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How to Know God

As a Christian you say that we know God. This is an intimate relationship with God that affects your life. It’s not just factual information. Perhaps it is better to say that you are getting to know God – as you learn more of him as you develop your relationship with him.

I Don't Know ANY of This!

But how do you know him? What does this really mean? Yes, you come to know God both through learning what the Bible says but if you really come to know God then you also have a spiritual encounter that is just the start of a lifetime relationship. God works by his Spirit helping you to understand how God want you to live out the Bible.

1. God reveals this knowledge to you

This relationship begins with God opening your spiritual eyes – he takes the initiative in revealing himself to you.

This is both an initial experience and continual as he keeps opening your eyes to more of his character and ‘to know the hope to which you are called’ (Ephesians 1:18).

As you get to know God more you realise how you’ve oversimplified him in the past.

You learn how he loves you and he answers your prayers.

He sometimes blesses you before you ask.

Then you learn that he doesn’t give you everything because sometimes it wouldn’t be good for you.

You then learn that sometimes you just cannot fathom his ways.

2. This knowledge of God inspires you to action

You may feel you know God well or you’re just beginning to get to know him. Whatever you feel you know of God then you will find that the Holy Spirit inspires you to act on what you are learning.

This begins with a change of attitude or repentance and then continues with continual adjustments as you seek to align your life with how you understand God wants you to live.

You become aware of your failings and your sin. You also become aware of his great forgiveness. You feel determined to change but also become aware of your weakness. You become aware of his grace and somehow sense that this empowers you and looking back you see that you are not the same as you were.

“No-one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No-one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (Luke 24:32). .

3. This knowledge is for you to apply to your life

You are not just to feel inspired and have good intentions – but you realise that you do need to actually change and keep on changing.

You know it is foolish not to apply knowledge. After all you learn things so that you know what to do. To gain knowledge and then not apply it is ridiculous. James 1:3 says “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror.”

Sometimes this call inspires you but on occasions it can overwhelm you. The Christian life is about living God’s way but don’t forget it is also about God’s grace and the joy in the Holy Spirit who empowers you to live like this.

4. This knowledge transforms you

The good news is that Jesus died for your sins and he has changed your very nature. You are not changing by your own self effort but God is transforming you by his Spirit to be more like Jesus in our character.

You are bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10) As you keep learning more of how God wants us to live and you do keep on changing. You add to your knowledge self control… perseverance… godliness… brotherly kindness… (2 Peter 1:5-7)

5. This knowledge provokes others

As you are transformed you become a provocation to others.

You are a role model. Sometimes you are a good role model sometimes a bad role model. Nevertheless you are a role model. As you seek to be more like Christ you may find yourself focusing on your short comings. You may even see how those are affecting others. But God has changed you.

As a follower of Jesus there is a lot in your actions that is having a positive affect on others. Sometimes some will react negatively to your faith. But often the affect will be positive – even if you don’t always see it.

Other Christians will follow your lead when they see your passion for prayer or how you stand up for what is right. Others including those outside of the church will be inspired when they see how your cope with difficult situations or how you so often have a kind word for people.

The Bible tells us that even the heavenly realms your influence is being felt – where forces that we barely understand are in operation both for good and evil.

6. This knowledge enables you to glorify God

Your knowledge of God will bring glory to God. God is fulfilling his purposes. He is at work in this world. He is making himself known to people (John 1:1-5 &18). As you learn about how he wants you to live and you do it, as you throw yourself into his purposes that people you see and understand and know more of God.

This is how you will know that you are getting to know God. People praise God because of you.

May 29, 2013 at 11:00 pm Comments (2)

How to Be With Those in Pain

Today for May’s synchroblog several bloggers are writing about how to help Christians know what to do and what to say when others are going through times pain or hardship.

It’s not easy finding the words for these but here are my four tips based on my own experiences:

1. Be approachable – not intimidating

dave sympathyI remember being intimidated when everyone gathered round me to pray. I’d just been made redundant. I am sure that that everyone wanted the best for me. But I found myself backing away from them as they offered their loudly hyped up ‘faith filled’ prayers on my behalf.

2. Be approving – not patronising

On another occasion I remember feeling the Holy Spirit comfort me during a time of worship. I was experiencing something deep. I must have looked upset because someone asked if they could pray for me. Again they were well meaning but somehow they came over as patronising because I hadn’t ‘got it all together’.

3. Be available – not too distant

More recently when my mother died I was so grateful to have our church home-group that meets in our home around me. They were just getting on with activities as normal but being there for me. It was great to be given some space but still be able to get a sympathetic listening ear when I needed it.

4. Be adaptable

I’ve appreciated when people have just been there for me, rather than when they have felt they have needed to sort out the situation. But over the years I’ve heard others sometimes complain because the church hasn’t been given the support they expected. Everyone is different and it isn’t always that easy to tune into their needs.

I wonder what you would add as number five.

Here are the other synchroblog posts:

May 14, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (6)

The Eight Sundays of Eastertide

Anyone as who knows a bit about the church year will tell you that Easter is not just one weekend it is a whole season stretching from Easter Sunday until Pentecost. We have fifty days, including eight Sundays, to celebrate the resurrection.

EastertdeI have recently been studying some of the traditions of Easter. To some these may be clichés but they are virtually unknown to many evangelicals and charismatics.

During each of the Sundays of Eastertide traditional liturgy reminds us of the following truths regarding this resurrection life:

The first Sunday: The ressurection

Just as Christ has enabled us to overcome spiritual death he enables us to overcome difficulties of living in this fallen world and ultimately to defeat death.

The second Sunday: Church

Together as God’s people that we can overcome our doubts and misgivings by encouraging one another in the faith. On our own our faith with dwindle and die.

The third Sunday: Worship

As we gather for worship we learn and experience this resurrection life. It is in our experiences together that we are strengthened to live in the good of the resurrection.

The fourth Sunday: The good shepherd

Jesus is the good shepherd who has laid down his life for his sheep and taken it up again. He leads us to green pastures and feeds in the midst of our enemies.

The fifth Sunday: Ministry

During his time on earth and especially between his resurrection and ascension Jesus taught his disciples how to be Jesus after he had left – to live this resurrection life.

The sixth Sunday: The Holy Spirit

Jesus taught them to expect the Paraclete – the Spirit that would come when Jesus went away. The Spirit is given to empower us to live the resurrection life.

The seventh Sunday: Unity

Despite our many differences the fact is we as Christians all have this resurrection life in common and the important fact that will bring us to unity and so glorify God.

The eighth Sunday: Pentecost

Following Jesus ascension the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost on his church bringing a boldness to proclaim the gospel and live the resurrection life to the full.

These wonderful themes are emphasised every year as the traditional church works its way through the Easter lectionary readings. Treasure these if they are part of your heritage. If they are not then I would encourage you to study them more and maybe even incorporate them into your Sunday worship.

May 12, 2013 at 8:03 am Comments (0)