Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Looking to the Coming Year with Apprehension?

"Shadows, Water, and Light", 16 x 20", colored pencils.
The coming year is bringing rejoicing - or at least revelry - to many. Do you instead look to the coming year with apprehension and anxiety? Are there things you are burdened  with?

Having struggled with anxiety my whole life, no less now that I am no longer shut away from the world, it helps me to remember that the God we read of in Scripture is still the same God today. He is a God of power, mercy, and renewed grace each day. In the modern era we can sometimes so cloud our reasoning with science and every presumption that we miss the fact that God is a God of awesome power.

This does not mean our trials will be dealt with instantly like magic, or that we will be awash in cash like the TV preachers tell us - if we first give it to them. The victories we see in a few sentences in Scripture are often filled with many years of struggle between. Those who lived then are much like us today, they had the same trials, the same fears, the same weaknesses and sin.

God does have a purpose for suffering. Without it we can not learn to trust Him alone. One might even say, that if in the midst of our pain we do not seek Him, or have not received His Son, our trials are ultimately wasted in the sense that it could of been a tool to open up the beauty of God for us. Though no one welcomes hardship, the closer we are to Him, the more the heart knows a joy that transcends.

Whatever I am facing today, I know my God is my joy, my contentment, my strength when all else fails. I know that any so called strength of my own should and will fail. I must completely get out of the way. In the grace of Christ, a mighty God in unapproachable light is brought tenderly near in intimacy.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27.

Artwork: © Jeffrey M Green. "Shadows, Water, and Light", 16 x 20", colored pencils.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


In our modern age, we think we can handle most anything. Prayer is usually a formal thing to be religious, a last resort in desperation, or a “just in case” thing. How often do we pray knowing we are heard, having faith that praying to God is a very profound thing?

God is in control of every detail of our lives in Christ. It is true that He does not need our help by any means. He does not need our input for our problems, as He knows what we will say before we even ask and they are in His own hands to work for good. Yet, at the same time, He does require us to pray. Prayer is crucial to our relationship with Him and in our care for those around us. In His grace and love He allows us the tremendous privilege to pray for others, He uses prayer in our own lives to shape us. And yes, He answers our prayers.

Prayer is a wonderful thing of first resort. We talk to, we petition, we plead in our inner painful groaning to the One we love. Through His divine grace He grants us a beautifully privileged role in His work. Not privilege in the world’s sense, that of self importance - but one of His own grace toward us that touches every detail of our lives with the utmost love and tender care. God’s wonderful grace envelopes prayer, from the first time we pray that special prayer to accept Christ, to our day to day lives, and those we lift up to Him in concern.

There are many practical things you can do to help someone. Yet, foremost, the most caring thing we can do is to pray for someone. Because God hears, He listens, and He does answer in His time and purposes.

You can not read the pages of Scripture long before you realize that God hears the prayers of the needy, the downtrodden, the poor, the desperate, those mourning, those suffering, and those repenting in sorrow for sin. Hear hears our pleas. As Christ is the bridge to God over all of our sin, the embodiment of our redemption, and the sole connection with our loving Father, it is why we pray in Jesus name.

Artwork: © Jeffrey M Green. "Carole, Prayer Series I", 16 x 20", colored pencils.

Monday, November 2, 2015

One Day We Will See Him

My dear Christian brothers and sisters, do you realize that one day we will see Jesus? One day we will be with and behold the Lord of our devotion. Like all promises God makes, it is one He will keep.

Christ has promised us eternal life and it is certainly true we will need all eternity to fully be able to appreciate the love and forgiveness of God in Christ. That wretched sinners could be washed clean and set free is a wonderfully freeing truth. It bursts the bonds complete. What love He showers us with, that we could be called His children, lavished with the overflowing riches of His mercy.

God has given us His very own Son, He who has been one with Him from eternity. This gift is a love that radiates, that permeates our being with true life and the purest joy. Heaven is beyond our finite minds, yet God’s gracious love alone will be something to enjoy and praise Him for forevermore. It will be our delight, the culmination and completion of why we exist, for God created us to enjoy Him forever.

As He has so loved us, how we see the enmity, strife, and conflict so often in the church as a whole is a terrible distraction. It can be so hard for folks to get along, it seems. We are loved by a glorious Lord; we are called to love each other as He loved us.

One day our earthly lives will cease, to let go of the sin, the trials, the bodily afflictions we carry. To live life everlasting enjoying the love of our awesome God. How wonderful beyond description it will be.

Artwork: © Jeffrey M Green. "Twilight Fields", 16 x 20", colored pencils.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Is God a Remote, Disinterested Grandfatherly Type?

