Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Trust in the Lord
(click a picture to see it larger)
By Ramone - May 27, 2008
Yesterday I sat down to study the Bible together with Yoko and her sister. Earlier in the day when I thought about what to study, I knew we could pick up from where we left off last time, but... I had the impression from the Lord that my sister-in-law (who had suggested having a study that day) had something to bring, something to share, something that He had put in her for us.
So I asked and she mentioned Proverbs 3:5-6,
Trust in the Lord with all your heartAs we talked about it, I felt the Lord nudge with the idea to visualize this, like a path, with things in our lives in front of us like tiles or squares to step in.
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.
There are a lot of different "things" each of us sees before us, and we don't know how they all will fit together. Often it seems impossible. And then often we try to figure how and in what order. Some things seem really distant. Some things are in front of us, not by our choice. Other things are dreams, ideas, visions, hopes and plans. And then there are just things that need to be done which we haven't been able to get to yet.
I encourage you to try this, just like we did. Draw yourself and then put ahead of you all the things on your path (or that you think are on your path or that you want on your path). Most of us naturally feel stressed --and a twinge of hopelessness-- when we see this. Don't be afraid of it, because that's what He wants to give us rest about.
After you've written this out, take Proverbs 3:5-6 and put it in big, bold letters over the whole picture, and spend some time in God's presence reflecting on it, and talking to Him. Let Him speak to you that this is true for you in each of the things on your path. Ask Him what He's saying to you. And ask Him where He is leading you (He "goes before you" in everything - John 10:4).
Choose to lay down each thing, to surrender to His understanding. Choose to trust that He will make your paths straight. We can't see how, but we can trust that in His sight (picture #3) our paths are in His hands. In His eyes our path is straight. And He will make it straight for us as we rest in Him and trust in Him.
Thank You, Jesus, my shepherd, for making my paths straight. I can't see how, but You can see all things. I don't know how this and this and that will fit, but You do. There are some places I know I have to go, and yet I don't want to. There are other places I want to go but I'm afraid You won't take me. Jesus, I surrender these each to You now, one-by-one, in Your name, Jesus. I trust that You are my good shepherd who loves me. And You go before me. My rest is in following You. In each thing You are leading me to the "waters of rest" (Ps.23:2). Bless You, Jesus. Thank You. I choose to see in faith that You make my paths straight, that You have seen all, and You have already made my paths straight. Grant me continuing trust and eyes of faith tos ee as You see, and when I can or can't see, to trust You at all times. You are my understanding. I love You, Jesus.
Bless you in Jesus.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
By Ramone - May 26, 2008
As far as the east is from the west,Sacrifices, Shadows, and Fulfillment
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
- Psalm 103:8-12
There are just so many sacrifices in the Old Testament! It's incredible, mind-blowing, and beyond fathoming. Growing up I knew Jesus was the "lamb", but I was woefully ignorant of how rarely it was actually a "lamb" that was sacrificed. Most often it was a bull, goat or a ram. Sometimes a heifer. Sometimes a calf. Sometimes a lamb. Sometimes a dove, etc. As I look through the book of Leviticus, it becomes obvious that each one of these sacrifices in some way represented Jesus. I can't always understand exactly how each one points to Him, but I know that each one does.
Resting in Him, you'll see that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of everything. He is the beginning and the end of every prophecy. He is the beginning and end of every type. Every service and shadow and type was of Him. He was there before they were written and began, and He is their fulfillment.
In seeking to understanding shadow and type, ask Him first to guide you. And then start with the Light, not with the shadow. Don't force the Light to fit in the shadows. In other words, don't force something in Christ's life to fit every aspect of the ceremonies. It's the other way around. Start backwards instead. Start with Christ who is the fulfillment, and then the things of the shadows will become clear.
Almost every aspect of the Old Covenant tabernacle/temple prefigured Christ. This is especially true and clear for the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the highest and most important day of the Hebrew year. Not only did He represent each one of the five sacrifices on that day, but He was also the Priest, the Burned Incense, the Curtain, the Mercy Seat, etc. While each detail and aspect points to Him, it is the sacrifices which are perhaps the easiest to recognize Him in.
