The angels said He “will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 Will He catch you unprepared? Are you watching for Him … is your heart fixed on Him or have other things drawn you away?
A painting by Robert Zund in 1877 depicts the 2 travelers, encountering a “stranger” on the Road back to Emmaus. He taught them the scriptures “starting with Moses and all the Prophets”. Luke 27:24 In Genesis, the first prophecy regarding the Messiah is written in Hebrew thru the trees and 2 more follow. His face, bigger than life, is all around them. They did not recognize Jesus! How strange! But wait… are you ‘seeing’ Him? Do you talk about Him, or stay in denial, grief or anger and miss His presence too?
In a place of solitude, flags fly as one offers to The One his reverent praise. Bowing in graceful honor, a simple gift is offered to her King, the Lion of Judah. Fiery flags war in yielded intercession before Him. A scarf swirls with the spontaneous, joyful worship of a child in His presence. Each in their own way pays “Homage to the King”.
What would a modern day Pentecost look like? Following an afternoon of worship; wind blows, glory fills the room, heat manifests in the hand placed on her heart, fragrance from the Rose of Sharon fills every corner, tears flow freely as the peace and Presence descends. “The Pentecost” painted in 1596 by El Greco depicts the first Pentecost and adorns the wall above her head as a reminder, God never changes! He still delights to come to us and shower us with His Holy Spirit as on the day of “Pentecost”.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come…” Isaiah 60:1
Dancers herald the glory of the Lord to the nations, painted during a worship conference in Pasadena, California. The verse is written around the world, a dove alights in the center and the dancers represent the nations in their dress and in their faces as they “Arise and Shine.”
As long as she has been drawing, Marybeth has loved to capture the beauty and poignancy of people. She seeks to apprehend emotions at their intersections with life, and bring the viewer into the experience of the love of God to and through His children. Like a mother enthralled with the wonder of her baby’s laugh, we enter in and feel the touch of God.
For the celebration of Passover, Jesus went to the temple in Jerusalem with his family when he was twelve. The Passover lamb had to be without blemish to qualify as a sacrifice for sin. Symbolically, Jesus carries the Passover lamb and will himself become the sacrificial “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins of the world. As well as the tenderness of the boy and lamb, the beauty and distinctiveness of the Hebrew language is in itself an art and Marybeth loves utilizing its uniqueness as part of her design. Here, in the layer upon layer effect she incorporates so frequently in her art, the words for lamb and God are blended into the rendering adding to the mystery and wonder of “The Lamb of God.”
Continents of the world faintly etched in a sea of blue, create the background to the Lords majestic pose. The large hands of God hold man, bowing in humility before him. This oil was inspired by the worship song by Craig Musseau, which reads in part, “You hold our lives, you give us breath, You freed us from the power of death… Your voice, it is like thunder over the waters, Your voice echoes throughout the Earth… We will bow to the sound of Your voice.” He is the Lord of Everyman.
Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Jesus. “And he took it down and wrapped it in linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb…” Luke 23:50-53 Just before His death, in His own words, Jesus told the disciples “…unless a grain of wheat falls into the Earth and dies, it remains by itself alone, but it if dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24
The seed buried in the Earth, dies, and out of its death comes amazing life. The end of the story is the beginning for us! He is ALIVE! “He had risen!” He walked out of His tomb and left it behind. Sin and death are conquered. Go and grow in the light of this amazing resurrection life.
In the Hebrew tradition, a man always wore his talit (prayer shawl) so he could literally carry his prayer closet with him. This prayer closet (his personal “tent of meeting”) was formed by pulling the shawl over the head while holding the “wings;” the tassled corners of the garment. Watercolor and pencil combine in this rendering to depict the point at which Jesus covers the lifeless body of Jairus’ daughter with His talit. In this posture of prayer, Jesus then took the little girl’s hand and spoke, “Talitha cumi,” which is believed to be literally translated to, “Little girl who is in my tent, arise!” Mark 5:21-43
Shame was taken at the cross. No more poignant is the moment Jesus comes to Peter after the Resurrection, on the beach to affirm their relationship and three times takes the shame of three denials. Three time Jesus asks, “Do you love me, Peter?” Three times he commissions Peter to serve Him. We fail miserably, Jesus frees completely. We then can walk in His complete “Restoration.”
Imagine the absolute perfection of God’s plan…to give us clues and prophecies about His design down to the smallest detail, starting with the incarnation. A “stable,” shepherds, outside the city of Bethlehem, Migdal Eder, the field for sacrificial lambs. Perhaps a lambing shed, where the sheep give birth to those that will be Passover lambs: pure, spotless, unblemished males set apart for sacrifice. Our savior set apart from the moment of His amazing supernatural entrance into the world He came to save. Born to be the Lamb of God that takes away sin of the world. God with us–Immanuel.
