…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
We read so much today about physical healing and miracles that deal with the physical nature, and those are all well and good, but we will all eventually succumb to old age and the body will give out and the door of death is something that we will all have to walk through one day. To me, the greatest miracle of all is the miracle that lasts throughout eternity, the miracle of a changed Heart.
About four years ago my mother-in-law’s life was taken over by pancreatic cancer. It is a horrible cancer, as all cancers are. To just watch as a person’s life ebbs away and all you can do is try to make them as comfortable as possible.It’s a very emotional and trying time for everyone. I say this not for pity or sadness on my part, but for my wife Lori.
Lori and I met about eighteen years ago when life was throwing me a curve. Lori gave me hope and the spark that was so buried deep inside me. Oh, I tried to fight it and stay in my self-pity, but she did not give up. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. We got married and I will save the rest of that story for another blog, but what I really want to concentrate on is her current situation.
After Lori’s mom passed, her best friend was diagnosed with cancer also. She also passed from this world and went on to the next. To take two hits like that is hard enough for anyone, but there was more to come.
Lori also suffers from degenerative back decease. She walks around most of the time in pain, physical pain. There is also an emotional pain that she walks around with too. That pain is called her Father.
He made cancer seem like a walk in the park. No man that I have ever met can compare with the selfish, angry, hateful heart that this man possessed. This heart did not come from the emotional pain that he endured from the death of his wife. Her passing from this life to the next was an entrance, from the fifty five years of hell that this man, put her through, to a place of peace and rest, where there is no more crying…. She is finally free from all of that.
This all goes back to when he lost his sister, who was just seven years old at the time, to cancer also. Those pressures and emotional scares were deep and Bob carried them throughout his lifetime. It was the only way he knew how to live with his very hurting and troubled heart.
Now the incarceration of my wife begins. Bob was trying to do the same things to my wife, his daughter, that he did to his wife. The verbal abuse, the constant harassment of phone calls, and demands for her time were never ending.
The story went on, and Lori and I both continued to pray for Bob. We prayed that God would keep us strong. To help us see what is really going on inside him. What is making him act the way he does. He is hurting. He is so very angry. And God, what is our part in all this? Sometimes I wanted to wring his neck, and other times I felt sorry for him.
He was the one who was really in prison. He was the one that kept himself locked in, so afraid to come out, so afraid to face himself. But that is the only way he would ever be free. That is the only way any of us will ever be free. When we look in the mirror and see who we really are.
John 8:32;” And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Well that prison door was about to be opened. It all started when Bob joined our men’s bible study.
I want to talk now about the miracle God performed in Bob, my father-in-law’s life.
He joined the men’s bible study that I facilitated. He really loved getting out of the house and being one of the guys, ever since his wife died. We would talk about our sports teams and we always had something to say about our beloved, Detroit Lions. We would do our best to tell of how we would right the ship, if only we were the Head Coach of the Lions. Once we got all that out of our system, we really did open our bibles and get into a study of God’s word. We would drink our coffee, and eat our little munchies and share life with each other. It was a good time.
Bob would come over to my house and we would ride together to the church where the bible study was held. Sometimes he would get there two hours early. Since I only lived three minutes from the church, it left a lot of time for us to talk.
Sometimes we would go out to dinner or just sit in the kitchen and talk before it was time to go to the study. Bob was lonely, and all he wanted was someone to talk too. I know that I would complain sometimes, because he would come over so early, and I had things to do, but you know, I kind of didn’t mind. We would have some good talks, and looking back, God was letting me see inside into Bob’s heart, and I was seeing something start to happen. Bob was reading his bible every day. Even his next door neighbor said she saw him sitting on their back deck reading his bible.
God was doing something in Bob’s heart. He was changing this man from the inside. He didn’t seem so uptight about things like he used too. He was actually starting to be nice to people. People were starting to notice this as well as us.
