Tag Archives: Bible

Giving and Receiving

Dear Friends and Family:

Flower photography by Mick Hales
Flower by Mick Hales 1

Our monthly blog is coinciding with Good Friday and Easter this year. For Christians it is the most significant season of the year. Holy week reminds us of the powerful act of redemption that was undertaken by Jesus Christ. This is a gift given by the most powerful divine God in the most humble and humiliating way to you and me. Whether we receive that gift with thanks or reject it, for whatever reason, is the most significant decision we will make, ever.

Leaf photography by Mick Hales
Leaf Close up by Mick Hales

Two interesting conversations this week made me consider the common attributes of giving and receiving. In giving there is an exchange of worth that is facilitated by the Holy Spirit. The giver blesses the receiver in some form; however, there can also be an exchange facilitated by the demonic, where the receiver hurts the other party, as in stealing and abusing. In that case the exchange becomes a curse rather than a blessing.

Plant Photography by Mick Hales
Plant photography by Mick Hales

The Bible is full of different attributes to giving and receiving, a very prominent verse on this subject is from Acts 20:35, where Paul recounts, ‘In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.’

Red leaf photograph by Mick Hales, nature photographer
Red Leaf Photograph by Mick Hales

How much the giver actually gives needs to be viewed by what it actually cost the giver. Jesus talks to the disciples about this in the passage about the widow’s offering, in Mark 12:43-44.

“Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

IMG_3491 1How we give and how we receive becomes an aspect of our characters and is often formed through our childhood experiences. If we experienced poverty and material insecurity as children we may spend our lives working to get out of poverty and find it very difficult to give to others.  IMG_3603 1Jesus is very clear about the need for us to be lovers, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39. To be able to love requires giving. Love is an exchange that requires giving.

Children of Lir in progress by Iconographer Christine Hales
Children of Lir and the coming of Christianity in progress by Christine Hales

At the last supper when Jesus washed the disciples feet he was giving them an example as to how to give, I expect some of them were uncomfortable receiving that gift.

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The complete message is that Jesus wants us to be both givers and receivers. To able to receive as well as give, for there is an exchange of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit desires to flow and be active.

Lily photograph by Mick Hales flower photographer
Lily Photograph by Mick Hales

If we refuse to receive a gift, it can stop the Holy Spirit flowing. Similarly if we receive without giving thanks that will also stop the Holy Spirit flowing.

This Easter as we consider the gift God gave to us through his Son’s sacrifice on the cross, we really need to receive it completely as an act of God’s love for us individually and enable the Holy Spirit to flow by giving heart felt thanks.

Saint Patrick Icon in progress painted by Christine Hales Iconographer
Saint Patrick Icon painted by Christine Hales in progress

Such an extraordinary gift of love we can receive or reject freely. However, if we choose to reject that gift we can not be givers and lovers as God purposed us to be. It is almost childlike thinking, true. ‘Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Mark 10:15.

Saint Patrick icon by Iconographer Christine Hales in progress
Saint Patrick Icon by Christine Hales in progress

This Easter Christine and I have so much to be grateful for. In our professional lives Christine has been working on a wonderful commission for a large icon of St Patrick, which is just unfolding beautifully on our lanai. I’ve had a book signing and publication launching for the latest book I photographed, City Green; Public Gardens of New York, written by Jane Garmey. Ichael also has the cover for NYC & G April issue for a house in Kinderhook shot in January.

Mick Hales and Jane Garmey at book signing for "City Green"
Mick Hales and Jane Garmey at book signing for “City Green”

However, for both of us, what we celebrate is how Jesus works through our lives to the people around us, through the many gifts he has given us but most importantly through his redemptive gift for paying for our sins and inviting us into His family of brothers and sisters in Christ.

NYCG-April cover by Mick Hales photographer
NYCG-April cover by Mick Hales photographer

This is the gift which cost Jesus everything and has created a family, his church, which is called to give and receive with thanks through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Stations of the Cross Icons, Station 11, by Christine Hales Iconographer
Stations of the Cross Icons, Station 11, by Christine Hales Iconographer

Please keep us in your prayers and let us know how we can pray for you.

