Archive for the ‘ love ’ Category

Father of Lights

Last night I watched the new documentary, Father of Lights.

Father of Lights

Our God is a God of love. That, in a nutshell, is the movie. It was amazing to watch story after story of people spreading His Love. In bars, in the heart of India, in the midst of the unwanted in China, to Latin leaders in Chicago. Declarations of the great and huge heart of Jesus in the most unlikely spots. Story after story after story.

From the Father of Lights website, Darren Wilson (founder of Wanderlust) shares, “I went into making this film by asking the simple question: who is God? I wanted to know His character, His personality, and who He truly is.”

Which story struck me the most? What’s my favorite flower, sweetest songbird, or the most beautiful tree? How much more a favorite story of His love in action! A favorite is impossible, however, here are two snippets..

There was a story of a young couple, leading successful lives. He was a bank VP and they had a great house and great life here in the US. It didn’t say how they ended up at a meeting with Randy Clark, but Randy (what an instigator!) prayed for them. I’m not even sure if he laid hands on the man. I did, however, see the young man, filled with the power of God, fly across the room. And that powerful touch, that Damascus-type revelation of His heart, prompted them to sell everything and move to China. There, they run an orphanage that cares for the unwanted. The orphanage is beautiful, yet they mentioned the first rat-infested apartment they rented within days of moving to China. They love on these castoffs with an extravagant love. They hold each young and broken one close. Physically, simply, lovingly. A love that indeed reveals the heart of our Father.

And then there’s Todd White – taking His Love into meetings with Latin warlords right here in this country. Watching those gang leaders melt and, a few months later, confessing they couldn’t get enough Christian music. And wearing their new-found love and goodness.

You have to see this movie! The official release is in October. They are touring the movie throughout the US until then. I know we’ll show it at NewDay, once it is released. (Per Darren’s request.)

As for us, in our own little worlds. Spread some love. Give a hug. Kiss a fool.

God is Love. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

Question: What’s your toughest situation? Can you, like our Poppa God, love first?

Sue
Only Believe.

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I just love these worshipers! So I’m sharing them again.

Childlike Worship by contemporary artist Sue Kemnitz

the dove

What is there about the dove, I wonder? Why did the Spirit descend like a dove?

dove by contemporary artist sue kemnitz

In a vision, John the baptist saw a dove land on Jesus before it happened. (John 1:32-34) The vision was given so John could know, and not doubt. He saw the dove land on Jesus, meaning Jesus is the One. The One whom John was sent to prepare the way for.

A bird landing on Jesus? That draws our attention. Why a dove?

Several other birds come to mind.

Why not a stately eagle? Proud and strong. However, it might be hard to see through the feathers and the sharp talons could be painful.

Why not a sparrow? God cares about them (though He loves us more.) For sure then, the sparrow could be “along for the ride.”

Why not a cardinal? Beautiful, a bold red, and colorful. Color is good—I like color.

The dove is a common symbol, often meaning peace. Innocent and harmless. They were the only birds that could be sacrificed at the temple, according to The Law, the implication being that they are pure and clean. Psalm 68 mentions a dove whose wings are as yellow as gold. I’d love to see that one.

However, I believe a dove was purposefully chosen because the dove signals a new season. Back on the arc, Noah sent the dove out (three times, I remember Pastor Doyal saying) and the third time the dove returned with an olive leaf. This was a sign that it was time for them to return to land and rebuild their community.

God chose the dove to land on Jesus because Jesus is not only the “reason for the season,” He is the new season. A season of joy and laughter instead of mourning. Of gentleness and kindness rather than pride. Of forgiveness direct from heaven. Justice. And – as the disciple John points out more than anyone, a season of love. Pure, righteous, brilliant love. Jesus, and His works, display the heart of the Father. He forgives. He redeems, He loves.

Last year when Bill Johnson spoke at NewDay, I painted a dove during worship. When I went home, there was a white dove sitting next to my driveway. I approached Bill Johnson the next day and told him about it. As Bill does well, he prompts us to go further, “Did you invite him in?” No. I can’t say the thought came to mind.

