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Beyond Understanding

Beyond Understanding

As human beings, we are naturally curious. We like to know things and understand them. But is our ability to understand everything essential for spiritual growth and the development of spiritual gifts? No. In fact, a sign of spiritual maturity is an acceptance that there will always be things that are beyond our understanding.

Job 36:26 (NIV) How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.

A willingness to not understand is a sign of humility.

God knows everything, we do not. It’s good to remember that Gods ways and His thoughts are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). It’s also good to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3). Humility is more necessary for spiritual growth than understanding is.

Humility is equally required in our spiritual gifts. Even when Father reveals something to us, we only get a part of the picture or story.

1 Corinthians 13:9 (NIV) For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

A willingness to not understand is a sign of trust. 

Proverbs 3:5 (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Completely understanding something often eliminates the need for having to trust in someone. God wants us to trust in Him completely, yet too often our greater trust can be in our ability to understand something.

When it comes to receiving a prophetic word from God for someone, we don’t always understand what it means. This can be a scary step of faith, because if we had a little more understanding, we could be a bit more confident. But the truth is, these are the very times when our trust in God is to be greater than our trust in our understanding.

If there is an item of technology that you completely understand and you know from experience it works, your confidence is in the item. However, if you don’t understand an item and you don’t know if it works, your trust in it is connected to who tells you about it. If you trust the person, you can trust the item.

When God speaks, we can trust Him completely. If we don’t understand what He says, we can still trust in Him because He is always trustworthy.

A willingness to not understand keeps us from distraction.

Many people have spent many hours trying to understand something. While understanding in and of itself is not a wrong pursuit, the problem is when the time given and the thing pursued is taking you away from time with Father and what He wants to show you.

When the disciples asked Jesus about the times and seasons, He redirected them to His present commission to be His witnesses (Acts 1:6-8). If the disciples had stayed focused on what they wanted to understand, they would have been off track with what Jesus was initiating.

It’s important to note that the disciples weren’t asking a question about something grievous to God. The question itself and the desire to understand the times and seasons was not wrong, but it was not Jesus’ focus at that moment. Their ability to move beyond understanding did not distract them from the powerful day of Pentecost and the birth of the early Church.

A willingness to not understand is an invitation into deeper intimacy.

Ephesians 1:17 (NIV) I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

When it comes to knowing God and walking with God, there will always be an element of mystery. There is both the reality that God is infinitely larger than our natural minds can ever comprehend, and the invitation to search for Him more intimately.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV) You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Finding God on deeper levels is not connected to natural understanding but to divine wisdom and revelation. This is about finding God in our heart and our spirit, not just in our minds. It is knowing Him as Abba Father. There is something beautiful about knowing someone, and because of what you know, your desire to know and love them further grows stronger over time.

A willingness to not understand is an invitation into deeper peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We often bring our requests to God because we do not understand something. Our way of doing things would be for God to give us the understanding to our requests and that peace would be the result of understanding. But this is so often not God’s way and it is for a very good reason.

If understanding is the ultimate goal of our prayers and it is the guaranteed outcome, our peace is attached to our understanding. But when we are growing deeper in intimacy with the One who loves us unconditionally and completely, our peace is found in Him and it is experienced even deeper in the absence of understanding.

Beyond Understanding

Job 37:5 (NIV) God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.

We should desire to know God better and to understand His ways more. But this understanding is a spiritual revelation from the Holy Spirit, not an accumulation of facts from studying books or from life experience.

So as we lean into God more and desire what is on His heart for us and for others through us, we are called to be faith-filled people who have a confidence in God and a willingness to live beyond our understanding.

End Times

A Word About The End Times

People love to speculate on the End Times. I have heard many opinions from different people. Some have fought for the truth of their convictions, while others hazard a guess at what might possibly be. Many predicted dates for the End Times that have since come and gone… and we are still waiting.

Does God have anything definitive to say about the End Times? Is there a prophetic word of encouragement for us all today?

While having my own devotional time with God recently, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to go to a certain scripture reference that I did not know by heart. In obedience, I turned to it and the following is where He led me. I believe it is God’s perspective for us about the End Times.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 NIV Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

God’s word to you for the End Times is “Live ready!” God is not going to make the date of Jesus return clear to any person. It is a mystery and it will remain a mystery. Our responsibility is not to work out when, but to live ready now.

When Jesus says “Come” are you ready to go? Here are three things the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Each point is relevant for every person that wants to be ready when Jesus triumphantly returns as King of kings and Lord of lords.

  1. Live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 is often quoted when it comes to receiving the Holy Spirit, and it is a very powerful verse. What is not often stated is the preceding verses which give the context to which Jesus spoke. Let’s take a look together.

