Woe? Really?

“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers of the false prophets.”  (Luke 6:26)

When we read the Beatitudes, we all love the “Blessed are…” bits – but we tend to overlook and forget the “Woe to…” admonitions that appear most strongly stated in the Gospel of Luke.

Jesus is indeed love, light and truth – and we all love focusing on that.  But part of the truth of loving Him and understanding His message involves remembering the other things He said:  His powerful rejection of the mores of the day’s religious leaders, emphasis on the causality created by God in our world, and the many warnings about being careful where we focus our attention.  The above passage falls right in line with His many statements on this last topic:

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  (Matthew 6:21)

And even more directly in point:
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 6:1)

The passage is a reminder that what ‘everyone thinks’ is not necessarily the truth – and that people flock where they see numbers, often without any real perceptiveness.  It also hints at the soul-eroding quality of craving popularity in the eyes of men.

Dangers of the Internet

The dangers of seeking man’s approval rather than God’s have become even more powerful with the advent of the Internet.  Marketers and frequenters of social media (now a key factor in marketing success and the inflow of money and ‘all good things’) are taught to strive for ‘hits’, ‘visitors’, ‘likes’ and favorable comments.   Algorithms in search engines further feed into this.  And of course, the practice has moved beyond marketing into straight social activity, where it is in danger of becoming a fetish on the likes of Facebook.

Please understand I am talking here as a 20-years-on-the-net, ex-marketer who several years ago threw marketing away for this very reason, that I perceived the huge pitfalls of letting this whole approval-seeking, Internet fad become ingrained in the soul.

There are indeed many ways to fall into ‘The Trap’.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”  (1 Peter 5:8)

Patricia
http://damascusroad.news

I Make All Things New

new-lion If there is one message that comes consistently through most of the prophetic utterances of recent months, it is this:  God is moving in a new way – he is opening up the Kingdom Age upon this earth, releasing new change, doing new things, and breaking bondages.

These prophecies, and recent events around the world, are an exciting confirmation that our God is truly the master creator, that He has not finished (and never will finish) creating, that man was made and called to work with Him, and that He has not taken His hand off the wheel – although there are times when, in our limited perception, He seems to have forsaken us.

These prophecies are also a vindication of many years of prayer by spirit-filled intercessors world wide.  Why should that be?

We need to remember our beginnings:  that God created us to manage His creation, to walk with Him in the cool of the day to strategize, and plan, and fellowship.  Making a huge investment in man, He also limited Himself by arranging our relationship so that the exercise of His power on earth needs the acquiescence (ie prayers) of His people to fully release it.  If you doubt me on this, Dutch Sheets’ excellent book “Intercessory Prayer” is regarded by many as the best guide and explanation out there, as to why intercession is so important.

As an example, check out 1 Kings 18  where God used His prophet Elijah to deal with the wicked king Ahab:
And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.

And Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.” (1 Kings 18:1-2)   We know from James 5:17-18 that this drought and famine had been brought on 3 years previously by Elijah’s prayers at God’s request.  The story continues:

And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, Is that you, the one who troubles Israel?

And he answered, I haven’t troubled Israel; but you, and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and you have followed the idols of Baal.

Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel to mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.”  (1 Kings 18:17-19)

There follows a test of strength between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal, to prove whether Baal or Jehovah is the true god.  This is a must read at 1 Kings 18:20-40, and it culminates in the total defeat of Baal and the vindication of Jehovah.

So the people are overcome, and turn from their wicked ways.  Now comes the illustration of intercessory prayer to restore rain upon the land:

And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, [the birthing position]

And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again – seven times [seven is God’s number of perfection and completion].

And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there arises a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand.   And he said, Go up, say to Ahab, Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.

And it came to pass in the meanwhile, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.

And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” (1 Kings 42-46)

Why would God limit Himself to needing man’s prayers in this way?  For one big reason – He wanted that relationship, that fellowship, that companionship – and He wanted it freely given by beings with a choice.  He did not want to work with a bunch of robots and He didn’t want to rule the world like a despot – and if we imagine ourselves in His situation, we can most certainly buy into that.  It is a beautiful plan.

God has a vision of what He wants in eternity, and it includes man – a redeemed man – working alongside and fellowshipping with Him, and it has taken the sacrifice of Jesus to make that possible.

