Sunday, August 31, 2008
Our Prayers in His Hands
By Ramone - August 29 & 31, 2008
I prayed with some Japanese friends on Friday night, and as they prayed in the Spirit and in Japanese I was moved by the Spirit and Father's well-pleasing love. I looked at my hands and saw how our prayers are precious to Him, beautiful. He gathers them in His hands and looks on them with love and warmth in His heart, tears and weeping.
He holds our prayers close to His heart. They are never forgotten, never missed, never let go.
He holds our prayers in His "bowl", cupped in His hands until they overflow according to His timing and perfect will.
Thank You, Lord, for telling me this and treasuring my prayers to You!
Friday, August 29, 2008
By Ramone - July 12 & August 28, 2008
I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.I can't remember the number of times I heard the phrse, "The truth will set you free!" while I was growing up in a denomination founded on legalism (with "distinctive" doctrines). The way it was quoted by people seemed to indicate that if you accept our unique beliefs (and thus do this, and this, and this), then you will be "set free." It always felt really heavy to most people, though, and I think in order to think that those heavy things were "freedom" you really had to be able to convince yourself hard!
- John 8:34-36
It never occured to me to wonder, "Free... from what?"
Years later having been set free from the heritage of that denomination's legalism and errors, I was sitting in church on a Saturday evening at Jesus Family Center and these were the verses they chose to speak about that night. Because it was all in Japanese I meandered to my own thoughts about the verses and began to wonder, "Free... from what?"
Oh! Read it in context! Freed from slavery. Slavery to what? Slavery to sin!
What's even more interesting is that Jesus said, "The SON sets you free." It's not me that sets me free. It's not something we do, but rather what He does that sets us free. A slave cannot set himself free. But a son can set slaves free.
One of the difficulties of growing up in a legalistic church is that you learn to put on a happy/fine/blessed appearance, and after awhile you begin to ignore or forget your own sins inside. Having been set free from and brought out of the legalistic church, I became acutely more aware of my sins, tendencies, and my "flesh" (as Paul put it). Indeed, at times their pull felt stronger than before.
Now, suddenly, I know my sins and I know I need freedom from them! Now I can see His promise and His deliverance!
I won't explain the many ways that He's used (and is using) to help me experience freedom from old sins, old bondages, but I will explain the foundation: It all begins in knowing that He has set you free. Past tense. It is done! On the cross He took all our sins! Experiencing freedom from them is a continual process of looking to the cross with each of your sins and leaving them there where He took them 2,000 years ago.
Coming to the cross with each sin and difficulty, we see how much we ourselves were unable to let go. But the Son --permanent in Father's love, in His house, upon His throne-- the Son is not and has never been a slave to sin! Only a Son could set us free! Slaves cannot do it, but the Free One Himself has set us free! We had no permanent place in Father's family because we sinned and were slaves to sin. Sin was our master, our owner. But He purchased us from death, from slavery!
By what He has done --not what we have done-- He has given us a permanent place in Father's family. He has given us His own place in Father's family! Seeing this unconditional love and gift of His is the beginning--and end--of our "freedom" from slavery to sins.
Bless you in Jesus as you come to the cross and see that He has taken all your pains, all your griefs, all your sorrows, all your sicknesses, all your sins, all your faults, all your failings -- He has taken them all on Himself and carried them away never to be seen again. He has set you free. Start here at the cross and never leave here! As you begin to live from here, He will show you all you need to further understand and experience His freedom. Thank You, Jesus! Bless you in Jesus!
