Thursday, December 31, 2009
Fan This Flame!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Will You Come With Me?
By Ramone - December 18, 2009
"Therefore I am now going to allure you;
I will lead you into the desert
and speak tenderly to you.
There I will give you back your vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope.
There you will sing as in the days of your youth,
as in the day you came up out of Egypt.
"In that day," declares the Lord,
"you will call Me 'my husband';
you will no longer call Me 'my master. '”
- Hosea 2, adapted
"I will turn your desert into pools of water,
and your parched ground into springs.
I will put in your desert
the cedar and the acacia,
the myrtle and the olive.
I will set pines in your wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together."
- Isaiah 41, adapted
Friday, December 11, 2009
It is Finished!
By Ramone - December 4, 2009
In November I decided that I wanted to do something for a particular church, as a blessing and to say thank you. I asked God if there was a picture I could paint and felt Him say yes. After I prayed, this picture was what I saw and painted. I talked to God about it and asked Him what it meant. He said it was “Me and My children,” and then He said, “Give them to Me.” I asked God who these people were. At first it looks like they are people in the city, people outside the church, because those people are hungry for Him and hungry for His love. But He said that these are people inside church. It’s hard for me to write about this without crying in the Spirit.
The people in the picture are wearing rags because they really need His love, and they also need one another’s love. Even though they are standing close next to each other, they feel alone… they don’t feel “clothed” by His love or by love from the people next to them. Often at church people worship, sing, and listen to the message next to each other, but they still feel alone. They don’t know that He is right there with them, and that He is waiting to talk to them. Because the program is the main thing, there is very little time for people to speak and share their hearts with each other in church, and often there’s little time for Jesus to speak and share His heart, too. So often He feels alone, too.
I believe God wants to share His heart with the church… His heart for people that the church program and worship service can’t help, people who need the clothing of His loving voice, and the clothing of love from relationships with each other. I pray that God uses the picture and its meaning to bless you and fill you with more of His heart for the people He loves so much.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
I Need You
Friday, December 04, 2009
By Ramone - December 3, 2009
Standing in the Gates
By Ramone - November 27, 2009
"...that I may declare Your praises
in the gates of the Daughter of Zion
and there rejoice in Your salvation."
- Psalm 9:14
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
By Ramone - November 29, 2009
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'"When my friend Roseline Yong stayed with us here in Osaka, she mentioned how Japanese "omikuji" reminded her of our sins on the cross. Omikuji are little fortunes that people go to get at Shinto shrines every New Year's. If the fortunes are bad, they are tied to and left on trees at the shrine's grounds, and the "bad luck" is left behind there on the trees.
- Galatians 3:13
"He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed."
- 1 Peter 2:24
I had not been deeply impacted by the comparison with the cross. However, I had made a picture called "My Sins" and had displayed it at a church art show in early November. (The picture had come from a vision of my sins on red cards being posted one after another to the cross. In that vision God had utilized something a mission director had done with us years ago at a retreat: she had us privately write our sins on a little red piece of paper -- as many sins as we could think of, remember or confess. And then one by one we nailed our sin cards to the cross. In the end the cross had all these red cards on it.) After I displayed that church and was praying about sharing grace in Japan, I felt impressed by the Lord to make this Japanese version, using omikuji as Roseline had spoken of.
The comparison is not exact, however, the fortunes that are left on trees are bad ones... bad luck, bad events, bad things. In a sense, curses. Christ became cursed for us that we might be free in Him. I pray this helps at least one person understand even just a little of what He has done for us.