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The Reflection Of God





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The Resurrected Christ





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The Return Of The Prodigal Son





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The Rich Young Ruler



Parable

And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is agood, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. - Luke 18:18-25

The Rich Young Ruler (Biblical)

In this story, a rich young ruler asks Jesus what he must do to obtain eternal life. Jesus tells him that he must keep the commandments to which the young ruler replies, "All these have I kept from my youth up." Jesus then tells him to sell all that he has and give it to the poor if he would have treasures in heaven. When the young ruler heard this he went away sorrowful, "...for he was very rich." - Luke 18:23

Jesus was not concerned with the amount of money that the rich young ruler had, but that he had set his heart upon his riches instead of giving it to God. I included a clasp on the young ruler's cloak shaped like a heart, to remind us that God is anxious to give us everything, but we must first give Him our hearts.



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The Rich Young Ruler



How much are you willing to sacrifice to follow what you believe? That is the dilemma James C. Christensen presents in The Rich Young Ruler. Christensen’s most popular scriptural works have focused on the challenge to live our faith, to give all that we have and to live in a state of thankfulness.

Just before his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, Jesus passed through a town where a righteous young man asked him what he could do to inherit eternal life. The young man told Jesus how he followed the Commandments and obeyed the laws of his people, but Jesus asked something more: “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor,” he said, “and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The home of The Rich Young Ruler is filled with symbols of both his success and his dilemma. The laden camels in the frieze in the foreground illustrate Jesus’ next words to his disciples, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. ”The ruler himself is richly dressed in fine fabrics and jewels and the room is filled with lush plants, which in a desert setting would be quite costly to maintain. Sputtering beside the entrance to the door is the ruler’s lamp that, like the flame of his belief, wavers in the wind. These symbols, combined with Christensen’s unique style, make The Rich Young Ruler an elegant story of difficult decisions and of a Master who will always look back and offer another chance.

“The original painting was commissioned by a successful businessman, today’s equivalent of a rich young ruler,” says Christensen. “He wanted a visual reminder that success has many forms and that faith is its own reward. He wanted to ask himself every day what he would have done in that situation.”



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The Risen Lord



"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him."- Matthew 28:17

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The Road To Emmaus



What we think of as patience may actually be perspective. The ability to see things as they really are gives us the courage to wait upon the Lord even when life takes unexpected turns. The story of the road to Emmaus illustrates this principle beautifully.
Three days after the Savior's death, two of His disciples walked the dusty road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. As they spoke, they were joined by a traveler who asked about their conversation. The disciples replied, "Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem...they have crucified [Jesus]. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel."
Then the stranger said, "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" He then opened the scriptures to them, showing how all of the prophets had testified that Christ would be crucified and rise on the third day. As night fell the disciples asked the traveler to join them for a meal. Sitting together the stranger, "...took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew...[it was Jesus]." - Luke 24:17-32
We are often like the disciples. We let the worries of the day keep us from recognizing that the Savior is walking alongside us. We are quick to treat our trials as curses, instead of trusting that with God's perspective our "curses" may actually be blessings. May we be more willing to wait upon the Lord, and may we see things as they really are as we walk our own roads to Emmaus.
THE ROAD TO EMMAUS
by Steevun Lemon
The Lord was gone, His body lay
Inside the captive tomb.
And those who followed Him in life
Now felt the awful gloom.
Yet, two would walk the dusty road to
Emmaus on that day.
These were His friends, those whom He loved
Who talked along the way.
"He was the Son of God," one said
"How could He now be gone?"
"It seems our sorrow is too great
To hope to see the dawn."
And as they walked a stranger came
He listened as they spoke.
He saw their tears and heard their cries
And then His silence broke.
"But wasn't this the plan," he asked,
"That Jesus come and die?
His sacrifice will save us all,
The prophets testify."
And so they walked into the night
And listened to Him speak
Of promised resurrection and
Of heaven for the meek.
And as night fell, they stopped to eat
This tiny little band.
And when He broke the bread they saw
The nail marks in His hands.
Too often we are like those two
Who walked along the road.
We think that we are all alone
With none to share the load.
We do not see our loving friend
Beside us on our way.
Carrying us through life's dark nights
Into a brighter day.
So as we walk our own roads to
Emmaus may we see.
That we will never be alone
Unless we choose to be.


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The Second Coming





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The Sower



In this parable, a man sows (scatters) seeds in a field. Some of the seeds fall by the wayside and are eaten by birds. Some fall among thorns and are choked out. Some fall on stony ground and start to grow, but when the heat of the sun beats down they do not have deep enough roots to survive and are lost. Still other seeds fall on good ground where they bring forth fruit.

