Sunday, October 23, 2005

Christian Artists

 Wear the Message of Grace: A Work Week's Devotions

Author: Laurie Ashbach

As the artist and designer for Ashbach Designs, I want more than for you to just wear a piece of pretty jewelry, I want you to wear each piece as a symbol of your faith. In keeping with this idea, I have created a work week's devotions to go with your jewelry, or another special faith symbol in your life. Each day, meditate on how you can use your jewelry to connect with others, share the message, and remind yourself where your true passion lies.

Monday: Connect

Colossians 2:2-3
"My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

Wearing a Christian symbol becomes a personal statement of belief, which invites conversation into the �everyday' level of our faith. Use a symbol as a means to communicate with someone, and find a common ground of understanding, or to appreciate differences. Connection not only reveals the quality of our lives, but also reminds us that the unseen reality is far more precious than the seen. Remember to connect with the creator, who has given you everything you will need. That is the hope of these symbols, that they will remind you of your most important relationship and all that it means for you personally today.

Tuesday: �Wear' the Message of Grace

Hebrews 3:6-8
"But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. So, as the Holy Spirit says: 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."

Through Christ, I know who I am created to be. By understanding who we are because of who Christ is, and what He has done for us, I am encouraged and am able to love and create out of fullness, not fear. I am free to live to my fullest potential in the life giving, forgiving and saving grace of Christ.

So hold fast to God's greatest gift, His Son, who has brought us new life and will one day bring us beyond earth to heavens glory. Experience Him. In Him we have a true home, meaning, belonging and rest. See the light, share in the Holy Spirit, taste the goodness of God and inherit what has been promised. This promise is yours to �wear' each day.

Psalm 34:8
"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."

Wednesday: Encourage Hearts

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."

God is the great communicator and has given us such bounty to help us to see His Truth. You only have to look around to see the beauty of His creation and to feel His heart of love for us. Christ who has experienced our humanity on earth, has fully embraced our limits, fears, troubles and endless possibilities. He has conquered death in order that we could be free. In this hectic world we inhabit, we need to be encouraged over and over again of the grace of Christ, the light that goes before us to prepare the way.

Thursday: Remind Yourself

Romans 15:4
"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."

Symbols have been used to express that which is inexpressible throughout the ages, and as humans we long for ways to express our feelings and emotions. I view my work on symbolism as a ministry, a teaching tool and encouragement to take internally the message of these symbols. I need to be reminded and pointed in the right direction each day. It's so easy to forget sometimes - wearing a symbol is a great way to daily remind yourself to live in hope.

Friday: Speak the Truth

Ephesians 4:22-24
"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

Don't just keep this amazing message to yourself, but graciously share your new life, new heart and new attitude of your mind with those you love. By reaching out to others, we are putting on our new self, and have begun a new way of life, based on prayer, study of Scripture, and fellowship with other believers. My mission is to speak the truth of the Gospel, and to communicate Christ's message of hope and forgiveness. Each piece of my jewelry comes with an insert card, containing a brief description of the message to be captured, and a Scripture to point you in the right direction so you can begin your own search, and share it with others.

About the Author

I believe that symbols can actually become a living language of beliefs, and that's why I have created Ashbach Designs. I received a BA in Psychology from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN in 1975. I then went on to receive a Masters in Design, with an emphasis in metalsmithing, from the University of Minnesota Design Department in 1987. Creating original jewelry designs from my home studio in St. Paul since the late 1970's, I now own and operate the Vine & Branches Gallery in St. Paul, which showcases the work of local Christian artists.


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