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Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable 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.

Yes, it is perfectly logical that the Holy Spirit is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, and I say the Holy Spirit because Paul referred to the Person of God whose power is at work within us.  And who is within us other than the Holy Spirit Himself?

Now you can read what Paul wrote and have the attitude that since the Holy Spirit can do immeasurably more than what we can ask or imagine, then why bother asking for the high and lofty impossible things after all?  Why bother thinking or imagining and asking for the impossible, after all, the Holy Spirit Himself would be doing the “immeasurable” more.  If you have this type of thinking, then you are in danger of being lazy.  Why bother to think higher thoughts because God’s thoughts are higher than ours anyhow?  So, let’s just sit back and wait and see what God has thought and imagined, and let Him show us what He is thinking.  After all, He has already said He is far superior in His ways and thought than we are, so then, lets keep to our sensible humanly achievable and logical ways, and leave the miraculous impossible to God’s imagination.

If such is our thinking, then we have missed the point of our adoption as sons through the Lord Jesus and by the counsel of the Spirit of Sonship Himself.  For such thinking raises up sons and daughters who will only feed off the commonwealth of the family without seeking ways to increase the wealth of family, by leaving all the work to the parent.  In the natural world, you see it in the rich families where the wealth is squandered by the second and third generations because they never thought or imagined to take the wealth to a higher and greater level.  There is a difference between those who squander the wealth and those who fail to increase the wealth.  Those who failed to increase the wealth have put into practice what they have learnt about wealth acquisition, and as with all practice, failure or success are the inevitable results.  However, those who have squandered the wealth have never practised acquiring wealth, but rather have only spent it on their own pleasures. 

Thus James’ rebuke to the unbelieving Hebrews in his letter:  that you may spend what you get on your pleasures, is describing exactly how Israel squandered the wealth that God had given them originally, and we are not speaking of gold, but rather, the knowledge of God.  No other nation had been set aside by the Lord for Himself.  He said, “Although the whole Earth is Mine, you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”  And to no other nation had God ever gathered before Him so that they could all hear Him speak to them from a mountain, not just their priests and religious persons.

However, they refused that knowledge and in their 1000 years of history from then on until Nebuchadnezzar sacked them, they squandered, literally squandered, the wealth of knowledge of God that was theirs as they pursued other gods.  It wasn’t as if they practised their knowledge of God and were conquered by other nations, but they forsook their knowledge of God and exchanged it for the knowledge of demons worshipped by the other nations.  Like children reared in rich households, the generation after Joshua’s were happy to sit on the land conquered by Joshua’s group and never extended the boundaries of Israel to the full measure as promised by God.  They never thought it necessary; maybe it was too hard to fight more wars, and certainly, not a single generation after Joshua’s ever had it in their hearts to extend the kingdom beyond the boundaries set by God in Numbers 34 until the entire world was conquered by Israel for God.  The taking back of the whole world that belonged to God from nations that worshipped demons never ever occurred for them.  Their thinking was about squabbling between themselves; just look at the civil wars fought between Israel and Judah or running after other nations for alliances.

Solomon may have been the wisest of all men, but he lacked imagination.  At a time when he was the king of the Earth, a time of peace and prosperity unequalled in the history of the world, he did not make plans to extend the nation to its full boundaries nor laid plans for the next generation to follow, when there may not be peace but war.  Unlike his father, David, who lived in a time of war but imagined for a time of peace and prepared for it, Solomon lived in a time of peace, but in his so-called wisdom, did not imagine that he should prepare Israel for a time of war and conquest to extend the kingdom beyond the boundaries set by God.

Likewise, when we resigned ourselves to think lowly thoughts and imaginings, and instead of going forward and explore this opportunity, this freedom given us by Christ and His blood that we had eaten and drunk of, James, with his less than lofty imagination, sought to make it easy for us Gentiles and led us back to the curse of partial observance of the Mosaic Law.  Instead of exploring what the miraculous power that was manifesting through the apostles could do, and extrapolating from what was being done to what could be done if man now had such power to raise the dead, heal the sick and multiply food, they went back to what was old and tried, and used money to buy food and organised rituals like anointing in oil before the sick would be healed.

We had the audacity to write:  It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:  You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.  It seemed good to the Holy Spirit to undo what Jesus paid with His very life for?  Hindsight affords us this comment, yet if we are not careful, we will make the same mistake.

