Our redeemer lives! So let’s receive it and live like it matters! The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 31st)


We know from the Bible that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and as such we all need a savior and a redeemer. And Jesus came once for all so that we could be saved and to redeem us so that we could be made right with God! Jesus paid the price, giving His life so that you and me could be reconciled to God! Not because we were good enough but because God is love! God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life! Jesus gave His all that we could be absolved of our sins and be made right with God! Jesus as we read in today’s reading from God’s Word wins the victory! Getting to read Revelation this early in the year pumps me up because it is the reason why my blog is called From 2005 to Eternity. Back in 2005 when I was prompted to start a public blog and started to share my morning readings God gave me not only the name but spoke to me in and through the book of Revelation. Each time I read it I feel like we are getting closer and closer to Jesus’ return! We all have the opportunity to receive the gift of grace today! We all have the choice to receive His love today! We all have to decide for ourselves if we will accept the truth that will set us free today!

Have you made that choice? Have You received Jesus into Your hearts as Your Lord and Savior and Redeemer? Have You decided to following for the rest of your life? Will today be your day?

The book of Revelation speaks to the end times! The book of Revelation shares that the victory is Jesus’ and so by choosing to be His, on His side, and to follow Him means you are on the winning side. It provides hope no matter what comes our way. Facing troubles? Take heart Jesus has overcome the world! Facing trials? Consider it pure joy because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. So let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Today’s reading comes from Revelation 22


The River of Life

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Jesus Is Coming

6 And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

7 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

–from from Revelation 22

Today’s devotional concludes the section on the impact of the Bible on visual arts. (having started part way into Jan, I will conclude my reading of the Bible in this section too). The Redeemer subject is seen all over the world but the art that is shown and discussed today comes from Brazil, Rio de Janeiro to be specific where we see the world’s largest statue of Jesus the Redeemer!

 


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that is in it. Thank You Lord for that unconditional love that goes beyond anything I can ask or even imagine. Thank You Lord that even before I knew You and loved You, You first loved me and sent Jesus to come and pay the ultimate price that I would be able to be reconciled to You. Lord I give my life into Your hands and ask for Your wisdom and discernment, direction and instruction today so that in all I think, say, and do, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

As you stand at the doorway are you ready? The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 30th)


Before you is a door, what will you do with it? Imagine being inside a building and there is only a handle on the inside and you hear knocking at the door. You look to see who it is and realize it is Jesus knocking at the door to your heart. Will you open the door and invite Him in? You realize that the building is actually your heart and your life and that Jesus is wanting in. Will you open the door and let Him in?

Before you is a door, standing open in heaven. Are you ready to enter into it? Are you ready to come face to face with the one seated on the throne? Can you imagine what you would get to see? Can you imagine what it will be like? Have you realize the impact of it on the world today? Do you realize how many medieval doors have been inspired by today’s reading from Revelation 4-5? Imagine being John and getting to experience The Throne in Heaven… Imagine being John and getting to experience The Scroll and the Lamb…Are you ready for you would see? Are you ready to enter into His presence? Are you ready to speak to how you lived your life? Are you ready to express what you saw, are seeing, and will see? Heaven is for real and it is amazing to get to hear of it first from God’s Word and then from stories like the book Heaven is for Real which opened my eyes to the reality that before we had all our children and I felt a connection to Philip the evangelist who had 4 daughters who were prophetess and later God spoke to me through the story of Abraham and the promised son Isaac the day when I ask if I were going to have 4 daughters or if I would have a soon. As I read the book Heaven is for Real and heard the little boy share about his sister he met in heaven (Pages 94-96), I had a revelation and a feeling that I have 2 daughters who go to go straight into the presence of Jesus and avoid the trials and troubles of this world and how God has blessed me not only with 2 incredible daughters with me and my promised son Isaac, but that when I get to heaven we will be together with 4 daughters and 1 son. God is so amazing and I look forward to the incredible day of Jesus’ return when we will all be together worshipping God together (hoping that will be the way we all reunite with today’s reading coming from the book of Revelation).

The Throne in Heaven

4 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once iI was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was la rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”

from Revelation 4

The Scroll and the Lamb

5 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne ha scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, reach holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

from Revelation 5

God’s Word is true! God’s Word never returns void! God’s Word has impacted the world from the very beginning! God’s Word from today’s reading impacted many medieval church doorways…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Are you in need and starting to knock on the door in hopes that God will open it? I know when I started to looking for a new job back in 2013 after receiving my morning reading’s message to get out of the boat, I didn’t know which side God wanted me to get out and so I started applying everywhere, even places where I didn’t think I would want to work in order to allow God to open the door He wanted and to close the ones He didn’t. Are you living out Matthew 7:7 – Asking, Seeking, and Knocking? Don’t lose hope – keep knocking and persevere! It may mean trying more than once – I heard a story last week of a person who felt God had called them to go to bible school and got rejected 2-3 times but went back one more time and that time the person they met with had just received a letter from someone half a world away who had received a message from God to send funds so that they would be able to go to bible school. God’s ways are not our ways! God’s ways are better than our ways! Lean not on our own understanding but put our hope and trust in God!


