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Sunday: Relational-Faith

jonatan-pie-216311-skyIt’s Sunday … all day … and I’m thinking about how differently I used to think of Sunday say, 15-years ago. Sunday was a day that anchored the week. It was a day of going to church, of meeting a bunch of people who politely smiled and shook my hand. It was a day of mere religion and social etiquette. It was a day of doing what I was “supposed” to do. In my heart, it was a day of seeking Him but never finding Him, and I used all of the religious processes and procedures I’d been taught in order to corner Father and have a close encounter of the personal kind.

Today, Sunday is just another day of the week for me. I was thinking about why Sunday no longer seems set apart nor is particularly special. Father God, just now commented, Sunday is no longer any different from any other day of the week for you because now you and I are together all the time, 24/7. You no longer use Sundays to merely come visit Me. We’re in love with one another and we’re infinitely close, at the Quantum level in fact, and beyond.

For me, so much has changed in this last decade. The single biggest change has been in my relationship with Father God. I now dwell in what I call relational-faith. This is a faith which is based on our spirit to Spirit mystical union. That’s how He and I “talk” to one another, spirit to Spirit. That’s how we journey through the Cosmos together, and discover things of significance and wonder. We are a relationship. We are together, whether asleep or awake, no matter what day of the week it is, or what year of life it is. My beloved Father and I are together all-ways.

Jesus, my dearest Brother, Savior, and Counselor, has made this union possible. His blood, shed for my redemption, sanctified me – made me Holy before God – and His death ripped the veil between Father and me. Because He loved me first, while I was still a sinner, I now have full, unfettered access to His Divine Presence. I can approach the Throne of Grace unafraid and can enjoy His adoration and love, as I adore Him and love Him. Thank You, Brother Jesus. Thank You, Prince of Peace, Immanuel.

Sundays … these Sundays, are not even a shadow of the former days. The life transforming relationship I experience each day with Father God is intimate, somewhat messy, lavish, and always filled with our love for one another. In these days, I worship Him more deeply, more often, more powerfully than I ever have in all my many days. In these days He and I meet at the Table of Making to venture out on the journey of creativity. This new and wondrous relationship I live with Him, who made me, who saved me, who loves me, is the very fuel of our life together. It’s already an eternal life even as I walk this wondrous Earth He has provided.

For me, at least, Sunday is like all of the other days of my week. It’s another day of wonder, filled with love and discovery with my Father God.

Amen ~


Guest Post: Back it up With Scripture!

Faith Rockrimmon is an author (Rose Rock Book Link, Rejection & Identity I, II), a blogger, and someone who generously shares the insights that Father God gives her.  When I read this blog post I saw so much of my own journey, that I asked Faith if she’d mind if I re-posted it to Creative Harmonies.  She graciously agreed, and here’s that gift.  I hope that you’re spiritually nourished, as I was.  Enjoy.

BACK IT UP WITH SCRIPTURE!

 

scripture

How many times have I been asked, “can you back it up with scripture?”  And then I have to explain that I don’t require that from Father.  Whoa, that annoys them!

I’m completely aware that it’s been done this way for a hundred years, but like so many other traditions, Father eventually tips them over.  And then I stand in fear and amazement at what He’s done.

Some years ago, when Father showed me a new insight or revelation, I’d put my hand up and stop Him from going too far.  Looking back I think it was a horrible response.  But, He didn’t seem offended. He waited patiently while I scoured scriptures and commentaries for confirmation.  Only then could I embrace His gift and experience the thrill of receiving it.

study

It was quite a time-consuming process that delayed my joy.  And eventually, it occurred to me that I could pick and chose scripture “at will” to fit any slant of any subject.  It was a game.  Like a puzzle.  And I was the mastermind.  Somehow that didn’t taste very sweet, but that was how it was done.  It was the accepted process.

