Rainbows and Bows


A rainbow is beautiful. Stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet bend to form a bow, or arc, of refracted light. A rainbow is born when sunlight and water droplets unite. After a rainstorm, water drops remain in the atmosphere. The sun shines on these droplets causing them to act as prisms reflecting and refracting the light within the water. A rainbow is most brilliant when seen against the backdrop of a dark sky immediately after a storm.

The Hebrew word for rainbow is the same word for bow describing a war weapon. I sense a spiritual connection between a rainbow in the sky and a bow as a weapon of war. Let me present a picturesque possibility.

God created. Mankind sinned. Spiritual darkness invaded the earth. God fought a war against the waywardness and wickedness of mankind. A storm brewed in the heavens. The clouds became God’s chariot and He rode upon the wings of the wind. His weapon was a spiritual bow. Arrows of lightning flashed and thunder resounded. While flooding the earth with water, God cleansed it of all unrighteousness. God won the war. The Son of God then displayed an array of brilliant beauty. Rays of color – red, orange, yellow etc. Rays of character – mercy, grace, love etc. God placed a rainbow in the sky – a sign of victory and a symbol of promise.

The Significance of the Rainbow

Genesis 9:13 is the first scriptural reference to a rainbow. The New International Version says, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” The New American Standard Version uses the words, “I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.”

God judged sin by sending a great flood. Afterwards, He promised Noah that He would never judge the world again in this way. The rainbow became an everlasting sign of God’s forgiveness and covenant of mercy.

In Genesis 9:15-17 God says, “and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ And God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.’”

In Daily Fire Devotional: 365 Days in God’s Word, Reinhard Bonnke describes the rainbow as a weapon spanning the whole horizon. He says, “What mighty arrows it (the bow) must shoot when God goes into battle against the devil!…The rainbow is not a mere phenomenon of natural beauty, but a divine reminder of God’s archery.”

God’s bow, or rainbow, is a permanent display of His goodness. It reminds us of what God has done in the past. It is a promise of what He will do in the future. And, it reveals His faithfulness to us today.

Natural vs Supernatural Bows

Let’s make a comparison between the weapons used in military battles versus those in spiritual battles. Bows can represent any type of ammunition used in worldly wars. Significant advancements have been made in weaponry since men fought with bows and arrows centuries ago.

In biblical times, bows and arrows were considered symbols of strength. However, they are not effective when fighting spiritual battles. Psalm 44:6-7 declares, “For I will not trust in my bow, nor will my sword save me. But You (God) have saved us from our adversaries, and You have put to shame those who hate us.”

In I Samuel 17:45, David says to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty.” David again reveals how he fights battles in Psalm 20:7, “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.

Paul describes a believer’s weapon in II Corinthians 6:7, “We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.”

Specific Spiritual Bows

As believers, we fight spiritual battles in a unique way. II Corinthians 10:3-4 says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We fight to destroy arguments that come against the knowledge of God.” According to II Corinthians 10:5-6, we fight by taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ.

Paul says in Ephesians 6:11-13, ““Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” He then describes our armor in Ephesians 6:14-17 as a belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, a shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

We do not fight spiritual battles with physical bows. Instead, we fight with God’s bow – His Word. The arrows are specific scriptural promises that can hit the target’s bullseye. Let me share a few verses that will help us achieve victory.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed,
for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified
because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment
you will condemn.

Isaiah 54:17 NASV

He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be
free from all blame on the day when our
Lord Jesus
Christ returns.
I Corinthians 1:8-9 NLT

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Rainbows: First and Last

We referred to rainbows in the first book of the Bible (Genesis). However, they are also mentioned in the last book of the Bible (Revelation) with a couple of references in the middle (Ezekiel). A rainbow is more than a trick of light and water. It is a symbol of God’s promises. It also is a description of God’s divine glory. Ezekiel 1:28 says, “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

Revelation 4:3 says, “And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.” Revelation 10:1 says, “Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.

A visible rainbow is awe-inspiring. As we gaze upon it, may we see the rainbow as a God ordained symbol of His mercy and faithfulness. Let us rejoice in rainbows! 

