Revue: Remember…

“Stacks,” ©Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

© 2015 Lynn Abbott

It’s a much quoted verse at my house these days…

“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body…” (Ecclesiastes 12:12b).

My son, a university student, just laughs. You see, his life’s ambition has always been to become a professional student. He reads constantly.

Yup, he’s smarter than his mama… in more ways than one. But I’m happy to say that he possesses more than book learning. He’s got a good head. I should take a page from his playbook, I think.

When he was just 4, he came home from Sunday School full of thoughts about the story of Solomon. And when bedtime prayers rolled around, he asked if he could pray for wisdom as Solomon did.

To be honest, I was quite taken aback. He was just four, after all. However, I agreed that it was a wonderful idea. That evening, we knelt together and with childlike faith, he prayed.

I can testify that God answered that four-year-old’s prayers.

When I need good sound advice, my 22-year-old provides tremendous insight into people and most decision-making. And that’s a whole lot more than I can say of myself.

He’s smarter than his mama… in more ways than one.

Decision-making is not my strong suit. It doesn’t matter whether a choice is critical or seemingly insignificant, I agonize over it just the same.

Indeed, it’s a standing joke at my house that I once required two years to determine whether or not to purchase a particular set of mixing bowls.

Uh, huh. Indecisive. I’ve got that wired.

Had I been in Peter’s position, I would have hesitantly climbed in and out of the boat several times before ever trying to walk on water.

Perhaps, I would have evaluated weather information, at once considering wind direction and barometric pressure. I may even have tried to estimate the distance between myself and the Savior.

I certainly would have deliberated the risk versus reward of such a choice.

Impulsive, I am not.

I am cautious like Gideon rather than bold like Peter. I dissect every decision, weighing all its parts. At times, the noisy wind and waves seem to drown out my Savior’s voice and I lose confidence… I fear the task is too great.

The world’s naysayers scream loud in the storm, and looking desperately around me, I lose faith.

When I listen to the wind, I become the epitome of James 1:6. I have asked for wisdom but doubts consume me. I waver. I become like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

With good humor, my son smiles when I begin dissecting. You see, while he may deliberate thoughtfully, he makes decisions with confidence. Hooray for Sunday School, Solomon and childlike faith!

At times, the noisy wind and waves seem to drown out my Savior’s voice and I lose confidence…

When I recall Solomon’s story, I best remember Scripture’s description of the early years of his reign. Again and again, Solomon distinguished himself with wise judgment.

In fact, upon assuming the throne, Solomon had prayed, “…give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine?”

Truly an example to follow.

And yet, if I finish reading Solomon’s history, I find that even the author of Proverbs 3:5, 6 succumbed to doubt. And his resulting choices led him down destructive paths. Late in life, Solomon expressed tremendous regret.

That’s what we get in the book of Ecclesiastes. His hand-wringing refrain “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” reverberates throughout his book.

Solomon had wandered. The wise king and author of Proverbs had lost his compass. Although he began his reign by fixing his confidence and trust in God, the temptation to follow human counsel eventually lured him off track.

The initial introduction of doubt, however, didn’t seem particularly significant. No alarm bells warned Solomon. In fact, the detour appeared wise by worldly standards.

Conventional wisdom often appears logical. There’s usually a bit of truth in it.

After all, people can’t walk on water. No one would argue with that.

However, with Abba, it’s never about what we can do. Instead, it’s about what He plans to do through and for us.

But Solomon looked around at the powerful nations on his borders and doubted God’s promised protection. Similar in this respect to Peter, Solomon listened to the booming wind and crashing waves.

He turned to the conventional, political wisdom of his day. The kings of neighboring nations had a simple strategy for establishing political stability.

They married for political purpose,  establishing alliances and treaties through the selection of royal brides from rival nations.

Solomon evidently thought it a sensible custom and practice because Scripture tells us that he had many wives.

Unfortunately, while Solomon may have intended to establish long-term peace, he certainly chose the wrong means to secure it.

After all, God had expressly told his people that they were not to marry from the nations surrounding them. Yet, Israel’s king married from those very nations.

Conventional wisdom often appears logical. There’s usually a bit of truth in it.

And just as God had predicted, such alliances led Solomon away from God.