 

With great love and thanksgiving,  wishing you truly, a Happy Easter!

Michael and Christine

Mick’s website    Christine’s Icons

 

 

 

 

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Grace

Dear Friends and Family:

Happy New Year!IMG_1479

One of our frequent prayers is that we would come into new relationships with people and existing ones would grow deeper.

We have been really blessed to spend the winter in Florida which gives us the chance to explore new places, new churches, new friends and new ways of doing business and ministering.

We have found a liturgical church which is also very active with community ministry.

Christine has started to work with the Altar Guild at Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota which fits well with her understanding of the roots Christianity and the many symbolic aspects of liturgical worship.IMG_1259

Michael has started to volunteer in a homeless shelter the church is involved with, which has people waiting on the streets in the morning to get in for a shower and a bite to eat.     IMG_1657

A bus ride can reveal how many people are living on the edge, struggling with health issues, mental and physical, struggling with real poverty, financial, nutritional and spiritual.

Walking through the quieter suburbs also shows the run down houses, with all the shades or curtains drawn to the street with a fancy car or truck parked in front. It must be so dark inside, one wonders what kind of life are people living, is most of their light coming through the television screen? It seems the appearance of the car is more significant than the home.IMG_1662

The reality that in this country of great wealth, America, there is a level of poverty which is easy to drive by and not see or just disregard. It reminds me of the parable of the Good Samaritan which Jesus told to emphasize what loving our neighbors means.   IMG_1612

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”Luke 10:25-37

On a similar tract Michael has just finished making a video concerning the opioid and heroin crisis which is sweeping our country. It is a horrible epidemic killing young and old, rich and poor. The video was created for a grass roots charity, Columbia County Pathways to Recovery, which was formed by five mothers who had grown up with children in the small affluent community of Chatham, NY. They realized their children and many members of their community were becoming addicted to opioids and heroin and they struggled together to find ways to help them. They did not pass by on the other side but have dived in wholeheartedly to find out how to help those addicted.

Bringing an understanding of the opioid crisis to all people in a community through discussion and sharing experiences is what this video is designed to do. It is designed to stimulate open discussion of people’s thoughts, prejudices , and stigmas towards those under addiction within families and our churches. So please use it – watch the video, show it to your friends- and think about the questions it raises. What kind of prejudices  do you hold towards those who are caught by addiction? What kind of help do we offer as a faith based community?

As we come to the end of 2017 which has been a very divisive year in politics let us not turn our backs on those who are in need but embrace the fact that Jesus came to give us all life and life more abundantly.IMG_1435

Please keep us in your prayers and let us know how we can pray for you.

“Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.”

Ephesians 6: 26

And may you be blessed and healthy in this New Year!

Love, Michael and Christine

Mick’s Photography website     Christine’s Icon website

Testimony and Extraordinary Times

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As you know, we are living in extraordinary times in America.

Each day the news gets more and more incredible.

We have gone through many powerful natural disasters, hurricanes and wild fires.

We are currently going through a social expose of the sexual abuse of women by men in power.

There seems to be a growing awareness of the reality that America freely elected a racist president.  _MG_3508

Also that the economic, health and educational resources of the country are being redirected towards the ‘well off’, large corporations and the military.

 

We are also facing an era where news can be fake or not fake. What is true? Who is telling the truth. What is true for some is not true for others. This dilemma has always been present but it is exercised now to such an extent that it is hard to hold onto reality, whose right is right and whose wrong is wrong. By declaring something which we do not like as, ‘fake’, then it’s validity seems to be washed away.

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For those of us who believe that theBible can give us a standard by which we can judge right from wrong, we also realize that it can be twisted and misinterpreted. We see that over the years many wars have been fought over the different interpretation of the meaning and content of the bible. Many lives have fallen through ‘Religious’ wars.

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So where does this lead us?

 

For me it leads me back to digging deeper into who Christ is and how He is working today. It leads me back to a more personal relationship with Him. It leads me back to my testimony of who Christ is and what he has done in my life. A testimony of daily depending on Him and His grace to get through each day and a gratitude that He has asked me to do that.

