Tag Archives: icons

Ora et Labora

My old school motto, pray and work, is actually a Benedictine value from the Rule of St Benedict. I had to do some research on my school in England recently which jolted that memory.

Myakka photo by Mick Hales

Looking back over my life I think I may have changed the word order to Labora et Ora. Or working more than praying.

The Benedictine concept was to stop work five times a day for prayer, or an ‘Office’, and then resume working, eating or sleeping. 

So many things in our Christian lives are about getting the right balance between our personal time with God and all the other issues we deal with constantly. Now that I work as a Chaplain, I find my personal time with God, can get squeezed out by time ministering to people.

I need to remember they are different but interdependent.

So, I took a morning to myself recently to visit Myakka Park which is close by and is as wild a landscape as we have; made up of palmettos, palm trees and live oaks all creatively interwoven as only God can manage.

Myakka Photo by Mick Hales

I took my bible with me and when I was deep in green solitude, I started to read Romans 8 out loud. Romans 8 has been transformational for me at different times of my walk with God, but on that day I felt such an oppression, I could not read past; ‘The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs with God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may be glorified with him.’

My heart seemed to sink deeply and I felt an immense resistance to continue with the reading.

I realized to stand as a child of God there needs to be a strong consistent parental connection, a living relationship, as Jesus pursued with the Father. Children tend to neglect their parents after they have left home. Their lives become full and connecting to their parents grows less rewarding. I had fallen into that trap and was being awakened to my failings. I was not spending quality time with God.

Two things seemed to happen simultaneously at that point. I received a text telling me, one of my flock had just passed away. I had prayed for her, alongside her son, the previous day.  Also, I heard God requesting me to finish reading Romans 8 out loud. 

As the words finally came out of me, ‘No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus,’ the awareness of the loving Father was so powerful for me in that wilderness.

God gave me a lesson in undeserved love, by the depths of His Grace. As a parent does to their child. 

Saint Francis by Christine Hales

Please let us know how we can pray for you. Christine Sends her love, too!

Love and prayers,

Christine and Michael Hales Mick’s Photography Christine’s Icons

Memorials and Trust

Fallen petals by Mick Hales

Christine is between teaching classes on line and is using the time to work on three new icons. She has been inspired to write St Sebastian,  patrons Saint of Healing from the Plague , Madonna and Child on a Gothic shaped icon board, and Julian of Norwich, mystic and writer. She has been inspired to write these three because icons help us to focus our prayers and these particular saints represent issues we are praying about today.

Her next on line iconography class is scheduled forJuly 13-16th  , will focus on the principles of sacred geometry which are the untold structures behind the visual arrangement of icons and can captivate our eyes through their inherent dynamic. There is always so much more to learn about icons, their design and the prayer which is integral to their making.

Christine looking at a Rosa Bonheur Painting at the Ringling Museum

Memorial Day

Memorial weekend is celebrated as the start of summer and people made a dash for the beach, stores opened their sales, the airports were packed; so can we forget COVID now? Of course, we all would like that. 

For many in the USA, COVID would seem to be in the ‘rear view mirror’, but for many other countries, with very low vaccination rates, this is just the start of a prolonged health and economic onslaught. It is worth our remembering this COVID issue is by no means over!

Over the memorial weekend, Michael facilitated a memorial service for one of the residents at the community he serves as chaplain. This was the first in house, open in person memorial service in about fourteen months. He had done one outdoors with controlled attendance at a military cemetery earlier in the May. 

This is good news!

Many people have died in the last year without the opportunity for their families and friends to have a memorial service; in whatever form that may take. Michael lost his brother in England and was unable to attend the memorial service because of the many restrictions, and that story is the same in many families.

The fact that in person memorials are now becoming a possibility, even many months after someone passes, can be really healing. Also, something we may not be aware of and is possibly as valuable as the closure from the past, is creating fresh openings for the future. 

