June 24, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Strength

Artists will normally work in an area of strength. It is only natural.  If someone wanted to commission me to create a painting of their classic car...I'd probably have to turn them down.  That is not an area of strength for me.  Could I do it?  Yes.  Would it be an amazing work of art?  Probably not.  Could I improve?  Sure, I believe you can grow in most areas with practice.  However, if someone was commissioning me to do the work....they probably expect something amazing.  If I was asked to create a work for an upcoming show, I probably would not try something I'd never done before....UNLESS....I had the time to practice, fail, practice some more, fail some more...so on & so forth.  With the added pressure of being in upcoming show, an artist would most likely create from their strength so they are producing their best work.  I feel most artists are excited to try new things & aren't afraid to fail if they are given an opportunity to grow.  Growth takes time though. Developing a strength as an artist is a process.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things- and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.  1 Corinthians 1: 26-29

There is an almost cliche phrase in Christian circles..."God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called."  Things don't usually hit  "cliche" status without having some truth to them.  So often we think about all that we can do for God.  We look at our gifts & talents and believe we have something special He needs.  The truth is God wants our hearts.  We can have the most extensive training, talents beyond compare, and experiences that provide us with unprecedented skill sets, but it is a heart yielded to Him that will make the greatest difference in our world.  I'm not saying God won't use what you see as your strength, but we must humbly go to Him and seek His will/plan for our life.  Once upon a time, I was a shy & extremely insecure person.  I felt I could best serve God behind the scenes. Notice I said "I felt".  That was not God's plan for me.  He desired for me to be upfront. He wanted me to be an initiator of conversations & relationships.  He wanted me to place myself in situations where I could not hide or be comfortable.  Why?  Because He knew that is where I'd stop trusting in myself...and start trusting in Him.  Was/Am I great at it...no!  There are times I'd rather be comfortable.  There are times I'd rather do what is easiest for me.   Growth takes time.  Strength is a process. God gives us grace to grow.  God gives us grace to develop strength to fulfill what He has called us to do. We don't have to be perfect at it.  We don't have to be gallery ready.  We just have to be available & willing.

June 16, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Frazzled

Quality paint brushes are a must for any painter.  Brush care is also of the utmost importance.  There is just no way you can create high quality works of art when hairs are frazzled, frayed, and falling out.  You will find yourself creating more of a mess trying to compensate for these issues.  It robs you of your joy of painting in the moment because you are too busy looking for lost hairs or checking to see if the frazzled hairs have placed paint where you do not wish.  You find yourself distracted and unable to focus on what is truly important. All of which can be avoided if you just make the right choices! 

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to him and asked, "Lord don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!"   "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed- or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."    Luke 10:38-42

Oh Martha, how I connect with you and your ways! I wish I was a Mary, but I am not.  I find myself running around in a tizzy...frazzled and frayed by all that life has placed on my plate(or that I have placed on my own plate!).  I can be so busy with "life" that I miss opportunities for what God REALLY wants for me. I'm too distracted to see moments to sit at the feet of my Lord.  I'm too worried about things that don't really matter, and miss God given opportunities to speak truth, peace, love...JESUS...into othes' lives.  I'm too consumed with trying to make things perfect that I miss the beauty in the imperfections.  Lord, help me not to be a Martha(at least not all the time)...and let me be more like Mary & make the better choice. 

June 10, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Seeing Beyond

Art has the amazing ability to transport the viewer.  For some, they find themselves transported to the depicted image.  They are very literal (not going to knock anyone who wants to spend time looking at art...good on 'em!).   Others will find themselves making personal connections to a time and place they've experienced.  They feel the moment like a memory.  Others may experience something more metaphysical.  The work will take them to a place that goes beyond what is visible and beyond a memory experience.  It's as if the work is imbued with hope, inspiration, despair, desperation, or other secrets waiting to be unlocked by the onlooker.  There is a painting at a local art gallery that takes me to a place far beyond the beauty the artist masterfully created.  Though there are connections I could make with the work and past experiences....it is more than that.  I see the glow of the sun illuminating the landscape, and my mind & heart are transported to a place of hope.  No matter what is going on in my life....when I see this painting my heart is warmed, my spirit is refreshed, and my mind is reset.  Others may walk past it, but I know the power it holds.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

This scripture gets used a lot!   There is a reason for that...it is a truth we all desperately need to hear, know(heart & head), and apply.   Fear, worry, pain, tragedy, and struggles can keep us from seeing beyond where we are....leaving us helpless...hopeless....stuck. However, this truth transports us.  This truth allows us to see beyond our circumstance. This truth allows us to move forward knowing that He is with us & that He loves us no matter what we are going through.  Is there something you are going through/experiencing that has left you feeling stuck?  Are you unable to get past the past?  Is the pain of today too much for you to bear?  Ask the Lord to allow you to see beyond your present situation.  Ask the Lord to allow you to see clearly the truth of His transforming love & grace.  He is with you always. 

June 03, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Hear Me

There are many people that picture artists as angsty, brooding, anti-establishment type personalities. There are some who fit this stereo-type.  However, as with all stereo-types it does not provide the whole picture.  For every angsty, brooding, anti-establishment artist that is out there.....just as many are producing positive, encouraging, and enlightening works of art.   So what is the commonality within the artistic community?  Artists have a deep desire to be heard through their creative endeavors.  The art gives an external voice to the internal dialog that the artist possesses.  It can be positive, negative, neutral, or all of them combined.


No matter what it is they are creating....
they want their work to be seen & their voice to be heard.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me' turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.  Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.  Psalm 17:6-7

In a world with so much noise, sometimes we feel like our voice can't be heard.  What a lonely place to find ourselves.  Speaking, but with no one listening. Shouting, but with no one caring.  Sharing, but with no response.


God desires to hear from us.  He wants us to bring our praise, joy, pain, requests, questions, concerns, and our everything to him.  He hears us!  We have an audience with our Lord.  No matter where you are in your walk with God....know that he hears you.  Even if you don't feel like he hears you....HE HEARS YOU!  In your doubt...call out.  In your joy...shout.  He just wants to hear from you.

And when you are done.....listen.
 He also wants to speak to you!