A Gust Of Wind

John Singer Sargent
1856-1925
painter, draftsman, sculptor, portraitist, muralist, watercolorist and guitarist
A Gust of Wind
156.5 x 96.8 cms | 61 1/2 x 38 ins
Oil on canvas

“So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.” – John 3:7-8 The Message (MSG)

After reading the apostle Paul’s conversion, I thought it might be appropriate to talk about my own converting experience, though it it is difficult to encapsulate, so to speak. However, I can point to a few various factors.

My first contact with anything Christian occurred at the age of three. My mother had an extra large, family Bible. I could go by it a thousand times and see the opened picture of Christ on the cross. I believed the Lord loved me and that I could do anything the Lord wanted me to do. I assumed I knew what Christ was all about. I put confidence in my flesh. I felt safe. Everything was fine. We had a an open Bible in the house! I was drifting along disillusioned.

Being a Christian takes great persistence and maturity. I must have something to say to him – of my current life – every day, in prayer. Heaven is the place we aim to go, and it will take great character to walk on streets of gold, The best I can imagine about heaven is to size up. Grapes to the size of grapefruit.

My first contact with anything Christian occurred at the age of three when my mother painted a wooden chair solid black, and then, in white paint, she wrote the words to some of her favorite Psalms. She made Christ manifest to me through her creative energy. I regret that I gave too much of her away.

While writing this letter, my pop called me from the hospital in Tennessee today. He said, “You’re not going to believe this.”

I laughed, “Probably not.”

“I got saved last night,” he cried, “by my son’s pastor.”

“Miracles do happen, and there is a God in heaven. I knew you believed in God, but I never, in two million miles , thought you would admit He was not you. I gave up on you when I left home, but God did not.”

I was so surprised. This is the best ending to any story, and to the power of the Holy Spirit. I had no idea where the Sprit was going next.

“It is truly awful to admit, glass in hand, we have warped our minds into such an obsession for destructive drinking that only an act of Providence can remove it from us.” – Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p.21
~ Stacy

January 5 ~ Revelation

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
1834-1903
Aesthetic painter, printmaker and etcher
Portrait of Whistler with Hat
46.3 x 38.1 cms | 18 x 15 ins
Oil on canvas
Freer Gallery of Art
Washington | United States

•A New Year’s Letter From John, 2019•
“The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.  Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

I attended two sermons and an adult Sabbath school class by Dr. Jon Paulien today in Calhoun, GA. I am a front of the class kind of girl, and I expected a crash course in the core book of the Bible, Revelation. But it was more like a DIY (Do It Yourself) encouragement with carefully crafted cartoons. I scarecely scratched three pages of notes. Everything I heard, like don’t miss the story, God meets people where they are, hermeneutics, invitation, keep coming back, and God is in control, indicated to me that I should proceed with more than a general reading of Revelation.
~ Stacy

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January 4 ~ Paul Sails For Rome

John Singer Sargent | 1856-1925 | painter, draftsman, sculptor, portraitist, muralist, watercolorist and guitarist | Boat with The Golden Sail, San Vigilio | 55.9 x 71.1 cms | 22 x 28 ins | Oil on canvas

•Paul Sails for Rome•
Background @ Acts 23:11 (Jesus’ promise that Paul would testify of Him in Roma)
@ Acts 25:23-27 and 26:1-32 (Paul speaks to Agrippa)
@ Acts 27:1
And Agrippa said to Festus, “He could have been set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar.” When the time came, we set sail for Italy, Paul and several other prisoners were placed in the custody of a Roman officer named Julius, a captain of the Imperial regiment.
Story @ Acts 27:1-12
Painting – Boat with The Golden Sail, San Vigilio | John Singer Sargent

•The Storm at Sea•
Background @ Acts 27:1-12 (Paul sails for Rome)
@ Acts 27:13-15
When a light wind began blowing from the south, the sailors thought they could make it. So they pulled up anchor and sailed close to the shore of Crete. But the weather changed abruptly, and a wind of typhoon strength (called a “northeaster”) burst across the island and blew us out to sea. The sailors couldn’t turn the ship into the wind, so they gave up and let it run before the gale.
Story @ Acts 27:13-26

•The Shipwreck•
Background @ Acts 27:1-12 (Paul sails for Rome)
@ Acts 27:13-26 (the storm at sea)
@ Acts 27:27
About midnight on the fourteenth night of the storm, as we were being driven across the sea of Adria, the sailors sensed land was near.
Story @ Acts 27:27-44