This is addressed in the book of Hebrews, chapter 10:
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming [that is, a shadow of Christ] --not the realities themselves [compare this verse with Colossians 2:16-17]. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship... But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.Each sacrifice that the Law required was a shadow of the One Sacrifice. Each bull, each goat, lamb, ram, heifer, dove and pigeon -- each of these were a shadow of the One sacrifice, the body of Jesus Christ. None of those animals actually took away sin. They were each shadows of the One who would "take away" our sins, never to be seen again:
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, He said:"Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,First He said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). Then He said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
but a body You prepared for Me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
You were not pleased.
Then I said, 'Here I am--it is written about Me in the scroll・
I have come to do Your will, O God.' "
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this Priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God... because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"Why were so many sacrifices necessary? Because there are so many aspects of what Christ did that we could not understand His sacrifice any other way. One innocent animal sacrifice would not be sufficient enough to shadow everything that the perfect, spotless, innocent and loving Creator Jesus Christ did for us in His death.
- John 1:29
He appeared so that He might take away our sins.
- 1 John 3:5
Sins Taken Away!
The concept of "taking away sin" is one that simply blows me away. Not only did He "forgive" us for our sins, but He took them away! Think about this. If He had merely forgiven our sins, the root of original sin & rebellion inside us would still be there. We would still be stuck with this iniquity, this propensity to sin. He would have forgiven us, but we would mess up again and we would worry that His sacrifice wouldn't cover us anymore.
But His mission was not only to grant us forgiveness, but to take away our sins. This is part the very name He was given before He was born! The angel told Joseph,
"You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save his people from their sins."Not only would He "forgive" us (as wonderful as that is!), but, He would save us from our sins! That means He would take our sins away from us. He would take our original sin away from us. He would take away our iniquity, our soul's propensity to sin and bent-on-rebellion nature. He would take away "sin itself" by becoming our sin for us (2 Cor.5:21).
- Matthew 1:21
Lord, when I think of this, I am blown away and struggle to believe it. I've faced my own sins for so long, so often, and sometimes it's hard to believe that You've taken my sin away. You've taken away my propensity to sin. You've taken away my divided heart. Oh, God, You make me weep! You've taken away my bent toward rebellion. You've taken away my lawlessness.
You not only saved me from punishment -- You not only saved me from Your wrath against sin -- but You have saved me from sin itself. Thank You, Lord. Bury this truth deep, deep in my heart, Lord, and help me understand that I may see I have truly been set free from sin in You. Thank You, Lord Jesus. In Your name I praise You and thank You! Amen!
This is pictured for us in the sacrifice of the "scapegoat" on the Day of Atonement. Two identical, perfect, defect-less goats for a sin offering would be brought to the high priest to make atonement with. Lots were cast over them, and one would be slain. Its blood would be taken into the Most Holy Place. We know this represented Jesus, the Lamb of God who was slain for our sins.
But what happened to the other goat? This one had all of Israel's sins confessed on its head by the high priest. It was then taken into the desert away from Israel and either released or pushed off a cliff. This was the "scapegoat". Both goats were part of the same picture of Christ's atonement. The picture is not complete without both goats.
In Isaiah 53 it says that Jesus was "cut off" and "taken away"... this is the punishment mentioned throughout Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy for certain sins and for breaking the covenant. For certain things the punishment was being "cut off" from the people. For example, transgressing the commands of Sabbath or Circumcision each resulted in two punishments:
2) being "cut off"
After "death", of course, it seems like "cut off" is moot! But because the Jews saw being "gathered to one's people" as something that happened after you died, being "cut off" would not only mean being cut off from the living covenant community, but also losing your inheritance in the afterlife -- not being gathered to your fathers when you died. Yet it's more than that still, because "living" in the afterlife meant that God accepted you when you died. So being "cut off" ultimately meant being cast out of God's presence after you died.
The first goat of Yom Kippur was the sacrifice that represents the first punishment -- death. The second goat of Yom Kippur (the scapegoat) is the sacrifice that represents the second punishment -- being cut off from the presence of the covenant community, and being cut off from the presence of God.
In the same way, Adam was "cut off" by having to leave the Garden of Eden. He was driven out & cut off because he ate the fruit. It was part of his curse. And in the same way, his son Cain was "cut off" after he killed his brother Abel. He was driven away and had to leave God's presence as his punishment, as his curse. He became "accursed". Both Adam and Cain were guilty and were "cut off" because of it in respectively different degrees. However, in contrast...
Christ, my 'Scapegoat'
Christ was innocent of sin. Like the innocent scapegoat, an animal that had done nothing wrong. Think of what "scapegoat" means in English! "One that is made to bear the blame of others." We say someone is made a "scapegoat" when others put the blame the person for bad things that they did. We say someone is a "scapegoat" when the punishment falls unjustly on an innocent person instead of on the guilty people who were responsible.
