Sunday, July 1, 2018

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In this blog, I provide encouragement and biblical teaching on seeking the Lord with all your heart, loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and living a life of holiness, righteousness, and truth.

As the Scripture says:

'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13)

And "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mat 7:13-14)

Some of the topics covered include seeking the Lord, prayer, worship, tithing, inquiring of the Lord, hearing His voice, obedience, grace, godly attire and adornment, sanctification, consecration, backsliding, repentance, brokenness, suffering, humility, the fear of the Lord, the role of the commandments for the disciple of Christ, and the conditions of the New Covenant.  I hope this will be an edifying and encouraging experience for you that will help you to grow in your walk with the Lord.

Seeking the Lord Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God Holy Fire Baptism
Lifting Your Face in Prayer Lifting Hands in Prayer Crying Out to God Loudly
Pressing on Toward the Goal Taking Heaven by Force God Exalts the Humble and Brings Down the Proud
Whom Are You Seeking? Should you fear the Lord? Is a Woman's Hair Her Head Covering?
Aim for Perfection Obedience by the Spirit Is Obedience Optional?
Salvation with Fear and Trembling Holy Living in a Perverted World Drifting Away
The Cost of Discipleship Deleted Scriptures in the Bible? Is Tithing Required?
Where Should You Give Your Tithe? Walking in the Perfect Will of God Avoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian
The Obedience of Faith Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross? Law of Love in the New Testament
The New Covenant Law of Love in the New Testament The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith Costly Grace The Law of Christ
The Eyes of the Lord Garments of Godliness The Three Elijahs
The Burning Ones The End Has Come Now, But Not Yet
The Happy Hunters on Fire You're Better Off Following Jesus God Chooses the Weak Things 
The Beauty of Brokenness Seeing Jesus, Loving Him, Character and Glory Hearing the Lord's Voice
Hearing the Lord's Voice Inquiring of the Lord Praise the Lord!
The Loving God Who Bids Us to Come One thing Righteousness, Peace, and Joy
Is the the Self-Help and Actualization Movement a Sham? From Self-confidence to Confidence in the Lord The Self-Help Gospel
Checklist for Revival God Has Not Rejected His Jewish People, Has He? The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer
The Flaming Sword Clean Hands and a Pure Heart The Spirit of the Law
Keeping Your Body Pure and Holy An Open Mind that Loves the Truth Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?
Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth? The Apostasy Parables

The Top Ten Things Jesus Taught
The Disciples’ Prayer Is Tolerance a Virtue? Righteousness by Faith not Law
Life is Short. Eternity is Not. Noah's Ark a Type of Christ Grace, Mercy, and Peace
Ultimate Accountability Separation from the World The Knowledge of the Holy
The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness Ask for the Ancient Paths Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven
The Straight and Narrow Path Unhealthy Competition A Peculiar People
Listen to Jesus, Who Upholds Moses and the Prophets Hope for You

Beware of Philosophy and Empty Deception
The Love of Jesus The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer Having a Servant's Heart
Avoiding Worldly Worship Purge the Evil from Among You Who is God?
Living a Life Worthy of the Lord Praying for the Lord Jesus Who is God? - Part II
The Way, Will, and Word of God Overcomers in This Life The Afflictions of the Righteous
Saints Alive in Jesus Bowing Low in Worship Repentance That Leads to Life
Keeping a Good Conscience Remember Lot’s Wife Called to be Blameless
If -- A Picture Paints a Thousand Words The Lord Will Rejoice Over You The Nature of Persecution
The Wardrobe of the Saints Filled Up to All the Fullness of God Loving Deeply
Seeking Glory from God Amazing Grace God's Sovereign Plans and Purposes
Abominations in the Sight of God Identification with Christ Alabaster Jar
Running from God Forgetting the Past Was Jesus Seeker Friendly?
God's View of Public Bathing Is Secular Music for Christians? Ignorance is Not Bliss
In the Yolk of Christianity Songs of the Holy Fire Known by God
Modern Day Idols Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Walking in Truth, Righteousness, and Holiness
Escaping from Dead Religion Living Sacrifices in Consuming Fire God's Amazing Plan for Your Life
Your Identity in Christ Having the Love of God in Your Heart Knowing the Lord
Following in His Steps Our God is an Awesome God! Hide and Seek with God

Our gift of these articles by Len Lacroix is made possible in part by your gracious support of the ministry. Partner with us online.  You may also access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Seek My Face" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. 

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org. Partner with us online by giving to DMI.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Hide and Seek with God

Probably every one of us has played the game of hide and seek when we were children, where one person or a group of people hide and then another person tries to find them. While that is just a game, there is a reality version of hide and seek that I want to discuss, which is played out in real life every day.

