Death And Life

“Death and Life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21 KJV)

The power of sound is inestimable: we can realize this when we think that in Genesis God is recorded as having spoken light into darkness and order into chaos.

All the way through the process of creation recorded in Genesis 1, each creative act begins with the words, “And God said…”

Our words are puny by comparison; yet they still have enormous power to affect the things and people around us, and also ourselves – something many people do not realize, or even want to realize.

Blessing and cursing are two sides of the same coin of the currency of our speech, and in these days, these terms have become almost valueless in that people regard them as somehow wrapped up in religious protocol, and not part of ‘everyday life’.

Not so: when we speak good things, we bless, and when we speak bad things, we curse. The words we utter go out into the ethers and do their work – for good or for bad. Equally, they remain with us – an abiding influence on self and character that most people do not give a passing thought to.

Jesus, speaking to the Pharisees, put it this way:

“Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12: 34-37 NKJV)

Guard your mouth – it has immense power. Many a parent has cursed an offspring’s life by speaking negativity over them.

Speak in haste: repent at leisure.

Digital:  click on the image for more details and products.

Patricia

Catching Men

“When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’

“For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

“And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.’   So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him..”
Luke 5:8-11

The stunning miracle that Jesus performed in these verses caught the attention of all those present, and caused Simon Peter to recognize immediately who Jesus was.

This event can be interpreted as an illustration of the power of the Lord to bring prosperity to His followers. However, as Pastor John points out in a video on this scripture, the words hold a far more important message, and Jesus lost no time in delivering it.

As Pastor John says, “This story is not about how to get rich – it’s about how to get free from riches.”

It’s all about freedom – about getting free and about giving freedom to others.

How important that is! Here were four businessmen whose business had just been blessed with an enormous gift of business resources (perishable goods, incidentally, and ripe for selling at a profit). Yet such was the power of the Lord and of His presence, that having brought their boats to land, “they forsook all and followed Him.”

He had made it plain (as He would do many times during His ministry) that there are far more important priorities than riches, to be pursued in this life.

What a powerful story – and what a powerful lesson for us all.

That freedom is still available today, while most people are stressing and straining at this business of living – struggling with a changing and ever more difficult world.  While we focus our minds on the problems around us, we only magnify and increase them, and give them more power in our lives.

He holds the answer.

Digital – vector: Pierre Bézier tool in Macromedia Fireworks.

 

Patricia

Practice Of The Presence

This last few months I’ve had much time for thought. I’ve been less active physically due to my eye problem, though I’ve still managed to produce artwork, thank goodness.

It goes without saying that a spell of introspection does us all good. But introspection can be a painful activity, often productive of self-doubt and self-criticism: not a good state to be in.

This is how I’ve felt lately with regard to my Christian walk.

Questions flood the mind: “What are you doing that’s of use to the Lord?   Why, you’re not even in the marketplace, not even in close contact with many people.   What good is this life you’re living?”  That’s how the enemy works.  The results are the sins of doubt and unbelief.

I’ve been on the backside of the desert one way and another for more than 12 years, battling this type of mindset.  Now the war intensified….

So I cried out to Him for help – and sure enough it came, in a form something like a door being kicked open.   Praise the Lord  – a complete change of mindset?   It’s interesting how this came about.

Way back in a former life, I was a student of Classics at the University of Auckland, studying Latin and Ancient Greek with a much-loved Head of Department, Prof E M Blaiklock.

A brilliant writer, scholar and lecturer, he inspired us all. His writings and translations live on, and not only in the world of classics. For 40 years he wrote without fail a weekly column published in The New Zealand Herald and the Weekly News  under the pen name ‘Grammaticus‘.   A quick glance at his entry on Wikipedia gives some idea of the vastness of his other written work.

I’ve recently re-read his ‘The Century Of The New Testament – maybe the first time in all the years I’ve had the book that I read it right through.  It is a great exposition of the history of the Mediterranean world leading up to the century from the birth of Christ to the death of His longest-lived apostle John.  This book is written from the strict perspective of a historian, and it is fascinating.   The author’s deep knowledge of his subject-matter – the Middle East, Greece, Rome – stands out: it’s like being back in lectures again.

Searching Blaiklock’s name on Trade Me, I bought another of his books: ‘The Acts Of The Apostles‘ – more of a commentary, it demands concurrent reading of the Book of Acts, so I’m working on that.

Recently though, my standing search on Blaiklock’s name brought up something else – ‘The Practice Of The Presence Of God‘ by Brother Lawrence, translated by E M Blaiklock – no doubt from the Latin.   I’d never heard of it, but a light flashed on in my head – “You need this book!”  Okay, okay…

Quick research revealed that Brother Lawrence was a humble 17th century lay monk in a monastery near Paris.  His daily work was lowly – labor in the monastery kitchen and mending sandals for his fellow monks. Nevertheless, his teachings became sought after.  Collected after his death by Abbe de Beaufort, envoy of the Cardinal of Noailles, they have gained an enormous worldwide reputation and influence, and multiple editions and translations of the work.

I snapped the book up.   It is still in the mail.

More quick research soon revealed an enormous wealth of commentary and quotation of Brother Lawrence on the Internet.   For those who cannot get the physical book, there is probably no need, because the volume of quotes and reference to Brother Lawrence’s work on the net is so vast.

Next post, I will talk about what this monk and his writings have to offer for us all.

Patricia

I Will Pour Out My Spirit…

joel-2-28r-iicon“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions…”

So spoke the prophet Joel at Joel 2:28.

This outpouring of the spirit, currently very much in focus as part of the End Times prophecy, is regarded as part of ‘The Day of the Lord’…

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…and the Day of the Lord and His subsequent millennium reign on earth is also described in a beautiful passage from Isaiah:

“…Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.

“Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”   (Isaiah 32:15-17)

Imagine the opportunity to pursue the things you love without limitation, in the company of the mighty creative power of the universe.     What more could anyone want?

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Acrylic painting, plus digital.

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

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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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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I Am The Way

the-way-iconJesus spoke these words to His disciples at the Last Supper in answer to a question put by Thomas:

“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’

Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.'”    (John 14: 5-7)

One can picture Jesus, knowing full well what was ahead of Him, trying to explain to His disciples so that after the event they would have some understanding and comfort, but not wishing to go into details “for the prince of this world is coming.”  (John 14:30)  He had to keep His focus on the Father for the events ahead.  Nevertheless, His  loving, servant nature shines forth in these last, sad hours, from the washing of His disciples’ feet to His final prayer of stewardship in the Garden of Gethsemene.

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Artwork and design by Patricia Howitt.  Click on the images or view artworks and products at my Damascus Road Gallery.

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Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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