The dove continued to remain on Jesus. Will you let Him in? Will you “go” so He can “remain?” Will you walk in rest and peace so as not to scare, or worry, Him off?

“And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” John 1:32-34

Will the dove remain on you today? At peace? In love? Expectant of adventure?

sue
Only believe!

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dove prints

His good pleasure

Sometimes Jesus totally blows me away with His goodness. And then, every now and again, He seems to just wink out of the corner of His eye. He makes my heart do a little leap for joy. I can see my good friend Cara smiling, “Pure Joy.

Bird and Calla Painting by Sue Kemnitz

This happened in California recently. As you know, Callas have been frequently in my thoughts, sketches, and paintings. The fields were blooming with Calla Lillies in Mendicino. Astonishing, fascinating, and beautiful. The flowers, as well as the trees, seemed on steroids there. Huge! The whites were pure. The sun shining through the petals, sublime. (I like that word…) and the portion of the flower that makes the “cup” had breathtaking color. No kidding! I could not stop staring and admiring Jesus who created such beauty!

One afternoon we walked from our cottage at the Glendeven Inn to the main lobby for a glass of wine and hors d’oeuvres. (I do not like that word. Too weird! Its the French, I suspect.) Passing by some of the Calla’s, I thought to myself, wouldn’t it just be so cool to see a bird sitting on one of them. So, I am certain you already know what happened. The very next morning, as we walked by the exact same flower on our way to the headlands, there was a bird, sitting on that exact flower.

He, Jesus, simply makes me smile. He knows our thoughts. He knows what brings us pleasure. He’s more than we can ask or imagine.

“Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. ‘Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’ ” Luke 12:31-32

Fear not, little flock, it is the Father’s good pleasure to bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart. Jesus!

Sue
Only believe.

By the way – just a little trivia. Calla’s are not part of the genus of lily’s. They were mistakenly called that once upon a time, and the title stuck. Because of their trumpet shape, they are symbolic of victory.

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• • • Join my daughter, Jessica, and I at our first ever joint Art Reception at the
Ring Mountain Creamery in Eagan, MN.
Sunday, June 3, 2-5pm. We would love to see you there!!!

This sweetie has found a new home! So excited!

Bird and Calla Painting by Sue Kemnitz

something greater

above by contemporary abstract artist Sue Kemnitz
Jesus continually amazes and delights me—His radical love for us.

On any average day, He turned thought patterns by 180 degrees. Having respect for the law and those in authority, He more often than not had little respect for their interpretation. Jesus show-cased “the greater…”

Take Matthew 12 for example.

One Sabbath, Jesus and the boys were out for a stroll in the grain fields, the disciples were hungry and stopped for a bite. A little grain on the side of the road, regardless of the day of the week it was. Jesus ruffled the proverbial pharisaical feathers when He did not take them to task for harvesting on the holy day.  The disciples were hungry, after all. Jesus let them eat. Jesus shows Himself to be the merciful one, the compassionate one. He wanted them nourished. (Did He also lead them to eat?)

Something greater….

As Jesus looked up, He spotted a man whose hand was crippled. It’s possible that He did not as much see a crippled hand, but saw a whole and healthy hand, and so was surprised by the pharisees question—whether or not to heal on the Sabbath. The answer He gave was brilliant. Who would not help a sheep that had fallen? Jesus, the tenderhearted shepherd, would of course restore one of His sheep, regardless of the day. It is the second bullet point in His job description, “destroying the works of the enemy,” and comes right after “love”.

Something greater…

And now, under attack, He escapes to pray. Jesus heads for the Fathers presence. To say thank you. To praise Him. To gather in the love of the Father. The perfect Sabbath activity. Though the other sheep follow—and they are all healed.

Something greater…

Think and re-think. Can we turn our thoughts and actions to be more merciful, gracious, and tenderhearted? I am the first in line…

His love and abundant blessings to all!

Sue
Only believe.

Please click “like” if you like! And, pass this on! Spread the word of His goodness!

