Knowing God

Man with hands folded in prayer

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

Yes, I have searched you and known you.

Now I want you to search me and know Me. 

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

I want you to know when I sit down and rise up.

You understand my thought from afar.

I want you to understand my thoughts,

even in the places that seem distant.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,

I want you to search Me like that.

And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

I can be found!

I can make you intimately acquainted with all My ways. [click to continue…]

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Magnolia

How many times have you said it?  Or heard somebody else mouth something like this…?

I just want to do God’s will.

I wish I knew what God wanted me to do.

How can I find the will of God for my life?

Tell me how this is supposed to fit into a grand plan!

I want to do God’s will, but I’m wired to lead.  Is that wrong?

I know God has a plan in all this, but for the life of me I can’t see it.

I’m willing to follow Jesus, but how can I know how it all will turn out?

I did what I thought was God’s will and instead of feeling joyful it felt terrible… instead of everything working out, it all looked like a failure.

How do I know that if I surrender my life to God’s will He won’t make me be a missionary somewhere in a place with lots of mosquitos or cannibals or something?

Ever since Jesus Christ burst onto the scene and called those fishermen to follow Him, those who have chosen to say yes have discovered the mystery and marvel of finding and fulfilling the will of the God of the Universe.  And make no mistake about it… God wants you to know His will.  But He also wants you to develop the spiritual muscles necessary to discern it.  Check this out: [click to continue…]

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Magnifying GlassesI have found someone who’s interested in you. In fact, He’s downright fascinated by you, and apparently wants you to know it.

He also happens to be the One who created you.

And He’s so crazy about you, He just can’t take His eyes off of you.

Here’s what David said when he discovered this powerful truth:

O Lord, You have searched me and known me (Psalm 139:1).

As I read this verse a couple of days ago, I was prompted to read between the lines a bit of what the Greeks called perfect tense.

O Lord, You have searched me, and I remain thoroughly searched. You have known me, and I remain completely known.

This is not the idle curiosity of a God who is fascinated by what He doesn’t know or hasn’t figured out. It’s the love interest of the One for whom the highest expression of love is to accomplish a thorough search and display a complete understanding.

Have you ever loved the beauty of a rose so much that you studied every inch of it? Have you ever been so captured by the rhythm, melody, harmony and lyrics of a song that you played it over and over again, just to hear something new? Have you ever studied a riveting photograph or painting, poring over every detail out of deep appreciation for the artistry involved?

That… [click to continue…]

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Dancing on BeachIt’s my strength, Nehemiah says… the joy of the Lord.

It’s the result of an exchange, according to Isaiah’s prophecy.  The Spirit of God anointed Jesus to exchange my mourning and ashes for beauty and joy.  Surely you don’t think somewhere along the way He’s lost that anointing, do you?

Jesus later told his disciples that they would mourn (at his death), but that their mourning would be turned to joy when they saw Him again (after His resurrection).  News Flash!  In case you missed it, He’s still alive.

Moreover, Jesus said, as they asked in His name, they would receive, and their joy would be full.  So about that asking…

Joy is the fruit of the Spirit because joy is one expression of the character and nature of God.

It’s here that the Lord gets a bum rap. [click to continue…]

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Having a dreary day?  Blues gotcha’ by the, um, big toe?  This’ll cheer you up… just read Ecclesiastes.

“Meaningless, meaningless!” says the Teacher.  “Everything is meaningless!”

Actually, it may not help your mood very much, except to remind you that it could be worse.  (If that doesn’t work, try the book of Job.  I hear it’s a big hit at parties.)

Anyway, Ecclesiastes, which means “the Preacher” was either written by King Solomon or by someone else to represent him.  It essentially describes the reflections of a man who got everything in life that someone would want to have.

He had wisdom.

He had no shortage of money.

He had any pleasure his wandering heart would ever wish for.

He had the praise and adoration of people.

The one thing he didn’t seem to find in all of that was any meaning to it all.  At the end of the day, he concludes, rich and poor, righteous and unrighteous, wise men and fools all wind up dead.  And all the things you spend so much energy working on are passed on to people who didn’t work for them.

“What a waste,” he moans.  “Vanity!”

There are some more hopeful things sprinkled throughout the book, such as remembering your Creator in the days of your youth, fearing God and keeping His commandments, and God making all things beautiful in His time.

But the main theme throughout the book is that while we live in a broken, freaked out world, the places we naturally resort to in order to make our lives easier or better, or the things we spend our lifetimes laboring for, are in the end a complete waste.

“I’ve had it all,” he says.  “And it didn’t do what it promised to do.”

We’ve learned better, right?

Oh well.  Poor Sol.  Maybe if we had a thousand wives and concubines to please, a nation to run (which means taxes to collect), and bills to pay on that scale, maybe we’d be moaning, too.  But we’re New Testament believers, right? [click to continue…]

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(Cool things I’ve heard somebody pray, #2…  You can find #1 here.)

One of my favorite things to do when we had elders meetings was to spend time praying for each other.  Sometimes we’d share where we were in life, then intentionally ask the men there to pray for someone else in the room, based on what that person had talked about.

Someone had shared a pretty heavy request, and my friend Michael was praying for him.  And Michael said something to the Lord that stopped me in my tracks:

“There’s nothing too big for a God like you.”

This was more than an intellectual acknowledgement or a theological affirmation.

It.  Was.  Worship.

It was a faith declaration that suddenly made the prayer need seem not so ominous or obnoxious.  And it reminded me of Who it was we were talking to in the first place.  [click to continue…]

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loving-fatherGod wants us to get it.  We typically don’t.

We want to have it.  We often won’t.

God says, if you don’t get it, you won’t have it.  And you can’t have it just by going out and getting it.  You have to… well, get it, first.

Get it?

I think I’ll start over.

Jesus told a variety of stories that present God as a wealthy landowner with servants.  These include the laborers in the vineyard, the wheat and the tares, the talents, the landowner, and the vine-growers. The common theme that runs through each story is that humans fail to understand the heart of the One who owns it all.  To God, the relationship always is more important than the “stuff.”

Get it?

The laborers in the vineyard didn’t.  Our friend the hoarder didn’t.  The vine-growers sure didn’t get it.  And while we’re keeping score, neither did the Prodigal Son or his pouting older sibling.

They all missed it.

Somehow they all got it in their head that God was holding back, unfair, mean, scary, selfish, whatever.  They became so hung up in the grapes and the goats, they missed it.

And lost it.

Because they didn’t get it. [click to continue…]

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