Project 3, Post 1: Melted Crayons & Smothered Light

Project 3, Post 1: Melted Crayons & Smothered Light

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Introduction & Artistic Process:

A few months back, I found an unfinished painting behind my wardrobe. It was a picture of a leafless tree against the backdrop of vibrant yellow and red (shown above). I decided to finish the piece. It was to be a bumpy road… one which I am now going back and reflecting upon.

I love experimenting. In 2015, I created a painting of dandelions using acrylic paint and melted crayons (pictured below). I had been somewhat disappointed with the finished project, but – as with many of my pieces that I feel are flops – others adored my dandelion creation. It had long, arduous, and sometimes frustrating endeavor, but the piece became a fan favorite!

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So, gazing upon my leaf-barren tree, I decided to experiment with melting crayons once again…. Yet, I was about to reminded that not every experiment turns out well.

I began by cutting and then gluing tiny fragments crayons onto the grass areas of my piece. Next, I used a hair dryer to melt the crayons, holding the canvas at a tilt so that the liquefied, colored wax would run upward like shoots of grass. Hmmm… I thought to myself. That doesn’t look right…

Undeterred, or oblivious to the gravity of my mistake, I made things even worse. I added bits of crayon to the branches of my tree, melting the colored wax into what turned out looking like a dark blob with sporadic offshoots like fingers. Ahhhhh! What have I done??? My tree looked like a “swamp thing.” At once I realized that I had destructively altered a painting. It had been full of bright light, but I had smothered that light. The painting was now heavy and dark and seemed as if it had entered a state of madness. The few areas of light remaining had lost their vibrancy and seemed completely at odds with the dark and heavy wax now covering so much of my piece. The light seemed almost as if was now locked in battle with the swamp thing itself.

 

What had started with a small number of tiny crayon fragments, scattered around the base of my tree, had grown into weeds, casting shadow upon and overtaking the grass below. I could have stopped this invasive species right then and there. Instead, I allowed it to spread… I participated in its invasion upward. It only took a few minuscule flecks of crayon, settling in among the branches of its intended victim, to ultimately blanket the poor tree on a thick coat darkness. The weeds had spread and shut out the light.

“A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough.” ~Galatians 5:9

Reflection:

What had been done to my tree is not dissimilar to what is being done to our churches and to the body of Christ. Weeds live amongst the scattered grasses in every area of the world. These weeds have even taken root in most of the branches of Christianity the world over. It is their constant desire for and their coveting of others’ nutrients to drain that compels the spread of the weeds, just like kudzu, the plant that ate the South.

Subversives are as old as time… “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

The Christian church has always been under attack. Christian themselves come under attack from the very moment they devote themselves to Christ; a fact of which, unfortunately, many Christians are never warned. Perhaps, though, one of the most tragic aspect of Satan’s slow march toward church destruction and Christian enslavement is that so many of us actually aid the enemy himself. Our precious nutrients are what Satan and his servants rob from us and consume. Courage, conscience, certainty, trust, faith, conviction, foresight, clarity, honesty, kindness, generosity, chastity, and reason are just a few of our nutrients upon which the subversives feed upon in service to their master.

“This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.”     ~Galatians 2:4

Confronting our own participation – whether accidental, passive, or purposeful – in Satan’s schemes is essential. Just as I was forced to contend with what I had done to my poor painting, we Christians must contend with the darkness we have allowed to progressively blanket our churches in darkness under our watch.

In my next post, I will cover my first steps toward saving my painting, and, God willing, I will discuss the issues we must contend with and the steps that we must take to renew the Body of Christ and our churches. Remember: God is our savior, our everything! The road won’t be easy and I am sure to receive some unwanted attention from the dark realms. I ask you to join me in this journey, and to please pray for my protection and for your protection as, together with God, we delve into this pressing matter.

DO YOU LOVE? Or….

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                           DO YOU LOVE?

OUR WORLD NEEDS MORE LOVE!

