Friday, September 28, 2007
By Ramone - September 26, 2007
I was at a prayer meeting last Wednesday night and since the foreigners outnumbered the Japanese three to two, the two Japanese wanted to sing the worship songs in English (they asked a few questions about some words, so it was also kind of educational for them).
The first song we sang was "You are My King (Amazing Love)".
I'm forgiven because You were forsakenI was there at the prayer meeting because the Lord had led me to share a prayer burden with them, and to be honest I was more thinking about that than I was worshiping. But during the song I just got knocked over with God's love! His love is so big, bigger than the burden He'd given me to pray for! I wrote,
I'm accepted, You were condemned
I'm alive and well, Your Spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again
Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, would die for me?
Amazing love, I know it's true
And it's my joy to honor You
In all I do, I honor You
You are my King, Jesus, You are my King
"Your love is so big, so awesome, so powerful, so incredible! It knocks me off my feet and I bow!"All I could do was just bow before Him in worship of His awesomeness. After that we sang, "The Power of Your Love". The verses were a little difficult for the Japanese because they essentially formed a very long run-on sentence. It was good for me because often we just sing things and don't really ponder the meaning. When you ponder the meaning and take it apart, it gets more of a chance to sink into your heart and become truly personal.
Lord, I come to You
let my heart be changed & renewed flowing from the grace that I've found in You
Lord, I've come to know (that) the weaknesses I see in me
will be stripped away by the power of Your love
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Jesus Loves Russia
By Ramone - September 24, 2007
This is a blessed picture of His spiritual flame (His passion) catching from person to person and lighting up our darkness with His love and His Spirit. It's a sequel to this picture which started with a single, smaller flame.
See how great a flame aspires,
Kindled by a spark of grace!
Jesus' love the nations fires,
Sets the kingdoms on a blaze:
To bring fire on earth He came;
Kindled in some hearts it is:
O that all might catch the flame,
All partake the glorious bliss!
When He first the work begun,
Small and feeble was His day:
Now the word doth swiftly run;
Now it wins its widening way:
More and more it spread and grows,
Ever mighty to prevail;
Sin's strongholds it now o'erthrows,
Shakes the trembling gates of hell.
Sons of God, your Savior praise!
He the door hath opened wide!
He hath given the word of grace,
Jesus' word is glorified;
Jesus, mighty to redeem,
He alone the work hath wrought;
Worthy is the work of Him,
Him Who spake a world from naught.
Saw ye not the cloud arise,
Little as a human hand?
Now it spreads along the skies,
Hangs o'er all the thirsty land:
Lo! the promise of a shower
Drops already from above;
But the Lord will shortly pour
All the spirit of His love.
- by Charles Wesley, 1746
By Ramone - August 2, 2006
I haven't put up this picture until now because I felt a little strange about it... it's not a "positive" picture. But it is from God, and it is from His heart for us. Because of that--intercession--I'm putting it up here. I realize that prophetic art does not need to be necessarily positive, because all the things that God Himself sees are not always positive. What it does need to be is from His heart, and whatever in His sight will be redemptive and for our healing.
A year ago Yoko and I were reminiscing about a church we'd been members at some years earlier. We loved the people, but it was a difficult experience because a spirit of control entered the leadership and hit us pretty hard, as well as many others who left both before we did and after we did. As we talked about this, Yoko saw this picture.
God desires for His people to fly free in relationship with Him, but often churches (particularly charismatic churches) erect a sort of glass wall to keep people in. Usually it's called "covering", but the effect of it is to keep people dependent on the leadership instead of in personal flight with God. The process of transformation into a butterfly is difficult in such an environment.
As I said, I didn't want to put this up, but now I realize, "Who am I to sift what's on God's heart?" I had rushed to draw this picture instead of pray for what God was showing for intercession. So now I'm putting it up for the proper reason. Lord, here's that bit of Your heart for us, Your children, that You showed my wife. Please come in and break the different jars we erect to keep one another loyal to our ministries, and let us grow free and fly in You. In Jesus' name, amen.
See also: "Persecution" (at Weeping Jeremiahs)
Monday, September 24, 2007
Oil & Water
預言とは (Japanese Link)
By Ramone - September 12, 2007
I believe God is calling us to the heart of prophesying: To prophesy is a type of intercession— to receive His heart for someone He loves and give it to them. He’s calling us to radical intercessory love! For many reasons people at times cannot hear or feel God’s heart for them, even though He loves them intensely. He’s calling us to “stand in the gap,” to ask for & receive His heart for them, and then love them with His love—in action and in word—until they themselves can know, hear and feel His heart for them.
