What Do You See?

The Whole Universe is full of the Creative Energy of God.



Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Mark of a True Artist

Did you know that one of the definitions of a true artist is that everything he or she touches has their mark! No matter what the medium, what is created, it all bears the signature style of the artist. I am so amazed like a veil lifted when God shows Himself coexistant with nature, His creation…I sometimes think now “why did I not see that before.” I was not paying attention. God gave me these two scriptures as confirmation.

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15 - 20

God's signature is everywhere, and it all points to Christ and the glory of the Godhead....
  • the healing power of light – the discoveries and use of lasers in medicine
  • fruit requirements to grow abundantly– seeds, pruning, manure (stinky situations), light, water, good loose soil - same needs that we require to "bear fruit"
  • the sun when it comes to earth is always red (due to dust and moisture, etc in the lower atmosphere) and it is shining brightest when overhead (cleanest atmosphere) - He came from heaven to earth to show the way...Christ's blood required to cover our sins
  • Keeping an eternal perspective..a view from the mountain where we see the valleys and can see the little clouds are only over small patches and we get the big picture
  • The sun when shining on an object- if the object is facing the sun in bright light it becomes washed out completely of its own color and is the color of the light (most clearly seen in a setting sun if the object is white – it is the color of the light – blood red!!) (David said -"wash me whiter than snow")
  • Only the trees that are lit by the sun cast a shadow! Those in the darkness have no shadow. -We only walk through the valley of the shadow of death when we are lit with Christ’s light
  • God tells us to be like a tree (Psalm 1) which means having roots underground – deep inside, having many branches or arms for showing love and bearing fruit, getting thinner as we get taller, more of him and less of me
  • A tree with the trunk divided in two parts down low will split (you can not be a servant of two masters.)
The list goes on and on and on forever. He is revealed everywhere in every system and every situation for those who love Christ. I go around asking God to please show me how this reveals Christ and your nature. Everything was created through Christ by God with the breath of the Spirit. It all reflects the creator and has His stamp. We are so blessed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Know Your Focal Point

I am embarrassed to say that although I have always known in painting it is important to specify what my focal point was before starting, I did not realize its importance and, even more embarrassing, I did not always do it. It finally dawned on me one day that the importance of the focal point is not just to know what to highlight, it is to know what to leave out!!! If you know what your focal point is before you start your painting or before you make your plans for the day, you will know what to say no to!

I think it is obvious in our work and even more so in our lives when we don't know what our focal point is. It is one reason why we fill our days and our work with so many extraneous things called distractions. In a painting, it will result in so many things being beautiful that the viewer only sees the technical ability of the painter and not the story or purpose of the painting. In other words, it gets us into situations where we have said yes to so many things that we become overwhelmed or our work is overwhelming and the story of our lives is not known.

The abundance of distractions of course leads us to the inability to focus on anything. We go around, our life and our painting, not knowing what to do next. Discontentment is only natural at this point which sets the stage for jealousy and envy. Then of course, doubting sets in which is accompanied by a loss of confidence, insecurity and discouragement. Yuk! This sounds all too familiar and then the pity party starts.

There are a lot of reasons why we let distractions interfere with our life, day and painting. We may be saying yes to distractions in part because of our pride and also that little voice in our head that says "You can do anything you set your mind to." Another reason why we are saying yes to distractions is because we forgot to specify a focal point and then make the choices to leave the rest out. We are not admitting defeat if we say no, we are strengthening our focal point. Imagine going to college for year after year and saying yes to all the distractions there. And worse, going for years and not declaring your major. Declaring your focal point and saying no to distractions actually strengthens the declaration and success!

God gave us the freedom to choose our focal point and then to say no to anything that is distracting us away from that point. Martha forgot to choose her focal point the day Jesus and the disciples came to her house. That led to her saying yes to so many distractions, and then she became discontent, jealous, and had a pity party in front of Christ! But Christ answered her in such a kind and patient way – I love how he said “Martha, Martha” like a sweet, knowing, loving grandfather.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:38-41

God not only gave us the choice of what the focal point of our lives is, he gave us the choice as to how we live to show our focal point - what we choose to do; do we deny ourselves or do we choose to do things that will glorify Him? Do we choose the things that will last? In other words, we can choose to leave in anything that will compliment and lead us to the Focal Point. We can wake up each morning and say “You are my focal point today - I want to choose the things to do today that will last or glorify You.” It will really put into perspective what to do that day and most importantly what to leave out.

