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Archive for December 31st, 2014

With a sweeping stroke of my paint-filled-brush, the blank canvas disappears. Forever. And with a flurry of tap-a-dee-taps on theDSCF2870 005 keyboard the blank page of my manuscript is a thing of the past—the story unfolds.
Can I go back to change the direction of the painting or novel? Of course. But the virgin whiteness of the canvas and page has vanished until I begin a new picture or book.
Layers of color, skillfully applied, hopefully enhance the depth and mood of the painting just as crafting and weaving words builds suspense as the plot line flows from scene to scene into a mesmerizing tale.
Every brush stroke and every word adds or takes away from the finished product. That’s why many hours of thinking, researching, and planning must swirl in the mind of an artist or writer before the first color or words smear the page.
And life should be like that too.
Years ago the habit of the Church was to have Watch Night Service on New Year’s Eve. A night when the congregation came together to seek God’s will during the final minutes of the previous year and His help for the coming new year.
Thursday, January 1, 2015, will present to us the stark white canvas of a new year. What will your opening line tell the world? What tone will you set for the year in those opening moments? Blessing or cursing? Love or hate? Anticipation or resentment?
Might the first strokes or words of the next 365 days be improved or hampered by thoughts, research, or planning done or not done before the clock strikes midnight on the 31st?
Good or bad, we are creatures of habits and the habits we nurture affect every area of our lives. But God gives us the freedom to choose how we will determine to walk into this new year—with His help or on our own.
Before I apply the first brush stroke to a new canvas I gather DSCF7975traveling companions—an easel, a stash of many types and sizes of brushes, paper towels to sop up my messes, turpentine or water—depending on my medium of choice, and the composition of the finished product clearly etched in my mind.
A manuscript is different, but I still collect my travel buddies—The Synonym Finder, Roget’s Thesaurus, a ream of white paper, edit partners, pictures, research material, a computer and plenty of ink. And usually a general idea of the final scene in the story.DSCF7972
I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer and open to change. Many times I wish I were more out-lined oriented, would save me yards of time and ink, but the writing trip’s not nearly as much fun.
And many of us attempt to live life clinging to a seat-of-the-pants DSCF7974attitude, but that’s not what God calls His people to do. His instructions are simple. His Word is our road-map and resource guide. The Holy Spirit and fellow believers are our travel companions, encouragers, teacher and helpers when our path gets rocky and steep. And prayer is our walkie-talkie for moment-by-moment communication and personal instruction from the Father.
When I don’t pay attention to the rules and techniques of painting, I make a muddy, ugly, mess. And when I refuse to follow the foundational rules of writing, the finished product screams ignorance and failure to those who read what I write.
And when I refuse to seek God’s help and obey His commands my life becomes a flashing billboard of the consequences of disobedience.
How am I going to walk through 2015? Following God or the world? Learning to love those God places in my path or grumbling about interruption to my norm? Will I accept God’s authority and obey Him or will I choose rebellion? Each decision is made in my heartDSCF7971 and works out in my mind before spilling onto those around me.

Will my life in 2015 be a masterpiece of obedience or a muddy mess of doing it my way?
The truly Good News is God is always right there when we make a mess of our lives. If we are sorry and choose to turn to Him to change our ways, He hits the refresh or delete button, depending on the relationship. He casts our sins behind His back. And gives us a new page, a fresh canvas washed clean by the blood of Jesus and restores our life—if we choose to trust and obey Him as we continue 2015’s journey.
What about you? How are you readying yourself for the New Year? Or are there smudges, stains and scum from 2014 that need Jesus’ healing touch to transform your life or your family? He loves you and longs for you to trust Him. Not just now, but forever.
The last minutes of this old year are drawing to a close. How will you color the blank canvas or fill the blank pages of 2015? With Jesus or with the things of this world?

“And he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true;’…and behold, I am coming quickly. ‘Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.’… ‘Behold, I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:6-13 NAS).
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come, let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost” (Revelation 22:17 NAS).
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly. Amen’” (Revelation 22:20 NAS).

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