Then came revelations that opposed accepted theology.  And I couldn’t find anything to back them up.  It would appear that I was creating my own version of Christianity, which was not my heart.  37 thousand denominations were quite more than enough for everyone.   So immediately I suffered a crisis of faith, wondering if I had been duped by satan all along thinking it was God’s voice I was hearing.

Oh, the heartbreak and tears as I begged Him to save me from this horrible pit.  For days, my heart churned.  I’d trusted Him.  And now this.

Now I wondered.  I doubted.  Who was I talking to and would Father save me?  Slowly I asked questions full of suspicion and mistrust.

But He still wasn’t offended, and He quickly responded with information.  It explained why my revelation wasn’t common knowledge.  And as this happened time after time, a pattern developed.   It was usually fairly simple.

Sometimes a translation wasn’t accurate.  Sometimes the context wasn’t considered.  And sometimes, the history of society wasn’t understood.   Behaviors of a period change the meaning.  Words and phrases change quickly.  Our own society has new words and phrases that were unknown 50 years ago.  All these factors change things.  Scripture isn’t simply black and white.

Here are a few examples.  “When pigs fly.”  “That’ll cost an arm and a leg.”  “You let the cat out of the bag.”  “Break a leg.”  Or “That’s a piece of cake.”  We know what they mean but imagine someone from 600 B.C. reading one of them.   What a wrong concept they would have simply by reading what we wrote in black and white.

“It’s right there in black and white” is the response when I explain how quickly words change.  And Christianity has great tunnel vision in this regard.

Imagine if you “wrote on someone’s wall” even a 100 years ago or “had a troll on my thread”.  A pioneer would think you were crazy!

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that “turning the tables” was an everyday occurrence in the temple.  Merchants turned their tables to the wall to indicated they had closed up shop for the day.

Well now, that puts a whole new twist on Jesus’s actions.  Maybe He didn’t have a temper tantrum after all.

books

And imagine my surprise at discovering the everyday phrase for Nero, the emperor, was “The Beast”.  Is it possible John in the book of Revelation, was talking to people who’d know exactly what he meant?  That could totally change our doctrine.

And what if, Father never meant for us to make scripture superior to hearing His voice?  Maybe it was meant for inspiration and guidance, but not in place of God, Himself.

Time after time, the overwhelming evidence of our flawed theology stunned me and I’d sit staring out the window at the mountains.  It was beginning to appear that almost nothing about our doctrines was constructed appropriately.  And this revelation put me at odds with most of my fellow believers.  If I ever opened my mouth, I was going to be explaining myself rather than sharing a revelation.

Then I had an epiphany, after once again asking Father to wait while I researched.  He always said, “Take your time.  I’ll be waiting.”  But suddenly I realized I was stalling my moment of joy.  Not only that, I was slowing down my progress.  And for what?

How quickly might I progress if I stopped putting the brakes on Him every time?  And how important was it for everyone to understand me before I continued?  Did I really need anyone to agree with me at all?

It was certainly a light-bulb moment.  And to top it off, Father had proven Himself to me so many times that I was completely, and absolutely confident He was able to prove everything He said, anytime I needed Him to do so.  He wasn’t able to lie.  And He obviously knows a whole lot more about everything, than I do.

chair

I stopped worrying about who’s voice I was hearing.  We’d had so many conversations that I recognized His voice now. I had no more doubts about His identity because His most overwhelming trait is that Love that becomes apparent in every one of His conversations.  It is most assuredly the greatest Love ever imaginable and it’s never superficial, or vain, or trite.  Nothing evil can imitate it.  It truly is the ultimate proof of Him.

That moment was like taking the training wheels off a bike and trusting gravity to work the same way every time.  It’s completely freeing, and wild.  I knew it looked dangerous and reckless to those watching me.  So how would I convince them that God was really holding the bike up?

I didn’t know.  So, I continued searching scriptures for confirmation in an effort to convince and assure others.

But it didn’t last long.  It was quickly clear that those were very dingy, controlling reins.  And they don’t work.  No matter how much proof I could gather, there would always be people who wouldn’t buy it.  They would always think bad things and say mean things about me.  Always.