Adam and Eve
Ever since the day that Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God and man have been doing this exchange of hide and seek. Before the fall, Adam and Eve enjoyed sweet fellowship with God in the garden. They were also naked and unashamed. But once they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, then came the need to cover up and hide themselves.

"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden." (Gen 3:7-8)

The first thing they did was to cover their nakedness and the second thing was to hide themselves from the Lord's presence. It was human nature for them to do that, but God already knew what they had done. He was aware of their sin and disobedience. He saw their nakedness and shame, and although they tried to hide from Him, He sought them out. He came into the garden looking for them. 

"Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, 'Where are you?' He said, 'I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.'" (Gen 3:9-10).

Notice that Adam was afraid when he heard the sound of the Lord coming, because he was naked, and that is why he hid himself. He felt ashamed. But the Lord asked him who told him he was naked. The Lord used questions to help Adam see the connection between his sin and his sense of shame. 

"And He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?'" (Gen 3:11).

There is always a direct correlation between sin and shame, and the tendency is always for man to run from God and hide, as if He doesn't know about it. 

The Nation of Israel
When the nation of Israel fell away from the Lord into sin, it seemed to them as if God had hidden Himself from them. But the Lord called them to seek Him.

"Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon." (Isa 55:6-7)

There are many such admonitions in Scripture, whereby the Lord calls upon men to seek Him no matter what they have done, and turn from their wicked ways, so that they may find Him.

"But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice. For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them." (Deu 4:29-31)

"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 'I will be found by you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the LORD, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.'" (Jer 29:11-14)

"And if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2Ch 7:14)

The Righteous Seek Him
It is not only the wicked who need to seek the Lord, but the righteous, too. It's a joy for them to seek Him continually.

"Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad. Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually." (1Ch 16:10-11; cf. Psa 105:3-4)

The righteous devote their heart and soul to seeking the Lord.

"Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise, therefore, and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy vessels of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD." (1Ch 22:19)

The psalmist sought the Lord with all his heart that he would not disobey Him. "I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands." (Ps 119:10, NIV)

David said, "O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water." (Psa 63:1).

David also said, "My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, Lord, I will seek." (Ps 27:8, NIV). He had the desire in his heart to seek the Lord's face and he determined that he was going to do it. In fact, seeking the Lord is what David wanted to do all the days of his life. He said, "One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple." (Ps 27:4, NIV).

I believe that this last verse speaks not only of seeking the Lord in His temple here on earth, but also throughout eternity in His holy temple in heaven. For David spoke of gazing on the beauty of the Lord there. I believe the righteous will enjoy seeking the Lord and gazing upon His beauty forever and ever.

Promises to Those Who Seek Him
In addition to the promises I have already mentioned, the Lord has given many other promises to those who seek Him.

He promises never to forsake those who seek Him. "And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You." (Psa 9:10)

He promises that those who seek Him will lack no good thing. "The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing." (Psa 34:10)

He promises to be good to them. "The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him." (Lam 3:25)

Blessings are promised to them. "Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— they do no wrong but follow his ways." (Ps 119:2-3, NIV).

He promises to draw near to us as we draw near Him. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." (Jas 4:8)

He promises to reward those who diligently seek Him, and anyone who seeks the Lord must have faith that He will do so. For the apostle wrote: "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that he exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." (Heb 11:6, NIV)

God Wants All Men to Seek Him
It's God's desire that all men would seek Him, and that's why He created them and caused them to be born in the places where they were born at the exact times they were born.

The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God." (Ps 14:2, NIV)

"From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us." (Ac 17:26-27, NIV).

This passage tells us that while God wants all men to seek Him, He is actually not far from any one of us.

The Kingdom of God is Like Hidden Treasure
In fact Jesus compared the kingdom of God to hidden treasure that a man found buried in a field.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it." (Mat 13:44-46)

You will find that many things in God's kingdom are like that, including finding Jesus, hearing the Lord's voice, and discovering the truth in Scripture. If you read the Bible, praying and asking God to speak to you, then search the Scriptures like you are searching for buried treasure, you will never be disappointed. You will find many passages to be like nuggets of gold that you have found.

Jesus Came to Seek the Lost
Amazingly, the reason Jesus came to earth was to seek and to save the lost. He said, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”(Lk 19:10, NIV). He admonishes us all throughout Scripture to seek Him, and yet He Himself is actively seeking the lost. Just as the Lord walked into the garden after Adam and Eve sinned and sought them out while they were hiding from Him, He continues to seek and save the lost today. 

