Tag: God’s glory

Blessings of a true fast!

Scripture reading for October 1st: Zechariah 7-8

“Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me:  “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?   And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?'” Zechariah 7:4-6

Many times we who are the Lord’s children go through the motions when we seek to worship or serve the Lord.  We do what is expected or required, but don’t really put our hearts into it.  I know that I have done that before with fasting.  As soon as I begin to fast, my flesh acts up and distractions come faster than ever before!   I have good intentions, but poor results!

God used Zechariah to preach to His people as they returned to work on the temple.  God did not want them going through the expected motions of the fast.   He wanted them to administer justice and show mercy and compassion to one another.  He wanted them to care for the needy and poor and help the widow and orphan.  He wanted their hearts to truly love each other instead of thinking evil. (Zechariah 7:8-10)  Fasting that pleases God results in a focus on what God really loves.

God’s people just went through the motions and God scattered them among the nations.  This is why the land became desolate and rested for the seventy years.  Hard hearts and disobedience had brought their inevitable consequences.  But now, God was again jealous for Jerusalem and promised to show blessing and favor.  God would gather His people back to the land and many nations would come and join themselves to the Jew!  (Zechariah 8:15-23)

Fasting has always been a way for God’s people to draw closer to Him.   A true fast brings cleansing to body and soul.  The body cleanses itself from toxins and waste as we quit eating and drink lots of water.  The soul quits focusing on bodily appetites and desires the Lord and His will.  Toxins of the soul include bitterness, depression, apathy, unforgiveness, lack of truth and injustice.  The water of God’s word washes the soul clean.  Take time soon for a true fast!  It will work wonders for body and soul!

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The Glory connection!

Scripture Reading for April 4th: 1st Kings 5-8

Solomon, David’s son, had heard God’s decree that he would build the house where God’s Name would reside among His people.  He had a vision and purpose for his life.  He knew of the desire of his father David and willingly offered himself to the Lord to build this “House”.  (1st Kings 5:5)

In building the temple, Solomon employed many people.  Some came from lands outside Israel.  The temple was made of stone, cedar and pine wood, and precious metals.  Craftsmen worked off site on the stones so that the temple could be assembled without saws, chisels or hammers used on the site.  (1st Kings 6:7)  The temple took seven years to construct with thousands of workers meticulously adding every piece and detail in precise order and design. (1st Kings 6:38)  God was truly a God of order and a master craftsman!

The crowning moment at the dedication was when God filled His house with His Glory!  The priests had carried the Ark into the Holy of Holies and then withdrew.  The priests could not stand to minister because of the Glory!  (1st Kings 8:6-11)  Solomon declared a blessing to the people gathered there and thanked God for His faithfulness!

Solomon then knelt down, raised his hands toward heaven, and prayed a magnificent prayer of dedication!  In this prayer were eight petitions  centering on the need for forgiveness!  Since man’s troubles are caused by sin, the temple would be a place where they could meet with God and find mercy.  As God’s people cried out, God’s glory was that He showered grace on them.

Solomon also asked God to hear the prayer of foreigners so that all peoples of the earth might know His Great Name!  (1st Kings 8:41-43, 60)  This prayer reminds us of Jesus command to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations! His house was to be a house of prayer for all nations!  (Mark 11:17)    Believers are the new “temple” of God.  God’s presence fills each believer with His Glory and gives them power to reach the nations with the message of His saving grace!  The “living stones” are being gathered from around the world without chisel or hammer through the power of the Gospel!

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Unusual wake-up call!

Scripture reading for May 20th: John 11:1-53

Death is something that we will all face, unless the Lord returns before we go through that experience.  Death has swallowed nearly 100 percent of all human beings.  The Bible records two in the Old Testament that did not see death: Enoch and Elijah.  Several were raised from the dead in both the Old Testament and New Testament.  One of the most notable is found in today’s reading in John Chapter 11: Lazarus!

Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha.  Jesus often stayed at their house in Bethany, just a short walk from Jerusalem.  Lazarus became sick and the family sent for Jesus to come.  Jesus purposely waited two days before traveling to see him.  Jesus had escaped stoning in that area right before this and the disciples were concerned about returning.  Jesus told them that Lazarus had fallen asleep and that He was going to wake him up.  The disciples did not understand that Lazarus had died so Jesus told them plainly.  He would raise him up so that they would believe!  (John 11:11-14)

When Jesus and the disciples arrived in Bethany, they found that Lazarus had been dead for four days.  Mary and Martha and the community were grieving.  Both Mary and Martha told Jesus that they knew that if He had been there, their brother would not have died.  Jesus saw their grief and was deeply moved with compassion and troubled in His spirit.  (John 11:33) Jesus began to weep Himself.  Comments were made by many of the mourners concerning Jesus’ show of emotion. “See how He loved him!” and “Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”(John 11:36-37)

As Jesus, deeply moved, came to the tomb, He commanded the stone be taken away from the entrance.  Martha was concerned that there would be a bad odor from the decaying body.  Jesus spoke: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40) Jesus thanked the Father for hearing His petition, and then called out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43)  Lazarus appeared, wrapped in grave clothes and strips of linen!  What a sight to behold and what joy for those grieving!  Jesus held power over death and still does!  Be sure your name is in the Book of Life for a “wake-up” call!

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A Vision of God’s Glory!

Scripture reading for August 19th: Ezekiel 1-6

Ezekiel had just turned 30 years of age and he was a priest.  He had been taken into captivity and was in Babylon with a group of exiles which included Daniel and his friends.  As they met by the Kebar River, God opened the heavens and gave Ezekiel a vision that changed his life and gave him direction.  He was called by God to go to his people and give them God’s word.  He was warned by the Lord that God’s people were rebellious, obstinate and stubborn.  (Ezekiel 2:1-4)

The vision began with a windstorm coming from the north with a towering thundercloud and flashing lightning.  As it got closer, Ezekiel could see four living creatures.  (Ezekiel 1:4-9)  These creatures had the form of a man but they had four faces and feet like a calf and four wings with hands underneath.  They glowed like bronze and the faces were that of an eagle, ox, lion and man.  There was a wheel that sparkled and had another intersecting wheel.  These wheels were full of eyes on the rim and enabled the creatures to move in all directions as the Spirit moved  them.  When these creatures with the wheels moved, there was a sound like that of roaring waters, like the voice of God.

As Ezekiel looked he noticed a glowing throne of sapphire and on the throne was a figure like that of a man.  He was glowing with fire and brilliant light surrounded Him.  This light looked like a rainbow and glowed with radiance!  (Ezekiel 1:26-28)   This figure had the “likeness of the Glory of God”!  When Ezekiel saw him, he fell to the ground in awe, overcome by the likeness of God’s glory!

Now God has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to show mankind the Glory of God.  “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)  The gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to have the Glory of God revealed to us.  We are being transformed by the Spirit with ever increasing glory!  (2nd Corinthians 3:18)  When Jesus Christ appears, we will be instantly transformed into a glorious body, like His glorious body! (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18)  We now carry the “likeness of the Glory of God”!  Think about that and rejoice!

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Clothed in Majesty and Splendor

Scripture reading for June 24th: Psalms 104-106

“Praise the Lord, O my soul.  O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps Himself in light as with a garment. . .” (Psalm 104:1-2a)

In Psalm 104, the psalmist begins to worship the Lord of creation for who He is.  This psalm mirrors the creation account of Genesis 1 and by careful observation one can find references to all 7 days.  The creation declares the glory and majesty of the Creator.  (Psalm 19)  God not only wrapped Himself in light, but He stretched out the heavens like a tent.  Light marks the sky by day and night and God sets the times and seasons using their consistent motions.

God also formed the earth and it’s atmosphere, making it a place fit for life, and filled it with all forms of life.  The waters of the sea, as well as the land, teem with every kind of creature!  Each creature looks to God for it’s life and provision. (Psalm 104:27)  God faithfully supplies for each one and they are satisfied.  When God takes away their breath, they die and return to the dust.  When God sends His Spirit, they are renewed!  Contemplation of the cycles of life brings one who is conscious of God to worship!

