How the Story Ends…

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SnowdropsI suppose you should never give away the ending to your book, but here I am, doing it anyway. I’ve never been one to stay contained by the world’s boxes.

The excerpt below includes In the Cave, a story of Mama Bear and her Cub that both opens and closes my newly released book, The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful. Based on the Legend of the Snowdrops, it is a story of redemption and new life based on the battle won on the cross of Jesus and the “battle to end all battles” found in Revelation 19-21:

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

King of Kings and Lord of Lords


Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army.
 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” 

So here is how the story ends… an excerpt from The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful, the 2nd book in the Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within:

Beloved of God,

Do you remember our opening story of the inquisitive cub and his sleepy mama bear? She told him a legend: the Legend of the Snowdrops. In that story there was a battle between the Winter Witch and Lady Spring, and the snowdrops emerged from the frozen ground through a single drop of blood that fell from the precious finger of Lady Spring.

Surely you realize the legend echoes another story? A story of legendary proportions to be sure! Yet, it is no legend. From the serpent’s menacing hiss heard in the garden many thousands of years ago, there arose a battle between good and evil. That battle raged on until Christ was pierced and his blood fell to the ground, declaring Jesus victorious over the enemy. Just as the elegant, white flowers emerged from a single drop of Lady Spring’s blood, there in that place of Christ’s suffering, a new beauty sprang forth.

In many ways, that battle still rages on—in the depths of our souls, in the broken places where the enemy seeks to take ground that’s not his. Like Snowdrops that break through the cold and wintry ground, Jesus Our Breaker shatters the cold and wintry places within our spirits, rising before us, the King at our head. May he lead us into a life of creative adventure as we read our final benediction.

Thank you for joining me on this healing journey. It has been an honor to walk alongside you. May Jesus Our Breaker lead us ever onward!

Godspeed from your fellow wounded healer, Jody

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

In the Cave

“Mama?” Cub whispers into the den’s deep darkness. “Mama? Are you awake?” he whispers more loudly.

       “I am now, little one,” mumbles Mama Bear, sleep heavy in her voice. “What are you doing awake?”

“I can’t sleep,” answers Cub, yearning touches the fringes of his words. “Tell me about Spring again,” he says as he snuggles deeply into her coarse fur, letting it wrap around him like blades of grass he can just barely remember.

“Spring starts when the Snowdrops come up and push back the snow,” she begins.

“How do snow drops push back snow?” he asks puzzled, remembering the early snow that came in flakes, not drops. “That doesn’t make any sense, Mama.” He is certain her empty stomach is causing her confusion.

Mama Bear smiles as she pictures her every word, “Snowdrops are flowers, silly bear—the very first flowers to bloom each year. They bloom so early that they must push themselves up through piles of snow that stubbornly refuse to melt. Their beautiful, white blossoms hang delicately from emerald stems and silently shout of the coming Spring.”

Cub turned his head to gaze up at her—eyes filled with curiosity and wonder.

She continued, “Legend tells us that Snowdrops were birthed from a battle between the Winter Witch and Lady Spring. One year, when Lady Spring arrived to take her rightful place, the Winter Witch refused to give up her reign over the frozen earth. In the midst of the brutal battle, the Witch pierced Lady Spring’s finger and a tiny drop of blood fell to the earth. The blood drop melted the bitter snow and a Snowdrop sprang up in its place, declaring Lady Spring victorious over the Winter Witch.”

“I think I’m gonna like Snowdrops, Mama” said Cub, wishfully wanting winter’s end. His body begins to settle into the stillness.

“After the Snowdrops come the Crocus—lavender and purple and white. Then the red tulips and yellow daffodils. And then, finally then, the trees begin to bud: new leaves forming on every branch.”

“The trees grow new leaves?” questions the curious Cub.

“Yes, the Creator Spirit makes all things new,” her voice echoes with knowing wisdom.

“What color are the leaves, Mama? Are they red and orange and yellow?” his voice begins to drift off as he fights back sleep.

            “No, baby. They are green—the color of new life.”

Jody Thomae © 2018 All Rights Reserved

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Signed copies of The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful are available through Square.

Book FrontJody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You and The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautifulboth in-depth, interactive devotional books that are part of the Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within series and serve as resources for creative Christians, artists, and lovers of beauty and worship.God's Creative Gift by Jody Thomae Jody has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, serving as worship arts ministry pastor, worship leader and creative arts director. She leads worship at local seminars, retreats and women’s events and is a guest lecturer on creativity, embodiment, and spirituality with Healing Care Ministries and HCM International. Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and the use of creativity in formational and healing ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. She is particularly interested in the reclamation of the body in the healing of trauma and works in the area of embodiment with survivors of abuse, addiction, and trauma.

JodyThomaeCDcoverart_FA_printGod’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You and her new release, The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful are both available on Amazon. Signed print copies are available for purchase through Square where her resources are available most affordably (and in bulk amounts for your creative ministry team or group study). Jody’s devotional CD, Song of the Beloved, is also available through Square, iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, and other music outlets.

