He is Risen, Allelujah!

Jesus died, but Christ is risen!
The Kingdom of Heaven is repeated many times in the Gospels…”The Kingdom of Heaven is like this”…, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like that”…”The Kingdom of Heaven is within you”…., “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. Jesus talks about the Kingdom of Heaven is where he is going to be with His Father. Whatever the Kingdom of Heaven is, it’s very important to what Jesus teaches us.
christ is risen

He is risen! – This design is available for purchase on art paper, mugs and tshirts. Click on the photo.

So what IS it? Biblical scholars have debated this question for as long as there have been Biblical scholars. Many Christians assume that Jesus was risen to a Kingdom of Heaven that is the place where we go when we die- if one has been “saved”.  But the problem with this interpretation is that Jesus himself specifically says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you (that is here ) and ” it is at hand” ( that is now).  The Kingdom of Heaven is not later, but lighter- this experience is available to us right now. “You don’t die into it, your awaken into it” (R. Rohr).

Where did Christ rise to? Where will we go after we die? Author Jim Marion’s wonderfully insightful suggestion is that the Kingdom of Heaven is really a state of consciousness: It is not a place we go but a place we come from. It is a whole new way of looking at the world, it is a transformed awareness that literally turns the world into a different place.
The hallmark of this awareness is that there is not a separation between where we are now and where we were, and where we are going. No separation between Christ and God, between God and humans, not between humans and other humans.
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. This such a great mystery!

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Faith – Serving Christ in Different Ways

Mary and Martha were sisters, but they were both different in their ways of thinking and their approach to faith. Both sisters had faith in Christ and great love for Him, but Martha was focused more on the tangible reality of life, while Mary was more interested in the things that are eternal.

Mary anointed Jesus with perfume and was berated by the disciples for wasting her costly oil. Jesus defended Mary and said that she would always be remembered for this act. When Mary’s act made sense to no one else, she did it anyway, showing courage and faith.

Faith First

faith hope love

Design available for printables – click photo to see items.


Martha shows up when Jesus stayed at her home. Many women can identify with Martha as a homemaker with meticulous hospitality. She was focused on preparation for His visit, busy with many things, while Mary is focused solely on the teachings of Jesus. Mary is listening to Jesus rather than assisting Martha in the house work. Martha addressed her concerns with Jesus, and He told her that Mary had chosen the better option. This is a reminder to seek God and His kingdom first and let everything else fall into place.

Mary’s story is one of encouragement, to be bold and earnestly seek Him. What Mary sought could never be taken away from her.

Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly

I love this verse from Micah 6:8 promoting social justice, He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6 is our answer to how to please the Lord. The answer is not more ritual or sacrifices, or indeed, external religious rites or poses. Instead, the Lord is looking for us to offer and have justice, mercy, and humility. The response of a heart dedicated to pleasing God is outward (do justice), inward (love mercy), and upward (walk humbly).

Act Justly

To act justly is to act from a sense of right and wrong. In particular, the courts and government have a responsibility to provide equity and protect the innocent. Injustice was a problem in ancient days and remains so today.

Love Mercy

click on photo to get a print of this verse or on a mug or notebook.

click on photo to get a print of this verse or on a mug or notebook.

Mercy contains the Hebrew word hesed, which means “loyal love” or “loving-kindness.” Along with justice, we are to provide mercy. Both justice and mercy are foundational to God’s character. God expects His people to show love to their fellow man and to be loyal in their love toward Him, just as He had been loyal to us.

Walk Humbly

This is a description of our heart’s attitude toward God. We depend on Him rather than on our own abilities. Instead of taking pride in what we bring to God, we humbly recognize that no amount of personal sacrifice can replace a heart committed to justice and love.

The message of Micah is so pertinent today. Religious rites, no matter how extravagant, can never compensate for a lack of love. Compliance to rules is not as valuable in God’s eyes as a humble heart that simply does what is right.

Handmade Signs with Purpose: Signs with a Porpoise

Bryan and Kristen from Signs With A Porpoise

Bryan and Kristen from Signs With A Porpoise

Today I welcome Kristen from Signs With A Porpoise. Kristen and her husband Bryan have an Etsy shop with really beautiful handmade signs for indoor and outdoor use. I especially love their Biblical creations and Christian song lyric signs. Check out their shop, your heart will be moved with their creative typography and artistic vision.

Tell me a bit about you and your handmade signs business

Bryan and I are best friends and husband and wife of 14 years. We have worked together for over 18 years, first at the dinner show where we met, then as owners/operators of a decorative concrete business, and now as creative partners/makers for Signs With A Porpoise.

The most important aspect of our life is our relationship with the Lord, each other, our children, our loved ones, and anyone with whom He has us meet, including the special folks He has us meet through Signs With A Porpoise.

We have a passion for God’s Word and creation, and a heart for those who cannot speak for or defend themselves. We also share an affection for a wide range of worship music, coffee, fishing, and the beach.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus from Signs With A Porpoise

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus from Signs With A Porpoise

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Jesus is my biggest inspiration;  yesterday, today, and forever.

What do you love the most about your business?