In the same way, Jesus became accursed for us (Galatians 3:13). Deuteronomy 21:23 says that anyone hung on a tree is "accursed." This could explain why the religious leaders were so intent on having Jesus crucified -- they wanted Him to be hung on a tree so that everyone would see Him as being accursed by God.
Yes. Exactly. That was God's plan. I believe that in a sense He became every curse for us -- that is, all the curses of transgressing the Law fell upon Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says,
"He became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."Thank You, God! My heart is torn again with Your love, Your sacrifice! Thank You! I can't stop crying as I write these and praising and thanking You! Thank You!
In Isaiah 6:7 an angel touches Isaiah's lips with a coal from the altar and says,
"See, this has touched your lips;Many Christians historically see this as a picture of partaking of Christ's body (the sacrifice on the altar). This shows the two-fold result of being touched by the Holy, by Christ's sacrifice:
your guilt is taken away
and your sin atoned for."
1) sin is atoned for
2) and taken away
Aaron is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites--all their sins--and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert... The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place.Thank You, Jesus! Thank You, my Lord! Thank You for doing this, for becoming this for us! Merely recognizing You and calling You the "scapegoat" wrings my heart and makes me choke up and cry, Lord! You are the one who did not deserve this! We deserved this, I deserved this, Lord, not You! The Scapegoat. The Scapegoat for me. My Scapegoat, Lord.
- Leviticus 16:21-22
John saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
- John 1:29
My righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities...
He was taken away... He was cut off... for the transgression of My people
...We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
- Isaiah 53:11,8,6
So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.
- Hebrews 9:28
It hurts to call You 'my' scapegoat, Lord! I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, Lord! But I recognize You did this of Your own free will, You did this out of love for me. Thank You, Lord, the Willing Scapegoat for me, for us all. Thank You. It was not fair in my eyes, but in Your eyes it is holy. It is Your love. It is Your grace. Thank You, Lord. Teach me Your love, fill me with Your heart, Jesus. Amen.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!
It's just wonderful and humbling to hear Christ saying through the Scriptures,
"I am the scapegoat. I am the innocent one who took the blame, who took the fall. It was your sins, but I accepted them and took them away from you so that you may have life and live with Me forever."Jesus, I don't know what to say! Thank You for taking our sins, for taking our blame, for taking our punishment. For being "cast out" and "cut off" for us, for being "driven out" and forsaken as we should have been. Just as we (in Adam) were driven out from the Garden, You as our Scapegoat were driven out of Your Father's presence because of our sins, not Yours. You were without sin, a holy offering. Thank You, Lord, for taking this "cutting off" for us. Thank You, Jesus. You are the scapegoat, You are the one who was cut off for us. I bless Your name, Jesus. Amen.
About the picture...
The goat is "white" representing His purity. The dirty yellowish color is the "desert" of our sins where the goat was taken to and died. The "red" is His blood poured out for us because of our sins, our blood-guilt, that He carried on Himself, that He bore away as far as the east is from the west, never to be seen again.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, our Scapegoat, because You went to the dry and barren place for us so that we don't have to go there. Thank You.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,----------------------------------
slow to anger, abounding in love...
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His love for those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
- Psalm 103:8-12
Update, October '09: Ironically, on Yom Kippur during a prayer meeting, I received a second picture of Christ the Scapegoat.
Monday, May 26, 2008
By Ramone - May 25, 2008
On May 18th Yoko, Timothy and I went to visit a small Vineyard church in Maryland called Tapestry Church because we wanted to visit a church and we felt God led us to that one. We enjoyed fellowshiping with them and eating and talking with Pastor Dustin, and were blessed by their love and beauty in Jesus and His simple call and great heart.
During the worship I received God's heart and a word, which I shared with the pastor later by email:
...Here is what God put in my spirit as we were worshiping today, which I felt was part of that call you spoke of that He's given us to love our communities and the peoples of the world on His heart. During the song "Let Your Glory Fall" (one of my favorite songs), the line was sung, "Would You release Your anointing?"After I emailed him, I shared what I'd written with some close spiritual friends. Hazel, my spiritual mum, wrote back:
The word "anointing" usually means "power" to most charismatic Christians... miracles, healings, signs and wonders, etc. And there's no end to new "anointings" to be received at a meeting, etc. Sometimes it's real, and other times I wonder. But nevertheless, this happens because the thing we think we're waiting for is God's "outpouring of power", so to speak, waiting for is Him to release His power, and as if He hasn't yet or has been holding back.