Are you distracted and worried about many things? Maybe it is just a simple thing that you forgot to specify or know what your focal point is.  - Sara Beth

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Playing the Music of Your Life

Now that you are in key with the right attitude, how do we play the music of creativity? Where does Art come from?

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:26-27

Our first gift from God, the Creator, was the gift of creativity. This gift is inherent in each and every one of us. He then gave us the creation, or nature, to have dominion over. And on the seventh day, "God rested from all His work which God had created and made." God gave us a time to reflect, meditate and worship Him.

By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.
And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.
Genesis 2:2-3

We are given creativity, we are given creation, and we are given a day of rest to honor the Creator. The three in synchronicity centered on the Creator. Our lives should be told in this fashion We all have the abilty to create, we all have been given the sciences through nature to take hold of and we must fashion this work around a day of pause or rest, focused on the Creator.

It is the unified marriage of the arts and sciences that brings a generation to a Renaissance. It is an equal weighting and unified approach to any work, combining the arts and sciences, where true miracles and strides in any area are made. And all this must be founded on the Creator with the importance of rest emphasized.

"Anyone can practice the notes of Chopin, but it is only considered true music when the pauses are added."

The marrigage of art and the sciences is everywhere around us. We just have to live consciously to see and feel and hear it. The combining of the aesthetic with the scientific is so easily found in nature and has been eloquently described as the Golden Mean or Fibonacci number. It is fundamental to a masterpiece of music, art, astronomy, the body, motions or cycles in nature, how our environment naturally recycles, how the waves curl and the leaves are formed...

It is a human's gift to create, study nature and we are told to sancify a day of rest. When done in unison, our lives begin to play the music. - Sara Beth

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Key to an Inspired Life - Be ALL Right

Have you heard the new Darius Rucker song Alright? "I'm alright, alright, I got all I need... I got a roof over my head...when I lay down at night I thank the Lord above, for giving me everything I could ever dream of...” It makes me so happy to hear this song. It reminds me of David saying the Lord's Prayer. With the Lord as my shepherd, I got all I need.. I got food to eat, water to drink, I got everything I could ever dream of, my cup overflows!

How do we get this attitude adjustment and how do we maintain it? David first asked for forgiveness and then a right spirit that would obey and be taught.

Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right Spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and make me willing to obey You.
Psalms 51:10, 12

This joy of His salvation or contentment from Christ, the fruit of the Spirit, and the willingness to be taught are the keys to living inspired. These are the keys to always being content regardless of what is going on around us, being inspired in what we do or what we are seeing; it is how we should look at all situations. This joy comes only from the clean heart that Christ gives us and the renewal of the indwelling Holy Spirit with the seeds of all those Spirit given gifts. Then, we must be willing to be taught by God to know how to be obedient which will over time grow the fruits of the Spirit.

Paul wrote
"I have learned the secret of living/being content in every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Philip 4:12-13

This is a Spirit of contentment. The definition: of content n. rest of mind; satisfaction; freedom from worry; - adj, satisfied; not inclined to complain or desire something more or something different than what one has. It is very clear that contentment is not what happens to us or our present circumstances or surroundings. It is how we respond to those things knowing that our strength is always in Christ; Knowing that all things work to the good for those who love Christ. Are you content? Do you know you are all right? Do you know because of Christ's work on the cross you really have no reason to worry and you have got all you need?

It is not always easy to be content in the face of trials, to be inspired on a gray day, it is something you must learn and you must be obedient in all your lessons - intentional! And when it seems too much, we must remember to give God all our worries and always include thanksgiving in our prayers.

Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Philip 4:6

I think God is so wonderfully smart. If we really pray about what is on our mind and then we earnestly list all of the things we have to be thankful for, how in the world can we continue to worry! A thankful heart will begin to focus on contentment.

Isn't it amazing that the secret to living is contentment through Christ who strengthens us! This is the abundant joy that we Christians have. Through a content heart everything you see will be inspired. You will not be waiting on contentment or inspiration to happen to you, because life will pass right by. Instead, open your eyes with a clean heart, renewed Spirit, and willingness to be taught.  Open your eyes and SEE that contentment and inspiration are already all around you, but first True Contentment must be in you. - Sara Beth

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Beautiful and Confident Cracked Pot

I was given a beautiful terra cotta pot as a gift. I took it to my studio as a treasure, thinking of all the wonderful possibilities. It was fragile and lovely. It had minute little pores that inherently weakened it but that added to its character and beauty.