In order to illustrate His great love for lost sinners and His eagerness to search for them, Jesus told them this parable, saying, "What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." (Luk 15:3-7)

The parable of the prodigal son also illustrates how God seeks the lost. When the prodigal son comes to his senses and returns to his father to repent, the father is already watching for him. And while the son is drawing near to him from a long distance, the father runs to meet him and embrace him. "So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him." (Luk 15:20).

Ways That Men Hide from God
I have already covered some of the ways that men hide from God. We do it much the same way as Adam and Eve did so.

One way that men hide from God is they carry out their sinful deeds under cover of darkness. Paul said, "For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night." (1 Thes 5:7, NIV). One reason why people do their dirty deeds at night is that the darkness hides their identity. Whether they are partying, doing drugs, getting drunk, dancing, carousing, committing sexual immorality, or stealing, they often do so in the dark of night.

One reason I think they do so is that the people who see them do their dirty deeds are those who approve of them and do the same things. But if other people were to see them during the daytime in broad daylight and disapprove, it would bother the sinners' consciences. Our conscience is something God has given to each one of us, and He speaks to us through our conscience telling us when we have done something either bad or good. Either our conscience convicts us of wrongdoing or commends us when we do what is right. By hiding in darkness from the disapproving gaze of the public, those who do so are in effect trying to avoid having their consciences bothered. By avoiding the pangs of conscience, they are actually trying to hide from God.

Jesus said, "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. "For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." (Joh 3:19-20).

It will not go well for those who seek to hide their sin. "Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD, And whose deeds are done in a dark place, And they say, 'Who sees us?' or 'Who knows us?'" (Isa 29:15).

Another way men hide from God is they cover up their sin and deny it. The hypocrites that Jesus encountered did this. Their hearts were full of greed and wickedness, and yet they covered over it by acting and dressing piously. "Then the Lord said to him, 'Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.'" (Lk 11:39, NIV). It's human nature for men to desire the approval of men, rather than the approval of God, so rather than confess their sin to God and men, they conceal their sin and go out of their way to look good in front of everyone.

When men do this, then they should not be surprised if God hides His face from them. He says, "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that he will not hear." (Is 59:2, NIV). When the Israelites deserted God and forgot Him, going after idols that were merely false gods, this is what happened to them. "The Lord saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. 'I will hide My face from them,' He said, 'and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.'" (Deut 32:20, NIV).

Blameless Job once asked, "Have I covered my transgressions like Adam, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom?" (Job 31:33). Although Adam hid his iniquity from God, Job did not. He had the wisdom to know that "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion." (Pro 28:13)

Nothing is Hidden from God
Why should we try to hide from God what He already knows? The Scriptures teach us that nothing in all creation is hidden from God, so we cannot keep secrets from God. The apostle wrote, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Heb 4:13, NIV).

Also the Lord said, "For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes." (Jer 16:17).

Hiding from the Wrath of God
Those who do not fear the Lord and continue on in their sins will regret it deeply one day. But then it will be too late, because it will be the time for God's wrath to be poured out on them. Then they will try to hide themselves from His wrath.

"Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?'” (Rev 6:15-17, NIV).

Putting it All Together
As we have seen from Scripture, since the time of Adam's sin, there has been a real-life hide and seek with God going on, which all of us are involved in, one way or another.  Either you are hiding from God, covering up your sin, or you are diligently seeking the Lord while He may be found. I hope you are among the latter who seek the Lord, because there are many wonderful promises of reward from God for those who do so. But there are only dire warnings and woes for those who refuse to seek the Lord and conceal their sins.

If you think it's an exercise in futility to seek the Lord, you are badly mistaken. It's quite the opposite. It's actually a very profitable undertaking. On the other hand, it is a waste of time to hide from God, since nothing is hidden from His sight.

If you are already a Christian, and you do not think that you are hiding anything from God, let me encourage you to pray and ask Him to reveal anything in your life that is hidden that must go. Then as He reveals anything to you, confess it, renounce it, and forsake it. Ask Him to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

I hope this has encouraged you to see the seriousness of this reality you are in, because it's not a game. The Lord is calling out to us all to seek Him. Don't delay another day. He wants you to reach out and find Him, even though He is not far from any one of us. In fact, even while He seems hidden from you, He is seeking to save the lost. Won't you seek Him while He may be found?

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, copyright the Lockman Foundation, used by permission. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, used by permission. Image copyright ATD Developer used according to Fair Use Act for commentary and educational purposes only.