When we celebrate those who have past in community, by laying their lives down before the Lord, we can open the door to a new future. We are in affect celebrating and acknowledging one of God’s creation. When we do that, new doors will open for us, which reveal God’s creative nature through new relationships or interests. It is God’s desire that we always continue to experience more of Him, and to enable that He opens new doors to unveil His heart and nature. It is then up to us to decide if we are ready to travel through the doors He opens or stay where we are. God always leaves us free choice.

When God opened a ‘new door’ of the gospel starting to be preached to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, Peter was given a vision to travel to visit a Gentile stranger, Cornelius, whose prayers had risen to God as a ‘memorial’.  What takes place is the laying down of the old and the opening up of the new, for both Jews and Gentiles. Read the whole extraordinary story in Acts 10, this is a snippet from the beginning, Acts 10:3-4

About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.

It is really time now, for us as a nation, to lay down the destructive divisions of our recent past and decide we are ready to move through the many doors God has unveiled for healing. Let us all pray for an end and a rebirth, worthy of God calling a ‘memorial’, in our nation and in our own lives. Please join with us in praying for unity for our nation and brotherly love to replace self interest.

Sending our love and prayers to each of you,

Michael and Christine

Michael’s Photos Christine’s Icons

The Fullness of God’s Love

In April, Christine held another online icon class that focused on color theory and symbolism while the participants painted [ correct term is wrote] St George and the Dragon. She also completed an icon commission on St John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila for a church in Connecticut, see detail of St Teresa.

St. Teresa of Avila

She has developed an interest in the art of Egypt and is looking into exploring the Old Testament personalities to utilize that style in her iconography. What is wonderful about Christine’s work is, she is always looking for ways to bring the contemporary Western Church into a deeper usage of icons. Her online classes are known for leading the participants into a meaningful prayer time with the Lord while they are painting. This is the wealth of learning iconography in that it draws one intimately into a connection with the Lord.

Michael had trips, the first traveling for photography in over 15 months, to Nappa, CA and Western CT. Photographing gardens in those places, touched the high points of roses in California and tulips in Connecticut. 

At the elderly community where Michael is a Chaplain, people are slowly starting to be more engaged in activities. It is almost as though people need to learn how to be comfortable socializing again, even wearing a mask. Like learning how to ride a bike again. The isolation has left its’ toll. 

Michael has started a prayer table, for people to come to talk in depth about what has happened for them through the pandemic and receive prayer. It is particularly difficult when residents are faced with having to move to assisted living from independent living. Sometimes it separates spouses who have different physical abilities, who possibly lived together 60 or 70 years. On the whole though there is a feeling of optimism, especially that people will be able to visit with family again and a sense of purpose to life is filtering back in. Some who recently were moved to assisted living have been able to attend the Sunday service again, and it means so much to them to take up their places with old friends.

Life is such a gift, even when we lose some functionality, God loves us more than we can understand. We tend to look at our physical situation, where as God is looking at the nature of our hearts. He wants us to keep our eyes on Him, not on ourselves. When we are able to focus on Him; He deals with our inabilities, our fears, our purpose for living. He will enable us to know how loved we are by Him.

California Poppies by Mick Hales

Michael was recently given a dandelion by our four year old granddaughter as he was leaving from a family visit. It was not until he was some miles away, down the road, that he recalled being given some buttercups as he was setting out on a journey by his son, many years before.

How can a child express love, but by offering up a gift, and what could be more perfect than a dandelion or a buttercup? In true love there will be pain. Just as the isolation of this pandemic year caused painful loss, love will rise above it. Because God is love and his love surpasses our understanding. 

Ephesians 3: 17-19

“…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Please, let us know how we can pray for you or your loved ones.

Michael and Christine.

Mick’s Photos Christine’s Icons

Challenges

He turned to me and said, ‘And don’t talk to me again with your mask on.’ Then he shuffled off with his walker. We had just shared a fifteen minute conversation. I had heard how his wife was ailing and unable to do much more than sleep. She had had a bad fall and then contracted Covid 19 and although this was several months later, he was worried she was loosing ground. I had prayed with him, for which he was grateful, then he finished our talk abruptly. 

