun drawing cartoon-type figures, which require less effort. So then, I wonder if doing more serious drawings would allow the Lord to develop perseverance in me. If so, maybe it's what I need to be doing.


Here are a few examples of drawings I've done from photos:


Maybe thinking about how the Lord might refine my character through more serious art projects will encourage me to pursue them. After I finish my cartoon squirrel...!

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