Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy 2009!


Nengajou 2009 - click for nice, larger picture!

Happy New Year, everyone! This is Timothy ("Timo") speaking. This year I've taken over the Nengajou. Last year (and all the years before it) my Daddy did it. And, well, he's actually typing now, but of course I'm holding him at toy gunpoint and dictating this to him, word for word in perfect, unbroken iambic pentameter.

As you'll note, the feature of each picture is yours truly. Similar to last year's, yes, but you'll notice I'm more active! This year I learned to walk, talk a bit, eat lots of different kinds of food, and invade every part of Mommy & Daddy's lives. Yaay! Well, I'll stop babbling and tell you about the pictures...

Oops, bedtime!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In Your Sea

"Come Rest" (click to read the story of this picture)

All that I have is You
I have nothing if not You
I leave all my land behind me
I cast myself into Your sea

You are my rest
You are my sea
You are my life
In You I am free
All You want me to see
All You want me to be
I will see, and I will be
Because it's You carrying me

Forever I know
I will be
Lost in Your love
At rest in Your sea
...Carry me, carry me
In Your sea, in Your sea
Fill the earth, fill the earth
With Your glory, with Your glory.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gently Broken (A New Website for Adventists)


Gently Broken

My friend Cherry Brandstater has launched a website for Adventists...

Introducing a New Website

Gently Broken
For the Adventist Heart that Longs for More of Jesus

WWW.GentlyBroken.com

Gently Broken is a place where you can go to read stories of people probably a whole lot like you. They have lived the Adventist life-style and would be considered solid citizens. But somewhere along the way, they knew that something was missing. Their journies (Young SDA and Seasoned SDA) may give you some hope that you can be passionate about Jesus too.

There are studies that will challenge you to dig a little deeper than you have before (Ultimate Rest, Spirit, Faith or Fear?). Eventually, there will even be a game room where you can pit your knowledge of all things Adventist against "Doc." You can help us with this by submitting your own creations. Hope to see you there.

www.gentlybroken.com

Welcome Home!

Part of my own testimony is in the “Young SDA” section, and I contributed art throughout the three studies, particularly for their introductions --

"Ultimate Rest"
http://sogentlybroken.blogspot.com/2008/10/gently-broken.html
(picture: "Gently Broken")

"Spirit"
http://sogentlybroken.blogspot.com/2008/09/spirit-introduction.html
(picture: "Eternity")

"Faith or Fear?"
http://sogentlybroken.blogspot.com/2008/09/faith-or-fear.html
(picture: "Letting Go")

Bless you in JESUS!
Ramone

Letting Go

Letting Go

I painted this picture for the introduction to "Faith or Fear", a study by Cherry Brandstater. I had felt impressed to ask God for a picture for each of her three studies and when it came time to ask Him about her third study, I was suddenly at a loss. Her third study deals with the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of the "Sanctuary" and "Investigative Judgment", which was created to explain why William Miller's date-setting for the day of Christ's return was not incorrect but actually of salvational importance to understand. The doctrine is so complicated and convaluted that I just had no idea where to begin or what to paint.

As I prayed, it was like I saw all the calculations -- the mess and Miller's calculations, and I saw a man at the cross. He's letting go, but having trouble letting it all go. His hands are wanting to embrace the cross... but his hands are at the same time questioning, still offering the fruits of the numbers, like saying "God, but what about this?" Isn't there something of value here in this? Something worth keeping? It couldn't have all been wrong or off, Lord? It was so close, Lord! It fit so well, made so much sense...

He's facing letting go of hoping to please God. His attempt to calculate Christ's return (or the events prior to His return) and thus "be ready" for it is ultimately an effort to earn God's approval, to earn His pleasure and "be ready" and "acceptable" for when Jesus returns. It reveals the buried, deep-seated fear that unless we do something, we won't be saved. Making these calculations, knowing what's coming and when (or how), seems to give us assurance that we'll be ready, we'll be saved, we won't be lost. We think.

But you don't have to calculate it to be saved! See the cross? He loves you! He has saved you! You are safe in Him! You are sealed in Him, by His Holy Spirit! And while you are safe in Him, He will one day come and get you to take you home and to a new world!

