Out to Abundance: Faith for Creatives

we went through fire and water, but you brought us out to abundance.” ~PSALM 66:12

Another translation of this portion of scripture says, “We went through the fire and through the water, but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.”

Here is what we as Creatives and People of Faith have to take note of:

THERE IS ‘PROCESS’ BEFORE ‘POSSESSION’.

Before we are able to take hold of and step into the new level that God has for us, we must be prepared for it. Who we are before the process is not who we will be on the other side of it when we take possession of what the Lord has promised and called us to.

Fire. Consider the occurrences of forest fires, not the ones that are caused by human negligence, but those that take place as a part of the circle of creation.

These fires are natural. They may cause great devastation, but, they bring greater enrichment to the ecosystem.

Water. Water, rain, are necessary for the nutrients to be able to get into the soil for the new abundance to spring forth from the newly enriched ground.

Sometimes it seems that we go from one trial straight into another. I will not say that this isn’t a difficult thing to endure, but we can endure it through and with Christ Jesus.

Now this is what the Lord says—the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Israel—“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters,
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you…Because you are precious in my sight and honored, and I love you, I will give people in exchange for you and nations instead of your life. Do not fear, for I am with you…” ~ISAIAH 43:1-2,4-5a CSB

Because the Lord has loved us and has called and created us for a purpose, we can be assured, even as we go through our trials on the way to our possession that:

  1. He will be with us
  2. He will protect us from harm
  3. He will bring us out into abundance
  4. We do not have to be afraid
  5. We are LOVED

Remember, gold without fire is never purified and faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted. Allow the faith within you to be enriched by the process of the fires, sated by the waters, and mature in trusting His word as you receive the abundance that is yours.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

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The Rooted & Grounded: Faith For Creatives

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ~EPHESIANS 3:14-21 CSB

Paul’s prayer for the Body of Christ to be rooted and grounded in the love our Savior has for us is so powerful. Many times we make light of, not only the Grace of God but His love. We tend to take the worldview of what love is, and what love truly means, and thusly, miss the glory and power that comes from love Himself.

Love is the very Person of God (I JOHN 4:7-8), not a fleeting feeling that comes and goes, for we know that Christ has assured us that He will never leave nor forsake us (HEBREWS 13:5) but will be with us for all eternity.

But even when we have accepted Christ into our hearts, there is still the process of His seeds of love not only taking root in us but growing to the point that we are filled with the very fullness of God.

Love, knowing that we are fully, completely, unapologetically, unrepentantly, unconditionally loved by Christ Jesus, is the root and cornerstone of our growth, power, and passion in Him.

It is through the knowledge of the depth of this love that we are able to live with confidence and courage, no matter our mistakes, stumbles, or fails. It is through this knowledge that we are able to do as our Lord commanded and love others.

When we know we are loved perfectly by Him, we rest in our identity of being His righteousness by faith, free from and forgiven of sin, past, present, and future. It is here that we grow into a posture where we are no longer sin-conscious, thusly we are able to shed the fear of punishment that pushes us into condemnation. (Romans 8:1, I JOHN 4:15-18)

Where there is no condemnation, there is freedom, freedom to grow, freedom to walk in liberty and freedom to liberate others with the Good News! (II Timothy 1:7)

Oh, what glory and depth of faith that comes from this place! It is here that we can pray with confidence expecting the “above and beyond what we could ask or imagine” from Him that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 3:20-21.

But to get to the truth of verses 20 and 21 we have got to be rooted in this incredible love that is spoken of in verses 14-19. It takes the knowledge of, and resting in, as well as trusting of His unwavering love for us to be able to believe that not only is His power working in us, that He is able to do exceeding and abundant great things, but that He will do these things for you because HE LOVES YOU!

Be rooted in His love. Trust that He has already given you His greatest gift which was Himself offered upon the cross, knowing that because He has given you His best, He most certainly will not withhold the rest (Romans 8:28-37).

That is love! Take rest and take root!

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

A New Thing: Faith For Creatives

See, I am doing what is new, let it now spring forth. Do you not know it? I am even making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” ~Isaiah 43:19 

Creativity always announces the birth of something new. Sometimes that birth takes place in things that are old, warn, dried out, but isn’t that were some of the greatest beauty rest? Isn’t it these places that we are able to see the miracles of God take place, and realize that we can be made into a miracle for others?

In Isaiah 43, the Lord speaks of how He is doing something new, causing rivers to flow in desert places. He is not just sending rain to saturate, but rivers to change the entire landscape and ecosystem.

