Wednesday, September 27, 2006
As in a mirror
By Ramone - September 27, 2006
I was reading the book "Passion for Jesus" (by Mike Bickle) and found this section:
As in a MirrorSometime earlier this summer I was wondering about that "mirror" ... the NIV translation I usually use (and like) substitutes the part "as in a mirror" with "reflecting"... but now I get the meaning!! Woohoo, Lord! Thank You! It's such a comfort to know that even "dim" beholdings of Him are sufficient to transform us "from glory to glory", and that we don't need to perfectly reflect His glory, as the verse seemed to say before (and of course as so many people have taught throughout the years!). God is awsome, so much more awesome than we can see! Now we know in part, and even that "part" is enough to transform us! One day we will know in whole---just as we are known. (^_^)
One evening I was in the prayer room and, as usual, I'd completely run out of things to say. I opened up my Bible, searching for inspiration. As I read, it was as if a light came on inside of me.But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. - 2 Corinthians 3:18 (Italics added)My mind suddenly took off. Hmmm... as in a mirror... I am beholding the glory of God as in a mirror. What's a mirror? Well, a mirror gives a perfect reflection. Wait a minute. A mirror much as we have today gives a perfect reflection. But two thousand years ago when Paul was writing, the mirrors of that day didn't even come close to giving a perfect reflection: "For now we see in a mirror dimly..." (1 Cor.13:12).
Dimly! An ancient mirror made of polished metal would give a faint, inadequate, very dim reflection. It was as if the Lord said, "Beholding Me dimly is all I ever asked of you." The idea that even dim beholdings are sufficient to transform a believer's life was totally new to me...
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Get Up and Follow
By Ramone - September 19, 2006
This is a picture of me looking at the "message" of this picture, or rather maybe telling others about that message, and getting caught up in the message ... and His heart appears and beckons me to actually do it, to get up, put the picture down, and follow Him in real, waking life! It's easy to get a message and kind of "stay indoors" with it, but He's calling us to discern Him in our lives, and to get up and follow His heart.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
By Ramone - September 13, 2006
I first made a sketch of this picture while waiting for my wife at the hospital during one of her pregnancy visits. I just had this itching to start drawing circles in a certain pattern, starting here, then going back, then dipping this way, etc. I remember a comment I read in a book somewhere (but I can't remember which book or where), which said that a careful study of Scripture reveals that the Trinity are locked in a constant love relationship with one another, lavishing love on one another. That's this picture.
And the incredible thing is that they've brought us into the middle of their love! (See John 14, 15, 16 and 17)... Hmm, there's another picture... (see the sequel!)
I saved this comment from a brother on the FAF forum as well:
When the Bible teaches that the Father, Son, and Spirit are personally distinct, it is describing the eternal personal relationships that have always existed within the one Being that is YHWH. You see, YHWH did not need to create us for companionship or love (that was an act of grace). YHWH does love us, but He doesn't "need" us to fulfill Him in anyway. He is complete in and of Himself. YHWH's existence has always been defined by eternal personal relationships that are intrinsic to Himself. He has always experienced personal relationships of love, communication, and interaction even before all creation. We are told that the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. We see that the Father speaks to the Son and the Son speaks to the Father. We also see the Holy Spirit interact with the Father and Son as at Jesus' baptism. These personal relationships have always existed within YHWH. As someone else (Dd I think) mentioned earlier, we even see hints of this all the way back in Gen. 1 where terms such as "Us" and "Our" are used by God of Himself. There's also the fact that "Elohim" used throughout the OT (Tanek) for "God" uses a plural form.Lord, thank You for who You are, for the eternal love that You are. Thank You for the love between Father, Son and Spirit, for revealing this beautiful love to us, and for drawing us into the middle of this love to receive it. We love You so much, God. You love us so much more, and You are love. Love doesn't exist by itself, but is always in motion, always loving and blessing others. You've shown us into Your own soul, how You've loved Your Son, Your Father, Your Spirit for all ages. Like the sun, it's like passionate flames licking up and burning whatever it reaches. Thank You for making us in Your love, and for drawing us into Your love.
Reaching for God's Heart
By Ramone - September 13, 2006
This is a picture of the believer who is in the river of His blessings, but who is desiring to reach for God's heart, through all the blessings... wanting to know His heart, how He feels, wanting to touch His heart and bless His heart. There is so much in this and I don't know where to begin in talking about it, but I believe this is the kind of bride that He is longing for... a bride that will lean her head on His breast and desire to hear what's on His heart, a bride who will want Him for Him Himself, for who He is more than for the things He gives.
