“For This is Grace…”

Learning that our suffering is often not of our own,  but through the indwelling Christ, can help us see what grace is.

Paul said he rejoiced in his sufferings for the sake of the body.

And Peter said:

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It is definitely out of Him, through Him and to Him, for Him. It can definitely be His sufferings that may become part of our experience.

It is more easily remembered in the daylight than in the dark… yet, by grace, we can sometimes recognize it after, sometimes long after.

Christ cried out on the cross to His Father, “Why have you forsaken Me?” It was dark. “Doing good and suffering” He endured the cross, despising the shame –  yet recognizing the joy set before Him…. Still, He forgot the Father’s loving attentiveness to Him. Pain sometimes does that, I think.

It is Finished

It is Finished – 24″x 48″ – Oil

“Into this you were called… follow in His footsteps.” Only He can follow in His footsteps, in us. At least in my case, when I “try”, I fail. He is our Life. We live by His grace.

We have “been turned” to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls, through His grace.

I would personally qualify in the category of, “For of what credit is it if sinning and being buffeted (for it), you endure it?” But God was merciful. Christ died for me.

I saw a footnote, regarding “In His welts we were healed.” I wanted to share it: “The healing of death. We were dead (Eph. 2:1), but Christ’s suffering of death healed our death that we may live in His resurrection.” Amen. Praise the Lord Jesus. His grace is sufficient.

The top photo is part of my Bible study in 1 Peter. It is a very rich study, in which I am now entering 1 Peter chapter 3. I read in a book called, “Revolutionary Bible Study” by G. Edwards, that Peter wrote this letter to the believers in cities in which Paul had taught, during the dispersion of Jewish believers from Jerusalem, during Roman rule, while Paul was in prison in Rome, awaiting execution under Nero. I thought about the circumstances regarding Jews coming into Gentile churches, as well as the societal conditions under Nero, and his persecution of the Christians.

Another’s Seasons of Passing Through

Lately I questioned creating without showing the work. It was a retirement experience, yet art does not retire. I am grateful. Every day there is still the work to listen to and work on.

It is a happy gift to realize when someone tells you your art has affected their life, that the Lord has – through His grace – worked through the work to touch another human being. Either as creating artists or sharers in viewing, there is a quiet sweetness knowing that we have listened, and we are heard.

This is most of a message received recently:  “I am familiar with your work… I purchased a painting of a chair facing a fence. You said it was part of a series painted when you had faced several personal losses. This email is in reference to two other pieces in this series depicting a woman sitting in a rocker and a second one where the woman is standing holding one arm – …

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The Empty Chair – Oils

Currently in my life there seem to be lot of things going nowhere and I remembered these paintings. I told you at the time that what I saw in those pictures was hope; a person who was tired, even very sad. Someone who just had to stop for a while and let the feelings of sadness, loss, despair, weariness pass over – but someone who would pick up and move on. Life was not over, just a season that must be lived through. A place all of us experience at least once in our lives.

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Title – 36″x 48″- Oil

Today, during a time of prayer, those two pictures came vividly to my mind. They ministered hope and encouragement that brought tears to my eyes and a joy to my heart. I was hoping to find pictures of them online. Failing that, I found a way to contact you and let you know just how much they ministered to me. I love my picture of the chair. When I look at it I see hope, faith, expectation. Thank you Jean for sharing your life in your art.”

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“The Empty Nester” – 24″x 48″ – Oil

I thank you for your letter – it is a very encouraging blessing to me – a reminder that we really are “passing through” a place that is not our home …. and difficult times that build “an eternal weight of glory.” That we have our expectation in Christ.

It seems that all three paintings were prepared for my first one man show, entitled “Passing Through – Seasons of Mid-Life.” Amen. Passing seasons…

“The Empty Chair” is in a private collection in Arizona, Sadness is in Washington State, and “The Empty Nester” is in a private collection in Arizona.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steel Sharpens Steel

This morning I received an email saying, “The living and true God makes every one and every thing exactly what they and it are at any given moment, and He is the way to navigate every situation at all times.”

It is in harmony with the several other quotes I keep by my kitchen sink, reminding us that everything is from the wisdom and love of God.

“Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.” – C. Spurgeon

G. Edwards wrote, “Again, I am awed by the number of Christians who find it utterly impossible to take this experience as from the hand of God… something that He meted out to them because He loved them, that this experience had divine purpose.”

God’s word: ” …for from Him, through Him and to Him are all things.”

Knowing these things doesn’t make suffering any easier… nor does it make the sword pleasant. Suffering is by its nature very unpleasant, yes? Yet, it IS meted out by the hand of God to those He loves… whom He loves…. and even more, we forget what we know in the midst of suffering, until He gives grace… until we all are surrendered to His will… until He transforms us into the image of His Son….

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Sufferings – 16″x 12″ – Oil

Husbands and wives, workers and friends, things in the world… He uses all things to produce a suffering which produces refinement, sharpening, dependence. It is humbling to be the spur or channel through which another suffers. Every time. Still, I seem to “do better” at causing pain than receiving pain. God have mercy. I would that I did not cause another pain, yet God gives this and may use this to produce “a weight of glory.”

The Spirit of Jesus living through us is “the way to navigate every situation.” We die to our self not by our own will.