In our lives, we will sometimes find ourselves in dry places, wandering in valleys of shadows, wondering if we made a mistake when we stepped out in faith to do that ‘thing’ we were once so certain about, but now were are not so sure.

Here is the truth that we often miss. Just because the Lord calls us out in faith does not mean that we are not going to face some craggy, hard places. In fact, it is in these places that our faith is most strengthened and our creativity finds its greatest development. It is in these places that were are able to see rivers springing up in desert places.

Wherever you are in your creative process continue to trust that the Lord is right there with you, and not only is He with you but trust that He has something ‘new’ waiting for you. He has a new you waiting to be born from the wells inside of you.

There may be an idea cultivating in the soil of your circumstances that you may not yet see. There may be a novel waiting to be written as a result of your struggle. There may be a word of encouragement glowing as an ember, waiting to be set ablaze at the right moment to change someone else’s life.

Something new is being born in you during this season. Keep allowing the Lord to lead you and give you the discernment to know it! Your rivers are coming.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

Paths MADE Straight: Faith for Creatives

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” ~PROVERBS 3:5-6 

Some translations of this scripture say, “He shall make straight your paths.” Both of these translations lend great confidence to the glory we have in trusting in the Lord and allowing Him to be our trust even as He has authored and finished our faith.

Jeremiah 17:7-9, says, “The person who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.” (CSB)

We, as creatives, we as His children by faith, actively creating in faith, have confidence not only in the person of our God, Jesus Christ, but have Him as our Confidence. Each step we take toward our path of purpose is a step we can take knowing that He is with us and has made a way even when things do not seem to make sense, or the way seems obscured.

When our direction seems tangled and our roads crossed, we can rest assured that because we have trusting faith in Him, He will straighten out all that is crocked or bent and show us how to walk in the way before us, and guide us to do so at the right time.

Take courage today, creatives, and keep trusting in the Lord. Our faith and steps to create in faith, our prayers have been answered with an eternal ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ (II COR. 1:20) and WILL NOT return void!

If the fruit of our efforts looks opposite to the root of your prayers, don’t lean on your own understanding but keep pressing into Him and keep pressing forward. Our Heavenly Father is faithful and He who gave you the faith for your journey will guide you to the final destination.

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

A Heart Filled: Faith for Creatives

You have filled my heart with great joy…” ~PSALM 4:7

To put our trusting faith in the Lord, not only for salvation but as an act of creative worship, is not only one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves but it is a great gift that we can give to our Heavenly Father.

Creative worship is the greatest way to say, “Father, I trust you with who I am in you, and the plan you have authored for me.”

Faith is the root of our covenant with Him. Faith is what creates in us clean hearts and blesses us to be His righteousness (2 CORINTHIANS 5:21).

Faith is what makes us a blessing to our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is faith that so pleases His heart.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. ~HEBREWS 11:6

Psalm 4 beautifully highlights the dance between our trusting in the Lord, and how it brings the greatest delight to our own hearts and His.

Verses three and seven capture the essence of it like this, “But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The Lord will hear when I call to Him…You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.

When we are confident in the Lord, when we rest in our faith, we are blessed with such an exceeding joy that it shines through the thickest darkness and outweighs any material gain or fulfilled need we could have.

Being a creative is faith in action. Resting in confidence that He is with you and hears you, delights Him and fills you. I can’t say it enough! And when your heart is full, you are able to overflow with joyful creativity.

Are you resting in faith that He is with you as you go along life and your creative journey? If not, there is no greater day than today to begin.

(READ PSALM 4)

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

“Anything You Can Do I Can Do”…But Why Should I?: Creating My Way

First, the title of this article is not necessarily true in and of its self, but I am trying to paint a picture with words here, so follow along, will you?

I am not sure if you are familiar with the old musical “Annie Get Your Gun” starring Betty Hutton and Howard Keel. In the movie, there is a song that they sing to each other. It’s more two people shooting arrogant verse at each other as if they are bullets. “Anything you can do I can do better. I can do anything better than you.

As creatives, we are all looking for our own place in the world, our own voice. Even when and while we are inspired by and appreciate the expressions of others, we can sometimes find ourselves looking at fellow creatives with competitive eyes. “I can do that and I can do it better. Maybe I should try.

Being human, no matter what we are aiming to do, we can all go ahead and admit we’ve  done that once or twice. 

