The Arts in 2023

Beauty as Warfare

(by Belinda Johnson, 22 June 2023)

For the past 20-plus years, I have had a career in Television/Video Production. Producing, directing, and editing were my whole life. To begin with, this was by design, but eventually, it became the default. The all-consuming nature of Television Producing in the Christian sector, specifically, took its toll. I was exhausted mentally, spiritually, and physically, but, at the time, I could not comprehend how life could be different. This was the career God chose for me. It was what I was trained for. Where I had success and meaningful ministry. I thought it was where God wanted me to be, even if I was unhappy. I was stuck. 

Television Production (even Christian Television) is a volatile profession where lay-offs are guaranteed, and sacrificing your life was expected. I was laid off for the last time in 2017.
At this point, I was done. 
Broken. 
Exhausted. 
I couldn’t do it anymore, and I cried out to God. 
To which He replied, “Finally.” 

I could feel the Lord nudging me onto a new, wild, adventure, but I had no idea what that looked like. Eventually, He gave me the first step. Move to Nashville. What’s funny is that didn’t even feel hard. I had lived in Dallas/Fort Worth for over 20 years, but God gave me so much grace to leave friends and family and head to Nashville. It was clear. Simple obedience was easy in this instance. So I packed up what I could fit in my car, and with my pup as my co-pilot, drove 10 hours east. 

I knew God was saying this move was the start of, not just a new chapter, but a whole new book in my life. The first book had wrapped and now we were on to volume two of the Belinda Chronicles, a story only He could write. I am so thankful for His patience and His kindness. He is a good Father. 

I moved in with a dear friend (Tina) and her family of 7; which included 4 children still at home, 1 dog, 3 cats, 2 goats, and a flock of chickens. With this beautiful crew, I waited on God for my next steps and enjoyed life with a big family. I lived there for about a year while I rested, healed, prayed, and spent quality time with my Mom as she transitioned to her Heavenly home. 

One day, out of the blue, Tina asked me to paint her something. Now, my Mom was a beautiful artist. She painted gorgeous oil paintings and Tina had been the recipient of one of these. But I didn’t paint. I mean, at least I hadn’t painted since elementary school. 

The conversation went something like this: 

Tina: “Hey, I want you to paint me this.” (Shows me a picture of a beautiful abstract painting.) 

Me: “What are you talking about? I don’t paint.” 

Tina: “You can totally paint this. Just paint it for me.” 

Me: “What do you even mean?! I’m not a painter.” (Laughing) 

Tina: “I’ll buy the canvas, and I have the paint, just paint it! You can totally do it! We’re going out of town for a week. I’ll just get the stuff, and you can paint it while we’re gone.” 

Me: (Knowing Tina wasn’t gonna give up, I gave in. We all have that bossy friend, right?) “Ok. Fine. I’ll try. Just know I don’t know what I’m doing.” 

They went out of town, and I turned on worship music and just talked to the Lord. I laid the very large canvas on the kitchen table and wrote some words on it because I didn’t know where to start. I eventually started slopping paint on the canvas, periodically waiting for it to dry. I’d worship or watch a little TV, read, or listen to a teaching on YouTube, then come back and do another layer of color. This went on for a few days. 

When I finally finished, I was flabbergasted. It was beautiful. At least I thought it was beautiful! And it was bliss too. I’d never had so much fun creating anything. I was shocked and filled with joy and more creative energy than I had felt in years. I felt closer to God and closer to being my true self. I was in awe of what God had done through me. It was a BLAST! I thought if I could do just this for the rest of my life, it would be heaven on earth. And then I didn’t think about it again for quite a while. 

I remember Tina saying that she hadn’t seen me that full of joy in years. That stuck with me. It wasn’t just me. She saw it too. I’d been living in the beige of life, thinking that was all God had for me. I used to wonder if God created me just to work. 

I even had a pastor confirm that once, saying to me, “Sure, God could be jealous for you. He loves how much you work for Him. And think of all the lives you’re impacting through your videos. You have a nice apartment and a nice car, we pay you well, what more do you want?” Even though I knew that was a lie and not God’s character, it cut like a knife and impacted my life for years to come. 

