I'm excited to share with you all my second painting! (I'm a little behind getting this out, but better late than never.) The book of Exodus. A picture representing Christ as "The Anointed Deliverer," our Passover Lamb.
God anointed and chose Moses to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. Exodus foreshadows Christ, the Passover Lamb to come, who will deliver us from sin and redeem us back to the Father; just as Moses was chosen to deliver the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt.
I painted the background sky dramatic and dark to represent God’s power and how he showed himself to Moses and the Israelites, through a cloud. The contrast of the dark sky and the Glory peaking through can also symbolize coming out of bondage. Light penetrating the dark. We can read this example from Exodus:
The Plague of Darkness
"Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived." ~Exodus 10:21-23
God’s grace and glory in His redemption plan, shining through on his chosen people. The sky can be looked at in two different perspectives. First, looking up at it, seeing God’s glory shining down from the heavens. Secondly, viewing it from heavens perspective; seeing the cloud of witnesses peaking down from heaven into the opening, looking down at the finished Glory on earth.
As I painted the lamb, I chose to portray him sleeping. At first I was going to paint the lamb bound at the feet, ready to be sacrificed, but I didn't want to show that image. I realize that ultimately Jesus came to sacrifice his life so we may live, but I felt a better image was showing the lamb peaceful mainly for the composition. Not until I was half way into painting the lamb, I heard the Lord say that the resting position is important. I heard the Lord say; I rested in my divine purpose. And we too must learn from Him to rest in our divine purpose in life. Trusting in Him, he gives peace that passes all understanding. We are all chosen for a divine purpose in God’s plan. We must learn to rest in Him, trusting through trials and unknowns. His plan is perfect.
"Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will give rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." ~Matthew 11:28-30
The staff represents the instrument used by Moses to deliver the people and perform miracles through God's power. It also represented Moses’ calling as a shepherd, also foreshadowing the Good Shepherd who is Jesus. There is much symbolism throughout Exodus with the “rod of God.”
"But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it." ~Exodus 4:17
Look what God chose to do through a shepherd’s staff. There was nothing special about a shepherd’s staff per se. God meets us where we are, and uses us where we are. For an ancient shepherd, he might use our staff; today he might use paint brushes or computers. The point is just that whatever is at hand, God can use it. God isn’t limited to what he can use—or whom he can choose. Moses’s own staff becomes the staff of God.
"So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand." ~Exodus 4:20
The Bible has a wonderful message for us. God can work through instruments that could do nothing on their own. What matters is that God is with us. It is his power that transforms.
The Linen & Anointing Oil
I painted anointing oil in linen as a picture of the Anointed One. Anointing oil was used in the Old Testament for pouring on the head of the high priest and his descendants and sprinkling the tabernacle and its furnishings to mark them as holy and set apart to the Lord.
In ancient Israel, when someone was given a position of authority, oil was poured on his head to signify his being set apart for God’s service. Kings, priests, and prophets were anointed in such fashion. Anointing was a symbolic act to indicate God’s choosing.
In the New Testament Jesus Christ came as the Anointed One. “Christ” comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning “anointed one” or “chosen one.” This is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Mashiach, or “Messiah.” “Jesus” is the Lord’s human name given to Mary by the angel Gabriel. “Christ” is His title, signifying Jesus was sent from God to be a King and Deliverer “Jesus Christ” means “Jesus the Messiah” or “Jesus the Anointed One.”
I chose to add branches of hyssop lying beside the oil as a representation of obedience. God instructed the people to paint the blood of a sacrificed lamb over the doorposts with hyssop, like a paintbrush. (My kind of instruction - wink wink)
"Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down." ~Exodus 12:22-23
They had to actually apply the blood, through an act of obedience for the Passover angel to protect them from death. Much like us, it is not sufficient for us to just know about Jesus, we must apply him to our lives.
Hyssop is also a Biblical symbol of cleansing and purifying. David mentions hyssop in Psalm 51:7 as a spiritual cleansing as he confesses his sins.
