Sunday, September 30, 2012

“Whence We Go”


    Because God’s “Where?” is always “Here!”, the hearts of born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ can rest in assurance and peace.

“I am with you always.”

 ~~~~~~ 

    The little boy couldn’t believe his ears when one evening, his father announced, “Tomorrow, son, it’s time for you to go into the deep, dark woods!”

    Many times, the boy had watched his father venture into the vast stand of trees that surrounded the family property. One of the things he loved and admired most about his dad was the man’s seeming fearlessness concerning the dangers that might lie in the woods.

    “Uh, Dad, did you say you think I should go into the deep, dark woods?” The boy gulped as he replied, hardly looking at his father because he so feared that he might have heard correctly the first time.

    The man replied without hesitation, even smiling as he did so. “Yes, son, tomorrow’s the day. I have no doubt that you’re ready, and I’ll wake you up at the crack of dawn for a good breakfast, and then, a journey into the forest. Your first journey!

    The boy slept little through a long, restless night, and he ate even less of the “good breakfast” his father had prepared as the sun rose on what would be a fateful day. “You’re not hungry, son?” asked the father. The boy looked at his dad, feeling too uncertain about things ahead to speak, lest he betray the fear he felt deep within. “No sir, not really” said the boy, speaking  barely above a whisper. “I guess I’m just thinking about the trip into the deep, dar… The boy cut his sentence short, not even wanting to say the words.

    After breakfast, the father told the boy to gather the things he might need in the woods, and fill his backpack. “I’ll meet you out by the poplars,” he told his son, referring to a stand of hardwoods where an opening allowed entrance into the forest.

    When the boy arrived at the spot, his dad was not yet there. This gave him time to look at and into the woods. They were beautiful, no doubt, especially as the rays of the rising sun shone through the branches and leaves. He had loved to view them for as long as he could remember, from a safe distance, and he often lingered as he watched his dad disappear into the forest for his trips. How brave was his father! And how much the little boy felt he was not like him! A sense of shame began to couple with the fear churning inside, and tears formed in his eyes just as he heard his father’s footsteps approaching.

    The man reached his son, and put his arm around the boy’s shoulder. “All right, son, are you ready?” The boy quickly wiped a tear and looked up at his father. “Yes, Dad, I think so. I think I’m ready.”  

    The father replied, “Me too, son. I’ve really been looking forward to this day. There are things in the woods I’ve wanted to show you since the day you were born. So let’s get going!”

     As his father began to walk toward the opening in the poplars, the boy stood still, frozen by the words he had just heard. Once again, he could hardly speak, but as best he could, the boy called out to his father, who had already reached the opening. “Dad… Dad, are you going with me?”

     The father stopped in his tracks. Turning to look at his son, he smiled and reached out for the boy to join him. “Son, of course I’m going with you! You’re not yet ready for a journey into the deep, dark woods by yourself. Someday you will be, but this is not that day. No, not yet. Yes, I’m going with you into the deep, dark woods. We’re going together, and I’m going to show you things I could never describe to you with words. It will be wonderful, and like I said, I’ve been waiting for this day!” The man looked into his son’s eyes. “Are you ready?”

    Needless to say, the little boy was ready. He was more ready to journey into the deep, dark woods than anything he had ever pondered doing. His dad was going with him! His brave, strong father would accompany him every step of the way, and now the vast forest portended not of fear and uncertainty, but rather promised the wonder of discovery and awe. “Yes, I’m ready, Dad” the boy almost shouted. “I’m ready to go into the deep, dark woods!”

~~~~~~~~

     So long as we go with our Heavenly Father, it matters not whether we venture unto shining summits whereupon vistas of beauty await our awed eyes, or into deep, dark woods that threaten with seeming peril.Whence we go, we shall not go alone. “I am with you always” promised the Lord Jesus, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). Our Lord’s “Where?” is always “Here!” Thus, we can face anything and everything with the assurance that the Lord Jesus will be everything we need Him to be in every moment, in every contingency, in every venue. Always with us, never to leave us - this is the promise of He who cannot lie. Our response? Yes, Father, I am ready!

“The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
(Psalm 46:7)

 

©2012OrangeMoonCafe

 

 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth


(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 23 – “With… Within”

     If we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, His Spirit is with us to the degree that He is within us.

     “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16).

     God made human hearts to serve as His spiritual home.  No indication exists in Scripture that this can be said of any other creature, including angels.  Only in believing man does the triune Lord constitute a dwellingplace, through the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
     “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep my words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).
       Few truths of the Bible more challenge communication than this wonder of the “Where?” of God being the heart of man.  The reality is so monumental, so wondrous to consider, so seemingly impossible, and so profound that, whether in speaking or writing, I feel incredible frustration in seeking to find words to express “the hope of glory, which is Christ in you” (Colossians 1:27).  Indeed, “God with us,” as manifested in the Lord Jesus is glorious enough (Matthew 1:23).  God within us, as manifested by the Holy Spirit, elicits an even more mind-numbing and word-transcendent reality.  Nevertheless, this abiding presence of the Divine in trusting hearts constitutes the very heart of the Christian gospel, and perhaps the most sublime purpose of God concerning humanity.
     The truth that seems to shine brightest in my own heart regarding the indwelling Holy Spirit is simply that God loves human hearts, including yours and mine, to the degree that He desires to live within them.  He desires His “Where?” to be here, in the innermost sanctum of our being.  This is how near He desires to be to us.  This is how near He is to us, if we have believed.  No closer intimacy could be possible, and no one else can occupy the holy place in humanity made by our Lord only for Himself.  We do well to ponder often this “hope of glory,” seeking to live in the belovedness whereby “God with us” means God within us.
“I will dwell in them.”
(II Corinthians 6:16)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

“Wondering”. . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth


(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 22 – “The Here of God”

     “Where is God?”  The question can mislead us if we look for an answer out and away from the place whereupon we presently stand.    

