Sunday, July 26, 2015

Glory {Art} Art Scripture Challenge #13, Religion

The Study
God has been putting the word "religion" in front of me for several weeks now. It first started with a quote from Bono that said:

"Religion is what you have left when the Holy Spirit has left the building."

Then a few days later, I was preparing my lesson for church to lead the K-5 service. This stood out to me:

"Religion is about our attempt to reach God. The Gospel is about the truth that God 
reached out to us. God is not about religion, He is about relationship." 

There's that word againreligion. In both of these quotes, we see that religion is about us doing something, following rules, and not relying on the indwelling Holy Spirit that fills each and every believer. The Holy Spirit is how believers experience God. It makes Him known to us, to know scripture is truth, and to be able to apply it. He expects believers to follow the Spirit's leading. That honors God. Here we see how the apostles followed the Holy Spirit's leading when Matthias became an apostle.

Acts 1:24-26 "Then they prayed, 'Lord, You know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two You have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.' Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles."

I hear people say or I see on message boards "Well, I am not religious." I think the word religion can have a lot of negative connotations, and it does not necessarily draw people to Christ. As the quote said above, God is not about religion; He is about relationship. He is not about a list of rules. Yes, He wants us to obediently follow Him as His Word leads us but it's not about following a list of rules. We have a relationship with Him, and we serve Him and obey Him because we love Him not because we are following a list of rules. Our joy is in our relationship with Him not by following a religion. He created each and every person on this earth. The power of God's indwelling Holy Spirit and our relationship with Him completely transform us not a religion.

Genesis 1:27 "So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them."

Psalm 139:13 "For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb."

Colossians 1:16 "For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him."

He puts a desire within each person to have a relationship with Him but not all people respond. We respond to Him by accepting Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our sins and believing that God raised Him from the dead. His blood was poured out so that our sins are forgiven. We cannot experience a relationship with God unless we have received this free gift. Even Paul, who was a Pharisee, learned belief in Jesus instead of obeying a list of rules. Our outward religious acts do not save us. He wants to have that relationship with you. He loves you. To read more about accepting His free gift, please click here. Have you experienced religion or a real and personal relationship with Jesus?  

John 1:18 (NLT) "No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is Himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us."

Romans 3:25a "God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith."

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 10:9 "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

1 Peter 3:18 (NLT) "Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit."

"Going through the motions of religion won’t ever satisfy. It’s only when we bend down low, open our hearts in complete surrender, and say, 'Jesus, it’s You. Only You. There is no other. There is no other possession or person or position that can ever fill the deep soul place shaped only for You.'" Lysa TerKeurst

So, will you be so bold as to begin saying you have a relationship with Christ instead of calling yourself religious or a Methodist, a Baptist, etc.?

The Art
For my art today, I decided to create four Scripture Art Cards. I have not made any in a while, and I have missed it. My little book full of these cards is coming together so nicely. I pray the girls will enjoy having it someday. I used two scriptures from above plus two of the quotes. These were the most meaningful to me, and I thought they would be great for today's art.

Feel free to join us on the Facebook page where some people will be sharing their creations. We also have some discussions that will be going on there too about the study. If you don't use Facebook and want to share your creation here, do so below by using Inlinkz! To see all of the information regarding this challenge and the previous studies and art tips, please see this post here.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

{Glory Art} Scripture Challenge #12, God's Will

The Study
Recently one of my girls left for Army Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) in Fort Knox, Kentucky. I did not want her to go. As her departure date got closer, she did not even want to go. I was so tempted to tell her to just quit and not go. She had not signed any commitment papers. She could just stay home. I also was tempted to pray that her medical waiver would come and deny her entry into the Army. But God quickly told me that my thoughts were wrong, and they were selfish. I was to pray His will for her not my selfish desires. I sat my daughter down and admitted to her my selfish thoughts and how God quickly convicted me. I also told her that though I did not want her to go that I would be praying God's will for her. It was so freeing to admit my selfishness to her, and then I could boldly and honestly pray His will for her. Being out of God's will is one of the worst places we can be. I certainly don't want my daughter to be out of His will either. I want whatever amazing plans He has waiting for herArmy or not.

Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

Proverbs 20:24 "A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?"

Ephesians 1:11 "In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will."

When we trust God, we also trust His purpose and will for our lives no matter where that takes us. And that also means trusting His plans and His will for our children and grandchildren. Are you committed to following His will no matter what that means for yourself or your loved ones?

My daughter is still in training but nearing the end. She revealed a lot to me on the phone on Friday. One thing that she said that I loved was:

"Mom, I was stubborn. There was no way I was going to leave the Army ROTC program. I could not imagine turning in my gear and not being in the military. It is what I had planned since I was little, and it's what I wanted. But God has given me complete peace. I will be totally fine if I have to turn in my gear."

During this time of waiting and going to camp, my daughter has learned that she will be at peace with whatever He asks of her. She had to come to complete reliance on Him to seek His true will for her. She had to get her stubbornness and her plans out of the way and let God lead her. How many of us can admit that we need to do the same thing?

Do you wake up each morning and ask God His will for your day? Do you let Him guide you through your day or do you wake up with your own agenda? I admit, I wake up with my own agenda. That's something I need to change. What if I am missing out on something today that He had planned, and I missed it because I was too busy with my own list of things to do. His plans are far better than mine. Why would I even want to follow my own plan for the day? Trust His plans for your day and for your life.

Psalm 33:11 "But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations."

We need to wait for His plan to unfold no matter how long it takes. You may feel like you have been waiting forever, but we must wait for His perfect timing because He has the best waiting for us! God knows what He is doing, and His timing is perfect.

Psalm 106:13 "But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His plan to unfold."

Romans 8:28 "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."

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

The Art
Because I have been so limited on time lately, I chose to do another Journaling Bible page. These are quick for me to do yet will hopefully leave something wonderful for my girls someday. I used the Proverbs 20:24 from above as well as added the question "Am I committed to following His will."

Feel free to join us on the Facebook page where some people will be sharing their creations. We also have some discussions that will be going on there too about the study. If you don't use Facebook and want to share your creation here, do so below by using Inlinkz! To see all of the information regarding this challenge and the previous studies and art tips, please see this post here.

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