Author's note: You are invited to read Seeking the LordThe Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer, The Cost of Discipleship, Strive to Enter the Kingdom of God, Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Separation from the World, Life Transformation Groups, and Ask for the Ancient Paths. You may access the Main Directory for this Seeking the Lord blog for more articles like this, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Messages from the Lord for Catholics Worshipping Idols Only the Holy -- Three Shocking TestimoniesAngelica Zambrano Hell and Heaven
Baptized by Blazing FireTaken to HellAngelica Zambrano Second Visit to Hell
Australian Pastor Raised from the DeadNigerian Pastor Raised from the DeadRevelation of Hell to Seven Colombian Youths

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.









Saturday, June 23, 2018

Our God is an Awesome God!

Dear God-seekers,

Let me encourage you today to seek the Lord with all your heart. He is awesome! Here are some Scriptures about the awesomeness of God:

"He was afraid and said, 'How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.'” (Gen 28:17)

 "Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?" (Ex 15:11)

"Then the Lord said: 'I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.'" (Ex 34:10)

"Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?" (Deut 4:34)

"Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God." (Deut 7:21)

"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes." (Deut 10:17)

"He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes." (Deut 10:21)

"If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the Lord your God—  the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses." (Deut 28:58)

"And who is like your people Israel—the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt?" (2 Sam 7:23)

"Then I said: 'Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments...'" (Neh 1:5)

"After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, 'Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.'" (Neh 4:14)

"'Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes—the hardship that has come on us, on our kings and leaders, on our priests and prophets, on our ancestors and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today.'" (Neh 9:32)

"Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty." (Job 37:22)

"For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth." (Ps 47:2)

"You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,'" (Ps 65:5)

"Say to God, 'How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.'" (Ps 66:3)

"'Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!'" (Ps 66:5)

"You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!" (Ps 68:35)

"In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; He is more awesome than all who surround him." (Ps 89:7)

"I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments," (Dan 9:4)

"The Lord will be awesome to them when he destroys all the gods of the earth. Distant nations will bow down to him, all of them in their own lands." (Zeph 2:1)

Testimonies of Those Who Saw the Lord
Many people have given testimony to seeing the Lord, like the prophet Isaiah, who saw Him on His throne high and lifted up with the seraphim above Him crying, "Holy, holy, holy!" (Is 6:1-7). Or like the prophet Ezekiel who saw the Lord high above the expanse above the living creatures, and described his torso as "what looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire," and below His waist what "looked like fire with brilliant light surrounding him." He saw the radiance around him with the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds (Ez 1:25-28, NIV). The apostle John saw the Lord on His throne in heaven, "and the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne." (Rev 4:3, NIV).

I have written about these in depth, as well as modern-day testimonies of those who have seen the Lord, in my articles The Bodily Form of God the Father and The Bodily Form of the Lord Jesus Christ. For further reading on this topic, I have also written about the testimonies of those for whom God has done amazing things in Testimonies from Budapest. And I have recorded many amazing testimonies of those who have seen the Lord and seen heaven and hell on Eternal Destinations. I invite you to check those out if you are interested, and you will be blessed if you do.

Putting it All Together
God is the only One whom we can truly say is awesome. I have often heard people misuse that word. For example I once knew a guy who, when asked how he was doing, would respond by saying, "Awesome!" I really don't think he was awesome. He may have been doing well by the grace of God, but none of us are awesome. Only God is awesome. That word means "extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear."

I have seen Him do so many awesome things. I have seen the Lord miraculously heal people. I have seen Him even cause a lady's leg to grow out right before our eyes in answer to prayer. I have watched as the Lord miraculously dissolved a lump in a man's throat within a few minutes in answer to prayer. I have seen Him instantly heal a young lady from neck pain. I have witnessed Him bring my mother back from the verge of death in the emergency room within just a few minutes in direct answer to prayer. I have seen Him overwhelm people with joy in His presence, and experienced that myself. I have seen Him bring people to their knees beneath the weight of His awesome glory, and I have experienced His glorious presence myself so many times. I have seen Him deliver people of demons. I have witnessed His miraculous provision for me and others. I have seen Him save sinners and bring backsliders home. He is good and He does good! He has done great things for us and we are glad!

Doxologies
When you consider Who God Is, it inspires thoughts and praises like those found in the wonderful doxologies of Scripture. Here are a couple that are appropriate to close with:

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?
Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay him?
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen."
(Rom 11:33-36, NIV)

"God, the blessed and only Ruler,
  the King of kings and Lord of lords,
Who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light,
  whom no one has seen or can see.
To him be honor and might forever. Amen."
(1 Tim 6:15b-16, NIV)

“Great and marvelous are your deeds,
    Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
    King of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
    and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
    and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
(Rev 15:3-4, NIV)

Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, used with permission.

Author's note Also see Who is God?, Who is God - Part IIKnowing the Lord, Known by God, The Knowledge of the Holy, Is Jesus God?, Jesus is Yehova, The Bodily Form of God the Father, The Bodily Form of the Lord Jesus Christ, The Light and the Glory, Jesus Alone Reveals the Father, and The Glory of the Lord Revealed.

