"The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."
What does it mean to glorify God? And why should we glorify Him.
"The glory of an object is that its intrinsic worth and excellence answers perfectly to all that is expected of it. That excellence or perfection may be so hidden or unknown that the object has no glory to those who behold it. To glorify is to remove every hindrance, and so to reveal the full worth and perfection of the object, that its glory is seen and acknowledged by all." Andrew Murray..Like Christ.
Moses was a man who spoke to God "face to face". He asked God, "Please, show me Your glory."
"Then the Lord said, 'I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.' But He said, 'You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.' Ex.33:18-20
"Now the Lord descnded in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation." Ex. 33:5-7
God's glory is who He is...His character, His holiness, His goodness....all He is. When we allow Him to be "uncovered" He is glorified. And why should we glorify Him? Because He truly is who He says He is, and He alone is worthy.
It is our privilege to glorify Him. It is a great privilege when He allows us to see His glory. It brings us life and joy to see His glory. As we see Him more clearly we are in awe of who He is. We see His grace for our need. We see His holiness and our sinfulness. We see His love that can fill our lack. We see His forgiveness when we are unable to forgive and when we are so needing it ourselves.
How do we give Him glory? We cannot ever glorify God by our own flesh. We will only glorify our flesh. How is the glory of God "uncovered" in us? If you are His child then His glory is in you. As we yield to His Spirit's working in us each day then He is seen in us.
"Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name." John 12:27-28
Are you in a gethsemane? Do you feel your trials are too much and you want to say "Father save me from this hour!" But maybe instead we should pray, "Father, glorify Your name."
As we yield to Him in our darkest hours He is able to reveal His glory in our situation. He is able to take it into His care and show You and others around you His power and goodness. His character begins to shine through us in the way we are able to stand in our situation and walk, without fainting, in faith in Him, yielding to His will completely.
Do you really want His will...His glory? Or are you still holding onto your own?
Isn't His will higher? Isn't His glory more worthy? He wills your highest good always! His glory brings light and life to others so that they too can find the same life to fill them.
As we worship God, we are performing an act of surrender in our hearts, we are humbling ourselves before His glory. He is able to reveal Himself, and manifest His presence in our hearts and we fellowship with Him. We are so blessed by His presence and the warmth of His love that we sense. And yet this is just a small portion of His glory that He allows us to see and experience. Oh the joy it will be when He is fully glorified to us!! When we see Him as He is!! We could not even do that in our fleshly bodies or we would die.
I long for that day when I will see His full glory! For now I want to pray, "Father be glorified in me and through my life." Until then I pray I can live my life in a way that will reveal God's glory in me for others to see. Sometimes it is through prayers answered, deliverance, healing....Other times it is through waiting, being patient, even suffering. Always it is by yielding our will and our flesh to God, so He may have His way. We cannot glorify Him...only He can reveal His glory by His acts, by His Spirit as we yield to Him, and obey His Spirit. Others begin to see His character being formed in us, and He is glorified. They are drawn to us, not because of anything we are, but because they are drawn to Jesus in us. His life is being revealed to them by our lives.
Father today, I pray that You will be glorified in Your church. Be glorified in those You died for, Lord Jesus. Help us to yield ourselves to You and to humble ourselves under Your mighty hand so that You might be able to reveal Your glory to us, and Your life might be seen in us.
God bless and keep you!
"If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." Isa. 7:9
Feelings can be wonderful in our Christian life. We can have wonderful times feeling God's warm love and joy and feeling close to Him. In those times we have no problem having faith do we? We know the Lord loves us, and is there with us, and we "feel" that our place in Him is secure. We can have all kinds of faith in prayer then can't we?
But then comes those dry times, or those times when we aren't so sure, because our feelings or thoughts are telling us different.
I have a little story to illustrate how our feelings can affect us and our body still responds as though something were fact, even if it isn't.