John Singer Sargent 1856-1925 painter, draftsman, sculptor, portraitist, muralist, watercolorist and guitarist Robert Louis Stevenson 50.8 x 61.6 cms | 20 x 24 1/4 ins Oil on canvas The Taft Museum Cincinnati | United States

•Paul on the Island of Malta•
Background @ Acts 27:1-12 (Paul sails for Rome)
@ Acts 27:13-26 (the storm at sea)
@ Acts 27:27-44 (the shipwreck)
@ Acts 28:1-2
Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. The people of the islands were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us.
Story @ Acts 28:1-10
Painting – Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island as Publius, chief of Malta Island | John Singer Sargent

•Paul Arrives at Rome•
Background @ Acts 28:1-10 (Paul on the island of Malta)
@ Acts 28:11
When the time came to sail, people supplied us with everything we would need for the trip. It was three months after the shipwreck that we set sail on another ship that had wintered at the island – an Alexandrian ship with the twin gods as its figurehead.
Story @ Acts 28:11-16

John Singer Sargent | 1856-1925 | painter, draftsman, sculptor, portraitist, muralist, watercolorist and guitarist Church of St. Stae, Venice | Oil on canvas

•Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard•
Background @ Acts 27:1-12 (Paul sails for Rome)
@ Acts 27:13-26 (the storm at sea)
@ Acts 27:27-44 (the shipwreck)
@ Acts 28:11-16 (Paul on the island of Malta)
@ Acts 28:17a
Three days after Paul’s arrival, he called together the local Jewish leaders…For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.
Story @ Acts 28:17-31
Painting – Church of St. Stae, Venice  | John Singer Sargent
~ §tacy §weeney

January 3 ~ Confinement in Caesarea

• Confinement in Caesarea•
Background @ Acts 23:12-22 (the plan to kill Paul)
@ Acts 23:23-25
Then the commander called two of his officers and ordered, “Get 200 soldiers ready to leave for Caesarea at nine o’clock tonight. Also take 200 spearman and 70 mounted troops. Provide horses for Paul to ride, and get him safely to Governor Felix. Then he wrote this letter to the governor:
Note – Paul’s transfer began a two year imprisonment in the official residence of the Roman governor.
Story @ Acts 23:23-35

John Singer Sargent
1856-1925
painter, draftsman, sculptor, portraitist, muralist, watercolorist and guitarist
Antonio Mancini
66.7 x 50.2 cms | 26 1/4 x 19 3/4 ins
Oil on canvas
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna
Roma | Italy

•Paul Appears Before Felix•
Background @ Acts 23:23-35 (Paul’s confinement in Caesarea)
@ Acts 24:1
Five days later, Ananias, the high priest, arrived with some of the Jewish elders and the lawyers tertulias, to present their case against Paul to the governor.
Note: Under Felix, the Jews had NOT enjoyed a long period of peace.
Story @ Acts 24:1-27
Painting – Portrait of  Antonio Mancini, a Roman born artist, as Felix, the Roman governor of Judea | John Singer Sargent

Rembrandt 1606-1669 painter, teacher, draftsman, printmaker and etcher Portrait of the Artist at His Easel 111 x 90 cms | 43 1/2 x 35 1/4 ins Oil on canvas Musee du Louvre Paris | France

•Paul Appears Before Festus •
Background @ Acts 23:23-35 (Paul’s confinement in Caesarea)
@ Acts 24:1-27 (Paul appears before Felix)
@ Acts 25:1-2
After 2 years went by in this way, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And because Felix wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, he left Paul in prison. Three days after Festus arrived in Caesarea to take over his new responsibilities, he left for Jerusalem, where the leading priest and the other Jewish leaders met with him in make their accusations against Paul.
Story @ Acts 25:1-22
Painting – Portrait of the Artist at His Easel as Festus, the Roman governor of Judea | Rembrandt

Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velazquez 1599-1660 painter Self Portrait 45.5 x 38 cms | 17 3/4 x 14 3/4 ins Oil on canvas Museo Provincial València | Spain