In an older post, I quoted Octavia E. Butler on how she became a science fiction writer. (Did I mention she is the winner of the Hugo Award and Nebula Awards?) Anyhow, she said that when she was twelve years old she watched a dreadful science fiction flick. It was so bad that she was determined to write “good” science fiction. And she did, obviously.

…I have to make art that I care about not just art that I can make. ~Candice Coates

But her attitude was “I can do better than that.” And that attitude paid off. (If you have not read any of her work, check out Wild Seed.) The thing is, not only did she set out to write ‘better’ science fiction, but she did it her way, in her own voice, without competing with the voices that were already out there.

Since ICFTS began, I have been on a constant journey to identify my voice as an artist. Truth be told, I have been on this search since I have been an artist. I have always been very eclectic. But one thing that has come to mind with all of this is that I have to make art that I care about not just art that I can make.

As I have said for years, just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. That is when you get stuck in ruts of hollow, soulless work, be it writing, visual art, whatever it is. Always create what you care about.

I am on a hunt to find what it is that I care about. I love doing oil paintings, I love writing (writing will ALWAYS be my thing. I love to tell a story.) but with visual art, it just all depends.

I find that even with oil painting, though I have a talent for it,  I am exploring more pencil work, with ink and colored pencils. And there is always the option of mixed media illustration.  There are so many options.

…just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.” ~Candice Coates

I remember, years ago, in undergrad during a departmental review, my professors telling me “All your work is amazing, Ms. Coates, but it looks like the work of twenty different artists.”

On one hand, this is not a bad thing at all. It’s like being multilingual. I speak twenty different artistic languages. On the other hand, it begs the question, are you perfectly fluent in any of them? Jack or rather Jacqueline of all trades and master of…only a few.

 

 

 

We need to create on purpose, with purpose.”

CREATING WITH CONSIDERATION

There are 3 verses that come to mind in this regard. I will pluck at each. One is Philippians 4:13,I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

It is comforting to know that if I set myself to do things that He, Christ Jesus, has placed in my heart to do, that no matter what, if I trust Him, He has given me the strength to do them.

I want to make art. He has given me the gift to do so and also the strength for it.

I Corinthians 10:23,You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is helpful. You say, “I am allowed to do anything” but not everything is beneficial.

With the creative strength and gift given unto me, I need to operate in wisdom. So what I can, sculpt. I don’t feel ANYTHING when I am sculpting apart from a loss of time. Dash the great reviews of my audience. (Just using sculpting as an example.)

Where is the benefit of doing something just because you can? You won’t benefit from my efforts and in the long run, no one else will either. The work is void of any life because your heart was not in it. This is arbitrary actions at its best.

Both of these verses bring me to Isaiah 30:21,and your ears hear a word behind you, saying “This is the Way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or whenever you turn to the left.

BE CREATIVE, NOT COMPETITIVE

What is the point? The point is not to be arbitrary, not to be competitive. Art, to me, creation and creativity, is sacred. It needs to be treated with respect and care. We need to create on purpose with purpose. Not in a way to “out do” the person next to us. There has to be meaning involved. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.

In conjunction with this, we should not only create what we care about, but we should create on subjects or themes that we care about.  If you are not interested in what you are doing your work “on” you are still going to get the same empty results, a pretty picture with no life to it, even if you are doing it in a medium that you love.

My creative path is still winding forward. I am discovering more about me and what I want out of my career as a visual artist. I am ever on the hunt to uncover my “niche” and voice.

But even where I stand now,  I can be confident in creating what I am curious about and care about, and leave all the competitive  “I can do better than you” mess behind me. And best of all, so can you!

*This article was originally published on February 12th, 2014 & Updated February 19th, 2018.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*Do you ever feel like you could be making better use of your creative time, or that you’ve lost yourself in a creative competitive race? Talk about it in the comments below.

He Holds It All Together: A Scripture & Song

 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  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. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the Head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. ~Colossians 1:15-20

It is my pleasure to speak of Yeshua Jesus, the God of Creation, the Beloved King and lover of my soul. When it seems my world is falling apart or even just shaking so much that my vision is blurred, I take rest in the truth that He is in control and holds ALL things together. He holds me. He loves me. And He loves you.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

From Fire & Ashes: A Poem & Word of Faith

Oh sweet fireflame-1013280_960_720

Oh sweet fire

Burning from embers

Kissed by gales of rushing wind

Charred black my loveliness

Til all seems lost

And I must start again

Bring forth new life, Oh sweet fire

From death spring fertile ground

In the wake of your scorching pyres

Is where my future will abound

Oh sweet fire

~Candice Coates

From Fire & Ashes: A Word of Faith & Encouragement

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Fire rips through the hilly countryside, leaving devastation in its wake. All seems lost. Hope is suffocated in the thick choking smoke that rises from the ashes of what used to be treasures and dreams. 

