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.