We Can Only Imagine

Imagination is a part of our intellect. God created us with the ability to imagine and He expects us to use our imagination to grow in truth and faith, and connection with Him.

When we think of faith and the Word of God, we think of scholarly study involving analysis and exposition which is important to our growth. We rarely think of imagination in regard to Biblical truth, some may even call it frivolous. Yet, imagination is a key to growth in faith.

Neuroscience reports that we are more apt to think in pictures than in text. For example, if I were to ask you what you had for dinner last night, you would see yourself at the dinner table with your plate of chicken, rice and salad, or whatever. You would not see text in your mind as if it were a teleprompter listing off the things you ate. Upon calling up the picture of dinner in your mind you might even salivate, if you are hungry.

Tell me what is in the backseat of your car! What did you see? Did you see text listing the items in your backseat, or did you visualize your backseat with the child seat, the red umbrella and a box of tissues? Experience tells us you would see a picture in your mind of the contents of your backseat.

God and Imagination
God speaks to us in images, in pictures to encourage our faith and to lead us into knowledge of him.

I think this is a truth about God that is worthy of our attention, gratitude and praise. God wants us to know Him and be in a close relationship with Him. He meticulously crafted His word, His communication to us so that we may know Him and believe Him. God expects us to use all aspects of our cognitive processing to know Him.

Let’s look at some of the word pictures that God uses to help us see and know Him, His character and heart towards us.

In Isaiah 6:1-4, God uses a striking visual, through our imagining this visual, we catch a glimpse of the glory, majesty and greatness of God.

  • In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;    the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

Throughout the Psalms various writers have been inspired to provide words that create a picture in our mind to reveal God’s character and heart towards us. Without such images, we might not understand some of these truths.

Psalm 18:1-2 provides seven words that create a picture in our minds that reveal truth about God, who He is and wants to be in our life.

  • The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I want to focus on one of these words: stronghold. In English we hear stronghold and think of a fortress or a castle like structure. The KJV translates the word stronghold as “high tower.”

In Hebrew it is the word “misgab” which is different from the word form for fortress. “Misgab” brings out the idea of height, a stronghold that is secure in a height putting one safe above the trouble. So, while there is trouble all around us, in God – in our relationship with God, we are secure as in His high tower.

What an amazing picture that reveals God’s specific care of us. God does not always remove us from trouble, but He is showing us, literally, that He is a safe place amidst the trouble.

God does not use these specific word pictures for nothing. He is intent on communicating to you and me that He is a very safe and secure place. We are to connect this truth with ourselves. Imagine yourself in God’s high tower!

In the midst of the spiritual battle, in the midst of the struggles of life, I don’t always feel like I am secure in  a high tower, but nevertheless,  it is true. I need to trust the images God communicates, and imagine myself in that closeness with Him, in His protective place. This brings God’s truth into our reality.

Connecting Imagination to Truth
If you are a student of the Bible, I am sure you have seen may amazing visuals that God provides to us to reveal His closeness to us and His intention for us. God speaks to our imagination in numerous ways in the scriptures.

Here are a few more examples:

  • 2 Kings 6:16-17 God shows the truth of the spiritual world and how He is always fighting for us.  Think of this picture, imagine these spiritual forces helping you through a temptation of trial.
  • John14:1-3– Jesus uses a picture of a home in heaven with God, that, He, Jesus will personally bring us to. Yes, He is saying this to the disciples who are were with Him at that time, but it is a truth spoken in imagery to comfort us so that we can know there is a place for us with Him in eternity. When we picture ourselves going there with Jesus, we can grasp God’s intention for us and endure the troubles of this life.

You Inside Psalm 23
One of my favorite story pictures that I can easily imagine myself into is the tender care, guidance and protection of the Shepherd in Psalm 23.

Recently, I have been diagnosed with a blood disorder that puts me at high risk for blood clots, stroke, etc. I was told there is no cure, only a form of managing this disorder. In the course of treatment, a second problem has presented itself, which is a progression of decreased red blood cells which has a whole host of consequences for my body and health.

There are many ways that faith in God’s truths have been encouraging me during this “in the valley of the shadow of death” time. I have been reviewing truths about the basis of my salvation and renewing my faith in those truths.

The imagery through which God communicates in Psalm 23, is a spectacular support to my faith. Verses 4 and 6 stand out to me.

  • Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me . . . Surely (Your) goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

I read this and see it in my mind the way God intended.

  • I see myself as one of His sheep
  • He is standing next to me with His rod and staff to protect and lead me
  • We are looking into the valley
  • I am leaning into Him and He puts His reassuring hand on my head to remind me that He is walking this with me
  • I see His goodness and mercy following us, sometimes even getting ahead of us leading us to the house of the Lord in heaven.

This is an example of connecting with truths in the scripture through the visuals God provides, and through that part of our intellect which is imagination.

A Final Encouragement
I urge you to read the great truths of the Word of God. Seriously ponder the word pictures and various stories through which God communicates Himself to us. Begin to connect these truth to you and your relationship with God by using your imagination.

This type of meditation will strengthen your faith and your connection with God. I do caution you to combine scholarly study with the imaginative function of your mind to allow the truth to have full impact on your faith.

“Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things in Your law/teachings/Word.”
Psalm 119:18 

Likewise!

A priest, a Levite, a man and a Samaritan were traveling on the same road. No, this is not the opening statement of a “priest and Rabbi” joke. It is a life teaching spoken by Jesus, the Son of God.

Review Terms
First let’s review terms so we can understand what Jesus is teaching us.

