Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Daily Devotional Wednesday 5th October

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"At evening time it shall be light."
Zechariah 14:7

Oftentimes we look forward with forebodings to the time of old age, forgetful that at eventide it shall be light. To many saints, old age is the choicest season in their lives. A balmier air fans the mariner's cheek as he nears the shore of immortality, fewer waves ruffle his sea, quiet reigns, deep, still and solemn. From the altar of age the flashes of the fire of youth are gone, but the more real flame of earnest feeling remains. The pilgrims have reached the land Beulah, that happy country, whose days are as the days of heaven upon earth. Angels visit it, celestial gales blow over it, flowers of paradise grow in it, and the air is filled with seraphic music. Some dwell here for years, and others come to it but a few hours before their departure, but it is an Eden on earth. We may well long for the time when we shall recline in its shady groves and be satisfied with hope until the time of fruition comes. The setting sun seems larger than when aloft in the sky, and a splendour of glory tinges all the clouds which surround his going down. Pain breaks not the calm of the sweet twilight of age, for strength made perfect in weakness bears up with patience under it all. Ripe fruits of choice experience are gathered as the rare repast of life's evening, and the soul prepares itself for rest.

The Lord's people shall also enjoy light in the hour of death. Unbelief laments; the shadows fall, the night is coming, existence is ending. Ah no, crieth faith, the night is far spent, the true day is at hand. Light is come, the light of immortality, the light of a Father's countenance. Gather up thy feet in the bed, see the waiting bands of spirits! Angels waft thee away. Farewell, beloved one, thou art gone, thou wavest thine hand. Ah, now it is light. The pearly gates are open, the golden streets shine in the jasper light. We cover our eyes, but thou beholdest the unseen; adieu, brother, thou hast light at even-tide, such as we have not yet.

Evening

"If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
1 John 2:1

"If any man sin, we have an advocate." Yes, though we sin, we have him still. John does not say, "If any man sin he has forfeited his advocate," but "we have an advocate," sinners though we are. All the sin that a believer ever did, or can be allowed to commit, cannot destroy his interest in the Lord Jesus Christ, as his advocate. The name here given to our Lord is suggestive. "Jesus." Ah! then he is an advocate such as we need, for Jesus is the name of one whose business and delight it is to save. "They shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." His sweetest name implies his success. Next, it is "Jesus Christ"--Christos, the anointed. This shows his authority to plead. The Christ has a right to plead, for he is the Father's own appointed advocate and elected priest. If he were of our choosing he might fail, but if God hath laid help upon one that is mighty, we may safely lay our trouble where God has laid his help. He is Christ, and therefore authorized; he is Christ, and therefore qualified, for the anointing has fully fitted him for his work. He can plead so as to move the heart of God and prevail. What words of tenderness, what sentences of persuasion will the anointed use when he stands up to plead for me! One more letter of his name remains, "Jesus Christ the righteous." This is not only his character but his plea. It is his character, and if the Righteous One be my advocate, then my cause is good, or he would not have espoused it. It is his plea, for he meets the charge of unrighteousness against me by the plea that he is righteous. He declares himself my substitute and puts his obedience to my account. My soul, thou hast a friend well fitted to be thine advocate, he cannot but succeed; leave thyself entirely in his hands.

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Today's reading: Isaiah 20-22, Ephesians 6 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 20-22

A Prophecy Against Egypt and Cush

1 In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it— 2 at that time the LORD spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.

3 Then the LORD said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush, 4 so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt’s shame. 5Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be dismayed and put to shame. 6 In that day the people who live on this coast will say, ‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can we escape?’”

...read the rest on Bible Gateway

Today's New Testament reading: Ephesians 6

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him....

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Nathanael

[Nāthăn'a el] - the gift of god. A native of Cana in Galilee whom Jesus called an Israelite in whom there was no guile (John 1:45-49; 21:2).

The Man Who Was Guileless

Nathanael is supposed to be the same as Bartholomew the Apostle. The name of Nathanael occurs in John but in none of the other gospels. He is introduced at the beginning and at the close of Christ's ministry. His doubt of Christ's Messiahship vanished when he met Him, and he was one of the seven to whom the risen Lord manifested Himself at the Lake of Galilee.

