Why Can’t We Draw Pictures of Jesus?

Kids don’t always understand why they can’t draw pictures of Jesus. “Look, it’s God leading His children,” a kindergartner said, drawing crude sketches of “Jesus” and “God” most commonly portrayed in western history with long, brown curls and other romanticized attributes. It seems kids’ minds, no matter how young, are filled with pius images God calls idolatry.

I remember being young and thinking Jesus had soft brown curls, and a lovely body and face. Most commonly, I thought of him in the shepherd scene tending His flock. When I prayed, I imagined an equally fictitious image. (Isaiah 53)

When I tell kids, “Don’t draw pictures of God,” my mind goes back to the days when I was small. The imagery of God was a very emotional part of my worship and communion with Him. I talked to Him thinking of Him as a person, seeing His face that I have never seen, looking into His eyes that are only the conjure of my soul.

Why can’t I draw pictures of Jesus ? Why can’t I hang a man-made artistic portrayal of His body in my house?  It is definitely heartfelt gesture. It seems if I have “Jesus” staring at me in my hallway then the boogie-man won’t get me  and I’ll be less inclined to sin because He (in the image) is watching me. When I cry out night, shouldn’t I be able to look at the picture of Jesus and He can make it all better? Oughtn’t I have the right to look at the naked crucifix on my wall and let my sinful guilt lull me to sleep?

The simple answer to why not is because God says “no.”

His second commandment: “Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything in the heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. Thou shall not bow down thyself to them nor serve them. For I the Lord thy God is a jealous God. Visiting the iniquity of the Fathers, unto the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. And showing mercy unto them that love me and keep my commandments.” Exod 20: 4-6; Deut. 5:8.

To quote BibleHub on the second commandment:

In the first commandment worshipping a false god is forbidden; in this [the second commandment], worshipping the true God in a false manner.

The first commandment is: “Thou [you] shall have no other gods before Me.” 

Influential 16th-century French theologian, John Calvin, concludes the first part of his consideration of the second commandment with this thought:

We defile ourselves with abominable lusts, and especially when the worship of his Deity (which ought to have been most carefully kept unimpaired)  is transferred to another, or adulterated with some superstition; since, in this way, we not only violate our plighted troth, but defile the nuptial couch, by giving access to adulterers.

Calvin biblically compares our relationship with God as a relationship of a husband and wife. * Therefore, the superstition or defilement of God’s image as drawn in man’s ways, is defilement of Christ. It is graphic adultery.

(*For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. For the LORD has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” says your God.” Isaiah 54:5,6.                                           The Lord says this to the comfort to the children of Israel in captivity, placed there because of their sin. Of course, this is not true for one race. Paul, in his epistle to the Galatians, says that “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:29. Spiritually, those who believe in Christ are of the children of Israel.)

As if it can become any clearer, God gives us specific examples: “Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.” Deut. 4:15, 19.

This isn’t extremely helpful, of course, if we are not sure what a graven image is. A quick search on Goggle will suffice:

Graven image: noun. ‘A carved idol or representation of a god.’

So the very representation of God is forbidden.

Objection: Why can’t we have a painting of Jesus and not worship it?

Reply: Again, the second commandment:

“You shall not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of heaven above, or in the Earth beneath, or in the water under the Earth.” 

There is no wiggle room. Now, some say that images for worship are different than regular spiritual images. They say images of Jesus in their homes is fine because their knees are not physically touching the floor in worship as they looking at the painting.

There are multiple directions this answer can go, so I’ll write them numerically. 🙂

(1) Again, God said no graven image. A graven image is an image of God. There should be no image of God. Jesus is God. “Christ Jesus, Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” Phil. 2:5,6. An image of Jesus, extremely common in Christian art, is a graven image because Jesus is not only fully man, but also fully God.

(2) We are sinful flesh (Gen.3) and everything we touch is defiled. Moses could not even see God’s face, lest he die. (Exodus 33). It was too glorious to be seen by sinful man. Are we holier than righteous Moses?

(3) “Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.” Acts 17:29. The art and imagination of man. Are we so fickle to think we can form God to canvas? 

(4) “You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.” Lev. 26:1. 

An image is likened to an idol. So exactly what are these idols like? 

Psalm 115:4-8:

“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.”

Any image of God is lifeless. It is, by His definition, an idol. 

(5) Lastly but not leastly ( 😉 ) we worship God by how he wishes us to worship Him.

What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” Deut. 12:32. 

So how does God want us to worship Him?

Psalm 29 beautifully describes the true worship of God. It is something done in a church, but with the human heart. Not with the eyes.

Psalm 29 New King James Version (NKJV)

Praise to God in His Holiness and Majesty

A Psalm of David.

