Tuesday, February 26, 2019

I am the vine; you are the branches

 

 Our connection to Jesus is tangible, He is the sustaining source of our strength and gives us the ability to bear fruit.   Without him we simply dry up, wither, and blow away.  John 15 illustrates just how important our connection to Jesus is.  My prayer today is that I would continue to grow strong in my knowledge and connection to Jesus. 

 

John 15 English Standard Version (ESV)

I Am the True Vine

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Overflow

 A subtle nudge to provide aid, recognition of, and action to help those in need, an inkling to reach out to a friend.  God is quietly whispering, prompting us to move with him and for him.  The question is, are we listening?  It it so easy to become distracted, preoccupied, or simply keep ourselves so busy that we don't hear the quiet whispers of God.  John 4 tells the story of Jesus meeting a woman with a sorted past at a well.  In this story he says, whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.   I am reminded when I read this passage, that if I want to serve God and pour out to others, I must first be filled up.  I must first accept the water that only God can provide.   My prayer today is that I would take the opportunity to stop and hear the whispering voice of God.   


John 4:14

14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Friday, January 25, 2019

Use your gifts to serve other

 1 Peter 4:10 has been a fav for 25 years.  It reminds me that we have each received gifts from God, and if we want to serve Him, we must use our gifts to serve others.  I have talked to many people who say, I don't have a gift.  Whenever I hear that, I ask them what is it that they do that just comes naturally?  Often the things we find easy, or take for granted are the very things that God has gifted us with.   It could be compassion, teaching, acts of service, a gift for math, organization, singing, sports, etc...  If we head into our day looking for ways to use our gifts and talents to server others, amazing things will happen. 



1 Peter 4:10-11 
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Shower, O Heavens, from above

This drawing was a bit of a play on words, see verse below.  I do like the idea of God pouring his love down on us, and if I close my eyes, I can almost imagine walking into that downpour, soaking it in.....  anticipating the fruit that only God can stir up..... 

 Isaiah 45:8 English Standard Version (ESV)

“Shower, O heavens, from above,
    and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
    let the earth cause them both to sprout;
    I the Lord have created it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

You are not alone

The beauty of the Holy Spirit is that you will never have to fly solo.  God sees you and knows exactly what you need.  He loves you jealously and will never let go.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

How God sees you


We often only see our flaws, we focus on the things we don't like, or the areas we would like to change.  God sees our full potential, He sees us as his work of Art.  He knows that if we would only trust in him, he could do great things in us and through us. 


2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Wake up

This morning I read Ephesians 5 and the following verse hit me.

But when anything is exposed by the light,
 it becomes visible, 
for anything that becomes visible is light.  
Therefore it says, 
Awake, O sleeper and arise from the dead 
and Christ will shine on you.

The things of this world have a way of dragging us down.  They can become a prison, and feel as if they strip us of choice and forcing our movements, decisions, and speech.  When the darkness closes in, fear, loneliness and depression become a constant companion.  Ephesians 5 lets us know there is a better way.  We are called to wake up and walk into the light, shaking free from the bonds that bind us.  My prayer today is that I would continue to draw closer to God's light and that he would use me to shine on others.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Stepping out in Faith

At time God asks us to step out in faith.  Many times this includes putting ourselves in a vulnerable position, a position that has the potential of costing us something.  From experience, I have grown to understand that ignoring Gods prompting and missing an opportunity to allow him to work through me, cost much much more.  When I ignore his prompt, I am essentially saying,  I am afraid, I don't trust the direction you are taking me, or I don't care that you want to reach that individual.
When I choose to trust in God and step out in faith, I get to see his glory shine through my weakness (

2 Corinthians 12:9) and experience just how much God cares for us.

God may be taping you on the shoulder today to step out and allow him to shine through you.  He may be asking you to be vulnerable, take a chance, step up and step out in faith.   Lord provide us the courage, desire, and strength to love those you place in our path.

Isaiah 40:31 English Standard Version (ESV) 

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Wonder

As children, we walk through our day in constant wonder.  Discovery and exploration is around every corner.  Play is built into our DNA and we are constantly asking the question why.  As we become adults it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life,  forgetting about the wonder, no longer questioning, or exploring.  In Mathew 18 Jesus encourages us to become like children.  My prayer today is that I would slow down and rediscover the wonder that God planted inside me.  I pray that I would be humble and know that God still has much to teach me.


Mathew 18:2-6 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Out of the overflow



Ephesians:3:14-21

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Discovering new trails

I love to explore new trails.  There is something magical about discovering what is around the next corner, or over the next hill.  My family has labeled me the sandbagger because I always tend to extend the ride or hike further than originally advertised.  If I say a mountain bike ride will be 5 miles, my wife and boys will look at each other with a knowing glances and say 10 at least.  There is always something to be discovered.  Just this morning while walking the dog I came across a fawn lying down under a tree.  The mama was near by and gave us a warning glace.  We headed off trail a bit to give them plenty of room and discovered a new trail that we had not yet explored.  Our 2 mile morning walk quickly turned into a 5 mile hike.  We explored a section of the Deschuetes river that I had not hiked along before. 
I find myself in constant wonder of God's creation.  There is such diversity and attention to detail.   I believe that God planted the love of adventure into my very soul, and have found him to be the best guide.   He has taken me places that I never dreamed I would go and mapped out adventures far better than those I could plan on my own.  I encourage you to seek God in your adventures and search out the path that he has marked for you.

