The Gift Of Imagination
Imagination has been overlooked, undervalued, feared and neglected by the people of God for a long time. We have so valued reason and rationalism and emphasized what we perceive with our natural senses that imagination has been relegated to something that everyone outgrows, except possibly a few eccentric artists or musicians. Jesus said “except you be as little children you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Do you remember when you were a child and you played “army” with G.I. Joe plastic soldiers. Or maybe, like my daughters, you ladies pretended to be the Queen, or princesses, as you played “dress and dazzle.” I can’t count the number of imaginary hot dogs, pancakes or cups of tea or coffee I have been served by my children or grandchildren at imaginary restaurants. You may say that that is just something children do. I have discovered a wonderful thing: we don’t have to outgrow our imaginations, in fact, under the umbrella of God’s grace, our imaginations can grow as we do! God speaks to us through mental pictures, sounds, dreams, in myriad ways as we use our imaginations. A few years ago I was sharing some of my songs in a worship gathering in Athens, Greece. There were twenty-two different languages spoken by the people who had gathered. Though we had translators for 3 of the languages, I only speak English and I was growing frustrated at my inability to communicate.
Then I received an impression from the Holy Spirit: “David, stop talking and tell the people that you are going to just play (not sing) a new song as I inspire you, and I will use the music to whisper to the deep places in the hearts of these people through this new song from Me.” So I obeyed (that’s a BIG part of effectively-being creative) and told the audience to close their eyes and listen for the Voice and the Sounds of God. Then I began to play on the keyboard. (I like that we call it “playing.”) In my mind, my spirit, my imagination, I could hear the music that I believe was inspired from Heaven; and, as best I could reproduced what I heard by moving my fingers on the keyboard. As I finished a musical phrase, I would hear the next one and the music just flowed like that for probably five or six minutes.
It was exciting, fresh and, I believe, supernatural! After that meeting, several came up to me and told me that they had heard the Voice of the Lord speak to them through the music. Some had visions that they shared. One lady told me she saw herself as a little child in a field with other children, dancing and laughing with Jesus. That encounter with imagination and the Holy Spirit inspired me to record a whole ongoing series of spontaneous musical compositions called “FingerPaintings.” Also, as I travel and minister I try to facilitate moments like that in most of my concerts; moments of vulnerability, and opportunity for God to flow through me in a new song. Sometimes I also begin to sing a new song as well.
Psalms say “the streams of God are full of water.” Jesus said, “Whoever believes on Me, out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” He was speaking about the Holy Spirit Whom Jesus would give to whoever believes in Him. God, the Creator, is the Source of Creativity. God gives us the grace and the faith to wade in the water, realize that He is trustworthy and eventually, with child-like abandon, jump in the River and let the River of Life flow through us! I am not saying, of course, that there is no need to learn an instrument or grow in your ability to paint or learn the basics of dance, or study your preferred means of creative expression.
If I didn’t know how a particular melody or chord could be reproduced on the keyboard, my ability to flow would be very limited. God can (and has) just supernaturally overshadowed someone with no musical ability and given them the ability to play powerfully and beautifully. Most of the time, however, He chooses to work with us and infuse our ability and experience with His grace. As you continue to read, I trust that you will be inspired to practice playing what you hear in your heart, your imagination. Paint what you see with the eyes of your heart. Dance with the Creator of Movement. Write as you are inspired by the Author and Finisher of your faith. Sculpt with the One who holds the mountains and the islands, the sun, moon and stars and your heart in His hands!
No Place To Land
“Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight.” (Proverbs 26:2) What causes I have given for a curse to legally land in my life? Unforgiveness is a major one. Here on sabbatical, I have thought about the woundings I have received in my life. Some of them were self-inflicted. I realize that in order to walk free from bitterness, shame, a sense of being a victim, I must forgive others and myself. I cannot do that in my own power. The good news is that I don’t have to!
Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of sin and death, being made a curse for us. He gives us the supernatural ability to forgive others, to forgive ourselves, thus removing any legal right for any curse to land upon us! Today I made a list of major woundings in my life. Not to wallow in the hurt, but to appropriate by faith the forgiveness of Christ through me and to me. The curses, including subliminal self-curses, can’t land on me, they don’t have clearance. No longer a victim, but a victor through the love and power of Jesus!
