The Artist’s Palette

The Artist’s Palette

By Pat Knight

Quickly they flutter to earth like thousands of brightly colored confetti pieces. They crunch when we walk, rustle in the wind, and swirl around our feet. Autumn leaves in New England are delightful. The bright reds and oranges, the most brilliant of all, are products of the sugar maple trees. Birches add yellow, while the reddish-brown leaves fall from stalwart oak trees. All of them in an assorted mixture form breathtaking landscapes.

While the leaves remain attached to the branches, iridescent splendor shines a blaze of autumn hues in the sunlight. En masse the foliage creates a surge of brilliant color, while individually the leaves resemble startling tongues of fire. As the leaves dry and float to the ground, they are scattered by autumn breezes. They flail against vertical surfaces, congregate in heaps, and dance in circles, spinning into a mini-twister before collapsing into an exhausted pile. Such provocative scenes awaken the senses during the dramatic transformation into the fall season.

Change may be comforting or threatening depending on circumstances and individual interpretation. When the cool, crisp days and nights of autumn burst on the scene following the suffocating heat of summer, it offers great relief. In that case, transformation is appealing. The phenomena of changing temperature and magnificent foliage is an anticipated ushering in of the fall season of the year. In the Northeast, we experience four distinct seasons. We are accustomed to change. No season lasts longer than a few months before the next one is introduced. It is the variety of seasons that entices many to live in northern states.

Though variation is interesting and often necessary, there are some things we expect to remain constant or immovable. God’s love and sovereignty are steadfast and reliable. “‘I am the Lord. I do not change’” (Malachi 3:6). When God establishes a covenant with man, He always keeps His promise. God cannot transmute His character. He is pure, holy, divine, and powerful.

Though neither God nor His promises vary, He has masterminded the change of seasons. He could have created a colorless transition, but God chose to splash His beautiful palette throughout the earth. Consider His splendor in sunsets, rainbows, rock sculptures, spraying sea mist, purple mountains capped with snow. God has authored natural beauty. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). Our Lord remains constant, complete, and fulfilled. His character is dependable.

When God commanded Moses to lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, Moses wanted to know whom he should tell his people had sent him on the mission. God’s reply was quick and sure. “‘I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14). God has always existed and always will. He declares, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.’” (Revelation 22:13). In order for God to create the world and everything in it, He existed before the world.

For centuries God promised the Israelites a Savior. When Isaiah 53 was written in approximately 700 BC, the Man of Calvary was described in detail. The people expected their king to reign with power and conquer their enemies in his kingdom on earth. Few believed that the baby born in Bethlehem was the prophesied Messiah. God had kept His Word. His Son brought God’s promised love and saving grace to the world. He preached a personal, innovative Gospel that enraged the legalistic religious leaders. When Jesus professed to be the Son of God, the temple worshippers were infuriated by His claim. They “took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him off the cliff. But, He walked right through the crowd and went on His way” (Luke 4:29).

Denials and persecution of Jesus didn’t change His sovereign status; He remained Lord. Repudiating God’s deity will never alter the fact that He existed before the beginning of time. God is constant, stable, unswerving, and steadfast. In spite of individual disbelief, one day every person shall confess His Lordship. “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

Throughout Scripture, God affirmed His Son’s authenticity and authority. “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the Head over every power and authority” (Colossians 2:9). Jesus is our secure, unmovable, unchanging Lord and Savior.

God is an artist, painting both softly muted and brightly sparkling scenery. Daily He changes the pigments on His canvas. Though God makes sweeping modifications of landscape, His character is unchangeable.

“But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. You remain the same and your years will never end” (Psalm 102:12, 27). We invest our lives in a God who is forever the same, who keeps His promises, and who desires to live with us forever. “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2). He is eternal. Because He lives forever, He offers us an identical future. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).

With each new day I am more sensitized to my surroundings, attributing their magnificence to God, the creator, artist, and pigment-maker. Encompassed with such visual luxury, I am going to allot more time to appreciate the changing beauty apparent in each new day, confident that Almighty God will never change.

Hope is Alive

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Hope is Alive

By Patricia Knight 

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). 

We were watching the final segment of a law enforcement show on TV. The police found the perpetrator of a crime hiding at his mother’s house. As officers were escorting the felon into their squad car, one of them lingered to offer words of hope to his mother for the probability of a shortened jail sentence. She immediately retorted, “hope is useless” and turned away. There was no doubt about the growing bitterness and hate that was seething from deep within her being. At the conclusion of the show, overwhelming disillusionment spontaneously erupted from her heart as the door slammed shut behind her.

Hope is not about what will happen to us or around us. Hope resides in God and in His promises. King David admitted, “In His word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5).

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Hope is not an inaccurately placed belief. It is a personal desire that we expect to have fulfilled. It is a true yearning, an expectation that God will provide for us as He carries out His promises. Misplaced hope is of no value. Only when substantiated by God’s promises can hope have significant meaning in our lives. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

God is able to provide for every aspect of our future. All authority and power rest in Him, a guarantor of our hope. Just as God’s power worked in Christ’s life to accomplish His mission of redemption for all creation, He will also complete His sovereign purpose in each of our lives.

If we attempt to place our hope in ourselves or in anything finite, disappointment will ensue. Unless we place our confidence in God, our expectation for hope is dashed. No one is as worthy of our hope and our reliance on future good like God is. He is the author and embodiment of all hope. With confident expectation we diligently rely upon Him for anticipated results.

Godly hope renews our strength. Giving our hope to God, transferring it from our own inadequate efforts, liberates our meager inner resources. We are more fully equipped to do His work while we depend upon the Lord for all of our strength.

According to the felon’s mother, human hope is offensive. More accurately, true hope inspires and enlightens. God is the source of all hope. Our future rests in Him because   He has a plan for each of us. We can be assured that our life’s blueprint will be constructed just as He designed it for us.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

We are God’s workmanship. Let our hope reside in His design for us, for God doesn’t make mistakes—ever!

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