home meetglynnis books speakingtopics resources contact

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Today I've got a devotion running on Proverbs 31 and Crosswalk about knowing Jesus.  If you joined me from there, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit me.   I promised to share some ideas for enriching your time with Jesus.  Instead of a list of tips, I want to share an insight that changed my understanding of God.

Years ago I put God in a box.  Perhaps my excuse was youth.  Or just being at the bottom of a very steep learning curve.   Actually, learning about God is likely the steepest learning curve I've ever had.  It puts learning Power Point to shame.  After all, how can you wrap your mind around something ... or Someone ... so vast.

It's kind of like trying to think about what is beyond our galaxy ... and then beyond that.  Is there an edge to space?  And if so, what's on the other side?  Have you ever driven yourself nutso trying to imagine?

God is kind of like that.  How can mortals comprehend Spirit?  How can my limited mind understand the limitlessness of God? 

Because God seemed unknowable for many years in my youth, I liked to define Him by my understanding of Who He is.  For example, I might have said, "God would never send anyone to war."  Or, "God would never intentionally make anyone go through a painful experience."   That's how I liked to think of God:  a docile do-gooder.

Then I read the Bible. 

Seems God could and did do both those things, plus a lot more things I never thought He would.  Yep, read the Old Testament if you want to be shocked about our God.  He's not always gentle.  He's fierce and decisive.  He's patient, but there is an end to it. 

I discovered that to really know God, I had to stop trying to make Him fit into my world view.  I couldn't define Him based on my values, or disregard those aspects of His character that didn't fit into my pretty little picture of Him. I had to accept God for who He is. 

To know God, I had to read the Bible with an open mind, but that took faith.  Not a lot of faith.  Just a little.  And it took a determination to stand firm on this truth:  I may not understand, but I believe God is good and perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).  And I had to believe: His character does not change (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17).

I also had to understand God has three persons:  God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit.  And as I read the Bible with an open mind and a determination that God is good, I had to not put Him in a box, or put limits on Him as Father, Son or Holy Spirit.   Visit GotQuestions.org for a great biblical explanation of the the Trinity.

I'll admit that's scary at times.  I've come to understand that God values things differently than I do.  My comfort is far less important to Him than it is to me.  My "security" in earthly things is vapor to Him. 

Now, here's the good news.  Knowing God has given me more joy, confidence and hope than ANYTHING in this world.  We serve a warrior King, who will not be mocked.  And yet He is gentle enough to care for the most vulnerable among us.  He demands my loyalty, but understands my doubts.  I can't control Him, and for that I am very grateful.

You can know God the Father.  You can know Jesus.  You can know the Holy Spirit.  I don't pretend to say I know everything about God - but I know more than I did.   For me, it started with accepting Him for who He is, not who I want Him to be. How about you?

What has helped you know God the Father, Jesus or the Holy Spirit in a closer way?  Please share your experience by posting a comment. 

On Friday, I'll select one at random to win a prize pack of two Bible studies (one for you and one for a friend) and a Starbucks gift card.  I co-authored these Bible studies with my pastor, and one is a good fit for this topic:  The Character of God: Understanding His Heart for Us.  Please make sure you include contact info in your comment so I can reach you if you win.

In His Love,


Tricia said...

Thank you so much for this post. I often put God in the box of, "God my father," and he had lost some of his fearfulness. Being reminded he is a warrior God, brought it back and left me teary eyed thinking how He is so fearsome, yet so tender in answering my prayers.

Cindy G. said...

Thank you for the reminder how important it is to know God and to know God, we must seek Him and build a relationship with him. The one thing that by far helps me the most is Bible study. Digging into the who, what, when, where and why helps me build closeness in a way nothing else can! Thanks again.

Denise S. said...

From the P31 article: "Many of us are hindered in our relationship with God because we view Him based on our human relationships with flawed people."

This article is a simple, but great way to explain how to understand God to believers and unbelievers alike because we are all "flawed people"

Anonymous said...

I have gotten to know the Lord better through difficult circumstances - growing times when I needed to depend on Him. Reading His word and Bible study has helped me to grow in the knowledge of Him. mheard11@frontier.com

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

going through difficult times yet knowing God is sovereign has helped me see and know him more. I had to trust, obey, and be patient. Amen!
Lindsay Cotter

Linda F. said...

