Tag Archive: Christianity

The Power of Art

Art is a powerful thing. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes it feels like it’s simply words on a page or paint on a canvas or notes on the air. Other times, it’s impossible to miss how powerful it is. Other times it hits you like a train, bringing you to tears or making you grin uncontrollably. Art is much more than the sum of its parts. Art has the power to spawn emotion in a reader, viewer, listener. I know this first-hand, both from being so affected by art, and by seeing the reactions that my friends have when they read my writing.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” As artists, we have great power, but we have to be careful that we use that power wisely and that we do all we can to make sure it has the intended affect. As Christians, that means that we should reflect God in our writing, and not encourage things that are contrary to that. I don’t mean to say that we can’t portray those things in our writing, but we shouldn’t glorify them. It should be clear that they’re wrong. We should make art for the glory of God. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) It tells us to do even the little things like eating and drinking to the glory of God, so how much more so should we glorify God in something so powerful as art? This is why one of my unwritten new year’s goals is to pray before everything I do. Which maybe seems a bit drastic, but I think it will help me to grow closer to God, glorify Him better through my writing (and in general), and relinquish control of things (something that I have trouble with).

I’ve personally found music and stories to be the most powerful art mediums. Music has brought me close to tears, reminded me of things I’d forgotten, and brought my mood back up when I’m disappointed or frustrated. My youth pastor said one week something along the lines of, “Art brings what we know about God from our minds to our hearts.” Music has certainly done that for me more than once, particularly this year.

Books have also brought me close to tears, made me care about people who don’t exist, sparked my imagination, taught me things (like the fact that Muhammed Ali beat George Foreman in “Rumble in the Jungle” by wearing him out with his own attacks. Thank you, Dreamtreaders), and inspired me to write my own books. I’ve always considered it to be the most powerful medium (though obviously I’m biased), because you can create and destroy so much “at the swipe of a pen,” as a friend of mine said.

Another section of her post said: “All that power, creativity, strength, is a gift. It’s inside every one of us, and nothing, absolutely nothing, is stopping us from using it. But it’s insane how much we take it for granted, look over it, or misuse it.” Let’s not take for granted how powerful art is, let’s not look over it, and let’s use it correctly so that its potential is not wasted or misused.

The closing paragraph of her post said: “WE ARE POWERFUL. NEVER FORGET THAT.”

Hope Is…

Hope is hard to describe.

Hope is when you have nothing and someone cares enough to take care of you.

Hope is watching and waiting for a savior.

Hope is knowing that someone cares enough for you to give their life away on your behalf.

Hope is intertwined with faith and love.

Hope is seeing someone return from darkness to light.

Hope is seeing someone rise from the dead.

Hope is knowing Jesus will come again.

Hope is knowing the darkness will eventually fade.

Hope is holding onto that knowledge even when it’s hard.

Building a Firm Foundation

You see those ruins in the picture? They’re still standing. Why? Because they have a firm foundation. They were built to last. They were built to withstand rain and wind and time in general. Obviously the whole building hasn’t survived, but a large section of it is still there, and it’s because of that foundation.

Nearly everything in the Bible is a foundation for something. The fall was the foundation for sin and the need of a savior. If Passover hadn’t happened, Jesus wouldn’t have had the last supper with his disciples. If God hadn’t orchestrated everything exactly the way He did, things wouldn’t have turned out how they did. Under all that happened to bring a need for Jesus, and Jesus himself, God was controlling it. God was the foundation for all of it. Biblical history – and all of history, really – is like a pyramid. You have to have the layer before for the next one to be exactly right. And God is that foundation and that cornerstone. Isaiah 28:16 says, “Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation.”” He was talking about Jesus. Everything, everything, points back to God and to Jesus. Because they’re the foundation. If they didn’t exist, nothing would. Everything would crumble, like a pyramid without a firm foundation.

