Imagination

This morning we are going to talk about imagination.  I have talked about this before.  But, the Lord has been talking to me about it again over the last 90 days. Usually I ponder on stuff for a while, and think about it. But, last week God said, “I want you to start releasing this,” and I said okay. It is funny, because we know when we get something and we don’t have the fullness of that revelation yet.

As we begin to share it more fullness comes because somebody else will get a piece of it, and as we release it there is really like a corporate anointing that joins in it to bring it more forward. I think it is going to challenge us a little bit. Because I know it challenges me, and it will also stretch us a little bit. You know that God likes to stretch us and if we allow it we will be activated in a different way. And I want to be activated in the fullness that God has for me and that is what I want for us.

I want to pray for our minds to be centered on what God wants us to know. Lord we thank You for Your Word. Your Word is active and alive and as we press into Your Word we really want to cooperate with You Lord. We reason together, as Your Word states in Isaiah 1:18 – “Come and let us reason together.” We want to press into this Word and You will help us to unfold it in our own lives. In Jesus name, Amen. I know I preached on imagination a couple of years ago in April 2015. This message is on the archives on our website, www.wearethegathering.com, so you can go back and look at it.

In March, God began talking to me about partnering with Him about using our imagination. And, I am like okay. But, He wants us to partner with Him using our imagination for healing, and for the things that are burning in our hearts, and for the things that still need to come forward in our lives.

And, as a body of believers I think the imagination has been tethered by us because we are afraid of it. As I was teaching on this at someone else’s church, someone raised their hand and said, “We are supposed to cast down our imagination.” That is where they ended the scripture. I think I have told you this story before. I said, yes we are. But, that is not actually what the scripture says. I am going to read the scripture, 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Cast down imaginations in every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. And bring into captivity every thought that we are supposed to cast down, everything that sets itself high above God.” – That sets itself against God.

The imagination is part of who we are, it is part of who God created us to be.  He gave us an imagination that is part of our DNA and that is part of who we are. When we choose not to use part of who we are and what God gave us, then we have a missing piece as to where He wants to take us. We have got to use everything that God gave us. It would be like saying I have an index finger, but I am not going to use it. So, I am going do everything like this because I think this might be bad. Or, I might do something against God, because I don’t understand what my index finger is for. We handicap ourselves when we don’t use the fullness of what God has given us, and when we are afraid to step into something that God has given us.

God is going to train us and teach us how to use it. When we are afraid and say well, “I don’t trust myself to keep my imagination under control,” then we are also sending a message to God saying, “I don’t trust You to have enough influence over me to be able to use my imagination in a way that brings glory to You.”

So, we have to remember that God made us who we are. He gave us our mind, He gave us our heart, He gave us our soul, and He gave us our emotions. His Word says that we are no longer bound by sin because we have been made new in Christ. Bondage to sin has been broken over us.  The life of Christ is in us and we have been renewed. When we are so afraid that we are going to fall into sin, all we need to do is press into the Word, press into the community, and to trust God to lead us into the fullness that He has for us for whatever we are thinking about. We have to realize that there has to be a level of trust of who God is to guide us wherever we go.

And, if we say that God can only guide us through our spirit, but not our soul and heart, our mind and our imagination – He is not powerful enough for that, then we lose where we are supposed to go. Because, we have said there is a wall between us and God. That is what has happened with this whole thing of imagination. We have been so afraid to think and imagine what something would look like because we have been tethered by the thought of, “What if I think of something that is not of God, so I am not going to think at all.” Now that actually sounds stupid doesn’t it? Now, really!

But, we do get afraid of the power that God has given us in our mind, in our imagination, in our ability to bring forth what He has planned for this season. We want to be able to bring forth what He has planned for us. The way to do that is to be able to imagine what it might look like. Has anyone ever built a house before? If so, you began to dream what you would like it to look like. As you began to dream, you imagined looking at the plans. You think about, would I like it to look this way, or would I like to cover this? You are imagining what you would like it to look like. And, you are bringing it to life by taking those actions to get it to come forward.

