Who is God? Seeking Answers From the Source

We all have ideas of who God is. Some of those ideas are grounded in truth, others are assumptions we’ve made or are based on random things we’ve heard throughout our lives. When discussing who God is, I’m often amused by mankind’s adherence to their assumptions–as if they have the right to determine who God is and how they will relate to Him.

Pause to contemplate that for a moment. Then ponder the following questions:

Who do you believe God is?

What do you base that belief on?

Now pause to consider others’ assumptions about you. Which assumptions tend to be the most accurate? I suspect those that are based on things you yourself have revealed.

Why would God be any different?

What I’m saying is this:

Everyone has an idea on who God is, what He has or hasn’t done, and how He wants mankind to relate to Him. But having an idea doesn’t make it so. If we want to truly know God, we will take time to learn what He has to say about Himself. The Bible is God’s revelation to mankind. Through it, God has removed the uncertainty, has brought clarity to confusion, and has shown mankind exactly who He is, what He has and will do, and how we, His creation, can have a vibrant and ever-growing relationship with Him.

© 2010 Martin Alan Grivjack Photography Martin Alan Grivjack PhotographyToday a sweet friend, Ava Pennington, author of Daily Reflections on the Names of God, talks about one aspect of God’s character–glory–and a man who was not content to formulate his own ideas about who God was. Nope. He went straight to the source.

How did God respond? Read on, and you’ll see. 🙂

But before you do, I want to announce the winner of last week’s give-away. Laurean Brooks, congrats! You won a copy of The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, written by Carole Brown. I’ll be contacting you soon. 🙂

Excerpt from Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, by Ava Pennington

Published by Revell Books, 2013                      

Are You Ready?

Glory

 

Exodus 33:12-23

“Give to the Lord the glory his name deserves” (I Chronicles 16:29 GW).

 

How intimately do you know God? How intimately do you want to know Him?

Moses knew God in a way few other people knew Him. It’s possible for us to know God in a similar way simply by making the same request Moses did. He asked the Lord, “Let me know Your ways that I may know You” (Exodus 33:13).

After God said He would go with Moses and the people, Moses still was not satisfied. He made a bolder request of the Lord: “Show me Your glory!” (Exodus 33:18). Instead of becoming angry with Moses, God granted his request, causing His glory to pass by him.

What is the glory of the Lord? It is the combination of all His attributes. When He passed Moses in the cleft of the rock, God proclaimed His goodness, graciousness, and compassion. God’s glory is who He is. It is impossible to separate His glory from His character and His ways.

As we read God’s Word and spend time with Him in prayer, He opens our spiritual eyes to see His glory in ways we had not previously recognized. Are you ready to see His glory?

 

Lord God, I want to know Your ways more intimately than I have,

that I may know You.

 

Have I become complacent in my relationship with the Lord?
How will I look for Him to show me His ways today?

Daily Reflections on the Names of God:

Every name of God revealed in the Bible shows us something about his character and his ways. This book offers readers a wonderful opportunity to spend time each day getting to know God more intimately. This insightful guide to the names of God provides 366 life-changing, personal devotions for new Christians and longtime believers. As readers explore 122 names and attributes of God, they will discover something special about who God is, who they are, and how they relate to others. Includes a Scripture and name index for easy navigation to favorite verses. Now in paper.

Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precept Ministries International.

Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse.

Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of 175+ women. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in engaging audiences with relevant, enjoyable presentations.

For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com

To purchase Daily Reflections on the Names of God, visit:

AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE, or CHRISTIANBOOK

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. At the end of her devotion, Ava encouraged us to ask ourselves some great questions:

Have I become complacent in my relationship with the Lord?
How will I look for Him to show me His ways today?

I’ll answer first. I seem to go up and down in my relationship with God. The “downs” are usually the result of unchecked busyness, and this to my own detriment. I can only be busy and spiritually neglectful for so long before my heart begins to dry out.  I’ve found life is so much better, so much richer, more peaceful and fulfilling, when I connect with and stay connected to my Savior. What about you? Join the conversation in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook. 

Oh, and don’t forget about our daily acts of kindness challenge! 🙂 Each day find some way to make someone else’s life a little better.

