10 steps to Knowing God - sample pages

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  • The 10 Steps to Knowing God series is a ministry specifically designed to assist you in developing your relationship with God. It consists of:

    Paperback book *
    eBook *
    Chapter videos
    iphone App from iTunes *
    50 devotions *
    Website - www.10stepstoknowinggod.com
    (* Available early June 2012)

    This series will give you the tools and Biblical knowledge you need to assist you in personally knowing and connecting with God. It has been created for three kinds of people: those who’ve been Christians for a while yet still struggle to be intimate with God, brand new believers, and people who’ve decided to return to God.
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10 steps to Knowing God - sample pages

  1. 1. 10 Steps to Knowing God DFdevotions A discipleship guide to S P EADYdeveloping an intimate relationship with God RE -R for small groups and personal W- INT LO Liz Linssen PR N OT
  2. 2. DF Y S P EAD RE -RCopyright © 2012 by Liz Linssen W- INTNo part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form orby any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and LO Rrecording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, except asmay be expressly permitted in writing by the publisher. Requests for TPpermission should be addressed in writing toEquip Ministries, admin@equipm.org NOException: The first lesson only may be photocopied for small groupleaders and members while waiting for their own preordered copies.All rights reserved.Published in the United States of America byEquip Ministries978-0-9849601-0-1Author: Liz Linssenwww.10stepstoknowinggod.comAll scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from theHoly Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978,1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rightsreserved worldwide. www.zondervan.comThe “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered inthe United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
  3. 3. Contents Introduction .........................................................................11. KNOWING GOD ................................................................. 7 DF Y Can we really know God? ....................................................9 S P EAD Friendship with God ...........................................................17 RE -R God of love ......................................................................... 21 W- INT Benefits of knowing God ....................................................25 Daniel—man of courage .....................................................30 LO R Application questions .........................................................34 TP2. CHARACTER OF GOD ........................................................ 35 NO Faithfulness ........................................................................ 37 Fatherhood ......................................................................... 42 Goodness............................................................................ 45 Power ................................................................................. 49 David—man of confidence ................................................. 53 Application questions ......................................................... 573. GOD’S GRACE .................................................................. 59 What is grace? .................................................................... 61 Repentance ......................................................................... 65 Freedom from guilt .............................................................72 Making up for wasted years ............................................... 78 Rahab—woman of hope..................................................... 83 Application questions......................................................... 86 v
  4. 4. 4. NATURE OF FAITH ............................................................ 89 Faith in the unseen ............................................................. 91 Faith and action.................................................................. 96 Faith like a child ............................................................... 100 Faith and waiting ............................................................. 105 Joseph—man of faith........................................................ 110 Application questions ....................................................... 1165. LOVE OF GOD ............................................................... 117 Lavish love........................................................................ 119 Love without fear ............................................................123 Love through trials ........................................................... 129 Our greatest love .............................................................. 133 DF Y Mary and Martha—loved by Jesus .................................. 138 S P EAD Application questions ....................................................... 144 RE -R6. THE BIBLE ................................................................... 145 W- INT Flawless and reliable ......................................................... 149 LO R Foundation against storms................................................ 155 Spiritual food ................................................................... 160 TP Powerful ........................................................................... 166 NO Joshua—man of God’s Word ............................................ 169 Application questions ....................................................... 1747. DEVELOPING YOUR PRAYER LIFE ........................................ 175 God cares ......................................................................... 178 Believing and receiving .................................................... 184 Principles of prayer ........................................................... 191 Practicalities of prayer ......................................................208 Deborah—woman of prayer ............................................. 214 Application questions ....................................................... 2188. YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE .................................................... 219 Finding your purpose .......................................................223 Seeking first God’s kingdom .............................................229 Delighting in God .............................................................234 vi