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showered in love

The disciples and Jesus are relaxing at what we now know is the last dinner before the great and terrible day. They enjoy some good wine and fabulous food. The Father had prepared the place and time precisely. What’s important to Jesus, to share at this last gathering? (John 13:1-20)

Epiphany painting by minnesota comtemporary artist Sue Kemnitz
Thomas is munching on some fruit, “Andrew, did you see Jesus put his thumbs in that guys eyes? Imagine what it feels like to see your mother and father for the very first time!” Peter pipes in further down the table, “Hey John, the lame guy will need to walk places now!” While James engages Thomas, “I know – I thought fire and brimstone would be best for that city, but I guess I’m still learning,” There is no lack of stories, excitement, or laughter at the table. In fact, some evenings, they try to one-up each other. The stories are all so good!

They all turn and look as Jesus gets up from the table, rolls up His sleeves, and ties a towel about His waist. He pours water in a basin and sits at Peter’s feet. Peter is uncomfortable and gives Jesus “the look” as he challenges Him. But, as always, Jesus has His way. One by one, not to be hurried, He washes their feet.

It gives Him a chance to focus on each man.

* To touch, as we only can while on the earth.
* To connect, hands and feet.
* To look deep into their eyes. Although He may start in silence, to let it all sink in, He may also quietly share what He loves about each of them; Peter – his passion and zeal. James – willing to do anything, a keen sense of justice. John – who knows the depth of love. Thomas – wanting to die with Jesus. And the others.

One last intimate moment.

Yes, its about many things. Its a teaching moment, as Jesus continues to share with them afterwards. But in His eternal wisdom, its also one last time for their hearts to be one with Him, just as Jesus and the Father’s heart are one. Its a time that not one of them will forget in the incredible days ahead.

A few years back, I had the honor of caring for my sister while she was recovering from surgery. I fixed her meals, read to her, opened the shades and let the sun in. Thinking back, it was a opportunity to be very close. To connect hands and feet.

Close, personal, and loving. His heart is to always to draw near to us. Sometimes we need to just let Him shower us with love.

And the requirements to pass this on to others? Often just a bit of time and a love that passes understanding.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35.

When do you feel close to Jesus? Have you let Him wash your feet lately? Have you washed others’ feet lately?

• • •  Please join us for an Afternoon Adventure. In Art. And Writing. To be held at NewDay Church in New Prague (MN). April 22, 2012 from  1-4 pm. Click here for more information and to register! Maybe we’ll draw feet—though unlikely…

Sue
Only believe.

Please click “like” if you like! And, pass this on! Spread the word of His goodness!

To purchase the art above, visit: DesignStudios-Inc.com
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Alleluia!

Alleluia by contemporary artist Sue Kemnitz

…she turned when she heard Him say her name, “Mary.”
She knew it was Jesus as she saw the incredible love in His eyes—
that He would die to bring her into eternal life with Him. Forever!

Alleluia! He is alive!

Share the Good News of a glorious Easter! Forward this to someone you know!

• • •  Please join us for an Afternoon Adventure. In Art. And Writing. To be held at NewDay Church in New Prague (MN). April 22, 2012 from  1-4 pm. Click here for more information and to register!

Sue
Only believe.

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drawn to the dance

Jesus knows all the dances – and loves them all! Almost as much as He loves us.
dancing with Jesus
On March 1, I drew a small sketch of Jesus dancing in my sketchbook. It takes place in heavenly realms, though planet earth would be a good spot, too! It is a dance—with us. The Lord asked me to share this vision and so I replicated it yesterday during worship. Know that He knows all the dances. So be free to pick your favorite, whether polka, waltz, or hip-hop.

From early March, I believe that Jesus was, and still is, drawing us closer. He is drawing us to that intimate spot where we forget all the distractions and just focus on Him. A place where we can hear His heart beat and feel His warmth. A place not only of refuge and strength, but even deeper. A place of pure love—where ultimately we feel His joy. A place that David, a man after His heart, and Mary on her knees, anointing His feet with precious perfume, frequented.

