Sunday, April 22, 2007



By Ramone - April 18, 2007

I wanted to say more about "grace"... I had drawn one picture, but it was not enough. There is a song on a U2 album that contains the words written on this picture, and I think it captures the spirit of grace very well.

Grace washes you and makes you clean. His words clean you out and bring light into your dark places. His grace lets you know who you are, and His words tell you that He is God and He loves you. His words of grace tell you how He sees you in His eyes, and not only that, but how things really are. His words show you His heart, His heart for you (and His heart for others). His grace dries your tears and make you radiant, showing you that He is radiant when He thinks about you. His words show you that He cherishes you, that He wants you to be radiant:

Jesus Christ loved the church so much that gave His life up for her, in order to make her holy. Having cleansed her, He washed her with the water of His word to make her radiant, without stain, wrinkle, or any spot or blemish. He made her holy and blameless, calling her His own body. And no one ever hates his own body! Neither does Jesus. He cherishes us and nourishes us.

- Ephesians 5:23-33 (paraphrased)




By Ramone - April 13, 2007

This is from a vision that Yoko saw once. She was praying for a friend of ours who was going through a lot of pain in a relationship, and she saw water was coming onto the dry land, and the water was healing the cracks. God is awesome: His life heals us (and often our relationships, but not always in the way or time that we hope for). His Spirit softens our dry, hardened parts, and the places in our hearts that have been "cracked" and broken apart. He heals, restores and brings our hearts together into one.

As the U2 song "Grace" says,
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things
Somehow it is through friction that the pearl of great price is made in the oyster's shell, in its "distress". God turns ashes into roses. He turns the tables on the enemy. (Here's a picture about "Grace" I inked of the pearl of great price; and here is a beautiful parable my spiritual mum Hazel received from the Lord many years ago, "A Priceless Pearl").

Thank You, God. Sometimes we can't see what will be, but can only see the dry, broken and cracked ground, and the sun beating down on it with not a cloud in the sky to bring the needed rain. But You are sovereign, and as we look to You, You work all things for our good. There is no cracked ground too hard for Your Spirit to soften. So we call for Your Spirit, and ask for Your patience to pray for and wait upon Your flooding rain to come bringing restoration and healing. In Jesus' name, amen.


Seeing by Grace

By Ramone - April 11, 2007

(This is part 2, after "Looking through Law")

stirs from His love, His heart

is found by seeing His blood spilled for you
and for all of "them"

so you reach out in His heart

His Spirit moves you in His tears

"Them, too, Lord. Them, too."

Monday, April 09, 2007




By Ramone - April 7, 2007

This is a picture of me walking home after buying grapejuice and lactose-free milk at the supermarket. After midnight, too. I'd stayed at McDonald's too long reading a certain book. But walking home, well, the night was beautiful.

I can't describe how, but I felt like here is where I belong. The night people were beautiful, too. The still streets seemed quiet and abandoned, yet somehow fresh, crisp, more vivid. Alive. As if now that they were left alone, now they could speak.

I felt like I belong here, at night, with these people, with streets like these. Perhaps in the future...? To walk here or elsewhere? Ah, but I have a family now! You're growing me, Lord. Thank You. Stretch me, Jesus. Make me into the man You want me to be, that You've planned & destined for me. I submit to Your ordering of my life, Lord.

The verse... I couldn't remember the first part... pilgrimage. Psalm 84,
Blessed are those whose strength is in You,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
This is my life! And my name (Romero). "Whose strength is in You"... they--I--have no strength. You are my strength, Lord. I have none. But You are strong. Thank You. Help me remember this as I walk.


What is a pilgrim? Isn't it one who undertakes a spiritual journey? Or rather, a physical journey of changing locations for spiritual purposes, usually blessings.

Christ "pilgrim'd" too... at the direction of Father, and filled with the Spirit. But His pilgrimage was not so much to receive blessings... He received the curse. He was on a path that led to the Cross, and at each step along the way He gave, and gave, and gave. He blessed. A pilgrimage of blessing.

Now for us...
He's in us. (It's no longer a matter of going "here" or "there".)

Like in Hebrews 11, we're on a journey of faith to heaven.

He has sent us, just as Father sent Him. So then...

We walk to bless.

We also walk to meet Him in "the least of these."

We walk, carrying the Gospel to those He sends us to.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Identity (Who You Are)

By Ramone - April 6, 2007

"Who am I?" many people wonder. Often we try to forge our identities by looking deep into our souls. We say that this or that passion of ours is who we are, or that this or that idea or preference is who we are. Basically we try to sort through all the different feelings we have, and at the end we try to assemble the ones we prize most as our "identity".

But feelings come and feelings go like sand on the ocean floor. Inside of you there is a spirit God has put, which He re-creates. This is who you really are. And let me say frankly, we don't know who we are! We don't know how valuable we are! The Infinite One has found us of infinite worth. You are "the pearl of great price" -- the one so valuable that He gave up everything He had (including His life) in order to purchase you.

