THAT WE MAY KNOW

Job 37: 6-7 For to the snow he says, “Fall on the earth,” likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. He seals up the hand of every man, that all men whom he made may know it.

Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. What am I talking about? The invisible attributes of God that are clearly seen all around us. The arrogance of man blinds himself to God’s beauty that is shouting out all around us. The array of flowers are crying out “beauty”, the vastness of creation is crying out “eternal”, the diversity of His creatures is crying out “creativity”, and the creative nature of man is crying out “genius”. His ways are higher than our ways and one glimpse of His beauty displayed in creation annihilates us with humility. Here is a quote from Jonathan Edwards about the glory of God being the very purpose of creation.

“The declaration of God’s perfections is mentioned in Scripture as the ultimate end of creation. That is, the open display of God’s excellent works and ways is the happy result of bringing the world into being. We observe this in the following verses and in many other places in the Bible.

Psalm 19: 1-5 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.

The passages listed in this chapter lead us to one conclusion: When God manifests his perfections and displays his attributes in the world, he does so for his own glory…. This can only mean that the glory of God is the ultimate end of creation.”

I have had the incredible privilege of seeing a lot of our beautiful world in my ministry trips. I have pictures of His beauty imprinted in my brain from glimpses of Him in creation. I can never forget the beauty of the Serengeti from a small airplane flying from Kilimanjaro to Kampala, seeing the herds of wildebeests and elephants below who were shouting the praises of the Lord. Then there was the majestic eagle flying above our plane, gliding on the winds of God above all the drama below. Its impossible to forget the beauty of the Alps, flying at 35,000 feet from London to Nairobi. Who can ignore a creator with His creative genius on such a display. Maybe you are blind to His greatness, stop for a moment and drink Him in. You may hear Him in the rain gently falling on your roof or His power in the power of a lightning flash. If you will take a moment you too may be stunned by His beauty that is always all around us.

GLORY IN US

Col. 1:26,27 – that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Sometimes I think we don’t really know how much the world changed on the Day of Pentecost. Now don’t turn me off since I used that old fashioned “Pentecostal” word. Just stop and think for a minute. What was Peter’s point in that first sermon that he preached that gave birth to what we call Christianity? He said that something monumental had changed. What he said was this, all people everywhere now have access to something that is absolutely unthinkable. The Lord is pouring His Spirit on every kind of person everywhere. Young and old, rich and poor, red and yellow, black and white; no one is left out. His presence is not only on us for special empowerment, His Spirit is in us. He has become one with whosoever will. I told you it was too good to be true!!! Here is how C. S. Lewis describes this mystery.

“And this brings me to the other sense of glory—glory as brightness, splendor, luminosity. We are to shine as the sun, we are to be given the Morning Star. I think I begin to see what it means. In one way, of course, God has given us the Morning Star already: you can go and enjoy the gift on many fine mornings if you get up early enough. What more, you may ask, do we want? Ah, but we want so much more—something the books on aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets and the mythologies know all about it. We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”

That is what all humans are longing for (though must don’t realize it). We want to experience the beauty of the Lord for ourselves. We want desperately to be one with Him. Sermons, songs, and prayers describe this blessing; only when you taste and see for yourself will you finally know why you are alive and what life truly is. That is the mystery that Paul preached, Christ in you the hope of glory.

THE PLACE WHERE THE SUN DOESN’T SHINE

And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

This may come across as strange to you but one place the sun doesn’t shine is heaven. Now don’t take this the wrong way, heaven could never be a place of darkness. Actually it could be called the City of Light, the only place that never has shadows. No sun, no shadows, how is this even possible? The answer, if you haven’t guessed it yet, is that there is no need for a sun because Jesus Himself is the light of the city. After all, the natural sun is just a picture or image of the real light. The real light is Christ Himself, the light of the world. Heaven will not need a sun, or streetlights or lamps on the inside of any building. The light of heaven will penetrate every crack and crevice of every life. We will see the fulfillment of the last prophesy of the Old Testament, Mal.4:2 – “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall”. Here are some thoughts from R. C. Sproul on today’s verse.