More than our deeds, God wants us. He wants our hearts. Somehow, I feel that He is the same way... He wants us to desire His heart more than His deeds or blessings. He wants to share His heart. Do we want Him for His deeds or for who He is? Do we want to hear His heart?
There we'll find the "cross within the cross" -- the Father's heart at the loss of His Son. He wants to share with us His feelings for His Son (John 17:26)...
Here is the original sketch for this picture...
The picture came back in June, actually, after a few months of not really receiving or drawing any pictures. It was kind of appropriate that it came during a "dry" time... God was (and still is) calling me to seek His heart, to spend my time swimming after Him, being with Him and being with His heart, instead of swimming after other things, or just swimming around forgetting He's there with me & for me.
That said, I thought the picture would be difficult. I actually tried a couple times but couldn't get the "river" to work (note in the sketch it doesn't seem like a "river" so much). After a few failures, it went on the backburner. And I think that was good. I needed to do the picture, not just draw it. I needed to actually seek God and spend time with Him, not draw a picture about doing that.
Some months later it was time to paint it. And then even that wasn't the end! One day I was thinking about this picture and its meaning, and He gave me a "wake-up call" ... you can read about it here: Get Up and Follow.
Thank You, Lord. I'll seek Your heart. Help me stop, now, and seek Your heart and be with You. Thank You for everything, in Jesus, amen.
P.S. I realize now that another reason I didn't paint the picture for so long after the sketch was because it was a heavy picture. It's deep, heavy. Not so "deep" except that it really calls for truly seeking God, and I tell myself sometimes that I want to do something justice... I don't want to draw or paint something lightly or badly. I kind of feel maybe like I should wait for the right time, or I should "get" more "right" or more spiritual, maybe. And so it goes to the backburner sometimes. I think it's kind of what C.S. Lewis wrote of in "The Screwtape Letters"... one of the enemy's tricks is to tell you that something is too great a thought to deal with lightly, and in believing that, you put it off rather than just dive in right away. Lord, help me just dive into You, into Your heart now.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
A Good Reason
By Yoko - September 10, 2006
"God has a good reason
for making only one moon.
And He has a good reason
for letting the flowers wilt.
And we have a good reason
to love Him."
Sunday, September 10, 2006
A Pure Flame
By Yoko & Ramone - Sometime around April 6th, 2006 (finished Sept.9)
This is a picture that Yoko saw when I showed her the sketch for this picture back in April (2006). She drew the flame in watercolor pencils and later on I added the background at her suggestion. I finally put water on it in September while we were at a local cafe together.
No instant interpretation jumped out at us.
I've prayed for awhile about this, and I think there are several things God is saying through it. The first is based on the picture that He used to trigger this one, "None Like You (2)", which shows His deep, intimate and personal love for each girl in prostitution in Osaka. This picture is the source of that love, a picture of the flame of that love.
We thought of the words "pure" and "passion" -- how His love covers over a multitude of sins and embraces us, and how it purifies us & loves us deeply, buring to our core & enveloping us in His flames of love. I thought of Ephesians, Zechariah and Song of Songs 8,
"Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."And one day in December I realized that perhaps He has left this picture a mystery, just like ultimately we must come to accept His love for us as a mystery. How could You love us so much to give Yourself for us, God?
"This is what the Lord Almighty says:
'I am very jealous for Zion;
I am burning with jealousy for her.'"
"...love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like the very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away."
I think You've shown us this picture and not explained it so that I will look good and hard and searching into the flame -- into Your love, into Your heart, Your passion. This is what it's all about and where it all comes from... and where it all goes back to, Jesus. It's You. Thank You for Your love.
"Stare into My flame, My passion, more & more.
Look at Me, My love, My fire for you."
Queuing for Bread
By Ramone - September 9, 2006
Yesterday I was walked past the Osaka Evangelistic Tabernacle. They must have just finished an evening meeting and were giving out food to the many homeless lined up to receive.
The sky was very blue, and the sun was setting over Nishinari ward. The Dobutsuen-mae/Shin-Imamiya area where OET is located is not the most beautiful area of Osaka. It's dirty & run-down, and has many homeless people. There seems to be a general air of depression or hopelessness over the area. Yet above was this large, beautiful, clear sky. I wondered if people sometimes look up.