(Original July 12th sketch)
Thursday, August 28, 2008
By Ramone - August 26, 2008
*Please feel free to leave comments about this picture and what it means to you!*
And now, thus says the Lord God who made you, O Jacob, and who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I redeemed you. I called you by your name, for you are Mine. If you pass through water, I am with you; and the rivers shall not overflow you. If you pass through fire, you shall not be burned up, nor shall the flame consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, who saves you... Since you were precious in My sight, you became glorious, and I love you.This came during prayer & Bible study. A sister had missed her flight back from Okinawa and had a hard time coping with the "waves" of emotions that beat on her... I'm stupid, I should've listened better, I should've paid more attention, if only I had... etc. When she had been waiting in the airport, she called and emailed us by cellphone, and my wife and I answered back that we were praying for her and that she should pray, too. It helped her a lot then to remember to pray... the experience and the feelings it brought about had been so overwhelming she had completely forgotten.
Isaiah 43:1-4 (LXX)
When she came back and we were having a Bible study together, she asked what she can do in that kind of situation when "the waves" come. I don't remember if she said it that way ("waves") but at least it was the feeling I got as she talked... and this picture came, and also the words Christ spoke:
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."The picture came at the same time, and I quickly did a marker outline of it. (I later put big swaths of ink and white watercolor on top of it, and it is as you see it now... I think it came out more beautifully than I could've imagined!) So Jesus' words and this picture that came got us thinking, and we talked and prayed about this for the rest of the Bible study.
- Jesus (Matthew 7:24-27)
1) What is "sand" in our lives, and what is "rock"?
The "answer" of course, is that our emotions are "sand" because they are so easily shifted. Our feelings are important & real, and they indicate many things of what's going on inside of us. But they are no foundation. If our faith is resting on how we're feeling, then our faith will go up and down with our feelings. When difficult events come and beat us like waves, we'll be tossed around with them.
It got us thinking, too, that we have many things we think are "rock" but are not... my ability to be strong and get through something, my own sense of determination, my family, my friends, etc. There are many things that we treat as rock but that are not really rock. They are just as shiftable as sand. Only Christ is truly rock.
2) But what does that mean, that Christ is "rock"?
I suppose it's a little easier for me personally because I've seen myself falter and fail at so many things... from my own lack of determination, education, focus, motivation or ability to endure, etc. I wouldn't be where I am today if God had not picked me up and helped me to grow up, too! I've had so many of my "rocks" removed through all these things, and learned (and am still learning) step by step that,
a) He Himself is my rock: He doesn't move or change!That said, we are all going through a lifelong process of discovering how truly He is rock and all other things to us are sand. And no one said that it would be easy, either.
b) His love never moves or changes!
c) No matter what the situation is, HE is in control! That's who He is!
d) How He looks at me (in love!) never moves or changes!
e) No matter how I fail, He is there to support me and help me out!
f) Everything He says is true, and His perspective is what counts and is what will stand though waves and storms!
Although we "know" He is rock, it doesn't mean the waves won't scare us or beat against us at times. When I did the original quick marker outline, the eyes of the person on the rock weren't perfectly circular, so it looks like he/she is crying. Sometimes we forget He is our rock, but He puts us back on it (back on Him) and brings us to an inner place of 'Sabbath' rest, resting on the Rock, like this:
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
He drew me out of deep waters. (Psalm 18:16)
He leads me beside quiet waters. (Psalm 23:2)
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. (Psalm 29:3)
Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You
while You may be found;
surely when the mighty waters rise,
they will not reach him. (Psalm 32:6)
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah. (Psalm 46:2-3)
He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot—
come, let us rejoice in Him. (Psalm 66:6)
Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths,
where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
the floods engulf me.
Rescue me from the mire,
do not let me sink;
deliver me from ... the deep waters. (Psalm 69:1-2,14)
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the Lord on high is mighty. (Psalm 93:4)
At Your rebuke the waters fled,
at the sound of Your thunder they took to flight. (Psalm 104:7)
If the LORD had not been on our side—let Israel say-
...the raging waters would have swept us away...
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:1,5,8)
Reach down your hand from on high;
deliver me and rescue me
from the mighty waters. (Psalm 144:7)
By Ramone - August 25, 2008
In Your hand, I am a wedge,
as I am held in Your hand.
Hold me then, Lord.
I surrender myself to You.
