Category Archives: knowing God

How to Live as a Kingdom Creative

breathe

Creativity always has been and always will be a huge part of my life.

I began recognizing how I was made by the time I reached five, and I never looked back. I may not have understood what that would ultimately mean for my life or how the “artist” would manifest itself, but I never gave up trying. When I would play dolls with friends, it was all about setting up the house and dressing the dolls. What typically comes after was not something I was especially interested in.  I liked the act of creating a reality for the “characters” we played with. Of forming pleasant surroundings for them to do life. Their setting and how it would affect them was primary to my thought process, and once the stage was set, the remainder of the activity ceased to be attractive. I just wanted to create.

Have you ever dreamed of being creative, but just didn’t know where to start?

Have you looked at a blank canvas, and the surging images that once flowed through your mind simply disappear in a flash of gesso-ed white?

This is the story of most creatives – even the working ones, at times. Our muse decides to take a vacation, and we are left holding the brush so to speak. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

We were all, every one of us, made to be Kingdom Creatives. The ability to manifest reality has been implanted in our DNA. We each simply have a different artistic gift. Discovering what yours is can be as simple as picking up a pen to jot what has appeared in your heart and mind or dipping a brush into a colorful array of paint on a palette.

Or you may instead struggle to understand its reality.

Seeing God in the laundry can be a challenge – but maybe you have managed to form a routine that transcends the everyday. I don’t know what your creative reality looks like, but I am sure that you have one.

When I first sat down to draw the pictures that would eventually become “31 Days of Coloring HOPE”, I did not have any ambitions to publish a coloring book.  But something happened in the midst of the sketching: the Holy Spirit showed up. Words began to manifest within the pictures. Words of hope and life. Words that encourage the reader to look just a little bit deeper. It became an expression of God’s love and Hope to those whom He wanted to reach.

God manifests Himself in the world in infinite ways. He is the air we breathe and the food we eat. He is in trees that grow beside the road, and in the very ground we walk upon. He is all and everywhere, therefore it could be argued that everything we do and are, contains His creative Spirit.

When Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit in scripture, he referred to it as the helper. Acts 1:8- Here’s the knowledge you need: you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. And you will be My witnesses, first here….then beyond.

The Holy Spirit is there to help and to empower you to be that creative you were always meant to be.  To go beyond the common and into the divine. To step out and shine God’s light in the world through powerful means. The things you are unable to do on your own? The Holy Spirit will empower you. {He} will give you the ideas and the abilities required to shine that light into the world around you.  Maybe that means through the use of art, maybe not.  Possibly you will be the conduit to share another’s art, and through it, encourage hope and abundant life.

Yes, you were made to be a Kingdom Creative

Even if you do not aspire to craft great works of art that doesn’t  mean that you can’t impart some of the beauty that the creator endowed you with, each day as you lean into it. Keep a journal, doodle a flower, sing a song. Be a part of the incredible world that God has formed around you.

Engage with it

Learn from it

Embrace it

And aspire to love your art – no matter what that means for you

 

creative-faith-logoComing Dec. 1st, 2016:  A new website filled with inspiration, tutorials, encouragement and classes. Step into the pages of scripture and be the Kingdom Creative you were always meant to be.

  • Learn to shine your light in more creative ways
  • Engage in artful practices that will take even the non-artist to a new level of creativity
  • Be encouraged to see the beauty in your surroundings
  • Experience an artist’s journey through tales of true life faith-filled art.

Sign up now so you don’t miss a thing!

cf-signup

Updates on the unveiling of this new site  will come right to your inbox as they become available.  As a free bonus for signing up, you will receive a 31 Days of Coloring HOPE pdf to download, color, and share with others around you.  Thank you for your interest in  becoming a conduit of light for the Kingdom!

RESPECT – Write 31:Day 9

respect

“A healthy Respect for God replaces all fear, for when He is on our side – what is left to be afraid of?” {1 Peter 2:17}

“I hate you”

When I was 16 years old my mother and I came to an impasse. Words were said  in anger. Tears begot broken hearts. Respect found itself tucked away in a place that was unavailable to her and me.

