A Work in Progress

work in progress

As I looked through the wood scraps at a lumber yard, I am amazed at what the world throws away and thinks useless.  Like this scrap of maple.  My husband took note of the interesting shape of the wood, it’s color and the grain, even though it was very rough. It was destined to be used as a scrap for the fire.

But he could see something in it that the normal eye cannot.  A piece of art.  Even though it was rough and ugly, he could see beyond the exterior.  I said that if he could bring out it’s beauty, I could paint something that would give it a purpose and bring joy to someone who wanted to share it.

So he put this board through a refining process so that I could turn it into a work of art.  He sanded and trimmed, and brought out the unique grain and texture that no one else could see.  It had amazing color when he polished it.  This piece really had to go through a process for it to get to my art studio and receive the gift of art.  So that it could be used in someone’s home to be a blessing to all who enter there.

I the same way, we can see how God works in our lives.  He picks us out of the heap, the pile ready for burning.  He takes us in and he refines us if we are willing.  Many times we go through loss and suffering.  We have our rough edges sanded off and trimmed.  Sometimes we go through this process with difficulty and other times it’s easy. But go through it, we must.    We get polished so that we can be used for the special gifts God wants to place in us.  Just like the art added to this piece.  We find our purpose and then can be used to bring glory to Him!

So truly, we are all a work in progress, brought out of the fire, and given purpose by the Lord!   Alleluia!!

New Ideas going forward!

4 seasons

I am so excited to be getting back to doing new artwork!  God has given me some new ideas and new plans.  I would love to get the thoughts of all of my friends and followers!   My original website has been redone,  www.lauriesherrell.com   I am also adding a possible second site through Kingdom which will be http://www.heaventohand.com and will keep you informed.

I am also considering adding downloadable files for you so that you can get my artwork and print it for yourselves.  This would be very nice for note cards and smaller pieces. Of couse they would be offered at a discounted price!

What do you all think of t-shirts, totes, mugs and other items with my art on them?

What about coupons?

And would you still like me to reconsider going to some shows?

Lastly…..what do you all recommend that I do to help my website and my site on etsy that I don’t offer?

Any comments and ideas are appreciated!

You can comment here or email me at  lauriesherrell@hotmail.com

I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you!

 

 

 

 

The Dragonslayer

Sometimes in life it just feels like you come up against so many overwhelming dragons!  I am talking about all those problems and battles that seem to never end.  Just when you think you’ve won the battle, here comes another dragon!    In order to slay a dragon, you first must be fearless….

But being fearless is not so easy as it sounds!  The Word tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7.

So obviously, God is not responsible, so who is it that causes us to be afraid or to worry?  It’s that old dragon, the devil.  Because he knows that we cannot be effective for the Kingdom of God if we are set back with concerns and worries of this world.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2.  We have to renew our minds daily, in prayer and reading the Word! Otherwise we do not have the weapons we need to defeat the enemy!

We defeat the dragons by putting on the whole armor of God!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. From Ephesians Chapter 6:10-12. 

The enemy is always trying to find an in road to defeat us, and many times it’s in the little details, in our thoughts, where it creeps in.  One negative thought is not even acceptable.  It makes a crack in the wall of our defense!

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8.

Does a the roaring of a lion actually harm you?  No!  But he makes a lot of noise trying to scare us.  Trying to make a way to bring us in to submission so he can devour us!

So next time you worry or fear, go to the Word, which your sword, cast out your fear and give it to God, for He cares for you!  I Peter 5:7.

Now go and slay those dragons!

dragonslayer

Keeping it simple!

webfaith2

Over the past couple of years, and being a part of different churches, a big question came to me, is once saved always saved truth? Or can you lose your salvation?  These are the arguments of men.

I took a bit of time to pray and ask for wisdom in this.  We all know what the scriptures say,  That salvation is a gift, not earned but freely given.  Even probably the most popular scripture says, “Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16.  So yes, once you believe, you are saved.

But because the Word also says in Mark Chapter 4:

The Parable of the Sower

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables12 so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
    and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’[a]

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

So I ask, were the first groups really saved?  Or did they believe and were saved,  and then because they quit believing due to the cares of life, did they lose what they once had?  Or did they ever have salvation?  Because they never had any fruit, were they really saved?   The thief on the cross had no fruit, and yet he was saved!