Not being able to hear words spoken through a mask, is just the last straw for many elderly, who have seen their lives turned upside down in the pandemic. Loneliness, confusion, gradual loss of sight and hearing; these are just a few of the difficulties they face. Loss of mobility, fear of falling, memory loss and the slow onset of dementia or equally difficult, their spouse’s.

The physical challenges the elderly face slowly force them into an internally lived world. A world shared with themselves. The TV News constantly talks of a world so different from the one they grew up in and spent the best years of their life with. It seems like their value system has no value anymore.

It has gone or it is going. Everywhere they turn or they turn to do, has left or is leaving, has died or is dying. Possibly the hardest challenge for many is holding on to a purpose for living, a purpose for their lives, now.

Well, it has always been that way, one might argue. That is true, except for three areas which may have exasperated this purposelessness the elderly increasingly endure. 

Less and less people are being cared for by their own family members as they age, in fact their children are likely to live busy lives of their own, a plane trip away. No direct family connections leads to loneliness and isolation.

People are living much longer, due to medical advances, so living into your nineties or even hundreds, is becoming the norm. 

But for me, the most significant difference I see, is many elderly are living without a close relationship with God in their lives. 

The church past and present have contributed to this by: in the past, by teaching a theology of a distant judging Father God who expected works for one’s salvation; and in the present, by focusing on discipling the young, who would be more effective at reaching the lost, for more years.

Consequently, the kinds of questions and assurances, that a loving close relationship with Jesus Christ would answer and provide are left as an empty wound, mixed in with the all the other challenges aging brings.

God has led me to work in an elderly community as a Chaplain and I would not have had any awareness of this dynamic and quite frankly any interest either. We have a tendency to expect the state to look after the latter years of peoples lives with ‘meals on wheels’, or other programs. Some families are still able to help an aging relative but as a whole our society has moved away from an extended family life styles.

There is a real need for the spiritual lives of the elderly to be attended to. I am learning on the job and thank God for that opportunity.

We wish you all a very Happy Easter and look forward to hearing how we can best pray for you!

May God bless you and hold you in His favor,

Michael’s Photography Christine’s Icons

Christine and Michael Hales

The Right Place

Spanish Point Chapel, photo by Mick Hales

In the Right Place at the….

Working as a Chaplain in an elderly persons community I find myself asking the question, ‘Is this really where God wants me?’

Then I reason, ‘this is my selfish thinking getting in the way of serving God and my pride is trying to make my ministry expectations more significant than is appropriate.’

OK, so in that case, I am exactly where I should be, and God has not deserted me, but I still  wish I could serve Him more.

A little voice says, ‘What does that have to do with you? It is really up to God how he wants to use you.’ 

I am serving as Chaplain in an old people’s community.   I question it because my ‘Vespers’ services appear so boring that everyone goes to sleep.

Actually, it is just what they need, a chance to sleep, in the presence of the Holy Spirit. In the service this last Sunday, I had to shake awake my violinist, the only source of music we have, for him to play. 

But when you are approaching 80, 90 or your into your 100 years, it is an achievement to make it to the Sunday service in the auditorium. That is a big deal for each of them and if you catch a nap so much the better.

I often ask myself, well what can I really give or teach people who have gone to church for thirty five years before I ever read through the bible.

But there goes my thinking again, placing the burden on myself to be ‘doing the work’, when in fact only God can do it.

Most of my flock can not see to read, they cannot hear even with hearing aids, they do not move without a walker or an electric cart. They have continued as well as they could through the pandemic, trying to keep their thoughts positive, but it has hurt everyone. You can see the sadness in their eyes, as they pull down their masks and ask, ‘How long is this going on for?’

I have the luxury of movement, hearing, seeing and asking myself, ‘am I in the right place?’ 

My flock does not; they are staying where they are. Thankfully they can always ask, ‘God are you still with me, do you still hear me? Are you really as powerful as the Chaplain says you are and do you really love me as much as he says you do?’

