For Contemplation or Confirmation

David Wilkerson's message "The New Temple Priesthood" (quoted below) really spoke to my heart causing me to stop and seriously consider sharing it along with a few thoughts.

THE NEW TEMPLE PRIESTHOOD
(October 27 message in GOD IS FAITHFUL by David Wilkerson)
In Ezekiel 44:15-16, the prophet refers to a righteous, faithful man named Zadok. The Hebrew name Zadok means “right” or “righteous.” Ezekiel here is referring to a man who served as a priest during David’s reign.
Zadok always remained loyal to David because he knew the king was the Lord’s anointed. Indeed, Zadok was a prime example of a true minister of God--separated from this world, shut in with the Lord, consistently hearing from heaven. Such a minister recognizes his main work as prayer: seeking God daily, constantly communing with the Holy Spirit and ministering to Jesus.
Today’s “new temple priests” are faithful to stand before the Lord before they ever stand before the congregation. They spend precious hours in the Lord’s presence, until they are saturated with a message that has been burned into their souls. When they emerge from God’s presence, they are able to speak straight to the people’s hearts. Their message gets down to where the sheep live, because it has come directly from God’s throne.
The Lord says of the Zadok priesthood, “These ministers will enter My sanctuary and stand before Me. They shall come near to My table and minister to Me and then I will lead and direct them and give them My word for My people” (see verse 16).
We see the “priesthood of believers” echoed throughout the books of the New Testament. John tells us, “[He} has made us kings and priests to His God and Father” (Revelation 1:6). Peter writes, “You also, as living stones, are . . . a holy priesthood . . . acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter2:5).
You may not have ministerial credentials, but you are just as called and ordained to serve in the Zadok priesthood as the most well-known preacher or evangelist. You do it by ministering primarily unto the Lord--offering up sacrifices of praise and service to Him. You are part of His royal priesthood!

Thoughts . . .

This helps explain why some of us have become discontented with church; why we come out unfulfilled, empty and discouraged. Too many of our modern churches are lacking true ministers of God -- pastors and leaders who have separated themselves from the world and shut themselves in with the Lord, who have dedicated themselves to prayer, seeking God daily and constantly communing with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, their messages are just words of man, hollow and unfulfilling, not messages from God that speak to the hearts of the people.

Many have chosen the method of entertainment to draw people. But Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Myself.” (John 12:32 NASB) Jesus is the only thing, the only One who will draw people. It is only by separating from the world and spending time in the Presence of God that the true Gospel will be shared and Jesus will be lifted up. My prayers go up for our churches and spiritual leaders.

I believe God is raising up a new priesthood of believers in these days. Believers who have a heart for God, who are willing to separate from the world, who spend time ministering to Jesus and listening to what the Spirit has to say. They are starting to get their messages out -- not necessarily within the church walls but their messages are being sent out to the world through other vehicles like art, writing, dance, music, blogs and social media. God is flowing through the creative talent He has placed in His priesthood to reach the multitudes. We are seeing a new move of God starting to take place. At least, that’s the way I perceive it. 

Anticipation

Anticipation has been sold and was delivered to its new home in Archdale, NC on September 2, 2017.

This painting depicts how we are always in process--ever-changing and evolving--pressing forward in anticipation of our destiny. The inspiration for it came from my love of aqua and green and a desire to use them while trying out a new texturizing product. The name came to me while the painting was in progress as my anticipation began to build.

Twenty-two plus layers of acrylic medium, paints and glazes were applied--each layer representing a journey of anticipation. I tried out a new product on this abstract which resulted in the beginning layers turning out rough and difficult to work with, just like we can be at times in our life. As texture was applied, sanded and refined with more layers of color added, the rough edges and underlying flaws began to disappear.

The rough gray textured background represents difficult times we experience when we are discouraged or struggling while the aqua represents the calm that washes over us like streams of water when we reach a place of peace. The lime green signifies growth and the red and gold streaks stand for breakthroughs and ideas we have that propel us forward.  

Several of my abstracts have the versatility to hang either vertically or horizontally depending on what your space requires. Anticipation is one of those.

Vertical View - Anticipation, 36 x 24 x 1.5

Horizontal View - Anticipation, 24 x 36 x 1.5

New Home for Splash & Peaceful Waters

Splash (top)
Peaceful Waters (bottom)

Splash (36" x 36") and Peaceful Waters (24" x 30") were delivered to their new home in Wake Forest, North Carolina on Friday, August 25, 2017. It is always such a joy when a painting (in this case two), finds a loving home. I hope Emily and David will enjoy these two for many years to come. I thank them for being fans of SJH Fine Art. 

For full description of Splash, see blogpost "Splash - The Journey" 

For more on Peaceful Waters, see blogpost "Peaceful Waters"

Questions to Consider

As I was reading The Love of God by Oswald Chambers, I came across the following paragraph that made me pause and consider. 