“Revelation 21 and 22 describe the holy city coming down out of heaven. Strangely, it is described as a place where the sun does not shine. There are no candles nor moon nor artificial source of light. You would think that such a place would be bathed in perpetual darkness, but the author of Revelation tells us there is no need of sun or artificial light in heaven because the glory of God and the radiance of his Son bathe the holy city in light perpetually. The glow from the face of God—the manifestation of his glory—illuminates every inch of the kingdom of heaven. The light of the glory of God is never extinguished, which is why the apostle says “. . . to whom be glory forever.” The glory of God began in eternity and will continue for eternity. When we come into God’s presence to worship him, the only appropriate response is reverence, awe, humility, and submission. The contemporary church all too often displays a cavalier approach to worship. Many have no idea about the one they are dealing with, the one for whom the angels themselves have to cover their eyes when they sing of his glory.”

Heaven is going to be better than any of us could ever know. It is the City of Light. As we finish our journey on earth we must remember, this life is almost over; the real life is about to start.

GIVING GLORY TO GOD  

Rom. 4:20,21 – He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Have you ever seen the athlete after a victory or an actor after receiving an award smugly saying they are giving glory to God? What does giving glory to God really mean? We can learn this from the life of Abraham, he grew strong in faith giving glory to God. Our faith is connected to God’s promises. Taking Him at His word is how Abraham honored the Lord. All his circumstances; old age and barren wife said that God’s promise to have a son would never come true. Abraham decided to hold on to God’s promise no matter what things looked like. How was he able to do that? Abraham had encountered God. He knew God was real. He had left his homeland and his family because of that God encounter many years before. He had a conviction deep in his soul planted there by God that God’s word would come to pass, no matter what. Here is how Matthew Henry describes Abraham’s faith.

“He was strong in faith, giving glory to God, he was strengthened in faith, his faith got ground by exercise. Though weak faith shall not be rejected, the bruised reed not broken, the smoking flax not quenched, yet strong faith shall be commended and honored. The strength of his faith appeared in the victory it won over his fears. And hereby he gave glory to God; for, as unbelief dishonors God by making him a liar, so faith honors God by setting to its seal that he is true. Abraham’s faith gave God the glory of his wisdom, power, holiness, goodness, and especially of his faithfulness, resting upon the word that he had spoken. Among men we say, “He that trusts another, gives him credit, and honors him by taking his word;” thus Abraham gave glory to God by trusting him. We never hear our Lord Jesus commending any thing so much as great faith: therefore God gives honor to faith, great faith, because faith, great faith, gives honor to God. He was fully persuaded that what God had promised he was able to perform…”

Like the scriptures says, as time went on Abraham grew stronger. How was he doing that? He lived a life of giving glory to God. If you are facing obstacles to God’s promises in your life it’s time to get stronger. Glorify God by staying with His word. His promises are sure and will suddenly come to pass.

STRANGE WORKS OF GOD

Lk. 9:29-31 – And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

Obviously, we don’t have everything figured out yet. Just when we think we have it all sorted, the Lord throws us a huge curve ball. Who could have seen this coming. Casting out devils, healing the sick, even raising the dead; we kind of get that. Transfiguration? What is that anyway? Jesus and three of His disciples were praying when suddenly Jesus’s whole body began to shine with glory like Moses’ face when he came down from the mountain. Not only that, Moses and Elijah were there with Jesus out of nowhere talking about the Lord’s coming death. The disciples were still stuck on sorting out this life, they had no idea about kingdom glory.

What is the message in this passage for us today? It seems like church services today have become shorter and shorter and the emphasis on the kingdom of heaven has gotten less and less. We hear about finances and goals and family and success but not so much about glory and rarely a word about kingdom come. Jesus being transfigured sort of changed the conversation that day. What is transfigured anyway? Transfigured comes from the word metamorphosis. It is describing a total change from one being into another. It’s kind of like a butterfly coming from a caterpillar, it just doesn’t get much stranger than that. The Lord wants to bring a transformation into our lives. Paul used this word and idea in 2 Cor.3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit”. In this passage Paul actually says that there is a metamorphosis in our lives as we are transformed by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

So there it is, it is that anointing thing again. Maybe the anointing seems strange and insignificant to some but there is no way for us to be transformed or transfigured without this strange work of God. Maybe its time for us to be still in our services and allow this strange, transforming work of the Spirit to come into our services. This is the only place our disintegrating culture can be restored.