     Since we “live and move and have our being” in God, His “Where?” is always here (Acts 17:28).  Craning our necks to gaze into the distance, as it were, hinders us from the glory that exists in our present locale.  As Jacob confessed at Bethel, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not!”, so are we tempted to wait for another venue before we open our eyes to see the great fact of our existence (Genesis 28:18). 

     The Lord Jesus Christ exists in places where it seems He could not and should not be.   Human wombs, mangers, tables of sinners, crosses, tombs, and the hearts of trusting souls – all comprise the “here” of God in ways beyond our understanding and expectation.  Thus, the venues, circumstances, conditions and situations wherein we find ourselves always teem with the dynamic presence of Christ.  We may recognize the truth only vaguely, and, like Jacob, we may not know it at all.  Nonetheless, the fact remains that God’s “Where?” is always here.

     When considering this truth not in terms of proximity, but of spiritual reality, an amazing bestowal of grace awaits our needy hearts.  We need not wait for “the sweet by and by” to relate to God in the trusting faith that avails itself of the peace and joy resident in the Christ-graced here and now.  Paul and Silas, for example, “prayed and sang praises unto God” from a prison wherein their feet were bound in stocks, and their bodies bloodied and beaten by the cruel lash (Acts 16:25).  Our brethren of old did so not because of their own dedication and discipline (singing in such a circumstance does not result from mere self-control and restraint), but from the fact that God’s “here” inhabited their “where.”  As with the three young men of old who met the Lord Jesus in the furnace, so did Paul and Silas open their eyes in prison to discover the transcendent presence of God as the great fact of an hour no doubt grievous, but even more, glorious (Daniel 3:25).

     Our own “here” may presently comprise a venue of blessing.  Conversely, it may seem laced with buffeting, or it may appear that nothing at all of value and interest transpires.  Whatever the case, the Word of God calls us to acknowledge the Christ of God as present and actively engaged in fulfilling His Father’s purposes and the benefit of our hearts.  Our Lord’s “Where?” is here.  We can relax our craning necks, replacing them with the open eyes of faith that “prays and sing praises” to the God who fills our every “here” with Himself.

“The whole earth is full of His glory.”
(Isaiah 6:3)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 21 – “Where Was God?”

     The question of  God’s “Where?” often leads to matters of morality, as opposed to proximity – as in, “Where was God when this particularly difficult or tragic event happened?”

    Often, those who raise the question do so with the intent to attack either the existence of God – “How can there be a God if such thing happened?” – or, the character of God – “How can a loving God have allowed such a thing to happen?”  Moreover, even devout believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have honest questions about our Lord’s determinations and allowance of evil and tragedy.

     The best answer begins with a definite response – “God was there when such things took place.”  Indeed, an omnipresent God, as affirmed in Scripture, cannot fail to be everywhere in His creation.  Our Lord exists, and He is present in every venue of the universe He made and sustains.  This we must declare unequivocally, anticipating the inevitable questions that ensue, again, themoral inquiries.  “How could the Lord have been there, in the heart of calamity and witnessing it, and failed to have acted to prevent it?”

    At this point, our answer becomes far less definitive, at least at the outset of seeking to respond. Concerning the particular details of pain, loss, suffering and tragedy - whether the result of wickedness, or natural calamity - we rarely, if ever, can say with certainty, “This is why God did not act to prevent the event.” Indeed, I suspect that angels fear to tread where humans too often go in seeking to understand the determinations and allowances of our Lord. “His ways are past finding out” (Romans 11:33).  Thus, we must answer the question of why God did not act with a wise and unashamed, “I do not know.”

     Upon this basis of honesty and humility regarding the particulars of events, we once again return to a definitive affirmation regarding God and His ways. 

    “I may not know why the Lord acted as He did in the situation, but this I do know without any shadow of doubt: the Bible declares that “as for God, His way is perfect.” Furthermore, Scripture promises that He is wise enough, powerful enough, present enough, and loving enough to work all things together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to His purpose.  So, while I cannot provide the specifics of why God allowed things to happen, of this I am sure:  He was there, and He acted perfectly in the matter. And of this I am also sure: The real issue is whether you and I are among those who love the Lord, and are the called according to His purpose.” 

    We lovingly seek to bring the one who questions God into serious consideration of the truth of God, and of His Gospel as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We’ll never be able to answer every question, but we do not need to do so, nor does our hearer require perfect understanding.  He or she does require faith, however, either in coming to salvation, or in continuing to love and trust God as a believer.  We strongly affirm the perfect character and way of our Lord in the attempt to elicit such confidence, and the Holy Spirit doubtless empowers our testimony as the question “Where was God?” provides opportunity for consideration of the greater inquiry, “Who is God?”  And, do we know, love, and seek to trust, obey, and honor Him in all things?

“Yea, they shall sing in theways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.”(Psalm 138:5)

 

“Wondering”. . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth


(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 21 – “Where Was God?”