It may be that he bore a double name and is referred to as Bartholomew, whom John never mentions, just as the other evangelists never mention Nathanael. The name Bartholomew stands in conjunction with that of Philip. If the rule is accepted that Andrew and Simon are put together because the one led the other to Christ, there is a presumption in favor of Bartholomew of the first three gospels being the same as Nathanael of John's gospel, from the fact recorded by John only, that it was Philip who brought Nathanael to the Saviour. We reject the tradition that he was the bridegroom at the Cana marriage, or one of the two disciples on the Emmaus road.

Profitable aspects to be developed are these:

I. Nathanael owed his introduction to Jesus to a friend. Have you introduced others to Him?

II. Nathanael was prepared to listen to conversation about Christ. He readily received the witness of one who had found the Messiah. Have you found Him, and are you telling others the story?

III. Nathanael's hopes were realized in an unexpected way. Often joy and rest come to us from the least expected quarter.

IV. Nathanael accepted the sure test of truth and the sure cure of prejudice. "Come and see," "Taste and see."

V. Nathanael's faith rejoiced the Master, and secured for him the promise of a growing blessing.

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October 4, 2011

I Need a Shepherd

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young (Isaiah 40:11, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Shepherds live with their sheep, finding places for them to eat and drink, providing shelter from the storms and protection from the heat. Sheep must eat the right amount of the right kinds of grass at the right times or they will die. If the sheep eat too little one day and too much the next day, some of the bacteria that live in the stomach of the sheep will reproduce abnormal levels, creating toxins which cause sudden death. The shepherd must carefully plan the path and lead the way so the sheep have neither too little nor too much grazing and are able to get to the water hole on time. Pastures are often lost to extreme heat which means the shepherd has to scour the countryside in search of green grass.

Several flocks of sheep are gathered together at night in a sheltered place so shepherds can share the watches of the night, protecting the sheep from wild animals and thieves. Good shepherds are always willing to risk their lives to save their flocks from any harm, any enemy and even from themselves.

The needs of sheep, compared to the needs of other animals, are greater because of their instinct to be afraid and when faced with a fearful situation, to run. Without a shepherd to care for the sheep, they would not last long. Sheep are dumb, can never be left alone and often stray, requiring the shepherd to continually find and rescue them. A shepherd never pushes his sheep but rather leads his sheep, going before them, making sure they are not walking into danger.

Personally, I definitely fit the profile of a sheep. I can't count the number of times I have stubbornly stuck to my plan, foolishly thinking that it was better than His plan, only to end up in some pit somewhere, calling for help. Psalm 40:1-3 has become my life maxim – with one exception. I rarely waitpatiently. Remember, I am a sheep!

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV).

I sometimes allow fear to drive me to a place where I am trapped by doubts and darkness until He rescues me. I satisfy my hunger by eating the wrong things from the wrong hands found in the wrong places at the wrong times. The result is always the same; my soul is soon ravenous for what is good because I have been stuffing my heart and mind with what is bad.

Like every sheep, I don't like to be pushed. Good shepherds do not push, no matter how great the temptation. A good shepherd stands in front of his sheep, gently calling their names, leading them to a place where he has already been, positioning himself between danger and his sheep. When I am tired and ready to give up, I tend to withdraw from the other sheep and even from my Shepherd. Many of us have somehow bought into the lie that we can make it on our own or that the rules and commandments of God do not necessarily apply to us like they apply to those other sheep. The longer I walk with God, the more I realize just how much we need each other and how much we need Him. When will I learn that I cannot do life on my own – as a sheep or as a shepherd?

Let's think about the sheep for whom we are responsible as shepherds here on earth. We are all called by God in different ways to do different things, but we are all called to be a shepherd to someone. We live in a world filled with people who, like sheep, are lost, confused, hungry, lonely, and in desperate need of a Savior. Family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors are all part of our flock. And sometimes their needs are overwhelming.

You live with your sheep or everywhere you go you run into someone from your flock. Your phone rings off the wall, e-mails pile up and you are constantly trying to rescue one of your sheep who is in trouble. The feeding schedule of your flock is not an easy task either. Since sheep must eat the right amount of the right foods at the right time, you must always be prepared to feed them, according to their needs – not yours. As a shepherd, you must know your sheep so well that you can lead them – not push them – in the right direction. The natural inclination of every sheep in your flock is to run when they sense danger. You may be trying to lead your sheep, but they are either too afraid or too stubborn to let you lead. You may be standing in the middle of their escape route, which may also mean that they will run right over you in their frantic stampede to escape. Remember that they are afraid and in desperate need of rescue. Your job, as their earthly shepherd, is to care for them and to continually point them to the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Remember, a good shepherd is willing to lay down his life for his sheep, just as Jesus Christ laid down His life for you and for me. Do you love your flock enough to lay down your life for each one – the cute, fluffy ones as well as the dirty, broken lambs?