I was reminded of a film entitled "Pi", in which a man uses his super-computer to calculate the Kabbalah's mythical 216 digits of the name of God... and nearly kills himself in the process. Film critic Roger Ebert noted about this that "the closer you get to finding something that does not exist, the more insane you become." The closer you think you get to it, the more validated your journey seems, and the harder it is to realize your goal is was a mistaken impossibility. The harder it becomes to just let go of it all. The man with his super-computer calculations in the movie was just like Miller and the foundation of Adventism, trying to calculate the impossible to ultimately attain God (or salvation). Because it felt so, so close, Adventists could not let go of their calculations. Miller did and repented. But Adventists could not accept that it was all mistaken from the beginning. They couldn't repent and find rest at the cross.

The next day after sketching this picture, I realized God is bringing Adventists back to the root, back to the original place and opportunity for repentance that the unrepentant Millerites could not humbly take (because of the shame of humiliation and fear of futility). I realized that the picture shows the "meeting" which the unrepentant Millerites needed to have, but ran away from. It's the point of the realization which they avoided; it's the run-in with the cross which awaits them still.

I had no idea where to begin in portraying a picture about the complex and difficult Sanctuary/Investigative Judgment doctrine. But with the picture God showed, He took things past all the complicated spaghetti of the Adventist doctrine and back to the simple root of it all: the call to repent of the original error which started it all, the works of calculations attempting to garner favor with Him. Before Adventism He sets the Cross and offers rest from trying to make the calculations work, from trying to save face, from trying to avoid the fear of futility. Yes, it was wrong. Yes, it was futile. The sooner we can admit that, the sooner we can find rest and true security. Here is the choice God is presenting Adventism and has been presenting for over 165 years: Will it be the this, or will it be the Cross?

As I was copying down the "equation" numbers (and now as I write and weep in the Spirit), I note that the Cross event plays a very minor part in the calculations. The "Messianic week" is a parenthetical, "by the way" in Miller's calculations. It's just a brief stop, a supporting-evidence, a footnote on the way to getting to 1844. The Cross became a numerical proof for 1844. Miller's calculations say, "Even the Cross pointed to 1844!", instead of pointing to Christ and Him crucified as our salvation. Miller's calculations and the Adventist doctrine based on them simply set aside the message of the gospel, and declare that the way to be saved is instead to "be ready" for His coming.

"Lettin Go" is a picture of Adventists in our age (and in any age) coming to the foot of the cross and being overwhelmed as they see the choice of surrender before them. They have a brief, faint glimpse of something... a salvation with a magnitude greater than anything they had imagined--or calculated--to be possible. They hear a faint whisper of what He has done on the Cross. The Spirit calls them, both inviting and commanding, to come fall on their knees here, surrender all to Him, trust Him alone, and be broken by the Rock. And find rest. But it feels risky to believe they can be accepted bringing nothing to make themselves pleasing or "ready". It feels shameful, fearful and futile to face the possibility that so much and so long of a journey began on the wrong foot. It's hard to let go.

But ask for His grace to let go. And find rest for your souls at the Cross. Please!

Safe in You (in that Day)

Safe in You (in that Day)

The other day at a family restaurant with my wife and son, I felt the itch to sketch something in my spirit, but what? First I saw bread and wine. Communion? Was this about "communion"?

I began mulling over things about that. Many people focus on the ritual of communion, how important "the eucharist" is, the service, the church, and so on. As I began thinking about all of that, I began to actually dread the misunderstandings that would come when people saw this picture... they would see it as an affirmation of whatever central importance they had placed on (or felt needed to be placed on) the communion service.

I began looking at the background, and I started to see a dark sky and brown hills (as I write this, I am weeping in the Spirit)... and I knew it was the last days and/or the last day itself. Darkness is coming and will increase before He comes. In that day, the only safe place to be is in Him.
When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A liter of wheat for a denarius, and three liters of barley for a denarius, and do not damage the oil and the wine!" (Revelation 6:5-6)

I believe we are living in the days after the opening of the third seal. Today there are all sorts of "scales" being used in the world to weigh value... value of things, places, and people (oh, Lord). All sorts of "measurements" are being taken and used and exacted on people whom God has died for. (That's what these pictures are about). But God is telling us that the only safe place is in His Son. The only thing that counts is the life of the Son, Jesus Christ. As humans, our measurements and scales are "off". We don't know how to weigh and value as we ought to. We must trust God's system of weighing. He can see that our righteousness is nothing in His sight. Only His Son's counts.

