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Chaotic Beauty

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27 ESV

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I passed through the doorway into a darkened room.  The walls were black and blank. In the center was a cylinder, I passed through it as I explored the dimly lit warehouse space.  Large wooden spools were spaced throughout, my daughter and I found one and waited. As we waited more people began to filter through the door, some like us found seats some milled around. Time passed and the room and mezzanine filled with people.  The lights dimmed and darkness crowded around us. Silence hung motionless as we all waited. Then a blast of music gave me a jolt and brilliant light exploded on the walls. Before me, Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpieces were built and tore down to the music.  The music, like Van Gogh’s work was chaos, a collection of different genres, rock to classical meshed with images of his paintings. Oceans morphed to wheat fields and sun flowers bled into the starry night.

Van Gogh has always been my favorite artist.  He is my favorite because he takes chaos of colors and frenzied brushstrokes and creates beauty. 

Many years ago, my life was chaos, a roller coaster of emotions, disappointments and depression.  However, once I stopped fighting it and relinquished it to Jesus, the chaos that made me feel like I was orbiting earth without a tether, slowed.  Jesus reached into the chaos of my life and it made it beautiful. That is what Jesus does once you give him control, he takes the crazy, the depression, the pain, the fear, anxiety, worry, guilt and shame and he makes it beautiful. That chaos is now a tapestry of beauty.

He can make your chaos beautiful.

Typist for Jesus

New Wineskin, New Wine

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins” (Luke 5:37-38).

I made some decisions this week about some things that I want to accomplish in the next few years.  These are not new goals.  Instead, they are old goals that I have yet to realize.  For years these items have been on my list but I have allowed circumstances and situations to derail me.  Just as I made up my mind to follow through on the first of this list, a situation popped up.  I began to allow myself to get distracted and in just a few minutes I had begun to talk myself out of following through.  In just a short time, I had already retracted my plans and was convinced that this new situation would not allow me to finish this goal.   I sat alone, disappointed. 

As I was talking with the Lord, later on, I realized that I was just following my Modus operandi.  For my entire life, my MO had been to allow circumstance and situation to hinder my progress.  It is now or never to make a commitment to following through.   I realized I was trying to put new wine in old wineskins.  So, I read up on that particular parable, looking for wisdom.

The parable of the new wine in old wine skin is recorded in three of the gospels.  Matthew 9:14-17, Mark 2:18-22 and Luke 5:33-39.  Because it is mentioned three times by three separate writers, I think there is definitely a lesson just waiting to be learned.  

The parable was spoken by Jesus to rebuke the accusations of the Pharisees, that he and his disciples were not as pious as the Pharisees.  Jesus was anything but conventional.  He ate with tax collectors and sinners.  Spoke to women and lepers and according to these Pharisees, he was not fasting enough. Unfortunately, these men that had devoted their lives to being scholars and experts on scripture and God, just could not get past what they thought was Jesus’ flagrant disregard for the laws.  The legalistic approach was all they knew.  If the Pharisees were going to be able to embrace Jesus as Savior they would have to let go of the legalistic way they viewed their relationship with God.  They were so inundated by rules and laws they had lost the relationship.  Jesus was offering freedom from the legalism and a relationship of grace and love.  Unfortunately, they were unable to relinquish their old ways of thinking.  Jesus never broke the laws, he just followed them as they were intended.  Not with only legalistic focus but with love.

I cannot continue to use my old way of thinking to accomplish my plans.  Obviously, my old mindset has not worked.  If I am going to do something new, I need to renew my thinking.  I do not want to miss out on realizing these goals because I am unable to change my MO.   I got my new “wineskin” and I followed through on the first step to completing my goal. 

Do not allow yourself to miss out on God’s gift of love and redemption because of old ways of thinking.  Do not be denied realizing a desire or a dream.  If they are not working out or coming to fruition, then examine your MO. 

Get a new wineskin and get ready to make new wine.

Typist for Jesus

God is in the Details

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

 Matthew 6:28-30

I stood looking out at the rows of sunflowers their faces upturned to the sky, seeking the warmth and nourishment of the sun. Strolling between the giants I smiled and meditated on the beauty of these unique flowers and their creator. 