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The Lord is over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes them also skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire.

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth,
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the Lord sits as King forever.
11 The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace. 

____________

The Lord is described with words. We do not need images of Him. His character, His being is enough.

 

 

 

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Nothing is Impossible with God: Do Not Limit Those with Special Needs

I’m sick of the way people treat and talk of those with special needs.

Even Christian magazines with articles written by parents of special needs adults are sickening.

The “uplifting” journal submissions are nauseating.

And terribly ironic: as always, the article thesis is that people with special needs should be accepted. However, the article title and the very phrases in the article only single out and condescend over those who do have special needs.

And of course, every article always ends with the paragraph, “Special Needs People are really so loving everyone needs one.”

Can’t they see what they’re doing? They create a stereotyped poster child out of their loved one, have absolutely no goals for him or her, and ultimately “accept” their “alien” for who he/she is: a personality who the parents/guardian/friends define by statistics and stereotypes. Ultimately, a human with special needs becomes a “thing” and not the person that he or she truly is.

I just read an article called, “Everyone Needs a Mark.” Now, I’m not trying to bash the article because I really respect some of the article truths, and the author. But to me it hurt to read it, though I respect what it is trying to say.

The article title is itself offensive (if I have any grounds apart from Christ to be offended at anything.) Can special needs children not get away from being categorized and stereotyped if it doesn’t start in their family? Mark had special needs. The narrator said, “when he was born, they knew something was wrong.” I’m 100*/* sure that the parents would have preferred that phrase ommited from the article.

I’m a writer and know that clichés are put in for added drama. But sometimes it’s better to leave well enough alone. After all, it went on to say the parents insisted their was nothing wrong with Mark, even after his diagnosis of DS. Clearly, the article reflects more of the journalist than anything. Is DS something that’s really “wrong?” Its not a disease, and saying that something is “wrong” with it slaps God in the face, denying that He foreordained according to the perfect council of His will all that comes to pass. It also, like many other articles, used the word retard. It tried to describe that Mark was high functioning “with mild to moderate retardation.” Clearly, the writer sees special needs as a flaw, not the person. A flawed person, someone less  than  himself or herself, rather than someone who learns differently and can accomplish great things.

This is my biggest concern about Christians and special needs.

The unbeliever cannot love. What is love but Christ laying down His life for His sheep? What is our love except that we obey Him, and by doing so love others? Apart from Him, he says in 1 John, there is no love.

But, the believer is in Him. There is love. So the Christian should be the very first person to redefine special needs. Of course, there is a wide spectrum of needs lumped within that phrase. Really, anyone who needs physical care in any way, super mild to severe is included.

But in general, a “diagnosis for life” should not define the child’s (and Lord willing, adult’s) life.

So many parents ask their kids what they want to be when they grow up. Their kids with special needs answer. Parents smile and encourage the response, and even share their responses on social media.

“Millie says she wants to be a doctor and help people when she grows up. My girl brings love everyday!”

But then the parents put kids in special work programs condemning some kids who have dreams of college and careers to stuffing envelopes. Instead of actually doing as best they can to fulfil their child’s dream in even a small way.

If they actually believed that anything is possible with God, would they take the dreams of their special needs children more seriously? Because I assure you every human has a soul. People with special needs have one just as real as yours.

Don’t try to limit God. Your are not God. Give people with special needs a chance.

Maybe he/she needs a job. Stuffing envelopes is a great job. But is that ultimately what he or she wants to do?

I get it. None of us can always do what we want. We shouldn’t either, it can be selfish.

But segregating people because of your diagnosis is hardly different from the sins of racism.

I know people with DS who do algebra, who own a restaurant, a clothing line, are artists and fashion models. I know people with DS who read college level and correct high schoolers on their poor reading abilities. Who read unabridged Alcott and Dickens front to back with full comprehension and don’t break a sweat. Who can carry on an adult conversation with anyone. I know people with autism who are on TV. In college. Mathematicians, musicians, professionals, writers. Geniuses by any standard. I know people with CP who run a business, call into talk shows, day trade and invest, and drive.

Everyone is different. Everyone needs Jesus. People with special needs are just like you and me. Stubborn, selfish, angry, mad at God. Sinners. And they need Jesus just as much.

But no matter the physical or mental boundaries of a person with special needs, they can accomplish great things if you believe that they can. Without surprise when they actually succeed. Because you can’t believe in them without first believing in the holy, wise, compassionate God. And nothing is impossible with God. ( Matthew 19:26) (except sin (heb 6:18) because it is impossible for him to be unholy.)

