We are artists

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Did you know that we are all artists?

We don’t have to write, draw, paint, sculpt to be one either.

We’ve been created by the master artist to become like him and he is certainly creative.  Look at us, look at nature ~ the trees, the flowers, the earth, the sea, the sky.  You don’t have to look far to find the wonder of his art.

He spoke this world into being but he breathed life into you and me to become image bearers.

He declared that all his work was good but we are different, because in his declaration he made it known that we humans, male and female, are not just good but very good. 

He put the very good stamp of approval on us as image bearers and gave us work to do ~ that’s our art.

Even when his image became tainted in us he gave us another chance to be created anew through Jesus.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2:10

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Some versions use the word workmanship instead of masterpiece.

The words masterpiece and workmanship are translations from the original Greek word poiema ~ where our English word poem originates.

We are God’s masterpiece, workmanship, works of art, poem.

We are His poiema.

We, the created, are expressions of his creativity and his poetry comes out through us.  We are poems.  Uniquely put together to add something beautiful to our world.

Wherever we are, wherever we go, whatever we do, whatever we express pours out from the pouring in of the Spirit of God.

We are moving, walking, breathing, living poetry.

We are all artists expressing ourselves in and through the work that he planned and prepared for us long ago.

Each of us will express it differently through different mediums but we’re all poems shining out, through our work, for the glory of God.

In the beginning God designed us for work.

Jesus didn’t change that.  He pours his life into open and willing vessels and what comes out of the vessel is art.  His poetry to the world.

Some of us are writers, some may even write poetry, some may express their art through painting, drawing, sculpting but most of us express God’s poetry in just ordinary everyday ways.  Just like Jesus did.

  • He worked in his father’s carpenter shop
  • He walked
  • Told stories
  • Spent time with prostitutes and other sinners
  • He attended weddings
  • He Healed
  • He fished
  • He laughed
  • He wept
  • He grieved
  • He loved
  • He was compassionate
  • His compassion sometimes led to tough love
  • He enjoyed life
  • He spent time with friends
  • He prayed

He and his father were one.  He stayed close to his father, listened to his voice and lived out his mission through him.

It’s in the everyday, the day-to-day that we best express his poetry too.

When my younger brother died unexpectedly two years ago, one expression of love and compassion that still touches my heart were the friends and extended family that showed up for his visitation with food.  There was a lounge/kitchen area where meat, bread, croissants, sandwiches, fruit, desserts, coffee, soda and much more were spread out on counters.  And the food kept pouring in all day long.

We, my brother’s family and many visitors, didn’t have to leave the funeral home on that long hard day to go out to eat.  Many people met our needs, not only through nourishing our souls with comfort and encouragement but through meeting our physical needs with food.  They were the living, breathing poem of God.

When my oldest son had pneumonia at the age of 14, and his doctor told us that a few days of intravenous antibiotics in the hospital should clear up his infection, we were hopeful since the oral pills didn’t touch it.

As one day led to another and his infection wasn’t clearing up, tubes were inserted into his chest to try and drain the fluid. Then the unthinkable happened.  His lung collapsed and consultations with specialists ensued.   Surgery, ICU and lots of prayer finally brought healing after 30 days in the hospital.

My mother came and stayed with us and cared for our 4-year-old son as Bob and I spent many days and long nights at the hospital.  My sister, Judy, took a week off to stay and helped out too.  Both were living, breathing poems of God.

There were many others from our church ~ including our pastor ~ who gathered around Scott’s hospital bed for prayer and friends visited and helped wherever they could.  Two elders from our church came daily and spent hours with us in the hospital.  God’s poetry was pouring out through their lives.

The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. Vincent Van Gogh

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I don’t know what it does for you to grasp that you are God’s masterpiece, his poiema, his created poem, but for me it’s liberating to know that he has a perfect plan to live creatively through me.   And he directs me with the desires he plants in me to go out and live it.

Being his workmanship doesn’t mean we are all poets.  It means we are all poems, individual created works of a creative God.  And this poetry comes out uniquely through us as we worship, think, love, pray, rest, work, and exist.
Jesus reminds us we are art and empowers us to make art.
There isn’t only one right way to do the job of glorifying God.  There are many ways, a million little ways, that Christ is formed in us and spills out of us into the world.  Emily Freeman

Let’s go live our art and let our created poems shine!

