Knowing God

Above all other urgencies facing the human condition, there is none so great today or at any other point in time as knowing God. This experience of knowing God is not a one-time encounter or intellectual knowledge only, but is at the very heart of our Christian message, that God has made himself available to engage with mankind in a deep intimate relationship with every individual in a way which is entirely personal and totally transforming.

The root of all our problems is not that God has forsaken us or is not interested in our situation, but rather we have not known God sufficient to allay our fears and abide in His Eternal Presence. In losing sight of God we in fact lose sight of who we are, for we are no less than made in the image of God, to not know the Lord, is to not know ourselves, or His purpose for our lives.

God is Eternal, unchanging in nature, He cannot be anything other than who He has always been, is now, and will always be. God is Spirit. God is beautifully perfect, ever creative, totally loving and consistently kind. What God does He does not do out of need, or ambition, or with anything to prove. He is supremely confident in who He is. God is Holy, and He is light. God is perfection personified, and God is love.

Whatever God does is more than work, it is the expression of Himself upon a world He created for His glory and for His pleasure. Rev 4:11 Unlike man, He is not work oriented, but chooses to reveal Himself because it is His Heart to lavish upon us the full measure of His own kindness and love, attracting us to Himself that we may enjoy together a relationship with Him without fear but in the perfection of love and oneness.

God does not relate to us on the basis of our own intellect or understanding, but rather on the basis of faith, that we choose to believe that He is who He says He is. This venture into the knowledge of God should be at the heart of all our endeavours and the reason for our motivation. God wants our hearts, because He wants us to know His.

In the world in which we live today, we do not need more programs or even more churches so much as we need more of God himself. For in our efforts to bring change to others, we ourselves must first be changed. But more than this to be continually changed from glory to glory, reaching a place of complete abandon of all self and importance, to a place at the Master’s feet listening to His Voice, and drinking from His Eternal Spring. We must become less that He can become more. No human effort will ever succeed on its own, only that which comes from the place of intimacy and abiding in Him can produce the fruit which is necessary and for which the Father as the Gardening seeks.

There is a radical rebuilding necessary to the infrastructure of our lives and our ministries, for in our busyness lies our peril. We need Time Out. To journey into our promised land is not possible any other way. We cannot arrive to where we need to be through human effort, planning, wisdom and strategy alone. Ultimately, it is only God who can take us there, and He will do so when we have abandoned ourselves into the unknowing ways of God, yet trusting in His consistent nature that He is able.

Without a deep and intimate knowledge of God, is like navigating the seas of life without a compass. For God is our true North. When we know God, we are filled with the life of God, and the joy that comes from being in His presence. When we know somebody really well, we come to know what they are thinking, what they would say or do in a given situation, and what their desires are. We would know what they like and what they don’t, and whether the person can be trusted or not.

This is extremely important in our approach to all that we do. For we must know the mind and heart of God as He reveals himself to us. For without revelation we are unable to move beyond our current perspective, situation or limitations, but it is into the unknown that we must go, for it is here that God is leading us, and so we must hear His voice, and know His ways. This knowledge is a privilege yet available through the ongoing abiding life in His presence.

And so as Time Out Mission International, where does our journey begin? We are a movement and believe we have a vital call to the world today, to seek God that we may know Him, and that in knowing Him, we may know ourselves, who we are, and our place within His Eternal Purpose. There is a song in Heaven that beats to a different rhythm to the one many are currently hearing. We must learn to see things from a different perspective, from a higher perspective, from Heaven’s perspective.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? John 14:9

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 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. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Php 3:8-12

Jer 9:23,24 This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.

Jer 31:34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Hos 6:3 Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

2 Cor 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

Heb 8:11 No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

Matt 7:23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Rom 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

Eph 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Ps 27:8 When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

If we know God, then we will have learnt to hear His voice John10:4. His voice is like no other voice, it can be like thunder, or a still small voice like a whisper in the wind Ps 29

“Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. John 12:28,29

After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:12

Like Elijah we may have witnessed mighty manifestations of the power of God, or indeed long for such manifestations to visit us again, but the Lord was not in the wind, or the earthquake or the fire. It was not the manifestation of His power that moved Elijah or what he needed, but the small still voice of God that touched his soul deeper than any other thing could. This is where we can find ourselves today, in a culture which can long for the manifest power of God more than the manifest presence of God. We must afford ourselves no comfort or self sufficiency hiding behind the external demonstrations of God’s power, for if we cannot hear the voice of God, we are not His sheep and do not know God the way that we should.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 We have said that God is continually expressive. Expression is communication, and the ultimate expression of the nature of God himself is through Jesus, described here in John’s Gospel as the Word. Jesus is the expression of God to the world that we may know Him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (Heb 1:3) The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Col 1:15). And so in Christ and through Christ we see God, and are able to know God. It is through and only through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ that we are truly able to see and to hear. It is by the inner pilgrimage of our soul it the pursuit of God, that the clutter and noise which pre-occupy our minds and hearts so much are stilled, and we discover the journey within leads us into the very presence of God. As the psalmist writes “Be still and know that I am God” Ps 46:10

As we take the journey into the nature and revelation of God, we are treading on Holy ground. And if we should find ourselves there in the holy of holies, then we have no further place to go, and would desire that we stay there forever, except that we would also hear the voice of God, like Isaiah who after seeing the Lord in His temple, heard His voice calling “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isa 6:8

This is the always the process of God. We cannot come unless He first draw us John 6:44, but He will draw us to Himself first, that we may first be with Him, which is our qualification that we should be sent out from Him. For He cannot send anyone unless they first have His heart and know His voice. Time and again we see this process, not least in our Lord’s disciples. “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach” Mark 3:13,14 First to be with Jesus, then to send out to preach. Preach what? To preach what they heard whilst in His presence. Similarly, in Acts, after the healing of the lame man, Peter and John had been arrested and questioned by the elders, rulers and teachers of the law, and astonished by what Peter and John replied to their questioning, they made the connection that Peter and John were unschooled ordinary men, but they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13)

And so as Time Out Mission, we are calling the church, His bride to rediscover the ancient pathways and rekindle a flame of passion for intimacy with God. The world needs men and women who know God deeply. Whose lives have been set on fire with a holy flame, who like Isaiah, like Peter and John and so many others like a cloud of witnesses who have come through the veil of unknowing, and found themselves in the conscious and tangible presence of Almighty God. This is our first call, to know God and make Him known.

From this place of abiding, we can hear the song of heaven, and harmonise to its rhythm. We can indeed hear the message flowing from the very heart of God. It is the most precious thing in all the world to be awakened by the whisper of God, to come into realisation, that in this generation today, God is looking for those who like heralds, will run with the message of His Eternal Purpose. The purpose which was set into motion, long before He ever spoke into the darkness “Let there be light”, and long before redemption ever became necessary, is there to be seen in plain view within His Word.

It is this Eternal Purpose that we have longingly searched the scriptures to find, and have been awakened to by God’s sovereign grace. We are not the first, and will not be the last to come into this revelation, for the Spirit has from eternity past been singing this song, and the revelation is there to be found by anyone who will enter into the mystery that is God. And so we make no claim or boast, only a fearful awareness that we are carrying the message of His heart, yet must proclaim it as loudly as we can, as often as we can, as far as we can.