That’s because people do 2 things when presented with an idea contrary to their normal beliefs.  They accept it instantly.  Or they reject it instantly.  Neither of these decisions requires proof.  It is simply a human trait.

One group will dig deeper and the other will be long gone.

Father gave me one more insight.  It isn’t my job to make sure people believe me.  The truth is placed in front of them so they can pursue proof on their own.  That’s what He wants – our undivided attention, reaching for truth.

searching

So when I share, it’s not to convince anyone or make them follow me. It’s to coax them to come searching on their own.  Father doesn’t need my assistance holding their hand because He didn’t need anyone holding mine.  He used all sorts of people along the way, speaking messages they sometimes weren’t even aware He was using.

Ironically, I thought Father was guiding me toward ordination.  I took courses from 2 bible schools and I smile at the wonderful things I learned.  And I chuckle at the things Father proved wrong in the process.  Eventually, I understood He wasn’t heading me toward formal theological education.  And for a minute I was heartbroken.  But He said, “I want to teach you, myself.”  And I couldn’t resist.  It’s like the most intimate invitation from the best teacher in the universe.  How special could I possibly feel?

I loved the first time He gave me a message through an atheist lady.  She had just finished telling me why God didn’t exist and her very next sentence was the answer to a question I had asked Him earlier.  It didn’t fit into her conversation and I’m not sure she was aware that she’d said it.  Had Father just abused her free will?  Actually, I think He had only abused that ugly spirit that was riding on her.

Anyway, I’ve seen Him lead a woman all her life, who’s never stepped inside a church.  And I’ve seen Him speak through someone who didn’t believe in Him.  He doesn’t need my help to fix others.  He simply wants me to share my stories and revelations.  He’ll take it from there.

“Study to show thyself approved” isn’t instructing us to memorize scripture and argue effectively with each other.  It’s a compliment to “Seek and ye will find” because there are billions of “pearls of great price” worthy of attaining.  They are all inside His presence.

music“My sheep know My voice, and a stranger they do not hear.”

So how does it happen that someone hears Father say something and another person hears something different?  That’s pretty simple.  It’s maturity and intimacy.  A 5-year-old child doesn’t get the same answer from their Dad that a 15-year-old gets.  That doesn’t mean the 5-year-old’s answer was a lie.  It was appropriate.

A stranger doesn’t get the same answer from a man that his wife will get.  That’s because his wife is not only intimate with him, but she has a history with him and knows things about him that the stranger couldn’t know.  Father wants that kind of intimacy with us, where He can share His heart and we’ll understand what He means simply because we know Him so well.

It’s how a relationship works.  And it’s so much better than scraping together a bunch of scriptures to prove what I just saw.  Father is still the greatest teacher of the Universe and He always will be.

Thank you for sharing my journey and I send blessings with you on yours.

Faith


Table of Making: My Prophetic Scroll

Peter by Rembrandt

Peter Denies Christ – Rembrandt

I am remembering a recent spiritual encounter. I was on a journey in the spirit. I don’t recall where it was I went, but in this vision, I received my Book of Destiny from Father God. What I received was an infinitely long scroll, a large and wide one. When it was given to me, it unrolled off into the distant heavens. On that scroll I saw dozens of images which I perceived to be the artworks that Father and I would be making in the forever more. Suddenly those images rose up off the face of the scroll and began a storm of pictures flying round me. It was as if I was in a gentle tornado of art encircling me. The images slowed and finally stopped. They just hung there in space. At the bottom of each image embers began to form and to slowly consume the artworks, right up to the top. The images vanished each in a beautiful glowing line of embers. Then I saw a fragrant smoke rising up from the artworks, rising above me to Father God. I suddenly knew what this vision meant. Father was speaking to me, spirit to spirit, while I was in that vision.