May I be dead to all else,
a tool in Your hand,
for Your purposes,
for designs You alone can see,
and that Your hands' work alone
can bring about.
In Jesus' name, amen.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
God is real, personal, and He still speaks today. One of the ways He speaks is through visions, pictures and impressions in our spirits. I never knew God could give me something to draw, but since 2005 He has been doing just that and I am blessed beyond anything I ever could have imagined. He has taken my childhood love of drawing and made it into a means of blessing people, sharing His love, and worshiping Him.
These are pictures that He's shown me as we walk together, but each one comes through my eyes and in my language. And although they are personal to me, each one has a meaning and a story which are part of the picture. Rather than being ambiguous or enigmatic works, each picture is a work of communication. At the deepest level, you and I don't need art or great ideas; we need love from the very real God who is love. I pray that the simple expression and captured moments in these pictures tell the simple yet overwhelming reality of His love for you.
I pray you are blessed by the pictures and their stories just as I am, and that you will experience God speaking His words of life to you of how much He has loved you and given His all for you on the cross 2,000 years ago.
"The Lord your God is with you,NIV I love God. And more than that, He loves me and you. This is what my art is about.
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
Read The Story of Art for Jesus
By Ramone - August 24, 2008
In my moments of weakness,
remind me of who I am.
Show me what is truly me,
and what is not me,
but is my enemy.
Remind me of my true heart;
and when my heart fails,
remind me that Your heart does not.
It's Your heart --not mine--
that is my rock, my strength.
Tell me in my doubts
how You are powerful.
And that I only need to choose
to resist in Your name,
And faith overcomes feeling,
spirit quiets soul,
and all is made clear;
I see who I am,
and who You are.- Ramone Romero, Aug.15 '08
By Ramone - August 24, 2008
O God, You are my God,
earnestly I seek You;
my soul thirsts for You,
my body longs for You,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.- Psalms 63:1I spread out my hands to You;
my soul thirsts for You like a parched land.- Psalm 143:6As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When can I go and meet with my God?- Psalm 42:1-12
Monday, August 25, 2008
By Ramone - August 20, 2008
There's a lot that can be said about this picture. It came as I was worshiping with my family at Jesus Family Center (church), singing a song in Japanese about asking the Lord for His heart, asking Him to heal the land and bring revival. I saw a picture of Jesus giving us His heart...
And it's too big for us: bigger than our walls will allow. They're creaking, they're breaking. We've asked for Him for so long (thank You, Lord!) and He is coming to answer our cry! But as Mike Bickle wrote, before He is coming for the Church, He is coming to the Church. Before He comes to bring us resurrection bodies, He is coming for our hearts. Before He gives us Himself at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, He wants to give us His heart -- He wants us to accept His heart.
It is going to break us.
Break our hearts, Lord, break our hearts with Your heart. Break our walls. Give us so much of Your heart, Lord, that it is painful, in Jesus' name. Let Your love make our walls come crashing down so that the world may know Father has sent You, that You are the One, that it is all about You and not about us, and that we may pour out our lives for You and for the ones You love so much. In Jesus' name I ask: COME, LORD! Amen!
The Story of Art for Jesus
I love God. And more than that, He loves me and you. This is what my art is about.
Once upon a time I wanted to say something grand, to paint a great work, to be recognized in some degree. Yet not only was I unable to figure out "what to say", but I also was being crushed under the weight of personal depression and feelings of alienation. Eternity in my heart was crying out for God, and I was dying without Him. I didn't need art and I didn't need great ideas; I needed love from the very real God who is love. As I began to realize this and come to God, I let go of art because it seemed to be a channel for mangifying depression.
Between 1998 and 2002, God gave me my life back one step at a time and began to redeem each difficult thing I had experienced, "turning ashes into roses" as my friend Hazel says. Soon after moving to Japan, I began to want to draw again but again lacked vision and purpose. Floating from job to job, I began to feel lost and wondered if I was where He wanted me to be or not. One day as I sat down and wanted to draw. My first sketch idea was terrible. Then He somehow stilled my soul and I looked deep inside for the first time, to my spirit, and I saw a picture that moved me inside, making me cry. A man was walking on a suspended silver path above dark waters. Several days later He gave understanding to my wife as to the meaning -- that I am on His path, right where He wants me to be, and He is leading me above the dark waters.