I was comfortable with abuse. God was not. It took some years for me to feel worthy of receiving more good from Him. My confession was Truth but my heart was bruised and butchered in the name of Kingdom. But my Daddy God took me by the hand and drew me ever closer to Him as He tended to my wounds while stretching my capacity for His Love. I began to wonder, “Would God really give me a gift like this? Could I possibly get to do this art thing in ‘real life’?” 

I love how God is so patient and gentle with us, especially when we choose to walk by Faith. He loves it! He is a God of adventure and risk! What a joy to be invited into an adventure with Him. As I began to trust His gentle nudges, I just took each step He gave me, and He was faithful to do the rest. 

He expanded my dreams for an art business and the capacity to believe for it. He even gave me the name of this art business – Beautifully Belinda. Which in and of itself was a stretch for me. Belinda means beautiful but, for the majority of my life, I have felt anything but beautiful. I have struggled with self-image, body image, and self-loathing since I was very little. 

The idea that I would call my business Beautifully Belinda was hard. Let’s be honest. My self-talk said things like, “People will think that’s a stupid name. You are NOT beautiful, how can you even call it that. You know, even your name doesn’t describe YOU!” But growing louder in my heart was the words of my Heavenly Father: “I named you on purpose. You are my beautiful daughter. You create beauty. You see beauty. You remind people of My beauty.” And, well, I finally decided to listen to Him rather than the lies, and Beautifully Belinda was created. 

When I finally surrendered to Him, things began to come together. And let me clarify, the surrendering was not a one-time thing. With each step, I found more surrender required. That process will take the rest of my life, I’m sure. Less of me and more of you, Lord Jesus. 

As I continued working with the Holy Spirit through some of my limiting beliefs surrounding joy and freedom in Christ, a new struggle surfaced. During the Pandemic these thoughts arose: “Does art even matter? Are You sure this is what I should be doing, Lord? It feels meaningless like I’m not adding to the fight. Why does beauty matter? Who cares if I’m over here painting something pretty? Did I miss it? Should I go back to working 60 hours a week? Should I be spending more time in prayer? Should I be doing something more important? Making more money? I had a bad case of the “shoulds”. 

It was hard. The feelings of unworthiness were strong. The workaholic tendencies were still there. It exposed some pride in my previous job and position that I didn’t even realize was there. Who am I without this big, intense, powerful job? Yikes. After repentance, and more rest, the Lord just kept confirming He wanted me to create. That’s when He started teaching me that creating beauty is warfare

Whew, this was it. THIS is what He wanted me to know. I knew God was the ultimate Creative. I mean look at the world He created! Nature has always moved me. People and different cultures, feed my soul.

Timothy Willard in his book, Chasing Beauty states, ” You and I experience beauty through four primary categories: nature, art, the human form, and the everyday charm of life.” To experience the beauty that God has given us, we have to be willing to slow down. Have you ever been able to appreciate and take in the majesty of a forest, the intricacies of a flower, or the exquisite beauty of a Monet painting when you’re rushing about? Beauty and rest go hand in hand. 

God took me to Genesis and Ecclesiastes and talked to me about how He created with intention, detail, and color! He didn’t hold back when He created man and He didn’t hold back when He created the earth and all that is within, for us. In Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says He makes all things beautiful in His time. He spends eternity making things beautiful!

Even amid Lucifer’s mutiny and subsequent fall and his continual fight to try and make us forget who we are, beautiful flowers bloom, majestic mountains bring us to tears, and jaw-dropping sunrises more beautiful than any painting, rise every day! I mean, just take a minute to think about the sunrises and sunsets that have stopped you in your tracks and then think about how different each one is. Now, think of how many different sunrises there are around the world on any particular day! The God who created all there is, thinks it’s important enough to create beauty anew every day morning and evening in every part of the world! Every day a new beautiful sunrise for everyone! Thousands of sunrises around the globe, every day! Ha! 

I just spent two weeks in Hawaii and each morning I got up to watch the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean. And each day was different and awesomely beautiful. Each day! That’s just in Hawaii where I watched it! What about where you live? What about the sunrises in every corner of the world? Glory to God! What a priceless gift. His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) 

He then brought me to Matthew 6:28-29 where He reminded me of the lilies. Nashville grows amazing lilies so this scripture came so alive to me. He says, even Solomon (the richest man to ever live, with all his opulence and access to the most beautiful fabrics and gemstones) – even he cannot compare to the beauty of the lilies that God designed, that live a few days and then whither away. Beauty, simply for beauty’s sake. 