At the heart of things, "prophesying" is not some great or glorious thing. Rather, it is simply one way God has given (and still gives us) to practice His command to love one another. If that heart is not the beginning and end of what "prophesying" means to us, then we need to completely reset our hearts and understandings about what prophecy is and is not!!
It is helpful to remember that the ancient Hebrew word for "prophecy" (or "oracle") can also be translated "burden" (see footnotes for Habakkuk 1:1). Prophecy is receiving the burden on His heart, the thing to be lifted up, the burden to be received from Him, a burden to be taken back to Him, and the burden of His heart for all of us to be shared with one another. And what is on His heart? Ask Him! It is us. We all are on His heart. The nations are on His heart. Our neighbors are on His heart. The "sinners" down the street are on His heart.
Background Story to This Picture: The Purpose of Prophecy
Sometime last summer I had a few thoughts about "prophecy" and wrote them on the FAF forum. Then I sketched this picture, and promptly it went to the back-burner. But now I'm finally putting up a recently inked version with the thoughts in their rough form lest they get lost while trying to be smoothened out. (^_^)
#1 - Prophecy is not additive so much as it is reductive. In other words, it is not given to add teachings, but it is given usually to reduce us to Christ. It's given to remove obstacles out of the way of us resting in Christ and looking to Him in the simple faith of a child. Prophecy is one of God's ways of calling us back to Him when we have wandered from "the Way"---that is, from Christ Himself. Usually we wander away from Him Himself by going off into a lot of teachings and other things, etc.
#2 - After work tonight I was praying and thought about what I'd written earlier & the whole topic. I thought of 1st Corinthians 14 where Paul says to earnestly desire to prophesy, and suddenly I felt I understood from the Lord something very basic about this:
In 1 Cor.14, Paul is urging the church at Corinth to seek prophecy instead of tongues. But what is "a prophecy"? It's what the Lord is speaking. Prophesying is speaking the Lord's word. Instead of seeking to speak to each other in tongues, the Spirit (through Paul) is urging us to seek the Lord's word for each other!
He's urging us to ask Him for His word for our brother, for our sister. He's urging us to seek His heart for our brother, for our sister. He wants us to seek His heart for each other.
This is the "heart" of prophecy in the Church. It's not about seeking a gift, but rather about seeking the Lord on behalf of one another. He wants us to seek what's on His heart for each other, to receive it, and then to share it and bless one another.
I was blessed to understand this. God is wonderful. He had Paul urge the Corinthians to seek prophecy so that they would seek Him, His heart, and in so doing bless one another and share in agape love---love which "seeks not its own"---is it any wonder that this comes right after the "love chapter"!!
Still more wonderful is the promise behind this: God wants us to seek His heart for one another, and He does not call us to seek that which we may not find, so He is promising that if we seek His heart for one another, He will reveal His heart for us, for us ourselves, and for one another. He is so awesome, so loving, so full of agape love! It's all about His love, His love for us, and His love driving us to love one another---and in so doing, share in the blessing of His love, discovering His joy of why it is truly "better" to give than to receive.
Monday, September 03, 2007
The Harvest is Here
By Ramone - August 28, 2007
This picture comes from the story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man told in the gospels.
One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. The people heard that he had come home, and so many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.Just What They Needed to Hear
Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them on a mat, and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."
At this, some Pharisees and teachers of the law who were sitting there began thinking to themselves, "Why does this fellow talk like that? Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone? He's blaspheming!"
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . ." He said to the paralytic, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." He got up, took his mat, walked out in full view of them all, and went home praising God. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men. Amazed, everyone gave praise to God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!" and "We have seen remarkable things today."
As I dwelled on His love and this story, I began to think of how each of the people in the story felt. Jesus' first words to the paralyzed man strike me with His deep, deep love. I think we usually read those words as if He said them merely to prove a the point about Himself that He could forgive sins. But I believe that whatever He said to people back then (and says to us now today) is exactly what they needed to hear. I believe His words touched in each person a deep need, bringing His comforting love, just like His words do to us today.
Thinking of it through that love (Oh, Lord!) it seems like the paralyzed man needed to know that he was forgiven. (>_<) Jesus said,
"Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."I think that He said this because for some reason or another, the paralyzed man was discouraged. Not only that, but he was discouraged because he didn't know he was forgiven of his sins. He may have been so discouraged that he could not reach out to Jesus for himself, and his friends did that for him.