Maybe it is time for us all to stop, listen for His voice, seek His plan and remember that we are indeed needy sheep who are called to love and lead other needy sheep to the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

Let's Pray

Father, thank You for laying down Your life so that I can live now and eternally. I am desperate for You. I am lost without Your love and power at work in my life. I don't know where to go or what to do. I am afraid, Lord. Right now, I surrender every part of my life to You. Please be my Shepherd and my Guide. Help me love and care for the people in my life and point them to You, Lord. Use me to love others and serve them in a way that pleases and honors You.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Read Psalm 23:1-6 once a day for one month. Let it soak into your heart, mind and soul and become a living reality in your life. As you read Psalm 23, consider the following questions:

  • In what ways are sheep dependent on their shepherd?
  • How do shepherds care for their sheep?
  • Compare the two lists. What similarities do you find in your own life?

More from the Girlfriends

Need help? Mary's book, Escaping the Stress Trap, is based on Psalm 23 and is a step-by-step plan for dealing with the stress in life and learning how to truly trust God.

Come as You Are, Mary's NEW Online Bible Study, has just begun. Enroll before October 15 and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

Seeking God?

Click here to find out more about

how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

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P31Header
Glynnis Whitwer

October 4, 2011

How to Deal with a Bully
Glynnis Whitwer

"Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NLT)

As another year of school begins, stories of bullies will surface. The most shocking ones make the news, but those are a small percentage of the actual bullying that takes place. Sadly, victims of bullies often keep silent due to shame, intimidation and a silent unspoken code.

But the schoolyard isn't the only place we'll find bullies this month. Bullies are everywhere. They are in offices, committees, homes and community meetings. They are found anywhere they can dominate through force of will. And I believe they have intimidated a generation of people long enough.

Sadly, many well-meaning Christians have "turned the other cheek" (Matthew 5:39) when bullied. However, a closer examination of that passage reveals something vitally important. Turning the other cheek involves us willingly ignoring an offense to us, even though we could defend ourselves. We don't turn away because we are afraid.

Jesus could have called down 1,000 angels to protect Him from being crucified, but He willingly laid down His life. Jesus states this in His own words, "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father" (John 10:17-18 NIV).

Jesus saw a greater good in submitting to those who would take His life. He did it for us. In an instance such as that, turning the other check is the best response.

Although Jesus calls us to a life of forgiveness and compassion, even He didn't tolerate those who dishonored God's holy temple. With righteous indignation, Jesus turned over tables, and drove out money changers and those who were selling doves within the walls of the temple, accusing them of turning His father's house into "a den of robbers" (Mark 11:17). Jesus also trained His disciples to put themselves in the path of danger for the sake of others.

As Christians, I believe we are called to play an unusual role in dealing with bullies. It is not a role the world plays-filled with anger and vengeance. It is not a role of passivity. It is not a role of hate. We can't gratify our flesh and play tit-for-tat games. In other words, it's not easy.

We are called to love our enemies, to pray for them, but to stand firm against unrighteousness and injustice. We are called to draw a line in the sand about our beliefs. We aren't aggressive, but we are assertive. We aren't boastful, but we are confident about our God's wishes for His people. Most importantly, we can't ignore the problem.

Ignoring a true bully doesn't make the bullying stop. It just fuels his or her need for power. So what does help? First, pray for God's wisdom in the situation. Understand that God loves you, and all His people, and wants not one of His children to be victimized in any way. Then, if there are physical threats or violence, get to somewhere safe and tell someone in authority. If the bullying is of an emotional nature, determine to respectfully take a stand on what you believe God is calling you to do. If it's important enough, then be strong.

While that's not a guarantee a bully will back down, it's a start to developing a bully-proof life. Really, it's a start to building moral courage in your heart. And bullies can't stand that.

I believe God calls us to a life of passion for His people, and sometimes that takes moral courage. In fact, it's going to take a lot of moral courage to address the injustices in this world. And it's going to take a righteous indignation like Jesus had about the temple money changers. And it just might start with facing the bully in your life.

Dear Lord, I praise You for Your holiness and righteousness. Your ways are perfect. Help me to know the right thing to do when facing the bullies in my life. Help me know when to stand firm and when to turn away. I trust You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
If you enjoyed Glynnis' devotion, click here for additional resources she's written.

