We held our 5th annual art show this past October. We added our first car show to the Saturday portion of the 2-day event. Over 250 visitors had the chance to enjoy and purchase the various art pieces, Christmas crafts, and Chinese auction items. The two days also featured special music and drama vignettes. On Saturday we offered workshops on various types of art. Some of the highlights are show below.
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Our art group, CCADA, recently held its 5th annual art show–combining it with its first car show. We had artists of all ages, a wide variety of media, a new featured addition of many Christmas crafts, dramatic vignettes, music, and, of course, the car show. The turnout of visitors who oohed and aahed at what they saw and heard and noted that they wished they had the talent of the various artists. But, to paraphrase Will Rogers, “We can’t all be heroes. There also has to be somebody to clap for them.”
In a moment of self-evaluation, it recently occurred to me that I have been existing under a cloud that I wasn’t even aware of. I couldn’t understand why I don’t seem to be progressing in many aspects of my life. I don’t seem to have the drive to accomplish difficult things that I did when I was younger. I just assumed that it was un unfortunate result of getting older.
As I’v become older, I have found that my ability to hear certain sounds has diminished. Even worse, I find it hard to pick up individual voices when there are several people talking or when there are other sounds. This makes it hard for me to carry on a conversation in the midst of a group or even on the telephone is there is background noise.
Most of us have similar problems when it comes to our spiritual lives. We have so many things clamoring for our attention. Concern for our relationship with our spouse, our children, our job, our home, our retirement, our health, and a myriad of other things all make a claim for our attention–and rightly so. All of these things are important and require prayer and action on our part.
Yet it’s interesting to note that Jesus never taught that we had to earn a lot of money or live in a big house, or drive a new car, or even be healthy all the time. What He did say was, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)
When Isaiah felt beaten down by circumstances, he sought God. And God told him, Go out and stand before me on the mountain. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (I Kings 19:11-13) Then, God told him what to do.
Later, he told the people, Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, He will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:20-21) Winston Churchill once said, If you’re going through hell, keep going. Don’t get hung up on the troubles and concerns of this life. Tune out the noise of this life. Listen to the still small voice that’s right at your shoulder, telling you which way to go. He’s always there and He’s never wrong.
Roses are beautiful creations. They may vary in size, color, and even in shape. But they still have those nasty thorns. No matter how careful I am when I handle them, I always stick myself. In Paul’s 2nd letter the Corinthians, he notes, To keep me from being proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me. (2 Cor. 12:7)
You might think that a mighty apostle like Paul who was given so much by God to share with the New Testament church would be able to pray away this thorn. After all, he had already endured 39 lashes five times, been beaten with rods three times, and been stoned once. He had come through to the other side of each of these times of suffering.
Paul prayed three times for God to remove the thorn. With all that he had already suffered, how severe this thorn must have been to cause Paul to beg God for relief. People have guessed that it might have been malaria, depression, epilepsy, blindness, or an unusually strong temptation. He never records that God delivered him. In fact, immediately following his words in verse seven, Paul wrote, Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, My power works best in weakness. Job, too, endured great suffering at the hand of Satan. Yet behind Satan’s activity was the sovereign hand of God, who permitted the suffering to bring Job to a greater understanding of his Creator and Redeemer.
There will be times when God does not give us the answer or deliverance we think we need. But we can be certain that when we seek Him in prayer, He will always give us the grace and strength we need. So don’t give up on yourself and God because of that one trial or temptation that you can’t seem to overcome. God is still in control and His grace is still sufficient. As Job said, I know that my Redeemer lives and in the end He will stand on the earth. Job 19:25. What will we learn from our trial or temptation?
* If you’re interested in art or writing, please check out our Activities page to find an online application and rules for our 1st Annual Online Christmas Art Contest. The deadline for submissions is December 12, at 5:00PM.