  • Priest – The word for priest in this passage is “hiereus” and refers to one who offers sacrifices to a god.
  • Levite – A Levite was a member of the tribe of Levi, a descendant of Aaron, (Moses’ brother) the first priest appointed by God. The tribe of Levi was assigned by God to perform certain duties associated with the tabernacle or temple and worship.

This passage does not indicate anything further about the priest or the Levite. A Levitical      priest or any other priest were considered righteous and therefore doers of righteous acts.

  • Samaritan – In the days of Jesus the term Samaritan had a very negative implication. At one time the Samaritans were people of the Jewish nation.

Around 721 BC, the Assyrians conquered and captured the Northern Kingdom of Israel. They carried off many people to Assyria. Those who were left behind eventually intermarried with the Assyrians and other foreign nations. They created their own system of worship and used a version of the Pentateuch as their scriptures.

These practices caused the “Samaritans” to be forever scorned by the Jewish people. They were no longer considered members of the covenant nation of Israel. They were outcasts and referred to as Samaritans  or “dogs” not Israelites. The Samaritans were treated with hatred, prejudice and disdain. Jewish people avoided any contact with or dealings with them.

  • Likewise – This expression comes from the Greek word “homoios” meaning equally in the same way: similarly.

Summary
This story is in Luke 10:25-37, Jesus is defining who our “neighbor” is and how we should view and interact with our neighbor.

  • A man travelling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked, brutally beaten; his possessions were stolen and he was left in the ditch to die. A priest and a Levite walked down that same road and each in turn passed by the injured man and did not stop to help.

The despised man, the one cast out of the religious community, the Samaritan gives aide, in fact he goes above and beyond to help this stranger. This stranger may have been an Israelite, one of the very people who held this man in contempt. The Samaritan provides immediate help and comforting, and provides for the stranger’s continued recovery.

A Closer Look
What did this Samaritan, whom Jesus’ says is the “good neighbor,” do? All the things the Samaritan does outline characteristics of heart and actions for us as to how to love others.

Intentional Sight – The Samaritan had “intentional” sight, meaning he “saw the man and “moved towards him with intent to help. The priest and the Levite saw the man and passed by him.

Indiscriminate Perspective – The Samaritan saw value in this man just as a fellow human being. He did not withhold his attention or help because of the man’s race, ethnicity, social standing, educational level, appearance, beliefs, character or need.

How often do I “pass by” or “pass over “ people because of their race, social standing, mental/emotional status, their appearance, their beliefs, or that they just seem too needy, too heavy to carry?

A Compassionate View – Jesus describes the Samaritans as seeing this man through eyes of compassion. The Greek word for compassion in this passage is “splagchnizomai” meaning he had a deep pity whelming up from deep inside his gut. This sense of tender consideration for another human being was entrenched deep inside the innards of this man.

He had a “gut” response – it came from within him and reveals his heart and character. How I respond to a person reveals my heart, my basic character.

Do I “shy away” from engaging the emotionally needy person? Do I avoid making eye contact or interacting with a person of another race; a homeless person; an elderly person; an overweight person; someone from another religion; someone in the LGBTQ community; or someone not in my “social/intellectual circle?” Do I consider it a waste of time to engage with someone who cannot appreciate me or advance my cause in some way?

Vulnerable Sight – The Samaritan was willing to put himself in a vulnerable position. He exposed himself to the possibility of being beaten and robbed.  He was already in an area where such an attack had very recently happened, but he risked his safety to help this man.
True compassion and love!

Healing Sight – The Samaritan had eyes to see the healing this man needed. He could have put this man on his donkey and brought him to the nearest town clinic. But he didn’t. First, he used his time (out in the open) and his resources to put oil and wine on this man’s wounds, and then to bind them up.

Surely such care would have been deemed sufficient, but the Samaritan had a view to see this man whole and well again. So, he lifts him and secures him on his animal in order to take him to a place where he can fully recover. The Samaritan walks the rest of the journey in order to help this man heal.

When the Samaritan gets to the town, he sets this man up in the care of an innkeeper and pays for whatever the man needs to recover. When I think about this it astounds me that the Samaritan sacrificed so much of himself to help a stranger, who actually may have been his enemy.

Just Stop and Think
I have to stop here because this story Jesus told gives me so much to ponder and examine within myself. The Samaritan is a shining example of loving others. It is almost too much to consider, yet it seems to be the spontaneous heart of the Samaritan to do these things. The Samaritan’s heart reveals his relationship with God and that he values those made in the image of God.

What do my interactions with and on behalf of others reveal about my heart and my relationship to God? Do I view others as valuable? If so, am I  stopping to build into that value, restore that value or just appreciate that value?

This is important stuff! In the context of Luke 10:25-37, Jesus says it has to do with the first commandment and my relationship to God, and inheriting eternal life. Jesus tells me to “go and do likewise – equally and in the same way,” as the Samaritan did!

Priceless!

Priceless!
Most people, myself included, want to be valued, respected, accepted and known. I have often sought my value in my characteristics, titles, positions or things I do.

In our society, we are schooled to do this from an early age. We learn what pleases others, what others esteem or value; and we tend to pattern ourselves after that. We work to earn and build our worth as perceived others.

This principle of seeking our value and identity in the valuation of us by others is a force at work in our life. There are times we may be aware of it, and other times that it is a subtle undercurrent in our life. We all want to be effective and contributing to our society, families and so on. But at times, this desire to achieve to help, to grow, to learn, can become confused with who we are and the concept of our worth.

This drive can be at work in our lives, even as believers in God, and active members in the fellowship of believers.

