Friends! Remember your parents telling you “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” I didn’t fall for that for long. To this day, I have to force myself to sit down and eat an apple. Don’t ask me why…
Fun sidebar: A more interesting proverb about the apple first appeared in 1866 in Wales,
“Eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”
While most medical experts agree this isn’t true re: docs, some say the act of eating an apple can keep the pharmacist away. Do try this at home…
I have even better medical news (as in “prescriptions” to lower your stress, coupled with giving-peace-of-mind-news), thanks of course, to a book with my name on it. Not literally, but you’ll learn why this book jumped out at me recently…
The book? Facing the Future without Fear: Prescriptions for Courageous Living in the New Millennium by Lloyd John Ogilvie.
Lloyd was the 61st Chaplain to the U.S. Senate from 1995-2003. Prior to that he pastored First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, California for twenty-three years. He also authored fifty plus books!
Sadly, Lloyd John Ogilvie died just this month (June of 2019) at 88 years of age. U.S. Senator Mark O.Hatfield said to hear him preach was like experiencing a “living gospel.”
In an interview in 1989, Ogilvie said,
Now, to the book: First off, and primo to remember, Lloyd teaches us there are 366 “Fear nots” in the Bible. One for every day, including leap year! Thence the title of this post: “A ‘fear not’ a day keeps the devil away.”
Each of the book’s twelve chapters are “prescriptions for courageous living.” If I had to pick a favorite, I’d choose Prescription #9:
Lloyd took a survey of the causes of fear and many answered, “imaginary fears.” He said, “Some went on to explain that many of their worst fears never happened. And yet they continued to be victims of their gloomy imaginations.”
Look at these ever-so-true words from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Some of your hurts you have cured
And the sharpest you still have survived
But what torment of grief you’ve endured
From hurts that never arrived.”
It never occurred to me to confess our fearful imaginations to the Lord and BEGGING (my word choice, lol) Him to make our imagination “a channel of His vision and NOT a breeding place for fear.” Lloyd adds the importance and the dire need of our understanding what the Lord intended for our imaginations to do, that it must frustrate and distort His original purpose when we don’t consider such. What a way to think! Lloyd assures us if we do this, “then we can claim His power to live out each day as fearless, imaginative, and healthy Christians.”
Let’s reiterate those three adjectives! FEARLESS, IMAGINATIVE, and HEALTHY!!!
Lloyd continues to define imagination for us: It is:
“The God-given ability of the thinking brain to form and hold images of thought.
“The drama department of the mind, giving our ideas form and structure,
“It produces the motion picture version of our thought.”
And, if that’s not mind-blowing enough, we’re reminded of Joel 2:28-29 which says,
Lloyd said, regarding the above verse, “It’s not only the prediction of the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, but it’s also the promise of the renaissance of the imagination.” Friends, I HAVE NEVER CONSIDERED THIS BEFORE, HAVE YOU?
Frankly it was a relief to discover later in the chapter that Lloyd had never considered this before either until he kept reading Paul’s words regarding “the fullness of God.”
Let’s read Ephesians 3:17-19:
Now, tuck your toes under the table as they’re about to get stepped on: Lloyd then asked himself this question: “If I have been created to receive all of the fullness, have I responded with all of my life?”
He had the revelation he’d been using his imagination to promote fear, not faith, so he made a deep commitment to the Lord re: his imagination and prayed for the fullness of His Spirit to fill it, heal it and use it to help him see himself and other people and the church the way the Lord does. This was a huge “aha” for Lloyd and is also, I’m sure, for us readers! WOW.
The end of the chapter includes six points to recap the wealth of information we’re given in Chapter Nine. The sixth point is my favorite because it truly reminds us to bookend our days with prayer:
I must admit I was deeply saddened to learn of Lloyd’s recent death because I wanted to write him and tell him how much this book has meant to me. Being fearful is one of my many activities du jour which produce ridiculous worry, thence the need to “readjust” my imagination just as Lloyd advises.
I nearly fell out of my chair while reading another faith-equipping book (which I’ll be writing about next!), called Bella’s Gift: How One Little Girl Transformed Our Family and Inspired a Nation by Rick and Karen Santorum with Elizabeth Santorum.
I’m sure y’all remember Rick and his run for presidency. He tells us early into the book how Lloyd John Ogilvie transformed his faith, calling Lloyd a “great man of God.” (This was while Rick got to sit under Lloyd’s preaching and teaching when he was Chaplain to the Senate!)
Finally, another big fan of Lloyd was author and pastor John Ortberg. When John was a student at Fuller Seminary, he would sneak over to Hollywood Presbyterian (where Lloyd was the pastor) to watch and learn. John said, “LLoyd John Ogilvie was a kind of statesman in the world of evangelical Christianity whose type is sorely needed and will be badly missed. He deeply valued the life of the mind and was a model scholar-pastor. At the same time, his commitment to a life of prayer and a fresh experience of intimacy with God shone thru’ almost every sermon…How good God was to lend him to us for a while.”
Dash away, dash away all to your nearest bookstore and grab Facing the Future Without Fear: Prescriptions for Courageous Living in the New Millenium. You will be so blessed!
‘Til next time!