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for Your Word that never returns void and is available to me each day to fill me up and to prepare me for what is yet to come. I praise You Lord that You know even before I ask what I have need of and yet You allow me to be part of the process and build my trust and relationship with You and so I ask. Lord, Your Word even says that we have not because we ask not and so Lord I give this day into Your hands asking for wisdom and discernment, direction and instruction, boldneness and courage to complete the work You have for me to do, that You have prepared in advance for me to do. Lord not my way but Your way! Lord, not my will but Your will be done! Help me today Lord to keep You first and to speak life in love to the people You bring into my life so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Turn back to God! Rekindle the fire of love! Pursue God’s purpose with passion! The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 29th)


Will you return to God before it is too late? Will you rekindle that fire of passion and pursue God’s purposes and plans with it? Will you be hot for His purpose and accomplish His calling for your life? Will you hear what He says and do it? Will you make today the first day of the rest of your life? Will you speak truth in love? Will you will you stand for truth and for what is right? Will you allow your faith to produce good fruit through the works you do? Will you persevere and press forward for the glory of God?  Don’t be distracted by the lies and deception of the devil but rather take time to listen and hear what God has for you today! This is the day that the Lord has made and so we can rejoice and be glad in it! Lean not on your own strength but rather let’s start each day worshipping God! Let’s live out our days as living sacrifices worshipping God with every breath, with every thought, with every word, and with every action that we will take! It may not be easy because of trouble that comes our way, but we can take hope because Jesus has overcome the world! It may not be easy because we face trials of many kinds, but we can consider it pure joy because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. So lets allow perseverance to finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Let us not forget! Let’s remember to remember all that God has done for us! Let’s live out our lives with every part of us worshipping Him!

Today’s reading comes from Revelation 2. It speaks to God’s calling back of the churches. His love and His desires for us to turn back to Him! His love and His desires for us to listen and respond! Let’s take a moment and read it before we consider its impact on the arts…

To the Church in Ephesus

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.

2 g“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not,and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen;repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, nI will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

To the Church in Smyrna

8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last,who died and came to life.

9 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison,that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 cHe who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

To the Church in Pergamum

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 cHe who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with pa new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

To the Church in Thyatira

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

19 s“‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and xI will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, gas when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

–from Revelation 2

Today’s devotional points to the impact Revelation 2 has on the arts. Today’s example comes from Stained glass windows of York Minster which portrays the seven churches described from Revelation 2…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for an incredible Word preached on worshipping You. I thank You Lord for my family and friends and I lift them all up to You in hopes that they too will walk with You and have a relationship with You for the rest of their lives. Give me eyes to see today Lord things You have for me to do. Give me ears to hear so that I can have wisdom, discernment, and direction and a heart of obedience to do what You say. Help me Lord as this week I try to wrap somethings up and make sure the team is prepared for the upcoming week where I will be away. Help me Lord to follow after You and prepare in advance the good work they have to do. You are my rock and my salvation Lord and so I give it all up into Your hands so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Will you stand up for the truth? Will you stand up for what is right? The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 28th)


As you prepare for this day will you stand firm? Will you put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the evil schemes of the devil? Our battle is a spiritual one, it is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Put on the belt of truth! Put on the breastplate of righteousness! Put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace as your shoes! Take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one!  Guard your mind and put on the helmet of salvation! Take time to meditate on God’s Word so that you know it and that you are prepared to use the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God and praying without ceasing in the spirit! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Persevere through all things that come your way! Will you face troubles? Yes, but take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! Will you face trials? Yes, but consider it pure joy because you know that that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Lean on God! Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight!

Today’s reading comes from the book of Jude:

Greeting

1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,

To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

Judgment on False Teachers

3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which like wise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael,contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they,like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying,“Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

A Call to Persevere

17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior,through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

–from Jude

Today’s devotional speaking of the impact of the Bible on Art comes from Jude 9 where it says:

But when the archangel Michael,contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” Jude 9

The impact his verse has on the arts is how they have used the archangel Michael. Be it in literature or in arts, he appears as a representative of God! Michael is a rescuing angel! Michael is a chief prince! Michael is a warrior! Michael is defender of God’s will! Michael is a respectful angel! Michael is a guardian angel!

Searching with Bing for “the archangel Michael chief priest bible verse“, we find these verses:

Jude 1:99But even thearchangelMichael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The LORD rebuke you!”

Daniel 12:11“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people-everyone whose name is found written in the book-will be delivered.

Revelation 12:7-97Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-1813Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the LORD’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the LORD, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the LORD himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of thearchangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air. And so we will be with the LORD forever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Daniel 10:2121but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.

Daniel 10:1313But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.

Today’s reading from The Global Impact Bible comes from the artist Raphael who painted St. Michael Overwhelming the Demon.

Jan 28 - Jude 9 - St. Michael Overwhelming the Demon by Raphael

The literary example that is mentioned comes from a poem by Lord Byron in reference to George III:

XXIX (29)

‘Twas the archangel Michael; all men know
The make of angels and archangels, since
There’s scarce a scribbler has not one to show,
From the fiends’ leader to the angels’ prince;
There also are some altar-pieces, though
I really can’t say that they much evince
One’s inner notions of immortal spirits;
But let the connoisseurs explain their merits.

