Monday, July 19, 2010
I was making this for a "party"/ art contest I was having on my Flickr stream to celebrate my 3 year anniversary on there. I wanted to involve people, so I tried to make something interesting, and invited lots of my contacts. What I didn't think about was, I was saying a lot about myself and my belief system. [to see the contest description and entries on my photostream, click here:
"The Watchers" on ArteZoe's stream on Flickr
to go directly to the related gallery, use this link:]
The Winners' Gallery by ArteZoe on Flickr
I believe this artwork represents a safe, clean and fun celebration. The reason I now call this "The Watchers" is because it is full of personages who are watching "the viewer" and the party-goers. The reality of this is what keeps a "party" or other get-together safe and fun. Really, faithful oversight is what should keep life on this planet a free and enjoyable thing. (There is much to say about this, but I probably won't say it-- I'll let you think about it instead.)
First, I thought of the woman in the foreground as being my "alter ego," or an artistic representation of myself. She is the hostess, and the reigning princess in this artistic space, as I am of my Flickr stream and all my other places, whether in cyberspace or in my 3D world. If it's in my realm of authority, I have the responsibility of watching over it. If evil tries to come in, it's my duty to get rid of it. Because I take this responsibility, my places are safe, fun and peaceful places to be. I take this very seriously. To me, hospitality is much more than a physical task, although I try to do my best at that as well. It is an opportunity to serve people and minister to their souls and spirits as well as bless them with physical pleasure and comfort. I hope this is what I am able to do with my creative work in general, and in my home.
Because this artwork was a form of self portrait, I put in several things that were symbolic to me personally. The large chickadee in the foreground represents me as a child. The reason for this is that my mother always used to call me "chickadee." The chickadee says to me that I should never lose my childlike joy and wonder in life, or my freedom of creativity. I need to be true to myself and who I was created to be.
The chickadee also reminds me that I shouldn't reject the good things about my upbringing: how to be a great hostess was one of the things my mother well demonstrated and taught to me. Here, the chickadee becomes one of the watchers; although I am free from overbearing parental voices (speaking psychologically), I still respect my parents and the conscience they built into me. I am most grateful for it, especially seeing so many people these days who seem to have no conscience. Our conscience can be added as one of the watchers. If we are still minors, our parents are still watchers in our life. They are responsible for keeping their children as safe and healthy as they can, giving them a good home and environment, and training them to be fine adults. The boundaries they set and the discipline they do should be loving and consistent, and based on God's truths and an understanding of them.
Lack of diligent and loving parenting is one of the main reasons the younger generations are hurting so much. In general, they seem to be parenting themselves and each other. This affects the future of society and is a great concern of mine. In this artwork, the young people are having a free and fun time, without fear or inhibition. They don't need to be rebellious (or distant from the watchers) because they understand that the watchers have their best interests at heart. This could be considered a rather utopian view, one which doesn't hold up well if you look around at the world. This is a Kingdom of God view, not exactly a "world view, because the only trustworthy watchers would be those who are faithfully submitted to God. Children really can trust them.
People in the world today seem to be polarizing into one of two categories (speaking in great generalities here): either completely rebellious against all authority, or totally too trusting-- to the gullible and easily deceived and controlled level. Neither one of these stances are safe. There's only one way to be truly safe and free, and that is under God's perfect rule and covering.
The glowing gazebo represents a covering and a safe place. In much of my artwork it also symbolizes a place of romantic privacy and marital bliss, faithfulness and safety. Interestingly enough (to me at least), the gazebo takes on that meaning here as well. Another level of meaning in this artwork is purity and faithfulness in a couple's relationship. The white rose represents love and purity. The hostess feels safe and generous because she is in proper relationship with her husband (even though he is not obviously in the picture). The swans always represent marital love, purity and faithfulness in my artwork, as in nature swans stay with their mate throughout their life. In this artwork, the swans are swimming away from the guests, leading them towards the castle on the lake. The castle represents the Kingdom of God as a place of safety and loving rule by Christ the King.
