Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, maybe compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.”
Houses On Stilts
24″ x 36″ oil on canvas
Lyn Deutsch 2006
Original painting is available for sale.
Buy Canvas prints and greeting cards of this painting at:
The small house was simple but adequate. It consisted of one large room on a dusty street. It’s red-tiled roof was one of many in this poor neighborhood on the outskirts of the Brazilian village. It was a comfortable home. Maria and her daughter Christina had done what they could to add color to the gray walls and warmth to the hard dirt floor: an old calendar, a faded photograph of a relative, a wooden crucifix. The furnishings were modest; a pallet on either side of the room, a washbasin, and a wood-burning stove.
Maria’s husband had died when Christina was an infant. The young mother, stubbornly refusing opportunities to remarry, got a job and set out to raise her young daughter. And now, fifteen years later, the worst years were over. Though Maria’s salary as a maid afforded few luxuries, it was reliable and it did provide food and clothes. And now Christina was old enough to get a job and help out.
Some said Christina got her independence from her mother. She recoiled at the traditional idea of marrying young and raising a family. Not that she couldn’t have her pick of husbands. Her olive skin and brown eyes kept a steady stream of prospects at her door. She had an infectious way of throwing her head back and filling the room with laughter. She also had that rare magic some women have that make every man feel like a king just by being near them. But it wasn’t her spirited curiosity that made her keep all the men at arm’s length.
She often spoke of going to the city. She dreamed of trading her dusty neighborhood for exciting avenues and city life. Just the thought of this horrified her mother. Maria was always quick to remind Christina of the harshness of the streets. “People don’t know you there. Jobs are scarce and the life is cruel. And besides if you went there, what would you do for a living?”
Maria knew exactly what Christina would do, or would have to do for a living. That’s why her heart broke when she awoke one morning to find her daughter’s bed empty. She knew immediately what she must do to find her. She quickly threw some clothes in a bag, gathered up all her money, and ran out of the house.
On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore to get one last thing. Pictures. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on pictures. With her purse full of small black and white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janiero.
Maria knew that Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for secret walkers or prostitutes. She went to them all. And at each place she left her picture – taped to a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note.
It wasn’t too long before the money and the pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home. The weary mother wept as the bus began its long journey back to her small village.
It was a few weeks later that the young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had become a nightmare. A thousand times over she longed to trade these countless beds for her secure pallet. Yet the little village was, in too many ways, too far away.
As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina’s eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was this compelling invitation:
“Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.”
(by Max Lucado, No Wonder They Call Him Savior (Multnomah Books, a Division of Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1986)
THE FATHER’S LOVE
12″ X 24″ ENAMEL ON POLYGLASS
ORIGINAL PAINTING IS AVAILABLE FOR SALE
Buy canvas prints and greeting cards of this painting at:
Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now, instead of waiting until you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money on wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him to feed his pigs. The boy became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man.”
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. (Luke 15:11-32).
God’s love for each individual is so great that He seeks out each one and rejoices when he or she is found. We may be able to understand a God who would forgive sinners who come to Him for mercy. But a God who tenderly searches for sinners and then joyfully forgives them must possess an extraordinary love! This is the kind of love that prompted Jesus to come to earth to search for lost people and save them. This is the kind of extraordinary love that God has for you.
In the parable of the prodigal son, the younger son, like many of us, wanted to be free to live as he pleased. He had to hit bottom before he came to his senses. It often takes great sorrow and tragedy to cause people to look to the only One who can help them – Jesus. Are you trying to live life your own way? Stop and look before you hit bottom. You will save yourself and your family much grief.
In this parable, since the son left, the father watched and waited for his son’s return. He knew that one day, he will come home and we read, “And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” There was no day that the father did not look out by his porch waiting for his beloved son to come back home.
No matter what your mother and father may have treated you in this life, you have an Ever-Living God and Father in heaven who loves you unconditionally. God’s love is perfect, constant, patient, and welcoming. Right now, you are reading God’s compelling invitation –
“Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.”
If you have never placed your faith in God, the God who has revealed Himself in the Bible, I encourage you to read carefully and prayerfully the following spiritual truths. You can know God and experience a vibrant, living and intimate relationship with Him.
With salvation you will find meaning, direction, and purpose in this life and experience genuine peace, love and joy, receive forgiveness of all your sins, and assurance of eternal life in heaven through faith in God’s only begotten Son Jesus Christ.
1. GOD LOVES YOU AND CREATED YOU TO KNOW HIM PERSONALLY. John 3:16 sates, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
GOD’S PLAN: “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
2. MAN IS BORN WITH A SINFUL NATURE AND SEPARATED FROM GOD. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Man was created to have fellowship with God; but “When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race” (Romans 5:12). Our passive indifference to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin. “He did evil because he did not set His heart to seek the Lord” (2 Chronicles 12:14).
3. JESUS CHRIST IS GOD’S ONLY PROVISION FOR MAN’S SIN. THROUGH HIM ALONE CAN WE KNOW GOD PERSONALLY AND EXPERIENCE GOD’S LOVE.
HE DIED IN OUR PLACE. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD. “Christ died for our sins…and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
HE IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
4. WE MUST INDIVIDUALLY RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOR AND LORD. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). WE RECEIVE CHRIST THROUGH FAITH. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
YOU CAN RECEIVE CHRIST RIGHT NOW BY FAITH THROUGH PRAYER. Receiving Christ involves turning to God from sin and self (repentance) and trusting in Christ alone, what He did on the cross to pay for our sins, and by faith receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. You receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of will accompanied by genuine repentance.
Prayer is talking to God expressing what is in your heart. God is not concerned so much with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
The following is a suggested prayer:
“Lord, I am a sinner and there is nothing I could do to save myself. Forgive me for all my sins. Help me in my unbelief and give me the faith to receive Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Savior of my life. I thank You for the free gift of salvation and eternal life in heaven with you. I surrender every aspect of my life to your lordship, for you to mold and to change according to your will, that you alone may be glorified. I pray in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.”