That is when God silently answers and his love begins to flow and they are reborn again. Their smiles come back again and they are so glad they were able to make Vespers this week, even if they may have missed a part of it. They were present and so was the gentle Holy Spirit touching each one with wisdom, grace and power, in a very personal way.

God is always in the right place and I just want to be with Him as He ministers, in His presence.

 1 Corinthians 3:7    “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”

Christine’s News

I’ve been finishing the “lamentation” commission and now that has been shipped off to it’s new home! I’m also finishing up a commission for st. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.

I’m preparing for teaching my next online icon painting class, April 13-16. And I’ve successfully submitted my application for post graduate work at the Prince’s Foundation School in London for advanced Iconography research. In the next month or so I should hear the status of that.

Another Church Icon Talk

Tomorrow I’ve been asked to give a talk on my work for the Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Bradenton, Florida. I feel so blessed to be here, working in my studio everyday. The winds are gently blowing, the sun is shining and I have all my icon materials and books all around me. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your goodness and blessings!

Mick Hales Photography

We send you all our love and best wishes for staying healthy and safe. Do be in touch with your prayer requests- it is our joy to pray for you!

Love and prayers,

Christine and Michael Hales

Michael’s Photography Website Christine’s Icon Website

Advent- The Coming of the Light!

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. John 1:9

Sometimes we encounter Christians, who are sure, they are the holders of ‘the true light’. That they have been given a prophetic word, which must mean that they are following the correct path and them only. Then there are some who hold to a strict tradition which has always and only done things in a certain way, so any broadening of that way, is named heretical.

Annunciation Angel Icon by Christine Hales

The question then becomes, how does one interact with people who are so dogmatic they are unable see the other side of the coin; no matter how much truth the other side of the coin holds. 

As ministers for Christ these are encounters we have all the time.  These are not interactions with non believers but with other Christians.

‘Well, you say, this has been going on since the beginning of the Church, Christ was dealing with these same situations.’ The Christian family, as broad as it is, as diverse as it is, as large as it is, as dogmatic as parts of it are, is still completely loved by God the Father. God is able to continue loving all of it.

The Light which God brought into the world; His Love, is for everyone.

Mick Hales Photography

I cannot claim or assign myself, more lovable by God than any other.

Mick Hales Photography

I also cannot claim my way to worship, or express my creative gifts, as the only way that God would want it practiced. However, I do know He wants me to worship Him and be creative for Him, as He does with everyone.

Mick Hales Photography

This Christmas as we reflect on Christ bringing his true light into the world, I will try to remember that God’s love came into the world for everyone. 

Icons

Christine has been invited to give a series of talks for Advent at Church of the Redeemer, the Episcopal Church that we belong to. The Title of the series is “New Perspectives in Church Art”.

The “New Perspectives in Christian Church Art “Talks she is giving at Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota this month will be aired on their FB page, https://www.facebook.com/RedeemerSarasota and You Tube page, https://www.youtube.com/user/redeemersarasota at 6:30PM Friday evenings, Dec.4, 11, 18, and January 1. Hope you can catch some of them, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it all!

Chaplaincy

Turkeys for those in need

Well, lots has happened in November. Freedom Village collected and donated over 1200 lbs of turkey for Thanksgiving for food challenged families. Christine delivered a commissioned icon of CS Lewis. We had an election which, unreally, was claimed to be a fraud. The in-person Alpha class that I led at Freedom Village was completed with a full house, fully masked.

Yes, we are looking forward to Christmas and time to fully celebrate Christ’s birth. 

We pray you are well and looking forward to it as well.

Ringling Museum Gardens

Alpha at Freedom Village

Dear Friends and Family:

Alpha at Freedom Village

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

One of the wonderful developments this month for me has been re connecting with the Alpha program. Christine and I ran the program ten times at local churches in New York in the mid 90s and it was very foundational to our introduction to the Holy Spirit.

I am now running an in person Alpha program at Freedom Village, which is bringing a lot of fresh thinking about Christianity to the group who are in their 80s and 90s. My two co-leaders are both in their mid nineties and doing a great work.

