Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Word Art Wednesday: The Work of Jesus

Welcome again to Word Art Wednesday's "anything-goes" challenge!  We love sharing God's Word, beautifully crafted by our word designer, Karen Murray of Papercraft Memories.  Her lovely rendition of this week's scripture is particularly inviting for card creations or your next paper craft project.  It's all yours...and we'd love to see it on one of the projects you link to our challenge this week. For more details on the challenge go HERE.
I absolutely love this verse, because it so clearly sets the record straight about the source and purpose of our works.  God is the author of our salvation AND our good works.  He begins each and every good work we produce.  And He continues working in us until we die and are perfected in Christ.  Philippians 2:13 says, 
For it is God which worketh in you 
both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
for it is God who works in you 
to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose

God initiates the desire (will) to do good and the strength to carry good out (act).  And the indwelling Holy Spirit  conditions the believer's heart (sanctification) to desire what God desires, to long to please Him, to offer our lives as a living sacrifice of doing divine good, or good that advances the Kingdom of God.  This kind of good is far more than humanitarian service, or good deeds that make others happy, or eases their suffering or clothes, feeds, or shelters them.  These are all good things to be sure.  But to will and do to intentionally fulfill HIS good purpose and pleasure is greater far than all these good works.   Doing them them all in Jesus' name, under His banner and for His glory makes all the difference in the world.  In fact, it may mean the difference between filling a starving man with food for a day while sending him off to an eternity in hell OR leading Him to the Bread of Life, while offering him a bag of food.  The first is a good work, but apart from Christ it accomplishes only what is temporal.  It would be insensitive at best to share the Gospel and not connect the person to the body of Christ who can disciple and nurture them spiritually. Once they are saved we have an obligation to continue to minister to them.  

Believe it or not, there is a connect to my card design and the scripture verse!   I've shared before how my mother made all my clothes for me while growing up and even later into my adult years.  The whole process fascinated me.  We'd often go shopping together for the material and the pattern together.  I had myopic vision.  I could only see the dress in the color and material depicted in the pattern picture.  She had imagination!  She would take one long flowing piece of fabulous fabric, lay it on our dining room table and start whacking it to pieces.  Somehow between that pattern and all those shapes of fabric, there would be a finished dress that would fit me perfectly.  

She would measure me with a tape measure, make a tuck here or there in the pattern and begin cutting.  I would gather up all the scraps, while she would neatly fold and stack the cut pieces on the sewing machine ready for the next step in the process. 

God has a pattern for our lives.  There is no one-size-fits-all pattern.  He tailor made the pattern me and it is different from the one He made for you.  Yet in the end, His purpose and His pleasure will be served if we live by that pattern.  Some scraps have to be cut away from our hearts and He throws away what is not pleasing, or what doesn't serve to bring Him glory.  Sometimes I wish He would cut away pain, and illness and loss...but He knows when those will serve His Kingdom best.  He sees what we cannot envision.  
If we are ever arrogant enough to assume that our good works come from us, or benefit us other than to refine what God is already doing in us, we are really arrogant.  Our good works simply express our faith and become beacons of light whereby others find the Savior.  

I am the vine; you are the branches. 
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; 
apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

In the same way, let your light shine before others, 
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

Sets Used: 

5 colored images, 2 outline images, 4 sentiments, 4 digi papers
(I used the outline image and paper pieced it with the papers in the set below.)

3 color images, 3 outline images, 5 sentiments, 5 digi papers


Maxine D said...

Thank you for your thoughtful words Diane, and the wonderful freebies.

Desire Fourie said...

Diane this is just so pretty and feminine. Loving the pretty flower arrangement. Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed festive season and a 2015 filled with tons of love and joy.
{Doing Life – my personal blog}

Carole Robb Bisson said...

Sweet Diane,
You have such a sense of art, balance and beauty in each card or project. The blues have never looked lovelier with the bits of color from the flowers and DP. Blessings Carole