I think the first ones, who heard it, just didn’t accept it and didn’t really care, even though they thought on what was given. The second heard the word and were excited but didn’t really believe.  The seeds actually never took root and grew.   The third group did take root and believed what was told to them,  They accepted Christ but things in life, that Satan through at them, caused them to doubt.  Here is the question, were they really, truly believers?  Because really believing means that you get through the hard times with Christ, you have to have faith!  And as a true believer, your faith grows when you go through trials and come out on the other side. Your faith in Christ is your belief that he does exist and that he does care for you.  If you don’t believe it, then you are not saved.  One cannot be saved without God’s grace and faith (believing).  We can see here how the devil works against us to try and destroy our faith with the cares of this world. But His word also says:

It also says: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—Ephesians 2:8.

And then:

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4.

The third group really believed and did bear fruit, so the next question is, are we bearing fruit!?    Once we believe, it is our faith that helps us bear good fruit.  Because if we believe in him, then we will desire what God’s will is for us.  It will be what separates us from the lost,  that people will see by our faith and good works that Jesus is Lord.  A sign of the christian believer is just that.  So the seeds that started up and then wilted, did not grow their faith in the hard trials of life but ended up losing faith instead.

And then there was the thief on the cross, he had a changed heart!  He was repentant of his life as he had no good works, only bad.  And yet he was saved at the last hour of his life!  Thank God we don’t get to heaven by works!  Yet if we are allowed to continue, we must grow in our faith.

Hebrew 11 gives a good example of what people did out of faith when they believed in God.  So I believe that our works matter, in the sense that it shows who we are and who we believe in.  So for those of us who live on, it is not just about our salvation itself.  We will not be judged by the law but by our faith we have become righteous in Christ.  But we will have to give an account of what we have said and what we have done.  Will we still be saved?  Yes because we believed and had faith.  But will we be honored before God?

So in prayer over this question of once saved always saved, Jesus spoke to my heart this morning and asked me if I believed.  I said of course Lord!  And he said to me, that I was then saved.  Now he said, “Go and feed my sheep!”   Don’t worry about your salvation or DOCTRINES.  But live a life that will show Me to the world!  Do what is honorable, good and true.  Then people will know you are my servant!

Men want to make it difficult but  isn’t it great to know that Jesus keeps it SIMPLE for us!!!!!!

John 21:15-17

The Big Wide Valley

10261694_10152416668675030_598690708_nDo you ever feel like you’ve been on the mountain, enjoying life, everything is great!  And then when you least expect it, you are in a valley, or a low point.  What happened to that great feeling that you hoped would never end?

It’s a lot like being in a well lit room and then walking in a dark closet!  The light was so bright, and then you can’t see your hand in front of your face!

Well life is like that for a lot of us.  But I know he is with us through everything.  His light does shine in the darkness if we seek it.  And that is the key!  To not give up, to not quit, even in what seems like  a darkness that will never end.  Even in the wilderness, the Hebrew children had great times of singing and dancing.  But it was also a time to grow and learn.  They were a small nation compared to those around them.  But God taught them much in the wilderness, to separate themselves from evil, to conquer their circumstances.  But most of all, to have faith and believe in the one who created them. Then they were allowed to enter the promised land.

So when I feel that life is crumbling around me, that things have not gone like the did on the mountain,  I remember God’s grace, his mercy and love. I am learning how to conquer my own selfishness and becoming what God wants me to be.  Then I will be at my best.  And I will not forget him when I get back to the mountain. When things were great, I didn’t pay attention to Him as much as I do in the Valley.  Maybe the Valley isn’t so bad after all!

 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.   Phillipians 4:13.

 

 

 

 

 

A new Beginning

plansThis is the beginning of a new journey, a second chance, a born again experience.  While I would not ever call it luck, how many of us get a do over?

For me, my first time around in life, was mostly a great experience once I gave my heart to Christ. . I began from nothing and God grew my life into something special,  So why would God want me to begin again?
A had a great husband, church and business.  I had a thriving art hobby, that paid for my horse hobby. We had many opportunities to bring the gospel to people through my artwork.  We were blessed!
And then one night, we had an unexpected tragedy.  My husband had gone to be with the Lord.  All of a sudden, no warning, no plan, no hope and no insurance.  He was, or at least I thought he was, the glue that held everything together.   In a very short time, my world fell apart.  My church, and family were a great help in the beginning, but after the funeral, with a few exceptions, everyone left, my kids left, my friends faded away with cares of their own, and I was financially drained.  Everyone left because of life, or because life goes on, or I wasn’t making choices that they thought I should be making. I had no family nearby. I couldn’t visit them much because I was out of money.  I was on my own.  Unless you’ve gone through it, you just can’t imagine how it feels.
But in my despair, I still knew, God had a plan for my life, a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.  So this is where my new life begins, born again, twice in a life time.

Jeremiah 29:11New Living Translation (NLT)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.