1/20/2018 Really, just who is God?
Is God some mythical, mystical being that lives somewhere out there beyond the stars? I’m speaking to both believers and non-believers, for some, there is little difference in concept. Is He some super astronaut who sends His angels to earth in flying saucers to occasionally check on us? Is He something that we can morph into on our own (reincarnation)? Or is He perhaps, just maybe, IS He the eternal being who created the heavens and the earth and all that we know? Is He from everlasting to everlasting.
To know Him is to love Him and to love Him is getting to know Him better and love Him even more. Don’t turn me off yet, but read on.
Yes, I love my Lord Jesus Christ, but I didn’t get to the point where I am today simply by confessing Him as my Savior. Just as I spent thirty-four years getting to know my wife (before she went home to Jesus), I’ve spent a long time, and still getting to know my God.
Yes, I am in a great church today, but I’m not going to spout a bunch of church dogma. My heavenly Father has been very careful to not let me get caught up in ‘denominational dogma’, but He has exposed me to who He is then confirmed it through my life experiences. I guess I’m caught between a rock and a hard place with this for neither do I reject someone for not believing exactly as I do nor am I persuaded any one Christian denomination has the full story so I weigh whatever I hear against the bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Years ago Father showed me an image of a movie projector. You know, the ones with the movie reel on one end and the take up reel on the other? He showed me that as the movie was shown, someone would see something and say “That’s it! This is what God wants me to know!” So they went off to the side and created what became a denomination with that revelation. But the movie kept rolling on. Now, they may have been right in what they saw- partially. Why? Because they got all excited about something and quit watching the movie to build on the revelation they had discovered, they missed what else God had to show them.
I am persuaded that each true Christian denomination has a piece of the truth, but not the whole truth. Am I claiming to know the whole truth? Not by a long shot. Even though I can get around the bible reasonably well, I hardly know it from Genesis to Revelation. Every year that passes, every month that passes, every week that passes, Father shows me something deeper in our relationship that I had not realized before. And THIS is what I want to talk about today. My relationship with my heavenly Father.
So don’t tune me out just yet, but be patient and hear me out.
I usually cite scripture in this blog to show that I’m not making this stuff up. It IS biblical. So, obviously, the bible, the Word of God, is my foundation. So today, a lot of scripture will be contained in what I say, I won’t be quoting ‘book, chapter, verse’.
I’m responsible for what I put in the blog and what I mean by that is that Father holds me accountable. If I give you a bunch of “BS”, (I’m not talking scholastic degrees) I will suffer the consequences for my disobedience. Yes, God is a loving God, but He’s also a just God and a righteous God. So even though He’s longsuffering, ‘God don’t make no junk’ and He expects His children to be the same.
God is a God of revelation and THAT’s what I’m going to talk about. So, sit back and buckle your seatbelts. We’re going to take a ride that maybe you have or have not taken yet.
I was ‘saved’ in a Southern Baptist church. My wife and I liked the pastor there so we counseled with him for marriage. As I recall, the pastor hadn’t been in our church two years yet and he had a funny concept on marriage. He believed that if the couple didn’t know Jesus, the marriage was doomed, therefore he wouldn’t perform the ceremony without knowing that the couple were saved. When he challenged me on my salvation, I sidestepped his questions about knowing Jesus. I thought I was doing pretty good, but he came back, more than once, getting more specific, until the Holy Spirit convicted me (in my heart) that no, I really never knew Jesus. So I received Jesus there in his office. At that time, I literally felt the burden of my sins lift from my being. But, when I confessed Jesus I felt like a five hundred pound gorilla lifted up off my body. That was the beginning of my relationship with my heavenly Father, even though I didn’t recognize it as such. Later, when I was baptized in water, because I had already had my ‘spiritual’ experience with God, I felt nothing new when I got “dunked” in the baptismal. As a side note: my wife had lied about knowing Jesus that day in the pastor’s office, but a couple of years later she did receive our Lord and Savior into her heart. We had moved to another area and were not in that particular church at the time, when we ran into the pastor and shared with him my wife’s experience. He said he knew that she wasn’t ‘saved’ at the time, but he said that he knew it would only be a matter of time before she also gave heart to Jesus.
The way Father has dealt with me, over the years, in my Spiritual growth, is to expose me to what He wants me to know, then teach me about it. Sometimes He would show me in the scriptures (bible), a few times He let me take some classes, at a local college or in the church. Nonetheless, He taught me.
At work, I knew some charismatic Catholics. Through them, Father introduced me to the “baptism of the Holy Ghost”. Now, I’ve never doubted my salvation from that day in the Southern Baptist preacher’s office, but I kept getting this tugging, nagging, in my heart to know more about God and now to learn more about this baptism in the Holy Ghost. So Father started teaching me. Academically I knew about it the baptism, but I had not yet experienced it.
