Do You Know Him?

Most people – Christian or not – would say they know God. Our English word “know” can mean a number of different things. A majority of people would say, “I know God.” Unfortunately most would be referring to knowing ABOUT HIM, not really knowing Him.  God wants more than His creation knowing about Him. Adam and God communed together. God has always wanted a close, intimate relationship with man. And now, through Jesus, that fellowship is available again – and even more!

It’s really sad that we’ve come to be satisfied with a level of intimacy so far below what Jesus provides. And believe me, I’m not judging you, because I’ve been in the same boat. There have been a few times in my life when I finally got dissatisfied enough to do something about it. I think I’m at that place again.

I read once of a married couple who were cruising along a familiar street when suddenly they were passed by another vehicle. As the other car pulled away the wife quipped from the passenger seat, “Did you see how close they were sitting together? Why don’t we sit close like that anymore?” It was quiet for a moment, after which the husband replied, “I haven’t moved.”

Well, we can be assured that God hasn’t moved either! [Malachi 3:2; Hebrews 13:8] But through Jesus He has opened the door to a kind of fellowship beyond all we could ask or think. If we’re born of God we are both qualified and capable of enjoying communion like this every day, in good times and bad.

Jesus defined what our attitude toward God should be when He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 22:37-39] For one thing, loving God is assessing Him great value in your life. And notice that Jesus ties together loving God and loving others. Plus, He tells us the criteria for loving is “as yourself.” To me that means if I don’t see value in myself, I won’t see it in anyone else either.

Are you recognizing, as I am, that truly knowing and loving God requires that I truly know myself? By “truly knowing myself” I mean knowing who I am in Christ and who He is in me. Having taught biblical truths for almost 40 years now, I’m aware of lots of scriptures about who I am in Christ. I’m becoming aware also that knowing where the scriptures are found or even quoting them won’t get it done. It’s my heart-level awareness that counts. What do I down deep, passionately believe about myself? If there are discrepancies on this level, loving myself, others and God are all affected.

Thank God there are ways to change our heart-level awareness! There’s no time or space to share them all here. Let me emphasize one very important one – meditation. Meditation is a wonderful tool we’re all equipped with. Here are three verses that laud its importance:

Psalm 1:1-3 –   Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Purpose to meditate – meditate on purpose! See yourself, even innately experience yourself to be as God says you are!

The Good Old Summertime!

When I was a teenager our local radio station used to play an ad at this time of year that went something like, “In the good old summertime, in the good old summertime. Keep your radio on for more fun in the sun, to WARM radio.” Without a doubt we have hit the time of “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.” Yesterday’s temperature was in the 90’s!

I think most of us are happy that the seasons come and go. I know I am. Bring on the summer, but I’ll be more than ready for fall come September. I have aged to the point where I’d be satisfied with a shortened winter season, though. Then back to spring and around we go again.

The summer is vacation season for many. It’s not difficult to understand why. We’ve been “cooped-up” inside over the cold winter months. Now the sun is warm, the pools and beaches are open, the aroma of steaks sizzling on the grill is wafting through the air and the great outdoors is beckoning to us! No more “cabin fever!” In Pennsylvania a local TV newsman used to say we should get outside and “Enjoy, enjoy!”

We all need time to relax and be refreshed. My wife and I didn’t have a lot of money for family vacations when our kids were small. So we had to be creative. We found inexpensive things we could do as a family and in the process created some wonderful memories. We had picnic lunches, went to museums and historical sites, took drives in the country, and the like. There are always things you can do.

Having been a full time pastor for the past 38 years I’ve come to understand that summer season affects the local church also. Church attendance and participation tend to move down a few notches in our sense of what is important. It’s an uncomfortable subject to bring up. On the one side, as I said, we all need some rest & relaxation. But on the other side, we all need the strength that comes from community and worshiping together.

Someone will surely say, “Yes, but I can read my Bible at home.” My comment would be that we should all be doing that AND worshiping together. Another statement I’ve heard is “I’ll just watch Christian TV!” My concern? Christian TV is not a viable substitute for worshiping together. The biblical principle is “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,…” [Hebrews 10:24, 25a] We all have responsibilities to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need each other.

My recommendation then? Enjoy the summer. Take a vacation. Get outside and enjoy some summertime activities. Just make your home church a vital part of your summer too. Attend, participate, give, sing, worship, serve, and fellowship. You won’t regret it!