  5. 5. Contents Fruitful faith ..................................................................... 239 Paul—man with purpose .................................................. 245 Application questions ....................................................... 2499. ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF DISCIPLESHIP ........................... 251 Becoming a disciple .......................................................... 253 Baptisms ........................................................................... 257 Laying on of hands .......................................................... 263 Resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment ................. 265 Gideon—man of small beginnings.................................... 271 Application questions ....................................................... 27610. FIVEFOLD ATHLETE PATTERN ............................................ 277 DF Y Introduction: Spiritual athletes ......................................... 279 S P EAD Attitude ............................................................................ 283 Strength training .............................................................. 288 RE -R Devotion........................................................................... 293 W- INT Perseverance ..................................................................... 299 LO R Nutrition ..........................................................................304 Application questions ....................................................... 310 TPEPILOGUE .......................................................................... 311 NOCONFIDENT OF YOUR SALVATION ........................................... 313FOR SMALL GROUP LEADERS .................................................. 319HELPFUL BIBLE VERSES ......................................................... 329ENDNOTES ......................................................................... 349 vii
  6. 6. Chapter One KNOWING GOD DF Y I will give them a heart to know me, that I am S P EAD the LORD. They will be my people and I will be their God (Jeremiah 24:7). RE -RI W- INT LO R grew up in a Catholic family, but although I knew the name of Jesus, I can honestly say that I never really knew Him. Growing TPup, I struggled with all kinds of things from depression and suicidalthoughts, to disordered eating and every sort of harmful addiction NOand habit. By the time I got to my first year of university, I had hitrock bottom and truly believe that if God had not intervened atthat time, I would never have made it out of that year alive. Butthankfully, He had bigger plans for me! Through a few separate people in my life, I ended up attendingan Evangelical Bible study/small group. It was through this groupthat I began to see Jesus as a living God, who loved me and wantedto participate in my life. He showed Himself to me through imme-diately answered prayers, the words and actions of others, and eventhrough a few small miracles. It was then, when I finally turned toHim that my life changed and I began to have hope for my future! It didn’t happen overnight, my transformation, but rather,God has been changing my heart and my life every day since the 7
  7. 7. day I gave up battling on my own and let Him take control of mylife. Life is never easy, but through His power, I have been able totriumph over the dark destructive issues of my past. He has givenme forgiveness for my sins, but also the strength to forgive otherswhose wounds hurt me so deeply growing up. Because of this free-dom, I now know what hope, joy, peace and true, unconditionallove feel like. Most of all, I am thankful to God for the heart he has put insideme for broken people—those who are still struggling with some ofthe same things that almost stole my life. It amazes me that God isso powerful, so loving, and so amazing, that he could take a bro-ken, empty life like mine, and not only restore it, but make it into DF Ysomething beautiful, something that can offer hope to others too. S P EAD I owe my life to God, and I believe with all my heart that He isthe Way, the Truth and the Life that every one of us is wandering RE -Rthrough life searching for. W- INT —Nicole LO R TP NO 8
  8. 8. Chapter 1: Knowing God DAY 1: CAN WE REALLY KNOW GOD? I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God (Ephesians 1:17 NLT). DF Y S P EADIf you’ve picked up this book and are reading these words, thenit’s because you’re interested or even hungry to know God. You’re RE -Rcurious to find out who God is and whether you’re able to follow W- INTHim. Perhaps you’re eager to find out what God’s will is in a par- LO Rticular area of your life, or perhaps you’re searching for His purposeand plan for you. If you fit into any of these categories, then keep TPreading! I pray that through this book, God will speak to you inall of those areas. NO 10 Steps to Knowing God was written for people just likeyou who desire to connect (or perhaps reconnect) with God. Sowhether you’re a brand new believer, or have been a Christian formany years, or even a prodigal who has decided to return to God,keep on reading. God desires that you truly understand His lovefor you and His purpose for your life, all of which are beyond yourexpectations and imagination! He wants you to know just howvaluable and precious you are to Him, and for you to experiencean intimate and real relationship with Him. So, if you’re ready, let’s begin this journey together learningwhat it means to develop a relationship with God and begin byconsidering that all-important question that everyone, at some pointin their lives, asks: is God real and if so, how can I know Him? 9