Solomon had wealth, power, influence and fame. But his heart was divided. He had built a kingdom on the world’s sand, and his house began to crumble.

I’ve been there. I’ve asked to walk on water, and then, become distracted by the voices in the wind.

I’ve listened to worldly wisdom, and feared God’s path. As a result, I’ve been tossed by wind and waves.

James tells me that if I lack wisdom, all I can ask God for it just as Solomon did.

However, like Solomon, I can’t expect to acquire wisdom if, when I receive God’s word, I doubt and follow my own way instead. As James says, when I respond in this way, I become double-minded.

However, all is not lost.

Peter cried out, “Lord, save me!”

And Solomon’s history gives us a glimmer of God’s grace.

Despite Solomon’s ungodly alliances, God extended peace for Solomon’s lifetime. God loved the man who once knelt in dependent, childlike faith.

And Solomon, full of regret, penned these words, “…still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly,” and “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth,” (Ecclesiastes 8:12b; 12:1).

Remember.

That’s right. When the voices in the wind cry out that I am not worthy, that I have made the wrong decision, that God’s way is foolish, that I will surely sink, I must remember my Creator.

After all, His Word serves as the ultimate litmus test. It matters not what others say (Romans 8:31). The world’s wisdom should be evaluated, approved or disapproved in light of God’s truth, (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Solomon’s history gives us a glimmer of God’s grace.

Yes, Abba answers my doubts and fears. His guidance eliminates the need for second guessing.

The Good Shepherd calls us to exceptional living, (Psalm 23:1-3). He has invited us to ask for His direction in all our ways.

Sure, at times, His wisdom appears outrageous to the world. And the wind blusters.

But our Sovereign-Shepherd is infinitely able. He walks on water in the midst of the stormy gale.

He hears our cries. He promises to give wisdom generously and without reproach (James 1:5). By His Spirit, we are able to differentiate powerful truth from destructive lies, (Psalm 119:105).

And Solid Rock outlasts sand.  God’s Word trumps worldly philosophies.

Despite his wandering, Solomon did get it right in the end.   Indeed, when we lack wisdom, we need only turn from the wind and waves…

And remember our Creator.

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful,” ~ Joshua 1:8

84 thoughts on “Revue: Remember…

  1. You certainly lack no bravery in your art. I love everything you paint. You have a realistic style,you craft stories through your work and possess a touch of Impressionism. God has truly blessed you with great talent.i also enjoy the way you weave your stories using God’s Word to fit our daily lives. Glad you’re back!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww… thank you, dearest Kathy!! You KNOW how much your approbation means to me!! Your words lift my heart and soul! And I am thankful if God can use my work in any way to draw our attention to Him! Thank you for your encouragement! It is wonderful to be back. I missed you tons!! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Firstly, I love the painting.
    Nothing like a rich wood paneling book-lined wall!
    And secondly…I think the son is wise due to the mother’s wisdom…
    for it was her wise directions that made for a wise path for a wise young man to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m so very glad, Jim! I needed this post as well. 🙂 Thank you for your so very kind encouragement! You know it means the world to me to hear from you! God bless you beyond all that you can imagine, Jim! Hugs!

      Like

  3. Solomon’s story always makes me sad. We’re always an example of something…question is, what will that be?
    Your painting is different than your usual outdoor scenes. I like it. Creates sort of a nostalgic yearning to uncover some new and hidden treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Solomon’s story is rather tragic. Sigh. Thank you about my painting. Yes, I am generally a landscape artist. This is an older painting… usually when I post a Re-vue/review post, I go back into my archives for an older painting. I painted this when I was still experimenting with subject material… before I settled on being a landscape artist. 🙂 Love and hugs to you, dear Linda! ❤

      Like

  4. What a fabulous painting of an old library.

    As I see it, ‘Wisdom’ is only beneficial when it’s to be mixed with Faith. Therefore as you succinctly put it “with Abba, it’s never about what we can do. Instead, it’s about what He plans to do through and for us.”

    Sometimes, we just try so hard to be ‘Faithful’ that we forget that it’s not about ‘doing’ but about a ‘Living’ Relationship.