That's what this picture is about. He is saying that the only thing that will stand in that day, the only righteousness that will stand in that day is His Son's. Our only way through is His body, His blood freely given to us.
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." (John 6:53-58)

As I began writing about "communion" earlier, I began to weep in the Spirit because THIS IS NOT ABOUT A RITUAL, LITURGICAL OR CEREMONIAL "SERVICE" OR ACTIVITY! He is calling us to stare at His Son, what He has done for us, and receive HIM! Receive His righteousness and live by His word! Trust in Him, that it is only His body that was broken for us --the perfect sacrifice for our sins-- and His blood poured out to forgive our sins. He is our covenant, He is our safety, He Himself is our only shelter in the day of darkness.

On Your Shoulders

On Your Shoulders

"Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him,
for He shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders."

- Deuteronomy 33:12

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on Your shoulders
You raise me up... to more than I can be.

- "You Raise Me Up", by Rolf Lovland & Brendan Graham
(>_<)

Thank You, Lord. Thank You.

Friday, January 09, 2009

David & Goliath Today



Palestinian demonstrators use sling-shots to hurl stones at Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against Israel's military operation in Gaza, in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah,Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

Wow... ironic. Thousands of years ago, the "giant" was a Philistine and the one with the slingshot was a young Israelite. But in this picture the "giant" is the Israeli army, and the "young one(s)" are Palestinians. Of course there are a lot of issues involved, and it is very tragic. But still, the irony is too striking not to mention. And maybe, in fact, there's something to hear from God's heart in this irony. (>_<)

In Jesus and in prayer,
Ramone

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Come Rest in Jesus

Come Rest

This came as I was praying about some songs the Lord had given me about His Sabbath-rest. It's probably the most 'simple' picture I've done yet. In my spirit (thank You, Lord!) I simply saw an ocean stretching out to the horizon. The water up close was lighter, clearer, almost green, and in the distance it grew darker. It was like I was on some tropical island looking at clear, beautiful clear waters, light green and light blue waters, and beautiful deep blue ocean waters.

What is "Sabbath-rest"? It's not a day. Rather, "Sabbath rest" is the wonderful rest and peace that comes to us in Jesus because of His finished work for us. Jesus called us to lay our burdens down and enter His rest (Matthew 11:28-30), and the Bible says we can experience that rest "today" (Hebrews 4:7). We can rest in Him--right now! We don't have to wait for "the right day of the week" or some special event.

Naturally we think there is something we have to do. Religion teaches us we have to earn His rest (sadly, even Christianity has often done this, too). But no, Jesus Christ has done the work for us. It's time to lay down our burdens and just go out into His waters of rest. We can enter today simply by faith (Hebrews 4:3), not by works or law. His rest is a gift of grace to us.

Our works, our efforts, even the old covenant law, we cling to all of these things because they unconsciously feel like a sort of insurance to us. We feel safe by holding onto law & works. "If I do this, then I know I'm safe." We're afraid of simply falling into the arms of the living God. Since we can't see God physically, it's naturally difficult for us to trust Him fully for saving. Doing some bit ourselves, some thing, some good work, some law obedience -- unconsciously these things seem to offer a support, a leg, an insurance. It seems like they'll give us a little relief, some extra assurance. Ironically, they don't. They in fact give us less assurance! Simply because deep inside we know we can never measure up. So we end up comparing ourselves to a standard (like the old covenant law) and measuring ourselves to it. In moments of doubt (which may be frequent) we run into despair, wondering if we measure up or not.

In contrast, Jesus gives us rest. It's a free gift. To trust Him fully for saving feels a bit scary at first. Letting go of our insurance feels a bit like floating out into this ocean! It would be fearful in the natural to even consider just floating away into the ocean. But in the sea of God's love, it is different --there is no safer place.

In fact, clinging to what's behind is far more dangerous, for behind us is a mountain of dead works, filthy rags, unrest, unrighteousness and impending death. Without His saving (His alone, not ours!) we are lost in a sea of death. Far better to be "lost at sea in His love"! (Lord, stamp that on my forehead -- "Lost at sea in His love!")