•Paul’s Autobiographical Report to King Agrippa•
Background @ Acts 23:23-35 (Paul’s confinement in Caesarea)
@ Acts 24:1-27 (Paul appears before Felix)
@ Acts 25:1-22 (Paul appears before Festus)
@ Acts 25:23
“I’d like to hear the man myself,” Agrippa said. And Festus replied, “You will – tomorrow!” So the next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived at the auditorium with great pomp, accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city. Festus ordered that Paul be brought in.
Story @ Acts 25:23-27 and 26:1-32
Agrippa II:“Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?” (Acts 26:28)
Paul:“Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am – except for these chains.”(Acts 26:29)
Painting – Self Portrait of Velazquez as King Agrippa | Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velazquez
~ §tacy §weeney

January 2 ~ Journey to Jerusalem

Jean-Leon Gerome | c.1824-c.1904 | Orientalist painter, draftsman and sculptor | Consummatum est Jerusalem (Jerusalem: It is finished) | 63.5 x 98 cms | 25 x 38 1/2 ins | Oil on canvas | Musee d’Orsay Paris | France

•Journey to Jerusalem•
Background @ Acts 21:1-14 (en route to Jerusalem)
@ Acts 21:15
After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem.
Story @ Acts 21:15-25
Painting – Consummatum est Jerusalem | Jean-Leon Gerome

•Paul is Arrested•
Background @ Acts 21:15-25 (en route to Jerusalem)
@ Acts 21:15-25 (Paul arrives in Jerusalem)
@ Acts 21:26
So Paul went to the temple the next day with the other men. They had already started the purification ritual, so he publicly announced the date when their vows would end and sacrifices would be offered for each of them.
Note: men’s vow or the 7 day purification ritual @ Numbers 19:11-13
Note: Paul ended up in Roman Custody for almost five years, including his sea journey to Rome.
Story @ Acts 21:26-36

John Singer Sargent
1856-1925
painter, draftsman, sculptor, portraitist, muralist, watercolorist and guitarist
Alberto Falchetti
74.9 x 54.6 cms | 29 1/2 x 21 1/2 ins
Oil on canvas

•Paul’s Conversion Story•
Background @ Acts 9:1-19a (the conversion of Paul)
@ Acts 21:15-25 (en route to Jerusalem)
@ Acts 21:15-25 (Paul arrives in Jerusalem)
@ Acts 21:26-36 (Paul is arrested)
@ Acts 21:37a
As Paul was about to be taken inside, he said to the commander, “May I have a word with you?”
Story @ Acts 21:37-40 and 22:1-23
Painting – Alberto Falchetti, an Italian artist, as Claudius Lysias, the Roman commander

•Paul Reveals his Roman Citizenship•
Background @ Acts 21:15-25 (en route to Jerusalem)
@ Acts 21:15-25 (Paul arrives in Jerusalem)
@ Acts 21:26-36 (Paul is arrested)
@ Acts 21:37-40 and 22:1-23 (Paul’s conversion story)
@ Acts 22:24
The commander brought Paul inside and ordered him lashed with whips to make him confess his crime. He wanted to find out why the crowd had become so furious.
Story @ Acts 22:24-29

•Paul Before the High Council•
Background @ Acts 21:15-25 (en route to Jerusalem)
@ Acts 21:15-25 (Paul arrives in Jerusalem)
@ Acts 21:26-36 (Paul is arrested)
@ Acts 21:37-40 and 22:1-23 (Paul’s conversion story)
@ Acts 22:24-29 (Paul reveals his Roman citizenship)
@ Acts 22:30
The next day the commander ordered the leading priest into session with the Jewish high council. He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so he released Paul to have him stand before them.
Story @ Acts 22:30 and 23:1-11

John Singer Sargent |1856-1925 | painter, draftsman, sculptor, portraitist, muralist, watercolorist and guitarist General Officers of World War I Oil on canvas

•The Plan to Kill Paul•
Background @ Acts 21:15-25 (en route to Jerusalem)
@ Acts 21:15-25 (Paul arrives in Jerusalem)
@ Acts 21:26-36 (Paul is arrested)
@ Acts 21:37-40 and 22:1-23 (Paul’s conversion story)
@ Acts 22:24-29 (Paul reveals his Roman citizenship)
@ Acts 22:30 and 23:1-11 (Paul before the high council)
@ Acts 23:12-13
The next morning a group of Jews got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than 40 of them in the conspiracy.
Story @ Acts 23:12-22
Painting – General Officers of World War I  | John Singer Sargent