Many people today have a very light view of God. As if He were a grandfatherly type smiling in the sky, or like Santa Claus to give them what they ask for when they need it. Although some kind of notion of love is seen in this, it is ‘love light”, so to speak, from a remote, disinterested God we are not inclined to want to devote our lives to.
The reason for this is because we do not really understand what real love is. It is also because, in our day, we also lack one other very important thing. We do not appreciate God’s holiness. We do not respect or care to understand His awesome righteousness, His power, His utter holiness - the fact that He is nothing like us, but far above us in sublime purity.
When you do come to understand that a Hallowed God of glory loves us in the redemption of Christ, love is no longer seen as remote from a disinterested grandfather. It is ever personal, keenly interested in our lives. This awesome God loves us in no small way.
God’s graciousness is new every day, His mercy ever ready to forgives us and heal us in our innermost being. His great love is so deep that it will not only take a lifetime of growing in Him to even begin to understand, but all eternity to enjoy. For those who receive Christ, eternity begins now. Intimate love, concerned for our welfare in a way no person can do, is now ours. God is not the God of the almost, the maybe, or the possibly - not only in His character, but in His love toward us as well.
God in His holiness makes no pretense not to deem He can say what we are or are not to do, or that we are fallen and need salvation. However, it is this very real part of God that brings to light the severity of His love at the same time. A God who is in control of all things, who can make and unmake, who rules for eternity in righteousness – such a God of power loves you so much He sent His very own Son to solve the very sin problem that separates us from Him. Now that is love indeed.
Our response can only be to love the One who first loved us. It is our joy and the completion of our being to receive His kindness and grace daily.

Artwork: © Jeffrey M Green. "Minsi Lake", 11" x 14", pastels. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"John Three Sixteen", 11"x 14", colored pencils on slate gray Mi-Teintes paper.

Many of us are often plagued by a sense within us that we can not quite put our finger on. It can cause us stress, confusion, disillusionment with our lives, or a vague uneasiness that something just is not right. This can become quite heavy at times. We see that the modern lifestyle is filled with anxieties of every kind. Some attempt to answer this inner agitation with constant activity, working as much as humanly possible, or drugs, alcohol, and a myriad of other distractions. Some watch TV, sleep too much, or party in order to push it away. Others attempt to fill it with philosophies and gather to themselves every scientific notion that seems to render even considering the weightier things in life as unimportant. Today we fill our lives with so much noise it seems we want to shut off a deep part of ourselves and avoid it completely. We can blame this inner turmoil on external things that can be seen, such as bad marriages, difficult people, or bitterness with those who have hurt or mistreated us.

Have you ever felt a restlessness deep inside, a place that seems unreachable? Augustine of Hippo wrote, "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." This emptiness has been likened to a whole in ourselves that only God can fill. A deep, melancholy, unfulfilled, yearning emptiness. Because only God can satisfy this need in us, we are left broken and disillusioned with all the things we seek to fill it with instead. The distractions or promised fulfillment in life we pursue apart from God are described as "vanity of vanities" in Ecclesiastes. If we reflect on this as we look inside ourselves, part of us knows it is all emptiness or sad attempts in the end, no matter how we try to somehow manage. Do we not get so tired of just dealing with life, simply enduring, and that is all?

The Westminster Shorter Catechism states a very important truth. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever”. As you read the unfolding redemptive story of Scripture, you see that this is what we were truly created for. Only God can fill this void, in the person of Christ. We can not meet this deepest need ourselves. No activity, thing, or person that we so desperately try to fill it with can meet this longing. Religious notions of ones own opinions or a Christ of vague subjective ideas will also leave us unfulfilled. Every religion of man is an attempt to surmount this problem by our own bootstraps, to define God and some kind of salvation on our own terms. Before a Holy God this simply can not be done, we are fallen in sin, with hands that are empty – what can a man or woman give God? We are left bare and helpless. The only way to truly be free is to come to the living Christ. To accept the free gift of Jesus Himself - God with us, dying for us who are lost, and raised in overcoming power.

It is humbling when we finally see we need Him, that our own way is completely off target and self serving. We blame God for our problems as if we know better than He, or are somehow wiser. We seek every answer, idea, or thing that fancies, except the central truth we try to avoid. Yet, in all this He still loves us with mercy beyond imagination. It is not an abstract love, but a keenly personal one.

We wander, sometimes far indeed, until Redemption is received. How wonderful to have this emptiness filled. The security and completeness of ones self in He who fashioned us. It is a joy beyond anything one could express fully. It is not too good to be true, or a nice story or idea. In this free acceptance of God we rejoice ever more daily in Christ’s unbounded love. It is profound, sublime, beautiful. Praise God for the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.

That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:9.

