Deep places…

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‘Deep calls out to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.’ – Psalm 42:1 NIV

In each of us there is a deep longing. Its the longing of our souls to find rest. To connect with the source of rest. To find a deep connection with the Spirit of God.

I want you to picture with me the deepest depths of the ocean. Its dark and still. There is pressure and its hard to breathe. The life down there has learned how to survive at such depths, without sunlight, in the stillness of the great deep.

Now I want you to call to mind ‘the Spirit brooding over the waters of creation.’ The newly formed earth, resonating to the pulse and majesty of God’s spoken word and the Spirit’s power bringing that word to life…

You see the depths of me are often brought out into the open through pressure, sorrow, stillness… But when the depths of me are met by the brooding Spirit of God, the resonating pulse of God’s Spirit brings me to life, it awakens those parts in me that have been buried. It calls out of me a depth of understanding and experience that is often hard to express…

And yet, the experience and understanding that has been ‘waves and breakers’ to my dry and weary heart, are also ‘waves and breakers’ to those whom God has brought me into relationship with.

Occasionally, we meet with those who have learned to live in the deep with God. There is an instant recognition, without words, that this person who is in front of me has a history with God. They too long for the deep places, where they respond to the ‘deep calling out…’

It’s hard to explain to you how to mine the depths of God, in the depths of our own hearts… But sometimes those ‘deep calling out to deep’ moments often resemble holding on by a thread, and calling out from the deepest place, for the lover of our soul to nourish us in the innermost depths of our beings with His gracious and compassionate love…

This is the deep place. It’s not easy to journey there but when we do we unlock the wells of Living Water stored up within us.

God bless you

Oliver

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Portraits and Poetry PT.2

‘We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it !’ Ephesians 2:10 The Passion

So. Jesus is God’s portrait. A head and shoulders depiction of God’s true character and likeness. He has revealed God’s true likeness to humanity…

And for those who open their hearts to this wonderful Son, we become the poetry of God to the world. United with Him in Oneness.

Growing up my Dad would quote poetry often… Shropshire Lad, Kipling, GK Chesterton… Poetry has a rhythm and a rhyme that narrative can miss. It often reveals deep feelings and emotions of the one writing it. Sometimes poetry doesn’t really seem to have a purpose but to the one who writes it, some deep longing or desire is expressed.

As God’s people, His poetry, there is something of the divine longing and desire being lived out in our lives. God’s rhythm and rhyme so often to the world is foolish (take the cross for example). But in our lives, the rhythms of the Spirit and the rhyme of God’s deepest feelings and emotions are expressed. In the words of Mother Teresa ‘Christ has no body on earth but yours…’

Living in the Spirit, as a re-created life, representing the Kingdom of God as His Ambassadors, we are given the prophetic calling of being God’s deepest feelings and emotions to humanity. The Father’s heart that breaks over slavery, racism, child trafficking, prostitution, addiction, sickness, demonic strongholds and afflictions. His children bound and chained in sins dark night. We, as his wells of ‘deep calling out to deep’, are his poetry. His Body. His love. His character. His heart. His hands. His feet. We bear His Name. Jesus. Yeshua. Yesu. Isa. And with the power of that Name and the indwelling of the Spirit, we are fulfilling the destiny of God’s lifeswork, the redemption of humanity from the slavery of fear to the freedom of Sonship and Adoption in Abbas’ house…

Let your life fully express the poetry of God today in all you do…

God bless you

Oliver

Portraits and poetry – PT.1

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‘He is the divine portrait, the true likeness of the invisible God and the firstborn heir over all creation.’ (Colossians 1:15 – The Passion Translation)

We have been painting portraits for generations. A portrait is a depiction of a person, specifically their head, face and shoulders. It’s a way of recording for future generations an image of the likeness of people of note – lovers, artists (self-portraits), royal people, barons… Or even in some cases, the face of poverty.

With our smartphones, we now have instant portraits and selfies, capturing the moment in time as it happens. Recording it onto Facebook or Instagram as a lasting etch in time for all to see.

But these original artists, painting portraits of noteable people, spent hours defining detail, highlighting significant features, trying to capture the moment of a person’s life and to record their beauty and grandeur for the world to see.

‘He (Jesus) is the divine portrait…’ The Passion Translation of the Bible draws out of familiar words an artistic impression of God’s portrait (or self portrait). For generations God’s people prayed, ‘show us your face’ or ‘show us your glory’. All of the epiphanies of the Old Testament, – including Moses encounter in the cleft of the rock, where he could only see God after he had passed by; Abraham’s encounter with the three visitors; the glory of God that burst into the Temple following Solomon’s dedication; Jacob’s wrestling match with God; Gideon’s angelic visitation whilst in a winepress:- cannot compare to the portrait that God painted of His life in Jesus.

And it was in Jesus, that the Father, chose to fully show His face – his portrait was complete. It was a portrait of two kinds: divinity and humanity.

The portrait of Jesus shows us the complete picture of God and what He is like but also the portrait of every aspect of human experience… Love, joy, sorrow, hope, anger, compassion, mercy, death, resurrection… without the blemishes or corruption of fallen humanity: rather a glimpse of true humanity, lived out in the glory of relationship with God.

It took a human lifetime of 33 years to craft a painting so beautiful and complete that, whoever looks at that portrait with intent finds a God so irresistible that their lives are transformed from glory to glory.

This is the portrait that changed my life… And can change yours too.

God bless you

Oliver

Jesus, the Father’s glory

I love this phrase in Hebrews: ‘the Son (Jesus) is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…’

The above sketch was a beginning for the painting I posted three weeks ago called ‘the colours of glory.’ The phrase ‘radiance of God’s glory and true representation…’ are phrases that have stuck with me for some years.

The phrases conjure up feelings of: a stream of sunlight breaking through a dark cloud, a hillside covered in bluebells, a kingfisher swooping across a river, a diamond reflecting the light in multiple directions, a burning bush, visions of angels ascending and descending, fire falling in the temple, a cloud in the tent of meeting, priests laid on the pavement because the presence of God was so thick, a cleft of a rock and the hand over the face… And then a babies cry….

God’s true radiance and glory revealed in Jesus, born in a manger, surrounded with the sights and smells of animals, the ruggedness of Shepherds, a cool night, a young couple, the hustle and bustle of collecting a census… And the horror of a kings orders motivated by fear.

John says this… ‘the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.’ At that moment in Bethlehem, when the Messiah was born, the full weight of God’s Shekinah glory was revealed to a humanity bound in fear and sin.

The FULL weight of God’s glory… Even greater than the thunderings and clouds surrounding the Mountain of God in Exodus.

And like a diamond, no matter how many times we look at Jesus, God’s weight, radiance and magnificence reflect back to us in new ways, always refreshing our weary hearts and opening us once again to the wonder of God’s glory and the craziness of God’s wisdom to step into the world, holding nothing back, and living in love.

That to me is good news…

God bless you

Oliver