Tuesday, October 30, 2007
A Letter About What Prophetic Art Is
I thought I'd share an email I received from a sister in Christ last year (August '06) asking about what "prophetic art" is. I wrote a response which I thought was worth sharing here. At that time I was still a bit uncomfortable with calling the art God had given me "prophetic art", but as I've mentioned recently, God's helped me past that self-imposed shyness. (^_^)
Hi Ramone,(My reply)
I've enjoyed your pictures ... While looking at your recent "Swimming" artwork [1,2], I browsed through your Tatami Gallery. Under "Early Pics", I saw that you wrote about first getting involved it. I was really fascinated by how you described God working through your creativity to reveal, and teach, while also glorifying and worshipping Him. I went to the link for Gwen Meharg and visited her website where she mentions "prophetic art". I visited the forum for prophetic artists on that webpage to try and find out more about it. What exactly is prophetic art?
I'm really fascinated by this, but I'm not real sure I completely understand it. I don't even understand it enough to know how to ask about it. I guess what I'm trying to get at, is that I think this may be something I'm interested in "trying out". I have played around with sketches my whole life. I've always loved the idea of drawing -- I've taken several art classes before, and doodle ALL the time. I've mostly drawn still life type of things, and lack the creativity for more abstract drawings although that's the type of art that I appreciate the most. I'd love to be able to "release" this creativity if possible by God's Spirit. Your experience and others really speak to me. Music is my primary outlet for worship (which I love as well), but I think that worshipping through art may be another way God is calling me to worship Him. I'm not certain until I really try, I guess. But how does one start? The idea of "being moved by the Spirit" is still pretty new to me...
A Sister in Him
Hi Sister in Jesus,
Prophetic art... I don't usually use the term, even though technically it's correct. The reason I don't is probably because a lot of the stigma associated with the word... it can either sound wacky, or like you're trying to elevate your art, or something like that. But essentially, that's definitely what it is: It's art received from God. Pictures from Him. [10/2007 note: He's helped me reconcile with the term 'prophetic art' as I've mentioned already.]
Yes, it's all connected to knowing the Holy Spirit. The idea that He can and does directly communicate to us is something that I didn't grow up with, either. I didn't know it was a big, big part of our inheritance in the New Covenant! But you know, we're used to the idea that Satan can put thoughts in our head and even can put disgusting pictures in our mind, so why can't God do the same thing with His thoughts and pictures? Basically we haven't been taught that God can do this stuff... we've heard mainly that the Spirit only speaks through the Scriptures. But the Scriptures do not say that the Spirit is confined to speaking through Scripture---Scripture only says that what we hear from spirits must be tested by Scripture. God can and does speak to us outside of the Scriptures, but never against them.
The idea of Him giving pictures to people is something I first ran into in late 2000 when I began my exodus from Adventism. I was led out of Adventism by the Holy Spirit, basically (see my ""exit letter"). I was led to a friend's home who knows the Spirit. My friend is a prophetic intercessor and a prophet. The word can make many people nervous, but if we keep focused on Jesus we don't need to worry about anything 'cause He's got us (and it doesn't matter whether or not my friend is "recognized" or not).
I learned a lot of this in prayer meetings at my friend's home. We would gather in her living room and pray for one another. We'd worship and we'd wait on the Spirit, but prayer was the main thing. We'd lay hands on whoever needed prayer and often the Lord would give a word or a picture in response to the prayer (sometimes even before the prayer began to be prayed). But when He shows something, interpretation isn't something that we do, you know? If we don't understand what we see (and even if we do think we understand!), we need to immediately go back to the Lord with what He's shown and ask, "Lord, what does this mean?" and sometimes, "Is this really You??" He'll explain what He gives. He's faithful like that! (^_^)
So the first exposure I got with this was in the context of prayer. Many Christians (as you can see on different internet sites) also receive pictures from the Lord and do art with them, but I hadn't quite accepted that was something He'd do with me because of my background with art (I believed that my "best stuff" came when I was depressed).
By the way, not all "prophetic art" is from the Lord. Just as there is a real Spirit, there are also other spirits, and not everything one sees is always from the Lord. Once in awhile I see something that is kind of distracting or off the point (that is, the gospel). Other times there are things which just seem 'iffy' or very borderline.