The Lord teaches us that the seeds represent the Word of God and the ground represents the hearts of those who hear the word. Some have hearts like the wayside and receive the word, but then let Satan (birds) come and snatch it away. Others have thorny hearts and let their own pleasures and cares choke out the word of God. Still others have stony hearts and though they give the word a chance, when the heat of persecution shines upon them they give up and the word is lost. Finally, some have fertile hearts and make room for the word of God. These bring forth fruit through their actions and become what the sower wanted them to be.

I placed on the ground the shadow of a heart to remind us that we choose which kind of heart we have. We can be like fertile ground and prepare a place for the word of God to grow within us. I also put the symbol of the fish in the sown seeds to remind us that once we find the word, we too must go forth as sowers and spread the good news of Christ.

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The Ten Virgins (Biblical)



Parable

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. - Matthew 25:1-13

Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. - Luke 12:35-38

Ten Virgins (Biblical)

In this parable, ten virgins await the coming of the bridegroom. At last the wedding party arrives and the virgins light their lamps to go out and meet their friend. But because of the late hour five of their lamps have run dry. These foolish virgins rush to purchase more oil, but by the time they return the wedding party is gone and the door locked.

We are the virgins in the parable awaiting the return of the Savior. The oil is symbolic of our personal righteousness, "bought" through a lifetime of service and faith. In preparing to paint this parable, I found ten women to play the virgins. I told them of an article I had read years earlier that described a small earthen vessel worn around the wrist that the wise virgins might have used to carry their oil. I then gave five of the women one of these vessels and explained it was time for them to join the wedding party.

As they separated, I noticed that they were crying. When I asked them why, one woman explained, "I never understood that those five who were wise were leaving behind their friends and their sisters. It breaks my heart to think that they won't be with us."

I painted that moment as these friends parted. One with her oil gathered from a life of selfless service; and the other adorned in beautiful jewelry, yet with no oil, having spent her life overlooking those things that mattered most. I included a mermaid, a symbol of temptation, and a watch in the shape of a heart to remind us that we can tell what we love by what we give our time to. I set the watch to midnight to remind us that the Lord is almost here. As we wait for the Savior, may we be ever watchful that our lamps, and the lamps of those we love, never run dry.

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The Thornton





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The Transfiguration Of Christ





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The Tree Of Life - Stoclet Frieze [Foil]





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The Wheat And The Tares



THE WHEAT AND THE TARES

Parable

The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in they field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. When Jesus had retired to the house in which He lodged, the disciples came, saying: declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. - Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43



The Wheat and the Tares (Biblical)

In the original parable, a householder plants wheat in a field. While he sleeps, his enemy comes and sows tares, or weeds, among the wheat. When the wheat begins to grow, the servants discover the weeds and run to the householder asking if they should pull up the tares. The householder explains that the servants cannot always tell the difference between the two plants and it is best to let them grow together until the time of the harvest when He will send in reapers to pull up the tares and burn them while gathering the wheat into his barn. Jesus explains that God is the householder and the wheat represents those who follow Him. The enemy is Satan and the tares are those who follow him. The harvest is the end of the world and the reapers are God's angels which will come down and judge the wicked and the righteous.

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The Widow's Mite



Christensen says that the story of the widow´s mite has long been one of his favorite moral tales. "The point here is not money," he says, "it´s what we are willing to give of ourselves." Inspired by the artist´s sold out print of the same title.

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The Widow's Mites



“Jesus…beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites… And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had…” – Mark 12:41-44

I have felt many times like the widow. In times when there is a little to spare the choice to give seems easy, but on those days when there isn’t enough to go around the decision to give seems more difficult. At those times my faith is tested and I must ask myself if I truly believe Him when He said, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” – Malachi 3:10

When I can’t seem to make ends meet and things are tight, I know that giving is still the only answer. Throughout my life when I have cast in my “mites”, regardless of my circumstance, the Lord has always kept His promise and thrown open to me and my family the windows of heaven.



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These Twelve



In this painting, Christ charges the Twelve Apostles to preaching His gospel. Each apostle is portrayed in a different pose, demeanor, and personality, highlighting their individuality. Bathed in the soft glow of evening, the painting is given a warm intimate quality, accentuating the personal relationship between Christ and His apostles.



Original: oil, 42 x 60 inches, 2000.

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This Is My Beloved Son





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This Is My Body





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This Is My Body





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