Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter Something Greater…Than Walking on Water

 

               “Emmanuel In My Boat” © by Donna Gonzalez       

                      

This prophetic painting is based upon a sermon from Mark 4:35-41 where the disciples are in a boat late at night on the sea of Galilee when a sudden storm arose. Jesus comes to them walking upon the water, they think they have seen a ghost but He comforts them, enters the boat rebuking the waves and sea.

I found it interesting that my Pastor said the miracle wasn’t so much that Jesus was walking on the water – though a miracle nonetheless; but that He the Son of God in all His glory was willing to come down from Heaven, into a broken world into our broken lives by entering our boat.  I went before the Lord in prayer and meditation of the scriptures and this painting is the result.

Iconography:

The type of boat is a skiff and it represents a person’s life. Skiffs are generally used in fishing or for leisure sailing and others are used in racing competitions.

The young woman is representative of any believer who puts their faith in Jesus Christ.

The waters represent several things; the world and all its anti-Christ philosophy, all the temptations, evils, the pain and sorrows caused by sin and the multitudes of unsaved people.

How does the application of this iconography in the painting relate to the 21st century disciples in Christ?  A lot actually.

First, notice the boat is a simple craft, it doesn’t appear too sea-worthy, and isn’t unless Christ is in control of that boat. I purposely didn’t choose a personal yacht because it’s not the everyday life most Christians can relate to. Since skiffs are generally used as a fishing boat it relates perfectly to Jesus’s command to go forth and make disciples, by becoming fishers of men.

19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19

When one becomes born again Jesus willingly enters our boat (our life) regardless how much it has been broken because to Jesus all human life is precious to Him. That the holy King of Glory, the Son of God who created all things and holds all things together by His will, would choose to come and make His abode within a repentant sinner’s life offering the forgiveness of sin, eternal salvation and transforming them into a new creature for God’s glory with a new purpose in life –  is so much more of a miracle than Jesus simply walking on water!

17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – II Corinthians 5:17

As the Christian surrenders every part of their life to God He takes control of the sail’s rope leading the believer onward to maturity in Christ Jesus. The believer’s faith, which is more precious to God than gold is refined through all kinds of storms and trials.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – I Peter 1:6-9

Jesus promises never to leave us and truly He is Emmanuel – God with us, if He sustains everything and holds the world together surely, He can hold our lives together!

16 “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:16-17

Christ’s back is to the wind, His hair blowing representing Him protecting the believer from much of the wind and waves, often without the believer’s knowledge. Jesus lovingly and firmly holds His precious child close to His heart. Likewise, the believer holds tightly unto Christ, steadfastly refusing to give into fear or doubt, not allow anything, no compromise of heart or of mind to come between them. The believer rests her head securely upon His breast, her face serene in full child-like trust knowing He is mighty to save, He is faithful in all His promises and His way is best.

The goal is Heaven the journey is the faith walk of every believer in Christ. The Apostle Paul compares it to a race, competing for a prize, for believers in Christ are promised an imperishable crown through endurance.

24 ”Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.26” -1 Corinthians 9:24-26

May this painting encourage and strengthen believers everywhere not to give into fear or doubt Christ’s promises, no matter what stormy seas may lie ahead. To experience the incomprehensible love, the un-surpassing joy and peace of the Lord that can be ours through obedience and trust in Jesus.

In Jesus,

Donna 

Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter – Living Stones Mosaic

 

“Living Stones Mirage Stained Glass” © Donna Gonzalez

 

Would it surprise you at all if I told you that what you are looking at is not a painting of a large stained glass window but instead you are looking at one painted mosaic duplicated multiple times? Fifty-four times to be exact. Each mosaic piece is not haphazardly placed but purposefully, resulting in a consistent pattern which is a unified whole.

If one of the mosaic pieces could speak about itself it would tell you it thinks it is of no consequence whether or not it were in the painting…because what is it among so many other identical mosaic pieces? Quite insignificant hardly serving any purpose at all.

On the contrary if that mosaic piece wasn’t there, it would have a great impact on the entire composition. My painting would be incomplete without it. Because the entire pattern relies on each mosaic piece fitting alongside the next mosaic piece in order to achieve any kind of symmetry, unity or harmony. Not one mosaic piece can be placed at random. Hmmm…

Christians, though not identical to each other are born of the same Spirit. We are one in Christ and in that sense each of us are like a mosaic piece or as the bible says a living stone being built up into a building for God’s purpose I Peter 2:4-5 .  In Christ none of us are inconsequential in the Kingdom of God. All of us are His workmanship created to do a specific work Ephesians 2:10.  A Christian cannot say because they don’t have exactly the same work or gifting of the Holy Spirit as another that they are less qualified, insignificant or serve no purpose in His Body. I Corinthians 12:15-19

Have you noticed not all of the mosaic pieces create an optical illusion of rings in the painting? Would those mosaics be considered less important than the others? Just the opposite! Those pieces are crucial as they unify the entire artwork and serve to frame and support those mosaic pieces which do create the optical illusion. The illusion wouldn’t appear otherwise!

The optical illusion of rings is highlighted in black below and run throughout this mosaic. 

Screen Shot MirageOpticalIllusion

We do not come into this world unplanned by God nor are we place in His Body haphazardly. Just the opposite, the Lord Jesus knows us and puts us exactly where He determines us to be in His Body in a specific time in history and for a specific work to accomplish. When believers come together making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace something remarkable occurs Ephesians 4:3. Like the stained glass window made up of many pieces working together to create something beautiful, so do we and it’s pleasing in our eyes…and in His eyes.

Be blessed!

