Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hide Myself

This newly completed work symbolizes the inner experience and personality. Within ourselves is a place we share with no one, hidden behind acceptable masks we show the world. In the deep-seated self, we do not risk exposing our raw vulnerability. We may be filled with past wounds, pain, fear, anger, shame, or failure. While we share the safe part of who we are with others, the secret and visceral level we keep protected. Yet, one of the strongest desires we have is to be fully understood.

As a Christian, it is my belief that God heals our innermost being when we receive His Son. We need not hide our brokenness from Him. Not only does He know us better than we ever will, we can be true and real no matter what our pain or failures are. In intimate redeemed relationship, Christ transforms in the darkest places beyond our reach.

© Jeffrey M Green. "Hide Myself", 16" x 20", colored pencils.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Slogging Through One More Day

If day-to-day life doesn't make you mentally tired, at the very least the sameness can be mundane. Slogging through one more day, another week.

Moments of reflection can bring hope. As we consider the grace of Almighty God who loved us so much that He gave His own Son, our hearts are encouraged. To be forgiven, accepted, and loved so tremendously turns a simple life into a wonderful epic. This is not a passive halfhearted endeavor. Our hope is in a living Lord, a risen Savior. We must humble ourselves and actively receive the gift of redemption. An abundant life is in relationship with Jesus Christ Himself, our light and joy.

Happiness rides a roller coaster of circumstance, peace and joy last through the storms.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12.

Monday, October 23, 2017

God's Goodness Brings Healing

Parents shape us in important ways. When this goes wrong, causing pain, it can leave scars inside with ramifications for the way we view life. This can also color how we view God.

Worthlessness has been a huge struggle for most of my life. In addition, deep within was a false view of God. Did He really care? Would He hurt me if I got close? When I discovered that in receiving Jesus Christ I am completely accepted by God, healing came. I found my true worth. When I came to know God’s perfect goodness, my life was transformed in an intimacy with Him that cannot be described.

Life is so full of brokenness that it is sometimes all we see. Jesus brings beauty in the ashes in the pure light of His grace. Over time, even those ashes will never be the same.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Miracle of Personhood.

As an artist portraying the surrounding world, I praise God for His Creation and the power He displays there. Yet, the experience of personhood boggles the mind with awe of Him. The very eyes, intellect, and hands I use to observe the world were fashioned into being out of nothing by Him. My life, with a distinct personality, points to the God who willed me to be. The self, which alone is served above all else today, would not even be were it not for God’s purpose. How sad that we turn from the One who created us and fashion our own realities to escape accountability to Him.

We perceive the world as rational, emotive, thinking, and functioning beings with individual personality. Though having more knowledge than ever, we have not only lost the wonder of Creation; the amazement of our own existence has been suppressed. Science has become a philosophical doctrine of naturalism and materialism, reducing life to the idea we are mere animals or slime that betters itself over time. Our reality is defined as self-actuating. With intention to magnify our ability, the value of the real worth we have is destroyed. That we exist is a created miracle of God. Our significance and actuality is by the purposeful intent of an almighty God’s will.

I exalt in the joy of living, fashioned by the love of God and designed for relationship with Him. I marvel yet more knowing though I sinned and was at enmity with my own Creator, He brought me near in the Redemption of His own Son. The eternal Son stepped out of Heaven to live a prefect life, die in atonement to reconcile my rebellion, and rise victorious. The sublime goodness, grace, and glory of God is forever astounding.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Wow Factor of Art

Cotopaxi, (1862) Frederic Edwin Church.
When you view an art piece wonderfully full of expressive detail, it takes your breath away, doesn't it? We think, "Wow". Could this experience be an echo, a sensorial fingerprint that points to something infinitely greater?

When we look at the world around us we see immense detail. Complexity so intricately designed that we observe with a reaction of wonder.

Today we have allowed technology to cloud the appreciation of wonder with a fixation on ourselves and what we presume we can do. The "wow" factor we feel when we view art can call us back to an appreciation of Creation. As we contemplate the God who fashioned this manifold living reality, we are astounded. If we allow ourselves to think further, what an amazing reality it is that we are living souls, with purpose and reason for being.

Photo: Cotopaxi (1862) by Frederic Edwin Church (May 4, 1826 – April 7, 1900).

Thursday, August 24, 2017

What is the Difference Between Perfectionism and Excellence?

Perfectionism is an unhealthy, rigid behavior that harms ourselves and those around us. It seeks the utmost control, a tyrant over falling short in any way. For most, this is not so extreme. Perfectionism, however, can become so severe it ruins our mental health, creates stress in marriages, harms families, and scars children. It is often marked by depression and self-critical behavior. Anger toward others when they do not meet our unrealistic standard is a form of this character trait.

Excellence is different. An ideal which looks toward doing well; it seeks ones best in a spirit of growth and freedom. A healthy goal of achievement allows for mistakes and failure, with the view of learning from them. One can have a strong bent toward seeking excellence and not be perfectionist. Without desire for excellence, music, art, sports, or any other endeavor we seek would not exhibit a quality of  beauty in which the human heart rejoices.

How can we discover which we are exhibiting? Some clues: Are we hurting ourselves or those around us? Do we seek the best but allow failure in ourselves and others? Is an activity or goal meant to be enjoyed making us miserable? Another is often repeating, "I just want things done right, " a defensive statement that seeks to condone unbending behavior.

Will You Let God Love you?

There are many reasons we will not come to God. Some of them are bitter attitudes we nurse. Or we may feel a sense of failure so deep we assume He could never receive someone like us. In both cases we let our experiences cloud our judgment and miss the meaning of grace. It is not “what has God done for me lately” resentment; rather we are sinners before a Holy God. Nor do we need to walk away in our shame and tears, forever alone in our emptiness.

God is calling us to His Son Jesus, who paid the price to set us free. This is love we cannot comprehend until we answer yes to this gift. There is no longer a life of just existing and clawing our way along, freedom and joy waits. Will you let God love you and allow Him to wash you in His grace? Will you give yourself to the Savior?