Tag Archives: Knowing God

Truth for the New Year

eternity[This post is a little different from what I usually write at Out of the Fire, but I feel it is what the Lord is currently putting on my heart. Perhaps it will speak to some of my readers personally, or maybe you will wish to share it with people you know.]

In today’s world, it is common for people to make up their own system of spirituality. Finding God on one’s own terms has become the norm. This even goes on among some who call themselves Christians.

But there’s a problem. You can believe things of your own making, but that doesn’t make them really true, just because they sound good to you. If there is a real God (and there is), and He doesn’t agree with you, what then? Who do you think will win in this contest? Will you be able to persuade Him that your way of trying to reach Him was good enough? Hardly.

His answer to such ideas is, “I provided one way for you — one way only. I sent My Son Jesus to die for you. If you refuse Him, there is no alternate path to Me.”

If you consulted a doctor, and he flatly stated that the medicine he was going to prescribe was the only one which would cure you, what would you do? Would you decide that you had a better idea? Whose fault would it then be if you did not get well?

It’s the same with how we reach God and assure our place in heaven. One way has been provided — Jesus. If we choose to reject Him, we will eventually find out, to our everlasting grief, that we have been arrogant and deceived. This is serious business!

You may not believe in hell. But what if God says it exists? (He does.) Deciding that you don’t want to accept God’s way of deliverance from hell (Jesus is that way) means you will end up there. So much for not believing hell exists. It is hard to keep that belief while you are spending a horrible eternity there.

What’s the solution?

If you want to be accepted by God, it’s rather simple, yet it will dearly cost you at the same time. It’s simple in that all you have to do is embrace Jesus as the only One Who can reconcile you to God. It’s costly in that you must humble yourself to admit that you sin, and that you cannot make yourself good enough to please God by your own will or actions. You will have to ask Him to forgive you for all you have done which offends His purity. It’s also costly in that you must lay down your desires in deference to His. Life can no longer be lived on your terms.

Jesus said it is important to “count the cost” (Luke 14:27, 28). The short-term cost of belonging to Him is that you must be willing to stop doing whatever you please, and start letting Him lead you into His plans. The long-term cost? If you decide you don’t like that idea, there is everlasting misery and excruciating pain ahead once you leave this earth. It’s better to plan for the long-term!

If you’ve counted the cost and want the solution, here’s what you need to do:

1.) Tell God you need Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you and take you as His own. He will gladly receive you.

2.) Tell Jesus you are willing to receive Him not only as your Savior, but also as your Lord. Ask Him to guide you from now on and to help you live for Him. He will give you the grace to do that.

3.) Knowing God is not just about getting your ticket out of hell and into heaven. It doesn’t stop there. It is about having deep, ongoing relationship with Him (which is an exciting adventure!). You grow in knowing Him by praying and reading the Bible often. (The books listed below can help you a lot in getting started in your new life with God.)

4.) Connect with other people who love Jesus — through a church, Bible study, and/or home fellowship. You will need other believers to pray for you, encourage you, and help you grow in knowing the Lord. We all need supportive people in our lives.

How will you know you have found a good bunch of people to be with? They will talk a lot about Jesus and what He has done for us through the cross. They will also emphasize living out the truths found in the Bible. And they will demonstrate love for others.

5.) Tell other people that you are now a follower of Jesus and why you came to that decision, so that they will want to know Him, too.

I would enjoy hearing from you, if you have given your life to Jesus through reading this post!

Now those books I mentioned:

 

How to Pray and Read the Bible

 

 

 

Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God

 

 

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The Nature of God: The Spirit as Intercessor

The Holy Spirit

In an earlier post, I talked about the Son’s role as intercessor.  Romans 8:26, 27 speaks of the Holy Spirit as an intercessor as well: “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities, for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And he who searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” 

We see the tender love of the Holy Spirit for us in these verses.  He sees our weaknesses, especially our prayer limitations, and makes Himself available to help us in them.  He so cares for us that He intercedes through deep groanings within us. 

I find it most interesting that two of the three Persons of the Godhead are involved in intercession.  And, since the Spirit breathed into man the image of God at Creation, (Genesis 1:26 and 2:7), if we are sensitive to His leading, we will be attracted to intercession as we are progressively restored into the Lord’s likeness.