As we worshiped He began to speak to me that "power" is not the question... rather, He is longing to release His passionate broken heart to us. The question is not Him holding back, but rather, will we accept His broken heart? His breaking heart for all of those around us, His broken heart for His Son (Zechariah 12:10)... this is the release of His passion, power, rivers of the water of life! (Zechariah 13:1)
Bless you in His love,
As I read what you so beautifully described as God's passionate broken heart that He longs to release to us, I was reminded of a vision I received a number of years ago as I was praying for a family at my old church to be comforted in the loss of their loved one. In that vision I saw a visual of God's heart in the heaven's beating with a jagged crack going down through the middle of it. Many times the dark clouds passed over His heart and covered it momentarily, only to reveal that it was still beating and still broken after they passed by. Yes, I believe that God's heart is breaking for all that He sees that is going on in this world and from that broken heart of infinite love flows His passion and His Life... Yes, Lord we will receive your passionate broken heart for Your children... We exchange our cold and indifferent hearts for Your passionate broken heart.Hazel painted a picture of the vision she saw, "Father's Heart". As I thought of what she'd written and remembered her picture, this picture came...
A picture of His broken heart, the anointing of His heart He longs to pour on us, and us receiving it by His grace, for the sake of His broken heart, for our own sakes, and for the sakes of those around us. Bless You, Jesus. Thank You. Pour out Your broken heart on us, Lord! In Jesus' name, amen!
See also: "Will You Accept My Cry?" (at Weeping Jeremiahs)
By Ramone - May 25, 2008
As I sat down at a cafe the other day, I heard a piano & strings note start from a song at a nearby shop somewhere, and I don't know what it was, but it hit a note in my heart and I could feel and almost hear the beginning of a song of adoration and expectation. I began to write it and finished just yesterday.
Forever You'll reign on the throne of lovingkindness
Your grace and Your word exalted in power
As every seal is broken by the Lamb that was slain
The last trumpet will sound, the King of kings comes again
We await Your Day
Lord, we wait to see Your face
Now the Spirit and Word cry the Bridegroom is coming
And Your Bride hears You call, rises spotless and holy
To adore and intercede - every tribe, tongue and nation
And all people will see, mourn and bow at Your glory
We await Your revelation
Lord, we wait to see You reign
And we know that the times are all held in Your hand
And we know nothing happens outside Your loving plan
And though we long to be with You, You long to be with us more
So break our hearts with Your heart - that none perish, oh Lord!
We cry out to You
We cry out for You
We cry out by You
We cry out with You
We await Your Day
Lord, we wait to see Your face
We await Your revelation
Lord, we wait to see You reign
Getting Written On!
By Ramone - May 16, 2008
I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from My God; and I will also write on him My new name.Did you ever write your name on yourself or on a friend when you were children? I am pretty sure I did! I can still remember that childish joy, the fun of doing it. Writing my name here. Writing my name there. And writing my name on a friend -- that's something special! A friend writing his or her name on me -- that's special!
- Revelation 3:12
Goodness, Lord, now I'm weeping again in Your Spirit with Your love. Thank You. This cartoonish sketch picture came while I was staying in Maryland recently and was reading this passage in Revelation before bed. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for Your joy, Your love, for writing Your name on us. Thank You. In Jesus' name, amen.
By Ramone - May 13, 2008
This came right after "Opening" and in a way is almost the same picture. It is the Bride (us) beholding the heavens unfolding, the curtain being drawn back and angels, heaven, eternity, stars and the new creation being revealed and seen as the Son of God comes in His beautiful glory.
The words are from Revelation 4:8 and from a beautiful song that was running through my head and heart at the time, "Revelation Song", which comes out of Gateway Church and I first heard sung by Kari Jobe on YouTube (link here).
by Jennie Lee Riddle
Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him Who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You
Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lightening, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
To You the only wise King
Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus, Your name is power, breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery
By Ramone - May 13, 2008
This is the first of two sketch pictures that came and felt their way out of me while we were on the plane to America two weeks ago. It started with the swirls and stars, and then His hands were there. Will be there. I believe it's a picture of Him making the new creation.