While often read during Christian weddings, there is no mention of romance, marriage or other coupling within 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. True love is not an affection for or attraction to another person. True love is an action; something we each must do– outwardly and at all times- for all our fellow man. True love is a verb that, when practiced to the fullest extent in our power, benefits the whole of humanity.

*We all need to reflect on our own actions and motives. I created the below table so that we can all focus and dedicate ourselves to filling the world with more LOVE through our own lives! 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 LOVE IS / DOES: LOVE IS NOT / DOES NOT:
“Love is patient…” Enduring, does not give up, lasting Fail, die, transient, fleeting, short-lived, brief, temporary
“…Love is kind. Charitable, good, respectful, gentle, nice Cruel, malicious, malevolent, maleficent, mean
“It does not envy…” Gracious, content Jealous, covetous, grudging
“…it is not proud.” Humble, meek, unpretentious Prideful, boastful, self-congratulatory, dominating, smug, egotistic, conceited, condescending, cocky, pompous, hubristic, arrogant, patronizing
“It does not dishonor others…” Respects, honors, credits Slur, brand, shame, disgrace, discredit, brand, condemn, stigmatize
“…it is not self-seeking…” Selfless, benevolent, considerate, self-sacrificing, generous Selfish
“…it is not easily angered…” Peaceful, patient, calm Volatile, hypersensitive, demanding, irritable, snappish, impatient, hot-headed, petulant, excitable
“….it keeps no record of wrongs.” Forgives, unburdens, liberates, pardons, remits, passes over Resentful, avenging, vengeful, retaliatory, punishing; blame, begrudge, abominate
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” Rejoices – Glorifies, celebrates, exalts, triumphs, jubilates, exuberates

 

Truth – Virtue, righteousness, correctness, actuality, authenticity, morality, honesty, facts, good, right, ethical, just, pure

Evil – Deceit, wicked, libertine, sinful, poisonous, menacing, falsehoods, villainous, perverted, wrong, illegal, unwholesome, defiling, condemned, dishonest, depraved, obscene, cruel, sordid, snide, mean, contemptible, vile, vicious, unrighteous, unlawful, nefarious, rotten, deadly, hazardous, harmful, hostile, noxious, detrimental, damaging
“It always protects…” Conserves, preserves, forfends, guards, defends, safeguards, shields, secures, resists Assail, assault, attack, bombard, besiege, cave, submit, yield
“…always trusts…” Believes in, confides; faith, sureness Suspicion, distrust, mistrust, doubt
“…always hopes…” Awaits, anticipates, believes, expects, envisions; positive Doubt, question, despair; cynical, negative, discouraged, nihilistic
“…always perseveres.” Persists, carries on Quit, give up, bow, falter, succumb
SPTR

*Notice that in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 there is no reference to: affirmation of, agreement with, acceptance of, political affiliation – nor of race, color, gender, etc.                               Love is for ALL the world – no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts.” We must work to love ALL people.

You can be part of the solution or part of the problem. Which part will you play?

Project 2, Post 2: It Happened on a Tuesday…

Preface:

As described in my first post for this project, for years I’ve experienced a reoccurring dream of good forces battling evil forces. Click HERE to read Post 1 for a brief description/introduction to this project.

*In this post I will be taking on Satan himself, and his followers too, in an attempt to spread truth and demolish the influence of his lies. He surely won’t be happy with me. Good!

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the             evil one.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3

Reflection:

At times, every one of us may become susceptible to confusion, including moral confusion – being able to tell right from wrong, good from evil. After all, we are only human.

Whether a person is a Christian or not, it is undeniable that American culture was built around Christian ideals. As such, we innately place certain principles on a pedestal; especially love/charity, forgiveness, benevolence, kindness, respect, and peace. We also try to empathize with and show compassion towards others, including those unlike ourselves. Our societal morals, through various secular narratives, become sterilized of Christ himself. As a natural result, Americans sometimes confuse right from wrong, as the “wrong” is often well-dressed in a beautifully deceptive coat brandishing our collective, American ideals.

