revised version of “Bouncer”
We should be discriminating about which words we allow through the door of our lips.
King James Version
‘Bouncer’ is a cartoon I have long thought needed a revision. I like the idea of the guard keeping “watch over the door of my lips” being like a bouncer at an exclusive night club. He has to be very discriminating: desirable guests are allowed in, undesirables are banned. I thought it depicted how we should be with words. My original cartoon showed a well dressed lady being admitted to the “Club Lips”, and a vagrant being denied. The idea was that these people represented words, but I’m not sure that idea was conveyed very well. At least one person wrote to complain that I was making fun of homeless people, which was not my intent. Also, I thought it might be inferred that the vagrant represented specifically profanity, which was also not my intent.
The revised cartoon replaces the lady and the vagrant, who were to represent words, with actual words, or drawings of words, complete with faces. This is much sillier, which I like. But also, I hope, does a better job of conveying the message.
original version of “Bouncer”
Revisiting this cartoon also made me wonder who, exactly, is the bouncer? In the verse, the person asks the Lord to set a guard over his lips. Who is the guard? In James 3:8 it is stated that no one can tame the tongue. We can’t do it on our own. We need someone to help us. That someone, I believe, is the Holy Spirit. He is there, with us, and in us. He can help us choose our words more carefully.
I made revisions to two of my cartoons recently. The first revision was to a cartoon titled Shine the Light. It depicts a pest control man shining a light labeled Truth into a woman’s attic and revealing some nasty rats that are living there. The rats are labeled Sin and Evil Habits. The man warns the woman that if she doesn’t get rid of the rats, they will eventually destroy her home. The Bible verse I put with this was Ephesians 5:11-13: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. -KJV. In the original version of the cartoon, the pest control man was not labeled, and I think I had in mind that Christians should be reproving the world of sin. But in John 16:8, Jesus is referring to the Holy Spirit when He says: And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:. I think I see now that Paul is talking about Christians getting themselves cleaned up, and getting rid of any unfruitful works of darkness, with the help of the Holy Spirit. My revision was simply to add the label Holy Spirit to the pest control man’s hat. This cartoon reminds me of the old song Searchlight by Nancy Honeytree. Some of the lyrics are: Searchlight, shine your beam on me, when I’m not what I seem to be, When darkness creeps in, shine your light on my sin.
The second revision involved my redrawing part of the cartoon. It was the cartoon titled Scarecrow, which depicts a scarecrow in a cornfield trying to scare away two crows. The scarecrow represents Satan, and he is stuffed with straw, which represents Satan’s lies. The cornfield represents the blessing of the Lord, and the two crows represented the church, the children of God. The idea is that Satan is trying to scare the believers out of receiving God’s blessings, but he can only use lies, which are as insubstantial as straw. The crows responded to the scarecrow by telling him that the cornfield belongs to their father, and that they had a right to be there.
The original “Scarecrow” cartoon
I think it was a good idea, but it was only half-baked. I looked at it again recently and suddenly realized that something was amiss, and it was this: crows do not have the right to be in a cornfield, unless we are to think that a crow, their father, planted the field. Being a cartoon with talking crows, I guess that could be possible. But I thought the cartoon would make much more sense if the scarecrow was trying to scare actual human children out of the cornfield, since the farmer who planted the field is much more likely to be human. I really don’t know what I was thinking with the crows, or why it took me so long to recognize my mistake. By replacing the crows with children, I think the cartoon more fully illustrates the idea that the children of God do have a place in their Father’s field of blessing, it is there for them, and they should not allow the devil to talk them out of it. I’m thankful that I publish my cartoons on a website, which allows me to revise any goofs that I’ve made.
The revised “Scarecrow” cartoon
I was recently making an Indonesian language translation of the “Made to Fly” cartoon, and decided that while I was at it, I would re-do the drawing. I was never quite satisfied with the original drawing. I just thought it looked a little rough. So, I re-drew it using the computer to create clean, smooth lines. I didn’t make any changes to the cartoon other than cleaning it up a bit.
This is a cartoon that was inspired by a request from a reader. They were having a women’s conference at her church, and she wanted to know if I could come up with a cartoon for their theme, which was Ephesians 2:10. Thank the Lord, I was able to help her out with this cartoon. Only, as I was in the process of making the cartoon, I forgot that it was for a women’s conference and I made the character a man. Oh well, maybe the airplane is female.
The original “Made to Fly” cartoon
The revised “Made to Fly” cartoon
I recently revised another of my older cartoons. The cartoon was originally titled “Endurance”. It was first published on the Joyful ‘toons website in 2007, though it is older than that, dating back to the 1990s. I remember the idea was sparked by a message given by a visiting minister at my church. One of the subjects he talked about was endurance, and afterward I thought about how a camel was a picture of endurance. A camel can survive the harsh, hot, dry environment of the desert because it has water stored in it’s hump. I thought of the water as the Word of God, which we should store in our hearts, and which will allow us to endure the hardships of life.
The original cartoon
Usually, the idea for a cartoon comes from my reading, hearing, and thinking about a particular passage of scripture. For this cartoon, I had the idea, but didn’t have any Bible verse in mind. I eventually used James 5:11, which talks about the perseverance of Job, but I wasn’t completely certain it was the best choice. I went ahead and published the cartoon using that verse, and then I didn’t think much about it, until recently, when I was working on a Spanish translation of the cartoon. I decided to re-do the lettering and make the camel and riders a little larger in the picture. While I was at it, I thought I would see if I could find a better verse to go with it. With the help of BibleGateway.com, I believe the Lord lead me to a verse that is a better match for the picture: Romans 15:4.
This verse talks about how the scriptures can teach us, and give us endurance, encouragement, and hope. It seemed to me the verse really went well with the cartoon I had drawn. I hope the cartoon will be an inspiration to those who are in the midst of their own, personal deserts. And if you’re not there, you probably will be at some point. When we find ourselves in a time of trouble, we know we can endure the trials, if we have taken the time to store the Word of God in our hearts. We can find the encouragement and hope that will get us through them, when we turn to the scriptures.
The revised cartoon
My cartoon titled “Peace Rock” has been on the website since August of 2007, but it is older than that. It is one of the cartoons that were hidden under the bed in our guest bedroom. It is taken from John 16:33. Jesus is speaking to His disciples and says: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (NIV). That’s a wonderful verse to remember as we go through these troubled times. My cartoon depicts a distraught looking man in a little boat that has sprung a leak. The boat is labeled “worry” and is adrift in a raging sea labeled “trouble”. Next to the boat is a big rock labeled “peace”. The waves are tossing the boat around, but has no effect on the rock. Another man, standing on the rock, calls out to the man in the boat, inviting him to “…abandon that leaky ol’ boat and climb up on this rock”.
At times I would come across this cartoon and think that it wasn’t quite right, somehow. Maybe it was a little too vague. Yes, we as Christians can have peace in the midst of this troubled world, but how? In the verse Jesus says in me you may have peace and I have overcome the world. If we remain in Jesus we may have peace, because he has overcome the world. So, I began to think that the cartoon might have a greater impact if the rock were labeled “Jesus”, instead of “peace”. Like the rock in the cartoon, the waves of trouble in this world do not move Jesus, nor will they move us if we keep our faith in Him. But, if we get out of faith in Him, and into fear and worry, then we are like the guy in the leaky boat. So today I went ahead and made the revision, and I think the cartoon is much improved. It is now clearly focused on Jesus, as it should be. I also tried to give the rock a more “rocky” texture. I’m not sure, but I think it looks OK.