In His dual role as Intercessor and Teacher, the Spirit helps us to pray according to the Father’s heart — something for which we are entirely dependent upon Him.  It is not possible for us to pray rightly, apart from the Spirit of God guiding and directing us.  Perhaps the reason so many prayers go unanswered in our day is because they are prayed out of our own natural thinking, rather than by seeking the counsel of the Holy Spirit and depending on His assistance in intercession.

Praying in partnership with the Holy Spirit is really not so much about us praying as it is about yielding ourselves to allow Him to pray through us.  When we learn to do that, prayer becomes an exciting adventure.

The Nature of God Index
Previous: The Spirit as Comforter
Next: The Spirit as Testifier 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: The Spirit as Comforter

The Holy Spirit

And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.John 14:16

As Jesus prepared His disciples for his coming death, resurrection, and ascension, He wanted to assure them that they would not be left alone and to their own devices.  In John 14:17-23, He went on to say that this Comforter would live within them, and that through Him, Jesus and the Father would also come to live within them.  How does that work?  It is part of the mystery of the Trinity, which we are not able to fully comprehend; it is because the three Persons of the Godhead really cannot be put into separate compartments from each other.  Remember, we serve ONE God, not three.

How does the Holy Spirit fulfill His role as Comforter?  He gives us peace.  It is interesting that at the time of Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit appeared as a dove, the universal symbol of peace.  After explaining about the coming of the Comforter, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you” (John 14:27).  He does that through the Spirit of Peace, Who now dwells within us.  Galatians 5:22 tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ….”

Many Christians are not living in the peace that we were meant to enjoy.  We worry and fret, as if God had not promised to care for our every need.  The reason is that, in order for the Holy Spirit to release in us what He has been sent to give, we must yield ourselves to Him, and many of us are not yielding.  Galatians 5:18 says it is a matter of “being led of the Spirit,” while Jesus, when He promised to leave His peace with the disciples through the coming of the Comforter, continued, Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Paul exhorted the Church to “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15).  It is a cooperative effort between us and the Spirit.  He will give us peace if we give Him rule over us.

The Holy Spirit fulfills His role as Comforter by imparting revelation to us.  Many times, as I have listened to the Holy Spirit speak about health issues, decisions, or other difficulties I was encountering, He has assured me everything was going to be all right.  And that revelation has always borne out to be true.  The Holy Spirit was comforting me by speaking about my future.  At times, He has warned me of an unexpected trouble on the way, but always with that information He has assured me, “I am with you in it.  You are going to come out of it OK.”

The Holy Spirit also manifests Himself as Comforter to believers by being the continual inner assurance that we are saved from hell and have been accepted into the beloved family of God.  Paul puts it, “You were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest [deposit, as in earnest money; guarantee] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Ephesians 1:13, 14).

We must learn to yield to the Comforter within us.  He desires to help us live victoriously, with unshakable confidence in Him, during these troubled times.

The Nature of God Index  
Previous: The Spirit as Teacher
Next: The Spirit as Intercessor 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: The Spirit as Teacher

The Holy Spirit

A primary role of the Holy Spirit is to teach the saints of God. Jesus said of Him in John 14:26, “He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.”

What does He teach us? He gives us knowledge of God’s ways and character, instructs us in how to live a life pleasing to the Lord, guides us in our decisions, makes known to us our personal destinies and how to walk those out, helps us to know when we are in need of repentance, and shows us how to pray (Romans 8:26, 27). We see Him already teaching God’s people under the Old Covenant (“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go; I will guide you with my eye.”Psalm 32:8), but now that He indwells us, He fulfills that role to an even greater degree.

He teaches us in a variety of ways, such as speaking into our hearts through the inner voice, visions, and dreams. But over and above all other means, He teaches us by enlightening the Scriptures for us. Our natural minds are not capable of understanding the Bible adequately without the illumination of the Holy Spirit, but when we invite Him to read the Word with us, amazing truths unfold.

He is called the Spirit of Truth, and, as such, He guides us into truth. In John 16:13-15, Jesus said of Him, “When he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth. For he shall not speak on his own, but whatever he hears [from the Father] he shall speak, and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive what is mine, and shall show it to you. All things that the Father has are mine: therefore I said that he shall take of what is mine, and shall show it to you.”

