THE POWER OF IMAGINATION

Related imageNever underestimate the power of imagination. While imagination is a gift from God, like every other gift, it can be used for good or for evil. When we imagine something, we create pictures and scenes in our minds that haven’t happened and aren’t real, but which affect our emotions, moods, even our words and actions. At some point we may end up doing what we’ve been meditating on. Paul addressed this when he wrote, “.. whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely….think on these things.” [1] Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; [2] This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. [3]

King David learned how his imagination could be used for evil when he didn’t turn his eyes away from the beautiful naked Bathsheba as she bathed on a nearby rooftop. David allowed lust for her to grow in his heart to such a degree that it overrode his love of God’s Torah which states, Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, ……[4] and drove him to have her husband killed in battle so he that he could marry her. The results for David and his new wife were disastrous; the child of their union died shortly after birth. Sin (breaking God’s laws) never yields good results. David allowed his lust to move him out of a place of trust for God’s provision (a wife) to covetousness which led him to murder by proxy of war [5]. Despite David’s slip ups, he was a man after God’s own heart. I love what he wrote, Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD…[6] I think this is a good prayer to say every morning.

Our imaginations have power to bring about those things which we actively imagine. When we project pictures and scenes upon the screen of our imaginations, we begin an act of creation – of creating something new, something that hasn’t existed before. Just like God whose image we’re made in, God first IMAGINED the world before He CREATED it [7]. God gave us imagination so that we could envision and create things, all inventions have come about this way, but He wants us to use it for GOOD, not evil. Each imagination is as varied as the number of persons on the planet; no two persons are exactly alike. Granted, some have more lively and intense imaginations than others, but all have the capacity to dream or to imagine. Though what we imagine isn’t actually real, we may start talking and acting as though it was, which can have an effect upon us and others. We do in this sense, create our own realities. The Devil knows this so he constantly looks for ways to get a hold of our imagination to harness its power for his own nefarious purposes. Sadly, it’s not hard for him to do since we often submit our wills, minds, and emotions to him without realizing it. When you watch a movie your emotions are manipulated are they not? It’s a fact that movie directors and writers, know that if a movie doesn’t pull strongly on people’s emotions, the movie won’t be viewed much. This is why steamy novels and pornography are so popular because they arouse men’s fleshly appetites, and fill man’s innate desire for pleasure. Now, God gave us that innate desire for pleasure, but the Devil perverted it, as he has every other good gift God has given us. God gave sex to mankind that was pure, without lust in it, before the Serpent (the Devil) tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Serpent used Eve’s imagination against her by getting her to IMAGINE how eating the forbidden fruit could make her wise like God [8]. What curses they incurred for disobeying God’s command; plunging themselves and all mankind into an abyss of sin and misery. Their mistake was listening to the words of the Serpent instead of God’s words. All we need to know about living well is written down for us in the Bible. If we compare what we hear, see, and think, to what the Word says, we won’t become confused or get deceived about what’s right and wrong. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. [9]

Our imaginations are easily captured by what we see and hear through television and computer images; technology is advancing to take this ability to newer and higher levels than ever before. We are to be very careful about what we watch I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? [10], about what we hear “He that walketh righteously…… stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; “[11] God understands that our eyes and ears are gateways through which evil may enter into our hearts. Seeing that what enters our hearts can have serious ramifications, it’s imperative that we stay alert to what’s being projected onto the screen of our imagination at all times, whether by outside sources or ourselves. The images we project can come from four different sources; from God, our flesh nature, the world, and from the Devil or demons. If from God, the images will be light and good but if from the Devil, the world, or the flesh, they’ll be negative and dark; sadness, pain, sorrow, depression, suicide, revenge, murder, greed, lust, etc. [12] Thus, it’s to the Devil’s advantage to get us thinking “vain thoughts” [13] and projecting “evil imaginations” onto our minds so that he can defile our hearts and work wicked deeds through us. This is why Jesus said, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. [14] Jesus judges not only our deeds, but the THOUGHTS of our hearts as well. Man’s philosophy is that it doesn’t matter what you THINK, but only what you DO, but God’s Word says otherwise, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” [15]. Thus, what we meditate on tends to play out at some point in our lives, and or, may cause disease in our minds or bodies. Holding onto anger and grudges leads to bitterness which damages relationships and your health. It’s a scientific fact that excessive anger in a person often manifests in his or her physical body as high blood pressure, migraine headache, and heart failure. [16] Excessive fear may cause heart attacks [17]. In place of revenge, you can choose to forgive and let God meet out justice [18]. In place of worry, you can choose to trust God’s promises, and when facing lack of any kind, you can choose to trust God for his provision.