The freedom to imagine and to innovate, to do things differently, unconventionally and in new unheard of, unthought-of, unimaginable ways, was given to all who have faith in Jesus Christ the moment He said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me… will do even greater things than these…”  Greater than raising the dead, causing the blind to see, multiplying the food, changing water to good wine, cleansing the lepers, walking on water, controlling the weather, instant teleportation— greater things than these?

Now, you would have to use your imagination to outdo serving good wine that was changed from water at a wedding feast, and serving bread and fish so tasty that people would follow you around a lake for more, from five barley loaves and two small fish.  You would have to use your imagination to outdo walking on water and teleportation of a boat, and the greater things than these at a glance would be walking on air or flying and turning swords to bread or snakes in the Roman army.  A greater thing than raising the dead is to not die even when you have been run through by a spear.  A greater thing than healing the sick is to heal your own wounds as the spear is pulled out.

Amazingly, Hollywood can imagine such things, but the church that had the power given to it originally to do such things cannot, dares not, and refuses to imagine such things, so much so that had we lived in the time of the Spanish inquisition, I would be burnt for heresy and witchcraft.

Paul wrote:  Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine… to Him be the glory in the church…  Glory?  What glory?  God was barely pleased with the temple of Solomon as a building to dwell in with a Holy of Holies that took 36 tonnes of gold to house.  Do you seriously think He was at all impressed with altars covered by gold leaf?  Instead of glory in the church, we have brought the Holy Sprit nothing but dishonour because our minds are not enslaved to God’s Law, but on the natural laws, the laws of the sinful nature of greed, selfishness and every evil that comes from the worst member of our body of flesh, the heart.

So then, elect, what of you?  How will you be able to avoid the mistakes of Israel and the church of Jesus Christ that have squandered their respective wealth and reduced themselves to a shadow of the glory that God had in mind for them?

Firstly, acknowledge humbly the incredulous reality of your election, for indeed, not one of us has done anything to deserve it.  Indeed, there are better men and women than all of us combined for the work, but unfortunately, they are too busy with their own plans, thoughts and imaginations, just like Solomon who busied himself, as he wrote: I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure, and did everything except prepare Israel for the next king and for war.  However, stop tarrying at the post of your own worthlessness, for it is not because you are the most pious, holy and wisest or learned that you are elected.  The forefathers, Barnabas and Saul, are certainly better characters than any of us.  However, for all their qualities, they failed.  So, it should not surprise you that many an elect are not sons of encouragement like Barnabas, nor men trained by great religious teachers like Saul, but rather, you are called, chosen and elected because, like Paul, you can see the deadness of the established religion and the life of the new relationship through Christ, and for you, with your fellowshipping and partaking of the Holy Spirit.

Recognise that you are handed a once-in-a-creation opportunity, just like Israel who walked away from a ruined Egypt and had a man in their midst more powerful than the entire nuclear arsenal of the USA, a man who could part the seas and a general who could stop the sun and moon in their tracks.  Just like the eleven and the others who had been personally discipled for three years by a Man who raised Himself from the dead, a Man Romans couldn’t kill, and are now baptised with the same Spirit of Power.  Had Israel had the imagination and recognised the leaders God had given them in Moses and Aaron, they would have marched to Canaan the first time and kept marching till they reached the Pacific Ocean and no nation on Earth could have stopped them.  Joshua’s generation recognised what they had in Joshua and took 33 kingdoms in 31 years, but that was not enough to inspire the next generation.

I don’t know what happened with the eleven, that they did not recognise the opportunity they were given through the power of the Holy Spirit, that they kept their Jewishness, insisting on going up to the defunct temple to pray and gathering around relics of past glories like Solomon’s colonnade.  Men with power to raise the dead, heal the sick, walk on water and multiply food could bring down any empire, even the Roman Empire.  The power to change water to wine can change a man’s waters to wine, and have your enemies too drunk or dead from alcohol poisoning to fight you.  For a brief shiny moment, Israel had the power to conquer the world and have Moses read to all nations.  Likewise, the early church, for a short period of time of no more than fifteen years before James came along, had the power to preach the Gospel to all nations in a humanly impossible way and have every nation discipled.  They could have brought down the mighty Roman empire and kept going.

What was missing?  A part of obedience and a willingness to listen, yes, a willingness to listen.  Israel didn’t want to listen to God so they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen.  But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”  And the eleven had a habit of not listening to Jesus, as we have proven.  A habit that they passed onto the churches so that the churches now do not listen to the Holy Spirit, but presume to do and say things that seem good to the Holy Spirit and themselves. 

