(continued from Lion Prints)
You may have experienced an actual ‘spiritual’ encounter when as you think of someone-‘out of the blue’ like a relative or friend and something tells you – “I need to call or go see the person”..and you sense this “intuition” as a hunch or curiosity that turns out to be just what that person needed at that time!
You may think nothing of it and remember it as nothing more than just a simple action of the mind or memory-and you are right. These thoughts and feelings exist but from where do they come from? What I have discovered in my normal life is that God is a lot closer to you than you may think.
As His creation we are spirit beings with a natural body of flesh and blood that covers our spirit within. You know in your ‘heart of hearts’ that there must be something more to life than what we experience now today right? You have a ‘natural’ curiosity about spiritual things-even if you do not believe in God. Anyone and everyone knows that there is more to our galaxy than just the earth-there are planets and countless stars far far away but they do exist so consider how are they made?
We are made to explore, to discover and to learn from both within ourselves to the outer galaxies and like a good teacher God has given man plenty of material to work with. We have science, literature, art, medicine, religion, law, music, math and other fields of study to master-but only a few have done so. Why are not all scientists on the same intellectual level as Albert Einstein. Why are not all botanists of the same learning capacity of George Washington Carver? Why does the music world not produce more Beethovens? Have you ever wondered why there are but a handful of masters of certain fields of study? The information or sources of knowledge exist for all. Yet only a few actually pursue learning with everything that is within them-with all the time, energy, and commitment to grow the mind and spirit. Only those who seek will find.
So consider my story as one from a man who was once blind (to God) and now I see. For me the events that I will share with you are ‘supernatural’ and over time have become regular-everyday- occurrences in my life. Funny thing is that I have learned that anyone, including you, can enjoy this ‘connection’ with God if you want to. I hope that my story will help you to know Him better.
At the kitchen table of our home in St. Ann, Missouri my wife Joanne and I began each day praying for our loved ones and we did so religiously-we did not miss a day. We did so as a result of an encounter that we experienced with some friends of my late sister Norma. The kitchen table is where the great I AM introduced Himself too me one day during prayer but before I explain everything about that let me tell you of the events that led me to that day.
My wife and I had a small printing business at the time and we worked long hours and long days. We did not go to church nor did we even talk much about church or about God. Joanne and I were raised catholic but had since traveled our own ways. We met on a computer dating service and began to see one another. We fell in love and so we moved in together. So one day at work in the printing business (in our basement) I received a phone call from one of my sisters.
My late sister Norma was a gifted musician and a wounded soul. She loved people and loved God. She struggled with the pain and sorrow of a broken heart and dealt with other blows that effected her spirit and emotions. I always tried to look out for her and help her when possible. In the end she helped me more that she may ever know. Norma was a regular drinker-she liked her alcohol along with various ‘suspicious’ medications. Her voice was once so beautiful and powerful before the smoking and alcohol took its toll. She played the piano and guitar and entertained many at various events during her life.
Norma was a giving soul. She would help anyone or any animal she could find. Her gift was love, she was a giver. Like most of us Norma has her good and bad side. When she was in the mood to talk she would call me at any given hour of any day and usually after a few drinks. Her slurred speech and abstract conversation was a typical and regular event for me and of other members of my family.
This time, as she began to speak it was different. I recognized the voice of my sister as a sober, clear minded and really just normal sounding-like she talked when we were kids growing up. She said “David, you have to hear what happened to me.” I was startled and thought-wow she finally got sober, or maybe she is calling from the hospital. I replied with “what do you mean?” She continued. “This lady from down the street comes by to see me from time to time and prays with me-ya know? The other day she invited me to go with her to this church gathering where they play music, sing and pray so I accepted. They picked me up and when we got to the church several people put their hands on me and prayed for me-they were all so nice. The next thing I remember is waking up on the floor. I felt really good inside and … I didn’t want to drink anymore. I just feel so good.” I sat in my chair speechless. This was weird.
I know that she was sincere and the story seemed credible-I just could not figure out what actually happened to her. As she gave me more details of the encounter I remember asking her, “where is this place? I have to see this for myself!” My wife Joanne and I pay a visit to this church.
