I recently read the following quote from Thomas Edison…
We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.
Conversely… He (God) knows everything. – 1 John 3:20 (ESV).
This week in our staff devotional time we read and discussed the following quotes and scriptures regarding omniscience (all-knowing) of God. I encourage you to meditate on these verses and ask yourself, “how do these truths about God affect how I live?”
A.W. Tozer wrote, “God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, …all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desire, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell.
Because God knows all things perfectly, He knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things equally well. He never discovers anything, He is never surprised, never amazed. He never wonders about anything nor (except when drawing men out for their own good) does He seek information or ask questions.” (A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, NY: Harper, 1987, pp.62-63).
“He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.” – Job 28:24
“His understanding is infinite.” – Psalm 147:5
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God…” – Deuteronomy 29:29
“He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.” – Daniel 2:22
“In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Colossians 2:3
“To Him belong counsel and understanding.” – Job 12:13
“He knows the secrets of the heart.” – Psalm 44:21
“For I know the things that come into your mind.” – Ezekiel 11:5 (ESV)
“Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” – Matthew 6:8
“The LORD know the thoughts of man, that they are a mere breath.” – Psalm 94:11
“For I know the plans that I have for you, ‘declares the LORD,’ plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
To begin today’s devotional, we discuss the difference between the universal presence of God and the manifest presence of God.
“The Presence (of God) and the manifestation of the Presence are not the same. There can be the one without the other. God is here when we are wholly unaware of it. He is manifest only when and as we are aware of His Presence. On our part there must be surrender to the Spirit of God, for His work it is to show us the Father and the Son. If we co-operate with Him in loving obedience God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face” – A.W. Tozer
Read through the following collection of scriptures and quotes on the Presence of God. Reflect on the ones that jump out at you. Consider what attitudes and actions you might need to alter in order to be more aware of God’s Presence on a consistent basis.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16
“Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” – Psalm 16:11
“In Him we live and move and have our being” – Acts 17:28
His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service. – Baptist Faith and Message
We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. – C. S. Lewis
I want the presence of God Himself, or I don’t want anything at all to do with religion… I want all that God has or I don’t want any. – A. W. Tozer
Don’t equate the presence of God with a good mood or a pleasant temperament. God is near whether you are happy or not. – Max Lucado
You can have all of your doctrines right—yet still not have the presence of God. – Leonard Ravenhill
We cannot enter into the presence of God while we are rebelling against God. – A. W. Tozer
The most holy and necessary practice in our spiritual life is the presence of God. That means finding constant pleasure in His divine company, speaking humbly and lovingly with him in all seasons, at every moment, without limiting the conversation in any way. – Brother Lawrence
We (Christians) are always in the presence of God. There is never a non-sacred moment! His presence never diminishes. Our awareness of His presence may falter, but the reality of His presence never changes. – Max Lucado
The true meaning of existence is disclosed in moments of living in the presence of God. – Abraham Joshua Heschel
Joy is not necessarily the absence of suffering, it is the presence of God. – Sam Storms
What if all it took to bring us to our knees and to ignite our affections was the Word opened and the presence of God? What if that was enough for us? What if it didn’t take a great band to evoke that kind of response from us in worship? What if His presence – His Word opened – what if it was enough? – David Platt
Sometimes the very presence of God is barred by our presuppositions and our intense and constant desire for triumph. – Ravi Zacharias
If you find a reluctanc to go into the presence of God, there may be unconfessed, unrepented sin in your life. Part of your quiet time is to get your heart clean and pure. Each of us needs to take ourselves by the nape of our necks and confess and repent before we come into God’s holy presence to fellowship. – Adrian Rogers
Prayer is the window that God has placed in the walls of our world. Leave it shut and the world is a cold, dark house. But throw back the curtains and see His light. Open the window and hear His voice. Open the window of prayer and invoke the presence of God in your world. – Max Lucado
The real crisis of worship today is not that the preaching is paltry or that it’s too drafty in church. It is that people have no sense of the presence of God, and if they have no sense of His presence, how can they be moved to express the deepest feelings of their souls to honor, revere, worship, and glorify God? – R. C. Sproul
If the presence of God is in the church, the church will draw the world in. If the presence of God is not in the church, the world will draw the church out. – Charles Grandison Finney
A man who knows that he lives in sin against God will not be inclined to come daily into the presence of God. – Jonathan Edwards
The real issue relating to exclusiveness is whether or not the Christian actually has a relationship with God, a presence of God, which non-Christians do not have. Apart from Christian spiritual formation as described here, I believe there is little value in claiming exclusiveness for the Christian way. – Dallas Willard
The Christian life is to live all of your life in the presence of God. – R. C. Sproul
If we rely on anything else besides faith to maintain the practice of the presence of God, we will certainly fail, whether this is our feelings, or experiences, or sincerity, or good intentions, or reasonings, or plans. The reason these things will fail while faith will not fail is that all these things depend on us, while faith depends on God. It is a gift of God. – Peter Kreeft
When we are enjoying the conscious presence of God, we are fulfilling the tenets of our salvation. – A. W. Tozer
Only when we are captured by an overwhelming sense of awe and reverence in the presence of God, will we begin to worship God in spirit and in truth. – Alistair Begg
There is a strain of loneliness infecting many Christians, which only the presence of God can cure. – A. W. Tozer
Nothing in or of this world measures up to the simple pleasure of experiencing the presence of God. – A. W. Tozer
Peace comes not from the absence of trouble, but from the presence of God. – Alexander MacLaren
Most theists are deists most of the time, in practice if not in theory. They practice the absence of God instead of the presence of God. – Peter Kreeft
God has blessed Mars Hill with an incredible team of men and women who love Jesus – the risen, reigning, and returning King. Together, we passionately pursue Him as we work to see the Great Commission fulfilled. Together, we study the Scriptures. We embrace and celebrate the mystery of faith and the magnificence of our AWESOME God. And we long for our Savior’s return, when we will know fully as we are fully known.
