Keep your heart with all
diligence, for out of it
spring the issues of life.
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

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Our God

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Think of this section as a guide book, not an encyclopedia. There is so much that could be said about our God. These pages are intended to give you a few practical pointers for basic understanding and to whet your appetite for taking the lifelong journey into knowing Him better.[1] “In the beginning” we all see His works as Creator, but He wants to be known far more intimately than that. Through Jesus the Great High God has come to earth. Let Jesus take you ever deeper into the endless revealing of God to you.          

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

No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known]. John 1:18 AMP
 

The One Who Can Be Known

Knowing God  Assuming that you have “met” Our God through faith in Jesus, now you know that to know Him is to love Him.[2] Knowing by faith that you Our God : The Earth Is in His Hands : He Can Be Knownhave a Savior in Jesus has brought you peace, confidence in God and an effortless joy in loving Him. Feelings come and go, but a true knowing of God will always restore you to peace, confidence and joy no matter what your circumstances. If ever your love for God wanes, or you yearn for it to wax brighter, seek to know Him better…

Knowing About God  Just as a person in love wants to discover everything they can about their beloved, we too desire to learn all we can about the One who has so thoroughly captured our hearts. Now that Jesus has “introduced” Himself to us through our faith-conversion, we know that we are on very solid ground in seeking to gain true knowledge of God through the pages of scripture. The Living Word will help us understand His written Word to us. As good as that is, it is only one of the ways...  

Mysterious Other: Non-Transferable Attributes  In saying “Let Us make man in our image,” our God didn’t mean that we would be like Him in every respect. Father knows better than to turn over to the likes of us these seven characteristics of absolute deity. We will never know (within our own nature) what these are like, but it is such a great, good thing that He does! Let your appreciation for the Lord soar as you gaze upon the Most High God.

Intimate Friend: Transferable Divine Nature  The funny thing is how we are so bent on trying to be like God when it comes to being all-knowing, all-controlling, and everywhere at once in our own little worlds. We race past the true God-likeness waiting for us every day! At any moment we can enter into His divine nature, whenever we settle down and let Him be God in our place. As we abide in Him, the amazing transfer happens. When John writes that in heaven we will be like Him, this is what he means.[3]

The God of Grace  It is a good thing that our God is a God of grace. We need grace more than the air we breathe! Our need for God to supply us everything necessary for life and right living is endless, because we will certainly need Him to go on supplying all things to us throughout the endless reaches of eternity.[4] Yet, this is apparently what God loves to do: give freely. He gives without measure, without reserve, apparently without our qualification and often without our cooperation. He gives until there is no need left to fill, and then He overfills—just to make sure that our joy begins to match His.[5]


The Three in One

The Three In One  Get ready for Enigma, Riddle and Paradox. These aren’t exactly Biblical names for God, but they might as well be. Solomon wrote that it is the glory of God to conceal things and the glory of kings to search them out.[6] In seeking to know our God better we all hope to be “crowned” with true understanding of all the “hidden” things about Him. Be forewarned: just as often as you may feel that crown upon your head, you will want to throw it down at His feet in humble submission to Someone you really don’t know as well as you think you do. Now multiply that Mystery by Three…

Passover, Pentecost and Booths  What do the three great pilgrimage festivals of ancient Israel have to do with our Triune God? Plenty! Seeing their relevance even for us today, it's no wonder that the Lord commanded His believing people to "present" themselves before Him three times a year in Jerusalem. Two of these festivals have already been enacted for the Body of Christ as a whole. The third is soon to come to the world stage. What's more, we are all invited to experience our own individual re-enactment. These are feasts of divine Presence you don't want to miss.
 

The Father: The One Who Chose Us

Our Father in Heaven  Someone has to be in charge and we couldn’t hope for a more loving, joyful or completely competent Being to take the reins. God our Father has never failed to love or to govern wisely—it is impossible for Him to make a mistake or commit a moral failure in anyone’s life. Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit apparently defer to the Father’s leadership to say nothing of the unnumbered hosts who serve Him night and day. Yet, Satan rebelled, as did the entire kingdom of darkness and they have seduced humanity into thinking that their Enemy is somehow our enemy…

The Father: His Heart of Love   We are told that God is love, so it should not surprise us that everything traces back to love. By love we were created. In love the Father set out to save us through the sacrifice of His Son. In love He is equipping us to take part in the Rescue. In love we are all being drawn towards an eternity of bliss. How is it then that we can have such messed up ideas about our Father’s attitude towards us? And how can we get them mended?  

The Father as "Seen" in Scripture  The Lord told Moses that no one could see Him and live.[7] Fortunately, it seems that God is able to break His own rules, or else He meant something by this one that we don’t fully understand. The truth is that many people have seen God “face to face” with no negative side effects. These close encounters with our heavenly Father give us tantalizing pictures of the One who sits on the Throne.
 