My Journey
I confess, I participated in this “value achieving cycle” both knowingly and unknowingly. Throughout my youth, it was communicated to me what my parents and others in my circle of life valued. Most had to do with my: physical appearance; scholastic achievements in terms of grades and various honors, titles and positions; but also with whom I was associated.

As a young professional, I pursued becoming  a master teacher in order to define myself and increase my value. ( I have to say, that I loved my work and the students ). However, once I stepped on that wheel it was difficult to get off.

During the first few years of my teaching profession, I learned about having a genuine relationship with God. I intellectually understood, but I was still running on that wheel of self – producing value. I became a follower of Jesus, however I later realized that I still had that misunderstanding of my identity and value. I merely changed the arena in which I sought my own “self – generated value.”

But God is a loving Father, His reputation and honor does not stand or fall based on my achievements. He has worked patiently with me through the years to reveal to me who I am “becoming in Him” since the day I said “Yes” to the salvation Jesus offered.

Slowly and patiently, at levels I could understand, God began to uncover my faulty value system, and to  reveal to me my true identity and value in Him. Seeking self- value in things I have done or the status I have gained in the eyes of men and women, had blinded me to seeing God’s value and identity for me.

Knowing Who You Are in the Eyes of God Is Everything
If we meditate, humbly and intentionally, on truths from God’s Word about who we are in Him and His value for us, it is transforming.

These truths are throughout the scripture. I want to share some of the references to these truths with you for your further consideration.

The True Reveal
In Christ Jesus we have these identities that reveal God’s value of us. This “valuing by God” is real, even if we do not perceive it. My perception does not change truths of God..

I am a child of the living God, John1 :12-13
I am a partaker in God’s divine nature, 2 Peter 1:3-4
I am a temple for the Spirit of God,1 Corinthians 6:19
I am a member of the Household of God, Hebrews 3:6
I am a masterpiece of God, hand-crafted by Him,  Eph. 2:10
I am a treasure chest of God, 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
I am the aroma of Christ spreading the fragrance of His life and victory, 2 Corinthians 15-16
I am holy and blameless before God in Christ, Eph. 1:4-7; Hebrews 10:14
I am the righteousness of God in Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24
I am a vessel of honor in the house of God, 2 Timothy 2:21
I am a personal Ambassador of Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
I am a royal priest of God, 1 Peter 2:9
I am a friend of Jesus, John 15:15; Romans 4:3-5
I am a victor in Christ, Romans 8:37

It Is True
These statements declare the truth about who I am and who you are in Christ. Each truth reveals our identity in Christ, but also how esteemed and valued we are by God. The fact that I am hand-crafted by God, or that He makes me a partaker of His very nature, speaks volumes as to the depth of His love and valuing of me/us.

There are other similar truths in the scriptures that are not referenced here, and they also reveal who we are, what we now have in Jesus, and what we are empowered by Jesus to do.

I listen intently to these truths that Jesus speaks over me through His Word. There are days that my past, my relationships, my experiences, my insecurities, social media and my failings speak another message of who I am and what my value is. Reading these truths of God ground me.

Proof that God Values Us
A favorite scripture that always brings me back to a right mindset about my value and identity is stated  in 1 Peter 1:18-19.

  • For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Look at all the “valuing” in this passage:

God, the Creator and Sustainer of all life – the eternal all majestic God, redeemed me/us from an empty living, that is a life of not knowing our true identity, value and purpose. He deliberately planned to redeem us from the cycle of creating our own identity, and/or from being shaped into the mold of the world’s identities.

God redeemed That is, God bought us out of the emptiness and darkness of the kingdom of this world and brought us into His light and refuge.  Do we really know what and who we have been ransomed from?  We have been bought out of enslavement to sin, darkened understanding of who we are, out of an unrealized relationship with the prince of darkness, and out of alienation in relationship with God. Colossians 1:13-14 details this:

  • “He (God) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

God redeemed us. The ransom price, the buyback price, is the life blood of Jesus, the Son of God – God with us. In a sense, God rescued His kidnapped children, not with millions of dollars, or gold or jewels, but with the blood of Jesus, the Son of God. This is a truth that requires prayerful thought.

Closing Reflections:

  • What/who is the source of my identity and value? Is it me; my achievements; my status among people; my relationships,; my connections; my reputation; or, is God and my relationship with Him the basis of my identity and worth?
  • Re-think who you are. Each day, read one of the identity scriptures presented in this article and ask God to reveal to you what each truth means for your life.

Story Busters #1

We all have a story, actually we have many stories about our life and who we are. These are narratives that we have learned to tell ourselves, and they exert a powerful control over us.

Truly the origin and influence of such narratives belongs in the realm of psychology, but not entirely. They also are in our spiritual realm, and impact our faith and growth as daughters and sons of God.

Throughout our life, people and our experiences have molded these stories.  The problem with most of these stories is that they are not true or I should say, they are not fully true.

We need to take time to think about these narratives about who we are – that we have fashioned or that have been fashioned  for us. If we are not alert to life in the Spirit, or to the spiritual world, these false stories will rule our lives.

 It’s All in Your Mind
Our mind, that is  – how we think, has a most significant role in our walk with God. The mind is the major arena from which our life plays out. We know this because God addresses our minds in many ways. In a sense, God is saying, “Make sure you are believing the right story/narrative about you and Me.”

Romans 12:2 declares the importance of the mind:

  • “Do not conform to the pattern of this world (to the story or narrative of this world), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We see this same thread of thought again in Ephesians 4:21-24 which reveals the true narrative about God and me/you.