The sunflower is much more than just a beautiful flower or a source of food; it is a mathematical demonstration of God. A picture of a deliberate and purposeful creator. Have you taken time to study the face of a sunflower? The seeds of the sunflower form in spirals. If you trace the seeds on the face of the flower, you will see that they spiral to the right and the left from the center. The pattern of seeds within a sunflower follows the Fibonacci sequence, or 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144… If you remember back to math class, each number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two numbers. By counting the number of spirals in each direction, you would find that no matter the size of the sunflower, the ratio is always approximately the same. This number is known as the Golden Ratio and rounds to 1.6. 

You may be asking, so what, it makes a beautiful pattern? Whereas that is true, the purpose is more than just the aesthetic; that ratio enables the most number of seeds to fit on the face of any given sunflower. God, in His wisdom, created this flower to reproduce in the most efficient way possible. There is precisely enough consistent space between the buds for the seeds to mature. God is in every detail of His creation, and His designs are purposeful. If God takes this much care in the arrangement of the seeds of the sunflower, imagine how much more care He takes over you?  

You are important to God.

Typist for Jesus

Finding the Right Path

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6 NIV

Though still morning, the humidity swaddled us in damp that clung to my body and salty beads of sweat stung my eyes. The breeze I had enjoyed earlier had ceased, and the air hung stagnant.  Sunlight filtered through the trees, making a kaleidoscope of green and yellow.  The pine needle littered path absorbed the sound of our footfalls and the cicadas buzzed in the trees filling our ears with their drone. My fellow travelers and I had fallen silent, the three of us seemingly lost in our thoughts plodded in single file through the woods.  I pulled my tube from my camel pack and drank deeply of the cooling water that I carried on my back.  A cacophony of bird song seemed to precede us, no doubt warning the wood’s inhabitants of our presence.  Ahead the trail divided, we stopped to consult the map. It was a divide that came back together further down the trail.  One side was for bikes the other hikers, we took a right, continuing our trek.  However, in the back of my mind, the thought lingered.  Did we read the map correctly?  Will this trail merge again on the path back to the parking lot?   

Life is often the same when we come to a crossroad.  How do we know we have made the right decision or chosen the correct path? Throughout life, we face choices.  Some are life-altering, not just to us but those in our lives.  Other decisions transcend this physical world and extends into the next.  Each of us has a path to follow, and along this pathway, we have decisions and choices that influence the journey.  This path refers to how we choose to live and what we do with our limited time. The Bible has several scriptures that address pathways, decisions, and crossroads.  My personal favorite is Proverbs 3:6.  If we are obedient, and involve God on our choices, consult him on decisions, he has promised to lead us onto straight paths.  The path will not always be easy.  There will be hills, rocks, and dangers, but you will not travel alone.

Typist for Jesus

Stolen Joy

andgive no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:27

I sent a text to myparents Friday afternoon.  It read, “Ihave had more wins than loses this week, so I count the week a win.”  I indeed had enjoyed a fairly positive weekhowever, there had been one incident that preyed on my thoughts.  No matter how much I tried to focus on thepositives of the week that one failure kept nagging me.  Before I knew it my mood clouded and I letall my attention fall on that one event. 

How easily we allow our joy to be stolen.  In all that was accomplished, I found no satisfaction because I could not let the one insignificant event go.  That is exactly what the enemy wants.  He wants to refocus my thoughts on the negative, things that encourage resentment, anxiety, anger and frustration.  The weight of these emotions cause my spirit to sink and then the negative voices begin to whisper in my mind.  What do we do when this happens?  We steer our thoughts to Jesus.  Consciously breathe, soften your body, relax and then put up your hand and say, “I’m not going down that road.  I am choosing to focus on Jesus and keeping my joy!” 

Feelings of resentment,anxiety, fear, anger and frustration are not of God.  They are from the enemy and he will dowhatever he can to bring you down and burden you.  If you are burden and your spirit low, youare unable to lift up those around you. If you are filled with joy then it is easier for you to accomplish yourspiritual mission, which is to glorify God by spreading love and light.

Do not let the enemysteal your joy!

Typistfor Jesus!