God provides for man especially.  He brings forth “wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.” (Psalm 104:15)   This verse struck me as more than just physical provisions, although the earth surely brings forth plenteous provision for mankind.  The wine speaks of the blood of Jesus Christ, which is able to purify the heart of man and make him eternally glad!  The oil speaks of the precious gift of the Holy Spirit which is the down payment of heaven, God living in us and revealing His glory through the Spirit’s abiding presence.  The bread represents the body of Jesus Christ, broken for us.  If any man eat this bread, he will live forever!  Praise the Lord for His wonderful provision!

The psalmist concludes his worship poem with these lines: “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works. . .I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.  May my meditation be pleasing to Him as I rejoice in the Lord.” (Psalm 104:31,33-34)

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Sunday Rest and Reflection:God’s Glory

Dear Friends,

Shalom!  “Shalom” is a Hebrew greeting meaning “peace” to you in it’s greatest sense, peace in spirit, soul, and body.  Sabbath rest is a means God uses to restore “shalom” to our souls and make us holy.   We rest in His presence and the finished work of Christ, ceasing from our own labors and enjoying the peace that forgiveness can bring.

In our reading this week, Moses experienced God’s presence and saw a glimpse of His glory.  After the incident with the golden calf, Moses and Joshua went to meet with God in the tent of meeting outside the camp. (Exodus 33:7)  Moses asked God to teach him His ways so that he might know Him better and find favor to lead His people. “The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)  Moses knew that it was the presence of the Lord that marked him and God’s people as different.  It is God’s Presence and peace that mark His people today as well!

God then declares that He will answer Moses’ prayer for knowledge of God.  Moses asks to see God’s glory!  (Exodus 33:18)  He is told by God that he will indeed see a glimpse of His glory, but that no one can see God’s face and live. “Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.  When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but My face must not be seen.” (Exodus 33:21-23)

Moses is then told to return to the mountain and meet with God.  There God came down in a cloud of glory and proclaimed His name.   “And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.  Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished, He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7)

Moses’ response was to bow and worship!  May God bless you with revelation of His glory this week!

In His Love, Pastor John

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Walls of Salvation, Gates of Praise!

Scripture reading for August 3rd: Isaiah 58-62

“”No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” Isaiah 60:18-19

There’s a newer song out that uses the thoughts of these verses of Isaiah.  Chris Tomlin sings “My Deliverer” and I love the chorus about the walls and gates of the New Jerusalem!  This passage and chapter of Isaiah have many similarities with Revelation 21 and the vision of the Apostle John and it is exciting to see that God’s plans are firmly established and moving forward.

Our nation and world are in deep darkness.  The peoples of the earth for the most part are living in ignorance  of the Lord and His light.  It was the vision of Isaiah that as the world lay in darkness, a call to arise and shine would be given to God’s people.  (Isaiah 60:1-2)  This might refer to the rapture of the Church at the end of time as well as when Jesus first appeared.  The Glory of the Lord will rise upon the earth and nations will come to the brightness of that new dawning.  Jesus Christ came into the darkness of this world and proclaimed that He is the light of the world!  (John 8:12)  Whoever will follow Him will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life!  We shine with the brightness of God’s light and reflect that light to a dark world. At the end of time we will shine like the brightness of heaven and the stars!  (Daniel 12:3)

From the witness of that light of God within His church, Jesus Christ is populating the New Jerusalem.  It’s walls are salvation.  We are protected by God’s saving grace through the gift of forgiveness.  We are saved from the penalty of our sins and eternal judgment in the lake of fire and outer darkness.  It’s gates are praise!  Those who enter come singing and praising the One who gave them life and eternal light!  God is their light and they have no darkness in them!  There are no more tears, crying or pain.  Eternal light from God’s glory fills the city and it’s inhabitants!

When this will happen is not known by any man.  But the Lord tells us that in it’s time, it will be done swiftly!  We must be ready and watching!  “I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.” (Isaiah 60:22b)  “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon. (quickly)”  (Revelation 22:20)

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