  • “Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him—in keeping with the truth that is in Jesus ( in keeping with the true narrative about you and God) — to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

In the parable of the “prodigal son”, we see a young man who was believing some false narratives about who he was, and about his relationship with his father. In this parable the Holy Spirit emphasizes the importance of our mind in our relationship with God.

Luke 15 narrates the story of this “lost” son. The Spirit  in verse 17 says: ““But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!

The expression “when he came to himself” literally means when he came to a better mind; when he had a right way of thinking, a right way of framing who he is and his relationship with his father.

The Word of God and Our Stories
Truths from the Word of God have the power to demolish our false narratives. The truths of God are story busters, so to speak. The divine truth has a power to destroy the siegeworks of our false narratives.

This truth is stated in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

  • “The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We tear down arguments and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

The word “arguments” in verse 5 refers to: flawed conclusions based on false assumptions; narratives that are against the truths of God – that are in contrast to the true narrative that God reveals about Himself and us in Christ Jesus in His Word.

The weapons of God have the power of God to breakdown, to destroy the siege works of our false narratives.

Truth-Busts through the Siegeworks
I want to review some basic truths that will demolish the false stories we tend to live by. Though we may know these truths, we have to understand that there is a difference between knowing and believing. If I do not apply personal faith to these truths for my life and my relationship with God, I will have spent my life being religious, but will have missed truly knowing God.

Story Buster #1 – I am a new creation, the old has no part in who I am. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

  • Therefore if anyone is in Christ, she/he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

I have been made new by God through my faith in Jesus and His atoning blood. The old narratives/stories no longer define me and have power over me. The truth of what Jesus has done for me and in me – breaks the pattern of the old and reveals the truth of who I am.

Not only that, but I did not achieve this with anything I have done, God did it by accepting the sacrifice of His Son on my behalf and reconciling me, making me right with Him and bringing me into His presence.

Also, not only am I restored to God’s image, but I am brought into God’s mission and ministry of busting false narratives and restoring His true image in others.

Story Buster #2- There is no condemnation for me, because I have been set free from the power of sin and death. (Rom 8:1-2)

  • Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set you free from the law of sin and death.…

This is a life – giving truth for all of us, but especially for those who are taunted by their past narratives of never being worthy, and feeling weighed down by their sin. The truth is Jesus makes us worthy. My worthiness is based in His forgiveness and the righteousness that He gives to me. (Eph. 1:7-8; 2 Cor. 5:21)

Do the Work- Make the Choice
These are only two of the powerful truths of God, there are more that we will explore in the future. Take time to do the work:

  • thinking about the narratives that rule you;
  • finding of these truths that will set you free:
  • choosing to trust these truths daily.

I choose to live by these freeing truths. Not only do these truths free me from the truth that I was an enemy of God, but they free me from all the false narratives and constructs I and others have woven around me, such as: who I am, who God is, who I am in relationship to God and who I am in relation to others.

These truths have the power to demolish the siegeworks that hold me captive. But I need to choose to look at my true state , as well as the resultant false narratives, and then choose to believe the true story of God and me – everyday!

 

You, Yes You, Are Pregnant – with the Son of God

What a statement! Sounds a little crazy, maybe even freaky, but it is true! When we hear a proclamation such as this, our minds might think immediately of Mary, but not ourselves.

Mary was the young woman in in Nazareth who became the mother of Jesus. When the messenger of God brought the declaration to her that she would become pregnant and bring forth the Son of God into the world – she was concerned. The scripture says she was troubled and fearful. Here is a summary of the account in Luke 1:27-32; 35-35.

  • God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David . . .  “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”  The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

In Luke 1:29 the word “troubled” means: acutely distressed in her inner self with emotional stress and thoughts going back and forth in her mind.

Surely, Mary is trying to figure out how or why she was favored. Imagine all the thoughts and emotions that were swirling around as to being unmarried and pregnant, not to mention the shock of seeing an angel.

Confusion, concern and fear of what this means, and anxiety as to how this will be worked in her and in her life.

The angel told Mary this is from the grace of God, God’s grace to her and to all mankind. The word for “grace” is used here, meaning that what is about to occur has nothing to do with Mary’s value or worthiness but it comes from God’s grace . It is a gift, a blessing, undeserved, the unearned favor of God. It is the same word that is used of God saving us through His grace.

  • … But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Eph. 2:4-5

In a sense, we like Mary, are pregnant with the Son of God. You may be questioning, “What? How can this be, since I am a sinner.?”

We are pregnant with Christ through the Spirit of Christ in us. Scriptures verify this truth, that through our faith, repentance and baptism into Christ we have His Spirit living inside of us.

  • Because you are sons and daughters, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6
  • Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
  • And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

Transformed to Be Like the Son of God
Paul used the birth analogy as he explained how teaching the followers of Christ was like being a mother waiting for the image of Christ to be formed in them and birthed into the world.

  • My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, Galatians 4:19

God’s plan was not only to bring us into a relationship with Him but to transform us by restoring His image in us. God does this by the sanctifying work of His Spirit in us.

  • But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 2 Thess.2:13
  • And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:18
  • For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29

What does this mean for us?
We have been saved through our faith in the sacrifice of Jesus. The Spirit of Christ is now in us.
We are pregnant with Christ through His Spirit in us. We are to give birth to Jesus, so to speak, by letting His nature, character and purpose come through us to others.

This purpose of Christ in us is made clear through scripture.

Jesus, Himself, identifies His followers as light and salt to the world. Our purpose is to shine forth Jesus in such a way that people are drawn to God so they too can have a relationship with God.