This devotion was exactly what I needed to read this morning. Honestly, just before I had read the devotion I had been thinking that I wanted to feel closer to God and really know His personal presence in my life. Then I read the devotion and your blog-thank you! I have been going through a Beth Moore Bible study with a church group and that study has allowed me to know more of the Holy Spirit and thus to be closer to my God. One thing I constantly recite to myself is the verse that says If I draw near to God He will draw near to me(paraphrase mine).

If things are not right between me and God then there will not be that closeness. Prayer is also, a very speficic way that I stay close to my Jesus and learn more of His power, love & forgiveness. AND through prayer HIS strength is mine.

Thanks again for the devotion I really did need to read that this morning. I pray the words will stay with me during this day even when it gets difficult.

Mary said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and insight. It is such perfect timing! My prayer this year is to know God in a new way and to do something different in my time with Him. I have gotten to know God like I would a friend, talking to Him like He was right in the room, spending time with Him, listening to His voice. I'm excited this year to dive even more into His Word and have Him reveal Himself even more.

JamieB said...

Terrifying times (an ill child; debilitating panic attacks; my husband losing his job)has made me turn to and lean on Him; the fear of NOT knowing His voice has made me be more intentional about learning it. I use a devotional a friend recommended (Jesus Calling)to be reminded that Jesus is not a "girly-man" as Saturday Night Live used to joke about a character, but, like you mentioned, a fierce warrior and an overcomer and all of the names used to describe Him throughout the Bible. Even so, I still fall into my old mistaken paradigms about who He is and what He would look like and even now, I'm still not certain I could find Him in a crowd. For me, it's a life-long exercise in being authentic, being intentional and (the hardest for me) being STILL for me to hear Him.

Anonymous said...

I've come to know God through His Word-seeing His solid-as-a-rock character; unchanging throught the centuries. I've come to know more of Him through various christians. He uses music, people, books, etc to speak to me and I'm soooo thankful and blessed that He cares enough to do that! Imagine the God of the Universe caring enough about insignificant little me. :) What an awesome thought!

Amy V in WI

Dorothy McDaniel said...

Actually, Lysa TerKeurst's new book has opened my eyes to realize that I don't know Jesus in the way that I should or want to.

JottinMama said...

I really enjoyed your devo (and blog post!) today.

Jesus does reveal Himself to people. I'm learning that all I have to do is ask. And seek. He is faithful.

Have a wonderful day :)

Kate :)

Cherrie Preut said...

Thanks so much for this post. As I read it I realized how much in the past that I have put God in a box. It is really making me think about how being in the Bible will show me the real God.


Kathy K. said...

Through difficult moments, through reading his word, and listening, really listening the the words of songs I know he has the radio play just for me. When the lightbulb goes on I am humbled. HE wants me to know Him. Amazing! And I long to draw close.

Latoya said...

The answer to question in your blog is the Bible. The Bible helps to bring understanding to the Trinity, but I must say that the hyperlink in your blog to gotquestions.org, really put it into a basic understanding.
The two examples that really helped me to understand the Trinity are the ones about water and the agent. "Water is liquid, vapor, and ice, even though God is not 3 individual beings, but 1." "The Son is the agent through whom the Father does His works. The Father does all these things by the power of the Holy Spirit."
I never try to over analyze the concept because then we begin to question something that shouldn't be questioned, but rather embraced. Thanks for your post today, it was really divine.

colleen said...

Through tests and trials, I have really come to see the power that the Holy Spirit wants to impart on our lives. But, oh, how I can limit Him. The Holy Spirit has constantly showed me that my praye rlife needs to be bold, that I need to pray big~because he has given me full access to a might powerful God.
Thanks so much for this post! What a blessing!

kredwill said...

What has been looking like unanswered prayer has been what has led me to get to know my God better.
The trials in my life these past few years have driven me to my knees in search of Him. He does not disappoint...He has revealed more and more of himself to me and I long to sit and be with Him. Thank you for your post(s).

Anonymous said...