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Intentional Intimacy

There’s a video circulating cyber-space. I’m sure you’ve seen it. It talks about the difference between having a heart-felt relationship with God vs. following rules and traditions. Although I don’t agree with everything presented in the video, I find the basic premise valid. Christianity is more than a club to belong to. It’s more than going to church on Sundays and saying X number of prayers. It’s about total surrender. It’s about authenticity, intimacy. Christ didn’t die so we could put a bumper sticker on our car. He died to remove the barrier–sin–that kept us from fellowship with a holy God. But you can’t be intimate with someone you don’t know.

Today, Ava Pennington, author of One Year Alone With God, encourages us to draw near to God. To allow Him to reveal Himself as He truly is, not who we think He is or should be.

Intentional Intimacy by Ava Pennington

How intimate is your relationship with God? How intimate do you want it to be?

I’ve always heard that if we want to be close to God, we must be intentional about spending time with Him – have a regular time of prayer, read the Bible, obey His Word, and fellowship with His people.

Is that all there is to it? Is intimacy with God simply a matter of checking off items on a to-do list? That can’t be true, because too many Christians do these things, and still lack intimacy with the Lord.

It may be because all these activities – prayer, Bible-reading, living a moral life – while good, can become rituals. We can go through the motions with our hands, but not our hearts. So while these should be part of our daily lives, we should not stop there.

There is another possible reason for our lack of intimacy with God. Think about how we move people from acquaintances to personal friends. We get to know them by spending time with them. We learn what they say about themselves. We also want to know if there is a disconnect between their words and their actions.

However, when it comes to learning who God is, we often depend on what other people say about Him. We learn from our parents, from religious traditions, even from our culture. But that’s not necessarily who God says He is.

Even if we grew up attending Sunday School every week, we still might have trouble understanding what God has said about Himself. It doesn’t help that the names and attributes of God which brought comfort to countless generations are now often misunderstood in our culture.

For example, what does God mean when He calls Himself Jealous or a Consuming Fire? A famous celebrity talk show host once said she could never trust a god who was jealous. After all, jealousy can be a petty, controlling, and self-centered attribute. And most people would not be eager to pursue intimacy with a God who calls Himself a Consuming Fire!

More familiar names and attributes may still yield misconceptions. The Bible tells us God is love (I John 4:8). But how do we define love? Hearts & flowers? Terms of endearment?

If we want a more personal – a more intimate – relationship with God, it’s not only important to learn what God says about Himself, we must also understand these names and attributes in the context of what God intended, rather than what our culture now dictates.

One characteristic of intimacy is trust. It’s difficult to trust a stranger. But when we are intentional about learning what God says about Himself, and we see that how He relates to us is consistent with what He says, our faith is affirmed. The more we learn about who God is and how He works, the easier it is for us to trust Him.

The foundation of that trust is a complete picture of God. All the names and attributes of God combine to reveal His nature and His glory. We misunderstand who God is – and are therefore not as intimate with Him – when we focus on one name or attribute of God to the exclusion of all others. For example, those who focus only on God’s characteristic of love often end up with an anything-goes god who tolerates sin. Others who focus on God’s holiness to the exclusion of all other characteristics create a fire-and-brimstone god who is unloving, unmerciful, & uncompassionate.

God is love and He is holy. He is merciful and He is just. He is all these things and more. To truly know Him – to be intimate with Him – we must be intentional about learning all that He is – not just one or two characteristics that appeal to who we want Him to be.

Ask God’s Holy Spirit to show you who He is. Then mine treasures from His Word as He reveals His nature and His ways through His names and attributes. The result will be intentional intimacy.

One Year Alone With God:

Perfect. Almighty. The One Who Sees. Jealous. Forgiver. 

Every name of God revealed in the Bible shows us something about his character and his ways. As the facets of a diamond combine to reflect its brilliance, the names and attributes of God combine to reveal the transcendence of his nature and the glory of his ways. One Year Alone with God offers readers a wonderful opportunity to spend time each day getting to know God more intimately. At the end of a year, they’ll be able to say they know him better than they did a year ago.

This insightful guide to the names of God provides 366 life-changing, personal devotions for new Christians and longtime believers. As readers explore 122 names and attributes of God, they will discover something special about who God is, who they are, and how they relate to others. Includes a Scripture and name index for easy navigation to favorite verses.

Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. She is the author of One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God (Revell), endorsed by well-known author and teacher Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is the co-author of Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? (Standard Publishing).

Ava has also published stories in twenty anthologies, including fifteen books in the inspirational Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Her articles have been published in Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, The  LOOKOUT, Evangel, Light & Life, and other magazines.

Ava is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations.

For more information, visit www.AvaWrites.com