'Imagine;

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   In 1971, British rock musician and former Beatle John Lennon released what would become the most successful song of his solo career.  “Imagine” is one of the most-performed songs of the 20th century, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number three in their list of “the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”  It’s been performed during the “Ball Drop” in New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve, it was played during the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics, and notably, has become an anthem of the secular humanist and atheist movement, championed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the ACLU.

   The song has a beautiful piano melody and lyrics that promote peace and universal harmony, a world united in love, and a society that does not covet or esteem material posessions.

   Being a music lover, when I was growing up, I loved the song “Imagine.” I thought it was truly beautiful, and I thought, “imagine if the world COULD achieve universal peace and harmony... no more war, no more prejudice or injustice.  Wouldn’t that be great? And isn’t that what our goal as human beings should be?”

   But as I got older, despite the fact that I was a fan of the music, something began to not sit right with me.  For a long time, I brushed my concerns aside, justifying the song in as many ways as I could so that I could still enjoy it and consider it “OK” to listen to.  But still, something about it, just wasn’t right.  I considered the lyrics:

    “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try.  No hell below us, above us only sky.  Imagine all the people living for today.”   Because I was attracted to the music and a musician myself, I enjoyed the sound.  Because I was a young person, my youthful ideals yearned for a world of peace and love.  But as a Christian, the Holy Spirit was saying, “Wait a minute, you better look more closely at this, because there’s deception going on.”  

   Indeed there was, and is.  As much as I wanted to ignore it, the words to the song “Imagine” sounded eerily familiar to what the serpent whispered to Eve in the garden:  “Just IMAGINE...”  Imagine there’s no heaven.  He didn’t come right out and say “there’s no heaven,” just “IMAGINE there’s no heaven.”  He didn’t come right out and say “there’s no hell,” just “IMAGINE there’s no hell.”  Imagine.  And don’t worry about the consequences, or what might happen tomorrow... just “IMAGINE all the people living for today.”  Just live for today, if it feels good to you, do it, everything will be fine.  Now that I’m more spiritually mature, this first verse of the song alone, now makes me shudder at how utterly demonic the concept is.  

   But the song goes on: “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do.  Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.  Imagine all the people living life in peace.”  The third verse is, “Imagine no posessions, I wonder if you can.  No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man.  Imagine all the people, sharing all the world.”

   In one of his final interviews before his death, Lennon talked about the meaning of his most famous song and explained what he had set out to do with “Imagine.” He said, “It’s anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic, but because it’s sugar-coated,” he said, “it’s accepted.  Now I know what you have to do.  Put your political message across with a  little honey.”

   Isn’t this just how Satan gets things done? Of course, he would NEVER come right out and give us the whole picture.  He lures us with a little sugar, a little honey -- whatever bait he knows will appeal to each of us the most, and before we know it, the hook is set and we are ruined.  All sin begins in the mind and heart... as we IMAGINE.  

   I’ve talked before about the words “Imagine” and “Imagination.”  The root word is   “IMAGE.”  In our minds, we violate God’s second commandment as we create an IMAGE, as we IMAGINE and DOUBT what God has said.  We become wise in our own eyes, and as Scripture tells us, believing the lie and  “claiming to be wise, we become fools.”  

   The world has had “Imagine” for almost fifty years now;   at least a couple generations have had time to embrace the liberal doctrine put forth in the song.  So how’s that working out for us?  Are all the people living life in peace?  Are all the people sharing all the world?  “No, of course not, don’t be ridiculous,” you say.  “It never happened because only a few people got on board with the program.  If everyone would join the peace movement, it could have happened.  The trouble is all the haters in the world.”

   Well, the truth is, this liberal, so-called “progressive” movement has had virtually free reign this entire time.  All these years, we have had liberal doctrine taught in our public schools and colleges.  The radical leftists who embraced this ideology in the ‘60s and ‘70s are now running things: everything from the media to the government, even the churches.   They’ve done their best to get rid of the true God of the Bible and biblical Christianity.  It’s prohibited in the schools and now they are working hard to erase it from our national heritage, sandblasting or removing Christian monuments that have stood for generations, re-writing the text books, persecuting those who love Jesus and taking away their livlihoods -- IRONICALLY -- all in the name of “peace,” “tolerance,” and “equality.” 

   But has getting rid of Jesus acheived their goal of universal peace? Do we now all hold hands around the world and love one another?  Is racism a thing of the past?  Are we all “one” now? Hardly.  Because man was designed to worship, when Christianity was removed from public, a spiritual vacuum was created, which was quickly filled with the false, demonic religions of secular humanism, New Age Spirituality, Wicca, Earth Worship, and now, Islam.  Yes, ironially, ISLAM -- now the number one religion embraced by these leftist, progressive college professors and government leaders -- the very radicals who demanded we free ourselves from the chains of religion have now embraced Islam -- the most repressive, the most oppressive, violent, NON-peaceful ideology the world has ever known.  

   Even the feminists who fought tooth and nail to free themselves from God the Creator and Jesus Christ His Son, wholly embrace the religion of Islam, which treats women as slaves and property to be bought and sold.  Even the homosexuals who hate Jesus with a wild, intense passion, will march in protest for the rights of Islam to grow and expand in our country, under the guise of world PEACE -- even though in every single Islamic country in the world, homosexuality is punished by strict, horiffic torture and public execution.