We use to do a lot of camping as a family. I loved camping and the outdoors. But just don't ever take me where the bears are! I don't like bears! I'm scared to death of them. I would never have to be mauled to death by one because I would probably die on the spot before it touched me. Ha ha! Well, one night we were all laying in the tent falling asleep and I was just dosing off. But suddenly I heard a low growling noise that sounded like a bear. It was so close! It sounded like it was right outside our tent. I layed there petrified, my heart just about pounding right out of my chest and shook Bob and whispered..."I think I hear something by our tent!" He woke up and listened and it was quiet. So he went back to sleep. Then soon I heard it again! I thought I'd have a heart attack! I shook Bob again and told him to listen. He didn't hear anything....it was quiet. So I'm laying there waiting again to hear something...sure that this "bear" would soon pounce on our tent and maul us all to death....when.....there it is! I hear it! But.......this time my husband was facing me and the sound was coming from him. I discovered it was my dear husband snoring all along.
Well, it took awhile for the facts to reach my feelings. Even though I knew the facts now, and knew I was safe, the message was having a hard time making it to my brain and calming down my nervous system. I could still feel the fear and my heart continued to pound for a time.
Fear is like that. It makes us feel what isn't true sometimes. It feels very real, but the facts tell otherwise. But God wants us to stand on His Word and on Jesus Christ our Solid Rock! That is where we stand firm.
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell with a great crash."
Ever feel like your Christian life is a roller coaster ride...you're up then you're down...all based on how you feel. But if we stand on the Word of truth, then come what may, we will stand. If we don't, we will sink under every trial, every hardship, every feeling.
I am a very emotional person, so it was so important for me to learn this lesson in my walk with the Lord. I cannot base my Christian experience on how I feel. If I do I will feel condemned one day and saved the next. I will feel God loves me one day and He doesn't the next. Is God inconsistent? No...but we are. But we can stand on that Solid Rock always, knowing that He will never change and that He will never fail us. His Word is always true. We can know Him and be sure of Him in His Word. We can experience Him because of His Word, that we believe and hold firm in our hearts.
The enemy of our souls loves to come plant in our minds little thoughts of condemnation and accusations. He is the accuser of the brethren. We need to treat him the same as Jesus did...."Get thee behind me Satan! The Word of God says....." We don't have to ever let that thought get passed the threshold of our mind where Satan can get a foothold. Oh, he can be very convincing!! But will we believe him, our feelings, or the Word of truth?
We need to be rooted in the Word of God. A strong tree has roots that go down very deep and hold the ground. When the strong winds come, that tree will stand.
"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving." (NKJV)
Let His roots go down deep in your heart and permeate every part of your life. Feed yourself daily from that wonderful life giving nourishment, and let it build you up and establish you in the Lord. Then you will abound in that faith and be full of thanks and praise for His wonderful life. When the winds come, you will stand firm. Nothing will be able to move you from your place in Him!
God bless you and keep you!
"Not that I have already attained or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:12-14
What is it that Christ Jesus has laid hold of us for?
You know I look at my own life and see so many things I would call failures, and have so many regrets. Oh they can bog me down and I can get so depressed mulling them over and over in my mind as though I need to somehow punish myself or make up for the past....or fix it? It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to face today's problems and grief because of yesterdays mistakes, neglects, or failures. Today's problems constantly remind me of yesterday's failures so that it seems impossible to let them go and forget them.
So what was Paul talking about here? Can we really leave behind and forget those things? How can we move ahead? How do we cast off this weight of regret?
The Lord is showing me, I believe that until I do...I can't move ahead. I can't see what He can do today if I am always regretting yesterday, and worried about how it will affect tomorrow.
But if we have the Lord and we belong to Him we can truly leave these things...yes even the failures in His Hands. Why? Because only He has the past and only He knows the future, and only He can take what happened yesterday, even the bad, and use it for good when we submit it to Him. Ah! But that is the key.....it must be submitted to Him. Doesn't His Word say to us....
