Wednesday, July 25, 2007
By Ramone - July 14, 2007
This is the sketch for the larger picture, "Tumbling", which I did a day later. I was actually not going to do a larger version because I thought I couldn't -- the sketch captured it perfectly. But God enabled me to do it larger in a way that preserved it and gave it color! Thank You, God!
I was struck by the understanding that came with the story (see the larger picture for the story). It was deeply personal, and for two reasons I thought that I would not put it online. Firstly because it was only a sketch at that point, and secondly because it was so deeply personal! But this led to something deep and wonderful for me. I wrote:
The thought of putting the 'grass' pic online... it turns my guts inside out, kinda! But suddenly I begin to realize it's not just "an art site"... somehow I've thought of it that way! Gomennasai, Iesu. (I'm sorry, Jesus.)
It's Your site. It's Your heart. It's a ministry! Oh! How my "modesty" and lack of faith in it being "art" -- it blinded me to seeing Your ministry through it! Because of "quality" I still have been looking down on our art... OUR art! Isn't that what it is? Or Your art on my soul. Your Spirit writing (drawing) on my heart.
I wanted it to be "Art for Jesus" ...not for reaching others necessarily, but more worship, an act of worship to You. And it was & is... it comes out of time with You & me.
But help me see & accept what You're doing to bless others thru this, Lord! Because I see now that art "for Jesus" also will be art for others... just like You said when we love them, we're loving You. In being modest or embarassed or shamed by my quality, well, help me get over that, Lord, and see what You're doing. And thank You for it all. I love You, Lord. My Jesus! All for You! Your Agapetos.
Monday, July 16, 2007
By Ramone - July 15, 2007
"If the Son sets you free,
you will be free indeed."
- John 8:36
This is a picture I saw probably six years ago or more when I was at a prayer meeting at my friend Hazel's house in California. We were praying for my inner healing, some soul-healing prayer. I can't remember the specifics, but at one point as I released something in forgiveness or chose to see my own unhappiness, at the Spirit's prompting I was asked to picture Jesus with me. This is the picture that first came, Him and me rolling down a grassy hill.
However, it didn't greatly impact me (it did impact Hazel, though, and she mentioned it later). The reason it didn't impact me was because it seemed too good to be true... it felt like it was too much me, what I desired, what I longed for, what I wished to see. So I quickly wrote it off.
But the other day God brought the picture back to me. Where could such a desire come from? It was from God! Wasn't I disbelieving it simply because it seemed like it was too much my desire? Wasn't it also His desire? And was my desire wrong? No! It was not merely my wish, but rather it was my wish that He gave me! It seemed too free, too joyful, too full & overflowing of a restoration of my lost childhood-like joy in being free in Him.
This is who He is. This is what He does. He brought me out of my depression, sadness, rejection and captivity. He restored the years the enemy had taken away. He restored me to health, giving me joy and laughter in Him, with Him.
Psalm 126P.S. A day after I first sketched it, I inked this picture while watching my son sleep. I can't explain why, but that is also precious to me!
A song of ascents.
When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed or men restored to health.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The Lord has done great things for them."
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.
See also: Free Indeed! (at Heart For Adventists)
John 17 (part 2)
By Ramone - July 9, 2007
It's taken me awhile to write about this picture, but when a brother on an online forum asked me to share how God was showing me himself through my son and fathering him, I finally typed it up:
Hi brother Don & saints,
When Don asked me to share a portion of seeing the Father through raising my son Timothy, for just a minute it was difficult to think of what to share. There are so many things He's shown me through my son -- things He's shown about myself, about humans, and about Him. I'm a little worried that I might actually forget some of these lessons because I don't write them all down! But when choosing one to share, I chose a very personal one for me -- when God revealed Himself through my son.
I tried drawing it in a picture once, but it really doesn't look like my son at all, although I do like the colors and style...
I wanted to draw him smiling. I wanted to show his joy. But alas, there's nothing like the real thing--my real son! A picture can't quite catch the awesome, joyful reality of him.
We were at a department store back in July because we needed to buy an air conditioner, and my wife had to talk to the staff there and do some paperwork to buy it and arrange for its delivery & installation. Meanwhile, Timothy was awake and I didn't want him to get too bored. So I was wheeling him around in his baby carriage up and down the aisles of the department store.
