Saturday, February 26, 2011

Free the Captives' 2011 Conference: Houston, TX

This weekend I had the privilege to travel with my best friend Mariam Kagaso down to Houston for an anti-human trafficking conference.  We are being hosted by Julie Waters the Director of the Free the Captives organization and her husband Ben.  I am just so blessed to be here right now, the speakers at the conference were amazing, there was even a session in which Julies Pastor Ted Law spoke about how art can be used to bring awareness and also healing. 

Since I go with Mariam to most of her speaking engagements, she mentioned to Julie that I was a photographer and she asked if I would take pictures and of course I agreed! It was really an amazing experience to capture these moments, the first annual conference of this epic Anti-Human Trafficking movement.  Through this opportunity God has opened up many doors for more speaking engagements for Mariam and more opportunities for myself as well to use my giftings to glorify Gods kingdom.

A few weekends ago Valentines day came around and I was also asked to do a photobooth for our youth groups event.  I asked another photographer in the church to help out as well and this experience made me realize something and really solidify my belief that God does the work through me.  At this particular event the other photographer had brought in lighting equipment, a white balance tool, and curtain stands for a background.  And to be quite honest, as she was telling me all these things about white balance and Fstop, shutter speed etc...it just made me realize how little I know about the ins and outs of my camera and how much I have to rely on God to do this work, to capture the moments he wants captured.  Now I've studied photography before aperture, DOF, etc....but God really just takes the camera and uses it I literally feel like its him clicking a picture.

So this weekend Mariam mentioned that I'd take many pictures for our church website and I said "Its not me, its God." Julie questioned me about it and I just have to say that I can't take credit for those pictures.  I can't take credit for any art that I make, I have no clue what I'm doing.  And I think I like it that way because its just another way that God proves himself true and able in my life.

More to come on the conference later, but these are thoughts I just had to share.

A.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Words from my heart.

bound to you.


"What does it mean to be bound to someone? This question has been on my mind for sometime now.  is it a piece of paper or certificate? is it a ring that signifies belonging to someone or ownership of another, is it a vow taken in front of witnesses? Somehow these things seem inadequate, they are not enough.  To be bound to someone goes much deeper than the skin, it seeps into the soul, the spirit, the very essence of who you are, a seal is placed upon the depth of my heart, an unquenchable fire placed upon the center of my being. To be bound is a pure unadulterated devotion to someone, they consume your every thought, you long to be at their side, your hearts become so intertwined they begin to beat as one, you desire to do anything and everything they ask of you not matter the cost, no matter the sacrifice required.  Perhaps this is why I find myself here in this place now, my heart has been captured...I can no longer ignore the pull on my soul, the intense burning of my heart, the passion that has been awakened inside cannot be contained, it is overflowing and over taking me.


I must give myself over to my one and only love. Only he can calm the storm that rages in my chest, only he can find peace amidst this battle, clashing swords that ravage my soul. I surrender it all to Him. He is my shelter, my fortress, my strong tower, my strength and satisfaction and non can take him away from me, no one can break the bonds that have permanently stitched us together. How can I ignore the calls of the deep? How can I forsake the one that would not forsake me? I cannot. I will not. My heart has been forever sealed by his everlasting love.  I am marked.  His very words set my heart ablaze, burning with bright white hot fire, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."  No longer will my heart be a slave to men, but I shall unshackle myself and be yoked to Him. I make myself a slave to this commandment so that my life should reflect the heart of my beloved. I do so not out of strict obedience, but out of love and out of a desire to see the Lover of my sound exalted and glorified in all the earth. I submit myself for I love the bridegroom of my heart. I love his heart which holds compassion and sorrow for the state of his people and nation - this resonates in my chest, it vibrates with such intensity, I cannot rest, I  cannot sleep until the will of the Father is carried out, this is my joy.


I can no longer uphold the lies of the enemy and of the world, I will toss them aside, leaving all behind for the sake of my beloved. I make myself a living sacrifice unto Him who holds all things within his grasp, He who with only a spoken word created all that is before me, and all that will come after what my human eyes will see.  How could I deny the glory of my creator? Even the trees and the heavens speak of his greatness in all the earth. There is no denying this truth.  Now my hands are tied, I cannot escape the truth that I have seen, I cannot forget the mercy that has been imprinted on my heart. To do so would mean true death, an eternity without Him. 