   What about the elimination of capitalism and nationalism?  Has that brought about universal peace, love and harmony the way the leftists wanted?  Do we have “income equality?”  No, not at all, but our Utopian leaders HAVE managed to just about completely dismantle the foundation of our country and in just seven short years have left it in heaps of smoking ruins. John Lennon himself stated that the song “Imagine” was (and I quote)  “virtually the Communist manifesto, even though I’m not particularly a Communist and I do not belong to any movement.  The Socialism I speak about is not the way some daft Russion might do it.  We should have a nice British socialism.”   So in other words, Lennon was advocating for socialism, but not the harsh Russian kind -- dare I say a “Democratic Socialism?” Perhaps like the Bernie Sanders variety?

   This is where we have come, folks.  Our imaginations have led us astray.  We have scorned the values of our forefathers, and we have abandoned the wisdom of the founders of this nation.  In our pride and arrogance, we have abandoned the God of Creation because we are SO much smarter, SO much more advanced and progressive.  We’ve thrown off the shackles of convention, of religion, because we are so much more enlightened and wise now, no longer constrained by superstition, and we laugh and joke about those who still believe in the God of the Bible.  Even our president publicly ridicules Christians, calling them “Flat Earthers.”    

   But now, as a people,  we cannot even figure out if we are male or female anymore.  We can’t comprehend something as basic as marriage.  We don’t know it’s wrong to kill our own children.  We argue and fight over something so ridiculously simple as which restroom to use.  And when someone dares to speak up with the voice of reason and common sense, they are shouted down, hauled into court, until they learn to comply; they have their businesses shut down, their livlihoods taken away, they are shunned by society and yes, some even call for their death.  Because you see, THOUGHT is now a crime.  If you have an opinion that differs from their Utopian vision, you’re a criminal and a hater.    THIS, my friends, is the “peaceful world” you get when you trade God’s Word for your  own imaginations.

   Surely this is not what John Lennon had in mind, and I doubt he knew or understood that what he was putting forth in the song was demonically-inspired.  I’m sure those who advocate for “Democratic Socialism,” “Secular Humanism” and atheism believe in their cause too -- they believe theirs is the only real path to world peace.  They believe that religion, and Christianity in particular, is the cause of all the world’s problems.  But friends, the deceived never KNOW they’re deceived.  As the saying goes, “when one who is honestly mistaken learns the truth, he either stops being mistaken or ceases to be honest.”

   The problem goes back to the very begining of time -- the age-old struggle between God our Creator and Satan, the liar, the tempter, the deceiver.   Our Heavenly Father does not force us at gunpoint to love and worship Him.  He makes Himself known though, so that we are all without excuse. We are all born with an instinctive knowledge of God, and the in-born need to worship Him.  We’re also blessed with the gift of freewill, and the choices we make determine our character and our eternal destiny.  

   The biggest problem we face is pride.  Satan himself fell from grace because of pride.  He wants us to all deny God and worship him, and many do.  Satan will do anything to deceive us.  He will lie, cheat, steal, kill and destroy us in an effort to deny the Creator the worship He deserves.  It is because of pride that we want to believe there is no heaven or hell, and so we should just live for today --  and we believe that doing so will bring about universal peace and love.  It is because of pride that we think we know better than God, that we can redefine our world, even nature itself, to suit ourselves.  For that matter, we invent new gods that suit US best -- inventions in our own IMAGINATIONS.  The narcissism in the world today is incredible.  The false religions of the New Age teach that all power is “within ME,” that “I am a wonderful, capable being of infinite wisdom and strength,” that “to change the world I only need to imagine and use my personal power.”  That “god” is within ME, that indeed “I AM god, if only I can IMAGINE.”

   Friends, the greatest difference between this New Age deception and the one true God and Creator of all things is where the focus is.  The New Age focuses our attention and worship on ourselves.  Christianity focuses our attention and worship on Jesus.  The New Ager will say it’s all “within me” -- that I have the power.  The Christian will say, “I am nothing without Jesus.”   

   God created us with incredible minds, capable of so much.  He gave us the capacity to think and reason and imagine great things.  Imagination is not a bad thing in and of itself.  Mankind has learned to invent, build, fix and create too....    We are intelligent, creative and artistic --- we are created in HIS image!  But that’s the point.  We are CREATED, in His image.  HE created us...  we must understand our position in the world.  We are not greater than God, no matter what our minds conceive, or how the enemy will try to deceive, truth never changes and God’s holy laws of nature will ALWAYS prevail.  We cannot change that, nor can we create other gods to suit us better.  There is only ONE God, and we are not Him!

   Friends, if you are confused today, if you have believed in your heart the things the world has presented as beautiful and lovely, only to find they are an illusion, thank the Lord for your confusion!  It is the first step toward looking now at the real, honest truth of God.  You see, we can create things in our minds, in our imaginations, and dream up things that sound so wonderful to our human reasoning.  And the atheists even have a popular saying, “You can be good without God.”  But that too, is a lie, a deception of the devil.  Scripture tells us, without Him, we can do nothing.  

   Paul said: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you.”  Truly, it is time now to cast down all deception and all imaginations that have exalted themselves against the knowledge of God.  Seek the truth now, today, which you will ONLY find in Jesus.
   Audio versions and transcripts of this message are available when you call me at Wisconsin Christian News, (715) 486-8066.  Or email Rob@WisconsinChristianNews.com.  Ask for message number 155.

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