     The question of  God’s “Where?” often leads to matters of morality, as opposed to proximity – as in, “Where was God when this particularly difficult or tragic event happened?”

    Often, those who raise the question do so with the intent to attack either the existence of God – “How can there be a God if such thing happened?” – or, the character of God – “How can a loving God have allowed such a thing to happen?”  Moreover, even devout believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have honest questions about our Lord’s determinations and allowance of evil and tragedy.

     The best answer begins with a definite response – “God was there when such things took place.”  Indeed, an omnipresent God, as affirmed in Scripture, cannot fail to be everywhere in His creation.  Our Lord exists, and He is present in every venue of the universe He made and sustains.  This we must declare unequivocally, anticipating the inevitable questions that ensue, again, the moral inquiries.  “How could the Lord have been there, in the heart of calamity and witnessing it, and failed to have acted to prevent it?”

    At this point, our answer becomes far less definitive, at least at the outset of seeking to respond.  Concerning the particular details of pain, loss, suffering and tragedy - whether the result of  wickedness, or natural calamity - we rarely, if ever, can say with certainty, “This is why God did not act to prevent the event.”  Indeed, I suspect that angels fear to tread where humans too often go in seeking to understand the determinations and allowances of our Lord.  “His ways are past finding out” (Romans 11:33).  Thus, we must answer the question of why God did not act with a wise and unashamed, “I do not know.”

     Upon this basis of honesty and humility regarding the particulars of events, we once again return to a definitive affirmation regarding God and His ways. 

    “I may not know why the Lord acted as He did in the situation, but this I do know without any shadow of doubt: the Bible declares that “as for God, His way is perfect.”  Furthermore, Scripture promises that He is wise enough, powerful enough, present enough, and loving enough to work all things together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to His purpose.  So, while I cannot provide the specifics of why God allowed things to happen, of this I am sure:  He was there, and He acted perfectly in the matter.  And of this I am also sure:  The real issue is whether you and I are among those who love the Lord, and are the called according to His purpose.” 

    We lovingly seek to bring the one who questions God into serious consideration of the truth of God, and of His Gospel as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We’ll never be able to answer every question, but we do not need to do so, nor does our hearer require perfect understanding.  He or she does require faith, however, either in coming to salvation, or in continuing to love and trust God as a believer.  We strongly affirm the perfect character and way of our Lord in the attempt to elicit such confidence, and the Holy Spirit doubtless empowers our testimony as the question “Where was God?” provides opportunity for consideration of the greater inquiry, “Who is God?”  And, do we know, love, and seek to trust, obey, and honor Him in all things?

“Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.”
(Psalm 138:5)

Monday, September 24, 2012

“Wondering”. . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 20 – “The ‘Where?’ of God”

     Upon first consideration, we might think that the question, “Where is God?” might be easier to answer than our previous considerations of “What?” and Who?”.

     We’ve likely all told our children, “God is everywhere!”  Certainly, this is correct.

     “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit?  Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?   If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:7-10).

     Our Lord is indeed everywhere.  However, a challenge to our understanding remains in this truth, namely, that a Being who transcends space nevertheless inhabits space in some manner far beyond our understanding.  Solomon referenced this mystery in his dedication of the temple he built for God and the children of Israel:

    “But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house which I have built!” (II Chronicles6:18).

     In essence, Solomon declares, “Lord, You’re too big to be somewhere, anywhere, or eveneverywhere!”  The king of Israel perhaps concerned himself with the possibility that God would burst the walls of any earthly temple He attempted to inhabit. We might concern ourselves with the same notion regarding the universe, if we seek to understand God’s presence in terms of physical proximity.  This leads to the main point of attempting to address His “Where?”  Our timeless, space-transcending Lord is both everywhere – “Whither shall I go to flee from Your Spirit – and He is nowhere – “The heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee!.

       Such truth brings us to that wonderful place of understanding that we cannot understand. Indeed, the Christian life involves a rational, reasonable determination to have “the eyes of your understanding enlightened” (Ephesians1:18).  The further we venture in such mental illumination, however, the more we affirm with the Psalmist, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me!  It is high, I cannot attain unto it!” (Psalm 139:6). Just as God everywhere and He is nowhere, so do we know, but we don’tknow!

     The merely curious will find this too disturbing to accept and embrace.  The consecrated, however, will acknowledge that any truth that both causes us to look upward for light, while at the same time driving us to our knees and faces to acknowledge the infinite greatness of our Lord, is a good thing.  Somehow, God inhabits a creation far too small to accommodate Him. Thus, we seek to answer the question “Where?” in full awareness that every answer will raise even more questions.  Yes, indeed, this is a good thing…

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counselor?  Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto Him again?   For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.”(Romans 11:33-36)   

 

Friday, September 21, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth


The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon CafĂ©…

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)
  
Part 19 – “The Eternity of Today”

     Our consideration of the “Who?” of God could – and will, actually - go on forever.

     “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

     Our Lord’s words in this passage provide the most definitive description of the forever awaiting born again believers.  Rather than quantity, “eternal life” concerns the quality of an existence in which the knowledge of God the Father and God the Son, as revealed by God the Holy Spirit, will grace us with new and unending vistas of Divine glory.  The poet Faber beautifully and succinctly depicts this unending journey into the triune heart of God.

“Shoreless Ocean, who can sound Thee?
Thine own eternity is round Thee,
Majesty Divine!”

