God’s Magnificent Imagination!

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”   Ephesians 3:20

Imagination is an amazing, wonderful thing.  I am not an artist, but am married to one.  My wife notices things in photos or everyday life that I might miss – certain lighting or shadows, colors, designs.  I am fascinated by people who have imaginative genius and can create paintings, photos, sculptures, drawings, movies, music and more from what they “see” or “hear” in their minds.  Walt Disney is one such example.  My own artistic ability lies in music.  I play keyboard and guitar and love to create as I play.

I stand in awe of the One who gave mankind talent, gifts and ability to imagine and create – God.  We are made in His image.  Our Heavenly Father has the greatest imagination.  He thought about how He would make the earth and everything in it, the heavens, plant and animal life and the birds of the air.  By His creative power He chose not to make everything the same.  It is known that no two people have the same pattern to the print of their fingers.  There are a variety of plants and many different kinds of animals, birds, insects.  Through space travel and the use of powerful telescopes, mankind now has the ability to see deeply into space.  The colors and designs of what we now can see are beautiful beyond description.  The handiwork of our Creator’s imagination is all around us, everywhere and found especially in ourselves – the culmination of God’s creative power.  God saved the best for last – the creation of you and me.

This beautiful verse of scripture gives me hope.  Imagine!  When the weight of the world seems to be too heavy for us to bear on our own, God, in Christ, gives us strength to face problems, that appear to be like obstacles too great for us to ever overcome.  God is our Father.  Ask Him for the desires of your heart.  It is alright to ask.  He is listening.  The word “immeasurably” means just that – There are no limitations to what our Heavenly Father, Our Great God, can do!  So ask!  Ask that He bless your marriage – then watch what He will do.  Ask that He use you for His purposes on the earth, then experience a deep joy like you’ve never known before.  Ask that He bless your children, your friends, your church, your country.  Notice that God does far more than we can even imagine or ask, according to “His power.”  Imagine, if we can, that kind of power!  I can’t.  But I like to think about it.  When I do, I find myself standing in awe of my God and his amazing creative power and of His imagination.  Then I realize nothing is impossible.  I feel like I will almost explode with joy when I read in His word and think that God’s amazing, awesome power, the power that is able to “do immeasurably more than all we ask,” – “IS AT WORK WITHIN US!”  When we believe in God and have faith in Him and His son Jesus Christ, He gives us power.  Power to move mountains, (obstacles), in our lives.  Power to walk on water, when we think we are going to drown in our sorrows and problems.  Power to live.  And when our days are completed here, in this world, and we enter into the next one, the eternal kingdom of God where we will live with Him forever – imagine, the unimaginable!




Elijah then journeyed deep into the wilderness, far away from any danger or threat to the place where God had met with Moses, Mt. Horeb, the “mountain of God.”  Perhaps Elijah, like Moses,  wanted a “meeting with God.”  He needed to hear from God.  He needed a touch from God.  Have you ever felt that way?  There are times in our lives when we feel like something is wrong, but are not even sure exactly what it is.  We may have a sense of heaviness.  The Bible says to, “Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”  I have found this to be helpful during those periods of my life.  But we have to do something, to take action, to – “Put on the garment of praise.”  When I start feeling a sense of “heaviness,” I begin to praise and thank God for his goodness, grace and mercy toward me – for saving me and giving me the gift of eternal life.  I thank him for the many blessings He has given to me.  I thank and praise Him for the things he has not given to me.

I Kings 19:9 – “Then the Lord spoke to him ans asked, “What are you doing here Elijah?”  This is a very tender moment after one of the most powerful spiritual battles ever fought on earth.  In this question is a great deal of meaning.  Notice that:

