Archive for June, 2012

a good marriage—closer than we think

Two joyful birds.

joyful birds by Sue Kemnitz

These little guys are part of a bigger painting I just finished. I love them! If I didn’t love the rest of the painting so much, they’d probably be my favorite part. But (humbly and thankfully) the rest of the painting is pretty fun. (Coming Monday…)

These little guys remind me of my marriage. We’ve been married…approx 34 years. (Give or take a year or two. He’s the numbers guy.)

How did 34 years of bliss happen? It’s always been pretty good, but not always bliss. Probably 12 years ago now, I made some conscious decisions.

  • Encourage. My son was dating a “needy” girl in high school. I looked at him one day and said, “Life is hard enough. Marry someone who will encourage you!” They are the ones that will call out the best and help you to become a way better person than you could have become otherwise. If we want to be encouraged, be an encourager.
  • Respect. Men, especially, thrive on respect. (Women on love.) So I always try to show respect, especially in front of others.
  • Love, no matter what. Jesus teaches us to love unconditionally. I don’t have to like everything he does, but I love him. Always.
  • Fast from criticism. I decided to say only good things. Really. Most of the time I succeed. Now, it hurts to hear others criticize their spouse. I work to keep the fast up.

What is a good way to start? We, Randy and I, make it a point to do the “little things” for each other. This is our list. Yours will look different.

  • Each morning, I bring his coffee to him, while he’s in the shower. It was so fun one day when I was out of town. “Sue, I miss you. I had to get my own coffee this morning.” It brought a smile to my face.
  • I always fold the socks. He hates folding socks. I view it as a challenge. Who made all those men’s socks look so similar! Arrgh!
  • He loves having the mail to look at first thing when he arrives home. So I make it a point to get it and put it right where it can be the first thing he sees. Again, I don’t get it, but if its important to him, its important to me.
  • I make a point of trying to look nice. And I brush my teeth before he gets home. Silly? Maybe. Mindy mentioned the “looking nice goal” at the Tuesday morning “Living Loved and Healthy” segment the other day. And I liked it! Admittedly, I’m not too good at the lipstick part.
  • My most recent addition to the list is to try to snuggle a bit before I get out of bed in the morning. Its just a good start to the day. For both of us.

He has a list he does for me, too. Last night he came home and I was (finally!) working on my painting. Paintbrush in mouth, I heard, “Do you want me to start supper?” Um. Supper. I forgot about supper again. He’s good to me!

My experience is that the big disagreements seem smaller when the little things are big. Jesus reminds us to forgive. Jesus reminds us of the power of love. Jesus reminds us to be joyful together.

So the little birdies remind me of our marriage. Encouraging, respectful, in love. And darn cute! A good marriage is closer than we think. It could be just a “little thing” away.

Question: What little things can you do today to make it a great day for them?

Sue
Only believe!

Join us for the next “Living Loved and Healthy,” Tuesday morning, July 10, 9:30am, at NewDay in New Prague.
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joy heals.

The higher truth—joy heals.

a joyful heart by contemporary artist Sue Kemnitz

John tells a story in John 5:2-9 of an invalid who lays by the pool of Bethesda.

“One man [among a multitude of invalids] was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’ And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.”

Jesus asks an odd question, “Do you want to be healed?” You would think the answer would be a simple “yes.” But the invalid gives a couple of excuses: “I have no one to put me into the pool…” “while I am going another steps down before me…” The first reason is actually stated in vs. 5. He’d been this way for 38 years. It’s the way its been for a long, long time.

How often do we sabotage ourselves? In Dawna DeSilva’s first message at “Shifting Atmospheres”, she mentioned that “familiar spirits” are the hardest. In other words, we become familiar, or used to, a situation, and we accept it as fact.

The invalid says:

  • There’s no one to help me.
  • Someone else deserves the healing more than I.
  • He’s been that way for as long as he can remember.

Jesus simply chooses to ignore the familiar excuses. He didn’t do the, “I think if you just…”

Pastor Doyal gave me a great insight on Sunday. I bruised a rib a couple weeks ago while gardening. Does anyone else jump on the shovel to get it into the hard soil? My rib, as I was leaning on the shovel handle and jumping on the bottom, was softer than the ground I was trying to break up. Indeed, the shovel got the best of me. What concerned me was that each day, it seemed to be getting worse. Was it becoming “familiar?” I kept expecting the healing, but where was it?