In wartime and peace, beauty stays. In sickness and health, beauty remains. Just as rest is warfare, our way of turning away from the devil and his schemes and turning toward God, trusting that He is good, that He has won, and that He is taking care of every detail of our story, art is warfare too

Imagine the devil’s face as a global pandemic roars, lies abound in politics, media, and medicine, and finances are stretched to the limit, and we, instead of fretting and fearing, turn our faces toward our King and draw Him a picture. As I pick up a paintbrush and partner with my Daddy God to simply create beauty, I know I war against the enemy of our souls

In the midst of darkness, beauty is light. In the midst of chaos, beauty is peace. I will not be moved by what I see or hear, but I will be moved by Him only. Not only is the one True God beautiful, but He is also Beauty itself. He does not live apart from it because He is it. 

He is not worried about me working harder or pushing myself to do more for Him. Rest is the message of the Bible. For as we rest in Him and His ability to write the best story for each of our lives AND for the world in its entirety, we take our eyes off the evil one and fix them only on Him. It communicates to the devil, “I don’t even notice you, I trust my God and King, you mean nothing to me.” And communicates to God, “I love You. I’m so rooted and grounded in You, that I just stand here and paint beauty inspired by You, knowing You will take care of the rest.” 

The battle belongs to Him, friends. We are to trust. We are to rest. We fight to live in Peace. Shalom, Shalom. Life is good because He is good. Oh, how that must irk the devil! I love it! Beauty is warfare! Art is warfare! Beauty for beauty’s sake. God is seated. He is not anxious, nor is he afraid. He sits and admires His beautiful creation. And He loves it when His children create for Him. 

I’ve heard it said that beauty gives the eyes a place to rest. Ponder that for a moment. God infused beauty/creation with the power of beauty to move us, heal us, to revive us. He gave us a world filled with countless varieties and colors of flowers and sunsets, mountains, and oceans. On top of that, He filled the world with countless humans with different gifts and unique abilities to create even more beauty! It is endless as He is endless. Endless beauty, just for the sake of beauty. 

On that same trip home to Hawaii, I was mesmerized by how many different greens there are. He must have created hundreds, even thousands, of varieties of the color green! And it was all breathtaking. What if we all slowed down enough to notice His creation? Not just in nature but in our fellow man, all created in His image. I think that’s where the “magic” lies. Meaning, the hidden secrets of our King, the hidden way of peace. As we practice noticing the beauty that surrounds us, in nature, in our brothers and sisters, in the life we create, and in the art that moves us, our eyes can rest. 

Despite what the world wants to throw at us, our magnificent Creator invites us to stop and smell the roses. Stop to soak in a beautiful painting. Wake up early to witness the sunrise. Smile at a stranger. Play with a child. Make something with your hands. Worship the Savior in freedom and truth. And every time our eyes rest on something beautiful, we are reminded, even if only subconsciously, of our beautiful Creator and His glorious creation and we can stand another day.

beautifullybelinda.com (Website)
@beautifully.belinda (Instagram)

We Need Wall Builders 

(by John A. Bulinda) 

One of the most fascinating men I have encountered in the Bible is the man by the name Nehemiah. Nehemiah is a masculine name of Hebrew origin meaning “God comforts.” The story of Nehemiah is found in the Bible under his very name, Nehemiah, in the Old Testament between Ezra and Esther

Nehemiah continues the history of the Jews who returned from exile in Babylon. He gave up his job as cupbearer to Artaxerxes, the Persian king, to be governor of Jerusalem. Nehemiah led the people in repairing the walls of Jerusalem, but the most important part of Nehemiah’s success was actually his application of PRAYER as his Key. 

We live in days when everything that we watch on our news channels, including the Television and Social Media is very discouraging and very unpleasant to comprehend. For instance, we watch people being killed by use of guns, or fatal accidents caused by reckless driving caused by use of alcohol or narcotic drugs. I believe this is loathsome even in the sight of God. 

Most if not all of our circles of influence have been very much affected by the eroded moral decay in our society in general. The definition of the word moral is “Concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behaviour.” From this definition, we can understand that moral decay is a decline in knowing the difference between right and wrong. Thus, moral decadence appears to be a fall in the moral standard of society. 