Two years later He began to show me that this was something He could do for me more often, just as He does for others. "Prophetic art" is what many people call it when you receive a picture from God. Sometimes you understand it right away, sometimes you don't. But what He gives, He will be faithful to explain in His time.
And it will be Him. It will show His love, His heart.
Yet it is not independent of me. Indeed, these are pictures that come through my eyes -- this is the way I've seen what He shows me as we walk together. Each picture is personal to me, and each one has a meaning and a story. I must confess that I am often more excited about the meaning than the "art", and sometimes perhaps the "art" suffers in quality because of it. (But I'm getting better!)
I've discovered that I am a communicator: I love the message more than the means. But I do love art -- I love lines, brush strokes, fades, deep colors, and beautiful art. But more than these, I love Jesus and He loves me. This is what it's about whether I ever pick up a pencil or not. That's why it's called "Art for Jesus", because I always want to remember who it's all about. I pray you are blessed by the pictures and their stories just as I am. But if not, or whether you remember them or forget them, I pray that you'll experience God speaking His words to you of how much He has loved you and given His all for you on the cross 2,000 years ago.
I try to draw or paint each picture as I see them, but being more concerned with His love and the meaning, sometimes I forget about "art" altogether and simply hope it comes out well! Either because of my own limitations or because of His intention (perhaps both at times), the result may turn out looking very simple, cute, childish, cartoonish or stick-figurish. I love expression and emotion. I love to capture a moment. I pray that the basicness of the figures accentuates the simplicity of His love and His words of life for you. Yes, His love is beautiful, simple, profound and overwhelming, and even cute. The God of all the universe and creation is focused intensely on you and me!
"The Lord your God is with you,He's restored me, quieted me, led me, and in His love redeemed everything that has been lost. Here as you can see, He has returned me to my childhood love of drawing. I pray that He leads many of His children back into their childlike love of drawing the love He gives them! God wants to squeeze our hearts with His heart, and He wants us to know how our love for Him squeezes His heart!
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
Read the Artist's Statement
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Seeds of the Wind
Click to see inside the seeds (^_^)
By Ramone & Yoko - August 15, 2008
Yoko started a sketch of this picture back in Spring 2006, but we never got around to finishing it. Recently after being reminded of it and feeling impressed to, I re-started it and am blessed in the Spirit again by His love, His beauty, and how He brings these things through my wife. She said,
There's life in every seed.
As I was praying about this picture and its meaning, I thought of how the seeds of a dandelion are carried by His breath... you try to blow & direct them, guide them this way or that way, but they go where the wind carries them -- where He carries them! (Shoot, even catching them once they're blown is hard to do!) Yoko added,
And they grow wherever they land -- even in the cracks of rocks. (^_^)
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound,
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is
going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
- John 3:8
So is My word that goes out from My mouth:
It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
- Isaiah 55:11
Sunday, August 10, 2008
By Ramone - August 9, 2008
This picture came yesterday morning as I watched the Nagasaki peace ceremony on TV. On August 9, 1945, the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki killing probably more than 70,000 people. Thousands more were wounded, maimed, or died from radiation-related injuries or diseases. Having lived in Japan for seven and a half years now, I've learned a lot about these things, to say the least. I can't say exactly what this picture is suppose to "say" or represent or mean. I painted it like I saw it.