Jesus beckons us in Psalm 27:

  • “… dwell in My house all the days of your life, gaze upon My beauty and inquire of Me in My temple.” (vs 4) Gazing and inquiring. Ask anything. Admittedly, sometimes I forget to ask because He is so captivating!
  • “Seek My face.” My heart says to You, “Your face, Jesus, do I seek.” (vs 8) Look deep into His eyes with a heart that seeks the depths.
  • “I will teach you My ways and lead you.” (vs 11) And with encouragement!
  • “…look upon My goodness in the land of the living!” (vs 13) Just as the Lord made His goodness pass before Moses (Ex 33), He will cause us His goodness to pass before us, too.
  • “Wait for Me; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for Me!” (vs 14) His promise is that in the waiting, we will not be disappointed. Though it may seem long, He will not be slow.

I love to sit and soak and simply enjoy Jesus. We walk. Sometimes we talk and sometimes we don’t. This morning I rode on the handle-bars of his bike. (Images of the Sun Dance Kid come to mind. Hard to believe, but Jesus is even more handsome!)

And sometimes we dance. Twirl or close-up. I love to let Him lead.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love…that your joy may be full.” John 15:9, 11

Question: When do you feel closest to Jesus? Please comment, and please pass this blog along.

• • •  Please join us for an Afternoon Adventure. In Art. And Writing. At NewDay Church in New Prague (MN). April 22, 2012 from  1-4 pm. Click here for more information and to register!

The winner of the (almost) bi-monthly give-away is frequent commenter Cindy! She will receive a set of note cards with beautiful (no bias, of course) artwork on them. At the end of May, the next winner will receive a necklace, with art, of course!* Watch for the special edition necklaces that will be available at the “All In” conference.

Sue
Only believe.

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*Winner is based on number of comments posted during each give-away time frame. Each winner may only win once a year. Prizes can be shipped internationally for a fee.

hope during the climb

…our hope is in You!

“…and many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’” Isaiah 2:3

This past week in Haiti, we were surrounded by the hills and mountains. At one time, these hills were green and the land lush. Haiti was a huge exporter of sugar, coffee, and cotton—one of the richest colonies of the French empire. The French eventually gave the slaves their freedom and Haiti its independence. As time went on, the land was deforested by bad environmental practices, foreign greed, and the desperation of a poor people. It is hard to believe that as recently as the 1920′s, over 60% of Haiti was forested. By 2006, less than 2% was. Much of the countryside is brown and in many areas, trees are scarce, though there are currently scattered projects to replenish the tree population. (More about World Relief and the tree project coming.)

I tried several times to get the timing of the dry seasons and the rainy seasons from my good friend Rony, our translator. But he wouldn’t commit to an end of the dry season. God told the Israelites their days of exile would end after 80 years. Still it was another 400 years until Jesus came, restoring the voices of the prophets, and releasing the Holy Spirit into each of us. As we declare justice for the land of Haiti, the Lord will bless the land. He will reign in Haiti and rain upon it! He has not abandoned them. Haitians are seeking the Lord, often with a passion greater than ours; and as with the OT exiles, His heart is with them.

As we traveled Haiti and spoke to Haitians, we saw much hope. Tent cities are much smaller. There are not as many guns or men in fatigues in the streets. There truly seemed to be more green. There is still hope in the eyes of the young men translating for us, though it is sometimes deeper than I feel comfortable with. There is a determination in the youth overall to create a better Haiti.

Rony has collected and placed 16 earthquake orphans in the homes of their church members. He teaches the Word and the love and power of Jesus to them weekly. His desire is to finish college once he has the necessary monies, as both an entrepreneur and a pastor, own a computer store, and continue to pastor the Lord’s children.

After years of worshiping satan and practicing voodoo, the people of Haiti are returning from the dry areas, the hills and valleys, to the mountain of the Lord. I saw in the Spirit, many times, as did others, the rain returning to the land and the greening of the hills. The physical reflects the spiritual, and so the hearts and minds of the people are renewed and restored.

Jesus. The name above all others. Anointed with joy beyond His companions. Hope to the nations. Please take a moment to post a hopeful Word.

“Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,  even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:22

This sketch was done at a clinic one morning. The prayers that go up to the Lord spill over from the censor (prayer bowl, hard to see through the gates at the top). The water and the Spirit cover the land. God’s will will be accomplished in Haiti. His Word always produces a harvest.

Sue
Only Believe.

