cart shopping cart
Flowergirl Blog

Archive for May, 2014

The Kale

Posted on:

kale bubbles iridescent rainbow

I stood at my kitchen sink enjoying the view from the window and washing the dark green kale leaves for our salad. As I submerged the long leaves with curly, bubbly shapes under the water, the sunlight formed brilliant rainbows of color over their silver, iridescent underside.

I recalled other beauty born of other submersions. At times when I could see no hope, I clung to the only certainty… God was near me, in me. Jesus Christ understood my pain and would compassionately carry, guide me to the light as I waited… under the water, floating, peering through the bubbles, lingering, fastened on Him for the next step. The pool of His presence held me through the painful reality, peace and sweetness all around, lying in the arms of the Most Faithful and Loving. I could see. He planned a greater glory, a future reflection of rainbows.

Thoughts from March 2009

He is Risen! Banner

Posted on: 2 Comments

banner church easter brilliant

easter banner he is risen satinThe “He is Risen” banner I made in 2004 has been rolled up undercover for years. It was a blessing to bring it out from under the bushel and let it shine at Shiloh Community Church on Easter Sunday this year. Mary put a light on it and it was just brilliant… brought tears to my eyes!

It took me about 40 hours to complete. I painted the words first in calligraphy; then put Wonder Under (a facing that adheres to fabric) on different colors of satin; then, I turned the calligraphy face down and traced them onto Wonder Under. I used a tiny scissors to cut out the words, and then ironed the words onto the large piece of pale yellow satin.

There are seven bright blue waves coming from the cross that symbolize the finished work of Christ on the cross. There are three deep teal waves that symbolize the trinity. If you look closely, you can see a glistening, red thread that flows through the water from the cross symbolizing our Lord’s sacrifice on our behalf.

The Lens of His Love

Posted on:

the lens of love jesus love Matthew 16:5-12
And the disciples came to the other side of the sea, but they had forgotten to bring any bread.  And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “He said that because we did not bring any bread.”
But Jesus, aware of this, said, “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up? Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up?

How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Jesus often made analogies to elements in His immediate surroundings. In these verses, He illustrated His message using the elements of bread and leaven. Leaven is a small amount of a substance (such as yeast) that works subtly to change the whole.

Jesus compared the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees to leaven, because it had a subtle, undercover and powerful effect that was harmful to those who embraced it. Their teaching did not see the spirit of love behind their law; they chose to cling to their tradition and regulations rather than hear the truth. Their faith epitomized a striving after good works while being void of love, the opposite of what Jesus came to teach – that love was the fulfillment of the law.

When Jesus’ warned His disciples “to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” they initially only heard the physical aspect and so perceived His words as a rebuke that they had forgotten to bring bread with them on the boat. They saw His words through their broken, introspective, down-on-themselves, we-deserve-judgment lenses. Their fearful minds thought, “Surely He is accusing us, not lovingly teaching us!”

In Jesus’ intense love for His disciples that covered all their failures, He reminded them of the two occasions when He multiplied the bread for the multitudes. Did they think He would only bless them with miracles if they performed perfectly – if they had remembered the bread? Surely if He could feed the 5,000 and 4,000 with 5 and 7 loaves, He could feed them!

When Jesus said, “You men of little faith,” He was rebuking them, but not for forgetting the bread or even for forgetting His miracles, but for forgetting that He loved them… for thinking He had judgment in His heart toward them. His words, “to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” were said with love, friendship, and a desire to protect them from wrong teaching.

When the lens through which we see the world around us is broken or cloudy, possibly due to sin or others’ sin against us, we often only hear the first part of a sentence. Can you think of a time when someone only heard part of what you were saying, and camped on a wrong interpretation? Can you think of a time when you heard only part of what a person was saying and discovered later that you got it all wrong? The disciples heard only the first part of Verse 16:6 – “beware of the leaven.” Their ears closed before they heard that Jesus was warning them of the teaching of the religious rulers. Verse 16:12 says, “Then [when they stopped to listen], they understood that Jesus was talking about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

The very thing Jesus was lovingly warning His disciples about – the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, was the very thing they wrongly embraced – that Jesus’ love was contingent upon their good performance (of remembering the bread) instead of contingent upon their receiving His love unconditionally.

In Matthew 16:5-12, we see the great contrast between Jesus teaching of love – a beautiful, life-giving leaven rising up in our hearts, and the religious ruler’s teaching of rules and binding traditions – a toxic, destructive leaven that raised a barrier between us and God.

Holy Spirit, purify my eyes and heart. Show me Your love. When I look closely at Your interaction with Your loved ones in the Scripture, I see Your love poured out. Help me to believe that You love me and that all Your ways are for my good.

Signs for the Sincere and Insincere

Posted on:

signs for the sincere and insincere

Matthew 16:1-4
The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.

It is o.k. to ask God to give us an indication or sign as we honestly seek His direction. Jesus loves to give signs to those who want to follow.
•   His very birth was a sign to the shepherds – “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)
•   His multiplying of the bread to the multitudes let them know who He was – “When the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” John 6:14
•   Jesus explains to His disciples in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke the signs of the times when they could expect certain things to happen.

Conversely, the Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus for “signs from heaven” when the signs were already just as evident as the signs in the skies that evidenced the coming weather; they asked for evidence that would indicate who Jesus really was when the evidence was already clear. They did not intend to believe, but only to find evidence to not believe. Jesus understood their intent.

Jesus often spoke in parables not only to illustrate His message visually, but also to hide the meaning of His teaching from insincere inquirers who would misuse His words. Parables require further scrutiny and a desire to understand. Therefore, parables separated the sincere from the insincere, because, 1) the insincere would not persevere in their search, and 2) their clouded, proud hearts could not discern their true meaning. Psalm 25:14 says, “The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant.

The riddle about the “sign of Jonah” (signifying that Jesus would be dead for three days then rise again, just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days before the whale vomited him onto the shore) was not one the religious rulers were likely to figure out.

Jesus instructed His disciples not to “cast their pearls to the swine.” (Matthew 7:6) Think for a moment about your favorite jewelry or your most precious possessions. Then, think about taking them to the nearest pig farm and flinging them into the pen thinking it will help the pigs. Wouldn’t that be foolish? Yes, it would be a waste of precious time and treasure. They would be covered in mud and destroyed. In the same way, precious words should not be wasted on insincere hearts.

Lord, we seek You. Purify our hearts from wrong motives. You said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” We desire to see You clearly and hear You plainly. Help us receive with thankful hearts the evidence You have already given. Reveal your secrets to us, the truth that is so dear to Your heart. Cleanse us from bad habits that cloud our hearts and minds from seeing the beautiful signs of Your guidance and love.