This Page

has been moved to new address

Faith Imagined

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Faith Imagined: July 2010

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

July 26, 2010

Christian Inception

I watched the movie Inception. The idea of the movie is to delve into the core of the human subconscious (heart) and discover the hidden secrets of the soul. As I watched the movie, I knew that this concept was nothing new. When we are ready, the Holy Spirit invites all of us on a trip to the center of our hearts, but we have to be willing to go.

In the past year, God has taken me on a journey to the deep recesses of my heart. In all honesty, it has not been enjoyable. I discovered that most of my motives and intentions are connected to the root of selfishness. Selfishness is the human condition: it is our default setting—the thorn in our side. I always thought that my intentions were pure; but when I was pressed, the truth squeezed out.

Peter told Jesus He would never leave Him; but when Peter’s life was threatened, he chose selfishness. His pretty intentions were exposed, and he was humbled. God took Peter down to the inner parts of his Spirit, and Peter’s thorn of selfishness was revealed (Matthew 26.75). The thorn of selfishness (pride, flesh, sinfulness) is in all humans; the sooner we are aware of it, the better prepared will be to live with it.

Once I discovered my selfish nature (and got over the shock), I fervently worked towards working in love. However, I soon realized the difficulty of it. I would say something or do something deceitful, prideful or judgmental without meaning to. “Why did I do that?” I would question myself afterward. “I wasn’t intentionally trying to sin.”

What happens is that we automatically work out of selfishness if we are not consciously working out of love. The inception of our sinful nature was conceived by the Enemy and our consumption of it has infiltrated our entire mindset; and when we are not concentrating, we will unconsciously behave selfishly. That is why Paul says,

“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Romans 7.21-25

That is why we sin without trying to pursue it. As Christians, we have two “inceptions” in our hearts: the corrupted sinful nature we inherited at birth and the perfect spirit nature given to us by Jesus when we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. It doesn’t matter how good we appear on the outside, if we do not actively – moment by moment – yoke ourselves to Jesus, we will be yoked to the Enemy, our selfishness and the world.

I asked God why throughout this past year He has taken me on this journey to center of my heart and exposed my sin? Why for the past year has He been exploring and measuring every single facet of my life? God led me to the book of Ezekiel when the Lord measured the temple. I read through all the measurements and quickly became irritated: “Why are you having me read all of these temple measurements?” I asked God.

Finally, God brought me to Ezekiel 44.4: “Then the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the LORD filling the temple of the LORD, and I fell facedown.” Only when God has measured every aspect of our temples, can the fullness of His glory rest on us.

Why is that? Why does He have to measure us first before He allows the fullness of His glory to fill us? The answer is what Paul excitedly claims: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12.9.

When God reveals our selfishness through measuring our hearts, we realize that nothing beautiful can come from our lives separated from God. We in and of ourselves are corrupted by sin. However, God will rest His glory on us when we realize that the Glory is His alone. We can boast in our weaknesses because the awareness of them reminds us that all glory and beauty and love come from God. And this understanding will compel us to fervently seek to walk in His love and not in our own selfishness. This is the foundation of humility.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor” (1 Peter 5.6 NLT). Do you want to be a part of God’s glory? Take a good look at your heart, and know that goodness comes from God alone. Humble the sinful nature, so that God’s perfect nature can have complete authority over your life.

Labels: , , , , , ,

July 18, 2010

Internet Cafe: Confusing One-liners

I enjoy jogging on a certain main street in my neighborhood. A lot of joggers, skateboarders, and cyclist make their way down this road. The etiquette while jogging is to nod and say hello as you pass another jogger. If one is feeling very festive, she can try to squeeze in a fast one-liner during the few seconds of contact.

For example, one could say, “Windy day. Can’t wait to go back the other way” or “I forgot that summer has arrived already” or “Wonder if I can call a cab to pick me up.” These are quick little remarks that entertain the joggers as they sweat out all their frustration and that morning’s donut. The comments are not terribly witty or remarkable; rather, they mainly work as creative little fillers.

I always wear my headphones and jam out to Christian music while I jog. So whenever I see another jogger in the distance, I turn off the music so I can respond to whatever is being said or I can make a remark if so inclined.

