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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Beating Heart

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Have you ever felt like you just had heart surgery (figuratively speaking)? That’s kind of what it felt like to be prayed for the other day. The pray-er so keenly tuned into all the daddy hurts in this bruised person’s heart. All kinds of feelings got stirred up and all I could do was watch as they came tumbling out all over the place! Sobs and a little blubbering followed. Good luck holding back the flood of emotions when someone acknowledges your inner cry for the love of a father (THE Father). Some would call this thing that is taking place inner healing. That’s a funny juxtaposition considering that to get to that healing, you get to feel the hurts in all their (un)glory. It feels nothing like healing while it’s taking place. But, the truth is, healing is Glorious. There was a Glory in being a few baby steps closer to knowing what it’s like to be loved by a good, [correction] GREAT Dad. What is it like to be loved by a perfect Father? I’m still finding out. My heart is all mushy and messy. I can say I feel different. Loved.

So we finger painted at a conference workshop last weekend and this is what my beating heart looks and feels like. And it is glorious to feel, and hurt …and heal.

White Horse

 

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A Horse Named Redemption

 

This was painted at the River Church of OC during worship this morning.   This painting is just a portion of an image I got that contained three horses.  One was black, the middle one brown and the one in the forefront was red… but then it was white… but then it was both red and white.  This confused me for days.  I searched the bible for references to three horses wanting the image I had to fit into scripture as my confirmation, my release to go ahead and paint that image. Everything I kept finding referring to horses did not quite fit in with what I felt the Lord was asking me to paint.  Faith and obedience to the images He shows me is absolutely a huge part of this whole process.  I understand that I don’t have to understand it completely, but I do have to trust that these are His images.  But this was different in that the image I saw was not necessarily a positive, feel good message.  Horses are referenced in the book of Revelations and it has “End Times” vibe all over it.  Frankly I didn’t want to go there.  Not because I don’t have faith in my Savior, but because I’m not the “hard” word kind of girl.  I like to convey images/messages that are uplifting, hope giving, inspirational subjects.  I feared this might not be one of those messages.  There is so much end times banter out there.  “Repent NOW or go to hell”…I have to say this? Really? I could not… wouldn’t know how to even do that.  I just… I don’t know what to do with that type of message and yet, here I was for the last couple of weeks having this same image repeated in my mind.  I continued to pray and ask, and ask again with very little revelation on what all that actually meant.

A few days ago, early in the morning during another prayer session asking the Lord what the horses meant, He said the black horse was called “Strife”, the brown horse was called “Hardship” and the red/white horse was called “Redemption”.  The white/red horse was His horse.  The red being the blood with which our redemption was paid for.  His blood.  He purchased our redemption with His blood.  The white, His mercy upon us.  His grace upon us.

 

Really, it’s just that simple 🙂  And so we have the horse called “Redemption”.  Strife and hardship may be with us in these “End Times” as they have always been in this fallen world.  However, they are rendered irrelevant in the wake of our Mighty Savior on His white horse.  Jesus.  I love you Jesus.  And I love that it is all about You.

 

 

Out of the Wilderness

“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” Exodus 13:21-22

Out of the Wilderness

Looking for the Lord’s guidance in the “wilderness”.

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I kept getting the words “out of the wilderness” and the old testament image of the Isrealites being lead by the light of the Lord. The images were of the desert in the night time mostly, with flashes of color throughout the landscape and God’s warmth, a beacon of light in the horizon. I love that our church fosters, pastors the prophetic with such great care. One of the prophetic words given made reference to a time of ” being in the valley of surrendor”. That was so fitting for what being in the wilderness is like. Weathering those hard times when things don’t seem to go well in our lives. Either a string of hardships or disapointments come and you are suddenly in a waiting period. Waiting for that time to pass. There is always hope in God’s kingdom, in His reality. He is always there with you through it all. And even when it seems like He is far away and you can’t feel His direction, you can expect, with confidence, to see Him in the horizon leading you out of the wilderness.

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Painted at The River Church of OC 1/13/13 a.m. service.

Living Waters

“Then He showed me the river whose waters give life, sparking like crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb. ” Rev 22:1

 

Painted 9/2/12 am service at The River Church of OC.

 

Intercession, the Tender Mercy of Our God

“Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79 Painted Sunday August 5 at The River Church of OC, Irvine California am service.

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We are called to intercede from a place of peace. Calamity and chaos has no chance in the face of our God, our Jesus, who is light. When we’re called to intercede for others, for territories and situations often times we are roused to action and feel the call of duty. We take on the persona of warriors, when the truth is our God is all powerful, not us. Yes, we are called to pray, to intercede for the injustices in this world, but we cannot take a stance that puts us in the center of any battle. The battle has been won by the One who calls us his children.

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“See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” Isaiah 60:2

“You are my lamp oh Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.” 2 Samuel 22:29

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

You could find scripture after scripture that talks about how our Jesus is light in the darkness and the powers of darkness have NO power over our God.

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Recently I was called to pray for a port, Port Hueneme in California to be exact; where cargo ships come in and out of our country. Oddly, this is not the first time I have been led to pray for a port. And what I saw in my spirit stunned me. Initially, I put the vision aside thinking I must have imagined the battle I saw going on. However, when I prepared for this Sunday’s painting, the Lord showed me this was the image I was to paint. I have learned not to deviate from what He suggests I paint, no matter how trivial I may think it is, or how silly the image may seem to me. What I saw in my spirit was a sky full of calamity, essentially demonic activity and it looked very much like what is depicted on the left side of the painting above. But in the center of the vision, was the Holy Spirit and the light that shined from him was so brilliant that no darkness could pass. Not one single bit of the choas that was trying to come into that place could pass through the light of the Holy Spirit. What was so stunning to me was the speed and totality of the battle. Before I could even comprehend that this was a battle, it was already won. My point of view was from the right side of this painting. Where I stood in the spirit was in a place of peace. It was not my battle to fight. And that is the main message here. I came to know the Lord in a series of very hard circumstances, I didn’t come forward at a church alter call. It was during some of the hardest times of my life that I finally truly gave my life to Jesus out of total exhaustion from fighting this world. From that, I’ve often taken up a call to pray for others with a fight in my spirit, wanting to protect others, to help others not have to come to the Lord like I did. But the truth is, this is not my battle, it is not our battle. We partner with Jesus in a most special way and when we make the battles about ourselves, we miss the point.

It is all about Him. Thank you Jesus.
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Encouraged in Heart, United in Love

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Jesus is who unites us to one another. Without His Love and under our own strength, relationship, fellowship can only go so far. When we understand Jesus’ love for us individually and He is the well we draw from, a real, deep, unconditional love for one another is possible. Unlike any other people, we are known as children of Jesus through our love for one another.

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