Worship, Create, Dream

Be free to Worship God. Create with abandonement because He is the Creator. Let's discover our Dreams together.


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WHY CREATE II

Come to me weary number 2

Could there be  reasons to bring out beauty other than benefiting others? God may see a need deep within the soul of the creator for His gentle touch.

Luci Shaw wrote in  BREATH FOR THE BONES,  about a Canadian woman on the prairie in the 1870’s who journal-ed in her diary  the benefits of her quilt-making. “I make them warm to keep my family from freezing; I make them beautiful to keep my heart from breaking.”1 This woman knew the movement of her fingers going through the fabric squares, stitching each cotton scrap together, was the way she loved her family gave them  warmth to survive the frigid winters.

For the quilt maker,  the up and down movement of the needle brought life to her soul. As the different quilting patches bloomed into various quilting patterns before her eyes,  (log cabin, wedding ring, flower basket),  she was able to survive the harsh cold winter. Creativity brought warmth to her soul so she could survive the frigid winters.

” It  (Beauty) fills an emptiness in you that nothing else under the sun can”. 2

Why do we need beauty

Creating beauty reaches to the pain and  even does battle against it. We may not set out with head held high waving a banner saying, “ I am going to beat this”, as we write or paint, but we engage in a subtle battle  all the same.  Is it because we did not ask for the fight in the first place?

Do we ask for the pain that strikes with heavy blows without warning?

Depression, Cancer, Chronic Pain?  

As Christians,  if we are honest, the word WHY makes its way into our vocabulary. We live in a world that is not totally redeemed. We are attacked by the same physical and emotional  encounters as people who do not know the Love of Jesus.

The creative Christian  has a unique opportunity to explore and work with God if the artist is opened to hear His Voice.  God gives these artists an opportunity to actually fight through word and other crafts by  bringing a beautiful aromatic rose into view even though it is surrounded in thorns.IMG_0289

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A friend of mine was struck with cancer. Depression set in as much of the normal life style she knew seemed to elude her. Even though the cancer itself did not conquer her life and her basic trust in Jesus was still strong, life was so different.

God had big  plans for His daughter.  Beauty was used not only to help relieve her pain  but to pour refreshing waters  into dry areas of her soul. How?

Photography

This creative form was introduced to her by her husband. My friend not only discovered the beauty of nature through the camera,  but she slowed down to take in a deeper part of God’s creation through the Macro lens.

Becky's Photo 1 with nameBecky photo 4 with nameBecky's photo 2 with nameBecky's photo 3 with name

Why Create?

For the woman on the prairie it was a matter of survival. The bloom of the creative patterns gave her the ability to “hang on”.  In the words of my friend, “ it was about refocusing and seeing through fresh eyes. The cancer was exhausting and consumed an entire year. one I pretty much lost. Photography helped me. look at the world through fresh eyes. Perspective”

WHY CREATE?

If you read the paper, listen to the news or look at the ticker tape on the TV, pain is an everyday occurrence.  A Christian knows  and lives the truth that God’s Kingdom is present at but we do not always experience  the physical reality of that Kingdom through out every day.

Slowing down and creating  allows the coming together of hearing God’s heart and expressing what is heard.   See His beauty in the flower and capture it in a photo or painting. Through story,  express in words the pain God feels  and the depth of release one can experience in total forgiveness.  As an individual, ask for a new lens to be released from your own previous pain. The result may be in prose  or paintings  setting you  free  to go into  deeper worship.

Sit with Jesus. Spend time in His love for you. During those sweet seasons, express what takes place. It may never be laid out for anyone other than the two of you, but what is created may just be the deepest expression you ever know.

.

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!

Creating is God’s gift to you and God’s gift through you to others. In these last two posts, review  how is God calling you to go deeper in your creating?   We are on this journey together.

Jpeg


Thank you so much to Luci Shaw and her book BREATH FOR THE BONES. It is very helpful for one wanting to go deeper in creating beauty and engaging with Our Creator.

1 Luci Shaw BREATH FOR THE BONES, Art, Imagination and Spirit. ©2007 p27

2 Ibid p,28

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Why Create?

Beauty is necessary

Look at the morning paper. What are the main headlines? Possibly hurricanes demanding families to evacuate their home. Painful memorials of how people have been unjustly treated in one way or another.  Stories depicting  the horrible outcome of what started out as a peaceful rally exposing wrongful actions toward a group of people.

