The Tempest

tempest-iiconThe September (spring) equinox is approaching.  Equinoxes for us are times of strong gales.  Well, it’s started already.  We have just had about 3 days of very strong winds and rain.  Never a good combination.

On Friday night things came to a head.  As I sat up in bed at about 9pm reading, I heard the unmistakable sound of a tree folding up – the crackling, the slow whoosh.    This was followed by several very loud thumps and bangs.

A tree had fallen, most probably on my roof.

It was very dark and to be quite honest, I was almost afraid to go look – afraid of what I might see.  I live alone, so no-one else to send, no ‘moral support’.  Except for the Lord.

I picked up courage and the small torch.  It felt a bit like ‘putting on the armor’ (Ephesians 6: 13 -17).  Venturing out through the carport, I could just make out a great deal of foliage piled up against the lower house wall about 10 feet from where I had been sitting.  Something above banged from time to time in the wind.  Obviously, the main damage would be up there, and I wasn’t going to investigate.  At least the rain had stopped for the meantime.  “Get back inside”, I thought, “there’s nothing you can do right now.”

A swallow from under the carport decided morning had come and fluttered about my head, drawn by the torchlight.   It flew with me into the entrance hall, so I shut off the house light and went outside again, hoping it would follow.  It did – whew!  Nice to have the company, though, in a time of stress – a message from the Holy Spirit, perhaps.  “Yea, the swallow has found her a nest and the sparrow a place where she may lay her young –  even at thine altars, O Lord.”  (Psalm 84:3)    I really shouldn’t let these birds nest in my carport, but I do.

Back into bed.  The only thing to do is wait on the dawn – and seek His face.  With all my heart I reminded The Father that He was still on the throne and very much in charge (He didn’t need that reminder, but I sure did).  I prayed that whatever had happened, I would thank Him for his mercy and see His hand in the event.  I prayed that the rain would hold off (more forecast for Saturday).   I carried on praying in this vein and finally fell asleep.

Morning came.  At least the wind had dropped.  I felt strangely calm – if a bit shattered.  Gathering up courage again I went outside, asking the Lord to be with me.

Oh yes – it wasn’t good:

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Photo taken 7.30am – I have outlined the upper foliage of the tree.

What next?  It’s Saturday morning.  I have no insurance, so can’t ring a company and hand the issue over to someone else to deal with.  Just hope I can afford this without totally running through my small reserve of funds!

Something had to be done right away.  It was still only about 7.30am and it sure didn’t feel good to ring people at that hour on a Saturday.  But I rang my neighbour over the road, who has agreed to do some paid chainsaw work for me.  No reply, so I left a message.  Then I rang an old friend down the road.  He was out but I got his partner.  She was brilliant – gave me the names of an arborist (new to the district) and a roofer.

I rang the arborist and he came right away.  A very nice guy called Brian Fletcher of A B Trees, with heaps of experience and an ethic of service to the customer.  What a nice change!  What a miracle – it can be very hard to pin down contractors up here, as my father found over 40 years ago and I have found many times since.  It’s something to do with fishing and boating, and trying to stack up as many jobs as possible🙂.

Chopping branches as he went, Brian walked up the trunk onto the roof and started cutting back up there to get the weight off.  The root ball was then supposed to lift the tree slightly and make it easier to deal with.  That didn’t work and he found this very tall Banksia tree in fact had precious little root run.  Thank goodness I hadn’t known THAT over the years!

Brian mounted his next strategy from the veranda, cutting back stubs and branches further down.  One nasty moment came when the tree settled slightly, but in fact it couldn’t move very far.

Then back down to ground level where Brian said the only option now was to undercut the trunk, and let the top part fall. hoping it would not do damage on the way.

I told him I was going to pray, and shot into the house praying strongly, calling upon the Lord to have His hand on this last episode.  The chainsaw howled.  Then silence, followed by two loud bangs.

Back outside, I peeped round the corner.  Brian was smiling.  “You did well there,” he said, “It dropped just where it was supposed to and fell neatly parallel to the house.”  Glory Be!!

He took out a silver fir I had foolishly planted nearby, years ago, and ringed up the trunk of the Banksia.  Then we went to have a look at another problem tree that he’s going to deal with next week.   It was all over by 11am.

I can’t count the number of things I need to be grateful for.

Although there is damage to the roof, guttering and soffit, that is actually in quite a good place for repairs.  The concrete veranda and wooden railing are unharmed and not a single pane of glass was broken.  Truly amazing for a house that has 3 ranchsliders all along the front upstairs, and two large windows down below.

Praise You, Heavenly Father!  Not only for your hand on the accident and the clean up, but also for sending such a good contractor!  Please go with me now on the next stage…

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)

“It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.”   (Psalm 119:71)

And it still hasn’t rained.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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My Sheep Hear My Voice

sheep-iiconEarly morning at the most famous church in New Zealand, and certainly the most photographed. This is the Church of The Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo in the wild mountain country of the McKenzie Basin in the South Island.

The church was built in 1935 by a number of families farming remote hill stations in the area, originally for their own use. It has a large window behind the altar that looks out on the mountains across the lake.  Clearly, those farmers saw the magnificent country around them as evidence of the Creator’s hand, and they wanted to be reminded of that as they came to worship.

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Jesus (The Good Shepherd) said,  “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
(John 10:2-4, 27)

He also said (at John 10:11), “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

And that is exactly what He did.

Even now, the world has not come to a full realization of what that means.

He saved every one of those who will follow Him once and for all by paying the ultimate price on the cross.  That offer of salvation is still open, and as spiritual beings we all have an eternity of life ahead of us.  How are we planning to spend it?