You may find the Main Directory for this blog at Home, and also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Following in His Steps

In my article, What Jesus Did Not Do on the Cross, which I highly recommend reading, I highlighted twenty-one things the Lord did not do during His betrayal, passion, and crucifixion. One of those was that He did not sin. Today I would like to focus on that one in particular, since He did not sin at any point during His earthly life. Let's see what the Scriptures say:

He Did Not Sin
We know for certain that the Lord did not commit any sin, because the Bible tells us so. It says:

"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15)

I have highlighted in my article, The Temptation of Christ, how He overcame all the devil's temptations in the wilderness and committed no sin. What was true of that experience was true of His entire life. He never sinned.

The apostle Paul affirmed the sinlessness of Christ when he wrote: "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2Co 5:21)

The apostle Peter wrote: "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth." (1Pe 2:21-22)

We learn two important things from this passage. First, that Jesus committed no sin, and secondly that He left us an example that we should follow in His steps.

He Suffered for Righteousness
Another important point that Peter made in verse 21 was that we have been called to suffer. This is clearer when we read it in context with the verse before it:

"For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps..." (1Pe 2:20-21)

Later in that same epistle, he further emphasized this aspect of participating in Christ's sufferings, when he wrote: "But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." (1 Pe 4:13, NIV)

The apostle Paul affirmed this in his epistle to the Philippians, when he wrote: "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him..." (Phil 1:29, NIV). For more on that topic, please see my article, The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer.

Follow Him
As I have just mentioned, Peter said that Jesus Christ is your example, and you must follow in his steps (1 Pe 2:21). Truly in all things, Jesus is our perfect example. The apostle John also said the same thing in his epistle: "Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." (1 Jn 2:6).

This is what Jesus Himself taught His disciples. He said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." (Mt 16:24, NIV). When He said we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, He meant just what He said. We must follow in His steps in every aspect of life.

These are the requirements in order to be a disciple of Christ. He said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple." (Lk 14:26-27, NIV 1978).

This is a daily requirement: "Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" (Lk 9:23, NIV)

On another occasion He said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Mt 11:29, NIV). This also speaks of learning from Him the way to live and doing what He did.

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
As that old hymn I Have Decided to Follow Jesus says, "The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back, no turning back. Though none go with me, still I will follow." According to Wikipedia, "...the lyrics are based on the last words of Nokseng, a Garo man, a tribe from Meghalaya [India] which then was in Assam, who along with his family decided to follow Jesus Christ in the middle of the 19th century through the efforts of an American Baptist missionary. Called to renounce his faith by the village chief, the convert declared, 'I have decided to follow Jesus.' His two children were killed and in response to threats to his wife, he continued, 'Though none go with me, still I will follow.' His wife was killed, and he was executed while singing, 'The cross before me, the world behind me.' This display of faith is reported to have led to the conversion of the chief and others in the village."

The article goes on to say that "The formation of these words into a hymn is attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh. The melody is also Indian, and entitled 'Assam' after the region where the text originated. An American hymn editor, William Jensen Reynolds, composed an arrangement," which we now know as the wonderful old hymn I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. It aptly describes the point I am making in this article.

No Turning Back
As that hymn says, once we have decided to follow Jesus, we must never turn back, no matter what happens. As Jesus said, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." (Lk 9:62, NIV). For more on this, please see Remember Lot's Wife.

Putting it All Together
Since Jesus committed no sin, then we should follow in His steps and follow in His example, which means we should also commit no sin, as I explained in my article Aim for Perfection. Just as He denied Himself and took up His cross, we also must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. And just as He suffered for righteousness, we must participate in His sufferings, too.

I hope this has helped to encourage you in your walk with God to seek Him with all your heart. Fight the good fight, keep the faith, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus! The cross before you, the world behind you, no turning back, no turning back. Though none go with you, still you must follow Jesus without turning back.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®. Image from Christ Lutheran Church, which may be subject to copyright, used according to Fair Use Act for educational and commentary purposes only.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Aim for Perfection, Called to Be BlamelessWalking in the Perfect Will of God, For the Glory of God Alone, Crucified with Christ, What Jesus Did Not Do on the Cross, Sins That Will Keep You From HeavenThe Glory of Martyrdom for Christ, The Obedience of Faith, Restored Truth, Ask for the Ancient Paths, Pleasing the Lord, Clean Hands and a Pure Heart, Salvation with Fear and Trembling, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, The Ways of Life, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Is Tithing Required for Christians?, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Having a Servant's Heart, Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, Divorce -- Three Divine Revelations, A Warning for Married Christian Couples, Separation from the World, and Standing in the Gap. My daughter has also written a lovely poem called Cross Bearing. You can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org

Friday, May 11, 2018

Knowing the Lord

It's one thing to say you know the Lord and it's quite another thing to actually know Him. There needs to be evidence or proof that you know Him, which the Bible calls the fruit of repentance.

