2016: Page 108

Page 108 was a very full and very good page . . . so full that I’m writing it the next morning instead of at the end of the day.  🙂  Page 108 was a Sunday which meant a little later wake-up time before gathering with other believers for Bible study and worship together around the Lord’s Table.  The Sunday School class that I’m a part of is working our way through the book of Proverbs.  One of the tough parts about doing a study through Proverbs is that almost every verse could anchor a stand-alone study . . . that, and each one can be very convicting.

I suppose the ability to create and see vivid pictures in my mind is a part of the qualities that influence the writing and artistic parts of my life.  It seems that I have always had that ability.  Some of my earliest memories are of my mom reading to me but the memory isn’t really so much about mom reading as it is the “movie” I was seeing as she read.  I grew up without a television in the home — ours broke when I was very young and with no money to repair it, mom and dad decided there was enough to do on the farm that we didn’t really need TV.  So, instead of television shows I had Hardy Boys mysteries that when I read them I could see all of the action taking place — probably even more clearly than if someone had made a television series out of them.  I don’t remember what it was, but I do remember being extremely disappointed the first time I saw a movie that was “based” on a book I had read.  Not only did they leave so much out, they didn’t do it right! 😉  Unfortunately, we have created a culture that no longer imagines, dreams, or envisions what could be.  We simply hand everyone a screen and convince them of “what is”.

I write all of that to introduce an element of page 108 that was caused by such a vivid imagination.  After some great songs of worship and an update from the Literacy Ministries about their work in Zimbabwe, it was time for the sermon.  Our preacher is doing a series based out of the Sermon on the Mount and this particular message was “Raising the Bar”.  The introduction of the sermon began with a story about a man who became trapped when a boulder fell and pinned his arm to a canyon while while he was climbing.  It is a story I’ve heard before, which probably didn’t help as I could begin to see the entire scene even before it was being told and in greater detail than what it was being described.  Anyhow, it wasn’t long before I could feel the tell-tale signs that this “movie” in my mind would soon cause me to pass out if I didn’t find somewhere to lay down and get some air.  🙂  A great imagination is a wonderful tool for a writer and artist.  Not always so great for someone who becomes faint at the sight of blood — even if that sight is only in the mind.

Anyhow, I quietly got up and went into a side room where I could lay on the cool tile floor.  My wife and some friends saw me leave and came in to check on me — my wife mainly to make sure I hadn’t actually passed out and hurt myself (she knew quite well this wasn’t the first time for this experience), the others to see if I was okay and if there was anything they could do to help.  I made it back in the auditorium for the last part of the sermon and once the picture in my mind had been replaced with more pleasant scenes I had no further problems.  After lunch I went home and eventually made it out to mow the lawn while the beautiful weather seemed to demand that I be outside doing something.  By late afternoon we decided to head up to Lake Michigan to take some sunset photos with the St Joseph lighthouses in them.  This mind God has given me is an incredible thing.  I can “see” the pictures I want to take even before I leave home.  For me, the challenging part of photography is in trying to take pictures to match the ones that already exist in my mind.

As I thought about the day, I think one of the reasons why I love to read and study God’s Word is that through it I create and refine pictures in my mind of God, of heaven, and of what it looks like from His perspective for me to be a disciple.  Sometimes the picture is so clear and vivid that I begin to think I may, like the apostle John, “fall like a dead man” at the incredible purity and beauty of what I see.  Other times it makes me anxious for the day that I will no longer need to imagine because I will see it in person.  And then there is the occasional moments when that same purity burns into my life with great conviction.

I pray that you and I would daily fill our minds with the beauty of Christ.  I pray that we would spend purposeful time in His Word so that His Spirit can use it to show us more about God and about ourselves.  I pray that we would share the picture of God that He has not only placed in our mind but has revealed in His Word.  I pray that the beauty that God reveals to us through creation would help us to have a greater desire for the true beauty that is found in Christ.

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