The elderly community, Freedom Village where I am Chaplain, is getting opened up again with tight restrictions and precautions; I will be running a weekly grief support meeting, Bible study and in person Sunday Vespers, as well as the Alpha course. So we are trying to enable some normalcy but with tight precautions, as the community is so vulnerable to Covid.

Christine’s Icons

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Christine has led another online teaching class, again with wonderful results, and people are signing up for future classes she is offering in  November, 2020   and  January 2021 . She is breaking new ground with the online classes, but also, her spiritual perspective as she teaches, is also being warmly received.

This last class the icon of   Archangel Raphael,  was written and the next class will be on the Vladimir Madonna in November, 2020 . Click here for more information about her classes.

Remembering Timothy

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

For me, one of the hardest issues was the passing of my brother Timothy, in England, and being unable to attend any of his last months of deteriorating health and funeral. We were able though to have some good phone conversations and prayer times. Grief of lost ones is ongoing and little sparks of memories bubble up at different times pushing themselves without excuse into our daily lives. I remember Tim’s ability to double up in laughter, with great gasps for air, as the pathos of humanity, was celebrated and dissected with humor. We all miss him. I created a short video relating to some of our conversations, ‘God wants you too’.  Click here to view.

 

Continue to Pray For Our Country

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

The many difficulties America faces, can really consume all of our thoughts, if we allow that to happen. I love what Paul says in Philippians 4:8, and especially the translation which uses the word lovely, it seems like such a complete word for how to kindle our thoughts in this season.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Please let Christine and me know how we can pray for you, and please also hold us up in prayers.

Sending lots of love,

Michael and Christine Hales

Michael’s Photography    Christine’s Icons

 

Compassionate Responsibility

Finally, even the President of the United States has decided that wearing face masks should be encouraged, and he may actually have worn one for a couple of photo opportunities. Clearly that change of mind came four months, 150,000 lives and a decimated economy, too late.IMG_8285

I just pray that those who oppose stopping at red lights, wearing seat belts and putting a face mask on in public get the message, that at this stage our country is at war and it is selfish, dangerous and ‘unpatriotic’, not to do so.

I have to admit that when you consider the 58,000 Americans who lost their lives in the Vietnam war, what is happening in America right now, is so much more devastating; soon to be three times the number of deaths.JZJT5830

On top of that we have around 17 million unemployed and millions of families living with uncertainty about the future for themselves and their children’s education.

IMG_7785

We have to realize this is a terrible situation to be facing a critical election, which was manipulated by foreign countries the last time around, and is already being assigned conspiracy  theories about postal ballets, etc. The protest marches for Black Lives Matter have been devalued again, leaving the whole issue of racism unresolved until another incident.

IMG_7913

None of what I just wrote is news to any of us and it can not be just swept under the carpet by partisan views. It is too deadly. It is too horrible. It is too painful for so many people. If we do have compassionate hearts as Christians, we really have to take a long hard look at our responsibility in this time.

IMG_8048

As a Christian I have to challenge other Christians to look honestly at where their opinions are being formed. Is it through the life and teaching of Jesus Christ or is it through the political views of Fox News? I see the spirit of Jezebel is at work here and that is not through Jesus Christ. All I ask is that you read through the account of Jezebel’s ways in Kings and see whether that spirit has usurped legitimate authority for personal political gain in this country.IMG_7789

As Chaplain to an elderly community I am seeing a lot of people question what life is about, as they have to stay in lockdown. There is going to be a huge emotional fall out for the elderly, for children and the unemployed from this pandemic.IMG_8836

Christians with compassion in their hearts is what is called for with the Holy Spirit working through them.

Colossian 3:12-13

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

I so much thank God for his love as we navigate our lives and responsibilities at this time.  We pray for each of you that God keeps you and your loved ones safe and healthy, and we pray also for all medical workers, doctors, nurses, and hourly wage workers that they also will be kept safe and healthy.  In Jesus’ name we pray.