So the next time your flesh or the Devil tempts you to “imagine a vain thing” (vain=empty, useless) CAST it down right away; don’t allow it to linger in your mind, for if you do, you’ll be ensnared (caught as in a trap) by it and fall into sin. Jesus though pure in every way, still had to pray fervently with watching’s and fasting’s, that He might not succumb to temptation – as a man. Remember that while Jesus was the Son of God, He was also a MAN who was “tempted in like manner” (in every way) as we are, yet never once succumbed to temptation or sinned [19]. You should know that Jesus LEFT HIS GLORY (divine powers) in Heaven [20] in order to take on a body of FLESH such as mortal men have for a couple reasons. One was so that He could show us it’s possible to do the works He did, and to overcome temptation, by the power of the Holy Spirit alone. Of course, the main reason He left his glory in heaven, was so He could die on a Cross for you and me [21]. If He had retained all of His divine powers and come in a spiritual body, He would not have been able to die – a spirit cannot be killed so Jesus had to take on a flesh and blood body. It was the same with the Angels who “left their first estate” in Heaven to become mortal flesh so that they could “take wives to themselves” of the beautiful women they saw [22]. These “fallen angels” mated with human females producing offspring of hybrid giants called Nephilim, “men of renown” whom many ancient civilizations revered as ‘gods’ [23]. For some this is new and controversial material, but Scripture, along with copious historical data, supports these statements.

Summary —

Yahweh God made man in His image and likeness, so man has power to imagine and to create, just like God. Since what we meditate on will at some point play out in our lives, it’s imperative that we manage what we allow to be projected onto the screen of our imaginations [24]. While we can’t always control what we hear and see, we can choose what we meditate upon; we don’t have to allow evil thoughts or desires to linger in our minds and hearts [25]. We can choose to drink from the polluted waters of worldly wisdom and eat from the fleshpots of carnal pleasures, or from the pure streams of God’s Holy Spirit and Word. God has given us the power of freedom of choice, so that what we experience, be it life or death, is really up to us [26]. With freedom and power comes responsibility. May we chose wisely and use all that we’ve been entrusted with, for good and not evil. In the end, we will all give an accounting to Yahweh God for our choices.  

Debra R. Stout, July 24, 2017

FOOTNOTES:

  1.  Phil 4:8
  2.  2Co 10:5
  3.  Jos 1:8
  4. Deu 5:21
  5. 2 Sam 11:2-4
  6. Ps 19:14
  7. Gen 1:26-27
  8. Gen 3:5
  9. Ps 119:105
  10. Job 31:1
  11. Isa33:15
  12. Mt 15:19, Mk 7:21
  13. Ps 94:7, Jer 4:14, Mk 7:21
  14. Mt 5:28 ‘heart’ denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life
  15. Prov 23:7a
  16. http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/how-anger-hurts-your-heart  http://migravent.com/blog/5-anger-styles-that-trigger-migraines/
  17. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295664.php
  18. Rms 12:19, Deut 32:35
  19. Heb 4:15
  20. Jn 17:5
  21. Heb 2:9, 14, 16
  22. Gen 6:2
  23. Gen 6:4, Num 13:33, Deut 2:20-21, 1 Sam 17:4
  24. Pro 4:23  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 
  25. ….. let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Eph 4:26
  26. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing – Deut 30:19

 

 

Zombie or Dragon Slayer

Related imageWhich one are you; a zombie or a dragon slayer? Right now you’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about. I’m using this rather stark contrast to illustrate the difference between what the average Christian’s reality is, to what it could be. From what I’ve seen, many church goers look a little bit like ‘zombies’ as they sit motionless, blankly staring at the minister as he preaches, never uttering a peep except for an occasional ‘Amen’ when prompted.

Not all churches are so restrained but many are, for reasons which may be similar to those which caused the Jewish high priests in Jesus’s day to do all they could to stop the message of the Cross from being preached, the dead from being raised, the sick from being healed and delivered of demons. Why weren’t they glad to see men set free from Satan’s dark domain, instead of opposing those good works? What motivated them to do so; was it envy, something else? For starters, they wanted to be the ones who people looked to for spiritual guidance, not some itinerant minister who just appeared on the scene one day – enter Jesus of Nazareth.