In the days of Nehemiah, the walls were a protection, but they were also an important physical symbol of the establishment of the Jews as a people. The holy city (Jerusalem) became a unifying force as families were chosen by lot to come live in it. 

“Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem. The rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten of them to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns. The people commended all who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.” (Nehemiah 11:1-2 NIV) 

In the past, fifty to seventy years, many families globally lived together as a unit where Father and Mother were seen and honored as the source of inspiration and hope for their children. The home was the place of safety and hope despite the changes of modern living that was causing many children who were not brought up in the fear of God and/or giving honor to their parents to rebel against their own parents. 

I remember during my elementary school (referred to as Primary school in my country), we the pupils respected our teachers so much that if we happened to meet while doing some wrong thing on our way to or from school, like playing games of throwing stones to each other or even fighting with one another, we would run away from the scene like nothing happened. This was because we maintained a high standard of behavior and would not want to be called on the school parade to embarrass us as children of uncouth behavior. 

Things are no longer the same today. There is so much disrespect to our teachers, elders and even our very parents and guardians, confirming that we have fallen into the trap of moral decadence. This is why we need Walls and Wall Builders as it happened with Nehemiah. 

Walls can be seen as a source of imprisonment and division. They are often referred to as things we need to break down and overcome. However, when we look at walls in the Bible, they are also seen as structures that protect, provide security, and represent a place of shelter forming a sense of belonging. 

Under the confine of a family wall, the children, their parents and community at large could share their dreams, ambitions and most importantly their challenges in life. When parents had no ready answer or solution to a problem in their family, they would call the family to gather together for Prayer and most importantly share the Word of God from the Bible, and God would bring about the solution. 

In families where the Word of God and Prayer were applied, children were more resistant to the challenges of peer pressure like boy/girl relationships that would end up in early pregnancy and/or abortion. This is a fact that can be attributed to the Word of God in Proverbs: 

“Start children off on the way they should go, 
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” 
(Proverbs 22:6 NIV) 

This of course refers to both genders. Teenage sex before marriage is propagated by many pornographic sites and links on our Internet which, because of a lack of proper walls or boundaries, leave our children very vulnerable. 

In many places today, including schools and institutions of higher learning, Prayer and reading of the Word of God has been banished. This is why the enemy has taken advantage of lack of protection causing the many vices like children carrying guns to schools to shoot, harm and even kill their fellow pupils and teachers. 

This then, calls on us all to apply Nehemiah’s strategy of Prayer and Fasting in building our walls. Nehemiah prayed and fasted to God (from then month of Kislev in Nehemiah 1:1) for four months (to the month of Nisan in Nehemiah 2:1) before petitioning the King to return to his home and reinforce Jerusalem’s city walls. Upon arrival into the city, he assessed the damage and got to work. In spite of opposition, he led his people in rebuilding the walls and succeeded. 

We cannot just sit and watch things continue getting worse. I believe, the God who stood with Nehemiah is calling His people to Comfort them, and we are God’s people and the sheep of His pasture. As men and women of God, we can pray in the midst of our trials and circumstances. We can petition God for wisdom and understanding. James, in his letter puts it like this: 

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
(James 1:2-5 ESV) 

God gave hope and strength to Nehemiah to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem and reestablish his people. Nehemiah saw a problem, and God gave him a solution, But its important to know that Nehemiah did not do it without opposition. 

Will you follow Nehemiah’s lead? Will you engage Prayer and if possible Fasting? Will you teach your family to pray? Will you model the husband or wife you want your daughter or son to marry? Will you model the father or mother you want your son or daughter to be? And when opposition comes (because it inevitably will), will you continue to PRAY and seek Wisdom? If we seek wisdom from God, He is generous to give it without reproach. 

In our modern days the LORD is calling upon Wall builders who are resilient and willing to give God no rest until He makes Jerusalem a Praise in the earth. 

“I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; 
    they will never be silent day or night. 
You who call on the Lord, 
    give yourselves no rest, 
and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem 
    and makes her the praise of the earth.” 
(Isaiah 62:6-7 NIV) 

In the Hebrew Bible, the captivity in Babylon is presented as a punishment for idolatry and disobedience to Yahweh in a similar way to the presentation of Israelite slavery in Egypt followed by deliverance. The Babylonian captivity had a number of serious effects on Judaism and Jewish culture.

