Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Oct. 9, '05
By Ramone - November 27, 2005
On October 9th, 2005, my friend & spiritual brother and I took a walk together in a place that God has laid on my heart. I knew where I was going, and I knew it might be dangerous. But I felt the calling of "the road of compassion" (as Pastor Bill Wilson calls it). I had to go and I wanted to, even though it might be dangerous. As I was getting ready to go, the reality of the place & possible danger began to sink in. Knowing that my life might be lost that day or someday in the future... I suddenly needed to be on my knees before God. I spent a long time in worship and prayer, and had this picture. It's me, stepping out onto an old suspended bridge (because it's not a new path). My arms are back, because really you just kind of fall into God and trust Him. I didn't know what color to make the figure, but this is what I want: I want to be filled with the Spirit and moving only where He goes, following the burning compassion of His heart.
I'm praying that God brings His love to that place and to the people there. Please take this moment to pray for all the people there ... and for the wonderful thing that God is going to do there with them someday. Thanks so much.
On Each Side of the River...
...stood the tree of life!
By Ramone - November 27, 2005
I first sketched this back on June 17th. I was listening to Robin Mark's new "Revival in Belfast II" album and that great Irish jig at the beginning. I opened up the Bible and read Revelation 22 and wondered at how the Tree of Life could be standing on both sides of the river. This picture was the answer! Ha!!
It's just funny to me. And it's totally the way I saw it: Jesus with this big cheesey grin, standing on both sides of the river of the water of life!
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations... Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing." (Revelation 22:1-2, Ezekiel 47:12)
I was enjoying Jesus' hilarity in all of this, when suddenly He hit me with His cry of "COME!" There is so much heart, so much anguish, so much urging and pleading in that call! He gave me this picture with joy, but then with travail -- "Come!"
Lord, as we receive Your hilarious joy and Your love, stab us in the heart with Your care and Your anguished plea for the ones You love to come to You, Jesus, the Giving Tree:
"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.'" (Rev.22:17)
Watch the Darkness
By Ramone - November 26, 2005
This is a picture of a vision my friend David had while praying and bathing, I believe. I showed him some of the pictures on this site, and this one reminded him of his vision.
A figure his size & shape was standing in darkness. There was no light, but then light came out of the darkness. There was a ball of light, like the sun (like the setting sun in a picture he has on his cellphone).
He felt the Lord telling him to start watching the dark... it would start to take shape. When we pray & meditate, we tend to run from the darkness and look for the light, but don't be afraid... if you watch the shape the darkness is taking, He'll bring light out from right there.
That was before Yoko & I took a Thanksgiving trip back to the States. I drew/painted the picture with watercolor pencils in a cafe in Maryland. Later, back in Osaka, I met David at a Starbucks in Yotsubashi-Shinsaibashi and discussed it again with him. Here's some of his comments:
That picture is like, "Okay, I'm gonna give you this, but it's just the beginning. Now you have to live with this & deal with this." That whole process is something that has to be walked out. It's just coming to terms with the realty of dying, really dying. It's something we have to experience. The whole figure is black... "Out of the darkness (your death) I'll bring you this." "If you want to see, look into that [darkness]." I think it's just God bringing you what you ask for, what you pray for... When it happened it was kind of shocking. "You asked me to give you a new heart and a new spirit. Here it is, Here's My Spirit"... a ball of fire, of living water. We're made in God's image. The silhouette was my shape. God's taking us through to bring us to what we were originally supposed to be. "This is you, who you're created to be."
By Ramone - November 26, 2005
I drew this last Saturday while hanging out at the Savory cafe in Takoma Park, Maryland. My wife, her sister and I were all visiting my mom for the Thanksgiving holiday, and my aunt came from Minnesota to visit, too. We'd all been going around shopping and seeing sights during the week, and by Saturday maybe it was breaktime, haha. My mom & her sister went to church, and Yoko & Michi went to walk around the Four Corners area and relax at Starbucks. I chose to go to the Savory cafe where my friend Brian Wells is the general manager. Since he was working, we couldn't chat the whole time, but we did get to chat a lot. During the times when he was working, I did this picture and "Watch the Darkness".