The message in this for the upcoming generations is that it is possible, and needful, to keep themselves sexually pure until marriage, and to keep their marriage holy by being loving and faithful to one another. As children grow into teens, especially with the pressure towards sexual experimentation and same-sex relationships, it is very important that the watchers in their lives help them in these choices. It is truly in their best interest to do things God's way, and life definitely is much more fun when one is free from dark and evil.
There are a couple of other watchers, who seem dark, but that is simply because their jobs are mostly unseen by us. The bagpiper in the gazebo on the right is, at first glance, simply an interesting mode of entertainment. I put him there because I happen to like bagpipes and other celtic music, and this, of course, is my party! But thinking about the concept of watchers, I realize he represents another set of watchers: "the great cloud of witnesses" in heaven. Some of my ancestors are English, Scottish and Irish. This is part of a traditional heritage that I am interested in historically and artistically. It is also part of my religious heritage. The ancestors who have gone before are all watching, hoping we will hold fast to the truths they lived their lives and died for. As Christians seeking to walk daily by the leading of the Holy Spirit, it is wise not to stray from the foundations and clear paths built by our forebears.
The other mysterious watcher on the left -- the mythical beast the griffin-- represents an angelic warrior to me, I think, as lions and eagles are both spiritual (and prophetically meaningful) symbols in the Bible. God's angels are watchers who are constantly ready to follow God's word. As long as we are submitted to God, they will be guarding us and our environment. The mythological griffin guarded the gold. In one way, I see the significance of trusting God and His agents to be the watcher over my property, including my intellectual property and images. Knowing this allows me to be free to show my artwork on the internet. The spiritual griffin will protect my interests. I think this griffin also represents my own spirit, watching with discerning spiritual eyes of the eagle and the strength of a lion that comes from the Lord.
Christ-- the watcher over all--appears on the right, as the lion, as He does very often in my artwork. Because He is not completely visible, one understands that He is shown as spiritually present at all times. Looking more deeply and spiritually into the artwork, one can see that the woman actually represents the Church as the bride of Christ, and in this role, she practices hospitality in the world in a very meaningful and powerful way. The local church is a watcher in the lives of its members, serving them as God's own family. The universal church of Christ is also a watcher in the world. She has the responsibility of holding forth the truths of God, meeting needs through God's provision, and bringing the world's issues before His throne in prayer.
You can take the idea of watchers as a good or bad thing, depending on your point of view. Many people chafe at the authority of the watchers, and refuse to acknowledge them as being good. They feel closed in, suffocated, and repressed by the watchers, whether they realize they are there or not. They rebel. But others, like myself, are grateful for the watchers. There is true safety under the watchful eyes of all those who love and take responsibility for seeing God's creation and people treated with justice, righteousness, and love. God sees everything always, and there's no getting away from it. Freedom and joy come when we at last realize that He is the light of life.
A few Scriptures to help you begin a Bible study on the topic of watchers:
Genesis 31:49; Judges 7:17-19; 2Kings 11:5-7; Nehemiah 4:9, 7:3, 12:25; Job 7:20, 13:27; Psalm 127:1, 139; 141:3; Proverbs 15:3; Isaiah 21:6; Jeremiah 18:15; Ezekiel 33: 6-7; Daniel 4:17, 12:1; Nahum 2:1; Mark 13:34-37; Romans 1:30; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:1-4; Hebrews 12:1,13:7
The background for the artwork was my own photo of a pink crystal chandelier.
Credits for licensed stock images used in this composite:
Royal beauty © Anna Minina
Castle on lake © Stefano Maccari
Bandstand © Martinturzak
Rose © Jevgenia Petrova
Frozen lake in the alps with swans © Bas Meelker
Misty Sea © Petr Doubek
Beautiful small waterfalls © Wolfgang Amri
Griffin #01 © Ralf Kraft
Detail Romantic garden © Tamas [used to decorate the princess' dress]
Cup of tea and teapot © Galina Ermolaeva
Scottish bagpipes © Photowitch
Vintage Willow Pattern Background © Kathleen Good
Male Lion © Eric Gevaert
Couple jumping © Edyta Pawlowska
Chickadee 7 © Bruce Macqueen
Peacefull hawaii beach © Csaba Fikker
All stock images licensed from Dreamstime.com
"The Watchers" is by Karen Gladys Henry.