The real proof came on Christmas. We had all of the family over our house for our yearly Christmas celebration. Food was out, and everyone was mingling and talking and just sharing the joy of the season. Normally Bob would sit at the table and not talk to anyone, unless he was spoken too. But this year was different. He was reaching out to the kids and talking to them, and saying hello to everyone. He even sat with his daughter-in-law and talked to her for about an hour. He gave her a hug and a kiss when she left to go home. Now this was something that everyone stood up and took notice of, because everyone knew that Bob did not like Debbie. In the past he would never have spoken with her, let alone give her a hug and a kiss good bye. Everyone saw this and took notice that this was not the Bob they all new.
When everyone left, Bob stayed. He stayed for about three hours. I could tell that he just wanted to talk to someone. So we sat down at the kitchen table… and we talked.
He told us about a time when his mother had come to live with them. This was way back when my wife was still living at home. He proceeded to tell us how his wife treated his mother,” like she was an angel,” he said. “She treated her like a queen”, he continued. But the most shocking thing came next. With watery eyes, and a difficult time getting the words out, he admittedly said,” but I treated her like a jerk. I was an idiot.”
It was a very emotional moment, but this man, maybe for the first time in his life, was admitting that he was wrong. He admitted that he was not the man that he portrayed himself to be, and he had definitely not lived the kind of life that God required of him. He told me; “I just want to get to heaven and be with my Vergie.” That was his nick name for his wife. She had died of pancreatic cancer about twenty months before all this. They had been together for fifty five years.
Through the prayers, love and friendship of so many people, and most of all, the intervening of God’s word in Bob’s life, this man was changing right before our eyes. You have heard of the miracles of people being cured of physical ailments. I think the greatest miracle of all is when God gives a person a new heart. One that can see and feel the world from the way God sees everything.
On January 12, 2009, Robert McMaster died of a massive heart attack. They said that he was dead before he hit the ground.
I believe with my whole heart, and not a doubt in my mind, that Bob has finally reached the place that he always wanted to be. He is in heaven, and he is with his Vergie.
If there was ever a person whom I thought was totally unreachable with the gospel of Jesus Christ, Bob would have been that person. I would have said that there was no way God could change Bob McMasters heart. I was so wrong.
God taught me that nothing is impossible with Him at the controls. Not only is Bob a great example of this, but my life as well.
The night that we went over to Bob’s house, after we got the call of his death, we found Bob’s bible opened to this verse.
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14: 2-3
Right now Bob and Vergie are in the place that God had been preparing for them. How about you? Have you examined your heart lately? Better yet, why not let God take a look at it. After all… He’s the one who wired it up. No one knows better how to fix it than He does. Just ask Him. He will do it.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55: 8-11
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
Someone asked me, “what is faith?” I think a lot of people ask that question, and I know that I’ve had that question myself, off and on during my Christian life. What do we mean when we say, “we have faith?”
Well we all have faith, but in different things. We have faith when we get into an airplane, we have faith when we get behind the wheel of an automobile, and we have faith when we sit into a chair, that the chair will hold us up and it won’t collapse on us. (I’ve had that happen, by the way.) This is faith that all of us carry every single day of our lives.
We need faith to live, and we need faith to live eternally with God. It’s how our walk with God is initiated. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
Is it just a leap in the dark, like so many say today? Is it just an, “I hope so”, or “I think this is the way”, statement? Not at all. God gave you a brain, use it. He doesn’t want you to check your brain at the door.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
Now there are not to many things in this world today, that you can be sure of and not to many things that you can be convinced of, but God says you can be of Him.
Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews is the faith chapter. It goes through all of these people in the bible and talks about the faith that they had in God and what He said. You see, this is not about the great faith these people had, but it’s about the faith they had in a great God. The subject is God, and faith is the vehicle that God uses to work in our lives.
Faith in God is simply believing God is who He said He is and believing what He said. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Heb 11:6
Now that is going to take some knowledge and study to get to know Him, because how can you believe and trust what someone says if you don’t know them. That would be a leap in the dark. Would you get married to someone you just met? No, although some people do, and end up in divorce court before the year is out.
