To Know Him

Knowing God Post 11

2 Peter 3:18

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.


We tend to act as though God were totally unknowable.  Yet Peter seems to disagree. It is true that His ways are not our ways, He longs to be known.  What are you doing to get to know Him?  I was lost. But He sought me out.

I was deep in my addiction. In that season of my life, I was living in a dumpy apartment along with about thousand tiny roommates with many legs.  While the rent was cheap enough, my paychecks were fairly small.  Most weeks, survival was a purchase of three boxes of make your own pizza kits for two dollars each.  That would get me by for a week with one pizza a day.  I had just enough to get by for another month.  However, being in a funky depression I decided to go out with some friends and have a few drinks.  That one decision meant that I would not have enough for rent.  But I simply did not care.

The next morning, I woke up in a pool of my own vomit in my bathroom.  For the first time is a very long time I prayed.  My life was a mess.  I was unemployed, I was about to become homeless, and I had broken contact with my family in a very hateful manner.  I felt hopeless.

After cleaning up myself and my bathroom I again prayed to a God that I did not believe in to help me.  I would need to find thirty to forty dollars to get by for another month.  But in that moment, I could not seem to figure out where I would get that.  The rent was due in less than a week.  I scoured the newspaper to find a job.  But I heard a still small voice encourage me to call home.

I prayed again as I picked up the phone.  My hateful words had mostly been focused on my mother so I prayed that my dad would answer the phone and that he would then talk her into letting me come live with them as I tried to figure out the next steps.  I dialed the last number and waited as the phone rang on the other end.  Shame and embarrassment crept over me and I considered hanging up the phone. Pride was consuming me.  Something within me kept me on the phone for a few more minutes.  Grief struck me as I heard my mother’s voice answering.  My dad was at work.  After some small talk I decided that it was unlikely that I would have the courage to ask if I put it off much longer I requested that she allow me to come home.  There was a slight pause that seemed to be very long.  She spoke so some logistics issue but said she could have a room ready for me in three days.  Relief swept over me.

Looking back I realize that the God that I did not know, had disrespected in word and deed; had come through and put me on a path toward Himself.  He had hunted me down in my dumpy little place and called out to me.  I had cleaned up the outside of myself, but He was preparing to clean me up on the inside and set me on a path that is mostly unbelievable.

To Know Him

Knowing God Post 10

 Jeremiah 2:28

“But where are your gods Which you made for yourself?

Let them arise, if they can save you In the time of your trouble;

For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.


    Many go to church every week and sit in a church pew or cushy chair, listen to some music, think about what is for lunch or what the lady in the front row is wearing while the minister prays or preaches a message.  If asked we would declare that we are good solid Christians.  But for that exception of one to two hours your thoughts rarely turn to the one true God.   The rest of the week we worship our political party of choice, our favorite media or hobby.  Then we wonder why God does not move or act on our behalf.

    To them God says in Matthew 7:21-23  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

   You have chosen a whole host of different gods.  If I was to list them it would take too long.  These range from worship of our denominations, family, work, political position and more awkward things like body shape or gender.  God calls out to us and lets us know that if we want to make these things our gods then we can depend on them for our salvation.  How is that working out for you?

    We watch the media and invest our funds in a myriad of solutions to our unhappiness, expecting that beautiful box delivered to our house when opened will fill us with all sorts of joy.  Those boxes have the same power of drugs and alcohol.  For a moment they feel like an incredible solution.  There is happiness but it fades, and you will need another hit.  When the withdrawal symptoms hit you are back to scrolling looking for the next book, program or thing that will fill the void.

    We want the government to care for our needs and complain loudly when they seem to not hear our voice.  Almost everyday I hear people complain about our elected officials, but they continue to vote for the same people.  Rage comes from the voices of the beloved.  My brothers and sisters this should not be.  The only time rage should come to the forefront is when there is injustice.

    I love our country, but I will not worship either political party.  I am not able to speak on your behalf but as for me and my house, I declare my allegiance to King Jesus and Him alone.

    Check out your own day.  Discover and dismiss all gods in your life.  Search the hilltops and the valleys, examine every part of your life.  Use the Word of God to illuminate the darkness and reveal those gods.  When the light hits them you will begin to see them for the frauds that they really are, then you will be free.  Then God will be your savior.

To Know Him

Knowing God Post 9

Isaiah 45:21-22

“Declare and set forth your case;

Indeed, let them consult together.

Who has announced this from of old?

Who has long since declared it?

Is it not I, the Lord?

And there is no other God besides Me,

A righteous God and a Savior;

There is none except Me.

