Wednesday, March 25, 2009




By Ramone - March 20, 2009
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.

- Ephesians 1:3-6
We were out celebrating my son's 2nd birthday when I painted this. I had opened my tiny little NIV New Testament and looked at words I had highlighted in the book of Ephesians. The word "predestined" jumped out at me, and I began to see this picture. I didn't completely understand it (and still don't), but I think it is probably one of the most beautiful pictures I have done in a long time.

I need to pray.
Lord, I don't know where to begin in explaining this picture, because I barely understand. You know that I once had a joy when I came out of Adventism and began understanding Your Word more and more. You know the joy that I had when I found Your words, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you" (John 15:16). I had no problem with it, but rejoiced for joy in knowing that You had predestined me in Your love.

And then I heard the arguments of Calvinists, and God, I don't want to be angry at them, but my joy was taken away. Suddenly "predestined" became connected to a lot of 'logical' conclusions -- five of them in all. If this is true, then this must also be true. And then this next thing must be true. It was called "systematic", but it just feels black to me, like tar or crude oil.

Lord, it's really hard to let go of that, to forget that. I so wish I could return to the joy I had when I first discovered this word, "predestined". I choose to forgive those who argued, and I ask Your forgiveness for arguing back. I ask Your forgiveness for not spending more time simply in prayer with You, talking to You about it and listening to You. I bring this word, "predestined", back to You, Lord, for You to redeem, to mold, to make and shape in my heart and understanding as You will. In Jesus' name, amen.
I know that my "predestination" is in the shape of the Cross. It is in Jesus Christ that I am predestined. I am chosen because He is the Chosen One! (>_<) This mystery... I don't fully understand this mystery. It is revealed, but I still don't understand all of it. What I see now as I look at this picture is God's arms reaching to me out of eternity. I am not in eternity (or I was not in eternity), but God is reaching out to me from the light, from eternity, calling me to Him and taking hold of me. He does this for me in the Cross.

I want to know answers to my questions, to the challenges posed by Calvinism, but somehow immediately I know that the first thing before me is Your call to me, Your arms reaching out to me, the Cross before me, the light of eternity in front of me calling out to me. Before I attempt to grasp anything else, before I try to "map out eternity", Your call is to me, Your loving arms reach out to me. That's the personalness of what this is all about, isn't it, Lord? (>_<) You said, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you." And when You said that, You didn't mean to have us start running off figuring out who God did and did not choose, or hypothetically how You do Your choosing. But rather when You said this to me, to each of us, You said it to us, to me personally, personally calling me from eternity. Not that I loved You, but that You first loved me.

It's weird, Lord. But as I say this, as I write this, I start to lose my "need" to have answers to the questions. To the dilemmas. To the challenges of the Calvinistic system. Suddenly those things start to pale in comparison with what You've done for me, with Your love. And I know Your love is intercessory. The lie of "limited atonement" (>_<) offends me and others precisely because it is Your Spirit in us crying out in intercession for those who don't know You. I know Your love is given to all people, just as Your Word declares (>_<) ...even though not all people will accept Your love.

God, I want to figure out this mystery before I finish typing tonight... (>_<) ...but I don't think I will. I think I must rest and put this in Your hands. Just like I must rest and put myself in Your hands. You've reached out and grabbed me from eternity. Thank You. In the beginning and in the end perhaps all I can do is look in wonder like the author of Psalm 139 (>_<) ... and so I did, after I had done this picture. I wrote:
You know every step I take, every thought I have, every word I say before I say it. I am thoroughly and utterly known by You! And yet You loved me and died for me! How can I thank You?

You saw me ahead of time. You made me. You gave me everything I have. I am nothing without You, Lord.

You are my God, the One who sees all and knows all, the One before and beyond time. And You call me, from Eternity, making Yourself known on the cross -- Love from Eternity. I was made for You.

You saw me even here making this picture today, right now. "Predestined". It means You know all and see all. And You have loved and chosen me. Thank You.
Now in this picture, I see that the "light" itself is the Cross. (>_<) In the cross You reached out from eternity. In the cross I see Your light. In the cross I see eternity. Through the cross I was called out from eternity. Through the cross I saw Your love for me — my name engraved in nail marks on Your hands. And through the cross I am taken hold of for eternity, and walk into eternity. This is a picture of me standing before the Cross.

Thank You, Lord. Thank You.

(Afterword below)

Wow! This is great!

