Guardians

Watch this “Guardian Lion” oil painting come to life

in 2 minutes (time lapse)

A guardian lion statue is meant to symbolize prosperity and protection and is usually installed on behalf of a city or a wealthy person’s home. I was inspired to paint a fantasy representation of the resin winged lion statue in Savannah, Georgia. I imagined the lion standing at the edge of a cliff, guarding the land from whatever darkness may threaten its shores.

The real Georgian shoreline isn’t lined with cliffs, but the imagery is meant to universally apply in a spiritual sense, in any way that the viewer chooses. The concept of Guardians is appealing and comforting. Don’t we wish that such a winged lion exists, who will protect us, and keep us prosperous?

Believing in a spiritual protector and a God who blesses us requires faith. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could see something tangible, maybe as obvious as a golden winged lion? And yet, sometimes, faith comes as easily as this. There are times in our lives when darkness and fear overtakes us. In that dark place we may feel absolutely certain of the presence of a spiritual guardian, of angels, divine intervention, and God. 

But when the crisis passes, we may doubt our experience. Always trust yourself and honor the certainty of the presence of divine love, protection, and blessings. Work to hold on to those moments when we have no doubts. Life feels so much easier when we believe that someone is looking out for us.

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LOL, Irishness

Today I tried a new recipe (not the peach cookies in my painting video). These also had powdered sugar on them, but I screwed that

Keeping my Cool

I felt a bit of panic, but I willed myself to keep my cool, as cool as this puffin. Today I was working on the

Do you See what I See?

After we moved to Georgia, we visited the same beach on Tybee Island several times. It became our favorite place. One day this graffiti was

Memory Lane

The current White House Christmas decorating theme was released this week, and I was reminded of the 2018 event that I was inspired to paint

Christmas Star and Curry

This art of Mary and baby Jesus features the Christmas Star, which was visible in some parts of the world the year I painted this

Be a Lion

Watch me paint this lion art in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Yesterday I posed the question “Are you a lion or a lamb?” We are meant to be both, but today let’s focus on lions. Most definitions for the word lion begin with a description of the animal, end with a reference to Leo (the constellation which I happen to have been born under) and somewhere in the middle includes phrases such as “a very brave person“, as per The Free Dictionary.

As we think of lions representing bravery, let’s establish what we must be brave about. I’d mentioned before that we must protect ourselves so that we may then protect others. Before we make a checklist, we need to define what is meant by “protection”.

  1. Health: As we humans are composed of mind, body and spirit, our physical self is important. Protection and defense seldom warrant physical battles, but is instead a reference to an ongoing struggle to create and maintain optimal health. This is made more difficult when entities are acting against our interests. Our strength and energy allows us to withstand hardships and endure long trials, to outlast an oppressive era, and make it through to better days. Therefore, we must make the protection and strengthening of our health a critical priority. Eat well, move, do things we love, be with people we love, sleep well. Refuse to comply with anything that endangers your health. Protect the rights of others.
  2. Education: Education is to the mind what nutrition is to the body. We must protect our access to information and defend against the distortion, bias, deletion, and manufacturing of the truth, as well as censorship of organic voices; and fight against powerfully financed and govern-mentally coordinated propaganda. Math doesn’t lie, but people do. Statistics must be free of manipulation, and the presentation of data must be held to the highest standards. The People must demand this.
  3. Freedom: The freedom to define our lives, values, and pursuit of happiness according to our own counsel is critical to the spirit. We must defend against all manner of persecution, and all pushes to create new forms of religion that are raised to be superior to all others through coercion. State religion is denied to exist, as it is nonetheless simultaneously installed, replacing all others. A cult of oppression is unable to co-exist with pre-existing religions and ideologies, including the right to be left alone; the choice to reject any allegiance to ideals or groups.

Lion of Judah” oil painting by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Bravery Checklist

  1. See: Be brave enough to look for answers, no matter how scary the truth may be. Seeing is the first step to defending oneself and others. We must name the problems.
  2. Hear: Be brave enough to listen to ideas and people that go against coordinated agendas.
  3. Speak: Be brave enough to voice our thoughts, opinions, concerns, fears, and hopes for the future.

Cowardice breeds more oppression. Consenting to what we know is wrong, will only embolden tyrants to demand more. Bravery is often the simple act of thinking for oneself; refusing to convert to what is being pushed. Few are called into stronger acts of profound sacrifices that define history. For most of us, we are only tasked with staying true to what we believe and refusing to comply with any acts that unlawfully persecute, oppress, or harm ourselves or others. This may simply mean avoidance of places or institutions who enforce tyrannical rules. But if we all make a commitment to stand, we outnumber the oppressors and we will win our battles. Every brave person makes a difference.

Be a lion.
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Are you wearing armor?

Watch me paint “Armor of God” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground"
- Ephesians 6

The passage goes on to describe the armor as a belt of Truth, a breastplate of Righteousness, shoes of Readiness that comes from the gospel of Peace, a shield of Faith, a helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. The passage concludes with a plea to pray all kinds of prayers and requests. So, when referring to armor, we don’t mean to protect us physically, but spiritually.

Are you wearing armor?

Here are the spiritual protection words from the above passage, as defined by The Free Dictionary. These words are worth pondering.

 

  1. Truth: “Conformity to fact or actuality”
  2. Righteousness: “In accordance with virtue or morality”
  3. Readiness: “Prepared; willingness to do something”
  4. Peace: “Quiet, calm; the absence of war”
  5. Faith: “Confident belief in the truth, value or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing”
  6. Salvation: “Preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty, or evil; redemption”
  7. Spirit: “A force or principle believed to animate living beings; The Holy Spirit; the part of a human associated with the mind, will, and feelings”

How you define these words of spiritual protection, and how you apply them to the situations in your life, will change from day to day. A good exercise is to revisit this reflection from time to time. But for now, how are you feeling today? Today is all that is guaranteed, and today is your primary concern.

Notice that all of the spiritual protections describe ways to guard your individual human self from being mislead, exploited, and steered away from what we know to be true, moral, and loyal to what we believe. It takes courage to remain strong in who we are when the powers of this dark world mock us and tear us down. But a knight has courage, does he not? He may stand alone against an army with nothing but his armor and sword.

The difference here, is that you are not alone. There are more of us humans who have empathy for each other and wish goodness and prosperity for all people, than there are those who want to control us and steal our life’s energy and labor for themselves. Those who choose to break the spirit of others, so that they may enslave us for their own enrichment are few. We are many. WE are part of your armor.

Be Strong!
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