Giving a Defense for Jesus in Me

1 Peter 3:15-17 — “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

My Sins Are Always Before Me

This verse (above) is extraordinarily helpful. It is also fills my heart with guilt.    Psalm 51:3. “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.”

So many times I:

(1) have NOT been prepared and equipped with the word by diligent study of it. Therefore, when opportunity arises to give a defense for the HOPE that is in me, I am not prepared and even shame the gospel of Christ. By by slacking who have I ultimately offended? Yeah, maybe I’ve embarrassed myself in the situation, which can be laughed off EXCEPT that it offends a holy God. By doing so, I have NOT revered my LORD.

This should be me EVERY day towards the commandments of God:

Deuteronomy 6: 6-9 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Proverbs 7:3. “Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

Not only by not giving testimony of Christ is it sin, but by failing to do what He, through Peter, through the Holy Spirit, has commanded.

James 4:17. “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, to him it is sin.”

Other texts (beside the one from James) define sin:
Leviticus 5:17. “And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.”
1 John 3:4. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Romans 10:5. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
And more definitions on God’s law:

Matthew 19:17-19. And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Matthew 22:37-40. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

John 14:21. “Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

1 John 2:4. “Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

So I have broken God’s law by breaking His commands and therefore have disproved my love to God by being unprepared when challenging Christian situations arise.

Thankfully, the guilt is followed by His forgiveness, only through Christ Jesus.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

After Peter healed, through the Holy Spirit, a lame beggar at the Temple gate in Act 3, he was arrested and questioned at the Sanhedrin. When he was asked to give a reason for the Hope that was in Him, Peter said:

(Acts 4) “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the cornerstone.’[a]12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

The Christ of who i am to give a defense is JESUS, the only One through whom salvation is possible!

(2) Another guilt that He will forgive me through Jesus Christ is not always showing respect, especially to my superiors. While I certainly try (sometimes), it is not always with the heart, and therefore certainly not physically always demonstrated either. Christ certainly showed humility, how much more so than myself, a worm?

Psalm 22:6, 9-10.But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”

Romans 13:1. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

There certainly is no need for any pride! For,

2 Corinthians 10:17. “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Make Every Thought Captive To Christ

Why should I NOT be afraid of tearing down the prideful front and allowing humility in? Because no matter how *intellectual* the person I speak to is, EVERY though must be taken captive to Christ. By saying that it is clear that every thought, idea, and argument, CAN be taken captive to Christ. This will help me OBEY Christ! And I don’t have to be intellectually aggressive and snobby for this to be true. In fact, I shouldn’t!

2 Corinthians 10:4-6. “4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”                  

Colossians 2:8.See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”

 Well, thus ends the verse part of analyzing my life to 1 Peter. But next Lord’s Day I should have studied more amazing verses and continued to find proof texts!

 

Can I Talk to You for a Second?

Well. Perhaps it was the cup of soda I cheated on tonight that’s making me do this–I haven’t had soda in a long time, you see– but even more probable its the peace and realization of God’s mercy.

No matter the reason why, this evening I’m gonna be brutally honest with you.

You see, for the past few months–well, year, more likely (or even two years) life hasn’t been so black and white. It’s been pastel, rainbow, indigo and violet, pink, neon, sparkles and sawdust. Confetti, hemoglobin, cartwheels, tears, laughing, weeping, onions, frogs, puddles, and well, you get the picture. Insane.

And even crazier, it’s not because God isn’t in control, because He is. And it’s not that everything works out for bad, because it so clearly works out for good. It’s because like Peter when he took his eyes from Jesus to look at the crashing waves, he lost trust and started drowning. My focus has been a bit off, and so has my faith.

Still, the Lord works everything for good. In many ways He has brought me closer to Himself than ever before during this time. But with his mercies so I have had more opportunities to squander them. If not for those mercies and His great love upon my heart, this blog wouldn’t have existed. It was HIM flooding my soul that wanted me to pour my heart out before the world.

But if i don’t look to Him everyday, if I don’t seek Him diligently in the word, if I don’t care about what He thinks of me than what the world thinks if me, to sum everything up if I don’t put Him first, then no matter how much He blesses me with opportunities to hear His love, I will suffer. Because I AM A WRETCHED SINNER AND SO OFTEN WOULD RATHER HAVE A MISERABLE LIFE THAN THE REWARDING LIFE WITH GOD.

Confession:  (not because confession will atone, but it is something, I desperately need prayer for.) I don’t confess my sins to God enough. 1 John 9,10 says,

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

HIS word is always so straightforward! How can I expect forgiveness if I do not even confess my sins to Him?! And without a truly repentant heart, even the confessions I may mumble every now and then are not accepted in His sight, because it is not said in truth. Did Christ die in vain? Certainly not!