Advertisements

Overshadowed by a Shadow


I decided to go for walk as it was a beautiful sunny morning. Since it was early, all was quiet and peaceful. I had time to notice what often goes unnoticed – like my shadow. My shadow was always before me. I could not catch up with it. My shadow was not behind me because of my position in relation to the sun. I thought about shadows. I thought about the shadow of the Lord. I thought about what it means to be overshadowed by the Lord.

According to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, overshadowed means to have a shadow over; to be surpassed; to be covered with a superior influence. A short definition is simply to be covered. I decided to search the scriptures for examples of people who were overshadowed or covered by the Lord.

MOSES

Moses was covered by God.

In Exodus 33, Moses and the Lord have a conversation about the Lord being with Moses while he led the Israelites towards the Promised land. In verse 18, Moses said, “Now show me Your glory.” The Lord responded in verses 18-20, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, the Lord, in your presence.” However, God also told Moses, you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live.” What happened? Exodus 33:21-23 says, There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock. When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.” During this time, Moses was overshadowed by the Lord.

Being overshadowed by the Lord assured Moses of God’s presence. Moses needed this confirmation before he led the Israelites to the Promised Land. We, too, must be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to become confident of the Lord’s presence. Having this assurance, we will be able to lead others to a personal relationship with Jesus. We will have the privilege of leading people into the Land of Promises. The Promised Land of the Old Testament is a picture of the Land of Promises where believers live today.

Mary

Mary was covered by God.

In Luke 1, Mary has a conversation with an angel telling her that she would conceive a baby who would be called the Son of the Most High. In verse 34 Mary asks, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel responds in Luke 1:35, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

Being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit made it possible for Mary to become pregnant with new life. Today, God desires to impregnate us with His plans and purposes. When we allow the Holy Spirit to overshadow us, He reveals His divine purposes and enlarges us with the gifts necessary to give birth to His plans for our lives.

Peter, James and John

Peter, James and John were covered by God.

In Matthew 17, Jesus and these 3 men climbed a mountain. While praying, Jesus’ appearance changed and they saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus about His fulfillment of prophecy in the coming days. Matthew 17:24-25 says, “While He was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.’’

This scriptural account is known as the Transfiguration. It involves spiritual overshadowing. First, the appearance of Jesus was transfigured, or changed. Then, the minds of these 3 men were transfigured, or transformed. Their minds were transformed and renewed with a new way of thinking. We also need a transfiguration experience to transform our way of thinking. Bill Johnson says in When Heaven Invades Earth that a renewing of the mind is needed for more miracles to occur. We need a new mind, a transfigured mind, to be able to think and expect God to move through miracles today. We must change our way of thinking. This is only possible when we are overshadowed by the Holy Spirit.

Having unpacked the experiences of these people who were overshadowed by the Lord, I desire the same privilege. I want to cry out as David did in Psalm 57:1, “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in You I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 91:4 says, “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

Being overshadowed by the Lord means I am covered by the Lord. Jesus says in John 14:16-17, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” This is the anointing of the Holy Spirit. What a privilege for us to be overshadowed by the Lord!

I close with the words of Psalm 63:7, “Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings.

Humility in Humanity


Humility is often a misunderstood word.

Although humility can be defined as the absence of pride, there is more involved. Doug Britton writes, “God says when you are humble, you are free from pride and arrogance. You know that in your flesh you are inadequate, yet you also know who you are in Christ.We walk humbly in the power of the Holy Spirit, not in our own strength.

Rick Warren has said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” God created us for a purpose. He believes that we are able to fulfill His plans.  We must not humiliate ourselves by lowering God’s expectations of us.

Proverbs 29:23 says, “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.” Humility is a virtue. Pride is not so virtuous.

I like the promise of Psalm 149:4, “the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.”

Mary, the mother Jesus, and Jesus are two examples of strong, yet humble, individuals.

MARY
46And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord,
47And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.

52“He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
Luke 1:46-
48, 52

Mary was a humble young woman. She humbly responded to the angel’s message when she was told that she would become the Messiah’s mother. She exalts the Lord rather than herself in verse 46. In verse 48, she describes herself as God’s bondslave. Verse 52 notes a contrast between humility and pride. God chose Mary to be the mother of His Son because He knew she would responsibly fulfill this role. A woman full of pride would not have had room for Jesus in her heart.

