Tag Archives: knowing God

Ezekiel 6-10; Know that God is the LORD

When I read about the devastation that God’s children were about to face, I can get caught up in the brutality of it all. God was relentless in His discipline of His disobedient people. But I’m reminded that the discipline, the severe consequences for their sin isn’t really the point.

I was struck at the number of times God said these awful things were going to happen so the people would KNOW that He is the Lord.

Friend, there are severe consequences for sin. There is no getting around it. But God would rather you see Him. He reveals Himself in those hard times. But He also reveals Himslef in nature, in blessings, in the beauty of life, in His written Word. And the God I know would rather you see Him in the good times, recognize Him as the One True God, and make Him Lord of your life before He has to punish you. He would much rather bless you as His child.

Read God’s Word. Get to know Him. Look for the ways He is trying to get your attention. Then bow before Him, obey Him, and allow Him to pour out His blessings on you.

The alternative is devastating.

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Isaiah 44-49; A Matter of Life and Death

I don’t know what you think about God, or religion. I don’t know your world view, or your level of spirituality. But I challenge you to read these chapters with an open mind. Hear what God says about Himself. Pay attention to the proof He gives that what He says is true. It is a matter of life and death.

You’ll hear God repeat the statement that “I am God. There is no one like me.” You’ll hear Him point to evidence of His reality in creation, the proof in nature. He’ll ask you to use common sense. And He will tell the future of the Israelites in such detail that, if you study their history, you’ll find it will happen just like God said it did, down to the pagan king named Cyrus who is said to have a nose like an eagle’s beak.

But I don’t want you to stop there. Once you realize God is exactly who He says He is, I want you to go to the New Testament and hear what the One and Only God says about Jesus. Read the Gospels and hear what the angel said to Mary about the birth of her Son, to Joseph about his future step son.

Hear what the One and Only God said to anyone within earshot when Jesus was baptized. “This is my Son…” He’ll say it again in Matthew 17. Then hear God’s Son Jesus say in no uncertain terms that He is the Messiah. (John 4:25-26)

Then I challenge you to turn to John 14:6, and understand it means exactly what it says.

I don’t know what you think about God, or religion. But I know that unless you believe God is who He says He is, and that His Son Jesus in the only way to know Him, you are wrong.

Do you know Him? Have you received what Jesus died to give you, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life? Like I said, it’s a matter of life and death.

I’m praying for you.

Nehemiah 7-9; It’s Not Just History

God inspired the writers of Scripture fairly often to recall the events surrounding Israel’s exodus from Egypt, their forty year wilderness experience, and their occupation of the Promised Land. This time Nehemiah is praying as he takes us through those historical years.

Last week I watched the video of a lecture David Arthur gave on these chapters, and a lightbulb went on in my brain. I will never look at passages such as these the same ever again. Because  David Arthur did not spend time talking about the history of Jews. He referred to it as the history of God.

Of course!

God doesn’t want us focusing on the people, the nation of Israel. Lots of people write history books. God wants us to SEE HIM in the events and lives of the people He chose for that purpose. We think God chose Israel because somehow He loved them more, wants to bless them more. The reality is He chose the Jews to be an example to the world of who God is, and what He can do for those who obey Him. He chose that people group to reveal Himself, first through the Jewish people, and ultimately through Jesus. (Read Exodus and notice how often God tells us He does things so that the nations will know He is God)

So what does God tell us about Himself through the words of Nehemiah’s prayer? Here’s a quick list:

He alone is the Lord. He is the creator. He is faithful. He is righteous. He is compassionate. He has power over nature. He is present. He is holy. He forgives. He leads His people. He provides. He blesses. He is the victor. He must be obeyed. He is patient. He punishes sin. He is gracious, great, mighty, awesome, keeps His promises, answers prayer. He is just. His loving kindness is real.

I believe with all my heart that this is what God wants us to take away from the way He worked through one people group. The Bible is not about the physical nation of Jews. It’s about God.

It’s all about God.

Do you know Him? There is no better time than this season when we celebrate the birth of His Son Jesus. Read God’s Word and allow Him to reveal Himself to you. That is exactly what He longs to do.

I Kings 18-19; Where Is God?

Sometimes I can read God’s Word and almost believe it was written to describe the USA in 2017. Did the writer of I Kings watch Fox News before he wrote this?

God instructed Elijah to stand on the mountain and get ready to be amazed “… for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then, a great and mighty wind tore the mountain apart, shattering rocks. But God wasn’t in the wind.

An earthquake hit, shaking the ground beneath Elijah’s feet. God wasn’t in the earthquake, either.

A fire broke out. Was the Lord in the fire? Not even the fire.

Verse 12 tells us: “And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” When Elijah heard that still, small voice, he covered his face. That’s where Elijah met the Lord.

In the last few weeks we have been devastated by a great and mighty wind called, Harvey, another called Irma, and now Maria is knocking at the door. Just a few days ago, Mexico was hit with a powerful earthquake, destroying buildings and taking lives. California has been dealing with an uncontrolled wild fire recently. And some people will tell us God is in it, punishing the US for ungodliness.

I don’t want to debate “why” things are happening. If God wants to punish us in this way, we deserve it. But I am not going to read this Scripture, wipe my hands, and say “The end is near,” and leave it at that. I’m just not.

