“He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32
In just the last year*, there have been
Over 360 million Christians living in places where they experience high levels of #persecution and #discrimination
5,898 Christians killed for their faith
5,110 churches and other Christian buildings attacked
4,765 #believers detained without “trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned”
These numbers are heart-breaking; And yet, they DO NOT TELL the WHOLE STORY.
James 1:2-4 says, “CONSIDER it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face TRIALS of many kinds because you know that the “testing of your faith” produces #perseverance.” That joy is what we see when we hear and work with Christians all over the world who #suffer because they #serve #Jesus. God cares for His people, and He will NEVER LEAVE or FORESAKE them.
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who #persecute you. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. But even if you should #suffer for what is #right, you are #blessed.” Jesus
⛰Sermon on the Mount⛰
Now when #Jesus saw the #crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His #DISCIPLES came to him, and he began to #teach them.
“The Beatitudes,” He said:🗣
3 “BLESSED are the *poor in *SPIRIT, for theirs is the ✨kingdom of heaven✨ 4 *Blessed are those who *mourn, for they will be *comforted.❤️ 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will INHERIT the earth. 🌳🍎 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for #righteousness, for they will be *FILLED* 7 Blessed are the #merciful, for they will be SHOWN *MERCY. 🙏 8 Blessed are the 💕PURE in HEART 💕 for THEY will #SEE ✨GOD✨ 9 Blessed are the *PEACEMAKERS, for they will be Called *children of *God. 10 BLESSED are those who are #persecuted because of #righteousness, for theirs IS the KINGDOM of heaven. 11 “*Blessed are *YOU when *people *insult you, #persecute you, and -FALSELY- say all kinds of evil AGAINST you -because- of #ME. Rejoice! and be GLAD, because GREAT is YOUR #REWARD in heaven, for in the SAME WAY they #persecuted the #PROPHETs who were -before- you. 🦋
🧂Salt and Light💡
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.🦶🏼
“YOU are the LIGHT of the 🌎WORLD! A #town #BUILT on a #HILL ⛰CANNOT be #hidden.
-Neither- do people “light a lamp￼” ￼and put it “under a bowl.” 🕯 INSTEAD, they￼ put it ON Its STAND and it gives #LIGHT to *EVERYONE* in the #HOUSE!
In the same way, let -YOUR LIGHT- SHINE “before OTHERS,” that THEY may see YOUR good deeds and #GLORIFY your #Father in heaven! ￼
The #Fulfillment of the #Law
Do not -think- that I have come to “abolish” the #Law OR the #Prophets; I have NOT come to abolish them, but to FULFILL them! For TRULY I TELL YOU, until “heaven and earth disappear,” not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. ✍️
Therefore, anyone who sets aside “one” of the least of these commands and -teaches- others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever “practices AND teaches THESE commands” WILL be #CALLED GREAT in the ✨kingdom of heaven!✨ For I tell you that unless -your- righteousness -surpasses- that of the “-Pharisees-“ and the teachers of the LAW, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
-Murder- “You have heard that it WAS said to the people long ago, ‘You SHALL NOT murder, and anyone who -Murders- will be subject to #judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a *brother or #sister will be subject to *judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the *court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
“Therefore, if you are -offering your GIFT- at the “altar” and there REMEMBER that your brother or “SISTER has something against you,”
leave YOUR GIFT there in FRONT of THE ALTER.
First go and be #reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 🎁
#Settle #matters #QUICKLY with your ADVERSARY who is taking you to court. Do it while you are -still together- on the way, or your adversary may “hand you over” to the #judge, and the judge may “hand you over to the officer,” and you may be -thrown into- #prison. TRULY I tell you, you will not “get out” until you have #PAID the “last #penny.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall NOT commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do “not break your oath,” but #FULFILL to the #Lord the VOWS you -have- made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is *God’s *throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by JERUSALEM, for it is the city of the Great KING. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you “need” to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Eye for Eye 👀
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ BUT, tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the *other *cheek *also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, HAND OVER your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go WITH THEM TWO miles. Give to the one who ASKS you, and do NOT TURN AWAY from the one who wants to borrow from you.
❤️Love for Enemies❤️
“ You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, LOVE your enemies AND #PRAY for those who #persecute #you, that you may be #children of your #Father in heaven.
He CAUSES his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the “righteous and the unrighteous.”