And the whole time I did this I was looking at him and he was looking at me just SMILING at me! Smiling at me with this most pure joyful JOY. He was soooo, so, sooo happy! He gets happy whenever he seems me when I come home from work. Or whenever he hasn't seen me in awhile. (For awhile it was so much that my wife got playfully jealous, haha, but it's balanced out recently).
As I wheeled him around the store that day, I was just overwhelmed by this massive, pure, accepting love coming from my son. What did I do to deserve this? Why does he love me so much? He can't see inside of me. But he just loves me for who I am, because I'm his Daddy, his Papa.
As I wheeled around I began to cry because I realized that God was loving me through my son. God is in my son just like He is in me. God was showing me His unconditional love for me! My son accepts me and loves me with the most pure, purest love imagineable. Isn't childrens' love amazing? It's so pure. There is no falsehood in their love. It's just pure joy and affection. They don't see the dark parts of your heart. They don't know the things you've done. They don't know and they don't care. They just love you.
And that's how God loves me! That's how He loves us. I grew up feeling rejection for different reasons... God has brought me through a lot of forgiveness and healing, and He's given me love and a lot of restoration in my relationships. But now He's also bringing me more healing and joy through my son. I think one of the reasons my son seems to lavish so much love on me in particular is because God knew I needed it! I needed that pure, loving, unconditional affection.
God loves me just as purely as my son does and even more. But the amazing, amazing awesome difference is that unlike my son, God also sees everything I've ever done or ever thought! He has seen my darkness! He has seen my soul naked. He has seen my shame. And yet He still loves me with the childlike joy and love of my son!
Remember how Jesus said that we need to become like children to enter the Kingdom? Think about that. What does that mean? In order to go to heaven, don't we need to be filled with God's Spirit? Isn't God's Spirit actually working to make us more like Him? Aren't we becoming more like our God?
When Jesus said "become like children", He wasn't just telling us to become like children, but He was telling us to become like God. Because that pure love we see in children is God's pure love!
So I just enjoy this Godly love I receive from my son. (^_^) It is so beautiful and I marvel at its purity. This is the love of God. And God also knows all my terrible secrets, yet He loves me just like this babe of mine, purely. Amazing. Amazing God. God, You are amazing.
Blessings in His pure love,
Healing (Yahweh Rapha)
Thursday, July 05, 2007
By Ramone - July 4, 2007
Thank You, God, for them. They're Yours. You gave them to me, but they're Yours. Blessed be Your name, Lord Yahweh, Jesus. My time with them is also Yours. You love them even more than I do... and they are safe in Your hands, even safer than with me! You are her husband, You are his father, Daddy. Just as You are to me, so You are to them above & beyond all I can see.
I kissed them both goodnight and put them in Your hands. I love them. I love You. You are our God. I praise You. All I could do was praise You. Thank You for giving me that faith. My only life with them is You, and is in Your hands. I'm in Your hands. I have nothing here except You and hope in You. Thank You for giving me this, God.
The Empty Tomb!!
By Ramone - July 3, 2007
That empty tomb suddenly means a lot to me! Thank You, God!
The resurrection is the completion of His mission, sacrifice and atonement--it shows beyond doubt that His sacrifice, propitiation, expiation, atonement & exchange--it shows that His whole deed was accepted! Blessed! Approved! Finishito! Completo! Owari! God is pleased! It's done! More than done!
It shows that my sins are complete! Death was my punishment for my sins, and He was raised from it... my punishment & deeds & all my sins are finished! Left behind like His grave clothes! He lives!
He lives! It means I live, too!
Suddenly I love that song by Reuben Morgan of Hillsong Australia --
I know He rescued my soul
His blood, it covers my sins
I believe, I believe!
My shame is taken away
My pain is healed in His name
I believe, I believe!
I'll raise a banner:
My Lord has conquered the grave!
My Redeemer lives! My Redeemer lives!
My Redeemer lives! My Redeemer lives!
You lift my burden, and I'll rise with You
I'm dancing on this mountaintop to see Your kingdom come
By Ramone - July 2, 2007
This came while Yoko and I were talking about some dear friends in Adventism. (My wife and I are both former-Adventists, having left the many complicated beliefs of that system behind to rest in Jesus Christ alone.) We have been very blessed by these friends and their love & faith for God, yet there is just even a little more that we wish they could know.