Donna

 

 

Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter – Wait for The Lord

“Water Lilies Stained Glass” © by Donna Gonzalez 

 Note: This is a longer iconography but well worth the reading!

wait /wāt/verb

  1. Stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens. Synonyms: hold on, hold back, bide one’s time, hang fire, mark time, stand by, sit tight, hold one’s horses.
  2. Used to indicated that one is eagerly impatient to do something or for something to happen.

noun

  1. A period of waiting.Synonyms: delay, holdup, interval, interlude, intermission, pause, break, stay, cessation, suspension, stoppage, halt, interruption, lull, respite, recess, moratorium, hiatus, gap, rest

 

 pa·tience /’pāSHəns/noun

  1. The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset .Synonyms: forbearance, tolerance, restraint, self-restraint, stoicism, calmness, composure, equanimity, imperturbability, phlegm, understanding, indulgence, perseverance, persistence, endurance, tenacity, assiduity, application, staying power, doggedness, determination, resolve, resolution, resoluteness.

 I happen to love words and learning new ones too. In truth while writing this post I had always thought the word “wait” meant the same thing as patience and was a synonym for it as well…hmmm….was I wrong!

Perhaps you knew the difference. Take a look at the definitions above; two very different words and not having even the same synonyms! This past month while doing my errands I’ve noticed how very impatient some people are on the roads, perhaps you met them too on your travels.

Waiting is something most people are genetically opposed do even less show any patience. Because waiting and patience are two very different things.  Staying where one is or to delay action until a particular time or until something else happens is one thing. One can pass their time by becoming busy changing the radio station in the car. 

But who wants to learn a virtue at the cost of experiencing trouble and suffering – as in paying attention, using the breaks to slow down to the actual speed limit behind me before I quickly completed my right turn before said driver plowed into me? No, that is extremely difficult for some people to do.

 Instead it’s far easier for driver to keep foot glued on accelerator gunning the engine past me on the left while mouthing something and shaking their fist in the mirror. 

Hmm…. no wonder people warn others about praying for patience – but they should do it anyway. Patience really is a much higher noble virtue to attain! Which brings me to the artwork I created. “Water Lilies Stained Glass – Green” is an acrylic painting composed of 16 mosaics placed into a pattern. It comes in purple and pink too.

I happened to be conversing with a friend sharing favorite bible scriptures after a group bible study. Her favorite is Psalm 27:14. And when I got home I did something different again, usually the scripture comes after the pattern but this time I had to “find” which painting would best suit this scripture.

Iconography: I chose “Water Lilies Stained Glass – Green” as its bright colors resembled a stained glass window. There are pink and violet opened lilies surrounded by great big green leaves, highlighted in peachy orange. (See below)

The big green lily pads are highlighted in yellow and have a closed purple flower in between them.  All of which is surrounded by the dark and light blue portions of the mosaic that representing water.

Easy-peasy.Now, did I know before hand that this mosaic painting placed into a pattern would create a flower, a lily pad and water? No.

Now here is where it all gets quite interesting…

   

Wait4TheLordMarkupSCREENSHOT

 

I did some research on waterlilies to see if there was anything I could learn about them. I found that water lilies grow quickly and are invasive the lily pads can get really big (some up to 6′ across) covering almost the entire water surface of a lake or pond, preventing any other water plant from reaching the surface. Hmm.. so does this artwork have a good amount of lily pads too!

Now, the white lily flowers bloom in the evening, sending out a rich fragrance throughout the night. The flower must wait for a certain little beetle attracted by the fragrance to come pollinate it. Once it lands on the flower it enters in searching for nectar. The flower then closes up for a full day keeping the beetle safely inside, which it doesn’t mind at all, since it is happily drinking sweet nectar, but the flower has slowly started to change color – to pink.

And in the meantime the flower’s pollen has mixed with the pollen on the beetle.  At last the blossom opens up to let loose the now heavily nectar-logged pollen-encrusted beetle as it flies away in search of another white blossom to imbibe and pollinate unknowingly. Hmm… fly, drink, pollinate and repeat…what a life! Lovely story.

But just how is all of this making any sense with Psalm 27:14? Well,  a lot actually. There is so much deep biblical application in this for all of us, that I will try my very best to keep it succinct.   

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 27:14         

This verse is part of King David’s prayer to God to deliver him from his enemies who conspire to bring him down.  Being a king David could do anything at anytime against those who hated him, but instead he prays to God. David accepts that those who oppose him will most likely still give him trouble before God vindicates him, but instead of getting angry or upset he instructs his heart to be strong and wait for God’s timing to vindicate him. This is what it means to be patient before God.

Now the water lily blossoms at God’s perfect timing in the evening just as the beetle is out flying over the water in search for white water lilies. As the lily waits to bloom at God’s command so it is with us Christians. God’s word tells us to wait upon Him, not to go before Him but to sit tight, hold on, expectantly, He understands the whole matter better than we do.

So we wait with patient endurance, whether or not it includes struggles, trouble or suffering we persevere with calmness, because we know that in God’s timing it will all work out. As David did. We as believers are encouraged not to faint, or loose heart in the endurance of persevering, because when it is complete it leads us to maturity in Christ.

James 1:2-4 says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance, Perseverance must finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” 

What would happen if the water lily didn’t wait at God’s command to bloom but chose it’s own time to bloom; or chose instead to close up it’s petals before the beetle arrived? It would have missed its one chance at being pollinated.

When we take matters into our own hands and do not wait upon God as He says, we miss out on blessings. This is what happened to Saul when he lacked patience, didn’t restrain himself nor have the capacity to accept delay in waiting for the prophet Samuel to show up. Saul became perturbed, disregarded the word of the Lord from Samuel to wait to do the sacrifice until he came and it ended up costing Saul not only his blessing from the Lord but his very kingdom!  I Samuel 13:8-14

The flower does not lack anything when the wait is finally over. You see, pollination isn’t the end of it all. For after the pink blossom has been pollinated it will shrivel up and sink back under the depths of the water and die – but here is the wonder of it all…it will bear fruit – a seed!

And this seed will now grow up in maturity to become a beautiful new water lily for the glory of God!

 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. -John 15:8

Hmmm….Maturity in Christ by waiting on God showing self-control in patience – leads to blessings and fruit which glorifies God!  Now, isn’t that were we all want to be?

Be blessed my friend!-Donna

 

 

Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter – His Brokenness Our Healing

“My Body Broken for You” acrylic on canvas 16″x20″ © by Donna Gonzalez

 

I had been waiting on the Lord to give me inspiration in painting another prophetic artwork. Usually it comes after prayer, during praise and worship or like Sunday as a thought.