     For the believer, the voyage of eternity has already begun.  “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (I John 5:13; emphasis added).  Indeed, the knowledge of God awaits in this day for believers who will embrace the understanding and expectation that the Lord desires to be known, and that we are the grace-blessed recipients of this most sublime of all gifts.  An open Bible, an open heart to the Spirit of God, open arms to welcome the fellowship of like-hearted believers, and open eyes that expect the wonder of the Lord Jesus to be known in our lives prepares us for the eternity of today.

The Journey’s Just Begun

There is no end to the quest we know,
Forever beckons on,
For we soar in skies so clear and blue,
Above all clouds of storm.

Yes, we fly into the heart of God
as in His Son we trust,
And earth will soon be nothing more
Than long-forgotten dust.

So spread your wings and catch the wind,
oh journeyman of hope,
And race toward horizons blessed
With those who also know

That the quest of hearts is Jesus,
He is our shining sun.
It matters not how far we’ve come…
The Journey’s just begun.


“Lay hold on eternal life.”
(I Timothy 6:12)

Next week: the “Where?” of God


" Wondering”. . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 18 – “Always”

     Only God can be with us always.  Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ hold this truth as a fundamental tenet of our faith.  “I am with you always” declared the Lord Jesus to His disciples, clearing alluding to the coming presence of the Holy Spirit that would grace every person born again during the age of the church (Matthew 28:20). “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8:9).

     This does not mean that believers always think about God being with us, nor do we continually feel or see the obvious evidence of His abiding presence.  Indeed, we must be careful that we do not seek to manipulate or manufacture experiences of our Lord by artificial means.  “We walk by faith, not by sight” wrote the Apostle Paul (II Corinthians5:7).  Thus, while we appreciate and enjoy those times when the presence of God manifestly graces our thoughts, emotions, and conscious awareness, we also recognize that, at present, much of our lives must be spent without overt displays of the Presence that both envelopes and inhabits us.

    As we consider the “Who?” of God, that is, His personal nature, our “walk by faith, not by sight” constitutes a primary element of understanding. That our Lord is with us always must be established and enhanced primarily as a conviction of trust rather than a hoped for experience of the mind, emotion and senses.  This does not preclude such experience by any means, and in fact, growing confidence in our conviction certainly prepares us for the times when the fact of God shines upon and within us as the brightest light of our existence.  Nevertheless, our personal experience of the “always with us” truth of God presently involves both the obvious and the obscure.  We actually need times when our Lord seems far away if we are to be strengthened in the faith that prepares us for those times when He overwhelms us with His nearness.

     We must live with confidence in God’s personal nature and presence, and in the expectation of living experience thereof.  At present, however, we also recognize the tempered nature of such experience in a fallen world wherein we ourselves remain far from perfection.  “We see through a glass darkly” confessed the Paul who perhaps saw the things of God more clearly than anyone (I Corinthians13:12).  Our Lord is near, nearer than our next breath.  He would have to increasingly recognize the gift and glory of such grace.  Moreover, He would have recognize it with such core conviction that the fickle nature of our minds and emotions does not shake the resolve of the Psalmist that must be our resolve…

“Thou art with me.”(Psalm 23:4)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth


(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)



Part 17 – “Glimpses of Love”

    The words that follow are, so to speak, new lyrics for an old song.

      Almost 25 years ago, I wrote an instrumental guitar piece called “Mountain Stream.”  Some of you may have heard it on one of our older CDs, and I think the recording may be on our website.  I occasionally remember and play the music, but until several days ago, I had never thought about adding lyrics.  The notion occurred to me, and I mentioned it to Frances, who thought it might be a good idea.  That’s as far as it went, however.
.
     That is, until yesterday, when Frances wrote a beautiful essay called “Glimpses of Love” for her Cafe Powder Room blog.  This inspired words for the music “Mountain Stream,” which now, in its lyrical version, is not about a mountain stream!  Instead, the words seem to fit with our current consideration about the “Who” of God, that is, the wonder of His amazing love.  I thought I’d send them along, and hope they’ll be encouraging.

Glimpses of Love

If we’ll open up
The eyes of our heart,
We will see
A light in the dark.
An unseen Hand of glory from above,
Giving visions of grace,
Glimpses of love.


Our Heavenly Father
Loves to give
Scenes of the beauty
That call us to live,
Ever and always looking up above,
Seeing visions of grace,
Glimpses of love.

(Open up your heart to behold,
See the beauty of His wonder unfold…)


Today will offer
Such sights to behold,
For all who believe,
For those who know
The glory awaiting when we gaze above,
Seeing visions of grace,
Glimpses of love…
Visions of grace, glimpses of love.

“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.”
(Psalm 27:4)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 16 – “The Display of the Divine”

    “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20).

    Of “the things that are made,” none possess the capacity to reveal “the invisible things of Him” like the traits and characteristics of humanity.  
     Our imperfect state at present does not preclude the frequent display of the Divine in the dispositions and doings of the human. Our desire for communication speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ as “the Word” (John 1:1).  Our reasoning and analytical capabilities reflect the mind of One whose “understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5).  Human affections reveal the “lovingkindness” and “good will” of God’s heart (Psalm 36:7; Luke 2:14).  Our capacity for happiness and sadness point to joy and sorrow in our Lord’s emotional nature (Psalm 43:4; Genesis 6:6).  Most of all, the longing for love in human beings, both in giving and receiving, unveils the liberty of love in One whose very being comprises the essence of affection, devotion, commitment and the willingness to sacrifice for the interests of others. “God is love… love one another as I have loved you” (I John 4:8; John15:12).