If you have stepped into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and you believe He took the penalty for yours sins on the cross, and you know enough about Him to trust Him with your eternal destiny, than why don’t you move further along in this relationship and really get to know Him so deeply and personal, that His thoughts will be your thoughts and His concerns will be your concerns.
Now I’m not talking about a robot mentality, that’s not what it is at all. Take someone who has been married for fifty, sixty, or even seventy years, they just have to look at each other and they can tell what that person is feeling, simply by a touch or a look. Wouldn’t it be so nice to know God that well. You can!
Let’s just read one example of faith from Hebrews chapter 11. Abraham.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises, yet he was ready to offer up his only son. God had told him, “Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,” and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead, and in a sense he received him back from there.” Hebrews 11: 17-19.
God tested Abraham’s faith in Him. (read Job 23:10, James 1:2-3, 1Peter 1:6-8). Abraham knew that God promised His seed would come through Isaac. Abraham had waited a very long time for the birth of Isaac, and now God is telling Abraham to offer Isaac on the alter. That went against everything that God said and everything that God was to Abraham, because Abraham knew God very well.
So when God asked Abraham to offer up Isaac, he didn’t flinch one single bit. It says, “he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead“. Notice that he reasoned. He didn’t leave his brain at the door. Abraham reasons to himself, “well God said Isaac is the one, I’ve been waiting a long time for him, he just wouldn’t take him away after He promised…I guess He will just raise Isaac back from the dead.”
For all intense and purposes, Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac on the alter, so God’s word says he basically did receive him back from the dead. You can read the whole story in Genesis chapter 22.
That’s faith my friend. Do you think Abraham could have expressed such a strong faith in someone that he really didn’t know that well? To many of the people who are in our churches today, have met Jesus Christ, but they don’t know Jesus Christ.
There were many others who didn’t receive the end reward of their faith, but it didn’t diminish it at all. They still went to some horrible deaths believing God all the way. “But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life.” Hebrews 11: 35 It goes on to say that the world is not worthy of them.
Where is your faith today? Do you know Him? I mean, do you really know Him? Are you looking forward to seeing Him when you exit this world as if you were going to be reunited with a very good friend that you haven’t seen in a very long time.
That’s how He wants you to know Him. You can by taking time every single day in His word. He wants to talk to you, and He wants to hear from you today.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.” 2Peter 3:18
What if you were visiting Niagara Falls, and you saw a canoe with three or four of your family members, and they were just floating down the river, having a great time. Unfortunately the river emptied into the huge drop of the Falls, and if they continued on this route, it would surely end in their deaths, and they had no clue where they were headed… what would you do?
That may not be happening literally, but it is happening spiritually all around us.
Everyday we encounter hundreds and maybe even thousands of lives, people we see at the store, our place of work, our neighborhoods, and our friends. Thousands of people who don’t know Jesus Christ. Thousands of people who our in the canoe of life, and heading for the falls, and don’t realize anything is wrong.
Do you care? Our you remotely interested that others are on their way to death and total separation from God for the rest of eternity?
If you are a child of God, you should care and you should be interested because that’s why Jesus Christ came to this world over two thousand years ago.
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
God is on a search and rescue mission. He has lost something and He wants it back, and He has chosen you and me as His ministers of this mission.
God was the first missionary Himself. Go back to the book of beginnings, the book of Genesis, after Satan, through his craftiness and lies, stole the bride of Christ away, and you find Him walking and looking for His bride.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the orchard.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8-9
God was the first missionary, and He has been on a search and rescue mission ever since. He has been looking for His lost sheep and calling them back home. This is the theme all through the bible and if you don’t get this down, you will struggle understanding the rest of God’s word.
There is an incredible program going on in Detroit Michigan, called E.A.C.H. – everyone a chance to here. To here what? To here the good news of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and this program is growing rapidly. I would not be surprised if this spreads to our entire nation.
There are almost 500 hundred churches involved, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, and non-denominational churches, all with the same desire and effort…to get out God’s good news to mankind.