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)
Yes...all! All means the care of your mistakes, sins, failures of the past...even the ones you seem to be paying for today in seeing loved ones you've hurt, or consequences that you must live with because of them....even those cares....ALL.
And doesn't His Word tell us...
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Rom. 8:28
Yes...there's that word again...ALL things....even the mistakes, sins, failures of the past. Those things that have brought us to where we are today and that we grieve over....yes those things. He is able to work them together for our good....to conform us to the image of His Son...but only if we submit them to Him. Only if we cast them on Him and refuse to take them upon ourselves anymore. They are not any longer ours to fret over, or ours to work out, or ours to try to fix, but His to bring His glory through.
2 weeks ago the devotional was on giving Him glory. This is our main purpose in life. In order for God to now be glorified in our lives, we have to submit all things to Him. Then He is able to reveal His wonderful redeeming grace and power in what the devil meant for evil.....He is able to use it for good. He is able to show His glory in doing so.
Going back to the verse in Philipians 3 from above....we can now press on, toward the goal of the upward call....to lay hold of what Christ layed hold of us for! And what is that?
That is described in the verses above it in Phil. 3:8-11 (NKJV)...
"Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may atain to the resurrection from the dead."
I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection. I want to see that resurrection life now in my life and circumstances.
If we are spending our time and energy in self pity or condemnation over the past how can we see Jesus, and know Him in the power of His resurrection life. We are keeping that Life from flowing through us and working in our lives, and those who we could touch.
We will not have the energy for what He has put before us today and will miss it completely. All we have is today. So let's give yesterday and tomorrow to the Lord, and let's take today and give ourselves to Him, pressing on ahead toward that upward call allowing the Lord to reveal His life in us and our situation more and more each day as His plan unfolds before us, and allowing Him to be glorified in our lives!
God bless and keep you!
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6-7
What if we took that verse to heart, actually put it in practice everyday, and didn't let anxiety have a place in our hearts? Is it really true? Will God actually give us a peace that passes all understanding and guard our hearts and minds?
Seems like so many anxieties and cares in this life can overwhelm us and then we look at this verse and think, "well.....that's just too simple. Nope....gotta think my way through all these problems...gotta figure it out....gotta keep agonizing until I get an answer!"
Our thought patterns become negetive and we don't put faith in what the Word of God says.
Then we wonder why we just don't have any joy or peace.
"For indeed the Gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the Word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest...." Heb. 4:2-3a
Let's take a look at how we can activate our faith in His Word to overcome anxiety in our lives.
When I was pregnant with my first child I was having some severe depression and anxiety attacks. Part of it was hormonal but a lot of it was due to constant negative thought patterns, anxieties and fears about myself and my baby and how things would turn out. I took it before the Lord and surrendered it to Him and asked Him to show me what to do. I believe He led me to some scriptures and told me to act on them daily as my "spiritual excercise". So what I want to give you is the "prescription" God gave me at that time which, in a very little time, changed the way I looked at things and filled me with faith instead of fear, and overcame anxiety in my life. I hope it will help you as it did me.
I looked at Phil. 4:4-9 and 12-13, wrote it down on paper and each day I took it out and prayed through it, obeying what the scripture told me to do.
Phil. 4:3.."Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"
Ok, Lord....why should I rejoice? I don't feel any joy and I have so many things to worry about.
Well..remember who wrote this? Paul who had been beaten, persecuted numerous ways, jailed, shipwrecked....etc. Why could he rejoice and how could he tell the church to do this? Because He knew God was in control of His life, and not one thing would happen to him that didn't first have to pass through those nail scarred hands. He believed in God's goodness, and he believed in God's unfailing love for him.
So start out by rejoicing in the Lord. Count your blessings....yes..name them one by one. Stop thinking of all you don't have or what you wish for but thank God now for His salvation, His promises, His care for You....etc. Can you thank Him that He gave up His home in glory to suffer and die for your sake? Think of all the ways He's provided for you. Thank Him for all you have. After all, before we came to Him we deserved nothing but His wrath! We didn't deserve a single thing He has given us! Thank Him that things aren't worse in your life than they are! Here are some verses to help you along. 1 Peter 1:3-9; 4:12-13; 2 Peter 1:2-4; 2 Cor. 9:15; 1 Thess. 5:16-18. That should be enough to get you started.