I dropped the lid. I could not believe it. It shattered in shards so small when it hit the hardwood that some were dust. When faced with the thought of throwing this away, I could not. I remembered its beauty and how stately it made the pot look and how incomplete the pot looked without it.

I began to glue it together. I started with the largest, most obvious pieces first. It took time. I put it on the pot as it glued so it would regain its correct shape relative to the pot. I later glued the smaller pieces until finally I could no longer discern where some of the pieces went. I swept the dust away. The glue that I used was stronger than the original material of the lid. It filled not only the cracks but all surrounding crevices.

The pot with the lid sits in my studio by the window. I can now use the pot and the lid. Even with the filled cracks. It is lovely and I treasure it.

God's creation of you and I are like the lid. We are a beautiful result of His craftsmanship. Made from dust. We are fragile. Because of sin, we have inherent defects. These points are our weak sites when stressed or tested. God loves us so much that He does not want to throw us away when we are broken in sin. He sees the original beauty of the creation. He sees how the pot needs us. He gave us the healing blood of Jesus Christ to save us and put us back together. There will be holes in our lives due to sin, but He has promised us that we are a new creation in Christ and we will receive our heavenly body in the end.

That new creation in Christ is stronger along those lines that were once defects. The glue that holds us together is stronger than the original material. God's love through Christ now flows through us. He uses those once defects to present God's love to others - those weak spots are where God works now.

"Go out boldly, knowing that in our weaknesses we will always find His strength. In Christ, the answer to every one of His promises is "Yes," and for this reason we say, "Amen, so be it!"
2 Corninthians 1:20

-Sara Beth

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Harmonizing Your Life With God

How many times have you heard that God is love? Well He really is and we were created such that when we have only love in our life, we are in harmony with Him, through the blood of Jesus Christ, and are Spirit filled. It is that simple! LOVE is the harmonic frequency of our soul, the ideal state for pure health, how we possess the utmost in creativity, how we are living abundantly and joyfully, when we have no worry or want, when all our pipes are open to God the creator of the universe and He is in charge.

What causes the blockage in our pipes? Any negative vibration in our body contrary to LOVE cuts us off from God and having these blessings in abundance and joyfully. These states are really so dangerous to us spiritually, physically, and mentally, and limits or stop completely our ability to be creative, good parents, wives, you name it...

What are these negative vibrations? Anytime you do not love God with all your heart soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself (in other words the 10 commandments.) In other words, when we get in the way with self. Paul is very explicit in showing how self gets in the way in ways we don't normally think about and the results are disharmony with God which is dangerous!!!!...

Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you gave himself as a sacrifice
to take away your sins. And God was pleased because that sacrifice was sweet perfume to Him.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord. and your behavior should show it. For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But when the light shines on them, it becomes clear how evil these things are. This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; He gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism of God’s word.  He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares his body, which is the church. And we are his body.

As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5

Ask God to clean your heart through Christ's sacrifice, be filled with the Spirit and be in harmony with God! It is like the smell of sweet perfume. How lovely is the painting of your life! - Sara Beth

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

When You Look in the Mirror, Do you Recogonize What You See?

David was a man who could look in the mirror and be honest about what he saw. Don't you love that about a person? So does God! David wrote:

"For I recognize my shameful deeds-they haunt me day and night. Against You, and You alone, have I sinned. I have done what is evil in Your sight. You will be proved right in that You say, and Your judgment against me is just.

For I was born a sinner - yes from the moment my mother conceived me.
But You desire honesty from the heart so You can teach me to be wise in my inmost being."
Psalm 51:3.

Do you look at yourself and say - I am doing OK? Could you stand confidently before God? Do you feel like the creative energy of the God the creator of the universe flows through you? Or is it that your day feels like the weight of the universe is on you? Who then is really leading you? You or Christ?

God can shed a little reality into your morning mirror check, he is the lampstand in Zech 4:2, His word, the scroll in Zech 5:2, clearly tells us what is right and what is wrong. The sin that we are living in and with is enclosing us like the woman in the basket in Zech 5:6-7. Our sins are building up and they are feeling like the lead weight lid on the woman in Zech 7.