  9. 9. DOES GOD EXIST? Whoever we are and wherever we are from, we all at somepoint in our lives have pondered the universal question of God’sexistence and His relevance to our lives. Everyone has an opinionabout God. For some He is a distant, uncaring Being living in agalaxy far away; for others Someone who loves people discrimi-nately; still others question whether He exists at all. The Bible, onthe other hand, claims Him to be a loving God, existing as Father,Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit, and who cares for and speaksto His creation. So which of these opinions is true? Has God givenany clues about His existence? What does the Bible have to say onthat? Romans 1 verse 20 provides one answer: DF Y S P EAD For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature— RE -R have been clearly seen, being understood from what W- INT has been made, so that men are without excuse. LO R What this verse means is that God’s existence can be seen in TPthe beauty and wonder of nature all around us. In other words,through creation we see the fingerprint of God’s existence, which NOreveals His power and character. Creation is full of complexity andbeauty, science and intelligence, order and purpose, seasons andcolor. Could such a world and universe really come into existencepurely by some accidental Big Bang? Or is what we see and experi-ence every day the work of a great Designer? Let’s be honest, thereis so much more evidence that leans towards the latter versus theformer. For instance, scientists will readily tell you that the degree ofthe earth’s tilt has everything to do with the seasons and climate weexperience. Any significant change would bring ecological disasterupon us. So how did the earth arrive at the just the perfect anglein the first place? Surely, in light of all the scientific data and knowledge aroundtoday, it’s actually easier to believe that there is a great Designerwho exists than to believe there isn’t. This, according to the Bible, is 10
  10. 10. Chapter 1: Knowing Godenough evidence to understand that God does exist and something ofwhat His character is like. In other words, the wonder of the earth,the planets and all the galaxies are a huge neon arrow pointing toGod! Wherever we live and whatever our culture we are from, fromthe remote tribes in the Amazon rainforest to the high tech cities ofthe world, we all possess enough knowledge and “evidence” throughGod’s handiwork to appreciate His existence and therefore seekHim. We really are, as Romans 1 says, without excuse. 1. Why do you believe in God? What evidence for you exists which points towards His existence? DF Y S P EAD RE -R W- INT But that’s not all. History confirms the fact that Jesus Christ, LO RSon of God, was indeed someone who lived, breathed and walked onthis earth. Thousands of historical documents exist which confirm TPHis existence and His miraculous works, far more documents that NOtestify of other major historical events, which we take for granted!For example, the earliest documented evidence of Caesar’s GallicWar (which occurred between 58–50 bc) that we have in posses-sion today dates back to ad 900, and historians possess 9 to 10such copies. Of the literary works of Cornelius Tacitus, a senatorand historian from the Roman Empire who died in ad 117, theearliest copy of his work existing today dates from ad 850 andaround 20 copies of that exist. But of New Testament literarywritings, around 24,000 copies exist that date back to as early asad 130! Even the non-Christian writings of Cornelius Tacitus (inhis Annals) include mention of the works and existence of JesusChrist. Therefore, whatever our opinion of Jesus might be, no onecan adequately dispute that fact that Jesus Christ did indeed exist.As Albert Einstein himself replied when asked whether he believedin the historical existence of Jesus: “Unquestionably! No one can 11
  11. 11. read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. Hispersonality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”1 So through the awesomeness of His creation, coupled with thedocumented existence and miracles of Jesus Christ, it is clear thatGod is trying to get a message across: God exists and He wantsyou to know Him. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way andthe truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except throughme.” In other words, you can know God, your Creator, throughHis Son Jesus Christ who came to earth to make that possible andreveal God to us. I love what pastor and author John Ortberg writes: “The story of the Bible isn’t primarily about the desire of peopleto be with God; it’s the desire of God to be with people.”2 DF Y S P EAD 2. Why do you desire to grow in your relationship with God? RE -R W- INT LO R TP Through the “signs” of Creation and the work of Jesus Christ, NOGod has been trying to get our attention and He has been doingthis simply because He loves us and wants us to know Him. Hedoesn’t want His creation to live in ignorance of who He is. Nordoes He want us to remain lost in sin and without understandingof our God-given purpose. God is so much closer than you thinkand He wants to give you life to the full, which is possible throughfaith in His Son Jesus Christ. So that brings us to the question, ifGod does exist, how then can we know Him?HOW CAN I KNOW GOD? There are two parts in answering this question: firstly, whatdoes it mean to know God and secondly, precisely how can weknow Him? Let’s start with answering the first part of the question. 12
