This week the kids and I once again talked about "collaboration". For our year end gallery show, I wanted to have one piece that the little ones worked on as a team, planning and completing it as a whole. Instead of literal figures for their fictional characters, we used shapes and gestures. The blue line was the knight, the red circle the princess -- and as each of them held their tool and painted away the story began to unfold. It's a piece of lovely abstraction, whimsical and full of sense to the imaginative mind.
"Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God;
whoever does evil has not seen God."
3 John 1:11
What evil is there in our lives? Are we imitating this world with all of it's fleshly lusts? Having the best materials this world can offer, imitating the rich and famous and reality tv icons, throwing our pearls before swine. Are we standing around at work cursing and speaking unfaithfully of our spouse because it's socially acceptable, or are we bridling our tongues (James 1:26) in a way that's honorable? Do we somehow think we're immune to God's truth because we 'aren't religious'? Are we putting others down instead of building them up? These, these palm full examples are imitations of evil, and not even in the most subtle of ways. Do we gossip? Do we not show love to our friends and family, and strangers as well? Are we not willing to sacrifice our time, love, energy, heaven-forbid sleep because we struggle with selfishness? Will we go out of our way to volunteer and help feed the homeless once a year but forget the emotionally starving in front of us?
And, can we really believe that if we keep these things up habitually we can be called out as not having "seen God"? Absolutely.
How terrifying are the depths and magnitude of those words. We become our own gods because we think we will receive a glimpse of spirituality, but alternately are quickly descending to an eternal hell. C.S. Lewis writes, "...if ye say that both good and evil, when they are full grown, become retrospective. Not only this valley but all their earthly past will have been Heaven to those who are saved. Not only the twilight in that town, but all their life on Earth too, will then be seen by the damned to have been Hell. That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, "No future bliss can make up for it," not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agnoy into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say "Let me have but this and I'll take the consequences": little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin."
from The Great Divorce
from The Great Divorce
It is not only imitating good that we struggle with, it is reveling in the glory of all things Good. In this ephemeral life we would rather subscribe to what feels good, only buying ourselves more pain than we could ever account for ultimately. The nominal Christian does not ask 'what more can they do' for the cause of Christ, but 'have I done enough'? An unfortunate loss for their own soul pleasure. The nominal believer desires to do as little sacrificially as possible simply so they may go on imitating evil and fulfilling earthly pleasures. And, when we are even doing 'good', are we constantly looking over our own shoulder making sure we are seen for our sacrifice? These are but filthy rags to a Christ who gave it all.
1 Thesselonians 4:7-8 "God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you." Are we not the least bit fearful of rejecting the Holy Spirit whose desire is to usher us into eternal glory with immeasurable pleasure? This is infinitely more disturbing than a lifetime of sacrifice and imitation of Godly good.
Now that the adverse has been seen, what is 'good' then, anyway?
"Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—
When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life."
DO YOU NOT REALIZE YOU ARE A SLAVE? You are not even the master of your own countenance. You are a slave to your foul mouth, to your sexual impurity, to your anger/impatience/malice/slothfulness/lack of self-control. And yet, somehow, we think that because we have the "freedom" to do as we please we are the masters of our own lives. Little do we realize we have tightened the shackles of our own prison and, at our final breath, are preparing to throw away the key. Repentance is necessary for hope itself. Living for ourselves will only produce hopelessness, we will become dependent on the emotions of others, on the stability of lifestyle and employment, on pills and the advice of others. Living for the Fountain of Hope Himself will produce joy, peace, patience, and all other fruits in hearty abundance. We will care less and less about the things and opinions of this world/pleasing our own lifestyles as we draw nearer and nearer to God Himself.
Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God." - Matthew 22:29
Let us run, wildly, arms flailing, after this very "Good" we desire intimately and innately. As we run, let the heavenly wind tear from us all desires of evil, so that we become unknowing imitators of beauty - a beauty that this world lusts after but will never attain without the God it knowingly is ignorant to.
Today I got my sweet art kids back from our Christmas/winter break, all but three who have moved away and we all miss dearly!
In the theme of winter, we looked at and briefly discussed Pieter Bruegel's The Hunters in the Snow, a dreary winter scene depicting hunters returning with their dogs to what might be their own village.
The kids let me know what they thought of when they thought of winter, and they went at it with finger paints! I love their little minds, the way they think - and totally break artistic rules and write their own. This is what childhood is, thinking outside of boxes you didn't realize existed only to create something imaginative and beautiful.
We are in the middle of celebrating Christmas based on the Serbian Orthodox calendar, a tradition that we've honored since I was a baby. Little Abear was so sweet, letting us know that he told himself if he received something he would be grateful, and if he received nothing he would be grateful also.
I am so thankful for his heart, learning to be content in all things at such a little age.
One of his requests was hugs and kisses, something I will freely and always give!
While we should remember and act on Christ's sacrifice by meeting us in our sin and depravity daily, this is just one more stand out experience to remind us of such love. I pray next year Little Miss will join us as we learn about her cultural traditions and bring her into ours. While we still wait for the NOC from India, and pray it will come quickly, she is daily nearer to my heart.
Praise God for a winter weather Christmas, special days, family, my children, and all that is glory.
For awhile now I've had some of my work up on the artist site "Society6".
One thing I like about them is the work can be put into a functional product ranging from clothing to home accessory items,
as well as art prints.
as well as art prints.
Until midnight (Pacific time) January 10th you can buy anything in my store and receive
FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING! Woo! :-D
Head on over using THIS link to scroll through my shop! Hope you enjoy!
1. "Outgrown" Throw Pillow// 2. "Fragrant" Wall Clock// 3. "P own E's" Framed Wall Print//
4. "Outgrown" Shower Curtain// 5. "Fragrant" Tote Bag// 6. "Drought Clouds" Art Print