The scroll, instead of a book, was a sign of an eternal journey. Father and I will now be on an eternal journey of creativity. The images, of course, are the art that He and I will birth and release unto the world, and quite probably the heavens. The rising of the images from the face of the scroll represents their release. Once completed, they are released unto Father, and unto the world. Their burning was a deep reminder that the art, in the end, is a gift of sacrifice to Father.

Just as Bezalel, Oholiab and the other Charashim (artisans) completed their work, they quickly disappear from God’s word to be forgotten. There is a very good reason for this. The work wasn’t about Bezalel. It was about the people’s relationship to and worship of Father God. At God’s command, Bezalel was chosen, filled with the Holy Spirit, and created a body of work comprised of Heaven on Earth, just for Father God.  We know it as the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.

So too am I to be forgotten by men, but not by Father. You see, it is Father God who is to be seen, praised, and worshiped through the art, not the artist. My artmaking is not for my personal fame and fortune. It is not about me at all. This art Father and I make together is all about Him and the relationships He wants to establish in the lives of those who will encounter that art. It’s as if His Spirit speaks to those who engage the work. It’s as if the work is somehow a window into something Father wants to share with us as individuals, a personal message from Him.

I do this work because I love Father. I love our relationship. What I do, who I am, what I become is all a gift from Father. Those gifts are then returned to Him with interest. I am one to whom much has been given and from whom much is required. There is nothing I can be offered in its place that I would value more.

I will always remember that vision. I will always ruminate upon its elemental, relational significance. I savor it because my Lover has chosen me, has honored me to become one of His Bezalel artists, one of His Charashim. I am one who dwells in His Divine Presence 24/7. As one of His believer/tabernacles, as all believers are, I am filled with the Holy Spirit. I have a hard-wired spiritual connection with Him and together we co-create in that Mystic Union to give birth to art.


Floating But Safe

tiffany-ceiling-smlI am floating and feeling somewhat disconnected. I am not lost. The floating is perhaps a number of things. I know that part of it is Father’s liberation from the strict laws & rules of theologist / institutional religion. That kind of floating is awesome and wondrous. I love that. I also know that some of the floating is Father’s liberation of my art. That too is free of the legalism & marketing forces of the gallery / museum / so-called art-world system. Father God has liberated both sides of my destiny, those of my faith, and of my art.

I sense that this disconnection I feel, this floating, is also a huge time of opportunity for me. Father has lead me to believe that stuff like loss, dislocation, change, adversity, etc., are in fact opportunities. They are difficult, maybe painful openings in life which allow for something new to be planted.

We plough the Earth, literally rip it open, in order to prepare it for new seed. I’ve come to grasp that my life is sometimes ripped open by situations and circumstance of loss, change, or adversity, and yet, even as I grieve in those times, I know that I’ve been ploughed open so that my loving Father God can plant new seeds of opportunity in me.

So often I’ve found myself tight fisted against these painful events and forces. In my youth tumult was a daily visitor and I wanted no more of it. But in my new life of relational faith, I’ve found at first a comfort, and now a joyful desire for the new seeds Father wants to bless me with. I’m not afraid anymore. When the plough of change comes roaring through, I now reel far less in the pain of adversity, loss, and change. Yes, it still hurts, I still grieve, but no where’s near as much as it used to. I think that’s because I know a new planting of opportunity is coming, and Father is making preparation(s) for it. I embrace my Father God and His plans for me and my destiny. I want them because in them I become more of who and what He has designed me to become, and in this way I bring Him glory, my life brings Him glory.

For me, feeling a sense of floating and disconnection is far less about the absence of safe ground beneath my feet. It has become more of a life-posture of being available to being drawn by Father into whatever He has written into my destiny. I need to say that a destiny is not a carved in stone mandatory program. We are not biological robots that Father plays around with. That’s Greco-Roman pantheon thinking. No, we are masters of our own lives because while Father has written a destiny for each of us, we are entirely free to go our own way. We have freewill, and that’s another subject for another time (see the teachings of Steve Harmon).