“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;

For I am God, and there is no other.


    Many years ago, my family was looking for a new home.  We spent way too many mornings following the real estate agent around town looking at a variety of homes.  One morning we were ushered into a home that had much that we liked, but I only really remember one thing.  In the corner of the living room was a shrine with an offering of fruit before it.  The owners of that home were very literally idol worshipers.  In America I had never seen that.

    In reflection on that day and God used that to open my eyes to a truth that I too often have missed, idol worship is everywhere.  I look around and notice that we are totally surrounded by other gods.  When hurt comes, who or what do you turn to?  Is your first response the medicine cabinet, or the liquor cabinet, or even the fridge?  Do we turn to relationships or some other substance.  That is your god.

   But our God is our only long-range hope.  Jesus warned us that in this life we would have trouble.  That means we will feel pain, discomfort, and challenge.  When we turn to idols we often discover that they do have a short term feeling of relief.  When I lived a life steeped in sin, guilt would penetrate my hard heart.  In those moments I would turn to the God of alcohol or drugs and for a moment I would not feel that pain.  The sad truth is that the pain ALWAYS came back.  The idol was only masking the pain.  In order for the pain to be relieved I needed surgery.  In the case of Spiritual issues, I needed and need a savior.

    The enemy will work to convince us that we are one pill, one drink or one election from a life of peaceful bliss.  I challenge them to make a case.  Can anything or anyone apart from God bring complete healing and hope to this world?  In all of their solutions I challenge them to guarantee there are no side effects.  Have you paid any attention to the Big Pharma ads?  Often the side effects are worse than what they are supposed to heal.  Oh, think about this, why are they spending millions of dollars to convince you to buy something that you cannot buy without going to a doctor for a prescription?  Also note that as of this writing there are only 2 countries that allow Big Pharma to advertise outside of professional medical publications.

    Look at alcohol commercials, they never show the men and women that I see coming to the Gospel Rescue Mission, beat up, jobless, painfully alone and feeling hopeless.

    Every election means the world will collapse if the other party is elected.  Eventually they will be right but not every time.

   Whare do you place your allegiance.  Isaiah looked forward in time and heard from God.  He called us to seek the true God that brings hope, peace and salvation.  My eyes look to the one that died on the cross, rose from the dead and is coming back again.  There is no god but our God.  My allegiance is with Jesus.

To Know Him

Knowing God Post 8

Of David. The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1


    Even within the church we often get sucked into the fear mongering that is so obnoxiously invading our homes through every form of media.  Often these messages of fear come from pulpits that declare that if you don’t vote for this person or against that person that your freedoms, the lives of your children and very existence is in danger.

    My friends this should not be.  David challenges us to ask the question, “Whom shall I fear?”  I do not fear any elected representative.  Yes it is possible that they will make life difficult.  Nero while not elected definitely made life hard for Paul.  Yet I don’t see Paul quivering and encouraging people to march on Rome.  When Jesus was warned about Herod, He did not respond in fear.  He in essence says, “Tell Herod where I am going to be, If he wants Me, come and get me.”  Jesus knew just as David had declared, “The Lord is the Stronghold of my life.”

    If we lived as if God really was the stronghold would we be nervous about what is being reported in social media?  Part of the challenge in our modern community is that we love our comfort. The early church had no such concerns.  Comfort was not part of their everyday existence.  For many in the church in Muslim countries or in China or many other places taking time to pray in public is simply not even considered because it will lead to jail time or even execution.  In America we gripe and complain and get concerned that people don’t say Merry Christmas back to us and we want to make a federal case about it.

    Trust in God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  He is a fortress. He is a warrior fighting on your behalf.  With God on my side I can take on legions of enemies and still come away unscathed.  I will fear no man.

To Know Him

Knowing God Post 7

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

    We live in a world where our word is nothing unless it is in writing with very little wiggle room or space for misunderstanding.  Many in our culture will make promises that they have no intension of keeping.  Often a salesperson will make a call promising the world from the company’s service or product, only to disappear when you get transferred to the operations side of the company.  It is enough to make one very cynical.  However, we serve a God who is faithful in all things.  He under promises and over delivers consistently.  His ways are far above my ways.  Honestly, I struggle believing that His timing is best for me, that His ways are better than my ways.  To trust His ways often means to move forward without sight. This is easier if I honestly believe that He loves me.  My friend He loves you!

