Words

The overflow from this mornings journaling:

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

How precious is Your word to me oh Lord, how unfathomable Your ways.

By Your word I receive instruction for the ways I should go.

In Your word I find hope and refreshment for my soul.

When trouble gathers near, it is in Your word that I take shelter, on Your word that I firmly stand.

And while the winds roar, my footing is secure.

Through Your word I obtain victory for every trial.

Out of my mouth I shall declare what You have said; my words for Your words, Your words as my words.

And the walls collapse, victims set free, and the glory is Yours alone.

Morning Sips

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 13)

So much of my life has been spent in fear and/or influenced by fear. Fear of danger (and for too many years as a child, there was good reason for that fear). Fear of rejection. Fear of shame. Fear of failure. Fear of the possibility of being alone, and later the fear that comes from actually being alone. And so on and so on.

I’ve written about it a lot in various blog posts (see side-bar for category “Fear Not). And while I’m not immune to fear -no one is- it has lost it’s stranglehold on me.

If you have been following with me through this current blog series, you know that in my last post I mentioned a feeling that the season of wobbliness and soul fatigue I’d been in was ending. My Bible reading plan currently has me wrapping up Deuteronomy, and imagery is forming in my spirit about venturing into lands of milk and honey.

But just like the 10 spies who saw giants in the land and counseled Moses not to go in to possess what God had promised, you and I can’t take possession of the things God has promised us if we are bound by fear.

And so before my writings take on the shape and colors of new things God is whispering to my heart, I would like to share (reblog) another excellent post entitled “Becoming Fearless” by Jennifer Arimborgo, Feeding On Jesus.

https://wp.me/p979XC-nv

If you enjoyed Jennifer’s post, I bet you’ll enjoy her other writings too (I know I do!). You can find her at: https://jenniferarimborgo.feedingonjesus.com

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 12)

“I had a dream last night”, she said. “I came to see you and show you my beautiful perfume bottle. I couldn’t wait to show it to you … It was ornate and beautiful, and I was so very proud of it. And you were so happy for me, relishing in my joy over such a lovely treasure. Then you turned around and picked something up that was just outside my vision. And when you turned back, you were holding your own perfume bottle. It was so much larger than mine. So much prettier. I was humbled by the comparison, and while still rejoicing over mine, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the beauty of yours.”

One of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. So He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down for supper. There, a woman of the city who was a sinner, when she learned that Jesus was sitting for supper in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment, and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” Luke 7:36-38 (MEV)

This may not be the exact wording the daughter-of-my-heart used when she called me last year to tell me of her dream, but it is a fair representation. Then she went on to explain she felt the perfume bottle represented the beauty of my love for and relationship with God. (She knows my history, and knows the hard-fought battles won and sacrifices I’ve made over the years to get to the place of freedom I enjoy today).

Her interpretation of the dream stuck around with me for a few weeks after our call. It sounded so beautiful, depicting a precious and intimate relationship with God, of the kind that is symbolized by an expensive perfume bottle. But in truth, I was in a spiritual frump and had been for months.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may recall that in May of 2014 I stepped into the world of entrepreneurship. Much of my writings in 2014 and 2015 had to do with what the Lord was teaching me through the process of “Water Walking”, and if you’ve not read that blog and the continuing story up through “Crossing Jordan” I encourage you to take a little time to do so. Anyways, the painting below was a word picture the Lord gave me while I was praying about leaving my job and starting out on my own; an image to capture those very first steps leaving dry ground and venturing out into the waters with God.

Water Walking

Water Walking [“Once you are walking on the water, the depth of the water beneath your feet is irrelevant.”]

But by the time I got this call in 2017, I was far enough out that all I could see was dark inky ocean. No matter where I turned, all I saw was “more water”, and to be honest …. I was getting weary.

“Lord, isn’t there supposed to be a shoreline around here somewhere? I thought we were going TO someplace, not just hanging out in deep ocean spaces …. where I could drown at any moment, btw!”

Yes, I was feeling discouraged, and weary, and as I like to say … “wobbly”.