The people who invited Norma are hispanic and speak very little english, in fact, the entire service was conducted in spanish. This spanish group was actually not even an established church but more of a small group bible study type thing. They met in the basement of an Assembly of God church in Maryland Heights, Missouri. The group did not have an official pastor or leader just members. During the service there was music and lots of participation in the music-everyone was encouraged to play something, anything that they could produce from the music closet: tamborines, bells, etc. Once the music was over then the service began.
Several people took their turn at the lecturn to speak (in spanish) to us. I am familiar with the spanish language but I do not speak it fluently. Joanne does not speak a word of it so this service was unusual for both of us to sit through. At the conclusion of the service part then they asked if we would like to receive prayer. Joanne and I volunteered and so we walked towards the lecturn area and people began to gather around us to pray. We told them that we wanted prayer for the printing business so they each put a hand on our shoulders and began to pray.
I closed my eyes and waited for something to happen, you know, like it did for Norma. As they prayed I opened one eye and looked around and all I saw was a few people with heads bowed praying for us. I thought –this is nice of them– and shut my eyes. Then I heard what sounded like many more voices than just those of whom were praying for us–so I opened my eyes and took another look. I thought maybe other members had come in and joined the prayer thing. The same small group of bowed heads is all that I saw so I close my eyes and wait some more.
Now I hear what sounds like a hundred people praying and I opened my eyes for the third time. I see the same group of people as before so I shut my eyes once more. A strange experience but I appreciated each person that prayed. I remember that I heard so many more voices than were praying for us–I just could not see them.
Joanne and I thanked the good people for praying for us and we began to head for the door. The man that did most of the talking shook my hand and thanked me for coming and he also said, in english, “Put Jesus first in your life.” That comment stuck in my mind because it was one of the few things that I could understand of the event. Something happened to me at that moment as well because that statement was burned into my mind. It is all that I thought about.
As time passed I did “Put Jesus First” in my life and Joanne and I began to attend a local Calvary Chapel church in maryland heights, Missouri. I spoke with the pastor, Dave Fitzgerald, and told him that Joanne and I need to get married soon.
We continued to attend services at the church and we were married there on ‘cinco de mayo’ or the 5-5-2000. I had the date engraved on my ring so that I would always remember it. While attending church I remember how emotional I would get when we – or the worship group – would sing certain songs about God. I would begin to weep and did my best to hide it from others by covering my tears or just not sing the actual words. I thought that I was weird and too sensitive about stuff so I had better be careful not let it show in the future. Pastor Dave was a good teacher of the bible and I was moved to do something more about my service to God so Joanne and I began pray for our family members by name each morning before we began our day.
One particular day Joanne and I began to pray for each family member from our list as usual. As it was my turn to pray I was going down the list of names as I prayed for God to bless each person. When I was praying for my older brother, Joe, I began to weep like a little kid. I mean this was no crying session but a profound event happening in my inner being. As I wept I thought that I am crying as if someone had died and I was in mourning over them. This weeping continued for a few minutes and when I could wipe the snot and tears from my face I looked at Joanne. She said with a look of amazement on her face, “are you OK?” I said, “I’m sorry but I don’t know what just happened to me but I could not stop crying” Her reply was a strange one–“David God has blessed you with the gift of intercession” I thought, what? The gift of intercession? What are you talking about? I acknowledged her comment with the standard customary reply,”oh” when you have no idea what the other person just said.
Well I have to know more about this, I thought and so I said: “I’m calling my younger brother Alvin-he’s a preacher and will tell me what is going on here” so I call Alvin then and tell him what just happened to me during prayer. He replies with, “Dave that is awesome. God just blessed you with the gift of intercession. That is a gift of The Holy Spirit” I say, “what? that what Joanne says too!” He tells me that this is a gift from God and it is the Holy Spirit doing this. Confused and feeling as if I am in a foreign land since I do not understand the language, I ask Alvin “How or where can I learn more about this Holy Spirit stuff?” He begins to tell me that there are not many places that teach about the Holy Spirit today because of one reason or another but..”there is one place you could go to down on Telegraph road …but it is pretty wild. It is called the Vineyard Christian Fellowship (renamed Hope Vineyard in 2008) in south county.
The pastor is Randy Clark and they teach about the Holy Spirit there” So the following Sunday we head on down to the Vineyard to check it out.
