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Prophetic Endurance

Do we prophesy out of our imaginations?

The word of the LORD came to me:

“Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the LORD!

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!

Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins.

You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the LORD.

Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the LORD has not sent them, they say, “The LORD declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words.

Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The LORD declares,” though I have not spoken?

“ ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign LORD.

My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.

“ ‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth.

When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?”

“ ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury.

I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD.

So I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, “The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign LORD.” ’

“Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare people. Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own?

You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live.

“ ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds.

I will tear off your veils and save my people from your hands, and they will no longer fall prey to your power. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives, therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination. I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”

Ezekiel 13 (NIV)


I teach a creative writing course at the local art gallery. It has been on hold during the pandemic, but I am hoping to start up again soon. As an ice-breaker I am going to share some creative writing hints I wrote called The Archway to Insight . . .

Open the door of the mind

Be prolific

Question the slums of life

Bloom where you're planted

Art is just around the corner

Be rock solid at criticism

Pursue solitude


As Anne Morrow Lindberg put it. . .

“The beach is not the place to work; to read, write or think. I should have remembered that from other years. Too warm, too damp, too soft for any real discipline or sharp flights of spirit. One never learns. Hopefully, one carried down the faded straw bag, lumpy with books, clean paper, long over-due unanswered letters, freshly sharpened pencils, lists and good intentions. The books remain unread, the pencils break their points and the pads rest smooth and unblemished as the cloudless sky. No reading, no writing, no thoughts even—at least, not at first.

"At first, the tired body takes over completely. As on shipboard, one descends into a deck-chair apathy. One is forced against one’s mind, against all the tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the seashore. Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines, the slow flapping of herons across sand dunes, drown out the hectic rhythms of city and suburb, time tables and schedules. One falls under their spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea; bare, open empty as the beach, erased by today’s tides of all yesterday’s scribblings."

(Source: Gift from the Sea. Anne Morrow Lindberg).

Lindberg prefaced it by saying,”Besides, I thought, not all women are searching for a new pattern of living, or want a contemplative corner of their own. Many women are content with their lives as they are. They manage amazingly well, far better than I, it seemed to me, looking at their lives from the outside. With envy and admiration, I observed the porcelain perfection of their smoothly ticking days. Perhaps they had no problems, or had found the answers long ago . . .

"But as I went on writing and simultaneously talking with other women, young and old, with different lives and experiences—those who supported themselves, those who wished careers, those who were hard-working housewives and mothers, and those with more ease—I found that my point of view was not unique. In varying settings and under different forms, I discovered that many women, and men too, were grappling with essentially the same questions as I, and were hungry to discuss and argue and hammer out possible answers. Even those whose lives had appeared to be ticking  . . . under their smiling clock-faces were often trying, like me, to evolve another rhythm with more creative pauses in it, more adjustment to their individual needs, and new and more alive relationships to themselves as well as others."

As Luci Shaw wrote, “Silence and solitude leave us undistracted so that the messages can arrive undistorted, clear and true.

   But so many are afraid of silence and of being alone. They wonder, what if nothing happens?  . . .But, in gradual steps, and given some simple tools people can begin to experience contemplation for themselves and discover that it is transformative. And this transformation (as well as the waiting) also informs—always—the place where our creative work is done. For artists, this combination of discipline and listening-receiving is a true cornerstone.

   To be an artist, to live out the persistence of spiritual hunger and thirst—those seasons of drought and rain in art, in the weather, and in spiritual vitality—or a sense of connection with God the transcendent Almighty, in the context of an overwhelmingly material universe—is a kind of evidence of spirituality’s existence and importance. . .

   This mystery, this spill of clues to an unseen reality, is very much a part of the artist’s as well as the mystic’s life."

This is from the chapter, Listening to the Muse, from the book Breath for the Bones by Luci Shaw.

Her friend Madeleine L’Engle wrote: "I was lucky as a child in being given a lot of solitude. . . Allowing the child a certain amount of solitude in a reasonably safe environment . . . is allowing the child’s imagination to grow and develop, so that the child may ultimately learn how to be mature."

(Source: Walking on Water. Madeleine L'Engle)

As Luci put it, “In George Bernard Shaw’s play Joan of Arc, Joan’s captors respond to her claim that she hears God by telling her that it’s just “something in her imagination.” She responds, “Exactly. That is how God speaks to me, through my imagination.” This is very often how I feel (Luci Shaw continues)—that words, ideas, and rhythms are given to my imagination, handed to me as a gift for which I am infinitely grateful. But the gift must be shaped and crafted if I am to be a cocreator with God."


It’s a cracked crossover world, waiting

For bridges. He escapes our categories,

Choosing his own free forms—fire, dove,

Wind, water, oil—closing the breach

In figures that flicker within.

Luci Shaw

(Source: Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination, and Spirit. Luci Shaw.)


When I was taking a course in the prophetic, I learned from Murray Dueck, the leader of Samuel’s Mantle that prophets in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, were considered false and condemned if they prophesied out of their imaginations. He read a selection from the chapter at the top of the page from Ezekiel. I wondered if I could think differently about prophecy and the imagination.

“Maimonides suggested that "prophecy is, in truth and reality, an emanation sent forth by Divine Being through the medium of the Active Intellect, in the first instance to man's rational faculty, and then to his imaginative faculty." (Wikipedia).

On this website Prophetic Worldwide we ask:

What is your definition of prophecy?

Should prophecy engage the imagination, and if so, how?

Would you respond better to an overt word or a subtle word picture?

Does God speak to us through our immediate faculties, or in secret ways?


To quote from lessons on the empathetic imagination by Beth Kephart:

Open your eyes to open your heart.

Use your imagination as an arrow hurtling back toward what might have been or will never be.

Use the distance between the facts and your yearning to change those facts as your personal redemption.

Meander within the space of insufficient evidence.

Make your readers the agents of empathy.

Think of what might have been as a prayer.

Hope.

Define again the categories of our empathetic imagination, to get a little closer to the truth.

I am a storyteller.

The power of your forgiveness.

You have found your story.

Your greatest achievement is not behind you.

A house of memoir, she said. A shelter for the truth.

(Source: Wife/Daughter/Self:a Memoir in Essays, Beth Kephart.)


In compiling my stories for the work of fiction called Ageless Confessions I am launching this Friday night (see invitation) I drew from my own life experiences. I also drew from my imagination to recreate scenes of an area of Victoria called Fairfield and Rockland. Because I felt the preceeding short stories were necessary to set the tone or atmosphere of the novel, it is preceeded by about  five short stories about various times in history and varying social classes. This I called a segue. Buy the book.

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Prophetic Moments

Waiting for Jesus.

Listening to the Holy Spirit.

Urged to act by power not our own.

Worshipful Postures

Hold your hands out.

Keep your candle lit.  

Worship every day.

Pray for others. 

 

 

 

Quiet Time With Sea