Mat 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

Mat 26:3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,

Mat 26:59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;

Mat 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:

Mat 27:20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

Mar 11:18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. *In other words, they feared losing their influence over the people by whose tithes and offerings they lived. They felt Jesus was usurping their authority which they felt rightly belonged to them, their being ‘children of Abraham,’ which they weren’t! [John 8:39-44]

Luk 19:39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

Luk 19:40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Luk 20:1 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,

Luk 22:2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. *Perhaps they feared mob violence, or at least a loss of esteem in the people’s eyes if they didn’t find a good excuse for killing Him, as the people believed Jesus to be a prophet sent from God [Matthew 21:46].

Luk 22:66 And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying,

Jhn 11:47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

Jhn 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place (power and position) and nation.

This last verse is very telling. The Roman authorities were comfortable allowing the Jews to have their RELIGION, so long as they bowed to the will of the ROMAN EMPEROR AND HIS LAWS! To the Romans, there was but one god, and that was the Emperor. State powers are no different today from those in the past; they still demand obeisance from their subjects! They believe that we exist to serve them, not they us. Corruption of power has infected every governing body since Babylon arose as the very first empire on earth.

How does this apply to the Church today? Whenever a Pastor ‘fears’ the authorities of the state more than God, he’ll do the State’s bidding, not God’s. In such a case, the pastor will severely limit what can take place in his church. He’ll restrain the Holy Spirit and forbid miracles, healing, and especially deliverance from demons. He’ll suppress God’s authority causing men to come under the State’s authority instead of God’s. You ask, “How could that happen?” It can happen when a church becomes 501c3 status —-

When a church accepts the 501c3 status, that church:

  • Waives its freedom of speech.
  • Waives its freedom of religion.
  • Waives its right to influence legislators and the legislation they craft.
  • Waives its constitutionally guaranteed rights.
  • Is no longer free to speak to the vital issues of the day.
  • Becomes controlled by a spirit of fear that if it doesn’t toe the line with the IRS it will lose its tax-exempt status.
  • Becomes a State-Church.

The church in America today is, by and large, not speaking to the vital issues of the day. The church has been effectively silenced. There has been a chilling effect upon the church’s freedom of speech for fear of IRS retribution should the church get out of line. The inevitable result is a moral downward spiral in the culture as the church stands mute. [1]

In a church I attended some years back, during worship I started praying for my disabled son standing near me. Suddenly, I felt my arms waving in and out around him, but it wasn’t ME moving them! I knew God himself was moving my arms so I went with it. It felt like a ‘force field’ or ‘energy field’ was being created through the movements that grew stronger and stronger. I heard one of the pastors say to the head pastor: “Look over there, see what she’s doing, you had better put a stop to it.” Sure enough, the head pastor abruptly stopped the music and worship leaders right in the middle of what GOD was doing in the Spirit! His abrupt interruption brought the whole beautiful experience to a halt and what God was trying to do was left unfinished. That pastor (so called) not only robbed my son of a healing and me of the joy of being God’s partner in a miracle, he robbed that whole congregation of a chance to see God’s miracle working power in action! And that wasn’t the first time. Some weeks later, this same pastor told the congregation that it wasn’t ready for miracles of healing, as too many people would come because of the miracles, and they weren’t ready to handle it! The moment he said that, I saw a picture of a large pitcher or bucket filled with ice water and a hand pouring it over the members, putting out the fire of their FAITH for healing! Immediately, I felt the Spirit within me “grieve.” I had known beforehand through the Spirit (a Word of Knowledge) that the congregants had FAITH for healing, and there were several people there with disabilities whom I felt God wanted to heal, but that pastor put it out with his faith-robbing words! Consequently, no one ever got healed in that church. 

Men naturally seek to be led by someone, having sought for kings to rule over them since the dawn of time. The Israelite’s begged God to give them a man to rule over them, which God agreed to do, even though He desired to rule over them Himself. They wanted to be “like the other nations” who had kings! [1 Samuel 8:1-22] So, God gave them Solomon, which means ‘peace.’ In the beginning of king Solomon’s reign, the nation did have peace and prosperity for as long as Solomon followed God. In time Solomon abandoned the true God for a slew of pagan deities, an action which caused him to fall away from God, and lose his kingdom to another [1 Kings 11:1-11]. Though the Israelite’s didn’t need an earthly king to rule over them, as Yahweh was their God, Solomon was allowed to be their king that they might learn to 1) not desire to be like the world around them, and 2) not put their trust or hope in anyone but God alone. Man is fallible but God is perfect in all His ways.