~ §tacy §weeney

January 1 ~ Paul’s Third Missionary Journey

John Singer Sargent
1856-1925
American painter, draftsman, sculptor, portraitist, muralist, watercolorist and guitarist
Rehearsal of the Pas de Loup Orchestra at the Cirque d’Hiver
1878
Oil on canvas
Credit: WebShots – John Singer Sargent

•Paul’s Third Missionary Journey•
BK @ Acts chapters 13, 14, and 15 (1st missionary journey)
@ Acts chapters 16, 17, and 18 (2nd missionary journey)
@ Acts 19:1b-2a
Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus (the focal point of his journey), on the coast, where he found several believers. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.
Note: see parallel story, “Saul Visits Witch at En-Dor” by Stacy Sweeeney
Story @ Acts 19:1-20
Painting – Rehearsal of the Pas de Loup Orchestra at the Cirque d’Hiver as the lecture hall of Tyrannus | John Singer Sargent

1 CORINTHIANS
Paul wrote 1 Corinthians toward the end of his stay in Ephesus, about AD 53. After writing 1 Corinthians from Ephesus, Paul was compelled to visit Corinth (in Achaia) before going to Jerusalem and Rome.

•A Riot in Ephesus•
Background @ Acts 19:1-20 (Paul’s third missionary journey)
@ Acts 19:20-21
So the message about the Lord spread widely, throughout the province of Asia, and had a powerful effect. Afterward Paul felt compelled by the Spirit to go over to Macedonia and Achaia before going to Jerusalem. “And after that,” he said, “I must go on to Rome!”
Note – The Temple of Artemis, reckoned as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was located in Ephesus.
Story @ Acts 19:21-41
Painting – Demetrius, a silversmith

•Paul Goes to Macedonia and Greece•
Background @ Acts 19:1-20 (Paul’s third missionary journey)
@ Acts 19:21-41 (a riot in Ephesus)
@ Acts 20:1-2a
When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia. While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through.
Story @ Acts 20:1-6

ROMANS
Paul wrote Romans from Corinth, toward the end of his third missionary journey, AD 54.

2 CORINTHIANS
Paul wrote 2 Corinthians from Macedonia, sometime after sending 1 Corinthians from Ephesus. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians in response to news Titus brought him of the church in Corinth and to further his collection for the poor in Jerusalem.

•Paul’s Final Visit to Troas•
Background @ Acts 19:1-20 (Paul’s third missionary journey)
@ Acts 20:1-6 (Paul goes to Macedonia and Greece)
@ Acts 20:7
After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Phillipi in Macedonia and 5 days later joined them (several men traveling with Paul) in Troas, where we stayed a week. On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps.
Story @ Acts 20:7-12
Painting- Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, as many flickering lamps or fireworks on New Year’s Day | James Abbott McNeill Whistler

James Abbott McNeill Whistler
1834-1903
American Aesthetic painter, printmaker and etcher
Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket
1875
60.3 x 46.6 cms | 23 1/2 x 18 1/4 ins
Oil on canvas
Detroit Institute of Art
Detroit | United States

•Paul Meets with the Ephesian Elders•
Background @ Acts 19:1-20 (Paul’s third missionary journey)
@ Acts 20:13-17
@ Acts 20:18-21 (Paul’s accountability report of the years spent in Ephesus)
Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus. Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the Province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him.
Note: To follow you, I need a map!
Story @ Acts 20:13-38
Painting – A Map of the Valdichiana | Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci
c.1452-c.1519
painter, sculptor, architect, author, engineer, inventor, lutanist, mathematician and scientist
A map of the Valdichiana
33.8 x 48.8 cms | 13 1/4 x 19 ins
Pen and ink, watercolour and bodycolour over black chalk
The Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

John Singer Sargent | 1856-1925 | American painter, draftsman, sculptor, portraitist, muralist, watercolorist and guitarist | Lord Ribblesdale | 1902 | 258.4 x 143.5 cms | 101 3/4 x 56 1/4 ins | Oil on canvas | National Portrait Gallery London | United Kingdom

•en Route to Jerusalem•
Background – @ Acts 11:27-30 (Agabus introduced in the famine episode
@ Acts 21:1-6
After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo.
Story @ Acts 21:1-14
Note: Agabus was a prophet from Jerusalem who acted out a vivid illustration of what would happen to Paul when he arrived in Jerusalem
Painting – Portrait of Lord Ribblesdale as Agabus, the prophet | John Singer Sargent

~ §tacy §weeney