Spiritual Paralysis and Intercession
It says that "Jesus saw his friends' faith"... perhaps because he was so discouraged himself and felt somehow responsible? Don't we often feel that our problems (even physical handicaps) are a result of our sins? Even if we don't feel that way, how often do we have faith that we can be healed? And if we do feel unforgivable, how much less faith could we have of being worthy of healing! The sight of our sins is often too great for us to "get up and go ask Jesus" to heal our hearts, lives and bodies. Because of our sins, we--like this man--often feel beyond the reach of God's grace -- beyond the reach of His forgiveness, His healing for our bodies, and His healing for our souls.
He was "paralyzed" -- physically of course, but also spiritually. Spiritually he couldn't "get up and go to Jesus". His friends did that for him. They interceded! They loved him so much and had faith that Jesus was and is who He really says He is, so they picked him up and carried him to God. They literally punched a hole in the roof -- like God uses our intercession to part the heavens and touch people in need whom He loves so much!
If his friends had not interceded by carrying him in faith to God the Son, he would have likely remained not only discouraged and spiritually paralyzed (unable to go to God), but he probably would not have been healed either. Because he couldn't spiritually "get up and go to God", he couldn't learn that his sins were forgiven and he couldn't receive God's healing. Feeling that our sins are so great that we are beyond God's forgiveness keeps us spiritually paralyzed and often physically un-healed as well, preventing our wholeness in soul and body.
Paralyzed by Unforgiveness
I don't know if this man blamed himself for his condition, but Jesus' words "Take heart, your sins are forgiven" seem to hint at that. Sometimes things do happen that are our fault, but Jesus can always heal if it is His will. And even if our bodies are not always healed, our souls will be. He always has forgiveness for us if we come to Him and ask. Blaming ourselves paralyzes us from reaching out to Him, from even thinking that we have "the right" to ask Him to forgive and heal us.
This is true when we blame ourselves and believe we are unforgivable, but it is even more clearly true when we blame others and refuse to forgive them. This message in the gospels is like a loud trumpet cry of God's heart to embrace His view of others instead of our view through our own wounds and offenses. In the parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18), Jesus pictures unforgiveness as being a "prison" that we choose to keep ourselves in. We begin by withholding forgiveness from others, but the net effect is that we ourselves stay locked up -- because God has forgiven us already and has called us to flow in His love, that is, to let His love flow to others through us just as it has flown freely and undeserved to us through Jesus Christ.
(For more on this, see Matthew 18:14-35, 6:12-15 & Luke 11:4, Luke 6:37-38, 1 Corinthians 11:27-32, Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 7:1-2, Matthew 13:58 and Mark 6:5)
The Gift That Unlocks Prison Doors
Someone once said,
"To forgive is to set a prisoner freeSimply put, unforgiveness keeps us paralyzed, whether it is ourselves we are keeping unforgiven or others we are withholding forgiveness from. Forgiveness is God's gift to all of us in His Son's death, resurrection and life. Who are we to judge that something is beyond forgiveness? God is the Judge. And if He knows everything ahead of time -- all the terrible things that you and I have done or that have been done to us -- if He knew everything ahead of time yet gave His Son to die anyway, that means that nothing we do is beyond His ability to forgive. The only thing that will keep us back is our choice not to receive His forgiveness and our choice not to extend it to others. When we think that "our sin is too great" or "that person's sin is too great" for God to forgive, that's when we begin to choose to disbelieve Him and what He's done, and the flow of His healing love begins to be impeded and halted in our lives, souls and even in our bodies.
and discover the prisoner was you."
Someone else pointed out that of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, of all of His calls and "ministries", the very first thing Jesus gave us and called us to when He gave the Spirit was the gift of forgiveness!--
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.Like the disciples hiding with doors locked for fear of the Jews, we too "lock the doors" of our hearts because we are afraid. We have been hurt. We have seen people we love hurt, just like they saw Christ crucified. We have been wounded ourselves, and maybe others we love have been wounded. So we lock our hearts' doors to protect ourselves. We withhold forgiveness because we fear that if we forgive, we might be hurt again. If we forgive, people we love might be hurt again. Yes, but God's love is stronger and victorious! Just as God raised His crucified Son from the dead, so too God brings resurrection out of every one of our wounds if we give them to Him!
Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
- John 20:19-23
(Note: God will teach us how to forgive, but will also show us how to set protective boundaries so as not to get stuck in destructive or abusive situations and patterns in life.)
I know there's a lot of debate about these things, about how much we can forgive and about things "only God can forgive". Let me simplify this: if you can be offended by something, then you can forgive! Your soul will go into prison if you hold onto bitterness and judgment, and forgiveness in Him (just as He's forgiven you) is the only way out of prison! We are all the "unmerciful servant" who refused to forgive his brother. God has forgiven both us and our brother, and has given us the "keys of the kingdom" (repentance and forgiveness) with which we may "unlock" the doors to the prisons of our hearts, the prisons of unforgiveness, judgment and bitterness.
