Review of Imagination Redeemed by Gene Edward Veith, Jr and Matthew P. Ristuccia

Product DetailsYesterday I finished reading this well researched, well written book and I am looking forward to discussing it with a few of my friends.  I will be using some of the suggested tools in my personal life and when working with counseling clients.

The section which starts on page 55 and describes a method of meditation is especially helpful. Meditation will be so much more meaningful from now on, and in fact, I stopped reading to try it out on the suggested passages – one of which, Isaiah 6, is a favorite of mine.

Another useful tool, the imagination audit, will be helpful when working with clients who are experiencing nightmares. I’m hoping that, over time, this method will be life changing for them.

Page 106 describes how to ” establish and maintain a righteous feed” and I’ll be practicing this method of change. I’m also going to try reading out loud (page 112).

The final chapter, on apologetics, is the best. I am praying for the wisdom to use this information well.

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Tools For Use With Clients

I wanted to share with a counselee just how awesome God is, but I wasn’t sure how to do it.  He was used to things being done in multimedia format.  How could I get across to him God’s glory and power and majesty?  I asked God for some help and was led to Exodus 33:17-23 (ESV):
Exodus 33:17-23 (ESV): And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18Moses said, “Please show me your glory.”19And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

Then God gave me an object lesson:
I was sitting in the living room on a cloudy day.  When I finished reading the scripture the cloud moved away from the sun and the sun came through the living room skylight and I had to shut my eyes.  This powerful God demonstrated by using the sun, which He created. (visual)

 

Then auditory – I went down in the basement where I have my quiet time and put on an old record.  The words of one of the songs on the record were “He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock and covers me there with His hand”.  Listening to the words reinforced the message for me and I was able to share with the counselee what had happened that day.
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Entertaining Strangers

The Georgia Christian Counselors Association meets monthly in Marietta, GA., and is a great tool for information, education and networking. There was a time last winter when some renovation work was being done to the meeting room, so a church across the street offered a room in their basement for the monthly meeting.

It was an unusually cold day and people had moved to the side of the room that was away from the door to avoid the draft that occurred each time it was opened. The speaker was well into her presentation when the door opened and the wind blew and in walked a women bundled in layers of clothing and carrying a backpack. The speaker continued to speak and the new arrival helped herself to coffee and snacks and hung around the food table.  Finally, the new arrival walked to the speaker and began to tell all of us that she has multiple medical problems and no place to go and was looking for a place to get warm.  The speaker stopped her presentation, held this woman in her arms and began to pray for her.  While we prayed for her the tears just rolled down her cheeks.  After the prayer one counselor took her aside and spoke with her while the speaker continued her presentation.
When we finished our meeting counselor after counselor went up to her and spoke with her and hugged her and offered her various types of assistance.
I am so thankful that I attended that meeting because it had a powerful impact on my life.  It was no accident that our meeting place was moved to the church basement.  Otherwise that woman would have found that door locked.  It was no accident that what she did find was love and support and help.  I am blessed to have witnessed how God orchestrates encounters in our lives. I am blessed to have seen Christian counselors in action showing Christs love and entertaining a stranger.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hebrews 13:2
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Review of The Treasure of God’s Word

This little book (163 pages) is marketed as a gift book and is being published in time for the 400 th anniversary of the  King James Version (known as KJV) of the Bible.  It has an attractive imitation leather cover and gold on the edges of the pages, so any book lover will be drawn to it’s beauty.  Inside the book are passages of scripture taken from the KJV as well as information regarding how and why the KJV was produced.  As I read, I began to feel as if I were reading two books. The book started with a brief introduction and some information regarding why the King James Version was first published.  Next, there were sections with verses of scripture on Gods love, mercy and grace, etc.  Then, a section on how and why the KJV was created.  It continued to flip back and forth like this with a section of information and several sections of scripture.  The scripture was written in Old English, which is beautiful. The rest of the book is written in Modern English. I’m usually in one frame of mind when I read Old English and another frame of mind when I read Modern English, so I began to feel uncomfortable.  When I reviewed the Old English sections I thought the book was really great and would make a wonderful gift for someone who wanted to read sections on specific issues. When I reviewed the Modern English sections I felt cheated.  I desire so much more information.  It might have worked better as two books, the second of which contained much more information.
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Learning To Love

While reading Instruments in The Redeemers Hands, I came across a section about Paul Tripp wanting to show his family love by preparing a Cuban meal, and after a long evening of running kids here and there he wound up not being able to show love the way he had planned but realized that the transportation was actually showing love.  I was convicted that I don’t like to be interrupted while writing or studying, but I do like to show love, so my self-counseling project was to work on allowing God to use me when faced with interruptions – to show love.  I spent a long time working on the project and the day came to turn it in – the paper was typed and class was scheduled for 2PM in Philadelphia.  The paper counted for a large percent of the grade for that class for that semester.  Over the weekend my husband injured his ankle while playing soccer.  He spent the weekend with his foot on a pillow and ice on his ankle thinking that it would be better by Monday.  When Monday came he couldn’t put weight on his foot and he needed to see a doctor.  I went into my kitchen and talked to God – I said I understood what He was trying to teach me about showing love to others but I had this important paper due and I didn’t want to have to tell the professor that I missed the deadline because of my husband’s sprained ankle.  I promised God that I would learn to let other interrupt me, but that I wanted to learn the lesson some other time.  I tried to reason with God.  Wasn’t it unfair to me that my husband waited through the weekend before seeking medical help?  I didn’t want to yield to God.  I didn’t want to show love to my husband at that time in that way.  Finally, I yielded.  I took my husband to the doctor, x-ray, blood work, pharmacy and back home to the couch with medication, ice, a pillow, the remote control and something to eat.  I learned the lesson of how to really show love.  However, I often have to remind myself of what is really important in life.  My agenda is not the number one thing on the list.