You can add some more of your favorite verses and just delight in the Lord and rejoice in Him! This should be our spiritual excercise daily! It is an act of faith in Him, that He is in control of your life. And a reminder that we owe God our overwhelming gratefulness for all He as given us and done for us.
Next..."Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand." Gentleness means graciousness or forbearance. The only way we can do this is to stop thinking only of ourselves but the needs of others and be considerate and understanding of them, which, of course, means again we need to pray for their needs and think of things from their perspective. Considering others in our lives brings us out of ourselves. We can get so wrapped up in our own world of anxiety in depression that we forget how to treat others and we become self-centered. As you look at this verse pray for gentleness, considrateness, forbearance and graciousness toward others in your life and pray for their needs.
Next..."Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;"
Ok...why shouldn't you be anxious about these problems in your life, or maybe you have irrational anxieties that you can't even explain. Remember again Rom. 8:28-39, and 2 Peter 5:7. All these go together. Mix the Word with faith...do what it says. You can trust God. The reason we are to take everything into prayer and supplication is so instead of worrying and fretting over it, we can bring it to the Lord, remembering that we are His now, and so are all the cares in our life. We don't even have a right to them anymore, to do as we please with them. We are to let God be glorified in all our difficulties.
It gives us an emotional release to pour out our burden on Him as we tell it all to Him. Then as we take His promises, we can bring them before Him, reminding Him of His Word and letting Him know that we are counting on His Promises and His perfect wisdom for our lives. Read Ps. 37:4-7. You have rejoiced in and delighted yourself in the Lord, now bring Him those desires, needs, and requests. Of course we need to then thank Him for His promise to take our burdens and sustain us and answer according to His perfect care and goodness for our lives, surrendering to whatever His perfect will is. Do this as many times as you have to until you feel released from the burden.
Verse 7 then gives us a promise of His peace that passes all understanding. Mix the Word with faith....believe (adhere to, cling to, trust in, rely on) that He will indeed fulfill that.
Verse 8..."Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy...meditate on these things."
Spend some time meditating, or pondering good things. We are to deeply think about and fill our minds with what is good. The mind is where Satan attacks us and where he can destroy faith if we give him a foothold. That is why so many verses in scripture deal with guarding our thoughts and concern what we look at, dwell on, and think about. If you spend most of your free time in front of TV or magazines or books that don't match up with the above verse, and spend very little time thinking on the Lord or fellowshipping with Him then you won't have the mind that He wants to give you....a sound mind...one filled with His peace that passes all understanding. A good place to start is just to dwell on His promises, or listen to worship music and dwell on the Words of the songs, or read some Hymns. What I did was make a scripture tape and listen to it and let the Word sink in. It helped me when I was so depressed or sick that I didn't feel I could pick up the Bible and read it or pray. It healed my mind and changed my thought patterns.
Verse 9 reminds us again...don't just read what Paul is saying here....what the Lord is saying to us...do it!
Verse 11-13.."Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in what ever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
In the amplified version verse 13 reads..."I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's suffinciency]."
Whatever circumstances you find yourself in, commit yourself into His care, knowing that He is working in you perseverance and godliness and strength. Draw closer to Him and find that contentment and strength from your union and fellowship with the Lord. Sometimes our difficult circumstances cause us to draw away from the cares of this life and find our comfort and satisfaction, our security in Christ alone. It binds us closer to Him. We become more dependant on Him and He inturn reveals more of Himself to us. It is through this relationship that we are able to be content no matter what. In His presence, in His fellowship, in His strength.
May God's blessing enrich your life as you take His Word to heart and act on it today!
God bless and keep you!
All scripture taken from the New King James Version © 1990, 1995 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. unless otherwise stated