For that, I remember an experience I had when I first discovered the prophetic movings of the Spirit in the Body. I was soaking up everything! I was looking at every "word" I could find, every utterance from prophets posted on the internet. It was hard to keep up! After time I also noticed that not everything was spot-on (often far from it, I now realize). But I began to get exhausted keeping up, and through that the Lord let me know that I didn't have to know and hear everything. Not everything was for me. That's one reason I didn't always understand what I read (or pictures that I saw)... many of them are in a context that is not known to me. I can't immediately judge everything, you know? (Unless it's obviously contra-Scripture). And even more liberating is knowing that I don't have to judge everything. I can leave it and move on.
The biggest reason behind this is that ultimately God wants to speak to us directly, not through a third person. Third person speaking (i.e., the prophetic) is something that He does, but the purpose of it is different than it was in the Old Testament when He only anointed a few leaders to intercede and speak His word to the people. Now He desires to fill all and intimately know all. When I focus on searching out all the prophetic words that have come through others, I'm kind of forgetting that I can talk to Him and hear Him right now. (^_^) Although it's exciting to know what He's been speaking to others in their situations, it's not necessary. Sometimes He speaks to me through what He's told someone else, and that's awesome. But I don't need to look for it. He might have me search once in awhile, but usually I learn that after the fact. The dialogue between you and Him is the main thing.
As for "doing" this kind of art, there's some advice that Gwen Meharg gave me, and then there are a few things I've jotted down to myself as 'notes' about doing it. It's a little different for everyone, and often I lapse and forget what I wrote in my memos, but that's okay.
1) The focus is worship and intimacy with Him, not "art".There are different types of this kind of art, of course, and I'm sure it's different for everyone. Some people "see" a picture. Others feel it. Others kind of just "know" it. And other times it's just a good idea.
2) Because of that, you don't bring "God" into your art. Instead, you bring your art into your time with God. Take a pad and pencil with you into your time with Him. Of course it's still easy for me to get distracted by what I'm doing/drawing and forget the main thing, the "one thing", which is intimacy with Him--like Mary discovered at His feet! In those times when I forget, I think He "turns off" my ability to do art, haha, so that I'll seek Him. Either that or He lets it become dry and mechanical so that my hunger for Him increases!
3) One thing Gwen sometimes does and I've done a few times is write Scripture on the paper before beginning. It's kind of nice. (^_^)
4) It's not about technique---it's about heart. His heart!
5) A big part of this is "being still" and waiting on God. And asking Him. "Lord, is there anything You'd like to show me? Is there anything I can paint for You?"
When I was an art major for a short time, I used to always want to find some great idea, something that said something, you know? I used to strive after the kind of surrealism that Dali did (but without the perversion, haha). But I always got stuck in my efforts and in constructing it. Having God start dropping in pictures really took away that burden. (^_^) [10/2007 note: I still have trouble describing how relieving it is to have these things from Him! How much of a relief having His heart showing me pictures! Thank You, God!]
Basically, my advice is just to give it to God... ask Him if this is something He'd like to do through you, and wait on Him in His presence. Keep your materials handy, and sketch if you need to. But don't worry.
Sometimes you just get the itching to draw or paint something, but you don't know what it is or it will turn out to be if anything at all. I think a lot of Gwen's pictures come this way. I'm a little more "head-oriented"... haha, I always want to know what I'm going to draw before I break out the pen, you know! But He's used me both ways. I think I've learned slowly that it's good to not limit Him by saying "He always works this way for me" or "He can't work this way for me." He's GOD, after all. (^_^)
Oh, and of course, He can do this with any and all art forms! Whether art, music, poetry, dance, or anything. He's awesome that way. You can actually find it in the Bible... in Exodus He says that He's filled such and such person with His Spirit to design things for the Tabernacle, etc. For example, one of my friends in California used to receive songs (and probably still does).
Okay, sorry, this email has been all over the place, but I hope it helps! Any other questions? (^_^)
I like this definition of "prophetic art":
It's simply "art from His heart". (^_^)
Blessings in His wonderful love!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
By Ramone - October 23, 2007
My victory is here.As I look upon the cross (what He has done), I know who I am. But as I look at myself to see how much transformation has taken place, I can't see anything and still feel like a worm. But as I look at Him, I see it is done, I know who I am, and I fly free in Jesus! I died with Him and have been raised with Him. The rest of my life I'll be gradually discovering what has *already* become true on the cross by what He did--exchanging our histories! I was raised with Him from death!