    Imperfect and often even distorted as they may be, human characteristics and actions nevertheless provide clues as to the nature of God.  Guided by the light and authority of Scripture, we may therefore expect our Heavenly Father to frequently illuminate us with glimpses of Himself in the hearts, minds, words and experiences of others, and of ourselves. Understanding this truth unveils a new vista of human experience as we live expecting to discover the “Who?” of our Lord in the “who?” of people. From the most devoted saint to the most unbelieving sinner, all somehow reveal the existence of God, and even more, His nature, character and way.  May we open our eyes to see the Divine as revealed in the human, and thus, in a way particularly pertinent and illuminating.

“In Him we live and move and have our being.”(Acts 17:28)

Monday, September 17, 2012

“Wondering”. . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth



(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)


Part 15 – “His Who, Our Who”

     Who is God?  A significant portion of the answer to this question can be found in humanity, originally created in God’s image.   “Let Us make man in Our image” (Genesis 1:26).

     Much of our experience, particularly the internal and relational awareness of ourselves and others, points to the internal and relational nature in our Creator.  Of course, sin severely damaged humanity in the fall of Adam, limiting our capacity to reflect God’s nature, character and way.  Too often, we serve as the polar opposite of our Lord, revealing who He is not rather than who He is.

     “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8).

     This sad fact notwithstanding, the truth remains that glimmers of the Almighty still shine in human experience.  Our intellect, emotions, will and desire to communicate all reveal the existence of another Heart and Mind whose structure and function is much like our own (although the content, course and scope is often quite different).  As we think, feel, choose and communicate, the Holy Spirit bears witness to the existence of Another from which our “fearfully and wonderfully made” human capacities descend (Psalm 139:14).  Again, hints of God’s “Who?” often display themselves in our own “who?”

     Such display perfectly shines forth in the Lord Jesus Christ.  “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6).  God the Son became the Son of man in order to fulfill His Father’s intention that humanity should reveal and glorify Divinity.  The “first man” Adam forfeited this honored place in God’s purposes.  The “second man” Christ fulfilled it (I Corinthians 15:45-47).  Furthermore, the Lord Jesus makes possible our redemption unto the holy office of existing to reflect the “Who?” of God in the “who?” of ourselves…

“As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
(I Corinthians 15:49)   

Tomorrow: further consideration of God’s “Who?” revealed in our own “who?”


Friday, September 14, 2012

"Wondering". . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 14 – “To Bleed”

     Casting out demons thrilled followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, sent by Him to free people from Satan’s influence.  The Savior, however, deflected attention from the power of God’s hand to the pardon of God’s heart.

     “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name.  And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke10:17-20).

 
    If any aspect of our faith fascinates and fills us with wonder more than God’s saving grace provided by His suffering Son, we need to still ourselves for a moment until reality once again rules our heart.  Our names are “written in Heaven,” inscribed with the holy ink, as it were, of Christ’s own lifeblood.  This speaks of God’s character, nature and way in terms more defining and descriptive than thousands of exorcisms or other displays of power could ever reveal.  Indeed, in order to create a vast universe of beauty, complexity and order, our Lord had but to speak.  To save our souls, however, He had to bleed.

     Certainly, we require God’s working on our behalf, and we appreciate His ongoing actions whereby He supplies for needs, vanquishes enemies, solves problems, and thwarts devilish attacks by the power of His hand.  Nevertheless, that which most wins and secures our increasing devotion involves growth in the knowledge of our Lord’s heart toward us. Such illumination reveals God’s “Who?” and “Why?,” as opposed to merely considering what He does for us.  Indeed, the gospel of the Lord Jesus offers to us such personal knowledge of God’s motivation, as revealed in His Word, by His Spirit, and through His church. 

     The cross of the Lord Jesus will comprise the frequent theme of these holy agencies of God’s light .  The Apostle Paul went so far as to declare he would glory in nothing but the cross (Galatians6:14).  Paul knew that frequent remembrance, appreciation and affirmation of the Savior’s suffering and death would go far in both drawing unbelievers and endearing those already born of the Spirit.  The cross serves as perhaps the brightest light whereby we discover the answer to God’s “Who?” Or, we at least begin the discovery, because eternity will not be long enough to mine the golden vein of “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).  His love “passeth knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19).  However, that which we can know of God’s heart beckons our own hearts to venture ever further into the Love that begets love…

“We love Him because He first loved us.”(I John 4:19)    

Thursday, September 13, 2012

“Wondering”. . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 13 – “Timeless Love”

“God is love” (I John 4:8).“I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6).

    An unchanging God who is love must always have been love.  Moreover, if love “seeketh not her own,” there must always have been givers and recipients within the triune being of the Divine (I Corinthians13:5).

     There have.  The Lord Jesus Christ referenced this truth in His high priestly intercession prayed just before He returned to Heaven by way of the cross, the resurrection, and the ascension.

     “Father… Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

     The love of God is a timeless love.  It has always been, and will always be.  Before anything else existed, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwelt together in a selfless devotion, affection and commitment wherein love bestowed and love received comprised the very heart and existence of God.  Reality, rightly understood, begins here and only here, even as the Lord Jesus referenced the glory shared with His Father,  “glory… before the world was” (John 17:3).