I thought by this point in my life I would have known Him sooo well, and too considering I grew up in a Christian home. only to see I am not near that point. I have been discouraged, but your words this morning gave me hope. I need to press on to getting to know God for who He is not just for what He has done or can do. It made me think would I just know Him through his voice and not having to see things done. Thankyou, thankyou for your words and your ministry. God bless you all, love in Christ karenestoltz@yahoo.com

LauraLee Shaw said...

Excellent wisdom, Glynnis. "Experiencing God" was a great foundational study for me. Later, I as I was learning about what it meant to live in freedom with Christ, I enjoyed Beth Moore's "Living Beyond Yourself" study.

No matter how well I think I know the Lord, it's never enough. I need constant reminders to seek Him in faith instead of through my own grid. Thank you, Glynnis!

Stacy said...

Thank you Glynnis for this today. I have a literal God Box that I place small prayers into every day. I didn't realize I had put God in the box and ultimately limited what I believed He could and would do. Thank you for reminding me to have faith and believe that God is always available and willing to hear my prayers, no matter how big or small. sflannery@nc.rr.com

Martha T said...

I get to know God by reading the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. One of the things my husband and I get asked frequently is, "do you feel closer to God now or further away?". The main reason for this question is because we lost our oldest (18 year old) daughter in a car accident in Houston, TX a year and a half ago. As I look back on that horrific moment, I realize a number of questions went through my head but the one thing that remained at the forefront of my thoughts was, "I will still praise you." We wouldn't have been able to go through that storm (& continue to live through it now) without our relationship with Christ. Everything we learned up to that point about God and his character, scripture and messages were all preparing us for the storm. Yes, I love God and am closer to Him more today than yesterday and I don't want to live another day without him. Thank you again for your words.

Anonymous said...

Your article was very insightful.I so want my heavenly father to just love me and protect me and lead me. I was churched to fear a God that would Zap you every time you did a bad deed. Therefore, I was "good" out of fear. I don't even know if I am really communicating when I pray and/or "talk to God" Does He hear? My hope and prayer is to know God's will for my life and to know him Personally, not just in theory.

Anonymous said...

I have a daughter who is severely disabled. Through this experience I have learned more intimacy and dependency on God than before. I also am part of a wonderful bible study that keeps me growing in His Word and being transformed by His grace. Thank You Lord that Your Word is true and transforming.


Jamie said...

Thank you for your post today. I have been feeling like I need to figure out a way to study the Bible to help me better understand the character of God - to know Him more.

Glynnis Whitwer said...

Thanks for your comments so far. Your words inspire me to keep pressing on to know our Jesus more.

To those who have shared - especially those with heart-breaking experiences, please know I'm praying for each of you.

Kellie - I know a bit of your loss as my sister lost a daughter in a car accident. It has changed me forever. May God be your peace today, precious sister.

Lake Lady said...

I am a remarried Mom, our oldest daughter is from my first marriage. (My husband calls her our daughter and he is her father in all ways but biology and she and I are so blessed.) Between the difficulties we have faced with her (even at one point thinking for months that she had been murdered) and between my husband's always love for her - I have grown to know my Father. He loves me even as my husband loves our daughter, even as I drift away and do things as our daughter has - God loves me, as my Father, my Savior, and as my Life within that keeps me going.

Patricia said...

I read your words and immediately thought of where I am in my walk with God now (I am 56)...and where I was when I was 18, just the age of my precious niece. She has suffered the loss of an old friend her own age in a tragic car wreck on black ice. I had a similar experience with a friend at just about the same age. Thanks be to God, it occured after I had given my life to Him, and after I had begun to get to know who Jesus really was. His comfort was matchless. You are right...He isn't just the Jesus I learned about in Sunday School, but so much more. Not a flat character on a page, but fully a three dimensional person who lived and breathed and loved and suffered frustration and pain. And it was all for me, for you, for my sweet niece, and for the friends we lose here on earth.
So we can learn from Him what it is to love, and to comfort....and to experience in Him the freedom that comes from really listening to what He has to say to you. There is no box, no building, and no world big enough to hold Him. Thank you for your posting and your thoughtfulness over it. I see and hear Jesus everywhere anymore, and when I need comfort...Jesus reminds me of God's open hand and I crawl in, curl up and take a nap in that perfect peace.