The more & more I'm transformed
from Glory to Glory,
the more & more I see
that it's because of His love
in the cross!
the more I behold Him
and what He has done!
It has done it for me!
He has done it!
And He has done it
See also: "Finished Work" (Heart For Adventists link)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Prophetic Art - A Few Tips
At the beginning of this month, a friend was wanting to get back into art and didn't know if the Lord would use her that way, so I typed up some tips--things I've learned--as I've been on this journey with the Lord in life and in art. I pray you're blessed! If they help, great! If they don't, great! Because it's between you and the Lord above all! (^_^)
A couple quick "art" tips to help you maybe get started ---
1) As you know, it comes out of the secret place with Him. However, sometimes you put the pencil/brush/pen/whatever to the canvas/paper/wood/whatever before you know what you're going to do. It is different for everyone. That's rule #1. I've read different things by different prophetic artists, and I don't think anyone's described it the way that I've experienced it. Just like none of us completely hears God the same, so I think this can be difficult if we approach it the way someone else experiences it.
2) Winston Churchill apparently used to paint. There's this story of him setting up his canvas on an easel and then pondering with his brush what to paint. He apparently stood there staring at the blank canvas for a long, long, long time. A lady who was watching finally went up to him and grabbed the brush out of his hand and made some big splotches on the canvas! After that, he was able to paint. I think you understand. (^_^)
3) Experiment -- it will be different from the art you have done before. But just like babies learn to crawl before they take steps, so I think it's often the same with this. But not aways. Just usually. (^_^) It's a new experience. Maybe don't approach it the way you approached art before. Or, it's possible God might use it the way you did it before. Experiment.
4) Try small pads, etc., if you don't have time to start something bigger. They can be easier to carry around. Sketching can be good, too. I miss working big, though. (^_^) In His time! And also, when I sit down to make time! (Lord, help me!)
5) Sometimes it helps if you write a prayer or a verse on the paper first, and then draw/paint/whatever on top of it. Many people listen to worship music while doing this. Many other do it during worship services.
6) Ask Him, above all! Everything in His timing. And if He wants to speak, He'll give you something to speak. However, that is not the only avenue...
7) Not all art need be "prophetic" (messages from Him to us). Art can be (and should be!) worship as well, from you to Him. You can make art that simply adores His beauty. You can make 'thank You' art. You can make art that you pray will touch His heart. Or others'. Here's a question that my friend RK always asks: What do you want to do? God isn't always against our wishes. Take a Psalm 131 minute to "wean your soul" in stillness, and in that stillness look inside of you and see what you want to do. He's created a new spirit in you, a spirit born from above, born of His Spirit. That spirit in you is you, and your greatest joy is to worship and "love on" Him. See what you (the spirit in you) want to do. (It may not be "art", but that's okay...)
8) Gwen Meharg told me something good: Don't bring God into your art, but bring art into your time with God. As you're worshiping God, loving on Him, reading Scripture, praying, whatever! As you're doing that, keep your sketchpad nearby. The focus is on being with Him; just bring art into your time with Him.
P.S. I don't know how you did art before, but for me, there were a few hang-ups that prevented me from getting back into it: depression, ego, and lack of subject/idea.
I seemed to do the best stuff when I was depressed or by accident. Finally I decided not to risk my inner sanity for the sake of art. I hated being that disgusted and unhappy, so I chose to put art down. The truth was my soul needed some healing inside. And not only that, but it was a lie from the enemy that I could only do "good stuff" while depressed or unhappy. Later, after He gave me art back, I had to reject that lie in Jesus' name.
Secondly, most artists struggle with ego & praise. I don't know how exactly to describe this, but it was there in me. Basically I think it grew from experiencing rejection -- and it's resulting seeking of affirmation from others. And even when that affirmation came, I would feel ashamed that I got it and still crave more but not being satisfied when it came. You get the idea. That needed to be smashed.
