30daysofpraise, Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian parenting, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, prayer, religion, Uncategorized

Knowing Me, Knowing You

“But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house.  And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.”  Hebrews 3:6

“Jesus, you know every single thing about me.  I cringe at times that you know the parts I try to keep hidden.  When I realize you still love me and want the best for me it brings me great joy.  I know your thoughts are higher than mine and your ways can be mysterious but I want to know you as best I can to bring up my end of this relationship.  Help me to get as close to you as I possibly can so that when I am faced with standing for your Name, I can fully glorify You. Amen”

I asked them what they would do if an acquaintance or stranger told them something horrible about another member of our little Bible study group.  That this sweet, kind woman we know from meeting with her each week had been terribly unkind to a child.  And without hesitation they all were willing to stop this gossiper in their tracks.  “That doesn’t sound like her.”  “That’s not the friend I know.”  “Are you sure you have the right person?”  They responded.  I asked how they knew their friend would never be unkind to a child.  And they all said because they know her character from spending time with her.

And then I said to them, “Now, a family member or friend comes up and says to you, ‘Jesus would be ok with an abortion.’  What would you say? “  Some hemmed and hawed a bit.  Another said firmly, “No He wouldn’t.”  For the former I asked them why they wouldn’t be so sure.  They didn’t want conflict.  They were a bit unsure if scripture was thrown at them what to do or say.

For the later, I asked how she could be so sure.  And her response was perfect.  “Because I know Jesus.”

 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’"  Matthew 7:21-23

Jesus recognized that there will be plenty of people who call themselves followers.  Who attend church and appear to be in a relationship with Him.  But He knows who is making a real effort to know Him as much as He knows us.  For my friends who struggled a bit with my question they work hard at knowing who God is and His character.  They KNOW the answer to probably every false statement said about Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes it just takes practice being able to stand up for what we know to be true and good.  And that’s exactly why we meet weekly to talk about God – who He is, what He has done and will do and how much He loves His creation.

Friends, the next time you are at church take a moment to look around.  Is your church one that encourages everyone to bring their Bibles, open them up and take notes?  One that makes Bible study a priority?  A church whose focus is squarely on getting to know God – not being your personal counselor?  Because I don’t know about you but when I was in college and even high school, that’s how I learned the subjects well.  I studied, diligently.  And when we are given the gift of having someone either ask us a question about God or the chance to correct a falsehood about Jesus we need to be prepared so that we can speak of the glory of God, of how He knows us and loves us.  

30daysofpraise, Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

A Cotton Seed World

Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Luke 17:20-21

My BSGs are embarking on a new study called, “He Speaks to Me,” by Priscilla Shirer.  What stood out to me in the first video we watched was her discussion about the Kingdom of God.  She shared with the audience about how in the Old Testament the Israelites prayed for the “coming” Kingdom of God.  It was something they hoped and yearned for throughout their years as a new and developing nation.  And right at the beginning of the New Testament we find John the Baptist proclaiming:

“Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near!” Matthew 3:2

With Jesus’ arrival, the Kingdom of God (or Heaven) became flesh and was brought to the Israelites.  And so many of them refused to grasp that their prayers were answered.  And when Jesus was resurrected, the Holy Spirit remained to cover us with the Kingdom.  

Today I praise God for His continual presence in our world, in my life and yours.  The big word is “omnipresent.”  But I like to think of it more as though I move through and live in God’s presence.  He’s not “with me.”  I am more like the tiny seed that is buried in a fluff of freshly picked cotton.  I am in God’s kingdom, surrounded by Him.  

When I grasped this idea just a year or so ago it changed my perspective dramatically.  I don’t need to ask God to come help me or be near me.  I just need to slow down my brain and remember I am always in His presence.  We are all in His presence, whether we believe in Him or not.

It reminds me of the movie, The Matrix.  There are those in the movie whose brains and bodies are hooked up to a virtual reality machine.  They move about in a phony world without realizing its fake character.  And then there are the people who have disconnected from the computer and live almost in an alternate space – the real, tangible world.  When we disconnect from the world of the flesh and recognize that this is God’s world, His created space, and that we are in His midst, we start seeing life and how to live it from a new perspective.

The Kingdom, Jesus reiterated in our first verse is not a specific “thing” to be seen.  It’s because it is everything in God’s creation.  It is the grace God gifted us through Jesus.  It is His Holy workings in our lives via the Holy Spirit.  The kingdom is God and God is the kingdom.  Gnaw on that a bit!

When I’m struggling with an issue or feel pulled apart by the fleshly world, I now seek that “sweet spot.”  That quiet moment where I can feel nestled in His presence, like that little cotton seed.  I wrap it around me like a warm, soft blanket and thank God I can call him “home.”