There is a difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. You can know about a historical figure like George Washington, but you don't know him. The same is true of any Bible character. No matter how well you know the life of that person, you don't know them personally. You can know all the facts about Jesus and believe they are true, but still not know Him. You can know about God without knowing God personally. But He wants you to know Him personally and to know His Son Jesus Christ. Let's see what the Scripture has to say about knowing Him.

To Know Him is to Keep His Commandments
John the apostle said, "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, 'I have come to know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (1Jn 2:3-4).

How do you know that you have come to know Him? You know it if you keep His commandments. The one who claims to know Him but does not keep His commandments is a liar. Such a person does not know Him, and does not have the truth within him.

To Know Him is to Love
Everyone who loves, knows God, and the one who does not love does not know God. John said, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1Jn 4:7-8). To love goes hand in hand with knowing God.

Listen to the word of the Lord spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, who said, "'He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?' declares the Lord." (Jer 22:15-16, NIV). The Lord indicated through Jeremiah what it means to know Him. To know the Lord means doing what is right and just, and defending the cause of the poor and needy. Did you ever realize that?

James said the same thing when he wrote, "If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." (Jas 1:26-27)

To Know Jesus is to Know the Father
If you know Jesus, then you know the Father, too. Jesus said, "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." (Joh 14:7)

In fact, there is no other way to know the Father, except through knowing Jesus Christ. He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (Joh 14:6). If you know Jesus, you will know the Father. If you don't know Jesus, you will not know the Father.

John wrote: "And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." (1Jn 5:20). The Son of God has given us understanding so that we may know God the Father who is true. He is the true God and eternal life.

To Know Him is to Have Eternal Life
He prayed, "Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (Jn 17:3, NIV). Therefore, eternal life is knowing the only true God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Paul the apostle understood this when he wrote, "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." (Php 3:10-11, NIV). He understood that what matters is to know the Lord and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being like Him in His death. His purpose in doing so was in order that he might attain to the resurrection from the dead. Thus attaining to the resurrection is the direct consequence of knowing the Lord.

To Know Him is to Know the Spirit
Jesus said, "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you." (Joh 14:16-17). The reason the children of God know the Spirit of truth is because He abides with them and is in them.

To Know God the Father Like Jesus Did
Jesus declared that He knows the Father. He said, "I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me." (Joh 7:29). Jesus knew Him, because He was from Him. That's how Jesus knew God. Likewise, if you are born of God, you too will know Him.

To Know Him is to Keep His Word
Jesus answered, "If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, 'He is our God'; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word." (Joh 8:54-55). The Lord Jesus during His life on earth knew the Father and kept His Word.

To Know Him is to Let Him Be at the Helm
When you know the Lord, He will be at the helm of your life, guiding you through all the storms, as the beautiful painting by artist Danny Hahlbohm depicts.  He will be the one to steer and keep you from crashing against the rocks or perishing in the depths of the raging sea. He will be not only your Savior but also your Lord, which means He will call the shots and you will do as He says.

Those Who Do Not Know Him
There are many people in the world who say of the Lord, "He is our God," yet they do not know Him. They are liars. They say they believe in Jesus, but they do not know Him, since they don't keep His commandments. As Jesus said, those who know Him will keep His Word.

The world does not know Him. They may have their institutional churches where they claim to worship God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. But if someone comes along who is not part of the institutional church and is not wearing one of the denominational labels, they don't know him. The apostle John said, "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." (1Jn 3:1, NIV). While the world may have religion, they do not know God, so they are missing out on the most wonderful and important thing.

In fact, their failure to know Him is so complete that even when God's Son Himself, the one through whom God made the world, came into the world, they did not know Him. "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him." (Joh 1:10).

The world through its wisdom does not know God. As Paul said, "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." (1Co 1:21).

Those who do not know God walk in lustful passion, but those who know Him also know how to possess their vessel in holiness and honor. Paul said, "It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God." (1Th 4:3-5, NIV).

Let me cite a few examples from Scripture of those who did not know the Lord.

Pharaoh
The first one is the Pharaoh of Egypt when Moses delivered to him the Lord's command to let His people go. Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go." (Exo 5:2). Pharaoh himself said he did not know the Lord and he refused to obey His voice. He ignorantly said, "Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?" Thus He placed himself above God and his own will above the will of God.