The idea came a good while ago. It's His hands, wiping my heart clean, taking my dirt, and making my heart "pika-pika"! (Which is a cute way of saying "shiny" in Japanese). It was refreshing to draw this at a cool artsy cafe like Savory. It's also nice to remember, because often my heart feels dirty & mucky, but He cleans me over and over and shows me that all the dirt & muck is not the real thing, that underneath He's given me a new heart, and that's the real thing, and it's pika-pika in Him!
Monday, November 14, 2005
By Ramone - sometime between the summers of 2004 & 2005
I began this one as kind of a variation on the "path" picture, which had been the first picture I really knew He gave. But the Japanese calligraphy pen I was using began to run out of ink, so I stopped (it was the same pen I used for the background of this picture, too). The idea didn't seem to be working anyhow and I can't remember what I was thinking.
Sometime later I came back to it and made it into rain. Rain definitely comes. We talk about the rain and mean the blessing of the Holy Spirit, because rain in the natural really nourishes the earth and brings forth life. But how does it feel really? Often when rain comes in life, it's not easy. We'd rather be indoors! Sure, it brings forth life, but we're rarely outside with open arms, and if we are people look at us strange.
But isn't that just like the way He really brings resurrection out of the deaths we experience in our lives? The Holy Spirit, the Rain, falls in situations that we don't always see as "blessings". In the hard times. In the cloudy times. The times when everything looks grey and all you've got is the path ahead of you. In the times when the "stars" (the opportunities and the promised "children" He said He would bring) can't be seen through the clouds and the downpour.
I was probably in one of those times when I finished this picture. I wrote the words to the song by Russell Fragar (of Hillsong Australia) called "Holy Spirit, Rain Down". When we ask Him to rain down, let's not think only of the great blessings & moves of the Spirit, but let's say, "Okay, Lord, I know You're coming & nourishing me even in the dark times, in the hard times, in the couldy times. Rain down, Lord, and carry me through. Help me welcome Your Spirit through everything in life, Jesus."
By Ramone - April 21, 2005
"Burst into songs of joy together,
you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the LORD has comforted His people,
He has redeemed Jerusalem!"
I don't know how it came, but this picture burst forth, if you know what I mean. BURST into songs of joy! In His love, in His freedom, in worshiping Him, this is us! Bursting forth, and suddenly all the old casings come off, as well. But hey folks, it's not about the praise itself and what "it" can do for you. The utter joy is seeing Him... "For the Lord has redeemed us and comforted us!" THAT's why we can't help but burst into songs of joy. Jesus, You're awesome.
By Yoko - April 12, 2005
Yoko and I sat down together on April 12th and did art together for the first time. I'd recently picked it up again (but this time with a new heart) and Yoko decided to join me. She even got her own pad a night or two before when we went to the art supply store together.
The 12th yielded maybe half a dozen pictures; this was her first time with charcoal, and well, you can see what happened! She hid it from me and wouldn't let me look until she was finished. You should've seen the grin on her face when she showed it to me! I told you she has a beautiful heart & perspective! She doesn't think she's good at art, but I know better, hehheh...
Hey folks, it's not about technique or even about originality -- instead it's about heart & perspective. C'mon, isn't it hard to look at this picture without smiling? See, that's what a Jesus-heart does inside of you! And that's what Jesus-art can do to you, too. (Thank You, Lord, for Your smiling heart in my wife!)
By Ramone - April 6, 2005
This is the first of the really new pictures, the first one after I bought a new pad and plunged forward. I had made the "first pics" but I hadn't really understood (or been able or ready to understand) that God would give me art in Him.
I was in the bathroom (hey, that's where I first really prayed in real brokenness and my relationship with God started!), and I had my new big art pad of thin pages and some soft charcoal. I didn't know what I'd draw. The worshiping figure is something I like and was stuck on for a bit, and I was also influenced by Gwen Meharg's worship flowers (see this picture and this one).