This past Sunday at church while discussing with another Christian about the uniqueness of similar events occurring like bookends in Jesus’ birth and death/resurrection a vivid image occurred in my mind; and I knew it as an answer to prayer. 

“My Body Broken for You” is that idea.  

Praise God! I’m so excited to share with you this painting!

A bit of background. During a Passover meal there is a plate of matzah on the table. It looks like this:  

 

Curtesy PublicDomainPictures – Pesach Matza

Three matzah breads are wrapped together and placed on the table. There are various explanations for these three, some rabbis call these three a unity of the patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Among Christians and Messianic Jews the three represent the  Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, where the middle matzah represents Jesus. 

In the matzah we can see a picture of Messiah, notice that it is striped…
“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.”   Isaiah 53:5

 

And that it is pierced…  

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”  Zechariah 12:10

That vivid image was this…what jarring emotion and feeling Jesus must have had when taking that middle matzah, seeing the holes and stripes, knowing the true meaning of it and having it broken in His hands? 

The Jews of the Old Testament for a thousand years earlier and His disciples knew the matzah pertained only to the story of the children of Israel who fled Egypt so quickly they had no time to wait for their dough to rise; instead they quickly made unleavened bread and allowed the hot desert sun to bake it flat. Scripture teaches that leaven symbolizes sin. 

6 “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”  I Corinthians 5:6-7

That night Jesus explained to His disciples the unleavened matzah in the New Covenant now represents His sinless body. In a few short hours His body would be marked with scourging and pierced as the bread He held in His hands. Did they fully comprehend that?

What if Jesus after having given thanks to His Father … intending only to gently break the bread neatly into two identical halves, instead to His shock it shatters violently into many pieces!

What if with tears in His eyes picking up pieces of broken bread hands it to His disciples saying: “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 

Would He have been cut to the core by the striking confirmation from His Father of the savage brutality that would happen to His body to redeem mankind?  Of course they both planned it in eternity past…but oh how jarring when that hour becomes reality!

What if the Father purposely allowed the bread to fragment with such ferocity as to demonstrate a powerful visualization to everyone around of what Jesus had just said? Did the disciples get that?

The bible never tells us if Jesus’ broke the bread neatly in two perfect halves. Tradition and artists have always portrayed it as so as it’s only aesthetically pleasing to the viewer…. and to do so otherwise is …well not kosher! [forgive the pun!]

I’m reminded of how before He ever felt the cold rusted iron spikes pounded into His hands and feet, before ever a cat’o nine tails sliced and tore His back into ribbons, His heart had been crushed by the sins of His people.

“Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations.”  Ezekiel 6:9

Then His heart, now His body. 

I captured a moment in time, a visual aid for 21st century disciples of Christ, depicting the deafening crack representing the intensity of Jesus being crushed for our wickedness. The wine that was poured into His cup has spilled upon the tablecloth, the wrinkle in the tablecloth reminds us of His greatest accomplishment.

Jesus was willing to be broken for us, so that we may be completely whole, healed…..what a wonderful Savior!

May this post encourage you in your walk with Jesus Christ!

-Donna

 

 

 

Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter – God Reconciling

 

“God Reconciling” digital art by © Donna Gonzalez 

 

I wanted to share with you a post I written a while ago that I still think is apropos for this Lenten season.  

That artwork up there is not a painting rather its a mixed media graphic art composition I did last summer after spending quite some time pondering on II Corinthians 5:18-20 and Romans 5:6-11.  It was supposed to be a painting but having considered the depth of what was pondered, painting what was in my head on canvas that adequately captured the full meaning of it was quite difficult. And still this graphic composition doesn’t fully show what I meant to portray; perhaps it’s an impossibility. 

Iconography:  I had no wood laying around so I made a cross using two large cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon symbolizes the fragrant sweet life of Jesus our Lord. The Ceylon cinnamon pictured below has a uneven textured surface, often with holes or damaged areas and is made up of multiple layers of rolled bark which when peeled apart break easily. This cinnamon symbolized our Lord Jesus after being beaten and scourged which left His body bruised, broken, lacerated and torn apart in ribbons. Not knowing this until later, but the ground bark of this cinnamon as well as cassia was used in the holy anointing oil for the priests in the Old Testament as they ministered to God in His tabernacle and then later in the Temple (Exodus 30:22-30). Isn’t that what Jesus is – our holy anointed High Priest? I’m sure there’s probably a sermon hidden in all of that!

CinnamonSticks 1

The flames enveloping the cross represent God the Father as Hebrews 12:29 states, “For our God is a consuming fire.” Jesus isn’t shown on the cross because this artwork is an allegory. Sufficient to say, Jesus the One Who knew no sin became sin and in His great love for us took upon Himself the full penalty that was ours  – His Father’s wrath against sin.  Just as fire annihilates, Jesus destroyed the power of Satan, sin and conquered it (Hebrews 2:14).

Jesus sacrificed His life for all of humanity represented by the dark green rays extending outward from the cross reaching out towards every corner of the world. (II Corinthians 5:15). Simultaneously He poured out His blood for all of humanity that everyone, everywhere can be forgiven by God represented by the bright red rays extending outward from the cross (Matthew 26:28, John 3:16-17).

God the Father was at work in His Son reconciling us toward Himself.  He extends His forgiveness of sins through the shed blood of His Son (Hebrews 9:22) granting us eternal salvation which is represented by the bright burst of green emanating from the cross reaching anyone, far and near (Ephesians 2:13) who would believe in His Son and accept His free gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8). Both the Father and the Son worked in tandem to secure our salvation (John 3:16-17). Only the Son of God could endure the wrath of God. Only the Son of God could break the power of sin and death. No angel, no mortal nor demon. Later the Spirit of God would raise Jesus on the third day (Romans 8:11).  At a very important time in history – the Creation of the world, all three persons of the Trinity were actively at work likewise at another significant time in history, the cross of Christ, all three persons of the Trinity were at work. 