For me, I realize that this picture represents what I've come to know of Nagasaki. Growing up largely in white America, admiring the military and thinking of America's wars as always righteous, I knew almost nothing about Nagasaki. My school textblooks said almost nothing about the bombing or the city. I distinctly remember the footnote-like words,
"A second and more powerful bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later."I didn't know that it exploded over a church with 850 people inside. I didn't know that Nagasaki was the historical center of Japanese Christianity, and that more than 8,000 of them died in the bombing. I didn't even know that Japan had a Christian history older than that of the United States. I didn't know that thousands of Christians had been martyred there, and that many survivors of the 300 years of persecution had their home and community in the city of Nagasaki. I didn't know that within one kilometer of the blast were eleven schools for children (including a Christian girls' school), and that they all died.
Juxtaposed with the destruction from the bomb is Nishizaka hill, where on February 5, 1597, twenty-six Christians were martyred -- twenty Japanese, four Spaniards, one Mexican and one Indian. They had been arrested in Kyoto and Osaka for preaching Christianity, and had been marched through the snow to be executed in Nagasaki, so as to make an example to the Christian population there. They were crucified there in front of a large crowd. Today they are known as the 26 martyrs of Nagasaki.
Knowing about the many Christians who died there in the bomb helped me contextualize and personalize what had happened there. Nagasaki's bombing was terrible, but sadly it was not "personal" to me until I learned about the thousands of Christians who died there. And now that I've lived here more than seven years, I know real people. My wife is Japanese, and we have a son now. Looking back at history, I can't say they were "enemies" anymore.
What does this picture "mean"? I am not sure. I only know that I was moved in the Spirit as I saw it, and am still moved in the Spirit as I speak of it now. I want to speak of some hope, but I can only seek God's heart.
I know that the only way we will have any "peace" in the world is by learning to see one another through different eyes, through eyes of love and value. God saw us with those eyes, didn't He?
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.He didn't count our sins against us, but rather His Son took our sins on Himself so that we might be reconciled to Him. The only way we will have any "peace" between people on earth is by sitting still at the feet of that love, learning that the One who had right to destroy us chose instead to love us while we were His enemies. If He loved us so much, shouldn't we love one another? He died for my enemies, just like He died from me.
- Romans 5:6-8
I don't know if this is the message or "meaning" of this picture, but I pray that His agape love is seen, taken in, and shared because of what His love has revealed to us, even what He's revealed to me in my life here and in coming to understand Nagasaki. Perhaps that's what "Nagasaki" means to me, representing a lot of things I didn't know, a lot of people just like me, and the heart of God that is necessary to see how much He loves us all, even when we were His enemies.
Help us see one another, Lord, as You see us. Help us look past our immediate feelings and whatever we've been taught. Help us forgive, help us love. Give us grace to overcome and be reconciled, in Jesus' name, amen.
Bless you in Jesus' name.
More thoughts are written here: "What Nagasaki Means to Me"
And finally the meaning of the picture: Reaping Nagasaki
By Ramone - August 8, 2008
This came the other night and I can't remember exactly how or in what context, but it shows those times that I am doing (or trying to do) something for God, and find myself looking foolish, going too far, saying something inappropriate or out of timing.... and yet God brings His glory out of it. Sometimes (or often) I end up having to apologize or repent. It kills my pride, and I don't look sparkling, but God uses this very thing to reveal His glory. Thank You, Lord!
"You must increaseI think Paul may have felt the same way at times. Apparently there were a lot of rumors going back and forth about him in the city of Corinth, where he helped start the church there. Some people were sinning and indulging in bad things, and he tried to discipline them. Reading the last parts of his second letter to them, you can see how emotional and at his wits end he feels about them. He doesn't want any bad blood or fights. In the midst of this he said something interesting:
I must decrease, Lord
I'll bow down
And You will be adored"
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.I think that Paul knew he might "lose it" if he went there and had it out with them. And God would have to "humble" him. He might have to repent for going overboard or coming down too hard, even though the Corinthians might have driven him to it. Yet ultimately he knew that whatever happened, Christ would be exalted, even through this kind of personal failing that needed humbling.