 

The Bible talks extensively about testimony. It talks about how God gave signs to the exiled Jews as a Testimony of who He was. It talks about Jesus testifying to his relationship to God the father, and it talks about the false testimony of the Pharisees as they wanted to condemn Jesus to death. It talks about how testimony can be true or false.

 

Testimony can raise faith or it can destroy it.

I was able to attend one of Dr. Randy Clarke’s Empowerment conferences at Harvest Time Church in Greenwich, Ct, earlier in the month. Many people were getting healed of physical illness as words of knowledge and prayers were taking place. To help build the atmosphere of faith people were encouraged to clap 15 times when they believed God had healed them at least 80% of an illness.

As the evening went on one could hear throughout the crowd more and more people clapping, a testimony that they had received a healing._MG_3526

For me the extraordinary beauty of the moment when someone realizes that God has just supernaturally touched them personally and given them a healing is something that needs to be shouted out. It deserves to be clapped and stated. Once you have seen God move in this way, one knows that there is a truth of such value and holiness you hold onto it. Someone else may see it as fake news. For me it is real that we have a true God who is very real and His truth can not be washed away, ever.

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It may seem as odd as a pumpkin sitting in the waves of the sea but the truth is, we have a God who will judge us and loves us all as well. Our Father.

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The Lord is My Shepherd Icon by Christine Hales

Paul says it when writing to Timothy from jail, so beautifully.

2 Timothy 1:6-14.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to[a] a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,[b] 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.[c] 13 Follow the pattern of the sound[d] words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Please hold us in your prayers and let us know how we can pray for you.

Love and prayers, Michael and Christine

Christine’s Icon Blog is here.

Mick’s Photography Site

God is in their Recovery

Dear Friends and Family:IMG_9537

The autumn this year has not been spectacular so far because a lot of the maple leaves went brown without turning red. They dried out before coming to their wonderful yellow-orange and red colors. Fortunately the stag horn sumacs have added the most color on the sides of the roads and there are still the oaks trees in reserve to turn.

It reminds me of Elijah hiding in a cave after running from Jezebel telling God, he was the only prophet left and the word of God gently correcting him to say there were still 7000 faithful in reserve.

Sometimes it feels like nothing is happening but God always has more to give than we can imagine.IMG_9515

This last month I have had the privilege of videoing people who have gone through serious additions to opioids and heroin telling their stories. It is material for a video I am making for Columbia Pathways to Recovery, a grass routes local community organization formed to help those caught up in the currant crisis. Each one of these people eventually coming through these horribly destructive experiences have recognized that it is a spiritual and physical disease. Each one talks about God or their Higher power and how that awakening to a divine presence is the saving foundation from which they can build their lives again. Each ones way to recovery is different and there is no cookie cutter answers to this very complex healing called ‘Recovery’.

One of the sentences that was quoted to me was, ‘ the opposite to addiction is not sobriety, but being in community with others.’ The way of addiction is to isolate people and slowly destroy them through the cravings of what ever drug they have chosen to take their pain away. This slowly makes them withdraw more and more from other people and social interactions.IMG_9607

God created us to be in relationship with each other, the drugs want to take us into isolation. The stigma around addiction shown by society will have to change before there can really be widespread healing for this disease. It is a much larger issue than a moral failing, or a weakness of character as society often view those fall ill with addictions. There are definitely chemical issues in the brain which make this a physical as well as spiritual illness.

There is a real need for the church to take a lead in this awareness that the people who are dying around us from overdoses are not bad people but people who really need healing, just as people need healing from cancer, they deserve to be loved, cared for and treated as other people with a disease.

Artists Potluck Slide Share Dinner in Hudson
Artists Community Potluck Slide Share Dinner in Hudson

Jesus only did what his father asked him to do and he healed everyone who came to him for healing. As a Christian we are called, in this epidemic of opioid and heroin addiction, to help every one we can and be totally informed on what recovery means and how we can use the gifts we have been given to help them. That is more than just allowing an AA group to meet in the church once a week but knowing person to person and congregation to congregation what recovery really is.