And yet, I had to correct my thinking on a point while meditating on this. One, that I had always thought a specific way about God regarding Jesus’ death. Perhaps because God was always portrayed “up there”,  seated in the heavens on a majestic throne by artists all throughout history that I naturally assumed He was only observing from Heaven while His Son was doing all the work down here. Scripture says otherwise.  Most incredible is Romans 5:10  and II Corinthians 5:19  where God didn’t even count our sins against us while we were an enemy of Him!  This is profound. 

Secondly, the Holy Spirit imparts life. Yet He chose to continue to allow life in those who were mocking, blaspheming, beating, scourging, hating, spitting and crucifying the innocent Son of the Living God. Incredible. And all the while the Father is pleading with everyone through His Son on the cross…..come to Me for forgiveness and salvation! (Isaiah 1:18) Can we fully grasp the enormity of that kind of extravagant lavish love of God? (I John 3:1) And how does an artist even begin to paint something like that?

Hmm…crazy-kinda–radical-incredible love… no wonder the Apostle Paul was so excited wanting people to boast “how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:6-11

“8 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” II Corinthians 5:18-20

What a wonderful God we have not only offering us forgiveness of sins, eternal life but the awesome ministry of being ambassadors for Him in bringing the message of reconciliation to others! May you be encouraged and blessed to know how much you are loved of God this Lenten season. 

In Him,

-Donna

Works cited:

 “Cassia and cinnamon.” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Revised and Expanded.  2011.

 

Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter – Love Mosaic

“Love Mosaic”  © by Donna Gonzalez

 

February is here, for us Michiganders it usually means another 6 to 8 weeks more of wintery snow..ugh! But it’s also a time for cherishing your loved one(s) with love, affection, long stem roses, chocolates and candy in celebration of Valentine’s Day!

Some historians claim this holiday was the Church’s “Christianization” of the pagan Roman fertility and health festival Lupercalia, observed February 13-15th. It had its roots at least as far back as 44 BC.  However; did you know there really was a man by the name of Valentine?

Though there are several versions of his life, and it’s not historically clear which hagiography is most accurate, the story goes that Valentine (Latin Valentius) was a Christian priest and former bishop of several towns in Umbria Italy during the 3rd century of Rome under emperor Claudius II. Claudius had banned his soldiers from marrying as he thought single men made better soldiers due to not being hindered on the battlefield because of strong affections.

Despite the Emperor’s edit, Valentine continued to perform marriages of young soldiers who were in love in secret. The Emperor found out about this and had him arrested and imprisoned. Some accounts accredit Valentine in the healing of the jailer’s blind daughter others that he fell in love with her and wrote a card to her signing it, “Love, your Valentine.”

Other versions accredit Valentine in proselytizing many to the Christian faith, defied the Emperor by helping Christians escape the torture and persecution by the Romans, and unsuccessfully convince the Emperor to embrace Christianity. Claudius II refused commanding Valentine to either renounce his faith in Christ or to be beaten with clubs and beheaded. Valentine stayed true to his faith in Christ and was martyred on February 14, 269 AD. 

Which brings me to why I’m so excited to share with you about this beautiful artwork above entitled “Love Mosaic”. What you are looking at is an abstract mosaic artwork representing God’s love. It is made up of 16 individual mosaics put into this unique pattern and based upon I Corinthians 13:4-8: 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails…”

Iconography and hidden symbols:

A large cross in the center of the mosaic. 

 

Pairs of hearts each with its own reflected heart.

 

There are large “X”s and “O”s … 

 

and four smaller pairs of “Xs” and “Os”…

 

 

There are 2 pairs of smaller crosses originating from the horizontal crossbeam of the central cross and hearts, there’s many hearts in this mosaic!

 

 

Four small butterflies at the edges of the mosaic.

 

So…how does all of these hidden images within this mosaic relate to Valentine’s Day and I Corinthians 13:4-5? Much actually! There is so much richness in this mosaic!

We know that love originates from God our Father, the cross is where He demonstrated His great love.  

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” I John 4:8

“We love because he first loved us.” I John 4:19

 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

The heart of course is the universal symbol of love, in this mosaic there are two pairs of large hearts connected to the horizontal crossbeam of the main cross. Each mirrored pair extending downward symbolizes God’s immense love towards us, and the upward pairs represents our hearts raised towards Heaven in gratitude for all He’s done for us. 

The large “X’s” and “O’s” represent God’s lovingkindness and compassion. The smaller ones represent our love towards each other. 

22 “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

Jesus speaking… 27 “He  answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

The two smaller crosses represents the believer’s position in Christ. The hearts within the crosses symbolizes obedience to Jesus’ new command. 

20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

Just as a butterfly is an entirely new creature beyond the lowly caterpillar, likewise when a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation for the forgiveness of sins, they are translated from death to life, from darkness into His glorious light. Those who’ve been transformed by God’s love are like the butterfly flying outwards beyond the painting, compelling others to be reconciled back to God. 

Jesus is speaking…. 24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24

17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” II Corinthians 5:17

20 “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” II Corinthians 5:20

Jesus paid an enormous price to secure our salvation. Like saint Valentine we too ought to love Christ beyond measure, beyond what anything this world has to offer, despite any suffering, hardships, or persecution and to remain faithful to Christ even unto death. 

11 “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11

We are commanded to love others the way He does, meaning with patience, kindness, without envy, without being boastful or prideful. We show our love by putting others needs first, and without getting easily angered. And like Jesus’ great loving-kindness in forgiving us and not counting our wrongs against us, likewise; we too are to show forgiveness to one another without keeping a record of how they have wronged us. 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails…”  I Corinthians 13:4-8. 

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day may our hearts and minds be renewed in Christ, to love others as He loves us.  May this post encourage and bless you in your walk with Christ!

-Donna

Below is a Slideshow of the hidden symbols in this mosaic artwork.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter – The Narrow Path Mosaic

 “

“The Narrow Path Mosaic” © by Donna Gonzalez

 

Yey! It’s a New Year!! Happy New Year to all of you and wishing all of you a blessed safe New Year filled with thanksgiving and joy!

