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Podcast 1.07 Modern Parables with Jesus

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Episode 1.07: Modern parables with Jesus

(Musical intro)

Intro: Welcome to the Encounter Jesus podcast, also known as the ‘feel like Jesus is hugging you today’ podcast. I’m Elizabeth Ellynshaw, and today we will be talking more about receiving thoughts from God in the form of pictures, and how God can give us picture thoughts not only using the metaphors in the Bible, but metaphors from our own lives as well.

We know Jesus was an incredible storyteller and He told parables, which are story-pictures, using metaphors from the daily life of the people listening to Him. Their daily life involved things like working in vineyards and looking for lost sheep and kneading bread dough made with yeast. I’ve actually never owned a sheep, though I can imagine it. But I used to picture Jesus so completely inside the covers of the Bible that I never pictured Him as even knowing about modern stuff like smartphones and seat belts and diaper genie cans.

But you know, Jesus is still alive. This is a really, really important truth that we as Christians believe. Jesus is still alive in 2024 or whatever year you are listening to this, and He is sitting in heaven at His Father’s right hand knowing us and loving us and speaking to us through His Holy Spirit inside of us, and He knows just as much about our daily lives as He knew about their daily life in Bible times. He knows everything about each of us and our lives, and our culture, and our personal memories. And when I started intentionally trying to listen to the Holy Spirit the very first thing I noticed was different was that He started to use modern metaphors with me!

He would talk to me about the same truth from the Bible using a metaphor from my own life. Like, for example, the truth about abiding in Christ that Jesus communicated through the metaphor of a branch needing to stay connected to the vine to bear fruit or it can do nothing, but He started talking to me about that using the metaphor of my laptop that had a dead battery and so as long as it was plugged into the power source it could do all the things a computer can do, but if it got unplugged from the wall for even an instant, it would switch entirely off and could do nothing. It’s the same truth, but it was a metaphor just for me! So it is a great starting place to meet with God in our imaginations using Bible metaphors like He’s a Shepherd and I’m a sheep, or God’s a King and I’m a servant, but it also honors God when we meet Him in our imaginations using the personalized metaphors and pictures and stories that He loves to give each one of us that are just right for us and our lives.

(Musical transition)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Master Storyteller, just as You spoke to hearts when You were on the earth, I pray that You would speak to the heart of the person listening to this right now and that You will use the pictures that You know will speak the most to them, in Your name I pray, amen.

(Musical transition)

Content: So I can ask God questions like, “Lord, how do You see me?” and He will often answer by giving me some kind of picture or story or metaphor. I can ask “Lord, how do You see this other person?” “Lord how do You want me to see this situation I’m in?” Or I can specifically ask Him for a picture, like, “Lord, can You give me a picture of Your love for me?” “Lord, what picture do You want to give me of this truth I’m reading about?” And He will give me word thoughts and picture thoughts. He gives me pictures from my culture, like ‘you’re like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer in this situation, you feel different from everyone else, but I’m going to use that for good.’ He gives me pictures from my childhood memories, like “remember how you used to snuggle with your parents on the sofa and play ‘I spy’ with the Christmas tree ornaments? that’s the way I feel about you right now.”

God can give us picture-thoughts when we pray, and He can also give other people pictures-thoughts when they pray for us. So I just want to share an example of one of each that have been meaningful in my life, and I hope it will inspire you to ask the Lord for your own, for both yourself and others, when you pray.

So the very first time I remember that someone else got a picture thought from God about me and shared it with me was many years ago, when my friend’s roommate’s mother was praying for me and she said, “When I pray for you, I see a picture in my mind of a train track. A train travels along its track, not turning to the right or left, and it arrives at the proper time to the appointed place. God’s plans for your life are like that. They are ‘on track,’ and they are happening in His timing and in His power, so don’t worry about anything, just keep trusting and obeying Him.”

That picture greatly encouraged me, and I referred back to it in my own prayers many times. I said “God, right now this train on its track seems to be going through a dark tunnel! I can’t see any progress forward in my life, help me dare to believe you that this train of Your plans is still moving forward even when I don’t see it! Help me keep believing You in the darkness, and then come out again into the light!” And again, He did it.

And then many times God has given me my own picture, story, parable, metaphor, vision, whatever you want to call it. One of the most special times was when I was going through a really difficult situation in my life and I was really worried about it. But I was at my friend’s house helping with her newborn baby. I was standing at the changing table changing the baby’s diaper and worrying about what would happen when I left her house and went home again when this thought came to me as if God was asking me the question:

“How hard is it for you to change the baby’s diaper?”

So I answered Him in my thoughts, and said, “Um… honestly, Lord, it’s not hard at all. I can have it all done within three minutes. It’s slightly easier if the baby is happy and cooperative, but even if he’s crying his head off, I can still easily change his diaper.”

And then a thought came like a second question,

“And how hard would it be for him to change his own diaper?”

I said, “God, he’s a newborn baby! He can’t even hold his own head up! If I said, ‘change your own diaper!’ and walked away, he would just lie there and cry and lie there and cry helplessly until he died!” The thought was so horrifying that I wanted to hug the baby and say, “Don’t worry honey, I won’t do that, I won’t leave you!”

And then the thought came from God, “That is how you and I are. You are like the baby. You can’t do anything to fix your own difficult situation. If I left you in it, you would just lie there helplessly and cry until you died. But I can fix it easily,” He started to quote my own words back to me. “I can have it all resolved within three minutes! It will be slightly easier if you trust Me and are happy and cooperative, but even if you don’t believe Me at all and you scream with fear the whole time, I can still easily change everything for you.”

I clung to that promise, and He did it. He resolved the entire situation incredibly quickly and all by Himself! After that I often used the metaphor of changing the baby’s diaper when I prayed and I would ask God to change people and change me and change situations in a way that, as Jesus said, “is impossible for humans but is possible with God!”

(Musical transition)

Question: Has God ever given you some picture-thoughts or story-thoughts of your own metaphors with Him? If He has, what were some of your favorites? I invite you to ask Him for a picture today, to just pray and ask the question, ‘Lord, would You please give me a picture of Your love for me today?’ and then take note of the thoughts that He brings to your mind. He is so excited to speak to your heart in a way that is just right for you.

(Musical Outro)

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  1. Julia Sensenig Julia Sensenig

    This is so helpful, Elizabeth!
    I want to more frequently ask the Lord for pictures of His love for me, to let God fix difficult situations instead of trying to fix them myself, and to ask Him, “How do You see this situation I’m in?”
    And then I want to listen and see.
    Thank you for blessing my life by sharing these parables, dear friend.

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