(2 Corinthians 12:20-21)
"For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth."Scripture rightly declares that those who hope and rest in God "will not be ashamed", and it's true. He takes away our shame. But this doesn't mean we will never look stupid for what we've done. What it means is that His love will overflow in us, and as we die to being afraid of what others think, shame will have no more power to hurt us. Seeing who we are in Daddy's eyes will free us from the power of being shamed in mens' eyes, and from the power of being shamed in our own eyes.
- 2 Corinthians 13:8
So sometimes He calls us to do the very thing that would kill our pride, that would make us look shameful to people we don't want to be ashamed in front of (sometimes that's us ourselves). Most often this takes the form of repentance, admitting we were wrong, apologizing, and things in similar pride-killing veins. At times He calls us to "drink the cup of shame" and find freedom from it in His love. C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, The Great Divorce, that,
"An hour hence and you will not care. A day hence and you will laugh at it. Don't you remember [there are] things too hot to touch with your finger but you could drink them all right? Shame is like that. If you will accept it--if you will drink the cup to the bottom--you will find it very nourishing: but try to do anything else with it and it scalds."We want to be seen for our good points, not for our bad points. But He takes our weaknesses and tells us not to be ashamed of them. In His love we find release, freedom, affirmation and healing. It's not others' view of us that matters, nor our own view of us, but rather His view of us. To help us know this, and to spread His glory and healing love, we are sometimes laid low in our own eyes or in the eyes of others. But fixing our eyes on Him, how we "look" becomes less and less important, and what seemed like "weakness" in our eyes or in others' eyes begins to become strength. As we are seen "naked" (so to speak), we realize we have nothing and others see it, too. And we see more and more that He is everything! And they see it, too. Thank You, God!
He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
The Joy of Bridge-Burning
By Ramone - August 7, 2008
As I worshiped late one night last October, I saw this picture and sketched it. The song I had been singing ("Heaven" by Reuben Morgan) has the chorus,
"One moment without You nearAs I sang this and began to worship freely, giving Him my heart and life once again, I felt like this. I am here in Japan because of You, Lord. I have no other way but You, Jesus! I've burned my bridges. I have nothing to go back on.
is heartache I cannot bear
A lifetime with You, O Lord
is heaven I long to know"
And it's wonderful! Thank You!
Once you step out on faith, you can't go back. Like Peter, once you see Jesus on the water and get out of your boat to walk to Him, there is no going back. Your merely standing on the water is a miracle. You stay up by faith and your path ahead is by faith. In the natural and by natural means it will not work and you will sink. But if you accept His calling you across the waters, if you step on that path and let your bridges burn behind you, trusting only in faith in Him, then you'll find your greatest joy there in the walk of faith, resting in Him.
Thank You, Lord!
Some time later as I worshiped while falling asleep one night, words formed in my spirit and a song came out of them:
"You're My All"
Jesus, You are my Savior
You're my light, You're my life
You're my all
Jesus, You are my future
I have no other way but You
You're my past
You're my now
My forever is all You
You're my God
You're my blessing
And my reward is all You
I am Yours, You are mine
Jesus, my rest forever
My best friend beyond the end
You're my all
Nothing is Impossible!
By Ramone - August 7, 2008
"Nothing is impossible with God."This came the other morning as Yoko and I were praying for a friend of ours who doesn't know God and His love yet. Our friend is very lonely and sad at times, but in many ways can be difficult to talk to or to be open enough to listen to things that would help. We talked of the difficulties, the things that seemed "impossible". And I got this picture of us giving Him the "impossibilities" (the Japanese characters, "muri", mean "impossible").
- Luke 1:37 (said by Gabriel the angel to Mary the virgin)
So we give Him our friend. Breakthrough, help and healing can only come in His way.
The water in His hands is something I saw as I took a nap later in the dayI didn't understand it until now as I began to write this.
Often "water" is used in the New Testament as a symbol of His "word" -- as in Ephesians 5, He washes us with the water of His word. (Indeed, I love being washed by His words!)
