Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wishes to Blow

By Hazel Holland

A child's perspective is beautiful!  All we see is a field full of weeds, but a child knows a dandelion clock when they see one.  "Mommy... Daddy... look at all the wishes to blow!" they cry out in delight.

I remember last summer showing my grandson, Jakey, how to pick dandelion clocks and blow the seeds so that the breeze would catch them.  We'd count how many blows we would get on each clock.  Then we'd make wishes with each blow, and he would try to catch the seeds before the wind carried them away and out of his reach...

You know in life we often miss out on a lot of beautiful experiences because we forget to look at ordinary things through the eyes of a child.  As a result, we lose the wonder and excitement of discovering something new in every situation we face.  We forget to be thankful for the simple joys and pleasures of life. 

I mean... seriously now... what is more ordinary than a field full of dandelions?  And yet God tells us we are His field (I Corinthians 3:9).  The seeds that He has planted in the soil of our hearts will will produce a fruitful harvest in His time... a harvest that will be appropriate to the season and the stage of growth in our lives.  So instead of seeing a field full of weeds from now on, let's open our eyes and see a fruitful field full of wishes to blow!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Jesus is My Shield

By Hazel Holland

"Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." Ephesians 6:16

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Turn Your World Upside Down

By Hazel Holland

As I began to draw this new picture for my grandson, Jakey, I wanted it to be something that would bring him joy and make him laugh.  The idea of having him look through his legs while standing in a puddle of water seemed like a fun thing to draw... until my world began to turn upside down as I tried to draw his reflection in the water!

As I looked at this picture I was reminded of another scene where Jesus' followers were accused of turning the world upside down.  I wondered what they were saying about the gospel that so disturbed the townspeople that they complained to the city authorities?  

Throughout the Bible and human history we are made aware of the strained and broken relationships that are the result of the clash between the dominant culture of the day and the spiritual kingdom that Jesus came to establish.  Could it be that in a world where the haves write the rules for the have-nots, the gospel brings hope to the have-nots, but threatens to upset the comfort zones of the haves? 

The Good News is preached to the poor, but the rich are sent away empty.  Those who have broken hearts are comforted, but the proud and arrogant remain heartless.  Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are filled, but the self-righteous are too full of themselves.  God’s kingdom proclaims freedom to the captives so that the blind see, but those who see continue to be blind.

The radical gospel calls us to love one another, including our enemies, as Jesus loved us and gave Himself for us.  This spiritual kingdom that Jesus came to establish in our hearts is a kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy.  Will you allow His love to flow through your heart to others so that their world will be turned upside down, too?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Becoming Like Children...

By Hazel Holland

 God is bringing His children back into childlike joy and
 freedom so that He can make them fisher's of men.

As I was drawing this picture for Jakey today I was remembering how much he always loves the water.  So I can just imagine his delight at finding a big fish like this while playing in the ocean! 

You know God is interested in finding big fish and little fish in His ocean, too..  Since He's fishing for people, He's calling us to leave the "nets" we have trusted in and follow Him instead.  His Spirit is still drawing men and women, boys and girls to Himself... one by one.  He's still calling His children into childlike joy and freedom so that he can make them fisher's of men...

Link: Leaving Our Adventist Nets

Called to Be Free!

By Hazel Holland

Since we are called to be free, let's serve one another in love.
 Galatians 5:13

I decided yesterday that I would try using pastels to draw a picture for my three year old grandson, Jakey.  Since he can't read yet, I thought that he might enjoy receiving a new picture in the mail from me each week as a reminder of how much I love him.  So this is my first try at doing a kid picture...

Drawing this picture for Jakey brought me such unexpected joy!  I really was not expecting it to bring out the playful child in me, but it did.  And then God's Spirit began to speak to my heart about how drawing pictures for Jakey will bring about further healing of my childhood memories as well...  As I send Jakey weekly reminders of how much he's loved, I'll be able to enter into priceless moments of his exuberant childhood joy... 

Have you received a "picture" lately of how much you're loved by the Father?  If you have, go share it with someone who needs to know how much He loves them, too.  If you haven't, ask God to give you a fresh picture of His heart of love... not just for yourself, but for someone who may need to be touched by Him through you.

You know... God sends us "love pictures" all the time.  But they don't usually come in the way we expect them...  So let's open up our hearts to His joy today.  We are called to be free and to serve one another in love.

Link: Free in Him!

Friday, March 2, 2012

He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not...

By Hazel Holland  

 "He loves me...he loves me not...he loves me...he loves me not..."

Do you remember making daisy chains when you were a child?  I sure do. It was fun picking the daisies and seeing who could make the longest chain.  The first daisy we counted was always "He loves me!"  The second daisy was "He loves me not!"  The third daisy was "He loves me!"... and so on until we got to the end of the daisy chain. I remember the excitement and tension we felt as we finished threading our last daisy into the chain... What were the odds that we had picked the "right" number of flowers so that the last daisy would be "He loves me"? 

Yesterday, when God brought back this childhood memory to my mind and told me that this "daisy chain" is a picture of the church today, I began to weep.  This is a picture of many of us in the body of Christ who do not want to let go of the old covenant!  So we do our best to "weave" both the new and the old covenants together.  It's like we're still children, content to play our childish games instead of leaving the "shadows" of childhood behind us... forever.

Trouble is... playing "daisy chains" with the covenants to see how we fare in our relationship with God gives us a distorted picture of His love and grace.  Not only that, but it leaves us in a world of contradictions and confusion.  One minute we're loved, and the next we're not.  One minute salvation is a free gift, and the next it's not.  One minute we're forgiven, and the next we're not.  We catch a glimpse of the Father's heart of love for us, and then suddenly we nose-dive into a world of fear and condemnation.

It's time to leave this childish guessing game behind us.  It's become obsolete.  The old has gone and the new has come!  It's time to grow up into who we are in Jesus Christ, and embrace the truth that "He loves me...always!"