The Master Artist

“For we are God’s workmanship recreated in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:10

When I am inspired as an artist to draw or paint a picture, I usually get a new clean white canvas.  As the painting begins step by step to slowly become the image that I had in my heart and mind, only then can others begin to see it, too. There are many phases and hours spent in the development of the painting.  What a joy for me, as the artist to see that image coming to life on the canvas.

When we repent from our sins and receive Jesus into our life as Lord and Savior, I think at that moment, we become a new clean canvas. 1 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if any person is in Christ, he is a new creation.”  God the Father then begins His work in our lives to make us into the image of Jesus, His dear Son.  Unlike my paintings, it does not just take a few days or hours, but a lifetime of the Father’s love and care instead. Truly He is the Master Artist. He uses many light and bright colors (days).  Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and peace.”  He also uses dark colors (days) to contrast those days. Why? He is teaching us trust and thankfulness in all things. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Be thankful in everything no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful for this is the will of God for you, who are in Christ.”

We must remember that only the Master Artist knows what He has to do to make that image of His Son, Jesus come alive on our canvas. He is using all the colors and every brush stroke that is needed to develop a beautiful painting.  In the eternal “Art Show” of God, we will be one of many famous portraits painted by the mighty hand of God, as we come alive in Jesus on that heavenly canvas.

Joy,

Phyllis

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Christmas Boots

Well it is Christmas time again.  At almost every Christmas event, we are asked to share one memorable event that we remember about Christmas as kids.  As I was thinking about that this Christmas season, I remember that my brother and I would get a new pair of handmade western boots under the Christmas tree. We were so in to horseback riding that we would wear out each pair by the next Christmas. I can even today remember how great they fit.  They were perfectly made by the boot maker. The tough leather that held our feet and ankles protected them from scratches and cuts as we rode through brush. The just right size heels kept our feet in the saddle stirrups as we would round up the cattle. They were precisely crafted for the job they were made to accomplish.

As I was thinking about those amazing boots I couldn’t help but think of how our heavenly Father says in Psalm 139:14 that we are; “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  God made each of us for His pleasure. He is the Master Craftsman when it comes to making special people for a special task. You see, God knew before the foundation of the world that He had a unique place in this world for you and me.  We were hand crafted by the Master for that assignment.  What an amazing truth.

Sometime the enemy, people or even circumstances will try to convince us that we are not of any value and cannot do anything right, but we must remind ourselves of what the Bible says about a person that has accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made by God Himself.”  Remember, as one of my dear friends would remind us, “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.” Begin to praise Him now for His wonderful grace and His marvelous workmanship in making YOU SO VERY SPECIAL.

Joy,

Phyllis

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A Life Well Lived!

Yesterday Jon and I went over to the pasture to look at our son’s beautiful longhorn cows.  As we were looking at the cows, we were also admiring the many large oak trees. Among the beautiful green trees there was one that was barren, gray and had no sign of life.  My artist imagination began to see in that old massive dead tree, “A life well lived.”

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As I thought further about that old tree with the limbs breaking and hanging downward toward the ground,  I could not help but wonder how many storms it had gone through in an earlier time and still stood strong and tall.  I wonder how many birds had built their nest and raised their young in the strong limbs of that tree or how many family picnics had been shaded from the sun by its spreading branches, or how many squirrels and its young had made it through the winter feasting on that tree’s acorns.   Truly its roots had grown deep and strong. Yes, I just saw a” life well lived” when I saw that tree that had now finished what it was created to do.

Psalm 1:1-3 says as I paraphrase these verses: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the way of the wicked, but his delight is in the law of the Lord. He will be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water which will yield its fruit in its season.” Over the last several months we have experienced with our friends the death of their loved ones. Time and time again as I reflect on those lives that are now in the presence of our heavenly Father, I see lives that honored the Lord. I watched their love for their family and their love for the Lord expressed in so many different ways.  Some prayer warriors, some Bible teachers, some loving servants, but all had one beautiful characteristic; they loved Jesus with all their heart. How blessed are those of us that were touched and impacted by the fruit of their labor here on earth.

I pray that it can be said of us one day as others look back on our lives, truly their life was a, “A Life Well Lived.”

Joy,

Phyllis

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Touched by Prayer

Many of us are blessed by the organization, Focus on the Family. The originator of the organization, James Dobson Jr is one of the most admired, used and respected Christian ministers today.  His radio program is heard by millions.  No doubt he has done a remarkable job, but would he have been in such a position, had his father not been a man of prayer? Engraved on the tomb of James Dobson Sr. are two special words. “He Prayed.” Because he fervently prayed, this man of God left a legacy of prayer that will continue to impact the American family through his son for years. (Taken in part from Focus on the Family, June 1993).

