David Zawila / unsplash
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 4:11
I was reading from Galatians this morning and while I do grasp what Paul is on about, Father’s Spirit struck me with a contemporary parallel. In the second half of Galatians, Paul is dealing with those who preach a need for physical circumcision, a return to the burdensome slavery of the law. He’s working to separate the Jewish past of Mosaic Law from the Christian future of the new covenant in Christ. You ought to read it. You might find it interesting on its own merits.
What filled my heart is the powerful movement and need to move away from the spirit of mere religion and out into the liberation that Christ bought for all who believe in Him. Christ bought that liberty with His broken body and His shed blood – blood-bought as Joyce Meyers likes to put it.
I am so in love with Father God and am so deeply grateful for His restoration of relationship with Him through Christ. Words fail to fully express my gratitude and joy at this liberation and new relationship in which I now dwell.
The “yoke of slavery” which Paul speaks of is a yoke of law, of works, of burdensome ritual now rendered obsolete and moot in our lives as believers. I find, in the community I dwell in, that all of us still retain vestiges of the habitual influence of the spirit of religion. Having left that old world behind and been made new in Christ through relationship, not religion, I find that I still fall into very subtle habits of thought and action which reflect my own toxic past.
Some of my transformation that Father has lead me through has been hard won. It didn’t come about easily, nor in a flash. I confess that I had pains of the soul and spirit which had become very comfortable. They hurt, but I was both comfortable and familiar with them. Some of them were very difficult to release into Jesus’ hands.
My Beloved Father, by washing me in His love 24/7, shows me something different. He promises me something far better if I will but choose His gift over that with which I am familiar. It’s what my son, Levi, calls the genuine article versus the Liar’s fake. In this, Beloved Father has proved, time and again, that He is indeed faithful. He has proved His ongoing, undying, forever and ever love for me. When I release to Him something I no longer want, I receive a gift of immeasurable worth. That which He has for me does far more than merely replace what I’ve given up. Father’s gifts are many times greater, in every way, than what little toxic filth I’ve given up. Over time, it has become easier to recognize and release more and more vestiges of my old self, my old dead self.
As Father and I spend time together, situations and circumstances reveal old, tiny, bits and pieces of my old dead self and we deal with them. This process is somewhat like wounded soldiers who return from battle and are filled with shards of shrapnel. Over time their bodies push the fragments to the surface where they are washed away in the shower, or simply fall off. My vestiges are being brought to the surface, not by mental revelation, but by experiential relationship with my Father. And with a little minor surgery of His Divine Love, they’re removed one by one. My shrapnel is replaced with more and more of Him and I love Him for it – Amen.
As I sit reading my new book, Still Writing, by Dani Shapiro, I’m thinking about my own level of craft in Father’s and my artmaking. I’m thinking about the creative journey we set out on 10-years ago. I’m thinking how Father and I go at some aspect of the art we make and how much I need to grow and learn in order to achieve the skills needed to make what we’re after.
One reason I have minimal respect for over educated creative people is because what they’re thrusting in my direction is their intimate knowledge of mere craft. They don’t compose. They’re not artists who compose. They may not even be artists at all. They’re interpreters and collaborators who are largely incapable of an original action of their own. They rely upon their knowledge of mere technique and method and have little or no inkling of personal expression.
Am I comparing myself to these artless technicians? Not at all. I am simply stating that method and technique, without a heart for deeply original creative expression, is no substitute – that’s all.
My wife and I were once gifted with tickets to a concert in which an arrogant little nitwit with thousands of hours of training stepped out to play Gershwin’s American in Paris. I love George Gershwin’s work and was very excited at this rare opportunity to hear this performance. I didn’t give a wit about this self absorbed kid who was going to play for us. I loved the music itself, and in the hands of an artist, the interpretation had all of the emotion of a hustling, bustling metropolis in sound. In the hands of an artist, Gershwin’s city had life and it can be palpable.
What I heard was absolutely nothing of what Gershwin had written on the page. The performance had nothing of what flowed from Gershwin’s artist heart. This kid beat all of the life out of this magnificent work of original music because he was only interested in showing off his technique. He was an insipid robot sitting there at the keyboard obediently hammering out each and every note with perfect technique and nothing more. I was actually somewhat depressed, certainly disappointed, at what I had been offered. In fact, I hoped that this person would either get over himself and play from his heart, or be drummed out of music altogether. I didn’t care which, but please don’t let this kid ever again butcher another great composer’s work of art.
Making art is far too precious a thing to be lorded over by mere craftsmen. It is a deep and abiding connection to the unseen, invisible universe where the artist draws something really special to bring back and share with the rest of humanity. Craft, while vitally important, is but a nest or foundation into which a new creative piece of expression is born.