Ladies and gentleman, there is only One church, and that’s the church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Jesus Christ, that God the Father made for His son. Satan stole her away, and God wants her back. He paid the price for her redemption…the door is open and God is calling an army of witnesses to get the word out. The only reason there are divisions in His Church, is because of you and me, not God.
“I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18
There is a time line that EACH is following and it starts with Easter. A prayer walk in downtown Detroit, and there is expected to be around 30,000 people there, maybe even more, and then the army of God is going to go out into the world and spread the good news by doing good.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.
My friend is a missionary to Africa, and most of the people in his area are Muslim. He is a carpenter by trade and is building a school in Ghana. One of the Muslim villagers is working with him, and my friend and him decided to fix all the fences in the village.
While they were doing that, one of the Muslim Imam’s was watching them. He watched as they fixed the fences without being asked and without asking for nothing in return.
The Muslim Imam approached him and asked him, “are you a Christian?” He replied, “yes I am.” The Imam declared, “you are different from the others.”
You see, they have seen other people who have called themselves Christians, and they lied and cheated and have brought the name of Christ down.
It’s not by what you say, but by what you do that others will know you belong to Christ. Demonstrating His love and compassion to the world, through the actions we take, will demonstrate who we really belong too, and it’s the best way to spread the good news.
“So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’24 will enter into the kingdom of heaven — only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
” Matthew 7:20-21
That’s what EACH is all about. Demonstrating with your life and then give an answer of the hope that is within you, when someone asks.
What are you doing? Who will be in heaven because of what they saw in you or what you demonstrated in your life, or by what you said.
This is God’s program and we are just His tools. What kind of tool are you.
I don’t know how many of you are married but if you are married or you may be planning a wedding, you remember that there is a lot of preparation and planning that goes on to make sure this very special day goes on without a hitch.
God is planning a wedding and He is preparing for a marriage feast. Now when God puts things into motion, I guarantee that they will go on without a hitch. There won’t be any last minute complications that will throw His plans off.
The greatest romance novel is the Bible. If we go back to the beginning, the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings, we see God talking to someone when He said,
“Then God said, “Let us make
humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”
God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
There is a very distinct difference that we bear from all the rest of God’s creation. We bear the image of God Himself. We are image bearers for God as we walk in this world.
You see, God made the world for us and He made us for Himself. We bear His image because we belong to Him. I’ve had so many people come up to me and say, “you look just like your father.” Well we can say that about all of us, because we bear His image. Now Satan comes along.
“Now the serpent was more shrewd
than any of the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard;
but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’ ” Genesis 3:1-5
Satan comes along and he challenges God’s love for Adam and Eve. He tells her that God is holding back on you. He’s not telling you the truth. How can He love you if He would do this to you? I won’t do this to you. I will give you everything. You can trust me. Come with me, and Adam and Eve ate from the tree and plunged all humanity into sin.
That tree was kind of like a wedding ring. We were betrothed to God and we ran off with another lover…Satan. Sin is a rupture in the love-relationship between God and us. The ability to love God well and love others well came undone.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the orchard.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”Genesis 3:8-9
God was the first missionary looking for the lost. Did He know where Adam and Eve were? Yes He knew. He knows where you and I are today my friends. This is the whole theme of the Bible. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand the rest of the Bible. God lost something and He wants it back!
“And I will put hostility between you and the woman
and between your offspring and her offspring;
her offspring will attack your head,
and you will attack her offspring’s heel.” Genesis 3:15
God became the first prophet and made the first promise that He would fight to win back our love.
“The LORD God made garments from skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
“The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
God becomes the first priest to offer a great sacrifice to remove the sin problem. God could as easily walked away and said, “you’ve run off with another lover, I will go make me a new one. I don’t need you. You’ve made your choice.” He didn’t do that. He told Satan, “You’ve stolen from Me what was mine and I will win her back.”