  • You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5 :14

The apostle Paul repeats this imagery with more specific details relating having a treasure inside us and this treasure being the light to give out the knowledge of God.

  • For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7

In 2 Corinthians 3:3, Paul characterizes this mission of giving birth to Jesus unto the world in a unique way by identifying the followers of Jesus as letters form Christ to be read by all.

  • You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Paul further clarifies the idea of giving birth to Christ in us when he states that we are representatives of Christ in this world. We as ambassadors of Christ to show forth His image to the world, with the hope of reconciling people back to God.

  • We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Cor.5:20

 Reflection
This is an amazing truth. I am still marveling at this truth. I am asking myself several questions.

  • Is this true in my life? Do I truly have the Spirit of Jesus living in me? (Romans 8:9)
  • Am I submitting my will to the Spirit daily and allowing myself to be led by Him and transformed by Him? (Romans 8:12-14)
  • What about this thought brings out resistance in me? Why?
  • How am I showing the image of Jesus to the world; to my sisters and brother in Christ; to my family?

Also, I have to ask myself:

  • Do I like Mary grasp the glory and privilege of this truth?
  • Can I say with her, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For He has looked with favor on the humble state of His servant.” Luke 1:46-48a

My final thought for meditation is that I/we have been chosen to bear Christ to the world!

Not Just Another Face in the Crowd

Just one among the multitude! There are times in my life when I feel like a “no name,” just one amidst a large busy, clamoring crowd. I can feel that I have no outstanding characteristics or status that would draw God’s eye to me. I feel I am just one mixed in among the many who seek being known, who seek God’s attention.

Today, I read Mark 5:24-34, which records the account of  a woman who suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years, and her condition was growing worse.  Her status was low in her society; she was a woman, and she was considered an outcast because of her continuous flow of blood. Actually, she should not have even been within that crowd of people, but there she was packed into the multitude.

Words that stand out to me in this passage are:  a great crowd followed Him; suffered for many years; growing worse; heard about Jesus; came up from behind Him in the crowd; touched His garment; felt the healing in her body; came before Him trembling; and He said “daughter.”

No Qualifying Status
This woman was an outcast in her community because she had the flow of blood. She had no title, position of honor or respect. She had everything that would push people away, but nothing to draw people to her.

It is an interesting contrast that the Holy Spirit records for us in this passage. Jesus was actually walking  through the crowd on His way to heal the daughter of a man of status, title and reputation, that is Jairus, one of the rulers of the local synagogue. He was not only accepted in his community but also regarded with honor. He was viewed as entitled to receive the attention and help of Jesus. Notice Jairus is referred to by name, but the “bleeding woman” is not. She is a no name, just a face in the crowd.

There are moments when I am calling out to God that I think, “who am I, what do I have to bring” that merits God’s attention to me? This story gives me a right perspective on the all-encompassing love of God, and how He views the value of each one of us, of each face in the crowd.

Down Low but Seen
This woman knew she was viewed as an outcast. She may even have identified herself as that. Yet she had heard reports of Jesus, who He is and the power He has. She heard of this Son of God healing  and restoring people’s lives, setting them free from their bondage. Her desperation, hope and faith moved her through the crowd to Jesus.

While she had faith, she approached Jesus with full understanding of her poverty of status and of spirit. Mark 5:27 states, “ she heard of the reports of Jesus and came up from behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.”

What humility! What faith! This woman did not even stand face to face to plead her cause. She did not show her face so that Jesus could see her deep desire, the desperation and sadness written on her face. She did not cling to his hand and pull on Him! She approached from behind and stretched out her hand to touch His clothing! And Jesus, God in the flesh, stopped and looked for her in the crowd.

Different Eyes
The scripture says that God/Jesus stopped! Turned around in the crowd! Asked to see and meet who touched Him (Mk. 5:30). His disciples discouraged His knowing her, but Jesus persisted.

The scripture says that he kept looking around to see her (Mk. 5:32). The woman was healed the moment she touched Jesus’ garment. She knew it; she trembled in awe and fear. Jesus knew it and turned to see her.

Jesus looked at her with different eyes. He did not have the censoring eyes of the religious community; He did not have the eyes of social superiority, even though He is God; He did not have the selfish apathetic eyes of the world. Jesus has the eyes of God, the eyes of welcoming love and kindness.

Jesus did not look for her status, the titles behind her name, her position in the community, her connections, the list of achievements, her outer beauty, or the togetherness of her outfit. He saw a woman of faith, a women in need of help and lifting up.

Up to this point in the story, the woman had no name, and was on the fringe of acceptance in her community; but Jesus addressed her as “daughter,” a term of endearment and belonging.

I see this incredible scene  amidst the multitude, the woman trembling with joy and fear, on her knees. I see Jesus turning his body fully towards her. Jesus reaching out his hand, helping her up, looking into her eyes, while tenderly saying “daughter!”

The Same Love for You
If today, you are feeling like “just” another face in the crowd, feeling uncherished, and not valued, stop because that is a lie!

Read this passage again and see how Jesus views you. Put your self in the scene as the bleeding woman. See His love. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  You are not “just a blurred face in the crowd!” you are valued and cherished by Jesus. He sees you.

God knew we would have difficulty seeing and grasping His love. I believe that is why the Spirit recorded and preserved Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesians 3.  This is a good prayer for us to pray for others and ourselves.

“May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:18-19

Leaning Into God – Magnifying God-5

Ankyloglossia is the Greek term for “stiff-tongue.” It is a medical condition that a person is born with and can affect their ability to take nourishment, as well as impact speech as a child develops.