Doyal quoted Proverbs 17:22,“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” What I heard was the ending word, bones, and the beginning, “a joyful heart is good medicine.” Though I didn’t have a crushed spirit, I freely admit I was not living as positively as I could.

Since Sunday afternoon, I have been working on a joyful heart. As I become frustrated, I choose patience. When the critical spirit comes, I choose to encourage and bless. As I see challenges, I choose heavenly solutions. When negativity reared its head (all day!) on Monday, I chose to return to positivity. This keeps me in joy. The shovel won the battle, but I choose to win the war—with Jesus.

Each day, my rib now feels better and better. I am no different than you. Being joyful is a choice. I am determined—I will stay joyful. And here’s a revelation. Scripture works! It is the higher truth.

What are you agreeing with today? Is it a “familiar” spirit? What do you need to ignore? What will you choose instead?

Sue
Only believe!

Join us for the next “Shifting Atmospheres,” Monday evening, July 9, 7-9pm, at NewDay in New Prague.
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our friend, Jesus

I love that we are the friends of Jesus. My friends are important to me. I love to chat with them, to find out what’s going on in their lives, and to know them better. The tagline of our Tuesday morning Living Loved and Healthy adventure is “John telling stories of his best friend, Jesus.”

Baby Sketch by Sue Kemnitz
One of the things I love best, is hearing what Jesus is doing in and through them. Can you imagine “the boys” sharing the stories?

“Yep, we were gawking at the crowds, and Jesus knew it was lunchtime. Jesus decided He could and would feed the mob. He turned to one of us, ‘Phillip, where are we to buy lunch?’ I think it was a trick question, could we see beyond the local McDonalds and Starbucks. Nope. Then Andrew piped in, ‘there are a few fish sandwiches available.’ ‘Perfect,’ Jesus winks at Andrew, Have the crowd sit down. Without hesitation, Jesus thanks Poppa God, and we all watch Poppa God be Poppa God. The bread and fish keep coming. And we got to feed the mob!”

Can you hear the excitement of Holy Spirit? “Brilliant idea, Jesus!”

There are so many outrageously fun parts to this story.

  • There’s always more than meets the eye when we befriend Jesus.
  • Jesus always lets us start right where we are and with what we already have.
  • Listening to Jesus opens up the best, in us, in our surroundings, and in Him.

And finally, Jesus lets His friends do the really fun part. He makes His friends look like rock stars. They get to pass lunch out. And pass out more and pass out more fishwiches. (Do they still call them that?)

We can feel that same incredible friendship of Jesus today by just turning our attention to Him. Say, “Hi Jesus, I’m glad you’re here with me. Thanks for being my friend.”

Feel Him? See Him?

What adventure will He open up to us today? He’s more than we can ask or imagine.

sue
Only believe!

You can still join us for “Living Loved and Healthy,” Tuesday mornings, 9:30-11:30. More info here.
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Baby Sketch by Sue Kemnitz

This is the final sketch for a friend’s baby, “crowned with love” That’s a good word picture for us, too.

it is I; don’t be afraid.

I so want this to be the focus of my days here on earth—to have my eyes and heart on Him. Not afraid. In reality, I get snippets. But I am encouraged, I get more snippets as time goes on!

doodling acts by sue kemnitz

In John 6:16, Jesus states, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Jesus had just finished showing us what supernatural provision was earlier in John 6, and now – oh my goodness!

The disciples are tired after handing out food all day. Their hearts are full. When I experience Jesus and see Him in “action,” it leaves me without words. Humbled. Thankful. And so I imagine that is how the disciples are feeling.

Peter heading up the gang, tho it doesn’t say. I surmise that because they head to the sea—the “usual” spot to hang for Peter, the fisherman. They all jump in the boat. Their minds are all abuzz and they are still amazed and a little befuddled. In the back of their mind, are they wondering, “Where did Jesus disappear to? We need to cross before the weather changes.”

But they waited a titch too long. The strong winds kick up and they are being tossed too and fro. Thomas chimes in, “I knew we waited too long.” Matthew’s thinking, “There’s a reason I work on dry land…” Judas is grumbling, “Now we have to row…” The boys look longingly at the shore in the distance. And – what is that? No! Who is that? Is it a ghost or an angel? (Superman? Kinda!) It’s Jesus! Jesus! Is He … walking on water? Who, truly, is this?