Acts 1:6-8 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The disciples of Jesus wanted insight into the Father’s timeline of when certain things would happen. Jesus response is to be our focus today. In effect He said, “Don’t focus on trying to work out when my Father will do what He said He would do. Rather, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and through Him, be my witnesses all around the world.”

The instruction hasn’t changed. We are all called to live full of the Holy Spirit and to be witnesses of who Jesus is. The Father will do what He said He will do and He will do it in His time, but this is not to be our focus.

  1. Live with your bags packed.

When we go away to another place where we are going to stay for a while, we pack a bag. In it we take what we need for where we are going. We don’t pack things that we need in our present location. We pack what we need for our intended destination.

This life is not our final destination. Yes, God provides for our needs here on the earth, but they are physical things that we cannot take with us. They are important in this moment, but they are not the most important.

The things of the Spirit and the things of the Kingdom are most important. Doing the will of our Father now is what we are to pack into our bags for our ultimate destination. Living for the glory of God now is an item worth packing for eternity. Passionately loving God and selflessly serving people will also travel well – we should most definitely pack these!

Here’s what the Bible says:

Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 16:24-27 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

Is your focus on accumulating what you want for here and now, or is it on having what you need for all eternity?

  1. Live with your affairs in order.

We are called to live right with God. We are also called to live right with people. One of the things that empower both of these principles is our commitment to keep short accounts. 1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us to ‘keep no record of wrongs’. When it comes to relationships, don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today.

Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

2 Corinthians 6:2 For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.

We have today. In fact, the only guarantee we have is right now. Therefore, the focus of the One who holds the times in His hands and who knows the beginning and the end is for us to live ready now. Jesus is coming again – of that we have no doubt. When? Well, this is what Jesus said:

Matthew 24:36 But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Let God do what He said He will do, and let us do what He has called us to do. It’s time to live ready for the return of the King!

Just Three Words from Jesus

Just Three Words From Jesus

God is speaking all the time. He speaks in parables and stories, in statements and prophecies, in mysteries great and unsearchable. But Father also speaks with clarity and precision. And just three words that God speaks can be the very declaration that we need to hear right now.

We are all called to live a prophetic life. And the description of living a prophetic life is to hear God clearly and communicate Him accurately. But when we consider the prophetic, are we missing what God is saying because we are overlooking what God is placing right before us? Are we looking for a great and mighty prophecy and missing His voice because we mistakenly believe that the lengthier something is, the more impacting it will be?

Some of the most powerful moments in Jesus’ life were summed up in just three words. At the start of His ministry, Jesus finds Simon Peter and Andrew fishing, and with just three words His command changed the direction of their lives: “Come, follow me.” While being tempted in the wilderness, Jesus rebukes the enemy with just three words, “It is written” and uses the power of the Word to overcome temptation. When a man with leprosy comes to Jesus to ask if He will make him clean, Jesus says just three words, “I am willing” and then heals him. While the disciples are freaked out by the wild weather which has blown up on the lake, Jesus calms the storm with just three words, “Quiet! Be still.”

Upon the cross of Calvary, Jesus, who was giving up his perfect, sinless life for the salvation of humanity, says just three words, “It is finished.” Peter, wonderful impulsive Peter, who loved Jesus so much and yet who also disowned Him before He was crucified, was given his calling and purpose for life in just three words, “Feed my sheep.” And many of the simplest, yet most profound commands we hear from Jesus are summed up in three words: “Love one another”, “Remain in Me”, “Do not judge”, “Watch and pray,” “Do not worry”.

Focusing on just three words is not a principle to be followed or a rule to measure whether God is speaking or not. Jesus spoke for three chapters non-stop in Matthew when delivering the Sermon on the Mount. The entire Bible, all 66 books which are inspired by the Holy Spirit, is God speaking to us. It says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” The length of how many words God says to you in a particular moment is not the point. The point is that God is always speaking – through His Word, through the Holy Spirit, through other believers, through creation.

When it comes to hearing God’s voice, He will speak to us with exactly what we need. Never underestimate the power of what God is saying because of the length of the words or the vessel that it is delivered through. In fact, the simplicity of just three words can burn in your heart and come back to your mind time and time again when you need encouragement in your faith.

Whether it is three words, a paragraph, or a chapter – Father is always speaking. So, when the Holy Spirit whispers something to your heart, don’t discount it just because it appears simple. When a phrase is highlighted to you from the Bible, meditate and press in to hear His voice. When you receive a word of encouragement or a scripture from a friend, listen to what God is saying. Bigger is not always better. Longer is not always loftier. God knows best – let’s allow His Words to change our lives.