Tuesday, May 29, 2007


By Joel Ferraris

It was a satellite photo on South China Morning Post dated 30 December 2004 showing the aerial view of the giant waves about to smash a seaside village in Sri Lanka that struck my attention. The swirling waves dwarfed the nearby houses like tiny pebbles on the beach. Their formation resembled that of a giant snake angrily wriggling.

That sight shot my mind back to my sister’s dream she described to me days ago after that fateful day. It was after her father–in-law, an American who just came back from Boracay Island in the Philippines, who told her about the details of the tragedy. What surprised her was the mention of India as one of the several countries hit by the tsunami. This country was coincidentally mentioned in her dream.

In her dream she saw 10 to 12 yellow-gold giant snakes that were sent to five countries in twos. And groups of little snakes of different colors were also unleashed. That phone call from her from the US was three days before I bought the newspaper with the images of those snake-like giant waves. Reviewing my collection of SCMPs, plus the succeeding issues, lead me to reflect on this year-end event.

There were six worst-hit countries gravely affected by the tsunami as well as casualties of tourists from twelve other countries most of them from Europe. Not only that. The succeeding corruption and evil manipulations of people who are taking advantage of this tragedy are rubbing salt and pepper to a gaping wound. The answer to the riddle of the dream slowly unfolds before me, I suppose.

What’s happening?

Some people might say…Oh…it’s just another normal environmental occurrence. It happened in the past. It could happen anytime. Or it could be shrugged-off too so easily, especially because science, enhanced by the digital age, could always explain that… with the grave mistake of neglect that these affected countries committed as the main culprit. They failed to heed repeated calls from experts to install early warning devices several times in the past.

But wait!

Was it because of our dependence on science and technology that made us neglect Divine signs? Or is there any Divine angle in this tragedy after all?

What about those reports that animals survived. It’s a mystery amid a disaster that a powerful 9.0 earthquake disturbed the earth’s rotation yet there were NO DEAD ANIMALS! It was also reported that Sri Lankan wildlife officials were stunned by the lack of animal carcasses in the sea of destruction.

Many lessons are to be learned from this tragedy. When the Hand of God moves even the worst of enemies will come together… to rescue their loved ones and bury their dead together...mourn together...starve together...die together...OR BE AWAKENED AND BE ENLIGHTENED TOGETHER!!!

The bloody conflicts in those regions were put to a stop, I hope not temporarily, and people were compelled to lend a hand to help others. And one good sight too is a church opening its doors to shelter people of different religions. This is the Good Samaritan at work nowadays.

These are in stark contrast to a manmade disaster of 9 -11 wherein the result was an escalation of violence and hatred growing more and deeper roots. The action was evil and the reaction was likewise evil…and the cycle continues as it has been ever since the ancient times.

Lord Jesus Christ was born and died to break that cycle!

The fact that Christmas time is supposedly for celebration…to gather together with relatives and friends for a yearend reunion…to exchange gifts as a symbol of love and affection…to party and be merry as a form of thanksgiving for abundance.

But the real truth reveals its sad face…that Christmas, as one Chinese wrote, now lacks the name Christ. What’s left are the letters “m” for materialism, “a” for apostasy, and “s” for sectarianism.

This sad tragedy on Christmas is only a wake-up call to the world for the real meaning of life and brotherhood of human-beings long neglected. This maybe a back-to-square-one form of Christianity in the making for those who have neglected or have completely deviated from or abandoned their faith. This could finally open our eyes to the real essence of Christianity…a Christianity that is not only practiced during Sundays or worst, only once a year on Christmas Day!

To some, if not to majority of people, Christmas means cessation of hostilities. This is done out respect of an event celebrated by the rest of the world. And after this season everything’s back to normal. And hostilities resume with all its viciousness back in action. At least they still have that remaining amount of respect unlike those who do not respect anything anymore. But just the same, this is not true Christianity if it is only a mere gap once a year!

Do they realize the true essence of Christianity and Christmas? Or does Christmas only serve its purpose as a revival of an ancient pagan ritual glorifying a tree and Santa Claus without really giving value on the birth of the Savior?

Why was Jesus Christ born and preached the Gospels and died on the cross after all?