While in exile, the Jews were entitled to earn a living as tradesmen or farmers, but were not allowed to be part of guilds or to own farmland. Thus, the Jews became poor and the king could no longer collect taxes from them. Many hundreds were arrested, hanged or imprisoned. 

When God noticed the people’s rebellious ways of life, He disliked the way the people were acting. Therefore, God brought exile upon the people. When the people realized why they were exiled and started to Repent, God forgave them. 

Similarly, by turning against God and adopting foreign traditions and beliefs that turn against our God, we so called Christians or believers are facing the consequences of turning away from our true God and worshiping material things that do not reflect the Power of God in our lives.

Our churches do not manifest miracles, signs or wonders and yet the LORD promised that the glory of the latter church shall be greater than the earlier church. Why? 

It is because we have forsaken our true foundation, Jesus Christ who is the chief cornerstone in our lives, since He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Thus our iniquities have separated us from our God. Jeremiah prophesied about God’s people turning against Him: 

“My people have committed two sins: 
They have forsaken me, 
    the spring of living water, 
and have dug their own cisterns, 
    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” 
(Jeremiah 2:13 NIV) 

The Prophet Isaiah attests to the same: 

“Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! 
    For the Lord has spoken: 
“I reared children and brought them up, 
    but they have rebelled against me. 
The ox knows its master, 
    the donkey its owner’s manger, 
but Israel does not know, 
    my people do not understand.” 
Woe to the sinful nation, 
    a people whose guilt is great, 
a brood of evildoers, 
    children given to corruption! 
They have forsaken the Lord; 
    they have spurned the Holy One of Israel 
    and turned their backs on him. 
Why should you be beaten anymore? 
    Why do you persist in rebellion? 
Your whole head is injured, 
    your whole heart afflicted. 
From the sole of your foot to the top of your head 
    there is no soundness— 
only wounds and welts 
    and open sores, 
not cleansed or bandaged 
    or soothed with olive oil. 
Your country is desolate, 
    your cities burned with fire; 
your fields are being stripped by foreigners 
    right before you, 
    laid waste as when overthrown by strangers. 
Daughter Zion is left 
    like a shelter in a vineyard, 
like a hut in a cucumber field, 
    like a city under siege. 
Unless the Lord Almighty 
    had left us some survivors, 
we would have become like Sodom, 
    we would have been like Gomorrah.” 
(Isaiah 1:2-9 NIV) 

We are being called to build the old wasted places and raise up the foundation of many generations. 

“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins 
    and will raise up the age-old foundations; 
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, 
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” 
(Isaiah 58:12 NIV) 

How shall we do this? We must begin by Praying and Repentance. By hewing our own cisterns, we have became fools. The apostle Paul put it succinctly: 

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” 
(Romans 1:18-25 NKJV) 

Like Nehemiah, if we offer ourselves willingly to Build the Walls, God will send His army to stand with us. I wish to conclude with Psalms 110.

“The Lord says to my lord: 
“Sit at my right hand 
    until I make your enemies 
    a footstool for your feet.” 
The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, 
    “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” 
Your troops will be willing 
    on your day of battle. 
Arrayed in holy splendor, 
    your young men will come to you 
    like dew from the morning’s womb.” 
(Psalms 110:1-3 NIV) 

God bless you all. 
John A. Bulinda 

Faith in my Daily Work as an Audiovisual Producer and Communicator 

(by Nika Alexandra) 

In a world revolutionized by communications, the offer of creative products has increased. Because of the immediacy of the Internet, the easy access to equipment, post-production software, or broadcasting platforms, and the proliferation of learning sites, I face competition every day. 

The major challenge is to make my content known and to be more creative and innovative than others, in order to ensure that someone else does not replace my work. The same applies to journalists or photographers who have to compete to be the first to obtain news or capture an image to secure better economic remuneration, more job opportunities, or simply to be recognized in their sphere by colleagues. 