So, I just want us to think about where are we in using our imagination. Do we feel free to use it, or are we more hesitant to use it because we are not sure how to use it? Or, if we are even supposed to use it? In Ephesians 3:20 it says, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us.” So, His power is at work within all of us. It is not segregated to just 4 of my fingers – His power is at work in all of us! In all parts of our body. It says the eyes of your understanding in Ephesian 1:17, “The eyes of your imagination, your mind, your thoughts, have been opened.” So, I want to open up the thoughts of your imagination this morning. Don’t be afraid. Because the Word says in Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinks in his heart, he is.” As you think, you become. That is the reason we are supposed to keep our eyes on what is good and what is holy and what is perfect and righteous, because that is what we become. That is why we are to keep our eyes on those things. This is why we keep our eyes on Jesus. The more we behold Him, the more we become like Him.

It is funny, isn’t it? I think about that, and think God, I know that even in that song, “I can only Imagine.” Did anyone see that movie? Was it good? When that song came out it really spurred people to imagine what is it going to really be like once we get to heaven? What’s it going to be like when I see Him face to face? You imagine it and your imagination center opens up. And you begin to think about what it is going to look like. The song says, do I dance before you, do I fall on my face? I don’t know what I would do. But, you know there were some pictures that went through his mind in order to think about that song.

So, I want us to really open up our image center and begin to imagine with God. It is a partnership with God. We don’t do anything separate from God. So it is a partnership with God.  And, we can imagine for small things and we can imagine for big things. Sometimes it doesn’t always turn out exactly the way we want it to. I remember when we were first looking for a building. There was a building that we thought we wanted. We began to pray about it, imagine it, and what it would look like for us to be in there. As it turned out, it was way more than we could afford. We would have had to have a miracle from heaven pour into our bank account or a great benefactor or something. But, in the same moment, we had seen this place, and we were dreaming about what we could do.

Would we be able to have our healing rooms? Would we be able to do a lot more since we were sharing a spot and we had limited access? So we were imagining having our own place and we were looking at different places. But, when we found this place, it matched where we were supposed to be. And, it is interesting because the other place had all kinds of roof problems, leakage problems, and all that kind of stuff. Even though we could imagine for that, it wasn’t God’s best for us. His best for us was here, and when we saw this, we knew it because everything we thought about fit perfectly in here. So I want to encourage us to imagine.

I want us to go to Genesis 2:19-20 – Do you use your imagination much? Some say yes – some say nothing. It is not a trick question. Gene says we use it all the time, we just don’t realize it. And, that is true. So, in verse 19 of Genesis 2, it says, “So the Lord formed out of the ground every animal of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And, whatever the man called the living creature that was its name. And, the man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds in the air, and to the animals in the field.” Then it goes on to talk about he needed a wife.

But think about it, God formed all the animals – God did that.  Then He brought them to Adam and said, “What would you like to call them?”  Whatever Adam called them, is what they were named. It doesn’t say that God said, “I didn’t really like that name Adam, so let’s try again.” It doesn’t say that God gave Adam all the names. He brought them to Adam and said, “What do you want to call them?” And whatever Adam said, that was the name of the animal. How do you think he came up with the names for the animals? Through his imagination because he didn’t have any knowledge of animals since they weren’t named before. He didn’t say, “That one looks like a hippopotamus, so I am going to call it an elephant. They are kind of the same shape, so I am going to call it this.” Adam used his imagination to be able to name those animals and God partnered with him in that.

God wants to partner with us in our imagination. It is not something that we just dream and think about that God is not in. We know that if it is something that God doesn’t want for us, then He will help steer us to the right thing. Whether it was that building or this building. God will steer us to the right thing. What is interesting is there are many things out in the world that skew and darken our minds. There are things that we are not even pursuing.