Peter warmed himself by the fire while Jesus was on trial, mocked and beaten. Three times Peter was accused of being with Jesus. Three times he denied it, saying with a curse, “I do not know the man!” Even in the midst of torture, abuse and betrayal, our Lord looks on us with compassion and calls us back to Him. Mourn your failures, feel your mistakes and then look up and see the freedom Jesus brings.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Rom. 3:23 1 John 1:9
Scripture tells us God delights in our worship. We can experience His presence and glory when worshipping in true, abandoned, intimate adoration. This watercolor was developed during a worship conference and the symbolism evolved as His glory came. The lion in the clouds represents the King we worship, our audience of one. Liquid honey fell from the clouds like rain. The glory broke through as if the rainbow around His heavenly throne poured from an open heaven in a Holy Spirit wind in and through us. The blackness of our sin was washed as the glory pierced our being. Anointing for ministry was an obvious result as our hands and hearts grew warm. We were reminded of our need for Him as sin oozed back in and yet the Savior’s blood, stronger and more certain, surged in a circle of brightness as we stood “In the Glory.”
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy…be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24,25
“And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last.” Mark 15:37
Created for one of the Stations of the Cross contemporary art shows, this oil painting represents the moment Jesus dies. The tree wears a crown of thorns, arms outstretched, its bark covered with the sins of man, side pierced and spikes nailed. The sky turns black, the Earth quakes, His blood covers the dirt. The final sacrifice for sin rips the temple curtain separating God from His people. Access to God, the relationship with Him, has been paid for with a price. There is hope on the horizon but in this moment one last drop of His precious blood falls and “Jesus Dies.”
His Word is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. When we allow the mystery of its power and His fire to work in us, our exposed sins, once black, are purified and purged. We are made white as snow. We rise triumphant to soar as an anointed servant of the Most High God, sword in hand. In this place our intercession is a sweet fragrance to Him and our enemy is thwarted. Here we can fully stand in His love and acceptance. Here we can offer Him the sacrifice of our love and worship. Our God is a “Consuming Fire.” Hebrews 12:29
In Psalm 150:3-4 it exhorts us to praise Him with the sound of the trumpet and with dancing. In worship to her king she kneels at His cross, hears the sound of the rams horn and moves with graceful praise. Behind her are the Hebrew words found in Psalm 150 and translated in English creating a backdrop of scripture for her “Worship Dance.”
An act of extravagant worship puts this woman of ill repute into history. Luke’s gospel records the story of a sinful woman who lavishes upon the feet of Jesus her tears, kisses and costly perfume from an alabaster jar. In humble adoration, from a heart full of gratitude, flow expressions of pure worship set in motion by His “Overwhelming Love.” Luke 7:36-50
Jesus prayed for His followers to be one as He and the Father are one. Just as a three strand cord is not easily broken, lives intertwined with the Lord are bound with His strength and brought together in peace. In our stress filled world, we can go together to the Lord to find rest and peace and fulfill His prayer for us to be “One in Him.”
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to snuggle into the chest of Jesus and to have complete confidence in His strong arms? “In His Hands II” is the second in a series of lambs in the arms of Jesus. Marybeth painted the first lamb of the series in watercolor, her primary medium, but enjoys the peaceful, methodical process of pencil used in her second and third.
As worship swirled around me, the images of multi-cultural hands lifted heaven-ward as one. I painted the scene, awe struck that each one glowed with unique anointing, gifting and praise. Ever reaching higher as a throng and individually, we all were seeking the intimacy “Beyond the Veil.”
Painted using only three colors, this communion image identifies three elements of the Passover meal Jesus shared with His disciples. Worship in a deeper understanding of Christ’s sacrifice, by exploring the symbolism of the third of the four cups of wine in the meal, the spotless lamb roasted on two skewers in the form of a cross, and the unleavened bread that appears bruised, striped and pierced. In Hebraic tradition, Jesus took the elements of Passover and fulfilled their meaning with Himself; the Bread of Life, the Sacrificial Lamb, the New Covenant in His blood. We can remember what He has done for us and say with the centurion at the foot of the cross, “Truly, this Man was the son of God.” Mk 15:39
“Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.” Jeremiah 18:6 Our lives sometimes feel broken, shattered, unusable. In the art of ceramics, the cracked and broken pots are crushed and thrown into the sludge pot where they again become workable clay. This clay can then be placed on the potter’s wheel to be reformed. Giving our lives over to the Master Potter allows Him to perfectly mold and form us into the beautiful design He has in mind. What a privilege to be the clay “In the Potter’s Hands.”
A portrayal of a timeless discovery of mourning to dancing, introspection to inspiration is captured in this overlapping, multi-image watercolor by Marybeth. Deep worship that plumbs the depths of pain and intercession and then rises to meet the Lord in praise, adoration and dance, becomes a fragrant offering lifted up to Him.
“Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing; Thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to Thee and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to Thee forever.” Ps. 30:11