The first part that came was the wind. It's the Spirit. Then after that came the worship figure, which, at the end of it, turned out like a candle. It reminds me now of how a friend would be filled with the Spirit and would rock back and forth, similar to Jews at the wailing wall. When I talked with a Jewish friend, he told me the symbolism was like a candle flickering in the breath of God. When I told my friend of that, well, the Spirit bore witness basically saying, "Yeah, that's right!"
Now that I think about that, it seems like He was giving this picture to say this:
"The wind comes first. The Spirit comes before you even lift your arms in worship, and it's from Him that your worship comes. He lights the fire inside of you. And as you worship Him, you become a candle. Jesus said, 'You are the light of the world', and when you know Him as your light, you'll begin to know that He sees you as His light, too. You're the light of His world! And lost in that love, in adoring Him, your light shines like a candle, flickering in the breath (Spirit) of God."
Thursday, November 10, 2005
By Ramone - November 4, 2005
I thought I'd explain this one by posting a chat I had with a friend today. I think it's interesting, though, to write down your impression of the picture before you read what it means. I'd like to hear those impressions.
(Chat from November 12, 2005)
RR: One more picture...
SA: What on earth is happening in that picture?
RR: lol! A Christian co-worker saw that picture yesterday and had some interesting ideas about it. I thought it would be fairly obvious but apparently was wrong, haha
SA: There's some kind of deliverence happening
SA: and of course, many men can relate to the woman with rays of super-seduction-and-beauty overwhelming us
RR: lol ... "rays of super-seduction"
SA: or, the Seduct-O-Ray
RR: Yeah, well, "Deliverance" would be a good title for it
RR: You caught the theme quicker than my friend did yesterday, haha. But once I said it to him, he understood instantly
RR: It basically works from left to right, row by row, except for the bottom row which has three late additions. The whole style could be called "cave painting", hehe, even though it's all soft pastel & no paint 't'all.
RR: The "rays" are the part that I understood the other day while being tempted... it's what the enemy throws at you, and usually it feels like it knocks you over, and then you find yourself praying and crying out to God... hence the guy with a puddle of tears. The two guys flanking him are not friends ... they're also him ...because fighting lust temptation feels like your soul is splitting in two or three parts... some of you wants it, some of you doesn't, and well, that's how it feels. Then you try & do throw that bad heart down, stomp on it, etc., and then still all you see are the rays coming at you (center)
RR: The other day when this was happening to me, Jesus inserted Himself in the picture (amidst the rays) and that was really cool, and that's when you really rise up like an eagle over the rays, when you see Him and hold onto Him
RR: On the left, you discover that He is at the bottom of your heart which feels so dirty. And on the bottom right, you learn that all of this is covered under the blood of His cross... He's covered all of it, and the cross changes all of this
RR: and on the far bottom right is the rivers of living water flowing from out of your heart in all this & from all this... somehow He is bringing life out of this. He's flowing through you and out of you.
SA: It is like a cave painting
RR: Yeah, that's the irony... the whole thing often feels like it's you alone in a cave, but really this is a very, very ancient thing and we're not the first to pass through this cave, if you know what I mean
RR: So hey, I'm scribbling on the walls for others who pass through, I guess, and probably because I don't know what else to do, ha! I think for most men this is something that's hidden in darkness, and that makes it harder. So here's the painting on the wall of that cave, brought out into the light. And the Light does shine in our darkness, and the darkness can't overcome it.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
By Ramone - November 6, 2005
This happened the other night as I was going to sleep. I can't remember what was weighing me down or what I was feeling or thinking of, but I looked up and saw my only hope & my only peace -- Jesus, my Savior, my perfect one, the one who loves me. I scribbled this picture on a scrap of paper near my bed and later drew it. It's how I felt, and how crazy things can be sometimes around you so that you can't even see yourself. All you can do is look up out of the mess and glimpse Christ Jesus.
The only word I can call it is "worship". I don't know why, but maybe it's because we're in situations like this a lot whether we feel like we're in them or not. And He loves us so much and really loves when we love Him and see Him. Maybe it's moments like these when things are really clear, after all. Whatever the case, Jesus, I praise You and bless Your name. Thank You for being above the cloud & dust in our lives, Jesus, and for holding onto us.