Indeed, who truly is this Jesus? Who is the one without any limits. The one who can feed 10,000, fix lame legs, who can walk on churning waves, and calls God his Poppa? Who is this?

And they marvel.

This verse has been on my mind lately. “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” Psalm 145:5

Who is He for you today? Your Provider? Your Healer? The One who not only talks to the children, but to the wind, too. Meditate on His splendor and His majesty. Keep your eyes on Him. Do not fear. And then you will be glad. And be at the land.

Who is He to you today?

sue
Only believe!

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doodling acts by sue kemnitz

Part of my “doodling acts” series, this vision shows us, as fruit [cherries, I think :)] being sent –
often by challenges in our lives. Similar to the disciples and believers in Stephen’s day.

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

grace in disappointment

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.” Psalm 100:1

doodling acts 4 - great grace

Gliding over the start of this Psalm to the Lord, this seems an easy task. After all, His joy is our strength. It is a great day, rejoice in it. (Rejoice = joy multiplied. -Kris V) His joy is in us. You get the picture.

But what about disappointment? What then? There are real troubles on this earth. Children grow up and go their way. There’s crabby people in stores. A day of pouring rain when I have Iris’s to plant. (I obviously live in a cushie world…)

I would suggest to you that this is exactly where we get to rise and shine. How do we as peeps of God respond?

Ryan and Sara Hall were on Bethel.tv this past weekend. They actually were the sermon. Fun! Ryan ran in the last Olympics—a marathon none-the-less!—and Sara did not. They still held the celebration party for Sara. This was my take-away. Of course there are disappointments. We get to choose. Sulk or smile. Rejoice or crab. Pray and release or harden our heart. Kill joy or spread even more joy.

The beginning of Acts 4 starts with two fishermen speaking boldly of Jesus. I somehow don’t see fishermen as having the gift of gab, but I could be wrong. Then they get arrested. Then they are asked to muffle it. Then they ask for even more boldness. Then they prayed, and the earth shook. Could it be the earth was pleasantly surprised at their response?

Then they give testimony of Jesus and grace covered them.

I stopped at the grocery store early this morning. The checkout lady looked uncomfortable and just plain crabby. I smiled and asked if I could release Jesus’ healing on her. She said, “No.” No? I told her how He loved her and left. Trying not to shake my head as I left the store. The No’s still surprise me.

My job? Shake the dust off my feet. Ask for more boldness. And I asked the Lord to bless her Abundantly! In whatever makes her happy. And in Him. Bring a smile to her face.

And the Lord covers us with grace and the comforter. Oh happy day.

And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33

Could it be the earth was pleasantly surprised at their response?

sue
Only believe!

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doodling acts 4 - great grace
Chapter 4 of Doodling Acts – Join me!

like a rushing wind

Acts 2 Holy Spirit by Sue Kemnitzlike a rushing wind

Once again, I am reading through the book of Acts. And I thought, this time, how it might be fun (a.k.a. challenging) to sketch the book of Acts. I’d love to have people join me in this adventure. So – you artists out there – pick up your sketchbooks and pencils, or clay, or dance, or guitar and lets creatively do the book of Acts.  Jump in! What will the Lord think? The sketch I started with yesterday is posted on Facebook.

“And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” Acts 2:2

Have you ever seen this happen? We were at Jesus Culture last summer in Chicago and they showed videos of some of Reinhard Bonnke’s African meetings. There were thousands upon thousands of people there. What moved me the most was when Bonnke drew his arm across in front of him, and a wave of the Holy Spirit hit the crowd. Just like a wave at a football game, only better, the entire crowd went down under the weight and breath of the Holy Spirit.

That’s a Wow with a capital W.

I believe it is intimacy with Jesus that enables the mighty, might wind of the Spirit to blow through a place. Just like Acts 1 and 2. They knew Him. They knew His promise to send the Holy Spirit. They gathered. They worshiped. They prayed. They persevered.

Lets do it. Lets worship with childlike excitement. Lets pray with expectancy. Lets partner with Him and create. Lets keep it up until it happens!

What will the Lord do? What do you think?

Only believe!

Sue

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