Jesus Christ: The One We Live For

Jesus Our Savior  Jesus is the Hero of our story. In fact all of history is His Story. Before the cross it tells us of humanity’s fall and of God’s ways of Christ by Rembrandtpreparing us for the Savior to come. Then for a brief moment in time Jesus left His divine powers behind, took the plunge into earth’s pain and darkness, and lived in our midst, becoming forever united to our humanity.[8] At the cross He single-handedly redeemed us. After the cross and His ascension history reveals His slow, patient way of redeeming humanity through us. It is easy to miss it: easy to look at the world and not see a Creator; easy to look at our history and not see His Story. Seeing Him changes everything.

His Eternal Pre-Existence  Jesus didn’t suddenly appear on the scene with His birth at Bethlehem. That was when He came to earth as one of us to play the central role in our redemption. But He wasn’t waiting in the wings rehearsing His lines! What was the Son of God doing before He became the Son of Man? The clues are scattered across the pages of the Bible like stardust in the heavens.

His Miraculous Birth  If Jesus truly is our Model and Example in everything pertaining to the spiritual life, then His birth has volumes to speak to us about our own new life in Him. Indeed it does! What it reveals will make you marvel even more at the “risk” He took and the miracle, not only of His birth, but of His unwavering pursuit of His divine assignment.

The Bethlehem Star  The Father literally moved heaven and earth to give His Son’s birth a “stellar” announcement. You have heard about the wise men’s star all your life, but you probably haven’t heard this. It is a telling of the tale that combines history, astrology and a very close reading of the Biblical text—more fantastic, yet closer to scripture, than the greeting card images.

His Incomparable Life  It is our happy task to be “imitators of Christ.” Jesus said that disciples fully formed (that’s you and me in the making) will be like their teacher.[9] When it comes to showing us how to live, Jesus really is the Master. Trying to copy His ways from the outside in, however, is a guaranteed formula for frustration and failure. We need to see how He did it from the inside out.

Jesus The Man Going Down  Jesus came down from heaven to be with us. That we can easily see. But His descent didn’t end there—with becoming like us. He descended further and became what we had always been meant to be. Then He descended even further to become what we had never been meant to be. We, on the other hand, can hardly wait to rise higher. We all too often hate and fear the descent, even though it is life-saving and soul-transforming.           

His Terrible Death  No one could see it at the time. Jesus had to descend into the abyss of suffering and sin without a guide to lead Him through it, or a friend to cheer Him on. How it must have looked to everyone who knew Him like a colossal mistake, a ghastly travesty of justice. In reality it was the most noble and valiant conquest of a hideous foeall that is fallen and corrupt in our nature. The innocent Victim became the invincible Victor, even before He died!

The Sacrifice of Christ: The Temple Background  Sometimes you see a thing, as with a silhouette, more clearly by stark contrast with what it is not. The gospels show us the events that led Jesus to the cross on Good Friday. The writer of Hebrews interprets those same events by contrasting that Sacrifice at Calvary with the Temple sacrifices of ancient Israel which were still being practiced in his day. It helps to understand the Reality by gazing upon its “shadow.”

The Sacrifice of Christ: The Power of His Blood  According to the Lord’s own instructions to Israel, the power of an atoning sacrifice is in the blood that is shed. Many moderns typically become squeamish at the thought of a bloody sacrifice and question its necessity. Being willing to shed that world view allows us to see through the lens of scripture what is in the Mind of our Redeemer. Knowing and believing what Jesus’ Blood means can establish your faith like nothing else.

The Sacrifice of Christ: Victim, Victor, Vision  So much of what the Lord does is holographic. Turn the image just a little and it will appear entirely different. Few things demonstrate this principle better than His death on the cross. What was He doing? Great truths infuse our hearts through these three historically favored perspectives on what happened at the cross. Take care that you don't only hold to one. We need them all!

His Triumphant Resurrection  Without the resurrection we have no religion worth shouting about, no hope of heaven, no escape from our sins or our sin nature. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead we wouldn’t have a living and Risen Lord to know and to follow. Without His resurrection we wouldn’t even know how powerful a victory was won by Him at the cross. Where would our faith be then? Funny thing is, it was the one thing He didn’t do…

Resurrection Proof: The Empty Tomb  This is a rare “argument from silence” that still speaks volumes to anyone giving it serious, open-minded attention. One of the most well-attested facts of history is the unexpected disappearance of Jesus from His own tomb. This proof literally pushes doubt and unbelief into a corner where the only way out is to acknowledge resurrection as the only possible explanation.   

Resurrection Proof: Visible Appearances  In any court of law the testimony of eye witnesses is crucial to establishing the facts of the case. In this “case” we have a super-abundance of testimonies. What really compels faith in these accounts, however, is not the number of them, but their unexpected character. True to form, the resurrected Jesus didn’t act in a way anyone could predict—even though He was the One who most frequently predicted it.