How many of you have walked into the grocery store, and at the counter you go like this because of all of the magazines they have there? I know in Publix they have plastic shields over them so all you can see is the name of the magazine. When you think about it there are things coming at us all throughout the day that can cloud our imagination, or that can put things in our imagination that we do not want to see. It wasn’t like we were going out looking or pursuing the latest person on the magazine who barely has any clothes on the front cover. It is not like we were pursuing this, but it is just coming towards us. Drive up and down U.S. 19 and look at the billboards. You are like, don’t look at that one – no I am trying to drive. Eyes open – eyes closed, I don’t know. Think about it. We are not pursuing it. Then you turn on the TV and all of a sudden – whoops – turn it from that channel quick! It is not like we are pursuing it. But, there are things that come to us that enter into our mind. They enter into our image center.

You know we have the ability to cleanse our image center. We have the ability to say, “Jesus, I am asking you to now cleanse my image center. Anything that has come into my mind that is not of you, that thing that I just saw walking through Publix, that billboard I saw, cleanse my mind of that.” I remember I used to watch the show Criminal Minds when it first came out, because I love solving mysteries. When I was a little kid I enjoyed reading mysteries. When Criminal Minds came out it was fine for the first year. After that I started having nightmares because it became so dark. For me, I personally cannot watch it. I had to cleanse my image center of some of that, because they were too dark, too demonic, and too evil for me. I can’t see horror movies or anything like that because it just messes with my mind. For some people it might really be something else that distracts them. So when I see something that goes across my eyes that normally I would not have any part of, I just cleanse my imagine center. God you just need to cleanse that thought or that picture from my mind because I do not want that clouding my imagination and I do not want anything interfering with what I am partnering with You to do.

Think about different people in scripture.  We talked about Adam. Think about Abraham being told to see all those stars in the sky and hearing, “That is going to be your descendants.” Can you imagine the activation of his imagination of going there? He is going to think about those hundreds of thousands of stars. I don’t know how big his imagination was, but think about it!  He believed God! In Romans 5, it talks about Abraham and how he did not waiver in his belief of God.  He did not waiver in what God told him. Now, it didn’t mean that he didn’t ask God about it. Where are all those descendants? With all those descendants I am going to need a sign. This doesn’t mean he didn’t try to help God – him and Sarah. It didn’t mean that there wasn’t interaction. If you read scripture it might look like he had doubt about what God said. But, Abraham didn’t have any doubt, he just had some interaction. He just had some thought processes.

Abraham and Sarah had some plans to help God because they thought God might need some help. So of course she had Hagar and Ishmael. How many of you have tried to help God? I have tried to help God a couple of times, probably more than a couple of times. Probably a couple of thousand times. And you know, how many of you have ever said, “Now God if you just did this, or you know God it would really work out great if this happened, or maybe if You could make all the lights turn green on my way to work and then I wouldn’t be late.” I mean we have tried to help God with the simple things and to the more complex things. When we do try to help God, sometimes it delays or interferes with what He wants to do, and we know that.

But, when we think about using our imaginations, and God specifically talked to me about using our imagination for healing. I am going to have someone share their testimony in a minute. Because God wants us to learn to be able to see in our minds, have an emotional connection inside of us to what it looks like to be healed. Because as we think, we become. If we can see ourselves in a state of wholeness. If we can see ourselves and think about what it looks like to be totally well. What does it look like to be totally whole? How would I move? What would I do? There is an emotional attachment to that. Karen actually shared this with me the other day when I told her what I was going to preach on. She started telling me the whole story, and I want her to share this, because it is a perfect illustration of what I am talking about.

Testimony: In 1978 I was diagnosed with scleroderma. Back in those days they didn’t know much about it. It took a team of 12 doctors from around the world to even figure out what I had. When they figured it out, they sent me home. They told me we will keep you comfortable, and to change your diet. But, don’t ever go to the library and research it. So, I never did. I had a friend across the street who knew Jesus. She taught me about visualization.