A preacher from Virginia had come into our community in Maryland. He had a reputation for preaching an awesome word, then would have a healing service along with that. So, one weekend when he was in town, my wife and I went to hear him the local high school at which he was speaking. He was a good speaker and got his point across and at the end of his ‘sermon’ he offered additional service. “Those looking for salvation come over here.” “Those wanting a healing, come here.” “Those wanting to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost go over there.” Can you guess which group my wife and I gathered with? The baptism, of course. Must’ve been about a dozen people in our group, including my wife and myself. The leader explained a little bit about the ‘Baptism’ then encouraged us to speak in ‘tongues’. Some were having a hard time so they said “Repeat after me.” I learned later that this was called getting a ‘jump start’. Nonetheless at the end of the time everybody had received the baptism, including my wife! Everybody that is except me!
I was more spiritual than my wife (I thought) so what was wrong with me? We went home, afterwards and we sat in the living room for half an hour, maybe even an hour, talking and praying and still nothing. My wife got tired and excused herself to go to bed. I stayed up questioning God as to why I was still without. He set me on my knees (literally) before the couch and I heard Him say “Praise Me.” So I did. I don’t know exactly for how long, but, after a while, I couldn’t think of anything else in English and I was getting tired of repeating myself so I said “Lord, I’m getting nowhere. What else can I do?” His response was “Praise Me.” I said “I am!” He said “Let Me help you.” I said to myself ‘now what? This is crazy.’ I sat there silent for a short while, then I opened my mouth. Not knowing what to expect, I started to praise God. Expecting the same ole English words to pop out, to my amazement, it definitely was not! It wasn’t what I heard at the school earlier that evening, but even though it was coming out of my mouth, it wasn’t me speaking. At least, it wasn’t me making the words come out. But it was coming up from deep down inside me. At first, only a few words came out but it wasn’t long before I was spitting words out like a machine gunner with an endless supply of bullets. I don’t know how long I was up that morning, a couple of hours at least. But I was so excited about receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost, I didn’t think much about anything else. Sometime later, I asked Father why the baptism of the Holy Ghost worked that way with me. Why hadn’t I received along with the others at the rally? He told me that He wanted me to know that the Baptism came from Him and I wasn’t just repeating some sounds I was hearing. Thank you Jesus.
In my prayer life, I’ve experienced what would seem to be a couple of different spiritual languages over the years, but when things get down and dirty (serious), certain sounds seem to always rise to the surface. For me, sometimes is sounds a bit Yiddish (Jewish) and sometimes it sounds like what I’ve heard with some of the Native American dialects and sometimes I’m not even sure what it sounds like. I can’t say, but it is what Father has given me. And, yes, there have been times I doubted my experience for when I heard others speak in tongues, it didn’t sound so much like what I was doing. Father got me over that. He gives each of us our own unique language. Does this mean I can’t sound like someone else? Look at the various accents used in the English language. You tell me “Can we be different and yet sound like someone else?”
Since this experience, Father has deepened my relationship with Him. Yet, with the experiences I’ve had with Him since, He has shown me that I still have only scratched the surface of our relationship. I think, maybe, because my feet are stuck in a bunch of sticky muck. My growth has been slow. I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel (in my growth) but with each step I take, it seems as though two or more steps are added to the journey.
My next major step in my relationship with my heavenly Father has been revealed in the church I’m in today. As I said, Father exposes me to something He wants me to know then He teaches me about it. He blessed me with ‘salvation’, then has been teaching me what that really means ever since that day in the Baptist preacher’s office. He has baptized me with His Holy Ghost and is still showing me how that continues to deepen our relationship.
Even though He has spoken to me over the years about different things, and I was fully aware of what He was saying, yet those things didn’t REALLY register with me (I said my feet were stuck in a pile of muck). And now, He’s showing me the so many ways in which He talks with me and teaches me and opening up so much more. But there’s still such a long way to go. Sometimes it’s a soft still voice. Other times it’s through birds, trees and flowers and not just nature but anything around me, a situation, people, whatever. All I have to do is look and be aware. This I’m still learning.
Since my wife went to be with Him in 2005, when He talks with me, oft times there are actual, physical changes that take place in my being. I might get a sensation all over my body, head to toe. I may go to stand up and can’t because of my time with Him has been so focused on Spiritual, my physical energy is drained and I don’t have the energy to stand up. That is, at least for a while. It becomes almost impossible or at least very difficult to just stand up until my body settles back down.
Father has given me a heart to receive what He has given me and that heart continues to crave more. Even though I may challenge something, I don’t reject it until He has had time to show me about it.
He has brought these things into my life gradually so that I wouldn’t freak, thinking maybe I’m having a stroke or heart attack or something. Everything hasn’t happened all at once for though I haven’t been sure of many things over the years (I have a vivid imagination), but once I realize what is happening, I know it’s the Holy Ghost. Father confirms the event during and after the experience. How do I know? Once my body has physically “settled down”, I’m back to ‘normal’, so to speak. I can freely move again and those same little nagging aches and pains that went away during my experience, come back. Oh, by the way, did I mention that when I’m in this state “nothing bothers me!” I’m totally aware of my surroundings and, even though I don’t normally try to, I can speak under this condition. I just can’t move because my body is – so – drained (for lack of better description). As Tony the Tiger would say “It’s GREEEAAAT! I just can’t physically do much. And these situations only come upon me when I’m interacting with Father.