We human beings are more precious than the birds or the flowers. This is what Lord Jesus Christ taught us. But why is it that in this age, in that tragedy, the dumb animals that do not enjoy the advantage of science and the digital age are the ones who survived as if Someone herded them towards high ground as in the days of Noah. Does this prove that the sixth sense, as we call it, is still more powerful than our scientific advancement? Is this, in the humans, we call conscience or the Divine Link?

It was written in the Holy Bible, foretold by the prophets, that in the last days people will dream dreams and see visions. The fruits of the Holy Spirit will guide the faithful and bring them to the right path.

Maybe the digital age was invented to let us record clearly how those faces of joy turn into fear, those frolicking in the sand turn into fleeing for dear lives and how friendly nature turn its fury to the very humans that caused its degradation.

People of today learn from relics of history, from recorded imprints of the past meant to give us a hint of what happened then. Likewise an abortion process filmed and seen through ultra-sound caused a pro-abortion feminist to turn 180 degrees. It’s good that people learn.

Yet, despite these clear examples, in other parts of the world there are still those who are callous and numb to the cries of the oppressed. They too preferred to be blind, ignoring the destruction they have caused around them. Nowadays violence in the world could be seen within the comforts of home via remote-controlled plasma TV.

God Almighty is still patient. His love is still waiting.

My sister’s gift started the day we both were baptized in the Holy Spirit in 1998. She saw in a vision what she described a perfectly-shaped hand of a man in shining white clothes pointing at her…with rays of bright light radiating from that hand. That was the time when her lips moved and a masculine voice commanding me to be my sister’s guardian in her mission to the world. From then on we started preaching and healing.

I had my dream too when I was younger. I was hiding behind a tree, afraid of vampires who are having a long procession. Tired of hiding in fear I took a baseball bat, walked towards them and smashed them one by one. From then on the vampires, to me, are my bad habits, my evil deeds, my misplaced priorities in life, the bad company, the lack of the right spiritual direction, misleading religious leaders ,a sick political and social system, those unseen and unclean spirits and many more.

The message of God the Almighty Father is clear. He is Holy and Living. His Son was sent to be the Savior to teach the Gospels of what is real love for God and for neighbor. And each of us is welcome.

To borrow the now famous line from one survivor in this tsunami tragedy, “In the raffle that decided my fate, my number was called with the lucky winners.

It’s a saving grace to be still alive, to have time to repent and be of service to God Almighty and to our neighbors…for death comes like a thief in the night.

Heart, Art and Soul

By Joel Ferraris

An equilateral triangle, standing on one of its sides, symbolizes stability where the upper corner serves as the apex that seems to take the role as an overseer to maintain balance between the two lower corners.

For an artist like me, heart (emotions) and art (intellect) are co-equal in the lower plane of life. This balance could only be achieved and maintained by the nourished soul (faith and spirituality) hovering above, for faith, unlike the Sword of Damocles, brings hope and salvation in many forms. A parallelism in marriage makes the covenant with God the Father Almighty the strong link between spouses.

The lower plane elements, when not properly reigned, could destroy one another or forces one to follow the other's demand. To know how to control these forces, there is need to have the wisdom from God the Father Almighty. This is akin to a married couple's tendencies to have frequent frictions leading to conflicts that could end-up in separation once the importance of the presence of God the Father Almighty and His statutes are not recognized.

As an artist I cannot sever the link connecting the two elements of the lower plane on the one end and faith in God the Father Almighty on the other. Faith in the Supreme Being is most important. As I explore the possibilities of this rare talent given by Him, where emotion and intellect are given room for expression but sometimes go out of hand, the Wisdom of God the Father Almighty serves as Guiding Light to remind the artist in me about certain limitations.

Age and experience are vital factors in one's enlightenment. But to top them all the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God the Father Almighty makes things a lot clearer to an artist's mind. More blessed are those who have achieved Wisdom at a very young age and never left it for they have surely left a trail of goodness and obedience to God the Father Almighty for others to emulate. The older ones are likewise blessed, no matter how late it is for them, because they are saved from the ultimate doom.

Alas! There are those who have died or might still die in grief and doom, trying to wrestle for fame and glory but will never find inner peace and contentment despite the promises that sentient foods or false fountains-of-youth seem to offer.