So every day when I put my babies down for a nap, I would lay on my living room floor, I would visualize all the lesions from the scleroderma that were on my body as black. I would chop them up and push them out my feet. I did this for almost 3 years. Then, I had to have emergency surgery in 1986. While I was in the hospital they decided to send my blood to Connecticut to have it tested and to see how I was progressing with the disease. Only this time it came back and my markers were so low, they didn’t know how to tell me it was progressing because there is no remission for scleroderma. Once you have it, you have it for all your life and you die from it. The doctors had given me 20 years, and they told me I had already had scleroderma 9 years in, so I only had 11 years left.

So over the years they kept monitoring me. Every 3 months I would go back for blood and they would say it is the same. Then they said come back every 6 months. Then they said come back every year. So, when I turned 60 and went in – it isn’t even in my blood work anymore. They can’t find any part of it anywhere! No wait, it gets better! So 5 years ago, I had a problem with my eye and I lost vision in it. Every reason that is supposed to cause it, I don’t have. This past February, I had another event with my eye. They said we have to find out what is causing this with your eyes. Let’s look at the scleroderma again. So, I went to 2 new doctors, went through a battery of tests, went through all kinds of blood work. They even contacted the old doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center which happens to be known now as the Scleroderma Mission Center. So they called them, and they didn’t know anything either.

So this time, I decided that I am researching this on the internet. I am not going to let the doctors tell me. So, I started researching and reading case after case, and cases from National Institute of Health and the Mayo Clinic. Then I started looking at the pictures. That is when I realized how Great God is! The lesions that I had – God didn’t just save me from death. He saved me from being disfigured, from my body becoming contorted, he saved me from being crippled. I just didn’t know any of this. What I have learned from this is when you don’t see God working, you have to trust Him because He is working. I could have ended up like any of the people I saw on the internet. The other thing is like Cindy said, Psalms 23:7 says, “As a man thinks, so he becomes.” I would just imagine it like I was whole – like it is in heaven as it is on earth. I can walk AND it is gone. As the doctors would say, “No, no it can’t be.” But, they do not know what to say after they see my blood work, because it is not there. The lesions never got to where they were supposed to be.

That is really good! This shows us how much power is in our mind. I know I did a couple of sermons on, “Switch on your Brain.” Dr.  Caroline Leaf, a Christian doctor, goes through the whole power of the mind, and the process of when you switch on your mind, and the power of positive thoughts. When you send positive thoughts, neurons are alive and they look like a tree, and they attach to your body. When you think of a negative thought, these neurons are bent over like a wilted tree and they also attach to your body. The Harvard Medical Institute did a study that said between 73% and 92% of illness is caused by negative words, negative thoughts, and environments. So, we have the power to change our minds. Because, the Word says we have the mind of Christ. Day by day, hour by hour we are being transformed more and more into His image. He wants us to shine and look like Him. He wasn’t sick, He wasn’t diseased – He wants us to be like Him!

In this whole process of imagination, how many of you have really dreamed something, wrote it down, thought about it, and declared it and talked about it, and have seen it come to life? About half of you. This is what we are going to do – everything from writing a book. I dreamed about writing a book. I imagined what it would look like. Then a book came and I took action. I have written a book not because I wanted to write a book, but because I wanted to share about what God had done in my life and how other books had changed me. When we dream about things we use our imagination to call them into being and call them forth.  We write them down on a piece of paper. We believe God. The Word says we declare a thing and it is established for us, so our light will shine. We are not doing this for someone to say, “Oh wow, someone built a house.” No we are doing this because we partnered with God. We knew what we were going after and He helped us and guided us along the way. That is what we want. We give Him all the glory when it happens. We give Him the glory of what is happening in my life right now, what is happening in your life, and in all of your lives. We give Him all the credit for it. But, people see that He does it through living human beings.

It is not just sharing the gospel with people. Our lives reflect Christ. Our possessions reflect Christ. The things we do reflect Christ. So, when you are using your imagination in partnership with God then you see what you are dreaming of come to life, you see the fruition of it. I want us to not be afraid to dream, to not be afraid to imagine, to not be afraid to use our minds, and to use our imagination. We can cleanse our image center. We can say, “God, anything that is within us that would skew that imagination, that thought, or that process at all, I am asking you to get rid of it.” And, as I dream and imagine with You, I dream of my perfect health.