Lenten Reflection: On a Mission

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Scripture Reading: 

…do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

…For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light…Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph 4:30–5:2, 5:8-13, 5:15-20

Reflections:

Yesterday was our final message in our Lenten series through Ephesians. While I didn’t post the entire scripture passage above (due to space), feel free to read Ephesians 4:25–6:9. A large passage indeed, but we took a look from a distance and found three main ideas that pertain to a life of personal mission:

  1. Imitate Christ
  2. Live a life of character and integrity
  3. Make the most of your time

Continue reading

Lenten Reflection: Unique yet Unified

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Scripture Reading:

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.  Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.

He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. Eph 4:1-7


Reflections:

Right off the bat, here’s my confession… I wasn’t in church yesterday so this is not a reflection on our church’s sermon series in Ephesians… these are simply my own thoughts, musings and reflections… Continue reading

Lenten Reflection: Reconciled for Reconciliation

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Scripture Reading: 

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazingFor we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.

So never forget how you used to be. Those of you born as outsiders to Israel were outcasts, branded “the uncircumcised” by those who bore the sign of the covenant in their flesh, a sign made with human hands. You had absolutely no connection to the Anointed; you were strangers, separated from God’s people. You were aliens to the covenant they had with God; you were hopelessly stranded without God in a fractured world. But now, because of Jesus the Anointed and His sacrifice, all of that has changed. God gathered you who were so far away and brought you near to Him by the royal blood of the Anointed, our Liberating King.

He is the embodiment of our peace, sent once and for all to take down the great barrier of hatred and hostility that has divided us so that we can be one. He offered His body on the sacrificial altar to bring an end to the law’s ordinances and dictations that separated Jews from the outside nationsHis desire was to create in His body one new humanity from the two opposing groups, thus creating peace. Effectively the cross becomes God’s means to kill off the hostility once and for all so that He is able to reconcile them both to God in this one new body. The Great Preacher of peace and love came for you, and His voice found those of you who were near and those who were far away. By Him both have access to the Father in one Spirit. Eph 2:8-18 The VOICE

Reflections:

Our church is working through passages in Ephesians through the Lenten season, and yesterday our message was brought to us by ATS student Shauna Rushing. Shauna shared her testimony of answering an unexpected calling, revealing that sometimes our vision isn’t God’s vision. Paul is a perfect example of this. He was on a mission to eradicate all followers of the “The Way” (Christ-followers), but an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus  left him answering an unexpected calling, but one that was God’s vision for Paul’s life—a vision that included the reconciliation of two groups that stood opposed to one another—Jews and Gentiles. Continue reading

Lenten Reflection: Spirit-Empowered

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Scripture Reading:

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Eph 6:10-18

Reflections:

Our Lenten journey through Ephesians continued yesterday with Pastor John telling us that to live a Christ-Centered life, one that is rooted in love, is impossible

…save for God!
For with God all things are possible! Continue reading

Christ Jesus: A Work of Art!

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Moved by the Spirit, Simeon went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God… 
Coming up at that very moment, Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. ~ Luke 2

We often hear about the shepherds and the wise men that came to worship Jesus following his birth. Yet there are two other characters who show up after the birth of Christ that we might not hear as much about. (Read Luke 2:22-40) Continue reading

Create-A-Day 2015: your daily dose of creativity

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Just as One-A-Day® Vitamins help restore the nutrients we deplete in our bodies, so too do we need to refill, replenish and renew our creative souls. So in 2015, I will be doing a daily* post to undergird your ministry, to lead you to resources to nurture the creative spirit within, and to draw you more deeply into your worship of Jesus Christ. Starting in January, watch for “Create-A-Day” blog posts. My goal is to provide you, the creative Christian, with over 250* resources to help you develop your ARTistry, CREATivity & capacity for BEaUty. What kind of resources? Books, worship arts ministries, video series, websites, conferences—all geared towards artists, creatives, worshipers and people serving in worship and creative arts ministries.

Whether you are a musician, singer, composer or worship leader; a painter, sculptor, sketcher, photographer or graphic artist; an actor, playwright or film producer; a weaver, potter, seamstres or silversmith; a writer of poetry, prose or non-fiction; a dancer, flagger or abandoned worshiper, I hope to post resources that will help you as you develop the creative gift God has placed within YOU!

So, visit my blog every day* to see what creative resource I’ve hunted down for you. You can stay connected daily by following me on Twitter or Facebook. Or better yet, sign up to receive email updates by clicking the button to the left. We’ll watch the resources pile up as the year unfolds!

** I am a proponent of family time and Sabbath rest so don’t look for posts on weekends or Holidays.

Jody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You, a devotional book with Bible studies to nurture the creative spirit within and to serve as a resource for creative Christians, artists, musicians and worshippers. She has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, serving as worship arts ministry pastor, worship leader, and creative arts director. She has coordinated artistic involvement in church services and regional worship events through dance, drama, poetry and fine arts and has had the opportunity to perform, teach, choreograph, preach, coordinate and lead workshops in the area of creativity, spirituality and embodied prayer. She has also recently released a devotional CD called Song of the Beloved.

Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and formational ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. Life scriptures include Psalm 27; Isaiah 50:4-7; and Zephaniah 3:14-17.