“Jesus is precious.” I can still hear my kindergarten teacher speak those sweet words. I loved precious Jesus. Then a bunch of adolescent life happened. At 16, I stopped going to church … soon after, I dismissed God altogether. Now, knowing His infinite love, guidance and protection, I cannot fathom my reasons for choosing to live much of my life without Him … Jesus IS precious!
After an incalculable amount of poor choices and selfish living, I found myself seeking ... But, I was still blind to God and continued to stumble in the dark spiritual abyss of me, myself and I. I didn't vary from my self-centered path of 'my will be done.' I believed in a god of my own making, one whose purpose was to give me all my earthly desires. I prayed a laundry list of ... “give me …” and “do this …” and “do that …” and “please …” My spiritual self was worldly and centered around 'Me'. (Mark 8:36, Luke 9:25, Matthew 16:26)
In 1990 I graduated from The American Academy of Art. Years of my self-serving existence came and went. The economy tanked, followed by my art business. I wound up jobless and divorced (again). In 2009 I answered an ad for a sign artist at Trader Joe's, after moving to Virginia Beach.
Late 2012 a stranger invited me to a gathering at her church. It was there that God had mercy on me. In an instant, He poured out his amazing grace and healed my ignorance (Luke 19:10). Soon after He removed the blinders that I previously allowed to block His Holy and loving presence, I agreed to participate in ‘an annual art show’ at that very church.
I was well into my ‘love your neighbor as yourself’' painting, when I realized I was just painting a homeless man. So, I started over, incorporating my newfound sign art skills. Upon completion, I was informed that the church was not having their annual art show that year. Oh well, I started another painting.
God works in mysterious ways …
Years earlier, I was devastated over the end of my thirteen year marriage, and not too thrilled about my employment at a grocery store. I was at a low point. Sad and lost, (Psalm 34:15-20) I was seeking (1 Kings 18:21-39) ...
I practiced yoga. I sat on the sand and watched the sunrise over the ocean. With a 'spirit of positivity and appreciation,' I would relax, breathe and empty my mind, and (while it is a beautiful sight) … nothing! I wanted to become one with the universe. (2 Corinthians 4:4) So, I watched shows and read books on the subject, and ... nothing! I tried numerous philosophies, and, you got it … nothing (2 Timothy 4:3, Psalm 16:4)! Nothing, because I was worshiping myself, the universe and concepts that were created by man! (Exodus 20:3) Rather than worshiping the One who created all things, I was worshiping the things He made. (Jeremiah 10, Deuteronomy 4:19, Acts 7:42, Zephaniah 1:4-7) Odd how easily we are drawn to, and accept, manmade doctrine. I foolishly thought that I could entertain other sociological and theological ideologies and still consider myself Christian (Isaiah 44:6, 44:9-10). I appeared to be Godly, but I denied His almighty power. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) I shudder at the thought of how easily I could have succumbed to the lies of intellectuals who believe their own thoughts; and/or any beliefs that omit, add or twist the Word of God. (Deuteronomy 4:2) I thank God for having mercy on me and opening the eyes of my heart to see Him.
During an uneventful day at work, I ran to Office Depot to make copies. While waiting, I helped someone fold papers. In conversation she told me about the invitation printed on the pages. She said that a group of ladies met once a month at her church, “You should come." (Colossians 4:5)
I came. (John 4) Everyone sang worship songs. A preacher showed a quick video of her last mission trip and she spoke of God’s goodness ... It was nice. I raised my hand when she asked if anyone wanted prayer. Like a waterfall, the truth washed over me. I wept as I was instantly ignited and overcome by His immeasurable and wondrous love. (Luke 15:3-32) She told me that when The Holy Spirit comes in, He needs a way out. You see, in that moment, I finally sought God with my whole heart, and He revealed Himself to me through His Spirit (John 3:3). It was, and is, in every way a physical, mental and emotional experience. I am always now and, pray, forever aware of, and grateful for, His awesome and Holy presence. I cherish my relationship with my creator, my loving Father and the time I spend with Him!
