In the Mediaeval times there was a period where the art was developing in leaps and bounds. Profiles and pictures of humans went from looking flat and disproportionate to gaining depth and expression like never seen before. Soon pictures went from the individual to multiple group paintings of various settings. Paintings began to communicate much more than simply the beauty of a local landscape or a person’s image. Historical occasions and Biblical narratives were being painted to convey particular messages.
These Renaissance masters studied each other’s methods and excelled in their pursuits. Kings and nobles commissioned various masters to create distinct impressions of their rule and their kingdoms.
The story is told of one of the Masters that had an only child. She was about the age of six when she saw her father clear a canvas one evening and begin to paint. She knew he would not reject her as she climbed up in his lap. Without a word he gave her the pallet of paint and a fresh brush.
Apart from any forethought she began to paint - this way and that way, here a little, there a little, with seemingly no rhyme or reason. Her father, after letting her doodle for some time, looked at her, and she asked him to teach her how to paint. He then gently put his hand over hers and guided her brushstrokes showing her how to paint a simple cluster of grapes on the vine.
Forgetting all time, she continued on her own for awhile until her father stilled her hand, picked up his brush and put the last brushstroke on the painting, signed it, and led her off to bed.
That was to be her only lesson in painting. Sadly, and unexpectedly, only two days later she suffered a fever of which she never recovered. That work of art became one of his beloved treasures. Folks nearest him said scarcely a day would go by that he wouldn’t think about her. He decided she would live in his art gallery, and before he too passed away he had painted scores of brilliant scenes of his little princess.
In James chapter four the Scripture teaches that our lives are but a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Our lives begin like that canvas in the Master’s hand. He allows us to add color and drama to the picture of our lives. In fact He gives us time on our own to either doodle or create something beautiful. I wonder, . . have you ever asked Him to teach you how to paint? With His tender love and care He puts His hand over ours and teaches us how to live in such a way that our lives might be something beautiful.
Have you ever thought what kind of painting you are going to leave behind? When the Master of Heaven and Earth one day puts the last brushstroke upon the painting of your life I pray that you too will be found in His lap enjoying His presence and that He would treasure the painting of your life in His gallery. Amen.
Throughout history various architects have been known for their own peculiar architecture. Bridges, towers, aqueducts, monuments, and diverse dwellings they have designed express the architects own unique signature. And of course if the structure stands the test of time, as well as the eye of the critic, there is a certain earthly glory or prestige that is acquired for the majesty or beauty of their particular structure.
Oddly enough to some, the Scripture teaches that there is a structure not made with man’s hands that is unique and singularly majestic, not because of its constituent parts but because of it’s builder (Hebrews 3:1-6). The signature attached to this Temple of the Living God is the one and only signature of the Lord Jesus Christ Who said, “I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
A Philadelphia preacher, now passed into glory, used to tell the story of a man who lived during the Great Depression in America. This man lost his business and therefore his source of income and wealth. Not long after that he also lost his wife and home. In the depths of discouragement, walking through the streets of his home town in New York, he came upon a stone mason working near a rather large cathedral. As the mason, using his hammer, was chipping away at a choice stone the gentleman asked the man what he was doing. The mason replied, “oh, I’m preparing this down here in order for it to fit in up there,” looking towards the empty space near the spire of the great cathedral. That being said the Christian man believed God was speaking to him about his own life.
So it is with the Master Builder of this universe. He continues to fashion Himself a dwelling place made of living stones, “preparing them down here in order to fit in up there.” This Temple not made with hands is where His praises are heard. A place where prayer and petition are brought before him with earnest pleading. A place where He has promised to meet with His people and make His glory known. Til this day He continues to mine choice stones from the darkest recesses of this fallen earth and from some of the most unmentionable quarries. He takes these stones, with all their different personalities and proclivities and gives them new life and new purpose. He takes formerly filthy stones and cleanses them afresh. He fashions them with the dexterity of a Master Mason and makes for Himself a structure of unparalleled beauty! Some are polished, some are rough hewn, but all these living stones have the mark of the Master upon them and they are all precious to Him. By grace all have been joined to the Chief Cornerstone Himself creating an eternal edifice to bring Him glory both now and forever more. Amen.
If I can be of any help or assistance please contact me. Adam Osworth Pastor, Grace Reformed Baptist Church of Clayton County.
Time was short in the School of Christ. The disciples would have merely three years and six months to learn what the Master Teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ, had to teach them. Today the halls of education might call it an “Accelerated Track.” The Sea of Galilee would prove to be intense training ground. Hands on learning is always profitable and most of the time unforgettable.
Just like the Lord knew them, He also knows His followers in the 21st century. He knows them so well that in His wisdom He knows that His disciples cannot have a mature spiritual life sustained solely by head knowledge. They must have a measure of experience that brings them to greater depths of wisdom and comprehension regarding firstly, the world they live in, (with all its situations and circumstances), secondly, regarding themselves, and thirdly regarding Jesus as Lord over all things.
So, out of the flow of an otherwise ordinary day, the Lord of heaven and earth allows this evening storm on the Sea of Galilee to teach His disciples some invaluable lessons.
Perhaps we could say the first crucial lesson is that “storms can arise unexpectedly.” At any moment, without any forewarning, we can find ourselves immersed in a “storm situation” of which we have no control over. Notice this particular storm rose up in the environment they were familiar with! Nevertheless even in this environment the Lord’s chosen disciples experienced the awful feeling of helplessness! The storm was bigger than themselves! This may sound very familiar to you as you read this. Or, maybe today, out of the flow of an otherwise ordinary day, you will be met with a threatening storm even as the disciples were caught unexpectedly.
The comfort in the time of trouble however is found in the second indispensable lesson, that “storms are not sovereign.” Storms may be very threatening but they are not independent, self-determining, or autonomous. Storms are allowed to enter into our lives at the gracious hand of an omnipotent God who, in His plan and purpose, desires to purge us of our dross, increase our faith, and refine us in the fires of trials that at the second coming of Christ, our purified faith would be counted more precious than gold that perishes (1 Peter 1:7).
The third vital lesson learned was that “storms are not the enemy.” The storm that day forced the disciples to understand that many a day may come when an unexpected situation, of which we have no control over, may invade my life and threaten my peace. It taught them how powerless they really were in themselves. But most significantly to go to the One who was undaunted by it all. The lesson forced them to go outside of themselves and look to Christ as their only hope, the Creator of the environment Himself, who could rightly say to the storm, “Peace, be still,” and it was.
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