As we enter the outer doors I begin to feel this sensation of weeping once again. We are in the foyer and making our way into the service that has already begun and I hear loud music-like rock or some version of powerful beautiful sounds coming from the stage. As we enter the sanctuary I see people standing around talking to one another and others are at the front of the stage wielding flags over their heads and some have large walking sticks that lift into the air as the music plays. I see pom-poms shaking in the air and most everyone is raising their hands and arms toward the stage as the band plays song after song to God. I think about it today as the most memorable event that I have ever seen.
As we find a seat I stand amazement of this event which looks more like a mini rock concert than a church service. While standing in front of my seat I begin to feel this weeping sensation again and even stronger than before. There is a man in the seat behind us that is standing and praying aloud in what sounds like hebrew words as he bends at the waist again and again with eyes closed. While experiencing this weeping sensation again I hear a ‘voice’ in my spirit or my mind or wherever it comes from say “welcome home” and from that instant I knew that voice is that of the Almighty God.
I actually heard those words-from within my being and I have never been the same since. This weeping experience sensation, I now know, is one of the many ways God speaks to us today and everyday. We, as people, have to act in order to obtain His blessings, in that, we must choose or decide to listen to ‘the voice’ each day of our life. I decided to listen when the opportunity arrived one day and you are reading this as a result of that decision. You see the “Lion of Judah” illustration that you are reading about now is a direct result of prayer, an answer to prayer. Every detail of the illustration was dictated to me as I listened to God in prayer. I did the sketching and layout and final drawing work but He, the Lord, gave me the details of the work as we created this ‘masterpiece’ together. I would hardly believe it if it unless it happened to me.
From that day at my kitchen table and the Vineyard I have sought to learn more and more of how to hear His voice.
My journey has taken me through death and life again. From hearing the inner voice to the audible voice, dreams, visions, open visions, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, physical healing and the gift of healing, intercessory prayer, praying in the language of the Holy Spirit, Life lessons from God, inner healing and instructions, holy visitations, physical manifestations of the Holy Spirit, demonic warfare and manifestations, identification of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, music, art and literature in worship, angels and demons. I share this part of my life to encourage you, the reader, to pursue and seek God in your heart and He will answer. He responded to me-why not you?
I was eager to learn more about supernatural things of God so I read books on miracle healing, praying, hearing from God and other topics concerning the Holy Spirit. I had a great desire to to know more and would listen to preachers on the radio and watch them on television constantly. It was as if I could not get enough of this new phenomenon in my life. One of the radio programs I regularly tuned-in for is a segment called “Its Supernatural” hosted by Sid Roth, a messianic jew. He speaks often of the term”one new man” which represents both jew and gentile as the family of God. That Christ’s ultimate sacrifice serves to reconcile the two peoples as one, hence, one new man. Sid quotes the hebrew word for family often on his program. The hebrew word for family is pronounced ‘Meesh-po ka’. I began to think about this concept daily and to try to understand the meaning of it.
As I contemplated the idea of this reconciliation it began to take on a deeper meaning. Through His death and resurrection Christ reconciled man with God and also restored jews and gentiles as one people, as the family of God. The Jews being the chosen people and gentiles as adopted-in people are both now the same in the eyes of God. Where gentiles are grafted in the root and now live as the same creation through the blood of the Messiah the Lord Jesus. I wanted to create something that would demonstrate this truth on paper. A work of art that may represent this truth to all people.
I continued to listen to the radio programs and sermons. During prayer I would ask God what I may create for Him and so kept a notebook handy as ideas began to come my way. The first image idea was that of a lion, but not just any lion as usually appears regal and powerful-but rather one of supernatural strength and appearance.
A huge lion with eyes that touch your very spirit as you gaze upon them. Christ is symbolized in scripture as a lion, “…behold the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David…”(Rev 5:5) so the lion will be even more frightful as Christ Jesus-God. The tribe of Judah is one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The twelve tribes of Israel are Judah, Levi, Dan, Naphtali, Asher, Simeon, Zebulun, Benjamin, Gad, Joseph, Rueben and Issachar.
The massive paw of the lion (the hand of God) represents the strong and protective grip that guarantees the safety of His children for eternity. Who can loose them from His grip?
While working one day as a delivery driver I experienced a supernatural episode while driving a work van on a highway. As I remember I was on 64 east in Illinois and suddenly I see this vision appear of a highly polished silver sword with the inscription “The Word of God” in black letters engraved upon the blade. I was stunned that I was able to drive normally and see this image at the same time. After reviewing the event in my mind – as actually happening to me – I was convinced that this was to be the sword of God for the artwork.
