Sunday, January 27, 2008
Fellowship of the Heart
By Ramone - January 19, 2008
This came when a sister in Christ made this comment on the FAF forum:
I listened to a sermon on Hebrews 4 yesterday. It was pointed out that water is most reflective when it is still. Ps 46:10 Be still and know I am God. When we are still and not struggling trying to earn approval from God, is when we are most reflective of God? I think it ties into being like Martha or Mary. I still struggle with just being still.I needed to hear it, because I've gotten "busy" and need to be in His presence, to be still. Just the next day, I think, I was melted when I read Psalm 105:4 in my little RSV Bible:
Seek the Lord and His strength,
Seek His presence continually!
Picking Up the Pieces (断片を集める)
By Ramone - January 12, 2008
Our hearts get broken in life, and God wants to heal them. We all have broken places inside... hurts, old wounds, fears, feelings of inadequacy and more. We try to forget these things, "be strong" and move on. Naturally we don't want to see these unhealed places inside of us anymore, but God knows that in order for us to be happy, our hearts must be healed and restored. That means that we will have to admit and face our broken places, but we don't have to face them alone anymore! Because God is with us, and He wants us to know our brokenness so that we can behold His loving healing! He knows exactly how to put our broken hearts back together and make them new! As we surrender our broken hearts and each one of our broken hurts to Him, He will take each one and bring healing. Give Him the shattered pieces of your broken hearts, and let Him put them back together. He loves you! The reason He came was to heal your heart!
Jesus, My Pilot
By Ramone - December 28, 2007
This is Jesus piloting me through my thoughts. One night I think I was kind of fearing or worried about different thoughts coming at me or taking over or just tired of the struggle with them. But then He showed me this, that He's taking me through the fog. He's my guide, my pilot and my boat-- forever and unto the end!
It occurred to me to look at the words to the old hymn, "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me" -
Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life's tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee;
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
While th' Apostles' fragile bark
Struggled with the billows dark,
On the stormy Galilee,
Thou didst walk upon the sea;
And when they beheld Thy form,
Safe they glided through the storm.
Though the sea be smooth and bright,
Sparkling with the stars of night,
And my ship's path be ablaze
With the light of halcyon days,
Still I know my need of Thee;
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
When the darkling heavens frown,
And the wrathful winds come down,
And the fierce waves, tossed on high,
Lash themselves against the sky,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me,
Over life's tempestuous sea.
As a mother stills her child,
Thou canst hush the ocean wild;
Boisterous waves obey Thy will,
When Thou sayest to them, "Be still!"
Wondrous Sovereign of the sea,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
When at last I near the shore,
And the fearful breakers roar
'Twixt me and the peaceful rest,
Then, while leaning on Thy breast,
May I hear Thee say to me,
"Fear not, I will pilot thee."
Withstanding the Flood
By Ramone - December 26, 2007
[Cross-posted at Sabbath-rest in Jesus blog with a few additional comments]
This is one of the saddest pictures I've drawn to date, and when I think of it I get hit in the Spirit and want to cry...
This is the person who clings to the Law because he thinks he must. He is afraid to let go for fear of being swept away. He can only see the danger of being swept away by sin -- he can't see the more powerful stream, no, the river of love that is pouring out from the Cross. When people tell him he doesn't need to hold onto the Law anymore, he sees them as saying a dangerous thing. And when he looks at them "resting" without Law, resting in the stream, they look like they are being swept away and they look "dead". He clings to the Law for fear of dying spiritually & morally if he doesn't.
And it gets heavier and heavier. And the Lord pushes him towards frustration so he will give up and let it go. Some of the drops of His grace and love flow over the top. Some break through (here they are breaking through the "Sabbath" because it points to Him). The Lord knows that if he doesn't let go, it will crush him. Like Christ cried, "I longed to heal you but you would not be healed", the Lord longs to heal him and bring him to rest, but he must let go. When he does he will see that wherever the river flows, it brings life and fruit.
But for now he is afraid to leave the shadows (the Law) because the shadow of the Law has always protected him (he's thought) both spiritually and morally.
You were wearied by all your ways,When I think of this and see this, I ache.
but you would not say, 'It is hopeless.'
You found renewal of your strength,
and so you did not faint. (Isaiah 57:10)
He said, "This is the resting place, let the weary rest";
and, "This is the place of repose" —but they would not listen.
So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:
"Do and do, do and do,
rule on rule, rule on rule;
a little here, a little there" (Isaiah 28:12-13)
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it." (Isaiah 30:15)
Lord, help us all see and let go. In Jesus' name, amen.