By Ramone - August 29, 2006
I wondered how the other disciples felt when they saw John lean over on Jesus' breast. Think about how presumptuous that would look -- "He's just sucking up!" "Teacher's pet!" I think there's a big lesson to learn from that.
Actually, when John did this, Jesus wasn't smiling. He had just told them that He was going to be betrayed. John leaned close to Jesus--intimately close--to ask Him who. The breast is over the heart. Could John hear Jesus' heart beat?
John was asking what was on His heart. He wanted to hear Jesus' heart, and he leaned close--perhaps knowing how pretentious it looked. Or maybe he didn't know. Maybe all he cared about was Jesus, about hearing his beloved Savior's heart.
John always identified himself as the "one the Lord loves." He had a whole new identity from the Lord, made by His love, defined by His love, and secure in His love for him. Maybe he just didn't see everyone else. Maybe he just saw Jesus, and saw that Jesus' heart was troubled.
Sometimes I think Jesus is just longing for us to lean on His breast and hear His heart, like John. To stop what we're doing, stop guessing what He might be thinking (and arguing about it) and just lay our heads on His breast to hear His heart.
Yes, Jesus, I'll draw near to You, draw near to me. Let me hear what's on Your heart. Help us be still and listen to You, and share what's on Your heart, Lord. Thank You for calling us Your beloved. In Your name, Jesus, amen.
Friday, September 08, 2006
By Ramone - September 6, 2006
"For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son... This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be a sacrifice for our sins."
- John 3:16 + 1st John 4:10
By Ramone - September 4, 2006
The other day I was walking to the station to go home and began talking out loud to God. I sang, worshiped, and "broke through" past my awkwardnesses to that secret place -- His presence. (Sorry, I don't know how to describe that better).
As I walked, a thought came to me:
Jesus, I want to be Your friend
Yes, He's our best friend. I knew that. What was new for me was this desire rising up inside to give something back to Him...
Think about the people who you consider as your best friends. Why do you treasure them so much? Why are they special to you? In short, what is a 'friend'?
What does the word "friend" mean to you?
To me, above all, a friend is someone who listens.
And a friend is someone who cares.
A friend hangs out with you.
A friend accepts you.
A friend isn't too busy.
A friend calls you back.
A friend responds to your call for help.
A friend always wishes you had more time together.
A friend always feels it's been too long since you last met.
A friend "can't wait 'til we do it again next time."
A friend is someone who keeps your picture near.
A friend is someone who isn't worried about being seen with you.
A friend is someone who wants to be next to you at the movies.
A friend is someone who likes to take silly pictures with you.
A friend says, "No, I got the bill this time."
A friend shares his insides...
Jesus, You're my best friend. Thank You for being all of these things to me and so, so much more. But Jesus, I want to be a friend to You, too. I want to hear You. I want to listen to hear what's on Your heart. I want to stop what I'm doing and be near You. I want to give You time to talk. Jesus, help me be a better friend to You.
You're the best friend ever, and I love You for Your faithfulness. I know I'm not faithful, but You accept me. Thank You. And now I want to be a friend to You. I want to be an ear for You, someone to be next to You, someone to hold Your hand, someone You call upon when You need me. I love You, Jesus. I want to bless Your heart today. Jesus, all this in Your name. Amen.
No One Like You (2)
By Ramone - September 5, 2006
(Part 2, after the original Part 1.)
"Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
Forget your people and your father's house.
The King is enthralled by your beauty;
honor Him, for He is your Lord."
- Psalm 45:10-11
This picture is a short vision I had of Jesus and a prostitute. He meets her where she is in her life, and does not condemn her, but embraces her. She has sold herself for less than what He created her for - to receive His love. She didn't know what she was worth in His eyes until He came to her. She collapses in His arms and cries. She will never be the same again because of His love.
The words of this Lenny LeBlanc song are usually sung to God, but one day as I prayed He turned the words back around, speaking them to me and to all of us:
"There is none like you
No one else can touch My heart like you do
I could search for all eternity long
And find there is none like you"
One night as my friend sang the words of that song while I sketched part 1, I realized that the song was not only our worship of Him, but that He was saying these words to us from eternity -- to Him, there is no one else like you! In all eternity long, He says there is no one else like you! His love overwhelms me, for me, for you, for them, for us.