“You were bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 7:23
“Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7
There is going to be a great wedding feast that God is preparing for His bride. You can read all about at the end of the book of Revelation. He has already paid the price, He has already bought us back from the Evil One, and now His offer goes out to everyone.
Are you getting yourself ready for the wedding day? Are you inviting your friends, family, and everyone you know to this great celebration?
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” Revelation 21:1-3
With the permission of Mrs. West, I would like to show you a portion of an article that she wrote for a school paper. She is the editor, and a teacher, at this school, and she is also signed up and receiving a “Love Note From God” everyday. Listen to what she has to say.
“Earlier this year I shared with you
an email that I receive almost every
day. It is entitled “My Love Notes
from God,” and the notes are actually
taken from scripture and sent
out in “note” form, signed from God.
I enjoy reading these short notes
each day and have been amazed at
how often they come with a message
that I particularly need at that time.
In reality, the entire Bible is our
“Love Note from God,” inspired by
His Divine thoughts and therefore
worthy of reading, understanding’
and discussing. What a privilege we
have as mere humans to be able to
touch the very heart of God through
the study of His Word. And what a
privilege we have here at Fairview to
not only study the literature of man
but to study God’s Holy Word. Let us
never forget this awesome opportunity
that our children have here at
Celebrating God’s Word,
It brings such a joy to our hearts to know how God continues to bless His Word as He sends it out to many hearts and lives. He still is on the throne and He still is in the business of changing hearts and changing lives. How about yours? Maybe you know someone who could use a Love Note From God everyday.
Go to the website and sign up. It’s free. “My Love Notes From God”
God bless you all.
“He has book sense, but he doesn’t have common sense.” How many of you have heard that said before? I’ve had people say that about me before, and to my shame, sometimes that has been true. This refers to people whose expertise may appear to be vast and impressive, but it’s not really useful. They are well informed in theory, but they are fools in practice.
There are many people in our churches today who are book smart when it comes to the Bible, but no application when it comes to practice. They know the truth of God’s word but their is no root or transformation in their lives. They can give you all the right answers but that truth has never penetrated their hearts or brought about real faith and repentance.
That does not mean that the truth of God’s word is ineffective . It doesn’t mean that the truth of God’s Word always will secure a sanctifying and positive result. When Moses was leading the people of Israel out of Egypt back in the book of Exodus, Pharaoh was continually confronted with the truth of God and he continually hardened his heart toward that truth. The same sun that melts the wax also hardens the clay.
In James chapters one and two talk about “faith without works is dead.” You don’t have to reject the truth to be become hardened to it. To those who hear God’s Word and don’t do it, actually become desensitized and hardened by hearing it rather than renewed and edified.
Many people have met Jesus Christ, but not many know Jesus Christ. No amount of theology or study of God’s Word can take the place of real repentance and living faith. These are the vital marks of a right relationship with God.
Many of the worlds Bible scholars see the Bible as only as an ancient piece of literature. They have a tremendous knowledge of the Bible but their hearts remain cold and unmoved by the truth.
Every Sunday churches are filled with people who have this same view. Many of them grew up in the church. They are very familiar with the truth and the Bible stories. they may not be completely cold to biblical truth, but they haven’t fully obeyed it yet either.
Many of them lead bible studies and write about it, but to them, the Bible is no more than a hobby, and they never really submit to it’s authority. Others only think about the bible on Sundays. Most of the time it sits on the corner or on a shelf, and the only time it is ever opened is in a special time of need, and then put back to collect more dust.
Knowing about God is simply not enough. Taking in all the facts apart from a true faith and repentance is no better than what James 2:19 describes about the demons. They believe and know that God exists, but they’re not going to heaven or have any kind of relationship with God at all.
To know about God is still a very important part of knowing Him. There are those who through their upbringing or bits and pieces of the bible, have put together a god of their own making. Their concept of God is just a figment of their own imagination. Many of these people are very active members of our churches today.
Some will chose a more favorable attribute of God and camp on it to the exclusion of everything else He has revealed about Himself in His Word. For example, “God is love”. If your theology starts and stops right there, you are worshiping a false god. There is so much more that you need to know about who God is; His nature and character. You just can’t cherry pick the truth.