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perfect love

Mysteries revealed! Don’t you love mysteries revealed?

contemporary painting Epiphany by Sue Kemnitz

“…the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed…how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col 2:26-27

The Mystery revealed is not what. It is Who. Christ Jesus has been revealed, and where do we see Him? Living in us! The Perfect Love dwells, lives, in us. The hope of glory. Lives in us.

The amazing revelation is that, I believe the Gentiles that Paul is referring to here are the pre-believers of his day. And it is Paul’s mission to reveal to them that Christ dwells in them! That is amazing! Until now, I read, “He included us, those of us who have chosen Him.” But I think there’s a deeper message here. A deeper calling. Remember? He chose us first.

When we were in Haiti last year, my prayer partner and I met up with two young men, drunk as skunks. One of them was pretty sure that Jesus was not alive. And he spent a good twenty minutes challenging us. Every point we presented, every scripture, he threw right back at us, challenging and sure of himself. In exasperation, I finally said, hold out your hands, palms up. I placed my hands palm down over his, but not touching. My prayer was simple, “Lord, touch him.” and the Lord showed up. Mightily. Electricity flowed through his body. He was shaking from head to foot. He could no longer deny a loving, living, powerful Jesus.

Words are good. Indeed, His Word is powerful! But sometimes, perhaps even often, Presence is better.

Our mission? Reveal “Christ in us, the hope of glory” to the “Gentiles” amongst us. The holes in pre-believers are to be filled with Him. Jesus is the Perfect Love that perfectly fills that hole.

“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Col 2:28-29

Ask the Lord—”Who is my mission?” Jot a prayer for them by Commenting. We’ll pray alongside you, praying him or her into the Kingdom!

Sue
Only Believe.

contemporary painting Epiphany by Sue Kemnitz

This little panel “Epiphany” is a pre-painting for a larger painting…stay tuned!

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Want to read about the upcoming Haiti trip? Click here!

gentle Jesus, the invitation

Jesus invites us to take His yoke, to learn from Him, and to be gentle and lowly, like Him.

heavens pen by Sue Kemnitz

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Holy Spirit’s big plan is one thing and one thing alone. It is to form us into the image of Jesus. It is all about Jesus, after all. The verses above, I believe, are the initial stepping stones to do that. If we don’t take these to heart, nothing else will flourish for any length of time.

Invitation one:

Take His yoke. We often see the pictures of the oxen yoked together. This keeps them in line. Keeps them from running amuk on their own and out of mischief, or, even worse, from just settling in one spot and not going anywhere at all. But, given the context, this is not what Jesus meant. Jesus is yoked to the Father, not for control, but so the Father can do all the heavy lifting with His broad shoulders. So that as the Father whispers, we can hear clearly. And when the Father winks at us, we can see His pleasure—the light of His countenance—His smile.

Invitation two:

Learn from Jesus. How does Jesus love? Unconditionally and eternally steadfast. How does Jesus react? With joy, patience, forgiveness, and mercy. How does Jesus see? Through His heart into ours. How does Jesus walk? Intentionally. How does Jesus know? Through intimacy, the give and take, called prayer. How does Jesus speak? Only with the words of a loving Father. How does He live? Simply. Why does He die? To rise.

Invitation three:

Be gentle and humble. I think of how Jesus treated the women in His life. “Mom, it’s not time for miracles, but since you desire it, so do I.” Jesus defends Mary, who simply sits at His feet. He knows the value of sweet perfume and tears. He raises Lazareth, to show His love for Martha and Mary. He forgives the adulteress and gives Living Water at the well. Lowly and humbly, not once boasting of the many miracles. In fact, quite the contrary.

These aren’t always welcome invitations. There are times this week when I haven’t reacted in joy, let alone patience, when I haven’t been intentional. And haven’t felt mercy. And that’s exactly when the Holy Spirit invites us back, assures us, that we’re loved, and leads us back to Jesus, Himself. The Living Water and the Rest we need.

That’s Good News!

When has Jesus prompted you this week to be better? And did you feel the reassurance of His love afterwards? Give us a sentence or two about it.

Sue
Only Believe.

heavens pen by Sue Kemnitz
available for  purchase

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