Archive for the ‘ God ’ Category

His majesty

“O God, my God, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
You have set your glory above the heavens.”
(Psalm 8:1)

Jessica Cliff by contemporary artist Sue Kemnitz

I’ve been reading and re-reading Psalm 8. In the morning, before I go to sleep, and in the middle of the night sometimes. His majesty surrounds us. Take a minute to soak it in.

There are several things I picked up as I examined these beginning verses in the cheater notes in the back of my Bible. The word majesty originally comes from a word whose meaning includes, “expand.” Now – that’s the perfect picture of God. His Word, His thoughts, His goodness, on and on, forever. Even the universe expanding, which science has found to be true.

One of the descriptions of majesty, as it pertains to Psalm 8, is the breakers of the sea. Think of the sea, the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or my favorite sea, Lake Superior. The waves crash to the shore.

  • They don’t hold back.
  • There is a constancy in the movement. The size and shape may alter, but there is always movement.
  • If the shore is not deeply rooted, it will erode.

My mind turned to the little crabs that run from the waves. Have you ever seen them? The waves come in and they either run for higher ground or dig into the sand. They’re pretty funny.

Compare that to the surfers. Pastor Dave Housholder comes to mind. He is one who runs towards the water, towards the waves and the challenge. All the time! In another day and age, Hous would be one of David’s mighty men.

How can we be people who run towards His majesty?

  1. Soak. I think that’s the easiest and hardest thing. I heard Shaun Bolz (expression58.org) a while back and he suggested we just sit and meditate on Jesus. Think of one aspect of His character, or His goodness, or even His majesty. Let Him wash over you again and again. Be refreshed and renewed and set your sights on Him above. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. Every day is a good day to soak in the Lord!
  2. Praise. We were in Milwaukee this past weekend. It is dry and more dry there. We never know the whys. And yet I couldn’t help but wonder if their battle about their state leader, Walker, had an effect on their land. The intense attack on leadership, the grumbling, the complaining. I spent time apologizing to the Lord. Every day is a good day to praise the Lord.
  3. Thanksgiving. Always. In everything. Regardless! Every day is a good day to thank the Lord.
  4. Say, “Yes.” Stealing a snippet from Bill Johnson’s message yesterday, at the end of our life, we want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servants.” Do something! Every day is a good day to say “Yes.”

Spend a little time reflecting on His majesty. Truly, we can’t live, really live, without it. And then – go surfing!

Question: Which do you want to be? A crab, or one who rides His wave?

Sue
Only Believe.

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Jessica Cliff by contemporary artist Sue Kemnitz

This painting was done as a Christmas present / housewarming present for my daughter, Jessica. The Lord gave me the picture, just for her. It’s one of my favs!

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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

what is freedom?

This is a guest post from my hubby, Randy. Great thoughts! Enjoy.

Today we celebrate 236 years of independence as a country. The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Eagle Wings by contemporary Minnesota artist Sue Kemnitz

What is freedom?

Many great thinkers have tried to bring definition to freedom. Most have decided that freedom can only be defined by what it isn’t, by where the lines are drawn. Our legal definition of freedom, of independence, is that which emanates from our Creator. It emanates from God—it is a gift from God

Freedom is not the absence of restraint, nor is it doing whatever you please.

Freedom is the privilege and power to become all that God wants you to be.

Freedom is the opportunity to fulfill your potential to the glory of God.

Freedom is knowing that God has created us with tremendous potential. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Freedom is accepting that by living through and with Him “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Freedom is not settling for less. David Crone from The Mission in Vacaville, CA compiled a list of decisions that define who they are. In fact they call them “Decisions that Define Us.” One of my favorites and one I have used at work is:

“We have decided that it is better to fail while reaching for the impossible that God has planned for us than succeed settling for less.”

Freedom is knowing the truth. In John 14:6, Jesus declares, “I am the way, the Truth and the life.”

Freedom is simply accepting God’s abundant Grace and Mercy:

“When I say… ‘I am a Christian’
I’m not holier than thou,
I’m just a simple sinner
who received God’s good grace, somehow”
Maya Angelou

“I thank God that I fear not” – Thomas Paine, 1776.

Question: What is freedom to you?

Happy Independence Day!

Randy
(Sue’s other half.)

Eagle Wings by contemporary Minnesota artist Sue Kemnitz
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worshiping warriors

This painting is the first painting of people I have done in a gazillion years!

Childlike Worship by contemporary artist Sue Kemnitz

I feel so strongly that it is where the Lord is drawing us to. Worship like a child.

David dances to my mind. A man after God’s heart. And a man who worships, completely letting go of himself. One who danced with crazy passion before the Lord.

Moses. Whose face glowed with the light of heaven after worshiping God face to face.

Joshua, too. He loved to stay in the Tabernacle after Moses and everyone else had left. A simple love of being in the Lord’s presence.

And Jesus. He slipped away often to be in the presence of his Father. Adoration. Trust.

These are all exceptional, brilliant even, examples of worshiping.

And yet, for a season or longer, I think we are called to be childlike in our worship.

  • Simple.
  • Focused. On Him and Him alone.
  • Joyful. Spin, twirl, jump, dance.
  • Pure. Filled with Spirit and truth.

The painting is not of children worshiping. It is of us, worshiping like children. Totally abandoned to Him. I am confident that this is the warfare of our day.

Yes! Amen.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”  John 4:23-24

Question: What does your worship look like today?

Sue
Only believe!

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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.

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!