  • God asked it gently, not sarcastically, but as a loving father full of compassion for His child, for his faithful servant.  Even the strongest, most powerful of God’s servants have moments of weakness and fear.
  • Elijah was spent!
    • He was emotionally spent.  His life was threatened.  Have you ever had anyone threaten to kill you?  I have – at least four times – outside of the Rescue Mission twice, on a street corner while sharing the gospel with prostitutes and during an armed robbery in the early morning hours while delivering milk to a home on Sunnyview Lane in Billings.
    • Elijah was spiritually spent.  He had watched his friends and relatives die under the evil influence and wickedness of Jezebel.  Like the Apostle Paul, concerning himself and his ministry, wrote much later, he “had fought the good fight and run the race.”  He had been found faithful.  He had not, “boxed the air.”
    • Elijah was physically spent.  He had not eaten right.  And yet God had supernaturally sustained him by ravens and angels.  He was exhausted.  His life was not one of comfort and ease.  His was a rugged life of hard service to God.  Like Paul who was snake bitten, beaten, shipwrecked, ostracized, criticized for being weak and foolish, and all for the sake of the gospel, the good news of salvations through Jesus Christ.

Consider again the question – “What are you doing here…?”

  • Here was a place of retreat, just after God and His servant had won a great victory!
    • “Here” was a place of fear!
    • “Here” was a place of doubt!
    • “Here” was a place of intense discouragement!
    • “Here” was apparently not “where” he was supposed to be!

Where are you?  Are you, “here?”

If you are, then do as Elijah did.  God told him to:

Verse 11 – “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, …”  The “mountain” for you and me can be our “prayer closet.”  Or anywhere we can be alone with our God.

God then sends three magnificent, powerful natural wonders:

  1.  A “great and powerful wind” that tore the mountains and shattered the rocks.
  2. An earthquake
  3. A fire

But God was not in these things.

We always seem to look for God in the magnificent things, the showy things.  But God chose to reveal himself to the discouraged prophet through a “gentle whisper.”  When Elijah heard it he pulled his cloak over his face.  Perhaps he was embarrassed by his behavior.  Perhaps he did not want to face God.  Maybe he understood he had run away.

Verse 13 – God repeats the question.  Like Jesus repeated his question to Peter three times, “Peter, do you love me?”  Then gave him a task, something very important to do.  This repetition of the question was annoying or disturbing to Peter as I’m sure it is to us as well when the Lord tries to get our attention.  It may also have been disturbing to Elijah when God repeated the question.  Like Peter and Elijah, from what are you “running?”  Have you, “pulled the cloak over your face,” (figuratively speaking)?  In our day, we often refer to that sort of behavior as, “sticking your head in the sand,” (like an ostrich).  When things go wrong, are you embarrassed before God because of your behavior?  When things go not as planned, when dreams turn to nightmares, our first reaction is to run.  Jesus told Peter not to run away from Him and His service, but instead, to run into greater service than ever before.

Are you “here?”  Are you running from God’s warfare – to win the lost, to heal the sick, to bind up the wounded – to minister the love of Christ in this lost and dying world?

Notice from the account in scripture, that God is active.  He understood and had compassion on the humanity of the prophet.  He is our creator.  He did not condemn Elijah for the what he was experiencing.  Instead, God knew it was time for a change.  He will now provide, (ordain), a replacement for Elijah.  He will also now restore Elijah’s strength once again.  Elijah, the servant of God was tired and worn out.  God knew it was time for the prophet to, “pass the mantle,” – to let someone else take over and do the work of God.

Perhaps you are tired and feel worn out, but you haven’t really even entered the battle.

We must not run from the battle, the spiritual battles we face.  We must run into them, armed with the spiritual weapons at our disposal, the truth of scripture, (God’s Word), the breastplate of righteousness, our feet shod with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God, (Ephesians, chapter six).  And all this, of course, backed by “prayer, supplication and perseverance.”

“Here” is a spiritual place!  So where are you?  Are you where God wants you to be?  Are you afraid of God and His demands on your life?  Will you give your life to Him today?  Will you allow God to use you to be a part of his battle on the earth?  Will you love God and serve him?