Father said to share this, too. The first time I became aware of my physical incapacitation, Father literally dropped me to my knees then laid me out prone on the living room floor. I didn’t know what was happening and I don’t know how long I laid there as He talked with me. I was there for a while, but I had a sense of peace. I knew that I wasn’t dying, or anything. I remember trying to get up, at least to my knees, but couldn’t. I laughed at myself for I was in clear view of the living room window to the front porch. I thought to myself ‘if someone saw me there, they would surely think I was having some sort of physical crisis’. There was no heart attack or such going on, but how could I have explained to them that I was feeling fine and nothing was wrong? I just laying there. So I laughed at my situation, then Father started speaking to me, putting things on my heart. Once Father was finished speaking, obviously, I was eventually able to get up and resume my normal activities.
Now, you may ask “How do you know it’s God?” My only response can be that the closer we walk with the Lord, the more obedient we become, the more we listen to Him, the Holy Ghost confirms, within our hearts, what’s going on. Has any of us experienced the reality that each time we read a bible passage, it seems Father reveals something to us that is a little deeper than what we understood before? This is revelation knowledge – understanding the deeper meaning of scripture. The meaning God wants us to attain. These ‘revelations’ remain consistent with God’s love and is consistent with scriptural truths, so we know that it is Him. And we have that sense of peace in our spirit, at least I do. Sometimes, Father may show us something that seems to be way out in left field, but as we listen to the Holy Ghost and continue searching the matter, Father shows us the confirmation – in His written word or maybe a word from another Christian or that sense of peace. The more we understand about our relationship with the Lord, letting our human spirit commune with Him through the Holy Ghost, Father can talk more and more directly with us. Sort of like Moses on the mount and the burning bush, but there’s no burning bush. That burning bush is now in our heart. For the most part, Father talks to us from within –from and to our hearts, which our brain then picks up on and “clues us in”.
Now, to clarify, I’m not saying that I’m all that (I’m not) but I do know what Father has given me to know, and even though I cannot prove in scripture, about all my experiences. I do have a question. When people claim to have gone to heaven, how can we prove or disprove their claim? There are only two ways we can know for sure. One, we actually go there with them and witness the event in person, or two the Holy Ghost confirms within our spirit that the people are being honest and truthful and it is in agreement with God’s love. And again, that sense of peace. We know that the Holy Ghost leads us into all truth and we have the biblical accounts where both Apostle John (Rev. 1:10, Rev. 4:1-2) and Apostle Paul (2 Corinth. 12:2) speak of heavenly experiences which confirm that it can happen (established by two or three witnesses). Otherwise, without personal knowledge or spiritual confirmation, we can’t prove yea or nay. When the Holy Ghost ‘confirms” in our hearts, we just know because we have a peace, within our hearts, that whatever we are challenging is true. The reverse is also true. If something is not in agreement with God’s being, we get an uneasy feeling. A feeling like something just isn’t right. Now what I mean? Coupled with the fact that I do seek God, the best that I can. Am I obedient 24/7? I wish! But when I do mess up, I repent and then move forward. God puts my confessed sins behind Him and so do I.
I know my experiences are from God because the Holy Ghost confirms it with His peace in my heart. This doesn’t make me any better or any worse than any other person out there. It’s just how Father deals with me. And I’m letting you know that if He does it with me, He’ll do it with and for anyone.
Am I declaring myself a “super Christian”? God forbid. But I do talk with my heavenly Father and He talks with me. And He uses words from the bible (scripture) or people and experiences and feelings to confirm our interaction. He teaches me things He wants me to know, that I can then share with others. Have I arrived? I don’t think so. I will declare that I have arrived when I am standing literally in the presence of my Lord and Savior and He says to me “Welcome in My good and faithful servant.” But I can experience Him here and now, in this world and I don’t have to be subject to what my enemy, Satan, throws at me. Deal with it? Yes. Be subject? NO!
I said I wanted to talk about my relationship with my heavenly Father and I have. Some of you may say “Whoa! That’s awesome!” and walk away, shaking your head in disbelief. Some of you may say “I’m with you brother, I know what you’re talking about.” And others may say “Praise the Lord! Keep growin’, but you still have more things to experience.” Many of you may know a lot more scripture than I and know it better. I’m glad and thankful for you. Many of you may pray a lot more and better than I do. I thank God for your dedication. Many of you can speak better than I. Praise God for He has or is calling you to a ministry. But I say “Thank You Jesus for all that you’ve done for me.” And I look forward to what’s still down the road.
So who is God? Not just my Savior, but my friend and my companion who will never leave me nor forsake me – despite my shortcomings.
So, knowing that I have not yet to experience all that God has for me, my story continues …