Walking On Water – Stocksnap
Walking on water (Matt 14:25-31) is God’s invitation for me to move forward in life, through thick and thin. And it works very well as long as I am staring into the face of Christ. At that moment, I am not thinking about what’s going on around me or whether this is possible or not. I am only gazing intently into the face of the One whom I love so deeply, Christ Jesus.
This realization came about because I was having difficulty managing my own reaction to bad news. I am deeply affected by how we humans treat Father God; how we humans treat one another; how we humans treat the gift of our home, the Earth.
Oh, and I need to tell you that when I use the phrase, Father God, I am referring to all three persons of the Holy Trinity, not just God, the Father, Almighty.
What so often happens is that I allow myself to become focused on the problem and seem to forget the solution which is my Beloved Father God. I allow myself to become focused on what’s amiss and is paining me instead of moving into an intimate embrace of Father God.
Meditations of Quiet
I can step into His embrace simply by stopping my fretting and doing a quieting meditation on a particular passage of scripture. I often use Psalm 46:10 or John 14:6. I focus specifically on the words of action. For example from Psalm 46; Be STILL and KNOW that I AM GOD. Or from John 14; I AM the WAY the TRUTH, and the LIFE. These meditations help to bring me back to a focus on Father.
Meditating upon Father reminds me of several important things. First, that this world and her people aren’t my personal problem. The world is Father God’s project. The best that I can personally do is to speak to people one at a time through the artwork we make. Talking to people’s hearts is what the art that Father and I make is all about. Each book that we write, each painting that we make, each has an audience. It is Father’s Holy Spirit who prepares the hearts of individuals to receive His invitation of love. These preparations are Father’s role, not mine.
Second, and especially useful to me, is the power of just being still and quiet. That’s the terrific gift in Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.” This particular Psalm has several invitations into Father’s embrace. Whenever I am out of sorts, to be still is perhaps the most crucial inner state of being. To know – not in my head, but in my heart – is a confidence builder for me. It’s a commitment to trust Him; that Father has everything under control. I can relax and get on with my walking on water.
Writing & Journaling
I can also move into His embrace by writing in my two-way journal in which I have meaningful conversations with Father. What I enjoy about these times is the free exchange I have with Father. It’s as if we’re both in me – well, we actually are – and we’ve met at a heavenly coffee shop, and we’re chatting about what’s on our hearts.
Again, this communion with Father brings my eyes off the water upon which I am walking, and the many fish below who are living their lives, and it draws me into the loving eyes of Father God. When I am writing, just as I am right now, it’s as if I am transported to another place and time. It’s only Beloved and me with no one to disturb our peace.
Writing is, for me, the equivalent to ascending and seeing in the Spirit. That’s what I mean about being transported. It is in these states of being that exchange happens. It’s an intimate exchange, spirit to Spirit, a mystic union if you will. In these states of seeing and ascending, I can bring whatever is of concern to me and seek Father’s counsel.
The bottom line for me is that anything, whether writing or meditation, which draws my gaze and attention to Him is all that I need to continue walking atop the troubled waters of life. Gazing into His love and beauty reminds me that these matters aren’t my personal problem to solve. Falling into His embrace reminds me of the God-given gift that I am to the world and that the one thing I can do to make a difference is praying through the art that Father God and I make every day.
For more perspective on dealing with life challenges and difficulties, see my two-part post on the Crown of Thorns; Enduring Hardship; Love and Dignity.
In this Holy Day season of Christmas, I am reminded by a Brother, Christ (like wrist) Otto, author of Mary: When God Shares His Glory, of the many parallels that we artists share with Mary, the mother of Jesus. The late Madeleine L’Engle, author of the master work, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, also drew on these parallels by reminding artists of the need to be available to the work Father asks of us. In submission and surrender Mary said, “Let it be unto me according to Your will.” In this way the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us, Immanuel.
If we artists will adopt Mary’s submission to the work, we too can participate in this act of incarnation of His Word. Through us, in the cause of Father God, our art is also a form of His Word becoming flesh.