“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Hyssop is also mentioned at Jesus’ crucifixion, when the Roman soldiers offered Jesus a drink of wine vinegar on a sponge at the end of a stalk of hyssop (John 19:28-30). This was Jesus’ last act before He declared His work on earth finished and gave up His spirit. While the hyssop stalk may have been used for purely practical purposes, it is interesting that that particular plant was chosen. It is possible that God meant this as a picture of purification, as Jesus bought our forgiveness with His sacrifice. Just as in the Old Testament blood and hyssop purified a defiled person, so Jesus’ shed blood purifies us from the defilement of our sin.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, our Time to Revive team is studying through scripture over the next two years. There is a group of men in Indiana gathering once a month for a week, studying together for reviveSCHOOL. Last month I traveled to Indiana to be part of our team training and was able to speak about the Exodus painting with the group of men. It was such a fun evening being able to share how I came up with the painting, the process and the symbolism. The best part was to hear the how it spoke to the men individually. Being an artist, the most rewarding part of a finished piece is to hear different perspectives about the painting.
How does it speak to you?
Please respond and comment if you would like. I would love to hear others perspectives. That's the beauty of art... it can mean different things to each of us.
Many blessings to each one of you...stay tuned for the next painting, Leviticus!
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)
And so it begins… I am well underway with my new assignment, painting each book of the Bible. Our ministry team with Time To Revive, along with others who have joined us online, are studying daily through Scripture for two-years. It sounds like a lot, but it has been the most rewarding study I’ve ever done so far. The Word of God is so rich in layers and is truly alive.
I promised to show and share with you all my journey painting, so let’s begin. Here is my painting for Genesis:
Genesis | “The Promised Seed”
The focus of our study is to see the Messiah woven throughout Scripture. The word from our teaching in Genesis is SEED. Jesus is the ‘promised seed’ to come. God had a plan after the fall of Adam and Eve, to redeem and rescue us from sin and death through a promised seed from the woman. That seed would one day come to crush the head of the snake, defeating the enemy forever.
How many of you have read the Bible and skimmed through the genealogy lists and names? I sure did. "Why do I need to know about all those names?" WELL... this study has sure opened my eyes to the strategic details God chose in his plan, a chosen lineage of people to carry the Seed of Christ. He chose humans to carry out his plan, to be participants with him. To me this shows the intimate nature of God, how he wants to walk through life with us. He doesn't just impose on us, but gives us all a choice to partner with him in plans or not to. The choice is ours and so are the consequences. Do we choose to partner and obey him or choose not to and fall into the seed of the serpent? The answer is up to us. The painting reflects this garden of people as beautiful flowers, multiplying and flourishing until the Promised Seed arrived. Genesis is a packed book, stories of the lineage that carry the Promised Seed, a promise carried out by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I included the iconic apple to represent Adam and Eve eating of the fruit, disobedient to God after being deceived by the serpent. This choice brought sin into the world, therefore banishing us from the Garden of God. In the core of the apple are seeds, God always had a plan in the core of that apple... a seed would be planted, the Saviour, coming through the woman.
As I prayed for the Lord to show me a picture to represent this book, I was taken into the Garden. The Garden that humanity was always meant to live in. The Lord began to show me that it is still around us, just not in plain sight because we let sin enter the world. We still have access to this Garden here and now, it is through the SEED. Jesus came in the flesh, to die as the ultimate sacrifice for humanity, so we have access back to the Father in the Garden.
Here is a progression of the painting:
Here's what I'm realizing more and more as I journey with God: he prepares us for things he has purposed for us ahead of time, in far more detail than we know or recognize. You never know what little things your doing that seem like no big deal - preparing you for an appointed time.
Over the past couple years, I have spent a lot of my studio time painting flowers. (you can check out some of my original flower paintings in the link.) I have always been drawn to paint them. I think it's because my spirit longs to be back in the Garden. This theme keeps coming up for me and think always will. I had no idea in the start of 2018, I would begin a two-year journey of painting, starting in the Garden of Eden - Genesis.
- God prepares us.
Here's another little fun story: Last October, while I was on a trip to Indiana with our team, I was given a book from a local pastor. He said the Lord told him to give me this book,"Flowers of the Holy Land." At first I thought, cool. I love flowers and to paint them. But when I held the book, I knew I was given it for a reason. I heard the Lord say, "you will need this someday." Little did we both know that a few months later I would be using it as a reference for this project. Many of the flowers I painted in my Genesis painting I used from this book to reference flowers that are native to the Holy Land.
- God prepares us.