Post-Joshua Generation
Another example is the generation in Israel that arose after the death of Joshua. Scripture states: "All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals, and they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the LORD to anger." (Jdg 2:10-12). This demonstrates that even when people have a godly heritage, if they themselves don't know the Lord, then they will choose to do evil in the sight of the Lord. In the case of the post-Joshua generation, they served idols, forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, and followed other gods, bowing down to them and provoking the Lord to anger.

The sons of Eli
A great case in point was the sons of Eli the high priest, Hophni and Phinehas, who did not know the Lord, although they themselves were priests. "Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD." (1Sa 2:12). Scripture tells us that the sin of these young men was very great in the sight of the Lord. They despised the offering of the Lord by demanding the meat of the offerings the people brought to the Lord, and fattening themselves with the choicest of every offering. They refused to listen to the voice of their father Eli, who tried to tell them not to do that.

What they were doing was so evil that the Lord desired to put them to death, and ultimately He did put them to death. They both died on the same day in a battle with the Philistines, in which the ark of the Lord was captured by the enemy. That day when their father Eli heard the news, he fell off his chair, broke his neck and died. Then his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas went into labor and gave birth to a child that she named Ichabod, which means the glory has departed. Immediately afterward she died, too.

The example of Eli's sons demonstrates that even those who are in ministry, such as priests and pastors, may themselves not even know the Lord. It also teaches us how God views such hypocrites and ultimately judges them, unless they repent.

The Northern Kingdom of Israel
During the period of the Northern Kingdom of Israel's decline and fall in the 8th century BC, the people cast off the law of God and dealt treacherously against the Lord. These revolters went deep into depravity, played the harlot, and defiled themselves. The Lord spoke of them through the prophet Hosea saying, "Their deeds will not allow them to return to their God. For a spirit of harlotry is within them, And they do not know the LORD. (Hos 5:4). They did not know the Lord, and even when they tried to seek the Lord, they were unable to find Him, because He had withdrawn Himself from them. As we know, the Lord sent them off into captivity, because of their sins.

Samuel the Prophet
There was even a time when the prophet Samuel, when he was a small boy living in the temple with Eli the high priest, did not yet know the Lord. Scripture says, "Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him." (1Sa 3:7). Consequently he did not yet know the voice of the Lord or recognize it when God spoke to him. But as Samuel grew, he came to know the Lord, he learned to hear the Lord's voice clearly. In fact, he became a mighty prophet of God. The Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground (1 Sam 3:19).

The example of Samuel shows us that we are not born knowing the Lord. Even those who may one day become mighty prophets of God must come to know the Lord personally at some point in their life.

Some of Those Who Say, "Lord, Lord"
Not everyone who says, "Lord, Lord" actually knows Him. Jesus warned that there would be people who call Him Lord and even operate in supernatural power, but do not know Him. He said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'" (Mat 7:21-23). So while people may operate in powerful manifestations, the real evidence of whether they know the Lord is their fruits. You will know them by their fruits (Mat 7:20).

Judas Iscariot
Perhaps Judas Iscariot is the best example of one such person who was a disciple of Christ. He was appointed by Jesus to be one of His twelve apostles, and he was sent out to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead. Yet he did not know the Lord, but betrayed Him for only thirty pieces of silver.

As Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Mt 6:24, NIV)

Saul of Tarsus
One final example I'd like to give is Saul of Tarsus before his conversion to Christ. As a Jewish Pharisee who did not know the Lord, he was very religious, having been educated under Gamaliel strictly according to the law of Moses. He was zealous for God, persecuting Christians to death, binding and putting them into prisons. Yet he did not know the Lord. Here is the account of his conversion:

"Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do." (Act 9:1-6)

When Jesus Christ the Son of the Most High God appeared in a blinding light to this very zealous, religious man, he did not even recognize Him. He said, "Who are You, Lord?" Again, it underscores how one can be very religious and zealous for their cause, yet not even know the Lord. But that day Saul came to know the Lord and his whole life changed. The Christians said of him "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."

Because he repented and put his faith in Christ, God forgave all his sins. Saul's namesake had been the first king of Israel, Saul son of Kish, who was said to be a head and shoulders taller than all his peers. Yet when Saul of Tarsus came to know Jesus personally, he changed his name to Paul, which means little. God called him to be an apostle and used him mightily to reach most of the known world of his day with the gospel. In fact, the Lord used him to write half the books of the New Testament Bible.

