My Imagination Isn’t Enough

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“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” 

Eph. 3:20

God has given us a gift, it is called ‘imagination’ (at least that is the word we use).  This gift allows us to grasp concepts, and trust the future for the best.  But imagination often gets interpreted as ‘imaginary’.  That is so sad.  Because they have nothing at all in common.  It’s worth noting, that the Kingdom of God has absolutely nothing to do with ‘imaginary’, but it has everything to do with ‘reality’.

The most real book in the world, is the Bible.  It communicates to us on a very comprehensive level.  Each of us, turning to the same chapter and verse will understand the essential core element, but we also get another layer; God speaks again and we now have ‘food’ for our individual souls. Perhaps, if it might not be too bold: the Bible world is the real world.

If we insist on functioning out of our stodgy, inflexible minds we’ll find no comfort in a God that speaks to us on this ‘supernatural’ level.  There well maybe a certain ‘weirdness factor’ and you can’t imagine the personal chaos and confusion that develops then. Especially if we dared to give into these ‘revolutionary’ ideas of having this direct connection with God.  (Sweet Lord, I might just be the ‘next’ Noah!)

Imagination has been given to us in order to see better; to see into the real world.  They can be compared to glasses, putting them on will allow us to see clearly into this terrain of faith.  Purity of heart will help us to understand the things we are looking at clearly.  When we enter into this gift of imagination, we will see the things held back from general consumption, and held in reserve for the ‘pure in heart’.

We really should grow this idea in our Christian walk of using our imagination for God’s glory.  He is sitting on the edge of His throne waiting to give us ‘bone-shaking’ understandings, if we will just reach out in His direction.  This will require us to keep our hearts pure, but that shouldn’t be a significant issue when so much is at stake.

ybic, Bryan

 

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Don’t Be Scared: Psalm 143

Psalm 143:

A Prayer Not to Be Killed, or Something Worse

 A psalm of David.

 1 Lord, hear my prayer;
listen to my cry for mercy.
Answer me
because you are loyal and good.
 

The writer stressing the truth that God listens.  A listening God is a God of wonder.  Elijah on Mt. Carmel had focused the people on a hearing God who was the real God.  The psalmist here reveals his trust in the inherent goodness of God.   He listens, He never ever puts His phone on call-forwarding.

2 Don’t judge me, your servant,
       because no one alive is right before you.

We are all in the same boat– we are sinners.  The writer doesn’t need to be convinced of this.  All he can do is appeal to God. He knows his place though–a servant of the Lord.  He understands that he is what he is.  (He accepts what is real, and doesn’t try to pretend otherwise. Some will try to ‘fake it.’)

3 My enemies are chasing me;
       they crushed me to the ground.
    They made me live in darkness
       like those long dead.
 4 I am afraid;
       my courage is gone.

We all have enemies.  They are the satanic evil spirits that are the wholesalers of evil, and its devices, and they mean to harm us.  The writer feels the pursuit, and these sinister antagonists get close enough to strike at him.  He confesses fear.   His life has been far too influenced by their dark ministry.  He is being pressed to the point of being overwhelmed.

  5 I remember what happened long ago;
I consider everything you have done.
I think about all you have made.
6 I lift my hands to you in prayer.
As a dry land needs rain, I thirst for you.  Selah

The psalmist has a spiritual history to ponder.  He thinks of all the past events and draws out his strength.  The Father has led us through all of them. God ‘remembers’ in the truest sense of the word.  Verse 6 declares his proper response to v. 5.  David’s hands reach up; he imagines himself to be a desert–dry and desolate.

 7 Lord, answer me quickly,
       because I am getting weak.
    Don’t turn away from me,
       or I will be like those who are dead.
 

The writer has evaluated his situation, he is weak and he is dying. His spiritual pulse is “weak and thready.”  This seems to be a deteriorating condition.  He is discerning enough however to draw conclusions.  Doctors tell us that hearing is the last faculty to depart a dying man.  Perhaps to a spiritual man discernment is the last to go.  Somehow we know what the truth is until we are completely senile (spiritually, that is).

 8 Tell me in the morning about your love,
       because I trust you.
    Show me what I should do,
       because my prayers go up to you.

