Tag Archives: Jesus

The Bridge – Watercolor

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62°F and very breezy. Somehow you don’t mind the wind when it’s mild, even if strong. I could sit here for hours.

After only a few minutes, to my surprise, a flock of ducks descend on the water. But these are no common mallards. What are they? They communicate with each other by “whisping”….whisp, whisp, whisp. It’s a cross between a whisper and a hiss. One performs some kind of walk-on-water dance. Was he impressing a female? I believe these are blue-winged teals. I watch them with great wonderment. They don’t feel my eyes prying, staring like a rude intruder.

l sit for an hour painting the bridge. I contemplate where it leads and why it was built. A smile comes across my face as I think about Easter and realize that Jesus became the bridge to unite us to God. By dying on the cross (also made of wood), he bridged the gap between sinful humans and God. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. [Eph 1:7] And after paying for our sins, He rose from the dead because death could not hold him. [Acts 2:24]

This act of death on a cross came at a great, painful price. A great loving price. A free gift from the Father through the obedience of the Son. If we repent and accept Him as our Savior, He promises to forgive….no questions asked…no sin too big, nor too horrible to forgive. You will be made white as snow and He will remember your sins no more. [Is 1:18]

He wants to be in your daily life. He isn’t a God who sits on a fluffy white cloud waiting to strike you down. He is love and wants to communicate with you through prayer. He also promised to never leave you nor forsake you. That’s good news especially in our tumultuous times.

The Bridge

A stranger walks towards the water and the bridge. Not only do frogs on the fringe of the pond shriek and leap for their lives into the water, but my ducks become frightened too and swim out of sight. Chorus frogs steadily call in the background.

The seen and unseen mysteries of life are fascinating. It’s all attainable, doors will open if you knock.

Happy Easter,
Christine

Whatever is Lovely… Dwell on These Things – watercolor

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In light of recent abhorrent events in the United States, one can find themselves in a state of disbelief, sorrow, confusion, and have a slew of unanswered questions. The answer to the question why, may never come. Violence never solved a thing and it never will.

When current events get me down, I hear the words of Paul in my mind…

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.      Phil 4:8

Sitting in my backyard, I stare at potted flowers. I notice them waggle in the wind. Sunlight dapples in between leaves. The makeshift plant pedestal has evidence of tiny holes and I know my woodpecker friend was here. This beauty is simple but lovely. It is good and it is pure. It uplifts my spirits for a time, but it is not the answer. No, dwelling on lovely is not the answer.

Love is the answer.

Just this morning, I came upon these statements:

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.      1 John 4:10-12

It makes complete sense. Nobody has seen God, but when we love one another He is actually dwelling in us. And what better example of love than our Father who sacrificed His Son for us? Not to receive anything back, not to have fame, but out of total self sacrifice to pay for our sins and make a way for us, even while we still rejected Him. That’s love.

There is no room for hate and violence in this kind of love. Let’s serve one another in love, let God dwell in the midst of this love, for underneath skin we all have the same color blood.

Tangled Watercolor

Tangled Winter Trees

The cemetery guaranteed a quiet visit.

I parked on the side of the road and found myself under a tangled web of branches. One tree overlaps knotting and twisting, melting into the adjacent, interlaced in the air.

Icy twigs clank in the brisk gust. Is it the sound of chaos? No. Look on the horizon.
Hope.

I love to study trees in the cemetery. With the low volume of visitors, you can always position yourself or your car just right to examine whichever tree captures your interest.

On this day I found myself under an arch of twigs. One tree disappears into the other and cannot be differentiated. It reminds me of our complicated lives. Sometimes our problems do not reveal an end. And sometimes we cannot recall when the beginning even started. Or there are so many of them that you don’t even know where to begin. That is precisely the moment when you hand your disordered mess over. Think of gazing on gentle eyes when you read what Jesus calmly said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt 19:26

So friends, go to Him who are weary and heavy laden. Cast your cares like you are throwing a rock onto a stilled, mirrored lake and watch the ripples race like vespers reaching heaven.

May you have a happy, safe, and worry free new year.

 

Melting Snow at Crabapple Lake Watercolor

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Crabapple Lake
Morton Arboretum
Lisle, IL

The midday sun did its best to melt the snow,
But only the hilltops relented, exposing green of grass.

Did remaining snow call in clouds for help?

