How Can I Know God Better?

“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

Romans 10:17

*Picture of Grandma and me from 2003

Growing up, Grandma used to always quote Scripture to me during our conversations. Most of the time, I didn’t even realize she was doing this, it was just part of her normal talking style. Sometimes, it would be years later, (and even now), that I would read or hear a Scripture, pause, look up, and say to myself, “Grandma used to say that to me”–and there it was, in the Bible. But she wouldn’t always stop and say it was in the Bible.

She gushed the Word of God, organically. 

I was privy to the benefit of having this woman raise me, so as a young boy, teenager, and then young adult, my heart was constantly flooded with seeds of Jesus’ teaching. Most of the time, I didn’t want to hear it. Although sometimes I thought Grandma was strange, as did many other people, there was an underlying confidence she had, absolutely everyone respected her…but not out of fear.

And not only did she naturally display a spiritual poise unlike no other, she was a source of protection in a very odd way. Just being in her presence, any fear or anxiety that I had, would almost instantly go away.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, this was the Holy Spirit protruding from this fat little lady with the big smile and boisterous personality. I know that now, because sometimes I’ll be around people and they’ll say, “I don’t know what it is about you, but there is something different”–only, they’ll say this with a mannerism of confidence in me.

When this happens, I’ll usually respond with, “That’s the Holy Spirit in me,” and smile.

Jesus naturally shines OUT of us, when we are walking close with Him. Of course, it wasn’t always like this, I fought God for most of my life, trying to replace Him with things, money, reputation, and people. And I believe deep in my heart, that if it weren’t for Grandma’s prayers, I’d be dead.

What we don’t understand is that when we are living by the flesh, and we feel far from God (although we are not if we are saved, because Jesus is still infused with our spirit, which is a one-time event {1 Corinthians 6:17, Galatians 2:20}), it is the prayers of others keeping us safe. It is the prayers of others which unlocks God’s power and favor over us. (For proof of this, look to Jesus healing the Officials’ son, long distance, in John 4:43-54).

Grandma’s prayers for me, and her prayers for many, many other people, did just that.

And it wasn’t just her prayers that have helped me become who I am today, it was also her style of teaching the gospel–which was never force-fed, but always on a platter, offered up with love. She never used guilt or condemnation on me, instead, she made Jesus look appealing–even when she was correcting me.

From the time I was a small boy in the 80’s, to a teenager in the 90’s, when Grandma would quote Scripture to me, or talk about God in our conversations, she always did so with gentleness and respect. She never pushed me to believe, but showed me grace. She never tried to instill fear in my heart, or barked at me for my blatant sinning, she just made Jesus look good, through her life.

She exuded a rock-solid confidence that the neighborhood wanted to be around, yet, she still had the softness of a spring flower…it was a strange paradox…like a lion and a lamb, both, at the same time. And everyone went to her, I MEAN EVERYONE, in their time of need for prayer, advice, and support. 

“Go see Granny Mac.”

She knew God, and we all knew it.

But how? How was this lady who cooked too much fried chicken so close to Jesus? What made her SO DIFFERENT in the fact that somehow, someway, God was specially with Grandma, at all times?…Simple: She flooded her heart with the words about Jesus with the consistency of an IV drip.

The Bible says, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17). This is what made her different. This is what set her apart. She had a relationship with God, because she constantly sought it out.

I can remember getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and she’d be sitting at the kitchen table reading her Bible. Or I’d come home from high-school for lunch, and she’d have me a Totino’s personal pizza made, with extra cheese, and while I ate it, she’d be watching TBN and telling me how handsome I was.

Sometimes I’d walk in the back door at dusk, drenched in sweat from playing basketball at the sports complex, and she’d be on the phone praying with someone, again. “Grandma, I need to use the phone.” “Oh hush your mouth, you can wait.”

And she always wrote stuff down, and also, wrote many people letters of encouragement. Bible scriptures and notes about something she read about God, or heard on TV, were all over the place. She would even scribble all over the bills that had to be paid. “Matthew, hand me that envelope. I want to write something down.”

She’d always be singing as well. This was one of my favorite things about her.

She’d be running us kids around town, and the radio was broke, because so were we, so she’d be humming an old hymn. Sometimes, she’d just get louder and louder, until we’d start singing with her. Dishes would be piled up after dinner, and she wouldn’t yell at us kids to clean up, instead, she’d just start hand-washing everything (because we didn’t have a dish-washing machine) and all the while doing so, she’d be softly singing songs to Jesus.

She had a relationship with God, because she wanted it. She had a relationship with God, because she constantly flooded her heart with His words. Even now, at almost 90, I just talked to her yesterday, she won’t be quiet about Jesus. “Matthew, please be praying for so and so,” or “Matthew, how’s Jennifer and the kids? Are you all doing good? I’m so proud of you, son.”

She’s lived her life by the Spirit of God in her. Not by rules, not by religious Christian laws, and not by using scare tactics to get people to stop doing dumb stuff…but by love. She loves Jesus. And because of that love for Jesus, she’s loved everyone else the same. There are no words to type that will properly express how grateful I am to Grandma for showing me the real love of Jesus–for showing me how to get to know Him better. All I can say is “Thank you, Grandma. I was a life that was changed,” and then do my best to help others do the same.

A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, today I want to thank you for giving me my grandma. When I think about how blessed I am to have her blood running through my veins, I get a lump in my throat. You decided to bless me with her before you even formed this planet, and I’m SO thankful! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who didn’t get the benefit of having such a wonderful person in their lives, I ask that you reveal yourself to them. I ask that you help them come to know you on the deepest level possible, through the life of Christ! GIVE THEM A BRAND NEW FIRE ON THE INSIDE! Light a spark in their hearts, for your Word, and for all things Jesus! Instill in them a new confidence in your love, hope, and principles, which will last their lifetime, and then go on to later generations which will do great things for your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!

For more of my teachings, pick up one of my books!

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I Used To Hate Church
Categories: Devotionals

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