~K~ said...

I have had to get to know God better over the last year. My marriage has not been easy, so I'm trying to look to him for help and understanding. I pray every day that he shows both my husband and I how to love each other the way we should.

Betty said...

Trusting each day that He will provide for my needs..that is what I have experienced through difficult times lately...growing closer to Him through reading His word daily has been the best!

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for the devotion at Proverbs 31 and here at your blog. I think it has me realizing that, though I crave time with Jesus, I am not seeking him as much as I should be. I only seek him when I feel like I have the time, not all the time.

I think the circumstance that helps me to know God better is the stuff he puts my family through. For instance the other night, we didn't have half of the electricity we should of had. Out dryer, washer, and stove wasn't working, and everytime we turned one light on, another light would get dim. It ended up where half of the main frame outside of our house was fried. The power company sent three guys out to fix it and rebuild the wrires coming from the house to the main frame( a problem they said will happen later). Through the whole time, I was trusting God to do something. I found joy in the problem itself, in being in the dark while the guys rebuilt the wires, and for three guys working for a hour outside our house in 26 degree weather at 9:30 at night. It showed me that night how God will never leave us and ALWAYS take care of us.

Anonymous said...

Last year I was at a place or busyness that I didn't really take the time to spend with God. During vacation time, I sought God in desperation to get back were I use to be with Him.I asked God to provide me with a treasure that week, a large, perfect seashell is what I wanted. But instead,He lead me to a homeless man on the beach who was passed out. God told me to make him a sandwich,get him a drink and tell the man(Porter)that God loved Him.An expericence that was personal and face to face with God! As I walked away from doing this,God spoke to my heart and said Tammy that is your treasure!Wow! He only requires me to love Him and love others. My time spent in prayer,His word and listening is how I know Him intimately along with obedience to His calling.I don't want to be so busy or be selfcentered anymore that I miss knowing Him in the journey He has me on or miss the treasures of and from Him!! Thanks for sharing!tammy@lindsaylane.org

Heather said...

Thank you for these wise words of encouragement!

Natasha R. said...

I really enjoyed your post today. The question was raised about what helped me to learn more about God. I was like many who put God in a box. Today I can say He is no longer in that box and I am studying His word daily to learn more about Him. I have been doing Wendy Pope's Walking Women through the Word. From that I have seen things in the scripture that I never saw or noticed. As I learn more about His word I learn more about Him. The growth I feel is amazing and I continue to learn as I read devotionals from Proverbs31.org. A great tool and resource. Thank you all for sharing the word and practical application with us.


Anonymous said...

I am trying to seek God. It has been hard to break free from my fears long enough to try to trust God and just give him full access to me. I fear the pain that may come with knowing God well. I need to know Him well so I will not fear. Maybe this study could help me with that breakthrough.
Sheila Payne

Christine Wolf said...

What a great post! I plan on forwarding to others. For me, the best times I've ever had for getting to know God is through a focused bible study with daily homework and a group that will hold me accountable. I don't do well trying to study the bible on my own. I need discipline and a study guide, workbook, etc. along with a few others to share with, helps me stay disciplined and focused so that I actually learn.

Christine Wolf

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post, because I like many of us, put God in a box. He cannot be put in a box because He is soooo much bigger than any of us can imagine. We need to get Him out of the box and into our hearts, mind, and soul and continue our journey with Him every second of every day. I am helped in just about every aspect there is in discovering my Jesus, Lord and Savior of my life. Thank you Proverbs 31 women, your posts, blogs, and devotionals mean and help me so much.

Teresa - pablos39@aol.com

Janet said...

I believe I've learned the most about God by being a parent. Many times I've thought to myself "that must be how God feels." It can be in a good way like when my heart is overflowing with love as I snuggle my sleeping child or when I feel hurt, rejected or disappointed by something my child does or says. I've often thought if I had known how hard it would be would I still have chosen to be a mom. I don't know. But, I've learned so much and had to lean on God so much through all the ups and downs. It's very humbling.

Shuquin said...