And the more I thought about her dream, and this lovely perfume bottle I supposedly had in my possession, another word picture began to form in my heart. But in this one, Miss. Hope was no longer ‘water walking’ but was now kneeling in deep inky waters. Her head is bowed. Her arms are raised. And in her hands, she lifts the offering of an uncorked perfume bottle. Spent of all her own abilities and powers, she has come to the point of emptiness and with each new rush of wind blowing across the waters, the fragrance of her surrendered heart rises like the offering it is.

“And I’ve come to pour
My praise on Him like oil
From Mary’s Alabaster Box
Don’t be angry if I wash His feet with my tears
And I dry them with my hair
You weren’t there the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When He wrapped His loving arms around me
And you don’t know the cost of the oil
You don’t know the cost of my praise
You don’t know the cost of the oil
In my Alabaster box”

~final chorus of Alabaster Box, Cece Winans

I have tried to paint this word picture at least seven times since that phone call, but I have never been satisfied … deeply, internally, and spiritually satisfied with my efforts until last week, March 15th. I woke that morning at 1:30 am and when I couldn’t get back to sleep, I decided to try again to capture what was in my heart. And this time, the Holy Spirit painted with me.

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Personally, I think the Lord let me finish it now because it’s time to move on. I followed where He lead me, even out into deep water with wild and boisterous winds. He has received my sacrifice of praise and tears. And now, praise God almighty, we are moving to the shoreline!!

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, hurray for you and Miss Hope. But I’m still stuck out here in a leaky lifeboat, in the middle of nowhere, at midnight, during a full-blown squall! How is your finally heading off to the shoreline supposed to be an encouragement for me?”

I’m glad you asked.

When I began praying in December 2017 about the subject of a 2018 blog series, I felt impressed to write in response to the desperate need I saw (in my own life as well as in the world all around me) for a focus on hope.

Yes, we need more kindness in the world! Yes, we need more “positivity” and less fear! But that’s not the kind of HOPE I’m talking about.

What we need, and the only thing capable of effecting real change in this world, is Bible-HOPE in the goodness and willingness of God Himself to enter into the broken areas of our lives and bring about deliverance, healing, and change! Thus, what I’m calling for in my own life and hope to inspire in the lives of those who are willing to read this blog is a dedication to daily (throughout 2018 and beyond) putting our focus on the Author of HOPE, His character of lovingkindness and faithfulness, and His word as contained in Scripture.

For those of you who are in a leaky lifeboat … there is Bible-HOPE in the Word of God for you!

Maybe you can relate to my imagery of being out in deep waters with no shoreline in sight … there is Bible-HOPE in the Word of God for you!

Or perhaps the storms of life have been beating at you long and hard, even to the point that your boat is on the verge of sinking … there is Bible-HOPE in the Word of God for you!

This is what we need, my friends! We need to go to the Word of God daily, find the promises that relate to our current needs, and take hold of them as though our very lives depended upon them!

This is what it looks like to put your FAITH in the HOPE of God, and this is the kind of FAITH that God will always honor!! Maybe not in the time frame we want it … God’s timing is not our timing. But His timing is perfect timing, for He alone can see how all things are ultimately fitting together for the glory of His name as well as our long-term benefit.

I’ve got a new word picture forming in my heart for a new season of Bible-HOPE in the promises of God! I hope you will continue to journey with me, for there is much to do and much ahead for us who will dare to put our confidence and trust in Him.

When was the last time you uncorked your alabaster jar and surrendered up the fragrance of its contents? I’d love to hear your story, past or current.

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

2018: A Year For Hope (Watercolor Reveal)

I had trouble sleeping last night. Or maybe I just woke super early. In any case, as soon as it became obvious I wasn’t going back to sleep anytime soon, I decided to get up and try a little painting.

When I started working on the word picture for this blog series, I had a vision in my head/heart of what I wanted it to look like. It was to be a reflection of not only of what a dear loved one spoke over me, but also of my own heart as related to season I’ve been going through.

And over the many attempts, the word picture began to take shape … to the point that I started sharing it in this blog series. But I still wasn’t very happy with it.