    *but 2 years for mixing bowls is a tad excessive n’est ce pas?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s actually Oxford, Warren. 🙂 And thank you for your wonderful words about the painting. You’ve made my day! And your insights are always spot on! It’s all about that relationship with Abba, isn’t it?

      As far as the mixing bowls go…c’est vrai. And yes, it is a standing joke at our house that I took so long to decide! Ha, ha!! You’re a wonderful friend! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love, love, love this post, Lynn! First, this is one of my favorite of your paintings, especially with the Ecc. 12:12! And you are so right about true wisdom and conventional thinking! I know a couple of brilliantly wise sages with only an elementary education, but I know several highly educated PhD’s who are bumbling fools. (And next time you have to decide on which mixing bowls, just ask for mixing bowls for Christmas or birthday so you won’t have to decide!!) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m so very glad, Jeff!! This is actually one of my older paintings (and this a Revue/review of an older post). I was still experimenting with subject material for my art when I painted this… trying to figure out what direction I would take as far as developing my artistic “voice.”

      But maybe, I should do more of these kinds of paintings. People always respond well to them.This is one of my faves, too. I have never been able to bring myself to put it up for sale. It is actually a painting of the section of the Oxford library that is featured in many of the Harry Potter films (or so I’m told). We lived in London for several years when my husband was in graduate school and so Oxford became a haunt of ours.

      Yes, wisdom and knowledge are not necessarily linked. You are so right! And funny about the gift solution to decision-making. My mother had offered to buy the bowls for me as a gift; all she required was that I choose the bowls. Ha! Two years later, I opted for the historic reproduction rather than the microwave safe option. But my practical nature warred with my artistic nature for two years! Ha, ha! It’s a standing joke at our house. My better half, however, is infinitely decisive and so that is an extremely good thing! 🙂

      You’re the best brother in the world, by the way! You totally got this post! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • that you lived in London! That makes the picture even more intriguing! And I love that your husband is decisive to balance you out! Isn’t it neat how God puts opposites together for the good of both! Appreciate you, little sister!

        Like

      • Yes! Isn’t that wonderful how God does that! I’m so very grateful! Yes. We lived just outside of London for two years…two of the most wonderful years of my life. However, cost of living is very high and so we returned home to the U.S.
        And by the way, I truly appreciate you, big brother!! 🙂

        Like

      • Love the Part one and Part two of your commenting! That happens to me frequently! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words about my painting! “Winsome”… what a gift for word-smithing you have! Love that! 🙂

        Like

  6. “However, like Solomon, I can’t expect to acquire wisdom if, when I receive God’s word, I doubt and follow my own way instead. As James says, when I respond in this way, I become double-minded.”

    An excellent reminder and one I needed to hear today!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this beautiful reminder to seek the Lord’s wisdom and keep our eyes focused on our Creator during the storms of life—and I love the painting!❤️ I’ve always liked old-timey scenes and this painting reminds me of a corner in an old-fashioned library or something.

    Like

    • Thank you so much, dear Mia! I’m so glad you like both the post and the painting. The painting is an older piece of mine, but a favorite since it is of a corner in a library at Oxford. My husband and I lived in England for several years while he was in grad school and so this painting is particularly meaningful to us. All of that to say, you are are exactly right! It is an old library! 🙂

      By the way, I have a tab open with your latest post “Trial by Fire.” I’m intending to comment on it, but it is such a powerful post that I didn’t wish to just dash off a quick comment. So that’s why I haven’t submitted a comment yet. I’m waiting for the house to be quiet when I can comment thoughtfully on your incredible insights. Love and hugs to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Very beautiful post. Neat to hear your son’s prayer at age four was answered. I love this quote from you: “However, with Abba, it’s never about what we can do. Instead, it’s about what He plans to do through and for us.” God’s ways are not are ways, and we must be careful of human and non-God-centered presuppositions in our reasoning; which is hard for all of us. What a beautiful weaving of Solomon, Peter and James!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lynn……
    What a sweet post about your son given by a Mama who prayed with him! Isn’t it a wonderful blessing to see the fruit of those prayers!! I loved all you said here especially about our reading and studying. Oh how I feel there isn’t enough time to learn all I can about the LORD! Love the quotes from Ecclesiastes!! I wrote a series of blogs on it way back…….but have never forgotten the lessons there. Blessings friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m sorry I missed those posts!! I will have to look through your archives! And I quite agree with you…there is never enough time to spend studying and communing with the Lord. In some respects, I envy those who have given their lives to professionally studying the Word of God; yet, such study brings tremendous responsibility. And I’m glad I don’t have to carry that. 🙂 I love your heart! You are truly a kindred spirit! Have a beautiful weekend. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. “However, with Abba, it’s never about what we can do. Instead, it’s about what He plans to do through and for us.” “By His Spirit, we are able to differentiate powerful truth from destructive lies, (Psalm 119:105). And Solid Rock outlasts sand. God’s Word trumps worldly philosophies.”