There is probably no better example of this than what occurred last Tuesday (6.6.16).

In an L.A. Weekly article entitled, “Satanists Plan to Celebrate 6/6/16 in LA” (666), the Satanic Temple of Los Angeles’s press release reads:

“The Pentagram is a star with five points. Using GPS technology we will place the five points of the star so that the Pentagram will encompass your entire city. When all of the points are in place, the Pentagram is completed. Drawing this symbol around your city represents a solemn promise from us, the Satanic Temple of Los Angeles. We will stand with the good people of the City of Lancaster and struggle for our constitutional right to individual liberty, freedom of expression and the separation of church and state in your community.”

The article goes on to explain that, beginning at 3:00 PM, this group of Satanists would be performing rituals at each of the 5 points (locations) of the pentagram, followed by a “magic hour” at sundown. (It was at 3:00 PM that Christ died on the cross: the timing of this event celebrating 666 at 3 PM was no coincidence.) “We stand up for human rights and civil rights,” the Satanists declared. On their website, the Satanists go on, stating that “It is in this spirit of benevolence that we announce our presence in your city…”

I rolled my eyes. “I’m glad I don’t live there!” I thought to myself, recognizing this event’s devilish nature and the innate falsehoods within the group’s deceptive message.

What shocked me, however, was a statement by the article’s author: “If you’re looking for ill behavior, you’re probably better off at a Donald Trump rally. This sect, with roots at Harvard and Cambridge, is decidedly intellectual. Animals are respected; people, even more so.”

“Did I just read that?” I thought out loud. “Did the author seriously just say that the Satanists respect people?” The gravity of this nonchalant proclamation by the author, which implies that Satanists are just harmless intellectuals, left me speechless. “How can he be so blind?”

How can any group invoking Satan be seen as anything but evil?

“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

2 Corinthians 11:14

Then it occurred to me why the author, and many others, may be unable to recognize the devil’s influence here: he is the father of lies, the deceiver. The devil uses our own ideals against us, to trick us into accepting him, little by little, bit by bit… and he is quite skilled at this.

For this reason, I wish to illuminate the issue and clarify confusion…. There is no gray area here, only right and wrong.

“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

2 Corinthians 11:3

The Satanic Temple of LA’s website reads:

“Our mission is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people. In addition, we embrace practical common sense and justice. As an organized religion, we feel it is our function to actively provide outreach, to lead by example, and to participate in public affairs where so ever the issues might benefit from rational, Satanic insights. As Satanists, we all should be guided by our conscience and undertake noble pursuits guided by our individual will. We believe that this is the hope of all mankind and the highest aspiration of humanity.”

Did you catch all of that? Did you pick up on the American ideals woven skillfully into this group’s mission in an attempt to frame themselves as “good.” Kindness, compassion, charity, respect for others: those values are all nicely wrapped up in a lovely bow of “good feeling” within the Satanist’s mission statement above.

For anyone with lingering doubts about the “goodness” of this group of “intellectuals,” (an affiliate of the national Church of Satan) Satanists attempt reassurance by explaining their strong atheistic stance in an effort to set themselves apart from those crazy, evil, devil-worshippers. Right…

Thankfully Christ, through the Word, gave us a means to differentiate between good and evil, truth and lie. He tells us about Satan and his followers:

“Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you do not want to hear My teaching. The devil is your father. You are from him. You want to do the sinful things your father, the devil, wants you to do. He has been the killer from the beginning. The devil has nothing to do with the truth. There is no truth in him. It is expected of the devil to lie, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

John 8:43-44

For a group who claims disbelief (atheism), their deep seeded hatred of God is evident, most especially so in their attempt to frame God as “the oppressor.”

The Satanic Temple of LA’s website continues:

“To the Satanist, the Pentagram symbolizes the triumph of matter and individual spirit over dogma, earth over an illusory promise of the afterlife. It is a symbol of our dedication to fight against tyranny and the oppressor of individual liberty.”