This is one reason why I’m so proud of Father’s and my being self-taught. Yes, I certainly do need to develop a great deal more method and technique. I expect to be at this growth all of my life and beyond. What I don’t do however is hide behind a wall of method and technique as my credentials, nor do any of the many artists whom I admire so deeply.
I once thought that it would have been wondrous to be born in the Italian Renaissance, but no longer. One reason I’ve lost much of my awe and wonder regarding the Renaissance is simply because it was largely peopled by competitive show offs. These were people possessing celestial gifts, and certainly they created many celestial works, but much of it was created in a world of mere arrogant show and competition between the artists and their patrons. What was seen as “great art” was often a measure of how many perfectly rendered figures could be crammed onto a wall, or how large the work was. Like so much of today’s modern film acting, much of the work is about how popular the actor is through the films they make. Whatever art there is in the work is often buried beneath the veneer of the various self-centric personae of the so called stars. At times it seems that deep creative expression shows up by mere accident.
Whatever is left of my once deep admiration for the Italian Renaissance remains in the works themselves, not the composer artists who created them. I receive the expression which is so often evident and available to me for engagement, but I could care less about the name at the bottom right of the work.
I deeply admire composers in any media who are self-discovering adventurers on a journey into the invisible realms of creative expression. I am in even deeper admiration of self-taught artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Jack Vettriano. If you need to know of whom I speak, I invite you to look them up. And these are just two of a host of creative composers who buckled down and conquered whatever it took to become excellent at what they did and do.
In short, what I admire in the arts – all of them – is gumption, self-directed gumption. I admire those artists who collect their craft along the way, who don’t brag about whatever schooling they endured, or how much practice they put in. Show me. Show me what it is that you’ve nurtured in yourself. Show me your work, because in the end that’s all that really matters.
For more than a decade now, perhaps even many decades, I’ve carried three daggers of pain in my soul; how mankind treats Father God, how mankind treats one another, and how mankind treats the Earth, our home.
In themselves, these are driving reasons why I so love the intercessory prayer that Father Himself has lead me to. Most people agree that these three attitudes and actions are indeed human ills. Creation in and of herself was never meant to suffer ailments. These were brought here by humankind through our choice to rebel against Father in favor of the myth of independence. There is nothing, not one thing, in the human pantheon of so called solutions which will ever remedy these ills.
The solution, until the entire world is redeemed, is intercessory prayer. Through intercessory prayer, we’re given the peaceful tools to bring about God’s transformations of humanity. In this way we avoid the useless and futile participation in rancid political, economic, or social processes. In this way we, through the authority given to us from Jesus Himself, are releasing God’s purposes and power into the hearts of other people. With Holy Spirit, we are helping to change the attitudes of people’s hearts.
Intercessory prayer is something of a healing tranquility dart. Our prayers of loving intention find their targets and infuse those selected lives with the offer of Father God’s love, of peace, and transformation. This transformation occurs through real relationship with Father God. This isn’t mere religion, a human invention and a matter of the head. This is relationship, a matter of the heart, which Father intends for each and every one of us.
Father loves all of us without exception. What He doesn’t love are those demonic followers of Satan, those rebellious minions of death. Father’s desire is that none of us should be lost, not one, and intercessory prayer is very possibly the single most powerful means human beings have been given to help accomplish this.
Through prayer, we can wash ourselves of the pains and agony of futile human existence. We can distance ourselves from the lies and influence of our enemy, the Liar. We can easily move from an infected heart of death into Father’s living, loving Presence. Where we’re healed and brought into joy. Here, in Father’s Presence, we’re engaged, enlarged, and empowered to shower His children (that is all of us) with His life changing eternal love.
In prayer we’re not closing our eyes in futility, and begging God to make the demons and monsters go away. In prayer we’re directly participating in the transformation of the human condition, one heart at a time. Prayer is proactive with an effect far more powerful than any public rally of mere political or social awareness ever conceived.
Prayer is deeply personal, peaceful and involves we human beings in the change our world so badly needs. Prayer ticks off the Liar and frightens his minions who flee at a word from us.
Father God gave Jesus all authority and He exercised that authority to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, and drive out demons. (Matthew 10:8) That same authority is given to every believer through His Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples, and by extension, all of us that whoever believes in Him will do the works He has been doing, and even greater things than that. (John 14:12) Having been given such Cosmic authority to lose Father’s power into the lives of others, how can we so readily accepted the pathetic lie that we’re incapable, or that miracles don’t happen anymore? If miracles don’t happen anymore it is only because we do not take up His mantle of loving prayer and use the authority we’ve been given to release the Power of Love into the world.
If the world is so filled with the hideous mistreatment of Father God, the mistreatment of one another, and the rape and pillage of this Earth, it is no one’s fault but our own. Father desires to correct all of these and more if only we’ll take up our authority and pray.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
I 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.
In 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.