One more story: I was sharing this two-year assignment with another artist friend and while I was explaining it, I told her I felt the project will be a season the Lord wants me to go into the womb, to learn to hear His voice on a whole new level. The word womb just fell out of my mouth, it had a weight on it I can't explain. (I've learned how the Lord speaks to me and knew this was a word he wanted me to take note.) I wrote it down and began to pray he would reveal more to me about what this means.
definition of womb: the place in which anything is formed or produced: the womb of time.
The next day I had lunch with my mom. I was excited to share with her this new assignment. When my mom heard me explain the project, she immediately told me about a Bible study her and my dad were part of back when she was pregnant with me and after I was born - it was called the Bethel Series - a study through the Bible using pictures with each book, exactly what I am going to do. How cool, I had no idea! The time frame of my life that she mentioned was highlighted, pregnancy (in the womb) and a new born. When I left that lunch, sitting in the car, it hit me. I started to cry because the Presense of God was so thick in my car. I heard the Lord say, "I knew in the womb what I had planned for you to do. This is an assignment designed for you from before you were born." Then Jeremiah 1:5 went through my mind:
"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations."
I did a little research on babies in the womb and found an article that explains that some of the most important learning we ever do happens in the womb, before we are born. There was so much more interesting things that article spoke to me about that I won't go into - but I found it so intriguing and understood more of what God was saying to me about this season of painting.
- God prepares us.
God knows all of us before we were born. He has designed each of us for purposes and appointed times. I want to encourage you all that God designed you for a purpose. You are unique and have a unique calling from him and for him on Earth. As you walk with the Lord, he will unfold it as you go. I am blown away daily with things he shows me.
"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 hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
As I close this first post, I want to encourage you all to spend some time with God and ask the Lord to highlight areas in your life he's designed in you from before you were born and throughout your life. The things that were prepared for you to walk out on Earth for his glory. Desires, dreams, talents and characteristics that are uniquely you purposed for assignments. We are all flowers in His beautiful Garden of life. Meant to be a fragrance of Christ for the world to see.
Lord, I thank you for having a perfect plan to bring forth the Promised Seed, Jesus Christ, so we can walk in the Garden right now with you. May we fully walk out and recognize the plans and purposes you have designed in us all, to see the complete Garden story being written in real time in our lives. Thank you for the Seed.
Happy 2018 everyone! I am so excited to have crossed over into this New Year. This is a year of fresh starts, new doors and digger deeper... for me, beginning with a blank canvas. I wanted to start off the year by announcing a new creative adventure that I am honoured to be part of. It will be my primary focus for the next two years, until 2020.
Over the last couple years I have been on an incredible journey, painting with the ministry called Time To Revive. For those of you who have followed some of my adventures, you have seen me traveling throughout the United States, prophetic painting during worship services as we pursue our mission of equipping the saints for the return of Christ in each location. I have traveled to Indiana, Florida, Mississippi, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Texas and even painted on a cruise to the Southern Caribbean. The ministry has grown incredibly over the last couple years, especially in the area of missionaries, who are carrying on the work in their regions as we leave; it’s truly amazing what God is doing.
Our team went back to Indiana (where it all started for me in 2015) this past October. As a team, we felt strongly the Lord had us back in Indiana for a reason, to invest more deeply into a community and learn how to partner with them in discipleship on a long-term basis. Through a series of words from the Lord, dreams and local confirmations, Time to Revive is officially pouring into the Elkhart County in Indiana with a daily study and discussion through the entire Bible.
“[Paul] withdrew from [the crowd] and met separately with the disciples, conducting discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. And this went on for two years, so that all the inhabitants of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the message about the Lord.” (Acts 19:9b-10)
Our ministry team, along with local Indiana students and some online participants, are going to dive into a daily teaching for two years, from January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2019. We are calling it, reviveSCHOOL. We felt the Lord leading us to go DEEPER into the Word; our focus will be seeing Jesus throughout Scripture. We will still be investing into new cities as the Holy Spirit leads, but we know that God is calling us to go deeper at the same time.
So what’s my new assignment?
I am going to paint each book of the Bible, 66 paintings over the next two years. I am being challenged and stretched to portray the Messiah in each book of the Bible through creativity. I am super excited and also a little nervous. It’s a big undertaking. But I know when the Lord has a plan; He is always faithful to us to complete it.
"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere." (2 Corinthians 2:14)
Join me in the Garden.