Jesus Christ is the rightful Head of His Church, not any man, be he a pastor, prophet, apostle, or king [Eph 5:23, Col 1:18]. Seems there are pastors who “fear the people” more than they fear almighty God! They fear the disapproval of those who would object to having ‘miracles’ happen in the Church, and seeing demons cast out. Yet Jesus performed miracles of healing and deliverance, setting Satan’s captives free wherever He found them. Should Christ’s Body be doing less? Didn’t Jesus commission His Church to “heal the sick, raise the dead, and to cast out demons?” [Mt 10:8]

So, what’s stopping the Church from doing these works? I believe there are several major hindrances – Unbelief due to wrong teachings about spiritual gifts such as the erroneous doctrine of ‘Cessationism’ [2] which teaches that the gifts ceased when Christ’s ministry was over, Passivism: [3] members of His Body are conditioned to be ‘passive’ in their faith by being expected to quietly listen in church and not be active participants which only the pastor and musicians are allowed to be, contrary to the teaching of Scripture [4], Fear of Man: worrying more about what man thinks than what God thinks, and worrying about looking foolish in the eyes of the world. Allowing men’s opinions to sway our beliefs and weaken our resolve to do the works which Jesus commissioned us to do. One other major hindrance is Religious Tradition: beliefs passed down from generation to generation; the pastor is the boss, don’t question what he says/does, keep quiet and do what you’re told. The pastors and priests know the bible because they studied many years (not always the case), lay persons don’t know it, and aren’t expected to know it (wrong!), so just trust whatever the minister says. If you question his words or actions, you might get told that you have a “rebellious spirit,” “Jezebel spirit,” “critical spirit,” or some other “demon!”

Religious spirits and Legalistic spirits flock to churches steeped in tradition, binding both priest and layperson from flowing in the Holy Spirit; no tongues, prophecies, healing, etc. will be seen in them. These demon spirits bind the minds of believers so they can’t perceive that there’s more than liturgy. They try to induce (false) guilt in those walking by the Spirit and not by their man-made rules. These demons can cause a great deal of havoc in the Church for they often attack believers who are filled with and led by the Holy Spirit. I know because I’ve been in their cross hairs many times. So as to avoid confusion, obeying God’s word is not Legalism! Legalists MAKE UP THEIR OWN RULES which they claim come straight out of the Bible but a close examination proves that they’ve misinterpreted what’s there. Sometimes well-meaning believers teach their PRIVATE CONVICTIONS as God’s commands, but they’re wrong. You need not come under their condemnation, another thing they try to put you under – don’t let them! I’ve come across many Religious and Legalistic demon spirits in churches, as that’s where they hang out. 

Jesus called His Church to do the works which He did when He walked among us —

Act 5:12  And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 

Act 5:13  And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 

Act 5:14  And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 

Act 5:15  Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 

Act 5:16  There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. 

The Apostles Arrested and Freed

Act 5:17  Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 

Act 5:18  And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 

Act 5:19  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 

Act 5:20  Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 

Act 5:21  And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 

Act 5:22  But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, 

Act 5:23  Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. 

Act 5:24  Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. 

Act 5:25  Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. 

Act 5:26  Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. 

Act 5:27  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 

Act 5:28  Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. 

Act 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. 

Did you hear that Church of Christ? Who then will you obey, God or man? Will you work the works which Jesus did, or will you prefer staying in your comfort zone, taking no risks while hoping someone else will do them? Do you fear what others will think? Fear you might get thrown in prison for preaching the truth, like the first apostles? Well the fact is, you might, but are we to just sit back and wait for the Rapture while the world around us perishes? What does Jesus our Lord expect of us?

Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 

Luk 9:24  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 

Luk 9:25  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 

Luk 9:26  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. 

Part of picking up your cross daily and dying to your self-life, is worrying more what people think of Jesus, than what they think about you. Dying to self is obeying Christ, no matter what it costs. It’s forsaking everything to follow Him and do the works He did. It’s being willing to look foolish in the world’s eyes.

1Co 4:9  For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake…..

Let us therefore be fools for His sake and work the works of Christ. If we suffer for it, may we do so manfully, knowing that to this we’ve also been called, and faithfully take up the full armor of God as we march into battle with the banner of His Grace going before us!

Related image

Luk 10:19  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

We’ve been empowered to be Dragon Slayers! 

Debra R. Stout © July 14, 2017

 

FOOTNOTES:

[1] https://hushmoney.org/501c3-problems.htm

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessationism

[3] a passive attitude, behavior, or way of life https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/passivism

[4] Co 14:26  How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. When kept silent in the service, believers are conditioned to be ‘passive,’ which affects their ability to witness and minister outside the confines of the church walls. Thus, they become “hearers only” instead of active doers, Jas 1:22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. If members never get a chance to use their gifts and callings inside the Church, how are they going to receive correction and direction regarding them?

(Woman on horse is a depiction of Joan of Arc)