This painting, A City On A Hill, was done by my grandson, James, when he was about eleven. I was teaching homeschool art at the time. This picture is one of my favorites. He also did the one below.
During the next summer, James decided to have an art sale. He arranged all his homeschool creations down by the road in front of his house and put out a big sign: SALE - ONLY $20 EACH! Of course, Grandma had to come (and buy). I bought three!
At first, I encouraged him to paint the sky blue, but my budding artist insisted on orange. And so, we have The Orange Sky, a masterpiece of color and cut paper. He captured the hub-bub and stress of a city.
Personally, I'd prefer to live on the peaceful hillside surrounded by stars. That's the way I like my world. Quiet. Smooth. No conflicts. As long as I stay in my little farmhouse, with my art projects, and my plants, the stars shine brightly and all is well. But our world today is more like the painting with the orange sky. Busy. Stressful. Troubled. It's hard to see the stars when your world is under an 'orange' sky, But, isn't this exactly where Jesus wants us to shine?
The first picture reminds me of the earlier life of King David. Did you know his name is mentioned more than any other name in the Bible - including Moses, Abraham and even, Jesus? He was to become a brave and fearless warrior with a spirit full of song and a heart after God.
I wonder, while David was tending his sheep on the mountain side, if he dreamt of being king? Did God put that desire in his heart way back then? Did he imagine himself killing the fearsome Goliath with a single flat stone? Did he think about facing a charging bear and a roaring lion, or envision himself fleeing from Saul?
God knew it all. And every step of the way He was preparing David for his journey ahead. He taught David's hands to war and established his heart in worship. God trained him for every obstacle he would face. He knew David would one day be called King David, even when he was a dirty shepherd on the hillside, under starry skies.
Has God been preparing us for the problems we are facing in this nation? The condition of the church is not a surprise to God. We are in a season where goats and sheep are being separated. Have we been listening? Are we teachable? Do we refuse the Spirit's leading to engage in solutions that will save this nation because we prefer the quiet places under the starry skies?
So many cherished American and Christian traditions are being cancelled or silenced while much of the church is asleep. I never believed I would read about 200 riot police being sent to prevent worshipers from entering a church in Canada. That didn't happen over night. It was a process of indoctrination that the enemy has slowly been working into our culture.
We are under an 'orange sky,' ablaze with a mindset that threatens to steal our freedoms and destroy the next generation. We have to stand up as Christ's carriers of hope.
When it was time for David to leave the sheep and make his journey toward becoming King, God didn't promise it would be easy - He promised he'd be with him.
Our influence in this world is only as good as what we've been taught in the quiet places with the Lord. But, if we don't move when God says, "MOVE", and we choose peacefulness over obedience, a spiritual death will creep in.
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16 NKJV).
His promise to every believer: "...He who has begun a good work in [us] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1d:6b).
Why? So we can . . . "Preach the Word! Be ready in season, out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:2).
From the hilltops to the chaos of the city - "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
Heavenly Father, we want to shine for You. Fill us with Your light. Fill us with Your purpose, so we can make a difference wherever we are and wherever we go. In Jesus name, Amen.