The Banquet Table

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Gearing up for Thanksgiving Day, I was looking for something meaningful to post here and I realized I had never shared “The Banquet Table”. [painted in March 2013] It hangs out above our dining table all year long. I thought it might be perfect timing to share this now before we feast.

For me, this image doesn’t just evoke words like “wedding feast” or “celebration” or even “Thanksgiving Day”. Those words are only part of the story. My deepest impression when I look at this picture on my wall every day is that of adoption.

Adoption is about being loved and accepted completely as a son or daughter. It means we’re not alone anymore. It means we experience being a permanent part of a family; the kind of family where no one is forgotten or excluded and you never get “kicked out”. It means having a Father who cherishes you as his darling child.

It’s kind of a process. It is surprisingly hard to drop the orphan mindset you have defaulted to for so long. But, really this is what Jesus calls us to: relationship.

In the original vision that inspired this painting, Jesus is seated at the head of the table. Here, He is represented by the glow beneath and arbor. Jesus beckons you to His banquet table. He motions for you to take the seat next to Him, as His beloved son or daughter. Because you were adopted into His family the moment you chose to believe, the best seat at His table is always saved just for you. There are many seats at this table, but you are called to take the seat next to Him, having full access to His loving attention.

During His time on earth, Jesus ate with His disciples and “sinners” frequently.

“They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. “(‭Luke‬ ‭9‬:‭17‬ NIV)

“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭9‬:‭10‬ NIV)

“While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.” (‭Mark‬ ‭2‬:‭15‬ NIV)

We find Jesus shared in meals even after His resurrection.

“Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.” (‭John‬ ‭21‬:‭12-14‬ NIV)

What an unlikely thing to expect, that the King of kings, the Creator of all things, would invite you to come and sit and talk with Him over a meal. And yet, He does this even now.

There must be something to this custom of sharing a meal together. It’s like He is showing us by example how to be a family. Do we really get that He loves us that much? That we can be loved so completely? He suffered and gave His life for us at the cross as a clear declaration of I love you. And He asks us to love one another as He has loved us.

In our American culture at the moment, gathering together with a group for meals is not as common as it used to be. Unless it’s for a special occasion, people don’t seem to dine together regularly anymore. We’ve become unaccustomed to being connected in community and have lost a sense of value in eating a meal together and perhaps even lost the social skills required for healthy relationships. Why would we get together when we have so many other things that need to get done in a day? Or, why would we take time to meet with our friends or family when we’d much rather relax and unwind in front of our technology?

I think there must be a special parallel between eating (getting sustenance essential for life) and relating to one another (and most essential is the relationship with Christ). We find spiritual food for our souls when we gather together and partake in relationship.

It is not always a simple easy thing, being in relationship. I have a burden on my heart to address the issues of family and community. On this personal note, I have spent a number of holidays with family, alone and at other times with friends who are like family when I no longer had much family around anymore. I can remember one year making Thanksgiving dinner when I was a single mom. It was just me, my daughter and my mom (who is now passed) and my little girl asking me during the meal why we didn’t have more people with us. My heart ached at her desire to have a larger family than what we had at the time. I felt the same way. Another year, I was blessed to be invited to a friend’s holiday meal where I was the single person amid a house full of married families with children most of whom were strangers to me. I was grateful for the thoughtfulness of my friend’s invitation, but my heart ached at the loneliness of being with them. This Thanksgiving brings more change as some loved ones are now with Jesus.

I am choosing to be an adopted daughter this year regardless of where I celebrate. I will walk out the door remembering my identity as an adopted daughter of The Most High God. Just as I look at this picture daily, I want to remember that every day I have the opportunity to accept the invitation to dine with my God.

Wherever you may find yourself spending the holidays, please always remember how loved and adored you are by our Jesus. He loves you with a limitless love and He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6 and 31:8, Joshua 1:5, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Psalms 37:28 and 94:14, Hebrews 13:5)

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Declaring Death Over Winter

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”  Genesis 8:22

Let the warmth of His love spring up hope in your heart.  Nothing can stop life from blooming when the Holy Spirit moves.  How amazing is our God!

Painted during morning worship at The River Church of OC, February 5, 2012.

Heralding Angel

"Let Our Song Ring Out"

A couple of weeks ago at a church meeting I saw in my spirit an image of an angel above the building our congregation meets at, specifically an angel appointed to our church to herald when The River Church of OC is worshiping. 

It’s no secret, our church loves to praise God through music.  If you come to our church you may expect to find that our worship times usually go long and we love it.  There is such a sweet, even tangible feeling that enters the building when we go into a wonderful time of singing praises to the Lord.  He seems to come near in an even greater measure.  We are lovers of Jesus, unabashedly and we are hungry for more! 

