Dear Friends and Family:
We have our house in Philmont on the market and feel the season in Philmont is coming to an end. We will probably return to the area in the future but there is also a strong calling in Bradenton, Florida, for Michael as a chaplain and for Christine to continue her iconography based from there.
Icon Writing Retreat in September
Christine has just led another successful Icon writing retreat at Holy Cross Monastery that focused on sacred geometry. The attendees, coming from as far away as Jamaica, Canada, and Washington DC, completed an icon of St Francis. All the Icons were blessed by Brother Aidan at the Diurnum service.
Christine’s New Book!!
The big news is Christine’s book, ‘Eyes of Fire’, will be published any day now. Here is some of the PR which has been prepared for it, please forward it to anyone who could may have an interest in it. When it is published we will send you a link for it as it will be available free for a short period and we would love you to get a digital copy.
‘Eyes of Fire’ written by Christine Simoneau Hales, is not only a book on the journey of an artist finding her way through the contemporary ‘Art World’, but more importantly, a summation of how God has been mostly neglected and rejected by the ‘Art World’ since the renaissance, but is now being powerfully presented through a grass roots resurgence of Iconography.
Christine Simoneau Hales, is an award winning artist and the founder of the American Institute of Iconographers, she has been a pioneer in the awakening of iconography across gender, laity, denomination and contemporary artists.
Through a close encounter with the Holy Spirit in a nunnery in France, Christine’s life changed, a deep hunger for learning about, writing and eventually teaching iconography developed. She realized at that point that Icons held all the elements of good art as well as being grounded in a deep relationship with God and prayer.
‘Eyes of Fire’, puts a perspective on contemporary art from a Christian’s point of view and points to a revival of the visual image in Holy worship. It will be published on Amazon soon!
The phrase ‘do not be afraid’, either in those actual words or with that meaning are in the Bible at least 40 times.
Jesus also uses those words many times in addressing the disciples. I’ve always interpreted them as an instruction or an encouragement. Last week in prayer I received them as a command. A command from God is not to be ignored. ‘Do not be afraid’, is a clear command.
Do Not Be Afraid!
To receive a command and act on it, we have to accept that it is coming from a higher authority, an authority we are subject to. When we undertake a command we do so in the context of an assurance from a larger body, as when a soldier carries out an order he knows he is part of a larger army and acts within its mission and protection.
When we give our lives to Jesus Christ we subject ourselves to His authority, mission and protection.
When I got this revelation, I realized God was giving me a wake up call. He was not encouraging me. He was commanding me.
I began to realize I had been afraid all my life. My inner child reminded me of how frightened I had been as a child. I began to write out the things and times I had been afraid throughout my life, from fear of wetting my bed, of people arguing or fighting, of meeting people, or remembering their names, that my father was caught up in the Biafran war and might never come back home, fear of talking and being ridiculed with what I said. The list went on as I reviewed my life, particularly as a freelance photographer never knowing where work would come from for forty five years.
I found that most of my fears were based on what other people would think about me; Proverbs 29:25 addressed that with, ‘The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe’.
I realized that when I have relied on myself the result inevitably was fear.
So what was the larger teaching God had for me here? 1 John 4:18 answered with, ‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.’
Love Not Fear!
God was commanding me to not fear, but to love. When I stepped into God, the result inevitably would be love.
1 John 4:8.‘Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.’
This command from God was a gift to correct and to equip me. 2 Timothy 1:7, ‘for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control.’
God’s command for me to not be afraid, was to enable me to pick up the power, love and self control God wants us to use.
I hope this message touches someone else as well because fear keeps us back from fully loving and walking as God would have us, in power and self control. Often when we loose our self control the root cause is fear. If we can not stop drinking or being drawn to pornography, or any other addiction the root cause can be found in fear.
That is why it is a gift as well as a command. Do not be afraid for God is with us and will always be so. When we are free from fear we can accomplish so much more for the Lord.
Sending you all love and prayers, until next month!
Michael and Christine