However, one particular afternoon I didn’t want to turn off my radio. I was in a runner’s groove, and I didn’t feel like slowing down to look at my IPod. I decided that I would just speak to the passerby with the music playing in my ears. I prepared a quick comment about the weather and rehearsed it in my head. I was confident that I could give my small one-liner, make eye contact with the jogger and continue running my course. Simple.

Since the music was so loud in my ears, I really couldn’t hear how I sounded, but it was obvious the other jogger had no idea what I had said. All I saw as I ran past him was an expression of confusion and a little shock on his face. I’m horrified to think about what noises came out of my mouth.

Many times we as Christians do the same thing. We want to tell someone about Jesus, but we are listening to the loud noises of the world and we are unable to articulate clearly. We want to explain our relationship with Christ, but our words come out all jumbled and confused. Sometimes our entire life is one chaotic mess because we can’t distinguish God’s voice from amongst the world’s racket.

I’ve realized that in my own walk with God, I have had to tune out a lot of the world. Much of what I filter is not necessarily deemed as evil – it’s just distracting. Once I started turning down the ruckus filling my ears, I was much better at hearing from the Lord. When I could hear God’s voice, I became better at sharing His insights with others.

I know that God’s grace covers all my mess-ups, but I would like to do a better job at focusing my radar on Him. I want to clearly hear God’s voice, so He can do a mighty work in my life. If I could be diligent enough to tune-out the world’s transmissions, my ears will have greater ability to receive God’s holy signal, which is filled to overflowing with truth and promises.

What about you? What distractions can you tune out of your life, so you can better hear from God? What changes can you make that will keep your radar alert to His plan?

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding”
(Job 37.5 NIV).

You can also read this at the Internet Cafe.

Labels: , , , , ,

July 12, 2010

Foot Promise

Instead of dividing time by years, I try to envision all existence as one beautiful gift. Life is a single, intricate creation, bound together by a name that we tend to whisper about –Jesus, Messiah, Christ, Lord. Jesus was at God’s side during our world’s inception, He hung on the cross at its redemption and, finally, He’ll break through the skies at its completion.

Jesus stands firmly in the center of creation, watching as His divine purpose comes to fruition. He takes small but amazing pieces of His will and places them at His feet. They are called His promises. Then He puts the desire for those promises in each of us.

The promises are beyond our abilities, but we are drawn to them like a magnet to metal. The world tries to sidetrack us with tantalizing distractions that urge us to wander. As we seek Jesus, though, He compels us forward by faith.

We struggle onward in a life that isn’t easy. We learn to rely on the joy, peace and hope found in the core of God’s spirit in us as Christians. We slowly loosen our grip on the world, and we walk into the unknown, holding onto the only truth that we can rely on: We are loved. Though our bodies, minds and hearts grow weary, our souls attain eternal rest in Him.

When we finally arrive at our promises, we realize that they were only the lures. We walked by faith to the feet of Jesus, and He skimmed off our sin in the process. We now understand the purpose of our pain and the significance of our struggle. We look up at the face of Jesus and hand Him the weight of our promises, and He pulls us up into the power, the majesty and the beauty of His glory.

Promise verses: Proverbs 19.21, Jeremiah 29.11, Romans 8.28, 2 Thessalonians 1.11, Hebrews 6.17 & Revelation 17.17.

Labels: , , ,

July 9, 2010

Granola Bar Devotional: Rebuke Me

Here is my newest Granola Bar Devotional. Go here to check out more!

Rebuke Me!

I was talking to my twin sister about a concern I had with a particular topic. She wisely told me that my opinion might be judgmental and that I should probably keep it to myself. I was upset at first because I thought, Surely, my opinion is godly and right. However, her loving rebuke stayed in my mind; and throughout the next several days, I came into contact with three different friends on separate occasions. This particular topic that my sister advised me on came up. Though my opinion popped into my head – and I still as of yet didn’t see a problem with it – I kept it to myself. During the conversation with each friend, I had a chance to voice my “godly and right” opinion, but I respected my sister’s judgment and I trusted her counsel. In retrospect, I realized that though my opinion was “right” for me, it wasn’t necessarily right for everyone. I discovered that I was transferring the Holy Spirit’s will towards my life onto others. What was a godly yoke for me, would have been a religious burden for my friends. I am so thankful that I listened to my sister, and I am proud of myself that I didn’t allow my feelings to get in the way of God’s protection. I will never be perfect, and I will always make mistakes. But I will continually be on the lookout for God’s reprimand because I know that He is trying to prepare me for victory ahead.