The above painting is comprised of 35 identical mosaic paintings which when placed into a pattern creates this particular composition, it is just one of several possible pattern combinations. And I am always humbled how God’s fingerprints are there, this one is relatively easy to see the symbolism and the scripture that came to mind was Matthew 7:13-14. 

Jesus is speaking: 

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Iconography:

This mosaic painting has alternating horizontal rows of wide and narrow bands, each band is representative of a pathway. Highlighted in yellow below is one of several narrow pathways.

 

 

And one of several wide paths…

 

 

As I write this post right now I just had an epiphany about this mosaic I hadn’t noticed before…….Wow! Praise God!  I’ll explain what it is in a minute…but for now hang tight…it gets deep!

Notice that the narrow path below is made up of alternating brown and green elongated oddly shaped rectangles and concave squares. It is bordered by two sets of red parallel rows of tiles with wavy edges or wavy lines (highlighted in yellow) resulting in hemming the pathway at intervals making it even more narrower.

 

 

Whereas the second pathway is opposite, it is wider made up of alternating blue and purple perfectly shaped squares and rectangles. Though it too is bordered by the same set of red parallel tiles, it is the straight edges or lines (highlighted in yellow) which border the wide path making it a perfectly straight unencumbered pathway….

 

 

This is where it gets really interesting…

When this piece was completed I wasn’t thrilled with the results, and in hindsight admonished myself for not choosing a different color pallet. The alternating bands of blues and red remind me of bricks, there is no hierarchy, and it annoyed me. Though the wide and narrow paths reminded me of Matthew 7:13-14, I didn’t think there was much to say about this piece. 

Until today… when I needed one that was completed and felt led by God to write about this mosaic of all pieces!  Trusting God I started to write knowing His ways are always better than mine – and thought this was going to be a very short post, until I got that epiphany…..and now everything has changed! 

 

The epiphany are the straight v. wavy lines, the colors and the Christian disciplined walk in holiness in light of Matthew 7:13-14. I didn’t paint this mosaic with all of that in mind this is God’s fingerprints! Glory to Jesus!

The straight edges/lines of the sets of red tiles represents how wide and welcoming is the world’s philosophy of doing things. It’s gateway is wide, alluring, deceptively encouraging one to forego such foolish hardship of the other narrow path. Many chose the world’s path to because it deceptively fools them into believing lies, that life should be unencumbered.

The purple squares represents extravagance, luxury, power, wealth, and independence, trust and pride. The blue squares represents trust, wisdom and intelligence. 

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” I Corinthians 3:19-20

The broad path is paved with the world’s wisdom, enticing promises that striving after  extravagance, luxury, power, wealth, independence from all moral constraints and accountability is considered successful. But the end of it all is eternal death. 

13 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:13-18

In contrast the wavy edges/lines of the sets of red tiles represents trials in life that hem believers in from all sides, is actually enabling them to draw closer to Christ.

The green colored shapes represents youthfulness, growth, renewal, safety, fertility and life. The brown colored shapes represents reliability, security and steadfastness.  All of which pertain to the journey of a true follower of Christ. 

In the Kingdom of God believers let go of pride trusting fully in Jesus as a young child puts it’s trust in a loving parent’s decision.  They are exhorted by Jesus to reject the wide  path and chose His difficult narrow way.

Difficult because it involves giving up the word’s ways of doing things, trusting and obeying Jesus so they may grow in maturity in Him. When a Christian chooses to remain steadfast in Him, Jesus renews their strength despite the unrelentingly ups and downs of life. Jesus alone is consistently faithful, reliable as our safety and only security in this troubled world. Jesus’ way leads to producing fruit that glorifies God and always leads to eternal life.  

3 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” II Timothy 2:13

8 “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8

May Christians be encouraged to remain steadfast on the narrow path! 

In Him,

-Donna

 

Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter – Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet

                                “Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet Mosaic” © by Donna Gonzalez

 

I hope all of you had a wonderful time with family and friends this Christmas!  Though Christmas Day was yesterday, the reason for this season is life changing for the individual as well as in the course of history.  It is also a way of life. And I hope this painting can help show that as it pertains to the significance of this Christmas season. 

The original mosaic for this painting was done in acrylic on an 8″x10″ canvas and has an effect added to it which makes each brushstroke and line of paint appear to glow.  The finished composition that you see above, however; is made up of 48 identical mosaics which when placed together creates this unique pattern. What is really cool is due to this intricate pattern it creates an optical illusion!  I love how this piece came out! The scripture verse is taken from Psalms 119:105 which holds a special meaning this Christmas season. 

Iconography: I’ve only highlighted a few here in pink, but throughout the entirety of this artwork are a series of yellow rectangles which depict tempo or movement. Not unlike a series of footsteps walking across a tiled floor. 

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 9.55.11 PM

 

Between the yellow squares are darker tiles that symbolize horizontal and vertical pathways. I’ve highlighted a couple of them here, and reduced the opacity so they are easier to see. Again these also run the entire length and width of the artwork. 

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 10.02.56 PM

 

In between each set of four footsteps are implied lines that form an elliptical shape which appears as an optical illusion, three are highlighted in red below. As you eyes scan the artwork they appear and disappear quickly. 

Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 9.45.07 PM

So how does all of this fit in neatly with Psalm 119:105 and Christmas? Christmas is the season of joy, hope and gift giving that has it’s origins back to God Himself Who would give the greatest gift of all, His Son, the promise to not only the nation of Israel but to all of mankind. Isaiah 9:6 says:

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This promised Savior would be fulfilled hundreds of years later as transcribed by the Gospel writer Luke. The following is just part of what is often read during Christmas describing the account of Jesus’ birth:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12

The Gospel writer John writes of Jesus entering the world:

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Later Jesus would described Himself as our light:

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

We look to Jesus the Word incarnate who’s very words are life, as He leads we follow in step with Him.