And when the orange and black fades, giving way to sunlight, nothing can be heard but mocking silence. The fire has one and all is lost.

…Or is it?

If you live long enough, if you haven’t already, you will drink of your fair share of disappointment. Something will come and snatch the proverbial rug from beneath your feet and leave you on your back winded.

None of us are  immune to it. There is not inoculation to prevent tragedy or disappointment from burning through the plains fo our lives. We have no choice deciding if ‘fire’ will come, but we do have the choice of what we accept as true in regard to the ‘fire’.

Maybe it’s the fire of losing a loved one, being let go from a job that had you anticipating promotion. Maybe it’s a relationship that suddenly ended. Fire. It came out of nowhere and left nothing behind it but ashes.

The glory of the fire, however, is that though it burns the life from what we see, it sets the stage for incredible rebirth beneath the soil in what we cannot see.

Dozens of studies over the past two decades have shown that a severely burned forest is a living, thriving habitat that has always been a natural part of western forest ecosystems. Severely burned forests are filled with animals that feast on superabundant food, such as insects and seeds, created by the fire. Anyone with the opportunity to experience a severely burned forest like the Rim Fire is blessed with a cacophony of birdsong, the hum of insects, and a wildflower and pollinator show like nowhere else on the planet. ” ~Some Like It Hot: The Truth About Forest Fire by Monica L. Bond and Richard L. Hutto

The Word of God encourages us with the hope that He (God Yeshua Jesus) will give us beauty for all of our ashes (Isaiah 61:1-3,  Luke 4:16-21). But to get that beauty there has to be a fire. For gold to be refined, there has to be a fire. (1 Peter 1:7)

I take hope and heart in the truth of God’s Word in Romans 8: 28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” not just because I’ve read it, but because I’ve lived it.

What we need to be grateful for, despite the temporary burn of life’s fires, is the truth that not “some” things but “all” things work out for our good. God recycles what was lost to bring us greater beauty and gain.

Sometimes it takes the fire to set us free. The very fire that the three Hebrew boys went through in the Book of Daniel Chapter 3, the very fire that was meant to destroy them, was the very fire that removed their bindings. (Verses 23-25)

What is even more glorious is that Yeshua Jesus was walking in the fire with them, the same way He is willing and wanting to walk in the fire with all of us and to bring us out free and refined! (Isaiah 36:7-9)

The truth we need to cleave to about the ashes that seem as the glaring reminder of what we once had or what we once lost, is that those ashes are the very thing that fertilize our soil and enrich it to produce better fruit and stronger foliage.

We must decide whether or not we will  remain buried beneath the result of the fires or if we will allow those ashes to be tilled on our fallow ground to bring forth a new and greater harvest!

Sing oh barren woman! God is faithful good is coming even out of your ashes! Isaiah 54

Oh, sweet fire!

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

Good Good Father: Musical Interlude

He is a Good GOOD FATHER! And we are loved by Him. His ways may not make sense as we face various struggles, pains, disappointments and trials, but Messiah Yeshua Jesus assured us in His Word that His thoughts for us ARE good and for us to be blessed. (Isaiah 55, focus on verses 8-13) (Jeremiah 29:11)

This day was the first time I heard this song. To His glory, it came on the cuffs of a prayer I was praying as I face various struggles and pains of my own life.

What has blessed my soul most in hearing this song is the fact that these are the very words He has been speaking to me since my growing pains began.

It is easy, in the face of confusion, to think we are not loved. But God’s word is true and doesn’t change. He never leaves us nor forsakes us and He loves us completely.

I am loved by Him, as you are loved by Him. I take comfort in that, like a child with a broken limb is told by their loving parent to allow that limb to be reset even though it is going to hurt. I take comfort in knowing that these fires are refining and ALL things will work for my good and His glory. (Romans 8:28)

Why? Because it has before. Why? Because He is a good GOOD Father. And I am loved by Him!

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

All In The Pieces: Piece It Together By Pastor Steven Furtick

Greetings! I just listened to this message and it rocked my world in such a good way. My prayer is that you will set aside a good 45 minutes and allow your heart to be encouraged as well. Yeshua Jesus Bless!

Piece It Together