Lives were changed

Those three little words drove a silver stake into the heart of our relationship and it was forever altered from that moment forward. Although it has been many years since those tragic teenage years, the hurt lives on in my memories as well as those of my mother.  We’ve spent countless conversations in an effort to reform bonds lost those many years ago, and have made great strides to again become mother and daughter with all the respect that goes with it.

Years of trouble with my own children has taught me a few things I didn’t once know, like respect has to be given as well as deserved. I recall a moment when my oldest son was 16 and threw that little gem out to me while we were driving, and we started to go down that road I had traversed in my own angst moments. But I stopped myself. I knew the pain of allowing words to form my future with my children, and I wasn’t willing to spend the rest of my days trying to make up for them.

One thing that I have realized is that the source of those words is generally fear. Whether misplaced or not, fear will make our hearts cry out, saying things with malice we don’t often really mean.

Fundamentally that is what went wrong with my mother and me.  I had lost all sense of respect for not only her, but myself as well.  I allowed the fears in my heart to form words that I didn’t truly mean. And I have been paying for it ever since.

But God is a respecter of all persons, enough so to give us choices. He won’t demand or belittle us into submission, but show us truth and let us decide.  Sometimes we decide correctly, but many let the fear in their hearts decide for them.

Fear that says:

  • I am my own person, no one can tell me what to do
  • I’m not going to look ridiculous to my peers by saying I believe in something un-seeable
  • I work hard every day, and deserve what I have and more
  • I am in control of my own destiny

Fear of being insignificant, forgotten, or looked down upon causes the survival instinct within us to kindle, and respect for others is no longer a primary concern to us. But this is counterproductive. We could spend our lives fighting all that we think is working against us out of fear, or we can fear the only one worth fearing – God – and let Him take care of those troubles for us.

When we fear and respect God – what others think is no longer a concern. We can work hard each day knowing that someday we will get everything we deserve, even if it isn’t right now. Control is finally placed where it belongs and hope for our future grows because we know that His words are truth and that He is faithful to His promises.

When He is for us there is nothing left to fear: not people, not the enemy, not hell or death.

And that gives me HOPE

2respectDid you like this post? Please consider sharing it with a friend.  Post it on your facebook page, twitter feed, pinterest, or post your colored picture on instagram…where ever you think someone can use a little HOPE.

Don’t forget to click on the picture at the top of the page to download the pdf version of the RESPECT picture.  Color it and share, or enjoy yourself.

God bless your day!

a genesis

genesis2016

Here we are again….the beginning of a new year. And isn’t that what a genesis is? A beginning. A new start. A commencement of ….something.

Whether or not you are someone who likes to “officially” make New Year resolutions, I think we all sit here on this day and breathe a sigh of relief. Relief that we can start over – begin again, have a genesis.

-Each morning I sit with my bible, looking for God’s words for me, His instructions for the day so to speak. Most often I don’t have a reading plan, I will simply open it to a page – any page, and read. I trust that whatever page I fall upon will hold truth for me. And it usually does. Not always the truth I want to hear, mind you. But truth none-the-less.

This morning as I popped it open, it did not open to a page, but to the beginning, the genesis of the book….a blank page before it begins.

And I contemplate that.

Accident?  I think not. There are no accidents. Everything means something….it is just whether we want to look deeper for the truths meant for us.

A blank page. A new beginning. The old has gone, the new has come. I get a do-over.

Looking deeper I realize that Genesis sets the stage for the rest of the book. It’s a story of purpose and plans, failure and redemption. It reveals the person and nature of God: Creator, Sustainer, Judge and Redeemer.

It is the very first description of God that catches my attention this morning: Creator.

In a majestic display of power and purpose, we see our beginnings;

  • full of beauty

  • full of glory

  • full of purpose

  • full of….promise.

And it makes me want to create something great, to make something out of nothing – something beautiful. And isn’t that what an artist does? Create something from naught but an idea. Whether you write, draw, work with wood, garden….it doesn’t matter really what your medium is – it begins with an idea in your mind. An idea placed there by the Father of all creation. A genesis that can become something beautiful. Something from nothing. That is what God does.

I am nothing – yet, He is creating in me something beautiful: a Genesis.