At times when I try to express my thanksgiving and praise to God, I feel like I have a “stiff tongue.” So, as you know from previous blog posts, this January I began a journey to learn from the Word of God how to express my thanksgiving and praise to Him. I have invited you on this journey.

 Deeper Gleanings
The learning curve is high. I am discovering direction from God in His word for what to praise him and even what to say as we saw in Psalm 66:3. Here the Spirit literally tells us what to say.

  • Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! How great is your power that your enemies cringe before You.”

As the Spirit reveals in the Word the what and the how about expressing thanks to God, I am also learning about the Who.  I am seeing God, His character; who He is; how He thinks about me (us), and how He interacts with us.

Thank You for Your Faithfulness
In my search for how to more adequately express my thanks and praise to God I learn from David in Psalm 138:2 that he advocates thanking and praising God for His faithfulness.

  • “I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness.”

As we follow the psalmist’s lead and praise God for his faithfulness it opens a door for us the see God and to know Him as faithful to us.

Deuteronomy 7:9 makes a clear statement about the nature and character of God as being faithful.

  • “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

In Acts 2:38-39, we see the fulfillment pf this promise unto us and generations after us.

  • Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off (generations to come), everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Lean On Him
In Deuteronomy 7:9 God is identified as the faithful God. The word for faithful in that text is “aman” meaning confirming, supporting, reliable. The faithful one is the one who sustains, carries, nurtures, supports and builds up. The faithful one is trustworthy and can be leaned on. The faithful one is consistent in being true and right.

God, as the Faithful One is consistent in daily applying His love, mercy grace and care for us. In Lamentations 3:22-23, Jeremiah describes this faithfulness as emanating from God’s devotion to us.

  • “Because of the loving devotion of the LORD we are not consumed, for His mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!”

This truth about the faithful nature of God sounds a resounding chord of hope within me. It assures me that God is faithful to be forgiving and merciful to me every day.

I can lean on this truth when that accusatory voice sounds within me, reciting all the ways I failed, all the ways I missed the mark. That voice that reverberates with echoes of “you are not worthy; you are not good enough; yet again you messed up.”  It is that voice shaded in darkness that we all hear.

But, knowing that God is faithful, that He is consistent in His love and grace to us and that I can lean on Him for support in my weakness leads me to life, hope and faith. That hope explodes in praise to God for His faithfulness to me.

Facets of Faithfulness
There are many ways that God is faithful to us. As a meditation exercise, read the verses below. Let them speak to you and help connect with God’s faithfulness in your life.

God’s faithfulness is a protection.

  • “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Ps. 91:4

God’s faithfulness is eternal.

  • “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and bless His name. For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Ps. 100:4-5

God’s work is done in faithfulness.

  • “For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. 33:4”

We see God is faithful in His work of salvation to us . This truth of God’s devoted faithfulness is attested to in 1 Corinthians 1:8-9.

  • He will sustain you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”

The Faithful One is with us in the hard times.

When I am going through hard times it is difficult for me to see God’s faithfulness. Sometimes, in the fog of hurt and pain, I have to hold onto the truth of the scripture by making a choice to believe He is there. There are many promises of God’s faithfulness to us. Here are a few, add some of your favorite ones.

  • “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” Ps. 46:1
  • “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear for You are with me.” Ps. 23:4

Look for Faithfulness
Sometimes the stress and difficulties of life obscure God’s faithfulness to me. It is easy for me to recall the most wondrous act of God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His promise to send His Son to save us and to draw us into His presence.

I can trace this persistent faithfulness of God through the Old Testament and New Testament and into my life today.  But seeing His faithfulness as I walk through the events and relationships of my daily life takes an intentional focus.

The other day I was struggling with being hurt by a relationship that I have. Even after various steps of reconciliation, difficulties remained. I began to focus on the hurt, my thoughts produced fear and lack of peace and trust in God.

I began to look for God’s faithfulness to me in this.  I prayed for God to comfort me, to renew my thinking and faith about how He was feeling about me. Later that day I was listening to a spiritual song and it was like God himself encouraging me, reminding me of His grace and love for me.

Also, later that day I received an email from the person who is mediating this difficulty. In this email she communicated her love and acceptance for me. These were glimpses of God’s faithfulness to me.

Be intentional about seeing God’s faithfulness in your life.

  • Pray and ask God to show you, to open your eyes to see His faithfulness and open your ears to hear it.
  • Find a scripture that speaks God’s faithfulness to you. Read it as you ask God to help you see how it connects to you.
  • Make a mental picture of you in this faithfulness scripture. Mine is Ps. 23:4. In that picture I see myself a lamb walking through a shadowy valley, but I am at the side of the Good Shepherd, leaning into His leg. He has His staff in His right hand and every now and then He puts His hand on my head or back to reassure me that He is there.
  • Take time to think about all the ways God has shown His faithfulness to you.
  • Write them down, and then thank God for each one.

Chosen by God: Journey to Magnify God – 4

Mary, the mother of Jesus, praised God for being “chosen” by God to give birth to the Son of God. Jesus, the Son of God lived within Mary’s womb for nine months. Amazing to think that the majestic God who is full of glory and splendor lived within that very small space of her womb (Phil. 2:6-7).

Mary was confused and full of fear. She wondered how could such a thing happen. The angel told her it would be through the Holy Spirit that this would happen.

In the days in which Mary lived this “choosing” by God brought difficulty and suffering, possible death. An unwed mother in those days brought much shame and reproach upon herself. In Matthew we read that even her betrothed, Joseph, doubted her innocence and resolved to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:19-20).