Once again, look in the mirror and remember what John said:

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
1 John 18-20

So what do we see by our actions and truth? Now really look in the mirror!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Opening the Eyes of Our Heart

To clearly see out of our heart we must ask God to open the eyes of our heart. When we do, we may be in for a surprise, instead of first looking outward, we will probably be lead to look inward. We may need to do some foundation work there before proceeding.

The insecurities we have, the problems we face, the impatience and lack of focus, the feeling of being overwhelmed, when we are having trouble trying to finish a project or painting, when a business deal falls through, a relationship.... Many times these problems can be traced back to unconfessed sin. Think about it. Our sin keeps us from living the life of abundance and joy that God wants for us. It limits our ability to fully enjoy the creative power of God the Father of the universe residing in us through His Spirit. And what is it He asks; to love our neighbor and to obey the commandments.

God is the God of love, generosity, and mercy. If we really look at our life we will see how very blessed we are. How abundant and merciful God has been toward us. This in turn should lead us to have a humble and grateful heart toward God and our neighbor and to not be in want and to not feel threatened by others.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
1 John 3:16-20

When we want to see out of our heart; we must ask God to open the eyes of our heart. The unconfessed sin, those things done and left undone, those persons that we have not forgiven, even those sins we are not aware of that are against God are like trying to drive your car in a pouring rain looking out your windshield and not using your wipers! Ask God to open the eyes of your heart so that you may see clearly, but be prepared if your heart condemns you to "clean some windows first!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Don't See What You See - See what Your Heart and Your Mind See

Today has been a day of really asking" What are we supposed to be seeing?"

I awoke to the TV and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. describing what he saw and what he dreamed others would see. He was not listing the details, the problems, the issues... in his I Have A Dream speech. And it was not a dream that involved his eyes, it was a dream of his heart. It was a vision where he saw the forest instead of the trees. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." He wanted everyone to not see what you see but to see what you know. Not to see color, which is a detail, but to see character which is fundamental.

Zechariah did the opposite when the angel asked him what he saw in Chapter 4. He described details instead of seeing what the details represented. He did not know what he was describing.

Then I asked the angel, "What are these my lord and what do they mean?"
Don't you know?" the angel asked. "No, my lord," I replied. Zech 4:4-5 and 4:13

When asked to describe what he saw in Chapter 5:2 Zechariah said: "I see a flying scroll," I replied. "It appears to be thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide." The angel did not even bother to ask a third time if he knew what it meant when given minute details by Zechariah to describe what he saw, he just went ahead and told him. Granted the details are very important, but not in the first step; the first step is to describe what it means. How many times do we paint a painting without understanding what it is we are trying to capture and what it represents in our heart and mind, completing a task without looking at the big picture, looking at a problem and only seeing the symptoms. This is like going through life without really living.

What do you see? Maybe we should ask what do you see with your heart? -Sara Beth

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Do Not Despise the Small Things

"Where does one begin in an attempt to achieve inspired living and inspired creativity?" I guess it is with a good look and starting at the foundation- obviously? (but not always for me!) Before I even asked this question today -"Where one starts," I remembered miraculously that I was given the simple answer earlier in the week. See what I mean....

Recently, God has shown me the importance of stopping and looking and beginning all things with the foundation - the small things that form the groundwork that no one can see. The cracks we see on the ceiling and the frustrations we experience when we paint or go to complete any task can typically be traced back to flaws in the initial preparation/foundation as well as a lack of understanding (seeing) of the thing or situation. I am so excited and eager to begin to use color, to begin to express with brush work, to begin to see results in programs and projects, that I inadequately or completely eliminate doing the things that no one will see - the articulated vision describing the program or painting, then the initial sketches, the thumbnail drawings to establish the composition...

So step one is to pause and ask yourself "What do you see?" Now don't just give things or the situation a cursory look, but really look, with your heart and your mind, like you had just been given sight as a blind man or one who had been asleep. Then drop the plumb line and rejoice in doing the small things, knowing the strength that will come at the finish. - Sara Beth

1 "Now the angel who talked with me returned and wakened me, as a man is wakened from his sleep and asked "What do you see?" Zech 4:1
10 "Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. Zech 4:10