“He Prayed.” What a powerful testimony.  As life was somewhat turned upside down for us in 2015 with Jon’s cancer we saw the power of prayer first hand.  There were so many that prayed for us during those hard months. Just knowing that one is not alone when the hard times come is such a blessing, but to get emails, cards, texts with “we are praying every day for you” is beyond words. We know that our Father hears and answers every prayer in His own way and His own time. I once heard the late Dr.Adrian Rogers say, “The greatest gift that one can give another is to take time to pray for them.”

When we pray for others, we are making a lasting imprint on them as well as all the lives that go after them.

May it be said of us some day, “They Prayed.”

Joy

Phyllis

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A Sweet Fragrance

One of the things that I love about the spring is to once again purchase flowers and plants for my back patio and arbor.  Recently I was shopping and I saw a gardenia plant that was just about dead. It was full of yellow and brown leaves. However, it did have some unopened buds on it.  In my mind I was thinking that I think I could save and once again restore it to a beautiful productive plant.  So I purchased it and put it under my arbor. I then began my transformation by removing all the bad leaves, watering and letting it absorb the wonderful sunshine that God provides. In about a week I got so excited, called to Jon, “come and see the beautiful white gardenia flowers and smell the sweet fragrance.” What a wonderful fragrance that emanates from the gardenia flower.

“Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.” 2 Corinthians 2:15 a

Once I also was regarded as a cast away, but God through His Son, Jesus purchased me and gave me a new Life. Just as the the sweet aroma from the gardenia plant brought joy to me, how much more pleasure and joy it must bring to our Heavenly Father when the sweet fragrance of Christ rises to heaven from the lives of His redeemed children.

Joy

Phyllis

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What’s Our Motive?

Many of us pray for God to send renewal to our heart, our churches and our nation. I hear how badly we need renewal, but I guess the first question is how badly do we really want it. The second question is why do we want renewal. What is our motive?

  1. So broken homes will be put back together?
  2. So that the lost can go to heaven?
  3. So there can be an end to all the violence?
  4. So that our churches can be filled again?
  5. So that our wayward children will return to God?

All these things are wonderful outcomes of a God sent revival, but I want to share a story that I heard several years ago that really touched my heart about my motives for asking.

Over 100 years ago there was an island somewhere in the Atlantic owned by a millionaire slave owner who happened to be an atheist. For that reason he would not let anyone go to the island to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to the slaves. Two Moravian believers, both young men, were concerned that these slaves would never get to hear the gospel so they decided that their only course of action was to sell themselves into slavery so that they would be transported to the island to live the rest of their lives.

When the time came for them to leave, their families wept as they stood on the dock and watched these two men leave. As the ship sailed away one of the family members cried out, “Why are you going?”

The men cried back, “ May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward for His suffering!”

(unknown)

That’s the real motive for asking…….

Joy,

Phyllis

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“ Yield yourselves unto God.” Romans 6:13

Several years ago I decided that I wanted to begin to do sculpting. It was one medium that I had not tried in my years of art. I took a sculpting class at a local nearby college. I remember how I felt that day when, after buying the very large bag of clay, asking the professor, what in the world do I do with the huge hunk of clay? Graciously he didn’t laugh, but instead asked me what I saw in the clay? I told him, “ I see a horse.” His encouraging reply, “then cut away everything that is not a horse.” A famous line used by others.
I thought of the scripture, Isaiah 64:8, “You, oh Lord, You are our Father, You are the potter. We are the work of Your hands”.
So many times in our lives we think we know better the hands that should form and mold our lives. Ours! When the scripture uses the word,” yield,” it means “to give up or present.” I hear people say that they are going to give God their lives. Well, how can we give Him something that He created and already owns? Yield, give up, present to Him!
Going back to my illustration about what I saw in the clay. It is an awesome thought to know that our Father in heaven knew exactly what He saw when he created us (you and me), and He knows exactly what to add and take away to fulfill in our lives His finished product, the Life of His Son, the Lord Jesus. Is it always easy? No! Does it sometime hurt? Yes! But God wants us to live in His perfect peace and trust in His ability. Our job is to yield ourselves to our heavenly Potter, not only committing our lives to Him, but take our hands off and let Him put His hands on just the way He sees fit. The word “yield” is just keeping all things under His guiding hand.
Joy,
-Phyllis

