Power in Small Things – Isaiah 55:10-11

Seeking His Presence: 30 Devotions Featuring the Timeless Art of Warner Sallman, is available at Warner Press and on Amazon.com.

My second book was released in September 2022 but since I’d taken a break from my writing I failed to make a big to-do about it.

Seeking His Presence: 30 Devotions Featuring the Timeless Art of Warner Sallman makes an excellent gift book with its historic art that will be familiar to people from many denominations. His Head of Christ, the artist’s most well-known work (*see publisher’s note below), hung in my family’s home through most of my childhood, reminding me daily that Jesus is with me.

My contribution to the book is related to Mr. Sallman’s rendition of the morning of the resurrection. In it I explore the depths of the women’s grief as they approach the tomb to care for their dead rabbi’s body moments before their mind-boggling encounter.

If you’d like more book release hoopla you can watch my publishing announcement video on my Facebook Writer page. It will also be pinned for a time to the top of the feed on my personal profile.

My first assignment as a devotional writer involved creating an uplifting scriptural meditation in 150 words or less (Thankfully, in Seeking His Presence I was given a higher word count). I soon lost track of the thousands of words I cut during the process, much like I did as I attacked the weeds in our flower bed last spring, my head down and arms flailing.

This before photo shows weeds that were higher than my head.

If you read my last post , where I mentioned my intent to try managing pain by strengthening my back, you might remember how wimpy my early attempts were. Sitting on a low stool to turn the soil and pull the weeds, I could only clear a small patch of ground inches at a time before requiring a break. A small beginning indeed.

I kept at it, however, and soon found myself able to increase my workload. That meant other tasks had to be laid aside, including my writing, which explains why I neglected to announce the release of Seeking His Presence and to fulfill my self-challenge to post daily updates about my progress. Isn’t it true that in all work there’s the need to let some things go? In our work yes, but not in God’s.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV
This after photo shows a row of healthy tomato plants, space for the next planting, and no weeds.

A trowel is pushed into the earth and a garden is born, or a pinch of seeds is sprinkled and sprouts lift their heads. Dirt gets pressed down over the tubers and blooms appear. That’s idealist talk, I know, but even when life doesn’t always happen in my garden as I hope, the time and effort I invest works wonders in me.

What God speaks always brings the outcome he expects. How delightful that he enables me to share his words with others and often allows me to see fruit from it.

*Quote from the publisher of Seeking His Presence, taken from its Amazon listing: Artist Warner Sallman’s Head of Christ is likely the most widely recognized image of Jesus in the world, reproduced hundreds of millions of times in various forms all over the globe. It has brought comfort in war zones, on death beds, and in everyday trials. Art has great power, and Sallman’s art speaks to us in a language only our souls can comprehend. For the first time, thirty of Sallman’s best loved works―from Christ at Heart’s Door and Head of Christ to The Lord is My Shepherd and Christ, Our Pilot―are paired with meaningful devotions that speak to the message behind each painting.