   His love calls us to live a flourishing life and put aside our own false science.  Remember that our ancestors ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There is good in that tree, notice good is in the name.  Some of what we get from our modern philosophy and science labs are good.  However, not all is as it seems.  Remember science once said that some races were superior to other races.  How do we discern real news from fake news?  How do we determine truth from fiction in science?  We don’t just go with our political party or media source of choice.  We must step into the Word of God and listen to Him.  He will not use terms that the scientists will use but He will speak truth.  Listen with your heart.  Listen for the truth.

    Secondly, we must assess our own value in God’s eyes. That value is the same for all of us.  Our value was and is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  The value is that of a perfect man sacrificing His life for your imperfect and rebellious life.

   Thirdly, use the brain that God gave you and think through a couple of questions.  First, who profits from this message.  Currently each political party is telling us the world as we know it will come to an end if the other party is elected.  We are directed to hate our enemies which even in the church we are more than glad to do.  Does a company or organization make money from this information?  The profit mindset sometimes determines information that we are given.  A second question is what is the logical end result of this information?  If this information is true what does our life look like, is that likely or unlikely.

    Finally, I return to where I started.  Let us look to the King of Kings.  Sit in silence, meditate on His Word and ask Him for truth. He still speaks to His people.  If you do not hear from Him then the likely truth is that you do not know Him.  (John 8)

To Know Him

Knowing God Post 6

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 2:4-5 

God is love.

In 1829 two men, robbed the United States Postal Service.   After a manhunt both were captured. Eventually both men were found guilty of six charges, and sentenced to execution by hanging, to be carried out on July 2,1830. The first man was executed on schedule, but the second man was not.

Powerful friends pleaded for mercy to the President, Andrew Jackson, on his behalf. President Jackson issued a formal pardon, dropping all charges. The president reduced the charges to a prison term of 20 years for his other crimes. Incredibly, the man refused the pardon!

When the case made its way to the Supreme Court, Chief Justice, John Marshall wrote, “A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws…. delivery is not completed without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered, and…we have no power in a court to force it on him.”

God who is love and is rich and mercy is offering us grace.  My friends we are guilty of sin.  The great teacher, the ten commandments, calls me to account.

1) “You shall have no other gods before me.”

2) “You shall not make for yourself an idol…” 

3) “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.”

4) “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy…”

5) “Honor your father and your mother,…”

6) “You shall not murder.”

7) “You shall not commit adultery

8) “You shall not steal.”

9) “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor

10) “You shall not covet …”

Search your heart.  This is not simply about salvation though it may very well be.  Do not compare yourself to others but DO compare yourself to the King of Kings.  He sets the standard and calls us to demonstrate His love to others.  The body of Christ must repent from our arrogance and boldness in the sin that we do knowing that His love covers all our sins.  Turn to God and live for Him.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

1 John 1:8-10  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The bottom line there are many different ways that I can break these commandments.  Sometimes I do so intentionally and other times I simply find myself doing them.  Regardless I need the Grace of God to be cleansed of these sins.  A constant prayer for this man of God is:

“Search me oh Lord.  Examine me in fine detail.  Show me ANYWHERE that I am falling short of Your ideal for my life.  Purify me from all sins.  I repent of my choices.  Turn me toward You every moment in every way.”

I know that God loves me no matter what, but I want to live a life that gives Him something to brag about.

To Know Him

Knowing God Post 5

Psalm 36:5  Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,  your faithfulness to the skies.

As I look around the creation which includes culture and people in addition to the mountains, the beaches and all in between I see the love of a Savior that adores me.  He teaches me how to love my wife.  When I want to communicate to my wife that I love her I use flowers, chocolate, and words to express that love.  I wash dishes or make the bed or some other act to demonstrate that he means the world to me.  These are all the sorts of things Jesus created and does for us to share that He loves us.

Our Savior is always active in our world in order to announce that He wants a relationship with us.  It can be hard to believe.  But He loves me.  He is so far above me, yet He loves me.  I am almost breathless as I write this.  He is faithful to love unfaithful me.  He is the light that speaks into the darkness and offers an invitation to a new life.  It is in that moment where I have a crisis of belief.  I must decide if I am going to be faithful to His cal.  He has already decided.  He does not wait for me to be faithful. He is faithful to the outer limits.  I adjust my life to this call of love.  I love the difficult to love.  I love my enemies.  I choose the difficult right over the easy wrong.  Whatsoever He wants.  I adjust to Him; He does not adjust to my wishes.  This is how I can experience God.

To Know Him

Knowing God Post 4   

Revelation 4:11  Because God created, he is the only one worthy of praise. 

Lest we forget.  In the middle of the Garden of Eden there were 2 trees.  The most famous of these two trees was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  It was this tree that we were not to eat from and in doing so we were choosing death.  While not often considered, the knowledge given through the tree was not wholly evil.  Much of the knowledge was good.  But none of it was life producing.

