The imagination is the ability to form things and events in the mind that are not necessarily there. And, depending on the things we feed our imagination it can create some impacting images and affect our feelings like never before. Like on the TV series “The Twilight Zone” where one’s imagination can wonder of to different dimensions particularly in the unknown, with our faith we can feed our imagination and create some expectations in the spiritual aspect that will come to be. The idea in God that if I imagine it, it will come to be is a healthy imagination. In fact, Jesus said that if you say to that mountain move and be cast into the sea and do not doubt it will (Mk11:23). So, if you imagine it and you add faith to it, it will come to existence. Paul tells us that God’s invisible powers and divine nature are revealed, so that we can be without excuse (Ro1:20). Believing that something that may seem hopeless when adding a little imagination and faith it can have a resurrecting turnabout is what God expects from us. To believe that God can do a particular thing one has to have an imagination with faith attached to it, for we have to believe that God is a rewarder of the good and that without faith it is impossible to please God (he11:6).
3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Your faith has to compliment your imagination in order for things to happen. Like the friends of this paralyzed man who when they came to the obstacle of the crowd and Jesus, it took a little imagining how were they going to get their friend to him. This man’s state to regaining or resurrecting his ability to walk again hung on the imagination and faith of his friends. To believe that something can resurrected no matter how long its been dead or none functioning a faith based imagination needs to be in the practice. In the story of Jesus’ friend Lazarus who died and was dead for four days and Jesus delayed his coming, he did so his disciples could imagine what he would do for his friend (Jh11:14). Mary and Martha needed to exercise their faith in order for their imaginations to imagine the impossible. So, Jesus came with the big question that each and everyone of us are asked each day, Jesus asked Martha “I am the resurrection and the life…, do you believe this” (Jh11:25-26). The Apostle tells us that we need not to focus our eyes on the things that are not seen with the eye, but the unseen (2Cor4:18), because that is where our imagination feeds of.
Having the sense to belonging is vital to us. Each and everyone of us need and belong to something in life, whether it is to a gym membership, a gang, a social committee, a board, a family, classroom, etc, etc…, and it defines who we are. And, each; for discussion sake, belonging that we part take in has its set of rules, that when violated trigger its consequences. For those of us who belong to the kingdom of God as Christ’s followers who are known as the body of Christ the same set of rule follow as everyone else who belongs to something in life; we have to walk the walk and talk the talk(Jm1:22). There are certain benefits that tag along those who belong to the body of Christ unlike others such as authority of the unknown. Jesus told his disciples that he gave them power to trample snakes and scorpions and the powers of darkness (Lk10:19). He gave his disciples the power to heal infirmities and all kind of sicknesses (Mk16:17,18) and such power belongs to the body of Christ.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10
Other benefits for belonging to the body of Christ that are listed includes the ticket to living in eternity with God (Jhn5:24). Your name gets written in a book that is for residents only and are granted access to enter when your time comes. When we become a part of the body of Christ a change of social class status is acquired, we are no longer the rejects of society, but we become a royal priesthood and a chosen generation (1Pt1:9). Belonging to the body of Christ has its requirements and one that is vital is maintaining an intimate relationship with God (Jh6:53-55). But, because we have such prestigious benefits when belonging to the body of Christ, an accountability session for our actions will be held known as the judgement seat of Christ. A collection of our daily deeds while in the body are gathered and stored in preparation for accountability. There in Christ’s session all the things that we have done while in the body are going to be judged and they will be put through the test (1Cor3:12-15), and the fire will prove the quality of work. So, if the things we are doing are good they will be rewarded, but the things that are not so good they will not.
The worst thing to happen is when you have guests over for a celebration that things such as foods, drinks and party things begin to run out; especially when it is a wedding and the couple have not been married yet. Or, even important items such as baby food in the middle of the night begin to run out and someone forgot to buy sufficient supplies to last through the night. It is when tensions begin to flair, when key essentials run out and we get at each others throats. The disciples of Jesus felt this type of tension when they were on the boat and forgot to bring bread (Mk8:17-19). It became a matter of turmoil for the disciples that even the miracle of the five thousands was forgotten, because of they forgot to bring bread. The fact is that we all forget things once in a while and some more then others, but forgetting the essentials are those things that take a toll on our marriages, relationships and life styles. God and the things he has done are important in keeping the faith and we cannot put them in the land of forgetfulness like God’s people did(ps78:11).