To think, the Lord’s Prayer, which I utter every night, says,

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debters.

Every night forgiveness is asked, but usually I couldn’t even tell you if the Lord’s Prayer came out of my mouth. It is a mechanical worship, and almost worse than not saying it at all, if piously without conviction.

On the same note, the verse I cited from 1 John is something my pastor quotes almost EVERY WEEK! Is my heart so segregated from my ears?!

But even now I know He has heard my cry for forgiveness. If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:14)

Well, everything seems so clear this Lord’s Day evening.

But tomorrow, things are going to start exploding again, most likely. There is so much more that I wanted to say tonight, but methinks 1 John covered the most important stuff.

I am not worthy. But worthy is the lamb that was slain. to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! (Rev. 5:12)

Christ is excellent.

Christ is king.

Christ is God.

God is LOVE.

WHY I NEED BIBLE VERSES EMAILED TO ME DAILIY

I had no idea how lost I’d feel without Bible verses being emailed daily to my mobile. For whatever reason, the site had to be changed and bible verse emails could no longer be sent to subscribers. You’d think, since I only read them as I thought of them, I would hardly miss them. Just goes to show the power of God’s word and the feebleness of man’s word…because missing them wasn’t all that happened….I’m totally lost without them.

Usually, if there was a time of the day I felt down (or several times a day is usually the case) what would lift my spirits would be a bible verse. A randomly selected reminder from Scripture that God chose for me to read that day.

But now, I suppose the thing to do is to find another plan to subscribe to FAST because am realizing just how much I need it.

Reminder to prepare for the Lord’s Day on Saturday nights to. Search my heart, Lord, try me and see the wicked in me, and lead me on the right path.

Sometime I want to write blog posts telling you about the Christian walk. But , as any good writing book will tell you, don’t TELL them, SHOW them. Hopefully these posts show and tell without trying.

CHRISTIAN WALK: Jesus is my shepherd, and I am His lost lamb

Magic Vs God’s Word

Thinking about all the magic described in fantasy tales in both books and movies. Things aren’t always how they aren’t they appear in fairy tales…people can vanish and reappear, turn lizards to dragons, an vanish your true love. Am reminded by a verse in Matthew (daily Bible verses are sent to my mobile, and this is one of today’s) that God’s word is straightforward. There is no “trying to interpret the oracle,” no, “what if, or that.” The idea of magic comes from our fear of the unknown…or own weaknesses. But, “The heavens and the earth will disappear, but My
words will never disappear,” said a Jesus in Matthew 24:35. We don’t have to worry about magic tricks. God’s word is true. Thank you, Lord.

DEPRESSION, FRUSTRATION, AND PRAYER

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NOTE TO SELF: Self, THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!! The more I focus on sin, and the less on God’s word, I always feel D•E•P•R•E•S•S•E•D. 😦

Can’t tell you how many times I’ve pounded my body against the nearest object, cried, kicked, and grasped my hair angrily, and said words so disrespectful to my Heavenly Father, that essentially were: DON’T YOU CARE, WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING! Just DO IT!! Thinking about it now, and realizing that my, “Why, why, why” moments are like that of a frustrated child who only gets more angry because he gets worked up about his parents not loving him. When sometimes, he doesn’t get that “toy,” he wants because he has been having a tantrum. Now, to me what I prayed for was more important than a toy. Usually, they are pressing matters. But 99.99999999999999+% of the time when we thing the Lord is chastising us harshly in life, we realize it’s because we have not really been asking.

I look at those moments, some old, some recent, and realize the times I feel the lowest are usually the times I haven’t been meditating on Christ. When prayer is falsely only something I “do in passing” and Scripture is only a morning thing. No. I know my Father MUST drive me to Himself, for my own good, and when I finally turn to Him in tears and desperation, He always hears. Because in Isaiah 59:1-2, is written: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or His ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a SEPARATION between you and YOUR GOD, and your SINS have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” I don’t remember reading that ever before, although am sure I have several hundred times. There is so much in Scripture I haven’t meditated on!!

1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted begin your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, that you will be able to endure it.” But so often, instead of walking in the Spirit by obeying Him, I end up going for the temptation. I NEED JESUS. ❤ What did I do to deserve Him?

People think they know me pretty well. But if they saw the brokenness, what would they think? “The LORD said unto Samuel, ‘Look not on his countenance, or the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as a man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks in on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7.

People see the happy, The Lord sees the broken. Man sees the smile, but the Lord sees my heart. He saw it before all–the premeditated sin. The blackness. And He took my punishment instead for me. Why wouldn’t I pray to Him always? Thank you, Jesus. Please help me.