We can think of Paul as being a Master Painter. Now, I will openly confess that I am not an Art Aficionado, in fact, when it comes to art, I can’t even be rated as high as an amateur. But, we have a couple of very gifted artists in our church, and when you look at their paintings, you can see their obvious skill and ability to capture some passing mood, some look, some situation which draw out our emotions. Anytime I see a painting or photograph I think of the C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader:
They were in Lucy’s room, sitting on the edge of her bed and looking at a picture on the opposite wall. I was the only picture in the house that they liked . . .
It was a picture of a ship — a ship sailing straight toward you. Her prow was gilded and shaped like the head of a dragon with wide-open mouth. She had only one mast and one large, square sail which was a rich purple. The sides of the ship — what you could see of them where the gilded wings of the dragon ended — were green. She had just run up the top of one glorious blue wave, and the nearer slope of that wave came down toward you, with streaks and bubbles on it. She was obviously running fast before a gay wind, listing over a little on her post side . . . All the sunlight fell on her from that side, and the water on the side was full of greens and purples. On the other, it was darker blue from the shadow of the ship . . .
“Why do you like it?” said Eustace to Lucy.
“Well, for one thing, “ said Lucy, “I like it because the ship looks as if it was really moving. And the water look as if it was really wet. And the waves look as if they were really going up and down.”
. . . The look of the waves in the picture made [Eustace] feel sick again. He turned rather green and tried another look. And then all three children were staring with open mouths.
What they were seeing may be hard to believe when you read it in print, but it was almost as hard to believe when you saw it happening. The things in the picture were moving. It didn’t look at all like a cinema either; the colors were too real and clean and out-of-doors for that.
Down went the prow of the ship into the wave and up went a great shock of spray. And then up went the wave behind her, and her stern and her deck became visible for the first time, and then disappeared as the next wave came to meet her and her bows went up again.
At the same moment an exercise book which had been lying beside Edmond on the bed flapped, rose and sailed through the air to the wall behind him, and Lucy felt all her hair whipping round her face as it does on a windy day. And this was a windy day; but the wind was blowing out of the picture toward them. And suddenly with the wind came the noises — the swishing of the waves and the slap of the water against the ship’s sides and the creaking and the over-all high steady roar of air and water. But it was the smell, the wild, briny smell, which really convinced Lucy that she was not dreaming . . .
I love that story! Whenever I see some paintings or some photographs, I fully expect them to come alive, just as it did for Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace! Come to think of it; this is what our relationship with Jesus should be like! Honest. As we gaze in wonder at the marvelous gifts He is giving us; it is like the sea water splashing on us; we breathe the fresh air and are drawn deeper into it. “O taste and see that the Lord our God is good; How blessed and favored is the man who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 38:4).
Taste and see, taste and see
the goodness of the Lord.
Oh, taste and see, taste and see
the goodness of the Lord, of the Lord.
I will bless the Lord at all times.
Praise shall always be on my lips;
my soul shall glory in the Lord;
for God has been so good to me.
Glorify the Lord with me.
Together let us all praise God’s name.
I called the Lord, who answered me;
from all my troubles I was set free.
Worship the Lord, all you people.
You’ll want for nothing if you ask.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
in God we need put all our trust
(“I will bless the Lord at all times” ~J.E. Moore)
Think about what we just learned! Our Father is going to put us on display! Each one of us will be a vivid demonstration of the grace and perfection of our God’s character. The glory of His Person will be visible in us throughout the coming ages — especially as it is manifested, according to Paul, by His kindness toward us. This is what will make it stand out and be so meaningful to other people — the evidence of the kindness of God toward us.
If you want to know more of what this kindness consists of, all you have to do is take a concordance and trace the word kindness, through the Scriptures. You will find, for instance, that it is used to refer to the goodness of God to us as reflected in natural life. The fourteenth chapter of the book of Acts records that the Paul and his companion Barnabas preached to the people in Lystra. Among other things, Paul said:
In generations past He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; yet He did not leave Himself without some witness as evidence of Himself, in that He kept constantly doing good things and showing you kindness, and giving you rains from heaven and productive seasons, filling your hearts with food and happiness” (Acts 14:16-17)
What I find interesting, is that Jesus said good things about the church at Ephesus. In Revelation, He complimented them on their hard work, perseverance, their ability to endure hardship for the sake of His name, for not growing weary, that they never tolerated wicked men and accurately tested false apostles. All of that is tremendous!
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.