    You have some powerful nuggets of wisdom in this writing, Lynn. Thank you so much for sharing this. We can do all things, according to God’s will, through him who gives us strength. “My Do It!” does not work. We have to yield to the Lord, and let him have the reins in our lives. Then, when yielded, and moldable, we can do what we, in our natural being, cannot do.

    For example, last week Rick had cataract surgery on his left eye. He could drive to the surgery, but I would have to drive him home. We have only lived here in TN 9 mos., and he has done most of the driving, which he has done since he retired. So, my driving skills are rusty, and I don’t have a quick mind to make quick decisions (never have), and so driving in downtown traffic in a large city with which I am unfamiliar is a scary proposition for me.

    So, Rick took me on a practice run two days before the surgery. But, sad to say, I had an emotional meltdown, and I started crying when I had to drive in downtown traffic. I know, it’s crazy, right? So, I began to pray through my tears and to ask the Lord for help, and I asked others to pray for me, too, and I wrote down my directions for driving home. And, the day of the surgery, I was not nervous at all, not ONE SINGLE BIT! God had calmed the storm in me and I was perfectly at peace. It was amazing! So, when we are not able, God IS! When we can’t do it, HE CAN! We just have to let him.

    Like

    • Sue, your story is a powerful testimony to God’s love and grace in our lives! I think you should post this story on your blog! So many would be greatly encouraged by it just as I am. I dislike driving as well, and so you can imagine what a trial for me it was to teach our son to drive. Much, much prayer got me through it! 🙂 I hope that Rick is doing well after his surgery! Huge hugs and love to you, my lovely friend!! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Lynn, for that encouragement. I will pray about that and see what the Lord wants me to do. The Lord helps me so much with my driving. I praise him all the time. Sometimes I think there must be an angel assigned to me. The other day I just prayed, “Jesus take the wheel, literally.” 🙂 God is helping me so much with this!

        Thank you for thinking about Rick, too. He was told that he would be seeing clearly after the surgery, but that has not been the case. Now he is getting lots of floaters in his eye which resemble spider webs, and he still has his astigmatism, and no present prescription for that until after his followup visit next Thursday. So, it wasn’t as rosy as what we were led to believe it would be. But, he can still see, so that is good, and we will wait to see what the doc says next week, and go from there. He will be happy to know you inquired about him, so thanks, again. Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I didn’t mean that you should feel it necessary to do a Bible study… I was just wishing out-loud…wishing I could sit under your teaching in person on a weekly basis! 🙂 ❤ Thank you for your example about the driving! You are such an encouragement to me!

        Oh, poor Rick! I will keep his recovery in my prayers! Love and hugs to you, dear Sue! ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • All is good, Lynn. No worries. 🙂 I am just trying to be sensitive to the Spirit’s voice by listening to what people say to me, and see if this is the Spirit prompting me in some way. Thank you for your encouragement and for your prayers. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Lynn! I so feel your indecisiveness. 😀 I have put off applying for the proofreading job for so long that it is no longer posted. But I sent in my resume anyway, and we shall see what happens. I love that your son prayed for wisdom at such a tender age, and that the Lord answered his prayer. That is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I do so hope you get the job, Angela! You would be fantastic! And I suspect that such a position would be one that could easily fit into your busy schedule! Thank you for your kind words about my son! I’m rather partial, you know! 😉 Love and hugs to you! Have a beautiful weekend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Wherever You Are Planted | Through Ink & Image

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s