I just met God in those people I videoed, they have recovered and they are back in society living a life more abundantly than they could imagine. That is what Jesus came to give us, a life more abundant than we can imagine.IMG_9648

Please pray for all those who find themselves in a trap and for those who help them get free.

We ask your prayers this month for those in recovery from opioids and their families, and for ourselves as we transition into God’s next plan for us!

Blessings and Prayers,

Christine and Michael

Michael’s Photography Site        Christine’s Icon Site

September has been a wonderfully busy month. There was another Suicide Awareness walk in Catskill that I was able to attend, as well as a Christian walk down the main street in Hudson. I preached in Rock Road Chapel, Berne, NY and photographed for clients in Texas. I’m also starting to create three different short videos for non profit organizations.IMG_9216

 

The walk through Hudson was a combination of different church groups and has been an annual affair for some time. I take part in it to support the local ministries. It is not as large as the gay pride parade which takes place down the same route and does not have anything like the support which the local politicians or community give to that.  Going down the street with other Christians, I noticed what on lookers there were look surprised and somewhat bemused. As though we were amusingly out of date and a hangover from another era.IMG_9295

 

The bible does warn us to expect to be ridiculed for our beliefs and some slight embarrassment is certainly nothing compared to the real persecution many Christians face around the world. The point is, as Christians, how relevantly do we present ourselves to the people around us so that they are able to relate to us and not reject us out of hand. Paul writes about ‘being all things to all people’ so that he was able to come alongside them long enough for people of all different walks of life, to really understand what the ‘Kingdom of God’ meant.

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I find myself digging deeper into the bible for an understanding of the ‘Kingdom of God’, being here, now. This is what Christ taught us to talk about, that the ‘Kingdom of God was at hand’. How can I witness that in a real way, to people on the street, so they realize that what I want to share with them does come from another world but not from another era? It is as relevant today as it has ever been. Jesus is as completely relevant, completely alive and completely true today as on his day of resurrection.IMG_9289

 

It is up to each one of us to bring that reality to life for whoever is standing in front of us in a way that they can hear it, see it and receive it. For me that is often through praying for healing but there are many ways just as there are many grains of sand on the sea shore. Christine is doing it through prayer and teaching Icon writing. I also do it through creating videos. Every one has a gifting of some form and we all need to use them with the Holy Spirit flowing through us.IMG_9365

 

I look forward to the day that thousands will be drawn to walk for Christ through our local streets witnessing how totally relevant Jesus is today and His Kingdom has come.

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Sending you all love and prayers,

Michael and Christine

Mick’s Photos    Christine’s Icons   Christine’s Icon blog

Psalm 23

Dear Friends and Family:FullSizeRender 10

We hope this summer is going well for you all?  It is a working summer for us- God is blessing us with many opportunities to make our art and share it!  So, it’s crazy busy sometimes but also great fun because we love what we’re doing!  Couldn’t be better!!photo 3

This morning this is the last little baby bird to fly the nest on our front porch!!

Even the sparrow finds a home, and a swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.  Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.” Psalm 84:3-4

I’ve just taught an Icon Workshop at Holy Cross Monastery and that is always a blessing for everyone, praise God.

Also just took a week long painting intensive at Bennington College through my alma mater, Massachusetts College of Art.  During this workshop, I began exploring the boundaries between Icons and religious painting- something I hope to do a lot more of this coming year.  Here is a photo with me and my Saint Joan of Arc painting. photo 7

This from Michael:  “I have been working on a video on Psalm 23 which has been a wonderful project. It has given me a deeper understanding of how close the relationship of King David was with God. The first line states the Lord is my shepherd and right up front assigns authority to God. David declares that God has authority over him and once that has been established the Psalm then states God’s security, leadership, rest, provision, abundance, redemption, direction, love, family and on and on until finally unity with Him for eternity.