Love and prayers,

Michael and Christine Hales

Mick’s Photography    Christine’s Icons

The Good Shepherd

Greetings Friends and Family:

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

OK, so where did April go? We had Easter, all on line. It was an Easter I will always remember. We have had time to think and pray, to listen to the birds, to catch up with so many things from the back burner. But slowly, slowly we have come to realize we are not living in the same world we were living in January.

We are in a time of a ‘New Normal’. How long the ‘New Normal’ will last, is hard for us to know at this point, but certainly the New Normal has replaced the ‘Old Normal’ in many ways, for good.

The saying, ‘this too shall pass’, is one which my father would encourage me with in difficult times, and of course this pandemic will pass; mostly. However, if we assume after it’s passing we will go back to the Old Normal; no way.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

This has been a wake up call. It happens to have come in the form of a health and economic attack. It  will come again, with another ‘new virus’. Or it could come as severe weather, with significant climate change which is now close to inevitable. It could also come as food shortages and famines; the united nations reported 10 nations who already have more than a million people each without enough food, which could possibly be joined by another 26 nations in a similar vulnerable position as this pandemic unfolds. With all these major world events the movement of resources and people searching for safety will exasperate our nationalistic phobias. Did we wake up yet?

We are standing on shaky ground all around.

Good Shepherd Icon by Christine Hales
Good Shepherd Icon by Christine Hales

One of the assigned scriptures for this Sunday is Psalm 23. Such an amazingly powerful holy document written by a shepherd boy turned king, David. So powerful that it is very often included in memorial services because it is so uplifting.

David had many challenges, victories, personal failings and dreams, but the most significant thing he had was his complete love and trust in God.  The first line, the first statement is David’s position from which everything else can follow.

The Lord is my Shepherd.

After that statement of belief, the results of that belief unfold. Security, provision, rest, peace, good direction, the ability to start over, how to live a pure rewarding life, helping people turn to Jesus. It also says there will be hard times, there will be death. It is all part of life. Even so we can stand in peace, with closeness to God, his protection and direction, comfort. Despite the fact we are under attack, we still have provision through the Holy Spirit, in fact the Blessings are more than we can handle, our cup overflows. We can be sure of God’s blessings and sure we will be with him in eternity.

That all comes from the first statement. The Lord is my shepherd.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography, Chaplain duties

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography, Chaplain Duties

Why do we need a wake up call?

Well, like sheep, we get drawn to where ever we think there is green grass. Our heads are down following whatever looks good next, the next good patch of whatever pleases us. Jobs, houses, curtains, deserts, lawn mowers, TV, scandal, ice cream; we are always on the lookout for the next ‘green grass.’

So when we finally get a ‘wake up call’; from a pandemic, famine or drought, hopefully we realize we are a long way off the tracks.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography, Chaplain Duties

So the question raises up again, where is my shepherd now? Nowhere to be seen, although I know he must be around, I have been so very busy, so totally involved, with—whatever. I am lost, I have just kept looking for the next green thing in my life, loosing track of direction, loosing track of a real purpose. Loosing track of the big picture, why am I here?

Hopefully, we will wake up to realize there is no stable ground around us, that there is nothing safe. Except God.

So our heads have to come out of the sand. We can ask for forgiveness and turn back to the shepherd. In fact, when so many people do that, we realize there is an awakening opening up. So many people are getting called back to Christ that we are now praying deeply for revival. For by His wounds we have been healed. How could we forget that?

Mick Hales Photography
Christine doing ballet class during quarantine

This is why our prayers are so needed at this time. That there will be an awakening to how far we have strayed from our Shepherd. Sheep love to follow. I pray that we could turn to follow God and not our own selfish ways. Because Jesus stands waiting for us to come to him, no matter who we are, no matter how depressed we are, no matter how addicted we are, how lonely we are, how nationalistic we are, how partisan we are or how much we have hated our neighbors. He is still holding out his hand to us in this ‘New Normal’. Thank God, in all things.

Please keep Christine and me in your prayers and ask the Lord how to work for His Kingdoms’ revival.

Lime Tree
Lime Tree

 

 

Love and prayers,

Christine and Michael

Mick’s Photography

 

Christine’s Icons

Palm Sunday Video

Getting Ready for Palm Sunday!!

