Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Perfect Peace | For Tracey

You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tree of Life | A Dream Fulfilled

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12 NKJV)

Monday, August 13, 2012

"The Big Picture" | Romans 8

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified...For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:28-30, 38-39 KJV

I sit here staring at this landscape and find myself thinking... Did I really give that away? 

I remember how excited I was to paint my last depiction of our vacation last year to the mountains and area around the Vail Mountain Range of Colorado. My inspiration for this painting was an adventure on horseback early one morning. As we rode along the rocky terrain of the Four Eagle Ranch a few miles outside of Vail, our guide began to tell us it takes something like a hundred years to grow 1 inch of the sage brush that literally grew out of the rocks and covered the ground. Most of the bushes stood two or three feet tall. Some stood even higher. 

As we rode along the fragrant, dusty green sage branches brushed against the legs of our horses and tickled the tips of my Chukas in the stirrup. I had never really seen anything like it. I mean yes there are sage brush and bushes here in Texas. And if you go west, there are long stretches of dry parched earth that go on as far as the eye can see. Tumbleweeds roll and pump jacks lilt back and forth in their work-a-day way. But, I have not seen anything like the growth of sage on that ranch in those rocks before. 

When I returned home I began to Google pictures of Colorado Sage Brush and found a picture of a tiny brown bird called a Sage Sparrow. It sat among the branches of the sage brush with its little brown feathers laid back in relaxed peace. 

I began to think a lot about that little bird and decided to paint and depict the little bird in sage through paints. I pulled out a 16x20 canvas and dialed in the landscape. I had been practicing a new learned technique of creating horizon perceptions and so my mountains reflect that very thing. Before i knew it I had the picture completely sketched in and ready to complete. 

This picture sat nearly finished in my closet for about six months waiting for its owner to surface. You see, I knew the meaning of the picture, but I did not know that recipient. 

Just before I took my leave from my position on staff in Pastoral Care I found the owner. The person for whom this painting was always intended. 

A friend serving in a position where he met so much opposition at every turn it would be impossible not to feel beat up or beat down whichever way you find it. You see, there are times in life when we slip into a place of authority and purpose and meet opposition. Not just opposition to what we do, but literally opposition to who we are. I think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as well as their friend, Daniel. And, so I told my friend that I had finally settled on the painting that I would give him for his birthday, that had taken place some four months earlier. He smiled enthusiastically and said, "I can't wait to see it." 

A couple of weeks ago I delivered the painting to the Ministry Center. And the message resonated so beautifully with my heart even though it was for someone else. Perhaps it will bless you, too. 

You see, I knew the passage for this painting to be Romans 8, but even then I didn't know the relationship. I shared with him in a note that I felt God wanted him to know what i had realized about this painting. The purpose of the painting was to demonstrate the delightful little bird on one of the bushes in the foreground. It is like the point of the picture is this little bitty bird in this great big picture. 

Did you get that? The entire purpose of the big picture is the little bitty bird. I realized that God had positioned my friend for this particular season within the big picture of His eternal plan and that not only is my friend the focus of the picture, right now he is the reason for it. That God has His eye on Him and has not missed a moment of anything that is happening in his life. 

What is it that God might be saying to you about your place in the big picture? Perhaps you should take a moment to ask Him about that yourself. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"The Labor Of Rest" | Hebrews 4

"There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience." Hebrews 4:9-12 NKJV
For the past three years I've had the privilege and the honor of working everyday and serving alongside some of the most passionate people in God's Kingdom with regard to the identity and freedom of His children. 
Bob Hamp not only held the position of Executive Pastor over the department I served in, but he also has been the man I considered to be my pastor and more importantly he is a friend. 
Bob recently made a journey called "Sabbatical" and without sharing too much of his story. He enjoyed a paid extended vacation where his sole purpose would be rest. Bob shared with us in a department meeting before he left that his journey of rest had a theme, "Go wherever I want, stop whenever I want and do whatever I want." Sounds like a tentative plan, right? 
His goal to completely immerse himself in the labor of rest. He wanted disrupted sleep cycles and to lose track of days. His desire seemed to be to lose Himself in the pleasure of God. 
At that meeting members of our department settled our hearts in and engaged God to pray for Bob and his wife as they entered into rest for the first time in his professional career. One by one people began to deliver words. And by the time we had made our way around the table many of us had seen him enjoying himself as a little boy. More than a few of us saw him playing in water and one of us saw him in the "Magic Kingdom" with mouse ears on. 
I saw the picture very clearly that I painted for him above. A little boy just overflowing with water being doused and immersed with joy. I told Bob that day that I could remember when my son was small and used to go out to play that something remarkable seemed to happen. When he played hard and returned home he was not tired, but instead he was re-energized and refreshed ready to go again. 
"The Labor of Rest" is a heart gift for a man who has so beautifully poured his life out for the benefit of others and now is receiving the pleasure of God as he returns from a season of rest. My prayer is that he will indeed live in that place until God calls him home. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Recent Paintings | Prophetic Art