So we need to remember that it is not God, but man, who delays the fulfillment of this great partnership.

In the Book of Revelation, John wrote:
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”  (Revelation 21:5)

new_700
This is God’s promise for the future – the end times future. But I believe it also has relevance right now, when He is getting ready to pour out His spirit on the earth and we can expect renewal, restoration and change in many things, including the churches – and great revivals.

We need to be open-minded enough to accept change, and the new ways God is revealing Himself to people on this earth, because THAT is changing radically.  We also need to press forward with intercessory prayer to enable the fulfillment of God’s plans for renewal at this present time.

Go, prayer warriors, go!!

Blessings,

Patricia

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:

deliverance2_700

“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).

deliverance-products

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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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.

candle_700

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.”

candle-products

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 (scripture), 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“, and “Wonderful Counselor“.

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

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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.

i-am-the-way_700

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

i-am-the-way-products

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

And He Shall Reign in Miracles

he-shall-reign-iconThis afternoon, I have a personal miracle to report.  Yesterday – just over 24 hours ago – I was kicked in the leg by a horse.  I saw this coming one millisecond before he lashed out, so no time to take evasive action.  The force of the kick knocked me to the ground.

This is a young colt, recently gelded, so he still has plenty of spunk.  As I lay in the grass my first thought was “Is my leg broken?”   I am no way a teenager, so the concern was very, very real to me.  As we get older, if we don’t watch out, the world fills our minds with all kinds of negative expectations about the deterioration of our bodies.

he-shall-reign_700

Cautiously, and shaking like a leaf, I got up – Hallelujah, I can stand, and put a little weight on it.  I opened a gate to move the horses into fresh pasture, then limped slowly back down to the house.

My first reaction was to thank the Lord for saving me from a worse outcome.  Broken leg?  Hospitalisation?  Wait a minute, I live alone and have animals to look after – can’t afford to be sidelined.  Don’t need a broken leg, either.

he-shall-reign-products

I put some iodine on the wound (on the front of the lower leg below the knee and right on the bone) but the knee had obviously taken a serious jolt.  This knee used to give me trouble as a hill walker, and it was hurting more than the wound, which was starting to swell up like an egg.  I tried to pull an elastic sleeve over my foot to support the knee, and that caused excruciating pain up in the side of the joint.   Humm…   Deciding against the elastic, I got out a full length crepe bandage and put that on.

I knew from past experience that this would probably hurt more the next day than it was hurting then, so I resolved to get some shopping done right away.  Praying for help and support and still a bit shaky, I drove the 5 miles to our nearest shops and – thank goodness for the Lord, automatic transmission and supermarket trollies – managed to do shopping.

Night fell.  The leg seemed uncomfortable wherever I put it, but somehow with the help of a pillow I managed to get it reasonably rested – and fell asleep!  I slept the night straight through (unusual for me).

Today I’m hobbling around on an old walking stick – not without pain, I might say.  I’ve spent a good part of the day on the bed, with my leg up.  The swelling at the site of the wound has gone down.  The knee has swelled with some bruising beginning to show at the sides, and it is very painful to put weight on.  But altogether an amazing miracle, especially when I think of all the hassle and drama that would have gone on had my leg been broken (my nearest hospital is over 70 miles away, for a start).

So what comes out of this experience?  The most important thing I think is being granted to SEE it as a miracle.     The lesson lies in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I believe that being aware of the Lord’s presence on a daily basis, and being ready and willing to find reason to give thanks no matter what, is a key to seeing His work in our lives.  Saint Paul knew this – it’s a lot better than grumbling about what happened.

More about that next time.

he-shall-reign-card

Artwork: acrylic on paper, capital painted in gold ink. – Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery.  Or click on images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Blessed Are The Pure In Heart

pure-in-heart-icon“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8).

One of the most beautiful of the Beatitudes, spoken by Jesus in the ‘Sermon on the Mount’, to His Disciples.

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.   News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.   Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. ” (Matthew 4:23-25)

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.

dolphins3_700

Now more than ever we need to hold on to the Lord with all our strength. For He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, and His promises endure forever…

blessed-products

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

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

Save

Save