2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Something happened at this wedding of Cana where Mary, Jesus and his disciples were invited to attend, and that was that someone dropped the ball with regards to bringing enough wine; the wine was all gone. In all relationships there always comes a time of want either by occasion or by error. And, when wants come many times it will carry along discord and unease, but Jesus tells us not to worry for everyone worries about those things, but to seek first the Kingdom of God and those things will come (Mt6:33). We are not told the details of this embarrassing moment at the wedding as to the discussions between the hosts, but we could imagine that something had to happen. One thing we know is that Jesus was invited to the wedding and he came. This wedding was saved by Mary who thought quickly and resolved the problem by coming to Christ. Mary is a type of the believer who knows that when there is a want Christ is the answer. James tells us that our wars and battles against each other come from our lusts and wants inside (Jm4:1). Sometimes beating someone up for his/hers forgetfulness may seem to be the solution, but in Christ is not so. Coming to Christ and bringing it to him is the solution. What is important is not so much who is right but what is right, a man’s enemies are those of his house (Mt10:34-36).
The idea of doing good and helping others as well as to ourselves is something important. Many people have been blessed because of this innate intuition we have to do good, so the bible exhorts us to not to become weary or tired of doing good. But, then the reason for which we do things tends to either invalidate or set us up for a reward for those things we good that are good. The religious Jews in Jesus’ time found themselves struggling with the hypocrisy that comes through religion (Lk11:52). It is the flesh reaping process for when one starts doing things for others to see; it is the corruption reaping. God is a rewarder of good (He11:6), and this he does if we do not faint. Paul exhorts the church that we need to pay special attention to those of the God’s family or of the faith (Ga6:10). But, because so many wolves in sheep clothing have come up these day that we at times are not sure who is of the family and who is not; who is just a visitor.
Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
One thing for sure is that neither religiosity, agnostics or atheism is any good. Paul tells us of one thing that is good and pure and this is “a new creation”(Gal10:15). The question to what is a good religion is always in people’s mind and James gives us a clear description of it in chapter 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world”. So, to be a new creation one needs to be born again as Jesus told Nicodemus (Jh3:5) of that of water and spirit. So, to be born again one needs to be baptized in the waters and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Now, new creation entails leaving the old ways behind (2Cor5:17) and walking in the new; which is not as easy as it sounds like (Ro6:4). When we come to Jesus Christ he puts all the old things of our life behind us, but it is to our efforts to keep them there and that is a real challenge. John tells us in Revelation that God makes all things new (re21:5) and it is up to us to not bring back the dead or old things. Today, many have become fearful of the cross; whether it is the conversation, following, or the suffering that comes thereby, it has been taboo and made to something not welcome. The cross is the catalyst of a new creation and we must embrace it and not be afraid of it.
The example of how God loved the world is classical. God’s love for man kind is seen throughout the bible as well as it is on our lives. But, believing that God loves someone after witnessing all the evil we do under the sun becomes somewhat difficult. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about being born again in John 3:3-5, but Nicodemus could not picture it; he could understand the being born again process. Looking at this idea of being born again humanely is impossible, but looking at via the lens of faith it is not; and that was the problem with Nico he looked at humanely. Satan’s strategy of increasing evil here in earth has cluttered the idea of God’s love; at least humanly speaking. Paul tells us that where sin abounds grace over abounds (Ro5:20), so God’s love is being seen even more this evil days.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
The most noted verse in the bible of John 3:16 continues to resonate in our minds each time we feel unappreciated or unwanted. Through the bible we hear God’s voice that he loves us such as in John 15:9, 16:27. There is an example of God’s love for his people found in John 3:14 where he mentions Moses lifting up a snake. Now, the people of Israel had just finished winning a battle against the Canaanites and were on a long journey to the land of Edom, but they became faint and spoke against God and Moses (Num21:5-6). God sent serpents to bite the people and many died. So, the people came back to Moses repented and asked for him to pray unto the Lord to alleviate this evil. God commanded Moses to create a serpent of gold and lift it on a pole, and whoever got bite if they looked at the serpent they would get healed. The thing that caused this people pain, became the thing that healed them. God who set this course in motion; with evil and good fighting against each other, is that very person whom if anyone looks unto him will heal them. Luke tell us in Hebrews that Jesus is the author of our faith if we look unto him (Heb12:2). God’s love was so as in John 3:16 that in the blood covenant mentioned in Genesis 15:17 where the priest and God were supposed to cross together through the middle of the animals parted; through the blood, Abraham fell asleep and God passed by himself.
