Saturday, December 22, 2012

It All Comes Down to Love...

"It All Came Down to Love" Crystal Neubauer

Last Tuesday night my thoughts turned to the number of terrible news events that have been occurring, the mass shooting against the children of Newtown serving to illustrate the belief that we are now entering into what the Bible calls the last days and that prophecy about increasing troubles, wars, violence, severe weather and falling away is beginning to be fulfilled. On a recent Saturday morning I had a conversation with two friends about how overwhelming it can be, how easy it is to succumb to the feeling of impending doom. I found myself questioning my purpose, whether there was time for something as frivolous as teaching art and whether God really was calling me to share my passion with young women to help them learn their own identity and figure out their own purpose in life. If we truly are in the last days does it really matter?

But then, as I drove, I had a thought-which I now feel strongly was Holy Spirit prompted- that the enemy is trying to steal our hope, the hope of the church, the hope of Gods people and the hope of all mankind. He is trying to make us feel as if it is too late to make a difference and that it is all down hill from here -the country is already going to hell in a hand basket- so we might as well give up.

And if we are strong enough not to give up, this very real enemy seeks to distract and divide us over relevant issues such as gun control and mental health. If He can keep us focused on the symptom we forget about the cause, and the only real solution. Is it a coincidence that these dark events have happened just before Christmas? That the news of the world is so dark and evil at this time is a stark reminder of the need for a Savior and, just as when Jesus was born, all the earth is poised and yearning for an answer to its troubles. The world is in desperate need of hope restored and rather then tucking our tail in defeat, God’s people need to be spreading the good news now more then ever.

Oh come, Oh come Emmanuel. Rejoice. Rejoice. Emmanuel shall come to thee. Rejoice!

Jesus is the Over Comer. He is the Light and Hope of the world. He is bigger, stronger and has already won this battle that rages. The enemy already has been defeated and he knows his time to wreak havoc is short. The victory was won at the cross and our focus needs to shift back from the evil we see in the world to the hope we have in Jesus. We are ineffective in our walk if we are caught up in all the bad we see around us. Not that we are to ignore it or pretend these things don't affect us. On the contrary, our emotions are real, these tragedies are tremendous. We should weep for those who are weeping, mourn for the lost and seek justice for the defenseless among us. Show compassion and empathy. Bring a cup of water to the thirsty.

And never forget our highest commandment is to love. Spread hope. Spread peace. Spread love. Love our neighbor.

Who is our neighbor? He is the wretched Samaritan lying in a heap at the side of the street in a tattered blanket begging for change. The woman who has made bad decisions about life and love, living with her 6th abuser because she doesn’t believe she deserves any better, cannot even fathom a way out. The well dressed businessman who appears to have it all. It is the spiritually blind. Those who live entirely different lifestyles and beliefs. We are called to stop and see them. To reach out in love and befriend, not in a superior high and lofty way, but from a humble stance, as equals, as brothers, as fellow travelers, understanding if not for the grace of God  and knowing we too have messy lives and cannot claim perfection.

But we can claim freedom. We can claim hope. We are to be a light. A city on a hill speaks of hope, a lighthouse guiding the way to a safe harbor.

The bible says to resist the enemy and he will flee – and what better way to resist the enemy? 

Do not lay down in defeat, or retreat in self-defense or feelings of helplessness. Rise up. Rise up church! Rise up! Overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of your testimony. Spread hope. Spread love. Spread the good news! 

"And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." Luke 2:10

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rusty Wheels

I have written a thousand tiny blog posts in my mind, started a few of them for reals and then stopped again in the space between the last post and now. How do I even begin to write again after two+ months? I will not try to catch up with it all today, but simply attempt to begin again.

The act of motion to beget increased motion, to get these rusty wheels moving on the track again.

I have been far from inactive- I have returned to the life of full time day job and in the midst of this Christmas season find myself running to catch up - sharing a post by another blogger who recently interviewed me, Anca Gray, who will also be featured in Seth Apter's second book due to be released early in 2014. Anca writes graciously and poetically and I am taken aback at seeing through her eyes and words....

"power and fragility inhabit their shared space
harmoniously 
in crystal neubauer's work. i discovered her collages,
mixed media paintings and encaustic pieces on etsy
a couple of years ago and i have been enraptured
with the visual feast and sheer poetry of her work
ever since.
equal parts the nature of the material 
and the sensitivity of the artist,
her work tucks unutterable prayers
between delicate layers
of vintage ephemera"... read rest of interview here