The writer affirms his personal connections to the Lord.  Love should be an intimate word, saturated with hope and a future.  This love comes as a result of trust/faith (the word, “because” is key).  The psalmist requests help for his particular situation.  He sees his prayers, like arrows reaching heaven.

 9 Lord, save me from my enemies;
       I hide in you.
 10 Teach me to do what you want,
       because you are my God.
    Let your good Spirit
       lead me on level ground.

Save me…teach me…lead me.  A ‘triune aspect’ of the Spirit’s work.  Each believer can realize this ministry.  He is like a bodyguard, a tutor, and a professional guide to each of us.  Verse 10: “level ground”; nothing is harder on a tired soldier then marching on hilly terrain.  Flat and level is the best, and its not wrong to ask for an easier path.   Sometimes we stumble because we haven’t asked for level ground.

11 Lord, let me live
so people will praise you.
In your goodness
save me from my troubles.
12 In your love defeat my enemies.
Destroy all those who trouble me,
because I am your servant.
    

This should be the cry of the Christian heart–let me be an example that will lead others to worship.  Let me be a reason to them to sing, and give you glory.  Notice that God’s goodness is specifically pointed out to be the starting point for salvation. “Since He is good, I will be saved”.  In verse 12 we are reminded that out of that matrix of love, God can conquer.  “God so loved the world”…John 3:16.  Love is the reason, and not just a vague, general sense of love but a love that rolls up its sleeves and jumps in and pounds my enemies.

 Text taken from New Century Version (NCV) The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

If this post has been a blessing to you, and you would like me to do more of this, won’t you let me know.  Thanks!

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Lost Sheep: A Love that Will Pursue You

We live in difficult times, and it is easy to lose your way.  I have discovered that Christian believers can be as broken and lost as anyone else.  The One who shepherds our souls is working to retrieve us and bring us to safety,  looks for us and brings us home.  I really like the following passage, especially in Eugene Peterson’s wonderful paraphrase, in the Message.

Luke 15

The Story of the Lost Sheep

 1-3By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story.

 4-7“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.’ [The Message]

I suppose that we chose to what we are theologically aligned to. But in this case, there are two distinct poles. The lost, and those who wouldn’t ever dream of being lost. They all see the world in a different way. Are you a ‘lost sheep?’

If we want to, we can grasp the world by the right way. If you can’t come as a sinner, then you will undoubtedly come as a “pharisee,” full of pride and self-righteousness. You must make the decision all by yourself.

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Get Away From Me

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 “And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.”            

Mark 5:17

This has to be one of the saddest verses in the whole of scripture.  Yet, it is so true today.  People refuse the only presence of him who can save and deliver.  The very idea of the powerful Jesus creates too many waves, and the implications go beyond what can be envisioned.  It is so much turmoil, and so much has to be dealt with. 

Quite frankly, ‘it is better if he would leave us alone.’ These people have no issues regarding what Jesus can do.  They have seen it with their own eyes.  They understand more than I.  Yet they choose to have Jesus leave, and not come back.  He creates far too many problems, and they don’t want their lives disrupted.  “I beg you sir, please leave us alone.”

This is very often the issue in our world today.  Communities try to make “a no-Jesus zones” such as taverns, and casinos, media, ‘porn parlors.’ They find themselves in conflict with Jesus. There is a suppression of goodness in a society, and the truth becomes slandered and mocked. But the core issue is often the deliberate blindness of those who, by their rejection, claim their allegiance to the dark.

To ask Jesus to leave, is to invite darkness to follow.  There can be no vacuum.  If he is not present and active, darkness is sure to pour in.  There is so much at stake here.  It essentially boils down into a quasi-apocalyptic issues.  Evil begins to triumph, and darkness tries to pour into the throne room. 

But asking Jesus to leave us alone creates a brand new set of problems. All too often (way too often) we stumble with what we think is quite important. We exalt the reasoning power of our intellect.  We feel that we should not be manipulated or controlled.  We bar the Holy Spirit‘s activity.  We don’t want to see or hear of it.  We create a dark immunity that hides us from reality.

The heart of Jesus looks for us—- you and me.  He very much wants to reside with us, and teach us out of this wicked trap.  His love is quite real, and it is an intense power that enters into our weakness without judgement or condemnation.  We must invite him to come.  We need to become hospitable and welcoming to the Lord. We need Jesus.

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