“105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

This is symbolized by the yellow footsteps in the painting. Just as a lamp brings light to a path for those in darkness, Jesus is our light. The darker tiles represent just how narrow that path is, so narrow it seems only two footsteps wide. We are called to walk in His footsteps.  Meaning we abide close to Him and do not wander away from the truth of God’s Word.  Jesus said:

 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.Matthew 7:13-14

The great glorious King Jesus left the splendors of Heaven, to be born in the most humble of means in a lost and dying world, lived a sinless life, healed the sick, raised the dead doing many good works to show the Father’s heart. He taught us how to love God and to love one another. He willingly took the punishment that was ours dying on a cross, rose to life triumphantly three days later having conquered sin, death and the grave, that we may know the forgiveness of sins, and walk in newness of life. Jesus, the greatest gift for all times, for all people, for all seasons. 

Oh…and that optical illusion…have you noticed in your Christian walk, sometimes in life there are many things that will vie for our attention, to get our eyes off of Jesus? To redirect our gaze onto seemingly more important things, or on petty things?

Just as that elliptical optical illusion shape is visible in your peripheral vision trying to distract your eyes off what is really important – the narrow path and the footsteps of our Lord; notice it appears at first as something worthwhile to look at, upon finally gazing on it one realizes it has disappeared – it’s nothing. Likewise those things that distract us off our narrow path are just an illusion, they cannot satisfy, nor offer true peace, nor last for eternity. 

May this post encourage and bless you!

-Donna

Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter – Jesus Close to the Brokenhearted

                          “Jesus Close to the Brokenhearted”  16”x 20” acrylic on canvas, © by Donna Gonzalez 

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
    not one of them will be broken.”

I painted this artwork as an encouragement to Christians who’ve experienced trouble, hardship and grief in life. The woman’s face portrays that very difficult moment which tries our faith, where one wavers whether to go on or give up, and it is precisely that moment when Jesus is right there in the middle of it with us. She has a tear in her eye with a very slight smile as she recognizes though she cannot ‘feel His presence’ by faith she will walk by faith and not by sight knowing He is there, He hears and understands and will bring her comfort and deliverance.  

This time of year, is for celebrating festivities, lots of Thanksgiving food, candy, Christmas music, the bright lights, snow falling, warm hugs, hot cocoa, cozy fireplaces, eating around the table with friends and family, joyous reunions and colorful presents, gift giving and memory making. As it should be.

But for many this time of the year life is far from a Norman Rockwell painting. Fraught with hardships it can be is as bleak and cold as a winter’s icy wind. When loved ones have passed away or gone, and burdens increase it makes having a grateful heart very difficult during the Thanksgiving season.

The good news is despite the difficulties, it doesn’t have to be without joy, peace, love and faith. We have someone on our side, Jesus, who not only sees the light at the end of the tunnel but knows the end from the beginning. Who chooses to stick with us, through thick or thin. Who wants to be close to and loves the broken, downtrodden and hurting. One Who is desirous to save heal, restore and deliver when there just doesn’t seem to be any way out.  It is during these intense moments that He wants us to turn and call out to Him to find He is our only hope the answer to all our problems. Jesus is our source of strength, joy, peace, love and faith.

The most amazing thing is Jesus doesn’t even have to do any of this towards us!  And yet, because of Who He is, and His great love for us, He is more than willing to help us. All free for the asking.  Glory to Jesus!

And that right there is so much to be thankful for!

Be blessed!

Donna

 

Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter – Seek the Lord

                                                            “Seek the Lord” © by Donna Gonzalez

 

Yikes! It’s just after 10 pm and I just realized today’s the last day of October and I have been so busy that I’ve nearly missed uploading October’s Newsletter on time!  Funny thing is…as I write this I’m beginning to realize something and it’s exciting what comes to mind. It all makes perfect sense with this scripture! Confused? Let me explain a bit of background on this artwork…  

I painted this mosaic earlier in the year using a new technique in which I simply splattered and poured different colors of paint randomly on the canvas. As the paint moved on its own the colors started to merge and blend on their own creating shapes that morphed in no particular order. As this happened I took photographs of how the paint moved across the canvas. Random yes, without God’s fingerprints, without a higher purpose? Nope!

The painting is comprised of only four mosaics duplicated three times and placed into a pattern until each side matched up perfectly.  

Iconography: Highlighted below is a mirrored image of a man who is wearing a red and blue robe resembling a Christ-figure seated at a shiny glass table. He is looking both upward and over his right shoulder. Or over his left shoulder depending on which mirrored image you’re looking at. I noticed this immediately after I put the four mosaics together and thought of Isaiah 55:6. But, the next hidden image I didn’t see until I started writing this post.  

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.28.12 PM

 

At his side stands what appears to be a large angel in a red robe with blue wings holding his hands outstretched. I outlined the angel’s arms in pale blue on both mirrored images below. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.31.23 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.30.45 PM

 

At the table in front of the Christ-figure appears shapes that suggest food and drink.

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.32.16 PM

The four mosaics placed together form the pattern of a cross.

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 10.31.57 PM

The scripture is taken from Isaiah 55:6

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.”

If you look closely you’ll see what appears to be large areas of the canvas showing through most notable on the edges that form the central cross.  Those are areas which didn’t get completely covered up with paint as it moved across the canvas. 

So…just how does this scripture all fit in with me posting this newsletter an hour or so before midnight before the next month begins? Actually quite a lot. 

You see, I had all the best intentions on getting October’s newsletter out much earlier this month, but try as might I have been kept from posting it, simply because…well,  I’ve been focused on doing other important things. 

And they were all good things that kept me away.  In the back of my mind I kept having the nagging reminder to write this newsletter.  I didn’t set aside TIME to do it until I realized how late it was. In hindsight that may have been a God thing to make His message all the more clear to me. 

Should I happen to finish this post after my deadline of midnight it’s no biggie for me; I simply back post date this writing to be sometime before midnight October 31st.  On the contrary after death, no one has the ability of going back into time before their deadline (death) to accept Christ’s gift of salvation. 

27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: – Hebrews 9:27

God is holy and desires to restore our broken relationship with Him.  He provided the only means possible, through faith alone in His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus wants us to be born-again, to know Him as God and Savoir before every person’s deadline has come. Unfortunately many people take a cavalier attitude towards the Gospel message, defer obeying it since more “important pressing things” need to be done and experienced first. 