Visit Glynnis' blog for tips from her book on how to bully-proof your child this school year.

Poverty is a brutal bully. Prayerfully consider standing up to it on behalf of those suffering by sponsoring a child through Compassion International.

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses, therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Application Steps:
If you're facing a bully in an area of your life, are you responding in fear or confidence? If you have fear, it's time to do something about it. Gather one or two wise friends and pray for God's guidance on what to do.

Reflections:
Have I ever faced a bully and backed down? What were my fears?

What are some practices I can put in my life to prepare for the next time someone tries to bully me?

Power Verses:
1 Samuel 17:37a, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." (NIV 1984)

Micah 6:8, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (NIV)

© 2011 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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LeeStrobel-Newsletter-Header-Final
Reasons to Believe: An Interview With Doug Groothuis

LeeheadshotPhilosopher Douglas Groothuis spent more than 8 years producing his 752-page tomeChristian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith . Here's an interview hitting some highlights.

Q. Your book has amazing breadth, covering everything from the nature of truth, to arguments for God, to evolution versus creation, to the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus, to the challenge of Islam, to the problem of evil - and that's just for starters! Yet it's quite readable; you avoid delving too deeply into technical issues while hitting all the key points. I can see this as an invaluable reference book, but I could also envision interested Christians simply reading it cover to cover. How do you hope your book will be used?

A. I tried to make the book accessible, inviting, and intriguing to the thoughtful reader, Christian or unbeliever. But I also wanted to take readers into the material with sufficient depth that they might fathom the force of the arguments for Christianity as objectively true, rational, and pertinent to all of life. There are hundreds of footnotes and a glossary to take the reader further into the intellectual and spiritual adventure of apologetics.

This is not a reference book per se; it's not an encyclopedia or dictionary of apologetics. Rather, it is, to steal a phrase from Charles Darwin's account of his Origin of Species , "one long argument," with many facts, facets, and features. Every chapter marches ahead to the beat of the same apologetic drummer; they form a cumulative case argument for what matters most: Christian truth. However, one could also use the chapter titles and indices for reference purposes.

Christian Apologetics can be used for personal growth in apologetic prowess (1 Peter 3:15-16 ) or as a textbook at the college or seminary level. The intellectually inclined non-Christian should find the book challenging and interesting as well. Of course, I hope that many will confess Christ as Lord as a result of reading the book.

Q. Absolutely! What camp of apologetics are you most comfortable in and why?

A. I use the apologetic method called the cumulative case approach. Instead of resting the case for Christianity on only one or two arguments, I draw evidence from science, history, philosophy, and other areas. All these arguments converge on Christian theism as the best explanation of the most profound issues in life: Where did we come from? Who are we? What is the basis of morality? What is our destiny? And so on. I offer Christianity as a worldview hypothesis that should be tested according to several rational criteria or principles. Other worldviews - particularly materialism and pantheism - are tested by the same criteria and are found wanting.

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Questions from readers:
  • Do Islam and Christianity share beliefs about Jesus?
  • Can you recommend a study Bible?
Q. I have a Muslim friend at work and she says we basically believe the same things about Jesus. She says this in a very upbeat way, as if there are no real differences between our faiths because we hold Jesus in common. Is that true?

A.
There is some overlap between what Muslims believe about Jesus and what Christians hold to be true. However, even some of those commonalities tend to be surface-level. When we delve deeper, we see that there are still significant differences in the way these two world religions view Jesus. What's more, the essential beliefs about Jesus that Christians hold closest are the very ones most directly and vehemently denied by Islam.

On the side of common ground, Muslims believe Jesus was born of a virgin. Surah 66:12 in the Qur'an makes that clear. The Qur'an also affirms that Jesus performed miracles. Surah 5:110 says Jesus restored sight to the blind, healed lepers, and even raised the dead. On the other hand, that same verse says he breathed onto a clay bird and it became real - a miracle not described in the Bible but in later apocryphal writings....

Read the rest of this answer and answers to the other questions!

Have a question? Drop me a line atAskLee@Leestrobel.com. We'll answer the ones with the broadest interest in upcoming newsletters. Thanks to Sam Wall, former chief researcher for the Bible Answer Man radio show, who heads the "Ask Lee" response team.

Lee's Notes

• My friend Kevin Harney is hosting the
Organic Outreach Conference to help churches encourage everyday Christians to reach out with the Gospel in natural and effective ways. Kevin and his wife Sherry, who are two of my favorite people, are making the conference practical, affordable, a great value, and fun for all who attend. Why not make a trip out to California for that Veterans Day weekend, get inspired, soak up some new strategies and ideas, and then share your enthusiasm with the rest of your congregation?