To produce works of art one needs time, ideas (inspiration), a studio or workplace (no matter how small or inadequate) and resources (like my wife's support). Once a single element is lacking it could mean hindrance to production of art and eventually to the success of the artist. Bitterness due to failure to gather all these produces low self-esteem, depression and despair. This could end-up in disaster where one's failure could be blamed on others, as discontentment heightens one's desire to compete more for "scraps of blessings" and continue to wrestle with others especially to demand respect.

To remedy this, one needs to add faith, the most important element of all. Faith gives one a sense of purpose why this talent has to be nurtured. With faith as the source of energy and inspiration, focus in ones career could be achieved with certain clarity, where the moment to pause, to rest or to stop is accepted wholeheartedly. It also saves one from negative impressions hurled by others who see and maliciously perceive any positive move for the common good as another ploy for self-glorification.

A refocusing of one's outlook in art and life and being resourceful and flexible in whatever given resources might still enable an artist to produce, surprisingly, a kind of art that he alone could not have imagined and could still prove a novelty to a world hungry for new ideas.

With faith in God the Father Almighty the artist gains true humility and with humility comes contentment. While others are bloated with pride as they run the race for survival of the fittest, those who are patiently waiting for blessings, wholeheartedly given by God the Father Almighty in His own perfect time, welcomes these gifts no matter how small or big they may be.

What is the role of an artist? What is art for? Is it enough to produce works of art that could inspire others positively, or negatively, while artists themselves die in despair without achieving a level of contentment and spiritual enlightenment? Is it to deliver works of art as demanded by the market and as dictated by commercialism?

When spiritual enlightenment comes first, intellect and emotions are put in check. With these vital elements securely placed where they ought to be, the artist works according to the pace of God the Father Almighty even if the fast-paced world keeps on changing its standards. The dictates of the art market and art galleries that come and go are by no means a hindrance to an artist direction and pursuit for more innovations and possibilities that his/her God-given blessings allow despite claims of some that art is dead.

Exploring new possibilities on how to express into tangible forms one's abstract ideas should inspire the artist to produce more despite the forces of current world trends in art. Art should not also remain just merely as a tool for expressing one's bitterness and inner struggles or to mirror social problems but should instead inspire the artist himself for a more positive outlook in life and to have renewed character and disposition to enable a positive aura to radiate from himself.

Failure to achieve spiritual enlightenment will only perpetuate the usual practice where artists depict squalor, strife and all wickedness in their artworks that could end-up gracing the walls of the wealthy who are themselves callous of the plight of those who are suffering. In turn, these negative energies further sink artists into the quagmire of immorality and decadence, abusing one's freedom and rights in the guise of practicing free will.

In the journey called life it is important for the artist to balance things of priority. Spirituality, family, livelihood, social responsibility are among the top priorities. And to discard unwanted baggage like immorality, decadence, pride and all negative things make the journey a lot easier.

How can an artist continue to be the harbinger of beauty or take the role of a visionary if he continues to live a morally questionable life while spewing invectives at those he has no respect? How can he continue to receive the admiration of people when his very own children and illegitimate children mock him in secret? And how can he gain respect when in fact he vehemently demands one? All these are just a few examples.

Success as an artist, when achieved with all honesty and integrity, is just a bonus to this life on earth. It is not measured by accolades from the "knowledgeable"or by anyone's standard of excellence, for these things are relative and vary through time. While others aspire and fight for fame or aim to be very famous, wanting to be proclaimed a "national artist" or "international artist" I aspire to be accepted in the Kingdom of God the Almighty Father. After all, it is He who is the giver of talents and the source of the Breath of Life.

A person gifted with art should therefore not aim to live a life in pursuit of an elusive dream when that is not his blessing, lest he will just waste the chance to make good and proper use of that Breath of Life in him. He should instead humble Himself to the Supreme Being, the Great Artist of Life, to be able to wait for His blessings to come to him on a silver platter. When this happens sure accolades come from Heaven, where success is not for self-glorification but to glorify the Giver of Gifts once the humble recipient makes good use of these gifts.

Being blessed abundantly with Wisdom, coupled with modest material provisions to live justly, saves the artist from the snares of moral corruption and vanity. And to make use of fame by not abusing it deters another devil's poison-laced and sharp flying arrow called immorality and decadence.

"What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?" (Matthew 16:26).