This Holy scripture describes so intimately the relationship between God and David and it is all available when David assigns authority over his life to the good shepherd. David having been a shepherd himself before becoming a king, understood the roles of both of those positions. He likens himself to a sheep under the care of a shepherd, a foreshadow of how Jesus became the sacrificial lamb for mankind under the authority of God the Father. The depth of the love voiced in Psalm 23 is a witness to the love Jesus has for us.
Psalm 23 video

Please watch the video and share it with someone who may not know the Psalm at all. When I started to film people for the video, I approached a group of teenagers on a NY subway platform and asked if they would read the psalm 23, none of them knew what a psalm was, never mind the number 23. One young man was willing to try, but a train came in at that point. That experience just increased my desire to make scripture alive to people who do not get to hear it in their daily lives.”

And, for the first time ever, Michael and I had a pop up exhibition together in my studio in Hudson.  It was so much fun, visiting with our friends and being able to talk in depth with them about our work.  Thank you God!!  FullSizeRender 9

Sending you all love and prayers,

Christine and Michael

Mick’s Photography Site

Christine’s Icon Site

The days are getting shorter and the light is getting lower. Even though it can be incredibly beautiful -the change in the leaves and the cold air at night, is the sure sign that winter is on the way. Fortunately we have Autumn to go through first with it’s brilliant colors.

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But there is a feeling of foreboding outside of the seasonal change as we face an extremely important presidential election in the US, which not only will affect America but also the whole world.

A lot depends on where you get news from as to what it reports on the same event. As has just been seen in the recent presidential debate both candidates were hailed as ‘winners’ depending whether you looked at Fox News or the Washington Post.

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The oak trees are dropping their acorns which I find so beautiful. As a child in England I would collect acorns from the oak trees and sell them to a neighboring farmer, the pigs delighted in them. Acorns for me are the symbol of the hope to come, the seed of the future. They look as strong as the trees they will produce. Oaks were referred to in the bible as geographic markers, they were so formidable and long lasting that locations were named by them; oaks of Mamre, oaks of Bashan, oaks of Moreh. The oak trees remind me of the strength and longevity of God’s word. I can hold on to it, be guided by it, receive truth from it and know that it is always there for me. I also know that it is alive through the Holy Spirit and has power and strength for us today.

We are the church.  We know that in theory, but recently we’ve had a chance to think about that in terms of our local village.  Christine and I have been concerned about the young, underserved families living here in Philmont. To some degree it is a transient population, and they are what’s always happened in this village. Children having children, poverty, and now, drugs are too easy for vulnerable young people like these.  Christine felt God suggested she look into getting a parenting class running here in Philmont.  She met with a representative from Cornell Cooperative Extension who is very willing to run a class here, and arranged a meeting with the local library.  Please keep this in prayer, that God would continue to show us the way to move forward with this.  The children in Philmont could benefit so much from this kind of support.

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Christine is also finishing up the large Icons of Saint Isaac Jogues and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha for the Albany Diocese.  They are looking stunning and spiritually light and powerful!_mg_4776

I have been getting the number three often in my prayer times recently and am asking two of the Kingdom School alumnae to join me to make three of us, to pray and declare the Kingdom of God into the streets of Albany. We are really excited to be coming together to do this and look forward to sharing what God is doing. What we believe is that through prayer and declaration the spiritual atmosphere of a place can change and God will come in. Albany needs it and this nation needs it as well.

Please let us know how we can pray for you and keep us in your prayers too.

His delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by the streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not whither. In all that he does he prospers.

We love you all, so much!

Love and Prayers,

Michael and Christine               www.mickhales.com   www.christinehales.com

 

Bless the Lord

Dear Friends and Family:

“O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. ”           Psalm 34:8

_MG_5713Summer in Columbia County, NY, is full of wild flowers and one of my road side favorites is Chicory. In the morning it creates lines of strong blues along the side of the road and through the day the color lightens to almost white- finally closing up at night.

Chicory was introduced to America from Europe and its’ roots were used as a coffee substitute.

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One of the significant aspects of my personal belief in God and my faith when I am praying for healing with someone, is that I do not doubt the power of God. I do not doubt that God is all powerful and more than able to physically heal what ever illness may be present. Also I believe from His ministry through Jesus Christ that it is His will to heal people. Having seen prayers in Jesus name physically heal many people I know that He is all powerful and the visual memory of ‘seeing it happen with my own eyes’, leads me forward to pray.