Hi Glynnis I am still trying 2 know God, read His Word, & learn how 2 forgive myself & others. But I can say that I have seen God work in my favor I was told by a woman of Christ "those that's speaking against you will be speaking for you cause God is able 2 do all things" & I saw that happen 2 1/2 yrs ago in court. I was going back & fourth 2 gain total custody of my daughter Trinity, due 2 my past of being addicted 2 drugs my baby couldn't come home with me from the hospital. So DYFS intervened & said " Ms. Sneed due to your past with drugs & u not having your other children, we can't allow this baby 2 go home with u". So back & fourth 2 court I went & I stayed strong cause God strengthened me everyday & I refuse 2 give up. And God was working in that courtroom & I saw with my owns eyes the lawyer for DYFS & the rest of them that was on the opposite side of me (against me) didn't know who they were up against. Cause God know & knew me & how strong my desire was 2 not use drugs & on August 14 2009 the judge gave my baby back 2 me glory to God!!!!!!! So I know who, what, & all that He can do I need 2 be more involved with Him, I yearn 2 hear His voice, 2 be filled up with the Holy Spirit, a discerning spirit. All those things that God want me 2 have & then some. So I believe that this package that your offering will be great 4 me, but if I can't win it I will purchase it. If God wants me 2 be the proud owner then I will be that.

Cory said...

About five years ago, I taught a Wednesday night class to elementary school kids at our church. The program we used was about God's attributes. Though I had been a follower of Jesus for many years, I had never studied His attributes before, and believe me, it changed my life! As I focused on one attribute each week, I began to know God like I had never known Him before, to get closer to His heart and understand what was important to Him. It changed my Christian walk from being "me- centered" to "God-centered" - it blew my mind to realize I hadn't been God-centered before. I'm so grateful for that class, because it was just the beginning of my journey into the heart of God.

Colleen said...

I really enjoyed your devotional today. It is a wonderful perspective on relationship with Jesus. It shows a new way to attempt to understand God and to have a real relationship with Him. I have been needing a new way to focus to help me improve my relationship with Jesus, and to understand God's purpose for me in my life. The guideline of trying to think about how Jesus would think about circumstances within my own life gives me a new tool to understand His character. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to receive your book.

Brian, Michelle and Teagan said...

Thank you so much for your inspiring devotions and blog! I came to know God after a 20 year absence that began when I went to college and began traveling the world. I was living life according to my plans and my "perfect" type A timeline when I was brought to my knees via miscarriages and years of infertility, my husband loosing his job and a difficult cross-country move. I see so clearly now that those events brought me back to Jesus' arms and even closer than ever before. I still have so much to learn, so much to do in his name but for the first time I feel an authentic, close relationship with my Lord. I praised him in the storm and have marveled at the blessings he has given our family which surpassed anything I could have ever planned or asked for.

Leslie said...

I don't really know where to begin. I have always felt God in my heart, but as a child was not allowed to attend church. Well very seldom anyways. I am 39 years old and have just begun my relationship with God. In just a few short months he has done amazing things in my life. I am now part of 2 churches. I attend 1 where I am involved in 2 groups that support recovery from Hurts, Habits, and Hangups through the Bible. The other is my home church. I am on the set up committee, teach in the Kid's Ministry, and attend the second session for my soul. Also, I am involved in a woman's group there that does reading on a woman's place in life (marriage, single, any aspect). As soon as I found the Lord I jumped in with both feet. I have been baptized and crave a closer relationship with Him. It would take a small chapter book to tell all the ways he has already worked in my life. I am a new person, and continue to be improved every day. He has brought me through many difficult and heart-wrenching obstacles already. I ask of Him and He has yet to let me down. I praise Him daily throughout the day. My sister, a nonbeliever, told me in a not so nice way that I have changed so much since just this summer. My answer was "thank you, praise God." That completely opened up a conversation about Him with her. She has not yet opened her heart and mind, but seeds were definitely planted. I have brought the Lord into her home to my nieces. I have helped get a friend sober for the first time in 14+ years.I have faced the death of 2 loved ones without extreme sadness. I have rejoiced that they are now in the Lord's home. Both occurred during the "holiday season" from right before Christmas to New Year's Eve. Both were young, 7 and 18. I have faced the man of my life leaving and finding someone new, also during the "holiday season." I was baptized within a month of starting church. I was baptized in September. See what I mean by He has done so much in my life in such a short period of time. Before Him I suffered great depression, even suicidal. I have endured all these tragedies without a single thought of walking away from Him. Instead I crave Him more. He has prepared me for each situation, and has given me the strength, knowledge, and peace through it all. There is so much more I could tell, but like I said it would be a short chapter book. I find myself praying when I didn't even realize I was praying at first. I pray throughout the day about many issues and people. I even multitask pray- I find myself praying while completing another task. I invite Him into work with me before I enter the door. I will never leave Him as He will never leave me!!!! Thank you Lord for freewill to make the mistakes I made that lead me to you with the desire I have for you. Thank you Lord for my mind to learn your words, my ears to hear them, my mouth to speak them, and my heart to feel them. Thank you Lord. My life is Yours. Show me Your will. In Jesus name, Amen.