Pain upon

Anger upon

Death upon

          ……………………………AGONY.

Is that all there is in our

                                                              Real  Life?

Suddenly the reality of those pain-filled words started jumping all around me crying out to make themselves heard. “I am real”!!!

Pain exists.

  • Cancer with all of it’s excruciating effects.
  • Raising children with no help.
  • Losing a loved one.
  • Addictive choices becoming a lifestyle and those choices affecting the web and flow of a families very breath.
  • The list of the world’s chaos goes on even further.

Should I continue? What would be the point? If you are not fighting a medical battle, you are probably in the middle of an emotional one. If you are not in an emotional upheaval, then a spiritual  turmoil might be clamoring inside.

THE RESPONSE?

A creator has to create. A writer HAS to write. Walking through a bookstore, will bring many attempts to answer the question to life.  The form will vary.  Either by straight-forward nonfiction or a slightly more subtle way as in poetry and fiction. It is in the DNA of a writer to express an answer to the world’s chaotic pandemonium.

I believe as Christian creatives, poets, writers, we are called to tackle those same real themes. Our participation in this battle with the creative arts we have been given will write through a different lens.  It is necessary to join in the dance of God’s heart and co-labor with Him to bring out truth and beauty.

HOW?

All true artisans are willing to cry and rejoice in the reality of the world.

A writer who has taken up the pen as a sword has implements at her disposal  in the spiritual world. As she constructs a well developed story, she can take her  reader to the depths of reality and freedom beyond what mere details can achieve. The creative  sees the data of pain. The story no matter how it is composed( fiction/ poetry/essay) will walk with the reader in and through the pain. The reader will not feel alone.  Well chosen words will cause the reader to identify with truth and know she is identified with.

As a Christian, I know the world will have tribulation. John 14:33

I also know Who the Victor is. We need creative writers who are bold  with their gifts of creativity to feel The heart of God  and show the victory through ways that will touch a soul.

Why do you create?

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As you read this post, seriously look into your calling.  As creators we have a high calling. Slow down to sit at God’s feet. Put your ear to HIS HEART. Will you at times be brave enough to  weep as Jeremiah of the Old Testament?  Before it comes time to put pen to paper,  pause and wait for His Word.Selah

In the depth and fullness of what you receive, be bold and obedient to flow the beauty God has shared with you.

I will finish with a quote from Luci Shaw

It is my wild hope that perhaps creative Christians, by means of their “baptized imaginations” may be able to help integrate the universe by widening and sharpening their focus, by seeing the whole picture as if through God’s eyes, by observing humankind and the environment and saying, “Yes, I see. This like that . There is meaning in it”.1

Where is God taking you on your adventure in creating? Feel free to share your thoughts. We are on this journey to worship together.

BE

To

Worship

As

Were

Created!

Jpeg


1Luci Shaw BREATH FOR THE BONES Art, Imagination , and Spirit: Reflection on Creativity and Faith ©2007 P.68.


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View with a New Lens

Wobbling back and forth, oozy  wounds roughly covered with torn rags.. Sores, no ability to feel pain. I cannot bathe anywhere because the lesions fall into the water contaminating anything and everything. The area around  me wreaks as my body is slowly decaying.

What is worse? The condemnation of my body,  or the condemnation of my mind and soul?  My body will never allow a gentle touch or a kind word. What was my sin? I did not ask for this? Why am I receiving such harsh treatment?

 

A soft voice flows past  which I can barely understand. One ear is partially gone. Is the voice talking to me? Voices coming in my direction have been harsh and cruel. Each word is usually followed by a series of stones and sticks. Now my mind cannot comprehend a voice where the decibels are not barbarous and pitiless.

Jesus did not stop with the outer layer. He looked at the  inner beauty His Father created. With the Lens His Father had given Him, Jesus knew the freedom I am  still called to experience. I needed not only the deep cleansing from the outer decay. I would need an even deeper  cleansing of an inner decay toward all those who hurt me and refused to help me.

 

Jesus takes my hand. My first reaction is to shrink back. His holiness shakes my sins to shout louder than my leprosy.

. “Why would this Man touch me?”

 

Jesus eyes come to mine.  Peace settles into my soul. Peace washes over my body.. Healing sweeps over me. I feel the strange sensation of a smile come to my lips. I hear the sound of pleasant child hood  laughter and a bird’s song.
Jesus-heals-leper
(yahoo.com Jesus Heals a Leper free image)

 

I receive the inner and outer healing to live the creative story God intended for me.