On the other hand, we live in a world that proclaims that everyone owns its truth, denying the existence of an absolute truth. The worldview, the way we perceive the world, changes according to fashions or trends, influencing the moral parameters upon which our thoughts, beliefs, values, and behavior are based. We are in a world where tolerance is preached as long as your point of view is within the framework of what is politically correct

Because of the previous, as a Christian, I will often be pressured to do, say and support certain things at the expense of sacrificing my own values in order to get a job, be accepted, or not be canceled. Other times, I will have to choose between what God is guiding me to do and what I believe is the opportunity of my life. 

The questions then arise: Is my trust in God great enough to do what His Word says in any situation? Are my conviction and relationship with God strong enough to withstand the storms and say NO to proposals that go against my beliefs, regardless of the consequences? Am I aware that I can use my profession to bless my family, a group, the city, or the country? With my profession, I can honor God and change my environment

Extending the kingdom of God with your profession or talent does not necessarily mean working within the local church. It means using what you do to be a blessing to others (for example, that people know about God with evangelistic content, that they get to know his creation through the beauties of nature, that people help the needy by showing them a group in need in your country). In other words, it should not be solely a means of subsistence. 

You honor God with excellence in your work, with your integrity, punctuality, truthfulness, conviction, and behavior. Character is what makes you suitable for a position, as we learn from the example of Daniel in the Bible (Daniel chapters 1, 3, and 6). 

You also honor God with the message you bring in what you produce or help to produce. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul explains to believers the parameters by which to live the new life in Christ, ending with: 

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24 NKJV) 

Today, many people attend church on Sundays, but live a life far from God during the rest of the week. People sometimes fail to understand that in a relationship, there should be consistency between what you claim to believe and the things you do. Love derives in acts that show that love.

The apostle Paul advised the Romans: 

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2 NKJV) 

If I follow the world’s standards, my decisions will be aimed at pleasing the world. If I follow God’s standards because I have a relationship with Him, my decisions will be aimed at pleasing God for love. I am, primarily, a Christian, and based on that foundation, I am an Audiovisual Director, Documentarian, Designer, and Counselor. The Word of God is the frame within which I carry out my work. I do not participate in scenarios whose message contradicts what I find in the Bible. 

This does not mean that I refuse to work with non-believers. In my case, it means not participating in projects that promote breaking God’s laws, such as a movie glorifying a “justified” robbery or exalting a crime boss or the mafia. However, I do participate in projects that highlight values such as family, forgiveness, reconciliation, resilience, and helping others, even when they are framed in problematic contexts, but their emphasis is not to say that wrong is right. 

Another way to honor God is to be a blessing to others by using my vocation to share His word, mobilize people to missions or help the needy by showing a problem and giving possible answers according to the guidelines that the Bible gives us. 

In my case, I dedicate part of my time creating or working on productions that may not provide me with any financial remuneration, but showcase the realities of places in need and invite believers to consider whether they should serve in those places, short or long-term. As does my documentary, Shepherdless, which addresses the refugee crisis in 7 countries in Europe. That has been one of the biggest projects I have done and I did it with what I had at hand. 

One time I went to a village in Colombia that suffered a flood and I recorded what I saw. With that, I was able to inform people outside the country what was happening, and they came to help. On another occasion, I was able to help a missionary base in Amazonas by making a short documentary about the ministries they had with the indigenous people. Another time I was able to record the inauguration of a church or to participate recording a Christian theatre production. 

These activities bring me sensibility, love, and compassion for those who are suffering, and understand that each person has a different need and in my life, nothing is taken for granted. 

So I ask you, what can you do with your profession, skill, or talent to be a blessing to others? I know designers who, in addition to their work, take the initiative to design evangelistic material for their church for free, or material that teaches the dignity of work, quality customer service, and even how to transform rainwater into drinking water for vulnerable areas. I know chefs who take weeks of their vacations to cook for ministries with refugees, or who teach Spanish. Furthermore, I am sure that you have something to offer to others in order to bless them. 