As the Christ figure is seated at the table waiting to eat in the painting, in reality Jesus waits for everyone to come and dine with Him, to have a relationship with Him. I was being reminded throughout the month to write this post before the deadline and likewise, the Holy Spirit reminds people who’ve heard the Gospel message yet not followed through to make that decision to follow Jesus before it’s too late.   The food symbolizes the bread and the wine, our communion remembering all He did for us. Jesus says:

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” – Revelation 3:20

Jesus is the author of salvation and the only One who can remedy man’s sin problem before a Holy God. He paid a very high price for our redemption, likewise the symbol of the cross is central in the painting. So very important is everyone’s eternal destiny that God urges everyone to come to Him today and not wait for tomorrow.  Without salvation in Christ Jesus in this life, there is no hope of eternal life in the next. God says: 

“For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.” -Isaiah 55:6

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” –  Isaiah 1:18

Many people are deep in sin-sick captivity, bondage to all kinds of things; fears, addictions, obsessions etc., they are lost and bound in darkness having no idea that by calling upon God He is willing to save, forgive, heal, restore, deliver and set at liberty those who are captive. 

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”  – Jeremiah 29:11-14

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”  – John 3:16-18

“For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” – Romans 10:13

Did you know there is not one paintbrush stroke in this painting? The paintbrush never touched the canvas. Neither did I intentionally paint an angel, a table, cross or the Christ-figure, that was all God’s fingerprints.  Likewise neither is salvation wrought by any man or woman’s merit or work.  It is all God’s doing. 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” – Luke 15:10

One last thing about this painting, it’s the angel. I imagine this angel has been asked by Christ if a person has responded to the Gospel message. What the angel’s response is depends on how each viewer of this mosaic painting responds to the Gospel message. Is the angel about to rejoice or is the angel sadly replying; “No Lord, they said not today.” 

May this post encourage others to see the value of each person’s worth and the incredible significance in believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life today and not put it off for another time.  

in Him,

Donna

 

 

 

Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter – A Threefold Cord

                                                    “Threefold Cord”  © by Donna Gonzalez

                                                   

This painting is what I chose for a sister in the Lord who sent in her favorite bible verse that I had requested from friends in August of this year.  I painted this artwork last year. The composition is comprised of 80 painted mosaics neatly placed together to form this unique pattern.  The result is warm, inviting and quite pleasing to look at. And looks something like lace or latticework, of interwoven cords of yellow, orange, and red against a very deep burgundy that mimics a deep warm brown. Amazing how some very deep hues appear much different than its original color! 

The scripture for this painting comes from Ecclesiastes 4 verses 9-12:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” 

Old King Solomon was the wisest, most wealthiest of all the kings in Jerusalem in the era of which he lived and composed a lengthy discourse of his memoirs containing his experience, knowledge and wisdom which was granted to him. These six short sentences speak of the importance of having a good friend in one’s life, especially one that is beloved, trusted, and faithful.

A scripture that came to mind as I pondered over this artwork and its verse is:  “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

Hmm…we’ll get to that in a moment.

It’s the title of this piece, taken from the last verse of Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and the artwork’s pattern in relation to Proverbs 18:24 that I want to focus on. I’m not going to take it to the extreme, you may come to a different conclusion than I and that’s all right. There may be more scriptural truth here but this is what I noticed so far. 

Iconography: The orange cord meanders at a decorative pace horizontally, while the yellow cord runs vertically twisting every now and then. The red cord travels horizontally with slight undulation among the yellow and orange cords. The orange cord represents man, the yellow cord represents woman. The red cord represents Christ. 

So how does this pattern relate anything at all to Ecclesiastes 4:12 and Proverbs 18:24 you may ask? Well, a lot actually.  

Men and women as we already know are so different from one another and I’m not just referring to our gender.  Often, we don’t understand each other relationally or emotionally. Women are a complex mystery to men and likewise women can’t figure out why men do what they do and some conclude they must have come from another world. Yet despite our many differences both often become best of friends coming to the aid of each other.  Sometimes the result is of two lives desiring a lifelong faithful commitment to each other instituted by God in marriage. 

This is represented by the yellow and orange cords intersecting each other at two different angles, just as a man and a woman were not meant to be clones of each other identical in every way, but to have variances in our makeup, experiences, dreams, desires, talents, and ability. 

But notice there is also some space between the two cords. One cord doesn’t dominate or control the other, nor one cord crowd the other preventing the other from moving, neither do they create a tangled mess. Instead just the opposite occurs, both the yellow and orange cords harmonize with each other in lovely lacework pattern where each contributes. Without the yellow cord with its circles or triangles the pattern is incomplete, without the orange cord the pattern is also incomplete.

Now, in a painting an artist will deliberately position an object or a subject to be dominate, by creating that object or subject larger, or exaggerated, or more colorful, or separate from all the other things in the artwork to purposefully call attention to the viewer to look right here, because this is the most significant thing about this artwork. That object or subject is called the main focal point. All the other lesser elements within that painting will work to draw the viewer’s eye along towards the main focal point so the viewer really doesn’t pay much attention to the lesser objects or elements in that painting. That is called hierarchy in art, where there are degrees of rank and order among all the objects or subjects within a painting. 

Did you notice there is no hierarchy in this painting? Neither the yellow cord nor the orange cord stands out as the main hierarchical element in this artwork.  Both cords are equal, of the same tonality, shape and size, one doesn’t dominate the other by any differences in texture, size or position, other than the individual color there is nothing to suggest hierarchy. Both cords have their own unique style and color and each one’s movement in the artwork creates beauty. 

In marriage, both husband and wife are a unique creation in their God-given talents, attributes and in the gifting the Holy Spirit has imparted to each one. Both are to work alongside each other, not dominate each other, or oppress or abuse the other. Husband and wife are called to love one another dearly as Christ loves His Church, by showing reciprocal submission to each other out of mutual respect for one another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:21.  

