on making art

It’s Day 31 of Whatever.

This has been a month of dwelling on what is good, right, and true and all that jazz. You know the best part of the month? It’s realizing what happens when I surrender to whatever. That the God of peace will be with us. With me. It’s the Great I Am gracing His presence in the present. It’s Emmanuel, God with Us, right here at the end of Philippians. Right here on All Saints Eve. Every day. We are never alone.

artWhen I say “yes” to whatever God asks, when I surrender my mind and take captive my thoughts, when I practice the presence of Christ today, this is God making art in me. It’s His way of transforming my mess into His masterpiece and making a beautiful poem of my life. It’s the little story He is writing in me to tell His Bigger, Better, Greater story. And it’s just the beginning.

31/31

whateverI’m writing for 31 Days! Learn more about it here.

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dwell

dwellI think I’ve always been a glass half empty kind of girl. And you know what? After nearly 40 years, I’m praying for God to change that.

This month as I’ve focused on whatever is true, right, lovely, excellent and all of these things, I’m realizing that God calls us to be glass half full and full to overflowing kind of people. Not merely to think positive thoughts, but to see with Jesus’ eyes and perspective. To see that Jesus himself embodies what is true, right, lovely and praiseworthy. To be in the Word so that I experience His presence, know His character, and am united with the Word Made Flesh. To dwell on Him and His goodness and beauty.

“One thing have I asked of the Lord that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord…” Psalm 27:4

30/31

whateverI’m writing for 31 Days! Learn more about it here.

gospel encouragment

The package arrived the other day, and I could hardly wait. Another Bible? Who needs another Bible? Don’t we already have the Jesus Storybook Bible, the Adventure Bible, the Study Bible, the ESV Bible, and the Message Bible. Why another Bible?

bibleIt’s true; purchasing a Bible today is confusing. There’s 1001 colors, versions, sizes, styles, and that’s just the beginning. Publishers these days seem to market their Bibles according to the latest trends. {Most of them drive me crazy.} But this latest Bible hot off the press is different. It’s the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible, and it’s a keeper.

bible2I have to admit my bias. Opening the pages felt like meeting old friends. I don’t usually read the introductions to Bibles with such enthusiasm, but this one is different. You see, my husband went to seminary and studied under one of the editors. Several of the contributors were professors, mentors, pastors, friends, and acquaintances. People that matter to us and so many we respect and love. So, with my beloved 66 books of the inspired word, I get the wisdom and teaching of these godly men and women that I respect so much in my margins as well. It’s a win-win!

What makes this Bible truly special? Although you will not find the usual maps and timelines of a traditional study Bible, you will hear the unique voices of the contributors each bringing their expertise to the text. You will read them tie in the Gospel in all of scripture and make applications of Gospel truths to all of life. You will trace the red thread of Jesus from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation. How great is that?

Reading the Gospel Transformation Bible is like curling up with Jesus, an old friend and a big ‘ole cup of Gospel encouragement. I heartily recommend it.

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4

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Disclaimer: Crossway provided me a brand new ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for this review. It’s my pleasure.

whateverI’m writing for 31 Days! Learn more about it here.

3 questions to start your morning

tuneFor four straight years in high school, my days would each begin in the same way. Every morning, I would drag my tired body out of bed, pack my backpack filled with homework, and grab my violin case only to rush out the door, drive across town to the local high school and stumble into the orchestra room filled with sleepy students. Orchestra was first period. Half asleep, we would tighten bows, rub rosin, and turn pegs. A cacophony of sounds would slowly emerge from the tired instruments then crescendo into chaos as we each listened and tuned. Finally, our conductor would appear, tap her baton to command our attention, and almost magically, we would begin to make music.

I think about those days some mornings. I’m not such a morning person these days, and I have no rehearsal to rush off to, but I am mindful that I have to tune my heart each and every day. Especially on Mondays.

So here’s 3 questions that go through my mind in the mornings.

1- What is important today? I’m choosing to focus on the important, not the urgent these days. Yes, sometimes I turn into task mode and list making and productivity, but I’m learning to slow and focus and ask God what is important. “God, my list is long,” I pray, “but what is important to you today? Order my day.” This is hard for me, so I quickly rush to my next question, because for me, this is a more important question to ask.

2-Do I believe the Gospel today? I’m learning to talk to myself more than listen to myself. I’m learning to preach the Gospel to myself each morning. It’s kind of like having a pep talk. I remind myself this is all light and momentary. That He who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it. That God is good and He loves me. That who I am in Christ is more important than what I do. That my Redeemer is faithful and true and His mercies are new every morning. That I would dwell on whatever is truenoblerightpurelovelyadmirableexcellentpraiseworthy. I pray, “Show me Jesus,” because He is all this and more.

3-If I believe the Gospel, then how is that true in my life today? Finally, I’m learning to ask the big question, IF. If I believe this, then how will my life be different today? What difference does Jesus make in my little corner of the world? It’s all too easy to get caught up in the sin that so easily entangles, so how will I let Jesus’ resurrected life be real in the here and now? I can say I believe, but if I really do, how does this show up in my life?

This last question, IF, gets me every time. I see I have a long ways to go, but that Jesus also loves me where I’m at. My life can be crazy, chaotic, and out of tune, or I can offer it to Jesus each day and He can turn it into beautiful music. It’s a good place to be, especially on a Monday morning.

“Can I believe the gospel, that God is patiently transfiguring all the notes of my life into the song of His Son?” ~Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces

28/31

whateverI’m writing for 31 Days! Learn more about it here.

be the best at whatever

“What I’m saying to you this morning, my friends: Even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures! Sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well!”  If you can’t be a pine on the top of a hill, be a scrub in the valley, but be the best little scrub on the side of the rill.  Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.  If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail.  If you can’t be a sun, be a star.  It isn’t by size that you win or you fail; be the best at whatever that you are!”

-Martin Luther King, October 26, 1967, in Philadelphia at Barrett Junior High School.

26/31

whateverI’m writing for 31 Days! Learn more about it here.

good things

This is the post in which I share whatever “Good Things” I find on the web this week. Enjoy!

how a lifeguard taught me about art- by emily freeman

free printable

crazy about wreaths…thinking about making one out of plastic spoons

25/31

whatever

I’m writing for 31 Days! Learn more about it here.