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1. When was the last time God was nourished by your fellowship?
2. What awes you about the love of God?
3. Have you ever experienced a desperate love for God?
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4. How deep is your longing for God?
5. What does this phrase by St. John of the Cross mean to you: "Your love has wounded me!" How does love inflict a wound?
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship,
ONE NIGHT AS I WAS LEAVING MY HOUSE TO ATTENDA service at the House of Prayer in Kansas City, God spoke to me: "Bring your cell phone. I am going to call you."
At first I was nervous because His voice was so clear, and I did not understand how the Lord would call me on my cell phone! Intrigued and eager to see the miraculous, I responded to
"I don't want to disrespect Your desire, but I am going to leave my cell phone here. If You want to call me, there are pay phones where I am going. Or my friends have cell phones. Or You could even bring my cell phone to me supernaturally."
As odd as this may seem, I believe that God divinely motivated me toward this resolve. I challenged God, because I was truly excited about His word. I didn't test Him; instead, in faith, I made the fulfillment of this word even harder to accomplish in the natural.
Then I left for the meeting. It was a cold night, and I was wearing my jacket. Toward the end of the meeting, I began to walk outside, when a good friend stopped me to talk. We chatted for a few minutes. I stuffed my hands into my jacket pockets while we talked. After taking my right hand out of my jacket pocket to scratch my chest, I placed it back inside the pocket.
Suddenly, my face turned white—my cell phone had miraculously materialized in my jacket pocket.
Seeing my astonishment, my friend asked if everything was okay. Pulling out my cell phone, I stared at it intensely. Then I related my conversation with God to my friend, and we both stared at the phone.
We were standing inside a building in which I had never been able to receive cell-phone reception. Suddenly the phone showed that it was searching for service. It rang, just as I finished telling my friend why I was so surprised to find my cell TO KNOW THE UNKNOWN 89 phone. We both looked down at the phone. The caller ID read "unknown." Although I had received thousands of calls on this phone in the last five years, "unknown" had never appeared before on my cell phone. Stunned, I let my phone ring until my friend finally said, "Answer it!" Sheepishly I clicked on talk and hesitantly said, "Hello?" No one answered. I waited awhile and just kept saying "Hello?" but when I looked down it was searching for service again.
I excused myself from my friend and hurried outside. I got on the phone and called my friend Paul Keith Davis. After recounting what had happened, I asked him, "What do you think this means?" He intuitively replied, "This is about the unknown God that Paul talked about in Acts."
Just as he said this, the phone beeped, even though I was still talking with him on my cell phone. My call waiting was activating. Take a guess what the caller ID read—"unknown"!
I freaked out, telling Paul Keith to hold on: "I think God is calling me again." I clicked over to answer the other phone line.
"Hello?" There was no answer. "Hello?" Still nothing.
"God, is this You?" I asked.
The line clicked off, and I went back to the line where Paul Keith was holding. "It was the unknown again!" I said, puzzled.
Later I called my phone company to have them track the calls, in case it was a sales call. They said there was no record of either call! The phone company could see that I had received some incoming calls earlier that day, but those two particular calls did not register in their database. These calls didn't appear on my telephone statement either, although every call shows up.
In the Scripture passage referencing the unknown God (Acts 17:22-23), the apostle Paul was addressing the Greeks in Athens, who had idols for almost every god. Not wanting to offend a god they had never heard of, the Greeks built an altar dedicated "to an unknown God."
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The apostle Paul looked at this altar and declared to them:
"What you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you" (Acts 17:23b). Then he revealed this unknown
God to them further and explained:
Our Deepest Longings As he unveiled this unknown God to the Greeks, Paul shed light on a deeper understanding about the "meat" for which we all truly long. I believe God's greatest desire when He created humanity was to share with us the most precious quality about Himself—His identity.
It would be enough if God simply loved us, and let us serve Him. Instead, He longs to share His divine nature with us, not just in the outer courts, but in His innermost sanctuary—His throne room. He wants to impart to us the fullness of who He is.
God does not want to remain unknown to us.
The enemy's strategy of tempting us to wear our own identities is a lesser role than what God desires for us; it also hinders us from truly sharing in God's identity.
No other world religion has the focal point of a deity who shares himself with his followers, in covenant relationship, and in love. All other gods written about have a selfish focus; they reward people only for acts of service to the deity's own agenda.
Jesus is the only sacrificial God. He longs to share Himself with those who would love Him, offering them His free gift of love.
This is what sets Christianity apart from other religions. In addition, it makes it impossible to accomplish anything without TO KNOW THE UNKNOWN 91 His supernatural help.
God wants to be known. He longs to call each one of us and personally share His nature with us—not just in His outer courts but with us standing in His very Presence.
Our Desire to Be Known This desire for divine intimacy is expressed by Jesus when He announces that God's Spirit will dwell within us.
God's dwelling place inside us addresses our greatest need— to be fully known and understood. God is the answer to the deepest longing of our hearts.
When people share that their struggles relating to God feel one-sided, I don't doubt their frustration. I have experienced many seasons like this. But I discovered the problem was not with God. It was with me. I wasn't fully engaged in relating with God. As I passionately pursued Him, I found a wonderful surprise of His intimate presence.