I will be writing blogs over the next two years about my journey painting through Scripture. As some of you know, I love painting flowers. It’s always been a subject I enjoy painting, this project adds more layers as to why I love them so much… my spirit longs to walk with the Lord in the Garden. It’s a place I commune with God, in his presence, in the Garden of life. (I had to include this link if you want to listen, Elvis Presley sings about it so well..."In the Garden")
So I am starting the New Year in the Garden, beginning in Genesis. I have no formula, no set plan on what I will be writing about, just going one painting at a time and writing as the Lord leads. I will mainly be showing you the creative process and journey of what I'm painting. Please join me on this adventure and invite others who would be interested on an artists journey through the Bible.
Join my email list on this contact page at the bottom for updates and blogs.
Join my instagram @minoaten (as I sprinkle photos of the project throughout my daily life)
So this is a blog about something that hasn't happened yet. But I believe in my heart that it will. And I believe God said to me that if I write the beginning, He will write the ending. Here is the beginning of the miracle I believe is yet to come, written on April 1, 2017. And I can't wait to see how God writes it all out...
One night last week I was lying in bed and couldn't sleep. While I was lying there thinking about the day, an overwhelming sense that I was supposed to pray for healing came over me. I couldn't get it out of my head. I just kept feeling like God was asking me to trust Him with healing my body from surgery - supernaturally. I've been there before...He healed me six years ago from a sickness that kept me down for a year. I've experienced what it feels like to pray for healing, actually experience the healing, and then walk away healed. So it's not a new thing for me. But this time, it felt way bigger. And I couldn't put my finger on it.
50 days later - May 21...
I knew I was supposed to write down what I did, when I did, and I believe that now is the time that God is helping write the ending to this particular story. Fifty days later. I don't know why I thought it was just a physical healing or why I felt it was only for me. Ever had that problem? When you learn a lesson at some point in life, but still are shocked when it circles back around and gets you a second time? After all, God and I had been down that road before...I had been physically healed years ago. But the lesson in that for me, was where the real healing was...and if I was totally honest with myself, the real gut wrenching healing came not only in my physical body - but in my spirit. For me, This actually started about 20 years ago when I began forming who and what I thought I'd be. But it wasn't who God had planned for me to be and so He had to start scrapping away the stuff that was keeping me from being healed on the inside.
So my prayer on the night of April 1, as it turns out, wasn't just for a physical healing. It wasn't even just for me. It was for the same deep spiritual kind of healing I had experienced six years earlier. And so here we go - my dandelion prayer...
It's funny how when you finally get to the place of understanding sacrifice and truly giving yourself up for God, you think it's done. But it doesn't just end there. Maybe funny isn't the right word...ironic? Nope. Frustrating? I'm not sure what the best word is...maybe painful. But that's the lesson God is teaching me lately - Okay, you've said you died to yourself, now what? Well, let's start cleaning some things out.
He started with the word "imitation". Then "broken reflections". Some really hard stuff. So why not write about it, right? I'd rather not, actually, but God said otherwise. So today is another day when I open up the pages to my story and turn to the chapter that's marked with a lot of tears and is torn in places from frustration. But it's one where God is victorious and the writing ends in hope...
When God asked me to write my story four years ago, I really fought it. The one thing I did manage to do, however, was figure out a title. Huge accomplishment right?! Not so much, I know, but that seemed to be the easiest, least "commitment" kind of step Incould take. So I wrote down "My Dandelion Prayer." It came from a good friend who used to say I was like a dandelion blowing in the wind...thinking I could fly, oblivious to the world around me, happy to be above the earth, happy to be floating wherever the wind blew. And I really loved that image...because to me it spoke of freedom and trust in the Lord. Rising above all the junk on the earth and living in a place where God was in charge of the direction I went - healed, whole and happy. I never did anything with it, just wrote it down and tucked it away, completely forgetting about it. Until one morning during reviveTX, when God called me to simply sit at the altar and listen. Worship and listen. Those were the instructions I got and so that's what I did.
That's when He showed me a beautiful picture that came with a profound message. As I was kneeling at the altar, eyes closed, I saw a dandelion being held delicately in the hands of the Lord. The dandelion was cupped ever so carefully in His large, gentle hands. I remember feeling so impressed that such large hands could hold something so delicate without doing any damage or causing a single seed to fall. I asked the Lord what it meant and I felt Him say that this dandelion was reviveTX - that He was holding it carefully in His hands until just the right moment. When the time was right, that He would blow - whoosh - and the seeds would scatter across the metroplex. It was one of those images that was so powerful it caused me to pause in wonder. Wow. Just one breath and everything could change. It felt big to me. Really big.