If you love those who love you, what #reward will you get? Are not even the “tax collectors” doing that? And if you greet #only #your #own #people, what are you doing #more than #others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father IS #perfect.
💵 Giving to the NEEDY 💵
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, -do not- keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be YOUR NAME, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And FORGIVE us our debts, as we ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN our debtors. And LEAD us NOT INTO temptation, but DELIVER us -from- the “evil one.” For if you FORGIVE other people when they SIN Against YOU, your heavenly Father will ALSO forgive YOU. But if you -do not forgive- OTHERS THEIR SINS, your Father will #not #forgive #your #sins. 🍎
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. TRULY, I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your #Father, who is #unseen; and your Father, who -sees- what is done in #secret, will #reward you.
✨Treasures in Heaven 💎
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves #treasures in #heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The #eye is the #lamp of the body. If your #eyes are healthy,[l] your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
🙏 Do Not Worry 🙏
“Therefore I tell you, #do #not #worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the #birds🪶🕊of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father #feeds them. Are YOU not much more #valuable than they? Can any one of you by “worrying” add a single hour to your life? 🕰
“And -why- do you worry about clothes? See how the #flowers of the #field #grow. 🌻🌸 They do not LABOR or spin. Yet, I -tell you- that Not Even SOLOMON in “all his splendor” was dressed like “one of these.” If that is HOW God clothes the grass of the field, which is “here today” and “tomorrow is thrown into the fire,” will he not MUCH MORE clothe you—you of LITTLE FAITH?
SO… do -not- worry, saying, ‘WHAT shall we eat?’ or ‘WHAT shall we drink?’ or ‘WHAT shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father KNOWS that YOU need them.
But #SEEK FIRST his kingdom and his #righteousness, and “ALL these things” will be #given to #you as well!✨ Therefore, do #not #worry about #tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
“Do not judge, or, you too, Will Be Judged. For in the -Same Way- you “*judge *others,” you WILL be judged, and with the *measure* you use, it will be *measured* to you.
“WHY do you LOOK at the “speck of sawdust” in your BROTHER’S eye and pay NO ATTENTION to the plank in YOUR OWN eye? How can YOU SAY to YOUR #brother, ‘Let me take the “speck out” of your eye,’ when ALL the TIME there is a PLANK in your OWN #eye? You hypocrite, FIRST, take the plank OUT of your own #eye, AND THEN you will SEE CLEARLY to remove the SPECK from -YOUR BROTHERS- eye.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
☀️#Ask, #Seek, #Knock☀️ “Ask and it WILL be #given to you; *SEEK and you will FIND; *knock and the door WILL Be #opened to YOU. For -everyone- who #asks #receives; the one who #seeks #finds; and to the one who #knocks, the door will be #opened. 🚪
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to #give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this￼ sums up the Law and the Prophets. 📖🦋￼
The Narrow and Wide #Gates 🚪
“Enter through the NARROW gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that #leads to #destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and #narrow the road that #LEADS to #LIFE, and only a #FEW #FIND it. 🗝💎
True and #False #Prophets
WATCH OUT👀 for FALSE prophets. They come to you in sheep’s 🐑 clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves🐺 By their fruit you will #recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every *Tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit🍎 you #will #recognize them.
-True and False Disciples-
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but ONLY the one who does “the -WILL of my Father- WHO IS in heaven.” Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ …Then, I WILL tell them, plainly,
“…….I….. never….. *knew* …..you…..” 💔
Away from me, you evildoers!’
-The Wise and Foolish Builders-
“Therefore everyone who #hears these #words of mine and puts them into #practice is like a #wise man who #built his #house on the #ROCK. The RAIN came down, the streams ROSE, and the winds blew🌬and beat against that “HOUSE;” yet it did “NOT FALL,” because it had its #foundation🍎 on the #rock. But everyone who #hears these #WORDS of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who “built his house on sand.” The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it “FELL” with a great CRASH.”
When ☀️Jesus☀️ had finished saying THESE THINGS, the CROWDS were AMAZED at his #teaching, because he TAUGHT as one WHO had #AUTHORITY, and -not- as their #teachers of the #law. ❤️👣❤️
CREATING environments through the vehicle of Visual and Expressive ARTS to help plug people into their CREATOR by fostering Spiritual Growth. By combining Therapeutic Art, Christ-Centered CBT techniques, and Integrated Arts in Scriptural Education, I seek to Heal human brokenness and Redeem Fullness through the Transformative Healing Power of The Holy Spirit.