I always thank God for my talent and ask that He show me how I can use His gift to spread the gospel. One night while sleeping it just popped into my head, God was speaking to me. “ Share MY word with your paintings”.
God uses sheep throughout the Bible symbolically as His people. A sheep lives a humble and simple life and this gives us a better understanding of how we can find joy in our life through Jesus Christ. Christians find guidance, protection, and comfort in Jesus. Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed to save us from sin and to give us eternal life with God.
So, my inspiration came to paint a series of sheep and to title each according to a bible verse. When all of this came about I was studying Jeremiah and Israel's Return Home. Thus came my first painting.
Jeremiah 31 The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel, and they will be my people. 2 In the desert I showed mercy to those people who had escaped death. When the people of Israel longed for rest, 3 I appeared to them[a] from far away. People of Israel, I have always loved you, so I continue to show you my constant love. 4 Once again I will rebuild you. Once again you will take up your tambourines and dance joyfully. 5 Once again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria, and those who plant them will eat what the vineyards produce. 6 Yes, the time is coming when sentries will call out on the hills of Ephraim, ‘Let's go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’”
7 The Lord says,
“Sing with joy for Israel,
the greatest of the nations.
Sing your song of praise,
‘The Lord has saved his[b] people;
he has rescued all who are left.’
8 I will bring them from the north
and gather them from the ends of the earth.
The blind and the lame will come with them,
pregnant women and those about to give birth.
They will come back a great nation.
9 My people will return weeping,
praying as I lead them back.
I will guide them to streams of water,
on a smooth road where they will not stumble.
I am like a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my oldest son.”
10 The Lord says,
“Nations, listen to me
and proclaim my words on the far-off shores.
I scattered my people, but I will gather them
and guard them as a shepherd guards his flock.
11 I have set Israel's people free
and have saved them from a mighty nation.
12 They will come and sing for joy on Mount Zion
and be delighted with my gifts—
gifts of grain and wine and olive oil,
gifts of sheep and cattle.
They will be like a well-watered garden;
they will have everything they need.
13 Then the young women will dance and be happy,
and men, young and old, will rejoice.
I will comfort them and turn their mourning into joy,
their sorrow into gladness.
14 I will fill the priests with the richest food
and satisfy all the needs of my people.
I, the Lord, have spoken.”
“The Sheep of My Pasture”
You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.'"
“I know My Sheep”
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--
“They Follow Me”
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
“I am the Gate”
John 10: 7 -10
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
In biblical times a shepherd not only knows his sheep, he spends all day and night with the sheep, caring for them, leading them, protecting them and providing them with food & water. Jesus proclaims to be our shepherd and the gate to salvation.
“He Will Keep Me Safe In His Dwelling”
Psalm 27:5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
“Beside The Still Waters”
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Still waters flow slowly and are calm, providing a feeling of peace and joy. Our shepherd, Jesus Christ wants to walk with us, providing a security, a calmness in our lives. If only we will drink from his fountain, the Living Water we will never thirst again, for this everlasting water will nourish us, giving satisfaction and comfort.
"Feed My Lambs"
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Jesus knows that as a lamb, we are immature and weak. We will need to be continually feed by His word and taken care of as we grow spiritually into mature sheep.
This concludes my sheep paintings for now. I will return to them as God speaks to me. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed painting them. All my inspiration came from my dear friend Tammy from Sweck Farms of the Virginia Mountains.
Each painting is 20 x 16 and for sale. You can contact me for more information.