Watercolor and the Bible

So, Fresh Read has been taking an art class.  It is first of all a lot of fun.  Second it offers the discipline of seeing.  Often we glance and assume.  I was working on this picture,

 which I thought turned out pretty well.  What is interesting was that the instructor, who has a well-developed eye, noticed that the two background trees on the left and right seemed somewhat indistinct.  In particular the one on the right.

She is right, that area was actually a mix of brushy leafy stuff when I started the scene, but several weeks later when I got back to it, the leaves have fallen.  So I just put in an imaginary tree.  Hence the blobby look.

the Point?  When we read a text, we sometimes notice the overall outline, or perhaps a bit that interests us, and then we quit looking, and start to mentally fill in the rest.  just as nature is more varied than our natural mental ability to fill in, so the text is more varied and interesting than what we project into it.

For me an art class is good practice int he discipline of seeing.  Even if you are all thumbs, I’d suggest taking a sketch pad out to your favorite places and working on recording what you see.  Who cares if it looks any good, it is for you, to develop your sight.

The bridge picture, by the way, is about 300 feet from where I live in Madison.  I plan to fix the trees, after a little observing.

Omnipresence – A. W. Tozer

Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Or where shall I flee from your Presence? Psalm 139:7

            “What now does the divine immanence mean in direct Christian experience? It means simply that God is here. Wherever we are, God is here. There is no place, there can be no place, where He is not. Ten million intelligences standing at as many points in space and separated by incomprehensible distances can each one say with equal truth, God is here. No point is nearer to God than any other point. It is exactly as near to God from any place as it is from any other place. No one is in mere distance any further from or any nearer to God than any other person is.”

The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer, Tyndale, p. 62


First Fruits Quote

Have you, dear reader, ever thought about the festival of the First Fruits? It’s connection to Jesus?

“Christ the sacrifice of first fruits represents a new season of not mere survival, but thriving.  His sacrifice means Christians no longer live from the old harvest, from the fruits of the old humanity, but from a new way of being, from the risen Christ….its benefits include not just a new life in the End, but a new way of life here and now, namely life in the Spirit that is continually dedicated to God the Father…And in this new way of life, Christians may also serve as a kind of “first fruits” for others, indicating the future that God intends for the whole of Creation.”

(Robert Sherman, King, Priest and Prophet, T&T Clark, 2004 p. 179)

It is busy in the Closet!

“The whole Trinity is present in the Christian’s [prayer] closet. The father hears.  The Son advocates his case at the Father’s right hand; The Holy Spirit intercedes in the heart of the believer.”   A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, II p. 775

Matthew 5:6 “But when you pray, go into your room [closet], close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Romans 8:26  “In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Romans 8:34 “…Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

Hebrews 7: 25 “Therefor he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them”

It would seem the Holy Spirit is present to help us to pray.  Christ is before the Father as our advocate, praying for us in his role of High Priest.

Ruminations on Sin in the 21st Century

Guilt creates the need for a payment or a punishment.  Here are two examples.

  • A person accidentally backs up over his neighbor’s fence.
  • A mugger beats his victim so he has to go to the hospital.

In the case of the fence, we say that the driver should pay the neighbor to get the fence repaired.  It was accidental, but his action make him responsible.  He owes a debt.  Sin is also like that.  It is an action that creates a debt.  The neighbor would not care who pays for the fence, as long as he is paid.  Maybe the driver’s insurance will take care of it.

In the second case, the mugger does not only need to pay back the money he took. The victim would still want to see the mugger brought to justice.  His crime was so serious that paying money is not enough.  He should go to jail.

We are guilty of both accidents and crimes.  Every one of us has hurt another person is some way.  Children can be cruel to children.  Co-workers gossip about each other.   Employees do not work as hard as they should.   If we kept a list, it would be long.   These actions create a debt.   We owe to justice a punishment that only we should pay.

The payment should fit the crime.  If a poor woman steals a loaf of bread to feed her family, should she go to jail?  No, she should get help – we have programs to help people get food.  Yet, it would be right for her to go, when she has some money, and pay the baker and apologize.

What if someone commits murder and they are given a 30 day prison sentence.  Is that right?  They took a person’s life and all they got was 30 days?  No, the punishment has to fit the crime.

Who needs a priest?

Why would we need a priest (we will call that person a spiritual expert) to make a connection with God?

We need experts in our daily lives.

  • If your car does not work, do you try to fix it yourself?  Maybe if you are out of gas, or you need to put air in your tires.  But will you replace your brakes or fix your transmission?  No, you go to a mechanic who knows what to do.
  • If you need surgery, will you do that for yourself?  Let’s say that you know that you have to replace your knee joint.  Can you replace it yourself?  No.
  • Can you teach yourself another language?  Maybe you will learn by listening and learning all by yourself.  Most of us need a teacher.  I am learning Spanish.  My teacher’s name is Anna Maria.  He moved to the United states from Peru.  She knows Spanish because that is her 1st language.  She knows English because she learned it here, and is not a citizen.  Because she lives in both worlds, she can teach me Spanish.

If you then need a mechanic for your car, a doctor for your body and a teacher for your education – you also need a priest if you want to know God. What is more difficult to know and understand, an engine, a knee, a language or the Almighty?