The Holy Spirit has breathed unique wisdom, discernment and gifts for service into each member of our staff. That said, we are delighted to commence a new series of devotionals, in which each member of our staff will be sharing insights from their inimitable journey with our Father.
We hope that God’s redemptive work in our lives will resonate with what He’s doing in yours.
Today’s Devotional is from team member, Horace Compton. Horace is serving Mars Hill as a Ministry Partnering Associate.
My devotional is anchored in 3 scriptures: 1) Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” 2) Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” 3) Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
As I looked at a panoramic view of my life in my mind, I saw that I was blessed to be born into a Christian family where I was introduced to Christ as a child and was baptized. Since that time I have worshiped and served Him wherever life’s journey has taken me.
As a child, I experienced the loss of several close family members which was difficult for me. At the age of 13, I learned about the power of prayer when my older sister went into cardiac arrest during surgery. The doctors were able to revive her after she had gone without oxygen for several minutes, but she remained in a coma with repeated episodes of convulsions for an entire week. The prognosis was that she most likely would not survive, but if by some miracle she did survive, she would certainly be brain damaged. My family and I, our church family, and other Christians who knew of her situation prayed fervently for her. She eventually awakened from the coma with no brain damage and no recollection of what she had been through. Today, she is still alive at the age of 79, living a comfortable life as a retired 4th-grade teacher.
When I became a young adult, I saw God deliver me from myself, once while I was in college and again when I was in the Navy. In spite of my failed initial attempt at college, God allowed me to eventually earn 2 degrees, a B.S. and a Masters. While in the Navy, I successfully completed Communication School, with a Top Secret security clearance because of the sensitive nature of the work I was doing. I was stationed in San Francisco and was really having a “good time.” Then I received a call from home that my mother was seriously ill and I should come home right away if possible. I went home and discovered that her condition was much worse than I thought. She was terminally ill with breast cancer and had only been given a short time to live. WOW!
After an extensive letter writing campaign between her physicians and the Navy, I was awarded a Hardship Discharge under Honorable conditions with all benefits in place and no reserve duty required. Five months later, at the age of 54, my mother passed away after experiencing horrific pain and suffering that was extremely difficult to watch. If my family was looking for a reason to be angry with God, this was it. But, we were not angry because – The Lord giveth and The Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21b).
Two years later, after having taken a woman I loved dearly, the Lord sent another woman into my life whom I have loved dearly for the past 40 years, my wife. During this 40 year period, my wife was pregnant 6 times, experiencing 4 miscarriages, 1 full-term baby born with a birth defect who lived 21 days in the NICU at Hermann Hospital, and my daughter who now, at the age of 33, is a board certified OB/GYN. We also have an adopted son who is a graphic designer.
All of these experiences have left this song in my heart – “Through It All” by Andre Crouch.
( Listen as Horace shares the song with us!)
In closing, five year ago, I met Doug (another staff member) at the tennis court and now, a new journey has begun. So, whatever the trials are that we may experience here at Mars Hill, all we have to do is remember those 3 scriptures I shared at the beginning to Trust, Wait, and Know.
A primary strategy of Satan: the perversion of good.
Lesson 16 from The HOPE Study Guide
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said,’ You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’ And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
– Genesis 3:1–5
And so it was one day as Eve was walking in the garden near the tree of knowledge that Satan spoke to her. She was without fear, for fear had not yet come into the world. Satan asked her about the forbidden fruit. He questioned God’s warning and His motive toward man. Eve listened and began to doubt God. She considered the fruit and ate. Then she gave the fruit to Adam, and he ate. And immediately, they were aware of their nakedness and they were ashamed.
