The word “experience” in religious and spiritual settings is dangerous. For so many it means emotionally charged moments — moments that have nothing to do with God in reality, or with his coming into one’s life. But we’ll not let the danger keep us from the necessity of addressing the need for experiencing God.
Often, in Scripture the idea of experience is found in the verb “to know” and the noun “knowledge.” Many metaphors are also used in describing relationship with God, such as “walk.” The language of Scripture is rich to describe how we experience God.
What is it exactly that we need to experience in terms of God? Continue reading
Do you approach the coming year
With expectation or trembling fear?
With hope and faith in God I face
The day, for I’m awash in grace.
Yes, I am weak, but God is strong,
So when the day is tiresome and long,
Upon his ready power I lean
When crisis spoils the planned routine.
To ponder all the months and days
Of Twenty-One and all its ways,
The mind might panic in alarm,
Did I not lean upon God’s arm.
The Lord alone is absolute,
With him is blessing, peace, and fruit;
In him can no defeat disturb,
For every day and year’s superb.
In 2 Peter, the threat to the church comes from within. False teachers were bringing false doctrine and immorality into the church. Peter wants to warn the saints away and strengthen them against such people who have risen among them.
How to do that? He starts off by saying the saints need to make extraordinary effort to grow spiritually, 2 Pet 1.5-11. Much needs to be added to faith for it to be effective and saving. Faith that just sits there doing nothing goes nowhere, certainly not to heaven. Neither will it be able to resist false teaching when it appears.
For such intense effort, how is one to keep from discouragement? By focusing on God and his power. Continue reading
This Twitter quote about writing got me to thinking about the writers, and about us the readers, of Scripture: “I love writing that allows for many things to happen at once…”
When we read the word of God with an open heart and mind, Scripture allows many things to happen at once. Continue reading
Of all the powers now manifest,
Each one proclaims itself the best,
To prosper man and bring him peace,
To make his knowledge and wealth increase. Continue reading
The apostle Paul wrote the letter of Philippians from prison. Joy is a keynote and often considered the main point of the letter. Not so noticed in the letter is how he emphasizes the power of God.
Paul begins the letter by expressing his confidence “that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” Phil 1.6. We usually talk about what we must do to be saved. That talk is important and necessary. It must not, however, overshadow that the work of salvation is God’s. Continue reading
We count only on those resources that we are able to see and handle. The tendency is human, and universal, over millennia, to fail to depend on the power of God. Continue reading
“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” Php 2.13 ESV.
In some circles of Christians, Philippians 2.12 is a favorite. It is a good and wonderful Bible verse needed to show others the importance of dedicated effort toward salvation. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” …
Sometimes, however, a period is added after verse 12 and verse 13 is forgotten. The tendency which separates the two verses comes from an emphasis on human effort divorced from the empowerment that God provides. But the two verses are one sentence. Continue reading
Deliver to the Lord your works and plans,
And find success when all is in his hands.
No deed will turn out well he doesn’t bless,
But faith unleashes power — from God, no less.
Believers in the Spirit accomplish more
Than any can imagine, his riches pour
Upon the faithful for the kingdom’s use;
The least of Christ can never give excuse
Of lack or little — all is ours, and we
Are God’s possession, and he with his is free.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. —Eph 3.20-21 NLT