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A Wonderful Life

“ I came that they might have life and might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b
Here it is Christmas time again. As one gets older this time of the year seems to come faster and faster. I start tuning the radio to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies the day after Thanksgiving. One of the movies that I always have to watch is; “It’s a Wonderful Life.” My most favorite part is when Clarence, the angel sent from heaven to show George, who feels like a total failure, that he did have meaning and purpose. I think it reminds me that some 2000 years ago God sent His only Son, Jesus, who came to earth to let us know that we too can have purpose and meaning by accepting Him as our personal Savior and have a life more abundant, a wonderful life.
The word “life” in John 10:10b means in the original language, “Zoe” God’s Life. The word abundant means, enough.
So the Bible says that the life that we receive when we accept Jesus as our Savior is always going to be “enough.”
Enough when we are separated from God by sin. “For God so loved the world (you and me) that He sent His only Son that who so ever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16; “Zoe Life!” God the Father did the first surgical implant by placing the Life of His Son in our heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amazing!!!
God’s Life is “enough” when bad things happen to good people. When that doctor’s report, “it is cancer.” When the phone rings, “your loved one has been in a fatal car accident.” There are so many more, loss of job, depression, wayward children and the list goes on. God in His word says that Zoe life is enough. John 14:27 “My peace I give you.” Psalm 46:1 “God is my help in time of trouble.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 “The eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His.”
Oh my friend, I want to share this truth not only from the Word of God, but from personal experience that with Jesus as your Savior, He is enough for you to experience a Wonderful Life, His Zoe Life.
Joy,
Phyllis

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Drawing from the Well

When I was a little girl I remember the trips to Oklahoma to see my great grandmother. She was a typical great grandmother of that era, about 5’2” with solid white hair pulled back in a bun. As with most grandmothers, whatever my brother and I wanted we got. Since she didn’t have running water in her house, she had a well in her back yard. We loved to drop the bucket and pull up water over, and over, and over, spilling most on the ground. It was messy, but such fun.
This morning as I was praying about what I wanted to share with you, I was reminded of our Lord’s encounter with the woman at the well found in John 4:6-29. Read the story and be blessed. After the woman asked the question in verse 11 about not having a bucket in which to draw water from the deep well; Jesus answered her in verse 14. “Whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give shall never be thirsty again. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up continually within him unto eternal life.”
Recently, because of an unexpected challenge with Jon’s health, I have had to draw from that Living Water that my Lord Jesus promised in His Word. He has quickened my heart with some of these promises during my early morning visits with Him. Insert “your name” in these verses as I have.
“He shall be to Jon and me a restorer of life and a nourisher of our old age.” Ruth 4:15
“”Call on Me, Phyllis and I will answer. I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and honor him.” Psalm 91:15
“God is my refuge and strength, my helper, Who is always found in the time of trouble, therefore, I will to not be afraid.” Psalm 46:1-2
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, Phyllis and lean not on your own understanding and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Thou will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is stayed on Thee, for I trust in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3
Trusting in Jesus,
Phyllis

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Sometimes life can be a real bummer!

Events and circumstances in life can sometimes, let’s admit it, be a real bummer. I guess it is because those happenings catch us off guard. I will have to admit that my first response is not always the most Spiritual. It does make me feel a little better when I read that some characters in the Bible didn’t always respond well to their circumstances. In anger, Peter, who was with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane reached out and drew his sword, striking the servant of the high priest and cutting off his ear. That is recorded in Matthew 26:51. In Luke 9:54 when the people were rejecting Jesus, James and John asked, “Lord do You want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them.” Another event where self-pity reigned was when Jezebel was trying to kill Elijah. He came to a large bush and sat down in the shade and begged the Lord, ”I have had enough, just let me die.” Yep, to my regret I have experienced both anger and self-pity when presented with unwanted happenings.
It would be easy to say that we deserve to get angry or have self-pity. Truthfully, the only right and good answer to the unexpected circumstances and disappointing things in life is also found in the Scriptures. Let’s take a brief look at Psalm 46.
We must behold our God. “God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas.” He is our Supreme power. He has authority in heaven and earth. “Come behold the works of our Lord who does wonders in the earth.” “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still (stop moving, have tranquility of mind)…Know (observe, reflect, by experiencing),I am God (Sovereign, Supreme power, Superior to all others). God is the One that controls every event that affects our lives if we are His children. Selah (pause and calmly think on this).
I am really working on those times when life sends me those unexpected events, so that I can behold my God and turn the bummer things into the joy of the Lord.
Joy,
Phyllis

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