The resurrection of Christ deals with an ever lasting hope that is sure. When we look at the place where he died and where he rose from we could only display gratefulness. No rite, no sacrifice can ever show enough gratitude for his sacrifice at the cross. One might find some that will spend time doing rituals like this guy who came before God wanting to be justified because he fasted, tithed and pray three times a day, but was not (Lk18:11-13). Resurrection is about others, Christ rose from the dead for us all, he could have just went straight to heaven (Ro5:8, Ro8:34). Both, good and bad Christ died and rose for, whether one acknowledge it or not the testimony is clear (2Co5:14-15).
Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.
The things we do reflect Christ’s resurrection status on our lives and not our religious practices or observations. The religious Jews thought that their rites were pleasing God, but they were not; God was not answering their prayers. Paul’s conversion was an example of this, while he was out to destroy the Christians, Christ’s light shone about him and caused the change in him (Acts9:5-6). Our light breaks out every time we do something for someone else in the name of Christ; it is the resurrection status in us. Matthew tells us that it is important that we allow the light in us to shine so that others can see God (5:16). The importance of allowing the light not just to shine but to break out from us, is because when we do, healing and prosperity takes place. Answer prayers become a way of life when our light breaks through. It is the beacon of hope within us to others whose life is worse then ours (Is9:2) the light that breaks out from us.
The things people say about you matters. Whether you are looking to climb the corporate ladder, or impress that one special person in your life your track record is important. Keeping a good repertoire comes with a price because there is always someone right behind you willing and ready to push you out of the way. We learn this with when Jesus rose from the dead that Peter and John raced to the tomb, but John outran Peter (Jh20:4). John wanted to be the first to the tomb, so he past Peter maybe he wanted to be known as the first to the tomb and get the recognition. Once John made it to the tomb he did not have what it took to go inside like Peter did. Once you build your repertoire it acquires the necessary traits to take you where ever you need to go or achieve. John made it to the tomb, but it wasn’t until he looked inside the tomb after Peter that he believed and then went in. Daniel’s repertoire preceded him. He was a faithful man. A slave brought from Jerusalem to live in Babylon, Daniel kept his testimony throughout his life and such took him to be considered to be second in command after the king.
3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.
“A goodnameis rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold”(Prv.22:1). Daniel understood this principle of a good name for which his fellow governors and princes became jealous and sought a way to destroy him with his relationship with his God, because they could not find a fault in his persona. But, when anyone tries to do harm to your relationship with God they will find themselves in hot water. The bible tells us that not even the gates of hell will over come the church (Mt16:18). That it is better for a stone to be tied around ones neck then to offend one of God’s little ones (Mt18:6). Now, Daniel; colleague governors tricked the king to signing an ordinance forbidding anyone to pray to other then himself, did not allow anyone to affect his relationship with God he went on and prayed. Daniel was thrown into the lions den and was expected to be devoured, but God sent his angel to protect him. God does not take us out of trouble but joins us in trouble and delivers us. Once Daniel was taken out of the den with harm, the king order for his enemies to be cast in to the den; and the bible says that the lions devoured them before their bodies touched the ground.
Honoring God has been in every person heart throughout every walk of life; despite the method, or way, people have created their own ways to honor and worship God. God’s finger print on earth is undeniable. From the big bang theory to the discovery artifacts of Jesus’ presence the essence of God and His Son cannot be denied. For example, they recently discovered where Mary Magdalene was born in Israel (New Archaeological) which gives insight of the roots of Christianity. Now, after a series of plagues, signs and wonders God’s name was so popular that people feared him with the mention of his name. From the plaques of Egypt to the crossing of the Red Sea to the crossing of the Jordan River and the big slaughter of the greatest armies God’s name became honored. But, the time came when God’s son was to be honored, so David in the Psalms said “Kiss the son”(Ps.2:12) initiating was going to be a difficult task, because he came as a man.
22For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
23That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
24Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
One of the things that God the Father handed down unto his Son Jesus the right to do judgment. Doing judgment was a trademark of God. Judgment is Krisis (grk) and it means an opinion about a decision and that decision making God gave it to Jesus; the gospel. In the old testament any man who sinned would sure die either by fire descending from heaven or an animal would devour him, it was God’s judment. A young prophet whom the Lord used powerfully but because of his disobedience of what the Lord had commanded him; which was not to eat, drink or go back and forth into the city the same way, a lion killed him (1Kg 13:24). Now, Paul tells us that everything we do we must do it as if we are doing it to the Lord (Eph. 6:6-7, Col. 3:23), because when we do things as to the Lord we honor him. Paul was confronted with some people in Asia who were worshiping many Gods and he found one while passing through a series of alters one dedicated to the “Unknown God” (Acts 17:23). Like many people today who have many idols at home; like the people Paul confronted, who have an alter of Jesus Christ; they have a bible some where in their home or a crucifix. We have been left a legacy to keep up, and that is to please God; to walk according to his call (1thes 4:1), because Jesus through his gospel will judge us.