–from The Vision Of Judgment – Poem by (Lord) George Gordon Byron


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this day and for all that You do and have done. I thank You Lord that Your Word never returns void and that Your Word through the generations has impacted all areas of life. Today Lord I give my life and my day into Your hands in hopes that You will take it and use it for Your purposes so that in all that I think, say, and do that You will be exalted and glorified in Jesus’ name. Help me Lord to not allow any distractions or diversions to keep me from being the person You created me to be. Help me Lord to stand up and stand firm and stand strong on the rock of Jesus Christ and when things get tough continue to stand! Help me Lord with wisdom and discernment to know and the courage and boldness to walk it all out in obedience to You. I ask all this in Jesus’ name so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Amen.

 

How against Jesus are you? Doesn’t mean you won’t be used by God! The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 27th)


Are you rejecting Jesus? Are you ignoring Jesus? Are you fighting against Jesus? Are you attacking Christians? Are you persecuting Christians? Are you trying to tear Jesus and Christians down?

Have you been hearing about the persecution that has been taking place by ISIS? Have you been hearing about the torture and murder going on around the world?

Yesterday we had the topic of “Never say never” and in there we looked at one example of someone who was so against Jesus and His followers that he got permission from the religious leaders in order to go out and persecute them. He was going around looking to round them up and bring them back bound for persecution and sentencing. Saul was on a mission to end “the Way” and was a huge threat to the Christians at the time. There was great fear and many people fled in order to try to escape the persecution. It managed to actually start spreading the new of Jesus. Saul was there when they stoned and killed Stephen. But God had a greater plan that would intersect Saul while he was on his way and turn what the enemy had planned for evil and use it for good. Saul was educated in the Jewish faith and was at a very high level of education but after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus he considered that all garbage or dung compared to knowing Jesus. He speaks to it in Philippians 3 when he says:

 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh,I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,3 blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

–from Philippians 3

Imagine being someone who is so against Jesus that you would be willing to go out and try to capture them all and then kill them. Imagine if God could take all that  your past knows and turn your heart around to the point where you would become a speaker for God. Let’s take a look into today’s reading from Acts 9 and Saul’s transformation through the encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus that turned him into Paul.

The Conversion of Saul

1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus,so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly alight from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and goto the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered,“Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16   will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;19 and taking food, he was strengthened.

–from Acts 9

We need to take hold of God’s Word and believe that His Word is true! We need to not hate but defeat hate with love! We need to take hold of what we read in Matthew 5 where it tells us:

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

–from Matthew 5

Is it easy to do? Nope, not at all but we need to be like Ananias and be obedient to God’s Word and His prompting. We need to trust in God and lean not on our own understanding. Obedience is better than sacrifice and imagine having been the one who was used to find a key that opened up the reality of Jesus to the world. Imagine Ananias who was afraid of facing Saul but who in obedience did what God called him to do and released the guy, the apostle Paul, who wrote so much of the new testament. Don’t be afraid, put your trust in God! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Trust in God!

Are you against Christians and Jesus? Now imagine being Saul and having that encounter on the road to Damascus. What type of vision or dream would it take for you to receive and believe the reality of Jesus? How can God use you to make a difference in the people and the world around you? God’s Word has impacted the world for generations and will continue to for generations to come. Why not take time to start reading God’s Word? Why not consider letting the Words of Jesus come off the pages and speak into your heart? Why not let God’s Word be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path? Why not allow the Holy Spirit to plant the seed of faith into your heart today? Why not invite Jesus into your life and ask Him to speak truth giving you the wisdom and discernment you need for today?

Jesus is coming back one day and we need to help as many people as we can enter into His presence as God allows us to for the glory of His kingdom.

Today’s reading from Acts 9 had an impact on the world of art. Today’s reading about Paul’s conversion impacted Caravaggio to paint it twice and which are on display in Rome, Italy.

Jan 27 - Acts 9_3-4 - The Conversion of Paul by Caravaggio


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You for Your Word that never returns void. I praised You for the truth that nobody is or can be too far from You to be able to turn around and come to You. Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted for their faith in You. I ask Lord that You will give them strength and wisdom to be able to complete the work You have for them to accomplish. I ask Lord that You will give them the boldness and courage to never give up! Lord, I lift up all those who are pursuing, persecuting, attacking, and killing Your people and ask Lord that You will provide them with visions and dreams of the reality of Jesus that they wouldn’t continue in the lies of the enemy whose plan is to rob, kill, and destroy them but rather Lord that they will be like the lost son and turn back to You or like a Saul who became Paul in order to spread the truth of Jesus to so many. Lord, I thank You for having touched my life and transformed me. I ask that Your Holy Spirit will have divine encounters that will not only save Your people but will also transform the hearts of those who are persecuting them and turning them back to You. Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear today so that I can speak truth, life, and Your love into the world around me. Help me Lord to make a difference for the glory of Your kingdom. May this day bring You the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.