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Strength

Samson lived a roller coaster of a life.  In the end he called on the Lord to allow him to use his strength one last time, knowing that his fate would be the same as those who were torturing and abusing him.  He literally brought the house down.  We can learn much from Samson's story, probably the point that sticks out the most is that worldly desires can distract us from our purpose, and zap our ability to use the strengths and gifts that God has provided us.   I pray that I would keep my eyes on the prize and quickly recognize and avoid the temptations that seek to pull me away from God.

 Judges 16:28-30

28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Overflow

I spent a little time drawing on a piece of slate that I have on our back deck.  We are in between seasons in Bend.  One day is sunny and 60 and the next brings cold and snow.  I enjoy this time of year, often a light snow is falling in the morning which quickly melts, giving way to the warming rays of the afternoon sun.  The weather reminded me of Isaiah 55: 10-12, which illustrates God's provision of rain and snow to water the earth and bring forth new life.  Similarly his word waters our heart, mind and soul, causing new growth, fruit, and eventually overflow.  It is through that overflow that we are able to love others.   My prayer today is that I would plant God's word deep into my being, and that I would use the overflow of the fruit produced to serve others.


Isaiah 55: 10-12
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven

    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
 
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

“For you shall go out in joy

    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

A welcome distraction


I have found that most of my painting and drawing time has recently been otherwise occupied with a fluffy addition to our family.  Adding a puppy to the mix has reminded me a little of what it was like when our kids were toddlers.  They need lots of attention, constant supervision, and function best when we stick to a schedule.  I have had a-lot of time to reflect on our 4:30 AM walks along the Deschutes river.  Knox has even sparked creativity in me by inspiring me to make dog leashes from retired rock climbing rope.
Most of all adding a new puppy has reminded me that we all start from zero.  We don't understand the world around us, we do not know right from wrong, and we do not know how hard we can chew on our care taker.  We initially have to learn everything through trial and error.  As I reflected on this I found myself being very thankful for a God that has allowed me to learn from my mistakes, who gently corrects me when I forget, and who takes delight in me just being me.

Proverbs 3:12 English Standard Version (ESV)


for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,

    as a father the son in whom he delights.


Psalm 37:23 English Standard Version (ESV)


The steps of a man are established by the Lord,

    when he delights in his way;


Psalm 149:4 English Standard Version (ESV)

For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;

    he adorns the humble with salvation.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Who is your neighbor

       Drawing - Grand Goave Haiti Nov. 2017

Who is your neighbor?  I asked myself this question as I read the below scripture.  Often we think of our neighbors as those that live on our street, cul-de-sac, or just next door.  It is easy to discount those that we do not have regular contact with.  The truth is that God puts "neighbors" in front of each of us every day.  We have the choice to ignore, tear down, or build up each person we come in contact with.  This could be at work, in the park, on the phone, in traffic, at the grocery store, in the airport, at a sporting event, walking down the street, etc....  My prayer today is that I would take the below words to heart and practice kindness, treating others as God has treated me.  I pray that God will continue to expand my neighborhood.



 Ephesians 4:25-32

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

No Straight Lines



Every journey starts with a destination in mind.   We often place 100% of our focus on arriving at the destination, focusing on the shortest path, and the least amount of inconvenience.  I have found in my walk with God there are no straight lines.  The destination is clear, but I will not reach it until my last breath has expired.   I never know exactly where God will ask me to turn, pause, or even retrace my steps. 

I have applied some of this line of thinking to my daily life.  I commute to work on a mountain bike.  For years I road the same river trail each day as it was the shortest path avoiding roads between my office and my house.  A couple years ago I began to explore alternative routes and found that when I thought in terms of the journey instead of just the destination it opened up all sorts of fantastic trails.  My commute can be as short as 5 miles, but sometimes extends as long as 26.  I find inspiration in Gods creation and riding through the woods each day fills me with awe and wonder. 

My prayer today is that I would be sensitive to the path that God is leading me, I pray that I would not question the route, and that I would be obedient to his gentle nudge.  In Psalm 91 I am reminded that God is not only our guide, but also our protector.

Psalm 91English Standard Version (ESV)

My Refuge and My Fortress

91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Branching out


 When I sketched this I was thinking specifically about branching out.  Sometimes God gives you the opportunity to do something new.  It can be exciting, scary, and even confusing.  It can be a blank page, or simply joining a different one of his adventures.  It can be born out of Joy, peace,  pain, or even sorrow.   As an artist I enjoy the blank page.  There is so much potential, and I never know what might emerge from my scratches and scribbles.  I start my process without a destination in mind and simply attempt to focus on the direction God is leading.  At times I take a false turn, or jump ahead, but God patiently waits for me to return to the path he has laid out.  My prayer today is that I would be sensitive to the direction he is leading me.  I pray that I will always be open to the next blank page that God is presenting, and I pray that I would rely on him to branch out.


Isaiah 43:18-19
 
“Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

God does not have an address

Sketch - Port Au Prince Haiti 
 As I sketched this I was reminded that God does not have an address.  He is not limited by borders, governments, or curfews.  He exists equally in castles and back alleys.  It is sometime easy to put God in a box, associate him with Sunday and the church.   God can not be contained or constrained.  His desire to be with us is so strong that he gave his only son (Jesus) as a sacrifice.  Jesus, in one selfless act, took on all our sin, past and present, so that we could be forgiven.  My prayer today is that I would not squander that gift, that I would be sensitive to Gods calling in my life,  and that I would be a willing tool yielded in his hand. 

John 3:16-18 (ESV)

For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world,  that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
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