Resurrection Proof: Transformed Lives  The evidence keeps mounting up. You may already be one whose transformed life is evidence to your friends and family that something or Someone has powerfully been at work in your life. Let’s hope that you’ve told them (in so many words) that Jesus is Alive—that’s what’s changing you!  A changed life can be tremendously convincing. The testimony of changed lives after the resurrection of Jesus is just as powerful a witness today as it was then.

His Glorious Ascension  This one gets overlooked. It seems almost like an afterthought, appended to the earth-shaking events of death and resurrection: a lovely way for the Lord to make an exit. Don’t underestimate how important it is that Jesus ascended! Suppose He had stayed down here. Wouldn’t you? Why didn’t He? There is something crucial in this to know; even more, it is vital that we learn to live by it.

His Coming Again  You don’t have to wait for Jesus to return to experience the peace and power of His reign. His Kingdom comes whenever we trust and obey Him as Lord. Yet even that can’t hold a candle to what it will be like when the Light of the World returns to establish His Kingdom on earth forever. There are incontrovertible signs that the long-awaited Day is closer than you might think. Prepare to be very excited by this…Jesus actually expects us to discern the "signs of the times."
 

Holy Spirit: The One Who Gives Us Life

Holy Spirit Our Helper  Jesus said He would not leave us comfortless and He hasn’t! He is living in us through the Holy Spirit who is “sealed” to us Powerful Wavea sign of our eternal destiny and as a present source of help and hope for any situation of need we may encounter.[10] Because He is holy He shows us what doesn’t belong in us (sin). Because He is wholly good He helps us in the most patient, loving ways imaginable as He works to lead us out of our darkness into the full Light of Christ. All the while He draws so little attention to Himself, you would hardly know He is there. Part of the “fun” is learning to recognize and acknowledge our incomparable Guest.

The Holy Spirit, Jesus and You  The family resemblance is uncanny. Jesus' earthly relationship with the Holy Spirit is exactly mirrored by our own, practically in every detail. The few remaining parts of the image require our trusting obedience to fill in. Will we allow God to finish the portrait He desires to paint upon the canvass of our life?

In the Power of the Spirit  There are two sides to salvation: Jesus’ death for you and the Spirit’s life in you. Just as Jesus died for you the death you deserved, so the Holy Spirit has come to live in and through you the life you could not attain. As you look to Jesus in love and trust, the Holy Spirit (without any effort on your part) raises you into the new way of life. Walking in the Spirit is a great beginning; supernatural empowerment lies just ahead.

The Indwelling Presence  Surprise! The Holy Spirit of God is now living inside of you! He has always been with you, but now He is in you. This is our “guarantee” that we are indeed going to heaven, but it is so much more.[11]  Holy Spirit has been sent to bring into our lives everything necessary for new life and right living. It is impossible to live as a true Christian without God’s help and we don’t have to: the Helper is always as close as your next thought. 

The Baptism of Power  Jesus actually told the first disciples “Don’t leave home without this!” So important is this spiritual empowerment that even the followers who had been trained by Him in person, who had received saving faith and the indwelling Spirit on Easter evening—even these dedicated believers were told to stay in Jerusalem and pray to be “baptized with the Holy Spirit.”[12] If they needed it, don’t we?

Praying in Tongues  Do you have to? No, but you can if you want to and you just may want to. Paul did. In fact he was glad that he prayed in tongues more than the people to whom his letters were addressed. Since he also wrote more of the New Testament than anyone else, he ought to know why something this "scandalous" is so sensationally good!

Nine Gifts of Power  Jesus never intended for His church to be powerless or penniless. Just as the tithe is the Lord’s provision for material supply, so the baptism in the Spirit is His provision for supernatural supply. Neither is forced on anyone, but when a believer comes into obedience, watch out! The “windows of heaven” open wide! Through the baptism in the Spirit, Jesus pours out gifts that will manifest as signs and wonders for the sake of ministry to someone in need.   


Scripture and Foot Notes

[1]   Paul, who “knew” the Lord well enough to write two thirds of the New Testament letters, wrote of his lifelong passion to know Jesus better: But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…  that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-8, 10-11 ESV
[2]   Biblical “knowing” often goes beyond mere head knowledge: it implies a far deeper intimacy of the heart. Adam “knew” Eve and she became pregnant. That’s the kind of knowing the scriptures are talking about! Pressing in to know the Lord is intended to give birth to a whole new version of ourselves.
[3]   Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2 ESV
[4]   For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). 2 Peter 1:3 AMP
[5]   Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24 ESV
[6]    It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. Proverbs 25:2 ESV
[7]   But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live." Exodus 33:20 ESV
[8]  Irenaeus, one of the Early Church Fathers, wrote this: “He became what we are that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.”  Irenaeus, Against Heresies Preface to Book 5 in A. Roberts and J. Donaldson (eds),
The Writings of Irenaeus Vol. 2 (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1869), p. 55.
[9]   A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40 ESV
[10]   In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV
[11] In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV
[12] And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Acts 1:4-5 ESV