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This teeny obscure flower is not a big eye catcher in the  restaurant herb garden . Compared to the beautiful orange flowers edging the garden for decorations, the yellow one probably doesn’t get second glance.

Jpeg

 

 

 

Jpeg

 

It takes a special lens to bring out the beauty inside the yellow flower. The size did not attract me and I needed to take extra work to get deep inside.  It not only took recognizing the lack of my camera but I had to  recognize my need for the correct lens. I had a lack. I had a need.

Jpeg

 

The same is true in life.

 

There are situations in life where the lens I use is not adequate. To see the inner beauty of God’s creation, no matter what it is, I have to recognize my lack. I have to recognize my need.

Some inner beauties we all may need a new lens from time to time:

  • family members
  • someone who votes differently than you
  • an art work when it is passed by
  • a book proposal getting rejected for the third (or fourth or fifth) time.
  • Please do not end the list here. Ask God, what inner beauty around you  is being missed, has a lack, has a need?

Jesus saw the beauty of the leper through the lens of His Father’s Heart. We miss the beauty of God’s Heart when we are unwilling to use His Lens to look at this world.

 

The proper lens makes a world of difference.

 

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!

 

 Forgiveness through God’s Heart and taking His hand will allow us to be free to worship as we were created.  You are welcome to comment and share. We are on this journey together.


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Am I Insignificant?

Daily, we walk past what seems small and insignificant to achieve bigger goals. Possibly we see ourselves as small and insignificant with everyone else having a bigger place in the sun than we do. I walked past these itty bitty flowers while walking my dog, Ripley.

 

They had no aroma. Nothing cried out, begging me to  create a story with them. I was going to continue with the rest of my day walking through the plans I had laid out before me.

God had other plans. He saw the beauty in each small petal, because He created it. He knew the significance in the small, even though I was ready to pass right by.

God asked me to  make a choice. Decide yes or no to make an effort,  return with my Macro and work with these gems. I was asked  to create and share what He saw.

Are you willing to do the same thing with your own life? It takes an effort. There is a decision needed to be made to go forward. Making the choice is worth it.  In Jesus, no one is insignificant.
You are a dynamic story.
BE
Free
To
Worship
As
You
Were
Created!
Share times where these decisions have called out to you in the comments if you wish. We are all on this journey together.


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WILL YOU TRUST ME?

 

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WILL YOU TRUST ME?

This a question most born again Christians want to automatically answer with a resounding:

OF COURSE!

 

A war battling inside and out may cause a tremendous tug on our body, soul  and mind making that inquiry loom to the heights of  Mt. Everest. If you cannot look anyone in the eye for fear of breaking into tears, the isolation takes the mountain and multiplies it many times the size it was before.

 

How often do we even acknowledge this internal agony bearing down inside and around us? If you have read my previous  blogs, you know comparison is a bully, trying to tear down the joy of who I am in Jesus. This ugly cloaked  beast recently uncovered itself and attacked.  The pain was ……
I recently returned from an exciting, challenging road trip with my daughter.  This post deals with the inner war that took place shortly after coming home.  I share  this experience with you for one purpose. To encourage all believers who “walk through the valley of the shadow of  death”.

How did it happen? I can’t say. I can point to words I heard. They pulled at my insides until finally I snapped. It wasn’t just the words though. I started to add “this to that”, “what I do and don’t do”, “what I can and cannot do”

I was in darkness. I saw no future. I felt pain from my past. My birthday coming in a few days simply added to the feelings “I am so useless”.

 

I can point to the main lying phrase which caused my breathing to come in small, short, stints:

“You are not good enough” !

I stayed  in our library,  using box after box of tissues, wondering why I was in such torment. At that point,  I firmly decided I would not be leaving  the house the rest of that weekend,  other than as a silent passenger in the car  Anything else was beyond my capabilities.

I questioned:  Am I going to be this way for the rest of my life?

 

In the midst of this confusion,  I sensed a soft gentle breeze.  God’s presence. Not an “I AM WITH YOU”,  overly loud voice from the scriptures.  Rather a soft whisper, “i am with you and i will never leave you.”
I experienced a respect-filled love from my God, my Papa. I felt His compassionate Presence very close to me. He could have taken my hand,  but I was too bruised to be touched. Every once in awhile, I felt a slight touch which made me aware of His love and presence. The Creator knew my needs.  He was never intrusive, never invasive.

