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The Christian Palette, Issue # 17 Rejoice; some year end conclusions.
December 30, 2015

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I seek God at the end of each year, listening for the whispers of His voice, keen for His leading for the next.

I must still myself long enough to hear. Setting aside my agenda, I submit to Him with a willing heart, eager to do whatever He wants. There is no better way to do that other than by reading the Bible.

There are unfortunately many things that cloud hearing, and even more that prevent understanding and cherishing what I hear. Restless and impatient by nature, I am also easily distracted.

The end of the year is usually hectic with the many demands of the Christmas season. Time flies by in a whirlwind of activity. In spite of that, God is always faithful to speak.

All He wants from us is sincerity and willingness. Draw closer to Him, without falseness or impure motives and He will lavish you with blessing, like the eager Father who ran to embrace the prodigal.

Hope for the Prodigals

We are, from the least to the greatest among us, prodigals at heart. We want our way, our will and our plans to work out; rarely do we spare a thought to consider anyone else. To lift our sights heavenward for His purposes goes against the grain of our natures. Even if we do, what we hear from God is often misconstrued.

It is only because of His kindness that we make progress in this walk of faith. Despite our messes, as we press on, new light is shed on our challenges. Strength is granted to draw us further along our journey in victory.

The Command to Rejoice

God gave me a simple command at the start of 2015 that I thought I understood. “Rejoice,” He said.

How difficult could that be? I decided to study the verses that dealt with rejoicing and apply them to my life and art. It seemed like a easy subject to explore visually.

Some of the art that resulted from those explorations are on the website. But here, I feel led to share more about this seemingly uncomplicated and happy command to rejoice.

I assumed that it would be a carefree year with plenty of opportunity for rejoicing.

I was wrong.

“Rejoice” was a command given to me so that I could muster up faith.

It was a command I had to choose to obey, because there were more circumstances this year when I would rather have quaked in fear, or bawled in frustration. Instead of a trouble free year, replete with easy opportunities to rejoice, I've triumphed over a year that was fraught with moments I'd sooner have avoided than faced!

I am grateful that 2015 is almost over.

I rejoice, because I prevailed with His help.

I rejoice because of His promises, even though I've only caught a glimpse of their fulfillment. They urge me on to 2016.

I rejoice because He is faithful. In these uncertain times, I can count on Him.

Lessons Learned

• Obedience is difficult. Rejoice anyway. Don’t let the lump in your throat, the tears that flow, or the fear that oppresses prevent you from obeying.

• Rejoicing, when things are not going well, will feel false. But like every action of faith, do it anyway. Your faith is not in the circumstances that make you want to crawl into some hole and never come out. Circumstances will change. God does not. He promises victory every time, if we live life His way.

• Rejoicing under such circumstances brings a satisfaction that can’t be described. Joy somehow spills out unbidden.

• When God gives a command, it always works out well for me, if I take it seriously and obey. Obedience, He says, is far better than sacrifice.

I am aware that some of you may have had a similar year. If so, may my words encourage you to trust God and rejoice.

Easy year or not, as resilient Christian artists, let us pick ourselves up and press on in faith to 2016.

We made it this far, He will take us the rest of the way.

May God bless all your artistic endeavors in 2016!

"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield." Ps 5:11-12

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