Friday, March 14, 2014

Know to Grow

Sarah and Jason Mitchall had received an invitation to a formal banquet in honor of the founder at the Institute of Architecture & Design. 

The invitation made provisions for them to bring along two friends of his choice, so Jason invited his brother Todd and sister-in-law Becky.

Welcome new friends this week from:
Seventeen countries! A special prayer for our friends in the Ukraine (our largest number of followers at this time).
Last week’s challenge was timely, but isn’t that like our Lord?  God showed us how staying joyful despite the obstacles of life, kept us in spiritual harmony with Him.  We were able to rest, smile and laugh not at the trials, but through them.

Please continue praying for your brothers and sisters of faith following Daily Favor from around the world, especially the Ukraine.

Don’t miss out on this week’s challenge (below).  Q & A Section

When Life Calls
They were excited about the occasion and looked forward to it.  On the day of the banquet the Mitchall’s new furniture arrived. 

Not wanting to leave the house in such disarray, Sarah told her husband he should go ahead to the dinner and she would catch up with him later in the evening.

In the meantime, Todd phoned his brother and explained how he couldn’t make the banquet because he had to work late.  Becky wouldn’t be going either since the babysitter canceled on them.  She didn’t want to get anyone else.
It looked like Jason would be on his own, at least until Sarah made her appearance.  Life is complicated and when duty calls we do what we have to, right?

Who Are You?
Jason arrived on time to the banquet.  When he approached the gate the officer in charge checked his invitation to see if his name was on the list, it was. Sure enough, he had been invited to attend the function.

He was accompanied to the front door where there was a hostess who asked for his ID, but this time his name wasn’t on the list. 
“I see you do have an invitation, but who are you?” the hostess inquired. “Tell me why your name should appear on the list when it’s not?”
Jason eagerly responded, “I teach the only course on Architectural Philosophy at the college and was hired by the founder personally.”  Nodding her head the hostess agreed, “Oh yes, I can see how your name should be here, please enjoy the banquet.”
Jason entered a huge foyer area where hundreds of people were standing around waiting to be ushered into the dining hall that was right behind the massive gold trimmed walls. 

While everyone waited, servers made their way in-and-out of the crowd offering beverages and appetizers to the guests.

Suddenly a loud horn sounded and the room went silent.  The large double doors slowly opened as the founder himself stepped in the entrance way to greet each guest.

One by one he thanked each individual for their faithfulness over the years and welcomed them into the elegant banquet room.  Jason watched in excitement as he progressed to the front of the line.

“It is an honor to be here Sir, thank you for inviting me.” Jason boldly said as he extended his hand to the founder. 
“I appreciate the acknowledgement, but whom may I ask are you young man?” asked the founder of the college.
“Surely you must recognize my name Sir.  I’m Jason Mitchall and have taught about your designs at the Institute for over 30 years.  My books  are from your inspirational teachings, all my classes and lectures are fashioned after your wisdom and knowledge concerning the basics of Architecture from concept to concrete.”

The founder saw no reason why Jason should have access to the banquet that was reserved for his closest friends.  However, being a man who believes in faithfulness he posed these questions to Jason.

Son, if you can answer these three questions I will allow you to dine with my family and friends.  Of course Jason believed he could give the correct responses, because he knew everything about the founder.
“Jason, who was my founding inspiration?”  He really didn’t know, but being a family man it must have been his father.  “Your father Sir.”

The questioning continued. “Jason, why was I specific about the methods I set to be followed in my designs?”  He remembered this one, “So that each building would have a strong foundation when the weight of the materials were placed on it to prevent collapsing.” 

Correct Mr. Mitchall, but that information was made available for all in the manual I wrote at the beginning of my work.”

The outspoken guest was now feeling more confident.
"One final question Jason, and perhaps the most important of all. If I were dining at your house tonight, what wouldn’t you serve because you knew I considered it unclean?”
Jason just stood there without an answer.  The gentleman continued, “If I am truly your friend you would know that personal information, but in fact, you have never invited me to your house nor asked?”

Tripping over his words Jason blurted out excuse after excuse.
I never figured you would want to visit with us, you know, with you being so busy and all. 
I did go see you speak and bought the CD’s after the conferences.  We have had many conversations there, and I always made sure to pay you compliments or thank you for all your wonderful contributions to the field of Architecture.  You have made a mark on society and history Sir, I’m sure you realize that.”
With sadness in his eyes, the founder of the college spoke: “Jason you know about the things I do, but nothing about me or why I do them.  I didn’t leave a mark on your heart or you would have wanted to get to know me for who I am and not what I can do. 

I’m sorry, I do not know you as my friend and therefore the banquet is not open to you.”

Standing in humiliation, Jason was speedily escorted out of the building. (Ref. Acts 11:4-9)

Is Knowledge Enough? 
From our story we learned that knowing about someone or what they do, isn’t really “knowing” someone is it?  I’m not sure Jason realized this at all, even as he was leaving the building.

The Bible tells us why we should want or desire knowledge and what it can do for us, but we aren't to stop there. Knowledge basically is nothing more than information on any given subject.  There are tons of things I have knowledge of but don’t understand a thing about them.
In most cases, when we apply the knowledge or information we have gathered to a situation it helps us come to an understanding about that thing, concept or individual.  So now we have knowledge, information and understanding but nowhere to go with all these facts. 

