For some reason, I have had a picture on my mind, one that I drew years ago for my kids when they were all "in the nest". I dug it up from a journal and want to share it today in hopes that it is a blessing to you. The verse that goes with this picture is Matthew 23:37:
Jesus said, "How often I wanted to gather you children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings...".
Other verses to visualize concerning "His wings" are these:
He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4
For You are my help; I will sing of joy in the shadow of Your wings. Psalm 63:7
After thinking about these verses, can I just rest in the fact that I am a "little chick in a big barn yard" who has the sweet opportunity to be pulled inside and protected underneath the warm wings of a mighty "mother hen"? There I will find both peace and joy; there the clamor stops and the security starts. Why do I sometimes choose to go chirping about in blind forgetfulness, turning this way and that, anxious for nothing? What else "out there" could be more inviting than the blessings found underneath His wonderful wings?
We get pulled out by so many distractions and temptations. Let us refocus out gaze on our Provider, the One that loves us most, even more than we love ourselves. He knows us best, and gives us what we need, when we need it. His best is there for the taking...underneath His wings. The movement with Him is the movement that brings us most life, not the self-scampering we tend to do alone out in the far corner of the barnyard.
With this image in mind, little chicks, let's choose to chirp out loud a prayer in unison today:
Dear Lord, Thank you for your loving care that is found underneath Your merciful and mighty wings. Cause our hearts to long for You above all else. You move us about with Your loving guidance and sweet freedom. There are so many lures that want to pull us outside of Your protective love, but give us the foreknowledge that these are mere temptations with no end benefits. Pull us inside of Your wings, and become our refuge from this culture, our protection from ourselves, and our shield from the enemy. Give us what we truly long for, which is "Your love that is better than life" (Psalm 63:3). Yes, hide us, sweet Savior, in the shadow of Your wings. Amen
After I read a passage of Scripture, I like to close my eyes and see it come alive in my mind; the picture gives me more understanding of the words.
Today, I saw Psalm 116 in three different stages:
1. The psalmist is captured and he is crying out for help. "The cords of death encompassed me, and the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow... I cried, 'O Lord, save my life.'" (v. 3-4)
2. The Savior hears his cry and delivers! "I love the Lord because He hears my voice...the Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me...He has loosened my bonds." (v. 1, 6, 16)
3. The psalmist then cannot help but give thanks and praise for His Savior's grace and compassion. He says, "I shall pay my vows (of thanksgiving) to the Lord, oh may it be in the presence of all His people...Praise the Lord!" (v. 18-19)
This psalm is the cycle of life, is in not? What cords are tied around you today? Worry, fear, doubt, pride, shame? Cry out to your Savior right now. He hears your voice and will faithfully cut these constricting chains. Leave these strongholds at the foot of the cross; don't pick them up again. And then, with free hands, loosened feet, and a full heart, GO to many and tell them what the Lord has done for you. Praise Him today for the continuous and redemptive act of love manifested at the cross. Yes, praise the Lord!
(see other posts: Picture Scripture, Picture Scripture II, III, IV)
As I was thinking/praying this morning about what to submit for my bi-monthly post, the thought "Picture Scripture" came to my mind. Picture Scripture is the name of a journal that I had created a year ago for my sons, Bink and Davis, as they went off to their respective colleges.
Interestingly (providentially?!), only MINUTES after I asked the Lord to confirm this idea as the appropriate post to submit this morning, I got an out-of-the-blue-text from my son Davis that simply said:"Reading my picture scripture"; and then he added this page of his journal, that I will now share with you:
I texted Davis back, thanking him for his part in this post, and then added these words, which again, are now for you: "God loves to work through His children! Be His confident light today." Praying that each one of us will understand, believe, and then live out the passage above (II Cor. 5:14-20). Indeed, may the love of Christ control us!
*If you enjoyed this "picture concordance", more of the same can be found on my website under the titles Picture Scripture III and Picture Scripture II.
In response to my last post (see Picture Scripture II), below are two more pages from my sons' journals. Enjoy the deep truths alongside the simple "picture concordance":
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
As I sent my boys off to college, Bink as a junior, and Davis as a deer-in-the-headlights freshman, I couldn't help but throw in those last motherly comments like, "Brush your teeth" or "Wash your sheets every now and then" or "Fruit not fried". We mommas just can't help being mommas, can we?!
Another desire, however, that runs deeper than the physical instruction for my sons (and my daughters) is about their daily walk with the Lord. Over the summer, I put a little journal together for my boys called Picture Scripture. Inside the pages, I wrote out a passage, and then put simple pictures beside it. Hopefully, this will help my boys hide God's word in their heart. It's kind of like a "picture concordance"-- the red letters beside each phrase match the red letters beside each explanatory picture.
Here are two of the passages within the current 25 page journals. Bear with the stick figure art, but enjoy the truth of God's Word. As you read it, ask yourself, "Where am I in this picture?"
Hopefully Bink and Davis will remember to brush their teeth, wash their sheets, and eat healthy foods. But really, I do have to let all this go; they're big boys now. But what I will always encourage and remind them to do in whatever creative way that I can is this: to read God's word, to meditate on God's word, to embrace God's word, and to LIVE God's word each and every day of their manly maturing life.
Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
I mentioned in a former post ( entitled The "Faith-Good Stuff"), the Lord often places a simple picture in my mind when I meditatie on His word. When this happens, I quickly sketch it in my notebook. The visual helps me unpack the meaning in a way that I can both see and then hopefully apply its truth to my daily walk. Below is yet another "thought on paper" concerning God's word found in John 15:5. In this verse, Jesus is describing who He is in relation to his disciples: I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit.
1. I AM THE VINE-- In the first of the four illustrations, I sketched "the vine" in the shape of the cross. At the cross we declare, I have been crucified with Christ... (Gal 2:20). And, at the cross, we put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13)--pride, control, anger, idolatry, worry, fear, dismay, shame, (you name it).
2. YOU ARE THE BRANCHES--Once we have confessed that Jesus is both Savior and Lord of our own hearts, believing He has conquered both sin and death, new life begins in us...HIS life....it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me...(Gal 2:20)... old things have passed away; behold, new things have come (II Cor. 5:17)--new thoughts, new desires, new truths.
3. ABIDE IN ME, AND I IN YOU--Abiding in Him means sitting still with Him, hearing Him speak to your heart through His word concerning this new life. And then the second phrase, and I in you, means getting up from the sitting position and living this new life by obeying His word.
4. YOU WILL BEAR MUCH FRUIT--The abiding process then brings bountiful blessing:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control... those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25)
I have to confess, my flesh is so stinkin' strong that I have to start this process all over again each and every day! But thankfully, my God is stonger, and His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:23).
Let's you and I intentionally come to the cross, "the vine," and die daily so that He can live in and through us.
I will end my picture-scripture the way Jesus ends His teaching in John 15:5...for apart from Me you can do nothing.
And Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight--why the bush does not burn up." Exodus 3:3
Turn our heads to see your holiness. Pull our hearts towards your glory. Make us curious enough to walk towards you and willing enough to respond to all that you have in mind. Call us, challenge us, change us. Amen.