by Ramone Romero in Osaka, Japan
These paintings are wonderfully simple and descriptive for us all. Each one tells a bit of the artist's heart and story, so I am posting them as I found them. Enjoy his works and read what you'd like.
Rest in the Arms of the Everlasting Father
I inked this picture on the airplane back from the States yesterday. This is the best picture I could take of it in the cabin's light. On that flight there were about a dozen Mormon (LDS) missionaries on their way to Japan. As I stood holding my son, trying to get him to relax and fall asleep, I prayed for them. I didn't know how to pray, I didn't know what they needed. But this is what I received -- they need rest, rest in God's arms.
I grew up Seventh-day Adventist and served as an SDA missionary for one year -- my first year in Japan. While there are many differences between LDS and SDA, there are many, many similarities as well. Both have something extra added onto Christianity which changes the simple nature of the Gospel. Both seem to need the rest that comes from knowing Jesus' finished work. Adventism & Mormonism both have a lot of work. In Mormonism it is the burden of "eternal progression", the attempt to attain godhood. This picture and the prayer it came from are about resting in God, resting in the arms of the Everlasting Father (that is, Jesus). Not trying to attain His status, but instead letting God be God and you be you -- His saved, redeemed child forever. No further burden, but only eternal and blessed rest in His arms as His child forever.
I was led out of Adventism & its worries & works by the Holy Spirit and by learning about the New Covenant. Many people don't realize that the Bible is divided into telling the histories of two covenants -- the Old and the New Covenant. Ellen White (SDA's prophet) didn't know this, and I don't think Joseph Smith (LDS's prophet) knew this either, hence the description of the book of Mormon as "another testament of Jesus Christ" -- this would be calling it "another covenant" when the New Testament boasts only of the one all-sufficent New Covenant which is made for all nations.
On our trip to America, I had taken different watercolor pencils and a couple pens, but when packing I felt like I should carry-on only the grey inkbrush pen and the waterbrush pen. Sometimes this happens -- at the beginning of the day, or before going out, etc. God impresses me (and can impress you) with certain materials or things to take which you will need. You can take others, but you may not need them! This time it was for this picture.
I inked it and tried to photograph it to remember it and share it here. Then when the flight was de-boarding, I gave it to one of the two Mormon missionaries seated behind me. He was very thankful and I was struck by his very kind appreciation. I didn't say any of the things I'd written here, but only blessed him. I had written a little bit of this on the back of the picture as well as my email address & this site's address (and if you're reading this, please email me!).
My family & I had a connecting flight at Tokyo and then continued onto Osaka. As we picked up our luggage in Osaka, there was my Mormon friend to thank me again, as well as do a little of his job by putting in a plug for Mormonism, giving me a card of a Mormon tabernacle and saying it was a place I really wanted to be at. I thanked him and couldn't think of what to say. That's me, haha. I've been better at writing most of my life rather than speaking -- so far, that is! Praise God, it will not always be that way.
I didn't know how to tell him that after coming out of Adventism, I had met the real Jesus and been filled with the one Holy Spirit, and could never be led astray again to another 'true church'. In appreciation of his kindness (not to mention how sleepy we all were), I didn't share then and I didn't want to argue anyway. I was blessed to have blessed him with the picture, and was blessed by his kindness.
As I was leaving the airport I thought of what I really wanted to say in reply. It's in the words of a song by Craig Musseau --
I sing a simple song of love
To my Savior, to my Jesus
I'm grateful for the things You've done
My loving Savior, my precious Jesus
My heart is glad that You've called me Your own
There's no place I'd rather be
Than in Your arms of love
In your arms of love
Holding me still, holding me near
In Your arms of love
I know he wanted me to come to a Mormon church, but I'm blessed beyond all imagination in the arms of my loving God. There's no place I'd rather be than in Christ alone. In Christ alone. By faith alone. His Word (the Bible) alone. The New Covenant. The complete revelation of His Son in the Scriptures as Hebrews puts it. I pray that my Mormon friend and his co-laborers will one day find the same rest in the simple, blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Why He Came
"The glory of God is man fully alive."