This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. 1 John 4:10.

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:35.

Artwork: © Jeffrey M Green. "John Three Sixteen", 9" x 12", colored pencils.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Jeffrey M Green Artwork in publications.

I have been blessed to have had a number of opportunities for my art to be in print or articles online.  Below you will find a compilation of these. 

July, 2015. Lehigh Valley Style Magazine, featured an article by Steve Piccione. The print version included three art pieces, while the online version 15. Link to article online:

February, 2015:  The colored pencil piece "Halved" was featured in the February, 2015 issue, in the Showcase section (page 17) of Ann Kullberg's Colored Pencil Magazine. Link:  CP Magazine.

"Sunset Over Barnegat Bay", colored pencils, is featured in a new book, CP Treasures II, by Ann Kullberg. To order: CP Treasures II.

"There’s  no other publication like this on earth for colored pencil artists. Over 80 artists from 13 countries share their stunning colored pencil art, what makes them tick as artists; and then, going a step beyond, they reveal their secrets, tips and techniques", Ann Kullberg.

October 3rd:  Featured Artist on the Artistic Blog with nine works, Artist Statement, and links.  Link:  Featured Artist: Jeffrey M Green.

  •  August 11, 2013:  Featured photo in the Go Guide, The Morning Call in connection with the August solo show and Reception, Sunday the 11th at the Nazareth center for the Arts .

  •  August 7, 2013:  The Solo show at the Nazareth Center for the Arts (show, August 3rd through 29th) was highlighted in an article in the The Press, Bangor, PA with full color images.  

  •   July, 2013:  The work “Peppers, Onions, Garlic” was featured on the cover of CP Magazine, Ann Kolberg's Magazine for Colored Pencil Artists.  Featured inside - a three page article, including five colored pencil works.  The article was in the Artist Profile section, and was written by me.  I often write in connection with my art.  Link: CP Magazine, July 2913.

    June, 2013:  The colored pencil piece "Peppers, Onion, Garlic" was featured in the June, 2013 issue, in the Gallery section, of COLORED PENCIL Magazine.  Link:  COLORED PENCIL Magazine, June 2013.

     October, 2012:  The colored pencil work "Respect for Others" was featured in COLORED PENCIL Magazine in the October, 2012 issue in a full page feature with text written by me about this work. Link: COLORED PENCIL Magazine October 2012.

Winter, 2012:  Featured in an interview in the American Rose Society’s Kidz N’ Roses newsletter, with photos of work and drawing lesson for children.

 "Respect for Others" featured photo in Art Exhibits of the Go Guide, The Morning Call. Sunday, August 26, 2012.  In connection with the "Hands" themed group show at the Gallery at St. John's, Easton.

  •  October, 1996:  Created the cover drawing for the 30th anniversary issue of the Ocean Nature and Conservation Society’s newsletter The Sandpiper.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sometimes the Dark Lasts a Long Time

