Paintbrush101: Investing on Curiosity

Painting is one of the most fun activities that can unleash the creative and most imaginative side of a human brain. Unlike calligraphy or any form of art that may define an artist to letters or words, the paintbrush opens a wide space of how an artist can deliver her message.

I am not a painting expert, in fact I am just starting out. But here’s my enthusiasm in sharing every single lesson and skill I get to learn through my Paintbrush 101 blog entries.

The first step to gaining and/or developing a new skill is to put your heart’s desire into action. What do I mean? If you want to learn, you need to get out of bed and start to work things out. Get a good mentor, study good books, buy the materials you need, and start exercising the brush strokes. I started painting and drawing when I was in grade school. My father, who is an art-fanatic, taught me the basics. Because of changes in priorities, I have stopped investing my time on art and spent my years on academics and other extra-curricular activities. Few years later (that was two years ago), cheesy as it may sound, my interest in painting was awaken because of Typhoon Glenda that hit Manila. I couldn’t use my laptop for work because there was no electricity and my roommates and I couldn’t go out because of the strong wind, so we ended up doodling and sketching to entertain ourselves. The storm has passed, and the next thing I know I was at the nearest Fullybooked and spent 300pesos for my first set of art weapons. It’s not as expensive as any national artist might be spending but I think it’s just enough an investment for a starter. I bought 10 colors, a watercolor-pad, and of course a paintbrush.

I was on my first page and I still didn’t know what I wanted to paint so I have let my hands and judgement lead me after seeing a photo of two birds in the art section of the bookstore. For the record, the photo below shows my first painting on my first ever 24sheet, 190 by 270mm watercolor pad. The idea is half-baked but I can give the assurance that the artwork isn’t.

image

Title: Branch out!

I shared this to my friends and they told me it really isn’t bad for a first.  I guess this is one of the things that truly justified my few and selected aggressive moves –that is, investing on curiosity. The curiosity to see how far I can go. This photo kicked-off the next colorful pages of my pad and I can’t wait to share them on my next blogs.

What interests you the most? What keeps you being curious? What is stopping you from pursuing it? 🙂

Incredible Christian from Tozer’s “The Radical Cross”!

The paradoxical character of a Christian from one side’s perspective, which more likely became A.W. Tozer’s way of telling his readers that: a follower of Jesus Christ is one who knows he is nothing but has everything if he has Jesus. One who sees the he is unlovely and unlovable yet unconditionally loved by an incomparably all-loving God. One who is aware of his unworthiness to be called a “Christian”, but nevertheless confident to call himself one because he knows he has been made worthy only through the blood of Jesus Christ. Nothing to boast about but the love of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

(Quick recommendation: Buy the book!)

From “The Radical Cross” by Aiden Wilson Tozer, an excerpt:

The Christian believes that in Christ he has died, yet he is more alive than before and he fully expects to live forever. He walks on earth while seated in heaven and though born on earth he finds that after his conversion he is not at home here. Like the nighthawk, which in the air is the essence of grace and beauty but on the ground is awkward and ugly, so the Christian appears at his best in the heavenly places but does not fit well into the ways of the very society into which he was born.
The Christian soon learns that if he would be victorious as a son of heaven among men on earth he must not follow the common pattern of mankind, but rather the contrary. That he may be safe, he puts himself in jeopardy; he loses his life to save it and is in danger of losing it if he attempts to preserve it. He goes down to get up. If he refuses to go down he is already down, but when he starts down he is on his way up.
He is strongest when he is weakest and weakest when he is strong. Though poor he has the power to make others rich, but when he becomes rich, his ability to enrich others vanishes. He has most after he has given most away and has least when he possesses most.
He may be and often is highest when he feels lowest and most sinless when he is conscious of sin. He is wisest when he knows that he knows not and knows least when he has acquired the greatest amount of knowledge. He sometimes does most by doing nothing and goes furthest when standing still. In heaviness he manages to rejoice and keeps his heart glad even in sorrow.