     When pondering the love of God, we must never begin by considering His love for us.  We rather behold His love within the infinite scope and nature of triune Divinity.  Indeed, this is why human beings possess such affinity for stories of love, affection and devotion.  We exist to know with enraptured wonder the love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and then to be drawn into such glory by the grace of the Lord Jesus.

    “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me” (John17:24).

    Such glory blessedly delivers believers from the self-centered delusion of viewing ourselves as the center of our existence. Indeed, if “God loves me!” comprised the heart of our Christian experience, we might well end up more focused on ourselves than ever.  Instead, we exist to know God, and to find fulfillment, joy and peace in beholding Him.  Of course, this does not exclude our amazed appreciation of His love for us.  On the contrary, our experience of God’s devotion grows exponentially when we discover that He made us to experience the same exhilaration He knows in devotion to others. Indeed, we best know His love for us when we fix our gaze upon His love for the Son to whom we are spiritually united. 

     Perhaps the truth of this most important of all matters is that we could never adequately know the love of God by merely considering that He loves us.  Maybe we need to behold it in Him, that is, in His timeless and triune Being of perfect devotion, affection and commitment.  Or, as the Psalmist declared…

“In Thy light shall we see light.”(Psalm 36:9)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

“Wondering”. . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth


(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 12 – “Thou Only!”

    The most distinctive quality of God’s love, as opposed to all other supposed loves, involves His attitude toward those who do not love Him.

    “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:7-10).

     Few passages of Scripture more unveil the wondrous heart of the Lord who loves enemies to the degree He gave His beloved Son to die for them.  Rather than perish in rightly deserved Divine wrath, God desires that sinners might be “saved from wrath” through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Conversely, deluded notions of supposed human love fail and fall at the slightest offence, revealing not a wondrous, but a woeful heart of self-centered narcissism.  Of God’s love, Scripture declares that it “seeketh not her own” (I Corinthians 13:5).  Of human “love,” however, the Bible pronounces the indictment of our delusion: “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

     We shall never get far in the matter of love until we bow before the truth that God alone is love, and that God alone loves in the only sense that truly matters.  Regardless of how or how much we may feel for others, any supposed love that originates with us is not actually love at all.  Boil it down to the essence, and selfishness will be found at the heart of the imposter.  Could we boil God down to His essence, however, perfect unselfishness would shine forth in winsome beauty and glory.  Thus, He is able to love friend and foe to the degree of a self-sacrifice beyond imagining.

    No less amazingly, our Lord can lead and enable human beings to love as He loves, that is, to fulfill His command to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).

     “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).

     The love of God inhabits born again believers in the Lord Jesus through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Though Him, we also love friend and foe as we trust and submit unto the Spirit’s leading and enabling.  However, never do we mistake such love as originating with us, nor do we fail to give all glory to the God who alone dwells in the essence of seeking not His own.  He only “is love” (I John 4:8).  Thus, when we see or experience the genuine article, we are seeing and experiencing Him.  No greater reason for enraptured worship and devotion exists, and it may well be that no other reason exists.  Indeed, all that our Lord does proceeds from this quality of character eternally existing as God and God alone, although revealed in those in whom He lives.  As the prophet declared, “Thou art the Lord, even Thou only!”  (Isaiah 37:20).  Or, in terms of our present consideration, He is the love, He only!

“His love is perfected in us.”
(I John 4:12)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth



(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 11 – “To Know the Love of God”

    When positing that love comprises the very essence of the character, nature and way of God, we must be careful to define love in terms of the Divine, rather than the human.

    “To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

    No reality is more misunderstood, or not understood, than love.  The world’s definition, doubtless originated and perpetuated by Satan, involves more selfish lust than unselfish devotion to the genuine needs of others.  “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23).  Billions of times a day, humanity thinks of love, speaks of love, and seeks to act in love.  Sadly, however, much of our thought, word and deed fails to meet the only true standard of love, namely, God’s definition and application.

     Born again believers can devote ourselves to no greater or more sanctifying light than the quest to know the love of God.  The Apostle Paul prayed accordingly for the Ephesians believers.

     “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19).

     We do well to pray in similar fashion for each other, and for ourselves.  Indeed, regardless of how long we have known the Lord, we can be sure that our understanding and experience of His love stands in much need of growth.  “As touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.  And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more” (I Thessalonians 4:9-10).  As we begin our consideration of the nature and characteristics of Divine love, we can do no better than to pray for each other that we might “know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”  Our Heavenly Father will surely respond to such a vital request, and we discover love in its truest and most sublime reality, as revealed by the One who is love in its truest and most sublime reality.

“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God.”
(II Thessalonians 3:5)

Monday, September 10, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth


(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)
  
Part 10 – “Essence”

     If pressed to provide the most elemental answer to the question, “Who Is God?”, I would immediately answer that God, in the essence of His character, nature and way, is love.  The Apostle John confirms:

    “God is love” (I John 4:8; 16).

   Of course, there many other things that comprise the person of God , as defined by Scripture.  Righteousness, wisdom, holiness, grace, mercy, justice, compassion and understanding, among many other qualities, all comprise our Lord’s winsome being.  At the heart of all, however, and as the heart of all, love motivates and guides everything God does, has done, or ever will do.

    We know this because the two primary commands of Scripture, directed toward the race of beings created in His image, reveal that love is the motivation and purpose of true personhood.

     “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).