The red cord represents Christ, who is the only One positionally and spiritually the Lord and Head over both the husband and wife, who joins them in marriage. The red cord weaves in close between the orange and yellow cords symbolizing Christ being very near to both husband and wife who is the Friend who sticks closer than any brother.

Notice the red cord isn’t ornate either, nor flamboyant, extravagant in color, or larger than any other element in the painting to even remotely suggests hierarchy. Is not that how our Lord Jesus is? Humble, never ostentatious. Though in reality Christ’s hierarchical position is the main focal point in a Christian marriage as both Lord and Head over the marriage and over each person within the marriage. 

Lastly, it is the red cord which makes the twofold cord into a threefold cord in the painting. Without Christ as the solid foundation in a marriage it can become broken and eventually destroyed through constant wear and tear of the storms in life; however, a threefold cord with Christ as the sure foundation in the marriage is much stronger and able to withstand all the storms of life.  

For those who are single, Christ still remains as your Friend who sticks closer than any brother. 

May you be encouraged by this post and remain strong in your faith!

-Donna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Chi Rho Newsletters

Chi-Rho Newsletter – Sheep or Goat Which Are You?

                                          “Sheep or Goat Which Are You?  © by Donna Gonzalez

This acrylic painting is comprised of four mosaics. The symbolism of the three images hidden in this painting is sobering and in light of Matthew 25:31-46 gives one pause into serious self reflection.

Two of the images are superimposed on each other. No I didn’t purposely paint it that way, the images come forth only after they are put into a pattern. This particular pattern is only one of several possible patterns using this one particular mosaic painting. The other patterns from this mosaic aren’t so serious as this one!

The first hidden image is of a sheep’s head. The eyes are circled.  I’m impressed how the nose and ears really do look like a sheep’s nose and ears!

Hmm…We as believers are the sheep of His flock, with Jesus as our faithful Good Shepherd.   Sheep eat by grazing, meaning they prefer munching on grass that is low to the ground. The definition of graze means to feed on or to eat in small quantities of food at frequent but irregular intervals.  

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 2.20.28 PM

Hmm…Isn’t that what a true believer does? We spend time reading, studying the bible, fellowshipping with other Christians, spending quality time in the presence of Christ? We feast on the Word of God in small quantities frequently even if it means irregular intervals, like meditating on scriptures throughout the day, or listening to sermons or teaching on podcasts and radio as time allows. Deep calls unto deep, as we dig deeper in studying the bible, soaking up God presence and meditating on His words He reveals and teaches us more about Himself. 

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:14-16 

And the second hidden image is a goat’s head and is seen made up from the first image, as if it is on top of the first, but it’s really not a true “superimposed image”; rather, it is two mosaics mirrored side by side and the result is what you see. Just cover up half of the image and you’ll see one half of this mosaic is a mirror image of the other. 

Goathead

Now, I don’t have anything against sheep or goats, I like them both.  Nor would I take the analogy to it’s extreme. I’m just noticing the correlation between animal behavior and what scripture calls the ungodly, the unbelieving and false converts – goats. It is not a coincidence that God created each animal with particular attributes, I suppose there are even variances within individuals of the same species. I do think, however; God created sheep and goats with different specific behaviors in order to teach us some important truths. 

Goats are not flock minded rather they prefer to do things independently. They don’t graze instead they are browsers, meaning they often choose to select leaves, shrubs, vines, and weeds, often found at the tops of plants which are higher off the ground.

Hmm… In the world there are the ungodly and those who are unbelievers.  Some are not true believers at all but false converts. They pretend and may fool other Christians into thinking they are the real deal but they don’t fool God.  It is these who don’t want to spend any time feeding on the Word of God, spending time in prayer or in His presence. They can’t because they are not truly born again; they live obeying the flesh and its sinful desires. Without the Holy Spirit residing in them they have no desire to obey God’s word. If at chance they do read the bible or hear a sermon they simply browse through it selecting only those few scriptures of their liking mixing in new age word’s philosophies that tickle their ears which further draws them away from the truth. The rest of the bible they simply cannot accept or believe, they’d rather pursue worldliness not godliness. 

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46 

This mosaic composition also reminds me of another of Jesus’ sayings, a parable of the wheat and tares found in Matthew 13:24-30.

24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”   Matthew 13:24-30

Again, I don’t have anything against wheat or tares, they are just plants doing what they were created to do. Nor would I take the analogy to it’s extreme. I’m just noticing the correlation between the two plants and what scripture calls those who are not the children of God – tares. It is not a coincidence that God created each plant with its particular attribute. I do think, however; God purposefully created both wheat and tares with specific attributes in order to teach us some important truths. 

Wheat and tares do happen to look very similar much more than say… sheep and goats; and it is during the harvest that one can finally determine between wheat and tare. Tares contain lots of tiny black seeds which when consumed makes one nauseous and sick, yet the fruit of the wheat is good and healthy.

Hmm….Jesus said we would know people by their fruit.  It is said the mature tare stalk stands ridged, unyielding when full with black seeds; whereas the wheat bends downward gracefully when it is full of kernels.

Hmm…We are to be a people whose lives show all the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which include meekness and humility, all of which benefits others and pleases the Father. We are not to be prideful or haughty, nor treat the less fortunate with contempt and disdain by not helping them. Our entire lives, our attitude, our behavior and our words shouldn’t make others sick and nauseous to be around with. Neither should our thoughts or the meditations of our hearts displease our Father in Heaven. 

The third hidden image is this winged creature which resembles something like a bat. It can also symbolize how those who chose to live ungodly lives are under the influence of the evil one. 

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 3.29.49 PM

The way we live our lives now and the fruit we produce will be clearly evident to everyone on that Day.  What may have been concealed for a time from many is now evident to everyone, showing what side of Christ we really were on all along.  

In the meantime, we can choose to produce fruit that leads to death or leads to life.  Let us therefore, as pilgrims on a journey, strive to continue in abiding in the Holy Spirit making the most of our time here, urging others also to walk in holiness and obedience to Christ.

May this post encourage you to remain steadfast in your walk with Jesus Christ. 

-Donna