We are God's Works of Art

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How We Should Live

How We Should Live
Pt. 2

     Today in part two of “How We Should Live” Ephesians 4:25 NLT gets right to the point with the following words: “So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.” If we want to live our lives the way God wants us to live them, we need to do all he tells us to do. He tells us to speak truthfully to everyone, all the time.

     I know it’s easier said than done, all of us have told a little white lie a few times in our life. Most of us have told out right fabrications from time to time. God says to Stop It! That means stretching the truth as well as not saying anything and letting a faults idea go uncorrected.

     You may say, “That’s all well and good but what about the questions like: Do you like my new hat, or Do these pants make my back side look big?” We are told to speak the truth in love even when called on to answer tricky questions like those mentioned above. The key is to do so with LOVE.

     Jesus spoke the truth everywhere he went, some people didn’t want to hear it, and others accepted the truth because Jesus spoke in love. God is the way, the truth, and the life, he is also love. Satan is the father if lies. The next time you are tempted to stretch the truth, or tell a little white lie, stop and think who you will be honoring with your speech.

     The next few verses talk about anger, 26- "And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”[a] Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27- for anger gives a foothold to the devil". How can you give the devil a foothold in your life and still say you are living for Jesus?

     There is a lot of anger and rage in today’s world. We hear about cases of ‘Road Rage’ where someone has become so agitated over some real or imagined driving incident, the enraged person pulls a gun and kills the offending driver. I think that a spirit of rage has been set loose in the world. We need to guard ourselves against letting anger control us. It is possible to be angry and sin not with God’s help.

     Verse 28 explains itself; “If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.” We need to find something useful to do with our hands. Work hard and help others who are in need.

     Paul wrote in verse 29, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Foul or abusive language, I wonder what Paul would think if he could hear our speech of today? Well, guess what, Jesus does hear, is he pleased with the words you let slip from your mouth?

     We also need to be careful of how we talk about others. We should season our speech with love and not be critical of others or speak hatefully to one another. The old saying about sticks and stones could not be farther from the truth. Words can and do hurt especially those spoken in anger. Hastily spoken words have the power to crush the spirit especially the spirit of a young child.

     Have you noticed that most of the scripture used today dealt with the tongue? Lying, letting our anger control our speech as well as our actions, and not use fowl or abusive language was a common thread in today’s study. God knew we would need help and gave us a lot of good advice on controlling our speech found all throughout the bible. If you have a bible with a topical index, you will be able to find many more verses dealing with control of the tongue. Better yet, go to biblegateway.com or Google and you’ll find enough verses to keep you busy reading for hours.

Until next time, my friends, keep living your lives in a manner pleasing to our Heavenly Father.
Oh, by the way, does this hat make me look silly?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How We Should Live

How We Should Live

     On my last trip to Africa, I met a lot of baby Christians. They may have been saved years ago, but no one was there to teach them how to live their lives as a born again believer. A large percent of the country is illiterate and cannot read the Word for themselves. They must rely on someone else to tell them what the bible teaches, and some of the teachings they receive are pretty twisted. My experience in Liberia drove home the point that I need to study my bible and seek God’s answers for how I should live my life.

     As Christians, we are called to be set apart from the ways of the world while we are living here on earth. We are called to be a peculiar people, and living a Godly lifestyle in today’s society will certainly make us look weird in the eyes of the world.

     Have you ever wondered just how you should live your life? We all know we should keep the Ten Commandments and love Jesus, but have you ever wondered if there is more to it than just a set of ten rules? A few weeks ago I was reading in Ephesians and found a blueprint of how a Christian should live. Over the next few weeks, I plan to bring you a devotional beginning with Ephesians 4:17-32 and then move on into chapter 5. Today we will start with verses 17-24.

Ephesians 4:17-24 (New Living Translation)
Living as Children of Light
17- With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18- Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19- They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

     Does this sound like Paul was writing about society today? He wrote this to the Christians in Ephesus, while he was imprisoned in Rome, around 60 A.D., but it fits so perfectly with our generation. Today’s society has a hardened heart against God and his people; they would rather live a lie that hear the truth.

     The NIV translation verse 19 reads, “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” We as Christians must keep up our guard not to lose our sensitivity to immoral behaviors, in a world that bombards us with commercials, television shows, music and even billboards. Do you remember the children’s song, Oh, be careful little eyes what you see?” We need to apply the words of that song to our lives today and be careful what we see, hear and say.

     It seems everyone is trying to outdo the other to see how low they can sink. Look at the way the world acts, dresses, talks and boast of sexual conquest and practices. Even some children’s shows encourage disobedience and bad language. Unless you work in a Christian environment, you probably see and hear enough in your workplace to curl your ears.

     The apostle Paul is urging his fellow believers to stop living like the unbelievers in their society. Verses 20-24 tell us how we should live. 20- But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21- Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22- throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23- Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24- Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

     Did you catch the part in verse 24 where it said we were created to be like God, righteous and holy? Do you blend in with the world or do you stand out as one of God’s children?


Dear Heavenly Father, help us to live as children of light. May we stand out as a ray of hope to a dark and fallen world. Help us to guard against the onslaught of the world’s lifestyle that we may not lose our sensitivity to the wickedness that surrounds us. Give us wisdom for how we should dress, talk and live our lives. Help us to grow to be more like you - truly righteous and holy.

In Jesus precious name I pray,

Paint each day with God's love,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tomatoes and God's Love

I painted this Lazy-Susan at a Delange Lange seminar a few years ago.

Tomatoes And God’s Love
“Oh taste and see that God is good.” Psalm 34:8a NKJV

     As I sit here with my fresh homegrown tomato and salt shaker, I think about how glad I am that God gave us the sense of taste. I read somewhere that we have about 10,000 taste buds and right now I think everyone of mine are jumping up and down in anticipation of this first wonderful bite of my big juicy Mister Stripy tomato.

     Have you ever thanked God for your taste buds? I know I haven’t. I seldom think about them unless I have a cold, then I’m complaining that nothing taste right. Why did God give us taste buds in the first place? He didn’t have to give us such a delightful gift. Other than to tell us that our food is spoiled, and we can usually tell by looking or sniffing, why do we have them? I think taste buds are just one of those wonderful little gifts that God designed in us just because he loves us.

     Just thinking about how wonderfully and fearfully we are made, each of us with our own genetic code and billions of cells and chromosomes, its mind boggling. You would think that God had enough to do without taking the time to giving us the sense of taste. Why should he care if we can’t tell the difference between asparagus and chocolate ice cream?

     Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against asparagus, I’m just happy that we have a variety of good tasting foods. A slice of ice cold watermelon on a hot summer day, or a nice hot pot of chili when fresh snow is falling, is a special delight. God could have left off our sense of taste and then everything would have tasted the same, or not tasted at all. I think I might be skinner if that were the case, but I’m so-o-o glad God designed us with all of our five senses.

     God’s love is so amazing. He cares for us in so many ways, most of which go unnoticed. Well, I for one am very glad he has given me the wonderful gift of taste. I hear more tomatoes calling my name out in the garden. I think I’ll go taste and see that the Lord is very good indeed!

Paint each day with God's love,