For more about how to rest from the fear of sinning, let go of the heavy Law and rest secure in Jesus's ability to keep us in His river, see this Sabbath-rest article: Life Without The Law - Finding Rest From Fear of Sinning
And to know that He has paid this debt (our debt to the Law) and has paid it all, see these pictures and the verses of truth under them: Before & After
Sunday, January 06, 2008
By Ramone - January 3, 2008
"And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."- Colossians 2:15 One night as I was laying in bed I began being assailed by temptations, and as I sought God's help this picture came. He has broken their power by the cross! Sometimes I forget that, but He is stronger. They have to obey in sight of what He has done. He has broken them, He has humiliated them, He has defeated them, He has triumphed over them. And so have I in Him.
As I hold onto this truth, onto Him, I see all my darkness break apart and it's just me and Him.
Thank You, God. Thank You.
By Ramone - January 2, 2008
On the night of New Year's Day I was sitting in the ofuro (Japanese bath) soaking and relaxing. Sometimes in the bath there are these little bubbles that appear all over your body, and I looked down and saw them on my chest. Randomly I began tracing on my chest -- a little curved-top box on my chest like a church out and wrote "Jesus" in it.
He's in me!
It was kind of a literal picture of what is true in Him and in the Spirit (in the realest "real"). And it felt good to see it, and weird... our natural disbelief has a hard time fathoming it! But I imagined it like a branding, a stamp, His seal, Himself! And I imagined wearing Him around (truth is, He wears me around!). And how indeed life does look different walking around knowing He is living in me & you!
I titled these pictures I drew that night "God's House". They could also be titled, "God's Temple". So often we mistakenly call a church building "God's house", but this is what Scripture specifically says:
"However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says:
'Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord.
Or where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things?' "
- Acts 7:48-50
"And we are His house"
- Hebrews 4:6
"...you are God's field, God's building."
"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own"
- 1st Corinthians 3:9, 3:16-17, 6:19
"Jesus replied, "If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."
...Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You... I in them and You in Me... I have made You 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."
- John 17:21-26
"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."
- I John 4:4
"Abide in Me, and I in you."
- John 15:4
By Ramone - November 28, 2007
When I was a Sabbatarian (someone who believed the Sabbath day must be kept) I somehow knew that there was no instruction in the New Testament for Christians to keep the Sabbath. I knew it was missing. When I ran across the word "Sabbath" in Hebrews 4, I finally saw "Sabbath" mentioned, but it was different and not good evidence for keeping Sabbath. It talked about God setting aside a day to enter His rest, and that day is "Today".
Yet when I was a Seventh-day Adventist missionary in '99-'00, I remember talking with my mission director about how Sabbath is in the New Testament contrary to what everyone said -- I said, "It's in Hebrews 4!" And he nodded in approval. I knew it didn't say what I wanted it to say, but I held it up as proof of our position.
Now, years later, I am no longer a Sabbatarian and have left Seventh-day Adventism. I learned that the Sabbath day was a shadow of the fulfilled rest that we have in Jesus Christ -- He is our rest! The Sabbath day was a type, a shadow like the sacrifices and other feast days. The true rest was to be found in Him who said,
"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light."I realized that Hebrews 4 talked about a BIGGER REST, something much larger than a "day", for it says --
"Now we who have believed enter that rest"We enter it by belief! By belief in the Son, Jesus Christ our God who has become "rest" for us. He is our rest from striving, our rest from works, our rest from trying to keep the law, our rest from sins, our rest from worrying about sinning. He is our eternal security, He Himself is our inheritance, and He is eternal life!
When thinking back on the conversation I had with my former director years ago, I realized that we saw only what we wanted to see. We wanted to see the Sabbath DAY, not the fulfilled Sabbath-rest, Jesus Christ. We cupped our hands around the rest of the passage, around the context, around what Scripture actually said. And we made it say what we wanted it to say. God has provided rest for us great and huge like a sunny blue day, but we wanted to be in the shadows! Even then I had the sense that there was something bigger the passage was talking about, something bigger going on, but I was trained to stay in the shadow and I could not fathom the great hugeness of the Light. I couldn't imagine something BIGGER. I couldn't imagine a BIGGER REST than the Sabbath day!
My eyes were blinded by the shadow, by the letter of the law (the ministry of death & condemnation), by the veil of Moses that Paul spoke about in 2nd Corinthians 3. But God is brighter and stronger! He has brought me out into the Light, and I can see clearly now -- and I don't have to be afraid of reading the context of Scripture and allowing it to say what it says! I don't have to cup my hands over it or ignore parts. Even if they're difficult and challenge what I think, I can trust Him to work it out -- because His Light is BIGGER! My own fleshy attempt to hold onto my idea will only be shadow and darkness. The pages of Scripture "light up" in the Light! In a word, I can rest now! I don't have to strive to "make it work"! He does it, and I rest in Him, in His finished work, in His explanation, and in His being GOD. I don't have to figure Him out. He is GOD. He will reveal Himself as He always has and always does.
I can only thank God for this, and I pray that He brings my friends, family, and former director out into the Light, into His freedom, and into His rest!