  12. 12. Chapter 1: Knowing God If you were to look up the verb “to know” in a dictionary,we find this definition: firstly, to have knowledge and facts aboutsomething or someone. So, for example, I know how to make amean Chicken Tikka Masala. I know how long it takes to burn300 calories on the treadmill. I also know who married PrinceWilliam! But these are just facts that I know and just one aspectof its meaning. A second facet of the meaning “to know” goesdeeper because it’s more that just knowing facts about some-thing or someone. It also implies having personal familiarity orexperience of something or someone. So, for example, I couldsay that I know my best friend. Not only do I know quite a lotof factual information about her, but I also know her intimately. DF YWe have shared many life experiences together and because of S P EADthese, I have to know her pretty well and vice versa. Think aboutsomeone you’ve known a long time. Isn’t your knowledge of him RE -Ror her more than a mere acquisition of information and facts, and W- INTmore of a familiarity, an intimate understanding of the heart and LO Rcharacter of that person? Therefore, knowing God involves boththe head and the heart. It’s much more than just knowing about TPsomeone. It’s about a real relationship and friendship. Sure, I NOknow some facts about Prince William, but I’m sure he wouldn’tconsider me a personal friend! The same is true is in a relationship with God. He doesn’twant us to just know facts about Him. He wants us to person-ally know Him in a relational and friendship way, in our hearts,lives and experience. Knowing God then is not just a question ofacquiring greater head knowledge (although of course, that helps).It’s so much more than that. It’s also about having an in-depthexperience of what He’s like and how He works in our lives. It’shaving an understanding of His will in all things and learning torecognize His voice and guidance. In other words, knowing Godis about having a real relationship with and experience of God.Now that is exciting! 13
  13. 13. 3. Now, open your Bible and read Jeremiah 31 verses 33 and 34. What do you think these verses reveal about God’s heart for us? These verses teach us that God genuinely wants people to knowHim! He wants to have a relationship with human beings and willpurposefully draw us to Himself. God will use people and circum-stances in our lives to get our attention just as Nicole experienced DF Yin the opening story of this chapter. God wants to make His home S P EADin your life and wants you to know His loving care for you, teach-ing you how to walk in His ways and how to recognize His voice: RE -R W- INT Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my LO R sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep . . . My sheep TPlisten to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them NO eternal life, and they shall never perish.” (John 10:14, 27–28) In this passage, Jesus describes Himself as a shepherd, and usas His sheep. He used that analogy to explain how just as sheeplearn to recognize their shepherd’s voice, so we too, as we get toknow God, we will come to recognize our Shepherd’s voice. Thatmeans, we will understand when God is speaking to us and discernHis guidance and direction for our lives. In every relationship inlife, when we come to truly know someone, we recognize his or hervoice. Whenever my brother Peter calls me on the phone, he doesn’thave to say his name because I immediately recognize him. Thatrecognition has come through spending time and experiencing lifetogether. It’s the same with knowing God: the more you get to knowand experience Him through spending time with Him, the more 14
  14. 14. Chapter 1: Knowing Godyou’ll learn to distinguish His voice and whispers in your life. Godwants to speak to you! As pastor and author Bill Hybels explains: “If there is a pattern in Scripture regarding whispers, it is thatwe serve a communicating God—a God of words. He created witha word, he healed with a word, he encouraged with a word, herebuked with a word, he guided with a word, he prophesied witha word, he assured with a word, he loved with a word, he servedwith a word and he comforted with a word. Throughout all history,God has communicated, and he still is at it today. The issue isn’twhether or not God is speaking; it’s whether we will have ears tohear what he says.”3 Our communicating God then, wants you to know Him in a DF Yreal way. A relationship with God is a relationship! That is what S P EADyou need to be focusing on; not just gaining more head knowledge.Now that we understand something of what it means to know God, RE -Rthat brings us to the question, how then can we experience this for W- INTourselves? How can we develop our relationship with God? The LO Ranswer is quite simple: through faith in Jesus Christ. As historical documents also attain, Jesus not only came to TPthis earth to teach people the ways of God, while doing wonderful NOmiracles of healing the sick and raising the dead. Jesus also allowedHimself to die a very painful death on a wooden cross, a cruel formof capital punishment at that time, and for a very good reason. As youread the New Testament, it becomes clear that Jesus, in fact, saw Hisdeath as His ultimate mission here on earth. It came as no surpriseto Him. He knew He had to die this way and the Bible explains thereason why: “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peacewith everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood onthe cross. This includes you who were once so far away from God.You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughtsand actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He hasdone this through his death on the cross in his own human body.As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and 15

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