Transaction Or Relationship?
Transaction or Relationship? When my children were younger, if they wanted something and asked me for it, if it was good for them and within my power to do so, I delighted in giving them good things. Those were transactions that flowed out of our relationship. However, if they ignored me except when I could do something for them, that wouldn’t be much of a relationship.
Hmmm… I have been thinking about the difference between seeking God’s hand (and there is definitely a time for that) and looking into His Face; between transaction and relationship. Almost every time I speak or sing I have the listeners repeat this statement: “God, thank You that You have called me into an eternal adventure of intimacy with Christ!” We were rescued by the grace of God to enter and enjoy an eternal love relationship with the Creator of The Universe, The Great Adventurer, the One Who holds it all together.
I don’t want to settle for just asking God to do stuff for me: “Meet my needs, bless my family, give us Your provision and protection, etc…” Now, of course, like me with my daughters, Father God delights in giving us things and blessing us. The greatest blessing, though, is God Himself. We get to hang out with Him, (and IN Him!!), explore with Him, be creative with Him and, sometimes… just sit with Him in companionable silence.
The gospel is not so much about focusing on the transaction,(Jesus enabling us to be born anew) but the transaction is the entrance point to the eternal adventure of intimacy, relationship, with Jesus!
Cuckoo Or Not Cuckoo!
Mar 11, 2018
Recently Joy Behar of “The View” caused quite a stir when in talking about Vice-President Mike Pence she opined that speaking to Jesus was one thing, but hearing Jesus talkback was a sign of mental illness; that is “hearing voices.” (With a cuckoo clock chiming in the background, make a rapid motion of your finger circling your ear and roll your eyes:) She has since apologized to the Vice-President. This got me to thinking… One of the tenets of our relationship with God is that it is just that; a relationship. One of the chief characteristics of a relationship is that it involves communication. I talk and listen to my wife often, for example. It is a natural, key component of our relationship.
relationship with God also involves two-way communication. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Indeed He said, “The words that I speak are spirit and life.” There are also ample examples from scripture, especially the psalms, of the writers speaking to God. (Psalm 40:1: I waited patiently for the Lord and He heard my cry…”) Not only is it not unusual to hear the voice of the Lord, for the believer in Jesus it is absolutely vital! Let me hasten to say that I have never heard the audible voice of God.
There are times when I hear His voice in my spirit and it is much louder than merely audible! Also, if we claim to hear His voice and He “says” something that cannot be validated by Scripture, then we have been mistaken. Obviously this requires faith. Faith that God exists, faith that the Bible is His written Word. Faith that God speaks to people today. That faith is a gift from God. Again the scripture: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Also Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek.”
My life depends on my relationship with God. I am glad that I can hear His voice (although, of course, there are times when He seems to be very silent.) And I guess you could say that I’ve lost my mind…and found the mind of Christ!
Faith: The Gift and The Struggle
Apr 17, 2017
As I think about people lately that are struggling with their faith, or even profess to have no faith in God, I am reminded that there is no argument that can effectively convince someone who doesn’t believe to change his or her mind. That’s not to say that faith should be mindless trust. The Bible talks about a transformation that comes by the renewal of our minds, not the removal! The bottom line is that God gives us the grace to believe in Jesus if we will receive that from Him.
Revelation comes from God- or as the Bible says: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ.” As I think back to prior to my own conversion experience, I remember how foolish I thought people that really loved and talked about Jesus were. The religious tradition I was raised in seemed (to me at least) to regard a real relationship with God as unnecessary.
Just say the right words and do the things the church said to do and get on with your “real” life. In other words, if Jesus was real (and even then I believed that He was) He wasn’t relevant to real life. Then I met Rita, the woman who became my wife. Though I had encountered genuine believers before, there was something almost tangible about her relationship to Christ. I could tell that God was real, and relevant, to her. Through Rita, I met some other Jesus followers, and though their outward expressions of worship were foreign to me, the love they shared captured my hungry heart. They embodied the truth of the adage, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Those folks loved God, each other, and me…and it “took.”
heard the truth of the gospel (The Word of Christ’s love, life, death, resurrection) and confessed my need for a Savior. I was transformed!! If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold the new has come! Bottom line: The Creator God is a loving Father who wants you and me to be His sons and daughters. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. May you experience God’s love today!