This is a prayer, an aching of His heart for women (especially young women) in Japan who do not know what they are worth in His eyes, how much He loves them. They've been told that they are valuable only for their bodies, for their looks, and many of them have been selling themselves to abuse and mistreatment because they don't know how much they're worth. Please pray for them. Thanks.
I was getting ready for bed one night, and I was arrested by this picture which I'd left sitting on a book. In fact, I had earlier been involved in a difficult theological discussion on a Christian forum, so I was quite distracted and even down, just debating things in my head in "wide-focus". I looked up and saw the picture sitting out (I had left it out to see it once in awhile and pray), and I was overcome.
I felt like her, the lady in the picture. I felt like she was me, like it was my story. Suddenly I realized that the picture is really all of our story... it's the story of all of us and each of us. How He came and loved us, how He bent down to hug us in our condition & sin & where we were. "Thank You, Jesus! Thank You! This is me, Jesus! Thank You!"
I remembered Ezekiel 16, and Ephesians 5. And I looked at the verse I wrote on it in Japanese (and all of Psalm 45), how God is calling us to honor and love this incredible King who is enthralled with us! And suddenly all the worries about figuring out the forum's theological topics, all those things faded into outer darkness for me! Seeing what He's done for me, seeing what He's done for them, hearing Him call us from the Psalms... the "questions" and arguments faded into irrelevant oblivion.
His love, His heart, His embrace... is all so much larger than I can understand. With so many debates or "questions" in theology, I think we end up trying to say just how big His arms are and just how wide is His love and salvation. I realized that night that now I don't know, and I am choosing to be content in His embrace and choosing to ask Him to fill me will His love for others.
"I will call her 'My loved one' who is not My loved one."
- Romans 9:25
"I will show My love to the one I called 'not My loved one.'"
- Hosea 2:23
"More Than My Master (O My Husband!)"
O My precious dove, My forsaken one
Hurt and desolate, hear Me call in love
You have ravished and so enthralled this King
I gave My life for you so that You might sing
O my Husband
O my Husband
More than my Master
You are my Lover
In your deserts and valleys of trouble
Know My heart for you is unshakeable
And through brokenness you will be restored
Washed and radiant, honored by your Lord
And forever I'll look into Your eyes
As Your ransomed love
Your beloved bride
By Ramone - September 2-3, 2006
(Picture #2, follows #1)
It had been a long time since I visited Jesus Family Center, a church not so far from our home. I missed seeing them and being in God's presence with them, so I dropped by for the Saturday night worship...
And for the renewal time afterwards. Everyone worships and then rests in the Lord together.
This is My Body
By Ramone - September 2-3, 2006
(Picture #1 of 2)
It had been a long time since I visited Jesus Family Center, a church not so far from our home. I missed seeing them and being in God's presence with them, so I dropped by for the Saturday night worship. They took the Lord's Supper (communion), and that's what this is a rough sketch of, drawn mostly during the service.
Everyone went up to the table to take the bread & juice, and I figured we just went back to our seats. I didn't notice that few people at all were really going back to their seats until my friend Jumpei came and asked to pray with me and take the Lord's Suppoer with me. Then I realized everyone was getting into small groups, like 2 or 3 or 4, and they were praying together and receiving Christ's body & blood together.
I was very touched, and it was one of the most special times I've taken the Lord's Supper. Another young member came and joined us, and the three of us prayed, thanked God, and received His body & blood together. No formality, but beautiful, beautiful intimacy & gratitude to the Lord.
(We're the three at the bottom left of the right pillar)
By Ramone - August 29, 2006
"Good News" in Japanese. It's pronounced "fuku-in" (foo-koo-ee-n). The first character means "blessings" and the second one means "sound". It reminds me of this verse:
"Their sound has gone out to all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world."
- Romans 10:18
By Ramone - August 27, 2006
"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father's hand."
- John 10:28-29
Originally sketched June 6th, I must've gone through six or seven versions of this one on the 27th, some of which may or may not end up on this site. The idea is being sandwiched between the love of the Father and the love of the Son, which is where we are! God has brought us into the middle of their embrace...
"On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you... He who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him... My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."
"The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God."
"I have made You [Father] known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent."
- John 14:20-23 16:27, 17:26, 17:3