Sunday morning brought a sliver of possibly riding in the car to church.  My husband and son were volunteering for the first service.  Still not wanting to talk to anyone, I would wait in the car til the second service.   My husband left the keys to our car and suggested if I decided I was ready to go at all, I could drive and meet them for the second one.

I did not feel as though God was expecting anything. He was not saying “You can do all things because of who you are in Me.”  Rather the gentle love extended to me was a hand knowing my needs saying:

“I think We can do this. Will you trust me?”

 

I did not feel shame or pushed. I did not feel as though it was something I “should” do. I truly felt the choice was mine. Even though that was the case:

I was not doing this by myself. I did not walk alone.

 

I (We) got behind the wheel. I (We) drove to church. I (We) walked through the doors.

 

Little by little God has taken my hand. I presently see life through a different lens.

The questions, pain and emptiness which erupted over that weekend have not been totally answered or dealt with. 😕  They are just not screaming louder than God’s love for me. Right now I can breathe.

I would like to give you the gift God gave to me. His wonderful love allowed me to walk through the weekend without expectations how I was to perform. I was ugly. I was not pleasant. I needed to be alone. God did not leave me. His touch was unique to my need.

 

We are all very unique. With that in mind, how do now I approach the attack:

   YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH?

Is that even a statement  to consider?   God gave His Son for me.  In receiving this precious gift, the relation between God and me is totally free to be everything it was meant to be. In Jesus, I am free to love, free to create, free to worship, free to live as God created me to be.

God gently takes my hand into His. We will walk the path where He leads me.

Jpeg

Reach out  and take God’s hand. Where is He leading you? Will you trust Him?

What can I say

It is not always easy to walk this path, but God is not calling us to walk it alone. He is always with us even when the feelings are not there. Be honest.  If you have questions or comments, come and share them with me. We are on this path together.

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!


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Slowing Down Can Bring True Refreshment

 

Proverbs 14 b

As you slow down and give yourself to the serious pursuit of reflection, you will find it is not an absence of work. It is more of a decision as to where you want to allow your mind to go. What do you want your mind and body to engage in?  In receiving the wonders you take in,  you decide how your heart engages with the given information and how you will share it. In other words,

It is discovering  refreshing waters pouring  over  your tired soul.

 

Ponder this : If the daily spiritual consumption you ingest is similar to a drive-thru for your favorite latte on your way to work, are you really getting the best and deepest nourishment in your relationship with God?

Probably Not.😄

It tastes really good at the time. You get your needed zip to start the day.  Then as  the time goes  on, and like the caffeine energy that wears away,  with little  spiritual and substance and reflection,  it is hard to hear His tender, caring voice expressing His love.

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In a  past daily Bible reading, the New Testament portion was Acts 25-26. I could easily  been impressed with Paul’s eloquent rhetoric in his defense to King Agrippa. I could have  closed the book and said, “WOW! God sure gave Paul just the right words to say to get him out of trouble.    Thank you God.”

Slowing down caused me to catch something else God had in store for me.

 

Kick against the GOADS.

.  
12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

 

                                                                                                  NKJV Acts 26

 

Such an odd sentence! Kick against the goads!  What does that mean?

 

goad02

 

An  ox goad  is similar to a cattle prod. (an instrument used by ploughmen for guiding their oxen   . http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/  )  It is a type of long stick with a pointed end.( Wipikedia)

A farmer uses the goad to push and prod the ox to make him move to a certain goal and perform the duties he is created for. The more the ox fights (kicks) against the goad, the harder the farmer needs to push it into the ox until the correct path is chosen.

IT HURTS!

Everything in Paul’s being was trained and ready for the Messiah. When the PROMISE was fulfilled  through the man Jesus, Paul could not or would not walk that direction. He kept pushing against the very path he actually wanted to be on.

As Paul realized the Man speaking to him on the Damascus road was the Promised  fulfilled,  he quit kicking.  The true wisdom, washed  over his heart  causing Paul the freedom to embrace a relationship with Jesus for who Jesus truly is.

                        That YES changed Paul’s life forever.

That YES affected all followers of Jesus forever.

 

Slowing down and reflecting on this passage took me to a deep question. I put this same  question to you.

Is there an area in your life where you are:

         Kicking against the goad?

 

Where did you say “YES” to God with your whole heart and now you think you know better for your life than He does?

Was  creativity a dynamic worship expression in your intimate relationship with God at one time and now other areas vie for your time?  Creativity and worship are not important?