I willingly take up this posture of availability to Father’s will and ways, of desiring with all my heart to step into my identity and destiny. I willingly embrace the plough of adversity, of change, of loss, and of grief because my joy is in my Father God. He has plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to hurt me (Jeremiah 29:11-13). My Father loves me and I can trust Him to surgically alter my life, just as we see in the Chronicles of Narnia, when Aslan cuts Eustice from his dragon self, setting him free.

I love feeling as if I’m floating with the only certainty being my relationship with and in my Father God. I am safe. I am blessed. I am lavishly cherished, as Graham Cooke might say. I am being brought into infinite prosperity. I am led to lay up all of my treasures in Father’s Heaven where they’re available forever (Matthew 6:19-21). My sense of feeling as if my life is floating is grounded in my complete trust in Father, in His infinite, divine, and lavish love for me, and in my relational faith with Him.

The grieving of change and of adversity are all opportunities just waiting to be planted in my ploughed up life where, under the care of my Father God, they will blossom and bear fruit of unknown consequence forever and ever.

Amen ~


More on Rejection & Identity

angel-gaze-medLast weekend while I was away at a Prayer Retreat, my dearest wife came under heavy demonic attack. She rebuked, and prayed, and sought angelic protection. Her experience prompted us to have a conversation about the Court of Accusation and about declaring one’s identity in Father God.

I was able to share with her what I’ve only recently learned, that we needn’t reject the attacks of the Liar, as I call him. We simply need to turn toward Father God and declare our identity in Him. It’s like a duck’s feather oils, dwelling in His Presence, standing in and declaring our own God-given identity completely neutralizes the Liar’s influence. I’ve recently been taught by those far more mature than I am, that much of our problem is that we, ourselves, give the Liar permission to pester us. But by declaring our identity, and not even bothering with rejecting our Enemy, we’re engaging only the loving, protective power of the Father Himself. There’s tremendous power of life and death in our own tongues, so it behooves us to speak life and life only.

This reminds me of the situation that the Israelites found themselves in while facing possible death. In Numbers 21: 8-9; 8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake [Nehushtan] and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.” Father went on to suggest that it’s one thing to keep our eyes upon Him, but it’s far better to be so engaged by Him, and in Him, that all thought and awareness of the “danger” is washed from us.

Remember what it’s like to stare, in love, into the eyes of your lover, to be so engaged with one another that nothing or no one else breaks our attention? It’s this kind of dwelling in Him that He is showing to me. He invites me into such intimate engagement, such absolute confidence in His Presence and Power, that all thought(s) of possible danger and attack simply evaporate like smoke and mirrors. His Presence is absolutely intoxicating.

May each of us become so joyfully and foolishly in love with Father God that all threats of the Liar are as water off a duck’s back.

Amen ~

READING: For more on rejection and identity, may I recommend both of Faith Living’s books, Rejection and Identity, and Rejection and Identity Book Two. Both are available on Amazon, and the Kindle versions are just $0.99 each.


Art is Spiritually Born

drawing-smlIn my recent two-way journaling with Father, we discussed the idea that all art is spiritually born. All art comes from a person’s relationship with whatever it is they place their faith in and worship. It may be the world’s values of ego, fame, and fortune. It may be in one’s political inklings, or socially meaningful pursuits. It may be one’s religion. Whatever it is we value and worship, there too is the dwelling place of our heart/art.

Father showed me that, in the same way that our tongue (what comes out of our mouths) reveals what’s in our hearts, so too does the art we make. No matter the medium, the art itself reveals what and where our treasure is. He has shown me that all art is born out of how we use the gift of creation and creativity, which He has endowed into the spiritual DNA of every human being from before His laying the foundations of this World. It is this sharing of the creative gift what makes human beings unique among all of His creatures. He went on to say that, in the arts, the use of the creative gifts has far reaching effects on history, on societies, on cultures.

