"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?...Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly;" 2 Cor 9:24-26

The Shocking State of Art

Posted by Emma on January 3, 2013 | Filed under: Analogies,Christianity,Daily Thought

Today I went to the MIlwaukee Art Museum. It was inspiring and beautiful to walk through the displays of art from centuries ago. Here are my two  favorites.
View of Dordrecht

Landscape with Mountains and River

Then we came to the modern art section. To my brother and I, it was repulsing. Seeing the beautiful paintings, can you really call this art?

144 Pieces of Zinc
Yes, this is considered art. It is 144 zinc plates on the floor. This so called piece of art is laughable. Seriously, that is art? (I hope I am not offending someone by laughing at their master piece but considering the other images it holds nothing to them.) I show this image because it is laughable and not repulsing like some of the other ones are. I do not wish to taint you with exposure to them.

Modern art leaves you shaking your head asking what has come over us that we can call this art. After a head shake, we walk on and never give it any more serious thought. It does not inspire us to greatness, it does not awe us with beauty, it does not fill us with wonder. It leaves us empty, confused, and appalled (well, it leaves some of us appalled).

As I pondered this, it struck me how similar art is to the American church. Our culture has degenerated in the past several decades and so has our church. I wonder if the degeneration of art is a result of the decaying of our culture. I suspect it is. I know that a lot of the degeneration of the church is a result of a decayed culture. We have let the culture into our church, making excuses about how we have to reach the culture. Nothing in the Bible says you have to let the culture in to the church, in fact it tells us to be separate from the cultures around us, to be holy to God. (1 Peter 1:16). The church use to be a place of love and godliness. It left people with a sense of awe at the beauty of God, wonder because of how much He had done for us, and inspiration to live for Him and show His greatness to the world. It was a beautiful body of believers tied together by love. That love spread to those around them, showing the glory of God and His greatness.

Today, the church is a disconnected gathering of people, some of whom are there because they love the Lord but the majority are there because it is the “right” thing to do. The church leaves you feeling empty, they have nothing so they can offer you nothing. It leaves you confused. You hear one thing from the Bible and see a very different thing lived out. It leaves you appalled. At least it leaves me appalled. Appalled because of the hypocrisy, the lack of love, the eagerness to be as the world, and the effort spent to NOT obey God’s word. You may think I am being harsh or that I do not know what I am saying. Yes, it is harsh but it is true. I have been to many churches, dozens of them. I have yet to find one church that did not leave me empty, confused and appalled. I have yet to find one church that was a true body of believers bringing glory to God. I have yet to find one church that genuinely loved with God’s love.

Art needs a revolution so that it does not slide into childish scribbles any more than it has. The American church needs a revolution so that it does not slide into the world any more than it already has. It is time that the American stood up, threw out the world, reopened the Bible. It is time that the American church loved as Christ loved. It is time that the American church inspires people with the awe and glory of God by showing His greatness to the world.

Fleeting Moments

Posted by Emma on September 21, 2011 | Filed under: Analogies,Daily Thought,Picture Perfect,TIme

A few weeks ago a rose bloomed on our rose bush.

I wanted to take a picture of this rose, but never stopped to do it.

A few days later I noticed the rose was welting away.

a welting rose

My chance for a picture was gone.

All our moments are fleeting. What is here today, is gone tomorrow.

We should never think, “I can do that tomorrow.” Tomorrow may never come.

Do not waste your moments. Stop to smell the rose, to smile at a child, to enjoy the little things of life.

Fleeting moments: these are all we have. Make the most of them.

Lessons Learned while Digging a Hole in Texas

Posted by Emma on July 19, 2011 | Filed under: Analogies,Christianity,Repentance

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12

This verse came to mind yesterday while I was digging a hole. I was digging a hole in the middle of Texas, which is under a draught. The ground here is what I would call fallow, and it is hard. As I was digging this verse came to mind. Digging the hole was hard work. Breaking up fallow ground can also be hard work.