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The Prodigal Daughter

Most of us are familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son.  A man had two sons and the youngest son went to him and ask for his half of the inheritance.  The father gave him the money and he went off and partied and traveled and spent it all.  He decided to return home and ask his father to take him in.  When the father saw him returning the father ran to him, gave him his coat and ring and threw a big party.  The oldest son, who had stayed home and worked, was upset and stayed outside and didn’t want to attend the party.  The father went outside and coaxed him to come in and celebrate.

Have you thought at all about this story?  I have.  I wonder what the father did in order to be able to give the youngest son half of his money.  Did he sell land or cattle?  Did he take out a second mortgage?  I wonder how the oldest son felt.  Now “his half” was what they were living on.  What if there was a financial downturn or a drought or a hurricane that destroyed the house?  The younger brother went traveling.  Sort of like going to Las Vegas to gamble and sleep with prostitutes and experiment with drugs and alcohol.  I imagine that he had lots of friends as long as he had lots of money to spend and that things seemed to be so much fun – the pleasure of sin for a season.  When the money ran out and the friends were gone reality set in.  Why do we often have to “hit bottom” before we acknowledge that we are wrong and turn from the things we are doing. What did the oldest son think when he saw his brother return?  Now, “his half” would become even smaller.  Those of us who have a strong sense of justice can relate to how this son was feeling.  There is so much going on here.
When people come for counseling with their version of this story we work through some of these questions.  How much should a parent give?  Often these situations go on for years and years and siblings of the prodigal seem to take a back seat while the parents spend so much time and energy working with the prodigal.  What effect does this have on the siblings?  Often, the prodigal,  isn’t concerned about all the chaos that is taking place because of his/her actions.  These are very painful situations and we work on setting boundaries and letting go of co-dependent strategies.
Ah, but what if you are that prodigal?  Read the story for yourself.  The Father is waiting for you with open arms.  He is ready to forgive.  After reading the story try writing it in your own words, putting yourself in the place of the prodigal.  Below is the story and below that is the my story in my words.  I would like to hear from you.  Tell me your story.
This story is found in Luke 15:11-24 (ESV):

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. [12] And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. [13] Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. [14] And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. [15] So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. [16] And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
[17] “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! [18] I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
[19] I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ‘ [20] And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. [21] And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.  [22] But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. [23] And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. [24] For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
In my words:  In the beginning it was very attractive – the freedom and having things that I wanted.
As time went on, what had first appeared to be exciting lost it’s appeal.
The interesting thing to me was that there was no other person, no letter from home, which said to come back to the father.
It was You, Father, Yourself.  I knew that YOU would take me back.  I knew that YOU would forgive me.  What I didn’t expect was the love and joy YOU showed when you saw me again.  I didn’t deserve the ring or the banquet and I certainly didn’t deserve being accepted as YOUR child after giving up my rights.
I confess that I squandered what YOU gave me and I ask for forgiveness.
I am surprised that YOU showed such great love to me.
I thank YOU for YOUR forgiveness and acceptance.
I can never repay what YOU have done for me.
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The Miners From Chile

When the trapped miners came out of the mine, many of them were wearing shirts that had something written on the back in Spanish.  It was a scripture verse that, when translated into English, reads: “ In His hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are His also” – Psalms 95:4 (ESV). Several of the miners spoke of how their environment had changed from evil to good while they were there.  What happened to them?  What happens to people when they realize that they may die soon – or be trapped for a very long time?  The first initial fear must have turned to resignation and frustration.  There were days and hours away from the normal routine of life and away from distractions and loved one.  There was the constant hunger (48 hours of rations lasted 17 days), thirst and heat. 

When something like this happens people are stripped of everything “normal” in their lives and this is replaced by days of unknown events.  When will it end?  Will it end?  What will happen if someone gets sick, or dies?   Will the food last.  Will the water last? Lots of questions and lots of time to ponder and think.  17 days with no contact from the outside world and a total of 69 days trapped, one half mile underground.  Since the miners aren’t talking yet about what occurred “down under” we can only speculate.

Lets walk in their shoes for a minute and think about what happens as days and week roll by.  Can God see and hear so far below ground?  Psalm 24:1,2 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers”.  He created it and He knows what is happening in all the deep places.  What about anxiety?  Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”  The phrase I have heard is “one day at a time”.  All we can really live is one minute at a time.

While trapped, with time to contemplate about ones life and ones future, one might be searching the heart.  Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.  I hope that some of these men did take the time to ask God to search their hearts and change their lives while they were in this deep place.  I know that some of them acknowledged that they were in His hands in that place.  I pray that it will be a life changing experience for them.

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