As the Teacher, He is also the source of ongoing revelation to us. Jesus said He will “show us things to come.” Prophetic revelation of what is yet to happen is available to us through the Holy Spirit, Who reveals to us the plans of the Father for our lives and for the world we live in.

Through prophetic revelation He is able to guide our steps in detail. Expecting the Holy Spirit to give them specific direction was a normal part of the New Testament believers’ experience. One of many examples is found in Acts 16:6-10. There we see that Paul and his companions were “forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.” They then attempted to preach in other provinces in the area, “but the Spirit did not permit them to.” Finally, He sent Paul a vision, in which Paul was directed to go to Macedonia.

The Holy Spirit also fulfills His role as Comforter by revelation, which we will discuss in the next post.

The Nature of God Index   
Previous: The Spirit as Fire   
Next: The Spirit as Comforter 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent

The Godhead Together

If you, like I, grew up in a denominational church, you were probably taught the words omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent in a catechism class.  What do they mean?  Simply this: God is all-knowing, present everywhere at the same time, and all-powerful.

We already said, in our post on the eternalness of the Godhead, that God is all-knowing about everything that will ever happen in our lives because He is outside of and above time.  He looks at all the past, present, and future simultaneously. Job 24:1 tells us that “times are not hidden from the Almighty.”

His omniscience (all-knowingness) involves much more than time, however.  Psalm 147:5 says that “His understanding is infinite.”  He understands how everything works without ever having had to study to acquire that information.  All knowledge is in His possession.  In fact, He is the One Who thought of and instituted all the scientific and mathematical laws by which the universe is governed.  Gravity and the Laws of Thermodynamics?  They are what they are because He chose to make them work that way.  He could have chosen to do something entirely different instead.  That is mind-boggling to me!  When we think of the intricacies of each cell and how the cells harmoniously interact with each other within each living creature, it is beyond our comprehension.

Along with knowing everything, God has complete wisdom.  Wisdom is the ability to know what to do with knowledge.  It is part of God’s nature.  The limited wisdom that human beings naturally possess is there because we have been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), meaning that we carry a reflection of His nature within us.

God is able to be everywhere at the same time.  Psalm 139 gives us a picture of God’s omnipresent nature.  We tend to think, “How can He do that?” – because, again, we have no frame of reference in our everyday world for such a concept.  Just as in thinking of Him as an eternal Being without a beginning, or thinking of Him as a Trinity of three persons, it is a mystery we must accept by faith.

God is all-powerful.  Nothing is beyond His ability to do, undo, or change, except where it would violate His own nature of goodness.  The many miracles recorded in both the Old and New Testaments imply and testify to the all-powerfulness of God.  The prophet Jeremiah exclaimed, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, you have made the heaven and the earth by your great power and stretched-out arm, and there is nothing too hard for you”  (Jeremiah 32:17).  Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

Unbelief is the product of not having an accurate understanding of God’s nature.  If we would only embrace fully the truth of God’s omnipotence coupled with His goodness, there would be no platform for unbelief within us.  The Israelites of Moses’ day struggled with doubting God’s ability to provide for them and protect them supernaturally, yet He always did.  We tend to struggle with this same problem today – but we also commonly complicate the matter by saying we believe He can, but we are not sure He will do good things for us.  When we understand God’s nature – that He is totally capable and also totally good – we will believe Him for the help we so desperately need from Him – and we will not be disappointed.

It is interesting to me that many times believers speak and act as though Satan is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, and they get into a fear and awe of him that should only belong to God.  In fact, it almost seems with some of us as though we think the devil has more power over our lives than the Lord does!  We must combat such mindsets whenever we find them cropping up in our thinking.

Good and evil are not equal opposing forces.  The concept that they are is an Eastern religion idea, but it has become ingrained in Western thinking through vehicles such as the very popular Star Wars movies.  The truth is, Satan is a created being, just as we are.  His knowledge is limited, his power is limited, and he is confined to one spot at a time, just as we are.  There may be the appearance of him being everywhere, because he has a network of fallen spiritual beings who help him with his evil purposes.  They also provide information to him, but they do not know everything.  We must be vigilant to not magnify Satan in our minds to God’s level or to anywhere near it.

The Nature of God Index
Previous: God Is Eternal
Next: God Is Completely Good 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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