© 2010 All Rights Reserved.
For permission to use in any way besides a personal desktop or reblogging with link, please email me at ArteZoe@gmail.com
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
When Jesus came out from the wilderness, he began his ministry in power.
This artwork shows a battlefield-- a very personal one for me. Having been saved from the occult myself, by Christ Jesus, I can only do what is right and try to shine His light out into the world, perhaps to draw others to Him, who is the only way to God. I am aware of the danger of battling for a mountain that Satan holds at present. I know I am not beyond temptation or deception. As I step out of my "cave" where I feel safe from the world, I take the risk of being stumbled by something in it. And yet I can do no good by hiding my light. Therefore, I must partake of the feast of the Lord "in the presence of my enemies," since now they know where I am. And though I am not afraid of them, they do try to hinder me. I thank the Lord for His constant presence and protection, and that He will defend me as I remain in Him.
The images I used for this composite were licensed from Dreamstime.com
Castlerigg stone circle © Boguslaw Kupisinski
Round Antique Table 3d © Vadim Andrushchenko
Old goblet © Ole Jakob Ihlebæk
Ornate Table Lamp Chandelier © Margojh
Red grapes isolated © Cs333
Emerald Tree Boa © Eric Isselée
Challah bread isolated on white © Kgfoto
Wicker Bottle © Fabrizio Troiani
Olive II © Pjgon71
Cheese isolated on white © Yana Gulyanovska
Grunge texture © Draganea
Tattered Scroll Collection © Cajoer
The beginning of the tornado © Victor Zastol`skiy
Sheep with lamb © John Butterfield
Celtic flower design © Patrick Guenette
Fencing © Galina Afanasyeva
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
This work began as a study for a painting I had promised a friend, quite some time ago. I have since decided that trying to paint detailed and surreal images like this would take more time than I have, so I've concluded that my digital composite art will have to do. I am happy with this mode of expression now~ I have made my peace with it!
Her request was for a "lion and lamb" picture, and I know she likes gardens, so I began to create a spiritual garden mostly from photos of my own of the Cummer in Jacksonville. The olive tree, of course, doesn't grow there in the natural world. But I was envisioning a mountaintop garden, and since Jesus often prayed and rested with his disciples on the Mount of Olives, I thought it was fitting. It represents here the Tree of Life. I was concerned at first that it didn't seem to have olives on it, and I was going to try to clone them in, but I decided it wasn't necessary, as "the leaves are for the healing of the nations."
In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Revelations 22:2
Now this picture doesn't match up with the Biblical description here, but then there's at least one in Genesis that's different. What I'm thinking is that wherever Jesus is, there's the Tree of Life, since He is the Life. I don't have clear revelation on "twelve fruits," so I am going to leave that alone right now. I figure that He can bear fruit in His season, and that is His doing not mine. I do know that in the natural world, olive leaf is a useful herb that promotes health and healing, and I occasionally use it myself if I'm fighting an infection! Olive oil is also one of those really healthy things, and it stands for anointing in Scripture. Sometimes I can't put every detail into a piece that there possibly could be, so we have to see the possibilities for understanding even in that which is "unspoken" but can be "read between the lines."
The main subject is Christ, and the Lion and the Lamb both represent Him:
But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals." Revelation 5:5
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29
"for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:17
In this picture, the lion and lamb are actually sitting on a rock that is in the middle of a stream! That may seem uncomfortable, but this is a spiritual representation. It's the river of God, which "proceeds from the throne of God"
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22:1
Since this is a symbolic representation of the Kingdom of God, we will assume the throne of God is present but unseen as is God Himself. The rule of God is visible however, in its effects. Here, one of the effects is peace. Remember that one of the premises I go on in my artistic representations of spiritual things is this:
nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:21
So, if the Kingdom is in you by the indwelling Christ (shown by the dove who symbolizes the Holy Spirit), then the outcome would be peace. This of course is a process, but we should be having an increase of peace as the rule of Christ in our life increases:
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:7
As much holy zeal as the Lord has, He is always at peace, which is why I have chosen to show the lion and lamb lying down. He expects us to rest in Him as well, and be at peace. He is the Prince of Peace! There is no reason, no valid excuse really, to live in worry, stress and doubt if He is our King and Shepherd. And what better Shepherd to have than one who knows what it's like to be a sheep?! He knows how easy it is for us to fret and have care that takes away our health and well-being. He knows our natural world does not often look like this artwork. It often looks like devastation, as in Haiti. However, for the Christian, even living in terrible circumstances and with incredible suffering does not have to steal our peace from us. Indeed, we should endeavor to enter into His peace and rest, which will shelter us in times of difficulty.