Now let’s look at another question God asked, (of His prophet Elijah)

I kings Chapter 19

Previously we looked at one of the most powerful events in human history – the challenge on Mount Carmel of Elijah, the prophet of God against 850 false prophets.  In chapter eighteen we witnessed the Godly power of a powerful man of God.  We saw Elijah, unafraid and outnumbered.  We witnessed the man of God standing alone in the face of overwhelming apostasy and wickedness.  Jezebel had killed off almost all of the rest of Isaiah’s counterparts.  Out of hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions, only 7,000 remained as true believers.  Remember that Elijah stood majestically before the people and asked, “How long will you waver between two opinions?  If the Lord is God, (which He is), follow Him; but if Baal, (or anything else), is God, (which is not), then follow him.”  Seems like a simple enough choice doesn’t it?  But the people, “said nothing.”

In this chapter we witness a tremendous satanic attack against the prophet.  We witness a phenomena that often seems to happen to God’s servants after such a time of victory and power – weakness and fear!  Satan’s tactics have not changed over the millennia.  He often attempts to do this to you and me also, after we are saved by believing in Jesus, the Son of God and accepting Him as our savior and become “born again.”  In the book of Ephesians, we are told that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  More and more I am learning the powerful truth of this verse.  Now whenever I am faced with entering into a verbal, (or even physical) altercation with someone, this verse comes to mind and I realize the “battle belongs to the Lord.”  Keep this in mind when you are faced with a disagreement with anyone.  In your heart, call on the Lord to help you.

Verse 2 – Jezebel was puffed-up.  She was full of hot air.  The Bible says, “Do not fear him who has the power to kill the body only but rather fear Him who has power to destroy the spirit.”

Verse 3 – the prophet was “afraid,” and ran away from trouble instead of running into it, (unlike chapter 18).  Notice that he ran into the wilderness – to a place of solitude, to a place where he could “get away from it all,” to think, to reflect on everything that had happened and that was continuing to happen.  Jesus himself often went to such a place to commune with the Father.  Sometimes it was a garden.  Sometimes the desert or the wilderness.  A place where He was free of destraction from time and demands of ministry.

Usually when we are afraid, we run from God or the task he has assigned for us to do.  Many are running from God today because they do not understand Him or are afraid of Him.

Elijah was so fearful for his life and discouraged that he wanted to die, (vs. 4).  He was tired, (vs.5).  He lay down under a tree.  Imagine falling asleep on the ground under a tree.  I can relate.  Many years ago I spoke to a friend of mine by phone who lived in Arizona, over a thousand miles from me.  My friend was not a Christian and was becoming involved with false religious and satanic teachings.  I asked if it would be alright if I came to see him.  I wanted to spend time with him in person and tell him about the gospel of Jesus Christ, face-to-face.  He agreed.  At the time, I was working and had very little money.  When I hung up the phone I did not know how I would make the trip.  My wife and baby son were away on a trip with her parents.  I prayed and told the Lord that if He wanted me to go see my friend, He would need to make a way for me to go.  The next day I was fired from my job for a ridiculous reason.  When I began to doubt that God was answering my prayer and “working things out,” I was stung by a hornet.  I decided to go.  I drove my car to a parking lot of a hotel next to the interstate highway and hitch-hiked to Arizona.  It was an adventure I will never forget.  By the time I reached Idaho Falls, I was sick from the sting.  I found a clinic and got some medication but since I had nothing to eat, I had become very sick.  By the time I reached Salt Lake City, it was late at night.  Two hunters picked me up and gave me a ride into downtown SLC.  I asked to be dropped off at the Rescue Mission with the hope I would be able to get some rest in a secure place.  One of the hunters was kind and polite to me, the other was threatening and mean-spirited.  They dropped me off shortly after midnight.  Upon learning the mission was full,  I now found myself alone and somewhat fearful in downtown SLC.  I had no money and no place to stay.  I was very ill from the sting, the medication and having eaten nothing.  I walked to the police station in the hope they would be able to assist.  They had nothing to offer.  It was now well after midnight.  I was at the point of exhaustion and prayed to God for help and protection.  All around  were prostitutes and drug dealers.  I noticed a very large pine tree in a city park that had thick branches that hung all the way down to the ground, decided to make my way to the tree, lay down underneath it and try to hide myself under its branches.  I hoped I would still be alive by sunrise.  Just as I was ready to crawl under the tree, I looked down the street and barely noticed, since it was a long way away, several men standing outside a building.  I sensed something different about them and felt drawn to them.  I did not realize it at the time, but God was leading me to them.  As I approached, it was as if they were a lamp on a very dark and threatening night.  The store was actually a non-denominational street ministry.  These brothers in Christ took me in, gave me a comfortable room for the night and a great breakfast after I awoke from a very restful and peaceful sleep.  “Our God is a refuge and help in times of trouble.”  He is a “fortress and a strong tower.”