– The HOPE, Chapter 3
Observe & Consider
The section of The HOPE we are now considering is described in greater detail in Genesis 3. Notice from the Bible passage above that Satan appeared to Eve and spoke to her as a serpent. Yet Eve, unlike you or I might be, was not frightened by this serpent. Let’s consider why that might have been.
First, up to this point in God’s story we see no indication that fear even exists in the world God has created. The first recorded manifestation of fear is in Genesis 3:10, after Adam had disobeyed God. And from Genesis 9:2 we might conclude that up until that time, animals did not fear man (or at least their fear of man was minimal). Imagine the mindset of Eve at this time, never having encountered anything in the world that would evoke fear in her!
Secondly, let’s consider the way in which Satan presents himself. The word that is translated as serpent in the Genesis passage comes from the Hebrew word nachash1, which literally means, “shining one.” Ezekiel 28:12-18 describes Satan as an exceptionally beautiful creature. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” From these verses it is evident that evil does not always appear to be evil. Continue reading →
Two approaches to God – works and grace
Lesson 11 from The HOPE Study Guide
And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… And the Lord God commanded the man saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.
– Genesis 2: 9, 16-17
In the middle of the garden, there were two trees. One was the tree of life, the other, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam he could eat from any tree in the garden, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he must not eat, for when he does he will surely die.
– The HOPE, Chapter 2
Observe & Consider
Thus far in God’s story, we’ve witnessed much drama, but no conflict. God created Adam and Eve and placed them in a beautiful garden where they had all they needed. But two trees stood in the midst of the garden. One tree yielded life, the other death; first a spiritual death, and ultimately a physical death.
Bible scholars throughout history have considered the meaning of these two trees. Most agree that the trees represent two entirely different ways of relating to God and life.1 The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is thought to represent man’s attempt to be fulfilled, and rightly related to God, through his own effort – often by acquiring knowledge and trying to do what is right in His own eyes. The Bible says the end of this approach is death.2
However, the tree of life is, according to theologian John Calvin, a reminder to man that “he lives not by his own power, but by the kindness of God; and that life is not an intrinsic good, but proceeds from God.” 3 The tree of life represents the life–giving favor which flows from God – favor we do not merit and cannot earn, but can only receive in humility and thanksgiving. Continue reading →
A scientific case for creation.
Lesson 8 from The HOPE Study Guide
According to His story, God spoke all of creation into existence. By His Word He made everything out of nothing… According to His story, God created the heavens, the earth, and every living thing in six days.
– The HOPE, Chapter 1
OBSERVE & CONSIDER
Even among those who believe that the world was created by God, there are different interpretations of the creation account found in the Bible. However, among the predominant Biblical views there is also agreement on many key concepts. After reading the preceding excerpt from The HOPE video, let’s consider a few of these concepts.
First, because God is all powerful, not limited by anything, He can create however He chooses, even simply by speaking. This concept is clearly presented in the Bible:
“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)
“…by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed.” (2 Peter 3:5)
Secondly, God made everything that is, out of nothing. Think about that. When we humans create, we must utilize or draw upon things that existed before us. When we “create” we are really “re-creating.” But God, who created from nothing, is creative in the ultimate sense: Continue reading →
The Watchmaker Theory – Evidence of a Designer.
Lesson 7 from The HOPE Study Guide
Observe & Consider
In our previous lesson we examined a few of God’s many attributes, each one referenced by one or more Bible verses. As we continue our study, we will now consider what the Bible has to say about God and His creation. But before we do, let’s look briefly at a page from history.
In 1794 British theologian and philosopher William Paley published a book entitled, A View of the Evidence of Christianity. That book was required reading at Cambridge University for more than 100 years. But in 1802, Paley published another book for which he became even more widely known. It was titled, Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature. In this book Paley argued that a supernatural God could best be understood by examining evidence from the natural world. His image of the watchmaker has become one of the most famous metaphors in the philosophy of science. Although written over 200 years ago, it bears repeating here. (You may find the language a bit stilted, but hang in there!)
In crossing a field, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there; I might possibly answer, that, for any thing I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever… But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground… I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, that, for any thing I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone?… For this reason…that, when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive (what we could not discover in the stone) that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e. g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day [etc.]…This mechanism being observed…the inference, we think, is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker…Continue reading →
What the Bible says about God.
Lesson 6 from The HOPE Study Guide
Before there was anything, before time or space or physical matter, there was God…One who is far beyond our ability to fully comprehend or describe. Through His story, we find that God is Spirit without a beginning or an end. He is complete within Himself, lacking in nothing. He is all knowing and all wise. He is perfect in every way. He is not limited by anything.