We, as communicators, must bring God’s love, order, beauty, and justice in communications. We are called to live the Word of God, we are called to make decisions with God, and we are called to depend on Him. His Word should be the parameter by which our lives are governed. We are not different people when we are doing our work compared to when we are in church on Sundays. Nevertheless, we need to remember that, like Joseph (Genesis 39 and 41) or Daniel himself, sometimes, our right decisions will bring us negative consequences in this world and it is there when our faith and convictions are proven. It is when we must keep in mind the Lord, and remember: 

He has shown you, O man, what is good; 
And what does the Lord require of you 
But to do justly, 
To love mercy, 
And to walk humbly with your God? 
(Micah 6:8 NKJV) 

May our contents have values such as life, love, family, faith, compassion, truth, and integrity, and always seek to announce the coming of the Lord. 

O Zion, 
You who bring good tidings, 
Get up into the high mountain; 
O Jerusalem, 
You who bring good tidings, 
Lift up your voice with strength, 
Lift it up, be not afraid; 
Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” 
(Isaiah 40:9 NKJV)  

Repentance on Behalf of Arts and Entertainment

(by Bjorn and Lilian Schmid) 

As humans, we are each truly blessed to be given a male or a female body (Genesis 1:27) for our time here on Earth. Primarily to reproduce more eternal beings of course – as God commanded us (Genesis 1:28) – but also for the beautiful closeness, trust and pleasure that sexual intimacy between a man and a woman committed to each other for life can bring (Genesis 2:23-25). It some ways, it is the closest we can be like to God himself – the three parts of His being (the Trinity) – so closely aligned with each other and so magnificently creative. We are not made at His level – no creation is greater than the creator – but we are made in His image. 

In its various forms, pornography is an ongoing attack to pollute the purpose and intent our God-given physical sexual natures. It attempts to lure us using the three main temptations of all worldly sins (1 John 2:16) and ignores or even lies about the true purposes and consequences of sexual immorality. Thus, pornography is often posing as ‘art’ and ‘entertainment’, or even ‘education’. However, when anything is in any way deceptive and glorifies itself above the creator to those whom it was created for (Romans 1:25), it is against God’s will for our benefit and therefore in rebellion against Him. 

In the past sexual media was widely considered taboo, with either social norms or laws restricting its creation, distribution, and possession, particularly when it is deemed to be ‘pornographic’, ‘immoral’, or ‘obscene’. In recent times this has been progressively eroded (under the guise of ‘sexual revolution’ and ‘gender equality’), and combined with the vast openness and accessibility of the Internet, most societies have relaxed their guards against it and ‘given in’ to: ‘If it feels good, do it!’

Not coincidentally, this erosion has occurred together with progressive substitution of respect of God, and His laws and life principles, with the ‘glory of mankind’ and ethics whitepapers. Humankind is falling back into savagery once again: we consider ourselves not accountable to anyone greater than ourselves: ‘Power corrupts, and total power corrupts totally.’ 

Consider prayerfully the following topics and examples of what is being offered as ‘art’ and ‘entertainment’: 

  • ‘Artistic freedom’ 
  • X-rated Movies 
  • LGBT… movies and art 
  • Dionysism art 
  • Erotic comics 
  • Erotic fetish art 
  • Erotic photography 
  • Erotic pinup art 
  • ‘Golden Age of Porn’ 
  • Hentai 
  • Histories of erotic depictions 
  • I Modi 
  • Lesbian erotica 
  • Nudity in art 
  • Pornography across all media 
  • Sex in advertising 
  • Sex in film 
  • Yiff 
  • Zazel 
  • Khajuraho Group of Monuments 

Prayer

We repent Lord on pornography, anarchy, nudity, ungodly descriptions which have all infiltrated in the Arts in the past and in post-modern times. 

We take authority in Jesus name to shut all satanic portals that trying to occupy the mind of artists, trying to lure the young generation into these false fantasies and bring the work of the devil into all the spheres of Arts and Entertainment. 

We repent on all the above activities, and also people who are involved in and encourage drugs, alcohol and immoral sex activities in the spheres of Arts and Entertainment. 

Our God, we are sorry for our sins with all our hearts,
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do what is right,
We have sinned against you whom we should love above all things,
We firmly intend, with Your help, to stop all evil plans in our lives,
And in the lives of all artists and people in the entertainment business. 
Forgive us Lord and have mercy on us. 
Amen

Scripture Reflection 

(all references from the New International Version) 

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19) 

“Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25) 

“But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:21-23) 

“but because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” (Romans 2:5) 

“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit … Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:31a,32b) 

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13) 

“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”” (Acts 2:38-39) 

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