Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grafted in

This summer I have been invited to many, many weddings. This turned into a source of inspiration to bring out a part of me that isn't always very evident in my life. I decided to make something for gifts instead of buying something (cheaper, more meaniful, and lots of fun). So after seeing a my friend Emily's graduation gift, I started on my own version of a collage/painting. The picture on the right is one that I made for Andrew and Halee Stimson, both of which I met at NWC. They both traveled to Israel last summer and I just want to share with you the message that God was teaching me about as I was making this and prayerfully meditating.
John 15 talks about the vine and the branches. Christ is the true vine and God is the gardener. We must remain in Him to bear fruit.
As you can see there's a lot going on in this painting and I see it being similar to our lives. We have good and bad things swirling around us and cluttering our lives. Often we look to these instead of what will really bring us true joy and fulfillment.
When you look at the painting you can see some pretty things, some not so pretty things around the center focal point. This shows how in order to bear fruit that lasts we must remain grafted in Christ, the true vine, and His unlimited grace given to us on the cross. When we are abiding in this ultimate grace we find our definition of love being redefined by the true love of our Lord that is both unconditional and undeserved.
Lord Heavenly Father,
I pray that your Spirit fills and renews all who read this post and glance at my rediculously inadequate attempt to be like you, the true creator. I pray that you give them eyes to see your word come alive in their life. I pray that you give them strength to pursue loving you and others with even more zeal. Ultimately, I pray that you continue to refine them as you cover them in your unconditional grace. Thank you for the gift of your son.
Thank you Andrew and Halee for boldly proclaiming this message as you were united in marriage as a vessel for our King.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

...so that you may live

Hey everyone :-)
So as of late I've been reading again through Matthew and going back in the references Jesus uses from Deuteronomy and just letting the Spirit speak to my heart through it...

Today as I read about Jesus being tempted by Satan in Matthew 4, I also went back to spots like Deuteronomy 6:2, 30:19-20 and 32:46-47

In Matthew 4, Satan tempts Jesus after he has fasted for 40 days. He says, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus replies saying "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Do I live on every word that comes from the mouth of God? I'm not so sure that I always do, but I do know that I desire to and I strive to.

As I look at my own life and the lives of those around me, I often catch myself pondering the mystery of grace and law. I know the truth in this verse:
Galations 3:1-3 "Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified...Did you receive the Spirit by oberving the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"

but then I also see the truth in Deuteronomy:
Deuteronomy 8:3 "that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."
Deuteronomy 6:2 "so that you...may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life."
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 "'Now choose life, so that you...may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life..."
Deuteronomy 32:46-47 "Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you-they are your life. By them you will live long..."

Granted all of these words were given to the Israelites, before the blessing in Christ. But doesn't the word of God still bring us life today? Heck yes it does! :-) This includes His commandments...but the best part...
Galations 3:13 "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us...He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." And Galations 3:18 "For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise."

We are no longer bound by law, but law still serves a purpose. As Paul goes on in Galations to say, "It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come."
The law no longer brings us life. Life comes from the gift of grace through the Spirit. Matthew and Deuteronomy led me to this truth in Galations and I just can't stop reading... It's all so good. I recommend checking it out :-)

Anyways, Paul continues on to talk of life in the Spirit and how when you are living by the Spirit, you will "not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." Therefore, life in the Spirit, by grace brings us the blessing of the law...the fulfillment in a God-fearing life, life breathed in us by Yahweh. But we are no longer held by the curse of the law and ultimately all that matters is grace, grace hung on a cross.

I'm praying that any who read this feel a fresh breath of Jesus and His grace. Be empowered by it! I hope this brings you all some joy in your day. Amazing Grace, what could be better? Amazing grace...so that you may live!