That question lends to a multi-faceted answer for us.  We love that this little business is truly owned and operated by God Himself. We just do our best by His strength to listen, be His hands and feet, and follow His lead. I pray our actions, words, and work bring Him the honor and glory;  it all belongs to Him.
It brings me great joy to meet folks the Lord brings our way through Signs With A Porpoise. It is a privilege to create pieces for people He’s chosen, and to talk with people whom we probably wouldn’t otherwise meet.
Relationships with others are paramount, which brings me to the next thing I love. I also love the way He directs us creatively. He directs our steps regarding the messages and designs we create on signs. Through these aspects, I think He allows us the opportunity to create special pieces for people who are looking to display His truth as encouragement and reminders of what an awesome God we serve and just how much we are loved by Him.

How did you pick your shop name?

Our shop name came to life through a conversation one night with our best friend, Katrina.  Bryan and I had been tossing ideas around and just hadn’t landed on one. Katrina was over to visit and we explained to her that we were looking for a name that would have a meaning for both types of work seen in our shop.  Bryan loves to create our sea life pieces and I have a love for creating typography style pieces featuring messages with purpose.  Our sweet friend started to mention ocean-themed names that tied related to our primary purpose of putting God’s Word and messages of Him on signs.  The moment “Signs With A Porpoise,” left her lips, We knew that was the one!
I love when names or written phrases/stories have more than one meaning.  This is something that shows in the design work the Lord has me do.
Signs with a Porpoise

Signs with a Porpoise

How does your family support your business goals?

Our two youngest children are still at home and play such an important part through their support. They are eleven and twelve now and actively participate in the daily activities of the home.  They help with preparing meals, chores around the house, and are two of our BIGGEST cheerleaders. I often go to them for opinions on color matching and feedback on design work, and they pitch in wherever they can with packaging and shipping items. They are invested in our work with the clients the Lord brings to us and even join us in praying for them. That is precious to me.
They both have a great sense of humor and are great company.  I also happen to love how they almost seem to have a radar to alert them to me taking pictures;  they have an uncanny ability to pop up in shots when I’m taking pictures of signs for the shop!

Where can we find out more about you and your work?

You can find us on Instagram @SignsWithAPorpoise.  You can also find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SignsWithAPorpoise
And of course, you can find us at our shop on Etsy: SignsWithAPorpoise.etsy.com

Signs with a purpose

From Signs With A Porpoise

The Love of Christ Ephesians 3:18

Wide and long, high and deep – this verse from Ephesians sounds like an ocean to me, with mystery and possibility and a limitless future. This kind of love is felt with the heart and calls to the soul. But imagination is necessary to really wrap your hands around it.

I have been thinking about the nature of imagination lately. I have always had a vivid imagination. I ducked out of many a long sermon and a large number of classes, just by going off in my head. As I got older, my glorious imagination was corrupted to the dark side.  I spent far too much time imagining the worst possible scenario, which of course is just worrying. This in turn had a negative effect on my faith as worry took over where faith should be starting.

I started to think that imagination had no place in my Christian walk, when the reality is that imagination is an incredibly creative force, a gift from God, and one that could be used to draw me closer to Him. So now I am moving my imagination to thinking on the width, length, height and depth of God’s love for me, and what that could possibly translate into for the whole of my life.

The ability to imagine all God has for me motivates me to search God’s word, so that I don’t imagine in vain. The dimensions of God’s love and future he has for me are beyond my natural eye, but when I combine God’s word and imagination, this vision starts to fill in the blanks and I start to see Gods finger prints all over my life – a motivation towards faith and the life I am seeking to live.

love of Christ

Grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ Eph 3 18

Just as You Have Received Christ, Continue in Him

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness. Col 2:6-7

There is so much that competes for my attention everyday. I am pulled this way and that, making lists of my priorities and the endless things that I feel I should do. Yet, there can only be one primary focus in my life and it is on Christ where I continue to put my attention. Often I forget this, often I fail to follow through and miss the mark. Yet there is something extraordinarily beautiful about this single focus in our hyperactive world.

So how to go about this singlemindedness? What can be done to keep Christ as the center even as I work and carry on with the ordinary life chores that we all have? One thing I have been practicing with more success lately is to be thankful in all situations. This attitude of the heart lifts up all ordinary life to a new level. When this chore becomes the thing that God has put in front of me to do, then I am doing it for him, with joy. Mental habits of grumbling, anxiety and spinning thoughts drop away and become less time consuming. Really its a relief to do without these bad mental habits. I sleep better and experience more joy throughout my day. I find myself looking forward to the next thing that I am doing with God. I don’t feel alone, but part of a team. I am more able to leave the results up to God as look to do his will.

Tell me, where are you at in this walk? I would love to hear from you as you continue with Christ as your priority.

Continue to live in him

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.

 

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A New Creation in Christ 2 Cor 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

As Christians we have new principles, new visions, new priorities, new passions and even new company. Its far more than an outward change, life has changed permanently.  Yet this isn’t something that we self generate – it comes from God, some parts right away , some parts over time.  Put on your seatbelt and get ready for the ride!

You can get a framed art print of this design over at Fine Art America.

Being a new creation in Christ

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.