• My daughter Alison has launched a new
website to coincide with the release of her latest novel, Composing Amelia, which reviewers have called "phenomenal" and "a five-star must-read." Please stop by and check out the site and let friends who are fans of fiction know about this resource. (By the way, I just got a news flash: Composing Amelia has already gone into its second printing!)

Read the rest of Lee's Notes!

Doug Groothuis on Rob Bell

Groothuis on Rob Bell

Well, this is turning out to be a very Doug Groothuis-y edition of the newsletter. In this audio interview, the Denver Seminary philosopher critiques the controversial book in which Rob Bell questions long-settled Christian teachings on the afterlife. Bell announced recently that he is leaving his role as pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in order to pursue "a call from God to pursue a growing number of strategic opportunities."

Lee's Links: Suggested articles from the web
Abortion and depression
A major study in a mainstream journal shows women who’ve had abortions have 81% higher risk for mental health problems.
Megachurches growing
Outreach magazine publishes its list of the 100 biggest churches in the U.S. The multi-site trend continues to grow.
A rough decade
New multi-faith study shows U.S. congregations have weaker health and vitality than ten years ago.
Christophobia
An example of how Hollywood's fear of anything explicitly Christian changes the plotline of a horror film remake.
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If God chooses us, do we have any choice?

This week's reading: Ephesians 1:4-5

Because we start out spiritually dead, unable to respond to the Lord, only God can give us the gift of life (see Eph 2:1-2 ). When sin entered the human race, it left everyone helpless. We cannot come to God unless he draws us (see Jn 6:44). It is not our own awareness that we are sinful people that first turns us to God. Rather, it is God who in his mercy awakens that awareness within us in a similar way to how Jesus summoned Lazarus from the dead (see Jn 11:43-44).

Some believe our salvation through Christ is limited completely to God's sovereign choice. The only ones who believe in Christ, they point out, are those whom God appointed for salvation before time began (see Eph 1:4). They emphasize that there is no one who seeks God (see Ro 3:10-11). However, God in his mercy has chosen to save some (see Ro 9:15). "It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God's mercy" (Ro 9:16).

Others suggest God gives every person the ability to choose in terms described as "free will"-his grace and mercy extend to everyone. These people say that each person has to respond by deciding whether to repent of sin and turn to God. They suggest that God honors people's choices to either refuse or accept Christ's invitation (see Lk 13:34).

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Today's reading is from the
NIV Quest Study Bible
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This unique Bible addresses the common, uncommon, and perplexing questions people ask about Scripture.


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Everything New - A Weeekly Devotional

KNOWING GOD FROM THE BOTTOM UP

Martin Luther was adamant that our knowledge of God must be based on a “theology of the cross.” That is, we know God not by ascending to where he is, but by looking upon he who has come to where we are. This Messiah’s message was loudest when he was lifted up on the wooden post. We know God when we know the crucified Jesus.

This is the God who wants us to know him. A cancer patient can know God best in the suffering Jesus. So can a rejected spouse, an orphaned child, a discouraged pastor, an unemployed factory worker, an ashamed addict, a remorseful thief, a convicted felon, a teenage mom.

Just ask them. They want to know a God who is “familiar with suffering,” even “despised” and “rejected” (Isaiah 53:3). Because God is revealed in the suffering Jesus, we can know God at the times in life when we most need to know him. And so can any of us at any time in life under any circumstances. This is what the Bible means by the scandal of the cross. Proud human beings typically shun suffering as weakness, but God said, I will meet you at the crossroads of suffering. At a place of blood you will know me as the sacrificing God that I am.

His voice has gone out. In Christ and in Scripture a detailed record of truth has been etched deeply into the history of God and humanity. Now God does the work of revealing to us the true character of that revelation. God the Holy Spirit works in the center of our lives to shape this knowledge of God. The Holy Spirit inspired prophets and apostles, and now the Holy Spirit illumines us. That is the point of 1 Corinthians 2:7-14:

We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began…. God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

How can we know God? We know him from his heaven-down revelation, which he continues to explain by his Spirit to every individual believer who wants to learn “spiritual truths in spiritual words.”

Excerpt from Putting the Pieces Back Together: How Real Life and Real Faith Connect. Click for more.

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Resources

About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.
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