God Reveals His Identity In Exodus 33, we read that Moses longed for deeper fellowship with God. Moses was the first one in Scripture who expressed this greater desire. He was not content simply to be known by God; Moses wanted to know God's identity—His divine essence.
Moses said to the LORD, "You have been telling me, 92 THE THRONE ROOM COMPANY
Can you imagine how pleased God was with Moses' desperate cry? Moses wanted to know God intimately. No wonder Moses was the first human that God called "friend."
Although Enoch walked with God, and Abraham was called God's friend, no previous biblical recording indicates that anyone ever expressed the desire for such close fellowship with God.
Consequently, a further encounter took place between Moses and
And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name." Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."
why he could not look upon God's face, the most distinguishing
of features. However, Moses could clearly hear God's voice:
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."
—EXODUS 34:5-7 As God passed by, proclaiming His name and character to Moses, I wonder if angelic gasps echoed through the halls of Heaven! God was sharing with Moses what had been previously unshared, except with Adam. God was sharing His identity—the attributes that make up who He is—with a human. God related to Moses on terms that He knew would give the greatest understanding this side of eternity.
God declared, "I AM that I AM." Who is this God who shares His holiness with His creation? Who is the One who continues to grant the power of His name to people today?
Jesus as the Expression of God When God's Son came to Earth, God gave Him the name Jesus. Angels and demons alike must have been in such awe when the name was first spoken forth by the angel Gabriel to Mary. God's identity was finally being revealed to humanity!
That was one of the most exciting days in history, and I cannot wait to watch the replay when I get to Heaven!
As Jesus' name was spoken, it contained incredible power. It wasn't just an identifying title, but His name holds the full virtue of who He is. Even those who didn't know Him can invoke the 94 THE THRONE ROOM COMPANY authority of His name; they can exercise power over demons by using the name of Jesus! Once He revealed the name, His unchanging nature was embedded in it.
What kind of God shares His identity with a fallen people, who so easily misuse it? A God whose heart is ravished by the very humanity He created.
Isn't it just like Satan to try and keep Jesus' name as the most cursed word among modern languages? Hollywood uses the name Jesus as a curse word more than any other foul words put together. The Spanish, Italian, English, and many other cultures use His name as a profanity.
Satan, of course, is going to make every effort to familiarize us with the name Jesus, not as our Savior God, but as a curse.
Our foe wants to bring an over-familiarity with the name to dilute the purity of its divine virtue. However, the devil will pay a big price for doing this; no matter how the name of Jesus is said, it is His name, and therefore, it holds His virtue.
Jesus' Virtue Prevails This reminds me of the amazing testimony of a friend.
Before he became a follower of Jesus, he was bitter and complained often. Troubled by a chronic back injury, he leaned over one day to pick up something. Sharp pain shot through his body, and he let out a curse. "Jesus Christ!" he said, grabbing his back. At that moment, he felt the presence of God—and his back was completely and instantly healed.
Stunned, he told God: "If You love me enough to heal my back when I call Your name as a cuss word, then You can heal all of me." As he trembled with fear, the saving power of Jesus flooded into his life.
The name of Jesus is a passionate doorway into His heart and virtue. Once a friend and I went to the movies to watch a film many from the Christian community were hailing as an allegory that spoke powerfully to the Church. But actually the film was full of compromise. At one point, the main character TO KNOW THE UNKNOWN 95 cursed, saying "Jesus!" During the movie, I noticed a cloud descend over the audience. It was not smoke, but it was opaque.
In the midst of it, I could feel God's presence. The Holy Spirit said to me: "Even a curse cannot hold back My virtue!" God's holy name never changes. It is always full of power and glory. We enter into intimate communion with Him as we begin to meditate and contemplate the virtue and identity contained in God's name.
The Testimony of Jesus The apostle John records his overwhelming reaction to a
glorious encounter with an angel:
The revelation John was being invited to partake of came so strongly that this awesome understanding from the Spirit of Truth was too much for him. He fell down at the angel's feet to worship him. But the angel reminded John that he was just a fellow servant. All of the powerful truth the angel had stewarded was the testimony of Jesus, which they had in common with each other. Jesus' testimony is the Spirit of Prophecy.
What an awesome concept! We are invited to possess the same testimony of this angel who ministered to John. We will speak with such conviction and supernatural power, people will try to make us into idols simply because of the testimony we hold so dear.
96 THE THRONE ROOM COMPANY This has happened throughout the history of the Church, even when a small portion of the testimony of Jesus was poured out on ministries. People were given roles of authority that surpassed God's intended boundaries for them, and as a result, many were disqualified.
John describes clearly this testimony:
The reality of the life of Jesus in us causes everything that does not have life to react to it. For example, either people are drawn to my life, or they are angered by it.
Throughout the gospels, when Jesus entered into any situation, the Holy Spirit's presence moved through the environment, reaching out even to people He Himself did not touch. Jesus was resplendent with life, causing death and darkness to flee. He resurrected people's dead spirits by radiating His love to them.