Bottom line is, what you know about God and what you do with that knowledge touches every facet of your life.
“So Jesus said to those who believed in him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
For years the rock served as a doorstop on John Reed’s North Carolina farm. The old Hessian farmer’s son Conrad found the seventeen pound rock in the creek bed but no one thought much of it. It wasn’t until 1802 that a Fayetteville jeweler examined it and then offered $3.50 to the farmer for the stone. John sold it for that price but in the days that followed it was revealed that the yellowish rock was seventeen pounds of solid gold. Adjusted for inflation that means that $300,000.00 of gold in our day was sold for the equivalent in today’s dollars for a little over 50 bucks ($50.00). Like the old German farmer John Reed, many have come to think of eternal life –something with great value –to be something ordinary.
In a materialistic culture as we have in America, we can think of the gift of eternal life to be something ordinary and of little value here and now. We must learn that the prize of eternal life has great value while we are on earth. Eternal life itself isn’t just limited in impact to the future. An American minister named Reverend Ike preached a prosperity gospel. Ike used to speak mockingly of evangelical Christianity as offering only “pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye.” That isn’t true. The Scriptures reveal that eternal life isn’t simply about the future. I am going to tell you a secret that is more precious than gold and it can liberate you from spiritual bondage.
When we hear the expression “eternal life” we are inclined to think about existence after death. In addition, we are prone to think of eternal life as referring to time and duration – things that will last forever. However, according to John 17:3 this isn’t the main idea behind the concept of eternal life. You may have heard it before and you may have heard it many times but eternal life isn’t just about the future, it is about a relationship. Our relationship to God. Read Jesus’ words carefully, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3.) The word know is speaking of a personal or firsthand knowledge of God. The first time this word for “know” appears in the New Testament is in Matthew in reference to the physical union between Mary and Joseph. Matthew 2:25 tells us that Joseph, “…did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.” Although this is a different kind of relationship, it still helps us to recognize that the word “know” is used of a firsthand, personal knowledge of another individual.
Let me clarify my point. You must be clear in your thinking and distinguish between “knowing God” and “knowing about God.” We know God by seeking Him by studying the Bible, by meditating upon His Word, through times of prayer, through times of worship and by purposefully obeying His commands. A person needs to seek a supernatural understanding of God’s Word, and he cannot be content with an intellectual understanding of the Bible and God alone. Two of the greatest evangelical voices in the 20th century warned against failing to distinguish between knowing God and only knowing about God. The first voice is, J. I. Packer, who admonishes us about making knowing God just an intellectual endeavor when he writes:
“If the decisive factor was notional correctness, then obviously the most learned biblical scholars would know God better than anyone else. But it is not; you can have all the right notions in your head without ever tasting in your heart the realities to which they refer; and a simple Bible reader and sermon-hearer who is full of the Holy Ghost will develop a far deeper acquaintance with his God and saviour than more learned men who are content with being theologically correct. The reason is that the former will deal with God regarding the practical application of truth to his life, whereas the latter will not.” (J. I. Packer, Knowing God.)
It is possible to know about God without experiencing Him. It is possible to have only an intellectual understanding of who God is It is possible to fail to experience God as the Psalmist invites us: “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8.)
The second voice is A. W. Tozer, who gave a similar warning. In his book The Divine Conquest he spoke of those who seek God in books alone. He then contrasted the person who has only a second hand knowledge of God with one who knows Him firsthand. Tozer says the person who knows God on a personal level will consider an approach on an intellectual basis alone to be a perversion. He wrote that the man who knows God firsthand will be repulsed by such an idea and will say:
“‘I have heard Him and observed Him. What have I to do any more with idols?’ For he cannot love a God who is no more than a deduction from a text. He will crave to know God with a vital awareness that goes beyond words and to live in the intimacy of personal communion. “To seek our divinity merely in books and writings is to seek the living among the dead; we do but in vain many times seek God in these, where His truth too often is not so much enshrined as entombed.” (A. W. Tozer The Divine Conquest.)
