I Don’t Like Being Confronted (Part i)

I love being confronted. One of the things I like most is listening to a lecture and learning something new that is vital or hearing a sermon that allows the Holy Spirit to convict me. The confrontation that comes from this, whilst may be emotional and make me feel uncomfortable, is very good because it’s a blessing from God; it teaches me and makes me grow.

I have had a few conversations with Christians now where maybe I have been too rough with my choice of language, but whether I spoke in a bitter or sweet tone, they respond that they don’t like being confronted. Personally, I’m thinking great, they have heard the Holy Spirit and are now seeing their mistake, just like I have many times before. I really love that experience of becoming aware of the darkness within but also having that light to cling onto, so that I may strengthen. But unfortunately, this is (in my experiences) usually not what my brethren are thinking. They are thinking “I do not like being confronted, because I don’t want/need to be”.

Okay, let’s back it up a bit here. As Christians we are followers of Christ. Which means putting off our old self and looking towards the prize which is [in] Jesus Christ (Luke 9:23, Gal 2:20, Phil 3:14). A part of our process which many pastors (especially those Lutheran ones) have repeatedly taught is that we are to realise our sin and then through God become renewed, strengthened, made holy etc. And that is how we become more like Christ, Amen? It concerns me if a brother or sister after a lengthy discussion says ‘I do not like being confronted’, because it tells me that their focus is not on Christ and the life that He gives, but on them wanting to hide away their faults.

The Holy Spirit convicts us. And we need it.
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John 3:19-21

We are beings who have fallen short of God and constantly struggle to maintain good behaviour. To compare light with dark you can see the contrast between each. God is a light unto our lives (John 8:12) and in result He shows us where the dark spots are in our lives and ourselves. Interestingly enough, one of the readings for today Good Friday, is Hebrews 10:16-25 which helps us understand this:
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,” he also adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.
And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

The most important thing for my argument I want to point here is the first verse, “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds”. For when people are revealed to the truth of Christ this collides with their “in-built” knowledge of the law and they instantly understand their sin and see the need for Christ. So to say that you don’t want or need to be confronted, is to say you do not want to confess that you are or have been a sinful being who needs Christ.

The second part I want to point out, is the encouragement for faith and hope. If we see we have struggles and faults, we are to have faith and assurance that Christ has made us clean in His death and resurrection. Amen. And we do not need to continue in guilt for we have hope that God may guide us onto the right path.

I know confrontation is hard, but it is necessary. I know sometimes brethren don’t take the right approach to talk about it, but the truth still remains. We need confrontation and conviction. We need to see the darkness, the sin, so that we may strive towards the light.

In the follow up to this I will write up a short discussion on how we can approach (and/or confront) Christians and non-Christians peacefully, so that they may learn.

May the Lord bless you and keep you!

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Eyes and Ears to be God’s People

The following peices of the challenge are of December 15th – 18th

December 15 :D
Readings are Isaiah 11:1-9, Numbers 16:20-35, Acts 28:23-31

“And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:2

“And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” 22 And they fell on their faces and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?” 23 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Say to the congregation, Get away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”

25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins.” 27 So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons, and their little ones. 28 And Moses said, “Hereby you shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. 29 If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the Lord.”

31 And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. 32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!” 35 And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men offering the incense.” Numbers 16:20-35

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“[“The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:”]
“‘Go to this people, and say,
“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
27 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed;
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’

28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.” Acts 28:25-27

The theme from these texts is to listen and understand – from this comes knowledge and fear of the Lord, which will keep you safe.
Let it be known that salvation from God is here, let everyone listen!