Destruction of Those Who Do Not Know Him
Paul taught that when the Lord is revealed from heaven, He will deal out retribution to those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. He said, "...when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power..." (2Th 1:7-9)

In the book of Job it speaks of the terrible fate of the one who does not know God: "He is driven from light into darkness, And chased from the inhabited world...Those in the west are appalled at his fate, And those in the east are seized with horror. Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, And this is the place of him who does not know God." (Job 18:18-21)

Those Who Know the Lord
Before I conclude, I would like to give some examples of those in Scripture who did know the Lord. I have already mentioned some of them like the prophet Samuel and the apostle Paul. Abraham knew the Lord and so did Jacob and Isaac. Noah was another man who knew the Lord, who walked with God. David knew the Lord and was a man after the Lord's own heart (1 Sam 13:14; Ac 13:22). Joseph knew the Lord and was persecuted both by his brothers and Potiphar's wife. The prophets Elijah and Elisha knew the Lord and so did Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and the minor prophets. These men heard his voice and suffered persecution for the Lord's sake.

The same is true of the apostles Peter, James, John, and the rest of the original apostles, all of whom were martyred to death, except John who was banished to the island of Patmos. The Lord used John to write one of the four gospels in Scripture, three epistles, and He gave John a tremendous, apocalyptic revelation while he was suffering on the island, which became a book of the Bible called Revelation. John the Baptist knew the Lord, because he recognized Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He prepared the way for the Lord and lived a godly life, and he was beheaded by King Herod. Stephen knew the Lord, too, and he was stoned to death. The Lord's brothers James and Jude knew the Lord, and so did the women who went to His tomb after His crucifixion. Mary the sister of Lazarus, who sat at Jesus feet, knew the Lord. And so did the one hundred and twenty disciples who were praying in the upper room in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, and who received the baptism with the Holy Spirit (Ac 2:1-6).

The Lord spoke through Jeremiah the prophet about the (then future) New Covenant that He has since inaugurated through Jesus Christ. He said: "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jer 31:34). This teaches us that under the New Covenant in Jesus' blood, all of His disciples know the Lord from the least to the greatest.

This promise is not just for Israel but for Gentiles, too! As the prophet Isaiah said, "Thus the LORD will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day. They will even worship with sacrifice and offering, and will make a vow to the LORD and perform it. (Isa 19:21)

Hope for the Backslider
Perhaps you once knew the Lord, but have since slidden back into a life of sin and worldliness, but you now want to return to the Lord. There is hope for you, just as there was hope for backslidden Israel during the decline of the Northern Kingdom, when the Lord said to them through Hosea: "And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD." (Hos 2:20). Be earnest, therefore, and repent.

The Lord also held out hope for backslidden Israel after they had been carried into Babylonian exile, when He spoke these words through the prophet Jeremiah: "I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart." (Jer 24:7, NIV).

May our heart's cry be like that of Hosea, who proclaimed: "So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth." (Hos 6:3).

Putting it All Together
If you know the Lord, you will love Him and others. You will do what is right and just, and defend the cause of the poor and needy. You will keep His commandments, which means you will keep His Word. You will obey Him and do what He says. It's called obeying the gospel. You will abstain from sexual immorality and possess your vessel in holiness.

You cannot know God except through Jesus Christ. To know Jesus is to know the Father, and that is eternal life. The consequence or outcome of knowing Him is attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not only do those who know Jesus know God the Father, they also know the Spirit of truth.

This is how it was for Jesus: During His earthly existence, He knew God the Father and He knew the Spirit, too. He came from God and by keeping His Word He proved that He knew Him.

When He comes back again it will be in flaming fire with His mighty angels to deal out retribution to those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be shut out of the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.

Therefore, knowing Jesus and knowing God is of utmost importance. It is critical that you come to know Him, because your very soul depends on it. That is why I urge you to seek the Lord to know Him more, if you already know Him, and demonstrate by your actions that you know Him. He is watching to see you do so. And if you don't know Him, then I hope that after reading this you have a desire to know Him now.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, copyright the Lockman Foundation. Other Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan. The "At the Helm" painting is by renowned artist Danny Hahlbohm of Inspired Art, © 2018, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note Also see Known by God, The Knowledge of the Holy, Pictures of Jesus Showing the Beauty of Christ, Do You Want to Know Jesus?, You Must Be Born Again, All Things Are NewIs Obedience Optional?, The Obedience of FaithFaith Works!, Walking in the Perfect Will of GodDeleted Scriptures in the Bible?Avoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian, Hearing the Lord's VoiceHoly Living in a Perverted World, Called to be Blameless, Only the Holy -- Three Shocking Testimonies, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, From Religion to RelationshipThe Law of Love in the New Testament, The Law of Christ, The Cost of Discipleship, Should You Fear the Lord?, Escaping from Dead Religion, Baptized with the Spirit, and Holy Fire Baptism.

You may find the Main Directory for this blog at Home, and also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.