We might want to ask what our inspirational source is for the art we make. Is it our own mind, our own intellect? Or is our source, in relational-faith, none other than the Beloved Father Himself? And when the angel of invitation appears in our hearts, do we choose to accept Father’s invitation to make the work? Will we venture, with Him, into the invisible spiritual realm and render our experience as artwork to share with God’s people? If our relational-faith with Father God is indeed the sole source of our work, then can it not be said that we too participate in the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us?
We artists, as the Charashim of God (His creative artisans), are we not Spirit filled? Do we not posses the closest of intimate relationships with Father God? Do we not participate in our own Mystic Union, that He is in us and we are in Him?
The Holy Spirit came upon Mary and she conceived. In our own spiritual union with Father God we too can experience the conception of works of art that Father desires to share with the world. In this way we participate in the incarnation of His Word. But, are we willing to surrender our own agendas and yield to Him for the benefit of our fellow human kind? What is Father God asking each one of us to “enflesh,” as L’Engle says?
The choice is ours, dear artists. It’s always been ours.
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.
“The Annunciation” ~ Henry Ossawa Tanner
My son and I met a new friend at The Gathering Conference this Summer. Last night we all got to talking and the subject of story as reality came up. Now I don’t actually know fully what they mean by that. But my son has a better grasp than the three of us combined. Trying my best, let me say that it has something to do with the idea that, for example, the reader of a book is very often carried away into the world of the story when they read.
I know that this effect happens to me. When I read a visually stimulating novel, I often feel that I am almost in two places at once. I am marginally aware of the place I am sitting when reading and, as well, I can see into the world of the story I am engaging. For me that world is both alive and real, never mind the psychologist’s demand that it’s just in my mind. I’m not interested in what psychologists say about much of anything. For me the experience is real.
A similar thing happens when I engage in the spirit and see, hear, or travel in the realms of Heaven. Once it was entirely necessary for me to close my eyes in order to engage. Now I can often experience spiritual realities with my eyes open as well.
The difference between reading a book to experience another world, and simply engaging the spirit is that the book is giving me a context of story. The text of the book is feeding the experience and in fact often seems to disappear when I’m engaged in reading. I don’t see the book in my hands.
Engaging the spirit, on the other hand, is provided by the Heavenly realms – in fact by Father God Himself. For me these experiences are real, and I won’t waste my time trying to explain some monkey headed philosophy of what reality is. What I’m after here is whatever Beloved has for me in this idea of story as reality. Because if true, the idea that story is reality is an element of my experiences at the Table of Making.
Faith-driven artists commonly journey into the spiritual realm(s) as their source of inspiration. The Charashim of Father God venture into His Presence in the Heavenly realms, experience something significant, and return to create their best expression of that experience. In essence, through our art, story becomes reality.
In my case, Father and I work together to bring something back that will become a painting or a book. We spend time together in the Creative Slipstream searching, and at the Table of Making discussing. Together we search out a thing through experience wherein we apprehend something worth sharing. Father in His wisdom, and I in my craft and artistry, make something together in art, either in painting or in writing. In this way what Father and I do together is to make real something of story.
I suppose what intrigues me most is that when Father speaks, things come into existence. His very word, whatever and however, becomes the true reality of His Cosmos. In Genesis, for example, all of Creation came into existence through His living word. Never mind the wondrous forces and processes He employed to make it happen. He spoke all into being.
In a way I see a similarity with us as His Charashim. We take an experience from the unseen and by craft and art make a new reality. Father made us creative, in His image. We’re creative because He is creative and He is sharing that gift with one species on this Earth, human beings. It’s possibly the most powerful aspect of our being human. Through Father God we’ve all been endowed with some aspect of creativity, though not all of us are artists. We are all highly creative in what we do and make.
For artists this is the height of our mystic union with Father, the ability through His gift(s), to make story into reality and to share that story with others in this world.
It’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.
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.