I shared the vision with my cousin Mindi and we both had the same thought...God wanted something done with this image, this word that He had given me. Out of that conversation came one of my favorite paintings that Mindi has ever created. A dandelion with the seeds beginning to blow in the wind.
I didn't realize that there had been a prophetic word spoken over Dallas at some point this year referencing Reunion Tower, the big rotating ball in the middle of Dallas, also known as the Dandelion. So now my attention was on Reunion Tower and I felt it important to go there to pray - mostly out of curiosity as to why the Lord had shown me the dandelion.
The timing never seemed to work out and weeks passed by until, finally one day, a group of us were given the opportunity to go. I was really excited. I felt like God was ready to show me something really significant, reveal something important, life-changing. So I went into it really expectant. As we walked around the ball and looked out over the city, I started talking to God. The question I had on my heart at that moment was: Lord, why is the church not coming? I asked it, in a pleading, whining kind of way. The answer came both with swift words and in a picture that was laid out in front of me.
I looked at the building across from the tower, covered in mirrored windows and heard in my heart the Lord say, They are an imitation. A reflection of the world around them and not of Me. Whoa. That caught my attention, especially when I saw what the reflection of the tower looked like. The instantly recognized Reunion Tower suddenly looked mangled and messy, nothing like the original version and that's when it hit me square between the eyes: I was no different and that was the message God wanted me there to hear.
I had an idea of what I wanted to be and how I wanted to appear. Innocent enough at the start, but eventually it was something that became a trap. I kept pushing toward an image and a goal that was my own, but it wasn't who God had planned for me to be. This image of the tower"s reflection was a perfect demonstration of what I, like the church, had become. Not intentionally, but over time, conformed to the ways of the world...putting all the mirrored pieces perfectly in place to create the best version. But what I didn't realize was that it was, in fact, not the best version of me - instead it was the version warped by the expectations that others have for me, the version that the world expects from me. It wasn't the best version because it wasn't the original - the version that, when looking in the mirror, Christ is looking back.
I really think that's where we are at - the church, individuals, me. Broken reflections and imitations. I know it's a lot of work to fix, but I really don't want to look in the mirror at that mess anymore. I want to look in the mirror and see Jesus. So I'm going to let the scrapping happen, the broken pieces be put back in place, the healing begin. It results in a lot of tears, letting go of dreams I thought were mine, and learning a different way of doing things. But in all of that, there's an incredible freedom...to be exactly who God created me to be and, so far, it's a whole lot more rewarding.
I still believe this vision is also for the church in Dallas as a whole. And I believe it's going to require healing in each of us as individuals before the seeds can be blown to the wind and a church or a city can change. I believe that's why God showed me the dandelion that day on the altar. So that I would go to the tower to get a true picture of what the city really looks like. And to be encouraged that no matter what, the Lord is holding us, ever so gently in His hands, until we are ready - whoosh - to soar into what He is calling us to.
And so, while I thought what I was writing in April was just for me, it turns out it is also for a hurting church and for the city. We're holding on so tightly - thinking the flower looks better full from the outside, no missing seeds. But what does it look like when the seed is cast? What I believe God was telling me - is that it looks like freedom, healing and life. Letting go of an image and of control. A true picture of Jesus in me. A spiritual healing. And anywhere from 50-170 new brilliant yellow flowers scattered across the earth.
What if the seeds of the dandelion in the vision God gave me represent of all of us? That we can't be released until we are free...from any pre-conceived identity we have of ourselves. When we are finally cleaned out of all the stuff that creates that broken reflection. That's when we are healed and set free.
I know the miracle ending in this story might not even seem like an ending. And maybe it isn't an ending? Maybe the miracle is that it's actually a beginning. An end to my idea of my own identity and the beginning of my identity in Christ...exactly the ending God had in mind - the revelation that God is doing something in me. He asked me to pray for healing that night and then gave me exactly what I asked for. He didn't write it out the way I thought He would, but instead wrote it out in the way I needed. A better ending than I could have ever asked for. My Dandelion Prayer.
The LORD gave me this message: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” - Jeremiah 1:4-5
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." - Genesis 1:27
You can follow my cousin Janae and read about her journey here
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