I’d like to say that the room is dark so the painting doesn’t come out well on pictures, but to be honest, I wanted to quit halfway through. I had an image in my head of a very lonely, dark room with a very absent chair. Out the window is a nice scene. Across the table someone is sitting. I added a book later on.
A few lessons from this. I don’t like brown. I don’t like visualizing something and painting it, although everything is visualized. But you know what I mean. I want to paint in oil, but I’m not good enough to waste that much money on something I won’t be good enough for.
In the end, I wonder if I should have just left it as the window frame….
I wanted to do something different with my second painting. Remember, I am not claiming to be a professional, or to know what I am doing – shoot, I don’t even claim to have actual talent. But, it is relaxing and the helps with the writing process (thus far, I mean. I don’t know what’ll it take next week).
This is an attempt at painting Elkins, West Virginia as seen between two mountains (I don’t care what Colorado has, we have real mountains) offer of Hwy 33.
I couldn’t do the buildings because I am, as I stated above, not that talented.
Jude 1:1 “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to the ones called in God the Father, having been set apart, and having been kept by Jesus Christ:”
I will admit that I have a special affinity for Jude. I think there is a lot packed into a very short letter and that it is often neglected. My favorite part of Jude though is really the first verse. Jude is introducing himself and actually makes the bold claim that he is a servant of Jesus Christ. Let that sink in. In your introductory line would those be the first words that come to mind? Is that how you would start your letter? Is that how you would identify yourself to anyone for that matter? Would you have both the boldness to proclaim such a thing and the confidence that it was true? I hope so, but I fear most of us would not.
Jude goes on to talk about how he wishes he could write about the common salvation but instead feels the need to encourage people to contend for the faith. He says the hard stuff. He encourages us to do the hard stuff. My understanding of Greek is limited, but I believe that he instructs us to struggle for the faith. Contend is often used in translation as well. Struggle is forceful. Struggle is not a peaceful vocation. It need not, and most often should not, be violent, but it is forceful. It is forceful in the way that Christ was forceful. Forceful in love, in truth and in honesty. It is being willing to say the hard things in the difficult times. It is not for the feint of heart, and and can not be done without the spirit. It is nothing less than the conviction that if the entire world were to push telling you that there was no God and Christ were a myth, that you would stare the world in the eye and say, no, you will move. I know Truth. Would you do this? Would I? I hope so, but I fear not.
So much more great stuff in Jude and I encourage you to read and study it, but I am going to fast forward to the end. Jude 1:24-25 ” Now to Him being able to keep you without stumbling, and to set you before His glory without blemish, with unspeakable joy; to the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty and might and authority, even now and forever. Amen.” Is this how your letter ends? Are these the thoughts at the end of every conversation and interaction? Don’t we all think “thank God it is over” to much and not “thank God it began” enough? Don’t we try to praise ourselves, and each other for a job well done to often and not God enough? Don’t we often roll our eyes when we hear people give God the credit and be secretly thankful we are not one of “those Christians”? Jude starts by identifying himself as a servant of Jesus and ends by praising God as deserving of glory and, in fact, being the ultimate authority. Is that how your letter would end? Is it how mine would? Perhaps a rewrite is in order for most of us. a rewrite that follows Jude’s beginning and ending and having a healthy dose of what is in the middle.
There seems to be an ongoing trend with this sort of article lately. Can you be a Christian and be a homosexual? Can you be a Christian and have a beer? Can you be a Christian and go to fortune tellers? Can you be a Christian and…the list is seemingly endless. These articles seem to have a few things in common. They all mention the necessity of loving each other, they all mention teachings of scripture, they all mention following Jesus, and they all are focused on one particular act, seemingly to the exclusion of all others, that will define you as a Christian or not. Few, if any, seem to mention faith in any substantial way. So my question is can you be a Christian and write an article such as that? Can you be a Christian and suggest someone else is not based upon an action and not upon the grace through faith that scripture lists as our salvation? I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I know the answer to this one…can you be a Christian and not recognize Jesus Christ as savior and sovereign? The answer to that one is no. Perhaps it is in our best interests as Christians to stick to the answer we know without question.
Dr. Candida Moss, a historian, professor and expert of New Testament and early Christianity whose research and writings often draw the ire of conservatives and liberals alike, recently said that she hasn’t encountered anything in her extensive research that would lead her to abandon faith in a higher power.
Give it a listen. Closely.
Every now and then, I take the quiz to see what I may have changed. Previously, I was something else… now… and for a while…