MY TRIALS AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD

Deut.5:24- The Lord our God has shown us his glory.

One of the things that changed radically for me in revival may seem small to the casual observer but proved to be cataclysmic in my life. I guess you would say my preaching in the early years of my ministry was man centered. What do I mean by that? That God was all about me and everything that He created was focused on me. The results of that emphasis can be quite predictable. If I do certain things then God will do certain things for me. It’s not that the Lord doesn’t want to do things that will be a blessing to me, its just that I had the motivation wrong. Everything God does is for His glory. Everything from creating solar systems to sunsets are to display His glory. Jesus healed the sick first of all to display His glory. He said that the man who was born blind was born that way for an opportunity to display the glory of God in healing. When we see that and focus on His glory we are filled with satisfaction and a joy beyond compare. Here is how Spurgeon describes it.

“God’s great design in all his works is the manifestation of his own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man’s eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honor, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why he brings his people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when he comes forth to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God.”

So what kind of trial and challenges are you facing today? Could it be that all this really is is an opportunity for the Lord to be glorified? When you finally see that our whole reason to exist is to display His glory in redemption the pressure comes off of us and we can finally stand still and watch Him in action.

UNUSUAL VISITATION

Acts 3:19 – Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

It seems like everybody knows we need an awakening and many are calling for a Third Great Awakening in our land; I’m not sure everyone knows what they are asking for. Revival often gets quite messy, it never comes the way we think, and many times not in the way we want. The First Great Awakening found great resistance in the American colonies in the 1700’s. Jonathan Edwards published an account of its early beginning in his church called A FAITHFUL NARRATIVE. The folks in Northampton were quite surprised at the way many were effected when that revival began. Here is a glimpse into one woman’s experience.

“There is a pious woman in this town that is a very modest bashful person, that was moved by what she heard of the experiences of others earnestly to seek to God to give her more clear manifestations of himself, and evidences of her own good estate, and God answered her request, gradually gave her more and more of a sense of his glory and love, which she had with intermissions for several days, till one morning the week before last she had it to a more than ordinary degree, and it prevailed more and more till towards the middle of the day, till her nature began to sink under it, as she was alone in the house; but there came somebody into the house, and found her in an unusual, extraordinary frame. She expressed what she saw and felt to him; it came to that at last that they raised the neighbors, [for] they were afraid she would die; I went up to see her and found her perfectly sober and in the exercise of her reason, but having her nature seemingly overborne and sinking, and when she could speak expressing in a manner that can’t be described the sense she had of the glory of God, and particularly of such and such perfections, and her own unworthiness, her longing to lie in the dust, sometimes her longing to go to be with Christ, and crying out of the excellency of Christ, and the wonderfulness of his dying love; and so she continued for hours together, though not always in the same degree.”

What is being described in this account is what often happens when humans come in contact with divine glory; it is just too much to bare. Maybe a dose of this glory would help us move from man centered seeker sensitive services, into meetings where the glory of the Lord is welcomed. Do it again Lord.

FOR THE GLORY OF HIS NAME

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

“Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due His name; worship Yahweh in the splendor of His holiness”

Ps. 29:2

Recently we had family in town and decided to visit the WW2 museum in New Orleans. I hadn’t been to it in years and couldn’t believe how massive it had become. Building after building laid bare the horrible story of 65 million deaths, yet by the grace of God we as a nation pulled through. Even the day after I had a seriousness hanging over me as I recalled the stories my parents told mixed with the sights and sounds of that museum. To top it off my daily reading happen to be the book of Revelation. The Apostle John describes another apocalypse coming that will usher in the coming of Christ.

As we celebrate our nation’s liberty from tyranny, lets make sure we don’t fall under tyranny of another kind. Anger, rebellion against what our nation was founded on is leading us down a road of no return. Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due his name or in other words all that we do is for “the glory of his name”. Families may fail and most likely they do, careers and dreams fade away but our purpose on this earth is for the glory of his name. Our nation is at odds with each other, while the world at large is watching. We have forgotten it is for “the glory of his name”.

