Is Truth Uncertain and Precarious or is it an Absolute Certainty?

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Sea Swirls

“Sea Swirls” 24 x 18 acrylic on wrapped canvas

Like me, you may still be in shock at the mass shooting in Orlando. Another terrorist decided who should live and who would die. He played judge and jury using a twisted ideology that believes in a God who commands his followers to maim and murder in order to prove their devotion to him.

Faith is a precious thing when it’s focused on truth and goodness. Whether you’re a non-believer or a doubter, just because you have an opinion or a belief in something doesn’t make it true. Truth is based on evidence, the testimony of others, and recorded history. Faith is a personal witness that confirms the truth in one’s heart. The evidence of faith is a changed life. Yes, I know. It’s complicated.

One young man who wanted to help in the chaos of Sunday’s massacre said it best. “I saw this guy who had just come out of the Club. He was in shock and injured. I told him I wanted to help. Although, I’m not a religious person, I felt like praying for him. I asked God to bless him that he would be all right.”

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“Sea Nymph” 24 x 18 acrylic on wrapped canvas

It is natural to turn to our creator, father and God in times of need. How sad that we wait for an emergency or death to talk to Him in prayer. Imagine the tragedies that could be averted if we would stay connected to our source of strength. What a difference this could make in our chaotic and dangerous world.

Like those people who were shot and killed, their lives snuffed out in an instant, you never know when your time will come. Whether you believe in God or not has nothing to do with the actual facts. You will meet God face to face when your life ends. Will you be ashamed, afraid, or filled with joy?

We each have only one life to live. We don’t get a “do-over” or a second chance. This is it!  If you knew for certain that there is a God and that He loves you completely and unconditionally, would that change the way you live and behave toward others? Would you rather believe in a God of forgiveness and love than a God who is pleased when you murder anyone who doesn’t think or act the way you do?

The mass shooting was horrific and senseless. Perhaps it will jar the rest of us from our complacency. Life is precious. We should not waste a moment of it or allow arrogance or pride to convince us that we have all the answers.

You can believe in a purple hippopotamus if you want to, or behave in unspeakable and hateful ways, but that doesn’t make your way of life or your faith true. If you choose, you can follow the majority to your death. You can follow a way of life because “everybody else is doing it;” but that doesn’t make it right or true.

Like the young man outside the club who felt compelled to pray for the injured gay bartender, even though he’d probably never done it before and wasn’t sure to whom he was praying. The “God of heaven and earth and all things that in them are” called out to him and would gather all of us “under His wings” if we but  believed on his name and hungered for his truth and righteousness.

Sea Breeze

“Sea Breeze” 30 x 24 on wrapped canvas

Truth is not relative as some would have you believe. Truth is absolute and certain, and only comes from the God of truth and love when you are prepared to receive him. You must seek truth and listen in earnest for the whisperings of God’s Holy Spirit.

You and I are not called to judge or to bring condemnation to others. It is for us to heal the brokenhearted, bring comfort to those who are hurting, and leave the rest in God’s hands.

What’s not to Love – or Hate?

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“Beach Buddies” 20 x 16 oil on canvas

Yes, I’m one of those sappy people who watched Sound of Music to hear once again the familiar and wonderful songs of long ago and to watch Carrie Underwood’s take on a timeless classic.

What I was not prepared for was the avalanche of hatred aimed not only at her, but at her faith after the show concluded. Was the criticism aimed at her performance? No. It was simply a barrage of anger leveled at her Christian faith and her belief in the Bible; cheap shots in my opinion.

Are these the same hate mongers who demand free speech for themselves, but wish to deny it to others? Are they the ones who yell racism and discrimination whenever it suits their political agenda with little evidence to back it up simply to stir up trouble?

Where does this kind of hatred come from? Envy? Self-loathing? An empty soul? Christianity is a religion of love: “Love thy neighbor as yourself,” “Love your enemies,” “Do good to those who despitefully use you,” and on and on.

Christians are sinners who are striving to do better. They are given ugly labels they do not deserve. They are only human. Why is it that when they stumble or reveal their vulnerability they are laughed at or worse called a “hypocrite” for making a mistake? The mockers defile them with crude language while their own behavior would make a sailor blush.

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“Broken Hearted” 11 x 14 pastel in matt & ready to frame

I’ve always cheered for the underdog, but when did we start putting vulgar language and crude behavior on a pedestal? Since when was innocence a negative and raunchiness applauded? Our “ship of state” is sinking into the mud, and I for one am saddened by our descent into degradation.

I think that’s why I paint portraits of children and enjoy painting scenes that kids will find funny or inspiring. I like their fresh perspective, their trusting and simple belief in goodness and their frank and open dialogue. If someone is unpleasant or mean, they’re not afraid to tell it like it is. They see through the outward trappings of poverty and pigment and head straight for the heart. They can sense evil almost immediately and try to avoid people who give off negative vibes.

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“With these Hands — Wonder” 1st the a “hands” series. Original available + prints

We should encourage this goodness before it becomes tainted by peer pressure and adult provocation and perversion. These are our children. They are our future. Do we want a world where hate rules and crude behavior becomes the norm? Where will we find inspiration or beauty in such a world? How will we survive if the passion to deface and destroy becomes the norm as it was in Rome or worse yet in Sodom and Gomorrah?

In our efforts to accept people as they are and welcome them into our “big tent,” let us not expose our innocent children to danger either ignorantly or willfully. They are our only hope.

First Daffodil

“First Daffodil” Acrylic on canvas