More paintings from the Healing Rooms:
Dance with Me |  Jeremiah 17:14 (AMP) 
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, 
and I shall be saved, for You are my praise. 
(30x40 Acrylic on Canvas)

Hope Rising | Job 11:18 (AMP)
  And you shall be secure and feel confident because there is hope; 
yes, you shall search about you, and you shall take your rest in safety.  
(30x40 Acrylic on Canvas)

Sunny Side Up! | Psalm 121:1 (NKJV)

I will lift up my eyes to the hills-- From whence comes my help?
(30x40 Acrylic on canvas)

Once again, these art pieces will be for sale after they have been on rotation in the healing rooms for 8-12 weeks. 

Email: michelle@michellebenthamcreates.org  for prices or to commission your own prophetic artwork.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Ministry of the Paint

 Light Has Come | Isaiah 60:1
Waves of Hope | Hebrews 6:19

In January I began serving in the healing room painting what the Lord places on my heart as soft worship music plays and intercessors pray quietly over those who have come to receive healing. It is a powerful moving time of worship for me, and as I am learning through the process the paintings serve the ministers as well as those receiving ministry. 

This past week, I was working on a new type of painting for me. The canvas is filled with light shades of pink, blue, and bright fluorescent yellow. I placed a yellow orb in the center of all the colors and began to pain iridescent white mingled with the yellows and pinks over the background of soft colors. As I painted one of the intercessors came to me and said, "Michelle, as I was praying over there, I could see angels on either side of you and they were taking turns whispering in your ear...It is like downloading the things of God from the throne room for you to paint." She went on to say she saw them pushing each other aside saying, "It's my turn... It's my turn..." 

She said it was almost as if I could not contain what they were telling me. It was too much, and God said, "Slow down now, give her a chance to catch up." So she prayed that God would increase my capacity to contain what He is revealing to me and express it fully. 

The first time I painted, "Light Has Come" flooded the canvas. I painted dark edges to the painting and then a bright yellow broad across the remaining white space. I later added the grass and trees. Before I added the trees while I was still working on the dark to light sky at the top of the painting, my friend who is an intercessor came by and said, "I like the trees." 

She in fact referred to the darker border i had painted at the edge of the canvas. I shook my head. "There aren't any trees." She said, "Oh, well they look like trees to me."

As I painted I felt like God was chuckling up in heaven. He said, "There ARE Trees." 

I painted two trees. one on each side of the light. There are trees. :) 

Another week, I was painting dancers behind a small girl in leg braces who was praying. The dancers represented the girls prayers being answered and each of them was adorned in a color that was represented in the little girl's dress. I worked on it three weeks in the healing room. 

The second week, a woman in a scrubs came up and asked, "Why did you decide to paint that tonight?"

I told her that I had just seen a little girl praying and the dancers as an answer to her prayers. She went on to explain that the lady she had brought to the healing rooms was a dancer, though she was not crippled - her family had a generational issue with cancer. She said when she saw one of the dancers in the picture she knew it was her friend. As she continued, she gave an interpretation for her friend. She realized as the woman prayed that she would no longer be focused on what was wrong, but on God instead. 

On another occasion, as I painted "Waves of Hope" one of the intercessors came to me afterward and said that she kept praying for peace, and that they needed hope in the room, others have said they pray for the people who sit in front of the paintings to receive the message of the painting. 

I will post more of the ministry paintings as I complete them. They are available for sale after being included in a 2-3 month rotation on display at the ministry rooms. 

Leave me a comment or a email me if you find something you are interested in. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

She Carries Victory Wherever She Goes | Romans 8:37

For Aja ~ Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.