Look again at the second part of verse 48. When Mary proclaimed she would be considered blessed, some might think she was being prideful. However, I like a comment made in the Life Application Bible. “If Mary had refused her incredible position, she would have been throwing God’s blessing back at Him. Pride is refusing to accept God’s gifts or taking credit for what God has done. Don’t deny, belittle, or ignore your gifts.This is a good admonition for us today.

Proverbs 3:34 GNT says, He (God) has no use for conceited people, but shows favor to those who are humble.” Mary found favor with God. Humility is the antithesis of pride. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

JESUS
6who, being in very nature God, did not consider
equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature
of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8And being found in the appearance of a man, he humbled
himself by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:6-8

These verses describe Jesus’ mindset while living on earth. He could have been prideful as the son of God. However, according to verse 6, He put aside His nature as God when He came in human likeness. Mary described herself as a bondslave. Jesus took on the nature of a bondslave in verse 7. In verse 8, He was humble and obedient when dying on the cross. Through His attitude and actions, He fulfilled God’s purpose. Mary was humbled to give birth. Jesus was humbled to die.

In Matthew 11:29, Jesus tells us, “…learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” We learn humility when we follow Jesus’ example.

In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul states, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” If we are humble, we will not be selfish. We will compassionately care about others. Romans 12:3 says, Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.”

Proverbs 11:2 says, “Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Another scripture to consider is Luke 14:11, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Godly humility is being comfortable with who we are in Christ. When we are humble, we realize we need God’s help. I Peter 5:5 exhorts us, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humility is a valuable virtue.

A Treasure Hunt


Please join me on a treasure hunt. The Bible will be our map. We are going to look for meaningful and valuable spiritual treasures hidden in the scriptures.

for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21

As we begin our hunt for treasure, we must look into our hearts. The kind of treasure we will seek is determined by our heart’s condition. Romans 10:10 says, “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

In the account of Jesus birth, Luke 2:19 says, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Giving birth to God’s son, being in a stable surrounded by animals, having shepherds come visit – so many things for a new mom to think about! Yet, Mary treasured all these things because they were part of God’s plan. She placed a high value upon these experiences. Her heart was full of love. Jesus was her treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.
Matt 13:44

Let’s dig for a hidden treasure in the first gospel of our Biblical map. Matthew says God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field. Paul alludes to hidden treasure when he writes about a hidden message. He says in
Colossians 1:26 NLT, This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people.” Paul is referring to the glory of Christ as a once hidden treasure that we can now find. Matthew 6:33  says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. I think we have found a piece of our treasure. 

I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden wealth of secret places
Isaiah 45:3

Treasures of darkness do not sound like the kind of treasures we want to find. However, we must not be too quick to discard dark times.

In Jesus Always, Sarah Young writes about treasures of darkness. Hear Jesus speak the following words through her writings. “Look for Me in the hard places of your life…. I am tenderly present in the difficulties,… your problems are fertile soil for growing in grace and encountering My loving Presence in greater depth and breadth. Watch for Me in dark times – both past and present. Invite Me into those broken places, and cooperate with Me in putting the fragments back together in new ways…. Against the backdrop of adversity, the Light of My Presence shines in transcendent radiance.”

The last part of Isaiah 45:3 promises hidden wealth in secret places. Even in dark places we can find treasures. Jesus, who is the light of the world, shines His light into our dark experiences helping us find unseen riches.

Discovering Jesus’ presence is a valuable treasure. Sometimes it is easier to find Jesus in the dark places than in the light. Daniel 2:22 says, “He (God) reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.”

He (the Lord) will be the sure foundation for your times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.
Isaiah 33:6

I Corinthians 3:11 confirms the words of Isaiah, For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” While digging deeply to lay the foundation of our lives, we find treasure. Our treasure hunt reveals riches of salvation, wisdom and knowledge – not riches of gold and silver. We discover a reverential fear and awe of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our treasure!