I pursue God in His word and in all things. (Jeremiah 29:11) Rather than meditating on my breath, I meditate on the One who gave me breath. (Psalm 46:10, Isaiah 55:8). Seek Him, daily, and He will reveal Himself to you In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:6) Denying God does not negate his existence, and His omnipotent knowledge of us. Confusion is not from God, (1 Corinthians 14:33) it is from the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the prince of this world, the god of this age. (Ephesians 2:2, John 12:31, 2 Corinthians 4:4)
I used to think that surrendering to God, and His Holy Will, would be surrendering my freedom. The truth is freeing (John 8:32-36). When I am prideful, or find myself trying to control the chaos of life (which is constantly), I am reminded of my good Father and surrender to Him all over again. I have to fix my eyes on Jesus. Jesus IS the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) Peace and Joy are found in trusting God, and His sovereign will. (Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 4:7)
As I look back to how this scripture project began. I see how God used my job, people I encountered and circumstances to draw me closer to Him and reveal my purpose. (Galatians 2:20) I work, live and serve Him in faith. (Hebrews 11:6) I am supported entirely by our living God; who is all seeing and all knowing and all loving. I entrust every aspect of my life to Jesus Christ. My hope is in Him, that I live according to my Father’s will for His glory. I pray His Holy Spirit controls my thoughts, words and actions that I may act and react in love and kindness. I pray that each of us with abundant faith, little faith, or no faith at all, are all encouraged to explore the truth revealed only in our Father God's Holy Word. (John 17, Hebrews 4:12-16, Psalm 33:4, Proverbs 30:4-6)
I continue to think, say and do things I wish I could undo. I now reject my sinful nature, I ask for my Father’s help and forgiveness daily. Jesus is the only one who walked this earth without sin. (Romans 3:23-24, Psalm 51:2–3) We are instructed to do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31) Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19). For everything in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:16)
I pray - for everyone. It is not easy, but if someone hurts me, I pray for strength to harbor no ill will against them. While I don't pursue, or maintain the same relationship with them, I see them as being apart from God (as I once was) and I pray. In this way, I am able to forgive, as to enjoy the fruit of the Holy Spirit ... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. (Galatians 5:22) For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14) To be honest, I want 'the good stuff' for everyone! Jesus IS the good stuff! He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
I beg you - stop wasting precious time! Open your heart to the awesome reality of God's undying, unconditional love. His love is not because of who you are - It is because of who He is. There is nothing you've done or can do to make God stop loving you! He is patient, waiting for you to turn to Him and be blessed. (2 Peter 3:9) Seek, accept and surrender to the truth of precious, Jesus Christ! (John 3:16-21) Our Father God knows what we hold dear in our hearts - we cannot pretend or fool Him. Turn your back on what man has made, and has made up, to trust and believe. God IS love and He loves you. (1 John 4:8) Seek Him with all your heart and He will reveal Himself to you. (Jeremiah 29:13) It is not by my doing, but only by His amazing grace that I am no longer lost. (Matthew 13:35-43)
I worship Him, the God of All Creation. (Revelation 1:8) I give Him thanks for the gift of his son, Jesus. (John 3:16) Through worship, along with prayer and petition, I have an advocate in The Holy Spirit. I have a friend in Jesus, who, along with my Father God, loves me, even with all of my past and present mistakes, and all of my faults and flaws. God hears you and me. He never leaves us. (2 Corinthians 5:5-21) He orchestrates my life, and gives me purpose. (John 15:5-8) I acknowledge and love The Savior who died for me, that I might live with Him in perfect peace. (Luke 23:39-43) The Holy Spirit, helps me understand all of this. (John 14:26) I wake every day with thanksgiving for my life and His presence. I am in awe of my Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. (Mark:38)
We can not earn salvation. We do not deserve salvation ... Salvation is the gift to all who believe
(Ephesians 2:8-10) ... It is only by the grace of Almighty God, for His glory, by the blood shed (for our sake) by His precious Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in His Holy Name, that we can be saved.
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come." Ephesians 1:17-21
Lord God, reveal to us the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven written in Your Holy Word. Help each of us share the good news of Jesus Christ with others for their salvation and for Your Glory. (Mark 4:21-22)
Thank you Father God! Thank you Lord Jesus Christ! Thank you Holy Spirit! Amen!
Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Mark 4:9