Monday, February 1, 2016

MY CANVAS — For your interest and information.

When I open a new book, the first thing I do is read about the author. I want to know about him, because that helps me identify with what he has to say. You have been reading my blogs for a few years. It might help you understand where I am coming from in my writing, if you know me a bit.

There is nothing more exciting to an artist than to sign a finished painting, lay the brush down, then stand back to admire his work. Our lives are a canvas on which God paints moment by moment. He never lays the brush down. God’s brushstrokes continue as long as we live, to make us objects of His grace and beauty that reflect His love and skill.

The renowned artists of the past centuries took several years to finish their masterpieces.

It is with humility and excitement that we cooperate with God as He patiently paints on the canvas of our lives to make us what He has planned us to be. A poster in my office reads,”Live one day at a time and make it a masterpiece.” God works, and we cooperate and respond.

My Master Artist has splashed both bright and dark colors, both bold and delicate strokes on my canvas to prepare me for future brushstrokes. “All things work together for good to those who love God,” Rom. 8:28. I used to think of dark brushstrokes as hurtful. I now think of them as love strokes because, “whom the Lord loves He chastens” Heb. 12:6. Think about that.

My childhood years in a Christian family and my marriage to a student of the Word were painted in beautiful colors. Also, God used bright, warm colors to paint eleven years in the Philippines where my husband and I with two small children were involved for five years as well as teaching in a Bible institute and seminary for six years after a one-year furlough. We expected that missionary work would be our life-long journey, and we pursued it with thanksgiving and anticipation.

Our first five year assignment placed us in a totally Catholic community in a barrio (country setting) where for several years missionaries had visited homes and made friends in the Name of Jesus, but not one person had professed Christ as Savior. The time seemed appropriate to hold a two-week Bible teaching campaign on the sandy sea shore. What a comfort to slip off our sandals and wiggle our toes in the warm sand as we sat on backless benches under the tropical evening sky. We desperately wanted our Filipino friends to become personally acquainted with our Savior. About a dozen did just that, and a church was born. More people came to know Christ in the pursuing weeks and years.

Our second six-year term assignment was to teach in a Bible school and seminary in our beloved Philippines. And God gave us the greatest desire of our heart. We were multiplying ourselves as we taught the Word to Filipino young people, equipping them to teach their own people! (2 Tim. 2:2). There was another thrill!  A few of the youth who were saved in the barrio church entered the school in which we were teaching, graduated, married and became preachers, teachers, and missionaries. “Cast your bread upon the waters; and you shall find it ….” (Eccl. 11:1). The harvest is sure.

                                 (I will tell you about more brush strokes next time.)