I am taking this week off to rest, relax, and reflect on all the Thanksgiving holiday means. I hope you are as well. Enjoy your family, friends, and, of course, good food. See you next week.
As you probably know by now, I am fascinated by art and in awe of artists — how they can look at a blank canvas, a lump of clay, or a piece of wood and then create something beautiful.
A week ago, I went to the reception for the November North Valley Art League’s exhibit. People attend each month for a variety of reasons: they know the artists; they are the artist; they enjoy local art; there are free hors d’oeuvres. (I hit two of the four.)
Most of the mediums I saw I was familiar with: mixed media, ceramic, mosaic, watercolor, acrylic, photography.
But one was new to me. Scratchboard. I had never seen nor heard of it before and had to talk to one of the artists to understand it. I was fascinated.
Perhaps you are already familiar with this art form, but if you aren’t here is a brief explanation: Scratchboard is a type of engraving where the artist scratches off the dark top layer of ink to reveal the white beneath. From my viewpoint it is extremely intricate with little room for error.
A local artist had one in black and white, but on the other two he had added color and the finished work looked like a photograph. I couldn’t take pictures of this artists, but I have supplied two examples of scratchboard art from the internet. The black and white is from Carrie K. King’s website and the one in color is by Nicolas Delort.
I know I say it again and again, but it is always worth repeating. We are God’s handiwork. He is the master artist, and the Bible reminds us of this:
Isaiah 64:8: We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s handiwork . . .
Philippians 1:6: He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion . . .
We have been created in God’s image. We have the ability to imagine and create, and if human artists can create such beauty from the such base beginnings, imagine how much more can God do with our lives if we only let Him.
Last week we took a look at Israel and its place in history as God’s people.
Israel was chosen, set apart, so that the world could see how God interacts with His people. What it means to belong to God.
One thing it meant was that they were to live differently than the rest of the world. They were to be obedient to God. If they were, they would be blessed. If they weren’t, they would be disciplined, (though sometimes God extended His mercy in both cases.)
But, as discussed last week, regardless, the promises of God would always be kept.
As Christians, we, too, have become God’s chosen. We, too, belong to God. We, too, are to live differently than the rest of the world. And we, too, can be assured that God will keep every promise He has made to his followers.
This past Sunday at church, we sang “Goodness of God.” It reminded me of this awesome fact: that despite my own rebellion; despite the hurt and pain that we often experience; despite the world seeming to fall apart, God is faithful. This is a song of worship meant to be sung directly to God.
I hope you enjoy it. I hope you sing it.
A lot is happening in the Middle East.
And most of it is focused on Israel.
Why does such a small country garner so much attention and so many emotions and opinions? Because the Jews are God’s chosen people. The people He chose to be an example to the world of His love, mercy, justice, and faithfulness — and through which He chose to provide salvation to the world.
Just because Israel doesn’t seem to get it sometimes. Just because they stray and rebel and . . . (just like the rest of us), doesn’t mean God reneges on His promises. God NEVER reneges on His promises.
Israel has always been important and always will be important in fulfilling God’s purposes.
For those of you not familiar with the history of the conflicts and claims surrounding Israel, I have provided a link that will give you a brief, but thorough, rundown of both (The Middle East Crisis in Biblical Perspective).
I have also included a site that you can either watch the video or read the accompanying transcript regarding Israel in the End Times. It runs around 5 minutes. (What is Israel's Role in the End Times?)
God is certainly working — as He has always worked — in the world and through Israel.
Jody Eileen Solinski spent her career teaching in the California public school system where she enjoyed helping young adults take their place in society. A native Californian, she enjoys the outdoors and so loves living in Northern California where she can enjoy the beauty of God’s creation up close.