Not just any sword but the “sword of the spirit” as described in the bible.
I told my wife about the event as we sat down for dinner that evening at a local restaurant near our home. I began to draw for her what I saw as I told the story using a crayon and a paper napkin as paper. As I was telling her about it our waiter stops by and introduces himself. He asks..what are you drawing?. I tell him that I am an artist and that I am working on a project and I want to create a sword for it. He tells me that he collects swords and asks me what kind of sword do I want to use? I tell him that this project will depict Christ as king and so he suggests that I use the sword of King Solomon (son of King David) as a model.
(OK, I did not even know King Solomon had a sword much less what it looks like). He says give me your email address and I will send you some images of what the sword looks like. I thank him for his help and share with him why I am creating this work-to reconcile the jew and the gentile through art. He replies with a shrug of his shoulders and says “I am jewish and my wife is roman catholic!” I was shocked that of all the waiters in this restaurant at this time of the night and on this day-that we get him. A sword collector who is jewish and is also married to a gentile (representing the one new man covenant) he had to have been sent by God.
I was now thinking of how I should illustrate further the character of Christ and remember that Jesus is referred to as the cornerstone-a precious cornerstone. In ancient buildings the cornerstone was first set in place on the foundation and then all of the other stones were aligned to it.
So as part of the house of God we are to keep aligned (focus on) our cornerstone: Christ. Since Jesus is the foundation ( Isa 28:16 ) cornerstone then He should represent this concept. The lion will stand atop the cornerstone and grip the stone with one paw.
May 2001 was our anniversary so we made a road trip to Alton, IL to travel through Grafton and to search for a suitable “cornerstone” for the drawing. On the great river road we inspected a religious memorial site that employed large hewn stone blocks as part of the construction. I collected numerous photos of select stone blocks to use as models and we then returned to St. Louis.
The stone will be engraved on three sides-representing the Holy trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) as one entity. The top of the stone will reflect the family of God and so will be inscribed with the hebrew word מִשׁפָּחָה for family (“meesh po ka”). I was inspired to inscribe the right side of the stone with the verse that describes the word of God as a two-edged sword from the book of Hebrews 4:12. Further I felt led to also inscribe on the right panel below the previous inscription with the verse Isaiah 28:16 that describes “a stone for a sure foundation”. The left side of the stone will be etched quoting the book of Ephesians 2:14-16 as Christ the Messiah as the one new man that through the cross has made both Jew and Gentile one man.
While developing the sword for this work I remember asking God what kind of sword do you want? I heard the reply clearly “a sword of fire” I began to work out the symbols of the sword that would best represent both judgement (fire) and the truth (the sword coming from the very mouth of God).
The sword must be that of the king of kings who rules supreme so the sword has a crown at the top of the handle. Below the handle is the pommel and it is adorned with the jewish symbol of Israel the ‘star of david’. This also symbolizes the ‘root of David’, king of Israel, and through this royal bloodline Christ is born as a man and so fulfills the royal lineage as king. On the handle are three rings set side by side that signify the Holy trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The rings represent eternity as they have no beginning and no end.
Under the eye of God (the lion) is found the crossguard of the sword. There are twelve diamonds representing the the twelve tribes of Israel and the 12 disciples (apostles) united as one body, one government and one church who rule under God’s authority.
The ‘menorah of Hanukkah’ with 9 pipes represents both the harvest of God’s judgement
against the children of Israel (Hosea 6:10-11) and fruitfulness of the same. Hanukkah is Jewish holiday observing the re-dedication of the Holy temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century. The fish symbolizes Christ to gentiles (Christians) and so the two symbols, the menorah and the fish, are joined representing one family-or ‘one new man”
From December 2001 to August 2003 nearly two years of work was invested in “The Lion of Judah” drawing. Once the composition was complete then the final finished drawing work began. The actual drawing in charcoal required over 40 hours to complete. Utmost care had to be used to avoid smudging or marring of the final original. The copyright was recorded and awarded by the Library of Congress to David Zamudio, Sept 29, 2003.
The “Lion of Judah” is the first in a line of illustrations that celebrate God and are part of the Halleluyah Illustrations(tm) brand developed by David Zamudio of Zamudios Studio of St. Louis, MO.