There is this great little C.S. Lewis book called "The Great Divorce" (which has nothing to do with "divorce" at all). In the book there's a scene in heaven where one character (a saved person) talks to a condemned person who is visiting heaven from hell. The condemned person is an artist and is upset because he didn't bring his materials to paint what he sees in heaven. The saved person tries to tell him that he needn't paint, but enjoy seeing. The condemned artist can only think about painting... he can't enjoy seeing. That helped me. I needed to tell my ego that God's going to get all the glory in the end anyways, hehe.
Lastly, subject. I was always stuck for subjects. In class when the subject was a person (figure drawing), it was great & fun & easy. I loved figure drawing class! But later I would always get stuck trying to think of some deep or grand idea. Part of that was ego, but part of it was also a longing for something deeper, and a longing to say & do & make something that really mattered, that had real substance. I wouldn't know that until I knew Jesus. And even then, not until later when He gave me back the gift after seeing some prophetic artists online like Gwen Meharg. And then He took me through getting rid of this junk above.
What Is Prophetic Art?
Simple answer: It is art that is born of communication between you and God.
For awhile I have resisted using the term "prophetic art" on this website. The "P" word makes many people nervous. I grew up in a church that was founded on the writings of someone they called a "prophet", but which were unbiblical and caused a lot of bondage. People who leave that church (for Christ) are often very nervous about the "P" word after that, and I completely understand why.
I'm not a stranger to God moving prophetically through others. I know He can and does gift people that way (mind you, it must "resonate" in us because His primary way of leading us is by the Holy Spirit's inner witness inside you personally). But I've been shy of saying my art is "prophetic".
However, things have happened in my life and the Lord is convicting me that it is the proper term for the kind of art He usually gives me. It is born of the relationship between us, between Daddy & me. And it is indeed "prophetic" not because of anything "me", but because of Him! It's prophetic because it comes from Him, and He is prophetic!
"Prophetic Art" is simply art that comes from talking with God. God is the Prophetic One! He is real and He still speaks to us today! He's alive and desires intimate relationship with us. This is art that comes as I've shared my heart with Him and He's shared His heart with me. I pray that it not only shares my heart, but His heart as well. He's blessed me with these pictures, and I pray that He blesses you with them, too, and even more.
(For more about the heart of "prophecy", see "Prophecy is...")
I should add that not all of the pictures on this site are what I would consider "prophetic" art. Sometimes they're just my ideas. Sometimes they come from Him. Sometimes they're worked out between something He showed me and something I added to it. Once in awhile I've not painted something the way He showed me (and I usually regret it, haha). There's a lot of variety here, and I can't always spell things out. Sometimes, especially recently, He has taken some old pictures I thought were not inspired, and has filled them with color and meaning. The "prophetic" thing is Him, and being in relationship with Him almost everything takes on a prophetic dimension, just because Hallelu Yah, that's who He is! (^_^)
As I recently was trying to go to sleep one night, in prayer and talking with Him, He gave me two more pictures. You know, there are times with Him when He shows you something or tells you something about your life, and it just leaves you hopping with joy in Him. He is soooo awesome! I quickly sketched the two pictures He gave me that night, and because I was so happy and hopping in His joy, I wrote down thanks to Him:
Jesus, You're awesome. Thank You for these two pictures. Thank You, Lord. It's from You, but it's my story! It's you writing a letter from You on my heart! Thank You. Let me know always that this is You! This is Your handwriting (so to speak!) on my life!
This is "prophetic" ...yes! You're calling us all to a prophetic relationship with You, a prophetic intimacy ("into-me-see"... and You reply, "into-Me-see!") with You and seeing through Your eyes!
Get used to it! This is what "prophetic" means! It means communicating with You. Thank You!!!
Help me do these, Lord, for You & for all on Your heart help me. In Jesus' name, Amen! (^_^)
A few "tips" I wrote about prophetic art:
A letter I wrote about what prophetic art is:
Since I think prophetic art is a little different for everybody, below I'm listing a few links to pages where you can read what other people have said about it. Blessings!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Behind the Clouds
By Ramone - Summer 2003, finished October 22, 2007
Part 2 (see Part 1)
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
Fire goes before Him
and consumes His foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim His righteousness,
and all the peoples will see His glory!