Is God opening  a different direction in your life ( a new ministry, change of  job, writing a book), but it  does not seem to line up with your “normal walk”?

You can fill the blank with  your own question that has been lurking in the back of your mind________.

                                             

What is your response when you think of these specific conversations? Are you kicking against the goad? God is not angry.  He is waiting to free you as He did Paul.

 

 

As Paul  received the wise words to quit resisting the reality of Jesus and His Love, Paul was bathed in refreshing waters for a new life.

 

IMG_4099

Relax and sit with Me for awhile

 

Slowing down will bring true refreshment for you. What are your goads?

 

BE

 FREE

TO

WORSHIP

AS

YOUR

WERE

CREATED!

 

Feel free to share your questions and thoughts. We are all on this journey together.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

plowman photo is a free on line example of an ox goad with ox.

 


TAKE A SLOW WALK THROUGH THE SCRIPTURES

If you have been reading my posts or following my other social media, I have suggested you slow down and live reflectively. Take deep breaths in the present time God is gifting you. Contemplate as you create to take in what God is sharing with you.   Do not dwell in the past because that has past. Do not fret  the future because you are not walking that path right now. Take God’s hand as He walks you through the joys (or tears) of the now.

Easier said than done. The past affects the present  and the future is our tomorrow’s present.

How we allow God to walk  us through the present and help deal with the past will affect how the future is handled.

Do these books look familiar? If not,  that is OK. They are my current GO TO  books for encouragement, inspiration and challenge.Jpeg

Margaret Feinberg’s book seems to speaks to points of my need at the right time.

Proverbs ground us in the life God intends”.1

If I want to be grounded in the life God intends for me, I need to do more with Proverbs than slide over the words as a mere check off  to-do box. This is a relationship.

The second book, The Reflective Life has tools to help implement a reflective life into our everyday life. The Growth Of The Reflective Life (Part VI)  includes help with the scriptures.

Do you think it is possible to have a fresh breath of the Words of Solomon?

Can these word have the same affect on a modern 21st century reader as they did when Solomon first heard them?

In the section entitled “ Reflecting on the Scriptures”  Ken takes the passage  Luke 10:38-42. and shows how he uses the  following items  to help  obtain the fresh wind for himself.

  • READING THE MOMENT
  • REFLECTING THE MOMENT
  • RESPONDING TO THE MOMENT
  • PRAY THROUGH THE PASSAGE
  • GIVE THE PASSAGE A PLACE TO LIVE IN YOUR HEART2
    These contemplative actions are slow and  deliberate engagements to connect with our Creator. They can be worked through all the scriptures.   The last  two sit at the Master’s feet and listen. The last two take the Master’s hand and go where He leads.

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The following is an example of the gift I received as I took deep steps to respond to a reading in Proverbs  using Ken’s reflections guide  As you allow yourself to go deeper, be open to life changing possibilities.

Proverbs 15:31-32 New Living Translation (NLT)

31 If you listen to constructive criticism,
    you will be at home among the wise.

32 If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself;
    but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.

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What do you have for me God?

As a creative person, criticism is one of the last things I may  initially want  to  hear. I know I work hard to make physical, the beauty my mind and soul is enjoying, whether it is through writing, photography or fiber arts (knitting /crocheting).

The truth is, what does God want? “ If I listen to constructive criticism, I will be at home among the wise .”

“If I reject criticism, I only harm myself, but if I listen to correction I will grow in understanding.” (The One Year Bible NLT. I changed the nouns to make it personal as you read it.)

Verse 32 is a bit sharper in the results of one who does not take criticism

Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,

but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.NIV

What do you hear?

Is there a past pain causing rejection from any critique?  If you do not discipline yourself in the creativity God is calling you, are you being true to yourself and what He wants to share.  Does perfection and comparison from the past or fear of the future keep you from living in the present?  Allow Him to come inside. He is gentle.

 

 

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Taking a slower walk through the scriptures will allow you to hear God’s voice, HIS JOY, HIS TRUTH.  As you walk deeper in His Kingdom,  the passage will have a place in your heart. It cannot help but flow out. Join me as we walk deeper. Your creativity will reflect that walk.

Wild flowers are beautiful

Be

Free

To

Worship

As

You

Were

Created!




1 Margaret Feinberg FLOURISH  Live Loved Live Fearless Live Free. ⓒ2016 p52
2 Ken Gire THE REFLECTIVE LIFE ©1998 pp 107-120