Hbr 4:10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. . . Hbr 4:11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. . . Hbr 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. . . Hbr 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4 [I suggest reading the whole chapter, and also Psalm 91].
Jesus words about the end times were about tribulation of all types, so we should not be dismayed at the happenings in the world.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33
We are to expect trials, tribulations, and persecutions, but we have the Spirit if we belong to Christ, and one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace. Tribulation also works to train our character and bring us into line with Christ's character, of which patient endurance is certainly part. (Galatians 5:22; Romans 5:3) Small trials throughout our life help make us stronger and more able to deal with large problems later. But if we do have to deal with something for which we are not ready, then His grace is sufficient:
And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
I have had plenty of opportunities in my life to test the validity of this Scripture, and I testify that is it indeed true! And yet, sometimes I worry that something will happen in life, some big disaster or something, that I won't be able to handle. Then the Lord gently reminds me of how His grace carried me through things I thought would certainly destroy me, or at least my mental stability.
No matter what, we have the hope of Christ's return in glory to rule on the earth! I am looking for that, praying that it will be soon. When we think of the "millenial reign" we probably first think of peace! I love the word picture that Isaiah "painted" about that:
"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them." Isaiah 11:6
We often get these words confused with the "lion and lamb" concept, but I think these pictures fit together, so I took advantage of the fact that seeing a lion and lamb lying down together would evoke a concept of the millenial reign as well. We often don't think of the fact that as we mature, our picture of Christ matures as well. We may know Him as the Lamb at first (He is easier to handle that way), and then the Lion of Judah later (which I see as a more warlike representation, one that has already defeated Satan). Eventually we will be comfortable knowing Him as both the Lion and the Lamb together, understanding that He will manifest whatever facet of Himself that is necessary for the time.
These things were all in me as I "painted" but I received a "hidden manna" from it as I meditated on the picture and prayed for more understanding. I saw it while I was listening to a Brenda Craig teaching on the Word. Suddenly I saw that the garden here is divided into three parts. I knew this when I did it but I didn't see what it really showed. It is all about how we pursue (seek after) the Lord.
This is what I saw: on the left, He leads us into green pastures, a place of quiet and rest. He does all the work, we just lean on Him and soak in His presence. In the middle, there seems to be no way in, just something you can look into but not walk to. The Lord showed me that there are two ways to go deeper, dive in or fly in! This is spiritual, and it's takes seeking the Lord to understand. But it takes a leap of faith and giving up your own control. The third way of pursuing the Lord is climbing. As on the right hand side of the picture, one has to climb up some steep stairs to venture out into more of who He is. You might get to a mountain top and have a revelation of God. You might go down into a valley then to serve, and discover more of His character and have it worked into you. It's about action, testing, and experience. But it all takes us to a higher level with Him. Each of these three modes requires faith, hope and love-- along with obedience and perseverance. But they will all three lead to more intimacy with Christ and knowing God more.
I haven't explained the statue (from Middleton Place in South Carolina). What do you think it means? Comments?
