Wednesday, June 08, 2005
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire
(click on photo to view larger)
By Ramone - June 4, 10 & 7, 2005
This is the first time I've ever done a series! In a way it's a return to some of the charcoal styles of my art major days, but the fire is soft pastel covered with watercolor. I hadn't planned it as a series because originally I only saw the last picture.
Recently I wrote on my homepage about Jesus baptizing us with His Spirit (read it here). His baptism is such a wonderful thing --- so far beyond the words I used to talk about it, and so far beyond any picture I could make of it! I didn't set out to draw it and hadn't even been thinking of the subject until one night...
The Story of Picture #3
I was trying to fall asleep but some temptations began to attack and my heart was weighed down, feeling defeated. To distract myself I began thinking of how Peter curiously talked about the flood in 1st Peter 3, saying that the eight people were saved by the water. Most commentators ignore Peter and say no, they were saved by the ark, representing Jesus Christ. But look at it the other way: if the wickedness on the earth was as bad as He said (that only Noah was right in His eyes), then the waters He sent really did save them! The waters were destructive, but God's judgments are always redemptive! The earth was cleansed and the people were saved by the waters. For a time.
In the same way, Peter said that when we choose to be baptized, the pledge of our conscience puts us in God's hands and we're saved by Him. In 2nd Peter 3, Peter talked about the flood again, how it destroyed wickedness on the earth, and how the earth is reserved for a final fire that will destroy wickedness once and for all. It's like the earth has two baptisms -- one of water and one at the end of fire. Suddenly I realized that we also have two baptisms -- the first one we initiate because we're repenting and want to put ourselves in God's hands. Although we're saved because we've entrusted ourselves to Him, there is junk inside us we still can't cleanse ourselves of. So He baptizes (immerses) us His fire! We receive it before the end. For evil His fire means judgment, but for us it means cleansing and life! Just as the earth is finally cleansed forever by His fire in the end, in the same way His fire inside us is unquenchable -- see Song of Songs 8:6 -
"Love is as strong as death, its jealousy as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire, like the very flame of Yahweh!
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away."
His burning, blazing and unquenchable Spirit has been put inside of us. That night, as I thought of this, He suddenly reminded me of the temptations I'd been battling with only a few moments earlier. He reminded me that He had put His Spirit in me, He had baptized me with His Spirit, and His fire is unquenchable! I suddenly rejoiced at the words of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11-12 --
"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One who is more powerful than I... He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering His wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
His winnowing power is inside of me! I can trust His power in me, that it is unquenchable and my temptations and weaknesses will be consumed! And so the first picture I saw was this one:
I was resting in Him! All my temptations and faults seemed to surround me, but He reminded me that His unquenchable fire is in me, so I was able to rest in the midst of them because His Spirit is in me. When everything looks grey and dark inside you, don't forget He's put His fire inside you! It's wild & unquenchable, and will burn up the chaff in your life! Praise You, Lord!
The Story of Picture #1
About a week or two after that night, I thought of writing about the Spirit's baptism, and then thought of making a series of pictures, since the first picture really didn't show the baptism itself. As I was thinking of the idea of the series of three, this next picture came of Him holding His Spirit -- His Fire -- before pouring it out on us. I sketched the series on a little Muji postcard pad and then drew this picture first on June 4th.
A few days later my friend told me some joyous news: another friend had just been baptized by the Holy Spirit! We had been praying for our friend, but hadn't expected this! God is truly wonderful. Like Charles Finney, our friend had no idea that God could or would do such a thing for us. Many Christians don't understand that Jesus promised to baptize us with His Spirit. And even if we hear of it from others, sometimes we naturally have trouble believing in what we can't see (see John 14:17), and may write it off as an emotional experience or imagination. But God is real, very real, and is waiting to pour Himself into us! He wants to make His home in us!
A few days after talking with my friend, as I was thinking about how we often doubt God's supernatural reality and ability to move us, He suddenly interpreted this picture: He is holding His Spirit in His hands, waiting. He died so that He could give it to us. He wants to pour it out into us more than we want it! Thank You, Lord! We call for it! Fill us with Your Spirit!
The Story of Picture #2
I didn't have such a strong impression for the second picture; I hadn't received the image as clearly as the first and third ones. I wanted to show the pouring out, but the only impression I had in my spirit was the joyful reception of it. As I began to sketch, I honestly had no idea where I was going with it. I began to write some words thanking Jesus, and that really helped!
Somehow though I wasn't happy with it and it felt unfinished. I did some more sketching on my little Muji postcard pad and felt that the fire pouring down from above needed to be in the man's heart as well, not just pouring "above." So five days after the first version, I made a second version, adding God's hands, the fire inside, and the pouring waves in the background:
Praise God! He's so awesome! He put His fire inside my heart! When we think of the Spirit "pouring out", the image that may come to mind would be like the first version with the Spirit pouring from above. But when I was first baptized by the Spirit in October 2001, I didn't see Him pouring out the Spirit, although I knew He was there. The overwhelming realization was that He was real and outside of me, and yet He was also inside me!!
When He immerses you with His Spirit, you know beyond words that He is totally "other" and outside of you, yet He is inside you and fills you! He pours straight into Your heart and suddenly you know Him from the inside out -- not by a revelation outside but from inside! Marvelous! Hallelujah! We begin knowing You deeper as You're in us! Thank You Lord!
See also: "Guaranteed" (at Weeping Jeremiahs)
These are great! Keep it up. I recently experienced a baptism of Holy Spirit! I already have had an experience of receiving Him and the gift of tongues, but I was truly baptized again in His presence. He was being poured out in the room and was all over the floor in front of me, so I got down in it, and let the Glory wash over me. It truly healed my heart. God is good!