     When God exhibits wisdom, grace, holiness and even hatred or wrath, all proceed from the love that forms the essence of His character, nature and way.  Indeed, love is the “Who?” of God.  Everything He does expresses this wonder of who He most deeply is.  Our Creator exists in a triune glory of pristine goodness and unselfish devotion to others, even as the Apostle Paul declared that the love of God seeks not its own interests, but those of others (I Corinthians 13:5). 

    Paul also referenced “the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19).  A long eternity will not suffice in fully discovering the sublime wonder of the God in whom no trace of selfishness or self-centeredness exists.  However, we will seek to scratch a molecule of paint from the surface of such goodness in this week’s considerations, considering love to be the primary answer to the question of God’s “Who?”  May His Spirit lead us as we consider together the essence of our Lord’s heart, mind, being, and way.

“The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many… He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.”
(Matthew 20:28; John 14:9)

Friday, September 7, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth


(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 9 – “A Beautiful Creator”

     The Bible unveils a personal God who can be known, who desires to be known, and who must be known.  

     “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).

     A large portion of the “great and mighty things” our Lord desires to show us involves Himself.  The Apostle Paul declared that he had “suffered the loss of all things” for the most sublime of all reasons: “that I may know Him” (Philippians 3:9-10; emphasis added).  Paul knew that the true source of human contentment involves not the knowledge of an admittedly wondrous creation, but rather of an even more wondrous Creator.  Things exist to be appreciated and enjoyed, but even more, to motivate and enhance relationship with the One from whom “every good gift and every perfect gift” descends (James 1:17).

     “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even His eternal power and godhead”  (Romans 1:20).

    Knowing the person of God involves the awareness that He purposes to reveal qualities and characteristics of Himself in the things He made.  The order, complexity and intricacy of the universe reveal the brilliance of His mind.  The beauty of things reveals His creativity, artistry, and most importantly, His loving desire to bless us with a life that involves far more than merely existence.  Indeed, God could have made food without flavor, flowers without fragrance, scenes without color, and sound without music.  He chose otherwise because He is, at heart, a person of “joy unspeakable” (I Peter 1:8).  He wants us to know and enjoy this truth about Him as a beautiful creation speaks of a beautiful Creator.

     Several years ago, during a trip to Boston, Massachusetts, our family attended a performance of the Boston Pops Symphony.  John Williams conducted a concert that included much of the music for which he is famous.  From the first notes, I found myself enraptured by the beauty that sounded forth from an amazing conductor and amazing musicians.  Symphony Hall of Boston is nearly perfect acoustically, as well as being visually beautiful, and the experience was one of those once in a lifetime moments that you know you will never forget.

     Thankfully, I was keenly aware on this occasion that the beauty of the moment did not originate in human hearts and minds.  Certainly, people were involved, and the musicians had doubtless spent a lifetime preparing to perform so skillfully and artistically.  Nevertheless, throughout the performance, one thought graced my mind and filled my heart: “Lord, You are so beautiful!”  The sound, the scene, the atmosphere and the wondrous moment shared with my family spoke of the Giver of such an unforgettable experience, and of His wondrous heart.  Indeed, the gift was of such magnitude that I shed many tears during the performance, and I shed them now in remembrance.

     “The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3).  The universe, even in its present sin-damaged condition, comprises a gallery of art purposed to display the heart and mind of the Artist.  As we live in the expectation that God purposes to tell us much about Himself through the things He made, the Holy Spirit will draw us into the person of our Lord.  Therein we will discover wonders of indescribable goodness and beauty.  Therein we will know God, and therein our hearts will find their fulfillment in this most sublime of all purposes…

“Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
(Psalm 16:11)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

" Wondering”. . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 8 – “The Most Important of All Questions”

    We seek to emphasize no Scriptural truth in our devotionals more than the following:

     “Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18).     “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:1-3).

    Note the heart-changing dynamic whereby we increasingly become that which God redeemed us to be.  “Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord… Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”  Or, in terms of our current consideration, we more and more discover who God is in order to become more and more who we are as His spiritual children.

     “God is light… Now are ye light in the Lord: walk aschildren of light” (I John1:5; Ephesians 5:8).

     Human beings exist to know God in such a manner that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength” (Mark12:30).  For this to happen, God must first love us, and then progressively reveal to us the character, nature and way of His devotion. “We love Him because He first loved us” (I John4:19).  The more we behold such goodness through the Bible, the involvement of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and the fellowship of other believers, the more we respond in personal devotion to our Heavenly Father. 

    “Who is God?”  The ongoing answer to this most important of all questions prepares us to experience the most important of all relationships.  In Christ, God draws nearer to the believing heart than our next breath.  Indeed, He becomes the very Life of our lives (Colossians 3:4). Certainly, we miss much of such all-encompassing reality as it vibrantly teems in our born again spirits. We can know and experience much, however, and devotion to the “Who?” of God will more and more change the “who?”of ourselves into the blessed image of the Lord Jesus. Nothing more fills our hearts, and in fact, nothingelse fills our hearts.

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”(II Peter 1:2-3)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth


(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)


Part 7 – “The Personal God”

    God is, and has always been a personal being. He thinks, feels, and wills.  He is self conscious and aware of His own existence.  He also consciously recognizes the existence of others, beginning with the plurality in unity that exists within Himself.  The Bible teaches that God is triune, existing as three distinct Divine personalities who relate to each other in the bond and perfection of love.

    “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).