Credit for images licensed for use in this composite:
Grand old olive tree © Manicblue
Hills & Swiss Alps © Ken Brown
Rotunda in Crimea © Vladyslav Surnin
Lamb © Mikael Damkier
Male Lion © Eric Gevaert
Beautiful stone urn with flowers © Douglas Freer
White Dove in Flight 6 © Christopher Ewing
"The Kingdom of Peace" is a composite artwork by Karen Gladys Henry © 2009. All rights reserved. For permission to use this image in any way other than copying to your computer as wallpaper, please email me at ArteZoe@gmail.com Thank you.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Manuscript with flowers 2 © Alexmax
Images from Dreamstime.com
"Guided Safely Home" is a composite artwork by Karen Gladys Henry © 2009. All rights reserved. For permission to use this image in any way other than copying to your computer as wallpaper, please email me at ArteZoe@gmail.com Thank you.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
This blog and artwork is by Karen Gladys Henry, Copyright 2009, All rights reserved. For permission to use please email me at ArteZoe@gmail.com Thank you.
This work is available for purchase at Imagekind.com, See my gallery.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I started this composite last year, I think, and once I got the images pieced together, it was mind-bogglingly tedious work getting it all blended. I am now glad that my work on it was temporarily suspended as I gathered my resolve to finish it. Right after I did, my pastor began teaching on some things that gave me more insight into this image.
As I had already chosen to call it "Entrance", I had realized I was depicting an entrance into the Kingdom of God. The circular doorway represents eternity. The woman standing there is symbolic of the Church of believers, and the lion on the top left stands for Christ, the Lion of Judah. To me it seems the woman is curtsying to Him, or greeting Him in a loving and worshipful manner. She has on a veil, since she is His Bride, but she is not dressed in white linen yet, as the works she is to do are empowered from the Kingdom, which she has not yet entered.
On this side of the wall, we see a rather watery garden, representing the Earth. At this point, the woman is still facing the Earth, or her earthly life. There are three "waters" here: the sea (humanity), the fountain which is old and toppling over into the sea (religion), and the stream of Life, which is flowing out from the Kingdom. The Tree has roots going down into the sea, showing that Jesus has roots in the Earth because He was the Son of Man. But the Tree is on top of the wall, and if we use our imaginations we can see there are roots going down the other side of the wall into the heavenly Kingdom, because Jesus is also the Son of God. The stream represents "the Way", which is full of difficulties, but leads straight to the Kingdom. The stream also is Jesus, as He is the Way. He is also the Entrance.* Above the circular door are the Greek letters alpha and omega, which represent the beginning and the end, and this is a name used for Jesus in the Bible. Jesus, the King, is overseeing the earthly garden as well as the heavenly Kingdom and the gateway into it. He glows with His own light.
On the other side of the entrance, we see a vista of glowing mountains, clouds and heavenly lights representing a spiritual and perfect realm we've rarely or never seen with our eyes. There is a sunrise/sunset because the sun is setting on one era and rising on another. There is outer space and galaxies because the Kingdom is much greater than anything we can grasp or imagine. It encompasses all of creation. The huge mountain represents the Kingdom of God as is depicted in Daniel's dream: a mountain that is covering the whole world (Daniel 2:35,44). Until the Bride enters the Kingdom, the government of God does not cover the earth. But when she submits to her Lord, she becomes part of the Entrance, and the Kingdom of God will enter the earthly garden through her, creating the situation needed for the King to return to Earth in person.
Although the earthly garden reflects some of the heavenly realm, and one can see some of it if one lifts the eyes upward or gets close to the Entrance, it is still difficult to see from the vantage point shown in this artwork. This is where my pastor's teaching offers some insight.
He began with this scripture, where Jesus says:
"If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" John 3:12
At church, we discussed how the earthly things were those things revealed by scripture, especially things Jesus said and did, that pertain to life here. This includes repentance and forgiveness, all kinds of healing and deliverance, and learning how to walk in Spirit and Truth. Most scripture has to do with earthly things, things we need now. Since Jesus is the door into Life, and the Way to God, we must accept Him as Savior in order to see the Kingdom.*
Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3
After we've followed Him for a while we begin to see what the Kingdom of God is all about. We start out thinking it's just about after we die we get to go to heaven. But as we mature, we realize there is much more, and that it is for now as well as later.
". . . as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3-11 NKJV
Notice that he says that if we lack these things we are shortsighted, or blind, meaning that we can't see the Kingdom! But if we are diligent about obtaining them, we will be supplied an entrance into that Kingdom.
