Archive for the ‘Imagination’ Category


I have used my imagination to create worst-case scenarios for much of my life. I didn’t know the future, but, instead, imagined that if something bad could happen, it probably would. So, I have worried a lot through my life.

Coming from an engineering and scientific background, I was trained in left-brain activity that largely did not make room for imagination for good purposes.

However, this is changing.

In recent years I have imagined what God would be doing with my life in five years, based on what he had been doing. And that has been exciting!

I have pictured Jesus’ loving and gentle gaze toward me and received comfort from my fears.

I have also used my imagination to re-enter scenes of trauma and receive healing from some of my childhood wounds.

So, is imagining just dreaming about what would be nice and has no relationship to reality?


To imagine the godly way is to begin with truth and picture what that reality would look like in our daily life.

For example, we all are exhorted to look forward to heaven. But some of us envision heaven as being a place where we fly around all day in the clouds playing a harp. How could any of us look forward to living like that forever!

But God describes heaven to be a place where “there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). He also describes heaven as a place “where eyes have not seen, or ears have heard, all that I have prepared for you” (1 Corinthians 2:9, paraphrased). He also says “In My presence, you will have fullness of joy and pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11, paraphrased).

Now, may we picture what heaven would look like for us today, based on the truths above? Sure, it won’t be as good as in heaven, but we can still be thrilled through our Spirit-guided imagination.

The dictionary defines the word imagine as to form a mental imagine of something not present. Heaven is not present, but it is a future reality. Our future here on earth is not present, but we have God’s promise that it will be full of good and loving things (Psalm 23:6). And the people who have wounded us through the years may not be present, but through our imaginations we can have healing conversations with them.

We have all heard that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Many of us have also heard that “without a vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV).

We need pictures to guide and inspire us. “Be imitators of me, just as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). We need to imagine truth, not fictitious stuff we make up in our fantasies, like John Lennon did in his song, Imagine.

A couple of years ago, I took the challenge of picturing what a day in heaven would look like for me, using Scripture as a boundary for my imagination. My perfect day will not be the same as yours.

For me, it was a beautiful day in the country in the fall. A large number of brothers and sisters lived with me on a huge estate in what looked like a modern castle. And we all got along! Jesus was there, both for laughter and fun and for serious strategy sessions regarding kingdom responsibilities.

Jesus and I also did some fishing that afternoon on a lake that was teaming with large fish. We had a huge fish fry that night.

Now, I look forward to heaven, more than I did before, through God using my imagination to paint a picture of a future reality.

So, I challenge you today to allow God to use your imagination to give you a picture of a present or future reality. It could be a day in heaven, what he will be doing in your life five years from now based on what he is doing today, or picturing yourself in gospel scenes where you are an eyewitness to what Jesus is saying and doing.

May God use your imagination to deepen your walk and anticipation of the wonderful future that he has planned for you (Psalm 21:6).




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It was a beautiful October morning. The air was cool and crisp. The trees were bright yellow and orange. The sky was a deep blue and cloudless. It was one of those golden days of October.

We were living in a mansion on a huge estate. Miles of fields surrounded the mansion with rows of trees dividing the countryside into squares. It looked like Austria from the air in The Sound of Music.

We were about to sit down for a late breakfast. It was Saturday morning. The people in the house were all good friends. The sound of laughter and the feel of deep friendship were in the air.

I was especially looking forward to the afternoon when several of my friends and I were going fishing at one of the nearby lakes. Jesus was going to join us. We always seemed to catch more fish when he went with us.

I was also looking forward to the fish fry in the early evening. I have always felt a special satisfaction eating fish that I have caught.

Probably the thing I was most looking forward to was another strategy session that night. Jesus was meeting with several of us again. He would be sharing some of his plans for spreading his kingdom to worlds unknown. I felt especially important and close to Jesus as he described what our roles would be in working with him.

What’s going on here? Where is this story happening?

It is happening in heaven. This was my first attempt at trusting God to use the Scriptures, my imagination, and who I am in experiencing a day in heaven. I was inspired to do this after reading Randy Alcorn’s book called Heaven.

Why imagine a day in heaven? It seems so weird. But is it so weird? Is it really a waste of time?

Not when some of us think of heaven as some giant worship service that never ends. Not when others of us think of it as boring sitting around playing a harp most of the time. Not when still others of us want to go there because it’s got to be better than going to hell.

Imagining a day in heaven that is tailored to our needs can make us long for it more. It makes it easier to set our mind on the things above (Philippians 3:18-20). It makes it easier for us to “consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

Jesus endured the cross by looking ahead to heaven (Hebrews 12:2). We can trust the same Spirit that empowered him to help us imagine what Jesus knew to “abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

But some of you may balk. You may say, “Using my imagination is so subjective. It is not concrete, like the Bible.”  But as we trust God to use what the Bible says about heaven, he will use our imaginations to paint a picture of what heaven would be like for us (Romans 12:1).

Let’s try an exercise. Below are a few descriptions God gives us of heaven:

  • “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which has not entered the heart of man, all that [I have] prepared for those who love [Me]” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
  • “In [My] presence is fullness of joy; in [My] right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11).
  • “In [My] house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you so; for I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
  • “ [I] shall wipe away every tear from [your] eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain” (Revelations 21:4).

Ask God to use your imagination to experience a day in heaven based on the above Scriptures. After this experience, do you long for heaven more?

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“I was glad as I entered Grandma’s house. I began to relax as I realized that I was in a safe place. There was no “Evil Eyeball” roaming around ready to inflict pain on me. They were just real people who genuinely liked and respected me for who I really was. I felt relaxed because it was easy being me.

“So, I began to look inside myself at what I wanted to do. I felt safe when Grandma looked at me. I felt like she liked me and loved me and she always would, even if I was flawed. She didn’t stare, frown, poke at, threaten or push me. She just looked at me and smiled and enjoyed what she saw.

“She put no pressure on me. I felt it was okay to do whatever I wanted, as long as it was not really bad. She had few rules and trusted me enough not to even tell me what they were. She didn’t seem to be trying to make me different. I felt like she thought it was okay for me to be just who I was.”

These were excerpts from my journal entry dated January 14, 2010. I was on an extended retreat and recalling what it was like in my Grandma’s house as a child. I realized that God was using these memories and my imagination to teach me what it was like to live with him in a loving relationship.

God does not criticize. He does not condemn (Romans 8:1). Jesus has already taken the punishment for our sins and flaws. Instead, he tells us, “You are precious, you are honored, and I love you” (Isaiah 43:4).

Again, God does not punish us. He does not try to make us a different person from who he made us to be.

However, he does train us to be more like him in character. “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). We need to be more like him to better experience his love and grace towards us (Ephesians 3:17-19).

God relates to us through eyes of love and grace. My Grandma’s love and grace towards me as a small child helped me to understand and experience God’s love and grace. This love and grace includes “bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Ask God to show you where he has given you an experience of his love and grace. Ask him to use your memories and imagination, and spend some time re-experiencing God’s love and grace towards you in that scene(s). Then, write in your journal what your thoughts and feelings were.

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