Thaw on pause…
For now.

The day before Thanksgiving my workplace closed early, giving me the opportunity to steal some sketch time. I’m taking it. It’s rare. Sitting in the car looking at this gorgeous view, I had to capture this very moment before it is lost forever.

With the radio off and the precious silence of nature, I have to fight down worry creeping in the back of my mind. My home is host to out of town relatives and tomorrow is a big day with big duties, entertaining, and commotion. I have to literally quiet my mind to be able to paint. It’s a tug of war honestly and I wonder if that is why many people feel so uncomfortable with silence….it forces you to deal with the problems in your head. Silence demands attention.

Worry demands attention too. But what is worry?

This morning on the way to work, I was listening to an interview with Steve DeWitt (Pastor of several churches in Indiana) on anxiety. He said that when his child was a baby, she had a specific pattern when she was upset. First, she would flail her arms, hit her leg, then let out a big cry. He would always tend to her needs whether it be change her diapers, feed her, or the like….then he said something really interesting… He had this tremendous urge to somehow let her know that all of her needs are already met. He had cases of diapers in the basement, food ready and waiting, warmth, clothing, available.

Then he posed this question: Are we like this with God? Do we flail our arms and work ourselves up?

God has supplied all of our needs already. He sent His Son to take our punishment and make a way for us. Once we repent and accept this, we become heirs of God. If you can take a step back for a second and contemplate what this means, it will fill your heart with abundant joy in the midst of struggle. You have eternity with God.

This world is hard. There is chaos, killing, and evil, as we’ve seen in the news recently. Free will is allowed so there are such things,  but look what Jesus said:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Not only has He overcome the world, but He wants to meet your needs right now. As a child of God, you can go to Him for your needs and not worry.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”  Matt 6:26

What is worry? It’s a form of fear. Fear is:
False
Evidence
Appearing
Real
There are hundreds of verses in the bible lovingly telling us to “fear not”. So friends with that, hang in there, don’t give up. You are loved and will be taken care of. Fear not. Put your trust in Jesus, and you too can overcome. Reread this every time you need to remind yourself.

 

Tiny Tree Frog Watercolor

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A hard rain unleashed in a matter of seconds. Suddenly the ground was moving with what I thought were crickets. I bent my giant monster frame down to the ground and behold, my eyes widened like saucers when I recognized tiny tree frogs.

Whooooooooooh.

I’m always searching for frogs. I used to monitor them at night and report it to the Cook County Forest Preserves years ago. When it comes to the small fellers, sometimes I would be on top of their cries but never locate them. It’s very frustrating when you hear how loud they can be. Deafening almost. But on this stormy day they came to me.

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It’s no larger than half an inch. I believe this is a grey tree frog. They can camouflage from black to almost white. I’ve heard that the tree frog expands his throat 3 times its size and its call is so powerful, that he may only have 3 days of energy to make it. Amazing. Nature is delicate, tiny, mighty, and forceful all at the same time.

As I related in another post, nature without God is dead. The opportunity was present and the frog came to me. I did not have to search this one out. I do not see these occasions as chance.

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So I always ask myself: What lessons do You want me to learn here? How can I share what You teach me?

On Sunday, August 9th, I was at Jimmy’s Drive-In in Justice, IL having lunch. A tall young man (about 15) came in, ordered, then sat down to wait for his order. He stared down at his lap and did not move one inch the whole five minutes he waited. The look on his face was sadness, hopelessness. It almost seemed as if he felt uncomfortable in his own skin and didn’t want to look up.

My soul was anguished. I wanted to do something or say something. A million things were racing in my head but I couldn’t grasp any one thing to say.

He grabbed his order and left, walking down Robert’s Road. I though about following him and asking him if he was okay, but I didn’t.

I missed the opportunity.

I believe just like the tiny tree frog, God send this unexpected run-in opportunity my way. Because of my fear and shyness, I did not seize this opportunity to ask if he was okay.

I want to apologize to the young man that I didn’t step up. If you could only know the love our Everlasting Father has for you, you might have been encouraged. You are loved and valued, not because of anything you have done or not done, but because of Christ’s grace and mercy. This itself is hope.

God’s love is delicate, tiny, mighty, and forceful all at the same time. There is nothing impossible for Him and if it pleases, may this message get out to the young boy, whom I’m sorry I did not take the opportunity to connect.

Amen.