- Psalm 97:1-6
The wheat is us, His precious harvest whom He is bringing home. The clouds which in their blackness seemed like the enemy are the "clouds of thick darkness" which surround the Lord. As I looked at the picture in my spirit of the wheat and the large black clouds, I seemed to see some light behind them between the cracks of the clouds, coming from behind them.
His coming will look dark to many of us, much darker than what we expect... not the "glory" and trumpets of majesty or conquest we would desire, but instead trumpets of His righteous judgment calling mankind to repentance. Dark clouds will precede His coming, and most of the world--even most churches--will think that the clouds are the enemy. Bad things, judgments, persecution of the church.
But the clouds are GOD! God is behind them, and He is coming! If we look, He will show us His light in their cracks, and He will fill us with His heart and awe because He is coming riding on these clouds! He is behind them, in them and above them! The Lord comes to judge the earth, Hallelu Yah! And when the Lord judges the earth, the people of the world learn His righteousness, Hallelu Yah!
See also: "Saved For This Hour" (at Weeping Jeremiahs)
Sunday, October 21, 2007
By Ramone - October 16, 2007
"I wish that all the Lord's people were prophets
and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them!"
- Numbers 11:29
Yes, fulfilled in Jesus, fulfilled in the New Covenant!
Thank You, Lord!
This picture came back on September 2, actually, and it's just taken me some time to paint it and write about it. It came about the time that I felt the Lord convict me that I needed to understand that this art He's given me is "prophetic art", and that I needed to say so on this site and write about it (I wrote about it here).
I wanted to draw a picture of it, and as I thought of the verse from Numbers (written in Japanese on the picture), this is what I saw -- or actually, it's more of what I felt: the Lord kind of throwing open His arms and throwing His Spirit out to us. I called it "Moses' Wish" but really, it is God's wish! He has wanted to give His Spirit to us all much more than Moses wanted, much more than even we wanted!
As I began to paint it, I began to talk to Him more about it and be in His presence, and He melted me in His love with a few thoughts:
This is You giving Your Self to us! Your love! Your Spirit! You putting Yourself in us!
This is Your love for Your people! Like a husband & wife... we want to open ourselves and give everything inside, our deepest most open opening to give ourselves to one another. This is You doing the same, opening Yourself & giving us Your inmost everything, Your heart, Your soul, Your very Spirit.
Jesus Family Children
By Ramone - September 30, 2007
Recently I've been trying to get us out to Jesus Family Center more often. It's one of the closest churches to us, at which we like the people and feel comfortable with what they believe, etc. It's casual & not ritualistic or rigid, which is nice. One of the reasons I've been wanting to go more often is not merely to "connect with the Body next door", but because I want my son to grow up with the children there.
When we took him there a month or two ago for the first time, there was the expected fawning over the new baby, but then lots of people wanted to hold him, too! I hadn't experienced that before, so I was a little like, "Um... well... o..k..?" and before I knew it he was being passed from one person to another and was on the other side of the room! Then some of the children were holding him and playing with him! They were happy to hold him and wanted to have fun with him and include him in with their fun! I thought, yes indeed, I want my son to experience this kind of love among children!
Some weeks later we went to the Saturday night worship and because Timothy was relaxed and took a nice long nap, we ended up staying for the whole thing. As the worship began in song, the children who were there that evening got together in their own area and began holding hands, jumping up and down and worshiping! They were excited and happy to worship God! It was exciting to them -- they held hands and danced around in circles, held up their hands and touched each others' hands in the air, and jumped around in pure joy to be worshiping God!
It was a bit shocking to me! I had never seen children just be joyful when worshiping God. It's always been how do you say -- restricted? Boring? Forced? When I was little (and at most churches I've seen) the children would rather have been somewhere else. "Song service" was not looked forward to. But somehow these kids danced around in the joy of the Lord.
Some people might be offended or think such a thing is improper, but you know, when Jesus came into Jerusalem it was the kids who paved the way with their joyful unrestrained worship, their praises even holding the stones back. When the religious people were offended at the kids' noise and what they said, Jesus told them that God said, "Out of the mouths of babes I have perfected praise."
Well, God, thank You! Let me too dance like a child in Your presence! And let my wife and I and my son all grow up together in Your presence, dancing like the children we are, like the sons & daughters that You've made us to be. And bring this kind of freedom and restoration to Your Body all over the world, Lord, in Jesus' name, amen!