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

They say natural disasters have three stages, the approach, the occurrence and the aftermath.

Writing on April first we are still in the approach stage. We have no idea how devastating April is going to turn out to be, certainly New York is going to be hammered and many other metropolitan areas as well. Then the aftermath is going to extend much further than people can digest at the moment; the loss of life, the loss of work and a depressed economy will be with us for a long, long time. Other things will change, our work habits, our trust in the governmental institutions and how we return to worship in churches or not.

Our VIctory Garden
Our VIctory Garden

Yes, we are looking at a huge shaking approaching, larger and more extensive than we can imagine. Think back one month when there was not an inkling of what was coming along, we were not prepared, individually or as a nation. It is times like this that the reality of how vulnerable our lives are and indeed the strength and stability of America is, even carrying a superpower status. Then we look at countries like India with high densities of population and ask what is going to happen there? Maybe the hot temperatures in the many of the vulnerable countries will lessen the power of the virus; it is destroyed at temperatures over 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, interesting enough, the virus does not like light but survives in cold, dark, damp environment, it is not alive in itself but attaches to human cells, corrupting them to then corrupt and destroy others. One could use that as a good description of the demonic.

So much to pray for. So much arrogance to repent from.

Such an awesome God to pray to.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography:                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mathew 21:21

And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.

 Taking God Seriously

God is calling us all to take Him seriously. To focus on Him and not leave Him on the back burner. Many of us have time now, while we are sheltering in place to focus on God. This is a huge opportunity to turn away from the distractions of the world and return to prayer.

Indeed, God is inviting us to be in prayer. He is directing us to be in prayer.

Christine and I have been working from home. I have not been allowed to do visitations in the hospital or the nursing home attached to Freedom Village. Freedom Village now has highly restricted access, so I have been preparing for them sheets of collected scriptures on different subjects, for the residents to use as starting points for them to pray from. They are being called, ‘Food for Prayer’, and I hope they can open the door to the Holy Spirit to work individually in them. I have also been preparing You Tube Sunday services and will cover the Easter services in the similar way. God has opened a door for me to use my photography in these video’s which I have not been doing since I took up the Chaplain job. Please check out the two services I have already posted through the links below.

 

Christine has been completing a commission of a very beautiful icon of Christ, where He is holding the scripture, ‘I am the light of the world’.  Additionally, she has created an original Icon of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. She has also been taking an online course from an iconographer in London, Ian Knowles,  which meant very early mornings joining with some 99 other iconographers from around the world. She has also been part of a strong bible study online group of women, which always go way over time and brings a lot of revelation and joy.

Daniel in the Lion's Den Icon by Christine Hales
Daniel in the Lion’s Den Icon by Christine Hales

Look For Silver Linings

One of the silver linings in all of this virus situation is that the online methods of communicating can give us an alternative way of getting many things done. But there is no alternative to actually being with someone one on one when they are going through a bad time.

This was brought home to me last week when I was called to visit someone who lost her husband the previous day. She had not been allowed to see him for the last two weeks that he was alive, even though they were less than two hundred yards apart. They had talked frequently on the phone, but to not have been able to touch each other and look into their eyes       was a haunting separation. These are some of the simple things, which really hurt, when we are denied them. That same desire to be close, so close that we see into the hearts of people, is God’s desire for our relationship with Him. That we would seek to touch Him and look deeply into his eyes and know Him. That is the love He has for us and yearns for us to have for him. It has always been that way and it will always remain that way. I pray we wake up to that in this time of opportunity.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Let us know how we can pray for you and please keep us in prayer.

 

Do not forget to watch the two videos, one is for Palm Sunday [ZOOE0], I would love to get feed back on them.

Michael’s Video Links- they are great!!

https://youtu.be/I9wyjwZOOE0

https://youtu.be/cXosEs51n7Y

Love and prayers,

Mick Hales photography
Mick Hales photography

Christine and Michael Hales

Christine’s Icon Prints            Michael’s Photography