With so many religions and faiths the question that comes to mind is who will enter into heaven; who will go to paradise? The question of eternity is in all our minds Lord will only a few be saved”? According to an article fewer and fewer Americans feel the need to go to church. Salvation is one of the least topics preached in churches today. The efforts for those of us who still belief in salvation is required to be up. There has to be a desire to be saved implanted in us. We find this type of inquiry with a prison guard in Acts 16:30 where he questions the apostles what did he need to do in order to be saved. Now, the path for entering into the kingdom is narrow already, but the narrowing process is becoming more difficult. Ten virgins were confronted with making it to entering in with the groom (Mat.25:10-12). Five of the ten virgins had did their work to have excess oil in their reservoir, so when the time came to enter they would not have a problem, but the other five were laid back and did miss the entering. The call for us to go beyond our efforts is on; God’s people are called to work tirelessly to push forward God’s kingdom.
22 Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”
He replied, 24“Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.25 When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’26 Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’27 And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
The exhortation to work hard to enter is fervently demanded nowadays. Salvation, is more then ever individualized then ever. Helping our loved ones come to know God and be saved from hardship and affliction is in all of our hearts, but now more then ever our individual effort towards being saved needs to take priority. Paul spoke to the church in Rome about this matter (Ro.10:9-10), that confession along with faith leads to individualized salvation. There was a time when salvation was influenced by family, ones family could determine ones destiny (Ex. 20:5). But, God holds each person individually responsible for their own faults and salvation. Too often we find ourselves running against time, in fact, making it late to events and other places has become culture. Jesus spoke of two gates and the narrow being one of them. He spoke of the wide gate (Mt.7:13-14) which leads to destruction and the narrow that leads to eternal life. Everyone, nowadays, likes the wide because they have lots of choices and everything goes. But, God’s thing is not about choices, its about his choices because his ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not ours (Is. 55:8). It is hard but not impossible to stay in the narrow way.
As time passes life becomes harder and harder to deal with. More complex problems such as we have never seen before arise these last days. Our struggles more and more frequent are spiritual and more then just carnal; though yes we struggle with our flesh (Eph. 6:12). Diseases such as bipolar, schizophrenia and other have become more evident then ever before. Postpartum. war depression and other are ever more present today affecting us more then in past times. Our battles with the family, humanity and our very lives have increased in size dramatically; they have become giants. These giant size problems of life are very difficult to tackle; we do not know where to start the fight, how do we take down those giants? David found a giant who was fully armored yet vulnerable enough to be taken down. He knew how to kill the lion, the bear, but the giant was a bit different.
1 Samuel 17:48-49
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
Although, a battle is a battle no matter if one is fighting a bear or a human, there are some battles that take more time to win and are more challenging. Fighting against a bear or a lion take different strategies to take either down. Fighting against a giant man is also different then fighting against an animal because humans have a higher level of intellect, and, therefore it takes a more strategic planning to win. David was an expert warrior in taking down animals, but now he had to take down a warrior like himself just double or even triple his size. And, sure enough he did with just a couple of rocks in his bag all it took was one to kill the giant. Now this was not just an immediate victory, a one time moment thing he paved the way for others to take down giants. We have giants in our lives that are different to take down then any other animals we are accustom to battle (Eph. 6:12). Our battles are spiritual, so they are different each time, but they all have some commonality; their size and source.
Like David, others have similar had similar victories with giants. They saw what David did and probably said “I could do that, if David did it I can do it too”. For example, Benaiah son of Jehoiada who was a sub general to king David who kills a lion in a pit, two mighty men and slays a giant (2 Sa 23:20-22). He became one of the greatest killer the kings could ever count on, because he learned take out a giant from David. When David stood up to Goliath and slew him with just one stone someone got inspired learned that anyone can do this. Benaiah learned this lesson and so did his older brother. In 1 Chronicles 20:6-7 we find Jonathan son of Shimea David’s brother fighting against a huge man. This Jonathan David’s third oldest brother was first hand witness of David’s trust in the Lord and seal for God’s kingdom (1Sam. 17:45). He saw how David ran without fear against the giant and with a single stone killed him.