So, why do these “benevolent” atheists despise the Lord so deeply?

“Whoever puts his trust in His Son is not guilty. Whoever does not put his trust in Him is guilty already… The Light has come into the world. And the Light is the test by which men are guilty or not. People love darkness more than the Light because the things they do are sinful. Everyone who sins hates the Light. He stays away from the Light because his sin would be found out.”

John 3: 18-20

Satanists’ disdain is not limited to the Lord alone. To spite their declarations of good will to all, Christians are not included. On the Church of Satan website, Christians are given a strict warning:

“Your bigotry and intolerance are exactly the same as that shown by the terrorists who kill those who do not share their beliefs. The free world of rational secular individuals is tired of people like you. You will reap as you have sown.”

Hatred of Christians is an important necessity of a Satanist. After all, we live counter to the darkness: we live in the Light. Anything which may remind a Satanist of his or her own sin is an immediate threat toward the goal of erasing any semblance of guilt from his/her mind. Simply by existing, Christians remind others of God’s love and of moral living. For this, you are despised. Your very existence is nothing less than an existential threat. Oh, and let’s not forget that to these “intellectuals,” you and I are just plain stupid.

Oddly, the only person truly worthy of the liberties and respect so extolled by these atheists is only each Satanist himself/herself. Counter to the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no others gods but Me,” the Church of Satan proudly proclaims:

“Our position is to be self-centered, with ourselves being the most important person (the “God”) of our subjective universe, so we are sometimes said to worship ourselves. Our current High Priest Gilmore calls this the step moving from being an atheist to being an “I-Theist.”

Uh-huh…

One final way we can see the devil himself within the “human rights-centered” Satanist “religion,” this “sect,” is that it is empirically lacking one key thing – forgiveness.

“We Satanists are thus our own “Gods,” and as beneficent “deities” we can offer love to those who deserve it and deliver our wrath (within reasonable limits) upon those who seek to cause us—or that which we cherish—harm.”

Where is the forgiveness in that wrath? One must wonder what exactly the “reasonable limits” to their wrath are…

Scary.

Jesus Christ died so that we may live. Forgiveness is the greatest gift of all, one we surely don’t always deserve. Yet, it is through Christ Jesus alone that we find everlasting life.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

And so it is my hope today that by reading this post you will be immune to the confusion from and blinding effects of the Satanists through power of the Word of Jesus Christ our Lord, seeing clearly the deceiver himself therein. Remember to walk in the light of the Lord. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

Ephesians 6:11

Artistic Process:

In beginning the background of the painting, I focused on creating varying shades of gray, symbolizing the confusion of the world. Keeping my brush wet, I spread on black paint, then white. Wetting my brush again, I then smeared the black and white together in a random fashion to create varying shades of gray.

Project 2, Post 1: A Haunting Dream

 

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About Project 2:

Ever since I was a small child I have experienced a reoccurring dream. Sometimes, the dream even frightens me. I haven’t ever shared my dream until now.

It’s black and white sands:

Like two colors of sand between two panes of glass being shifted back and forth in a person’s hands, the black sand and the white sand move forward and backward, up and down, and always against one another, perpetually fighting.

It’s evil and good sands:

While dreaming, I’ve always known that the white sand was good, while the black sand was evil. This is why my dream sometimes frightens me. Depending on when I awake, the forces of evil may have been overtaking the forces of good. Other times, the forces of good are threatening to demolish the evil. Regardless, this perpetual fight between good and evil has always left me a bit shaken.

My goal:

I do not yet know how, but I am going to attempt to materialize my reoccurring dream on canvas.

We seem to be confronted with a lot of good verses evil these days. Perhaps this is why I keep feeling compelled to share my dream through words and through art. Regardless, this is certain to be an untried and challenging endeavor for me. We shall the where the road leads…

God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. (Psalm 32:8)