Back in 2012, I was invited to a wonderful gathering of faith-driven artists. Some worked in music as a composer and a singer/songwriter. One was a recording studio producer. Several of us were visual artists. One created movement inspired works, and another shared views of the Earth and the Cosmos in breathtaking beauty. One was a director / producer of theatre. A few days before this wondrous gathering, we were all was asked to prepare a 15-minute presentation about where we had come from creatively, where we were at now, and where we saw ourselves going in the future of our art practices. The most startling thing for me was the process of preparing that presentation.

Father and I worked together to gather what I really believed about making art as a faith-driven artist. The single point I want to focus on here is that Father God revealed to me that faith-driven artists are sanctified in Christ, consecrated to His work, and are of the priestly tribe of Levi. Why the tribe of Levi? Because art is the second voice of the Church. We artists, through what we create and express, are able to connect and communicate in ways that no tract, no preacher, no teacher can. Through personal permission, the works are invited into the lives of those who choose to engage them. In that engagement, it is hoped that they find something special and of personal significance.

In these ways; the creative design of our spiritual DNA, the sanctification of our life’s work, and the consecration of our Destiny, all come together in the realization that all art is spiritually born.


Art From the Inside Out

Esther-01

“Esther” – Mixed-Media / 8.5 x 11 / Acrilycs, Color Pencil on Cardstock / (c)2013 Lewis M. Curtiss jr~

In my on-going creative life as a faith-driven artist, I’ve come to know that any art I make is the direct outgrowth of my relationship in Father God. Father and I co-labor in the creative process and, together, we birth creative expression. Without my deep, abiding, loving relationship in Him, my art would be a mere object, an artifact, to be sold in the marketplace of the world. It would lack any attributes of either Father, or myself.

I’ve come to understand that, in my work as a faith-driven artist, I need to work creatively from the inside out. The art I make is fully reliant upon my relationship with Father God, not on my skills, not on my ideas. Just as relational-faith works from the gate of First Love, from the inside going outward, so must I as a faith-driven artist. This spiritual direction is in stark contrast to the teachings of the spirit of religion, which says that we’re to work on the outside first and then move inward.

The spirit of religion is concerned most with behavior, just as the world is. Theologists taught me that I need to work on my spiritual actions and attitudes before I am acceptable to God and the church. Conduct, behavior, and beliefs become of first importance, perhaps even idolized. But in relational-faith, Father teaches me that the attitude of my heart is of first importance, and that conduct, behavior, and beliefs will follow as a result of my healing, growth, and wholeness. If I begin from within, in His Presence, all else, in living as Jesus does, follows.

Author and teacher, Ian Clayton teaches this reality in his work on our spiritual gates (see recommended reading below). We begin with our first gate, the gate of our First Love – Father / Son / Holy Spirit. We begin with our relationship with Father, in Father, dwelling in His Presence. If my art is going to be driven by my faith, and not a mere product of my life in this world; if it’s going to be formed and birthed by my relationship in Him, then this is where I must begin.

It’s something of a marriage, Father and me. In as much as husband and wife, in their love, birth a life together, so Father and I birth art together. The life which is born of marriage, a child, carries genetic attributes of its mother and father. In the same way, our art, Father’s and mine, is imbued and endowed with attributes of both of us with what you might call our spiritual DNA.

Madeleine L’Engle put it this way in her masterwork, Walking On Water: Reflections on Faith and Art when she said, The artist is a servant who is willing to be a birthgiver. In a very real sense the artist (male or female) should be like Mary who, when the angel told her that she was to bear the Messiah, was obedient to the command.” pg18. She says much more, but that’s the heart of the idea. My faith-driven art is the direct result of the depth, richness, and qualities of my intimate spiritual relationship in Father God, and that relationship begins at the deepest level, at the Gate of First Love.

Recommended reading;

1 – “Gateways of the Threefold Nature of Man”, by Ian Clayton.

2 – “Walking On Water: Reflections on Faith and Art”, by Madeleine L’Engle.