He believes that he is saved now, nevertheless he expects to be saved later and looks forward joyfully to future salvation. He fears God but is not afraid of Him. In God’s presence he feels overwhelmed and undone, yet there is nowhere he would rather be than in that presence. He knows that he has been cleansed from his sin, yet he is painfully conscious that in his flesh dwells no good thing.
He loves supremely One whom he has never seen, and though himself poor and lowly he talks familiarly with One who is King of all kings and Lord of all Lords, and is aware of no incongruity in so doing. He feels that he is in his own right altogether less than nothing, yet he believes without question that he is the apple of God’s eye and that for him the Eternal Son became flesh and died on the cross of shame.
The Christian is a citizen of heaven and to that sacred citizenship he acknowledges first allegiance; yet he may love his earthly country with that intensity of devotion that caused John Knox to pray, “Oh God, give me Scotland or I die.”
He cheerfully expects before long to enter that bright world above, but he is in no hurry to leave this world and is quite willing to await the summons of his heavenly Father. And he is unable to understand why the critical unbeliever should condemn him for this; it all seems so natural and right in the circumstances that he sees nothing inconsistent about it.” 🙂

“But God commendeth His love toward us,

in that, while we were yet sinners,

Christ died for us” – Romans 5:8

Unworthy but Unconditionally Loved

It amazes me how I never leave untouched by the Word of God every time I open to read my Bible. God speaks through people and circumstances, but the bible is God’s explicit revelation about Himself.

The more I come to His Word, the more I see how loved I am by a great God, and how unfit I am of that love. God loves because He is love. We are loved for no reason but we are loved because He is love. I couldn’t agree more with A.W. Tozer when he wrote about feeling a sense of weakness when a person experiences God. He said, “I don’t think you will ever be strong until you know how utterly weak you are.  And you will never know how utterly weak you are until you have stood in the presence of that great plenitude of strength, that great fullness of infinite power that we call God”.

It’s true. We read God’s Word and we see perfection that is too hard to grasp. We see His grace to forgive our sins and the power to make us overcome sin. We come to the realization of our helplessness, and because of that, we also see God’s holiness and incomprehensible beauty all magnified and exalted.

The Bible exposes how wicked and filthy humans are, but that same message leads us not to condemn ourselves, but instead points us to a just and loving God. If I could not tell myself about how much God loved me as revealed in His Word, I would have condemned myself over and over like how I felt the first time my eyes were opened to the truth. Personally speaking, if we are still in the stage of condemning ourselves for the wrong turns we made and deliberate act of sins, we have not yet gotten the whole point. Or, did we just forget?

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”- John 3:17

The Bible doesn’t trap us into ourselves but it saves us from ourselves as it leads us to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His saving grace. Moreover, it doesn’t stop on the message of the cross but to the revelation of its purpose. God sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross so that we may be reconciled to Him. He wants us to have a relationship with Him.

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

When He died on the cross and conquered death for us, we have already been redeemed from the penalty of our sins, that now we can be called His Children. We have already been reconciled to Him.  But imperfect as we are, the Lord is so faithful to remind us through His Word that every time we stumble and fall again, all we have to do is run to Him for forgiveness like how a child runs to his Papa.

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One important thing about reading and keeping the Word of God in our hearts is that: it will point our eyes back to God. How are we doing with our personal quiet time with the Lord? 🙂 

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul” -Psalm 19:7 🙂

We give because we have received

“What you sow is what you reap” — a common quote usually used by many either (1) to scare people out when they do something wrong or (2) comfort others when they do something good.  The line is used when we want to tell someone that “what you put your heart on, is exactly what your hands will receive in time”. It can also be  a little more like the famous golden rule: “do unto others what you would have them do unto you”.

The phrase can also be associated with the word “investment” which means: putting something with an expectation to receive a gain. If you sow ‘big”,  you will reap ‘big’; or  the concept of the direct relationship between risk and return: the higher the risk, the higher the return.

In a biblical context (see Galatians6:7-9), such is regarded as the writer’s encouragement specifically to bless the servants of the Gospel (c.ref.v7b) and generally to be good not just to the teachers but for everybody of course (c.ref.v9). And we should do it untiringly, because sometimes it just gets harder.

One afternoon, I was just sitting on the floor, staring at my wall, with my thoughts playing around the topic above. Oh so emo! But I have seen a different perspective not on the “application” part; but on the “reason-WHY-I-should-be-untiringly-good” part.

I will give not for the goal of receiving something in return! I will love not because I want to be loved back! I will work hard not for the benefits that I would get. I will do something for the Lord not because I want to gain His favor.

Instead,

I will give because I have been blessed. I will love because I have been loved (We love because he first loved us” -1John4:19). I will work hard because I have been given strength (He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak-Isaiah40:29).  I will work for the Lord because I have effortlessly gained His favor already (But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us-Romans 5:8).

What have you been sowing? The next question is: Why?