These same hands that will make a new universe, these same hands make a new heart and new spirit in you and me. These same hands that were pierced for us. These same hands, capable of fashioning the universe as wonderful as it is today, and which will one day fashion it more perfect than you and I can imagine. You and I are in these same hands.
Thank You, God!
By Ramone - March 22, 2008
This is a picture of intercession, after a day of praying for my city and praying the words of this song by David Willersdorf of Hillsong Australia. It's not a great picture or even a great sketch, but I pray that His heart touches you with the moving and cry of His heart in it and in the words of the song. In Jesus' name, amen.
By Ramone - March 18, 2008
I drew, inked and watered this as we were going to Kyoto two days before my son Timothy's first birthday. We had decided to just take a day off and go somewhere nice, and we had a wonderful day. In the morning as we left on the train, he took a nap while leaning back on my wife Yoko.
He is beautiful. And cute. And I couldn't resist!
It reminds me of how we are "well-pleasing" to our Father who adores us -- how we are well-pleasing to Him even when we sleep! Even when we are at rest, doing nothing, we are well-pleasing in His eyes. He adores us. He loves us. His thoughts of us outnumber the grains of sands in the seas.
The watery look of this picture (from the water I put over the ink) makes me think of His love for us -- how my eyes water with tears now as I realize, as He tells me that He sees us the same way, through watery eyes of love. Oh God, I am crying so hard! Thank You, thank You for Your love. Thank You for loving us so much.
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.
- Zephaniah 3:17
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Let Him Who Has Ears...
By Ramone - May 11, 2008
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."Last night I was thinking about various "views of Revelation" that have been going around for years. There is some value in studying them, but...
- Revelation 2:29, etc.
At the end of the letters to each church in Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus says, "Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit says to the churches." And at the beginning of all the prophecy in the book of Revelation, John said,
I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea."Just as John "heard" all these things "in the Spirit", so too we must be in the Spirit if we want to understand!
- Revelation 1:9-11
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.We need to come together with the goal of waiting on His Spirit to reveal to us what He is saying to us today through Revelation. (See 1 Corinthians 14:26 for starters, and John 17:26 and Hebrews 2:12 for wonderful promises that personally make me weep in His love!)
- 1 Corinthians 2:11
There is some value to the theories, but the theories are theological constructions that generally crunch certain places, ignore certain texts that contradict the theory, and force certain parts to fit that really just don't match.
I feel God's heart crying for us to come together in His presence and wait on His Spirit to understand instead of searching here and there for what others have written about the book of Revelation. The Spirit is crying out, waiting for us to come into His presence and wait upon Him to speak as He has promised He would and will.
He is loving to lift up Christ among us. He is longing to birth praises in us. He is longing to remove the veil to reveal to us beautiful and glorious things in the the Son, Jesus Christ. He is longing to be our Teacher, to take us to a deeper level of intimacy and learning than we have ever thought was possible.
The cry of Christ in Revelation is,
"If you have ears, listen to what MY SPIRIT says to you!"That means that we must come together in foolishness and wait upon Him to speak, trusting that He will speak as He has promised where two or three gather in His name, that "revelation will come to one who is sitting down", that "everyone will be given a hymn, a song, a tongue, an interpretation" and more. That He will reveal His heart through His body, and we will all be edified.
What I felt last night in His heart is that this is how He will "reveal" Himself in Revelation to us more and more... that the theories and so forth of interpretations of Revelation have naturally come short because we have not fully entered into His timing for our understanding, and that even when we do enter into His timing for our understanding, we will only understand as we seek His voice, His Spirit, and wait on Him to speak and allow Him to speak among us.
This is a picture I saw and felt (not clearly, which is why it is fuzzy) of His people gathered around His Spirit, waiting upon Him, and being filled with His fire. He wants to be our light in this dark night in the world!
Addendum: The Spirit of Christ
May 25 - Just in case, I want to clarify something for anyone who may feel like the atoning work of Jesus Christ is not present in this picture or its message, that it focuses too much on glorifying the Holy Spirit for His own sake.
In a word, No.
Beyond that, firstly God is One. The Son is God. The Father is God. The Spirit is God. And all testify to His glory and to our salvation in the Son's finished work - in His cross.
The Spirit speaks to us and is with us always, and ministers to many different parts of our lives. His ultimate goal is to bring us into fellowship with the sufferings of Jesus Christ -- into the fellowship of the Father and Son and sharing in their love for one another and for us.