– The HOPE, Chapter 1
Observe & Consider
The first week of our study presented evidence that the Bible is the most trustworthy reference point in all the world for understanding reality. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself, and it reveals truth about God in two ways. One way is by demonstration: recording God’s action and interaction with the world and humankind. Another way is by declaration: making direct statements or claims about the nature and character of God.
Consider the following Bible verses that support the excerpt from The HOPE quoted above.
• Before There Was Anything, There Was God
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)
• God Is Beyond Our Ability to Fully Comprehend
“Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:3) “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33)
• God Is Spirit
“God is spirit…” (John 4:24)
• God Is Eternal – He Has No Beginning or End
“Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” (Psalm 90:2) “…And Your years will not come to an end.” (Psalm 102:27) “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” – Deuteronomy 29:29 NASB
Are you an information junkie? Where does checking the news (financial, sports, political, etc.) fit into your daily routine? Do you have a need to know things you don’t really need to know? Do you have a need to know why God has brought (or allowed) something into your life before you can embrace it? Do have a need to know why before you follow the instructions of someone in authority over you, be it God or man? Do you tend to over plan and over prepare before moving forward?
The Bible has a great deal of positive things to say about being sober minded, diligent and wise as we walk in this world. But there is a difference between counting the cost (which is encouraged in the Bible – Luke 14:28) and trusting in what we can count rather than trusting in God.
In 1 Chron. 21:1, we read that “Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.” Satan exploited David’s “need to know”. But “God was displeased with this thing, so He struck Israel.” – 1Chron. 21:7. A census is not evil in and of itself, but in this situation, it was the how and why of the census that resulted in God’s anger toward David.
First, the instructions for numbering the people were given in Exodus 30:12. David did not follow those instructions. Second, David’s census was a violation of ownership. A person only has the right to inventory what he owns. You can’t go into your neighbor’s house and count his possessions without his permission. By taking this census, David was saying, these are my people. He is not acknowledging God’s ownership of the people. He counted them as if they were his. And finally, David’s census reveals that he was not trusting in God. Counting men was a king’s way to determine the size of his army. But it revealed that David was depending on human strength rather than on God. David’s census was rooted in unbelief, and the consequences were disastrous. God sent a plague which killed 70,000 men.
Satan also spoke to Eve’s “need to know”. In Genesis 3:2-5 we read that “The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden (the tree of the knowledge), God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! ’For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”
Of course, we are all personally familiar with the result of that event. Eve acted on her innate “need to know” and sin entered the world, infecting mankind and bringing death to this very day.
Do you have a need to know things that you really don’t need to know . . . things that really belong to God? Spare yourself (and others) the grief. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” – Isaiah 26:3
Some Key Take-aways by the staff:
1. It is one thing (& perfectly ok) to ask God, “why?” It is another thing to have to know before you can trust Him!
2. Parents can play a key role in how easy or difficult it is to superintend our need to know. As we are lead through early life by our parents, having to trust them without all the knowledge that they have, as they guide us, it builds our character for trusting and following God the Father.
3. Perhaps the ultimate purpose of knowledge is to bring us to the end of ourselves so that we can rely solely on God.
The ark of the covenant; a chest of acacia wood, 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches deep. It contained the tables of the law, the pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod (Heb. 9:4). The lid of the ark was the place where God’s presence was manifested. During the days of Samuel, the Israelites took the ark from Shiloh into battle and lost it to the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:3-4; 10-11). In 1 Chronicles 13 and 2 Samuel 6 we read of David’s attempt to bring the ark from the land of the Philistines to Jerusalem.
What begins with seemingly good intentions ends with disaster. One of David’s men is struck dead by God when he tries to keep the ark from falling off a cart, and David becomes so angry about the matter that he just leaves the ark with a nearby family and returns to Jerusalem without it. What went wrong?
Counsel without Wisdom – David’s first step was to consult every leader in Israel regarding the matter. “Then David consulted with the captains of the thousands and the hundreds, even with every leader” (1Ch 13:1). But David did not seek God, or search the scriptures concerning the thing he was about to do. Apart from God there is no wisdom, even in a “multitude of counselors” (Proverbs 24:6).
Praise without Power – Then David further masked over his error by staging a huge praise event around the return of the ark. “David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, even with songs and with lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals and with trumpets” (1Ch 13:8). According to 2 Sam.6:1, there were over thirty thousand men involved in the event! God is not impressed with pomp and ceremony. God looks at the heart. Quoting from Isaiah 29:13, Jesus said in Matt 15:8, “These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Continue reading →