 "If Jesus Christ were manifested now, would we be like Him? Or would we have a hundred and one things to do before we could be as He is? We have not been taking time to purify ourselves as He is pure because we have been restless and annoyed; we have imagined that we have things to do that no one can do but ourselves. It may be true, but immediately we think it, we lose out. There is only one lodestar to the saint, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have no business getting into circumstances God does not put us into. Faith means keeping absolutely right with God. He does all the rest. We are only what we are in the dark; all the rest is reputation. What God looks at is what we are in the dark--the imaginations of our minds; the thoughts of our heart; the habits of our bodies; these are the things that mark us in God's sight." (Excerpt from "The Love of God" by Oswald Chambers)

I strongly feel these are questions we, as Christians, need to ask ourselves. 

How am I in the dark?

Where do I let my mind and imagination take me?

What are the deep, inner thoughts of my heart?

What are the habits of my body?

And most importantly, What can I do to purify myself so I'll be more like Jesus? That's a tall order. It seems almost impossible but I must remind myself that all things are possible with God. 

 When things don't go as we like, do we accept the situation immediately, or do we indulge in feelings of regret that can easily spill over the line into resentment? I am reminded that I need to remember that God is sovereign over my circumstances and humble myself under His mighty hand. Instead of being resentful, I need to rejoice in what He is doing in my life, even though it is beyond my understanding. The ultimate challenge is to fix my eyes on God, no matter what is going on around me. 

 

Update on Make Lilly's Wish Come True

The dinner & silent auction are over but there is still time to donate. The Austyn's are approaching the halfway mark of the $55,000 goal needed for the climate controlled enclosure for Lilly's therapy pool. The therapy pool will be provided by the Make-A-Wish foundation but the family is responsible for covering the expense of the enclosure. Every donation counts. 
Please help and Donate. Thank you!

RETT SYNDROME
       Rett Syndrome is a rare genetic neurological and developmental disorder that affects the way the brain develops in females. It affects 1 in 10,000 live female births. The child will usually develop normally for the first six to 18 months of life, then a rapid regression phase sets in robbing them of once-acquired skills. It affects every part of their functioning body and is described as cerebral palsy, Parkinson's, epilepsy, and apraxia all rolled into one devastating disease. Most girls experience life-long motor issues, heart arrhythmias, breathing irregularities, scoliosis, digestive problems and a host of other symptoms including the possibility of sudden death. They lose purposeful use of their hands and are unable to speak. Most girls are confined to wheelchairs. It is a terrible disease that sneaks up on them slowly, the word they used to describe it is insidious. It robs them of so much and they become trapped in a body they can no longer control, but there's hope!

"We are thrilled beyond words to announce that Make-a-Wish is granting my daughters wish for a therapy pool. This is such a wonderful blessing as her aquatic therapy has been one of the most important therapies that has helped with her mobility and many other areas. We are having a Silent Auction and Dinner to raise funds for the structure enclosing it. She can't regulate her body temperature on her own and we want her to use this year round! This is truly something special and hope you can help us make her WISH come true!"   - Jaime Austyn

ABOUT LILLY'S WISH
       After months of prayers and discussions, we determined that we didn't want Lilly's wish to be something that would be over in a day or a week. Lilly's wish had to be something that would benefit her everyday life. For over a year now we've been traveling weekly taking Lilly to receive aquatic therapy. We feel this has been one of her most beneficial therapies and it's definitely the one she loves the most! You see, at a very young age Lilly learned to swim through rescue swimming lessons - before she was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. She has always loved the water which is why we ultimately decided her wish would be for a therapy pool - something that would allow her to receive the therapy she needed in the comfort of our home.
       Our hope is to keep Lilly's mobility up for as long as we can, as we know most Rett girls become wheelchair-bound by their teenage years, if not sooner. After months of waiting anxiously to hear, we received a phone call from our wish grantors saying that Lilly's "Wish" was granted and that the Endless Pool version was to be Lilly's wish. We were thrilled for her and we could tell she was excited when she heard the news!
       Being able to use the pool year-round, especially in the winter, was a very important factor to us. Since fewer than half the girls with Rett Syndrome can walk, we wanted to make sure she has the best chance to stay mobile. Lilly's seizures are triggered by the sunlight and she is unable to regulate her body temperature, so we knew this pool would have to enclosed and full climate-controlled. Make-A-Wish will be providing the pool, but we will need to provide the structure to house it. 
       With help from the contractors, we decided the pool room needed to be located off the living room and master bath for accessibility. The proposed pool room will connect with a door leading from the deck into this new pool room. The cost for these types of enclosures varies anywhere from $60 a square foot up to $90 a square foot for about $45,000-55,000.
       Our family wants to thank you in advance for being a part of our dream . . . something truly special, where together we will help make a precious little girl's "Wish" come true!
God bless you!  -Brooks & Jaime Austyn

To read more about Lilly's story, click HERE  

"It has been a desire of mine since I began painting in 2004 to have my artwork touch lives and bring joy. I must say, it was an honor and a privilege to be a part of something so special. The two paintings shown below were donated for the silent auction fundraiser. What a pleasure to be able to give and help this precious family as they face unknown hurdles."  Susan

Intersect
20 x 30 diptych
Acrylic mixed media on canvas.

Conundrum
9 x 12, framed
Acrylic mixed media on canvas panel,