The Spirit testifies about Jesus (John 14:26, 15:26, etc.) yet His "testimony" is not limited to our typical route. The Spirit also testifies to Christ by healing us -- body, soul and spirit -- and restoring parts of our hearts that have been wounded, become numb, or hardened. Sometimes the Spirit testifies by speaking of things of the future. Other times the Spirit testifies by bringing peace to us, or in other ways. The Spirit of God is not tame. He will testify of Jesus (in fact, He is also "the Spirit of Christ" - Rom. 8:9, Phil. 1:19, 1 Pt. 1:11), but He may do so through a route that might not immedately conform to our intellectual desire to have everything spelled out like a sermon for us up front.
When this picture came by the Spirit of Christ, I knew that it might be possible for some to read/see it as "missing" Christ, as if it were all about the Holy Spirit. But that "it's all about Jesus" was something I thought should have been obvious. It's obvious and true for me, but I realize it is not always obvious for others. Others--God bless them--will see what I've said or written as if it is giving unbalanced glory to the Spirit instead of to Christ. I didn't want to have to say something special about this like a "disclaimer" -- I didn't want to have to spell out what I am writing right now.
But here I am doing just that. I realize that while I have the freedom to not have to explain everything, at the same time various extremes have existed in the Body of Christ -- sometimes the Spirit exalted and Christ marginalized, the cross and His atoning work seen as "entry-level" or "elementary"; and among others Christ is exalted but the Spirit is marginalized through doctrinalization and intellectualization, resulting in a great fear whenever someone metions the Holy Spirit without adding qualifying statements, and even greater "alarm bells" when someone speaks of the Holy Spirit moving, acting and speaking today in the same way He did in the Bible days. The Spirit and the Word (Christ) are not mutually exclusive, but are in harmony -- they are each whole and each part of the One, in the Trinity. But this is something that needs healing in our hearts, minds and in our understanding in the Body.
As I wrote the story of this picture, I felt the caution that it might be misunderstood by some coming from a background where "Christ" and "Spirit" were seen as contending with one another (based not on Scripture, but based more on the fear of avoiding extremes seen elsewhere in the Body). I didn't want to have to spell this out, but perhaps it was Your love, Lord, which nudged me then and nudges me now to love others where they're at, even if it is in a place that doesn't seem to understand what I think should be obvious. Your patience, Lord, is so loving. Thank You for being patient with me, Jesus! Forgive me for not heeding Your loving caution and patience. Forgive me for pushing right through.
I must tell you about this "fire" in the picture, this fire that is the Spirit of Christ among us, in our meeting. He is the Holy One. He is the holy passion. He is the "flame of Yah" in Song of Songs 8:6. He is the One who speaks to us today, ministers to us, purifies us with His flame, melts our hearts with His passion. He is the One, the Spirit of Christ, speaking to us of what He has done and applying all blessings that flow from the cross to us today. He is wild, the One who is not tame nor in our box, who continually opens our eyes to the expanse of the heavens beyond what we can understand or systematically theologize. He is the Holy God, and I praise You, God!
Spirit of Christ*****
A passion, a fire
The very flame of Yahweh
A love, a cry of adoration
of You, Father Abba
With You among us
With Your fire, Your passion
In Your love we see
What You have done
And who You are now
And by Your flame we cry
As we are healed:
Your love is better than wine
For what You have done for us
For who You are
Forever and ever
Addendum II: Addendum to the Addendum!
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you.I felt directed to John 15 tonight, and read onto John 16 and stopped at this, realizing that it summed up all I meant to say both in the "addendum" above, and all I meant to say in this picture as well. What I realize now is that I somehow didn't communicate clearly the simple spirit (so to speak) of what I was getting in this picture.
- John 16:13-14
This picture is about getting together to wait on Him for understanding, for revelation. Putting Him in the middle. It isn't diminishing the cross, but saying that we need the Spirit to witness to us of His love and what the cross means. Because the church has a long history of getting religio-ritualistic and quenching the Spirit, we need to say, "No, we are going to wait on the Spirit to reveal Christ to us just as He promised."
Jesus promised, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." It is ironic and telling that we exist so often with Him in the midst of us but do not ask Him what He thinks and what is on His heart.