However, if we pray for understanding, God helps us take the information or knowledge we have gained and turns it into wisdom to know what to do. Therefore the more you know, the more you grow in any area.  We should desire to grow in the knowledge of the Lord, because it strengthens our relationship with Him.
“For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; (You have to know the person to be able to tell if he is good or not) but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God.” (from Ecclesiastes 2:26)

Jason had acquired facts, information and details about the work of the founder, but never understood or knew the man behind the design.  He understood the “what” part of his boss, but not the “why’s” of his actions.  
Knowledge without understanding really isn’t such a bargaining asset is it?  If you don't believe me, ask Jason.

Knowing Him Requires Our Time
Time to Know Him. That is what the Lord is asking of us.  He wants us to know Him so that we can grow in Him.  To know is to grow, and as we do our entire outlook changes in how we perceive Jesus.  He’s more than a description on paper, but has desires, dreams and feelings just like us.

"Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to My knowledge.” (Proverbs 22:17 NKV) 

Using textbooks I’ve taught about presidents, leaders, explorers and famous people, but never met any of them.  You can have knowledge of someone without knowing them.  You know this to be true.
I’ve even met some outstanding people in their professions, but that doesn’t mean I know them.

For example, Davy Jones, of the former band the Monkees, and I had a long conversation and photos taken together when I was in college.  I cannot remember all the details, but he was there at the performing arts building working with some of the students.

He kindly gave me his autograph too, but I couldn’t tell you anything personally about him that I didn’t read from the media or a book.

There are many who have come to meet Jesus through salvation, but never learned anything about Him.  They don’t really want to push the relationship into something deeper, because that would require time or doing something they didn’t want to do.

Maybe, but not likely …
Back in the late 60’s (OK, so I Googled it.), there was a song called “I’d like to get to know you.” by Spanky and Our Gang. The lyrics talked about a guy who wanted to get to know a young lady.  She said she would like to get to know him as well, but never promised to love the person. 

I think that’s the way we look at our relationship with Jesus.  Maybe I’ll get to know you Lord, if I have time, but that’s not likely with my schedule.  No promises though.

We can relate to Jason’s story as one that is told in the Bible. His wife was concerned with her material things, Todd thought more of his job and Becky put her kids first.  Those things don’t seem bad do they?  No, and we’re supposed to be concerned about them. 
However, there is one thing that is more important than anything or anybody and that’s our relationship with Christ.

There will be a time when the dinner plates have been placed and the banquet hall in Heaven is all adorned in splendor awaiting the arrival of invited guests. 
Jesus will be standing at the door to greet those who have come to know Him through a relationship along their journey and not just through books.
What will Jesus say to you? “Enter, glad to see you my friend.” 
Or will you hear, “I never knew you.  Depart into outer darkness.” 
(Matthew 7:20-23 NKJV, Matthew 25 NKJVMatthew 22:1-14 NKJV &  Luke 14:16-24 NKJV)

This Week’s Challenge: 
Get to know Jesus as your friend.
I’m going to ask you three questions just like Jason’s boss did to help get this process started.

First: List three things you don’t know about your friend Jesus.  When you first meet someone what are the things that you might ask that leads them into being a friend of yours?
While praying ask Jesus to reveal a character trait about Himself that you didn’t realize existed.

Second: In researching those things, ask why you need to know them. I generally say it like this in my study time, “Why do you want me to know this Lord, why was it so important that you put it in the Bible.” This is where you learn to read between the lines.  It’s not what’s being said, but look for what hasn’t been said (written).
Third: How does knowing this information change things in your relationship with God?

Let me show you something on how you might go about this challenge.
Fact: Jesus wept. (The shortest verse in the Bible.)

Truth: He didn’t weep because Lazarus died. Therefore we know, truth can change facts, but facts will never alter truth.
So if Jesus wasn’t crying because of Lazarus, why was he crying?  You need to understand the character of Jesus, His calling and feeling in order to “KNOW” the answer.  In other words, you have to really know the thoughts and ways of Jesus as a friend to understand His behavior in any situation. (See John 11 for this passage.) 

When we know Jesus as our friend it will help our faith life, because we then understand and know how God responds in a situation.  Life gets easier when you know the person who is in charge. Knowing God grows our faith, and with that we grow in God’s favor.  Hence it is in and for our benefit that we Know (Jesus in order) to Grow.
Jesus grew in wisdom (having the understanding of knowledge and how to use/apply it) and favor from God and man.  That same principle applies to all God’s children, not just Jesus.  (Luke 2:52 NKJV)

Without knowledge you cannot know what God does or how you are to live as a believer. 

The more you learn about someone the more you understand their character and why they do things a certain way.

While there's still time, cultivate your relationship with Jesus as your friend. 
Get to know Him and you won’t hear Him say,
“I never knew you.”
“Knowing you Jesus; there's no greater thing.
You’re my all, You’re the best,
You’re my joy my Righteousness,
and I love you Lord.”

All I Once Held Dear ( Knowing you Jesus) Worship
Lyrics by Robin Mark

Until next time, get to KNOW the God of favor.

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