Thomas Brooks say when we live “for the glory of his name” everything is put back into perspective. God becomes everywhere conspicuous, and all the earth is hushed by the majesty of his presence. He says, “Look, as the sun puts out the light of the fire, so the glory of God, where it is aimed at, will put out and consume all bye and base ends. This is most certain, that which is a man’s great end, that will work out all other ends. He that sets up the glory of God as his chief end, will find that his chief end will by degrees eat out all low and base ends. Look, as Pharaoh’s lean kine ate up the fat (Genesis 41:4), so the glory of God will eat up all those fat and worldly ends that crowd in upon the soul in religious work. Where the glory of God is kept up as a man’s greatest end, there all bye and base ends will be kept at an under.”

HAVE IT ALL

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them.

Jn.17:22

 

Who says we can’t have it all? Jesus asked the Father to give us the same glory that Jesus had enjoyed from eternity. What exactly is that glory? Why; it is God Himself. He is our portion and our treasure. The problem we have with this promise is that we have no idea of what the riches of the glory of God are. When we catch an inkling of that greatness, it produces a massive shift in our lives. We treasure and pursue different things than we used to. We see the incredible chasm between the wealth of creation and the Creator Himself. He is the treasure of our lives. When we are first saved we taste the edge of it, when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we see a little bit more of His nature, as we gaze into the scriptures we often fall into giant holes of revelation actually tasting the goodness of the Lord. When we see Him we will finally know, our inheritance will begin to unfold. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes it.

 

 

“Behold the superlative liberality of the Lord Jesus, for he hath given us his all. Although a tithe of his possessions would have made a universe of angels rich beyond all thought, yet was he not content until he had given us all that he had. It would have been surprising grace if he had allowed us to eat the crumbs of his bounty beneath the table of his mercy; but he will do nothing by halves, he makes us sit with him and share the feast. Had he given us some small pension from his royal coffers, we should have had cause to love him eternally; but no, he will have his bride as rich as himself, and he will not have a glory or a grace in which she shall not share. He has not been content with less than making us joint-heirs with himself, so that we might have equal possessions. He has emptied all his estate into the coffers of the Church, and hath all things common with his redeemed. There is not one room in his house the key of which he will withhold from his people.”

 

Joint heirs with Christ. He has brought us into an incredible family with unthinkable wealth. All of the fairy tales in the world can’t come close to what has actually happened to us. He has given us His glory.

GOD REVEALED – EVERY MOMENT EVERY DAY

Rom.1:20 – For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

The Lord reveals Himself moment by moment, day by day, in all of our lives. From the infinite nature of the universe, to the intricate detail of a small flower; God’s glory is clearly seen all around us. Fallen man tends to ignore His magnificent display and create some other explanation for creation from their own minds. Paul said that people who ignore God’s shocking display all around us are finally given over to a reprobate mind. God’s glory is on display for all, some ignore it and others create idols in their minds to explain it. Paul says they are without excuse. R.C. Sproles describes this characteristic of fallen man in his comments on today’s passage.

“God has plainly and clearly shown himself to everyone. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen. The Latin word used for “clearly seen” is the root for our English word conspicuous; God has made his self-revelation conspicuous to everyone since the creation of the world. God does not pop a clue into history about his existence every three thousand years or so. Every moment since the dawn of creation God has been manifesting himself through the things that are made. God did not give us a world and just say, “Sit down and begin to think about where that world came from and reason from the cosmos back to God.” We are to do that, but it is more than that. Every second, God is manifesting himself through the things that are made so that his testimony to his nature is plainly evident.”

Creation is a signpost pointing the way to God’s glorious plan for fallen man. Once you are honest about His handiwork all around you, you will be drawn to read the scriptures. It’s in the written word that we see the greatest revelation of God and also see of our fallen condition. How is it with your soul today? Have you made peace with the Creator? This Creator is the same One Who became a man and suffered and died on a cross for your sins. Look to Him today. Call upon His Name. All that call upon His Name will be saved.