Yet, Mary gave thanks and praise to God for this honor, not only the honor of bringing the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior, into the world; but also, the honor of having God, the Son of God, live in her.

“And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For He has looked with favor (grace) on the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His name. His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation…” Luke 1:46-50

Mary: Not the Only Chosen One
Like Mary, you and I have been and are being chosen to have the presence of God inside of us, and to grow into that presence.

God is very upfront in revealing this truth to us that God, the Spirit of God lives in us.

Peter revealed this truth in Acts 2:38. This was a truth for his generation and for all the generations of true believers to come after.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise belongs to you and your children and to all who are far off (from generation to generation) —to all whom the Lord our God will call to Himself.” Acts 2:38-39

Other scriptures verify this truth:

  • “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”  2 Timothy 1:14
  • “. . . the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you.” John 14:7
  • “ But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11

These are deep truths.  Do I believe them? Will I hold unto them when the evidence of my own life contradicts them? Will I let them set me free?

Christ Growing in You
As Jesus grew inside the womb of Mary, so He is growing inside each believer.

As I give space to Jesus by dying to myself, Jesus’ nature and character are being formed within me and I am becoming more “one” with Him. Scriptures promise us this, John 17:20-23.

You may think if you knew me and how messed up I am, and even how very unlike Jesus I am; you would know how hard it is to believe this.

It is hard for me to believe this, especially when I look at myself and do not look at Jesus or the power of His Spirit to raise up and to give life. It is hard for me to believe when I try to fix or change myself and do not give myself over to the truth and the power of God’s Spirit.

When Mary was struggling with belief and trying to “reason it out” she asked the angel, “How can this be?” The angel answered her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and do this. (Luke 1:34-35)

God encourages us with the same words when we try to reason out how can this change happen. God says it is the Spirit who does this.

Meditate on these truths:

  • And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:18
  • But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13
  • He saved us, not by the righteous deeds we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This is the Spirit He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we would become heirs with the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:5-7
  • Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

So then …
As you contemplate how to give thanks to God and how to formulate your words of praise to Him think about praising Him for “choosing to live inside of you.”

As you take time to praise God ,let the understanding of who God is, and what He is doing in you be magnified to you  – and reflect on these questions:

  • What does the story of Mary’s having been chosen and the scriptures of you being chosen to have God in you, say to you? What words describe your feelings about this?
  • How does this truth that “God lives in you” change your view of who you are and what your value is?
  • What are ways that you have seen Christ growing in you? List these and give thanks to God for this growth.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.        1 Peter 2:9

Stand by Me (Magnifying God -3)

The Bible is like a magnifying glass.  The scriptures have a way of focusing my sight and enlarging my understanding of God. I am reading the scriptures to see God magnified up close so I can know Him and then magnify Him to others. As I do this, I am finding truths about God’s character and heart towards us, and I am learning how to express praise and thanks to Him.

Psalm 75:1 reveals and magnifies the truth that God is near to us, and that is a cause for praise to God.

  • “We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds.”

The phrase “your Name is near” means that God is near to us. God’s name(s) are very important because they represent who God is. For example, in Exodus  3:14 God reveals that His Name is Yahweh – I AM WHO I AM. That term means God is self-existing and is the source of all life and existence.  God Is.

When the psalmist writes Psalm 75:1 that the Name of God is near to us, he means Yahweh, the “I AM”- the source of all existence is near to us. I am reassured to know that the “Life giving God” is near me.  This truth has given me courage and comfort as I daily walk through this pandemic.

In Joshua 22: 22a  some of the Israelites call God by the name LORD (Yahweh) and then they refer to God as Elohim which means “the Mighty One.”

  • “The LORD, the Mighty One, is God! The LORD, the Mighty One, is God!” Josh.22:22a

So, in Psalm 75:1 when the psalmist says “for Your Name is near,” he is saying, “God the Mighty One,” is near to me/you.

I am encouraged to know that God, the Mighty One who has all power and strength is near me.  When I am feeling weak, vulnerable, frustrated and overwhelmed with life, knowing that I can turn to “the Mighty One” for help gives me relief. He is by my side. I am not alone.

We could go through the list of the names for God and get the same reassurance in faith as with these two examples, that the God who is the definition of all His Names is near to us.

In Other Words
The scriptures provide many ways of conveying this truth that God is near; that He is a personal God involved in our life.  God is not just a distant power, but rather, He is a God who seeks to be close to us all the time and most especially in our times of need.

Here are some of the ways the Spirit confirms this truth.

  • Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
  • Psalm 145:18 – The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.
  • Psalm 119:151 – You are near, O LORD, and all Your commandments are truth.
  • 16:8- I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
  • Psalm 73:28 – But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.

Psalm 119:7-10 poetically expresses this continual nearness and presence of God who acts on my behalf.

  • “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Hard to Believe
When I am hurting, feeling  confused by the difficulties of life or betrayed by my own contrary nature which often seems to default to thinking, saying and doing things I don’t really want to,  I can struggle with believing God is near, or that God even wants me near Him.

This thinking is flawed and not based on truth.  God wants to be near us, He wants to have a deep personal friendship with us. The scriptures reassure us of this truth.

In James 4:8a we read, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” So, it is not a matter of whether God wants to be near me, but whether I am choosing to come near to Him, and whether I am making moves towards Him in faith.

In Ephesians 1: 4 and  2:13, we read how God brings all men near to Him through the blood of Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles: “ For He chose us(Israel) in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love, He preplanned for us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will. . . 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.”

