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Posts Tagged ‘Glory of God’

Roaming around 1 Peter 4-7-11 for my lesson tomorrow, and I’m totally digging on 1 Peter 4:10:

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

Christians are conduits by which the God’s grace is emitted from Himself and given to other Christians. It’s fascinating to me that God opts to use His children as a means of distribution rather than simply giving it directly, which of course He does as well. This is a unique function of the spiritual gifts, that they are a means of God’s grace coming to us. This is encouraging because it is a reminder that God is concerned with our quality of life.

The book of 1 Peter is clear that Christians will live an awkward

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Poltus, galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen…” (1 Peter 1:1)

if not painful life:

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if neccessary, you have been distressed by various trials,” (1 Peter 1:6)

and

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12)

God is specially about the business of receiving glory in all things. One way He does that is through the workings of His people, the church. A chief end of the operation of the spiritual gifts is to accomplish this very thing (1 Peter 4:11). Specifically, the church points to Christ, and Christ points to the Father.. As an exercise of God’s glory, He reveals His character by loving and providing for His people.

Christians therefore are personal channels for the glory of God through His supernatural provision for His people. By us, Do you consider yourself a vessel for distributing God’s grace? Are you a storehouse of blessing for other believers? Do you serve knowing that the power of God is working through you? Do you speak with the endorsement and encouragement of God? This is not only possible, but a command, a stewardship to which we are responsible.

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Turning ourselves inside-out

No takers on the latest installment of Pseudo-Scriptural trivia! What a lot of chickens you are. While you are all cowering and refusing to venture your respective guesses, I’ve got a great thought-provoking quote from Blaise Pascal. This quote is taken from the book “Mind of Fire”, which is a collection of diary style writings of Pascal’s, intended to take us through a rational appraisal of the basic tenets of Christian truth. He invites us to view man as a noble creature trapped in a dilemma rooted in the nobility of his created purpose and complicated by his inability to salvage himself. Regarding the futility of a purely subjective (internal) or objective (external) pursuit of fulfillment, Pascal says:

” The Stoics say: ‘Go back into yourselves; for it is there that you will find peace.’ This is just not true. The others [Epicureans] say: ‘Go out of yourselves; look for happiness in some distraction.’ And that also is not true. We are a prey to sickness. Happiness is neither outside nor inside us. It is in God, both outside us and inside us.”

In a few words Pascal underlines one of the lessons of Ecclesiastes; that meaning and satisfaction is beyond a man, despite his power and intellect. This is a plague that afflicts every man, whether he senses it or not. Its only resolution is aggressively pursuing union with Christ. In Christ we are restored to the nobility and happiness we were meant to have. Our only hope of this is that we are joined to Him by God’s free gift of faith. By faith we are credited with Christ’s perfect obedience, our sin is punished in His body, and we are joined to his resurrection unto newness of life, the new birth.

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A prescription for corrected vision.

As some of you know, I have just finished filling a gap in my High School Ministry teaching schedule with some lessons about the glory of God as it has been revealed in His people. We looked at the story of Numbers 22-26, and how God put Himself on display in protecting, disciplining, and purifying His people. God is certainly glorified in everything that He does and in everything that happens, but it was especially rewarding to see it played out in this passage. We concluded this week with some general thoughts about the glory of God. I had a lot of fun with the outline of the message. For your enjoyment, here it is:

4 Cataracts that Obscure the Glory of God

1,) Our feet – By this I mean that daily life distracts us from God’s grandest purpose: glorifying Himself. If we stare at our feet to avoid tripping, we miss the scenery, the big picture. One illustration we discussed is learning to ski. While we are preoccupied with not falling or being hit by another skier, we miss the incredible scenery. “Staring at one’s feet” is a mere matter of concentration. This cataract is remedy simply by making a decision to think about the glory of God, looking for it in Scripture, and contemplating it in prayer.

2.) Our love of the world – Sometimes our problem with perspective is that we don’t want to see correctly. If we value this world more than the next, we won’t see things for how they really are. Do you find it painful to think of being separated from your earthly interests forever in heaven? Do you find the concept of God’s glory dull? If so, you have a problem with loving the world. The cure for this cataract is self-examination. What is your personal response to the theology of God’s glory? How do you feel about giving up worldly things?

3.) Our theology – Lack of Scripture knowledge leads to an incomplete picture of god. Missing puzzle pieces will not inspire worship like a mature understanding of God will. Sin also plays a part because it leads us to resist doctrines that give God all His glory, such as election. The cure for this cataract is devotion to Biblical scholarship and personal contemplation of those truths.

4.) Our egos – The truth about the glory of God is overwhelming. We will either submit to the fact that we exist for someone else’s glory, and love it, or we will resent God as an arrogant seeker of praise. The cure for this cataract is to submit to a Biblical worldview, even universe-view if you will. To submit to the truth about God’s pursuit of His glory is to reverse our understanding of the order of the universe, and it is sometimes hard to get our heads around it. If we will submit, we will accept that God alone is worthy of seeking such praise, and we will gladly give it to Him. If we will submit, we will also accept that we were created to worship Him, and that real, eternal satisfaction and joy rests in fulfilling this purpose.

It was a real joy for me to contemplate these truths. Some of the students expressed that this was a real eye-opener, which doesn’t often happen. I hope you all find this useful

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“Sometimes you take from the mountain…sometimes the mountain takes back.”

My pastor said that about our high school ministry’s senior skiing/snowboarding trip a few days ago. I chuckled. The next day, the mountain took back, all right…from me. I took a nasty spill but got up and made it down the mountain by myself. Totally worth it.

A few reflections from our days in the mountains of Colorado:

1.) Skiing reminds me of our challenge to be motivated by the glory of God as Christians. Skiing, especially for novices like me, has you looking down at the ground all day. You’re watching for obstacles, picking out your line, watching the cross traffic and downhill traffic, feeling the burn. Every now and the, especially on the lifts, you look up and go, “Wow! Look at that incredible view!” It’s there the whole time and somehow you manage not to notice. Same goes with the glory of God. Everything, and I mean everything, is to be done for His glory (1 Cor 10:31). The details of daily life distract us from this focus rather than directing us, as they should. Look up, take it all in, and glorify God in all things.

2.) How awesome was creation before sin? All creation is under the curse of sin (Rom 8:22). It’s as if the edge has been taken off of their glory. As they stand right now, the mountains are pretty incredible. It definitely makes me look forward to the new earth.

3 .) God loves to build us up by stripping us down. In a parallel sort of way, our mission to prepare our seniors for the challenges of college life is helped by our utter fatigue from snow sports. At the end of the day, we’re ready to have some awesome conversation. At salvation, God regenerates us by His Spirit, crucifying the old man and making us a new creation (Rom 6:6, Col 3:9-10). As we grow God displaces our sinful tendencies with Christ (Col 1:24).

Good trip. It’s a shame that once you get to know people so well that it’s time for them to move on. Still, the fruit of the ministry makes it worthwhile.

And it barely hurts anymore.

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