The spot chosen to dig the hole looked easy from the top. The ground, although dry, was not hard. It was more crumbly. Our lives can be the same way. As we start letting God work in our lives and dealing with sin, it can look relatively easy, at first. The deeper we go, the harder it gets. After digging down a few inches the ground got really hard. After dealing with the first layer of things in our lives, it gets really hard. If we want results we have to keep going when it gets hard. I was sweating and had to put my whole weight on the shovel to get it to go through the ground, in the same way we have to work out and put our whole into breaking up the fallow ground of our lives and conquering sins.

Eventually, if we keep at it and do not give in, we will see results and have soft ground that can be planted with righteousness and reap mercy. We must seek God as we break up our fallow ground. The work starts as we recognize the need and repent of sin, then God has to take over and help us see where we have fallow ground, or sins, that need broken up. As we seek Him with a soft heart, He will come and rain righteousness on us. This is a wonderful thing. It is as wonderful as when rain comes and falls on draught stricken land.

Break up your fallow ground. Do not give up when it gets hard. Seek God and let Him rain righteousness on you.

A Bottle in Smoke?

Posted by Emma on February 10, 2011 | Filed under: Analogies,Christianity,Psalm 119,Studying the Word

“For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.” Psalm 119:83

This verse starts out with the word כי (cey) which is a conjunction meaning that, for, or when. It would seem to mean for in this verse. The next word, הייתי (hayity), means come to pass, become. The word כנאד (cenod) begins with a כ (caph) which means like or like as. The root of the word means a skin-bottle, or skin. The root of the word בקיטור (bekitor) means thick smoke. The ב (beit) at the beginning means in.

The word חקיך (chukecha) means thy statutes or thy dues. This is something prescribed. These are God’s statutes, the things He wants us doing. לא (lo) means no or not. The final word in this verse is שכחתי (shacachety). The root of which is a verb meaning forget.

Why would the psalmist use the description of a bottle in the smoke to describe himself? From the previous verses we know that the psalmist is tired and down. But why this analogy? What is it about a bottle in the smoke that is bad? The bottles that they had back then were different then the glass or plastic bottles we think of today. As you can pick up from the actually meaning of the word translated bottle, they were made of skin. Adam Clarke comments in his commentary that, “one of these hung in the smoke must soon be parched and shriveled up. This represents the exhausted state of his body and mind by long bodily affliction and mental distress.” The psalmist felt like he was parched and shriveling up. Often times when we are going through trials and tribulations we can feel like we are parched and almost gone. At those times describe yourself as a bottle in smoke.

Even thorough all of this, the psalmist did not forget God’s statutes. He still remembered God’s word and did it. That takes faith. It is hard to keep obeying God and seeking Him when He seems far away and we are tired and feel drained, but we must keep seeking Him. He is a reward of those who diligently seek Him. He promises that in Hebrews 11:6. No matter how hard your trial is, no matter how tired you feel, no matter how much like a bottle in smoke you have become, keep seeking God. Do not forget His statutes. Do not forget His word. Do not forget Him. He will show Himself strong at the end.

The Lot is Cast

Posted by Emma on January 3, 2011 | Filed under: Analogies,Christianity,Daily Thought

The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD. Proverbs 16:33

This verse popped into my mind as I was thinking about the year that lays in front of us. It is a fitting verse. I can make plans, I can try to schedule things, I can act, but ultimately it is God who will guide and direct this year. He controls what happens in and around my life. Sure, I have free will to make my own decisions. But I cannot control when the sunrises or sets, I cannot control what the driver in the car next to me does, I cannot even control my heart beating. There are many details that surround my life over which I have no control, God controls them. I can try to plan out my year but God is ultimately in control. In a sense the lot is cast as I make my decisions for how this year should go, but the whole disposing is of the Lord. He will control this year and whether it is good or evil I wish to praise Him because He is in control and He is worthy of praise.

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