God’s desire for us to be near Him, in a very personal relationship with Him, was not a mere “good idea,” but it became reality in sending Jesus to destroy the barrier between God and us so we could be near God.

God in Us!
God is so “near” that He is in us who believe
. The scripture speaks this truth in many forms. At times, when I am lost in my “self”  I need to be reminded of this truth. Here are a few encouraging passages for study and meditation.

  • “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16
  • “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27
  • “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him/her.” John 14:23
  • “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” 1 Corinthians 2:12

 Respond with Praise
As I learn who God is and what His heart is towards me, I am encouraged, re-assured, and filled with a sense of security to know God  is near me and in me. The psalmist who wrote Psalm 75:1 describes correctly what my response should be: “We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near.”

  • Meditate on this truth, that God is near to you. Consider these questions:
    What does this truth that God is near me and in me mean to my faith and my life?
  • Have I been living in the presence of God?
  • What will I do today to draw near to God?
  • Take some time to give praise and thanks to God for choosing to be close to you.

Remember, Recount, Revived!

When I was growing up there was a boy in my class in elementary school who stuttered. His name was Johnny. His stuttering was to such a degree that he rarely was able to express his thoughts, ideas and feelings. His frustration was palpable, you could see it and feel it in the air. I see Johnny’s face to this day, the frustration, the sadness  and shame that he could not share his ideas and his heart with us. I wish I could have helped him.

In my quest to learn how to magnify God and to praise Him, I can experience a similar frustration as Johnny did. I stutter to magnify God – to make Him big; to tell of Him in a way that brings His value and His glory to light.

What kinds of words do we use that are capable of showing how great and wonderful God is? What can I say that can enlarge God to others in such  a way that they see His nature, His power and His love in a very real way?

I was reading in Psalm 66 the other day and I realized that God actually tells us how to do this. In Psalm 66:3, the Spirit says: “Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! How great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.”

The Spirit is telling us what to say in order to magnify God to others, and what to say as we praise God in our private and public worship.

I could not help Johnny in elementary school to express himself, but today through the word of God, the Spirit helps me express praise to God and magnify Him.

Say It! Again!
When I recount or re-tell the awesome deeds of God, I am magnifying Him to others and praising Him. This thought is presented over and over again in the scriptures. Here are a few references to this way of magnifying God.

  • “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works— and I will proclaim your great deeds.” Psalm 145:4-6
    (We magnify God to our children by recounting His wonderful deeds, in so doing they know God and learn to trust Him).
  • “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” Psalm 107:21
  • I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High

What are the wonderful deeds of God?
They are many, we can’t recount them all. We do not know them all. But when you are meditating on the wonderful deeds of God think about what is written in the Word. Think of how he planned, even before the creation of the world, to save us through the redemptive work of His Son, Jesus, (Ephesians 1:4-7)

Think about how God created the world out of nothing, just from the power of His thoughts and words. (Genesis 1-2; Hebrews 11:3)

Think about the wonderful deeds God performed to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt, and to deeds God performed to establish His King, our Messiah in this world.

Think of the wonderful deeds Jesus did that reveal the character and heart of God. Think of how Jesus gave sight to the blind; showed compassion and healed the lepers; straightened crooked limbs; gave life to withered hands; healed the body and the souls by forgiving sins; raised the dead, and many more.

We cannot magnify God to others, or worship and praise Him without recounting His wondrous deeds, because God is these deeds.

Remembering + Recounting = Revival
Recounting the wondrous deeds of God is a way we praise God, but in so doing it also can revive our faith in Him and restore in our hearts a sense of awe for God.

This idea of recounting and reviving is described very specifically in Psalm 77. The psalmist is  experiencing hard times. He talks  about groaning, sleepless nights, and an inability to express his struggle in words.

In his personal agony he questions God’s love and care of him. He accuses God of rejecting  and forgetting him, Psalm 77:7-8. He doubts God’s love for him, and questions if there ever was love from God for him, Psalm 77:8. He feels that he cannot trust God’s promises and wonders if God has any sense of compassion for him, Ps. 77:8b-9.

I have felt some of those things at times; forgotten and pushed aside by God, and questioned God’s trustworthiness. The psalmist searches his memory and what he knows of God. As he does this he reviews the wondrous deeds of God.

So, he remembers and recounts the wondrous deeds of God, and as he does his faith is revived and he concludes:

“ I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. Your ways, God, are holy. What God is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. “ Psalm 77:11-14

Remembering and recounting or re-telling the wondrous deeds of God, revives my faith!

God’s Ultimate Wondrous Deed
We may never be able to recount all the wondrous deeds of God, because we do not know all of them. However, the greatest of the wondrous deeds has been revealed to us and that is God was sending His Son into this world in the form of a man to become the ultimate sin offering to atone for our sins that we might come into God’s presence, into a right relationship with God. And, that through His Spirit, God would live inside of us. Let’s read a little about this wondrous deed.

  • “… all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” Romans 3:24-25a
  • “Brothers and sisters, because of the blood of Jesus we can now confidently go into the holy place (the presence of God).” Hebrews 10:19 (GWT)
  • “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3:18

This short article cannot adequately express the wondrous deeds of God, so let’s end with this prayer.

Father God, teach us about you, how magnificent and wonderful you are. Teach us how to magnify you to others by knowing and  recounting your wondrous deeds. Help us to see and understand the wondrous salvation you provided for us through the atoning blood of Jesus, through his resurrection; and the breathtaking truth that Your Spirit lives in us and transforms us to be like you.

      “Magnify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:3