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary,
and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasures and presented him
with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11

While on their treasure hunt, the Magi followed a star. When they found Jesus, they found the perfect treasure. Jesus was more precious than the treasures they brought with them. Like the Magi, we may be required to lay down our earthly treasures to find Jesus, our eternal treasure.

I Peter 1:7 NKJV says, “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Eternal treasure has a higher value than earthly treasure.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show
that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
II Corinthians 4:7

While on our treasure hunt, we have taken various routes shown on our Biblical map.

We discovered the treasure of the kingdom of heaven in a hidden field. We found wealth hidden in treasures of darkness. We uncovered treasure in salvation, wisdom, knowledge and the fear of the Lord. We found treasure more costly than any precious metal or jewel. All of these treasures are part of the greatest treasure – Jesus. Jesus is the hidden treasure of the Old Testament revealed in the New Testament.

Jesus is the treasure for which we have searched. We want to keep Him in our jars of clay. We want to keep Him in our hearts. Ephesians 3:17 says, “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

Our treasure hunt is complete. We found the treasure. Jesus!

enJOY – JOY – JOYful

JOY – a simple three letter word with big potential. Add a couple of letters
and we have ENJOY or JOYFUL. How about REJOICE?

Let’s play around with JOY today. We will also do a little language study.

JOY
To begin, we must know what JOY is.
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, . . .
Galatians 5:22
Joy is one of the nine attributes of the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is the result of the
Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. It is not something we can conjure up by ourselves.
The prospect of the righteous is joy
Proverbs 10:28
Joy is the reward of living in right relationship with the Lord.
the joy of the LORD is your strength
Nehemiah 8:10
Joy is more than a feeling when it is the Lord’s joy. It imparts
spiritual strength to our internal muscles.

ENJOY = in joy
En” is a prefix that transforms a noun into a verb. Enjoy means to cause
a person or thing to be “in joy.”
In Your presence is fullness of joy
Psalm 16:11 NKJV
When we are in the presence of Jesus, we are in joy. Through praise,
we enter the Lord’s presence and enjoy Him.
I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.
Jeremiah 33:6
When we trust the Lord, we will enjoy His promises. If we enjoy something, we are in joy.

JOYFUL = joy full – full of joy
The suffixful” is defined as “full of” or “plenty.” We become “joyful” when we are full of joy.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13
God fills us with His joy. The Holy Spirit gives us more than a little bit of joy.
When we are “full of joy,” joy bubbles up inside and flows out of us.
This joy overflows to others. It even extends into the atmosphere.
That is what I call being “joyful!”
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Psalm 98:4 ESV
When we are full of joy, we desire to joyfully praise the Lord. We let our joy overflow to Him.

REJOICE = re-joys
Re-joys” is my play on words for “rejoice.” The prefix “re” means “again.”
Joys” is more than one joy. We can experience joy in multiple ways at numerous times.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4
Paul encourages us to “rejoice” twice in one verse. The New Living Translation says,
Always be full of joy in the Lord.”
This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.
I say it again—rejoice!”
Psalm 118:24 NKJV
We have the choice of whether or not to rejoice. First of all, we must know and receive God’s joy. Then we can enjoy Him – be in joy. When we are filled of God’s joy, we are joyful.
We experience joy, and then more joy. This fullness of joy multiples into “joys.”
Because of these “re-joys,” we rejoice.

JOY – ENJOY – JOYFUL – REJOICE
Let us summarize our study of joy with a few final scriptures.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5 NKJV
We will not always feel joyful or have joyous experiences, but we do have God’s
assurance of forthcoming joy.
I (Jesus) will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
John 16:22
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples before His arrest and crucifixion. He speaks the same words to us in our challenging times. His joy is everlasting and cannot be taken away.
Shout to God with joyful praise!
Psalm 47:1 NLT
Let us praise God for His promise of joy. Let us rejoice together because we are full of joy.

Thoughts for Memorial Day

In the United States of America, next Monday we will celebrate Memorial Day. It is a time when we remember those who died while serving in our country’s armed forces. We also honor those currently in our military.

Let’s take time to look at a few scriptures and make some comparisons of how the goals of our military men and women follow Christ’s example.