About 6 weeks ago, I played mixed doubles tennis and it is a little bit faster and a harder game than it normally is. I hurt my knee and I didn’t know what I did to it. Finally, when I was in Denver, I thought I am going to have to go to an orthopedist because it is really hurting. We were at a Pastor’s meeting where one of the girls said they have almost 100% healing in their church. I thought – this is what I want, and I am going after it. I asked her, “How do you do this.” She said, “I have faith for what God is doing to happen inside of them.” So when I went to bed that night, I said, “God I have faith for my knee to be healed.” So, I put my hand on my knee and said God, “I just have faith for this healing.” The next morning when I woke up, it was fine.  So, I thought okay, God.

I believe there is a partnership with our imagination and faith. What is faith? Faith is believing for the unseen. I believe we can all get healed. I believe that what we imagine, what we partner with God for, is coming to life. I believe the prophetic words that have been given are going to come to life. But, there are stewardships that comes with this. We have to steward what we have been given. If you are imagining winning the lottery and you are not a good steward of money, I would probably not imagine for that. God knows. You see the stories and TV shows where people have gone bankrupt after they have won $100,000,000 because they did not know how to steward what they have been given. They hadn’t had the discipline and the practice regarding the ability to steward.

So, God is not going to give you something that is going to kill you. He is not going to give you something that is going to derail the destiny He has for you. He is a better protector of you than we are when it comes to taking care of ourselves. He takes the best care of us, because He is not going to do anything that is going to turn us from Him. He is not going to give you something that is going to make you go astray. So, I want us to imagine this morning. I want us to cleanse our image center and I want you to imagine something that you have been dreaming about with God. We are going to come into agreement for that; whether it is for healing, for a house, whatever it is. God is going to show you the steps you are supposed to take to make this process come alive. So, let’s cleanse our image center first.

Close your eyes for a minute and just say, “Jesus, cleanse my image center of anything that doesn’t align with you. Forgive me for any way that I have defiled it on purpose by not guarding my heart and my mind. Thank you, Jesus for cleansing my image center.” That is the first step. The second step is to line up your heart with the Word of God. As you think about this coming into your thoughts this morning, whatever you want to imagine. Imagine and as you come into alignment, imagine this is what it is going to look like. We are going to take it a step further from just imagining it in your mind to imagine what it is going to look like when we get it. Once you have this, I want you to stand up. The Lord told me He is going to teach us to how to use our imagination to bring forth from the supernatural to the natural to reality. So you have to picture what it looks like. Take 30 seconds and just imagine what it is going to be when it is fulfilled. What are you going to be able to do? What are you going to be able to do for your family? Your region, your country? Whatever it is you’re imagining, I want you to see it as done.

Lord, we just release the power of breakthrough for each one here for what they have imagined in their mind. God we just call it forth. Your Word says we call things that are not as though they were. We call every one forth, as we have thought it, so we become. We just release the agreement with these pictures, with these dreams, with these designs, that are in their minds. Father, we thank you. I just keep seeing a domino that has been pushed today. It will release the rest of those dominoes to go on that path. So, Lord we just watch the dominoes fall, and I see each domino as a step that the Lord is going to give you for this next thing.

Lord we thank You for Your steps. We thank You for Your agreement, we thank You for the release of healing over bodies, we thank You for the release of – I see money coming into hands, Lord for opportunities to be opened up. Jobs – I feel like there are jobs opening up for individuals – to move from where they are, and into that place they are imagining with You.  So, Father we thank You that Your Word has activated our imagination, and we thank You Lord that what we are imagining is what will become, and what You brought before us. Thank You, God. And, all of His People said Amen! Be expectant – activate something that the Lord has shown you today.

What do you need to believe for in your healing?
I will believe with you.  Send me a message, I would love to hear from you.

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