- Saint Irenaeus
"Above all else guard your heart
for it is the wellspring of life."
- Proverbs 4:23
I've started reading John Eldrege's book "Waking the Dead" and was struck by the Proverbs quote after he put it in the light of God's purpose in sending Christ -- to redeem our hearts, to heal our hearts, to restore our hearts to life. The spring of His abundant life comes from your heart! He came for men & women's hearts, to save & restore them. He came & died & rose to give you your heart back!
I wanted to draw a picture for a bookmark while I read it, and I saw this picture as I thought of it. The focal point of this picture --and the part which I saw most clearly-- is not the heart, however, but the eyes of the man coming out of darkness. He sees his heart, he sees with the eyes of his heart for the first time. He has taken hold of that for which Jesus came to give him -- his heart.
In Daddy's Arms
This is how I felt (and how I saw it) as I relaxed with my son in the afternoon. He was falling asleep in my arms, and I was sleepy too, and we were listening to worship music. It was sweet. God is sweet. He is wonderful, He is lovely. He is love. And we are in His arms. Rest in His arms today.
Spirit, Soul and Body
In a recent picture I wrote about "heart art" and prayed that it would somehow help people release things inside and help them "discover the position of their spirit inside."
We are three-part beings. We have a body, we know that. We have a soul. We know that, too. But the spirit, this is the most mysterious and unknown part. Many Christians think that "spirit" and "soul" are the same, and if you ignore Hebrews 4:12, you might have a case. But there is a deep part of us that is not our soul. Our souls are our minds, emotions and wills. Our spirit is that part of us inside that is the deepest you, the real you. The part of you that is made a new creation and in which the Holy Spirit dwells. The Holy Spirit communicates to it -- Spirit to spirit.
The soul gets most of our attention, and because of that we often live there without being spirit-conscious. We live by our feelings or by our thoughts -- by our emotions or by our "rational" minds. But these go up and down like the waves or the wind. They are easily blown around, and if you only look there things can sometimes get dark. But Proverbs says that the spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord. The spirit inside of you needs to be on top. The body submits to the soul, and the soul must submit to the spirit. The spirit's desire is for the Spirit (God).
I got this picture when I was relaxing with my son who was falling to sleep in my arms. I felt oddly confused for a moment, not knowing how I should feel or what I should think. I felt a bit dark. Then somehow God stilled me and quieted me. I waited and saw the position of my spirit inside me -- that I didn't have to worry, but everything was fine. In fact, inside my spirit was praising God! That is what my spirit was doing, but my soul temporarily got in the way and I couldn't hear my innermost self. As I stilled my soul, I saw my spirit---the new creation of God---and I praised God. My soul and body came into line with the desire of my spirit and the desire of His Spirit. It was really cool.
I don't know if I'm writing this well, but ask God to help you know who you really are inside -- to know His Spirit and the spirit (your spirit) that He has created you as. You see who you really are by faith, and at times when things are dark, stand on His Word of who you are inside. And in His timing & His way, He will show you your spirit--your true self--deep inside. Blessings to you in Jesus' name, bless your spirit!
He's Calling Us Out!
The invitation to paint during worship at Jesus Family Center remains open, and again I was blessed during worship and felt His heart and set down to paint it. This one took a little longer and is perhaps more skillful than the previous three. I must confess that this kind of watercoloring is new to me and I feel horribly inadequate in shapes, colors, methods, and making it look good. Haha. But the Lord is the Adequate One! And if His heart comes through, then praise God!
As we worshiped, we sang the Vineyard song, "Let Your Glory Fall" in Japanese, and I started to feel this big red arrow going out of the doors of the church (all churches), God's heart calling us outside to the people outside and far away. He's calling us out! Out to them!
As I worshiped I was holding my son who began to fall asleep in my arms, and if you have a son or daughter you know how wonderful and sweet that is, how your heart swells with love as they rest on you. I realized that He is calling us out to hold them that way -- to love and hold the people of the world.