We can, of course, see the Almighty in the fury of a storm, in the shaking of the earth, or the heat of a fire. In fact, I hope we do. Don’t miss the fact that God is very powerful. But I think the Bible teaches us if you want to meet God, if you really want to see Him, just shut up for a minute.

Get alone and open His love letter to you. Let Him whisper how much He loves you, that He gave His life to save you. Quit telling Him what you think you need, or bombarding Him with questions, and thinking you have a right to the answers. Just be still and know that He is God. He wants you to know Him.

HE wants you to know Him.

He WANTS you to know Him.

He wants YOU to know Him.

He wants you to KNOW Him.

He wants you to know HIM.

Shhhhh. God is speaking.

2 Samuel 7-9; God’s Heart

Did you watch the total eclipse of the sun this past Monday? If you live outside the USA you might have missed the hype. It was magical.

Even though I live about 90 miles from the route of the actual total eclipse, we still had our eyes fixed on the sky to catch a glimpse of the moon traveling in front of the sun. It’s something you don’t see every day. I had the weather channel on most of the day as they followed the progression across the country. And I was impressed at what an emotional experience this unusual phenomenon was for so many people.

Today, I am sitting by the window overlooking a beautiful lake in the mountains of northern Italy. We are here for the wedding of a friend, and enjoying scenery I never imagined I would ever see. My first time in Europe, and I am in awe.

As I read 2 Samuel this morning where David got the news that he would not be building the temple for the Lord, I was touched when I heard the king thank God for telling him. It certainly was not the news David had hoped for, but he thanked God anyway.

As usual, when I read Scripture, I ask God to reveal Himself. I don’t want to ever read it as merely a book of history. And God is always faithful to point out something, to teach me something every time. This is what got my attention today:

For the sake of Your Word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know. (7:21)

Now, I know David is speaking about the kindness God showed him by letting him know someone else was going to build the temple. And I try to be careful not to take verses out of context. But there are so many verses in the Bible that share the same truth.

The heavens declare the glory of God… (Psalm 19:1)

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

Why does God reveal Himself? David tells us it’s for the sake of His Word, and according to His own heart. In other words, it’s because God WANTS us to know Him.

I can look at the skies and see an intelligent Creator. I can see the world from this mountaintop vantage point and see artistry in creation, and know it stems from an intentional Creator. I can watch the dew sparkle on a spider’s web, or hear the chatter of a squirrel and recognize an imaginitve Creator.

When I look at nature, or when I study science, or when I stop to consider my own body, I know that there is purpose and reason behind it all. But then, when I read His Word, I get to know His heart and understand what my inward being has always known.

God, Creator, loves me. He wants me to know Him, to love Him. He has done all this greatness to let me know who He is. He wants me to know His heart.

I love His heart.

Samuel 1-3; Knowing God

Samuel grew up in the church. No, really. He actually lived and grew up right there in the temple. His parents dropped him off there when he was a toddler. 3:1 tells us he “ministered before the Lord under Eli.” The apprentice priest. Samuel’s whole life was spent serving God.

I was struck today that, even after years of doing the right things, Samuel didn’t recognize God’s voice when He called. 3:7 tells us why:

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord; The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

It reminds me of Matthew 7. Some people in this example were trying to talk God out of sending them to hell, arguing that they had prophesied in the name of the Lord, and had even cast out demons and performed other miracles in God’s name. Shouldn’t that earn them a ticket to heaven?

Jesus tells us that on that day when judgment is declared, God will say to those busy people, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

I hope you are an active, productive member of a Bible believing church. I hope you visit the sick, volunteer in the nursery, mow the lawn, and serve on all kinds of committees that help your fellowship make a difference in your community, to the glory of God.

But let me ask you if you recognize God’s voice. Do you know Him? Have you had that personal, one-on-one conversation with Him, and told Him your heart’s condition? Have you repented of sin, accepted His grace – the work of Jesus on the cross? Are you nurturing a relationship by reading what He wrote to you, by talking to Him, by listening for His voice very day?

Doing things for the Lord is great. But if you’re doing those things without knowing Him, without Him knowing you as His child, hear Him say that He sees you as an evildoer.

Samuel finally recognized God’s voice and said, “Speak Lord. I’m listening.”

I pray you’ll say the same.

December 16 – It’s Not An Easy Road

Ephesians

The Christian life is not a walk in the park. It’s hard. It takes effort. It’s a conscious decision to put on the armor of God, to lay aside our former selves, to serve, to be rooted and grounded in love. It’s a daily, sometimes moment by moment choice.

Read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians today and let your heart soar at the benefits of being adopted into the family of God through the blood of Jesus. Read it and be challenged to make that daily effort to draw near to God who loves you, and wants to pour out His blessings on you.

There are so many wonderful verses in this book. Here are a few that jumped out at me today:

1:7-8a  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.

1:13  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise

2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

The emphasis above is mine. But as I read these verses I am reminded what blessings are mine because of Jesus. And my heart overflows.

As you read, pay special attention to Paul’s heart recorded in chapter 3:14-21. Here’s a glimpse:

…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

I pray with Paul, that God will give you a spirit of wisdom, and a revelation of who He really is.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of HIs calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. ( Ephesians 1:17-18a)

The Christian life might be difficult. But it is also a road that is strewn with blessings. May you walk in the Light today. And be blessed.