We need a firm foundation, too. We need to be able to withstand life’s problems, we need to be able to last through whatever comes. God is that foundation. He’s the only foundation that will actually keep us rooted in place. Matthew 7:24-27 says, ““Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”” We want to be the wise man, not the foolish man. We want to stand firm, not be washed away in the storms.

To be honest, I haven’t been very good at standing on that foundation, but I’m working on it and I’m getting better at trusting God, even though it’s a lot harder than you might think it should be. It’s worth the struggle. I used to think I’d never have God’s peace. I used to think He was just ignoring me in that area. But then I realized I wasn’t really worshiping Him, trusting Him, following Him, and once I started praying more regularly and making a more concerted effort to follow Him, I did get some of that peace. It was my fault, not His. And sometimes that’s hard to accept, but it’s something that needs to be realized so that it can be fixed.

I hope you’ll join me in working to hold to this foundation.

My Favorite Music

“Autumn,” you say, “This is a writing blog. What are you doing talking about music?”

I know, I know. But I also love music, so you’ll just have to put up with me talking about it for a post or two. This post is about some of my favorite songs and artists and why they’re my favorite.

The topic of this post came about from the sermon before an all-nighter I went to Friday night. They were talking about teens being dangerous to the Devil and how music and movies these days are geared at teens and can be very worldly. Later on the radio in the bowling alley and the trampoline place we went to, I heard a couple of songs that had really fun music and atrocious lyrics. The most memorable was “Shape of You,” by Ed Sheeran. Songs like those, bad songs wrapped in a package of great music, are dangerous. Which is not to say that all secular music is bad, and there is still secular music that I listen to, but you have to be careful. Anyway, that got me thinking about what music I listen to, and thus this post came about.

MercyMe

I have nearly all of MercyMe’s albums saved on Spotify, and there are very few songs of theirs that I don’t like. They do a great job of getting to biblical truths in their songs, and it’s all really eye-opening and deep-reaching.

Even If

This is definitely my favorite of my songs, though all of them are great. I first heard it on the radio when a lot of stuff in my life felt really shaky, and it affected me quite a lot. I don’t think I’m legally allowed to quote it, but the chorus is just a great reminder that things aren’t in our control and God’s plan isn’t necessarily our plan.

Rich Mullins

Rich Mullins is an excellent songwriter, and as with MercyMe, he has very few songs I don’t like. They’re all really deep, and he does a good job of mixing that with fun music.

My current favorite of his songs (because there’s no choosing one favorite Rich Mullins song) is “What Trouble Are Giants.” It seems rather fitting, because the sermon before the all-nighter used David and Goliath as a focal point.

Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns is another one that’s really good at writing eye-opening music. They have several songs on the the lack of alertness and love in the church. One of my favorites is “If We Are the Body,” but it’s hard to pick just one favorite, as tends to happen with my favorite artists, obviously.

tobyMac

tobyMac is an example of really fun music with a good message. A couple of my favorites are “Beyond Me,” “Speak Life,” and “Like a Match.” The latter two are about showing our faith through our actions, and the first is about God being far greater than we are.

Britt Nicole

Another example of fun music and good messages. Her music is especially geared toward teen girls, but it’s great for anyone to listen to. My favorite is probably “Set the World On Fire.” It’s an invitation for God to use you.

for King & Country

A friend of mine termed for King & Country as having “a song for everything.” I listen to them when I want to hear something uplifting. I especially like “Matter” and “Fix My Eyes.”

Hallelujahs by Chris Rice

This song is gorgeous, both musically and lyrically. It paints a beautiful picture of how everything in creation points to God and it’s just gorgeous. ^-^

Thank God for Something by Hawk Nelson

This song is a great reminder of how there’s always something to be thankful for, no matter how small. As someone who tends to overlook little mercies and complains too much, it’s good to hear. Plus it’s wrapped up in upbeat (if musically boring) music that’s fun to listen to.

 

What are some of your favorite songs and why? What is some secular music that’s still good and encouraging?

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