Those ideas from last year? Seeds for the coming year. Seeds that when planted can become something intricate, magnificent, and glorious. Our job as creators is to grow that seed. Place it in fertile ground, water it daily, and give it the nourishment that it needs. Before long, you will be looking at a magnificent tree of life – something from nothing [but an idea].

So, here is a toast to new beginnings and creating something from nothing.

You can do this; the Creator made you in His very image, and He can’t do anything but.

Happy 2016, and happy creating!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Rescue

http://photopaulm.com
http://photopaulm.com

Branches ripped and slashed at my bare arms as I sprinted down the trail. I was breathing heavy now, weeks of inactivity stealing from me the youthful energy that was once mine. I quickly glanced down at my arm as another thorn slashed at my upper arm, drawing blood and leaving behind evidence of my passage. I did not want to leave such proof of my escape route, but there was no helping it now.  I heard in the distance barking and shouting.

They knew.

Down the trail I ran, silently thanking the deer who had tread here before me. Although it was narrow, the path was sure for my feet, only having an occasional branch or trench that required a leap. And wasn’t this all a leap of faith?

The dream that I woke from this morning had left me breathless and wondering if its message had been prophetic. In it, my captors had approached me with knives of all shapes and sizes. Even though I could not understand their words, my heart knew their intent. They had stopped before me and spewed a series of words; sentences.  All which I could not decipher. Then one word caught my attention: Jesus.

Who were these men? What did they want from me?

When I was taken three weeks before, I had been on my way to meet with friends. I had carried my source of strength in the pack upon my back. That had been the first thing they took from me, followed closely by my freedom.  I didn’t remember much after that, only waking inside the cabin that would be my prison, hands bound, and the pack a fading memory. Now, my strength lived only within my heart, but the light from it glowed with an intensity only my soul understood.

Three weeks they had come to me, shouting. Daily their intelligible interrogation assaulted my senses, not to say anything of the physical assault upon my person.  I did not know how to respond beyond weeping and the wide eyed fear obvious upon my face. But yesterday a camera was set in front of me. The armed man who set it there glared at me with obvious malicious intent, saying nothing, only an evil smirk upon his lips.

That night I dreamt.

As I awakened, the desperate need to escape embodied every fiber of my being. I had been working at the bonds at my wrist for several days, and this morning, my desperation loosed them enough to free my bloodied hands. As I stepped toward the door, I heard the fading voices of my captors, walking away, and I held my breath.  I knew this would be my last opportunity.

Pressing my weakened body through the smallest crack I could manage, I crept toward the woods only twenty steps away. Once in the cover of trees, I sprinted for my life, down trails and through closely growing underbrush I ran, not knowing where I was going, only that the light within me was lighting an obvious path for my feet.

Now, as I ran down the deer trail, I began to smell the wet scent of decaying foliage and moving water. As I burst through the thicket of blackberry branches that ripped and tore through me, I saw the river, and hope bloomed in my speeding heart. Could I swim its racing current to the other side, putting an obstacle between me and those that pursued?

I quickly looked back. I did not see them, but my ears heard the sounds of their rushing pursuit through the leaves, closing in with every step. My eyes scanned the edge of the water looking for anything that could aid my crossing. And then I saw it. Just beyond some branches forming a canopy over the rushing water, I saw a boat.

It was old and weathered, and looked like the current had lodged it tentatively against a root that grew beneath the water from one of the trees along the bank. The boat had missing planks and holes from age and disuse, but it floated. I ran to the river’s edge and launched myself into my rescuers seat. A paddle lay beneath it, and with its help, I pushed myself free from the root’s embrace.

Paddling into the current, the boat caught and twisted me mercilessly. My head spun from the lack of nourishment that my captivity had exacted, but I held on and let the river push me where it would. Then the sound of shouting reached my ears, and I dropped to the floor of the old boat, effectively avoiding their searching eyes and the bullets that soared above its bough.

As I lay there with the sun upon my face, warming my trembling body, I saw something lodged under the seat that I had perched upon, and retrieved it. It was bound in leather, old and worn like the boat itself. I opened the pages of the small book and read the words that greeted my anxious heart:

“If I rise on the wings of dawn, even there Your hand will guide my way.” Psalm 42:8

And I knew I was home.