The other tree we could have eaten from often referred to as the Tree of Life.  When we eat from the Tree of Life, we get life as God designed.  Life without sorrow, without death, without oppression or any other negative life event.  Life can be lived to the full with healthy relationships, healthy mind and body and healthy community development.

While there will come an opportunity to again choose in a similar vein, we can choose to eat from God’s Word daily.  His Word will sustain us and strengthen us.  It will give us a taste of life and hope.  Even today it can restore us to His design for our life.

Unfortunately, many today even within the church long to do things their own way and reject the way of the King. The tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is man’s wisdom, man’s ideas on how to live life.  Eating from this tree often seems good to us and may have some initial excitement, but always leads to hurt, pain and death.

Choose this day which tree you will eat from.  When you know Him, there really is no choice.  He is the only one worthy of praise.

To Know Him

Knowing God Post 3

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

How much do you trust God?  For too many of us we give lip service to our trust.  We proclaim great trust when things go the way that we want them to go.  Athletes often praise God for wins and are silent in the losses.  Pastors praise God for the healing but are mute when the healing does not seem to appear.  When it appears that God is missing, we make excuses for Him.

Science works to make explanation and makes these powerful proclamations that they call undeniable truth that is overturned in the next generation.  Many fear the power of AI.  These powerful algorithms could be feared if people were predictable.  My experience is that people often make no sense.  Science says that smoking will lead to a whole host of health issues, yet people persist in their addiction and then are surprised when health troubles come to pass.  Somehow people feel that yelling will help them get their way.  My own body rarely makes sense.  I was hurt for no explainable reason and the evidence-based solution does not seem to work on me.  Others I talk to are also often confused by why life can be so hard and unpredictable.  AI will never keep up with the insanity of mankind, so I have little concern.

Our only real choice is to put our trust in the Creator who is at the beginning and the end.  He knows me deeply at a deeper than cellular level.  It is only the Creator who can repair me and bring long range healing.  If I know Him I can begin to trust Him.  If I can trust Him I know that I must praise Him with my whole being.  Let my voice present an offering of praise to the King of Kings.  Let my interactions with the lost draw people to Him.  Radiate my whole being like the face of Moses.  Build my trust.

Setting the Captive Free

The church’s sign sits in a prominent location near the road where all those who drive by can easily read the message. The message this month reads, “We love hurting people.” What a wonderful message to send. If you are hurting, you will find love here. However, a different thought comes to mind. Some may read it as, “We hurt people, and we love that we do.” As I pondered this thought I began to realize the sign speaks truth.

Most of us do love those who are hurting. We genuinely want to help. We want to help those in poverty, in addiction, in the cycle – we love people who are hurting. On the other hand, our ideas and methods of helping is often not as helpful as we may have previously believed. Do we stop to consider the deeper questions? Will my $5 help this panhandler eat and be healthy, or will he be hungry again in a few hours? What if others are giving him money also? What will he do with the money? Will he use it for food or something else?

Will my paying for a hotel for the night benefit this person or will it create an unhealthy dependence? The hard truth is if I look at how I have “helped” people in the past, I realize I often did more harm than good. I didn’t ask good open-ended questions, I merely listened to the rehearsed story. I didn’t ask the tough but important questions about family, about previous employment, about friends, I merely listened to a rehearsed story and gave some money to “help” the individual and sometimes to appease my own ego.

Every time I give the money or pay for the hotel or simply buy the food without asking questions, I have fed into the problem. I have told this person they aren’t really worth my time, my effort, my relationship. Instead, I give money and I feel better because in the moment they feel better. Then I leave and do not think of the person or the consequences of my own actions and how it affected them. What if our handouts and providing hotel stay was causing a son or daughter to not reconnect with a mother or father who loved them? What if I’m enabling and not helping? What if my money was used to buy the “bad” drug from which they do not recover? Do I stop and think of that? Do you think of that? What if my refusal to hold a person (yes even a stranger) to some sort of accountability fed into a sense of worthlessness? When you and I just give a handout and do not ask for some sort of exchange, we tell an individual they have nothing to offer. They are worth only a handout. They are not worth believing in. Just writing those words sting! I love people. I want to help them, but I must be honest with myself. At times, I have not helped at all. Sure, I fed a meal; I gave a coat on a cold, winter’s day – but I didn’t really help the person. I didn’t ask questions? I didn’t build a bond. I didn’t provide an opportunity for them to earn their coat and they are left feeling as though they have nothing to offer.

Yes, the sign is correct, “We love hurting people.”