This is the point of Jesus’ words in John. He is saying that eternal life is more than grasping the theological truths. It is about knowing God as a friend and companion. Eternal life is about knowing God personally, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3.) When we come to Christ He may merely be a stranger, but we must seek a closer relationship with Him if we are to be healthy spiritually.
Consider three key benefits of a deep and personal knowledge of God. First, some come to Christ and are born again and find instant release from sinful behaviors. Others come to Christ and over the years find themselves mired in some sinful habit. No matter how long you’ve walked with the Lord or no matter how deep the pit in which you find yourself, the gift of eternal life can still bring release from spiritual bondage. The gift and benefit of knowing God is powerful in setting us free. According 2 Peter 2:20 the writer indicates that we escape the pollution of the world through a knowledge of God, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….” Certainly this verse refers in part to the release that we have from sin’s penalty when we trust Christ but there is something more here. This verse speaks of the pollution that surrounds sin. It isn’t merely release from the penalty of sin that comes through a knowledge of God; but the knowledge of God overcomes sin’s polluting and corrupting influence . The more we press in and learn to walk more closely with the Lord the less the grip sin and any kind of spiritual pollution will have on our lives.
Second, according to Daniel 11:32 our energy level and interest in spiritual things is goverened by our knowledge of God. “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32) Daniel’s prophecy was speaking of the people of Israel and that their knowledge of God will cause them to be courageous. In our culture and our day we must be careful to not allow the things of this world to interfere and take God’s place in our lives. It should be obvious that the more distant our walk, the more fearful we will become. Like the apostle, many follow the Lord “afar off” and are then paralyzed by fear. (Mark 14:54.) A fearful Christian will find it comfortable to stick with what he knows even if it is robbing him. A Christian who has only a technical or second hand knowledge of God will be timid and find it difficult to tell others about Christ.
Finally, according to Ephesians 1:17-18 a person will increase in wisdom and understanding through a knowledge of God. In Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:17 the apostle prayed, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Knowledge of God will expand our understanding of our world and wisdom will illumine our way. Wisdom is: the ability to anticipate the results of one’s decisions and it is the predisposition to do what is right (follow the way of righteousness). On the one hand by walking close with the Lord, a believer’s ability to see pitfalls and hidden dangers will be heightened. While we have the promise for wisdom in James’ epistle, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5.) In keeping with this verse wisdom is found by spending time with the Lord. The quest for wisdom through prayer will bring us into God’s presence, and wisdom will be granted to us as we walk with Him.
On the other hand, knowing God as a friend and companion will impact our ability to see things more clearly. It gives the believer the capacity to better appreciate the resources and lavish inheritance that is our’s in Christ. Notice this is the message of the next verse, Ephesians 1:18. Our capacity to understand our inheritance in Christ is expanded through our knowledge of Him, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:18.) Our ability to see our eternal inheritance is overshadowed by the things of this world but knowing God breaks through the darkness. As a result, we need supernatural understanding to better grasp the blessings and benefits that have been poured out upon us.
Knowing God as a friend in your daily walk will help you face the struggle that you are having with sin. The more closely you know the Lord, the better your understanding of His devotion to you. The better you understand your destiny in Christ, the stronger you will be to face and reject paths that lead to self-destruction. The more confident you are about the Lord’s commitment to you, the easier it becomes to choose the path that will make you stronger.
There is a Rock by the doorway to your life and eternity and it is the Lord Himself. This Rock is more precious than gold, and there is no reason to be afraid since He can give you light for the darkness. This Rock is waiting for you to call. He loves you and He is listening.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.(Psalm 18:2-3.)
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(Permission is granted to use the material as long as the URL and source information are given. Copyright, Keith Churilla, 2010.)
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Registered :: Fri Apr 30 07:34:28 UTC 2010
Title :: THE LOST FORTUNE
Category :: Blog
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