God has given us this "authority to forgive", just as Matthew wrote, "They praised God, who had given such authority to men." Whether or not the people we forgive experience the benefits of our forgiveness is not completely our choice, but we can cry out in His heart, "Lord, I choose to release them from prison; I choose to not 'make them pay' for what they've done anymore in Jesus' name!" and if we have kept ourselves in prison, we come into agreement with Him about how He feels about us, "Lord, I choose to release myself from having to 'pay' for my sins, because I see and choose to believe that You have paid the debt completely for me in Jesus."
The result of this agreement with God's heart (forgiving ourselves and forgiving others) is the release of healing waters to our souls (and often our bodies as well), and also the release of healing waters to other people as well. This is a big part of what Ezekiel meant by saying that the river of the water of life flowing the Temple brought life to seas of death, and a big part of what he and John saw about the leaves of the Tree of Life being "for the healing of the nations". God's Spirit in us is a well of salvation that wants to overflow to bless others around us, but bitterness, judgment and unforgiveness stop up this river from flowing out of us. As we choose to repent and forgive, the gates to our hearts are unlocked and the river pours forth! And where the river flows, there will be life.
Those words, "Take heart", now strike me as Him calling us to grab our hearts back! Take your heart back from sin, death, despair and wounds! Our hearts have been taken away from us, and our courage, faith and hope have been paralyzed. Jesus comes and says, "I AM!" and because of that, "Take your heart back!"
It also strikes me as Him saying,
"Take My heart! Your heart has felt condemned, holding yourself [or others] in condemnation and feeling you [or they] cannot be forgiven. But here I AM, here I AM with you reaching out to you to heal your spirit, soul and body! Here is My heart in My presence, in My love! Take MY heart for you, My son, My daughter! Take My heart for you instead of your heart of self-condemnation [or condemnation for others]! Let go of your judging yourself or judging others -- you don't need that anymore! The burden of unforgiveness is too heavy for you to bear! Leave justice to Me! I AM, and I will judge accordging to righteousness that is more wonderful and holy than anything you can conceive of. But My judgment is that I WANT YOU HEALED IN EVERY WAY!Bless you in His love! Go, release captives from prison! Be released from prison yourself! Set prisoners free, free from unforgiveness! Give sight to the blind -- show them God has forgiven them and you have too! Help the lame walk -- those cripped by unforgiveness! Release generations and families paralyzed by judging one another and keeping one another in unforgiveness! Release them from their prisons! Entrust judgment to God and choose to forgive as He has forgiven you and me, in Jesus' name! Amen!
So will you release yourself? Will you release others? Will you forgive them as I have forgiven you? Will you 'die' to wanting Me to punish them? I did not punish you and did not want to, and just as I love you, I love them and do not want to punish them, either, but I want them to come to repentance and life in Me. Will you extend your heart to them? Will you extend My heart to them, My child? Will you be healed? Will you join Me in My heart for others to be healed?"
See also: "Healing Unforgiveness" (at Weeping Jeremiahs)
Psalm 126 (b) - Intercession in Tears
By Ramone - August 26, 2007
See also: "Unclouded Eyes" (at Weeping Jeremiahs)
Psalm 126 (a) - The Return of the Captives
The Undersea Forest
By Ramone - February 27, 2006
One day I felt like taking only a few watercolor pencils with me to work, and on a break I didn't know what to draw, so I drew this. I wasn't going to put it up here, which is why I've waited so long. Surreal, yes. Meaning? I don't know. Well, but then recently in a discussion on the FAF forum someone mentioned this:
"...I agree that there was a catastrophic flood. In fact, we bought a book online about seven or eight years ago called When The Earth Nearly Died by two authors whose names I can't remember. (We loaned the book to someone and never got it back...) It was published in the United Kingdom, and the two authors were a geologist and some sort of social scientist. They were not Christian.The part about "forests of trees buried under parts of the USA" reminded me of this kind of random picture from so long ago. Connection? I don't know. Meaning? Let me know if the Lord whispers anything in your ear! Thanks. (^_^)
The fascinating thing about this book was that it built a compelling case for a catastrophic, world-wide flood at a relatively recent geologic age [considering these people were apparently not creationists]: about 11, 500 BC. (Of course, this date is not actually provable.)
They even gave compelling reasons to believe that much of the striation and other marks attributed to ice, generally, is more likely the result of water. They also discussed the presence of forests of trees buried under parts of the USA, etc etc.
It was a fascinating read, all in all...and most interesting coming from two men who did not approach the subject from the position of attempting to prove the reliability of the Bible."