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“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.” PS. 34:15

However, one of my concerns as a Christian today, when Christianity is being marginalized, is that my beliefs do not fade, like chicory from a strong blue to white and then finally close up. That is why it is so important to be around people of strong faith, to be renewed in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Because if you are not seeing much healing when you pray one could easily question if God is still powerful.

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This month I have been blessed to reconnect to some old friends who are still very powerfully walking with the Lord. One is a monk who is recovering from a stroke which paralysed the left side of his body and the other was a gangster from Australia turned powerful evangelist for the Lord. Both men come from very different backgrounds, are now in very different life situations, but they call on the Lord like freight trains of the Holy Spirit. When you are in the presence of someone calling out to the Lord with deep fervor there can be no doubt we have a powerful God.

This nation needs to have powerful people calling out to God for it now. The present situation reminds me of what I think Germany must have been like when extreme rhetoric by Hitler, started to delude the moral compass of that nation. Small steps towards fear and greed are just as dangerous in this nation as anywhere. The devil is happy to do his work in small steps until it is too late to return.

My father was a scout troop youth leader and in that capacity visited Germany before the war and witnessed the ‘Brown Shirts’ start to congregate and stir up hatred. As a child, he told me, how he saw their development grow more radical and violent over the three summers he visited.

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“Innisfree”   photo by Mick Hales

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”  Ps. 34:1

Jesus came that we could love our neighbors as ourselves. It is not an easy road but it is a high road. It is not glamorous, straight forward and often not quantifiable. But it is the road we are called to.

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New Painting by Christine Hales

So I am thankful for powerful intercessors who pray for healing, who pray for justice, who pray for wisdom, who pray for revival in the villages, towns and cities of this country.

Our evangelist friend, that I mentioned above, is still holding revival meetings in tents pitched in fields and changing lives in rural America.

Our monk friend, is starting to move his left arm and leg and I fully believe the left side of his body will be totally restored as we continue to call out for his healing.

We are aware that God is doing something more extraordinary than we can imagine and we are called to ask him in faith, with no doubting, that each one of us can do our part with the gifts that God has given us. With faith we will see the fruit of our prayers.

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God is still with us and all powerful; Thank God.

We send you our love and prayers, and look forward to hearing form you!

Michael and Christine

www.americanassociationoficonographers.com     www.mickhales.com     www.halesart.com    www.christinehales.com    www.newchristianicons.com

 

 

Joseph’s Inspiration

Dear Friends and Family:photo

Spring is valiantly trying to arrive and we send you our love and prayers, waiting for it’s signs to confirm the faith we all share that it will, indeed come! The last few months I’ve been re-reading the story in Genesis of Joseph, Jacob’s son.  Adversity and seemingly hopeless life circumstances repeatedly plagued him, however his faith never left him.  Because of their jealousy, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, but God’s plans for Joseph were for good, and each step of Joseph’s journey, God allowed the tables to be turned. Slavery turned into authority and power, jealousy and competition turned into love and forgiveness, separation turned into reconciliation, all through Joseph’s ability to stay connected with the power of God’s love and the faith that His will for us is for good.

Such a good story to remember at a time when our country is polarized politically, religiously and spiritually.   Our God is the God of unity and by activating our faith in adversity, we release God’s true purpose and destiny into our worlds.

“Ye may have meant it for evil, but God turned it into good.” Genesis 50:20photo

May we help each other to remember the way with, God’s help, through the difficulties and challenges and keep a positive vision for our country.

Michael has been working on some new videos – not finished yet, but beautiful as always.  He’s in Alabama right now photographing a book.  We will be exploring more in April the possibility of finding work in Florida for the winter next year. We will do a bit of traveling and visiting to churches, galleries, and possible clients. Would love your prayers to cover all that!IMG_1053

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I’ve finished the Graymoor Icon commission- two eight foot by 3 foot egg tempera Icons.  Quite a lot of physical and artistic and spiritual work, but it’s what I love to do.  Here are a few photos of the oiling process which is the final sealant and causes the layers of egg tempera to fuse in a jewel like surface.photo

Also I’m excited about my contemporary painting – it is getting closer to being able to express the Divine in a secular language.  I hope to find some new galleries for it soon.

“Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they walk in the light of your presence Lord…You are their glorious strength. Our power is based on your favor.” Psalm 89:15-17

May God continue to bless you with His love and favor.  Let us know how we can pray for you and thank you for your prayers for our ministry of God’s presence through the Arts.

Love and prayers,

Michael and Christine

www.halesart.com      www.mickhales.com    www.newchristianicons.com     www.americanassociationoficonographers.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving!

Dear Friends and Family:

As November draws to a close, we have so much to be grateful for.  

Having Thanksgiving in Boston with our son, daughter-in-law and new grand daughter was delightful!  Being able to visit my mother who is recovering well from a broken hip and seeing her smiling, settling in back at our house, seeing old friends and making new friends.

But I wonder if you are experiencing the battles and seemingly unending difficulties that we are?  It’s almost becoming funny, that the moment we solve one huge problem and feel we can relax-BOOM!- another one hits.

And they all seek to distract us from the things that really ARE important.  Like prayer, worship, fellowship with God.  

This is our back garden – can you see the little deer?  There’s a family of them that live back there by the cross.  In a way, our succeeding in all the recent battles secures the safety of their home.   I think that is the way of intercessory prayer, too.  People willingly taking up the battle in prayer wins
peace for many others who are unaware of what it costs.      We are praying with a couple of icons these days -like this detail of Saint Anthony, the father of monasticism.

He was a great intercessor for his time and withstood many temptations and assaults from the demons. In 2 Chronicles 5:13 when Solomon completed the House of the Lord, and brought the Ark of the covenant in, it was the duty of of the trumpeters and singers to praise the Lord saying “For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.”  I think this is the task – no matter how awful the onslaught is, to sing praise that God is good, He is always good, and His steadfast love endures forever.  When the people praised God with those words, the Glory of the Lord came down and filled the temple.

We are the Temple and what could be  better than being filled with the Presence of the Lord?  This photo is from the blessing of the icons and the iconographers’ hands at Saint Nicholas’ Church where I teach, in Cohoes last month. It was a joy and honor to be there.

We are planning for  a January start for a house Church in our home in Philmont, a small discipleship group, and Michael will be doing some Bible teaching.  We plan to be praying and asking to see if God is calling us to start a Global Awakening satellite school of ministry in this area in September.

Back in Bristol, we are so encouraged by all the prayer efforts that are happening there. It seems that people are uniting across the denominations to pray together – outside and inside churches. Dec 1 there is a UK wide prayer on the streets which some of our friends in Bristol are participating in, and John Mulinde’s World Trumpet Mission is having a strong prayer presence too.  There are many more prayer events and we are really thrilled to hear about each one, and we pray together with each one.   

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We are also seeing a very powerful presence of the Lord in some of the prayer meetings at St. Michael’s Church in Colonie and experienced being held on the floor by His Presence. We have both started prayer walking on the streets and find it a way to hear God’s heartbeat for the village. There was recently a death in this community which has shaken the village as it happened so quickly and it has opened up opportunities for us to pray for people. It has also revealed a strong masonic presence in the village. The words keep coming to my mind as we discern what God is doing here from a prayer session in June, “Build an Ark, in Philmont. A place of my powerful presence.” So we ask for your prayers for this that we would build God’s ark here, it so desperately needs it.

I prayed for a lady in the drug store in Boston the other day for her broken wrist, she literally said before I started to pray for her, ‘I wish someone would come along and bless me and get rid of all these demons attacking me.’ God had it all planned for me to be there. We always need to remember God has so much more for us than we can possibly imagine and when it seems to be so dark we need to hold on to God with all our heart, for He is really all there is and His love endures forever.

We hope you have a Happy Christmas with the true blessings of the good news of the birth of Jesus Christ our savior, born so humbly yet full of so much power in each of our lives today.

PS  We REALLY want and need your prayers!!! It makes a huge difference!!  And we will continue to pray for you too!           Love,            Christine and Michael.