So many still rush blindly to destruction, thinking only of the first death, the death of the body.  Thinking, “Once that’s over, it’s all over.  May as well get the max out of this life.”  How foolish that is.  For there still remains the second death, which is the lake of fire where all who have chosen to separate themselves from God by their sin and ungodly living will dwell for eternity.

Jesus made it clear, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep…      I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”  (John 10:7, 9)

But He will not allow sin and all its ramifications into the New Heaven and the New Earth.  Once was enough.

Think on it.

Patricia

Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery. Or click on the images.

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Prayer For Help

deliverance-iconWho among us has not been in this situation?

Who has not felt themselves dwelling among the tents of the wicked?  In a strange land?  Surrounded by enmity to which there is seemingly no response?

David the mighty king and quintessential warrior knew this so well.  And while his fame lay in his mastery of the slingshot and the sword, he knew the most effective weapons, and in fact the only truly effective weapons, are spiritual:

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“I call on the Lord in my distress,
and He answers me.
Save me, Lord,
from lying lips
and from deceitful tongues.
What will he do to you,
and what more besides,
you deceitful tongue?
He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows,
with burning coals of the broom bush.
Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek,
that I live among the tents of Kedar!
Too long have I lived
among those who hate peace.
I am for peace;
but when I speak, they are for war.”

Psalm 120.

Meshek –  a son of Japheth, the people descended from him, and their land (Russia – Scythia).
Kedar – a son of Ishmael, the people descended from him, and their land (Arabian Desert).

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Leave vengeance to the Lord.  It is His prerogative, not yours.  If you are truly walking with Him, He will take care of you and your reputation.

Sometimes the hardest thing of all is to say with Paul, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)    This is not an empty phrase, and it helps to remember that the desire for revenge is one of satan’s favorite mind controls.  With it, he keeps people on endless treadmills of bitterness and retaliation.

Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery. Or click on the images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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The Spirit of Man

candle-icon“The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts of his being. ” Proverbs 20:27.

The word ‘spirit’ here is from the literal Hebrew word `breath’; and it refers to that ‘breath of life’ which God breathed into mankind in the person of Adam (Genesis 2:7)…   It is the equivalent of conscience, God’s lamp, that searches out the innermost recesses of a man’s heart.   This is a very important verse.  It stands alone in the Old Testament in its affirmation that the Divine element in human life is the conscience.”  (Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible).

Jesus referred to this scripture when speaking to His disciples not long after He chose them.  The reference in Matthew 5:14-16 is encapsulated in a statement of the special nature of the disciples, whom He likens to the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  It also occurs in Mark 4:21, again as part of His explanation to the disciples of the parables He had taught to the multitude.

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In both of these renditions of the event, Jesus uses the simile from Proverbs to show the importance not only of walking in the spirit, but of doing so openly.  For, as He says in Matthew 5:16:  “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, who is in heaven.”

And in Mark 4:22 He concludes: “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed;  nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.”

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How many people light candles and then hide them away?

This work is part of an ongoing series in a style inspired by the art of New Zealand painter, Colin McCahon – now recognized as one of NZ’s foremost artists of all time.  McCahon painted over a period of 45 years, his work being mainly Christian subjects and powerful landscapes.  One of the identifying elements of his style was the use of text, mostly as a primary element of the works, especially so towards the end of his life.

Obviously, with the paintings in this series, fitting at least part of the text  and an image into a 8″x8″ or 12″x12″ space requires some thought and brevity of expression, while remaining true to the essence of what Jesus said.  These works are the result of a directive from The Father: “Paint My Son’s Words.”

From the same series, see also “Out of The Heart“.

Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery. Or click on the images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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Full Armor of God -Sword Of The Spirit

warrior5-iconI have several of these ‘Warriors in Denim’.

St Paul said this about the full armor of God:
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore,

  1. having girded your waist with the belt of Truth,
  2. having put on the breastplate of Righteousness,
  3. having shod your feet with the sandals of the Gospel of Peace;
  4. above all, taking the shield of Faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one,
  5. and take the helmet of Salvation,
  6. and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
    Ephesians 6: 13 -17

With the world as it is, we really need this now, AND what’s more…

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…we need ‘righteousness’, ie being in right standing with God (nothing to do with self-righteousness which is most surely the opposite) to avail ourselves of these weapons.

The Sword of The Spirit

Paul elucidates further on the Sword of the Spirit in Hebrews 4:12:

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spiritjoints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

What a powerful weapon that is!  Especially for discernment, which is much needed in today’s world.

In this regard, note the importance of being prepared for spiritual warfare,  emphasized in my post Changing The Battle Ground.

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Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery. Or click on the images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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Free Indeed

free-iconThis post carries a friendly message to the American people : “Remember your Beginnings!  Remember your heritage and the values it was founded on!”

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  (John 8: 31-36)

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Acrylic painting collage.

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Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery. Or click on the images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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Identity Crisis

i-am-iconThis piece was given to me by a friend, who wanted an illustration for it.

After I did that, he decided he didn’t want it after all.

Which was a bit sad.

Ah well, guess I knew it would come into its own somewhere…  And I am grateful for the verse.

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While praying one day a woman asked “Who are You, Lord?

And He replied “I AM”

“But who is I AM?”

And He replied, “I am Love, I am Peace, I am Grace, I am Joy, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, I am the Comforter, I am Strength, I am Safety, I am Shelter, I am Power, I am The Creator, I am the Beginning and the End.

I am the Most High.”

The girl with tears in her eyes looked towards Heaven  and said, “Now I understand, Lord, But who am I?”

Then God tenderly wiped away the tears from her eyes and whispered,

“YOU ARE MINE.”

Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery. Or click on the images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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