This is something that only He can properly see. He reveals it to us over time, but ultimately we are dependent on Him to find out who we are. Who we are is our core being, our identity in eternity. It is a name God gives us that only He knows, and that at some point He reveals to us (whether on this or that side of eternity). And it doesn't end, but gets deeper and deeper.

We are oysters with a pearl inside. Often we identify ourselves by the ocean around us, or by our outer shell. Other times we identify ourselves by our "muscles" inside which are attached to the shell and open and close the shell. But these identities are passing away with the world. What is real and eternal -- who we are -- is born in this shell, but is of a different substance, so to speak.

The tension and turmoil in our lives, all the events that have happened to us and the decisions we have made -- these come into play. But they are not our identity. God has put Himself in our lives, He has made us. He has been the little seed that entered the friction of our dark lives and that grows into a pearl.

Who am I? Who are you? Ask the One who made you. Don't define who you are by your shell, your muscles, or even by the pretty blue colors you sometimes find on your hard shell. Don't define who you are by passions which are here today and then disappear tomorrow. Who you are in Him is eternal, and shouldn't be confused with the noise of the soul and body -- "muscle" and "shell" things. Through His Spirit and His Word, He will tell you who you are in your inner being, in your spirit. Only He can show you the difference between soul and spirit.

Don't get trapped defining your life by hardness and friction, temptations and struggles, pains and passions. Don't settle for some blended embracing of those things as being "who you are." No, you're a pearl meant for eternity. He'll show you who you are in Him. And once He begins to show you who you are, remember that no matter what the rest of the shell & muscle looks like, it's passing away. Who you are is something He shows you and that you hold onto by faith, in spite of the friction around you.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


On the Tree of Life

By Ramone - April 4, 2007

Two days ago as I arrived at my in-laws' place to visit my wife & newborn son (who are staying there for a few weeks), I seemed to randomly and suddenly have the old Nat King Cole song "Unforgettable" running through my head, which his daughter Natalie inserted herself into later in order to make it into a beautiful duet:
"Unforgettable, that's what you are...
It's incredible that someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable, too."
I realized later that it is God singing to us, or us singing to God. He is certainly unforgettable, isn't He? But still more amazing, like daughter singing to father, our Father sings to us and says, "I think you are unforgettable, too!"

He is eternal... forever! And in all eternity, He will never forget you. You are "unforgettable" to Him! The Unforgettable One finds you completely unforgettable, too!
"You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.

How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!

...Turn your eyes from me;
they overwhelm me." (Song of Songs)
I understood this, but with everything going on I didn't have time to really just sit in His presence and absorb it. The next night I confronted my own doubt -- "Am I really 'unforgettable' to You, God?" As I did the dishes, He answered:

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands... I will not forget you!"
(Isaiah 49)

Are not the eternal nail scars on Christ's hands proof that He will never forget you, that He considers you eternally "unforgettable"? Hasn't He put a heart on the Eternal Tree with your name in it?
Unforgettable (words and music by Irving Gordon)

Unforgettable, that's what you are
Unforgettable, though near or far
Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you does things to me
Never before has someone been more

Unforgettable, in every way
And forever more, that's how you'll stay
That's why, darling, it's incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable, too

Unforgettable, in every way
And forever more, that's how you'll stay
That's why, darling, it's incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable, too


Made Whole

By Ramone - April 2, 2007

I first sketched guy --nicknamed "Stitch-Man"-- in the middle of the night back in February. He's all of us. He's what God is doing with us. And we must praise Him for it.

We think being "whole" means that you're smooth & perfect, and that being "made whole" means becoming that. But really, being made whole means He stitches you up, gives you a new heart, and you just look up and thank Him. You still see the stitches, just like He has the nail scars. And you'll get more stitches. But in each one you see His grace.

Thank You, Jesus. (^_^)

"Men of faith, rise up and sing
Of the great and glorious King
You are strong when you feel weak,
In your broken-ness, complete."

- Martin Smith, "Shout to the North"



By Ramone - April 2, 2007

When I was young, I remember being told that you can't touch a butterfly's wings. If you touch the wings, they won't fly anymore. When I fall or give into temptation, I feel like that, like I can never fly again.

As I felt like this, I thought of a butterfly. But what if His hand touched the butterfly? His hand who created the butterfly. Is anything impossible for God? Yes, he can fly again.

I remembered that Jesus often told people He healed, "Your faith has made you whole." Their faith in Him had healed them. They believed that He was able to do it, and they stepped forward to ask Him. Because they believed He could, that He was the one who could make them well.

Then I remembered that it is in You that I fly! I forget that so often, Lord! I get flying & then fall & break, feeling I can't do it again. But it was You who lifted me up in the first place.

"Rise up, church, with broken wings
Fill this place with songs again
Of our God who reigns on high
By His grace again we'll fly."

- Martin Smith, "Shout to the North"