After Jesus' initial statement to Nicodemus about being born again, he said something else:
Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' John 3:5-7
Nicodemus didn't get it, and this is where Jesus said "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" Being born again is an earthly thing! How do we get born again? By believing the Word and receiving it/Him. The Word is Truth and Jesus is Truth. First our minds our renewed by hearing the Word; we begin to change and grow by acting on it in faith. But we also need to receive it into our hearts: this is being born again in the Spirit. The Word grows in our hearts until He is all in all~ of full stature. This is when we gain an entrance into the Kingdom. But first we must see it, or we won't keep on the difficult Way to Life.
Jesus' prayer to the Father, before he was crucified and resurrected, was that we would be one with Him, the Father, and one another (John 17). This is accomplished in the Spirit as we lay down the things that hinder us and we allow God to rule us. We are "seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:20), but we have to learn to walk in that reality. He has already purchased it for us, and He is in us and we are in Him if we are born again. But how many of us participate in that? It is His desire that we not only see the Kingdom from afar and hope to enter it after we die, but that we see it as right near us, that we press on to enter it, and that we regularly take what we gain there and demonstrate it in the earthly realm. This is my spiritual quest.
'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Revelation 3:14- 22 NKJV
In Victorian lore, as far as I can find, wisteria represents "youth and poetry". If I take it in a spiritual sense, to me it represents humility, teachability and prophetic revelation. It also has an appearance like grapes, so it also says fruitfulness to me. And I have to say, it partly just needed to be there as a visual balance. The irises are quite significant, I found out after I put them there. It's not a biblical meaning, but a traditional, Victorian one (I think the Lord can still use our understood languages as a means of communication). It means "I have a message for you", and also stands for faith, wisdom, promise in love, hope and valor. All these are found in the 2 Peter passage.
I hope this stirs you to pursue what has been offered us through Christ. I am seeking to see much more of the Kingdom, so that I can help others enter in.
*To the sides of this picture there are two other openings in the wall. These are not "other ways to God". The fact is that God is a triune being, and He's the only door into His own Kingdom. The reality that Jesus is the Way to Life and God is not my idea: it is not a product of personal prejudice or intolerance. It's God's own statement: He chose to give Christ "all authority in heaven and on earth". If it were up to me, I'd make it easy. But it's not up to me. If you don't believe my testimony and that of the Bible, then ask God to show you the truth of it, and if you really want to know, He will show you. Then you'll know I'm not making it up. You can have an internal witness that is unassailable.
Credits for this artwork:
Many images went into making this~ my thanks to all the photographers:
[tree image no longer available]
My own sunset and ocean photos were used, along with a public domain space photo. The image inside the circular entrance is also a composite of my own photos.
Friday, April 24, 2009
The "headless" mannequin represents the individual Christian, and also the Body of Christ. He is the Head and we are members of His Body. This is not just a metaphor~ it is a reality! Unless we get a handle on this concept and begin to live it, we will not be able to appropriate (grasp, receive, put into practice, get the benefit of) what Christ did for us. When He died, He set the "will and testament" in motion, meaning we can now receive our inheritance as the children of God and joint heirs with Christ. When Jesus rose from the dead, He conquered death, and is now alive forever to see to it that we come into the full oneness with God that was intended. Without submission to God and His will, we are not allowing the Head to rule in our life, and truly we are cut off from the source of life that is in us.
Too many Christians quote the verse "we have the mind of Christ" and don't seek to actually have it. We're not born with it!! Surely we have a new nature in our born-again spirits, with the capacity for spiritual understanding and growth. But it is not a given that we will grow and mature, or that we will gain all that we have a potential for. We must pursue it, according to the Scriptures and the leading of the Holy Spirit. His mind, more expansive and full of all wisdom and knowledge beyond what we can comprehend or imagine, is available to us at all times. But we must undergo a transformation! Our carnal mind(which is earthly, sinful and dark, and focused on death and lies) must be changed and renewed in order to understand and act upon the truth and light that is in the mind of God. Jesus made a way for us, but we must give up our old ways of thinking. Our belief systems are grungy, don't function properly, and lead us down all the wrong paths. The Scriptures are alive and active to restore the functions of our minds, and emotions as well. This enables our bodies to work properly also. The more our minds are changed from the old dead nature to the new, the more of a "renaissance" we will experience. This is true revival, not just church meetings.