So this I will do: raise my hands to heaven, submit myself to the will of the Father, for his ways are wiser than my own. I will forsake the world as it has forsaken my first love, for while the world may hate me, the world hated Him first. I must obey my beloved, my savior, my Lord, my God above man and for this I will endure much. Through the world will slander my name and bring false testimony against me, I will endure it for his namesake. Though they take what they think is mine and bring shame to me, I will endure it for his namesake.  Thought they strip me of title, status and influence, I will endure it for his namesake.  Thought they beat me, torture and enslave my body, though they persecute me and bring me to the brink of death, I will endure it for His namesake.  In all hardships I will rejoice because in this I have been considered worth to suffer for His name. For as the Word of God says : "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."(Romans 8:35-39) 


Therefore even though many people will laugh and mock, doubt and rise against the Word of my God I will not shrink back or fade into nothing, they cannot silence the truth with their remarks, the voice of my beloved rings true among their shouts.  I will worship and follow Him relentlessly to the end of eternity and I will do it with reckless abandon, all that is in my heart replaced by all that he is, for the remarkable love he has shown me, a sinner, unworthy of his heart. And when nay sayers question my devotion, and seek to cause doubt, confusion and even guilt in my heart and mind I will close my eyes and hear his still small voice, I will feel his warm embrace and comfort, a peace that surpasses all understanding, this love that he has for me that no human mind can comprehend - it is there I find my rest and know my love is always at my side.  And when they say that the mission before me is impossible beyond all reason and they seek to derail me from the path You have chosen I will remember the words Paul spoke and make them an offering to my Lord, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." Let this be my final prayer: "Here I am Lord, send me."


February 7, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm ready now...

Priscilla Ahn - Dream



I came across this song, and just listening to it made me cry.


A life has been lost in my church she has returned to her maker and though I did not know her well her legacy will endure.


Every fiber of my being hurts, I feel like if one more person tells me to wait, tells me that I can't go where God has called me that I will snap.  I feel like I'm suffocating here now, the walls are closing in and it physically, and emotionally hurts to not be doing what I'm called to do.  I know that God will make a way, I know that it is his path I follow it just gets so foggy with other people giving me their opinions...I know their intentions are good, but if you are constantly pointing issues out at me, trying to be constructive....but on some occasions its really been discouraging.  I feel like Paul when he said:


“Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”



[Acts 21:13]



This verse just keeps ringing in my ears and it seems that no one is listening.


I did a recent piece of artwork called bound to you. 14 x 20in, Mixed Media. I will type the text out another time, its too late now but it pretty much says everything that has been going through my mind lately.


On a side note I was able to chat a little bit with Gordon Griffith on skype and his advice was basically don't think, don't question, just do it.  All of the preaching I've been hearing says the same thing, everything  I'm reading in the Bible and other books says the same thing, but then what is holding me back?


Maybe thats what I am supposed to find out.



"Long walks in the dark through woods grown behind the park, I asked God who I'm supposed to be. 


The stars smiled down on me, God answered in silent reverie. I said a prayer and fell asleep. 
I had a dream  
That I could fly from the highest tree. 
I had a dream. 

I'm ready now, I'm ready now...."



A.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stand Firm.

[1 Corinthians 15:58]
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Tonight my Pastor talk preached about standing firm.  A lot of times when we begin a task we start fully in the Spirit of God, but something comes along and it throws us off. So instead of finishing strong we finish in our flesh.  One of my many prayers this year is to not let this fire inside fade, but to press on and finish strong in Christ.

[Matthew 10:22 ]

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 
Jesus himself placed a significance on those who stand till the end.  My heart this year is that we should all stand firm in our faith, that we finish the race and do the work that God has called us to do without reservation.  

I hope that everyone remembers Egypt in their prayers during this time, also pray for safety of all foreign reporters I've read a few articles of many being detained or arrested just for being from out of the country.

Many Blessings to you.

A.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jesus made people uncomfortable.

Its true, thats why so many people hated him, why the Pharisees and the high priests and the Sadducees wanted him killed.  He talked about things that people didn't want to hear about, they didn't want to acknowledge that they were sinful, that they were wrong.

I've found very recently that this was revealed to me.  I'm not afraid to post beautiful scriptures from Psalms or other verses that I have found that encourage me on Facebook or any other site.  And everyone is fine with it, because everyone likes a great "feel good" scripture that they can say "Oh, that sounds so sweet." or "Amen that is beautiful." But when you begin to post things that make them squirm in their seats or question their own conscience, they become defensive and make comment about it.  Often times resorting to throwing insults and using language unbefitting any normal conversation.

But I take it in stride I guess, as I am coming to this place of complete surrender to God it is going to make a lot of people uncomfortable and I'm sure a lot of people will have much to say about it.  Ah well.

I am not afraid of them anymore.


[Matthew 10:22] 

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Just some thoughts on this second day of being iced in, also I've been working on the final piece for my entry in the final of the Facebook contest Work Of Art-Remixed. Check in on Feb. 8th to see the both of us finalists work.


God Bless and prayers of safety for those who are snowed in.

A.