Okay, I'm weeping in the Spirit now. Thank You, Lord. That is what this is about, this picture, and all I meant to write. It is not enough to get together and simply preach to one another or intellectually study the Bible or methods. We need Him Himself among us. And not only that, but we need to do more than just ask Him to "be there" and then run off to do whatever we'd planned or think we should do. He has promised to speak through each part of His body, to guide us into all truth, to remind us of what He'd said, to comfort, help and console us, and to declare Father's praises in our midst. He wants to speak in our midst. He wants to burn our hearts with His passion, His fire. The Spirit longs to glorify Jesus Christ in our midst. Most often we quench, limit, or even shut Him up simply because we are afraid of being deceived away from Christ if we let Him out of our religious rituals and limits. But He is the fire, the passion that burns most intensely of all in the universe for the glorification of the Son.
Holy Spirit, burn in our midst, burn in our hearts. Glorify Jesus Christ in our midst, Holy Spirit! Do so at our expense, Holy Spirit. Forgive us for quenching You so often because we have been afraid of being deceived. We know You long to lift up the Son, so remove our fear that You will not do as You (and He) have promised. Grant us enough faith in His Word so that we remove our imposed controls that we think protect us, but actually hurt us and keep us from seeing the burning light of Father's love in His Son.
As John the Baptist prayed, let us "decrease" in our meeting together. Let our preaching, our ways, our rituals, services and whatever we think is "it" - let all of "us" decrease as we meet together so that You may increase, Jesus, by Your Spirit's bringing You glory in our midst. Grant us the humility to wait upon You and let You operate in all Your ways, Holy Spirit, and the trust that You will indeed glorify Jesus Christ among us. In Jesus' name, amen.
Prayers of the Righteous (mini)
By Ramone - May 9, 2008
This is a miniature version of the earlier ink painting, Prayers of the Righteous, which I made primarily because the vision I saw originally had more blue in it than the first painting. I like both versions. (^_^)
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Prayers of the Righteous
By Ramone - May 6, 2008
"Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit."Last night I was washing dishes and listening to the CD "A Deeper Level" (by Israel + New Breed) because little Timothy CD always needs music in the background. I wasn't actively listening, but when this song came on my attention was caught. The song hadn't moved me much before, but this time the Lord began to speak to me through it.
- James 5:16-18
"Prayers of the Righteous"by Israel Houghton, Aaron Lindsey & Adrian Lindsey
When we pray we believe we receive
What we ask in His name
All things are possible
When we pray we tap into
And victoriously we declare
That we know the prayers
Of the righteous availeth much
The prayers of the righteous prevail
Yes we know the prayers
Of the righteous prevail
His love never fails
The prayers of the righteous
We are victorious
We are, we are
You are miraculous
You are, You are He hit me so strongly with this because I've been going through a time lately where a lot of grief, stress, anger, pain and frustration in my family has come to surface (my parents divorced when I was two, and if you've been through divorce, you know how difficult it is to halt cycles of pain, fighting, blaming & triangulation, etc., and how hard it is to just love everybody through it all).
As I heard the chorus --"The prayers of the righteous prevail"-- He suddenly shot through me, awakening me with faith to something I realize hadn't fully known, understood or believed. My reaction to the words was, "Really? Is this true, Lord?" And of course, Yes, it's true! He said it!
Yes, His love prevails. Yes, the prayers of His people --made-righteous-by-His-blood-- their prayers avail much and prevail over all the junk the enemy throws at us, even seemingly impossible things in broken lives, broken hearts, broken minds and broken families.
The Colors of His Promises & Our Prayers
As I wrote down how He moved me with this song, I wondered if I could find some way to put it into a painting, and then I saw this picture. It's kind of a new "style" for me, more impressionistic and less controlled, and I'm thankful for that, Lord! And the colors, I didn't what they meant until I began to type this. I used a little too much yellow -- there should be more swaths of blue, but the yellow made everything green... oh well! The result looks a bit Mexican! Maybe that's His intention (yes, His Spirit tells me now -- thank You, Lord!) because my father's side of the family is Mexican.
The colors also look like a beautiful collage of rainbows -- He is hitting me with weeping in the Spirit that this represents His beautiful collage of promises for us, and His promises that our prayers will be answered and unleashed with His might according to His loving will! His promises and power fill the sky, fill our vision and fill our worlds as we pray and lift up our hands and lives to call on Him!
It was a joy to see it and start painting this. We have overcome! And His love never fails! (Even in our families!) Amen! I praise You, God! Thank You! I weep in Your Spirit, in Your love, in awe of how true You are, how awesome and mighty Your power is! Thank You so much! All glory is Yours, Lord!
See the miniature version of this painting