A spine-tingling moment

Selwyn continues to discuss the value of using one’s imagination to slip inside the pages of the Bible.

He writes: ” … I spent a lot of time slipping into the skin of a Bible character and imagining what it must have felt like to be that person. A favourite verse is the one which is our text for today. It allows us to picture Simon Peter bending over the stone slab on which Jesus had laid (in the tomb) and seeing thee strips of linen ‘lying by themselves’. What a moment that was.”

Verses for Reading and Meditation – Luke 24:1-12 (NIV) Jesus Has Risen

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. … “

Try, what Selwyn is suggesting – close your eyes and imagine yourself in the tomb – looking for the body of Jesus , but seeing only strips of linen.

Imagination – its proper use

Selwyn’s introduction, reflects to a certain extent – what I wrote about yesterday.

He says: “John Ruskin, the famous nineteenth-century British art critic and philosopher, said that the noblest use of the imagination is not to plan for the future but to run back through the corridors of time and call up scenes of Jesus’ life and ‘to be present, as if in the body, at every recorded event of the history of the Redeemer’.”

I like these verses from Ezekiel 13:1-9 (NLT), excerpt from today’s reading: ” Then this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, prophesy against the false prophets of Israel who are inventing their own prophecies. Say to them, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: What sorrow awaits the false prophets who are following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all!’

 “O people of Israel, these prophets of yours are like jackals digging in the ruins. They have done nothing to repair the breaks in the walls around the nation. They have not helped it to stand firm in battle on the day of the Lord. Instead, they have told lies and made false predictions. They say, ‘This message is from the Lord,’ even though the Lord never sent them. And yet they expect him to fulfill their prophecies!  Can your visions be anything but false if you claim, ‘This message is from the Lord,’ when I have not even spoken to you?

“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because what you say is false and your visions are a lie, I will stand against you, says the Sovereign Lord. I will raise my fist against all the prophets who see false visions and make lying predictions, and they will be banished from the community of Israel. I will blot their names from Israel’s record books, and they will never again set foot in their own land. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord. … “

In our own times, there are people who make predictions about the date & time of the end of this world – when, we are told in Scripture that no one (person) knows (or be told in advance) this detailed information. However, we will see signs that it’s the season – for our God’s return. The false prophets of today – will be treated by God in the same way – as He dealt with the false prophets of Israel. Consequently, I can’t understand why they would want to expose themselves to God’s wrath by making such false claims.

Your views?

Redeeming the imagination

Perhaps the following extract from today’s study – captures the main theme: “Though we have to admit that the biblical use of the word ‘imagination’ generally has to do with stubbornness or plotting deception, we must not conclude that the imagination can never be used for good. A reverent use of the imagination can help make the Bible come alive for us.”

Like most human attributes or abilities – they can be used in a way which is aligned with God’s will: or, they can be used in ways which do not glorify our living God. Again, it’s our choice regarding the ways we use our imagination – we can discipline our imagination (with God’s help) – it’s not an involuntary activity. 

There is nothing wrong in using our imagination to explore our inner feelings, for example, by imagining ourselves at the foot of the cross, along-side Mary and John.

What’s your view?

Where achievements begin

Selwyn continues to discuss the issue concerning the control of our imagination.

He writes, in his conclusion: ” … imagination is a gift from God – a gift to be used wisely, not wantonly.”

His prayer for today, perhaps is an excellent summary: “Gracious Father, You have provided me with some wonderful faculties, not least the imagination. Help me to harness it to your purposes, to tie it in to Your designs. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.”

As, I mentioned yesterday –  I think we need to constantly exercise our will over our imagination and set boundaries for it – these boundaries to be placed in accordance with God’s command to us – to live holy lives. Control, is not a once in awhile, form of exercise – but a daily routine. In this way we strengthen our awareness of any areas where our imagination may stray that would be harmful to our spiritual health. Consequently, when we become aware that our imagination has crossed ‘the line’; we can seek God’s help to bring it back under control.

‘No news is bad news’

“Sorry about the break in transmission – should be okay now!”   🙂

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In today’s study – Selwyn talks about our imagination and how easy it is for our imagination to fill in the empty spaces while we wait for some news about a particular issue.  Our imagination usually fears the worst – when it is not informed by the facts.

I liked Selwyn’s conclusion: “What a difference it would make if, in the midst of the unknown, we could let our imagination stop at God, believing that all things are in His hands and that His purposes are best. Imagination is one of God’s gifts to us but it works effectively only when it functions in harmony with Him.”

Personally, I’ve found that my imagination is one of the last frontiers to be taken over by God’s influence – it has been the untamed horse which has often bolted when faced by the call to be holy. It only has been by the persistent efforts of disciplined prayer that I can exercise any control. This is another area of our lives which needs the power of the Holy Spirit to be at work – we can’t tame our imaginations by ourselves.

Do you agree?