In this image, you can see an iconic picturization* of Jesus carrying the cross. The mannequin has got its arm through it, signifying that we must embrace the cross. This means saying (and meaning) the same as Jesus did in Gethsemane, "not my will but thine be done." This place of submission to the Father's will gets us out of a place of religion and into true relationship. Jesus sought to know the Father's will, and when He knew it, He obeyed it. If it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me.
The Lamb is the symbol of Christ in the place of sacrifice for our sins. The fact that He calls us His lamb and His sheep, indicates that we are meant to identify with Him: but substituting Himself for us, we are spared the eternal punishment we deserved and by accepting the resurrection, we accept the exchange of our old life for His new one. Thus, with the verse that was "cut and pasted" into the collage, we recognize that we suffer the loss of the old, that which was death to us, but we rejoice because the end is in sight: abundant life now and life with God eternally.
The communion chalice is included: it is beautiful and entwined with vines, because He is the Vine from whom we draw our life. His blood, represented by the wine, was shed so that we could be made holy. There are three spheres in the artwork, showing that redemption is for us in three parts of our being: the spirit, the soul and the body. It also means we must overcome in three arenas: the world, the flesh and the devil. One is being dipped into the cup, a picture of the "host" of the Eucharist: because His body was broken, then resurrected, our body can be healed, and resurrected into an incorruptible life. Jesus has gone before, and is leading the way.
I hope the explanation of this artwork helps you understand more of the covenant we have in Christ, and what it means to have His mind.
Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
"that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another." Ephesians 4:22-25
Then He said to [them] all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You [will]."
For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then [I saw] the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received [his] mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
"So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified."
giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
A bonus message:
*"picturization" is a word I coined, meaning "making a picture as a representation", (similar form as "verbalization")
Thursday, April 16, 2009
This is both a heavenly place and an earthly place. It can be the throne room of Heaven, with the Lamb of God on the throne receiving worship. There is music in the air! The woman in white could be seen as an angel, but I mostly see her as the Bride worshipping in adoration before the throne. She is dressed in white, "the righteous acts of the saints", with which she makes herself ready for the Beloved.
I particularly see this as a simultaneously earthly place, because of the appearance of the room, which looks like it's nighttime. The lamb represents to me not only the Lamb of God, but God's little lambs. All children have angels for protection, and these ministers are always in the presence of God. All children, both natural children and spiritual children, need nurture and protection. Mothers and caretakers, pastors, counselors, teachers, etc., are all messengers and are responsible to impart the love and character of the Father to their charges. We should all keep in mind that these little ones belong to Him. He is the Good Shepherd, and as stewards, we must be found faithful. I also think of "whatever you do to the least of these, you've done it unto Me." When we serve the little ones as unto Him, the Lamb receives it as worship, and receives it with joy. The setting also reminds me of the Passover lamb that was taken into the home and loved as a pet before it was offered as a sacrifice, which holds much deep prophetic meaning about the Christ.
Scripturally, I don't see the heavenly angels as women, it doesn't refer to them as such, but sometimes says "a young man in a white robe". Other references to angels, such as seraphim, depict them as much more brilliant, powerful and multidimensional in ways that I have not been able to express artistically at this time. Whether you see this figure as an individual, the collective Bride, an angel, or even a fairy perhaps, the meaning is the same: a spiritual messenger from the throne room of God with blessings from Him. If we are born again, we are also spiritual beings with messages of love and truth from Him, and therefore the term "angels" can be properly applied to us as well, as that is what the word means: "messenger".
So be encouraged~ if you faithfully minister to His lambs, the Lamb of God receives your service. And in order to minister faithfully to His lambs, it is essential to minister to the Lamb Himself and to absorb His Presence through worship, intercession and careful listening to His voice.
for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
"Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did [it] to one of the least of these My brethren, you did [it] to Me.'
and said to them, "Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great."
For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. [it says "are like", not are]