Memory Verse:
“The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, and a wise friend's timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.”
- Proverbs 25.11 (The Message)

Prayer Prompt:
“Lord, I value Your rebuke, and I am honored that You would take time to teach me. Thank You for surrounding me with wise family and friends who are willing to speak Your truth into my life. Please help me to joyfully take reprimands because I know that they will make me wiser….”

Contributing Writer:
Alisa Hope Wagner

Labels: , , ,

July 4, 2010

ST Publication: Measure of a Woman

Below is my article that is published in the Sanctified Together Email & Online Publication's July Issue: Measure of a Woman! We have many beautiful articles written by Christian women who desire to find their measure in God alone.

We will be sending this publication via email one more time next Sunday. If you would like to receive this free publication produced every three months or if you would like to contribute, please sign up to receive updates here.

I welcome you to read the other amazing articles found in our publication here. You can also download and print the publication by going here.

5 Lbs of Grace

I had been avoiding the scale for several weeks, but I finally decided to weigh myself and account for the damage. Yep, I had gained 5 lbs. My weight always fluctuates. I think it enjoys making me mad, happy or sad based on its movements; it likes to show off its control over me.

Normally when I gain weight, I focus all my attention and efforts on the unwanted pounds. I lose all my peace and joy, and every aspect of my daily life is affected. I'm determined to lose the weight at all cost.

As my mind started its downward spiral of negative and distracted thoughts, God told me, "They don't make a difference."

"What?" I asked. I was really tired of this cycle, and I was willing to hear what God had to say.

"Those 5 lbs you are worrying about make absolutely no difference in your life. They don't affect how people see you, they don't affect your health and they don't affect your destiny. They are meaningless."

After God gave me the truth about my 5 lbs, I finally found freedom. I didn't want to waste my energy over a few pounds because I'm busy enough doing things that have purpose. Why would I misuse my time on something that is insignificant? I felt light as a feather, though I was 5 lbs heavier!

In my new found freedom, I got dressed. I didn't even worry about the fact that my jeans were a tad snugger around my waist. Since my mind was freed up to think about more important things, I started focusing on God's promises for me. My thoughts instantly started exploring what I needed to do in order for God to finally fulfill His plan in my life.

God said almost cheekily, "They don't make a difference."

"What?" I asked. If God had more freedom for me, I wanted it.

During my entire adult life, I have struggled with trying to humble myself more, trying to learn more, trying to shed more sin, trying to focus on God more. I've wanted to do everything in my power, so I could prove to God that I was ready to receive His promises. Without knowing it, though, I was basing God's promises on what I was doing.

God said, "Nothing you could ever do would make you deserve the promises that I have for you. My promises will always be too great for you to achieve. I give them freely to you because of who I am and because I love you."

Talk about freedom! All my efforts could never secure God's blessings, so I can quit worrying about proving myself all the time. God blesses me because of what He has done, not what I have done. All I need to do is focus on staying in God's will. If I am in the center of His purpose, God will accomplish His plans for me. I simply need to cooperate with Him.

I also realized that God gives all of us 5 lbs of grace. When you look at an imperfect woman and wonder why she's getting blessed, just remember that she has 5 lbs of grace. And the same goes for you. If you see your imperfections and wonder how God could ever bless you, just remember that God has 5 lbs of grace for you too. All of us make mistakes. None of us deserve God's blessing. I don't care how perfect you are or how perfect you think she is. Our efforts are meaningless compared to God's perfection. We all deserve death if It wasn't for Christ!

Christians can claim God's grace, and that is why we can boldly go to the throne! God has an amazing life for us, and He gives it to us freely. We just have to be available and willing to receive it. Finally, 5 lbs we can all rejoice about!

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2.8-9 NIV).

BTW, we are having an author signed book giveaway through the Sanctified Together Publication. To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment or email us at

Labels: , , , ,