Verse 5 – Rest and nourishment were needed for healing, for restoration.  There is more to the story of Elijah, the prophet that I will discuss in part III of this series.

For me, the rest of my journey went well.  After a great time of fellowship with the believers at the street ministry, I made my way to Arizona where I met with my friend who accepted Christ.  I then secured several rides all the way back to Montana and after arriving home, was offered a much better and higher paying job than the one I had previously.  Our God is an awesome God!  There is no greater joy known to man than that of loving and serving Him.


Genesis 3:9 – “But the Lord God said to the man, “Where are you?”  “To the woman He said, “What is this you have done?”

Genesis 4:9, (To Cain), – “Where is your brother Abel?  Why is your face downcast, (vs. 6), “What have you done, (vs. 10)?”

These  are only a few questions God has asked mankind through the centuries.  There is another found in I Kings 19.  I would like to think for a moment though, if God is omniscient, which means that He knows everything, then why does He ask such questions of mankind, and what do these questions mean to us?  Do you think God does not know the answers to these questions?  How ludicrous to think that an all-knowing God does not know ahead of time, before He asks these questions, the answers to them.  God always asked these questions in order to help the one to whom He asked the question to know the answer – to know where he was spiritually!

It is very interesting to study the answers of those to whom the questions were asked.  All too often, as human beings, we tend to want to blame someone else or simply not take responsibility for our actions.  Adam said, “The woman you put here with me, she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  In other words – “it’s her fault!”  Eve said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”  In other words, as Flip Wilson used to say, “The devil made me do it!”  “It’s his fault!”  Cain said, “I don’t know!”  An outright lie.  What made him think he could get away with lying to God?  Far better it would have been for Cain to acknowledge the truth and ask God’s forgiveness and mercy than for him to try to deny what he had done and what he was as a human being.  We often act in the same manner.  When God brings something to our attention in our lives that needs correction or changing, we simply try to blame the problem on someone else or candycoat it over and deny the problem exists at all!  Notice that God did not deny the truth of the answers that Adam and Eve gave to Him.  What they said was true, but neither did it take away from their personal responsibility for their actions.  We often do this today and say, “I am the way I am because of the way I was raised.  Therefore I can’t change because…, (of a host of reasons).”  As I think of Adam, Eve, Cain, and many others in the Bible; As I think of my own reactions to God in the past when He has asked hard questions of me and when I contemplate the reactions of humans to the claims of God on their lives and  think of our answers back to him like those I have just talked about, I am amazed that He puts-up with us at all.  We are always trying His patience.  The Bible says, “Who are you, o man, to talk back to God?”  In Isaiah, chapter seven, the Lord says through the prophet, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all, (vs. 9b).”  And in verse thirteen, “Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David!  Is it not enough to try the patience of me?  Will you try the patience of my God also?  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign;  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.”  This verse was fulfilled by only one person, Jesus Christ!  Take note of the language of Isaiah, chapter eight – “Strong hand – power – warning me not to follow the way of this people.”  Why?  Because it was like a lost car on an interstate highway going the wrong way.  They were on a path which would ultimately lead to destruction.  To those who respect and love God, He is a “sanctuary,” (a place of refuge).  For those who reject Him and do not believe in or care about Him, He is, “a stone, a trap and a snare, (vs. 14).”

What about you?  Is God a sanctuary, (a place of refuge), for you?  Are you “trying His patience,” talking back to Him, making excuses like our first parents or just plain lying to Him like Cain?  Do you believe in the sign He has given to mankind – the gift of salvation through His own son, Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin?  Never before in all of history has such a thing been done!  No other prophet, so-called, or religious leader, of this, can be said.  Jesus alone, is the way of reconciliation with God!