You are elected because of your willingness, however reluctantly, to listen and obey.  You see, until you have listened and obeyed so that you are doing the things you are told, you will not even begin to have the ability to think, imagine and innovate that which you have heard and are commanded to do.  Those who have listened and obeyed and are doing what they are told or saying what they are supposed to say, but yet have their thoughts and imaginations set on their pay at the end of the day, so that they can spend what they have earned on their well deserved pleasures, are not suitable for election.  They are merely servants capable of doing the work required, but not capable of innovation.  To be an innovator, you have to have imagination and you have to be a bit of a schemer, even trickster like Jacob, who conned Esau out of his inheritance and was shown an innovation in breeding sheep that caused him to possess the whole flock.

Straight forward, honest-to-goodness, a man who said what he meant, Esau, who was so hungry that he traded his birthright for some stew, God hated; and scheming, crooked, cunning Jacob, God loved.  And as Jesus said, “Therefore be as shrewd as snakes,” before He said, “and as innocent as doves.”  So then, it is your shrewdness that is needed first, and then your innocence, not the other way around.

Lovely, innocent, sweet brothers and sisters who wouldn’t think of ever doing what Phinehas did, what David did, what Ruth did or what Jacob did need not apply.  Heaven awaits them, not the battle to empty hell and for repossession of the Earth, for to empty hell and repossess this Earth will take men and women who are first as shrewd and as cunning as serpents.  And as cunning and shrewdness comes from the thoughts and imaginations, so then your thinking must be imaginative and then innovative, and your innocence comes because it is all for the glory of God and His kingdom, just as Phinehas was declared innocent because it was all for the glory of God.

You see Jacob was so shrewd and cunning that he even dared to offer God a one-sided business deal that guaranteed that God lost and Jacob won when he said, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will give You a tenth.”  You try saying that to any bank, “Of all that you give me, I will give you one tenth,” and see how far you get!  Yet God put up with it.  Why?  Because Jacob saw the wrong he had done to Esau and tried to correct it when he came home.  Jacob had a repentant heart, just like Zaccheus, just like Paul.

Your election then is on the basis that you are shrewd, and your innocence is because you are doing it for His honour and glory, not because you are innocent.  No, not one is innocent.  Just that if you are zealous like Phinehas you are declared innocent, and if you have a heart after knowing God, you may have your death sentence suspended.  Remember David should have been put to death for murder and adultery.

Now that you recognise the opportunity to be of the group that ushers in the end of the church age and the beginning of the kingdom age, see the problems that beset you and use your imagination to solve the problems. 

For the higher your imagination, the more impossible your thinking and mindset, that is, the higher the standard of your asking and thinking, the higher you push the Holy Spirit into doing His share of the immeasurably more.  It is when we take Paul’s advice:  Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on Earthly things.  Think what is the foremost of Christ’s mind, your safety, your blessings, your needs?  The church’s needs, the world’s safety?  Yes, these, but foremost it must be the day of His return when all has been so fulfilled that the Father can send Him back.  For we know it is only when Jesus is back that we can truly help this world, for then this cycle of disasters, famines, earthquakes, wars and evil men getting more evil will stop permanently.

So then, set your imagination to ways to solve the problem to bring Christ back, and be ambitious, imaginative in thinking and ask what is impossible, so that in so doing, you push the Holy Spirit higher in what He is able to do above and beyond whatever we ask or imagine.  In so doing, He gets even more glory in the church, and perhaps, just perhaps, enough glory to wipe out the shame of the last 2000 years of religious powerlessness and cruel greediness.

Better to be condemned for coveting the power to turn wood to gold and stones to bread for the poor and hungry than to be caught coveting the gold and bread so that you create the poor and hungry.  If we set our imaginations then on high and lofty impossibilities so that the Holy Spirit will have to do even higher and loftier impossibilities so that Paul is not made out to be a liar, then such imagination to bring glory to the Holy Spirit in the church and in Christ Jesus will keep you safe from the one sin that can condemn you to the Lake of Burning Sulphur.

No one who uses his imagination to glorify the Lord by His power can blaspheme Him.  So then elect, if you would begin to imagine, and then work to bring your imagination to reality for the glory and honour of He who elected you, you are truly a person of truth; there is nothing false about you.  When there is nothing false about you, then even your imagination has nothing false about it, and if your imagination has nothing false about it, it will come to pass for then it is not vain imagination.

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