We as a church seem to come into total agreement on this: We want more of God!  I believe that because of this passion for God we have, our praise has the power to change a region.  The angel above, seems to have the job of heralding when the River Church of OC is at work worshiping.  Our great love of God carries beyond the four walls of our building.  The impact on our region is great and real.  In the spiritual sense, we have this angel heralding, broadcasting this out over the land… In the natural (in our everyday life), we who are lovers of God go out into the world and have the ability to change the world because of our passionate love of God.

Be BLESSED and sing praises to God with all you heart for He will come near! 

Painted at The River Church of OC during worship August 7, 2011.

“Seek My Face, know My heart”

Jesus wants to share his father’s heart with YOU.  In his eyes, you ARE worthy and you ARE significant!! Give him your heart so he can give you his!
 
I painted this during the evening service 7/10/11 at The River Church of OC in Irvine, CA.

The Book of Life

Receive everything the Book of Life has to offer.

This was painted yesterday during the morning service at The River Church of OC.  It’s always a surprise what ends up on the canvas… the vision and the painting are always different.  What’s even more fun is speaking with people in our congregation and finding they have been ministered to by the image in their own unique way.  The artist in me would like to tweek certain things to fit what I saw in my mind as the inspiration, but the way I approach these paintings is that they belong to God.  I want His image, not my image to be represented 🙂  

Incidently I did have a scripture floating around in my head as I painted this:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13

Be BLESSED!

Choosing to Trust God

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.

And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so my ways are higher than your ways

and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

At first glance, the image of a growing seed implies the promise of new life.  The roots suggest a solid foundation that the seedling will rely on in the future to nourish it and keep it firmly planted.  Those roots took time to develop before the seedling could survive above ground.  Through this, God seems to be saying,”You may not realize what I’ve been working in your life yet, but your breakthrough is just about to come forth… and it will be in My perfect timing.”   

As I compose this post, a very interesting revelation about this painting is developing in me.  I feel that although the above message is very important, it points to something perhaps even deeper than hope.  That is TRUST.

Every season or trial brings a very special opportunity.  Regardless of the role we have played in our circumstances, there is one common decision we have the opportunity to make.  Will we trust in God?  Even when we don’t know what He is doing (that sure sounds like an accusation of God “doing” something to us, but it’s an honest feeling regardless if it’s right or wrong).  That is the point.  It’s a lack of trust in a loving God, that provokes those types of feelings.  It can be extremely difficult to trust, especially when a lot of pain is involved.  When we suffer, the last thing we want to do is hand over control to God who may or may not be a strong figure in our life…yet. 

As with any relationship, knowing who God is can take time to develop for many people. When I shared about Jesus with my four year old several years ago, she instantly knew who Jesus was and knew His heart.  It came naturally to her.  I on the other hand, took much longer to even begin to understand Him.  Indeed, I am still learning who He is and learning how to trust Him.  It takes time spent in the presence of the Lord to know His heart.  It may take many trials and tribulations for a person to understand how to  trust God. 

Trusting Him.  At the very core of all of this is the fact that God loves us with an everlasting love.  Yes, this is a truth without question.  It is written in the Bible.  I had read this in the Bible, but I came to know this more deeply through my experiences; the hard things in life.  Through the many times I did not trust God and I chose to live my own way and my way ended in failure and pain.  Also, through the many difficult seasons in my life that I had no control over but He brought me to the place I am today.  The process of surviving as I clung to Him taught me how to trust in God with more of myself.  I learned more about His perfect love during those times. 

When I choose Him and His ways, when I choose to trust God, I begin to see that He IS always there regardless of what I do or think.  Whether I can see Him or feel Him.  He IS always working on my behalf.  It begins as an act of will and in time turns into faith in God.  I know that you love me Jesus.  I trust you Lord, my life is yours.

God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.  He created us out of the love that He has for us.  He did not have to do this, He chose to.  He chose us before the foundations of the Earth.  Just as we can choose to trust Him to work everything out for our good.  We can choose to trust despite what our situations look like on the surface, confident that Jesus has a plan for our life that is far greater than we could ever imagine.

 “The Seed” was painted during a morning service at The River Church of OC in Irvine, California.

Prophetic Image of an Oak Tree

"On this Rock"

“…and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”(Matthew 16:18)  This oak tree is an overcomer.  It is growing  in the hardest of places, perched upon an exposed cliff, overlooking choppy seas and flanked by a dark mountain range.  It has weathered many storms and yet it continues to thrive even in this difficult landscape.  Much of life can be this way, but the resulting stregnth that God builds you up into is priceless.  

I created this painting to honor the prophetic words given to someone very dear to me.  When a prophetic word is given from one person to another, it can be incredibly faith building.   He was given three seperate prophetic words from different people at different times and they all referred to his character and spirit as being strong and tall as an oak tree.  These people were not aware of his  life experiences and it made these words even more powerful and encouraging.  I wanted to record these words and give the words a visual to reinforce the message.  “It’s been hard, but look how strong you’ve become.  Look at the foundation you are rooted in!”  It is powerfully edifying when a word speaks into your life and you know in your heart that God is speaking to you and He sees who you are.  He is FOR you!