Blessings,

Nancy


All photos are mine and were taken in my yard.  Scripture from the NLT Bible.

He Keeps Weaving ~ We Keep Becoming

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It’s getting cold.

Leaves from the trees are drifting in the wind along with some pretty big snowflakes today.  The once full branches, on the trees, are starting to bare.

The days are getting shorter, the air that once brushed my cheeks with warmth has a chill to it now.

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leaves and acorns

In the evening as the sun sets, my home becomes a cozy sanctuary.

Wrapping up in a blanket last night, grabbing a book on the table next to me, I thought about my youngest son’s blanket.  The one he once cherished.  It was a gift to him at birth and it became his special blanket through his toddler years.

He slept with it, snuggled with it in the morning while waiting to wipe the last traces of sleep from his eyes.  He carried it around with him most of the day, traveled with it and even ate with it on his lap sometimes.

I have a similar attachment to my blanket too.  Maybe not exactly like my son had but it’s still a special blanket.

My mother made it for me about 15 years ago.

I was with her for a couple of weeks in Florida that year.  It was her first attempt at Swedish weaving and often we’d sit and talk while she worked on it.

At the time, I wasn’t aware that it would one day become mine.

While working the thread through the fabric, one afternoon, she gasped.  A quiet hush fell over the room.  She made a mistake.

Setting the cloth down for a while, thinking about her options to correct the mistake, my mother came to a creative solution.

I let out a sigh–one of relief.

Instead of taking the section apart to start over, she weaved the mistake into the design.

No one will ever notice that, mom.  I assured her.

After she finished that first blanket, she made a couple more.  She gave one to me and the other two were given to my sisters.

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I received the one with the mistake.  Deep down I was glad that I got that one, because I was with her as she weaved some of it.

For a while I knew exactly where the mistake was.  Now if you asked me to point it out, I wouldn’t be able to find it.

The blanket is one big beautiful piece of art.

I love my blanket.  Not only because my mother made it but because it reminds of God.

Often when I look at it, I remember how God takes everything in my life–the good, the bad, the beautiful the ugly and every mistake I’ve made and is weaving everything together into something beautiful.

Nothing is ever wasted in God’s hands.  Nothing.

Even when we can’t make sense out of life, as questions arise or we are trying to make it through a difficult season, when we wonder how anything good can come from the bad, he weaves it through our lives to give it meaning and purpose.

Some situations may look hopeless but when given to him he creates a wonderful design.

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Did you know that YOU are God’s handiwork, workmanship, masterpiece?

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)  

For we are God’s masterpiece…(NLT)  

For we are God’s workmanship…(ESV)

The ‘good works’ it speaks of in Ephesians 2:10 stem from our relationship with the Lord and from every circumstance in life–even the pain and sorrow of sin–whether caused by us or caused by others toward us–the truth is we live in an imperfect world where the good resides with the bad and nothing is perfect.  We learn how to help others as God forgives and helps us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  (2 Corinthians 1: 3-5 NIV)

Ah…I love that.  Our suffering becomes a gift.  There are certainly experiences that send us running to God for comfort.  It’s often there that we truly experience God.  Then that same comfort overflows from our life into the lives of others.

How else would we know how to comfort people?  That’s why it’s woven in.  Everything is miraculously recycled to become something new.

Every situation in life is working in and working out for our good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  (Romans 8:28 NIV) 

He’s working it all together for our good.

Then He takes it a step further:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  (Romans 8: 29)

The ultimate purpose of all our experiences is to transform us into the image of His Son.

As God weaves everything in life together for good to those who love him, we become more like him.

Our life is in process of becoming a perfect whole.  Just like I can’t see the mistake in my blanket anymore, many people won’t see how God weaves our mistakes–and the difficult circumstances in life–together with the good.  They’ll just see what we’re becoming.

We’ll keep being fashioned into the image of Christ and he will be revealed in and through the fabric of our life.

He keeps weaving.  We keep becoming.

Written By:  Nancy Janiga ©2014