It is simply the rest, the relief, the assurance that comes from knowing God has done it, He has saved us! (Adventism has historically taught you can never say you're saved until the end). The assurance that comes from seeing that Christ really has saved us, that He really has finished all the work necessary for our salvation --- whew! What a relief!! You don't have to worry anymore "if" you might "make it" or not!
As Yoko and I talked, I found myself unable to verbalize this relief, this rest, and I just put my body in this position because I couldn't describe it any other way. It's the Sabbath-rest, the rest that comes from knowing Jesus has finished all the works, and you find joy, relief, peace and rest in the salvation He finished for you. What good news!
Lord, I pray this for our friends. You've abundantly blessed them and given them wonderful, wonderful faith and love for You. Yet there is still a relief that I know they don't yet know -- bring them to that relief, to that rest and "whew!" sigh of joy. In Jesus' name and in His love, amen.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
By Ramone - July 1, 2007
This is that awkward, flesh-killing moment when you get together and wait on God, wait for God. It's critically important, yet it is one of the hardest things to endure! But it is so wonderful when you know it's Him there and not you! It's so much more satisfying. But until you realize that, your flesh squirms around wanting to fill up the awkward moment with something, to do something, say something. But this is what it means to wait on You, to wait for You, God. Bring me again and again to this moment to wait on You, and be found by You. In Jesus' name, amen.
By Ramone - June 29, 2007
This came late one night when I was thinking about how many times we misunderstand what miracles confirm or testify of. Often people think miracles show that this person or that person is an "apostle", etc. But no, miracles confirm who Jesus is, not who we are.
Jesus cited His miracles as witnesses of who He is and that Father had sent Him (Jn.5:36, 10:37-38, Lk.11:20, etc.). But it isn't the same for us: miracles don't prove we are this or that, but rather true miracles are witnesses that Jesus is who He said He is (Acts 3:16, 4:33, Mark 16:20, etc.). That is why our miracles are done in His name. They attest and witness to Him, not to us. They verify Him, not us.
Some of the confusion comes because many people want to think of "apostle" as if it were a position of rank (ironically such people are what Paul sarcastically called "super-apostles"). But "apostle" is not a position of rank: it's simply means someone has been "sent", and that they have been sent to lay a foundation. That foundation is simply Jesus Christ alone. They are called to betrothe believers to Christ like a matchmaker who introduces a bride to her husband (2 Cor. 11:2). So yes, miracles may be signs of an "apostle" (a "sent one") when they are done in Christ's name, because both the apostle and the miracle are signs sent to testify that Jesus is who He says He is! An apostle is meant to point to His Name, and miracles are meant to point to His Name. So all is for His Name.
(Notes: 2 Corinthians 12:12 is in the context of 11:4. Also, compare 2 Cor.11:5 with 12:11 and 12:20-21. The point of Paul mentioning miracles as a signs of an apostle is part of him saying, "I preached Christ to you! See! So don't accept some other 'Christ' from people bragging about their apostleship!")
See also: "Signs Pointing to Me" (at Weeping Jeremiahs)
By Ramone - June 29, 2007
Back around New Year's I read something a brother in Christ posted on a forum about a "bridegroom fast" that a church was doing. The simple explanation of it stirred something in me --
What is a Bridegroom Fast?I took me a long time to finally get to making this picture. It's the largest thing I've done in probably over two years. And yet it is simple, and deep. It stirs my longing for You, Jesus. I want to run and be with You! To just know You more and more, deeper and deeper, to be with You and know You intimately as my Lover, my Bridegroom.
It is fasting that is motivated by having experienced the burning desire of Jesus' love. Jesus taught the apostles (Matt.9:15) that they would fast from a place of mourning for the touch of the Bridegroom that they had become accustomed to while He was physically present with them on the earth.
They had tasted intimacy with Jesus the Bridegroom and would mourn with fasting for more intimacy with Him after His death. Jesus said that when the Bridegroom is taken away (by His death on the cross and ascension to the Father), mourning for the previous encounters of His presence (or lovesickness) would drive them to cry out, "we must have more!" This is the fruit of having experienced even the early stirrings of Divine love.
This fast is focused not on earning or deserving more of God but on enlarging our capacity to freely receive more experience of the ocean of Divine love. When we fast we become vulnerable and more receptive to the moving of the Holy Spirit in a whole new measure.
Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!"