So this morning, instead of trying to finish the existing watercolor, I decided to try something new.
This is the “work in process”, begun January 2018.

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untitled, PHTW, 1/15/18

And this is what I painted today. It just flowed so easily. I am really pleased with it and feel that it represents exactly what I wanted to put on paper.

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The Perfume Bottle, PuttingHopeToWork.com, 03/15/18

In my next blog post, I’ll write about the inspiration and what it means to me. And then I’ll start working on my next word-picture, which is already being birthed in my imagination!

In the mean time, I’d love to hear what this word picture speaks to your heart. Please feel free to comment below.

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 11)

I recently shared a dream I had a few weeks back. If you haven’t read it, you might want to take a moment to do so (here) so that you have the background for this quote.

“Don’t smell another man’s offerings.”

I’ve been thinking about that phrase a lot. Of course, that first morning I just scratched my head in confusion as if to say : “Seriously Lord? What in the world is that supposed to mean?”

But over the next few days, I began to get some clarity.

“My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose. So this is why we abandon everything morally impure and all forms of wicked conduct. Instead, with a sensitive spirit we absorb God’s Word, which has been implanted within our nature, for the Word of Life has power to continually deliver us. Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let this Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! If you listen to the Word and don’t live out the message you hear, you become like the person who looks in the mirror of the Word to discover the reflection of his face in the beginning. You perceive how God sees you in the mirror of the Word, but then you go out and forget your divine origin.” James 1:23-25 (Passion)

I recently discussed with friends how God will use Scripture to mirror back to us the reflection of who we are … both in compliment to, but also in contrast to what the Bible says we are to be as Christ-followers. And sure enough, my time in the Word began to challenge my internal thoughts, and I recognized that without intention I’d been walking around with my nose up in the air!

I may have looked freshly groomed on the outside, but on the inside my face was dirt-smudged from entertaining thoughts like:

  • Are they really doing that for God, or do they have ulterior motives? (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
  • Their heart is in the right place, but I think I could have done a better job at that. (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
  • Doesn’t the Bible say that we are not supposed to do that? (sniff, sniff, sniff!)
  • If that were me, I would have done it differently. (sniff, sniff, sniff!)

Sometimes I really DISLIKE looking in the mirror because what I see is … well …. it is ugly! Jealousy. Pride. Envy. Contempt. Pettiness. Fear. And the list goes on.

(pausing in case you want to “unsubscribe” from this blog, now that you know the kind of junk I deal with on a regular basis).

And over the course of the next several days, with tremendous love and tenderness, the Lord revealed that I had allowed seeds of jealousy to take root towards my co-laborers. Instead of celebrating them and their successes, I was examining them under the microscope to determine if I approved of their methods or not. But who was I to judge the methods and intensions of another of God’s children! In other words, “Don’t sniff another man’s offering.”

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.” Romans 14:4

Not only was my internal mindset not reflective of God’s heart, but my unloving and judgmental attitudes were interfering with my prayer life!! Oh, I was still praying. Earnestly. But since FAITH works by LOVE (Galatians 5:6, read more here), cultivating an unloving behavior in my spirit was gradually eating away at the integrity of my FAITH in God’s Word.

How could I have Bible-HOPE believing God for provision for my needs when I was also cultivating an attitude of jealousy over God’s meeting the needs of another!

Or how could I practice Bible-HOPE (confident trust and expectation) for God to honor my sincere desire to be used by Him to bless and encourage others (i.e. you!) in their Christian walk when I was at the same time critiquing the ministry of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

(Sigh.)

But oh, what a loving Father we have! If we will just spend some time with Him, He will graciously point out when we have spinach in our teeth and schmutz all over our face. And then He will help clean us up so that He can send us back out to represent His radiant beauty to a watching world!

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untitled, PHTW, 1/15/18

I’d love to hear your comments on this subject … even if just to say you’re not going to un-subscribe. 🙂

Be blessed!

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Does God ever speak to you in word-pictures? My prayer is that the humble paintings contained in my blog posts will speak something unique to your heart/spirit. I would be honored to know how they move or impact you.

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.