Then we began to sing Hillsong's "Worthy is the Lamb" and thanking the Lord for His love, for His Son who poured out His life for us and gave us His body and blood (we took communion that night, too). As our hearts melted in tears because of His sacrifice, I realized another thing...
He is calling us out -- this is what His Son died for. Jesus died for the world. He died so that we could go out to them and share His love with them and let them know what He has done for them. He died so that we would leave our church buildings and that they would receive His love from us.
The sun is setting because the hour is late; night is coming and dark clouds, the harvest is almost over. It is time to go outside.
Lord, I don't know how to pray, how to react to this. Please put Your heart in us so strongly until we can no longer stay inside, but that our hearts will break if we don't go out. This is why You gave Your Son's heart, why His heart was broken for us, for all of us. Thank You, Lord. Show us how to go, where, and in Your timing. In Jesus' name, amen.
The week following Jesus Family Center's art show weekend, I wistfully mused that it would be nice if they could leave the art materials out every week so that anyone who received a picture from the Spirit or wanted to draw one could. And they did! So on the night of the 10th during worship this picture came. I believe we were singing "Shout to the Lord" (in Japanese, of course).
I saw the colors like this and felt like we were giving birth to nations here in our prayers and our praises. As I began to draw it I didn't realize what it was, but then it became clear... a womb! God is calling His people to volunteer themselves to Him as spiritual wombs through which He uses His Spirit and our prayers to give birth to His purposes in the earth -- salvation in people who don't yet know Him.
Yes, Lord, here we are! Give birth to them through our intercession and Your Spirit!
This is my second painted-during-worship picture, painted during the second day of the "arts" weekend at Jesus Family Center. As they had done the night before, the pastors said that if anyone had a picture, please come up and paint it. This time it wasn't so much of a "prophetic" picture as the earlier one, but was instead how I felt during worship.
The worship leader (on guitar and sitting in his wheelchair) had just begun to sing a very "yasashii" song (nice, soft, kind) and I felt this, like we were reaching up and touching God's heart and He was touching ours, and we were praising Him and touching something soft above us. This is kind of what it looked like.
Wonderfully (to me), I wasn't the only one who painted! The night before it had just been me and the pastor's son, but this time it was as if all the kids came up to paint and draw, too! I wish I could put all their pictures online! They're so beautiful! I was honored to be painting my heart & His heart alongside their pure and beautiful hearts and His heart in them!
His Hands (Laying on Love)
I felt this picture first on May 16, 2005. It's this warm feeling & blessing of being in prayer with brothers & sisters as they lay their hands on you or you lay your hands on them. In my old prayer group in California, we would pray for whoever needed or desired it, and that person would sit in the center and we would lay hands on him or her. You know, I can't remember how this started, but almost every time we prayed for someone, we laid hands on them. It was wonderful. I know some people are cautious about laying on of hands, but I don't think Paul was talking about regular prayer when he said that to Timothy (I think he was talking about commissioning elders). It's hard to describe the effect of this kind of prayer, but it is love, it is wonderful, and you know it is God's hands that are resting on you and loving you.
This is the first of two pictures I felt one night when I was praying for my friend & spiritual-mom Hazel Holland, who had just lost her step-mother to a stroke. I didn't know how to pray, but I prayed that somehow God would bless her & touch her through the pain. It's how I felt as I prayed... stretching out, helpless, but appealing to God who can move, touch and comfort above and beyond what we can do.
I'm not sure if I'd call these two pictures "prophetic art"... instead they're something I'm starting to call "heart art". Maybe these are the first two "heart art" pictures I've really put out. It's something that comes from your spirit showing how you feel. Of course, it can also come from God (and/or both you and God! ...and I think it does!). I haven't fully understood this yet, but "heart art" is kind of like painting a Psalm on paper -- a crying out of your spirit or soul to God or in your situation.
I pray that in sharing these (with her permission) that this kind of art ("heart art") will be something that God can use to bless people someday and somehow, to help them release things inside and discover the position of their spirit inside...