Healing Channels of Water
One Like a Son of Man
By Ramone - June 23, 2007
I had this sudden childlike desire to paint a simple picture of Jesus based on Revelation 1:12-16. But I wanted to paint it simple and full of His joy, and as much as possible like a child might paint it.
I'm really not one for trying to illustrate the visions John saw in the book of Revelation. For one, the outcome is usually rather scary-looking or emotionally aloof at best. Also just from the dreams God has given me, I've learned that it's better for me to leave some things unpainted because they don't always translate well to depiction. In dreams and visions things are possible which aren't as possible in the natural; He can show you things that are connected, or you can see multiple things at the same time which wouldn't make sense in the natural. Taking those things and trying to make them fit into natural depictions can look grotesque at worst, or at best like a Salvador Dali painting (still bizarre, and still sometimes grotesque).
So I painted this little picture (it's only a 4x6 postcard-size in real life) rather quickly, and while it didn't come out as childlike as I'd hoped, doing it at least satisfied my urge to paint it. When I showed it to my wife, she liked it and was filled with a joy she couldn't understand. That made me glad. I couldn't quite understand it, either.
One point worth mentioning is the double-edged sword (that is, His word - see Hebrews 4:12). I thought it had to be coming "out of" His mouth with the point of the blade coming out first, towards the viewer. But I couldn't do that because it just looked too grotesque. So suddenly it occured to me to turn the sword around, so that it is coming out handle-first. I felt a little bad about this, but the effect worked very well and removed the scariness from it entirely.
Update - May 18th, 2011:
It's now been almost four years since I painted this, and yesterday I was impressed to pull out this painting and pray about it. I showed it to my wife but she had forgotten it, but she was filled with a joy again when she saw it!
I was surprised to learn that God had a purpose, a meaning and a word to speak through this little picture. Even the turned-around sword has meaning to it: He is giving His word to us and asking us if we will receive it!
A word He gave me about this is located here at Weeping Jeremiahs: "Children's Revelation"
By Ramone - June 23, 2007
"Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel.One night, not long after "Father's Love" and "Father's Kiss", I was again retiring upstairs for the night when I knelt down and kissed my wife goodnight while she slept. I wanted to hold her tight and be next to her all night! But I had to go upstairs. (>_<) As I left the room and looked back in, I was overcome by the beauty of her -- her, her form, her hair, her everything, she!
Your hair is like royal tapestry;
the King is held captive by its tresses."
- Song of Songs 7:5
I began tasting Jesus' love for you and me!
"I am my lover's and my lover is mine...How? My goodness it's hard to believe, but it's the truth! It's the song of songs that He sings over us, about you, about me!
"You are beautiful, my darling, as Tirzah,
lovely as Jerusalem,
majestic as troops with banners.
"Turn your eyes from Me;
they overwhelm me."
- Song 6:3-5
I named this picture over a week later. As I was organizing pictures & things, I suddenly discovered I was unable to name the picture. I had been distracted by the fact that it didn't turn out as nicely as I'd hoped. But as I looked at it again and was struck by my inability to name it, He brought me back into that moment, into that love and wondering beholding of her, the one I love -- and into His captivity, how He is held captive by looking at you and me.
And then yet again I had to retire upstairs for the night just like the night I drew this picture! And again I came up from laying next to my wife and wishing it would be eternity right now. I had to tear myself away from her once again. How I want to be there again!
Hephzibah & Beulah
By Ramone - June 21, 2007
"Many, O Lord my God,
are the wonders You have done.
The things You planned for us
no one can recount to You;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare."
- Psalm 40:5
By Ramone - June 21, 2007
I kissed Timothy as he slept before I went upstairs to bed. I love him and love kissing him, even though he doesn't know very much what it means to me yet. As soon as I came out of that room into the kitchen, still in that sweet love, I was suddenly overcome by Father's love! This is what He does for us! This is how He feels about us! I suddenly pictured Him kissing us -- kissing me, His son -- goodnight. Giving me His love... I can't describe it. But Father kisses us!
"Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth" (Song 1:2)That night I was actually going to take the "Father's Love" picture up to my room because I love that picture of Father's embrace, and I wanted to keep it by my Bible as I went to bed. But instead You gave me a fresh, precious picture of Your love for me, Father! Thank You for Your kiss!
"His father saw him and was filled with compassion for him... and kissed him." (Luke 15:20)
"The Lord your God is with you
He is mighty to save
He will take great delight in you
He will quiet you with His love
He will rejoice over you with singing."