     Amazingly, God chose to create others like Himself, in the sense of our possessing capacity for self and others awareness, along with the ability to communicate.  To exist as a human being in God’s creation speaks of an honored place and position.  Our Lord made us for relationship with Himself in personal terms whereby He knows us, we know Him, and we freely relate to each other intellectually, emotionally, and volitionally.  “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).

     The entrance of sin into the world through Adam greatly damaged the possibility of Divine/human discourse, but the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ provides a relationship with God that even Adam did not possess. 

    “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). 

     Such relationship offers to us knowledge of the “Who?” of God.  By His Word, His Spirit, and the fellowship of other believers, our Heavenly Father desires to unveil His heart and mind to us.  As God, He can tell us very little about what He is.  The gulf is far too wide between the Creator and created beings to make such explanation possible.  As our Father, however, He can tell us much about who He is.  That is, He reveals His character, nature and way to such degree that we are “changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18).  The more this process occurs, the more personal we discover God to be as our hearts become safe havens for “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (II Corinthians 4:6).

     No greater wonders exists than the truth that God desires relationship with us, and empowers it as we trust in the Lord Jesus.  A believing and submitted heart, a consistently read Bible, fellowship with devoted believers, and confident expectation of God’s involvement and presence in our lives reveals the fact of how personal He desires to be.  Much was given on the cross of Calvary to make possible so great a gift.  May we much avail ourselves of the wonder that our Father desires and seeks our fellowship in this moment, this day, and forevermore.

“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
(I Corinthians 1:9)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

“Wondering”. . .Fascinated By God, and By His Truth



(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen) 


Part 6 – “The Personal and the Doctrinal”

     “Who is God?”  The question, Biblically answered, calls us to the knowledge of our Lord in two primary revelations of Truth.

    “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:24).

     The personal knowledge of God involves both relationship with God - “in spirit” -  and intellectual understanding of Him -“in truth.”  We must know God, as made possible by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling our hearts when we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We must also know about God, again, as made possible by the Holy Spirit’s illumination of our minds through the reading of Scripture.

     The Lord Jesus spoke of this dual experience of God in His final discourse to the disciples who followed Him during His earthly ministry.

     “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

     We must live close, as it were, to both God and to His words.  Seeking relationship with Him apart from Scriptural light and authority inevitably leads to a false worship that bears no resemblance to “the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).  Moreover, mere knowledge of the Bible, apart from the Holy Spirit’s ongoing gift of leading and enabling personal communication with our Heavenly Father, also results in a religious experience far removed from spiritual reality.  Spirit and truth require and complement each other in believers who recognize the necessity of true worship involving both the personal and the doctrinal.

     God constituted human beings with the capacity for knowledge that involves both intellectual understanding and intuitive relationship.  The question, “Who is God?,” beckons us to devote ourselves to both blessed aspects of discovering the wonder of a Lord who has drawn nearer to us than our next breath, while remaining forever transcendent of us in the greatness of His glory.  Our hearts and minds were made for this adventure of both the living Word and the written Word increasingly filling our being with the light of God’s Person, and His truth.  Who is God?  The answer will forever bless us both personally and intellectually.

“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.”
(Ephesians 1:15-18)

Tomorrow: the personal nature of God, or “the Who of God.”

Monday, September 3, 2012

“Wondering”. . . Fascinated By God, and By His Truth

(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter.  Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord.  Glen)

Part 5 – “Who Is God?”

        While we suggest that the question, “What is God?” cannot be answered, the question, “Who is God?” comprises an entirely different matter.

     “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

     God created human beings in His image for the purpose of loving relationship.  That is, He loves us in order to elicit the reciprocal response of devotion, affection and commitment in us.  “We love Him because He first loved us” (I John 4:19).  This requires knowledge in both parties, personal knowledge of both the heart and mind.  God must know us, we must know Him, and there must be mutual application to the communication whereby true relationship grows and prospers.

     This presents an interesting bond unlike any other relationship in our lives.  First, God already knows us perfectly. 

    “O LORD, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.” (Psalm 139:1-4). 

     Our Heavenly Father’s perfect knowledge of us blesses us with the assurance and expectation that He will always perfectly relate to us.  Conversely, even the most devoted believer would confess his imperfection in the knowledge of God (in fact, the more devoted he is, the more he acknowledges his need for continued growth in knowing the Lord).  Thus, God and the Christian exist in a relationship of perfection and imperfection.  One party knows all about the other, while the other party requires continual illumination and growth in the knowledge of the One to whom he is spiritually united.

     That Perfection and imperfection can relate to one another speaks of the miraculous.  That Perfection would desire to relate to imperfection speaks of the merciful.  The God who knows us completely desires that we will know Him increasingly.  “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).  In the new birth, our Heavenly Father constitutes in us a “new creature” capable of genuine relationship whereby the awareness of His constant gaze upon us motivates us to more consistently look unto Him.    God desires to be known by human hearts.  We may never define the “What?” of God.  We can – and must – devote ourselves to growing knowledge of the “Who?” of God. 

    True life begins, continues and will perpetually endure as we seek to know, in personal terms, our Lord better and better.  His heart, character, nature and way are on open display in the pages of the Bible.  We see Him also in His personal involvement in our lives and the lives of others.  Again, “this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”  Such knowledge constitutes life in its most elemental, vital, and fulfilling experience.  There is no other…

“To live is Christ.”
(Philippians 1:21).

Tomorrow: the dual nature of knowing God.