Ramone: I can't wait to hear your comments about this picture! Patria
Just posted the story tonight, Patria.


You know, I can't say I have any more "answers" about predestination, but I was crying in the Spirit at times when I wrote it. I think that God's personal call is the bottom line to it. (>_<) His cry, His call, His invitation to you personally, right now... that is —how do I say— that is the alpha and omega of the whole issue of predestination, so to speak! (>_<) And maybe that is why I can go no further in my understanding right now, because He is calling me to that place, to square one, to the cross, to be there, to see there, and to call others there. (>_<)

As you'll note in the writing above, I speak of having "lost my joy" about predestination because of Calvinism. God, I don't know what to do about that still. But I choose to rejoice in You. I choose to believe Your Word, that You know me and You have seen me through and through, and You have loved me anyway! So I choose to rejoice. I choose to thank You now and today. Thank You for choosing me before I chose You.

Ooooo! Wow, that word "predestination" was a stumbler! When I write it out in the words of John 15:16, it hits home more in my heart! (>_<) How interesting, and how wonderful! I'm going to say it again! Thank You Lord for choosing me before I chose You! Thank You! Thank You that You have loved me first before I ever loved You!! Lord, are Your love and Your predestination (Your choosing) the same thing? Have You loved and chosen us all (>_<) in Your Son?

As all were in Adam, so You gave Your Son for all. By giving Your Son for Adam, You gave Yourself for all who were "in Adam", all who were to come from Adam later on. (>_<) I think that it means You couldn't give Your Son just for a few of us, but You had to give Him for all of us. It was all or nothing for us in Your eyes! And like the song says, You knew that Your "rose" would be trampled on the ground by many. You know who will pick it up, and who will leave it and trample on it some more. (>_<) But You gave it (Him) to all of us anyway. Thank You. Fill me with that same love, that love of Jesus Christ, of Your heart, Father, of Your Spirit... that love that gives even to enemies who will not receive. In Jesus' name, amen.
Ramone, Thank you so much. Let me just first say that I resonate deeply with much of what you've written.

A beautiful lady in my class recently pointed out to me that Phil. 4 says in rejoicing in the Lord, we feel the "peace that passes understanding". That's Him guarding our hearts according to the passage. He is so good. He starts it all. Our creation, our redemption, and even the heart protection of His beloved.

I agree, predestination is mysterious. I also have a friend who says that John 3:16 says "whosoever" and that WHOSOEVER MEANS whosoever. May we never forget that HE is indeed our mysterious God. If we can plumb to the bottom of His depths, then we are indeed a hopeless people, even though He makes Himself knowable. Amen...

Lord, Jesus THANK YOU for your mystery. Thank you for being so much bigger than we are. Thank you for the healing that you're bringing to Ramone and to myself surround this very issue. There has been so much heart pain and damage done by people, well meaning people, who seek to put you in boxes. Lord, set us all free.

Ramone, thank you--not only for the picture but also for what you wrote.

God is so much bigger and lavish than any of our systems or formulas. He loves us, and He has poured out his love within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us!

Predestined in Jesus from eternity...!
If one believes that as in Adam ALL die, so in Christ ALL will be made alive, then predestination and the elect is so very easy to make sense of. God is choosing and Calling His elect so that in the ages to come, He will show His amazing Grace and the elect in the ages to come, yea, these foolish, not many wise, uninfluential will show forth the praise of the riches of Gods Grace in Christ Jesus.

Calvins believe God gives some people what they deserve, (perfect justice, eternal hell fire) and gives favour and grace only unto His Elect. So He Chooses to have mercy on some and give others what they deserve.

Arminians, (i think that's the Word) Well they don't seem to have a place for elect or predestination, only to say that God foreknew, and He predestined those He Foreknew would accept Him, which kind of does away with Predestination altogether, for God chose and predestined only because He foreknew we would love Him.

These are only the 3 choices on this subject we can make, but Maybe there is a middle ground in there somewhere.
My friend & spiritual mum Hazel wrote up something about "election" that looks at things from a very different perspective, which I believe changes the sort of "trap" we feel with the word "election" --

"Election Determines History, Not Eternal Destiny"

A piggyback article to that one is here: "The Sun That Melts Wax Also Hardens Clay"

She significantly expanded on the "election" theme in a study about "Israel" here:

"Who Are the Israel of God?" (introduction)

"Chosen to Bless the World" (Chapter 1)

"Chosen For Service NOT Privilege" (Chapter 5)

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