As I thought of the different colors of water, growing deeper further out, I realized it is because the water is shallower up close and deeper farther off into the ocean. I realize that this picture is a view looking outward from this picture by my spiritual mum Hazel Holland. In a dream (link) the Lord showed her a picture of a mountain of children piled upon one another, dressed in dirty ragged clothes, frantically holding onto each other and the 'mountain' of bodies beneath them (many of which had died), fearful of falling into the blue sea around them (see close-up). They were holding onto their works, good works & dead works, and the old covenant law, terrified of letting go to what seemed like certain death and oblivious to the fact that merely avoiding the sea of God's rest was actually killing them.

This is a picture looking outward into that sea. Can you hear God's voice calling you to let go of your works, your 'insurance', and come rest in Him? It's a picture of Him calling us in deep peace, invitation and longing,
"Come rest in Jesus. Come in, come deep."

Come Rest

Come Rest

This came as I was praying about some songs the Lord had given me about His Sabbath-rest. It's probably the most 'simple' picture I've done yet. In my spirit (thank You, Lord!) I simply saw an ocean stretching out to the horizon. The water up close was lighter, clearer, almost green, and in the distance it grew darker. It was like I was on some tropical island looking at clear, beautiful clear waters, light green and light blue waters, and beautiful deep blue ocean waters.

What is "Sabbath-rest"? It's not a day. Rather, "Sabbath rest" is the wonderful rest and peace that comes to us in Jesus because of His finished work for us. Jesus called us to lay our burdens down and enter His rest (Matthew 11:28-30), and the Bible says we can experience that rest "today" (Hebrews 4:7). We can rest in Him--right now! We don't have to wait for "the right day of the week" or some special event.

Naturally we think there is something we have to do. Religion teaches us we have to earn His rest (sadly, even Christianity has often done this, too). But no, Jesus Christ has done the work for us. It's time to lay down our burdens and just go out into His waters of rest. We can enter today simply by faith (Hebrews 4:3), not by works or law. His rest is a gift of grace to us. And like entering the ocean, we can't stand on our own two feet, so to speak. We've got to lay down -- lay down our burdens, our efforts, and just let Him carry us out into the deep.

Our works, our efforts, even the old covenant law, we cling to all of these things because they unconsciously feel like a sort of insurance to us. We feel safe by holding onto law & works. "If I do this, then I know I'm safe." We're afraid of simply falling into the arms of the living God. Since we can't see God physically, it's naturally difficult for us to trust Him fully for saving. Doing some bit ourselves, some thing, some good work, some law obedience -- unconsciously these things seem to offer a support, a leg, an insurance. It seems like they'll give us a little relief, some extra assurance. Ironically, they don't. They in fact give us less assurance! Simply because deep inside we know we can never measure up. So we end up comparing ourselves to a standard (like the old covenant law) and measuring ourselves to it. In moments of doubt (which may be frequent) we run into despair, wondering if we measure up or not.

In contrast, Jesus gives us rest. It's a free gift. To trust Him fully for saving feels a bit scary at first. Letting go of our insurance feels a bit like floating out into this ocean! It would be fearful in the natural to even consider just floating away into the ocean. But in the sea of God's love, it is different --there is no safer place.

In fact, clinging to what's behind is far more dangerous, for behind us is a mountain of dead works, filthy rags, unrest, unrighteousness and impending death. Without His saving (His alone, not ours!) we are lost in a sea of death. Far better to be "lost at sea in His love"! (Lord, stamp that on my forehead -- "Lost at sea in His love!")

As I thought of the different colors of water, growing deeper further out, I realized it is because the water is shallower up close and deeper farther off into the ocean. I realize that this picture is a view looking outward from this picture by my spiritual mum Hazel Holland. In a dream (link) the Lord showed her a picture of a mountain of children piled upon one another, dressed in dirty ragged clothes, frantically holding onto each other and the 'mountain' of bodies beneath them (many of which had died), fearful of falling into the blue sea around them (see close-up). They were holding onto their works, good works & dead works, and the old covenant law, terrified of letting go to what seemed like certain death and oblivious to the fact that merely avoiding the sea of God's rest was actually killing them.

This is a picture looking outward into that sea. Can you hear God's voice calling you to let go of your works, your 'insurance', and come rest in Him? It's a picture of Him calling us in deep peace, invitation and longing,
"Come rest in Jesus. Come in, come deep."