Many people have very deep struggles in their lives. They see life defined as pain and defeat. They hear the term “rock bottom”, which usually is referred to as a one time life event, and consider that they have seen this so many times over, that they dwell there permanently without and end in sight.
It is a deeply agonizing and dark way to live. That once was my own life. I am 50 years old now, and most of that life for me was that kind of existence. What began as very deep social anxiety that had me hiding away, fearful of relationships or social situations, lacking productivity, grew to languish into much more. Very deep depression, intense self hatred, and then a struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was my world. It was not the quirky OCD you see with TV characters. It was debilitating. It made my life a living hell, which shut me away in torment. All I knew was anxiety, heavy desolation of heart, and this torment, along with the lifelong social anxiety and isolation. I could not function beyond it. Indeed, most never saw me, including my own family, though I lived in the same house. I lived in four walls alone.
Many years went by; each day so bad I did not want to live. My late teens and adulthood crept by. The concept of being well was foreign to me. I was on many different medicines, on a number of combinations, including one that at the time was experimental. My mom and my family did not know what to do for me. Doctors gave up on me, as I just was not getting better. I was spiraling down.
There was One who did not give up on me, however. Though I thought I knew Him when I was young, really I knew Him in the same unhealthy way I lived the rest of my life. In fact, with my OCD I had a nervous breakdown in my faith, I had such an unhealthy view of God from it. OCD is an insidious brain affliction that turns life into a lie, a torment that is nearly impossible to get out of, for some. It was for me. Some mistake it as a strange predilection or preference that we could really snap out of if we wanted to. However, it is a very real wrong inside of the brain. I was stuck in a dark place for a long time indeed.
Despite this, somehow I came out of it. Though it is bearing fruit in what are merely only a few years now - for indeed, I had struggles all my life - I now look back on it having known a great measure of healing. It was a long process God put me through. I had to be broken utterly. Much deeper than rock bottom. Then I had to be re-taught everything. I had to be taught that all I believed, all that I felt inside, my entire life's mindset were lies that were deeply hurting me. I had to learn deep within myself how much God tenderly loved me. I had to come to grips with my disability and see it for what it was, not as defining who I am. How I did not need to be ashamed that I was different – in fact, God uses the broken of the world for His strength and healing to shine through. 
As I went though this progression of healing, I saw how many lies I had so desperately believed had been true about myself, the world, and life. I hid away as a shut in most of my life, devouring myself, allowing the Enemy to tell me that I was not just worthless, I was contemptible. I can not imagine how God must have felt as I so tragically missed understanding how much He loves me in Jesus Christ. I still have some struggles now. It can still be painful. It is, however, in a way of progressive healing and growing, rather than being destroyed.
I share all this because it is a picture that our lives can be defeat and pain for very many long years that seem to have no end to them. The struggles we have can seem untouchable, beyond healing, hopeless. This is all we see, we may be crushed, but no one is beyond hope. God sees all of our suffering. He knows us intimately. He cares for us beyond anything that can be described. He is not aloof, uncaring, or capricious. His tender love in Christ is a reality we can know. 
You see, this is the truth that heals the lies we see and believe. We often let the darkness and emptiness define our truth, but we hurt ourselves by doing so. We may choose to see this way, or it may be beyond our ability due to our infirmities. The torment shapes us, molds us, and defines us in pain. Even after a lifetime the truth of God’s near, enduring, and intimate love in His Son can heal the deepest parts of ourselves. In such a way that we can look back on all of it one day and rest in His abiding love. There can be restoration even after decades of defeat, after lifetimes.
That is wonderful. It is wonderful because God is wonderful. You can see the open love of God in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Look how the father saw him afar off and ran to him to embrace him. In Jesus's day men did not run in this way, it was considered humiliating and beneath dignity to act this way for a man. That Jesus used this in a picture of God’s love has deep meaning of open, offered freely, grace that abounds in love. Now that is love indeed. The father loved so much he embraced the lost son, even after he rejected him, as he was. Not to stay that way, no. To transform even after the most terrible depths. The pure love of God redeems not only our souls in Christ, but can restore our lives in an even deeper way than before we suffered.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Life of Ever Receiving.

The course of a person’s life consists of both pleasant things and unpleasant things hard to bear. Sometimes experiences are very good indeed, sometimes they are so bad they are crushing. Every good gift comes from our loving Father, for those that trust Him. The trials are also in His hands equally. We do not often appreciate that all of our ordeals are just as much in His sovereign hands as the good things we enjoy.

When we appeal to God, He may remove something that troubles us. There can be times, however, when He chooses not to. We tend to think we should never be uncomfortable. Any difficulty at all can be unacceptable to us. I find that, in most cases in fact, God does allow trials in our lives. It is His usual tool to shape us. God may teach us why He allows trials, while other times it is not for us to know why and to place our trust fully in Him. This is another discomfort we wish to avoid – we think somehow we can, or should know everything. Not knowing what to expect or how things will turn out can cause a great deal of anxiety in our hearts.

Severe trials can seem very long. In my own life, it was quite long indeed, spaced in decades. In the end, however, restoration, healing, and His love are what we experience no matter how dark it may have been. His tender mercy never fails, though we often fail ourselves along the way. There are many things in life you can not count on, but in Christ we have a sure trust that nothing can move.

Who can truly express all the love God showers on us? My own life - my breath, all that I am - I owe to Him. Freely, I owe it all - for freely He gave abundantly. A life consists of ever receiving, when it comes to God. There is nothing I can point to that I can claim my own, nothing that I did not receive from Him. We can give God nothing. What can a broken, imperfect, sinful person give to a Holy God? We certainly can not explain to Him that He should smile on us because we are such swell folks. The liberating truth is that He freely opens the floodgates of mercy and forgiveness in the beautiful waters of Jesus Christ. All the details of my life are in His hand, His care, His freely offered love.

What gifts I see from one end of my life to the other! It begins with the gift of life, it comes to wonderful fruition in salvation, it is enjoyed in given talents we all are entrusted with, and it consists of love, ever poured out on us each day. Life is new all over, again and yet again. We may stumble often or disappoint ourselves so badly we become ashamed. However, we learn only in Him can we truly live. We are free to experience this life when things are going well and when all seems to our own eyes to be falling apart. Praise God for the joy we have in Him! Life is sweet no matter the trials in His abundant blessings.

Artwork: © Jeffrey M Green. "Prayer". 7" x 9", graphite pencil.