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The Valley of Decision

As the war between Israel and Hamas rages, I have the fondest memories of my time in the Holy Land when there was a semblance of peace. I join in the prayers of many that peace be restored swiftly!

The Galilean countryside is like a carelessly tossed blanket of hills and valleys. For the hiker, the view often switches abruptly from grand sweeping vistas of uninterrupted beauty to the immutability of a rocky outcrop, beyond which it is impossible to see, and around which it takes strenuous effort to navigate.

Jesus was familiar with these paths. This was His country, His playground and backyard. He walked for miles all over this landscape! I find that fascinating.

Walking these trails was my opportunity to learn about Him in unexpected ways.

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Mat 11:29

As little rocks kicked by my feet went bouncing down steep slopes, I realized that such beauty was an integral part of His earthly life.

It should not have surprised me—after all, before time began, He was! He is the Creator of everything, whether it is the farthest reaches of the Arctic, or the complexity of the marine underworld that man has yet to fully explore. And yet when I saw the springtime beauty of His boyhood environment, it took me by surprise.

As my eyes feasted on stunning views from His trail, I marveled at how appropriate this glimpse of Jesus was to me as an artist. I enjoy a sense of connection with another when we respond in the same way to beauty, whether it is viewing a work of art or something exquisite in nature. Mutual appreciation for beauty connects us intimately. Why else would Pinterest be so popular?

On my way to Capernaum, seeing banks of wildflowers adrift against a golden backdrop of grasses, I sensed that surely He must have enjoyed it as much as I did! It was impossible to be unmoved. He, who gave us our appreciation for beauty, was intimately acquainted with it during His life upon this earth. Somehow stumbling on that fact surprised and thrilled me!

Valleys and hills are mentioned throughout the Bible. Strategic battles were fought using the advantage of both the hills and valleys. Once God, when challenged, referred to Himself as the God of both "the hills and the valleys."

This is what the LORD says: ‘Because the Arameans think the LORD is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the LORD.' 1Ki 20:28 ...

But of all the references in the Bible to hills and valleys, the Valley of Decision is the most terrifying, especially in a world where there is now an absence of terror for the One whom we must revere the most—God Almighty!


"Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision." Joe 3:14


The day of the Lord will surely come as prophesied as a day of judgment. To discuss all of its implications is not my intent. Instead, I am drawn to the multitudes that are today in a metaphorical Valley of Decision.

Choices people make each day either draws them towards God, or away from Him. Each precious life dwelling in the Valley of Decision is offered numerous opportunities to turn to Him. Such is His mercy and grace! Those divine moments are not always apparent, masquerading as the ordinary circumstances of modern life or in the witness of people like you and me.

We, who have enjoyed the goodness of God also understand His mercy. The Bible teaches us reverential awe of His justice. We are witnesses, presenting our lives as a colorful testimony to His ways. If we are not powerfully effective and compelling as witnesses, then we ought to be.

That is our mandate from God.

Being the sort of witnesses that God expects is not impossible or complicated. All He asks of us is to draw close and reflect Him in our daily lives. Closeness prompts us to adjust our ways to be pleasing to Him. Then His blessing becomes the backdrop for His goodness. We complicate matters when we try to make it any more challenging than that.

" Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake." Psalm 115:1

As Christian artists, our tools are to be reflective instruments lifting the sights of those viewing the work, not to us, or even to the beauty of the art, but to Him who is truly worthy of praise. Becoming excellent for that specific purpose is neither effortless nor dull.

What more thrilling occupation is there? Pursuing beauty that reflects His excellence!

And conversely, what greater danger is there than to create art that is empty of Him, or art that draws attention to us!

We were created for such a time as this—to prompt those in the Valley of Decision to make the climb to higher ground to enjoy the love, favor and mercy of a wonderfully good God. It is a climb away from the darkness of a lost and dying world. It is a climb that is not only necessary, but more than worth it.


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