December 16
Readings for this day were Isaiah 11:1-9, Micah 4:8-13 and Luke 7:31-35

Verses which contribute to this peice:
“here shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:1-9

“Now why do you cry aloud?
Is there no king in you?
Has your counselor perished,
that pain seized you like a woman in labor?
10 Writhe and groan,[a] O daughter of Zion,
like a woman in labor,
for now you shall go out from the city
and dwell in the open country;
you shall go to Babylon.
There you shall be rescued;
there the Lord will redeem you
from the hand of your enemies.” Micah 4:9-10

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““To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”” Luke 7:31-35

These texts lead me to the joining theme of trust in the Lord.
Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths”

What better way to show your trust to God than being in your most vulnerable state in prayer?

Ball point pen.

December 17th!

Readings are: Psalm 80:1-7, Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 10:10-18

Hear us, God! Listen to our cry and with Your might save us. Restore us and lead us to righteousness.

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”” Jeremiah 31:33-34


 But when Christ[a] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.”
Hebrews 10:12-18

jer-31-33

Finally! The theme for this peice is salvation! His Word and His righteousness; discernment between right and wrong; our path to righteouness and eternal life; it has been offered to us! Once we hear His word through the gift he has placed on our hearts and minds, reveals His word to be true!
We are God’s people! And He is our God!

December 18
Readings: Psalm 80:1-7, Isaiah 42:10-18 and Hebrews 10:32-39

Notes which I gathered from these texts are: God is our guide, God turns darkness into light/life, He turns rought places into level ground, the righteous will by faith, we (Christians) are of those who have faith and preserve our souls, and we want to see God’s face shine so that we may have salvation.

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I focussed on v.18 of the Isaiah 42 passage for the inspiration of this work “Hear, you deaf,
and look, you blind, that you may see!”

We are not blind, but see God’s face shining.

Fine tip felt pen, and editing in photoshop.
2015

The Way of the Lord

Note: I didn’t realise Baruch was only RC Canon, so it’s being used here just as a source to emphasise the message given in the other passages.

December 6th
The Second Sunday of Advent
Today’s reading there was a choice between Malachi 3:1-4 and Baruch 5:1-9. I didn’t know which one to choose so I went forth with the other readings to see what common themes there were. The next three readings were LUke 1:68-79, Philippians 1:3-11 & Luke 3:1-6.

When reading Philippians I found that the text was very similar to that of 1 Thessalonions 3:9-13 which was a reading previous in the week about encouraging each other of growth in the Lord, and also linked to the discussion of discernment in Malachi 3:18 (from a previous reading). Between all these 3 passages I found a common message, that we must go follow the way of the Lord.

“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79
“And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.” Phil 1:9-11
“…as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'” Luke 3:4-6

From here I looked at both Baruch and Malachi and found that Baruch, despite being additional to the Protestant Bible, fitted perfectly for this theme of following God’s path.
“Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height; look toward the east, and see your children gathered from west and east at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that God has remembered them.
For they went out from you on foot, led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back to you, carried in glory, as on a royal throne. For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God.
The woods and every fragrant tree have shaded Israel at God’s command.
For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.” Baruch 5:5-9

wayoftheLord

I’ve taken “to make level ground” from Baruch literally and given an absolute flat horizon. I’ve also darkened the middle section of the land to emphasise a ‘path’ as per the theme. The text overlayed comes from the first Luke reading, Philippians and Baruch, regarding what being on that path is about.

Mixed media (watercolour, photo and digital editing)
2015

Children of God’s Promise

I have started a Christmas Challenge for Advent. This post is a couple days behind but it’s here and I will be updating with each new day’s artwork. These artwork challenges are based off the Daily Lectionary Readings from here http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/daily.php?year=C
November 26th
The readings are Psalm 25:1-10; Nehemiah 9:6-15; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

The underlying themes I gathered from all these texts were salvation, bread, children of light, God’s promises and waiting on the Lord.
These themes consequently led me to the Gospel of John…

rainbow-worship

“Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”” (John 6:32-40)

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” (John 8:12)

This artwork I drew using with permanent markers but then I took a photo of it and turned the bitmap into a vector using CorelDRAW.
The bread and wine represents Christ’s blood and body, there is a silhouette of people in worship whilst under a rainbow which is an example of God’s promises.
2678×2384
2015