Leslie Underwood- underwoodlala@bellsouth.net

Anonymous said...

I find when I listen to God's voice I need to have a very intimate time with Him. Though sometimes He will just speak, and give me a warning or a direction. I need to be open to what my heavenly Father is saying. I need to act in obedience. He also encourages me and builds me up, knowing my heart in a situation.

Joanna said...

Talking to God as a close friend, no reservations, no expectations, and not trying to find the perfect words, has opened up a new closeness with Jesus, my friend. Rather than being focused on presenting myself to Him in the "right way," I have learned to open up my heart with all of its frailties and imperfections, and He has responded beautifully.

Sandy Cooper said...

This post and your P31 Devo were outstanding. There were so many things that stood out to me. I just want to thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts on all of this.

Sandy Cooper

natalie said...

Your blog has truly been a blessing to me! I am praying that not only will I be drawn closer to my Heavenly Father this year, but I will learn to "be still" and HEAR His voice.

much love

Anonymous said...

Hi Glynnis,

God is using my chronological bible readings, the online devotionals I receive in my inbox each morning (like Proverbs 31!), and the sermons our pastors preach at church each week to give me insight into knowing and understanding our Lord better.

There have been many times when each of those have the same underlying message. That's when I know God is trying to get my attention about something! :)


M & C said...

Thank you for this post. I've been missing having a close girl-friend lately. And reading your post made me wonder if it's not a girl-friend God is putting on my heart but Jesus. I love Jesus deeply but I can't say I know Him as much anymore...I became an adult. What has helped me are the truths you wonderful ladies share with all of us. I'm fairly bright but I tell you, when it comes to spiritual stuff and changing my heart and transforming my mind, I need repetition, repetition, repetition. What a blessing to have the truth in my inbox every day. Thank you for the blessing of you ministry!

Terri said...

Thank you for your devotional. I just read it last night and re-read it this morning. I really touched me and got me thinking, would I recognize Jesus? I want to. I want to be so close to Him and cherish Him so much that everything I do revolves around Him. I want to sense Him in the room before I ever see Him or hear Him. Thank you for helping me to realize that. I pray God bless you and your ministry.

Jess said...

You have captured my heart's cry...to Know JESUS.
And yet I've let the things of the world and even my ministry crowd out my devotion. How can this be?
What a wretched woman I am.

I've been physically sick (and emotionally distraught) and unable to attend church since Dec.26th Your post helped me realize how much I've missed worship.
WORSHIP is where I have come to know HIM...His Love, His Grace, His Mercy, His Awesome Touch upon my heart.
"I'm coming back to the heart of worship, because it's ALL about You JESUS."

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful description of how to know Him better! I have become closer to God through trials - in my weakness, He is strong! Cindy E at ceddins965@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I get a little confused on all this. I would love to know Jesus better, but I have such a hard time with it all. He keeps giving promises in the
Bible, but we don't seem to be the recipients of his promises. I keep praying, they keep going unanswered. I keep trying to have faith, but things keep getting worse. I keep trying to have a positive attidue, but then everything goes wrong. I am at my wits end. Does God really care? Nanci @ kelbla@aol.com