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.
John 3:16

Out of love, God sent His Son to our world. Jesus sacrificed His life so that we, through faith, may receive the gift of eternal life. No one can do what God did. No one needs to do what God did because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice.

However, there are several similarities between God and the people in our military. Our armed forces defend all of humanity – not only United States citizens. They serve out of love for people around the world. They fight for freedom for people who are treated inhumanely. These soldiers are willing to die so others can live. There is also a sacrifice paid by the families of our active military men and women. Parents and spouses of military personnel allow their family members to go around the world defending those whose lives are in danger. There is a high price to be paid.

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36

Jesus lived and died for freedom. Freedom is the cause for which individuals choose to serve in our armed forces. Jesus died to set us free from sin. Those in the United States military are willing to die so that our citizens may live free from tyranny and terrorism.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13

Jesus loves us. He laid down His life for us. We are His friends. Military men and women love their country. They are willing to lay down their lives. They are our friends, not enemies.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10

Jesus spoke these words when teaching His disciples how to pray. Their prayer was that God’s kingdom would reign on earth and His will would be done. The members of the United States armed forces serve their country defending their nation and the Constitution upon which the government is based. They serve their nation (or kingdom) and strive to fulfill the country’s goals (or will).

Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine
or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written:
“F
OR YOUR SAKE WE FACE DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE ARE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
But in all these things we more than conquerors
through Him who loved us.
Romans 8:35-37

Paul acknowledges that we will encounter suffering. He lists several forms of suffering. However, he also assures us that nothing will separate us from Christ’s love. We are more than conquerors and we will obtain more than ordinary victories. Christ’s love triumphed over death. And, because of His love, we achieve abundant victories.

Paul’s words also offer assurance to our military personnel. If these men and women find themselves in harm’s way, they will face danger. If involved in combat, death will be a possibility. At these times, may our soldiers be aware of Christ’s presence. May they fight for freedom with faith. They are more than just conquerors.

In conclusion, I emphasize the importance of scripture being the foundation for our lives. I give thanks to Jesus for setting an example. I also thank members of our military for following the example of Christ. May Memorial Day be a time for us to honor these men and women of the United States of America for their sacrifices for freedom.

What Do You Imagine?

You receive a message from your doctor asking you to return his/her call.
The boss calls you into his office.
A friend asks to meet for coffee and conversation.

What is your first reaction to these scenarios?
What kind of news do you expect to hear?
Do positive or negative images form in your mind?

What we imagine (an idea or notion we form in our minds) causes us to create an image (an idea or perception). We need to be careful about what we imagine and the images we allow to be created in our minds because our imaginations can run wild.

Our imagination forms mental images. These images may be positive or negative. They are not always true because they are often based upon previous experiences and preconceived ideas. Images are not realities.

It is a battle of the mind whether we allow our imagination to create positive or negative images. Paul talks about spiritual battles in Ephesians 6:12 saying, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

II Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” The Old King James Version uses the word “imaginations” rather than “arguments” when describing what comes against the knowledge of God. The enemy likes to create negative images in our minds. We should disregard the false and embrace the truth. Jesus is the truth according to John 14:6.

We must capture our thoughts for Christ. Philippians 4:7-8 states, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Let’s be positive. If we saturate our minds with Christ, we will think like Christ. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

As God’s creations, we exemplify Christ. In Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness” Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Hebrews 12:2 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus imagined joy while facing crucifixion! In His mind, He imagined the throng of people who would be with Him throughout eternity because of His dying for their sins. He did not think about the verbal abuse or the pain of the nails. The pain would not last forever but the joy would be everlasting.

Christ gave us the perfect example of how to use our imagination. He focused upon the will of His Father and experienced joy. Our joy is to fix our eyes upon Jesus and the plans and purposes the Lord has for us. These plans will give us hope and a future according to Jeremiah 29:11.

In a sermon, Pastor Robert Reeves of Calvary Assembly of God said that our actions are determined by our imaginations. So, may we let our imaginations run wild! Ephesians 3:20 says “God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” – that includes what we can imagine.

Isaiah 26:3 NIV says, “You (God) will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” I also like the New Living Translation that says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

I conclude with the refrain of the hymn Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus by Helen H. Lemmel.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.