As I began to write, I remembered that the literal translation of Luke 1:37 is,
"For not one word [rhema] with God will be impossible."Thank You, Lord! I believe You're showing me that as we put the seeming 'impossibilites' in Your hands, we are putting everything in faith in Your hands, resting on Your word, and through this You are reminding me of words You've spoken to my heart about our friend. Thank You, Lord! Thank You that not one of Your words is impossible! Thank You!
We put our friend in Your hands, Lord, to love, heal, lift up and bless. Only You know the way. And nothing is impossible for You. Thank You for loving, lifting up and moving in the life of our friend. Continue, love, and break through according to Your will, Your way, and Your love. In Jesus' name, amen.
He Will Do It!
By Ramone - August 7, 2008
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief;Recently as a friend was encouraging me to trust God that He will do what He has promised, I remembered the words Paul wrote about Abraham in his letter to the Romans, chapter 4. Abraham didn't doubt, but trusted God that He would give to Abraham a son through whom He would fulfill His great promises.
but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised,
He was able also to perform.
- Romans 4:20-21 (NKJV)
Later in the week as I looked up the verse online at Biblegateway.com, I was impressed to read it in the old Wycliffe New Testament:
Also, in the promise of God he doubted not with untrust;I love that, "He doubted not with untrust", and not only is God "able to perform" what He has promised, but in fact He is more than able! Whatever things He has promised, "He is mighty also to do"!
but he was comforted in belief, giving glory to God,
witting most fully that whatever things God hath promised,
He is mighty also to do.
- Romans 4:20-21 (Wycliffe)
This is encouraging to me. Thank You, Lord!
I always had some trouble with Paul saying that, because after all, didn't Abraham try to fulfill God's promise through having Ishmael by Sarah's maid, Hagar? I looked again at the story in Genesis, and for the first time I noticed that in God's first promises to Abraham, He didn't mention that the son would come through Sarah (then Sarai) at all. That came later after Ishmael had been born. (And actually, having a son by Hagar was Sarai's idea anyway).
Abraham didn't doubt or waver. But he did learn. Along the way as God clarified His promise more and more, Abraham got a wonderful education in how God fulfills His promises -- by His hand, not by ours. Often we think we have to give Him a little help, or that things may not be fulfilled without our actions. Sometimes this is true indeed. But at other times, God wants us to hang back and watch His fulfillment, watch His salvation, watch Him come through for us. This was certainly true with Abraham.
I think at times I kind of know how Abraham felt! I exert some energy, some strength, some devotion to doing what I thought He wanted me to, when in fact He wasn't finished clarifying His promise yet. And I think He let me do that stuff so that I could see how He works, how awesome, mighty and strong His arm is! Sometimes He just stops me from going any further, and that can be kind of painful at times. But it's so that I can see His awesomeness.
So that all men He has made may know His work,This is encouraging to me. Abraham, the "friend of God", had to learn not to get his hands in the way of God's hands when He wanted to fulfill His promise. Often we make an "Ishmael" when God wants to give us an "Issac". And somehow, God doesn't hold this against us! He only asks us to continue trusting Him, be willing to put away our "Ishmael's" when He calls us to, trust all things to Him, and bring us laughter ("Isaac" means "laughter") as we see Him powerfully fulfilling His promise above and beyond all we could have ever imagined.
He stops every man from his labor.
- Job 37:7 (NIV)
Thank You, Lord!
Take this as encouragement from the Lord!
"Yet do not waver through unbelief regarding My promise,
but be strengthened in your faith and give glory to God;
be fully persuaded that I have power to do what I have promised."
- Romans 4:20-21 (NIV, adapted)
Friday, August 08, 2008
By Ramone - August 6, 2008
I don't completely understand this picture. It came as I felt the Lord leading me in a direction, but that I'm not completely sure about and am seeking confirmation about, from His heart, from His word. As I searched and questioned my own motivation, I saw this picture. Somehow---I don't know why---the name of it is "Promise"
Thank You, Lord! I don't understand, but I thank You and praise You, Jesus.